Remembrall Readathon by the HPA


I just wanted to put out a link to this Readathon hosted by the Harry Potter Alliance. They’re re-reading the entire Harry Potter series this summer leading up to the release of The Cursed Child.

The HPA is a wonderful organization that I’ve supported in the past and will continue to support. They’ll be posting weekly updates on the progress of the readathon and I’m hoping that their YouTube videos will become good places for book discussion during the course of the summer!

They’ve outlined a suggested schedule to keep up with if you want to stay on track with them. The first few books are allotted about a week’s reading time, with longer amounts of time set for the books with higher page counts.

It’s been a long time since I read any of the Potter books, so I’m looking forward to diving in here and getting my hands back on them. The structured readathon is just a great excuse for me to return to Hogwarts.

Take care y’all!

Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

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How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? | Yvonne Cassidy | Jan 1, 2014
Hachette/Flux Books | 432 Pages | eGalley provided by Publisher


Seventeen-year-old Rhea Farrell carries the scars of a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren’t so visible–the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father’s drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality.

When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she always wished she could confide in–her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters–to tell her things she can’t tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea’s journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother’s past where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.


Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a homeless teen living on the streets of NYC in the years before the internet? What about a queer homeless teen? Or maybe a queer homeless teen with one arm? And she’s an orphan?

There’s a lot to think about in this book, as the main character Rhea has been through some major hardships. Her childhood was not exactly perfect, but when she has to give it up to live with her Aunt in Florida, she does not adapt well. She resents . . . well . . . almost everyone. When conflict erupts in her Aunt’s Florida home, Rhea sets out for NYC in search of answers and independence.  Continue reading Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

Book Spotlight: Alexander Hamilton


If you’ve been paying attention to pop culture lately, you might have heard the name Alexander Hamilton a few times. Lin Manuel Miranda’s wildly popular hip hop musical about the founding fathers has been making major waves on Broadway. It’s been likened to the phenomenon that surrounded Rent when the public took interest in it.

If you want to buy tickets for Hamilton online, you might be out of luck, unless you want to shell out $1000 for a ticket on StubHub that could be counterfeit, or unless you’re cool with waiting until next winter to see the most buzzed about show in years. That’s how high demand is for tickets.

I was lucky enough to attend a performance of Hamilton last week, and let me tell you – it certainly lives up to the hype. If you’re skeptical yourself, try streaming the cast recording on Amazon Prime or Spotify. The music is catchy and entirely too addicting. I find myself listening to it more often than I thought I’d want to, and that’s saying something.

The musical was inspired by Ron Chernow’s 832 page biography, Alexander Hamilton. Leave it to Lin Manuel Miranda to read such a book and think to adapt it into a hip hop musical. In addition to having written the hip hop musical In the Heights, Miranda thought Hamilton was the most hip hop founding father around: “I also believe [hip hop] is uniquely suited to tell Hamilton’s story. Because it has more words per measure than any other musical genre. It has rhythm and it has density. And if Hamilton had anything in his writings it was this density.” x Continue reading Book Spotlight: Alexander Hamilton

Book Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

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All the Birds in the Sky | Charlie Jane Anders | January 26, 2016
Tor Books | 320 pages | ARC provided by publisher


From the editor-in-chief of, a stunning novel about the end of the world–and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse


All the Birds in the Sky is a coming-of-age novel that takes place over the course of several years. Patricia and Laurence are brought together in school because they’re both considered outsiders: everyone believes Patricia to be a witch, and Laurence, the science whiz, gets picked on for his smarts. Continue reading Book Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

How I use the 5-Star rating system on Goodreads


Most book reviewers believe in some way that rating all books on the same scale of 1 to 5 is messy. For example, what am I supposed to do when I just read a really good fantasy book that is nothing like any of the literary fiction picks that dominate my shelves? What do those five stars even MEAN? Why are there only five? Why is rating books even important?

Over time I stopped putting 1 to 5 ratings on my blog reviews, because I think the definition of what those stars mean varies too much from person to person. Continue reading How I use the 5-Star rating system on Goodreads

Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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Soundless | Richelle Mead | On Sale Since Nov 10, 2015
Razorbill | 272 Pages | ARC Provided by Publisher


For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.


When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.


But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.


Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…


Continue reading Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Reading Recap: What I’ve Been Reading, Part 1


So as I mentioned before, I got so behind on writing reviews on what I’ve been reading since last summer, I decided not to do them. Instead, here are some brief thoughts on what I’ve read since May.


Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg

When I got this book at BEA, I actually didn’t realize that it was fiction. So many memoirs have come out recently that I guess I just assumed… Anyway, it’s a collection of stories by famous actor Jesse Eisenberg. It’s his first book, and though I was a bit worried at first, Eisenberg really comes through on these stories. The first group, I have to admit, is my favorite – “Restaurant Reviews From a Privileged Nine-Year-Old”. The stories are every bit as tongue-in-cheek witty as you’d expect from Eisenberg, and I have to say, sometimes too intelligent for my lazy brain to figure out (it’s a good thing we studied Marx in literary theory). Definitely give this collection a look.


Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Maggie Thrash – what an awesome name – is a contributor at Rookie Magazine, and this is her first book. It’s a graphic novel memoir, and it was getting some buzz before BEA. Its tagline is “All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak.” Not having read many YA memoirs, much less YA memoirs about LGBT teens, this book instantly piqued my interest. I really enjoyed reading it. I love Thrash’s sense of humor. The only thing is that I thought the ending, though realistic, kinda left me hanging.


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This is one I really regret not writing a review for. The ARC I got opened with the most gorgeous letter from Patrick Ness, going into how he appreciates Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but never felt like Buffy. Moreover, he never felt like one of the Scoobies, either. He felt ordinary, like the majority of Sunnydale was (I guess, character-wise, that makes him Jonathan – but without the evil). So already, I’m thinking YES! This book is going to be THE BEST! Anything inspired by or related to Buffy has high chances of being the best, in my opinion. So every chapter opens with a sentence or two detailing what the “indie” kids were up to while the book’s plot is occurring – burning down the gymnasium, fighting evil, etc. Honesty, this was a great book to read following Night Vale, as I did. It’s weird, but in toned-down ways that Night Vale is not interested in. Deer with glowing eyes? Yeah, that happens – but then the characters go on with their lives. I would have liked this book a lot less, it’s possible, without that intro about Buffy. But there’s no doubt that Ness is a gifted writer, so go pick this up next chance you get, Buffy fans!


Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Anything with Westerfeld’s name on it gets my attention. So this book, as far as I can remember, is about a group of teens with special abilities. When one of the group’s members gets caught up in a bank robbery, they all have to band together, and in the process they find another teen with an ability. Let me tell you, keeping all of these characters and their abilities straight was not easy. I actually had to make a list to reference as the chapters and narrators changed. It’s a good book, but long, and I wasn’t blown away by it. I’ll be interested to see how the next book in the series turns out, as the characters grow and the authors learn the best ways to work together.


The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This book was a finalist for the National Book Awards. It’s about a traumatized girl named Suzy, whose childhood best friend died in an accident. Suzy goes searching for answers, and in the process discovers how awesome and deadly jellyfish can be. Told at the beginning of Suzy’s middle school education, this middle grade novel grapples with the all too common issue, what happens when close childhood friends grow apart? It’s a very good book, I highly recommend it. Suzy’s voice is unique and interesting; I hardly put it down from start to finish.

Note: all of the books on this post were ARCs provided to me for free.

#ReadWomen December


Greetings, everyone! So, I’ve decided to take part in #ReadWomen December. This is something I just found out about today, and am very excited about. The gist is that for a month, readers have decided to deck out their reading lists with female authors – some choosing to read female authors only for December, others vowing to include more women writers than they usually read. For more information, the twitter hashtag has been a great resource for me.

So in honor of celebrating women’s voices, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books by female authors, as well as a few books on my own #ReadWomen reading list.


  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

My Reading List:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bedchel
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (a reread)
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • The Blondes by Emily Schultz

Are you taking part in #ReadWomen December? What are you reading?

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer + GIVEAWAY

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Winter | Marissa Meyer | Feiwel and Friends
832 Pages | Paperback (via Book Depository) | Purchased


Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?


I’ve previously blogged about my experiences reading the previous books in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. In short, I think they’re awesome, especially the Chronicles’ first book. Continue reading Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer + GIVEAWAY

On Not Writing Book Reviews (aka Keeping Secrets)


It’s no secret that I’ve been absent from the blogosphere the past few months. Let me tell you how this all started.

I brought home dozens of books from BEA in May, and was so excited to get reading. I read several books during my travel days for that trip, and because BEA was incredibly exhausting for me, I felt entitled to a few days of rest from book blogging. That’s when the Books to Review list started getting long.

I also read a couple of books that I felt pretty neutral about. These were the ones I was okay with leaving off the blog – I’ve done it before too, always with a little accompanying guilt. Sometimes I just don’t have clear enough thoughts on a book to compose a well-thought-out review. But I thought, hey, I don’t HAVE to write anything. Who says I have to think of something to say about everything I read? So these books became my own little secret – little experiences I didn’t have to share with anyone if I didn’t want to. And I didn’t.

Then there are the books that don’t live up to the hype, but aren’t that bad either. In the end, I found lots of excuses to put off writing reviews, and with every book I finished, it just got harder to sit down and write.

So here’s what I intend to (finally) do about it:

  • Recap Posts – I’ve read enough books over the past few months that I have enough material for at least two recap posts on what I’ve been reading. My problem tends to be that I forget the details of the books I’ve read, so these will probably be shortened thoughts on the books rather than reviews.
  • 1 Recap DNF Post – sure, most of my DNFs lately have been because I didn’t feel like reading anything at all, and have no reflection on the books I’ve tried to read, but there are still a handful on my list that I’d like to share
  • Reviews! I’m reading Winter right now, and I fully intend to write a review of it. (And… Possibly host a giveaway! Stay tuned!)

I hope everyone’s been doing alright. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things here. I’m hoping now that I’ve made a plan and announced it, I’ll be able to hold myself to that plan.