Book Talk: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

the hazel woodSeventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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*I was given a ARC of this book from the publisher/netgalley in exchanged for an honest review*

3/5 Stars ★★★☆☆

After reading The Hazel Wood, I couldn’t quite decide if I really liked it or if it was just another book I have read. Don’t get me wrong…there are some great things about this book but I wasn’t absolutely blown away by the story. So for this post I decided to write out a few of likes and dislikes for the book and I hope it can help you decide as a reader if you might want to give this book a chance. It comes out tomorrow: January 30, 2018.


  • I enjoyed Alice and her line of thoughts. She was a good main character and was definitely self sufficient. She had that feel to her that she was used to stuff going to crap but she could deal with it. I never felt annoyed with her like I do some main characters…but sometimes it seemed she was totally unobservant.
  •  The Hinterland world. Wow this world was interesting! I enjoyed the different fairytales that were introduced. They were mysterious and a whole different type of story compared to our everyday fairytales. I also liked how they were a little darker then most and the fact that there was a whole other dimension where these stories were played out. I really enjoyed the story when it dealt with the Hinterland and I would read another book in the series if it dealt just with the Hinterland.


  • How long it took to actually get to the fairytale part of the story. I felt like most of the book we as readers were just trying to get to the Hinterland and when we finally got there, the book was almost over. I picked up the book because of this mysterious new fairytales and I almost thought we weren’t going to get there and that there were just flashes of this mysterious land. I was just a little disappointed that most of the story wasn’t in the Hinterland. It felt like to me it was more of a young adult book instead of fantasy.
  • Ellery Finch. I wasn’t really impressed that much with Ellery Finch. I guess I was looking for a bigger character in Ellery. I was really hoping he would be more of either a best friend or love interest but he just seemed a little off most of the story. Maybe that is what the author was going for but in the end, he didn’t make a good impression on me.

Why you might want to pick it up tomorrow: The actual Hinterland was really interesting and the new fairytales were really fun to learn about. As I have said before, if the next book in the series was more about the Hinterland I would more than likely read it. If you like more young adult and just a little bit of fantasy content then this is the book for you.




Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature A Character with Special Powers

Hey everyone! Arika here this week for Top Ten Tuesday. This week we were given the task of coming up with a list of books that spotlight characters with unique similarities. Whether that be characters that play sports, characters who have a similar illness or characters who have the same job. Something that makes them unique but also alike! So I was thinking….what type of books do I love to read and the characters have something that ties them together. When BAM, it hit me, I love characters that have special powers. Whether it is powers to do with reading minds, changing their apprentice or being able to move the earth, there are all sorts of books that have characters with these cool special abilities! So my list here comprises of books that the main character (or characters) have special abilities that make them some cool, wouldn’t want to mess with, I hope they are on my side characters! Hope you enjoy 🙂

First Year by Rachel E. Carter | Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton | Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness | The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Question: Have you read any of these? What are some books you have read with characters with special powers?


Lets Talk About: Bad Bloods July Thunder and July Lightening by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods July ThunderFrom best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.
Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name—citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.
Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.
That’s when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who’s attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery—and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.
Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.

bad bloods july lighteningFrom best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.
Sixteen-year-old Caleb has been called many things: a patient, a musician, even a prostitute…now he has a new name—son. After his identity is uncovered, Caleb bands together with the family he once rejected in order to save the city of Vendona. But it won’t be easy. Enemies wait around every corner—and so do harsh realities. With Violet and Kuthun by his side though, nothing seems impossible. As Vendona sits on the verge of an economic collapse and a massive hurricane threatens the city, Violet and Caleb must show its citizens how to overcome decades of hostility and division to save themselves.
Standing or not, a sea will rage, a wall may fall, and all will depend on immortal pain and sacrifice.

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Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the Author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changed my opinion of the book. 

Hey everyone, I am back again to talk about a couple more books in the Bad Bloods universe by Shannon A. Thompson. Now we talked earlier this year about Bad Bloods November Rain and November Snow and the cool mix between the dystopian setting and x-men type book. And we continued to follow those cool characters in the follow up duology of July Thunder and July Lightening. This time we are following two different characters, Violet and Caleb.

My initial reaction to the books:

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So I think I enjoyed this duology better than the first one. I feel like Thompson has really developed more in her writing for this series and it was definitely easier to follow compared to the first book November Rain. This review, I’ve put together a list of Likes and Dislikes to help me easily convey my feelings for this book.


