Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017.

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1.  Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. Publication Date: 12/26/17

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2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Publication Date: 11/7/17

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3. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Publication Date: 10/10/17.

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4. Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey. Publication Date: 10/3/17.

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5. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Publication Date: 9/26/17.

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6. Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. Publication Date: 9/5/17.

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7. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Publication Date 8/29/17.

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8. Ready to Run by Laren Layne. Publication Date 8/22/17.

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9. Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Publication Date 7/25/17.

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10. Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder #9) by Linda Castillo. Publication Date 7/11/17.

What books are you looking forward to?

Blogger Stats Book Tag

I saw this tag awhile back over at Cover to Cover (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

The last three books you read?

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The Party by Robyn Harding, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, Always My Girl by Samantha Chase

Spoilers or spoiler free?

I usually try to write my reviews spoiler free, but sometimes I can’t help myself and need to talk about something specific and spoilery. I always put up a spoiler warning, though. When it comes to reading other people’s reviews I’m fine with spoilers as long as there’s a warning. There are some books I go looking for spoilers for and others that I don’t want to know anything about.

How long have you been book blogging?

Almost 4 years. Crazy!

A book you read in one sitting?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Your favorite genre?

This year has been mostly mysteries and suspense. I’m finally getting back into contemporaries, though, too.

Preferred book size? (novella, tome, etc)

I read most books on my Nook and the page count is always way off from what Good Reads says. But in Nook world, I would say I like around 250-350 pages.

Amount of books on your TBR?

473.

A book you have DNF’d?

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I hated the main character and just couldn’t get into the story at all.

Recent awards or milestones?

Nothing I can really think of.

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?

Meeting Leigh Bardugo was pretty cool.

Average number of books you read per month?

Around 10 or so

Top three publishers?

I don’t really have favorite publishers. I just read what looks interesting.

Social media sites your blog uses?

Twitter.

Average amount of time you spend on networking?

Um, about zero. I know, I suck.

Most comfortable blogging position?

I do all my blogging while sitting on my couch.

Music or quiet when writing reviews?

Tv on in background, but if I’m having trouble writing one I need quiet.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?

When I Feel Like It.

A blog you looked up to starting out?

There isn’t really one in particular. I didn’t really look at blogs before I started mine. But probably all the ones I followed in the beginning helped shape mine.

The best book you have reviewed so far?

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So far this year the best ones have been Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Best piece of blogging advice?

Don’t force content. I know everyone says you should post every day, but if you’re not feeling it or just throwing something together so you have a post, it shows. Some people can come up with great stuff and post every day and that’s great for them. But I started having much more fun with my blog when I stopped trying to keep up.

Disney Princess Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Check out her blog, it’s awesome! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it.

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite princesses are Belle and Jasmine.

2. I don’t really care that much for Sleeping Beauty because the movie used to scare me when the villain turned into that dragon thing.

3. I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, but I really want to!


Snow White
Name your favorite classic.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen


Cinderella
Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime.

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Most recently was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.


Aurora
Name your favorite classic romance.

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Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Ariel
Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Belle
Name a book with a smart and independent female character.

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Lacey Flint in Now You See Me by Sharon (SJ) Bolton


Jasmine
Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world.

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Moses in The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon


Pocahontas
Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.


Mulan
Name a book with a kick-ass female character.

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Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Tiana
Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character.

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Alexis from The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne


Rapunzel
Name a book that features an artist.

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Blue from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon


Merida
Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship.

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Till Death by JLA.


Anna & Elsa
Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings.

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On the Fence by Kasie West.

The Jingle Bell Tag

Land of EnCRAFTment: Jingle Bell Shaker Box Invites!:

I saw this tag over on A Novel Glimpse and thought it looked fun, so I decided to steal it. Feel free to steal it yourself if your blog is in need of a little holiday book cheer.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” | What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. This was one of my favorite books of the year and probably my favorite cover of the year. I definitely need a copy to go on my shelf!

“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time…” | What book that you have read this year have you enjoyed the most?

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I’ve enjoyed so many books this year so to narrow it down I’m following Deanna’s example and picking my most recent most enjoyable read, which is My Lady Jane.

Elf | What book unleashes your inner child?

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I don’t know about my inner child, but reading the Backstage Pass series made me really nostalgic for the boy bands of my early teen years.

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” | Which book has  the most festive look to it?

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I’ve been really into holiday romances this year and I think Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk is just like a Hallmark Christmas movie – even the cover of it – which is one of my favorite things about this time of year.

The Grinch | Your favorite villain…

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Joe from the You series by Caroline Kepnes is more an anti-hero than villain, but there is no denying this guy does totally villainous, messed up things. But I still root for him the whole time.

The Holiday | Name your favorite TWO couples…

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Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Red Rising of course! Everyone needs to read this series!!

A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog, she’s awesome!). Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to participate.

ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

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I don’t think I entirely understand this question. So, I’m going with a book opening that has “once upon a time” with a twist. The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is set in Ketterdam. Yes, it’s fictional. But it’s kind of Russian inspired, right?

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

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All of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are really well done, but I think Cress (Rapunzel re-telling) is my favorite book of the series.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

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I am usually the one that forces people to read books. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is one that I read and then bugged and bugged my sister to read. When she finally did she loved it,  so much she started working for one of the major HG fansites, and so then my parents and brother all decided to read it too.

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

My favorite Disney fairy tale movie is beauty and the beast because it's one of the rare times a prince gets saved:

Beauty and the Beast, like all good bookworms. Of course there is the relatable factor of Belle being a book lover. But I guess I also like the idea that physical attraction doesn’t play a role in them falling in love. And I never really realized it until I was searching for a picture to use and found the above one, but Belle is one of the most feminist characters which is cool.

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my new favorites.

Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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I don’t think there was a book out this year I have been anticipating more than Crooked Kingdom and I am so sad that it’s over! It wasn’t completely what I was expecting and not everything I wanted to happen happened, but it was, of course, so good!

Like Six of Crows, the story shifts between POVs in every chapter and this time Wylan’s perspective is included, too. In the first book, all I wanted was more Kaz, so when it took too long to get back to him I got a little antsy. This time I prepared myself for that and I ended up enjoying all the different perspectives a lot more.

I was kind of expecting a pretty fast pace, but the story-telling is similar to the first book, as well. There are bouts of action throughout, but there’s also a lot of time spent with character development. While I was expecting them to learn and grow (and they did), I was not expecting getting even more backstory on them. While it did throw the pacing off a little bit, I loved that there was still so much to learn about these characters, things that helped make them who they are. That said, I was happy when the pace did pick up during about the last third of the book and was full of the schemes and twists and surprises that were just so much fun to read. I also enjoyed seeing some cameos of characters from The Grisha series, including one of my all time favorite characters!

The romantic pairings all get their moments in the sun, as well. While this took up a small portion of the overall book, I can’t deny that I loved every bit of it and would’ve liked even more. At the book signing I went to someone asked Bardugo who her OTP (One True Pair, for those non-shipper enthusiasts out there) was in this series and she said, “you’ll see.” While I think there could be an argument made for each of the couples, I am convinced it’s Kaz and Inej (though they are also my OTP, so I may be biased). Like I said, there weren’t a lot of moments, but the characters made the most of them and it just made me so happy.

“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.”

The ending was not quite what I was expecting, either. It leaves some things open for possible spin-offs (Bardugo also said at the event I went to that she would be interested in writing more books in the Grisha universe, though not for a little while). We don’t get to see what everybody’s Happily Ever Afters look like. And perhaps not all of them get one.

Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a great end to the series, though I wish there were still more books to come! The characters are amazing and their stories were compelling. There were lots of fun twists. I love Kaz Brekker even more than I did after Six of Crows, which I didn’t think was quite possible. This is definitely one of my favorite series and I already can’t wait to re-read it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

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Ok, now I need to talk about some SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the book yet, please don’t read any further!

*SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS *SPOILERS *SPOILERS

I mentioned above that maybe not everyone gets a Happily Ever After and it’s true. Matthias DIES!!!!!!!!!! I was so upset. I will never be one of those people that say characters need to die to keep things “realistic.” I don’t read fantasy for realism! I wanted them all to live! However, if one of them *had* to die, Matthias was really the only choice. His character arc was complete. He had learned the most, put his prejudice behind him. I feel like all the characters, despite how much they’ve grown over the course of the books, still have a lot of growing to do. Before Matthias dies he asks Nina to help the other Fjerdans see the error of their ways and we last see her board a ship to take his body back to his homeland for burial which I think sets things up for a Nina spin-off.

-Wylan’s mother is alive! I honestly kind of expected this since Wylan never went to the funeral (literally no mourners, no funerals) or saw her body. I did think it was a nice twist, though. Wylan grows up so much in this book and I loved seeing him get the upper hand over his dad! I also enjoyed watching his relationship with Jesper develop and loved Jesper’s growth throughout the story, as well.

-Kaz and Inej!!! I love them so hard! I liked that we got to see a little more of Kaz dealing with his PTSD and Inej admitting to how her time in the Menagerie messed her up, as well. I felt like it was kind of glossed over in the first book, but we really get to see the psychological and emotional ramifications of it here. I loved how they didn’t magically “fix” each other. And while a part of me really did want to see them ride off into the sunset together (maybe to Kaz’s farm property or on Inej’s boat), I’m actually really happy that neither of them gave up their future plans. While they won’t always be physically together, they’ll still be together. I debated between 4 and 4.5 stars for this book because the beginning did honestly drag a little bit for me, but my Kaz & Inej love decided to knock it up the extra 1/2 star.

-STURMHOND MAKES AN APPEARANCE!!! He’s one of my all time favorite characters and to see him with Kaz – my other all time favorite character – was amazing! How amazing would a Sturmhond & Kaz spin-off be?!?! Please, Bardugo, can you make that happen?

Trouble Makers Tour Stop with Leigh Bardugo

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As you all know by now, I absolutely love Six of Crows and have been eagerly anticipating Crooked Kingdom. When I found out Leigh Bardugo was going to be within about an hour of where I live I knew I wanted to go. But I was also really nervous about driving to the big city by myself. I had asked one of my favorite blog/internet friends, Amanda, if she was familiar with the area (we discovered once that we don’t live too far apart). She had never read anything by Bardugo before, but decided to give her a try and ended up loving both the Shadow and Bone series and Six of Crows and decided she wanted to go to the event, too. She even offered to meet me part way and drive us the rest of the way!

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Me and Amanda! (Not the best picture I’ve ever taken haha)

Though I’m super awkward by nature, it wasn’t really that awkward meeting Amanda for the first time (she may think differently, though, haha). We talked about books, of course. She’s so nice and it was so cool to finally meet someone in person that I’ve talked to for so long online.

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I got the Wylan card!

Ok, on to the main event. Leigh Bardugo is so cool and so funny! A guy who does pod casts for Overdrive moderated the event, asking Leigh questions and then helping field questions from the audience. There were not as many book spoilers as I was expecting/hoping for. But, she talked a lot about writing process and characters. I also learned that the moment she fell in love with Kaz from Six of Crows was during the “eyeball scene” on the boat – she thought it was romantic. That was also the moment Kaz really solidified himself in my heart (I even mention it’s a reason I loved him in my review haha).

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Overall, it was such a fun event! Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorites, so it was so cool to finally get to meet her and get my books signed. If you have the opportunity to go see her, I hope you do!