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A Forgery of Roses

by Jessica S. Olsen

Myra Whitlock is an artist with the ability to alter people’s real life bodies. Her magic is highly sought after and people would kidnap or kill to get to her. After her parents disappear she is left to take care of herself and her younger sister. One night the Governor’s wife asks her to do an impossible task, bring her dead son back to life, leaving Myra no choice unless she wants her secret revealed. Once she is there it becomes clear his death was no accident. Together with the governor’s older son she tries to solve the mystery that will allow her to finish her portrait and fulfill her promise.

I’ve never read about a magic system like this one, it was very unique and as an artist myself I really enjoyed it. The detail in the drawing process was something I loved reading about. Myra as a character was a little naive. At times it bothered me but I tried to remember she was on her own trying to care for herself and her sister.

I loved her relationship with August. He was a good balance for her, they were very supportive of each other and their relationship built slowly. It was one of those shy guy gets the girl things and it was adorable.

There was good representation for people with an “invisible illness” in this story. Her younger sister has been dealing with a sickness no one quite knows how to heal. The struggles she went through felt very real and I appreciated that part of the story.

Overall I enjoyed the story quite a bit! I think I just struggled to connect with Myra by the end. The magic system was one of my favorites and I loved the creativity behind it. It’s a perfect read for fans of Jack the Ripper and anyone who loves art.

Happy reading!

Xoxo Tricia

City of Orange

By David Yoon

A man who can’t remember who he is wakes up injured and alone in an apocalyptic world. That first line made me want to read this book, but it turned out to go in a direction I wasn’t expecting. If you go into this book hoping for an apocalyptic story you’ll get parts of that with a strange narrative built in. I don’t want to spoil the direction this story takes by saying too much, but it’s not the traditional apocalypse story.

The inner dialogue of our main character, who doesn’t get a name until the end of the story, is often at times uncomfortable and a little crazy. It doesn’t feel grounded, his thoughts are distracted and sometimes disturbing. As the books progresses you start to understand his state of mind better, but in the beginning it’s a wild ride.

For the majority of the book we’re left wondering if he has lost his mind. There are constant flash backs to a normal life he had and it makes the reader want to know what happened to this guy, how did he end up like this. His mind was very crumbly and fragile.

I think there were several important topics by the end of this book. It’s a shame the beginning with the uneasy dialogue lost me. The ending was poetic and deals with grief and friendship. It’s hard for me to rate this one. While I liked the story as a whole, I didn’t enjoy the ride to get to the end.

This is one of those books where you have to decide if you want to go on the ride. It’s weird and uncomfortable and tragic and sad, but if you can make it through it has a glimmer of hope.

Happy Reading!

Xoxo Tricia

How to get out of a Reading Funk

If you’re reading this you might be in the lowest of low places right now; a reading funk. To an avid reader this is worst case scenario, bottom of the barrel, a disaster. You may have four books on your night stand right now that you’ve started but never finished. The book store still calls to you, so you buy more, but they wind up on that teetering TBR pile threatening to consume you whole. You want to read but once you start something happens, something unexplanable that causes your mind to drift and before you know it you’re slowly setting your new book down. This is a major problem.

If I just described you, know that you’re not alone. I was just there. I think I was also in a blogging funk because hello, it’s been a while! When they say life gets in the way, they aren’t kidding. I feel like I’m getting my groove back and I wanted to share a few tips for helping you get yours back as well.

Tip #1 Put Down that Phone!

This one may seem pretty obvious, but when you actually pay attention to it you’ll realize it’s a huge problem! It’s so tempting, having everything at your fingertips, all the beautiful book pictures on Instagram, the reading vlogs of people doing exactly what you SHOULD be doing, and the endless scrolling of social media acting like a black hole sucking you further in. When I started to pay attention to how often I was on my phone I was quite honestly pretty embarrassed. There were so many times I was endlessly scrolling instead of reading. I was waisting away precious minutes looking at what seemed like the same thing on repeat. I promise you, you won’t miss out on that much when you step away from the device. It will all still be there when you return.

I started leaving my phone in another room so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick it up. Seems silly when you think about it right? I’m a grown adult who takes care of three kids, pays my bills, and keeps my household running, but I had to set a limit for myself. With my phone in another room it was much easier than I thought. Out of sight, out of mind. That saying is pretty true. If I left my phone next to me it was almost as if it was calling to me with it’s little light up screen and constant notifications. So I banished it to another room and it freed up my mind to concentrate on other things.

Tip #2 Read an Old Favorite

Ahhhh the feeling of nostalgia, it’s like coming home after a long trip. It feels safe, happy and familiar. Most people think of places or people when they think of the word “nostalgia”, but us bookworms think of our favorite read. Whether it’s your favorite childhood chapter book or your top pick for last year, it’s nice to revisit an old friend. Because that’s what books are to us, friends who sat with us during moments of joy and moments of sadness. They were there for us in the middle of night, under the covers while we couldn’t sleep. They kept us entertained on long trips and on the edge of our seats in anticipation. Sometimes all you need to get out of your reading funk is to revisit an old world full of characters you already know and love. They’re always waiting, ready to take you on that epic adventure once again.

Tip #3 Be apart of the Hype

In the book world there is such thing as “hype”. It can be good or bad, but one thing is for sure people who are hyped about a book are some pretty passionate people. Those people aren’t in a reading funk, in fact they are exactly the type of people you need right now. Their excitement about a new release is contagious. They will pull you right out of the depths of despair and get you so excited you may even start sporting some new gear to match your new book obsession. Whether it’s a new release or a long anticipated sequel, find those people who are passionately waiting for it to come out. The best place for a bookworm is surrounded by other bookworms right? Those are your people.

Sometimes a reading funk can last days or weeks or even months! But don’t worry, we seem to all go through it and somehow we return to or old selves once again. Your books will always be waiting for you.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

I gave this 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book! It’s not only an informative novel about the horrific Los Angeles library fire and the possible arsonist who caused it, it’s a book about the long standing love for libraries and the importance they hold in our communities. From the inner workings of a functioning library to the impact historical events have on the information we seek, we get a glimpse into the ever changing job of a librarian. I found the history to be my favorite part of this novel and couldn’t get enough. For the love of libraries and the people who keep them running, read this novel.

Crow Flight by Susan Cunningham

I was able to read this book through Netgalley to provide feedback and my honest review.

Gin is quite possibly a computer genius. She is able to make complex computer models and her dream is to attend Harvard some day. When a new boy, Felix, shows up at school her focus is turned. Felix winds up in her modeling class and becomes her new partner. As they work through their final project, terrible secrets are found and Gin has to make a tough decision.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. There was an element of mystery that kept me intrigued. The arrival of Felix and the strange crows he seemed to always be around was so mysterious I didn’t want to put it down until I knew more. Unfortunately it took over half the book to get that answer. Usually that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but the story seemed to drag on without much happening.

The relationship between Felix and Gin was unusual to me. His character never seemed interested in her even when he actually was. I had a hard time seeing why they were interested in each other, other than the fact that they both enjoyed computer models.

If you enjoy computer sciences and modeling I think you would really enjoy this book. There were specifics related to how a computer model works in great detail. I found those bits to be interesting at times and a little boring at other times. Sadly my interests don’t involve computer sciences so I was probably not the right audience for this story.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the ending. The entire storyline was moving so slow and then right at the end every conflict happened one after another. It felt rushed and forced on the reader. I wish the conflict and resolution had been better fleshed out.

I think the concept behind this book was unique. It was an interesting read, but the story didn’t flow for me and was hard to get through.

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa


Shadow of the Fox is a YA Fantasy revolving around Japanese mythology. It is the story of Yumeko, a young kitsune ( part girl-part fox) who is thrust into a mission to protect the scroll of a thousand prayers. When she meets a man claiming to be a samurai named Tatsumi who is after the scroll she is trying to protect, she has to keep a secret that could destroy her. If the scroll winds up in the wrong hands the great Kami Dragon may be unleashed again. This story is full of Japanese culture, adventure, and mythical creatures.

I gave this book 4.5 stars. The storyline had me hooked from the beginning. It is told from a dual first person perspective with the two main characters, Yumeko and Tatsumi. Yumeko is a young girl raised in a temple full of monks. I love when a character really grows and learns throughout a story and she did just that. In the beginning she is naive and unsure of the outside world but by the end she is starting to find herself and her path.

Tatsumi was my favorite character in this book. He is very strict and business-like, but we start to see a shift in him as the story progresses. There is still a lot we don’t know about him and I’m hoping we get more back story for him in the second book.

The interaction between Yumeko and Tatsumi was a slow burn romance that kept me wanting more. They are both keeping secrets from each other throughout the story and at times you can’t really tell if they like each other or not, but the undertone of romance and attraction is definitely there.

I chose to listen to the audio book and I’m glad I did! There are a slew of Japanese words interwoven into this story and it was nice getting to hear them pronounced correctly. The story seemed to move quite slow, but it worked! We were introduced to so many cultural things throughout, that it helped to have a slow pace to keep things straight.

The main reason I couldn’t give this book 5 stars is because I felt like the ending was left too open. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for me I had invested over 400 pages of reading into this book and I just needed something to be resolved towards to end. Of course this means I’ll be reading the second book, because I need to know what happens!! So maybe that was a good move by Julie…


Vengeful by V.E. Schwab


Vengeful by V.E. Schwab is the anticipated sequel to Vicious; a story of right and wrong and everything in between. In Vengeful we follow the same beloved/hated characters from the first book.

Sydney is still in shock over her sister’s death. Victor is less himself, dealing with death and life over and over again. Eli Ever seems to have gotten away with murder.

In the second book Victor finds himself in a position of weakness, grasping for answers only to be led down a winding path of pain and death. His family- Sydney, Mitch, and Dominic-are falling apart around him and so are his powers.

Five years has passed and Eli Ever is trapped, constantly being tormented both physically and mentally in his new surroundings. But there is one thing that keeps him going, his work will continue, even if it’s done behind bars.

This story can never get old for me. I would follow Victor, Sydney and Mitch as they made breakfast and went shopping if V.E. Schwab wrote about it. I just love these characters that much. Their make shift family is the perfect mix. In this book, they are just as great, but we get introduced to new characters that have the potential to join this trio in my heart.

Marcella is a strong and brazen woman we meet right in the beginning of the book. She had the potential to be a main villain in our story or a powerful ally, you’ll have to read to find out which. I really enjoyed the way her character develops, as a mob bosses wife she doesn’t take opposition well.

June is another new character, yay for more female EO’s. Her history is a little more secretive and we are left not knowing much about her. I have so many questions still, that is makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing her in another book! She is a little more level headed than Marcella, but just as bad in a good way.

Without giving too much away, I thought the progression of this story flowed well. It had the same short chapters and jumpy timeline as the first which I personally enjoy. Overall I gave this book five stars and these two together are some of my favorite reads of all time. Maybe I’m a sucker for super human powers, or just the inner uneasy state of my conscious constantly telling me it was wrong to root these characters on. Either way I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes a good action packed sc-fi.




The Hazel Wood review


I recently finished The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert! I really wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. From what I heard it was a little spooky, had some fairytale vibes and that’s it. I completely under-estimated this book. The story went way deeper than I imagined it would.

In The Hazel Wood, Alice, a young teenager, is dealing with a rough home life. It’s just her and her mom, Ella, and they are constantly on the move. But there’s a secret Alice is soon to learn about her family. Her grandmother, Althea, is a famous and mysterious writer who wrote a spooky fairytale book that has a cult following. When Althea dies unexpectedly strange things start happening and Alice finds herself in the middle of an adventure she definitely didn’t ask for. What is the Hinterland and why do they want her, and can she survive?

I don’t want to give anything away in this review because I really think you should go into this book not knowing very much. As I was reading this story I kept thinking to myself how much I loved Melissa Albert’s writing style. She has a way with words that makes then flow through your mind, taking root in your emotions and burying themselves there making you think about them all day. I actually went to look up Melissa to see what else she has written only to be disappointed in finding this is her first novel! What an amazing debut!

Throughout this book we get to actually read some of the creepy short stories from Alice’s grandmother. These are dark fairytales for sure! There is nothing bright and happy about them. I enjoyed the look into the Hinterland and the stories it had. We jump from present day to another world that is creepy and strange to say the least. Melissa does this beautifully.

I wound up giving this book five stars! I was invested in the characters, loved the world descriptions, and the plot was riveting. I highly recommend The Hazel Wood if you like a darker fairytale with modern day twists. I will be looking out for more from Melissa Albert! I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

Happy Reading Lovely Reader Friends

xoxo Tricia



The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw


I recently finished reading The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. This story is about three sisters who were accused of being witches over 200 years ago. The towns people, scared and outraged, tie rocks to their feet and drown them in the harbor.  Now every summer they come back to haunt the small town of Sparrow and take victims back with them into the murky depths.

This book sounded pretty spooky.  I was excited to read it for October, but I only gave it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the beginning and the end but the middle lacked something for me. I wanted more spooky scenes and more of the witches.  I almost didn’t want to finish it but I’m glad I stuck in there, the ending was worth it.

The romance in this book was unexpected. I was wanting a scary story about witches so when we were trust into this romance I was a little put off. I understand why Shea Ernshaw had to set up this part of the story but it didn’t really come to light until the end and then it all felt a little rushed.

Overall I think this is a nice easy read. It’s 308 pages but there are a lot of blank pages in-between the chapters which makes it go by pretty fast. If you can make it past the middle section the ending is definitely worth it! The plot twist towards the end was perfect! That’s the action I was craving towards the middle.

Have you read The Wicked Deep? What did you think? I would love to know in the comments below.

Happy Reading Lovely Reader Friends

xoxo Tricia