In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4) by Seanan McGuire

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ARC provided by Tor.com in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Synopsis:

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.


This is the fourth installment in the Wayward Children series and, once again, Seanan McGuire transported me to such a magical, and yet brutal, realm. I cannot recommend this series enough.

I was always curious about Lundy’s background ever since she made her first appearance in book one, Every Heart a Doorway. In that book, she is an older therapist who works alongside the director of the school. However, she looks like a child. When I learned In an Absent Dream was going to be about Lundy, I was actually a bit nervous because I had a feeling it was going to break my heart.

And it pretty much did. Katherine Lundy’s story here is a prequel to book one, and we follow her from the very first time she found her door. She opens a door to the goblin market, where she quickly learns everything has its price, and that everything that’s traded must be fair value. But what one may consider fair may not be fair to others. It’s a vicious game of paying a toll, and it is a system that Lundy accepts so she can keep visiting the goblin market again and again.

Lundy also meets Moon, someone whom she quickly befriends and is the driving force for her to want to stay in this world. But Lundy also feels tethered and obligated to stay in her mortal world, with her family. Even though she hates that her life is pretty much mapped out for her, she feels deeply torn about leaving her sister. However, she can’t shake the desire to return to the goblin market because it’s the one place where she feels she truly belongs.

This book takes a look at what price we are willing to pay, or what we are wiling to exchange, in order to have the life we want. A life that’s fair for Lundy, who only wants to be able to live with Moon at the goblin market, but still return to visit her family in her mortal world. But Lundy learns so many lessons along the way, and they are horrible, and brutal, and honest — that nothing is fair value even when you’re led to believe otherwise.

I may not have 100% connected with this story as much as I did with Down Among the Sticks and Bones (which is still my favorite) but getting Lundy’s backstory was everything for me.

fourstars


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Blog Tour: In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

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ARC provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: In Another Life

Author: C.C. Hunter

Pages: 352

Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

Goodreads Synopsis:

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

This was my first time reading a book by C.C. Hunter and I am definitely intrigued and would love to read more! I am always drawn to mysteries, but sometimes YA mysteries can be a hit or miss for me. However, I really did enjoy this book so much, and although I had a few issues with some of the characters, I really think fans of young romance mixed with a hard-hitting mystery would enjoy this book.

This book follows two POVs: Chloe and Cash. Chloe has a strained relationship with both of her adoptive parents. Her father had an affair and is dating someone new, while her mother is a cancer survivor struggling with depression.

Then there’s Cash, a “mysterious” and “tough” character who enters Chloe’s life when he suspects she might be someone else. Cash is also a foster child living with a married couple, the Fullers. Chloe and Cash’s worlds come together when Cash recognizes Chloe in a missing person’s age progression photo. He thinks she may be the Fuller’s missing child.

This story had a lot going on from the get-go: Chloe and Cash have an insta-love budding romance, Chloe is her mom’s caretaker, Chloe is constantly fighting with her father, Cash has a strained relationship with his foster parents, and then there’s the big mystery of who exactly is Chloe Holden?

While this book starts off feeling more like a contemporary, it quickly turned into a mystery as pieces of the adoption and kidnapping came into play. I also really appreciated how such hard-hitting topics were woven into this story. Cash has an extremely tragic past, and even though he’s with a wonderful foster family, he feels immense guilt for being there.

I think what made me lower my rating a bit on this book was how much Chloe had to act like the adult and caretaker for everyone. Not only was she still struggling with her parent’s divorce and her father’s infidelity, but she also became the sole caretaker for her mother during her cancer treatments. And while I completely understand depression is horrible, I was so mad at her mother for how she treated Chloe. Her mother clearly needed professional help but kept piling her anger toward her ex-husband on to her child. I just… felt really, really uncomfortable reading those scenes.

But I really did love Cash so much. He was trying so hard to do the right thing, and I really liked how his and Chloe’s relationship bloomed. And I really felt for Chloe. I couldn’t even imagine being in her position, let alone finding out I might possibly be a kidnapped child? Like, how would I even begin to process that information?

I really enjoyed how the mystery played out and I was second-guessing a lot of things until the very end. And I found the ending soooo satisfying!

Trigger/content warnings: Cancer, divorce, infidelity, kidnapping, child abuse, depression.


About the author:

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C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel.


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You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno

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ARC provided by The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party.

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect–somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It’s a place where she can have anything she wants…even revenge.

Wow, I truly didn’t think I was going to love this book so much. This was my first novel by Katrina Leno and I now want to real ALL her books, please!

This book was so quiet as it built up to one of the most satisfying endings I’ve ever read. And while You Must Not Miss is marketed as a contemporary, I’d like to say it very much has magical realism and subtle thriller elements. Because as we see the things that happen in Near? My heart was racing, and I was also living for all those spooky vibes!

This book is about Margaret (aka “Magpie” according to her family), a high school sophomore who had a major falling out with her best friend, Allison. Her parents are also going through a separation, which has triggered her mother’s alcoholism again. To make matters worse, Magpie caught her father cheating, and she keeps reliving that horrible moment of walking in on him naked.

But Magpie is also harboring another traumatic experience, one so bad she can’t even talk about. So she starts writing a fictional world called Near. This world is perfect; her parents are together, her sister hasn’t abandoned her — her life isn’t in shambles.

And then one day, when she’s feeling so overwhelmed, she notices a door. A door that leads her to Near. Her fictional world became real and she learns she can use it to get anything she wants.

From here things take a much darker turn, but I was LIVING for these scenes. I love how one moment I’m getting The Wayward Children vibes (secret doors!), and the next I’m feeling thoroughly creeped out (people in Near kept winking at Magpie. I don’t know why but that always gave me goosebumps.) I’m not saying this book is horror at all, but I loved how subtly everything built up to the point where I was rooting on Magpie to unleash her revenge.

I also want to gush about the bisexual rep (there is a bisexual male student), and there is a trans boy (my favorite character ever). What I loved is that nobody made a big deal about these characters being who they are. There are no hurtful comments or misuse of gender pronouns by other characters, which is so refreshing! I also loved Magpie’s group of friends so much.

This book also addresses so many hard-hitting themes, such as toxic masculinity, rape culture, victim blaming, feelings of deep-rooted guilt, and reclaiming our bodies. It also heavily revolves around adultery and alcoholism. Please use caution if those are major triggers for you. I know there were a few instances where I had to set the book down due to some of these topics.

I truly hope you pick up this book come April 23rd. I read it in just a few sittings and I cannot stop thinking about it. I would not be opposed to a sequel because that ending really left me wanting more!

Trigger warnings: Sexual assault and rape, abuse from a parent, parental infidelity, divorce, alcoholism, underage drinking, slut shaming, abandonment.

Buddy read with Madalyn! ❤

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring 2019 TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Hi, friends! I have a lot of books on my TBR this year, and these are just ten of the ones I am so excited about!


The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Kingsbane by Claire Legrande

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Wow, Spring is going to be THE BEST SEASON for books. What are you looking forward to?

xx,

Amy

Dragons & Tea Book Club: April Book Announcement!

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Hello, friends! How is this year already flying by so fast!? I can’t believe we are already announcing our fourth book club pick of 2019! Melanie and I are so excited to announce this Latinx author who has written some of our favorite books! We hope you’ll be able to join us for this round.


Our April book will be:

WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore:

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The Dates & Breakdown:

April 8th — Pages 1 – 56 “Bay of Trust”

April 9th — Pages 57 – 107 “Sea of Waves”

April 10th — Pages 108 – 156 “Sea of Tranquility”

April 11th — Pages 157 – 217 “Bay of Dew”

April 12th — Pages 218 – End

Why we chose this book:

Anna-Marie McLemore writes such beautiful, lyrical prose, where she weaves magical realism with so much diversity. This ownvoices book follows the romance between a Latina girl and a trans boy (McLemore is married to a trans man), but they must stay away from four beautiful sisters who are rumored to be witches.

Also, I highly recommend checking out Chaima’s review!


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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ARC provided by Berkley Romance in exchange for an honest review.


Title: The Bride Test

Author: Helen Hoang

Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary romance

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Goodreads Synopsis:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Oh, to dive back into the world of my favorite Vietnamese family made me so happy!

There’s just something so comforting about Helen Hoang’s writing. I can’t put into words how much her books mean to me and the themes she tackles are so important. If I could choose one author to read books from for the rest of my life, it would be her.

The Bride Test is a spin-off/companion novel to The Kiss Quotient. We follow Khai, a smart, hardworking young professional. He also has ASD (autism spectrum disorder, formerly known as Asperger’s), which makes him feel and process emotions a bit differently. Khai believes he has a heart of stone; that he is incapable of feeling love and sadness. He doesn’t get close to many people, and because of this, his mother decides to try to play match-maker. She flies to Vietnam to find Khai a girlfriend (and potential wife.)

Enter: Esme. Esme is half Vietnamese and white, but she never knew her birth father. She works as a hotel maid, and she’s a single mother taking care of her daughter, mother, and grandmother in Vietnam. When the offer to fly to California to meet Khai arises, she takes it, thinking she can at least try to start a new life for her and her family.

I will admit, the whole “mail order bride” concept did cross my mind and it made me feel kind of weird. But this story isn’t about forcing two people into a marriage. This story is about a girl who just wants a better life for her daughter; to carve her own path and to make her own future. Esme is so smart and brilliant, and she doesn’t take shit from anybody. But she’s also so kind and softhearted, and she truly sees the best in everyone.

I simply adored her dynamic with Khai and his family. And I loved how Helen Hoang made everything very slow-burn. The pacing was perfect, and it also played out the romance (and sexual tension) in an organic way. I appreciated how Hoang spoke about ASD and explained how Khai processes information and how he reacts to certain things a certain way. This book is ownvoices, and Hoang drew inspiration for Khai from her own experiences with ASD.

But above all, this book was a love letter to Hoang’s mother. Just like Esme, her mother came to America with hopes to start a new life, too. And she truly did. All on her own. I implore you to read the author’s note at the end of the book, because it will make you feel 10000% more connected to the story.

So, I know you’re probably wondering which book is “better”: The Kiss Quotient or The Bride Test? They both stand on their own in totally different ways. If I HAD to choose? I think I preferred The Kiss Quotient because it was a bit more lighthearted. The Bride Test was definitely steamy, and the characters are so lovable (Quan is truly the best bro out there), but it took on more serious tones. (But, yes, there is a cameo from our beloved Michael and Stella.) Even so, I still stand by my 5-stars. As someone who grew up in SE Asia, I was living for all the scenes that talked about food (fish sauce, rambutans, lychees) and the Asian-family dynamics. I truly think this book will be perfect if you’re looking for a steamy romance filled with so much heart and humor. ❤

Also? I am so stoked Hoang is going to write five more books, all centering around Michael’s sisters! BRING THEM ON!

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Blog Tour: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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ARC provided by Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Enchantee

Author: Gita Trelease

Pages: 464

Genre: YA Historical fiction, fantasy

Publication Date: February 5, 2019


About the book:

Love. Magic. Revolution…

“Deliciously addictive.” ―Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval
“A heady, sparkling dream of a book.” ―Margaret Rogerson, author of An Enchantment of Ravens
“An utterly beguiling spell.” ―Laura Sebastian, author of Ash Princess

Paris is a labryinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren’t…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome younge inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible.

But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose―love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality of magic―before Paris burns.


Review:

Enchantee is a story set in Paris during the French Revolution in 1789, but with a magical twist. We follow Camille, a girl who is trying her best to support her siblings after her parents died. She has a younger sister, Sophie, who is ill, and an older brother, Alain, who is basically a worthless, gambling-addicting drunk.

Sophie knows she can wield magic. In fact, there are three types of magic in this alternate Parisian universe:

  1. Magie ordinaire: “for changing things.”
  2. Glamoire: “for changing oneself.”
  3. Magie bibelot: “for imbuing objects with magic, making them sentient.”

But then Sophie discovers a rare magical item that she can use to glamor herself, and she decides to enter the French Court, playing cards and gambling but using magic to help along; with the end game of giving herself and her sister a better life.

“Magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.”

I was immediately enthralled in this historical fantasy world and was really looking forward to seeing how the magic system was going to play into the story. While we do get to see some magic, it actually was quite minimal, so I was hoping for more. Also the scenes in Versailles turned out to be my least favorite parts, which was a surprise because I thought I’d like them the best. And if I’m being honest, the villain wasn’t my favorite. I think my feelings are that I’m not super into gambling stories and this book had several scenes depicting it.

“But under the surface of the glamoire there was rot.”

However, my favorite parts of this book actually weren’t even tied to the magic or aristocracy; rather I was loving the scenes with the hot air balloon inventors. It was clear (and confirmed in the notes at the end of the book) that certain characters were inspired by the Montgolfier brothers, who pioneered the first lighter-than-air ships (I’m an aviation nerd, sorry.) I wanted to see more of these balloon makers tied into the main story line, but I really loved how a certain romance bloomed from it.

I also really appreciated how a certain biracial character talks about racism, and that being biracial has sometimes made him feel confused and the target of hate. As someone who is biracial, I completely related to this character about feeling like I don’t quite fit into a certain identity. I truly loved how the author respectfully brought up this topic.

This book took so many monumental events in France’s history and spread them throughout the story. While sometimes I felt like it got to be a bit much, I really think fans of historical fantasy may appreciate all the nods to the French Revolution in this book. There are also the themes of sisterhood, poverty, and hope, and how terribly corrupt the aristocracy was at that time. If you’re a historical fiction fan but want some elements of magical fantasy sprinkled throughout, then I think you may enjoy this book!

Trigger/content warnings: abuse, gambling, alcoholism, slut shaming.

All quotes are taken from an advance reader’s copy and may change upon publication.


About the Author:

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Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Gita Trelease has lived in many places, including New York, Paris, and a tiny town in central Italy. She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before becoming a novelist, she taught classes on writing and fairy tales. With her husband and son, Gita divides her time between a village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine. ENCHANTÉE is her debut novel.


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The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1) by Nora Sakavic

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Thank you to my dear friend Melanie for gifting me this book!

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Title: The Foxhole Court

Series: All for the Game, #1

Author: Nora Sakavic

Pages: 237

Genre: YA contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis:

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

I was super nervous starting this book because of the polarizing reviews, but I am so glad I did! While I realize 3-stars isn’t the greatest rating of all time, I really enjoyed reading about Neil’s journey and am excited to continue the series!

This first installment follows Neil, a college student with a troubled past. We are told he’s running away from something, and we get little snippets about his dark family history. Neil ends up getting recruited to Palmetto State University to play on their Exy team. Exy is a sport similar to lacrosse, and the PSU team is known for being a band of misfits with some sort of tragic story.

We follow Neil as he tries so hard to hide from his past all while his Exy teammates give him a hard time. I’ll be honest, I got really irritated with so many of the characters. They were just so awful to him, and I was ready to scream when I read a very shady scene that involves Neil getting drugged in a club.

But as more of each teammate’s mystery is uncovered, I began to understand why they did what they did. I know I’m being super vague here, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I really started to warm up to most of the characters, and I really liked how their relationship with Neil started to bloom. I also loved the competitive nature of the game. But even though this book focuses on a sport, the sport didn’t feel like it distracted from the plot of the story.

Overall this story gave me major Paper Princess + Fence vibes. You’re probably like, wtf, Paper Princess?! Well, all three of these stories start out with a character coming from an underprivileged background, and they get taken in by a group of people who treat them kinda shitty. This story is also full of so many twists and wtf-moments. Honestly, I felt like I was handed one wild thing after another. This is NOT your typical YA contemporary.

I can see why this book isn’t for everyone, and I can also see why it’s well loved. I truly loved Neil so much, and I’m ready to learn more about his wild past. I also know some spoilers about a certain OTP, so I’m already setting my heart up for that. 😉

Trigger warnings: Drug use, overdosing, alcohol use, homophobic slurs, ableist slurs, abuse, drugging/hazing, talks of self harm and suicide.

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Buddy read with Solomon and Melanie!

xx,

Amy

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

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Title: Pieces of Her

Author: Karin Slaughter

Pages: 468

Genre: Mystery/thriller, crime

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .

I realize my 5-star rating is probably an unpopular opinion, but there’s just something that feels so familiar and home to me when I pick up a Karin Slaughter book (uh, is that weird of me?). I adore her writing style and how she’s so damn good at weaving true crime-inspired events into her books. I completely understand her writing may not be for everyone; it can be dark, graphic, and filled with triggers. Any trigger warning you can possibly think of will most likely be in one of her books.

I’ve noticed that Slaughter’s books revolve a lot around sexual crimes, especially her Grant County series and the standalone, Pretty Girls. Also most of her books are usually from the law enforcement’s POV, so I always appreciate when the tables turn and the POV is coming from the victims and/or culprits.

But Pieces of Her felt so different, and maybe that’s why I liked it so much? I truly loved how Slaughter took a different direction with this story, and I found the pacing to be just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.

This story begins with a mother and daughter having breakfast at a diner inside a mall. Andrea and her mother, Laura, end up in the midst of a shooting. To everyone’s surprise, Laura subdues the shooter, which catapults her to national news. Except all this new attention on Laura is bad. Laura has a dark past, and she wants to keep her identity under wraps in order to keep her family safe. From there the story is set in motion. Andrea sets out to find the reasons why her mother is now a target, and what kind of conspiracy is she trying to hide?

We are then transported between the years 2018 and 1986 throughout the book. We get Laura’s back story and how much deep shit she really got into. I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’m not going to say what happens to her past. I honestly was loving these scenes, though. I truly loved how Slaughter pulled so much inspiration from past cases that left such a huge imprint on history.

This book also addresses a huge problem we still have and that’s how white men are constantly getting off the hook for horrible things they’ve done. Again, I won’t go into detail, but the white privilege is real in this one, folks.

There were definitely a few moments where I did roll my eyes at some of the characters, and Andrea did get under my skin from time to time. And some of their actions were pretty outlandish. But maybe that’s why I liked it so much? I also loved how classical music played such a beautiful role in this story, and the mother/daughter and brother/sister relationship had me weak. Also? The ending is really damn satisfying!

Trigger/content warnings: Racial and homophobic slurs, physical abuse, mass shootings, talks of loss of pregnancy, gory deaths, loss of sibling/parent/child, and medical conditions: cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s.

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xx,

Amy

Diary of an Ice Princess: Snow Place Like Home by Christina Soontornvat

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ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Diary of an Ice Princess: Snow Place Like Home

Series: Diary of an Ice Princess, #1

Author: Christina Soontornvat

Pages: 128

Genre: Children’s, chapter books, fantasy

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Princess Lina has a life any kid would envy. She lives in a massive palace in the clouds. Everyone in her family has the power to control the wind and weather. On a good day, she can even fly! She loves making lemons into lemon ice, riding wind gusts around the sky, and turning her bedroom into a real life snow globe.

There’s just one thing Lina wants: to go to regular, non-magical school with her best friend Claudia. She promises to keep the icy family secret under wraps. What could go wrong? (EVERYTHING!)

This was such a cute story and even as a 30-something year-old, I found the characters and themes so relatable!

Dairy of an Ice Princess: Snow Place Like Home tells the story of Lina, a princess who lives in a palace in the clouds. Her mother is a Windtamer and her father is a human (pilot!) It turns out that everyone on Lina’s maternal side of the family can control some aspects of the weather, but Lina is struggling with summoning her own powers. She doesn’t want to spend all her free time practicing and she just wants to be a non-magical kid doing non-magical things at a non-magical school. Of course, once she attends a “groundling” school, things don’t go quite according to plan!

What I loved so much about this book is that it is ownvoices. The author is half Thai and white, and she created a mixed-race character which I know is going to mean so much to other mixed-raced children. It even meant so much to ME because I am also half Thai and white. I never had books with characters that looked like me growing up, so this book just made my heart so happy. Also, Lina’s friend Claudia is black, and we even get a glimpse of Lina’s family tree which is also very diverse!

I was also loving all the important themes and good messages in this book. Lina learns the value of compromise, confiding in her parents, admitting to her mistakes, and builds her reasoning skills (why X happened and the resulting consequences.) She discovers so much about herself and the importance of friendship, all while coping with pressures from family and how to overcome it.

As for the visual aspects, you’ll find lots of beautiful illustrations all throughout the book. You’ll meet Lina’s dog, Gusty, and even recipes for some cool science experiments — because, after all, the groundling school that Lina attends is all science based. Yay, STEM rep!

I loved this little book and I hope your child will, too! I loved how it was packed full of diversity and the overall messages meant a lot to me. If you are a librarian or teacher, please consider adding this book to your collection.

fivestars

xx,

Amy