Thursday, January 31, 2019

Like December, January was ultimately a month for re-reading. Work kicked my butt and I honestly didn't have much time to physically read, so I've been re-listening to some old favorites. I did check out a few new books, and though they were pretty great for the most part, there were a few duds in there. I really do need to start trusting my gut more. If I can't get into a book the first time I pick it up, chances are, it's not going to be a great read the next time I pick it up either. 😩

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

The Wicked King* - DEAD. I'm so dead after this book. But I did write a spoilery thing with Sabrina about it, if you wanna check it out. πŸ˜„ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Dragon's Bait - I just happened to be scrolling through GR or Twitter and saw someone mention this book, and I couldn't believe I hadn't read it before. It sounded awesome! And it pretty much was. Basically, this girl is called a witch because the townspeople are awful and so she becomes food for a dragon who's been terrorizing them. Except that her brazenness makes the dragon curious and they become allies in revenge. I would not call them friends and there is definitely no romance to speak of, but that's not even the point because despite all of this, they develop a bond based on nothing more than an intense loneliness and it is sad but lovely...if not a bit horrifying at times. Definitely recommend. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Slayer* - I don't know that this was exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it. A reluctant slayer who blames Buffy for the world torn asunder by the rift between Slayers and Watchers. Family secrets. Fight scenes. Forbidden romance. And a demon named Doug. This book had it all. And yet, all I wanted while I was reading it was to binge Buffy again. 😩 🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.


Crazy Rich Asians - This novel was about what I expected. Extravagant and opulent, with insane family antics and expectations, and rife with food, fashion, and customs. There were so many storylines and I'm still not sure which persepective was my favorite. But it made me laugh. It made me cringe. And it made me think on more than one occasion: And I thought my family was crazy. I definitely plan to see the movie, if only to better visualize the level of opulence, and I have the next book on hold at the library already. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

On the Edge - I fully planned to binge this series, and then I discovered upon starting the second book that it's not all about Rose and Declan and Georgie and Jack -- though I think the boys play a bigger role later in the series and also become side characters in the Innkeeper Chronicles. I really liked this first book, and I may continue the series one day, but for now, I think I might need a break from Ilona Andrews, lol. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Between the Devil and the Duke - I've never read a novel by Kelly Bowen before but I quite enjoyed my first by her, and I'm sure it won't be my last. For some reason, most of my favorite historical romances take place in gaming hells, and this story is no different. I loved that the heroine was a genius at numbers, and instead of thinking her odd, the hero is charmed by this fact. Also, Ashford McNab is fabulous at narrating historical romance. She also narrates the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt, which I also very much enjoyed. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Book Boyfriend - I tried to read this one awhile back and it was...just not great. Not awful but not very engaging either. But I saw it offered on Hoopla and I thought it wouldn't be so bad to listen to it. At least I wouldn't be wasting my precious reading time, which is so very hard to come by these days. It felt like the worst kind of wish fulfillment and also didn't do a very good job of covering how grossly inappropriate the hero's actions were. I had intended to listen to the other books in this series, but that's not gonna happen now. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

My Favorite Half-Night Stand* - I gave up reading my ARC of this title several months ago because it wasn't what I was in the mood for at the time. But I borrowed the audio from the library when it became available because at that point, I was kinda jonesing for some Christina Lauren. Their books are either hit or miss for me, but this one was very middling. I can see why it had a hard time holding my interest upon my initial read. It was one of those stories where a little communication could have saved everyone a lot of time and energy and frustration. I'm not giving up on this author duo, but I'm definitely disappointed in this one. 🌟🌟

