The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) – Marie Rutkoski

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) – Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 3, 2020 by Macmillan
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 4, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2), The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.


Okay, I’m going to be a little harsh on this because The Winner’s Trilogy is one of my all-time favorite series, full of cleverness, intrigue, and romantic tension that is a killer. While THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a very different feel than the original Winner’s Trilogy, that’s not what I had a problem with.

I’m pretty tired of naive, in-the-dark main characters and that’s what Nirrim is to me. She was “rescued” from an orphanage and taken in by a woman who pretends she’s nice to her but is actually awful. She tells a boy she loves him and sleeps with him because it makes HIM feel good so it makes her feel good (barf). She’s told what to do and she does it. It was just super cringe-worthy on a lot of levels and yes, it happens. A lot. But I’m just tired of seeing characters who are kept in the dark (by the author) on what’s going on in the book and end up being so submissive to everyone around them because of it. Part of the reason I loved The Winner’s Trilogy is because both Arin and Kestrel are so clever and determined that it was fun reading about their story. I didn’t really know why this was Nirrim’s story until the end of the book.

Speaking of which, almost nothing happens throughout the beginning of the book. We get little hints to the actual plot, but it’s basically Nirrim meeting Sid (which their whole meeting scene was pointless as far as location and how it happens) and then some character development until the plot finally kicks in. I love character-driven books. Heck, The Winner’s Trilogy was incredibly character driven with some awesome underlying political plot, but I didn’t like Nirrim and therefore, I had a hard time finding her chemistry with Sid or really with any character at all. I would be happy to experience that awesome character-driven side of the book but the whole first half was basically Nirrim being a lower class and Sid being the higher class. Sid had the WAY more interesting story in this book and even with what happens in the end, I would have much rather seen the story from Sid’s POV. We could have even kept the secrets about who she is throughout that book somehow. I just really couldn’t care less about Nirrim because SHE made me not want to care about her LOL.

I loved the connections to the original trilogy and honestly, that’s what kept me interested throughout the book. Without it, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did (which was just okay anyway). There were a couple of “shocking” moments that I felt were for shock value and weren’t really necessary (one specific reveal in mind regarding Nirrim’s family history). The ending was actually really interesting and very cool, but I wish we had gotten to see more of that sprinkled throughout the book instead of it being shoved into the end for a huge blow-out. Things changed too quickly and I didn’t even get to spend time with some cool magical reveals, moments, and characters. I also get that it was supposed to be different than The Winner’s Trilogy but the inclusion of the magic and the showiness of some of it made it almost feel like the Capitol in the Hunger Games –way over the top — going from a trilogy that only had the slightest nod to god-magic with Arin and his god to a huge inclusion of magic here. I just wish for a little more consistency throughout the whole book, I guess.

I’m probably curious enough to continue on in the series but I wish I had been able to be more invested from the very beginning. I was expected to be but man, I really didn’t like Nirrim and she was boring. Sid was awesome and I loved her. I’m kind of hoping the second book is from her POV or at least includes it.


Kept Me Hooked On: The Winner’s Trilogy universe! Wait — what even is this universe called? Do we know? Regardless, I looooved that this book took place in the same world AND that it was even connected to the original series too!
Left Me Wanting More: World-building and development along the way. There was a LOT that happened in literally the last chapter of the book. I would have loved to see a little bit more of that along the way.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Some people loved this but it fell a bit flat for me. I’m not sure if you’d love it right off the bat without knowing the original trilogy but I would still recommend reading them first, mostly because it kind of spoils some things if you don’t. It’s not really critical to understanding THE MIDNIGHT LIE but it would affect your read of The Winner’s Trilogy.




Darling Rose Gold – Stephanie Wrobel

Darling Rose Gold – Stephanie WrobelTitle: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Publishing Info: March 17, 2020 by Penguin, Berkley
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: March 6, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she's forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home.


