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.

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BOOK REVIEW: Ashley Poston “Heart of Iron”

35422236Title: Heart of Iron

Author: Ashley Poston

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Ashley Poston, author of Geekerella, takes us on a science fiction adventure described as Anastasia-meets-Firefly (two of my favorite things). Ana is desperate to fix her best friend/robot/secret love of her life but is missing an essential piece; a piece she is willing to do dangerous things for.

Robb, meanwhile, is going in the same direction, but for very different reasons. He’s trying to find his father who went missing 7 years ago. Ana and Robb’s paths cross on their way to the Tsarina where they hope to find what they’re looking for. Instead, they become fugitives on the run from the empire and are forced to work together.

My thoughts:

This was rough.

Ashley Poston is an amazing person. I loved Geekerella more than words can say, and learning that Heart of Iron was being pitched as an Anastasia retelling made me happier than words can say. Anastasia has been a long-running obsession in my lifetime and there are very few movies/conspiracy theories that I love more.

Anastasia in space? Sign me up. Anastasia meets Firefly? Cue the tears.

Yet this was not at all what I thought it was going to be. And I can’t decide if it’s more mine or Poston’s fault.

I don’t want to say that the book was bad, because it wasn’t. And just because it wasn’t what I expected doesn’t mean that some other Anastasia-loving reader wouldn’t enjoy this. Unfortunately for me, this book just missed the magic of the original Anastasia story, and this made me incredibly sad.

And it sucks, guys, because I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. There’s no one on the planet who was more excited for this book release. It was just missing something.

I tried desperately to find Dimitri in the midst of this star-studded story, yet only found myself confused and conflicted by the human/robot romance. The secondary characters were a fresh inclusion, but the instalove was real and the character development almost nonexistent.

As for the relationship between Ana and her grandmother, I found that to be one of the most beautiful parts of the original story: the family reunion. Yet here, the Grand Duchess was cold and ignorant and insensitive to Ana’s past and there was no heartwarming coming-together.

Ana was revealed to be the lost princess about halfway through the book, which is fine I suppose. Well, it would have been. Yet after we discover Ana’s surprising heritage, it seemed like the rest of the story fell apart.

I struggled hard with this story. I didn’t want to compare it too much with the original Anastasia movie, especially once I realized that Poston’s retelling was much looser than I had anticipated. Yet even after I chose to ignore all the things that I felt didn’t quite meet the mark, the basic story itself seemed weak.

Overall, I wanted so badly to enjoy this book, and I will still continue with the series. However, it definitely wasn’t what I hoped it would be, and the end result fell short.

 

Ashley Poston: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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?

BOOK REVIEW: Ashley Poston “Geekerella”

81uGB-QT1hLTitle: Geekerella

Author: Ashley Poston

Genre: Contemporary/Fairytale Retelling

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

In this retelling of Cinderella, our heroine trades her ball gown for a cosplay, her fairy godmother for a green-haired girl who drives a vegan pumpkin truck, and her prince for the lead actor in the reboot of her favorite science fiction TV series.

Elle wants nothing more than to get away from her stepmother and stepsisters; but for now, she’s trapped, her only solace found in watching reruns of Starfield. That is, until the opportunity to enter a cosplay competition at a local convention presents itself; the prize: her ticket out of there.

Meanwhile, Darien Freeman is set to play the lead in the new Starfield reboot, and he has some big shoes to fill and some impossible fans to impress. He’s overwhelmed, overworked, and all he wants is an Orange Crush and to live a normal life.

In a series of strange, coincidental events, Elle and Darien connect via text message and find friendship and understanding in each other. Neither knows who the other is, but it doesn’t stop them from developing feelings that are a little more than of friends. So begins another Cinderella story…

My Thoughts:

We all know the story, and we’ve seen countless Cinderella retellings throughout the years. Yet Geekerella still manages to be fresh, and it easily captures the magic and wonder of one of our favorite characters.

I could just hug this book for how sweet and adorable and wonderful it was. The fandom references were on point, and altogether, this was such a fun ride. The writing was solid, the characters were believable, and the story was heartwarming. The evil stepmother was somewhat humanized in this, albeit still evil. The mean stepsisters were appropriately snooty, but with a delicious twist toward the end. The friendship that slowly blossoms between Elle and Sage, her coworker at the magic pumpkin, is just precious. And the romance that develops between her and Darien, our famous actor prince, is realistic and very swoon-worthy.

One thing I appreciated was that the “prince” was more than that in this retelling. The thing I wish of the original stories sometimes is that we could hear more about him and his life, and here, we get that.

All in all, was it predictable? Yes. Did this keep me from being thoroughly entertained? Definitely not. I want this book to turn into a person so that I can hug it and be friends with it. It feels familiar and homey and just all the good feelings, okay?

Ashley Poston: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads