Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January Mini Reviews

Because of various reasons, I was able to read a lot of January releases before their pub dates, and here are the ones that I didn't write full reviews for. Not necessarily because I didn't like them, but because I didn't have much to say about them. But I enjoyed all of the reads!

*****

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018!
I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

Find it on Goodreads.


My Review!
This took me a LONG time to get into. I've been starting and stopping it since like the end of June. But I decided to push through a bit longer, and I got hooked. I wasn't a big fan of the MC's voice. It felt at odds in this book. But I did like her character; she was cunning, manipulative and resourceful, and fit in well with the Faerie Folk. She was a fighter, and someone who enjoyed a challenge, and she was not afraid to make the tough choices. She was not, I would say, a villain. But she grew up in this world, and she could be as wicked as one of them.

I really appreciated that this story wasn't a nice one. I've read many that involved faeries, but ones that didn't really explore both the decadency and cruelty of the courts. They are not nice creatures, and their world was one that you had to survive by whatever means necessary. It made for a lot of complexity and moral ambiguity in the characters, which I've a weakness for. As the plot thickens, and the place descends into chaos, I was so intrigued to find out what would happen that I finished this quicker than I expected. The Cruel Prince was good, but just not great, for me.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: Mary's Monster
Author: Lita Judge
Publisher: Roaring Books
Release Date: January 30th, 2018!
Physical ARC kindly provided by Macmillan.

You can find it on Goodreads.

My Review!

A super fascinating look into Mary Shelley's life, and what spurred the idea of her famous novel, Frankenstein. It's told in free verse and with illustrations on every single page, which I felt fit the setting and Mary's life. And I think the author tried to stay as true as possible with this biographical story. There was so much pain and grief and heartbreak, and it didn't help that Mary was in an emotionally abusive relationship with another artist. Everything shaped who she was, and it all led to Mary creating a monster that has survived for two hundred years. I enjoyed this and it gave me new appreciation for the story of Frankenstein, which I read in 2015 for an English class but didn't love. Definitely worth the read!
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


Title: Blood and Sand (Untitled, #1)
Author: C.V. Wyk
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 16th, 2018!
I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
Pretty sure this is a surprise series (bc if not, WHAT AN AWFUL OPEN ENDING), and I am not exactly happy about that. But I loved the period and setting in which this was set, that the author decided to write about a female Spartacus, that she wove real history in with her own fictional narrative. I was hooked, though had hoped for much more from this. It wasn't as action-packed as I'd expected it to be, and I almost wish this hadn't had a romance at all (especially since it wasn't super developed)? But I loved the Xanthus and Attia team-up (that! one! fight! GAH). Also enjoyed the banter between Xanthus and his brothers, fellow gladiators who know each so well and who have found comfort in their dangerous lives. But yeah, I didn't love this as much as I wanted to. Yet if there is a sequel, you can bet I'll be reading it.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 9th, 2018!
I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
WHATWHATWHATisthatending !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, though. I've got theories. And now that I'm finally writing a review after finishing this book back in AUGUST, I don't remember much about the book itself. But I did enjoy it a hella lot. It really is Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones in space. Mia and Jules are polar opposites. They care about different things. One wants to preserve the history and restore his family name, and the other just wants to survive and save her sister. They make an unlikely duo, but it WORKS. This is a slower-paced novel that wasn't always easy for me to follow (this is why I'm not a science fiction person), but I was intrigued by everything. It had the feel of the past but was set in the future. It was full of intensity and discovery and archaeology fun. And I'm dying for the sequel!

Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)
Author: Melissa Albert
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 30th, 2018!
I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

Find it on Goodreads.


My Review!
I really, really liked this book. Like, a lot. What I really loved was that this was basically about Alice's relationship with her mom. It's the focal point of everything, and their bond is one that felt realistically flawed but so wonderful. But I'm not sure I loved it on a whole? It definitely had the feel of fairytales, but the darker ones, the ones that are a little fucked up and don't really have happy endings. It was atmospheric, and I was pretty hooked. And that fucking twist? OMG. But I think I expected a bit more where the Hinterland was involved, and I wasn't always a fan of the things that happened. This one is hard for me to pin down, but I am 100% reading the sequel (or companion?) and the actual Hinterland tales.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Monday, January 29, 2018

From the Den: December 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. :)

*****

I read A LOT of books in December, but most of them will be talked about in different posts. I've grouped a lot of them together because omg so many books. I also finished my reread of The Scorpio Races and reread Prisoner of Azkaban on Christmas Day. Anyway, here are some of my December reads!


A September Release
*eARC kindly provided by Flatiron Books via NetGalley*

Gah, this was so EFFING GOOD. It took me a damn long time to finish, but I loooved it. It lost me in moments, but the bleeding heart of the story, two women who learned that they were more than their origins, that they could shape their own futures, was my favorite part of this. There was such a beautiful, deep love between Mina and Lynet, and one that was threaded throughout the course of the book, and woven into every interaction between them. And I adored the blossoming romance between Lynet and Nadia, a girl with her own ambition but who decided what she wanted could be more than she thought. Such a fantastic, original, and truly feminist take on Snow White. I loved this story of girl power, friendship, and breaking free of those who would try to mold you into a person you don't want to be. It was a slow-burn kind of tale, but one that is worth it for that ending. JUST. GAH. I LOVED. 
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!


Free Simon & Schuster Reads
When I saw this on Simon Pulse's site, Riveted Lit, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read it. And holy shit, what a WILD ride. It went places I wasn't expecting, and man. I don't even know, guys. It was just a thrilling, fucked-up book!
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


another thing about the rules. they weren't meant to be broken. they were meant for the broken to follow. 

Oh, this was hard on the heart. But so important. And gritty and real and a very honest look at gun violence. That ending got me so much. I don't know what to even say about it because I feel like it's something you should just experience without knowing anything about it beforehand. But yeah, SO GOOD. Definitely worth a read.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!


A Wattpad Book
This was SUPER CUTE. Not wholly original as it pulls from so many different fairytales, but I definitely enjoyed the story. I'm glad I ended up reading it (and you can too as it's on Wattpad!) and after reading Julie's debut too, I'm so looking forward to anything else she writes!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


A Sequel
I didn't enjoy this as much as the first, but I definitely appreciated the deeper messages, and how the author showed the complicated sibling relationship between Jack and Jill. Sometimes, love is enough. And sometimes, it isn't. The two of them were socialized so terribly, made to be kept separate from each other, just twins who coexisted in the big Wolcott mansion. Their parents, so focused on gender and perfection and you can never be your own person, pushed them toward the doorway that they found in their grandma's trunk. And in it, they found the Moors, and lived two very different lives. Though not quite friends, some things are bigger than untold pain and a past that they can't reconcile. I remember the two of them from the first book, so I was excited to learn more about what world they fell into, and of how they came to be who they are now. Definitely an intriguing and unique series! I can't wait for the next book.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Some of my favorite quotes:
Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.

The trouble with denying children the freedom to be themselves - with forcing them into an idea of what they should be, not allowing them to choose their own paths - is that all too often, the one drawing the design knows nothing of the desires of their model. Children are not formless clay, to be shaped according to the sculptor's whim, nor are they blank but identical dolls, waiting to be slipped into the mode that suits them best.

Beauty was all the brighter against a background of briars. 


What books did YOU read in December? Have you read any of these yet? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

The Cutest Anthology Ever

Title: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet
Authors: edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018!
I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

From Goodreads...
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.


My Review!
Overall, I REALLY loved this anthology. So far it's been my favorite of the ones I've read. The stories were fun and just so freaking cute! So like I did with all books like this, I rated each story separately, and talked about them. And at the end of this post is my overall rating! :D

Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno was interesting! I wasn't sure what to make of it being in 2nd person at first; it's not typically what I prefer. But I felt like it fit with this story of a moment in time, where two high school kids who have known each other their whole lives but who don't actually know each other find themselves hiding out from the police at a party. It was bittersweet, and gave me unexpected feelings. Definitely a strong start to the anthology! 
Rating: 3.5 stars


