Series Review: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Adult
Publisher: Image Comics

Series & Pub. Dates:
Vol. 1 (#1-6), 10/23/2012
Vol. 2 (#7-12), 6/19/2013
Vol. 3 (#13-18), 3/19/2014
Vol. 4 (#19-24), 12/17/2014
Vol. 5 (#25-30), 9/9/2015
Vol. 6 (#31-36), 6/29/2016
Vol. 7 (#37-42), 4/4/2017
Vol. 8 (#43-48), 12/27/2017
Vol. 9 (#49-54), 10/2/2018

Content Warnings: language, sex, nudity, violence, human trafficking (including children), substance abuse, domestic violence, miscarriage, death… I might be missing stuff, there’s a lot


When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.


Saga is a wild and weird adventure through the galaxy. Narrated by Hazel (who is born at the beginning of the story), Saga tells the story of her family’s journey to find safety and evade pursuers from both sides of a galactic conflict who view her parents as traitors and her existence as an abomination.

These comics are FOR ADULTS. I was a little uncomfortable with the graphic visuals and mature subject matter when I first started the series, but the storytelling is so dang good I kept coming back for more, averting my eyes from the images I didn’t want to see.

I was continually amazed by how much each new installment expanded upon the already fantastic worldbuilding and developed the characters emotionally. You will grow to love this little family of misfits and an array of side characters. On top of their fugitive status, they deal with everyday family issues in profound and relatable ways as Hazel grows up. Saga tugged on readers’ emotions from the beginning and was never afraid of crossing lines, but the last few installments in the series were particularly heartbreaking.

This is a bold, bizarre, and bingeworthy series with no boundaries, and I highly recommend it for sci-fi and fantasy readers looking to give comics a try. Fingers crossed the series returns soon, because I cannot get over that last cliffhanger!

Interested in reading this series? Check out my full review for Vol. 1!

Review: The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda


Rating: ☆☆
Title: The Last House Guest
Author: Megan Miranda
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 345 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Source: Purchased
Content Warnings: suicide




Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.


This book really disappointed me, especially since I went into it with such high expectations. I loved Megan Miranda’s previous thrillers, The Perfect Stranger and All the Missing Girls. And it was a Reese’s Book Club pick! But this did not live up to the hype.

This is not the thriller it was marketed as. It took me a too long to believe that there was even a mystery. I thought all of the clues and connections that convinced Avery there was more to Sadie’s death were actually very tenuous. There were too many characters and side plots that distracted from the overall story instead of contributing to it. I had to force myself to keep picking this up, and I probably would have DNF if I weren’t reading it for a buddy read on Instagram.

There were some great twists later in the book and I enjoyed how the ending played out, but for me it was too little too late. Unfortunately, this book struggled to keep up momentum, and I would recommend one of the author’s other books instead.

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Length: 648
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Purchased


The Queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


**Review contains spoilers for previous books in the series**

WOW! This was the best yet in the series. Aelin fully owns her identify, assembles her court, and takes down her enemies. Her years of training as an assassin are on full display, and combined with her newly-mastered Fae powers, Aelin is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Her relationship with Rowan is perfection. They care so deeply for each other and understand what each other need. There is no pressure, and they understand their priorities. I wish there was more romance, but I absolutely savored their moments together.

I was excited that the witches finally have a clear purpose in this series. I really liked Manon in Heir of Fire and I think she is going to have one of the most compelling arcs going forward in the series.

There was so much DRAMA in this book. Aelin, Aedion, Rowan, and Chaol struggled to trust each other and create a working dynamic. The Arrobyn storyline absolutely stunned me, and the ending left me FLOORED.

This book was so good, y’all. If you haven’t started this series yet, I don’t know what you’re still waiting for!

Review: Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson


Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Eight Perfect Murders
Author: Peter Swanson
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Adult
Format: ebook
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for Fans of: classic mystery books


“Fiendish good fun.” —Anthony Horowitz

From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. There is killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.


Eight Perfect Murders is written as an homage to classic mystery books, but overall it missed the mark for me.

The story started off strong. I was immediately sucked into the narrative. I found the copycat case compelling. I loved that Mal ran a mystery book store and its blog. I was intrigued by his secrets and his own investigation into the murders. I thought that most of the book was very well paced.

HOWEVER, I really disliked the moments with Mal’s narration broke the fourth wall and he spoke directly to the reader because it pulled me out of the story. The execution of some of the reveals was heavy-handed and overdone as Swanson attempted to emulate classics of the genre. I didn’t predict the killer’s identity, but I was disappointed by it, and the killer’s explanation of how he pulled it off was way too long and reminded me of a Scooby Doo villain monologue. I also disliked the ending.

This book should come with a major SPOILER ALERT for all the books on the Eight Perfect Murders list as well as a handful of other classic mystery novels. It’s not surprising that the books on the list were spoiled, and I wasn’t planning on reading most of them, but I’m still a little salty about all the spoilers.

Even though it wasn’t perfect, this was a very fast and engrossing read, and if you are already familiar with the classic murder mysteries this book is built around, you might enjoy this more than I did.

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Length: 378 pages
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Library (Libby)
Triggers: suicide ideation, suicide attempt, suicide completion, death, loss of loved one, grief, PTSD, bullying


The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.


This was a beautifully written, tragic, difficult, and important read. Violet and Finch have the quirky, intelligent, all-consuming kind of relationship that only seems to exist in YA novels. The novel alternates between their POVs.

I really enjoyed their school project visiting different attractions Indiana, and how they felt free to be themselves when it was just the two of them. Violet had been aloof since her sister’s death, but Finch helped her feel grounded again. However, Finch struggled with depression and a rough home life. The amount of things he was able to hide from his parents was staggering because they were so uninvolved in his life. He wanted Violet to be his savior, but that’s too much pressure to put on any one person. Finch needed more people to care about his well-being and his mental health.

This book deals with some very heavy and emotional topics, and I definitely shed some tears while reading. Make sure you are emotionally prepared before you pick this up, because it has a lot of potential triggers. This book shows how important it is to check up on the people you care about, pay attention, and trust your gut when something seems off because they may not be able to help themselves. At the same time, you are never singularly responsible for what goes on in another person’s head.

I did feel like the ending dragged a bit, and while this book made me very emotional, I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would’ve liked. That might be because I listened to the audiobook and I was not always giving this story 100% of my attention, or maybe I’m outgrowing this kind of YA story. Still, it was beautiful and heartbreaking, and I would recommend it.

Review: Crave by Tracy Wolff


Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2
Title: Crave
Author: Tracy Wolff
Series: Crave #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 571 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Source: Giveaway win
Recommended for Fans of: vampires, paranormal fantasy


My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.


VAMPIRES ARE BACK! For me they never left because I have consistently consumed vampire TV shows, but it has been awhile since I read a new vampire book. This gave me so much nostalgia and satisfied a craving for reading paranormal romance I didn’t know I had.

Crave was ridiculously compulsive and readable. Was it a literary masterpiece? No. Could I put it down? Also no. Grace’s narration was so easy to read and felt like being inside my best friend’s head. She had a such a strong voice full of snark and sass and humor, and I also enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek references to other vampire pop culture like Legacies and Twilight. I breezed through this book in less than 48 hours.

Jaxon was a classic tall, dark, and brooding vampire, a mysterious bad boy with both visible and invisible scars. The instant attraction between Grace and Jaxon drove much of the story. I was absolutely here for their slow burning, dangerous romance.

While this was a fresh take on paranormal romance, I still had a lot of questions at the end of the book, particularly about the supernatural lore and the specifics of the villain’s goal. I understand leaving things to be explained later in the series, but I expect more solid worldbuilding from a 571 page book.

A lot of people compare this to Twilight. They are both YA vampire romances, but other than genre and a similar cover design I don’t think they have too much in common. The combination of vampires, witches, werewolves, and DRAGON SHIFTERS is unique, and I can’t wait to learn more about how these species interact, not to mention the aftermath of that major cliffhanger, in book 2!

Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams


Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Title: Undercover Bromance
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: Bromance Book Club #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Andrew Eiden
Length: ~9 hours (320 pages)
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Source: Library (Libby app)
Content Warnings: sexual harassment, sexual assault


Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.


I want to start out by saying that this is the first audibook I listened to entirely at home during shelter in place for the COVID-19 outbreak. Normally I listen to audiobooks during my commute, but I was only able to listen to this while multitasking at home instead of giving it my full attention, and I think that took away from my overall enjoyment.

I do not think this book lived up to The Bromance Book Club, but it still had some really great moments. Braden Mack is an amazing MC; he is tough, hilarious, and has a heart of gold. I loved the development of the enemies to lovers romance with Liv (and I love that he was aware they were enemies to lovers). However, I found Liv to be very unlikeable, even though I supported her mission to expose her former boss for sexually harassing female employees at his restaurant.

I continued to love the Bromance Book Club. While the premise of a bunch tough, powerful dudes getting together to read romance novels is comical, they actually learned a lot of valuable lessons from their meetings. They learned not only how to please women, but how to respect them. While the book club helped them improve their personal relationships, it also helped them be more sensitive and supportive of all women.

While I supported the mission to seek justice for abused women, I found some of the “spy” stuff to be a bit far-fetched and farcical. I enjoyed the ending and the story overall, but I found some of the steps along the way to be unbelievable.

Review: Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Dark Skies
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: Dark Shores #2
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Length: 464 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Source: Netgalley
Recommended for Fans of: epic fantasy, Game of Thrones


Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.


This was my first Danielle L. Jensen novel, but it will not be my last! I was skeptical about reading Dark Skies before Dark Shores since it’s the second book in the series, but I’d heard you can start with either once since they take place in the same world at the same time but cover different characters in different places. I can confirm you do not need to read Dark Shores first to understand enjoy Dark Skies!

This is an epic fantasy that gave me major Game of Thrones vibes with all the plotting, scheming, politics, war, and shocking twists and turns, minus the extreme gore, sex, incest, and slow, dragging sections. The expansive worldbuilding was very well-integrated into the storytelling, and it only took a couple chapters for me to become fully invested.

I love how all of the characters, not just the MCs Killian and Lydia, are strong, complicated, and imperfect people who sometimes make wrong choices for right reasons, and vice versa. I even found it difficult to dislike some of the antagonists because their motivations were real and understandable.

I LOVE LYDIA AND KILLIAN SO MUCH! They are both such strong, determined, compassionate characters who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. They both struggle to reconcile their personal desires and their duty to the greater good. Their relationship was beautifully and perfectly developed. They bring out the best in each other when they are together, but countless obstacles force them apart.

The last act of the book left me breathless, gasping, and teary eyed. There were SO MANY new twists and obstacles I never could have predicted. I was floored. This book was incredible. I am so excited to go back and read Dark Shores now, and I cannot wait to see where this series goes in book #3!

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for my advance review copy of Dark Skies.

Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker


Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Say You Still Love Me
Author: K.A. Tucker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Devon Sorvari
Length: 373 pages (~14 hours)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)


Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.


This just didn’t grab my attention or capture my heart the way The Simple Wild did. Piper and Kyle had great chemistry and I enjoyed their second-chance romance, but I just didn’t have the emotional connection to this book that I expected.

The story is told in dual timelines: present day and thirteen years ago when Piper and Kyle were camp counselors together. Chapters alternate between Piper and Kyle falling in love for the first time as teenagers and them reconnecting as adults.

I think the story spent too much time in the past. I don’t think we needed so many scenes from summer camp to understand the significance of their relationship. We also learn early in the book that Piper and Kyle got fired that summer, but I think the reason should’ve been revealed sooner to keep the plot moving.

I appreciated that there was so much more to the story than just the romance. Piper faces challenges at work and struggles to gain respect as she takes over a high-level position at her father’s company as a young woman. Her relationship with her father becomes strained. She struggles to balance meeting others’ expectations and following her heart. I think that several characters show an impressive amount of growth throughout the book.

While I don’t think this book will stick with me like The Simple Wild, I did enjoy it, and I can’t wait to read more from K.A. Tucker.

April 2020 Wrap Up

April, another neverending month, is finally over! In April I read a total of 13 books, including 6 physical books, 5 ebooks, and 2 audiobooks.


Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas ☆☆☆☆☆
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas ☆☆☆☆☆
The Guest List by Lucy Foley ☆☆☆1/2
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda ☆☆
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen ☆☆☆☆
The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black ☆☆☆☆


Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆☆
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson ☆☆☆


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ☆☆☆☆
The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan ☆☆☆☆


At the beginning of the year, I shared my 2020 reading goals. When I post my wrap up at the end of each month, I also want to reflect on the progress I’m making toward reaching my goals.

Read 75 books: 47/75 (23 books ahead of schedule!)

Explore more genres: I’ve been focusing on comfort reads this month, but I’m getting frustrated with thriller/mystery books so I’m planning to take a break from those in May.

Buy fewer books: I bought Aurora Rising and preordered Aurora Burning but I think those were my only purchases in April.

Finish more series: I finished The Folk of the Air series! And I made great progress on a few others.

Reread more: The Sword of Summer

Read at least two classics: Not yet, but I’m planning to read one next month!

Read one graphic novel each month: Saga, Vols. 3-6

Overall, I’m proud of the progress I made in April. This is the highest number of books I’ve read in one month so far in 2020 (probably because I read so much Saga, but still). I have a few more weeks of distance teaching to go, and then I am out for summer! I’m hoping the life can slowly start going back to normal, but it’s hard to say right now. One thing I know is that I will definitely have even more time to spend reading during summer break.

How did your month go? What was the best book you read in April?