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Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I really enjoy books about social media and its implications, and Follow Me by Kathleen Barber definitely delivered on that premise. In this story, Audrey Miller is an influencer on Instagram. She shares her perfectly curated life with the world, but she just so happens to attract the attention of someone who takes obsession to a whole new level.

This book was told in three perspectives: Audrey, her college friend Cat, and Him: the man obsessed with Audrey. Audrey definitely portrayed the vapid social media influencer well. She was incredibly easy to dislike, and I think that was the point. Honestly none of the characters in this book were likable, but that was okay.  I did love the juxtaposition of the art exhibit Audrey was working on with real life. There was one instance of attempted sexual assault in the story, so I do want to point that out.

The plot itself really led you to believe that the man obsessed with Audrey was one person, but it threw you for a loop at the end! This also seemed to position itself well for a sequel, even though I don't think there has been any talk of one. 

This book truly creeped me out, and even though I was really enjoying it, I hesitated to pick it up because I knew it would make me uneasy. Social media definitely has a dark side, and this read clearly showed the extremes that it can reach. If you are looking for a book to hit the social media prompt for the PopSugar reading challenge, I really recommend this one!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Gallery Books for a finished copy of this read! Follow Me by Kathleen Barber just released last week, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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I am so mad at myself for taking so long to get around to this book. The hype surrounding this one was real, with good reason. When I heard what Ninth House was about, I had to snatch up a copy even though I've never actually read any of Leigh Bardugo's other books. It's basically the type of book you would write if you wanted to set a trap to catch me.

Secret societies and the occult? Seeing ghosts? Magic? Murder and some pretty disturbing rituals? A girl named Galaxy? COUNT ME IN. This one does need trigger warnings for murder, drug abuse and overdosing, rape (including rape of a child) and other sexual assault, racism, medical procedure descriptions, gore and other graphic descriptions. I know that sounds like a lot, but if none of those are triggers for you this book is an intensely wild ride.

In Ninth House, Galaxy (Alex) Stern has just begun at Yale. After surviving a traumatic and harrowing incident, she was offered a deal she couldn't refuse: free education at Yale in exchange for using her "gift" to monitor the secret societies on campus. But when she agreed, she had no idea what exactly it would be that she was policing.

I completely ate this book up. I was constantly torn between wanting to put it down to savor the experience and get to read it for a longer period of time and fly through it. I ended up giving in and flying through it. I loved seeing Alex grow and fight her own demons and really come into her own. I really enjoyed Darlington's character and would have loved getting more of him. I was fascinated learning about the different secret societies and their different types of magic. It's dark. It's heavy. It's twisted. But it's fascinating.

I honestly got a lot of City of Ghosts (Victoria Schwab-Cassidy Blake series) vibes from this one, but with a much more adult tone. 

Ninth House will also be developed as a TV series from Amazon, and Bardugo has also said there will be a sequel, so I'm super excited to get more Alex Stern content!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Anna K by Jenny Lee

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Jenny Lee, Anna K

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I don't read a ton of retellings. That being said, I haven't read a lot of the classics that spur retellings either. But one classic I really did enjoy was Anna Karenina. I read this back in high school and was surprised at how much I liked the story, even though it was really long. When I saw that Anna K by Jenny Lee was a Book of the Month pick for February, and that it was an Anna Karenina retelling in a Gossip Girl-esque world, I had to choose it.

And that's exactly what it was. Take high society rich kids in NYC and throw in some scandal, make them jaded about life, and you get this book. Definite trigger warnings needed for drug and alcohol use and overdosing, some animal deaths, and sex scandals and sex shaming. Even though this is a YA, I would definitely recommend this for the older end of the genre.

I didn't mind Anna K and Count Vronsky, but I didn't love the characters either. I did love Anna's intense love for animals, and the role that played throughout the story. There were also a ton of side characters and stories that for the most part I just didn't care about. I did enjoy Lolly and Steven's story line, but this was the only one I had any interest in following aside from the main plot. 

Even though I was ok with the length of the original Anna Karenina, by the end of this story I just wished it would hurry up. I don't think it needed to be as long as it was. The ending was different than the ending of the original, so even if you've read the original you won't be spoiled with this plot for the most part. It definitely wasn't a bad read, but I didn't adore it either, so it's getting a solid middle of the road rating from me.

Now I want to go reread the original Anna Karenina!

If you are interested in learning more about Book of the Month, you can click here to get your first box for only $5 (and I'll get a free book too!). I've been a member for years and love that you can skip or cancel at any time. Plus it encourages me to broaden my reading spectrum!

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

OH MAN. This was my first read of February and it really started the month off with a bang. If you want an intense read with Kill Bill, Cruel Intentions, and John Tucker Must Die vibes, Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is the book for you. 

About the Book

Hannah Capin's Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
Cover Art Courtesy of
Wednesday Books

Jade and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Jade's sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Jade as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Jade transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She'll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school's hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

"Fierce, vicious, and electric. If books had teeth, Foul Is Fair would have fangs. Capin's language glitterdark and her writing cuts deep. Revenge is a dish best served by this deliciously unapologetic coven." -- Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts and Last Girl Lied To

My Review

Firstly, I really appreciate the trigger warnings right at the beginning of the book. This book deals heavily with sexual assault, and letting the reader know that in advance is super important. The story was incredibly engaging and I flew through this read as fast as possible. It was dark, and gritty, and vengeful, and overall fantastic. Jade has a vendetta and she and her friends won't stop until everyone is taken down. While the logistics of some of the things that happened weren't super believable, I didn't even care. I cheered for Jade and felt the heart-pounding thrill she felt as she took her enemies out one by one. Any book that can get me that invested is a win in my book.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Author Photo Courtesy of
Wednesday Books
About the Author

Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

Twitter // Instagram

Thanks so much to Wednesday Books for an e-Arc of this read! Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is out Tuesday, February 18, so be sure to pick up a copy here!

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

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Coming in hot with my first romantic comedy review of the year! This is a genre I started exploring last year and really fell in love with, so I was eager to get to The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa.

Lina is a jilted bride. Her fiance Andrew decided to leave her the morning of their wedding, and make his brother (and best man) break the news. Ironically enough, Lina is a professional wedding planner, and she has to push through her career even though her own wedding experience was traumatizing. Fast forward to Lina getting an amazing job opportunity, but in order to ace the interview, she has to work on a proposal with none other than Andrew's brother Max.

The thing about romantic comedies is that you absolutely know what's going to happen at the end...it's just the small details along the way that are missing. This one was no different. That being said I can still enjoy the journey even though that ending is predictable as long as the characters and added story elements are good.

I loved all the references to Brazilian culture in this read, and how much Lina's family played a role in the story. It also addressed some difficult topics, like how black and Latina women are viewed differently (aka negatively, with words like feisty or angry) when they show emotion than white women, even if that emotion is warranted. This is an own voices novel, so it was great to see the inclusion of these things that the author herself has experienced. I loved Max's character and thought that he was an overall great guy, even though his brother Andrew was a legitimate piece of garbage. I also really loved seeing Lina become less guarded and more comfortable sharing pieces of herself when she found safe spaces to do so.

I would have loved a little more at the ending of the story, like an epilogue of sorts (even though I know some people hate them!) just to see where the characters are and how they're doing.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Avon for a finished copy of this read! The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa just released this week, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Graphic Novel Mash-Up Review #4

It's been a while since I've done one of these, and since I've been reading a lot of this genre lately I decided it was time for another graphic novel mash-up review, and I really enjoyed all of these!

