Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith


Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf, #1)

Title: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)

Author: Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 373

Source: Library

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

2 out of 5 stars


I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of this book; there just wasn’t much to the story.

Bloodleaf follows Aurelia who pretends to be a girl named Emilie when she runs away to a different city. She is learning to use her blood magic powers and ends up becoming besties with some people that are high up in the government in this new place. Emilie (Aurelia) is actually the princess but none of her new friends know this, and she gets brought into different issues because of her blood magic.

There just wasn’t a lot happening in this book that warrants being a great story, honestly. The magic system was NOT described hardly at all. I was just kind of confused when it came to what was actually happening. Also, Aurelia literally has no idea how to use this blood magic. She doesn’t know what she’s doing when she flees home to come to this new place, and then starts messing with it and perform the magic perfectly by the end of the book… umm? I get that you need to practice something in order for it to be a thing, but come on. She has no one teaching her. There’s literally no way that she would know what she’s doing.

The talking to spirits/ghosts/whatever they are was also not explained at all. How does she know how to communicate with these people, and why is she able to? There are just so many unexplained questions I have about this book.

The romance was SO DUMB. So Aurelia was in love with this guy from home before and when he’s bringing her to the new place he literally falls off a cliff. I actually laughed out loud because it was just so dumb, and then she’s magically just over him in 2 seconds. Like no big deal, the guy you’ve been in love with for your whole life is just dead and it’s not an issue. Then she goes and starts falling in love with this guy who turns out to be the sickly prince she was supposed to marry in the first place. *eyeroll*

The relationship with her and this undercover prince is just so… weirdly forced. It’s also unsuccessfully trying to be the hate-to-love trope. Which I actually usually enjoy, but it was just poorly executed, in my opinion.

This is one of those books that I didn’t really realize I had so many feelings about until I starting writing this review… so there’s that lol.

I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy this book that much was because I just don’t do well with ebooks. So I started reading this on my Nook right when it came out because it is the group book for the readathon I co-host on my YouTube channel, but I just don’t connect with the books as much. Then I got the book from the library and finished it much faster. Idk, so that could be a factor but it could also just not be a great book for me.

Thanks for reading this rant-y review have a great day give the book a try if you wanna.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 672

Source: Barnes and Noble

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t realize how much there is about the Blackthorns in this book! It just makes me that much more excited to reread The Dark Artifices series omg. I’m actual trash for Emma and Julian so seeing them… I’m totally not prepared for Lord of Shadows or Queen of Air and Darkness.

I love Simon, so this book is always enjoyable to read for me. I love these anthologies because they’re easy to read and give a little more information on my favorite characters. I forgot so much about this book. I think I’ve only read this one once, and the Dark Artifices weren’t published when this came out, so I didn’t understand the extent of the Blackthorns, but now I know. Now I understand, and like I said, I’M TRASH FOR THEM. I love all the characters so much wow.

Also, George. So cute. So sweet. I wish the thing didn’t happen to him. Sad.

The story with Alec and Magnus and baby Max makes me extra suspicious about this new baby. I think that Max is super fricking cute and I love reading about Alec and Magnus, but guys. Something has to happen with the backstory of this child. There’s no way it won’t come up in the Malec books.

I just love these books, everyone knows that lol. I loved them from the start and will FOREVER read everything by Cassandra Clare. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a signing for a future book :)

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Man Who Quit Money – Mark Sundeen


The Man Who Quit Money – Mark Sundeen

The Man Who Quit Money

Title: The Man Who Quit Money

Author: Mark Sundeen

Release Date: March 6, 2012

Publisher: Riverhead

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 260

Source: Local bookstore

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings—all thirty dollars of it—in a phone booth. He has lived without money—and with a newfound sense of freedom and security—ever since. The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn’t pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare. He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs—for shelter, food, and warmth—but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement. By retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo from an idealistic childhood through youthful disillusionment to his radical reinvention of “the good life,” Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about the decisions we all make—by default or by design—about how we live. The Man Who Quit Money inspires us to imagine how we might live better.

3 out of 5 stars


This wasn’t really what I was expecting.

I think the tagline of this book is a little deceiving because yes, he did ‘begin to live’ in a completely new and different way, but his way of living seems very unique to him. I also don’t like paying taxes on the money that I make, but that doesn’t mean I want to go dumpster diving for every single meal.

