Sadie – Courtney Summers


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.


Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse, pedophilia, drug abuse, violence, and murder

Wow. . . I don’t know what else to say. Sadie was an incredibly emotional, raw, and dark book. I applaud Courtney Summers for how she told this story of abuse unapologetically and without sensation. I know that true crime is all the rage lately (for myself included). Sometimes we can get too caught up in the offender and put the focus on them rather than the victims. Summers did not do this at all in Sadie. She never focused on the actual acts of abuse or the abuser, but rather the effects on the victims. I thought it was so important that Summers showed (through Keith) that abusers are so often a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Summers was able to tell a powerful and compelling story that is educational and also respectful.

I absolutely loved the way Sadie was written and how the story was told. The narrative is split between two alternating figures . . . West McCray, a podcast host who is investigating the disappearance of Sadie Hunter, and Sadie herself, who is on a mission to find her sister’s killer. West’s POV and investigation are a few months behind Sadie’s POV, but the two storylines worked together beautifully. I had never read anything like this before. It was so compelling and a perfect way to tell Sadie’s story.

Summers leaves the ending open without a definitive answer. I want to hold out hope for the outcome/answer that I so want to be true, but part of what I loved about Sadie is how realistic it was. I’m unfortunately inclined to think the worst. We will never know for sure. I do know that Sadie will stay with me forever.

Warcross (Warcross, #1) – Marie Lu


Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ 💫


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.


Welp, that was a let down. I have heard such promising things about Warcross, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. There were some parts that I liked, but I really disliked others. Warcross follows broke, down on her luck, hacker Emika Chen who accidentally hacks her way into the virtual world (Warcross) game championships. Warcross was predictable and a little bland.

Now, forgive me, but I still haven’t read Ready Player One. I’ve seen the movie and the book is on my ever growing TBR list. Based on what I saw in the movie, the Neurolink and Warcross game seemed like straight rip offs of the Oasis and Easter Egg competition from Ready Player One. I knew this before starting Warcross, but I hoped that the story and world would save it. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Speaking of the Warcross game/Neurolink world, I’m still not sure if I fully understand it. Neurolink is basically just a virtual world that you can either just live in or play the Warcross game? The game itself seems like a more complex capture the flag. It was all very hard to visualize. I feel like Lu could have done more world building and scene setting instead of just brushing over it with a few quick sentences. It was all show and very little tell.

The actual Warcross game seemed super cool. I really liked how there were five different roles on each team. Each role had a title, special uniform, and specialty during the game. I was a little disappointed that we only get to see one full game. My favorite chapters were when the Phoenix Riders were in a Warcross game.

The main character in Warcross is Emika Chen. Emika is brilliant hacker . . . or so we’re told. She has a hack for everything and it all seems way too easy. This was one of the other big problems that I had with Warcross. Everything seemed to come way too easily for Emika. She didn’t have to deal with much conflict. Also, I wanted to know more about Emika and her story, especially bounty hunter scenes.

Emika’s love interest is Hideo Tanaka – he’s a young, billionaire, tech genius who created the Neurolink and Warcross game. I know that it’s probably not pronounced this way, but every time I read his name my brain automatically says hideous. This is super unfortunate because he is supposed to be this dreamy, elusive love interest. All I think is hideous lol. It took me out of the story every time I read it.

Now, for the most important part of Warcross . . . 


I’m not sure if you caught the thousand references to her hair, but Emika has rainbow locks. She doesn’t just bundle her hair . . . she bundles her rainbow hair. It’s not just her hair that flies in the wind . . . it’s her rainbow hair. WE GET IT! It was actually comical how many times Emika’s rainbow hair was mentioned.

The big twist at the end was pretty predictable, but the book does end on a cliffhanger. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of Warcross, I am still going to start Wildcard. We’ll see if it ends up being a DNF or not. . .

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) – Holly Black


Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


This will contain spoilers from The Cruel Prince.

Here’s the thing . . . I liked The Cruel Prince. I didn’t love it and I am not as obsessed as most of the YA world. I was definitely looking forward to reading The Wicked King, but I wasn’t as excited as I was for other releases. The Wicked King totally exceeded my expectations!

The Wicked King picks up five months after the ending of The Cruel Prince when Jude tricked Cardan into becoming the High King. Jude is basically the puppet-master of Elfhame. She has her hands full – both mentally and physically – running the kingdom and trying to keep Cardan in check. The clock is ticking for Jude. She must figure out how to extend Cardan’s obedience before the year + one day ends. Jude must also battle her complex feelings for Cardan. The Wicked King was full of drama, political intrigue, sexual tension, twists and turns, and magic.

One of my biggest issues with The Cruel Prince was that the characters seemed very one dimensional. There was little depth beyond the typical YA tropes. For example, Jude wonders why Cardan hates her. It’s supposed to be a big reveal that Cardan is actually attracted to Jude, but it was obvious and expected. I think that Holly Black greatly improved on her writing and character development in The Wicked King. The characters had so much more depth. Jude wasn’t simply a mortal girl struggling to fit into the faerie world. She is a powerful woman who used her intelligence to gain power. We learn that Jude is actually quite power-hungry. She doesn’t want to lose the power she’s gained. It was both shocking and exciting to see how much Jude has changed and embraced her true desires. Cardan also gained so much depth. To the kingdom, he appears to still be the cruel playboy disinterested king, but Jude (and we as the readers) get to see how much he’s grown. Cardan is now in the game. He spies, manipulates, and uses power just as much as everyone else. Holly Black did an excellent job growing her characters.

The world of Elfhame expands in The Wicked King. Though mentioned in The Cruel Prince, we didn’t get to explore the Undersea until now. The addition of the Undersea and its Queen was fascinating. I thought these scenes were some of Black’s best writing. The Undersea made me think of a very dark Little Mermaid kingdom. I would love to continue to explore the Undersea and more of the world of Elfhame!

The Wicked King was full of massive twists and turns. The ending was shocking and it was crazy to find out that nothing is what it seemed! The Cruel Prince ended with a reveal and cliffhanger, but it is NOTHING compared to The Wicked King. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

A couple of quick notes:

  • This series should be called The Cruel FOLK and The Wicked FOLK because DAMN those faerie folk are straight up evil sometimes.
  • I got my copy of the The Wicked King in the Owl Crate special edition box. Kudos to Owl Crate and Holly Black for cultivating an incredible box. I liked the exclusive cover for The Cruel Prince, but the Owl Crate cover for The Wicked King is perfect and absolutely gorgeous!

EDIT: So the more I thought about this book & series the more I dislike it. I am all for the enemies to lovers trope, but only if it’s done the right way. Jude & Cardan’s relationship is toxic. It is totally emotionally and physically abusive. Both parties abuse and manipulate the other. It is unhealthy and actually quite disturbing. It glosses over and romanticizes an abusive relationship. It is a terrible message to send to young teens (and actually everyone of all ages) who read this book. I could keep ranting but I’ll stop here.

Grace & Fury (Grace & Fury, #1) – Tracy Banghart


Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


Serina Tessaro has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. It’s her chance to secure a better life for her family, and to keep her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, out of trouble. But when Nomi catches the Heir’s eye instead, Serina is the one who takes the fall for the dangerous secret her sister has been hiding.

Trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one option: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to save Serina. But this is easier said than done…. A traitor walks the halls of the palazzo, and deception lurks in every corner.

Meanwhile Serina is running out of time. Imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive, surrounded by women stronger than she is, one wrong move could cost her everything. There is no room for weakness on Mount Ruin, especially weaknesses of the heart.

Thrilling and captivating, Grace and Fury is a story of fierce sisterhood, and of survival in a world that’s determined to break you.


I received Grace and Fury in the Owl Crate August 2018 “Ruthless Royals” box. I had heard about the book and thought it sounded interesting, but I probably wouldn’t have read it if it hadn’t been in this box. One of my favorite things about Owl Crate is the exclusive covers. The exclusive cover of Grace and Fury is stunning! I like it more than the original cover.

The story follows two sisters, Nomi and Serina, in a land where women are oppressed and have no rights or power. Through a series of events Serina is imprisoned and Nomi is forced to stay in the palace as a Grace of the Heir. I liked both sisters stories, but Serina’s was more exciting. Mount Ruin (aka the island prison) is crazy and full of super intense action. Serina starts off as a “perfect” woman who submits and never rebels. I really liked watching her grow into a strong, independent woman.

One of the biggest strengths of Grace and Fury is the imagery. Tracy Banghart was able to create beautiful scenery with her writing. I especially loved the Graces’ dresses and all the Italian influence. Even the gruesome scenes at the Mount Ruin amphitheater were beautifully written.

Grace and Fury was very predictable. As soon as Nomi and Serina arrived in the palace and we met the Heir (Malachi) and his brother (Asa) I knew exactly where the story would go. All of the romances were too insta-lovey and obvious from the characters first meetings. Despite this, the story was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.

My favorite part of  Grace and Fury is the female power! The world in Grace and Fury is all kinds of f***** up!! I absolutely loved watching the women realize that they do have power and that they can create change. The best was that the women realized they’re better when they work together! Grace and Fury was full of amazing feminist messages and I loved every bit of it. This is what took the book from a 2.5 star rating to 3 stars.

I’ll wrap this review up by including my favorite feminist quotes from the book . . .

“You fight back. Always.”

“In all the stories, women give up everything,” Maris said, her voice tight.  “We are always supposed to give. We are never supposed to fight. Why do you think that is?” . . . Voice low, knowing she was walking on a knife’s edge, she murmured,  “Because they’re afraid of what will happen if we do.”

But Serina couldn’t stop. A wave was building in her chest, and if she didn’t speak, it would  destroy her. “Why do we let them do this to us?” she asked, and she was thinking of more than  the guard’s barbaric fights. “Why do we let them break us? Starve us? Punish us for being  ourselves? Is it because we think we’re sweet, delicate flowers and we let them?” Her voice rose. “I  don’t think we’ve ever been what they want. That’s why we’re here in the first place.” She remembered what Oracle had said when she’d arrived, and suddenly, the words meant even more now, because Serina believed them. “We are not flowers,” she said  firmly. “Like you said, Oracle, we are concrete and barbed wire. We are iron.” Serina stared at the women surrounding her. “We are smart, and we are dangerous. The guards know that. They  know we have the power to overthrow them, if we’d just work together.  We need to stop killing each other and fight them.”

I wanted to add this part last so I could talk about how Grace and Fury reminded me a lot of The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It was actually a little too similar in some parts.


Here are all the similarities between Grace and Fury and The Red Queen . . . 

  • There are two brothers (Cal & Maven/Malachi & Asa) who are the King’s/Superior’s sons. The older brother (Cal/Malachi) will be the heir.
  • The lead (Mare/Nomi) connects with the younger brother first.
  • The younger brother (Maven/Asa) is more progressive and a visionary. He convinces the lead (Mare/Nomi) that he is the better brother and cares about the same things she does. He convinces her that he could lead better and should be heir.
  • The lead (Mare/Nomi) and the younger brother (Maven/Asa) scheme to overthrow the cruel king/superior.
  • The lead (Mare/Nomi) starts to develop feelings for both brothers and is torn between the two. She feels wrong about her connection with the older brother (Cal/Malachi).
  • In the big twist, it’s revealed that the younger brother (Maven/Asa) is actually the bad guy and had been manipulating the lead (Mare/Nomi) all along. The older brother (Cal/Malachi) is actually the good guy.
  • The younger brother (Maven/Asa) murders his father and frames the older brother (Cal/Malachi).
  • The older brother (Cal/Malachi) and the lead (Mare/Nomi) are imprisoned by the younger brother (Maven/Asa) who then assumes leadership.