Friday, December 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart

Between the Blade and the Heart
Amanda Hocking
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first ever blog tour and I'm so honored to be on it! I thought before I reviewed the book I'd share a bit about why I wanted to participate and the other books I've read and enjoyed by Amanda Hocking. First of all, when offered the chance to participate I hadn't read the book yet but I had pretty high expectations to enjoy it. I'd seen mixed reviews but the description was really up my alley and I hadn't read a good urban fantasy in a while. Plus I've enjoyed Amanda Hocking's books in the past so I was eager to read something new of hers! A long time ago (in a bookstore far away) when I was first getting into YA I picked up Switched, the first book in the Trylle series and the only reason I never read the other two was because my friend spoiled everything (I'm not mad... any more :) ) but I really loved book one. That actually led me to reading Hollowland and Hollowmen (aka the Hollows series) which I really recommend because they're pretty good zombie apocalypse books and that's high praise since I tend to dislike both zombie books and apocalypse books. Other than that her books have more or less always sat at the top of that "I plan to read it soon" TBR pile that I never get around to. Most of them are still up there.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Practical Magic

Practical Magic
Alice Hoffman

This autumn I was in the mood for witches, witches, and more witches. But not just any kind of witches, the somewhat spooky, somewhat believable, woman-power-filled witches. Okay, cross off the spooky from this list and instead apply the idea of charming and strange and here you have this book. It's such a great relaxing read, for even though it's exciting, it's the quiet moments of family and women that build this book up and make it something work reading.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December Wrap Up

Hello! I know this post is arriving at a rather unconventional time. For one, it's a Wednesday, and for another it's not even the end of the month, not really. ALSO, you may be scratching your head wondering when the last time I did a wrap up was (spoiler alert: October 7th) and recalling that way back then I was doing bi-weekly wrap ups. Well, here begins the monthly wrap ups. I think it's very likely I'll be doing these from this point forward since it's just more economical the way things have been going. As for why this is coming out on such an odd day... well, it really has to do with the other posts I want to get out this year, which include a giveaway/blogoversary post (my blog just turned three!!!) and a year end wrap up where I can reflect on everything. With all of that I still really wanted to get this post out so I could touch base with everyone and talk about me and the blog recently.

First of all, Merry Christmas! Or Happy Hanukkah! Or Joyous Kwanza! Or just Happy Holidays! Really, seriously, I hope everyone has had a good celebration, got to enjoy some family time, maybe opened a present or two they really loved, and, most of all, read some good books. The new year is right around the corner, and while I'll talk about some new year goals in my yearly wrap up, I want to set the most important one straight now: I am rededicating myself to my blog. Lately I've let stress and anxiety and just about every other color of my mental health rainbow get in the way of doing something I love: reading and blogging and sharing bookish things with all of you. I've decided that this year, if I can't keep up (reasonably) with the blog then that's it. I'm turning in my hat as a book blogger and taking a VERY EXTENDED break until I can really get back on my feet. Don't look at it as a punishment, look at it as a way I have to force myself to go to my roots and deal with something that's clearly upsetting my life more than it should. But I don't think that's going to happen. Not to spoil anything but I have written some very badass posts lately and I'm so happy to be able to share them with everyone. They look sleek, they look sexy, they have original pictures of books in them (!!!) and you can see the first of this new brand of review here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Forgotten Book

The Forgotten Book
Mechthild Gläser
American Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't really sure what to think of this one going in. The description on the back is reminiscent of the kinds of books I would pick up in middle school and early high school and I haven't really revisited that genre in a while so I was a tad nervous I'd go in biased and dislike it. While it definitely did carry some of the tropes that I had grown to dislike, it had actually turned many of them into more positive versions and it was a really pleasant read!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mini Reviews: Love Her Wild & The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Love Her Wild is a poetry collection I picked up at Target (did you know they had such a large selection of poetry? because I was pleasantly surprised). I've been wanting to read more of the genre and this one wasn't something I recognized but it still sounded good.

Being my first foray into poetry I didn't have very much in the way of expectations. Based on the title I guessed it would be about falling in love/being in love and getting lost/exploring the world. I was pretty close to the mark. But... I honestly can't say I liked it very much or that it was particularly memorable. It was just very bland. And paired with the stock photos every other page, which only barely seemed to connect with the poems themselves, I felt like I had wasted the money.

There were a few poems in there that really struck me and I'm hoping that this is one of those books I can just turn to every once in a while for random feelings. Otherwise I wouldn't really recommend this one.

