Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mini-Review Whirlwind: Audiobooks, a New Favourite, and a Disappointment

Hey everyone! 
First, I want to apologize for my long absence from this blog. I don't really have much of an excuse, seeing as I'm stuck in quarantine with nothing else to do. But I've been planning something really
exciting that I hope to reveal soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

In the meantime, it's time for a reading wrap-up! I've recently discovered the joy of audiobooks, and have been listening to those quite a bit, as well as reading e-books and physical books.

I have several mini-reviews to bring you today, so let's just get right into them!

1. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, narrated by Dan Bittner

My Rating: ★★★★

This book was a delight. Wonderfully weird and atmospheric, with great characters. Despite the lack of any real solid plot, I greatly enjoyed this book. Bittner's narration was excellent and kept me hooked from the first chapter. 

Recommended for ages 16 and up. There are several instances of mature language, as well as some sexual comments, and one sex scene (not extremely graphic, but more descriptive than other similar scenes in YA.)

2. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Rating: ★★★★

This book, much like the first, My Lady Jane, was plain fun to read. This story is a fractured retelling of Jane Eyre, and I adored it. There were some A+ literary references, the characters were fun and quirky, and the writing was easy to read and enjoyable. 

Recommended for ages 13 and up. Despite a few vague sexual comments, and one or two mild curse words, this book was very clean. 

3. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, narrated by Therese Plummer and Michael Crouch

My Rating: ★★★★

This book was incredible. The audiobook narrators were freaking amazing, and it was hard to stop listening at times. The story was so wonderfully weird and whimsical, and the characters were fabulous as well. I loved Aza's relationship with her family, and I also got super invested in the romance, which is so rare for me, especially in YA novels.

Recommended for ages 15 and up. There are a few sexual comments, a reference to porn, and some mature language. Two female characters are lesbian and married.  

4. There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

My Rating: ★★

Trust me, no one is more disappointed than me about my dismal rating for this book. I was super excited to read it, but it quickly became a struggle to get through. You can read my review on Goodreads for more of my thoughts, but suffice it to say -- between some truly annoying point of view characters, obnoxious romance, and cringy dialogue, this didn't end up being the book for me.

Recommended for ages 15 and up. There are quite a few instances of innuendo, as well as some cursing. There is a fair amount of violence and descriptions of blood and wounds. Characters drink alcohol. One character is implied to be gay. Two minor characters are gay and married.

5. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, narrated by Robbie Daymond, Mark Bramhall, and Cassandra Campbell

My Rating: ★★★★

This book was an endearing, sweet story. It definitely lacked any real sense of plot, and some of the plot occurances seemed a far stretch to me, but overall I thought it was a sweet and enjoyable story with loveable characters.
The audiobook narrators were fairly good; however, some of the characters' accents were rather grating.

Recommended for ages 9 and up. There are scenes of peril, some alcohol use and smoking (by adults), and some talk of death and war.

6. The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

My Rating: ★★★★

This was another sweet, plotless story, but also a joy to read. I loved how quirky the setting was, and the characters were wonderful. Reinhardt's writing was smooth and enjoyable to read, and I'll definitely be looking into reading more of her work.

Recommended for ages 12 and up. There is an off-page motorcycle accident, resulting in injury. A few swear words. Characters smoke.

And that about wraps it up! Have you read any of these books? Or are you planning on reading any? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton [Spoiler Free Book Review]

My Lady Jane [The Lady Janies, #1]
by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton

Genre: YA historical fantasy

My Rating: ★★★★


Sometimes history gets it all wrong. 
This is the story of Lady Jane Grey, in a way that it's never been told before. 

Overall Thoughts

This book was, in a word, fun. It wasn't world changing. It didn't really make me think, or impact me in any great way. It probably will be forgotten a few decades down the road. But oh boy was this book just a heck of a good time.
It's lighthearted and fluffy, which makes it a perfect read for right now.

The Characters

These characters were not deep. They weren't incredibly complex. But they were still fun to read about, you know, as in the sense that Marvel movies are still fun to watch. The characters aren't particularly well developed, but no one honestly cares very much, because they're still fun characters.
That was definitely the case here. I liked all the major characters, though I did have issues with one character's obsession with girls. It wasn't a huge part of the story, though, so I was able to ignore it.


The plot for this book is absolutely ridiculous, true to a comedy form. It also has some elements of history woven in, so some of the events do align with real historical events.
The pacing is great; the book sucks you in and keeps you hooked through simple prose and a fast-moving plot.


The writing was not phenomenal, but that's not what I was expecting. It's a fun, light hearted comedy, and that's what the writing reflected.
The worldbuilding was a mashup of actual historical worldbuilding and the random addition of shapeshifting, which just added another layer to the already ridiculous (in the best way) plot. I thought it was fun.


Recommended for ages 15 and up.

A few mild swear words. I don't recall any extremely offensive words being used.
There's some violence, but more along the lines of cartoon violence than anything else. Nothing extremely graphic.
In terms of sexual content, there are quite a few instances of sexual jokes/innuendo. Descriptions of women's bodies (in a sexual manner.) Kissing. Numerous instances of nudity.
A very brief sex scene, without much description (it's more implied).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Titles That Would Make Great Band Names

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme originally created by The Broke and The Bookish and currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Hi all, it's Tuesday again! I'm so excited to be able to say that this post is the 100th post published on Rambles from My Library! I'm thrilled that this blog has come so far since its beginnings, and I'm looking forward to its continued growth in the next few months. :)

This week's prompt is "book titles that would make great band names." I'm excited to share my selections with you all! I've linked my reviews to any of the books that I've read, so you can check those out if any of the books seem interesting! I'll also link each book to Goodreads so you can read more about them, so I won't spend too much time talking about each one.

Without further ado, let's get into the list!

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads | My Review

Honestly, when I sat down to come up with titles for this prompt, this one was the first. I mean, just think about it: it's a perfect band name.

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Goodreads | My Review

I love this book so much, and I can definitely see why it's become such a classic YA novel. The characters are amazing. And it also has a great title. Win-win all around. 

3. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads | My Review

Hey, it works, right? I could see this title being a band name super easily. 

4. The Diviners by Libba Bray


This is a book that I really want to read, but I'm also a wimp when it comes to scary stuff in books, so I'm getting my brother to read it first. XD 

5. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


This book's title sounds like one of those instrumental bands that have really nice, calming music. 
This is also on my TBR, and I'm excited to get around to it!

6. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads | My Review

Yeah, I'm sort of cheating on this one. Because, you know, Firefight is an actual band name. Already. (No, I haven't listened to any of their music. I just know they're a band. XD)
But hey, if it's already a band name, of course this title would make a good one!

7. Heist Society by Ally Carter


I picked this book up on a whim and still haven't gotten around to reading it, but you have to admit, the title does sound a lot like a band name, doesn't it?

8. Paper Towns by John Green


The only reason I own this book is because I found it for super cheap, and now I'm obligated to read it. :P
The title has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

9. Sweep by Jonathan Auxier


My brother pointed out that a band name like Sweep would fit perfectly with some 1980's band names, so here you go. 
Plus, it's an amazing book and I just want more people to read it, okay?

10. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater 

Goodreads | My Review

Yes, I know I have two Stiefvater books on this list. Sorry not sorry. It's not my fault her books have such great titles!
Also, this book is criminally underrated and needs more love, so if you haven't read it, please go check it out!

Alright, bookworms, now it's your turn! Have you read any of the books on this list, and what did you think of them? (No spoilers, please!) Are there any YA titles you think would make good band names? Let me know in the comments! I'm excited to hear your thoughts. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson [Spoiler Free Book Review]

by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Adult high fantasy

My Rating: ★★★★★


Elantris was a city of gods, a place of magic and miracles. People came from all across the world to experience the healing and power of the Elantrians. 
Anyone could become an Elantrian. They could be taken at any time, raised to a god-like state. They lived in their city, harmonious and peaceful for eternity. Eternity ended ten years ago. 

Overall Thoughts

I never expected anything less than awesome from a Cosmere novel, and this one definitely did not disappoint. The beginning was somewhat slow, but it picked up and soon I couldn't put it down. I loved the political aspect of the novel, as well as the whole "fantasy world post-apocalypse" concept. 

The Characters

There are three major POV characters: Raoden, a prince who is forced into exile in Elantris; Sarene, Raoden's betrothed, and Hrathen, a high priest of the religion spearheading an invasion into the free states of the world. 
I liked all three of them. Raoden was very much a hero-type character -- well meaning, optimistic, and kind. I loved seeing him step up into a leadership role throughout the course of the novel, and I liked how much he cared about his goals and the people he served. 
Sarene was great as well, suspicious, quick-witted, and smart-mouthed. There were moments when I wasn't sure that I would like her too much, but overall, I really liked her. She had to make some really difficult decisions throughout the novel, and I really admired how she was able to make those decisions. 
Hrathen was fascinating. He's the villain of the novel, but he's so much more than just a mustache twirling evil mastermind. He's logical, driven by wanting to serve his God. He also wants to avoid bloodshed and death, which was such an interesting twist on a villain, and not one that I've seen too often before (most villains are more on the murderous psychopath side of things.)
There were some great side characters, too. I especially liked Ashe, Sarene's Seon (basically a servant, but if a servant was a floaty ball of light.) I thought that his personality was great (and hilarious, at times.)


The plot was definitely slow paced near the beginning. This seems to be a trademark with a lot of adult fantasy novels, but it is worth pointing out. It's way more politics centered than anything else, so if you're looking for an epic fantasy war story -- this isn't it. I like reading about politics in fictional worlds, though, so I was intrigued.
After the first 200 pages or so, the pacing picked up, and by the end was breathtakingly quick paced.
There were some good plot twists, as well. I felt that the reveal for some of the plot twists was slightly less than spectacular, but the twists themselves were good.
I felt like the plot did leave several major loose ends, as well, so it's definitely apparent why Sanderson has talked about writing a sequel to this book in the future. 


The entire concept of the world is that it was once full of magic, but now magic is basically a plague. I loved that concept so much, so of course, that part of the novel especially intrigued me. I loved the politics of the world as well -- both socially and religiously.
But -- magic plague, guys. Magic. Plague.
It's brilliant.


Recommended for ages 15 and up.

Swearing is mostly made up swear words/phrases. There may have been one or two minor real world swears.
Sexual content is limited to a few sexual references and comments, including a reference to "the wedding night". Characters flirt with each other. There may have been one instance of kissing, but I can't recall for sure.
Violence is... definitely the most disturbing part of the novel. In this storyworld, obviously there are people who can't die. No matter how gruesome their wounds. Which can... obviously get disturbing at times. A man is clubbed in the head. A brief description of the scene after a battle, with gruesome injuries described (not in detail). A character witnesses a human sacrifice. Mentions and descriptions of blood and wounds.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

YA Books to Keep on Your Radar in 2020

It was only very recently that I actually started keeping track of new book releases. Which was both a good thing and a bad thing, I guess. A good thing in that my TBR wasn't overflowing with new books, and a bad thing in that... I was never up to date with current releases. Ever. 
But I do try to keep up with current releases now, so fortunately (unfortunately?) I'm excited for some book releases this year. And mildly curious about others. 

So not all the books on this list are ones that I will 100% for sure will pick up, but they're ones that look interesting enough to me that I could see myself reading them. And of course, some are ones that I am desperately looking forward to and need to have in my hands right now --

Ahem. Sorry. Okay, let's just get into it. 

Unravel the Dusk [Blood of Stars, #2] by Elizabeth Lim

Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: July 7

I read and enjoyed Spin the Dawn last year, so I'm excited to pick up the sequel (and the conclusion to the duology!) this year. And just look at that gorgeous cover!

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: February 4

I'm really excited to read this book, and I have no excuses since it released a month ago now! It's about a princess, pirates, and mermaids, and just sounds really fun. 
I really hope it's better than the last pirate/mermaid book I read!  

Incendary by Zoraida Cordova

Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 28

I've been interested in this book since before the cover was revealed. It looks interesting -- apparently, it's a fantasy loosely based on the Spanish Inquistition, and has something to do with a girl who can steal memories? It sounded cool, anyway, so it makes the list.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: May 5

This author is one I've heard a lot about, but I've never picked up one of her books before. I do think that this one looks interesting, though -- it's about two girls, who find out that they're half-sisters when their father dies in a plane crash. It's a novel in verse, which I've never read before, but I'm still really curious about this one. (The cover might have something to do with it.)

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: March 10

This is a contemporary novel about a girl who runs away from her family's circus and joins a rival circus company. 
I want to read it just because of the circus aspect. I know, I'm so shallow.

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Genre: Dystopian
Release Date: May 19 

I'm looking forward to this with a mixture of hope and trepidation. When I found out that this Hunger Games prequel was going to focus on President Snow, I was... very worried. I'm sure many of you feel the same way. Regardless, I'm going to read it. But I'm not going into it expecting I'll love it.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Genre: Historical fiction
Release Date: May 26

I don't know anything about this book. Except that it's by Elizabeth Wein, the author of Code Name Verity, which is a fantastic book. But let me find a description so I can tell you something about it.
Okay, so it centers around an enigma machine that is smuggled into a small town, and the people who end up finding it. And it's based during World War 2, like many of Wein's other books. It looks interesting, so I'll be keeping my eye on it.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Genre: Historical fantasy
Release Date: March 3

Historical fantasy is such an interesting genre, and when I found out about this book, I was instantly curious. It's about Nannerl Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's older sister.
I've heard mixed opinions about this book, but I'm still very interested in reading it at some point!

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 8

I'm literally only interested in this book because Amie Kaufman (who co-authored The Illuminae Files) also co-authored this book. It seems to be about a forbidden romance between a goddess and human prince, and some politics thrown into the mix. 

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Genre: Historical mystery/thriller
Release Date: April 21

This book looks so interesting! I do admit, I didn't really pay close attention to it when I was first looking at the releases scheduled for 2020, but once I read the description, I was intrigued. It's about a girl named Seol who is indentured to a police bureau, and has to help a young inspector with his investigation of a murder. It's a historical novel that takes place in Korea, which makes me really curious, as not much historical fiction seems to focus around Eastern countries and cultures. 

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Genre: Fairy tale retelling
Release Date: March 24

This is a re-release of an older title, but it looks fun! I'm all here for fairy tale retellings, and a retelling of one of my favourite lesser known fairy tales -- The Goose Girl -- just intrigues me all the more. 

Fable by Adrienne Young

Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 1

I have not yet read any of Adrienne Young's books, but they all look so fascinating, so this one is going on the list! Fable is about a girl whose powerful father abandons her on a remote island, and her quest to regain her place at her father's side. It looks really cool, and I'm interested in reading it!

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley

Genre: Fantasy retelling
Release Date: February 11

Someone said 'literary retelling' so I'm here and present. This book is supposed to be a loose fantasy retelling of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and even though I've never read the book (or watched the Disney movie) I'm still very curious!

And a few that don't have covers revealed yet:

Rhythm of War [The Stormlight Archive, #4] by Brandon Sanderson - not YA, but my most anticipated book for this year! I'm so excited to read this next installment in The Stormlight Archive series, and to get to revisit this world and characters again!

Untitled [Dreamer, #2] by Maggie Stiefvater - I haven't even read Call Down the Hawk yet, but I'm already hyped for this book. I'm weird, I know. But ever since I read The Raven Boys, I have become a die-hard fan.

And that about wraps it up! Are you interested in any of the books that are on this list? Do you have any anticipated books that are coming out in 2020? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed but Hardly Ever Talk About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme originally created by The Broke and The Bookish and is currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl

It's Tuesday again! I want to apologize for how few posts I've managed to get up in the last little bit -- you'd think I'd have extra time for blogging now that I'm stuck indoors, but apparently not! :P Know that I am not wasting away the time on Pinterest -- I've been focusing intensely on my fiction writing in the last little while, juggling two WIP novels and a short story. It's been fun. :)

But on to this week's prompt! I honestly thought I was going to have trouble coming up with the books for this week -- books I enjoyed, but rarely talk about. I'm a very excitable reader, who loves shoving her latest fave onto anyone who will listen. 
But when I started making this list -- surprise, surprise -- I came up with ten books easily. Apparently I'm not quite as excitable as I thought. :P

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: A British operative in Nazi-occupied France is captured and forced to reveal Allied secrets. 

I don't know why I don't talk about this book more, since I genuinely did enjoy it. I guess it just doesn't fit with any of the topics I've really focused on here. Maybe I should do a historical recommendations post? (Let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in something like this!)

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: Six dangerous outcasts, an impossible heist, small chance of success. Or survival.

I was as surprised as anyone when I realized just how little I actually talk about this book. Because I did like it. A lot, actually. I have no idea why it doesn't come up in my conversation more often. 

3. Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: As Wren's behavior and addictions spiral out of control, her parents send her to a wilderness rehabilitation camp.

This is definitely an underrated book! It's not something I would immediately pick for myself to read, either, so I'm really glad my book club forced me to pick it up, because I adored it. I thought it handled its subject matter really well, and I loved the female friendships in it as well. 

4. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: A strange new star rises in the sky, and normal people develop superpowers. But this isn't the beginning of a superhero story -- it's the beginning of the apocalypse.

I actually know why I don't talk about this one too much -- it's because Brandon Sanderson's other books are so much better. :P But Steelheart is actually really good, though it does have its flaws (and books 2 and 3 should not have been written, in my opinion). But a superhero dystopia is a really interesting concept, and the first book displayed this splendidly (along with some great plot twists).

5. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My Rating: ★★★★
One Sentence Description: With twelve hours until her family is deported, Natasha isn't looking for friendship, and definitely not love. But then she meets Daniel, and everything changes. Can you fall in love in a single day?

I read most of this book in a single day (so the same amount of time the story takes place over!) and I loved it. The ending actually had me close to tears. Was it because I was feeling particularly emotional that day? Maybe. But I do think it's a great book, and I really should recommend it more often.

6. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: Meggie's father has the ability to read characters out of stories -- with dire consequences.

This is a childhood favourite that I'm pretty sure stands the test of time. Inkheart is a story about every book lover's dream -- what if fictional characters could come to life? And it's fabulous. The audiobook narrator also does an amazing job. :)

7. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

My Rating: ★★★★
One Sentence Description: Online, Eliza Mirk is LadyConstellation -- the anonymous creator of the popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea. IRL, her life is falling apart.

I really enjoyed this book. It's another contemporary that I don't talk enough about. Eliza's passion for her story was really relateable for me, since I'm also a storyteller (though I don't think I'd have the patience to draw a webcomic!) I also really appreciated the anxiety rep in this story and thought it was very thoughtfully written.

8. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: A senior demon writes letters to his nephew instructing him how to capture the soul of a young man.

I know The Chronicles of Narnia is the series that makes C.S. Lewis's books famous, but honestly? I enjoyed The Screwtape Letters more. I think that the whole idea of it was superb, and Lewis is a genius storyteller -- using the most unreliable narrator possible in order to showcase so much truth. I thought it was a brilliant story, and I loved it a lot. 

9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: The Dashwood sisters Marianne and Elinor are very different from each other, but draw closer together through the trials of love and heartbreak.

I think this was my favourite of Jane Austen's books. I loved Elinor and Marianne's relationship -- sisters in fiction so rarely have good relationships, so I enjoyed seeing theirs grow and develop. Plus, Captain Brandon was amazing. <3

10. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My Rating: ★★★★★
One Sentence Description: Lina's family is forced into a Soviet work camp during a dark period of Lithuania's history.

This is another hard hitting book about World War 2. This book focuses on a dark period of World War 2 that not many people know about -- Stalin's concentration camps. It was a really impactful book, and I'm interested in picking up more of Sepetys's books. I guess that historical fiction must not be something I talk too much about. I should change that.

And that about wraps it up! Now it's your turn! What books did you enjoy but hardly ever talk about? Have you read any of the books on this list, and if so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

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