Book Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Book: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Published October 2019 by Delacorte Press|416 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Gravemaidens #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I really liked Gravemaidens!  I was drawn in by the cover, which is really pretty.  And it sounded like something I’d like to read.

I loved how Kammani just wanted to save her sister.  I also loved that she sees the selection of her sister to be a death sentence.  Everyone- or most everyone- sees it as an honor but Kammani wasn’t one of them, and that was nice to see.  She really does everything she can to save the ruler of her country, though it seems to be to save her sister from dying, and not because he’s a good ruler or anything like that.

She’s definitely trying to figure things out, even though it ends up being pretty dangerous for her.  Things go in a completely different way than she expected, and things weren’t what they seemed.  The book stands on its own pretty well, though I’m curious to see how the second (and final) book goes.

Gravemaidens does have a lot of elements that I’ve seen in other fantasy books, so nothing was particularly surprising as far as characters or plot goes.  It didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the book at all, because I did like Kammani and how she was willing to figure things out.  You could tell she cared about her sister, and they do have a really great moment towards the end of the book.

Something about going into the afterlife made me think of Greek mythology.  Maybe it’s because Netherworld was mentioned frequently, and paying the Boatman coin came up several times.  I know the afterlife isn’t a concept solely related to Greek mythologies, because it comes up in a lot of religions.  But I did finish Outrun The Wind recently, and that’s a Greek mythology retelling, so maybe I just have Ancient Greece/Greek mythology on my mind.  Now, I’m curious to know if she was inspired by any kind of mythology.

Still, I wanted to know more about Kammani’s world.  You get an idea of what it’s like, and I hope we see more of it in the next book.

I liked Kammani but I didn’t love her.  I’m not sure why I didn’t love her but you could tell saving her sister was important.  I wasn’t a big fan of her sister, Nanaea, who came across as spoiled for most of the book.  She did make more sense and I understood her better by the end of the book, but I still haven’t warmed up to her.

Speaking of liking or not liking characters, I wasn’t a fan of Dagan.  Something about how much he wanted to be with Kammani was off-putting to me, and even though he said he didn’t want to push her, he also seemed much more interested in her than she was in him.  I wasn’t interested in anything romantic between Dagan and Kammani but I was intrigued by the possibility of Naru and Kammani.  I feel like anything romantic has been set up for Dagan and Kammani, but if it does, it’ll take a lot of convincing to get me on board.

4 stars.  I really liked Gravemaidens and considering that things seemed to be wrapped up pretty well, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Book: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Published November 2018 by Flux|302 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

I thought Outrun The Wind was just okay.  I wanted to like it more, but I had a really hard time getting into it.

I was bored the entire time I was reading the story.  If you’re looking for any action, this is not the book for you.  It moved at what felt like a snail’s pace, and I had a hard time staying interested in the book.  I wanted something more to happen, and it didn’t.

I liked the setting, though.  Kahina’s world is one where gods and goddesses roam the earth, and are living, breathing people.  It’s too bad we only got a glimpse of Artemis, but this book wasn’t about her- it was about Kahina and Atalanta.  I’ve heard of Atalanta, but I don’t know her story, so I can’t speak to this book as a re-telling of her story.  I felt like I was in Ancient Greece the entire time, and though the setting didn’t feel like an additional character, I think the world was still one I wanted to spend more time in.

I don’t know how I feel about Kahina or Atalanta.  I didn’t feel particularly interested in their stories or what happened to them, and I wish their backstories felt a little more clear.  Their pasts felt really muddled, and we get some tidbits about what happened, but it seemed a little fuzzy to me.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention.

It seemed like it was supposed to be a romance, but I didn’t pick up on that at all.  The description made it seem like there was going to be romance involved, but it felt like they went from enemies to friends and never quite made it beyond friends.  Unless I’m massively missing out on something, and I’m completely and utterly clueless.  Maybe I just need to be hit over the head with it, because any romantic connection that was in this book went over my head.

Kahina and Atalanta just didn’t feel completely fleshed out to me, though I felt like we knew Kahina a little bit better.  Atalanta felt a little more guarded and closed off, but I still feel like we didn’t get to know them as much as we could have.  Maybe that’s why I felt like they never moved past the friends stage.

2 stars.  Outrun The Wind was okay, and I wanted to like it more than I really did.  It wasn’t for me, but if you like Greek mythology, this might be worth checking out.

The NaNoWriMo 2019 Post

Hello and welcome the official, stand-alone NaNoWriMo post for 2019!  I talked about NaNoWriMo in my Currently Obsessed With post, but while writing that post, I decided I needed to do a recap post.  I really wanted to talk about my writing adventures this year, but I also wanted to give myself a break between reaching 50,000 words and writing this post.  I wanted it to sink in a little bit.

It’s funny.  I’ve been doing NaNo for a really long time- this is my 14th year doing it, and not only have I done it every year since 2006, I’ve reached the word count every year, sometimes with multiple novels.  This last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about NaNo, and what I’ve learned since that very first year.

But first, this year.

I wrote this sci-fi/apocalyptic story.  I had this idea for an apocalyptic take on the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, but I didn’t really know what to do with it.

But then I had this dream where the end of the world happened and everyone was really happy about it.  There are a lot more details to this dream, but for some reason, I decided the ideas would go great together.

So the elevator pitch is an alien invasion meets the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.

Except there are more aliens then 4 horsemen.  They didn’t really show up, and what they represent didn’t really happen.  It ended up being more about these two sisters who are on opposing sides- one working with the aliens, and the other working in the resistance.

This was one of those novels that I went with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do.  It wasn’t vaguely planned or outlined like previous years.  All things considered, it went a lot better than I thought it would, considering the lack of planning, and the complete and total pantsing of this novel.

It’s an idea I wouldn’t mind coming back to, now that I’ve written 50,000 words of it.  I feel like I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.  I don’t know if the 4 horsemen would factor into it at all, but I love the idea of two sisters on opposing sides of the alien invasion.

Maybe this 4 horsemen idea could be shelved for a different idea that comes along.  There’s no telling what I’ll come up.  It could be an interesting combination but you never know where things will take you.  That’s the nice thing about being a pantser.  Things end up going in a different direction then you expected.

I did have fun with it though, and I really did like that I wasn’t completely sure where it was going to go.

One thing I want to go back to for next year is having another project to work on.

I’m not talking multiple, 50k novels, because I barely have enough energy for one, much less two or three.  But there were quite a few times this year where I just needed a break from this particular project, and I felt like I needed to write something else.  I caught up on blog posts, and I did some of the prompts from The Severed Moon.

They didn’t spark any ideas but it was good to do some writing prompts.  The cover is really pretty, and there’s something witchy about it,  There’s a mix of questions and quotes from the her books.  I did a lot of questions, and maybe that’s why it didn’t spark any ideas.  I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the quotes, but maybe I’ll give those a try.

It really makes me want to do more guided journaling.  I’m not the best at keeping up with it, since I’m excited at first and I lose interest after a while, but maybe I need to get in the habit of doing it.  Even a crochet project might help.  I haven’t been in a big crocheting mood lately, but maybe I will be next year.

Still, I think having some sort of background project will be good.  It’s nice to have something else to work on, and it’s a good way to reset myself.  At least I have almost a whole year to figure it out!

I think I may get a little more creative with how I plan my novels.

Either I completely wing it, or I have a vague outline in Scrivener.  I might have some notes in one of my 50 million notebooks too.

But I have a bunch of art supplies and sketchbooks at home, so it could be fun to terribly draw out my ideas, or…well, I’m not quite sure really.  I don’t have a set idea for how I would do it.  I just know I have a ton of brush pens and sketchbooks, and right now, it seems really fun to write out my notes and thoughts and ideas in a completely different way.

Depending on what ideas I come up, or with some ideas that I end up revisiting, we’ll see how this goes.  I’m definitely not going to guarantee I’ll do this next year, because I might not even be interested in doing this a year from now.  If I do, then I’ll go for it,  If not, maybe I’ll give it a try another year.

Here’s an interesting thought.

I love NaNo,  I’ve done it for years, and my life would not be the same without it.  I can’t see myself not doing, and I love the writing 50,000 word novel in one month thing.  But right now, I’m curious to see what a November would look like if I did 50,000 words of blog posts, writing prompts and other ideas?  I’ve been tempted to try to the blog post thing for a few years, but since I do mostly reviews, I don’t know how well that would work.  Usually, the longer I wait to write them, the harder it is for me to write a review, especially if I don’t have strong opinions either way.

But this blog did start out with me writing about my NaNo adventures, so I could talk about that.  And I could write non-review posts too.  That’s something to keep in mind.

I’m not the biggest planner, and my planning ranges from “very vague idea” to “detailed notes that guide me along the way but aren’t so detailed that there’s no room for the unexpected.”  But this is something to consider as well, either as a side project or a main project.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I could easily reassess in, like, July or August to see how I’m feeling and what I might want to work on.

Honestly, I’m feeling a little rambly and all over the place.

Is rambly even a word?  If it’s not, that’s fine, because it seems like the right thing to say.  I think I’m going to stick with it.

I do feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say about NaNo 2019, and I’m glad there’s some distance between when I reached 50k and when I’m writing this.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Published November 2019 by Delacorte Press|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Camelot Rising #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

There is nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution — send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife… and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name — and her true identity — is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old — including Arthur’s own family — demand things continue as they have been, and the new — those drawn by the dream of Camelot — fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

I really enjoyed The Guinevere Deception!  One, it’s Kiersten White, and I love her, and two, she did a King Arthur re-telling.  How could I not like this book?

I really liked Guinevere.  She’s pretty awesome, and even though I’m not super-familiar with all of the King Arthur stories, I have a vague sense of the characters and the story.  I loved the idea of Guinevere as a changeling, and seeing her navigate Camelot and water was a pretty different but cool take on the story.

White really made the story her own- Guinevere as protector of Arthur against magic, what she did with Lancelot and the appearance of Brangien and Tristan from the Tristan and Isolde story…it’s a really cool re-telling.

Seeing Guinevere on her journey was one of my favorite things about the book.  She had a lot to figure out, and I loved taking that journey with her.  Things weren’t what she thought they were, but if there’s anyone who can keep Arthur and Camelot safe, it’s her.  There’s a lot of gaps in time for her, and I hope she’s able to get those memories back.  I don’t know if she will, but she did the best she could with the information she had.

Things between Arthur and Guinevere got my attention.  They’re definitely friends, and even though they’re married, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll move past the friends stage into something more.  Honestly, I thought there might have been something between her and Mordred, which would have been a little weird because Arthur is his uncle.  I know Arthur and Guinevere are fake married and all, but still.

I liked Lancelot, and I can’t wait to see how things go as a knight for Lancelot.  Lancelot was not who I expected them to be, though I liked seeing Lancelot fight, and go through the tournament.  I think Lancelot will be a great knight, and friend, for Guinevere.

There’s a lot to like about this book, and it’s hard to talk about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.  There are some interesting twists and turns, and I want to know what happens next!

4 stars.  I really liked this take on King Arthur, and Guinevere is a great character!  I loved going on this journey with her.

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Market Of Monsters #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

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.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I really liked Not Even Bones!  I was intrigued by the plot, and I went through this book pretty fast because I wanted to keep reading.

I thought Nita was interesting.  I don’t know if I like her- I haven’t quite decided on that yet- but her character was an interesting one.  I mean, she can heal herself, in a world that doesn’t look kindly upon people with unnatural abilities.  Yes, she helps her mother by dissecting magical creatures so her mother can sell them on the black market, and yes, she realizes that there is no line she won’t cross to get her life back to normal.

She had lines she wouldn’t cross, and ends up throwing all of that out the window once she ends up on the black market.  I don’t know if I like her but I really want to see what she’ll do to get her life back to where she wants it.

I really want to know more about Fabricio and her mom.  Fabricio pops up at the beginning and the end, so who knows what he’s doing for most of the book?  What’s he really up to?  Whatever it is, I hope we find out.

As for her mom, selling her to the black market seems like something she would do.  What happened to her mom, and will we ever find out if she’s dead or alive?  We definitely find out what happened to her dad, but her mom?  What’s she been doing since Nita got taken?  I have so many questions about her, and I hope at least some of them get answered.

I did like Kovit, though.  I wasn’t sure about him for a while, but he’s a pretty cool character.  I like that he won’t hurt friends or family, and I want him to be okay.  He definitely grew on me, and he and Nita have a pretty interesting but understandable agreement/relationship.

I’m hoping there isn’t a love triangle.  There isn’t one in this book, but I feel like this book is setting one up for the rest of the series.  At the beginning of the book, I thought that Nita and Fabricio might end up together, but knowing what I know now, I do not want them to end up together, should romance come up.  I don’t know what would change my mind about him, but at this point, it’s going to take a lot to get me to change my mind.