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu: It took me FOREVER to finally get my hands on a copy of this read. I don't think they printed a ton of copies initially, and it kept selling out everywhere. Finally I got a copy and it was everything I hoped. It's a queer witchy story following a witch named Nova, and her werewolf friend Tam, as they fight to destroy a demon and fall in love in the process. I loved the art. I loved the characters. I loved the story. It was perfect. I really hope to see more from this duo.
5 out of 5 Stars

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Check, Please! Book #1: Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu: This one was originally written as a web comic, and if you couldn't tell, this book is about hockey. It's also about baking! And about social media. Bitty runs a vlog channel about baking and playing on his college hockey team. He may also be falling for his coach. There is a ton about hockey here, which I didn't really understand, but it didn't make it too hard to follow the overall story. It was a little slow, but overall pretty enjoyable and I look forward to the next volume. There is a lot of swearing in this one, so definitely not for kids.
4 out of 5 Stars

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I Hate Fairyland Volume 1 by Skottie Young: In this story, little Gert is whisked off to Fairyland, and she must complete a quest in order to return home. Problem is, it's been thirty years and she still hasn't completed her quest, and she's getting REALLY sick of being stuck there. This book was hilariously gruesome. Gert is incredibly violent and malicious as she desperately tries to complete her quest and get the heck out of Fairyland. It was so colorful and vivid, but don't let that fool you...this is definitely not a comic for kids either.
4 out of 5 Stars

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

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So C.J. Tudor is an author that I know a lot of thriller fans love. She has three novels out, and I've had some exposure to all of them. The first was The Chalk Man, which to me was solidly okay, but I only rated 3 stars. The Hiding Place came next which I attempted to read, but unfortunately ended up DNF'ing. When this third book, The Other People, came out, I thought it would help me finally get a good idea of how I felt about C.J. Tudor's work overall. 

The Other People starts with following three main story lines. Gabe's daughter has been taken, but no one believes him. Instead, everyone else believes Izzy to be dead. Not just dead, but murdered. For three years, Gabe trolls the interstate looking for the car he saw stealing his little girl away years ago. Katie works as a waitress in a service station, and often sees Gabe when he comes in. She sympathizes with him, as she too has lost someone unfairly...her father. Fran and her daughter Alice are constantly moving from place to place, running from people that pose a threat to them because of something that Fran knows.

I try to go into thrillers knowing as little as possible. I usually don't even read the synopsis. That's why I was pleasantly shocked to find out that this book prominently featured the dark web. This has always been something I've been intrigued by, and I haven't seen a lot of in thrillers up to this point. This book also had a few, dare I say, supernatural elements to it as well, which were a nice addition. Three story lines were a bit much to follow at first, and I found myself not being drawn to any of them. The book did pick up in the last third or so, but for a while there it was a lot to slog through. The ending was decent, but didn't really take my breath away or shock me.

As much as I had hoped this would give me a true read on my thoughts on this author (ie, I was hoping to absolutely love or absolutely hate this book), it just didn't. Like The Chalk Man, it was a completely middle of the road read for me. I didn't find myself reaching for it, but the story was interesting enough. I guess I'll have to wait and see what she puts out next to really make a determination!

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Ballantine Books for a finished copy of this read! The Other People by C.J. Tudor is out now!

The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan

"The past is behind us. The future is ours. Figure out how you can change the world right now, and don't fear it. Do it."

―Kennedy Ryan, The Rebel King

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Yep, I did it. I jumped right into the second book of the All the King's Men duology. After really enjoying The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan, I knew I had to find out what happened next (uh, major cliffhanger!), so I picked up The Rebel King almost immediately. 

Without giving away too much, Lennix is facing something harrowing and dangerous at the end of the first book, and this book picks up in the middle of that event. The plot of this one was DEFINITELY more intense than the first book, if that was even possible. It was heartwrenchingly emotional at times and heart-poundingly thrilling at others. I could not put this one down and ate it up as fast as possible.

I loved seeing Lennix and Maxim become even more unapologetically themselves in the face of all the adversity the plot threw at them. I also loved seeing the growth and development of the minor characters as well. Once again, this book was very well-researched and Kennedy Ryan did an amazing job with her references to Native American culture. I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, but I actually loved this one even more.

This book as a whole was wonderful and I am so sad that this was only a duology. I need to see Maxim and Lennix changing the world! Even though I read both of these books via Kindle Unlimited, I'm actually considering picking up physical copies to have, just because I loved the duology so much.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars