Challenge: 2020 A to Z Book Challenge

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I was working through editing some small aspects of my blog this week and noticed it’s been almost two whole years since I participated in any book challenges? I figure the A to Z Challenge is basic enough that I can use the books I’ve already completed this year in an attempt to both catch up and actually participate in a book-related challenge for the first time since 2018.

The A to Z Challenge is relatively straightforward: Read a book that begins with each letter of the alphabet. I’ve seen it done where if the first word of the title is the or a, it can be overlooked for the first letter of the second word and I’m gonna run with that. Links are to the Goodreads page for the book and not my personal reviews since I’ve gotten so horrible about writing them with any amount of regularity. Let’s do this thing!

A: A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛


C: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare 🐛🐛🐛🐛

D: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

E: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya 🐛🐛🐛🐛

F: The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth 🐛🐛🐛🐛 ½

G: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega 🐛🐛🐛🐛

H: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith 🐛🐛🐛

I: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab 🐛🐛🐛🐛 ½


K: Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue by Paula Harrison 🐛🐛🐛🐛

L: Lu by Jason Reynolds 👾👾👾👾

M: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor 🐛🐛🐛🐛

N: Nyxia Uprising by Scott Reintgen 🐛🐛🐛🐛 ½


P: Patina by Jason Reynolds 👾👾👾👾

Q: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black 🐛🐛🐛🐛

R: Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

S: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson 🐛🐛🐛🐛 ½

T: Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab 🐛🐛🐛🐛



W: When You Know What I Know by Sonja K. Solter 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛




Have you ever done an A to Z Challenge? Do you have any suggestions for the letters I haven’t completed yet? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 🙂

My Fave Underrated Sci-Fi Novels: May, Myself, & I (2/31)

Hello, bookworms! As I said in my May TBR & To Do post, I’m going to at least attempt to participate in May, Myself, and I. In case you missed it, May, Myself, and I is a challenge for daily vlogging in the month of May that was created by one of my fave YouTubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

This post is for day two, so the prompt is: Stars

When I think of the stars, I think of science fiction, so I thought this would be a great prompt for sharing some of my favourite underrated sci-fi novels. Of course, underrated simply means I feel like there should be much more hype around these books, but hopefully we can change that! Here are a few of my underrated faves in alphabetical order with their descriptions. 😀

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.


Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.


Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.


The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.


The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.
In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.
A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.
After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.
Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.


The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.


The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Alyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!
Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story – and he’s searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions of mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.


Want by Cindy Pon

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?


Warmstone by Chris Speck

Seven carries his dying son, Erik, across the ice wastes. The old men of the frozen Eastern tribe say that he will not last even another short winter.

The boy’s clear blue eyes see much further than the horizon. He sees beyond the Black Mountains and through the paths of iron-giants to the great machine at the centre of the world. He sees hope.

If he can get there, Seven will trade everything he has to save his son…


Zenith by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Those are just a few of my favourite underrated sci-fi novels. What are some of your fave sci-fi novels that deserve more hype than they get?

I’m A Disney Princess: May, Myself, & I (1/31)

Hello, bookworms! As I said in my May TBR & To Do post, I’m going to at least attempt to participate in May, Myself, and I. In case you missed it, May, Myself, and I is a challenge for daily vlogging in the month of May that was created by one of my fave YouTubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

Today’s prompt is: Running

So, gather round because it’s storytime.

Back a million years ago (Or, like, five. Whatever.) I used to run recreationally. I really enjoyed pushing myself to run faster or longer. I especially loved trail running.

I realized, however, that I had never run in an actual race. I decided it couldn’t possibly be that difficult so I started looking into ones I might want to/be able to run in.

At this point in time, I was still religiously watching Carrie Hope Fletcher’s videos whenever the notifications popped up that she’d posted them. (I don’t watch anyone that way now.)

One day while I was still looking for the right race for me, Carrie posted a video of herself singing an original song, Why Can’t I Be A Disney Princess? and I thought, “Huh… I wonder if there’s a Disney Princess race…” (Spoiler: there is) So I did a Google search and LO AND BEHOLD I found the race I knew I wanted to complete. I would be a Disney Princess and I’d have the medal to prove it.

However… This is Disney we’re talking about, so of course you can’t just run the race, finish it, collect your medal, and be on your way. There’s specific time constraints and if you aren’t running fast enough, you’re picked up in a van and not allowed to finish. (No finish = no medal = no crown) I realized after registering that this meant I had to actually train specifically for the race, which I had zero experience with.

But, train I did. I did a lot of treadmill runs, a few trail runs, and I started doing pilates again (like once a week because I couldn’t be bothered that much) to break it up a bit. I carried on like this for quite a while.

But then, because I am me and I can’t seem to fully follow through on things (WHY AM I LIKE THIS), I stopped training altogether sometime around the end of November/middle of December. I did not start again. At all. If you think this means I didn’t do the race, please read the title of this post and come back. I’ll wait here.

So February rolled around and I gathered my pride and my running shoes and drove down to Orlando, Florida the day before the race. I walked around the parks, ate some creme brulee, and went to the race’s safety expo. It was a pretty fun and relaxing day.

Then race day came. I was worried that being around that many people would make me more nervous than I already was, especially since I literally knew zero of them. But, the energy at the starting line was so positive and uplifting. Everyone was just there hanging out and waiting for their turn to start (the race started in waves based on previous race times). It really felt amazing.

Finally, it was my turn to start (if you’ve never run a race, you automatically start with the last group) and off we all went. I remember still feeling excited for the first three or four miles. Every once in a while, I passed by people standing in line to have their race day photo taken with Disney characters, but I knew that if I stopped I wouldn’t have a fast enough time to be allowed to finish so I stared and kept on running.

Around mile 9, one of my knees started to ache a bit. It wasn’t horrible and I had a bit of time built up from running faster on the down hills, so I moved over to the side of the race and did a few stretches. It helped, but I was still in a little pain when I jumped back into the race.

By mile 11, my knee had gotten worse and my other knee started to ache as well. I didn’t have time to stop again, so I pushed through it. I figured I would ice them when I crossed the finish line because I was GOING to cross that finish line. I pushed myself harder.

Somewhere between mile 12 and mile 13, my left hip started to ache. The pain was far worse than the pain in both of my knees combined. They stopped doing time sweeps, so I took a moment to stretch a little and got back into the race. This time, the stretching did nothing. The rest of last mile was agony, but I finished it. I crossed the finish line, collected all the goodies, and went off in search of several ice packs.

I walked a bit, stretched, and laid in the grass to let the ice sit on my knees and hip. I had done it. I had become a Disney Princess!

I certainly had no idea I would be able to run 13.1 miles before I decided to do it. What’s something you’ve done or accomplished that you didn’t know you could?

Challenge: Shelflove Reading Challenge 2018

Hello, bookworms and dragons, and welcome back to my blog. Today I’m going to create the master post that I’ll update throughout 2018 for the Shelflove Reading Challenge that I’ve decided to participate in. This challenge came to me via the gorgeous planner in the December Shelflove Crate box and I’ve just kind of decided to give it a go. Instead of writing in my updates each month on a new post, I’ll simply update this post as I go and let y’all know of any changes to the post in my monthly wrap ups and TBRs.

As with the A to Z Challenge, if you’d like to give me any book recommendations for the prompts that you think I’d enjoy, please please do. I need all the book recommendations because I love when my TBR is vicious and threatening to smother me. Anyway! Here are the prompts. I’ll fill in the spaces as I complete them so anything that doesn’t have more than the heading describing the prompt isn’t complete yet. Simple enough, yeah? Let’s dig in!

2018-06-11 21.06.16.jpg

1. Book over 600 pages

2. Read the book on your tbr the longest

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare sat on my tar for what feels like forever before I finally got around to reading it this year. And wow I’m still angry at myself for not reading this world changer sooner! This whole set of series has become so close to my heart and I’m so happy to have finally gotten around to scratching it off my tbr. Though honestly I’ll likely reread them all at some point.


3. A protagonist with a culture different than your own

4. A book you can read in one sitting

5. A book by a 2018 debut author

6. Read a book published before 1968 (50 years ago)

7. Reread your all-time favorite book

I listened to the Audible version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll while I had no other audiobooks to listen to on the way to work. It’s still my all-time favourite, even after all these years. 😀


8. Read a book set near your home

9. Banned book

I haven’t read this one yet, but I read a banned book each year during Banned Books Week in September. I’m including this caption here because I’ve already selected my book for this year. I’ll be reading George by Alex Gino. I didn’t realize until recently that this book is banned and why it is banned. When I read the reasoning behind it, my heart hurt. So much. I knew immediately that this is the one. This is the banned book I have to read this year. It’s a short one at only 195 pages, but that’s going to be a busy week for me this year so it’s perfect all around. I forgot to live tweet my read last year, but if you want me to live tweet this one just let me know in the comments.

I may also listen to the audiobook version of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas while driving to Maine during Banned Books Week but, as I’ll be driving, I won’t be tweeting this reread.


10. Girl power book

This one most definitely has to be When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri. This book practically oozes girl power and embracing who you are instead of changing yourself for who the world wants you to be. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story!


11. An audiobook

12. A book with an epic journey

13. Read a book to make yourself happy

14. Read a classic YA book you never picked up

15. A book that won/was nominated for an award

I read Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence three times this year. I read it at work with the school age book club I did and it was really fun! It’s a middle grade realistic fiction about a Japanese American girl who wants to make mochi with the rest of her family but is told she isn’t old enough yet. The kids loved it and so did I. This book was nominated for multiple awards, including winning a spot on Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017 list!


16. A historical fiction

17. A retelling of a classic or fairytale

The entire The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is an awesome retelling mashup of a few different classic fairytales… Set. In. Space. I absolutely loved it and recommend them to anyone who likes sci-fi stories, whether they like retellings or not.


18. Read a book before the movie comes out

19. A cover buy book from 2017

I don’t really buy books because of the cover so this one is rough. I guess the closest I came to reading a 2017 cover “buy” would be Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. I initially checked it out from the library because I thought the cover was pretty and it might make a good bookstagram photo. Months later, I still haven’t taken a picture of it aside from a book stack, but I finally got around to reading it for the 2018 Shelflove Crate Annual Readathon.


20. Book under 150 pages

21. Book with illustrations

A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss quickly made its way to the top of my list of favourite picture books. I got my hands on a physical copy of it from the library just in time for Pride Month and read it quite a few times before returning it. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up purchasing a copy for my collection at some point but for now I’m happy to enjoy it and recommend it to everyone. 😀


22. Genre you don’t usually read

I don’t usually read romance. Like, at all. It’s a thing for me. Not sure why, I just have a really hard time enjoying it. So in June when I felt the need for some fluffy f/f fiction, Her Elysium by Emmy Engbert was brought to my attention. Let me sum it up for you: ownvoices f/f gamer fiction. It was exactly what I needed. 😍


23. Don’t judge a book by its cover (a book you don’t like the cover)

I’m not really at all fond of the cover of A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder. I read it for the school age book club I hosted over the summer at work. I really enjoyed it, which is great because I ended up needing to read it three times. It’s a cute adventure and I’m always excited to share it with anyone who reads middle grade fantasy.


24. Read a book that won a 2017 Goodreads award

25. A book made into a movie you’ve already seen

26. A book that starts with your first initial

I read Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga for a blog tour. I thought the premise was really creative and decided I needed to read it. I was not at all disappointed!


27. A book with 4+ stars on Goodreads

I was able to read a digital galley of Grim Lovelies during July. I really enjoyed reading it, though there are certain aspects of it that weigh down my rating of it. At the time I finished reading it, it had a Goodreads rating of 4.05 stars.


28. A title that starts with a verb

29. One word title

During the month of July, I listened to the audiobook of Renegades by Marissa Meyer. It’s definitely different from the other work by her I’ve read, but I really enjoyed the whole “superheroes aren’t always so great” thing presented. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel!


30. A book with a mystery you can solve before the end

31. A celebrity autobiography

I did a combination of reading the physical hardcover and listening to the audiobook of The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I was in for a special treat with the audiobook version because–and I did not know this beforehand–the book is narrated by the author. I have too many feels to go into depth here but it was an amazing story by an amazing woman.


32. A book with multiple points of view

33. A book with a dress on the cover

34. A sequel to a series you started in 2017

35. A book with an unreliable narrator

36. Dystopian

37. A book from Shelflove Crate’s most anticipated picks

38. Set outside of this world

39. A book with a flower on the cover

40. A book with a male narrator

41. A book with a yellow cover

42. A book with an epic romance

43. A friend or family member recommends

44. The final book in a series

45. Translated from a language other than your own

46. A character with extraordinary abilities

47. An LGBT+ main character

48. A book that inspired a bookish candle

49. A book with pirates

50. A 2018 Shelflove Crate book of the month


Do you have any suggestions for the challenges I haven’t completed yet? Leave your suggestion in the comments! 😀

Challenge: A to Z Challenge 2018

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! In my most recent The Next Chapter post, I mentioned that I want to make master posts for the year-long challenges I’m participating in for 2018 and this is the first of those two! The A to Z Challenge is pretty basic: Read a book that begins with each letter of the alphabet. I’ve seen it done where if the first word of the title is the or a, it can be overlooked for the first letter of the second word and I’m gonna run with it that way because otherwise this challenge would be nearly impossible for me to complete!

As I said in that post, I’m going to update this post and link it in future wrap up posts during this year instead of typing it all out each and every month to update. I’ll probably list changes in my wrap ups so you won’t have to look at the full post every time. I mostly just want an easier way to keep track of these.

A: American Panda by Gloria Chao

B: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

C: Cress by Marissa Meyer

D: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

E: Everless by Sara Holland

F: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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

H: Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot


J: Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

K: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga 

L: Life of Pi by Yann Martel


N: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

O: The Outcast by Taran Matharu

P: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani


R: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

S: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

T: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard



W: Winter by Marissa Meyer



Z: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Do you have any suggestions for the letters I haven’t completed yet? Did you read something else for the letters I have completed? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

​Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Favorite Exerpts:

Page 22:

I didn’t want the prince from the folktales or some milk-skinned, honey-eyed youth who said his greetings and proclaimed his love in the same breath. I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones.

My Review:

The first thing I noticed about The Star-Touched Queen is the gorgeous cover. The blurb looked really good and came recommended by Aentee at Read At Midnight, so I read it for the Lumos prompt in the #DAReadAThon. It also fulfills the January prompt of Diverse Reads 2017, which is to read a book based on or inspired by a diverse folktale, culture, or mythology.

Immediately after opening this book, I noticed something different about it: the Acknowledgements are at the beginning where usually I find them at the end. I decided to mention this in the review because it surprised me and struck me as more sincere to have them at the beginning. With what wasn’t said, it told me, “Before you read what I’ve poured myself into, let me acknowledge those who helped me get it from me and into your hands.” I really loved that and appreciate that it was done this way.

The world building is exquisite. An amazing amount of detail is given through Maya’s experiences but it doesn’t tak away from the flow of the story at all, but actually adds to it and pushes it along. The details are unique and creative while still staying true to the source material.

The characters are continually developed through the story, which makes it feel natural and gives everything a nice flow. The characters also build upon each other in beautiful ways that further the story. My favorite character is probably Kamala because the dialogue is just brilliant. In fact, the dialogue throughout the story is brilliant, but Kamala brings an extra unashamedly wicked element to it.

The Star-Touched Queen is an absolutely stunning novel. I’m honestly already planning to reread it later this year. I can’t wait to read more from Roshani Chokshi and I’m especially excited for the publication of her upcoming sequel to this book, A Crown of Wishes, on 28 March 2017.

Overall, I rate The Star-Touched Queen 5 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of The Star-Touched Queen and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:

For more information about Roshani Chokshi, visit her website.

​Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Favorite Exerpts:

Page 4:

I believed that as long as I followed my training, nothing could go wrong.

But some things are stronger than years of lessons.

The draw of fire.

A longing for freedom.

Or a girl on a red horse.

My Review:

First, let’s look at this cover. It’s gorgeous and I’m totally in love with the font! It’s what sucked me in and made me read the summary. “A princess with a forbidden magical gift is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom to marry a prince, but she has to choose between her duty and her heart when she falls in love with his roguish horse-training sister instead.” Obviously, after a summary like that I had to read this book. But you, my fellow bookworms, know how it is with the TBR piles and the such… so I never got around to it until the #DAReadAThon pushed me into reading it for the Stupefy prompt and the Beat the Backlist Challenge pushed me to kill off some of my ever-expanding TBR pile. I also recently joined the Diversely Booked Book Club, which happens to be reading Of Fire and Stars for January. Everyone I saw speaking about Of Fire and Stars on social media showered it with praises. Now, I feel like I should have read a few of the Goodreads reviews before selecting it because I’m pretty disappointed.

The characters are very two-dimensional. There is minimal development even on the two point-of-view characters, Mare and Denna. For secondary characters, the development is literally non-existent. Everyone is either good or bad with no grey area or depth to be found anywhere. I was especially disappointed in the lack of depth of both Thandi and Alisendi because they had such important roles to the main story. I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about them aside from Thandi’s unwillingness to listen to reason and Alisendi’s hope that her sister will stuff herself into the role that has been forced upon her by her station.

The world is much like the characters within it: falling sadly flat with little description of it aside from the separation or unity of Affinities and the Six Gods, who are not elaborated upon beyond the affinities they represent. Hints are given as to the existence of a specific “order” in which the Gods should be displayed based on religious sect, but the actual order and representative colors are never given. Almost no elaboration is given to regional cultures, languages, or daily life. Vague hints are given to climate differences of different regions as well as regional preferences for a single specified god of the six available for three of the regions discussed.

The thing that bothered me the most is the plethora of questions that stuck with me at the end of the story, especially since it didn’t seem like the author was really trying for a cliff-hanger. How did the information get out of the castle and into the two rivaling factions ears with such speed and accuracy? How was the Directorate able to capture so many of the Recusants when they couldn’t even figure out where their new meeting location was? I also have a question as to why the author picked who she did as the villain, but to ask openly would spoil the entire book and I try so very hard not to post spoilers in my reviews. Needless to say the end, like much of the rest of the book, left me frustrated.

The only thing I really enjoyed about Of Fire and Stars was the romance between Mare and Denna, but even that left something to be desired. I will admit I spent most of the book anticipating the romance between the two of them, which carried me through much of the story by itself. Said anticipation (and my curiosity of where the story would take the two of them) allowed me to read the book in only a day. Out of that curiosity, I might read a sequel if it were published but I’d likely stick with the library instead of purchasing it. The idea behind this story had so much promise and the follow-through just wasn’t up to my expectations of it.

Overall, I rate Of Fire and Stars 2 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of Of Fire and Stars and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:

For more information about Audrey Coulthurst, visit her website.

If you’re interested in joining the Diversely Diverse Book Club (which you should because it’s awesome), you can find more info about it in Katsyxo’s introductory blog post.

​Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Favorite Exerpts:

Page 76:

Okay, first of all, Oreos absolutely qualify as a food group. Second of all, they’re the ONLY food group that matters.

Page 269:

White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.

My Review:

I was so emotionally overwhelmed by the awesomeness that is the conclusion of this amazing book that I had to step away froom it for a bit before being able to write a review. I’m still a bit overwhelmed but I’d like to write this before beginning another book so it’s still fresh so here we go!

The characters were so well developed, realistic, and easy to relate to. I absolutely loved seeing the different relationships that developed between each of the characters and helped to better define the characters themselves. I feel like the relationships hinted at greater issues being addressed, but I might be reading too much into it right now.

The world is built well enough that I was able to put myself into it, though I’ve only been to the Atlanta area once and remember nothing of the trip. The descriptions given were so vivid without being rambley (totally a word) at all and I felt like I was literally sucked into it.

The story was excellent from beginning to end and I didn’t want to put it down, though life forced me to a few times. The main character, Simon, struggled quite a lot during the story so I worried a little about how well the story would conclude, versus simply ending and setting up for a sequel. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that worry was unnecessary because Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda concludes so completely as to leave room for no questions. I’m still totally swooning over this book. I can’t wait to read more from Becky Albertalli!

Overall, I rate Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda 5 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:

For more information about Becky Albertalli and her work, visit her website.

I read this book for the Impedimenta prompt of the Dumbledore’s Army Read-A-Thon because it has been on my TBR since it was first released.

For that same reason, I read this book for the #BeatTheBacklist Challenge.

​Review: I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai 

Goodreads Synopsis:

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

Favorite Exerpts:

Page 31:

Jinnah said, “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”

Page 138:

“At night our fear is strong, Jani,” he told me, “but in the morning, in the light, we find our courage again.”

My Review:

As the title suggests, this book needs a Trigger Warning for Violence.

This is a non-fiction book, which puts it outside the normal scope of books I would read for review but I had trouble thinking of any other books that would fit the Reducto requirements in the Dumbledore’s Army Read-A-Thon. I’m honestly glad I read it because even though it was a little difficult to follow at some points, I learned so much about a culture I now realize I knew nothing about.

The way Malala describes her surroundings is perfect because I was able to at least vaguely picture what Swat Valley might look like. Throughout the book, I felt like she was writing with a sense of longing for her home in Swat and the friends and family she grew up with there. There are times when the story jumps around a little while circling the main timeline but it feels more reminiscent than anything else.

Reading about Malala and her determination was incredible and empowering. She went on living day to day knowing there is a good chance there would be violence against her because she speak up for what is right. She continued to speak up, knowing the Taliban were asking for her death. Even after being shot, her goal is to return and continue fighting for education. She’s an incredible young woman and we could all learn from her. She has inspired me through the telling of her story.

This book highlights many things, including that it’s incredibly important that we realize words have power. Those holding the swords fear those wielding pens, so the old proverb must be true. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Overall, I rate I Am Malala 4 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:

Malala has started a non-profit organization to further the cause of universal access to education. For more information about the Malala Fund, visit their website.

I read this book for the Reducto prompt in the Dumbledore’s Army Read-A-Thon.

Have you read I Am Malala? What is a book that inspired you?

Joining the Diverse Reads Challenge 2017

Mishma is one of my favorite bloggers so when I saw that she’s co-hosting a challenge I had to at least look at it more closely. When I found out it’s a diverse reads challenge, I had to join it. If you’re curious about it or would like to join the challenge too, check out the sign up page.

I also love that there’s a mini challenge to read specific types of books each month. Definitely head over and give it a look!

I’m still sort of focusing on the #DAReadAThon right now so I haven’t gotten my full TBR together for this challenge, but I have started a Goodreads shelf and I’ll keep that updated with the books I’m reading for this challenge. 

What challenges are you taking part in this year?