4 stars.  I really liked Not Even Bones, and I can’t wait to read the next one, if only to see what happens with Nita and Fabricio.

Book Review: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Book: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Published April 2019 by Quirk Books|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Once Upon A Con #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

I loved The Princess And The Fangirl!  I wasn’t sure what to think about because I did like Geekerella, but I ended up loving this book.

Something I thought was interesting, and was one of my favorite things about the book, was seeing the girls step into each other’s shoes.  They learn so much about each other, and I loved seeing how much they change.  They see a side of fandom they never considered before.

This book is narrated by both Imogen and Jess, and it worked so incredibly well for this book.  With Imogen, we see how much Amara means to her, and why she wants to save her favorite character.  The campaign she put together was absolutely amazing.  But you also see her realize why Jess wouldn’t want to be Amara anymore.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a fandom like Starfield with everything Jess has to put up with.

Imogen, masquerading as Jess, sees the ugly side of things, and I think she realizes that things aren’t easy for Jess.  Yes, she wants to #saveAmara, but it comes at a price for the person playing her.

With Jess, she starts to see why people love Amara.  For Jess, she starts to find joy in life again, and she starts to see the part of Starfield she never got to see because of horrible people who think she’s not their Amara.  Unfortunately, it was a little true to life, and I’d be surprised if what happened to Jess didn’t happen to other actresses.

I’m not going to lie, I was crying by the end of it.  The crying made it a not good choice for a laundry mat read, but at least there were only a couple of other people in there, and they were pretty busy, so I guess it worked out.  But it did get me more emotionally than Geekerella.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Geekerella, but there’s just something about this book.  I have not been to a con, so that part goes way over my head.  But there was something about seeing Jess and Imogen switch places and learn a lot about themselves and each other.  I loved seeing them pull off this insane plot to figure out who leaked the script of the next Starfield movie.  I especially loved seeing them work together to figure this out and to save Amara.

And even though this book is part of a series, you really don’t need to read the first book to read this one!  I read Geekerella a few months ago for book club, but didn’t re-read before reading this one.  Some of what happens in that book is mentioned in this one, and it’s nice to see what happens to some of those characters, but this is definitely a book that stands on its own pretty well.

5 stars.  I loved The Princess And The Fangirl so much, and Imogen and Jess are great characters.  I don’t think I’ve loved character names as much as I loved Imogen Lovelace and Jessica Stone.

Book Review: Blood Infernal by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Book: Blood Infernal by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Published February 2015 by William Morrow|576 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: The Order Of The Sanguines #3

Genre: Adult Thriller

In a masterpiece of supernatural mystery and apocalyptic prophecy, New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell bring to a thunderous conclusion their epic trilogy of novels set between the worlds of shadow and light, between salvation and damnation, where the very gates of Hell must be shattered to discover the true fate of humankind in…

Blood Infernal

As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy foretold in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness. With the Apocalypse looming, Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia. But the prize has already fallen into the hands of their enemy, a demon named Legion, before whom even the walls of the Vatican will fall.

The search for the key to salvation will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty shelves of the Vatican’s secret archives to lost medieval laboratories, where ancient alchemies were employed to horrific ends. All the while, they are hunted, besieged by creatures of uncanny skill and talent. As clues are dug free from ancient underground chapels and found frozen in icy mountain caverns, one that will destroy not only her, but all she loves. To protect the world, Erin must walk through the very gates of Hell and face the darkest of enemies: Lucifer himself.

With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combined science, myth, and religion to introduce a breathtaking world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now, in this epic conclusion to the Sanguines trilogy, Blood Infernal, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, to answer the ultimate question: What price will we pay for true salvation? 

I liked this one.  The series didn’t end how I thought it would, but it was a pretty interesting ride.

What I liked most was how different historical figures were involved.  I’ve really liked Elizabeth Of Bathory, and she’s been a pretty solid character this whole time.  I really liked how John Dee was included, and they did a great job at including his experiments into what was going on.  With what I know about John Dee as a person, I could see him trying what he did in this book.  He was mentioned more than anything else, but we did actually see him at the very beginning of the book.  We learned a lot about him in this book, and Cantrell and Rollins did a great job at weaving in history.

This book was a blur to me.  I waited a while to read and then I was scrambling to finish it before it was due, so even though I’m reviewing not too long after finishing it, I still feel like it’s going to be a struggle to actually review it.

