ARC Review: The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl
Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Quirk Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019

Summary: Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year's ExcelsiCon isn't her last, she'll consider her career derailed. When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That's easier said than done when the girls step into each other's shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these "princesses" race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

I was an absolutely massive fan of Geekerella (you can read my review by clicking here!), so when I found out that Ashley Poston was going to be publishing a companion novel, I was absolutely over the moon and knew that I needed a copy. I'm so thankful that Quirk Books gave me the opportunity to receive an ARC for review -- I was practically over the moon when I got it in the mail, and I could barely put the book down until I got to the very end. So without further ado, let's get into the review!

As the summary explains, a strange twist of fate leads Imogen, an average con-goer, directly in the path of Jessica Stone, the actress playing Princess Amara in her favorite movie franchise, Starfield. But it isn't a super happy meet and greet like one would expect. For starters, Jessica wants nothing more than to be done with the franchise forever -- she's glad that her character got killed off in the last movie, and she wants it to stay that way. Which is why Imogen is Public Enemy #1 -- she's an obsessed fan that has launched an online petition to get Amara back into the series. What's even more odd is that both girls find out that they look like one another so well, that they decide to switch places for the con as a way of solving some pretty messed-up mysteries that happen along the way (which I will leave to your imagination). All of this chaos certainly makes for an interesting con, that's for sure!

First thing's first: You *don't* have to have read Geekerella to understand this book! It is a companion novel, not a sequel, so yes, there's a difference! There's nothing that is discussed in The Princess and the Fangirl that you won't understand if you haven't read the first book. However, I do still recommend reading Geekerella first, because Ashley Poston does a great job at sprinkling in some little Easter eggs for Geekerella readers to find! Plus, you get to see more of Elle in little parts of the book, and she's one of my favorite characters so that was something really exciting to see.

Okay, onto the book itself -- I really, really enjoyed reading this one! I tore through this book so quickly because the chapters were super short and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Ashley Poston is a master at creating a story you can comfortably sink into and not want to leave -- which is part of the reason why I finished this story so quickly! Another thing that I really liked about this book were all of the pop culture references scattered throughout it -- talking about movies, video games, music, celebrities, etc. It's very clear that this book is celebrating nerdy, geeky culture, which is my favorite community to be a part of, so I found that really heartwarming and comfortable. There were even a few Mean Girls references in there that had me laughing out loud!

At first, I wasn't a huge fan of Jessica (she seemed like a bit of a diva to me), but as the book went on I really started to like her and she began to grow on me. She definitely comes off as a bit abrasive at first, but getting the chance to be in her head during her whole switch operation with Imogen really gives her character a whole new dimension. Toward the end of the novel I found myself cheering her on enthusiastically, and there were some moments where she was downright hilarious.

My favorite character in this book definitely had to be Darien, same as last time. Even if he isn't a main character in this book, he's just so sweet and soft spoken and kind to everyone (not to mention really cute, duh!), so I've always had a bit of a soft spot for him. And seeing him interact with Elle more in this book gave my little fangirl heart some happiness, because I got to see more of their love story beyond the last pages of Geekerella.

You guys, this book is just so much fun and so adorable. One of my favorite parts of the entire thing was the fact that it takes place during a convention, so a lot of stuff they were describing made me think of BookExpo and BookCon, and I just got so super excited and now I can't wait for late May/early June to arrive because I miss all of our con friends and just having such a great time with everyone, and all of the booths and the panels and the swag and everything! Ugh. This book made me so much antsier for BookExpo and now I am just itching to go, because Ashley Poston was so right when she wrote about how special the con atmosphere is, and how heartwarming it feels to be in a big place surrounded by a whole bunch of geeky people who also love the same things you do. It's a sense of community like no other.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Princess and the Fangirl. If you're looking for a hilarious, gripping read full of pop culture references that will make you glow with recognition, then this is definitely the book for you! I'm so grateful that Quirk gave me the chance to review this one early, and it's safe to say that I'll definitely be on the lookout for more work from Ashley in the future!

Let's Talk About Blogger Burn Out

I been thinking about this topic a lot lately in light of some things that have been going on in the blogging community and how at some points it is super discouraging. This isn't a post about the latest tea on what is going on in the book community. To find that out you are going to have to comb through twitter. But blogger burn out is a real sucky thing. 

People get burnt out for all sorts of reasons, they just spent weeks working on a feature, they worked on a post for hours and got little to no views/comments/retweets on it, they've finally caught up on ALL of their review copies and made sure that all the reviews are written, scheduled and cross posted to retail sites. Sometimes, running a blog is exhausting. For me to say running a blog is exhausting with TWO co-bloggers that we all share work equally, I can only imagine how it is for people who blog solo. (I real big round of a applause to you though!)

There is nothing wrong with feeling burnt out. Quite honestly, I get burnt out sometimes. I'll spend hours a day (sometimes up to eight hours on certain days) drafting out posts, writing reviews, setting up memes, e-mailing with authors we are working with and visiting some of my favorite blogs. I spend as much time working on The Book Bratz as I do at my actual job. But here is the difference: Blogging I do for free. 

Eventually if you are doing something for free for so long and sometimes with no reward you are going to feel tired and discouraged and eventually burnt out. Its the horrible cycle of things. I spent all of 2017 on a blogging hiatus, but in the months leading up to that the passion for blogging and consistently posting and making sure we had new content going up weekly was draining and quite frankly I was drained and burnt out. I had decided a hiatus was best because I still loved reading and the blogging community, I just had no desire to create new content at that moment. 

As sad as it is, sometimes feeling burnt out is normal and it happens to the best of us. Everyone in the blogging community (especially those who have been in the community for many years) understand this well. Here are a few things to consider and tips to help if you are feeling burnt out:

  • Take a hiatus - Take a break from blogging for a little while. Read books without the pressure of having to review them. Binge the Netflix show that you been meaning to watch. Go to the gym or for a run or go enjoy the fresh air. A hiatus can be for how ever long you want it to be! 2 weeks? Awesome. 6 months? That's fair. 1 year? You do you. What ever feels right in your heart. 

  • Stop pushing yourself so hard to push out new content - I am the biggest when it comes to forcing myself to constantly be creating new posts and sometimes it is exhausting. Jessica, Emily and I push ourselves to have a new post everyday and sometimes it works out because there are three of us. But for the bloggers who are riding solo: it's okay for you not to post I know you may feel like you have too, but you don't. Consistency is the key here. Aim for 3-5 posts a week if you can. If you can't do that then aim for 2. Regardless you are creating content and remaining consistent.

  • Take a break from social media- This one is easier said then done. But sometimes cutting social media out or limiting your time for a little while is a good idea. How many time do you see tweets about someone getting book mail that you were hoping to receive and you never got it? Or someone just reached a follower goal that you feel like you are never going to achieve. Social media is great at making us feel bad about ourselves sometimes. There have been plenty of instances that I just stop going on twitter all together so I can focus on me and my own blog goals. Not what is expected of me because other people are doing a certain thing. 

Those are my three biggest tips when I am feeling burnt out and I hope they can help you in some way. Sometimes having to take a step back is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I rather take a step back then half ass my work and for it to come out bad. It's normal to feel burnt out sometimes and it is good that you are able to recognize it. At the end of the day you got to do what is best for you! 

QOTD: I hope this post was helpful in some way! Have you ever felt blogger burn out before? What did you do to help it!? 

Review: Vanishing Summer by Lora Richardson

Title: Vanishing Summer
Author: Lora Richardson
Genre: YA Contemporary  
Rating: 5/5 stars
Published March 2019

Summary: He disappeared four years ago, and I’m to blame. Now he’s back.
I call it the vanishing summer. Everett, my best friend and the first boy I ever kissed, was kidnapped; taken from right beside me. Three months later my mom died. They were both just gone. The bright, fearless spark inside me was gone, too—blown clean out.
I learned that the worst could happen at any moment and with no warning. I didn’t want to go outside anymore. I avoided the woods where Everett and I had played. I hated to let my brother and my dad out of my sight. For four years, I lived with a pounding heart and shaking hands.
But I’m sixteen now, and ready to find my way back to myself, to somehow move forward. Therapy is helping. I let one new friend into my life, and she’s helping, too. I’m trying this new thing where I act like the old me—unafraid and confident and bold. I’m doing scary things and trying not to let them scare me.
Then one night as I’m sitting outside in the dark, Everett walks through the trees and back into my life. 
I was offered to review a digital copy of Vanishing Summer by the author herself and, let me tell you, I loved it. It was a fast read and a page turner, leaving me wanting so much more of Greta and Everett.

Like it says in the summary, Everett has been missing for four years and Greta blamed herself for what happened. Three months after Everett's disappearance, Greta's mom died. Now Greta is forced to navigate the next four years without her best friend and mother. She's much less adventurous and anxiety has taken over. Just as Greta finally decides to take her life back, Everett walks out of the woods and back into her life. 

The book is a wonderful coming of age story with growth through tragedy and discovering yourself and your first love. Greta is slowly breaking out of the shell she was forced into after Everette disappeared and her mom died and through the support of her new best friend and her family, Greta is learning to be brave again. 

When Everette reappears, he is faced with the reality that none the lies his father fed him were true. He learns to grow as well with the help of his friends and family. 

I believe the budding relationship between Greta and Everett also helped with their healing. They were able to rely on and be there for each other in a way that the other couldn't. Greta was able to be honest with Everett about her guilt over his disappearance.

Overall, I loved how strong Everett was. He could have easily let the isolation take over but he was able to find his way home and let his family help him properly heal. It has to be extremely difficult to come back from something like that and he was able to handle it better than I would ever be able to, that's for sure.

For anyone who loves a good coming of age and healing story, this is the book for you. Absolutely give it a chance and you'll fall in love just like I did!

Waiting On Wednesday: Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Title: Wild and Crooked
Author: Leah Thomas
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Publication Date: June 4th,2019 

Summary: In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence's name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym . . . or face the lingering anger of Samsboro's citizens, who refuse to forget the crime.
Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he's either known as the "disabled kid" because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself.
When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families' pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Can they break free from a legacy of inherited lies and chart their own paths forward? 

I have so many questions and I want answers now! I'm so ready to dive into this book and uncover all the secrets of Kalyn and Spence's families as well as the murder. Can't wait to start reading!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!

Top Ten Tuesday: Audio Freebie!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This week's theme: Audio Freebie!

Due to the fact that I don't listen to audio books or podcasts, this is going to be a list of my top 10 favorite songs at the moment (in no particular order)! Other than reading, all I do is listen to music and I love getting to share my favorites with others!

1. Sugar, Honey, Ice & Tea by Bring Me The Horizon

2. Morph by Twenty One Pilots

3. K A R M A by Carry The Crown

4. Drown by Bring Me The Horizon

5. Longshot by Catfish and the Bottlemen

6. Alone In A Room by Asking Alexandria

7. Cautionary Tales by Jon Bellion

8. Ready To Let Go by Cage The Elephant

9. "99" by Barns Courtney

10. All Washed Out by DREAMERS

So if you can't tell, I'm totally into alternative rock and I'm willing to listen to just about anything (I'm looking at you Jonas Brothers). Let us know your favorite's in the comments below!

Review: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Published January 2019

Summary: All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy. For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put. The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for.

You guys. OMG. I just finished reading this book, and I'm in such shock that I immediately had to open my laptop and write my review while the emotions are still fresh. This book shocked me in ways that I never saw coming -- and yes, you DO find out more about Truly Devious in this book. And it definitely leaves you wanting more for the third book in the trilogy. So without further ado, let's jump right into my review. (You can read my review of Truly Devious, the first book in the trilogy, by clicking here!)

As the summary explains, after Stevie's classmate dies, she finds herself torn away from Ellingham Academy. But she wants -- no, she needs -- to get back, because she has facts that can help solve the Ellingham case. Facts that nobody else -- not even the biggest scholars on the case -- know. And what she has can change everything. But it's not that easy, because she also has to deal with David, who is going through his own rough time, and his insufferable father. And more mysteries, shocking plot twists, tunnels, and secrets that she wished she never had to uncover. And it's definitely safe to say that what you find out will surprise you.

OMG, I really enjoyed reading this book. The mystery in this book was also really well-done, which is not something that I'm usually accustomed to liking. I wasn't a huge mystery fan growing up, because I always felt like I could spot the killer from a mile away, but with this book, I definitely couldn't. There were so many different leads, as well as so many different dead ends, that I wasn't sure where to look. The fact that the book also alternates between the time of the killing and also present-day adds another layer to the mystery, because as readers we know certain facts about the case that Stevie doesn't know yet, which adds to the suspense. Overall, this book had me hooked and I was reading over a hundred pages each day (LOL, subsequently ignoring my schoolwork) because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The only reason that I didn't give this book five stars was because at times it felt like it was moving a bit too slowly for me, and there were a few instances where I felt like I really couldn't connect with Stevie all that much because she seemed...I don't know. It's hard to explain it. There are some moments where Johnson puts a lot of detail into Stevie and makes her a really vivid character that I can really understand, and there are some moments where she's barely described and I feel like I have no idea who she is or what her personality's like, so I don't know how to feel about her. So that was something that I definitely struggled with throughout the book a few times -- I felt like all of the other characters were all really grounded with lots of traits and personalities and unique things that could be attributed to them, but we didn't get into Stevie's own mindset very much -- it just felt like she was moving through the motions sometimes, as a body on a page without us really knowing anything about her. So that was something I found a bit hard to understand while reading.

(MAJOR, MAJOR, ***MAJOR*** SPOILERS HERE. SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH TO AVOID THEM!) Oh my god, I just need to talk about the ending for a second. I absolutely wasn't expecting Truly Devious to be who it was....and everything that went down in the last few chapters of the book. Especially those last few lines -- I had to reread them a few times because I was so shocked about everything that unfolded and I just really wanted to know what was going to happen next, and I was so disappointed when I didn't get the chance to find out! And Dr. Fenton...OMG. So much went on in those last few chapters that I had to go back and reread to process it all again. Talk about a punchy ending!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Vanishing Stair. While I definitely enjoyed Truly Devious a little bit more, this book didn't fail to disappoint and it was filled with so much mystery and adventure that I found myself unable to put it down. I'm definitely looking forward to the third (and unfortunately, final) book in the trilogy, because with the way everything ended, I can't bear not knowing what will happen next. Even as someone who isn't a particularly large reader of mysteries, this series hooked me and refused to let me go, and now I'm eagerly hanging on and waiting for the next book so I can find out what happens when it all begins to unravel. Hats off to Maureen Johnson for another excellent book!

Debut '19 Interview: Claire Bartlett & We Rule the Night

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!

Last year, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Claire and her debut novel WE RULE THE NIGHT, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Claire on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

About Claire! 

I am a writer and tour guide in Copenhagen, Denmark. Though I originally come from Colorado, I left the US when I was eighteen and I haven’t lived there since. More permanent stops on my travels have included Switzerland, Wales and Denmark. The arrival of a Danish husband has somewhat cemented my living situation, but I get my travel in smaller doses these days. I like to write fantasy, mostly, though I dabble in soft sci-fi. My short stories are more adult, my novels more YA. I’ve studied history, archaeology, and writing. I like to take my inspiration from historical events, and the more unknown and inspiring the event, the better. I am represented by Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary. To keep up with what strange things I’m researching and writing, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I send out a short newsletter once a month.

Keep up with Claire: Website / Twitter / Goodreads 


The Book Bratz: How does it feel that WE RULE THE NIGHT is debuting this year?
Claire: Strange? Scary? Exciting? I'm not sure how to put the feeling down. It feels a little bit like I sometimes pull a curtain and reveal an entire theater, with stage lights and audience, waiting for me to perform - and they can be very vocal if they don't like the performance. Luckily,I can usually pull the curtain again if I need a break!

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of WE RULE THE NIGHT?
Claire: Two girls have the potential to fly magical planes, crush their enemies and prove themselves in the male-dominated army - but their distrust of each other might destroy them first.

The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in WE RULE THE NIGHT?
Claire: Sadly, yes. I use the term 'sadly' because sexism is a major theme in the book. As you may know, We Rule the Night was heavily inspired by the real-life story of the USSR's Night Witches, an all-female night-bombing regiment that operated during World War II. A lot of the scenes that involve sexism or tackle sexist themes are directly inspired either by my own experiences, or by the Night Witches' experiences. How we are taught to view (other) girls, the things we're presumed to be able to do or know, the way we should conveniently fit in or around the lives of men. Frustration with that system is a major part of the book.

The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about WE RULE THE NIGHT that not many people know yet?
Claire: In my initial, very early concept for the novel, there were three viewpoint characters instead of two! The third character was intended to be a boy drafted to fight for the Elda, the great enemies of our heroes' home country. And yes, there was going to be a romance. I'd drafted maybe a fifth of the novel by the time I realized that 1) a third POV would make this book waaaaaay too long and 2) that I wanted this novel to focus on strong female friendship instead.
The Book Bratz: If you had to create Twitter or Instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?
Claire: Hmm. I think, if the Union of the North had social media, it would definitely be reserved for first class citizens only. That means poor Revna, as a designated Secondary Citizen, wouldn't be able to participate. Linné's handle would be @aleksei_nabiev. Why? You'll have to read chapter two to find out ;) The girls' engineer and all around cheerful face, Magdalena, would be something like @brainandbrawn, and their commander Tamara Zima would have the handle @winter_witch, which is the name of her plane.

The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after WE RULE THE NIGHT?
Claire: My editor and I are currently working on another YA fantasy. In a nutshell: a science enthusiast princess inherits her kingdom when her family falls into a sleep from which they cannot wake. As her mistakes on the throne mount, she becomes more desperate to find a cure - but the illness is no ordinary illness, and whoever orchestrated it is now targeting her. With ice palaces! Sweeping seascapes! Fishmen! And an f/f romance.

Title: We Rule the Night
Author: Claire Bartlett
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Summary: Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity. Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first. We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

Thank you so much to Claire for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about WE RULE THE NIGHT and can't wait for it to be out in the world on April 2nd

Review: Hope Nation, Edited by Rose Brock

Title: Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration
Editor: Rose Brock
Publisher: Philomel Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Published February 2018

Summary: We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and--in some cases--even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it's difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power. Some of today's most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal nonfiction collection of essays, poems, and letters, each a first-hand account that ultimately strives to inspire hope. Like a modern day Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul or Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens, Hope Nation acknowledges the pain and shines a light on what comes after. Authors include: Marie Lu, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Renee Ahdieh, Alex London, Julie Murphy, James Dashner, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Sarah Mlynowski, Jeff Zentner, Ally Condie, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Romina Russell, Angie Thomas, Howard Bryant, Aisha Saeed, Margaret Stohl, Ally Carter, Nic Stone, I.W.Gregorio, Kate Hart, Atia Abawi, Libba Bray

My review for this book was originally written for and posted on

I first heard of this book last year, in the midst of the rocky political climate, and I was looking for something that gave me, well, hope. So I'm glad that I came across HOPE NATION --- this book came at just the perfect time for me. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, this book is an anthology with various essays from some pretty big-name authors, all centered around a theme of hope. Different types of hope show up throughout, and you get some more theoretical pieces, autobiographical stories, and even fictionalized accounts of real-world events that they have experienced. There are stories that will make you laugh, stories that will make you cry, and everything in between. Overall, there is a resounding note of hope throughout the entire anthology. 

What I liked most about this book was the wide variety of stories --- including the authors! I learned so much about them and their lives that I hadn't known before, and it was really fascinating to see. Some of my favorite stories were David Levithan's fictionalized description of his experience at the Women's March (which I attended, so it gave me chills to fall back into that type of atmosphere again, I forgot how much I missed it!), Angie Thomas and her encounter with a reader at her signings, Marie Lu's experience with immigrating to the U.S., and Libba Bray's shocking story that I knew NOTHING about --- and I won't spoil it for you (you should read it on your own!), but what I will say is that it's DEFINITELY something you want to read. Holy crap. I thought it was a fictionalized story until I got to the end and found out that it was all true. All of the stories in this book will shock you and inspire you in the best of ways.

The only thing that I wasn't super crazy about with this book is the fact that some of the stories didn't grip me as much as the others --- I mean this in the sense that some of them were told in a more narrative sense that really hooked me, while others were straight-up essays, which, while still incredibly important, started to feel tedious after awhile. I still read them all, though, because I was really interested in all of the important messages that all of these authors had to say, and I'm glad I did, because I really feel like I learned a lot.

Overall, I enjoyed reading HOPE NATION. I'd definitely recommend it to any readers looking for something to inspire them, both in terms of their creative lives and their personal lives in general. This book contains some stories that will make you want to jump up and keep moving forward in life, work on your writing, confront those prejudiced people your life, and everything in between. This book couldn't have come at a better time, and I think it's incredibly important to both younger and older readers alike. Thank you, Rose Brock, for this incredible gift!

Mini Reviews: Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan & The Rule of Many Ashley Saunders & Leslie Saunders

Title: Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon
Author: Mary Fan 
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk 
Source: Page Street Kids via NetGalley
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: June 11th 2019

When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself. Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined. With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.
*Thank you so much Page Street Kids & NetGalley for the eGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

I ended up enjoying Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon more then I thought I was going to. I'm peculiar when it comes to steampunk books so I knew this book was going to be either a hit or miss for me. But Chinese warrior girls and steampunk dragons basically had me sold.

I really enjoyed Anlei's character and the fact she made the decision to marry the viceroy knowing it was the only way to save her village. I also liked how she wants to be a warrior and not some girl who is fluffed up and trapped in a castle all the time. Her warrior thinking is why she ended up on the quest to rescue the River Pearl with Tai who is searching for the River Pearl to save his people from Mowang and the gates of hell. I enjoyed Tai's carefree demeanor and how he never took anything seriously. 

Overall I really liked Strong Than a Bronze Dragon and it had me intrigued from page one. I can't wait to read more from Mary. 


Title: The Rule of Many
(The Rule of One #2)
Author: Ashley Saunders & Leslie Saunders  
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Skyscape via NetGalley
Publisher: Skycape 
Publication Date: May 7th 2019
Born to a death sentence in a near-future America, rebellious sisters herald a revolution—if they can survive. Twins Ava and Mira Goodwin defy the Rule of One simply by existing. The single-child law, ruthlessly enforced by Texas’s Governor Roth, has made the sisters famous fugitives and inspirations for the resurgent rebellion known as the Common. But the relentless governor and his implacable Texas State Guard threaten that fragile hope, as Roth consolidates his power in a bid for ultimate authority. As Ava and Mira relinquish the relative safety of their Canadian haven to stand against Roth, new allies arise: Owen, a gifted young programmer, impulsively abandons his comfortable life in a moment of compassion, while Zee, an abused labor camp escapee, finds new purpose in resistance. The four will converge on Dallas for a reckoning with Roth, with nothing less than their destinies—and the promise of a future free from oppression—on the line. Disobedience means death. But a life worth living demands rebellion.

*Thank you so much Skysape & NetGalley for the eGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

The Rule of Many picks off right where book one ended, and from page one it doesn't stop. Though I had my issues with the first book I was super excited to see where The Rule of Many was going to take readers considering the explosive end to The Rule of One

I think my only complaint with The Rule of Many was the introduction of a lot of characters and very little explanation of who they were. I lost track a couple of times of who was who, and who was suppose to be doing what. But other then that I really enjoyed this one. I really liked seeing how much Ava and Mira grew through out this book and their overall growth in the series so far. 

With how The Rule of Many ended off I am going to say it is safe to assume there is going to be another book. I am really excited to see what the Saunders sisters are going to have in store for readers next.