Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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Star rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: via Goodreads

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

General information: This was published in 2017 by Scribner.

My thoughts:

I really don’t even know where to start to review this book. It was amazing! It really encapsulated the Southern, Gulf Coast vibe, especially the poverty and social issues you see in the area.

I loved the characters, they all felt so vivid. I just wanted to give Jojo and Kayla a hug. I even felt for their parents, Leonie and Michael, who made some bad (but totally understandable) decisions. And their grandparents, Pop and Mam, were probably my favorites in the book- they really stood out as interesting and loving people.

The supernatural was worked into the book really well- it was jarring, especially as you occasionally got a POV chapter from one of the ghosts, but deftly done.

The setting and descriptions were beautifully written. I felt like I was in the car with the characters. Some of the details will stay with me for a long time. At times this book was almost hard to read, but I couldn’t put it down.

This book was incredibly sad and occasionally upsetting but also incredibly hopeful and beautiful. I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long time, hence the five stars.

Overall, I highly recommend this! It really uses the fantasy elements to complement the story in a unique way. Definitely give it a shot if you haven’t already!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday

What I just finished reading:

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Persuasion by Jane Austen!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

What I’m currently reading/listening to:

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen! (More like currently re-reading- I’m on an Austen kick, if you couldn’t tell.)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

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Just look at that cover! Beautiful!!

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

What I’m reading next:

I’ve been wanting some urban fantasy lately so I just ordered two books by Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews to read soon. Not sure if they’ll be next, but I’m excited to give them a shot.

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Not gonna lie, the cover almost turned me off of the book.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

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Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

Thanks for reading! What’s your WWW Wednesday look like? Let me know in the comments!

Classics Mini Review- Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

My Thoughts:

I kind of debated on posting this, because Jane Austen doesn’t exactly need any publicity from me. Plus, what else is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

That being said, I decided to post a mini-review! Something short and simple to try to persuade (haha? see what I did there?) other people to read it.

Because I loved this book! It was the only Jane Austen book that I hadn’t finished reading yet. I had picked it up and put it back down several times, never getting past the first few chapters.

I am so glad that I finally did, though!

I got this as an audiobook from Audible as a way to slowly test out the audiobook waters. (And then immediately got another audiobook that was 17 hours long. Note to self, never do that again). The narration was engaging and I really enjoyed hearing some of the humor of Austen’s work read out loud instead of on the page!

As for the book itself, it felt so different from Austen’s other work but in a fantastic way. The heroine, Anne, is 27, so she’s basically a spinster by the time the story starts (could you imagine?). I loved the idea of her reigniting an old love instead of developing a new one, as so often happens in Austen stories. I’m no Austen scholar by any means, but this book felt a little more mature than some of her others, save maybe Emma. (P&P, don’t worry, you’re still my favorite!)

Of course, it was full of misunderstandings between Anne and Captain Wentworth, comical side characters, and other great Austen-tatious stuff. If you enjoy a good romance, definitely don’t miss out on this one! If you’re like me and couldn’t get past the beginning, it’s definitely worth persevering.

Would I recommend this as a first introduction to Austen? Not necessarily, I’d probably recommend Pride and Prejudice or Emma for the first-time Austen reader. But Persuasion has a more mature, subdued vibe that I really enjoyed.

Have you read Persuasion? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

3 Books I’ve DNF’ed This Week- And Why

As you can tell from the title, it has not been a great week of reading for me. Part of the reason that I haven’t posted a review in a while (has it really been a week already?) is that I’ve been really underwhelmed with the books I’ve been reading recently. (Who knows, maybe it’s just a hangover from Cemetery Boys, one of my favorite books I’ve read… ever!)

I know posting about DNF’ing books can be a little controversial in the book community, but I wanted to share a quick post about what I’ve been reading and why I’ve DNF’ed on these in lieu of individual reviews. In my opinion, DNF’ing is a good thing! You shouldn’t force yourself to finish a book that you’re just not into. Life is too short to not enjoy what you read.

That being said, here’s the three books I decided to not continue with, and the reasons why!

#1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Synopsis via Goodreads:

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Why I DNF’ed:

This one was a hard decision for me! I likely would have finished this book if I hadn’t accidentally spoiled myself on the ending. I loved the main character- Louisa was charming and funny and I really enjoyed her perspective. I also liked the writing style, so I may check out other Moyes books in the future.

However, that ending. Hoo boy. I won’t spoil anything here, and I briefly discussed this in my last WWW Wednesday post, but it really struck a nerve with me. Just reading about the ending made me actively dislike this book, and that’s saying something. I can see why disability advocates have had issues with the book (and its subsequent movie). Again, no spoilers here, but I seem to be in the minority on this opinion, judging by the Goodreads ratings.

I might check out other Moyes books in the future, but learning the ending of this book just left a bad taste in my mouth and put me off from wanting to continue reading. Normally I don’t mind spoilers and will continue reading regardless of whether I know the ending or not, but this specific ending really just pushed me over the edge and led to me DNF’ing.

#2. The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

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Synopsis via Goodreads:

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.


After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless… you’re immortal.

Why I DNF’ed:

I know! An urban fantasy with romance set in New Orleans! (I might as well be describing the book I’m currently writing, but I digress.) The blurb for this book is so far up my alley that it was the first book I got when I decided to try Audible.

However. I just couldn’t connect to the main character, Adele. Her reactions to some events were inexplicable to me at best. I love first-person narration, but only when I really enjoy the main character’s perspective, and I just didn’t enjoy Adele’s. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s YA and she’s a teenager? Or maybe it just wasn’t for me. Regardless, I was willing to push past this, if not for the pacing.

I read in several reviews that the first half of the book is incredibly slow. It definitely lived up to this assessment. Considering that the audiobook was 17 hours long, I was definitely not willing to sit through 8.5 hours of slow pacing just to get to the 8.5 hours where things pick up. I got through about 4 hours, or about 24%, before I gave up, so I made it a decent chunk of the way through the book. I really, really wanted to love this book but it just wasn’t for me.

Also, it felt like Adele was being set up for a romance with a character who, I’m pretty sure, was an adult? Can we just talk about that real quick? Not to mention, that girl is sixteen and mentions a fling with her mother’s assistant, who was twenty-three, if I’m not wrong. That grossed me out enough to want to put the (audio)book down right then and there.

Anyway, I might try and pick up a physical copy eventually (probably from the library, I don’t plan on buying one) and trying to read it again in the future.

#3. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

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Synopsis via Goodreads:

Pearl and May are sisters, living carefree lives in Shanghai, the Paris of Asia. But when Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, they set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America.

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

Why I DNF’ed:

Okay, this is another book that I really wanted to love. I remember reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in high school and really loving it, so I thought Shanghai Girls would strike the same chord for me.

Unfortunately, it did not. The pacing felt incredibly rushed. I made it about 50 pages before I quit (about 16% of the book). I really liked the main characters and enjoyed the sisterly relationship, but it felt like things just happened without much time to digest the events. It sort of felt like a list of things happening. This book probably could have comfortably been much longer with more description and time for reactions from the main character.

I read some reviews before I decided to DNF, and it sounds like there’s (TW!) a pretty graphic rape scene at one point, and that just solidified my decision to put it down.

What do y’all think? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. That said, here’s a WWW Wednesday with a general update at the end.

What I just finished reading:

The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg! Synopsis via NetGalley

As a man holds his wife’s frail hand, he recounts a journey like no other…

Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together. At least, Daniel thinks this the night he sees Olivia across a sea of people. As he backpacks through Australia, Daniel and Liv continue to cross paths, yet never speak. Until one night, Liv joins Daniel for a drink. And that night everything changes.

Back in London, stuck in a monotonous routine, Daniel finds himself daydreaming of the woman with green eyes and fiery hair. Armed with only a name he begins a hunt to find her. With every passing moment, Daniel’s hopes begin to disappear. What if it wasn’t meant to be?

But then fate steps in, and Daniel and Olivia’s story can truly begin…

What I’m currently reading/listening to:

Audiobooks I’m listening to-

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The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden! Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.


After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless… you’re immortal.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen! Synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

Physical books I’m reading-

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The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow! Synopsis from Goodreads:

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

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Shanghai Girls by Lisa See! Synopsis from Goodreads:

Pearl and May are sisters, living carefree lives in Shanghai, the Paris of Asia. But when Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, they set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America.

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

What I’m reading next:

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Piranesi by Susanna Clarke! Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

And as promised, a general update:

Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately! I’ve started listening to audiobooks while I drive and clean and really like them, but they’re incredibly long and I don’t think I’ll ever see myself just sitting down and listening to one while doing nothing else (probably thanks to my ADHD). I might put Once and Future Witches aside from now as it’s a hefty-sized book and focus on reading- and finishing- smaller books until I get my mojo back.

The Casquette Girls miiiight be a DNF for me. I really just can’t relate to the main character. I thought I would love it- it’s set in New Orleans, after all- but the main character’s reactions to some things are inexplicable, in my opinion, and it feels like she’s being set up for a romance subplot with an adult character. Huge red flag, considering she’s sixteen.

Speaking of DNF’ing, I gave up on Me Before You. I was looking for a nice, bingeable romance and it was not that. I accidentally spoiled myself on the ending and hoo boy, is it a trip. I won’t put any spoilers here but I knew it would make me angry, so I DNF’ed it. I considered finishing it just to write a scathing review, but it’s an older book and it’s pretty long for a romance, so in the end it just doesn’t seem worth it.

Thanks for reading all this! What’s your WWW Wednesday look like? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

ARC Review: The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg

Look at that beautiful cover!!

Star rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: via NetGalley

As a man holds his wife’s frail hand, he recounts a journey like no other…

Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together. At least, Daniel thinks this the night he sees Olivia across a sea of people. As he backpacks through Australia, Daniel and Liv continue to cross paths, yet never speak. Until one night, Liv joins Daniel for a drink. And that night everything changes.

Back in London, stuck in a monotonous routine, Daniel finds himself daydreaming of the woman with green eyes and fiery hair. Armed with only a name he begins a hunt to find her. With every passing moment, Daniel’s hopes begin to disappear. What if it wasn’t meant to be?

But then fate steps in, and Daniel and Olivia’s story can truly begin…

This is a tale of serendipity, missed chances and the power of love.

General information: Thanks to NetGalley and Aria Books for my copy! This book is set to come out February 11, 2021.

My thoughts:

Just a heads up, there are no major spoilers in this review!! The book starts out with Olivia in a hospital bed so her cancer diagnosis isn’t a spoiler. Just wanted to clarify that before anyone reads further.

This book actually made me tear up at a couple of points! It was beautifully written and kept me reading. I love the little vignettes we get of Olivia and Daniel’s life, it felt very authentic. All the emotions and reactions of the family dealing with Olivia’s cancer felt realistic, as well. I also loved the complicated mother-daughter relationship we got with Olivia and teenage Flora.


The depiction of a character’s alcohol problem was very well done and really resonated with me. I also like how short most of the chapters were, it made the book very easy to read in chunks (which I did, over the span of about a week). I loved the writing style in general, too.


At first, Olivia felt a little too perfect as a character, but later on in the book she developed a bit more personality… this could be because we mostly got Daniel’s impression of her, as he learned more about her as a person, so I don’t really mind. At first I was worried she would end up being a manic pixie dream girl, but I feel like she was more fully fleshed out as Daniel learned more about her.


As for some things I didn’t love- Annabel felt a little one-note as a character, like she was there for the sake of the story having a minor ‘villain.’ The chapters going back and forth through time also gave me whiplash a little bit; it was well done, but kind of hard to follow, especially after I picked the book back up after not reading it for a couple of days. It does tell the story well, though, so I didn’t really mind.


I also kind of took issue with Olivia and Daniel’s burgeoning relationship- after they finally connect, it feels a bit like they fall in love instantly, without much provocation. I realize they’d been dancing around each other for years by the point they finally get together, but it all felt a bit too neat.

Other than that, I loved this book and plan on buying a copy when it comes out! I definitely recommend requesting a copy from NetGalley yourself if you enjoy romance.

Thanks for reading! Have you requested this from NetGalley/preordered this or do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday

I know, I haven’t posted in like a week! I’m still reading, I promise. Expect a review…. sometime this week? Lol.

What I just finished reading:

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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas! Blurb from Goodreads:

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys, described by Entertainment Weekly as “groundbreaking.”

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

What I’m currently reading:

The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg! (No cover image or blurb available from Goodreads at the moment).

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes! Blurb from Goodreads:

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

What am I reading next?

Excellent question! I have two main options, and realistically, I’ll probably end up reading both at once:

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Either The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab (blurb from Goodreads)

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

…or….

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The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow! Blurb from Goodreads:

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Thanks for reading! What’s your WWW Wednesday? Let me know in the comments!

Review- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

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Star rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: via Goodreads

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys, described by Entertainment Weekly as “groundbreaking.”

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

General information: Thanks to the New Orleans Public Library for the ebook version of this that I read! This book was published in 2020 by Swoon Reads.

My thoughts:

Y’all, I just can’t with this book. It made me cry and that’s probably the highest praise I can give a book.

I was a little skeptical going in because I usually have a hard time connecting to teen protagonists, but Yadriel, Maritza, and Julian were so vivid and well-written that they couldn’t help but suck me in!

I had a theory that turned out to be right (no spoilers) and I’ve never been more upset to be correct in my life. Even though I predicted the end twist, it still felt like a gut punch to actually read it.

And the romance! It was so adorable! Teen romances usually aren’t my thing, but like the characters, this one was written so well that it had me completely invested. I would read a whole other book by Aiden Thomas just about them hanging out. I’m imagining there’s probably fanfiction already.

This novel was really hyped up on Book Twitter and it completely lived up to the hype- even exceeded it! If you’re into young adult fiction at all (or even if you’re not, like me), please check this book out. Especially if you love well-written LGBTQ+ characters. I highly recommend it!

Now I’m gonna go cry some more and probably re-read the ending.

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday!

What are you currently reading?

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I’m currently reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas! I’m a little over halfway through and it’s amazing so far. Expect a review post coming soon!

What have you just finished reading?

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Just finished The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin yesterday- I highly recommend it!

What are you going to read next?

Next up I’m reading an ARC of The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg! Really excited to check this one out.

Thanks for reading! What’s your WWW Wednesday look like? Let me know in the comments!

Review- The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

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Star rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

General information: This book was published in 2020 by Orbit Books.

My thoughts:

This book was amazing! It was a love letter to the city of New York, and cities in general. Warning, this review may get long- I had a lot to say upon finishing this book!

What I loved: the characterization was amazing. All of the characters felt so alive, especially the boroughs. I have to admit, my favorite was probably Aislyn (or Staten Island)- she was just so complex and troubled in a way that felt very real. The cast of characters was also super diverse, much like the city itself. I also like all of the different POV’s, they each felt unique and important. All the different POV’s may be a detractor for some, but I enjoyed it.

The worldbuilding was also amazing- it felt Lovecraftian but in a less xenophobic and racist way. (Look it up if you don’t believe me, Lovecraft was kind of an a-hole). It was reminiscent of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, in some ways. Fans of Gaiman would probably enjoy this book. He even gave a blurb for the cover, so you know it’s Gaiman-approved.

This book also had some great commentary on current social issues such a gentrification, the Proud Boys, etc. It never felt too heavy-handed or browbeaten, I felt like it was worked into the story very well.

What I didn’t love: no spoilers, but the final battle scene fell flat for me a little bit. It felt very quick- there was a lot of buildup, and then boom, it was done. There wasn’t enough payoff to match the buildup, in my opinion.

Other than that, my only gripe is the repeated mentions of New Orleans. New Orleans is depicted as a failed city birth, which I take a little bit of umbrage with. Not that it’s wrong at all, in fact she’s probably right, I just really love New Orleans. It feels very alive to me, personally.

Overall, I really recommend this book! It simultaneously makes me want to visit New York and feel guilty for being a tourist (in the best possible way). This is a must-read for fans of contemporary/urban fantasy!