Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Mini Reviews

Soooo I had more than two mini reviews to share with you because I read a lot of September books, but SOMEHOW my draft on here got deleted and I couldn't get it back. And I lost about 7 reviews that I didn't have saved anywhere else. I cried. And then I got pissed at Blogger. I also refuse to rewrite them because that was a fucking lot. SO ANYWAY. I'm going to be sharing the books that lost reviews next week since some of them were October and November releases. But for now, I fortunately have two mini reviews to share that I wrote elsewhere. I loved them both and hope y'all check them out! :D


Title: The Forgetting 
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 13th, 2016!
*I picked up a physical ARC of this from the Scholastic booth at BEA.

From Goodreads...
What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

My Review!
I really liked this one! It wasn't like amazing, but I had a hard time putting it down once the plot got going and I ended up loving the characters. Also the shiiiiip, it's so shippable. And CUTE. Nadia, the main character and the girl who doesn't forget. Gray, the glassblower's son and the guy who bribes her to take him over the wall. They have a hard time trusting each other at first, but then they become friends, and eventually that turns into love. Love that feels believable and something that is threatened by the looming Forgetting. Every twelve years, like clockwork, the people forget. And then their books, the truths they are taught to write down, help them remember. But not everything is as it seems. I had NO idea where this book was going, so it was surprising to me the genre this fell into, and the way that the story came together. While a little predictable, it was super intriguing, and I loved the concept. I also loved how character-driven it is, and that it wasn't just all about Nadia and Gray finding a cure and discovering the secrets of Canaan. There is a strong focus on Nadia's relationships with her sisters and mother, as well as that of Gray's with his parents. And how the Forgetting can take away all of that, all of that love and harmony and family, and ruin lives. And the book asks the question: would you forget if you had the chance, take it all back and start over? This was certainly an interesting story and one that makes me want to check out this author's other books right away.



Title: Afterward
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: September 20th, 2016!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Macmillan. Thank you guys. <3

From Goodreads...
When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.

My Review!
This was a wonderful book. I’m especially happy with how therapy-positive this book was, and how Jennifer Mathieu showed Ethan’s PTSD and healing process. Most of the book was focused on that, and how Caroline was connected to it. Because when they start to become friends, and perhaps something more, the kidnapping is there between them. But the author treated their relationship, and Ethan’s trauma, with such care and respect. And I loved the two of them so much, even when I wanted Caroline to do better. While it was her little brother who had been kidnapped, she was still feeling the effects of that tragedy, especially when it doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to help Dylan. But she is sometimes a little selfish, and she doesn’t try as hard as she could. And Ethan gets caught up in her, starts to feel something more. But he’s still trying to heal and come to terms with everything that had happened to him, and it’s hard for him. The two of them have a long ways to go, and though the book doesn’t wrap everything up perfectly, it felt realistic and the story was handled so well. And I so appreciated the way that Jennifer wrote Ethan’s character and the therapy sessions. This is an important read; one that made me cry so hard but also filled me with hope and light. It was a story of a tragedy, yes, but it was also a story of healing and forgiveness and compassion. Just WONDERFUL. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

(62) Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

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

This week's topic: Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR!

Priority ARCs

Already Released

I do have more ARCs to read, but the ones above are the MUST-READ books for me. I'm so super excited about all of them, especially Foxheart, Beast, and Daughter of a Pirate King. The latter isn't out until February, but the other two are being published in October, so they are definitely priorities for fall. I did really well at getting ARCs read before their release dates, and I'm working hard to keep at it! I'm hoping to have all the 2016 ones read before the year ends. :D 

And I also want to read some books that have been already published, a few that I've put off for awhile (Saving Francesca and Cam Girl) and a few that just released this year (Outrun the Moon and My Lady Jane). These four are on the top of my TBR. I've wanted to read them all for some time now, and since I have copies of the books, it *needs* to happen before 2016 ends. I'm also planning on rereading both the Harry Potter series and the Lumatere Chronicles!


What books do you have on your fall TBR? Did any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Queens But Only One Crown

Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 20th, 2016!
*I picked up a physical ARC of this from the HarperCollins booth at BEA.

From Goodreads...
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


My Review!
*Minor spoilers!


I’m so incredibly disappointed with this story that it’s not even funny. After reading and loving previous Kendare novels (Anna and Antigoddess), I really thought this wouldn’t be any different. And maybe it was my expectations, but I thought this could have been so much better than it was. I… liked it. Well, maybe like is a strong word, but I HAD enjoyed reading it for the most part. I just feel very MEH about it now, looking back on the story as a whole and with writing this review. Because all I can think about is WHAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN, and the picture in my mind does not match where the storyline went. I’ll try to review this one and pick a rating, but it’s going to be so hard. Because I’m at this point where I’m trying to separate what it was versus what I wanted it to be, and it’s not really fair to the book, but I CAN’T HELP IT. I think this was such a missed opportunity for girl power ruling all, and ugh. Let me separate the three ladies, and talk about them individually, and then altogether, so you guys can see where I’m at with this. And why I’m feeling like I wanted a different book completely.

We’ll start with Katharine, since she is the first Queen who appears in the book. It’s not that I didn’t like Katharine, but she was written so poorly and so weakly, that I couldn’t find it in me to care about her. Her time with the Arrons is understandably difficult. They’re a hard family, all concrete and no affection. They’ve raised her as what she is: one of the triplets who could one day become Queen. They don’t love her, and she knows that. She’s been poisoned all her life, tested and experimented on, told to “suck it up and push it down your throat or I’ll do it for you!” So I’m just wondering why Katharine’s portrayed as a weakling who can’t fight, instead of someone who could give Natalia a run for her money? And why did her strength and her will to do what is necessary to survive have to come in the form of a boy (who does not REALLY love her)? Her character could’ve been so much MORE than she was. But she didn’t grow; she didn’t push back. She let herself get stomped on constantly, and the worst part, is that she doesn’t even have the powers she’s meant to. The ending? Yes, that was great. I was all, “GO YOU, KATHARINE.” But that doesn’t change how she was portrayed as this naive and sickly girl for much of the book.

Let’s move onto Arsinoe, who I believe was the second Queen the readers meet. I liked her character! I definitely appreciated her more than I did Katharine. But again, she’s powerless. She can’t even wake a flower up from its slumber. Of course, once you finish the book, you realize WHY that’s true. Though, she has other strengths. She’s fierce, determined to succeed at whatever she does, and she has a good chance at killing her sisters and taking the crown. But her story was drowned out by Jules’ life. I didn’t quite get why Jules had more POV than Arsinoe, when she wasn’t one of the triplets. Isn’t Three Dark Crowns supposed to be about them? Not that I didn’t like Jules. But I wanted more of Arsinoe. I wanted more of her feelings regarding the Year of Ascension. It’s not focused on as much during the times spent in their part of the world of Fennbirn. Also when the suitor arrives (even though guys up for king-consorts aren’t allowed to visit the triplets until a certain festival), it seems to forget about everything. I am happy that Arsinoe’s story wasn’t reduced by the guy like Katharine’s, but there really just wasn’t much to her POV that didn’t revolve around Jules, Arsinoe’s lack of a naturalist gift, and the return of Joseph Sandrin.  

Joseph Sandrin also plays a role in Mirabella’s story, believe it or not. I think I would’ve liked Mirabella as much as I did Arsinoe, if she’d had a semblance of a story. There wasn’t a lot to her, or to this supposed powerful gift of hers (except for one time, I don’t think she even PRACTICED her magic!). She’s an elemental, and is the champion of the Temple. The priestesses are not people to mess with, though, and they are as unforgiving as the Arrons are. But they raise Mirabella up as this savior, as this goddess, almost, but I don’t see it?? She really does nothing in this book except try to run away, break up Jules and Joseph (okay, like, it’s cool if you want to get some lovin’, ladies, but it felt super convenient for it to have been Arsinoe’s childhood friend and someone who is practically already married!), and figure out that she doesn’t want to play this game. There is a part of Mirabella’s POV that I wish had gotten more focus, and that was on her past with her sisters, when they lived together and loved each other and weren’t raised to kill one another. Mirabella clearly still loves Katharine and Arsinoe, but they have been separated so long, and have been taught this rigid tradition, that it had no play in this. And I wanted it to!

I think that was the most disappointing thing to me, that the girls didn’t fight back against this ages-old, bloody tradition. Perhaps in the sequel, they will become friends. Or perhaps they will actually try to kill each other. Who knows?! I want the former, honestly. I wanted the girls to strike back. I WANTED them to say “fuck it” and do what they wanted! And maybe they will in the sequel! I’m not certain about that, though, especially after this ending. But what I don’t get most of all is why Kendare made them all weak! She doused their stories in suitors and boy problems that the girls became pieces to be moved about a chessboard. But not only that, she made them physically weak. Neither Katharine nor Arsinoe have powers (and Mirabella is not even as strong in her elemental magic as they’ve told people), which is why the priestesses of the temple decided to turn this into a white-handed Queen throne and year, meaning that commoners could kill the weak queens so that the true one would rule. But that felt like suuuuch a cop-out. And an almost EASY way of bringing about conflict. Because, while you clearly know that a bloodbath is gonna occur at some point, this book was mostly all about the traditions leading up to when they actually HAVE to kill each other (which did feel natural for a first book, I’ll say at least).

The plot was pretty much just a setup for the sequel. It didn’t really stand on its own; it mostly moved the characters into position for the TRUE story to come out later on. Based on the ending, I don’t think the girls will become friends or disband this barbaric practice. I really wanted them to. Or at least, for this first book to bring them around to the idea of it. Maybe it’s not fair to the author or to this story to base it off of this picture I had in my head, but I just didn’t like the direction the storyline went! I really do believe that it could have been so much better. I didn’t end up loving ANY of the characters, and I thought the girls weren’t developed enough. This book could’ve been darker than it was too. I mean, there were definitely parts of it that made me go WHOA and think about how horrible it was for the girls to be faced with all of this. But I never felt intensity or that any of them would actually perish by the end. And I still stand by saying Three Dark Crowns could’ve turned into a girl power story. I would’ve been so much more impressed by it if it had. Sure, the story is ABOUT these three, powerful women, but it didn’t truly feel like that. I did appreciate the interesting island of Fennbirn, although I still wonder about its origins (since the modern world lays just beyond the fog). Anyway. Much disappointment and sadness for me after reading this book. I’m very curious to see what other people think!

I wrote this review a long time ago, so I'm updating with a final opinion: I didn't hate the book! There were things about it that I liked a lot, but there was just a whole lot more of whyyyy did Kendare choose to do this instead of that? while I was reading, and yeah. I'll be reading the sequel, of course, because I do think it'll be better. And that perhaps the author will give me what I'd been hoping for in this book (before I knew it was a series too, btw). A lot of people are LOVING this story, like my friend Shannon who is also reviewing it today. So I think I'm the oddball here anyway. :p


Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Adventure Ends Blog Tour: Finding Your People

Hey all, I'm so excited to be participating in the blog tour for This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. This is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries I've read this year. It IS so good, and I especially loved the strong focus it had on friendships (and really relationships in general). So for my post, after talking with a friend, I decided to talk about blogging and friendships. Sort of combining how I felt about this book with how I feel about this wonderful community. But first, here's a bit more about the book that you should DEFINITELY be buying/borrowing/reading asap.


Title: This Adventure Ends
Author: Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: October 4th, 2016!

From Goodreads...
Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


It's been awhile since I've read this book, but I remember how much I could relate to Sloane, the main character, and how she didn't really have any close friends. I've always had trouble finding my people; I've always had difficulty keeping friendship throughout the years, as well. And friendships can be super hard, especially the ones where you don't feel as if the give-and-take is worth continuously trying to make them last. I've always been envious of the all-consuming, close friendships I've read in books before (like The Raven Cycle and the Addicted series). And it's been something that has made me wonder if I'd EVER find my people. But I did find them! Like Sloane found them in This Adventure Ends, I found them in this community. Friends who I can't imagine not talking to every single day, and friends who just GET me.

And my people? They're Shannon, Val, Rashika, and Amber. We've been through our ups and downs as anyone would tell you happens between friends. But these are the people I can't go a day without talking to. And these are the people I feel as if I can discuss anything with, because even when disagreements happen, there is still a huge amount of respect and trust there. Shannon, Val, and I especially have been IRL friends for a long while now, and we started a tradition of attending BEA together. Shannon is my go-to, the person who gets extra doses of my rants. :p And Val is the sweetest and someone who is so chill and puts up with our shit. ;) And ahh Rashika, who I've only been talking to for a little over a year but someone I can't imagine not being friends with now. I see these friendships lasting a long time Love these ladies immensely!

But I have many blogging friends in this community too, people that I enjoy talking to on a regular basis and share a lot of the same taste in books with. Kaitlin is my book twin. I will generally know if a book will be for me if Kaitlin has read and loved/enjoyed it. I haven't been talking to Sabrina for as long as many people, but that doesn't even matter. I love that she lives close-ish to me and that we've been able to hangout again since BEA this year. I'm so glad I got to meet Zoey at BookCon in May, because this girl is AWESOME and shares my love of cats and the marauders (especially Sirius). Sarah is my fellow NA lover, and someone I love fangirling over the Addicted series with. I met CJ in an author signing line at BEA15 and she's now a friend of mine. I adore Mary and Danielle and I will cherish the memories of BEA16 with them. :D

And this community in general is just full of like-minded people who totally understand me and my love for reading and fangirling and fictional characters. I don't even remember what life was like before joining the book blogging world. This community brings together people from places all over the world and from all walks of life, and we share a commonality that joins us. We love books! We love fangirling over our favorites and ranting about those we wish we hadn't read. ;) We love crying over fictional characters and sharing the pain of otps and brotps. It's not perfect, this place we've all carved out for ourselves. But it's something that is utterly worth it all. I love talking to SO many people here. Like Kailia, Mariam, Aentee, Nori, Rachel, Sarah, Nikki, Lindsey, Morgan, Bekka, Crystal, and Sydney. And so many more! I could go on and on. Seriously I just love everybody! And I love being a book blogger. I'm forever thankful I've found my people. <3


It felt a little weird to talk about something like this on a blog tour, but I thought it'd be fun relating this book to blogging and the friendships that people make here. Some are fleeting, sure; but a lot of them last. And tbh, I don't like doing the same old, same old content on blog tours. SO I hope you enjoyed this post and that it makes you definitely want to read the book!

I loved it, guys. The friendships, of course. Actually, all the relationships (both platonic and non-platonic, as well as familial). Sloane, her witty and charming humor. Her fanfiction-obsessed dad. The group of friends already formed but who bring her into the fold because she just fits in with them. I loved reading this, and I hope you do too!

 Have you guys ever had difficulty finding your people too? Did you find them in this community, like I did? Let's talk! Also be sure to check out This Adventure Ends. It's a book you won't want to miss! :)

Friday, September 23, 2016

3 is the Magic Number

I'm not at all against giving an author a second chance. After all, there are many books of FAVORITE authors that were not hits for me. I'm not going to like every single book of one author. I don't think I ever have (okay I've mostly liked them, but they were disappointments after loving the others). For example: Brighton Walsh. A forever fave, even though I didn't care for Exposed or her novella stories as much as the ones I loved. Another example: Nora Roberts. I've *mostly* loved her books. But I've also DNFed a lot of them (she's written over 200 books, after all. Haha). And her latest fantasy series have just been not-as-great as her old ones. But I keep reading both Nora's and Brighton's books because I can't imagine NOT reading them. And just because I loved one, it doesn't mean I will love all of them. I'm okay with that.

I'm also okay with giving new-to-me authors a second chance if I didn't like a book of theirs or I DNFed it. After all, what if they become a favorite of mine?? I don't want to just write them off after one time. Or even two. If the book sounds like my type of story, I will give it a try even when I'm wary of it. And I always, always hope it'll be the one that makes me glad I kept going. But there are some authors I've given 3 chances to, and that seems to be the magic number here. I either end up wanting to keep going with the author, or I end up quitting. After all, 3 strikes, and you're out, right? :p And for these authors, I've read/DNFed 3 of their books and know that they *probably* aren't for me. I didn't dislike all of their books, but it's enough for me to not be a fan of them.

1. Jennifer L. Armentrout
DNFed: Obsidian and Wait for You
Enjoyed: White Hot Kiss 

I might still give Jennifer a shot, especially since she has a shit-ton of books, all mostly in different genres. But I'm not holding my breath. I immensely enjoyed White Hot Kiss at the time I read, but I still haven't been much interested in finishing the series, nor do I love it as much as I thought I had. And I'm kinda not enthusiastic about any of her contemporary. But I AM curious about her Covenant series and the Wicked Saga. So, she might be an author I keep trying. But let's just say, I don't have high expectations. :p

2. Jamie McGuire
Loved (at the time I read it): Beautiful Disaster
Disappointment: Red Hill
Disliked: Beautiful Oblivion

I'm pretty much over Jamie's books. I read BD back in 2013, and while I did love it, if I'd read it for the first time now, I'd hate it. It's super problematic, and I could even tell you why after so many years, though my memory is mediocre at best. And Travis Maddox is definitely not a book boyfriend people should be wishing for IRL. ANYWAY. I know that I can still love this problematic book, while acknowledging how harmful it is, but I just don't. And after the hot mess that was BO, I'm over this series and its characters. And Red Hill was a very non-unique post-apocalytpic zombie story that didn't have much to it. (Also the author herself is problematic, SO I'm not a fan of her anymore in general).

3. Rainbow Rowell
Enjoyed: Attachments
Disappointment: Eleanor & Park
Disliked: Fangirl

I don't think Rainbow's books are for me. At least, her young adult. I just don't click with her writing style nor how her stories seem to just end with no warning or without feeling like she even knew how to end them. Maybe I always expect more based on how popular she is and how many people love her books? idk, but I've been sorely disappointed by the two I thought I'd love the most, and UGH. I have zero interest in Carry On and I'm not really that interested in Landline, either.

If there's a book that somehow strikes my fancy from them in the future, perhaps I will give them a 4th chance. I mean, like I said with Jennifer Armentrout, there ARE still some of her books that interest me. So, maybe. But let's just say that hearing about new books from these three authors just doesn't fill me with ANY excitement lately. There is also one author I'm currently nervous about, because I've already DNFed two of her books and what if the 3rd one I read sucks? Cora Carmack is such an awesome person to follow on Twitter and such (and she's always got bloggers' backs), and SO MANY people love her books, but I could not finish both Inspire and All Broke Down. And quite a few of her books still interest me (especially the upcoming 2017 YA, Roar). But I'm scared that I'll find out that perhaps her and I are just not meant to be. I would sob, tbh. Same with Rae Carson. I DNFed the first book in her super popular fantasy series, and I liked Walk on Earth a Stranger, but I had been disappointed that I didn't love it. I'm starting to think her writing style, like Rainbow Rowell's, just does not click with me. AND THAT MAKES ME SO SAD BECAUSE PEOPLE SEEM TO REALLY LOVE HER BOOKS.

I talk about books so much, but I was thinking about this and really wanted to talk about the authors instead. So yeah, are there any authors that you've tried over and over again and just can't seem to enjoy so you've given up on them? Are there authors you're glad you gave a second and third chance to? Let's talk!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are You the Reader or Are You the Read?

Title: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1)
Author: Traci Chee
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: September 13th, 2016!

From Goodreads...
Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.

Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learnes, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.

My Review!
A world without books sounds like actual hell, but that’s the world in which the characters of The Reader live in. This world, though, was so rich and vibrant as I read. I had to sometimes just slow down and ABSORB what I was reading so I didn’t miss anything important. It did take a bit of time to get situated with the story. It’s told in interesting POVs; tall tales, different characters with different voices who all know different things. It’s unique, to be sure, but it can definitely make you fall out of the story if you’re not paying attention or you don’t like a POV you’re in (this only happened to me once, I didn’t get why this person had to have a POV really). But by the end, you see how everything works out. And, by the end, I had grown to love so many of the characters and I could’ve read another 400 pages, I didn’t want it to stop! But it did, and now I have to wait over a year for the sequel, and I’m going to SO regret this decision. IT WAS WORTH IT, THOUGH.

The main character is Sefia. She’s been on the run since she was a little kid, when she lost her parents and needed to stay hidden. Her Aunt Nin is the only person she has left, and someone who has basically taught her all that she knows. So when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia follows. After a really big time jump (I’m talking a YEAR), the story REALLY gets going. Sefia is a strong, fierce girl who has kept herself alive for so long, and who will never stop hunting for the one person she can’t lose. Her grief is there, so present, but she doesn’t let that slow her down. She’s near ruthless in what she does throughout the story. Survival is key, but not as much as her getting answers for who took Nin and why. It all has something to do with this book she’s got, this paper and ink that she teaches herself how to read while she wanders, and she knows this is the reason why her parents died and why Nin was taken. And for so long, it’s just been her, so she doesn’t really know how to love anymore. But when she stumbles upon a boy locked in a cage, she takes a leap and finds a partner in life. Someone who will have her back; someone who will forgive and understand and who will not leave her side by his own choice.

I fucking loved Archer. He is so good and kind and wonderful. He is quiet, but super perceptive. And he had such an innocence about him that made him look at the world with different eyes than others. You wouldn’t expect it, given his past and how he grew up, tossed into fighting rings and coming out a winner with blood on his hands. Blood that he can’t easily wash away, but with Sefia, there’s no judgment. There is only curiosity, warmth, and understanding. She knows what it means to survive, and to do things when you have no choice, to always be on guard. I loved their friendship. I loved the strength that they gave each other. And I loved that, even though Archer didn’t talk, his actions spoke so much louder than words ever could. Especially in one scene, where he’s forced to go back to the life he never wanted to return to, when he was promised he wouldn’t have to ever again. But he did, and he would do whatever he could, to help Sefia find Aunt Nin. To help her understand why her parents died and why this book is so important. He is that loyal, that forgiving, that caring. Even when Sefia didn’t deserve it, but well, she was also such a light in his life when he’d lived so long in the dark, that I can’t even be that mad. The best part of their relationship was how they had each other’s backs through everything. I could’ve been equally happy if they had stayed just friends, but I love the beginnings of a romance I saw throughout the book.

There were other characters I really loved, most especially the crew of the Current of Faith. Not just tall tales after all, Sefia and Archer stumble across the infamous pirates they’ve been reading about in her book. Even though they’re not the greatest people ever, I loved their banter and the ship scenes. I loved the stories that Sefia read to Archer about them, all their adventures and deeds, but also their recklessness. Captain Reed is a formidable character; restless, dangerous, but also kind. He and his crew have chased the most impossible of quests all for a bit of glory. All to be remembered one day, since books are not real and stories are carried through mouths and generations. I LOVED these chapters, and thought they added such a richness to the book. Like I said, the multiple POVs took some time to get used to, and until the end, you’re not even sure how they all weave together. But it WORKS. And I didn’t even catch twists I probably should have. I’m usually good at this shit, but this kept me so hooked that I hardly wanted to stop, and I definitely didn’t pay much attention to the hints here and there. I’m still not sure how it all fits together, and where the sequel will go, but damn it I want to know so badly! The Reader was a uniquely, rich fantasy that felt like something new in this vast genre. I LOVED IT! I want MORE.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bookish Bingo: Summer 2016 Wrap-Up

hosted by Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews, which you can find here.

This is seriously like my favorite reading challenge, and I do it quarterly (since each bingo card is the span of 3 months). I haven't always conquered it in the past, but I'm always determined to try. I'm so happy that I did it again, and that I even finished the challenge a solid month early! And here's what I read. :D


Aussie Author: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 
June, July, or August Release: Game On by Michelle Smith
 Part of 4+ Book Series: Fuel the Fire by Krista and Becca Ritchie
 Over 500 Pages: Addicted After All by Krista & Becca Ritchie
 2016 Debut: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
POC MC: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Mental Health: Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Starts with S, U, M, E, or R: Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Political Intrigue: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
 Monsters: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Yellow Cover: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey
 Red Cover: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
 A Book about Books: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Water on Cover: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsey Smith
Magic: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Food in Title or On Cover: Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Folklore or Myths: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Name in Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
White Cover: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West 
Weather Words in Title: Frost by Kate Avery Ellison

 Historical Setting (1900s-1950s): Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
 Middle Grade: The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

F/F or M/M Romance: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Outdoors: The 100 by Kass Morgan


As you can tell, I had read far more books that I loved than those I didn't! AND THAT IS SO AWESOME, WHAT A GREAT READING YEAR TBH. There were so many good and amazing ones in the mix for this Bookish Bingo. This is different from what I usually do for these wrap-ups, but it was a lot less work and looks way cleaner. By splitting them up, you can get a sense for how I felt about the books. The ones with pictures shown are the ones that were my ABSOLUTE faves (in the first category). The biggest disappointments were Stalking Jack the Ripper (which I did like but had wanted to love) and Of Fire and Stars. But the good books outweigh the few that just did not work for me or that weren't as great as I'd hoped they would be. And yay for having another Bookish Bingo edition complete! :D Did you guys participate in this challenge too? If so, how did you do?!