Books I Thought I’d Love But Didn’t | Discussion

I’ve done the alternate version of this post, with books I thought I’d love and ended up hating twice (click here and here). I figured it was only fair that I do the reverse of this. Considering the book community kind of thrives on hatred (no judgement here) and I hate a lot of books I truly expected to love. Some books I hate read – yes, I hate-read, let me live my life – but I promise these aren’t books that fell into that category.

These are all books I went in to with the highest of expectations. I was so ready to drop five-star ratings and scream praise from the rooftops. Unfortunately, they were all flops. I’ve kept it mostly fantasy book theme in this particular post, or books with fantasy elements in them. I definitely want to try and theme these posts so they aren’t just books from every single genre because I feel that makes them a little bit messy.

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Books I Didn’t Think I’d Like But Loved | Discussion

I know a lot of people have the ability to be able to tell what book they’ll like before they read it. I sometimes have this ability, but more times than not I don’t. I sometimes struggle to work out what I will like and what I won’t like. Typically I fall into reading what books are hyped, which leads to a lot of disappointment for me when they don’t live up to it.

It’s not all bad news though. Sometimes I pick up a book with a resigned sigh, not expecting much and discover a new favourite. Have you ever had this happen? If so let me know in the comments so I know I’m not strange.

Some of these books include:

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My Year in Books 2017

Hi everyone!

2017 was a pretty good reading year for me. I read over 200 books and enjoyed most of them. I figured instead of doing a massive master post I would just show Goodreads ‘A Year in Books’ thing. Mainly because I want a personal record I can reference back to. If that doesn’t interest you, I’m sorry! I’ll be back to normal posting soon.

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Happy reading everyone!

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The “Me in Book Characters” tag

I was so excited to be tagged in this original tag! I love the girls over @ Windowsill Books so here I am with the ‘me in book characters‘ tag. Thank you so much for tagging me in this Ash and Lo! I hope you enjoy my answers.


The Rules:

  1. Thank the creators of the tag (Us! Ash & Lo @ Windowsill Books)
  2. Thank whoever tagged you!
  3. List 5 book characters who you are most like and explain why.
  4. Tag your friends!

So, let’s jump into this! I was going to include fanart for each character but some of these characters don’t have any, unfortunately. I highly recommend all these books as well (obviously).

  • Ginny Weasley / Harry Potter

I absolutely adore Ginny Weasley. She is straight up my favourite character in the book universe. Hell, my mum even got me her wand for my 20th birthday. She is such a strong individual who never gives up. I see myself in her because she stayed resilient despite every struggle in her life, whether it be her or family. She never gives up and is not afraid to kick ass. My family say I’m more like Hermione, but I see so much of myself in Ginny that I can’t agree with them.

  • Nesta Archeron / A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’ve been told by countless of my friends that I am similar to Nesta from ACOTAR. At first, I was offended because of how she treats Feyre, but as we got to get to know her over the series I understood. She is fierce and loyal. You don’t mess with her family or her friends or she will come after you. I’m similar. If you do my friends or family wrong they may forgive you but I never will. I will be your worst nightmare. I also see Nesta as someone who doesn’t care for herself as much as she cares for whom she loves, and I believe I’m the same way. I’ve been told more than once that I ‘put my life on hold’ to take care of my mum but I disagree.

  • Julian Blackthorn / The Dark Artifices

Again, another fiercely loyal character. Is there a theme here? I seem to see myself as very loyal. Julian is a character I saw myself in with his struggles. He doesn’t want to ask for help despite the fact he knows he needs it. He knows that he will die under the stress he places on himself but he doesn’t care if he can keep his family innocent. For years my sister and I kept what was happening with our mum a secret. We didn’t want to worry our family or have them on our doorstep taking us away. I just love Julian so much. I am definitely not artistic like him though.

  • Grace Glasser / How To Make A Wish

Grace was basically me in a book. Her struggles with her mum, her personality, her determination. It was difficult to read because I related too much. The only varying factor of the book was our sexualities, this being one of the first f/f books I read. I still find myself reflecting on this book and just how powerful it was for me. The parallels I found between my life and Grace’s have me itching to re-read this.

  • Monty / The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice & Virtue

Yet another character who is fiercely loyal. There is one part of Monty I relate to intensely. That being his reaction when he finds out his best friend has epilepsy. It is incredibly ableist and not the best response, but it was raw and it was real. I finally got to read something I had gone through five years ago and that was so powerful for me.


Tags

Honestly, I don’t have anyone to tag for this but please feel free to do it! Tag me in your answers too, I would love to read them and what characters you find yourself present in!


Happy reading everyone!

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If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

Most Disappointing Reads of 2017

I’ve already posted my “17 favourite books of 2017” post but I feel I also have to post my most disappointing reads of this year. This was the year I decided to not fall into the hype anymore or be sucked into that mob mentality. Some of these books I had no expectations for but they still managed to disappoint me.

I didn’t have 17 books I despised (which is pretty good when you read 200+ books) so these are just a few of the books that made me want to slam my own head in a car door. I tried to specifically keep this to 2017 release but there’s a couple of years prior.

This isn’t to say you can’t like these books though. Go ahead. These are just books I personally don’t like. I won’t apologise for not enjoying a book you love as well. Plus, I kind of love these posts so I wanted to add to them.


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1. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings / REVIEW

Probably the most obvious on this list. Zenith doesn’t release until next month in 2018 but boy, did I hate it. The PTSD rep was absolutely terrible from my perspective and the characters were bland. I truly have no other words. It was a mess that was in serious needs of more editing. Honestly, certain sections of the book sound like different voices, you can clearly see the beginning has been edited more thoroughly and the middle and end were left as a clumped mess that didn’t flow.

2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber / REVIEW

I only read this as a hate-read, honestly, and somehow I was disappointed to still. The concept of nothing is real for your novel could be interesting, but don’t make that your plot twist when it’s basically the blurb for your book. I wasn’t impressed. Not to mention there was unresolved child abuse that had no background or did not follow the main character, the whole scene could have been taken out of the book and not a word would have to be changed.

3. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven / REVIEW

If you know me, you know I’ll take any chance to rant about this problematic trash fire. I will gladly put myself up to the plate and fight anyone who tries to defend this book. Because, really, it was just bad. I don’t know how it was. The two characters were simply their mental illnesses and nothing more. Not a single person tried to help either of them and every adult was bad and dangerous. A terrible message to have in a book for young adults about mental health.

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4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin / REVIEW

This was also a book I knew I wouldn’t like but had to give a try. It truly started to come back this year since The Unbecoming of Noah Shaw was coming out. I shouldn’t have bothered. This book is a clump of every early 2000’s cliche rolled into one. There’s nothing to distinguish this or Twilight in a lineup. It was not original at all and frankly, grossly misogynistic.

5. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher / REVIEW

With the TV show for 13 Reasons Why coming out this year, it was clear there was hype building up behind it. From the very first moment, I knew I would hate this book. There aren’t reasons you kill yourself, not ones that you can list. Placing that blame on 13 other individuals is sick as well. I figured I’d pick up the book though, so I had a leg to stand on in arguments (I also watched a couple of the TV show eps and ick, bad acting). I DNF’ed this book. It was honestly terrible. There was no substance and the fact that I learnt not a single mental health term is used throughout just made me mad. Honestly, everything about this book makes me mad. It is similar to All The Bright Places in the way it is just authors cashing in on mental health stories with no research or substance.

6. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson / REVIEW

An Enchantment of Ravens may actually be my biggest disappointment. I saw so many people hyping it up and comparing it to ACOTAR (one of my favourite series) so I was beyond hyped to jump in. However, that was not at all what the story was. I was shocked by the fact it did not meet a single expectation I had – which doesn’t bother me, but this book was just bad. Nothing really happened either throughout and I was just left feeling confused when I finished.

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7. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. Manus / REVIEW

I’m honestly surprised this book hasn’t caught much backlash. It follows basically the exact same thing as 13 Reasons Why. The ‘plot twist’ just vilifies people with mental health issues, yet again. It wasn’t even well written, it was slow and quite boring. There are so many better thrillers out in the book world. I think the reason this particular one was hyped was due to the Breakfast Club elements throughout. Something I don’t agree with at all. I  mean, I don’t like The Breakfast Club, but still. This book should be called out more than it is, just saying.

8. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab / REVIEW

This one will probably have mobs coming after me. I’m not a fan of V.E’s writing. At all. I have finished two of her books (this one and This Savage Song) and was not a fan of either. They are intensely overhyped and I just can’t fall in love with either the characters or the world. It just all falls flat on me. I have literally tried to read all of her books and I just can’t fall in love like everyone does.

9. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli / REVIEW

Another unpopular opinion? Don’t worry, there are so many others that I am not including on this list. I just can’t fall in love with Becky Albertalli’s writing and it sucks. I wish I could enjoy her books and support them (I still promote them highly to people). I’m also not really into contemporary novels where the main focus is simply just the romance. I need a bit more to keep me invested.


That’s it! 9 books of utter disappointment. I’m sure there are more but these are the nine that jump out and I don’t remember fondly. I’m sincerely glad if you loved some of these books! I really am, I just can’t deal with some of them, unfortunately.

What are some of your most disappointing books of this year?


Happy reading everyone!

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If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

Top 17 Books of 2017

Wow, 2017, what a year. So much has happened in my life. There have been so many hardships throughout this year and sometimes it was a mess. Sometimes it left me having a relapse in my room at 3am and sometimes it ended with me on top of the moon being so glad of all the progress I made.

But, you’re not all here to read about my mental health and my hardships of this year. You’re all here to read about what are my top 17 books of 2018. This was strangely an easy list to format. I tried to keep it mainly to 2017 releases, but some are just books I read this year and I adored. So, let’s get stuck into it. This list is in no particular order, so don’t assume because a book is higher up or lower it has more value.


1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Review

This is the one that will have people screaming at me the most I think. I know so many people despise Sarah and her books, but her representation of PTSD really helps me. So, having Chaol, the main character, suffering throughout the book was something that resonated with me and left my feelings all over the place. It was also interesting to learn about his recovery, my mum had been in a car accident and told she’d never walk again (she did and does) so it was interesting to read about something that upsets her too much to talk about.

2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia | Review

I think this hit a lot of people’s favourite books this year. The fandom representation and anxiety throughout hit the nail on the head. It was also interesting to see a character who wrote and fanfiction to be incorporated into a novel. I used to write fanfiction (cringe) so I sincerely enjoyed this dynamic because I met one of my closest friends from writing it.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Review

Now, this had to be one of my top books of 2017. It was incredible. It was the book I needed when I was younger and not sure where I fit in the world. When I truly needed some girl power. Honestly, I’m still speechless about this book but I will continue to scream about it and shove it into anyone’s hands I can.

4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare | Review

Okay, so obviously Lord of Shadows was my favourite book of the year. I’ve made it clear how much I adore Cassandra Clare’s books and The Dark Artifices series is no exception. Her writing has improved so much over 10 years so I’m even recommending this series who didn’t like The Mortal Instruments. I really am still speechless over this book. I will definitely be re-reading before Queen of Air and Darkness releases next year.

5. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty | Review

Now, The City of Brass is a shock favourite of the year honestly. It was such a magical read that really drew me in. The culture and just, overall, the story was so absolutely incredible. I am still unable to really grasp what happened in it and it’s another book I want to shove onto absolutely anyone who will listen.

6. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | Review

Mackenzi Lee’s work is one book that has stuck with me since I read it months ago. It was so what I needed. A story about two young men and a girl causing mischief throughout Europe with a sense of adventure and serious tones throughout the novel. My favourite thing about this particular work was the inclusion of epilepsy. As someone who’s mum has epilepsy, it was incredible to see it represented in fiction with such a raw emotion. It truly is difficult to see someone you love suffer.

7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series and the second book was no exception. I loved it. Honestly. This book also had some PTSD representation throughout it, that in my opinion, was so well done. The storyline is just as incredible as the first, even if I guessed the killer in this one. Maniscalco is just an incredible writer who I sing the highest of praises to.

8. A List of Cages by Robin Roe | Review

I read this book before I had my blog and really had a chance to rave about it. There are a lot of triggers in this book I wasn’t aware of but I read it in one sitting and was awake until late in the night crying over what happened. I still think about this book. My best friend actually bought me a physical copy for my birthday and I’m just so in love. It was just such an emotional punch so be prepared for that.

9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Review

This is probably the most shocking book on my list. I put this book down after starting it and wasn’t expecting to ever go back. I had bought it because it was pretty and $11. One day though I picked it up on a whim and wow. This book. I am completely in love with Lazlo. Yet another book I am recommending endlessly to my friends and family. I really think this particular one is a good fit for anyone.

10. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera | Review

I just loved this book. There are no words for me to even describe how great it was. Read it. Now.

11. Everless by Sara Holland | Review

This is a debut I just loved. The concept is just so intricate and so elaborate. I was blown away by it, not at all expecting a favourite book to come out of reading it. Sure, it doesn’t come out until next year for the US but this book is just so incredible you need to preorder now. 

12. How To Make A Wish By Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Similar to They Both Die At The End I have no words to describe this book. I am trying to shove it on my sister quite aggressively (because it needs to be shared) but she refuses to read it and it frustrates me. So, to everyone reading this you need to pick up this book. Obviously you need to pick up every book on the list, but still.

13. Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Review

I knew I was going to love Renegades. So, I wasn’t shocked when I loved Renegades. Recently its been the target of some homophobic reviews which is really annoying because this book is incredible. I absolutely love the anti-hero concept so I sincerely loved reading about it in Marissa’s beautiful writing style.

14. Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan | Review

This one kind of speaks for itself. It’s the final book in a series and makes the list because Rick Riordan is an incredible writer. His inclusion of the mythologies in his worlds are so flawless and engaging that I can’t help but fall in love with absolutely everything.

15. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | Review

This was probably the biggest shock for my list. I picked it up on a whim because the ebook was on my phone was some reason. I thought it was a series as well, I’m not sure why? I fell in love completely. This book is so underhyped. Why haven’t more people read it? I don’t understand, honestly. It is truly a masterpiece. The writing, the storyline,  the romance. All. So. Incredible. Pick this up, please.

16. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | Review

If you like Moxie, then you’ll love The Nowhere Girls. These two go right together with feminism movements. However, this one is a tad darker and intense. The girls fight back and a movement begins to protect others. It also made me realise some things about my own life I had to move through mentally. It was, however, such a powerful feminist read and I highly recommend it.

17. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Another unexpected favourite. This book got really popular on Goodreads for awhile and I decided to jump on the hype train. It’s such a beautiful f/f romance with pirates involved. Was not what I expected at all but I am glad to have it on this list!


So, there we have it! My top 17 reads of this year. Obviously, I recommend them all highly and sincerely suggest you give them as gifts to yourself (or others) this holiday season. All 17 books meant something important to me this year.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What are some of your favourite reads of 2017?

How Did I Start Reading?

This is a bit of a funny story, actually. My reading career began at the age of four when I started primary school. Something that, originally, I had been excited for until the first day. The first day I managed to rip a clump out of my hair and rip my school uniform off about six times before my mum even got me in the car. I was a mess. A few weeks after that disaster I took my uniform to my mum with my shoes and told her “I’m done now, I’ve learnt to read.”

I wanted to read because of my mum as well. She read so much before her epilepsy diagnosis. She always had a book in hand and I wanted to be just like my mum. She would sit with me for hours listening to me sound out words and read. She made sure to support every little thing. Most Friday’s I’d come home and she’d have bought me a book for the weekend. My mum was who started my passion and supported that, from day one. I will forever adore and love her for that.

So, I’ve been reading for sixteen years, basically. It wasn’t a gradual thing. I fell in love with it completely and truly haven’t stopped reading since then. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve stopped reading due to friends bullying me for it, but the passion is always sparked again.

The first time I stopped reading was when my mum met a man who had three sons. The three sons used to rip the back pages out of books and then give them to me to read. So, I eventually gave up because I was sick of being teased. That was until Twilight came into the world. I went on the hold list at my library and waited for the book to come in, hoping I would be able to join that trend. Boy, did I jump on that hype train. Twilight became my life. When I got some money from doing chores I went and bought all four books (they were $9 each at my local store). I was so happy and read them all so quickly. My love for reading had returned and I was at the library every week lugging my grocery bag the 10-minute walk.

A year after my love for the library began we moved far out of town. So far that there was no library near us! My mum worked every day and wasn’t able to take me since I was too young to be in town every day (I was 12 at this stage). So, I spent an entire summer holidays (6 weeks) reading the Twilight series cover to cover. I eventually hit high school and discovered books that are my favourites today, Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments.

However, I changed high schools after a year and a half and made friends who told me “reading is, like, totally not cool”. So, I was embarrassed and stopped. Whenever I brought up reading they’d roll their eyes or tell me to get “a real hobby”. A year later a new friend I made loaned me her copies of The Hunger Games. I fell in love, much like I did with Twilight. I read those books cover to cover around 20 times, discovering everything that was within those pages.

My passion for reading was back, I was so happy! It was during this spark I discovered another favourite series of mine, Percy Jackson and The Olympians. I was ecstatic!

Then we moved again. It was a trip to a store that I learnt The Mortal Instruments was more than three books! WHAT?! 15 year old me was in shock. I quickly started back up with the passion I had when I was 10, reading books at an alarming speed and going to the library regularly.

I made a stupid decision after this. Some things happened in my life, bad things. I ended up in a relationship and he told me that reading was the dumbest thing i could possibly do. He basically told me because it kept me from replying to him quickly so I should just stop. So, I did. He wouldn’t message me for hours and I would sit around bored because I didn’t want him to be mad. I was stupid, I know.

It was after we broke up (and boy, was that a great day) that I came back to reading. I had an urge to re-read Percy Jackson and The Lightning Theif and what a great decision that was. That was three years ago. For three years I have been completely passionate about reading and unable to stock. People get shocked by how much I read, but everyone I have in my life is super supportive. My friends love hearing about my relationships with publishers that I’m growing and the blurb of whatever book I’m reading. My mum always asks what I’m reading, and I’m so grateful for her pushing her love of reading on me.

Reading was the escape I needed during so many bad times in my life. Reading has been the friend I’ve needed when I cried myself to sleep. Reading has been my home when my family was sitting on the threat of homelessness. Reading has always been there for me, reading always will, and I am a reader to the core.

Queen of Air and Darkness Cover | Discussion

Hi everyone! I just wanted to quickly discuss the new Shadowhunters cover briefly. This is my first post like this, so I’m sorry if it is incredibly messy!

I’m not sure when I’ll post this but I’m writing this on the day the Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare cover has been released at YallFest. I have a lot of feelings about it and I feel that as my self-acclaimed Shadowhunter Trash self I have to be very vocal about this cover. Mainly the fact that I hate it.

For those who haven’t see the cover here you go: 13541056.jpg

I have a few big problems with this cover. Now, I am in no way an art student or design student or have any knowledge of how a cover should look. I am simply speaking on what I think of the cover.

So, I hate the red on the cover. The first two books are such deep and cool tones that I feel allude to the what is inside the novel. The red makes me think of blood, straight up. Which, maybe the point considering how Lord of Shadows ended. However, I just don’t think it fits. Objectively, it would have been fine for a series by itself but being the final book in a trilogy I feel it really should match the two books. Is that just me? Am I being too passionate about this red bit?

My other major problem, which I think is even larger than the red (I know, I’m dramatic about this, sorry) is the who on the cover. Now, this section may include spoilers (I’m not sure, really) so I would advise getting out of this post if you’re hoping to avoid them. The who is the antagonist of the series. The character who basically, for lack of better terminology, fucked shit up hard in Lord of Shadows. Why do they get a cover? Why not Cristina, our beautiful woman of colour? Why not Ty? Hell, why not Mark, who I despise? Anyone would have been a better character on the cover. Bloody hell, you could have put Clary and Jace on the cover and it would have made more sense. I just really can’t grasp the concept of putting the antagonist on the cover of a book, especially since I would say this particular one is worse than all previous antagonist in the Shadowhunter world combined.

On minor notes, there are little things that annoy me like why is her face so white? What do the broken runes she’s standing on symbolise? Why did the designers choose this trash cover? Just the little things.

Since this is just a post about me complaining, I also want to briefly mention how frustrating that the release date changed. I was pretty resigned to waiting until 2019 and getting The Last Hours next year. I was ready. But, they switched the release dates and you bet I sat in my room screaming for an hour. However, the new release date for Queen of Air and Darkness is bloody 4th of December 2018. I can’t finish a 700+ page book in December because it’s my busiest month of the year. Not only that but what was the point in changing the release date? Putting it at the end of the year basically means it comes out in 2018. Sure, sales may be better because it’s released at Christmas time but it’s just such a pain in the ass and I am way too passionate about this, I’m realising.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the cover? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you even care? Tell me what you think in the comments!

First Line Friday’s #4

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So, what’s it about? 

First Lines Fridays is a weekly — obviously — feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words where we dare to ask: What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author, or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? It is a meme that allows us to explore the world of fiction.

I myself judge books by their author, cover, and notoriety. So, seeing people do this challenge for months has had me pick up some pretty amazing books.

How it works? 

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be a current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page.
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t provide any other details about the book just yet — let’s see if it hooks the reader in!
  • Finally…reveal the book!

Eliza Mirk is the kind of name you give to the creepy girl who clings to her ex-boyfriend for weeks after he’s dumped her because she refuses to accept he hates her guts. Eliza Mirk is a low-level villain with a secret hideout in the sewers. Eliza Mirk belongs in a comic book.


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Credit @ L_O_Attraction

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The book is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Buy Links: Amazon Book Depository

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, depression

My Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary, mental health

Goodreads Synopsis:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Eliza and Her Monsters is one of the most amazing books I have had the pleasure of reading. I was blessed enough to read an eARC and immediately preordered the physical copy after finishing. It is truly one of the best contemporaries I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot. It really displays mental health in a jaw-dropping way that is basically flawless. Eliza is one of the most relatable characters in fiction.

I don’t have a lot of words for this book and I will never be able to write a full review to display my love for this book, but I can highly recommend you do pick it up. Even if you don’t usually grab for contemporaries, this is one you need to.