Daniel Suelo’s life was really interesting to read about because there seemed to be so many coincidences, but more like manifestation turned into reality. I enjoyed the parts about his no money lifestyle, but wasn’t super super interested in a lot of the parts about the randomness of his life. He has had a very spiritual journey throughout his life which ended up kind of making a full circle, which was cool to see.

My favorite part of this book was at the end when there was information about sustainability and more eco-friendly living. That’s what I thought this whole book would be about, so I enjoyed getting to read about that even if it was just a short section. There were quite a few book and documentary recommendations that I will hopefully try and read/watch.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies – Ryan Mitchell


Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies – Ryan Mitchell

Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies

Title: Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies

Author: Ryan Mitchell

Release Date: May 1, 2016

Publisher: Adams Media

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 156

Source: my wonderful mother

Join the tiny house trend!
 
The tiny house movement is a big trend with a very small footprint. Extremely small house, with less than 1,000 square feet of space, are environmentally friendly, less expensive than typical homes, and often movable. Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is full of ideas for using reclaimed materials and upcycled goods to construct a tiny house that is good for the earth and truly unique. Ryan Mitchell, author of The Tiny Life blog, shows you how to repurpose everyday items to create your new home, including shipping containers, salvaged barn wood, and reclaimed shingles.

Featuring profiles on tiny house owners with photographs and floor plans of the homes, ideas on where to find materials, and what to look for and avoid when selecting reclaimed materials, Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is a unique book perfect for your biggest DIY project yet!

4 out of 5 stars


This book has me so excited to build my tiny house.

I’ve been obsessed with tiny houses for a few years now, and now that I’m in the transition stage of becoming an adult its been having me thinking about it more and more. Tiny houses are so smart. They’re sustainable and eco-friendly. They’re cheap so I wouldn’t have to have a 30 year mortgage. They’re easily moveable (if you have it on wheels). It just seems like the PERFECT option for me for a first home. So, I’ve been reading up on them more and more.

I love the idea of using reclaimed materials to source a majority of the things I would need to build a tiny house, and this book had some amazing tips when it came to finding and using reclaimed materials. This not only makes the build MUCH cheaper, it’s also so much more eco-friendly and sustainable because you typically are keeping a lot out of landfills.

There was one home in this book that really inspired me with the decor and layout. I want reclaimed wood flooring, a loft for the bedroom, and pretty much white everything. I love how light and bright the space looked! Here are some tiny house inspirations that I LOVE!

The living room is located under the bedroom loft and has room for a large couch. The couch shown in the pictures below is a Wayfair storage couch that converts into a bed.

Cozy and charming stops me in my tracks every time!  In fact, I'd choose a small house with loads of detail over a fancy mansion any day.…

Tiny House Tour: A Custom 160-Square-Foot Home | Apartment Therapy

They’re literally just the cutest things ever and I want to create one :)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo


Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 462

Source: Barnes and Noble

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

4 out of 5 stars


I totally understand the hype. I get it. I’m part of it.

Six of Crows follows a group of 6 criminals tasked with breaking a very important man out of prison, but not just any prison… the most well secured prison there is. They have to work together despite their differences, and if they succeed, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Some of this infamous band of thieves are called Grisha, who are people with magical powers that are able to be honed and used for either good or evil.

Six individuals. Six very different lives. Thousands of opportunities to fail. Can they complete the mission?

This book REALLY wanted to be a 5 star book for me, and it was almost there. It was still a really great book, but I think life stuff took over a little bit for me and it was kind of hard to focus on what was actually happening in my life, so my reading took a backseat. I am very happy to announce that I am now out of my reading slump! And I can give credit to this book yay thanks Leigh Bardugo.

Anyway, enough of the tangents.

I seriously LOVED theses characters. I loved their depth and complexity and how the whole book lends itself to being morally very grey, so it makes you wonder about each one of the characters. Every character is different and has a unique, very complex and detailed, backstory that just adds so much to the book. I also really enjoyed the multiple perspectives a lot. I honestly have felt like I prefer from one POV my whole life, but after this book I can totally totally totally see the draw for having multiple perspectives. I loved getting to see into each of the characters and learn more about their backstories.

Now here’s the deal. There is SO. MUCH. ROMANTIC. TENSION. IN. THIS. BOOK. I’m not saying sexual tension because no one actually got together… yet. I know it has to happen in the second book, but the set up for all the relationships? AMAZING.

These are spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to be spoiled *I promise you don’t* then come back again. Hope you enjoyed your time here, thanks byeeeee.

I’m going to break this next section into the (potential) couples and talk about them a little individually.

Kaz and Inej – Kaz is such a broken sad-boy, but he’s also super strong and cares so much, he just doesn’t know how to show it. He wants to love Inej, and he realizes that he truly does have feelings for her, but doesn’t know how to tell her. Inej has been falling for Kaz since day one, but he’s such a mystery that you can’t really blame her for not trying to pursue him seriously. I love that Kaz told Inej to stay in Ketterdam and even though she’s loved him for FOREVER she stayed strong and didn’t let herself be whisked away by his words. You go, Inej! I am kind of pissed that Kaz didn’t go after Inej at the end…. there will definitely be something about that and I’m predicting that Crooked Kingdom will start off with her.

Jesper and Wylan – I don’t know what it is, but I’m ALWAYS a sucker for a non-heterosexual relationship, and one is brewing here between Jesper and Wylan. I think I just see that love is love no matter what *honest opinion, it’s okay if you don’t agree* and it’s so cute seeing these two interact. I’m rooting for this relationship so much and I’m going to be really salty if it isn’t carried out well in the next book.

Nina and Matthias – Okay, I lied. There is definitely some sexual tension in this relationship. They’re not supposed to want each other, but they literally can’t help themselves. Even after everything that they’ve gone through, they NEED each other. Nina is going through some hard stuff at the end of this book because she sacrifices herself for the group (Matthias) and just wants everything to work out so she and Matthias can maul each other later, but we do get a very passionate kiss scene from them. Yay living vicariously through book relationships lol. I was SHOOK when Matthias seemingly betrayed Nina. Oh man I was pissed. But no worries, it all worked out within a few chapters, but you should have seen me furiously flipping the pages.

I love all the characters because, like I said, they’re all so complex and unique. Their backstories are so cool and that’s part of what makes this book so great. There is a depth to this book that is missing with a lot within the young adult genre.

If you can’t tell, I really did like this book, and I am SO EXCITED to read Crooked Kingdom. I’ve heard that it only gets better! I do think that I will reread this duology in the future because I think theres still more to unpack from this book. If you like fantasy, you should read this. You won’t be disappointed!

Series:

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Aubrey Joy

Review: My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella


My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life

Title: My Not So Perfect Life

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Bantam Press

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth.

4 out of 5 stars


My Not So Perfect Life follows Katie Brenner through her newly formed life in London at a fancy marketing company. She feels like she’s finally figuring the big city life out and enjoys her job… or so she tells herself. She’s so desperately wanted to love everything about London that she might be compromising with some of the things in her life. Like her hour long commute on the Tube, and living in a small flat with two roommates she doesn’t like. But she loves her London life, right? Katie is struggling at work to be noticed by her seemingly perfect boss, Demeter. Demeter has it all together, and Katie aspires to be just like her, and she’ll be able to once she can just move up in the company.

This book was EXTREMELY predictable, but it served it’s purpose as a contemporary novel. This was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I really liked the writing style! I thought it was fun and easy to understand; I listened to it on audio and the voice actor was also really great.

I could actually partly relate to a lot of the London struggles in this book because I just took a trip to England over my winter break at school. The Tube is fast and efficient, but also includes figuring out the stops and which line you need to get on going whatever direction. It was really cool because I actually recognized a lot of the place names she was talking about. I also really relate to the whole “this is what I’ve always wanted, why don’t I love it?” feelings Katie was having.

England, and London specifically, had been my DREAM for so long. Seriously so long. At least 10 years of my life, so when I got there and didn’t love it, I felt like something was wrong with me! I think Katie also had some of this struggle because of choosing to move there from the countryside of Somerset.

