Horrid by Katrina Leno

Book provided by Owlcrate // ARC provided by The NOVL in exchange for an honest review

It’s been a while since I’ve read a genuinely spooky YA book, and Horrid did not disappoint. I always love a book where the focal point is an ominous house. In this case we have North Manor, a family mansion in Maine that has sat empty for two years until a mother and daughter move in. The mother grew up in this manor, but something has made her never want to go back. But due to some unfortunate circumstances, she and her teenage daughter have to live there now.

We follow Jane, the daughter, and how she quickly figures out there’s something very… strange about this home: the tapping, the creaking, the sudden appearance of random objects. But we also learn Jane has problems with anger and how to deal with it. This book deeply delves into the topics of mental health, and how certain conditions can be passed genetically, and how it is handled and portrayed in the book may not be the best way.

So that leads me into this: there’s some unreliable narrator territory going on, which isn’t usually my cup of tea. But in this case Leno so perfectly toed the line between reality and the paranormal. Leno is also the master at crafting such atmospheric books. I truly felt like I was transported to Maine on a chilly, autumnal day. And if I’m being totally honest, the mother-daughter vibes I got reminded me a bit of Rory and Lorelai Gilmore (but of course, this being much darker!)

I really enjoyed the reading experience SO much, and I fully recommend this book especially during the spooky season!

TW: pica (a disorder that makes people want to eat things that aren’t food), death of parent, death of family members, mention of overdosing, bullying, child abuse, animal abuse.

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Ninth House (Ninth House Series, #1) by Leigh Bardugo


ARC obtained from BookExpo in exchange for an honest review.

I really think this is going to be one of those books you’ll either love or hate. Fans of Bardugo will pick up on how perfectly she personifies each character, but please be warned, this is not young adult. This book is very much about healing from past traumas while trying to also survive in a society that’s filled with so much death and darkness.

I will say that I was a bit confused in the beginning because this book jumps a lot between two timelines (the past winter, and the present which is spring.) We follow Alex, a girl who attends Yale University and ends up being recruited into a secret society. Alex has a supernatural ability which makes her a unique society member of Lethe House. Yale also has eight other secret societies where each one deals with their own paranormal/supernatural “specialties.” We get glimpses into each society and learning about them was interesting, yet a bit tedious, at times for me.

The murder of a local woman sets the story in motion as Alex suspects one of the societies is involved. But she’s also dealing with the disappearance of her friend and society “mentor”, Darlington. The story weaves both mysteries together, and at times it would be a bit too slow for my liking. However, I was so immersed in the dark mysteries surrounding the cases and the occult that I still enjoyed reading this very much!

Honestly, I would rate the overall story itself four stars. But once we began peeling back the layers of Alex and Darlington’s characters… I just fell in love with the book. The characters are so well written and, in true Bardugo fashion, their backstories really punched me in the gut. Also? There are ghosts. So that’s major bonus points for me!

I found myself very slowly chipping away at this book just so I could absorb all the information about the societies. But also please use caution as the themes are very dark and heavy. Bardugo said she wrote about her own experiences (and that this book is her way of healing) and she is valid and unapologetic. She does not hold back.

Trigger/content warnings: rape of a minor, drug use, cutting, bullying, gore/medical procedures, sexual assault of a minor, sexual acts under the influence of magic/drugs, parental neglect/abandonment, talks of cancer.


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Small Spaces by Katherine Arden



Title: Small Spaces

Author: Katherine Arden

Pages: 256

Genre: Middle grade, paranormal, horror, fantasy

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

I truly appreciate Katherine Arden so much as a writer. She paints such perfect pictures and makes you feel like you’re right there. I was first introduced to her writing when I read The Bear and the Nightingale, and while these two stories are geared toward different age groups, Arden once again brought us all the the spooky, dark vibes.

Small Spaces follows Ollie, a sixth-grader from Vermont who is recovering from the death of her mom. She’s depressed and tends to isolate herself from friends and her father. One day she comes across a woman crying. The woman is holding a book called Small Spaces, and she wants to throw it into the creek. Ollie believes books shouldn’t be thrown away so she takes it. The following day she and her classmates go on a field trip to a farm, and Ollie begins to notice strange similarities between the farm and the spooky contents in the book. Ollie and her two classmates, Brian and Coco, now have to work together to figure out how to escape the woods and save their friends.

Small Spaces is such a perfect read for Halloween. I think even if you’re an adult you’ll still love the haunted setting and atmospheric writing. I can’t really gauge the “creep factor” for children, but I think if I had to rate it on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the scariest) I’d probably give it 3.5. While I didn’t find it to be scary I can see this perhaps freaking out young readers since there are some creepy scenes that involve ghosts, dark woods, and being chased.

But aside from the horror plot line, there were so many wonderful themes I appreciated. This story beautifully showcases the importance of friendship and teamwork. It’s about standing up for someone and caring for them in dire times. It’s about facing your fears while also coming to terms with loss and healing emotionally.

Arden also includes some of the best characters. Coco reminded me a lot of Luna Lovegood, how she dances to beat of her own drum and doesn’t care what others think. And Brian is a sporty “jock” from Jamaica who isn’t afraid to step up to help others. While this book does have some bullying I love how Arden addresses stereotypes and shows us how these children handle it.

Overall this book was such a treat to read and I really hope we see more middle grade books from Katherine Arden. I am so happy I read this in the Fall. ❤

Content/trigger warning: Loss of a parent, minor bullying, depression.






Paramnesia: The Deadish Chronicles, #1 by Brian Wilkinson


ARC provided by Blue Moon Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Book: Paramnesia

Series: The Deadish Chronicles, #1

Author: Brian Wilkinson

Pages: 290

Genre: YA Fantasy, paranormal

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nora Edwards finally had everything she wanted out of life, including the boy of her dreams, Andrew, until one night that dream turned into a nightmare. On their way home from prom, Nora and Andrew are attacked by a supernatural creature called the Revenant that sucks the souls out of the living in order to feed itself. Nora manages to escape from the creature, but tragically, Andrew is not as fortunate.

Although Nora suffered loss that night, she gained something, as well: the ability to see the dead. Whether the skill is a gift or a curse is yet to be determined, as those around her assume Nora has developed “paramnesia,” a disorder where one confuses dreams with reality. She’s also attracted the attention of the Revenant’s masters, who need to preserve the secret of their supernatural existence. Nora, along with Andrew and her living and dead allies in the Deadish Society, quickly finds herself in a battle for the souls of her city—and her mind.

Paramnesia was honestly such a pleasure to read! I am actually surprised by how much I liked it. At first I was a bit hesitant because I was worried this would tread “unreliable narrator” territory, which I am so over. But, I really ended up loving this book. And the more I thought about it while writing this review, I decided to bump it up from 3.5 to 4 stars. It was such a treat to read especially with Halloween fast approaching and I loved the characters so much.

Set in Guelph, Ontario, Paramnesia follows Nora and her boyfriend, Andrew. After being attacked on prom night by a supernatural creature, Nora gains the ability to see and speak to the dead. From here Nora faces the challenge of how to cope with survivor’s guilt while trying to acclimate to her new “abilities.” Oh, and that creature that attacked her is still trying to kill her.

I’ll admit, the insta-love was a bit much in the beginning, but it doesn’t totally dominate the book, and it was necessary to move the story forward. The love between Nora and Andrew sets the story in motion, and while it was a bit cheesy at times, I found it endearing. Also their quirky dynamic makes me laugh (and I am a 33-year old grouch. Ha!)

My favorite thing about this book was the Deadish Society. The Deadish Society is the group of ghosts that Nora befriends, and oh my gosh, they are so precious I will protect them at all costs. They are so silly, lovable, loyal, and… such smart asses! I honestly loved all the witty banter and humor throughout this entire book. It really set such a happy tone in a book with very serious subject matter about death and coping with loss.

As a lover of horror and paranormal legends, I also loved how Brian Wilkinson built this paranormal world. There are certain chapters dedicated to the Revenant’s backstory, which I appreciated and was glad this aspect of world building wasn’t just glossed over. While the Revenant isn’t my favorite villain, I still liked how this evil thing was woven into the mortal world.

And the story doesn’t just follow Nora’s journey with the undead, but also her relationships with the living. There are some heavy topics such as loss of a child, loss of a partner, learning when/how to move on, and acceptance of death. But there’s also so much hope and positivity as Nora discovers that she does not have to fight her battles alone.

