Wrap-Up, March 2018

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I’ve been pretty busy, so it’s been a pretty slow month for reading overall. Still, I’ve managed to review a couple books and read some others that have been on my TBR. I just came back from a trip to Miami and I have another trip coming up in April, but my goal is to read at least ten books in the coming month (don’t hold me to it).


Books I’ve Reviewed:

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan


Other Books I’ve Read:

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
This book was so fun! I didn’t know how much I wanted to read a romantic comedy until I had it in my hands. I fully intended on saving this for the beach on my trip, but I couldn’t help but finish it in one day. It was funny, sexy, and very enjoyable. Why can’t I have a Joshua Templeman in my office? Life isn’t fair.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I’ve wanted to read another Neil Gaiman novel after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I’m so glad I finally did. This book was dark and fantastical and mysterious. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were probably the cruelest/funniest/most endearing villains I’ve ever encountered, and I grew to adore all the characters. The last 100 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat, and I love how everything unfolded.


Currently Reading:

I told myself I was only gonna read one book at a time, but here I am, starting two new books. To be fair, I picked up Sometimes I Lie from the airport and started it mid-flight. I’ll probably finish that one, then move on to finishing the The Snow Child.


Next to be Read (For Now):

The Best Books to Bring to the Beach

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In honor of my upcoming trip out of the frozen New England tundra and onto the warm, sunny Miami Beach, I decided to list some of my favorite beach reads! I always wait until the last minute to pack, so I’ll most likely end up overpacking (per usual). Don’t pull a Becca, and plan ahead for your beach necessities!

When I think beach reads, I mostly think of romance or contemporary fiction. I need something light that doesn’t require too much attention or effort, but still keeps me hooked.

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A murder mystery that takes place in a beach town. I actually did read this on the beach, and would recommend this to anyone in the mood for something highly addictive.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A fast-paced mystery/thriller with an unreliable narrator. This was much better than I expected. It’s easy to read, and will keep you guessing!

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

A romance with an unexpected twist that completely shattered me.

All the Missing Girls by Jessica Strawser

A mystery/suspense novel about a young woman who returns to the town she grew up in to face a crime committed in her past. This one isn’t exactly a light read. Since it’s written in reverse, it’s a little bit more of a challenge to know what’s going on. Still, it was highly entertaining!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A short, atmospheric book that is both magical and frightening.


What I’m Bringing:

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I’m so excited to read this! It’s not new, but for some reason I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately. I’m definitely in the mood to read a workplace hate-to-love rom-com, so this is what I plan on bringing along on my trip.

Sunday Spent in Bed With…The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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With Circe being my most anticipated release for the month of April, I really wanted to read Madeline Miller’s debut novel, The Song of Achilles! I finally picked this book up, and I’m loving it so far.

11250317Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

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I adore mythology and retellings. The Song of Achilles stays true to the original Greek mythology while offering its own spin. It’s more romantic than I expected, but I don’t mind. I think there might be a little more action going forward, with both Achilles and Patroclus going to Troy.

I’m a little nervous to finish this book since I know how the story ends, and I’m not really in the mood to have my heart ripped out of my chest (stay tuned). I’m hoping to finish this at some point today!

Waiting on a Wednesday: Circe by Madeline Miller

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*Waiting on a Wednesday is a weekly feature in which I spotlight upcoming releases that I can’t wait to read!

This week, I’m waiting on Circe by Madeline Miller.

I’ve had The Song of Achilles (also by Madeline Miller) on my TBR for a while now. I already own it, so I’m hoping to get to it before Circe comes out!

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In 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.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time! What’s not to love about Greek mythology and witches? This book is a retelling of The Odyssey from Circe’s perspective. Advanced reader reviews have been very positive, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this when it comes out in April!

Book Haul – End of February

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I spoiled myself a little bit this month, so I wanted to share my recent purchases! I’m a lot more motivated to read when I actually own the books instead of having pretty little pictures on my Goodreads TBR list.


Pre-Order (Hardcover):

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I’m so so excited to read these! I recently featured To Kill a Kingdom on a recent Waiting on a Wednesday post. They both come out on March 6th (along with Children of Blood and Bone, another book I want to read!) and they’re guaranteed to arrive at my doorstep on the day of release. This is actually the first time I’ve ever pre-ordered a book, if that’s any indication of how much I want to read these ones.

The only question is, which one will I read first?!


Paperback:

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I’ve wanted to read The Goldfinch ever since I finished The Secret History. I feel like it might take me awhile to get to The Goldfinch, since its almost double (!) the length of The Secret History (which was a very long book) and I don’t have that kind of time commitment right now.

I’ve only ever read one other Neil Gaiman book (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) so I wanted to read more! Neverwhere seems like a good place to start. Eventually, I’d like to get to all of his books.


eBook (Kindle):

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Circe by Madeline Miller is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I wanted to start with The Song of Achilles! I love books that are based on Greek mythology, and I’ve only heard good things about this book.

I’m kind of nervous to read another Maggie Stiefvater book. Her writing is very pretty, but I find her books to be too slow and introspective for my liking. From what I’ve heard, The Raven Boys is very character driven, which is usually a big draw for me. People rave about this series, so I wanted to give it a chance!


If I ever finish Strange the Dreamer and The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I might even be able to crack into these before the weekend!

Sunday Spent in Bed With…Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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It’s cold and rainy outside and I’m curled up in my warm bed with a cup of coffee, and the only way I would leave it is if my apartment were to suddenly catch on fire. Or if I wanted to get another cup of coffee.

I’ve heard so much about Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, so I decided to pick it up. I’m going on four (or maybe five?) days of reading this book now, which is a long time for me. Even with working two jobs, I’m usually able to finish a book in two to three days.

Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely phenomenal. I feel like I could quote every single sentence of Strange the Dreamer, because everything is just so beautiful and her analogies and descriptions are flawless. You can’t help but care deeply for the characters, which really twists the knife when bad things happen to them. Also, the level of creativity is out of this world and I’m pretty sure that this author is a magician for being able to craft such a magical and unique story.

“He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.”

I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to read this one, because I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. I had the same problem with Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone (which I never actually finished). It’s like, even though I love the story, I have no desire to actually keep reading it and have to force myself through the pages. It’s a paradox. I don’t understand it.

I’m hoping to finish Strange the Dreamer sometime this weekend! In the meantime, I’m just gonna act like a burrito in my heated blanket and ignore the world for awhile.

Waiting on a Wednesday: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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*Waiting on a Wednesday is a weekly feature in which I spotlight upcoming releases that I can’t wait to read!

This week, I’m waiting on To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo.

Most of the future-release books on my TBR aren’t coming out until the end of the year, but luckily I don’t have to wait too long for this one! This is probably one of my biggest anticipated releases of the year (that isn’t a sequel).

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

(Credit for cover photo and synopsis: Goodreads)

IT SOUNDS AMAZING.

I’m a sucker for retellings, and this is supposedly a retelling of The Little Mermaid with a mix of other folklore as well! Anyone who knows me knows I love mermaids (I basically am one) and antiheroes, so this book may have been written for me. We’ll see.

To Kill a Kingdom will be available on March 6th.

Three of a Theme: Russia-Inspired Fairy Tale Retellings

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This week, I’ll be discussing a trend in my favorites shelf: Russia-inspired fantasy novels!

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novak
  3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Russia is a fascinating country, and I love the blend of Russian history with fantasy elements.

Read:

In The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, it is very apparent how much research has been conducted by Katherine Arden on a period in Russian history that is little-known and poorly documented. She blends this historical context with Russian fairytales and the folklore of the time, to create a magical and believable world.

Uprooted is a fairytale version of Poland and Russia. It has a twist of Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel, as well as hints of Slavic folklore. Naomi Novik has built a wonderful world through this clever mix of origin stories and has managed to make it feel like her own creation.

To Read:

I have yet to read Deathless, but I own a paperback copy and fully plan on reading this one over the next couple of weeks. This book mixes the Russian folklore story of Koschei the Deathless with historical events in the twentieth century. I’ve been told that this book contains some heavy topics, so I’m likely to wait until I’ve read something a little lighter (I’m still reeling from The Secret History).

 

 

Waiting on a Wednesday: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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*Waiting on a Wednesday is a weekly feature in which I spotlight upcoming releases that I can’t wait to read!

This week, I am waiting on Vengeful by V.E. Schwab.

Vicious came out in 2013 and was originally written as a stand-alone with possible sequels. Recently, Victoria/V.E. Schwab, my favorite author, announced that she was writing the sequel, Vengeful, to be released in the fall of 2018. It will be followed by Victorious.

Vicious is a delightful little monster of a book, with villain/anti-hero protagonists and an interesting multiple-timeline story structure. It captivated me from beginning to end, and I am so excited to see what these wonderful/horrible characters will do next in Vengeful!

Before the sequel is released, a new cover of Vicious will be available in May. Can we all just take a moment to admire how cool this cover is?! Apparently, the rest of the series will match this cover, rather than the old one. I read Vicious on my Kindle, but fully intend to buy this one in hardcover once it’s released.

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Victoria Schwab is very honest and open when it comes to the difficulties of writing, and frequently expresses these troubles on social media. This is one of the reasons that she’s my favorite author. Instead of sugar-coating or glamorizing the entire writing/publishing process, she shows it for everything that it is: scary, difficult, exciting, and rewarding. She has been very candid about her troubles with writing Vengeful on Twitter (recently, she scrapped the entire first draft and started over again!) but that just makes me all the more excited to read it. She has exposed her readers to the inner-workings of her brain while she writes a book that we all know is going to be absolutely amazing once it hits shelves.

I seriously cannot wait for this book. I may just hibernate for the summer, to be honest.

Wake me up when I can read Vengeful.

 

The Status Quote – January

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*The Status Quote is a feature in which I discuss my favorite quotes from books that I’ve read throughout the month.

The following are quotes from my favorite books that I read in the month of January!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”

“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

“I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”

“The breath hitched in his throat. His hand caught hers, but he did not untangle her fingers. “Why are you here?” she asked him. For a moment she thought he would not answer, then he said, as though reluctant, “I heard you cry.”

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

“Did you know that when you take away a person’s fear of pain, you take away their fear of death? You make them, in their own eyes, immortal. Which of course they’re not, but what’s the saying? We are all immortal until proven otherwise?”

“He wondered about himself (whether he was broken, or special, or better, or worse) and about other people (whether they were really all as stupid as they seemed).”  

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

“Missing girls had a way of working their way into someone’s head. You couldn’t help but see them in everyone – how temporary and fragile we might be. One moment here, and the next, nothing more than a photo staring from a storefront window.” 

“We were a town full of fear, searching for answers. But we were also a town full of liars.”

“The house felt different. Unsafe, unknown, too many possibilities existing all at once. Too many voices whispered back at me from the walls.”

Our Dart Duet by Victoria Schwab

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

“There was a strange place, between knowing and not knowing. A place where things could live in the back of your head without weighing your heart.”