I think the romantic relationship in this book was kind of unrealistic, but that could also just be my “I’ve only ever been in one relationship and don’t know how to date” mentality. I think the ending where he came back for her was… kind of cheesy. It was cute, but not the kind of romance I prefer. I like the slow burn, still have each other against all odds, but that could also be my high fantasy perspective lol.

I loved reading about the countryside of England. If I were to ever live in England, which is very unlikely, I would want to live in a small country town where everyone has thick country accents and everyone-knows-everyone. I just love small towns because of their cosy feel, so it was fun to read about that. I think the farm setting made me feel at home, too.

Even though the relationship between Katie and Demeter changes by the end of the book and you get to see a different side of Demeter, I still wasn’t a huge fan. Just be a genuine person and portray yourself accurately and you won’t run into any of the problems she dealt with. I don’t know, it just seems counter productive to me.

Overall I think this was a cute book, and if you have traveled around the UK you would find it enjoyable! I definitely want to read more by Sophie Kinsella in the future, possibly the Confessions of a Shopaholic series.

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart


The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)

Title: The Boyfriend List

Author: E. Lockhart

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Publisher: Ember

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 229

Source: Goodwill

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list), 

lost her best friend (Kim), 

lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket), 

did something suspicious with a boy (#10), 

did something advanced with a boy (#15), 

had an argument with a boy (#14), 

drank her first beer (someone handed it to her), 

got caught by her mom (ag!), 

had a panic attack (scary),

lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie), 

failed a math test (she’ll make it up), 

hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends), 

became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)

and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!). 
But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

2 out of 5 stars


This book felt messy.

There were so many points while reading this book that I realized it was so unrealistic and so dramatic. My gosh, SO DRAMATIC.

The Boyfriend List follows Ruby through the telling of stories of past boys she’s liked or dated. She starts having panic attacks and her parents decide to send her to a therapist. This therapist tells Ruby she needs to sort through her problems, and most of her problems are stemming from boys…. so she makes a boyfriend list.

This was a fast read, but so so dumb. This girl is supposed to be 15, and I don’t know if I was just an abnormal 15 year old, but I did not think about boys this much. I’ve never been boy crazy, so I totally could not relate to this book. It was just so ridiculous sometimes! She lost friends over having crushes on different boys. Come on.

I also had a problem with the fact that she was calling them panic attacks….

These were definitely anxiety attacks because there was a definitive stressor causing the situation. They weren’t just randomly striking. This is just lack of education on the author’s part. I’ve had anxiety attacks and it’s similar to how she was describing these panic attacks she was having. I think when you’re talking about mental health you should actually be factual with your information.

There were way too many characters with not enough description for any of them. If you’re going to have that many characters, at least give some sense of background information. Some of the characters just had names that made no sense to the context of the story. Another thing. If the character adds NOTHING, then the character does not need to be there. Some of the friends listed in this book made no sense because they added nothing to the plot of the story at all.

I’m just confused at the boys she chose over others. She had a cute boy from another school that was super nice and liked her, but she just ignored him. She was friends with a nice boy from art class who always complimented her, but she was mean to him. Umm. I’m just confused why she chose the guy who didn’t even really like her and then ended up ditching her for her best friend.

I think that books like this give such unrealistic expectations to young readers. I picked this up because I enjoyed We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I liked the writing style of that book because it was poetic and there was something deeper to the story, but this just showed very unhealthy relationships.

The relationship with the only “real” boyfriend of this book was so so so unhealthy. It reminded me so much of my own ex-relationship because the boy dictated everything and just assumed it would be fine no matter what. It isn’t healthy to show teenage girls that that’s a “normal” relationship! That isn’t how you should be treated. Your boyfriend should want to hang out with you and not make fun of you in front of his friends.

The family dynamic in this book was so whack. At one point the therapist brought up that Ruby is just following the actions her mother takes in her marriage.

  1. don’t tell a 15 year old girl that her parents are fighting and have an unhealthy relationship.
  2. if you show the mother in the unhealthy relationship, make it change by the end of the book to prove… something. That women can make their own choices and not be controlled in relationships. Don’t just let it continue on. Don’t bring it up otherwise!

I think a lot of situations in this book should have been handled much differently. I don’t think that I’ll pick up the next books in the series, but we shall see. They’re short and this first one was easy to read.

Aubrey Joy