Get to Know Ya Tag!

I found the Get to Know Ya Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I saw the opportunity to talk about some books I have not mentioned on my blog for a while now, or maybe some I’ve never mentioned before. Plus, it’s a super fun tag getting to know people.

I don’t know who created it, but if you do know, give them a shout out.

 

Favorite book of all time

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I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite child, or more appropriately, since I am childless, my favorite friend. That, and I firmly believe that nobody can have just one favorite book. How is that even possible?

So, I’m going to choose five of my all-time favorite books, which are:

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

 

Favorite book five years ago

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At first, I was going to say maybe The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. For the heck of it, I checked on Goodreads for my reading stats in 2013. That was the year I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect was the first novel in a young adult mystery/thriller series following Tandoori “Tandy” Angel, the daughter of two extremely wealthy parents who are found dead in their bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy, her twin brother Harry, and her younger brother Hugo, as well as their older brother Matthew. There were a lot of twists and turns as Tandy tries to figure out who killed her parents, even if it means she did it, but the plot twist shook me to my core. I was obsessed with Confessions of a Murder Suspect, as well as its sequel, The Private School Murders, which I also read in 2013.

 

Favorite Duology/Trilogy/Series

Not surprisingly, I have an answer for all three of these.

Duology: It’s a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh and the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. Both of these made me feel everything plus they were fun, exciting reads with characters I adored.

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Trilogy: Easily the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I found very little fault in these books when I read them. However, since I have not read Lord of Shadows yet and Queen of Air and Darkness is not out until December, I’m wondering if maybe The Dark Artifices will soon take its place as my favorite trilogy. And there are a few other contenders on my TBR that could prove worthy competition.

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Series: Does it count if your favorite series are incomplete? The two series (again, I’m indecisive) that I am certain are my favorites are the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco and the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just loved everything about these books.

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Last book you read

At the time I am writing this, the last book I read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, a cheesy thriller about two mothers you think are best friends but they both have deep, dark secrets they use to manipulate each other. Unfortunately, it was not that entertaining.

 

Last book of poetry you read

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, which I read and bought as soon as it came out. While I did enjoy it, sadly, I did not love it as much as her debut collection.

 

What book most influenced your life?

Honestly…I can’t say it was just one book, because a lot of books have influenced me in different ways throughout the years. To name a few:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the book that awoke my passion for storytelling and inspired my first “novel” when I was eight years old.

At fifteen, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong made me realize my strongest writing niche was in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur came to me earlier this year, making me feel empowered when I wasn’t really feeling like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that made you ugly cry

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Definitely A List of Cages by Robin Roe made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me cry in books in general. With this book, it was a full on sob fest.

 

Book that made you laugh

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All the Rick Riordan books I’ve read so far. That includes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.

 

Character you’d like to be for a day.

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No brainer: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I get to practice magic and go to Hogwarts, plus share a brain with one of the most badass women in literature.

 

Book so good you dreamt about it

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Hmmm…. I don’t remember my dreams. I remember my nightmares though. One book that was really good but also one I should not have read before bed was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. There was a scene with a mirror…and I have one in my bedroom, right across from my bed, so it took me a while to go back to sleep after.

 

Book you DNF’D

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After You by Jojo Moyes, which I tried to read over a year ago. I got about 35 pages in before I had to put it down. I think it bothered me that Me Before You got a sequel when it was perfectly fine as a stand-alone, in my opinion. However, I’ve heard decent things about the third book, Still Me, when Louisa goes to New York City, so I might pick up After You again, eventually.

 

What book are you most excited to read?

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

…To name a few.

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I tag….

Grey (once she’s back from her hiatus! I completely forgot. Sorry Grey!)

Crystal

Shanah

Joe

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!

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“Slightly” Shameful Book Haul

At the beginning of the year, after I went crazy with the book buying for Christmas and my birthday, I told myself I would go on a book-buying ban until I had my physical TBR under control. For the first three months of 2018, I was reading good books I already had and the library was a great resource for checking out other books I heard about. However, I never told myself how long this book-buying ban was supposed to last….

I got a new job early on in March and I was making money for the first time in about five and a half months. To make matters even more difficult, I work in a city with an abundance of amazing bookstores. Still, I resisted somehow. Then, I make it into work one cold Friday afternoon, only to discover the entire building was closed due to a plumbing problem. I thought about going home, then I thought: go home and do what? I decided to visit a bookstore someone had recommended to me and…well, you can guess what happened from there.

I call this haul “slightly” shameful because some of these books were previously library books I read. So, my physical TBR didn’t get any bigger than it already was. Also, most of these books are anticipated releases or popular books I have wanted to read for a while, but they are always on hold at the library for somebody else, or they are by authors I am familiar with. And don’t worry—these are a mix of bookstore purchases and Amazon, bought on different days.

Of course, it sounds like I’m making excuses. Most of you probably understand the struggle. And it’s my own money I’m blowing. But still…there’s graduate school in September. Needless to say, my wallet is not too happy with me about that.

Anyway, onto my new books!

 

Speak: the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll

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After checking out the new graphic novel adaption of Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, Speak, from the library, I realized I never had my own copy of the book. I really enjoyed the graphic novel as much as I did the original work; in fact, the artwork added a lot more to the story, in my opinion.

 

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

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After my mom died in February, I was in a deep mood for poetry. The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur’s newest publication following her successful debut Milk and Honey, was not a book I originally anticipated too much. While I liked Milk and Honey, I did not get much out of it personally. Then, I decided to check out The Sun and Her Flowers from the library. I read it and it hit me right in the feels. This book came to me at the right time.

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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I’ve talked about this book almost every other post since I read it in March. An anticipated January 2018 release that has gotten mixed reviews, I fall into the group that loves The Hazel Wood. I’m sure you are already familiar with the story at this point, so I won’t bore you with details. However, fun fact: books bought from bookstores (either in store or online) feel way better than books bought from Amazon or Target. Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed this?

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One & The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace

I already talked about my love for The Princess Saves Herself in This One. Like The Sun and Her Flowers, it came to me at just the right time. A month after I checked that book out from the library, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One was released. That was the one that inspired the whole splurge at the bookstore. I read that one as soon as I bought it and enjoyed it very much. Between the two though, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, is my favorite.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Children of Blood and Bone has taken the book world by storm. This is one I decided to take a chance on and buy it, rather than wait forever for it to be available at the library. It is based in West African mythology, following a young woman determined to restore magic to her kingdom with the help of her brother and a rogue princess. The reviews for Children of Blood and Bone have been good so far. Still, I’m waiting for the hype to die down at least a little bit before I read it (and knock some other books off my TBR first, too).

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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The moment I learned about To Kill a Kingdom, I knew I had to read it. It is a twisted retelling of The Little Mermaid, following Lira, a siren banished to the human world by her mother the Sea Queen after accidentally killing a fellow mermaid. In order to return to the sea, she must kill the prince of the world’s most powerful kingdom and steal his heart. The said prince, Elian, happens to be a siren hunter and when he meets Lira, you can guess what could possibly happen from there. But I love The Little Mermaid and I love mermaid stories in general. That’s all I needed to know to make me pick up To Kill a Kingdom.

 

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

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I knew I was going to buy The Price Guide to the Occult as soon as it came out. First off, because it was written by Leslye Walton, who wrote The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, one of my favorite books. Second, this new book follows generations of witches on a small island and their connection to a book that could mean the end-all for everyone. I could be totally butchering the synopsis—her stories are a little more complex than that. I just love Leslye Walton’s writing style and storytelling.

 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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Truly Devious was another young adult book that got some hype over the last few months. It is set in a boarding school where the founder’s family was kidnapped in 1936 and the mystery was never solved. In present day, new student Stevie Bell has decided to solve this cold case herself, just as death has visited the school again. While the plot does intrigue me, I mainly took a chance buying it because of Maureen Johnson. One of my favorite books as an adolescent was her novel Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, which I unfortunately lost when my family moved years ago, and it was what fueled my desire to travel. Plus, she’s a good writer, so I have fairly high expectations already in place for Truly Devious.

 

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

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A complete impulse buy from the used bookstore not far from where I work, The Dante Club is written by Matthew Pearl, who wrote another thriller on my TBR, The Poe Shadow. As the title suggests, The Dante Club is focused on Dante’s The Divine Comedy, as a group of respected literary figures attempt to bring a controversial European work to the New World. The novel is set in 1865 Boston and the city has been terrorized by gruesome murders mirroring Dante’s Circles of Hell. One member of the Dante Club teams up with the first black cop on Boston’s police force to solve the murders before Dante’s journey to America ends before it begins and more innocent people are killed. OK…maybe this wasn’t that much an impulse buy.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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A book that swept the world of books off its feet, The Hate U Give follows a young black woman finding her voice after witnessing her unarmed childhood best friend be shot by a police officer. This is one of the books that is always on hold at the library. With all the rave reviews surrounding it and my desire to be more educated on the Black Lives Matter movement, I decided it is time I read The Hate U Give.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Manon

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Another hyped book on social media, When Dimple Met Rishi is a young adult contemporary about two Indian teens with different views of their shared culture that are in an arranged marriage by their parents. Dimple is driven by her desire to go to college and pursue STEM while Rishi is a hopeless romantic. After their initial meeting doesn’t go as planned, the two are suddenly thrown together for a project and shenanigans ensue. When Dimple Met Rishi is a book I’ve had my eye on for a while. I definitely plan on reading it this summer.

 

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Almed

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After reading All We Have Left by Wendy Mills last year, I want to read more young adult books featuring Muslim main characters. Love, Hate & Other Filters is just what I’m looking for. American-born Muslim Maya is torn between pleasing her parents and pursuing her dreams of studying film in New York City. When she starts her senior year of high school, a terrorist attack strikes Chicago and the perpetrator shares her last name. Suddenly, Maya and her family are faced with hatred and bigotry from people they have known for years.

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

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Daughter of the Siren Queen is the sequel to Daughter of the Pirate King, one of my favorite books of 2017. It is the last book in the duology and I really want to finish the series. (I haven’t finished any so far this year). Despite all the books sitting on my nightstand currently waiting to be read, I am seriously considering picking up Daughter of the Siren Queen this weekend….

 

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

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I don’t know why it took me so long to buy this book, honestly. Stephanie Oakes wrote one of my favorite books of all-time, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. The Arsonist is her second novel. It is a historical thriller, following two teens with serious problems (the girl’s father is about to be executed and the boy is an immigrant with an embarrassing seizure dog) that are tasked with catching the murderer of an East German resistance fighter whose death brought on the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

This one is going to be so fun….

 

Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

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Ink, Iron, and Glass is probably one of the most original books I own. It is set in a world where certain people are gifted with the ability, called scriptology, to alter their realities as they see fit with the written word. The protagonist, Elsa, finds herself in an alternative Victorian Italy when her mother is kidnapped and she turns to an elite society for help. That’s all I need to know and want to know. Plus, the cover is beautiful.

 

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

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Finding out your long-last dad is an indie rock star should be awesome, but for sixteen-year-old Tal, reality is about to hit her hard in the face. After so many years of no contact and her mother dodging questions, Tal’s father shows up for an unexpected family reunion. He takes her across country to meet the rest of her extended family, including the dying grandfather her dad wants her to meet. But in doing so, the fantasy she has built around him slowly crumbles as family secrets come to light. And if Here We Are Now is anything like Jasmine Warga’s debut, My Heart and Other Black Holes, I am anticipating getting hit with the feels.

 

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

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Much like with Leslye Walton, I nearly fell out of my seat when I found out Ava Dellaira was coming out with another book. I read and loved her debut, Love Letters to the Dead. Her newest release, In Search of Us, is an intergenerational story about Angie, a biracial teenager, and her mother, Marilyn. Raised by a white mother and looking more like her brown-skinned father, Angie wants to know about her dad, but Marilyn tells her daughter very little. When Angie discovers she has an uncle in LA, she convinces a friend to tag along with her on a road trip to meet him, hoping to learn more about the dad she never knew. But in doing so forces Marilyn to reveal some secrets she would rather bury.

 

I think I’m good for a while…what was your favorite book you bought recently?

February 2018 Wrap Up

I read a total of eight books in February. Painful events happened this month that I turned to books to cope with. And I learned something.

It’s good to be strong, but there is such a thing as being too strong. You are allowed to feel weak and take time for self-care. Books allowed me do that, and so did my friends and certain family members.

 

The ratings are all over the place, ranging from five stars to two. I would say it was successful on that front, too. I shamefully admit I broke my book-buying ban by purchasing copies of novels I originally checked out of the library. Although, because I read them already, my physical TBR has not gotten any bigger. So, I guess it’s fine. Right?

 

Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

4.5 stars

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Volume 8 picks up right where Volume 7 left off. I can’t give too much away because it is the eighth book in a series, but what I can say is that I overall enjoyed it, even though I would not say it was one of my favorites in the series.

The most interesting thing about Volume 8 is that it touches on sensitive topics people in the real world don’t want to talk about. There is more world building in the same beautiful artwork this series has always had. Common themes of these graphic novels are the gray areas in a world not black and white, which was evident in Volume 8. However, the plot was quite boring and not much happened in terms of action.

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

3.5 stars

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A beloved young adult novel, especially on BookTube, I can see why people enjoy Carry On. The story of Simon Snow, a boy wizard that turns the Chosen One trope on its head. However, this novel did not live up to the hype for me.

Carry On is clearly a spoof of Harry Potter, which I went into knowing. While I saw a lot of the Harry Potter characters in Carry On (such as Penelope being similar to Hermione), I did not feel connected to any of them, despite how likeable most of them were. In fact, the only one I can say I genuinely connected to is Baz; the .5 in the rating is for him. Aside from Baz, the only other interesting character was the Dumbledore figure in the novel. Plus, there were just too many POVs to deal with.

The chapters were generally very short, making it somewhat of an easy read. Only the book should have been 200 pages shorter, in my opinion. It was also kind of awkward to know Carry On was taking place in Simon’s eighth year of school without events from previous books to go off of.

I did like Watford and how it combined modern technology with magic. They even had regular soccer offered at the school. The magic system was easy to follow; people didn’t just use wands for magic and words were a big part of it.

Regardless of what I feel presently, I think I might reread Carry On in the future to see if my rating changes.

 

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2.5 stars

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In my last book haul, I mentioned that Tender is the Night was one of the books I was most excited to read. Powerhouse American couple Nicole and Dick Diver’s marriage is shaken with the arrival of beautiful young actress Rosemary Hoyt. Dick is Nicole’s psychiatrist as well as her husband and her wealth allows them to live it up on the French Rivera. While vacationing, the Divers meet Rosemary, who falls for Dick and whose friendship gives Nicole the strength that leads to Dick’s downfall.

Tender is the Night was written after F. Scott Fitzgerald had not published a book for nine years…and it shows. Fitzgerald’s writing style changed significantly. It was descriptive, but it made the story dense despite being 317 pages. There was a lot of over-explaining and over-foreshadowing. The classic Fitzgerald social commentary was still present, such the comments on the war and gender roles.

However, Rosemary becomes infatuated with Dick, but she has guilty feelings about it because she does genuinely like and admire Nicole. As for Dick, he also becomes infatuated with Rosemary, but she’s eighteen to his thirty-something. He is clearly a narcissist, going out of his way to prove his worth as a psychiatrist. None of the characters were that interesting, unlike those in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Overall, Tender is the Night was hard to get into and hard to finish. The only things I can say I liked about it were the “psychiatrist going psycho” trope and how the women come into their own in spite of Dick.

 

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

5 stars

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Though I completely strayed from my February TBR, I was in desperate need of poetry towards the middle of the month. Emily Dickinson is my all-time favorite poet. Her insights on life, death, and nature were what I needed. She asks the hard questions and makes you think. She criticizes religion, war, and societal expectations. While I was slightly overwhelmed with the amount of poems, I still loved The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

5 stars

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I had The Princess Saves Herself in This One on hold at my library for the longest time. But it was worth the wait. I read this book in less than 24 hours. It is a free verse self-published poetry collection that focuses on healing, self-love, and self-awareness. Amanda Lovelace opens up about the abuse she experienced at the hands of her mother and how that affected the rest of her life, but also led her to becoming the person she is today. I did a whole post on how much I love The Princess Saves Herself in This One, if you are interested.

 

Speak: the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll

5 stars

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I had no idea Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was being adapted into a graphic novel illustrated by Emily Carroll until I happened upon it at Target. Since I was still sticking true to my book-buying ban, I got it out of my library instead. I read the original novel in high school, but have never owned my own copy. I decided to change that.

In case you don’t know, Speak follows Melinda, a thirteen-year-old girl who starts high school an outcast after calling the cops at a party. Even her best friend turns her back on her and she is a target of bullying. But what no one knows is that Melinda was raped by an upperclassman at that party. The book is her journey through healing and finding her voice again. Even in graphic novel, Speak is still a powerful story.

 

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

5 stars

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I read Rupi Kaur’s debut poetry collection, Milk and Honey, last year. I enjoyed it, except it did not live up to the hype for me personally. I got her recent publication, The Sun and Her Flowers, out of the library. And it blew me out of the water.

The Sun and Her Flowers is another collection of free-verse poetry. It covers relationships, trauma, and healing, as well as touches upon worldly issues such as immigration and female genocide. The Sun and Her Flowers is one I had to own for myself. Plus, it promises more great poetry from Rupi Kaur in the future.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

2 stars

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My first Holly Black book…and it was disappointing. I bought The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a few years ago, back when I was hardcore into vampires. However, given the recent publication of her new book The Cruel Prince, Holly Black’s other books have gotten attention. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was one of them. And the reviews were not the best.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is set in a world where vampirism is a plague that has infected a large portion of the world’s population. Coldtowns are quarantined cities housing vampires and those infected by the disease, as well as those obsessed with vampires. After a party, Tana, the main character, wakes up to find other guests dead, her ex-boyfriend infected and tied to a bed, and a brooding vampire chained to a wall. Fearing she is also infected, Tana and her two companions travel to the nearest Coldtown.

The main thing I enjoyed about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was the nostalgia factor for me. The world of this novel was a nod to the dark, romantic, and slightly obsessive vampire culture humans create. But, overall, the book was ultimately boring. It was 100 pages too long. The characters were flat. The writing was not bad, but it could have been better. But I am glad I finally read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

 

What was your favorite book you read in February?

 

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January 2017 Wrap Up

I read a total of five books in January. That’s pretty good after weeks of barely reading anything. Taking off monthly TBRs has allowed me to read whatever I want, while still crossing off the priority books on my list. Plus, I met my goal of reviewing at least three of the books I read this month. I hope to continue with this trend for the rest of the year.

This month, I read:

 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

3.5 stars

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All the Bright Places was my first book review of 2017. I have owned this book for a while and had heard mixed things about it. Some people loved it and said it changed their lives. Others said it was OK, but the portrayal of mental illness was an issue. I fall into the latter category.

When I first picked up All the Bright Places, I was just coming off my epic reading slump from December. I needed a contemporary to help me get back into the swing of reading. That is exactly what this book did. I flew through it in a few days and I really enjoyed it. However, there were some issues with it, which I go into further detail about in my review, if you are interested.

Link: https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/review-of-all-the-bright-places-by-jennifer-niven-spoiler-free/

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

4 stars

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Milk and Honey is a recent book purchase; I went on a spending spree in honor of my 24th birthday this month. I had heard so many great things about this poetry collection, but I didn’t intend on picking it up right away. However, the book I was currently reading at the time was slow. Milk and Honey was simply calling to me from its new home on my bookshelf.

I have a full review on this book, too. Since it’s a poetry book, you can’t really have spoilers. To sum it up, I enjoyed Milk and Honey very much and found it an interesting read, except I was not blown away by it like so many others. I determined it was because of my own personal experiences, particularly my relationship with members of the opposite sex, is why I did not feel so connected to the content.

Still, I would recommend both women and men read Milk and Honey. Something can be gained for both of the sexes reading this book.

 Link: https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/review-of-milk-and-honey-by-rupi-kaur/

 

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

4 stars

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This is one of the books on my TBR I was really looking forward to. It’s a historical fiction young adult novel about Elizabeth Milton, the daughter of poet John Milton, who teams up with a handsome Italian scientist to unlock a secret hidden within her father’s poem, Paradise Lost. It was also the book I took 10 days to read, despite it being roughly 380 pages.

To sum it up, the writing was very good, the characters were great, and the plot was intricate. Despite all this, I considered putting it down several times while reading, because it was so slow. I pushed through and I’m glad I did. The final chapters were packed with action. By no means a disappointing book. I go into more detail in my review.

Link: https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/review-of-traitor-angels-by-anne-blankman-spoiler-free/

 

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

5 stars

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I meant to read this at the end of 2016 and, of course, that was an epic fail. Still, I’m glad I finally read it.

The Rose & the Dagger is the sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn, and the last book in the duology. The writing was beautiful and the world building was fantastic. Some of the perspectives I read from were boring, like Shazi’s younger sister Irsa, but I warmed up to her by the end of the book. For most of the book, I wanted to give it 4.5 or 4.75 stars. I found the plot to be lagging at times, but then there were moments that brought me close to tears. If you have read The Rose & the Dagger, you know what scenes I am talking about.

Shazi and Khalid have made it on my list of favorite literary couples. They love so much it hurts. I never thought I would love angsty romance until I read about these two.

 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

4.5 stars

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The Sun is Also a Star was one of the books in my birthday book haul. Like Milk and Honey, I did not plan on picking this up right away. But YouTube was blowing up with it, praising it and giving it rave reviews, even from reviewers that did not usually read contemporary YA novels. Plus, I read Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, last year and I really liked it.

The Sun is Also a Star tells the story of Daniel, a Korean-American, and Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant, and the day they spend together before Natasha and her family are deported. I had heard the story is heavy with insta-love, only it was written in a way that did not make it feel as such.

Daniel and Natasha are both likable protagonists. As two people, they are so different, yet their personalities don’t clash as a couple. He’s a dreamer that helps her find passion in life. She brings him back down to earth to face his problems.

In between Natasha and Daniel’s chapters, there were insights to other people they interacted with as well as what I call “fun fact” sections. Those I had mixed feelings about. Some I enjoyed, like Irene’s chapters. Others I found boring, like the lawyer and his love affair with the paralegal. The ending is what made this book for me, though.

 

What was your favorite book you read in January? Mine was The Rose & the Dagger.

Review of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

A book of free verse poetry…not much room for spoilers.

I bought Milk and Honey as a birthday present to myself. I had heard such great things about the poetry and its contribution to the feminist movement. I wanted to get into poetry more in 2017 than I did in 2016. Since I have 110 unread books gathering dust on my shelves, I had no intention of picking Milk and Honey up right away. Except the other book I was currently reading got off on a slow start. Plus Milk and Honey was calling to me from its spot on my bookshelf, refusing to be ignored.

As it turns out, Milk and Honey did not blow me away like it has so many other people. The writing was lovely, melodious, and the poetry touched on some important issues, such as sexual abuse and toxic relationships. I also enjoyed the drawings that accompanied several of the poems.

The poetry within Milk and Honey is divided into four parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Of these four, the loving was my favorite, with the healing coming in second.

The first section of the collection, the hurting, did its job: it hit me in the feels. This was the section that talked most about the abuse many women face in their lifetime at the hands of men. That our patriarchal society teaches girls they only serve to pleasure men with their bodies. However, when I thought about it later, something did not sit well. Maybe it was only me that noticed, but sometimes the poetry felt like the writer was lumping all men in the same category. That all men are abusive and all men treat women like sex objects. I think of my closest male friends, who would sooner chop off their own hand before they hit a girl. Then again, I also have a healthy relationship with my father, so perhaps that could somehow impact my view of men.

The next section of Milk and Honey, the loving, was, as I said earlier, my favorite in this poetry collection. I enjoyed every single poem. Some were longer than others, yet I read it all in one sitting. It described romantic relationships between the sexes perfectly. The passion one feels for another person, even if the other person might not be their ideal partner. The problems encountered within the relationship, as well as how both individuals help, or hurt, the other. How some relationships, regardless of how well they started out, fail in the end no matter how hard the people involved try to keep it together. And that, sooner or later, the lovers must give up and move on.

The breaking, which is the next section of Milk and Honey, was my least favorite. It was slower than the others in terms of pacing. I felt like it dragged on. However, what I did appreciate about some of the poems in this section was that the writer acknowledges that both partners hurt each other in the relationship. People have a tendency to blame everything that went wrong in their relationship on their ex, but it takes two to tango. That’s the whole point of an equal relationship.

The last section of Milk and Honey is the healing. What I loved most about the poems is that the writer encouraged self-love. The only way to find happiness in a relationship is to find happiness within yourself first. You must learn to love yourself before anyone else can love you. I also appreciated how she found her own healing through her writing, whereas the unfortunate trend in novels is the individual healing through a new romantic relationship. While that can work out in some situations, the best way to heal, as the writer points out, is to heal yourself and not let someone else do it for you.

Overall, I give Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 4 stars. A truly great poetry collection that I think women and men should read. Women would be encouraged to embrace themselves for who they are and men would develop a deeper appreciation for the opposite sex. I highly recommend this.