January 2018 Wrap Up

My first monthly reading wrap up of 2018 and I am glad to say I’m very pleased with the outcome.

I read a total of seven books in January and I enjoyed all of them. None of the books got lower than three stars. I also did three reviews, which I am deeply happy about. That was one of my goals for 2018, particularly ones other people might not have heard much about.

January was a successful reading month. 2018 will hopefully be a good year of books.

In January, I read:

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

5 stars

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I started reading Hunting Prince Dracula on New Year’s Eve, right after watching the ball drop and still buzzed on champagne. Beginning this book only kept me up longer.

Hunting Prince Dracula is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. After the events of the first novel, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her companion Thomas Cresswell travel to Romania to attend an elite forensic science school inside an ancient castle that previously belonged to Vlad the Impaler. Upon their arrival, they learn a serial killer draining victims’ blood and stabbing them in the heart with stakes has terrorized the village surrounding the school.

My summary does not do it justice. I can’t give too much away because it is a sequel. But I loved Hunting Prince Dracula as much as I did Stalking Jack the Ripper, if not more so. Audrey Rose is smart and independent, relying on herself to solve the case and earn her spot in an all-male profession as well as get through the other personal problems she is dealing with in this novel. She shoots down anyone that tries to demean her because of her sex, including Thomas, who has his moments. There are other kick-ass female characters introduced in Hunting Prince Dracula that I adore.

The writing was sometimes slow, but the world was atmospheric, making me really want to visit Romania. The romance made me swoon; I love Audrey Rose and Thomas together as well as separately. They learn from each other (admittedly, she teaches him more than the other way around, but that’s fine). Watching their relationship grow was as much of a highlight to Hunting Prince Dracula as well as the complex, fascinating mystery plot.

 

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

3.75 stars

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Elodie is the eldest daughter of a plant hunter who spends most of the year away from the family finding plants in China. When her father comes home from one particular mission a drastically changed man and the family is in danger of poverty, she takes it upon herself to go to China to collect the rare orchid to provide for her mother and sisters. But once she gets a taste of adventure, Elodie realizes she is more her father’s daughter than she imagined.

I enjoyed The Forbidden Orchid, though I had some problems with it. It took too long, in my opinion, for Elodie to get to China. There is a romance in the novel that, while the love interest was not introduced until the middle of the book, Elodie gets into a situation with him that I was slightly uncomfortable with but admitted it was realistic for the 1860s.

On the flip side, Elodie was a relatable and likeable main character. I understood her struggle between being responsible for her family and wanting to pursue her dreams. I also liked her love interest, the discussions on religion versus science in English Victorian society, and the eloquent writing style. For more details, check out my review of The Forbidden Orchid.

 

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

4 stars

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The only fantasy book I read this month, The Book Jumper follows Amy Lennox, who returns to her mother’s homeland in Scotland. They stay with Amy’s grandmother, whose only condition to let them stay is that Amy must read. However, not read in the usual way: Amy comes from a long line of book jumpers, people who can travel inside books and who dedicate their lives to protecting the world of literature.

Shortly after Amy arrives, someone starts stealing things from books. Along with her new friend and fellow book jumper, Will, she searches for the thief before he goes after anyone in the real world.

I can speak for myself and other readers that book jumping is the kind of power we all want. I would rather be a book jumper than a High Fae or a Shadowhunter…just saying…. Aside from that, the author’s writing style was very whimsical. She created a dark Scottish atmosphere was that a character itself in the story. It was primarily plot-driven, which was fine, although I’m not sure there was as much depth to the characters as I would like. But my absolute favorite part of The Book Jumper was the ending. It was beautifully bittersweet, not the kind you see a lot of in young adult novels.

For more of my thoughts, go check out my review.

 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

4 stars

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Simon is a teenaged boy who is in the closet. For months, he has been exchanging emails with a mysterious boy named Blue, another closeted gay student at his school. Then, the class clown discovers the emails and basically blackmails Simon to help him get close to Simon’s pretty new friend Abby. As you can imagine, shenanigans ensue as Simon tries to navigate his feelings for confusing, secretive Blue and find a way to come out without complicating his life further.

Three words to describe Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda are fluffy, lighthearted, and CUTE! Simon was a realistic teenager and a good kid. He was struggling to find his sexual and social identity. He has a close-knit family, which is often left out in young adult books. He also has a good group of friends, though they have their ups and downs, too. But everyone works it out in a healthy way.

I loved the cute, flirty though sometimes cheesy, banter between Blue and Simon. Watching their relationship grow was sweet. The whole book was an easy, fun read, the kind I needed. Plus, there were some great quotes, such as “why can’t straight kids come out?”

That is a very good question.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

5 stars

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Eliza and Her Monsters is likely one of the most acclaimed books on BookTube and it did not disappoint me. In case you were unaware, socially anxious Eliza is quiet and friendless at school. But online she is Lady Constellation, the mysterious mastermind behind the popular web comic Monstrous Sea. For the longest time, she thought she was happy living her life online. But when she meets Wallace, the new guy at her school who turns out to be the most popular fan fiction writer for her web comic, Eliza thinks maybe a life offline might not be such a bad thing.

Eliza and Her Monsters is described as a “love letter to fandom” and “better than Fangirl.” I absolutely agree with both statements. If you were ever the teenager that preferred fictional worlds to the real one and/or struggled with social anxiety, you will find something of yourself in Eliza. I know I saw a lot of myself in her, which struck a deep cord. While I was never diagnosed with anxiety, I was shy in social situations, much like Eliza. I also found solace in fictional worlds, determined to escape the loneliness I felt by reading and losing myself in fandoms.

I could go on and on about Eliza and Her Monsters. I loved the snippets we got about Monstrous Sea and Eliza’s love for her comic as well as her devotion to her readers. The romance between Eliza and Wallace was cute and sweet. Despite its size, the book was easy to get through. I enjoyed my whole experience reading Eliza and Her Monsters.

 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

4.75 stars

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Between Shades of Gray covers an unknown part of World War II history, which is the deportations of people to work camps in Siberia as Russia invaded Lithuania. Lina and her family are among those deported, her father to a prison camp, while she, her mother, and her brother to a brutal work camp in Siberia. Lina attempts to communicate with her father, letting him know their family is still alive, through artwork. She finds her strength in her art, as well as those she cares for in the work camp.

Between Shades of Gray is the first book I can say I read in 24 hours. The writing was engrossing. Ruta Sepetys did not shy away from how horrible the conditions were for the deportees, starting with their three-month journey in the cattle cars to their final destination to the Artic Circle. In their struggle to survive, humans prove to be complicated. Some are viewed as selfish; Lina does several things that get her called as such. But at the core, their motives are purely instinctual.

For more of my thoughts on Between Shades of Gray, check out my review.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

4 stars

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January was the month of cute gay romance reads. But while Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda warms the heart, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is more like a punch in the gut.

Griffin always believed he would get back together with his first love Theo. But when Theo dies tragically in a drowning accident, the future suddenly looks bleak. Ironically, the only person Griffin feels he can turn to is his rival, Theo’s current boyfriend Jackson. In the aftermath of Theo’s death, Griffin reflects on their relationship, and comes to terms with his grief as well as his self-destructive secrets and his OCD.

I cannot speak to the representation of OCD in this novel, but it made me sympathize with Griffin. If I had to go through what he did on a daily basis, I’d go nuts. The romance between Griffin and Theo was super cute, as well as realistic. They both were changing and growing up, but neither wanted to admit it nor give up on their relationship. As a main character, Griffin was flawed, but he learned along the way. He learned that people changed and are not always who we want them to be. I also enjoyed the writing style; it flowed between past and present well.

On the flip side, the pacing of the book was too slow. It was short, less than 300 pages, but the ending seemed to drag on. There were some other problems I had, but they are spoilers. Overall, I enjoyed History is All You Left Me.

 

What is your favorite book that you read in January?

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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Most Intimidating Books

When Shanah announced the Top 5 Tuesday topics for January, this last one—Top 5 Most Intimidating Books—is the one I had to give serious thought to. My definition of “intimidating” is likely different from everyone else’s.

The books I marked as intimidating are the ones low on my TBR. Most of these I picked up on a whim or based on popular opinion. Now, circumstances have changed. Either, I have been disappointed by previous work by an author or genre, or the book is written in a complicated style.

 

The Skin Collector by Jeffrey Deaver

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At the time I picked up The Skin Collector randomly from a CVS, I was hardcore into mystery thrillers. Unfortunately, many disappointed me in 2017. Maybe I am choosing the wrong mysteries to read or they are starting to become predictable.

Regarding The Skin Collector, not only is it the eleventh book in a series, it also falls under the category of mysteries that appear more like an exaggerated Criminal Minds episode: a serial killer dubbed The Skin Collector is tattooing his victims with poison and leaving cryptic messages on their skin. Come to think of it, I think something similar to this plot has been a Criminal Minds episode….

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

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Ernest Hemingway is not only a well-known 20th century author, he is also a favorite of some of my friends. It is not the size of For Whom the Bell Tolls that intimidates me; it is my love-hate relationship with Hemingway as an author. While I appreciate his realism, there is something about the way he writes that I dislike. But since I surprisingly enjoyed his Nick Adams short stories, I want to give him one more chance with For Whom the Bell Tolls.

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

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I bought Room when the movie came out a couple of years ago. It is told through the eyes of five-year-old Jack, the son of a woman held captive for seven years. A stranger kidnapped Ma when she was seventeen and Jack was born during her captivity in a shed. The mother chooses to raise her son believing that Room is the whole world. But when Old Nick, Ma’s captor, is suddenly without means to provide for them, Ma decides it is time to take action before she watches her son starve to death.

The reason I hesitated to read Room was because of the way it is written. From my understanding, Jack narrates the story and tells it in how a five-year-old would talk and see the world. Since writing style is a big factor in my enjoyment of a book, I’m hesitant to pick up a novel where so many people critique the author’s writing.

 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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Shadow is a convict recently released from prison who comes home to find his wife, Laura, has died in a car crash. By chance, he meets a man named Mr. Wednesday, who claims to be a god and a king of America. This leads to an epic road trip through a dark urban fantasy world that takes a surprising look at humanity.

Neil Gaiman is an author I have wanted to get into for years. I bought American Gods three years ago. Admittedly, it was not one of the books of his I was most interested in; that would likely go to Stardust. On the flip side, American Gods seems to be one of Neil Gaiman’s most popular works. It might be a good place to start.

 

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

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I actually started reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire fall of 2017. Seeing all my friends still in school go back made me miss the academic setting. From what I understood, Wicked was written in a style similar to the kind of books used in college English literature courses. I made it about 50 pages in before I put it down.

I still have every intention of picking up Wicked again. What I read I did enjoy. Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, is a fascinating anti-heroine. None of the other characters were likeable either. The world of Oz Maguire created was so twisted. I loved it.

However, Gregory Maguire’s writing style was hard for me to get into at the time, so I had to set aside Wicked for the time being.

 

Have you read any of these books I mentioned? Specifically, have any of you read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or Room by Emma Donoghue and what did you think of them?

My Birthday/Pre-Book Buying Ban Haul Part Two

One of my main reading resolutions of 2018 was to read more classics. To motivate myself, I bought a bunch of Barnes & Noble editions of classics. Most of these are the lesser-known books by well-known authors, such as Charlotte Bronte and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Others are ones I have been interested in reading for a long time. Some I bought to read them again.

Seeing these books all together, I want to read them right now. But I can’t decide which one to start with.

 

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte

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Published after Charlotte Bronte’s wildly successful Jane Eyre, Shirley is, in the words of Charlotte herself, “something real and unromantic as Monday morning.” Set during England’s Industrialization period, the novel follows two women, Caroline Helstone and Shirley Keeldar. Unmarried Caroline is trapped in an oppressive Yorkshire rectory, typical of single women in the nineteenth century. As for Shirley, her newfound wealth frees her from that sad oppression and allowing her the chance to live her own life.

I bought Shirley because I am interested in reading more feminist novels, particularly those written in the nineteenth century. Jane Eyre was a great book, so I already have expectations for Charlotte Bronte’s other works.

 

The Professor by Charlotte Bronte

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Before Jane Eyre, there was William Crimsworth, a professor at an all-girls school in Brussels, who is caught in between his feelings for the headmistress and his relationship with his infatuated student Frances Henri. The whole novel is a look at the double standard between men and women and the unequal power dynamics within interpersonal relationships. The Professor is likely the next Charlotte Bronte book I will read next.

 

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte’s final novel, Villette, is the fictional autobiography of Lucy Snowe, who flees heartbreak in England to become a teacher at a French boarding school in a town called Villette. While there, she becomes swept up in a tumultuous romance that brings up some painful memories she would rather forget.

According to Goodreads, Villette has more critical acclaim than Jane Eyre. Knowing that, and taking into account the awesomeness that is Jane Eyre, my expectations are very, very high.

 

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Before Jay Gatsby, there was Amory Blaine in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut novel This Side of Paradise. Semiautobiographical, this novel follows a Princeton student trying to run with the rich crowd, falling in and out of love, and wasting his youth away. If This Side of Paradise is anything like The Great Gatsby, I expect unlikable characters against a backdrop of the glamorous Jazz Age with a lot of angst.

 

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Between This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night, I admit I am slightly more excited to read the latter. American psychiatrist Dick is both husband and doctor to his wife Nicole, whose wealth provides them a luxurious lifestyle. Then, beautiful young actress Rosemary Hoyt comes into the picture, throwing a wrench in the couple’s supposed stable marriage.

I might be setting myself up for failure, but I am getting a thriller vibe from Tender is the Night. From the synopsis, it sounds like Dick needs his wife to be psychologically dependent on him. But once she gets stronger, with or without Rosemary’s help, it leads to his downfall.

 

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

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One of the books I have already read on this list, Agnes Grey is the less romantic version of Jane Eyre. Much like her older sister Charlotte’s Jane, Anne created a hardworking, devout heroine Agnes Grey. As a governess, Agnes was constantly mistreated by her charges and their parents. But in the face of hardship, she triumphs.

I loved Agnes Grey when I read it in 2016 and I want to read it again now that I have my own copy. There is a romance in this story; one that is much healthier than Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester’s, in my opinion. I also think Anne Bronte is the most underrated Bronte sister.

 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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This is Anne Bronte’s second novel and, arguably, one of the books on this entire haul I am most excited to read. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall follows a woman that flees a drunken, abusive husband with her son and becomes the object of gossip by her new neighbors as well as one of affection by her new landlord. The whole novel is a look at Victorian women’s role in society and how only death can free a woman from a terrible marriage.

I honestly think I might read this very, very soon….

 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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I first read The Age of Innocence in my sophomore year of high school for a book report in my English class. I chose it because we had read Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome for one of our required readings and I had become obsessed. Unfortunately, my teacher was not the nicest and made the deadline for the book report too soon, which was hard with other homework in honors classes, so I had to Google the ending.

From what I remember reading, The Age of Innocence is set among the upper class of Golden Age New York City. The main character, Archer, is engaged to be married to a sweet but dull girl of the same social class as him. Then, his fiancée’s cousin, Ellen, a woman who has recently left her abusive husband, comes home after many years away in Europe. Though beautiful and charismatic, vicious rumors follow Ellen. Yet, Archer cannot resist the attraction he feels to her.

Think this had a happy ending?

 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Another book I read in high school, The Scarlet Letter is set in a Puritan village in Massachusetts, where Hester Prynne lives with her young daughter, Pearl. Hester is forced to wear a red “A” stitched to her clothing as punishment for her sin of adultery. Though her husband was believed to be dead, she refused to name the man that fathered Pearl. Thus, Hester and her daughter are outcasts. The whole book is basically criticism of the Puritan society mindset, as told by a man that lived during the Victorian era. Still, I always found Nathaniel Hawthorne’s opinions expressed in The Scarlet Letter to be quite modern.

 

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet. I love her writing style. She gets straight to the point. She had a forward way of thinking. Her poems didn’t rhyme, yet they flowed well. Emily’s personal life also fascinates me. She never married, though it is rumored she might have had a secret romance. She presumably had a mental breakdown. She wrote tons of poems, yet only published a few when she was alive. She was a recluse later in life and no one knows why.

I wanted to start reading The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson as soon as I got it. But I had to restrain myself to finish the books I’m already currently reading or planning to read.

 

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman is my second-favorite poet after Emily Dickinson. Like her, he has a straightforward way of writing I appreciate. He comments on the faults within society, like how people are too scared to talk to each other. Given that most people prefer their phones, that has not changed. He also has a few great poems on sexuality and relationships that can also be applied to the 21st century. Also like Emily, Walt was ahead of his time.

 

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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After reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand, my interest in reading Charles Dickens was renewed. David Copperfield is his longest novel and said to be semiautobiographical. It follows the life of a man that grows up impoverished and claims success as an author. That’s all I know about this book. Maybe that’s all I need to know.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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From my understanding of Great Expectations, it follows an orphan that comes into his own and gets his heart broken by a beautiful girl trained her whole life on how to torment men by a woman that had been left at the alter. I don’t know how I know that, but I’m sure there is more to Great Expectations than just a twisted love story. Just don’t tell me what it is!

 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Before buying A Tale of Two Cities, I knew two things. First, it is set during the French Revolution, I think. Second, it is Will and Tessa’s favorite book in The Infernal Devices trilogy; they even named their daughter after the female lead. Oh, and there is presumably a love triangle between two men and a woman—also like The Infernal Devices.

Of all the Dickens books in this haul, it is a tie between Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities on which one to move higher on my TBR. If you have read either of these, let me know what you thought of them.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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I was first introduced to Oscar Wilde when I read his play The Importance of Being Earnest for a British literature class my sophomore year of college. I loved it. His novel The Picture of Dorian Gray follows a vain young man, Dorian Gray, who fears getting old and has his portrait enchanted so it gets old while he stays young forever.

Not quite sure how this is going to go, but I can imagine the consequences will be dire given it is a horror novel.

 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Thanks to all the pop culture references, I am already well familiar with the story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is about a man with split personalities that is a moral man during the day and then turns into his evil alter ego at night. From what else I know, it is a novella told by a friend of Dr. Jekyll’s trying to put together the pieces of what happened to the doctor.

 

Which of these classics have you read? What did you think of them?

 

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Recommending Books I Didn’t Love, But You Might

No one reads the same book—we all can agree none of us enjoy every book we read. Some we like but don’t love. Some we just feel “meh” about. Others we downright hate.

For me personally, I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t enjoy a book. As a writer, I appreciate the process it takes for someone to put his or her time into a piece of work. They went through the brutal process of finding an agent and a publisher, who I know must have seen something worthwhile in the book. Otherwise they never would have bothered.

So, I’m going to share with you the books I didn’t love but didn’t hate. Despite my overall disappointment with these, they were not without their merits. Hopefully, you might find your next favorite book in this pile and appreciate it more than I did.

 

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

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Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is both a mystery and coming-of-age story. Bright, ambitious Becca is determined to leave her dead-end small town for college and better things. Then, the night of her graduation, the body of a young woman, Amelia Anne Richardson, is found on the side of the road. As Amelia’s story unravels, Becca is drawn further into the mystery, finding uncanny similarities between herself and the dead girl.

The writing style in Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone was lovely and lyrical. Kat Rosenfield does a good job at describing life in a small-town where most people don’t have an education beyond a high school diploma and have never been anywhere else. The two main girls, Amelia and Becca, were flawed and interesting in their own ways. Although, I personally enjoyed Amelia more than Becca.

 

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

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Roses and Rot is set at a prestigious artists’ retreat and follows two sisters, Imogen and Marin. Growing up, the girls escaped into fairy tales to cope living with their cruel mother. At the retreat, Imogen enters as a writer and Marin as a dancer. But, as you would expect, it is not what it seems. The sisters find themselves in a real-life fairy tale that will test the strength of their sisterhood.

I have trouble describing Roses and Rot as magical realism or urban fantasy. It has been a while since I read it, but I would say it leans more towards the former in my opinion (just don’t hold me to that). I remember the atmosphere was also very creepy.

 

The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

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The Gilded Cage is a young adult historical fiction novel set in 1820s England. After the death of her parents, sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph and her older brother are plucked from their family farm in Virginia and taken to their father’s family estate in England. At first, life is good, though Katherine is having a hard time shedding her rural roots. Then, her brother tragically drowns, but she refuses to believe it was an accident.

What made me enjoy The Gilded Cage was Katherine herself. She was not shy about showing off her farm girl upbringing among the uptight English. The writing in this novel was also very good and it is really easy to get through.

 

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

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If you are interested in religious cults, I would recommend you check out The Cresswell Plot. It follows a family of six siblings in upstate New York that live under the thumb of their fanatically religious father. Castley Cresswell and her siblings are outcasts in their small town. Their father demands they live by his own twisted version of the Bible. But just when the Cresswell children get a taste of freedom, their father announces the family will be returning to God in heaven.

The Cresswell Plot is dark and twisted. Castley is a strong protagonist motivated by her desire to protect her siblings and free them all from her father’s influence. The book is short and the writing makes it fly by faster, even though the ending was ultimately rushed and there were some major plot holes.

 

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

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The Suffering Tree is another young adult fantasy novel set in small-town Maryland, where sixteen-year-old Tori moves with her family after the tragic death of her father. To deal with her grief, she cuts herself and hides it from everyone. Then, while sitting under a tree in her backyard, Tori accidentally summons Nathaniel, a young man that was hanged over 100 years ago. This brings about centuries-old secrets hidden by the Slaughters, a prominent family in town that believes Tori’s unexpected inheritance belongs to them.

The Suffering Tree was very readable and mainly plot-driven. It jumped back and forth between the past and present, trying to explain Tori’s connection to Nathaniel and the Slaughters. The setting was also quite interesting regarding the small-town politics and how bloodlines mean everything, even when a family has lost the status they once had.

 

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

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Pretty and popular Chloe has an autistic older sister named Ivy. When her sister shows signs of being lonely, Chloe sets out to get awkward Ivy a boyfriend. She thinks she has found the perfect match for Ivy in Ethan, a boy in Ivy’s special needs class. But the two lovebirds are too nervous to be left alone, so Chloe and Ethan’s brother have to tag along. There’s another problem: Ethan’s brother happens to be David, a boy from Chloe’s school that she can’t stand.

I recommend Things I Should Have Known to anyone that has a sibling on the autism spectrum. While I ultimately found the book boring and the plot twist predictable, I related to Chloe. I’m the older sister of a young man on the spectrum; a lot of what Chloe and David go through with their siblings, I have been through with mine.

 

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

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Braden Thorpe has the Witch Eyes: the ability to see the world in vivid colors, memories, and emotions. When a vision reveals the life of the uncle that raised him is in danger, he travels to Belle Dam, a town divided by two warring magical families. Jason, the head of one family, is Braden’s father; both Jason and Catherine Lansing, the head of the other witch family, want to use Braden’s gift to their advantage. He wants nothing to do with either of them. But when he falls for Catherine’s son Trey, things become way more complicated.

I had actually forgotten about Witch Eyes, until I was doing research for this blog post. I never completed the trilogy and I got rid of the book years ago. But with all this talk about diversity in fantasy, I’m kind of surprised this series has never come up. Braden is gay and, if I remember correctly, there is another male love interest Braden said looked like an “Abercrombie & Fitch model.”

 

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

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Reggie Mason is a sarcastic, independent girl living with depression. While picking up a prescription at CVS, she meets Snake, a boy her age that also has depression. Despite her best efforts—especially after finding out he has a pregnant ex-girlfriend—Reggie can’t get egotistical Snake to leave her alone. But when she finds herself falling for him, she wonders if she is finally ready to let someone in.

The main reason I personally did not enjoy Definitions of Indefinable Things was because I felt Reggie was better than Snake and their relationship was too unstable. From what I have seen in my own life, people with depression in close relationships, romantic or otherwise, with other people that have depression does not go well. But I am also not clinically depressed, so I cannot speak to the representation in this novel. All I know I recommend this book because of Reggie and how she does her best to live her life despite her illness.

 

What books have you read you didn’t like, but you would recommend if you think others might like it?

My Birthday/Pre-Book Buying Ban Haul Part One

I bought a lot of books in January….

In fact, I bought so many books I had to divide this haul into three parts. The first pile of books I bought with Christmas money before my birthday. Most of these I featured in a Top 5 Tuesday post on books I wanted for Christmas. All of them are the remaining books in series where I own the first book but have not read them yet. Now that I own all of them, I can marathon read each series. Expect to see these in wrap-ups throughout 2018.

 

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

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The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness are the second and third novels respectively in The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. The first book being The Kiss of Deception, which had some buzz when it came out though it has significantly died down since then. Now that I own all the books, there is no excuse not to read a series I have wanted to get into for years.

 

Rebel Angels & The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

I cannot tell you how long I have wanted to read the Gemma Doyle trilogy. When I bought the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty, three years ago, I was excited to read this young adult historical fantasy series with a protagonist that is said to be strong and sassy as well as does not fit the conventional standards of beauty. I won’t be able to put off reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy for much longer.

 

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Lair of Dreams & Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Libba Bray is an author I have wanted to get into for years. Much like the Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Diviners is her other series I am most interested in reading. The Diviners is another historical fantasy series, this one set in 1920s New York City. Protagonist Evie is a psychic that goes to live with her uncle, who runs an occult museum in Manhattan. When a serial killer called Naughty John strikes the city, Evie takes it upon herself to investigate the murders using her abilities.

Between Gemma Doyle and The Diviners, the former was higher up on my TBR. Thanks to BookTube, The Diviners has fallen on my radar again due to rave reviews and mentions of a diverse cast, such as a character that is half Irish and half Chinese living in Chinatown. Plus, the books are huge and with three books out, I can read them and hope they will hold me over until the fourth, allegedly final book, is released in how ever many years it takes.

 

Her Dark Curiosity & A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepard

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As far as retellings go, The Madman’s Daughter trilogy appears to be on the low end of anyone’s radar. The first novel, which I bought several years ago, follows Juliet, the daughter of Dr. Moreau, as in the mad scientist of H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. Working as a maid in London, she tries to move on with her life in the wake of the scandal her father created. But when she hears rumors he’s back at his experiments, Juliet travels to a jungle island with two companions to uncover his secrets. In doing so, she realizes she might be more her father’s daughter than she believed.

Honestly, The Madman’s Daughter dropped a few spots on my TBR to make room for other books. But after reading Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series, I am looking for more historical Gothic thrillers. I am especially interested now since reading Her Dark Curiosity, the second novel, is a retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the third novel, A Cold Legacy, is a retelling of Frankenstein. That is all I needed to know to want to finally read The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

 

Hidden Huntress & Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

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I bought Stolen Songbird, the first book in the Malediction trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen, from Amazon on a whim about two years ago. The reason being one of my favorite YouTubers raved about it and deemed it better than the Throne of Glass series. Having been slightly disappointed by recent SJM books, I am looking for more high fantasy series to get into.

The Malediction trilogy follows Cecile, a young soprano who is kidnapped and brought to the land of trolls. They believe she holds the key to lifting a witch’s curse that has afflicted the mountains for five centuries. I am even more interested in this series because it is so underrated. I don’t see it anywhere on BookTube, besides that one time I first heard it.

 

Enshadowed & Oblivion by Kelly Creagh

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I bought Nevermore, the first book in a young adult trilogy based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, about three years ago. Probably the least known series on this whole list, it is reminiscent of a time where young adult literature was filled with the cheesiest kinds of tropes, much like the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.

In the first novel, Nevermore, cheerleader Isobel is paired with class weirdo Varen for an English project. At first, she has no interest in working with a kid unaffected by her popularity. But when she reads something fascinating inside her project partner’s journal, Isobel is drawn further away from her popular friends and boyfriend into a world where the nightmares created by Edgar Allen Poe are very real.

I make this book sound cool don’t I? Well, I hope the Nevermore trilogy doesn’t disappoint.

 

Ice Like Fire & Frost Like Night by Sarah Raasch

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Another underrated trilogy I own, I bought Snow Like Ashes back when it got a little bit of hype on the bookish Internet. However, I admit, back then it was more of an impulse buy. Yet, I could not bring myself to part with it. Like I mentioned previously, I have wanted to branch out more into the high fantasy genre. This seems to fall perfectly into that: four kingdoms of the seasons torn apart by war and one girl determined to restore the Kingdom of Winter to its former glory.

Of all the series I own, I have no idea when I will get to the Snow Like Ashes trilogy, but I am glad I have all the books and I will be able to fully immerse myself into this world when I finally get the chance.

 

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

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The Dorothy Must Die series is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy has returned as a mad dictator and its up to a girl named Amy, along with the Wicked Witches, to save Oz. Given that the other books are smaller than the first, I think I could easily get through the series this year. I actually think the Dorothy Must Die series will be a lot of fun to read.

 

Have you read any of these series? What did you think of them?

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this book haul!

The #NotAll Book Tag!

I saw this book tag, the #NotAll Book Tag, on Rebecca Mills blog last week, created by theorangutanlibrarian. The tag came at the perfect time. I was having trouble coming up with a recommendations post or something else to write. But that’s why we have book tags.

On to the tag!

 

#NotAll Cover Changes: A Cover Change You Liked.

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Though I have not read the series yet, I do like the cover changes of The Diviners series by Libba Bray. The original cover of the first novel was pretty, but something about the paperback cover speaks to me. It embodies both genres: mystery and horror. The same with my recent editions, especially the cover of Before the Devil Breaks You. These covers kind of make me want to read the books more.

 

#NotAll Adaptions: An adaption you love more than the book.

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That would have to be Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. While the book was good, the Netflix miniseries of Alias Grace was done very well. Sarah Gordon, who played Grace Marks, did a great job at bringing a historical figure to life. All the characters, including Grace, had some morally gray tones to them. And it got down to the nitty-gritty of the story, rather than drag on the parts readers don’t care about.

 

#NotAll Tropes: A Trope You’ll Never Tire of Seeing.

Admittedly, I still love the “Chosen One” and the “lost princess” tropes. I know these are overused. But if done well, a trope might not feel so much like a trope and more like a plot.

 

#NotAll Instalove: you instaloved this InstaCouple.

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Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. While their relationship might move a little too fast for teenagers, there is definitely an instant connection between them. Normally, I strongly dislike instalove. However, the characters have a great dynamic and the relationship grows throughout the story.

 

#NotAll Love Triangles: An example of a love triangle done well.

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I adore the love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. What I hate about a lot of young adult novels is that authors often make one love interest look like a villain. For example, Sarah J. Maas, butchering characters more for the sake of introducing a “better” love interest (all the Chaol Westfall fangirls know what I’m talking about).

However, in the case of Will and Jem, both boys have equal standing. Though I was personally Team Jem for the longest time, I eventually had to admit Will had his qualities. Tessa loves both boys, and the boys are best friends who love each other. They all love each other so much and none of them want to hurt each other.

 

#NotAll Parents: bookish parents that, you know, parent!

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Molly’s two moms, Patty and Nadine, in The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. They have a healthy communication with their daughters and speak to them in a down-to-earth manner. Patty and Nadine also knew when to lay down the law. One scene that sticks out to me is when Molly’s grandmother goes too far in talking about Molly’s weight problems. Patty actually pulled her mother aside and told her to keep her opinions to herself. My father never did that with his mother when she made comments about my weight. Seeing a parent do something about that in a book struck a cord with me.

 

#NotAll Villains: a villain you love.

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I don’t know why, but Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I love to hate her I guess. She did horrible, horrible things to everyone in that series—Feyre, Rhys, Tamlin, Lucien—and she ruled with terror for fifty years. But, when you think about it, at her core Amarantha is a scorned woman that cursed innocent people because she couldn’t handle rejection.

 

#NotAll Chosen Ones: a chosen one you can get behind.

Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. He’s funny and he rolls with whatever happens. He never feels sorry for himself, either. Percy is simply motivated to do the right thing.

 

#NotAll Hyped Books: a book that lived up to the acclaim.

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Most recently, that would have to be Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. BookTube commonly described it as a “love letter to fandom.” That is exactly what this book was. I related to Eliza; in high school, I was a lot like her. I didn’t have any close friends. I preferred books and the Internet to my peers. I felt my parents didn’t fully understand the things I enjoyed. I loved writing and it took up my life. Some of that has changed now I’m 25, but a lot of the things that are important to Eliza are still important to me.

 

#NotAll Contemporary: a book you’re not keen on from your favorite genre.

My favorite is fantasy. Likely two of the most beloved works of fiction in that genre I have no interest in reading is the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and the Lord of the Ring trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The books are just too big and dense. There are so many others that I want to read more than those. I have no interest in the Game of Thrones show (despite my dad’s best efforts) or the Lord of the Ring movies either.

Feel free to convince me, if you want.

 

#NotAll Fantasy: a book you liked from a genre you don’t often read.

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A genre I read the least of as well as one I am rarely interested in is nonfiction. Tuesdays with Morrie is one that comes to mind. I read it for a sociology/WGS course in my senior year of college. Even my friends that aren’t big readers enjoyed that book. The praise surrounding Tuesdays with Morrie is well deserved. Reading about Mitch Albom writing a book about life lessons with his favorite college professor, Morrie, as Morrie lay on his deathbed was worthwhile. Although, my description is not doing it justice. You must read Tuesdays with Morrie for yourself.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

Review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Spoiler Free)

I think this is the first ever book I read in a day….

Between Shades of Gray is a World War II story centering on the deportation of Lithuanians to work camps by Stalin. It is told through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Lina, a young Lithuanian girl ripped away from her home with her family. Along with her mother and younger brother, she is sent to a brutal work camp in Siberia while her father is trapped inside a prison camp. For years, Lina finds the will to survive against circumstances that test the human spirit, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I don’t recall ever learning about this in school. We learned more about what Hitler did to Jews in the concentration camps, not how Stalin did the same to Lithuania and the other Baltic countries in an attempt to grow his empire. He hid it well from the Allies.

I previously read Ruta Sepetys most recent book, Salt to the Sea, a WWII story about another unknown event. Between Shades of Gray was her second novel, so her writing was not as flawless as it was in Salt to the Sea. Still, the way she told the story was engrossing; the chapters were also short, making the novel a breeze to read. She did not shy away from describing the gruesome journey the deportees took in cattle cars along Siberia and life in the work camps. She wrote it in a way that made you feel like you were actually there with Lina and the other prisoners.

Ruta Sepetys was also realistic in the development of her characters. Lina was strong and devoted to her family, but at moments she was reckless and others called her selfish. Only her actions were stemmed in a will to survive and help her loved ones survive. Besides needing the physical will to live, there is also the mental will to survive. Lina had that in abundance.

In times of crisis, humans react differently. Between Shades of Gray portrayed that perfectly. One character makes a decision that she thought would help protect her family, and others in the camp severely judge her for it. Other characters showed compassion, even at the most unexpected moments. More thought only of themselves and those they loved. Humans, especially during World War II, were complicated, such as one Russian guard in the camp Lina’s family was sent to.

My only qualm with Between Shades of Gray is a romance between Lina and a boy her age, Andrius, in the work camp. While I did like Andrius as a character as much as I liked Lina, I felt her romance with him was unnecessary to the story. There was little chemistry or compatibility between them. It was more about Lina keeping her family together. Though I didn’t care for the romance, I understand why Ruta Sepetys included it after reading her author’s note.

Overall, I give Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 4.75 stars. If you want to read more World War II novels, I highly recommend you read this.

Top 5 Tuesday Rewind: Books I Don’t Talk About Enough

I have noticed recently that with all the book tags, I talk about more books than I do others. Of course, I was talking about them for a reason. But there are more on my shelves I’ve read over the years that I do not have the opportunity to talk about often enough.

Now, I’m changing that.

 

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

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I first read Pretty Girl-13 in 2013 and it is one of my all-time favorite books. Severely underrated, it is a young adult psychological thriller about Angela, who was abducted from a Girl Scouts camping trip when she was thirteen years old. Three years later, now sixteen, she turns up at her parents’ doorstep with no recollection of her years in captivity. During her sessions with her psychiatrist, Angela discovers she has Dissociative Identity Disorder and has four or five alternate personalities that blocked her memories. As Angela works to learn more about her other personalities, she realizes there is a painful secret they are keeping from her that could send her spiraling downward.

Looking back on it now, the story of Pretty Girl-13 might be a little far-fetched. But at the time I read it, I loved it a lot. I was moved by Angela’s character development and her determination to get her life back. There is also a huge reveal that I remember shocked me to my core the first time I read it. I think other people would be surprised by it, too, if they dared to give Pretty Girl-13 a chance.

 

You by Caroline Kepnes

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Another of my all-time favorite books that I don’t talk about enough is probably the most well-known on this list. You is a psychological thriller/horror novel following Joe, a bookstore employee stalking a young woman named Beck. For those of you that have not read it, it likely sounds like the beginning of a bad Lifetime movie. Only that’s not it.

First, Joe is funny. His criticism of society and people are so on the nose sometimes I found myself agreeing with him. Second, the girl he is stalking, Beck, is a far cry from the innocent good-girl you often see in these stalking films. She’s self-absorbed, manipulative, and just plain awful. Lastly, Joe and Beck are not the only messed-up characters. That’s all I’m saying about it.

 

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

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All the Truth That’s in Me is a young adult historical fiction set in a Puritan village where two girls, Judith and Lottie, vanished. Lottie turned up dead and Judith resurfaced four years later with her tongue cut out. The other villagers, including her own family, see Judith as tainted, but she’s got a secret that will turn the little town upside down again.

All the Truth That’s in Me is the first book I’ve ever read told in second-person. Judith is narrating the story in her head to Lucas, her childhood best friend whom she is still in love with. Judith is strong in a silent way and gives herself the permission to get out of the spot the villagers have put her in. She is what made the book for me.

 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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Another deeply underrated young adult contemporary/mystery novel, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly follows a teenaged girl raised in a cult. Minnow’s parents dragged her into a fanatical religious cult when she was five years old. Twelve years later, Minnow’s hands are cut off and she is a suspect in the murder of the cult’s leader. An FBI psychiatrist is determined to help her, but to save herself Minnow must divulge some painful secrets that could ruin her.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a powerful novel about taking your life back and rising above adversity. Like most of the other books on this list, it was the protagonist, Minnow, that was the driving force. She was sassy and sarcastic. She didn’t wallow in self-pity. And, in the end, she saved herself.

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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An adult historical fiction novel set in seventeenth century Amsterdam, The Miniaturist follows Nella, who is given a dollhouse version of her new home by her husband as a wedding present. She hires a miniaturist to design dolls, only these little replicas have the uncanny ability to predict the future….

It sounds like a fantasy novel, but nothing about The Miniaturist is clean-cut or straightforward. Despite its size—well over 400 pages—Jessie Burton’s writing style was so beautiful, it made the book fly by. The story was engrossing and all the characters had dirty little secrets. Nella was the only innocent one, except she had some of her own issues that she had no problem handling by herself. The author also did not shy away from how God-fearing Amsterdam was at this time in history and how cruel people could be if they perceived something as “sinful.”

 

What is your favorite underrated book?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Want to Start This Year

I am really amazed I kept this list down to five…

I almost made this week’s topic Top 10 Series I Want to Start This Year, because I have a lot on my shelves that I want to start and finish in 2018. But when I started writing the list, it got a little…overwhelming. So, I picked the five that I am most excited for.

The top five series I want to start (and hopefully finish) this year are:

 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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I want to read The Lunar Chronicles for two reasons. First, I love fairy tale retellings. Each of these novels, to my understanding, is a retelling of a well-known tale: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Retellings in general tend to be my favorite books. Second, I have wanted to branch out more into science fiction for a while now. The Lunar Chronicles seems like an easy place to start.

 

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

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The Kiss of Deception, the first book of the series, was popular when it came out a few years ago, yet the hype for this series has died down since then. A princess runs away from home on her wedding day and goes to work as a waitress in a local village. Then, two boys arrive: one being the prince she left at the alter and the other an assassin sent to kill her. From what I do know about this series, which appears to be a mix of fantasy and historical fiction, the reviews are positive.

 

Matched trilogy by Ally Condie

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A series that is from a time where young adult dystopians were a thing, Matched is set in a world where everyone is matched to their soulmate based on chemistry and compatibility, plus there is virtually no trace of the arts. Then, Cassia gets matched to two boys and must challenge the government to make her own choices. While the reviews of the trilogy have been mixed, I am still interested in the concept.

 

Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

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Probably the oldest series on this list, I’ve wanted to read the Gemma Doyle trilogy for years. It is a historical fantasy set in an all-girls boarding school in Victorian London and a teenaged girl is drawn to the dark magical world her late mother previously fled from. I can’t begin to explain to you all how excited I am to finally pick up this series, now that I own all the books.

 

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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Rick Riordan is an author I want to get more into. I read the original series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, summer 2016 and I really enjoyed it. I bought the box set of The Heroes of Olympus series intending to read it summer of 2017. Of course, that never happened.

 

What series do you want to read this year?

New Years Resolutions Book Tag

My life is so crazy right now, I don’t even know if it is worth my time to make New Years Resolutions. As far as I’m concerned, January is my free trial month for 2018.

Thankfully, there are books. The reading resolutions I set for myself are the goals I know I can accomplish this year.

 

An author you’d like to read that you’ve never read before.

It is a tie between Jodi Meadows and Adam Silvera. Jodi Meadows co-wrote My Lady Jane with Cynthia Hand, whom I have read before, and Brodi Ashton. Jodi has other published works I am more interested in than anything else Brodi has written. One of those books being Before She Ignites, which is about a princess with anxiety and OCD fighting for the rights of dragons. That was all I needed to hear.

As for Adam Silvera, I own one of his books, History is All You Left Me. I bought this one because, of his three books currently out, this is the one I was most drawn to. Virtually everyone who has ever read anything by him loves him. Plus, he’s known to make people cry.

 

A book you’d like to read.

I have a whole Top 5 Tuesday post on this, but of course those were not the only ones. Another book I really want to read in 2018 is Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, the story follows Rachelle, a young woman who made a terrible mistake when she was fifteen that is forced to guard Prince Armand, a man she hates. To atone for her past sins, she forces Armand to help her in her quest for a sword to protect the realm from evil. If Crimson Bound is anything like Rosamund Hodge’s debut Cruel Beauty, I expect a dark and twisted novel.

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A classic you’d like to read.

I have quite a few I could answer for this question. The first would be The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, an author I loved in high school yet I have not read another book by her in years. Others would be 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. A classic I would like to reread—because I’m pretty sure I did not read it the whole way through the first time for school—is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

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A book you’d like to reread.

In 2018, I want to finish my reread of the Harry Potter series. I made it up to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before 2017 was over. As of right now, I’m not quite sure when I will get to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but hopefully this summer.

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A book you’ve had for ages and want to read.

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes, which I bought back in 2015 when I was really into reading her all books after Me Before You. This particular novel is set in dual time periods. The first is in 1960, following Jennifer Stirling, who wakes up in the hospital after a car accident with no memory of the accident itself or even who she is. Her only clue is a passionate letter from someone named “B,” supposedly her secret lover. The other POV is Ellie Haworth in 2003, a journalist that stumbles upon B’s letter and becomes obsessed with the couple, hoping their happy ending could mean the same for her own affair.

What do you think? The perfect Valentine’s Day read?

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A big book you’d like to read.

A big book I have on my TBR that I do not talk about often is The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. It is a historical fiction novel set in Paris, where American orphan turned glamorous opera singer Lilliet Berne has made a name for herself. When her chance at an original role finally comes, she realizes that the story is based off a secret that could ruin her if ever revealed. But who has betrayed her?

The Queen of the Night speaks to me on a certain level: a nineteenth-century mystery set in Paris with dark secrets in the opera. That is all I need to know and that is all I want to know.

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An author you’ve previously read and want to read more of.

That would definitely be Elizabeth Wein. I read one of her books, Code Name Verity, three years ago and loved it. It is a World War II novel following female fighter pilots. I enjoyed her writing style and her characters. At the end of 2017, I checked out two of Elizabeth Wein’s other books, Rose Under Fire and Black Dove, White Raven, from the library. Unfortunately, I did not get around to reading them. But I have every intention of reading them in 2018, either buying my own copies or checking them out of the library again.

 

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read.

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The Fate of the Tearling, the final book in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. Except to do that, I need to reread The Queen of the Tearling and read The Invasion of the Tearling. When will I get to that? I have no idea.

 

A series you want to read (start and finish).

There is a Top 5 Tuesday post on this, too, coming tomorrow. For the sake of not repeating myself, there are other series I want to read start to finish in 2018. Such as, the Wolf by Wolf duology by Ryan Graudin, the Eurona duology by Wendy Higgins, and The Crown’s Fate duology by Evelyn Skye.

 

 

A series you want to finish that you’ve already started.

Obviously, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas as well as her original A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, with the former finishing in September. But there are others not as popular, mainly the Daughter of the Pirate King duology by Tricia Levenseller, whose sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, is coming out in February, and Fierce Like a Firestorm, the sequel to Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic, the last book in the duology coming out in August.

 

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2018?

This year, I set a Goodreads Reading Goal of 100 books to read in 2018. Last year, I didn’t. But now my physical TBR has gotten well over 180 books, so now it is time to take a hammer to it.

 

Any other reading goals?

I have a whole blog post on my Reading Resolutions of 2018. One of my priority goals for this year is to read ten classics. I read less than five in 2017. After four years of studying English literature, that is embarrassing. Plus, there are beautiful editions of classics collecting dust on my shelves, such as Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

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What are your New Years Resolutions (reading or otherwise) for 2018?