#FLBMythicMay : What Happened, What I Read, and What I Learned

Hello. If you weren’t aware, I decided to run a readathon and Instagram challenge for the month of May called Mythical May. The reason you might not know about this is because I’ve barely been around. So here’s an explanation, what I managed to read,  and anything else I can think of.

So when I came up with the idea of hosting a readathon in March I was coming off a big bout of depression that lasted from November-March. We’re talking suicidal ideation, skipping class because I couldn’t get out of bed, and various other fun symptoms. I had been half alive for months and I was finally feeling better, which meant the creative juices were finally flowing again and I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS. I wanted to learn to draw, I wanted to write again, I missed this blog even more, I wanted to do more cross stitch, I wanted to paint things (book edges, more flowerpots), I wanted to finish physically reading a book for the first time since October, I wanted to redesign my blog. In short, I wanted to do everything (including maybe pass my classes).

That’s where the idea of hosting a readathon came from. I would host it in my first month of summer vacation and finally catch up on all the books I had been wanting to read that were sitting unread and dusty in a box. I would also create an Instagram challenge to stretch my creative muscles and get myself to post more there. There would be weekly update posts here along with the reviews and tags I was going to catch up on and reading sprints on Twitter.

So what happened?

  1. I forgot that the month of May is the only trigger for my depression that I know is a trigger for my depression. This has to do with stuff surrounding my birthday that I won’t get into here. This meant I was going to try to read like 20 books while depressed, which is not easy.
  2. We got a puppy who needs constant attention, and because I’m the only one in my family not in school or working full time that meant the puppy was my job. All my free time where I was going to be reading and writing and doing things that help me cope with my depression was now dedicated to getting my skin ripped open by puppy teeth. Not only was I miserable, but I was more depressed than I normally would have been and I had to hide it because I was suddenly a primary caregiver to something I didn’t know how to take care of. I am definitely a cat person.
  3. I was working. My work (at my university’s bookstore) is about 45 minutes away, which often meant I wasn’t home all day and then had to care for a dog. I also had to look for a job with more hours because no one is helping me pay for university, housing, food, etc.. I’m now technically working 3 jobs. (insert upside down smiley face emoji here)

And this isn’t meant to be me complaining. I love working at the bookstore, I’m trying really hard to love the dog, and I’m still a high functioning mentally ill person. But these things made it kind of hard to run a readathon, and if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I had a complete mental breakdown at the end of the month and fled social media, and I’ve been slowly making my way back.

I guess you could say I learned to not host a readathon in a month where I’m consistently depressed.

Anyway, so now that that’s out of the way, how did I do in my own readathon? Well, I read 11 books, most of them being eARCs and audiobooks (which was not really the point of the whole thing, but I did what I could and that’s all I could ask of myself). I’m not going to put all of the covers here because I’ve carved out a very small amount of time where I can write blog posts, but I am going to give the titles, format, and rating in the order I read them.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (audiobook re-read, rating increased from 3 to 4 stars)

King of Fools by Amanda Foody (eARC, 4.5 stars)

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (audiobook, 4 stars)

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (eARC, 4.5 stars)

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (audiobook, 3.5 stars (I think? I can’t make sense of my Goodreads review)

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (audiobook reread, rating stays at 3 stars)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (audiobooks, 3 stars)

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (audiobook, 1 star)

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (hardcover, 4 stars)

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (audiobook, 5 stars)

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (physical copy, 4 stars)

That means with the bonus books from the challenges that I read 28 books for Mythical May, so I made my goal of Ruler of the Gods even if I didn’t read the books I planned on reading. I also finished all the audiobooks on my TBR, and the only eARC from my TBR I didn’t manage to finish in May I finished June 1st. I’m pretty happy with that.

Huge thank you to everyone who participated in Mythical May weather you participated in the readthon or just the photo challenge. It meant the world to me to see all your posts. I should be here more often if I can figure out my life, but I feel like I say that at the end of every post now. I’m also going to slowly catch up on my WordPress, so apologies to the people I’m about to spam.

King of Fools ARC Review

King of Fools.jpg

Number of pages: 602

Rating (out of five stars): 4.5

Release Date: April 30th, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

Well now I’m heartbroken, which means this was an improvement on Ace of Shades. How dare King of Fools do that!

Let’s start with the characters. I loved seeing Enne’s growth in King of Fools. She isn’t just a finishing school lady anymore, she’s a lady criminal who knows how to survive in the City of Sin. She’s still the same Enne to some extent, but she’s made of stronger stuff and isn’t afraid to show her worth. I loved her even more here.

Jac my sweet boy got to be a main character. He got to matter as a player in the game like he desperately wanted to. His chapters broke my heart and made me smile. You got to see him struggle with his past addiction and see his strength that doesn’t have to do with his talent. His relationship with Sophia (one of my new favourite characters) was also the sweetest, That’s where I’m going to leave that because spoiler free review *grumbles*, but if you have read King of Fools feel free to dm me online so we can scream together.

I didn’t really care for Levi in this one, but maybe that was because he was making all the wrong choices all of the time. He was definitely my least favourite of the POV characters. I just don’t think his plotline was that interesting. It was cool to see the Irons thriving *is possibly biased as I was on the Irons on the street team*, but I think Enne and Jac were definitely the characters to follow in this one.

I wish we got more of the Spirits. Like there are 5 named members (unless we’re also counting Roy), plus a ton of cats, and we only really get to know one new character. Like I loved Grace, Lola, and Enne, but how many girls are even in the Spirits. Is it more than 12? Is it less than that? We know they’re the smallest gang, but what does that even mean? I get that we don’t know everyone in the Scarhands, Irons, Doves, or Orphan Guild, but a major part of Enne’s plotline was building this girl gang, and we went from a source of income idea and 3 members to an undetermined amount of people and them thriving. I feel like we’ll get to see more of them in book 3, but we should have seen more of them in this book.

Another issue I had with King of Fools was that while I appreciated the attempt to recap the first book, it really wasn’t successful. The first two chapters were very “info-dumpy” because of it in my opinion. Afterwards I was hooked right away, but I had so much trouble with those first few chapters. This is a personal issue (and a reason why I was dumb to not reread Ace of Shades before I read this one), but I also felt the recap reminded us of the really big and memorable parts of Ace, but didn’t do a great job mentioning the stuff that was less memorable that was actually referenced throughout King of Fools.

Still, King of Fools was a wild ride. I was completely engrossed by the story. Oh my did this 600 page beast ever fly by (when I got a chance to read it). It also had me screaming at it, and debating whether or not I dared stop reading in order to scream about it on Goodreads. Continuing reading won out for the most part. Like I never make notes on the kindle app, but I did with King of Fools because I needed to express my feeling on what was going on, but I didn’t want to stop reading.

Overall, King of Fools was a fantastic sequel, earning it 4.5 stars out of 5.

As a sort of sidenote, I’ve been super passively online lately, so please bear with me. I am super late with a bunch of reviews, I have tags to catch up on from last summer, and I have an overflow of physical books threatening to drown me. This month is also consistently not good for me because of depression triggers and all that fun stuff. I’m so sorry. I’m trying really hard to get my life together. Hopefully I’ll be back more regularly soon. I miss this blog so much.

There’s Something About Sweetie ARC Review

There’s Something About Sweetie.jpg

Number of pages: 384

Rating (out of five stars): 4.5

Release Date: May 14, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I love Sandhya Menon’s books. I say this all the time (which probably means it’s not as true as I think it is anymore), but I’m not a huge contemporary fan and her books always make me happy.

I feel like this book was exactly what I needed. There were so many times where I found I myself with a huge smile on my face while reading. Like I’d just have a giant grin on my face while reading on the bus. This book is adorable, Ashish and Sweetie are adorable together, the Patels and their date planning is adorable. There are of course some less fun moments, because what’s life without those, but these jocks have stolen my heart.

Of course Ashish, Sweetie, and their friends and family all feel like well-rounded, human characters. They all have distinct personalities (and we’re dealing with 2 families and 2 friend groups here), and the teens feel like teens. Sweetie in particular has my whole heart. She is so unbelievably kind and so happy with the way she is to a level I aspire to.

Speaking of that, because I had to yell at my family about this, people can be fat and perfectly healthy. People can be fat and athletes. There is a certain body type where you will never be skinny no matter how much you exercise. Just because a person is skinny doesn’t mean they’re healthy, and just because a person is fat doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy. I hate this argument that fat people are all unhealthy and unhappy. I hate it so much. It’s probably why I was so frustrated with Sweetie’s mom and her mom’s friend. If you don’t have the kind of confidence in yourself that Sweetie has, the constant comments about your weight mess you up for life (and even if you’re happy with yourself they’re still incredibly damaging).

I loved the dates they went on. They weren’t your typical dates, but they were definitely cool to read about. Ashish and Sweetie were just so sweet with each other, and they learned so much from the other.

Overall, There’s Something About Sweetie is the adorable romance you need in your life, earning it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Mythical May TBR

It’s May 1st, which means I am late to posting my TBR for my own readathon. Oh well, I’m late to doing a bunch of things. So without further ado, here is my TBR for the month of May.

Physical Books

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I got my copy when I went to South Africa a few years ago and I would love to get to it. I also normally randomize my TBR, and this has supposed to be my next read for months.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

This is another top of the TBR because of a randomizer book. I’ve also heard amazing things about this one and there’s mental health rep.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

I’ve been hearing amazing things about this one and I’m a little salty I got denied on Netgalley.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I have my copy of King of Scars waiting for me to read, so this is my next step on my journey through The Grisha Trilogy.

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

I’ve heard this has really good eating disorder rep from some ownvoices reviewers, so I’m excited to get to this one.

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

This is one of the books I’ve had the longest and I need to get through some of the short story collections I have.

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Geekerella was adorable, so I’m excited to get to this one. One of the prompts I came up with was also to read a retelling and this one fits.

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul

I love the musical, but I know the plot isn’t the best and I haven’t heard great things about the book. I’m really interested to see what I think of it.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one and I’m excited to get to it.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

This is a reread for me, but the hold I placed in October at my library finally came in. I’m actually halfway through it already. (It’s 11pm on May 1st at this point)

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I’ve sort of barely started this one, but I have to return it this month which means it has to get done during the readathon.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

This one doesn’t quite make sense considering I’m in the middle of King of Fools, but I’ve found I don’t really remember what happened in Ace of Shades. I also had to use up my Hoopla credits for April.


King of Fools by Amanda Foody

I wanted to have a review for it up on time so badly, but life got in the way. I should have it done by tomorrow.

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

This comes out on May 14th so I’m trying to finish it before then. I’m insanely excited for it because it features a fat athlete and Sandhya Menon’s books are always fun to read.

Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu

I got accepted for the ARC right before this came out in the middle of essay season. I feel insanely guilty for taking so long to get to it so I’m hoping I can finish and review it this month.

All that means with the “bonus books” from the challenges that if I read everything here I will have a total of 28 books. I guess this means I’m shooting for Ruler of the Gods. Wish me luck because this TBR is ambitious.

Love from A to Z ARC Review

Love From A to Z

Number of pages: 384

Rating (out of five stars): 4.25

Release Date: April 30th, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I am so late to reviewing this (I blame exams and school generally being awful), but at least I read it on time (unlike King of Fools which came out today and I’m still reading it). It’s extra bad that I’m late to reviewing it because I’m part of the street team. That didn’t affect my rating, and I got the eARC before I even knew I was on the street team. It just meant I got to promote Love from A to Z along with a bunch of other talented people.

It’s actually kind of weird that I even requested this. I’ve started only requesting books I’m already excited for before seeing them on Netgalley, so I was excited to Love from A to Z, but I’m not normally into contemporary books unless they have a mental health theme. I guess it’s a good thing that I wasn’t super sure I would love it though because I think going in without expectations helped.

The writing sucked me in immediately. It was so easy to get invested in the story. There were so many times that I was reading and I realized I just had a giant smile on my face. There were also a few key moments where I just felt tears fall down my face.

Speaking of that, for the most part this book is pure adorable goodness, but there are some parts where it gets really real. However, those sad moments are perfectly balanced with those adorable moments. I say that it was adorable and heartbreaking because those moments did break my heart, but the book as a whole doesn’t feel heartbreaking. It feels like an adorable YA romance book.

That being said, there is a giant content warning for Islamophobia. All the instances are there for Zayneb and the people around her to challenge. Still, it was pretty hard to have to read some of the stuff said as a non-Muslim person, so I would maybe wait until you’re in the right headspace for this one.

I love that Zayneb is allowed to be angry. People in the book try to get her to hold in her anger, but she knows who she is and what she believes in and she won’t be anything that isn’t her. I aspire to be like her. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

I also loved Adam. He cares about the little things, and he loves his family so much. It was wonderful seeing how much he loves his sister. I love that he’s this softer person next to Zayneb’s passion, and seeing how they worked to have the other understand their side of things was great. Ultimately, it comes down to them being really well-written and fleshed out characters. I would totally believe you if you said they were real people.

The formatting of the book was also really interesting. I love that they had this initial connection because of the Marvels & Oddities journal and that the book was told in journal format. I also loved the occasional narrator who was there to connect Adam and Zayneb’s thoughts. It was really hard to read with the eARC formatting, but I think it will make reading the finished copies even more immersive.

Overall, Love from A to Z was the book I never knew I needed, but I’m glad I found. It has therefore earned 4.25 stars out of 5.

Mythical May Readathon Announcement


I’ve always wanted to participate in a readathon, but I either always find out about them too late, or I’m busy with school. So I made my own!

For the whole month of May I’ll be hosting the Mythical May Readathon. I don’t really know what I’m doing because I’ve never actually participated in a readathon, but I’ll be hosting reading sprints on Twitter and posting weekly updates on here throughout the month.

Everything is loosely based on Greek mythology because I didn’t feel comfortable basing things off other cultures’ legends, but I tried to make things fit general themes I’ve seen in other mythologies. The logo for the readathon (hand-drawn by me and then edited in Paint 3D) takes inspiration from other mythologies and legends.

The nice thing is that there are no rules. This readathon is designed to give people with a similar university schedule to me (as in exams end in April) to whittle down their TBRs. I came up with a few challenges to earn “bonus books”, and I have levels to shoot for that match the theme,  but you don’t have to follow the challenges or have a goal in mind to participate.

The Challenges:

Myths Retold– read a retelling (+1 book)

Battling Beasts– read a book over 500 pages. (“bonus books” increase per book over 500 pages read (1 book read=+2 books, 2 books read= +4 books, 3 books read= +8 books, etc.))
Collection of myths– read an anthology or short story collection (+1 book)
Creation myths– read a historical book or an older backlist title (has been out for more than 5 years in any country) (+3 books)
Gifts of the Gods– read a book where magic is a feature (feel free to count the magic of friendships) (+1 book)
The Levels:
Hero– read 1-4 books
Demi-God– read 5-8 books
Member of the Pantheon– read 9- 20 books
Ruler of the Gods– read 21+ books
I also wanted to create a photo challenge; so I did! Here’s the graphic I made with the prompts (I am not skilled in the ways of design, so please be kind to me):
Mythic May Photo Challenge.png
I wanted to announce this with plenty of time for people to decide if they wanted to participate. If you’re going to take part in Mythical May I would love to hear about it. Feel free to use the logo and link back to this post if you’re participating. If you’re participating in the photo challenge or plan on talking about the readathon of Twitter and such, I would love it if you tagged everything with #flbmythicmay so I can see your posts easier. I’ll have a TBR post up before the readathon starts, but that’s it from me for now.

Wicked Saints ARC Review|Wicked Saints Blog Tour

Hello! Today I’m bringing you a review as a part of the blog tour for Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I was so excited I nearly burst into tears when I got an email from the publisher asking if I would be interested in being a part of the blog tour, so without further ado, let’s get on with the post.

Wicked Saints_Cover FINAL.jpg

Buy it here!

In case you haven’t heard of Wicked Saints before now, here’s a little bit more about the book:

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love
ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-
Touched Queen
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world
of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between
dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something
Dark and Holy trilogy.
“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author
of Caraval

Praise for Wicked Saints:
“Prepare for a snow frosted, blood drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare. Utterly absorbing.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author
of The Star-Touched Queen

“Full of blood and monsters and magic—this book destroyed me and I adored it. Emily is a wicked storyteller, she’s not afraid to hurt her characters or her readers. If you’ve ever fallen in love with a villain you will fall hard for this book”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

“This is the novel of dark theology and eldritch blood-magic that I’ve been waiting for all my life. It’s got
a world at once brutal and beautiful, filled with characters who are wounded, lovable, and ferocious enough to break your heart. A shattering, utterly satisfying read.” – Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

“Wicked Saints is a lush, brutal, compelling fantasy that is dark, deep, and bloody—absolutely riveting! With a boy who is both man and monster, mysterious saints with uncertain motives, and a girl filled with holy magic who is just beginning to understand the full reaches of her power, this gothic jewel of a story will sink its visceral iron claws into you, never letting go until you’ve turned the last page. And truthfully, not even then -the explosive ending will haunt you for days! ” – Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy

“Dark, bloody, and monstrously romantic. This is the villain love interest that we’ve all been waiting for.” – Margaret Rogerson, New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens

“Seductively dark and enchanting, Wicked Saints is a trance you won’t want to wake from. Duncan has skillfully erected a world like no other, complete with provocative magic, sinister creatures, and a plot that keeps you guessing. This spellbinding YA fantasy will bewitch readers to the very last page.” – Adrienne Young, New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep


Number of pages: 400

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 5

Release Date: April 2nd, 2018

*Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

So I got really nervous when I found out my review was going to be coming out on release day… for the official blog tour. I was so excited for Wicked Saints before I even signed up for the blog tour, but if you’ve been here for a while you know that I’m frequently disappointed by books I’m super excited for because I’m a very picky reader. However, as soon as I picked Wicked Saints up I forgot all that and got lost in Kalyazin, Tranavia, and the midst of a holy war.

Oh my god this book was so good. As I said on Goodreads, my reaction after finishing this was to take in a few gasping breaths (because I had STOPPED BREATHING… MULTIPLE TIMES while reading this book), and then pull my covers over my head and just lie like that in silence. If that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately, reviews tend to require a few more substantial arguments for why you should read the book, so first let’s talk about the characters. I love my new sarcastic murder children so much. Like I will protect Nadya at all costs, and she would probably stab me for it. She’s fierce, and loyal, and she just wants to do what’s right with the power she’s been given, but she also makes mistakes along the way. I love her, and I will fight anyone who reduces her to just a love interest.

There’s also Serefin, the powerful blood mage prince who loves his country and his people, but who will also 100% ask you what drink is being served to make sure he can get drunk enough off it. And completing our trio of disasters is Malachiasz, our anxious monster boy who just wants to fix his country. They’re all just so flawed and human, and I love them so much.

There are also some amazing side characters in this books, and they genuinely all feel completely fleshed out. They don’t feel like side characters. I feel like I could probably tell you as much if not more about Ostyia (or Kacper, or Parijahan, or Rashid) as I can tell you about Malachiasz.

The romance is so well done, and my heart hurts because reasons. I’m so invested in it, and I feel super guilty for shipping it as much as I do, but it just felt so organic. It’s not insta-lovey. It doesn’t feel forced. It just sort of happens.

I’ve touched on this a little bit, but I was sucked in from start to finish. It was such a shame when I had to stop reading to actually do school work or perform basic functions. Like this book has my whole heart. I’m still screaming writing this review a week after finishing it. It also got to the point where I had roughly 15% left in the book, and I had apparently started digging my nails into my hand I was so stressed. This continued for the rest of the book, along with me screaming expletives at my phone and stopping to update Goodreads because my body needed oxygen. I don’t think I’ve ever held my breath because I was so invested in a book before.

There is a huge content warning on this book for self-harm. 2/3 main characters are blood mages, and they use a lot of blood magic. If that’s not something you can handle at this point in time, it might be best for you to sit this one out. The blood magic is an integral part of the book.

Barring that, the magic system and the world-building were so well done. If you told me Kalyazin and Tranavia were real places, I would be very concerned, but I would also totally believe you. I think the thing that really helps with that is that religion plays a major role in the book. There are a lot of YA fantasy books that have one scene where some vague ceremony is performed in some temple/church in book one, and then they just call it a day on including religion in their fantasy world (I am thinking of a specific book, but you can insert a lot of other books here). I’m not religious, but even I can tell that’s not how it works, and that’s not how it works in Wicked Saints. Instead, we have a very devout character, excerpts from books on the gods and saints, and you get to see the effect religion (or lack thereof) has on these two waring countries. You can see that it plays a part in how their countries are run, and their everyday lives.

Going off that, this book is so unique. I never knew I needed a book about monsters, magic, and fantasy Poland and Russia before reading Wicked Saints, but now I’m sad there aren’t more books like it out there. It’s also very dark, and my inner emo is very happy about it. Dark in YA doesn’t always mean dark, but here it certainly does and I could not be happier about it.

The reveals are also so well set up that figuring them out ahead of time just feels more shocking than predictable. For example, I have a Goodreads update at 51% that just reads “Oh my god I think I just figured out a thing based on one line from our favourite idiot, Serefin. I want to scream”. I did in fact scream when it was actually revealed that I was right, because even if you figure out the reveals there are so many other implications to consider.

Overall, Wicked Saints was so well executed and gripping, and I would die to have book 2 in my hands right now. It has therefore earned 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Emily A. Duncan.jpeg

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

Spectacle ARC Review


Number of pages: 368

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 2

Release Date: February 12th, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

This book broke the streak of good luck I’ve been having with ARCs lately, and I’m so sad. I’ve been trying to read more historical fiction because while historical fiction is probably my second favorite genre, I don’t tend to reach for it. I’ve had a lot of luck with historical murder mystery type books in the past, but there were a couple things that made Spectacle just not work for me.

I do this weird thing where I write my review in my head as I read, so I can tell you that Spectacle was originally going to get 3 stars, as I was just feeling very ‘meh’ about it for the majority of the book. So what changed?

First we have the characters. This was actually a good change, as my complaint in the beginning was that I felt like I didn’t know Nathalie. She wasn’t exactly the most well-written character ever, but I could at least describe her by the end of the book. My issue with the characters stems from the fact that the other characters aren’t very well-developed. I can’t describe them nearly as well as I can describe Nathalie, and even describing her would take a few minutes of thinking.

There’s also the issue of this book being far too long. The book should have been over at about 74%, but instead it continues to meander around and set up a sequel it really didn’t need. I’ve never written a murder mystery, but typically the story ends when you catch the killer, not after you create a few more subplots, set up the romance that shouldn’t exist, and try to end on a cliff-hanger. There isn’t even much too the mystery aspect. It feels like the mystery is background to watching Nathalie live her life.

Speaking of the book being far too long, the pacing of this is bad. Reading it is like watching someone who doesn’t have anywhere to be putter around with something. It takes far too long to get to the point of everything, and so much of it is dedicated to Nathalie doing normal everyday tasks.

On the romance, Nathalie has a crush on someone, he says he’s engaged to someone else, and that should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t. Instead, the guy goes out his way to tell her that if they had met any other way, they would have had a chance together. The villain also tells Nathalie that the guy is very fond of her (which she knows because mind-reading powers). Like the book tries very hard to set up something that should not exist. He proposed to another girl before Nathalie even spoke to him. Why is book trying so hard to make this romance happen (or at least lay the groundwork  for it to happen in the sequel)?

I was in French Immersion for 10 years, and I started mispronouncing “tante” in my head while reading because I’m found it weird that the book called her “aunt” for 20%, and then suddenly switched to using “aunt” and “tante” interchangeably. One of my pet peeves is when books don’t smoothly incorporate non-English languages they’re using. When it isn’t smooth enough, it ends up looking more like a “Look at me. I know so much about X language” instead of it actually needing to be a part of the story. It is assumed by the reader that the characters you have in France are speaking French, but the words have been “translated” for the English-speaking audience to be able to read the book. You don’t need to throw in every French word you know to solidify that the characters are in a French-speaking country. Your book should have enough clues to set it in that place without the inclusion of the language and the mention of said country by name. Otherwise, your writing maybe needs to be re-evaluated.

It would be different if the book were in first person, the French character were relatively fluent in English, and they were mainly communicating with English-speakers in the text. Then, if the French speaking character were flustered or didn’t know the word they wanted to use in English, the inclusion of French would be justified and smoother. However, this excuse cannot be used for French characters speaking to French characters in France.

Last but not least, the magic system technically makes sense. I say technically because even though I’ve thought it through and there doesn’t appear to be any plot holes, it still feels like it doesn’t make sense. Like the book answered all of my questions, but I still feel like it shouldn’t make as much sense as I does.

Overall, Spectacle didn’t work for me, earning it 2 out of 5 stars.

Crown of Feathers ARC Review

Crown of Feathers

Number of pages: 496

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 4.75

Release Date: February 12th, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I wished for this one on Netgalley because I had been hearing good things about it. I didn’t really know what to expect from it. As the same thing happened with Sky in the Deep, maybe this is new strategy that’s working for me. Maybe I need to go into more books just having heard good things. There was also the added bonus here of the author being Canadian *aggressively sings O Canada*, so I’m glad I liked it as much as I did because now I can pre-order a physical copy for my shelf.

This book is so good. After 3 years of doing this I’m still the worst at positive reviews, so all my brain wants me to do right now is shove the book in people’s faces and tell them to read it. But I can’t do that because not only is it December 2018 while I’m writing this, but this baby is also going right on my favourites shelf when it gets here.

The initial betrayal the synopsis mentions shook me to my core. I was so upset I had to put the book down, and I didn’t read it again for roughly 2 months (this is also because I’m a university student and my life was a living hell at that point, but it being because of the book sounds better).

I liked that there was reason behind girls not being allowed to become Phoenix Riders within this particular group of people. I didn’t particularly agree with it and neither did our main characters, but at least it made some semblance of sense.

I also liked that there wasn’t really any romance. I find that it’s always really hard to make it work logistically within girl pretends to be a boy storylines when the male love interest appears to be straight. There could have totally been something from the third POV as well, but I sort of liked how it ended with that, and I think it’s going to play into things in the sequel. There’s totally romantic tension there, and I totally ship it, but there wasn’t anything really concrete and it worked well with the story.

Looking through my Goodreads updates (of which there are 15), apparently there is an animal killing at roughly 37%. Past me notes that it isn’t too graphic, but I feel compelled to warn others who maybe aren’t able to read that sort of thing at the moment. There are also a few other animal and mythological creature deaths, but they’re more mentions that X animal has died that we knew by name. We’re dealing with battles and animal magic wielders here, so if you need to sit this one out please do.

Content warnings aside, Crown of Feathers had me hooked. I was yelling at it, squeezing it (or my phone), and I was tapping/ flipping pages like there was no tomorrow. I had so many theories flying around my brain, and that’s never really happened to me before. And when I ended up being right on one thing it didn’t feel like the book was predictable; instead it felt like I had won the lottery.

The characters were also so well done. They all felt so human. There was so much stuff like Veronyka thinking her sister was one thing, and then slowly learning that maybe she isn’t so simple, and the other POV characters learning they don’t have to just be one thing. It was fascinating to read.

The thing that removed that pesky .25 of a star was that while I found the bits of history really interesting and they really helped with the worldbuilding (which was fantastic by the way), there were a few too many instances where the characters would tell some piece of history for pages, and then the chapter would end, providing another piece of background historical information. That part just didn’t work for me.

Overall, I hope I’ve convince you to read Crown of Feathers in this review, but in case I haven’t READ THE BOOK. It has therefore earned 4.75 stars out of 5.

#BellLetsTalk Day Mental Health Books Recommendations

I try to be pretty open about my struggles with mental illnesses on here. Sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not alone, even if you, like me, wish nobody else had to deal with this stuff. I’m actually writing this on a day when my depression wouldn’t let me get out of bed until 6:30pm (I’m not in any danger, just not in a good place), and I recently took the first steps to try to get help again. On top of that, I recently learned from Twitter that one of the thing my brain does has a name (it’s called Executive Dysfunction). So mental health has been on my mind lately.

Luckily for me, I have the opportunity to take the frustration I’m feeling over my weird brain out and help others. Today (when this is going up, January 30th) is Bell Let’s Talk Day (click here to learn more about it if you aren’t familiar with the whole thing). I’m pretty sure it only counts if Canadians do all of the things mentioned on the website, but I love spreading the word about it. It also give me a great amount of joy to try to get as much money out of a company that has been accused of not caring about their employees’ mental health and donated to a good cause.

For those not really familiar with what it’s like to deal with the stigma surrounding mental illness, it’s the reason that while I’m open about my struggles on here, Twitter, and Instagram, I don’t mention it at all on Facebook where there are people I know in real life (this is one of the reasons I’m so frustrated Instagram keeps recommending my account to people I know). In fact, because I’m so open about it on here, I don’t share my blog posts on Facebook anymore. I have never directly told my siblings about my mental illnesses. They might know about it, but the only family I actually told about it are my parents, and it took me THREE YEARS to tell them that I was pretty sure I had these things (and in the long run what I gained was the word severe in front of the depression and a ton of doctors who wouldn’t listen to me).

