February Reading Wrap-Up

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My reading streak has continued into February! Over Presidents’ Day weekend, I managed to read five books. I’m so happy that I’m starting off this year reading a lot of books. It’s making me second guess my original reading goal of 50 books this year. Here’s what I read during the month of February:

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (★ ★ ★)

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

  • Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (★ ★ ★)

Racing Savannah

  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (★ ★ ★)

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

P.S. I Like You

  • Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols (★ ★)

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives, #1)

  • Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols (★ ★ ★)

Perfect Couple (Superlatives, #2)

  • Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols (★ ★ ★ ★)

Most Likely to Succeed (Superlatives, #3)

  • Everless by Sarah Holland (★ ★ ★ ★)

Everless

  • Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

  • Love on the Lifts by Rachel Hawthorne (★ ★ ★)

Love on the Lifts

  • My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill (★ ★ ★)

My Unscripted Life

  • Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer (★ ★ ★)

Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerve, #2)

What was the best book that you read in February?

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Warcross Review

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Warcross by Marie Lu follows teenage bounty hounter/hacker Emika Chen after she hacks into a popular gaming competition and glitches the game to reveal her identity. Expecting harsh repercussions, Emika is surprised when the game’s creator invites her to join the competition in order to take down other hackers in the game.

I was unsure of what to expect before starting Warcross. I tried reading one of Marie Lu’s other series, The Young Elites, but didn’t make it past the fifty page mark. Warcross, however, seemed more like a plot that I would enjoy, and finally decided to check the book out of my local library after seeing numerous positive reviews. I’m happy to write that I really enjoyed Warcross and can see myself reading the next book in the series.

For me, the best part of this book was the writing style. After reading a string of disappointing reads filled with unnecessarily long descriptions and awkward phrasing, Warcross was a breath of fresh air. The world and action scenes in the book are described in an easy-to-read way. This made the book a quick and enjoyable read.

The character were either hit-or-miss for me. Emika was interesting, but similar to many other young adult heroines on the market. Her love interest, Takeo, was probably my favorite character in the book. I liked the direction his character was going in at the end of this book and the how Marie Lu added many layers to his character. The other side characters weren’t extremely memorable, but didn’t hamper my reading experience in any way.

While I think some readers may find this book overhyped because it isn’t the most memorable book on the market, it was still overall a fun and enjoyable book to read. For a series starter, this book left off in an interesting way that makes me want to continue the series. I give Warcross four out of five stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that I’m No Longer Interested in Reading

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is book’s that I’m no longer interested in reading. When books are first released, there is always a lot of hype. I immediately want to add the book to my TBR, even if it doesn’t sound like something I will enjoy. After time goes on, some of this books slowly fade from my memory. Here are some books that I initially wanted to read, but no longer am interested in reading:

  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard 

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)

I wasn’t really a fan of Red Queen, but planned on giving Glass Sword a chance since Red Queen was so hyped upon its release. However, I finally decided that it wasn’t something I enjoyed and I didn’t want to spend time reading a book that I knew I had no interest in reading. I can’t see myself picking up this book in the future.

  • The Rose and the Dagger by Reneé Ahdieh

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2)

I thought the first book in this duology was okay. Since it was only two books, I thought I could push through and read the second one. However, I was never invested in the series. Even though I didn’t necessarily dislike the first book, I’m not too interested in seeing how this story ends and can’t see myself picking up the second book.

  • One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us Is Lying

I actually started to read this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I found myself just reading to find out whatever plot twist was at the end. Eventually, I just looked up the ending to the story. Since I wasn’t too interested after reading the beginning of this book, it didn’t really disappoint me to spoil the end.

  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything

I wanted to read this book before the movie came out since I loved The Sun is Also a Star. I already saw a spoiler for the ending, so I think that;s why I never got around to reading it. I recently watched the movie and although I enjoyed it, I don’t think I would pick up the book in the future.

  • Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz

Surviving High School

This is another book I tried reading, but couldn’t get through. I love reading books by online personalities, but this one was tough for me to read. I can’t see myself reaching for this book again.

  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1)

I was interested in Dumplin’ after all the hype surrounding its release. I read the beginning, but slowly lost interest in the book. It’s still a story I’m interested in and I like the cast selected for the movie, so hopefully my experience with the movie is better than my experience with the book.

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)

This is another book I started, but lost interest in. This book has a ton of hype, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it. This is another one where maybe I’ll be more interested in the move than the book.

  • Girl Online On Tour by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online On Tour (Girl Online, #2)

I really didn’t enjoy Girl Online, but like with Surviving High School, I like reading books by online personalities. However, it’s been awhile since I read the first one and I’m not particularly interested in how this story turns out.

  • The List by Siobhan Vivian

The List

I remember The List being popular upon its release. It’s been on my Goodreads TBR for awhile, but I can’t see myself reading it especially since many books covering the same topic, but with better reviews, have been released recently.

  • Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous

I bought this book probably six years ago. I started it, but never finished. Now that I’m much older, I think this story could be cute, but a little too young for me. As a result, I’m not really interested in reading it anymore.

 

What books have you lost interest in?

Six of Crows Duology (Spoiler-Free) Review

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I wish there were six more books with these characters because I love them so much!

The Six of Crows duology follows six dangerous outcasts recruited to complete one impossible heist. After a dangerous drug is created to enhance Grisha powers, criminal Kaz Brekker is offered millions of dollars if he successfully breaches the Ice Court and abducts the scientist responsible. To complete the mission, he selects a spy, a Grisha, a prisoner, a sharpshooting gambler, and a formerly wealthy boy on the run.

I heard so much hype around this duology that I was extremely interested to read it, but worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I’m glad that I finally picked up this series because it even exceeded my expectations! This is definitely a book that I see myself recommending to a lot of people in the future.

Going into this book, I hadn’t read Leigh Bardugo’s original series set in the same world. However, Leigh Bardugo presents enough background information that readers in the same boat as me will have no trouble understanding the universe. While there may be some minor spoilers from the first series, for example it mentions the outcome of the main character from the original series, I didn’t really pick up on any others.

Besides the world building, another strong component of this series are the multiple points of view. I’ve read some books that did a terrible job juggling two characters where the two points of view added nothing to the plot and voices weren’t distinguishable. However, Leigh Bardugo definitely uses this strategy in her favor. With so many characters with varying levels of knowledge of Kaz’s plan, readers are constantly surprised by the twists and turns that the plot takes. Additionally, every characters possesses their own unique voice which makes it easy to know whose telling the story at all times.

My favorite aspect of this series, however, would have to be the characters. Bardugo provies ample background on each character, so readers really understand their actions and motivations. Every characters possesses different opinions and attitudes which greatly affect the plot and their relationships with each other. Additionally, each character experiences growth throughout the series. You can’t help but love every single main character within these two books!

Overall, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are two of my favorite books of the year. Both of these books are equally strong halves of the story. With non-stop action and humor, this book kept me hooked from the first page. I literally sat down and didn’t put these books down from hours. I give both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom five out of five stars.

 

Blogentine’s Day Wrap-Up

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From February 1-14, I hosted Blogentine’s Day on my blog. I featured book reviews, book tags, and other blog features that related to Valentine’s Day and my love of books. Here’s what I posted:

 

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Book Tag

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

As per tradition, I’ve decided to complete the Valentine’s Day Book Tag to round out my Blogentine’s Day line-up. This tag was created by CC’s Books. Here are my answers:

  • Stand Alone Book that You Love

Eleanor & Park

I tried reading Eleanor and Park a long time ago, but couldn’t get past the first few pages. When I finally read it the whole way through, I absolutely loved it. I love how it captures the feelings of first love and has two really well developed main characters.

  • Dystopian Book You Love

Warcross (Warcross, #1)

I didn’t go into this book with the highest expectation because I tried to read other books by Marie Lu and it didn’t work out. However, I really enjoyed Warcross and how it reflects our society today. While this book didn’t completely blow me away, I understand some of the hype surrounding it. I can’t wait for the next book!

  • A Book You Love that No One Else Talks About

Torn Away

I picked this book up on a whim at my library and was shocked when I couldn’t put this book down. Torn Away follows a girl’s life after a deadly tornado sweeps through her town and she’s forced to relocate to a home with family that she doesn’t know. This book had a great message about family and really grabbed me from the first page. However, I feel like I haven’t really heard anyone talk about it online.

  • Book Couple You Love

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

I wouldn’t say Alosa and Riden are one of my top couples by any means, but I really enjoyed their relationship in Daughter of the Pirate King. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read this book, but I found myself really liking both Alosa and Riden as characters.

  • Book that Other People Love, but You Haven’t Read Yet

Words in Deep Blue

I son’t much about this book other than hearing a lot of positive comments about it. It looks like a contemporary story with a little more of a serious tone, so I’ll have to check it out!

  • A Book with Red on the Cover

Life Just Got Real

The red dress on the cover also appears in the book, so I enjoyed seeing it on the cover!

  • A Book with Pink on the Cover

Bookish Boyfriends

I was lucky to receive an eARC of Bookish Boyfriends. While my feelings towards this book are mixed, I think the pink book on the front matches the book’s fun and fluffy story.

  • You were given a box of chocolate. Which book boyfriend/girlfriend gave it to you?

Renegades (Renegades, #1)

Adrian brought Nova food in Renegades, so I think he would also be the type to give a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day, but he would be really shy about it.

  • You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book do you read? What movie do you watch? What TV show do you watch?

Image result for drop dead diva

I just started watching Drop Dead Diva on Netflix… and I’m hooked! This show perfectly balances interesting law story lines with the main character’s personal life. I have no problem watching a few episodes of this show in a row, so it would be a fun one to watch on Valentine’s Day.

  • You are in a book store. All of a sudden you get shot with an arrow by cupid. What new release will you love?

The Belles (The Belles #1)

I’ve been on a fantasy kick lately, so I added The Belles to my TBR quickly after reading the synopsis. I’m interested to see how to gray/color concept plays out and I’m interested in seeing if it stands out among other fantasy books centered on beauty.

Top Ten Tuesday: Romantic/Love Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a love freebie. For my post, I decided to share ten of my favorite romantic book quotes. Here are my choices (Warning: Possible spoilers for the ACOTAR series):

1.) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

“She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

2.) A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

“I have no regrets in my life, but this. That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you, Nesta. I will find you in the next world – the next life. And we will have that time. I promise.”

3.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.”

4.) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

5.) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”

6.) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

“I heard every word between you. I knew you could take care of yourself, and yet … ” He went back to his pie, swallowing a bite before continuing. “And yet I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
I sipped from my wine. “And if he had grabbed me?”
There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”

7.) This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

“Holding people away from you, and denying yourself love, that doesn’t make you strong. if anything, it makes you weaker. Because you’re doing it out of fear.”

What are some of your favorite romantic quotes from books?

Kiss, Marry, Cliff Book Tag

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Since Blogentine’s Day is all about love, I decided to complete the Kiss, Marry, Cliff book tag. In this tag, you select three love interests and decide which one you would kiss, marry, and push off a cliff (or just reject!). For this tag, I decided to pick love interests from the nine recent reads and put them into three random groups. In the fourth round, all of my “marry choices” will be thrown together to select my favorite out of the whole group. I decided not to include any love interests from ARCs that I have read. Here are the results:

Round One

  • David from the Rebel Belle series by Rachel Hawkins
  • Kaden from Life Just Got Real by Sadie Robertson
  • Adrian from Renegades by Marissa Meyer

This round is actually not too bad. Kaden is the typical pretty boy, flirtatious love interest. As a result, he never stood out to me so I wouldn’t mind rejecting him. I liked David in the beginning of the Rebel Belle series, but he dropped off in the third book. I can easily put him in the “kiss” spot. Adrian definitely would be my “marry” choice this round. I absolutely loved him in Renegades and can’t wait to see where his character goes. He’s definitely one of my new bookish crushes!

Winner: Adrian from Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Round Two

  • Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Eli from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Park from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

THIS ROUND IS RIPPING MY HEART OUT. I love all three of these characters so much. First, we have Rhsyand who I absolutely loved after A Court of Mist of Fury. Eleanor and Park’s the most recent read on this list and I thought Park was so adorable. Eli is one of my OG bookish crushes from the phase where I seemed to read only Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot books over and over.

Even thought it pains me to say it, I’m going to reject Park. Since he’s the newest one on this list, I’m not as attached to him as the other. I’ll give the “kiss” spot to Eli. He’s a love interest that I really liked in the book he was featured in, but I don’t like him as much as Rhysand!

Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Round Three

  • Declan from Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
  • AJ from Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
  • Josh from Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

This is another round which is fairly easy. AJ was a pretty bland love interest for me, so I don’t really mind rejecting him. I liked Josh in Bittersweet, but he’s also not the most stand-out love interest that I’ve ever read. That means Declan ends up as the marry choice! I did really like Declan in Letters to the Lost and thought he was the bad boy trope done right, so I’m definitely okay with this choice.

Declan from Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Round Four

  • Adrian from Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  • Rhysand from A Court of Thorn and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Declan from Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This isn’t so awful as I thought it would be. Even though I love Letters to the Lost, I’m going to reject Declan in this round. While I liked his character, I like the other two characters in this round a little bit more. For kiss, I’m going to choose Adrian. Since I’ve only seen him in one book, I don’t have as much an attachment to him as Rhysand. That means Rhysand is my final choice for marry!

Overall winner: Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 

What characters would you kiss, marry, or cliff?

 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses (Spoiler-Free) Series Review

 

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas follows Feyre, a poor but skilled hunter, who kills a wolf in the forest that turns out to be a faerie. As a result, Feyre is dragged into the faerie world by its master and is forced to live in his court. When Feyre begins to develop feelings for her captor, she finds herself caught in a centuries long battle between faeries.

When I first tried to read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I DNF’d the book at around 40%. For me, there wasn’t really much going on in the story and there were other books that I wanted to read more at the time. Months later, I decided to pick up the book again after hearing amazing reviews for the second half of the first book and the second book in the series. I’m glad that I gave this series a second chance because although it isn’t my favorite series, there were a lot of aspects of this book that I really enjoyed.

My favorite part of this series would have to be the characters. Every character in this series from the main character, Feyre, to the Suriel (who only appears three times in the book) is fully developed. Readers have a chance to learn all of the backstories of characters in the novel. While this can be a tad overwhelming at times, especially when all of the courts are together, it helped me better understand the relationships between different characters and the motivations for their actions.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed in this book was the world building. As someone who doesn’t frequently read high fantasy stories, I appreciated that Maas gave a lot of background information on the faeries, the culture, and their relationship to the humans on the other side of the wall. Additionally, I really enjoyed the descriptions of all the different courts. I was able to picture all of the places in this book in my head which was helpful as someone who usually reads books set in the world where I live.

I think another highlight of this book for me would have to be the relationships. As I mentioned earlier, all of the characters are so developed that it made their relationships even more special for me. None of the relationships in this book came easy and I liked how the relationships slowly progressed into friendships or romantic relationships. This helped every relationship in this book come across as real and authentic.

While I enjoyed many aspects of the books in this series, there were some aspects that I didn’t enjoy. Like I mentioned before, sometimes the pacing was a little slow. For me, this particularly happened at the beginning of both A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Wings and Ruin. Also as I mentioned earlier, while I appreciated learning the backstories of characters, I wished that they were sometimes spaced out a little more so I wasn’t overloaded with information.

Some other problems that I had with this series also only specifically applies to book three. I felt like some of the more dramatic plot points (character deaths or injuries) were repeated from earlier books in the series which made them have less impact the second time around. Additionally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the large emphasis on magic in the third book. I think it made the third book a little less character-driven than the previous books. Additionally, just a personal preference, I find that I’m never really interested in series that conclude with a book mostly focused on war.

Another disclaimer to add, even though this book is typically classified as young adult, it does contain some graphic scenes that may make some young adult (or even older readers) feel uncomfortable. This book definitely features mature romantic relationships with content more seen in new adult or adult books. Additionally, there are many traumatic backstories that may trigger some readers. Since this book contains many ruthless characters in a world headed towards war, there are also many violent and graphic scenes included within this series.

Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a fun series that takes a unique take on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Since I really enjoyed the characters in this series, I can definitely see myself reading the continuation of this series which I believe will focus on some of the supporting characters. If I had to rate the books, I would give A Court of Mist and Fury five stars and the other two books in the series three stairs.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies Review

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My feelings towards this book are a little cloudy.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall follows Norah, a seventeen-year-old girl with severe obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia. Norah spends her entire life in her house, only venturing outdoors for weekly meetings with her psychiatrist. When a cute new boy moves in next door, Norah fears her mental illnesses will prevent them from forming a relationship.

I remember seeing Under Rose-Tainted Skies a lot when it was first released, but I couldn’t really remember most people’s thoughts towards this book. However, I decided to pick this book up anyway after I went into my library looking for another book that included a character with obsessive compulsive, but they did not have it. As a result, I went in this book with only a vague idea have the plot. After reading this book, there were aspects that I liked but also aspects that I believed needed improvement.

I think the strongest aspect of this book is its portrayal of mental illness. In the author’s note, Gornall explains that she struggled with mental illness in similar ways to the main character. As a result, I believe both obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia are both authentically represented within this book.

That being said, there are several aspects in which Norah’s mental illnesses are used that I did not enjoy. While I think the author tried to stay away from the “love cures mental illness” trope, I do believe this was used to a degree within this book especially in the end during Norah’s recovery. Additionally, I didn’t care for the situation (unrelated to the love interest) that forced Norah to confront her mental illness. Without giving away any spoilers, I felt like this particular scene didn’t fit in with the rest of the book and took away from the realistic quality to this book.

As for the characters, I didn’t love them or hate them. Norah is a similar character to many books with the same them with her somewhat sarcastic personality. Luke, her love interest, is pretty nice, but unremarkable. Additionally, his other somewhat-love interest is a cardboard cutout character tat personally did add much for me to the plot. The final other big character in the novel, Norah’s mom, was okay but her actions often confused me and felt inconsistent for the way the author wanted to portray her. For example, readers are told Norah’s mom sacrifices her career for her daughter, however, she goes on a lengthy business trip during particularly stressful time for Norah.

I also had mixed feelings towards the plot and pacing in this book. This book wasn’t extremely long (I think it was almost three hundred pages), but it took me awhile to read. The plot moved fairly slow and not much happened until the last thirty pages or so of the book. That being said, when the action picked up, it felt out of place and inconsistent with the rest of the book as I mentioned earlier.

Overall, Under Rose-Tainted Skies isn’t an awful book by any means, but it also wasn’t one of my favorite books of the year. For me, it needed a little something extra with the characters or plot to make it stand out more. I give this book three out of five stars.