Review | Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire

“She knew better now. The world was bigger now. She was bigger now, and that made all the difference.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: unicorns, cauliflower, garter snakes, doorways, toxic friendships, centaurs, hooves, horns, kelpies, thumbs, husbands, baked apples and destiny.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

Another incredible addition to the Wayward Children series from Seanan McGuire! 

I originally was going to give this 4.5/5 stars, but I really think this book deserves more. And the reason for this is because it is truly an amazing book! It’s full of magic, it has a solid story and characters with depth, and the atmosphere is amazing. 

This book is about a girl named Regan. She goes through a doorway and enters the Hooflands. This is a land full of magical creatures such as centaurs, kelpies and unicorns – the perfect place for her because she loves horses. Of course there’s more to the story, though!

I think my favorite thing about this book was the plot originality. It was so interesting and magical, I couldn’t put the book down! I just love this concept of kids going through doors to their perfect world and leaving their lives behind.

If my memory is correct, I don’t think Regan appeared in the series before (but I could be wrong, though). I say this because it is common in this series to find characters from other books, so I can’t be 100% sure but I think she’s new to the series. Nonetheless, I really liked her as a main character and I particularly liked to see how she grew and developed better relationships. I wouldn’t be mad to read another book about this girl. Maybe she’ll cross with the characters from the first books? That would be really cool!

I’m also glad the author talked about subjects such as intersex, gender and bullying. I learned some new things while reading this book, and that to me is always a positive aspect to me.

It’s funny because I feel like this series has so many highs and lows, and to me this was definitely a high! It’s my second favorite story in the entire series, the first one being Jack and Jill’s story. A plea to the author: please keep writing and I promise I’ll keep reading!

xoxo,

TBR | February 2021

Hello readers, I hope you’re doing well!

Today I’m bringing you my reading plans for the month of February. I know February is the perfect month for romance books because of Valentine’s day, but I’m not a big seasonal reader. I think the only love story you’ll find in this list are the books from the series A Court of Thorns and Roses. I usually just read what I feel like reading at the moment and this month is no exception.

And I swear on my life I didn’t do it on purpose, but the color scheme of my February TBR is looking good! Isn’t it nice when everything just works out? Anyways, here are the books I’m planning to read in February:

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  4. Split Second (The Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West
  5. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  6. A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  7. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  8. Pine by Francine Toon
  9. Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  10. Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay
  11. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
  12. Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Havoz

So as you can see, this month I have a mix of very different books. I’ve wanted to read some of them for a while but also added – surprise, surprise – a new release! I’ve got The Wife Upstairs to read and two other books I keep seeing everywhere: Pine and Away with the Penguins!

Another cool thing that happened in January is that I got my first ever NetGalley audiobook: the book Of Wicked Blood! I never had the chance to read an audiobook from NetGalley, so I’m very excited to experience this for the first time.

The rest of the books are books I’ve wanted to read for a while. Two of the books were in my previous TBR list – Split Second and The Starless Sea -, and I’m putting them here again because I can’t seem to motivate myself to finish them, but I hope I’ll do it this month 🙂

Have you read any of these books? Let me know if you did and what were your thoughts! Thank you for reading ❤

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side (Miss Marple #8) by Agatha Christie

“One has to dare if one wants to get anywhere,’ said Mrs. Bantry.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: movie stars, drugs, paintings, fancy parties, poison, secrets, cocktails, photographs, “the Development” and cracked mirrors.

One minute, silly Heather Badcock had been gabbing on to her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. It turned out to be a deadly poison. But for whom was it really intended?

Marina’s frozen expression suggested she had witnessed something horrific. But, while others searched for material evidence, Jane Marple conducted a very different investigation – into human nature.

Librarian’s note: this is one of 13 books in the Miss Marple series, which includes twelve novels and one collection of short stories – “The Thirteen Problems.” There are a total of 20 short stories about Miss M, seven of which can be found in other collections. Entries for each of the novels and short stories can be found on Goodreads.

It was an okay murder mystery. This book was recommended to me by a friend because she loves this book and she really wanted me to read it, but I didn’t love it as much as she did.

This mystery itself was good but I didn’t love the plot. This was my first Miss Marple book and I really liked her role in solving the mystery, but I was expecting more from the story. Don’t get me wrong, I was surprised when I knew what happened in the end, but I didn’t care for most of the characters present at the party, and I felt like the final explanation was too simple and short. So needless to say, I was underwhelmed.

It’s not a very realistic book in the sense that there are too many coincidences, but I feel like this is part of her writing style. I don’t read a lot of Agatha Christie’s books, but I understand why people like them so much. She’s really good at creating stories with shocking elements and unpredictable secrets. She makes it very difficult to figure out the truth of what really happened.

I will say it was entertaining, though! I was intrigued to see where the story was going and I read the book relatively fast. But if I had to pick a favorite book from Agatha Christie, I would still prefer And Then There Were None.

In conclusion: good mystery, but not the best story. I know there is a movie about this book and I’m curious to watch it, I need to check it out!

xoxo,

Review | Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

“The mind can make you believe whatever it wants you to believe.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: old memories, blue scarves, assassins, institutes, scarlet and sapphire gems, doors and innovative scientific research.

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

What a fantastic duology! This book was a bit different from what I thought it would be, just because the story takes an unpredicted path. When the first book Warcross finishes, something happens that sets the tone for this book so I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen… but, oh boy, I was so wrong. I really had no idea what was coming!

I think the author did a great job wrapping up the series with this book. I couldn’t be more happy with how the story ended. I really appreciate the author for giving proper closure to all the possible aspects of the book, because the finale was really satisfying! 

I would say this book is a bit different from Warcross. It definitely has a sadder tone to it – mostly because of Hideo’s brother – but it has also a very strong action vibe to it.

If I had to pick a favorite book from the duology I would still pick the first one because it feels more magical, but both books have their uniqueness and merit, and they balance each other perfectly.

I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I promise you it’s worth the try. This series is amazing, I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially to readers who are into technology and programming.

So… when is this becoming a movie?

xoxo,

Review | The Project by Courtney Summers

“Faith is an expression and some people find certain types of expressions more resonant than others.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: hospital rooms, pamphlets, newspapers, necklaces, interviews, churches, white huskies, miracles and family bonds.

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence.

When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger.

As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her.

From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit Sadie, comes her electrifying follow-up—a suspenseful, pulls-no-punches story about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.

I was so excited when I got this book as an arc because I absolutely loved Sadie. If you have never read Sadie before, I highly recommend the audiobook version because it’s amazing! Needless to say, I was more than happy to get my hands on this book.

This story follows a girl named Lo, who felt alone her entire life. She lost her parents in a car crash when she was younger and the only person she had left by her side was her big sister, Bea. Lo was in the car with her parents when the accident occured and she was severely injured, but she survived against all odds. But right after the accident, Bea left Lo to join a very famous cult named The Unity Project, and they never saw each other again. This organisation is well known in New York for helping people in need and for their community outreach. But Lo is not convinced they are as good as they claim, and she believes they are hiding secrets that would reveal their true nature. After some suspicious activity, she decides to do her own investigation on what is really going on and she becomes even more determined to find her sister.

To be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. There were two main reasons for this: Firstly, I don’t usually find fictional books about cults and/or religion very interesting – and that’s on me, I know -, so overall I found the book a bit boring. Secondly, there was a point near the end where things just started to make no sense. This is due to the fact that there was a big change in the plot near the end that didn’t work very well, so unfortunately that part felt very rushed and misplaced.

On the good side, I really think this book has a very interesting take on religious cults and leaders in general. The story is very unique and I think the author did a great job combining this topic to a mystery novel. 

This is only my second book from Courtney Summers so I don’t know that much about this author from her work, but if sibling relationships are her part of her style, she sure does a great job portraying them. I saw this before in Sadie, and I also see it clearly in this book.

I absolutely loved Sadie, but this didn’t work as well for me. I think it’s a great book to pick up if you are interested in mystery books or books that talk about cults and faith.

A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo,

Review | Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart

“I stopped taking
photos of sunsets
a long time ago.

I can never
capture its colors.

The same goes
for you.”
3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: heartbreak, anxiety, depression, grief, unrequited love, beauty and happiness.

The debut collection of poetry from Lili Reinhart, the actress and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and body positivity.

Swimming Lessons explores the euphoric beginnings of young love, battling anxiety and depression in the face of fame, and the inevitable heartbreak that stems from passion. Relatable yet deeply intimate, provocative yet comforting, bite-sized yet profound, Lili’s poems reflect her trademark honesty and unique perspective. Accompanied by striking and evocative illustrations, Swimming Lessons reveals the depths of female experience, and is the work of a storyteller who is coming into her own. 

Swimming Lessons is Lili Reinhart’s first published collection of poems. For those who don’t know, Lili is the actress who played Betty Cooper in Riverdale. I personally don’t have high expectations when it comes to celebrity books, but I’m happy with how this book turned out.

I think what really stood out the most for me was the effort she put into the book. I don’t know if it applies to all the physical editions of the book, but my copy was beautiful. The material was really nice and the finishing touches showed me she wanted to create something durable and high quality. To me, that speaks volumes. So kudos to her for investing in the quality of the book.

Now, is the collection itself good? Well, it definitely shows this is her first book. I didn’t love the poetry, but it wasn’t terrible as well. There were some great poems here and there, but overall I wasn’t super impressed with the collection. The most relatable poem to me was one of the last ones where she talks about the feeling you get when someone passes away and you know the world keeps spinning like nothing ever happened. When I read it, I knew exactly what she was talking about because I have had that same feeling before.

There are also simple illustrations and doodles throughout the collection to reinforce her words, and I liked it a lot. I don’t know if the illustrations are hers, but I couldn’t find any information on who had done them.

For a first book, it was a good effort and I think she did a good job.

xoxo,

Review | Delicates (Sheets #2) by Brenna Thummler

“Everyone has ghosts. I think we all need to learn that there’s no shame in letting them out.” 3.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: video games, ice cream, photographs, peer pressure, protective pins, chocolate fish, trick-or-treating, sheets and bullying.

I liked this better than the first book! For me the plot was better, it felt more emotional and it showed more character development.

Other than the art itself – we’ll get there in a second -, the characters brought this book to life. Marjorie and Eliza were the main characters in this book, and they both had some struggles in their lives. Marjorie was conflicted about her fake and rude “friends” and she didn’t know what to do because she felt like she wanted to belong somewhere, and Eliza felt like she was invisible and didn’t fit anywhere because people thought her hobby was dumb and weird. 

The secondary characters were great additions because they contributed to the emotional weight of the story: Marjorie’s fake friends were very annoying – as they should be -, Wendell was adorable as always, and the teacher’s humour was a nice contrast to the sadness of the story. And I have to say this… what the hell Colton?! Like Tyra would say: “We were all rooting for you!”. 

Now, about the art itself. I seriously can’t get over the art in this series. It’s beautiful just like in the first book. The colours and illustrations are by far one of my favorite things about this series. There was an illustration in particular that I loved: when Wendell and Marjorie were sitting on some rocks looking at the lake… just beautiful.

With that said, don’t be fooled by the colorful drawings because this story talks about very serious topics such as bullying, mental health and depression. It’s a book that describes perfectly what it’s like to feel lonely and to be bullied for what you like and defend. It reminds us that we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to fit other people’s realities.

I think this series is worth giving it a try for two main reasons: the art and the big lesson behind it.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Sheets (Sheets #1) by Brenna Thummler

But this place is home, baby. And once you have that, there’s nowhere you’d rather be. 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: laundry, ghosts, piano, pamphlets, bathhouses, swimming lessons, Houdini, yoga resorts, red dye, pumpkin cookies and new friends.

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen year old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for.

Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

When their worlds collide, Marjorie is confronted by unexplainable disasters as Wendell transforms Glatt’s Laundry into his midnight playground, appearing as a mere sheet during the day. While Wendell attempts to create a new afterlife for himself, he unknowingly sabotages the life that Marjorie is struggling to maintain.

What a cute graphic novel! I personally liked the story, but it’s not a story that will follow me forever. It’s more of a fun, quick book you can pick up when you don’t want to read heavy books – or in my case, when you’re in the middle of a reading slump. 

The plot and the characters were okay. Not bad, not amazing… just okay. I would say the story has a sad tone – nothing too strong, but it’s definitely there -, not only because of the backstory, but also because the main character Marjorie hardly smiled through the book. Wendell was super cute and he’s probably the character I liked the most. For me, this book was worth reading mostly because of him.

I just wish the author mentioned what happened to Wendell’s parents, because something about them is hinted in the newspaper’s clips. He also says ghosts can’t remember their past because people forget about them, so I’m curious to know why he can’t remember his past. What happened to his parents? He was only eleven…

The color scheme and illustrations are very pretty, and I think the story is cute… but that’s about it. It’s a good fluffy book to pick up and go through quickly.

xoxo,

Review | Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: rainbow hair, hackers, private planes, hot springs, code lines, championships, limousines, power ups, memories, fancy dinners, glitches and security shells.

This story took me by surprise! I liked this way more than I thought I would, to be honest. I usually don’t love books with strong technologic themes, but this story stole my heart. I think it’s really cool that Marie Lu worked as an Art Director at a video game company, because her knowledge is apparent. Maybe it’s because I work as a programmer, but when I read the book I noticed she writes about code and technology in a deeper way – in a way most authors wouldn’t, even if they did some research on the topics. Her love for those topics was crystal clear, and it gave me so much joy to read about it!

The characters were great. Emika was a very likeable character for me, because she was very strong, brave and intelligent. Hideo was probably the character I found the most interesting of all – there was so much mystery around him and the company he built while being so young. The relationships in this book were all pretty good, but I have to highlight the team spirit between the members of the Phoenix Riders. Their sense of companionship and friendship was so sweet!

The romance was the cherry on top for me! I’m a sucker for a good romance – no surprise there – and the relationship between Emika and Hideo was everything I could hope for. I really liked their chemistry and how their relationship developed during the book. Just don’t go into this book thinking it’s mainly a romance novel, because it’s so much more than that… but it’s a nice extra to the story.

I have to admit I saw that plot twist coming so I wasn’t that surprised when the big bomb dropped. With that said, I still liked how things turned out and the way the second book’s direction was set.There are so many great things about this book! The characters, the romance, the mystery that will keep you guessing all the time, the championship… so many great elements. I honestly loved the book and I would recommend it especially to technology lovers – just keep in mind this is still fantasy! I never read Ready Player One, but I feel like this series may have a similar feeling to it… I could be completely wrong, though!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Layla by Colleen Hoover

“She’s the victim now, even though she’s unaware of it. The only thing Layla did wrong is fall in love with me.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: weird dances, paranormal activity, rope, online forums and cameras.

I appreciate the author exploring and diving into new genres because some authors just tend to stay with what they are known for. This is a bit different from what I’m used to and to be completely honest, I prefer her other books. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think the story was bad. The plot caught my attention and I thought the concept was very interesting and different. And of course, the classic Colleen elements of surprise and plot twists were there, and I loved them all – like always. But in general, this kind of story is not really my thing.

Still, I know this would not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not only because of the genre being fantasy/paranormal, but because of the plot itself. It’s a pretty weird book that will give you some weird feelings, especially regarding the characters and their behaviours. 

I don’t think I would recommend this book to you if you are a fan of her other books. I personally liked this, but it’s not my favorite book from her. It was entertaining, different and an interesting look in the paranormal world though.

xoxo, Neide