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.  ★★★★

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.  ★★★½

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.  ★★★½

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

Secret Life of a Book Blogger | #ARCstravaganza: Four Dead Queens | Behind the Screen: A Book Blogger Tag | WWW Wednesday #10 | #ARCstravaganza: Girls of Paper and Fire | Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far!) | Book Tour + Giveaway: Nyxia Unleashed

 

Secret Life of a Book Blogger

I’m back with another book tag! These are so much fun. I’ve been seeing this one around a lot and I’m so thankful Flavia tagged me to do it! 


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING?

I’ve had this blog since May of 2016, but I started consistently blogging in November/ December of 2017. 


AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL STOP BLOGGING?

I guess I would stop when I don’t find it to be fun or rewarding anymore. So I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon! 


WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

The community! I don’t have know many people in real life that read, so I love talk to everyone in the bookish community and the friends I’ve made. I also love all the books I hear about through other bloggers. I’m continuously adding new books to my TBR!


WHAT IS THE WORST THING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAKE IT OKAY?

The worst thing is comparing yourself to other bloggers (or bookstagrammers). Sometimes I get down on myself when I see how popular and how many followers other blogs have. I also get really frustrated with my Instagram account because I feel like it’s impossible for me to grow any followers, especially with the algorithm. I just remember that I’m not doing this for anyone else; I’m doing it for myself because I love it.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO MAKE/FIND PICTURES TO USE?

When I take pictures for Instagram, it usually takes about 15-20 minutes to set everything up, take a bunch of different shots, and then go through them to make sure there are a few I like before cleaning up. 


WHO IS YOUR BOOK CRUSH?

Oh man, what a question 😂 Off the top of my head:

Cardan from The Cruel Prince, Carswell Throne from The Lunar Chronicles, Chaol Westfall from Throne of Glass, Elias Veturius from An Ember in the Ashes, Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire, Josh Mitchell from I’ll Meet You There, Julian Blackthorne from The Dark Artifices, Luka Lowe from Wolf by Wolf, Malyen Oretsev from The Grisha Trilogy, Matthias Helvar from Six of Crows, Morozko from The Bear and the Nightingale, Peter Kavinksy from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Vikram from A Crown of Wishes, and Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices

I mean, just to name a few 😉 I’m sure there’s many more that I can’t think of right now haha.


WHAT AUTHOR WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE AS A GUEST ON YOUR BLOG?

There are so many authors I would love to have as a guest. I would be ecstatic for an opportunity to have Leigh Bardugo, Roshani Chokshi, Kate Quinn, Tessa Dare, or Laini Taylor!


WHAT DO YOU WEAR WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR BLOG POSTS?

Whatever I have on haha. Unless I’m in nicer clothes, then I’ll change into something more comfortable.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO PREPARE?

It depends on the post. If it’s a review, it can take a couple hours – even with the notes I have – to put everything together and make sure it sounds coherent. If it’s another bookish post, like a weekly meme, it takes a lot less time because I already have the template and I just need to add to it. 


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE BOOK BLOGGING COMMUNITY? 

I love the book blogging community! Everyone is always so friendly and I love interacting with other bloggers and gushing about books!


WHAT DO YOU THINK ONE SHOULD DO TO GET A SUCCESSFUL BLOG?

I think two of the biggest things to gain follows would be to interact with other book bloggers and to be consistent with posting. I always reply back to comments I receive and visit other blogs to like/comment on their posts as well. I also try to consistently post 2-3 times a week, and I’ll occasionally look for new and unique blog post ideas!

REVIEW: Star-Touched Stories – Roshani Chokshi

36396341Title: Star-Touched Stories (The Star-Touched Queen #2.5)
Author: Roshani Chokshi 
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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.

Death and Night    ☆☆☆☆☆

“Whatever form she took, I would recognize her. Because it was not me that knew her, it was my soul. And it could never forget her.”

In Death and Night, we are told the backstory and history behind Maya and Amar from The Star-Touched Queen, which I now desperately need to reread. I loved this story way more than I had been expecting; it was so splendid and the writing and imagery was breathtaking.


Poison and Gold    ☆☆☆☆

“She wanted, now, what any human wanted. A place among people. A home in someone’s heart. She wanted to be a person. A true person.”

The focus of this story is Aasha, one of the characters I adored from A Crown of Wishes, as she attempts to find her place in the human world. I really enjoyed reading about her training as the Spy Mistress and her growth as a character. Gauri and Vikram are also present in this story and it gave me all the feels.


Rose and Sword
    ☆☆☆☆☆

“The bravery to hold loss in your heart and love anyway. The bravery to let go at the end. And she knew, even as she reached for the flame of his last breath, that loving him would be the bravest thing she had ever done.”

I loved the format of Rose and Sword; we have an older woman telling a story to her young granddaughter, and it was absolute perfection. The brief interruptions by the little girl reminded me of the movie version of The Princess Bride, and it was so whimsical and wonderful. I also loved how it tied together really well with Death and Night. I don’t want post spoilers or give anything away so all I will say is that I FEEL SO BLESSED BY THE CHARACTERS FEATURED. This story was everything I could have asked for and more.

#ARCstravaganza: Four Dead Queens – Astrid Scholte

Happy Monday! #ARCstravangaza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.


FOUR DEAD QUEENS – ASTRID SCHOLTE

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ABOUT THE BOOK

40367270Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Release: February 26, 2019

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

Behind the Screen: A Book Blogger Tag

I’m here with another book tag! Thank you so much to Adrianna at For the Love of Books for tagging me in this! I loved reading her answers and I hope you all enjoy mine!

This tag was created by Amber @ Du Liver


When did you start blogging and what was your first review?

My very first post was in May of 2016 and it was a review of Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare. I wanted to start my blog off with a bang (ha, see what I did there!) and review a book I had recently finished and loved! 


Who/what inspired you to start blogging?

A bunch of the people I interact with the most on Goodreads had blogs and their posts always looked so fun. I decided I wanted to give it a go!


What is a blog-related goal that you have?

My short term blog goal is to get to 500 followers. I know this number is nothing to a lot of people but for me that’s a big deal!


What is one thing you wish someone told you about blogging?

It’s a lot of work. Seriously, on the days I’m not working, I spend most of my time writing reviews and other posts (when I’m not reading). 


What was your biggest blog-related accomplishment?

I think the first time I was contacted and asked to host a stop for a book tour! I was so humbled and thankful that they thought to reach out to me. It was for a book from a series I enjoyed which made it even more special!


What types of posts do you enjoy writing?

I love doing list posts like Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesdays! They’re always so much fun and I feel like I get the most interaction with my followers with those posts. 


Where do you usually blog? What does your setup look like?

I blog either on when I’m sitting on my couch upstairs, or in the comfy chair in the living room.  


What was your last 5-star read?

Sadie by Courtney Summers. It’s a gripping read!


What was your last 1-star read?

I usually don’t rate books I DNF, but the last 1-star I gave a book was Roar by Cora Carmack. I didn’t make it very far into the book and knew I had to stop. Definitely not for me. 


What are three words that make you pick up a book?

Fantasy, Adventure, Enemies-to-Lovers


What is your Hogwarts House?

My heart says Slytherin, but my head says Ravenclaw.


What is your favorite reading environment?

I love reading on my couch in the library, especially in the evenings and getting cozy with a warm blanket. I also love reading in bed – there’s nothing better than that! 


What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Be patient. It takes awhile to really get your feet under you when you first start blogging, but once you get in a rhythm it becomes much easier.

Be social. Don’t be afraid to comment and interact with other bloggers, twitter peeps, and bookstagrammers! That’s the easiest way to grow a following, plus it’s the best way to have fun and make friends!

Be you. Don’t feel like you have to do something or read something just because it’s popular or you feel like all the other blogs are doing it. Read what you like, write what you like.