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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Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2018

I can’t believe tomorrow is July and we’re already half way through the year! I read a few really great books this month and I’m looking forward to all the books I’m planning to read in the upcoming weeks. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I went to BookCon for the first time and had such a good time!


36329818LEGENDARY: I usually don’t like when the second book in a series is narrated by a different character and I never end up enjoying them as much as their predecessors. I was so surprised to find myself really liking Tella’s POV and her story! I had forgotten how magical the world of Caraval was and how fantastic Stephanie Garber’s storytelling is. I loved this book just as much as I had loved Caraval and they compliment each other so well!  ★★★★★


36546635GRACE AND FURY: 
The premise of Grace and Fury is really intriguing and I was excited to finally read it. However, as much as I wanted to love this, I just didn’t end up connecting with the story. I was looking forward to following both sisters’ stories as they are thrust into roles neither are prepared for. Unfortunately, I only found myself enjoying Serina’s POV, and couldn’t really care about or connect with Nomi. Both Serina and Nomi start out naive, but Serina was the only one whose character had any growth as the story progressed. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

31019831BEAST: A TALE OF LOVE AND REVENGE: I’m saddened that I didn’t enjoy this more, especially since I had been waiting over a year for this book’s release. This is a more dark and twisted take on the classic Beauty and the Beast story, which I appreciated. I thought the writing perfectly matched the book’s theme. Unfortunately, the pacing was slow and nothing really seems to be happing plot-wise for a good chunk of the story. The scene with Lucie that happens very early in the book was completely unexpected and I think a warning should be issued for unsuspecting readers. The way Jean-Loup/Beast’s storyline evolved was convincing to me, but I could see how it wouldn’t be to others and how some readers would take issue with Lucie’s eventual relationship with Beast.  ★★½

32702487THE BIRD AND THE BLADE: I wrote this review from the grave, because this book slain me. I knew going into this that it was going to hurt spectacularly but I underestimated Megan Bannen’s ability to completely annihilate my emotions. This was a fascinating, compelling, stunning story that captured my heart and attention from the very beginning. The story was both unique and intriguing in that it blended historical elements of the Mongol Empire with the Italian opera, Turandot, and it did so seamlessly. The story ends in a way that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. An unforgettable, breathtaking, impressive book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.  [review]  ★★★★★

30238163ACE OF SHADES:  I don’t know why I put off reading this, when it was so much fun. A lot of people have compared this to Six of Crows and then are disappointed that it wasn’t as good, but I think that’s an unfair comparison. This is a completely different book and premise, and such a fantastic read on it’s own. ★★★★

 

36127456LISTEN TO YOUR HEART: This was such a cute, fun read! The romance was adorable and I loved all the misunderstandings and how the relationship eventually unfolded. I also really enjoyed the podcast subplot, since those are my new favorite things to listen to on my ride to/from work. If you want a light, easy summer book than I would definitely recommend this!  ★★★½

 

36896898SPINNING SILVER: Naomi Novik is extremely talented when it comes to fairytale retellings, and this was no exception. She does such a tremendous job weaving an enchanting story that draws inspiration from European folklore and pulls you in from the first page. In addition to the main plot, there are a few subplots as well which intertwine together to tell one overall story, and it’s told through the points of view of three very different girls: Miryem, Irina, and Wanda. Not to mention that this book has not one, but TWO slow-burn hate-to-love romances and they are real goodARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★½

35795953WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS: I knew from the first page that I was going to be seriously entertained while reading this – it was the perfect summer read! I think my favorite part of reading this was how much it reminded of The Mediator series. I love the premise of a high schooler that, in addition to worrying about exams and crushes, also has to find time to expel the ghosts / demons lurking around. I do wish the book had been a bit longer; the ending definitely felt rushed and I think it could have benefited from a few more chapters. This was extremely fun and light-hearted and I really hope to see more books featuring plots similar to this in the future! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

36010223SMOKE IN THE SUN: I really enjoyed this, but not as much as I did Flame in the Mist. I think my biggest issue was that there wasn’t much going on until the very end of the book, and was much slower-paced than the first book. One of my favorite things about this book was Prince Raiden. We all know I’m a sucker for a good anti-hero, and even though he was only a side character, I was totally all for his character arc. I don’t usually read them, but if Renée Ahdieh wants to write a novella about him I’m one hundred percent here for it and willing to be written as his love interest. Although I didn’t like it as much as its predecessor, it was a fantastic sequel and I thought it tied the series together wonderfully. ★★★★

35424762NYXIA UNLEASHED: I was worried that it would suffer from the dreaded Second Book Syndrome, but thankfully this was just as action-packed and fast-paced as the first book. Scott Reintgen did a great job with the introduction and descriptions of the alien planet and the different kinds of creatures Emmett and the others encountered. I also really loved how the characters and their relationships changed and grew. The characters in  transition from a competitive environment to landing on a completely different world. It was wonderful to see them adapt to the circumstances: rivalries evolved into friendships and friendships grew stronger as they all understood the need to stick together in order to survive and achieve their common goal. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★★

32051720WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE:  I don’t know why I put off reading this for so long, I really enjoyed it! I loved the magical realism aspects of the book and the unique fact that it was set in southeastern Europe. Parts of the book were slower than others, but for the most part I had no trouble with the flowery-prose or descriptions. I also loved that a but of a fantasy element was added by the end of the book, and I’m really looking forward to the sequel’s release!  ★★★★

35144326BRING ME THEIR HEARTS: I almost DNF’d this early in the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it as it actually improved as the story went on. At the beginning, it felt like the author was trying too hard with the humor/sarcastic comments the heroine was making, to the point of it being extremely annoying. But either the sass was dialed back later in the book or I just got better at ignoring it because I was intrigued by the plot and how the story would play out at the end. There was also a lot of use of colloquial words and phrases that kept throwing me off as I was reading; they felt completely out of place with the fantasy tone of the book. I wasn’t planning to continue the series, but the book ends on a major cliff hanger so I might pick up the sequel when it releases, though it definitely won’t be at the top of my TBR.  ★★½

35410511BABY TEETH: This book gave me chills while reading, and that’s exactly the feeling I’m looking for when I decide to pick up a thriller. This was a complete page-turner, with a plot unlike any other I’ve read before. I found myself easily sympathizing with Suzette’s frustration not only in regards to Hanna’s behavior, but also with Alex’s reluctance to believe her. The story is told through both Suzette’s and Hanna’s points of views, and it was executed perfectly.  The alternating POVs between Suzette and Hanna had me flying through the pages, and I had trouble putting it down. Highly recommend to those who like a disturbing read that’s sure to stick with you through the years! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

37822534SEAFIRE: This year, we are blessed with so many female seafaring books, and this might have been one of my favorites. I liked the inclusion of more modern technology and weaponry; it made this fantasy novel stand out more from the other high-seas fantasies I’ve read. There was also almost no romance at all, and what little there is was completely unexpected but I found myself pleasantly surprised by it! There was so much focus on the plot, the action, and the girls’ sisterhood. This book also ends with a huge cliffhanger, and I’m excited for the second book! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★½

OTHER

2018 Beat the Backlist – June Update | Mid-Year Book Freakout | #ARCstravaganza: Rule | WWW Wednesday #9 | #ARCstravaganza: Seafire | WWW Wednesday #8 | BookCon 2018: Experience + Haul