Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! (2019)

It’s that time of year again! To freak out on how much I’ve read this year and what I have not…mostly the latter….

I entered 2019 with low expectations for reading. I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 30 books, under the assumption I would not have a lot of free time to read once I started my second semester. To my shock, I had more than I anticipated. I had two days in the middle of the week entirely devoted to homework, leaving more wiggle room on the weekends. In May, I beat my goal. Currently, I have completed 34 books and working on a 35th. I do not plan on raising the goal any higher.

While I’m glad I beat my goal, admittedly, I am feeling rather meh towards my reading so far this year. That’s my fault. From January to April, I was on a book-buying ban. Instead of diving into the plethora of unread books I already own, I checked out books from the library. Obviously, that’s not a bad thing. I did read some pretty good books, too. The trips to the library were meant to quench the annoying desire for “new” books. Also, I have come to the realization that I have an irrational fear of running out of books to read as well as the masochistic urge to deny myself what I want. There are unread books I own, yet I continuously refuse to read them because I fear I won’t have money to buy more later.

Being a bookworm can be weird.

Now, enough of the therapy session and onto what you all really came here for: the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far this year

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but not a lot of books this year have felt like “the best book of the year.” I’ve given a few 5 star ratings, although none of them stand out more than the rest. However, here are seven books I’ve read so far this year I consider favorites, in no particular order:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Your favorite sequel this year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 Saga, Vol 9 (Saga, #9)

 

Not a lot of sequels read this year so far, which is honestly unacceptable. I have way too many series sitting unread and uncompleted on my bookshelves. Even so, my favorite sequel hands-down this year will have to be Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples.

 

A new release that you haven’t read yet but really want to

Where to even begin with this one? One new release that I really want to read is Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuistan. The others are Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, two books I was anticipating that I recently bought.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, the final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series is likely the most anticipated release of the year for me. Another is To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace, which comes out in September. I almost completely forgot about The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, a Gothic vampire romance coming out in October. Also coming out in October is The Fountain of Silence, a young adult historical fiction novel by Ruta Sepetys set during the Spanish Civil War. Lastly is The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, the sequel/companion novel to The Handmaid’s Tale releasing in September.

 

Your biggest disappointment

I thought I only had one…turns out, I have a few. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab was not the best, although I’m not surprised since it was her debut novel. Though I gave them pretty decent ratings, Vengeful by V.E. Schwab and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan did not live up to their predecessors in their respective series.

 

Biggest surprise of the year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 True Notebooks

 

I had to read True Notebooks by Mark Salzman for one of my classes. On my own, I rarely read nonfiction. I certainly would not have read one set in a prison. True Notebooks centers on a struggling author teaching creative writing to students in a juvenile detention facility. The book covered a lot of different issues within the American prison system, as well as unexpectedly humanized these young criminals society had cast aside.

 

Favorite new to you or debut author

It’s a tie between Karen M. McManus and Robyn Schneider. I liked their writing styles, how they developed plots, and their realistic young adult characters. I’ve only read one book from each of them so far, but I enjoyed Two Can Keep a Secret and Invisible Ghosts so much I plan to get my hands on their other books.

 

Your new fictional crush

Again, I could not narrow it down.

The first is Sebastian Wyatt from A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin. If you love Thomas Cresswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper, Sebastian will turn your knees to jelly. The other is Liam Gerling from Evermore by Sara Holland. In the first book, Everless, he’s portrayed as an arrogant loner with a supposed nasty streak. In Evermore, we see a sweeter side to him that is impossible to resist. Lastly, Tyler and Kal from Aurora Rising by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Both of them were handsome, strong, and serious men that could be utterly adorable (especially Kal, the alien fae, OMG).

 

New favorite character

There are few characters I can say I have truly seen myself in. One of those is Rose Asher from Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider. She was smart and sensitive, and had a lot to offer, but her own insecurities (and the ghost of her whiny dead brother) kept holding her back.  I also really liked Sydney Clarke and Victor Vale from Vicious from V.E. Schwab. Both were complex and flawed, especially Victor. And though I don’t think I would call her my new favorite character, I was fascinated by Tetisheri, the protagonist of Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow, a book I stumbled upon at the library. She was a private yet caring young woman with a strong will and a sharp mind. Plus, she had a complicated backstory we don’t know much about yet.

 

A book that made you cry

Voices: the Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott made me feel all the feels. It hurt me knowing a heroic young woman was ultimately killed by the patriarchy she was trying so hard to save. Saga, Vol. 9 slapped me so hard across the face, it took me a minute to fully absorb how hard I’d been hit.

 

A book that made you happy

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A book I found browsing my library, Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider, was an adorable young adult/new adult romance set during a 24-hour exploration of Paris. Serena arrives to Paris on a mission to collect mementos for her family after a tragedy until her strict schedule goes out the window. Broody Parisian photographer Jean-Luc is determined to show this uptight American girl the “real” Paris. As you can imagine, neither gets what they bargained for. If you love The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, I highly recommend Kiss Me in Paris.

 

Your favorite book to movie adaption that you’ve seen this year

season 1 friends GIF by Good Omens

I have seen two book to movie adaptions so far this year. The first is Good Omens, the Amazon Prime show based off the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I haven’t read the book yet. I only ended up watching the show because my dad was interested in it. Still, the Good Omens adaption was entertaining and made me want to read the source material.

season 2 trevor GIF by NETFLIX

The other is about two or three scores away from the original, and I’m not entirely sure if I watched in early 2019 or late 2018, but it’s the Netflix adaption of Castlevania. Castlevania is the name of a video game the show is supposed to be based on. Only there are elements in the storyline taken from Bram Stoker’s Dracula that make me still qualify it as a book adaption. The second season made up for the fail that was the first season with its dark humor and complicated views on humanity.

 

Favorite blog you’ve published this year

I’m not sure if I have one. To be honest, I was lacking in creativity during school (and now, if I’m being honest). I liked my Book Buying Ban Challenge post as well as the Game of Thrones tag. Book Blogger Confessions was fun. The Top 5 Tuesday on Slytherin House recommendations was also a good one.

I can’t pick one. Are you sensing a theme here?

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

 

What are some of the books that you need to read by the end of the year?

Where to begin?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (PLEASE DON’T AT ME!)

Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

There are plenty more where those came from. I had these books on the list last year. They WILL be taken off this year.

 

What are some books that have been on your TBR for too long?

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The Anticipated Releases Book Tag!

I was tagged by Rebecca to do the Anticipated Releases Book Tag. So thank you!

To be honest: sometimes, I don’t pay too much attention to new releases unless it’s a book I’m very, very excited for, such as the next installment in a favorite series. More often than not, I forget when books come out until I see them available on Amazon or at the bookstore and library. I try to focus on the books that are currently released and in my possession or I have access to before I think about the ones not out yet. Somehow, though, I came up with enough answers for this tag.

 

Your most anticipated release of the year

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4)

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, the final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I am deliberately putting off reading Escaping from Houdini so I can marathon finish the series.

 

A book you’re not anticipating

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Wayward Son

This might hurt some of you, but Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. Wayward Son is the sequel to Carry On. While I’ve enjoyed most of Rainbow Rowell’s books, sadly, I did not love Carry On like so many other people have. Chances are, I won’t read Wayward Son.

 

Most underhyped anticipated release

lovelywar

Lovely War by Julie Berry, which I already own since Barnes and Noble had an amazing sale recently. I have read two of Julie Berry’s novels and I immensely enjoyed both of them. Even if I had not read any of the author’s previous works, I would have been drawn to it anyway. It is a fantasy historical fiction novel told through the eyes of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, as she tells the story of doomed lovers to Ares and Hephaestus in a Manhattan hotel room.

 

A book you’ve been waiting on forever

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Though it is technically not a new release at this point—it came out summer of last year—a book I waited for what felt like forever for was Lethal White by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. It is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series and the one that got pushed aside in favor of the disaster that was the Crimes of Grindelwald. As far as I am concerned, JK Rowling needs to retire her Boy Wizard and focus on her adorable, grumpy London private investigator.

 

A book you’re anticipating that’s out of your comfort zone

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Starsight cover image

That would be Starsight, the sequel to Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I picked up Skyward last year because I’ve been wanting to get into Brandon Sanderson’s books for years and I wanted to read more Sci-fi. It’s not something I often reach for, compared to other genres.

 

Your top 3 “Can’t Wait” Books of the Year

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Technically, all three of these books are out by now, but they were all ones I was anticipating when I first heard of their publication. Contradicting my previous statement that I don’t pay too much attention to new releases unless it is by authors I’ve read previously, that is partially true.

Teeth in the Mist is Dawn Kurtagich’s third novel, and I read, and enjoyed, the other two. I bought Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel An Enchantment of Ravens when it came out, though I haven’t read it yet. But if a synopsis has any mention of libraries, magic, and sorcerers, like Sorcery of Thorns does, I am all for it. And I’m trash for Beauty and the Beast, so you bet your bottom dollar A Curse so Dark and Lonely, which came out way back in January, is on the list.

 

Top 5 most anticipated backlist books on your TBR

 

 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I came to a slightly uncomfortable revelation about myself this year: I want all the books yet I continuously deny myself what I actually want to read. All of these books should have been read by now, among so many others. Yet I keep putting them unfairly on the backburner. No idea why. I guess I am a masochist.

 

What is a backlist book you keep putting off “for the right moment?”

(TAG! You’re it!)

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Mind-Blowing Mysteries/Thrillers

Mystery and thriller novels were, and still are, some of my favorite genres. Growing up with crime shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order: SVU led into it. I was obsessed with James Patterson in high school (not the case anymore). Mystery is actually how I got into urban fantasy. Most of the ones I read had a murder mystery plot or had a main character that was some sort of investigator.

Nowadays, I don’t think I read as much mysteries or thrillers as I used to. But I’ve definitely read enough within the last year or so that blew my mind. Those are:

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Screenshot_2019-02-04 Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

The third book in the Cormoran Strike series, Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling explored the more dark side of humanity in this one. We dive deeper into Cormoran Strike’s backstory, mainly the death of his mother Leda Strike and his interactions with two very evil men he investigated while he was still with the army. We also learn more about Robin’s past, which leads me into a trigger warning for rape, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. Aside from that, I flew through this book as it took me through one twist after the other. After finishing the book, it took me a while to emotionally recover.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Screenshot_2019-02-04 And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None is a classic mystery, published in the 1930s. It follows ten people, who are lured to an island off the coast of England by a mysterious stranger that then traps them inside with the promise of killing them all for their respective crimes. There is no other way on or off the island, so it has to be one of the “guests.” But just when you think it might be one person, they get killed off. Agatha Christie does a good job at making everyone look guilty. And having the characters die one by one to coincide with a creepy nursey rhyme adds a level of gruesomeness to it.

 

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Screenshot_2019-04-16 Two Can Keep a Secret

The most recent read on this list, Two Can Keep a Secret is set in a small Vermont town with a reputation for killing teenaged girls. True crime buff Ellery and her twin brother Ezra move to this town to live with their grandmother when another girl goes missing and strange, frightening threats appear. While I’m not sure many would call this book “mind-blowing,” since it is a young adult mystery, I still enjoyed it. I was surprised by who the killer was. Two Can Keep a Secret was highly entertaining and I wanted to give it five stars, only it didn’t quite get there.

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

thelasttimeilied

After being disappointed by Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, I went into The Last Time I Lied with low expectations. It follows Emma, who returns to the camp she visited fifteen years ago to find out what really happened to her three friends who vanished the summer she was thirteen. Like Final Girls, I flew through it, but I enjoyed The Last Time I Lied ten times more. I particularly like mysteries where not all of the characters are likeable, including the main character. The plot kept me guessing and entertained, and the ending I didn’t see coming.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

huntingprincedracula18

Hunting Prince Dracula is the second novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper and probably my favorite in the series so far, even though I haven’t read the third book, Escaping from Houdini. Hunting Prince Dracula was set in Romania, at a medical school inside a castle. There was a lot of blood, a lot of death, a lot of mystery, and a lot, a lot of steaminess. I actually almost gave Hunting Prince Dracula four stars until the end blew me out of the water.

 

What is your favorite mystery novel you’ve ever read?

Top 5 Tuesday: Five Complicated Characters for Complicated Slytherins

When I think of Slytherins, and I think of characters like Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape and Albus Severus Potter, I think of one word: complicated.

harry potter mirror GIF

            Complicated, because, in the case of Draco, they show different sides of themselves when you least expect it. In the case of Snape, they spend seven books proving how horrible they are until the last second when they do something so unbelievably unselfish you wonder why they acted the way they did. And, because of a character like Scorpios Malfoy, you realize not all Slytherins fit the mold the rest of us made for them.

In the previous posts this month, I recommended specific books for members of the houses. This week, I put on the Sorting Hat and thought of five book characters I think would fit right in with the Slytherins. And it was surprisingly easier than I thought.

 

Lada from And I Darken trilogy by Kiersten White

Screenshot_2019-02-17 And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1)

Lada was the first Slytherin I thought of. The girl is the definition of ruthless. She will attack first, ask questions later. While I admire her determination to take back her family’s empire and to prove a woman can be as strong as a man, she tends to treat those who love her like crap. Though her love interest is seriously unlikeable, her little brother Radu is not. Lada justifies her neglect as a way to protect him so he can’t be used against her, but that doesn’t mean her overall behavior towards him should be tolerated.

 

Audrey Rose Wadsworth from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

Screenshot_2019-02-17 Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

Audrey Rose represents the more positive traits of the Slytherin house: demands respect from others, ambitious, self-reliant, and assertive. She pushes Thomas away not because she is disinterested or denying her feelings, but because she is terrified of losing her independence to a man. She can be charming when she wants to be. She likes praise when it’s owed to her. But, unfortunately, from what I’ve learned of Escaping from Houdini, she might be disloyal, too….

 

Shazarad from The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh

Screenshot_2019-02-17 The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Like Audrey Rose, Shazi has the better qualities of the House. While her bravery might make her a Gryffindor, once she is inside the palace and interacting with Khalid, she shows her inner green serpent. A Gryffindor would have tried to stab him the first chance she got, but Shazi buys her time. She charms him with the tales from A Thousand and One Nights. She survives on her wits and occasionally uses her charm, or her body, to get what she wants. Shazi went into that palace prepared and driven to get justice for her friend and all those other girls. While she might only trust a few people, once you have her, she is yours.

 

Grace Marks from Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Screenshot_2019-02-17 Alias Grace

When you look at Grace Marks, you could see either one of two things: an innocent Irish girl falsely accused of a crime or a conniving murderess that seduced a hapless man into killing two people. Grace shows you what she wants you to see. She’s selective with her loyalty, only that is because she grew up in an abusive household, then endured more years of abuse at the hands of a patriarchal society. She’s also realistic in how she sees the world. She has no problem calling out everything wrong with the world others ignore. The best part about Grace, though she comes off as docile, she can cut you down with her words, so politely you don’t realize you’ve been insulted until she walks away.

 

Lizbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Screenshot_2019-02-17 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

Lizbeth is the ideal Slytherin. Though she’s not exactly charming, she operates on her own moral code. She is ruthless and determined in her pursuit to make sure those who hurt others don’t get away with it. She makes sure people like rapists and those who take advantage of the less fortunate get what they deserve. Lizbeth also incredibly adaptable, changing her looks and personality to fit in with any setting in her mission. And she’s scary smart.

 

Who is your favorite non-Harry Potter character Slytherin?

My Favorite Books of 2018

When I was making this list, I realized I read a lot of good books in 2018. More than I have in previous years, I think. In finding my favorites, I stuck with the ones who left a lasting impression on me, made me feel a lot of feelings, or I found myself thinking about often. Thus, save one, these books are arranged in no particular order.

Still, it was hard to keep the number down.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

theprincesssavesherselfinthisonefeb18

If I had to choose which book was my absolute favorite of the year, it would without a doubt be The Princess Saves Herself in This One. Even more surprising, it is a book of poetry, something I don’t often reach for. I even remember the day I read it.

I read The Princess Saves Herself in This One roughly a month after my mother died. In addition to dealing with my grief, there were other things going on that took a hit at my self-esteem and self-worth. I picked up The Princess Saves Herself in This One at bedtime then didn’t stop until I finished it until the wee hours of the morning. Amanda Lovelace had said the words I needed to hear. I had felt validated and empowered.

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

thelasttimeilied

I find it ironic: last year, Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, was on my disappointing reads of the year. The Last Time I Lied, in my opinion, was way better. It was fast-paced and engaging. The plot had me guessing and the author did a good job leaving breadcrumbs, building the suspense. Most of the characters were likeable, but they were not all innocent. And the ending blew me out of the water. I would definitely reread The Last Time I Lied, now that I own my own copy.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

huntingprincedracula18

I don’t know where to begin in describing my love for the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Audrey Rose is strong, smart, and sassy, but she has a vulnerable side she learns to embrace. Thomas Cresswell is flawed, but still knows how to pull at your heartstrings and he really does try to do right by those he cares for. The setting of Romania was beautiful; the way Kerri Maniscalco wrote it made me want to visit the country, especially the old castle the medical school is set in. Lastly, the mystery was fun and twisty, and more than a little bloody.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

elizaandhermonsters18

Eliza and Her Monsters was another book that hit me with the feels. I saw a lot of my teenaged self—and my current self—in Eliza. She was shy and had trouble making friends. She wanted to let people in, but it felt safer in the world of fiction. She loved the art she created, putting herself into something that her family didn’t really understand. Then, she met someone who allowed her to let her walls down. The romance was adorable. Eliza and Her Monsters was a quick read that played with my emotions. I actually felt seen in this book.

 

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

myladyjanemar18

There is no other word to describe My Lady Jane better than fun. While I had read Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy and enjoyed it, I went into My Lady Jane with low expectations. It was good that I did, though. The world was a good blend of history and fantasy. The authors wrote this book like an entertaining textbook where they broke the fourth wall and narrated the story to the reader like this is actually what happened to the real-life Lady Jane Grey. The characters were amazing and the romance was adorable. Why did I wait until 2018 to read it?

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartlesscover1

I absolutely adored Heartless. The writing was delicious and lyrical. The world of Wonderland was as magical as it was dark, better than Lewis Carroll’s version, in my opinion. The story was compelling, watching Cath go from a sweet girl who only wanted to open a bakery with her best friend to the evil Queen of Hearts. It didn’t just happen; there were different factors that contributed to her falling apart in what I thought was a realistic way. I know it’s a stand-alone, but I really want a sequel to Heartless where Cath meets Alice.

 

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

flameinthemistmar18

I know a lot of people were disappointed by Flame in the Mist. It was advertised as a Mulan retelling but it didn’t really have that. I personally still enjoyed the book regardless. Mariko is the kind of protagonist I want to see more of in young adult: her brain is her weapon instead of a sword. The romance was steamy, even if it felt a little like insta-love. I liked the world of feudalist Japan Renee Ahdieh created. The writing was as beautiful and captivating as ever. Flame in the Mist is the kind of book I would be scared to reread someday because I don’t want to find anything that could taint my love for it.

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

thehazelwood918

One of the most polarizing books published in 2018, I originally checked out The Hazel Wood from the library because I had no idea how I would feel about it. As you can see, I enjoyed it very much. Melissa Albert writes so beautifully you would never guess this was her debut novel. The protagonist, Alice, was unlikeable in every sense of the word, but she had a reason to be the way she was. The world of the novel was dark and creepy. My favorite part of the book was definitely the fairy tales, how they were way more twisted than even the Grimm Brothers, without the moral lessons at the end. The Hazel Wood is written like a stand-alone, though I am glad we are getting more books.

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

theastonishingcolorofafter

The Astonishing Color of After was one of the most hyped books of 2018, and it is well deserved. Others said it was slow, but I read it in two days. I was immediately sucked in. The writing was beautiful and handled the topic of suicide in a delicate yet hopeful way. Emily X.R. Pan blended contemporary and magical realism beautifully. The characters were realistic in that some of their decisions made me mad. I loved Leigh, the protagonist, and how she handled her mother’s passing and her determination to get the answers she deserved. Unfortunately, I currently don’t own a copy of The Astonishing Color of After but once I do, I just might reread it (eventually).

 

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

thesonofneptune

I read books one through four of The Heroes of Olympus series in 2018. I liked The Lost Hero. The ending of The Mark of Athena broke my heart. The House of Hades put me on the edge of my seat. But I didn’t love those as much as I did the second novel in th series, The Son of Neptune. The plot was fun and not as intense, at least until the end. Percy was at his finest, and beats Rhysand in the book boyfriend department (fight me). Hazel and Frank are my two new favorite demigods, after Leo Valdez. And I laughed a lot while reading The Son of Neptune, which is a surefire way to get on my favorites list.

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

daughterofthesirenqueen918

The concluding novel in the Daughter of the Pirate King duology was just as fun, exciting, and steamy as the first one. Alossa is a fiery, prideful protagonist I could not help but adore. Riden is swoon-worthy and the romance was written in a way that made me feel all of what they were feeling—love and pain. The story was fast-paced and thrilling. Life on the seas was brutal but there was never a dull moment with Alossa and her pirate crew. Plus, there was a great fantasy element thrown in with the world of sirens as well as watching Alossa battle with her dual nature.

 

What was your absolute favorite book that you read in 2018?

 

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

somealltimefavorites

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

confessionsofamurdersuspect

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.

favoriteduologies

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!

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2018

I know it’s June and we are halfway done through 2018 and my TBR at home is getting a little bit out of hand and I am this close to going on a book shopping splurge again with so many new books I want to read but…I really love the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag.

I look forward to doing this tag. I get to reflect on the books I’ve read so far this year and light a fire under my butt to read certain ones before the end of the year. It just makes me excited for the rest of my reading for the year, no matter how good or bad or mediocre the previous six months were.

On to the tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Without a doubt, The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Every time I bring this book up, I say it came to me at the right time, which is absolutely true. I love Amanda’s free style poetry. Her voice is strong and unapologetic. The Princess Saves Herself in This One helped me feel empowered during a time I really needed it.

 

The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the first book I read in 2018. I loved it even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper, with the setting in a Romanian castle and all the Vlad the Impaler references. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are my Feysand, too.

 

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, which I received six days before its release date! It is the third book in one of my all-time favorite series and I’m pretty sure it is going to destroy me.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, the first book being My Lady Jane. My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte featuring ghost hunting and the occult, as well as I’m sure what is to be amazing, funny storytelling. Given how much I enjoyed My Lady Jane and that I love Jane Eyre, I already know I will love My Plain Jane.

 

Biggest disappointment.

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That would have to be Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read it earlier this year, too excited to put it off because I thought it would be a thriller type novel in Fitzgerald’s writing style. Only what I did not know prior to picking it up was that it was published after he had gone dormant in the book world for nine years, and it showed. The book still had his social commentary and unlikeable characters, but the writing was dense, leaning towards over-explaining and over-foreshadowing, taking too long to get to the point. Plus, the characters in this novel were just plain boring for unlikeable characters. So, yeah, Tender is the Night really let me down.

 

Biggest surprise.

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When I picked up This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter last month from the library, I went into it with low expectations. It appeared as though the author was trying to mesh too many genres—contemporary, thriller, and magical realism—and I was nervous as to how she could possibly make that all work. Somehow, she figured it out.

 

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

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Though I own most of her published works, I only started reading Marissa Meyer this year. I read Heartless, her stand-alone young adult retelling about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, this spring and loved it. Reading that got me excited to read her claim to fame, the Lunar Chronicles, one of the most hyped young adult series.

 

Newest fictional crush

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Wallace Wartland from Eliza and Her Monsters from Francesca Zappia, one of the first books I read this year. Though he looks like the stereotypical big, handsome, blue-eyed football player, he is mostly a sweet, shy nerd that I adore.

 

Newest favorite fictional character

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That would have to be Virginia Shreves, from my most recent read, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I related to her so much. It was the first time, in a long time, I truly saw myself, specifically my younger self, in a young adult novel. Virginia is a good person, and she comes into her own by herself. That is something I think we need more of in young adult literature these days.

 

A book that made you cry

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I wouldn’t say this book made me cry full-on tears—other books in previous years have brought on waterfalls—but a book that definitely made me feel emotional, especially in the beginning portion, was The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. A teenaged girl learns to cope and tries to find answers to family secrets in the wake of her mother’s suicide. This book had its moments where it hit close to home, in certain aspects of the main character’s grieving process and her memories of her mother.

 

A book that made you happy

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Definitely My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows made me happy. The authors took what was a serious, unhappy, and certainly not funny time in history and turned it all on its head, with hilarious storytelling and comedic situations.

 

Favorite book to film adaption you saw this year.

Comic books count right? A movie I watched based on a comic book is Doctor Strange. I personally have not read anything from Marvel or DC, though admittedly I prefer the latter’s movies and superheroes. Doctor Strange was the only Marvel movie I was interested in watching, primarily because it had more of a magic element than the others did. I watched it on Netflix a few months ago and I still think about it—I absolutely adored this film more than I thought I would. And Benedict Cumberbatch…..swoons.

Doctor Strange Marvel GIF

 

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The favorite review you’ve written this year.

If I have to say a favorite review I’ve written this year, it’s a tie between reviews I did for Speak the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Those were more about the reasons why young women should be reading them and I go into some spoiler detail.

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year.

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, one of the books I bought at the very beginning of 2018 for my birthday. The cover catches my eye all the time when I’m looking at my shelves.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli…just to name a few. There are a lot more that I want/need to read before the end of 2018. It is a matter of if I will get to them and not beat myself up if I do not.

 

What are the books you want to read before the end of 2018?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 10 “Ships” I Will Sail to the Ends of the Earth

You all might be surprised to learn that I actually had an easy time coming up with this list.

Though I am a romantic at heart, “shipping” is not a priority for me. I am more interested in plot and storytelling. Romance, particularly a romance I enjoy, is just icing on the cake. Something that adds drama to make the story a little more angsty or to provide a reprise from whatever danger is going on.

All the couples on this list are not the usual ones you see in the fan art posts on Instagram—i.e. Feyre and Rhysand. More often than not, the ships everyone else ships I don’t. Or, in the case of Sarah J. Maas’s couples, I see so much of them on social media I just get fed up real quick….

The top 10 ships I will sail until the end of the earth are:

 

Jack and Ashi from Samurai Jack

GIF by Adult Swim

Not a book couple, but Jack and Ashi are from the show Samurai Jack. Samurai Jack is a Cartoon Network show about a samurai with an enchanted sword that is on a mission to defeat the evil Aku, who banished him to a future where the demon (Aku) rules the whole plant. It was produced during a time Cartoon Network was actually good. My dad, my brother, and I loved the show and never missed an episode. Originally, it was only four seasons, ending on a cliffhanger that made you wonder if Jack made it back to the past. Then, out of the blue, we find out there was a fifth season released eleven years after the previous one and proceed to binge watch it on iTunes.

Ashi is introduced in the fifth season. She was raised in a cult, the Daughters of Aku, and trained from childhood, along with her sisters, to kill Jack. In the process, she learns that everything she was brought up to believe is wrong and aids Jack in his mission. But if you know Jack and Ashi you will know angst!

            I can’t talk anymore about them. It’s been months, but I’m still not OK.

 

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

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Move over Feysand and make room for Audrey and Thomas, who are too cool for a ship name.

There are no words to explain how much I love Audrey and Thomas, together as well as separately. Audrey is strong and independent, determined to prove her worth and she is motivated by something not romance. Thomas is a wise ass, but unlike most “bad boys with a heart of gold,” he does not hide that his heart is made of gold. These two grow together, and it’s something I love seeing.

 

Eliza Mirk and Wallace Wartland from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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Every time I think of Eliza and Wallace I think GAAAAHHHHH!!!

These two are so sweet together I can’t stand it. They feel so comfortable with each other and they bond over a love of all things nerdy. The progression of their relationship is a slow and natural pace, each taking turns to initiate things. He helps her make friends while she encourages his writing project. They are as comfortable with each other in person as they are online. While I understand most people have a problem with mental illness playing a part in the relationship, I still love Eliza and Wallace together.

 

Simon Spier and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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While we don’t know who Blue is for most of the book, the development of his and Simon’s relationship is so sweet. They open up to each other and support each other. I love how Simon does not push Blue to come out of the closet until he is ready, which is something I saw in another LGBTQ young adult romance that bothered me. Plus, Blue gets Simon to open up about his own confused feelings and gives him the self-confidence boost he needed. Once they finally do meet, the reveal is simply too cute to handle.

 

Elias and Laia from An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

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I am aware of the “love rectangle” going on in this series, but I think after A Torch Against the Night, I’m pretty sure Elias and Laia are end game. (At least, I hope so.) They can be honest with each other. They communicate well. They were friends first. They would never do something to deliberately make the other person jealous or angry, something I see a lot in books that annoys me. Their relationship is a slow burn and likely only to progress as the series goes forward.

 

Clara Gardner and Tucker Avery from the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand

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These two are really so, so cute. Tucker loves Clara unconditionally, even though he is initially freaked out after finding out she is half-angel. Their banter is comfortable and, no matter what happened, they always find their way back to each other. While I did like Christian, Tucker’s personality complimented Clara’s better.

 

Holly Chase and Ethan Winters from The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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Something about Cynthia Hand’s couples that just get to me. On the surface, both Holly and Ethan are spoiled rich kids, but their attitudes hide terrible pain. Both lost a parent at a young age. They were vulnerable, making it easy for their “Marley” to mold them into a different person they were not meant to be. In each other, they find themselves and someone who understands what it’s like to feel you have to protect yourself from the world.

Unfortunately, the ending is bittersweet for Ethan and Holly….

 

Molly and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Another Becky Albertalli-invented couple, Molly and Reid are just too cute together. Molly suffers from social anxiety, but Reid makes her feel comfortable. They are not shy about being themselves around each other. Reid is nerdy and proud of it. Plus, he’s just a nice guy, not that “broody bad boy” trope I HATE.

 

Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken

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I know their relationship is kind of insta-love, yet there is something about Etta and Nicholas’s relationship that made me totally fine with it. She’s feisty and smart, while he’s good-natured and a natural leader. Their personalities compliment each other. Nicholas is the rock Etta needed while Etta encouraged Nicholas to take chances once in a while. They worked well together as a team, too.

 

Gabriel and Nathan from the Half-Bad trilogy by Sally Green

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There is no other angsty LGBTQ relationship than Nathan and Gabriel. Both are black witches in a world that hate them. While Nathan struggles with his identity crisis as both a Black and White witch, Gabriel is his most staunch supporter and the little angel on his shoulder. Gabriel is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve for Nathan, despite the latter’s constant insistence at pushing him away. When they finally do come together, it is beautiful…and then heartbreaking.

 

What are the ships you will sail to the end of the earth?

January 2018 TBR

Welcome to 2018!

            My first TBR of the year already makes me excited for the reading I am going to do in 2018. These are books I have put off for too long. It’s time to open them before they collect dust on my shelves.

In January, I want to read:

 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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A beloved young adult novel that is being made into a movie this year, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is about a gay teenaged boy not yet out of the closet. He has been exchanging flirty emails with a boy called Blue at his school that is also gay and in the closet. Only Simon has no idea who Blue is. And his secret is in danger of being exposed when a classmate discovers the emails.

I read The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli’s most recent release, and really enjoyed it. From what I know about this book, I expect Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to be cute, fun, and fluffy.

 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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Quirky Swedish woman Sara travels to Broken Wheel, Iowa to meet her pen pal Amy. Only she arrives just in time for Amy’s funeral. While the people of the farm town welcome her, Sara finds the citizens of Broken Wheel are devoid of the joy of literature. To honor her pen pal’s memory, Sara opens a bookstore in Broken Wheel with all Amy’s books. Thus, a whole new life is brought to Broken Wheel.

I like to start the new year with some cozy books because it’s bitterly cold where I live. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend fits the bill.

 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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Set in 1987, fourteen-year-old June is left heartbroken by the death of her best friend and confidant, her uncle Finn. At Finn’s funeral, June meets a mysterious man named Toby, who was also a friend of her uncle, making him the only person that fully understands what June is going through. As the two grow closer, June realizes that love and friendship can be found in unexpected places, and this new friend could be the person she needs most.

I’ve had my eye on Tell the Wolves I’m Home for a long time. Then, last year, I saw this beautiful paperback version in Target. After walking by it too many times, I finally caved and bought it. This seems like the perfect kind of book to read during the winter; a mixture of contemporary coming-of-age and historical fiction.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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The sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, my all-time favorite book of 2016, Hunting Prince Dracula was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. This book is set in Romania, where protagonist Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her companion Thomas Cresswell are attending an elite forensic pathology school inside a converted castle. While there, they encounter a serial killer whose method bears a disturbing resemblance to Vlad the Impaler.

That is all I need to know. My expectations for Hunting Prince Dracula are already high.

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is probably the most well-known and beloved book on this list. It is based off the fan fiction written in Fangirl, loosely inspired by the Harry Potter series. Simon Snow is a wizard at a magical school destined to be the Chosen One…but he’s not very good at it. There is also the matter of his roommate and nemesis Baz, who might be more than that.

Even after all these years, I have never been spoiled on anything that happens in Carry On, aside from a possible gay romance. I plan to keep it that way. I’m sure many of you will be very happy once I actually read it. I’m looking forward to it, too.

 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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Between Shades of Gray is a young adult historical fiction novel set during World War II. Fifteen-year-old Lina and her family are torn away from their home in Lithuania by Soviet soldiers and sent to a work camp in Siberia. Using her artwork, she communicates messages to her father in his prison camp, reassuring him she, her mother, and her little brother are still alive. Through all this, Lina’s personal strength is put to the test as she spends years struggling to survive.

I read Ruta Septeys’s most recent release, Salt to the Sea, another World War II story, and it ripped my heart out. But I loved it. I expect no less from Between Shades of Gray.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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A young adult contemporary by a beloved author, Adam Silvera, History is All You Left Me follows Griffin, a young boy that loses the love of his life, Theo, in a tragic boating accident. Griffin always thought he and Theo would get back together someday. Ironically enough, the only person that truly understands what he is going through is Theo’s current boyfriend, Jackson, and the boys form an unlikely friendship.

I have not read anything by Adam Silvera; History is All You Left Me is the one by him that interests me the most. Since it falls on the more serious side of contemporary, this book seems like a good book to read in dark, cold January.

 

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

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The Book of Speculation is a novel that has some of my favorite elements: magical realism, historical fiction, and family mystery. The protagonist, Simon, receives an old book from an antique bookseller containing his grandmother’s name with a strange story about his family that comes from a long line of circus mermaids. In this book, he must decode a long-buried mystery before the drowning curse claims his sister.

I don’t want to get my expectations too high before reading The Book of Speculation. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. Like I said, it has a lot of story elements I enjoy. And I have not heard a lot about it in general.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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After Carry On, Eliza and Her Monsters is another very popular young adult novel on BookTube. It is about Eliza, a shy high school student that has created Monstrous Sea, the most popular web comic on the Internet. Only no one in her real life knows about it and she has no friends at school. Then, she meets a new student named Wallace, who also happens to be the most popular fan fiction writer for her web comic. As the two begin a friendship, Eliza’s secret identity is suddenly exposed.

I read Francesca Zappia’s debut novel, Made You Up, in 2017 and it was one of my favorite books of the year. Eliza and Her Monsters speaks to the nerd in me with its fandom culture. As you can imagine, my expectations for this novel are already astronomically high.

 

What books are you most excited to read in January?

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need these books. Now.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

 

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

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

 

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