Sunday, August 6, 2017

#TheReadingQuest Challenge

banner by CW of Read, Think, Ponder

Hey, all! So ... long time no blog! Life has been pretty busy the past six months, but I'm finally hopping back on board the blogging train, and lucky for me, it just happens to coincide with this super awesome reading challenge that I hope will inspire me to blog more (and get back on track toward my 2017 Goodreads goal). 

If you haven't heard, Aentee of Read at Midnight has created #TheReadingQuest, a video game-style reading challenge that runs between August 13 and September 10. I'm absolutely blown away by the creativity that went into making this challenge, and I'm so excited to participate! For more info on the challenge, check out Aentee's sign-up post.

You can choose from four character classes to start your quest, and given that I've been on a serious fantasy kick of late, I'm starting out as the Mage.

artwork by CW of Read, Think, Ponder

As a Mage, I'll be starting with the First Down quest path. In no particular order, here are the books I'll be reading for my main quest (I've included the format as well since point distribution varies depending on pages read versus minutes of listening).

Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Format: e-book

Not gonna lie––98 percent of the reason why I downloaded the "box set" of this series from Kindle is the gorgeous cover art. But the story sounds awesome too: magic and libraries––what more could you ask for?

The Waking Land by Callie Bates
Format: hardcover

How pretty is this cover? The Waking Land sounds like a fantasy with a more subdued plot, but magical nonetheless, so it'll serve as a nice break from all the angst, drama, and action of some of the other books in my TBR.

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa
Format: e-book/audio

I've seen a lot of people on Tumblr comparing Rhapsodic to A Court of Mist and Fury, so I'm looking forward to this one a lot! (I'm not totally sure that this fits into the mythology category, though. I think it might be based on the Hades/Persephone myth, but if you've read it, let me know if I'm wrong.)

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
Format: hardcover

This'll be cutting it close to the end of the challenge since I'm not getting my copy of ToD until September 7 at the SJM tour event, but I just had to include it! 

Roar by Cora Carmack
Format: hardcover

Roar's summary is giving me some serious Throne of Glass/Aelin Galathynius vibes. Bring it on!

If any of you are doing the challenge as well, let me know which character class you've chosen and what you plan on reading!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

That's a Wrap: January 2017

Read in January

  • I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan: While this book was hilarious, it definitely made me rethink my long-held idea that working a public library would be a fun job. I'm going to be forever scarred by the story about the "crutch guy." *shudders*
  • The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley: I kind of cheated by saying I read this one. I mostly skimmed it toward the end, so it could technically be considered a DNF.
  • The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis: What an intense, emotional (and timely) book! I have a feeling this one's going to stick with me for a while
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines: Confession time: I love the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna are my favorite reality TV couple, and I love seeing their beautiful house flips, so when I saw that they had a book out, I knew I had to read it. I got the audiobook from my local library and listened to it on my commute to work. It was really interesting to hear how they met and fell in love and the ups and downs they went through to get to where they are today.

Watched in January

  • This Is Us: I know I'm not alone when I say this show gives me all the feels
  • Game of Thrones (Seasons 1 and 2): And so begins my epic rewatch of GoT before season seven premieres. It's really surprising how many characters that I forgot (or didn't even realize) were in season one! Somehow I completely missed that Renly Baratheon was on the King's Council during Robert's reign, or that Meryn Trant was part of the Kingsguard and supposedly killed Syrio Forel!

Listened to in January

The Magnus Archives (Season 2)
Alyssa of Books Take You Places mentioned this podcast on Twitter back in the fall, and when I saw that it was a horror anthology podcast, I knew I had to check it out. I was instantly hooked and listened to about ten episodes in one sitting (which, by the way, I do not recommend unless you're okay with being creeped out for days afterward, LOL). At first I thought it was just going to be a random collection of spooky stories, but the more you listen to it, the more you start to see the threads in each episode that connect to a larger, overarching story. Oh, and did I mention that the narrator has a British accent? Yeah. So there's that. ;)

The Magnolia Story
Empire of Storms (still making my way through this one)

Banks. I'm absolutely obsessed with the song "Gemini Feed." I think I've listened to it at least twice a day for the past month!

Random Things in January

Something else I started in January was my new bullet journal. I love doodling and making lists, so a bullet journal is the perfect way for me to unwind in the evenings and also keep track of what I'm reading this year! I've gotten a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and Tumblr and also from this really awesome BookTube video that Alexa recommended in her Sunday Mix post.

Looking Forward to in February

Book Releases

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (February 7)
A mix of Beauty and the Beast and the Hades and Persephone myth? Need it now!!!

The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins (February 21)
It's official. I'm becoming a fantasy nerd. If you've got dragons and royalty in a book, I'm down!


In February I'll be participating in the Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books, The Novel Hermit, The Daily Prophecy, and Super Space Chick. I've participated in this event once before, and it's such an awesome way to meet other people in the book-blogging/bookstagram/BookTube community! Hope to see you guys in this round!

I'm also participating in round six of the totally awesome Secret Sister Project hosted by Brittany, Alyssa, and Amy of On the Same Page. If you don't already know, OTSP Secret Sister is a project to spread cheer throughout the book-blogging community (though you don't necessarily have to be a book blogger to participate). I've already been assigned my sister, and I'm so excited to start planning her monthly care packages! While sign-ups are closed for this round, you should definitely consider signing up for the next round in July!

Hope to see you guys around the blog in February!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Lunar New Year Book Tag

I saw Alexa from Alexa Loves Books post this tag earlier today, and it looked like so much fun! I tag anyone who feels like participating! 

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Twilight was the first romance book that I fell totally head over heels in love with when I was a teenager. I've read it too many times to count!

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. Fae queens, magic-wielding assassin queens, witch queens––ALL THE QUEENS! (Not too mention the several extremely attractive princes!)

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier. So many of the books I read any more a part of a series, so it's kind of cool to find a standalone that I really love. Heart's Blood is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2016.

Zuzanna and Mik in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. Not only do they provide much-needed comic relief, but they are just an adorable couple. The novella about them, Night of Cake and Puppets, is so sweet!

Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series. Oh, Chaol, I have so many mixed feelings about you! He's so pig-headed about his ideas of what's right and wrong in Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, and for a while, I kind of hated him for how he was treating Celaena/Aelin and Dorian. He redeemed himself by the end of QoS though, and I'm interested to read SJM's novella about him when it comes out this summer.

I'm a teensy bit obsessed with the magnetic character bookmarks sold on Etsy. Nerdy Girl Designs and Happy Hello Art are my favorite shops; they both make such adorable bookmarks, and thanks to them, I've got quite the collection going. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Levi are too cute for words. I definitely need to reread this book again soon.

This is a tough one because so many of the books I read are the "big names" in YA. To be honest, I can't really think of any books I've read recently that haven't gotten some kind of recognition or don't already have a following. 

Oh, that's easy: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas! I'm going to need to take May 2 off work just so I can stay home and read ACOWAR cover to cover. I haven't been this excited for a book release since Breaking Dawn!

The original US Harry Potter covers will forever be my favorites. One of my favorite parts of rereading the series is getting to see all the detail Mary GrandPré put into not just the cover art but the chapter heading art too.

Throne of Glass series: Arobynn Hamel. Oh man, did I hate this guy! Pretty much any time he appeared in Queen of Shadows, I had a strong urge to chuck the book at the wall.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. It doesn't get much bolder than having a main character who goes after and kills men that sexually assault women. And I can't say that I felt sorry for any of her victims. It's an intense book.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flights of Fantasy 2017 Challenge

Happy 2017, everyone! It's been a while (understatement of the year)! One of my goals in 2017 is to be more active on this blog, and one of the ways I'm going about accomplishing that goal is by participating in the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. The fantasy genre pretty much became my new obsession after I finished A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas last September (I need A Court of Wings and Ruin, like, yesterday), so I'm super excited to be reading more fantasy this year! 

2016 definitely wasn't my best reading year; sadly, I only managed to read 29 books, and I'm pretty disappointed in myself. My overall reading goal for 2017 is 40 books, and I'm aiming for at least 20 of those to be fantasy books. To see the books I'm considering for this challenge, go take a look at my Flights of Fantasy shelf on Goodreads.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the books I'm most excited to read for the challenge.

And if you need recommendations, here are some fantasies I've loved:
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

So, are any of you participating in Flights of Fantasy? Do we share any favorites or TBR picks? Got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: The Graces by Laure Eve

The Graces by Laure Eve
Publisher: Abrams Kids/Amulet Books
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source/Format: NetGalley/e-galley

Goodreads Summary:

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay. Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident. This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.

Thank you to Abrams Kids and NetGalley for giving me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review!

This book was at the top of my Most Anticipated Reads of 2016 shelf on Goodreads, first because of the gorgeous cover and second because heck yes fantasy series about teen witches! Needless to say, I was ecstatic when my request was approved on NetGalley! Sadly, though, The Graces fell short of my expectations.

My biggest issue with the book has to do with the main character, a girl who calls herself "River." The book summary isn't kidding when it says River wants to be one of the Graces––a trio of enigmatic siblings––more than anything. It's her defining personality trait, and it gets old really fast. Almost every thought she has revolves around the Graces and how she can infiltrate their circle to become one of them, popular and admired. Every action is done specifically to get the Graces––but especially the youngest Grace, Summer––to like her and see her as one of them. She's completely and utterly obsessed in a way that just made me cringe. She's unlike the typical YA heroine in that her motives are completely selfish, but she never does anything to redeem herself. Her insecurity and all-consuming obsession with trying to become a Grace make her completely unlikeable throughout the whole book. I never rooted for her, and most of the time I was just waiting for the Graces to finally see through her crap and be done with her. The interesting thing, though, is I don't think we're supposed to like her. In fact, the end of book one sets her up to be very much the antihero in future books.

As for the Graces themselves, for all the awe and fear they inspire in the town, they really aren't all that interesting. Rumor has it that their whole family is made up of witches. But apart from a rumor that a boy was possessed during a Ouija game gone wrong at Thalia and Fenrin's eighth birthday party, and Summer's occasional dabbling in minor spells––which the family disapproves of––there's not a whole lot going on to suggest that they're as sinister or mysterious as everyone thinks they are. They come off as snobs more than anything else. I didn't understand the hold they had over River or their classmates.

I might have been able to overlook some of these issues had the plot been more interesting, but it was slow going and didn't really ramp up until about the last quarter of the book. I'll admit that the showdown between River and the Graces was pretty intense, and it did redeem the book at least a little bit. I just wish there had been more intensity throughout the book as a whole.

Final Thoughts and Rating
Sadly, The Graces just wasn't my cup of tea. The plot was too slow and the characters too unlikeable for me to ever become fully invested in the story. I likely won't be continuing the series, but I'm still holding out hope for Laure Eve's other series, Fearsome Dreamer.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

In and Out #1

In and Out is a weekly feature in which I reveal the books that have joined my shelves and the ones I've bid farewell to this week.


The Love That Split the World by April Henry: The synopsis had me at the reference to The Time Traveler's Wife. Can't wait to start reading this one today!
Local Girls by Caroline Zancan: Came across this by chance at the library on Saturday in the new books section and was hooked by the summary.
Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers: This is another book I came across by chance on my library's new YA books shelf. I really love the cover!
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders: Saving the world with magic? Okay, I'm in.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman: Started watching the Syfy series on Friday night and am loving it so far! And when something I love is also book, you know I've got to read it.
A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest: Since I follow a ton of Twilight fan pages on Facebook, my newsfeed has been blowing up with ads for this book, with such convincing marketing lines as "a must-read for Twilight fans." So after seeing a bajillion ads all week, I was like, fine, I'll bite (...pun intended). I have my doubts about this one, but the first book was only ninety-nine cents so I figured I'd give it a shot.


Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult: When I was in high school, I read My Sister's Keeper for the first time, which kickstarted a mild obsession with Jodi Picoult's books. Now that I've been getting into mystery shows and podcasts like Serial and Killing Fields, I was in the mood for a Picoult mystery. I just wasn't feeling this one though. The constant POV switches were seriously testing my patience.

That's it for me! What books have you added to your shelves this week?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Debuts to Look Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This Week's Topic: 

2016 Debuts to Look Forward To

  • The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry [January 26]
  • Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black [May 17]
  • The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig [February 16]
  • Dreamology by Lucy Keating [April 12]
  • Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor [March 1]

  • The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude [May 3]
  • The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian [April 26]
  • The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith [March 22]
  • The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos [January 26]
  • How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes (Okay, so I goofed on this one. It's not technically a debut, but it is one I'm looking forward to!) [Pub Date TBA]

So what debuts are you looking forward to reading in the new year?
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