A slower reading month, but a good one, every book I read was at least a 4 star. I also read a poetry book, which was a goal of mine this year, and listening to it as an audiobook was a great experience.
*click on the title of the book to read a full review*
American Panda by Gloria Chao (ARC) ★★★★★ This was everything I want in a contemporary AND it’s an #ownvoices book. You cannot read this book and not love Mei as you laugh and try and struggle with life along side her.
Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (ARC) – ★★★★ I started reading this back in December? The beginning was a bit slow and I wasn’t clicking with the characters, so I put it down. I am SO glad I picked it back up because I loved it as much as Vengeance Road. Proof that you can read a book at the wrong time.
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (ARC) – ★★★★.5 The best retelling of the little mermaid I have ever read, and I was never a huge fan of the tale before. This is such a dark, magical, action-packed version of Disney movie, in fact, now I want this made into a movie.
Sightwitch by Susan Dennard (eARC) – ★★★★★ I didn’t know what to expect of this novella, set before the events of the first book in the series. What I got, really blew me away. In 200 pages Dennard broadens the world of the Witchlands and deepens the plot in a way that makes you NEED all the books to follow just to solve the puzzle.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Audiobook) – ★★★★ A really powerful story brought to life by the author. Perhaps the most powerful part for me, came in the form of the author notes at the end. I’m glad I listened to it because the author reads it in a way I never could.
This has been recommended to me over and over, and sounds like an incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful story. I have also heard it deals with social anxiety really well and that something I live with so I’m eager to read this one.
My reading year is off to a great start! I’m on track to hit 100 books this year and I read some really good ones this month. Make sure to click on the highlighted titles to read a full review.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (ARC) ★★★★★ If you enjoy reality TV, hijinks and snarky main characters this one’s for you. It had me in stitches and I related to Jane’s struggled with depression more than any character I’ve ever ‘met’.
Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyck (ARC) – ★★★★ This Spartacus retelling was action packed and Attia is a total warrior badass. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Giant Days Vol 2 by John Allison (Library) – ★★★ This was a little mediocre compared to the first volume but I still enjoyed all the shenanigans. There was an artist change halfway through and that probably contributed to the low rating.
Giant Days Vol 3 by John Allison (Library) – ★★★★ I really enjoyed Esther’s story but I was completely bored by Susan’s. I would love more focus on Daisy so I’m hoping for that in Volume 4.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Audiobook) – ★★★★ I read this so long ago but it was one of the books that made me fall in love with reading. It was a book beyond my reading level at the time but I wouldn’t give up. So, I was curious to see how I would feel re-reading it, and I’m happy to say it still holds a special place in my heart.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Audiobook) – ★★★★★ A really powerful story that I suggest listening to as an audiobook because Randy Pausch reads it himself. It’s full of fascinating stories and valuable lessons I want to apply to my life.
When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A. J. Steiger (ARC) – ★★★★★ If you read any book because of my recommendation please let it be this one. It’s an incredibly eye-opening story about a girl with Aspergers but it isn’t focused on her disorder. Instead, it follows her work at a local zoo, an unexpected friendship with a boy at the park and her trial for emancipation. This book broke me and woke me up. I cried and laughed and it was just so perfect. Read it. Go now.
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (Own) – ★★★.5 Every one of the beautifully illustrated stories contains Bardugos mystery and magic. My favorite was ‘Ayama And The Thorn Wood’ which felt like a mash-up retelling of Snow White, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. I did feel that a couple of the stories could have ended stronger, but I have always been hard on short stories.
Recently Added To My Shelves:
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
I cannot tell you how excited I am to read this! The first book I read by Tamora Pierce was Alanna and I must have been about 12 years old. Since then I have read everything she’s written in the world of Tortall and I have waited so long for Numair’s story!
Oh, December, that month when I make all the plans to read everything before the end of the year – and I end up reading a total of 2 books. I really enjoyed every moment of the festive season with my son so I don’t regret that time spent at all. Afterward, I spent a lot of time panicking planning for the new year so again I didn’t get a lot of reading done. Hopefully, I can start off the year strong, both personally and in regards to reading.
Ever The Brave by Erin Summerill (ARC) ★★★★ A great improvement from the first book! The author took the story in a great direction and set up for a good spin-off with characters I really grew to love.
The Shadow Queen by C J Redwine (Overdrive) – 3.5 Stars This had all the ingredients of a 5-star book for me but they didn’t come together. It felt a bit cheesy to me at times and I didn’t enjoy the way the author wrote the romance or the actions scenes. (And that made up the majority of the book) So this was a miss for me.
Recently Added To My Shelves:
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
After reading Foolish Hearts I knew I had to order everything by Emma Mills. I can’t wait to see if I enjoy them as much!
In Other News
I had a really good holiday season with my son, who understood Christmas (sort of) for the first time. I didn’t spend a lot of time reading but I am using my week off in January to do a lot of that before I have to start my new semester. I did a lot of reflecting on my life and reading in 2017 and made some new goals. (Which I’ll talk about more in another post) I know that I want to read a lot more in 2018 but I also want to be a lot more selective about what I read. I read some new all-time favorites this year but overall it wasn’t a great reading year and I think that’s because I didn’t have a lot of direction when I was choosing books.
What are your goals/resolutions for reading in 2018? Let me know down in the comments and let’s discuss!
I read 2 books and listened to 4 audiobooks, for a total of 2,353pages The genres included Fantasy, Historical Fiction and Non Fiction
Frogkisser by Garth Nix (Overdrive) ★★★★ This is the perfect story for readers who enjoy retellings and liked Ella Enchanted. It was a fun, whimsical adventure that turned a few well-known fairytales on their heads. I found the ending a little lackluster but overall I enjoyed it and it just cements my love for Garth Nix.
Foolish Hearts (ARC) ★★★★★ I cannot stop talking about or thinking about this book. This was my first Emma Mills book and I can’t wait to see if I enjoy her others just as much. HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO ALL.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (Overdrive) ★★★★ I was so excited to finish this series and I had a lot of predictions going into it, but most of them were wrong! Which is okay because I don’t like predictable stories. I was a little disappointed with the ending though, it felt rushed and skipped over some events I think should have been included. I adore Lara Jean and all the characters, I can’t wait to re-read these someday and fall in love with them all over again.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Overdrive) ★★★★ A quick, inspiring book to listen to. I found it thought-provoking and I really enjoyed Gilbert’s take on creative and its manifestation.
The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby (Class Assignment) ★★★.5 Despite the unusual title and step outside my usual reading, I enjoyed this book! There are 4 points of view and all of them were very distinct. I read mostly for Seth and the only character I found to be a bit flat was the main character, Prudence. If you like a quick read, don’t mind some profanity and need a good laugh then I highly recommend this one.
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (Overdrive) ★★★★ If you had told me a year ago, that I would not only enjoy a Cassandra Clare book but impatiently await its sequel I would have called you crazy. But here we are! I liked this one more than Lady Midnight, with it’s heavier focus on the twins and Kit. This is also the first book to ever leave me shipping three people together; Mark, Cristina and Kieran. That ending though – I am not okay!
This is a historical fiction about a female wing walking badass. I am so here for this and pumped that I was approved for the ARC! This releases in March 2018
In Other News
I was absent for a little over a month and to my loyal readers (and new ones) I would like to apologize. My depression has been kicking my ass and living is all I have been capable of, so thank you for your patience and sticking with me. Hopefully, I can join a therapy group next year that my counselor highly recommends. She also asked if I was interested in medication but that’s something that I feel very torn about. On one hand, if it could help why wouldn’t I try it? On the other hand, I fear sides effects and the struggle of finding the right medication and dosage. On that note, if any of you have been in a similar situation or decided to try medication and would be open to discussing it with me I would greatly appreciate it.
On a lighter topic, I am so excited that it is December. I am celebrating Christmas with my 2-year-old who is really aware of the festiveness this year. He loves all the lights on peoples homes and his advent calendar. We have one with pockets that we fill ourselves, with treats and stickers and small toys. I’m trying to do one festive activity with him every day as well, like a craft, baking or a movie. I think this Christmas is going to be really special and I’m looking forward to the end of this school semester to spend more time with him.
