reading booktok books so you don’t have to

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

If you’re on the reading side of TikTok, Instagram, or even Pinterest, there are likely a few books that you just can’t stop being recommended. Those ones where it seems like everybody’s read them, and for some reason they all decided to make videos recommending them to you.

Well, recently I sat down and made a list of the most popular ones. And then I read them. Was it a mistake? Maybe.

In any case, here I am reviewing them from a Christian perspective with content warnings so you can decide for yourself whether you want to try them or not.

A quick warning before we begin: While I try to keep my book reviews on this blog spoiler-free, a few of the books in this post will have to have spoilers for the sake of content warnings. They will generally be broad, but if you want to be surprised, this is your last chance to click away.

At the end of each review, as well, I will be giving my opinion on whether you should read the book. This is only my opinion, based on what I personally feel comfortable reading. You might not be okay with reading a book with certain content, and that’s all right. Don’t feel like you have to read something just because I thought it was okay.

Are you ready? Then let’s jump in!

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson


The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

content/trigger warnings

This book has quite an extensive list, including but not limited to detailed discussions of rape, drugs, self-harm, and suicide. Racism is prevalent. At least one side character is a drug dealer. One side character is a lesbian. Underage drinking. Fairly strong language, but it’s not common.

should I read it?

Yes–if you’re not easily grossed out. The plot was engaging and drew me through the book–I could barely put it down. It was full of unexpected twists and turns that kept me on my toes, and I loved the characters. If you’re a fan of thrillers and mysteries, check this one out.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

content/trigger warnings

A side character is in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Gun violence, murder, and attempted murder. A small amount of mild language, including the use of similar-sounding words. One side character who openly identifies as bisexual, and one side character who is sapphic. Alcohol use.

should I read it?

I read this book in one sitting. (Actually, that’s not true–I got up in the middle of it to eat some jelly beans.) The story was engaging and full of twists and turns that kept me on my toes. However, the writing was less than stellar. Given both of these factors, I would say a tentative yes, you should read it. (If you do, note that it is the first in a trilogy. I made that mistake and didn’t check out the other two from the library–and then suffered dearly for it.)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamine Alire Sáenz


Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

content/trigger warnings

Alcohol use. A car accident resulting in broken bones. The main characters end up in a gay relationship, and homophobia and AIDS are frequently discussed. A side character has PTSD. A side character committed a transphobic hate crime in the past.

should I read it?

I personally loved this book. It was highly philosophical, with lots of deep thoughts about life and the world. The main characters’ friendship was so real and raw. I would say that yes, you should read this book, but only if you’re all right with discussions of gay issues.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

content/trigger warnings

Arson, disassociation, grief, and racism. Alcohol use and abuse. The main character has implied sexual intercourse.

should I read it?

This book is…poetic, but almost in a bad way. The writing style could be kind of info dump-y and pretentious, and sometimes it was hard to know what was going on. There was a great deal of entitlement. I liked it well enough, but I would say that if contemporary isn’t already your thing, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it.

final thoughts

These books aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure. But for you guys I will suffer through them. I may do another one of these in the future–I’ve got a whole list to work through. In the meantime, let me know–what do you think? Have you read any of these? Have I changed your mind about reading any of them now?

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!


the once upon a time book tag

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

Today I’ll be participating in a fun tag co-created by Merie Shen of Imperial Scribis. This one has been sitting in my inbox for a little while now as I’ve been stewing over my answers, and I think it’s finally time to share them with the world!

Without further ado…let’s jump right in.

the rules

  • thank the person who tagged you
  • use the tag graphic above (optional) (I opted not to for this one!)
  • name a book for each of the following 12 categories
  • tag as many people as you would like

the fairytales

Cinderella: a book that changed your life

Does the Bible count? I mean, technically it did change my life, but I don’t think that’s the answer y’all are going for here.

This one took me a lot of thought, but I’d have to say Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

I read Stargirl in middle school. It was one of the first books that I read that could be considered YA romance (though it’s honestly debatable whether it’s YA or MG), and it kicked off my love for the genre. Pretty soon I was reading more and more of the genre, and that lead to me wanting to write it. I credit Stargirl, in part, with my love of writing.

Sleeping Beauty: a book that took you forever to finish

I received Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights for my birthday in December of 2021, started it, and didn’t finish it until last month. Whoops.

Technically speaking, I took a long break, but if you classify “taking forever to finish” as “the interval between which one started and finished the book being long,” I’d say fourteen months is a pretty long time. (In fact, it was almost exactly fourteen months!)

Also, can we take a second to appreciate the Penguin Clothbound Classics editions? One day I am going to own every single one of them. They are gorgeous.

A Thousand and One Nights: a book you couldn’t stop reading

I started Crumbs by Danie Stirling in the afternoon, and when my mom poked her head in my room to tell me to come help with dinner, I felt like I was waking up from a trance. I plan to post a book review very soon, so I don’t want to spoil too much, but this is the best graphic novel I have ever read. It was just so CUTE. And the art style was AMAZING. And I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I couldn’t put it down. AAAAHHHH.

Little Red Riding Hood: a book you recently read in an unfamiliar genre

I had to look way back in my reading log to find something that wasn’t contemporary, fantasy, memoir, or dystopian sci-fi, and the earliest deviation I found was from October of last year.

#MurderTrending was recommended to me by a friend who loves thrillers. I’m not super into them, but I’ll read them from time to time, and I had to admit that this was a fairly interesting read. It was certainly fast-paced and action-packed and kept me on my toes. It was a little bit too gory for my taste, but then again, I am unable to handle even the slightest amount of gore, so that might just be me. Overall, a pretty good book.

The Wild Swans: a book with your favorite sibling relationships

The entire Boxcar Children series holds so much nostalgia for me. The original series was twenty-one books (one of which I have been searching for for years), and they’re all chock-full of the siblings solving little mysteries.

They’re intended for a younger audience and published in the 1920s, so there isn’t a whole lot of plot (they just happen to discover a lot of lucky things), but I love it. Sometimes it’s nice to read something lighthearted, you know?

And I love Henry and Jessie and Violet and Benny (and, of course, their grandfather). Their dynamic is just so sweet. I highly recommend all of the Boxcar Children books.

Snow White: a book filled with beautiful prose

You know it already. I’ve ranted and raved about The Book Thief so often on my blog. This was the book that taught me how to write prose. The descriptions, the emotion, the phrasing—yes. Just yes. If you haven’t read The Book Thief yet, you are missing out spectacularly.

Rapunzel: a book that you procrastinated on reading after buying

There are several books that I have acquired years ago and still haven’t read. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (although in my defense that thing is a brick), The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix…I could probably keep going. I need to get on that.

The Little Mermaid: a book that took you on a magical journey

Um…all of them?

I recently reread the WondLa series after a few years and ohhh boy. Ohhhhhh boy. I love these books so much. They’re such well-thought-out, well-written, all-around-amazing books with a teensy little bit of social commentary on humanity and nature.

I love the worldbuilding and the transformation of the characters, watching them grow up in just three books. I love the way the story never goes exactly where you expect it to. I love everything about this series, and I think that it’s a tragedy that it doesn’t get as much press as some of the more mainstream dystopian series.

The Frog Prince: a book that made you want to turn into a frog because you hated it so much

How about Apologia Exploring Creation through Chemistry?

Nah, just kidding. Chemistry and I have a mutual hatred.

It took me a while to find this book in my reading log, but once I read the synopsis, I was reminded why One Night That Changes Everything had the “would not reread” tag on it.

The premise was promising, but the characters were flat, the plot was unrealistic, and the writing was terrible. I put it down feeling completely dissatisfied and like I had just wasted my time reading it. Not a good feeling to walk away from a book with.

(I’m going to be honest—I hate trashing books like this. I’m terrified that the author is going to see it and be hurt. So if you’re Lauren Barnholdt and you are reading this, I am so sorry.)

Peter Pan: a book that reminds you of your childhood

My copy of The Wishing Spell is so beat up by now that the entire book split in half. I loved this whole series as a kid, probably because the bookish, introverted, overly geeky heroine reminded me of myself. I remember my mom getting this for me at a homeschool book sale (because of course) and being utterly absorbed in it for the rest of the day. Good times.

The Goose Girl: a book you had low expectations for but ended up loving

I am not particularly a fan of John Green. When I first read The Fault in Our Stars, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. It was slightly absurd and overly pretentious. So I wasn’t expecting to like Paper Towns, but I ended up falling in love with it.

It’s still absurd and pretentious, mind you, but the premise, the plot, the characters are all so three-dimensional. The high stakes kept me on the edge of my seat. I still reread it every so often, even though the long philosophical ramblings don’t really make much sense. (I feel like you either love or you hate John Green’s style. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.)

Hansel and Gretel: a book that made you hungry

The Magic Cake Shop by Meika Hashimoto feels like a fever dream of mine. When I was a kid, elementary school perhaps, I used to check this book out of the library at least every other week. There was just something about it. Maybe it was the illustrations that looked somehow exactly like the illustrations in the American Girl books of the time.

I barely remember what happens in this book. It feels like something my fourth-grade brain made up, but I just asked my sister and she remembered it, so I guess not? Unless it was a shared hallucination.

Anyway, there was cake. Lots and lots of cake. I remember that. I mean, obviously.

Okay, I just checked, and our library still has it. I’m going to read it and report back to you.

the tags

Honestly, tagging people on blog tags has always been a struggle for me, so I’m going to just leave this open for whoever would like to participate. Let me know if you do! I’d love to see your answers.

Thank you again, Merie and Diamond, for this lovely tag! I had a lot of fun answering your questions.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

book review: Run by Ann Patchett

It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself. God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that all the bats had been put back behind the closet door. God could have been the masses in which he told people how best to prepare for the glorious life everlasting, the one they couldn’t see as opposed to the one they were living at that exact moment in the pews of the church hall, washed over in the stained glass light. How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater. What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow? Life itself had been holy.


Since their mother’s death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving possessive and ambitions father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see is sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children–all his children–safe.

Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic Priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include people you’ve never even met. As an in her bestselling novel, Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.

my thoughts

I found this book at the thrift store with no dust jacket on it, so I looked up the synopsis on Amazon, and before I even finished reading the synopsis I knew that it was going to come home with me.

I love books that are set in one day—for example, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Both books that I have read that were set in one day are some of my favorite books because they are so masterfully done. So I had high expectations for this book. I knew that it would be a little different because the two examples mentioned above were targeted towards young adults and this was more of an adult book, but I still expected it to impact me in the way those two books had.

What hit me first upon opening the book was the lack of paragraph breaks. Seriously, the paragraphs stretch on forever. They could be a bit info-dumpy, but for the most part, they kept me immersed in the story. Frankly, I was surprised by this—most of the time, books with long paragraphs are really good at allowing my mind to wander. But this one pulled me in.

The next thing I noticed were the characters. From page one you could see their struggles and desires so clearly. I loved the way Tip loved fish. Characters having a “thing” that they like to do, that their whole life centers around, is common, but I’ve never seen one so unique as ichthyology. Now I’m wondering why we don’t see things as unique as that ever.

I think that perhaps the best part about this book was that the plot twists just kept coming, and you never saw them before they hit you. Seriously, it was just blow after blow. This book kept me on my toes and wanting to learn more. I commend any book that can hook me in like that.

This book portrayed a lot of controversial themes such as racial equality, privilege and poverty, and religion, but I thought it did so very well. The characters would often quote speeches throughout the book, many by civil rights leaders, and I liked how there was “real-world” evidence sprinkled in the story.

Were there shortcomings in this book? Of course. Every book has them. Because this was written from a third person omniscient perspective, sometimes it was hard to tell who was narrating at any given time. Between that, the plot twists, and the long paragraphs, sometimes I got lost and had to go back and reread. I also thought that the ending was neatly wrapped up—a little too neatly for real life, perhaps.

Overall, though, I think that this book was a very thought-provoking read. Although it was outside of my normal genres, I am very glad that I brought it home to read.

book review: Educated by Tara Westover

On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping. I am only 7, but I understand that it is this fact more than any other that makes my family different. We don’t go to school. Dad worries that the government will force us to go, but it can’t because it doesn’t know about us. Four of my parents’ seven children don’t have birth certificates. We have no medical records because we were born at home and have never seen a doctor or nurse. We have no school records because we’ve never set foot in a classroom.


Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. 

my thoughts

Educated broke me.

The story is, quite honestly, horrific. Though its title promises content about Tara’s lack of education and quest to find it, most of the book focuses on the emotional abuse suffered at the hands of her father and physical abuse at the hands of her own brother.

The first time I finished the book, I set it down and just stared into the distance for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe that these things actually happen to real people.

The point is, this book made me feel things. It left an impression on me. That’s the most important thing a book can do, and for that, I applaud Tara.

One of the other things I liked is that though this book is long, it’s not packed to the gills with flowery prose and imagery. It’s down to earth, simple, almost cold. You can see Tara’s thought processes and emotions without having to dig too deep, and I thought that was super impressive.

Overall, I’d give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. But you should be tough and not easily offended to read it.

Trigger warnings: blood, car accident, child neglect, domestic, physical, and emotional abuse, gaslighting, slight gore, mental illness.

(This may look like an impressively long list, but please don’t be shocked that I would post a review of something like this on here! I’m not afraid to share the hard things–in fact, I think that they need to be shared.)

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

rating my July contemporary reads

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary lately, as is my custom, and (since I am writing this post the day before it has to come out) I figured I would do a mini-review of some of them.

I won’t be giving full overviews, but I will be rating them out of five stars based on four categories: cleanliness, plot, characters, and prose. Then they’ll receive an overall score out of five. It’ll be kind of a lightning round of reviews, and you can argue with me in the comments about it.

Let’s go!

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

finished July 25, 2022


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall score: 18/20

Color Me In by Natasha Diaz

finished July 20, 2022


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall score: 12/20

If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley

finished July 18, 2022


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall score: 17.5/20

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welsh

finished July 17, 2022


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall score: 17/20

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

finished July 14, 2022


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall rating: 18/20

That’s all for now! I enjoyed writing this post, and I think I might do more in the future. Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my ratings?

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

mini book reviews

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review since abandoning my previous structure. I decided that that was a problem. (Also, I’m running out of post ideas.) So this week I’ll be introducing you to some of the books I’ve read so far this year.

I’ve begun keeping a reading log in my Notion, and so far I’ve actually been keeping up with it (there’s a shocker). I’ve finished 28 books total this year, four of which were rereads, and that’s not counting the ones I’ve picked up and then decided to quit for no reason. I’ll be reviewing five of them in this post, so let’s hop right in!

Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves

Beyond the Mapped Stars is a historical fiction story (with a tiny bit of romance) about a Mormon girl, Elizabeth, who loves the stars. One day, she wants to be an astronomer, but there’s a small problem with that: her parents want her to be married. The story follows Elizabeth as she finds out who she is beneath the stars.

I loved this book. I felt like Elizabeth’s inner monologue was portrayed in a very historical accurate way. The characters were compelling, and her story was gripping. Overall, a very enjoyable book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade

Have you ever heard of the El Faro? I hadn’t, either, until I read this book. It combines transcripts from the doomed ship’s log and research together to create a lifelike narrative you wouldn’t believe is real.

This book gripped me. It was horrifying, yet so well-written that I couldn’t stop reading. I would give it a minor content warning for language (they are sailors, after all), but overall, very well done and respectful to the memory of the crew.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Have you ever wanted to be utterly called out for all the things you didn’t know Satan was doing to you? Well, then this is the book you need! This is an epistolary novel written from the point of view of a senior demon, one of Satan’s underlings. He’s writing to his nephew all about how to trick humans into turning from God and following Satan.

I have to say, this book was rather dark. I’m glad I waited as long as I did to read it. That being said, it is excellent, and I think it’ll be one of those books where I learn something new every reread.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lucy Clark Will Not Apologize by Margo Rabb

Mystery abounds in this contemporary young adult novel. Lucy Clark has been bullied one too many times, and eventually she retaliates. But then she gets sent to live with an eccentric woman who believes she is being poisoned! This quirky, magical novel follows Lucy as she attempts to figure out who the culprit is.

Usually, I’m not one for mystery, but I couldn’t stop reading. It was well-written and I enjoyed the characters. Plus, just look at that cover! Isn’t it beautiful?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover’s parents didn’t believe in school. They didn’t believe in the government–most of their children didn’t even have birth certificates. So Tara lived her entire life in the mountains of Idaho never having set foot in a school in her entire life. Educated recounts her story of going to college and finally receiving what she was entitled to all along.

This book is quite possibly one of the saddest things I’ve read in a long time. It made me ache for Tara and the things she went through. It made me realize how lucky I am to have such a good education. Overall, it made me feel horrible, which is a testament to how good it was. Content warnings for language, violence, and the occasional sexual reference.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As you can see, I’ve been reading a wide range of genres so far this year. It helps to keep track of them all!

Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book that you’ve read this year?

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

let’s talk about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

By the time you read this, I will probably be in class, and we will probably be discussing none other than Lewis Carroll’s classic masterpiece, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, if you haven’t read this before, I urge you to close this email or this browser tab and go do so. You will probably be lost without context. Even the Disney movie may have left some things out of the original book (I’ve never seen it, so I wouldn’t know).

This year, we’re studying British literature in our homeschool community. We’ve gone through several great classics like Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and the like. And this week, we were assigned to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I was excited about reading this book, and, if I’m honest, part of it was because it was short. Like, the entire thing (my copy, at least) is about 90 pages. I’m a fast reader, so I can knock that out in about an hour. (Not to brag or anything. I mean, I am sort of bragging, but…I’m going to stop now.) We were only given a week to read this, so it was a welcome break from the 400-page novels we were given last semester.

I’d read abridged kids’ versions before this, so I knew the general plot, and, of course, I was familiar with some of the characters. Being a book intended for children, it wasn’t that hard to follow. In the note included at the beginning of my edition, it says that “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is credited with having been the first great imaginative book for children whose principal goal was to entertain rather than instruct.” I thought that was interesting, and I also thought that Carroll really succeeded in that goal, because I’m certain that absolutely nothing instructional could be taken out of this book.

I mean, seriously though? Read it. It’s such a weird book. I know that’s the point, but like…really? I would like to know what Lewis Carroll was on when he wrote it. It would certainly explain a lot.

While reading, I was struck by how real Alice seemed to be. She is only a young girl, after all, and I think Carroll portrayed this well. One of my favourite things is how Alice continually talks about her cat and how much she misses her, because as any of my friends can tell you, I’m the exact same way. (Not a week goes by in class where my classmates don’t hear “I miss my cat.”)

But I cannot get over how weird this book is. I’m sorry. I want to like it, I really do. And I do like some of the aspects, like Alice’s character as mentioned above, but the weirdness factor is a little too much, even for me.

Overall, I would give this book a five out of ten. I regard and respect it as a classic work of literature, but if it wasn’t on my syllabus, I would be okay with that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. I’m thinking of doing some more like this, instead of my typically structured book reviews. Let me know how you liked it and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Cathedral by Maya Joelle: Release + Book Review

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

This week, I have the pleasure of reviewing Cathedral by Maya Joelle.

“What’s this?” you might be asking. “I’ve never heard of this book before!”

Well, that’s because it hasn’t come out yet! My dear friend Maya is releasing her debut collection on December 18th, and today, you get to read of it before anyone else. (Well, unless you’ve found the other posts in this blog tour.)

Without further ado, I give you Cathedral!

(Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

oh brave one,
oh broken, beautifully brave one,
remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time,
how far apart they are scattered,
how long you must search,
he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were
and the image you once bore.

–to the broken ones


In the author’s words, “Cathedral is a collection of poetry and creative prose about beauty in the midst of grief and joy in the face of great sorrow.” Each poem and story is a little piece of the author’s heart, a brick in the cathedral, if you will. Through darkness and light, rays and shadows, Maya Joelle shows that there’s always a little hope, if you care to look for it.


If I’m honest, part of the reason I signed up to read this book was because Maya is one of my dearest writer friends. I’m not really a huge poetry person, but I decided to try it anyway. And I’m so glad I did.

Maya’s poetry is so poignant and heartbreaking. A few of the poems brought me to tears, and when I finished reading, there was a lump in my throat. Her use of figurative language was truly beautiful, and the similes and metaphors were absolutely gorgeous.

It was a short read–only about six thousand words–and with my abnormal reading speed, I read it in about 20 minutes. I wish it had lasted longer, it was so beautiful.

I honestly don’t know if I have anything bad to say about this book, other than it was too short. If you love poetry–and even if you don’t–I recommend this book to you, especially if you’re going through grief or hard times of any kind.


Pages: 55
Genre: Poetry
Year of publication: Cathedral launches December 18, 2021!
Content warnings: discussion of death and grief
My rating: 10/10

Book Review: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

I turned to confront my stalker. My eyes met his dark ones, and I felt a jolt of electricity from the impossible connection.

<That’s better. Now, you have to listen to–>

“Just stop, all right? I have to ignore you. It’s the only way to ignore a straitjacket and a windowless white room. Besides, you’re only a coping mechanism to deal with what happened when I was younger.”


All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.


I first read The Girl Who Could See about a year ago, and it’s remained one of my favourite books ever since.

The first thing I loved about this book: Fern. Honestly, she’s the best. I feel like she’s an accurate portrayal of what a young woman in her situation would be like, and while that kind of seems like a given, so many people in books like this are portrayed so unrealistically it’s almost laughable. There was none of this in that novel. She somehow manages to be broken and whole at the same time, and I love her depth.

I also love how the strengths and weaknesses of the other characters, namely Elinore and Tristan, play off of Fern and help her see herself in a different light. She grows an incredible amount over the course of the story, and most of it is because of the side characters.

And Tristan. Just. Tristan. Yes. I love him.

(You know when you fangirl so hard you can’t formulate cohesive sentences? That’s me with this book. It’s a miracle I’ve gotten this far.)

Enough ranting about the characters. The premise and plot of this story drew me in and didn’t let me go. It’s kind of a short book, so it took me about an hour and a half to finish it (during which my family was yelling at me to hurry up, it’s time for dinner, just one more minute, Mom!), which is a testament to how gripping it was.

So if you’re ever looking for a quick new fantasy read with some light romance and a whole cast of lovable characters, this book is one hundred percent for you.


Pages: 212
Genre: Fantasy
Year of publication: 2017
Content warnings: Light romance, violence, some gore (description of getting stitches), mentions of drug abuse
My rating: 9/10

If you liked this book, you also might like Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver.

Book Review: Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss

The plane’s roar fills my head.

The man’s eyes are wild. The gun in his hand shakes. “Sit in your seats!” he screams. We sit, still as stone.

I’m in a film, on a movie set. I must me. It can’t be real…I…

The man is sweating. He twists his mouth to wipe it with the back of his free hand.

But the gun, the gun…


Jordan, 1970.

After a summer spent with her family, fifteen-year-old Anna is travelling back to her English boarding school alone. But her plane never makes it home.

Anna’s flight is hijacked by Palestinian guerillas. They land the plane in the Jordanian desert, switch off the engines and issue their demands. If these are not met within three days, they will blow up the plane, killing all the hostages.

The heat on board becomes unbearable; food and water supplies dwindle. Anna begins to face the possibility she may never see her family again.

Time is running out . . .

Based on true events, this is a story about ordinary people facing agonizing horror, of courage and resilience.


I picked this book up in the library because the cover intrigued me, and I have to say, I was not disappointed.

The entire time I was reading this story, I couldn’t believe it was real. It was written in such a detailed, matter-of-fact way that left me doubtless it was, but the horrors described and the vivid descriptions were so moving. It made me feel like I was there with the characters, going through the things they did, and I was nearly in tears by the end of the story.

One of my favourite parts of this novel was the character development the narrator, Anna, went through. After such a terrifying experience as this, one is bound to experience a paradigm shift, and Moss captured that perfectly. I enjoyed how, even in the midst of a terrible situation, Anna still helped others and made friends. There was still that little bit of everyday life mixed in with the hijacking.

Overall, this book is an eye-opening read for anyone who enjoys recent historical fiction.


Pages: 277
Genre: historical fiction
Year of publication: 2016
Content warnings: the occasional swear word, violence, mention of sexual assault
My rating: 9/10

If you liked this book, you also might like D B by Elwood Reid.