December wrap-up!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Anddddd just like that December, and 2015, is coming to a close. A year has never flown by so fast for me. I wont get into all the sappy details of 2015 (I'm saving that for my year wrap-up post), but just know this was a year of firsts for me in so many things!
I managed to knock out 10 books, which I'm pretty damn proud of, and they were all basically fanfuckingtastic. They were all rated 3 stars or more, which is crazy awesome. Let's get into it!

- Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

- Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

- The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

- Elementals: Prophecy of the Shadows by Michelle Madow

- Did I Mention I Lvoe You? by Estelle Maskame

- The Onyx Vial by Alexis Lampley, aka a fantastic story a friend of mine wrote and I was lucky enough to beta read (which isn't obviously shown)

- Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

My favorite had to be between Did I Mention I Love You? and the entire Seven Realms series. THEY'RE BOTH SO GOOD!

Happy readings and HAPPY NEW YEAR!<33

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Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013
Pages: 305
Song I Played While Reading: Tear The Roof Up by Alesso
Rating: 4 stars

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exalting, blunt, inconsiderate- and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.
Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family's massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who'd been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative- completely infuriating- creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he's never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe's so tempting he's willing to bend the rules- or outright smash them- if it means he can have her. All over the office.
As their appetites for each other increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they're willing to lose in order to win.

My initial feelings on this story, specifically for the first 50 pages, was a combination of two things: minor disgust and boredom. Disgust because Bennett seemed like a heartless prick who was getting exactly what he wanted, and boredom because we jump right into the sexy scenes and there was no pre-sexual tension going on. At least that we are aware of. Apparently Bennett has been pining for Chloe since the second he saw her, but we didn't get that vibe from him until we read from his first chapter.
Not to get too TMI here, but primal, animalistic sex is not something I overly enjoy reading. And that's what a lot of this book consisted of in the beginning, especially concerning Bennett, since he even said he was acting like a caveman and being all "Chloe mine!" and wanting to possessive her in physically torturous way. I mean, it's not heavy primal shit, but still enough where I didn't like Bennett at all and thought he was just being a dick. But as he warmed up to Chloe and they started actually talking about their feelings, my view on him did a total 180 and I ended up loving him just as much as Chloe did. He was such a damn softy on the inside. I found it endlessly funny whenever Chloe would purposely tease him, or he finally started to realize he was in love with her and literally could not leave her side. He was SO needy and I thought was SO HILARIOUS. Here we have this big, bad businessman, who also does a little manwhoring on the side, and yet Chloe brought this guy to his knees in a matter of weeks.
I adored Chloe and how driven she was. I admire anyone that worked their ass off to get to where they were in life and could actually state that without sounding like an egotistical bum. She's someone I strive to be like, with a goal set and nothing stopping her.
If had to use one line from that story that would summarize Chloe, it would be this:

"The look in her eyes told me that under any other circumstance, I would either already be naked with her on top of me, or lying in a pool of my own blood on the rug." 

The writing in this was surprisingly deep and thought-provoking, really making me think about the position Chloe was in when she started sleeping with Bennett. Even during some of the sex scenes I would find myself almost hypnotized by the beauty of it, and how strong these two characters felt about each other. I'm not sure if I plan on continuing the trilogy, but I definitely plan on checking out Christina Lauren's other work!

"I'm sorry, Mr. Ryan," I said with just a hint of bite. "I understand the burden I placed on you by making you manage a fax machine and pick up a telephone. As I mentioned, it won't happen again."
"You're right, it won't," he replied cocky smile firmly in place.
If only he would keep his mouth shut, he'd be perfect. A piece of duct tape would do the trick. I had some in my desk that I'd occasionally pull out and fondle, hoping someday I could put to good use."

"I don't want to walk out that door and lose what we found in this room."

"He gripped my arm before I could walk over to the desk and grab my phone. "Chloe. You do it."
My eyebrows inched to my hairline. "Do what?"
He waited.
"The meeting?"
He nodded.
"Without you?"
He nodded again.
"You're sending me to a meeting alone?"
"Miss Mills,  you're as sharp as a spoon."
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Top ten most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :) 

There are so so so many book coming out in the first half of 2016, and I LITERALLY CANNOT WAIT. I'm most excited for Lady Midnight, Glass Sword, These Vicious Masks, and The Last Star. Can you tell I'm a fantasy/sci-fi freak? Yeah, it's a problem. 

What books are you most excited for in the first half of 2016? WHO ELSE IS EXCITED FOR LADY MIDNIGHT AND EMMA CARSTAIRS?? Link your post down in the comments! :) 

P.s. I forgot to add The Raven King on here (talk about brain fart, HOW EMBARRASSING)
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Happy Monday!

I am SO sad that Christmas is over. SO FREAKIN SAD. It's my favorite holiday, and now I have to wait a whole damn year for the cheerful christmas lights to reappear and the christmas music to be playing everywhere and for everyone to be (semi) more cheerful and kinder than they usually are. SIGH. But on the other hand, books gaLORE, PEOPLE. I've never been gifted/bought this many books all in such a small period of time in my life. Shoutout to my family for knowing exactly what my black soul wants. I'll be doing a book haul once they all come in the mail! :)

Read This Week
Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Currently Reading
I'm beta reading a story a friend of mine has written!

To Read
*throws hands up in the air* I DONT FREAKIN KNOW, I HAVE WAY TOO MANY CHOICES NOW.

Happy readings and have a happy new year! :)

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Book Boyfriend: Will Herondale

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Will Herondale
The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Described as tall and muscular, with elegant facial features, Will Herondale is MY LITTLE CINNAMON ROLL. He's the kind of cinnamon roll that looks and acts like a little shithead (a gorgeous shithead), but he can kick your ass into next week if need be. He has mesmerizing violet-blue eyes and black hair, and a mouth that can simultaneously make you want to kiss him and laugh. Will is absolutely, hands down, one of the funniest characters in YA fantasy. I don't understand how Cassandra Clare does it, but she creates these characters that have you rolling on the floor with tears in your eyes.
Not only is he funny, but he's fiercely protective, kind, loyal, strong, and a total gentleman. You guys are all probably sensing a theme here, because I read through my Daemon Black post and I wrote similar characteristics for him. And probably for Chaol. And Nikolai. WHATEVER.
If you weren't overly impressed with The Mortal Instruments series, I implore you to give The Infernal Devices a shot. There's a whole batch of different characters, drama, and bad guys. Clare's writing (while comparing it from City of Bones and to Clockwork Angel) has grown exponentially and is absolutely fantastic. Plus I may or may not be hoping that once you finish The Infernal Devices, you'll want to jump into the rest of The Mortal Instruments.
And if any of you are just jumping onto the Cassandra Clare bandwagon and want to know how to read these two series, do it by release date. So City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, Clockwork Angel, City of Fallen Angels, Clockwork Prince, City of Lost Souls, Clockwork Princess, and City of Heavenly Fire.

"Are you implying that shreds of my reputation remain intact?" Will demanded with mock horror. "Clearly I have been doing something wrong. Or not something wrong, as the case may be."
He banged on the side of the carriage. "Thomas! We must away at once to the nearest brothel. I seek scandal and low companionship."

"Sometimes, when I have to do something I don't want to do, I pretend I'm a character from a book. It's easier to know what they would do."

"It's Will," she said. "He's being absolutely ridiculous in the dining room."
Charlotte looked puzzled. "How is this different from him being totally ridiculous in the library or the weapons room or any of the other places he's usually ridiculous?"

“He bent to put his cheek against hers. His breath against her ear made her shudder with each deliberately spoken word. "I have wanted to do this," he said, "every moment of every hour of every day that I have been with you since the day I met you.”  

"You don't think I can fight." Tessa said, drawing back and matching his silvery gaze with her own. "Because I'm a girl."
"I don't think you can fight because you're wearing a wedding dress", said Jem. "For what it's worth, I don't think Will could fight in that dress either."
"Perhaps not," said Will, who had ears like a bat's. "But I would make a radiant bride.”  

"We live and breathe words. .... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt--I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted--and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.”  

(Quotes from Goodreads)
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Top ten books I wouldn't mind Santa leaving under my tree this year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

I made this list into a "c'mon Santa, you can pull any book out of your ass, even if they aren't released yet" situation. I think I was pretty damn good this year, if I do say so myself. Clearly I need to work on my swearing, but that's beside the point. Some of these I'm actually hoping to get since I gave my mom a list and a couple of these were on there, like Beautiful Bastard and Uprooted. Cross your fingers!! 

What books are you hoping to get? Leave your post down in the comments! And Happy Holidays to everyone, I hope you get all that you wished for :) 
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Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 21st, 2015
Pages: 393
Song I Played While Reading: Lose It by Oh Wonder
Rating: 4 stars

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities- what better way to forget about the drama bak home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn't seen in three years, a stepmom, and three stepbrothers. 
Eden gets her own room in her dad's fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry green eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She's never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging.
And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't love... 

So something weird happened while I read this book. I'm not one to torture myself with hard-core angsty reads. I despise those kinds of stories, where the couple are constantly at odds and are either passionately making out or fighting like animals. It's exhausting. Why suffer through that? I'm big on talking things through and being honest, and most of those stories all revolve around secrets or someone not saying something. I'm not really sure what the point of this intro is, because this book isn't too angsty. Well, obviously, since I finished this book and I'm 1,000% obsessed with Eden and Tyler. But it's angsty to a point, filled with irritable characters that I wanted to flat out smack because I know those kinds of people and I'm actually amazed at how spot on Maskame portrayed LA teens.
A lot of the reviews I read on Goodreads featured most people complaining about the amount of partying, sex, and drugs that were in here. People said it was outrageously glorified, and that the teens reading this will see that as a norm and try to copy it. Apparently this is a touchy subject for me because I got heated. I'm going to express the shit out of myself here, so if you don't care about my feelings then just skip ahead to my actual review, which I'll mark with the first word being underlined.
OKAY. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion, wether it be from personal experience or what they perceive from movies, tv shows, books, etc. I don't live in LA, but I have visited UCLA twice now to visit my friend who goes to school there. She's in a sorority and was living in a house with 20 + girls all piled in there when I last visited her. Think Legally Blonde but not as supportive and in a much more stylish house. It's definitely not my kind of thing (and thankfully not really my friends either) and I got up close and personal with the LA scene, and let me tell you: it's portrayed perfectly in this book. People party excessively there. People drink and do drugs. People throw up and have sex and play drinking games in all the same room (I saw this with my own eyes *shudders*). So not only can I applaud Estelle Maskame for the reality of this book, but I would just like to say this is real. This happens. It's awful and sad and depressing, but this is what some kids go through in life. I don't like people going around saying this isn't what it's really like, because it is. Instead of thinking of this story as something people can emulate, try and think of it as one that they can learn from. Maybe they're just starting out in the party scene, or are in the middle of and are hating every second of it. Or maybe they're enjoying it but becoming reckless. This is a prime example of how it can destroy your life, so maybe this will be the push in the right direction for some people.
Or I'm just completely blowing this out of proportion and not no one really gives a damn and will see this as neither an example or a learning experience. There's that, too. But I had to tell it like it is, because, like I said, I'm all about the honesty here.
Eden was quite the odd character. She disliked her father, usually either giving him one-worded answers or talking back to him. She hated that he tried to act like a father to her, when he lost that right after walking out on her and her mother years ago, yet she feared his authority. Whenever she would get trouble she would be super nervous on what he would think and say. If you don't like the guy, nor care about his opinion, why fear his "consequences"? I couldn't wrap my head around it. She also was one of the most judgmental characters I've ever had the pleasure to read about. Ask my mom; I was absolutely dumbfounded by how naive and critical she was, and frequently shouted my feelings at her because DAMN GIRL, YOU NEED TO CHILL. And she also was a little rude, which ties in to her scenes with being judgy.
For example: she barges into a shed in the backyard where Tyler and some of his friends are getting high. She is absolutely disgusted and floored that he's smoking weed, because that doesn't seem to be a thing nowadays and is apparently very childish and gross and let me just judge ALL of you for doing it, even though I barged into the very place you guys were hiding just to do it. Is that not incredibly rude or what? I'm shocked because 1. it's weed for fuck sake, and 2. that she would so blatantly walk into THEIR space and condemn them for doing what they enjoy doing. Maybe I'm surrounded by too many potheads, but getting freaked out over marijuana seems really pointless and childish.
She was a little bit of a pushover with her friends, but I'm not gonna blame her for it cause those LA girls can be scary. I do wish she had piped up more often with her opinions, because she was pretty funny and sarcastic. She thankfully grew on me, or else I would thrown this book across the room.
My sweet, cinnamon roll Tyler *heart eyes* I loved him to death. I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and whisper sweet nothings into his ear since he was so riled up most of the time and nothing ever seemed to go his way. I wanted to cry out to the world "CANT YOU GIVE THIS POOR GUY A BREAK?". The big showdown with him, Eden, and Tiffani had me laughing hysterically and crying at the same time. Tiffani can go fall down a hole somewhere, thank you very much. I felt zero sympathy for her and wish Eden had ripped into her at least once.
I really liked most of the supporting characters, like Rachel, Megan, Dean, Ella, and her stepbrothers. Sure, sometimes I wanted to smack Rachel upside the head, but overall she was pretty fun and I'm glad Eden met her.
This book won't be for everyone, but for those of whom it is, you'll love it. Even with the annoyances, I was absolutely addicted. So yes, I ordered the UK edition of the next book and paid an exorbitant amount of money for it to be shipped here pronto. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK LIKE I NEED AIR.

""I've missed you a lot, Eden," he tells me, as though I'll be overjoyed to know my dad who walked out on us missed me, and perhaps I'll throw myself into his arms and forgive him right there and then. But things don't work like that. Forgiveness shouldn't be expected: it has to be earned."

""You know," he murmurs while he fidgets with the pillows. "I don't just watch The Lion King with any girl."
I sit up, my heart aching as I watch the awful scene unfold before me, and wave him away with my hands. "Shhh. Mufasa's dead, Jake. Show some respect."
"God bless Mufasa, may he rest in peace in animation heaven," he says solemnly."

"Another fifteen minutes and two deadly shots later, I'm wondering why I was stupid enough to drink so much in such a short amount of time frame. It's the type of thing your parents and teachers warn you about, the type of thing that they tell you will kill you. But none of that matters. No one ever cares about the consequences, because in the moments between taking a drink and the effects hitting you, everything always seems like the best idea in the world. This explains why Rachel is on the hood of the car, using the Cazadores bottle as a microphone as she switches between performing the national anthem and stripteasing her way onto the roof."

"He's so experienced and has everything down to a T, and I'm so inexperienced and have yet to discover why guys find boobs so attractive. So many fleeting thoughts come and go, like when do I move my hands? Where do I put them? Do I wait for him to advance or do I make the move myself? Does he expect me to moan? Do I moan? I can't possibly imagine myself moaning. Am I supposed to be doing something right now, like unbuttoning his jeans or kissing his neck? Who was the first person to ever have sex, anyway? John. F Kennedy was total player, and if the beloved former president of out nation was able to seduce girls at his every whim, then I'm pretty sure sex can't be that bad. Those girls would not have thrown themselves into the presidents bed if sex was terrible. For a second I wonder why I'm thinking about our assassinated president. I bet if Lee Harvey Oswald was still alive even he wouldn't be thinking about JFK while getting it on with is wife. And he freaking killed the guy."

"And even when he's undoing the clasp on my bra and even when he gets up to kick off his jeans and even when he's fumbling around in his wallet, he never once says a word, but I like it this way. I like the deafening silence of the whole experience as I stumble my way through it with the person I've fallen headfirst for."
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Happy Monday!

I can't believe Christmas week is here! Ahhh, I'm so excited. I'm a little miffed that I won't have Christmas eve off, but oh well. I'm broke, I need the money. I just finished Jessica Jones and I completely loved it. I'm trying to get into watching tv more, I think I'm gonna start The Man in the High Castle next. I love history so I'm super intrigued to see how the show plays out :) If you have any great recommendations let me know down in the comments! I'm open to anything.

Read Last Week
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Elementals: Prophecy of the Shadow by Michelle Madow

Currently Reading
Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Saint Anything by Sarah Desson
Lexicon by Max Barry
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

Happy readings :)
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The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Pages: 589
Song I Played While Reading: This Time by Axwell and Ingrosso
Rating: 4 stars

For young Queen Raisa ana' Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells' inner turmoil, Raisa's best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.
Through a complicated web if lies and unholy alliances, former street lord Han Alister has become a member of he Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-through world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizard alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

The time has come. I dreaded it, BUT IT'S HERE. This series became surprisingly special to me. I wasn't overly thrilled with the first book, The Demon King, but these characters go through such amazing character developments, and this world. You guys, this world is insane. Chima has put so much effort into creating this masterpiece. Everything is insanely fascinating, from the history, to the different types of people (Clan, Wizards, and regular folk), to the beautiful landscapes, and to the kick-ass Vale queendom. I've never read a story where it's a queendom instead of a kingdom. I didn't even realize that could be changed, I just assumed a kingdom was what you called the land that someone was ruling over.
This is going to be a super short review, since I seem to be having a major case of reviewers block. Or writers block. Whatever you wanna call it. I finished this Tuesday night and have been trying unsuccessfully to form a coherent review ever since. It's not working out. SO, I'm just going to say that the plot line and pacing was A+, the character arcs were fabulous, but I was a little disappointed with the ending. It felt super rushed and not flushed out enough, as if Chima got lazy and decided to just half-ass it, or didn't want this to be over 600 pages. I say go big or go home with the final book in a series. Things were building up for this big fight and it ending up kinda falling flat. I tried really hard to not let it ruin my view of this book, since endings can REALLY make or break a book for me, and managed to remember all the good parts (which was really the entire book except for the last 50 pages). I'm not saying the ending was bad, I just wish Chima had added more to it.
Overall, this was an AMAZING series and I'm so incredibly sad that it's over. Seriously. SO SAD. I ended up caring about these characters and their story waaaay more than I anticipated. If you enjoy high fantasy then I highly, highly suggest picking this up. I definitely plan on reading more of Chima's work in 2016!

P.S. Crow won me over. I almost keeled over multiple times from how sweet he was to Han, and let's noT EVEN TALK ABOUT THAT EPILOGUE.

 ""I love how you put words together. You're as skilled with words as any knife fighter with a blade. You can put an enemy down on his back, or you can raise people up so they find what's best in themselves. You've changed my life. You've given me the words I need to become whatever I want.""

