Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2018

The end of the year is approaching fast, and if you’re like me, there are still a whole lot of books left on the TBR from this year that haven’t been read yet! November was a bit of slower month for me, reading-wise, due mostly to the fact that I was on vacation for two weeks. I had anticipated catching up on my TBR while I was gone, but I’m not one to sit around do nothing, so vacations usually aren’t as relaxing as they sound, as I’m always finding things to do! I also went to YALLFest a couple of weeks ago, and I had so much fun!! I met so many great people, made some new friends, and got a ton of books and ARCs, including a couple highly-anticipated upcoming releases that I was desperate for!


36739553FURY: I loved this conclusion to the Menagerie series! For the most part, I thought it wrapped things up well. There were a few things, however, that I wish would have been different for the final book. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I think certain plot points needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Although I didn’t mind the bittersweet ending, it was almost a little too bitter, and since I’m a hopeless romantic, I truly wish there has been more of the romance and felt a little cheated. I’m also still unsure how I feel about the epilogue, and it has bothered me ever since. ★★★★½

25883848THE HATING GAME: If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m complete trash for a love-to-hate relationship and witty banter. This was everything I never knew I needed in my life, and I wish I could go back in time and slap myself every time I saw this book on my TBR but skipped over it to read something else. The highlight of the book were the characters themselves; I thoroughly enjoyed reading about both Josh and Lucy and really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. I now understand all the high praises I’ve seen about this book, because it deserves all it.  [review]  ★★★★★

39863498THE GILDED WOLVES: I figured I would enjoy this because it’s Roshani Chokshi but I didn’t realize just how amazing it would be! The world created here can only be described as opulent and magical. Roshani has written such a unique story full of dark magic, thrilling adventures, and a diverse cast of compelling characters. From the mysteries and secrets, to the heists and plot twists, there is a lot of good stuff going on in this book. One of my favorite aspects was the interactions between the characters. There are a lot of different dynamics to love and each was written so beautifully and believably. The characters are truly the heart of this story and I can’t wait for everyone to meet them!  [review]  ★★★★½

29939390WINDWITCH: My first attempt at reading this when it was released nearly two years ago, I had to stop at about 15% of the way in. The pacing was so tedious and I was disappointed when I learned that some of the beloved characters weren’t going to be reunited during the course of the story. I’m proud of myself that I picked it up again and was able to finish it this time! There was a lot about this book that I didn’t enjoy: the slower pacing, the fact that Safi and Iseult don’t reunite and the absence of their sisterhood, the fact that Safi and Merik don’t reunite or interact, and the lack of action. I also hated that the story kind of hints towards a love triangle, because I am not here for it. The pacing and action does start to pick up towards the end, and the last part of the book begins to resemble everything I had loved about Truthwitch.  ★★★½

9780451477538_RebelOfTheSands_JK.inddREBEL OF THE SANDS: This was my second reading of the book, in anticipation of finally read the entire trilogy. I’m so glad I reread it, because I hardly remembered anything about it and because I enjoyed it so much better the second time around. I loved the world-building done in this book: Miraji is a Middle-Eastern inspired setting with Old-West aspects + magic. There is so much action and fun stuff happening here. We have amazing characters, a slow-burn romance, treks across the desserts, an abundance of princes, and a kick-butt heroine that I adore. This fast-paced book is full of plot twists and plenty of action.  [review]  ★★★★

31574408TRAITOR TO THE THRONE: I’m thankful I was able to read this right after finishing Rebel of the Sands, because otherwise I think my experience would have been a lot different. This book focuses more on Amani and is a lot slower paced than the previous book. Instead of a plot filled with action and adventure, we get introduced to political intrigue and court machinations. Beloved characters from the first book – including Jin and their romance – are sadly missing for a good portion of this book, but there was so much happening that it never bothered me. A few new key characters are introduced and there were two that I absolutely loved getting to know: Rahim and Sam! The action starts to really build towards the last few chapters, and by the end we’re left with a big cliffhanger!  [review]  ★★★★

35406534HERO AT THE FALL: This was such a thrilling and wonderful conclusion to the series! The fast-paced and action-filled plot returned, and now the stakes are raised. I was happy that Jin and Amani were together again in this one, because I love the way their relationship changed and grew over the course of these books. I also loved the relationships Amani had with all of the other characters, but especially her friendships with with Shazad, Amed and Sam. More of the book’s mythology was included, and I really enjoyed reading those bits of stories and their creativity. As much as I loved everything that went on, we also said goodbye to some characters, including one of my favorites. And while I liked the ending/epilogue, I do wish that a couple of the characters were given more a more satisfying conclusion to their stories.  [review]  ★★★★

30518319A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION: This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I really loved the setting! Veronica and Stoker find themselves in a remote island off the coast of Cornwall, in a possibly haunted castle, as the guests of Lord Malcolm. The entire plot/setting is very reminiscent of a murder mystery dinner and it was so very fun to read. The pace of this book was a bit slower than the others, and it took a while for it to really pick up. However as with all the other, it was full of thrilling adventures, witty conversations, sexual tension, and of course – murder and mayhem. And after years of waiting, we finally get a nudge in the right direction towards romance between Veronica and Stoker – and it was totally worth the wait!  [review]  ★★★★

32796839KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS: I thought I would love this a lot more than what I actually did. I really liked the story, the writing, and the world-building. The fairytale retelling aspects were enjoyable and I thought they were creative and intriguing. However, even thought the story is told through first-person POV, I had trouble connecting with Bristal and felt disconnected from the story. And while I really liked the romance, there was an aspect of it that just felt kind of strange. ★★★½

26061583THE DARK DAYS DECEIT: This was the conclusion to the Lady Helen series – a series that I absolutely love – and yet I was so disappointed while reading this. I’m going to attribute my lack of enthusiasm towards this book to my high expectations and longer than usually wait. The release date was pushed back nearly a year, so I had forgotten a lot of things that had happened in the previous book. The book felt like parts of it were drawn out too long, while other parts were rushed and didn’t make any sense. The three books build up towards a romance between Helen and Lord Carlston, and yet what we’re given at the end was such a letdown. The conclusion of both the plot and the romance were honestly really anti-climatic and I finished this book feeling saddened and unsatisfied. ★★★½

35298956THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON: I haven’t enjoyed a Julia Quinn book this much since I first read The Viscount Who Loved Me. I had such a fun time reading this! There was so much that I loved about it, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the hate-to-love romance is what did me in. I have been disappointed that I haven’t really liked any of Quinn’s books other than The Viscount Who Loved Me, so I’m glad to find another favorite! ★★★★

OTHER

WWW Wednesday #16 | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart | Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books | #ARCstravaganza: Crown of Feathers | Blog Tour + Giveaway: West |

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2018

Happy Halloween! 🎃 I can’t believe November is already upon us and we’re now approaching the end of the year. October was a pretty decent reading month; I read quite a few books that I really enjoyed! I leave for my two week vacation next week and I cannot wait. I have so many books that I plan to read. Speaking of which, I have a poll at the end of this post for you guys to vote on! Help me decide which long-overdue trilogy I should read while I’m on vacation! 


B1ciZ4RumOSTHE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN: This was the perfect read for October. It’s a spectacular retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, told from the point of view of Elizabeth. Kiersten White has reimagined a classic with a unique perspective, while maintaining the story’s dark, twisted, gothic tone. The way in which the author wrote this book is brilliant. She manages to both keep true to the original, and yet elaborate on some parts to create a new tale. Elizabeth Lavenza was an absolutely fascinating character to read about. She is transformed from a secondary character, into a strong, manipulative, intelligent protagonist.  [review]  ★★★★ 

33876440THIS MORTAL COIL: I’m so mad at myself for sleeping on this book for a year, especially with all the rave reviews I had seen for it. It had everything I love in a Dystopian novel, and reminded me why that genre used to dominate my bookshelves. The entire concept is extremely intriguing. I’m the first person to admit that anything involving coding and hacking goes way over my head, but even with all the science terminology and technical jargon, I never found myself overly confused and could (for the most part) follow along with what the characters were talking about. A spectacular debut perfect for fans of science-fiction, dystopian settings, and compelling characters.  [review]  ★★★★½  

40042561THIS CRUEL DESIGN: I started this immediately after finishing This Mortal Coil, and finished it within a day, so that should tell you all you need to know about my feelings about this book. It picks up right where the first leaves off, and was just as fast-paced, well-written, and absolutely addicting as its predecessor. Readers have no cause to worry as there’s no second book syndrome here! I could hardly put it down and there are plenty more plot twists and reveals that kept me hooked. As with the previous book, the science and technology elements continue to be really intriguing and unique. I had no problem following along with all of the terminology and jargon. I was under the impression that this was a duology (it’s not), so the last couple of chapters really had me nervous! The ending is a total cliff-hanger and I have so many questions!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

37570566GRIM LOVELIES: I think expected to enjoy this a lot more than I did. I loved the concept and the basic plot, but I wasn’t a fan of the execution and I think it ended up lacking a lot of things that I was looking for. I don’t know. I wasn’t that into it but I’m still really curious about the sequel, so I may or may not continue with the series. ★★½

 

36949995THE BONELESS MERCIES: I loved (almost) everything about this book. What I liked: the amazing characters and sisterhood/friendships between the girls, the really neat retelling of Beowulf, and the awesome setting based on Norse mythology. What I didn’t like: the romance seriously confused the crap out of me. It’s hardly present, but the entire book continually hinted towards feelings between Frey and another character, and then by the end it seemed to abruptly go in another direction. I felt very annoyed; like I was being led on only to be given something else entirely at the end.  ★★★★

38336563THE DEVIL’S THIEF: Have you seen this book? It’s massive. But it was 700 pages of pure fun, action, and magic. It picked up right where The Last Magician ended and I was instantly pulled back into this world and ready to be with these characters. It did drag a bit in the middle, but I think that was mostly due to my belief that this was only a duology and wanting Esta and Harte to get on with their quest already. The angst between those two went up a few notches and it was both the best thing and the worst. I’m really excited this was extended into a trilogy (I don’t believe it was originally) because there is so much more left to this story and I can’t wait to continue, especially after that cliffhanger! ★★★★

37007910THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL: If I’m being completely honest, I ended up enjoying this tremendously more than I had anticipated I would. This was a gothic, historical novel that enchanted me from the beginning. There was a lot to enjoy about this book, but my favorite thing was its atmospheric setting. It reads like a Jane Austen book with some witchcraft and eerie paranormal activity mixed in. The period drama aspects were so charming! The romance that develops between two characters was really cute and I couldn’t get enough of it. Hester Fox does a fantastic job of blending the drama with suspense. Although the story is more of a gothic romance, there are still some spooky encounters and mysterious elements that make this a wonderful read for October.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

35843937THE CAGED QUEEN: After I finished this, all I felt was overwhelmingly conflicted. I was initially disappointed that I wouldn’t be following more of Asha and her story, but since I found Roa’s backstory and relationship with Dax to be intriguing, I attempted to go into this book with an open mind. Unfortunately, it still didn’t stand up to my enjoyment of The Last Namsara. I really love the world that Kristen Ciccarelli has created here, and even though I appreciated being back with these characters, I spent a majority of this book extremely frustrated. Probably 99% of the issues and conflicts that happen could have been solved if Dax and Roa had simply talked. The lack of communication between them caused so many unnecessary understandings and after a while I began to get both annoyed at Roa and at the plot.  [review]  ★★★

1187138A FEAST FOR CROWS: I FINALLY FINISHED THIS. Seriously though, it took me a little over six months to read this damn book. While appreciate that GRRM split the book so that we wouldn’t be reading 2,000 pages, there was so little going on in this one that I got bored so easily. The only chapters that I really cared for were Alayne’s (obviously; she’s my favorite character), Cersei’s (she’s batshit crazy and I love reading from her mind), and the conflict in the Iron Islands. I’m really looking forward to A Dance With Dragons and being back with my boy, Jon.  ★★★★

38640729EAST: East of the Sun and West of the Moon has always been one of my favorite fairytales, and yet I don’t have an answer as to why it has taken me so long to read this book. The pacing and flow of the story is so well-crafted. Even with all the different POVs present, each character had a distinct voice and every chapter added to the plot. The writing was whimsical and helped maintain the fairytale aspects of the original tale the story draws from. I absolutely adored Rose. I loved her intellect, her perseverance, her kind nature, and her strength. This was a beautiful, fast-paced, magical story. I’m sad that it took the sequel’s release for me to finally pick this up, but I’m so glad that I did.  [review]  ★★★★

31822495WEST: If East is a whimsical, magical fairytale, then this is it’s darker, more mature sister novel about what happens after the happily ever after, and how things don’t always remain that way. All the fairytale-esque elements that were present in the first book are also present here, but the book also has some grimmer aspects and our beloved characters go through some really tough times – and they don’t always end well. And even though this wasn’t as whimsical and light-hearted as East, I still absolutely loved it.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★★½

39088520EMPIRE OF SAND: This was a really unique southeast Asian adult fantasy with elements inspired by the Mughal empire. The writing was wonderful and really pulled you into the story. I also really liked the protagonist, Mehr, and enjoyed following her on her journey and rooting for her throughout the story. The only small complaint I had was that some of the magical aspects were a bit confusing, and to be honest, I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★½

37854049THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD: If you like books such as Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale, then this is definitely a book for you! I love stories that are rich with fairytale elements and yet blend seamlessly with historical aspects. I also really liked how both Liba and Laya were given distinct voices; Liba’s chapters were told narratively and Laya’s were in verse. This was a very magical, atmospheric story and I adored everything about it!  ★★★★

OTHER

Top Ten Tuesday: Spooky Shows to Watch on Netflix this Halloween | Blog Tour + Giveaway: This Cruel Design | Halloween Creatures Tag | Blog Tour: The Witch of Willow Hall | #ARCstravaganza: The Gilded Wolves | Five Spooky Podcasts to Listen to this October | Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Villains | #SixforSunday: Favorite Debuts of the Years | Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Love to Meet | Sunshine Blogger Award


And now I need your help! Vote below and help me choose which books to read when I leave for vacation next week! 

Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2018

Is it just me, or are these months flying by faster the closer we are to the end of the year? I started classes at the end of August, so September was a more stressful month for me in terms of balancing work, school, blogging, and reading (and my skin paid for it 😩). I really can’t believe we’re already heading into October, but I’m so excited that it’s finally fall! 🍁🍂


37946451RULE: The best way to describe this book would be Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars. I think a lot of people didn’t enjoy it too much because they kept comparing it to Three Dark Crowns and found it lacking, but I am actually one of the few people who didn’t enjoy Three Dark Crowns, and so I really enjoyed Rule! While the concept may not be all that unique, it had an interesting premise and a story full of political intrigue, secrets, and lies. The story moves fairly quickly and I had no problem staying entertained by all the secrets and schemes. I loved how the story kept me guessing throughout, and even by the end we’re left with unanswered questions and plenty of speculation. There was a major cliffhanger at the end and I’m looking forward to the sequel! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★½

32855090SANCTUARY: I won’t lie – the cover is 99% of the reason I decided to pick this up, and it seemed to have pretty good reviews. However, I sadly ended up not enjoying it that much. The plot is an interesting mix of Alien meets The Darkest Minds, and while the premise sounded good, there was a lot lacking. A good portion of the book was painfully slow, and didn’t really pick up until the very end. I did appreciated the fact that although this is a science-fiction novel, there wasn’t a whole lot of difficult jargon to figure out.  ★★½

26157983FIERCE LIKE A FIRESTORM: I think I technically could have marked this as DNF, since I really only flipped through the last portion of the book just to see what happens at the end. I really loved Wicked Like a Wildfire, and so you can imagine my disappointment in this. I was enjoying this for the most part, until it took a strange turn for the worse smack dab in the middle of the book, and it just went downhill from there. I don’t hand out one stars too often, so if you’re really curious as to what went wrong, you can check out my Goodreads review.  ★

36111620THE GOVERNESS GAME: It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tessa Dare, and that I always highly recommend her to people wanting to try Historical Romance. Her books are always well-written, interesting, funny, steamy, and super entertaining. I typically don’t like the governess trope in romance books, but I loved this. I think a majority of my love for this book comes from the fact that the heroine, Alex, was so similar to myself, and we all enjoy being able to connect with the characters we read about. Seriously, if anyone is debating reading a Regency Romance for the first time, pick up a Tessa Dare book. I promise you will not be disappointed!  [review]  ★★★★

36039298THE TOWERING SKY: These books are so much fun to read. If you enjoy shows like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, than I think you would really like this series. Similar to the previous two books, this was fast-paced and full of secrets, lies, drama, and plot twists. The near-future setting is so realistic and believable, and the I love all of the characters and their story lines. This was the perfect ending to the series! ★★★★

20821614YOU: This has to be one of the most unique and eerie thrillers I’ve ever read. Told entirely from the second person, it’s a dark, gritty, and completely creepy story in which the narrating protagonist is stalking you. The writing absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever read another book quite like this. There is something to be said when an author can make you feel tense and anxious while reading, and yet at other times root for and sympathize with a sociopathic stalker. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel, and I can’t wait to binge watch the tv series once all the episodes are out!  [review]  ★★★★

36952596BLANCA & ROJA: Anna-Marie McLemore continues to write such creative books full of magical realism, and I think this may be my new favorite of all her stories. Lush writing, beautiful descriptions, and a cast of wonderful characters form this book that is simply breathtaking. The setting and writing in give the book a very fairytale-esque atmosphere, and it was magnificent. The writing is lyrical and magical and really draws you in from the first page.There is a diverse cast of characters, and there is so much to love about each one of them. All four POVS have a distinct voice and contribute beautifully to the story. An unforgettably beautiful story of love and hate, jealous and friendship, and the bonds we form with others. ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★★

36430924BENEATH THE CITADEL: I wanted to love this so badly; it’s fast-paced, full of action, and has a great cast of diverse characters, but ultimately it just felt flat. Other people seem to be loving it, so I really think this is a case of “it’s not the book, it’s me.” The story starts out right in the middle of action, which was good in that the book jumps into the action and continues at a fast pace from there. However because of the way it’s written, there are moments when a lot of information is dumped on you, other times when I felt like I was missing something, and some parts where the book seemed to jump around. There was a diverse cast of characters, and each of them had their own flaws and unmistakable personalities. And while I appreciated them all, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and I think that also had an effect on my enjoyment. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★½

34842042THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS: This a very different book than what I think most people are expecting, and that’s going to end up being either a good thing or a bad. This is an extremely different sort of book than Narnia, so if you’re expecting a whimsical story full of magic and mythical creatures, this is not that book. This a very character driven book, that deals with important issues and heavy subjects such as familial bonds, war, grief and guilt, depression, and mental illness. The writing is poetic and really quite lovely, and I found myself enjoying the slower pace. ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★★

39508596WILDCARD: It’s not often that I enjoy sequels better than their predecessors, but this was so good! I liked it even more than Warcross: there was so much more action, plot twists, and reveals. It was very fast-paced, full of nonstop action, and I couldn’t seem to put it down. And in true Marie Lu fashion, she ends the book in a way that while not everything is wrapped up all nice and tidy, she gives you a hint of happiness at the very end. ★★★★★

36009911DAWN OF LEGENDS: I don’t even know where to begin with this one. A combination of way too many POVs, plot and character regressions, and looking at spoilers to confirm my worst fears led me to saying “NOPE” and putting this down. This is not the way to end a series. Now every time I look at my bookshelves and see the other three books I’m going to feel sad. This was a giant clusterfuck of a book and a huge disappointment. If you’re so inclined to know more about what happens and what I hated so much, check out my Goodreads reviewDNF @ 23%

29906017REIGN OF THE FALLEN: Let’s all be honest here – this has probably one of the best covers of the year. It’s gorgeous. The story itself was fast-paced, full of necromancy and other magic, with an interesting premise and world-building. The romance that happens towards the latter half of the book bothered me in that there was really no build up and it came across as insta-lovey, but also because of the relationship of the love interest in regards to another character of the book of importance to the protagonist. ★★★

37904177WAR OF THE WILTED: The second book picks up right where the first ended, and thankfully there is no second book syndrome here! This was a fast-paced book full of continuous action, forward-moving plot points, and character development. There’s so much going on that it’s difficult to set the book down, and I ended up cruising through it easily. There were a few parts that annoyed me – in particular, some of both Rose’s and Rayce’s actions started to get on my nerves – but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really wish there were more romantic scenes between Rose and Rayce, but hopefully I will get my wish in the third book! I’m looking forward to the next book and the conclusion of the series!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★

OTHER

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2018

I knew I had a not-so-good month in August, but I didn’t realize just how few books I ended up actually reading until I started putting together this list. However, if there is one thing learned, it’s that reading is really about quantity, not quality, and even though I didn’t read a whole lot of books, I did read some really, really good ones and that’s all that matters! (August was also apparently the month of purple covers. No seriously, look at the covers of all the books I read 😂)


25446343MUSE OF NIGHTMARES: No other book that I read for the rest of the year has any chance of topping Muse of Nightmares as Best Book of 2018 – and possibly ever – for me. This duology are two of my favorite books. As with Strange the Dreamer, Laini’s writing and storytelling is unparalleled. I spent over a week reading this slowly so I could savor every magical word. This book took me on a wild ride of emotions and I finished it with a full, grateful heart. And I promise, eventually I will get to my full review, but I’ve been putting it off because it’s impossible to put into words how much these books mean to me.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★★★

Mirage coverMIRAGE: This was everything I had hoped it would be. With dynamic characters, beautiful writing, and an important message, I was completely captivated from the beginning and there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy. This is such a wonderful debut novel and I can’t wait for more from this author. It’s a perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy. From the lush writing to the vivid descriptions, Somaiya Daud has created an intriguing world that I couldn’t get enough of. Her writing, world-building, plot, and characters all came together perfectly to create an intricate, engaging story.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★½

36426005HEART OF THORNS: Considering this is the only book on this list whose synopsis I had to look up, that does not bode well. I literally could not remember what happened for the majority of this book, and had to go through other reviews to refresh my memories. I know that while I enjoyed it enough to give it a decent rating, it was full of many of the typical YA fantasy tropes. However, the very last part of the book, the action really begins to pick up and ends with a cliffhanger, which is enough to get me to read the next installment in the series.  ★★★

35615200BRAVE ENOUGH: This was a heartwarming, encouraging story about facing adversity. The book follows Cason, an aspiring ballerina who has just been diagnosed with cancer, and Davis, a former cancer patient recovering from drug addiction. Both characters were well-written, strong, and inspiring. Both of their stories were full of ups and downs as we followed them on their journey. I loved how the author didn’t shy away from the hard stuff concerning both diseases; she realistically portrayed Davis’ struggles of battling addiction as well as Cason’s battle with cancer. Brave Enough is an enjoyable book with a powerful message about being courageous and maintaining hope through life’s hardships.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★

34433755GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE: An Asian-inspired fantasy in which two of the demon king’s concubines fall in love with each other and conspire to free themselves, this is a beautiful, diverse story about friendship, love, trauma, survivorship, oppression, and fighting for freedom. The vivid world-building, lush writing, and wonderful characters form an enchanting novel that nothing short of perfection. The slow-burn f/f romance between Lei and Wren was executed wonderfully. It developed quietly and naturally as the story went on, and never once detracted from the plot. I’m eager for news of a sequel!  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★★

35721194BRIGHTLY BURNING: Jane Eyre in space? Uh, YES PLEASE. This was such an unique and totally interesting retelling of the classic. Once I started really getting into the book, I began to realize just how close of a retelling it was though. For almost three-quarters of the book, it stuck pretty close to the original story, yet I think it could have really benefited by deviating at certain parts. After a while, it began pretty predictable and it took my enjoyment out of reading. I really liked the premise, the characters, and the ending, but I do wish there was a little more artistic freedom with the middle portion of the book.  ★★★

29422091THESE REBEL WAVES: I was actually not planning to read this right away, but then my FairyLoot box showed up and it was amazing so I immediately sat down to start the book…and then couldn’t seem to put it down. I appear to be in the minority, however, in regards to this in that I loved every single about it. I thought the writing was engaging and descriptive, I connected with all three of the protagonists, and the world-building and plot were so intriguing and compelling. I cannot wait for the next book in the series and to see how this adventure continues!  ★★★★½

36502054SEA WITCH: There have been a lot of The Little Mermaid retellings lately, but I think this one is my favorite. I loved the atmospheric writing and how the historical setting remained true to the origins of the tale. This is more of a origin story for the sea witch of The Little Mermaid, and so the ending is very bittersweet. It was heartbreaking, and while I want every character to live their happily ever after, I thought it was very fitting for the story and well-done. ★★★★★

37811028FOR A MUSE OF FIRE: I really enjoyed Heidi Heilig’s other series, so I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of this! This is an Asian fantasy, inspired by French Colonialism and Southeast Asia, and it features magic and necromancy. All the characters were complex and intriguing, and I especially liked the protagonist, Jetta. I also adored the format: the book is told through chapters from Jetta’s POV, but between those chapters were song lyrics, play acts, letters, etc. which contributed to the story and plot. I really enjoyed this and I think others will too.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  ★★★½

OTHER

#SixforSunday – Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest | Blog Tour + Giveaway: Mirage | WWW Wednesday #12 | Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Need to Reread | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Bookish Merch | Top 5 Wednesday: Love Triangles I Didn’t Hate | WWW Wednesday #11

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2018

Hello everyone! I was on vacation for the past week so I promise I’ll get to all the comments I’ve received while I was gone! I also have whole bunch of reviews sitting in my drafts that I need to finish 🙈 There were a few books that I really enjoyed, but for the most part this was a pretty mediocre reading month. Hopefully August will be better!


35008759MARKSWOMAN: I had been really looking forward to reading this, and while I think the plot and characters were great, the story moved very slowly. The setting and world-building was unique: it’s a post-apocalyptic world set in south Asia, but reads like a fantasy. As much as I was interested in the plot and characters, the pacing was too slow for me to really enjoy the book.  ★★★

 

9781335016744.inddTHE FRAGILE ORDINARY:  This is a perfect read for the summer. It’s light, fast-paced, and engaging from start to finish. I read Samantha Young’s previous novel The Impossible Vastness of Us last year and was absolutely blown away by how much I loved it, so I was really looking forward to this. I enjoyed reading about the characters, their struggles, and the romance. I was also intrigued by the dynamic between Comet and her parents: it was so heartbreaking and it added depth to her character. I’m excited to read more from this author in the future!  ★★★½

33958230FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS: This is my first Did Not Finish of the year. I am absolutely intrigued by the story, which is a Chinese retelling of The Evil Queen. I really enjoy reading villain backstories and books where the main characters are morally grey. However, this book dragged. I had to literally sit down and force myself to read another chapter. I really want to know how it all ends, but life is too short to read boring books.  DNF @ 62%


35887284TOO WILDE TO WED: 
This was one of the more entertaining Historical Romance novels that I’ve read in a long time. I adored this. My favorite part about this book was that the hero, North, knows what he wants. Typically in HR books, we have heroes that avoid marriage and love at all costs, thus the conflict. However from the very beginning North is not shy about his love for Diana and his wish to marry her. The uncertainty lies with the heroine instead, and it was so refreshing! I loved the relationship and dynamic between these two character and the scenes with them were so steamy!  ★★★★½

37825410THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED: The book kept me captivated the entire time I was reading. It was a fast read and I was definitely intrigue by some of the “secrets” that were eventually revealed. My favorite part about this book was the focus on the victims, and how the truth is not always what is reported. I also loved that the identity and any information/motive about the shooter remained a mystery. It was a good read overall, but there was still some emotional depth that was missing.  ★★★½

38188583THE LANTERN’S EMBER: I really wish I had enjoyed this so much more than I had. The first couple of chapters had me falsely excited for an eerie story full of supernatural creatures. The combination of the characters, writing, and plot ultimately caused the story to fall flat for me. None of the characters felt fleshed out or had any kind of character growth as the story went on. The book is written in third person omniscient, which I think heavily contributed to the fact that the characters didn’t have much depth. The plot itself didn’t have much substance to it either; it was predictable, boring at times, and many of the conflicts were resolved a little too conveniently.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★

35750273ONE SMALL THING: The thing I love about reading Erin Watt’s books is that they’re always light, easy reads that keep me captivated from beginning until end. The story was entertaining, although there were a few aspects that became redundant after a while. The characters were not terribly complex, but they were interesting and I enjoyed following their story. Books like this are the perfect summer read!  ★★★


34810320SADIE:
This book was damned good: it’s a brilliant, gripping YA thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you’re reading. The story 
is told in two separate parts: it alternates between Sadie’s POV following the murder of her sister and in the form of podcast episodes as the host attempts to find Sadie, who has since gone missing. I think it worked well for the story being told and that Courtney Summers executed it perfectly. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy listening to podcasts like Up and Vanished or Serial.  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★★

40367270FOUR DEAD QUEENS: I loved this. First of all, we need more standalone books in the YA fantasy genre. The story is a combination of fantasy and murder mystery, and it was executed perfectly. It was well written, had great world-building, and the characters were wonderful. The book was fast paced and I couldn’t seem to stop reading. The ending has a couple of twists that caught me by surprise and really heightened by enjoyment of the book. I think a lot of people are going to love this and I know it’s going to popular when it comes out!  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

36396341STAR-TOUCHED STORIES: Roshani Chokshi has quickly become one of my favorites authors. Her writing is incredibly beautiful and her storytelling is always mesmerizing. I didn’t realize how much I wanted/needed these short stories from the world of The Star-Touched Queen until I started reading this, and now I want a hundred more. All three stories were magical and the perfect compliments to The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

36301023MY PLAIN JANE: Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classic novels, so I thought I would absolutely love this. The book started out strong, but I kept dropping off stars as I read on. The humor was the same light-hearted and silly jokes and quips as it was in My Lady Jane, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also really loved having Charlotte Brontë as a second character and Jane’s best friend. My biggest issue was the ending in regards to the romance. I won’t spoil anything, but it really irked me.  ★★★

37004954SHADOW OF THE FOX: There was so much to love about this book. The Japanese folklore and magic was heavily present, and it was truly amazing. The story is told through alternating chapters, and I really enjoyed both of the protagonists. There were a couple parts where it seemed the main characters were able to resolve conflict a bit too easily, but other than that I had a great time reading this and I can’t wait for the sequel!  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★

37946456ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI: I adore this series. I was bit nervous going into this because I kept seeing mentions of a love triangle. For those worried like me, let me assuage your fears: there kind of is, but there really isn’t. It makes sense in the context of the story and it all works out by the end. My only two issues with this was that I was annoyed with some of Audrey Rose’s actions, and that there wasn’t enough Thomas Cresswell. Kerri Maniscalco has mentioned that she changed the ending, so I’m super intrigued by what will be different!  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★★

OTHER

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