Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite ACOTAR Moments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a freebie topic, and with the release of A Court of Frost and Starlight just TWO WEEKS away (ahhhh!), I wanted to reflect back on some of my favorite moments from the ACOTAR series so far. As you might know, I am a HUGE fan of these books, so it was REALLY hard to narrow my favorite moments down to only ten, but I did my best!

This list contains spoilers for all three ACOTAR books (as well as some minor spoilers for the Throne of Glass series), so tread with caution!

1. Starfall: A Court of Mist and Fury
If I had to pick my absolute favorite moment of the entire series, I'd have to go with the Starfall chapter. It's just such a beautiful moment between Feyre and Rhysand, where it's so obvious that they're no longer just partners in the impeding war against Hybern or even just friends but actually in love with each other. I read a post somewhere (and forgive me for forgetting who originally posted it; Tumblr, maybe?) where the poster was talking about how it would've been so easy for SJM to have had Feyre and Rhys confess their love for each other in that moment, but by not doing so, it actually makes their declarations later on all the more powerful. They still do so much growing in their relationship just between the Starfall chapter and the infamous Chapter 55.

Speaking of which ... 

2. Chapters 54 and 55, A Court of Mist and Fury
After Starfall, these are my two absolute favorite chapters of the series. In case you don't remember, these are the chapters in which Rhys tells Feyre about his past and how he came to realize the mating bond between them, and then Feyre accepts the bond. I know the mating bond trope in both ACOTAR and the Throne of Glass series is a point of contention for a lot of people, fans and nonfans alike, but honestly, it's one of my favorite tropes in romance novels. There's just something so romantic about the idea that there's one person out there who is meant for you in every way, so I'm a total sucker for anything that resembles a soulmate trope. Sorry not sorry! And the way Rhys totally bears his soul to Feyre in chapter 54 ... it's probably one of my favorite passages in any book ever. And yeah, I'll address the elephant in the room and admit that the steamy times in chapter 55 are nice too, LOL! But really, I just love these chapters because they're the culmination of the romance that's been building between Rhys and Feyre since the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses, and after all that angst, it's nice to have a brief respite of pure fluff before things get dark and serious again.

3. "There you are. I've been looking for you." A Court of Thorns and Roses
The moment that started it all (although yours truly was totally unaware of it at the time). Some caught on right away that from the moment he entered the story, Rhys would be the true love interest in Feyre's story, but on my first reading of ACOTAR, I was firmly in the "No, Feyre, step away from the sinister guy dressed all in black!" camp. Of course, we learn in ACOMAF that this isn't just a throwaway line Rhys says to get the other fae to back off, but he truly has been searching for Feyre for some time. Ugh, my heart! 

4. Feyre's meeting Rhys's inner circle, A Court of Mist and Fury
This is such a fun scene to read because it's the first time Feyre meets Rhys's inner circle, and we get so much backstory for these characters that are going to play vital roles in the rest of the series. One of my favorite parts is when Feyre calls Cassian "Lord Cassian," because she doesn't know any better, and he absolutely loses it and can't stop laughing about it. Normally I don't get very attached to side characters in books, but SJM is amazing at introducing characters you can't help but love and making them all vital to the story.

5. Feyre, Rhys, and Cassian training, A Court of Mist and Fury
This is such an important moment in Feyre and Rhys's relationship, as well as her friendship with Cassian. I love their banter and how he opens up the conversation for her to share her feelings about breaking things off with Tamlin but doesn't push her for details. And when she does break down, both Cassian and Rhys are there to support her. I just love how the inner circle is this tight-knit support system that readily welcomes Feyre into the fold.

6. Feyre realizing the Bone Carver is taking the form of her future son, A Court of Wings and Ruin
This was a total fangirl moment for me that I loved for the sheer fluff. Rhys's reaction to Feyre telling him that she'd seen their future son was so adorable.

7. The meeting with the High Lords, A Court of Wings and Ruin
SO. MUCH. DRAMA. And tension! It's the first time Tamlin and Feyre have seen each other since she killed Brannagh and Dagdan, smashed the hell out of Ianthe's hand, and fled the spring court. But it's also another moment where we see all members of the inner circle standing up for each other against the likes of Tamlin, Beron, and Eris (and I'm sorry, but I'm still not convinced that Eris of all people deserves a redemption arc).

8. Feyre fighting against the Attor during the attack on Velaris, A Court of Mist and Fury
I love this scene because it's when Feyre really claims Velaris as her city and its people as her people to fight for and protect. And it gives her the chance to fight against and defeat the Attor, who's one of her biggest enemies from Under the Mountain. 

9. Feyre and Rhys reunite, A Court of Wings and Ruin
This was the scene ACOTAR fans had all been waiting for since that tortuous cliffhanger at the end of ACOMAF, and it didn't disappoint. Plus, it was kind of hilarious reading about Lucien's reaction to seeing Feyre as High Lady and then having Rhys call him on it.

And finally ...

10. Feyre and the High Lords resurrecting Rhysand, A Court of Wings and Ruin
Whoooo boy. I was a MESS reading this scene (and I'm telling you, it was no coincidence that Rhys literally died on page 666, LOL). I love how this scene mirrored Feyre's own death and resurrection scene in A Court of Thorns and Roses, though my one pet peeve with it is Rhys's rather flippant comment as soon as he's brought back to life: "If we're all here, either things went very, very wrong or very right." Like ... ugh, I don't know. His poor mate just had her heart ripped out and was sobbing over his dead body (and I was sobbing over the damn book!); would it kill him to be a little vulnerable and not play the sarcastic High Lord for a minute? But aside from that, I really do love this scene!

Now I'm nervous because I'm sure I'll look back at this post later and think, Oh my god, HOW could I have forgotten about this other moment that I loved?! Oh well. Another time. So are there any other ACOTAR fans out there? Do we share any favorite moments? What are some of yours? What are some things you're looking forward to or hoping to see happen in A Court of Frost and Starlight? Come fangirl with me!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: March 6, 2018
Source/Format: NetGalley/e-galley | I received a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are taken from the finished hardback.

I've made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do.

To Kill a Kingdom is sort of like Disney's The Little Mermaid meets Pirates of the Caribbean. It's a fairy tale retelling with a serious edge, and I had so much fun reading it! The story alternates between two main characters: Lira, a deadly siren princess known as the Princes' Bane ('cause she's literally stolen the hearts of seventeen princes), and Elian, a human prince turned pirate captain who is searching the seas for, you guessed it, Lira. Elian wants nothing more than to leave the responsibilities of princedom behind and spend his days with his pirate crew on the Saad, protecting the world from the sirens and searching for a way to defeat them, their queen, but most especially the elusive Princes' Bane. Lira has been raised to be ruthless and cruel, a worthy successor to her mother, the evil Sea Queen. But when Lira's worthiness to rule is called into question, her mother curses her to become a human. The only way to break the curse and win back her throne is to bring her mother Prince Elian's heart. After Lira, now human, is pulled from the ocean by none other than Elian himself, she enters into a shaky partnership with him in order to find the one thing that can end her mother's tyrannical reign.

Characters are the most important part of a book for me; if I don't like the main character or characters, there's a good chance that book will end up in my DNF pile. So I knew this book was going to be a wild ride with interesting characters when Lira literally ripped a man's heart out of his chest within the first ten pages. While this is a Little Mermaid retelling, Lira definitely isn't an Ariel knock-off. I love books where we get to see a character everyone sees as a villain transform into someone else––this is definitely Lira's journey throughout To Kill a Kingdom. Elian, on the other hand, for all his talk of being an infamous pirate, isn't quite as devious and swashbuckling as one might assume a pirate prince to be. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the relationship between him and Lira; I'm a total sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope, especially when there's banter involved. One of my other favorite characters in the story was Kahlia, Lira's cousin, because she brought out Lira's softer, more vulnerable side. Lira is supposed to be this cold, unfeeling monster, but through it all she still has affection and concern for Kahlia. I think it's Lira's love for Kahlia that keeps her from becoming a total monster like the Sea Queen.

I also have to talk about Alexanda Christo's writing style, which is lovely and lyrical and just a pleasure to read. She has a real knack for making settings come alive through her vivid descriptions, and I loved how she made each kingdom Elian and Lira visited so unique.

This is the first standalone YA fantasy novel I've read in a while, and the ending does a nice job of tying up all the loose ends. I am sad, though, that this is the end of Elian and Lira's story. I would have loved to see more of them, but overall, I'd say that as a standalone, To Kill a Kingdom comes to a satisfying conclusion. I hope we see more from Alexandra in the future!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Friday): Spring TBR

Well ... hi there. Long time no see! Clearly I've been falling on my New Year's resolution to keep up with blogging this year. Oops! BUT I wanted to come back to do this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic, Top Ten Books on My Spring 2018 TBR, because you guys. There are SO MANY amazing books coming out this spring! I had a hard time narrowing it down to just ten for this post, especially since I'm currently reading a slew of backlist books.

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

I've been buddy-reading this series with my former secret sister, Nicole, and it's been a fun experience. We read the first three books in just a few weeks, and I'm starting Frozen Tides tonight.

If you follow me on Twitter, you're probably well aware of my love for Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses series. So it should come as no surprise that A Court of Frost and Starlight, the novella that bridges the gap between A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming ACOTAR novels, is one of my most anticipated reads not just for spring but the entire year. I am SO ready for some more Feysand in my life! (And that cover, OMG!) I'm also going to be rereading ACOWAR in April in preparation for ACOFAS.

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

This new YA fantasy sounds right up my alley! I was lucky enough to get a copy via the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter, and I can't wait to start it!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Clearly there's a trend going on here, lol! Apparently this spring is all about YA fantasy for me. Furyborn has been one of my most anticipated books for months!

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

AHHH! Another Beauty and the Beast retelling! I don't think I'll ever get tired of these. Bring it on!

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak

This one sounds really unique and interesting, and WOW, gorgeous cover!

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I recently checked this one out from the library, and it's up next on my to-read list after I finish the Falling Kingdoms series.

Are any of you planning on reading these this spring? What books are you looking forward to?

Until next time,

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Very Merry Unbirthday

Hi, everyone! Long time no see! Today I'm hosting an Alice in Wonderland–themed discussion in honor of Ashley at Falling Down the Book Hole’s fifth blogiversary! I was so excited when she invited me to do a post! Be sure to stop by and say hi to her, and also check out her Alice in Wonderland-themed read-a-thon, which runs until February 15. 

Now, on to the discussion!

Characters I'd Invite to My Very Own Unbirthday Party

Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury. It should be a well-known fact by now that I love the High Lord of the Night Court. He stole my heart in ACOMAF, and I've been in love ever since. So of course he'd be number one on my invite list!

Morrigan from A Court of Mist and Fury. If I invite Rhys, I kind of have to invite Morrigan (and okay, probably the rest of the Inner Circle) by default. Actually, I'd probably hand party-planning duties over to Mor because she seems like she knows how to have a good time!

Aelin Galathynius from Throne of Glass. First of all, Aelin deserves a party after everything she's been through. And second, like Mor, she just seems like she'd be fun to hang out with!

Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter. Can you imagine how much fun these two would be? They'd bring all sorts of fun party favors from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and have everyone cracking up with their jokes and pranks.

Zuzanna and Mik from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. For even more entertainment, Zuzanna and Mik could put on their puppet show that they perform in DoSaB.

Let me know in the comments which fictional characters you'd invite to your own unbirthday party and why. And don't forget to drop by Ashley’s blog to say hi and congratulate her on five years of blogging! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: January 9, 2018
Source/Format: NetGalley/e-galley
**I received a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are taken from the finished Kindle edition.**

I want to bottle this discovery and carry it with me everywhere. Lose the fear, find my voice. So simple. And, yet, so rare.

What It's About
Steffi Brons is a sixteen-year-old with selective mutism—which means she literally can't control when her voice comes and goes—and severe social anxiety. Steffi has always relied on her awesome best friend, Tem, to support her, stand up for her, and help her navigate the social world of school. But this year, Steffi's and Tem's paths are diverging—Steffi is starting sixth form and Tem has chosen the college route—and without Tem around, Steffi finds herself adrift and unsure of where she belongs or how to navigate through school life. Enter Rhys Gold, a deaf boy who Steffi immediately connects with because she can communicate with him through British Sign Language. As the year progresses and Steffi and Rhys grow closer, Steffi finds herself taking small but victorious steps toward becoming more comfortable with world around her.

My Thoughts

Because anxiety doesn't care if you're happy or not ... Just like cancer doesn't care if you're happy. Or a broken leg. Or diabetes.

This review was really hard to write because A Quiet Kind of Thunder covers a topic that is very familiar and personal to me, and it did so in a way that I so appreciated because it was so real. First, I should start by saying that I don't know much about selective mutism or deafness, so I'll just have to echo other reviewers' thoughts here and say that it seems like the author has done her research on these subjects. What I want to talk about is Sara Barnard's spot-on portrayal of a character who has severe social anxiety. Wow. Just ... wow. I wish this book had been around when I was in high school, back when I didn't know that social anxiety was even a thing and was just drifting from one day to the next feeling so isolated from my peers and like there was some massive defect in my personality. I really hope that this book reaches readers like sixteen-year-old me, who desperately need to see that there are other people like them out there who are going through the same struggles, and that there are things they can do to help themselves not feel so scared and alone.

There were so many times while reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder that I felt like jumping up and down and shouting "Yes! Oh my god, someone else gets this!" Barnard captures perfectly those feelings that I and others with social anxiety have struggled with constantly: the feeling that basic, everyday things like saying hello to someone in the hallway or speaking to a cashier at a store are insurmountable hurdles; the feelings of jealousy when you see "normal" people in social settings interacting with others with what seems like total ease; the feeling like you're not normal, will never be normal, or that there's something inherently wrong with you that can never be fixed. It was so validating to  read about a character experiencing those feelings. Equally important were the moments when Barnard showed us Steffi's small victories: those moments of validation when she was able prove to herself that she could do the things that used to seem impossible to her, like answering a question out loud in class, or going to the grocery store by herself, or asking a stranger for help in a dire situation.
Mum has had an anxious daughter for sixteen years, and she still doesn't seem to get the concept of little victories. That spending and evening where I wasn't feeling sick every time someone asked me a question is actually a really big deal, and the fact that it might just be a one-off is the kind of thing I'm already worried about. There's no such thing as getting your hopes up if you're anxious. Little victories are everything in a world where worst-case scenarios are on an endless loop in your head.
The depictions of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and Steffi's treatment process for her anxiety were so realistic, and for that reason, so very important. Meds and therapy, while helpful, aren't magical cure-alls; even with these, Steffi realizes she has to actively take steps to help herself. And even then, there are still going to be days that are a struggle. I really appreciated that Barnard didn't shy away from these hard truths. There's a part in the book where Steffi is having dinner with her family and Rhys, and it's been a good day for her, and she says that if her life were a movie, this is were the movie would end—with everything perfect and happy. But Steffi's story doesn't end there, and Barnard goes on to show Steffi's continued struggles. I think that's important. It's important that Steffi doesn't do a complete 180 by the end of the book and turn into a super talkative, vivacious, charismatic person, because that's not how mental illness works. There's no switch that flips or magical pill that you take that turns you into a different person. Steffi does make improvements, but her anxiety doesn't just go away; it's still something she has to manage, and that's okay.
We know you find the world quite hard, and we know we can't make it easier for you, or make decisions for you. But you're growing up and you're learning how to navigate it in your own way. That's fantastic.

What I also loved about this book were all Steffi's different relationships: with Rhys, with her parents, and with her best friend, Tem, who all help her handle her anxiety and selective mutism in different ways. Steffi's parents are divorced and both remarried, so it was really interesting (and sometimes heartbreaking) to see the different parenting styles: one side is super supportive, and one, unfortunately, doesn't fully understand or accept that her selective mutism and anxiety truly are things that Steffi cannot fully control. Tem, who has served as Steffi's protector throughout their school years, is mostly understanding, but as they take different paths and begin to drift apart, Tem tends to throw Steffi's problems back in her face or make hurtful jabs. For those reasons, I both loved and was frustrated by Tem (though it's important to note that Steffi isn't a perfect friend either; she sometimes takes her for granted, because she feels that since Tem is outspoken and social, she doesn't need Steffi as much as Steffi needs her). And then there's Rhys. Their relationship was so adorable and one of my favorite parts of the book! Befriending Rhys is what initially gives Steffi the confidence to be bolder, but, importantly, she learns that she can't be totally reliant on him to make her better; after all, Rhys has his own disability and insecurities to deal with. But together they do help each other.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a sweet love story, a relatable coming-of-age story, and a truthful depiction of what it's like to live with an anxiety disorder. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I hope that other readers who can relate to Steffi's and Rhys's situations will find it, read it, and hopefully feel less alone because of it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mini Review Roundup: 2017 Reads

As I discovered while filling out the Year-End Statistics Survey last weekend, 2017 was a not a good review year on the blog. I only posted two reviews the entire year—two! Ouch! Granted, I was trying to get back into the swing of blogging regularly, so I didn't post a lot in general, but still. Must do better in 2018! Anyway, I was doing a little cleaning up behind the scenes—updating the layout, deleting drafts of posts I'm not likely to finish—when I noticed that I actually did have a few reviews I started to write but never got around to finishing. So, rather than toss them in trash bin, I decided to tweak them a little bit and make a compilation of mini reviews as a final send-off to 2017. 

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Read February 2017 | 

I discovered this book through the art of PhantomRin, who, as you might know, has created some amazing fan art for the Throne of Glass series as well as other YA novels. I came across this gorgeous picture she made of the two main characters from The Bird and the Sword, Tiras and Lark, and I was immediately intrigued because this imagining of Tiras totally gave me Heir of Fire-era Rowan vibes, with the long, silver-white hair.
The writing in The Bird and the Sword is so enchanting, and it was easy to get swept up in Lark's story. One of the most powerful elements of the book, for me, was how acutely I felt everything Lark was feeling––her loneliness and isolation that she felt because she is literally unable to speak, the despair over the seemingly impossible circumstances she and Tiras face, but also her love for Tiras and her stubborn determination to do whatever she can to save him.
While I definitely felt there were elements of the plot and the worldbuilding that could have been fleshed out a bit more––for instance, I'm still not entirely sure why Tiras had such a hard time shifting between his eagle and human forms––The Bird and the Sword makes up for these shortcomings with beautiful writing and a sweet romance.

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Read in June 2017 | 

I've been meaning to read more Sarah Dessen books ever since I finished Along for the Ride (which I loved) a few summers back. With its intriguing premise of summer romance amidst the flurry of wedding planning chaos, Once and for All seemed like the perfect book to try next. While it was a quick, enjoyable read, this one unfortunately didn't fully capture my interest. Ambrose's constant cheeriness and knack for landing himself in trouble was a bit annoying, and I never really felt 100 percent on board with the budding romance between him and Louna. I was far more interested in the chapters about Louna's previous relationship with Ethan than I ever was for the chapters about Louna and Ambrose, whose relationship felt somewhat forced. The Ethan chapters tugged at my heartstrings, and I sort of wish the book had just focused on that story instead.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Read October 2017 |  

To read my review of the original e-book version, click here.
I absolutely love the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor and cannot praise it highly enough. Seriously, why is there not a bigger fandom for these books, or the fantastic Strange the Dreamer, for that matter? Laini never disappoints. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this novella, and the romance between Zuzanna and Mik is too adorable for words. I really loved the illustrations and how they brought the story to life (even though these interpretations Zuzana and Mik didn't quite fit my own imagined versions of them). Some of the artwork even creeped me out a bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, since the series does have a touch of creepiness––I don't think I really appreciated before just how macabre Zuzana and Karou's habitual hangout, Poison Kitchen, is. The bonus comic at the end for the opening pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone has me seriously wanting the whole series in graphic novel form. It would be so amazing!

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Year-End Statistics Survey

A random fact you may not know about me is that I love making lists, filling out questionnaires, and taking surveys. When I was a kid, I used to get all those "about me" journals that had you answer questions like "What's your favorite color?" "What are your favorite movies?" and on and on, and I'd have a field day filling them out with my array of glittery gel pens. I actually still do pick up books like this from time to time (the Listography journals, anyone?), whenever I find one that looks fun to fill out. So, naturally, I had to do the Year-End Statistics Survey hosted by Brittany of The Book Addict's Guide and Andi of Andi's ABCs. I also plan on doing Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year survey too, so watch out for that later this week!

Without further ado, here are my 2017 reading stats. If you want to fill out the survey yourself, just click on the above links to Brittany's or Andi's blogs for a blank version with all the questions.

Number of books read…

  • Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 10
  • Between 400-449 pages: 5
  • Between 450-499 pages: 1
  • Over 500 pages: 4
  • Over 1000 pages: 0

Number of…

  • Audiobooks: 4
  • Rereads: 5
  • DNFs (did not finish): I didn't keep track of my DNFs this year, but I'm sure the total number's probably more than I would've liked. 
Number of books rated…
  • Five Stars: 7
  • One/Two Stars: 1
  • Number of authors met in 2017: 0
  • Number of book events attended in 2017:
  • Number of books you read in one day: It just occurred to me I could answer this question in two ways: the number of books I read in a single day, or the number of books I completed in one day, but on separate days. If it's the first, there were about nine books I read throughout the year that I completed in one day. Not entirely positive that's accurate, but it's my best guess. As for the total number of books I ever read in one single day, I think the most would've been two.
  • Number of books that made you cry: Only 4, surprisingly!
  • Number of 2017 books you have on preorder: 1. I only preordered A Court of Wings and Ruin. 

  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I didn't go on vacation this year, and since I moved, I guess the books I read in my new home state don't exactly count as being read far away from home (even though it sort of feels that way).
  • Book that took you the longest to read: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova took me a couple of months. 
  • Book that you personally connected with the most: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. 
  • Book that made you love the villain: I guess Rhys in ACOTAR? Lol! That's sort of a cheat answer though because it was a reread, so I already knew he wasn't really a villain. 
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: Caraval. The beginning was a bit slow, and I went into a reading slump and set it aside. I definitely do want to come back to it though!
  • Book you read on your birthday: I can't believe it, but I don't think I read anything on or around my birthday!
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): I totally rated The Unthinkable without finishing it. It was nonfiction, and I ended up skimming it through to the end because I got bored. 
  • Book you read in 2017 but already want to reread: A Court of Wings and Ruin, for sure!
  • Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: Also A Court of Wings and Ruin. It was my most anticipated book, and I love this series so much that I wish I could experience it all over again!
  • Most books read by one author this year: Three by Sarah J. Maas: Empire of Storms, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and A Court of Thorns and Roses. 

Happiest & saddest

  • Happiest: Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
  • Saddest: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Longest & shortest…
  • By page number: 
    • Longest: A Court of Wings and Ruin (704 pages)
    • Shortest: To Kiss in the Shadows by Lynn Kurland (86 pages)
  • By title:
    • Longest: The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why
    • Shortest: Wintersong and Hunted
  • From buying to reading:
    • Longest: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I originally bought it/started reading it nine years ago in high school, but I didn't finish it until this December.
    • Shortest: To Kiss in the Shadows and Snowed Over by Angie Stanton. Finished both of these within a couple hours of downloading the e-books.
Best & worst…
  • Average rating on Goodreads: 3
  • Books you read/your rating: 
    • Best (5 stars): The Historian, Night of Cake and Puppets, Strange the Dreamer, Empire of Storms, The Bird and the Sword, Big Mushy Happy Lump, and Hunted.
    • Worst (2 stars): The Edge of Everything
First & last…
  • Reads of 2017:
    • First: I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan
    • Last: Snowed Over by Angie Stanton
  • Books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right):
    • First: Dreamology by Lucy Keating
    • Last: The Black Jewels trilogy anthology by Anne Bishop
  • Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise:
    • Most disappointing: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
    • Biggest Pleasant Surprise: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
  • Fandom you joined & one you abandoned:
    • Joined: Strange the Dreamer
    • Abandoned: None. I stuck to all my fandoms this year.
  • Series you picked up & series you quit:
    • Picked up: The de Piaget series by Lynn Kurland
    • Quit: I didn't quit any series this year.
  • Most lenient & harshest ratings:
    • Most lenient: An Enchantment of Ravens. I gave it a 3 on Goodreads, but it's really more of a 2.5 to me.
    • Harshest: The Edge of Everything. This was my lowest rating of the year (2).
  • Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read:
    • Most hyped: Definitely A Court of Wings and Ruin
    • Furthest under the radar: Probably Snowed Over.

  • Book you read that is red: A Court of Thorns and Roses (reread)
  • Starts with X, Y, or Z: None, but I did have two that started with W: Wintersong and The Wood.
  • Book you hugged when you finished it: Probably A Court of Wings and Ruin, haha!
  • Book you wanted to throw across a room: Empire of Storms. But not in a "I hate this book" way. More like a "I hate this book, but I also love it so much and I need the next one right now because I can't believe SJM made my poor fictional children suffer so much" kind of way.
  • Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: I definitely wanted cake while reading A Night of Cake and Puppets!
  • Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (seriously, if you haven't read this yet, RETHINK YOUR LIFE CHOICES). :P
  • Furthest out of your comfort zone: Mm...maybe Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel? It's science fiction, which I don't normally read, but the premise was so interesting, and the audiobook was phenomenal!
  • Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself): The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon, though it wasn't exactly a recommendation that made me pick it up. I saw some fan art for it that was absolutely gorgeous, and that made me want to read it.
  • Forced yourself to finish: The Edge of Everything, Wintersong, and The Wood.
  • Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): Sarah J. Maas throughout the year, and then Naoko Takeuchi in December.


  • Number of posts in 2017: Ha! 17 posts in 2017!
  • Number of reviews posted this year: This is super embarrassing ... I only posted 2 reviews this year! Yikes! Must do better in 2018!
  • Post with the most views (posted in 2017): The House Cup Reading Challenge sign-up information post
  • Post you wish you could rewrite: Either of my reviews. I am so terrible at writing reviews, which is probably why I only posted two this year, haha! No matter how I feel about the book, I always find it incredibly hard to sum up and put those feelings into words.

Well, there you have it! It's really cool to look back on the year and see what I accomplished in my reading life and what I want to improve on this year. I definitely want to up my reviewing game, which was seriously lacking in 2017, and I want to hit my Goodreads reading challenge goal, which I'm being even more ambitious about this year (100 books!). 2018 is going to be a year of finally getting around to the books that have been gathering dust of my shelves; it's time I made reading a priority again! In fact, I think I'll go start right now ... or as soon as I can decide on which one I really want to read. Haha!

What about you all? Did you meet, exceed, or fall short of your reading goals for 2017? What are your new goals for 2018? Let me know in the comments! And if you filled out this survey, gimme your links so I can check them out! :)