Novella Review: Clipped Wings Novellas

Earlier this month I got sucked into the Clipped Wings series by Helena Hunting. After I finished the second book in the duology, I wanted more and thankfully Hunting provided that in the form of numerous novellas. Because there are a lot of them and they’re all pretty short, I’m going to do one round up review of all them. So settle in for a trip into this world of tattoos and romance.

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Cupcakes and Ink

In this novella, we meet the duology’s main characters, Hayden and Tenley, prior to the start of Clipped Wings. Told in both of their POVs, this novella simply shows where their infatuation with each other began. Personally, I could’ve done without reading this one. It didn’t really add anything to the story for me. That’s not to say it was bad; I just didn’t see the purpose of this story.

Stars: 2/5

Between the Cracks

This novella is told in the POV of Chris, one of Hayden’s friends and coworkers. Similar to Hayden, Chris has a troubled past. However, now that he’s been able to capture the eye of Sarah, the woman he’s been infatuated with for a while now, he’s trying to make his relationship with her work.

Between the Cracks take place right after (spoiler!) Tenley leaves Hayden at the end of Clipped Wings. Hayden decides to try to bring her back, but ends up in some trouble, which is where Chris steps in. After their journey, Chris returns home to Sarah and there’s a little smut to make this story worthwhile.

Stars: 4/5

Cracks in the Armor

At first this short story really bugged me because it ends with no answers. Told in Chris and Sarah’s POV, this novella takes place after the end of Inked Armor, and Chris and Sarah’s relationship is still rocky… and it’s not fixed by the end of the novella. Hence, my problem with this novella. However, it turns out there’s a reason for that.

These two actually got their own book (Fractures in Ink), which I now own and plan on reading ASAP. Besides the annoying end, I really liked this story, hence why I bought the book. I need more of these characters in my life!

Stars: 3/5

Get Inked

I wasn’t sure I’d like this novella because it’s a crossover with Hunting’s other series, Pucked. However, I actually ended up really enjoying. Even though I was unfamiliar with a lot of the characters because I haven’t read the other series, Hunting was still able to quickly pull me into their stories without making me feel like I was playing catch up. Because this novella involves a lot of characters there are also a lot of different POVs, and at points I sometimes felt the characters were too similar.

However, Hunting played into that a little, especially by having her two female leads (Tenley and Lily) joke about how their boyfriends (Hayden and Randy) were so similar, mainly in appearance. Besides that, this novel had a decent amount of smut, which is always fun, and I was intrigued enough by the Pucked characters to consider giving the series a read.

Lastly, it’s worth noting this novella also takes place after Inked Armor.

Stars: 5/5

Borrow or Buy: Overall, I would buy all these mainly because most of them were free or 99 cents, and I think they’re all worth at least that much.

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Book Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

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Synopsis:

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve had this book on my shelves for at least a year and I don’t know why it took me so long to read it. As I told someone on Instagram, this book gave me serious Fangirl vibes, but I actually liked the story Scarlett was writing, unlike the Carry On snippets in Fangirl (note: I love Fangirl, so no shade).

Scarlett is a teenager who fluctuates between being a realist and a pessimist. Her favorite TV show was just cancelled and she’s currently in a mild state of depression. To make matters worse, her favorite thing to do, writing fan fiction, now seems pointless without the show. Until she comes up with a new concept.

Rather than writing about her favorite characters, she begins writing about the students at her high school. There’s her longtime crush, Gideon, who’s become one of the “populars,” and Ashley, one of the popular girls and Scarlett’s archnemesis. Ashley also happens to be the sister to Scarlett’s best friend, Avery, and is, of course, dating Gideon.

As Scarlett starts to blur the lines between the fictional world she’s created and the real one, her life gets way more complicated. There may be something more than just friendship blooming between her and Gideon, but she’s not exactly sure. Meanwhile, Avery’s starting to take an interest in high school activities that have nothing to do with her regular academic studies. Additionally, Scarlett’s mom is dating someone new… again. The only constant in Scarlett’s life at the moment is her elderly neighbor and good friend Ruth, who’s a BAMF in every way you can imagine.

I really loved the characters in this novel, especially Scarlett. She’s snarky, funny, and unafraid to stand up for herself. I also like that even though she’s a “nerd,” she’s not the kind that is super intelligent. In fact, Avery often does Scarlett’s homework for her, which I loved. Often times in novels like this, the characters that geek out about comic books or TV shows are also insanely smart and are heading to Ivy League schools. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with that, it sometimes seems like these books about fandoms and geek culture skip over the outcasts and the people who don’t fit in with the academically inclined or the “popular” people; they’re just different.

That’s what I loved about this novel. Even Ashley, the “popular mean girl” character, really surprised me, as she wasn’t exactly that typical mean girl that often exists in these types of novels. These characters were all complicated and had their own issues that really reflected what high school is actually like and I loved it.

In summary, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is a must read in my book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“…the importance of trying to understand people who are different from you, even though it’s so much harder than writing them off, because it might make you admit something to yourself that’s painful.”

Other Reviews
Fourth & Sycamore 
Across the Words
Book Wish

September Wrap-Up

‘Kids of Appetite,’ ‘Crooked Kingdom,’ And Other Books I Read This Month (September Wrap-Up)

September was a good reading month for me. In total I read nine books and I liked almost all of them. Here’s the run down.


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Number of Books I Read This Month: 9

Top Three Books I Read This Month

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Why it took me so long to finally read this book will forever be a mystery to me but I’m kind of glad I waited because if I read this sooner I would’ve had to wait so long for Crooked Kingdom and that’s unacceptable. Basically, I loved this book. The characters were great (Kaz and Inej are my faves), the plot was fast paced and engaging, and it kept me on my toes the whole way through. Definitely a must read.

2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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If Six of Crows was great then Crooked Kingdom was jaw dropping phenomenal. It was the perfect ending to this duology but I also desperately wish there was another book because I’m so in love with these characters. I miss them so much already and I know I’m going to end up rereading this book very soon. Amazing!

3. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

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Can someone find me a Holder please? I need one desperately. He was hot, sweet, a little brooding but overall a great guy. He’s so good to Sky (not always but like 97 percent of the time; he makes some silly mistakes) and I just fell head over heels for him. Also for some reason I was under the impression that reading a Colleen Hoover book would be a nice happy read to get me through all the emotions I felt with Crooked Kingdom. Obviously I forgot who CoHo is and Hopeless tore my heart out but in the best way. Anyway, my point is, read this book!

Other Books I Read This Month

  1. The Young Elites
  2. Shadow and Bone
  3. Siege and Storm
  4. Ruin and Rising
  5. Eleanor & Park
  6. Kids of Appetite

Books I Received This Month

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I actually received an absurd amount of books this month but that’s only because my friend who works in publishing sent me a care package of books as a belated birthday gift. Otherwise, I actually only bought two books this month, one of which I preordered. So really I only bought one book. Here’s to a successful book ban!

'Ruin and Rising' Book Review

Book Review: Ruin and Rising

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Synopsis:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction―and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Siege and Storm in this review. Read at your own risk.*

Up to this book I wasn’t all that impressed with the Grisha trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good but I didn’t think it was worth the hype. Then Bardugo gave me Ruin and Rising and I was like, “Yes! This is what I’m talking about.” First of all, Mal finally seemed worthy of Alina to me. He stepped up in a big way and I finally felt okay shipping them, although Nikolai will always be my number one.

More than Mal’s character development was the plot. It was filled with action, twists that I saw coming but were still very well done, and just overall awesomeness. I will be the first to admit that I skim plot. I just can’t deal with paragraphs of details. Get to the action! Get to the dialogue! But in this book the action was in the paragraphs of details and thus I was sucked in. I read (almost) every word and loved it all. I can’t think of anything I didn’t thoroughly enjoy about this novel. The characters were great, Alina’s group was squad goals, and the romance was just the right amount. What I loved most of all was the ending and how everything came together. I hate when I follow a series and then the end is a hot mess. Bardugo totally delivered with this finale and it’s my favorite book in the whole trilogy.

Ruin and Rising is definitely a buy for me, which means I have to buy the whole series. Thankfully there’s a box set coming out soon. Who doesn’t love a good box set?

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.”

Other Reviews

Stephanie’s Book Reviews (Spoilers!)

Heart Full of Books (Spoilers!)

She Reads Too Much

'Siege and Storm' Book Review

Book Review: Siege and Storm

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Synopsis

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Shadow and Bone in this review. Read at your own risk.*

So I’m still not a big fan of Mal and then Leigh Bardugo had the nerve to give me Sturmhound, another possible love interest for Alina who, again, I liked more than Mal. Thanks Bardugo! No but seriously thank you; Sturmhound is my new fave. He’s cute and snarky, my favorite combination. Also known as the “too clever fox,” Sturmhound brought an extra round of humor to this novel that I felt was sorely needed. We also got some other new characters in this novel including the twins, Tamar and Tolya, who are an awesome addition to the trilogy. Their background is very interesting and they’re both so fierce and bad ass.

I believe my biggest issue with this novel was how quickly the Darkling came back into play. There was no build up or anything, we just kind of dived right back into the Darkling versus Alina saga. As much as I love the Darkling I wanted more from his and Alina’s reunion. It just seemed a little anticlimactic to me. Once I got past that though I definitely liked this book more than Shadow and Bone. I still didn’t love it but it was definitely better, which is a good sign about where this series is heading.

Still, this is definitely a borrow for me. I can’t really see myself reading this book again, no matter how swoonworthy Sturmhound is. Did I mention he’s the best part of this book? Because he is.

Have you read the Grisha trilogy? Let me know your thoughts about it below!

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“I want to kiss you. But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him.”

Other Reviews

Dear Author

Reading with Jenna

Fiddler Blue

'Eleanor and Park' Review

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

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Synopsis:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I liked this book but I didn’t really get the hype. I thought it was good, a nice love story, and I loved Park but Fangirl is definitely still by favorite book by Rainbow Rowell. As much as I wanted to sympathize with Eleanor because her home life was all kinds of terrible I just didn’t like her character all that much. I found some aspects about her relatable but overall I wasn’t a fan.

Park was the best though. I loved him through and through and thought he was fantastic. He was so sweet and had the best lines. He was almost a little too perfect but his dorkiness made he more real to me and I liked that a lot. I loved how he and Eleanor bonded over comic books and music. I thought that was super cute.

On a different note, I know this book has received some backlash for being racist and I can see to an extent where people are coming from but to me it seemed more like Rowell’s characters were a little racist and had some engrained prejudices they definitely needed to deal with. But I don’t think Rowell herself is racist and to make that accusation is a little absurd to me. At most I think maybe people found the way that Park’s mom speaks to be questionable but I think it make sense that a woman who was born and raised in Korea would have an accent. It’s like when J. K. Rowling wrote things out differently for Hagrid because of his accent. It’s the same thing and nothing Park’s mom said was stereotypical or anything.

That being said I’m not Korean so I can not speak for Korean people who feel at all offended by this book. Just for me personally I didn’t have a problem with it.

Anyway, all in all I did enjoy this book. It’s not my favorite book of all time but I liked it enough to want to buy the exclusive collector’s edition with the cool illustrations. So it’s a buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”

Other Reviews

Pretty Books

Reading With Jenna

Helen’s Book Blog

10 Box Subscriptions Every Book Lover Needs

Have you guys heard of #bookstagram? It’s this community of wonderful people on Instagram who take gorgeous pictures of books. I’m just getting into it and I love it so much already, even though there’s so many accounts that fill me with book envy (I want your shelf!).

Through #bookstagram I’ve discovered there’s so many different book box subscriptions, most of which I’ve never heard of before. I haven’t signed up for any yet because unfortunately they’re usually not cheap but I’m hoping one day I can at least sign up for one. Here’s a list of some that I’m obsessed with. Check them out if you haven’t already.

*Note: These prices do not include shipping. Please check the site to get the exact price.*

  1. OwlCrate ($167.94/6 month subscription)

If you love young adult novels as much as I do you’ll love OwlCrate. Each month you get a new YA novel along with other amazing literary goodies that vary each month. I want this box SO badly that I’ve entered multiple giveaways and rep searches just to get one.

2. MyBookBox ($39.95/monthly)

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Source: @mybookboxus

The awesome thing about this box subscription is you have your choice of two different genres and then you get a book from each of those. If you want only books this is the perfect box for you.

3. Once Upon a BookCase ($26/month)

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Source: Once Upon a BookCase

Addicted to books? Addicted to your phone? Why not combine the two? With Once Upon a BookCase each month you get a new book inspired phone case, a literary accessory, and a 5″ x 7″ quote print. It’s the perfect way to show of your love for all things book related.

4. Lit-Cube ($29.99/month)

Source: Lit-Cube

Source: Lit-Cube

Sent out each month this fun box, funded with Kick Starter, includes a book and a book themed accessory each month. This includes all different genres so you’ll always be surprised by what you find inside.

5. The Best Damn Book Box ($169.99/6 month prepay)

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Source: The Best Damn Book Box

The name of this box doesn’t lie. Not only do you get a book and awesome swag each month, but for each box purchased the company donates a $1 to a charity chosen each month by subscribers. What’s better than getting a good book and also giving back?

6. The Bookish Box ($321.99/12 month prepay)*

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Source: The Bookish Box

Do you have enough books? Who am I kidding, you can never have enough books. But maybe you don’t want a book coming to you in the mail every month. Maybe you just want to get cute book items to pump up your style. If so, this box is perfect with you. Each month you get a t-shirt along with other cute and fun book accessories to keep you looking bookish and stylish all year long.

*Note: Prices vary for plus size options.

7. BooklyBox ($20.99/monthly)

The first online book club, BooklyBox offers nine different genres to choose from guaranteeing you get a box with a book you actually want. Besides getting a great book and bookish accessories each month, for every box purchased a book is donated to a child/teen/adult in a developing country.

8. Fandom of the Month Club ($120.00/12 month prepay)

Source: Fandom of the Month Club

Source: Fandom of the Month Club

If you love jewelry and fandoms, the Fandom of the Month club is perfect for you. With each box you get 3-4 handpicked pieces of jewelry for one fandom. The only thing is you have to like surprises because you never know beforehand which fandom you’ll get each month. But, hey, what’s life without a little surprise, right?

9. Illumicrate ($43.06/1 quarter plan)

Source: @illumicrate

Source: @illumicrate

Getting a box each month might be a bit too much for you and that’s totally fine. Instead with Illumicrate you only get a box every three months. Still filled with a book and the bookish accessories you love, just less frequently. For the people in the UK this is the perfect box for you (free shipping!) but if you don’t live in the UK it might not be the best plan.

10. The Monthly Prophet (prices vary)

The Monthly Prophet is all about magic and mystery. You can either subscribe to a book box for Magic where you’ll get a *magical* book or a mystery box that provides a book from a different fandom each month. Or, if you would prefer jewelry, you can sign up for a jewelry box, also with the choice of magic or mystery. If you’re into fantasy, Harry Potter, and like surprises this may just be the box for you.

Happy Reading!

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