Posted in Reviews

Review: The XY by Virginia Bergin

The XY by Virginia Bergin

Recommended: eh
for an okay story with WAY too much FONT STYLING!!!, for some nice lines about philosophical things, for some entry level critical gender conversations


Sixty years ago, a virus wiped out almost all men on Earth. Now women run the world, and men are kept in repopulation facilities, safe from the deadly virus. At least, that’s what everyone has been led to believe…until River discovers a young man on a country road—injured but alive. Mason has been outside for five days since escaping from his facility, and no one can understand how he has survived. Hiding the boy violates the rules of their world, but as the women of the town band together to try to save him, River begins to suspect that the truth behind Mason’s existence is darker than she could have imagined.


Alright look. The story is meh at best and weakly done. BUT: the title begins with an X, and is not erotica. If that’s not why you’re looking at this book then good for you! You’re probably an eager minority. If you ARE looking at this book for the purposes of an x-title-related reading challenge, then yeah it’ll do.

This book wasn’t terrible, but it did feel like something an advanced student would write (and in fact truly does remind me of one student’s entry for NaNoWriMo in 2016). There is soooooo much text styling on the page and it feels aggressive and tiring and over the top. There are bolded words, italicized words, lots of all-caps text, and multiple question marks and exclamation points — often a mix of several of these things are combined. And yo, reading this in a physical copy was exhausting to look at the page with all of that. I actually switched to a digital library copy because I just couldn’t handle it. So this was an unusual case where the actual format and look of the words on the page almost had me wanting to DNF it.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Recommended: sure
For an actiony vampire story, for a deadly post apocalyptic plague world, for common tropes combined in a compelling way



Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies…and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—Eden, a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. But hiding her identity is nearly impossible as she comes to know and admire her companions…and starts to fall for a human. Soon Allie will have to decide what—and who—is worth dying for…again.


This is a book I added to my to-read list something like ten years ago, when I was still in high school. So when I came back to this book as a challenge to read one of the oldest books on my tbr, I was kind of wary of what high school age me had decided sounded like a great vampire book. But I gave it a go.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IT WAS PRETTY GOOD! I wouldn’t say it blew me out of the water, but it combined common elements of the tropes in uncommon ways to make a fairly unique and genuinely compelling story. I think bold is a good word for this, because the character faces a lot of genuinely shit moments and hard decisions and they often do not end happily. There’s a lot of pain, and you just have to live with it and move on. I think that’s pretty rare.

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Posted in Chatty

Penryn and the end of days saved me this week

Hey y’all! I started a re-read of a favorite young adult dystopian novel of mine called Angelfall by Susan Ee. I started that on June 3rd (5 days ago) and have now finished the other 2 books in the series as well without really planning to do so. I posted my June TBR on June 1 all proud to have it set, and by June 3 I was already doing something else. 🤣

It’s pretty hard to resist those stunning covers, right? Anyway, I was just having a crappy day and my reading had felt quite stunted (in large part due to the slogs of Pachinko and Dune which I had recently ended). I was going through my Kindle thinking, what can I read that will be comfortable and familiar and exciting?

Angellfall was my clear answer. 🥰

I’ve had a stressy few weeks and these really helped give me something to enjoy and escape into. So now that I’ve finished them, what’s up next? Hmmm…

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a slow character study, for a creepily realistic look at how things can suddenly yet subtly cross the line, for a book that’s like the opposite of The Farm


Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.

Until Frida has a very bad day.

The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Key To Fear by Kristin Cast

The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast
Verdict: eh. The second book would probably be better


The Key to Fear (The Key Series Book 1)

 To Health.To Life.To the Future.

We are The Key.

‘No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.

Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…

Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…

After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.

Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God. 


This was better than I expected, because for some reason I kind of expected this to be a B-tier book. I thought it would have somewhat subpar writing, and maybe kind of flat characters, and the plot would be kind of predictable. I guess I forgot that Kristin Cast wrote this, and they have a lot of experience writing books (which I used to love as a teen). So the writing was definitely better than I thought it would be going in!

The rest of it, though….

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Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: The Handmaid’s Tale

I did my first cover roulette post a little while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular book that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

Tonight’s book is one I have, somehow, still not read. It’s been on my shelf since I was in high school. It’s now a tv mini series (or something like that?). I even read the graphic novel recently, which ultimately just made me think I should really read the original. Well, before I get to The Handmaid’s Tale, lets take a look at some of the covers!

The Cover I Know

Okay, to be honest, part of why I probably never ended up reading this when I was younger was because this dowdy cover was next to flashy shiny ones with dragons and magic on my bookshelf. And, let’s be real, that’s still the case. But I’ll still read this… eventually. ☺

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Posted in Book Talk

TBR: The Toll, Arc of a Scythe #3

Oh. My. God. I cannot believe that I didn’t know this was released already!!! The Toll is the third part (and maybe final, I would guess?) of Neal Shusterman’s “Arc of a Scythe” series that started with Scythe way back in 2016. Even before I read the description of that one, I knew I had to read it because Neal Shusterman’s previous series that began with Unwind was astonishingly complex and dark and was one of those books that made you face uncomfortable truths and questions about your own beliefs.

Why wait on this one?

Well, because Neal has managed to do something very rare: make the sequel to a book EVEN BETTER than the first book. Sequel slump? What’s that?? When the second one wound deeper into the theology behind the Scythes’ organization and added in intriguing political machinations and ended with one of the boldest endings ever that even I didn’t think he’d have the balls to go for, I NEED THE NEXT BOOK. Somehow I forgot it was coming out, so shame on me, but the plus side is now I don’t have to wait?

Summary of the first book, Scythe:
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Posted in Reviews

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Renée Nault

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Renée Nault – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Interesting, but mostly made me feel like I need to read the full novel to get now if the details that feel like they’d make the story have more impact. The creep factor of the control of the world was toned down by the shortened adaptation, but enhanced by the visuals that really hit you in the face with how WEIRD the situations were.

Recommended: For people who have already read the original
For a shorter adaptation with effective art that will enhance an already developed story for those who know it

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

My overall impression is that I wasn’t able to get the details I would need about the world and the characters to truly appreciate this. In part due to the nature of a graphic novel, where text is limited, I felt like some of the reasoning of why these things had happened, how our MC got to be where she was, and so on, felt undeveloped. I know that’s partly intentional in the story itself, but it felt a little hollow from here.

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Posted in Reviews

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

The Farm by Joanne Ramos – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a 1984-ish, The Handmaid’s Tale-ish kind of story, for a read that will make you bounce back and forth between whether something is right or wrong until you’re tangled up in knots, for complex evaluations on ways of living and which is better (indignant pride and striving for what you deserve, or gratitude for everything that you have no matter how meager it may seem to others)

They’re pregnant bellies!

Golden Oaks caters to women who need or want a surrogate for their pregnancy – provided they can pay the exorbitant price. In a facility with every amenity, secretively selected women can sign on to be monitored and controlled through their 9 months of pregnancy. The promise of Golden Oaks to its clients is to deliver a perfect baby, given every advantage starting from pre-conception; its promise to its Hosts is a pile of money, more than most could dream of. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.

The surface story within this didn’t compel me as much as the struggle to figure out who was correct in their view of Golden Oaks and their services. I don’t think I ever came up with a clear answer, but it made me consider some important questions and challenge some of my own beliefs, so that in itself made me keep reading.

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