Alex, Approximately

Alright fam, first of all you just all need to know that I sped through this whole book so fast. This could be a perfect summer read, or honestly for any time you need a cute little pick-me-up. Before I started, I read that this was a spin on the movie You’ve Got Mail and half intrigued, half wary. I’ve read books *similar* to this before where a girl and a boy somehow have met online and end up meeting in real life and something always goes awry. For some reason, this one was a little different. Not sure if it was great writing and characters or what but it just worked for me and I loved it so damn much.

Bailey or “Mink” is a classic movie buff and has met a boy online that love movies as much as she does. Their tastes might not always align but it’s the thrill of having someone who shares her interests that has her crushing on this boy, “Alex.” Interestingly enough he lives in the same west coast town as her father….the same town that she is moving to. She doesn’t tell him, wanting to try and find him by herself first so that no hopes and dreams are dashed. Instead she meeting the annoying but smokin’ hot Porter…Teenage summer life ensues.

There were so many little things that made this book enjoyable for me. The first being as small as the fact that it was a story set in the summer, on a beach since I’m stuck in cold Michigan. The second being that the writing was really damn good. I have never read anything else by Jenn Bennett so I had had no idea what to expect. There were so many lines that had me laughing out loud or feeling butterflies in my stomach. UNFORTUNATELY the device that I was reading this on wouldn’t let me highlight things and I was too damn lazy to write page numbers down for later so I’ll have to add quotes to this later…The dialog just didn’t seem out of character for actual teens (which I feel like happens a lot when adults write YA contemporaries) which I loved and the way they interacted with one another was great. They both realized that they both had problems with the different things that happened in their respective pasts but they help each other overcome those things in a healthy and normal way. AND THEY TALK. They talk to each other so even when the truth comes out about who Alex and Mink really are, there isn’t a huge explosive fight over it. All in all this is a quality contemporary that I know I will read again!

Also, HUGE thanks to Simon Pulse and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC! ♥

A Conjuring of Light

He’d never wanted to be king, though in the stories the magician always was. He didn’t want to rule the world. He only wanted to save it.

You guys won’t be able to tell since actually *posting* this will take mere seconds but I already can tell that this review is going to take me all day to sort out. Because this book deserves it. Schwab DESERVES [everything].

For some reason (well a lot of silly, busy reasons) it took me almost a week to truly get into this. It wasn’t because it wasn’t good—it was just because I had a lot going on. FINALLY, last night after I got about halfway through I just thought to myself, “Arielle, when’s the last time you stayed up all night to finish a good book?” And I couldn’t remember. And that was sad. So I stayed up and was breathless by the end. I said it in my other two reviews and I’ll say it again…this is my exact brand of fantasy. Through and through. There was NOTHING that I didn’t like about this book. There was balanced magic with consequences, there was enough romance for me to SHIP SO DAMN HARD, there were pirates….sigh….. so good :’)

“Fucking magic,” she muttered as he knelt beside her.

Besides all the good junk that makes a fantasy a fantasy, this book was what it was because of its characters. The character development was so. Fucking. Good. Best of all being Holland. I was going to try to fit all of what I had to say about everyone in this section but f it, Holland deserves a whole paragraph. THIS GUY. So obviously he has been one of those characters, from the very beginning, that, while easy to hate you just also couldn’t help from feeling bad for the guy. The Danes were so horrrrrible. I was so glad that we finally got more of his back story, little snippets at a time. We weren’t just given this single explanation about why he’s a really a good guy and why we should start rooting for him…Instead, from personal experience, I went through the present story and found that he had cause to help the crew while also gradually learning more about how important While London is to him and how he was used and abused for so long and couldn’t help myself from seeing how important he was. (view spoiler)

Holland isn’t the only one to receive my praise though…everyone in this damn book deserves all the stars. Alucard was his same old sassy self, Kell is broody but does show a bigger range of emotions-he even cracks a few smiles! (lol), Rhy is SO, so strong. I really enjoyed learning more about the king and queen too. Like I was actually really intrigued by the queen and what her younger days would have been like…Anywayss, everyone is just brave and strong and heroic and my heart is so damn full because of them. && I SHIP RHY AND ALUCARD SO DAMN HARD 4 LYFE. ♥

“Next time I walk away,” she whispered into his skin, “come with me.” She let her gaze drift up to his throat, his jaw, his lips. “When this is all over, when Osaron is gone and we’ve saved the world again, and everyone else gets their happily ever after, come with me.”

Finally. Lila. Fucking. Bard. I honestly think she is my number one female book character of all time. You guys she is just so badass. And so unapologetic about who she is. I think my favorite thing about this series is that the characters just are who they are and that’s that. No one really tries to change Lila. No one even thinks about trying to put her in a dress or tell her that she can’t hang out with sole Antari of Red London because she’s not important enough. Kell might try to reprimand her for her thievery (and whatever else) but would he ever truly try to change her? Helll no. The one time in this book that he tried to order her to do something I laughed out loud because….lol, Kell, sweetie…do you remember who you’re talking to? I also am so obsessed with the romance between Kell and Lila. I mean I am a DIE HARD romantic but I also see the benefit of a REALISTIC romance. These two met, they clashed again and again but grew together in spite of everything. Their romance simmered and was the definition of slow burn but it was so worth it. It made their scenes together that much more memorable. (view spoiler) I am so glad their ending was what it was. 🙂

And that being said the ending in general was in my very top. I couldn’t be happier or more blown away.

Myths do not happen all at once. They do not spring forth whole into the world. They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth, until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own.

And so the series ends. The balance is restored and all was well.

“The king is coming,” called his brother.
“The king is coming,” sang his lover.
“The king is coming,” said his friend.

My Bookish Valentines

This is a list of 14 of my book boyfriends.  Those strapping young (or century old) men who have a special place in my heart because of the roles they played in come of my dearest of books. The first five are my favorite so I’ve decided to write a little bit on each one but that doesn’t mean that any of the others are any less special.  Happy Valentine’s day!  You don’t need a real-life boyfriend when you can lose yourself with any of these special boys.

  1. Rhysand – ACOMAF

“I fell in love with you, smartass, because you were one of us—because you weren’t afraid of me, and you decided to end your spectacular victory by throwing that piece of bone at Amarantha like a javelin. I felt Cassian’s spirit beside me in that moment, and could have sworn I heard him say, ‘If you don’t marry her, you stupid prick, I will.”

I feel like if you don’t love Rhys, you haven’t read ACOMAF and are committing a major crime.  I’ve read it twice and am on my third time of listening to it and I AM NOT ASHAMED.  Seriously every time I go through it again I pick something new out that I love and that’s pretty awesome.  Rhys is a tortured soul who won’t hesitate to kill an enemy but he’s also the kind of guy who will flirt you out of depression and would die defending you.  I won’t say much here because I already wrote an EXTREMELY long post about his love for Feyre on Tumblr one night when I was drunk on wine and I will never be able to write a better post about him.  You can find it here if you’re interested, lol: http://arielle-reads.tumblr.com/post/149858231896/wine-buzzed-acomaf-feelings

  1. Will Herondale – The Infernal Devices

“I am catastrophically in love with you.”

Before I fell down the rabbit hole that is the world of Sarah J. Maas, I was obsessed with TID.  I think it also had to do with the fact that I felt like Tessa in that I was with one person and thought I still loved him, while also being in love with another person.  That may sound crappy but that other person is now my fiancée and I couldn’t be happier.  I just could relate to Tessa and yes, I may have a weakness for tortured souls with dark hair and blue eyes but that’s beside the point.  It also helps that their love language was books because I am a freaking librarian.  Sooo when Will could just like spout off bit of poetry, it’s no wonder that I fell in love.  Did I also mention that these books are set in Victorian England?  Well it is and that for me, just added to the romance. Sigh.  He’ll always have a place in my heart.

  1. Chaol Westfall – Throne of Glass

“There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he’d pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he’d been walking toward this, walking to her. So Chaol brushed away her tears, lifter her chin, and kissed her.”

Screw everyone who laughs at me for this.  When this ship sunk I died a little bit.  Seriously, when I go back and re-read this series in the future it’s going to be so hard to read these parts and just know that all good things come to an end.  Now don’t get me wrong, Rowan is 100% the best choice for Aelin…but Chaol was 100% the right choice for Celaena.  He pushed her to get back into shape, to get up just one more time during the tournament.  He is just so…human. I honestly wanted to say perfect because I love him so much but that’s obviously not true.  He messes up big time throughout this series but he makes amends.  I just cannot express how excited I am that Sarah wrote a whole book for him.  He deserves it.

  1. Han – Seven Realms

“So here’s the truth – I love you. I love everything about you – the way you stick up for people even when it costs you. The way you keep trying to do the right thing even when you’re not exactly sure what the right thing is. I love how you put words together. You’re as skilled with words as any knife fighter with a blade. You can put an enemy down on his back, or you can raise people up so they find what’s best in themselves. You’ve changed my life. You’ve given me the words I need to become whatever I want.
I love how you talk to lytlings. You don’t talk down to them. You respect them, and anybody can tell you’re actually interested in what they have to say.
I love the way you ride a horse – how you stick there like an upland thistle, whooping like a Demonai. I love the way you throw back your head and stomp your feet when you dance. I love how you go after what you want – whether it’s kisses or a queendom.
I love your skin, like copper dusted over with gold. And your eyes – they’re the color of a forest lake shaded by evergreens. One of the secret places that only the Demonai know about.
I love the scent of you – when you’ve been out in the fresh air, and that perfume you put behind your ears sometimes.
Believe it or not, I even love your road smell – of sweat and horses and leather and wool.
I want to breathe you in for the rest of my life.”

Omg after George Cooper from the Lioness Quartet, Han is my favorite thief of all time.  There is just something so damn charismatic about him that has you falling in love with him after the first page he’s on.  He’s cocky, he’s stubborn and hard headed, but you just can’t ever get sick of him.  My favorite thing about him actually was the fact that even though there were many times that he was in way over his head, he sought help from his friends.  He could act like an entitled jackass but he wasn’t.  Sigh…so stinkin dreamy.

  1. Domitan of Masbolle – Protector of the Small

The stranger grinned cheerfully at her.  In his early twenties, he was broad-shouldered, big-handed, and very handsome.  He wore his dark hair cut just below his ears.  His mouth was long and made for smiling.  He wore the uniform of the Own:  loose dark trousers, chain mail shirt, blue tunic with silver trim, and a white burnoose.  The crimson band around his biceps showed a dark circle with a black dot at its center: a sergeant’s badge.

IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS SERIES DO SO NOW.  Dom and Kel are my number one dream couple.  While they never expressly got together in the series, I know DEEP DOWN in my bones that they got together.  I mean come on, at the end of the fourth book Kel’s last thought was about being excited that Dom was at the fort so they could “catch up” after the war.  I have never read more fanfiction about any other couple lolol.  Seriously though..I have been in love with Dom for a very long time.  Long before Twilight hit the shelves and YA Fantasy became a popular and tangible thing, I was reading Tamora Pierce.  I might even say that Dom was my first true book boyfriend.  He had dark hair, blue eyes, and was a major flirt that took Kel seriously from the very first time that they met.  Double sigh….If I ever meet Tamora Pierce I hope she can confirm this ship for me.

Now for the rest.  These aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t the only ones on my list though they are some of the characters that have impacted me in some way.  I highly recommend each and every one of these series!

  1. Kell – A Darker Shade of Magic

“Don’t you see?” said Calla. “He wasn’t coming to pay your debt. He was coming to see if you’d returned to pay it yourself.” Lila felt her face go hot. “I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stars divide you.”

  1. Gansey – Raven Boys

“I wish you could be kissed, Jane,’ he said. ‘Because I would beg just one off you. Under all this.’ He flailed an arm toward the stars.”

  1. Arin – The Winner’s Trilogy

“Arin pulled her onto his lap. He held her shaking form, tucked his face into the crook of her cold neck as she sobbed against him. He murmured that he loved her more than he could say. He promised that he would always choose her first.”

  1. Kaz – Six of Crows duology

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

  1. Garett – Talon

“I couldn’t,” he finally whispered. “You were the one who taught me to live, to take chances. For a while, I convinced myself that we were too different, and that it was better to let you go. But now, I’ve come to the realization that my life is probably going to be very short. And I want to spend it doing something that matters. With someone that matters. I don’t want to regret that I gave up without a fight.”

  1. Connor Cobalt & Ryke Meadows – The Calloway Sisters

Connor: “There are rare people who will fuel the fire inside of you, who will awaken a dormant passion, who will push you and better you. She alone is my rarity.”

Ryke: I nodded a couple times, and she practically radiated. As though she felt the air shift, brighter and lighter.
I felt it too.
And I fucking thought, thank God.
Thank God the sun will rise again.

  1. Liam – The Darkest Minds

“I think I’m losing it—I don’t know what’s happening, what happened, but I look at you, I look at you, and I love you so much. Not because of anything you’ve said, or done, or anything at all. I look at you, and I just love you, and it terrifies me. It terrifies me what I would do for you.”

  1. Perry – Under the Never Sky

“Your voice sounds like a midnight fire. All warm and worn in and golden. I could listen to you talk forever.”
“I could never do that”.
She laughed at him. He brought his lips to her ear.
“Your scent is like violets early in spring,” he whispered. Then he laughed at himself because though it was true, he sounded like the worst kind of fool.”

 

  1. Conrad – The Summer I Turned Pretty

“I still love you.  I never stopped.  I think you know it.  I think you’ve known it all along”

Best of 2016

This year may have left a bad taste in people’s mouths due to everything surrounding ISIS, our presidential election, and all of the other hate that has been spread around these past twelve months.  This post isn’t going to be about that.  This post is going to be about the books that made my year.  Some of them were simply great pleasure reads, but others are type that can change people.  Those are the books that we need.  Books that are inspiring and books that can we can relate to and know that we aren’t the only ones out there going through something bad or hard.  This post is to review both kinds–these are the best that this year had to offer for me.  They may not have all been new, but they were new to me and I am better for having read them.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

This is now, hands down, my favorite book of all time.  I had already been a big fan of Maas’s Throne of Glass series  but honestly, I hadn’t thought ACOTAR was all my thing the first time I had read it.  I was so entirely unprepared for the impact that this book would have on me.  Her writing is SO gripping.  Not everyone agrees and that’s fine.  Somehow it all just gets me and I’m still so passionate about the characters even seven months after reading it for the first time.  It’s about overcoming PTSD, leaving relationships that are destructive, choosing who your family is, love, and so much more. I’ve read it five times since it’s come out and probably will at least once more before ACOWAR comes out.  All I know is that no matter how this series ends, Feyre and the Night Court will forever hold a place in my heart.

I was a survivor, and I was strong.  I would not be weak, or helpless again.  I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas 

This was a book that came out of nowhere for me.  I had never read another book by Douglas, I just had seen that a lot of my friends on GR had been reading and liking it so I decided to check it out.  I wasn’t disappointed.  There are times after a long streak of YA that I just am tired of the genre.  I want an easy break.  Something with romance and things that are real and familiar.  It has become a personal challenge of mine to find quality NA for that reason (and boy can that be difficult).  This is one that I will be able to read again and again.  It covers complex issues that young people deal with everyday.  Bullying, relationships, sexual abuse to name a few.  While some of the characters can be frustrating at times, I think they’re portrayed in an accurate light.  It’s messy, it’s harsh, it’s enticing.  The writing was addicting and so was the chemistry between the two main characters.  It ends on a good note about how being popular isn’t what life is all about and there’s a HEA.  What more could a girl want?

Do you notice that, too? How all of us just want to get through life as quickly and as easily as possible? And even though we know that without risk there’s no reward, we’re still so scared to chance it?

The world isn’t always what’s right in front of you, you know? It’s below, it’s above, it’s out there somewhere. Every burn of every light inside every house I see when I look down from the rooftop has a story. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

This magical book doesn’t actually come out until March 2017 BUT I was lucky enough to be given an ARC by the publisher through NetGalley. It is a companion novel to the Star-Touched Queen but they don’t necessarily need to be read together.  They are very much their own stories and I personally loved A Crown of Wishes ten times more.  This is a book to be savored. There is adventure, there is Indian folklore, and there is romance (but the perfect amount at the perfect time).  It’s all so cleverly crafted and Chokshi is such a lyrical writer.  I highlighted quote upon quote in my Kindle, it was ridiculous.  I won’t give much away since it isn’t even officially out yet, just know that you’re going to want to check this one out.

Sometimes he thought his head was a snarl of myth and folktales, where magic coaxed ignored princes out of the shadows and gave them a crown and a legend to live in.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn, Illus. by Fiona Staples

This was my first true venture into the world of graphic novels AND BOY WAS I BLOWN AWAY.  Saga…..is just so fucking good.  The art is beautiful (I have such a huge crush on Marco you guys), and the story.  The story is what makes it.  It’s mainly about these two star-crossed lovers who have a child and are fleeing all over the galaxy to ensure her safety but there’s so much more.  So many other sub-plots that all connect eventually and EVERY VOLUME HAS A CLIFFHANGER.  Seriously. I can’t even fully describe how much I love this series.  I HIGHLY recommend to everyone.  Even if you haven’t ever read GNs before.

Calloway Sisters series by Krista and Becca Ritchie

This is by far the best NA series that I have ever read.  Technically the books in this series come after the sister’s Addicted to You series, but they don’t have to be read first.  It does help to fill in a lot of missing gaps but those books are harder to read as they deal with sex and alcohol addiction.  ANYWAY, going into this series, I didn’t think it was going to be for me.  I HATE excessive drama and this book is about a group of rich people whose lives revolve around drama.  Only…it somehow worked.  The characters are so likable or hate-able and you constantly are tearing through the pages to see what happens next.  The dynamic between the main characters is probably my favorite part.  None of their friendships are conventional but they turn into the kind of family that you strive to have.  Some of their hardships are hard to relate to because they come with being rich but that didn’t stop me from loving them.  This entire series consumed my life from May to about July and I am so happy for it.

I had never looked back in that way before, but for the very first time, I did.  I looked back and I only looked back at her.

Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

This series was particularly special to me this year because they were the first books that I read after actually becoming active on GR.  Through this series I found friends on GR and found a mutual love for a lot of other books with them.  I can’t even express how much fun it’s been!  Anyway, this series is great if you love fantasy.  Chima always knows how to hit you in the feels and she does a great job with world-building. The series did start off a little slower than I would have liked but as with any truly good fantasy, it can take a book or two to really get the reader acquainted with  everything.  Raisa is a strong female lead but also makes her fair share of mistakes which makes her easy to relate to.  Han Alister….all I really want to say about him is that he is a heartthrob thief so I love so dearly and everyone needs to meet him because if you haven’t yet you are seriously missing out.

“History,’ Mari muttered, as if she’d overheard his thoughts. ‘Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?’

‘So hopefully we get smarter and don’t make the same mistakes again.”

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

THIS BOOK.  Well really this and the second.  Both have been out for awhile but I, for some stupid reason, took my sweet time picking them up.  This was a fantasy series specifically tailored to my interests.  There is believable magic with limits, there is romance (but just the perfect amount), there are FOUR different Londons, and there is time travel.  The female lead is easily the most BA I’ve ever read and Kell is a broody, awkward cinnamon roll.  GAH JUST GO OUT THERE AND READ THEM.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

The Winner’s Crime & The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I had picked up the first book in the series shortly after it came out in 2014 and liked it–but obviously not enough to have been watching for #2 to be released.  Honestly, I’m pretty glad for that because after the ending in The Winner’s Crime I just about died having to wait three months for Winner’s Kiss to come out.  I was not disappointed.  This is hands down, the most lyrical writing that I have ever read.  Every sentence has you hanging on for dear life and has you feeling things.  It’s so wonderful.  It also helps too that the story itself is a good one about games, deceit, love, and standing up for what’s truly right.  Kestrel and Arin will be in my heart forever.

“She tried to imagine her former self. Enemy. Prisoner. Friend? Daughter. Spy. Prisoner again. “What am I now?”
Sarsine held both of Kestrel’s hands. “What ever you want to be.”

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

There was one point in time where I could easily say that Clare was my favorite YA author.  I lived and breathed for her TID series, particularly Will Herondale. Somewhere down the line though I became overwhelmed.  I think that the success of her current series got to her head because when she announced another THREE series I was put off.  Still, since I have enjoyed her previous books and the Shadowhunter world so much, I knew I had to read this one.  I was not disappointed.  I love Emma and Julian so much that it hurts.  I have always been a sucker to friend to lover romances so of course their story was going to be a favorite of mine.  Not only that but the entire Blackthorn family seems so special.  I will LOVE to continue on with this series but I pray to God she mostly leave Clary and Jace out of it.  They’ve more than had their turn.

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

That. Ending.  A lot of people didn’t like the ending but you know what, I did?  Without giving away what happened, I will say that a lot of people thought that the ending wasn’t as fulfilling as they would have liked.  We all thought *things* were going to happen when they really didn’t.  To me, what really stood out to me as being important at the end of all four books was the friendships.  In this series Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam go through a lot of weird and horrible shit together.  There is death, there is abuse, there is love that stays just out of reach.  But through it all there is friendship.  I sat there for awhile after finishing the book and just thought about it and I decided that the ending was more than satisfactory to me.

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Last but not least, this crazy book.  Even if I didn’t completely love the Grisha series, it’s no secret that Bardugo’s writing is top notch.  After reading Six of Crows and loving it, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016.  That being said, I honestly had no idea how this book was going to compete with #1 and wrap up all of the loose ends in only one book.  Safe to say that Bardugo passed with flying colors.  I’ve read enough YA by now that I can usually pick up on the standard formulas.  I can usually predict what’s going to happen by the end of the book.  This series was not one of those times.  Every heist and plan was so carefully crafted that by the time each plan was enacted, my head was spinning and it was all I could do to keep up with Kaz.  I adored Inej’s growth in this book and was obsessed with every damn couple (who cares that they were all paired off–IT WORKED FOR ME).  Very much recommend.

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

So here they are.  The best of the best for me in 2016.  I’ve learned a lot having been more active in the bookish community and love it.  One of the most important things to remember is that even if every single person around you hates a book, it doesn’t mean that your love for it should diminish it.  At the beginning of the year after I started actually interacting with people on GR I felt like I was tiptoeing around with my ratings and reviews. “Is this too high?  Too low?”  Who the fuck cares?  If a book means something to you or something about it bothers you, let the community know!  That’s what we’re here for.  To fangirl with when we love a book or to commiserate with when we hate one.  That’s the beauty of it.  So to finish things off, 2016, you may have been a shitty year for some, but I certainly loved you.  I read a lot of great books, met a lot of great people, and gained a puppy and a fiance.  Cheers and welcome 2017.

 

A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi

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I’ll probably add all of my lovely quotes later closer to when the book actually comes out. Plus it’s going to take me that long to pare down my list of which ones I want to use anyway BECAUSE EVERY SENTENCE IN THIS BOOK IS MAGIC.

For those of you who weren’t sure, this book can actually be a standalone. There are some characters that *might* pop up from book one but you don’t have to read it to understand what’s happening here. Even though I have read and really enjoyed the first, this one blew it out of the water.

Gauri and Vikram are AMAZING MCs. Guari is headstrong and brave but also makes her fair share of mistakes. Vikram is cunning but kind and never ceases to poke at the surly bear that is Gauri. Their love isn’t rushed, isn’t forced. They are both human and my heart is just so full for having met them. EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS.

The plot is engaging and the writing is soooo entirely beautiful. It had my heart pounding and stole my breath on more than one occasion.

So grateful for the publisher for sending me an ARC!!!

History has it’s eyes on [us].

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Thought posting my review of this might be relevant after what happened at the show the other night…

From the moment that my sister first had me listen to “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening number of this play–I was hooked. That was months ago and it’s rare if a day goes by that I don’t listen to at least one song from the soundtrack. I can proudly say that I can spit off every single line of Angelica Schuyler’s “Satisfied” and many, many more.

Since tickets for this are so damn expensive, (I still will make it to a show eventually) when I found out that this book was a thing, I jumped at the chance to get it for my library. Listening to the soundtrack and scrolling through YouTube for videos is one thing–reading Lin’s thoughts and notes about different lyrics and stage directions is another. As if I don’t love this entire musical enough, reading how he came to make certain decisions or how “It’s Quiet Uptown” really affected the entire cast made me feel so much more.

I have always loved history. Always. And while Rap isn’t my #1 genre, something about the mastery of lyrics that some rappers have will never cease to amaze me. When I first heard about this play–that it took one of our founding fathers (one that had had such a HUGE impact on our young nation but that no one spoke much about) and turned the events of his life into a rap musical I just KNEW that this was going to be something that I was going to love. I’d say it has been at least three months since I have really started getting into the play and I seriously sing applicable lyrics or talk about these historical figures throughout each and every day (ask my boyfriend and sister). Alexander Hamilton was just such an intricate man that I think the best way to show our nation what he was really all about was in the form of rap lyrics. It truly encapsulates his life. From his lowly beginnings to his gradual and then meteoric rise to the top–we are able to FEEL every experience. I get goosebumps every. single. time. listening to “Yorktown (1776)” when Hamilton sings “Tens of thousands of people flood the streets.” after the battle of Yorktown is fought and won. (I mean just picture the EXCITEMENT of this huge mass of newly free people. I can practically hear the roar of their voices as they flooded the streets). I tear up every. single. time. listening to “It’s Quiet Uptown” and “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” I just think this play is SO ENTIRELY IMPORTANT because it shows the rise of our nation, but it also shows how we struggled in the beginning. Just as we are struggling now.

Seriously I think the line that Washington repeatedly sings: “History has it’s eyes on you.” is so relevant to life right now. Before this election. Every single choice that we make today impacts our future. Our children’s futures. History has it’s eyes on all of us and we can’t ever forget that.

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

caraval

4.5 officially.

But Scarlett had learned too well how treacherous it was to hope in something as elusive as a wish.

I’m probably not going to do a full review at this point, just because the book doesn’t actually come out for another few months. HOWEVER. I made sure that the quotes were ambiguous and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying how amazing this book was. I am so beyond excited for this series to continue on.

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in the world.

When I first saw that people were likening this to The Night Circus, I was immediately excited. I absolutely loved everything about that book and figured that if this book was anything like that one, that there was a good change I was going to like it. It honestly exceeded my expectations. It had an interesting plot, good world building, magic that I didn’t quite understand but yearned to know more about, and interesting characters. There were twists and turns throughout the entire book and no matter how hard I tried, there were times that I was genuinely surprised with how something worked out. I also loved that while I felt like this book was tied up nicely, the events that happened in the epilogue set things up perfectly for the next book. I am seriously so excited.

A second in Caraval seemed richer than an ordinary second, like that moment on the cusp of sunset, when all the colors of the sky coalesce into magic.

I’d say if there was one small thing that bothered me at times during this book, it would be the writing in certain parts. Even though I felt like this had a really solid plot, there were times that I was reading about certain things but wasn’t feeling them like I wanted to. It could just be because I had just gotten done reading a book by Maas and everything that she writes hits me to the core but still. I think the writing could have been a tad stronger in places. Overall this was an incredibly magical read. I would recommend to any person that is interested in exciting, fast paced plots with magical elements.

She remembered thinking falling for him would be like falling in love with darkness, but now she imagined he was more like a starry night: the constellations were always there, constant, magnificent guides against the ever-present black.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this in advance in exchange for an honest review!

 

Favorites

Every time someone asks me what my FAVORITE book of all time is, I get stressed out.  How can someone even have one favorite?!?!  Is this really possible? I honestly don’t think so.  Instead of giving you guys just one, I’ve picked a few.

Favorite Author

For starters, my favorite author has been Tamora Pierce even since I picked up one of her books back in high school.  Unfortunately for me I had picked up the latest series that she had written (Trickster’s Choice) so I spoiled a lot of things for myself from her previous series.  Her characters, Alanna, Kel, Daine, and Aly, in particular are the embodiment of what a strong female protagonist should be.  None of them depend on men to keep them safe, they mostly all have at least one healthy girl friendship, and most importantly, they’re not anywhere close to being perfect.  I may have joked in my first post about Twilight getting me into YA but really it was Tamora Pierce and all of her series set in Tortall.  I have read all of them countless times and am not-so-patiently waiting for her next series about Numair to come out. I NEED IT BAD.

Favorite Book of 2016…and possibly of all time

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas.  This book took me COMPLETELY by surprise.  I have been in love with her Throne of Glass series since I read book one, but I wasn’t a big fan of ACOTAR.  I read it once and didn’t think twice about it until book two came out.  I. Was. Floored.  I have read it a total of four times since May and will probably read it at least once more by the time next May comes around.  Enough said.

Classic Favorite/ Currently Re-reading

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The first time I read this (which was a couple of years ago) I remember loving it so much because of its sheer complexity.  The book in itself was like the very circus that was being written about.  It was magic and drew me in the from beginning.  I didn’t always understand why things were added but in the end, everything came together to form a masterpiece that will always stick with me.  And even better, this book is a great example of one that gets better the second time around because you start to pick up on all of the little things that passed you by the first time.  I always love recommending this one to people at the library!

So here it is.  Three of my favorites that are at the top of a very long list.  While I’m sure there’s a good chance that most YA lovers have read at least one of these, I hope at least someone finds something new to read.

“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They’re always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.”
Lloyd Alexander

I live and breathe words.

Well I’m doing it.  I’m venturing out past the world of Goodreads and starting a legit book blog.  A few of my friends and family members have been encouraging me to do it and I figure it can only really benefit me in the long run.  The reason for that is that I work in a library, as a librarian of course!  I spent my undergrad and part of my grad program in classrooms discussing literature of all sorts.  My concentration was in literature for children and young adults because that is what I have always been the most interested in.  Ever since I was exposed to Twilight (yeah I am only slightly embarrassed to announce to the world that I read that) during my senior year of high school, I have been HOOKED on YA.  From Cabot to Maas to Westerfield I have probably read close to it all.

So even though my job at my library is to buy non-fiction for our adult and juvenile collections, I still like to be aware of what’s out there in other genres (particularly when it comes to YA).  The process of recommending books that we have in our library to patrons is called Reader’s Advisory, and is one of the most important services that we as librarians can provide.  It helps us (in my mind) spread joy.  I LOVE telling patrons about books that I have read and loved.  Or even ones that maybe particularly didn’t like but think they might based on their interest.  Let’s face it, working in a library is damn near perfect for me.

So now we’ve been acquainted.  I hope you come here and find at least one surprise thing to add to your tbr shelf.  I’ll be posting about my books and my life and can’t wait to begin.