Monday, October 31, 2016

November 2016 Releases

I usually wait to post these in month of the book releases, but since I want to publish a NaNo post on Tuesday instead, I'm posting this a day early. And I like to post these before the first day of book releases, and since that is Tuesday as well, I really had no choice. ANYWAY. More info than you probably cared to have. LOL. Here are the books that I found releasing this month! :D

 November 1st


 November 3rd

November 8th

November 15th

November 21st 

November 22nd

November 29th


I've already read: Of Fire and Stars, The Sun is Also a Star, and Heartless. I picked up all three of these at BEA, and I'm glad to say that the latter two were good! I loved Nicola's sophomore novel more than her debut, and I highly enjoyed Marissa's newest. But sadly OFAS just did not work for me. It's probably the biggest 2016 disappointment for me this year. UGH.

I still need to read and review: Timekeeper, which I can't BELIEVE I haven't read yet bc honestly it sounds so good and I've heard great things about it. And omg that is IT for November ARCs, both physical and egalley. So this will give me lots of time to catch up on all that I've missed this year, which isn't even that much. I've requested far, far less books this year and it makes me happy. My new goal is to get all the 2016 ones read before the year ends, so I'll keep you up-to-date on my progress! I really want to start fresh in 2017, so I'm determined to make it happen. :D

My most anticipated: I AM SO EXCITED FOR SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman. I've never read one of his books, but this one sounds SO good. I'm also looking forward to Marian, the f/f Robin Hood retelling. It doesn't have excellent reviews, but I'm hoping it's awesome. And I'm really intrigued by A Veil of Vines


So, what November releases are you super excited to read? Any missing from the list that I must know about? :D

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Beauty of a Perfect Ending

Title: The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016!

From Goodreads...
Lia has survived Venda—but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.

With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier—as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross-purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down.

In this conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance.



My Review!
*Spoilers! Beware thee!

I feel like I’ve been dragging my feet when it comes to writing this review, because that means that this is really over. Of course, I finished the book back in the middle of August, but I haven’t been able to let it go. So much so that I had to discuss it with my friends, Shannon and Mary (especially to keep the memory fresh in my mind). I’ve had SO MUCH to say, and I’m going to try to do this book, this series and these characters, justice. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, a few people even associate me with TKOD because I’ve pushed that book SO HARD since reading it back in March of 2014. I had gotten an eARC and read it super early and had to wait even longer for The Heart of Betrayal. And then HOB released, and that ending killed me, and it feels like I’ve waited for this book forever. I just, gah. I have such love for this series and its characters, and I already sense a reread in the future because I still kinda can’t believe it’s done. Over. Final. No more Remnant Chronicles books. *sobs*

Fine, fine. I’ll move on. But don’t doubt I’m not still sad about this ending. THIS PERFECT AND GLORIOUS ENDING. I could not have imagined a more fitting ending to this series. I don’t know how she did it, but Mary gave me everything I wanted, and then some. Even things I didn’t even know I had wanted that much. But okay WHOA, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about Lia first.

Listen. I have a short list of characters that I will fight you about, and Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia is one of them. Don’t come at me with any hate toward her, because I’m not here for that. She is one of the fiercest, bravest, most intelligent of characters, and I WILL FIGHT YOU. Yes, she can be selfish and only think of herself. But really the only selfish decision she ever made was fleeing on her wedding day (and really, who can blame her for that? Would you want to marry someone you don’t know? Also that was the catalyst that set all of this into motion, and she would not have been able to save Morrighan had she gone through with it at the time). Everything that came afterward, after she was brought to Venda, had been for survival. And for her people, she will do anything. I mean, she even walked away from Rafe in this book because her kingdom needed her. Yes, she can make rash decisions and be reckless. But like, is that all you can give me? She’s a fucking QUEEN. A bold, compassionate, and kickass person who brought a kingdom to its knees. Literally. She's one of my favorites of ever. And also can I just like fangirl for a minute about her becoming the Queen of Venda? I wanted that to happen so badly, and I’m so happy it did, and that her right-hand man came with her.

Let’s talk about that love triangle because I’ve got loads to say. So, okay, it has never truly been a love triangle. Not even in the first book. It’s clear from the beginning that Rafe is the one that Lia loves and who she will die for. The problem is, though, that I didn’t totally ship them, especially in light of some events that happened in this book. There are many moments where I felt that Rafe continuously refused to treat her as an equal. He, oh my god, he even locked her up when he found out she was going to Morrighan without him. And look, Kaden did the same thing. But also, that’s WHY I could not understand why Rafe would subject Lia to that again, why he would even think it was ok. I know he was grieving and stressed and he just wanted to protect her, but YO IT IS NOT YOUR DECISION. I think he ultimately did recognize Lia as an equal, but man it took a long fucking time, and I had more feels when it came to her and Kaden. EVEN WHEN literally nothing happened between them in this book. Even when it became clear that it would always be Rafe for her, I shipped them. #cantstopwontstop

Guys, I just have so many feelings for Kaden. It’s an issue. I was super happy that in this book, we get even more background from him, and A LOT of character development. (This was actually probably the book that had the most character development for everyone). I mean, I know he was The Assassin, but I have a thing for morally questionable characters, and also assassins in books. (I don't even care what that says about me, give me all the morally gray bad boys). But Kaden is just a whole lot more than the assassin, and his past, but he just could not ever see that himself. It took a long time for him to find his worth and to let go of his past. It took him a long time to feel worthy of love and compassion, and he could not see beyond the blood on his hands. And then I got the sads when Lia was like, “We have a bond, Kaden, I know, but I don’t love you in the way that you want.” MAYDAY MAYDAY SINKING SHIP (I knew it would never be her and Kaden, but I could not help myself ALL THE FEELS). ANYWAY. Kaden was such a lost, sad little puppy in this book sometimes, and all I wanted to do was give him a big hug. He’s got a good heart, but he was brought up in Venda, starved and beaten and he found a way to survive, and I could not completely fault him for that. But he did need to prove himself and make amends, and I just loved seeing him open up and stop living for revenge. He had lovely growth.

Before I started my reread of the first two books at the beginning of August (after devouring the little novella, Morrighan), I had a feeling it would end with Pauline and Kaden anyway. And omg it did. And I loved it so much, I can’t believe I ever shipped him and Lia. Though it seemed to happen quickly and without much provocation, I loved the quiet undertones of love that developed between them. And I totally believed it. It took Pauline a long time to forgive Kaden, to get over what had happened back in Terravin. That was completely to be expected, and I definitely didn’t feel as though Mary had just shoved them together to mend Kaden’s and Pauline’s broken hearts. It felt realistic and beautiful. And omg that scene where Kaden delivered Pauline’s baby will forever be one of my faves in any book. It had me laughing one moment and tearing up the next. SO MANY FEELS. If I shipped any two characters together, it was the two of them. I loved it.

As you can kinda maybe tell by the above paragraphs, The Beauty of Darkness spent A LOT of time on character development. If you’re here for action, I’m sorry to say you’ll probably be disappointed. This was one of the least action-y series enders I’ve read in the last few years. But you know what? It fit. This series was never about the action. It was always more political, more grounded in bringing the kingdoms together without bloodshed. It was more subtle about things, and there were so many like secrets and stuff. I loved seeing how everything came together, and tbh there was still a lot that wasn’t tied in a neat little bow. And I was okay with that (even though I’m insanely curious about a few things). I did not mind that the final battle was over quickly and that it ended like that. It felt like right for the story, as did Lia becoming Queen of Venda. And I loved that Kaden and Pauline went with her. I loved that Gwyneth and Berdi were also here, keeping a close watch on our darlings as they disposed of the traitors in Morrighan’s kingdom and defeated the Komizar. I honestly had a theory before reading this that Kaden would be the Komizar coming after Lia and her people. And I was not sure what he would do, and that had given me some anxiety because GAH that would have felt so ridiculous of his character after HOB. The feels during this read were intense, to say the least.

This book, man. These characters. I love them all so much, and my feelings for this series are intense. Badass, calculating Lia, who did not just rely on her gift to save her, but her smarts and her quick mind. Formidable, sly Rafe, who even when he pissed me off, I loved him for his love for his kingdom and the way he was able to blend into so many different situations. Broody, dangerous Kaden, who started out as the bad guy but who I rooted for so hard and who deserved a second chance to become someone more. Compassionate, quiet Pauline, who stepped up even when she was scared and who found in herself a strength that she didn’t even know she had. Gwyneth and Berdi, two lovely allies and ladies who were there for Pauline and Lia when they had no one left to turn to. Even Griz and Eben, Kaden’s companions, who had hated Lia but who she became friends with in spite of how they met. Also Rafe’s band of brothers who would go to the ends of the earth for their king. So many characters. So many I loved and a few I truly loathed with my entire being (aka the Komizar and Morrighan’s traitors). This book, which is easily almost 700 pages long, could have gotten so boring. But it didn’t. I seriously never wanted it to end. And while the ending was so PERFECT, it is bittersweet to me because I could read another dozen books in this series and never get tired. *sobs because it’s over*

RATING:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Books I Can't BELIEVE I Still Haven't Read Yet

Sometimes, I really can't believe I haven't read certain books. The ones that seem to be EVERYWHERE and that seem to have been read by everyone and their mother before me. The ones that people yell at me to read when I mention having not done so yet. Ever since blogging, I've been paying the most attention to new releases and ARCs that I sometimes forget there's a whole world of backlist out there. And even when I WANT to read them, I have trouble finding the time to do so because of said ARCs and new releases. I've been doing better at adding backlist to my TBR and actually reading them, but I still need more balance. And these are books I will DEFINITELY make time for next year! Because honestly, why the fuck haven't I read them yet??? omg.

Older Ones 
I especially want to make Vicious, Gracling, Tiger Lily, and The Lies of Locke Lamora. And of course PJ, but I want to binge-read that series instead! I also super want to read If I Stay soon so I can *finally* watch the movie. Same with The Duff. You know what the worst part is? I totally own all of them, too. SO I HAVE NO EXCUSES. I hope to read *most* of them by the end of 2017, though! :D


Newish Ones
I *think* all of these are post-2014, but oh well if they aren't! And some of them aren't hugely popular, like The Royal We and Made You Up, but they have been in the YA/blogging community. So I still NEED to read them all! But these ones aren't a big priority to me since they're a bit newer. However, I plan to read them someday!

*****

If you've read them; which of these books should I *definitely* make a priority to get to in 2017? Are there any hyped up, ridiculously popular books YOU still haven't read yet? Let's talk! :D 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Ton of October Mini Reviews

There were SO MANY October book releases, and I read a ton of them early. So now I want to share them with YOU. And I'm so glad to say that aside from one of them, I was pleased with how much I enjoyed/loved the rest! :D

*****
 
*eARC kindly provided by Macmillan via NetGalley*

I’m a sucker for books about friendships, especially if they contain the all-consuming, unshakable ones like that of The Raven Cycle and the TV show, Friends. And while this certainly had a great friendship, it wasn’t *quite* what I’d hoped for. It wasn’t as… developed as it could have been? At least, when it came to the group as a whole. The book had a stronger focus on Sloane’s relationships with the twins, Vera and Gabe, and not the others (Frank, Bree, Aubrey, and Remy). Through her bond with them, Sloane comes to understand just what friendship means and how much she needs it in her life. And how she would do just about anything for them, like track down a painting their mother had done and that shouldn’t have been sold. For some reason, the first time I read the synopsis, I thought this was like a big mystery-type of thing? LOL no. But it is a huge part of the book, because the main character knows what it means to her new friends, and she wants to get it back for them. I really liked Sloane. She’s very funny and honest, but she’s also got a lot to learn about others. Through Vera and Gabe, she becomes a part of something very special, and I loved the scenes with the two of them, and the other characters. I think my favorite part of this book, though, was her relationship with her dad. He is hilarious, and fun, and I loved their very open communication and seeing how they worked through their issues. Basically, this contemporary was very much about friendships and family and the beauty of them. And it made me melt. 
Rating: 4 Paw Prints! 
 
 
Wow, this was REALLY good! And this is coming from someone who doesn't often find hits in the YA thriller genre. But yeah, I loved this, and the characters, Flynn and Kaz especially. CUTIES WHO HAD EACH OTHER'S BACKS. Their relationship was so lovely to watch unfold. Flynn was so scared to come out, but the people who love him handled it (mostly) well. I was so angry at his best friend, but they made up, and I had ALL THE FEELS. And his parents were the absolute best and present and gave Flynn a safe space to be himself without fear of judgment or shame. As for the storyline, the mystery of January's disappearance, I predicted some things, and others, I did not. It was intriguing, watching Flynn unravel January's life, because it wasn't what he thought it had been. I REALLY liked how Caleb tackled rape culture a bit here, and I did feel like I got to know January through everyone else, even the liar in her. While it wasn't a shiver-inducing type of thriller, the element of suspense was there. And I was super happy with the ending. I swear my eyes were a little watery after finishing this. Last Seen Leaving had my attention from the opening line all the way to the last sentence, and I will definitely be reading future Caleb Roehrig books.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!
 

*eARC kindly provided by Sky Pony Press via Edelweiss*

I’m not even sure I liked this book. It was certainly interesting, and the atmosphere of the book felt spot-on. But it was just okay, and that generally garners a 2 star rating from me. It was a highly predictable story, and there didn’t seem to be a plot to it really. Other than one question the MC had: what is in the water??? While everyone else on her tiny island believed the drowning and disappearances were the work of someone on land, Bridey, with her fear of oceans, was the only one who looked at the water. And in that water, she found a boy whom she fell in love with. (It’s just too bad I couldn’t get on board because their romance wasn’t developed, and also there was another boy in the picture as well, and that was pretty annoying). ANYWAY. Like I said, it was predictable, and not hard to figure out what was happening. However, that ending surprised me, and I’m glad for it. I think that was the part I liked most about the book! Fear the Drowning Deep was, at least, a quick read! I just think it was one that I could have skipped out on and felt fine with that decision.
Rating: 2.5 Paw Prints! 
 

Well. When I started this, I wasn't expecting to finish it like 4 hours later. But it was SUCH a quick read for me, and one that was as pleasing as it was sad. Henry's voice was hilarious; the banter is this book was SO GOOD. I especially loved Henry's friendships with Murray and Lola, and his relationship with his parents and his sister, Sadie. They were all such colorful characters, and ones that really made this book shine. Where it went sad was Grace Town. A girl so lost and so full of grief that she didn't really know how to live anymore. I've been there, I've known that type of grief, so I could relate well to her. This sad character who felt more like a ghost than a real person, but who slowly but surely lit up throughout the book. Who tried so hard to find her way back but who didn't always know how or want to. She, and Henry's fascination with her, did seem a little MPDG. BUT that didn't stick. This book was about heartbreak as much as it was about love, about how love can be a disaster as much as it can be a savior. I appreciated the way it went, because it showed first love in all the good and bad, an honest and messy love that doesn't always seem to work. So, with all that said, I liked Our Chemical Hearts. But it didn't make me emotional, not really. And it's not a book I see myself thinking about days later.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!
 

This was a really cute story! I loved the strong familial and friendship aspect of it, especially. I loved that Sierra had such warm, present, and protective parents, and I loved that they TALKED through things together. I don’t often find that in YA, sadly, so it was great to see. As well as Sierra having such lovely friendships with Heather, and her friends back home. They also talked through their issues together, and even when mad, were still there to squeal and flail over Sierra finding a boy she falls in love with. As much as I loved their banter and such, the book was super short and left me not totally believing in the I love yous. Because I rolled my eyes a bit when Sierra would be like, “I know him so well” and I’m like BUT YOU ACTUALLY DON’T. Haha. However, I enjoyed it! And I loved the message of forgiveness and compassion in it. I also liked that Sierra, once finding out Caleb’s past, took some time to think about it and didn’t rush into anything. And oh my gosh, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, so that part of What Light was just WONDERFUL. I especially loved that Sierra and her family had a tree farm and came to California every year during the holiday to sell them. It got me into the spirit months early. ;)
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!
 

WELL. This was certainly interesting, but it wasn't really my cup of tea. And I get why there were two POVs, but I did not care for Gemma's character all that much, and I preferred being in Lyra's chapters. I alternated every other chapter, which was good, because the timeline worked better than if I'd read one story first, and then the second. I also didn't spoil myself that way. ;) The romances developed WAY too quickly for me to even believe them, and the characters themselves didn't have as much growth because of the short time span in which this took place. Also wah I went into this thinking it was a standalone, and SURPRISE SERIES. I'm not even sure I'm curious enough about the sequel to read it. BUT I liked this one. It was definitely a page-turner.

Rating: 3 Paw Prints! 
 

Aw, I super enjoyed this one! I'd heard people compare it to the Fast & Furious franchise, and it fits so well. So many F&F vibes here, which I LOVED. I was also just so into this story, a story about healing and trying to do the right thing and second chances. And I was into the ship, though I wish it'd been just a *bit* more developed. The I love yous came up too fast. But I adored Marco and Frankie, and Cruz and Sofia and Lex. So many wonderful, colorful characters! GAH, IT WAS JUST A LOVELY AND FUN STORY. I will definitely be reading more Kami Garcia books, since this is the first I've read of hers and wanted more of it.

Rating: 4 Paw Prints! 



*****

Have you guys read any of these October releases yet? If so, what did you think about them?! :D