Thursday, May 30, 2024

Review: A SORCERESS COMES TO CALL by T. Kingfisher


Rating: 4/5 stars 

A Sorceress Comes to Call is retelling of The Goose Girl with T. Kingfisher’s signature writing style that’s whimsical and fantastical and weird and just a little bit creepy. This book is mostly fantasy, but it does have a few horror elements thrown in there as well, and the setting also has a historical feel to it. 

I haven’t read The Goose Girl, nor do I know what the tale is about, so I don’t know how well this retelling follows the original story, but I did enjoy this book nonetheless. It stands on its own without the reader needing any prior knowledge of the classical tale. 

A Sorceress Comes to Call is a multi-POV tale largely centering Cordelia, whose mother, Evangeline, is an evil sorceress trying to con her way into a better life with a wealthy older man called the Squire. Cordelia reluctantly comes along for the ride and finds companionship and solace in the Squire’s sister, Hester, who is very suspicious of Evangeline. Hester and Cordelia team up with a few others at the estate to try to stop Evangeline from ensnaring the Squire and release Cordelia from her controlling clutches. 

I loved the characters in this novel. Cordelia was really delightful and I enjoyed seeing her grow into her self and become more confident throughout the story. Hester and Lord Evermore were my favorite “not-a-couple” couple and I loved their dynamic. There are even protector geese and a very eerily-aware horse named Falada. All of the characters were so well written and memorable. 

Overall, this was a delightful story. I love T. Kingfisher’s writing style, and if you do too then you will also like this book. I recommend it to anyone looking for a classical standalone fantasy tale that’s a little dark and a little cozy and a little funny all at the same time. 

I received a digital copy of this book for review from the publisher via Edelweiss. 

Saturday, March 30, 2024



Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I picked up Where the Dark Stands Still solely because I had seen multiple people comparing it to Howl’s Moving Castle and saying it was a book for Miyazaki lovers. I love anything Miyazaki-related, so I knew I needed to read this book. It’s a standalone young adult fantasy set in a gothic manor tucked deep inside an enchanted forest. 

I can definitely see the comparisons to Howl’s Moving Castle as Liska and Leszy’s banter rivals that of Howl and Sophie’s. However, I would also point out that there are some similarities to For the Wolf, The Bear and the Nightingale, Uprooted, The Paper Magician, and The Near Witch too. I tend to seek out and enjoy books set in dark forests with mysterious love interests who have to mentor the female protagonist in her magic, and each of these books more or less falls into that category. There’s just something about that setting and style of story that really calls to me, so if you are also like me then you should read Where the Dark Stands Still. It’s one of the better books on that list, in my opinion. 

In this story, Liska makes a deal with the demon Leszy to rid her of her magic if she will serve him for one year. Easy enough, she thinks, but Leszy doubts she will even be able to stay alive that long. So Liska moves into his enchanted crumbling house in the woods, and she faces all kinds of magical encounters. The house is changing, doors appearing and disappearing before Liska’s eyes. Strange creatures are roaming the grounds at night. And Leszy is not what he seems. 

The majority of the book was more or less a story that I’ve read before and it was pretty easy to tell where the plot was going. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book. The Polish influence was unique, and I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. However, I wasn’t overly fond of the ending. I appreciated that it was nontraditional since I wasn’t able to anticipate where the story was going, but it wasn’t the most satisfying of endings for me. 

Overall, this book is a soft recommendation. Those who enjoy similar stories would likely enjoy Where the Dark Stands Still too, and those who tend to not like these kinds of stories probably won’t find anything life-changing in this one. I did think this was a strong book for a debut though, I am looking forward to reading more books from A. B. Poranek in the future. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024



Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I found this book to be fascinating and I’m so happy I spent the time reading it. 

Rental Person Who Does Nothing is a memoir of exactly that: a rental person who does nothing. Do you need a person to accompany you to an event but can’t ask anyone in your personal life? Do you want some company while you quietly work at home? Do you want to try a new restaurant but don’t want to go alone? That’s what Rental Person is for. 

I was unaware of Shoji Morimoto before reading this book, despite his prolific online presence. I was intrigued by the title alone, which is why I decided to pick it up, and I’m so happy I did. This was one of the most unique and thought-provoking books I’ve read in quite some time. 

Morimoto recounts many of his experiences as a rental person, but he also provides commentary on the idea of a society that finds value in a rental person and also the value that someone can provide who simply does nothing. In fact, my favorite part of the book was the commentary he provides about the value a person has regardless of their job and the value they provide just for existing as a person, even if they do nothing. 

