Review: “Lady Midnight” by Cassandra Clare

I am still really sick, so this review is a bit out of sorts BUT it’s really important to me because I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I didn’t like the romantic plot line I thought was coming, but the emotional weight of the entire family dynamic made it a love and must read for me!

Review: “Get in Trouble” by Kelly Link

This review has been almost a year in the making, but it’s finally happening! After how much I didn’t really like Kelly Link when Bibliomancy did her Magic for Beginners collection, I’m upset about how much I liked this collection. Shhh, don’t tell Taylor.

Betwixt the Books Reviews: “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki

GUYS! Michaela and I finally managed to do this joint review! By which I mean that I finally found the time to finish it so we could film this. Michaela was even able to participate in a buddy read for this book, though I was busy during that time. We’ve been excited for this video since before our hiatus, so we hope that you enjoy!

Michaela’s Review: 5 stars | Gretchen’s Review: 4 stars

Review: “If The Oceans Were Ink” by Carla Power

22320455If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power

Goodreads | Amazon

If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power’s eye-opening story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship-between a secular American and a madrasa-trained sheikh-had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text.

A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran’s most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humor and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars. Armed with a new understanding of each other’s worldviews, Power and Akram offer eye-opening perspectives, destroy long-held myths, and reveal startling connections between worlds that have seemed hopelessly divided for far too long.

4 stars

Up until this point, I haven’t been too impressed by the books that I’ve been reading for my Spiritual Journeys class. Stephen Dubner’s Choosing My Religion was written poorly and lacked much depth. The second book, Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway, was even more surface level with a hidden amount of white privilege on top. I still haven’t finished the third one due to missed classes.

This book, however, changed everything. Here, at last, was the deep kind of inter-religious engagement that I had been looking for all this time, with an author I trusted to do the subject justice.

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Betwixt the Books Review: “The Gracekeepers” by Kirsty Logan

Look what we’ve managed! A second joint review. Unlike with Paper Towns, this one is a lot more divided – but that is why we do these things! Michaela liked it more than I did, but we both had our issues with this one. Turns out, hype is not always what it’s cracked up to be!

51jwue6mtpl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Goodreads | Amazon

A lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, introducing an original and commanding new voice in fiction

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Gretchen’s Rating: 3 stars | Michaela’s Rating: 4 stars

ARC Review: “The Forever Song” by Julie Kagawa

The Forever SongThe Forever Song (The Blood of Eden #3) by Julie Kagawa

Goodreads | Amazon

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

4 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for this eARC! This title is now available.

WARNING: This review will have spoilers for the first two books. If you’re interested in the series, check out my reviews of The Immortal Rules (#1) and The Eternity Cure (#2)!

So if you read my reviews of the first two books, you know that I was completely blown away by the first one and fairly underwhelmed by the second one. Rather predictably, the final installment was right in between those two feelings.

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Random Reads: “Dark Star” by Bethany Frenette

After a last minute vacation, I can proudly say I have at least two weeks of reviews to come. One–but not the only–is this one. I finally got a random reads read! Scroll to the bottom of the post for the next Random Read!

Dark StarDark Star (Dark Star #1) by Bethany Frenette

Goodreads | Amazon

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human–something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. 

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers–livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight. 

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything–and everyone–she loves.

Four stars

I’ll be completely honest: I wasn’t expecting much from this one. I’d heard mixed things, so that was why I took so long to read it. However, though there were definite iffy parts, I’m totally glad I did. This book rocked way more than I expected.

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