Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

Inside cover blurb:

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.”

-from publisher


Image result for happy hug gif

I want to hug every Julie Murphy book, always. She is one author whose novels I will always read. And when I found out there was a sequel to Dumplin’, you can bet I was number one on that holds list.

This was the perfect way to do the Dumplin’ sequel. The story is set in the same universe, but we get new characters to love and adore.

Millie is passionate about future career, but people tell her she can’t achieve it for completely shallow reasons. Her story is heartbreaking and entirely too relatable, especially her relationship with her mom.

But the best part of the story is Callie, a girl with a reputation for being shallow and petty. When she gets thrown together with Millie, however, her true personality (though she definitely keeps her sass) begins to shine. I like that we get kind of an antihero for a change. Some of the revenge stunts she pulls are rather inspired, I must say.

This is an all around great book. Murphy dives into some deep subjects- stereotypes, body positivity, race and sexuality- but she manages to keep the overall tone upbeat and I am here for it.

I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Plus: Great characters and even though you know you’re likely getting a happy ending, the plot lines don’t end up totally predictable.

Minus: I thought some of the supporting characters deserved a little bit more love…but maybe they’ll be the lead in another sequel!

If you like this book, try:

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli- Just like Puddin’ follows a supporting character from Dumplin’, Leah on the Offbeat is centered on Simon’s best friend from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Hmmm, I wonder if Albertalli and Murphy are friends….Great minds think alike!


Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Inside cover blurb:

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…”

-from publisher



More, more, more! Give me more now! Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this ARC.

I loved Labyrinth Lost and I was actually a little surprised to find that I enjoyed Bruja Born just as much- you don’t always get lucky the second time around.

Bruja Born is more urban fantasy- everything takes place in New York and the fight comes to the girls, as opposed to Labyrinth Lost, where Alex went to Los Lagos. This means that Bruja Born gives us more of a glimpse at the Mortiz’s sisters home life and relationships with one another, which let me just say, I personally would not mess with them. They are three badass babes.

Both stories have a flavor and style that is unique to the sister it’s focused on. Lula’s journey focuses on her emotions and how she learns to accept imperfection. My spidey senses tell me that perhaps the next book in the series will center on the third Mortiz sister, Rosie. I sure wouldn’t be mad- I definitely want to hear more about her and her powers!

I learned from the afterward that some of the characters/organizations that appear in Bruja Born were first introduced in The Vicious Deep, Corodova’s series about mermaids. I always thought those books sounded kind of dweeby, to be honest, but now I’m kind of intrigued…maybe that’s what I’ll read while I sit here waiting for the third installment of Brooklyn Brujas.

Plus: Powerful female brujas and magic that disturbs the balance of the universe. I’m so into it.

Minus: The plot didn’t always flow as well as I would have liked, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it overall.

If you like this book, try:

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson- A teen Wiccan finds out she has the power to raise the dead after her best friend dies under suspicious circumstances. Pretty similar to Bruja Born in some ways, but with a bit more dark humor.

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi

Inside cover blurb:

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.”

-from publisher



Did I like this book? Did I dislike this book? I still can’t really say one way or the other.

I read Down and Across in two chunks because I kind of lost interest mid-way through. But I did finish it, so that has to say something right?

I feel like I was set up to be disappointed because Adam Silvera (one of my all time favorite authors) blurbed this book. So naturally I expected that it would be like and Adam Silvera book. Alas, it was not.

The premise alone should have tipped me off: boy lacks direction in life and runs away to Washington D.C. in pursuit of his life’s passion. It sounds like a better idea in theory than it is in practice, trust me.

But maybe it’s just me. I typically don’t enjoy male coming of age stories, unless they’re written by Adam Silvera that is. I appreciate that Ahmadi tried to avoid casting Fiora as your typical manic pixie dream girl…but she still kind of is.

I think there was maybe some potential to this story, but it all just fell flat for me.

Plus: Crossword puzzles, diverse characters, random (sometimes illegal) adventures.

Minus: Feels like a cheap John Green knock off. And I don’t even like John Green…

If you like this book, try:


Kids of Appetite by David Arnold– Shocker, I’m not recommending an Adam Silvera book here! When I think coming of age stories, I think David Arnold. Kids of Appetite has everything- submarines, a police investigation, love, and a gang of kids who look out for each other no matter what.


The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Inside cover blurb:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.”

-from publisher



First impression: this book is dumb.

Second impression: this book is dumb, but I am up past my bedtime reading it…

Third impression: OHMIGOD I am actually so into this book!

Stick with me here because I know what you’re thinking- the plot sounds so ridiculous! Well it is ridiculous. Three girls drowned as witches in the 1800s come back every summer as ghosts to drown boys out of revenge.

But the writing is what really pulled me in. Ernshaw manages to paint such a vivid image of this sleepy seaside town, I could feel the mist on my skin and the sea in my bones. That’s what I love about fiction! Her writing has a kind of delicate quality to it, without being overly flowery. I have always been a sucker for that style.

The romance is a bit cheesy at times, but I gotta say, I really enjoyed the layering of flashbacks and present day. I don’t want to give away the twist (even though most perceptive readers will likely figure it out), but I like the parallels between the past and the present.

And while the ending wasn’t entirely perfect, it definitely pulled my heartstrings.

Plus: The atmosphere, the writing style, the melodrama! It’s basically a teen soap opera with witches, so I was obviously going to love it.

Minus: If you can get past the cheese factor, it is such an enjoyable read! And ignore that cover too.

If you like this book, try:


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo- Another book which sounded pretty ridiculous to me: it’s about a siren princess. Yay for another book about drownings! But The Wicked Deep taught me not to be so judgemental, so maybe I’ll be giving this one a try.