I truly think this book is perfect for Halloween. It has several spooky elements while still being lighthearted and fun. I was laughing at so many parts and I fell in love with so many characters. I especially loved Peepers (be still my heart), Scarlett, and Rocco!

I didn’t realize this was going to have sequel until I got to the end, but I wasn’t even mad. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and I am looking forward to picking up the next installment!




Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer


ARC provided by HMH via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Book: Not Even Bones

Series: Not Even Bones, #1

Author: Rebecca Schaeffer

Pages: 368

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

My rating: ★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

I truly wish I loved this book more! I feel like the description was made for me. Anything that’s compared to Dexter gets my vote. But this was such a huge disappointment for me. As the synopsis says, Nita dissects bodies of “unnaturals” for her mother to sell on the black market. But after a betrayal, she becomes a victim herself; locked away in a cell and tortured.

To be honest this book gave me major Hostel vibes. There are characters that feel a high from inflicting pain on others, and some take pleasure in dismembering and eating people. Y’all, I’m usually a huge fan of serial-killer-thrillers but the graphic nature of these torture scenes felt really weird. Like some of it felt really pointless and just dragged the story on and on…

And once the story is set in motion, everything just kept going around in circles. I felt there was zero resolution, a lack of world building and character development, and Nita was such an idiot.

However, here is my biggest praise for this book: There is a Thai main character. If you know me then you’ll know that I am Thai, and I have NEVER read a single YA book where there is a Thai character. So I was literally jumping for joy and tweeting about it when I was introduced to Kovit. Not only is he Thai but he also tells us the creepy story about the krasue, a Thai folk tale involving a female monster that’s nothing more than a floating disembodied head with its spine and intestines still attached. Yes, that’s right, MY OWN GRANDMOTHER used to tell me that a krasue would come take me away if I didn’t fall asleep right away. HOW are you supposed to sleep after knowing about THAT THING!?

Okay, but seriously, I really did like Kovit a lot. He was the type of unapologetic, morally grey character I like in a horror/fantasy stories. I just wasn’t a fan of Nita or, really, the entire plot. But major props to Rebecca Schaeffer for including such diverse characters!

Another thing is that I didn’t realize this was going to be a series (this is entirely my fault.) Imagine my dismay when I reached the 90% mark to discover literally nothing has happened and NOTHING was resolved. Oh, you want any sort of resolution and answers? Gotta wait for the next book. Which I do not plant to read. Bummer.

I’m sorry I didn’t love this more, and I hope my negativity didn’t ruin this for you. If you’re okay with gore/torture scenes then this may be a good read for Halloween. I just wish the story had more depth and world building to it, and overall it needed way more things to happen to keep the story moving forward to justify a sequel.




Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft


ARC provided by Harper Collins/Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review


Book: Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Authors: Tess Sharpe, Jessica Spotswood, Brandy Colbert, Zoraida Córdova, Andrea Cremer, Kate Hart, Emery Lord, Elizabeth May, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Lindsay Smith, Nova Ren Suma, Robin Talley, Shveta Thakrar, Brenna Yovanoff, Tristina Wright.

Pages: 416

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal, anthology

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

First of all, let me just say how much I appreciated this collection of short stories. The authors are so diverse and I absolutely loved the amalgamation of cultures represented here. There is so much rep for LGBTQIAP+, POC, religions, social classes — just, everything! And while I tended to enjoy the spookier stories, I came to realize that this anthology isn’t just about scary-witchy-things, rather it’s about highlighting powerful women throughout mythos and history. I may have not loved all the stories but I believe they each carried significant themes and should be shared with everyone.

My overall rating actually came out to be 3.5 stars (70% once I did the math) but I’m rounding it up to 4 stars because I believe this book is important and relevant, and I know several of them will stick with me forever. My favorites were Beware of the Girls With Crooked Mouths, The Gherin Girls, and Why They Watch Us Burn. I could seriously read full length novels of those stories!

Since each story is only 20-30 pages long, I’m hesitant to talk too much about them without giving away anything! So here are my quick thoughts and opinions. I think some just had a slower pacing than others, which affected my overall rating for that particular story.

1) STARSONG by Tehlor Kay Mejia: ★★

I really thought the budding romance was cute, but I had a hard time connecting with the story. I think I was expecting a more witchy tale to kick off this book, but it was mainly centered around a bruja DM-ing with someone on Instagram. However I genuinely loved the debate between science and magic, how it’s an own voices Latinx story, and the f/f romance!

2) AFTERBIRTH by Andrea Cremer: ★★★★

I really loved the interview format in this story, and the demon-centered plot had me on the edge of my seat. If you’re looking for a witch trial set in 1600’s New England then this is the story for you!

3) THE HEART IN HER HANDS by Tess Sharpe: ★★★

This story really touched my heart and I loved the theme about fate and soulmates (and tea!) The witchcraft is strong in this story and there’s such a wonderful f/f romance.

4) DEATH IN THE SAWTOOTHS by Lindsay Smith: ★★★★

This story is what finally really got my interest in this anthology. It felt like I was reading an actual story about witches (and warlocks!) and the overall tone was dark and spooky.

5) THE TRUTH ABOUT QUEENIE by Brandy Colbert: ★★★★

This is one of my favorites. It reads like a contemporary, but I do wish it had more witchy elements. However, it flowed so beautifully and I loved the friendships. This needs to be a full length novel!


Sadly this was my least favorite story. This is a story about a group of shapeshifter friends who make a deal with a demon, and the demon wants to be in their play. To be honest I wanted more story about the shapeshifters and less about the play they were writing. I just didn’t love it, I’m sorry!

7) THE LEGEND OF STONE MARY by Robin Talley: ★★★★

This is a fantastically creepy one! I love the legends and the twists all wrapped up in this wonderful little story. I am just a sucker for anything that has to do with small towns and their local spooky lore.

8) THE ONE WHO STAYED by Nova Ren Suma: ★★★

This story is so beautifully written yet very haunting. Overall it’s so powerful and feminist. There is rape and sexual assault, so please take caution before starting this one. While I may not have connected with the story I truly loved the writing and I am looking forward to reading more books by Nova!

9) DIVINE ARE THE STARS by Zoraida Córdova: ★★★★

I’m not usually a huge fan of magical realism but Zoraida Córdova’s writing always pulls me in. I loved the family dynamic and tension presented here, and that it’s an own voices Latinx story.

10) DAUGHTERS OF BABA YAGA by Brenna Yovanoff: ★★★

This was another wonderful feminist story about witches and friendships. It was dark but I usually like my stories that way! I also love any sort of Baba Yaga retelling.

11) THE WELL WITCH by Kate Hart: ★★

I was totally immersed in most of this story but I so did not love the ending. It had such great potential. I was loving our POC main character who was so generous, kind, yet stern and self-sufficient. Then the story took a really bad turn and I just got angry.

12) BEWARE OF THE GIRLS WITH CROOKED MOUTHS by Jessica Spotswood:  ★★★★★

I LOVED this story so, so much. It had everything I wanted: a family of witches who each have their own powers, a curse they want to break, and visions/destiny. I truly need this to be a full length book because I felt so invested in each of the sisters.

13) LOVE SPELL by Anna-Marie McLemore: ★★★★

This was another beautiful own voices story about star-crossed lovers: a girl who falls in love with a trans boy (who also happens to be an acolyte at her church.)

14) THE GHERIN GIRLS by Emery Lord: ★★★★★

This story is another favorite but it broke my heart. I felt so connected with these sisters and my heart broke over the abuse one of them had to go through. The writing is stunning and the bonds between these sisters just about made me cry.

15) THE ONLY WAY BACK by Tristina Wright: N/A

The Only Way Back will not be included in the final publication, thus the title will say 15 Tales instead of 16 Tales (my photo is of the ARC). The publisher has decided to redact the story after sexual assault allegations were brought on the author.

16) WHY THEY WATCH US BURN by Elizabeth May: ★★★★★

I think they saved the best for last because WOW. This one is so freakin’ powerful. Like, no words. No words. This is a story about women who are exiled and punished (aka accused of witchcraft) for tempting men into sin. It is so important, relevant, eye-opening, heartbreaking, and haunting. I need to give it all the stars.

Overall this was such an amazing collection and I believe Toil & Trouble will be the perfect read come Halloween. It releases on August 28th! If you pick up this anthology I’d love to hear your thoughts!




The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé – Non-Spoiler Review

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ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Book: The Dark Beneath the Ice

Author: Amelinda Bérubé

Pages: 320

Genre: YA horror, paranormal

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

My rating: ★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Something is wrong with Marianne.

It’s not just that her parents have split up, or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close.

Something is after her. But a first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. And Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it think it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.

Oh gosh, this review is not going to be pretty. I’m sorry! I think I am getting pickier when it comes to the horror genre. Throw in an unreliable narrator, and I’m probably going to knock one star off automatically. I’m really sad I did not love this book. It just wasn’t for me. But I really do think that it would be the perfect read for Halloween time.

The Dark Beneath the Ice follows Marianne, a high schooler whose parents are separating. Once her mother commits herself to a hospital, Marianne temporarily goes to live with her aunt. While with her aunt, Marianne begins to see and hear horrific things. Of course, no one believes her, and Marianne also questions her own sanity.

The things I liked were short lived: The creep-factor really slowed down for me once I got to the last 20% of the book, and by that point I was forcing myself to finish. I really liked Rhiannon (Ron), but her character started to annoy me by the end as well. I also didn’t understand the purpose of Ron’s psychic mother at all. She was so pointless. And while mental health is a huge theme, I felt like it was only touched in the beginning (doctor visits). There wasn’t a clear explanation about what was triggering Marianne’s visions/hauntings.

Then there’s the ending, which just felt so rushed, lackluster, and confusing. I don’t really understand the point of anything that happened.

The Dark Beneath the Ice is being marketed as Black Swan meets The Exorcist meets Paranormal Activity. The overall concept sounds like my jam, but in truth, I cannot get past a dull, whiny, unreliable narrator. I’ve read enough of those and wish it was a trope that would die.

I’m sorry, I know this review is harsh and I really don’t like writing negative reviews because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I was left feeling very let down after finishing this book. I think I’m partly to blame. I shouldn’t have requested this ARC because I’m starting to lose interest in YA horror. But I so appreciate Sourcebooks Fire for approving this copy for me, and I always look forward to writing reviews for them!

Overall I think that if you’re a fan of YA psychological/paranormal horror with an unreliable narrator, then you may like this one! And it would be perfect to read in October!




My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton: Non-Spoiler Review


ARC provided by HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review


Book: My Plain Jane

Series: The Lady Janies, #2

Authors: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton

Pages: 464

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal, historical retelling

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

My Plain Jane has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, so I want to say a massive thank you to HarperTeen for the ARC via Edelweiss! My Lady Jane was one of my top favorite books I read last year, so naturally I had the burning need to read and review My Plain Jane ASAP.

In case you’ve never heard of The Lady Janies series, they are satirical retellings based on Janes throughout history/literature. My Lady Jane is based on Lady Jane Grey (aka the Nine Days Queen) with a magical twist, while My Plain Jane is a Jane Eyre retelling with a paranormal twist. The third installment will be called My Calamity Jane (I am SO excited for this one!) Do these books have to be read in order? No. But I did notice a little cameo from My Lady Jane in My Plain Jane, so if you blink, you may miss it 😉

Like I said, My Plain Jane is a Jane Eyre retelling. So if you’ve read Jane Eyre, then you’re going to be able to predict the major plot points. Do I think this is a bad thing? Not necessarily. However, I do think it takes a little bit of the mystery away from the story.

With that being said, I still adored this book and all the witty banter, lovable characters, and GHOSTS! My Plain Jane follows a young woman named Jane Eyre and her best friend Charlotte Brontë (hehe, get it?) Jane can see spirits, and there’s a ghost hunting society that wants to recruit her into their ranks. But Jane has her mind set on becoming a governess for the brooding Mr. Rochester of Thornfield Hall.

This book is very much a Ghost Hunters meets Ghostbusters meets Jane Eyre mash up. You’ll be on a ghost hunting adventure as these characters are trying to solve the mystery behind some strange things happening at Thornfield. Not only did I love the Monty Python-esque dialogue between the characters, but I also loved the friendships, cute romance, and various homages to modern pop culture and history. I found myself laughing out loud during so many scenes, and you may even pick up a few hidden Easter eggs as you read along.

I definitely recommend this book if you’re into satire or just want a good, heartwarming laugh. I fell in love with these characters and even found myself tearing up during certain parts. I especially loved Helen Burns, Jane’s ghost friend, and I found myself relating to Charlotte so much. Not to mention the women in this book are so strong and badass. I want to be best friends with them all!

My Plain Jane releases June 26, 2018! Happy reading!






City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab: Non-Spoiler Review


ARC borrowed from my friend Mary at Fox & Wit


Book: City of Ghosts

Author: Victoria Schwab

Pages: 272

Genre: Middle grade, paranormal, fantasy

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

It’s safe to say I am a huge fan of Victoria Schwab. She can write adult, YA, and middle grade fiction and I’d be the first in line to buy them all.

I’m also a huge paranormal fan. I grew up in a “haunted” college town. I’ve loved ghost stories as a kid and I still have a fascination with old legends and local haunts. City of Ghosts is being marketed as Stranger Things meets Ghost Hunters. I agree with the Ghost Hunters part. But, did you ever watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon? Because I legit feel like City of Ghosts could be an episode from that show.

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story…


Ahem. I digress.

I’ll skip writing a summary since the synopsis above already does a wonderful job explaining the key points (which I think is a bit of a shame because it really could benefit from a more vague description.) However, since this is middle grade, the synopsis is probably overly descriptive for parents to judge whether this book is right for their child/age group. So please keep in mind that this is a middle grade book. If you only prefer Schwab’s adult books then this might not be the perfect match for you.

There were so many things I loved about City of Ghosts: The unshakable friendship between Cassidy and Jacob, the adventures they ensue in Edinburgh, their quirky ghost-hunting parents, and all the creepy spirits. The story is very fast paced and flows beautifully. I especially loved how the Veil was used as a means for Cassidy to use her “gift” and discover her “purpose”. My only qualm is I wish we got a little more info on Jacob, but I think there’s a possibility this is setting up for a sequel.


“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”


Overall this was such a treat from Schwab. I really hope we get more Cass and Jacob. This would be perfect for Halloween and for anyone who wants a quick, haunting read. If you want some spooky lore set in Scotland, amazing friendships, and that dash of nostalgia à la Are You Afraid of the Dark?, then I highly recommend City of Ghosts!

Thank you so much to my friend Mary for letting me borrow her ARC copy of City of Ghosts!

All quotes were taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.




Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas, #2) by Zoraida Córdova – Non-Spoiler Review

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ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Book: Bruja Born

Series: Brooklyn Brujas, #2

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Pages: 352

Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

My rating: ★★★★★

Labyrinth Lost review: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back..

I really enjoyed the first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, Labyrinth Lost. However, Bruja Born is so much different than Labyrinth Lost — but in a good way! Labyrinth Lost took us on a journey through the magical realm of Los Lagos. Alex accidentally cast a spell that sent her entire family to ‘hell’, so she and a brujo named Nova enter that world to save her family.

Bruja Born doesn’t return to Los Lagos, but instead takes place in Brooklyn, NY. It’s definitely more of an urban fantasy, but in my opinion, packs a bigger punch. In Bruja Born we get so much more paranormal lore such as casimuertos (people who are similar to zombies; they’re stuck between being dead and undead), vampires, shapeshifters, and more heightened magic from our favorite bruja family.

Instead of Alex being our main character, this time it’s the eldest sister, Lula. Lula is still dealing with the aftermath of escaping hell, and she’s still coping with her father mysteriously returning. As she boards a bus with her boyfriend Maks to a soccer game, they get into a horrific crash. Lula barely escapes death, and she faces the tough decision of saving Maks with magic.

However, just like in the last book, the magic goes horribly wrong. Playing with Death comes at a heavy price with many strings attached. Lula and her sisters fight for their lives and race against the clock to contain the major disaster they created. Dead bodies disappear and reappear all over town, and there’s a mysterious person that keeps stalking the sisters.

The bonds of sisterhood, friendships, and family stood out to me the most in the midst of all the chaos. I am so excited to see where book 3 goes. I really hope we get a perspective from Rose, the youngest sister, because her powers fascinate me. She’s quiet but fierce. I love her.

I absolutely loved all the layers of plot and magic woven into this gorgeous book. I could not put it down. This entire read was exhilarating and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. Zoraida Córdova once again proves she can weave such a magical, empowering story, while still making all the characters extremely relatable.

Bruja Born releases on June 5, 2018. Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.


Buddy read with Alexis, Lori, and Melanie!