Category Archives: Books

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) – Brigid Kemmerer

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) – Brigid KemmererTitle: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
Publishing Info: January 7, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: January 21, 2020

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen--until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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I seem to be in the minority having not really enjoyed this one as much as I had hoped. A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY was one of my favorite books of 2019 and I didn’t feel the excitement and the pull as much as I did reading the first book.

So A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN is split up into two POVs like ACSDAL, except this time it’s two total different characters. We see Grey and new face, Lia Mara, daughter of the queen of Syhl Shallow. I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much was because I really enjoyed the different voices of Rhen and Harper with Harper having modern speech and Rhen being more antiquated to simulate the more regal tone often adopted with high fantasy locations. I really enjoyed the contrasting narratives and the difference between the two also brought some levity to the book since Harper had to learn about Rhen’s world and Rhen had to understand things that Harper said that made no sense away from the “real world”. I really wanted more of that contrasting narrative from someone from Earth/the US and someone from Emberfall and I think that had really added a lot of character to the story that I was missing here.

I seemed to love Grey more as a side character than from his actual POV. He’s easy to empathize with but I liked the mystery of him more, I think, and I really liked seeing him through Harper’s eyes. His own POV just didn’t appeal to me as much and I was more bored than intrigued. Lia Mara was a nice new addition but I really would have liked to see her (did we see her in the first book?) or at least remember her so she was already an established character. Really what I would have liked to see would have been a handful of Rhen/Harper chapters to keep their story moving forward. I really, really missed them in this book and it didn’t feel the same without them. I felt like Harper’s voice was weaker seeing it from someone else’s POV and Rhen was essentially villainized and I don’t want another ACOTAR situation here, because that’s exactly what it felt like.

There is a twist at the end, but to be honest, I didn’t care for it. It’s tired and it’s been done and I would have much rather seen Rhen and Grey duke it out with other factors holding them back instead of …. this. I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s not where I was hoping this would go at all and I’m really not thrilled about it. I am hoping we get to see all four POVs, maybe, in the last book. (Is it the last?)

I really think this could have been a two-book series (which is what I thought it would be), cutting out a lot of traveling (you know how much I hate and get bored by journeys in books) and cutting down a lot of the random stops along the way from Emberfall to Syhl Shallow and back again. I just didn’t love the structure, I didn’t love the POVs, and I didn’t love the ending, so this was more of a disappointment to me. I really wasn’t engaged while reading and it was fine but I won’t be raving about it any time soon.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Grey. I loved Grey in the first book and I did still enjoy his character here, but I also felt like it wasn’t quite as interesting.
Left Me Wanting More: Consistency. There was just too much that was disconnected from the first book. I missed Rhen and Harper. I missed the connection to DC and the modern world.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I’d say it’s still worth the read but book three has a lot of work to do, in my opinion. I’m curious to see what will happen next!

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BOOKS LIKE A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN

             

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) – Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) – Seanan McGuireTitle: In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) by Seanan McGuire
Publishing Info: January 8, 2019 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Scribd
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Date Completed: January 29, 2019

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

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While I enjoyed IN AN ABSENT DREAM, I sort of felt like this prequel should maybe not have been the fourth book in the series. I didn’t mind that it was out of order chronologically but I felt more disconnected from Lundy after the last couple books (to be honest, I binge read the first three so I can’t remember which was she prominent in) and I would have liked to see her story earlier.

I liked how, unlike other children who had found doors, Lundy had family history with her door and the Goblin Market and how she was able to go there and back until ultimately the door was shut on her as well. It was also more interesting because she had some ties to the “real world” that she didn’t want to give up and felt an equal pull towards this new one. A lot of the other characters felt 100% better in their new worlds whereas Lundy’s sister gave her quite the reason to stay.

I really liked the feel of the world and the other characters. This felt like one of the lesser-developed portals compared to the other stories, possibly because Lundy kept going back and forth between the two. I would have like to spend more time there discovering more about the rules, spending time with some of the quests and tribulations instead of them being things that were just referenced.

This wasn’t my favorite story but it was still rather enjoyable. I know each story really does go back and it’s out of sequence chronologically speaking, but I almost wish there would have been one more story back and the school first and then heading back out to get more backstories of the other children at the school. I think I needed one more element to tie things back together, possibly.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The many worlds of this series. It’s always so interesting to see what each person’s different world is! I really love exploring each one and seeing the creativity behind them all.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. I just felt al little distant from Lundy in this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was earlier in the series.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I’ve really been enjoying this series! Plus they’re super quick reads and really fun on audio!

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BOOKS LIKE IN AN ABSENT DREAM

             

All the Books | Mysteries & Thrillers

I love looking at the different genres I read and how I tend to stick to my preferred genres or branch out of them little by little. I thought it would be fun to take a wide view of all of the books I’ve been reading in a specific genre and share some of my favorites while gathering up some more recommendations!

ALL THE MYSTERY/THRILLERS

I’ve always loved mysteries and I’ve moved around in the combination of the two genres, from cozy mystery to psychological thriller. Here are all of the mysteries and thrillers I’ve read from 2018 – present day! (January 2020)

COZY MYSTERY

FANTASY MYSTERY

SCI-FI THRILLER

ADULT MYSTERY/THRILLER (no specific hook)

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

POLITICAL THRILLER

HISTORICAL MYSTERY/THRILLER (or containing historical vibes)

YOUNG ADULT MYSTERY/THRILLER

I’m definitely always looking for new thrillers to read and I’m heading more towards the adult thrillers, especially psychological thrillers! I’m really open to any suggestions for excellent mysteries or thrillers in any sort of sub-genre so let me know if you have any favorite books, authors, or series that I must try!

The Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) – Emily Suvada

The Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) – Emily SuvadaTitle: This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada
Publishing Info: November 7, 2017 by Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Date Completed: January 15, 2019

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta's death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world's leading geneticist, and humanity's best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole's genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.

Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world's genetic tech. But it's too late to turn back.

There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.

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I read this book based off of some glowing reviews from Instagram friends, usually people whose tastes I align with, but THIS MORTAL COIL fell a little flat for me.

I’ve been really into sci-fi lately but I notice a trend with my sci-fi: I’ve been enjoying books involving space or time travel/alternate universes. Sci-fi books with other themes need just a bit more to hold my attention and THIS MORTAL COIL had a little bit of a wow factor but it also lost me in some places.

The big buzz about this book was the series of plot twists, some bigger than others. I was really impressed with the biggest twist, which I didn’t see coming until it was already on top of us. It was a really neat concept and well-executed! I liked that the book as well as the twist had a little something different — a step outside of some of the overused plots. Emily Suvada brought some elements to this book that were unique and creative, and I always love being surprised!

Where I wasn’t as thrilled was the characters. This is a problem I seem to have with a lot of dystopian-type settings. Everything is so life-or-death that everyone is so serious all the time and all of the characters fall a little flat, lacking some of the better depth that I’ve connected with in other books. Aside from being serious and determined, I didn’t really feel a lot from any of the characters. I love banter and just about every group has some sort of comic relief and I just hoped for more of a witty character or someone who lightened things up every once in a while. I can’t count on a romance bringing lightness to a book. I guess it works in some situations and for some readers, but I’d love to see more well-rounded personalities from everyone.

While the ending of the book was interesting, I’m not sure I want to continue the series. The characters just didn’t do it for me and it made me not as interested in their stories, despite the captivating plot. Unrelated, the audiobook narrator was…. weird. She had some mispronunciations for some super common words and it was just plain bizarre that no one corrected her or fixed it. When you pronounce “vaccine” oddly (emphasis on the first syllable), don’t know how to say “capillaries”, and don’t know how to pronounce “saline”… it just really threw me off it was just weird. (Maybe people do pronounce these differently? I’ve never heard it though.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Interesting sci-fi concepts. I was definitely interested by the plot and there were some good twists and clever concepts here.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. The characters were mostly blah to me. It was too dystopian/fast-paced and not enough time developing the actual characters for me.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I personally won’t be continuing the series and didn’t really connect with this one, but so many people absolutely loved it! I’d say check out some other reviews or just give it a try! It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great enough for me to really want to continue.

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BOOKS LIKE THIS MORTAL COIL

             

Scream All Night – Derek Milman

Scream All Night – Derek MilmanTitle: Scream All Night by Derek Milman
Publishing Info: July 24, 2018 by HarperCollins, Balzer + Bray
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: January 4, 2019

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about growing up and finding your place in the world, perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Running With Scissors.

Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.

But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.

With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?

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SCREAM ALL NIGHT was an enjoyable book! I’ve been loving books with dark humor like UNDEAD GIRL GANG and KILL THE BOY BAND and SCREAM ALL NIGHT seemed like the perfect recommendation for those books so I knew I wanted to give it a shot!

The beginning of the book started off with a bang (quite literally, actually. No pun intended, but well-fitting). Instantly there was some dark comedy, a wacky family, and some laugh-out-loud moments and I knew I would love this book! Then it kind of dissipated as the book went along and those laugh-out-loud moments were fewer and fewer. It wasn’t in a bad way, but the book got a little more serious than I had anticipated and overall, I had found myself wishing for a bit more hijinks and wacky, weird comedy. Dario’s brother was just a bit too weird sometimes and it lost some of that humor for me whereas other characters could have brought more of that comedy to the scene and didn’t. I mean, these were merely my anticipations of the book so I’m not critiquing that it should have been there, just that it was what I was hoping for. I think I was just hoping for more zany weird and sarcastic weird instead of “this guy may actually be delusional” weird.

The plot was actually interesting and had a great message, really coming together nicely in the end. Dario’s family is quite complicated and abusive (both physically and psychologically) so throughout the book, there’s a constant question of whether he’ll stick with the family that he had emancipated himself from now that his father is gone or continue to venture out on his own in the world. There are a lot of different layers of these familial relationships and I really appreciated how Derek Milman handled everything! It wasn’t just a mean parent or a jealous sibling, etc etc. There were a lot of different moving pieces that caused Dario’s family to fall apart as it did, or rather, converge on him in a sort of attack.

The horror movie aspect of the book was so much fun and I love how it played into everything! It wasn’t just that the family ran a horror production company — the business and movies themselves played big parts in everyone’s lives in different ways and it truly shaped the book and the characters. I loved that it sort of played its own role in the book and was used as a way for the characters to communicate with one another. Sometimes the movies made spoke words that the characters couldn’t. Other times the movies were used to heal. Sometimes the movies were moments of reaching out. It was really neat and very well-written how everything really did tie together.

I think I was just expecting to be a little more connected and didn’t anticipate the middle of the book to be so serious — I was just anticipating a lot more of that comedy and an actual light feel for the whole book and the book just wasn’t meant to be an LOL-fest the whole time. I did enjoy my read of SCREAM ALL NIGHT and it was a good book for me. I had a hard time knowing what I wanted to start for my first book of the year and I started and stopped a couple that just weren’t feeling right. This was the first book I started and wanted to finish and I’m definitely glad I read it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique realistic fiction stories. This wasn’t one I probably would have picked up on my own (I picked it up as a rec!) and it was really neat reading something like this!
Left Me Wanting More: Laughs. It wasn’t that the book needed more comedy, it’s just that it’s what I was expecting for some reason. I think I personally would have enjoyed it more if it was a constant riot of funny, but that was my personal expectation.

Addiction Rating
Add it to your TBR!

It’s definitely worth checking out and was a fun and also lovely read. I liked seeing this unique family and a different perspective that I don’t normally read.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE SCREAM ALL NIGHT

             

An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena

An Unwanted Guest – Shari LapenaTitle: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
Publishing Info: August 7, 2018 by Penguin Random House
Source: ALAAC18
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: December 30, 2018

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up.It's winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell's Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love. So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in for the long haul. The power's down but they've got candles, blankets, and wood--a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up--surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. They can't leave, and with no cell service, there's no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it's their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there's nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

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This was such an interesting read! I always love reading mysteries or thrillers where I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Shari Lapena did a great job at not revealing too much suspicion too early, and then once it started to arise, to cast it around really evenly to put a lot of doubt on the pages, never being too sure who to trust. At one point, I had no idea who was the murderer so I started to form all kinds of hair-brained ideas extending to psychological “everyone is the murderer” tropes that get played out so often. The ending was surprising and satisfying!

I also really loved this wintery setting. A snow storm was the perfect way to lock the guests of this hotel in, adding in the loss of power, unable to leave or maintain footprints because of the ice, and the antique nature of the hotel lending even less technology or modern conveniences, preventing the suspects from getting answers too easily. I also waited to read this book in the winter so it made it even more atmospheric (even though there wasn’t a lot of snow on the ground when I read it).

I feel like the narration could have been a bit smoother and it took me out of the novel just a little bit. Some of it felt forced and choppy (I sometimes have trouble when authors don’t use contractions in order to keep the narration formal when it just doesn’t seem natural) so that was really the only thing I didn’t connect with throughout the book.

It was quite a solid read with a good mystery and I really enjoyed it! I’m definitely interested in picking up more from Shari Lapena in the future and already have a few other titles from her earmarked!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Single location thrillers. I loved that this all took place in a little off-the-grid hotel. It’s fun to see the ways that authors have to eliminate technology like this in order to keep everyone in the same place and unable to phone for help. I love everyone stuck together to hash out the mystery!
Left Me Wanting More: Smoothness. There were a couple spots that felt a little forced and choppy. With a couple more smooth transitions, this would have been even better, but I still enjoyed it quite a lot!

Addiction Rating
Read it

I really liked this one! I love when I read a thriller and I’m already looking forward to more from the author.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE AN UNWANTED GUEST

             

End of Year Book Survey | 2019

One of my favorite bloggers (and people. She’s a gem!), Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, hosts a wonderful thing called the End of Year Book Survey. I had an absolute blast completing the survey for 20122013, 2014, 201520162017, and 2018 so I was excited to hop on board for the 2019 END OF YEAR BOOK SURVEY!

As usual, all links will take you to my reviews for these books so if you see something you’re curious about, check out my reviews!

2019 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 141
Number of Re-Reads: 26
Genre You Read The Most From: I actually have no idea! Goodreads used to help out with a nice pie chart and they don’t have it anymore. I’d probably say thriller or fantasy? Did I even read a lot of fantasy this year?

best-YA-books-2014

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  1. Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)Best Book You Read In 2019? Hands down, DARK AGE by Pierce Brown
  2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne. I was so excited and just didn’t connect with it at all.
  3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  Hmmm probably something like AN EMBER IN THE ASHES? I had previously DNFed it and tried it again this year and really enjoyed it! 
  4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I tried to plug WAITING FOR TOM HANKS some! It was just so cute.
  5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019? Started — KING OF SCARS. Sequel — DARK AGE. Series Ender — Probably DARKDAWN even though I didn’t love the ending.
  6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019? Christina Lauren! I may have started reading their books in 2018 but I really binge read most of them in 2019!
  7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Hmm I didn’t read outside my comfort zone a lot so I’ll get specific! I AM PILGRIM was a really great read for me and I don’t normally read political thrillers.
  8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? DARK AGE for sure!
  9. Lock Every DoorBook You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year? CALL DOWN THE HAWK! I almost re-read it immediately and decided to hold off to re-read when I do my annual Raven Cycle re-read! 
  10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019? LOCK EVERY DOOR by Riley Sager (I don’t know why but I love that pink! I bought the book just so I could have this crazy pink cover.)
  11. Most memorable character of 2019? I don’t know! Maybe Alex Stern from NINTH HOUSE? 
  12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019? Easily THE STARLESS SEA.
  13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019? Hmmm I feel like I don’t read many life-changing books. I’d say THE STARLESS SEA was also probably the most thought-provoking.
  14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? PRODIGY & CHAMPION by Marie Lu! I had been meaning to finish that series for yeeeears.
  15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019? I don’t keep track of quotes but basically anything from THE STARLESS SEA. So many book lover quotes in there.
  16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019? Shortest — BECOMING THE DARK PRINCE (Stalking Jack the Ripper novella), 64 pgs. Longest — DARK AGE by Pierce Brown, 704 pgs.
  17. Book That Shocked You The Most? DARK AGE (sorry, but it’s that good. It’s basically ever answer). Pierce Brown is NUTS.
  18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) Huh, I didn’t really ship anyone that hard this year. I liked some more quiet romances better.
  19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year? Zachary Ezra Rawlins and basically everyone in THE STARLESS SEA.
  20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? …. DARK AGE. Ha.
  21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.: A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY! I don’t think I’d have picked it up without bookstagram. Also WAITING FOR TOM HANKS.
  22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019? Nikolai but more? haha
  23. Best 2019 debut you read? WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey
  24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? DARK AGE, KING OF SCARS
  25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? WAITING FOR TOM HANKS was soooooo stinkin’ cute.
  26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019? DARKDAWN, I think. I can’t remember! I know I sobbed for something but I don’t remember what it was. 
  27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? THESE WITCHES DON’T BURN! That was a fun read and I feel like it didn’t get enough attention. 
  28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? DARK AGE, DARKDAWN. 
  29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019? Probably THE STARLESS SEA. 
  30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? CAPTURING THE DEVIL, THE SWALLOWS

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  1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019? I barely had time to keep up with my own!
  2. Favorite post you wrote in 2019? Oh gosh, I barely even wrote anything in 2019. I did write one discussion post about audiobooks! (Someone said Audiobooks weren’t books…….)
  3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2019? It wasn’t the most popular one but one of my favorites was my photo of DARK AGE and the Red Rising books in my best books of 2019 countdown! (see below)
  4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)? I was a vendor at Beaulitfulcon & Apollycon in 2019 and it was so much fun! 
  5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019? Probably the events above! I didn’t really do anything outstanding in blogging this year like I had hoped! 
  6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? Reading time for print books (I spent a lot of my reading time working) and just finding time to blog in general! I’m really, really trying to get better on that this year! 
  7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Hmmm probably the discussion I linked above.
  8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? Any of them? Ha! I haven’t been very involved in my blog/the community this year. 
  9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? New local indie bookstores! I need to visit a few but I’m excited for them.
  10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? Just my Goodreads goal for this year! I have more goals planned for 2020 😀

 

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looking-ahead-books-2015

looking-ahead-books-2015

  1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020? Oh, so many! Off the top of my head, I know I want to get to VENGEFUL this year.
  2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)? A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN (which I’m reading now)!
  3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?honestly have no idea! I haven’t been looking ahead a lot but I want to! 
  4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020? I guess A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN? I feel like 2019 had so many releases and 2020 is kind of a break year? 
  5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020? Just blog more consistently, come up with other posts besides reviews. Get back in the community and participate on Twitter and stuff. I’m trying to read more backlist/owned books, see movie/TV adaptations (or read them first if I haven’t read them yet).
  6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable): I haven’t read any yet! I haven’t had time to read ahead at ALL. 

Another big thanks to Jamie for organizing this survey! I always have so much fun with it every year and I am SO excited for what 2020 has in store for me!

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying #1) – Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying #1) – Karen M. McManusTitle: One of Us is Lying (One of Us is Lying #1) by Karen M. McManus
Publishing Info: May 30, 2017 by Delacourte Press
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: December 27, 2018

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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I feel like there was a TON of hype surrounding this book was it was first coming out in 2017. I’ve been sitting on this review for a while (really just because of time, not for any special reason) and the more I look back on, the less I feel about it. I don’t really get the hype and excitement over it and it makes me sad that another young adult mystery book that felt over simplified when it came to the characters and disconnected in order to preserve the mystery of “whodunnit”. The book was still an enjoyable read in a lot of ways, but didn’t quite grab or thrill me. It was complicated because the whole time, I felt like it couldn’t be the four main narrators and yet the book made you feel like it was one of them. The conclusion was surprising and yet made sense all at the same time.

I did like the character relationships and how they came together in this time of accusation. They really started to find themselves when they were put in the spotlight, the worst of everything and everyone exposed. Not everything was pretty but I also felt like the author did a great job at portraying the relationships of high school students (including familial relationships) without it feeling overly dramatic or hyperbolic. Every relationship really did feel real and accurate for the drama of the teenage years.

I wished I had felt a little more connected somehow because looking back, I just really don’t feel connected to this book at all. My initial reactions were that it was entertaining and enjoyable albeit a bit lacking in some ways, but now I just feel like I was disappointed by it. While initial reactions are definitely important, I also think it’s critical to see how you feel about a book after time has gone by. I don’t have the desire to pick up the next book in this series after sitting on this for a while. addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Close-quarters thrillers. I liked that this was a “Breakfast Club” type feel with a lot of the kids spending time together at school or together to make things interesting!
Left Me Wanting More: Depth. When I first read it, I remembered it being pretty enjoyable. Looking back, I feel like there wasn’t a whole lot there and I wish there was a lot more depth there. The ending was surprising still but I can’t help but feel like I’m a little let down now.

Addiction Rating
Try it

If you’re not a mystery/thriller reader, maybe you’ll enjoy this one more. I feel like I’ve already read so many thrillers, most of which are adult thrillers, and they just have a different feel.

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BOOKS LIKE ONE OF US IS LYING

             

2020 Bookish Resolutions

2020 BOOKISH RESOLUTIONS

I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions but I do like to make some bookish goals for myself for the upcoming year! It’s a nice way to try to help myself stay on track for reading, stay organized, and stay engaged a little bit more!

  1. A Goodreads goal of 100 books | Last year I set my reading challenge goal to 100 books since I figured that would be easily attainable. I like to be able to set a goal that I know I can accomplish and see how much more I can read over that because it’s a lot more fun and way less stressful when you’re ahead on your reading goal instead of behind! In 2019, I ended up reading 141 books, which was the most I’ve ever read in a year, so I’m expecting to do about the same this year. It’s just a lot more fun when I’m 20 books ahead of my goal instead of worrying about constantly staying on track!!
  2. Read more books that I already own/backlist titles | We’re calling it “#beatthebacklist2020” on Instagram but the general goal is to read more books that we already own and/or those backlist titles on our TBRs. I made a list of all of the books I own and haven’t read yet, including old ARCs and old Netgalley/Edelweiss titles (although they wiped out my Edelweiss downloaded list once they switched to the new version…. I do have a list on Goodreads though so I’ll definitely still add those). Since I’m mostly listening to audiobooks, I’ve been trying to see what’s available through the library/Hoopla/Scribd to help me out! Unfortunately the ones without audiobook versions/versions that are easily available, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to those, but I’ll consider unhauling things either halfway through the year or at the end of the year!
  3. Curb my bookish spending | I haven’t really done a lot of book-buying recently since I have so many books that I still need to read and no time to read them. Most of my book-buying is pre-ordering from my favorite authors or buying books after I finish the audiobook and want a physical copy. I bought a few subscription boxes last year for some of my favorite fandoms and I’m glad I have some of the items but I also feel like I really could have done without them. I don’t really use merch in my book photos anymore so it’s really just sitting around otherwise and I feel like I could have saved some money instead of buying things because I was tempted. This year I’m going to try to restrain myself and remind myself that I don’t really DO anything with the merch. The thing I did spend the most money on was enamel pins but most of them were purchased in sales, so I may allow myself to still buy some things on sale!
  4. Unhaul things I don’t use/don’t need | It’s really hard for me to part with stuff sometimes but I’ve been working on unhauling a lot of stuff lately! There are so many things that I forgot about that I haven’t been missing so I’ve been selling/trading on Owlcrate’s buy/sell/trade Facebook group or selling on Mercari. Books are a little harder because most people don’t seem to want to buy old titles so I may keep some of those to bring to the used bookstore, eventually. I just don’t have one readily near me so it’s a big decision to make my way out to a good one haha.
  5. Stay more active in the bookish community | I miss being really involved in the book community!! I used to be so active with blogging and Twitter and keeping up with new releases and I spend so much time working on Novelly Yours stuff at home that I’ve really fallen away from that activity. Plus with my Enneagram 5 personality, I just tend to remove myself more completely rather than pop in here and there because it feels weird returning, like I don’t belong, and I feel fake for some reason. I mean, it’s still me and it’s still my blog so I don’t know why I feel like that, but it would be nice to get back into it, wherever I fit nowadays! I want to get back on Twitter (which was last year’s goal that didn’t happen), even if it isn’t a lot and try to stay more updated on blogging (which was also last year’s goal which also kind of didn’t happen) and interact on Instagram!

So those are my big goals for 2020! Not too huge but ones that still require effort and putting time aside to accomplish some of them. What are your bookish goals for the new year?

The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea – Erin MorgensternTitle: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Publishing Info: November 5, 2019 by Penguin Random House, Doubleday Books
Source: Amazon
Genres: Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Date Completed: September 2, 2019

Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: The Night Circus, The Night Circus

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

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THE NIGHT CIRCUS is one of my favorite books and I’ve been waiting so long for a new Erin Morgenstern book that I was SO NERVOUS for THE STARLESS SEA! I also have a tendency to hype myself up and sometimes overhype myself for some of my favorite books so it was quite the effort to let myself get immersed in the book and not get ahead of myself! Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about because Morgenstern’s master prose easily wrapped me inside of the pages of this book and I was instantly swept away.

THE STARLESS SEA is basically a love story to books, reading, writing, and anything literary. There are so many amazing quotes about books and literature here that it was easy for me to love on so many different levels, but it wasn’t just about the characters being book lovers. The concept of stories made up this book on a magical level, adding fantastical elements to storytelling in the real world. It’s really kind of impossible to describe but Morgernstern once again nails that dreamy element of magical realism that lets you peek behind the curtain into the magical undercurrent of the normal world. It’s truly mesmerizing and it was such an incredible thing to read.

There’s quite an array of characters in the book, all of which were lovable, really. All of them have their flaws but I absolutely loved following the story of main character Zachary Rawlins. He sort of reminded me of a Quentin-type character (from The Magicians) except not quite as tragic and not quite as… erm… whiny, I guess (sorry, Q. It’s a common complaint). He’s a book-lover, has a studious mind, is a little more reserved, and just has something about him that reminded me of Quentin, which is funny considering I read later on that Erin Morgenstern actually kind of borrowed the concept of the bee-key-sword combination from Lev Grossman and The Magicians!

It’s kind of funny how THE STARLESS SEA seems to leave me wordless and tongue-tied when it’s so beautifully written but it’s slightly indescribable and so hard to review! I think the beauty of the book speaks for itself. I loved the stories within the story that linked back to different stories that represented things in real life which were also magical. (See? Impossible.) Everything just folded back in on itself and connected so perfectly and it was a truly wonderful read.

 

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Bookish magic. Can it really get much better than magic inspired by and revolving around books and stories? I don’t know if it can.
Left Me Wanting More: Time with the ending. There is a point in magical realism books where I have a hard time merging the fantasy and reality and that point in THE STARLESS SEA really came towards the end for me. I just wanted a biiiiit more time to spend with some of the magical elements to really feel grounded with them and know that this was real.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I know that this book isn’t for everyone BUT if you enjoy magical realism or think you might get along with this book, I do highly recommend it! The writing is definitely more etherial.

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BOOKS LIKE THE STARLESS SEA