Tuesday, November 21, 2017

October Mini Reviews

Because of ALA annual this past June, I had a lot of October releases to read and talk about. And while I liked all of these, I didn't really have a whole lot to say about them, so I'm posting all the mini reviews together. :)


Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
This was probably the most fucked up Mindy McGinnis story yet. I don’t even know what to THINK of it. It was weird and twisted and psychologically/medically inclined, but I don’t even know if I could say whether I loved it, just enjoyed the ride, or didn’t feel anything at all. It was just so… unbelievable at times too, and the MC was unreliable and unlikable, but to a degree that I could go along with? I DON’T KNOW, GUYS. I really don’t. I think I’m just going to settle in with a middle rating. One to show that I liked the book, because it was entertaining and I couldn’t stop reading, but beyond that, I don’t know what more to say.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!  

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
TW: abuse by guardian/parent figure

I looove villain origin stories. I love villains and antagonists, which is a huge reason why I wanted to read this book in the first place. Xiefang is not a heroine. She’s not a good person. But I liked her anyway, because of it. She was brought up in an (emotionally and physically) abusive household, shaped into someone ugly and dangerous by her Guma, and told that one day she would become Empress. That it was her destiny. So, that’s what Xiefang did. She followed not her heart, but fate, toward a life without love and without friendship. Throughout everything that happened, though, you glimpse the pieces of Xiefang that her aunt tried to suppress and destroy. A bad character with good moments. A villain with a heartbreaking past. It isn’t a nice story, not really, but I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. It was descriptive and enchanting, a reimagining of how the Evil Queen came to be. I can’t wait for the sequel!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: All the Crooked Saints
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
There's not much I have to say about this book because there just wasn't a whole lot to it, and I didn't always understand the miracles part. I also don't want to get too into it, because I'm not Latinx, and cannot speak on the rep. It's such a massive part of the story, too. But I've heard that it's problematic, so I'd suggest reading reviews by Latinx readers to see why! Aside from that, I did enjoy All the Crooked Saints. I wasn't sure since it's set in 1962, and I'm just not interested in that point in time, but I really liked how family-focused it was. The characters were all wonderful and multi-faceted. And it was intriguing, reminded me a little of the Raven Cycle series. But not nearly as good as that! So my feelings are pretty mixed here, and I was hoping to love this, but I didn't. I'm still glad I read it, though.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!

Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 17th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
A thriller that just wasn't very... thrilling. It wasn't as dark as I'd expected. I mean, what happened is fucked-up (and I think I saw that ending coming a little, so it didn't hit me like it should have, and I wasn't a fan of the switch-up in POV). But I just didn't get that from the overall tone of the book. And I didn't really care for the characters all that much, though I felt for Jess. She's the overweight, nervous sidekick to her beautiful best friend, and she's not very good with people. But she's caring, and shy, and she doesn't know how to deal with her crush on Angie. So, I don't think I quite liked everything that goes on. It was a quick read, though, and it reeled me in until I couldn't stop. So I don't know, I liked the book but didn't love it.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!

Title: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me
Author: Carrie Ann DiRisio
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
Refreshing. Unique. It poked fun at the tired tropes, overused character types, and problematic content we still see in YA today, but less than just a few years ago. But it actually made so many good points, and it's a helpful tool for authors to take a few seconds to stop and think about what they're writing. It made me chuckle, for sure, and I found its format and style really interesting. I didn't always like when it became story, though; it felt almost chaotic and unnecessary at times. And I'm sad I read an ARC and missed out on all the illustrations and extra-ness of the book! But all in all, an enjoyable read!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: Gray Wolf Island
Author: Tracey Neithercott
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*eARC kindly provided by Random House Children's via NetGalley*

I still don’t quite know what to think of this one. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I found the friendships compelling, and the banter was fun. All the characters brought something different to the quest, and they are all there for their own reasons. But I didn’t come to love this, or them, and didn’t feel the emotions as heavily as I wanted to. The treasure hunt felt really anticlimactic, and I’m not even sure I understand everything that happened. It was quieter on the action, more focus spent on the characters, and their secrets. It was one of the few books I was able to finish during my slump, so it was definitely an interesting read that kept my attention until the end. But I also don’t remember much about it now? WHOOPS. I did really enjoy it, though!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

I also read the Lady Killers nonfiction book, and it was FASCINATING. October was clearly the month for books with fucked-up aspects and murder and revenge. LOL. What were your favorite October releases?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

From the Den: October Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could still tell y'all about them. :)


Another month; another sad, sad number of books read. I'm just struggling so hard right now, and I'm disappointed that I only got 10 read, quite a few of which were super short and easily readable. UGH. Here's hoping November is better, though it already feels like it isn't. Slumps suck, guys. I'm over it.

Seducing His Student
All these ~heroes~ are the same character type. Alpha males, aggressive, arrogant, the right mix of dirty and sweet. And that's not ALWAYS bad, but Elliot wasn't just bordering creepy stalker, he was sailing over the line. His texts to Sam after he broke it off and messed with her head after seeing her talking with another guy reminded me of the typical Nice Guy. It was straight-up manipulation. And every time he called her my girl or my Sam, I cringed. I think she could do better. *shrugs* This was quick but utterly boring and so perfectly wrapped up that him being the dean of students never felt like it would be an issue, which took away that forbidden intensity from a romance trope like this. So, a nope for me on this one. Sadly.
Rating: 2 Paw Prints!

This was from a Kickstarter I backed. A quick read! It was super interesting, and fun! Thieves, mysteries, a hunt for a powerful object, a girl who will do whatever it takes to find her father, all set in the 17th century. I didn't love it, but I'm definitely invested enough to read the sequel. 
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Another ebook from that Kickstarter! This was just okay. It's not really my type of story, and I spent most of it confused as all hell. But I'm really intrigued about certain characters; who and what they are. So I will definitely be reading the sequel!
Rating: 2.5 Paw Prints!

The Reader
More a 4 stars book upon a reread, but still one that I love A LOT. I'd needed a reread because I read this super early, and it'd been over a year, and I have The Speaker. There is so much going on here that it's hard to take in at times, and it can get very wordy. But I found the way it's written so unique before, and I still feel that way. And I do really love the characters. Not so much Sefia as Archer and the Current of Faith crew. They are so adorable, and one of the best parts of the story for me. The romance is slow-burn and light, but sometimes I still wish it just stayed a friendship. But I'm looking forward to seeing how it grows throughout the sequel! The Reader is just SO GOOD, guys.

What books did YOU read in October? Any amazing ones? Or are you slumping too? If so, honestly same. We're in this together.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NaNoWriMo Update #1

So it's been 15 days, NaNo is already halfway done, and I'm still going strong. But I AM waaaay behind schedule at the moment, but I'm determined as ever to win NaNo. And not only that, but I'm motivated to finish this novel, more so than like I've ever been with a story? It's not that I haven't loved any of my others, but I think the difference is that I'm writing what I know, and what I love, and what I understand. I'm writing about queer kids and college and the trial and error of growing up and figure out who you are as a person. It's set in Michigan, too, so it's just so me.

I always put little bits and pieces of myself in my books, and it's not my first #ownvoices novel, but it's got more of me than everything else. I'm pulling from personal experiences, in conversation, relationships, and college life. It's helping, and surprisingly I'm super enjoying writing the dialogue? I've particularly struggled with that part of books before, but it's such my favorite with this one that I almost don't have a plot? LOL. whatever, I don't care. I just wanna write banter and people meeting new people and making friends and falling in love. IS THAT TOO LITTLE?

My favorite line: "That girl would be able to find her way through hell."

My favorite moment: it hasn't happened yet, but I've already written a little bit in my outline, so I'm counting it. It's set in the second semester, after the breakup and the depressive spiral and Amelia asking for help. She goes home, and ends up having a super emotional chat with her dad. He apologizes for not seeing it before, her depression, and she tells him that it's okay, that she didn't see it either. He's so broken up about it, because he loves her so much and feels like a failure. And it's a moment upon which shows their utter love for each other and the strength of close relationships. I can't wait to actually get to this point!

My favorite character: oh my god, no I can't. I love them all too much.

First line, from the prologue: Falling out of the tree wasn't the plan.

I still feel like I'm in the beginning stages of this novel (over 20,000 words currently), so it's not always easy to figure out where to go next. I'm mostly setting up Amelia and Sean's lives, trying especially to lock in Sean's character. His chapters have been the hardest to write, and I'm not exactly sure why. So I'm figuring him out as I go, but I KNOW where Amelia is headed. I'm just not always sure how to get her there. It's been hard, but SO INCREDIBLY FUN TO WRITE. I am absolutely loving this, and even though I'm behind, I feel so confident that I'll hit 50k by the 30th. WISH ME LUCK.

And because I love you guys so much (and because I love this WIP too much to NOT share it), here are two teasers!

Devin is Amelia's cousin, and Taylor is her brother.

From the meet cute short story I wrote awhile ago:

As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of Amelia and her family. I can honestly say their interactions are the most fun I've had writing in years. I have to keep stopping myself from making their scenes longer than they need to be, just because I have so much more I want to do with them. And Sean has two uncles whom he loves dearly, and I just wrote a scene with the three of them that gave me ALL THE FEELS. So I'm just gonna write more about them all, okay? Good, thanks, I'm sure a plot isn't needed.

Hey NaNo-ers, how are you doing so far this month? Are you hitting your goals or feeling behind like me? What has been your favorite accomplishment? We still have so much time left, guys; WE CAN DO THIS!!

Also tell me about your story because I want to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

(85) Top Ten Books I'd Want My Future Nieces to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topicTop Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.)


1. Moxie
A teen girl starting a feminist revolution in her high school? Yeah, please, I want that to be one of my nieces someday. I want them to grow up loud; I want them to take up space. I want them to feel empowered

2. The Names They Gave Us
They'd grow up Christian, and that's totally okay. But I want them to read this book and know that it's okay to stumble in their faith, in religion. I want them to think for themselves, and also remember that finding your people is worth it all. 

3. The Hate U Give
I want my nieces learning about racism and bigotry early, and knowing their privilege. I want them to read books like THUG, and have more understanding and sympathy for those who aren't white. I want them to always, always fight for equality for all.

4. The Upside of Unrequited
Just. This was so warm and great and really brought together a lot of what high school and being a teenager is all about, especially in regards to relationships and dating and sex. 

5. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
I'd make whichever brother has the kid read a story to her every night from this book. It is so perfect because I want every girl to grow up thinking she can be and do ANYTHING she wants. <3

6. Wild Beauty
I wanted at least one pretty queer book on here, because I want my future nieces to be accepting, and to know it's 100% fine if they aren't straight. It's also a magical read about love and family, which is amazing.

7. Play On
It's the book of my heart, guys, and I think it has so much good in it and I just wanna share it with them.

8. Saving Francesca + Lumatere Chronicles
Literally all of Melina's books, tbh. They are so relatable and good and filled with empowering, strong women who aren't perfect, who make mistakes and do bad things but who are still worthy of love and friendship and happiness.

9. All the Rage
Not only to get them out of that society-hates-girls attitude and say fuck you to the pervasive rape culture, but to make them more compassionate individuals. To find sympathy for people who are struggling through hard stuff. The world needs more empathy.

(There are more books like this [Asking For It, Speak, The Way I Used to Be, etc], but I haven't read them so just used Courtney's).

10. Harry Potter
DID YOU THINK I WOULDN'T PUT IT ON HERE, HUH? BECAUSE OF COURSE I WOULD. I need my nieces to become part of the Harry Potter world. If they don't like it, coolfineidontcarewhatever. But I'd want them to at least give the books a try!

I really loved making myself think about these choices, and wondering what I'd do to make sure any future nieces grow up in a better world. And not only a better one, but one that believes in magic and dreams and impossible things. This was just such a great prompt! I had a lot of fun making this list.

What books would you make sure you read to your future children/nieces/grandchildren/etc? Would any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 2017 Releases

I didn't have time to do this earlier because my laptop quit on me and I spent my time NaNoing instead, but better late than never, right? :p November is always a slow pub month, but it's still STACKED.

November 7th

November 14th

November 21st

November 28th

I've already read: Whichwood, which was AMAZING. I loved it so much. Also The Speaker, which I sort-of-reviewed for the blog tour last Tuesday. It was good. Not as good as the first, but I really effing enjoyed it.

From NetGalley/ALA: Bonfire, which I think is the only one left. I picked this up on a whim at ALA annual, so I'm definitely hoping to get to it. But outstanding 2017 review copies are more of a priority, so we'll see!

My most anticipated: The City of Brass, which sounds amazing. I've heard nothing but good things about it. I decided to preorder the UK version because that cover is gorgeous. But now I'm sad because it won't be out until January. *CRIES* oh well, this gives me time to catch up before it gets here!

What November releases are YOU most excited about? Also, what ones am I missing because omg I couldn't find a lot. Tell me what neeeeeds to be on my radar!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blog Tour and Review: The Speaker by Traci Chee

Title: The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold, #2)
Author: Traci Chee
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 7th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance. 


Things that made me happy about The Speaker:

*The merry band of brotherhood - Peter Pan vibes for days, these lost boys (and girls) are rescued and then left with no direction, so Archer gives them a direction, and a purpose, and compassion. He gives them a reason to keep going and to move on from what happened. It's not always happy, nor is it easy, but I loved the bonds they all formed with each other. ALL THE FEELS.

*The normalization of boys feeling emotions - society pretends boys can't and shouldn't cry, and I loved that this book let them feel all their feelings without the toxic masculinity that pervades our world today.

*The Current of Faith crew - always a pleasure seeing these pirates on the pages. They're thrill seekers looking to accomplish deeds that will get them remembered long after their deaths. But they're also just such a lovable group of misfits and rebels, and any time we were with them, I was SO into their newest adventure. I can't wait to see how they tie into the third book, and I want all the Current of Faith voyages, please and thanks.

*Queer love accepted without persecution or argument - which never seems to happen? Unfortunately, in a lot of non-contemporary books especially, the standard is heterosexuality, and anything beyond that is Not Okay to the society inside them. But here it just was. And I loved, loved, loved that.

*It was richly diverse and detailed and dark - the world is one you'll want to sink your teeth into. It is vibrant and so unique (I mean, a world in which there are no books, HOW AWFUL AND CREATIVE), and the reason why I love fantasy so much. Also, it does not shy away from gritty subjects. Characters are tortured or do the torturing, some struggle with PTSD and their pasts, others lose loved ones or die. The book wasn't afraid to go there, and I'm here for the morally gray complexity of life.

*Stories within stories - reading this, and The Reader, is an experience. I'm still trying to figure out how so much of it fits together, and because of its intricacy, I'm constantly surprised by the slow reveals and mysteries unraveled throughout the books. And the hidden messages, smudged thumbprints, crossed out and faded sections all make for an fascinating reading experience. One that you'll want to redo at least one more time so you can catch it all, even though you won't. I swear you still won't know everything. Trust me, I already tried it. ;)

So yeah, y'all should read these books! They are SO GOOD, and I'm so happy I was invited to be part of this tour so I could have an excuse to talk about them more. Also, The Speaker is out *today* and if you're not rushing to a bookstore to get it or the first book, what are you doing with your life? Go, go, go!


Week One
October 30 – Ex Libris – Review
October 31 – Bette’s Pages – Review with photos
November 1 – Never2Many2Read – Review
November 2 – ButtermyBooks – Review
November 3 – YA Wednesdays – Favorite Quotes

Week Two
November 6 – FlyLeaf Chronicles – Review
November 7 – meeee – Review
November 8 – In Wonderland – Review
November 9 – Book Reviews Express – Review
November 10 – Brianna Book Binding – Review

Week Three
November 13 – Readers Live A Thousand Lives – Excerpt and Review
November 14 – Good Choice Reading – Review with Photo
November 14 – Love Is Not a Triangle – Review
November 15 – Dazzled by Books – Review with Bookish Candle
November 16 – A Belle’s Tale – Review and Spotlight
November 17 – MelihYoutuber – Review

Week Four
November 20 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
November 21 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Review
November 22 – Bookshelves and Paperbacks – “5 Reasons Why You should Read The Reader & The Speaker” with Moodboard
November 23 – Across the Words – Review
November 24 – Eastern Sunset Reads – Review

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

I almost titled this, "Happy NaNoWriMo!" but then thought people might find it weird because most don't feel like it's a happy time? I know it stresses some out, and it can be disappointing to not reach 50k by the end of the month. But for me, it's always been fairly motivating. I've never actually won NaNo before, but it's gotten me to write. those. words. down! One year, I wrote 16k words. They're all basically trash now, as I've figured out how I want to restart that novel. But it was good to get a beginning down, and some of the words will stay. Last year, well, I didn't write anything. The election completely threw me, and I tried to write, but I couldn't. So I'm looking forward to doing this again, when I'm in a better mental health mindset and I can give more time to it.

And this year, I'm just really excited because of the WIP I've decided to work on. Originally, it was going to be the redraft of the one above. I started thinking about where to start, but I couldn't settle on a POV. (I still haven't). But now, I know what I want to write, and while it's something I've been working on, I'm starting a new beginning. After reading the Meet Cute anthology, I got inspired to write my own meet cute. I wanted a challenge; I wanted to motivate myself to finish a project of slightly lesser demanding and word amount. I kept saying it will only be a short story. But one night while I was trying to fall asleep (because this is apparently the only time when my creativity is on), I realized that I wanted to turn it into a full-length novel. And it's going to be my NaNo project!

I've been outlining it for weeks now. It's not to the extent of one of Cait's (LOL whose is?), but it's more than I've ever done for a WIP before. I wanted to get into the mindset of working on it now, and of knowing what I want to do, so that when I inevitably hit a writer's block or bad MH day, I have a direction. Too many times before I've given up BECAUSE I couldn't figure out where to go in a story. So, what was the harm in giving outlining a try? We shall see how it works out for me at the end of the month! I'm REALLY hoping to hit 50k and actually win NaNo, but I'm also hoping to get such a huge start in the book that finishing it within a few months won't be a problem. Because, you know what? It's high time to get serious about becoming an author.

I've known this awhile, and I DO intermittently work on WIPs during my days off. But I'm not a great self-motivator when it comes to life, and I never know how to un-stuck myself in a book. It ends up being SLOOOOW going, and I've never been able to type the words The End. I've never gotten to that point. But I am so in love with this story. I say that all the time, but DAMN it won't let me go. It wouldn't let go so much that I could not help wanting to write more of it, and make it into a novel. And like, I'm just so excited that I've barely been able to stop myself from starting it early. (I would, but then I'd have to manually figure out word count all the time, and ugh no I'm lazy). So yeah, happy NaNoWriMo month, guys! LET'S GET ALL THE WORDS WRITTEN.

Without further ado, probably the part you're all here for, some details about my newest WIP!

*it's set in college, but my MCs are teens (so I'd call this upper YA? idk, but it's YA)
*dual POV
*soft boy named Sean who just wants to work at his family's orchard for the rest of his life
*ambitious and wild girl named Amelia who doesn't know what she wants to do with her life
*also bi and leans mostly toward girls but finds herself still attracted to Sean, but anyway she's got a girlfriend now
*breakups are hard though
*it's set two years after Sean and Amelia first meet at the orchard
*they decide to keep in touch, even knowing it should be platonic
*this story is all about relationships, and how growing up is complicated and full of mistakes and learning
*it's a lot fluffier than MOST of my books honestly
*but therapy and mental health are still major components here, as well as sexuality and other sociocultural elements
*however, the story itself is not dark and sad, which I LIKE
*Amelia has a fam consisting of her dad, brother, and cousin, and her relationships with them are such a big part of her life (and it's also one of the things I loved most about writing their meet cute)
*Sean's grandma practically raised him after his mother walked out and his dad threw himself into maintaining the family business
*he learns how to bake exceptionally well from her (but not as good as her bc of course)
*it's full of some of my fave things: fall, apple cider, donuts, Michigan, the first year of college, hoodies & jeans & boots weather, history, walks around campus, discovering what you want to major in/do with your life, complex bitch queen MCs, the complicated relationships with friends and family, mental health positivity

So yeah, I can't wait to get started today! I don't know how much writing I'll get done on work days, but I'll see what I can do. I think I'll be playing a lot of catch-up, which is fine, because I always have a ton of time on the weekends to do it. However, my computer is currently not working, so I have to take it in and I don't know WHEN I'll be able to start NaNo. Will probably hop on the family computer until my laptop is fixed, but ugh. BUT I am determined as fuck to win NaNo this year!

Are you guys doing NaNo too? If so, we should be buddies! Add me: skizzles22 :) I wish you all the best in your writerly endeavors!