ARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! This one has taken some time for me to be able to write, both because I just haven’t had much time and because this book was an emotional roller coaster. I was extremely lucky to have been able to read an advance digital galley of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab from NetGalley. As always, this does not affect my review one way or another. I am including this in my Diverse Reads section as well as it contains representation for bisexuality, homosexuality, depression, and anxiety.

I’ve been sitting on this review for about a month now because I’ve been having so much trouble processing my thoughts and emotions about the book. It’s such a complicated story so it comes as no surprise that my thoughts and feelings about it are a complicated, tangled mess. As I write this, I’m still unsure of the rating I’m going to give it so I’m hoping writing out the review itself will help me figure it out. I did enjoy the book overall though so we’ll see. Content warnings that I noticed will be at the end of the review. Let’s dive in!

The characters were incredibly well developed, though there were a couple times in the story when I thought, at the time, that something went against a character’s “regular” behavior. However, later in the story I learned things about those characters that would have put those actions solidly within the realm of their “regular” behavior. The character development is artfully done, which pairs perfectly with the story itself. We’re able to get to know each of the characters individually, but also by how they are perceived by others. It’s truly a thing of beauty.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is set in a variety of locations and time periods, all of which seem to have been thoroughly researched and built up meticulously. Whether the story takes place in 1700s Paris or 2010s New York City or anywhere in between, there is almost always the feeling of being fully immersed in the world. Each different location is built up individually as if by magic–without being info dumpy at all–and the rules of the world and how the characters interact with it are laid out beautifully throughout the story parallel to the characters being developed so there is little room for confusion.

The beginning of the story seemed quite chaotic to me, going back and forth between the past and the present while still always moving forward in each of the timelines. It isn’t until around halfway through the book that it begins to become obvious that the chaos was intentional, though at that point of the story the intention itself was entirely unclear to me. However, the chaos is filled in with details that spiked my curiosity. I had a lot of trouble putting the book down so I don’t think even my “if I’m not hooked by chapter 2 I throw the whole book away” friends will have trouble enjoying this one. The story flows in such a way that puts me in mind of a rose–slowly blossoming before it explodes into bloom and leaves you in awe of its magnificence. It is complex and beautifully written.

While The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue works very well as a standalone, I would not be upset if there ends up being a book #2. The ending wrapped up all of the loose ends left from the story while also leaving me wanting to know what happens next. It’s such an amazing story. I went in with quite high expectations and came out having each of them fulfilled and surpassed. This is exactly the high level of quality I’ve come to expect from Victoria Schwab’s writing.

Overall, I rate The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and preorder your copy so you can enjoy it when it’s released on 6 October 2020.

I first heard about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue because I follow Victoria Schwab on Twitter and had seen her talking about it. Are there any books you discovered because of someone you follow on social media?

Trigger/Content Warnings (TW/CW):

These are the trigger and/or content warnings that I notice while reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. As always, if you’ve read the book and noticed any TW/CWs that are not listed here, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form.

  • Slut shaming
  • Suicide ideation
  • Suicide attempt

ARC Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


Hey there, bookworms and dragons! As soon as I heard Erin Morgenstern had written another novel, I knew I needed to find out if it might be possible for me to read it ASAP. I somehow managed to get approved for this one on NetGalley. I do not know how. I was honestly expecting them to say no but HERE WE ARE. *ahem* I only noted a couple trigger/content warnings (TW/CWs for short) while reading, but I’ll add those at the very end. 🙂 Let’s dive right on into this review thingy!

I’m not sure how to talk about the characters from this one, really. I feel like I got to know the characters just enough to care about them but not enough to actually know them. We didn’t really get much backstory at all for most of the characters. My favourite character of the novel is probably Kat, which even now I find odd because I know so very little about her. I think this is part of the book’s charm, but I do wish I could be able to actually tell you more things about the characters themselves.

The Starless Sea is set partially in various times of the real world and partially in a place that exists beneath the real world and is powered by the magic of stories. I was expecting the world building to be the star of the show and I was not disappointed. It’s lush and immersive and left nothing to be desired. I fell in love with it right away.

The story itself is complicated and loops all over the place, seemingly without direction. However, about half into the book, the puzzle pieces start fitting together to form a larger picture that my thoughts still return to days after finishing it. The end did leave a loose end or two though and not in a way that speaks of a sequel, though they are obviously intentional. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

In the end I really enjoyed reading The Starless Sea, though I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I did Erin Morgenstern’s first book. I will still definitely jump at the chance to read anything new from her though so there is that.

Overall, I rate The Starless Sea 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


As soon as I heard about The Starless Sea, I knew I wanted to read it because of how much I loved Erin Morgenstern’s first novel, The Night Circus. Are there any authors whose work you’ve read because you enjoyed a previous work of theirs?


  • Hanging
  • Multiple mentions of suicide

ARC Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to receive an ARC of Ninth House back in June. I was SUPER excited for it but also didn’t have time to read it just then with grad school and the library’s summer learning program that I had bitten off WAY too much of. I didn’t end up picking it up until last week, and then I took my time reading it instead of letting myself read it in a sitting or two.

This is mainly because I read online that it’s an ADULT novel that deals with very difficult subject matter and I’ve seen the trigger warning list being passed around so I felt like I was ready, so long as I let myself go at my own pace. I’ll say this again because it seems like people are having a really hard time understanding… Ninth House is an ADULT novel. It’s been pitched as an adult novel. It’s being marketed as an adult novel. Leigh herself has been screaming into the void that is social media that it’s an adult novel. Please stop saying it’s YA.

I’ll post the TW/CWs at the end of the review. The list was already substantial and I added to it a little. Please also keep in mind that most of the content warranting these warnings is graphically portrayed. Self care is important, y’all! That being said, let’s dive right into my review!

The characters were, for the most part, pretty well developed. This is something I’ve come to know Leigh for though so I wasn’t surprised. There were a few characters who could have easily been the same dudebro, but for the most part everyone had their own particular essence to them that made them easy to care what happened to them. Even the few instances when all I cared about was that the characters suffer, at least I cared. It’s a book full of character caring.

The majority of Ninth House takes place in New Haven, Connecticut, both on and off the Yale University campus, and takes place in the present day. The world building was particularly interesting, I thought, because the rules for the world were built up before being torn down and rebuild slightly differently over and over again. The base rules of the world remained in place though, so this worked really well for me and kept the world feeling fresh and new and a bit overwhelming, which I’m now sure was intentional.

The story did flow relatively well, though the change in perspective and timeline did throw me a little. There are headings at the beginning of each chapter that kind of help with it, but I still had a little trouble keeping track. This is also probably at least in part because it’s the end of summer and my brain is just fried toasty. Once I got a few chapters in though it was much easier so maybe I just had a slow start. Either way, the pacing is nearly perfect, though a little slow in some places. Ninth House was honestly hard to put down at times and I made myself do it anyway because I needed to pace myself while reading this one if I wanted to make it through and still be ok.

I really loved the character of Alex. She is incredibly flawed and she’s honest with herself about it. I related to her. I related to a lot of the trauma in the book. While I was a little worried going into it that some of the many things on the TW/CW list would trigger me, Ninth House ended up being a very cathartic read for me. For the longest time, I felt like it was just me who experienced things like I have. It’s a lonely thing, trauma. We learn to blame and shame ourselves into guilty, solitary silence. There are things in Ninth House that I’ve never heard people speak openly about that I have experienced. I know it’ll sound a bit ridiculous, but it was almost like Leigh was speaking directly to me through this book, telling me she sees me and I’m not alone. I can not wait to read what comes next.

Overall, I rate Ninth House 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s adult debut, though she’s already gained some notoriety with her Grishaverse series’.

Who are some of your favorite authors who write for more than one age range?


  • drug use
  • overdose
  • self harm
  • sexual assault
  • forced drugging
  • drugged rape
  • filming and distribution of rape film
  • rape of a child
  • victim blaming
  • child abandonment
  • psychological abuse of a child
  • death
  • suicide
  • forced consumption of human waste
  • blackmail
  • gore
  • 1st person victim’s account of stabbing, suffocation, drowning
  • torture

Audiobook Review: King of Fools by Amanda Foody

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I’ve thought for a loooong while about whether or not to even write this review and whether or not I could write it while sticking to my usual ‘no spoilers’ rule for myself. Turns out, I really need to write this review because it’s been nagging at me. However, it also turns out that I really can’t write this review without breaking my ‘no spoilers’ and ‘no swearing’ rules so consider this your first warning that this review contains spoilers because… it does. Like, a lot. Though, they’ll be contained to a single section near the end.

I’ll start off at least attempting to cover the usual bases I try to in all my reviews, but I already know that I’ll devolve into a spoilery semi-rant at the end. Sorry not sorry. 🤷 I’ll add a bold bit before the rant and a bold bit after the rant so you know when the spoilers begin and end.

We get to know a few new characters in this one, though I really only cared about the same ones. Enne is even more badass in this one and it’s really interesting to watch her character arc shift from the beginning to the end. Levi is still the amazing badass that he was in Ace of Shades and I still love him for it. The one character I loved even more in King of Fools than I did in Ace of Shades (if that’s possible) is Jac. I relate to him so much in that he pulled himself from addiction and struggles through his daily battle with it. I liked how Amanda Foody portrayed this on the page because it’s seemingly so very easy for people to not realize that addiction is a daily battle that often does not even come close to ending with the initial detox.

The entirety of this novel takes place in New Reynes, the City of Sin. We got to see a whole new area of the city though with the creation of Enne’s gang, which I loved so much. It is really impressive how Amanda was able to expand on the immersive quality of the city and it’s locations in this book instead of instead of simply adding a location and leaving it at that. The rules of the world are deepened and the intricate web of the gangs and their loyalties comes into greater focus. All this and she does it in a way that’s natural and smooth–truly masterful.

The story arc started out a bit…chaotic. Though, with novels like King of Fools, this is a good thing. I love starting out with things seeming scattered and completely unrelated only to come together in the end for a big picture I always feel like I aught to have seen coming but I never seem to. It’s hard to tell which of the pieces are part of the big picture and which are meant to distract from it. I really enjoyed this about it.

I listened to King of Fools while driving to Washington DC back in June. Saskia Maarleveld did an absolutely wonderful job of bringing this novel to life. She has a voice that is easy to listen to for hours on end, which is good since this was a nearly 18 hour listen. (You might think that having a voice you could listen to for hours would be a prerequisite for narrating an audiobook and to that I say HA! I wish…) Anyway, I really enjoyed the way Saskia Maarleveld brought the characters and their story to life and I look forward to hearing more of her work in the future.

And now… the spoiler and swearing filled rant.

Jac. I was just… so completely just… what the fuck. Levi is supposed to be Jac’s best friend, but he doesn’t even ask before agreeing to send Jac, an actual addict, into a drug den run by the people who sell the drug he’s addicted too. And… didn’t really even think about how that might affect Jac? Like it crossed his mind for a second but then?? How can you claim to be someone’s best friend and put them into that situation because you “think they’re strong enough”??? Fuck you.

Then, because he was put into a situation where he was forced to interact with drugs and SELL THEM TO OTHER ADDICTS, he was put into the situation where someone held power over him and nearly forced him to take a dose of the drug he’s addicted to. As in literally had the needle in his arm and was threatening to give him the dose the syringe held. This scene was incredibly triggering for me and I hated every single moment of it. In the end, I had to skip forward to the next scene.

Finally, after having gone through ALL OF THE SHIT, Jac dies to move someone else’s story forward. Yep. The one character in this entire series I actually related to and the one I cared the most about was relegated to a death to further the arc of other characters. I was so incredibly… angry. I’m still so incredibly angry. Obviously, or this rant would likely not exist.

After Jac died, the remaining chapters were… I mean, they were as well written as the rest of the novel but… I just didn’t fucking care. It was like reading about people I just didn’t care about at all doing things I didn’t care about. Anything that happened after Jac died might as well have been written in another, unrelated novel where I was entirely uninvested in any of the characters or their story. The resounding thought I had during the final chapters of this was “I just don’t care about any of this.” and it got to the point where I was so disintrested that I would have DNFed in the final chapters were it not for the fact that I had another day before my next audiobook became available.

End of spoilers.

So… at this point, whether or not I decide to read the next and final book in the series will depend entirely upon what my friends say about it after having read it. I do enjoy Amanda Foody’s writing style in general and I’ll read her other books, but as far as this series… I just don’t know that I have the energy.

Overall, I’m still unsure how to rate King of Fools so I’ve decided just not to. If you haven’t read it and are still wanting to after this spoilery rant I’ve loosely called a review, you should add it on Goodreads. I truly hope you enjoy it more than I did.

Are there any books that utterly disappointed you based on either previous books by the author/in the series or the hype surrounding them? Let’s talk about them in the comments!

Blog Tour: The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! I’m so super excited to be posting today as part of the blog tour for The Chosen by Taran Matharu. I loved what I read of his Summoner series, so when I got the chance to read an early copy of the first book in his all new Contender series, I jumped at the chance. Keep reading for my full review! But first, what’s this book about? Well, I’m so happy you asked! Let’s have a look at the synopsis.

Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.


My Review

As I said above, I was already really excited for The Chosen based on my enjoyment of Taran Matharu’s previous writing. But then I saw the cover and there are actual dinosaurs on it? Like, how many YA novels have dinosaurs? I can’t think of any. So I was doubly excited to dive into reading it, which I did in two sittings that would have been one if not for my own monsters. TW/CWs will be the the end of the post, so let’s dive right into my review!

The diverse cast characters are all fairly well developed. I especially loved getting to see an ownvoices Indian/mixed race rep that’s a bit different than what I’ve seen in other novels. It focuses less on the culture Cade’s family came from and more on his experience of the culture surrounding him outside of his parents’ influence. I really liked that, regardless of all of the things that happen to him, Cade still believes that people are innately good. We also get Yoshi, a Japanese American boy who does not appreciate your Mario Kart references, and Spex, a Brazilian American who could probably win Jeopardy. Sadly, there is also Finch. I have never so strongly wanted to slap someone in my entire life. To all the Finches out there: stop talking and keep your hands to yourself.

The world building is so incredibly lush and immersive. The story starts off at a “therapeutic” school (AKA military school), where Cade and the others have been sent for various reasons right up to and including murder. I could easily drop myself into the unknown location and walk around there. Though, honestly, I’d have to run because the world is hazardous to say the least. The rules of the world were intentionally held back through the story, little bits being shared as Cade stumbled upon them. I do love that mysteriously missing bits of history from Earth cropped up all over the world of the story, giving us fun little tidbits of information about them as Cade learned about them.

The Chosen is probably a good example of a plot-driven novel, I think. The story moves so fluidly that it’s hard to put down. As I said earlier, I would have finished it in a single sitting if left to my own devices. There’s so much action and that builds up to the epic action scene near the end… and, unfortunately, the huge cliffhanger. The story moves so well that I have to consider the novel unputdownable.

I enjoyed The Chosen so very much from beginning to (cliffhanger) end. The best way I can think of to describe it to those considering reading it is to say The Chosen is Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games. I’m already hyped up for the next book of the Contender series, but I’ll have to read more of Taran Matharu’s other writing to tide me over for it.

Overall, I rate The Chosen 3.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:


About the Author

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.


Want to see more awesome The Chosen content? Of course you do! How, you ask? Simply follow the tour via the schedule in this link.

Thank you to Taran Matharu for writing this incredible novel! Without you, we definitely wouldn’t be here.

Another thank you to Feiwel and Friends for allowing me the privilege of reading an early copy of The Chosen.

And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing this blog tour and allowing me to be part of it! If you’re interested in how to become a tour host with the FFBC (and why wouldn’t you be??), click on their logo below!


  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Grief
  • Blood
  • Mentions of slavery

As always, if you read The Contender and noticed TW/CWs that are not listed here, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form.

Audiobook Review: The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! I actually hadn’t planned to write a review for this one simply because I have so much writing to do for my classes, but it keeps nagging me so here we are. I picked up The Storm Runner because I’m using it for a Middle Grade book club at work and I can’t expect 8-12 year olds to read the book if I haven’t. There are a few TW/CWs, which I will add at the end of the post. Let’s dive into the review!

The characters were all fairly well developed in the way that I felt like I could have spoken with most of them, though I definitely couldn’t get into anyone’s head other than Zane’s. I think it’s because of this that I really questioned a huge choice Zane made regarding another character. It’s a pretty big plot point so in the spirit of #NoSpoilers, I’ll leave it off but I’m still scratching my head over it. Long story short, Zane was well developed but from where I was standing everyone else could have used more.

I have to recognize that I’m not the target audience of this novel though so for a 12 year old it might be just the right amount of character development. Idk but I’ll ask the kids in my club this summer and maybe I’ll remember to get back to you on it.

One thing I specifically did not like at all about the novel was one of the characters so I’m going to add it in right here. I forgot to bookmark the quote I was going to use, so I’ll just sum it up a bit. Mr. Ortiz, an adult character, constantly badgers Ms. Cab to date him despite her continued insistence that she does not want to date him. It’s made clear that she is not playing hard to get and yet he continues. What’s worse is that our main character Zane admires that persistence. While this could be taken as a kid recognizing that sometimes you have to persist to get what you want, this should not be one of those situations. Ms. Cab was not interested. Ms. Cab said she’s not interested. No means no. It bothers me especially because of the target audience being so young and the message this will be sending them.

The world has a very Mayan Percy Jackson feel in that it’s Mayan mythology laid over a contemporary setting. I think J. C. Cervantes did a really good job pulling this off. Some of the world building felt a little bit forced, but for the most part it was seamless and easy to immerse myself in. There was no info-dump but we didn’t learn the rules of the world and how it worked before Zane did so in the times when he is confused, I was as well. It added a good bit to the story and his character development as well. It was quite impressive.

The story itself flowed relatively well, though there were a few parts that were a bit slower than I was expecting, almost like we were just watching Zane go through the motions. There were a few scenes that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and some that I actively question based on previous scenes in the story. I really enjoyed the way Zane is forced to think outside the box to move the story forward though. The Storm Runner would definitely not be the same without it. I also wish I had found a list of TW/CWs before reading the story because it would have kept me from having to pause so often to discuss with my monsters (who listened with me) why certain things are or are not okay.

Ozzie Rodriguez did an amazing job narrating! He has this way of clearly conveying so many different emotions with just his voice that I really enjoyed. I’ll definitely be looking forward to listening to more of his work.

I did enjoy listening to The Storm Runner, but I do wish I had known what I was getting into before reading it. I don’t regret picking it for my book club at work because there’s a lot to unpack and I look forward to discussing it with the kids after they’ve read it. I’ll definitely also be checking out the next book in the series.

Overall, (my monsters and) I rate The Storm Runner 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take our word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


Do you read any Middle Grade books? What are some of your favourites?


  • death of a pet
  • psychological abuse
  • ableist language
  • internalized ableism
  • misogynism (persistent ignoring of refusal of consent)

As always, please let me know in the comments if you’ve read the book and noticed a TW/CW I should add. Or, you can tell me anonymously via this form.

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! Surprise! An actual review from me! 📚🎉 What If It’s Us has been on my TBR since I found out Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were writing it together. I was curious how it would come out, with Becky’s tendency for warm fluffy endings and Adam’s tendency to destroy every molecule of my feelings basically from beginning to end. Before we dive into the review, here’s the TW/CWs I remembered to mark. As always, if I missed one you noticed while reading please let me know in the comments or via this form.

  • homophobia
  • colorism? (I’m not sure what it’d be called, but it is confronted on the page.)

I love the amount of character development that went into the characters because, even if it wasn’t a lot in some cases, it always felt like just the right amount. I can’t give any examples without spoiling part of the story, so I’ll just say that the character development didn’t leave me wanting. Both Arthur and Ben are beautifully developed. Also, surprisingly, was Dylan who is actually my favourite character from the novel. The bromance between Dylan and Ben is perfect.

The entire story is set in New York City. I’m assuming it’s 2018 because of both the general feel of the world building (and slang used) and Friday the 13th falls in July during the book. (I guess it could be 2012? But, again, the slang…) I’ve only been to the city once and didn’t get much of a feel for it because it was only for a few hours (I will NEVER drive there again). The way the city is built up in What If It’s Us is enough for it to be immersive, which I love and is generally what I hope for.

The story itself? I LOVED it! I went in with mixed but high expectations and they were blown away. The plot twists didn’t seem very twisty to me as a reader, but I think they were more the kind that’s meant for the character than for the reader, which seems to be Becky Albertalli’s style. Looking it them from this perspective, the twists were perfect. I love the speed at which the story progresses and, for the most part, I also love how it progresses. I also loved the ending. I feel like it really does the story and characters justice.

Honestly, this is the contemporary novel I didn’t know I needed to read and I’m really glad I decided to pick it up. It was just enough fluff with just enough reality and just… read it. It definitely isn’t set up for a sequel, but I kinda hope Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera get together and give us one anyway. Or maybe a novel in the same universe? (I’m lookin’ at you, Dylan and Samantha!)

Overall, I rate What If It’s Us 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Do you read contemporary fiction? What are some of your favourites?

Blog Tour: You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman


Hello, bookworms and dragons, and happy Thursday! I loved Girl Out Of Water by Laura Silverman, so as soon as I heard she was writing an #ownvoices Jewish rep novel that also has queer rep in it, I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP. Then, as luck would have it, after the publisher was kind enough to send me the digital galley via NetGalley and while I was actually reading the book, I received an email about a blog tour for it. You KNOW I had to sign up. And so here we are! Keep on reading this post for my full review and a bookish soundtrack followed by an awesome giveaway! 🙂 But first, let’s have a look at the synopsis for You Asked For Perfect.

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options

Ariel might not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.



My Review:

As I said before, I went into You Asked For Perfect already knowing I like Laura Silverman’s writing style. Also, that synopsis… how could I not read this? I was super excited to be allowed the privilege of reading it before it’s release so it’s only fair that I write a fully honest review. I did not note any TW/CWs while reading this so if you’ve read You Asked For Perfect and noticed any, please let me know in the comments or via this form, which you can do anonymously.

The characters were built up enough to be three-dimensional. I especially loved reading Ariel’s point of view because he is basically me when I was in high school except he has a clearer understanding of his sexuality than I did at that point. I’ve seen people say that his stress level and drive to be perfect in school is unrealistic but to that I say HA wouldn’t that be nice. The reason behind my “obsessive studying” (as I liked to call it) was different so I skipped the volunteering, though I did have a part-time job so it kind of evens out. Long story short, it is realistic and anyone who says otherwise can suck an egg.

You Asked For Perfect is a contemporary novel set in Georgia, which is relatively close to me so it was easy enough to imagine the general feel of the world. What wasn’t easily imaginable based on what I know of Georgia was filled in nicely by the author. The world was pretty immersive, which is something I’ve found lacking in many contemporary novels. I’ve speculated that this is probably because the author assumes everyone knows what the real world is like, but one can never be sure. This novel brought in a few locations and built them up enough that any reader could easily put themself into the places Ariel and Amir were in through the story.

The story itself had a couple of minor issues, but as this is an ARC and these issues can all easily be fixed by an editor, I’m going to assume they’ll be corrected in the finished edition. It flows really well from beginning to end. In some places, the story speeds up and the novel is REALLY hard to put down. In other places, the story slows down a bit but instead of feeling boring it’s almost like savoring the characters and their journey. I don’t know how Laura Silverman made this magic happen, but I’m definitely into it.

You Asked For Perfect is a bit of a spin on the coming-of-age tale where the many facets that make up the characters are all somehow ever-present throughout the story. I love that we get to see how much each thing is a part of Ariel’s identity and how none of it is dropped after being addressed. His whole character carries through the entire story from beginning to end and I loved it. I can not wait to dig into whatever Laura Silverman writes next!

Overall, I rate You Asked For Perfect 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and get your hands on a copy to enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can preorder from so you can read this awesome novel when it’s released on 5 March 2019 are:


Bookish Soundtrack

This one was fairly easy to put together a soundtrack for, partly because there’s so much music referenced in the book itself and partly because there are so many songs that make me think of either the story or one of the characters. Anywho, here is the finished result! 🙂


About the Author

Laura Silverman.jpegMy debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.

I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!



You made it to the giveaway portion of this post! One lucky reader will win a finished copy of You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman. As if the news couldn’t get better, this giveaway is International so long as Book Depository ships to you!



Follow The Tour

Want more chances to win? Want to see some more amazing content? Well follow the rest of the You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman Blog Tour! How, you ask? Simply click on THIS LINK!


A really big thank you to Laura Silverman, without whom we wouldn’t be here talking about this AMAZING book you’ve written.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me the privilege of reading this amazing book before it hits the shelves.

And, last but not least, thank you so much to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me to participate in this blog tour. (If you’d like to sign up to be a tour host with this lovely group — and why wouldn’t you?? — CLICK HERE.)


That’s it for this post, bookworms and dragons. Happy reading!

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ARC Review: Annelies by David R. Gillham

I saw this one listed in my monthly email from First to Read and while the cover didn’t really call to me at first, my eye kept going back to it. So, after the third or fourth time glancing at it, I decided to take it as a sign that I should read the synopsis. I didn’t even get past the one-liner before requesting a copy, so here it is:

A powerful and deeply humane new novel that asks the question: What if Anne Frank survived the Holocaust?

I knew I absolutely had to read this book, whether it be through First to Read or after the book is released. However, I was sent an advanced digital galley in exchange for this honest review. As usual, let’s have the TW/CW list before we dive in. Some of them might seem obvious given the subject matter but I’ll list them anyway just in case. As always, if you’ve read this one and noticed a TW/CW I missed, please let me know in the comments (or via this page) and I’ll update the list.

  • anti-semitism
  • mentions of rape
  • war crimes
  • confinement
  • suicide ideation
  • suicide attempt
  • suicide
  • slut shaming
  • starvation
  • torture
  • graphic description of conditions in WWII concentration camps
  • accurate portrayal of PTSD
  • grief

Anne is such an amazing character and I love what David R. Gillham has done with her. It would have been all too easy to try portraying her as just a “normal” teenager, though how could she have been after what she lived through? David R. Gillham created an Anne who could have potentially existed: one with severe PTSD and overwhelming grief. She is distraught over the deaths of her mother and sister in the camps and she doesn’t know how to process those deaths or any of the other things she experienced during that time. She’s incredibly three-dimensional.

The secondary characters received quite a bit less development, but they were still fairly three-dimensional enough that I could imagine having a conversation with any of them. If I spoke German or Dutch, that is. I would have liked to see more development for Anne’s father, Otto, simply because he was the only member of the Frank family who actually survived the war. I feel like something more could have been done with his character, though his development was thoroughly adequate.

The majority of the story takes place in WWII and post-war Netherlands and Germany. Having not been to either, I can’t speak to authenticity, but given that the author spent six years researching for this novel I choose to believe the accuracy of it. Each of the spaces described in the novel is done with an efficient flourish that isn’t info-dumpy at all. I could easily imagine myself in the spaces, which was quite difficult at times because some of those places were less than desirable. There was a bit at the end of the novel in early 1960s New York City, though there wasn’t much building there beyond a mirror, a cat, a synagogue?, and a very tall building. Still, the development of the locations in Europe were more than enough.

This is one of the most difficult novels I’ve read this year. The story starts in 1942, which is before the Franks went into hiding. I wasn’t really prepared for that? For some reason I thought the novel would begin some time after the war. I did have trouble reading some parts of Annelies and I’m certain I’m not alone in this. It was an incredibly heart-wrenching tale about a girl who went through immense horrors and somehow managed to survive.

In the author’s note, David R. Gillham says

In imagining a life for her had she survived, I hope to accomplish two things: to give Anne the life she was cheated of and, through telling the story of one girl, to tell the stories of all the Annes, thereby underscoring the lost potential of the millions who perished and reminding us of what we are missing in our world today because of their loss.

I honestly feel like he has accomplished at least the first of these things if not both. Annelies took me through confinement and concentration camps. It took me through PTSD and grief. It took me through hope and loss and love. I recognize that not everyone will be able to read this novel and some people might not be interested in what if stories or historical fiction the way I am. But, if you are, I definitely recommend this one.

Overall, I rate Annelies 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself when it’s released on 15 January 2019!


What was the most difficult book for you to read this year?

Bookish Soundtrack: Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! It’s been A Week, hasn’t it? I read the Monsters of Verity series by Victoria Schwab via audiobook while I was on that long drive up to Maine and back last month. Because I read them both pretty much one right after the other, I didn’t want to review the books individually. And then because I waited FOREVER (like a week) before sitting down to attempt writing a review, I didn’t feel quite right writing out a series review either.

And so instead I have created a bookish soundtrack for the series in the hopes that I can convey how much I enjoyed it. Overall, the series is a 4 for me, though I’m still heartbroken over it nearly a full month later so take that as you will.

Have you read the series? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!