Everless by Sara Holland

Inside cover blurb:

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself. ”

-from publisher


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The gif say it all, really.

I thought this book would be an underwhelming story wrapped in a pretty cover. And I was happy to be wrong! Except about the cover, it’s a gorgeous cover.

I found Everless to be surprisingly original. Not in its love stories or character relationships, although there were a few twists which surprised me. For me, the real draw was the concept of paying with time from your own blood… it’s such a dark and creepy world which I loved!

Jules was not a very compelling heroine, I must say. At the climax of the book, she seems to just fall apart, which was rather disappointing. I think my favorite character was Liam Gerling, the lord famous for cruel punishments. Who doesn’t love a good antihero?

The whole Sorceress/Alchemist origin story of their society was not super appealing to me. Unfortunately, it seems like that will figure heavily into the sequel, so I’m not sure how I’ll like the rest of the series.

But it’s a great first installment! Definitely recommend.

Plus: Literal blood money. Cool manipulations of time. Just really rich world building here, which I always appreciate.

Minus: Kind of lame heroine. A good amount of predictability in the plot…but I think there’s enough twist to it to keep it interesting.

If you like this book, try:


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- These books don’t really have much to do with one another, other than the fact that they both involve time. But it’s about maps and time traveling on a ship, so it sounds like a fun to me.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Inside cover blurb:

“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.”

-from publisher


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This book has it all: magic, djinn, badass female main character, Middle Eastern culture, incredible world building…

But I was pretty lost for the majority of the book. There is just a lot to keep track of here because, not only is it set in a mythical world, it’s also a political intrigue story. So think Game of Thrones, but with a Middle Eastern flair.

I will say it is rather ingenious because you’re discovering the history of this world right alongside Nahri, who grew up in the human world and has no clue what she’s gotten herself into either.

But with so much ground to cover, The City of Brass clocks in at over 500 pages. So it’s a bit of a commitment, but ultimately, I was glad to have read it.

Definitely a slow burn (that’s funny because they are djinn).

Interested to see how this series continues!

Plus: Magic, intrigue, the Middle East. This book was basically pulled straight from my brain.

Minus: You might need some plot and character charts to help you out.

If you like this book, try:


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury- It may be pretty cheesy of me to recommend an Aladdin retelling right now, but this one has some pretty great reviews on Goodreads. Brb adding it to my shelf.

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Inside cover blurb:

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.”

-from publisher


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Oh my god.

I started this book on a night when I was really tired, so I read about 12 pages and put it down to pass out. I was pretty underwhelmed at that point.

I decided to give it another go, however, because I’ve been seeing it pop up everywhere.

And boy, am I glad I gave it another chance.

Love, Hate & Other Filters is like three books in one- a coming of age story, a love story, and a lesson in tolerance. I’m always excited to see more #ownvoices stories out there, and I think Maya is a fantastic main character. She very clearly struggles with what her parents expect from a “good Indian daughter,” but I think it’s quite refreshing that she doesn’t want to renounce any part of her identity- she very passionately identifies as American, Indian, and Muslim.

I thought Ahmed tied the story together extremely well- from the narrow lens of Maya’s everyday life to the macro level of a horrible national tragedy, which is almost ripped straight from the headlines. We see the ripple effects from that one event, and how it can impact so many others in the most unexpected ways.

My only, tiny critique is that I thought that the story line with Kareem was a bit disjointed and then he just seems to fade out of the narrative.

Overall, I think Love, Hate & Other Filters reminds us that every human deserves love and understanding. And that’s a powerful message. Thank you, Samira, for writing this book. I think we need it.

Plus: Such relatable and vibrant characters. They seem like people you actually know in your every day life. I could come up with lots of other things to praise, but really, everyone just read this book because it has things to SAY.

Minus: Really just that bit about Kareem, and it hardly detracts from the story.

If you like this book, try:


A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena- While A Girl Like That isn’t out until the end of February, it’s another powerful #ownvoices title that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. It’s sure to be another show stopper, so don’t miss it!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Inside cover blurb:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—’Scythe Lucifer’—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being ‘deadish’ so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?”

-from publisher



For once, I actually like a sequel more than the original.

Thunderhead delves much deeper into, well you might have guessed it, the Thunderhead, the sentient cloud device that runs the world on behalf of humanity.

Instead of diary entries between chapters, like in Scythe, we are now being treated to snippets of the Thunderhead’s thoughts- these are probably my favorite part of the book because the Thunderhead and I seem to be pretty like minded.

Rowan and Citra practically take a back seat in this story- and a new hero, Greyson Tolliver emerges. He’s just a regular guy tasked with a secret mission from the Thunderhead. Let me just say, I do not envy him. You’ll see why.

And as we know from Scythe, *spoiler alert* Rowan and Citra’s mentor Scythe Faraday is still alive. And now he’s back, looking for the Land of Nod, where the founders of the Scythedom may have built a fail safe should their system become corrupt.

Looks like they might be needing that soon…

I can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy! Hopefully we won’t have long to wait.

Plus: Sentient technology, amazing dystopian world building, important ethical questions…and the Scythes are super cool.

Minus: We only get one more book! I’m not even a huge fan of dystopia novels, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

If you like this book, try:

Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner- I’m not even sure what to compare Thunderhead to. But as far as advanced tech and a planet in peril, Unearthed might just do the trick. And this one has aliens!