Which is why this community being so welcoming and accepting has been a blessing. This stuff is scary. People still look at those of us who suffer from this stuff differently. People still actively try to diagnose as many horrible people as possible with depression and other mental illnesses. But the book blogging community has been nothing but supportive while I talk about this stuff, so I wanted to combine two things I care about deeply (mental health and books) this Bell Let’s Talk Day and give some mental health book recommendations, list some books I have on my TBR with mental health themes, and talk about some books coming out this year that I can’t wait to get my hands on. This going to be a long one, so here goes.

P.S. The heading colours don’t mean anything. I just wanted to have fun with something.


I’m going to go a bit light on the recommendations because this is already going to be such a long post. That means these are ones I highly recommend, and not just every book with mental illness rep I’ve read. 

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

Words on Bathroom Walls

This one stars a boy dealing with Schizophrenia and taking medication for it, and it’s fantastic. I can’t speak on the rep, but oh my god this book. Not a lot of people have read it, which is a huge shame. The one thing I will add is that Adam does call himself crazy throughout the novel. I’m not someone who can get behind that, and if you aren’t in a place where you’re able to see that please take care of yourself and maybe stay away from this one.

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Beneath the Citadel

This is the first fantasy book I’ve read that has mental health rep other than PTSD. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one last year, and one of the 5 main characters has anxiety and experiences panic attacks on the page. Alys is the first person I’ve seen that also compares anxiety to lightning. (I often describe it as tiny lightning bolts going off in your body)

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under Rose-Tainted Skies

I think I will push this book on everyone for the rest of my life. It’s another severely under-hyped book, and it deserves so much more love. This book deals with Agoraphobia, OCD, and Anxiety, and while I can’t speak on most of the rep again, it still hit close to home. Also, the synopsis makes it seem like this is one of those “love interest fixes the mentally ill protagonist with their love” books, but it totally isn’t and you should read it.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey

Okay so…this one isn’t the best book on this list, but I talk a lot about how important it is to me. Audrey has Social Anxiety and Depression, and reading it before I had fully figured out what I had and feeling so totally and completely seen by it prompted me to finally talk to my parents about what I thought was going on. This book is what I think of when I see people say they finally felt represented by a book, because that is a feeling I will never be able to describe to someone who has never felt it.

TBR Books

Paperwieght by Meg Haston and What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

Booktuber Emmmabooks has spoken about how she felt the Eating Disorder rep in these was well done. Because I’ve been wanting to learn more about Eating Disorders, I’m hoping these will be a good place to start.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I see Social Anxiety rep, and I’m immediately interested. This one is pretty high up on my physical TBR at the moment, but I’ve been so caught up with trying to finish the ARCs I’ve been accepted for that I haven’t physically read anything in a while. I want to get to it soon, though.

Dear Evan Hansen by Van Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul

Same thing with the Social Anxiety rep in this one, but with the added bonus of me already loving some of the songs from the musical. I’m so excited.

For A Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

This one is a fantasy book with ownvoices Bipolar rep, and I am so here for more non-neurotypical characters in YA fantasy.

Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu

I got accepted for an ARC of this a month after it was published, and with so many ARCs with upcoming release dates on my phone, I haven’t had a chance to get to it. I want to because I’m always up for some Depression rep, but I’m a part of blog tours and such for these other ARCs, so it will have to wait.

2019 Mental Health Books

I didn’t do a most anticipated releases post this year because there are so many books I want this year. That means this is the first time I’m mentioning these on here. Also, there are some 2018 releases with mental health rep that I’m interested in but don’t own. I’m not including them because this post is already so long. *As I started to compile this list, I realized there aren’t many 2019 releases on my radar at the moment that explicitly mention mental illness rep in the synopsis. If you have any you think should be on my radar please let me know.*

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

The Weight of Our Sky.jpg

I’ve been hearing really good things about this one. It has OCD rep. Out February 5th

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow.jpg

This is one of my most anticipated books of 2019, and I would burst into tears if I somehow managed to get an ARC. Like my expectations are so high, it’s almost unfair to the book at this point. This is a YA fantasy with Depression rep, and I’m going to start crying again because I thought I would have to write it to ever get a YA fantasy with Depression rep. Like I have no chill. I’ve mentioned this book several times on Twitter already, and it isn’t out until July. Out July 9th

That’s all I have for today. Let me know some of your favourite book with mental health rep in the comments.