"Crow paced back and forth, his form flickering like flame. "It’s been a thousand years, Alister. I never intended for anyone to find it, so it’s very well protected. One little misstep, and you and my line will be history."
"Since when are you so concerned about your line?" Han said.
Crow stared at him for a long moment. “Since I found out I had one.""

"Politics is not about justice. It's about the settling of personal vendettas under a thin veneer of civilization. All politics is personal."

""I didn't put any note under your pillow," Han said. He paused for a heartbeat, then added, "Though avoiding Nightwalker seems like a good idea to me."
"It's a match my father favors," Raisa said.
"Then your father is wrong," Han said. "Nightwalker thinks the world sprouted from his bunghole."
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Top ten(ish) favorite books of 2015!

Monday, December 14, 2015

(I apologize for the squished covers!)
This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

I'm actually currently reading The Crimson Crown but I know it's going to destroy me just like the rest of these books have. If I had to pick my ULTIMATE favorite one... probably Queen of Shadows, even with all the issues I had with it. Throne of Glass and the characters are imbedded so deeply into my soul that there's no way it wouldn't ever be a favorite of mine, even with THE BLATANT DISRESPECT OF CHAOL AND HIS CHARACTER ARC, ALONG WITH THE WAY SJM MADE CELAENA SARDOTHIEN TO BE AN EVIL CHARACTER. *coughs* 

What were your favorites of 2015? What was your number ONE favorite? Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Hi guys! GUESS WHO COMPLETED HER CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AND FEELS LIKE A MILLION BUCKS? This girl! *throws confetti in the air* It's such a relief to actually have everything in order and ready a whole week and a half before Christmas. Here's to hoping you guys have had similar success in your gift purchasing!

Read Last Week
The Exiled Queen and the Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Currently Reading
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

The Prohpecy of the Shadows by Michelle Madow
Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

I'm devouring the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima and half of me is incredibly impressed with my progress while the other half is screaming at me to SLOW. THE. HELL. DOWN! This world is so incredible and I'm 100000% invested in the characters lives and I can't imagine not reading about them. Raisa and Han... *drools* I can feel the book hangover coming and I haven't even finished the series yet. I'm scared, people. SCARED.

Happy readings :)
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The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Pages: 517
Song I Played While Reading: This Time by Axwell & Ingrosso
Rating: 5 stars

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The cost of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana 'Marianna, her to the queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blue blood. And, as far as he's concerned, the princess's family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of the old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. 
Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be fore her enemies success. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it- he's saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive- and even that might not be enough. 

God, WHAT is Chima doing to my heart? This third installment was absolutely insane and my heart was crushed to a million pieces repeatedly. We focused a lot on the character growth of our characters, specifically Han and Raisa, and Chima built the political stage for our next, and final, book, The Crimson Crown. I can't wrap my head around that. I refuse to believe that once I finish The Crimson Crown, it'll be over. I haven't felt this attached to characters since the Shatter Me trilogy, and the book hangover is looming over my head with a wicked grin. I'M SCARED. And I also have absolutely no idea what to expect with our final book. Besides the epilogue, nothing foreshadowed to what's to come (at least that I could see) so I'm itching to start it. But also not because THAT'S IT.

Spoiler-y Section!

I love love love love LOVE seeing what it's really like to be the queen, or president, or ruler of a kingdom. It's so increbily fascinating to me, so this book was a treat. I loved being in the meetings with Raisa and Han and seeing the way she dealt with all the traitorous buffoons. I loved all the balls and ceremonies and dinners they attended and seeing the way everyone acted and dressed and who they were gossiping about. Not only is the way they act around people intriguing (since it's obviously way more formal that I act) but I loved seeing how they had dancing cards and specific rules for how close you were to dance with your partner. IT'S SO COOL, WHY WAS I BORN IN THIS BRASH AND UNFLATTERING CENTURY? Ugh.
I'm a character driven kind of girl when reading, so I could have wept while Raisa was struggling to figure out what kind of Queen she was and if she could even be one. I think she's such an amazing woman and I'm incredibly proud of how far she's come. I love how she refused to bend to the rules set up before her, realizing that they're old and misused, and plans on changing them. She actually cares about her queendom, which is more than I could say for some kings/queens, and it clearly shows with how loyal her people are too her. She's strong-willed, bright, witty, and caring.
Han also went through some major changes himself and I can't even tell you how FREAKING HAPPY I got whenever I read that Han was by Raisa's side during whatever queen-like duties she had to fulfill. I was over the moon with happiness, since it's apparent just how much he loves her. And can I just say, I may have screamed bloody murder when I read this sentence:
"Though maybe if he told them he meant to marry a queen, they'd realize how lack-witted he really was." 
And speaking of tears... I could have bathed in the amount of tears I shed when Byrne and Marianna died. BATHED, I TELL YOU. But it didn't stop there. Oh no, when they heard that awful news and immediately Amon fell to his knee's, swearing his loyalty and life to her, I died. Right there. I was done. Nothing gets me more emotional than someone swearing life-long loyalty to another person without a second thought. Amon is throwing his entire life away to protect Raisa. I'm getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it because it's so god damn touching. Sorry, Annamaya. RAISA COMES FIRST.
I wish there was a ship name for Han and Raisa. Ran? No, that's stupid. Haisa? A little better. I need a name because I'm their trash. I never thought I would say that but I am. I'M HAISA TRASH AND I'M PROUD. I've never committed to that sort of fangirl level before, but here I am, claiming I'm their trash.
Here's to hoping I survive The Crimson Crown! Wish me luck.

"Never forget that two threads spun together are stronger than one of double thickness."

"She had never felt more alive than when she lay dying in Han Alister's arms."

""She is the queen of the Fells," Elena said, glaring at Han, "by the rules of the Naeming. But if she dies, the crown passes to her sister, Mellony. The queen's enemies believe Briar Rose is dead already. So those who tried to kill her will likely try to crown Mellony."
Han poured himself more tea. "So maybe the Queen Raisa had better hurry back to the palace before they change the monograms on the silver."
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The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: Septmeber 24, 2010
Pages: 586
Song I Played While Reading: This Time by Axwell and Ingrosso
Rating: 5 stars

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden's Ford. But leaving the Fellsdoesnt mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darkest parts of sorcery- but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana' Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If she can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf Queen.
Everything changes when Han's and Raisa's paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cutthroat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction. 

Oh. My. Lanta. I don't know if I should be crying or bowing down to Cinda Williams Chima. The second installment in the Seven Realms series was bloody brilliant. Not only because it opened up a whole other world of information and world-building (something I love love love) but because the character development. Yes. Yes. YES! We got a whole slew of new secondary characters that were all so vital to the two narrators and I loved meeting them. Chima manages to weave this story together beautifully, ratcheting up the suspense even though Raisa and Han are technically in school and that should be boring, right? Wrong. This is like god damn Harry Potter all over again, mixed in with cool army training. I was gobbling it up.
If you guys haven't read any of Chima's work yet, and are a big fan of fantasy, please pick this one up! The first book, The Demon King, is a little slow, but it's so worth it. This world and the characters are so incredibly fascinating and wonderful.

Spoiler-y section!

Where do I start?! I have so much I want to say that I need to do it in a list format since it's so jumbled in my head.

Oden's Ford: YES YES YES. I'm a huge fan of reading about the mundane aspects of people live's in stories. Now, obviously there's nothing even remotely mundane about this school (at least in relation to my life) so I absolutely adored learning about the subjects Raisa and Han were taking and seeing them trying to balance it with their social lives and the other responsibilities they had. There's something about seeing favorite characters of mine struggling with school that makes me feel more like them.

Crow: No. Just, no. GO AWAY. I knew he was bad news from the start.

Cat: Another no for me. I thought she was so incredibly annoying and childish, I could barely stand reading about her. I wish Han hadn't brought her with. She kept jumping to the wrong conclusions and acting all obnoxious and threatening people, drawing way too much attention to herself and Han. I'm not surprised Micah got a hold of her. And then for her to turn her back on Han? I say throw the biotch out.

Hallie and Talia: I loved these two. Having girlfriends is exactly what Raisa needed, not only for the support in the boy department (I may or may not have been screeching when they gave Amon the evil eye) but also in just being there for her. She had so much on her plate that being able to sort of decompress was a huge stress-reliever for her. Plus she would've been completely alone if not for them. Amon obviously wasn't talking to her and nor were any of the other guys.

Amon and Han: Honestly I'm torn between these two, though I'm leaning a little more towards Han at the moment. I was absolutely heartbroken over hearing that Amon was engaged to someone else. It's horrible that he has physical reactions to Raisa's close proximity. I mean talk about a hopeless relationship! And Han.. gahhhhh. I wasn't sure at first, but then him and Raisa finally got together again and oh my sexual tension. I could barely read through their scenes together without jamming my fist in my mouth to stop from hollering with joy. I really, really like Amon's character, so I'm hoping him and Raisa will end up on good terms with being just friends and he finds someone else to make him happy. Not Annamaya.

The Bayar siblings: Still iffy with these two. I don't dislike them, since I can tell a small part of Micah cares about Raisa and Fiona is just a badass bitch, but I also am a little annoyed with them trying, and failing, to coheres Raisa into doing something. I wish they would speak up with their own opinions instead of what daddy dearest is trying to shove down their throats.

Now, my only complaint would've been the ending. I feel like it all happened too fast and was supremely uneventful. It was basically a repeat of the The Demon King's ending. I wish Raisa had fought Micah more, since I thought she submitted pretty quickly, and for gods sake, I thought Amon was bonded with her?! WHY WASNT HE THERE? There's no way in hell he couldn't have sensed her unease and fear.
But this is the one time where the ending didn't bother me, since the rest of the book was so delicious that it overshadowed it. I love that Raisa is heading back home and Amon and Han are off to find her! *sighs dreamily, then springs off to devour The Gray Wolf Throne*

"Han jerked his head toward Mystwerk Hall. "Come on. We're late as is."
"What were you doing in the library?" she asked.
"Getting an early start on my reading."
"The library isn't even open yet."
"That way it's nice and quiet."

"Nobody's going to hand you anything. You don't get what you don't go after."

""Just asked what she was doing there. And like that." Cat didn't meet Han's eyes.
"Well?" Han said impatiently. "What did she say?"
"Said she was going to school here."
"Did you say anything about me?" he asked.
Cat scowled at him. "Why would I say anything about you? You think the world world's sniffing your butt?""

"Propping her elbows on the desk, Abelard laced her fingers, resting her chin on her hands. "If you are thinking of taking revenge on the Bayars, I would advice you not to do anything rash." she said.
"Never worry," Han said. "If I take revenge, I'll do it with great forethought and deliberation.""
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Top ten new-to-me favorite authors I read for the first time in 2015!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

1. Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles has become one of my ALL TIME favorite series, I cannot wait to read more of her work! 

2. Colleen Hoover
My goal next year is to finish the rest of her books because she is a PHENOMENAL writer. I don't understand how she's able to capture emotions so perfectly. She's amazing.

3. Tahereh Mafi
Warnette. WarNETTE. WARNETTE! *banshee screams*

4. Erika Johansen
Another all time favorite trilogy, I can't get enough of this woman's work *bows down to her picture*

5. Morgan Matson
The queen of YA contemporary! *heart eyes* 

6. Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner, and Jay Kristoff
These Broken Stars and Illuminae are some of my faves of 2015, these guys are crazy amazing.

7. Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes is based in one of my favorite worlds, can you imagine how cool it would be to be to live in a kingdom with only one season? And to look like it? Agh, my little winterians are so cute.

8. Jenn Marie Thorne
The Wrong Side of Right is one of my favorite contemporaries that deal with being involved in the political life (her father is running for president) and it was so intriguing and refreshing. 

9. Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code blew my mind. Simple as that. 

10. Maria Dahvana Headley
Talk about a book that is unlike anything I've ever read before. If you haven't read Magonia and are looking for something new, I highly recommend this! 

What favorite authors were new to you this year? I'm so happy that I finally crossed off some major authors on my list! Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Monday, December 7, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Pages: 318
Song I Played While Reading: Drag Me Down by One Direction
Rating: 3.5 stars

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mind, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers- and justice.
What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate's quest for revenge may prove fatal. 

This was a super fun and fast read for me. I would've finished it in a day if I had the time, but work and a concert got in the way.
Our batch of characters were a quirky bunch, but nonetheless still really enjoyable, though I wasn't able to really connect to the them. Since this was such a quick read, I didn't feel of the emotions they went through: anger, betrayal, humiliation, sadness, and fear. Maybe it was just the way Kate acted and thought, but it didn't really feel like she was mourning her father at all. That could just be the way people acted in the West back then, but I had to hand it to the girl for being strong. If my father died I would be an absolute mess, not off riding to kill the guys.
I absolutely swooned over the love interest in here, the ending was SO. FRIGGIN. CUTE. I couldn't even deal with it. I keep going back and reading it and sighing all over again. For some reason I was picturing the brothers as Dom Sherwood and Matthew Daddario. They just reminded me so much of Jace and Alec, and with the new Shadowhunters tv show coming out, those actors popped into my head and never left. I didn't mind though, cause those two are fiiiiiiine *fans face*.
Liluye was probably my favorite though, holy SASS. This girl took absolutely no shit, and I love how she kept calling out the rest of the crew for being assholes. She also was utterly fearless. I mean, I would be a little scared to sleep with a group of people who don't like me, so kudos to her for being not only a badass, but herself. She didn't try to change herself to be like the brothers, or even clam up so they wouldn't get mad at her. She was a breathe of fresh air.
The writing was pretty good, but I was having difficulties picturing some of the things she would describe. I'm pretty sure it's because of the slang. That took me completely by surprise, though it wasn't at all hard to read.
Overall, a super fun read that I highly recommend picking up. There aren't many YA westerns out there, so I'm excited that I got to read something a little new and different!

""That sounds real nice, boy," he says. "Now, for the love God, lower that damn pistol."
"All right," I says.
And I do.
Right after I shoot him through the skull."

"He likes you."
I flop in the other direction and tug my blanket tighter beneath my chin. One blasted wink and I got knots in my stomach? A wink from eyes that ain't ever open properly to begin with! Maybe it were a twitch, a squinty flinch or something. Maybe a bug flew in his eye."

"I strip off my flannel and drop it with the rest of my gear. "You coming?" I ask Lil.
"I washed last night. I will walk."
"Walk where?"
"White Eyes always need a destination," she mutters. "They do not know how to simply be."

"Water. Only bit for the next few miles."
"Aw, hell." Jesse exhales heavy. Suddenly, I got a fearsome thirst and scratchy throat. The canteen slung over my shoulder feels mighty light.
"White eyes are hopeless," Lil says. "There is always water if you know where to look."
"Sass," Jesse mutters. "How helpful."
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Happy Monday!

Hi guys! I'm in a daze from The Weeknd concert I went to on Saturday. Halsey opened for him and it was so beautiful. They're both fantastic live, I have so many videos on my phone but I have NO REGRETS.

Read Last Week
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Currently Reading
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The Crimson Crown and The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Happy readings! :)
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The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2009
Pages: 506
Song I Played While Reading: This Time by Axwell and Ingrosso

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister, Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value is has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked- as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.
Han's life gets even harder after he takes a powerful amulet from Micah Bayer, the song of the High Wizard. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who neared destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, the Bayars will stop at nothing to reclaim it from Han.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana 'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense for a prince with a big castle and a tiny brain. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea- the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems her mother has other plans for her- plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.
The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.

I absolutely love that line: "The Seven realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide..." LOVE IT.
The world Chima creates in this story is absolutely breathtaking. A little confusing, but so intricate and detailed. I'm so happy there was a map in here. I was furiously flipping between pages just so I could find places on the map and keep track of where everyone was.
For the first 200 pages, I was pretty bored. I was also absolutely baffled with all the different places our characters seemed to be in. Fellsmarch, Marissa Pines Camp, Ragmarket, Southbridge, The Vale, the Demonai camp... it was a lot to learn all at once, so it took some time for me to really be comfortable in the setting. But once I was able to start keeping track of things, and the tension started to ratchet up between the characters and the plot line, I was hooked. I read a good chunk of this in a day and was glued to my seat, grumbling whenever I had to pee. I ditched dinner because I needed to know what was gonna happen next!
Raisa ana 'Marianna (I'm literally going to name my child that) was a fantastic narrator and by far my favorite character. Not only because she was tiny and feisty (hello.... it's me), but she cared about her queendom and wanted to do right, pushing aside thoughts of a suitor and marriage and instead yearning to know everything. I majorly respected that. Her mother was a buffoon, even though I felt bad for her at times.
Amon and Han, though I had no issues discerning their differences, were also weirdly alike to me. Their personalities were similar because they both lacked that spark for me. They were fine, and sometimes made me laugh, but overall I kinda got an "eh" feeling on them. So I don't ship Raisa with either. I'm hoping they get more character development in the upcoming books, because these two are usually my favorite kind of characters.
I liked Micah a tiny bit more, but not by much. Honestly, him and Han just kept getting shit on. Micah with having to deal with is brat of a father, and Han just having literally the worst luck in the world. Poor guy!
I'm LOVING the direction this story is going and will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the series to come in the mail. I just need to suffer through today and tomorrow, then those beautiful puppies will be in my hands. WOOHOO!

""You're late," he grumbled. "I was beginning to hope you'd changed your mind.
"Call me Rebecca Mortley, young sir," Raisa said, rising. "How do I look?"
"It'd be better if you'd dressed as a boy," Amon said. "It'd be better if you were ugly."
She guessed that was some kind of compliment."

"History," Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. "Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?"
"So hopefully we get smarter and don't make the same mistakes again."

""Well, I believe she went in to rescue some Raggers from the pits," Cuffs said. "She wasn’t all that specific."
"She went in to rescue — why would she do that?" Amon gripped the ironwork, studying the streetlord’s face. Was he lying? And if so, what was the purpose?
"Guess she’s kind of taken with us," Cuffs said. "You know, the glamor of the gang life and all. Getting beat up every other day, arrested for crimes you didn’t commit, long nights in gaol, sleeping in the cold and wet. It’s...seductive." He raised an eyebrow."
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Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Pages: 411
Song I Played While Reading: Castle by Halsey
Rating: 3.5 stars

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander. Macedon's sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer...
Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn't account for her first love...
Jacob will got to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete with Hephaestion, a murderer shelter by the prince.
And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

This book only solidified my love for pre-modern technology life. I don't know what exactly it is about the 19th century and earlier that makes me ache for horses and lanterns (or way earlier, as this is 340 BC) but sometimes I just want to jump into the past to experience life like that. No technology or cars or electricity or plumbing. I want to experience how different politics were back then, and the proper way to act like a lady (though I sure as hell would struggle with that), how different the fashion was, and what it was like to talk to a real gentleman. You know how some people say they were born in the wrong era? Well, I was born in the wrong century.
Legacy of Kings was the base of this trilogy, weaving together fact, fiction, and beautiful prose until a gleaming continent arose in front of us. I didn't notice the map until a minute ago, so I was basically inhaling these descriptions on Macedon and Persia and Epirus and all the other countries. Her writing was fantastic and realistic enough that I felt like I was in the story with the characters, swinging a sword or trailing behind them in the beautiful Pella palace.
I really enjoyed the batch of characters, though I was hesitant at first with Zo. I was beyond bored with most of her chapters and only started getting interested at the end. I know she's connected to the storyline because of her marriage to Alex, but besides that, I was at a loss to see how her struggles were relevant. Alex, Kat, Hephaestion, and Cyn were such an intricate group and I was fascinated with the way their storylines intertwined. I love multiple POV's, so this was a treat for me!
All I'm gonna say about Olympias is that she needs some serious help. Lock that bitch in a dark cell with her creepy-crawly friends.
The plot was slow-moving at times, but overall drew me in. I have a sense as to what Herman has planned for the next two books, and I'm REEEEALLY excited for it, especially with the big surprise we got at the end. It's gonna be so good, people. SO GOOD.

(2 mintes later)

"Weakness, he has learned, isn't in the arm or the leg or the back. Weakness is in the mind."

"Because sometimes it doesn’t help to chase after the thing you want. No. Sometimes you have to wait, however long it takes, until what you want most comes to you."

"You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor." 
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November wrap-up!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (3.8 stars)

- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (5 stars)

- Scarlet, Cress, and Winter by Marissa Meyer (4 stars, 4 stars, and 5 stars)

- November 9 by Colleen Hoover (4 stars)

- Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen (4 stars)

- The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (3 stars)

- Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (not picture because I'm an idiot and forgot) (4 stars)

-The Darket Part of the Forest by Holly Black (audiobook) (4 stars)

In total I read 10 books! That's the most I've read in awhile, so I'd called November a successful month! I'll post my December TBR within the next couple of days :)

Happy readings! 

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Top ten 2016 debut novels I'm looking forward to!

Monday, November 30, 2015

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

Ahhh, these all sound so good! Not only that, but they all already have fantastic ratings on Goodreads, which I've linked above so you can read the summaries.  

What debut novels are you looking forward to? Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hi guys! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. December is right around the corner, which means I NEED TO START SHOPPING FOR MY FAMILY. Ugh. I don't understand how people enjoy buying gifts for people. I'm literally the worst person at it. I never know what to get them, even if it is my own damn mother. I also can barely afford it. So there's that, too.
But besides that, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I can't wait to get our tree and decorate it :)

Read Last Week
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Dead Ringer Jessie Rosen

Currently Reading
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

GOOD QUESTION *scrambles to put together a TBR for December*

Happy readings :)

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Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Publication Date: November 11th, 2015
Pages: 352
Song I Played While Reading: I Walk The Line by Halsey
Rating: 4 stars

From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and…spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.
It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn't just anyone—it's Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.
Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.

But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.
What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?
After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.

I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publishing company for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review! 

This was such an unexpected gem, I absolutely LOVE when this happens. You pick up a book expecting to like it, but not fully convinced you will, and it turns out to be a fantastic read. 
Dead Ringer was surprisingly dark and gritty, though you may not think it will be in the beginning. It took me a while to get used to the writing, which at times felt a little forced, and I noticed that the dialogue sometimes came off as old fashioned. The author didn't quite nail the teenage mind and the way we speak. 
But even with that, the plot line completely overshadowed those small things. I didn't think that would be possible, since writing can obviously make or break a book, but I was so hooked into this mystery that I pushed through, which I'm SO glad I did. Rosen really took you for a ride in this story, layering on the intrigue and shocking twists until my head was spinning. You may think you know what this story will be about, but you really don't. It's unexpectedly insightful and human, delving deep into the circumstances around suicide and what pushes people to the brink. 
Even though I guessed some of the plot twists, it didn't ruin the novel for me, and instead almost enhanced my experience, since I had an inkling on what was gonna happen and had my own excited expectations. I was totally hooked, and I cannot wait for the second novel! 
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Winter by Marissa Meyer

Friday, November 27, 2015

Winter by Marisa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Pages: 823
Song I Played While Reading: New Americana by Halsey
Rating: 5 stars

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend, the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and he's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. 

This cover is, hands down, the most gorgeous cover I've ever seen. EVER. I wasn't overly thrilled with the other ones in this series, but WOW did the team behind this do a fantastic job. It's definitely my favorite of the year.
Since this is the final book in The Lunar Chronicles, I'm dredging up all the feels here and gonna be spoiling a lot. So leave if you haven't read it, and just know that it's absolutely incredible and such a satisfying conclusion to this series.

Spoiler-y section!

WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?! For being 800 + pages, Winter sure as hell felt too short. I managed to snag the last special edition from Target that has the fan drawings in the back and front cover pages, and they're SO pretty! The pages are also super thin, like the Bible, so it makes the book look waaaaay smaller than it is. My mom guessed that it was 350 pages and I laughed in her face.
Our newest edition to the team, Princess Winter, was, as expected, coo coo for coco puffs. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like her, since my first impression of her in Cress wasn't that great. I thought she was too naive and fragile to be able to handle all the stress Cinder and Co. were gonna be bringing to the table, but by the end I was impressed. She brought her own strength to the game, which, as we all know, really helped in rallying the outer sectors and the wolf soldiers. Her and Jacin we're SO FREAKIN ADORABLE, and I loved seeing his playful side come out around her. My favorite moment between them was when she kept shoving his shoulder and saying they were gonna help Cress.
The rest of the crew were flawless. I didn't think it would be possible, but the sweet moments between these friends, and between the OTP's, were just too much for me. My heart kept exploding with all the love. My poor, sweet Wolf. I wanted to strangle those doctors for changing him. HOW DARE YOU HURT MY CHILD?? I knew Scarlet wouldn't have an issue with it.
Cress and Thorne and Cinder and Kai were both PERFECT and I have nothing else to add, except for that Thorne's wit in this story was A++++++++. I loved the moment him and Kai had while he was taking him back to the palace from the Rampion. Total brotp moment. *squishes them to my chest*
The pacing and the plot was outstanding. Like I said before, this is a monster of a book, yet it almost felt a little too short. I wanted more! Meyer really outdid herself, blowing my expectations to smithereens. She weaved the fairy tales beautifully, and it all came full circle. The ending was bittersweet and heartwarming, and getting to know what their futures were, especially for Kai and Cinder, made me so giddy. I wasn't very surprised when she wanted to make Luna republic. And when Kai asked her if she would ever consider being an empress *SWOONS*
Overall, this extraordinary book was everything I dreamed it would be. A boatload of action, adventures, a psycho queen, kick-ass characters, heart-stopping romance, witty dialogue, and an engaging plot makes this my top favorite of the year, possibly of my life. Kudos to you, Marissa Meyer!
*hunkers down to eagerly await her next novel*

""This must be weird for you," Thorne said, dragging his fingers across the radar screen. "Your cyborg girlfriend being a wanted outlaw and your fiancee's niece and all that."
Kai grimaced, which made his cheek start smarting again. "Honestly, I try and not think about the details." He shifted his face toward the Rampion as it receded fast from the viewing window. "Does she really call herself my girlfriend?"
"Oh, I wouldn't know. We haven't spent an evening gossiping and painting each other's toenails since the kidnapping."

"Scarlet drummed her fingers. "What's your point?"
"My point is that I am going to figure this out, like I always do. First, we're going to find a way to get into Artemisia. We're going to find Cress and rescue Cinder and Wolf. We're going to overthrow Leveana, and by the stars above, we are going to make Cinder a queen so she can pay us a lot of money from her royal coffers and we can all retire very rich and very alive, got it?"
Winter started to clap. "Brilliant speech. Such gumption and bravado.
"And yet strangely lacking in any sort of actual strategy," said Scarlet.
"Oh good, I'm glad you noticed that too," said Iko. " I was worried that my processor might be glitching." She felt for the back of her head."

"They mulled over this for a moment, picking at the food.
Thorne glanced back at the pantry. "Did you see any rice in there? Maybe we could fill Cinder's head with it."
Everyone stared at him.
"You know, to... absorb the moisture, or something. Isn't that a thing?"
"We're not pouring rice in my head."

"Cinder adjusted her ponytail. "Of course, any Lunar who's paying attention will be able to tell you're an Earthen and she's a shell. So be careful."
Thorne scoffed. "Careful is my middle name. Right after Suave and Daring."
"Do you even know what you're saying half the time?" asked Cinder.

"Cinder's jaw flexed. "That's where the feast was the other night? With the balcony over the lake?"
Kinney had started to nod when the second guard reeled his head back and spat. Literally spat all over this gorgeous tile floor.
"Oh!" Ikon cried. "You heathen!"
"When she catches you," the guard snarled, "my queen will eat your heart with salt and pepper."
"Well," said Cinder, unconcerned, "my heart is half synthetic, so it'll probably give her indigestion.""
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Unpopular opinion book tag!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I've seen this floating around the internet for awhile, and finally decided to join in when Alexandra from Twirling Pages posted it! 

A popular book/ series you didn't like

I've got a couple good ones. The Secret History by Donna Tart, simply because we learned too much mundane information about the main character and it was really boring. I stopped 150 pages in. With Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, I literally COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS SO GREAT ABOUT IT. It was so... dull! Both the characters were awkward and didn't have any chemistry. Finally, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, which I've gone back and fourth on. I stopped about half way, and had planned on picking it back up at some point, but as I thought about it, I really had no interest in the story and what happened. I'm tempted to just spoil myself so I can finally learn what happens at the end that has everyone freaking out!

A book series everyone hates but you love

Fallen by Lauren Kate! I literally see so much shit over these books and I think "How????" But everyone obviously has their own likes and dislikes, and I for one loved this series. I did read it a long time ago, so maybe I wouldn't like it as much today as I did back then. 

A love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you didn't want them to end up with

This is going to be spoiler-y for The Grisha Trilogy, so LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVENT READ IT! I literally do not understand what Alina saw in Mal. I don't. It's unfathomable. Compared to The Darkling and Nikolai, what was so great about him? He refused to accept her abilities and constantly wanted her to be something she wasn't. And he was such a poop head! He was so boring and annoying, always ruining the mood with his blunt opinions and unnecessary commentary. At least The Darkling could make you want to rip your clothes off around him and Nikolai could make you laugh your ass off. Whatever, I'll take both of them, thank you very much. Alina can have her annoying Mal.

A popular book genre you rarely reach for

This is a difficult one to answer. If I had to pick one, it would be historical fiction, even though I love that genre. I just unintentionally rarely read books that are set in that genre, since I usually go for paranormal/fantasy and contemporary. 

A popular character you didn't like

Helene from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! She was so annoying and emotional and grumpy, I always wanted Elias to just kick her to the damn curb. And she didn't seem as badass as the book made her out to be. I feel like half the time, she was knocked unconscious in a fight or held back by someone.

A popular author you can't seem to get into

Ehhhhhhhhhh this is another one that I really don't have an answer too! There's never been an author who's work I've tried to read multiple times that I still didn't enjoy.

Popular trope you're tired of seeing

I'm an easy reader, cause there's nothing I'm tired of reading in books. Love triangles? I'm a sucker for a dick fight. You're The Choosen One? Cool! I'm jealous! Plain protagonist who suddenly becomes beautiful because she's got magical abilities? *furiously raises hand and wags it in the air* I'LL TAKE THAT TROPE PLEASE. If I HAD to pick something though, I do get a little annoyed at the idea that a boy and a girl can't be just friends. 

Popular series you have no interest in reading

Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. I have no idea what its about, which is fine by me since I don't plan on ever reading it. It's nothing against the author or her story, it's just a trilogy that's long passed it's due date. There was a time for me to read it, and I didn't.

I tag YOU, the lovely person reading this blog post.

Happy readings :) 
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