Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – October 31

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?


Sundays in Bed With… Sawkill Girls

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Recommended Reads by Black Authors

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Recommended Reads by Black Authors. Here’s my list:

1. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

2. Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon

3. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

4. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

5. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

6. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel

Title: Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel
Author: A.W. Jantha
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Freeform
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest death-defying scheme.


In October 1993, Max Dennison’s family moved from California to Salem Massachusetts. That Halloween, Max, his sister Dani, and his crush Allison, released the Sanderson Sisters, a trio of witches. They have to figure out how to banish the sisters from Salem. In part 2, twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s daughter Poppy also releases the witches. Poppy and her friends defy her parents’ warnings and have to figure out how to save their town from the Sanderson witches again.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Hocus Pocus movie when I was a kid, so I was going into this book without much knowledge of the story. What I really liked about this movie-to-book adaptation is that it read like a real novel. The thoughts of the characters were included, which wouldn’t have been in the movie. It felt like a complete novel.

The ending of both parts left room for the story to continue. When I finished Part 1, which was based on the movie, I found that it had an open ending, asking for a sequel. The ending of part 2 was such a cliffhanger. I really hope this story will be continued in another novel.

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel is a great Halloween read!

What to read next:

B*WITCH by Paige McKenzie and Nancy Ohlin

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse

Have you read Hocus Pocus and The All New Sequel? What did you think of it?

Review: The Girls Are Never Gone

Title: The Girls Are Never Gone
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, LGBT
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The Conjuring meets Sadie when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an internship in a haunted house and finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit.

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.


Dare doesn’t believe in ghosts, despite having a podcast called Attachments where she’s investigating the paranormal. She takes an internship at Arrington Estate, a house that is haunted by the ghost of Atheleen Bell. Dare suspects that the circumstances of Atheleen’s death aren’t supernatural, though that is the rumor. Dare becomes friends with Quinn, the daughter of the new owner of the house, and Holly, another intern. They’re all pulled into the mystery of the house, with ghost sightings and messages left on walls. Dare has to figure out the truth of what’s going on, before the ghost claims another victim.

Dare was a great detective for the story. She was drawn to this ghost story to investigate for her podcast. I liked that even though she was interested in this story, she was a skeptic. That made it even more convincing that something supernatural was happening when she started to suspect there was a real ghost. I would have loved to see more transcripts of her podcasts throughout the story to hear what she was reporting on.

I can’t comment much on the ending without giving anything away. I will say that it was surprising. The reveal was kind of complicated, involving many generations of residents of the estate. The ending was surprising and a little sad.

The Girls Are Never Gone is a great YA paranormal story.

Thank you Razorbill for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Have you read The Girls Are Never Gone? What did you think of it?

Review: Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1)

Title: Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1)
Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. 

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ 

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.


Eighteen-year-old Zetian signs herself up as a concubine-pilot to avenge her older sister’s death. Girls are paired with pilots, who use their qi power to power their machines and fight the aliens beyond the Great Wall, and the girls are sacrificed for their power. In Zetian’s first battle, where she is paired up with the boy who killed her sister, she surprises everyone when she survives the battle but the pilot doesn’t. Zetian is more powerful than they expected, so she’s paired up with the dangerous Li Shimin, one of the most powerful pilots they have. Now that Zetian has some power, she wants to figure out the reason behind this misogynistic situation to save girls from being sacrificed.

This book definitely lived up to the hype. It was action packed and exciting. The beginning was a little predictable, when Zetian achieved what she set out to do as a concubine-pilot immediately. Soon after avenging her sister’s death, the story picked up and had some surprising twists.

Gender was a major theme in this story. Zetian lived in a misogynistic society where the lives of girls weren’t valued. Girls were sent to the battlefield to be sacrificed during alien battles. However, when Zetian gained some power, with having a high qi rating and having avenged her sister’s death, she was prepared to prevent girls from being sacrificed in the future.

Iron Widow is an amazing fantasy debut!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

Have you read Iron Widow? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – October 28

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Questions for Rebel Girls

Title: Questions for Rebel Girls
Author: Rebel Girls
Genre: Nonfiction, Children’s
Publisher: Rebel Girls
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Questions for Rebel Girls sparks lively discussions with more than 500 kid-friendly questions inspired by real rebel women from the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Jane Goodall devoted her life to studying chimpanzees. If you dedicated your life to one type of animal, what would it be?

When cyclist Alfonsina Strada began racing, she was so unstoppable that newspapers nicknamed her “the devil in a dress.” What would your cycling nickname be?

Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa music. Beyoncé is a pop superstar. Roxanne Shante is an amazing rapper. And Joan Jett is all about rock and roll. If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you pick? 

If you could meet any woman from any country and any time in history, who would it be? What would you ask her? 

Would you rather ask questions or answer them?
 Luckily, with Questions for Rebel Girls, you can do both!

Girls love to explore their feelings, uncover their personality, and decode the world around them. One way to do that is to explore their answers to provocative questions about anything and everything. Questions for Rebel Girls introduces readers to extraordinary women throughout history and asks them to imagine themselves in similar scenarios. Designed to ignite exciting discussions between little rebels and their siblings, friends, and grown-ups, Questions for Rebel Girls is packed with more than 500 entertaining and thought-provoking questions—including some questions submitted by young fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.


This book is filled with questions and small bios for the Rebel Girls who have been featured in the other Rebel Girls books. There were one or two lines of a biography and/or a quote from each successful woman on almost every page. These women were athletes, actors, scientists, CEOs, and writers, among other professions from around the world. Each of these women have left a mark in their profession.

There were multiple questions on each page. These were thought-provoking and conversation-starting questions. There were a lot of this-or-that or would-you-rather questions that were a lot of fun to think about. Others would require more thought, such as “How do you communicate besides using words?” and “What is more important— to be popular, successful, or loved?” These could be great questions for parents or educators to use when discussing these topics with kids.

Questions for Rebel Girls is a great thought-provoking children’s book!

Thank you Rebel Girls for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women by Rebel Girls

Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes by Rebel Girls

Have you read Questions for Rebel Girls? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – October 27

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus. The expected publication date is November 30, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly–and fatally–wrong.

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day.

Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out–he’s been working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again.

So when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say . . .

. . . until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school–and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse.

It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common. They all have a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.

Now they’re all wondering–could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – October 26

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Why Is Everybody Yelling?: Growing Up in My Immigrant Family by Marisabina Russo

David Copperfield’s History of Magic by David Copperfield

Rest Easy by Warona Jolomba

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt

What books are you most excited for this week?