Young Adult Fantasy Standalones of 2019

December is almost over, which means I survived an entire year of nursing school! 🎉 Sorry I haven’t been active the last couple of months, but now that I have a two week break from school/work I plan to spend that time reading, relaxing, and catching up on blogging! This year, I’ve noticed a lot more standalone novels being released in the YA genre and I am loving it. I’m a big fan of a series as much as the next reader, but there’s so something so satisfying about a really well-written standalone novel. 


ECHO NORTH

40046030The was such a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The book completely blew my expectations out of the water. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job in taking the original elements of the fairytales in which the book was inspired by, and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly. 


STAIN

34842208This book blew me away. It was a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other. The dark, gothic elements and vivid descriptions made this such an atmospheric read. There were so many clever intricacies to the plot and the small details were woven together so carefully and in a way that made this a really well-constructed book. I also loved the theme of a rose gaining thorns in regards to Lyra’s character growth throughout the story.


WARRIOR OF THE WILD

43446574This book was so much fun to read. It was action-packed, fast-paced adventure with a loveable, fierce warrior girl as the star of the novel. The action starts from the first page, and doesn’t let up until the last. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren, and I loved the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira. The book has an important and inspiring message of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you.


DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE

36430989This book might be low on the action, but it’s high on the suspense and political intrigue. I actually really enjoyed the slower paced story and how the focus was instead on the intricacies of the murder mystery and the inner court machinations. Hesina was a character that I greatly enjoyed following as she attempted to navigate her struggles between her personal wants/beliefs and what she needed to portray in order to gain the support and find justice for her father’s murder.


THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME

39821312This was an excellent, beautifully written debut. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I loved how diversely rich in culture and history the book was; the author’s descriptions paint a vivid picture for the reader. And of course any story featuring djinn is a story for me! I really loved all the different characters, relationships, romances, and the political intrigue featured in the story. I wish the book had been a bit longer because I would love to have seen what happens next!


SORCERY OF THORNS

42201395This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I had a lot of fun reading it! This book contains sentient books; a fierce, sword-wielding librarian; and a handsome, broody sorcerer with a tragic past. What more could any bibliophile ask for in a book? Margaret Rogerson did an amazing job with the world-building and the magical aspects of this story and I cannot wait for whatever she writes next!


THE BONE HOUSES

36524503The story follows a gravedigger and a mapmaker on an epic adventure full of family, magic, and the undead. The book heavily features elements of Welsh mythology, meanwhile other parts were reminiscent of The Black Cauldron. The eerie, atmospheric settings gives a haunting feel to this mesmerizing story that reads as if it’s a dark fairytale.

 


Do you enjoy standalones? What was your favorite one you’ve read this year? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

Books with a Halloween Vibe

Happy Halloween! 🎃 In honor of the holiday, I put together a list of some books that have the perfect vibe for a little Halloween reading.


If you’re looking for a book featuring WITCHES:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring MONSTERS:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring VAMPIRES:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring GHOSTS:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring the UNDEAD:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring NECROMANCY:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring ANGELS and DEMONS:

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If you’re looking for a book featuring a PARANORMAL setting:

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Contemporary Romances That Had Me Swooning This Summer

Hello everyone! I haven’t been as active the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with classes and clinicals and work that I haven’t felt up to reading or blogging lately. One of my favorite genres to read in the summer is contemporary romance, and now that summer is officially over, I thought it’d be the perfect time to wrap up my favorites!


THE UNHONEYMOONERS

42201431No one writes contemporary romances quite like the amazing duo of Christina Lauren. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this. Two enemies pretending to be in love while on vacation? Heck yes. The Unhoneymooners checked all of my favorite things: a quirky, relatable heroine, witty banter, scenes that make me laugh out loud, and a swoon-worthy love interest. This was super lighthearted and fun and made for the perfect summer read!


THE FRIEND ZONE

42785825The Friend Zone was a bit of a rocky start, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I ended up really enjoying it! While it definitely fits the fluffy, flirty contemporary romance mold for a summer book, it also contains an unexpected emotional complexity that really gave the story added character. I’m not a fan of the male lead in this one, however, I liked the protagonist, Kristen. Her story is very moving and it’s hard not to feel for her throughout the book.


FIX HER UP

39854434This book was not only lighthearted and funny, but also hot as hell. Fix Her Up is another contemporary romance featuring the tried-and-true trope of fake dating. The way the relationship unfolds from genuine friendship to something more between Georgie and Travis was amazing. Don’t let the charming cover be deceiving: some of the scenes in here were extremely steamy! This book is perfect for sexy, lighthearted summer read!


ONE THE CORNER OF HATE AND LOVE

42587433For anyone who enjoys a slow-burn romance, childhood friends-to-lovers, and a healthy dose of angst, then I highly recommend On the Corner of Hate and Love. This book delivered everything I wanted in a summer book. It was fun, witty, and charmingly romantic. The first kiss between Emma and Cooper gave me butterflies, and the major scene between them later in the book had me honest-to-God swooning.


HOW TO HACK A HEARTBREAK

41887423This book is absolutely perfect for those out there (including myself) sick and tired modern dating in a digital age. Honestly, How to Hack a Heartbreak was so relatable. Melanie was such an intelligent, charming character and it’s impossible not to root for her to find love and a great guy in a world full of swiping left or right. The book sheds light on the ups and downs of dating apps in a funny, cheerful story perfect for summer.


NO JUDGEMENTS

43386668No Judgements was the perfect mixture of charming, romantic, and light-heartedness for a summer read. The romance between Bree and Drew was excellently written. The obvious chemistry and tension was really fun to read, and the slow-build between them was very believable. The story was really heart-warming and romantic and the perfect contemporary romance for summertime!

Five Netflix Shows to Binge this Summer

Hello everyone! Summer is nearly upon us, and so I thought I’d share some of my favorite Netflix shows that I’ve seen recently that I think would make great summer binge-watching.


SCHITT’S CREEK

PREMISE: When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt’s Creek.

WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: I cannot recommend this show enough! I’ve already binge watched all the seasons twice in the span of a month. The cast and characters are what makes Schitt’s Creek such an fantastic, hilarious show. The actors not only have amazing chemistry with one another, but they really give life to their characters. Alexis and David have the most realistic sibling relationship I’ve ever seen portrayed on TV. Another great aspect? The episodes are only 20 minutes in length, which is perfect for someone with a short attention span like me.

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SEX EDUCATION

PREMISE: A teenage boy with a sex therapist mother teams up with a high school classmate to set up an underground sex therapy clinic at school.

WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: If the premise doesn’t make you want to watch the show for the hilarious shenanigans bound to occur, I don’t know what will. The series tackles teenage sexuality, the lack of sex education in schools, and the importance of interpersonal relationships and friendships in ways that are hilarious, awkward, and realistic. It can be a bit raunchy at times, but it also has plenty of moments that are sweet and poignant.

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GOOD GIRLS

PREMISE: Three suburban mothers suddenly find themselves in desperate circumstances and decide to stop playing it safe and risk everything to take their power back.

WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: You know that friend that everyone has that always seems to make bad decisions, which have negative consequences but they still continue to make even more bad decisions because of those consequences and yet we love them anyway? That’s what watching this show is like. We follow three friends begin a life of crime because of the domino effect of their first bad decision. Viewers might face the same moral dilemma I did, in that even though they’re partaking in criminal activity, I still wanted them to succeed. This series perfectly combines the genres of thriller + comedy to create a totally binge-worthy show that makes me feel a little better about my own life choices.

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WORKING MOMS

PREMISE: Four very different thirty-something working mothers and friends try to balance their jobs, family life and love life in modern day Toronto, Canada.

WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: I’m not a mother, but even I could appreciate the relatable humor in this female-centered show. It’s honest, realistic, and highlights the sometimes-hilarious-sometimes-not struggles many women have in balancing parenting, marriage, and work. The show deals with a lot of the cultural expectations and unspoken pressures many women face in a light-hearted, comedic way. And in between the laughs, the series touches on the more serious issues following childbirth, such as postpartum depression. Again, I’m not a mom myself, but as a woman even I could appreciate the show’s humor!

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DEAD TO ME

PREMISE: A hotheaded widow searching for the hit-and-run driver who mowed down her husband befriends an eccentric optimist who isn’t quite what she seems.

WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: This show is full of some funny scenes, but it also has some really sad moments, as well as a few well-placed plot twists. Christina Applegate is absolutely amazing in her role as a new widow on a quest to find the driver who killed her husband in a hit-and-run. The series is unique in that you start to form a bond and a liking to most of the characters…even the ones you shouldn’t.

dead to me

Game of Thrones: Favorite Moments

Hello and welcome back for another Game of Thrones themed post! The greatest thing about both the show and series is that you never know what is going to happen next. There have been some really amazing moments throughout the show, and I decided to talk about some of my absolute favorites! P.S. If you aren’t caught up with all seven seasons, turn back now as there are spoilers ahead!


THE BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS

I can’t even pick my favorite moment, because this whole damn episode is amazing. I could watch it over and over. The entire battle was a cinematic masterpiece. I can’t remember ever being so engrossed in an episode like that before! And the fact that they succeed in retaking Winterfell and the revenge Jon has on Ramsay made my little heart so happy.
jon botb


JON AND SANSA’S REUNION

I didn’t even know I wanted this reunion to happen until it did. This is honestly on the most emotional scenes in the whole show, and you’re lying if you say it didn’t tug on your heartstrings. After six seasons, these are the first two Stark siblings to reunite and it was everything. Kit and Sophie did an amazing job with this scene; their body language and facial expressions are so expressive and you can practically feel the emotion coming from the characters through the screen.

jonsa hug


THE HATCHING OF DRAGONS

Other shows should take note on how to end their first season. The moment after Daenerys emerges from the smoke and ashes of the funeral pyre with three newly hatched dragons was glorious. This moment made me so freaking excited for the next season and for her future storyline. It was the perfect ending to a new and unpredictable tv series that was (correctly) predicted to be the next hit show. 

daenerys dragons


THE KING IN THE NORTH

Last week I had mentioned that Jon slowly became one of my favorite characters. Not only is this moment awesome because of the ferocious Lyanna Stark, but my boy Jon gets everything he never thought he could have or deserved. There’s a ton of foreshadowing in the books pointing to this moment, but it was so amazing to watch. For whatever reason, this King in the North crowning felt way more emotional and important than Robb’s, and I think it’s because of how much Jon (and Sansa) have suffered to get to this point. Robb already had the North’s loyalty because of Ned, but Jon had to earn their trust. 

KitN


REVENGE ON THE FREYS

I nearly screamed out loud when Arya took off her face. What a BADASS and the best way to get revenge. And also, what better way to begin a new season and draw watchers into the story, all the while setting the stakes of what is to come later on. Here’s to hoping Arya gets more revenge and crosses more names off her list in season eight!

frey revenge


DAENERYS CROSSING THE NARROW SEA

I mean, we only waited like, six seasons for this to happen? There was something so satisfying at seeing Daenerys with her the army and supporters she has amassed throughout the series finally crossing the sea towards Westeros together. Was I excited about what that means for the people of Westeros? No. But ignoring the fact that she’s about to attempt to conquer the same country she wants to rule, that scene was pretty spectacular to watch.

daenerys narrow sea


JOFFREY CHOKING

Another wedding in which I wanted to weep: tears of happiness, that is. I remember watching this with friends and how the mood in the room was instantly uplifted after this scene. People have many different opinions when it comes to this show and the books, but I think the entire fandom is united in their hatred of Joffrey. 

joffrey choking


RAMSAY’S DEATH

I still can’t decide who is worst: Joffrey or Ramsay. I will say that I was equally pleased by both their deaths. But the thing that brought me greatest happiness was that it was Sansa who finally got to serve some revenge on her abuser. And the way she choose to administer death? Beautiful. 

ramsay's death


“HOW DO YOU ANSWER THESE CHARGES, LORD BAELISH?”

By this time in the series, I should be expecting to be surprised, but that was one fantastic twist. I was so thankful that Petyr Baelish finally met his end, and at the hand of the two Stark girls no less. This is the man who set into motion the events that would eventually start the War of the Five Kings, who was directly or directly responsible for the deaths of multiple characters, who sold Sansa to the Boltons. The whole trial is amazing: from Littlefinger’s confusion, to Arya’s knowing smirk, to Sansa’s sass and fierceness. 

littlefinger's trial


Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite moments from the book or show? Let me know in the comments!