Book Review – Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado


Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Author: Crystal Maldonado

Publisher: Holiday House

Publication date: February 2nd, 2021

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.


“It’s the first year where I don’t waste my wish on being skinny; I wish for more happy moments like this.”

Crystal Maldonado, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

TW: disordered eating, negative self talk, talks of dieting, body shaming

I had to take some time before writing this review as I saw myself in the main character just a little too much, so it created a more triggering reading experience for me. This does not mean I didn’t enjoy the title, it just hit home more than expected and created a very emotional reaction. If you struggle with eating disorders, dieting, body image, or have experience body shaming I urge you to make sure you’re emotionally prepared for the topics covered in this book.

Charlie wants nothing more than to be kissed. But she loves in a world where she is told she is wrong – too big, too brown, too loud. She wants nothing more than to love herself as she is, but her own mother forces diet culture and negative body image down her throat like a weight loss smoothie. But when someone finally expresses interest Charlie is finally happy – but it comes crashing down when she realizes he asked her best friend out first. Amelia is Charlie’s ideal, everything she thinks she should want to be, so Charlie doesn’t know what to do.

Taking a step back from my own baggage, Fat Chance is a very well written, real book about a young woman struggling with body image. Charlie’s story is one a lot of people will identify with – including myself. Whereas I can only be an Own Voices reviewer for the disordered eating/body image plot – I have the privilege of being in a white body and can’t even imagine how the extra dynamic of being Latinx would play into the complexity. I do feel the disordered eating/body image plot line is handled well over all, with some nit-picky things that I could mention.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I feel like there are pieces of Charlie’s story that can be related to by a lot of different people, especially with the prevalence of diet culture and body shaming in this country.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Namesake by Adrienne Young


Title: Namesake (Fable #2)

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: March 16th, 2021

360 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.


“There are some things that can’t be carved from a person, no matter how far from home they’ve sailed.”

Adrienne Young, Namesake

Please feel free to take a look at my review of Fable if you haven’t already seen it before reading this review. However, I will keep it as spoiler free as possible.

Namesake completes the Fable duology, and it was good – but not as good as Fable was for me. I would have loved for more of the book to take place on the Marigold with my favorite characters, but so much time is spent on another portion of the story with other people and I was just reading waiting to catch up with the crew again without really experiencing it. It definitely took a different direction than I was expecting for the series.

That being said, the overall plot of Namesake was very intriguing with the new characters brought in and the new dynamic with Fable, Holland, and her father. You find out more of Fable’s origin story and can see her father in a different light. The writing is still incredible and evocative and you can almost feel yourself on the sea or in the waters dredging. I loved the redemption of one smaller character in Fable and the incorporation of that callback.

Furthermore, Adrienne recently released a companion novel in this world! Titled The Last Legacy, the book will follow the story line of a new family that enters the story in Namesake. I’m highly anticipating this book and can’t wait to read more in this world. It publishes in September 2021 – and I am in awe of Adrienne’s ability to publish 3 books in basically a 1 year span. Very excited to return to this world in the future!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Dustborn by Erin Bowman


Title: Dustborn

Author: Erin Bowman

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: April 20th, 2021

432 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Delta of Dead River sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power in the Wastes and discovers a secret that will reshape her world in this postapocalyptic Western mashup for fans of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl.

Delta of Dead River has always been told to hide her back, where a map is branded on her skin to a rumored paradise called the Verdant. In a wasteland plagued by dust squalls, geomagnetic storms, and solar flares, many would kill for it—even if no one can read it. So when raiders sent by a man known as the General attack her village, Delta suspects he is searching for her. 

Delta sets out to rescue her family but quickly learns that in the Wastes no one can be trusted—perhaps not even her childhood friend, Asher, who has been missing for nearly a decade. If Delta can trust Asher, she just might decode the map and trade evidence of the Verdant to the General for her family. What Delta doesn’t count on is what waits at the Verdant: a long-forgotten secret that will shake the foundation of her entire world.


Dustborn is a YA Science Fiction/Fantasy set in a dangerous, barren world. Delta lives with her pack, just fighting to stay alive. When her sister goes into labor, she must trek to the nearest healer to try and save her – and while she is gone her pack is attacked. She returns with her sister’s baby but not her sister, who died in childbirth to find her pack gone. They’ve been taken by the General, who wants to use Delta to find Verdant, a rumored paradise that she has the map to branded on her back.

This book is so gritty and raw, it reminds me a lot of the Illuminae series in a way. Delta is really fighting for her life and the world she is existing in is ruthless and violent. She has to be strong, and hard, and fierce to protect herself, her niece, and her secrets. You can’t trust anyone in this world, but Delta learns to trust and goes through a massive character growth during this stand alone by Erin Bowman.

I don’t have many critiques outside of the pacing being somewhat slow at some points. There is a big twist that I didn’t totally see coming. I did think the battle scenes could’ve been better written – they were confusing and all over the place for me, but this is likely more of a personal preference. Overall I enjoyed this book and absolutely love the cover, so I recommend it for those SciFi fans out there!

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Fable by Adrienne Young


Title: Fable (Fable #1)

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

357 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.


“He looked at me with a hundred stories lit behind his eyes.” 

Adrienne Young, Fable

Adrienne Young is already an auto buy author for me after Sky in the Deep and The Girl the Sea Gave Back, but even if that wasn’t the case I would’ve bought this for the cover ALONE. Holy damn it is gorgeous, and the cover for Namesake is almost better! I’ve never seen two books with covers done so cohesively before. But I digress.

I’m into pirate books at the moment, so I found Fable to be a fantastic beginning to a new duology by Adrienne. I love Adrienne’s writing so much – it is so evocative, I felt like I was in the Narrows and on the ship with Fable and West. The world Adrienne has created is so interesting with the dredging of gems, the pirate lifestyle, and the fact that Fable is abandoned on an island by her father, a very powerful trader in the Narrows. Adrienne comes up with some of the best first lines in a book and Fable is no different. This book is magical, Fable is strong-willed and a fighter, intent on finding her father and figuring out why she was abandoned. Along the way she might just find her family and love.

If I have one critique, it’s that this book does have a very stereotypical YA fantasy book feel. I personally love that, and will always read those books no matter what – but I know that is a critique that could turn some readers away so I wanted to mention it. However, I think the world is super unique and interesting that it undercuts some of that typical YA feel and makes it a very worth it read. There is very subtle magic involved as well, which is a huge selling point for me.

Fable reminds me a lot of All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. If you love pirates, found family, beautiful writing, and YA fantasy – please check out Fable by Adrienne Young! Come back soon for my review of Namesake.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Title: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)

Author: Lynette Noni

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: April 13th, 2021

416 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.


An exciting start to a new trilogy, The Prison Healer is a dark, fantasy set in a death prison. Kiva Meridan has been a prisoner at Zalindov for 10 years now, and serves as the healer for the prisoners. Zalindov is a corrupt, evil place that no one survives, but by keeping her head down and staying out of trouble Kiva has lived and survived longer than expected. The Rebel Queen shows up to the prison and Kiva is put in charge of her health, told she must keep Tilda alive to undertake the Trial by Ordeal. Her family also tasks her with keeping Tilda alive, saying they are coming for her. But help never arrives, and Kiva must get creative in her mission.

Phew boy, this book left me breathless and immediately wanting to reread it. The Prison Healer is suspenseful, dark, and filled with interesting characters. Every character served a purpose, every conversation and plot point furthering the story. No words were wasted and every piece is important for the larger picture. I loved the prison setting, it reminded me a lot of Endovier from the Throne of Glass series, but instead of brief snippets you get the whole book set in this horrible place. The Trial by Ordeal was fascinating to read and the greater political intrigue rounded out the plot nicely.

I’m not sure what more I can say. I have no critiques, I did not see any of the plot twists coming and I was gaping at my kindle by the end. I’m so excited to continue reading in this series to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book, please go pick it up.

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

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Title: Chain of Iron

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: March 2nd, 2021


4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.


“To love one another is to come as close as we ever can to being angels ourselves.”

Cassandra Clare, Chain of Iron

I reviewed Chain of Gold last year, so before reading this review you might want to check this out! I intend to keep this review spoiler free for those who haven’t started in this series yet who may want to some day.

Chain of Iron picks up shortly after Chain of Gold ended. Our friends are all in the same position, with some new alliances and dramas cropping up (as is expected in CC books!). I am still having a hard time keeping track of who is who in this series, though this book has made it somewhat easier. Still, I encourage everyone to have a character guide handy when reading! I felt the plot was more interesting and moved along faster than the first book, which made for this book to be a more enjoyable experience. I did find some middle child issues that are normally prominent in second books of trilogies – but honestly that’s hard to be helped. The ending leaves you on the prerequisite cliffhanger that CC is known for, so you’ll be waiting in anticipation for March 2022 to come around.

So, as in most CC books there is some sort of romance and she has experimented with different types of relationships before (looking at you, The Mortal Instruments) – but I am not a fan of where these relationships are going. I have high hopes for some better endings for the friends in Chain of Thorns, but I’m really going to need that book to blow my mind to feel like this series was up to the normal CC standard.

I still have The Last Hours as my least favorite trio in her Shadowhunters world, but I am ready and willing for Chain of Thorns to change my mind.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Good Sister

Author: Sally Hepworth

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication date: April 13th, 2021

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all. 


The Good Sister is a gripping, new thriller with twin sisters who share a dark secret. Told in alternating POV’s with Rose’s Diary entries and Fern’s present day, The Good Sister will have you questioning what is happening up until the bitter end.

Rose and Fern have been on their own for a long time. Rose takes care of Fern, who is different and has had difficulty with navigating the world. Their mother was abusive according to Rose’s diary entries, where she details the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment before her overdose left her impaired. Fern is a librarian who loves her job, routine, and Rose. But, Fern did something terrible a long time ago and they keep this secret in order to protect her. But when Fern decides to have a baby to help Rose, she begins to see some of the secrets Rose is keeping even from her.

I flew through this thriller so quickly, it was so easy to read. It even had a romance built in, which I firmly believe every thriller should have now. I loved reading about Fern as a librarian and seeing life through her eyes. The Good Sister brings many twists and turns, without being too confusing or hard to follow. The writing flowed well and was paced very evenly, in my opinion. I enjoyed the setting being in Australia and the subtle differences in style and vocabulary.

I highly recommend The Good Sister for all thriller lovers out there, you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Title: How to Fail at Flirting

Author: Denise Williams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: December 1st, 2020

336 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.


“Lord, give me the confidence of an old, rich white man.”

Denise Williams, How to Fail at Flirting

TW: domestic violence, revenge porn

When I first started reading this book I didn’t realize it was about a woman recovering from an abusive relationship. I had to put it down until I felt comfortable picking it back up again, but a friend sent me all the trigger warnings and I felt so much more prepared after that. It helped me to read this book knowing what events to expect, so please just reach out if you’d like me to do that for you – in more specifics that the general trigger warning above.

I’m so glad I continued reading, because I loved Naya and Jake’s burgeoning relationship so much. Their banter, the immediate connection the two had at the bar, and the genuine respect they felt for each other and treated each other with. I feel the domestic violence situation was handled as well as it could be – it’s hard to read but these things do take place so it’s important to reflect it in books. I also loved the friends that Naya had and their support of her through the old and new relationships, while sticking to side character roles.

I recommend this book, but please be careful with the trigger warnings. Also, there is a decent level of steam, with detailed, open door scenes throughout the book. I enjoy this type of romance book, but I know not everyone does so just know that going in.

I’m glad I picked this one up and I hope you all love Naya and Jake as much as I do!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Boyfriend Material

Title: Boyfriend Material (Boyfriend Material #1)

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: July 7th, 2020

427 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.


“In any case, I wasn’t prepared for the truth of you.”

Alexis Hall, Boyfriend Material

Luc is somewhat famous and has a bad public image currently. This causes issues with his job, forcing him to try and rehabilitate his image by dating a respectable man. Enter Oliver Blackwood; barrister, boring, and ambivalent towards Luc. They have met before and not gotten on well, but when Luc propositions him to pretend to date him – Oliver realizes he can get something out of this situation as well. These two may dislike each other now, but they may find out they are more alike than they ever knew.

I fell in love with these two over the course of the book, along with their friends and the other side characters. There were legitimately funny moments over the book once Luc and Oliver meet – but the beginning is a bit slow when it is just Luc. You definitely have to stay the course with him until he meets Oliver, Oliver makes him a better person and more interesting to read. Boyfriend Material is pretty similar to Red, White, and Royal Blue – but set in London and with an even more adult theme (but not necessarily in the steam department). There are more serious, side story lines that help to round out the characters and cut into the humorous aspects to balance the book out. I appreciate the author’s use of banter and emotion to give depth and dimension to these two characters.

I can’t wait to read more in this universe, as it was announced that there will be two more books in the Boyfriend Material universe.

For fans of Casey McQuiston, Boyfriend Material starts a new series with diverse characters, laugh out loud funny moments, and a relatable romance.

Happy reading, folks!

April TBR – 2021 Edition

Because I took a bunch of time off reading in March and didn’t complete all of the ARCs I needed to, I will have to make up ground in April. So, I have a lot of books I plan to get to in April in order to fulfill my ARC commitments and still try to cut my physical TBR down, which makes my fiance happy!

Each month from now on I plan on reading a full duo and trio that is being finished this year. It was so fun planning out these binges and I think it will be something I look forward to every month.


  1. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1), Sarah J. Maas
  2. Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2), Leigh Bardugo
  3. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1), Emily A. Duncan
  4. Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2), Emily A. Duncan
  5. Blessed Monsters (Something Dark and Holy #3), Emily A. Duncan
  6. A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood #1), Amanda Joy
  7. A Queen of Gilded Horns (A River of Royal Blood #2), Amanda Joy
  8. The Invited, Jennifer McMahon
  9. Crier’s War (Crier’s War #1), Nina Varela
  10. Iron Heart (Crier’s War #2), Nina Varela
  11. Vicious Spirits (Gumiho #2), Kat Cho


  1. The Ex Talk, Rachel Lynn Solomon


  1. Dustborn, Erin Bowman
  2. These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames #1), Alexandra Overy
  3. Before I Saw You, Emily Houghton
  4. To Sir, With Love, Lauren Layne
  5. It Had to Be You, Georgia Clark
  6. The Tragedy of Dane Riley, Kat Spears
  7. Ace of Spades, Faridah Abike-Iyimide
  8. The Secret Bridesmaid, Katy Birchall
  9. The Soulmate Equation, Christina Lauren
  10. The House of Always (A Chorus of Dragons #4), Jenn Lyons
  11. Hurricane Summer, Asha Bromfield

What books are you looking forward to reading in April?

Happy reading, folks!