Rip It or Ship It!

Goooood morning and welcome to the newest segment on my blog: Rip it, or ship it! I’ve never done this before, so I’m really excited! I asked for submissions on my Instagram page a few weeks ago, and now I’m writing my post. First up, Kylo Ren and Rey.

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Kylo Ren & Rey (Star Wars)

So I’ll be up front and say that I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan; however, I do know and have seen enough to be able to rip or ship Kylo and Rey. That’s a total ship from me! I am a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope and these two are as swoony as they come.

Jacob & Bella (Twilight)

Jacob-Bella-Kiss

Honestly, ship it. I was never a huge fan of Edward and I think Bella would have been just as happy with Jacob. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Twilight anyway; I tend to watch the movies just to make fun of them anyway. But Robert Pattinson has got nothing on Taylor Lautner. Like I’m sorry, there’s no competition for me.

Chuck & Blair (Gossip Girl)

CHUCk-and-blair-happy

Ship. It. I love them so much. Were they a little dysfunctional? Yes, definitely, absolutely, at times. But in the end, they love each other more than 90% of the TV couples out there and I will ship them until the end of days. It got to the point where I only watched Gossip Girl for these two because everyone else sucked.

Lorcan & Cassian (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses)

The person who submitted these two were obviously trying to mess with me, but I’ll humor them. Rip it. Absolutely not. Never in a thousand years. Nope. Also I think Lorcan would murder Cassian; but that’s just my opinion.

Doug & Tracy (Christy Miller series)

Ship it! That one random book where Doug and Christy were dating was really awkward, so I was really glad when Doug and Tracy came to their senses. No photos of these love bird but rest assured, they are precious.

Aelin & Feyre (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses

Y’all are killing me. Le sigh. Something tells me that Feyre may be on board with this match because she’s into strong and sassy, but I don’t think Aelin would be into it. Rip it. 

Kaz & Chaol (Six of Crows and Throne of Glass)

Who even thought to match these two up? I feel like I gotta rip it since it’s kind of difficult to ship anyone with Kaz, particularly a drama queen like Chaol. No disrespect Chaol, but you know it’s true.

Hiccup & Cress (How To Train Your Dragon and The Lunar Chronicles)

This is such a strange pairing, but I could actually see it working. Both are quirky and adorable enough to make me ship it.

Michael Scott & Donna Noble (The Office and Doctor Who)

To the person who submitted this pair (you know who you are)… what is wrong with you? I’m dead. To be honest, I wouldn’t ship anyone with Michael ever, not unless you’re name is Holly Flax. Although it’s hilarious that Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) also played in The Office, although not really alongside Steve Carell. No matter. That’s a big fat rip it from me.

The Darkling & Levana (Shadow and Bone and The Lunar Chronicles)

Huh, this one is actually making me stop and think. Two psychotic characters who have deluded themselves into believing that they’re doing right? I mean, it just might work? Right? I might actually ship it?

John Ambrose McClaren & America Singer (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Selection

While I definitely wish absolute happiness for that precious cinnamon roll John Ambrose, I wouldn’t ship anyone with America Singer because she sucks. Rip it.

Carswell Thorne & Nina Zenik (The Lunar Chronicles and Six of Crows)

This is another one that’s making me stop and think. They’re both strong and sassy characters, but I tend to think that opposites attract. So maybe they’d be too alike? I think I’ll rip it for now. But my mind could be changed.

That’s the last of the submissions! This was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing this again. This may have been more the ravings of a fan girl rather than the intelligent musings of a book lover, but that’s okay sometimes right?

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A Year Full of Beautiful Covers

Listen, I’m not saying I judge books by their covers. I’m just saying, they’re nice to look at, and I’m more inclined to take pictures of them and display them on my shelves and okay maybe I judge books by their covers.

It’s just so hard not to when the books coming out are so dang pretty, and this year’s releases are no exception.

My blog is full of posts talking about books and their contents and reviews of those books. I think I’m entitled to be shallow every once in a while and bask in the beauty of a butt-load of book covers.

So here we go.

51ub94q0GWL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Even though I may not have loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea, the writing on this cover is so aesthetically pleasing. This combination of colors and pretty fonts is perfect, and I’m just disappointed I couldn’t love the inside as much as I loved the outside.

91JGnozCxiLThere is something so wonderfully ghostly about this paranormal re-imagining of Jane Eyre, My Plain Jane. I also happened to really enjoy this read, even more than I did My Lady Jane! Although I’ve never read Jane Eyre before, it definitely made me want to get into the original! And anything that inspires me to want to read classics is a win in my book.

81PYy9EQs1LWhat’s a pretty cover collection without a Schwab title? So I’m mad that this cover isn’t available in the US and I ended up with the blue-ish cover, but I can still admire this beauty from a distance. *soft crying noises* City of Ghosts was such a fun, adorable read, and it has convinced me that Victoria Schwab can literally write anything. Any genre, any age group, anything.

60869Another stunning cover that I think everyone can agree is just jaw-dropping is The Hazel Wood. The gold and silver embossing on this book is to die for; if I hadn’t actually enjoyed this read, I still would have kept it on my shelf just because. This one has such opposing reviews online, but thankfully I found it inventive and haunting and I can’t wait to read the next one!

the-wicked-deep-9781481497343_hrThe Wicked Deep is another obvious one for me, especially for the naked hardcover on the first edition and the beautiful night sky. *heart eyes* Such a lovely, atmospheric read, with writing just as pretty as the cover. I can’t wait to reread this next year around Halloween!

34499221I’ll indulge myself one moment longer and share the cover of To Kill a Kingdom, this beautiful Little Mermaid retelling. I absolutely loved this read, and it gave me hope that retellings aren’t completely hopeless! That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them, but lately they’ve become a little repetitive. To Kill a Kingdom was inventive and unique while still remaining true to the source material.

Thank you for sticking around for my book fashion show. I promise I’ll go back to intelligent musings and discussions after this, but come on. You have to admit. They’re so pretty.

Finally Fall Book Tag

wide angle photo of road

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

It’s fall! … but it doesn’t feel like it for me, sadly. I live in Hawaii, which in retrospect is amazing and I know I’m unbelievably lucky to be here. Still, I do miss the temperature getting below 70 degrees and being able to wear sweaters and scarves without getting funny looks (because yes, I do still try to get away with it).

But it’s still fall in my brain, so by golly I’m gonna do this tag.

51bIN6SUb1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Crisp Fall Air – a book that felt fresh and new

It took me way too long to come up with a single book that this applied to, which I suppose is a good thing! This means I’ve read lots of unique, amazing books so far this year. There were many contenders, but the title I decided on was Bird Box by Josh Malerman. This was such a great read and gave me hope that the thriller genre isn’t dead yet. It’s been such a struggle for me to connect with this genre lately, which is a shame because I love thrillers! They’ve just become so bland and predictable lately, and Bird Box breathed life into me again. Read my full review here.

9781250095312Howling Winds – an ending that blew you away

This one was also a close call, between Legendary and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing; and Legendary wins over by just a fraction. The whole book was a wild ride, and the reader was always thinking: Who is Legend? I loved the big reveal, but that cliffhanger was rough. Tella became a new favorite character and I found that I enjoyed this installment even more than I loved Caraval, the first book. Read my full review here.

81Csb1x-vSLComfy Sweaters – a book that gave you the warm fuzzies

So Love and Other Words may be a strange choice because this broke my heart, but it was also undeniably sweet. There’s nothing quite like a childhood love blossoming into adulthood, but this one had angst and tragedy as well. I felt about every emotion on the spectrum during this read, but ultimately, my heart grew and felt warm in the end.

411h5t91y4LBright Colors – a cover with either red, orange or yellow

I chose the first book I came across that applied and ended up with Vicious, a read from October. This book was positively villainous and I can’t wait to read Vengeance soon!

9781619636118Leaf Fight – a book with nonstop action

There was no question what book I would choose for this: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. This final installment in the Throne of Glass series was chock-full of action and battle sequences that forced me to keep reading long into the night. Seriously, I stayed up until 4 am to finish this. It was worth it. Read my full review here.

KingofscarsPumpkin Spice – your most anticipated read

This was another obvious one for me; Leigh Bardugo is at the top of my list of auto-buy authors, and Nikolai is my sweet little cinnamon roll. Of course King of Scars is my most anticipated read. I could not be more excited for Nikolai’s spin-off books and I’m ready to just eat this up.

Thank you for joining me today! If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged!

‘Tis the Season for Fantasy, Thrillers, and Cheesy Holiday Rom-Coms!

Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! Am I one of those people? You bet I am. I love Christmas, and if it were even remotely acceptable to start celebrating in October, you bet I’d do that, too. But alas, I suppose two months of Christmas will have to be enough.

close up of christmas decoration hanging on tree

Photo by Gary Spears on Pexels.com

So it’s that time of year: the time to rewatch Harry Potter, Home Alone, The Grinch, and all the corny Hallmark Christmas movies. It’s also the perfect time to read all the thrillers, all the dark, atmospheric fantasy reads, and any wintery romance.

Of course, fantasies and thrillers are great to read any time of year, but isn’t it just so much nicer during the holidays? You can cuddle up in a warm fuzzy blanket, light a Christmas-y candle and read.

I say this like it actually gets cold where I am. Here in Hawaii, it doesn’t get below 70 degrees, so if I want to do any burrowing, I have to crank up the AC. But still!

51N8TdfrZ6LSo let’s talk about some of the books I’m planning on reading this holiday season! The first one is so obviously Christmas: My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of 12 short stories all set during the holidays. This will be perfect to read in the days leading up to holiday; I can read one story for each of the 12 days of Christmas! I’m especially excited to read the stories by Holly Black, Jenny Han, and Stephanie Perkins, who is actually the one author who edited and put the stories together.

9781492656623Next, I plan to read Furyborn, a fantasy from Claire Legrand about two women one thousand years apart. From what I hear, it’s full of magic and action, and it sounds like the perfect book to curl up with and read with a cup of hot chocolate. Several of my friends have already read this and said amazing things about this, plus I’m excited to read Sawkill Girls by the same author!

9781101985380_p0_v2_s550x406Final Girls by Riley Sager has been on my TBR ever since it came out, and I can just see myself huddling deeper under my covers and cuddling with my husband while I read this, scared out of my mind. This is about a group of women who are the lone survivors are horror movie-like situations. I’ve been interested in this story since the moment I first heard the synopsis, so I’m pumped to finally dig into this in the next few months! Maybe not the spirit of Christmas but the perfect book to keep you company during the winter months.

9780142412145Another very obvious choice is Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. This is three different stories about a snowstorm in a town called Gracetown by three different authors. It sounds like the perfect formula for a cozy, adorable read that’s going to make my heart burst with happiness and Christmas cheer. Bring on the cheese, John Green! I’m ready!

815D5sneiNLThe last title I’m going to include in this collection is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This looks like the absolute perfect novel to get me through the cold nights of the AC blowing on my face… wait. Disregard. It will still be perfect magical read for the season!

I’d love to know what you lovely people will be reading during the holidays! Let me know in the comments below so that I can add those titles to my TBR!

March Wrap-Up

Hey, y’all! I know it’s a little late for a wrap-up, but better now than never, right? I read a total of 15 books in the month of March, and only one of those was a DNF! I’m trying to be better about the books that I leave unfinished, especially since it’s difficult and also frowned upon to review unfinished books. However, it’s also my philosophy that life is too short to read books that you’re not enjoying, so why waste your time? Thankfully, the books I read this month were mostly good!

9781616959555The first book I started and the only book that I did not finish was Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. I wanted to like this book and I was hoping that it would be more moving and meaningful for me, but the only thing I was feeling was the weird, cringey romances. I couldn’t even see anything beyond the awkward love triangle that the main character found herself in. So unfortunately, a potentially important story was ruined by bad teen romance.

51oGTLiumOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso was sent to me by Smith Publicity and was my second read in March. This was pitched as a Romeo & Juliet reimagining and while I was thrown by the lack of Shakespeare parallels, this is still a lovely story for those who enjoy diverse characters, multiple POVs, love, loss and friendship.

513hgSybYgL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Next up, in preparation for the movie that came out earlier this month, I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This was a strange but sweet little book that I’m glad to finally have completed, and was also glad to have been able to see the film. It was well-made and surprisingly heartfelt. Sadly though, I don’t think I liked this enough to continue the series unless someone convinces me otherwise.

35422236The biggest disappointment so far this year had to be Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. This was pitched as an Anastasia retelling which is basically all you have to do to get me to buy something: slap Anastasia on it. I’m obsessed with anything related to Anastasia and this book ripped my heart out, man. It was just so bad. Absolutely no traces of the original Anastasia; just a lost princess story with a weird robot romance. No freaking thank you.

11410430Guilty pleasure time: Defiance by C. J. Redwine was, objectively, horrible. It’s full of plot holes and was honestly sort of ridiculous, but I had so much fun reading it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to read the next two books. They’re definitely on my immediate TBR because I’m stupid and want to lose more brain cells? I don’t know, but I’m so ready for more.

51FueHjFskL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Next one was a random read: Pitching for Success by Doug Coates. I won this random little book in a Goodreads giveaway, and when I say little I mean tiny. I read the whole thing in about 15 minutes. Still, I wouldn’t have read it otherwise, but I felt I owed it to the author who I won the book from to actually read and review it, so I did. You can check it out on my Goodreads.

914DeALdMcLAnother quick read was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This book was a little too immature for my taste, but I did manage to finish it one less than a day.

Six-of-Crows-CoverDefinitely one of my favorite reads in March was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Technically, I read this book back when it first released, but I’m pretty sure I was in a slump and I forced my way through the book when I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. This time around, though? It was absolutely incredible and I can’t believe I didn’t read it to the fullest extent sooner! Crooked Kingdom is definitely going to be on my immediate TBR, hopefully to be read sometime in April.

51nKCFTyz9LThe Widower’s Wife was read for a book club and I have to say: while the end was semi-satisfying and justice was served in the end, I can’t say I really enjoyed any of the rest of this story. It was predictable and I didn’t think it was written particularly well, either. Disappointing considering the fact that I love mysteries and thrillers, and this didn’t turn out to be either one.

covers_244928For my Throne of Glass series reread, I read Crown of Midnight for the month of March and it was just as incredible as it was the first time. I’ve been surprisingly really enjoying rereading these books and find that I have a newfound appreciation for the earlier installments. Sarah J Maas is a genius and Throne of Glass is an absolutely incredible series.

ready-player-one-book-GalleyCatAnother favorite read this month was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I adored this. The movie definitely did not do this amazing story justice so I’d advise anyone who watched the movie and thought they could skip the book to read the book anyway. I promise you won’t regret it.

17838528Next up was Morgan Matson’s latest: The Unexpected Everything. This book had literally everything going for it… except a likable main character. At least for me, I’m sure there are many people who liked Andie, but me? I couldn’t relate to her on any level; not the decisions she made or the things she said or the lies she told, none of it. The book had tons of potential otherwise, and in the end, still a great Matson read.

33643994Another slight disappointment this month was Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levensellar. This book had all the potential: snarky, strong female character, swoony love interest, interesting magical elements. Unfortunately, I felt the book was incredibly repetitive and Alosa spent most of the book doing the exact same things. It wasn’t until the last 75 pages or so that things got interesting, but by then I was so ready to be done that I couldn’t bother to care. Still, I’m definitely planning to read the sequel because I have hopes that it will be better than the first book.

academy-coverAlso, finally trying to continue the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events! I’m absolutely loving the Netflix show which is inspiring me to want to read the rest of this series, which I started years ago and never finished. So I read The Austere Academy which was appropriately frustrating, unfortunate and dark. I’m longing for a day when the Baudelaires finally get a happy ending.

9780812988079And finally, the last book read in March: Slade House by David Mitchell. This was a haunted house/ghost story that put off some very nostalgic vibes for me, reminding me of some of the scary stories my grandpa used to tell me. I mean, my grandpa’s stories were better, but it’s the feels that count. This book was strange and creepy, and while it had some good writing, I never felt fully connected or invested in the story.

And that’s that, folks! I’m pretty proud of all I read this month and I’m happy with the progress I’m making on my Goodreads reading goal. At this rate, I should definitely be hitting my 100-book reading goal for the year 2018.

How are y’all doing on your reading goals? Let me know in the comments, and let me know if you’ve read any of the books I listed in my wrap-up! Aloha.

February 2018 Wrap-Up

Well lookie there, it’s the end of February already! I haven’t written a wrap-up post in quite a while but I suppose now is as good a time as any to remedy that. Unfortunately, if I go on about every book I read in February, I would be here a while: I read a total of 20 books!

Now, I’ve had quite a bit of time on my hands lately so this makes sense. I’ve only just recently started school but even that isn’t taking up too much of my time. My husband is going to be leaving for 4 months in March (he’s military so he’s going on a mission), which means I will be left alone with even more time on my hands. I’m going to knock this 100-book reading goal out in no time.

untitledFirst book I read was Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. This one was so much fun, and a vast improvement on the first DC Icons book by Leigh Bardugo (I’m sorry, queen.) I wrote a full review of this actually, so you can check that out here.

The-ForgettingNext up was a DNF, The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. I don’t typically write full reviews for DNF unless I feel obligated to (an arc copy) or if I feel like there’s a reason for the DNF that needed to be touched on.

I had very high hopes for this book. It had a very intriguing concept and a beautiful cover, but the execution was awful. I was so bored and turned off by the writing that about 20% of the way through, I couldn’t handle it anymore.

TOG-NYT-CoverMy first and only reread of the month of February was Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. This is one of my favorite series and I’m actually rereading one book a month in preparation for the release of the final installment in October of this year! I am so excited for the conclusion of this series but so sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite characters. Seeing as it’s been about 5 years since I read Throne of Glass for the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to reacquaint myself with the story once more.

SerenityTPBCoverAlso this month, I was on quite the graphic novel kick. I found some Firefly comics at my local library and absolutely had to check them out! There were four of them total, two I read in physical form and the other two I found digitally online. I binged the whole dang series this month, which wasn’t difficult since they were all very short. Still, it was a very sentimental read and it made me happy to see some of these characters again. The last book, Leaves on the Wind, was set after the events of Serenity, which was like a stab to the heart but a bandage all at once. If you’re a fan of the TV show Firefly, definitely check these out!

falling-kingdoms-morgan-rhodesContinuing with my Falling Kingdoms binge read, I finished Frozen Tides and Crystal Storm, books four and five in the series. I started this series in January and never reviewed it because I figured I would write a complete series review once I read Immortal Reign next month. I continue to have mixed feelings about the books, of the conclusion that while the story is very interesting, the characters are incredibly flat and I care about literally none of them. Oh, and the insta-love is real.

33784373Hunting Prince Dracula was a book I was excited to read this month but ended up being disappointed by. After the amazingness that was Stalking Jack the Ripper, I was so sure I was going to love the second book but was so wrong. Still, it wasn’t enough to scare me away from the rest of the series. Keep ’em coming, Maniscalco!

71fXyrRrXCLAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour was yet another DNF and a disappointment. Hunting Prince Dracula put me in a terrible slump and I chose a Morgan Matson book to hopefully pull me out of it. Sadly, I discovered that road trip books are not my thing, and this book only sunk me deeper. DNF’d at about the halfway mark.

36986066Worst Case by Beck Anderson is sadly another DNF for the month of February. (Hey, I’ve got a life. And I already make myself miserable, why do I want to force myself to read books that make me miserable, too?) I just wasn’t into the writing style or the characters. Couldn’t bring myself to finish.

25041504After You, the sequel to Me Before You, was picked up on a trial basis. Me Before You made me so angry, but I loved Lou’s character and wanted to see her happy and well. Unfortunately based on the opening chapters, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to like the direction the book took. I wanted to see Lou on a healing journey, not being friendly with Will’s long-lost teenage daughter. No, thank you.

9780349414256-328x480The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was a refreshing read. The romance was fun and the characters were real and this was a great way to get out of a slump. I’m not planning to review this due to some mature content that I skipped through (I’m not a fan of the smutty stuff, I’m here for the rest of it).

33158561Another book this month was Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. This had a very interesting concept but was altogether much too slow for me to handle. I’m a fan of much more fast-paced story telling, and while the flowery writing was beautiful, it put me to sleep in the end.

coverBizarre Romance was written by Audrey Niffenegger (author of the Time Traveler’s Wife) and was basically the weirdest, creepiest book I’ve ever read in my life. It was a series of short stories, some illustrated by Eddie Campbell, and they were freaking weird, dude. And not a good kind of weird, like a twisted kind of weird. It left me with a gross feeling in the pit of my stomach and ultimately, I left the last three stories unread because I couldn’t take it anymore. I won this ARC in a giveaway so I don’t know if I would have ever picked this up on my own. If you like wacky, out-of-this-world stories that end abruptly and creep you out, check this out.

51irO0dsQDLAnother (slightly less) creepy book I read was the Coraline graphic novel. I never liked this movie as a kid and thought it was way too dark, but I recently read The Graveyard Book, another graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, that I loved. So I figured I’d give this another shot, and if I ended up liking it, I told myself I’d try to watch the movie again now that I’m older. It was still quite creepy but without the Tim Burton vibes, it was much more tolerable. I didn’t enjoy this as much as The Graveyard Book but I’m glad I tried it out.

eliza-and-her-monstersEliza and Her Monsters was one I’ve been pretty excited to read and ended up having mixed feelings about it. I’m planning to review this soon, but I’m still trying to make up my mind about it.

DIG017563_1._SX1280_QL80_TTD_I read two more graphic novel/comics this month, the first being Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader. This was actually and incredibly enjoyable and powerful Batman read which surprised me. I can’t say a whole lot about it, only that if you’re even remotely a DC or Batman fan that you should check it out.

9781250078285And the last book that I completed this month was Gone Rogue, the second volume in the Wire and Nerves graphic novel series. I absolutely loved these books and am so sad to see them end! Iko was such a fun character to get to know better and I’m just so thrilled with the way everything played out and ended. What another lovely installment in the Lunar Chronicles world!

There you have it folks, my ridiculous monthly wrap-up! I can’t wait to see what the rest of you have read in February! Let me know in the comments below. For now, have a great day!

The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year was full of many duds when it came to new releases or even old releases that I finally got around to, but there were a few stand-outs that really caught my attention and became new favorites of mine, the first of which was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

CpH4ANsVUAE5OwOGilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows, and Lorelai is one of my favorite characters. She’s sassy, spunky, quirky, and hilarious, and I hoped that reading Graham’s memoir would make me love the actor who played her. (PS – it did.)

This reading experience was so much fun; Graham’s voice was so clear through her writing, and I can only imagine how wonderful this audiobook must have been. I loved reading about her life and some behind the scenes tidbits from Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and A Year in the Life. This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and really just made my heart so happy.

29772863Next up was a graphic novel by none other than Marissa Meyer, a personal favorite of mine and a staple in the YA book community. That book would be Wires and Nerve, which is a sort of spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles following the adventures of Iko the android. Seeing as Iko was never a favorite character of mine, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading this and how much I now anticipate book two! This was my second experience reading a graphic novel and it has also given me a thirst for more. (PS – if anyone has any recommendations for other good graphic novels, comment below because seriously, I need more.)

DocumentAnother surprise was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. You can read my full review for this book here, but basically this book was incredible. It had everything I ever wanted and checked all of my boxes and was absolutely amazing. There was magic and mystery and action and romance and twists and family drama, and truly I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to buy copies for everyone I know and force them to read this except I don’t have that kind of money, so all I can say is: do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of Caraval.

9781250050748Another book that I loved was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. For some reason, this received a 4 star rating according to my Goodreads, but that may change upon further inspection because really, this book was so incredibly moving. Not only did I relate to the main character, I felt that it was a beautiful story of redemption and growth and moving past the pain of your past. I wrote a full review for this book here, so feel free to check out my complete thoughts on it and then hopefully pick up the book for yourself.

34538054The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is another book that snuck up on me and became a quick favorite. The story was very unique and sucked me in fairly easily, but ended up really tugging on my heart-strings as well. I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional read, although I should have based on other people’s reactions. This was such a special book with such a heart-wrenching ending, but I can see myself rereading this for sure. Definitely check this pick out, and also my original review for it.

29385546Marie Lu’s most recent release definitely made it on the list; Warcross exceeded my expectations. I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype lest it let me down, but this book is well-deserving of the praise. It was cool and modern, with interesting characters, a steamy love interest, and an awesome concept. This book made me want to get sucked into video game culture and participate in this world of virtual reality and technology. Check out my full review for Warcross here.

81uGB-QT1hLGeekerella by Ashley Poston was not a surprise favorite for me. I went into this book 100% certain that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This fairytale retelling of a fangirl Cinderella was adorable, funny, fresh, and such good fun. I wrote a review for Geekerella here, but you can just take my word for it: this retelling is so worth it. You may think that this story has been wrung dry, but I think there are still so many new and special ways to tell this classic tale.

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsThe last favorite of 2017 was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes I have issues with short story collections because typically, there are a few in the batch that aren’t as good as the others. This was not the case with this compilation. Every single story included in The Language of Thorns was exceptional, and I was so pleased with the entire reading experience. The illustrations on every page were stunning, and the stories were all beautiful and unique. Check out my review for this book here, and then buy it for yourself because you know you want to.

This was such an incredible batch of books and I’m so excited for the new stories I’ll be introduced to in the coming year! What are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases?

Favorite TV Shows

I’ve always been a person with a variety of obsessions. Yes, I love books and they’re some of my favorite things on the planet. However. I also quite love books and TV. You could say that I’m a lover of all different forms of entertainment, from literature to film to music to even occasionally theater. I’m no expert in any one area, but I’m a passionate appreciator of the arts. Netflix is a form of art, yes?

So here I shall list in no particular order some of my favorite shows, to take a break from post after post after post about books. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with books; but I’m ready to talk about another one of my favorite things.

Doctor Who

For those who don’t know (really though if you don’t, shame on you), Doctor Who is a Britist show about time travel and space and aliens and love and friendship and silliness and awesomeness. Doctor Who has been around for over 50 years and is a widespread favorite sci-fi show. It’s about an alien from Gallifrey named the Doctor who travels through space and time saving the world in a blue police box that he calls a TARDIS. The Doctor seems to have an affinity for the planet Earth and spends much of his time here. He makes friends along the way and sometimes takes them on his adventures, taking them on as one of his “companions” as they’re called. Sometimes their stories end happily, but more often than not, they’re quite tragic and sad and they make you want to tear your heart out. So… you should watch it.

Sherlock

This here is another BBC show with a whopping 13 episodes and a very impatient fan-base. Created by some of the same producers of Doctor Who, Sherlock takes on a darker tone. It’s an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson set in modern day London where they solve crimes and get into a lot of trouble. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock while Martin Freeman plays Watson, and they are both absolutely brilliant in the roles. Their onscreen interactions are perfect and the show is thrilling and surprising and so much fun. Even though the episodes are each an hour and a half in length, 13 episodes is still quite sad and fans of the show often have to wait 2 years or more for a new season. Still, I think it’s worth it for the quality of the writing, cinematography, all of it.

The Walking Dead

Why would I want to watch a show where everyone dies and characters don’t just have to worry about flesh-eating zombies but also horrible, murderous humans? I dunno. I guess I have a death wish. This show took me some time to get into, I won’t lie. I remember watching episodes from the first few seasons over my mom’s shoulder and cringing/running away whenever a zombie came onscreen. Now I’m basically desensitized to all the head-bashing/stabbing/slashing. It’s a show that I have grown invested in over time because I just want all the characters to be happy, dang it. I want to see the end and see them all living lovely lives and not having to fight/run for the lives at every twist and bend. Do I want to throw myself off a bridge every time the show decides to kill off yet another character that I love? Yes. Do I still keep watching? Ugh, yes.

Jane the Virgin

So when I finish an episode of The Walking Dead, I need to watch an entire season of Jane the Virgin to clear my head of all the blood and guts and fill me with warm feelings. This show is literally happiness. I love every single character and I love the story and everything, just everything. It’s such a sweet program, full of laughter and joy and family and friendship and love. I don’t think I’ve ever taken to a show as fast as I did with Jane, in which I was hooked from the first 10 minutes of the first episode. Please never stop being wonderful.

Parks & Recreation

Yet another show I turn on when I need the happy feelings to filter in. This comedy is filled with so many loveable, charming characters that I will never forget. It’s funny, heartwarming, silly, ridiculous, and amazing. I think I’ve watched this show all the way through at least 4-5 times now? I’m not sorry. Andy Dwyer never fails to cheer me up when I am sad.

Gilmore Girls

Maybe this is super basic, but I don’t even care: Gilmore Girls is a classic. Following Lorelei and Rory Gilmore on their journey and seeing the special mother-daughter bond (and banter) that they have is unlike anything ever captured on television. This show and Stars Hollow and the memorable townspeople and hardships that these Gilmores face is so special, and my love for this show will never die. (Unlike my love for Rory, which died the MOMENT SHE GOT INTO BED WITH DEAN.)

That’s all for now, folks. Tune in next time when maybe I talk about some of my favorite movies?

What are your favorite TV shows? … seriously, I need Netflix recommendations…

Noteworthy Standalones

A struggle that I often find as a reader is standalones vs series. While I enjoy a good series, I hate having to wait for sequels to come out and ultimately, they’re a pain in my butt. I have to make sure they’re all the same editions and they’re either all paperback or all hardcover. I have to worry about covers matching and what they’re going to look like next to each other on my shelves. They’re way too much trouble. And sometimes, I want to read one book that I know is going to wrap up, and that’ll be the end of it. No cliffhangers, no need to wait for the rest of the books to be released; it’s all right there under one cover. It’s beautiful.

9780143567592One of the more popular, and one of my favorites, is by none other than John Green. The Fault in Our Stars has received mixed reviews, but I ultimately really enjoyed this book. John Green is always so quotable, and TFIOS is no exception. It’s a story about a girl who is fighting cancer and a boy who beat it, but also so much more than that. Green doesn’t always focus on the cancer-ness of our characters, but also doesn’t ignore it. It’s a theme, yes, but the love between them is central. The dialogue and characters are spot-on, and the book is has humor, heartbreak, and poignancy all rolled into one.

Siren_BookCoverA pleasant surprise for me was The Siren by Kiera Cass. After reading The Selection, I was so disappointed by the way women were represented in her stories. I hated that I hated every female character in her books, but I read The Siren because regardless, I still eat up her stories.

I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a beautiful, original, interesting story, and the relationships between the female characters was so heartwarming. For once, I didn’t want to choke all the characters in a Cass book! This was such an interesting, lovely read that I’m actually looking forward to picking up again soon.

71LkLmxqgjLThe next book is a popular Rainbow Rowell read: Eleanor & Park. It took me a long time to pick this up because I was skeptical, but I was so glad when I finally did. This was such a good, simple story about two very complex individuals who fall in love. They both have their struggles but they end up bonding over the things that make each other hurt, and I think that’s beautiful. At times, this was a really difficult book to read, and the ending tears my heart out, but I believe that in the end, the story is very rewarding.

1428026872053That’s not the only Rainbow Rowell selection I’m including here today. Next up is Fangirl, one of the cutest books you’ll ever read in your life. This is much more light-hearted compared to Eleanor & Park and has just a very sweet story. You’ll fall in love with every single character, and anyone who’s ever written or read fanfiction should easily relate to Cath, our MC.

16143347Next up is We Were Liars by E Lockhart, which is a mystery with a crazy plot twist at the end. I really loved reading this because while I love to try and predict the ending to these kinds of books, I love to be surprised. This book definitely surprised me, practically blew me away. It’s definitely worth the read, whether you liked the ending or not, and I’d definitely recommend this.

9781250050748One of my more recent reads was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, which I loved. I was surprised by this book as well, but was so happy to have finally read it. This book deals with suicide and thoughts of it in such a great way that I appreciated. I wrote an actual review of this which you can check out here, but ultimately, this book was incredible and heartbreaking and I would definitely recommend it.

The_Book_ThiefThe last standalone I’ll be mentioning today is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is such an important, wonderful, interesting book that I think everyone should read. It’s so cleverly and brilliantly written and completely enjoyable. The narration was spectacular, and basically I can’t think of enough glowing adjectives to describe this book. Definitely a noteworthy standalone.

That’s all for today, folks. Obviously, there are many other wonderful standalones, but that’s for another time and post. I hope that by reading this, you’ve found a new book to add to your TBR list or at least find that you have a few things in common with me. Mahalo!

Hyped Books I Wasn’t Impressed With

We all know the feeling of reading a highly acclaimed novel that just didn’t live up to the hype. It’s disappointing and frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re the only person in the world who didn’t enjoy it and everyone else is giving it raving reviews.

16101128The first book that comes to mind for me is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I remember reading this book and giving it an absolutely scathing review on Goodreads because I was so angry. Rick Yancey is a wonderful writer and The Monstrumologist series is one of my favorites (as you can see here). I had read the first Monstrumologist book before The 5th Wave was released and I was so excited to read more from such an amazing author. I expected gorgeous writing, complex characters and a unique story, and all I got was teen angst and a predictable, unoriginal alien invasion tale. I didn’t like any of the characters and I thought the writing was far inferior to that of his previous works. Now, I since have read The Infinite Sea and thought it was a little better, but that’s only because I lowered my standards. I have yet to read The Last Star and I’m not sure if I ever will.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Script_Book_CoverAnother ridiculously anticipated novel that I thought was garbage is The Cursed Child. This book doesn’t deserve to exist, and that’s me being nice. I loathed this. I’ve read Harry Potter fan fiction that was better than this. No, seriously; way better. The Cursed Child is about Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and his years at Hogwarts… and it spat on everything that the Harry Potter series was about. It made Harry out to be a horrible father, which makes no sense. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have been more understanding of his son. None of the characters were true to the original story. It was a horrible mess and I refuse to accept this as a part of the series. It’s a piece of trash. That is all.

99561I love John Green, don’t get me wrong, but I never really saw the appeal of this book. And maybe that’s just me and I needed to be in a certain place in my life to appreciate the story. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get this. It was slow and boring and I didn’t really like any of the characters. I didn’t really get any deeper meaning it was trying to convey and I didn’t relate to it on any level. It all seemed sort of pointless to me.

City_of_BonesThe next one I feel is a series that everyone I know is in love with, and I just don’t understand it. I can’t stand Cassandra Clare or The Mortal Instruments. Whenever I hear anyone talking about what a great writer Clare is, I almost want to gag. I totally don’t want to offend anyone and I know that this is a well-beloved series. I just can’t see what’s so great about it, and it honestly grossed me out. It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book so the details are fuzzy, but I just remember being very unimpressed with the writing in the book and thinking it was quite subpar.

41rEe4pc3yL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m just going to say it: I thought If I Stay was really unoriginal and I did not see what all the hype was about. I’ve seen/watched so many other things with the same premise that I just wasn’t blown away by this at all. I kept waiting for something new or exciting to happen, but nothing did. However, I read the sequel on a whim and was taken very much surprise by it. I absolutely loved Where She Went. It was heartfelt and emotional and beautiful and I was so blown away. So I guess you could say that ultimately, I’m happy that I read If I Stay because I liked seeing what happened afterwards.

29749085One of the bigger disappointments that I’ve experienced recently has been from Queen Leigh Bardugo, and that was Wonder Woman: Warbringer. You can read my full review for all of my thoughts on this book, but let’s just say I expected so much more. The book was boring and the characters were stale and it felt like a less fun version of a Percy Jackson novel. I was just as excited for this book as the next person; I preordered it and I followed Bardugo’s book tour online and everything, but the book just fell short for me. I know that many people enjoyed it and I’m so glad they did. I wish I could have found that same enjoyment, but alas, I did not.

I realize that everyone has different tastes and preferences, and I totally respect that. Let me know which selections you agreed or disagreed with. Or let me know if there are titles that you yourself were disappointed in that should have been on this list. Mahalo!