Fire & Heist: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth DurstFor the Hawkins family, successfully pulling off your first heist is a major accomplishment. It’s an introduction into society, a rite of passage, and of course the best way for a were-dragon to start building their first hoard of gold.

The technical term is actually wyvern, but Sky has always thought calling herself and her family were-dragons really gets to the point even if no wyvern has been able to take on their true dragon form since they lost their connection with Home generations ago.

With Sky’s first heist coming up fast, Sky has to start picking her crew and figure out how to get over her ex-boyfriend Ryan once and for all. But with her mother missing and an ancient jewel in the mix that could change everything for the wyvern community, Sky’s first heist is going to be anything but routine in Fire & Heist (2018) by Sarah Beth Durst.

This standalone fantasy is part adventure and part heist as Sky tries to uncover the truth about her mother’s work and the jewel she was tracking before her disappearance. High stakes heist scenes contrast well with high fantasy elements as Sky learns more about her dragon past.

Snark, light romance, and real mystery make Fire & Heist a page-turning adventure with distinct characters in a truly unique world. Recommended for readers looking for a new spin on both dragons and heist tropes.

Possible Pairings: Heist Society by Ally Carter, Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, The Story of Owen by E. K. Johnston, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Night Country: A Review

*The Night Country is a sequel to Albert’s debut novel The Hazel Wood–be sure to start there to get the full story and avoid spoilers*

“We were predators set loose in a world not made to withstand us. Until the summer we became prey.”

The Night Country by Melissa AlbertIt’s been two years since Alice Proserpine fought her way out of the Hinterland and the fairytale she inhabited there with help from Ellery Finch–the boy who chose to explore other worlds instead of returning with Alice to New York City.

Being an ex-story isn’t easy even in a city like New York where strangeness already lurks on every corner. At first it seems like Alice might really be able to reinvent herself with a new, human life. But something is happening to the Hinterland survivors who made it out–something that’s leaving them dead.

While Alice tries to track down the culprit, Ellery has to try to find his own way out of the Hinterland before there’s nothing left.

Everyone knows how a fairy tale is supposed to end but as Alice and Ellery search for answers and a way home, they soon realize that their tales are far from over and may not end happily in The Night Country (2020) by Melissa Albert.

The Night Country is a sequel to Albert’s debut novel The Hazel Wood–be sure to start there to get the full story and avoid spoilers. Alice’s pragmatic first person narration contrasts well with third person chapters following Ellery as he tries to find his way home and, possibly, back to Alice.

While Alice spent most of The Hazel Wood trying to understand who she was, The Night Country focuses on Alice’s struggle to decide who she wants to be now that she is free to shape her own story.

The Night Country is a suspenseful story of loss, hope, and searching. This fairytale noir adventure blends romance and mystery with plenty of action as Alice struggles to stop a conspiracy with ramifications she can barely imagine. A must read for fans of portal fantasies, mysteries, and readers who prefer their magic with bloody sharp edges.

Possible Pairings: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, Caster by Elsie Chapman, Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, Sender Unknown by Sallie Lowenstein, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Realm of Ruins by Hannah West

*A more condensed version of this review appeared as a starred review in the November 2019 issue of School Library Journal*

Week in Review: January 4–New Year, New Decade, New Resolutions


Blog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

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What were your favorite books in 2019? 📚 This stack represents my ten favorite books that I read and reviewed on my blog in 2019. In no particular order, the titles are: -Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (not shown because it’s currently loaned out!) -Field Notes On Love by Jennifer E. Smith -Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury -The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White -Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid -Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner -10 Blind Dayes by Ashley Elston -The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi -With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo -Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #lovereading #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookstagramit #bookish #bookishfeature #bookblog #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #bestof2019 #bestbooks #bestbooksof2019

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How My Week Went:

With all the holiday stuff this week felt about fifteen days long but it was good otherwise.

The end of this year was a weird milestone putting a full decade between me and what was, to date, the worst year of my life. It’s too much to encompass in tidy, reflective thoughts but I did want to share the resolutions I shared on Twitter and Instagram earlier this week.

My wish for 2020 is to continue to be brave, to take chances, and to level up. I want to see friends more. I want to stop being afraid to make plans. I want 2020 to be the year things I’ve been talking about and working on start coming together.

My wish for all of you in 2020 is to have the space you need to find yourself, to find your people, and to find your joy. May we all only have the best of things in 2020 and beyond. Happy new year!

Chick Lit Wednesday Will Be Back Next Week

With Christmas and New Years Day falling on Wednesdays, I’m taking off from Chick Lit Wednesday Posts. Enjoy the holidays and see you January 8!

2019 Reading Tracker Year in Review

It’s time for my annual break down of my reading tracker posts for the year.


