Tuesday, July 31, 2018

(98) Top Ten Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was started by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topicPopular Books that Lived Up to the Hype


Not all of these are as widely popular as the most popular YA books, but in this community, they were *hyped* the fuck up when they came out. So I'm using that kind of measurement here!


1. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
This is definitely one of the quieter books on this list (tho it did hit the NYT list), but there was *so much* hype before it came out that I ended up preordering it. Then I read and fell in love. 😍

2. Autoboyography
Now I understand why people have been shouting from the rooftops about this book. It is SO DAMNED GOOD.

3. The Star-Touched Queen
I'd say this was probably THE most hyped up debut novel of 2016, and it did not disappoint me and I've loved every single Roshani has written since then.

4. When Dimple Met Rishi
SO CUTE AND ADORABLE.

5. Illuminae
So hyped when it came out! I remember being apprehensive starting it because everyone either wanted it badly (bc it wasn't out yet) or completely loved it. And I'm so glad I ended u loving it, too.

6. The Wrath and the Dawn
Also one of the most hyped debuts ever, probably, but definitely in 2015 when it published. And I loved it so much I have multiple copies of this series!

7. A Monster Calls
Such a SUPER popular book, and that popularity is so earned. This book made me ugly-sob hard. It was so damn relatable and emotional!

8. Jellicoe Road
Even having read and loved the Finnikin, I was nervous about this one because it's (in my opinion) Marchetta's most popular. But I was worried for nothing because it was *everything* to me.

9. Uprooted
I think this one has gotten even more popular over the years, but even when it first came out, it was hyped in the community. That was the whole reason it got on my radar in the first place, and I LOVED IT.

10. The Raven Boys
I have such love for this series, guys. It's pretty amazing!


What popular books lived up to the hype for you? Did any of these make your list? Were there any that *didn't* and disappointed you? Let's talk! :)

Monday, July 30, 2018

From the Den: June 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. :)

*****

This is a free sapphic poetry collection, so I *had* to read it. And it was lovely!
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!


While some of its conjecture (not surprising considering that a lot of these women's stories were mostly told by men, or in the case of Hatshepsut, almost erased from history entirely), I found it utterly interesting and well-researched. It's a fascinating look into how some women who wore the mantel of royalty were even just a little bit different, a little too loud or assertive or fierce, and condemned for just wanting to live the lives they chose for themselves.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


I can totally see why so many are loving this book. It was SO GOOD. I adored Maya and this story so much. In a short amount of time, it packs in *a lot* and it's so readable and enjoyable!
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!


His fighting with musket and bayonet was done. But his most powerful weapon--his mind--was about to be unleashed.

It would be unlike anything the world had ever seen. 

Though a deeply flawed human being, Alexander Hamilton was one of the people who helped found this country and its government, and his achievements are many. If I can achieve even a small percent of what he did in his lifetime, I'll have succeeded. 

The book was just but a taste of what his life was like and who he was as a person. I almost would rather have read that giant-ass biography instead, though I can see why this one was trying to appeal to a younger audience. Still, I enjoyed it nonetheless! I always want to learn more about Hamilton.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Ohhh, this was SO. GOOD. I loved the respect and care the authors took with this book, from the way that religion was discussed and questioned, to the challenges both Sebastian and Tanner faced being queer kids in a world that still isn't as accepting as it should be. It was especially hard for Sebastian, because he's Mormon, but I loved his journey. It was hard, and it was full of angst, but it was so honestly real and special. And I could 100% relate to the faith and religious aspects. I also loved my soft bi boy, Tanner, and his adorably nerdy family, and the way that he stayed true to himself. I wasn't a fan of the switch to 3rd person near the end, but in a way, it worked for the story? I just typically hate narration changes like that. But I loved the characters, even a lot of the secondary ones, and I loved the depth to this book. I loved that it tackled something that a lot of kids are dealing with today but in such a thoughtful way. Just. Ugh, it's great. I can totally see why so many people hyped this one up when it came out last year. And I hope it stays hyped, because it's so needed. Anyway y'all, if you haven't read this book yet, YOU MUST.
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!


What books did you guys end up reading in June? Have you read any of these yet? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Witchy Anthology of My Dreams

Y'ALL. I'M BACK! In case you missed it, I was out for a bit due to furiously writing my book I hope to put in a contest (and still am writing because it's not finished!) and I was out of a good commenting system. But thanks to friends, I have Disqus installed, so you can now comment again! And I'm feeling super great about blogging again! I can't wait to get more posts up before July ends. But in the meantime, here's an early review of one of my most anticipated books of the year!

*****

Title: Toil & Trouble
Authors: edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 28th, 2018!
*eARC kindly provided by Harlequin TEEN via NetGalley*

From Goodreads....
A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

*****

My Review!
Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia was really good! Enchanting writing, pulling me in from the start, with a latina who's trying to find herself and her magic, who just wants to move on from the past and do better for herself, and a barely-there cute exchange with another girl. I gladly would have read more of it, so this makes me even more excited for Tehlor's debut next year! This anthology is off to a strong start. 
Rating: 4 stars


Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer was about a witch trial in 1650, told by a combination of storytelling from the young midwife apprentice, Deliverance, and testimony and interviews that result in the death of an innocent. A complicated birth questions everything, and throws the people into chaos, and it's a stark reminder of the way that women were accused of witchcraft and persecuted. But I really liked that ending! 
Rating: 3.5 stars


The Heart in Her Hands by Tess Sharpe: "I didn't have a choice before. Now, I do." I LOVED this one. It's about girls who spur fate, who take matters into their own hands, to fight for a love worth turning their backs on their teachings and community. But through that, they find so much MORE, and they are strong enough to handle whatever comes their way. I especially loved the way that Bette takes back her choice in the beginning, by burning bonds that would try to sever a power that is hers. So great! 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith was more fantastical than the previous stories, which I really enjoyed. It's hard to get that in such a short amount of pages, but it felt effortless, and not that hard to follow. And I so liked the bit of darkness to it, the way that the MC, Mattie, could sympathize and understand the "villain" but who chose a different path, a better one, even if a lonely one. 
Rating: 4 stars


The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert was a lot less focused on the witchy aspect, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was kind of bored, to tell you the truth. I wasn't hooked on this story. I just wanted it to end so I could start the next one. I'm sad because I loved Brandy's Little & Lion but this one did not work for me. I liked that ending, but that was about it. 
Rating: 2 stars


The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar: "Next summer's just a year away. I've got another play to write." I loved this one so much!! It was dazzling, beautiful, full of magic and sisterhood and even the trial and error of what it means to be a writer. Shalini had to trust in herself, and in her coven, to tell the story right, and she almost didn't. But she had to remember that she had worth, and a powerful friendship at her side, and that theater is a place to lay it all on the line. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley was a little disappointing because it went in a direction I didn't care as much for, than the one I was hoping it would be. But I still really liked this story. I've a particular fondness for curses, and I thought the way that this one was wrapped up in Wendy's present was interesting. 
Rating: 3 stars


The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma was told by a collective of girls; girls who had been wronged, who had been broken. Girls who wanted something they shouldn't: revenge and justice and a safe place to let their anger breathe fire. Girls who protected each other, and those who couldn't protect themselves. This was my first foray into Nova Ren Suma's writing, and I loved it. SUCH a good short story! 
Rating: 4 stars


Divine Are the Stars by Zoraida Cordova was, at its core, about family. Even when family doesn't always mean love and joy, but anger and hate too. It's complicated, and I liked how that was shown here. But I adored the relationship between Marimar and her cousin, Chuy. This seemed much shorter than the previous stories, though, so I didn't feel as pulled in. It had seemed so abrupt, the way that it ended. But I enjoyed it all the same! 
Rating: 3.5 stars


Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff: I was born to bury saints in the yard. I reaaaally liked this one! I wasn't always a fan of the MC's voice, or the way it was written. But it wasn't hard to like the butcher girl and her new friend, witches who just wanted to exact revenge on those who deserved it, who wanted to make the bullies and the assholes feel as small as they make others feel. IT'S MY FAVORITE THING. 
Rating: 3.5 stars


The Well Witch by Kate Hart was a lot lighter on the witchery than I expected, and wanted. It was set in 1875, about a girl living alone while her father's off trading, sparing kindness for strangers who turn on her by the end. It was a bittersweet story, one that focused more on the historical fiction than the paranormal, which saddened me, but I definitely still liked it. It just wasn't as great as I'd hoped. 
Rating: 3 stars


Beware of Girls with Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood: "You cannot survive together. But it's not so easy surviving apart, either." The Campbell curse is AWFUL, and I hate it, and I just wanted the three sisters to be able to have everything they wanted without losing how dear they are to each other. I honestly want a full book of the prophecy Jo had seen, of a new Campbell generation fighting to break the spell, and Jo and her sisters reunited and happy together. I want MORE, damn it! 
Rating: 4 stars


Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore: "If you let fear be your voice, you will never have sure hands." This was one of the stories I had been waiting for, and it did not disappoint me. I will say this every single time I read an Anna-Marie book; her writing is gorgeous, and I settle into the story, sinking into the words and staying there until I'm finished. I loved the MC, Adrian, and their romance. It was soft and sweet, and I'm so glad they found their way to each other. And I adored her relationship with her tia. SO GOOD. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord: In a way, you're related to many women who have suffered for misunderstanding and fear. Gah, I LOVED this one. It's a bit quieter on the witchery, on the gifts that Willa, Nova, and Rosie have. But through everything that happens, the thread of love and protectiveness and warmth that binds them together is a magic all its own. This had the trademark Emery Lord goodness, full of family and strength and feminism, and I loved that it was told in 3 POVs, that we got each of their thoughts and feelings. I could see myself in each of them, these girls who breathe fire and love fiercely. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May: Destroying a girl is one of the easiest things in the world. And: The most terrifying thing in the world is a girl with power. This was an anthem, a war cry. A story to invoke anger at injustice and rape and the pain from those who choose to speak the truth even when it costs them. That ending was bittersweet, but still full of fire and magic. I loved it. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Overall, I freaking adored this anthology, as I was sure I would. Not only did it have so many of my favorite authors in it, but it was about witchcraft and the way that women are magic and fire and life. This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2018, and it did NOT disappoint. SO, SO FANTASTIC.

Overall Rating:
   

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Little Blogging Update

i WAS WONDERING IF AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, YOU'D LIKE TO MEET

just kidding, I've already met a lot of you, and I've found lasting friendships through this blog. And that's an *amazing* thing. But lately, I've felt very meh about this whole thing. And part of it is mood. Part of it is the state of this country. And part of it is because of other, important things such as life and work. And while I hope to get back into the swing of things this summer, I just don't see that happening very soon. So I wanted to let you guys know a little bit about why, and give you an update on something super important!


1) if you've wondered why you haven't been able to comment, or why you can't SEE a commenting place, know that you're not alone. Because, SURPRISE, IntenseDebate quit working on me. It was very touch-and-go for awhile there, but around May, it 100% failed me. But fear not! I'm *going* to install Disqus... just AS SOON AS I can figure out how to get rid of IntenseDebate for good. I currently do not know how, so I'm emailing their support because going through their website is not fucking working for me. Hopefully, at some point this month, I'll have Disqus up and running. But until then, omg I'm so sorry you won't be able to comment if you want to. Feel free to email me (skizzles_22_hju@yahoo.com) or find me on Twitter if you'd like to talk!! I absolutely love discussing books, both ones I hated and ones I loved, so don't hesitate to reach out. I know my readership has been down, but I see those of you who have stuck around, and I appreciate you more than you'll know.


2) I've been focusing more on my writing. This shouldn't be as much a surprise as the comments, given how much I talk about my writing on here, and on Twitter. But what you might not know is that I've gotten more serious about it this year than I have in the past. Because, y'all, my dream is to be a full-time author. I want this to be my CAREER. And while, yes I'm young and I have time, I don't. Not really. Because if I want to get to a place in publishing where I can justify quitting my job and writing full-time, I've gotta start sooner rather than later. And I WANT to start sooner rather than later, because man, I've got so many books I wanna write and publish. I want to build a legacy. But to do that, something had to give. And unfortunately, that's blogging. I just don't have the time and energy for both of them, unless I truly have something to post about. And frankly, I don't? I have plenty of ideas and I've always wanted to steer away from being a blog completely about books, but my creative well has run dry.

And maybe that's not suuuuch a bad thing, given that I'm pursuing my dream this year. But to do that, I have to actually finish a damn book. AND I WILL! I FUCKING WILL! Because I'm *hoping* to enter the wonderful Pitch Wars in August with a completed-as-best-as-I-can-make-it manuscript and start the query process. But to do that, I basically need to be EVEN SCARCER here on the blog. Which is sad, but not nearly as sad as it'd be if I make it through 2018 without so much as a finished WIP. So, yes, writing first. Blogging.... fourth or fifth. HOPEFULLY by the end of July, I'll have good news. But until then, I'm around on Twitter (@skizzles22) and I'll be posting here-and-there when I feel like it. :)


A bit rambly, but all this to say that I haven't given up this space completely. I just need time!! Thanks for being here for me through everything. <3 See you soooooon, my friends.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 2018 Releases

Another month, another one chock-full of fabulous new releases!!

July 3rd

July 10th

July 17th

July 24th

July 31st


I've already read: nothing!

From NetGalley/ALA Annual: Grace and Fury, Smoke and Iron, and Fawkes are all books I requested on NG and need to read yet. I'm also hoping to get to The Cheerleaders, which I picked up at ALA last month.

My most anticipated: SPINNING SILVERRRRR. omg I've waited for what feels like forever for this, so I'm stoked to finally get it. I do wanna finish my reread of Uprooted first, though, even though it's only a companion and not a direct sequel. I've also been excited about Sea Witch since I learned of it, and I hope I get a copy soon!


What July releases are YOU most looking forward to reading? Did I miss any that should be on my radar? Let's talk! :)