He states that his dream was to do nothing, and he hated working for his company simply because he needed money when he didn’t like anything he was doing at work. So he started his rental person business. I say “business” but it’s important to note that Rental Person does not charge for his services, only for transportation and any applicable food. But his time comes free. He discusses in detail why he decided to operate this way, and I found it all to be extremely fascinating. 

I would definitely recommend this book. The concept alone is worth reading about, but hearing specifically about Morimoto’s experiences and thought processes makes for an incredible experience.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Review: THE FAMILIAR by Leigh Bardugo


Rating: 3/5 stars

The Familiar was good, but nothing about it really wowed me. I enjoyed my time reading it, but it likely won’t be a standout or memorable book for me this year, sadly. 

I wish the setting was more prominent. If I didn’t know before starting this book that the story takes place in the 1600s during the Spanish Inquisition, I wouldn’t have been able to gather that information from the narrative. Maybe that’s just me being dumb though, because I have heard others mention the setting was a prominent feature. 

The entire book was rather slow-moving to me, and I do wish the pace had been faster. I felt the whole time I was reading that it was moving along very leisurely, and that frustrated me a bit. Especially when the plot picks up, the pace should too, but I personally feel that it did not. 

I felt rather emotionally distant from the entire story, including from the characters. All the characters outside of Luzia and Santángel fell flat for me, unfortunately, and I found myself not really caring what happened to any of them. I was most invested in Luzia of everyone. 

I really enjoyed Luzia as a protagonist though and thought she was deceptively strong-willed, which I love to see. She had a tiny bit of magic, which was cool too. Even though she had the ability to use some magic, this story definitely reads like a historical fiction and not like a fantasy though; the fantastical element is so small, found in just her tiny miracles and in the familiar’s immortality, but that's really it. 

I didn’t feel the chemistry between Luzia and Santángel at all. He seemed pretty creepy to me the whole novel, but love was clearly developing between them. When did he turn from the unsettling emaciated immortal creature to the handsome and loving man? 

I didn’t particularly care for Santángel as a love interest, but I do appreciate that Bardugo included a non-traditional love interest in this novel. I did enjoy learning about his backstory and why he is immortal though. In fact, that was the most captivating chapter of the whole book for me. 

The ending kind of came out of nowhere, and while I’m not sure yet if I liked it or not, I do appreciate it and the message it was communicating. I like that it wasn’t a conventional ending either, something both expected and unexpected at the same time. 

Maybe Leigh Bardugo’s writing style just isn’t for me. I have enjoyed the books I’ve read by her but I haven’t really loved any of them. I felt emotionally detached from The Familiar and from most of the characters, and I’m sad about that. I was prepared to love this book and have a great time reading it, but it was just a book that I read, no emotional strings attached, no significant impact on my life hereafter. I know many people are going to love this book though, and I wish I were one of those people too. It was fine, but that’s about it. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Review: WHAT FEASTS AT NIGHT by T. Kingfisher


Rating: 3.25/5 stars 

I absolutely loved What Moves the Dead, and it was the book that got me hooked on both T. Kingfisher and horror novels last year. I was so excited to see that she was releasing a sequel to that beloved book. 

What Feasts at Night sees the return of our intrepid solider, Alex Easton, on a new adventure with our favorite mycologist, Miss Potter. They both journey this time to a hunting lodge, where they find the caretaker dead and a strange silence permeating the area. As rumors of a breath-stealing monster swirl through the air, Alex must keep their guard up in the lodge—and in their dreams. 

I enjoyed this story, but it was not as good as What Moves the Dead. That book had a sort of magic to it, plus a strong gothic atmosphere and sentient mushrooms, and this book was missing all of that. 

I love T. Kingfisher’s writing and I will continue to read every book she writes. I would definitely recommend reading What Moves the Dead, which can be treated as a standalone, but I’m hesitant to recommend What Feasts at Night since it’s subpar to the first book, unless you’re a huge T. Kingfisher fan like me. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Top 5 Books I Read in 2023

1. The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young 

I didn't expect to love this book so much, especially not to have it be my top book of the year, but Adrienne Young blew me out of the water with this literary magical realism tale that was at times historical and at other times romantic. I don't know how to properly describe it without giving away some of the reveals that made it so magical for me, but I will say that there are magical doors and beautiful friendships and second chances. The writing is stunning. Don't look up anything more before reading; just jump straight in. 

2. Starling House by Alix E. Harrow 

This is my favorite Alix Harrow novel. This book is ethereal and transportive, perfect for anyone interested in reading about the dark secrets of a cursed town, a generational history that gets twisted through time, a pair of protagonists fighting for survival, a sibling relationship to envy and found family bonds stronger than steel, an unexpected yet swoony romance, and a house brimming with monsters. A creepy, old, gothic, sentient, house that may or may not be the real main character. This story captivated me from the beginning. 

