eARC Review – Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

Couple leaning on brick wall

Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

Author: Jacqueline Firkins

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: December 17th, 2019

384 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.


**Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers, Jacqueline Firkins, and Netgalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things follows upcoming high school senior Edie in her adventures as a foster child who has just been taken in by her wildly rich aunt in an effort to show off for her wildly rich friends and use her as a charity case. She will be going to the all girls prep school nearby with her spoiled cousins. She used to spend a lot of time at that house before her grandparent’s died, so she also gets to catch up with her childhood crush, who has gotten very attractive over the years… until she finds out he has a girlfriend. Then, a new boy, Henry, comes onto the scene and she’s confused. Henry is a stone cold player, but he seems legitimately into her. Which boy is right for her?

Edie has a lot going on. She ruined her friendship with her best friend from home by making out with her boyfriend and getting caught. She has no job or money for college, and is constantly put down for being poor by just about everyone in the book. She’s got it rough, but man I was not a fan of her character, or most of the characters actually.

I have real mixed feelings about this book. I liked it through most of the book, but the ending really lot me. The characters are not redeemable and not to spoil anything, but I did not agree with which boy Edie ends up with. I feel like it was so obviously the wrong choice and I’m still bitter about it.

This book didn’t end up being my favorite. It was not bad, by any means, just not as much my cup of tea. I enjoyed several pieces of it, especially Edie’s special lexicon blog where she posts fun definitions of words that relate to what’s going on in her life. There were redeemable parts to this book, and I do enjoy contemporaries, which is why I still rated this fairly highly.

If you like books with irredeemable characters and contemporaries, this will be the book for you.

happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – All That’s Bright and Gone

Title: All That’s Bright and Gone

Author: Eliza Nellums

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication date: December 10th, 2019

256 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fans of Jodi Picoult and Fredrik Backman will fall for this tenderhearted debut mystery following a young girl on a quest to save her family.

I know my brother is dead. But sometimes Mama gets confused.

Six-year-old Aoife knows better than to talk to people no one else can see, like her best friend Teddy who her mother says is invisible. He’s not, but Mama says it’s rude anyways. So when Mama starts talking to Aoife’s older brother Theo, Aoife is surprised. And when she stops the car in the middle of an intersection, crying and screaming, Aoife gets a bad feeling–because even if they don’t talk about it, everyone knows Theo died a long time ago. He was murdered.

Eventually, Aoife is taken home by her Uncle Donny who says he’ll stay with her until Mama comes home from the hospital, but Aoife doesn’t buy it. The only way to bring Mama home is to find out what really happened to Theo. Even with Teddy by her side, there’s a lot about the grown-up world that Aoife doesn’t understand, but if Aoife doesn’t help her family, who will?

Between Aoife’s vivid imagination and her steadfast goal, All That’s Bright and Gone illuminates the unshakable bond between mothers and daughters in an increasingly unstable world. 


**Thank you to Crooked Lane Books, Eliza Nellums, and Netgalley for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Aoife (EE-fah) is a 6 year old girl who has been through a lot in her short life. Her mother has a mental illness that makes her act confused at times, and their living situation isn’t always the greatest. Aoife knows her mom is trying and thinks their life is great fun. When her mom has a mental breakdown while driving, Aoife’s world is turned upside down, because Mommy isn’t home anymore. Her Uncle Donovan comes to take care of her, which trying to navigate CPS and an energetic, 6 year old with an imaginary friend, Teddy, that likes to get her in trouble.

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book solely narrated by a very, young character, but I imagine this is exactly what it would sound like it this happened in real life. Eliza Nellums made this book so much more interesting by telling it from Aoife’s point of view. It would have been easy to have the mom be the narrator, or even Uncle Donovan. But Aoife lends this story an innocent perspective, which I think really increased my enjoyment of this book, even if at times I (as an adult) just wanted Aoife to pay more attention to the adult conversations happening!

There is a lovely plot twist at the end that came as a shock to me (and Aoife). It also really brings into question the idea of imaginary friends, ghosts, and mental health. This book truly is a rich telling of life and family, and what happens when chaos starts to reign in the dynamic. All characters were interesting and helped move the story onward. There is a general “happy” ending, but not one that you expect in the beginning or middle of the book.

I really appreciated this story. It’s a little out of my comfort zone of what I would normally read, but I knocked it out in one night. It is short, if not necessarily light in tone. Aoife does get herself into some trouble, and I spent a good section of the book worried about this little girl.

This book definitely reminded me of Jodi Picoult and a little of Sarah Dessen, so if you like those authors, check out All That’s Bright and Gone.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Weight of a Soul

Title: The Weight of a Soul

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Publisher: Flux Publishing

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

320 pages


Goodreads Synopsis

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction. 

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?


Hi friends! Back at you with a regularly scheduled eARC review that I received from Netgalley! I’ve been plowing through my Netgalley TBR this month and I’ve read some super awesome books! Thank you to Netgalley and Flux for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review!

I found this book super interesting for a super weird reason, but I loved it because of the tie in’s with Marvel movies! I know this wasn’t the case or the inspiration for Tammi, but it is immediately what I thought when they introduced Loki, Hela, and Ragnarok. It was super awesome to read a book that involved these legends. Only was missing Thor!

Outside of this connection, The Weight of a Soul followed the daughter of the clan chieftain, Lena. Her sister Fressa died early in the book and Lena is trying to get her back, refusing to believe that she is gone. She strikes up a deal with Hela that will make Lena compromise everything she believes in.

I found this book to be interesting, with good characters and a solid plot. I believe the timing and pace was a little off for my taste, but it wasn’t a huge point of contention for me. The ending caught me by total surprise and was very sad – but made a lot of sense after I thought about it for awhile.

For fans of Sky In The Deep and Warrior in the Wild, Elizabeth Tammi brings The Weight of a Soul, which makes you question a person’s worth and value in relation to the weight of their soul compared to others. A tale about love, family, and how far one will go to protect their sister.

Happy reading book friends!

eARC Review – Michigan vs. The Boys

Title: Michigan vs. The Boys

Author: Carrie S. Allen

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Publication date: October 1st, 2019

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.


**Thank you to Kids Can Press, Netgalley, and Carrie S. Allen for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Michigan starts off her school year ready to play hockey with her girls. Her plans come crashing to a halt when she’s told her team has been disbanded due to budget cuts, along with the boy’s swim team. She loves hockey, but doesn’t have the same opportunities others from her team have to find a new team. Instead, she decides to try out for the boy’s hockey team at her school. She knows there will be some push back, but she can handle it… right?

Not so much. When one boy in particular starts taking hazing to a whole new level, Michigan is in over her head. With a new boyfriend she’s trying to impress, a friend group she’s trying to keep together, and school – she knows she just needs to put her head down and get through it. She’s tough, and able to sweep a lot under the rug in the name of hockey, but when she starts getting too good, that one boy works to keep her off the ice for good.

Michigan vs. the Boys has some content that could be triggering for some people. Hazing, assault, underage drinking. However, this story is one that is so necessary in today’s social climate. It continues the conversation of what is appropriate and what is too far. As more females work to enter a male dominated sport or field, the events of this book become less fiction and more fact. All genders can read this book and learn a lesson from Michigan, and the Boys.

I really enjoyed reading Michigan’s story. She is a strong, female character, everyone can respect for her story. You hurt when she hurts, and you’re happy when she’s successful on the ice. With some great supporting characters, Michigan vs. The Boys is a great story that will resonate will all audiences.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – Realm of Knights

Title: Realm of Knights (Knights of the Realm #1)

Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Publisher: Reign Publishing

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

270 pages


Goodreads Synopsis

Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.

In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.

Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.

To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.


Special thanks to Netgalley and Reign Publishing for sending me this ebook in exchange for an honest review! I flew through this book in just a few hours (it’s on the shorter side), which just shows how into it I was! (I also feel like I say this about every book I read… I swear I actually have a life and a real job outside of reading!)

Realm of Knights follows Reid Ellington, who is a woman pretending to be a man so her fathers duchy can stay in their family. Under Marsden law, a female can not inherit land – so Reid’s father made the difficult decision to force Reid to be a male in public. Reid’s secret almost gets out when the Princes of the Realm come knocking on their door – blackmailing Reid into riding with them to the capital. Prince Ackley has a special mission that only Reid can accomplish. Reid is quickly swept away into a world she has no experience in, but is uniquely qualified to succeed in.

I adore reading about knights, kings, queens, and epic quests. This sub-genre of book is what first captivated me and made me love reading. Add in a woman pretending to be a man, and I am SOLD. I loved the plot, the twists & turns, and all of the characters. The budding love story is such a slow burn, with an element of being unrequited as they are unable to be together. All told, this is a very well constructed book.

One critique I have is that I wanted more. I felt like the plot could have been expanded upon to explain more. The book is fairly short, not even hitting 300 pages. I would have loved to see more, and I can only hope that she will write longer books as the series continues. I will definitely be coming back to read sequels. After that ending, I need to know who the good/bad guys are!

For fans of Tamora Pierce, Jennifer Anne Davis weaves a tale straight out of Medieval times, with a hint of progression towards modern age thinking. If sword fights, political intrigue, and wily Princes get your bookworm senses tingling, I suggest you give this one a try!

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