Tag Archives: book blog

April Wrapup *how did I forget about this until now?*


Read:

  1. Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest – Leanna Tankersley and Shauna Niequist *review*
  2. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo *review*
  3. Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life – Kent Nerburn *review*
  4. REREAD Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson *review*
  5. P.S. I Like You – Kasie West *review*
  6. The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson *review*

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)

Aubrey Joy

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson


The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)

Title: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 384

Source: public library

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

5 out of 5 stars


I loved this book. I was engaged the entire time, and wanted to keep reading and learning what would happen. This is the first book in a long time that I’ve had the “okay just one more chapter” over and over again.

The Vanishing Stair follows Stevie Bell coming back to Ellingham Academy to try and solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. She was sent home after events that happened in the first book, Truly Devious, and finds herself back at the school. She’s allowed to go back to the school because Edward King, her friend David’s father, sends her back to keep an eye on his son. Even though the reasoning behind her being back may not be the most honest, she still finds a way to do some research and questionable exploring with her friends back on the Ellingham campus.

Guys.

This was a fantastic sequel. I don’t know what to do with myself after the ending because I really just want the next book now! It’s crazy because I enjoyed the first book, but this one blew me away.

The characters are great and mysterious and had me wondering THE WHOLE TIME. What is David’s deal? When will they figure out what happened? What was this riddle about from Ellingham?

The riddles and clues throughout this book were so fun to try and figure out. (I totally didn’t, but was just here for the ride lol) I loved the introduction of the new materials and clues Stevie found out about because it added so much to the story.

I’m usually really annoyed by the presence of love triangles, but omg. This is a good one, actually. I really like David, but Hunter is so sweet. David is mysterious, and Hunter is an open book. Hmmm.

The most underrated character in this series is Larry the security guy. He’s so cool and values Stevie so much. He genuinely wants her to succeed and tries to help her stay at the school. What a cool guy. And they trust each other with information about the case yay for real relationships.

I’m really excited to read book three because SO MUCH HAPPENED RIGHT AT THE END. I’m actually shook. It all happened so fast, but I feel like that’s what would have happened if this were a real case. The influx of information would have happened so fast, and Stevie is just so fricking smart. So smart. It blows my mind every time she comes across something new for the case. 

Series:

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

REREAD Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

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 Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean


The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean

The Bane Chronicles

Title: The Bane Chronicles

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Mauren Johnson, Cassandra Jean

Release Date: November 11, 2014

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 507

Source: Barnes and Noble

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices can get to know warlock Magnus Bane like never before in this collection of New York Times bestselling tales, in print for the first time with an exclusive new story and illustrated material.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.

5 out of 5 stars


I love Magnus Bane.

I’ve already read all these stories, but it was nice to reread them and get back into following one of my favorite characters from this series. My favorite stories were the ones with Alec, of course. Alec and Magnus are one of my favorite couples from this series and I love getting to see them together again.

It’s crazy how many of these stories I had forgotten. I’ve always been up to date with the Cassandra Clare books and read them right when they come out *except for QoAaD, but we don’t talk about her yet….* so I read this originally back in 2014, which is 5 YEARS AGO. Crazy stuff.

I don’t have a ton of thoughts behind these stories because I’ve already read them so I knew all the little connections, but it was fun to read about old characters again. I really like Raphael’s stories and it was cool to see Tessa in today’s time instead of Victorian London.

I’m excited to continue my reread of this series; I’m almost to The Dark Artifices again!!

 

Aubrey Joy

Review: Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo


Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo

Up to This Pointe

Title: Up to This Pointe

Author: Jennifer Longo

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Publisher: Random House

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 361

Source: Thrift Store

Harper Scott is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. But while Kate is a naturally gifted dancer, Harper has had to fight for every step. And now it’s make-it-or-break-it time: if their auditions go wrong, their dreams are over. Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in her way, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.

Harper may not be a natural, but she is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the daring explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station…in Antarctica.

Extreme, but also somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.

3 out of 5 stars


This book was good, but I wasn’t blown away.

For some reason I decided to not finish the last 50 pages of this book before leaving for my 17 day England travels, so when I came back and finished it, it felt a little disjointed. That was all on me, though, because I just chose not to prioritize it…

Up to This Pointe follows a girl named Harper Scott who wants to be a professional ballet dancer. Her dream has always been to be in a ballet company, but something happens and her dreams are momentarily put on pause. She decides she needs to get some distance from San Francisco and finesses her way into going to Antarctica for researching for 6 months.

She jumps on a plane and heads out to the frozen tundra where she is finally able to be seen as herself and not just “the dancer.” She meets people and makes new friends who help her see she has other interests instead of just dancing.

I related to the whole “oh my gosh my life isn’t what I thought it would be right now and I have no idea what I want to do with my life” more than you will ever know lol. I have been having all these same feelings for a couple months, so I related so much to this! I also don’t know if I want to go into the professional dance world even though I’ve been dancing for almost 15 years of my life. Life is weird, guys.

I didn’t love the relationships or the ways they were portrayed throughout this book. Harper meets this super cute and sweet guy in San Francisco who really likes her, then she just leaves and goes to Antarctica. Fine. No worries, I guess, but then she meets another guy while she’s there. I don’t think she really likes him I just think that she’s “dating” him because it’s convenient and she wants attention. But then other times I think she actually does like him. I don’t know. But the original super sweet awesome cute boy from San Fran is sending her emails and letters and she just doesn’t read them.

?

What the heck. Why wouldn’t you read them and respond? She likes him. A lot. Or so she said before she left, so idk why she wouldn’t look at them. Plot device? I don’t know.

He also just keeps sending them even though she isn’t responding. I admire that his character has resilience, but that is totally not what would have happened. He would have emailed for maybe a month and then got the message that she wasn’t interested. Because that’s what she was portraying to him. Just seems a little fishy to me.

There was also LITERALLY NO WAY she would have gotten the opportunity to go to Antarctica.

  1. She’s not even a science student. She’s not going to college and she graduated school early.
  2. She has no skills that they would have possibly known would be useful to being there.
  3. She applied to go and knew she was going within such a short time.

Not realistic at all. People would be waiting to go and working for years and years to get a spot on the list. There literally no possible way that could have happened… but this is also just a book, so I’ll give it a little grace.

I know there was a lot of negative in this review, but I actually did enjoy a lot of this book. I love books about dance, even though it’s not always done in a way that makes a ton of sense.

The reality of dance is this: it’s a lot of hard work for not a super great reward all the time. You work for hours a day and might not get a part because you’re too tall or won’t fit into a costume. Dance is so subjective and that makes it so difficult. You could have amazing technique, but your body doesn’t fit the type they want. Again, a lot of work for not always a great reward.

I loved the family dynamic because everyone was so close; it reminded me a lot of my own. I’m so close with everyone in my family, so it’s nice to see a strong family unit that doesn’t have any disruptions in it.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that dances because there are some little tidbits of info that only a dancer would understand :)

Review: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World

Title: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe The World

Author: William H. McRaven

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.

3 out of 5 stars


I gained such a new appreciation for Navy Seals after listening to this audiobook.

This is a short book talking about lessons Admiral William H. McRaven learned during his career as a US Navy Seal. The title originally caught my attention because I, too, make my bed every morning. I love climbing into a nicely made bed, and this was the first lesson talked about during the book.

Part of the training for becoming a Navy Seal is to look professional, and that always included the barracks. Each individual was to make their bed pristinely every single morning. I liked that this is what the book started with because the idea behind it is this: if you make your bed, no matter what, you’ve started your day off with finishing a task. It’s simply that you can have something positive done right at the beginning of your day. Plus having a nicely made bed is so much nicer to sleep in, and makes your bedroom look 100x more organized.

I liked the advice given throughout this book, but I found some of it to be pretty generic. I was intrigued by the stories the author told about his life in the Navy. I knew it was intense, but not as intense as he was describing it. There is literally no way that I could do half of what he had to endure. Anyway, I liked the stories even though the advice was a little average.

There were moments that I was getting chills or getting teared up because of some of the stories. I think I’m just becoming a big softy, but I almost started crying multiple times just because something was so touching.

I’ve come to really love self-improvement books because there is ALWAYS something to be gained from the advice given. I love having positive information in my ears as I walk on campus during the day.

Yay for the first book of the year!

REREAD Review: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) – Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) – Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: September 5, 2013

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 567

Source: Barnes and Noble

Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

5 out of 5 stars


I feel so redundant, but I love this series so much.

This is the best love triangle that I’ve ever read and it’s so beautifully tragic. These are some of my favorite characters, and all I need is a William Herondale in my life. He’s my favorite character, and if I could marry him, I promise I would.

I sat down and read half of this last night. I read almost 300 pages pretty much without moving. It was amazing, and just what I needed.

love seeing all the connections with the different Shadowhunter families. Cassandra Clare is actually a genius, and I have no idea how someone could possibly be able to weave all of these different storylines together coherently. Everything makes sense throughout all the series, and it just makes me want to read the rest of the books right now.

Some spoilers are about to happen, so if you haven’t read this book, stop reading this post….

My favorite scene was with Will and Tessa after he comes to save her in Wales. He’s overcome with happiness at seeing her, and then goes through the stupid forcefield thing that Mortmain put up. Then they finally let their feelings for each other out and then after all of the passion and love, Magnus appears. It makes me laugh every single time.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the Cassandra Clare books and then read The Queen of Air and Darkness!

Series:

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)