friday reads #1

Olivia is soaking up the sun on this Fri-yay!

Hello everyone!

Today Olivia and I our first Friday Reads on our book blog – Wahoo! While we usually aim to do our Friday updates via booktube, we’ve had a fairly busy week and think this is the perfect way to catch up on the ongoing updates. Today we’ll just be discussing what we are currently reading and then what book we’ll be picking up next. In future posts, we’ll update you on the books we’ve finished since our last update. And a short summary will be present in our Sunday posts.

Okay, enough talking. Let’s get to the books!


Goodreads Description:
Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her. Or that the magic will be strong enough to attract the attention of witches. Or that before she can say #BlackGirlMagic, she’ll be shipped off on a scholarship to a fancy finishing school for talented young ladies.

Les Belles Demoiselles is a literal charm school. Here, generations of young ladies from old-money witch families have learned to harness their magic, and alumnae grow to become some of the most powerful women across industries, including politicians, philanthropists, CEOs, entrepreneurs—and yes, even social media influencers. Needless to say, admission to the school is highly coveted, very exclusive . . . and Hasani sticks out like a weed in a rose bouquet.

While the other girls have always known they were destined to be witches, Hasani is a Wildseed––a stray witch from a family of non-witches, with no background knowledge, no way to control her magic, and a lot to catch up on. “Wildseed” may be an insult that the other girls throw at her, but Wildseeds are more powerful than they know. And Hasani will learn that there are ways to use magic and thrive that can never be taught in a classroom. 

I’m really enjoying this book so far! You really root for Hasani in her efforts to become a great witch. Despite not coming from a magical background, it’s evident that she has the potential to do amazing things and I’m excited to see what the second half of the book will bring for us!

Goodreads Description:
The proud holders of well-paying jobs at the local watch factory, these working-class young women gain their nickname from the fine dusting of glowing, radioactive powder that clings to their clothes after every shift painting watch dials. The soft, greenish glow even stains their lips and tongues, which they use to point the fine brushes used in their work. It’s perfectly harmless . . . or so claims the watch manufacturer.

When teeth start falling out, followed by jawbones, the dial painters become the unprepared vanguard on the frontlines of the burgeoning workers’ rights movement. Desperate for compensation and acknowledgement from the company that has doomed them, the Ghost Girls must fight, not just for their own lives but the future of every woman to follow them.

A stunning graphic novel retelling of the shocking and inspiring true story.

This is such a fascinating graphic novel! Prior to reading this, I had no idea that women were facing such occupational hazards in the early 1900s. It’s made me look even further into other hazardous work environments – for example, I did a youtube search and discovered that the snow in the Wizard of Oz was asbestos, which is carcinogenic!


Goodreads Description:
Hi Mich. It’s Gabe.

After burning out in her corporate marketing career, Michelle Amato has built a thriving freelance business as a graphic designer. So what if her love life is nonexistent? She’s perfectly fine being the black sheep of her marriage-obsessed Puerto Rican-Italian family. Besides, the only guy who ever made her want happily-ever-after disappeared thirteen years ago.

It’s been a long time.

Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx at eighteen to escape his parents’ demanding expectations, but it also meant saying goodbye to Michelle, his best friend and longtime crush. Now, he’s the successful co-owner of LA’s hottest celebrity gym, with an investor who insists on opening a New York City location. It’s the last place Gabe wants to go, but when Michelle is unexpectedly brought on board to spearhead the new marketing campaign, everything Gabe’s been running from catches up with him.

I’ve missed you.

Michelle is torn between holding Gabe at arm’s length or picking up right where they left off—in her bed. As they work on the campaign, old feelings resurface, and their reunion takes a sexy turn. Facing mounting pressure from their families—who think they’re dating—and growing uncertainty about their futures, can they resolve their past mistakes, or is it only a matter of time before Gabe says adiós again?

I have been meaning to read this one for such a long time! That is exactly why I added this to my TBR game and low and behold, this book was selected! It just sounds really good and the perfect summer read.

Here’s our TBR game, if you’d like to see what other are on our July TBR!

July TBR Game video!


What are you currently reading?

Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
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Top Ten Tuesdays by

Hello everyone!

Welcome to today’s blog. There are so many good books coming our way in the second half of 2022! Needless to say … pinning this down to 10 books is a very big task – a challenge, if you will! And …

We are happy to tackle this in our first Top Ten Tuesday!

And yes, while there is some fantasy, and some contemporaries, we are gearing up for spooky season starting …



Book cover of Night of the Living Rez: STories by Morgan Talty

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 5th, 2022

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

How do the living come back to life?

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty—with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight—breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs.

In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

My cat Olivia and I always enjoy reading a good collections of stories together. We are very intrigued to read a book set over the authors lifespan set in a Native community in Maine.

Exciting news – today is publication day!

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 19th, 2022

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

When Olivia and I first read Mexican Gothic together, we just knew that Silvia Moreno-Garcia would be an auto-buy author! We love her writing and the immersive, atmospheric settings she creates. And we’re so excited to read this retelling! And by the way, did you see that cover?!


Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 26th, 2022

Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns #1) by Gina Chen

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus. Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

We are constantly on the lookout for books that feature witches, and we are looking forward to reading about Violet, a morally gray witch. We also love books with synopses reminiscent of fairytales. And skimming reviews, it looks like there will definitely be some fairytale elements in this book.

We are in!

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 21st, 2022

The Family Remains (The Family Upstairs #2)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell comes an intricate and affecting novel about twisted marriages, fractured families, and deadly obsessions in this standalone sequel to The Family Upstairs.

Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago.

Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer.

After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present.

As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.

In this masterful standalone sequel to her haunting New York Times bestseller, The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell proves she is writing at the height of her powers with another jaw-dropping, intricate, and affecting novel about the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love and uncover the truth. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Lisa Jewell has become a favourite when it comes to Thrillers. We have read a few in the past and cannot wait to read this one – with just one caveat. We will want to read The Family Upstairs first before reading the sequel as we haven’t read book one yet. That will change very soon!

We are in!



Goodreads | The Storygraph

August 9th, 2022

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean

One phone call changes everything.

At thirty-five, Mika Suzuki’s life is a mess. Her last relationship ended in flames. Her roommate-slash-best friend might be a hoarder. She’s a perpetual disappointment to her traditional Japanese parents. And, most recently, she’s been fired from her latest dead-end job.

Mika is at her lowest point when she receives a phone call from Penny—the daughter she placed for adoption sixteen years ago. Penny is determined to forge a relationship with her birth mother, and in turn, Mika longs to be someone Penny is proud of. Faced with her own inadequacies, Mika embellishes a fact about her life. What starts as a tiny white lie slowly snowballs into a fully-fledged fake life, one where Mika is mature, put-together, successful in love and her career.

The details of Mika’s life might be an illusion, but everything she shares with curious, headstrong Penny is real: her hopes, dreams, flaws, and Japanese heritage. The harder-won heart belongs to Thomas Calvin, Penny’s adoptive widower father. What starts as a rocky, contentious relationship slowly blossoms into a friendship and, over time, something more. But can Mika really have it all—love, her daughter, the life she’s always wanted? Or will Mika’s deceptions ultimately catch up to her? In the end, Mika must face the truth—about herself, her family, and her past—and answer the question, just who is Mika in real life?

Perfect for fans of Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, Gayle Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, Mika in Real Life is at once a heart-wrenching and uplifting novel that explores the weight of silence, the secrets we keep, and what it means to be a mother.

In this brilliant new novel by from Emiko Jean, the author of the New York Times bestselling young adult novel Tokyo Ever After, comes a whip-smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly heartwarming novel about motherhood, daughterhood, and love—how we find it, keep it, and how it always returns. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Olivia and I really enjoyed reading her book Tokyo Ever After and are curious to read another book from her that is separate from that series.

Goodreads | The Storygraph

August 23rd, 2022

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

I absolutely love the concept of this – training in languages during the 1800s. The dark academia vibes. And I think this book would be an amazing buddy read due to it’s popularity already, even before it is out! So looking forward to this one and I can’t wait to get a copy.


Goodreads | The Storygraph

September 6th, 2022

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in this suspenseful YA novel following a biracial teenager as her Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom.

When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation . . . Maddy did it.

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.

After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.

But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret . . . one that will cost them all their lives. (Source)


Why We Want to Read This Book

We were hooked when we saw another Tiffany D. Jackson book to be released later this year. Just say her name and we will show up with excitement.
But, my gosh. When we saw the cover, and we got MAJOR Carrie retelling vibes, we knew this had to be prioritized. I am not quite sure how we are going to wait until September to read it, but if you’re as thrilled as we are, it’s ok — we can make it! Just a couple of months to go!

September 27th, 2022

Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch

From the New York Times bestselling author of Love & Gelato comes a poignant and romantic novel about two teens trying to find their place in the world after being unceremoniously dragged to Salem, Massachusetts, for the summer.
Willow has never felt like she belonged anywhere and is convinced that the only way to find a true home is to travel the world. But her plans to act on her dream are put on hold when her aloof and often absent mother drags Willow to Salem, Massachusetts, to wrap up the affairs of an aunt Willow didn’t even know she had. An aunt who may or may not have been a witch.
There, she meets Mason, a loner who’s always felt out of place and has been in and out of foster homes his entire life. He’s been classified as one of the runaways, constantly searching for ways to make it back to his mom; even if she can’t take care of him, it’s his job to try and take care of her. Isn’t it?
Naturally pulled to one another, Willow and Mason set out across Salem to discover the secret past of Willow’s mother, her aunt, and the ambiguous history of her family. During all of this, the two can’t help but act on their natural connection. But with the amount of baggage between them—and Willow’s growing conviction her family might be cursed—can they manage to hold onto each other? (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Love & Gelato, anyone?
We absolutely loved the book and we were thrilled to see an upcoming new release from Jenna Evans Welch! During Summer and Fall we really love to settle into thrillers, and we feel like a contemporary YA romance during spooky season will be a good addition to the mix. We love the promise of visiting Salem, Massachusetts, and the incorporation of an unknown family history and uncovering mysteries within!
Olivia and I cannot wait!

October 4th, 2022

Jackal by Erin E. Adams

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .
It’s watching.
Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
It’s taking.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.
It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Reading the synopsis, I am hooked into Erin E. Adams’ debut novel already. It is so haunting and compelling. Just looking at the italic font sends shivers up my spine! That is exactly the mood we are seeking going into October. I literally want to start reading it right now because I need to know what happened to Caroline!? Caroline, where are you!?


Goodreads | The Storygraph

December 13th, 2022

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

Adiba Jaigirdar, author of one of Time‘s Best YA books of all time, gives Titanic an Ocean’s 8 makeover in a heist for a treasure aboard the infamous ship that sank in the Atlantic many years ago.
A thief. An artist. A acrobat. An actress. While Josefa, Emilie, Hinnah, and Violet seemingly don’t have anything in common, they’re united in one goal: stealing the Rubaiyat, a jewel-encrusted book aboard the RMS Titanic that just might be the golden ticket to solving their problems.
But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes. While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer . . .
Perfect for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Girl in the Blue Coat, this high-seas heist from the author of The Henna Wars is an immersive story that makes readers forget one important detail— the ship sinks. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

This sounds super awesome! Count us in! We’re looking forward to seeing these four women in action and exactly how they are going to pull this off!

We have not yet read a book by Adiba Jaigirdar but are definitely looking forward to it!


How do you decide on your most anticipated reads?
Let us know!

The Sunday Post #1

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the blog! 

This is my first time participating in #TheSundayPost and this is actually my THIRD post on our new blog.
(I am still figuring everything out, so any advice is appreciated!)

And honestly … The Sunday Post looks like so much fun!
I had to participate!

It’s hosted by Kimberly, The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and allows bloggers to check in with each other. It gives us the opportunity to share news, recap the past week, look at the week ahead, and showcase new bookish finds. How perfect is that?!

Introduction and Update

We are going to start with introductions below! For those new to Sara’s Reading Nook, this is a photo of me and my cat, Olivia. She’s purrfectly divine (and feline!)

This week, I started to blog again. And gosh, does it ever feel good! I used to blog years ago about university life and applying to professional degree programs, but now I am picking it up again and dedicating it to what we love most:
As you can see, my cat Olivia and I really love to read books. And we read nearly every single genre out in the literature world, with a slight preference for:
  • graphic novels and manga
  • contemporaries
  • YA and adult fiction
  • cat books (show us a cat on the cover and we are probably in!)


What we’ve been up to recently …

Readathons ….

We have been busy as can be! We host the Hello Seasons Readathons which are four weekend-long readathons that run throughout the year. And they are busy, busy! We have also hosted the Catathon Readathon and Hello 2022 Readathon so, look out for those. Definitely consider joining our readathons if you have not joined them before. They are a lot of fun to participate in, and all of our hosts and participants are so amazing. They make the readathons a blast to run!

NetGalley …. 

We are currently reading two e-Galleys provided to us by NetGalley and are enjoying them (thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing e-Galleys in exchange for honest reviews!) Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas is currently being read and we really need to catch up and complete this one as soon as possible. This book is a middle grade fantasy with witches – sounds amazing, doesn’t it?! I’m nearing the mid-way point and am enjoying it so far! 
The second book I am reading is Radium Girls by Cy. This is a historical, nonfiction graphic novel set in the early 20th century that tells the story of women who died after fatal radium poisoning via their work as dial makers. It’s very intriguing, fascinating, and scary so far to learn more about this topic and it has encouraged me to be reflective and to ponder about occupational hazards, both current and throughout history! I am hoping to finish both books in the next couple of days.

Reading Sprints …. 

We are going to host reading sprints this week! I am currently running a poll on my bookstagram page to find out the best time of the week for these, but it looks as though Saturday, July 9th is the likely winner. I run these fairly often on my channel just for fun and for those who are participating in our readathons! If you’d like to find out more, definitely check our booktube as we schedule them ideally 24+ hours in advance. 

Recent Posts

We have only just begun here on the blog! 
Here are our two latest posts:

We are still navigating and looking for link-up suggestions for blogs, so please name any down below if you have some suggestions for places to find fun post ideas like The Sunday Post!

Tentative plans are as follows:

  • Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas book review
  • Friday Reads (will post a video for this)
Also, please let me know if you would like voice recordings for blog posts in a podcast-ish format. I would like to make these blog posts as accessible as possible for readers. That being said, if you have any accessibility suggestions, please let us know below!
That wraps up today’s Sunday Post blog! 
I’m looking forward to checking out others and their posts later today! 
Excited to visit others in the book blogging community!
When did you start blogging?
What types of book blog posts are your favourite?
(to read OR create)

Favourite Books of 2022, so far!

Hello, everyone! 

Olivia is deep in thought reminiscing about the year. 

And we are SUPER excited today to talk to you about our favourite books of each month from 2022! 

All books listed below are very good, but we do have a clear favourite. Let’s find out which one is our fav so far of the year! I’m so curious to know if this book will end up being my favourite at the end of 2022. It might be!

Book Title: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Author: James Baldwin

This is the love story between Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, and Fonny, a young sculptor and the father of their child.  Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and sent to prison soon after they are engaged. They must face an uncertain future ahead while as they attempt to clear Fonny of his name.

Why this book?

Here it is – this is our favourite book of the year! Are you as surprised as I am? I started off the year reading a lot of great books for our Hello 2022 Readathon, but as soon as I finished this book, I knew this book would be very hard to top. 

This book made me feel every emotion possible. It discusses very important themes such as race, police brutality, and injustic, and yet still at the heart of it, this book is a love story. I was deeply invested in Tish and Fonny’s story together – from childhood to adulthood. 

Favourite Quote

“Neither love nor terror makes one blind.
Indifference makes one blind.”
– James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

Book Title: Ace of Spades 

Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

In Ace of Spades, two of the highest achieving students at a prestigious private academy are the targets of personal attacks. However, these attacks are incredibly dark, twisted, and have the potential to disrupt or potentially even end their educational and professional ambitions. 

The question is: who is Aces? And what can be done to stop them from destroying Devon and Chiamaka’s dreams?

Why this book?

I read this book for our instagram buddy read of the month during February. This was such a good book that covered important themes, including: institutionalized racism, homophobia, and classicism. But it did more than that and was reminiscent to me of the film Get Out and the tv show Pretty Little Liars. 

Months later, I still think about this book, and I definitely recommend this as a must-read thriller.

Favourite Quote

“I didn’t invent this twisted system that pits us against each other and makes us do crappy things for status – but I do know how to play it.”
– Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Ace of Spades

Book Title: Night

Author: Elie Wiesel

This is a book everyone needs to read – it is book one of the Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel, who is a holocaust survivor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. This book takes place during a dark time in history, when Elie and his family were taken from their home in Sighet, Transylvania in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp.

Why this book?

I just knew I would need to read this again at some point this year. 

Now reading this for the second time, I find myself drawn even further into Elie’s story and the connection he had with his father, family, and his belief system. 

There’s honestly not much more to say except: if you haven’t read this already, that needs to change. Soon.

Favourite Quote

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed …”
– Elie Wiesel, Night

Book Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi

What would you do if you could time-travel to talk to a loved one and have closure? Would you do so? This is the second book in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series. 

There are four stories within this collection from those seeking closure to move on with their lives following a visit to a special café.

Why this book?

I read this book for the Catathon Readathon for the prompt “read a book with a cat on the cover.” I knew that this was going to be an emotional read after reading the first book. However, this one tug even stronger on my heart strings and was so memorable. 

I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and recommend this series if you are looking for books that will have you reaching for the tissues box.

Favourite Quote

“At the end of the day, whether one returns to the past or travels to the future, the present doesn’t change.”
– Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

Book Title: Beasts and Beauties: Dangerous Tales

Author: Soman Chainani

This is a collection of twelve classic retold by Soman Chainani including: Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. While grim (no pun intended), they are told in a way that will mystify and pack a punch the reader.

Why this book?

I read this book with Angie Henderson and we had such a great time revisiting old tales, now with a fresh perspective. We both enjoy reading retellings. 

You won’t want to miss reading Jack in the Beanstalk and Cinderella told with a twist! This is definitely for you if you enjoy short stories.

Favourite Quote

“Get too used to glorious sunsets and it is easy to blame the sun for stealing the clouds’ glory — but withhold the sun and there is nothing to see.”
– Soman Chainani, Beasts and Beauty

Book Title: Sailor Moon Eternal Edition, Volume 5

Author: Naoko Takeuchi

In this fifth volume of the infamous Sailor Moon manga series, the outer senshi are spotlighted and we get to learn about Sailor Pluto, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Saturn, and Sailor Neptune. 

Why this book?

When thinking of books to read for the Hello Spring/Autumn readathon, this was a clear winner! However, it took me longer to read this book than expected. I did not finish it until June and I’m so glad I did because it ended up being my favourite volume of the entire series! 

Read this if you are a fan of the Sailor Moon manga/anime and want to discover more about all the Sailor scouts!

That wraps up our favourite books of the year so far (by month!)


What were your favourites? Let us know!

Our first post! – Mid-Year NetGalley Review Wrap-Up!

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our new blog! We are very excited to share our thoughts on our NetGalley books from January to June 2022. We will be going from most to least recent here. All e-galleys were received in exchange for honest review and have been catalogued previously on our Goodreads and Storygraph pages. 

So, let’s go!


Amalia by Aude Picault

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.75 stars.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel.

In this story, Amalia and her family are encountering a stressful time and as the story progresses, you realize that taking a step back and re-evaluating things might be important for them as something is right about to give.

I enjoyed the story overall and think that this might be a very good read for those who are encountering stress or burnout. Some things I would have liked to see different: I found the font a bit difficult to read (although it’s aesthetically pretty charming), the father character in particular was a bit much for me, and some of the language was off-putting, especially early on. However the progression of the story was really good and landed on an ending I was definitely satisfied with.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CW: family conflict, stress, burnout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading this NetGalley toolkit.
It was very helpful and included a lot of useful information, including:
– tips for requesting NetGalley books and keeping your feedback ratio high
– creating book reviews for various formats (e.g., blog, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
– social media tips and strategies
I particularly enjoyed the strategizing and accessibility sections! There were a couple of formatting issues I found, such as deleting extra spaces, but overall I really liked the format of the toolkit.I recommend this to anyone just starting out on NetGalley or who is looking to improve their experience on this platform.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez
My rating:
4 of 5 stars


This was a really cute graphic novel about Ben Cook, a new graduate who needs to find a job ASAP who, despite being unable to find a job related to his degree, is given a shot at a restaurant. During his time at Le Cochon Doré, he is faced with several challenges and finds himself falling for one of his mentors and becoming more distant from his initially desired career path.

This book makes it really easy to root for Ben as he learns how to improve his culinary skills. I really loved the characters, especially his friends Liz, Rachel, and Tom! Oh, and gosh, it was a bit silly but I just LOVED Watson. And thought he was just a wonderful addition to the book. I do wish that there was a little bit more of the romance, mostly because I wanted to see more of this blossoming relationship. I did really love Liam’s character and how supportive he was. I thought this was really cute and would like to read more from the author in the future!

CW: emotional abuse, homophobia.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, author, and illustrators (cover and main book) for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.


This poetry collection by Amanda Lovelace is the third instalment of the “you are your own fairy tale” series.

CW: Fatphobia, Homophobia, Mental illness, Child abuse, Confinement, Self harm, Death, Eating disorder, Queerphobia, Grief, Trauma, Sexism.

My rating:

This was such a good children’s novel that focused on the perspective of a granddaughter and her abuelita.
The illustration style is absolutely gorgeous and beautifully helped tell the story.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, illustrator and the publisher for an eARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
My rating:
This was such an adorable book! First, Maxine’s little critters are anxious about getting their vaccine shots so she eases their anxiety and congratulates them all for getting their shots. And then, Maxine goes to the vet to get her actual shot, and her and her critters all celebrate together.
I’m a huge fan of the artwork! I think that this is such a delightful book for children getting all of the shots they need to and can be so useful.
Thank you to the publisher, the authors/illustrators, and to NetGalley for providing an advanced readers copy for an honest review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a concise and very well written graphic novel which serves as an introduction to asexuality. My favourite part of the graphic novel are the descriptions of the following:

– what asexuality is; the spectrum of asexuality
– differences between asexuality and aromanticism
– ace stereotypes in culture and media representations

I do wish that the illustrations were more detailed as it mostly centred on the two narrators; since the graphic novel is in black and white, more detail would have added visual interest to the book. Or, to add colour to the various illustrations in lieu of additional detail. However, I still think they did a good job of maintaining the reader’s interest through interesting dialogue and topics covered.

I would recommend this book to those interested in learning more about asexuality and would also recommend it to my friends who are practicing medicine; as a healthcare worker, I found the feedback re: the Ace patient demographic and experiences within medical clinics to be incredibly beneficial!

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher, author, and illustrator for providing an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.


My rating:
The narration throughout the book was kind, welcoming, and informative. Reassurances were provided in a nonjudgemental fashion, allowing the reader to know that they are not alone when facing health anxiety. I thought that the illustrations were great: representations of children from various ethnicities, backgrounds, and with disabilities were provided.

There were so many “fun facts” about health and the human body sprinkled within the book. I found them to be highly engaging and informative.

Additionally, the book provided a small guide for caregivers and for parents, as well as a link to numerous books, videos, and organizations relating to the subject matter presented.

I would recommended this to parents and caregivers of children 6-10 years who would like to help ease any anxiety their little ones are facing regarding health.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher, author, and illustrator for providing an advanced reader’s copy in exchange of an honest review.

Astronomers and What They Do

My rating:
I really liked the illustrations, but also enjoyed the simple way scientific concepts were broken down. Bolding terminology was done effectively, and I liked that comparisons were used to distinguish similar sounding terms, such as astronomers vs astronauts.

Finally, each illustration nicely complimented the text well. The activity at the end of the book would be a fun one for younger readers!

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.



I really loved that this book was set on the beach in Florida, a welcome departure from the cold weather we have been having this winter.

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Full review and reading vlog:
I really enjoyed The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox! It was a very fun read and had likeable characters, an interesting set of protagonists, and a good set of challenges and obstacles to overcome. I feel like it was a perfect read for the holidays, and it was just so cute.