Home       About Me       Review Index

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My Thoughts: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.

Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.

As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

As some of you may or may not remember. I loved Emily Henry's debut novel The Love That Split the World which I read last year. I enjoyed that book so much that when I heard she was writer A Million Junes and it would out this year, I knew I needed to read it as soon as I could. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017.  It took me a couple months to finally get to it, but once I did, I fell in love and have determined that Henry is absolutely one of my auto-buy authors.

I should preface the remainder of this review with a bit of a disclaimer- A Million Junes is not going to be for everyone. This story contains a large amount of magical realism and requires a reader to really suspend belief. Not everyone can do this, but if you can, you're really in for a treat.  Henry has this amazing way of writing a beautifully whimsical tale that readers can just sink into and enjoy.

Ugh- her writing. I don't know what to say- it's beautiful. I got so much joy from reading this book. The writing flows so beautifully, and it's almost lyrical, poetic even.  This kind of writing is needed in this story. Particularly since the blend between magic and real life were seamless and just incredible. In the same vein, A Million Junes is very much a story about loss and grief, and what that looks like for our protagonist, June.

June is a stunningly complicated character. She is grieving the death of her father. Although it has been a number of years, his absence came at a very pivotal moment in her young life. She misses their special relationship and with the reappearance of family nemesis Saul Angert, shes struggling with this sense of loyalty. Her father's one rule was to stay away from all things Angert.  No matter how drawn she is to all things Angert.

I could go on and on about A Million Junes and how enamoured I was with this story. The writing is beautiful the characters are amazing, I haven't even mentioned Saul, which is a crime, really. He was incredible, I loved him and June together, it really was like they couldn't help their relationship. I loved June's mother and step father, I appreciated their presence in the story. It was so good guys.

Overall, A Million Junes was such a joyful experience for me. I loved every minute of my reading experience. If you are a fan of magical realism and you enjoy poetic writing I think you will love this book. Emily Henry is for sure on my auto-buy list. Easily one of my favourite reads this year.

~Happy Reading Everyone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

ARC provided by Raincoast Books/ Feiwel and Friends
(all thoughts are my own)

This book is a thing of pure beauty.

I haven't read the authors previous books, but Wild Beauty really stands on its own for uniqueness. I can honestly say I haven't read anything like it before; it was a great ride of a book! From the opening pages I knew I was in for a treat; McLemore creates this brand new universe that feels so magical and filled with the most atmospheric descriptions I have ever read (I should point out that I typically struggle when an author gets to 'flowery' as one of my English professors called it, so I thought I'd find McLemore's prose a bit distracting; nope). Magical realism, as well, can be a hit or miss for me. I've read a couple in the past that dragged on, but not here/ I felt this book moved so quickly; the pace was perfect for me. I liked that at times it did go a little slower, because my brain needed to process this beautiful world that was created as the setting.

 Family relationships were one of my favorite aspects of this book. I really enjoyed how close the five sisters were and how their family always had five daughters, that was a cool concept and made me think of this as a fairy-tale. I liked how the daughters names were all of flowers; I think I enjoyed this more because I like flowers myself and my mom is a really big gardener and this made me feel more connected to the family.

This book also talked about the importance of family; I know a lot of books now involve broken/ dysfunctional families, but I don't always enjoy reading about ones that aren't perfect, but that's life. Families in real life aren't perfect, but you know at the end of the day you come home to them and they are there for you no matter what.

I first heard of this book through Goodreads when a friend added it on their to-read shelf and all I needed was to see the cover and knew I wanted to read this; thank you for adding it, because I'm not sure if I hadn't spotted it if I would have requested an ARC. Thank you, even if I don't remember who it was. This was a beautifully well-written book that I'm so glad I got to read! If you are a fan (or even if you aren't) I recommend this book if you are looking for something different. I think I'll be looking out for more books by this author in the future.

4 out of 5 stars.

Until my next review, Stefanie

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Thoughts: Amid the Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

**Review copy received from publisher for my honest review**

I liked this book. There I said it. I wasn't expecting to like it. I thought it would be okay, if not a bit lame. Boy was I wrong. Amid the Stars and Darkness reminded me a bit of the Marissa Meyer's the Lunar Chronicles (a la Scarlet/Cress meets True Blood (sort of ). 

This is Delaney's story as she is taken from Earth by some aliens (who basically look human and have recently been outed), transported to an alien planet (by mistake) and then forced to impersonate their dodgy princess. Oh and she's supposed to ascend to the throne and marry a dude she's not very fond of. The only real friend she has is in her trusty protector/love interest Ruckus, who is pretty swoony. So, here is this poor girl, being forced to do something she wasn't expecting to do, cause if she doesn't, she may very well die.

As I mentioned earlier, I really found myself enjoying this book. I was entertained and I was invested enough to want to keep reading and find out how things were going to play out. I really enjoyed the world building, I would say this book is sci-fi light- as in, if you're interested in trying sci-fi, this would be a good place to start. I felt like the plot was well rounded and developed. 

With all that I enjoyed with this book. I have to tell you it's probably not a stellar piece of material. There were some incredibly corny moments (like boarder line cringe worthy).  The relationship development between Delaney and Trystan was a little unrealistic- he went from trying to kill her, to being kind of enamored by her pretty quickly, which was, admittedly, a little wishy-washy. But, at the time, I kind of didn't care, I loved how over dramatized and over the top everything was. However, this is not going to be the case for everyone. I can totally see how some people would really have a lot of issued with this book.

Overall, I enjoyed Amid the Stars and Darkness, and I am actually pretty excited for the sequel (which was recently announced), Between Frost and Fury. I want to know what's going to happen with these characters that I so enjoyed.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stefanie's Top Ten Tuesday On a Thursday part Three & September Recap

Hey everyone,

So I couldn't resist this week's Top Ten List: Top Ten Book Boyfriends
Count me in!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

1) Oliver Wood from Harry Potter- So it's very obvious from my previous posts that Oliver Wood was my first- and really only- book boyfriend. He's obsession with Quidditch was hilarious- to the point that he didn't care if Harry's broom harmed him- it was after all, a FIREBOLT! This probably strengthened after re-reading the entire series and my immense excitement about the illustrated third book, we FINALLY get a representation of the Quidditch Cup (still not over that being cut from the movie tbh.) His cameo in book seven was the best. 

2) Aston Hyde Bettencourt from Girls Who Travel- English and in one of my favorite books equals swoon worthy book boyfriend.

3) The guy from Once Upon a Wine- Beth Kendrick makes such swoon worthy male characters, that honestly any of her characters are book boyfriends of mine. If you haven't read any of her books I recommend them.

4) Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them- I mean he's a Hufflepuff and loves animals. Perfection!

5) Dylan from A Potion to Die For- Not only did he have to put up with Carly's crazy family and shenanigans, but he's a police officer and with Carly getting caught up in crime...well I mean that makes him swoon worthy

6) Michael from The Princess Dairies series- He might actually have been my very second book crush. He's portrayed way better in the book series (then again, he's not even in the second movie) and I love reading about him and Mia is both Royal Wedding and the children's spin-off series From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Bonus mention:

Jamie Fraser from Outlander- So I haven't read the books, but I've seen the show on Netflix so do I need to say more? Scottish swoon at its finest. 

September Wrap-Up 

I have another group Halloween costume going on at work and that was finalized with all the characters in the last couple days. I'm SUPER excited about it again, but I'm not sharing what we're doing; it'll be a surprise! I'm super ready for the cooler weather, the autumn colour leaves and my birthday. I may be biased but October is the best month! 

Going back to work was a little nuts; having those two months off then going full speed ahead in a junior high was crazy. I'm finally back into it now, but after a month I guess that's to be expected. 

I mainly re-read Harry Potter in September, but here's a complete list:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows

Quidditch Through the Ages

Tales of Beetle the Bard

Murder She Barked by Krista Davis

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnson

Changes in Latitude by Jen Malone

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

(12 total)

Books of the Month:


(One month I might be able to choose just one!)

I started watching Outlander on Netflix (currently on episode twelve), watched a ton of movies before I started my October Scary & Halloween movies (my favorite watches would have to be The Peanuts Movie, Life as We Know It, and the couple Harry Potter films I re-watched). I need to watch Fuller House season three eventually, only heard good things about this season.

And that's my September; it's actually been really fun looking back at my month when I write these posts. Goodbye September, Hello October.

See you all next week,



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sara's August/September Recap

Hi peeps!

I am SO excited to be sitting here typing this for you tonight. An hour ago, my computer was dead and  I was trying to figure out how I was going to buy a new one. But I live with a very handy teenager (NOT MINE) who happens to really enjoy working on these little devices and got mine working again. I was one happy camper!!

I totally skipper August's bookish recap, so I am going to add the book I read/listened t here. I am going to forego the life update- because there really isn't one. But I am eager to share with you all of the books!

The Books- August 2017

Total Books

Physical Books


Physical Books 

1) Three Little Mistakes By Nikki Sloane (3.5 Stars)
2) Alex, Approximately By Jenn Bennett (3.5 Stars)
3) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (4 Stars)
4) Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener (4.25 Stars)
5) The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (4 Stars)

Favourite Read

This one surprised me. I was fully entertained. While I don't think it's this amazing epic story, it was very enjoyable and well written. I am very much looking forward to it's sequel. 


1) The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (4 Stars)
2) Buns by by Alice Clayton (3 Stars)
3) Craving by Helen Hardt (2.5 Stars)
4) The Next Always by Nora Roberts (4 Stars)
5) Hollywood Scandal by Louise Bay (3.5 Stars)
6) The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5 Stars)


Favourite Listen


This book, this book. One of my favourite books of this year. Top 5 of life maybe. 
I don't know what more I can say about this book, other than please read it. You will not be disappointed.


Total Books

Physical Books


Physical Books: 

1) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (4.5 Stars)
2) A Million Junes by Emily Henry (5 Stars)
3) Into the Wild by John Krakauer (4 Stars)
4) Broken Prince by Erin Watt (1 Star) 

Favourite Read

April Henry's writer is incredible. This book was fantastic. I am pretty convinced that magical realism is my preferred genre. I love it. A Million Junes was just beautiful. I think she may just be an auto-buy author for me now. 

The Audiobooks

1) A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (unsure)
2) Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (4.5 Stars) 
3) The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry (3 Stars)
4) Wicked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 Stars?) 
5) Wicked Favor by Sawyer Bennett (3 Stars) 

Favourite Listen

I like this series. Sorry. It's SO much fun to read. I get completely engrossed in what's going on, and before I know it, it's over!! This was no different. I am a bit bitter that Tower of Dawn exists and that this series isn't done yet, but I'll get to it (probably next year). 

I think this is where I am going to leave the wrap up. I can't believe we only have three more months left in this year.  I am hoping to read 6 physical books on October, that would be great, and maybe listen to three of my audiobook back log. I got it down to 13 books last month (from 18).  

Anywho, that is all. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl