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!!!

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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

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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.