Mini-Reviews: The Queen of Nothing, Tweet Cute, & The King of Crows

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Source: Borrowed

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

My thoughts on this series have been all over the place. While I thought The Cruel Prince had a slow start, I did find myself really enjoying it once it picked up. I found The Wicked King incredibly underwhelming. But The Queen of Nothing? Finally. A book that I loved.

I feel like Jude was at her best in this book. She’s finally lost a lot of the stupidity that defined her character in the first two books. She’s strengthened her relationships with a lot of the other characters and she’s just grown as a character so much.

The main reason this book got four stars and not five is that some major things happen off-page, which was a little disappointing. But aside from that, I really, really enjoyed this book. It was definitely a worthy conclusion to this series.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Source: Borrowed

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected. 

I’d seen so many glowing reviews of Tweet Cute that I was a little nervous to read it. But sometimes, when things get stressful, I turn to cute, fluffy contemporaries. And really, what’s more stressful than a global pandemic that’s prevented me from leaving my house?

Tweet Cute was just what I needed. This book is cute, it’s funny, it’s full of banter, and it includes some really sassy tweets. I liked both Pepper and Jack, and I really appreciated the way the book handled all of the pressure in their lives.

My main dislike in this book was Pepper’s mom, who we’re definitely not supposed to like. She felt one-dimensional and I wish we would have seen more growth and consequences for her character. But overall, this was a super fun book and I’m glad I took the time to read it!

The King of Crows by Libba Bray
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Source: Borrowed

The breath-taking finale to the epic New York Times bestseller, The Diviners, from Printz winner and beloved author, Libba Bray.

After the horrifying explosion that claimed one of their own, the Diviners find themselves wanted by the US government, and on the brink of war with the King of Crows.

While Memphis and Isaiah run for their lives from the mysterious Shadow Men, Isaiah receives a startling vision of a girl, Sarah Beth Olson, who could shift the balance in their struggle for peace. Sarah Beth says she knows how to stop the King of Crows-but, she will need the Diviners’ help to do it.

Elsewhere, Jericho has returned after his escape from Jake Marlowe’s estate, where he has learned the shocking truth behind the King of Crow’s plans. Now, the Diviners must travel to Bountiful, Nebraska, in hopes of joining forces with Sarah Beth and to stop the King of Crows and his army of the dead forever.

But as rumors of towns becoming ghost towns and the dead developing unprecedented powers begin to surface, all hope seems to be lost.

In this sweeping finale, The Diviners will be forced to confront their greatest fears and learn to rely on one another if they hope to save the nation, and world from catastrophe…

I read the first Diviners book in 2013 (pre-blog!), and now, seven years later, the series is done. There isn’t much that I can say about this book without spoiling the series, so I’m going to keep this pretty short.

My favorite thing about this series is the atmosphere. While reading, I actually felt like I was in a spooky version of 1920s New York City. Libba Bray has such a way with words and any time I read one of her books, I’m so pleasantly surprised with how she can transport me directly into the setting.

My second favorite thing about this series is the characters. They’re all different, they have their own stories and struggles, and they’re all so lovable. Even characters that I didn’t necessarily like at the beginning of the series grew on me so much. (Except Jericho. I’m done with him after book three.)

I’m a little sad that this series is over, but I’m excited to read whatever Libba writes next.

Have you read any of these books? Have you read any good YA recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking on a World of Words and just involves answering the 3 Ws!

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Did you do your own WWW Wednesday post today? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wish I had read as a child

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is books I wish I had read as a child. Some of these are books I’ve read as an adult that I know I would have liked more as a child, and others are books that either came out once I was an adult or that I, for whatever reason, haven’t read.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! What books do you wish you’d been able to read when you were younger? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Source: Borrowed

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

I’ve been following Eric Smith on Twitter for a while, and I’ve wanted to read this book ever since he announced its publication. Although I’ve never been much of a gamer (aside from some DS games back in the day), I can definitely appreciate a book that brings to light the struggles that female gamers, and especially female gamers of color, deal with on a regular basis.

While I did enjoy this book, there were a couple things that kept me from loving it. First, I thought that it started very, very slowly. It took me a long time to really care about what was happening to Divya and Aaron. Both of them eventually grew on me and I did become invested in their friendship (and later romance), but it took longer than I would have liked. And second, I felt like everything was over-exaggerated. I know that female gamers are harrassed and doxxed and it’s absolutely terrifying, but a lot of what happened to Divya felt really over-the-top. Why exactly are the Vox Populi so opposed to her, and why do they feel the need to go to such lengths to stop her? I appreciated that the book called out their toxic masculinity, but I felt that could have been explored a little more, and I would have liked to see a bit more resolution of that storyline.

But overall, the book was good. I have a soft spot for online friends-to-lovers and I absolutely loved the progression of Divya and Aaron’s relationship in this book. I’ve seen a lot of reviews that claim it’s unrealistic, but sometimes you meet someone online and you just click.

This isn’t a book that I’d just issue a blanket recommendation for, but if you like feminism and gamer culture with just a touch of romance, you might like this one.

Have you read Don’t Read the Comments? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Heartstopper Vol. 2, Cat’s Cafe, & Ghosted in LA Vol. 1

Heartstopper, Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Source: Purchased

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the second volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.

Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.

Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

This is the second volume of Heartstopper, with more to come. Volume two collects all of chapter three from the ongoing web series.

Charlie and Nick are so cute! I loved watching their relationship develop. It’s so healthy and supportive and great. I loved that Nick and Charlie never pressure each other about anything. Everything is on their terms and it’s just so rare to see two characters in a relationship being on the same page. I loved it.

I also loved watching Nick come to terms with his sexuality and how he wants to define it. I think this is the exact kind of story that the world needs right. It’s a wholesome, fluffy story that seamlessly weaves in some deeper themes in a really natural way.

Cat’s Cafe by Matt Tarpley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Serving up more than just coffee and tea, Cat’s Café  provides its cast of adorable characters a gentle, supportive space and a hefty serving of the warm and floofies.

Welcome to Cat’s Café, a neighborhood coffee shop where all are welcome! Based on the popular webcomic, Cat’s Café introduces readers to the adorable denizens of this world. There’s Penguin, who has a bit of a coffee problem; Rabbit, whose anxiety sometimes overwhelms him; Axolotl, whose confidence inspires his friends; the always-supportive Cat, who provides hot drinks made with love and a supportive ear for anyone’s troubles; and many, many more. With a sensitive take on real issues and a gentle, positive outlook, Cat’s Café is about the power of acceptance, friendship, and love … and delicious cups of coffee.

This book (or collection of comics, I suppose) starts off as probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Cat owns a cafe, Penguin drinks a lot of coffee, and all of their cute friends did cute things that made me smile.

Then it became apparent that many of the characters were struggling with their mental health and coping mechanisms and that was unexpected but very appreciated! I related to Rabbit’s anxiety most of all, and I really loved the message that it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be anxious, it’s okay to cry… and it’s okay to lean on your friends for support.

This was a really great collection and if you love cute animals, you’ll probably love it too.

Ghosted in LA, Vol. 1 by Sina Grace
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2020
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles and finds that the only ones who can help her find love and live life to the fullest are the ghosts of her new home!

In Los Angeles, finding an apartment is killer—unless you live with the dead. Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles for her boyfriend Ronnie, ready to live her happily ever after. But when happily ever after turns into happily for a month, she’s stuck in a strange city with no friends, family, or prospects for fun. Desperate to escape the lingering ghost of Ronnie’s presence everywhere, Daphne sets out to explore the city—and ends up encountering ghosts of a more literal kind! Rycroft Manor is abandoned, beautiful, and haunted. Will the dead be able to help Daphne find the life she’s been missing in the big city? From GLAAD Award-nominated Sina Grace (Iceman) and illustrator Siobhan Keenan (Jem and the Holograms) comes a story about learning how to make friends, find love, and live life to the fullest with a little help from some friends whose lives didn’t end at death.

Collects Ghosted In L.A #1-4.

I absolutely loved the concept of this graphic novel: a young, disillusioned (yet still hopeful) college student moves into a haunted mansion. The first volume of this graphic novel features several very different ghostly characters, all with their own backstories and problems.

The thing is, the backstories are the majority of the plot. I felt like we barely got introduced to these characters before the graphic novel had ended.

This one was fun, but I think I’ll need to read more of the series before really making a judgment.

Have you read any of these books? Have you read any good graphic novels recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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