Tuesday, 28 February 2017

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac - eArc Review

I received this from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! This is a spoiler free review.

10 Things I Can See From Here
Written by Carrie Mac
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/LGBT
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley and the Publisher. Thank You!
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


Perfect for fans of Finding Audrey and Everything, Everything, this is the poignant and uplifting story of Maeve, who is dealing with anxiety while falling in love with a girl who is not afraid of anything.

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?


I read this in one day and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. When I downloaded it from NetGalley, I didn’t even remember what it was about so I had to look it up briefly to see what I was dealing with and then I remembered why I was so hooked and pressed the request button. This book deals with a girl with severe anxiety and a LGBT relationship as well as her relationship with her stepfamily. It is an overall wonderful book that just deals with real world things and approaches them well.


I like the cover. It is simple but eye-catching by using bright colors and a bold font. I also really like the title because it makes you ponder and wonder what exactly it has to do with the story. [BTW, I’m not exactly sure]


It is set in modern day, Canada so there really isn’t any world-building.

Then there are the characters.


Maeve struggles with anxiety which is a real life problem for many teenagers and adults. She’s a very sensitive person who feels everything a lot more harshly or fully than the people around her and it often works against her. Her anxiety is almost like a character in the book, which is weaved into the narration. The author, Mac, spends time getting the reader into Maeve’s head in an attempt to experience her struggles. She shows that Maeve’s disorder is tiresome and repetitive and a struggle to live with for both herself and the people around her. I am upset that so many people think that Maeve isn’t likable just because her anxiety gets the best of her at times.  

I also really enjoyed how this was not a coming-out story. She was already ‘queer’ when the book started which was refreshing as many of the books that exist about LGBT characters are about them coming out and trying to be accepted by their families and friends. Maeve is already accepted by her family, both her mom’s and her dad’s.  Oh and I also want to mention that this has a healthy stepfamily for Maeve. The stepmother is really nice and so are the twins. The only one who really needs work on how to be a good family member, is her father.

One thing that I really wish was different in this book is that we would have gotten more time with Salix. I really did enjoy her portryal though.  She was a violin player who wanted to be a professional classical musician and Maeve supported her.  She was fairly two-dimensional but it actually worked for this story because she and the romance weren’t the main focus of the story.


This is one of the best descriptions of what it means to be a family which was amazing.  Maeve has to go to live with her stepfamily and father for awhile while her mom is with her boyfriend and doing work in some tropical country [I forgot which one].  She is very upset but knows she has to deal with it.  Her father is not the best in this book, in fact he is not a responsible adult at all. Her stepmom is pregnant with another child but she is very supportive of Maeve and tries to help her in any way that she can. She also has two younger brothers who are twins and are adorable and hilarious. I love how Maeve’s stepfamily are portrayed as a healthy family [for the most part] for Maeve to rely on.


I am not going to say much about the plot for fear of spoilers. That being said, I adored the plot. I loved how it sucked me in immediately and how everything with Maeve was portrayed very well.  I usually don’t like contemporaries and I over analyze them because I try to picture myself in the book and if it is hard then I give it a lower rating. Or if the romance is not at all healthy or realistic, then I critique it. But this had so many aspects to enjoy as it is well-rounded and balanced and has a little bit of everything. There are a lot of subplots that are given equal page time in order to be shown completely.  I thought it was a wonderful contemporary that has a cute and very realistic plot.

The relationship was not the main focus of the story which was refreshing. The romance between Maeve and Salix was simple and developed naturally and realistically. Salix was very supportive of Maeve and once she knew about her anxiety, she tried to help the best she could. The romance was healthy and there was no trope of “love-cured-my-illness-yay-I’m-all-better”. I was so so happy because that’s not something that I like at all. Salix didn’t want to cure her illness, she just wanted to help and show Maeve that she would be there for her.  


I enjoyed the writing. It was refreshing and didn’t shy away from having anything you could hear in a real conversation. It was good writing for a contemporary.


If you are on the fence about this book, please pick it up. It has a wonderful portrayal of anxiety as a mental illness. There is a refreshing f/f romance that isn’t a coming out story. And the evil stepmother trope is banished. Her stepfamily is the nicest and it is overall full of everything the YA world needs.  Give it a try, and see if you like it.  I am very happy that I received this as an eArc and picked it up because I enjoyed it a lot. I may even purchase it sometime to display on my shelf.

Quotes from the Book:

None at this time.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns

Friday, 17 February 2017


So, it's the end of the month and that means another wrap-up!

I had a much better month in terms of reading which was great for me. I am very happy to have started off the year, reading well. I didn't get too much blogging done which was a shame but school takes up 97% of my time nowadays.

There's also three billion things to watch which are all good but so time consuming. Also watch Riverdale [CW], it's so good. And watch Timeless [NBC].

Join my book club: here.


Time to talk about the books I read this month.


The first physical book I read was Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston. This was a Star Wars book that was written by a wonderful author and I was so pleased by this book. It was a great addition to the Star Wars world which is something I love. I wrote a full review which I will link later. I rated this 5 Crowns.

The second physical book I read was Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. This was a fantasy book with a girlxgirl romance which was refreshing to see and I really enjoyed it despite negative reviews. Basically, the main character, Princess Denna is sent to another kingdom to perform a marriage alliance with the prince and while she's there she becomes friends and eventually falls in love with the prince's sister, Mare. It was a really good book and I highly recommend it. I rated it 4 Crowns.

The third physical book I read was Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl. I adored this book which was about a girl who Natasha Romanoff had rescued from the red room and it was so cute until it wasn't and I cried. :(  But anyways, this was about a girl who was rescued from the red room and then when she was older, she went to a fencing competition and met Natasha again and a boy who becomes very important to her and the story and I loved it so much. I rated it 5 Crowns.

The fourth physical book I read was Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. This book had an interesting premise. It was about a girl who couldn't go outside due to having a rare illness. To put it simply, she was allergic to the world and anything outside could trigger her illness so she spent her entire life indoors with her mom and her nurse. I expected to like this book a lot more than I did. While I did enjoy the main character, Madeline and the cute romance with boy-next-door, Olly, I was not pleased with the representation.  It was supposed to show the struggles with having this kind of illness and how hard it was to connect with others but it didn't show that. Madeline completely went against rules that had been put in place to protect her and went on a vacation because she "needed to experience it" but she was also apparently sick. And the ending was a shocker that really should not have happened. I ended up rating this 3 Crowns, because while I did not like the representation, I did end up enjoying some aspects of the novel.

The fifth book I read was These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. This was such a good book and I have been putting off reading it since last year when I bought it. It had so much to love especially Mr. Kent. <3  I liked how spunky the main character was and how unique this book was. I rated it 4 Crowns.

The sixth book I read was Glitter by Aprilynne Pike. I did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did but my sister recommended it to me so I decided to pick it up and I'm glad I did. It had a lot to love in it. If you have not checked out this book, then please do. It's set in modern day/future France but inside the Palace of Versailles, it is like it is 18th century France. The main character wants an escape and so she makes a deal with a drug dealer. I rated it 4 Crowns.

The seventh book I read was Ash by Malinda Lo. This was another book that I liked. It was a Cinderella retelling with another girlxgirl romance that did not take over the plot. That was one of the best parts of the novel. It was pretty slow going and had a lot of description rather than dialogue which did make it a little boring.  I ended up rating it 3 Crowns because I liked the representation and the main character but I didn't enjoy a lot of side characters and the plot was pretty slow going and a tad bit confusing at some times but maybe some of you would like it better.

The eighth book I read was Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill. This was something I have wanted to pick up since I found out about the book but I wasn't sure that I would enjoy it due to some negative reviews. But, I ended up really enjoying it. The main character, Britta, was actually one of the only characters that I liked. There were some people in the book who weren't the best such as Cohen. In fact, the romance also wasn't the best. But, I did rate it 4 Crowns because there were many aspects that I did enjoy.


The first and only ARC I read was Frostblood by Elly Blake. I received this from NetGalley and the publisher and it was such a good book. It had a lot of similarities to other fantasy books such as Red Queen, but then again, what book doesn't have similarities to others. I really enjoyed this book overall and I have a full review. I rated it 4 Crowns. 













Saber from Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Mr. Kent from These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas






High - Zella Day 

Soldier - Fleurie

Beauty and the Beast - Ariana Grande and John Legend

Shape of You - Ed Sheeran

Before He Cheats - Carrie Underwood

The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Ash by Malinda Lo Book Review

This is a spoiler free review.

Written by Malinda Lo
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/LGBT
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Pages: 264
Source: Library
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


Cinderella retold

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.


I have been recommended this book for so many years that it was hard for me to not pick it up so I checked it out a couple weeks ago from my library and I was relatively pleased with what I got. This is an LGBT retelling of Cinderella but it is only prominent in the last fourth of the book.


The cover is cute and represents the book fairly well. I like how she is on the forest floor in a tattered dress which represents how she often goes to the forest and her stepmother + sisters don’t treat her well so she can’t have new clothes. I think the font is also really pretty.


I was a little bit confused with the world-building which is why it lost a little bit of the points that it originally would have gained. There were fairies and that kind of lore and yet, I was confused as to the point of it entering the book at all.  

Then there are the characters.


Contrary to what some reviewers previously said, I could connect with Ash. I felt her pain as she lay on the hard ground at night, exhausted after a day of work. However, she wasn’t really a strong female heroine which is what I really wanted/needed her to be. She is in pain after her mother abruptly dies, soon followed by her father and she has no one on her side so most of the time she is heading out into the woods looking for fairies which is not something you do if you want to live, honestly. She isn’t weak, but she is more an everyday girl, even if she isn’t living in the modern world.


If I’m being honest, I wasn’t too invested in Kaisa. That was mostly because we really didn’t get to see her that much so I wasn’t really sure what she was like. She seemed to honestly care about Ash, and that’s really all that matters.  Kaisa is the King’s huntress and Ash stumbles upon her on one of her hunts which I thought was a good introduction rather than meeting at a ball.


Ash questions whether she really has a family in her stepmother and stepsisters after her parents pass away. She really doesn’t have anyone to turn to, what with her new step-family treating her like she is below them. Family and friendship is a big thing that is questioned in this book.


You all know the original story of Cinderella. The one where Cinderella’s father dies and she is left in the ‘care’ of her stepmother and stepsisters who are evil and make her cook and clean for them? Well that is how this story starts off but then the similarities end. There are balls but she doesn’t attend all of them and she most certainly does not lose a shoe inducing the prince to come after her.  Instead we have the introduction of the King’s huntress whom Ash develops a strong friendship with. There are also fairies and lore which sweep Ash in. There isn’t a lot of battling which is what I thought would have to happen due to there being a strong female but that is not the case and I am actually proud.


Kaisa and Ash were the main romantic couple in this book, though their romance blossomed rather late in the story. Ash doesn’t have time to fantasize over having any romantic attachments whatsoever, due to her being a maid in her step-family’s household. Her sexuality is also heavily closeted and we don’t really know how she feels towards anyone. Even when the two characters meet, it is more of a friendship that is formed, rather than a relationship.

Nevertheless, the relationship was sweet and wasn’t a big thing which was a little bit refreshing to see as in fantasy’s the relationship is usually the main focus of the story, which makes it veer away from the actual occurrences.


The writing was eloquent and mostly description and internal thoughts and dialogue rather than actual dialogue of characters interacting and yet it was a breath of fresh air in that respect.


This book is something that I would recommend to all fans of fairy tales, even though the book doesn’t much focus on the original Cinderella tale, it will still captivate lovers of the original tale. There is a cute, very slow burning romance, eloquent writing and a lovely, relatable main character, Ash.

Quotes from the Book:

“You shall not discover the truth being being blinded to faith.” 

“Fear will teach you where to be careful.” 

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Crown

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Wanted by Betsy Schow [Spelled #2] eArc review

I received an eArc from NetGalley and the publisher. Thank you to them. This is a spoiler free review for the second book but there will be mild spoilers for book one.

Written by Betsy Schow
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: eArc from NetGalley

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


In the sequel to Spelled, can Robin Hood's daughter, Rexi, stop the Wicked Witch from finding Excalibur?

Fairy-Tale Survival Rule No. 52:
No matter how difficult the obstacles or all-powerful the evil villain, one can rest assured that the hero of the story never dies. The sidekicks though...they should be worried.

Rexi Hood is proud to be an outlaw. After all, she's the daughter of the infamous Robin Hood. But sidekick? Accomplice? Sorry, that wasn't in her story description. Yeah, she and Princess Dorthea of Emerald have been inseparable since they teamed up to fight the wickedest witch. But if Rexi doesn't figure out how to break the curse that binds them, forget being overshadowed by the spirited princess, Rexi's going to become a Forgotten, wiped from the pages of Story and reduced to a puddle of ink. 
Not happening. No way in Spell. 
Rexi's plan? Steal the sword Excalibur and use its magic to write her own tale. But Gwenevere has opened a new Academy of Villains in Camelot and danger lurks behind every plot twist. And you know how it goes in Story: keep your friends close and your enemies closer...


I read the first book sometime last year and it was amazing and so different. I usually read books with a female protagonist who galavants across the land searching for someone or something, usually with a male dictating stuff. But this is different.


I really like the cover and how there is a shoe on the front which is another perfect allusion to the Wizard of Oz.


This world still confuses me even though I read the first book as well as the second. I did wish that they had had a little bit more background when I jumped into this one because it had been awhile since I had read the first one but I still managed to figure it out.

The reason

Then there are the characters.


Rexi was the sidekick in the first book, meant to be there for sarcastic commentary and help battle once in while but generally forgotten. The hero of the story is supposed to be Dorthea but in this one she isn't. Rexi is a lot different from Dorthea. She has different morals and a different personality. She's a lot more sarcastic and snarky and doesn't always seem to have her priorities in check. In this one we get to see her take center stage and it was wonderful. I love her commentary and the fact that she is the real badass of the story.


Family and friendship is a main point in this book. Dorthea and Rexi are magically linked so if Rexi dies, she can be brought back but they can also feel each other's feelings and thoughts which is a bit of a nusiance as Rexi has to question if things are her own or Dorthea's. They both watch each others backs and Rexi begins to really think of Kato and Dorthea as friends and almost family.


I admit that the plot confused me a bit because it jumped about but I got the main gist of it and I was pleased with it. I loved seeing everyone work together even when impending doom was held over them.

But I was NOT PLEASED with that cliffhanger!!! Please let there be another book!!


There unfortunately seemed to be a kind of love triangle in this book that was very confusing. It was also a little bit unnecessary. I didn't know who to ship Rexi with. Kato or Mordred and I couldn't figure out who she had chemistry with. This would have been fine without any romance or with a new love interest that had potential.


The writing is simple but I love all the funny little references to Pop culture and the sarcastic commentary which just made my day while I was reading this. [And helped me get through that emotional ending]


If you liked the first book then be sure to pick this one up but be aware that it might not meet your expectations. It does follow Rexi who is a different character than Dorthea but she was my favorite out of the two. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading anything by this author in the future.

Quotes from the Book:


My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns