Anne of Manhattan – Brina Starler | Review

After an idyllic girlhood in Avonlea, Long Island, Anne has packed up her trunk, said goodbye to her foster parents, Marilla and Matthew, and moved to the isle of Manhattan for grad school. Together with her best friend, Diana Barry, she’s ready to take on the world and find her voice as a writer.When her long-time archrival Gilbert Blythe shows up at Redmond College for their final year, Anne gets the shock of her life. Gil has been in California for the last five years—since he kissed her during a beach bonfire, and she ghosted him. Now the handsome brunette is flashing his dimples at her like he hasn’t a care in the world and she isn’t buying it.

Paired with the same professor for their thesis, the two former competitors come to a grudging peace that turns into something so much deeper…and sexier than either intended. But when Gil seemingly betrays her to get ahead, Anne realizes she was right all along—she should never have trusted Gilbert Blythe.

While Gil must prove to Anne that they’re meant to be together, she must come to terms with her old fears if she wants a happily-ever-after with the boy she’s always (secretly) loved.

Story Graph | Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In this book Anne and Gilbert had a childhood full of rivalry and heated arguments, they meet again when Gilbert moves back home to New York and transfers to the same Masters program as Anne. The two of them share a friend group, advisor, and thesis project. I haven’t read the original Anne of Green Gables story or read any other adaptation so I have no familiarity with the characters or world. Nothing in me expected this to be such a fun read or for how quickly I read this, all year I’ve only been able to focus and truly dive into my urban fantasy reads. Yet this random romance came out of nowhere and surprised me. 

Anne of Manhattan is full of personality and charm. I loved how Anne is particular and likes all the areas of her life to align and how Gil enjoyed bothering her and messing up her plans. This book has no plot and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Anne of Manhattan is basically fanfiction of the original story; so it reads like any other fanfiction. For a reader like me this is a plus, but even though I enjoyed it I can easily see this annoying people who prefer plot-driven stories or don’t like fanfiction. There are scenes of them going to work, planning their thesis, and generally pining over each other. Getting to see the casual moments of Anne and Gil hanging out, bickering, and the tension of their will-they-won’t-they romance was fun for me so I read this book in one sitting. 

The cons to this book are all in the final 30 or so pages. A lot of sudden obstacles are thrown at Anne and Gil’s relationship and it’s utterly ridiculous. *spoiler alert* After a stupid argument he tries to meet Anne for a coffee and is hit by a car. Anne thinks he stood her up and they don’t talk for over a month. I cried laughing at this, I couldn’t breathe. Honestly the ending of this was so soap-opera esque that it took me out of the story and is why this is 4 star not a 5 star. 

Do cheesy moments or plotless books turn you off from reading?

June Wrap-Up

Welcome to my May wrap-up. I’ve finally admitted to myself that this is my real reading pace. Last year was … different. In 2020 I was reading a lot because there was nothing else to do, I’m still at home and not leaving the house much but I’ve returned to my other interests. I can comfortably read about 4 books a month unless the spirit of reading overtakes me and I’m fine with that.  

What I Read

Cry Wolf – Patricia Briggs

I started the companion series to the Mercy series. Cry Wolf was lackluster, it didn’t have the same pull that the Alpha and Omega short story had, and the POV’s felt too similar to each other. A witch attacks the Marrok’s pack while they were already having tension due to some of the Marrok’s decisions. I’ve seen comments on the Native representation in the Mercy series, and have reached a point in that series where Briggs tried to correct some of her earlier mistakes. But Charles is worse to me. Even I can see how Charles is just the “Stoic Indian” stereotype; he actually had more of a well rounded personality in the short story and fell flat in the full length book. Hopefully Charles’s character gets more depth because I will at least try to read the second book in this series. On a positive note I like Charles and Anna as a couple dealing with how quickly their wolves mated as their human sides try to catch up. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sleepless Vol 2 – Sarah Vaughn Alissa Sallah Leila Del Duca 

I don’t have much to say for this one. Lovely art, neatly wrapped up ending, I wish this was a longer series. I really wanted to spend more time with the characters and the world.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 Silver Borne – Patricia Briggs

In this Mercy installment Mercy is trying to keep Samuel alive. After a failed suicide attempt his wolf, Sam, has taken over and Mercy needs to convince Samuel to stay alive before Bran or Charles comes to execute him. As this is going on Mercy is trying to fight off fae who want her dead. I really like how mental health is handled in this series. Werewolves are very matter of fact about mental health and usually come together as a pack to help each other. As a lone wolf Sam is without the safety net a pack provides. It’s worse because he’s so powerful only his father or brother could actually end his life.  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Local Habitation – Seanan McGuire

I was on the fence about the October Daye series but this book is where I can decidedly say I like the series. Toby goes up against Blind Michael and his hunters and (spoiler alert) she wins. This book was the turning point for me because the ensemble cast has a stronger role and Toby acknowledges that she needs help. She still makes dangerous decisions and tries to solve problems on her own, but she accepts her role as a hero and her place in the community of changelings and fae.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I read so many backlist titles so my new goal is to read more books published in the past 2 years. What’s your favorite 2020 or 2021 release?

2021 Mid-Year Freakout Tag!

Hello everyone! I’m here today with the midyear freak out tag. I tracked my reading differently last year when I paid attention to my library and owned reads, details on the authors I read, length of the books, and a lot of other useless details. Sometime after June 2020 I stopped tracking altogether and stuck to Goodreads. In 2021 I’ve been using Goodreads and Storygraph to track my reading and I like it better this way. As important representation and reading diversely is to me, keeping track of all those details is not my style.

General bookish data for my year:

  • I’ve read 27 books this year and around 8,000 pages
  • Urban fantasy is my most read genre this year. High fantasy with its high page count and in-depth world building has not been able to appeal to me or my current inability to focus. I’ve also read less romance than intended. You win some, you lose some. 
  • This mid year wrap up is full of Mercy Thompson. I tried and failed to diversify my reading because 9/27 books I read this year are in that universe …
  • I’ve read three comics/graphic novels this year and one sci-fi novella
  • All covers are linked to The Storygraph

Favorite book you’ve read so far:

This is the book that trapped me. At first it was casual, I picked up the first two (I read the series a little out of order) and had a good time, but then Blood Bound came and made me a fan. Three men of various species and increasing power levels were attracted to Mercy, there was a supernatural turf war, fight scenes that kept me entertained but weren’t bogged down with details, everything I could have asked for.

Best sequel you’ve read so far:

An Artificial Night is the best sequel I’ve read this year. Toby is not a traditional hero; she’s not particularly fast or strong and her enemies are often more deadly than she is, but this book cemented her place as a hero. I didn’t know this about myself before, but I don’t actually like realistic stories where the heroes pay dearly and even lose/fail at their goals. Before this point in the series I was here for the plot and the entertaining (mis)adventures of October. In the prologue she is turned into a koi fish for 14 years and misses all of her daughter’s childhood. However, book three made her a hero in my eyes and now I care about her as a character.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

One Last Stop, Darling, and Son of The Storm are some of the new releases I want to read sooner rather than later. I read more backlist titles than new releases so I’ll use the second half of the year to catch up.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi. I fell so hard for this trilogy. The Gilded Wolves trilogy is fast paced, witty, has beautiful writing, and character dynamics that I eat up (found family and romances filled with yearning). When the final book comes out I’ll be sad for a moment once I finish reading it, but since this is a series I have no problems re-reading I won’t be sad for long. It’s not often I have so much fun reading a book that I don’t take the time to speculate or guess the ending for myself. With these books I turn off the part of my brain that loves guessing endings and just go along for the ride.

Biggest disappointment:

Song of Blood and Stone was on my TBR for quite some time; I waited over two months before I could get the e-book from my library. To my horror it was a boring, redundant, and forgettable read. I’ve been fighting myself to not post a rant review and to write positive reviews of the things I’m actually enjoying, but this book let me down so bad. The most frustrating aspect was two of the three points of view were in the same place at the same time. Penelope would put the same scenes twice. Back to back. Shout-out to the first two Witchland books and to the novella Remote Control for also disappointing me this year. 

Biggest surprise:

Urban fantasy taking over traditional/high fantasy for me was a surprise. I had a strike of nostalgia and wanted to get back to my urban fantasy/paranormal romance roots. There is just something about supernatural shenanigans and magic messiness that I enjoy. I’ve seen the Mercy books around before and have ignored them, until I randomly decided to pick up the most recent book in the series to see if I liked it. Smoke Bitten is about a coyote shifter married to a werewolf and bonded to a vampire who had to fight an evil fae and deal with a rough spot in her marriage. Each element appealed to me and was just so fun to read.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you):

I don’t have a new favorite author to report. I’m going to keep an eye out for Morgan Rogers’ next book and I’m going to read more Seanan McGuire.

Newest fictional crush:

No character stood out to me much as a fictional crush this year.

Newest favorite character:

If you couldn’t guess my newest favorite character is Mercy Thompson-Hauptman then I haven’t been raving enough about her on my blog. This coyote shifter has taken over my reading. Mercy is cool, she’s clever, she’s compassionate, she’s a leader, no one is doing it like her. The premise made me laugh, a female mechanic best friends with a vampire and running with werewolves, but Mercy pulls it off. I love Mercy so much I read a short story anthology just to stay in her world, she didn’t even appear in it!  

Book that made you cry:

Morgan Rogers made me cry with their book Honey Girl. Reading this at times felt like looking in a mirror. Seeing parts of my family and friends reflected in the books I read is still a new experience and it shocks me every time.

Book that made you happy:

Sleepless Vol 2 might be one of the happier things I’ve read this year. The story wraps up nicely and if there’s ever a sequel one day I’ll read it. This graphic novel duology is about a princess and her sleepless knight, someone who swore to never sleep to protect her, as they navigate palace life with various assassination attempts.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year:

The prettiest books I bought this year are from book boxes. I’ve dabbled in Fairy Loot, which gave me Alexandra Bracken’s Lore and Illumicrate, which gave me Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

None of my books in particular stand out, I’d be happy continuing my reading pace and picking up whatever. I’d like to finish up Mercy and October’s series so I can make room for other reads and I’d like to get back into high/epic fantasy again.

Favorite book community member:

My friend Latocha started a blog and bookstagram this year and has been talking about Caribbean reads. I think it’s funny we went to a STEM college and now we both talk about literature for fun.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to answer any of the questions in my comments, but especially what your favorite book this year was.

Random Library Haul

My library picks serve as my immediate TBR. Most of the time I’m reading e-books through Libby (sometimes I use Hoopla) so the time limit gets me reading more quickly than when I get physical copies or buy my own books.

Of course I’m continuing my journey with Mercy Thompson and October Daye, but I’m also doing a re-read of the Bloodlines series with my friends. Bloodlines is the spin-off/sequel series to The Vampire Academy, a series I didn’t like or finish, but I was pleasantly surprised to like the books as much as I did and it’s one of the few series I kept up with when I was in college. It basically follows a vampire cop as she learns her culture is vampire-racist and magic creature-phobic and unlearns all of that. Allegories for discrimination aside, this series holds a lot of nostalgia for me and I want to see if my opinion of it has changed.

I’m also going to participate in the Pop Culture Readathon this month, but I’m not planning a tbr for it I’m just diving in.

Late Eclipses – Seanan McGuire

River Marked – Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned – Patricia Briggs

Bloodlines – Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily – Richelle Mead

Blog update: coming soon is my midyear freakout post, June wrap-up, and I’m toying with the idea of doing a favorite book from each month post so if you’d like to read that please let me know! Now for the question of the day: do you have a good library system and if you do, do you use it?

2021 Releases I Want To Read | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally started by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

As the title says, here are some 2021 releases I’m looking forward to! 

Middle Grade/Young Adult

The Last Cuentista – Donna Barba Higuera

Two reading goals I’ve been consistently failing at are reading middle grade and reading more sci-fi. If I get around to reading this book I’ll kill two birds with one stone. Also, the premise does seem interesting and not like anything I’ve read before. 

Darling – K. Ancrum

Darling is a modern Peter Pan retelling that has a focus on the darker elements of the original story. Last year I read The Wicker King and I still think about it; that book handled mental illness, child abuse and neglect, and codependency with such care that it struck me.  I’ve always been interested in Peter Pan so I’m excited to get a taste of it through this retelling. 

The Bronzed Beasts – Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves trilogy is one of my favorite young adult series. The books have a life and sparkle to them, the writing is gorgeous, and it has one of my favorite romances of all time. Endings are always bittersweet, but my intuition tells me that Chokshi is going to make this ending painful. TGW has already shown the ruthless world these characters live in and just what they’re all risking. I have so many questions and fears about the ending of this series that only make my anticipation grow. 

Redemptor – Jordan Ifueko

I have to admit I’m a little sad this is a duology. I love Tarisai, the unique twist on found family and love, the explorations of imperialism, and I would love to stay in this universe longer. The aspect of this duo I love the most is the mental and emotional link between the main characters. If there is ever a sequel series or a standalone I’ll be the first to read it. 

A Psalm of Storms and Silence – Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin ended on a cliffhanger and I need to know how this conflict will be resolved. I am bummed that this will be a duology because I wasn’t wholly won over by the romance, but I do want these characters to succeed and be safe. 

The Bones of Ruin – Sarah Raughley

The cover to this book has sat in my phone since the cover reveal. I see a beautiful Black woman with a sword on a tightrope… that’s really all the information I need. The summary teases darker elements: the protagonist cannot die and there is the threat of an apocalypse.


She Who Became The Sun – Shelly Parker Chan

Military fantasy is calling my name and I find myself more and more attracted to this genre. This is still a sub-genre I’m not very well read in, but that will change soon. One of the pitches for this book compares it to Mulan and that’s one of my favorite animated movies. Hopefully I will read this book when I get my hands on it and it won’t languish on my TBR forever. 

Certain Dark Things – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is actually a re-release with a new cover, not a completely new release. Moreno-Garcia has been on my to read list for a very long time now and  it’s actually embarrassing that I haven’t gotten to her books yet. Certain Dark Things fits right in with my urban fantasy and paranormal mood. 

When Sorrows Come – Seanan McGuire

This year I discovered the October Daye series and I have plans to marathon the entire series. Right now I’ve finished the first three books and hopefully will be able to tuck into the other books soon. 

Bacchanal – Veronica Henry

Bacchanal is another pick for broadening my reading horizons and inching closer to the historical fiction genre. There are still some fantasy and mystery elements I think I’ll enjoy and the circus setting is something I like. 

What releases are you looking forward to?