Reading With Friends—Book Club

“She read books as one would breath air, to fill up and live.”

Ann Dillard, The Living

Can we please just pretend that I didn’t go AWOL for like 5 months? Okay great. Thank you. Moving on….just kidding. Once again I got busy with work. Some serious life things happened. I am no longer with my ex who lived with me. I am kind of talking to a new guy. But I am back. So that is all that matters…I think.

I do have much more exciting news to post about though, and it isn’t just about my life. I might have maybe started a book club with one of my best friends that I have made since starting Bookstagram. We have been talking about it for a bit and decided to just go for it. Our first official month is in August, so if you join now just know we are in a trial period of making sure we get this running smoothly. I wanted to make a blog post introducing you all to the book club however and telling you a bit about how it will work.

What is Reading With Friends?

Reading With Friends is a book club, but more than that it is a place for people who love books to chill, hang out, talk about life, and read books together. I like to think of it as a book club with a social aspect to it. Everyday we get to chat and make friends with people from around the world regardless of if we are reading the same books. The best thing is we also have a book we read together each month that we will discuss during the month, and at the end.

Meet the Hosts

As I said above, I started this book club with one of my best friends from Bookstagram, Ellie! Bellow you will find out a bit more about each of us, including some of our favorite books, favorite authors, and genres that we love. Having Ellie to run this book club with me has been absolutely amazing because since we are in different time zones we are really able to make the most out of making sure someone is always on the discord to answer questions or just chat with other members.

Book of The Month

Every month starting in August 2021 we will pick a book of the month that has been voted on by members. Each month is a different genre so that there is something that will appeal to everyone, and so that we can all get out of our reading comfort zones for at least one book a month.

There are 4 books to vote between each month–2 that are picked by Ellie and myself and 2 that are randomly chosen out of recommendations given to us by members. Those books will go up on our Instagram (_readingwithfriends_) story for 24 hours. The winner of that vote will be the book that we all ready together the following month.

12-in-24 Readathon

Each month we will also host a 12 in 24 readathon where the goal will just be to read for 12 hours in a 24 hours period. To start off we will only be doing this one Saturday a month, but frequency and days of the week can change if something else works better for everyone. In this time we will have reading sprints (which if you participate in all of the reading sprints should add up to at least 12 hours of reading!), question times, and just some general fun going on to motivate everyone to read. We may also do some live sprints in that time as well so that we can all spend some scheduled time reading together!—More information on this will be released on our discord as it becomes available.

Other Stuff to Know

While I don’t want to give all of the fun away with what is happening in the discord I do want to mention that we will also have bingo boards each month that will focus not on the number of books you read, but on the act of reading itself. We may also do some photo challenges, but again still working out all of the details

If this sounds fun to you please consider joining us over on the discord! Click here to head on over and see what the fun is all about!

All links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commision from each sale using that link which I use to keep this blog running. Using the link costs you no extra money, it is the same price as if you purchased the book without the link.

Midnight Sun- Book Review

“Every word we spoke here–each one of them was another pomegranate seed”.

Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Published: August 2020
Pages: 658

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Welcome back to the blog! At this point I don’t know that anyone is still around and if you are I don’t know why. My life has been in shambles the last few months—which is why there have been no new posts because I really have not been reading. But what better way to start the blog back off than with a review of a book from a series I loved in middle school. If for some reason you have not read Twilight yet then be warned you will get spoilers about that book in this review since the book is a rewrite of that novel.


Midnight Sun is a 658 page YA fantasy novel that retells the story of Twilight from Edwards perspective. Edward struggles with the reality that he, a vampire, has fallen for a human girl named Bella. Throughout the story you get to see how Edward handles this unfortunate reality, as well as see how he see’s Bella.

My Thoughts

As usual we are going to start with my overall thoughts on the book and then we will break down more specifics as the review goes on. Overall I thought the book was decent. It wasn’t a new story by any means, so if that was what you were hoping for you will be sadly disappointed. As someone who was a huge fan of the original series I enjoyed seeing the story told from Edwards perspective.

Twilight was a very problematic novel if you think about all the themes that were in the book. I still struggle as an adult with why this series was promoted as a YA fantasy series because there is some seriously messed up–excuse my language–shit in it. To start with Edward is a stalker. I don’t care how you look at it he is a stalker. Also Bella needed some serious therapy and that was never pushed. Oh and Edward was controlling and in my mind kind of manipulative and just a jerk.

As I said, this book is just a rewrite of the original book, with more details since it is from Edwards perspective. So please know that the same problematic themes do show up in this book. I promise nothing was done to change that. However, as an adult I did enjoy being able to see how Edward felt about what was going on.

He is self aware enough to know that what he is doing is wrong, and he knows that he is being a creepy stalker. I really like that about this book. You get to see him as an actual person and not just as this picture of perfection that could never do wrong to Bella. He is seriously bad for her and he knows it. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but I do like having the perspective.

Also because Edward doesn’t sleep you do get to have a lot more knowledge about what he was actually doing in Bella’s bedroom while she slept…as well as learn more about the Cullen’s in general. I won’t give anything away, but I thought there was a quite interesting story about Alice in the book that we would not have known if this book wasn’t written.

Is this book great? No. Is it a decent read if you were a fan of The Twilight Saga? Absolutely. What I will say is that the writing is a lot better than the original series was. Much more developed and almost like the book was written for a more mature audience in mind. (Also this book is most definitely not for middle schoolers so maybe don’t let them read this. The first 50 pages has a very descriptive murder in it and even I was like damn I dunno about this.)


I would recommend this book to anyone that was a fan of the original Twilight novel. If you were not a fan, don’t read this. It is the same story and you won’t like it anymore than the original…unless your argument was that there was not enough information about the Cullen’s, then maybe you would. I also would only recommend this to be read by adult readers, or maybe high school students. Don’t expect anything amazing, but if you have some time to waste reading a 600 page book then I say go for it.

As a sign note, only Stephanie Meyer could make this book double the size of the original and get away with it. I also kind of what the remaining three books to be written from Edwards perspective as well. Particularly New Moon because let’s be real…that book was boring with him gone for months. I would much rather know what he was actually doing, and know how Rosalie told him Bella died when she hadn’t. (Yes I am watching New Moon while writing this review).

January 2021 Book Wrap Up

For once I am actually attempting to get this this wrap up up the first day of the month. Woohoo! Sorry I have sucked the last few months at actually updating the blog. I am hoping this year that I will be better at it, but I am not making any promises. On to the books!

The Books

This Is Kind Of and Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was super cute and I can’t believe it took me so long to actually read it after I bought it. The only pictures I could find of the book covered used their dead name, so I do not want to put it in this blog post. This book is centered around Nathan Bird who is still in love with his ex girlfriend, who is now once again his best friend, who left him to be with someone else. The story focuses on Nathan discovering his sexual identity and also explores how relationships with those in your life are constantly evolving, for better or for worse. This is very much a YA novel, but it is a quick read and took me about a day. I think it is worth it for everyone to pick up if you want a cute story about a boy learning to deal with the feelings he is developing for those in his life. (as a note, this book does not have cover art next to it because the author has come out as transgender and the book was originally published with their dead name. While you can now buy the book with their preferred name of Kacen, the only cover art I could find was using their dead name and I did not want to post that. It is a cute cover though!)

Losing Myself Brought Me Here by Jennae Cecelia

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Losing Myself Brought Me Here: Cecelia, Jennae: 9781099275319:  Books

this is a collection of poems and I honestly gave it more stars than it probably deserved because I just do not get poetry. I try to understand it, I really do, but it just isn’t for me. I still try it out when I find a collection that sounds interesting just incase I change my mind and have some epiphany and it clicks. I dont think it ever will. That being said let me tell you a little about what these collections are about incase you like poetry. These poems center around the journey that the author has gone on in their life. You go from when they were feeling lost to how they found the road that has led them to where they want to be at this moment.

Ash Princess, Lady Smoke, and Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ash Princess Series

In January I also ended up starting and finishing an entire fantasy series. The Ash Princess series was one that I didn’t go into expecting to love and came out of pleasantly surprised with my experience. It took me 10 days in total to read all three of the books since I was working and having to really do a lot of audio booking while driving to and from work. This series is about a young princess whose country has been taken over and her quest to take it back. There is a small romantic story line in the story but it is not center stage by any means. If you are someone who really doesn’t like love stories I think you would definitely enjoy this series because the decisions the characters make are not solely based on the romance plot line. However, if you thrive on love stories like I do then you will also likely enjoy this one because there is just enough that you get excited when it comes up and it keeps you rooting for your favorite character.

After the Fairytale by Terence Gray

Rating: 3 out of 5.
After the Fairy Tale by Terence Gray, Erin Day, Ian Thake | Audiobook |

Shockingly this was my only Audible Original that I listened to this month. It was very much The Bachelor in book form. It is short and sweet and took me about 4 days to listen to. I only listened for about 2 hours a day give or take because while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t something that I was dying to listen to outside of when I was driving to and from work.

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Rating: 2 out of 5. Boy Toy (9780547076348): Lyga, Barry: Books

I am not going to go into this one. I was not a fan clearly. I read it because I dont DNF books and because I did not realize that content of the book until I started reading further into it. I thought it was going to be a consensual forbidden romance story between adults. That is not what it was. I also apparently bought this book while I was in high school because I found it in a box of books at my moms house. I gave it two stars because while I was annoyed that I did not know what the story was about when I started it was done MUCH better than All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, and it made it clear that it was not condoning the topic it was talking about. So if you know, you know.

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Rating: 4 out of 5.
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch | Audiobook |

I started this one as an audio book on a whim and actually really ended up enjoying it. This is the story of Carey who was abducted by her mentally ill and drug using mother who moves her to live in a camper in the woods. She and her little sister Jenessa are abandoned by their mother and Carey’s father and a social worker come to find them. While the story does focus on their life in the woods in the beginning of the book and in flashbacks it is mostly centered around their life after being found and having to adjust to work not in the woods. Overall this is a sad story, but if you are interested in abduction story lines you will likely enjoy this one. It does have a mostly happy ending, which helps the sad story.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Books on My Christmas Wishlist – Read 'em and Weep

THIS SERIES IS SO CUTE! It is the first graphic novel series I have read so I was able to read all three volumes in one day. I am not a graphic novel person, but I will be for this series. It is adorable. I read the first volume on Webtoons because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it and didnt want to spend the money if I did not. However, like basically everyone, I ended up loving it. I am going to be ordering all 3 volumes even though I have read them on Webtoons so that I can still support the author. Also these were my first 5 star reads this year, and my only this month.

The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well Series, Book 1): Rin  Chupeco: 9781538469408: Books

While I did technically finish this one this morning I am going to count it as a January read since I could have finished it last night but my boyfriend was not enjoying hearing a horror story playing at 11:30pm. He doesn’t like horror movies, let along horror books. I started this one not sure what to expect, but it was included with my audible subscription. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. It was inspired by a Japenese legend called the Bancho Sarayashiki. It is the same legend that the movie The ring is based on, so it has similarities to that movie was well. The stories are different though and if you are into slightly gory ghost based horror stories you will likely enjoy this one. There is a companion novel to this one that I will be starting today once I start getting ready for work.

That’s All The Books

My reading has really been up and down the last few months but I think 12 books (9 that were not graphic novels) is actually a pretty good start to the year. Have you read any of the books listed in the wrap up? Did you like the ones you have read? Did you dislike them? Are any of them currently on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

The Rules of Enchantment- Book Review

“I never needed seducing. I wanted you“.

Leith, The Rules of Enchantment

Author: Wendy Tardieu
Published: August 2020
Pages: 142

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Welcome back to the blog! The one that I have abandoned for about a month again. I am sorry. I promise I had all of these great intentions and then the holidays at work got stressful and I had some personal things going on in my life. But here I am again, with another book review.

Before we get into the review I want to be very clear that I was sent this book for free to review for you guys. This does not change my opinions and they are still 100% the truth and my own. Even if I did not like the book I would make sure that you guys knew that.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get into the review!


The Rules of Enchantment is a 142 page fantasy/romance story about Kyler, a scribe who possesses a small amount of magic, and Leith, an exiled sorcerer that the Academy think is plotting a horrible plan to overthrow the Academy and the restrictions they place on the use of magic. Kyler is sent to become Leith’s apprentice and to unknowingly spy on him for the Academy. When they learn that Kyler possesses far more magic than even she realized they two join forces and change the history of Salyndria forever.

My Thoughts

I want to start with my overall thoughts on this book. It was good, it was a super quick read that I was able to do in a couple hours and I really did enjoy the story. Despite enjoying it I had one bone to pick with it.

The book markets itself on the front cover as “an erotic fantasy adventure novel”. I agree it is a fantasy novel and there is some adventure in it, but I am unsure why it declares itself erotic. The book is a student/teacher romance story which isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I think considering the ages of these characters I was more open to it than I would have been otherwise. There is very little eroticism in the book, the characters dont kiss until almost half way through the book. I was definitely expecting more romance from the beginning of the book from the cover. There are a total of two sex scenes in the book and they are not overly explicit, so I personally would not consider the book erotic. I would also venture to say that because of this it could be a YA or even a middle grade book.

Other than being very confused through out the book on why it was considering itself erotic I actually thought it was good. The writing was well done, the book was edited well, and I wasn’t able to guess the ending. Well I was, but I didn’t realize I was correct until I read the ending for a second time. There is adventure, but with the book being so short there is not much of it. I think with a book this short it would have been better to try to focus on one of the other.

There was a lot of potential in this book and the world of Salyndria was very interesting. I wish the book would have been longer so either more romance or more adventure could have been included.


I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a quick read that will make you go through a mild range of emotions and end in a happy way. If you are looking for erotica, this book is not for you despite what it claims on the title and despite what the cover looks like.

I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars because as I mentioned in my thoughts I overall thought it was a good book, had it been more of what it claimed to be I probably would have even given if 4 or 5 stars.

I would definitely be interested in reading more books by Wendy Tardieu.

October 2020 Book Wrap Up

It is far past the end of another month of 2020. I haven’t done a book wrap up post since April, but I have been out of quarantine since May. I did have to do a two week quarantine period at the end of October but I had finished most of my reading by then and all I proceeded to do during that time was start watching The Vampire Diaries and procrastinate on school work. But without further ado, lets discuss what I actually read in October.

The Books

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light This was the first book that I read for the miniathon in October. It was for the prompt romantic read and let me tell you I was not disappointed! The basic idea of this book is that Becca and football captain Brett pretend to be dating because Becca’s former best friend is teasing her in the halls. It gave me vibes very similar to the book To All The Boys I loved Before. I have yet to read that yet, but if you enjoyed that series you will likely enjoy this book. I honestly need a second book ASAP. It came out in February of this year so who knows, maybe?

You Say It first by Katie Cotugno- This one was also a cute read. I read it for the miniathon-most of the books I read this month were for the miniathon- and was for the prompt unlucky number 13 because it has 13 letters in the title. That was the only reason that I picked the book and I did consider DNFing it at one point. This book is about a girl named Meg who has the perfect life and a boy named Colby who is from a small town in Ohio who just experienced a family tragedy. Meg and Colby meet when she calls Colby’s home looking for his father so that she can get him registered to vote. Colby and Meg and up forming a connection purely over phone calls and texts. It is a cute book that will make you scream at it if you want any sort of resolution to happen early in the book. I listened to it on Audio book so that might have made it a little harder for me to get through and I think I might have enjoyed it more had I just read the book.

Beast by Brie Spangler- I really don’t have much of an opinion on this book this month. It was for the miniathon again and it definitely was not about hat I thought it was going to be. I think it was supposed to be a modern retelling of Beauty and The Beast but there really wasn’t other than the main character just being very hairy. The book touches the surface of issues that members of the transgender community face. I think that overall it was a cute book and I recommend it, just make sure you know that it has serious moments in it and at times you will want to through the book because of what the main character is doing.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix I 100% without a doubt played myself with this book. I was actually not even going to read it in October but a bunch of people in the miniathon were doing a group read of it and I needed it for the book club read section on my bingo board. Let me tell you. This book is not a book you should listen to in audiobook format. Mostly because there are some scenes in it that just really should not be narrated because of how graphically described you are. I was also listening to it while I was driving to work and while I was at work at the end of the night as well and let me tell you I got some crazy looks from people who could hear what was being said in the book. I don’t have many feelings about the book as a whole, it wasn’t the worst thing I have ever read but how this particular vampire worked irritated me. Can authors not just pick a way for vampires to work and stick with it. I don’t want to re learn vampire habits with every book I read.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson- This book was a cute book for a few reasons, but it was also the start of me not actually finishing my bingo board for the miniathon. When reading the description of the book I originally though that Bluet was not actually human and had intended to use it for the prompt ‘protagonist is not human’. Yeah that wasn’t the case. I also listened to this one on audio book. I actually think the majority of the books I read in October were actually audio books which is new for me because I used to hate them. Anyway, this book is a historical fiction and has a big focus on some factual information about the blue people of Kentucky. I do not know enough about the blue people of Kentucky historically so I won’t speak on that. I thought it was a sweet book and enjoyed listening to a book about someone who was taking books to others. Was it the best book I read this year? No, but it wasn’t bad by any means. The writing was a little blah, so I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed reading it physically, but as an audio book it was enjoyable.

Waiting on the Sidelines by Ginger Scott– While The Book woman of Troublesome Creek started the decline of following the miniathon bingo board prompts this book continued it. It was also the start of a night that shouldn’t have happened. I started this book as an audio book on my way to work one morning. The book follows Nolan and Reed through high school where you get to see their relationship grow from just being partners on a school project to actually being friends to so many more things. Reed was irritating in this book but only because he was written to be like every boy I ever met in high school and to a very small degree reminded me of one of my high school guy friends. Not like to a t, but pretty close in terms of the way he acted. I got home and ended up reading the rest of the book on my Kindle because I wanted to get it done faster. Boy was that a mistake. A happy mistake. But a mistake. I ended up finishing the book and then deciding that I needed to immediately move on to the second book in the series.

Going Long by Ginger Scott – Welcome to book two of the dumbest choice that I made in October. This book once again follows Reed and Nolan, but it follows them through their college experiance. Now I can’t say much about this other than it is a fucking roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens in the first book so I can’t talk too much about what happens here. Let me just say that the similarities between my relationship with my guy friend from high school and Nolan and Reed’s relationship fizzled off in this book, BUT THAT IS OKAY. I actually ended up loving this book and gave it 4 stars. The book left me wanting more so I decided to move on to the third book in the series.

The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott– This book ended my night of the dumbest choices made. If you have not yet put it together I actually read all three of the books in the series in one night. I was up until 5 am reading and then had to get up at 8am to get ready for work. Bad life choice, but the books were so worth it. This one follows the relationship between Nolan and Reed in their adult life. While I didn’t find the book to be as much of an emotional roller coaster as Going Long I did still enjoy it and was glad I stayed up to read it. Once again I can’t really say much about it without spoiling the other books, but if you were thinking about starting the series and you like cheesy YA contemporary romance books then just do it. You probably won’t regret it.

So there you have it. I ended the month having read 8 books, which for working and doing classes for my masters is pretty shocking to me. I did not end up getting a bingo on my miniathon bingo board as much as I wanted to because after binge reading the entire Waiting Series in a basically 18 hours span I was over reading for the month. November has started off slow with me not even having finished on book. I am currently working on finishing up a book that I am not a fan of but I want to write a review on it and I feel like I need to listen to it to fully explain why I am not a fan of it. Also I am hoping that the books turns out to have some redeeming qualities.

Book Review Catch Up- Once Upon a Con Series

Hello bookish friends and welcome back to the blog. It is time for another quick post about three books that I read in September. While I did really enjoy these books my thoughts were not something that required a post for each individual book. This review will also have some spoilers for the series so please do not read if you don’t want spoilers. Let me know in the comments if you prefer if I review series in this style if I have read all of the books in a pretty consistent manner before I post about them, or if you prefer having them split up.

Geekarella- Ashley Poston

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Published: 2017
Pages: 320
Genre: Ya Contemporary

First I want to start off by saying that the cover of this is so pretty, and the cover art of the entire series of adorable. This is a Cinderella retelling/reimagining and we all know how much I love my fartytale retellings. In this book Elle Wittimer, classic geek girl who loves the sci-fi series Starfield, gets a text from a number she does not know asking to pull out of participating in ExcelciCon. The catch, it is the actor who is set to play Prince Carmindor in the reboot of Starfield. Of course Elle does not know this and Damien is trying to make sure she never finds out. Seeing as this is a Cinderella story retelling I am guessing you can imagine what happens. I wont go into much more detail than that about what the story is about. I thought the book was actually a very cute read and it pulled me into the world of these books. Poston did a great job in making the story of Cinderella modern and work with this new setting. We have all seen the million and ten movies that retell the story of Cinderella, so I didn’t have super high hopes for this book. I was pleasantly surprised and even as a 25 year old adult woman I was rooting for the main characters the entire time.

The Princess and the Fangirl- Ashley Poston

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published: 2019
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Contemporary

The second book in the Once Upon A Con series is based off of The Prince and the Pauper, though to be fair I honestly thought it was based off of The Princess and the Frog based on the title. In this book we are back at ExcelciCon, though this time we are following a different set of characters. Jessica Stone is Princess Amara in the successful Starfield franchise. She is ready to leave the series and does not want her character to come back to life in the second instalment of the movies. Imogen Lovelace however is dead set on making sure that they bring back Amara in the second film, because she is her favorite character. When pictures of the Starfield script start leaking and Jessica learns that her script has been stolen she is forced to trust Imogen and trade places with her so that she can keep her career from being ruined. This book was even better than the first book in the series for me for so many reasons. First off, there is a super cute love story that evolves between two characters that you wouldn’t expect. There is also a rather cute love story that you know is going to happen, which makes it all the more satisfying when it does. Elle is pretty much existent in this story and Damien does show up because he is Jessica’s co star. As much as I like Elle and Damien, I was glad that Poston was able to take this book and make it separate from them, while still making it flow with the series. You don’t necessarily have to have read the first book to understand what is going on in this one either, which is fantastic if you are not someone that wants to read another version of Cinderella just to read this story.

Bookish and The Beast- Ashley Poston

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published: 2020
Pages: 288
Genre: YA Contemporary

The third instalment of these series was actually probably my favorite so far. In this book we once again follow different main characters, but at least one of them does have a relationship with characters from the other two books. In this book we get to follow small town girl Rosie Thorne who falls for a mysterious General Sond cosplayer at, you guessed it, ExcelciCon. Vance Reigns is Hollywood royalty and just so happens to be the actor who plays General Sond in Starfield. Vance is sent off to the same small town that Rosie lives in, and after the two meet and Rosie ends up ruining a rare book she works at his current home reorganizing the library to repay her debt. Rosie finds out that she actually hates Vance, and Vance isn’t particularly fond of her either. The story follows the same story line as Beauty and The Beast so you can again assume what happens here. I won’t ruin the fun of the story for you. I will say that while the story is pretty predictable and you find out early on who the General Sond cosplayer was, it was still a fun read. This book incorporates the characters from the pervious books just a little bit more, but just because they are friends with Vance. You only see them in small sections when they are needed to help him keep from being bored or make decisions that are not completely idiotic. To be fair though, he makes plenty of stupid decisions even with his friends around. Once again this book did not rely heavily on the two previous books and could totally be read independent of those.

Well there you go, a quick review on the Once Upon A Con series up to the third book that was released in August of this year. I really enjoy following Poston’s stories and I hope that there are more books in the series. I think she did a fantastic job setting the series up in a way that if she never wrote another book for the series it wraps up nicely, but she also left it open to more books if she decided to write them. I really enjoy when writers do this in series because as a reader it leaves me happy with the current stopping point, but also hopeful for the possibility of a continuation later down the line.

Now that this is complete, I have two more posts I will be making before I start talking about more SJM books and continually refer to my obsession with Crescent City (I have now read/listened to it 5 times).

Book Review Catch Up- The Five, Stars Above, and This is not you fault

Hello bookish friends and welcome back to the blog. It has been a really long time since I have written a book review for you all, so I wanted to play catch up today and talk about three books I have read since July that I want to give my thoughts on, but that don’t necessarily warrant full book reviews on their own because each would be pretty short and its been awhile since I have read most of these.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed By Jack The Ripper- Hallie Rubenhold

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Published: 2019
Pages: 333
Genre: Non-Fiction

If I am being honest I am not usually a non-fiction reader, but this was the first book that we read this year for the Reading With Friends Group Read. The focus of this book is not on the story of Jack the Ripper, but on the women that he killed. The writing style of this particular book kept me super engaged and didn’t feel like I was reading a text book; which is usually a problem I have with non-fiction books and is the majority of the reason why I don’t read them often. I did have to switch over to the audio book about halfway through due to having to drive two hours a day for work, and I actually think I made it through the book quicker listening to the audio book than I would have had I not. I did enjoy this book because it didn’t focus on Jack The Ripper, nor did it focus on their murders. It gave background stories to the victims and gave them their story back. I had personal issue with how the investigations of these murders were handled, but of course that has nothing to do with the book. Overall I think that Rubenhold did a fantastic job in making a non-fiction book engaging and I really appreciated the read. I am glad that I took time to read this in July.

Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection- Marissa Meyer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published: 2016
Pages: 369
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi

I have super short yet sweet thoughts on this one. This book is a collection of shorts stories and if you were a fan of the four original Lunar Chronical books you will likely enjoy these. They are just small short stories that continue the discussion of the lives of the characters. I fell even more in love with Cinder and Kai, and even ended up liking Thorne and Cress more than I ever thought I would Thorne and Cress were kind of my least favorite couple in the series. Overall it was a great ending to the series and if you feel like you need just a little bit more Lunar Chronicles in your life you should pick it up.

This is Not Your Fault- Courtney Maum

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Published: 2020
Pages: Audio Book on Audible
Genre: Contemporary??…maybe

Alright I have strong opinions on this book. The entire idea behind this book is what it is like for a couple that is going through a divorce in the COVID-19 pandemic. I actually hated this book. I dont generally listen to books that I hate, but it was a pretty short listen and I liked the idea behind it. The problem I had with the book was the way it was written. It is written all in a series of journal entries and emails to lawyers. I did not feel like it really explained anything about how the couple was handling the divorce in the pandemic. The other problem I had was that the book just ended. There was no resolution to anything. Overall I dont recommend the book. I think it was a good idea, but it was not very well executed. I would definitely be interested in reading a story written with this idea in mind, if it wasn’t written like this one was.

Well there you have it folks, a very quick book review catch up for some of the books I have read while I was away. I read quite a few more but I have actual opinions on those as they are series of books and not just standalones that I didnt have super big opinions on. There will probably be one more catch up post talking about some books that I read in September and October and then we will be getting into another pretty long series of reviews. I’ll give you a hint: they are by Sarah J Maas.

