Wednesday, August 12, 2020

folklore book tag

If you're anything like me, you'll have spent the last couple weeks obsessing over the amazing new album, folklore, from Taylor Swift. I've always enjoyed Taylor's music but have never been in love with an entire album of hers before. Listening to folklore for the first time was such an amazing experience and I'm truly in love with everything on this album. I was so excited when I found this tag because it sounds like everything I need and more. This tag was created by Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink and I tag anyone who wants to do it! 

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)the 1 // a book with an ending that left you speechless

For this prompt, I had to go with Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. This trilogy is one of my absolute favorites and I'm so excited for the final book to release in a couple months. However, this ending had me absolutely shook. No spoilers, but I still think about that ending at least once a week. It was such a twist and pretty much destroyed me!

The Song of Achillescardigan // a book that makes you feel happy and sad all at once

For this one I went with The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This was just one long emotional journey for me. The writing was so beautiful and the book was so wonderful, but of course if you know The Iliad, then you know what happens to Patroclus and Achilles. This was such a bittersweet book and one of my go-to books when I want to cry.

Renegades (Renegades, #1)the last great american dynasty // a book with a fascinating and well-told story

I chose Renegades by Marissa Meyer for this prompt. I had never really read any superhero stories before and this trilogy was such an adventure for me. I only read it last month but it's earned a spot as one of my favorite series of all time. I am absolutely obsessed with these books and am just so blown away by Marissa's craft.

Crave (Crave, #1)exile // a book you wish you hadn’t read

I'm going to have to go with Crave by Tracy Wolff for this one. This is hands down the worst book I've read this year. I have a whole rant review here where I got into all the reasons why. I know a lot of people love this book but I was just not one of them. I could go on and on about all the reasons why this book disappointed me but I'll just say that reading it was, quite honestly, a complete waste of my time.

my tears ricochet // a book that made you cry uncontrollably 

So I'm a big crier when it comes to books. I tend to cry a lot at sad things, happy things, cute things, etc. Pretty much anything emotional has the potential to make me cry. However, if we want to delve into sobs? Well, there are a few that come to mind.

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)Up first, Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. Oh gosh this book made me sob. If you've read this book then you know exactly why. This book had one of the worst (aka best written) cliffhangers I've ever had to wait to know the resolution for. Every time I re-read this book or saw fanart or just talked about it with people, I was close to tears.

Only a Breath ApartThen we have Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry. I connected so hard with the main character and her struggles in this book that it was such an emotional journey. I tend to always connect to characters in books but in this book I felt as if I were reading about my own struggles. There was a lot of crying and even some sobbing.

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly, #3)The last one I have to mention is Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. This is the final book in her debut trilogy and the ending absolutely ripped me apart. The ending is probably one of the best  series endings I've ever read but I was so caught of guard. I'm pretty sure I still have a video of me somewhere crying to my friend while covered in tears because of this book. 

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)mirrorball // a book that feels like it was written just for you

The closest book to this prompt is Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I feel as if this book combined so many of my favorite tropes, character types, writing styles, and storylines into an amazing book. I absolutely adored this book and it's still one of my favorites of all time. I'm very eager for the second book coming out in less than a month! 

seven // a childhood book that makes you feel nostalgic

I actually still have a lot of my books from when I was younger (even though they're in storage right now) but I'd have to list some classics such as Twilight, Percy Jackson, Warriors, Vampire Academy, etc. I read a lot of long series when I was younger and absolutely loved them. I can't really narrow it down since they all make me feel so nostalgic.

Wicked (A Wicked Trilogy, #1)august // a book that reminds you of summer

I think for this one I am going to go with Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I think the main reason for that is because I read it during the summer and this first book takes place in New Orleans where it's hot most of the year. Plus the covers are this underwater design and they just feel very summery to me.

Sadiethis is me trying // a book that deals with loneliness & sadness

For this prompt I'm going with Sadie by Courtney Summer. This is a thriller but it follows a girl who's trying to hunt down her sister's killer. She's very lonely throughout the book despite interacting with others and this is not a happy book by any means. I read this a couple years ago and it was honestly such an interesting and powerful book for me. It still stands as the best YA thriller I've ever read.

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7)illicit affairs // a book that gave you a book hangover

I get book hangovers quite often, though some are just normal book slumps not tied to a direct book. However, I know for a fact that Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas put me into a huge book hangover. It was such a long final book and I had so many feels with my favorite series ending that it did take me a bit to get into another book.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)invisible string // a book that came into your life at the exact right time

There are a few of these but I'm going to have to go with Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I was always a big reader when I was younger, but I fell off reading books in middle school in favor of Wattpad (where I read a lot of awesome stories). But I found Throne of Glass the summer before my junior year of high school and ended up wanting to talk about books and be a part of the book community. There were a few other series I read at that time that I loved and helped contribute to me joining the community, but Throne of Glass was the main one. If I hadn't read Throne of Glass, I probably wouldn't be blogging or bookstagram-ing and I also wouldn't have met some of my closest bookish friends. I owe a lot to this book.

Trickery (Curse of the Gods, #1)mad woman // a book with a female character you adore

There are a lot of these but one of my absolute favorites is Willa from Trickery by Jaymin Eve & Jane Washington. This is a fantasy reverse harem series and our main character is absolutely hilarious. She's clumsy, outspoken, and just full of humor. However, she's also passionate and a badass. She's one of the characters I identified most with when I read it a few years ago. In fact, I may need to do a reread of this series soon.

Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4)epiphany// a book that was haunting

The book I've chosen for this is Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco. Honestly any book in this series could probably work for this prompt, but this book has to take the top spot. I don't read a lot of horror or haunting books since I don't like to be scared, but in Capturing the Devil I was absolutely terrified. It was such a good book for so many reasons and I honestly need to do a reread of this entire series because it's just such a good, spooky series overall.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)betty // a book couple that fills you with yearning

I'll go with Feyre and Rhys from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas for this one. I think that, despite their initial rough patches, they have an open, honest, and passionate relationship. I'm currently in a long-distance relationship and, honestly, rereading scenes with Feyre and Rhys just makes me miss my own partner that much more.

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)peace // a book character you’d die for because you love them so much

There are a lot of characters I would theoretically die for. A lot of them come from some of my favorite series but, in the interest of not reusing books for this tag, I'll go with Nahri from the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. She's such an amazing character to read from and she remains my favorite character in this entire trilogy to this day. She's flawed but she's also so passionate and badass. I'm actually really sad to have this trilogy and her story over.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)hoax // a book that you thought you were going to love but didn’t

There are a ton of these but most of them are books that I expected to love but only enjoyed or liked. However, if we're going to talk about major disappointments, I'm going to have to go with Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan for this one. I just found this book to be super dragging, lacking critical information and developments, and just not what I was hoping for.

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Friday, August 7, 2020

Book Review: "Boyfriend Material" by Alexis Hall

Boyfriend Material
Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Page Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

This was one of my most anticipated romance releases of this year and I had big expectations. From the moment I saw that it was a romance featuring a fake-dating trope and a m/m pairing, I was in. I have to say, I absolutely adored this book in so many ways and I'm so happy to have read it.

Boyfriend Material is the kind of romance book you want all romance books to be. Full of romance, obviously, but also a story with an in-depth plot, complex characters, and plenty of humor. Not only that, but it had some of my favorite tropes such as fake-dating, "there's only one bed," rivals-to-lovers, and grumpy boys who are secretly soft.

I enjoyed every second of this book. I ended up listening to the audiobook and, while I could have smashed it out in 1/3 the time if I had read the ebook, I am so happy that I listened to it this way. Honestly I may have to commit to listening to most romances on audiobook from now on.

I think the main reason I loved the audiobook was because I got to hear and experience the emotions a lot easier and better than if I had read them on a page. Listening to the narrator's voice get loud when the character was frustrated or soft and cracking when he was sad? Perfection. Also, this book takes place in London and getting to experience the story with actual proper accents made it so fun.

This book was so fun and humorous. I already was having to pause the audiobook in chapter 1 because I needed to take a moment just to laugh. There's a good mixture of humor in this book from stupid puns, jokes, sarcasm, embarrassing moments, people poking fun at each other, and even more. I was laughing so many times throughout this book and I truly think that the humor is at least 40% of the reason why I loved this book so much. Of course, even though there was a lot of humor, there were plenty of serious moments as well. I thought that the balance between the humor and the serious emotional scenes was quite well done.

My favorite part of this book, though, had to have been the characters. Luc and Oliver were so much fun to read about. They're both so unique and different from each other in really every way possible. I really loved them together though. Even from the beginning there was never any animosity in their fake dating relationship which was a breath of fresh air. I think the support they have for each other was wonderful and I love each of them so much. We only get Luc's POV throughout the book so I feel like I connected more with him, but I also loved Oliver and think that they're such a cute pairing.

I think that the individual character developments as well as relationship developments were really well done. I really enjoyed getting to see how both Luc and Oliver developed throughout the story and seeing the progress in their relationship from fake-dating to possibly more.

The side characters were also so fun. I did occasionally lose track of who was who with the audiobook but I really liked how well-written the side characters were. I think my favorites were Alex, Bridget, and Luc's mom. I think that the side characters really helped move the story forward and added an extra depth to it.

This book also dealt with some serious topics such as depression, anxiety, and homophobia (throughout) and cancer, borderline abuse, and eating disorders (briefly). I cannot speak on some of these representations but I thought that the depression and anxiety was done in a very realistic and respectful way.

Overall, I just really loved this book. There was the perfect amount of angst, humor, and seriousness while having some of my favorite romance book tropes. I loved the characters and their developments as well as the overall story itself. I loved it so much that I already ordered a physical copy for my shelves and for me to flip through whenever I want. I highly recommend!

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

July 2020 Book Haul

Hi all! Today I'm here to haul all of the books that I got in July. I'm actually pretty happy with the number I got. I got a total of five physical books this month and two of them were free. These are all books that I'm super excited about so let's just go ahead and dive in!

How to Be an AntiracistThe first book that I got this month was How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. This was a book that was on my to-read list for educating myself and then my college sent out an email saying that anyone who bought this book would be reimbursed. I figured there was no need to put off buying it since it was free at that point and I'm very glad to have a copy in my hands. I hope to read it this fall after I finish the two educational books I'm currently reading.

Supernova (Renegades, #3)Up next, I got a copy of Supernova by Marissa Meyer. This is the third and final book in the Renegades trilogy, which I binged this month. I absolutely loved this series and this final book. Plus, this series has some beautiful covers and I'm really just excited to have the entire trilogy on my shelves to reread whenever I want!

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)Then I got Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. I was hunting around some used book sites and found a hardcover for a pretty reasonable price. Since the hardcovers are out-of-print and somewhat difficult to find, I went ahead and bought it since I plan on reading this trilogy when the third book comes out in a few weeks. I did some rehab on it since it was an ex-library copy and, while still not perfect, it looks pretty good on my shelves!

Psych's Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally UnqualifiedThen I picked up Psych's Guide to Crime Fighting for the Criminally Unqualified by Shawn Spencer with Burton Guster. Psych is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and I was preparing for the second movie when I found out that this book was a thing. I ended up one-click buying it and I'm really excited to flip through this companion and hopefully have a good laugh.

The Black KidsThe final book I got was from a Goodreads giveaway and that was an ARC of The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. This book sounds so good and I absolutely love the cover! I want to hopefully read this sometime in the next few months as well.

I didn't get very many books this month, but that is perfectly okay since I have such a long back-list of titles to get to! I'm really excited about the ones I did get and can't wait to dive into all of them. Did you get any exciting books in July? Let me know in the comments down below!

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Book Review: "The Dark Tide" by Alicia Jasinska

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska
Title: The Dark Tide 
Author: Alicia Jasinska
Series: "The Dark Tide" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: 3.25 // 5 stars

*I was sent a free digital early copy of this book by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I immediately knew that I wanted to read it. Witches, sacrifices, a sapphic romance? Sign me up! This book was good in a lot of ways and I ended up reading it in just one sitting. However, I do think there were some things this book was lacking to make it a truly amazing read for me.

I'll start with the things that I did like. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. It was very easy for me to get sucked in from the very beginning. I ended up not only reading this book in one sitting but also reading it rather quickly because of how easy it was for me to fall into the story and follow the writing.

The magic system and world-building was enough to understand the story but I am a big sucker for learning about magic and different worlds so I will always want more. I think that the author gave us the right amount of magic and world-building for this book, but I am excited to hopefully see it all expanded upon in book 2.

The plot itself was rather interesting. I really liked the entire concept of the sea demanding a sacrifice every year and the ritual behind it. I will say that the pacing kind of threw me off a bit because, while the plot was very strong and interesting, there were a few issues pacing-wise. I think one of the biggest for me is that at least the entire first third of this book was told in the span of just a day or two. But the last two thirds spanned an entire month? I think that the first part was so strong because nothing was rushed but the last two thirds felt less developed to me. Interesting things still happened plot-wise, but I feel like I wasn't as connected to the story because of the big time jumps.

I think the pacing was also an issue for me when it came to the character relationships. Our two main characters have a developing relationship and, to me, it felt like there was very little development between them for most of the book and then it did a complete 180 in the last act. I really wish we would have seen more actual scenes between the two main characters but we didn't actually get that many.

I did really enjoy all of the characters in this story, though. The side characters really helped bring a new level to this story and I thought they were all pretty well-developed even if most of them got little page time. I really liked the strong family connections as well. I enjoyed our two main characters, though I think I connected more with Lina. I'm not sure why I connected more with Lina than Eva considering they alternate points-of-view but it just ended up that way. Maybe not connecting as well with Eva was why I struggled a bit with their developing relationship.

I think what was interesting to me was seeing the character developments outside of the relationship that formed. Obviously a big part of the development of this book was these two characters forming this relationship but I also just liked seeing them develop as people. No spoilers, of course, but I really liked these journeys they went on, both internally and externally. I'm really excited to see where all these characters end up in the next book.

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting, fun, and addicting book. I think the pacing issues really made me struggle with the story and the relationship between the two main characters but other than that I am fully on board with this series. I want to know what happens next and I am very eager to return to this world and characters when the next book comes out.

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

July 2020 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I can't believe another month has passed already. This year has simultaneously felt like the slowest and fastest year. July was an alright month for me. I was very stressed and there were some sad moments but I also read a good number of books and finalized some plans that were making me anxious. Overall, I hope August will be a better month!

I read a total of 13 books in July. Some of them were a bit longer whereas others were novellas. I largely credit this number to the Reading Rush Readathon, during which I read all of these books except the first four. I aim to read the same number or more in August, but we shall see if that happens! Without further ado, let's jump right in!

Title: The Crow Rider
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

Title: Renegades
Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Renegades (Renegades, #1)

Title: Archenemies
Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Archenemies (Renegades, #2)

Title: Supernova
Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Supernova (Renegades, #3)

Title: Burn
Author: Maya Banks
Rating: 3 // 5 stars
Burn by Maya Banks

Title: Meeting Sang: Silas
Author: C.L. Stone
Rating: 3 // 5 stars
Silas by C.L. Stone

Title: Meeting Sang: Nathan
Author: C.L. Stone
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Nathan: Meeting Sang #4 - The Academy Ghost Bird Series

Title: Meeting Sang: Gabriel
Author: C.L. Stone
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Gabriel: Meeting Sang #5 - The Academy Ghost Bird Series

Title: Curse of the Night Witch
Author: Alex Aster
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island, #1)

Title: The Prince 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Series Review
The Prince by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: The King
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Series Review
The King (A Wicked Trilogy #3.6)

Title: The Queen
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Series Review
The Queen (A Wicked Trilogy #3.7)

Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer