Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye 2017
Looking Back

So, I don't know if anyone happened to notice, but I was NOT very active on my blog at all in 2017. I stopped reading. I stopped posting. I stopped blog hopping and commenting... Sorry, guys!

I feel like I have been going through a quarter life crisis all year. I just don't feel like I've been super happy. I'm not motivated to do much of anything.

I am in a funk.

I was pretty pumped that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I could work everyday if I wanted to. And I did because getting out of my house made me happy.

It's sad when you feel like spending your day sifting through boring colored t-shirts at work all day everyday sounds preferable to much of anything else.

But despite the funk I found myself in, 2017 had some ups.

Most importantly...


Breath of the Wild sucked up SO MUCH of my time this past year. Did anybody get the DLC expansion pass? You know that meter that shows you where you have all been on the map for up to 200 hours? Well, my meter is about to be full.


I rediscovered my love of Sailor Moon. I have watched three seasons of the anime and read the first manga! I am excited to watch more of it and read the rest of the manga series!

I don't know why, but I remember hating Sailor Saturn when I watched it in like... elementary/middle school on Toonami. But I really liked her during this go-around. Like to the point that when I found out that there were Funkos of the outer guardians, I decided that I absolutely could not live without a Saturn one. Or Pluto. I don't know why those two were the ones I couldn't bear to live without.


I got to go see Leigh Bardugo on tour in Minnesota! I never made a recap post about this like I wanted to, but here is your photographic evidence that it happened! I don't know if it was a last minute thing or if it was just poorly publicized, but Sarah Ahiers was there too and I didn't know about it. I would have made sure to bring her books along as well!!


I was a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding in October. I had a lot more fun than I expected to, even if the guy I had to walk with had on Tr*mp socks. *shudders*

-I got to visit my mom in Indiana twice. My sister and I flew there in January and hung out and then roadtripped there in August. I'm glad that we got to go twice. Because those were the only two times we got to meet her squishy faced dog. He just died this month from cancer. :(

-I started getting more into anime. I probably could have binged a lot more of it than I have, but I've been telling myself I can't watch more Sailor Moon until I read some books. One weekend when I was home at my dad's, my sister and I binged the entirety of Charlotte (not hard, it took like four hours).

If you are into The Darkest Minds, watch Charlotte. It gives off total TDM vibes.

Check out my like, try, why-esque post about it!

-I participated in the On The Same Page Secret Sister project for the two rounds of 2017. It was so much fun to put together packages for people, I'm definitely going to continue on with that because I think I need the cheer in my life right now.

-I FINALLY got promoted to full time at my job! I also got a raise and I get to do something besides just packing! Also, I made a real life FRIEND at work. Like they used the word "FRIEND" to describe me on more than one occasion! And I get to have health insurance again!!

So basically, while 2017 did suck for the most part, there were definitely some wonderful ups!

Also, in case anyone was wondering what my motto for 2017 was... it was "It could be worse." I found myself saying that A LOT in the last couple months.

Hello 2018!
Looking Ahead

I plan to make 2018 my year. I am going to blog more. I am going to read more. I am going to be generally happier in my everyday life. I am going to make an EFFORT!

I am going to start by rearranging almost my entire house and getting rid of a lot of shit. If it doesn't make me happy, it's gone.

I want to blog hop more, so I am going to join the Commenting 365 challenge hosted by Nori at ReadWriteLove28.

I want to read a lot more of the books I have on my shelf already so I'm going to join the Beat the Backlist and Series a Month challenges and kind of combine them.

I want to FINALLY get 75 books read in one year. So I have to read at least 6.25 books per month. Doable.

For some ungodly reason I want to try out booktube?? Why??? I don't know, but we'll see how that goes.

I want to kind of expand my reading horizons. YA will always be my jam, but I kind of want to read more adult. Like, I want to find books for me. I also want to try out more manga. If you have any good recommendations for me, I would love to hear them!

Here are some things that I am looking forward to in 2018:

-The new special edition paperbacks of The Darkest Minds! Mine have already started shipping, but in such a stupid order. The Darkest Minds is the only one that already shipped. Never Fade is set to arrive on the 5th. In the Afterlight is set to arrive the same day as The Darkest Minds, but it hasn't shipped yet. And then Through the Dark is set to arrive on the 12th.

Like.. What the hell??

-The movie tie-in paperback of The Darkest Minds.

-THE DARKEST LEGACY!!!

-THE DARKEST MINDS MOVIE!!!!!!

-All the pirate/seaworthy YA books that are coming out! Daughter of the Siren Queen, Pacifica, To Kill a Kingdom, These Rebel Waves, The Sea Witch, Whisper of the Tide, ...Seafire?? I think that's one that's coming out later in 2018?? I can't remember, but I think it is. 

          

          

-I think my sister and I are planning to drive to Indiana again in June. And it will be great because her boyfriend is probably going to come with so that will be less driving per person! Woo!

-Fall Out Boy has a new album coming out and that is definitely always exciting.

That is all I can really think of that I am looking forward to at the moment. But really, with all the exciting TDM stuff, what more do I really need?

Then here are the things I plan to read in January:

1. Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
(I got this for an ARC Tour and it conveniently arrived right before the holidays so I'm going to have to DEVOUR it during this work break or I'm not gonna get to read it at all!!)

2. Between the Heart and the Blade by Amanda Hocking
(Netgalley)

3. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

4. The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
(These two are gonna be my Beat the Backlist/Series a Month books.)

5. Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
(Netgalley)

6. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
(Netgalley)

7. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
(My reading choice that is outside of YA and also would qualify for Beat the Backlist.)

And I guess that's about all I have to say today!

What were some highlights of your 2017? What are you looking forward to in 2018? What do you think of my new blog layout?

The Grinch Book Tag

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

So, lately I have spent a lot of time perusing booktube and I stumbled across this tag by Thoughts on Tomes. And 'tis the season, so I thought I would do this since I haven't been super active on the blog lately (hopefully that will change in 2018, I already have a lot of posts written for January).

Basically it's a bunch of Grinch-y Christmas scenarios paired with bookish questions that pertain to them.

HALF OF THE LIGHTS ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE ARE BURNT OUT

Name a book/series/character that started out good, but then went downhill.


I'm going to go with Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas for this one.

I absolutely adored Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and The Assassin's Blade. I mean, I must have loved it because I used a quote from the series to come up with my blog name.

Heir of Fire was where things started going downhill for me. There were so many new characters that I just don't give a shit about. I hate Rowan as the love interest. I think that Aelin's powers are ridiculously over the top. Like 50% of this series could get cut and it would still be the same story.

I am going to finish it because like.. I care what happens, but I think it's mostly just because I have put so much time into this series already.

ANNOYING GREAT AUNT SALLY WHO WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE

Name a book that you didn't enjoy, but everyone else seems to love so it never goes away.


The A Court of Thorns and Roses series is never ever ever going to go away, I'm sure of it. Especially since it's getting dragged out some more.

To be fair, I really liked ACOTAR when I read it. It just had something that I was really looking for at that point. But as soon as I found out where the romance was going in ACOMAF I decided that I wasn't going to bother with the rest of the series. I absolutely see why Feyre shouldn't have ended up with Tamlin even if I liked him while I was reading the book.

But I hated Rhysand and I don't think that she needed to end up with him either.

YOUR PETS KEEP KNOCKING OVER THE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Name a character that kept messing things up for everyone else (No villains!).


I'm going to go with Skye from The Goblins of Bellwater. If only for the fact that after she gets cursed by the goblins, she chooses a stranger that she randomly runs across in the woods to be her mate, subsequently cursing him as well.

YOU HEAR YOUR PARENTS PUTTING OUT THE PRESENTS AND LEARN THAT SANTA ISN'T REAL

Name a book you were spoiled for.

     

These are the two books that immediately come to mind when I think of books that were spoiled for me. Allegiant was spoiled for me in a comment on one of Veronica Roth's instagram pictures that had NOTHING TO DO WITH BOOKS.

I don't remember exactly how I was spoiled for Crooked Kingdom. But I am still super salty about it. I also still haven't read Crooked Kingdom. I need to. I want to read the first one again first, but ain't nobody got time for that.

IT'S FREEZING OUTSIDE

Name a main character that you just couldn't connect with.


I'm gonna go with Alia from Wonder Woman: Warbringer for this one. Like, I didn't dislike her at all. I didn't really care for her attitude toward Diana and her people when she first is on the island, but like... I can understand her thoughts and feelings about it.

I don't know.. There was really no reason why I didn't like her and I was rooting for her, but I think she's a good example of a character I just didn't connect with.

MARIAH CAREY'S 'ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU' IS PLAYING NONSTOP AND IT'S GIVING YOU ANTI-ROMANTIC FEELINGS

Name a couple you couldn't stand.


Juliette and Warner.

Also, Feyre and Rhysand.
Liesel and the Goblin King.

THAT SCRATCHY HOMEMADE WOOL SWEATER YOU GOT FOR CHRISTMAS YEARS AGO BUT WON'T GET RID OF

Show some books that have been sitting on your shelves for awhile, and you aren't motivated to read, but you don't have the heart to get rid of.

          

Here are three examples of books I have on my shelves that I just am not motivated to read.

The only one that I might possibly want to get rid of would probably be Falling Kingdoms.

I really really liked The Orphan Queen, so I really don't know why I haven't just gone ahead and finished the duology yet, but here I am... avoiding it.

I don't know why I haven't read Replica yet either. Lauren Oliver is one of my auto-buy authors. I think I might be intimidated by how this book is written. I don't know how I want to read it. It sounds like a pain in the ass to have to flip back and forth between the different parts...

GRANDMA GOT RUNOVER BY A REINDEER

Name a character death you are still mad about.

SPOILERS


Cole deserved a happily ever after!! It isn't fair!

THE MALLS ARE OVERLY CROWDED WITH HOLIDAY SHOPPERS

Name a series that has too many books in it/went on too long.


The Mortal Instruments series was twice as long as it should have been. We won't even talk about how long the whole Shadowhunter thing has been drug out.

I really liked the first three books in the TMI series when I read it. I am pretty much over it now, but I liked them when I read them. But I HATED the last three books. I don't even know why I bothered to finish the series, but I stuck it out.

THE GRINCH

Name a main character you HATE (No villains!).


I really hated Liesel from Wintersong. Like everything about her. I hope that she is more bearable in Shadowsong because I requested it for some reason.

Do we share any of the same Grinch-y book opinions?

#ReadersCrossing Sign Up Post

Saturday, December 9, 2017


So, I haven't been super active on the blog since the last readathon that Aentee from Read at Midnight hosted, but maybe if I participate in another one, things will turn around for me.

I had really avoided playing this game until I saw this readathon. Not really for any reason other than I didn't really care that much about it. But I figured if I was going to try to do this readathon, I would try out the game.

And now I can't stop playing it. I don't understand why these stupid animals keep using my campsite and refuse to give me cotton.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the post yet, here is the gist of it:


I am going to do the Sporty path because that is the path that I had the easiest time coming up with a reading list for.

I'm not sure what book I'm going to do for SET IN THE WILDERNESS.

WRITTEN BY A TEAM OF AUTHORS: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

MAIN ADVENTURE PLOT: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
(I hope this counts, I think it sounds like it has a lot of adventure in it.)

SUPERHERO: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

GRAPHIC NOVEL OR MANGA: Sailor Moon Volume 1

I might try for some of the side quests, but if I read 4 books in December, I will consider it a win.

The Rules:

All campers starts with 0 Experience Points (EXP), and each book completed for the challenge (in any format: physical, eBook, or audiobook will gain them 2 EXP.

#OwnVoices novels will give you an addition EXP point, instead of gaining 2 EXP for their completion, you’ll gain 3 EXP.

You will level up every time you get 10 EXP points. You begin at Level 1.

Tweeting or Instagram posts on the #ReadersCrossing will earn you points (every 5 tweets/photo will earn you 1 EXP). You can gain a maximum of 5 EXP for your social media interactions. These should be tweets related to the challenge such as comments on your current read, book recommendations, or posts about the game itself).

You can also make an ID card type thing if you check out Aentee's post, which I have linked above. I am probably not going to because I am lazy.

If you want to add me as a friend on the app, my ID is:

6851 2283 942

Are you participating in the #ReadersCrossing challenge? What books are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for a book set in the wilderness?

Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

Monday, November 20, 2017


The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Publication Date: October 1st, 2017
Rating: 2 Stars
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 288

Summary (from Goodreads):

A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti's eerie, sensual poem, "Goblin Market." Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters...

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. 

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

**I was given an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

So, basically I picked this book up for two reasons.

1. That cover.

2. The fact that it's NA and I was expecting to read some smut.

Only one of those things didn't end up disappointing me at all and that was the cover.

So, this book is told from 4 different perspectives. Kit Sylvain is the liaison to the goblin tribe that lives in the forest near Bellwater, Washington. This curse on his family requires him to bring a monthly offering of gold to the goblins to keep them from causing trouble with unsuspecting people.

Skye is an artist who loves the forest and finds herself cursed by the goblins after following one of their secret paths. She is unable to talk about it and is doomed to slowly lose her humanity and become a goblin. Grady is Kit's cousin, who was pulled into this curse by Skye.

And then Livy is Skye's older sister.

Basically, this book was a lot of meh written romance and creepy, cackling goblins. It did not feel like NA to me. The characters were supposed to be in their 20s, but definitely didn't feel that way. Out of the two relationships in the book, I think I only really liked Kit and Livy together. Skye and Grady was completely instalove. It was totally goblin-curse related, but still.

And being that this was NA, I was expecting some smut. There was a lot of sex going on in this book, but it's all off the page.

I read this book fairly quickly despite the fact that it really started to drag for me. It wasn't particularly exciting until the end, but by that point, I was just kind of over it and praying for it to be over.

If 2017 has taught me anything, it's that goblin books aren't for me. First Wintersong, now this.

Have you read The Goblins of Bellwater? What did you think?

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Monday, November 13, 2017


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 453

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Okay, this review is probably going to be short and sweet since it has been so long since I read this book. 

What I DO remember about this book is that it was SO good! It will make you angry, it will make you sad, it will open your eyes and enlighten you. Starr is such an amazing character. She has to go through things that no kid should have to go through. But she's so strong and handles it so well, despite the strong (likely) possibility of an unfavorable outcome.

I loved the family dynamic in this book. I loved how much Starr's family all loved and cared for each other. It's so refreshing to see a full, functional family for a change. 

Another thing I really liked about this book was the sense of community in Garden Heights. I loved all the interactions between the different people and seeing how much they all loved their community. That's not something I recall seeing in really any books and I enjoyed it.

A couple of things I remember wanting to talk about regarding this book:

-While I was reading this book, I remember thinking that Sekani was an odd name. And I love that this was actually addressed in the book and that it totally put me in my place. I don't remember exactly what was said, but I remember I liked it. But I feel like I can't really say anything about anyone's name because I feel like Cyra is an odd name.

-I was so so so glad when Starr stopped putting up with Hailey's crap. She was a really rotten friend and it made me sad to think that Starr had to be a different person around her white friends at school.

Overall, this book was fantastic! I was a bit late to the party on reading this one, but I would definitely recommend it if you are also fashionably late to this party. It is powerful and deserves every single ounce of hype that it gets and MORE! I hope it's on the NYT list FOREVER!

Have you read The Hate U Give yet? 


Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Monday, November 6, 2017


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 300

Summary (from Goodreads):

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


If I had to describe my feelings after finishing this book in one word, that word would be frustrated. I have SO many questions about it!

Why are the fair folk so dangerous to humans? I didn't really see enough evidence of this to buy it. Like, just because of their tricks? I feel like all the stuff that happens in the forest is kind of just a "wrong place, wrong time" kind of thing.

Why can't the fair folk do Craft? Like what is the point of them being unable to perform simple, mundane human tasks? I can see why they would crave the end result if they can't perform the task, but why would something so stupid turn them into dust?

Why is mortal sorrow painted in Rook's eyes a weakness that could cost him his life? The fair folk seem to spend entirely too much time playing at being human and trying to seem as human as possible. I don't understand why being seen with a human emotion would be something to warrant losing your life over. Especially when they all crave human things so much.

I don't understand why Rook is even the autumn prince. Like, they spend all of two minutes in the autumnlands. There is literally not a single point in this book that I can think of where it is at all important that Rook is the autumn prince. They don't go to the autumn court. You don't meet anyone else from the autumnlands. He's probably making it all up to look cool for a girl.

What is the point of the Wild Hunt? It is literally just a super minor inconvenience a couple times in this book. I feel like there was a lot of interesting potential with the Wild Hunt and Hemlock, but it was squandered because a mortal and the autumn prince fell in instalove.

For the longest time, I had no idea what the hell the Good Law was. At one point, I literally thought it was that they couldn't have sex. I had no idea until like 3/4 through this book that the law was that they couldn't fall in love. Why??? It would be interesting to know why that came about. Did the Alder King get scorned by a mortal lover and ruin the fun for everyone? Like any backstory on the Good Law and especially on the Alder King would have made this book better. Especially since the whole book was about Rook and Isobel breaking the Good Law!!!

That's just questions I have based on what's in the summary. And not even all the questions I have based on just the summary.

I feel like I have said in several reviews that sometimes getting history lessons on these fictional worlds in the story makes my eyes glaze over. I was PRAYING for some history in this book because I feel like so much more of this book would make sense to me if I just knew WHY.

And this book has a bit of a journey in it, which was rather dull. And obnoxious because it seemed like they could walk through a whole court in a day. I feel like they were travelling for like two days and they made it from Whimsy to the autumnlands, got sidetracked by the Wild Hunt, detoured through the summerlands (which were decaying for some reason and it seemed to be a problem, but who the hell knows why??), fought a barrow mound monster, slowly travelled back to the autumnlands because Rook got injured, and then changed their plan all together and went to the spring court. Or something like that. And they slept!!! There was time for that!!

Despite all that, I found that I kind of enjoyed the book while I was reading it. BUT I don't think that I can say that that feeling really lived past closing the book.

What did I like about this book?? I guess I kind of liked the characters. I liked Isobel and Rook. And I was rooting for them to be together (despite having so. many. questions about them).

Overall, this book just wasn't for me. If there had been more history, explanations, explorations of ANYTHING in this book, I think that I would have loved it. I think it had SO much potential, but definitely didn't live up to the hype for me.

Have you read An Enchantment of Ravens yet? What did you think?

Review: Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz

Monday, October 16, 2017


Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384

Summary (from Goodreads):

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines. 

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

AMONG THE RED STARS has quite possibly been my #1 most anticipated book of 2017 since the second I heard about it. I probably say this a lot, but I LOVE WWII historical fiction. Even better when it's about badass women. And the Russian Night Witches were DEFINITELY badass women.


I don't even know where to start with this book. I have been let down by so many of my most anticipated books this year that I was almost scared to start it. But I shouldn't have been worried because it was just as wonderful as I imagined it to be.

When Valka hears about an all-women aviation group starting up at the beginning of the war (run by one of her heroes, no less!) she and her cousin, Iskra, hitch a ride to Moscow to sign up. They both make it into Aviation Group 122 and after training, both are assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, which became known as the Night Witches.

The story is told mostly from Valka's point of view, but is also told in letters between Valka and her sweeheart on the front lines, Pasha.

This book has so much going for it. The characters are wonderful (and a majority of them were REAL people). I can't think of a single character that I really didn't like in this book. I loved the relationship between Valka and Pasha. Pasha is so shy and sweet. I would like one Pasha for myself, please. I also loved all the friendships built between the women in Aviation Group 122.

But as this is a book about the war, there were definitely a few heartbreaking moments. Friends are lost, hard missions are assigned. It can get kinda sad.

Is it weird that my favorite part of the book might have been the Author's Note at the end? Yes, you learn a lot from reading the actual book, but I feel like the Author's Notes in historical fiction novels are where you learn the most. The fictional part of the book is fun, but knowing the parts that are real history is so amazing. Especially when it's something that's news to you!

Overall, this is SUCH an amazing book! I will never do it justice in a review. I want so badly to word vomit onto this post and tell you every little thing about this book that makes it so so amazing, but if I did that there would be no need for you to read the book and the book is infinitely better than my ramblings. So hopefully I have written just enough to peak your interest to read the book yourself. If you are like me and loooooooove WWII historical fiction, I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

Have you read AMONG THE RED STARS yet? If you haven't, you should. Stay tuned for an A Glimpse Back in Time post that may or may not contain a chance for you to win a copy of your own. ;)

Mini Reviews: Liam's Story & Beyond the Night by Alexandra Bracken

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Beyond the Night by Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds 3.5
Part of the novella bind up, Through the Dark
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 183

Summary (from Goodreads):

The government-run "rehabilitation camps" have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the "cure"--a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there's more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it. Now that she's out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother.

Beyond the Night takes place after the events of In the Afterlight. Rehabilitation camps are a thing of the past. Many kids are reunited with their families. But while camps, PSFs, and skip tracers aren't problems anymore, this new reality has a new set of challenges for psi kids.

This novella primarily follows Sam and Mia on their journey to try to get Lucas back to himself after his traumatic Red training.

Sam is so different in this novella than she was in the rest of the series. Granted, I don't remember Sparks Rise that well, I'm pretty sure that she's a lot more reserved in this one. It's like her and Ruby switched places. She is no longer the confident, unafraid girl who stuck up for Ruby in Thurmond. It's Ruby's turn to be brave for Sam.

Mia is a new character in the series. She is Lucas's little sister. Sam and Lucas were going to find her when their Thurmond escape failed. She is fierce throughout the whole novella. In the beginning she also seems to be pretty angry. She blames Sam for what happened to Lucas in Thurmond. She eventually works through her feelings and her and Sam become friends again.

This novella gives us insight into the world of The Darkest Minds after the camps end. It has a lot of the same elements as the rest of the series. First of all, our favorite crew makes an appearance. There's road trips, running from government officials and people looking to sell psi kids for profit. There are moments that will break your little heart, but it ends on a hopeful note.

Overall, if you have read this series, but not the novellas, you really need to. They give you a lot of insight into things that happen between books. Now that I've finally finished the last Darkest Minds novella, I feel like I need to start over and reread ALL of it in order.

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Liam's Story by Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds 1.6
Received for preordering Passenger
I think you can still get it if you sign up for her newsletter??
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Preorder Prize
Format: eBook
Pages: 49

Liam's Story takes place right after the ending of The Darkest Minds. Liam finds himself alone and slightly confused. He has gaps in his memory and a nagging feeling that he shouldn't leave yet. He drives around kind of aimlessly until he finds another kid to look out for.

This story is 49 pages long and is basically just a look into Liam's head. Liam has always been one to look out for other kids. This story kind of shows his internal battle between looking out for others and looking out for himself for a change.

It's really not a happy story, but it gives you an idea of what Liam did after The Darkest Minds. I loved it. Liam is my favorite character and I want to know more about him!!

Have you read any/all of the Darkest Minds novellas? If you haven't, I obviously HIGHLY recommend them.

If You Like The Darkest Minds, Try...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hi everybody! Today I'm going to be doing a Like, Try, Why post!

Since this is my first Like, Try, Why post, obviously I have to talk about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I mean, it is my favorite series ever and I can't pass up an opportunity to talk about it, right?! :)

I have also recently gotten more into anime. So I am coming at you with an anime recommendation for if you liked The Darkest Minds!

So here we go!!

Like The Darkest Minds?


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

Try Charlotte!


While on the surface Yuu Otosaka appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people's minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school.

When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined.

An original story from Jun Maeda, creator of Angel Beats and ClannadCharlotte explores the supernatural lives of these teenagers and the price they must pay for being special.

Why?

Both stories have several things in common. 

-The kids in each world somehow end up with supernatural powers and they are not safe if they are discovered.

-They each focus on a small group of friends that are trying to help other kids in their own way.

I don't want to say a lot because I always say way too much. But I definitely agree with my sister that Charlotte gives off serious TDM vibes. Charlotte is such a good show and would be super easy to binge in one day. I think it was like 12 episodes.

If you read the series, watch the show, or do both, expect to have feels! You can find Charlotte on Hulu if you're interested!

Have you read The Darkest Minds? Seen Charlotte? Do you have any other recommendations for things similar to The Darkest Minds?

Waiting on Wednesday: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Orïsha #1
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 448

Summary (from Goodreads):

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

What books are you guys looking forward to this week?

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Monday, September 11, 2017


Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 17th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Trade
Format: Physical ARC
Pages: 224

Summary (from Goodreads):

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

Dear Martin is a story about a black teen and his experiences with racial profiling and police brutality/violence. His run in with the police makes him deal more with things that he could previously kind of ignore because it hadn't happened to him. He starts to pay more attention to police violence in the media and racist actions by his peers. He is also inspired to study the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and start trying to be more like him.

Going into this book, I was expecting an important story on racial issues. But it's so much more than that. It's frustrating, it's heartbreaking, it's enlightening. It's amazing how much story can be packing into a mere 200 pages! It was so real. I sat down to read this book, not expecting to read the whole thing in one go (I mean I was sitting on a chair piled with laundry. It's not the comfiest reading spot in the world), but I couldn't put it down! And the ending is so hopeful.

This book is told through 3rd person narration and bits and pieces are told through news articles or Justyce's letters to Dr. King. And there are a few instances in the book where there are long conversations going on (debate class/phone calls) and it's written out in kind of a script form. I really liked that. It was super easy to follow along with and easy to tell who is saying what.

I liked the romance in this book. I kind of wish we got to know more about Melo, Justyce's on-again-off-again girlfriend in the beginning of the book. She seemed like she would have been fun beyond the context of her relationship with Justyce. But the main romance is the budding relationship between Justyce and his white, Jewish debate partner, SJ. I liked SJ. She wasn't afraid to speak up about things that were unfair and she wasn't afraid to yell at her classmates about their racism.

Seeing how their relationship grows is interesting because a combination of things get in the way. For one, it seems like everytime (okay, it was once that I remember) Justyce and SJ start talking more beyond regular friendship levels, Melo comes running back. And then Justyce is unsure (uncomfortable?) with his feelings toward SJ because his mom has always been against the idea of him getting involved with a white girl.

Overall, this book was real and needed and really good. It's eye-opening for sure and I hope that I did the book justice with this review. I have yet to read The Hate U Give (SOON!), but according to Goodreads reviewers, if you liked that book then you need to read this one. I would definitely recommend everyone to pick this book up in October when it releases!

Have you gotten the chance to read this one yet? Are you looking forward to it?
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