This was just a middle-of-the-road book for me. It’s being branded as a thriller but it’s kind of not that thrilling? There are some psychological aspects to it but it was more just a story about generations of abuse passing down the abuse but in different ways. I can see how it’s more “thriller” being that it could fit under the umbrella of psychological thrillers but it’s much more slow-moving than that.

The book alternates between the POV of Rose Gold and her mother, Patty. Rose Gold’s perspective takes place almost entirely in the past throughout the past five years while Patty has been in prison for child abuse, convicted of poisoning her daughter to keep her sick until she reached the age of 18 and caught on to what her mother was doing to her. Some of the Patty side was more interesting, displaying a different sort of delusion than we normally see in psychological thrillers, showing how her need to control Rose Gold and her need to feel needed as a mother led her to keep her daughter sick, so she could constantly be dependent on her mother. I wish that the author had pushed just a little further into this since we do get Patty’s POV. We see it later on when Patty is taking care of Rose Gold’s baby but I feel like we didn’t get a real reason why she was actually resulting to poisoning. I guess it’s more of an implied thing where Patty is too delusional herself to even admitting to using something to intentionally make her daughter sick…. except she does admit it to herself later. It’s a bit fuzzy and confusing so I’m not quite sure if that was intentional or if we just didn’t quite get one piece of the puzzle to really complete that picture.

The beginning and middle of the book were sort of just blah for me. Most of the book details Rose Gold’s life with her mother, what she went through, and how people treat Patty once she’s released from prison. It just felt like a lot of setting the scene before we got to the breaking points of these characters and I guess the truly horrific stuff started happening (on-page anyway, since we already know what happened to Rose Gold as a child) but to me, it didn’t really read as a thriller all the way through and it just sort of felt like regular fiction, telling a disturbing story but not really bringing the fast-paced thrills that I enjoy and prefer when I’m reading books of this genre. I guess my criticism of the book is more to do with how it’s marketed/presented/reviewed since it wasn’t really what I was expecting.

There were also a few things in the book that didn’t really get explored enough for me so it felt like they were there for shock value or as an “excuse” for behavior. Patty was physically abused (beaten) by her father when she was young and her brother committed suicide in their childhood home so Rose Gold buys Patty’s childhood home, knowing that when Patty gets out of jail, she’ll have to stay with her in the childhood home which held so many bad memories. Like… okay? Yes, that’s a big step to go out of your way to mentally abuse your mother who abused you but the whole point was that it made Patty uncomfortable and she pushed past it. It just seemed like a very big gesture not to be used in some other way in the book. It did add to the list of long thought-out plans to harm her mother but it just seemed kind of weird.

The ending was interesting but we spent so long watching it coming that it didn’t really pack a punch for me and I just felt like I read a book about some kind of unlikable characters. The abuse that they experienced led them to perpetuate the abuse cycle on and on and at a certain point, I was just uncomfortable with and annoyed at both of them.


Kept Me Hooked On: A different kind of thriller? It didn’t really feel like the thrillers I’m used to but I guess it’s just a bit of a different pace! It was interesting to read something outside of my usual pattern.
Left Me Wanting More: Development on some of the things mentioned along the way. There were a few things that were dropped and they just kind of felt like they were there for shock value since they didn’t really get brought up again or developed more in the moment. I wanted a few of the things that happened to mean just a bit more.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

This wasn’t my normal kind of thriller so I just really was expecting something different and yes, something more. Other reviewers seemed to really like it so it seems like it might depend on what your preferences are!




The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back – Marie LuTitle: The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: March 3, 2020 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Date Completed: February 18, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Legend (Legend #1), Warcross (Warcross #1), Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2)

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she'll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl's hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.


I was really excited to try THE KINGDOM OF BACK, something totally different from Marie Lu’s previous books! I’ve read the Legend trilogy and the Warcross duet, so I was interested to see what THE KINGDOM OF BACK would have in store, knowing how a good portal-world book can capture my curiosity. This one ended up being just a bit too different in too many ways for me and it just ended up not being a “me” book.

This was definitely a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” The writing in this book was just lovely and and it was a lot more prosaic and lyrical (which is fitting since the book is about music — ha!) but I usually don’t get along with these types of writing styles with very few exceptions. If that’s a writing style that you enjoy, I think this could be an instant hit for you, but I just know it’s something that I don’t particularly care for and I feel like things end up being too drawn out.

I also just had a complicated relationship with the book overall. I really, really did not like the fantasy aspect of the book. There is a portal world/alternate universe type-thing happening here but it really wasn’t what I was expecting. It largely revolved around faeries which I have zero interest in and some of the faerie magic was just a bit too fanciful for me. My magical preferences are more about systems and structures than whimsy so I just really didn’t care for it at all and I hated the parts that glanced back over at the faerie world. It wasn’t that it was bad, but again, tooootally not my thing.

The children are young for most of the book and it takes a very long time for them to even been teenagers, so I would barely even call this YA. It’s more so a book that maybe doesn’t need an age categorization since it’s not a specifically teen coming-of-age story but really just a story about these two children and their lives. I also didn’t understand for the beginning of the book why it was important for this story to be about the Mozart children and it was kind of annoying that it could have been anyone. This does make a little more sense and ties into the story more as the book goes on, so I eventually did end up liking how it tied in (even if I didn’t like the fantasy world still). By the time the book was ending, I actually found that I would have liked the Mozart story by itself all together and a fun YA historical fiction book about the Mozart children that didn’t have fantastical elements would have been cool too.

I think fans of The Hazel Wood and Uprooted will enjoy this. 

There is an author’s note at the end of the book where Marie Lu explains the origins of the book. She had discovered that Mozart had a sister that was barely ever heard of so she investigated her story, and The Kingdom of Back was a real (well, “real”) place that the Mozart children invented and they used it to pass the time in their carriage rides (which does happen in the book, as well as further development of the world). If I had known that beforehand, it would have been much more interesting knowing that The Kingdom of Back actually had historical origins and that was why/how the book came about. I still wouldn’t have cared about the fairy world but it would have made me a little more interested to understand actual historical significance of the fantasy world and that’s why it was included. That author’s note to allow me the hindsight to make this connection is the only reason I felt in the middle about this book instead of disappointed.

It’s actually weird looking back because I really enjoyed the end of the book and it left on a good note. The book wasn’t bad at all but between the writing and the faerie world, it really just wasn’t my style and if I had known that, I might have not read the book or at least waited to hear from someone else if I might like it. I’m actually still kind of glad I read it because I did enjoy the historical aspect of the book but I wish I could have enjoyed it more!


Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction. I really don’t usually enjoy historical fiction, but I really enjoyed knowing that this stemmed from something real in history. That’s really what held my interest!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I just really didn’t care for the fantasy aspect in this book, weirdly enough. It was too whimsical for me and I just don’t love fairy type fantasy.

Addiction Rating
Check the reviews

I think you’ll either love it or end up feeling like I do. If this is your style, you’ll probably love it! If you think we share some opinions, I would say check out some more reviews.




What I Loved [February 2020]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!



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February was shorted but somehow “better” than January reading-wise! It depends on how you look at it. I read more books but had fewer pages, but all of Feb’s reads were brand-new versus some re-reads in January. I meant to re-read something each month but it kept feeling like I had just done a re-read so I managed not to get one in somehow! Here’s what I read in Feb:


  • 🎧 Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 📖 All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⠀ ⠀
  • 🎧 Pet Sematary by Stephen King | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | ⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 📖 Remember by Eileen Cook | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⠀
  • 🎧 Ashlords by Scott Reintgen | ⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Better Liar by Tanen Jones | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Wives by Tarryn Fisher | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⠀
  • 🎧 The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⠀
  • 🎧 Nocturna by Maya Motayne | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⠀


  • # BOOKS READ: 16
  • # BOOKS DNF: none
  • # PAGES READ: 5966
  • # AUDIOBOOK HOURS: 10,353
    • 5 STARS: 0
    • 4.5 STARS: 3
    • 4 STARS: 5
    • 3.5 STARS: 4
    • 3 STARS: 4
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 2
    • AUDIOBOOK: 13
    • HARDCOVER: 1


I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in February:

  • Weeds (Netflix): Season 6 – Season 8 (finished series)
  • The Sinner (Netflix): Season 1, finished first season/first part
  • Twin Peaks (Netflix): Season 1, Episodes 1-4

I finally finished watching Weeds! I actually breezed through it pretty quickly but I had started watching it yeeeeeears ago and then never made it past season five, I think because I just didn’t have access to Showtime anymore? I decided to rewatch from the beginning back in January and finished this month! I tried watching Twin Peaks but it was a little too soap opera for me. I feel like it was just about to start going somewhere but I decided to stop… for now.

What to Do With All of That Extra Book Merch… Or Where to Find More!

If you’re a collector of merch for all of your favorite book series, there are a number of place online or via apps to either destash some things you won’t be needing anymore or keep an eye out for things you’re hoping to get! Here are a few of the places I use to both buy and sell bookish items, collector’s editions, and things that can’t be sold in online stores!


This is probably the largest community you’ll find to buy, sell, or trade bookish merch, and it doesn’t have to come directly from an Owlcrate box! I’m guessing Owlcrate created this community to swap or search for items from their own boxes but by now it’s this huge group where people post all kinds of things to sell or trade, including exclusive items from boxes, special editions of books, ARCs for trade, or really anything you can think of related to bookish merch! It doesn’t have to be exclusive items either. Want to unhaul some books? You can put those up for sale and see if anyone is interested!
Membership Required? Yes. It is through Facebook so you do have to have a Facebook account and you also need to request to join the group and be approved.
Special Rules? Yes, check out the rules once you’re approved to join the group! They’re pretty common sense, kind person type of rules but there are some other things to note when you’re selling items!
How to pay for things or get paid: PayPal only. For everyone’s protection, every transaction between buyers is to be made as PayPal Goods & Services.
Link to Join: OwlCrate Official B/S/T


If you’re trying to get more bookish items for your collections and you want to ask for something specifically, head on over to the Bookish ISO Group! While you may find what you’re looking for based on what someone is selling, this group allows you to post about what you want specifically so you can create your own post about what you’re in search of (ISO = in search of). This group is an off-shoot of the OwlCrate BST group when it got to be way too much having all of the ISO posts alongside the selling posts, so this is now its own dedicated group. They also try to limit the amount of spoilers in this group so if you do subscribe to a box, things are kept a little hush-hush for a few days until people start to get their boxes so you won’t get constantly spoiled by being a part of the group.
Membership Required? Yes. It is through Facebook so you do have to have a Facebook account and you also need to request to join the group and be approved.
Special Rules? Yes, check out the rules once you’re approved to join the group! They’re pretty common sense, kind person type of rules but there are some other things to note when you’re selling items!
How to pay for things or get paid: PayPal only. For everyone’s protection, every transaction between buyers is to be made as PayPal Goods & Services.
Link to Join: Bookish ISO Group


Mercari is a selling app where people can go on to sell whatever goods they’re looking to get rid of! This app isn’t book-specific so you can find tons of other things on here too but there’s a good little niche of people who post a lot of special editions and book box merch. It’s a little bit easier sometimes than having to create a PayPal invoice for someone or make a huge list of items for the Facebook groups, or it’s a nice way to sell and look for things if you don’t have a Facebook account or don’t want one.
Since it is an app and service, Mercari does take a 10% fee out of anything you sell, but they take it right off the top before you get paid and they let you know how much money you stand to make out of what you’re selling. You do need to take at least one photo for the listing and go through their standard categories and questions when listing.
Unlike Facebook Marketplace, Mercari is a shipping-only website/app so anything you sell or buy will be shipped — no face-to-face encounters. You can choose to set your own shipping rates (including free shipping) or use Mercari’s labels to select a price automatically.
Membership Required? Yes, you have to sign up for Mercari’s service and you do have to do most of the transactions through the mobile app.
Special Rules? All items must be shipped (I’m sure you could get around this if you REALLY wanted to meet someone in person), Mercari takes a 10% cut, special rules that usually apply for selling groups (no harmful items, no illegal items etc) but you’re also not allowed to sell food/drink so no bookish teas or coffees on here! You’re also allowed to make special offers on items, the seller can offer discounts or “promote” items at a lower price, or you can message to see if someone’s willing to budge on a price.
How to pay for things or get paid: PayPal or credit/debit card. In order to receive your funds from when you sell something, the buyer must first receive the item and then rate you. Once the funds hit your account, you can transfer to a bank account or use that cash to buy something else on the app!


