Grady Hendrix Book Review & Analysis

Grady Hendrix Book Review & Analysis

Grady Hendrix Book Review & Analysis

Goodreads Summary

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula! This Southern supernatural horror set in the ’90s is about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger. One, who turns out turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend!

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life. But, after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long. Her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club. A group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying. Soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

Non-Spoiler Book Review

Four and a half stars image

I really enjoyed this one. I gave it a 4.5 stars. I think it’s a great horror novel, perfect for the fall/Halloween season. Some of the horror elements in here are really gross, so I definitely don’t suggest reading this while you’re eating.

Two things that I want to point out with the horror genre are: one, the things in it are meant to scare, disgust, or repulse you, and two, horror is often used as social commentary about our societies. Because of this, there will be things in a horror novel that make you uncomfortable or that disgust you. Things you don’t like with how our society functions. If you feel those emotions while reading a horror novel, then in my opinion, the author did their job. The book did what it was intended to do.

I appreciated the social commentary this book makes and the topics it looks at: racism, sexism/misogyny, the powerlessness & oppression you feel as a woman or as someone who’s black, and even the intersectionality of black women. That gets touched on in here too. Now, is this a perfect book, no. But, I thought it did a pretty good job exploring some of these themes and the commentary it makes about it.

That’s pretty much all I’ll say for this non-spoiler part of this review. I do have a spoiler, in-depth analysis of the book that I go through in the video above. Check out that video if you want to hear more of my thoughts. The timestamps for each section will be posted down below. 😁


Intro 00:00:00

Author’s Note & Prologue 00:03:04

Non-Spoiler Review 00:08:56

Spoiler Review/Analysis 00:16:10

Closing 00:57:27

What are your thoughts?

Have you read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix? What are your thoughts on it? Do you agree or disagree with any part of my analysis? Let me know your thoughts below!

Until next time, happy reading and writing!

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix book cover

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Book Updates & New Online Course for Writers

Book Updates & New Online Course for Writers

Book Updates & New Online Course for Writers

The start of the second quarter has been a busy, busy time for me as I work to complete a few new projects that I’m excited about sharing with you today.

The Azaïs Witches

So first, let’s talk about my novel: The Azaïs Witches. I got stuck for a while when I was trying to do revisions, so I took a break from my novel for a little while.

Usually doing this will help me see things more clearly and I’m able to get unstuck once I get back to it. So for now, I’m taking a break and working on some other stuff.

One thing I’m working on is a short story that takes place in The Azaïs Witches’ world, but from the point of view of one of my side characters, Sam.

This story takes place two years before the novel, but is still connected to the events that happen in the novel or in better terms, it leads up to those events.

I’m hoping to have this short story finished and hopefully published by end of the summer (early September), fingers crossed.

How to Write Disabled Characters

I also have another ebook I’m planning to publish this summer. This one is a non-fiction book for writers on How to Write Disabled Characters.

If you’ve watched my videos on my YouTube channel that I did a couple of months ago, you know I talked about the dos and don’ts of writing characters with a disability in those videos.

I’ve expanded on what I shared in those videos and created a short ebook for writers wanting to write disabled characters. My plans are to publish the ebook by late June, with pre-orders starting around June 7th, if all goes well.

So if you’re a writer looking for tips on how to write disabled characters, you’ll want to sign up for my monthly newsletters (form below), so you’ll get reminders for when the book releases.

How to write disabled characters

How to Write Diverse Characters

The last project I’ve been working on recently is an online course for writers on How to Write Diverse Characters. If you’re a writer and if you’ve been wanting to write diverse characters in your story, but you’re not sure how to do it or you’re afraid of getting something wrong, this course is for you.

In the course, we’ll go over the difference between writing diverse characters vs an own voices story, we’ll also go over the “token minority character” and how to avoid this, we’ll talk about what are diversity readers & where to find them, and more.

Currently, the first round of this course is being offered at the discounted price of $35. The registration deadline is June 30th. After that, enrollment will be closed until the fall, and the price of the course goes up. So if you want to get in from the beginning at a low price, sign up now! Go to the course registration page here.

Well, those are all the updates I have for you right now. If you want to continue to stay updated on everything I’m doing, sign up for my monthly newsletter below. You’ll get access to the member’s only section of my site where I have tons of resources for writers and short stories & sneak peeks for readers.

Until next time,

Happy reading & writing!

Favorite Books of 2021: Quarter 1

Favorite Books of 2021: Quarter 1

Favorite Books of 2021: Quarter 1

In my last blog post, I shared with you guys a walkthrough of my book planner sheets (sign up below to gain access to the sheets). One page I showed was the monthly reading wrap-up, which included a spot to write the Best Book of the Month. In today’s blog post, I want to share with you a brief book review of the best books I’ve read in quarter one.

Best Book in January: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Goodreads Synopsis: Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised… and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

My thoughts: I have loved every single book Karen McManus has done so far, and this was definitely no exception. The twists she uses are so good and she has a way of making you think you’ve got it figured out and you’ve solved the mystery, and then she throws you a curve ball. Though it’s still done in a plausible way where you still believe the story. 

Also, I think her characters in here are better than in her previous books. One thing I’ve said about her books in the past is that I love her plots & the mysteries and twists in her stories, but I haven’t really cared about her characters. You could have anyone in the story and I’d still enjoy it because of the plot & mystery & the twist. However, in this book, The Cousins, I actually cared about the characters and what they were going through. I don’t think I could really tell you what the difference was this time, but I just connected with these characters a lot more and I was invested in them. Overall, I just loved this one.

Best Book in February: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

Goodreads Synopsis: “Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

My thoughts: This book is fast-paced and action packed and I loved every minute. The characters in here are amazing. I love Bri; she was one of my favorite characters. She’s smart and quirky, and I love her friendship with Rue. The dynamic between Rue and her father was also interesting to see because I related to a lot of it, especially the way their relationship was in the beginning and her pushing him away.

Another thing I loved was the world that’s created here and what we find out about Ghizon later on. The history and the secrets that were revealed were so fun to learn about. There were a lot of interesting twists in here, some of which I saw coming and some of which took me completely by surprise.

The other great thing about this book is it does a great job touching on serious topics such as privilege and what that looks like and how to navigate that and actually be an ally. This book was just fantastic, and I loved it.

Best Book of March: Amari & The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Goodreads Synopsis: Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs—but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

My thoughts: I cannot even express how much I fell in love with this book. It’s probably going to be up there with my top favorite series of all time, and this is just the first book that’s come out.

This book is another fast-paced one, and it had me hooked from page one, the very first paragraph. There was never a dull moment. Amari has such a strong voice in here. I connected with her right away, and I love her character.

I also loved her best friend, Elise. Elise is a weredragon, which I’ve never heard of before, but it sounded so cool. This was another one where I loved the female friendships in here. This book had a few characters in here that I absolutely loved, a few that I hated, and quite a few that I was suspicious of as well. I wanted to trust them, but I wasn’t sure if I could. Overall, I think the characters were really well done here.

I love the world that’s been created here, and I definitely want to see more of it. Parts of this story reminded me a little of Nevermoore, because of the trials Amari has to complete while she’s in this program. If you loved Nevermoore, you’ll probably love this as well. If you’re a fan of middle grade fantasy books, this is a must read.

So those are my favorite books of quarter one. I’m excited to see what books quarter two brings in. Leave me a comment below to let me know what books have been your favorite so far this year. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you want to gain access to my book planner sheets. If you missed my last blog post where I walked through the book planner sheets, you can click here to check them out.

Until next time,

Happy reading & writing!

2021 Book Planner Walkthrough

2021 Book Planner Walkthrough

2021 Book Planner Walkthrough

At the end of last year, I created a 2021 book planner for myself. I wanted to keep track of the books I’m reading, books I want to read, thoughts on the books I’ve read, monthly reading statistics, etc. I shared my planner with some friends and had a few people interested in a planner like mine. So I created some templates that people can download and use. To gain access to the templates, sign up for my newsletter below. Watch the video above to see a walkthrough of each of the pages in the planner and how you can get the most out of these pages. 

Until next time,

Happy reading & writing!  

Best Books of 2020

Best Books of 2020

Best Books of 2020

2020 has been a crazy year filled with ups and downs, but amidst all of it I read some amazing books in 2020 that I want to share with you today. A lot of these books were released in 2020, but there are some backlist books on this list that I didn’t get around to reading till this year. So out of the books I’ve read this year, here are my favorite books of 2020!

Side note, in my rating system I use a small black star to indicate half a star rating. So some of the books mentioned, I have rated as 4.5 stars.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (Cursebreakers #2)

YA Fantasy/Fairy tale Retelling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✮

This is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which came out last year in 2019 and became a favorite of mine in 2019. Since this is a sequel, I won’t get into the details or synopsis of this second book in case you haven’t read the first book yet (which you totally should).

This series is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and has great disability representation in it. Our main character, Harper, has Cerebral Palsy, but she doesn’t let that stop her from being a badass and standing up for what’s right. I love Harper’s character and I love her relationship with Prince Rhen (our beast).

In this sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, the story focuses on one of the side characters we meet in the first book, Grey, and a few new characters introduced in this sequel, including a princess named Lia Mara.

Some fans of the first book have been disappointed with this sequel because we are not following Harper and Rhen’s story, however, I found Grey’s story to be compelling on its own and I’m glad we got to see it.

While I agree I would have liked to see Harper and Rhen more, I love the new characters we’re introduced to. Lia Mara is definitely a character that not everyone will take a liking to, but I found her interesting and I enjoyed her storyline.

As for the relationships in this book, the only downside for me was that I felt the main relationship in here progressed more quickly than I wanted it to. In the first book, the relationship between Harper and Rhen was a very slow burn and I kind of wanted that in this book as well, but it progressed quicker than I thought it would.

Without getting into any spoilers for this book, I will say I enjoyed the twist at the end and cannot wait for the third book to come out.

Twisted Fates by Danielle Rollins (Dark Stars #2)

YA Sci-Fi Time Travel series ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Twisted Fates is the second book in the Dark Stars series. The first book is Stolen Time. Since it’s a sequel, I’ll share with you the summary of the first book instead, so I don’t spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

This is a time travel story about a girl named Dorothy who lives in Seattle in 1913 and is trying to escape her arranged marriage. Ash is from New Seattle in the year 2077. Ash is a time traveler and has been traveling back in time to find his mentor, the Professor, who has disappeared.

When Ash crash lands in Seattle in 1913, his paths cross with Dorothy’s. Dorothy thinks Ash is just a pilot of a plane and she sees this as her opportunity to escape, so she stows away on Ash’s ship. Of course, things get a lot more complicated once Ash returns to the year 2077 with a hidden Dorothy on his ship.

The ending of the first book leaves you on a huge cliffhanger, so I was super excited to see where this sequel would go.

The only downside about this book to me was that the first half seemed a bit slow. At first, I was wondering if this book would suffer “middle book syndrome” and be more of a filler than anything, but definitely not. Once you get to the second half, things definitely pick up.

There’s a lot of information we’re given, which is great, but it also seems like for every question we get answered we get a lot more questions in return.

There is another huge twist with this ending, and just like the first book, it leaves you on a huge cliffhanger. One that leaves you going, “what the hell?” This is why I sometimes hate reading books as they come out. I want to binge this whole series now and find out how it ends! The Dark Stars series is definitely one of my new favorite series.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

YA Mystery/Thriller ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

I picked up this book for two reasons. One, it’s by Karen McManus and I read her other YA mystery/thriller last year (One of Us is Lying) and I absolutely loved it. It became a favorite of mine last year, and I knew I wanted to read more of her books.

The second reason I wanted to pick this one up was because of the title on the cover. It reminded me so much of Pretty Little Liars, which I loved watching, until the end kind of ruined things, but I won’t go there.

This is about a girl named Ellery who has to move to a small town called Echo Ridge to live with her grandmother. This town has a history of missing girls. Ellery’s aunt went missing in this town when she was seventeen.

Five years ago, a homecoming queen went missing and was later found dead. Now “someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago.” Another girl now goes missing, and Ellery becomes involved with trying to solve the mystery in this town and find out what happened to all those missing girls.

I loved this book. If you love mystery and suspense/thrillers, give this a try. Karen McManus is great at keeping you guessing every step of the way. The twists and turns are so good and man that ending packs a punch. To see more of my thoughts, check out my full review below.

The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine

Non-Fiction, Self-help/Personal Development ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

I usually don’t have any non-fiction books on my favorites list. Not because I don’t like non-fiction or I don’t read them because I do. However, not many of them make such a huge impression on me that I feel the need to include them on the list.

The Renaissance Soul is definitely an exception. I have never related to a non-fiction book more than this one. This book talks about people who have multiple passions and interest (Renaissance Souls) and how difficult it can be when we try to limit ourselves to just one thing.

It teaches different ways that Renaissance Souls can engage in their multiple passions without feeling like they have to give something up. It gives you tips and practical advice for how Renaissance Souls can manage their time and thrive on their many interests.

If you have multiple passions and interests and are constantly bouncing around, not sure which one to focus on, then I highly recommend this book. Or if you’re in school and stuck trying to figure out what you should major in cause you can go in multiple different directions, then I recommend this book. If you find yourself wanting to switch careers every few years and do something new, again I highly recommend this book.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (Book #1)

YA Fantasy ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

This is a dual perspective book and one of the POVs is a princess named Karina whose mom was just assassinated and so she has to take over and rule her kingdom. However, she doesn’t feel ready for the task, so she plans to use ancient magic to resurrect her mom.

Only thing is, the magic she plans on using requires the heart of a king. Karina comes up with a plan that whoever wins the Solstasia competition (a competition her country does every year), will win her hand in marriage. The victor will become king, and therefore she can get the heart of a king.

Malik, our other main character, is traveling with his sisters to Ziran (the princess’ country). On the way there, his younger sister gets kidnapped by a vengeful spirit. To save his sister, Malik struck a deal with the spirit. He’ll get his sister back if he kills the princess of Ziran, Karina.

Malik enters the Solstasia competition to get closer to the princess, and basically they’re both on a collision course to kill each other.

I loved the characters in here. The world and the magic were interesting. It had such a rich history, and I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I need it now. 😭

Once you get to the second half of this book, you won’t want to put it down and you’ll read it all in one sitting. There’s so many twists & turns & awesome reveals and WTF moments! 😂

This was the first book we read in Holly’s new Diversity is Lit bookclub. If you want to hear more of my thoughts or what others in the group thought, check out the discussion video below.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (The Last Hours #1)

YA Fantasy ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

This is the first book in a new Shadowhunters series, a spin-off of The Infernal Devices. I’m going to share the Goodreads synopsis of this book since these books are a little difficult for me to explain.

“Chain of Gold, a Shadowhunters novel, is the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade.

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride.

Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assassinations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill.

London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.”

I love the Shadowhunter world and was so excited to be back in it. Cassandra Clare’s writing just gets better and better, and I loved this book. Like all the other Shadowhunter books, I love that this is full of action and adventure. I love seeing the character dynamics and interactions between all the characters, and I love the romantic subplot.

The only reason I gave this a 4.5 instead of 5 stars is because there were a couple of times when the characters were being (in my opinion) overly melodramatic. I know it’s Shadowhunters, so it’s going to have angst and some melodrama, but a couple times I actually stopped and said to myself, “ok, this is a bit much.”

Overall, I still loved the book, and I loved seeing Will, Tessa, and Jem again (my favs), and Magnus! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Adult Mystery/Thriller/Gothic Horror ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

I won’t say too much about this book because I think it’s best going into it kind of blind, but I will say it involves an old Victorian estate that may or may not be haunted. If you’re a fan of gothic horror or books with haunted houses, then this is definitely one for you to check out.

I’ve been thinking about this book long after I finished it, and I’ve been wanting to reread it again. There aren’t many books I want to reread right away after finishing them, but this is definitely one of them.

This book has two timelines and dual POVs. One that takes place in the past from our main character’s father’s perspective, and one in present day from our main character, Maggie’s perspective.

This book keeps you turning the pages and does a great job at making you think what’s really going on in this house? Is it something supernatural or is there a logical explanation for everything happening? I love the twists and turns in this book and all of the reveals at the end.

Riley Sager has now become one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all his books and love them, and I will definitely read anything he puts out in the future. Home Before Dark is probably my second favorite book of his, though the more I think about it, the more it may creep up to first place, past Final Girls.

Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa

YA Paranormal/Dystopian ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️★

book cover

Blood of Eden Book 1

book cover

Blood of Eden Book 2

book cover

Blood of Eden Book 3

This is an older series, all of the books are already out, but I hadn’t read it until this year. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this series. I loved it.

If you love YA vampire books, then this series is a must. It’s set in a dystopian world where most of human civilization has been killed off from a disease and the disease has turned a lot of vampires into what is called “rabids.” Rabids are like the zombie version of vampires.

In the first book, The Immortal Rules, our main character, Allie, is a human living on the outskirts of the city and just trying to survive. Allie has a deep hatred for all vampires, until one night when she dies and becomes one of them herself (not a spoiler, this is all in the synopsis).

Forced to leave the city, Allie must try to pass as a human when she joins a group of humans who are searching for Eden, a place free of vampires that might have the cure to save humanity.

I was recommended this series by my critique partner one day cause I was trying to figure out what type of mythology I wanted to use for the vampires in my own story. I thought the vampire mythology in this series was interesting and one that I don’t think I’ve seen much before, so it was definitely helpful.

This series is a fun, fast-paced, action packed series. The writing style is very easy to get into and the characters are great. I loved Jackal cause he reminded me so much of season 1 Damon from The Vampire Diaries. I definitely think Jackal and Damon would be best friends if they were in the same world.

This series is pretty predictable. You can see a lot of the twists coming, but overall it was a fun ride.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Book 1)

YA Contemporary Fantasy ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

book cover

This is another story that’s kind of complicated for me to explain, so I’m going to include the Goodreads synopsis below.

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic, and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other.

But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

I loved this book so much. It totally gave me Shadowhunter vibes, especially all the action/fight scenes. There’s a lot of action and fight scenes in this book, and I love it!

I love learning more about the King Author tale and the knights. Some of the twists at the end were predictable, but I still loved them! I love Bree and Alice’s friendship! We definitely need more friendships like theirs in YA!

I like some of the representation in here. First time I think I’ve read a book with a bisexual male character (and one that’s not a minor character in the story). It’ll be interesting seeing how this love triangle plays out. Bree and Nick? Bree and Sel? Sel and Nick? Right now, I’m not rooting for any particular couple. Bree and Nick are ok, but their relationship seemed a bit rushed to me. I guess we’ll see how I feel when book 2 comes out.

The one downside was that the magic and the family lines got confusing at times and I’m still not sure I fully understand it, but overall, I can’t wait for the next book!

So those are my favorite books of 2020. Let me know in the comments below what books you’ve read in 2020 and which ones became your favorite.

Until next time,

Happy reading & writing!

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Readers & Writers

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Readers & Writers

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Readers & Writers

Stuck on gift ideas for what to get that special reader or writer in your life? The holidays are right around the corner and you know you want to get them something other than just another book, notebook, or gift card to a bookstore. So what do you get them? Stick around because today I’m sharing with you 10 gift ideas for readers and writers. I’ll have 5 gift ideas for readers and 5 gift ideas for writers.

Gift Ideas For Readers

Book Subscription Box

First on this list is a subscription book box. Now, while a book box does include a book inside it (hence the name), most book boxes have a monthly theme and several fun, bookish items inside the box that relate to that month’s theme.

This can include stuff like literary candles, mugs, tote bags, literary jewelry, bookmarks, and more. The items inside are usually a surprise, so getting and opening a book box can feel like opening a present on Christmas morning.

There are many book boxes to choose from, ranging in all different genres and age categories. So whether your reader is just starting out or has been reading for many years, there’s something for everyone. It’s a perfect gift for the holidays.

Subscription Service

Number two on this list is a subscription service. If the reader in your life uses things like Audible, Scribd, or Kindle Unlimited you can pay for their subscription service for whatever length of time you want. Some services, like Audible, allow you to give someone a gift subscription for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.

Bookish or Literary Merchandise

Next on the list is bookish or literary merchandise. Now this is a very broad and general category and can include many things. In fact, I can probably do an entire blog post with gift ideas based on just this category, but I won’t cause there are plenty of others that do that already.

Just know that there are a ton of literary merchandise you can get as gifts, from bookish apparel (like socks, scarves, & shirts) to literary home decor, jewelry, candles, book sleeves, and even matching book jackets for an entire series.

Harry Potter book sleeve
Chronicles of Narnia book sleeve

I mean, how cool are some of these jackets from Juniper Books? Yes, please!

Literary Christmas Ornaments

You can even find great literary Christmas ornaments like these on Etsy. Perfect for the holidays.

There’s so much great, unique literary merchandise out there, you just got to look. Etsy is a great place to find some of these. If you’re looking for bookish shirts, hoodies, mugs, or tote bags, then you should also check out my shop: Novel Creations.

Gifts for book lovers
Social distancing t-shirt
Hibernate & read t-shirt

Literary Events

Most book lovers love to attend events such as bookcon (like comicon but with books and authors), YA’ll Fest, or other local literary events. Now a lot of these events were canceled or rescheduled this year because of Covid. Hopefully, if nothing terrible happens next year (God willing), we’ll be able to have these events again in person.

Some of these events can be on the pricier side, especially if you have to travel out of state for it. This makes getting event tickets a great gift for the book lover in your life.

Book Basket

The last gift idea on this list for readers is a book basket. Now this is similar to a book box, but instead of buying it already made, you would be the one creating and putting this together so you can make it highly personalized.

All you have to do is get a cute basket and fill it with lots of fun, bookish goodies for the reader in your life. You can put some different literary merchandise in it like I talked about earlier, such as socks & scarves, a mug or candle, literary jewelry, etc.

You can also include their favorite snacks or drinks in there. If there’s a certain tea or coffee they like to drink while reading, you can put that in there too.

Also, if their favorite book has been adapted into a movie, you could include the DVD of the movie in the basket as well (provided they liked the adaptation). A book basket is a great gift, especially if you want to customize the stuff inside.

Gift Ideas for Writers

Products or Professional Services

Now let’s talk about some gift ideas for writers. Some of these ideas are more on the practical side, especially if they are a self-published author, but there are a couple fun ones too.

My first idea for a gift for writers is to offer to pay for a product or service they may need. This could be a writing software such as Scrivener or Ulysses, or a formatting program such as Vellum. This could also be services to professionals they may need, such as an editor or cover designer.

If they plan to self-publish, then all these products and services can add up to quite a bit. It’s always helpful to have someone offer to take one of these things off their plate. At least it is for me.

Online Courses

My next gift idea is to get them a subscription to online courses or even a specific online course. For example, Skillshare and Masterclass are two sites that have tons and tons of online courses.

On Masterclass you’ll find a lot of writing courses by well-known authors. You can also find courses in many other topics & industries that might be of interest. Skillshare also offers writing courses and classes in other topics such productivity, how to build your author platform, marketing, and more. A subscription to any of these sites would be a wonderful gift.

However, if you want to get more specific, then I’d recommend Sara Cannon’s Publish & Thrive course. I believe she offers this course twice a year. Trust me when I say this course was amazing.

I highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to self-publish. It’s full of lots of great helpful information and resources.

Writer Conferences & Events

So just like you can get readers tickets to literary events, you can also get writers tickets to conferences and writer events. These can be local or national. Again, some of these events can be pricey, so I’m sure any writer will appreciate this. Bonus is they can make new writer friends while they’re there.

Writerly Merchandise

Similar to what I mentioned earlier for readers, this is writerly merchandise. These can be apparel, totes, mugs, notebooks, or anything related to writing or writers.

Etsy is a great place to find these items, as well as my store: Novel Creations. I make designs for both readers and writers, so check them out.

surviving nano hoodie
Nano champ t-shirt
Writer at work t-shirt & novel creations mug

Writer Subscription Box or Basket

My last gift idea for writers is a writer subscription box or a writer basket. Unlike book subscription boxes, there’s not as many writer boxes out there. The most commonly known one is Scribbler.

You can get them a subscription to a writer box, like Scribbler, or you can create your own writer basket. Again, this way it’s highly customizable and you can include lots of writer goodies that you find on Etsy or on Novel Creations.

Scribbler box

There you have it! My 10 gift ideas for readers and writers. If you have any other ideas you’d like to share, leave them in a comment below, I’d love to know. Also, let me know in the comments below what gift idea on this list would you be most interested in.

Until next time,

Happy reading and writing!