Posted in Arc, Young Adult

And I Darken Review

And I Darken by Kiersten White will be released June 28, 2016

Summary taken from Goodreads:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

This was a surprising book. I guess I wasn’t expecting Lada to be as hard core as she was. Which was refreshing. The story grabbed me from the start and I couldn’t put the book down!

Lada and Radu are brother and sister who are abandoned in the Ottoman Empire to survive. Lada who is our “Vlad the Impaler” is strong, fierce, and always described as ugly. Whereas Radu is always described as handsome and basically Lada’s opposite.

The story alternates between Lada’s point of view and Radu’s and the way they view the world is completely different. Lada has to always fight for what she wants and to have a semblance of freedom. While Radu only has to bat his eyelashes to get people to like him.

I loved that there was no insta-love between any of the characters. I did like that Lada and Radu fell in love with the same guy and how that love changed their relationship.

This first installment of the series is about power and how you can gain or lose it. It’s about women, and what that even means during this time period. And it’s about self, and realized who you are and what you are willing to sacrifice to get what you want.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars

This arc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Young Adult

Glass Sword Review

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Published: February 9th 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Summary:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


This is the second novel in the Red Queen series and it could not come out fast enough! I read the first one a few months after it came out and I loved it!

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”

Let me just say first off that the writing was great and I loved it! But after Mare and the group got out of the situation where the first book ended, it pretty much stayed stagnant until near the end. It was kind of like rinse, wash, repeat with a lot of the scenes.

  1. Find newblood
  2. Get into trouble
  3. Save newblood or find them already taken
  4. Mare feels sorry for herself or happy that she has a new recruit
  5. Repeat

“No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone. They become that way, through choice and circumstance.”

I get that this was a big part of her army/revolution but we didn’t need to read about her going to the different places 10+ times. The only time we got to see Maven for the most part was in the little notes he would leave her. And then when the ending came and he came out of nowhere? Why couldn’t this have happened sooner? Loved it! Now I can’t wait for the next book to see how Mare gets herself out of this situation.

“Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart.”

For the most part I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Mare. She is thrust upon being the leader and face of the Scarlet Guard, and either people fear her or distrust her.

“But I can’t shake the feeling that, while they stand with me, there’s no one beside me. Even with an army at my back, I am still alone.”

“Strange, my enemies know me best, and my family doesn’t know me at all.”

She has to make all of these tough decisions and no one seems to really understand what it is doing to her. They only see the facade she puts up and keeps her an arms distance away. You would think that this would be the perfect time to build the romance between her and Cal, but she keeps Cal an arms length away and makes up excuses to keep him there. If I am going to be bored reading about all the missions, at least give me a little romance.

Hopefully the third book will be more like the first one and keep me entertained the whole time.

I give Glass Sword 3 out of 5 stars.


Posted in Young Adult

Cruel Crown Review

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Published: January 5th 2016 by HarperTeen

This consists of two short stories set before Red Queen, blurb taken from Goodreads:

Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

“There is nothing so terrible as a story untold.” 

In the Red Queen, there is just a brief mention of Queen Coriane and in Queen Song we get basically her whole life in a few pages. I enjoyed reading about her and the psychological war she was in and for the most part didn’t even realize she was in one. You can really tell the toll everything is having on her by her diary entries. Coriane starts off annoyed at her father and aunt and afraid of being left behind by her brother. When she wins the princes heart, we see that she feels that she isn’t worthy of being loved by him.

“He was the prince. the future king. And she was no one at all, a limp excuse for a Silver daughter of a High House.”

After she becomes queen, she quickly deteriorates into paranoia and fear until she can no longer handle it. In the end, you get a sense of just how dangerous Elara (being a whisperer and all) is and what we might expect to see in Glass Sword.

For the most part I enjoyed this story. It was kind of depressing though to see this woman being brought down just for political gain.

I give Queen Song 4 out of 5 stars.

“We all have scars and ghosts of our own. Some drove us to the Scarlet Guard, and some were because of it. I know the sting of both.”

In Steel Cars we finally get to understand Farley a little bit more. I thought there was going to be a lot of action and Farley being just as hardcore as she was in Red Queen. But sadly, we only get a tiny bit of it, not enough to warrant a short story.

The main point that I took from this story is that Farley tries really hard to get her fathers approval, and it is just not happening. Something happened that led to them both joining the Scarlet Guard, but we never find out what that something was.

I didn’t like all of the narrative reports between Farley, Colonial, and Command. It just took much time to decipher and didn’t really help all that much. I just started skimming at that point and got the gist of what they were saying.

The only aspect that I enjoyed was meeting Shade, and then coming full circle with Mare enlisting into the Scarlet Guard.

I give Steel Cars 2 out of 5 stars.

Posted in History, Nonfiction, Shoes

HeLa (2/8/1951)

My husband just bought the Steph Curry 2.0 Black History Month basketball shoes. (Really he bought them because he liked the colors and the fact that they were Steph Curry’s.) After they came in the mail, we noticed that there was a date on the end of the shoelace. 2/8/51. I immediately started Googling to find out exactly what that date meant in relation to the shoes.

HeLa post


Okay…not very helpful. Obviously, I was going to have to be more specific in my search. So I tried again.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 11.34.47 PM


Alright, finally getting somewhere. I ignored all of the posts from Pinterest, mainly because I didn’t want to go through all of the pins to find the one I wanted. So finally a Wikipedia page came up. Something I could use as a springboard for further research!

Thankfully, I didn’t have to go digging further because I’ve already had some knowledge on the subject and told my husband the basics. So what is so special about 2/8/1951? In short, February 8, 1951 is the day a research scientist took cells from Henrietta Lack’s tumor that contained cervical cancer without her knowledge or consent. George Gey found out that these cells could be kept alive and was able to isolate a single specific cell, multiply it, and start a cell line. He called these cells HeLa and is termed “immortal” because they can be divided an unlimited amount of times in a laboratory. Scientists have grown approximately 20 tons of her cells, and there are almost 11,000 patents involving HeLa cells (Wikipedia).

Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.IMG_0001


Now we know who the shoes are about and what that day in history meant. Next is why did they choose those colors? Initially, I was not a big fan of the pink and purple combo (but it has slowly grown on me as my husband continues to wear them).

Google images

A simple Google search led me to this picture from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can easily see where their inspiration came from. What is neat about the Steph Curry shoes, is that this image is printed on the inside of the shoe! So I knew I was definitely on the right track when they matched!

If you want to look/buy the shoes, you can purchase them on the Under Armour website (link provided below)

UA Curry Two Basketball Shoes BHM

If you would like to purchase The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks you can click the link below for Amazon.

Amazon- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Posted in Funko Pop!, Movies

My New Obsession

Last month, I was at the mall with a friend and he took me into Hot Topic. Normally, I don’t shop at Hot Topic at least I haven’t since high school, so I was a little skeptical about going in. But then, I saw this wonderful wall of Funko Pop! I was like a kid in a candy shop! I have never seen these collectibles before and I had to have them all!!! I started off with just buying the Hermione in her Yule ball dress. As you can see they have multiplied very quickly in only a month. So my goal was to collect all of the Harry Potters and a few Disney Princesses. Boy, that didn’t last very long. Now, I have to get True Blood and a few Marvel characters!

I shared my new obsession with another friend of mine, and guess what she just had to tell me?! Funko Pop is releasing Sailor Moon collectibles sometime in April. O.M.G. my 90’s fangirling is about to come back! I was obsessed with this show and the movies back in the day. My friends and I used to fight over who would get to be Sailor Moon (we compromised and decided no one got to be her).

Aren’t they cute??

Sailor Moon Funko Pop Figures at New York Toy Fair 2016

For the life of me I could not find when they were officially going to be released! Most of the pre-orders that I have found are being shipped in May/June. I just happened to be in Game Stop last night, and the guy told me that I could start purchasing them on May 15th in store! So naturally, I already pre-ordered Sailor Moon and Luna! Can’t wait for them to become available!

Posted in Lists, Young Adult

April 5th

April 5, 2016 seems to be a big day for YA authors. It seems as if everyone and their mother is going to be releasing a book.

Let’s see there is:

  1. The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
  2. Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong
  3. Golden by Melissa de la Cruz
  4. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  5. The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski
  6. Silence by Mercedes Lackey
  7. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  8. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

My to-read bookshelf is going to expand by about 5 more books in just one day! I don’t know why all these authors decided that April 5th was the best day to release their book, but I can’t wait to hit up the bookstore to find out for myself!