Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

By Julie Israel

Source: Library

Series: n/a

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Published by Kathy Dawson books

My Rating: four-stars

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s been sixty-five days since the accident that killed Juniper’s sister, and ripped Juniper’s world apart.

Then she finds the love letter: written by Camilla on the day of the accident, addressed mysteriously to “You,” but never sent. Desperate to learn You’s identity and deliver the message, Juniper starts to investigate.

Until she loses something. A card from her Happiness Index: a ritual started by sunny Camie for logging positives each day. It’s what’s been holding Juniper together since her death – but a lost card only widens the hole she left behind. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own dark secret: a memory she can’t let anyone else find out.

The search for You and her card take Juniper to even less expected places, and as she connects with those whose secrets she upturns in the effort, she may just find the means to make peace with her own.

This is a smart, funny, poignant book guaranteed to make you laugh and cry – and maybe even take notes.

I put a library hold on this book way back when I first heard about it, but by the time my hold came in, I couldn’t remember what the book was about. But that cover is so pretty, I started to read right away and didn’t read the blurb or anything to refresh my memory. Sometimes I like just diving into a book without knowing too much!

This was such a great read! I love the idea of the ‘happiness index’, and I was super invested in Juniper’s relationships with her new friends. I was also really interested in finding out more about her sister and their relationship.

This was a great debut, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Julie Israel! This is definitely a recommended read, especially for fans of contemporary YA and sibling stories.

Week In Review

August 14 – 20


Hello! I hope everyone’s having a lovely weekend! I’m fighting off a cold, which has basically turned into a nasty cough, so that’s been fun. But I did get some good reading done this weekend! That puts me at 78 books read so far towards my Goodreads goal (which is 100 books), so I’m feeling pretty good about that and I am fairly confident that I’ll achieve that goal this year.

And my new Welcome to Night Vale pins arrived! Yay! (I am kind of obsessed with enamel pins)

New books:

Penguin Random House Canada sent me this lovely finished copy of Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which has an awesome poster inside!










I also received two e-ARCs via Edelweiss that I’m excited to read:

American Panda, Gloria Chao; and

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces, Lynn Weingarten.

Books read:

I finished reading three books this week:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling (re-read);

The Hearts We Sold, Emily Lloyd-Jones; and

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power, Mariko Tamaki.

Current reads:

Yesterday I started reading The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, and since I usually have two books on the go, I’m trying to pick another book to start next.


I posted my reviews of And I Darken, by Kiersten White, and A Map for Wrecked Girls, by Jessica Taylor.



Now I’m going to curl up with some coffee, some cold medicine, and some books! Happy Sunday!

A Map for Wrecked Girls

By Jessica Taylor

Source: Received from the publisher

Series: n/a

Received from the publisher, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Published by Dial Books

My Rating: four-stars

A Map for Wrecked Girls

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

I was really looking forward to reading this book because it seemed to combine two things I love to read about: survival (a shipwreck, in this case) and a sibling relationship (sisters Henri and Emma).

This was a great story about two sisters, with details about their relationship being revealed in chapters that alternate between their present predicament on the island, and flashbacks to their life at home. Complicating the situation between Henri and Emma on the island is Alex, who is stranded with them. Alex has his own personal issues to contend with and it’s unclear if Emma can really trust him. And while being stranded on an island might make people pull together, for some reason Henri still seems to be pulling away from Emma.

Henri and Emma’s relationship is so intense – maybe too intense, with them too dependent one each other, but that relationship and dependence was really interesting to explore within the confines of being stranded on an island. And I really liked reading about Emma learning more about herself and becoming more confident.

I really liked the story and the structure, with the chapters going back and forth in time, and gradually learning (or piecing together for myself) what had happened before the island to drive Henri and Emma apart. I was less interested in the romantic subplot, but Alex’s presence did lend some tension to the story, particularly because things may not be what they seem where he is concerned.

And on top of that, I loved the survival aspect: how long could they survive on that island? What would they do for food and water? Would they ever get home?

This was a very quick read that I enjoyed. Recommended!

And I Darken

By Kiersten White

Source: Purchased

Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

Published by Delacorte Press

My Rating: four-stars

And I Darken

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had heard very good things about it, and although I hadn’t loved other books I’d read by this author, I had liked them enough that I was curious to check this one out. And the synopsis certainly sounded like my kind of book!

And I Darken was a really chunky book but it was the kind of story that I love to lose myself in. It felt sweeping and epic in scope, covering many years of Lada and Radu’s lives.

Lada was a tough, feisty, intelligent, strong girl with firm beliefs and ambitions, and she was such a contract to her brother Radu. They were so different from each other, and I loved seeing the ways they each used their strengths to further their ambitions and to protect themselves, and each other, where possible.

This was a really great book, and I’m so glad that I have a copy of the second book, Now I Rise, because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Week In Review

August 7 – 13

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has had a nice weekend. I’m writing this post later than I usually write my Week in Review posts, because I spent most of today outside on my patio reading.

I spent yesterday at my BFF’s baby shower! I was outside in nature and got a ton of mosquito bites but it was worth it because I spent the day with friends celebrating the new life that my best friend and her husband are bringing into the world. I can’t wait to meet him!!

New books:

It was a quiet book week! I purchased the e-book of Emily Lloyd-Jones The Hearts We Sold. This sounds like such a ‘me’ book:

When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

I’m very excited to read this one.

Books read:

I finished reading two really good books this week:

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, Julie Israel; and

A Map for Wrecked Girls, Jessica Taylor.

Current reads:

I’m still carrying on with my slow Harry Potter re-read, and deciding which book to pick up next!


I posted two reviews this week:

Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia; and

Lucky in Love, Kasie West.

I’m going to spend the rest of the evening curled up with whichever book I decide to read next. Happy Sunday!