The Wish Collector (Mia Sheridan)


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When ballet dancer Clara Campbell arrives in New Orleans, lonely and homesick, she is immediately captivated by the story of Windisle Plantation and the tragic tale that is said to have transpired beyond its gate. Legend has it that it is abandoned by all living souls, but to Clara’s great surprise, it is not a ghost she hears through the stone wall surrounding the property, but a flesh and blood man. A scarred stranger with a pain deeper and darker than the churning waters of the Mississippi river that flows beside his self-imposed prison. 

The ruined man behind the wall hides himself from the world. The last thing he expects is to find a friend in the selfless girl who speaks to him through the cracks in the rock. The girl who keeps returning week after week. The girl who makes him wish for things he has long since given up on. The girl who strikes both fear and hope within his wounded heart. But there can be no future for them, no life beyond Windisle, for no one knows better than him that monsters only live in the dark. 

The Wish Collector is the story of shame and triumph, of loneliness and love, and the miracle of two hearts connecting despite the strongest of barriers between them.

“For love. For magic. For wishes that finally came true.”

Every time I read a Mia Sheridan book I am blown away by her story telling abilities. The Wish Collector is no different. I think she went back to her “Archer roots” with this one and I loved every second of it.

Two words. Slow. Burn. I could not get enough of Clara and Jonah together. Watching their friendship develop into what it did, in the amount of time that it did, was very heartwarming to me. I felt, I don’t know, warm inside every time they interacted. Their two personalities combined was the perfect yin and yang. Watching their worlds collide was just magical. That is the only word I can think of to describe it. Magical. 

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“He was beauty and pain, glory and suffering, vengeance and grace, and all things made stronger and more meaningful because they have an opposite.”

I love seeing the girl fight for the guy. I think that was my favorite part of the book. Although, Jonah does his fair share of fighting for Clara, I was so impressed to see Clara approach Jonah the way she did. I love that so much in a woman. Correcting her wrongs. Apologizing. And it didn’t feel forced. I felt Clara’s want and need to go to Jonah and make things right.

I adore Mia’s flawed characters. Whether physically or emotionally, I am a complete sucker for them every time. Knowing that there are books out there that doesn’t fit the cliche of abs and perfect faces and perfect everything, makes things a lot more real for me. In turn, the characters feel real. And there is nothing more appealing in a book than when characters come to life for you. I am blown away every time.

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If you’re looking for a swoon worthy romance that’s very much character driven, packed full of magical, and will straight up enchant you, pick up The Wish Collector. Seriously. You will not regret it. Mia’s writing and story telling abilities never cease to amaze me.

Ryan’s Bed (Tijan)


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I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t.
I didn’t jump out.
I didn’t get embarrassed.
I relaxed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.

Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.

I want to start this review out a little differently than I usually do. I want to include this so I don’t come across as “insensitive” to others out there who really enjoyed this book because I know how it has hit a lot of people right at home and I never want to come off that way.

I understand how some readers connected with this story in a way that others might not have. I didn’t not like this story because of the subject matter. I think it’s important to read about all different types of things so that we can experience them, even if we haven’t experienced them in real life. We have all read those books that we don’t just read, we feel them. We experience them. We live through them because at that time, it’s the only thing worth living for. So to every one who might think I come across as insensitive because I didn’t love this book, I get it. I do. But that doesn’t mean I would ever take that away from you.

“My face. My body. My heart – it all went with her, because she was me.
My twin sister killed herself on June twenty-ninth.
We would’ve been eighteen the next day.”

Three star reviews are always so hard for me to write. Because while I liked the book, there were still some things I didn’t like and it’s hard packing all of that into a review before it just gets too long and no one cares to even read it.

Ryan’s Bed to me was very repetitive and the plot was going nowhere. I am saying that as a reader who is a huge plot driven fan. I love when stories stem from a plot so strong the words just flutter off the page. Tijan has some some pretty basic writing that is usually hit or miss with me but when her plot is strong, it’s a huge hit with me. Books like this one and Crew and Fallen Crest High aren’t strong in the plot departments but her book Anti-Stepbrother most definitely is.

I really wish we were able to witness more of Mac’s growth. I think that was really important for me with this one. And unfortunately with the way the story is told, almost in reverse, we never really get to see that. Between the multiple time jumps and repetitiveness of the things being said and happening, the growth of the main character, which to me was very important, was hugely missed.

I think the ending was my favorite. I see a lot of other people saying the same thing as well. I think that it explains a lot of Mac’s internal struggles and feelings that she deals (or doesn’t deal) with all through out the book.

The theme Tijan chose is sensitive in Ryan’s Bed yes, but she treated it with the necessary respect that it so deserves. There was a disconnect for me though, as a reader. There were parts of the story that didn’t feel plausible and it felt very dragged out and constantly repeated multiple things up until the end. But for those of you who related to Mac or anything about this book, I get it. I do. And I get you.

Bloodstained Beauty (Ella Fields)

Bloodstained Beauty

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Fresh out of college and headed straight for my dream job, I didn’t think things could get any better.
Then I met my dream man.

In an instant, my happy ever after had begun.
The life I’d stumbled into was beautiful, and the man I loved was perfect.
But perfection comes at a cost, and I’d slumbered through all the alarms.

Then I met my nightmare.
The man whose bright eyes held untamed darkness.
The man who disarmed me with his peculiar behavior.
The man whose cold, merciless hands shook me awake.
In an instant, questions started to dismantle my happy ever after.

But whoever said the truth would set you free was wrong.
It wasn’t going to repair the cracks in my naive heart.
It wasn’t going to caress my face with comforting hands and reassure me it was all just a dream.
No, the truth shoved me down a rabbit hole, and I landed in the lair of a real-life monster.

“It all fades. Memories fade. Heartaches fade. But although time makes it bearable and easier to smile, to live, it doesn’t erase the pain entirely.”

I think the hype really killed this book. Seeing so many people that I follow on Goodreads talk non-stop about Bloodstained Beauty and rate it with five stars, I should have known better than to give in. I only say that because the cover is a huge turn off for me, the type I don’t usually think twice to read but I was willing to over look my personal preferences for this one because I have enjoyed a lot of Ella’s other books. But I am not completely sure what was trying to be accomplished with this story. It was kind of messy.

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Full disclosure: Ella’s writing did not turn me away in this book. I felt like I really needed to emphasize that me not liking this book, had nothing to do with her writing. Ella’s writing is always easy flowing for me and very enjoyable and this book was no different. I always feel like her writing matches her themes of her books but this particular one just didn’t work for me.

The plot just wasn’t my favorite. I felt like it was reaching too much. Over exaggerating. Maybe she was trying to hard to create this scenario that worked for every one but for me it was hard to hold interest in. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

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None of the male character interested me. Jemima didn’t interest me. Lou Lou interested me to an extent but I really liked the secondary characters and the way they played bigger roles all throughout. Hope, Murry, there are so many things I could say about them that really drew me in but I can’t say the same about the main characters and unfortunately that’s always a let down.

There is cheating. Some may not think it is, some might think it’s not. To me, it was tiny and minuscule but I still think it turned me off. Especially because the author pushes Jemima into it pretty early on in the book with Thomas.

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I feel like Ella tried to hard to execute a Stockholm syndrome story with a dark twist and it just fell really flat. I was intrigued enough to finish but the plot was pretty far fetched. There are a lot of books out there where the author does an all around great job at creating a world full of characters we can connect to in uncommon circumstances but Bloodstained Beauty missed it for me.

The Reigning and the Rule (Calia Read)


Étienne Lacroix and I had a fire I thought would never die. 
Our love was timeless. 
An irreversible decision sent me back to the present day with a family I barely recognize, but I am determined to find a way back to Étienne. 
I can survive time. But I can’t survive life without him. 
Time bends to no one’s demands, so I must fight with everything I have to return to the past. However, I am terrified that the past I once knew might not look the same, and the man who once called me his surviving trace will no longer be waiting for me. 

Time bends to no one’s demands but sometimes love does…

“Our love is timeless.”

When I say that I have been lucky enough to read these stories beside Calia, I mean it. Being next to her every step of the way has been so much fun. Not to mention, this world that she has created has enchanted me in the best possible way. Which brings me to my most important point of this entire review: The more time I spent working on this, the more I realized what garbage said review is because no words I ever typed could put into words how strategically beautiful and genius this series is.

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I can start out by saying that if you wanted more angst in The Surviving Trace, Calia has delivered just that to you. On a silver platter even! Every single page you turn will have you wanting to either: cry, scream, beg, shake a character, or my favorite option, ALL OF THE ABOVE. It was the whole package.

“I will give you everything you want. Everything you need. Just scream and let the world know you are mine.”

But most importantly, Serene stole the show for me this go around though. Her spunk, fire, and fight had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The way she adapted to her surroundings and the things happening to her had me cheering her on the entire time. The personality she embodied in TRatR captivated me more than I thought was even possible.

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I really loved how Calia weaved in all of these fun little extras, especially with her side characters. Usually when authors do this, they intend to give us more books about said characters. If you think I would be mad about going back to Belgrave again and again, you are wrong. I would love nothing more than to experience that place through the lives of some of the others. Hint…hint…

This story. These characters. Calia. Belgrave. All of these hold such a special place in my heart and I know they will stay there forever. I hope you give this story a chance. I hope you read it and fall in love every time you turn the page just like I did.

“My heart will always belong to Etienne Lacroix no matter what happens, or what he does and that’s the truth.”

The Kingdom of Childhood (Rebecca Coleman)


The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman; sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother’s extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is, for Judy, only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

Rebecca Coleman’s manuscript for The Kingdom of Childhood was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. An emotionally tense, increasingly chilling work of fiction set in the controversial Waldorf school community, it is equal parts enchanting and unsettling and is sure to be a much discussed and much-debated novel.

Well, that was a bust. Reading books like The Kingdom of Childhood always seems like a new adventure to me. I get excited to see how author’s can execute such a subject and sometimes I am even blown away on how well they do with it. With this book however, I didn’t feel any of that. I was just ready to be done with it.

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The book as a whole had great writing. I was impressed that I actually enjoyed that part of it. The writing and flow of the story made for an easy read but sometimes a book needs more than just “good writing” to sit well with me.

Judy and Zach had zero chemistry. I think that is because Judy was the literal worst. Let me elaborate on that really quick. The author did a phenomenal job portraying Zach the way that she did. He is 16. Of course he’s quirky, annoying, and growing into himself. But Judy was in her 40’s. She was not a child. And the author made her out to be very childish. I’m not sure if that was her plan or not, but it didn’t work for me. It evoked a lot of eye rolls from me actually.

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I noticed a lot of things added to the story being used just for the drama. I won’t say specifically- but I feel as if the reader can pick up on what was added for dramatic effect and what wasn’t.

Another thing I can’t help but bring up is the past POVs. I realize the author really wanted to include Judy’s past into the story to kind of make us understand why she would even be drawn to Zach in the first place but honestly, it was all a waste. It made no sense to me and didn’t help me sympathize to her in any way.

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I didn’t hate the book. I truly mean that. It was very readable with help from the great writing, it held my attention, but there was nothing about it that completely impressed me or blew me away.  I don’t ever mind branching out into this type of trope and taboo, but The Kingdom of Childhood just didn’t grab my attention. If any one is looking for a book along the same lines of this trope, I cannot recommend Tampa enough. It was incredibly well done.

Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)


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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”

This book, it challenged me. A lot. And I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. Not only did it challenge me, I spent a lot of time back and forth on Spark Notes. That site was tremendously helpful with holding my hand and helping me understand what was going on and sort of helped me read the writing more clearly. Vividly. With being released in the 1930’s, I really don’t know how it could’ve gotten more challenging than what it was. But I don’t think I would have changed anything about it.

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But I loved it. The writing was so elegantly done, Daphne du Maurier has such a way with descriptions, metaphors, symbolism, and most importantly…her words. She did so great. The dialogue did get a little lengthy though. I feel like the heroine really got lost in her thoughts a lot and as the narrator, it made for long winded reads for the reader. But overall, it didn’t kill the story line for me.

“I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.”

The plot was fun. The mystery aspect really added a punch to the book as a whole and the author did so well at executing it. I was captivated from the moment we met the narrator. So intrigued on which direction her life would take and if she would ever gain control of it. The main heroine’s character depth and growth has marked the list as one of my favorites.

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But the house. The house was my favorite. The symbolism it represented and the way Daphne wrote it felt so real and creepy to me. The atmosphere as a whole was what made this setting come alive for me.

“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say. They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word.”

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Rebecca was delicious. That’s the only way I can put it. It was a delicious read that I couldn’t put down. I don’t think I could have devoured it any quicker than what I did.  I am also eternally thankful for the fun facts and summaries provided by Spark Notes as well, I highly recommend using that as sort of a “study guide” so to say.

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