Bookending Autumn 2019 #1 // Sweater Weather

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Bookending Autumn is a quarterly event, running under the umbrella term “Bookend Events," aspiring to bring the book blogging community closer together! Bookending Autumn has a theme of fall/autumn and all things Halloween, but you DO NOT need to stick to this theme at all!

If you're curious about this event, here is a link to the announcement post.

The theme for the first day of Bookending Autumn is Sweater Weather!

The most basic of prompts for Day 1! It’s officially sweater weather, so break out those cardigans from the back of your closet. Name some books that make you feel warm and cozy, like a nice sweater in the fall.

I'm probably thinking too hard about this, but I don't know what a warm and cozy feeling from a book is so I am just picking books that give me a warm and FUZZY feeling. Which is basically just another way to say I'm listing some books that are my favorites in some way!


Well Met by Jen DeLuca

At the point of writing this post, Well Met was the most recent book that I read and I absolutely ADORED it. I'm not sure why exactly I loved it so much, but I did. It is definitely my favorite romance novel (let's just ignore the fact that I haven't read very many, hahahaha). I would die for Simon Graham.


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

If we're going by books that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, can I really NOT include The Darkest Minds? My favorite book and series ever? I mean, at this point, it can probably just go without saying, but if I can convince someone new to my blog to read this series, the repetitiveness is worth it. :)


Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium is the book that got me to be an avid reader. It's the first series I ever remember going hard on and binging like a boss. I was ready to leave my house at 2 am to go to Walmart to buy Pandemonium after binging this book. Requiem was the first book I ever preordered. It arrived a day early and I binged that one as fast as I could so I could say that I read it before the rest of the plebs could. It's the first time I ever remember being SO disappointed by the end of a series and the series that made me realize that I hate open endings. But I love it. I kinda want to do a reread of this series, but I'm terrified that I won't like it as much.


A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I am including this one because Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite Disney movie and I think that this book is probably my favorite retelling of it. Which is funny because when I picked it up, I really didn't think I was actually going to like it. I am SO ready for A Heart So Fierce and Broken! 


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time by Akira Himekawa

This year I have really gotten into reading mangas, so I think it would be fitting to include a manga! And The Legend of Zelda is my all time favorite game franchise (and almost the only game franchise I even bother to play). AND before Breath of the Wild came out, Ocarina of Time was my favorite Zelda game so this particular manga was really fitting to include in this list. If you know the storyline of any of the games that have a manga, you really won't get a whole lot of new information from this, but the mangas give Link a personality, which I loved.

But I will THROW my money at Akira Himekawa if she ever comes out with a Breath of the Wild manga series. That game is my jam.

What are some books that make you feel warm and cozy like a fuzzy fall sweater?

Review // Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Friday, September 20, 2019


Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336

Summary (from Goodreads):

All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.


That's it, that's the review.

But if you wanted a little bit more than that, I loved this book. I loved the Ren Faire setting. I loved the characters. I loved the enemies-to-lovers romance. I loved that I actually read a book where I can swoon over Simon Graham aka Captain Ian Blackthorne and I'm not cradle robber. I want to read this book for the first time all over again.

This book follows Emily, who I thoroughly enjoyed as a main character. Her life is pretty much in complete upheaval after her breakup with her long time, rising attorney boyfriend and losing her apartment. So the timing is perfect, however unfortunate it might be, when she has to move in to her sister's guest room and take care of things for her while she heals from her nasty car accident. Running errands and carting her niece around gives her a purpose while she figures out what she wants to do with her life now.

On top of that, she has to volunteer for the school's Renaissance Faire as her niece's chaperone so that she can participate. And that's how she meets Simon, who she gets off on the wrong foot with almost immediately. The Ren Faire is his life and he doesn't care for Emily's lighthearted and less serious approach to it.

Simon, as a love interest, I adored. He took over the organization of the Ren Faire after the death of his brother, who started it. He is a stickler for the rules and making sure everything is perfectly the way his brother had it. But when the actual Ren Faire rolls around, in character, he is a lot more fun, flirty, care-free, etc. And then you get to see another side of him when him and Emily finally get to know and LIKE each other. I don't know what to say, Simon was just...


I liked the enemies-to-lovers romance. Real life Simon is not Emily's favorite person, but when she meets Captain Ian Blackthorne, she can't believe they're the same person and it makes her start to get more curious about the man behind the persona. And I loved it.

Besides the romance, Emily is also forming lots of other relationships in this new, small town. Her sister is 12 years older than her so they've never really been close. As Emily puts it, by the time she was starting to get 'interesting', her sister was off to college. So in this arrangement they have going on, she's finally getting to have a relationship with her sister. And by being her chauffeur, she is able to get closer to her niece who is only around ten years younger than she is.

Besides familial relationships, she is also forming friendships with the rest of the Ren Faire volunteers, particularly her fellow tavern wench, Stacey, and the attractive coach-in-a-kilt, Mitch.

Before long, she starts to consider that after she's done helping her sister, maybe she could stay and make a life in Willow Creek.

If I was going to complain about anything, it would be how quickly Emily just jumps to the worst possible conclusions about things without talking to people first. There is one big thing in particular that I'm thinking of where she jumps to the worst conclusion about something that is going on when she has literally not a single, solitary shred of evidence or real reason to believe that worst thing. It was a little bit annoying. But that just can't damper my enchantment with this novel.

Overall, this book was so so so good. Everything about it was just *chef's kiss*. I would highly recommend this book if anything I've said sounds like it could remotely be up your alley. I'm not entirely sure what exactly stood out to me so much to make me feel so strongly about it, but I am here for this book.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review // The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Friday, September 13, 2019


The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray #1
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368

Summary (from Goodreads):

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

Four Paths is a small town in a woodsy part of New York that was founded by four families in the 1800's and who's descendants are now responsible for keeping the rest of the town safe from the Beast with different powers that are passed down through each founder family.

Recently, the town has been experiencing an influx of deaths caused by the Beast and the town is starting to become disenchanted with the founders and question what exactly they're doing to keep everyone safe because it certainly doesn't seem to be working. 

This book mainly follows four characters, one from each family.

Violet Saunders has just moved to Four Paths, her mother's hometown, after the death of her sister, Rosie. She is thrown into this whole founder family thing and has to figure it out without the help of her mother, who seems to have no idea what's going on. I liked Violet, but I felt like she just accepted literally everything anyone told her at face value. 

Justin Hawthorne is basically the town's golden boy. He is popular, athletic, the son of the town's sheriff. He basically spends the whole book trying to help everyone and make up for his past wrongdoings. He is also SUPER "woe-is-me" throughout the book about everything.

Isaac Sullivan was probably my favorite character. He's kind of like the destructive, bad boy one in the group. He's probably the one with the most interesting (read: sad) past and the one that I am the most curious about in the future of this series. I want all the good things for Isaac Sullivan.

Harper Carlisle is the outcast of the group, having been shunned after failing her ritual and losing her arm. She is angry, and rightfully so, but it didn't feel like there was all that much to her beyond her anger and her basically hating that she still wants Justin Hawthorne after everything he put her through.

Overall, I liked the characters, I just wish that there was more to some of them. But I liked seeing how they all came to be friends or at least tolerate each other after Violet came to town.

I would have liked to know more about the Beast and where it came from. You don't even really get to know what the Beast even IS in this book and I feel like it raises some questions about who is really the bad guy in the grand scheme of things in this town. So, interesting, would like to know more.

There really wasn't a lot of romance in this book. There are no pairings by the end of the book. But there are some feelings brewing and I liked one of the pairs more than the other, but for a book with so many characters that are bisexual, there don't seem to be any main m/m or f/f pairings in the works, which is a little bit disappointing.

I have not seen Stranger Things, but I feel like the Raven Cycle series is an adequate comparison, it has a similar vibe, but maybe doesn't feel QUITE as atmospheric or eerie.

I enjoyed this book for the most part but, I felt like some of the writing wasn't my favorite. Some of the pacing was a bit off for me. Like for example, one minute, Violet was leaving her house with her aunt sitting on the porch with her cat, Orpheus, and then it felt like the next minute, Violet was in the woods and Orpheus was already there.

And the other thing for me was each character being explicitly described by their skin color. Besides the fact that this felt unnecessary because I only remember one small character being black, there are only so many points of view I needed to know that one character was white from. I am pretty sure there were at least two points of view that we first saw Violet from and they both said something along the lines of "there was a white girl standing there". I'm not saying trying to say that this is a bad thing, it's definitely not. I'm just saying that there are probably more ways you can describe a person besides JUST black and white. Which, later in the book this did get slightly better, but it was really prevalent in the beginning.

And I just want to know how a cat that seems to be fairly active can spend the entire book with a piece of red yarn tied around his ear? Like, it's adorable, but it just kinda... sounds fake.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was interesting and I am pretty sure that I would die for Isaac Sullivan. If you liked the Raven Cycle series, this is definitely worth a try. I am excited to see where this series goes.

Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it?

Waiting on Wednesday // The Deep by Alma Katsu

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


The Deep by Alma Katsu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 432

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the acclaimed and award-winning author of The Hunger comes an eerie, psychological twist on one of the world's most renowned tragedies, the sinking of the Titanic and the ill-fated sail of its sister ship, the Britannic.

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the Titanic from the moment they set sail. The Titanic's passengers expected to enjoy an experience befitting the much-heralded ship's maiden voyage, but instead, amid mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, find themselves in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone. While some of the guests and crew shrug off strange occurrences, several--including maid Annie Hebbley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim--are convinced there's something more sinister going on. And then disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together by going to work as a nurse on the sixth sailing of the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship to support British forces fighting World War I. When she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier, she is at first thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the tragic night four years earlier. But soon his presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past--as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

Featuring an ensemble cast of characters and effortlessly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom.

What books are you looking forward to this week?

What I've Read Recently // #3

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Hello everyone! I am back with another update of what I have been reading since I last updated you on what I have been reading!

I am so proud of myself, not gonna lie. I have never hit one of my Goodreads goals before, but I think this might be the year! Honestly, there are two books on this list that I counted as three because they contain three different volumes that could all be counted individually on Goodreads, but whatever gets me from point A to point B, right?

Also, I am currently 11 books ahead of schedule! I am at 46/52 at the moment and I definitely think that I can read 6 books in four months. Readathons and not requesting books from Netgalley have been the most productive things for my reading lately.

Anyway, let's get on with what I have been reading recently.

          

1. Hollow Fields by Madeleine Rosca

This is one of those books that is actually a bind up of all three volumes that I counted individually on Goodreads. It's about a girl who is on her way to start school and accidentally ends up at the wrong one and is stuck going to a school for evil geniuses and mad scientists where each week the student with the lowest scores is sent to detention and never seen again. It was pretty interesting.

My boyfriend picked this one up from a rummage sale for me. He has come such a very long way from buying huge boxes full of books indiscriminately for me just because, "They're books! You like books!"

2. What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss

This used to be my mom's favorite Dr. Seuss book to read to my sister and I. And I stumbled across a glow-in-the-dark version? Yes, please! I picked this one up one day and read it out loud to my boyfriend so that he could say he consumed one whole book this year.


This was the first book I read for the NEWTs this year. I listened to this one as an audiobook and I kind of wish that I would have read it physically, I don't think I dedicated enough concentration to this book and didn't really like it, but also didn't really DISlike it. I don't really know what to think of it, but I think I might reread it physically if the general consensus for the rest of the series is good.

          


I was sent an ARC of The Bone Houses and I was SO excited! Welsh mythology + undead goat sidekick + reanimated corpses = 5 stars from me! If you think that sounds like fun, I would highly recommend you check this one out!


This one, unfortunately, was a miss for me. I literally couldn't bring myself to care about anyone or anything happening in this book. I think my main problem with this book could have been the writing style, but overall, I just didn't enjoy it. It wasn't my idea of a good time.

6. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

I listened to Ash Princess for the NEWTs as well. I got the audiobook shortly after the book came out because I actually got an eARC that I never got around to reading and I felt bad. But relatively recently the author has said some things on Twitter that I didn't really like and I don't know that I really want to support that so I probably won't go out of my way to review this one. I liked it. I really like the trope of a queen reclaiming her rightful throne. But this book isn't anything particularly revolutionary or unique. If I can manage to acquire the rest of the series without buying it, I might read it, but I'm probably not going to go out of my way to do so.

          

7. Saga vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I was kinda scared when I picked this one up that I wouldn't really like it because Monstress didn't really work for me and I irrationally decided that it was because it was a graphic novel. Because clearly one graphic novel (my first!) not working for me, meant none ever would. I just couldn't really follow Monstress and nothing stuck in my head. But I didn't have that problem with Saga. It was a lot easier to follow for me. I think it was because the artwork wasn't as busy.

8. Saga vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

9. Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda

I have had this manga for so long and finally got around to reading it as my last necessary book for the NEWTs. I enjoyed it, but I feel like it wasn't super exciting. I liked the characters and things didn't go the way I was expecting them to in like.. any part of it. But overall, not the most exciting story I've read recently.

     

10. Kiss of the Rose Princess by Aya Shouoto

I could NOT follow what was happening in this manga at all, the artwork was FAR too busy for me and it definitely affected my enjoyment of it. I kinda knew what was going on from the dialogue, but there was just too much going on for me otherwise. It's probably not that bad and I'm probably just being a baby, but probably my least favorite manga I've read.

11. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I really enjoyed this one. It is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale. I've never heard that tale before, but it might mean something to you. I have seen this book described as a horror fantasy, but paranormal mystery/thriller feels more accurate. But it was a solid start to my spooky season reading.

I would say that The Bone Houses, House of Salt and Sorrows, and then Saga were probably my favorite recent reads, with Kiss of the Rose Princess and Wilder Girls being my least favorite.

Have you read any of these lately? What has been your favorite read lately?

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan