Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review: "We Contain Multitudes" by Sarah Henstra

Title: We Contain Multitudes
Author: Sarah Henstra
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Page Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC Paperback
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Date Started: May 19, 2019
Date Finished: May 20, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Goodreads

*I was sent a free pre-publication copy from Novl in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own*

TW in the Book: Domestic Abuse, Bullying, Homophobia

I was so excited to get home from college after a grueling week of finals and 40+ hours at work to find this book waiting for me. From the moment I read the synopsis I was dying to read this book. So to start off this review, I would like to thank Novl for sending me a free copy of this book so that I could read and review it here. I'm not sure when I would have been able to read it otherwise and I have to say that this is quite possibly a new favorite.

I'm not a big contemporary fan, if I'm being honest. Books that are just about the romance and don't have anything else behind them don't hold my attention. I find that I can read contemporaries if there's something else going on in the book as well so that I'm not overwhelmed with "ah I love them I love them not" and petty arguments. This book was so much more than just a silly little love story. It was a story of growth, of healing, of finding your way and discovering yourself.

The two main characters, Kurl and Jo, are nothing alike at the beginning. Seeing their journeys both on their own and through their growing relationships was fascinating and wonderful. The ups and downs they went through made this whole book even more realistic to me, as no friendship or partnership can work perfectly all the time. That being said, I thought that they were so freaking cute.

This book deals with a lot of heavy topics. From domestic abuse, homophobia, bullying, and more, it can get heavy at times and there were definitely some hard moments to read through. The whole book is told in letters from Kurl and Jo to each other, so when these heavy topics were discussed in letters, you could still feel the weight of them but you also weren't thrust into a hopeless feeling situation. It was almost as if the letters acted as a buffer for those heavy moments. You still got the impact of these moments, but you weren't consumed by them. I personally can't comment on if every single one of the heavy topics was realistic, but the ones that I do have personal knowledge of seemed pretty on par to my experience.

At the beginning, I was worried that the fact it was told solely through letters would take away my enjoyment of the book. It didn't. The only thing about it was that I wouldn't read the dates on the letters so I never really knew much about the passing of time except for when it was explicitly talked about in the letters. But, again, that's just on me for being too impatient to read not even a full line of text before jumping into each letter.

If anything, I thought the letters helped me connect even more to the characters. We got so much of their inner thoughts, feelings, conflicts, etc that it was hard not to connect when I was literally reading all of their secrets and hidden feelings laid out. There were some letters that were so powerful that I just sat on the couch crying as I read the book.

Other things I really liked: some of the side characters, especially Mark and Bron. There were a few confusing things with holding onto character relationships, like in the beginning with Jo's dad who he refers to as Lyle instead of Dad. But overall, I thought a lot of the side characters were great additions to the story. It's hard to write multi-dimensional characters when it's a book of letters between two people, but somehow Sarah managed to do so in a wonderful way. The plot was interesting, though I am left with a lot of questions! I want to see even more of these characters and, while there's definitely enough there to make a sequel, I'm pretty sure that this is a standalone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is one of my new favorite contemporaries and I already want to go back and reread certain scenes in it. I definitely think that a lot of people would enjoy this book! I do want to reiterate the trigger warnings that I mentioned at the top so that everyone will read responsibly! But, yes, this book was great!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review: "Kingsbane" by Claire Legrand

Title: Kingsbane
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: "The Empirium Trilogy" #2
Genre: Fantasy
Page Length: 608 pages
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Date Started: May 15, 2019
Date Finished: May 18, 2019
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Goodreads
Book 1 Review

My initial thought after finishing this book is "WHAT?!" I honestly just don't even know how to start this review because I have so many feelings, so many thoughts, and the urge to just immediately reread the entire book.

My heart hurts. I feel so betrayed and confused and I'm just scrambling for theories to explain everything that happened. I'm honestly choking up right now thinking about the ending of this book. Of the two major things that happened, I was expecting one, because I accidentally spoiled myself a little, but the other one completely took me by surprise. If I'd seen it coming, it wouldn't have had as much of an impact on me but because Claire was able to completely blindside me with what happened, I am just in pieces over here.

The plot is important but what really drives this story and my love of these books is the characters. This book does an even better job than Furyborn in showing the gray areas in life. These characters are all morally ambiguous and there's so many times where our main characters are conflicted. They make mistakes, they chose the "wrong" option, they aren't always perfect, and I love it. These character arcs in this book were just amazing. The character journeys were so good in this book and I can't even think of a book right now that did it better.

Rielle's journey was just great. At the very, very beginning of Furyborn we know that Rielle is the Blood Queen. Seeing her journey from thinking she's the Sun Queen and slowly moving towards Blood Queen was amazing. This book really shows how not everything is black and white and the idea of being defined as either "Good Queen" or "Bad Queen" can be damaging. I can't support every one of Rielle's actions, but I understand them. I can see why she did them, I can see her reasoning, I can see the outside effects on her that influence her. I feel for her. No one around her can completely understand her because she's alone in what she can do. My heart just aches for her.

Eliana. Oh Eliana. My favorite character. Again, her storyline also goes to show how being forced to define yourself as Good vs Bad can be good. No one is wholly good or bad. Seeing her struggles with this made me want to wrap her up in a blanket and give her a giant hug and protect her from everything in this cruel world. There were certain chapters with her and another character that I absolutely loved and had to go back and reread multiple times because they were phenomenal together. Honestly, Eliana just deserves the world and I really, really, really hope she gets a happy ending at the end of the final book. I don't think my heart could handle anything else. 

I really don't know how I can talk any more about the characters without spoiling anything. I don't think I can even keep talking in an eloquent way because I can feel myself wanting to descend into three word sentences like "Oh my god" and "what the f*c*" and "need next book" and "AHHH." 

I've said it before but I'll say it again...I have no idea how I'm going to wait a year for the next book. Considering that there most likely won't be ARCs printed, there's no chance of reading it early so I really am stuck waiting an entire year. I will say it was a good idea, no matter how badly I wanted to read it during the school year, to wait until closer to release date so that the wait for the resolution is less. I am so scared for the final book. I honestly am terrified. The last time I felt like this was finishing Empire of Storms and having to wait over two years before heading into Kingdom of Ash (the final book in the Throne of Glass series). I don't think an ending has shook me that much in so long. A year just feels like so long to me. A year is after an entire summer of lifeguarding, four months studying abroad, and finishing my junior year of college. There's so much between now and the next book and while I'm excited for all of these things, at the moment I just want all of it to be over so I can have the next book in my hands!

This book was just phenomenal. I already want to reread this book so badly. I cannot wait to reread Furyborn and Kingsbane next year in preparation for the third book. I'm so excited for my two finished copies and my audiobook to arrive. My Claire collection is growing larger every day and I cannot wait to have a whole shelf dedicated to her one day because her writing, not just in Kingsbane, is phenomenal.

Overall, this book was so GREAT. It didn't suffer from second-book slump and it just raised the bar on the entire series. The character arcs were the best thing ever and there were some relationships that evolved in great ways. My heart hurts.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: "The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller 
Genre: Historical Fiction Retelling
Page Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Date Started: May 6, 2019
Date Finished: May 9, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I first was introduced to this book by one of my bookstagram friends. I had started hearing about it from her and then slowly saw more and more people reading it. When I decided to pick up a copy, it was after I had finished reading The Iliad for my Ancient Lit class last fall. Ever since then, I've been excited to read this book but have kept putting it off. 

That has finally changed! I'm currently in a huge motivational streak for reading and one of my other bookstagram friends just read this for the first time and loved it. After seeing him finish it, I put it on my TBR for May and here we are!

The only reason it took me so long to finish this book was because I had finals and my last work shifts going on while I was trying to read this book. But if I'd had the time to just sit and read it, I would have finished it so much sooner. The writing style made it easy to get sucked into and read quickly. I will definitely have to try out Madeline Miller's other book because if it's written anything like this one, I know I will enjoy it.

Discussing the actual book, it's a retelling of The Iliad. Surprisingly, I hadn't read The Iliad until last fall around the same time I discovered this book. I enjoyed The Iliad a lot more than some of the other pieces we read in that literature class and I always wanted to explore it more. This book focuses specifically on Achilles and Patroclus and I loved getting to see their relationship and past explored in more depth.

Something I really loved about this was how readers saw Achilles and Patroclus from very young ages. Patroclus is narrating the book as if he's looking back on his life and telling us his story. We follow him throughout his whole life and him meeting Achilles for the first time and the beginnings of their friendship.

Following Achilles and Patroclus was wonderful. Seeing the little things between them from eating plums and racing to journeying days and weeks to find each other made me really fall in love with them. I loved that their relationship was fleshed out and explored in more depth than in The Iliad.

Of course, if you've read The Iliad then you know how this book ends. I won't say how for those who haven't read either, but even going into this book knowing how it ended didn't prepare me at all. You think you'll be fine because you know the ending already but that's just not the case.

Overall, it's hard for me to discuss books I really enjoy because I generally just want to go "ahhh" for three pages. This book was so different than anything I've been reading lately and I'm so happy I finally read it after having it for months. It was unique and different and wonderful and tugged at my heart in all the right ways. I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of Greek mythology, retellings, historical fiction, and other genres I'm sure to be missing.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Sci-Fi/Fantasy BFF's


Hello all! Today we're finally back with another Top 5 Wednesday. I realized I completely forgot to post last week since I was moving out of my college dorm so it will have been two weeks since our last Top 5 Wednesday. This week's prompt is all about favorite friendships in sci-fi/fantasy books or characters you'd be best friends with. I decided to talk about some of my favorite friendships and these are in no particular order so let's just dive in! 

First, let's talk about Mor and Feyre from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. It's hard not to love these characters individually, but then when you see them interact with each other, you can't help but adore them even more. I loved Mor from the beginning and I absolutely adore her and Feyre's friendship that bloomed in the second book. 

Next, I absolutely adore Safi and Iseult from the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. You can tell just how deep their friendship runs through everything they do and think, especially in the first book. I just absolutely adore them and I love how they put each other first over everything else and would do anything for each other. 

Up next we have Aelin and Lysandra from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I loved seeing how their friendship formed and progressed over the books into such a strong bond. While not as close as Safi and Iseult are, Aelin and Lysandra would definitely sacrifice for each other and support each other in such amazing ways. 

Then I decided to go with Rielle and Ludivine from Furyborn by Claire Legrand. I'm currently rereading Furyborn and I'm absolutely in love with their friendship. They're both so supportive of each other and, while they don't always see eye to eye, there's so much love between them. I honestly can't wait to see their friendship blossom even more in the second book. 

Lastly, I chose Cristina and Emma from the Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. From the very first book, these two characters captured my attention. I loved the fact that we had this friendship going on in the books because, in Cassie's other series, the main protagonist doesn't focus on friends as much. But in this trilogy, we got so many amazing friendships including Cristina and Emma's. Honestly there's not much I can say other than I love them together. 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Book Review: "Queen of Air and Darkness" by Cassandra Clare

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: "The Dark Artifices" #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 912 pages
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Date Started: April 24, 2019
Date Finished: May 4, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Goodreads
Book 1 Review
Book 2 Review

The end of The Dark Artifices has arrived and just...wow. Before I dive into what will no doubt be a very long review, I just want to reiterate how much I enjoy this trilogy. It's such a good one, even if I struggled with Lord of Shadows and some of this installment.

How this review is going to work is that the first part will be spoiler free for those who haven't read ANY of the trilogy. The second part will be spoiler free for this installment only, but may include spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. The third part will contain some spoilers for this book, but that part will be well marked beforehand. So, without further ado, let's dive into this review because I have many thoughts!



NON-SPOILER FOR ENTIRE TRILOGY

I will say that this wasn't my favorite book in the trilogy. That still falls to Lady Midnight, but I did enjoy this final book A LOT more than Lord of Shadows. Where Lord of Shadows seemed to fall flat for me, this book did not. I did have some issues with it that I will henceforth now discuss. 

The first issue I had was the first half of the book. While I can look at the events of the first half and think that they're good for the plot and they made sense for the most part, the first half of this book was such a drag for me. What I think the issue was is that, while I love frustration and angst and making characters work for their happiness, the first half was just too much of that. We started out on a very sad note and moved straight into one frustrating event after the other. I never wanted to punch a character as much as I did in the beginning, which is a good thing because it meant I cared. However, the first half was pretty much ALL frustration with nothing to lighten the mood. But when the second half came around, it was balanced a lot better which is why I loved the second half so much more than the first. 

Another thing that bothered me a lot in the beginning that continued from Lord of Shadows was the constant perspective shifts and the fact that every single character needed to have their own POV. I can appreciate multiple POVs and I enjoyed it, but I stand by my thinking that there doesn't have to be 6 perspective changes in a single chapter. The reason this annoyed me the most was because we would start a chapter and a new scene and then three pages later, when the scene wasn't even finished, we'd get pulled into another perspective and have to reorient ourselves. Then, three pages later we'd get tossed back into the original scene and have to reorient ourselves again. I think that was a big reason why I didn't enjoy the first half as much either. Also, not every character needed a POV. There were different storylines and things happening in different places, but not every character in each place needed a POV when they wouldn't get another one again. 

Those were my main issues with the book and the first half. This book is 900 pages long and if I look at the first half as it's own book I would have given it 3 stars whereas the second half I would have given 5 stars. Once I finally got to the second half, I loved it. 

In the second half, everything seemed to be moving at a lot more of a consistent pace. There weren't long drags between events and even the space between bigger events was filled by character development and relationships and stuff of that degree. 

I will say that I absolutely loved the ending for the most part, but I felt as if I was left with more questions than answers. I did think that some tensions built up throughout the first two books were resolved a bit too easily. The big climax at the end didn't feel as impactful as City of Heavenly Fire did, so I'm not sure how I feel about this as a big conclusion especially since there were a lot of unanswered questions still. I know that we're going to be getting The Wicked Powers, which I'm super excited about, but I'm pretty sure we have to get through The Eldest Curses and The Last Hours before we get TWP. It might be a few years until we get to know what happens next. 

Overall, for my non-spoiler thoughts, I enjoyed this book a lot more than Lord of Shadows but not quite as much as Lady Midnight. Looking back, even the first half of this book is starting to grow on me even if in the moment I didn't enjoy it as much. Another thing that could have impacted my reading of it was the fact that I started reading it right before finals week began and I was working 40+ hours during it. Still, I enjoyed it and I'm excited to see what happens next to all my characters! 



NON-SPOILER FOR QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS 
-may contain spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows-

Like I said, this section may have some spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, but will continue to be spoiler free for Queen of Air and Darkness. I just had a few thoughts that might contain some major and minor spoilers for the previous books, so I thought I'd put them in a separate sections.

Mostly I want to talk about the characters. We had a lot of character growth in this book for all the characters. I'm really interested in seeing how they grow even more within The Wicked Powers. Of course, some of the characters annoyed me at times, but there was still growth.

I think the main thing for me is that the Ty and Kit dynamic felt different because of Livvy's death. I didn't enjoy their POVs as much anymore because it just felt so different and they didn't seem to be connecting very well with each other either.

I absolutely loved Kieran and Mark and Cristina. They were one of my favorite parts of this book and I honestly just want an entire book about just them. Like an entire book about them before, during, and after TDA. I feel like I know so much about these characters but there's still so much I don't know at all.

Lastly, character-wise, I absolutely loved the fact there were characters from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments in this series, and specifically in this book. Jace was just absolutely hilarious and I don't remember him being this funny in The Mortal Instruments.



POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR ALL THREE BOOKS

Okay I'm definitely going to be getting into some spoilers here. So if you haven't read Queen of Air and Darkness or any of the previous two books, I would recommend clicking away now if you don't want spoilers.

The main thing I wanted to discuss here was how the whole parabatai curse thing was resolved. Even from when City of Bones came out, readers were told that parabatai could not be together. These three books explored that in more depth and all outcomes seemed pretty bleak for Julian and Emma. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that it was resolved and everything turned out okay for them, but I feel as if it happened to easily (even if I'm glad that they killed Dearborn during their weird giant time). I just feel it was too out of the blue to happen so easily when the solution hadn't even been remotely considered throughout any of the books. Of course, I am glad they're together and are able to be without any fears now.

The next thing I wanted to gush over was Malec. Magnus and Alec have played pretty significant roles in Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness and I absolutely loved getting to see more of them. I absolutely adored their wedding (it was the only time I cried in the whole book) and I cannot wait to go and read The Eldest Curses now. It's been 8 years since I first read the beginning of their relationship and it all culminated in this amazing moment. I'm just so happy with them, their story, etc.

Lastly, I want to gush over Kieran, Mark, and Cristina. I am SO happy that we have a poly relationship being represented in Young Adult media. I haven't personally read any in mainstream publishing, though I have read a lot of poly relationships in self-published books. The whole book I was just rooting for them to all end up happy and together, but I was so scared that one of them would get killed off or the relationship would be cut from the book. I honestly just love the fact that they are all together and I really want to read more about them in future books!



My overall thoughts are that this was a lot better than Lord of Shadows and I'm actually very happy with how everything turned out, even if the first half of this book took a while to get into! My faith in Cassandra Clare has been renewed and I am definitely interested in all the upcoming Shadowhunter novels.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Review: "Again, But Better" by Christine Riccio

Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: Contemporary
Page Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Date Started: April 30, 2019
Date Finished: April 30, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars 

*I was provided a free e-arc of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

Ever since Christine announced that her book was getting published, I was super excited to read it. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I'm so thankful that I got a chance to read it early! After reading this, I'm excited for my Barnes & Noble edition to arrive so that I can get my hands on the exclusive content.

This book follows our main character, Shane, who decides to take a semester to study abroad in London as a "re-do" of her first years of college. She also decides to take classes on creative writing and do an internship at a magazine, neither of which she tells her parents who think she's on a premed track. I was excited about this aspect because I'm studying abroad in London this fall and I think that helped me connect more to Shane.

I really enjoyed the side characters, though I wish we had gotten more of them. The main focus was on Shane and Pilot and I loved the angst between them. I love when potential love interests have angst moments, realistic arguments (not toxic fighting--there's a difference), and a struggle to get to happiness. That is so much better to me than couples who just fall in love without any hardship. It's easy to think you're in love with a person who you've had nothing but good times with, but if you have to overcome different difficult things to be with them then it's probably more real.

The plot definitely went into a different direction than I was expecting but I think I liked that. How it happened was a lot better than the different options my brain was trying to come up with. I don't think things would have worked out the same way if a different route had been taken.

I loved all the book, TV, and other culture references as well. I felt that a big reason I connected to Shane was not only because of her personality but also because of her geekiness. I loved seeing a reference that I actually understood, which sometimes doesn't happen in books or tv shows aimed at adults.

Overall, I just thought that this was a cute story and I felt that Shane was really relatable to me personally. I think a lot of contemporary lovers will enjoy this and there's only two things I have to say now: that "I'd really like to eat some shawarma" and "lamppost."



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

April 2019 Book Haul!


Yea so you know how I was going to get less books this month? Well, that didn't really happen. I ended up getting a lot of books this month, but I am pretty okay with that fact. All of the books I got are ones I'm either super excited about or I had to get for school. I ended up with 22 books, though two of them were for school, two were from free trades, two were from publishers, three were bargain finds on eBay, three were ebook deals, and six of them I had an Amazon credit that I used. Obviously there are a lot to talk about so let's just dive in!  

The first book that I got this month was The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman. I've been following the author on Twitter for over a year and I absolutely love her. Also, all the little one-lines she's said about this book have had me dying to read it. I'm not sure when I'm going to get around to it what with me going abroad in the Fall but hopefully I'll enjoy it! 

Then I got the holy trade of all trades: an arc of Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. I've been hunting for one of these for almost five months and I finally have a copy in my hands. I'm planning on rereading Furyborn before I dive into this beautiful beast and I cannot wait. I know my heart is going to be broken but I just...I need this book. I am beyond excited to have this to add to my collection and to see where the story goes. I'm going to reread the first book after finals are done and then dive straight into this one!

Up next I got two books for school: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift and The Power by Naomi Alderman. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I did not read Gulliver's Travels because it was just so dense and the narrator was the actual worst. But I did read The Power and it was definitely interesting and thought-provoking.

Next, I picked up volumes 1-3 of Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I found these on eBay for $4 total and I'm so happy with that find! These retail from $10-$16 on Amazon and the fact that I found the first three for $4 just makes me so incredibly happy. This is by far my favorite graphic novel series and I cannot wait to get the rest of them!

Then my preorder for The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare came in. I'm super excited about this Magnus and Alec novel and I for sure will be reading it soon! I do plan on rereading the first three Mortal Instruments books since this takes place between 3 and 4, but I've been meaning to reread that series anyway! I've heard good things about this book and I'm just excited about Malec.

Up next I got a copy of Whispers From the Dead by B.L. Brunnemer. This is the fourth book in one of my favorite series that I own on Kindle but have been slowly collecting the paperbacks for. The paperbacks are just so big and floppy and beautiful. I'm planning on getting one a month until I'm caught up on the recent releases and I'm just so excited to also reread this series through the physical book.

Then my preorder of The Binding by Bridget Collins came in. I've heard so many good things about this book from people I trust and this book has been on my radar for quite a while. I don't know much about it but I do know there's some form of books involved and it's a fantasy.

Then I made a trade on Twitter for an arc of The Reader by Traci Chee. The book actually arrived somewhat damaged but still readable, so I'm not too upset. Especially considering the book I sent out I was just going to give her for free but the person I traded with felt bad for not sending anything in return. I don't know when or if I'll read this book but it does sound interesting and I may get to it or pass it on soon.

A few weeks into April Amazon sent me a promotion thing they were doing for their Amazon Photos app. Essentially if I downloaded the app and uploaded a picture, they would send me a credit to spend on Amazon. So of course I took advantage of that. I ended up getting four books with the credit (you had to spend a certain amount for the credit to work).

The first three books I got were the new paperback editions of the Dark Elements trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I've been obsessed with these covers since they were announced and I knew I had to get my hands on them. They're absolutely gorgeous and I'm currently rereading the trilogy in preparation for the spin off so it was the perfect time to get these editions.

The last physical book I picked up this month was the collector's edition of First Days by C.L. Stone. This is the second book in the Ghost Bird series which is another one of my favorite series that I've been reading on Kindle but slowly trying to collect the paperbacks for. I really want to get the collector's editions of all of them, but only the first and second books have been released in that format so I'm not sure it will happen. Still, this book is tall and beautiful and floppy and I'm just excited to have it for my collection!



I also got five ebooks this month. The first of these was The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. This is one of my favorite books and when I saw they were having an ebook deal for $2 I knew I had to get it. I'm planning on rereading this book in preparation for the third's release early next year and having the ebook means I can reread it while I'm abroad!

Next, I won a Goodreads giveaway for an ebook of The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston. I'm super excited about this one since I was wanting to get a copy of this anyway and now I can binge Ashley's books while I'm abroad in the fall. I've heard that this book is cute, fluffy, and just all around great so I'm super excited to have a copy.

Then I was sent an e-arc of Again, But Better by Christine Riccio by the publisher in exchange for a review (coming early May). I've been super anticipating this book since Christine announced it and I'm so excited that I get to read it soon! The only thing I know about this book is that the main character is studying abroad in London, which is where I am studying abroad in the fall!

The next ebook I got this month was When the Dead Have it Easy by B.L. Brunnemer. This is the seventh book in the Veil Diaries series and I have no idea what this one is about. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read the sixth book yet but I'm currently rereading the series so that I can get to these two most recent ones this summer!

The last ebook I got in April was Entice by Jessica Shirvington. This is the sequel to Embrace, which I read this month as well. I was going to get the paperback of this book in May but then I saw that the ebooks for this series were super cheap so I decided to go ahead and get the ebooks instead. I'll probably end up reading this while I'm at my long work shifts during finals since it'll be easy to do so on my phone or computer.



I also got two audiobooks this month with credits that had built up on Audible. The first was The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare. My friend and I share an Audible and she really wanted to read this one, so we just decided to go ahead and get this one.

The second audiobook we got was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I'm just really excited about reading this book and I needed to spend my credits so I just decided to go ahead and get it. The narrator sample sounded like a good one, too. Also, my friend wants to read this book so now we have the audiobook.



Well, there you have it! Those were all the books I got this month! I would say that May is going to be a smaller haul but I already know with books that I've been having shipped to my house as well as all the new releases coming that May is going to be even bigger than April's haul! Hopefully things will die down after that but who knows!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 3, 2019

April 2019 Wrap-Up!


I was hoping to read a lot of books this month but I did not think I'd end up reading this many, especially considering how busy April was for me in terms of school and social events. I ended up reading 21 books this month and I enjoyed most everything I read! I tweaked my TBR from the beginning of the month but I did end up reading all but one book on my updated TBR, which is a huge accomplishment because I've never done that before! Overall, I'm just really happy with what I read this month so let's go ahead and dive into talking about all the books!



BOOKS READ
1.
Title: Saga, Volume 7
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 4.75 // 5 stars
Series Review
2.
Title: Loving My Pack 
Author: Lane Whitt
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
3.
Title: Saga, Volume 8
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Series Review
4.
Title: Paradise Lost
Author: John Milton
Rating: n/a rating--read for class
I was required to read this for a class and it was super boring. I'm not a religious person so I just didn't enjoy this fanfiction of the Bible. I'm currently writing a paper on it and I did have a big presentation on it as well, so I do understand the story a good deal but I don't really like it that much.

5.
Title: Saga, Volume 9
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Series Review
UM WHAT. THAT ENDING. WHAT. I need the next one like yesterday! Why oh why did it have to go on hiatus? *insert sobbing here*

6.
Title: Paper Girls
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Cliff Chiang
Rating: 2 // 5 stars
Honestly I was expecting more from this. It was enjoyable but I was also a tad bored and super confused. Upon finishing it, I didn't have the urge to read the next one or have the general good feeling I get when I finish a book. Instead, it was more of a "oh it's finally over." After coming from Brian's other graphic novel series, Saga, I did have high hopes for this one. However, I was a little let down. I don't know if I'm going to continue with the others because the situation is kind of interesting but I also don't know if I want to subject myself to the possibility of being bored.

7.
Title: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars
Review
8.
Title: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review (from 2015)
-reread-
My gosh this book was just as good as I remembered it being. I honestly forgot a lot of what happened and I sincerely have no idea what is going to go on in my reread of the next two books other than a few tiny plot details. Overall this book was just addicting and fun and an easy read. I love the characters and the plot. It was also so nostalgic reading this because I first read it three and a half years ago. Honestly I want to dive into the second book right now even though I'm trying to spread my reread out until the release of Storm and Fury.

9.
Title: Escaping From Houdini
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review
10.
Title: Trying to Live With the Dead 
Author: B.L. Brunnemer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review
-reread-
11.
Title: When the Dead Come A Knockin'
Author: B.L. Brunnemer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review
-reread-
12.
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review
13.
Title: AmuletThe Stonekeeper
Author/Illustrator: Kazu Kibuishi
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
A super cute, quick read that has me intrigued to see what happens in the next one. 

14.
Title: Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse
Author/Illustrator: Kazu Kibuishi
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
15.
Title: House of Korba
Author: C.L. Stone
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
This reread was definitely enjoyable and I did like this installment more the second time around. However, compared to the pace and action of the previous books, I do still feel like this book didn't have much going on. I would have liked to have seen a lot more happen but, again, I did like it more than the first time I read it.

16.
Title: Touch of Mischief
Author: C.L. Stone
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
17.
Title: Amulet: The Cloudsearchers
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
These graphic novels are just so cute. I'm super interested in seeing what happens next with the characters and plot. The magic is super interesting and nothing like I've ever seen before. Super excited to read the next one. 

18.
Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars
Review
19.
Title: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Rating: n/a--read for school
This book was super thought provoking. It basically revolves around what would happen if women suddenly got a power of electricity that allows them to shock others and whatnot. I wouldn't say I necessarily liked this book, but it did get me thinking a lot and I was quite blown away just by the idea of the story. There were a lot of uncomfortable moments for me, though. Some moments I needed to set the book down because I was just so uncomfortable with what was happening in the story. I do think this was the book I enjoyed the most out of all the ones we read in class this semester. 

20.
Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Rating: 3 // 5 stars
So I enjoyed it. I didn't love it but I enjoyed it. I liked the mystery aspect and I like how quick I was able to read it. It was magical and mysterious and interesting. However, due to how short this book was, I didn't feel like I connected to most of the characters outside of the main character. I don't think I'm going to read the others because I prefer to read a continuation of this specific story and not prequel companions.

21.
Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review



BLOG POSTS




TV/MOVIES

I didn't watch that much this month but I did still watch some. Mostly TV shows. I think I rewatched a movie this month but I don't remember what it was. Anyway, here's the rest of what I watched in April.

I finished season 1 of Chuck. This was a show my dad used to watch sometimes when we would visit and I just had the urge to start watching it when I saw it on Prime Video. I watched all of season 1 and I'm currently a few episodes into the second season but I'm not sure if I'm going to continue soon or if it'll take a while.

I also finished rewatching the first season of Hart of Dixie. I started this show a couple years ago and I didn't finish it yet also had forgotten pretty much everything that I had seen. I decided to just rewatch the first episode and then that spiraled into the whole season. I'm not sure if I'll continue rewatching this summer or wait a little longer but I did enjoy the drama of this season.

I also finished season 3 of Psych. I randomly started watching an episode from that episode and ended up just continuing to watch it. I still watch an episode or more every day and I've been slowly making my way through other episodes.



EVENTS

I haven't done an events section on my wrap-ups in a long time but April was such a busy month for me and I did SO much! Here's just a (very) quick run down of everything that happened in April:
  • Watched an amazing drag show
  • Participated in a 12-hour Relay For Life event
  • Had not one, not two, but FIVE presentations
  • Wrote four papers
  • Finalized a bunch of study abroad stuff
  • Explored Chicago with my friend and went to an amazing restaurant
  • Had my last classes of the semester
  • Hit 2,000 followers on Instagram! 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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