Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER

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

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: 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: 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

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

Top 5 Wednesdays: Character’s I’ll Always Defend | QUIZ: Sort Your Dog Into a Hogwarts House | WWW Wednesday #7 | The Cookie Book Tag | Top 5 Wednesday: Finished Series I Need to Read | #ARCstravaganza: Onyx and Ivory | Top 5 Wednesday: DNF Books | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Color Book Covers 

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words in YA Fantasy Titles | #ARCStravaganza: Whisper of the Tide | WWW Wednesday #6 | WWW Wednesday #5 | #ARCStravaganza: LIFEL1K3