Sprig Muslin - I am such a fan of Georgette Heyer's. I believe I've listened to every audiobook available from the library, and so now I'm branching out to their ebook offerings. But I still imagine I hear Richard Armitage narrating them for me. πŸ˜‰ Especially with this one, although I did imagine Sir Gareth more like Westley Γ  la The Princess Bride, with his easy-going manner and propensity to take everything as it came as his wayward charge led him on a merry chase. Lady Hester, a would-be spinster, wasn't near the simpleton her family perceived her to be, and I hoped her altruistic nature would lead her back to our hero. The story takes a very circuitous route, with Sir Gareth and his charge working at cross purposes and the hero and heroine spending a good portion of the novel not in each other's company, but it was humorous, if a bit tangential at times, and I loved seeing what young Amanda would come up with next. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Marriage Vacation - Have you ever seen the show Younger? (And is it ever coming back? #TeamJosh) If you haven't, then a little backstory: the characters work in publishing and the wife of one of the love interests writes a book under a pseudonym. A book about the time she spent away from her marriage to him, the head of the publishing company. Yep, "Kate" just up and leaves her family on a soul-searching quest and this book is basically about her adventures while she was away. It starts out self-involved and ungrateful but evolves into something more substantial. Kate wasn't away trying to regain her lost youth, just trying to find out who she was outside of her marriage and being a mother. She wanted her life to have meaning, and she wanted to pick her writing back up. I didn't love it, but I wasn't expecting to after meeting her character on the show. But it surprised me. I felt compassion for this woman. I empathized with her. I didn't wholly agree with the decisons she made, but I could understand them to some extent. I kinda didn't love the ending, though. Having said that, p. 58 was everything it was purported to be on the show. πŸ˜‰ I liked the tie-in but that the book could also be read having never seen Younger. 🌟🌟🌟

The Witch Elm* - This is likely to be my least favorite of Tana French's novels. They're all long, but this one was just sooooooo boring until at least the halfway point and that was nine or ten hours into the story. Then I started putting things together and got frustrated with the characters about three-quarters of the way through, but I'd already made it that far, so I couldn't very well put it down without knowing for sure because if you've read Tana French before, you know that the ending matters. I think she's just better with police procedurals, writing from that perspective with all the ins and outs of investigating rather than as a potential suspect and novice detective who may or may not have suffered permanent damage due to trauma at the beginning of the story. I liked Toby, despite my better judgment because I know by now not to trust anyone in a Tana French novel, and I loved the narrator for this novel. The story just took forever to engage my interest and it didn't do a great job of holding it for any length of time. I kept taking breaks from the audiobook, hoping that I'd be overcome with curiosity to return to it, but it often felt like a chore and that's just not how I like to read. 🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.

B I N G E   R E A D S   |   R E - R E A D S

The Falconer trilogy - Well...I planned on binge-reading this series after re-listening to the first book, but the audio isn't available for the last two books. 😒 I got them from my library, but I just haven't had much time to physically read this month, and when I did, I usually had a headache or trouble focusing. So, the plan is to read them in February. I'm leaving them here as a reminder...

Seven Realms series - I saw a friend reading these books for the first time at the end of 2018, and I realized it had been over a year since I'd re-read them, so I went all in. Which is for the best since I believe the final book in the spin-off series also releases this year. And despite that devastating first book, I fully intend to catch up on that series, as well. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Fangirl & Carry On - My bestie finally, finally caved and read Fangirl like I've been telling her to do for literal years, and she squeed so much about it that I decided I was due for a re-read. And you can't read those bits about Simon Snow without also wanting to read his story. :D 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Tairen Soul series - I was in the mood for some good fantasy and also having trouble getting over my reading slump thanks to The Wicked King, so I dived back into this series. I didn't love it quite as much as I remember, but it worked as a palate cleanser. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)

The Raven Cycle - Because it was time. And also I just needed to be back in Cabeswater as I wait for Ronan's series. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Listed: Mini Reviews {January 2019}

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 with 6 comments

Hello lovelies! Jen has her own awesome overview post called 'What I've Been Reading Lately," so rather than use the same format and make it confusing about who's posting, I decided to stick to my short review style from The Forest of Words and Pages. Though truthfully, the fact that Jen literally reads 10 times the amount of books as me will also likely be a dead giveaway.

 So, whether I loved these books or not, I’m going to lay out a few bullet-pointed reasons you should, or shouldn’t spend your time reading some of my recent reads.


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Source: Audiobook from Library

✽ I was interested in this book primarily because I loved Kiersten White's book And I Darken. Though to be honest, I haven't loved many of of her books and I haven't read the rest of the Conqueror's Saga YET.

✽I did love that this story is centered on a female perspective. I enjoyed Elizabeth and found her story intriguing. However, I did see a lot of the twists coming and whenever that happens it leads to my feeling that the protagonist is naive for not seeing what the reader sees.

✽ As a follow up point to my last point, I really dislike seeing all the things that are being foreshadowed too clearly, way early on. It feels like you've already reached the end of the story when it is too predictable.

✽ My favorite parts of the story were the parts when Elizabeth and Victor were children. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if more time was spent there and it had went chronologically, instead of back and forth. I did sincerely love Elizabeth as a character and that made me keep picking this one back up.

✽ Final thoughts: If you love Frankenstein retellings, this is probably a story you will enjoy. It was an original take on a classic story. I realize that I'm usually not a big fan of this particular story. I've read a few retellings of Frankenstein and I haven't 'loved' any of them. Kiersten's writing here did keep me coming back for more, but I was satisfied, not enthralled, by this tale.

Bottom LineIt was okay🌟🌟🌟


Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Source: Purchased

✽ I love me some April Genevieve Tucholke and I love stories about badass girls dealing in death, so my body was ready for this experience.

✽ I didn't exactly dislike The Boneless Mercies, but it also is far from my favorite AGT book. Usually I get delightfully caught up in the weirdness of her stories, but this one just didn't grab me like I'm usually grabbed. Parts of this story were lovely, many parts dragged on and felt like filler.

✽ The female friendships in this book are perhaps my favorite part. I loved the different characters and the realistic dynamics that played out. Complicated and dynamic relationships for the win!

✽ Confession: I have never read Beowulf. So it's quite possible, that you way-cooler, better-read nerds will totally love this because of gorgeous elements that went over my head.

✽ If you love, April GT, you should read this, but expect a different experience.

Bottom LineIt was okay🌟🌟🌟


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Source: Purchased

✽ I am unconditionally, and irrevocably in love with the autumn prince, Rook (a little Twilight humor.. since I shamefully binged the movies on Prime last week). But seriously, Rook trumps other fae book boys. He just does.

✽ I can confidently say that this book is better than it's cover and the cover is stunning. I adored it and wish I'd read it way sooner. So GO READ THE BOOK if you haven't. This story deserves all the love and hype.

✽ Isobel is a lovely, fierce, smart AF and relatable heroine. Her journey involves bravery and vulnerability ( I adore a book girl with both) and her character added so much magic to an already gorgeous tale.

✽ The characters and setting of this book are so vivid and engaging. I loved the detailed descriptions and dynamic people of this story. I felt like I was experiencing this story with the characters.

✽ One of my favorite reads in the last several months. Super highly recommend. Thanks to Jen for telling me that I'd be a fool to not read it. <3

Bottom LineLoved it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Also FYI, Margaret Rogerson has this gorgeous book coming out in June! Can't wait to read it too!


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Source: Audiobook from Audible

✽ Listen... I wanted to love this one. I really did and there is a strong possibility that this is a case of incompatibility of mood and book. But I truly struggled to be interested in this story almost the entire way through.

✽ A huge part of my dislike is centered on the first 75% of the story. For me, it was extremely slow and involved a lot of detail that didn't hold my attention. Normally, a slow beginning is not a deal breaker for me. However, there were so many character names to keep up with, and because I listened to the audiobook, I kept getting lost wondering who a character was. This really kept me from getting truly invested in the story.

✽ I did like the ending much, much more. A lot of deeply beautiful story elements came together in a way that I wish the entire story had going for it. I know a lot of people really loved this book and I wonder if I had read a physical copy, if I might have liked the story better.

✽ Vasilisa is the one constant part of this tale that I did very much enjoy. I loved her eccentric nature, her determination and the way she navigates her own beliefs and values in a town rich in spirits and lore.

✽ Again, while this was not a book I would push into your hands with pure, geeky excitement myself, plenty of readers I respect and trust, really loved this one. So give it a chance if it sounds like your thing.

Bottom LineIt was okay🌟🌟🌟 



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Source: Audiobook from Audible

✽ I have not laughed out loud this much with a story, maybe ever. I ADORED this book. And yes, for all of you judging me for just reading this, I KNOW, I'm judging me too.


✽  Cath's roommate, Reagan, is seriously sarcasm & honestly goals. She is the kind of friend I always look for in this world and the kind I hope to be, so her and Cath's friendship was a huge part of my love for Fangirl.


✽ To be fair, there is literally, not ONE thing that I can think to say about this book that isn't actually fangirling about it, so if you, like me, have had this on your shelf waiting to get to it, DO THE THING! READ the book! It's the actual BEST.


✽ I think this book resonates with so many of us in this community because we have things in common with Cath: the online community of 'internet friends' that is not always understood by people who don't do online communities, the way it's easier to relate to people online sometimes because we are anxious, or introverted, or both. Cath is relatable and lovable and this story hit me right in my soul.

✽ Lastly, more books with college-aged people and swears please! I'd fucking love to read a thousand more stories with the magic that Fangirl has. Super jealous of anyone who hasn't read it yet. This will be a frequent re-read for me for sure.

Bottom LineLoved it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Despise them? Despise my review of them? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

{SPOILERY} Fangirling Over The Wicked King

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 with 1 comment
Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air series, book #2
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Source: ARC received from publisher, purchased multiple copies
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Like many of you, The Cruel Prince left us eyes wide and jaws dropped, dying to get our hands on The Wicked King. We needed to know what would happen next. In fact, I was actually at Jen's house the weekend the Owlcrate Wicked King Box went on sale and we were fangirling hard, double-checking time zone differences, credit cards ready, afraid to miss out on what we just knew -- because duh: Holly Black -- was going to be another amazing installment in this series. And not to brag...but we weren't wrong.

Nope. I might even go so far as to say that this sequel was even better: twists and turns that left us guessing, the hatemance we've been dying for, and an ending that rivals even its predecessor...which is really saying something. I loved all of the faerie machinations and the mention of Fairfold and Severin from The Darkest Part of the Forest and how it all seemingly comes together but ends up throwing me completely off by the end. Did you read that one or The Lost Sisters, Sabrina? I know you weren't always the biggest fan of faerie stories, but you've come so far now that you might as well go all in, right? πŸ˜„

Definitely an ending that rivals The Cruel Prince! Unfortunately, no. I haven't read either one, Jen. You are the reason I gave faerie stories another chance so I'm so glad I did because they are some of my favorites now. *Adds those to my TBR* (Jen approves.) Back to the review... one of the things I loved about The Wicked King was how Jude and Cardan are kind of pushed into an alliance. The fact that not everyone is happy that Cardan is on the throne AND that someone is betraying Jude creates a scenario where they really have to rely on each other. So, while they are reluctant to trust one another fully, it makes for a very charged dynamic between them. Even as the ice first begins to thaw in their relationship, they are developing feelings for one another. 

"...and the single last thing in my head: that I like him better than I’ve ever liked anyone and that of all the things he’s ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst."
Which means this just might be my favorite hate-to-love romance ever. That whole not trusting each other but having no one else to rely on thing? Yeah, that's kinda my jam. And this story is rife with it. Well, that and betrayal. So much betrayal. At every turn: BETRAYAL. Even worse than what Jude faced in TCP. But I think Jude always comes away from it stronger, more focused on the endgame than she was before. And despite it all, I find myself hopeful. That all is not what it seems. That she IS truly queen. That Cardan was saving her, not torturing her further. I feel set adrift with all my hopes for this story, and I don't think I'll come fully back to myself until I have The Queen of Nothing in my hands.

I blame these devious Merfolk...scheming, plotting and setting Cardan's murderous brother free. Cardan has 99 problems and almost all of them are directly caused by Sea fae. That being said, Jude is the cause of so many of them, too. Nobody casually knifes fae villains like Jude. The relationship between these two works so deliciously because they are both so flawed. I love that Cardan can't lie and that Jude forgets to when she's all hot and bothered by him. Also, I second that she is really Queen. If she wasn't, Cardan would've said it. That boy is far too mouthy to not have spoken cruel words. He's protecting her from an impossible situation. I hope. 😭

Yes, exactly! Thanks for elucidating the reasons for my hope...and making me feel less naΓ―ve about it, lol. We can't forget that Jude is human and therefore "fragile" in comparison to the fae, despite the gesh that allows no glamour to be placed on her, and despite the fact that she's spent years training with Madoc. I just wish Cardan had trusted in her...she'd gotten them this far, after all. But it wouldn't be a true faery story without all the murder, political manueverings and dramatic banishments. Jude will have her vengeance and they'll all rue the day she was brought into Faerie as Madoc's ward.

Okay, so it's taken us this long to get our thoughts in order, but basically, this is already going down as our favorite of 2019.


GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

Find Holly:

Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads

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