Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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

1. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
This was the first book I read in 2015 and it kicked major ass

2. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Kelsea has become one of my all time favorite heroines. YOU GO GIRL!

3. The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Cutesy contemporary that I fell head over heels for<3

4. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
MYSTERY. TRAVELING. BOYS. FASHION. Do I need to say more? 

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Haufman and Megan Spooner
This book touched something in my emotionally damaged heart. I have no idea why I thought it was so sad but literally whenever I think about it I want to burst into tears. "Achingly beautiful and heartbreaking" is the PERFECT summary for it.

6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
I am Cody. Cody is me. If there was ever a way for two people to be personality twins, this would be one of those times. Like I was getting weirded out by it. 

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

7. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I think I'm starting to be Team Rhysand... SHIT.

9. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
LUV ME SOME SUPERPOWER BOOKS. Especially ones with a twist at the end that slaps me across the face and crushes my soul. Yup. Super casual. 

10. Magonia by Marie Dahvana Headley 
If you want a book that features a totally different and refreshingly new world, then I highly suggest you pick this one up.

What're some of your favorites? Let me know down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hi y'all! I fly back home today and I'm so relieved. Its nice being back in my hometown and to see all my friends, but there were definitely some aspects of it that I didn't like and some of those reared their ugly heads while I was here. So home is much needed right now. And I get to see my pretty books, eep! My instagram has been severely lacking lately and it bothers me to no end. The next time I go on vacation I need to take double the pictures!

Read Last Week
The Invasion of the Tearing by Erika Johansen

To Read
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

I'm going to start Falling Into Place on the plane and I'm so excited! I've heard really good things about it.

Happy readings :)
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The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Pages: 511
Song I Played While Reading: Never Sleep Alone by Kaskade
Rating: 4 stars

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipment of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, Kelsea gas crossed the brutal Red Queen, who derives her power from dark magic and who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what she claims is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion. 
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing. She finds herself relying on a strange and possible dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. Soon Kelsea herself begins to change: she does not recognize either her reflection in the mirror or the extraordinary power she now commands. The fate of the Tearling- and that of Kelsea's own soul- may rest with Lily and her story, but Queen Kelsea is running out of time. 

I remember when I first read the synopsis, I was a little disappointed. I didn't want a new narrator; I wanted it all to be about Kelsea and the people around her. But as I thought more and more about it, I realized that Lily was pre-Crossing, so we would be seeing what happened to America. And then I got really excited and jumped head-first into this story and oh god, was it phenomenal.
I need to talk about Johansen's writing. I 100% CANT DEAL WITH HOW AMAZING IT IS. She could write a whole book about a sack of potatoes and I would be completely enthralled. It's absolutely stunning and Johansen is now one of my all time favorite writers.
The direction of the story was unexpected, but still exciting. The plot was fast paced and complex, with an ending you never see coming. You're on your toes the entire time, wondering, "What's going to happen next? How is Kelsea going to stop the Red Queen?"
I ended up really liking Lily for many reasons. One, because she was pre-Crossing and it was super interesting to see how corrupt America had gotten. One of the only issues I had with The Queen of the Tearling was the fact that we got no history on the time before. I love history, especially in books because I think it's vital to the story and really adds depth to it. Without it, it seems a little flat. So I gobbled up futuristic America, loving every minute of it.
Secondly, Lily was a memorable character cause of the situation she was in. It was so different from Kelsea's, and so real, that she really stood out. I couldn't tell who's pov I enjoyed more! But one thing I was a little confused on, and still am, is the connection between them. I get the overall idea of it (I think), and am 90% sure I understand how it was used against the Red Queen in the end. And why Kelsea's appearance changed. But I could be completely wrong.
We finally get some romance in here, and I could not be more happier on who its with!! Well, its kind of a romance. Not a full blow one, but its starting, and I have a feeling it'll come full circle in the next book. If it doesn't I'll cry. And I swear if any of her Guard die, I'll throw a fit. I love all of them with a fiery passion, especially Lazarus and Pen. I have a soft spot for fiercely loyal hotties who are willing to die for anyone they love, and IT'S JUST SO SWEET I COULD CRY. Actually, I am crying cause THE ENDING *sobs uncontrollably*
There's so many loose ends that Johansen has to wrap up in the next, and final, book. I VOTE FOR 3 MORE BOOKS. MAYBE 5. HOW BOUT 10. PLEEEEEEEASE. Kelsea is going to kick so much ass in the next book, and I can't wait to see how it all ends. I've come to admire her so much, and now thats she's fully embraced her powers there's literally nothing stopping her from being the fiercest Queen in Tear history. YOU KEEP DOIN' YOU, GIRL.

"When it fails, they do call it madness, Lazarus. But when it succeeds, they call it genius."


“You think I’m pretty.”
He blinked in surprise. "I always found you so, Lady. But it’s true that your face has changed."
"You always found me pretty?"

Pen shrugged. "It doesn’t matter, Lady. Some women are defined by their appearance, but you have never been one of them."
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My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics We've Ever Done

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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

In honor of the 5 years they have been doing this meme, this topic is all about your favorite top ten posts you've done! The first one that came to mind was:
I don't normally vent about these things, so it was nice to just lay it all out there!
These are all of my ladies. HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS POST?
And these are my favorite books. HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS POST EITHER?
*cue emotional instability because FEELS*
 I don't even need an explanation for this. THESE LADIES ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY. 
*screeches* GIMME GIMME
I threw it waaay back in this post, and had so much fun doing it. I actually forgot I read some of these and got super nostalgic. #twilightordie
It was weirdly satisfying to call myself out on all of these books and I vowed to myself that I would read all of them by the end of the year. So far, I've only read 2. I'm also wondering why I put The Selection in there? It's not fantasy, is it? *shakes head in disappointment at past Mariah*
My fav fluffy contemporaries! I have an urge to reread all of them but thats not productive. Sigh. 

What're your favorite Top Ten posts? 
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Good morning/ afternoon/ evening, lovely people of the internet! How was your weekend? What did you read? Let me know down in the comments! I love seeing what y'all are reading :)

Read Last Week
The Heir by Kiera Cass
The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

Currently Reading
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I have nothing planned to read this week because I'll spending all my time with my friends, and theres a 10% chance I'll actually be able to pick up my book and crack it open. Which is sad because unless I finish The Invasion of the Tearling today (which isn't likely), Kelsea's story will be on hold until the following week. BOOHOO. I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE MORT QUEEN AND HER ARMY.

Happy readings :)
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The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi (ARC review)

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
Publisher: Bloomhill Books
Publication Date: June 25th, 2015
Pages: 318
Song I Played While Reading: Delilah by Florence + The Machine
Rating: 4 stars

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before.As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. 

Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time

I'd like to thank Netgalley and Bloomhill Books for providing me this ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

It's always nice, yet a little jarring, to take a break from the YA fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi books I usually read, and immerse myself in a realistic fiction adult book. Its a breathe of fresh air, even if the topic is one not many people like to talk about: prostitution. 
Yes, this story was heartbreakingly sad. Yes, it featured some scenes that made me cringe. But I couldn't stop reading it. It was beautiful and sad at the same time, making me want to laugh and cry. I felt inspired, hopeful, mortified, and just mostly in awe. Trasi manages to weave together a story that really makes you understand what its like to be in a brothel, but at the same time, highlights such small happy moments that somehow lift you out of that darkness, and really makes you grateful for the even the smallest of things. As Mukta said,

"Thats all I've ever had- the ability to see the beauty in small things, in people, in nature. It's the only thing that has helped me survive." 

We see that when reading, and its astonishing at how uplifting it was. I loved Mukta and related to her much more then I did Tara; the way she watched people and could sit in one place at a time for hours; her love for reading; her quiet and more reserved nature; the urge to help anyone, no matter the situation. Though people saw her as a pushover and nothing more then a slave half the time, she was probably more courageous and strong then 95% of the people in her country. She constantly brought me to tears, and I always found myself wondering, "How does she do it? How does she live like that and still know how to smile?" She truly touched me and I don't think I'll forget about her for a long, long time. 
The complexity between Tara and Mukta really gave this book an edge, since Tara was the one that was punching boys when she was younger if they taunted her. Obviously she grew out of that, but Tara had her strengths and weaknesses, and we see a lot of the latter. Theres such emotional grief and unspoken thoughts and regrets, it was comforting knowing that her character wasn't perfect. She made mistakes, big ones, and she had to live with them for years and years until she finally drew up the courage to face them. She fought for the people she loved, and I admired her endlessly for that. 
I'm not one to shy away from uncomfortable topics, and I highly recommend reading this if you feel the same way. Stripped to its core, this is a story of hope. Its the story of love, friendship, and forgiveness. It's absolutely breathtaking and unforgettable. 

"I talked to the moon and told him I thought I deserved a father, and if he thought so too, he should carry my prayer to God and send my father back to me. I thought that one day the moon would just get weary of listening to me, of watching over me, and offer me a solution to ease my confusion." 

"There must be something about pain, about the way it touches you so deeply that sometimes you never get back to being the person you once were."

"Shadows spring from my past and swirl around me. Sometimes there is no other option but to confront them."

(Picture and synopsis from Goodreads)
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The Heir by Kiera Cass

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Heir by Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 342
Song I Played While Reading: Jealous by Nick Jonas
Rating: 4 stars

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon- and they lived happily ever after. Idly has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible. 
But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection- no matter how fervently she protests. 
Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibility that lie in front of her... and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought. 

Bless whoever thought to put a sneak peak of this book in The One. Bless your sweet soul. Cause without that, I probably wouldn't have picked this up. Besides the overwhelming complaints that Eadlyn was a spoiled brat and was worse then America (is that really even possible...?), I had no interest in continuing the story. I was content with believing America and Maxon had their happily ever after and ruled Illea into their greatest age. But the sneak peak, and the fervent shouting of a certain spoiler on Cass's intagram, sealed the deal. And it happened. AND I LOVED IT.
Yes, Eadlyn was spoiled and said some very rude things. Yes, she treated most of the guys like crap. All I'm gonna say is this: every narrator has character development. It can take a long time *coughAMERICAcough*, but it happens eventually. And I'm proud to say Eadlyn has done so beautifully. She's the kind of person people either love or hate, and weirdly enough, I actually liked her. She was the polar opposite of her mother; she knew what she wanted, and wasn't letting any person get in her way. There was no "Eh, maybe I shouldn't do this." or "I don't really know." There was only the sound of Eadlyn's fabulous heels clicking down the hallway and a direct order to do something. But that was also one of her major faults. She was SO guarded and scared to let anyone make her appear weak that she refused to even talk to anyone. She came off as cold and uninterested, when really, she was trying to think of ways to seem like she knew what she was doing and to make sure everything was smooth sailing. She didn't realize she came off that way. Some people are going to say "What? Thats BS, how can someone not realize how rude and inconsiderate they're being?" But from reading from her pov, you can tell. She's unflinchingly honesty, but also naive.
Theres a part where she comments on her maid's boyfriends profession.

"I leaned me head to one side, continuing to brush. "That's interesting. What's he studying?"
"Mark is a chemist. He's studying biochemistry, specifically."
My eyes widened. "Really? Such a range in your professions."
She frowned. "There's no caste system, Your Highness. People can date and marry anyone they want to." 
I turned from the mirror to look at her directly. 
"That's not what I mean. It's simply intriguing to me the dynamic you must have. You have my laundry in your arms, and he might cure a disease. Those are two incredibly different roles in the world."
Neena swallowed and dropped everything on the ground. "I won't be doing your laundry forever. I made a choice to come here, and I can leave whenever I like."
"I don't feel well," she said abruptly. "I'll send someone else up to help you."
She didn't even curtsey.
"Neena, I was simply talking!"
The door slammed, and I looked after her, shocked that she so shamelessly left without permission. I hadn't meant to offend her. I was merely curious, and that one observation didn't even begin to touch on the things I truly wanted to ask about."

Knowing there was no malicious intent behind her words made her attitude that much more easier to handle. It would be one thing if she sneered at her maids and the guards and made rude comments. But she was truly curious and was just expressing her honest opinion, and I can't judge her for that. Some of the other examples that people brought up, like her calling one of the contestants an idiot because he spelled some words wrong in his application, just made me laugh. I took it lightly and honestly thought it was funny. If that makes me a bad person, then so be it. I'm rooting for Eadlyn and hope she finds her one true love.
And speaking of one true love... THE BOYS. The best part of the book in my opinion. Even though I had THE HARDEST TIME KEEPING TRACK OF THEM ALL. One thing that bothered me was the descriptions of these guys; we literally got maybe one or two full descriptions on some of them, and then the rest just floundered as ghosts in my head. Which then made it harder to keep track of who was who. I got Burke and Baden confused all the damn time. It was fascinating seeing the Selection from Eadlyn's pov, which might have been why I wasn't faulting her a lot. That shit is scary. If I had to choose 35 guys and instigate all the dates and get to know them? I'd probably pass. There's way too much pressure and good god how awkward would it be? And how would someone find the time to make sure they talk to each and every one of them, while also studying to be Queen? Wow, I'm impressing myself with how much I seem to admire Eadlyn.
Team Kile all the way. And my runner up would be Team Erik. I'm hesitant on thinking Kile is the one because, to me, its seems obvious that's what Cass wants you to think. And boy, do some of these authors really know how to yank a rug out from under you. YOU WONT BE GETTING THE BEST OF ME THIS TIME, MWAHA.
I shouldn't actually say that though cause she totally beat my heart senseless with the ending. Ahren, and then her mother... THE TEARS WERE REAL, PEOPLE. So to say I'm excited for the next, and final, book is an understatement. GIMME GIMME.

"Had I been born a generation earlier, it wouldn't have mattered. Ahren was the male, so Ahren would have been the heir.
Alas, Mom and Dad couldn't stand to watch their first born be stripped of a title by an unfortunate but rather lovely set of breasts." This sealed the deal for me. I love a girl who's got some self-confidence.

"Kile shook his head. "You're really unbelievable."
"Hush. Go enjoy the party. But first, we have to take off this tie."
He looked down as I started tugging. "Whats wrong with my tie?"
"Everthing." I said. "Everything in the universe is wrong with this tie. I bet we could find world peace if we burned it."

""I just didn't expect it. It was asparagus... He literally punched someone over a vegetable."

""How do you do that?"
"It's like you're always giving pieces of yourself away. How do you have anything left for you?"

""Your words hit me so hard, Eadlyn. Because I wanted to believe you. I wanted to hear you out and consider your suggestions. I knew that if I did, one day you'd convince me to give up everything for you. Maybe even put your crown on my head. And, heaven knows, I would have done it. I would do anything for you.
So before you could ask for my life, I gave it to Camille."

"I kept thinking that I couldnt live my life for other people, that love was nothing but chains. And maybe it was, but so help me, I needed these chains. ... These things didn't make me weaker; they held my soul to the earth. I wasn't going to run from them anymore."
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Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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

1. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

2. The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stievfater (so what I cheat? sue me)

3. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

4. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

5. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

6. Amy & Rogers Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

8. Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

9. Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

What books are on your TBR list? Any recommendations? :) 
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hi all :) As some of you read this I'll be on a plane back to Chicago to pack up my house and visit some family and friends. This shouldn't affect my blogging or reading too much, except maybe when I'm with my friends. I'll still post my Happy Monday and TTT post, but I apologize in advance if I don't post anything besides that!

Read Last Week
The Elite and The One by Kiera Cass, and the two novellas, The Prince and The Queen
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

To Read
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
The Heir by Kiera Cass

What did you guys think of The Heir? I hear Eadlyn is kind of a brat, but I'm hoping she won't be as bad as her mother. At least she's independent and stands up for herself! I can handle that, but please... I BEG YOU, NO INDECISIVENESS.

Happy readings :)
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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Pages: 388
Song I Played While Reading: Queen of Peace by Florence + The Machine
Rating: 4 stars

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all. 
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected beings to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets? 

Holy woah. This book was absolutely delicious. First of all, lets take a look at the cover. TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE IT. (Is it weird that I didn't notice Shahrzad being all sassy in the background? Took me a full day to notice it)
I don't even know where to start with this book. I have all of these things I want to say and they're getting crammed and knotted up and giving me a slight case of reviewers block.
Okay, okay, okay, LETS JUST GET TO THE BEST PART: the characters.
They were all perfect. Funny, mysterious, dark, sweet, strong, whimsical.. I could go on and on. Shahrzad was kick-ass and funny, but also down-to-earth and caring beyond belief. I adored her. And this is one of those rare moments when I really liked having a picture of the main character. She was gorgeous and sassy. Her expression screams, "I'll fuck you up and look amazing the entire time." She reminds me a little of Celaena Sardothien.
Khalid, Jalal, and Tariq are all bae. Seriously, I've only ever loved this many guys at once with ToG. CLEARLY THESE AUTHORS NEED TO MEET. Khalid is my sexy and mysterious man; both appealing while whipping his fancy sword around and confessing how emotionally tortured he is (Rowan). Jalal is arrogant and witty and a total shithead, but so hot that you can't be mad at him for too long (Dorian). And Tariq is fiercely loyal, willing to go to any lengths for the people he loves (Chaol). This sounds like I've thought a lot about this weird correlation between Throne of Glass and The Wrath and the Dawn but alas, no. This just smacked me in the face now.
And finally, I wanna give a special shout out to my home girl, Despina. Her and Shazi were a riot. Oh my god, I could not get over how funny they were! They constantly bickered and went back and fourth on any issue they could think of. They lived to contradict each other, and it actually worked for this story. Sometimes that can really piss me off, but it worked for these two beauty queens.

"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me where my bodyguard is.
"By Zeus, you are a nuisance, Shahrzad al- Khayzuran!" Despina cried.
"It's good you know that. It will save you time. Now, answer my question."
"Answer me, you wretched Theban!"
"No, you horse's ass!" 

The plot was written out beautifully. There was always something going on that kept me on my toes; adventures, political intrigue, hilarious conversations, or Shahrzad kinda doing whatever the hell she wanted and getting yelled at. Though it was pretty obvious what the main cause of the issue was in this book, I still really enjoyed the way Ahdieh wove it together. It was heartbreaking and just made me want to snuggle up to Khalid and croon sweet nothings into his ear.
The writing was beautiful. It reeled you in and sunk it's claws deep. It was both simple and dreamy, making even the slower parts seem dangerous and sexy, as if a character was either going to stab someone or seduce them. Is that weird? Probably. If I think of a better way to describe that then I'll fix it later, but I'm still stuck on THE DAMN ENDING *cries*
Overall, this was a stunning debut novel and I HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on this!

"Rahim hedged. "It sounds dangerous."
"It's worth speaking to them. The worst that can happen is a refusal."
"Actually, the worst that can happen is that they slit your throat."
"Yes." A series of vertical lines formed along the bridge of Tariq's nose. "There is that. But it was not on my agenda to insult them, in the process."
"Well, if anyone can talk their way out of a beheading, it's you."
"I thank you, Rahim. As always, your abiding confidence in me casts any possibility of doubt astray."

""What're you doing to me, you plague of a girl?" he whispered.
"If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed." The weapon still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
"No." His hands dropped to her waist. "Destroy me."

"Despina kicked off her sandals and sat cross-legged on the bed. "We woman are a sad lot, aren't we?"
"What do you mean?"
"Strong enough to take on the world with our bare hands, yet we permit ridiculous boys to make fools of us."
"I am not a fool."
No, you're not. Not yet." Despina grinned. "But it's inevitable. When you meet the one who makes you smile as you've ever smiled before, cry as you've never cried before... there is nothing to do but fall."
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The One by Kiera Cass

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The One by Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Pages: 323
Song I Played While Reading: Jealous by Nick Jonas
Rating: 4 stars

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown- or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose- and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants. 