  • Read: 10
  • Bought: 4
  • ARCs: 5


  • Read: 5
  • Bought: 1
  • ARCs: 4


  • Read: 12
  • Bought: 3
  • ARCs: 2


  • Read: 10
  • Bought: 0
  • ARCs: 6


  • Read: 22
  • Bought: 1
  • ARCs: 1


  • Read: 19
  • Bought: 2
  • ARCs: 7


  • Read: 11
  • Bought: 0
  • ARCs: 0


  • Read: 14
  • Bought: 1
  • ARCs: 6


  • Read: 17
  • Bought: 1
  • ARCs: 2


  • Read: 13
  • Bought: 1
  • ARCs: 0


  • Read: 29
  • Bought: 4
  • ARCs: 4


  • Read: 19
  • Bought: 0
  • ARCs: 3

Yearly Totals:

  • Read: 181
  • Bought: 18
  • ARCs: 40


Read: I read more this year than last year I think partly because I really made an effort to prioritize books I wanted to read after having a hard reading month in February and feeling really burnt out on reading “for work” as I went through review titles. I re-read a lot and read more on audio. Re-reading has been a valuable way for me to really drill down on the books I keep in my personal library and audio books have been interesting for titles I might not have picked up otherwise or have been putting off. I’ve been trying to prioritize reading books I own–especially ones I’ve had for a while to clear my shelves. Which has already been paying off dividends as I make more space in my desk at work and on my to read shelves at home.

Bought: Books bought went down from 24 to 18. Which I’m happy about and hoping to have even fewer in 2020. If I learned anything this year, it’s that unless it’s a special edition or purchased as a signing, I do not need to buy books. I receive a ton at work and get some from my good friends as gifts. After subscribing to Uppercase for a lot of this year, I realized I don’t always like books I impulse buy and since my shelf space is so limited it doesn’t make sense to buy a ton of books. A good chunk of books I bought this year were favorites I read as ARCs and wanted to support or special copies I got at events and I feel much better about those than any random purchases. Looking ahead I’d *like* to have books bought for the year down to single digits but I’m not sure if that’s realistic.

ARCs: I received 39 ARCs this year which is down from 68 last year (plus 27 ARCs I got at BookExpo which is always hard to track in these). I was overwhelmed by blog review commitments at the start of the year so I’m happy with this change. Here’s the breakdown for the ARCs I received (I’m not sure it’s totally accurate because like 2018, I wasn’t the best at tracking #bookmail that came in):

  • Requested: 12
  • Amazon Vine: 10
  • Not requested: 18

Requested ARCs went down from 29 to 11–partly because I request more ARCs as a librarian at my day job than as a blogger because I find School and Library Marketing requests are less competitive than blogger ones.

I requested two more titles from Amazon Vine compared to last year which isn’t a big change–it’s not a program everyone has access to but I find it really useful.

ARCs I received that I didn’t requested dropped from 32 to 18. I think that might be a clerical error on my part but oh well.

My main takeaway with ARCs is that a lot of the time I prefer reading near (or even after) release date so unless it’s a book I know a bit about and am very excited to read, I may not need to request a copy.

Basically looking ahead to 2020 my philosophy with acquiring books (either ARCs or finished copies) is going to be quality over quantity. We’ll see how that goes!

December 2019 Reading Tracker

Books I Read:

  1. Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
  2. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
  3. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
  4. Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
  5. Giant Days 9 (reread)
  6. Giant Days 10
  7. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  8. Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
  9. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  10. The Girl King by Mimi Yu
  11. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  12. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
  13. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
  14. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
  15. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (reread)
  16. Giant Days Volume 11
  17. Saga Volume 2
  18. Saga Volume 3
  19. By Night Volume 1

Books I Had Planned to Read:

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What are you reading this month? 📚 I read 29 books in November. As a result I have no idea if this stack is too ambitious or too small. 📚 All I know for sure is that this week has already thrown me for a loop and I’m hoping that isn’t going to set the tone for the rest of the month. 📚 The titles are: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake The Map From Here to There by Emery Lord A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen Wilder Girls by Rory Power Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson 📚 Which one would you read first? 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #lovereading #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookstagramit #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #shelflovecrate #toberead #toread

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Books Bought: 0

ARCs Received:

  1. The Night of Your Life by Lydia Sharp (not requested)
  2. City of Stone and Silence by Django Wexler (not requested)
  3. Haven fall by Sara Holland (requested)

You can also see what I read in November.

Top Ten: 2019

Sometimes it’s really hard to look back on a year and figure out which books are my favorites–even when I’m only looking at books I reviewed here on the blog instead of all of the books I read. 2019 wasn’t like that. Instead, it turned out to relatively easy to choose my standout favorites. These are books that made my world bigger and my heart more full; they’re books that took my completely by surprise in the best possible ways:

You can click the titles above to find my reviews or shop the titles over on my Amazon page.

Honorable Mention: The Backlist

I have been playing catch up with review writing for the better part of two years so here are some backlist titles I could have mentioned last year (or earlier) but didn’t get written up on the blog in time to be properly featured on a best of list: