Discussion: Getting Real With Ratings!

discussion

GETTING REAL WITH RATINGS

I’ll admit it. I’ve padded a few ratings in my day. Whether because I loved the author and wanted to rate the book better, because I wanted to enjoy the book more and bumped it up, or just felt bad rating a book lower, I’ve added an extra half a star (or a whole star) to a rating before just because it felt right… but apparently 2017 is the year of rating harshly!

Well… I haven’t been harsh per se. I’ve just been putting my real feelings more out there rather than saying a book was good and giving it four stars. I still have had a lot of four-star reads this year but I wasn’t afraid to rate some books three stars, even if I did enjoy them. A brain-candy read with little plot and things that bothered me didn’t need to be rated fours stars, and that’s okay! Even if I enjoyed a book, it doesn’t mean it’s the best book out there.

But what’s been most noticeable lately is my lack of five-star reads. Aside from re-reads I haven’t had… ANY this year??? I have had some super, super solid 4.5 star reads that I rounded up to 5, so we can count those (like STRANGE THE DREAMER, HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA, and  A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC) but my other five-star reads have all been re-reads! And okay, I did pad WIRES AND NERVE a little bit because I adore Marissa Meyer and it hits all my feels being in the Lunar Chronicles world again. But where are all my five-star reads???

Sometimes I wonder if it’s the books. Am I not choosing the right books? I actually feel like I’ve been doing a better job of reading what I really want to read instead of what a publisher has offered me, and I’ve been doing better at turning down review copies or only requesting ones I really know I want, so that should actually help me pick better reads, which in a way I guess it has. I’ve had oodles of four star books and maybe about the same amount of threes but they were more books that I enjoyed but didn’t find feels with versus books I felt more disappointed in.

So maybe it’s just me! Has five years of reading gotten me all jaded about the books I’m reading? Am I expecting too much? Or are authors so amazing that they’ve set the bar so high that nothing compares until it blows me away? Or maybe I’ve read TOO MANY BOOKS and I’m having a hard time finding original ideas anymore.

I miss reading a book and being like OH. HECK. YES. I’M LIVING FOR THIS RIGHT NOW. It’s been so long! I think STRANGE THE DREAMER is my best read this year and I was definitely living for that book but there were just a couple minor hang-ups where I was ever-so-shy of 100% in love with it. I’m sure there are still five-star books out there for me and I will never quit the hunt to find them! And I’ve still read a lot of really great books this year too. Just because they weren’t five-star reads doesn’t mean I didn’t love them! I can’t wait for that feeling of being wholly enveloped in a story again though!

What are some of your five-star rated books from this year of reading? What would you recommend? Do you ever have problems where you feel like nothing is catching your whole heart and soul?

As Seen on Bookstagram | Subscription Boxes

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

I’ve dabbled in a few bookish subscription boxes and certainly have my favorites. Owlcrate is one of the largest, most-respected, and well-establish bookish sub boxes and the one I purchase from the most! I love the care that goes into each box and each item is from a high-quality bookish shop. This was an unboxing for September’s Owlcrate which was the theme of Mythical Creatures. I’m not a big creature person but I had (correctly) guessed the book which I knew I wanted and the promise of a Book Beau lured me in (before the manufacturing drama hit)!

I wanted to share a little more about this Instagram post on my blog today because I wanted to talk a little bit more about my experiences with purchasing subscription boxes! If you want to see more about the items in the September Owlcrate box, head on over to the photo above for links to each shop and a description of each item! 

I can’t even imagine what it’s like to own a subscription box company! I’m a perfectionist at heart and I want EVERYONE to be happy ALL THE TIME and with so many different items in a box that are all a surprise, it’s impossible to keep every single subscriber happy, but it’s also part of the charm and part of the fun. I do like surprises so I keep on coming back but I also am the worst kind of bookish  box subscriber because I’m so picky about my fandoms! I’m the black sheep on some of the bigger ones, haven’t read others, and then there are times when I’m subscribing for my fandom and it’s for an item that I don’t like or won’t use. It’s funny because one of my favorite boxes was less specific fandom items, more geared toward the theme and I loved it because I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any fandoms.

I don’t like writing negative posts so I don’t want this to feel like a negative thing about this box. It’s more of a general subscription box + me post. I’ve been having a hard time justifying spending money on subscription boxes lately. While I can always appreciate the quality of the items selected for any given sub box, IT’S ME. It really is. I usually pick out two or three things that I’m excited for out of … five? six? seven items? So it’s starting to get discouraging when I feel like I’m giving more away than I’m keeping, and again — that’s no fault of sub box company. I’m too far outside of a “normal” subscriber to appreciate everything. I’m outside of the fandoms, or not wanting jewelry, or not using bath items, or not wanting coin purses. I mean, this is why my friends tell me I’m hard to buy for at the holidays HAHA.

It really is me, and I know that. I but I think I may have to start saving my pennies and NOT subscribing and then seeing if there are any leftover boxes or finding a way to make a trade if there’s an item I really, really want. I know Owlcrate has a Buy/Sell/Trade group — for their items AND other young adult books/merch/sub boxes — and I’m a member of it but I’ve never actually done any buying/selling/trading, although it is appealing. But that involves me gathering up all those items which I just don’t have time for. I also have a hard time selling the items, which is silly but also not. I paid for the items so it only makes sense to be monetarily compensated for them if someone else wants them… But I also hate selling another shop’s item. I don’t feel like it’s mine to sell and often times, those items are sold for way more than the shop might retail them which just feels icky. I get that part of it is to cover shipping costs but sometimes it’s not and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do that. I’m more likely to engage in a trade but then I’m being picky about what I’m trading for and we’re right back where we started!

One thing I have enjoyed is using some of those items as bookstagram props, even if I won’t actually use them for their intended purpose! The Pride & Prejudice headband from Storiarts was lovely but I surely can’t pull that look off, so I’ve been using it as a literary background to add a touch of black and a splash of words to my photos! I’ve also used a gorgeous Harry Potter-inspired necklace as a prop for some Harry Potter photos and a nautical necklace for some ocean/sea themes. I absolutely love them both but I don’t really wear jewelry and I never wear necklaces so this was a fun way to still put those items to use even if I’m not wearing them.

When it comes down to it, I’ve decided to cancel most of my subscriptions and just buy the box after the fact (if I can) unless it’s something fandom-specific. Nerdy Post’s boxes are based off of specific fandoms (like this Harry Potter one!) each month so it’s hard to be disappointed, but that’s resulted in me skipping several months because of fandoms I’m not a part of. It feels more satisfactory but I have to be more vigilant about unsubscribing and resubscribing when I need to. I’ve been more happy with one-off boxes like ones from The Bookish Box where they appeal to a specific book or fandom like their Princess Bride box or their Harry Potter House box! I loved both of those and almost all of the items in there so it was so much easier to feel like I was getting my money’s worth there!

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

when you forget to unsubscribe to a specific month and take a photo anyway… 

I love the idea of subscription boxes but I think I need to know when they might just not be for me. I’ve been leaning more towards boxes with specific fandom-themes that I know I’ll love and I’ll sign up for that surprise, but it’s so hard to have a box appeal to all of my fandoms when they’re either so small in number or so far spread in genre!


Do you regularly subscribe to any bookish sub boxes? What are some of your favorites? Do you have the dreaded fandom problem like I do? (Aka being too picky haha!)

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

The Wicker King – K. AncrumTitle: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Publishing Info: October 31, 2017 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Psych/Mental Health
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 30, 2017

The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

bookreview1

This is another book that’s so unique that it’s hard to rate! I didn’t fall tooootally head over heels with it but at the same time, I absolutely could not tear myself away for so many reasons. The book was so creative, obsessive, and incredibly unique and I loved every bit of it!

The book gets DARKER as it goes on. No, literally. The pages start out normal and then doodles get added along the edges, gathering until the middle is a shade of gray when the book is closed, and as things get darker in the book, the actual pages turn to black. It’s a VERY cool effect that’s immediately eye-catching and makes you want to tear through to the end and see why it’s so dark. Gimmick to get you to pick it up? Maybe. Did it work? Abso-freakin-lutely. This book release date is in October and and I threw my TBR aside to read it to read it in June!

The pacing is intense! Each page is only a page or two long, maybe three at the most, so you finish one and say “just one more” and before you know it, you’ve inhaled the whole book. If I hadn’t been reading this on my lunch hour at work, I probably would have read it in a single day. The action always keeps moving forward and with such quick snippets, you just feel like you can keep reading and reading and won’t want to stop!

The obsessive nature of the characters will make you obsessed as well. August and Jack are very obsessive and co-dependent (not like, judging them here, that’s truly a point that’s made in the book). This nature only intensifies throughout the book resulting in destructive actions on many levels. The obsessiveness throughout the book really pushes that constant urgency and makes it so you can’t put the book down.

I loved the writing of this story in so many ways and K. Ancrum brilliantly structured this book to keep the reader hooked. I ended up not quite loving the end of the book but I’m not totally sure why. I think it was just all of these things leading up to something B I G and there was a big thing that happened in the end but I guess it wasn’t quite what I was hoping or expecting and I also wanted something a little bit … more. I couldn’t tell you what it is but something felt like it was missing!

This book will definitely be one that readers just tear through and I’m interested to hear everyone’s else’s reviews! I think it’s going to be a big buzz book this fall and I can’t wait to hear what readers think of it!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Visual writing styles. That makes no sense but I don’t know how to say it. I loved how the darkness of the book really affected the tone of the novel (or followed it). Like the physical, dark, black pages, not just the feel. It’s so need to see a physical manifestation of the words on the pages!
Left Me Wanting More: Horror? I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I keep expecting YA mystery/thrillers to end more… horrifically. I mean I don’t want that to happen to people in real life but I guess I’m just looking for more of something I wouldn’t even think of and I guess being a mystery reader all my life, there’s not a lot that surprises me anymore. I keep feeling like the endings are just missing something and I don’t quite feel satisfied.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book is a wild ride with a unique relationship, action-packed pages, and some cool visual effects.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE WICKER KING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Review in a Tweet | The Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is more Janet Evanovich! I decided to jump into the Lizzy & Diesel series because I’m in such a witchy/magical mood and Halloween/fall seemed like the perfect time to read them! (Yes, I’m already considering it Halloweentime.)

I actually binge-read the first three books in the series (the three that are currently published) but I’ll just post the one tweet and talk about the three of them together!

 

So these books are total brain candy and I love listening to Janet Evanovich books while I’m working. They’re fun, fast, and super easy listening audiobooks! I did like the magic involved here where I didn’t enjoy it when Diesel appeared in the Between the Numbers Stephanie Plum books but so many of Janet’s different series follow the same character patterns and her heroines are really all the same. It’s fun to keep reading them but it doesn’t really differentiate between series and they even use the same catch phrases sometimes.

Either way, I’ll continue to read them because they’re easy and enjoyable! I just know I’m not going to receive anything ground-breaking.

Oh, and I’m so over the monkeys in every series. Why.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain ReidTitle: I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Publishing Info: June 14, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 6, 2017

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page.

bookreview1

WOW, this book was really interesting! First, I love that it was short. It added to the pacing that it was a book you knew you could race through and especially once things got towards the middle, I couldn’t put it down.

I also have to hand it to Iain Reid for how this book was structured. Obviously it’s a thriller that has been advertised as having a shocking ending so I’m not giving anything away there, but it was something that certainly surprised me and I immediately went back to the beginning of the book to check out how everything had started again because I needed to retrace my steps! The structure was excellent and it was so interesting to read! The ending was definitely shocking and I totally didn’t see it coming, somehow. A lot of times, I’m able to pick up on “obvious” things and piece together the end of a mystery or thriller but this one really got me. Looking back, I should have known but I guess that was the true nature of the book.

I was still confused about a few things after immediately finishing but once I started to look back on the whole book, it just became more and more clear to me. There were lots of clues tucked all over the place but you’d never know they were there if you didn’t know to look for them, but then seeing them again just made everything click. It was very creepy at times, definitely thrilling, and quite an interesting read!

Once I finished the book, I actually went back to read other people’s reviews as I often do and there was something that totally surprised me that I didn’t even pick up! It’s kind of a spoiler, in my opinion, so I won’t mention it outright here but you can check out my review on Goodreads to check out the spoiler within spoiler tags if you’re interested! Basically, it was another little surprise of the book that I didn’t even notice until I started reading other people’s reviews and it was neat to have the book STILL keep going after I had finished!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Super twisty thrillers. This book got a little weird and a whole lot confusing but kind of in the best possible way. I loved how twisty it was and that I was never really quite sure what as going on!
Left Me Wanting More: Direction. I DID like that I didn’t know what was going on but I’ll admit that I felt a little lost at times. I love getting swept away with a book but sometimes it did feel like a bit much.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

The book is super short and a fast read. It’s curious, interesting, and totally kept me on my toes!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors and I’m so obsessed with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS! I was so excited to read THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, which is the very first Stephanie Perkins book (aside from short stories) outside of the Anna-verse! I don’t normally read horror but I do enjoy books exactly like this — a little mystery, a little thriller, and pretty much a 90s slasher movie! I’m way too chicken to read scary horror but I do love the thriller murder-mystery!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!Title: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 9, 2017
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.


ABOUT STEPHANIE PERKINS

Stephanie Perkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. She has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. Stephanie lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband. Every room of their house is painted a different color of the rainbow.

BOOK-INSPIRED CANDLE: THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Ever since I started making candles, I’ve been so much more in tune with the sensory notes in the books that I read. I feel like aromas in a book are easily skipped over and forgotten once a reader has finished because noticing and committing a smell to memory is such a unique experience that it’s harder hang onto if you haven’t experienced it first hand. I know at least for me, when a book draws on a familiar smell, I’m instantly hit with memories and nostalgia that have the potential to tie me to a book more than any other scenic description so I feel like those smells that add to the atmosphere are not to be overlooked!

I usually try to pick out specific scent descriptions in books, but when you’re reading a murder mystery like THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, so many of those scents tend to be… unpleasant haha! But not to worry — there was still plenty more to choose from even if they weren’t specifically mentioned.

THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE takes place in the fall, specifically around Halloween, and fall scents are my FAVORITE scents. The book also takes place in the cornfields of the midwest, so there are a lot of outdoors, fields, and corn inspirations to draw upon. The overall feel of this candle is Halloween in the midwest, with delicious fall spices cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, a touch of softer harvest fruits, fallen leaves, hay, and grain. It’s a lovely overall combination and I had so much fun making this candle for the book and one of my favorite authors!

FRAGRANCE PROFILE: 

Top notes: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
Middle notes: fallen leaves, hay
Base notes: harvest fruits, grain

So what do you think?! Which scents do you think are the strongest sensory inspirations? Which are your favorites?


Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour stops for THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE! I’m smack in the middle so make sure you check out the posts that are already up and follow along with the rest of these amazing posts!

Week One:
September 18 – Mostly YA Lit – Author Q&A
September 19 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
September 20 – Peace Love Books – Review
September 21 – Lost in Lit – Book Photography
September 22 – Novel Novice – How You’re Going to Feel While Reading TSIYH
 
Week Two:
September 25 – Stories & Sweeties – Review
September 26 – In Wonderland – Book Photography
September 27 – Book Addict’s Guide – Bookish Candle
September 28 – YA Romantics – Horror Movie Quiz
September 29 – Twirling Pages – Author Q&A
 
Week Three:
October 2 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – 5 Reasons to Read TSIYH
October 3 – Oh the Book Feels – Review
October 4 – Andi’s ABCs – Author Q&A
October 5 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Event Recap
October 6 – YA Bibliophile – Top Fall Activities as Inspired by TSIYH
 
Week Four:
October 9 – ButterMyBooks – Author Q&A
October 10 – BookCrushin – Top 10 Horror Villains in Movies & YA
October 11 – The Wednesday Blog for Books – Review      
October 12 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Dream Casting
October 13 – Don’t Fold the Page – Review

GIVEAWAY

There are TWO exciting giveaways for my stop on the blog tour today! The first is through Penguin for a chance to win a copy of the book! See rules and details below and enter the first Rafflecopter form for you chance to win!

BOOK GIVEAWAY (from Penguin)

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 18, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 16, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 18, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CANDLE GIVEAWAY (from me)

The second giveaway is my own personal contribution to this blog tour stop for the candle inspired by this book! The candle giveaway is for one 4oz tin called “In the Killing Fields”. Open to US entries only. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. Candle giveaway open from 9/27/17 through 10/3/17 . Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Midnight Tales Blog Tour | Favorite Books With Fairy Tales + Folklore

I’m so excited to participate in a unique blog tour for THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Barudgo, which in case you haven’t heard is a collection of original Ravkan fairy tales & folklore! I absolutely love that Leigh Bardugo goes so deep into her worlds as to create entire histories and legends relating to her people, places, and beliefs. It’s one of the most amazing things about world-building, how these fictional worlds can have such rich history and it really makes these worlds feel entirely real!

For my post today, I wanted to share a few more books that I’ve loved that contain rich world-building all thanks to inclusion of the world’s legends, tales, and myths! They’re so much fun and provide such amazing background that if you love Leigh Bardugo’s books, you’re sure to love these as well!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Midnight Tales Blog Tour | Favorite Books With Fairy Tales + FolkloreTitle: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 26, 2017
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


BOOKS WITH THEIR OWN MIDNIGHT TALES

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor | Laini Taylor’s world-building is also incredible and fans of Leigh Bardugo will love her books! There’s so much rich history that dates back soooo many years in DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and the timing of every reveal about the history and legends couldn’t be more perfect!


THE THIEF by Megan Whelan Turner | The Queen’s Thief series has some really interesting, continuous tales of the world’s legends, myths, and gods and it provides such a rich backbone for the series! These dark and curious tales were some of my favorite parts of the whole series.


THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson | I’m a huge Brandon Sanderson fan and I saved his largest series for last as I worked my way through his entire collection. THE WAY OF KINGS has some SERIOUS connections to the history of the gods and I love the way the characters learn about these legends and how it affects their stories throughout the books!


HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling | You really can’t go wrong with Harry Potter! I adore all of the little extras that we get for this series, including THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, which include fairy tales from the wizarding world, not to mention all of the folklore we learn throughout the series. It’s things like that which allow readers to fall so far into this world that we feel like it’s real!


THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss | Patrick Rothfuss includes so much folklore in his books and I love how detailed everything is! The legend of the chandrian is enough to scare all of us and there are so many other little legends and stories that create such a rich world!


A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin | And of course, one of Leigh Bardugo’s inspirations, A Song of Ice and Fire! These books are long, but so worth it. The amount of different legends, myths, histories, stories, tales, you name it. This world gets built from the ground up so many different times and it’s so incredible to see this detailed world. I have friends whose favorite characters aren’t even alive at the point that this series takes place — that’s how detailed the histories and legends are! It’s a very cool concept.


Which books or series hold some of your favorite myths, legends, and fairy tales? Don’t miss THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS, on sale now, and if you haven’t read any of Leigh Bardugo’s books yet, start at the beginning with SHADOW AND BONE and go binge read. It’s okay. I’ll wait.

 

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

Top Ten Tuesday: September 26, 2017 – Ten Books With Characters Who Are Literal Monsters

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic: 
Ten Books With Characters Who…  

This was such a fun topic to choose from and I kind of had a hard time picking what I wanted to do! I don’t know how but I landed on characters who are literal monsters. It’s interesting reading books about characters who aren’t quite human and this seemed like a fun choice!


THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab | Recent read THIS SAVAGE SONG features a main character who is actually one of the monsters that terrorizes the city. Well, this particular one doesn’t terrorize but it’s interesting to see from a monster’s point of view!

TALON by Julie Kagawa | It was neat to see a book from a dragon’s perspective! A fun take on a dragon book and an all-around enjoyable read.

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey | There are a few different “species” of creature in this book and it was neat to see them as prominent characters! It made me wonder about some of the others and what their real histories might be.

STRANGE THE DREAMER  by Laini Taylor | This book was SO beautiful and I adore Laini Taylor’s writing! I loved both POVs and it was so interesting to see the “human side” and the “monster side”!

SHALLOW GRAVES by Kali Wallace | When Breezy “wakes up” after death, she’s… not quite human, and she discovers a whole underbelly of other-worldy creatures and things in this book!

HELLHOLE by Gina Damico | Featuring… the actual Devil, and boy is he a piece of work! More rude than evil, I’d say.

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor | Laini Taylor is just so good at combining and mixing the “real” world and the “monster” world. I loved reading about chimera, which was something I would not have guessed I’d love.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black | This was such a fun take on a vampire story that didn’t feel like TWILIGHT. I wasn’t super blown away but it was an enjoyable read all the way through!

HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER by Lish McBride | This was SUCH a fun read about all things paranormal, from magic to shapeshifter and everything in between.

SWEET by Anna Banks | This was such a fun take on a classic zombie story. It made it a bit more real and was a fun, campy-type book!


What are some of your favorite monster books? I didn’t realize I had so many that would qualify!

A Book and a Candle | Harry Potter + House of the Wise (In the Wick of Time)

I was chatting with my dear friend Andi from Andi’s ABCs the other day, mulling over what kind of new blog post I could possibly come up with for my blog. After blogging for five years and feeling like I’m repeating so many things and having candles take over my life with Novelly Yours (in a good way), I just don’t have as much time or energy to create some of those fun graphics and infographics that I used to love to spend hours and even days creating! Book and a Beverage really kind of died out with so many people having already done it and me having a hard time keeping track of blog posts sometimes so she suggested I switch things up to fit my life with more of what I’m doing now… and do a little switch from books & beverages to books & candles! I already post quite a bit of books & candles on my Instagram account and it seemed like the perfect way to really tie everything back together!

Here on A Book and a Candle, I share two of my favorite things! I started my own candle shop about two years ago and ever since then, my candle addiction has only grown exponentially! I share a lot of my photos on Instagram but not many really make it to my blog so this seemed like a great opportunity to talk some more about books and candles and how one enhances the other!

Today I’m sharing a photo of my newly purchased candle from In the Wick of Time! I had purchased two mini tins in a holiday sale from Kaylan’s shop last year and loved her fragrances so I finally broke down and bought some more after her most recent restock, and of course, I had to have her take on the Ravenclaw candle!

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

THE BOOK: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (20th anniversary edition) | Goodreads | Review
THE CANDLE: House of the Wise from In the Wick of Time | Buy it here
Candle scents: Earl Grey tea & books

The question more so nowadays is who ISN’T a Harry Potter fan more so than who is one. There’s no doubt my love for the series runs deep and I’ve recently become obsessed with buying all things Ravenclaw, specifically candles. It’s really fun to see the different takes and most shops happen to include tea and books as Ravenclaw scents (for obvious reasons) so it’s interesting to see how differently some of them turn out as well!

One thing I really like about In the Wick of Time is Kaylan’s detailed blends. Obviously I don’t know what goes into her candles but they really do smell like they have many different layers to them and I like being able to get that candle FEEL. House of the Wise does smell like books and tea, but the tea is a little more potent than some of the other Ravenclaw candles that I own (or even just candles advertising tea scents) and I like that it really stands out! I know tea fragrances can sometimes be really good blends and base notes and I feel like I can really smell it in this candle! There’s also a nice comforting woody, papery note for the essence of books that works pleasingly well with the tea! This really is one of my favorite Ravenclaw representations, especially since so many shops have a book and tea combination. It’s hard to get something different but I love this interpretation from In the Wick of Time!

And naturally, I don’t really have to talk about HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE as a book in itself, but I can’t resist showing off these anniversary editions! When I started seeing them around Instagram, I was sure they were bank-breakers but they were actually super cheap from Book Depository! The hardcover is around $15 and the paperback is under $9! I was only going to buy one but at those prices and free shipping from Book Depository, I bought them both and I’m SO happy that I did. They’re gorgeous in photos but they’re even more beautiful in person. I keep forgetting that there’s extra info for the selected House, depending on which one you buy, and I need to go back and read up more on my Ravenclaw gang!

FIND IN THE WICK OF TIME AT: 
Website | Instagram | Twitter

** All candles featured in A Book and a Candle have been obtained by my own choosing, whether by direct purchase or in a candle swap and there have been no exchanges or free product sent to me to feature. Candle shops featured are of my choosing and each candle summary/review are my own words and opinions. I have not been influenced in any way to write these posts other than my own pure enjoyment of each candle! I’m just sharing what I love! ** 

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin CashoreTitle: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Publishing Info: September 19, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate Reality, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 6, 2017
Related Posts: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

bookreview1

JANE, UNLIMITED is literally the most unique book I’ve ever read. It’s unlike anything else, with a unique concept, characters, plot, and structure, and this both enhanced my reading experience and left me utterly confused.

I need to go into books blindly so I don’t ruin the twists and the overall experience for myself so I did some reading up on the book immediately after finishing to help ground me a little bit, and I found (which I actually had heard before and completely forgot) that the concept originally started as a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel and developed into what it is. It’s quite impossible to really discuss the book without mentioning specific spoilers so for spoiler-free thoughts, I’ll say that it was quite a wild ride and listening to an audiobook may have made it even more complicated, not able to SEE what was going on with the print on the pages, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the audio performance (one of Rebecca Soler’s best, in my opinion).

Without knowing the CYOA concept, the book seemed unmoored — flowing from story to story not really knowing where one ended and the next began. Once I understood that these were actually telling different parts and weren’t following a chronological timeline, it made a lot more sense to me and I was able to appreciate it more. I thought at first that things were just non-sequential and I kept trying to put each part back into the first to follow through with the same timeline and it was just so confusing, but again, that probably would have been more easily deduced if I was reading a print copy and not the audio version. It also made a LOT more sense once I figured out that these were being told in different parts because I was thinking as I was listening that this story feels like it’s wrapping up but holy cow, I have a LONG way to go to finish this book haha!

That being said, I enjoyed most of the adventures. The first few parts were more enjoyable than the last few because things really started to go off the deep end towards the end of the book. It sort of starts in the more probable and drifts towards the more fantastical with each story and it was hard to grasp so many different genres within the same book as possibilities all at once, but I will say that it was incredibly interesting and I found them all fascinating, even if I didn’t particularly love each one. I DID love that each part revealed a little something and tied back to a point that was made in the beginning of the book or a part of another story. There were so many things going on in this peculiar house and Jane ended up discovering them all… just not all in the same version. I’m really glad the readers get to see why the characters are doing peculiar things, why the house feels a little bit emotional, and why the art plays such a big part of everything. Though I still don’t know why umbrellas are such a big deal.

One of my disappointments with the book was just that I needed a little something more from the ending. I would have been really impressed if the book had wrapped up with a singular ending that sort of put all of the stories at peace because none of them really ended and I would have been SUPER impressed if Kristin Cashore somehow tied them all up, sort of how the beginning set them all up. Instead they all kind of just taper off and there’s not a solid conclusion for any of them. I don’t mind open endings but I think this was a little TOO open and I would have been super impressed with something closing all of those open doors.

Usually when I’m confused about a book, the more I write about it, the more I realize how disappointed I was but I’m actually finding the opposite with JANE. The more I talk about it, the more fascinated I am and I wouldn’t be opposed to another collection of JANE stories somewhere down the road with even more possibilities. It’s a story with infinite worlds to explore and I’m sure even more things could be touched upon that I haven’t even thought of. I don’t think it’snecessary to know the structure of the book before starting but it did help me understand it more after finishing and helped me appreciate it more. I still would love that one last thing to tie it all together though.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Listening Library has basically been my reading savior this year. With so many candle things to do, I just don’t have time to sit and read anymore and they are so kind as to keep me on their reviewer list for audiobooks. I’ve been listening to one right after the other this year and I was so excited to see JANE, UNLIMITED as one of the options!

I knew I was in good hands with Rebecca Soler as the narrator. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she narrated The Lunar Chronicles audiobooks but personally, I feel like this is her best audiobook performance yet. I think her voices were more distinct in this book than in previous books and her voice and tone just really fit the overall feel of JANE, UNLIMITED.

The audio was probably a little bit harder to follow than the print copy due to the nature of the book but it still totally works and probably isn’t confusing if you don’t go into reads blind like I do!

 

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Extremely unique formatting. I love seeing new and unique things not only in YA but anywhere in the literary world. This book cobbled together the different decisions that Jane could have made and it was interesting to see each one of them play out!
Left Me Wanting More: Closure. I didn’t really feel like the ending of the book really closed it off. I guess the point is kind of that the choices really are unlimited… I’d totally be up for another book full of possible endings though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was so clever and so unique. The tone was also a LOT of fun with a neat cast of characters, including a house that was a character in itself.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JANE, UNLIMITED

(Click the cover to see my review!)