Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Boos: April

This is what I read in April!

6. THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman. (Audio) I am in love with this cover! Isn't it gorgeous? I think this was an example of missing a little of the essence of the story because I listened to the audio version. I enjoyed it, but I found it difficult to figure out what the point of the story was. What I mean is that I kept listening and enjoying, but I wasn't sure to where the story was going and where and what the climax was. 

5. HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer. (ARC) Another beautiful cover. I'm totally dig the Queen of Hearts and this story of her before becoming the Queen was pretty cool. I do think I need to reread it, though. I was really into the beginning and then really into the end, but by then, my ARC was expiring and I had to read super quickly. 

4. THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney. This was like a less funny Liane Moriarty book where the stories of several people all come together. A little different here because it's the story of a family so, of course, they fit in together, but their dysfunctions were pretty entertaining. Also, another stunning cover. April was the month for beautiful covers!
3. SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugho. (Print/Audio) Putting this in the 3rd spot is a tough one. I am obsessed with this cover and the characters and the story, but it was up against some tough competition this month. Sometimes I think about this book and I just get distracted loving on the cover. True story. 

2. AT THE EDGE OF SUMMER by Jessica Brockmole. (ARC) I LOVE Brockmole's books and her writing style. She tells beautiful stories, often through letter form, that take place in the near past. Her writing really comes alive on the page because she paints such a beautiful picture for the reader. Her books make you cry, but they also make you happy. They're so lovely! 

1. CAPTIVE PRINCE by C. S. Pacat. I added this book to my "To Be Read" list when Sarah J. Maas was in Australia on her book tour and raved about Pacat and her book. I ordered all three later when Maas finished book three and raved about the series. I remember her saying how it was for "mature audiences!!!!" which also piqued my interest. So, yes, this book is hardcore with the sex and the violence, at times, but it has some of the best world-building and plot construction that I've ever read! It was totally outside of my normal reading niche, but I am SO glad I read it and I hope you will, too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book Boos: March

And...still catching up...

4. WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke. (ARC) This month's books should really be "Tied for 1" and "Tied for 2", but I don't make the rules...oh wait, I do. Anyway, enjoyed this book with three very unreliable narrators. I haven't had a chance to reread it yet, but I think it'll be even better the second time through. Also, check out that cover!

3. THE HUSBAND'S SECRET by Liane Moriarty. (Audio) I love Moriarty's books because you're into the story because the characters are interesting and you just read and read until, all of a sudden, all of those little details start to fit into place and things come together for an epic conclusion. (One note: if you're new to her books, I'd recommend BIG LITTLE LIES first- Loved that one!)

2. REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton. (ARC) I was really obnoxious when this book came out because I was so excited about it and wanted everyone to read it. It's one of the best debuts I've ever read, a story that feels fresh with concise, but descriptive language. Really amazing! Also, those main characters! Ahhh!

1. A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V. E. Schwab. (ARC) A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is a top five book for me and I was beyond excited for book two in the series. It's incredible how Schwab progresses the story, but changes its tone (she has said herself that book one is heavy on plot and book two on characters), yet keeps it as brilliant as the first book. Most of the action in AGOS takes place at a magical tournament and those parts were some of my favorite. I also really love the addition of Alucard who is a very interesting character. This series is AMAZING and you really should read it asap.

Book Boos: February

Yeahhh, I know it's May, but I still want to tell you what I've been reading!

5. WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple. (Audio) I liked parts of this, but overall, it just wasn't for me. I couldn't get into the varying pieces of story that were supposed to give clues into the mind of Bernadette. I know a lot of people love this book, though. 

4. GLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard. (ARC) I was lucky enough to host an event where Victoria Aveyard and Sophie Jordan did a book signing, which was awesome! Victoria signed my books "Scarlet (Guard)", which is a nice touch! I like this series and enjoyed this book overall, but I think I was more into book one when Mare was in the palace rather than running and finding and figuring out the powers people have. (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT) I think this would have been higher had there been more romance with Cal. Sometimes I just need more romance. And by sometimes, I mean always. 

3. THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock. (ARC) Charming book about several characters in 1970s Alaska and how their lives all fit together. 

2. TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard. I had such high hopes for this book and was so excited that they all came through for me. I subscribe to Susan Dennard's newsletter, which is filled with amazing writing advice and she uses her own books as examples a lot so it's cool to now have her finished product. Also, she is BFF with Sarah J, Maas and their YA existence is basically my wish for my friend Abbie and I. :) Anyway, I love the world-building in this book and, of course, the two main female characters! It's a little tough to keep track of some stuff in the beginning, but I found that it made the book better because 1) it wasn't dumbed down for the reader and 2) it's going to make the reread more enjoyable.

1. UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell. (ARC) First of all, look at that cover! Gorgeous! The margin between one and two this month was so slim that I ended up giving UNHOOKED the top spot because I know Lisa Maxwell and she is really great about visiting the bookstore I work at and signing stock as well as doing events. I also picked this as number one because her character of the Captain is so memorable and awesome! I really enjoyed this retelling of the Peter Pan story because little things we always thought we knew were changed up and retold. Very clever!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's Sarah J. Maas's World And I Desperately Want To Live In It

I had mentioned in my last post, "Overwhelmed," that if the book continued how it was going about 70% through, it was on its way to becoming my favorite book of all time. Well, drum roll please...

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY is most definitely my new all time favorite book*.

Borrowing a little from my mostly spoiler free Goodreads review, I loved so many things about this second installment in the ACOTAR series. I was incredibly emotional the entire time I read it, finding myself needing to reread certain passages because they hit so hard. So many seemingly simple lines were just perfect, where they both moved the story along and brought emotion.

I found myself incredibly invested and emotional while reading about Feyre and life post Amarantha. I, like Feyre, desperately wanted things to go back to how they had been before her time Under the Mountain. We get glimpses of her old self, but PTSD keeps her from moving on in her life. It keeps her up at night and she has real, physical reactions to her memories of being tortured by Amarantha. She is truly haunted by what happened Under the Mountain and her internal dialogue of trying to work through those feelings was written so well.

Feyre's interactions with both old and new friends was also written incredibly well. Maas has created a large group of characters who all have a backstory, a life, and their own goals and purposes. The characters are explained from Feyre's point of view, but Maas expertly shapes them to be layered characters who never just serve as stage fillers. I loved how strong these bonds of family were, both biological and found.

A bonus for me is the spotify playlist Maas provided and the details of a few of the songs and how they fit into the story. Beethoven's 7th Symphony is an extremely emotional piece and its inclusion warms my heart. I played it in orchestra once and started tearing up while playing that 2nd movement. Another song that I'll never listen to in the same way is Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love". Add it to the long list of songs that make me cry when I hear them.

I took the stars from my eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you


The Night Court is definitely where I would want to live in Prythian. After I finished ACOMAF I couldn't help but look around my mundane living room and sigh. I have long connected more with the nighttime and stars than the bright and sunny daytime hours.

Without giving anything away, the ending of ACOMAF was so incredibly amazing. It knocked my socks off in that "Oh no, [this] is going to happen..OH WAIT OMG NOPE NOPE NOPE SARAH J. MAAS IS A MASTER STORYTELLER!" And now, we have to wait until 2017 for book three. Literally the only negative thing about ACOMAF...besides that it wasn't twice as long.

I've never been good at writing real reviews of books. I usually just gush for awhile and say "I loved it!" a lot. So it's difficult for me to put into words why this book is my new favorite. I guess it's because I was invested for every single page, I was emotional for every scene, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I began it. But it's more than that, too. It's because of the world, the characters, the plot. I was inspired by this book, both artistically and mentally. In my last post I mentioned having huge, open receptors for art lately and that's how reading this book felt. It felt like my synapses were waiting for it. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY is a perfect fit for me.

Okay, I lied. I can't not write some spoilers.... 


The evolution of Rhysand and Feyre's relationship was so beautiful, so real, so perfect. I loved how he tried to stay away, but the bond called to him and he helped how he could and so began her healing. And her healing took time. It wasn't overnight. She was so broken after ACOTAR and Maas gave her the time to heal and breathe. It was beautiful. And Rhys was a good friend first. Patient, kind when he needed to be, saucy when that would help, and forceful when she needed it. He encouraged her to be a better version of herself and let her live.

The slow burn of Rhys and Feyre getting physical was so hot that I think the book should come with a bucket of ice water. And it's not that I was just flipping pages, hoping to get to the sex scenes, it's that Maas made their relationship progress slowly, but surely. As Feyre warmed up to Rhys, so did I. (That's a lie. I've loved him since he showed up in the Spring Court and saved her.) But, through the eyes of our wonderful main character, I saw how he was an integral part of helping Feyre rebuild herself. And once they do connect physically, it's Ah-mazing!

The complexity of the plot was a lot of fun in general! It was fun to read about Feyre discovering her new powers and how they would play into story. And can we please talk about that ending and the perfect set up for book three!? OH. MY. GOD! 


    *Okay, okay, I still completely love A GREAT GATSBY, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, and THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Don't worry!

    Saturday, May 07, 2016


    I've been really overwhelmed lately by how many amazing pieces of art are on my horizon. It feels like ever since the release of A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V.E. Schwab in February, it's been non-stop awesome in my little world of books, film, and television. My creativity receptors have been grand canyons lately, ready for the things I love to fall into them and fill up until I'm no longer made up of cells, but of art. This, combined with being a little too sleep deprived lately, has left me with that overwhelming feeling I mentioned. There is nothing bad about too much good, too much awesomeness, but I've been unable to wrap my mind around it all lately. I'm just in it and, while that's a great thing, I'm a little less in my real world while existing in art. If this was a movie, it would be the scene where I fall into and live in my book. This is all just a dramatic way to say that I am reading, watching, and listening to a lot of incredible things and I don't know how to simply enjoy things, I only know how to love them. And to love them fiercely. So, keep reading if you'd like to know what is currently fueling me...because art is life. It's everything.

    • A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas- I'm not even sure I can put into words how much I am enjoying reading this book. When I read A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES last fall it was actually life changing. It made me realize how much I love a deliciously told story and, more importantly, how accepting I could be for fantasy elements I had always assumed I hated. Faeries!? I never thought a book that was about a faerie realm would be so enjoyable, but Maas wrote the perfect story and it quickly became my favorite YA title of 2015. But ACOMAF? If it continues like it is, it might be my favorite YA ever. I love it that much. I'm getting misty just thinking about it right now. And yes, I realized I sound crazy. I love the characters, the setting, the plot, the seemingly normal sentences that I go back and reread because I realize after they've passed through my mind that they're layered and beautiful and perfect. I love how much tension Maas has written into her story (the book should come with a bucket of ice water) and how much depth is given to every single character in the book. I could gush about this book for a really long time...I already can't wait to reread it. 
    • Radiohead- My favorite band. The band that has inspired my own work in progress. Their new album is to be released tomorrow, the 8th of May and the thought of having new music from them in my brain is so exciting. There is something about Thom Yorke's voice that energizes and soothes me at the same time. I love that weird, little man. And I really hope Johnny Greenwood found some weird, random instrument to play on this album. I love that weird, tall man, too.
    • Game of Thrones- I don't understand when people say an episode or a season was "not that good". I can't think of a single episode I didn't love because I love the very existence of this show. I love the complexities, the richness of every single shot, the darkness, the brutal plot, Jon Snow and the fact that he is alive (but might turn evil so I'm not getting my hopes up, but I'll still love him forever), and the fact that I can watch these episodes over and over and never tire of them. They are like my favorite songs and it's really exciting to think about watching this show over and over since apparently they don't want to produce it until the end of time. Ugh!
    • Tennis- A lot of people are into sports, but I am like, all up in the guts of tennis. I use vacation time to watch Wimbledon. I'm about to spend $1000 on tennis tickets. I forego sleep to get up on other country's time zones so I can watch matches. But, holy cow, it brings me so much joy. And you may be wondering why it's included in my list of creative things I like and, to that I say, have you ever seen how beautiful a well-constructed point is? Or, how beautiful Grigor Dimitrov is? Yeah, tennis is pretty friggin' lovely.
    • Beyonce- I didn't watch her hour long video presentation thing a couple of weeks ago and, after the reports about the alleged backstories to her new songs, I wasn't sure if I was going to be into her new album. I was worried it was all about lyrics whereas I more often feel a connection to the music, to the sounds. But I had my first listen and OMG it's so good! I can't wait to devour more of it.
    • Justin Timberlake- JT has a new song! And it's so catchy! And good! And not 10 minutes long! Bless. 
    • SHADES OF MAGIC series- V.E. Schwab is a genius of words. I follow her on twitter and she is currently working on the 3rd book in the series and, while I get nervous about how often she jokes about killing all of her characters, I also super respect her because I have a feeling she would totally kill them all if it was good for the story. She's the type of author a reader can trust. 
    • The Met Ball- Fashion in general is something I love, but most recently, the Met Ball with it's theme of "Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" delivered a lot of awesome designs. It's fun to see how the designers/stylists/celebrities interpret (or don't interpret) the theme and also to see how their choices are received. 
    • Outlander- The beginning of season two has been a bit less sexy and a lot less Scottish, but it's still one of my favorite hours of the week. I am absolutely loving Claire's costuming for the Fraser's time in France and the sets have been so glorious, as well. And, really, I just like any excuse to think and dream about Scotland and hot Scottish men with their hot Scottish accents. 
    • "If I Didn't Know Better" sung by Sam Palladio and Claire Bowen from Nashville-  This show is a trainwreck that I can't stop watching and, while the show isn't exactly giving me the artistic feels, this song (and many others these two sing) is SOOOOOOO gooooood! It's kind of gentle and flirty and Sam Palladio sings in a beautiful falsetto and their voices mash up just perfectly. Go listen to it! Be moved!