July Wrap-up


Where the hell did July go? I swear this month just started and now it’s gone. Crazy, but here we are. Me announcing all the books I read. And, as usual, it’s a huge stack since I spend all of my free time reading.

I read a total of 45 books! And I rated them with an average of 3.5/5! Admittedly, not as good as June, but I had a few DNFs at the end of this month that pushed it down lower.

Reviews on the blog

Reviews on Goodreads

RTC in August

  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo – 4/5
  • The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood – 4/5
  • Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – DNF 1/5

Talk to me!
How was your reading this month?
What was your favorite book?

Top Ten Tuesday – Best Books of 2019 So Far!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

So, today’s a freebie where we pick our own topics. That means I want to talk about the best books I’ve read so far this year! All links will take you to my reviews.

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

This was so. Fucking. Good. I just loved it. And I’m dying for the next book, which will probably slay me.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Huge standalone queer fantasy with dragons? It’s like it was written for me. Seriously enjoyed this one. It was such a fun read.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)

I was destroyed by this book. It gutted me and left me an emotional wreck. I already want to reread it.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)

It was beautiful. I really loved this one and the themes behind it. Like, I connected so well with it all.

The Air You Breathe

I’m the only one gushing about this book, it seems. And, you know what? That’s okay even though y’all should read this queer historical fiction that’s set in Brazil.

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)

The joke’s on me that I thought the first book would be the thing that destroyed me. This book really killed me. And I loved every second of it.

Radio Silence

This is one of those books where I wasn’t sure whether I would love or hate it. But, in the end, I loved it. Such a good one.

House of Salt and Sorrows

This was a beautiful story about family and grief. It was just so good. I don’t think that it’s been hyped enough, tbh.

I Wish You All the Best

Another one that I didn’t expect to love as much as I did! It was so sweet and just a great queer story with a nonbinary voice that hasn’t been explored enough.

Love From A to Z

Finally, this gem! I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but it blew me away. Family support and grief and ugh. It was such a good and deep read.

Talk to me!
What are your favorite books so far?

July Haul

Copy of Copy of Top Ten Tuesday

This month, I was pretty good! Honestly, I feel like I was. And, there so are books that I want to get myself but don’t currently have the funds. Thanks, preorders and textbooks.

Book of the Month

As y’all know by now, I’m an affiliate for their YA box. If you’re interested, click my affiliate link and sign up! August books will be here very, very soon!

This was what I chose for my affiliate box! And these are all my choices together:

Unplugged Book Box

I ordered a few things from their store, so you can click through that to see what I picked! But, I got a book, candle, and stemless wine glass. All are great choices, although I haven’t read the book yet!

Book Depository

I also placed a Book Depository order! Have my hands on so many good books. I’m very excited to read them. Also, my Slytherin copy of Prisoner of Azkaban makes me so happy.


Bookstagram is great and so is Sam! She found someone who was looking to give up this copy, traded for it, and sent it to me. And, since you’ve read my review by now, you’ll know that I really liked it!

Believe it or not, I won a giveaway from TorTeen! I never win giveaways, so that was really exciting. I also did read the book quite quickly and enjoyed it. A new author for me to keep an eye on!

Finally, I got this! I did not expect to have the ARC sent to me, even though I requested it from them, so I’m just entirely over the moon about it. One of the books I’m highly anticipating for 2020.

Talk to me!
How did you treat your shelf this month?

Book review – The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Caidyn's review (1)

The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves, #1)


CW: sexism, creepy brother, war, violent torture/execution scene, and death of a loved one

I’m very conflicted about this book.

On one hand, it was good with decent characters and it honestly felt like a YA version of Game of Thrones. On the other hand… well, I’ll get to that in a second. My rating reflects that I did really enjoy reading this book.

This book takes place in a fictional world. Two main countries are in this story, although there are more. I’m just going to touch on the two big ones that feature the most in the story

  • Brigand: a conquering world led by a very sexist king.
  • Pitoria: more peaceful and open to women leading/being independent.

There are five main characters, all of which belong to one of these countries.

  • Catherine: daughter of the sexist king, about to be married to the heir of Pitoria. Very smart and suffers at the hand of her sexist male family members.
  • Ambrose: Catherine’s guard. At the beginning of the book, his sister is executed.
  • Tash: a 13-year-old demon hunter who lives in Pitoria. She’s sassy, resourceful, and a delight
  • March: originally from one of the lands Brigand conquered and currently works as a servant in the palace, but he’s been radicalized; also is a POC character
  • Edyon: bastard son of a merchant-woman who is a bit of a kleptomaniac and is also queer.

Each character has chapters and you see the story from their perspective. As I said, it’s like Game of Thrones. I’ve only read the first book and never watched the TV show, but I remember the book. All these perspectives and you’re wondering why the hell they’re important and getting space on the page. Slowly, you watch as the plot expands and you see all the pieces fitting into place about these characters.

It’s like that in this book.

You don’t quite know what’s going on and why these things are important, but as the story goes on you get there. I found it clever and I liked fitting the pieces together.

However, I still prefer books with fewer perspectives. My favorite was Catherine. I loved watching her grow and come into her own in this new kingdom (kinda like Dany, right?) as the story went on. To me, she’s the real winner in this story. I only care about her and Tash. (Tash because she’s a cute kid and I love sassy characters.)

This leads me to the stuff I didn’t like. The author is a white woman and, admittedly, it read like a white woman wrote this. Aka, there was a queer character and a POC character who might be queer, but it was never stated outright. Not once. It was mentioned that March had darker skin, but that’s it. There’s never a show of subtle racism or prejudice against him coming from a different country. And in the Brigand world, that was hard to believe. Then, there’s Edyon, the solidly queer character. Yet, it’s never mentioned that he definitely is queer.

Plus, when I was getting the pictures and stuff for this review, I found Percy’s review saying that he won’t read it and has the author blacklisted because the author has a history of queerbaiting and using the bury your gays trope. (Link will take you to his review where he discusses her book where she does it.) Which is disappointing and, honestly, I can tell that the author didn’t quite learn from that.

And that really ruined the book for me. I was excited to keep reading since the book comes out in early August. But now? I’m hesitant. I might give it a try, but knowing that about the author and that she hasn’t learned too much makes me hesitant to read more.

Talk to me!
Have you read this? What did you think?
What author actions make you stop reading them?

Book review – The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Caidyn's review (1)

The Bone Houses

This is an ARC, but I received it from Sam (not the publisher)!


CW: violent scenes, corrupt government, gore, chronic pain, and loss of family

This is a lush, imaginative, Welsh-inspired fantasy and I was so here for it.

Aderyn, or Ryn, is the daughter of a gravedigger. After her parents die, she becomes the sole provider for herself and her two siblings, Gareth and Ceri, at their village Colbren that’s at the border of a forest.

But this isn’t any town. Those who aren’t buried properly come back to life. They’re called bone houses. And it’s part of Ryn’s job to make sure that they don’t harm Colbren. That’s all at stake when the lord of the town starts trying to kick Ryn and her family out for not paying their rent.

Ellis is a mapmaker with no family and chronic pain. He comes to Colbren to make an accurate map of the area, but finds more than he bargains for when he runs into Ryn and ends up being sucked in to a centuries old legend.

God, this book was amazing.

I’ve always thought that Wales is the perfect place to set stories. And Lloyd-Jones really captures the scenery, language (and she does use the language in it), and made me feel like I was in the mystic Welsh past. I felt completely transported into this legend. I’m a huge history nerd, especially with medieval British history, and the worldbuilding was breathtaking.

And, I mean it. This world is amazing. The lore behind this is so developed. As the story kept going, the world kept going. I loved how gradually it unfolded. One of my biggest pet peeves with fantasy is when the whole world is info-dumped on me. Lots of terms all at once and some overexplaining (or lack of explaining). The Bone Houses didn’t suffer from that problem at all. Time was taken throughout the whole book to let you explore the expanding world, which was such a joy because it’s a hard thing to balance.

In addition to the lush world, I loved the characters. Ryn and Ellis were such great characters to follow. I found them incredibly fleshed out. Ryn with her grief and trying to provide for her family in the absence of her family. Ellis by dealing with the feeling of loss he has of being a boy with no family and how he handles having chronic pain from an old injury.

The side characters were also great. I loved reading about Ceri and Gareth (and Goat — an actual goat, who was the true hero of all this). The villagers in Colbren were also such fun to read. It really felt like I was in a small, medieval town where people were close out of necessity to survive and because they liked each other.

While I enjoyed all of these aspects, I also felt like the story stalled out periodically. Things just stopped and I was reading for a while, not really seeing anything new, then all of a sudden the story picked back up. It was still interesting and I finished the book, but the pacing could use some work.

Overall, this was a fantastic stand-alone YA fantasy. I can’t wait to read it again when it’s finished!

Talk to me!
What setting do you wish was used more?
Have you read this? Are you going to?

Down the TBR Hole | 7/26/19

Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!


  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Les Liaisons dangereuses

I literally have no clue what this is about but it’s described as scandalous and caused a lot of outcry when it was published. Count. Me. In.

Verdict: Keep

Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1)

Eh. On one hand, it sounds like my kind of thing. On the other, it kinda doesn’t. So, I’m really torn on this one.

Verdict: GO!


You know what I’ve finally realized? I really don’t want to read this.

Verdict: GO!

The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness

I don’t like the use of multiple personality since it brings to mind DID. I knew someone with that diagnosis and this author already pisses me off by taking that phrase and trying to twist the meaning. It’s like the word “cult”; it’s highly charged with a certain popular meaning that doesn’t match the academic one.

Verdict: GO!

Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders

With the profession that I’m going into, I’ll probably be running into sex offenders often. Whether through their survivors or identifying people who have gone through that trauma or actually working with people who are sex offenders. (Not a population I want to work exclusively with, but you never know the client who will walk through your door.) So, I’ll see about reading this.

Verdict: Keep

The Anatomy of Evil

I think that the idea is interesting — 22 levels of evil — but I don’t know how it’ll pan out in the end. It could either be very good or very bad.

Verdict: Keep

Man's Search for Meaning

I think this is one of those books that I’ll pick up when I’m feeling very depressed and just need some glimmer of hope.

Verdict: Keep

The Seventh Wife of Henry VIII : Katherine Willoughby, The Woman who Almost Became his Last Queen

This book sounds like a huge reach. Because, from my knowledge, Katherine Willoughby wasn’t going to be married by Henry VIII. She was the widow of his best friend, Charles Brandon. I doubt that he would have done that since they died within a couple years of each other.

Verdict: Keep (for the laughs)

King Hereafter

This is a novel about the real Macbeth. I think that sounds fascinating. And I’m going to have to see if I can find it through my library!

Verdict: Keep

Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower

I really want to read a biography about Elizabeth Woodville. She’s one of those women who has lurked in the background of many Wars of the Roses books I’ve read. And I want to know more about her specifically.

Verdict: Keep

Last TBR: 1541

Books kept: 7

Books removed: 3

Current TBR: 1536

Image result for anne boleyn gif
“We are on the edge of a golden world!”

If anyone gets why I did an Anne Boleyn gif here you win my friendship. But! Going down more! I feel like I’m doing better at reading off my actual TBR and removing books when I don’t like the sound of them. Trying to be more mindful, here.

Talk to me!
Have you read any of these?
What do you think of my choices?

The 20 Questions Book Tag

Hello, all!

Another day, another tag. And, like usual, Virginia tagged me in this! I think we have a mutual tagging thing going and I’m here for it. But, I love these questions and I’m glad to be doing this!

How many books are too many in a series?

Personally, anything over four books is a bit too much for me. It really depends on the book series, but I don’t want a million books in each series. It gets tiring.

How do you feel about cliff-hangers?

I’m fine with them. You gotta keep an audience hooked and waiting somehow, after all. Plus, if I know it’s a series, I expect a cliff-hanger.

Hardback or paperback?

Hardback! I’ll read paperbacks, but I prefer hardbacks. They’re sturdier and all around easier to handle. Plus, I always break the spins of paperbacks and that gets annoying.

Favorite book?

American Gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman! Literally my favorite book of all time. And the audiobook is the best way to absorb it, imho.

Least favorite book?

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the book I bitch about the most. This whole series, really. It just sucked.

Love Triangle… Yes or No?

I’d prefer not to have it. Some are good, some are bad. But, I think they’re overrated. I’d far prefer to have a “love triangle” of polyamory.

The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)

This was too much like ADSoM for me. In all the bad ways.

A book you’re currently reading?

The Reckless Oath We Made

Bryn Greenwood is a local author for me and I started an ARC of her newest book. Gonna be a good one!

The last book you recommended to someone?

With the Fire on High

This one! It’s not perfect, but I’m really enjoying it. Definitely one I’d recommend!

Oldest book you’ve read (based on publication date)?

Gilgamesh: A New English Version

According to Goodreads, this was published in -2100. And it’s the oldest book I’ve read.

Newest book you’ve read (based on publication date)?

The Madness Blooms

This one was slated to be released in 2020, but now it’s going to be released in 2021. So, that makes this the newest book I’ve read. (My review.)

Favorite author?

Do I have to choose one?? Because I love so many! Shakespeare, Mackenzi Lee, Mark Lawrence, Stephen King, etc.

Buying books or borrowing them?


Some books I want to buy. Some I want to borrow. To save money, I usually borrow first if needed.

A book you dislike that everyone else loves?

SO. MANY. But I’ll go with this one.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

I DNFed it and yeah. Couldn’t get into it. (My review.)

Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks, although I dog-ear books I own when I need to mark a quote or specific place. It is the way it is.

A book you can reread over and over?

Uhm, American Gods. I can reread it multiple times a year.

Can you read while listening to music?

Yep! I love listening to music to set the mood. Makes the books richer for me.

Multiple POVs or one POV?

Hm. I prefer single POVs. Makes it simpler. But, some books need multiple POVs.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days on average?

Both! Sometimes I can read a book all in one sitting and others I read over multiple days. It’s pretty equal for me.

I tag: (and no pressure to do it!)

Kaya | Kristin | May

Talk to me!
What about you?
What’s your least favorite book? Can you listen to music?

WWW Wednesday | 7/24/19

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm and revived by Taking on a World of Words.

All you have to do is answer the following questions.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you finish recently reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve decided to take on this new tag! I think it’ll be pretty fun and easy, and be a really good of talking real-time about what I’m reading. So, let’s do this first one.

Currently reading!

Right now, I’m currently reading five books. I’m rereading American Gods for the umpteenth time, so that’s nothing to broadcast.

But these are the books I’m reading besides that:

The Reckless Oath We Made

This is an ARC that I snagged. I loved Greenwood’s debut and this one is just as good. It’s very different than her first book, but I love how she talks about Kansas related topics since she’s a native like I am.

An Enchantment of Ravens

Because I loved Sorcery of Thorns so much, I decided to jump on this one! It’s okay. I’m liking it but it’s just not as rich as I’d have liked it to be. Still good for a debut, but it’s not my favorite.

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)

Another one I picked up after seeing some good reviews. And another one I’m finding quite average. It’s not bad, but I’m about 50% in and it hasn’t really captured me.

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)

And this one. I know, I know. Caidyn, how the fuck did you get it? I don’t know, but I did. And it’s kinda meh. That’s basically how I’ve felt about the whole series, though.

Just finished…

So, I’ve just finished quite a few books. But I’m picking three, two that I really enjoyed and one that I DNFed.

The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves, #1)

This is one I really enjoyed! I thought it was fun and very, very much like a YA Game of Thrones. I had my issues with it, but it was still good. My review will be posted on the 28th!

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)

This is the one I DNFed. I called it quits at page 154. Taken from my review I did on Goodreads:

I could tell that this was going to be like my experience with A Darker Shade of Magic. Good premise, especially interesting since it’s a Spanish inspired world. Bland characters that did nothing but annoy me. A plot that felt all over the place. Weird pacing where action was happening but I was bored. Forced romance on the horizon. Things happening that I was supposed to care about but couldn’t be bothered with. Evil magic that was being released.

I put it down as soon as I realized it was going to be another Schwab book (without it being by Schwab). I read that whole damn series by her. I don’t need to read another.

With the Fire on High

I seriously didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did! It was so good! Again, I had things I didn’t love about it, but it blew me away. The review will be posted on here August 4th!

What’s next?

There are a few books that I have in mind that I want to dive into next!

Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1)

I’m going to be buddy reading this with Sam @ Tinted Prose Reviews soon! We both got it for our affiliate boxes for Book of the Month’s new YA book box. If you want to subscribe to it — and if you already have the original BotM you have to make another account — you can use my affiliate link! I’ll get a bit of money back, which will help me get books to create more content for y’all!

Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5)

I have this out from the library right now and I really want to read it. I read the fourth Mistborn book a couple weeks ago. Not as good as the original series and I desperately miss it, but I’m going to carry on for the time being.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

I have an ARC of this one and I’m super excited to have it! I can’t wait to see what goes on next in this world, really.

Talk to me!
What are your answers to any of these questions?
Do you like this new tag?

Top Ten Tuesday – Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

One thing I love about books are the settings. I always pay attention to that since they often have something to do with the worldbuilding. Some are stale worlds, but these are definitely some I want to see more of.

  • Scotland, Ireland, or Wales

Don’t get me wrong. I really, really love England and stories that are set in England. But, I really want to see more of the UK. Wales is such an under-used setting. And, I mean, think of all the fun you could have in Northern Ireland! Someone I know who lives there has described it as kinda lawless at times, so that sounds like a great setting.

  • Russia

Russia would be another super interesting setting to use in books. I’ve seen it more lately, but it’s still so under-utilized. I hope I start seeing it more.

  • Ukraine

Going off of Russia, the Ukraine would be another fantastic place. (Plus you have the places that you’re not supposed to travel to and are being taken over by Russia little by little.) It’d be such an interesting place to see in books.

  • Central/South America

I’m tired of North American settings (except Canada). I’d love to see more things set in Central or South America. It’d be so much fun and the magic or worlds inspired by that would be great.

  • Lao

I’m loving all the Asian-inspired worlds, but I’d love to see something outside of China, Japan, or Korea. I work with lots of people from Lao and I think that it’d be a great setting for a book

  • Queerness is the norm

This is one thing that I want to read more of. I’ve only read it a few times and I always need more. I want books where it’s fine and normal and not a big deal that characters are queer. Lots of books, even ones that are fantasy or sci-fi, still make a huge deal out of it. Nope. I want it underhand and just a normal thing.

  • Wars of the Roses era/inspired

This is my kink right here. I love this era of history. It’s so fascinating and I know that people kinda use it more these days (thanks, GRRM) but I never get tired of it.

Talk to me!
What settings do you want more of?
Do we share any?

Book review – The Passengers by John Marrs

Caidyn's review (1)

The Passengers

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!


CW: inter-partner violence, chronic illness, racism, death, pedophilia, mention of human trafficking, adultery, bigamy, blackmailing, childbirth, and graphic violence/descriptions of gore

Like with The One, this is fit for a Black Mirror episode. It was unputdownable (it’s now a word). I didn’t want to stop reading it because I was so, so intrigued by it.

The story is set in a future Britain. After Brexit. After everything else. Britain has passed laws to help integrate driverless cars into their world. Of course, they have to do inquests for deaths caused by these cars. That’s where Libby comes in. Libby is very against driverless cars, yet she’s chosen to be a part of the jury to decide whether the car or person harmed by the car is at fault for the crash. Most of these cases come out in favor of the car making the right choice.

However, everything goes wrong.

Eight people get into their driverless cars to get on with their day. Six of them are Shabana, Claire, Sam and Heid, Jude, and Sofia. Shabana is fleeing her abusive husband. Claire is pregnant. Sam and Heidi are a married couple, each going on with their day. Jude is down and out. And Sofia is an aging actress.

The Hacker takes over their cars, which have already been set to explode at some point. He breaks into the jury room, putting the people in it as jury for whether these people will survive the day. Because they — and the rest of the world — have to choose which one of the eight will live while the other seven will crash into each other. If anyone tries to stop the cars or gets in the way at all, the car will explode, killing the person inside and injuring other people.

It’s fucking madness.

I read this book so quickly. The thrills kept coming. It’s split into two parts. I loved Parts 1 and 2. God, they moved fast and the hits didn’t stop coming. I tried to cover everything in my content warnings, but I have a feeling that I missed something because of just how quickly the story went. I feel like some of the hits were lackluster just because there were harder hitting things. I know that the Hacker chose these people for his specific purpose, but it still was a lot and it kept veering towards too much.

I wish I could talk more about the plot, honestly. But you have to take my word for it that it moves at an insane rate for about 80% of the book. It was nonstop and I couldn’t put it down for the first two parts.

The next two? Eh.

While the first two parts were imaginative and insane, the ending was weak. I think it honestly could have ended at the second part and it would have left me wanting more rather than it dragging on for 20%. There were multiple “twists” that didn’t work. I just kept wanting it to end because it had gone too far. The story kept going even though it had stopped being interesting.

And that made it all fall flat. I sincerely think it could have ended around 80%. Sure, I might be writing about how the ending left me wanting more, but when I got more I wasn’t happy about it.

Still, a fantastic book. Just with a lackluster ending.

Talk to me!
What was the last thriller that you loved?
Have you read this? Are you planning to?