Things to Do Before the End of the World Review (#BookTour)

Things to Do Before the End of the World Review (#BookTour)

By Emily Barr

Publisher: Penguin

Print Length: 320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller 

Release Date: May 6, 2021

Available for pre-order on Amazon

Special thanks to Penguin and theWriteReads for providing me with an ARC and allowing me to participate in this book tour.

One minute you’re walking in the park, hiding from a party. Then you discover that the next nine months will probably be your last. Everyone’s last. You realise that you happen to be alive at the time when your species becomes extinct.

You have to decide whether to go with it meekly like you usually do, or to do something brave, to live your last months with all the energy and bravery you can muster, to rage against the dying of the light.

Olivia struggles to live her real life as fully as she wants to. She plans out conversations and events in her head but actually doing them and interacting with other people is hard. When the news breaks that humans have done such damage to the earth that there’s only nine months of safe air left everybody makes bucket lists and starts living their best lives – everyone, that is, but Olivia who is still struggling to figure out who she wants to be.

Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know exsisted. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for their last summer on earth Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having a effect on her. But what if Natasha isn’t everything she first appears to be . . . ? (Goodreads)

Things to Do Before the End of the World is a truly unexpected read that manages to exceed expectations by breaking out of genre norms. Barr manages to fit a coming-of-age story and thriller all into a book about the end of the world. All of which the author manages to do very well. 

It’s evident from the beginning that this book’s primary themes revolve around the main character growing into herself under the most unique of circumstances. One concept repeated throughout this book is that going outside your comfort can sometimes help you live your best life. And, while doing so, you can manage to become more of the person you’re meant to be. 

Taking that into consideration, and with the context of the world ending, this book was definitely in danger of falling into the realm of cliche. About one third of the way through the book though, you discover the secondary plot that sort of seems to come out of nowhere. This storyline is truly what adds the flavour to this book, pulling it out of genre-specific expectations set up by the prevailing circumstances of the story. 

While this does prove to work in this book’s favour, it can be off-putting to some. At times it feels as though the book isn’t quite sure what it wants to be, which can detract from the intentions and layers of the story. It was a risky decision on behalf of the author, one with the potential to have a great pay off for unexpecting readers. 

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and for those who may want something a little different, this is the book for you. This is one of those classic situations of don’t judge a book by it’s cover (or title).

Subjective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Aether Ones Review (#BlogTour)

Aether Ones Review (#BlogTour)

By Wendi Coffman-Porter

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group

Print Length: 349 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Science-Fiction, Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.31

Available on Amazon

Special thanks to Brown Book Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book and TheWriteReads for allowing me to participate in this tour.

Leilani Falconi is a top agent for the Imperial Investigative Service, tasked with policing the veil between two realities. Long ago, the Great Sundering tore the universe into two mirrored halves; aether space, which progressed using magical energy or eldrich, and kuldain, which advanced via electromagnetic technology.

But now a series of suspicious deaths stretching back more than a decade has the agent trapped directly between secretive bureaucracies and their peoples. If she can’t solve the mysterious crimes in time, existence as she knows it could erupt into chaos. (Goodreads)

Every so often I come across a book that I struggle to get through. A big part of that was my own fault as I struggled to focus on what was going on. I’m glad I pushed through though because I ended up really enjoying this read. This book sort of felt like returning home after a long time away. Science fiction holds a special place in my heart but for whatever reason, I haven’t found myself reading much of it as of late. Aether Ones was the perfect return to the genre, as it blends fantasy and science fiction seamlessly. 

At first glance, the protagonist, Leilani Falconi, comes off as a little too powerful and a little too perfect. This doesn’t last long though, as she quickly proves that while she is a formidable opponent she is far from perfect and can find herself in some pretty sticky situations. She manages to both come off like the badass woman many of us wish we could be while also be real and flawed; not always making the best decisions. She’s a protagonist we can expect a lot from in the future with the knowledge that she has the power to follow through.

Aether Ones is fast-paced and well-handled mixed of incredibly researched sci-fi and the perfect touch of fantastical elements. At times it can be a little hard to follow but still manages to be entertaining none the less. This is one of those books you just buckle up for and enjoy the ride. Hell, take the ride more than once!

Subjective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bad Habits Review (#BlogTour)

Bad Habits Review (#BlogTour)

By Flynn Meaney

Publisher: Penguin

Print Length: 320

Release Year: 2021

Genre: YA Contemporary 

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.68

Available on Amazon

Special thanks to Penguin UK and TheWriteReads Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour and for providing me with an eARC.

Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.

Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . . (Goodreads)

Meaney delivers exactly what is promised on the back of the book– Bad Habits is an undeniably hilarious and unapologetically feminist book that will, without a doubt, inspire young women to advocate for themselves and their beliefs. There is no hesitation as Bad Habits takes centre stage brazenly show outdated patriarchal ideals who’s boss. 

It’s not often that I pick up a book that manages to have me laughing out loud from page one, making this book absolutely enjoyable from the get-go. Bad Habits starts off in the middle of the action, maintaining a fast but comfortable pace throughout. From the beginning, it slaps you with the unfair realities of women (especially in the overly-patriarchal setting of Catholic school) and fearlessly challenges those ideologies. There is no subtlety in this book’s approach to exploring feminist ideals as it takes an approach equally as vicious as that of the main character Alex as she works to produce St. Mary’s first-ever production of The Vagina Monologues. 

Bad Habits tackles many important and relevant issues regarding female sex. Addressing issue ranging from the dangers of insufficient sex-ed and the demonization of the female anatomy. Why is the word ‘vagina’ such a big deal? That is the question repeated throughout the novel as we follow Alex challenge the limits of her Catholic private school and work as a purple-haired fairy godmother to girls ignorant of their own sexuality. These themes are handled with a tasteful directness that women deserve and need.

This book is a delightful read for every young girl. The protagonist and her best friend are both good influences in different ways, and the book does a good job reminding the reader how important it is to understand your own body as well as your unbridled societal potential. This is a book I only could only have wished for when I was younger, and am so happy for future feminist’s when they are able to get their hands of this fun book!

Subjective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

White Trash Warlock Review (#BlogTour)

White Trash Warlock Review (#BlogTour)

By David R. Slayton

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Print Length: 320 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: LGBT Urban-Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.12

Available on Amazon and B&N

Guthrie was a good place to be from, but it wasn’t a great place to live, not when you were like Adam, in all the ways Adam was like Adam.

Adam Binder hasn’t spoken to his brother in years, not since Bobby had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices. When a murderous spirit possesses Bobby’s wife and disrupts the perfect life he’s built away from Oklahoma, he’s forced to ask for his little brother’s help. Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to say I told you so, but he arrives in Denver to find the local magicians dead.

It isn’t long before Adam is the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he’ll have to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid, including his first love, the elf who broke his heart.

The Binder brothers don’t realize that they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it. (Goodreads)

Special thanks to theWriteReads for giving me the opportunity to participate in this tour and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book!

White Trash Warlock is an exceptional small book that packs a major punch. While it may not look as large and intimidating as many of its SFF cousins, it’s stuffed with enough charm and character to rival even the thickest of tomes. 

Boasting an alarmingly vast world with a complete magic system and the sociopolitical dynamic between the witches and the unseen world. White Trash Warlock manages to cram so many ideas together in a coherent fashion. The writing is easy to follow and simplistic in its approach to illustrating the story. The author does take some creative liberties, utilizing descriptions unique to himself. The reading experience of this book is exciting, well-paced and fresh, making it one of those hard-to-put-down volumes. 

The story explores a wealth of themes ranging from otherness to loss. With well fleshed out characters, the themes are thoroughly examined from multiple angles as well as through the characters realistic thoughts, actions and reactions. For me, as a witchy homosexual with questionable family relations, I was pleasantly surprised with how deeply I related to the protagonist Adam. All the characters are quite exceptional though, even outside their role in the story. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and fully intend on continuing with the series. For fans of SFF who want a lighter read that still packs a punch, this book is for you.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Amari and the Night Brothers Review (Blog Tour)

Amari and the Night Brothers Review (Blog Tour)

By B.B. Alston

Print Length: 416 pages

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Release Date January 19, 2021

Available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N

Special thanks to theWriteReads and Egmont Publishing for providing me with an ARC.

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.

No one will talk about it.

His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . . (Goodreads)

Amari and the Night Brothers is a charming fantastical middle-grade book that promises to open a new world for its readers. It delivers and then some! Managing to introduce us to a world that is, in some vague ways, reminiscent of the wizarding world, but far larger and dare I say better. For being such a vast world it is well realized, as well as the characters in the story. The relationships between the characters definitely had Percy Jackson-vibes, a fleshed-out realism that makes them all the more relatable and loveable. 

For me, this book was often reminiscent of the Men in Black franchise but on a much larger and more magical scale. This is the sort of book I would have been obsessed with when I was in the intended age category, and still intend to follow as an adult. This book manages to pack a large story into a small package and knowing there is more to come and so much more of this world to explore in what makes this book memorable. This is the sort of book you read as a kid and obsess over, convinced that if your nomination was detected that you’d follow in our titular heroine Amari’s path.

This book, most importantly, manages to pack in some heavy themes. Tackling issues children today, and children of yesterday, have dealt with. It’s a type of story we need more of. 

Amari and the Night Brothers is a fun book for everyone, regardless of age. There are lessons to be learned, fun to be had, and so many interesting characters to meet along the way. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read this book and look forward to future instalments.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Rent a Boyfriend Review, Thoughts, and Fan Art (Book Tour)

Rent a Boyfriend Review, Thoughts, and Fan Art (Book Tour)

By Gloria Chao

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Print Length: 320 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.0

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything? (Goodreads)

Special thanks to Simon Pulse and Hear Our Voices Book Tour for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour. 

An emotional ride through the darker aspects of Asain culture in the United States, and the rift it can create between generations. Rent a Boyfriend follows the lengths a young woman would go to protect herself from a future she doesn’t want. In the process of doing so, she learns exactly what she wants, and what she has to do to have. This book is about sacrifice and how in excess it does more harm than good. Illustrating the importance of communication, and the battle to find stable ground among the generations. It’s an emotional ride, the ends with a breath of relief.

An absolute highlight of this book is the romance. Young-adult books have a tendency to fall victim to insta-love, and while there was immediate chemistry between the two romantic interest it wasn’t insta-love. Their love is visibly flawed and organic, making it a breath of fresh air. You see both of their sides, the feelings and thoughts that dictate their actions and the whole thing just makes sense. You root for them, not only because of their chemistry but because of their realness. The organic nature of the romance is this book is truly one of the best I’ve ever read. 

I often found myself mad reading this book, not at the book itself but at characters within it. Chao does an amazing job showing the rift between Chloe and her family, and how truly detrimental their situation is. All the emotions Chloe goes through you can feel yourself and it seriously hurts. I think it’s a universal struggle, wanting your parents to be happy, but what they want for you isn’t exactly what you want for yourself. While I come from a culture considerably different, it wasn’t hard to find parallels between my experiences and that of Chloe and Drew. 

This is a powerful book, that just so happen to have a happy ending. The way there is rocky but worth it. There is so much to be learned from as well, making this book an easy recommendation. This is a must-read.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thoughts While Reading

  1. I was fascinated by the idea of “Rent for Your ‘Rents” and found myself wondering how such a business would work. Especially for female operatives, if there is such a thing.
  2. Hongbo made me utterly angry, I used many choice words in my notes related to him. 
  3. The misogyny surprised me, but not that much after I thought about it. I related to it, actually. I really felt Chloe’s pain. 
  4. I struggled alongside Drew with some of his decisions. The wants to help people and the moral struggle of living a lie. 
  5. I learned some things about a culture that’s always fascinated me. And I continue to have a deep appreciation for many aspects of it.
  6. I loved the sheep, they’re so cute. When I can’t sleep I’m going yo start counting sheep.
  7. I took the time to sit and contemplate what  I would do if I was in Chloe’s place. It actually made me sad what I found out about myself. But at the same time, I’m not surprised. 
  8. I lost count of how many times this book gave me flashbacks to similar situations I’ve found myself in.

Fan Art

The Barren Grounds Book Tour: Review, 15 Thoughts While Reading, and Fan-Art

The Barren Grounds Book Tour: Review, 15 Thoughts While Reading, and Fan-Art

By David Alexander Robertson

Publisher: Puffin Canada

Print Length: 256 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.25

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and always be sure to check your local library/Libby)

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them. (Goodreads)

Special thanks to Puffin Canada and Hear Our Voices Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour.

I don’t often read middle-grade for no particular reason. There are a number of books on my TBR that actually happen to be middle-grade but for whatever reason, I’ve continually put off reading them. The Barren Grounds quickly reminded me how great these books can be, even if they’re intended for an audience much younger than myself. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am going to get the negative out of the way by saying there is none. This is an amazing book, with amazing character development and world-building. It also serves as an introduction to indigenous culture for those who may not as familiar with it. This book had me in tears at one point, and I was so invested in the world. The books does have some similarities to the classic Chronicles of Narnia, but I personally found this much more interesting and engaging.  

I learned some new things about indigenous culture from this book that sparked an internet deep-dive into the history of many First Nations people, their beliefs and cultural practices. I found my eyes opened to a culture, that I was aware of but never truly saw. This book opens the readers to a fantasy world, yes, but it also opens a part of our world so often forgotten or overlooked. I want everyone to read this book, be moved by the story, and be inspired to learn more. I recommend reading this book, and then going out and finding out more about the beautiful stories that inspired this one. 

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

15 Thoughts While Reading

  1. I was glad to find that Morgan and Eli seem to have been placed in a truly caring foster home. I understand that that is not always the case, but this particular home has great potential. I also realized how much more meaning this had to me as an adult who is old enough to have children. 
  2. I learned about some First Nations dishes, which lead me to research more about the culture, particularly cuisine. 
  3. It was easy to draw immediate parallels between The Chronicles of Narnia and The Barren Grounds; which the portal to Misewa being opened through a drawing and one of the portals to Narnia being opened through a painting. 
  4. I learned about fishers. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of such an animal. 
  5. I found myself often relating to Morgan in her feelings of disconnection to her heritage and the anger that made her feel. 
  6. I found myself contemplating the ethical conundrum that Ochek was faced with when he and the children came across Arik. And wondered what I would do in such a situation. 
  7. I noticed the allegory against colonizers in the description of the antagonist. It reminded me how truly wasteful modern society is, and how we take advantage of nature. 
  8. Robertson does a good job setting up a mystery surrounding Morgan’s origin, as well as Eli’s in a sense. I want to know more about how they got in the foster care system, and if it had to do with legitimate concerns or one’s based on discrimination and ignorance. 
  9. I was very interested in the character of Mahihkan, and wanted to know more about him. Especially whether or not his presence held more weight that I may have noticed. 
  10. With the mentions of North and South country, I became more curious about the stories that could be set in this world. So much was set up, with things only mentioned hopefully with the intent to more fully explore. 
  11. I was reminded of how beautiful the indigenous languages are with the book’s inclusion of Cree words. It makes me want to cry knowing that these languages are in danger of dying out. 
  12. Learning one of the stories behind what we call the Big Dipper was a beautiful experience and during this scene in the book, I cried quite a bit. 
  13. Morgan truly grew in this book, that was a beautiful thing to see. She and Eli found a home not only in Misewa but in each other.
  14. The way time worked in this story fascinated me, especially in the final conversation between the kids and Arik. Could they have sat there and talked for a literal eternity?
  15.  The final poem was so beautiful. I read it more than once. 

Fan Art

Portrait of character Arik

10 Horror Movies to Stream on Netflix US

Here’s yet another list of great films to give you the right amount of spook for October. Some are more extreme then others, but I tried my best to create as well-rounded of a list as I could. Hope you enjoy.

Hush (2016)

A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears in her window.

The Platform (2019)

Two prisoners per floor, wondering how much they’ll get to eat that day. One inmate has had enough of not getting enough. It’s time to send a message.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

When her husband’s sex game goes wrong, Jessie– handcuffed to a bed in a remote lake house– faces warped visions, dark secrets and a dire choice.

The Girl with all the Gifts (2016)

As a virulent fungus turns humanity into zombies, a band of survivors flees with a curiously evolved zombie girl who may hold the key to a cure.

Cargo (2018)

Amid a terrifying pandemic, a father searches the wilds of Australia for someone willing to protect and care for his infant daughter. 

Would You Rather (2012)

In need of cash to help her sick brother, a young woman agrees to take part in a lethal winner-takes-all parlour game hosted by a sadistic millionaire.

Horns (2013)

Accused of murder, Ig Perish wakes up one day to find he’s grown a set of horns– compelling people to confess their sins to him.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

A father-son team of small-town coroners performs an autopsy on an unidentified woman with mysterious injuries and a terrifying secret.

The Perfection (2018)

In this twisty horror-thriller, a once-promising music prodigy reconnects with her former mentors, only to find them taken with a talented new pupil.

13 Sins (2013)

A man agrees to appear on a game show with a $6 million prize. But as the challenges become more extreme, he realized he’s made a grave mistake.

All descriptions are taken for Netflix US.

10 Creepy Books to Read in October

With the spooky season finally here I thought I’d curate a shortlist of creepy books to read during the month of October. Some are adult fiction, some YA, a non-fiction book, and a couple of mystery-thrillers. Whatever tickles your fancy I hope there is an option you enjoy!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

1984 by George Orwell

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Buliosi and Curtis Gentry

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime.

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Girl Gone Mad by Avery Bishop

They say everything is fun and games until someone gets hurt. Well, someone did—and now the game has changed…

Emily Bennett works as a therapist in Pennsylvania, helping children overcome their troubled pasts—even as she struggles to forget her own. Once upon a time, Emily was part of a middle school clique called the Harpies—six popular girls who bullied the new girl to her breaking point.

The Harpies took a blood oath: never tell a soul what they did to Grace Farmer.

Now, fourteen years later, it seems karma has caught up to them when one member of that vicious circle commits suicide. But when a second Harpy is discovered dead shortly after, also from apparent suicide, the deaths start to look suspicious. And when Emily starts seeing a woman who looks a lot like Grace Farmer lurking in the shadows, she’s forced to wonder: Is Grace back for revenge? Or is Emily’s guilt driving her mad?

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the Harpies are about to find out just how much words can hurt you.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Please note that all descriptions are taken from the book’s respective Goodreads.

Book Tag: Meet the Blogger

Geek Declassified has been up for a little more than a couple of months now, and I figured it’s about time I sit down and formerly introduce myself. What better way than through a bookish-tag!? I found this tag through Mystery Bookworm Blogs, and it was originally created by one Lauren Bodiford. Be sure to check them out after you give this a read!

Introduce Yourself

My name is Crystina Luna, but I go by C. Luna and CL. I live in California and work full-time as a writer. 

That’s me! (Pic from March 2020)

Do you have any pets?

I have two beautiful old ladies. There is Mina, who is a pomeranian, and Gidget, who is an Eskimo Dog. I’ve had Mina for 11 years, and this coming December she will turn 12. We adopted Gidget summer of 2016, and she recently turned twelve herself. They are my darling fur-children.

This is Mina! (Pic from July 2019)
This is Gidget! (Pic from Oct. 2019)

I’d like to also mention Kel, a stray cat who lives in my backyard. While I’ve never gotten to pet them, or really spend any proper time with them, I do regular feed and provide water for them. Honorarily, I consider them my cat. 

What is your favourite thing to drink?

This is a hard question… Do you mean like every day? On special days? Or, like, alcohol? I guess I’ll answer all of them: my go-to everyday drink is water, cause adulting; on occasion, I enjoy some nice cold brew with sweet cream and in the evenings a few times of week I enjoy a nice glass of Stella Rose Red blend wine. 

What is your favourite season?

Without a doubt, Spring! I love blooming flowers and warm breezes. It’s the perfect temperature to be outside. Of course, living in California means Spring only lasts, like, a week. 

Do you have any special talents?

Okay, now this is a hard question… Math, maybe? In high school, I went beyond Calculus in maths. Though I don’t like doing it, if actually use effort I’m quite good at math. I just rather not.

When and why did you start your blog?

I originally started reviewing books on my personal website ( That was where I realized how much I enjoyed doing it. After a while I started to worry though, taking into account my personal website is primarily for my personal writing blog. Separation of the two seemed the most appropriate. So the following year, which would be this year, I created Geek Declassified as my home for all things, well, geeky. Whether it be books, movies, or videogame related content it can go here. 

What is something that you wish you knew about blogging when you first started?

To be honest, I find blogging, for the most part, to be quite intuitive, but this is most likely a result of being born at the beginning of the technological age. Also, before creating this website I already had a fair amount of experience with blogs.

What is the hardest part of blogging?

For me, it has to be “advertising.” I find it hard to be consistent on social media, which can definitely make it hard to grow an audience for your blog. The fact that I can schedule a tweet to go out along side with the post has been a literal lifesaver. I wish there was an option like that for instagram because that’s where I really struggle. 

What is the most rewarding part of blogging?

Finding and building a community. I’ve met so many cool people, as well as had some great opportunities as a result. Also, I love writing. And when I’m not working on my own writing projects, I’m reading and watching films. This blogs is a way for me to share my thoughts with others and start discussions. I also love getting the opportunity to give visibility to up-and-coming authors, filmmakers, and game developers.

Do you write your post ahead of time or write them the day of posting?

Generally, I write my reviews a week or two ahead of time. I like to have a bit of a buffer, in case life gets in the way or I just don’t feel like writing a review one day. There are occasions that, for whatever reason, I don’t manage to have anything ready for a specific date ahead of time. As a reader, you can tell by the fact that these reviews tend to not come out at my usual 10 am PST.

Who are your top five favourite authors?

Ray Bradbury

Sarah J. Maas

Brandon Sanderson

Kohei Horikoshi

Elise Kova

What genre do you read the most?

As of this year, Young Adult Fantasy. I’ve been reading it a lot.

What genre surprised you with how much you love it?

This would, again, be Fantasy. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like fantasy, but something must have changed because now its all I want to read. 

What book didn’t live up to the hype for you?

I do a pretty good job of not hyping up books for myself, but the only one I can think of is maybe Legend by Marie Lu. I remember everyone reading it when it came out and it just never appealed to me. When I finally got around to reading I struggled to get through it and will likely not be continuing with the series beyond the first book. I still plan on reading more Marie Lu though. 

Who are some popular authors you haven’t read?

I read a lot in such a wide variety of genres it’s really hard to say. Of the top of my head, the first author I can think of is Alice Oseman. Though I’ve read Heartstopper I haven’t read any of her novels. Some others are Jim Butcher, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Robert Jordan. I should mention though, that I have one or more books by all of the authors I’ve mentioned. 

What upcoming releases are you excited to read?

Oh my god! There are so many! But at this very moment, I am really looking forward to A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, and A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. 

Do you listen to music while reading?

The vast majority of the time I actually wear earplugs. I like to be in complete silence because I find the world to just be too loud. There is rare occasion where I listen to ambient nature noises though, but those are considerably rare. 

Where else can I find you online?

Oh, I’m everywhere. The easiest way to find me though is through my Linktree! Feel free to check me out wherever you fancy.