WWW Wednesday: June 13th, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, which asks you to answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

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The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

*ARC received from Netgalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A summer camp thriller/mystery novel is just what I needed in my life right now. I’m so happy I got approved for this!

 

 

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Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

I never thought I would read another book about robots, but here I am. I’m really excited about this one! All the reviews have been amazing.

This will be the first book I’ve read by Jay Kristoff.

 

 


Recently Read

Circe by Madeline Miller
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang


What I (May) Read Next

31179006[1]Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

 

40182855In the idyllic Atlanta enclave of Sugar Mills, four women are struggling to keep their marriages alive in the hectic whirl of middle-class suburbia.

Adventurous Jess adores her sportswriter husband, but he’s more likely to fall asleep than respond to her creative attempts at seduction. Delia agreed to an open marriage when she had nothing to lose; but now that the reality of her choice has settled in, she feels a void no direct sales commission can fill. Infertility has left ex-tennis star Carras feeling powerless and frustrated. PTA president Maizy is desperate for acceptance in the Sugar Mills community, and with her health-conscious husband.

Enter Parker, a gorgeous young tennis pro moonlighting as a male escort. Could a little well-orchestrated jealousy cure the marital blues? Will a risky scheme put the spark back in their suburban marriages, or burn everything they’ve worked for to the ground?

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

32454291In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.


Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology/Retelling
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books
Source: Hardcover
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

I was hesitant to review this book, only because I wasn’t sure if I had everything to add to what’s already been said. I also don’t feel like I could ever do Circe justice, but I’ll try.

This book drew my eye very early on. I love Greek mythology and retellings, and Circe is such a fascinating character to me. I’ll admit, this book took me a long time to read. Three months, to be exact. I kept finding myself putting it down and moving on to other books, then coming back to it. It wasn’t because it didn’t interest me, but rather that it is a very character-driven, inner-monologue focused, slow-burn story. I couldn’t skim or speed-read; I needed to absorb every single word on the pages.

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

A majority of this book is spent on the island of Aiaia where the goddess Circe is exiled. If you are unfamiliar with Greek mythology and the Odyssey, like I was, much of the content in this book will be new for you. Centuries and generations of Greek myths are folded into this book, but they are told in stories by visiting characters. We don’t actually see any of the action, but action and adventure is not what this story is about.

“My divinity shines in me like the last rays of the sun before they drown in the sea. I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now that they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

This is the origin story of Circe and her development over centuries of love and loss. She is a goddess with the voice of a mortal, who empathizes with mortals and loathes the ways of all other self-serving gods and goddesses. This is not a happy story. She suffers greatly, but everything that happens to her helps shape her into the strong, powerful, and somewhat jaded witch that she is. She isn’t perfect; at times she is a villain, at times she is a heroine, but it’s interesting to see how she grows from these experiences.

“Her eyes held mine, gray and steady. It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”

The underlying theme in Circe is how the stories of men are often glorified, while the heroines are undermined no matter how prominent their own role was. This is a very women-empowering, sex-positive book about finding yourself in a world where men are given agency, and women are reduced to being in the background.

“The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…


Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkeley
Source: Book of the Month
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

This book is so unique, captivating, sexy, and important.

I love romance novels, but I’ll be the first to admit that many are generic, corny, and sometimes problematic. What makes The Kiss Quotient different is that it’s the first romance I’ve read with an autistic female protagonist. Not only are her quirks and differences prominent throughout the entire book, but they’re also addressed in a way that is positive: there’s nothing wrong with Stella, she’s just a unique person. She is incredibly smart and accomplished, and loves working with data to the point where she chooses to go into work on weekends. She is also extremely sensitive to smells and sounds, gets overstimulated very easily, and has a routine that she can never break from without getting anxious.

“What would he think if she told him how difficult it was for her to do things like dancing and drinking? Going out was supposed to be fun. For her, it was work—hard work. She could interact with people if she wanted to, but it cost her. Some times more than others.”

The way Michael (the love-interest, who also happens to be a mixed-race male escort) treats Stella is also important. He pays attention to her needs and makes adjustments without belittling her or making her feel like she’s different. Consent is also a big thing for him, as there were several times when he would ask for permission or immediately stop what he was doing if Stella appeared uncomfortable. He’s not perfect, but he wants to be a good person and do the right thing. This makes it tricky for him, as his job requires that he keep his “clients” at an arm’s length and not get too attached. Things are different with Stella though and he finds himself falling for her.

I found it very easy to empathize with Stella. Being in her head, we’re given a firsthand perspective on the way she feels in certain situations and why she does or say what she does. At the same time, I understood how other characters could be confused by her behavior and have negative feelings about the way she interacts. This is most apparent in a scene where Stella meets Michael’s family and manages to insult/hurt them without even realizing she was doing it. Scenes like this were hard to read, but helped me to understand how Stella’s mind works differently than other people’s.

The romance is super cute and this book is chock-full of super steamy scenes. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who liked The Hating Game (which I loved), as I got a similar vibe with these two books.

I also loved Helen Hoang’s note at the end of the novel, where she addressed her own experience with autism and provides resources for others who want to know more about it. I never realized that such a large portion of women with autism go undiagnosed because they learn to fake “normal” behavior, even though its exhausting for them.

The Kiss Quotient was such a heartfelt, refreshing read. I feel so warm and fuzzy after reading this book!

WWW Wednesday: June 6th, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, which asks you to answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This is a unique romance with a autistic female protagonist and mixed-race male escort love interest. I’m having a hard time putting this one down, so I’ll probably have it finished by the end of the day.

Review to come!

 


Recently Read


Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Legendary by Stephanie Garber


What I (May) Read Next

31179006[1]Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

 

36626748[1]Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

 

29456569[1]On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.


Title: Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: eBook
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

This book was so, so fun!

I adored the first book, Caraval, and this book definitely exceeded my expectations as a sequel. It was such a magical, whimsical ride, and I couldn’t put it down. I loved returning to this world.

The writing is poetic and sucks you right in:

“The air tasted like wonder. Like candied butterfly wings caught in sugared spiderwebs, and drunken peaches coated in luck.”

Donatella Dragna is everything I want in a main character. She is strong, brave, and levelheaded. She likes attention, flirting with men, and knows that she’s pretty, but above all else, she isn’t ashamed to admit it.

“One look at her honey-blond curls, her girlish smile, and her pretty dresses, coupled with the fact that she liked to enjoy herself, and people dismissed her as a silly girl. Tella might have been many things, but she was far from silly or worthless or whatever labels people liked to affix because a person was young and female. Tella liked to think that was where much of her strength came from. She was bold. She was brave. She was cunning. And she was going to come out of this triumphant – no matter the cost.

I enjoyed being in her head more than her sister Scarlett’s, who was the main character and point of view of Caraval. I also enjoyed the romantic aspects a little more than Caraval. This book certainly had enough steamy scenes to satisfy my immoral soul.

“Good was the word people used to describe how they slept at night and bread fresh out of the fire. But Dante was more like the fire. No one called a fire good. Fires were hot, burning things children were warned not play with.”

I absolutely adored Dante.

(Side note and potential spoiler: I see hints at a future love triangle which is usually a huge nope from me, but in this case I’m actually okay with it slash completely living for it).

Legendary messed with my head. I was second-guessing and third-guessing until my head was spinning in circles and I couldn’t even read the words anymore. There were so many possibilities and so many potential outcomes, that I can’t even say if any of my predictions came true. Legendary will do it’s best to mislead you, so I eventually gave up guessing and just went along for the ride.

I loved the morally grey, semi-villainous actions of each of the main characters. No one is really the hero and no one is really the villain; everyone has their own agenda. Even Tella admits that she might be the villain in her own story.

Scarlett was kind of a mess. I liked her perspective in Caraval, but there wasn’t much of her in this book and what I did see was just confusing and kind of obnoxious. There wasn’t as much as a sibling emphasis in Legendary as there was in Caraval, and I hope that changes in the next book. Scarlett’s actions in this one just really bothered me, so I think I would be completely okay if the third book is once more from Tella’s perspective, or even a dual POV.

All of the characters we know are still around, as well as some new ones. Scarlett and Julian’s story continues in the background from where the first book left off, and I’m interested to see how it continues for these two in the third one.

I gave this book four stars out of five, because I thought the ending was a little predictable. Still, Legendary was the most enjoyable read for me so far this year, and I can’t wait to see what Stephanie Garber has in store for us with Finale!

Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.


Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is my second Ruth Ware book, and I’m starting to think she may be becoming the queen of the mystery/thriller genre.

Harriet (Hal) Westaway finds out that she will be receiving a legacy from her wealthy grandmother who has just recently passed. Hal has never met this grandmother, and after some digging, finds out that she is not the right person. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, and with piling bills and looming threats from a loan shark, Hal decides to pretend. She goes to the funeral and meets Mrs. Westaway’s three sons, all the while pretending to be the daughter of their estranged sister. Soon, she discovers that everything is not as it seems at Trepassen House, and finding out the truth may be more important than money.

Admittedly, it took some time for me to get into this book. The writing is phenomenal and the beginning was definitely interesting, but it is a slow-build book that only increases in tension the further along you get. There is an overwhelming sense of wrongness throughout the entire story, and the creepy, eerie descriptions only add to the foreboding atmosphere. You will sense that something the story is building to something big, and can I just say, you will not be disappointed. The story changed for me at around the 60% mark, and from that point on, I could not peel my eyes from the pages.

I was guessing every character’s motive. It was impossible to tell who to trust. Who is lying, and who is telling the truth? Truth and lies is a major theme of this book, and one that comes full circle. The chapters are interspersed with occasional diary entries from Hal’s mother, which gives you just enough insight to draw your own conclusions but not enough to give any sort of clarity.

I loved the tarot card readings and the way that the cards were used to predict and symbolize aspects of the story. I also liked that Hal never put too much stock in the cards, but rather used them to give herself and others the opportunity to find their own answers. Hal is a great main character. She’s strong, brave, and intuitive, and I enjoyed witnessing the story unfold through her eyes.

All in all, a great read. I didn’t know how much I needed a good mystery novel until I had this one in my hands. I look forward to reading more Ruth Ware books in the future!

Book Blogger Confession Tag

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I was tagged by the wonderful Melanie @ meltotheany. This was so fun to do!

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

26892110[1]The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

I wanted to like this one, I really did! It ended up just being a little too out there for me. It could have been a right-book-wrong-time situation, so who knows. Maybe I’ll return to it someday.

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

15858248[1]Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

There are so many New Adult romances I’ve read that would easily fall into the “guilty pleasure” category. Like, there are so many trashy romances out there that I’ve enjoyed reading, but aren’t objectively good, if that makes sense. I picked this one because it’s lighthearted and funny, and other people seem to enjoy it just as much as I did.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

41865[1]Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

If you weren’t obsessed with these books in 2007, then you’re lying. It’s funny to look back on how much I loved these books at the height of their popularity, whereas I now realize how poorly written and insanely problematic this series was. Still, Twilight got me back into reading, so I can’t hate these books too much.

4. Which book would you like to throw into the sea?

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Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L.James

I’m not one to judge a trashy book for being trashy, but this was just way too dark and emotional to ever be enjoyable for me. I see it everywhere, but I have no interest in ever finishing this series.

5. Which book have you read the most?

3[2]Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I was a huge nerd for these books back in the day (*Istillmightbe*) and must have read this series from start to finish at least four times.

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

656[1]War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I feel guilty if I receive books as gifts and don’t read them, but War and Peace is so intimidating that it would sit untouched until the end of time. The classic status would never be enough to get me interested in this 1300 page monster.

7. Which book could you not live without?

25489134[1]The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This question is a little dramatic, but it would be unfortunate if I never got to read The Bear and the Nightingale. This book is so lovely and different than anything I’ve ever read before. It raised the bar for my standards and changed the way I approach new books.

8. Which book made you the angriest?

27774758[1]An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

It may seem like a negative, but the fact that this book made me so angry is a testament to how good it actually is. The world portrayed in this book is brutal. The characters go through hell, and are made to do terrible things to survive. The tension is unreal, only because there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how far the antagonists will go.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

35604686The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

I’ve never cried reading a book, but this one did melt my icy heart just a fraction. This book deals with suicide, grief, and acceptance. It’s a wonderful story, and I think everyone should read it.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

22544764[2]Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I really don’t like this cover. I thought the foreign editions were much better (in fact, I bought the UK paperback from The Book Depository). But to each their own! The story inside is amazing, and that’s all that really matters.

 

I Tag:

Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie
Kayla @ Books and Blends
Danielle @ Life of a Literary Nerd

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Worlds I Would and Wouldn’t Want to Live In

img_2469*Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

This weeks topic is about book worlds that you would or wouldn’t want to live in. Since world-building is my favorite aspect of any novel (especially fantasy), this was a really fun topic for me!

Worlds I Want to Live In:

  1. Red London

    Shades of Magic (series) by V.E. Schwab

    This magical alternate version of London sounds like an amazing place to live.

  2. Prythian (Winter & Summer Courts)

    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

    Sarah J. Maas has been very descriptive with these two courts of Prythian in the ACOTAR books. I belong somewhere warm and near the ocean, but the Winter Court sounds like a wonderful world to live in, with towering palaces, roaring hearths, and tall evergreens. The main method of transport is reindeer-pulled sleighs, plus they have polar bears! And their celebration of the winter solstice sounds like my kind of party.

  3. Hogwarts

    Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

    I’m still waiting on my letter. I would be in Slytherin for sure.

  4. Wonderland

    Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    Alice in Wonderland was my favorite Disney movie growing up. This is a world where nothing makes sense and everything talks. What more could you want?

  5. Narnia

    The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

    Did anyone else try to find Narnia in the back of their closet as a child, or was that just me?

 

Worlds I Wouldn’t Want to Live In:

  1. White London

    Shades of Magic (series) by V.E. Schwab

    This alternate London is a chilling, cutthroat world where no one is safe.

  2. Prythian (Spring Court)

    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

    Tamlin. Need I say more?

  3. Verity

    This Savage Song/Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

    Verity is a city in which sins committed by humans create monsters.

  4. The Martial Empire

    An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

    This is a brutal world inspired by Ancient Rome. It’s citizens are oppressed and the government resorts to violent and terrifying acts to keep the people in check.

  5. Panem

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    If picked for the Hunger Games, I would 100% be the first to die.

Finding Time to Read (When Life Gets in the Way)

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Finding time to read can be tricky, especially if you have a busy and unpredictable life. If you have a lot going on, sometimes reading is just one additional task that you just don’t have time for. The trick is to stop thinking of it as an obligation and start thinking of it as something that you enjoy doing. We should all find time for the things that make us happy, especially something as important and enriching as reading books. Reading sparks your creativity, improves your memory and focus, and allows you to experience the world in different ways through different perspectives.

So how do we make time?

1. Start reading in the morning when you’re drinking your coffee, or at night before you go to bed. These are the parts of the day when you have the least going on, so you won’t feel guilty about setting aside time in your busy schedule.

2. Bring a book with you to work or school, so that you have something to do in your downtime. I like to read on my lunch break or during my morning commute.

3. Use a Kindle or download the Kindle app on your phone to read eBooks. It seems like it would be hard to read books on a phone, and maybe it takes some getting used to, but this is how I read a majority of my books. Your phone is something you always have on you, so it’s really easy to open the app and start reading when you’re waiting in line or walking to the bus stop! Just don’t be like me and trip on the sidewalk when you’re not paying attention.

4. Find books that interest you enough to want to read them. If you force yourself to read something that doesn’t really capture your interest, that’s only going to make you come up with excuses to avoid reading.

5. Forgo your seventh binge of The Office to read a new book instead. I love Netflix as much as anyone, but sometimes you need to put the laptop away and take out a book instead.

6. Reread books that made you love reading in the first place (though I’ll probably skip on rereading Twilight).

7. Go to the library. Books can be expensive to buy, and having a return deadline can keep it from lingering on your shelf for too long.

8. Use GoodReads to track books you’ve read and want to read. This site is also a great resource to find books you might have never heard of. You can also set a yearly reading goal, and GoodReads will keep track of your progress.

9. Find books that fit in with your current hobbies or habits. I spend a majority of my free time in the summer laying on beaches, so I usually always have a go-to beach read handy!

10. Take up reviewing. Not only is this a great way to read more (free) books, but it’s also fun way to learn what kind of books you do and don’t like!

Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Hardcover
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Rating: ★★

I’ve seen this book described as being action-packed, with three-dimensional characters and a strong protagonist. I feel like I must have read a completely different book.

The beginning sucked me right in with the opening fight scene, but this book didn’t hold my interest much after that. A large portion of it is spent on pastoral activities like peeling garlic and cleaning armor. I didn’t think it was action-packed at all, but rather just some action scenes mixed in with the day-to-day life of Eelyn as the enemy’s prisoner.

The romance is so incredibly bland. Fiske is uninteresting as a character, and him and Eelyn had absolutely no chemistry. One minute he’s shooting her with an arrow, while the next minute she’s blushing and trying to ignore whatever “connection” they have. The enemies-to-lovers thing didn’t make any sense. I also thought that Eelyn’s acceptance of the Riki happened far too quickly. She is captured by the enemy clan that has fought and killed members of her own clan for years, becoming their slave to be bought and sold. She is given a metal collar and is brutally mistreated by the Riki, but somehow grows to love the family that owns her. For a character who is supposedly a vicious warrior, her subservience doesn’t make a lot of sense.

In general, the characters are bland and lacking any depth or complexity. Familial conflicts were mentioned but then never properly resolved. The writing style is awkward and clunky, which kept pulling me out of the story. There’s a lot of telling-not-showing and a lot of passive voice used: two of my writing pet-peeves.

Overall, I thought Sky in the Deep was shallow and unimaginative. This book would have been great had there been a little more world-building, better character development, and maybe a few more rounds of edits. After all, a Viking-inspired world with a warrior main character would usually be right up my alley. The execution just wasn’t up to par with my expectations.

I always feel bad giving one or two star reviews to books that other reviewers raved about. My opinion should be taken with a grain of salt, as I’m clearly in the minority.