Friday Fives | Wow! Endings

As per usual, I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Today’s topic is on books that had amazing endings that completely blew me away!

I was literally dead after finishing this! I was not expecting that ending or how much it ripped my heart out and stomped on it!


I pre-ordered this book. I did not know this book was a series. I threw the book when I read that ending! I’m so excited that the second book is out.


A fascinating, twisty book with such an interesting ending, and something that made me truly think of justice and our (United States) justice system.


I’m not going to lie, I think Hank wrote a better book than John. Come at me, bro! I thought this book was fascinating exploration of humanity, privacy, and infamy. That ending left me so mad though! But it was soooo good!!


In the poem The Hollow Man, by T.S. Eliot, he ends the poem “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” This book relates to that line so much that I can’t even! It was a beautiful book with such a wow ending but one that was subtle and haunting and stayed with you for days later.

Happy Reading Darlings!

eARC | The Real Valkyrie

Title: The Real Valkyrie

Author: Nancy Marie Brown

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: 31 August 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received an advanced ebook from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. Nancy Brown weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine this woman’s life and times, showing that women had more power and agency than historians have imagined.

Nancy Brown uses science to link the Birka Warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. Brown imagines Hervor’s life interesting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as the Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. What Brown reveals in these pages that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases.

One of my favorite parts of reading this was that the beginning of each chapter began with a fictionalized account of what Hervor would’ve been doing based on Viking literature and stories. It was able to grab a hold of me before learning about the culture and life of women, men, and society as a whole during this time period.

The way she crafts the story makes a fascinating read, but also is still approachable to those who may not know much about Viking history (this girl here). I was excited to read this and was blown away by how much I learned and how fun it was to read this book. This is definitely an important book not only for historians but for the every day person. We have this preconceived idea (again, largely based on Victorian misconceptions) that women weren’t only regulated to the domestic sphere.

TTT | Books on My Fall 2021 To-read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Oh boy, I’m behind on my TBR list, but here are the books that I plan to read this fall, also known as the books I already own and should read already! Let’s see if it actually happens!

Happy Reading Darlings!

Book Review | Written in the Stars

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Alexandria Bellefleur

Publisher: Avon

Published: 20 November 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love, love, love the fake dating trope. I don’t care how unrealistic it is, I’ll always love it!

Darcy Lowell is a no-nonsense, analytical, skeptical, actuarial analyst is done with trying to find someone. She doesn’t believe in “the one” or “soulmates,” but trying to get her well-meaning brother to stop playing matchmaking is a herculean task.

Elle Jones is a free-spirited, head in the clouds, astrologer behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars. She dreams of finding her soulmate. Yet, she knows, without a doubt, that it is NOT Darcy Lowell.

Darcy’s brother and now Elle’s business partner, set them up on a blind date, both came in with different expectations but by the end of the night, it was disastrous for both parties. Yet, Darcy doesn’t want to be set-up by her brother anymore, so she lies and tells him the date with Elle was great and they’re testing the waters together. She does make him promise to keep it a secret, but he blabs to Elle when she’s out with her mom at brunch.

Elle is pissed because now she’s locked into lying to her new business partner, since she does agree to continue this fake dating for the rest of the year. This gets Darcy’s brother off her back about dating and Elle can take Darcy home to her parents to show them that she is a well-off adult and can take care of herself.

Yet, as with most fake dating tropes, feelings between Darcy and Elle start showing. For Elle, this seems perfect as she realizes that there is more to Darcy than her no-nonsense attitude. Elle finally stands up for herself at family dinner and tells them how she actually feels about how they treat her. We later find out that Elle was on her way to receive a PhD in astronomy, but she found that she was unhappy in the Academy (I understand this, as someone who used to be on that same track, I stopped after a masters). So, she decided to work on what she loved about astronomy and astrology, which upset her parents that she didn’t take the typical, normal path of a regular 9-to-5 job, house with a white picket fence, etc., etc.

