Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull


Everything with a beginning has an ending. Any magic that can be done, can be undone. Anything you make, can be unmade.

The Rise of the Evening Star is the second book in the Fablehaven series. It follows Kendra and Seth, siblings that are set to inherit a secret magical preserve that their grandparents run. The problem is another secret society is set on demolishing them to get ancient artifacts. 

I gave the first book an average of three stars, and left it with the doubt that I would ever come back to the rest of the books. Over the passed year I’ve gotten more into middle grade books. When I’m in a book slump or life slump, there’s something about them that brings me a certain comfort. As I figured this out, I found my mind drifting back to Fablehaven and its characters. I wondered how they were doing, if the books got better as many others claim. So I picked it up, and I’m glad I did.

At the end of the first book, everything seemed pretty tied up. I thought the reader and Seth and Kendra finally knew everything the grandparents did. I was wrong. Things that appeared tied up were not, or they were more than it was appeared in the first book. This really brought the book into an interesting place. Also last book a lot of it had them not knowing anything about magic. This time they knew about the magic, but also the grandparents told them more secrets in the beginning. Which also helped the book a lot. I hate plot hooked on secrets. It’s mostly frustrating, and simply makes me uninterested in reading it.

Kendra and Seth continued to grow in this book. I like how they are growing while still being kept their age. Seth acts just like my boyfriend’s nephew which yeah can be annoying, but also lovable. There are also new characters introduced in this book which only serves to flesh everyone out better.

The stakes are getting higher and more intense, and so did my enjoyment of the story. The ending caught me completely by surprise, and I find myself eagerly waiting for my next trip to the library so I can pick up the third book.

4 stars

Book Tag, Uncategorized

Oscar Book Tag

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Best picture: Favorite book series

Isis: The Penryn & The End of Days series was amazing. I loved the first book, Angelfall, and I loved the conclusion to the trilogy. Angels and badass characters. What’s not to love?

Nicole: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke is a new favorite. It has pirates and magic, and is simply perfect.

Best foreign film: Favorite diverse book

Isis: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Gay Mexican boys. Read it.

Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria. A bunch of diversity set in a magic world.

Best documentary: Favorite nonfiction book

Isis: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Nicole: The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee.

Best actress: Favorite female protagonist 

Isis: Penryn from Angelfall. Again, she kicked butt.

Nicole: Skybright from Serpentine by Cindy Pon. Smart and kickass and loyal.

Best actor: Favorite male protagonist 

Isis: Warner from the Shatter Me series. I cannot wait for Restore Me.

Nicole: Memphis from the Diviners series. I’ve only read the first book so that could change, but I love how he is in that.

Best supporting actress: Favorite female supporting character 

Isis: Lua from At the Edge of the Universe. Although Lua sometimes uses female pronouns, Lua is gender-fluid, but that’s not an option in this tag unfortunately.

Nicole: Samirah Al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan. She’s always smart and kickass and loyal. I might have a type.

Best supporting actor: Favorite male supporting character

Isis: Prince Robot IV from Saga. Is he a supporting character? I guess he is since he’s a “villain.”

Nicole: Wendell from the Dragonbreath series. He’s so cute and I have a soft spot for anyone with anxiety.

Best screenplay: Favorite standalone book

Isis: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Nicole: I have to say Iron Cast by Destiny Soria.

Best director: Favorite author

Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Nicole: I feel like I don’t have one to be honest, but I’ll go with Victoria Schwab.

Best cinematography: Best worldbuilding

Isis: I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I guess I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter world.

Nicole: The world in Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is amazing. 

Best costuming: Best cast of characters

Isis: The Shatter Me characters give me so many feelings. I adore them.

Nicole: The Magnus Chase series. I love all of them

Tag people 


Book Tag, Uncategorized

A-Z Book Tag

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A: Author you’ve read the most books from

Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz. Anyone who knows me knows he’s my favorite. 

Nicole: Ursula Vernon. I’ve read nine of her books.

B: Best sequel ever

Isis: Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat for sure. 

Nicole: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

C: Currently reading

Isis: A Boy Worth Knowing Jennifer Cosgrove

Nicole: The Belgrave Legacy by Zara Hoffman and Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

D: Drink of choice while reading

Isis: Tea. Usually chai or milk tea are my favorites.

Nicole: I love Dr. Pepper. 

E: E-reader or physical book

Isis: I love physical books but I prefer ebooks for night reading. So, both. 

Nicole: Physical book. I tend to get too distracted with ebooks.

F: Favourite fictional character

Isis: Dante Quintana. No one will ever steal his spot. 

Nicole: Harry Potter. I loved him for so long it’s hard not to say his name.

G: Glad you gave it a chance

Isis: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don’t usually read romance so I’m glad I read that one. 

Nicole: Serpentine by Cindy Pon. I was unsure of going so fantasy with the main character being a half monster, but I’m glad I did.

H: Hidden gem book

Isis: In Perfect Light by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Everyone should read it. 
Nicole: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke. That’s two books, but very worth it.

I: Important moment in reading life

Isis: When I read A Separate Peace and fell in love with reading. Also, first time I shipped two book characters.
Nicole: On the Equality of the Sexes by Judith Murray was the first review I did on this blog.

J: Just finished

Isis: Collecting Secrets by PE Kavanagh.
Nicole: Saga volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan.

K: Kinds of books you won’t read

Isis: High fantasy. Although at times I’ll make exceptions. 

Nicole: Erotic, Romance. There are others but there is always exceptions.

L: Longest book you’ve read

Isis: Maybe Order of the Phoenix, but I’m not sure. 

Nicole: Order of the Phoenix.

M: Major book hangover

Isis: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel gave me a big book hangover. I love that book. 

Nicole: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight. All I wanted was the sequel. 

N: Number of bookshelves

Isis: Just one that was custom made. 

Nicole: Three. Two medium ones, and one short one.

O: One book read multiple times

Isis: Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Woods.

Nicole: Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

P: Perfect place to read

Isis: My bed.

Nicole: My bed.

Q: Quote that inspires you

Isis: “So it goes.” -Kurt Vonnegut

Nicole: “To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz

R: Reading regret

Isis: Edge of Darkness by Travis McBee. It was the worst. 

Nicole: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I don’t know why I finished it.

S: Series I started and need to finish

Isis: I want to finish the duology of This Savage Song, which is Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. 

Nicole: The original Percy Jackson series. I think I have the last two to go through.

T: Three all-time favorites


  • At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


  • Roll of Thunder, Hear of Cry by Mildred. D. Taylor
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

U: Unapologetic fangirl moment

Isis: Meeting Benjamin Alire Saenz, David Levithan, and Adam Silvera all on the same day. It was the best. 

Nicole: When I meet authors I usually can’t talk. Does that count?

V: Very excited for release

Isis: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi. Give me all the Warner!

Nicole: A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

W: Worst bookish habit

Isis: Wanting to read too many books at once, getting overwhelmed, and not reading anything. 

Nicole: Starting and stopping a million books because I get distracted. It results in nothing being done.

X: X Marks the Spot – start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book

Isis: Fat Angie by E. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Nicole: White Cat by Holly Black

Y: Your latest book purchase

Isis: A beautiful B&N edition of Jane Eyre

Nicole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Z: ZZZ snatcher book – last book that kept you up way late

Isis: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. So worth the lack of sleep. 

Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Author Interview, Uncategorized

Author Interview: Michelle Balge

A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety by Michelle Balge was published yesterday. A Way Out, as the title suggests, is a memoir detailing Balge’s experience with depression and social anxiety. Since her teenage years Balge has dealt with these issues while growing up to become a sociology graduate, web design student, mental health advocate, and animal welfare activist. We were lucky enough to ask her a couple of questions.

What made you decide to write this memoir?

I wrote this memoir in the hopes that it can help those experiencing or who have experienced mental illness, as well as those who have loved ones with their own challenges. I truly want to be able to make a difference and have others understand that they’re not alone.

Who do you hope to reach with this book?

I hope to reach not only those that I mentioned in the previous question, but also those who are just interested in learning more about mental health and illness. There is such a stigma to this topic, that reading from the point of view of someone who experienced it firsthand can perhaps give better insight into what it’s like. I’ve made it as honest as I possibly can, to the point of sharing my most embarrassing stories and darkest thoughts. Although there is dark content, I’ve mixed humour into the book to provide some relief for those who worry it may be too intense.

Do you think this book will be helpful to those in middle of their own depression? Or would it be very triggering?

I think that everyone will be different, which is why at the beginning of the book there’s a content warning stating that there are parts that could be triggering for some people. I think it’s up to the individual person to tell if it’s something they’re in the right place for, or if it may be a bit too much to handle. It could very well be triggering for a person one day, but be the hope they were looking for the next.

What was your writing process like? 

I wrote whenever I had the urge to, which meant my writing ranged from thousands of words a day, to only a couple hundred a week. When trying to force myself to write, the words didn’t come out the way I wanted them to. While writing the darkest parts of my memoir, I had to listen to certain songs on repeat that I would listen to while I was depressed. It would bring my mind back as close as I could to how it used to feel while depressed, but once the music stopped, I could return to the present time. For the hopeful parts of the book, I listened to upbeat music to put the inspiration I felt into the book.

Can you tell us more about being a Mental Health Advocate? What does that entail?

As a mental health advocate, I was the president of a mental health club at my previous university and co-organized many mental health events. For the last few years I’ve been giving talks to students, the community, and professionals, sharing my personal story. In the last few months I’ve had 3 talks, each one a different experience because of the audience. Also, just with everyday conversations, I do my best to talk openly about mental health and illness. I share what I know with friends, family, people online, and now with my book I can reach people around the world.

What do you have to say about the stigma surrounding therapy and medications?

I believe that therapy and medication can be so important for your mental health. If you have a mild or moderate illness it may be better to try therapy and other methods of help before medication, but everyone’s different. Therapy can range from one-on-one talks about your life, to group therapy learning about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I personally found that group therapy with a focus on CBT for social anxiety was a huge help. Medication has also been a huge help for me. There’s nothing wrong with needing medication, therapy, or both. People need to know that it’s often a combination of things that will help their health improve.

Do you think you will write more books in the future?

I’m not sure if I’ll ever write another memoir, but I would love to write children’s books with a focus on mental health. One of my other big passions is animals, so all the characters would be animals to show people that they have feelings and can actually experience mental illnesses too.

So there you have it! If you want to learn more about what people dealing with these issues are dealing with, or if you want a little hope for yourself, I think this book will be very helpful for you. You can find it here on Goodreads or on Barnes and Noble. Michelle’s website is here.



Hope Nation Launch Party

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Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock and written by a load of different authors that will be published on February 27, 2018. Today at the South Irving Library they held a launch party with Rose Brock, Angie Thomas, Julie Murphy, and Ally Carter.

We haven’t been to many events involving books. A lot doesn’t happen here. So when we heard about this launch we knew we had to be there. I bought Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Isis bought a copy of Hope Nation. A lot of people showed up. I mean, a lot. They had to open up a back room in order to fit everyone. They had cupcakes, cookies, strawberries, and lemonade out for everybody who wanted some. 

Brock, Thomas, Murphy, and Carter were so nice. They started about what hope means to them and talked about their stories in the anthology. It got quite personal, and I think every one of them cried a little during it. Then they opened up to a couple questions which got a little political, and a lot liberal. Which is refreshing living in Texas let me tell ya.

We were lucky enough to get pretty close to the front of the line when the signing started. It went by pretty quick. Each of them were really nice like I said before, and we even got to get a picture with Angie and Julie. We actually had the same creative writing teacher as Julie at TCC, and we got to tell her that. She thought it was cool, and told us that was where she met her husband.

The day was really fun, and we’re excited for the upcoming book event at the North Texas Teen Book Festival in April.

Personal, Uncategorized

Things We’ve Been Loving

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Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate we are going to be talking about things we’ve been really loving lately. We would love to hear what everybody else has been into too!


Pirates- I’ve been interested in pirates for a while because I want to write a book about them. I’ve finally started my research on them, and I’ve been loving everything. I’ve talked about the Assassin’s Curse duology, but I’ve started playing the game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Sail. It’s so much fun. I need more pirate games, specially a pirate game in the style of Mass Effect would be perfect to me.

The Saga Comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples- I read the first three comics four years ago, and never continued with them. Isis has been bugging me since then, but it was only recently with the release of the eighth one that I’ve picked them up again. I just finished rereading the second one, and it’s renewed how much I liked them before. I generally forget how much I like reading comics, especially in between novels.

Kaz Brekker- Isis and I are buddy reading the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo right now. I’m only about a hundred pages into it, but I’ve fallen in love with Kaz already. His dialogue is awesome, and he has the kind of grey morals I want to write into my own books.

Reading Vlogs- Booktube has this recent trend of either doing weekly reading vlogs or 24 hour read-a-thons where the booktuber simply vlogs reading for the day. I don’t know what it is about them, but I can’t get enough of them. They are so relaxing and different from the usual content that I wish more people would do them. 

Summer Storms– If you’ve been here awhile, you might remember we’ve talked a couple times about Summer Storms. It’s the book Isis and I are co-writing. Isis just finished editing her first round of edits, and I’ve started writing some back story for it before diving into my first round of edits. It’s been so long since I’ve worked on it I kind of forgot how much I love it. Our characters are my favorites I’ve ever made, and it’s been fun getting back into the world they live in.

Bullet Journaling- Every new year I start off with some type of plan to get organized that always falls through within the month. This year I’m happy to say that I found something that’s been working for me, and that is doing a bullet journal. I like that I can cater it to me specifically, and I don’t outline my day hour to hour. I like that I get to be creative with it, and make designs each month. And washi tape is the best.

Tea Talks- Isis convinced me to start a podcast with her, and I’m surprised by how much I’ve been liking it. Researching has always been fun for me, and talking into a microphone isn’t as awkward as I thought it would be.

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Friends to lovers trope – this one never gets old. I keep falling for it every time. I read this one more recently in A Hundred Thousand Words by Nyrae Dawn. It was really sweet. That’s why I love this trope. There’s always a strong foundation in the relationship.

Enemies to lovers trope – Yes, I love this one as well. Similar to the friends to lovers, this one just has an extra step before becoming friends. I never knew how much I loved this trope until I read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Now I’m such a sucker for it. I’m hoping to read Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren soon because it sounds similar.

Brighton Bello-Adler – I talked about Riding with Brighton before, but now I’m going to talk about Brighton. He was the most beautiful, cheeky character I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. My love for him knows no bounds, and yes I’m being purposely flowery. I loved that boy. He reminded me a lot of Dante Quintana, and that’s saying a lot. He was charming and kind and smart. The book was titled after him, but I still think he deserved way more recognition. Everyone should meet him.

Lucy Hutton – Again, I talked about The Hating Game and praised it a lot, but now let’s talk about Lucy. I was instantly drawn to her because she was so adorable. I’ve never read about someone who was so cute. I could totally understand why Josh fell for her because I found myself falling for her in the same way. This rarely happens with me and a narrator, but it happened here. I love Lucy so much. She deserves everything good in the world. 

Sebastian Brother – I adored Autoboyography because of Sebastian. He was a ray of sunshine. I could absolutely relate to him in many ways, but mostly I just wanted to wrap him up in a warm blanket and protect him from all evil. I thought his character was phenomenally written, too. He was so honest and wonderful. I want to love him forever.

Call Me by Your Name MOVIE DANCE SCENE – The dance scene in the movie adaptation of Call Me by Your Name was the best thing that’s ever been filmed in the history of the world. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but only a little bit. Seriously, if you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and search it up. It’s everywhere on the internet because it is incredible.

Warner and Adam’s growing relationship – The 30 page Restore Me sampler left me with a lot of emotions about these two. Sure, everyone is panicking over Warner and Juliette, but all I care about is Warner and Adam and how their brotherly bond will get stronger. I don’t even know if much will happen to change their relationship, but fingers crossed we see a lot of growth from both of them. And maybe add more James and Kenji into the mix. Gotta love my boys.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon #7-9


This is my third review mentioning the Dragonbreath series. The first and second each have three books in each. Since I’ve discovered the series, I’ve been waiting to reach this book. As we have mentioned briefly before, Isis and I have been writing a book together that includes fairies. I loved actually knowing real background on the topic so I could see exactly how Vernon used the real lore and mashed it together with her imagination. 

In When Fairies Go Bad, Danny’s mother accidentally messes with a fairy ring. As revenge, the fairies kidnap her. So Danny must figure a way to get her back with his friends, Wendell and Christiana. The usual mess of funny jokes, interesting magic, and fun adventures followed. It’s easily one of my favorite Dragonbreath books I’ve read.

5 stars


In Nightmare of the Iguana Wendell has been having nightmares. Like with anything is the Dragonbreath world, it’s not regular nightmares. Monsters are sneaking into his dreams and messing with him. Danny and Suki, from book 2, has to go into his dreams to protect him.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, Wendell is a particular favorite of mine. So a whole book centering more on him was more than welcome to me. And Suki coming back in was exciting. There is also a new creature they become friends with that is the cutest thing ever. This is another five star book, and another favorite from the series.

5 stars


In the ninth book of the Dragonbreath series, The Case of the Toxic Mutants,  Danny is forced to visit his grumpy Grandfather  at his senior living place. He is convinced his neighbor had stolen his dentures, and keeps calling Danny’s parents. His parent’s are convinced he is lonely and are thinking of having him move in with them. Danny can’t have that as he would be rooming with Danny.

I loved meeting a new relative in this book. Vernon always knows when the series needs something new to series to keep it a little different and interesting. This isn’t one of favorites, but it was fun. The mystery was nice, and I loved the conclusion.

4 stars