Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Middle Grade

ARC Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

via Goodreads

I obtained this ARC when I met Victoria/V.E. Schwab last weekend at BookCon. (Side note: It’s been a whole week since BookCon 2018. So many more weeks to go until the next one. *sigh*)

This one is actually a middle grade book, which I didn’t realize at first, as I read somewhere online that it was a YA novel. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. A good story is a good story. And Ms. Schwab sure knows how to tell good stories.

This was a fun modern-meets-historical ghost story. I’ll be honest, in the very beginning it felt like it was going to be a little cliche – girl almost dies, doesn’t die, can now see and talk to ghosts. We’ve heard that one before. After a few chapters, however, the story becomes a little more unique.

I really enjoyed the Scottish imagery and the historical background that was incorporated. There’s a lot of creepy elements, which is good for kids who like darker stories. My only complaint is that I would have liked a little more character development, but I suppose there’s more room for that in the sequel.

I’m not sure if fans of the author’s adult books will like this, but if you’re a fan of middle grade literature, I’d recommend this one.

Adult · Books · Fiction · Middle Grade · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday again! (TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) This week’s theme is “Books I Could Re-Read Forever.”

I like this category because I am a huge fan of re-reading my favorite books. I don’t know if I will necessarily be re-reading these forever (because, let’s face it, our tastes change sometimes), but these are some of the ones that I’ve re-read the most over the last few years. (Yes, I cheated and listed whole serieses as one book. But how can you just pick one book in a great series?)


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman –  I cannot praise this book or Mr. Gaiman enough.


The Harry Potter series  by J.K. Rowling – These are definitely my most re-read books, by far. It’s amazing that my copies haven’t fallen apart yet.


The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien – It’s been ages since I’ve re-read the LOTR books. I am way overdue. (Fun fact: I am not a big fan of the movie versions.)


The Queen of Hearts series by Colleen Oakes – This is a most deliciously unique re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. Probably one of my favorite re-tellings period.


Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again.” *swoons*


Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – I only discovered this one a few months ago, but since then I’ve already re-read half of the chapters. This book is turning out to be immensely helpful when I am in a funk and need a laugh or something to relate to. Jenny Lawson holds a permanent spot on my nightstand.


The Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West – This series is so adorable. It ties my love of art, magic, and animals together nicely.


Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – This was the book that popped my Gaiman cherry. I am eternally grateful.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Oh Jane, you’re so awesome. (Fun fact #2: I have a Jane Eyre quote tattooed on my arm.)


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – This is just a fun one to re-read every now and then. It’s perfect for anyone who loves books and a little mystery.



What are your favorite books to re-read? Are any of these on your list? 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Middle Grade

3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag (Day 2)

It’s Monday…


It’s also day 2 of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge. To see which quote I chose for day one, check out yesterday’s post.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you (Thank you, again Mandy!)
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

For day 2 I am choosing one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. (Did you get all that?) I love this one because it’s a great life lesson. Sometimes we are quick to blame others for our unhappiness, but perhaps we should spend more time looking inside ourselves for the source.



Tag, You’re It! 

Another Book in the Wall

Hammock of Books

Carolina Book Belle


What are some of your favorite book quotes? 

Books · Classics · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Think Children Should Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Books I Want My Future Children to Read.” Now, I don’t expect to have my own children in the future, so I am making these recommendations based on what I think all children should read at some point in their lives. I chose books that have taught me valuable lessons about life, the world, and growing up.

…To avoid overthinking this whole thing (What age group are we talking about? Technically they’re still children if they are under the age of 18. But wait. are they?) I’m going to make my recommendations for children under the age of 12.

  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
  6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  10. Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel


Do you agree with any of these? Which of these are your favorites? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi


My rating: 3 out 5 stars

When Farah, Essie, and Alex stumble across “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” they think it’s just an ordinary board game. Much to their surprise, the game is anything but. The trio get trapped inside the game and become pawns of the mastermind, referred to as The Architect. The only way out is to play the game and win the challenges, lest they want to remain there forever. 

This was a fun middle grade read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. Farah was an interesting main character. It was refreshing to see a main character with a different ethnic (Indian) background, for once. I don’t typically feel like you see a lot of diversity in middle grade fiction, so this was pretty cool. I also enjoyed the close, albeit complicated, relationship between her and her little brother, Ahmad.

The game itself brings the characters to the clockwork city of Paheli, which again was brimming with Indian culture. The game and it’s rules were pretty simple. I would have liked for it to be a little more complicated than it was, but I imagine that may have made things too confusing for young readers. The city was really interesting, as it was laid out in layers rather than being flat and horizontal. Again, I wouldn’t have minded reading more about Paheli itself.

The supporting characters were entertaining and unique, I particularly liked Henrietta Peel, leader of the lizard Resistance.

Overall, the book didn’t blow me away. It was a nice way to kill a few hours though. I’d definitely recommend it to younger readers and anyone who appreciates games.


Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


I picked up The Gauntlet a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble on a whim. It’s a fun read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. I’m about halfway through this one already. I didn’t want to dive into anything too lengthy this week, as I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a book I pre-ordered and I want to be able to read it right away.


What are you currently reading? 


Adult · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Unique Book Titles.” Some of the ones on my list I’ve read and some I haven’t. Either way, I enjoy their titles.

  • Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
  • All My Friends are Dead by Avery Monsen
  • Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • I Could Pee on This And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga