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

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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

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Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2018

My birthday month is officially over! Overall, May was a pretty decent month of reading. There were a couple of books that I really enjoyed, and a fair number that were only okay. I leave for BookCon tomorrow morning and I. Am. So. Excited. This is my first year going, so I’m a little nervous. I made my schedule and game plans for the weekend, and I’ve also tried to prepare myself for the fact that a lot of things probably won’t go as planned lol. If any season BookCon-goers have any tips or advice, I would love to hear it in the comments!


BOOK REVIEWS

35959740CIRCE: I’ve been a huge nerd for Greek mythology for almost half my life, and I was so excited when I saw Madeline Miller was writing this! Circe is a book completely character driven book about her: we follow her journey as she discovers who she is and what she is capable of. We see all of her ups and downs, her struggles and inner turmoil, her heartache, her anger, her resolve, her love.  [review]  ★★★★★

32295486BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE: This book features both Celtic and Norse mythology, plus the addition of vikings, and yet it never fully grasped my attention and sadly I wasn’t very invested in the story or the characters. I’m always looking for more books set in Ancient Ireland, so I was a bit disappointed that this fell flat for me.  ★★★

 

34942737DEFY THE WORLDS: I forgot how much I love the world Claudia Gray created and the characters until I started reading this. Sci-Fi books set in space are one of my absolute favorite genres, and this series has everything I want. Also, I was under the impression this was just a duology, so it was a very welcome surprise when I learned it would be a trilogy!  ★★★★½


36134048WHISPER OF THE TIDE:
 This was such a fun sequel and the perfect ending to the series! It’s such a shame that these books don’t have more popularity; they’re expertly written, have tremendous world-building, fantastic characters, and are full of entertainment! There are so many things about this book to love: pirates, treasure hunts, female friendships, adventures. If you enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean and books like Daughter of the Pirate King, then I would definitely suggest reading these books. They’re totally underrated and need more love from the bookish community. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

34323570FURYBORN: From the prologue, I was completely hooked by the story. It not only connects the stories of the two protagonists, Rielle and Eliana, but also gives a glimpse to how one of those stories will end up unfolding by the time the series is over. I also loved the fact that we’re told from the very beginning who the Blood Queen is. It made reading her chapters all the more fascinating; we follow her growth and become invested in her story, all the while knowing how it will end. The alternating chapters between Rielle’s and Eliana’s POVs moved the plot quickly as each one is full of non-stop action. I can’t wait to continue with the rest of the series! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

33275690FOOLISH HEARTS: This was an okay story, but I wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was will Emma Mill’s other books. I think my issue was I didn’t particular like or connect with any of the characters, and therefore I wasn’t invested in the story. I will say, though, that I did really enjoy the Midsummer’s Night Dream subplot; it reminded me of my freshman year of high school when I was in the drama club! ★★★

35068705THE POPPY WAR: This is a blessed year of absolutely stunning debuts. This book is a spectacular grimdark fantasy featuring a fierce heroine, addictive writing, and plenty of action. There are so many amazing elements about it that make it a totally engrossing read. My favorite thing about it was the amazing protagonist, Rin. She was such a well-developed heroine and her growth as a character was amazing to follow. Be forewarned: this is a grimdark, so it does contains graphic violence, graphic rape, mutilation, torture, mass murder, drug abuse, and many other things of that nature.  [review]  ★★★★½

29958272ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS: There was nothing really wrong about this book, I just didn’t enjoy it. The characters didn’t stand out, the plot was not compelling, and the writing never drew me in. Again, it wasn’t a bad book, but it was not the book for me. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ★★

 

31179006SWEET BLACK WAVES: When I say I want more books featuring Celtic mythology and set in Ancient Ireland, this is what I’m talking about. This was absolutely everything I could have hoped for and more. To start, the world-building stunning, and the way the fantasy was woven with history elements was fantastic. The writing was absolutely breathtaking; it was lush, descriptive, and dreamy. And that ending: my heart broke so hard for poor Branwen and my stomach is still a knot of angst thinking about it. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

27188596WAR STORM: Although the size of this was quite daunting, I ended up reading it relatively quickly. I think because I was so intrigued by how the series would finally end. There were four more POVs in addition to Mare’s, and I actually really enjoyed them all, except for Iris’s. There was a lot of tension and angst between Cal and Mare throughout the book and it was killing me! The ending was a bit of an open-ending, which I both liked and disliked. There’s a certain aspect to one major event that I guess could be open to interpretation (if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about!) Overall, I thought this was a great finish to a series that I’ve really enjoyed reading.  ★★★★

28524058BEFORE SHE IGNITES: I think this has been my biggest disappointment of the year. I was really looking forward to reading this when it came out last fall, but it got pushed back on my TBR. I finally decided to pick it up and it didn’t capture my attention like I thought it would. For a book about illegal dragon trafficking, there wasn’t a whole lot of dragons in it. I get that it’s probably setting up for the sequel, but I was bored throughout most of the book. ★★½

20734002THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS: Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are always surreal and magical. No one writes magical realism quite like her. I was instantly drawn into this story of feuding families. Elements of the story were drawn from Romeo and Juliet, which is not my favorite Shakespeare play, but it was so well done. This was just such a dazzling book. ★★★½

 

37754670FRESHMEN: Freshmen was an enjoyable read and I appreciated the honest take of life in college. It was both funny and realistic, sometimes even making me cringe in second hand embarrassment as I sympathized with Phoebe. It also brought forth memories of my own time as a freshman, both the good and the (sometimes horribly) bad. However, I do wish there had been a bit more to the plot. I also wish that Luke would have had a bit more character development, especially being one of the protagonists. And I was not too keen on the ending: it was very abrupt and came out of nowhere. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★

OTHER

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Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2018

First and foremost, I would like to say thank you to Pages and Pugs for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! This means so much to me and I really appreciate it! As I predicted, I ended up reading a majority of ARCs this month, since most of them were being released soon. But that also meant a lot of new releases I had been planning to read in April, I didn’t get to and my TBR is piling up. Ah, the life of a bibliophile. I’m excited tomorrow is May not only because of my birthday in a few weeks, but also because BookCon is one month away! This is my first time attending and I’m so excited!


BOOK REVIEWS

13253102A STORM OF SWORDS: This book was filled with character deaths. I’m so glad I watch the show or I would have been completely taken aback. Catelyn’s chapters were the hardest to read, only because I knew what was going to happen. There was also a ton of foreshadowing for future events and they really added to my theory of what is going to happen in the end. That epilogue gave me life. I’m so excited for A Feast for Crows. ★★★★★


34964847FROM THE EARTH TO THE SHADOWS:
 I was really hoping I would like From the Earth to the Shadows better since I was already prepared for the setting and world, but unfortunately, some of the issues from the first book were not improved upon and the story continued to fall flat for me. There was also no character growth; the characters continued to be flat and one-dimensional. A lot of the tension and obstacles Malin faced were resolved too conveniently to be believable, and the ending was very anti-climatic. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★½

33837404MOONRISE:  I typically stay away from books written in verse as they are not really my style. Fortunately, I decided to go ahead and read this anyway, and I’m so glad I did. The verse format didn’t negatively impact my reading experience at all, and it actually moved the plot along faster. I’m impressed by the author’s ability to evoke a myriad of emotions without even saying that much. This is a profound story with a lasting impact; it’s impossible not to feel moved by that heart-wrenching ending. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

34508382THE SMOKE THIEVES: I was almost at the half-way mark when I realized I was actively looking for something wrong as I was reading. The Smoke Thieves was better than I had been expecting and a great start to a new fantasy series. It’s told through the points of views of the five characters. Each POV felt like it had a unique voice, which made it easy to distinguish between each of them. The pacing of the story was perfect; not too fast, and not too slow. The writing was engaging and I quickly made my way through the pages. There was plenty of action, and the romances (even the one I wasn’t keen on) stayed firmly in the background. I look forward to reading the next book!  ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.  [review]  ★★★★

29456569LIFEL1K3: Oh, boy does this book take you for a wild ride. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, the blurb’s description of “Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner meets Mad Max” is absolutely accurate. This is an action-packed story featuring amazing characters, secrets and lies, betrayals, romance, and a whole bunch of plot twists. Jay Kristoff forewarns a doomed romance, and yet I couldn’t stop myself from becoming emotionally involved. I’m still upset about that ending and I think it’s pretty rude of him to pull that kind of stunt with no regard for my emotional wellbeing. I went through all five stages of grief with that last twist and the cliffhanger. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

27779275THIS ADVENTURE ENDS: This had been on my backlist TBR for a while so I’m proud of myself for finally getting around to reading it! I really enjoyed this; the characters, the plot, the setting. It was such a well-crafted story and I think this is what started me on my YA Contemporary binge I went on this month! This was my first Emma Mills book and I can see why her work is so highly praised!  ★★★★


23310751FIRST & THEN:
I had such a great time reading This Adventure Ends that picked this up almost immediately after. There’s just something about Emma Mills writing that makes it impossible to not want to read her books in one sitting, even if it means staying up well into the middle of the night. Her stories and characters are so compelling and intriguing!  ★★★½

 

34739766ONYX AND IVORY: This book contains many of the same traits and tropes as other books in the genre, however, the characters, setting, and writing were excellent and made it an enjoyable read. The characters were all dynamic and compelling. The book alternates between the POVs of Kate and Corwin, and I found both their characters to be well-developed. The romance was wonderfully written. The romance plot is light and the characters have a past, which makes their feelings reasonable instead of unbelievable.  ARC provided by the author through a giveaway.  [review]  ★★★★

36206591LOVE AND OTHER WORDS: This is a beautiful book about first loves, mistakes, heartaches, and second chances. The story is told through alternating chapters of the past and the present. We witness Macy meeting Elliot for the first time as children fourteen years ago, and then we see them meet again as adults after eleven years of silence. I flew through these pages, not just because of the engaging writing and compelling story, but also by the need to know what happened to have caused such a rift between Elliot and Macy. I absolutely adored this book.  [review]  ★★★★★

34640572STATE OF SORROW: I hadn’t heard of this until I got my March FairyLoot box and I’m so glad it was included! This was magical, marvelous book; the storytelling and worldbuilding were absolutely stunning. This is my first book by Melinda Salisbury, but it will not be my last. Sorrow was a wonderful protagonist and I love that she doesn’t fall into the typical ‘strong, female heroine’ trope of other Young Adult Fantasies. She’s certainly not flawless, but she is clever and possesses a quieter type of strength. I’m really looking forward to the sequel!  [review]  ★★★★½

35297469STARRY EYES: Everyone seemed so blown away by this and all the reviews I read were super positive, so I was really excited for it. Former best friends-turned-enemies trapped together in the woods? Sign me up for a good time! Unfortunately, the story was just meh for me. There was nothing that really stood out about it – other than the compelling writing – and while I enjoyed reading it, you won’t find me going around singing its praises. ★★★


36365200THE ODDLING PRINCE:
 I absolutely love book with medieval Irish (or in this case Scottish) settings and Celtic mythology so I was really looking forward to this. It was a light read with a fascinating plot, but sadly there was just something missing for me to truly enjoy it. The book’s strongest element is the fairytale-esque writing. The gorgeous descriptions and peaceful atmosphere draws the reader into the story. Also, the relationship between Aric and Albaric was so pure and heartwarming! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★

30312700ALEX, APPROXIMATELY: Oh my gosh, this book was so cute! I loved watching the relationship unfold between Bailey and Alex. Jenn Bennett’s writing is so fun and engaging that I didn’t want to put the book down. I was on my YA Contemporary kick this month for whatever reason, and this was exactly what I was looking for! ★★★★½

 

32505753ASH PRINCESS: I really enjoyed this! It was by no means, a light read. The story and writing are fantastic, and though there are some heavy themes and topics, they’re so important to the development of the characters and the plot. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t mind a love triangle as long as it’s done the right way. And Laura Sebastian definitely pulled it off. I actually enjoyed both romances – surprise! – but this is me, so we all know that I’ll be rooting for the enemies-to-lovers side. Another fabulous Young Adult fantasy debut!  ★★★★

OTHER

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