The only thing I was expecting from this book was a happy ending. I was wary of America, hoping she would grow and mature, but not betting too much on it. So imagine my surprise when, overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were the usual ups and downs, but this story progressed with much more ease; America really hunkered down and tried to work on her temper. She tried, and failed, but I still applauded her effort. There were some surprises thrown in here, with lots of enjoyable moments, but by far the best part of this book was the ending. Talk about an ending that explodes in your face! If you've gotten through the first two books and like America and the story, then you'll absolutely love this. If you struggled with America, as did I, push through. The first 70 pages will be a struggle, but it's so worth it in the end.

Spoiler-y Section

I have to admit; I almost threw this book at a wall. It started off good, with America trying too hard to seduce Maxon (which I thought was hilarious but still really enjoyed because hey, at least she was trying) and I was excited. All her focus was going to be on winning Maxon over again and I had high hopes. But then it all came crashing down. And down. And down. It was almost worse then The Elite because... there was literally NO reason for them to be fighting. I was actually confused on what they were even arguing about. And, once again, they didn't speak. Even though they both knew they had feelings for each other, they refused to say I love you. They were like two stubborn siblings, refusing to give until they other one submitted first. They danced around those words for almost the entire book, EVEN THOUGH THEY BLATANTLY HAD FEELINGS FOR EACH OTHER AND BASICALLY SAID IT ALREADY, and I thought I was going to scream. The only reason why I didn't was because they stopped fighting. They talked some things out finally and were doing pretty good.
But of course shit had to hit the fan. It was too early in the story for Maxon to tell America he was going to propose to her. There was always something with these two, and it obviously had to be Aspen. But I didnt think Maxon would take it so hard. He's always so calm and collected and actually thinks his actions through, so wasn't it the mother of all surprises when he turned into this father. I mean he was cruel. It was shocking!
I'm not going to blather on about America and her stupidity because its the same shit from The Elite, so lets talk about the things I actually enjoyed. Celeste.
Yes, I just said that.
Bitch ass Celeste actually became one of my favorite characters in this book. I liked her waaaaay more then Marlee. She's my favorite type of character; gorgeous, sassy, smart, and driven. Theres a fine line between being self-centered and parading around like you're the shit, to knowing your pretty but not talking about it, and she moved all the way down that line for me. She wasn't that egoistical brat who wanted the crown; she became that kick-ass friend that always had your back and would murder any person that broke your heart. So to say I was heartbroken WHEN SHE WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD IS A SLIGHT UNDERSTATEMENT.
Actually I was heartbroken over the whole ending in general. I was wondering if Cass would go out with a bang since no one really had died yet from a rebel attack, and boy was I right. Celeste, Anne, The King and Queen... I don't even remember who else but those are the ones that stood out the most to me. I especially mourned over the Queen. She threw herself in front of the King and I'm still getting goosebumps over it. She was amazing and I'm seriously so sad that she had to go, but I think it almost would have been worse for her to live her life without Clarkson. She loved him so much (though I really don't understand why). And even though I knew Maxon lived, I started tearing up when he was shot. That whole scene with him telling America how stupid he was and then telling Aspen to take her away first got to me. The tears were real. But you wanna know what made me cry the hardest? Aspen walking America down the aisle. I LOVED them as friends. I have no idea why, but they were just so awesome together, so when he appeared... holy shit I had to close my door cause I was straight up sobbing. I LOVE ME SOME BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIPS, I REALLY DO.
Overall, this was an acceptable end for America and Maxon. It was rough at times, but they both stayed true to themselves and strung it out as long as possible.
I also read the sneak peak for The Heir that was in the back of the book andddddddd I ordered it on Amazon right away. NO ONE TOLD ME SHE WAS A BOSSY AND SARCASTIC FEMINIST. From what I saw and read, yes she was a little spoiled but who wouldn't when they grew up as royalty? I also wanna see how America and Maxon are, and the next political issue they'll have to deal with. The castes are out, so lets what they people have to complain about now!

"Celeste had been raised to be a specific kind of pretty. That beauty depended on covering things up, shifting the light, and seeking to be perfect at all times. But there is a different kind of beauty that comes with humility and honesty, and she was glowing with it now." *cries*

""Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway."

"You are not the world, but you are everything that makes the world good. Without you, my life would still exist, but that's all it would manage to do."

"Celeste walked up, as strong as I'd ever seen her, and whispered something into Maxon's ear.
When she was done, he smiled "I don't think that will be necessary."
"Good." She left, closing the door behind her, and I stood to take whatever was coming.
"What was that about?" I asked, nodding toward the door."
"Oh, Celeste was making it clear that if I hurt you, she'd make me cry," he said with a smile.
I laughed. "I've been on the receiving end of those nails, so be careful there."
"Yes ma'am."

"And there we were, in the background of it all, holding on to one another. The Perfectionist, the Sweetheart, the Diva . . . and me."
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The Elite by Kiera Cass

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2013
Pages: 323
Song I Played While Reading: Jealous by Nick Jonas
Rating: 3 stars

The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.

Good God this book. I can't even write a non-spoilery section because America was so damn frustrating  This was a struggle to get through. I honestly thought I was going to have to put this down and just start The One. Maybe try and find a summary of it because I wanted to know what happened, like the smaller things and where we were with the rebels. It got a little better as the book progressed but I was disappointed overall with how it was done. Some people really like these books and like America, and other people don't. I happen to be in the latter group, but I definitely plan on getting through The One. 
Now, will I read The Heir? Debatable. 

Spoiler-y Section 

Where do I even begin? I'm looking back through my notes and laughing because theres so many swear words and scribbles. To give you a little inside look at what I was feeling for the first 100 pages: "I'm going to hit America. I have so many issues with her that I can't even focus on just one." And then I ended it with huge letters at the bottom yelling at her.
Let's talk about the Marlee incident. First of all, I can't even imagine what that must have been like. I DONT what to imagine what that must have been like. I didn't hate her immediate reaction; the screaming and running and all around freak out. What I hated was her actions later on. It was bad enough that she blamed Maxon for something that was complexly out of his control. America didn't even once feel grateful that Marlee wasn't put to death. She didn't even consider that she COULD have died, and Maxon probably fought hard just to have her caned. No, what really set me off was when she hung out with Aspen afterwards.
Did she not just watch her best friend get caned because she was found hooking up with a guard? Did she not think to herself how grateful she was that it wasn't her, and that her and Aspen run that risk? I mean what the actual hell?! Of ALL the times to hang out with Aspen, and not even ONCE consider that maybe it was a bad idea? I couldn't tell who I was more pissed at, America or Aspen! Aspen claims he loves her, yet is constantly putting both of them at risk to be possibly killed. If he loved her that much he would never put her in danger like that. It absolutely blows my mind. And for America to not have a single doubt about going to meet him?
"It seemed Aspen and I had a date tonight."
Do you never want to be able to play the violin again? Or the piano? What the hell is wrong with this girl? I literally questioned her intelligence. Who the hell is this America and where did the first book version of her go?
I liked her in The Selection. She was a little rash but not over the top. She was smart and thoughtful and honest. But its like some of those rebel attacks crushed some of her brain cells; she was acting so stupid! Her stupidity literally left me speechless. I feel like I'm saying stupid a lot BUT SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HECK.
And the shit she puts Maxon through... I would have kicked her ass out a long time ago. She acts like a complete brat, getting pissed at Maxon for things he can't control or heaven forbid, talking to the other girls and not showing her enough attention. Here she is, making out with Aaspen, COMMITTING TREASON, completely cheating on Maxon, and yet gets furious at him when she catches him making out with Celeste. Or even spending more time with Kriss. He has a right too! YOU'RE IN A SELECTION. What the hell was she expecting when she told him she was done with him? For him to never talk to another girl? Selfish, selfish, selfish.
I'm definitely not saying Maxon isn't guilty either. The boy needs to speak up. I understand its hard to do that with his father, but for America? Really? So many issues could have been cleared up sooner if they had just talked it out. You guys know how I feel about unneccesary drama. I want Aspen out too. Now. Kill him off or send him to war. I've never liked him. And on that note, maybe kill the King off too. Or at least cripple him enough where he can't run the country. I know for a fact he isn't going to be giving up his throne any time soon.
And finally, the caste system. Her whole spiel at the end with the removal of the caste system as her philanthropy project (which isn't even a proper philanthropy subject to begin with) was horrendous. It was wrong on so many levels. America, yet again, fails to realize or even think that becoming a princess could, in turn, LEAD HER TO MAKING THAT CHANGE. If she's so passionate about this subject (which I don't see at all) then why has never considered that in her decision? She gets Maxon AND can help her family and all the lower castes! Another thing she doesn't even think about is that she's going to have to please all the higher ups first. She has to get to the top before she can start warming people up to the idea of removing this system. Everyones going to see her as a joke now, especially with how unprepared she was. She didn't even think about how she was going to remove this caste system, only why she should. I personally liked when the King called her out on it. I almost wish they had gotten that on tape and aired it.
As you can see, I had some strong feelings on this. I enjoy the overall concept of this and at times did enjoy the book, but it was overshadowed by America's indecisive and idiotic attitude. I really hope she matures more in The One and owns up to all of her mistakes. She can do so many great things for Illea if only she stopped acting like the world had shit on her only roll of toilet paper.
I'll leave a link here to Christine's booktube video. Its definitely one of her best and she makes some kick ass points.

"How was it that Dad always knew what to say? I kind of wanted someone to rearrange the stars so they spelled out his words. I needed them big and bright, and somewhere I could see them when things felt dark. I love you. And I'm so, so proud."

"He chuckled. "She is less of an instigator. Lord knows what would happen to the country with you at the helm."
I laughed along because he was right. "I'd probably ruin it."
Maxon continued to smile when he spoke. "But maybe it needs ruining."

(Summary from Goodreads)
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Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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

I'm not even going to bother writing anything under these titles because I'm so excited for them. Just know I was really, REALLY unstable typing this and my family was giving me weird looks because I kept making noises. 

1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

3. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

4. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

5. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 

6. The Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Krisoff

8. The Last Star by Rick Yancey

9. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

10. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick 

This is the most beautiful list in the world. I NEED THEM NOW.

What's on your list? Do we have anything in common? :)
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hi all! How was your weekend? I hope you read some amazing books! I have work from 12-6 today and its going to be a 102 degrees. I can't tell who I feel more bad for, the golfers in this tournament or myself. I'm already sweating just thinking about how hot its going to be.

Read Last Week
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Queen (novella) by Kiera Cass

Currently Reading
The Elite by Kiera Cass (dont evEN GET ME STARTED ON AMERICA)

To Read
The One by Kiera Cass and the rest of the novellas
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

I need some help here. If America bothers me now, will I want to tear my hair our over Eadlyn? That's the biggest complaint I've heard about The Heir, and seriously I cant handle spoiled brats. But I'm also obviously interested in seeing all the guys and what happens with the rebels. I saw something happened to America in it and I REALLY WANNA KNOW WHAT IT IS. Okay, I think I just answered my own question. Sigh. The things I do for books.
And SPEAKING of books... Quality Fangirls is throwing a major giveaway from their time at BookCon! It's crazy big and so beautiful. As more and more people join the giveaway levels of it are unlocked. The final two levels are a Throne of Glass and ARC pack. THE PICTURES MAKE ME DROOL. I'm so excited for this giveaway and hope you'll join it!

Happy readings :)

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Book Haul

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Selection box set by Kiera Cass / The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater / Saint Anything by Sara Dessen / Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan / The Wraith and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh  / Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 

I got the STUNNING 20th anniversary edition of Outlander and oh my god you guys. IT'S SO BIG AND PRETTY AND PERFECT. I also finally got my hands on The Raven Boys books. It was that or Cinder, which was such difficult decision it was almost embarrassing cause I was in Barnes & Noble for over an hour! But I've heard so many great things about this series so I'm beyond excited to start it.

Happy readings :) 
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The Selection by Kiera Cass

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: January 1st, 2012
Pages: 327
Song I Played While Reading: Jealous by Nick Jonas
Rating: 3.5 stars

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.
The opportunity to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. 
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. 

Good God this cover is gorgeous. Its one of my favorites, and always has been since the second I laid eyes it. ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THE COVER DESIGNER.
This book started out slow for me. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, and actually thought Maxon to be a complete bore. I mean "dear"? Really? What man uses that term to a lady? I was literally picturing a 60 year old man instead of a hunky blonde guy. He was a gentleman but almost to a fault; polite, quiet, and.. boring. And America was a little bland for my taste, too. They all gradually grew on me, and at some parts I really found myself connecting with her fears over being in the Selection (there is absolutely NOTHING scarier then a bunch of teenage girls fighting over a guy), and once I hit the halfway mark I really stared enjoying it.
The world was pretty interesting. Set in the future, America is no longer America. (The country, not the main character) It's now called Illea and has reverted back to a monarchy. Citizens are grouped into castes that run by numbers, One through Eight. One are the royalty and Eight are the poor people. It all reminds me of a mix of both old and new; we're set in the future, but the laws about birth control and pre-marital sex are very strict. Obviously back in the day there really was no birth control unless you had money, so the poor people were popping out babies like there was no tomorrow. This is a big issue in the story, and I was a little disappointed with how America handled it. She's a Five, so she's kinda stuck in the middle, but has gone through some rough times. She knows people in the lower castes, so you would think a part of her would see the Selection as more then just a cage she's stuck in. She could make a change, whether or not she truly loves the prince, and bring up all the injustice the lower castes go through. But she never once thinks of that. I get she didn't want to be in it in the first place and was dealing with being separated from her family and Aspen, but you would think at SOME point it would have smacked her in the head that hello?? YOU HAVE A VOICE HERE. MARRYING INTO THIS FAMILY COULD HAVE SOME PERKS. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS.
But I did overall enjoy her character, particularly towards the end. She treats everyone equally and is fair and honest. Those are qualities I love in a character, so I'm hoping she'll be the bomb diggity in these next two books.
Now onto the boy department. From the beginning, I didn't trust Aspen. He just seemed off and distant. Their relationship seemed weird, and it bugged me that neither of them thought to progress status wise with it. Who knows what other girls he could have been seeing during the day, so I want him out. Pronto. Maxon (even though I know the outcome of this Selection since I read the synopsis of The Heir), definitely was a bit stiff in the beginning, like I mentioned earlier. But he loosened up and made some jokes, and I finally started to like them together. I mean honestly they acted like a married couple. Could no one else see how comfortable they were around each other? I love how they were friends in the beginning, because y'all know THE BEST RELATIONSHIPS START OUT AS FRIENDSHIPS.
The ending was unexpected but exciting, though I am wondering what the hell Cass has planned out. We've got a lot of small side stories we can work with, from the rebel attacks to working on the caste system. I hope we get more info on the other countries as well. And maybe address the fact that theres no history books and no one seems to really know what happened in the past??? Anyways, solid start to this series and I plan on diving into The Elite the second I finish this post!

"I didn't want him to worry or be upset; I really thought we could handle it. If we just planned for everything we could, we'd make it through everything we couldn't. Maybe I was too optimistic, maybe I was just too far in love, but I really believed that anything Aspen and I wanted badly enough, we could make happen."

"If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’re going to have to stop looking so lovely. First thing tomorrow I’m having your maids sew some potato sacks together for you."

"Mom was bossy. Even in print I could hear her tone, smugly congratulating me on already earning the prince's affections and telling me firmly to keep up whatever I was doing.
Yeah, Mom, I'll just keep telling the prince that he has absolutely no shot with me and offend him as often as I can. Great plan."
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: September 13th, 2011
Pages: 512
Song I Played While Reading: I Follow You by Lykke Li
Rating: 4 stars

The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, hone yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazement. It is called Le Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night. 
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Amidst the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leave the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 

Wowza. This was quite the unexpected ride. First of all, this isn't YA. I thought it was, but realized when I had the actual copy in my hand that it wasn't. Which always throws me off because I wonder who the poor sap was that first started praising this as YA. It's pretty evident from the story that it's not.
The next big surprise for me was the direction the story went. It was told from multiple pov's (which I LOVE), and spanned decades, jumping back and fourth through time, which definitely got a little confusing at times. Once I got comfortable with the characters it was easier to remember which person was from each time period, but it definitely takes some adjusting. But like I've said before, I love multiple narration because you see so many different sides to the story. It's not just about these two magicians who are in love; its about every single person in and around that circus. It's about the people who first came up with the idea, and how they progress throughout the story. Every single person plays such a key role, and Morgenstern manages to weave it all together fabulously. I won't lie, it gets a little confusing. But those moments are few.
The characteres were so lively that I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if they had jumped out of the pages. Each had their own personality and gift but all worked together seamlessly, contributing to the circus and the story in more ways then one. We see some of them grow up and it was fascinating to see how the circus changed their life. It was such a special way of living, and I was envious at times. How cool would it be to grow up in a place like that?!
The circus, just like the characters, was marvelous and exploded in my head. It was engrossing and fascinating and absolutely breathtaking, even if I couldn't picture some of the things Morgenstern described. That's always been a weakness of mine, so that has absolutely nothing to do with her writing, which was phenomenal. P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L.
One thing I couldn't help but notice was that the relationship between Marco and Celia felt a little forced at times. And I think this is because so much time passes between chapters (sometimes one will be in 1894, and the next will jump to 1895) that we miss the progression of the relationship. I know they don't see each other a lot either, but we don't see the mental progression. The constant thoughts of them, of wondering what they're doing and seeing and thinking right now. It just felt like one moment they had just talked to each other, had maybe 3 or 4 scenes together after that, and then Marco was confessing his love to her (which was years later). It felt like only weeks, when in reality it was years. So that was a little hard to put together in my head and connect. But even though it felt a little rushed, the scenes they shared were flawless. They were honest with each other, never skirting around something, and their flirting was sweet and witty.
In all, this was a stunning novel that is magic in its purest form. I highly recommend it, even if this doesn't seem like your type of story.

"Prospero the Enchanter's immediate reaction upon meeting his daughter is a simple declaration of: "Well, fuck."

"The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones."

"There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someones soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words."
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May 2015 Wrap Up

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hello, hello! May, weirdly enough, was a slow month. I felt like it dragged and dragged on. But thats probably cause I worked a ton and was counting down the days until it was over. June is an exciting month so May of course had to be a slow pooper. Alright, let's get in this red-and-black themed wrap up! 

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley 

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Descent by Tara Fuller (on my kindle)

So in total I read 6 books this month! My favorite was OBVIOUSLY A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it *swoons* What did you read this month? What were your favorites?

Happy readings :) 
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Another week is upon us, but in this case... HAPPY JUNE! This doesn't really change anything in my life, except maybe the amount of times I have to wash my work clothes. I'm like, the Queen of sweating. It'll probably quadruple once we get into the 90's & 100's. I'm already sweating just thinking about it *cringes* Okay, let's stop talking about sweat.
"Hey Mariah, what did you post today on your blog?"
"My Monday post. It was all about sweat. It was awesome."

Read Last Week
Descent by Tara Fuller
DNF Awake by Natasha Preston (posted a review on Goodreads, I'll leave the link here if any of y'all wanna see it)

Currently Reading
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

To Read
Got a box set of the first three books in The Selection series SO YOU KNOW I'LL BE READING THAT NEXT *happy dances around the room*

I also ordered Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I did at work. I only had to press 3 buttons until it was ordered and didn't even need to type in my card number. Damn you Barnes & Noble for being so accommodating!!! But it's the fancy 20th anniversary edition, which is a beautiful red and gold hardback. I also have a weird feeling its one of those cool plush hardbacks, where it's not completely hard but a little.. squishy? Does that make any sense? Can you tell I haven't finished my coffee yet?

Happy readings :)
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