  • The characters felt more developed and I felt the relationships between the characters were more real compared to the first duology. I absolutely loved Violet! She was a character I really wanted to know more about in the first two books and was glad to hear that she was a main focus in this set. She is a mysterious and unique person and I love the fact that she is a “shadow person”. She is different from a lot of the characters because she was literally stuck in her shadows for years and comes out when all of her family is gone. The other main character Caleb is interesting because he is a normal human in a bad blood world but all he wants is to protect his little flock from all the bad things still happening. The relationship between Violet and Caleb felt real to me and I was glad it ended up the way it did.
  • The struggles between Bad Bloods and the Highlanders was interesting. I felt that it mimicked in a certain way how our society today is. With groups having a hard time understanding each other. Even though we only see one side of it in this book, we see that all anyone wants is peace and to be able to live their life as normal as possible without the threat of others taking that away. I also liked how this wasn’t about a total massacre like the first duology was but about the aftermath and how it is difficult for both groups to try and work together to form a new society where everyone is seen as equal.
  • The added new Bad Bloods in Caleb’s flock are all really cool. I enjoyed reading about each and everyone of them and how they are all different then the other Bad Bloods in Violets original flock.


  • Again I would say you have to read these books one after another. The first book doesn’t have as much action or big events happen in it like the second one does, which is the same feeling I had in November Rain and November Snow. It could almost be grouped into one book with two parts for me.
  • I wish we saw a little more of how the Highlanders acted and what it was like for them after the election. We got small glimpses towards the end but I felt like we were only seeing one side to the city and Violet’s/Caleb’s problems.


3/5 Stars for July Thunder

4/5 Stars for July Lightning

I would definitely recommend reading this if you enjoy dystopian type novels and the added bonus of some cool powers like in X-men. These were good additions to the Bad Bloods universe and I am definitely up to reading some more from Shannon A. Thompson. Thank you Ms. Thompson for giving me the chance to read your novels!


Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations for Students

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Hey everyone we are back!!! And we are so happy to be doing another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by those lovely ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week the theme is ten book recommendations for a group of our choosing. Since we are getting into mid-August (I know we can’t believe summer has gone by this fast either!), we decided to do ten book recommendations for students. More specifically we are going to each do five recommendations of our favorite required reads from when we were in school. We don’t know about you but we definitely had a few really good reads that were required when we are in school, so we hope that you can enjoy them too!



The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald | The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis | To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | Was God on Vacation? by Jack Van Der Geest | Beowulf by Unknown


The Outsiders by SE Hinton | The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi | The War of the Worlds by HG Wells | The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien | Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Question: What book did you most enjoy reading in school?


Make Me (Emily) Read It!

Hey everyone! I have been struggling in my reading life as of late. Not really sure what is going on, but I just can’t seem to sit and focus on my reading. I absolutely love the books that I have read this summer, so you can see why I am so confused.

Thankfully this really cool readathon was brought to my attention. The Make Me Read It Readathon is hosted by Val at The Innocent Smiley and Ely at Tea & Titles. This is my first time participating in it, but their 3rd year of doing it. I am super excited for this.


Basically, for the week of August 6th-August 13th I will read the books that YOU choose for me. In my poll I have 5 listed and am HOPING to read the top 2, but will continue on to the rest if I find I am flying through these books. It was tough to decide what to put in this poll, because there are so many books that I am dying to read. But with me being unable to decide this is the perfect challenge to join. I picked a random 5 books from my TBR that I own and am leaving them in the poll below for you to pick.

My poll closes the day before the readathon starts, so vote away my friends! Thanks for your help. I am super excited about this!


3 Reasons to Read: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

no good deedEllie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

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*We both received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes our thoughts.*

Our reactions after finishing:


I am a fanatic when it comes to any kind of retelling. And when I saw the description for No Good Deed, I knew I would need to read it. Especially it being Robin Hood. I mean, who doesn’t love adventures in the medieval times with some awesome archery skills included! I have to say this was a different retelling then I am used to…but I really enjoyed it and I was entertained by all the characters in the book. Whether I was laughing out loud at Will Scarlett, or holding my breath when Ellie decided to try a crazy shot with her bow, there were many enjoyable moments in Nottingham. And with that, here are my 3 reasons you should grab this book.

  1. Humor: There was a good bit of humor, especially in the scenes with Will Scarlet. Oh there were a few times that I was actually laughing out loud. I really enjoyed all the scenes with Robin’s “Merry Men” and even had a few giggles when Ellie had to try and explain herself because of how she acted (the darn time travel).
  2. Main Character: Ellie was a very relate-able and cool main character. She is a competitive athlete in archery and is actually in the Olympics at the beginning of the book, which was a good set up for this story. I was immediately drawn to her and really loved her witty sense of humor when communicating with other characters. I also really enjoyed how she adapted to the time travel, being a 21st century young adult in the 1200’s would have seemed impossible for me!
  3. Setting: I am a sucker for stories set in England/The United Kingdom. I have always loved that area of the world and especially the folktales that come from that area during the medieval time period. It seems like it is always a good adventure going on and this book was no exception. Camping out in the woods, being in a convent, or even the Nottingham castle where the infamous sheriff lived, there was a lot of different places explored in the book. All the descriptions transported me across time and places, and I never felt bored.


