book reviews

The Ones We’re Meant to Find || DNF Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find

Author: Joan He

Published: 24. June 2021

Edition: Text Publishing

ebook, 384 pages

Genre: Science Fiction | Mystery | Dystopia

Summary:

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

◄ NO RATING ►


As the title of this post says I didn’t finish reading The Ones We’re Meant To Find, I decided to stop reading it at 23%. I just wasn’t enjoying the book and one of my resolutions is to DNF books that I’m actively disliking. I’m very disappointed that it happened with a review book, but I just couldn’t force myself to get through it. I hoped to enjoy this book, but sadly that wasn’t the case – which makes me even sadder since the cover is gorgeous.

What did I not enjoy about this book? I found it confusing. I was reading the book but it felt like my brain retained no info, I just didn’t get what was going on – it felt like I couldn’t properly follow the plot. So that was rather frustrating. I also didn’t care about any of the characters, nothing drew me to them. I just didn’t care what was going to happen in this book, which is why I decided not to finish it. Especially since I know that, if I forced myself to finish it, it would get a low rating for me. So this was the better option. I don’t really know how to end this, since this is the first DNF review I have ever written, but I guess I’ll just leave it at this.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Ana♥

book haul · videos

birthday book haul 🎂

I decided to share all the books that I got for my birthday this year!

At the beginning of May it was my birthday and I decided that it was the perfect time to buy some books. It’s been a long time since I got this many books (since I haven’t really been buying books all that much in the last year or so). My parents are the ones who gave me the money for these books and I’m very grateful to them. They are amazing! I have 7 books in this haul (which isn’t a huge number for many) and I’m exited to read all of them soon-ish!

Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Ana♥

book reviews

Where The Drowned Girls Go || Book Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: Where the Drowned Girls Go

Wayward Children #7 )

Author: Seanan McGuire

Published: 4. January 2022

Edition: Tordotcom

ebook, 160 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Portal Fantasy

Summary:

Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.

There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming.

◄ 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►


The Wayward Children series is one of my favourites, I just love the characters and the adventures they get up to. The world-building is always interesting, as we get a new world in each story (or rather with each character). With that being said, Where The Drowned Girls Go wasn’t a favourite of mine. I think it’s my least favourite instalment in the whole series.

The whole concept of there being another school for children who have visited other worlds was fascinating to me, but I didn’t enjoy the execution that much. The introduction to the school was interesting, though also grim as we find out exactly how much different the school is from Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. There is a lot of power imbalance and bullying in this book, which was hard to read but also realistic. The problem that I had with this instalment is that it felt too rushed. The major turning point in the story (which I won’t get into because it’s spoilers) just happened to quick for me. I wish there was more buildup to it. But that is a problem of this type of book, the story being a novella that is. Usually I don’t have a problem with the length of the books in the Wayward Children series, but in this one I felt it needed to be longer. I enjoyed all the characters in this story, or at least I was interested in all of them. The old ones from previous books and the new ones introduced in this one.

That is basically all that I want to say in regards to this novella (without getting into spoilers). It was a solid instalment in the series but by no means a favourite of mine. I would definitely recommend this series, as it is amazing overall. I look forward to future books in the series and I will hopefully enjoy them more than this one.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Ana♥

tbr · videos

spring reading plans 🌸

I decided to start doing seasonal TBRs this year!

I have wanted to structure my reading in some way for a while now. Monthly TBRs don’t work me, so I knew that was out of the question. I thought about it for a while and decided that I want to try and do seasonal TBRs instead. I’m really happy with that decision and I definitely plan on continuing doing these in the future! (I filmed this video at the start of March, but didn’t get around to posting it until now. So I’m already seeing how this TBR is working for me.)

Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Ana♥

book reviews

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia || Book Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: Certain Dark Things

Authors: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published: 7. September 2021

Edition: Jo Fletcher Books

ebook, 273 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal

Summary:

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerised.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all? 

◄ 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

This is the first Silvia Moreno-Garcia book that I have read, after hearing many amazing things about their work. I can say with certainty that I plan on picking up more of their books, as I really enjoyed Certain Dark Things.

If you know me then you know that I love stories about vampires. When I heard that this book focused on them I knew I had to read it. What I didn’t expect is the rich lore that the author created in this book. There were many different types of vampires with different abilities and histories. I loved learning more about each kind. Their history and their abilities were fascinating. This was probably my favourite aspect of the novel. The world is simply fascinating and I wouldn’t mind reading another story set in it. I must say that in the beginning the world-building was a bit clunky, but that got fixed as the story progressed.

The story was very interesting to me. I couldn’t put the book down, as I needed to know what was going to happen next and how the conflicts would get resolved. At some points in the story the exposition was a bit too much, but nothing too bad that ruined the story. It was very interesting seeing how all the different characters navigate throughout the same city and which difficulties each of them face. I don’t think I can write more about the story without spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this. (Plus, I’ll mention that I liked the way the book ended.)

Now onto the characters. To be honest, I read this book a while ago and I’m just now writing a review so my memory of all of them isn’t the clearest. I liked Domingo and Atl, they were very interesting characters to follow. They are completely different from each other, it was interesting seeing them interact with each other and try to understand one another. Their dynamic was compelling to read about. The only problem that I had with them was the romance. First of all Domingo is 17 and Atl is 23, so that wasn’t sitting right with me. Plus I didn’t really feel the romantic chemistry between them. The romance felt completely unnecessary and I would have enjoyed the story more without it. The other characters that we follow throughout the story were interesting. Each of their perspectives brought something to the table and made the story feel richer. It also showed the different sides of the world, as all of them had a different background.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Certain Dark Things and I definitely plan on reading more from this author in the future.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book reviews

The Vain || Graphic Novel Review

Disclaimer: I received this graphic novel from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: The Vain

Authors: Eliot Rahal, Emily Pearson (illustrator), Fred C. Stresing (illustrator)

Published: 6. April 2021

Edition: Oni Press

ebook, 144 pages

Genre: Vampires | Historical Fiction | LGBT+

Summary:

Chicago, 1941. A blood bank is held up in a robbery, but no cash is taken—only blood. It’s the latest in a string of similar robberies and as the United States prepares to enter World War II, FBI Agent Felix Franklin is certain it’s part of a wider plot to weaken the United States by depriving it of its blood supply. But the truth is much more sinister.

The four robbers are vampires: immortal, physically powerful, and after decades of honing their skills, practically untraceable. But time goes on and the vampires—who call themselves The Vain—stay the same in a world that is rapidly changing around them. As security measures evolve, stealing blood is harder every day. And with every decade that passes, Agent Franklin gets closer to finding them. Capturing them. Ending them.

The Vain is a story about wild, eternal youth, reckless rebellion, endless love, and how in the end…maybe it is better to burn out than fade away.

◄ 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

This graphic novel wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I enjoyed some aspects of it, while others weren’t really my cup of tea.

First of all, I assumed that the story would take place in 1941, as is said in the synopsis. That wasn’t the case. Rather the story jumps throughout many different time periods. At first that didn’t bother me but then it started to feel as if we were spending too little time in each period. It made the story feel rushed and it didn’t feel like we had the time to really get to know the characters. I liked their interactions between each other, but there wasn’t that much that stood out to me in regards to them. Aside from the fact that we had lesbian vampires in this story, which is always great.

The Vain is a very gory graphic novel, so if that is something that bothers you I would recommend staying away from this one. I don’t have a strong opinion on the art in this graphic novel. I liked it well enough, but it’s by no means a favourite of mine. I think it served its purpose in telling the story. The story in itself was interesting and I enjoyed seeing where it would end up, though (as I already mentioned) the pace wasn’t the best. The story did loose me towards the end of it.

Overall, I had fun while reading The Vain but this isn’t a graphic novel that is going to stick with me, as it wasn’t that memorable to me.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book reviews

The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel || Review

Disclaimer: I received this graphic novel from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel

Authors: Mariah Marsden (adapted by) and Hanna Luechtefeld (illustrations)

Published: 15. June 2021

Edition: Andrews McMeel Publishing

ebook, 192 pages

Genre: Classics | Historical | Reimagining

Summary:

Green-growing secrets and magic await you at Misselthwaite Manor, now reimagined in this graphic novel adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale.

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at a secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. First, there’s Martha Sowerby: the too-cheery maid with bothersome questions who seems out of place in the dreary manor. Then there’s the elusive Uncle Craven, Mary’s only remaining family—whom she’s not permitted to see. And finally, there are the mysteries that seem to haunt the run-down place: rumors of a lost garden with a tragic past, and a midnight wail that echoes across the moors at night. 

As Mary begins to explore this new world alongside her ragtag companions—a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals—she learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.

◄ 3 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I had previously read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, so I was already familiar with the story of this graphic novel. Though I have to say that it’s been years and I don’t remember all the details about it. This graphic novel felt very nostalgic to me, due to it being a familial story. I had fun reading this story again, in a new format.

I feet like the message of the original novel was brought through in this, despite it’s short format. Though I also have to say that some of the story felt a bit abrupt. Some of the original story was left out as well, though that is understandable due to the format limitations. I did find the story a bit lacking, I just expected more from it. (I really can’t explain why without getting into spoilers.) Some of the characters were kinda annoying, but I remember thinking that of the original novel as well so this isn’t a fault of the graphic novel. I just felt like mentioning it as well, since it did impact my reading enjoyment.

The art wasn’t my favourite. Don’t get me wrong it’s pretty and enjoyable, but I would have preferred brighter colours. Especially once the garden is discovered. I guess I expected it to have a more magical feeling than it did and that might be my fault. Anyway, the art was good but not what I expected it to be.

The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel was a fun and enjoyable read. It’s very accessible for younger readers who want to get into this story and might be intimidated by the novel. I would recommend checking this one out, if it sounds interesting to you.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book reviews

The Weirn Books Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova || Graphic Novel Review

Disclaimer: I received this graphic novel from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: The Weirn Books, Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods

( The Weirn Books #1 )

Author: Svetlana Chmakova

Published: 16. June 2020

Edition: JY

ebook, 240 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Supernatural

Summary:

In the Night Realm, vampires, shifters, weirns, and other night things passing for human prowl the streets… but they still have to go to school! Ailis and Na’ya are pretty average students (NOT losers), but when a shadow starts looming and a classmate gets all weird, they are the first to notice. It gets personal, though, when Na’ya’s little brother D’esh disappears-It’s time to confront the secrets of the forbidden mansion in the Silent Woods!

◄ 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

This was such a cute and fun graphic novel! This was the first time that I have read anything by Svetlana Chmakova and I must say that I enjoyed myself. I definitely plan on checking out further volumes in this series. Anyway, onto more about Be Wary of the Silent Woods.

The first thing I would like to write about is the art style. As you can see by the cover it’s adorable, I also found it very fitting to the whole atmosphere of the story. By which I mean that it felt very whimsical. The characters were good, but I didn’t particularly fall in love with them. The dialogue between them felt a bit over the top, which is understandable since they are children. I think someone younger would enjoy this graphic novel a lot. I especially enjoyed seeing the familial relationships in this story, they were so sweet. The story was interesting, I enjoyed learning more about the school and the magic of the world. There were some things that I found predictable, but that was expected since this graphic novel is aimed towards a younger audience.

Overall I enjoyed The Weirn Books Vol. 1 quite a bit. The story and setting were fun, I enjoyed learning more about the characters and there were some very heartfelt moments. I would definitely recommend checking this graphic novel out.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book reviews

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo || Book Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

The Singing Hills Cycle #1 )

Author: Nghi Vo

Published: 24. March 2020

Edition: Tor.com

ebook, 112 pages

Genre: Fantasy | LGBT+

Summary:

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

◄ 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

Before I started reading The Empress of Salt and Fortune I had heard nothing but amazing things about it. This novella also sounded like something that I would love, which made me even more exited to read it. I’m happy to say that I ended up loving this book! I now want to read everything that Nghi Vo writes.

I’m not the most eloquent when it comes to describing writing styles, I just know what works for me and what doesn’t. The writing style in The Empress of Salt and Fortune was beautiful and captivating. It was intricately woven and I couldn’t stop reading it. Which is another reason that I need to read everything else by Nghi Vo. I also loved how each chapter was a story within a story, how the past and present connected in a way. The story in itself was fascinating and I wanted to find out more, in both the present and the past one.

The characters in this novella were wonderful. The main character Chih was an amazing protagonist. They were more of an observer than a participant in the story. By that I mean that they are listening to the story that is told to them by Rabbit, an old woman who was the handmaiden to the Empress. Still, I enjoyed learning more about them and getting to know them through the glimpses we got. My two favourite characters in this story were Rabbit and the Empress. I loved learning more about them. Their story was fascinating and I always looked forward to learning more about what was going on with them.

Overall, The Empress of Salt and Fortune was a fantastic novella. The writing style is beautiful, the story and characters compelling. I definitely recommend this book to everyone! I can’t wait to read more by Nghi Vo in the future.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book reviews

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Title: Across the Green Grass Fields

Wayward Children #6 )

Author: Seanan McGuire

Published: 12. January 2021

Edition: Tordotcom

ebook, 176 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Portal Fantasy

Summary:

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem.

◄ 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►


I have read the first three books in the Wayward Children series and I completely adored them! Obviously I was exited to get to Across the Green Grass Fields. Yes, I haven’t yet read the fourth or fifth book in this series but it didn’t matter as this story can stand on it’s own. (Though I do need to get around to the other books soon.)

Seanan McGuire’s writing in the Wayward Children series is gorgeous. I always end up pulled into it from a few sentences. I’m not great when it comes to describing writing styles, all I can say that I love the way McGuire writes and I need to read more books by them. An interesting aspect of this series is the fact that the worlds change with each book, which makes exploring these stories all the more fun. The world in Across the Green Grass Fields was very interesting, I adored how everything was “horse themed”. I was intrigued by all the different beings in this world and I wanted to learn more about everything.

Another interesting aspect of this novella is the fact that we get to see Regan, the main character, from when she was ten to sixteen (if I’m not mistaken with the numbers). It was amazing getting to see Regan’s thoughts and personality throughout the years, especially since she spends all that time in a fantasy setting. Regan’s new adopted family was interesting as well, I enjoyed learning more about them and their relationships with each other and the world that they inhabit. There were two characters that were introduced towards the end of the story that I was curious about, but we didn’t get all that much from them. Which is to be expected from such a short book.

The story was an interesting one. In some ways it felt like a quiet one, since a lot of it is focused on Regan growing up and learning about the new world. Not saying that nothing exiting happens, far from it. This story just felt like it didn’t have the highest stakes, which isn’t a negative it’s actually something I really enjoyed about it. The ending did leave me a bit unsatisfied. I just wanted a little more from it, I wish that McGuire wrote one more chapter for this story. Other than that I really have no complains about this story.

Overall, Across the Green Grass Fields was a fantastic book. The world is fantastic, the characters interesting and the writing gorgeous. What more could I ask for? Obviously I recommend this book to everyone. I’m so glad that this was the first book that I read in 2021.


Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