Goodreads mini reviews!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I've recently started utilizing Goodreads as another platform for my reviews. I'll whip up a short paragraph if I don't feel like writing up a full-blown one on here. So I decided to compile a short list of some recent books that I loved dearly, but didn't feel like writing a formal review for. Without further ado, let's get into them!

After The Fall by Kate Hart (ARC review)
Publication: January 24th, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
This was... wow. This was poignant. Raw. Shocking. Incredible. Profound. The characters were wonderfully flawed, making me angry and confused, but also bursting at the seams with happiness and sorrow. Raychel and Matt have to deal with a heart-shattering loss (which I never in a MILLION years saw coming and basically blacked out from because it was so painful), and what struck me the most about this story was how realistic the aftermath was. It was slow and painful, with our main characters both trying to come to terms with their new life and the path that was forcibly chosen for them. They have to weave through heartbreak and betrayal, forgiveness and acceptance. It was absolutely beautiful, and I'll be recommending this to EVERYONE. 

Rating: 5 stars
Quite simply the easiest five stars I've ever given a book. WOW. 
This was incredible. A huge thanks to Entangled Teen for sending me an eARC of this, which I devoured in less than 5 hours. Accardo created an enthralling approach to parallel dimensions, weaving a plot that was incredibly easy to understand, yet exciting enough that I was never bored. I can get easily lost with talk of parallel dimensions (and also get a little scared because that shit is crazy), but Infinity managed to capture all the awe inter-dimensional travel can inspire without making it too techy and confusing. 
The characters were vivacious and genuine, jumping off the pages and capturing my heart and mind. Kori was a fucking RIOT. There's nothing I love more than a character who's unafraid to stand up for herself and fight back, and I loved how vicious she could be. She didn't beat around the bush; she was honest, sometimes to a fault, but she had good intentions. Cade and Noah, especially the latter, were a bunch of swoon-worthy boys that had me sucking in sharp breaths and trying to control my shrieks. I LOVED THEM. I especially loved their backstories and their complicated relationship with Kori. It was intense and heartbreaking and so, so incredibly tender. I wanted to cry.
Accardo's writing was the strong backbone to this story, intertwining all the pieces together to create an unbelievably strong and passionate tale of love, loss, and the lengths someone will go to avenge a loved one. This was fantastic and I highly recommend this to everyone

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (ARC review)
Publication: March 7th, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
This was ridiculously adorable. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but overall, this was vivid and smart and heartfelt. This takes place in Tokyo, which I've never been to before, but now I wish I could hop on a plane and visit it because it seems incredible. I don't know how authentic everything was, but to me, it was vivacious and beautiful, a living, breathing city that never sleeps. 
The characters were awkward and spunky, so alive and present that it felt like they were right next to you, their banter flowing smoothly. Overall, this was a fast, wonderful read that I recommend to any contemporary lovers!

Rating: 4 stars
This was so incredibly funny and sweet and engaging and RELATABLE. Seriously, Lucy is one of the most relatable MC's I've ever read from. She also happens to be 5'0, which, holla at me, because I'm the same height. SHORTIES UNITE! Also, can we die over the banter between these two please, oh my GAWD. Seriously, any rom-com fans needs to get their hands on this.
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Frostblood by Elly Blake (ARC review)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Frostblood by Elly Blake
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017
Pages: 384
Song I Played While Reading: True Disaster by Tove Lo
Rating: 4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frost blood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when rebel frost bloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. Before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to fight for her life in tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one change to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love. 

It took me a little while to get into this story. Blake had her work cut out for her, because she had a lot she had to cram into this first book, so the beginning seemed to get the least amount of work and page time. Not to say it wasn't good or anything, but it felt a little as if Ruby was telling us that these things were happening, not that she was feeling them. But that quickly changed, and by the 70 page mark, when things start rolling into motion, I was easing comfortably into the story.
The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was Ruby. She was a god damn sass-master. And there's literally nothing I love more than witty banter, which is where Arcus slyly came in, and basically,  I was a ball of mush whenever these two were together. But not only was Ruby funny, she was incredibly easy to relate to. Even though her issues were on a much larger scale than I can (obviously) fully understand, her struggles with morality, death, and revenge were written eloquently enough that I felt like I knew her, so I could understand, on a certain level, what she was going through. I love it when I hit that level with a character, because that's when the whole story really clicks for me. I'm an extremely character-driven reader, so understanding the person I'm reading from is vital.
The plot was rich with intrigue and history, pulling in elements that I never saw coming, heightening my entire experience. Arcus, Brother Thistle, the king, Marella, and the other secondary characters were tenacious, holding their own in this fast-paced story. However, they weren't an incredibly diverse bunch. There was one instance where I noted Ruby mentioning that a character had "skin darker than her own," which could mean he was dark-skinned, but it's vague enough where I still don't really know.
Overall, this was an incredible debut! With its articulate writing, vivid story, and refreshing characters, Frostblood is sure to become an instant favorite for any fantasy lover.

"King Rasmus still honors the god of the north wind," Brother Thistle replied. "He wouldn't risk angering Fors by harming his devotees."
I shifted in my seat so I faced Arcus. "And how do you supposed I'll manage to kill the most powerful king in our history?"
"He is not the most powerful king in our history." Arcus retorted. "Ruthlessness is not power. Tyranny is not strength."

"Promise you won't leave again," said Brother Thistle softly. "And then we can discuss what you want to know."
I shrugged. "Tell me everything you're planning and then I'll decide."
Ice cracked over the floor from Arcus's chair.
"Is that his version of a tantrum?" I asked Brother Thistle."

"Once again, all doubt, all sense of right and wrong, faded. There was only the target, his darkly beating heart, and my fire. There was no fear, no anger, no shame, no regret. Just power, surging thorough me, filling me. It felt as if my breath sucked the very air from the heavens, and my rage burned the sun to ash.  I was everything and nothing, and no one could stop me. I was darkness wreathed in flesh.

"You speak as if I'm as heavy as an ox," I said. "Last week I was a bundle of sticks."
"You're still too thin."
"Perhaps if I gain more weight, you won't call me a stick anymore."
"You may hope to one day be a branch."
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Monthly wrap-up: November 2016!

Monday, December 5, 2016

What I read this month

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - 5 stars // Goodreads
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - 5 stars // Goodreads
Touch by Jus Accardo - 3 stars // Goodreads

Sigh. Three books?? YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS, MARIAH. I'm hoping December is a better reading month, because my TBR grows every week and I'm reading less and less of it every month. I seriously can't even remember the last time I read this little.

On the blog
I kicked off November with the I Heart Bookstagram tag, then was a part of the blog tour for Iniquity by Melody Winter. There was a release day blitz for Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kepkta and Lynn Dowling, which seriously is adorable and a must read for everyone, and a cover reveal for The Animal Under the Fur by E.J. Mellow. (Link to the Goodreads here! Tell me that doesn't sound AMAZING.) Then I wrote about how I'm in the early stages of writing a book (!!!!) and some tips that have really helped me along the way. And finally, I ended this month with my review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I'm not sure if you can even call it a review, since I just blab about how I can't properly express my feelings and really just want to scream for a couple days to let all my emotions out.

Music I've been loving
The Weeknd's new album, Starboy // Don't Hurt Me by DJ Mustard // Some Kind of Drug (Earwulf remix) by G-Eazy // First Breath by Tim Gunter // Ice by Pablo Nouvelle // My Kick by Pretty Pink // On Hold by The xx // Bury Me by The Skins // True Disaster by Tove Lo

TV shows I've been watching
I finished the first season of Containment, which follows an epidemic that breaks out in Atlanta, leaving a section of the city cordoned off. It documents key figures in the epidemic, both inside and out of the cordon, and their search for a cure. I really, really liked it, especially Officer Jake Riley (*heart eyes*). I hope Netflix picks up the show and makes a second season, because it kind of ended on a cliffhanger! Then I watched the first season of Daredevil, which was SOOO freaking good. Marvel and Netflix make a damn beautiful team when it comes to TV shows; Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were equally as dark and riveting. I plan on starting the second season ASAP. And finally, Vikings premiered last night. Bloody and brilliant as ever. (I'm also trying my hardest to steer clear of Gilmore Girls spoilers because I'm still on season 4. WILL I EVER FINISH THIS DAMN TV SHOW????)

Books I've acquired

Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kapka and Lynn Dowling

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

Life shenanigans
Really, nothing is that different from last month, except that I'm working a lot more! Which is both a blessing and a curse, as we all know.

Did you read or watch anything good this month? I'd love to hear about it :) I hope you guys had a fantastic month!
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