Time Travel + Robin Hood retelling!? Sign. Me. Up. I am a sucker for Robin Hood retellings and just knew that I had to read it. Honestly…I was not disappointed. This was a very unique and fast paced retelling that had me constantly guessing. I read this book in just a few short sittings, which is not normal for me. I was completely sucked into this version of Nottingham and the adventures that Ellie had. So…what are my 3 reasons that you should pick up this book?

  1. Time Traveling Robin Hood: Ok, I know I kind of already said that but hear me out. This book started in the modern day with Ellie at an archery  competition. In a twist of events Ellie finds herself back in the time of the Robin Hood legend in wonderful Nottingham. Time travel is tough for me, but this one really got me. I love that we didn’t get a plot where Ellie just magically fit in. We see her struggle with being much more modern than everyone else. Her speech, her verbal expressions, everything was a bit too much for the time period. I think that this really added to the story and to Ellie as she worked her way through this story.
  2. Strong characters: I really found that I came to love Ellie. It’s not shocking that I love the characters of the Robin Hood legend (remember…I’m a sucker for it), but Ellie was a struggle. At the beginning I was none to thrilled with her. I thought she was kind of whiny and just not handling things well. Throughout this book we ended up seeing Ellie grow, and in turn she started to become my favorite character. She learned so much and became a stronger and more independent character that we had seen at the beginning of the book.
  3. Adventure: This book really just felt like I was going on an adventure. I felt like I was sucked in with Ellie running around Nottingham and hanging out with all those characters I have read about so many times. It made me think that I should really learn archery, and it really gave me the urge to get up a do something. Because of this book such an adventure I felt the pacing was perfect. It moved constantly with the plot which really helped give it that adventurous feel. This book was a great getaway from the real world, and if that is something that you want then I highly recommend it!

We think it’s safe to say that we both really enjoyed this book. We weren’t entirely sure what we would get when diving into this book because this Robin Hood tale is so special to us, but we were pleasantly surprised. This book comes out on July 18th! You should definitely get your hands on a copy soon!

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite retellings?

Top Ten Tuesday: We’ve Been Meaning to Read That…

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Welcome back for another Top Ten Tuesday! We got to admit, our Tuesdays just are not the same without making a list of 10 books or bookish things (yes, Emily was a little sad to miss out last week but at the same time it was necessary…). On this particular Tuesday, the 3rd of June (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?) we are listing 10 series that we have been meaning to start but just haven’t gotten around to yet. These can be books we have owned for forever, books that have been our lists forever, etc. So, here are some series that we have been meaning to dive in to but just haven’t yet (due to not owning them, not having all the books in the series, the book series not being completely finished, or because we have book ADD).


Red Rising (Red Rising series) by Pierce Brown | Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles) by Melina Marchetta | Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms series) by Morgan Rhodes | Spells & Sorcery (Lexie Carrigan series) by S. Usher Evans | Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone series) by Julie Eshbaugh | A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird series) by Claudia Gray | The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer series) by Michelle Hodkin | The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game series) by Evelyn Skye | Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone series) by Laini Taylor | Incarnate (Newsoul series) by Jodi Meadows


Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen | The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski | A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab | A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica CluessTrial by Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini | Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce | Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine | The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye | Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova | Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

QUESTION: Which series should we prioritize? And what are some series that you have been meaning to read but just haven’t yet?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Dads in Literature

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey everyone, Arika here for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the wonderful ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is a pretty obvious one with Father’s day coming up this Sunday….a list to do with Dads. So I decided to do a list on my favorite literature dads. This could be dads who made a big influence on the character or even characters who were like dads for the main hero. There are many ways a character can provide support or a lending hand when that main character has no clue what to do. These characters might not be the best all around guys or do everything right but in the end they are there to help and get those main characters through difficult times in their lives. I don’t think they could have made it through their troubles with out them.  There are tons of good choices out there, so I thought I would list a few of my favorites! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Arthur Weasley – Harry Potter Series | Sirius Black – Harry Potter Series | Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird | Gabril – The Shadow Queen | Mr. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice | Lord Eddard Stark – A Game of Thrones | Shalom Singer – The Selection | Haymitch Abernathy – The Hunger Games Series | Aragorn – Lord of the Rings Series | Aslan – The Chronicles of Narnia

Question: What are some of your favorite Dads or Dad like characters?

To listen or not to listen

Before diving in to this post that has been on my mind for FOREVER I just wanted to apologize for being so absent lately! End of the school year stress + regular life stress + being gone for a bit in California (WHOO!) caused me to read less and blog less. I am so ready to jump back on here though and get this whole schedule thing down (one day…).


Lately I have really taken to audiobooks. I have about a half hour drive to work each day, which adds up to at least an hour a day in the car. Though I love my music and love singing along in my car I just wasn’t feeling it for a bit. I gave podcasts a try and felt pretty “meh” towards them. I started to feel like I couldn’t fully unwind after a day of work and relax to them.

And then one day I decided to go on Overdrive. And…THEY HAD A BOOK I WANTED TO LISTEN TO!

I was shocked. Typically it takes me forever to find something because I can be so picky, but there it was. I instantly downloaded it, and found myself relaxing and enjoying my drive again.

Audiobooks can be tricky. There are so many amazing things about them, but also so many possibilities of them not working out for you. Some pros and cons that I have noticed….

Audiobook Pros:


  • You can listen to a book no matter what you are doing! Driving, working out, cleaning the house…super easy to continue to make progress on a book while being productive.
  • It can make your workouts seems like a breeze. Seriously, my workouts felt like way less work because of the audiobook I was listening to.
  • It helps you tackle those reading goals. Looking at you Goodreads. I am super far ahead on my goal this year and it’s because of my combination of physical books and audiobooks.
  • Some books are just meant to be listened to. I have found that I maybe was ok reading the book, but the addition of a narrator just adds so much more. If you want to listen to a book that fits this you should definitely listen to Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Audiobook Cons:



  • If you don’t pay for an audible subscription (because some of us can’t afford it) then sometime it’s difficult to get what you want.
  • LOOOOONNNG waiting periods on Overdrive. I swear I have been on the waitlist for one particular audiobook for months and there was only 1 person ahead of me.
  • Narrators can make or break a book. Obviously some narrators are fantastic, but there are also those that have voices that just kind of lull me to sleep or make me uninterested in the topic.
  • Some books were meant to be read. I truly think that some books need to be read by the reader and not listened to.

As of right now I am riding that audiobook high. I have been able to reread books and get lost in new worlds, all while driving my car. I also have found that nonfiction really clicks with me more when I can listen to someone reading it instead of reading it myself. Will this high last? Oh I hope so. But with summer coming I will have more time to read physical books, so I can keep my book count for the year going strong.

QUESTION: What are your feelings on audiobooks?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things on Our Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Hey everyone, we are back for another Top Ten Tuesday and this week we are going to talk about Ten Things on Our Reading Wishlist. What does that exactly mean, well we are going to talk about what stuff we wish to see more of in books. Whether that means specific types of characters, time periods, problems that characters face, tropes….tons of different things. Really it describes what we want to read about and would love to see more of!

  • Great Banter: Whether it’s between friends or two characters you know will end up together, a book with great banter is always one I like to recommend to others. A little humor goes a long way and when I look forward to some good banter, I read the book that much faster.
  • A Quest: We would really like to see more books out there with a good quest. Like a Lord of the Rings type quest! While a lot of books out there have the characters going after something, or have some type of conflict, we want to see a book that they are journeying across countries to solve a problem. The adventure is always so much fun!
  • Medieval Time Period: While we know there are quite a few out there but this time period is always so much fun. The castles, the knights, the swordplay….there is are so many cool stories that come out of this time period. And some of our favorite retellings (ehem…Robin Hood) are set during this time period.
  • Best Friends: Having the main characters be best friends and not lovers/in a relationship. We do like a good romance but it’s nice to read about friends who are on an adventure together!
  • Humor: Books that actually make you laugh out loud! We love a good witty book that is like Princess Bride/Monty Python in book form.
  • Fairy-tales: We grew up in the Disney era of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Little Mermaid. So we love to read those stories that have to do with fairy-tales. If an author can pull of a new imagining of one of these stories…we will read it.
  • Historical Settings: We both love reading about history but we want something more than just a romance in a historical setting. Whether its set during one of the great world wars or even further back during kings and queens in the 13th and 14th century. It would be fun to read about people during that time and adventures they went on.
  • Kick-Ass Women: We love to see a women who shows everyone who is boss. Whether that be a women who can literally kick someones butt with sweet ninja skills or fighting moves or it could be a women who uses her brains to defeat an evil force.
  • Magic School: We know, we know….nothing will beat Harry Potter but there is always hope another good series will come forth. Harry Potter was just so good we just want something like it to curb our cravings for more HP.
  • Greek Gods/Goddess: We both really enjoyed Percy Jackson and all of the series that had to do with both Greek and Roman Mythology. What we want to see is another series and maybe more adult themed then the Percy Jackson series. It’s interesting to read stories and how the god’s interacted with mortals.

Question: What are some features on your reading wishlist that you want to see more of?