Saturday, September 29, 2018

September Mini Reviews

September was a huge month for new releases, and I read a bunch of them! So I'm sharing some of them on the blog today. :)

*****

Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!

*eARC kindly provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley*

This was my second Courtney Summers’ book, and I’m just so floored at how well she can convey what it’s like being a woman in this world, without dragging her characters through unnecessary shit to make them ~strong~ people. BUT. Sadie is not easy to read. In fact, it’s quite difficult at times to not break down in tears over what happens, and what is going to happen. Also, that ending does not leave you room for closure, so you’re left with this sense that a story is unfinished, like a lot of stories about young women who end up forgotten. I can’t take another dead girl. The last line just broke me, and I’m still thinking about this book. It’s not one that’s going to leave my mind very easily, or if at all. And I really would say more about it except I think you just need to go in knowing that you’re going to get sucker-punched in the feels and that this author is not afraid to delve into the darkness of humanity.
RATING: 4 Paw Prints!


Title: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating:
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*eARC kindly provided by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via NetGalley*

I thought this would turn out to be a 5-star read, but it lost me a little bit near the end. I just didn't care for where the storyline ended up? Even if that epilogue was feelsy? And it took a long-ass time for Josh and Hazel to finally be like, okay I'm totally in love with this person so we should probably stop trying to date other people now. Still, it was SUCH a solidly good book, fucking laugh-out-loud-funny (the shenanigans the two of them get up to + Hazel's lack of total chill + the hilaribad dates made for a fun read). And I LOVED their characters! Well, all of them really. Hazel thinks she's Too Much and that's why she's scared to jump into a relationship with Josh. But they complemented each other *so* well, and it was stupid because Josh is totally in with her. He gets her, he loves her as she is, all wild heart and messy life. Josh was the BEST; so sweet and thoughtful, completely attuned to Hazel and her needs, such a caretaker. I loved him with his Korean parents, and his sister, Emily. Emily and Dave are two of my fave secondary characters ever, and I just wanted all the banter between all of these friends and siblings forever. So yeah, this book is definitely worth giving a chance! I dare you not to fall in love with these two and their ridiculousness.
RATING: 4 Paw Prints!


Title: The Silence of the Girls
Author: Pat Barker
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: September 11th, 2018
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*eARC kindly provided by Doubleday Books via NetGalley*

CW: suicide, rape/sexual assault

For a book supposedly about Briseis, it sure seemed more about Achilles than anything else. And I get it. She's part of his life, part of his story, part of his world. She's his slave! But the problem is, Briseis wanted to be more than that. And she deserved more than that. Like, I understand that there weren't a whole lot of options for her back then, in the aftermath of a tragic war that left both sides reeling. No one was left untouched to the pain and grief, to the ugliness of humanity. This book is very hard on the reader, because it explores all of it, and in a way that didn't feel sensationalized. It just was. And it gave voice to the women who were forgotten, who were discarded and abused, who were part of a game that they never asked for. I just expected more from Briseis's story. Also, the language sometimes felt too modern for the time, and it pulled me out every so often. I did love how this didn't shy away from the darker aspects, but I was very underwhelmed with the ending.
Women are, after all, renowned for their devotion to the gods.
RATING: 3 Paw Prints!


Title: The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Author: Rena Rossner
Publisher: Redhook
Release Date: September 25th, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*I picked up a copy of this from ALA annual.

This was SUPER good. It was slow at times, but quite enjoyable. I just wish I'd loved it? There was nothing about it that really struck me as bad, but I think I wanted more from it, especially the ending. Like I thought the whole thing with the girls' parents was kind of unnecessary and stupid, and it made it more about them, and not the protagonists Liba and Laya. But at its core, The Sisters of the Winter Wood is about two very different sisters who protect and care for one another with their whole beings even when they're mad or spiteful. I really loved the mix of prose and verse, and thought it fit both of their personalities. Laya is more flighty, more whimsical, more of a dreamer who longs to fly. Liba is more reserved, mellow, and she really loves her faith and religion. But their love for each other is tested when the parents leave and they both learn that they can shift into animals, they don't quite know what to do with that. And the appearance of mysterious and alluring boys don't help. This book feels like a unique fairytale, and I'm so glad I read it.
RATING: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: A Room Away from the Wolves
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 4th, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*I picked up a copy of this from ALA Annual.

I just. I'm so confused. Can someone please explain what actually happened to me? Because omg, I don't get the ending. Was it magic? Was it death? WHAT WAS IT. Do I even remember this book at all? No, because it left no impression on me. And that made me so sad considering how excited for this book I was. But I don't think I even liked this, because I spent most of the time wondering what the point of it was. Maybe I'm not smart enough for this type of story. Whatever the case, I thought it just didn't come together all that well, and I kept having to pick up the pieces only to wonder how they even fit and what Catherine House really is. Look, I just have a lot of questions, and we didn't get a lot of answers, and I think this was too open-ended for me. It had some pretty writing though.
I thought that anger was very beautiful on a girl.
RATING: 2 Paw Prints!


Title: Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters, #1)
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 4th, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*eARC kindly provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley*

I LIIIIIKED this! I'm always here for dark, fucked-up books with dark, fucked-up characters, especially if moral ambiguity is a huge part of the story. But I did get bored sometimes; it was SO slow, and there was quite a lot of repetition. If I had to hear how "Nita let out a breath" one more time, I was gonna lose it. haha. (Of course, I read an eARC, so I'm really hoping many of those lines or similar ones were cut out in the final version!). I did like her character, though, and the tentative friendship she formed with Kovit, a zannie who becomes her reluctant ally. And I liked the dissections (ha) of what it means to be a monster and how multifaceted everyone is. I can see why people are loving this book; it's definitely good. I just wasn't the biggest fan, though I'm interested in the sequel, especially after that ending!

RATING: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts, #1)
Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Bearded Lady Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2018!
Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
I thought this would be more of a mystery than it was, I guess? But it's really about two kids running away to a rival circus to get away from a bad situation. They have each other, but that's not quite enough. Sorsha is dealing with PTSD, and she's haunted by the past, and I was so grateful that was present because it felt necessary to her character. She needs to stay in the shadows, though, because she doesn't want to get caught, but her skills are at an entirely different level from those trapeze artists at Klatsch's and they want her. Colm doesn't have a job, and he's willing to risk injury and pain to make money, but he longs to become a strongman and be part of the show. Through it all, Sorsha and Colm find that they can't really leave their problems behind them. I quite enjoyed this, but I didn't love it. It's actually not as dark as I was expecting? Though what happened is dark, their romance is sweet and passionate, and they grow up a lot in the time that they've gone from one circus to another. I wasn't sure how this would end, and I was pleasantly surprised with it. I can't wait for the next book!
RATING: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

(102) Top Ten Books by Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

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 topicBooks by My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

I'm usually pretty good at catching up to what my favorite authors have been publishing, but sometimes, a book slips through the cracks of my TBR.


from Victoria Schwab
100% I will have to reread the first book to read this one, which is mostly the reason I haven't read it yet.

from K.A. Tucker
I haven't read one of hers for a REALLY long time, and I miss it. These two are still at the top of my TBR for when I'm in the mood for romance, which doesn't happen as often these days sadly. 

from Leigh Bardugo
I tried this once and wasn't in the mood for it. I'm a little nervous considering the only books I've read from Leigh have been about the Grisha. I love, love, love that world so much, and I'm afraid nothing else will live up to it.

from Kasie West
Sadly, I have to admit that I've fallen a bit out of love with Kasie's books. The last one I read got 2 stars from me 😬 I've heard terrible things about By Your Side, too. But I'm SUPER interested in this one still, and I just want to love her books again. 

from Stacey Lee
I haven't read this one yet because it's not historical, which Stacey excels at. And I've heard mixed reviews about it. But I have a copy, and I'm hoping to read it at some point in the next few years. HAHAHA.

from Mary E. Pearson
This is much like how I feel about something non-Grisha from Leigh. Mary's Remnant world has been one of my biggest loves in the past few years, and I'm SO nervous to try something outside of it. But I've had this series on my TBR for ages, and while it might not be my type of read anymore, I *will* give it a try. Maybe soon. Definitely someday.

from Brigid Kemmerer
I haven't always loved all of her books, but she's one author I consistently read time and time again. And like, I'm kind of cheating here, because CURSE doesn't come out until January. But I've had it since June, and I haven't touched it yet even though it's one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.


Which books from YOUR favorite authors do you still need to read? Would any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This Duology Was a Wild Ride

Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. 

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. 


*****

My Review!
Man, this was GOOD. Though I'd known the biggest reveal early on, it didn't take anything away from this story, because there were still some surprising turns to it. Just when you think you know... YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW ANYTHING. And omg I'm so glad I have the sequel and can just jump right into it, because I *must* know how this series ends. And I need to know where these characters end up. Emika, Hideo, Asher, Hamilton, Roshan, Tremaine. They all played their parts, and I hope that their relationships will develop more in the next book (because of Emika's job, she's not able to form strong bonds with her teammates as much as she wanted to), but I love the idea of all of them working together to choose a side and take the other one down. Emika was on her own for so long; she's stoic and capable, but Hammie was right: sometimes you just need to ask for help, and it doesn't make you weak for it. Emika had to learn to let people in, and I adored her character the most. She's brilliant, proud, stubborn, and 100% willing to put herself into the line of fire to do what's right. Gah, I can't wait to see what happens next even though I'm terrified!

RATING:

*****

Title: Wildcard (Warcross, #2)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 18th, 2018!
*I picked up a copy of this from the Penguin booth at ALA Annual.

From Goodreads...
Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

*****

My Review!
*Spoilers!

Emika is me, and I am Emika. Well, I’m not actually a bounty hunter nor do I have beautiful rainbow hair nor am I stuck in a life-or-frozen situation, but there is so much about her personality that I could relate to. She is tough as nails (of which I am really not, to be honest), and she's not afraid to throw herself into situations that might end in death (and though I may be a Gryffindor, hard pass). But she’s got a strong moral compass for what’s right, and she's stubborn and fiercely loyal to those she cares about. And even when people do bad things, she can still find a kernel of understanding toward them on a fundamentally human level. Even when she wished sometimes that she could just say fuck it and let them crash and burn on their own, she still fought for them.

That's what I found about her character that really pulled me in, because I am the same way. I could understand where Hideo was coming from, in his desire not just for peace for the world but for himself. He was so broken up over his past, and he was so tired of seeing so much pain and bad shit in the world that he created something that he thought would be the perfect solution. Except it wasn't, because he was taking away choice and freewill and leaving people just shells of what they used to be. He was fucking with their MINDS, and that was the part that I could not get over. I wouldn't want someone playing with my emotions and forcing my hands. My brain is already enough of an asshole to me, thanks. 😂 Anyway I found the process, and the direction of this story fascinating. 

In Warcross, I was able to call all but one of the ~twists~ in the story. The only one I hadn't seen coming was Hideo’s algorithm and the fact that Zero was trying to stop him. But in this sequel, man, I was taken on a fucking roller coaster ride. Like yeah, Zero is Sasuke, but not in the way that anyone would have imagined (or maybe some people had, in which case how the fuck). His story was heartbreaking, and I haven't felt such hatred toward a character like Taylor in a LONG time. And I was sad that he was basically just an AI. But that one chapter near the end, when he was talking to Emika, was really great. I liked how the series ended, too, but I didn't love it? It didn't feel like it had the same, I don't know, kick to it as the rest of the book. Overall, though, I highly enjoyed this duology!!


RATING:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ARC August Wrap-Up

Yes, yes, the challenge has been over for quite a bit, but I just never got around to posting my wrap-up! And I didn't have to write one, but I enjoy doing it. Between work and finishing my first ever book and editing and entering said book into Pitch Wars, I wasn't able to read as many ARCs as I had wanted to. I finished one that I'd started back in July, and then I read 10 more, which was lower than my goal. But I was still okay with it given all that I'd gotten done in August! :D Anyway, here are the books I read.


THE BEST
Both of these books made me laugh and gave me ALL THE FEELS. It's been SUCH a strong year for contemporary!


THE GOOD
I was SO happy when I got my trade of The Gilded Wolves in August; I devoured it as soon as it showed up, to be honest. So fucking good 😍 I also really adored Lady's Guide, and Wildcard was a wild ride omg.


THE ENJOYABLE
With these ones, they didn't become favorites, but I was still glad I read them!


THE EH
This pile just really means those books that I don't have strong feelings about and I don't have much to say about them. But as you can see, I enjoyed/loved MOST of the ARCs I read back in August. 😄


Did you participate in ARC August too? If so, how did you do and did you read any of these books too? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

(101) Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

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 topicTop Ten Books On My Fall 2018 TBR


ARCs
I was lucky enough to pick up all but one of these from ALA annual, and I caaaaaaaannot wait to read them. Plus The Wren Hunt sounds really intriguing, and it has been comped to The Raven Cycle, which is one of my all-time favorite series.


non-ARCs
A few of these aren't out yet, but I'm DEFINITELY reading them as soon as my preorders arrive. And the rest of them are books I've put off for awhile and really need to read at some point this year! haha.


What books are on YOUR fall reading list? Are you planning on reading some of these this year too? Let's talk! :)