My 17 Favorite Books of 2017/My Reading Year in Review

Happy New Year!

I decided to make my last blog post of 2017 both my top 17 favorite books of the year combined with my reading year in review, starting with the review.

I read a total of 67 books this year. 2017 was the first year of the five I’ve been on Goodreads that I decided not to do a yearly reading challenge. I decided to do this because in 2016, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to read midst trying to finish college and get a job after graduation. I also did away with monthly TBRs to read what I wanted when I felt like it.

In the first half of the year, it worked. At the time, I was working retail and often mentally too drained to read at the end of the day. Then, the store I worked in closed and I found work with a temp agency. Through the agency, I was hired to work in a library, with about an hour and a half commute every day. Suddenly, instead of going on Netflix or YouTube, I had motivation to read more.

For the first few months of 2017, my average number of books read per month was five. My friends would call that successful, only I was struggling with it. Mainly because I knew I could do better. In fact, in November, I set a Goodreads of 65 books when I was at about 58 books read trying to see if having a goal helped me read. It worked.

The biggest issue I have with my reading in 2017 as a whole is the quality of books I read. There were so many great books sitting unread on my shelves, yet I kept putting them aside for titles that ultimately disappointed me. Looking at my reading stats for 2017, I realized that is often what happened.

Don’t get me wrong: I did read some real gems this year. But compared to 2016 or even 2015, 2017 was lukewarm. I have enough favorites for seventeen, but if you asked which one was my all-time favorite, I would not be able to tell you. These aren’t in any particular order; they are simply books I read this year I really liked.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None was the first book I have ever read by Agatha Christie. Now I know why she is called the Queen of Mystery.

The story is set in a mansion on a secluded island, where ten strangers are invited to a dinner party. While there, the guests discover they have been targeted by a madman for their perceived sins and are trapped there during a storm as they are killed one-by-one in the method of a child’s nursery rhyme. And Then There Were None was exactly how I like my mysteries: darkly compelling setting, fast-paced, and morally gray characters.

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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The sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night confirmed that I love Sabaa Tahir’s series more than Sarah J. Maas’s…and I’m not ashamed to say that whatsoever. I love the main characters, Laia and Elias. The world building is amazing and the story is fast-paced and exciting, even with its size. Now, I am just anxiously waiting to get my hands on the third book in the series, A Reaper at the Gates.

 

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

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All We Have Left is a young adult contemporary novel following two teenaged girls connected to 9/11. The first is Jesse, a sixteen-year-old in 2016, whose older brother died in the Twin Towers. All her life, she has lived in his shadow, causing her to make a stupid mistake that forces her to finally uncover the secrets to her brother’s death. The other POV is Alia, a teenaged Muslim girl in 2001 that finds herself trapped inside the Towers with a boy she just met but must rely on to survive.

The writing in this novel was beautiful, filled with great quotes about friendship, family, religion, Islam phobia, and other subjects. Both Jesse and Alia have the best character development I have ever seen in a young adult contemporary, Jesse especially, as she starts out an angry, lonely kid but grows up fast.

 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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A List of Cages is a 2017 young adult release that follows two boys, Adam and Julien. Five years ago, the boys were foster brothers until Julien’s uncle came and took him away. Now, the boys are in high school, Adam a senior and Julien a freshman, and the former realizes the latter is in terrible trouble at home. The writing in this novel was so beautiful, you would never think it was Robin Roe’s first book. I loved Adam and Julien. I cried because I could not protect Julien from what was happening to him. There was discussion of learning disabilities, as both boys have them, as well as child abuse. A List of Cages had a strong friendship element I loved, too.

 

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

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City of Saints and Thieves is set in modern-day Kenya, following sixteen-year-old Tina, a refugee from the Congo. Five years prior, Tina’s mother was murdered and she fled the estate where her mother worked as a maid, intending to return to seek revenge on the man she believed killed her mother. Tina has survived all these years as a thief for the most notorious gang in the city. But when her supposedly perfect plan goes wrong, she is forced to face the secrets of her mother’s past that put everything she thought she knew into a new perspective.

City of Saints and Thieves is the first book I’ve read both set in Kenya and about a refugee. While there has been some criticism around this book not being OWN voices, I found the author’s experience as a volunteer working with refugees from the Congo still worth something. She was not shy about showing how hard life is in that part of the world. She also brought to life a strong, fierce Tina, someone I think Aelin from Throne of Glass would tip her hat to. Tina is what made this book for me.

 

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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The Forbidden Wish is a beautifully written retelling of Aladdin with a female genie as the protagonist. Zahra, the jinn, has been trapped inside a lamp for centuries until the mortal thief Aladdin releases her. When the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance at freedom, she agrees to help Aladdin in his quest for revenge against the royal family in order to reach her own goal. There’s just one problem: Aladdin falls in love with Zahra—and she with him.

The world of the jinni in The Forbidden Wish was both fascinating and terrifying. Zahra was a great protagonist; wise and strong in her own way. Aladdin himself was as swoon-worthy as the boy in the Disney movie. Plus, this book had an ensemble of lady assassins that made it even more fun.

 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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I finally read Lady Midnight this summer, just in time for Lord of Shadows to come out a month or two later. Since I have yet to read the sequel, I can say so far The Dark Artifices has a chance of becoming my new favorite series in the Shadowhunters Chronicles.

I love feisty and smart Emma Carstairs. Julien Blackthorn is the first Shadowhunter guy—aside from Jem Carstairs—to make me feel so weak in the knees. I love the Blackthorn family and the crew at the Los Angeles Institute. The plot of this novel is darker, more interesting than previous Shadowhunter novels. Plus, the reviews surrounding Lord of Shadows promises that The Dark Artifices will only get better with each book.

 

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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The second and final novel in The Wrath & the Dawn duology, The Rose & the Dagger was as good as the first. Renee Ahdieh has a lovely writing style that made the book seem to fly by, even being over 400 pages. I love Shazi and Khalid as a couple as well as individuals. The world the author created was so magical and vivid; I hope she someday writes more books in the series. While I think I liked The Wrath & the Dawn slightly more than The Rose & the Dagger, it was still a satisfying, heartwarming conclusion to the duology.

 

Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

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The Saga graphic novels are the only science fiction stories I am seriously into. The last few volumes in this series were mildly disappointing. For most of Saga, Vol. 7, I would have rated this book 4 stars or lower. Then, the ending happened…The last chapter of this volume broke my heart. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples went there with this story. Now, I’m excited to see where Vol. 8 is going to take the rest of the series.

I remember I finished Saga, Vol. 7 on the train home and I couldn’t cry because there were people.

 

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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Another young adult contemporary novel, Made You Up follows Alex, a schizophrenic high school senior. She tackles life with her polaroid camera and a Crazy 8 ball to separate her delusions from reality. When she transfers high schools, she meets Myles, a boy she thought she made up at eight years old, and uncovers a mystery that makes her wonder if she is not the only “crazy” person at her new school.

Despite its heavy topic, Made You Up is a fun, easy read that gives insight to a mental illness not often seen in literature and often dramatized by media. Alex is sassy and does not let her mental illness define her. The story was also not one you see often in young adult literature, which I enjoyed the most.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

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The next retelling I read and loved this year, Jane Steele is a reimagining of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Only the Jane Eyre in this story, Jane Steele, is a morally gray but ultimately good-natured serial killer who targets men that abuse women and children. The writing was beautiful and the story was engrossing. Jane Steele was an interesting main character. The plot was twisted and the atmosphere was a realistic, grittier portrait of Victorian London. Lastly, Charles Thornfield, the Mr. Rochester of the novel, was ten times sexier than the original.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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My favorite historical fiction of this year, Lilac Girls centers on an untold story of World War II: the experiments done to the prisoners at Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women. The novel follows three women—American Caroline Ferriday, Polish teenager Kasia Kuzmerick, and German doctor Herta Oberheuser—all having ties to the Ravensbruck experiments. The whole novel was amazing and the characters equally amazing. It also showed that, while men might have been serving at the front, women were the backbone of the country during the war. And human beings can do terrible things to each other, but humans are also terribly complicated.

 

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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Truthwitch is the first novel in a high fantasy series in a world ruled by witches. That is all I needed to know when I read it and this first book did not disappoint. I liked the two leading ladies, Safi and Iseult, and I loved their friendship. Prince Merrick made me feel weaker in the knees than Rhysand ever did. The world building was great and the magic system was fascinating. I can dare say I loved Truthwitch more than Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series or even her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy….

 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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Passenger was a book that took me by surprise. I liked Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy but I didn’t love it. Passenger and its sequel Wayfarer show she’s already improved so much.

The time-traveling element was as complicated as one would expect time travel to be. The story was fast-paced. Etta Spencer is an underrated female protagonist; she’s strong without needing a sword and she uses her head. Nicholas Carter is one of my new favorite romantic heroes. I don’t understand why more people aren’t as obsessed with him as they are with Rhysand or William Herondale. I also don’t understand why more people don’t love this duology as much as I do. But his to their own, I suppose.

 

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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I completed Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy this year and it is one of my favorite series of all-time. I picked up The Afterlife of Holly Chase, her most recent release, last month from the library to read for the holidays. It is a retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which follows Holly Chase, a failed Scrooge, that spends her afterlife working as the Ghost of Christmas Past for Project Scrooge, an organization dedicated to redeeming a Scrooge every year. This year, though, everything changes for Holly with this year’s new Scrooge: Ethan Winters.

I don’t know why, but I never expected to love The Afterlife of Holly Chase as much as I did. The overall book was simply delightful. Holly had her annoying moments, but she also had good character development. I can’t wait to actually buy it myself.

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Daughter of the Pirate King was an impulse buy. Thankfully, it did not let me down. Alossa was a morally gray badass female pirate captain. The book accurately portrayed life on a pirate ship, especially what it was like for a woman. The story was fun and action-packed with twists and turns searching for the treasure map. Lastly, Riden, Alossa’s only love interest, is another swoon-worthy gentleman you can’t help but love.

 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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The Upside of Unrequited was a little low on the rating scale compared to all the other books on this list, but it was the most relatable. Molly is a real-life teenager with real-life teenaged problems and a real-life family. The romance in this story is super sweet and cute and relationship goals for me. The book covered everything from friendship, family, romance, and sexuality. The Upside of Unrequited made me feel all the feels.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

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I really liked Wicked Like a Wildfire for its beautiful writing and setting as well as the magic in the story. However, I had some problems with it, enough that earned it a spot as an honorable mention instead of a favorite.

 

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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The Star-Touched Queen had beautiful writing and a beautiful world based in Indian mythology. It is a Hades and Persephone retelling with a female protagonist I really liked. Unfortunately, the story fell a little flat for me in the end.

 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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I loved Love and First Sight for its comedy, writing style, and the blind/disability representation. I liked the main character, Will, and his romance with Cecily was super cute. But at some point it went in a direction I was not expecting, as it felt too much like John Green, that I had to dock down a few points.

 

What was your favorite book(s) of 2017?

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My Reading Goals for 2018

As one does, I always make goals for the start of every New Year. Only, I rarely feel confident in all of them. While my general resolutions for 2018 are stereotypical (i.e. “exercise more” and “eat healthier”) my reading goals for the year are more solid. I am quite confident I will complete these reading goals in 2018.

 

Set a Goodreads goal of 100 books

I initially did not set a Goodreads reading goal for 2017. The year before, I felt it added unnecessary pressure to read. At that time in my life, it made sense. 2016 was my last year of college. I struggled to find a job only to find myself unhappily in retail. In the first half of 2017, I was swept away in adulting when the store I worked at closed and I got a job temp job at a library for several months. But adulting was taking away from reading.

I knew this might happen when I graduated. But I never ever want to lose the desire to read. Mainly, for three reasons: I have so many beautiful books I want to read; to be a good writer you must be a good reader; and I have no other hobbies that are worthwhile. By that I mean YouTube and Netflix bore me easily, and not a lot of other things interest me. Also, reading keeps my brain active.

I decided to set a Goodreads goal of 100 books to read in 2018 for several reasons. First is to maintain a consistent reading habit. Reading is a muscle like anything else; if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Second, my physical TBR is big and it is going to get bigger with the 2018 releases. There are series I want to start and finish that have been sitting on my shelves for far too long. It would be a waste for me to not read them if I am still interested.

Lastly, all throughout 2017, whenever I checked my reading stats on Goodreads, I kept looking back on 2015. That was the first year I challenged myself to read 100 books and I read 108. Not only that, the quality of books I read that year matched the quantity. Some of my all-time favorite books I read in 2015.

I know I should not compare the years to each other; my situations were different. Only it was all because I knew I could do better.

 

Practice borrowing before buying

Normally, at the start of every year, I set a goal for “x amount of books read, buy more books.” That would work for the first few months of the year. Then, I would forget the rule as new releases came out or a raise in my paycheck. Or, I would find myself unemployed, so buying books would not be an option, no matter how many TBR books I crossed off my list. Adulting can be expensive, as many of you know.

While I do have an Amazon addiction and I love bookstores, I also love libraries. In fact, I want to be a librarian. Hopefully, in the fall, I will be starting my first semester of graduate school for my Master’s in Library and Information Science.

Thus, my second goal for 2018 is practice “borrowing before buying” whenever possible. My belief is, if I am uncertain I will like a new book, I will check it out of the library first, and then buy it later if I love it enough. I’m saving money and supporting a worthwhile institution at the same time.

 

Finish rereading the Harry Potter series

I started rereading the Harry Potter series towards the end of 2017. Part of that was writing spoiler-filled musings on books I read as a twelve-year-old seen through the eyes of a twenty-four-year-old. I made it up to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before I stopped to pick up other books I wanted to read before the year was over.

I do plan on continuing these reviews in 2018, as I enjoyed writing them and people seem to like them. Plus, Harry Potter and the Goblet marks the start of a darker, more mature turn of the series. Unfortunately, there are other books I want to read first, so it will be a while before you guys see that.

 

Reread the Women of the Otherworld series

Of all the reading goals I have for 2018, this is the only one I’m not sure if I will get to. Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong is what defined my high school and early college years. While I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Twilight saga like everyone else, it was the Women of the Otherworld series that was a game-changer for me. And yet, to this day, I have not read the final book in the series, Thirteen.

            I own all the books published in the main series, but I’ve never read them in order. It’s not necessary, only I never got the full effect of the world reading the books in order. Plus, Kelley Armstrong said the plot for the finale really started to develop in book 7. Clues were left throughout the remaining books that tied together in Thirteen.

            So, if I can get through at least the first five books in Women of the Otherworld, I will be satisfied.

 

Read 10 classics

One of my biggest disappointments of 2017 was how few classics I read this year. I own a lot of beautiful editions of classic books yet have not even cracked the spine for most of them. Plus, I was an English major in college. The fact that I’ve barely picked up anything older than five years is kind of embarrassing. That’s why I’m shooting for ten classics read in 2018.

Of those classics, I really want to read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

Read/finish 10 series

A little ambitious, but I have a lot of series on my physical TBR. Several of them I am in the middle of. Others I own the first book for but have not started. Those are the ones I really hope to finally read, and maybe finish, in 2018. The top three I really, really want to read is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson, and The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

There are also well-known older completed series I want to read that I might check out of the library eventually. This includes The Selection series by Keira Cass, the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi, and the beloved contemporary trilogy by Stephanie Perkins that contains Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After.

 

Read at least 5 new releases

This one will be remarkably easy. There are several 2018 releases that I am certain I will get to them as soon as they are published. In fact, I will likely preorder them (if my financial situation allows it). The main reason I put this on here is because when I was voting for the Goodreads Best Books of 2017, I realized I did not read a lot of new releases this year. In hindsight, it was not a big deal because I was reading books I already owned. Yet I felt kind of left out from a lot of cool new releases in 2017.

 

Write at least 3 book reviews and at least 1 book recommendations post a month

I love doing book tags. Unfortunately, a lot of tags repeat questions and I find myself talking about certain books more than others. The reason I started this blog was to do book reviews. In the early days, every other post was a review. Recently, there has been a lag. It bugs me.

A lot of books I read are not ones people often talk about. With every bestseller I read, I read at least five lesser-known books. More often than not, I really enjoy those books as much as the bestsellers, if not more so. I want to share those with others with reviews and recommendations posts.

 

Participate in all Top 5 Tuesday posts

I have a confession to make: I sometimes purposefully don’t do all Top 5 Tuesday topics every month. Not because I’m busy—I pre-write and schedule them all in advance as soon as Shanah announces the month’s topics. But some of them I shied away from because they did not appeal to me. In 2018, I want to improve that. Not only do I need to step out of my comfort zone as a reader, I should do it as a blogger/writer.

 

Read between 5-9 books a month

I have realized in 2017 I am a goal-oriented person more than I am a mood reader. Having a goal to reach has given me motivation to keep reading. Again, this also leads back to 2015. Summer of that year I worked a job where I had a lot of time on my hands throughout the day and I had time to kill when waiting for my dad picking me up after. I read between twelve to fifteen books a month that summer. Of course, circumstances have changed. But if I can read at least five books a month, no matter what I got going on, I will be happy.

 

What are your reading goals for 2018?

 

December 2017 Wrap Up

2017 is almost over…and I’m really excited about that…

In December, I read a total of six books, among them four library books and one reread. Unfortunately, I did not get to all the books I wanted to on my TBR for this month. There were library books I had checked out that I didn’t get to in time before their due date. They were also ones I was excited for, too. But overall, I’m satisfied with how I finished my 2017 reading year.

This month, I read:

 

The Monogram Murders by Agatha Christie, as told by Sophie Hannah

4.5 stars

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I had picked The Monogram Murders up previously in November, but I had put it down due to being in a reading slump. What I read, though, I enjoyed enough that I decided to pick it up again in December.

The Monogram Murders is, to my knowledge, the first novel in a spin-off series to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels. Christie’s descendants have approved for Sophie Hannah to resurrect Christie’s most beloved fictional character. In this first novel, Hercule is retired but has befriended Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard, who is recently put in charge of a triple-homicide at a hotel where the victims are found with monogramed cufflinks in their mouths. Hercule becomes involved after he encounters a woman in fear of being murdered but insists he do nothing to prevent her death.

The Monogram Murders is written in a different style than Agatha Christie’s original work, but it made the story readable. The plot was well thought out, though it dragged in some spots. The characters were compelling; Hercule and Catchpool have a good working relationship, with the former being a mentor to the latter. My biggest qualm with this book was likely the ending, as it felt too rushed. Overall, The Monogram Murders was enjoyable and I’m glad I finally read it.

 

On the Fence by Kasie West (library book)

2 stars

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After reading On the Fence, I knew I was wise to go into Kasie West’s early novels with low expectations. I would not go as far as to say as this book was one of the worst books of the year, except there were some minor issues with it.

Charlie, the main character, was a tomboy raised by a single dad and three older brothers. Her mother died when she was a little girl and she did not have a lot of female influence in her life. The plot is basically her exploring the stereotypical “feminine” activities like wearing makeup and sparkly stuff while dealing with her crush on her neighbor, Braden. At that, I had to ask myself, what is wrong with being a tomboy, preferring to do sports and not wear makeup? I personally admire women who are athletic. And I don’t wear makeup either—I don’t have the patience for it. Yet, this book felt like Charlie should give it up for the sake of being more “feminine.”

On the Fence also felt slightly sexist, particularly in the way Charlie is treated by her older brothers and Braden. One scene sticks out to me where Braden tries to give Charlie pointers in a sport where she clearly knew what she was doing and she ignores him. He gets mad at her and her brother reprimands her for not taking those pointers. Seriously, the book started to smell like wounded male ego. But that’s just me.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread)

4 stars

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I finished my Harry Potter reread for 2017 by reading what I thought was my favorite book in the series. There was a lot I had to say about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and not all of them good.

We all love Hermione; she’s bright and responsible for someone her age. But she’s still thirteen; she has not reached full maturity yet, so why trust her with a potentially dangerous item like a time-turner? Next, Ron and Hermione are good friends to Harry, but they do not fully understand what he goes through, judging by their respective reactions to the Grim and their insistence on dragging him in the middle of the drama. On that note, I cannot fathom how Ron and Hermione even become a thing. And, lastly, most controversial of all: the movie was better than the book.

I can say I’m glad I finally read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before 2018. I turn 25 in January and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is when the series starts to take a darker, more mature turn. For my full spoiler-filled review, click the link in the title.

 

Every Last World by Tamera Ireland Stone (library book)

3.75 stars

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Every Last Word is on the most serious side of young adult contemporary, which I tend to reach for more often than the fluffier material. This one follows Samantha, a popular high school junior hiding her OCD from her friends. When a new friend named Caroline introduces her to an underground poetry club called Poet’s Corner, Sam realizes there is more to life, and herself, than who and what her friends want her to be.

I enjoyed Every Last Word very much. It is a good, solid contemporary that offered a realistic portrayal of mental illness and how a teenager would deal with it. While I personally do not have OCD, I do have friends that do; so, I have seen firsthand on what happens when one of them has a bad OCD day. I also liked Samantha as a protagonist and several other characters in the story. Though I wish we had seen a little more of her family regarding how they dealt with Sam’s OCD diagnosis.

I had two issues with it that caused me to cut down my overall rating. One has more to do with me than the book itself. Samantha’s interactions with her best friends brought back a lot of uncomfortable adolescent memories for me. Second, the “plot twist” as it were made no sense to me. And the logic behind it left me even more confused. Then again, I did not go to school for psychology, so I have no idea if it is even possible.

 

Final Girls by Riley Sager (library book)

3 stars

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In case you have been living under a rock, Final Girls is a popular adult mystery following Quincy Carpenter, a young woman that is the sole survivor of a massacre where five of her friends were butchered by a psychopath while the group was on vacation at a placed called Pine Cottage. She becomes what is known as a “Final Girl,” one of three women who have survived horror-movie like massacres that are idealized by the media.

The novel takes place ten years later, when Quincy’s supposed normal life is disrupted by the suicide of Lisa, the first Final Girl, and the arrival of the secretive second Final Girl, Samantha Boyd. Midst all this, the memories of the night her friends died slowly start returning to Quincy, forcing her to finally face what really happened at Pine Cottage.

I picked up Final Girls mainly because it was a nominee for the Goodreads Best Books of the Year. Unfortunately, the overall book fell flat for me. While I found Quincy realistic to her character’s circumstances and it was a fast read, I was bored most of the time. What really ruined the experience for me was the “big reveal”—it felt like the author was aiming more for shock factor than logic.

 

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (library book)

4.5 stars

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A retelling of A Christmas Carol, The Afterlife of Holly Chase was a great book to read for Christmas. It follows Holly, who works as the Ghost of Christmas Past for Project Scrooge, an organization dedicated to redeeming a “Scrooge” every year. Holly herself is a failed Scrooge; five years prior, the Ghosts visited her and showed her what would happen if she did not change her ways. She didn’t and then she died. But this year, everything changes for Holly at Project Scrooge when the organization reveals its new Scrooge: Ethan Winters.

Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy is one of my favorite series. So, I should not be surprised I loved The Afterlife of Holly Chase as much as I did. While she was annoying at times, Holly had good character development. At the end, you really see a positive change that you might not have expected.

Like the love interests in Unearthly, Ethan had his moments where you really wanted to strangle him, yet you can’t help but love him. The other workers at Project Scrooge are just delightful.

For most of the book, I wanted to give it 3.75 or 4 stars…then the ending happened. I loved the ending to this book. So much, it actually made it on to my list of favorite books of 2017. Unfortunately, it was also a library book. Hopefully, I will get to add it to my own collection soon.

 

What was your favorite book you read in December?

The Most Boring, Disappointing, and Worst Books I Read in 2017

Controversial post ahead!

Compared to other years, 2017 is not one of the best, but it wasn’t completely terrible either. Sadly, I could still come up with ten books for this list.

Most of these books I actually rated as high as 3 stars. Those were ones I was disappointed by or were ultimately very boring compared to others. Some of the ones on this list I can dare say I hated.

But do not take it personally if a book you like is on here. In fact, I am glad there is someone who appreciated it more than I did.

The most boring, disappointing, and worst books I read in 2017 are:

 

Woman of God by James Patterson

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If I had to pick a book I genuinely hated this year, it would have to be Woman of God by James Patterson. Unfortunately, he’s one of my favorite authors. But I’m getting his books out of the library from now on.

On the surface, the plot for this novel is cool: a woman’s journey to becoming the first female Pope. While I hope to see that happen in my lifetime, there were so many problems with Woman of God, it still makes me angry just thinking about it. The story was boring, if there even was one. The writing was so detached; I didn’t care about what happened to the main character, even during the really terrible things. There was little development within the protagonist to speak of. And the book was packed with so much insta-love it made me want to puke.

 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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Some many of my friends read The Outsiders when they were in school and loved it. I think if I had been forced to read this in school, I would have disliked it even more than I already do.

In case you are unaware, The Outsiders follows two gangs of teenagers, the Socs and the Greasers, in the 1950s that have a heated, violent rivalry. One night, somebody goes too far and a kid is murdered, and another must face the consequences.

The main reason I did not like The Outsiders was because of the writing style. It made me feel underwhelmed and was overall an unpleasant reading experience. To be fair, the author was probably trying to be true to the nature of the character she was writing from: a fourteen-year-old Greaser. Still, The Outsiders was not the book for me.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the only book on this list I went in with low expectations. I waited until the hype for it had gone down and I checked it out of the library. By the time I had read the “eighth Harry Potter book,” I had seen so many reviews that were negative. Plus, I was apprehensive about this release to begin with.

The only aspect I can say I liked about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Scorpios Malfoy. He was a great character and a good friend to Albus Potter. The rest of the book was not up to par. The playwriting format did not fit with the fantasy element. The writers were trying to make it look like they were not recycling old storylines but they failed. The time-traveling element was not good at all. And some of the original characters were done a terrible injustice in their development.

In short, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child confirmed my belief that The Boy Who Lived needs to retire.

 

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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Lies She Told is an adult thriller I had heard mixed reviews about going into it. The story is a dual-point of view between a struggling author and the character she creates. On the surface, it appears exciting and interesting. Then, it got weird.

Don’t get me wrong. As a whole, Lies She Told was not a bad book. The first half was quite good. Cate Holahan is a talented writer. It was not her fault the publisher basically gave away her whole book on the front flap. If you read a lot of mysteries, you can predict the twist. That was a problem for me, as well as the main characters Liza and Beth. While I sympathized Beth, who was the fictional character, I had a hard time connecting with Liza, the author, even as I pitied her. By no means was she a victim of circumstances; she made her own terrible mistakes and received punishments I felt were fitting.

 

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Unlike Lies She Told, Emma in the Night was really built up in my head. Not a lot of books have children dealing with mentally ill parents as a subject matter. Cassie and Emma, the sisters of the story, as well as Dr. Abby Winter, the other lead character, all have grown up with narcissist mothers. However, at a certain point, the story started going downhill and I had no idea to how the characters came to the conclusions that they did. While I’m certain an unstable family such as the Martins exist in real life, there were some instances I found a little unbelievable. Then again, I do not have a psychology degree. Plus, the ending felt so rushed, it was like falling face-first to the ground.

On Goodreads, I gave this book a fairly good rating, but it ultimately did not live up to the hype I built up for it.

 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

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One of the books featured in Goodreads Best Books of the Year, I picked up Final Girls from the library to finally read what all the fuss was about. It was not a terrible book; I actually enjoyed it at times and Quincy seemed like a realistic character, given her circumstances.

Then, in the second half of the book, I just wanted to finish it because there were other books I wanted to read more. By that point, I only wanted to get Final Girls over with so I could have an honest opinion about it. When the big reveal finally happened, it made no sense to me whatsoever. It was like the author was simply going in for the shock factor rather than logic. But that is just my personal opinion.

 

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

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2017 was the year I got deeper into the young adult contemporary genre. I was excited to read Definitions of Indefinable Things because it was about a teenaged girl, Reggie, with clinical depression that becomes involved with a boy her age, named Snake, that also has depression.

Going off what I personally have seen in my own life with my friends who have depression and been in similar situations, I found Reggie and Snake’s relationship to be slightly unhealthy. While I appreciated Snake taking responsibility for the girl he got pregnant, I ultimately found him to be an arrogant and annoying drama queen. I really liked Reggie; I think she could have done better. Overall, Definitions of Indefinable Things was a decent book, filled with great educational talk about depression, but the relationship was a major flaw for me.

 

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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The Women in the Castle was another book I had built up in my head. It is a World War II story set in Germany after the war following three widows of resisters that were executed following a failed assassination of Hitler. After the war, the widows reside in one of the women’s family’s ancestral castle with their children. All three women have secrets that come back to haunt them, even decades later.

Again, my disappointment in this book was my own fault. I had built The Women in the Castle up in my head as this beautiful World War II novel about women that kept the front at home. While the writing in this novel was beautiful, the story ultimately fell flat for me. Not a lot happened, and most of it not until the near end of the novel. My favorite characters were the children; their mothers dragged them through so much and they just rolled with it. As for the widows themselves—Marianne, Benita, and Ania—I can’t say I liked all of them very much.

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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I don’t know what it was about the mystery novels I’ve read this year, but they have all become predictable. Or maybe I expect too much or I read too much of the same thing. Regardless of the reason, The Woman in Cabin 10 was another floppy mystery.

The novel is about a journalist offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a cruise. Her first night there, she hears what sounds like a woman being thrown overboard but all ten other passengers and the full staff is accounted for. While the book was fast-paced and I liked the protagonist, I was ultimately really bored with the book. Not a lot was going on and, again, the author disregarded realism. Who asks a stranger to borrow mascara?

 

Go Ask Alice by “Anonymous” also known as Beatrice Sparks

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Much like The Outsiders, Go Ask Alice was another acclaimed banned book I wanted to read but ultimately disappointed me. While I appreciated the author’s realistic approach to drug abuse and writing it in the true voice of a fifteen-year-old, the story was so boring. I also felt detached from the characters, even the narrator. By no means would I say it was an awful book, but I expected too much.

 

What was your least favorite book you read in 2017?

My Christmas 2017 Book Haul

Merry belated Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whether or not you observe Christmas, with your families and Santa was as good to you as he was to me. I got everything I wanted, plus some things I was not entirely sure I was going to get. And more books will be coming in the mail soon, as an early birthday present to myself.

The books I got for Christmas were:

 

Shattered by Kevin Hearne

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This was a surprise gift from my friend. It’s urban fantasy, which is one of my favorite genres, and it sounds interesting. Unfortunately, it’s the ninth book in the series Iron Druid Chronicles, which I don’t think my friend was aware of…but I still appreciate this book like all the others on this list. ❤

 

Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, & Winter by Marissa Meyer

The remaining books in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. So excited to finally binge-reading this series in 2018!

 

Seize Today by Pintip Dunn

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The last book in the Forget Tomorrow trilogy; the first two being Forget Tomorrow and Remember Yesterday. Another series I’m looking forward to marathon, hopefully in the summer.

 

Avenged by Amy Tintera

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The sequel to Ruined, a high fantasy series I’ve put off for too long to read, especially since I am fairly certain I will enjoy it once I read it.

 

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

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The Great Pursuit is the sequel to The Great Hunt, a retelling of a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. This another series, thankfully a duology, that I really can’t wait to break into in 2018.

 

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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The final book in The Queen of the Tearling trilogy, a polarizing high fantasy book I have been meaning to finish for two years. Now it’s time to find out if I fall in the love or hate category for this series.

 

Also…not quite book related. But I’m obsessed with my new bedding.

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What books did you get for Christmas?

 

My Top 5 Favorite Top 5 Tuesday of 2017

Before I started participating in Bionic Bookworm’s Top 5 Tuesday, I did not feel as connected to the blogging community as I would have liked. Then, slowly, as I started writing more, I found a little corner of the bookish social media I could really be a part of. Some entries have made me think and pushed me out of my comfort zone. That is something I need as a writer. Plus, the Top 5 Tuesday posts got me talking to fellow bookish people when there are so few in my real life.

So, thank you Shanah! ❤ And thank you to J.W. Martin for bringing us all together for this!

 

Top 5 Reasons Why I Blog (November 21st, 2017)

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If I had to pick my favorite post of 2017 overall, Top 5 Reasons Why I Blog would be my first answer. It made me think hard about why I chose to blog.

I started my blog after I graduated college and found myself unemployed for several months. I needed something to do and to build my portfolio so future employers could take me seriously. But there was more to it than that. Blogging gave me a routine I needed during a time I felt so unproductive and a little lost.

 

Top 5 “New to Me” Authors in 2017 (December 12th, 2017)

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I thought I didn’t have anything to contribute to this post. Then, I looked at my Goodreads and I realized I did read five “new to me” authors that I did enjoy. Without this post, I might have forgotten about these authors.

The first is Becky Albertalli, who wrote The Upside of Unrequited, one of my favorite young adult contemporary novels out of the whole year. Kasie West, who wrote P.S. I Like You, a lighthearted, fluffy contemporary; a genre I did not always reach for that has unexpected qualities.

Then, there is Agatha Christie with her famous And Then There Were None. I had heard of her for years and I’m so happy I finally read on of her books. Next is Susan Dennard with her book Truthwitch. I dare to say I enjoyed that more than any Sarah J. Maas book. Lastly is Lyndsay Faye, who wrote Jane Steele, one of my all-time favorite books of the year about a morally conflicted but ultimately good-natured female serial killer in Victorian London.

 

(Not so) Top 5 Books I Want for Christmas (December 19th, 2017)

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Probably my favorite one to write out of the whole year, especially since I know most book people can relate. We just want ALL THE BOOKS!!!

It was writing this particular Top 5 Tuesday that got me into the Christmas spirit with all that I have going on right now. I had to laugh at myself for having such a book addiction but not really caring because they were all books I genuinely wanted. Plus, the comments left by people (like Shanah) were so sweet, they made me feel better.

 

Top 5 Most Read Authors (October 3rd, 2017)

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I picked Top 5 Most Read Authors because this one had some surprising answers. When I looked on Goodreads, the top five were: Meg Cabot, Kelley Armstrong, Francine Pascal, V.C. Andrews, and Cassandra Clare.

Meg Cabot and Kelley Armstrong were not a surprise at all. I was obsessed with Meg Cabot all through middle school and high school. Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy and Women of the Otherworld series were game-changers for me. Both these authors are currently still writing and have books I am still interested in reading…once I get my physical TBR pile down to a decent size.

Francine Pascal is the mastermind behind the Sweet Valley franchise, which was the book series that took over my childhood while everyone else was getting lost in Hogwarts. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure why I loved these books so much—they were basically soap operas in book form. But I don’t regret it necessarily, because I was a different reader back then. Only I’m pretty sure I have read more Sweet Valley books than 24…there are likely some I have forgotten about.

V.C. Andrews and Cassandra Clare were the surprises. I had no idea I had read so many books by them (12 for Andrews, 11 for Clare). V.C. Andrews was one of my obsessions in high school. I still own some of her books that I have not read yet (or I have but just don’t remember reading) but I want to get back into her works. She’s the one who got me interested in modern Gothic literature and messed-up family dramas.

As for Cassandra Clare, she is still a current obsession. I have not read Lord of Shadows or The Bane Chronicles by her yet. The former I plan to remedy next year. I don’t know when I will ever get to The Bane Chronicles.

 

Top 5 Favorite Villains (July 11th, 2017)

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This Top 5 Tuesday made me realize I love female villains, since they tend to be more complicated and crazier than the male ones. Like Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses or the Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes series, to name two of the more well-known ones. When most people think “villain,” I doubt the word “female” comes to their mind when they assume a gender. Plus, this post was just fun in general, because who doesn’t love a good bad guy (or girl)?

 

Thank you Shanah for creating Top 5 Tuesday! I can’t wait to see what topics you come up with in 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

I happened upon this one on the Books Amino app. It is short and full of Christmas-themed book questions. With everything going on in my life right now, books bring me happiness during this difficult time. And doing these tags have made me excited for Christmas again.

 

Anticipation: the Christmas excitement is real, what book release are you most anticipating?

It’s between four books. A Reaper at the Gates, which comes out May 22nd, 2018; Furyborn by Claire Legrand, also to be released on May 22nd, 2018; In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira, which is to be released March 6th, 2018; and, lastly, Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco, which is to be released September 18th, 2018.

A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in one of my all-time favorite series. An Ember in the Ashes series is one I find little fault in and the books get better with each publication.

Furyborn is a high fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy following two girls, one thousand years apart. The first is a girl named Rielle, the best friend of the crown prince, who exposes herself as one of the prophesized queens, the queen of light or the queen of blood. To prove she is the queen of light, she must endure seven trials, or be executed as the queen of blood.

The other POV is Eliana, a young bounty hunter one thousand years in the future from Rielle. She grew up hearing the stories of Queen Rielle but thinks them as fairy tales. But when she must travel to the darkest corners of the empire to save her mother, Eliana discovers she and Rielle share a connection that spans over a millennia.

Unlike the previous two, In Search of Us is a young adult contemporary novel by the author who wrote Love Letters to the Dead, one of my all-time favorite contemporary novels. This one is a multi-generational novel following Angie, a biracial teenager, and her white single mother, Marilyn. Angie grew up believing her father died before she was born, but when she finds evidence that she has family elsewhere, she hungers to learn more about the father she never knew. When she hitches a ride to Los Angeles with her ex-boyfriend, Angie is forced to face hard truths about her family and Marilyn is forced to confront the secrets she has kept from her daughter all these years.

The last of my anticipated releases is Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco. It is the third book in her Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a young adult historical fiction mystery series following the sassiest, smartest female lead I’ve ever loved: Audrey Rose Wadsworth. At this point in time, I have not read the second book in the series, Hunting Prince Dracula, but the reviews have been good. You can bet I will be picking it up in January.

I need these books. Now.

 

Christmas songs and cards: what book or author can you not help but sing its praises?

Since I read it this summer, I talk about The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli whenever I can. It was sweet, cute, and relatable. There was a lot of diversity, and it was written in a way that made it appear normal, not as if the author was checking off boxes to make her book “diverse.” Such as, the main character Molly is overweight and has anxiety, and she and her twin sister are sperm donor babies born to two moms. While the writing was not the best, an element I usually praise in my favorite books, The Upside of Unrequited still made me laugh and gave me all the feels.

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Gingerbread House: what book or series has wonderful world-building?

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and its sequel, A Torch Against the Night, has some of the best world-building I have ever read in young adult fantasy. In fact, she kicks Sarah J. Maas’s ass in the world-building, in my opinion. The world in this series is just fascinating. Plus, she doesn’t throw everything at you all at once.

 

A Christmas Carol: favorite classic or one that you want to read.

I’ll do both for this question. My favorite classic is Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Of all her books, I have not read Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. Once I read both of them, I will have officially read all of Jane Austen’s books.

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Christmas sweets: what book would you love to receive for Christmas?

I have talked about this a lot…and I have a lot on my wish list this year. I already gave my dad the original wish list, but, naturally, there are others I want.

Three, specifically: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, and Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. I had originally checked these out of the library, but unfortunately I had to return them because it was getting close to the due date and I was not going to be able to get to them.

I have read Elizabeth Wein’s other book, Code Name Verity, and I’m positive I will like her other works enough to buy them. As for The Bear and the Nightingale, I have heard good things about it. I think this is one I would take a chance on.

 

Candles in the window: what book gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling?

Hmmm…I’m not sure. Most of the books I read don’t generate anything warm or fuzzy.

 

Christmas trees and decorations: what are some of your favorite book covers?

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

 

Christmas joy: what are some of your favorite things about Christmas and/or some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are the ones I spent with my friends in college. There was a lot of laughter and fun, whereas my family tends to be more formal and impersonal with each other. Growing up, my dad was a Scrooge, but since my mom took sick, he has gradually gotten better. So, I’m hoping for more lighthearted family Christmases in the future.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for another fun year of blogging. ❤

Books Under the Tree Tag

I saw this on Bookables YouTube channel. Immediately, I loved it and I had to make my own post.

I love books…I love Christmas…I love getting books on Christmas. That is all I need.

 

What book would you like to find under your tree this year?

I have already mentioned it several times: the remaining books in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. That is still true, but there are other books I want for Christmas. Such as, the next two books in the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson, The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness. I have wanted to get into this series for so long. I own the first book, The Kiss of Deception. This is one of the series I plan on binge-reading in 2018.

 

The best book you’ve ever received for Christmas.

The first one I thought of is an illustrated edition of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve actually barely read it cover to cover, but I keep getting distracted by the beautiful artwork in this book.

 

What book gives you all the Christmas feels?

Naturally, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the most Christmas story of all. I have not read the book in years, but I watch at least one adaption of it—usually the Muppets version—every Christmas.

 

What book or books do you plan on reading this year to put you in the Christmas spirit?

A book that has put me in the Christmas spirit is one I am currently reading, The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Ironically enough, it is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, following a spoiled seventeen-year-old that spends her afterlife working as the Ghost of Christmas Past to atone for her own mistakes during her life as a Scrooge. I’m starting to feel excited for Christmas again.

 

What book have you read this year that you would like to throw out with the Christmas tree after the holidays?

Thankfully, the books that I read this year I would have gladly thrown out with the Christmas tree were library books. I had to return them regardless. The first one that comes to mind is Woman of God by James Patterson. There were so many problems with this book. I get a little angry when I think about it.

 

What book would you like to place under a friend’s tree?

A List of Cages by Robin Roe, because it is a short book that packs a punch. I think some of my friends would enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Create a stack of books where the spines alternate between red and green. Share the titles.

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Half-Bad by Sally Green

Half-Wild by Sally Green

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (the original cover)

 

What is the best book you’ve ever gotten for Christmas?

 

 

Festive Christmas Book Tag

To get myself into the Christmas spirit (which is Monday WTF??) I am devoting myself to posting Christmas-themed tags on my blog. The first being the Festive Christmas Book Tag, which I saw on another person’s blog, that was created by Girl Reading.

On to the tag!

 

A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas with?

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I answered the Blackthorn family from The Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare on a previous tag and that is still true. But for the sake of not repeating myself, I will have to say the totally generic answer of the Weasleys from the Harry Potter series. They are loud and chaotic, but a very close-knit family.

 

A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?

I already asked for it for Christmas, but a reading journal. At the beginning of 2017, I did away with the Goodreads Reading Challenge. To track my reading, I kept a notebook where I wrote down the books I read in a given month, with their individual ratings under each title. Plus, if I had any favorites, I marked down a purple star next to the title in the notebook. I also used the notebook to keep track of all the library books I read this year, too.

I really enjoyed this process. It helped me remember what I rated the books when it came to book reviews and monthly wrap-ups. But the notebook I have been using is getting full, so I went on Amazon and searched for one to add to my Christmas wish list. I picked this particular one because it has a list of up to 100 books and each book has its own page with a notes section, which is great for reviews.

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A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?

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Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series. Those two would have way too much fun being elves, but they would be good at it.

 

Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.

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“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey would go well with The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. All Molly wants is romance and a boyfriend. The story is super sweet, cute, slightly awkward, and completely relatable.

 

Bah Humbug! A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?

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I would say Adrian from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. He was too full of himself and wallowed in self-pity. His character development was not done well. Rose was not always fair to him, but he did not make the situation any easier. Ultimately, I was neutral towards Dimitri, but between him and Adrian, I preferred Dimitri.

 

A book or fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserves to be put on the nice list?

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Definitely it would be Dill Early from The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. He is a sweet boy that wants to do right by his family that does not always treat him well and has a moral code his self-absorbed best friend, Lydia, does not understand. But Dill does what he does because he knows it is the right thing to do. Something a lot of boys his age don’t have in them.

 

Red, gold, and green: a book cover that has a wonderfully Christmasy feel to it.

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Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge; the colors on this cover have always reminded me of Christmas.

 

A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?

It’s a tie between A List of Cages by Robin Roe and All We Have Left by Wendy Mills. I read both of these books this year and rated them both five stars. Both have topics that I believe to be relevant.

A List of Cages follows former foster brothers, Adam and Julien, who are reunited in high school after five years of separation. Adam learns Julien is hiding a terrible secret and is determined to help the younger boy get out of his situation.

All We Have Left is told in dual timelines. One is set in 2016 following a confused teenager named Jesse, whose older brother died in the 9/11 attacks inside the Twin Towers. The other is Alia, a Muslim teenager in 2001 who is trapped inside the Towers the day of the attacks with a boy she just met but must depend on to survive. As you can imagine, the girls’ stories intertwine with some of the most beautiful writing, storytelling, and character development I’ve ever read.

 

What is a book you’ve read this year you would gift to someone else because you loved it so much?

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

(Not So) Top 5 Tuesday: Books I Want for Christmas

My Christmas wish list is ridiculously long this year. It’s actually a little overwhelming for me…#firstworldproblems.

The thing is, one of my goals of 2018 is to complete the series that have been sitting on my bookshelves (more on that in January). My idea is to motivate myself by buying the rest of the books in the series and proceed to binge-read them.

When I was making a wish list for my dad, I had to severely cut down on the amount. I ended up with two Christmas wish lists: one I gave to my dad and the other is waiting for the gift cards and money I hope to get from everyone else.

Bring on the holiday cheer!

 

Scarlet, Cress, Fairest & Winter by Marissa Meyer

I bought Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, back when the series was huge. I don’t know why I have not read it yet. I like unique fairy tale retellings and I am interested in exploring science fiction. My expectations for this series are already high, so I am hoping I won’t be disappointed.

 

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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I read the first book in the trilogy, The Queen of the Tearling, two years ago and I own The Invasion of the Tearling, which I ironically got for Christmas the same year I read the first book. I remember enjoying The Queen of the Tearling enough to want to finish the series. Now might be a good time to binge-read.

 

Avenged by Amy Tintera

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Avenged is the sequel to Ruined, a novel I actually preordered in 2016 but never read. It’s quite embarrassing to admit to. The trilogy follows a princess set to get revenge on the kingdom that destroyed hers. In Ruined, she kills another princess to pose as her to marry the prince that is her enemy. Again, the synopsis is so cool. I’m certain I will like it once I get around to reading it.

 

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

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The Great Pursuit is the second book in a duology by Wendy Higgins; the first book being The Great Hunt. Based off the Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Singing Bone, the story follows a young princess who vows to marry the hunter that kills the beast terrorizing her kingdom. One hunter in particular catches her attention, except he has some secrets of his own. The Great Hunt and The Great Pursuit is a duology I am excited to read back-to-back.

 

Seize Today by Pintip Dunn

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I received the first novel in the trilogy, Forget Tomorrow, for Christmas two years ago and I bought the second novel, Remember Yesterday, during this year’s Black Friday sale from Books a Million. Seize Today is the final novel in the trilogy. It is a dystopian young adult series set in a world where, when a person turns seventeen, they receive a memory from their future selves. The main character, Callie, gets a vision of her murdering her younger sister and is then arrested. The story takes off from there. Forget Tomorrow is so underrated of a trilogy, I’ve heard almost nothing about it.

 

The Heart of Betrayal & The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Likely one of the most popular series on this list along with the Lunar Chronicles, I have owned the first book of The Remnant Chronicles, The Kiss of Deception, for two or three years. I wanted to get into this series because I heard so many wonderful things about it. Surprisingly enough, I’ve never been spoiled for the books, either. If I do get The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness for Christmas, The Remnant Chronicles will be on my priority TBR of 2018.

 

The Wicked will Rise, Yellow Brick War, & The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite stories. I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count. I own a beautiful illustrated children’s edition of the book. That’s why I initially bought Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy Gale has become an evil dictator of Oz. That’s all I needed to know.

 

Rebel Angels & The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Aside from The Remnant Chronicles and the Lunar Chronicles, the Gemma Doyle trilogy is another series I’m ashamed I have not read. When I found the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty, I was so excited to read it. I still am, but so many other books distracted me. That’s going to change in 2018; regardless of whether or not I get Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing for Christmas, I will likely buy them for myself. Gemma Doyle will be another priority series.

 

Hidden Huntress & Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

I bought the first book of The Malediction trilogy, Stolen Songbird, on a whim from Amazon after hearing one of my favorite BookTubers rave about it. A young singer is whisked away to the world of trolls because the troll king of the mountains hopes she can break the centuries-old curse on their kingdom. I think this will be right up my alley.

 

What books are on your Christmas wish list?