I did want more action from this book.  There wasn’t as much as I thought there would be, and that was a little disappointing.  Considering they’re trying to stop the apocalypse from happening, you’d think there would more action and less talk.  But that wasn’t the case at all.

You do see what lengths they’ll go to stop evil, and how they’ll deal with it as they travel all over the world to do it.  They are alone for part of the book, but no matter how far apart they are from each other, they always end up working together as a group to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it from happening.  It makes me wonder if they’ll cross paths now that the book is over.  Jordan and Erin do, for sure, but I’d be curious to see if they ever cross paths with Rhun or Elizabeth.

I had the feeling Erin and Jordan will be just fine, but Rhun?  Of the three, he had the most earth-shattering revelations to deal with, and now he’s really going to have to deal with all of that.  Whether he does it on his own, or with Elizabeth, I’m not sure.  But he has a lot of soul-searching to do after learning what he does.

And I hope Elizabeth keeps in touch with Tommy for the rest of their lives.  They seem pretty important to each other, so hopefully they’re still a part of each others lives now that they don’t have to deal with this apocalyptic craziness.

3 stars.  I liked Blood Infernal, and while it wasn’t the action-packed ending I thought it would be, I did like the blending of suspense with history, religion and the supernatural.

Book Review: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Book: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Published May 2019 by Scholastic Press|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Kasie West, I Love You So Mochi is a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel from accomplished author Sarah Kuhn.

“As sweet and satisfying as actual mochi… a tender love story wrapped up in food, fashion, and family. I gobbled it up.” — Maurene Goo, author of The Way You Make Me Feel

Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.

She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.

I loved I Love You So Mochi! It’s cute and sweet and heart-warming, and I’m kicking myself for not reading it earlier!

It’s such a great read, and I didn’t know I needed to read it until I started reading it. I loved seeing Kimi connect with her grandparents, and I loved seeing her relationship change with both of them. It made me miss my grandparents, and my grandma in particular. It’s this time of year my grandma died, and I can’t believe it’s been almost two years. I did have to put the book down and take a little bit of a break because reading this book made me miss her a lot more than I usually do.

Going to Japan and getting to know her grandparents (and her mom) was such a good thing for her. It was a place where she found a lot of inspiration, and I loved seeing her learn so much about her mom and her grandparents. She really saw her mom in a different way, and you could see that in the emails Kimi wrote to her. You could also see it in the relationship she had with her mom at the beginning and the end of the book, and it changed SO much. I loved seeing that change, and I finished the book feeling like things were in a better place between them.

I also loved seeing Kimi go for a fashion design program instead of the art program. She really grew into being able to speak up and go for what she’s interested in, instead of doing something that she’s interested in, but not as a career or a passion. I don’t know what the future holds for her career-wise, but her clothes sound amazing, and I would love to see this as a movie just for the clothes. Plus, seeing her explore Japan would also be really cool.

The romance was really cute, and I liked Akira. For me, I was more interested in Kimi exploring Japan and her family history than I was in their romance, but I still liked it. They’re cute together, and I felt like he was a great tour guide. It seemed to help Kimi a lot, and everything between them felt natural. It didn’t feel forced or insta-lovey or anything, and that was refreshing.

I was not prepared for the waterworks that happened, which is a weird thing to happen when you’re reading at work. Usually, I can tell when I’m going to start crying, in which case I would put the book down and read at home. But I wanted to keep reading to see how things would work out with Kimi and her mom, and if her mom would ever work things out with her parents. It seems like things are well on their way to getting at least a little bit better, but there was some crying along the way.

My Rating: 5 stars. I loved Kimi and her time in Japan. She learned a lot about herself and her family, and I was glad that she was able to go to Japan. I’m glad I got to go on this journey with her, and I Love You So Mochi is a really special book!

Currently Obsessed With: The NaNo Procrastination Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. readers!  I hope it’s a fun holiday for all of you, and I’m looking forward to all of the food.

I feel like I haven’t done one of these in forever!  The last time I did one of these, I resolved to do them more often but that’s never happened.  Honestly, I feel like I haven’t had enough to talk about as far as non-review posts go.  There has been the occasional cool stuff on the internet post, but that’s been about it.

I’ve been in a blogging mood lately, though.  I’ve been catching up on reviews that I haven’t felt like doing, and in an effort to write something that’s not my novel, it seemed like a good time to do something different.

There’s nothing like procrastination to get me to do something different.  And it is my favorite time of year.

November!

AKA the month where I write a ridiculous amount of words in the span of 30 days.  This year, I’m writing a YA apocalyptic/sci-fi story where alien invasion meets the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.  It’s going better then I expected, considering I didn’t feel like planning anything.  Good, as in I’ve actually reached 50,000 words!  It’s definitely a year for pantsing it, and it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

My brain, however, has decided it needs a break, so it’s time to catch up on blogging, and I may pick up one of my crochet projects to give my mind a break more of a break.  It always ends up being a good reset, and I always go back to my project refreshed.  I’m hoping it will get me back in the noveling mindset.

I may or may not do some sort of wrap-up post in December.  I’m really thinking about it, because I feel feel like talking about it a little more.  It kind of makes me wish I had a second project to work on but I don’t have the energy for multiple novels this year.  Ever since that one crazy year where I did three 50,000 word novels in one month, I’ve been burnt out on the multiple novels in one month thing.  Maybe next year, I’ll have a smaller project to work on as a break from the main one.

Nail Polish & Skin Care Land

It’s been I don’t know how long since I’ve talked about nail polish, and earlier this year, I was sad to see the Julep Maven subscription box get discontinued.  I haven’t found a great nail polish subscription box to take it’s place, which is sad because I loved getting nail polish every month.

If anyone knows of a nail polish-only subscription box, let me know in the comments!

I have fallen in love with the ILNP brand.  They have some amazing colors, and while I have a lot of purples, they have a lot of other gorgeous colors.  I’m glad I gave them a try, and I’m always looking to see what else I want to try.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’ve gotten super-into skincare.  It’s that time of year where I can’t slather on enough lotion, and it seems like my skin is a lot drier than normal.

I’m in love with this 72 hour Hydrator from Clinique, and my face feels a lot more hydrated/less dry since I’ve been using it.  I’m also in love with this lip mask from Laneige.  My lips have been so dry and cracked, and they’re so much softer.

I’ve barely made a dent in it, and I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks.  A little goes a long way, and I like it so much I got the chocolate mint one!  There were a couple of nights where I didn’t use it, and I noticed the difference in the morning.  Combined with O’Keefe’s Cooling Relief Lip Repair Balm (which I actually found at Wal-Mart), my lips are no longer cracked and peeling and super dry.

Speaking of subscription boxes…

There are a couple of boxes that I really like!  There’s the Feeling Fab box, which I’ve been getting for a few months, and I really like it!  It’s a lot of skincare, but they’re more sample sizes, which is good, because it’s a good way to test stuff out.  It’s been interesting, but it’s also been really fun and I’ve found some stuff I want to keep using.  I’m going to have to get a picture one of these months.

I also love the Lit Box from Frostbeard.  I’ve been a fan of their shop on Etsy for a long time now, and even though I’ve only been getting their box for a couple of months, it’s fun to get a new scent, plus other really cool stuff that goes with their scent of the month.  I love that you have the option to get either the candle or the wax melts- I’m a wax melt person, but when I saw they had it, I knew I had to get it.

Other Fun Stuff

I’ve been to a couple of book signings, and I had a blast at both events.

I got The Guinevere Deception signed, and having a new Kiersten White book to read is really exciting!  Plus, Kiersten is funny and her signings are always really fun to go to.

I also got to meet Marissa Meyer, and I had an amazing time listening to her talk about how much her Renegades trilogy changed since she got the original idea!  I’ve been a fan since reading her Cinder series, and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see her in person.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’m going to Disneyland with my family next month!  That’s the main thing I’m excited about, and I’m glad to take an actual vacation for once.  It’s been a few years since I’ve taken one, and I can’t wait to go.  I’m tempted to take a day and go to Universal Studios for the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.  It’s not too far of a drive from Disney, so it would be the perfect time to go.  It’s close enough I could make the trip up there if I don’t make it, so we’ll see if I make it over there.

Honestly, that’s the main thing I’m looking forward to, and I feel like I’m missing a few other fun things.  But it’s November, and my brain can only handle so much right now.  I’m going to leave it here, and I’ll be back soon!

Happy Thanksgiving/Happy Thursday!

Around The Internet #19

Hello and Happy Monday!  I hope it’s a good one for you.  Here’s some really interesting stuff I’ve found over the last few weeks.

That’s all for today, and I hope you have a great day and a great week!