AbeBooks is an online bookstore, similar to Amazon’s used copies. AbeBooks allows booksellers and stores to cross-post their books onto the website as a middle-man to get their books out to buyers so you’ll see companies from all over the world sell here. You can purchase books from other countries and other versions, so there are a lot of foreign editions to choose from too if you’re a collector! Some prices can be steep but sometimes you’ll find a good deal or an edition you’ve been waiting for and want to shell out the money in order to grab it. I wouldn’t really say this is the best place to sell your books, more so seek out some editions from stores across the world.
Membership Required? You can sign up for an account. I don’t know if they make you when you check out but it doesn’t cost you anything to do so.
Special Rules? Not really! Just standard buying and selling practices when purchasing from a website. Make sure you check their policies on how things get handled if the company doesn’t ship a book or it gets lost in transit! Overseas purchases can be tricky.
How to pay for things or get paid: PayPal or credit/debit card


The Little Free Library program is all over the WORLD! This is a better option if you’re just looking to unhaul books and get rid of them, not looking to profit or anything but you may get a trade out of it! Little Free Library, if you haven’t seen or heard of it before, is pretty much what it sounds like! Someone creates a little structure outside of a home/business/park/wherever that officially associates with Little Free Library. It looks like a little house or building and has doors to open and close to keep the books inside safe. Anyone, anytime, anywhere is free to drop off books to donate or take some in return! You just have to find one on their map to see what’s closest to you. This is really only for books, but books of any kind! Merch buyers or sellers would need to seek other options.
Membership Required? Nope! Just find a Little Free Library near you and drop off or peruse some of their items. If you’re looking to set up a Little Free Library of your own, you may want to check out their website. The libraries themselves may have some guidelines!
Special Rules? Not that I know of! Just pick up or drop off. I would say some common courtesy applies, like don’t take ALL of the books in the LFL when you’re taking one…
How to pay for things or get paid: No payment necessary!


There are still tons of other ideas on where to get rid of some books/merch or how to get more. Here are just a few more places and ideas!

  • Used Bookstore
  • eBay (for items that have monetary value only. please don’t sell ARCs here)
  • Facebook Marketplace outside of the above Facebook groups
  • Other Facebook groups that have B/S/T options like Illumicrate BST, The Fairyloot Club, ARC Trades Only, Biblophile’s B/S/T, Buy/Sell/Trade YA Books
  • Donate to a local library or local teacher/school (check in with them first! Libraries and schools are not always accepting donations)
  • Thrift store (this can include merch too!)
  • Garage sale

How do you unhaul your books/bookish merch? Do you often go looking for more? Where to you find them?

Mini-Review: Time of Death (A Stillwater General Mystery #1) – Lucy Kerr

Mini-Review: Time of Death (A Stillwater General Mystery #1) – Lucy KerrTitle: Time of Death (A Stillwater General Mystery #1) by Lucy Kerr, Erica O'Rourke
Publishing Info: December 13, 2016 by Penguin Random House, Crooked Lane Books
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: May 28, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Dissonance (Dissonance #1), Harmonic (Dissonance #1.5), Resonance (Dissonance #2)

It’s been twelve years since ER nurse Frankie Stapleton fled the quiet banks of Stillwater, but with her sister’s pregnancy taking a dangerous turn and a string of failed relationships in Chicago hanging over her, Frankie is back–and hoping to put the past behind her. Within minutes of arriving at Stillwater General Hospital however, she ends up saving a man’s life, only to have him turn up dead hours later – and the hospital blames Frankie.

Her instincts say Clem Jensen didn’t die of natural causes, but the more she digs, the more she discovers too many suspects, a few surprising allies, and some hard truths about the first man she ever loved–and left. Now the boy she once knew is a skeptical sheriff’s deputy, her family's hardware store is in jeopardy, and the rift between Frankie and her loved ones is deeper than ever.

With her career–and future–on life support, Frankie must catch a killer, clear her name, and heal the wounds of the past in Lucy Kerr’s enthralling mystery debut, Time of Death


I’m so glad I finally read this book! It was a fun mystery that had more of a contemporary focus than a lot of mystery/thrillers do. The main character is back in town to help her family and runs into her old first-love/ex-fiance so there’s a lot of family stuff going on as well as a little hint of a potential romance. I love how the romance wasn’t rushed and there’s still plenty of time to explore that option in the rest of the series!

The mystery was also really well-put together. There were clues laid about so things were still constantly coming to light but the ending was a bit of a mystery until the reveal. I’m usually reading some darker thrillers or mysteries so this was a fun change of pace! It was somewhere in between a silly/fluffy cozy mystery and that dark thriller. A very happy middle!


Kept Me Hooked On: Mysteries. I read a lot of thrillers and I had fun reading something that was more into the mystery realm without that element of constant suspense.
Left Me Wanting More: Books! I was pretty satisfied with this one so I’d say I’d just like to read more of this series and see where the character storylines go too!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a really good read for me and I loved reading an adult mystery that wasn’t a thriller (as much as I love thrillers). I think it’s easily readable by those who like contemporary romances too!




All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) – Adalyn Grace

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) – Adalyn GraceTitle: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace
Publishing Info: February 4, 2020 by Macmillan, Imprint
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: February 8, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.


I went into ALL THE STARS AND TEETH with an open mind because I haven’t been getting along with a lot of new YA fantasy lately. Catch me at the beginning of this book and I was raving about how happy I was that I was excited, interested, and swooning over bantery pirates! The more I read, the less interested I became and by the end, I felt like I just wanted to know what happened and how the book would end.

I didn’t totally love Amora throughout the whole book, but it was easier to understand her in the beginning of the book because she didn’t know what was going on and it was interesting to follow her while she was figuring everything out. There was a lot for her to discover throughout the whole book but for some reason it was easier for me to connect with her in the beginning. I loved Bastian, our sassy pirate, and I really liked the attitude and tone he brought to this story! Obviously being a main character, he has a big role in the overall plot as well, but he certainly did keep things interesting. He and Amora had some great chemistry and of course, I loved the cleverness. I also really liked Ferrick who added something really nice to the group dynamic. I don’t want to go too far into it because there’s a lot that happens in the beginning and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked that he became a part of the book and that he was the kind of “nice guy”. It was easy to be sympathetic to him and I felt like he brought a nice balance to the group.

I think Adalyn Grace packed a lot of punches in the beginning of the book that I wasn’t expecting, including Bastian, who he was, and why he was there, so it was really exciting! She didn’t save every twist until the very end and I was really happy to see some things to help kick off the book. The pacing was pretty consistent throughout the book but there was a point in the middle where I had to put the book down (just because of reading time) and I wasn’t able to come back for a week and then…. I just a hit a stall in interest. Things didn’t quite pick up again like I had hoped and there were moments when I found Amora more irritating while she was discovering some of the politics of her world. It just started to hit a point where everything felt a little more tropey and I was sad that it lost that magical spark for me.

The magic system and world building were pretty cool but I also felt like they could have been developed a liiiiittle bit more for me to really latch onto them. It still felt like a lot about the magic was thrown in at the beginning, which I guess you kind of need in order to understand some parts of the world, but I almost wanted to discover it a little more slowly because some parts of the magic and world-building felt like a bit of an info dump. There’s a bit of a journey in the middle and there are some pieces of some of the magics that are explored but there’s not really a reason why or how or how much. Magic doesn’t always need a why because sometimes that’s just a part of what the world is, but I felt like I needed just a bit more than “everyone has magic and here’s what they can do”. I felt like if we went one layer deeper, I would have really appreciated the world more.

I’m a little bummed because I really did love the beginning so much and I was talking it up, but I just really lost interest towards the end and just wanted to be done reading it. It wasn’t bad at all but I felt like it started off as something special and different and then it just fell into the pattern of the average YA fantasy novel. I’m sure others will really enjoy it but it just fell a little flat to me towards the end.


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Kept Me Hooked On: Pirates. So I don’t always care about pirate books but I WANT to care. The pirate part was kind of major, kind of minor, but it worked SO WELL.
Left Me Wanting More: World/magic depth. There are secrets about the magic, we know, but I just wanted a little bit more world-building and magic depth. I would have rather spent a few more pages working on those elements to really secure a world instead of some of the fluffy descriptions of towns or appearances.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I bet a lot of people will really love this one. I enjoyed it so much in the beginning but I’m left a little sad that it kind of turned for me towards the end. I just felt like the beginning was so different and towards the middle, it fell into typical YA plotting.




A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) – Holly Jackson

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) – Holly JacksonTitle: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson
Publishing Info: February 4, 2020 by Random House Publishing Group, Delacourte Press
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: January 30, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn't add up, and a girl who's determined to find the real killer--but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can't shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn't want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you'll never expect.


This was such an interesting read and great fun with added interview portions! The audiobook had a full cast that jumped in to be characters that were being interviewed, so that was a neat addition for the audiobook versus reading the print copy. I’m always big into audiobooks but that was also something that really set the reading experience apart and made the audiobook a unique experience!

I’m always nervous when I read YA mystery/thrillers because there has to be a valid reason why the teens wouldn’t work with adults or cops. In this book, it’s Pip’s capstone project to solve a murder. Well, really it’s supposed to be social media’s influence on investigations, but she uses that as a reason to investigate the murder of a teenager five years ago, wanting to prove that the accused murderer was actually innocent. Things went really smoothly (well, they went horribly wrong but the plotting was smooth) as far as this being a conceivable story. There were only a couple moments where I got annoyed with Pip for one of those dumb reasons that she felt like she couldn’t talk to someone else, but that was about it!

I was also really impressed that this book constantly kept me guessing. Pip gets a great deal of answers throughout the book so the reader still feels like they’re constantly solving the mystery. One question leads to another, but then we get an answer and a different question. Holly Jackson did a great job at keeping the pacing consistent and moving forward. Lots of doors are opened to the things that were hidden years ago and Pip slowly uncovers mystery after mystery. We finally get the answer in the end and THEN we get even more answers. I just felt like the book was really well-written and very carefully executed!

In checking out more details on the book, it looks like it got picked up to be a pretty big series (Goodreads it showing four books so far) and I am totally here for it! I wonder if they’re going to be related, companions, or totally unrelated. No matter what it is, I’m looking forward to more mystery investigations from Holly Jackson!


Kept Me Hooked On: YA mystery/thrillers. I love when I get a good thriller and it’s even better when I’m pleasantly surprised! I always hope to enjoy what I read and I really just loved the pacing of this.
Left Me Wanting More: Laughs? I don’t know why but I thought this was going to be campy, probably from the title. I’m almost glad that it turned out not to be what I was expecting because I’m glad that it wasn’t silly but I am always craving some dark comedy like that.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed this one. Sometimes I have a hard time with YA mystery/thrillers and everyone having valid reasons why they need to take investigations in their own hands. Holly Jackson made me throw those questions out the window and just enjoy reading without thinking about any of that stuff!




What I Loved [January 2020]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!



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January was a pretty good month! I had a lot of unusual reads for me, stepping outside of my comfort zone which was pretty cool! It was fairly consistent with some good, solid reads even if none of them were amazing yet.

I’m also really trying to get back into my #bookstagram photos! I had a lot of fun in December getting creative and posting my top reads of 2019 so I made it a goal to follow some more photo prompts and keep that fun going!


  • 🎧 The Martian by Andy Weir | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ ⠀
  • 🎧 Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⠀
  • 🎧 Replica by Lauren Oliver | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (reread) ⠀
  • 📖 A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Starsight by Brandon Sanderson | ⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (reread) ⠀
  • 🎧 The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 A Good Marriage by Stephen King | ⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 A Good Girl’s a Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨


  • # BOOKS READ: 14
  • # BOOKS DNF: none
  • # PAGES READ: 6341
  • # AUDIOBOOK HOURS: 11,359
    • 5 STARS: 1
    • 4.5 STARS: 3
    • 4 STARS: 3
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 3
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 2
    • AUDIOBOOK: 13
    • HARDCOVER: 1


I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in January:

  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix): watched latest installment
  • Weeds (re-watch, Netflix): re-watch through season 5 so far
  • The Ranch (Netflix): watched almost all of latest installment
  • The Martian (movie, Xfinity streaming)
  • Vampire Academy (movie, I don’t streaming)
  • Let It Snow (movie, Netflix)
  • The Magicians (new episodes as they air, I watch the day after via SyFy streming)
  • Manifest (live TV, new episodes as they air)

I was too lazy to go look up what the actual new seasons were, but you get the drift, haha! I also didn’t do one of these wrap-up posts for December so I also find it noteworthy that I watched Season 2 of Killing Eve in December because I loved watching that show! There’s just so much on, I often forget what I’ve watched by the time the month is over.

I’m so happy to be rewatching Weeds because it’s such a fun (but also stressful) show and I don’t think I ever finished. I actually think I’m coming up to the point where I stopped last time so it’ll be interesting to see where it keeps going!

I’m also working on watching some book-to-movie adaptations this year and I watched three movies! The Martian was very good. A bit anticlimactic at times having just read the book, but I also definitely cried at the end. Vampire Academy was just plain horrible. And Let it Snow was cute! The book was kind of boring so I liked how the movie was more diverse and some plot points were changed to make a better movie.

As Seen on Bookstagram | The Night Circus

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!


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I just read THE NIGHT CIRCUS for the third time and it was another completely magical experience!

I originally posted this photo for a photo prompt about the circus but I incidentally ended up re-reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS again when I was looking for a re-read and didn’t know what to pick.

I read this book for the first time in 2012 and fell in love with the writing, atmosphere, characters, and story. I finally decided to give it a re-read in 2017 because five years later, I had pretty much forgotten everything that happened except for a few broad plot points and some of the characters. Reading it for the third time allowed deeper layers to come to light and this book just gets deeper and deeper the more you read it!

Erin Morgenstern packs this book with so much incredible detail. The first time I read it, I took away the overall story of the Celia and Marco and their tether to the Night Circus, pretty much forgetting everything else. The second time I read it, I realized how much I forgot about the importance of Poppet and Widget and remembered their story a little bit more. The third time, I realized I had completely forgotten about Bailey and then a lot of the secondary characters who may have smaller roles but are still critically important to the book and the outcome of the overall tale. There’s so much to discover and take in each time you read this book and I’m so happy I gave it another read! I think I enjoy it more and more each time and really just get lost in this book.

Re-reading this book also made me even more excited to re-read THE STARLESS SEA. I know I’ll take away so much more from that book the more I read it to, knowing the levels of depth that Erin Morgenstern can include in her books so that’s definitely on my list of re-reads within the coming years!

Do you have any books that seem to get more and more detailed each time you read them?

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates!