Spoiler Free Review: The Last True Poets Of The Sea by Julia Drake

Title: The Last True Poets Of The Sea

Author:ย Julia Drake

Pub. Date:ย October 1st 2019

Genre: YA LGBTQIA+ Contemporary

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 400 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

This character driven story set in atmospheric Maine with its lyrical writing truly enveloped me every time I jumped into its pages. A story about familial bonds, depression, anxiety, self harm, and friendships. A family going through some very tough times & navigating as best they could in an effort to hopefully recover. We meet Violet who finds herself experimenting with drugs, alcohol and risky sexual behavior as a coping mechanism. Violets brother has just survived a suicide attempt & has been sent away to get help. Violet’s parents decide to send her to Maine with her uncle in an effort to get her back on track. Violet’s approach to a summer in Lyric is to do the opposite of what got her sent away. She decides to fade into the background, stepping away from center stage in an effort to become invisible. Giving up her clothes, hair, and makeup Violet claims a new identity in Lyric. While there, she is made to work at a nearby aquarium that is having a hard time keeping its doors open due to lack of funding. She was given the position because her great great great grandparents who were shipwrecked in Lyric are said to have discovered the island & therefore were the first to lay down roots.

We follow Violet as she makes friends with Orion, an animal lover who loves working at the aquarium. Orion then introduces Liv to his tribe of friends and from there bonds are formed. We also get a bit of a love triangle seeing as there’s history between Liv & Orion before Violet steps into the mix. This love triangle is the only reason for which I docked it 1 star, I just wasn’t a fan of how Violet went about her relationship with Liv & Orion. I understood Violet could be reckless at times but it really came across as her being self centered. Which again is something Violet is aware of & tries to work on but still I just couldn’t get behind it. Maybe it’s because I LOVED Orion & still think he was dealt a pretty crummy hand. Apart from this love triangle I did appreciate an enjoy each of these characters for different reasons. Liv is a historian in the making & is researching Violets great great great grandparents/shipwreck. She has a ton of questions as to what really happened and this is how she comes to connect with Violet. Orion is easily my favorite because he’s just a chill laid back guy who loves this struggling aquarium and all of the animals that live in it. There are two other side characters, one of which is a tarot card reader in the making who I enjoyed but don’t think he got much page time. Last but not least is Violets Uncle who also has a complicated relationship of his own with his sister (violets mom) and can relate best. He also happens to bake & work on puzzles on his down time as a method of coping with his own anxiety. We all need an uncle like this in our lives ๐Ÿ–ค

At its root, this book is about the bonds we have with our family & those we make along the way. How no family is perfect & though we may get lost along the way, the journey to finding our way back makes us all the better/stronger. I’m looking forward to reading more books in the future by Julia Drake, especially ones centered around family.

Content Warning: drug/alcohol abuse, talk of suicide attempt, talk of anxiety & panic attacks


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: TO BE HONEST BY MAGGIE ANN MARTIN

Title:ย To Be Honest

Author: Maggie Ann Martin

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre:ย YA Contemporary/Romance

Publisher:ย Swoon Reads

Pages: 304

Content Warnings:ย eating disorders, fat shaming, emotional abuse, cheating, anxiety/panic attacks

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

ย ย ย ย 

๐Ÿ–คย Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review ๐Ÿ–ค

We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she also has to deal with a difficult, strained, and just plain toxic relationship with her mother. Savvy’s mom went through a life changing event after her husband/Savvy’s dad cheated on her with her best friend. Her mom won a spot on a weight loss TV show & was flown across the country for intense weight loss training. Upon her return, her whole outlook on weight was toxic and Savvy was unfortunately the person she affected most. We see Savvy miss the relationship she used to have with her motherย  prior to the drastic weight loss. Savvy is vocal with her thoughts on the unhealthy weight loss these TV shows promote which causes her to butt heads more often with her mom.

“It took everything within me not to add some extra hashtags, like #LoveYourBody or #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. I walked such a fine line with her because, yes, she was my mom, but I also did not agree with her views on her body and my body, for that matter”

That being said, Savvy really does love her mom & since it’s just the two of them home now, she tries her hardest to not cause friction or let her mom’s comments get to her. We follow their relationship & the very real fights that take place leading to days of silence. Maggie Ann Martin also did a A+ job of showing us Savvy’s mom & her battle with body image. I felt terrible for her mom because you know she’s a good mom but life’s curve ball really threw her off & her self esteem really took a hit. I wanted so badly to see her mom get the help she so desperately needed & be a positive role model for Savvy.

Savvy is in High School & we also get to follow her life outside her home which balances out against her home life. Savvy has an amazing best friend who she enjoys spending time with. She’s also a math tutor on the side but her real passion is journalism. There’s a a really caring teacher who encourages her not to drop out of working on the school’s paper & it leads to the sub-plot of this book. We see Savvy uncovering some under the table dealings with one of the athletic departments. We also see her tutoring turn into something more than ๐Ÿ˜‰ย & I cannot tell you the number of times I found myself smiling for Savvy ๐Ÿ’“

Savvy-ย Our MC stole my heart! she’s her own level of cool & doesn’t even realize it. Savvy is fat, tall, blue eyed and blonde with no interest in losing weight in the same unhealthy manner her mother has. She definitely has her inner monologue of self doubt running in the background but she knows that to love her is to love ALL of her & nothing less will do! This made her all the more relatable cause we all have those moments of self doubt but to see her love the skin she’s in meant everything to me ๐Ÿ’“ย Savvy is also very funny, knows all the lyrics to every Eminem song, and is a math wiz even though she’d much rather be writing to make a difference in the world of journalism.

Ashley-ย aka Big Sis ๐Ÿ’œย I LOOOOVE the sibling relationship between Savvy & Ashley who is now in college & trying to be there for Savvy even while college life is taking place. Ashley is described as being tall, slender, and a beauty by Savvy herself but never does Ashley make Savvy feel anything less than a beauty herself. Ashley is Lesbian & seeing Savvy encourage her to show interest in her college crush was the sweetest! ๐Ÿ’œ

Grace-ย Savvy’s best friend & partner in crime when it comes to journalism. Grace is Colombian & part of a BIG family who has welcomed Savvy into their circle whole heartedly. What I loved MOST about Grace is how supportive & in tune she is with Savvy when it came to her anxiety/panic attacks and general discomfort. She also isn’t afraid to give it to Savvy straight when she sees her bestie self sabotaging her own chances. Grace legit got Bestie Award Of The Year from me at the very end when they went shopping for Homecoming dresses…๐Ÿ˜‰

George-ย The love interest here who also happens to be Grace’s cousin. I knew this guy was going to be a favorite of mine the minute he corrected Savvy for thinking he wasn’t part of the family based on his more Caucasian appearance. George is also blonde, tall, and slender and very much Columbian ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝย George is tutored by Savvy in math & all throughout we see him take a real interest in Savvy. Legit I wish I had a George in my life at 17 ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

To Be Honest (see what I did there? ๐Ÿ˜‚)this book hit very close to home, I wasn’t expecting it to stir the feelings that it did in me but by the end I was left asking where was this book when I needed it MOST?!?! growing up as a plus sized gal myself. This book introduced me to Savvy, a fat MC who isn’t fiercely confident in the skin she’s in but she isn’t NOT confident either if that makes any sense. Well it did to me since this was the attitude I adopted in High School, I was Savvy & the things she experiences in this book with her mother and even in her love life, are things that feel all too familiar to me as a grown woman looking back. I wish this book had existed back when I found myself in a toxic home & turned to books as a way of comfort. Within these pages I see strength & courage for those who just want to love themselves but keep getting dissuaded at every turn. I see a MC who although she battles internally with what others may think…knows that she won’t allow anyone to love her any less. This book handled a variety of topics well, body image & mental health being at the forefront. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to read this book as I am currently on my own personal weight loss journey. This book lifted my spirits & reinforced my confidence in my own path to healthy ๐Ÿ’ž


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! To Be Honest will be hittingย shelves this coming Tuesday August 21st, 2018 & I cannot wait to pick up my copy to display on my shelf of positive rep ๐Ÿ’œย If any of you lovely Bookworms haveย recommendations for plus sized rep books, please drop them in the comments down below ๐Ÿ’ž


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Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Title:ย The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Pub. Date:ย October 24th, 2017

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher:ย ย Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Pages:ย 416

Formats:ย eGalley

ย ย ย ย 

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano can very well be seen as a gender-bend version of the King Midas & the Golden Touch myth. We are introduced to Wil Heidle the only daughter to the Northern King as well as her 3 brothers & mother. The King himself is a man who will stop at nothing when he sets out to seize lands & so the North is at the brink of war with the South. The South may not be wealthy like the North however, the King knows that the land itself is rich in medicinal plants that can produce miracle cures.

The King sees each of his children as pawns & as such has groomed each of them to serve a purpose in his Kingdom. Wil however is the child he has always feared & never loved due to the circumstances revolving her birth. She wasn’t born with her mothers beauty but rather with what appeared to be a birthmark over her heart. From the moment she was born she was said to be carrying a great evil…ย EVERYTHING Wil touches that has life turns into gemstone.ย No one including Wil herself are aware of this dormant power & so the King who trusts no one, decides to groom her from a very young age to be a spy to the Kingdom. Until the day Wil’s power manifests itself in the worse possible way leaving tragedy in its wake. Wil is forced to leave the kingdom & chooses to go in search of a cure for what she believes is a curse. Hiding her true identity, Wil ventures into enemy lands in the South on her quest for a cure. Meeting another cursed soul was never in her plans. Finding out that he’s the Prince of the South doesn’t simplify things.

King of the North- a man only interested in power & the lands he can acquire. He loves his wife who is his Achilles heel but he will use his kids and their skills to his benefit whenever he sees fit.

Queen of the North-ย It scared me how much of myself I saw in this character. The Queen has OCD & her biggest fear is anything bad happening to any one of her kids. She spends nights awake roaming the castle halls checking in on them to make sure they are breathing. Oftentimes counting random things such as the number of kisses she gives each one of them while they are asleep. The Queen has a wanderer heart which she gave up once she became the Queen & a mother but her free spirit lives in on in two of her kids.

Wil Heidle- Craves to see the world & experience life in all corners of the world, Wil is very much like her mother. She is also a very talented spy who really just wants to make her father proud. This is her only connection to her father & so she works hard at gathering secrets all throughout the kingdom. It is because of this that she plays all her cards close to the chest & has her walls up high. Wil loves her family, flaws & all but it’s her brother Gerdie she is attached to most.

Gerdie Heidle- Struck by Gray Fever when he was a child, Gerdie is a living miracle. He is able to walk with the assistance of metal leg frames & wards off fevers via his homemade remedies. He is an alchemist & therefore the King looks to him for warfare & ingenuity. Gerdie & Wils relationship was my favorite of them all in this book. The scenes in Gerdies lab were some of my favorite & I could vividly imagine the mini explosions Gerdie set off while Wil ran to check on him.

Owen Heidle-ย Oldest son & therefore heir to the throne, Owen will one day be king & perhaps the kingdom would be better off with him in charge. Also a wanderer like his mother, Owen has traveled the world & seen many things. He has a vision for the Northern kingdom & preventing his father from starting a war is top priority. Owen loves all his siblings & is seen as the level headed responsible one of them all.

Baren Heidle-ย The son the king has cast off as useless. He lacks the IQ Gerdie brings to the table & the logistical/physical skills Owen carries. This has made Baren into a very bitter & angry brother/son who hates everyone except his mother. I would’ve liked to have seen more of this character, he was definitely treated as the invisible son.

Loom & Zay-ย Later on in the story we meet the Southern Prince Loom & his traveling companion Zay. The Prince does carry a curse within him & very much like Wil doesn’t agree with the way his father the Southern King is running the land. They are enemies without knowing it & so their relationship is based on lies. Won’t go into detail for fear of spoilery things but I will say that I really did enjoy Looms character. He has a big heart & wants to do more for his people in many ways similar to Owen Heidle. Zay his companion is AMAZING!!!! she is the definition of Momma Bear! very maternal, Zay will fight you to the death if you hurt her loved ones.

A solid start to The Glass Spare series!!! this was my 1st Lauren DeStefano read & it really took my by surprise how invested I got in this story. I picked this book up on a late Friday night & couldn’t put it down, before I knew it I had reached the last sentence. A genderbend version of King Midas & the Golden Touch, one of my favorite myths growing up as a kid. My first revelation was that Wils power although it may sound beautiful at first is actually pretty gruesome when seen in action. No, not everything that glitters is gold & pretty! I still have this one scene in my head that was very descriptive & left me contorting my face & literally shaking my head NO! (yes, yes I am a scaredy cat) & yet I REALLY enjoyed her writing LOL! I kept flinching whenever she came into close contact with another person in fear she’d turn them into a giant ruby, trust me it isn’t pretty. The character relationships were my favorite & even the King in the North managed to make me question whether he was always that cold. Speaking as a person who deals with OCD, I found the Queen to be extremely relatable with compulsions I myself carry out on the daily. I will most certainly continue on with this series & highly recommend to those looking for a strong & fresh take on a tale as old as time ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE Thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Lauren DeStefano for the eGalley copy of The Glass Spare in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! what are some of your favorite myths/legends/stories you’d like to see given a modern twist? Does The Glass Spare intrigue you? I’ll be picking up my finished copy this Tuesday the 24th & sending a quick wish to the Book Gods that the wait for the sequel isn’t long ๐Ÿ˜‰


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WWW Wednesday 10/11/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byย Sam @ Taking On a World of Wordsย and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Vivโ€™s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the โ€™90s, so now Viv takes a page from her motherโ€™s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. Sheโ€™s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

*I started Moxie yesterday & am currently 53% head over heels in LOVE with this book! trying to stop myself from inhale reading it has been a challenge. The MC Viv is someone who knows she wants to be a part of the change needed in her school but fears being ostracized. Her mother is her inspiration for the creation of Moxie, a “zine” aka magazine calling all girls to stand united against the sexism & misogyny widely accepted in her school. Best part: getting to see the Zines Viv creates, LIVING for the illustrations! โค review to come this week.

On Monday I finished & reviewed the EPIC time traveling adventure that was Invictus by Ryan Graudin (my review). If ever I were to have a checklist of things I’d like to see in a YA Sci-fi book, Invictus sure came close to meeting them all. Fun, well paced, amazing characters you can’t help but get attached to…sigh…I miss this crew so MUCH!!! *sobs* while I wait for Graudin to bless us with news of ANYTHING else set in this world, I’ll console myself by reading her other books ๐Ÿ™‚

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the worldโ€™s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her fatherโ€”whose obsession with building his empire is causing a warโ€”Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrifiedโ€”but as she tests its limits, sheโ€™s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom thatโ€™s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

Next I’ll be reading The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano.ย I was lucky enough to get a Galley from Harper & can’t wait to dive in. From the synopsis I’ve gathered that this is sort of inspired by King Midas and his golden touch. I’ve also heard mention of mental health & disability rep being included in this story which makes this a MUST READ for me.ย 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if youโ€™re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3โ€™s!


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