Print Shop by Nina LaCour was really good. I've read a few of her books, and I love her writing style. I liked how it was the MC, Evie, telling Lauren how it all started for the two of them. And I loved how it was so intertwined with this print shop. The other characters and the setting made for such a fun and cozy story. I'M A FAN and I honestly could have read a whole book about this print shop. 
Rating: 4 stars


Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi did not feel like a meet cute, because that happened at literally the very end. I thought too much time was spent on the drama with Stacy and Brian, and not enough on the actual meeting between Cherish and Mamadou, which I would have loved to see more of, like them going to prom together. So, I was just really disappointed with how this one went, and did not care about the now-and-before portion. 
Rating: 2.5 stars


Click by Katharine McGee was so great! I didn't fully get why it needed to be set in 2020 (though maybe because of the technology aspects?), and I wasn't sure why the MCs were college kids. But I really enjoyed that the meet cute was centered around an app that matched you with the people in your top 1% of compatibility. And I was so into this non-date that Raden and Alexa go on, trying to find her lost phone. It was told in dual POV, so I felt like I got to know both of them, and yeah, I adored it. 
Rating: 4.5 stars!


The Intern by Sara Shepard was honestly kind of meh. The main character, Clara, is an intern at her father's record label and is asked to take a singer-songwriter to a psychic reading. The storyline focused more on Clara's grief, and I did love certain moments of that. "But just know that someday, you'll be okay. You'll be yourself again." But unlike the previous stories, there just wasn't much to it. I wanted more with the romance. 
Rating: 2.5 stars!


Somewhere That's Green by Meredith Russo was about two girls figuring out who they are and learning that sometimes people deserve second chances and the room to make mistakes. Lexie hurt Nia badly, for her complacency and naive judgment of transgender individuals. But Nia saw Lexie's heart and how much she was trying, and decided to give her a chance. I liked this one! And I was very happy with the ending. I wasn't sure where the story would go, so it was lovely. 
Rating 3 stars!


The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton was so different from the others, because it was like fantastical in nature. And I LOVED it. It was a look at predestined love, and one that was really intriguing. And bittersweet, because of what you see, when all you want is to root for Viola and Sebastien to have the best lives. I loved the characters, and the banter, and their adventure through paths that give them choices. SO GOOD. 
Rating: 4.5 stars!


Oomph by Emery Lord was, no surprise to anyone I'm sure, amazing. Two girls meet at the airport and spend time with each other before one of their planes leave. They laugh and joke and share a moment that they'll look back on in the future and say, "That was it. That was when I knew." The banter was adorable, and that ending made me squeal, I am not going to lie. I would read a whole book about Johanna and Cassidy exploring New York and falling in love. I WANT MORE. *sobs* 
Rating: 5 stars!


The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout was really cute! I was nervous going into this one because I am notoriously not a fan of JLA's books. I just don't click with the way she writes, but that didn't bother me here. (Probably because it's so short. Haha). Anyway, of course you see who the mystery library book thief before the MC does, but it's so adorable how the reveal is and how the story ends. I enjoyed immensely! 
Rating: 3.5 stars!


The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies made me laugh more than once and also happy-sigh at the end. It was freaking adorable. Normally, if an author starts bringing math into this, I zone out. But I was very intrigued by the stats and scientific method aspect, and invested in seeing how this would end. I was very satisfied. And omg I loved the dynamic of Samara (Sam's) family. I would honestly have loved a full book of this one, though I understand why it's a shot story instead. SADLY. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan was the first male POV, with a guy that I could relate to. The social anxiety, how hard it is to talk to people. It's really the reason why he's applying to be part of the team to travel to Mars and make it habitable, even if he says otherwise. Blythe calls him out on that and gives him the courage to speak up and be himself. But it was bittersweet, and this didn't really feel futuristic to me. I liked it, but not much beyond that. 
Rating: 3 stars


Something Real by Julie Murphy was omg the best. The outcome and the ending were everything to me. I went into it expecting, you know, the story to go in a different direction. It starts to set up one way, and then BAM. SO YAY FOR JULIE SURPRISING ME AND MAKING ME HAPPY. I thought the reality-TV show setting was kind of eh, but I loved everything else about it, and I'm thinking that I really need to read one of her books asap. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick was really good! This was actually my first time reading something of hers, and I'm a fan. I'm still not sure what to think of the storyline, what happened between Sean's and Emma's families, but I did love the theme of taking chances and righting wrongs. I thought the 2nd person POV fit really well, too. And I was definitely invested in their relationship. So, I'm gonna think on this one a bit. (Also Sean reminded me of Gansey, so that was a major plus in my mind). 
Rating: 4 stars


The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon was basically an examination on so many aspects of love. It was unique and interesting. There are all these buildings and workers dedicated to helping those in love, out of love, wanting a do over in a relationship. But what happens when the HeartWorker ends up finding a connection with the very person she's there to help? I didn't quite love it, but I thought it was super enjoyable, and I'm not surprised because hello, it's Nicola Yoon. A nice end to the anthology! 
Rating: 3.5 stars

Overall Rating:
   

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Series-ously Great Books

I started to get terrible at reviewing (and reading) series this year, so I decided to talk about a few of them that I actually finished over the spring, summer, and winter in a more casual post-type discussion instead.

the Every Breath series
The love I have for this series and its characters is endless. And I'm grateful for the book community, because I don't know if I ever would have heard about it otherwise. Since Ellie's in Australia, it didn't publish in the US til later. So it wasn't until bloggers were obsessing over it that it got on my radar. Anyway, it was so damn good and here are just a few reasons why I love it:

♞ Mycroft who is my EVERYTHING
♞ the badass, intelligent Rachel Watts
♞ she's not reduced to a sidekick to the genius logic boy, but instead is a partner to him wholly and equally
♞ secondary characters Gus, Mai, and Harris were AWESOME
♞ Rachel has PTSD, which isn't downplayed or forgotten about
♞ the. banter. is. everything.

Rating: 5, 4.5, and 4.5 respectively


the Winners Trilogy
I can see why so many people have been shouting about their love for these books for it over the years. But I didn't really come to love it myself? What I loved most about this series, though, was how different it is from a lot of fantasy ones. It's more about the cunning, political maneuvers behind the powerful and hungry; it prides intelligence and ambition, rather than brute force and characters who let their emotions choose their course. Which is not to say that it's better, but more, showed a female lead we don't see as often. Kestrel fit right in with these people, and she was not a heroine who used her physical strengths, but her mental ones. Her clever mind that was able to look at the countries, and see how she could move the chess pieces on the board to her advantage. Her manipulation and strategist mind was a sight to behold. But she wasn't the only one, and it was fun watching her go head-to-head with others, and seeing where the characters ended up. Overall, I highly enjoyed the series!
Rating: 4, 4, and 4


Three Sisters Island
I've always been more of a fan of Nora's non-contemporaries than her romances, and this was no exception. However, I didn't love the books. They were quick, warm reads that did have that splash of NR magic. But I guess after loving two of her series a bit too much, all the others pale in comparison. I did enjoy them on a whole, and I'm glad I was able to get to this series, but I also could've skipped them and been perfectly fine.
Rating: 3.5, 3, and 4 respectively


Percy Jackson
Overall, I highly enjoyed this series! I'm not the biggest middle grade fan, and even though the characters get older, the feel of them never seemed to? So I wasn't sure how I'd feel about them, but they were SO FUN. And they got me back into an obsession with Greek mythology, which I have been devouring lately. So yeah, I'm happy I finally read these books, and I'm very much looking forward to the rest of them!
Rating: 3.5, 4, 4.5, 4.5, 4 respectively


Have you guys read any of these series yet? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Storyteller Full of Story Ideas

I'm always thinking about stories. Those I'm currently writing, those I think about and write a little bit of each time, and those I dream of writing someday. I'm constantly pulling ideas from my life and what I watch or read or see daily. I'm always thinking of the next one, even when I'm actively working on others, and I want to be able to write them all. Maybe I never will, but it doesn't hurt to have something on the back-burner, something simmering in my mind for when I need a break or a fresh story to dive into. And so, while these stories may never actually turn into something, I'd love to write them all in the future. A bucket list of WIPs, if you will. And today I'm going to share a few of them with you.


1. A Shakespeare retelling, with all queer characters, and enough tragedy and comedy and romance fit for one of his plays. 

I don't know if I could ever make the old Bard proud though, you know? It's such a huge undertaking. I'd want to stay true to him, but also make one of his famous plays my own. It'd be hard.


2. A witchy, magical story ala Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic. 

I'd set it in the modern world, but I've got like nothing else. So far. And I'd love to tie a curse into it. I've had a tiny thread of an idea around a curse, but I haven't really gone anywhere with it, and I think it would better fit a witch book than what I'd planned it as. This would be *so fun* to do, but I need a plot, and a storyline, and basically everything. Haha.


3. A historical fiction about girls being badasses in times where women were expected to behave properly. 

(Not that this doesn't apply to modern society either, tbh). Historical fiction scares me, though. The amount of research that needs to go into one of these books is a mountain of a task, and I'm not sure I'm equipped to do it. I don't even like researching now, though I'm trying to get into it because it can be really fun. So, we'll see. But I don't know if I will ever give myself the time to write an HF book.


4. A retelling of the Troy/Trojan Horse myth with multi-POV between Cassandra, Helen, and Andromache. 

Three women who were tossed aside carelessly, who led lives of strife and heartache, but who still tried to spin the hands of fate and decide their own futures. I want to give them better stories, with feminist edges. But I'd need to do SO MUCH research and get into the head-space of older English, and man, it's just a lot. I also don't know if I'm quite at a level of understanding for Greek mythology to do this, but it is seriously a DREAM story. And it's funny because I've been thinking about it a lot, ever since reading The Tale of Troy, Roger Lancelyn Green's version. But I won't be writing it. Yet.


5. A twisty-turny thriller that surprises the hell out of its readers.

I'd love to try my hand at something that you'd finish and be like omg what the fuck did I just read? But I just don't think I'm cut out for anything that can be classified as scary. I made a character tell a "scary" story in my NaNo WIP, and while I'm proud of it, it's not really scary? Or creepy? Plus I'd want to make certain my readers wouldn't be so quick to figure out the mysteries and twists. But idk. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Personal Reading Challenge: a Series a Month

Back in 2015  (idk? I can't remember), I joined a series challenge hosted by a former blogger and it ended up becoming a personal challenge for me. I've enjoyed the binge-reading so much, and I somehow always pick series I don't hate. Haha. It's helped to knock out a lot of those sequels I never got around to, and I also just like completing series. It feels GREAT. And I've done this for like two or three years now, and I don't plan on stopping. So, anyway, here's what I read in 2017 for series!


January: Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and the Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling
February: Passenger and Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
March: Shades of Magic by Victoria Schwab (3 books) 
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (The Bad BeginningThe Reptile RoomThe Wide Window, and The Miserable Mill
April: A Series of Unfortunate Events (9 books
May: Three Sisters Island by Nora Roberts (3 books) 
June: Every Series by Ellie Marney (3 books) 
July: The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (3 books) 
August: Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan (The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of Monsters, and The Titan's Curse
September: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (Part 1, 2, and 3) 
October: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell (Sunset ParkFirst and First, and Interborough
November: The Falconer Trilogy by Elizabeth May (3 books) 
December: Beyond series by Kit Rocha (3 books + two short stories/novellas)


I was doing so well until August hit, and then I struggled a bit. I still managed, but it was a close call on some of those months. I'm still reading the Beyond series, and I need to finish Percy Jackson (on #5! :D), plus one in Sutphin Boulevard, but other than that, I read and finished all of these series! Which I'd say is pretty damn good! Quite a lot of these books were rereads too (I mean, the whole Series of Unfortunate Events books were), and I am loving it. I never used to reread, but I started to get into it a few years ago, and now I'm always hoping to make my mini goal of rereading one book a month.

For January, I'm thinking of rereading This Savage Song, and then finishing that duet. It's been too long since I've read a Victoria Schwab book! And I have a *tentative* list of other series I want to read/finish this year:

Series of 3 or More
Starbound Trilogy
A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy
The Bone Season #1-3
Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue
The Mortal Instruments (#4-6)

Duologies
Warcross #1 and 2
Flame in the Mist/Smoke in the Sun
Daughter of the Pirate King/Daughter of the Siren Queen
Of Metal and Wishes/Of Dreams and Rust


I HOPE to read all of these, but we'll see! I definitely do it more mood-based than a lot of my reading, so I read series last year that I hadn't planned to or thought I would. But they are all at the forefront of my mind, and high on my TBR. Especially finally finishing the Starbound and Mortal Instruments series and reading the Graceling trilogy. I update my progress throughout the year on my "reading challenges" tab, if you're curious. :) Can't wait to get started!


Are you guys gonna be reading any series this year? Which ones? Have you read any of these ones yet? What'd you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

List-Style Review: Reign the Earth

Title: Reign the Earth (The Elementae, #1)
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 30th, 2018!
*I picked up a physical ARC from ALA annual.

From Goodreads...
Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound. 


My Review!
The latter half of the book was a hell of a lot better than the first, but I just was so apathetic at that point, that I didn't care about anything? Because, let's see...

-lazy worldbuilding
-patriarchal fantasy, women are property, only good for having babies, etc, etc
-physically and emotionally abusive husband to the MC (TW for those who need it, it is awful)
-underdeveloped romance, with strong pressure on a "connection" from the very beginning that it felt forced
-idea from the Trifectate (the Bonelands) that queer people should be sacrificed to their god, which saddened me as all hell because I thought there could be something more between two characters, and it didn't happen
-very little focus on the actual elemental powers that Calix so desires removed from the world
-villain that feels one-dimensional


HOWEVER. There were a few positives for me:


-because while it did have the above, and it made me so mad at times, it became a fight story for Shalia. She stood up for herself, and took back her agency. It was a feminist song that made me so HAPPY. And I loved that the MC found her footing and her strength and that she chose herself. It was a healing power that changed a lot of the tone of the book. It just wasn't enough to make me love this.
-Kairos, desert dragon, clever and protective and mysterious and *heart eyes*
-strong focus on family! Shalia's got six brothers who love her very much, and her friend, Kata, and other people she meets along the way who remind her that family isn't always the one you're born with

And, like, I don't always mind cookie-cutter fantasies or the reappearances of tired and unoriginal tropes. But the author didn't really try to make anything different here; it was like she just took bits and pieces of other fantasy books and put them together. And I was so confused by what this world was even trying to be. SO DISAPPOINTED. But something did keep me turning the pages, and like I said, the second half of the book was better. I will be reading the sequel for (spoilery) reasons. Plus with how it ended, I feel the story will start to develop into its own, and it'll outshine its predecessor.

RATING:
  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Let's Talk Statistics and Book Buying

So when 2017 started, I decided to use Crini from All About Books' spreadsheet for keeping track of the books I read and acquired throughout the year (and which I started doing again for 2018). And whoa boy, am I a terrible spender when it comes to books. I'm not going to talk about the amount I spent, but I do want to talk about why I'm glad to have these statistics, and what I want to do differently for this year. But first, y'all can take a look at the pie chart I made from the spreadsheet because looking at pictures is fun. :D


As you can tell, the largest portion of books I acquired were bought. 219, to be exact. But to be fair to myself, the majority of those were ebooks. I buy A LOT of those when they go on sale because it's easier, and what if I end up not liking the book? The most I lose out on is like $2.99. So I don't feel *too* bad about it, and I didn't spend much on them. But I also did acquire a ton of physical books that are crowding everywhere.

My spending habits need a hard, quick intervention. I am now at a point where I have to do a huge purge of books soon, because I'm losing shelf space and honestly, so many of these I don't *need* to keep especially if I'm not even sure I'll read them. Tracking my progress with the spreadsheet actually did a lot to help me out during the year. I was able to look at my spending, and put myself on mini buying bans. I couldn't go on one completely, and frankly I don't want to. I love supporting authors. But I do need to spend less. So here are some questions I'm going to ask myself to make my book buying habits in 2018 better.


1. Did I love the book? Like I said, I'm running out of empty space on the shelves. So I'm going to have to get rid of those that I enjoyed, or liked, because I don't have room for the ones I didn't love or that aren't favorites. And I'd rather have multiple editions of an all-time favorite book or series than keep around a book I gave 3 stars to anyway. Which brings me to:

2. Is it a special, exclusive edition that might go out of print? Yes? Then I'm buying that fucker. But if it's a no, then there's no point. Yet. I've kicked myself before after losing out on editions I wanted because they went out of print faster than I anticipated, and I hate that. As a collector of favorite series/authors/books, that just hurts my heart. But if it's something that's common, that is just a regular hardcover or paperback, then I don't need it right this second.

3. How much have I already spent this month? Too many times I hit that checkout button before thinking about whether or not I could've bought the book the next month, or a few months from now. Unless it's a sale or a preorder or special for some reason, then waiting wouldn't be a problem. SO YEAH, LET'S WAIT MORE.

4. Do I already own it? Sometimes I am bad, and I might pick up cheap kindle books even if I own a physical. Or an ARC. Or I might grab another edition I love of a book I haven't even read. I told you it's bad. 🙈 Anyway, it's not often the reason for me buying a book, but it can be, and that is enough for it to end. I don't have space for this!

5. Am I *really* going to read that book? I read like maybe three for every ten I buy. And that's just... ridiculous? Unless the book was cheap on kindle, then what was the point if I hadn't planned to read it before the year ended? Of course I won't get to everything. It's unrealistic to expect that. But for many of these books, they weren't quite at the top of my TBR, so I didn't have to buy them right that second. So this is a huge question I need to constantly ask myself. I do feel like I've gotten better about this specifically, but it's a work-in-progress. 


So yeah, here's to better spending in 2018! WISH ME LUCK. :D Is this one of your goals for the new year too? Or are you a wizard who is very good at the book buying thing? Let's talk!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

(91) Top Ten 2017 Releases I Didn't Read But Plan to This Year

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

This week's topicTen Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)

1. Want
I've heard SO many good things about this, but I still haven't read it because I'm not sure it'll be for me. Anything near-future, post-apocalyptic scares me right now, but I do still want to give it a try at some point.

2. Dress Codes for Small Towns
I loved Courtney's debut, Faking Normal, and I love that this one is centered on gender and sexuality, so why didn't I read it in 2017? I don't know, honestly, but it WILL happen this year.

3. Wonder Woman: Warbringer
I feel like I'm kind of cheating adding this one just because I did read the first chapter. But it just wasn't what I wanted to read at the time, so I put it off. Plus it's weird reading a non-Grisha book from Leigh. 

4. Warcross
I'm holding off on this one until the sequel comes out so I can binge-read them. It'll be one of my series for my series-a-month challenge! 

5. They Both Die at the End
I'm a little scared of Adam's books, not gonna lie. Everyone says they sob and their hearts break. And though I did try MHTN and couldn't get into it, I still want to read this one. The premise is fascinating!

6. Flame in the Mist
This is another one I WILL definitely read because it's for my series-a-month challenge. I'm a little nervous because I've heard suuuper mixed things about it (and I loved, loved, loved Wrath/Rose), which is why I put it off in the first place. So, we'll see!

7. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
I loved Alexandra's Wayfarer duology, and got excited for her MG debut. But I still haven't read it yet. Hoping to this year!

8. Ramona Blue
I've heard such great things about this book, and I'm so happy that it features a bisexual MC, so it's high-up on my TBR!

9. The Pearl Thief
I absolutely loved Code Name Verity, even though it broke me. So when I heard about this, I just about died of happiness. But I'M SO TERRIFIED OF IT. I don't know if I'm ready? It's gonna make me ugly-sob, I just know it.

10. Until It Fades
K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite authors, so I really don't know why I didn't get to this book in 2017, except that I wasn't reading much romance/NA. But I really hope to get to it this year!


I deeeefinitely plan to get to these books this year (I hope). Which ones did YOU miss in 2017? Any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)