I'm not quiet when it comes to my love for The Kingkiller Chronicles so I'm actually a tad disappointed it took me this long to get to The Slow Regard of Silent Things. This one is a tangental story that rather than tell more about Kvothe gives readers a peek into a week of Auri's life.

This book was such a treat! I loved seeing how Auri navigated her world and understanding how she thought was so powerful. It's definitely a powerful book, though it's not for everyone. It's quietly powerful but it will connect with so many people.

Not that it didn't connect with me but I think I read it at the wrong time. I read it at a very busy point in my life where I couldn't actually reflect on what was being said. Looking back I wonder why it didn't affect me more because it's also been a very hard time of my life. If you're a fan of the Kingkiller books I one hundred percent recommend this. And even if you're not, I think you may still find something very poignant about it.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Reading in the Wild

Welcome to a new feature here! I had this idea over the summer but it's taken a while to cultivate and I'm rather pleased with the result. What happened was anytime I went out and read somewhere that wasn't my room at home or my dorm room I tried to take a photo and make note of it. Without further ado: Here was the reading I did in the wild!

Noodles & Company
Crown of Midnight
August 22

My Car
Crown of Midnight
August 31

Noodles & Company
The Awakened Kingdom
September 7

Library Basement
September 20

Evin & Hannah's Room
September 26

The Library
Language of Thorns
September 26

The Train
October 15

My Car
The Slow Regard of Silent Things
October 20

The Gizmo
The King of Bones and Ashes
November 1

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Shivaun Plozza
American Release Date: November 7th, 2017

I received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from Flatiron in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
The title says it all: Frankie makes this book so special. She's such a strong narrator that I fell in love with her in the first couple chapters. She's not the same sort of character I tend to read about, at least not in contemporary fiction. She's both super insecure about things, and is constantly questioning her decisions (but not in an annoying way, in the way that she doesn't quite understand herself and why she feels certain things for certain characters), but she's also very self driven. While she acknowledges that she needs help she's reluctant and afraid to take it. And, most importantly, she's a little afraid of herself.

A lot of Frankie's trouble stems from her reluctance to talk about and acknowledge her past. She has really deep anger issues that stem from the fact that her mother abandoned her when she was younger and that her mother is, in general, a dead beat. It's slowly revealed exactly how tragic and terrible Frankie's mother actually is and think this is done well because it helps validate Frankie's own character and feelings.
The whole cast of characters is really enjoyable. Everyone is multi-layered and no one is black and white. Frankie's brother, Xander, is the most multi-layered, at least in my opinion, because he's both a really sweet kid and also kinda a dead beat. In fact, exploring these characters, and sometimes not getting a complete understanding of everything that makes them tick, really made it a rich reading experience. 

I'm hesitant to say too much about the plot because I think it's a pretty strong book you shouldn't go into knowing much about, but I went in knowing quite a bit and I wasn't disappointed. Xander, a brother Frankie never knew she had, shows up in her life and wants to connect. She's hesitant but excited despite herself, but paired with the struggles she's been having at school after having beat up a boy, this complicates her life. And then Xander goes missing, turning her world upside down.

There isn't anything I disliked about this book but part of the romance did make me feel iffy. But another part of the romance made me so happy! Basically, Frankie has two love interests. One the ex from years before who's problematic and cheated on her but goes out of his way to prove he still loves her and would change. The other one is the new, tall, dark, and handsome guy from the wrong side of town. And no, he does not have a heart of gold, but he does have some room in there for Frankie regardless. Well, I won't tell you who she ends up with, because spoilers, but she definitely makes the right choice in my mind. The only thing I have a problem with is that, on afterthought, is that there was a little bit of instant-lovey, but I forgave it as I read it.

A quick note on the writing: I really loved it. It was subtle and delicate and beautiful. It wasn't super flowery but it didn't need to be to get across the points with efficiency. I plan to read more of Plozza's work.
TL;DR? Frankie is a pretty complicated novel that deals with classicism and missing mothers and mental health, all through the point of a view a well thought out and fleshed out narrator.
Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who's tired of giving second chances...When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie's half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn't want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie's search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.
Shivaun Plozza is the author of Frankie (Penguin, 2016), a darkly funny novel about searching for the truth, finding yourself and falling in love. She has published short fiction, flash fiction, poetry and essays, and works as an editor.
Description and author bio taken from Goodreads.
I am an affiliate of Book Depository; using my link helps support the blog, particularly the giveaways run here. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

September/October/November Book Haul

I'm back! Can you believe it? Because, honestly, I can't. There has been so much happening in my life-- good and bad-- and I'll admit at one point I considered no longer blogging. But it's such an amazing feeling to be typing this up today (the same day you're seeing it, can you believe it's an actual post with real content?!) and I'm so glad I'm back. Without further ado, here are the books I've bought and received over the past season. And, yes, there are way to many.

