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!

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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: Marissa Meyer “Heartless”

22014888_1813520375344712_1765749739_nTitle: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Before I begin this review, let me just say that if you’re looking for a story where all the characters live happily ever after, you should pick up something different.

I mean, come on. The book is called Heartless; what does that tell you? It’s a story about Wonderland before the Queen of Hearts began her reign. This is literally her origin story. In what universe does she get a happy ending? I wish I could say this one, but I can’t.

Summary:

The book begins with our main character, Lady Catherine Pinkerton, in the place she loves the most: the kitchen. She loves to bake and loves to make people happy with her delicious confections. It’s widely known that hers are the best goods in all of Hearts, and she hopes to open her own bakery.

Unfortunately, she runs into a bit of trouble.

It seems that she has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, an older, shorter, very silly man. When Catherine learns that he intends to make her his bride, she’s not the least bit thrilled. When Catherine meets the handsome court joker, Jest, she’s given even more reason to detest the King and her parents for pushing her into a marriage that she doesn’t want. She feels pressured to live a life that she knows could never make her happy, and when she begs her parents to consider the alternative, they insist that a lady has no place in business, or in the kitchen.

My thoughts: 

It’s obvious that Marissa Meyer has a talent for fairytale retellings, based on both this and her Lunar Chronicles series. Even though she’s pulling from a world that has already been created, she describes it beautifully, and she’s so clever and creative with her references. It was very interesting to see her interpretation of both the Queen of Hearts, who was not yet queen and not yet evil, and the Mad Hatter, who was not yet mad.

I will admit that the story is frustrating. Catherine’s parents are restricting and she’s so limited, given the era and how women were treated at the time. It seems they don’t have much of a say in their own lives, whether you are a lady or a maid. It’s incredibly disheartening to see Catherine’s simple dream being waved off as silly. I want to say that her parents had her best interests at heart, but did they really? Were they really so unaware?

Still, as easy as it was to sympathize with our main character, I can’t say I actually liked Catherine. She never did anything particularly noteworthy or honorable. She let her parents and everyone else push her around. Jest, the joker that she falls in love with, however, was a perfectly lovable character. He was mysterious and interesting and charming and so much fun to read. He definitely made the reading experience easier, but somehow also harder, considering his fate couldn’t possibly be a good one.

The ending was rather predictable. I’m sure that by reading the summary, most people could tell you how the story ends based on that, regardless of the fact that we know how that Queen of Hearts turns out. Still, the final sentence gave me chills, and I still must commend Marissa Meyer for her lovely work. She definitely knows how to write a villain (I still get the creeps just thinking about Fairest.)

Feel free to answer the discussion question in the comments; there are no right or wrong answers. Have a good day, book people.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?