Darcy grew up in a house where her parents divorced when she was a child, and her mother was never really responsible, first from depression, and then going from husband to husband. She never believed in true love, as she never saw it in real life. It didn’t help that she was engaged to someone and they completely broke her heart by cheating on her with one of their friends. So, it’s understandable why she thinks that the one and soulmates don’t exist.

Thankfully, it all comes together in the end and it’s so stickin’ adorable that I cannot handle these two. All of the characters are adorable but real.

Happy Reading Lovelies!

Book Review | The Lightning Thief

Title: The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan

Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books

Published: 1 March 2006

Pages: 377

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh, Camp Half-Blood, how I have missed you! I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to re-read the Percy Jackson series, and to then go on and read the other series from Rick Riordan. I absolutely forgot how much I love this book!

Percy Jackson is a good kid or well he tries to be. He can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. Lately, Percy being away at boarding school is only getting worse. Percy could’ve sworn that his algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him, but the other teachers and students and even his best friend all say that that algebra teacher never existed.

Percy does manage to finish out the school year and head back home to his mom and his step-dad Smelly Gabe. Percy’s mom decides they need a vacation, just Percy and his mom, no Gabe. But while there, Percy’s mom knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe: Camp Half-Blood.

Yet, while they try to get there a Minotaur chases them and Percy’s mom sacrifices herself. Once at Camp Half-Blood Percy starts realizing that a lot of the things that got him into trouble at school was due to his demigod genes. Soon, he actually beings to belong someplace, but then his dad, Poseidon (one of the Big three Gods) claims Percy as his son, which means now he’s alone again at Camp Half-Blood.

Then a quest comes up for Percy. And he is joined by his best friend from school, a satyr, Grover, and another demigod daughter of Athena, Annabeth. They set out on a quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt that leads them across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood, which #accurate) to prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I remember reading this book the first time when I was in middle school (I’m pretty sure it was in 7th grade but it may have been 8th grade) and being completely pulled into the world. The story was fascinating, especially as someone who was already into Greek mythology and finding the twists to the myths I already knew so much fun.

Re-reading it as an adult did change some aspects, as well as make me think of all the twists that were going to come up in the end in different ways (I’m looking at you, Luke). But the feelings that came up when I first read it as a young child was still present as an adult, and that is what stands the test of time.

Also, it was great reading a book by an author who is NOT a TERF and one who recognizes intersectionality, supports Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ peoples, and diversity in general and actually has diversity in his later books because he learns. So, read Rick Riordan if you want the feelings that Harry Potter used to give you (I haven’t been able to read or watch Harry Potter since last summer, as it just gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach).

Happy Reading Darlings!

P.S. This was Rick Riordan’s response after George Floyd’s murder (click here).

#FridayFives | Characters You Want to Punch in the Face

As per usual, I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Mick Riva is so annoying and entitled and I cannot stand him! I was super happy that Brandon went and crashed his car, and I was so happy that Nina finally stood up to him.

Ben’s parents who deserve a good punch to the face and maybe a kick as well. If you can’t handle a child being LGBTQIA+, has a disability, or will grow up to form their own opinions, here is some free advice: DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN!

Tessa’s brother, Nathaniel, definitely deserves a punch in the face (it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, so he may have gotten one)! But you betray your own sister because her parentage is that of a demon, something she had no control over!

Severus Snape definitely deserves a punch or two! His “love” for Lily is NOT at all romantic and the line “Always” needs to stop being something that people latch on as something sweet! It’s gross, and he’s just an incel!

Jianzhu is such an ass throughout the whole book! He makes wrong decision after wrong decision, and he thinks he knows best out of everyone. Gah!?! I just wanted to give him a swift kick!

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Books Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Sometimes we just need to read something fun, something that makes us smile. Here are some of my favorites!

Ada Twist, Scientist is probably my favorite children’s book right now! It’s so completely adorable and each time I read it (by myself or to my niblings) I have a smile on my face.

P.S. There’s a Netflix show being made of this book and the Obamas are the producers! Eeeek I’m so excited!

This reminds me of the TV show Firefly so much! It does have it’s tense moments, but overall this book is completely wonderful with such a great cast of characters!

I absolutely love the story of Elizabeth & Darcy, so having that same love story but with a murder just puts a smile on my face….I realize how bad that makes me sound, and I don’t how to explain this any better.

Luc & Oliver are relationship goals!! These two are so adorable and lovable and I couldn’t not smile while reading this book!

Monty is such an adorable doofus that I can’t help but love! Along with Percy and Felicity! This book has everything grand trips, useless gays, an annoying but usually right sister, and some bad guys trying to chase you down!

This book is so much fun!! I absolutely love this whole series! Sophronia and her group of friends are just delightful, as are the secondary characters and the plot is actually quite well done.

Again, this is gonna make me sound like a horrible person, but I can’t not smile/laugh when I read this book! It’s funny and punny!

A reimagined tale of Jane Eyre as a serial murderer, I mean what’s not to love!? This is such a fun and delightful read. While staying pretty true to the original text of Bronte’s novel, Faye also does a great job in creating her own novel and story.

Emi & Ava are so completely adorable, as well as being such useless lesbians! I also love this story for the fact that coming out was never the point of the novel nor was there anyone who was against them for being gay.

Another adorable romance novel that just brings a smile to my face! Anna & Étienne are so cute, and I just love how this novel plays out. It’s a fun, young adult novel with no high stakes!

Happy Reading Darlings!

#FridayFives | Tropes I’m Tired of Reading

As per usual, I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

There comes a time when I just get tired of certain things in books. This can be genres, topics, tropes, etc. For this one, I’m going to focus on tropes in books.

Love Triangles, especially in young adult novels, are just overdone and boring! They get in the way of the story, and then it becomes all anyone talks about or focuses on. I mean Katniss has more important things to worry about than whether to be with Peeta or Gale, and there never was a love triangle between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, so just stop it.

The best friend turned love of my life but I only realized it when we were in serious danger. It’s just more annoying and also I’ve never actually seen it play out in real life, so maybe that’s my issue with it. Most childhood best friends just remain best friends.

The damsel in distress is plain insulting to women. Even if women need help, what’s wrong with that? Whether a woman (or man) needs help or not, it doesn’t need to be a major plot point in a novel.

An author who writes a token diverse character that is only there to prop up the main character and to make themselves “feel” better. Try to actually write believable diverse characters. If you don’t know what that looks like, well then find people who are diverse. Have people who are LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other minority groups read your story to see what they think. And for god’s sake don’t retroactively say there were diverse characters when they’re really weren’t (looking at you she-who-must-not-be-named)!

Writing the protagonist as an outsider who focuses on only super obscure literature at 15, has a specific routine, and the boy she falls in love with says the line “you’re not like other girls.” When did this line become romantic? It’s not romantic, it’s a dig at other women. What’s wrong with being like other women? Nothing! Write real women and girls in your books.

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Fictional Crushes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Ah, who doesn’t spend time wishing their fictional crushes were real? I know I do, and I know these characters give me unreasonable expectations, but I do not care!

Rangi from The Rise of Kyoshi is too adorable for words! She’s so loyal and loving towards Kyoshi and ugh, how can I not love this sweet firebender!

Oh, Gideon! I just want to wrap her up in a blanket and just let her know how amazing she is.

Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series is so badass, and I just love strong, independent women who know how to stand up for themselves.

Alice Cullen is quirky and weird and I’m all about someone being themselves, so how could I not have a crush on her! I definitely wasn’t reading or watching Twilight for the awesome storytelling!

Again, a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man! We’re not going to look to hard into this either, okay? Okay!

I specifically had a crush on Celaena Sardothien, not Aelin! I’m not a huge fan of how her character has turned out, but Celaena is a total badass who I also want to wrap in a blanket and give all the cuddles to!

“I am no man!” Need I say more?

Okay, yeah, I may have a type because Verity/Julie is also a total badass! I’m still upset over this novel!

Elle Jones is another quriky character that I just absolutely love! She knows who she is and what she wants to do and goes after it. I also think we’d just have a lot of amazing conversations.

I absolutely love a woman with a brain and Elizabeth Bennet not only has one, but she’s feisty and knows how to use said brain.

Happy Reading Darlings!