(*cough* *cough* if you're interested in my last book haul check it out here)

(also: all the books received from publishers are given freely in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! also, also: all the titles link to Goodreads)

Special Editions


Graphic Novels


Mass Market Paperback




Hey, and THANK YOU everyone for sticking around. I'm so happy you've been here for me the whole time even though I've been going through all these things.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

An Update

So it's been nearly a month since my last post. I have 7 more days of school and then I get to go home. But I thought I would take advantage of this extended break already and push back my return to the blog until December 1st. I want to stock up on some reviews and other posts for the next time the stress starts to kick in.

As a side note, I also have a side blog now, for my personal life. It'll serve as a place I can talk about studying abroad, once I leave in January. If you're interested I recommend checking out Postcards & Polaroids because I'm pretty proud of it.

ALSO I want to have a giveaway to celebrate my third year blogoversary on December 25th. What would you like to see me giveaway? Let me know!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Bad news, likely. It's official: I'm taking the rest of the term off from blogging and that, to put it plainly, sucks. Sucks for you and sucks for me. I expect to be back mid-to-late November and I hope to have a bunch of reviews written in advance so I can start posting them. What it comes down to is that school has kept me too busy to really keep posting decent content. I do recommend that you follow me on Instagram (where I'll be pretty active still) and Twitter (where I'm less active but always reachable). See you all on the other side!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Sightwitch

I'm switching over from Waiting on Wednesday's to Can't Wait Wednesday, a meme hosted by Wishful Endings. The idea is basically the same, but it looks like the official hosts of Breaking the Spine have shut down the meme so it's time to move on. Description and cover image taken from Goodreads.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Windwitch, an illustrated prequel novella set in the Witchlands setting up the forthcoming hotly anticipated Bloodwitch.
Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend. While there, she encounters a young Nubrevnan named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he wound up inside the mountain. As the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, and as they brave one close call after another, a tentative friendship forms between them—one that might one day grow into something more.
Sightwitch is told through Ryber’s journal entries and her sketches, as well as through supplementary materials (such as other journals, pieces of songs, clippings from history books, flashbacks, etc.). Though meant as a companion novella, this story serves as a set up to Bloodwitch as well as an expansion of the world.
Why I'm Waiting
Look another WOC on the cover! I'm so excited by all the new covers coming out with such great representation. On the book itself: I love Ryber. She's definitely one of the most enigmatic characters in the series and I can't wait to learn more about her and also how she met Kullen. This is definitely one of those series where I never expect what will happen next or how the story will unfold but I enjoy it the whole time.

Sightwitch releases January 23rd, 2018

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Wrap Up #1

Wait... is this real? Am I actually posting? And a wrap up? Yep, if you've been along for a while you know what this means: it means an apology.

Where have I been? School has 100% taken over my life. I haven't finished any books in like two weeks (and not for lack of trying!) and the one hour of free time I had recently (besides this) I used to catch up on my sleep. One of the reasons school has been keeping me so busy is because I've been trying to get a head start on this weekend and next weekend and also the weekend after that. In order: this weekend I celebrated (and am celebrating) my birthday and several of my friend's birthdays (go Libras!). And, yep, you heard that right, tomorrow is my 21st birthday! It probably won't be that unlike any other birthday (except that I have my fingers crossed for a new phone... we'll see if the fates align) since I don't really plan on drinking at all. I will admit I have been feeling older lately, probably because I've been spending time with freshman and as awesome as they are there's definitely a difference. Next weekend I'm heading home to work, which'll be great (slight sarcasm), and I'll be taking as much free time as I can get while I'm there and just enjoying being in a familiar place. And the weekend after that I'm heading to House on the Rock (AKA one of my favorite places ever) for a school project (I'm not mad at all it's gonna be awesome AF).

So, the rest of this wrap up may be a bit sad seeing as I haven't really been reading...


Currently Reading
So I was reading Outlander but it's dragging (or maybe that's just my feet...) so I picked up The Language of Thorns. After this I think I'll get to an ARC (possibly Frankie? We'll see) and after that who knows! I threw out my TBR list because I'm trying to read more spontaneously.


Can't Wait Wednesday

Upcoming Posts
I actually don't know. I don't know at all. Expect to see a review sooner than later but honestly this month I have nearly nothing scheduled and even those few posts aren't even finished yet so it could be a while. I'm really sorry that this month is gonna be so rough but in November things should start to peek up sharply. Thanks for sticking around!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Batman Nightwalker

I'm switching over from Waiting on Wednesday's to Can't Wait Wednesday, a meme hosted by Wishful Endings. The idea is basically the same, but it looks like the official hosts of Breaking the Spine have shut down the meme so it's time to move on. Description and cover image taken from Goodreads.
Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
 Why I'm Waiting
I wasn't super excited for this one, at least not as excited as I was for Wonder Woman and Catwoman, but it sounds like a really good book and I'm always up for superhero's.

Batman Nightwalker releases January 2, 2018

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

13 Minutes

13 Minutes
Sarah Pinborough
American Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

I received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from Flatiron in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I don't know where to start when describing this book because it's not like anything I've ever read. Now, granted, it's not exactly in the genre I read, and that certainly has something to do with how much I enjoyed it, but it still really defies a description. It's a dark and moody British high school drama that features a cast of rather despicable characters doing mean things. The whole time it keeps you second guessing who to trust and also wondering what actually happened the night Tasha died for 13 minutes.

There are some characters in literature (*cough cough* looking at you ASOIAF) that are so evil and so awful but so well written that you can't help but absolutely love them as characters if not people. Basically every single person in this book is that way for me. It's not on the scale of some epic fantasy, but perhaps because it's based so much in the real world did it feel creepier and more awful when they did things. Basically, these are the mean girls- they ditch friends when they get bored, they create and spread rumors when they dislike someone, they steal boyfriends when they hate someone- that high school dramas warn you about. Except, from my own experience, these felt very real and very much like some of the people I went to school with. Even working with what could be very stereotypical character traits these are all well-defined and three-dimensional characters. The three barbies- Natasha, Hayley, and Jenny- balance well against each other and felt like they had not just a history with each other but also that there is a tension between the three of them. Becca, the narrator for the majority of the book, is also incredibly believable... all the way until the end. I liked Becca a lot, and I felt incredibly sad for how insecure she was, but at the end it's like a switch is flipped and she becomes some sort of uber-sleuth, which I couldn't believe. A caveat for the reader: even though she's out protagonist you're not going to be rooting for her the way you normally might.

Because this is a mystery/thriller there's not much I want to say about the plot lest I give it away, but I can tell you all about the writing which is just so absolutely beautiful. It was delicate and evocative all at once, capturing the lines of a character and then taking it a tad further to make it real. Even as awful things were happening I couldn't help but love what I was reading because of the spell the words seemed to be casting. I don't think there are specific quotes I find beautiful, since it's not, in a way, a beautiful book, but it's the mastery of the language and text itself that are so engaging. I turned every page eagerly and stayed up late into the night just to read it for the sake of reading, alongside reading it because I wanted to know what happened next.
TL;DR? Rather dark and moody but definitely a great YA thriller to pick up if you're in the mood. You're not going to walk away with a favorite character but you'll be able to appreciate everything, particularly the beautiful and engaging writing.
"Mean Girls for the Instagram age." --The Times (London)
The New York Times bestselling author known for her thrilling twists is back:
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart.
Natasha doesn't remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this--it wasn't an accident, and she wasn't suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.
Natasha's sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn't try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.
Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed adult and YA author based in London.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.
Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.

You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough
Cover linked to Goodreads; cover, description, and author bio taken from Goodreads.
I am an affiliate of Book Depository; using my link helps support the blog, particularly the giveaways run here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Broken Kingdoms

The Broken Kingdoms
NK Jemisin

I will do my best to avoid SPOILERS for book one, but there will be some small hints as to how book one ended, so read at your own risk. Because they're more companion novels than direct sequels it is easier to review this book without referencing the first one as much as might be necessary with other series.

I loved book one in this series, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. LOVED it. And while I liked this one very much I did not love it. Now, I will say the writing is still beautiful and gorgeous as in the first one, but it did lack some of that lyrical, non-traditionally linear, storytelling that THTK had. I suppose that's a reflection on the narrator as a character, and on the necessity of the plot, but I missed that aspect, which made it so unique. The world, too, was not as original as I had felt it was in book one, though I do think this may be do to the fact that I have spent quite a bit of time reading in that world and have become somewhat used to it.

Speaking of world building, though, immediately this world (it's the same place as book one except ten years later and from a completely different perspective) felt real. Shadow, the city featured in this book, reminded me instantly of all the cities I've ever been to, and while I've never lived in any of those cities, I've certainly dreamed of it, as had Oree, our protagonist. In that regard I really connected with her, and Shadow as a place. I also really appreciated all the new godlings, though I wish we could have spent more time with them. They were all so interesting that I wouldn't mind reading a novel dedicated to each of them individually, and also learning more about the cults and religions that formed around all these new gods that seemed to suddenly appear for these people. After finishing book one I hadn't put much thought into how this new development would play out, but I thought it was incredibly well done. There are a lot of smaller strands of plot carried over from the previous novel, but they're all done wonderfully and I think readers will be pleasantly surprised by more than a few things.

What I waxed on about for book one, though, were the characters. While I appreciated and liked and even connected with the protagonist, Oree Shoth, of this book, I couldn't love her as much as I loved Yeine. First of all, Oree is blind, BUT she's not really 100% blind because she can see magic. It's cool but I found that this distanced me from her character. It was a book without much visual element because of this, though, and that also worked to distance me from her narration. As for Shiny, well, I have thoughts about him and his character, but I certainly don't like him as much as I liked Nahadoth in THTK. Not to say that Oree and Shiny are romantically involved (I mean, read and find out if they are but I will tell you there isn't nearly as much kinky sex in this book as the first one had and I think that's a shame because those were good and tasteful scenes), but I would consider them the two protagonists. ALSO props to Jemisin for writing a book that, in part, tackles slut-shaming in such a subtle but profound way.

To touch on plot quickly- it's definitely not the plot I expected. I liked it, certainly, but I did feel like it had a tendency to wander more than the previous book did. However, I read this book in large chunks with larger breaks in between reading than I did the first one and I've found that when this happens I tend to have a harder time enjoying plot. Really, I had no problems with it, except that it was just a little lackluster. And that's it, that's really why this book didn't live up to the predecessor- coming of the high of THTK this one was a shade or two more colorless and I, as the reader, suffered for it.
TL;DR? Not as good as book one partly due to the characters and partly due to the plot but still an incredible, and unique from the rest of the market, epic fantasy. Not only does it feature another WOC in power but it tackles many social issues quietly and beautifully while introducing the reader to a magnificent world populated by even more magnificent gods, which were easily the highlight for me. 
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city.

Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger -- but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?
N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.
Cover, description, and author bio taken from Goodreads.
I am an affiliate of Book Depository; using my link helps support the blog, particularly the giveaways run here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Wrap Up #2

Hello lovelies! How are you all? I, personally, have kinda been floating between being very happy and very lonely. Overall things are good, though, and I don't want to take that for granted and dwell on the bad. I actually just moved back to school last Saturday, so it's officially been one week here! So far I've been enjoying all my classes immensely and even though they've packed my schedule with homework it's all homework I'm capable of doing and not stressing me out unduly. This homework has, though, kept me from Instagram. Yes, you read that right, I'm back on Instagram! Link here. I'm trying to post every other day or so but I got out of the habit recently. Tonight I'll be posting something, though, so stay tuned. On a similar note I'm so excited to make a HUGE announcement...





I'm officially studying abroad starting in January! That's right, in less than four months I'll be living in London. It's just shy of six months that I'll be there but I couldn't be more excited for the experience. I've talked about how I've been hoping for this to work out for a while but now it's real and let me tell you a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I'll be talking more about the school, and the process for applying to study abroad and what I'm doing to prepare, in a post coming out later this month. These are going to be a monthly posts chronicling my journey towards London, and then once I'm there, I'll have a special monthly wrap up going over my time there. If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably remember College Journey posts (yes... sorry that those kinda disappeared...) and you can consider these study abroad posts a sort of companion posts to those.

Okay, enough about me, onto the regular programming:

13 Minutes (review coming September 26th)

Currently Reading
I'm in the midst of The Broken Kingdoms, book two in the Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin. It's really, really good, I just haven't had the time to read that I'm used to. I plan to snuggle in tonight and devour as much as I can. After this I actually have a bit of a deviation before I pick up another novel: I'll be reading a writing magazine that I received and then catching up on some comics I've put off for too long. Then, hopefully before the next wrap up, I'll be reading Outlander. Yes, this seems like it came out of nowhere, but the past few days I've just been hit with a bug that is telling me I MUST read this book and watch the TV series.


Can't Wait Wednesday

Discussions & Other Posts

Upcoming Posts
Music Monday
13 Minutes Review
Can't Wait Wednesday
Preparing to Study Abroad

So, yeah, it's been a bit of a light posting schedule but I have to balance my sanity. What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Discussion: Do Bestselling Authors Keep Extending Their Series' Indefinitely & Is it a Bad Thing?

This has definitely been a hot button issue for years. Normally it's a complaint heard from people who aren't fans of a particular series or author and just want them to move on from whatever book/series/world that they hated in the first place. I first heard the complaint when Cassandra Clare announced she would be continuing her Shadowhunter books beyond Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. More recently, though, I've seen the same complaint attached to JK Rowling and Sarah J Maas, and to some extent, Rick Riordan. I'll be talking about all these authors and their books in this post.

In the case of Cassandra Clare there has always been a lot of hate and tension around her name alongside the adoration of her fanbase. Regarding the author herself I sit somewhere in the middle, mostly because some of the hate I've seen lobbed her way has been absolutely awful and no one deserves the bullshit she gets (similar to Sarah J Maas, but more on that in a bit). Also, a lot of the hate that isn't series related I've never seen actually backed up except for stories of stories. I didn't do extensive research but I have looked into it. I'm not calling anyone a liar but I'm not convinced she's an awful person. But beyond all that, people dislike her books. That's totally legit and absolutely fine! I get it; the Shadowhunter Chronicles are definitely not for everyone. I grew up reading them and I loved them since I turned the first page of City of Bones. They're one of those series that I can go back to and read whenever I like and feel better. Often times these readers, who didn't like the series, are the ones I see raising the call for Cassandra Clare to stop writing Shadowhunter books. She's a hack! She's doing it for the money! She doesn't care about [insert character name here]! I can go on. Let's take them in order: she's a hack. I don't think so; I really like the books still and I think they actually get better as time goes on. I'm still as attached to her characters as I always have been. She's doing it for the money: are you thick? Of course she fucking is, it's her job to be an author. Don't be daft asshats; as much as writing comes from the heart and soul it is a job and there are investments that must be made. If she likes writing Shadowhunter books and people like reading Shadowhunter books and they're making her money than she should continue writing them. She doesn't care about [insert character name here]: again, are you thick? She wrote the character, of course she cares about them. I write (I haven't published anything yet but I still consider myself an author) and let me tell you that you don't ever stop caring about your characters once you create them.

A lot of similar complaints (actually, some pretty identical complaints) have been lodged against Sarah J Maas. It's a bit of different horse because Sarah J Maas has also been the brunt of a lot of complaints saying she doesn't include enough diversity in her books (and yeah I do agree, but I think she's getting better, at least she's taking small steps). But recently it's become a pretty big thing with her where people have been complaining about her extending her series' on forever. Here's how: a Chaol novella she was writing turned into a full-fledged novel that came out before the penultimate novel did, and said final TOG book has been pushed back even further now. Also, her ACOTAR series is getting some novella's and novels set in the world, with the first novella coming out in Spring 2018 (I believe). Again, both of these series are huge money makers (but you see my argument for why that's FINE to write for money, above). Now, ACOTAR kinda wrapped up, so I am curious to see exactly where the next installments continue, but I'm excited. Just like I'm excited whenever a new Shadowhunter book comes out. Both of these authors and their series keep me engaged and I love reading them and I don't mind giving these authors my money. When the books stop being interesting I'll stop reading them, and that's that. I think that's a pretty understandable thing. But, is it a bad thing creatively? For not just the authors but also the landscape of genre books?

Let's look at JK Rowling here. I love her. I love Harry Potter. I think a lot of people will stand with me and those statements. But was Cursed Child really needed? I don't think so; I thought it was pretty bad and didn't even sort of live up to what I was expecting. And then there's Fantastic Beasts. I liked the movie well enough and I'm looking forward to the rest of the movies, but, again, I don't think they were super necessary. It's not as if JK hasn't been writing other things (I still haven't read those other things but I PLAN to) and it's not as if she isn't one of the wealthiest people (and most generous!) in the world, so I don't think she's doing more Harry Potter for a quick paycheck. I think it's more of the case that she wasn't quite ready to give up the world just yet. I get that, but I do think that's problematic. Sometimes there are stories left in worlds to tell and sometimes you have to force them to be there and sometimes you don't need to tell either type. 

I have a similar view of Rick Riordan's more recent books. I haven't read anything since finishing Heroes of Olympus and I had several issues with those books. I have heard really good things about the newer series' and plan to read those actually pretty soon because I do want to. But with HoO it just felt very forced and it didn't live up to PJO. For a long time I've wanted to see him write something different (but still MG because I don't really enjoy his adult books). HOWEVER I think in a brilliant move from the publishing industry, Rick is getting his own little imprint, Rick Riordan Presents. Next year they'll be publishing three books. The really great thing about this imprint? It's going to be POC authors writing about the mythologies from their own backgrounds. I CAN'T WAIT. I'm sure Rick will continue to write PJO-esque books but also, I feel like he could branch out now and write other things as the spirit of PJO will continue onward.

So the question I've been trying to get to; is it toxic for authors and the industry to just keep pushing out books from bestselling series? I think... yes. It is. Look at James Patterson: his books have gotten worse with time and while he has huge name recognition I don't think he's as big as he was even five years ago. The publishing industry has a hard time moving past certain books and thus has a hard time looking for new books that could be completely different but also brilliant! For authors I don't think it's as toxic because it is their world and their stories and they're still using their creative mind. As a writer myself, though, I've had times where I've pushed a story and it's come out shit and I've lost that creativity for a while. But that's definitely on an individual basis and I don't know any of these authors personally so how could I say?

For readers, though, I don't think it's a bad thing that authors continue to write great series long after they once thought they would end. Wouldn't you rather get more books in a series you love? Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments down below!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
NK Jemisin

I originally picked this book up several years ago at the library and closed it after less than two chapters. It wasn't the kind of book I was ready to read when I grabbed it the first time, but I've been finding that a lot of the novels I didn't like before I'm liking now, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm so glad I trusted my judgement and didn't wait a moment longer because I think this may be one of my absolute favorite books.

First of all, the premise of this book is amazing. The world of this book revolves around the religion in that the gods take on physical bodies and are very active. There are three main gods- but one, Itempas, is in charge: he killed his sister-god and punished his brother-god, sending him to the earth and forcing him into a mortal shell to serve as a weapon along side three of their children. Let me tell you- that description does not even do this premise justice! Nor does it do the characters of the gods justice (more on that in a moment). While the world itself is not explored at large, and the lack of a map is definitely a negative (you know I love maps), but I didn't feel the need to see the wider world. It wasn't as relevant, or as interesting, as what was happening in the city of Sky and what was happening with Yeine. I will say that it did get confusing early on with all the gods (there aren't that many but introductions were a tad messy) and the countries/continents being named and many of the seemingly sounding the same in my head. I did sort all this out once I got into the plot proper but it was definitely something that came off as initially confusing. I didn't, however, think it took away from the book as a whole.

If you know me you know I value characters higher than any other aspect of a book. Characters are the heart and soul of any story and when I find a book with characters I can both connect to and obsess over then I know I've found a good book. And, yes, this is definitely one of those books. I loved everyone! Okay, not everyone, but Yeine, Nahadoth, Sieh, and T'vril were MVPs the whole time. All of them have made it into favorite character slots that I keep in my heart (does that make sense??). Besides raving about them for the rest of this review, though, I must go on. I want to touch lightly on the aspect of sex in this book- there's a bit of it, and it's fairly kinky, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Now, it's not erotica, but it is erotic, and that's definitely something to warn readers of.

What really clinches this as a good book is the prose. It's very simple but also very beautiful. Certainly it's not everyone's taste, and the story itself feels a little jarring once you jump in (but that's on purpose I promise and it turns out to be a very neat trick in the end) but I was completely charmed by it. While it's definitely an epic fantasy book it also reads like some high-brow literary fiction (which is not a bad thing in my opinion). 
TL; DR? Simple but pretty prose, paired with amazing, multi-faceted characters, and a unique world, equals one of the best books I read this year and I wish I hadn't waited so long.
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.

Cover linked to Goodreads; cover, book description, and author bio taken from Goodreads.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Illustrated Edition

I'm switching over from Waiting on Wednesday's to Can't Wait Wednesday, a meme hosted by Wishful Endings. The idea is basically the same, but it looks like the official hosts of Breaking the Spine have shut down the meme so it's time to move on. Description and cover image taken from Goodreads.

An essential companion to the Harry Potter novels, now fully illustrated!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander's classic compendium of magical creatures, has delighted generations of wizarding readers. With this beautiful, large-scale new edition illustrated in full color, Muggles too will have the chance to discover where the Runespoor lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why shiny objects should always be kept away from the Niffler.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling's international charity, Lumos, which will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.
Why I'm Waiting
I mean how can I not be excited for this? Really words defy me at the moment. Yes, I will be collecting both editions of this book because they're both equally stunning.

The illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases November 7, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Like This? Read That

The title of this post is pretty self explanatory, but basically I'll try to connect books I've read (and loved) lately with popular pop culture in an attempt to brainwash get more people to read books I've enjoyed.

First up is Truthwitch/Windwitch.
These books are perfect if you enjoy Game of Thrones- the TV show, not the books. I love A Song of Ice and Fire, and while I enjoy the show I do have some issues with it. HOWEVER now that you're probably waiting for the next season to (eventually) get here this is the perfect series for you to pick up. The Witchlands have a bunch of plot lines, with unique characters, and fantastic twists. I still feel like the series in the process of setting up a lot of even more major plot lines but I'm ready for the long haul with these fantastic reads.

Now I know another series people are patiently waiting on is Throne of Glass, and yeah I know Chaol's book is right around the corner but I know not everyone is satisfied with that and people really want to see the conclusion of Celaena's story (which was recently pushed back even more). If you're a fan of the first two books I recommend picking up the Graceling trilogy, but most specifically the third and final book Bitterblue.
You don't need to read this series in any particular order and can pick up this one first, last, or second (really it doesn't matter). There are a lot of similar plot devices used in this book as in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I also think Graceling main character, Katsa, reminds me quite a bit of Celaena. Fire, the middle book in the series, is much more like the ACOTAR books if you're interested in picking it up.

I've been a huge fan of Cassandra Clare for a while and my favorite series of hers is easily Infernal Devices. It's definitely got the only good love triangle I've ever read probably because Will, Jem, and Tessa are all completely in love with each other. If you're interested in a book that has a similar dynamic I recommend The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Now, it doesn't have the steampunk element at all, but the time periods are similar and Monty and Percy remind me a bunch of Will and Jem. AND they're actually, canonically gay and bi in this book so I don't have to be over here fighting people saying Will and Jem aren't (seriously; fight me).

I just finished reading 13 Minutes and while it's not my normal genre I was swept away by this book. It was so good! It was dark and moody and had me both freaked out and unable to step away from the book.
I've seen it compared to Mean Girls but I would say this is nothing like that. Honestly it's more like Gone Girl, but I've never actually read that book or seen that movie, I've just read an in-depth synopsis. Really I would recommend this book if you enjoyed 13 Reasons Why (and not just because they both have the number 13 in the title). They're both dark dramas with a high school at their center, and they also both deal with very adult themes.

Those are my recommendations for now! Have you read any of these books? Any you would recommend if you enjoyed these? Are you now curious about picking any of these up? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Wrap Up #1

I know it's a bit early in the month to really have a proper wrap up, but I haven't done one since early August so I think there's a fair bit to cover today. In my personal life, I'm finally done with work (for the summer) and I feel Free! It's great to not have to worry about setting an alarm, or planning my meals around my shifts, though this does mean I go into Mega Budget Mode (which isn't too bad but it's not always comfortable). Yeah this also means less books to buy, BUT I do have several preorders that will be sustaining my buying need I'm sure.

And by the way, happy September! I know it's not technically fall yet, but this is the month where I officially start treating it like it is- fall colors, clothing, candles, playlists, tea. All the great things I love about this season! I've currently got the Wood Wick Fireside candle burning from Yankee Candles and people it is my new favorite candle. It's heavenly! The leaves are also starting to change out here and the weather has in general been cool enough to wear sweaters.

Okay, enough about me, let's get onto the wrap up:

and a reread of Crown of Midnight

Currently Reading
Right now I'm in the middle of 13 Minutes, a book I was only passing excited for but can barely put down. This is an ARC for a book out in early October so the review won't be out until the end of the month but believe me I'll be hyping this one before that. Once I finish 13 Minutes I'm going to read The Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin. I know this is three separate books but I bought the bind up so I'm thinking I may read them back to back.


Can't Wait Wednesday

Discussions & Tags

Music Monday


Upcoming Posts
Like This? Read That
Can't Wait Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I know it seems like posting looks a bit light these coming weeks... and it is. Partly because I just finished a reread (I'm not going to review it) and I'm currently reading an ARC (so the review will be schedule closer to its release) so there aren't any reviews to post and I don't want to pad down the blog with other things as much anymore. Also partly because I'll be going back to school in about a week which means my time is going to be getting shorter and I don't want to overload myself right off the bat.

I do want to point out that my Ready Player One review has a different look to it and this is the new reviewing format I'm going to be going with for now. I love how it looks! It feels more professional and it's more aesthetically the look I've been trying to go for lately. I hope you all like it as well.

Normally I end a wrap up here, but I was watching Youtube and someone did a video talking about the top five books they hope to get to this season. I thought I'd borrow that idea and share the next five books I hope to get to (not necessarily my top five). Because I've been trying hard not to restrict myself with a hard and fast reading schedule these very well may change.

Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week(s) and enjoy the weather (if you can).