Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2017

I’ve seen this tag around a lot recently and was thinking about doing it and then I was tagged by Raven over at Dreamy Addictions (go check her out!). Thanks Raven! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017.

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I can’t pick just one, but the 3 books I have rated the highest are: Daisy in ChainsMaking Faces, and Ragdoll

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017.

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I thought this was a good ending to the series and I liked it MUCH more than the previous book.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

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Strange the Dreamer. I got it once at the library, but wasn’t in the mood for it. I then won it in a giveaway so I definitely need to read it.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills.

Biggest Disappointment.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Biggest Surprise.

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Now You See Me. I had never read anything by this author before and when I read this it pulled me out of a book slump and completely consumed me.

Favorite New Author.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton (aka: S. J. Bolton)

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Carter Aaron from Dating You / Hating You

Newest Favorite Character.

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Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Book That Made You Happy.

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

I am wracking my brain and I don’t think that I’ve watched any. I saw the first episode of the Big Little Lies tv series (and then my free HBO expired) and thought it was ok, but it did not live up to my expectations.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

Convince me to Buy a Kindle because you all did, in fact, convince me to buy a Kindle.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

I’ve only actually bought three books this year and I am honestly not a fan of any of their covers.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Winging It (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3) by Cate Cameron. Read February 28 – March 1. 3 Stars.

This was a quick, fairly cute read. It was a little more friends-to-love trope than fake-relationship, but since I like both of those, it was ok. I didn’t really care for Natalie. I enjoyed the chapters from Toby more, but he fell a little short of being a character I could really love. Overall, it was a good palate-cleanser from all the more serious books I’ve been reading lately.

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The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1) by Jennifer Blackwood. Read March  9-11. 3 Stars.

I really enjoyed pretty much every interaction between Lainey and Brogan in this book. I liked the romance and even all the times Lainey just said really stupid stuff in front of him. There were a lot of humorous moments, too. However, there were a couple things that bothered me. I’m not sure if it’s ever stated how old Brogan is (I think 30 was hinted at it) and Lainey is 24. I know that’s not a huge age difference, but I felt like there was such a difference in their maturity (plus he’s her employer) that the romance almost felt uncomfortable for awhile. (I did get over that eventually, though. Like I said, I liked almost every interaction between them.) My major problem, though, is that if you cut out all of Lainey’s inner-monologues about wanting to do her boss, the book would be about half as long. It just kind of annoyed me. There was a lot of good about the book, though, and it was a cute romance, overall.

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A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab. Read March 12-25. 4 Stars.

I had a lot of issues with the previous book in this series, but I’m really glad I decided to still read this one. As always, Schwab’s writing is excellent. But in addition to that, I feel like the plot was advancing in almost every chapter. Though it did get a little slow at times and there was a great deal that I felt didn’t really have purpose and could have been cut to make the book a little shorter, I still enjoyed the story. I didn’t HATE Lila so much, either. I loved Kell and Holland and Rhy (even though he really frustrated me most of the time). I have a hard time giving this a proper review because I took a week off from reading right in the middle of it due to illness, but overall I thought it was a pretty good end to the series and probably the best book of the three.

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Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read March 25-26. 4 Stars.

After being really disappointed in the last few JLA books I’ve read, I’m so happy in how much I enjoyed this. It veered a little more towards romance than suspense, but I was a fan of the romance, so I was ok with it. I really liked both Sasha and Cole and their relationship. I liked the mystery aspect, even though I basically figured out who the bad guy was really early in the book. ***SUPER MILD SPOILER*** There was a really random detail about one of the characters given on early in the story and then nothing was really done with it. It gave a bit of a motive and while it was nice that the killer didn’t come out of left field, it was a little disappointing that it was included so early in the story and – at least to me – done in a really obvious way. ***END OF SPOILER*** Overall, I just really enjoyed it and didn’t want to put it down. It’s restored my faith a bit in JLA.

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The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. March 27-28. 2.5 Stars.

I have heard from people who are hesitant about this book because there is some religious content. If you are one of those people, I would say you might be slightly annoyed at times, but I don’t think it’s written in a way that will “ruin” the book for you. I have also heard from people who were very happy to see a “realistic” Christian character not be a complete psycho. To those people I would caution to not get too excited. Yes, the main character comes from a religious background and is not awful. However, this is NOT a Christian book and the overall message is not of Christian faith. There are definitely a few themes throughout that is congruent with the Christian faith, but at the end of the day the message is more one of universalism and the goodness of people. I mean, it’s still a hopeful message and is more than is in most YA, but I just want to caution my Christian friends. Full review to come.

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Misleading Synopses

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Most Misleading Synopses. Ever read a synopsis and think it sounds dumb, but then you read the book years later and it’s actually amazing? Ever read a synopsis and think it sounds amazing, but it actually turns out to be nothing like the synopsis? Ever have a synopsis spoil something that happens 75% of the way into the book so you just spend most of your time waiting for that one element you already know? This is the topic for you.

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1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I thought this was a YA Paranormal Romance with action-packed magical dueling. Um, no. Not at all. It’s amazing, but the synopsis didn’t get me to read it, it was all the great reviews that did.

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2. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig. I expected a lot of mystery and suspense with the main character’s big secret to play a major factor in it. Instead his secret had nothing to do with the mystery and took up a lot of focus of the plot (but it was much more well done than the mystery side of the plot, so…).

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3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It took about 200 pages to get to the part with Lila that’s mentioned in the synopsis.

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4. The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister. Book comparisons will always disappoint me. This was compared to The Night Circus and is not at all accurate. Also, I thought it was going to be really surprising and shocking based on the synopsis, but I found it predictable and kind of dull.

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5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. The synopsis makes it sound like the romance in the book is way more prominent than it is. In reality it’s a much more interesting book than that.

What are some book synopses that you’ve found misleading?

Review: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

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This book is another perfect example of how hype can ruin something for you. I didn’t love the first book in this series like so many others did, but I liked it fine. When I read other reviews for this book (ALL glowing, ALL saying it’s even better than the first), I bought into the hype and I find myself severely disappointed in the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly fine book. But I feel like this review is going to focus much more on why all the hype is wrong than on what was good about it, just because the hype let me down.

*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*

So here’s a synopsis: Rhy is kind of mad he’s alive. Kell is kind of mad he’s trapped. Lila is learning magic from a pirate/privateer. White London is changing because Black London is helping it out, but it really wants Red London. There’s a magical dueling competition. Kell pouts and puts everyone in danger. Lila thinks she can help and she – abrupt cliffhanger. THE END.

In between is a lot of Lila being selfish and stupid.

***END OF SPOILER***

-Ok, so before we get to what was wrong, let’s focus on what was good. The writing is really top notch. It’s so good that for the first couple hundred pages it completely distracted me from the fact that NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. The writing was good enough to make up for a lot of my problems with this book and is why I’m giving it three stars instead of something lower.

-Other reviews made me think that I would absolutely fall in love with Alucard, but he fell extremely short of my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him. He’s clever and sarcastic and charming and slightly tortured. But I just liked him and didn’t love him like I thought I would.

-I loved getting more of Rhy and I loved how much Rhy and Kell together we got. They were my favorite relationship from the first book and they continue to be my favorite relationship. I would have liked to have seen even more of them, though. I felt like the majority of the POVs were given to Lila…

-…And I really, really dislike Lila. I didn’t like her in the first book, though she grew on me towards the end. In this installment I didn’t mind her in the beginning, but as time went on her selfishness and recklessness just made me ANGRY. I do not find her in any way likable or relatable and by about halfway through the book I found myself wishing the author would kill her off. (That’s right, I said it.)

-For the sake of fiction and fantasy, I can read books about Greek gods and witches and magic and etc, even though I obviously don’t believe in those things. In this book the vast majority worship magic. So, ok, not cool for me, but it’s fantasy, so whatever. What really bothered me, though, were the several times the characters straight up mocked Christianity. I found it offensive and unnecessary.

Overall, this book was fine, but I think all the glowing 5 star reviews I’ve read about it kind of ruined it for me. I really enjoyed the beginning and I started to enjoy it again towards the end, but the slow pace and lack of plot development made me really have to push myself through the middle. The writing is fantastic, though, and if you loved the first book, you’ll probably feel similar about this one. Though I know it doesn’t sound like I liked this book all that much, I do plan on continuing the series in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag 2015

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The 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag was created last year by Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole  and it’s quite possible I did this last year (but I don’t feel like looking it up). But this year I was tagged by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse. Thanks Deanna! So just in case I did this before, I’ll try to make these answers come from books I only read this year.


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?

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There are several excellent stand alones that I read this year, but I think I’ll go with Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

 


On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

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I really love Cinder and Kai. I loved every single thing about their relationship in Winter.

 


On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

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There is only one trilogy that I completed this year and that was the Paper Gods trilogy by Amanda Sun.

 


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

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I’m going to have to go with The Lunar Chronicles. Again, Winter was a great end to the series!

 


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

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The Dane Twins from A Darker Shade of Magic. They were deliciously creepy and crazy.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favourite world/world-building?

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I’m going to go with The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favourite animal sidekick?

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I don’t remember it’s name, but there was one particular dragon in The Great Zoo of China that was pretty awesome.

 


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level? 

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. A magical apple tree.


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing.

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favourite kickass female lead?

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Inej from Six of Crows.


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping.

How about your favourite leading lad?

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Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Of course.

 


On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping. 

What is your favourite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

Missing You by Harlan Coben. The title is a reference to a song which is also mentioned in the book.

 


On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming. 

Drum roll please…what is your favourite read of this year?

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I’ve narrowed it down to three. Big Little Lies by Liane Morirarty, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate!

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I’m still not sure what to think of this book. With all the hype going into it I tried to keep my expectations low to avoid disappointment. I succeeded in not being disappointed, but I’m still left feeling a little underwhelmed, I guess.

Let’s start with what I liked. The writing. The writing is, quite honestly, fantastic. It’s hard to explain how I can like the writing so much and not necessarily the story it tells. There would just be these moments where the phrasing was perfect. Here and there one line of dialogue could just set the tone perfectly. I also liked the formatting of it. It was told in many parts, each part broken up into smaller chapters. A long book is always less intimidating when it’s broken down like that.

The general premise of the story is interesting. Multiple worlds where only a special few can travel between. One world wanting to dominate the others. Magic. However, it just never really came together for me. At about 100 pages into the story I felt like it was still just in the world-building phase. It took about 200 pages to get to the part mentioned in the synopsis where Lila makes a deal with Kell to bring her along for an adventure. The pacing was just a little too slow for me.

I liked Kell well enough, though he was prone to stupidity often. I just wish he would have been developed more. This was definitely not a character-driven novel, which is usually what I go for. We get just the barest of background on him and a peek into his life with the royal family. The only thing we really see is how much he cares for his “brother”, Prince Rhy, who I also wish we got more of. Lila got on my nerves from the first time she’s mentioned. I didn’t entirely mind her by the end, but for the majority of the book I was wishing she wasn’t a part of it. I loved – as in loved to hate – the Dane twins of White London. They were creepy and awful and so much fun to hate.

Overall, A Darker Shade of Magic was an interesting read and I plan on continuing the series whenever the next book comes out. I think fans of in-depth fantasy worlds would enjoy it. After reading only one other book by this author, The Archived, which I was not impressed by, I was not really expecting to like this book as much as I did. The writing is worth at least 4 stars, but the actual story itself was more of a 3 star read to me, so I’m going to compromise at 3.5 stars.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

 

Free Books Abound

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This week has been great for free books for me! I decided to share my excitement.

FROM THE AUTHOR

-I received (signed!) copies of Remember Me and Get to Me by Lara Van Hulzen from the author for review.

-I also received a signed copy of Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. I bought the Nook copy of this book, but I brought to her attention some formatting errors in the final copy (they’re working on it!) and she very graciously offered me another copy. I’m looking forward to re-reading this one!
GIVEAWAY WINS
-I received a copy of The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks from Cook’s Reviews.
-I also won, but have not yet received, The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West from Confessions of a Book Geek and A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab from Lost in a Great Book.
The Fill-In Boyfriend   A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)
And last but not least, don’t miss your chance to win a free book! Click the above link to go to my Tax Refund Share the Wealth Giveaway and win any book I’ve reviewed on my blog – open for two more days!
Happy Reading!