Next time you read a wrap up of mine it will be 2018!! Wow. I would love to know what book was your favorite this year, which was a big disappointment, your reading goals for 2018 or your most anticipated release.
Coming Up Next For Review
What book do you hope to read before the end of 2017? Let me know down in the comments.
I read 1 book and listened to 6 audiobooks
For a total of 2,908pages The genres included Fantasy, Historical Fiction as well as Contemporary. Here are my thoughts for each one, click the title of the ARCs for a full review.
Like A River Glorious by Rae Carson (owned) ★★★★ Does anyone else finally get around to reading a sequel and then wonder what took them so long? I forgot how much I love these characters. I did find the middle to be a little slow which is where it lost one star but overall the writing is just so atmospheric you can’t help but get sucked in.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Owned) ★★★★.5 Another case of what took me so long! I don’t read a lot of contemporary but a lot of my friends love Jenny Han so I decided, why not give it a try? I’m so glad I did because immediately I loved Lara Jean and all of the song girls. I want there to be 10 books in this series, but I guess 3 will have to do.
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Overdrive) ★★★★.5 I read the first book in 3 days and this sequel in 2! I have a hold on the final book and plan to buddy read it with a friend. I just can’t get enough! Seriously even if you aren’t often interested in contemporary you have to give this series a try.
The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova (ARC) ★★★★ (SPOILERS) This is the sequel to The Alchemists of Loom which I LOVED and reviewed last year. In this sequel, the world expands, secrets are revealed and the stakes get intense! I really liked getting to know Florence better and watching her grow and gain purpose. Arianna and Cvareh didn’t develop as much as I would have liked as individuals, and Arianna even irritated me at times. (If you don’t want to be in a relationship fine but don’t be an asshole) I really need the final book Rebels of Gold to know how it all plays out!
Alex and Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz (Overdrive) ★★★ I borrowed this on a whim and basically knowing nothing about Hamilton (I know, what rock have I been living under) I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Having said that it was an enjoyable if predictable read. The narrator did an excellent job bringing the characters to life.
A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir (Owned) ★★★★ I had greatly forgotten my love of these characters. In fact, I should have reread An Ember In The Ashes First but regardless I ate this up like ice cream. It was so good! By the end, everyone is in a role they weren’t expecting and now I have no idea what to expect in book 3! Sabaa Tahir is proving to be a really talented writer. (And also the greatest to follow on Instagram)
A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab (Owned) ★★★★★ OMG that ending! I loved Lila as a pirate and the Games but I was not prepared for that ending. Schwab is officially a new all-time favorite author of mine and I want to read everything she’s written.
It’s been likened to Harry Potter which is a nearly impossible pair of boots to fill. Before I knew that though, the cover gave me HP vibes while the synopsis set it apart. I have a really good feeling about this one and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I recently took part in Raincoast Books Winter/Spring Preview event. At the event was special guest Lianne Oelke. I hadn’t really heard of her or her book before that day but wow, she blew me away. She described the series of events that lead to her writing Nice Try, Jane Sinner as well as the process of getting it published. Everything she said felt like it was plucked from my own thoughts! It really resonated with me. Without hesitation, I will be buying this one on release day.
In Other News
I started school, I guess is my biggest news. I’m doing some upgrading to qualify for college next fall and so far it’s going really well. I’m surprisingly really enjoying math, no one is more surprised about that than me.
My son and I have been enjoying the fall weather, walking lots and frequenting the library more often. We recently fell in love with If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle, and if you have a toddler in your life I highly recommend it. Then we both got sick and spent a lot of time just watching movies and reaching for tissues.
Most of my free time was taken up by school and homework so I didn’t do anything exciting in September. I did, however, participate in Raincoast Books, Winter/Spring Preview Event and it was a blast! I have participated in three events like these and this was the best yet. There are so many incredible and diverse books coming out in the next six months and I really enjoyed the guest speaker Lianne Oelkle as well. Definitely look for my blog post recapping the whole event later this week.
Coming Up Next For Review
What was the best book you read in September? Let me know down in the comments!