3. Swordheart by T. Kingfisher 

This year I discovered T. Kingfisher, and she has become one of my favorite authors now. Swordheart was my favorite book from her this year. It's about a woman who has suddenly inherited an estate, and the man who is trapped in the enchanted sword that she finds within the house. It's a romantic novel, an adventure, and a comedy. It was such a fun and wholesome reading experience for me. Highly recommend to fantasy and romance fans. 

4. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson 

An Asian-inspired romantic fantasy written by my all-time favorite author? Sign me up! This book pays homage to the movie Your Name, one of my favorite movies. The protagonists wake up in each other's bodies and basically have to watch the other person live out their life while they watch from spirit form. There's a magical noodle shop, magical energy lines, and magical stone stacking that can summon spirits. Very magical and fun and feel good. 

5. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth 

This book helped me to realize that I do in fact enjoy horror novels. I loved everything about this. A trio of women in the past experiencing terrors at school, and a trio of women in the present day making a film about the historical trio but while experiencing their own terrors on the film set. There are wasps. There is romance. There is drama. There are drawings and poems throughout. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from this author. 

Monday, January 1, 2024

2023 Reading Goals Review + Yearly Stats

 Reading Goals Review

My first goal was to read 100 books. I managed to read 148 books this year!! 

View my Goodreads Year in Books here to see all the specific titles I read in 2023!

My second goal was to read my TBR pileI had 532 books on my physical TBR list on January 1, 2023. I wanted to reduce that number as much as possible. The ultimate goal was to read more from my TBR than I added to it. Unfortunately, I did not accomplish this goal as my TBR at the end of the year was at 606. *crying emoji* 

Yearly Statistics

Number of books I read in 2023: 148
Number of those books that I listened to on audio: 87
Number of books I read from my TBR: 75
Number of ARCs I read before the publication date: 24
Number of series I started: 23
Number of series I completed: 15
Number of books I DNFed: 14
Number of books I reread: 3
Number of books I acquired this year: 167
Number of those books acquired that were TBR books: 149
Amount of money spent on books this year: $1,519.11
Number of books I unhauled this year: 28
Number of books on my TBR at the beginning of 2023: 532
Number of books on my TBR at the end of 2023: 606

Books I read that were . . .
Middle Grade: 5
Young Adult: 31
Adult: 111
Nonfiction: 8 

*Note that I categorize anything not specifically labeled as middle grade or young adult as an adult title, such as nonfiction, humor, graphic novels, or religious books that could be enjoyed by any age group. 

Star Ratings:
1 star: 18 books
2 stars: 29 books
3 stars: 30 books
4 stars: 39 books 
5 stars: 31 books 

Reading Survey

Favorite book of the year: The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young
Least favorite book of the year: Pop Kids by Davey Havok 
Most surprising book of the year: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher 
Most disappointing book of the year: The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson 
Longest book of the year: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes 
Shortest book of the year: The Long Way Up by Alix E. Harrow 
Book that was on my TBR the longest that I read: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 
Biggest accomplishment: The Freelance Editor's Handbook by Suzy Bills 
Most read genre: Fantasy (48%) 

Reading Reflections

This year was a good year. I managed to read all of Brandon Sanderson's secret projects plus his other new releases. I read a book by almost all of my favorite authors. I finished up a lot of series and started even more. I committed to DNFing more books, especially early on in the year. I went through a period of romance books and discovered I love clean romance novels. I read some great fantasy, but I also read some great non-fantasy. I discovered horror this year with T. Kingfisher and Eric LaRocca and found love in Plain Bad Heroines. I read a good amount of nonfiction, including memoirs, reference, and religion books. Overall, I'm really pleased with my reading year in 2023. 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Review: HEIR OF UNCERTAIN MAGIC by Charlie N. Holmberg


Rating: 4/5 stars

I really enjoyed Keeper of Enchanted Rooms and excitedly picked up its sequel, Heir of Uncertain Magic, soon after finishing it.

Charlie Holmberg's writing style never fails to delight me. I love her books so much.

This series is a cozy historical fantasy with some romance and some mystery. It's the perfect combination of genres, and Charlie writes them all so well together. I particularly love that her romances are always slow-burn and always clean; I really appreciate that.

Heir of Uncertain Magic was a good follow-up to the first book in the Whimbrel House series. This book introduced multiple POVs, including one perspective from a dog, which was really fun to read. I also loved seeing the progression of Hulda and Merritt, both as individuals and as a couple. They are both really delightful.

I am having the best time reading this series and I can't wait to continue on with Boy of Chaotic Making soon!