Where have I been

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.

Luna Lovegood

Hello strangers. Long time no post. Unfortunately things got a big crazy in my regular life post returning to work and while I have been on Instagram I definitely have not been posting on the blog. It is not some crazy story as to why I have been gone. I didn’t get promoted, I didn’t get covid, and I didn’t just forget about you guys.

The honest truth is that I just got busy. The last post I made was in July when I read A Blade So Black and did a review on it. That weekend that I read that was the last proper weekend off I have had in months, which makes since. I work in retail and the Holidays are coming up.

I had all these hopes of keeping up the blog when I went back to work and that all cam crashing down on me because I put entirely too much on my plate. So really all I want to talk about in this post is what you can expect going forward.

Going forward

Going forward I am still going to blog, but I am not going to put a number on how many times I will post a week or what day I will post. My hope is that I can post on Wednesday’s most weeks, but if I have to skip a week I will. I do this blog for fun, just like my instagram.

If you want to see more frequent content you can follow me on instagram (@readingbymyself). I try to post more often on there but to be honest with you I sometimes get behind on that as well. I do usually post stories though so if you just want a behind the scenes look at what is going on with me that is where you can find it.

I also will still be doing the monthly Reading With Friends group read. We are taking October off so I could do some refresh and reset and get some things worked out and made for November, but I am in a good spot and I am really excited about the books that I came up with to vote between. I will give you guys a little sneak peak and tell you that the theme for November is authors of color. I have 8 books lined up to pick from that range from true stories to fiction that I think will all be good regardless of which one is picked.

And Finally

Finally I just want to say thank you for those of you that have still stuck around my instagram and my blog. It means a lot to me. I don’t know going forward if the majority of the posts will be book reviews or if they will just be bookish themed. So bear with me while I figure that all out.

Oh, and update on reviews I have read entirely too many books to do a full catchup on what I have read since my last post, but I am planning to re-read A Dream So Dark because I read it in one day and I really love the series and I want to be able to soak it all in. So you will at least get a review for the book after a Blade So Black. One of my associates has borrowed it so once I get it back from her is when I will get started with the re-read. Also for those of you that don’t already know, I have now re-read/re-listened to House of Earth and Blood 5 times.

All links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commision from each sale using that link which I use to keep this blog running. Using the link costs you no extra money, it is the same price as if you purchased the book without the link.

A Blade So Black- Book Review

“Oh, I don’t know. The human world has its charms. Cotton candy for instance.”

“Yeah, and it’s got plenty of problems.”

“It’s got you.

Addison Hatta and Alice, A Blade So Black

Author: L.L. McKinney
Published: 2018
Pages: 370

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Welcome back to the blog, or welcome to the blog if you are new! I spent 4th of July weekend at the lake and to break up reading the Reading With Friends book of the month I decided to start A Blade So Black. I did not expect to finish it 12 hours after starting it, but I did. I spent the day reading on the boat because I was super sunburnt from Friday. I have not been out in the sun for quite awhile thanks to Miss Rona so my skin was not happy with me. Usually I do not thank sunburns, but this time I will.

Goodreads Summary

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew. Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally

My Thoughts

Two words: Gimme More. This book was great. Five stars. 10 out of 10. No more information needed, just read the book.

But in all seriousness this book was really good. As a lover of Alice in Wonderland I am always a little afraid to read retellings/reimaginings of Alice in Wonderland because I am afraid reading them will ruin my love for the story. This was not true. I still love the original but I almost think that I might like this version a little bit more. I have always felt like Alice In Wonderland should have darker elements to it than it did. It sets itself up so well to be a trippy movie as well as a trippy creepy book. If you have read my blog for any length of time then you probably know that while I read a lot of contemporary and ya romance I love true crime and other creepy stories. This was a good mix of everything. Creepier than the original, yet I was still able to get the essence of the original Characters. I still cant put my finger on exactly who everyone lines up with but we will talk about the ones im pretty sure of later in the post. It also has a little bit of implied romance that is VERY slow burning. Which usually I don’t like but in this case I will let it pass because I really really like the idea of the two characters I am thinking of being together.

The book also touches on police shootings of black teenagers and the worry that black parents feel when their children do not answer the phone or do not come home on time. I think that this book is great for white readers because you get a glimpse into that and can really start to understand how black teenagers and parents really feel. It is also a great book for black readers because they get to see a bad ass black female main character who is going through the same struggles that they are/might be going through.

The one flaw that I saw in this book is that I did not get the world building of Wonderland that I loved from the original story, however knowing the original story I was able to imagine pretty well what the areas might look like. I am hoping that since the second book seems like it will be focused more in Wonderland that we will get more of that world building then.

Overall it was a great book and I really do recommend it to anyone. You should pick it up and read it. You will likely be hooked, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did. I did not have the second book ready to read and I am kicking myself because I had to order it and wait for it to arrive.

Now time for everyone’s favorite part: SPOILERS! If you have not yet read this book and do not want to be spoiled to not read any further…..YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Alright so lets talk about these characters that I have worked out, and which ones I still have not
Alice- Obviously she is Alice from the original story, though with a little bit more common sense which I enjoy.

Addison Hatta- The Mad hatter. I went back and forth for a few about if he was supposed to be The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire cat, or the White Rabbit. The name gave it away so I knew from the start, but since he is her mentor and says things like tick I thought that he could be the rabbit. Then her talking about not being able to see him when they first went to Wonderland made me think Cheshire Cat. Ultimately when he was cursed with the madness I settled on the Mad Hatter.

Maddie- The Dormouse. This one was obvious to me because she is a bartender who says squeak a lot and who talks in riddles, which is what the dormouse did in the original story. The riddles….not the bartending.

Dee and Dum Tweedlanovs- Okay so they were pretty obviously Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the original story. Though much smarter and also they were not from Wonderland. They are dreamwalkers like Alice, and they are Human.

Those are the only ones I have for sure figured out. I am still at a loss for many of the other Characters. The only other person I am teetering on is Chester. Since they keep calling him Chess and we find out that he has some secrets he hasn’t told the girls I think he might VERY LOOSELY be based off of the Cheshire Cat. I wont say that for sure though because I could very possibly be wrong.

Finally I want to talk about Addison and Alice. I will keep it quick. If these two do not end up together by the end of this I will throw the book out of the window. I repeat I will throw the book out of the window. I can already tell I am going to be frustrated with Hatta because when Alice kissed him he pulled back like he was punishing himself. I just hope that Alice can convince him that he is a good person and that he will just let himself be happy. Oh and you know that Alice can actually save him. Because if she can’t I will also be angry. She has too much muchness and clearly powers unknown to the others for this to not end with a simi happy ending.

All links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commision from each sale using that link which I use to keep this blog running. Using the link costs you no extra money, it is the same price as if you purchased the book without the link.

Reading With Friends Buddy Read- July 2020

Hello world, and all those who inhabit it. Or at least those of you that read this blog. Today I am going to be giving you a little bit of a different post than usual. I last minute decided to host a buddy read for July and wanted to post about it so that anyone that is interested could join in! I know it is literally three days before the start of July, but this buddy read is set up so that you can join it at any time. Let’s get into the details.

What is it?

The Reading With Friends Buddy Read is simply just a group of book lovers who have voted on and decided to read the same book that month. It is similar to a books club, actually since it is a big group that almost what I would call it. The only difference that I see from a regular book club is that there are is not a set day or time to have discussions about the books. You can read the book at any time you want during the month and pop on to the Discord chat and talk about whatever part you have read, without feeling like you will spoil anything for anyone. Plus I try to throw in some optional games to play as well as the month goes on.

How do you participate?

That is simple. You just have to join the Discord chat! I will leave the link to the chat at the end of the post so if you are interested you can join by heading to that link and adding yourself.

Now for the good stuff! And by the good stuff I mean all of the information about this months book and how it will all work.

The book for July is The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. This is a nonfiction book that won the 2019 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction. It tells the story of Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine(Kate), and Mary Jane who ended up famous for the same thing, though they never met each other. All five of these women were killed by Jack the Ripper in 1888. In this book Halie Rubenhold finally tells the story of these women and sets the record straight on if the theory that all of Jack the Ripper’s murder victims really were just prostitutes.

The book was voted for over on my Instagram and we will do votes there any time we do these buddy reads.

This buddy read will work a little differently than a traditional book club. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to read a certain number of pages per week, or feel pressured into reading when they don’t want to. Non-fiction books can be hard to read because it is a lot of information and I know it can sometimes feel like textbook reading. I know I don’t like feeling like I am being forced to read a book I don’t want to read just to talk about it by a specific date. The discord chat has channels set up where you can go to talk about each section of the book once you have read it. You can share your thoughts with others and talk about if you agree or disagree with the authors theories. I think this will make reading a non-fiction book a lot easier because you will have others to chat with if you feel like some sections are harder to read than others.

And that is it, that is what the buddy ready is all about. If you are interested in joining you can follow this link and add yourself.

I look forward to reading with any of you if you decide you want to join in on this buddy ready!