Contemporary (Teen), Fantasy (Teen), Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

My First Reading Rush Experience!

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

This year was my first time participating in The Reading Rush. Before this, I had never heard of it but I was recommended it by other book bloggers and the prompts seemed like a ton of fun.

Now, there were some issues with The Reading Rush and I only found out about it after the last live show. All I will say is that as people responsible for promoting books and bringing people together in the spirit of reading, things should not have happened the way that they did. What occurred was disrespectful and I can only hope that the creators of The Reading Rush will learn from their mistakes in the future.

With that being said, I did manage to finish all of the prompts and brought my TBR down by a WHOLE lot! Here is a quick summary!

Birthstone Book Cover – The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) book cover

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)

by Roshani Chokshi

Published December 15, 2019 by Wednesday Books
Series: The Gilded Wolves
ISBN: 125014454X

Data from Goodreads

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Rep: LGBTQIA+, biracial, South Asian, autism spectrum, Jewish, Polish representation

I had actually been reading this for The Gilded Wolves Readathon on Twitter, so it coincided very well for me. And yes, I know that the green of this cover isn’t the same as peridot green (my birthstone colour) but it was the closest I had! I also ended up buddy-reading this book with the lovely Shon@Books and Bugs! This book was such a good read, and it completely surprised me! I loved the research and detailing that went into this book. Every historical fact was well researched, every character was well-developed, and the plot itself was so intriguing with this complex magic system. It was literally a dream come true, with so much representation – and it was all done so well! My only negative point? I did not like Severin. He may have been the main male protagonist but every time the story shifted to his POV, I was annoyed. He showed the least amount of growth and his behaviour and attitude annoyed me to no end. However, that was the only downside of this book and I truly enjoyed the journey. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

Book That Starts With “The” – The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed [ARC]

The Black Kids book cover

The Black Kids

by Christina Hammonds Reed

Published August 4th 2020by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 1534462724

Data from Goodreads

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

Rep: Black representation, LGBTQIA+

TW: racism, violence, rioting

Wow. This book packs a punch. Told from the perspective of Ashley Bennett in 1992, this story explores an authentic teenage experience, while also tackling difficult subjects such as systemic racism and privilege. The story perfectly captures Ashley’s struggles with trying to belong with her non-Black friends while feeling guilty about not embracing her Black culture more. She struggles with her privilege and her desire to run away from complicated issues, while acknowledging that ignoring the problem doesn’t solve anything. Watching her observe, grow, and change through her experiences was incredible; the author just did such a fantastic job and avoided all cliches. This novel was gritty, powerful, and evocative – I cannot recommend it enough! It deserves all the hype it can get, so if you’re looking for an amazing ownvoice read, please give this one a shot!

Book That Inspired A Movie – P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You book cover

P.S. I Still Love You

by Jenny Han

Published May 26th 2015by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
ISBN: 144242673X

Data from Goodreads

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing

Rep: Korean (biracial) representation

This was such a fun prompt because we had to watch the movie first before reading the book. I had already watched and read the first Lara Jean movie so this was the perfect opportunity to watch and read the sequel. The book actually starts from a later point than the second movie (in fact, it encompasses more of the things happening in the first movie), so there was a bit of confusion in terms of the adaptation there. However, I thought that it explained Lara Jean’s perspective better than the movie did. I understood her worries and concerns about dating, especially as this was her first relationship. This was a pretty dramatic book, but it captured the nuances of teenage relationships really well. All in all, it was a sweet YA romance and I really enjoyed it.

Read The First Book You Touch – Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie [ARC]

Darling Rose Gold  book cover

Darling Rose Gold

by Stephanie Wrobel

Published March 17th 2020by Berkley Publishing
ISBN: 0593100069

Data from Goodreads

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes. And Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

TW: child abuse, kidnapping

This novel is actually based on the true story of Dee Dee Blanchard and Gypsy Rose. Initially, when I heard the premise, I was drawn to the twisted motives of the mother to commit what was essentially child abuse. I wanted to know more about what her reasoning was and how it occurred. The story is told from alternating perspectives – Rose Gold talks about what occurred after her mother’s arrest and her mother talks about what is currently happening in the story. I loved that it was written this way because it allowed me to understand both characters and their thought processes, while also building the tension for the inevitable standoff. This was such a twisted game of cat-and-mouse and I was riveted from the start. I will admit that I guessed the ending early on, but the story was written so well that I really didn’t mind. If you like twisted thrillers, then this might be up your alley!

Read A Book Outside –  The Southern Book Club’s Guides to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires book cover

The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires

by Grady Hendrix

Published April 7th 2020by Quirk Books
ISBN: 1683691431

Data from Goodreads

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, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

Rep: Black representation

TW: racism, violence against children, rape, sexual violence, gore

I read half of this book outside in my backyard before I retreated inside because of the heat. But this book had me in its grip from the first page. It is told from the perspective of Patricia, a housewife who just wants something to do, and decides to join a book club. What starts off as a pretty tame story quickly becomes a horror tale, with the tension mounting as I kept reading. I could not put this book down for fear of missing something out. The way the author wrote this story was incredible – it was almost like seeing the movie being played in my head! The characters jumped right out of the scene and the atmosphere was eerie, promising violence – and delivering! Apart from the fast pace and the amazing plot, one notable thing about this book is that it showed how white people show a blind eye to the plight of minority communities; this book forces those white characters to confront the wrongness and admit it. It is so blatantly mentioned and the reader is able to see why it is a hard pill to swallow – but it must, because without accepting the wrongs, you cannot make it right. I really enjoyed reading every minute of this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes horror, with a twist.

Book From A Genre You Don’t Read + Different Continent – The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Silence of Bones book cover

The Silence of Bones

by June Hur

Published April 21st 2020by Feiwel and Friends
ISBN: 1250229553

Data from Goodreads

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

Rep: Korean representation

TW: misogyny, violence, murder, mention, and description of animal abuse, mention, and description of suicide

I don’t read much historical fiction but the synopsis sounded like something I would like – and it takes place in South Korea! Right off the bat, I loved how this story took place during the Joseon era. I love Korean dramas and it reminded me of many of the historical ones I’ve watched. In fact, the writing style and plot also reminded me very much of a Korean drama, which was enjoyable. I loved that there were 2 mysteries to solve in this story; while I was able to figure out one pretty early on, I still liked reading about how the main character was going to handle the situation. I was also happy with the resolution of the final mystery because it made a lot of sense. My only pet peeve would be that I found some scene transitions to be a tad bit abrupt; if they had been a bit smoother, it would have been a better reading experience. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed immersing myself in the historical South Korean culture and I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author!

And that concludes my Reading Rush experience! I’m glad I got to read all of these books, especially since I didn’t think I would be able to finish in time! I’m not sure if I will do it next year but I had fun trying it out!

Did you participate in The Reading Rush? How did you do?

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “My First Reading Rush Experience!

  1. This year was the first year that I DIDN’T do the reading rush so when I heard about all the things that had happened I was really disappointed (for them), but also kind of glad I hadn’t signed up this year.
    I’m glad you got so many books read though, this is so great!!

    1. Yeah, I don’t think they really handled things well and quite a few bloggers and booktubers also commented on their experience. I’m surprised I managed to read as many books as I did, I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to! For all the negativity, at least I managed to get through some of the books on my TBR – although, I’m probably not going to Reading Rush again.

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