Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Hunted by Megan Spooner

Release date: March 14, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 384
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
Though I love the Starbound series Meagan writes with Amie Kaufman, I haven't read any of her solo books, so I didn't quite know what to expect coming into Hunted. However, I'd seen a few friends raving and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite, so I was excited to try Meagan's adaptation. I'm even more excited to say that I loved it!

Hunted reminded me of one of my favorite author's Beauty and the Beast retellings: Robin McKinley. She has two: Beauty and Rose Daughter. I love them because they're lyrical, dark (more so in the case of Rose Daughter), and compelling. Hunted evokes a lot of the same moodiness, and it works more in the vein of the traditional fairy tales, hitting more complicated notes and emotions, giving the reader more to interpret and less to be told. While I don't always prefer my retellings this way, I do find the ones that strike those chords to be more resonant and stay with me longer.

Yeva is just the kind of girl we can get behind. She wants more from her life than what she's been offered, but she recognizes her duty to her family. She's actually happier in many ways when her father loses his fortune and her family is forced to live in a hunting cabin in the middle of nowhere. Her being different isn't as noticeable, and she can hunt. Her desire to hunt the Beast is understandable, and when she finally understands him and begins to soften, it makes sense.

However, Hunted isn't going to read like I think many people want from a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It's not overly romantic, there's no dancing, and our Beast is often more beastly that we're used to in our recent retellings. For me, this works, but I don't think it will work for everyone. Hunted reads more like an adult high fantasy in a lot of ways, so it's not going to appeal to every YA reader.

From the beginning of Hunted, I was entranced by the gorgeous writing and new yet familiar take on my favorite fairy tale. I was rewarded with a thoroughly beautiful story that reminded me of some of my favorite books, and a new hope that Meagan Spooner will write more books like this! (I'm happy with her sci-fi, but more fantasy, please?)

About the author:

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Release date: February 14, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
As soon as I read the synopsis for Gilded Cage, I was excited. Even as it sounded a bit like all the dystopian books that came out a few years ago, I loved the idea of it being set in an alternate modern day England. However, I quickly became, honestly, kind of bored with the book.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what doesn't work, but I think the biggest thing is that almost nothing really hits you. There's a lot packed into the book. A lot of characters. A lot of points of view. A lot of things that could be really interesting, but that aren't developed enough to give them the punch they need. Part of the problem is that we're switching point of view every chapter, and we're following stories in a couple of different places. Just when moments start to gain real momentum, the chapter ends and we're shifted to another part of the story. By the time we get back to that character, the momentum is gone. You have to play catch up.

This is worst with Luke's chapters. His involvement with the rebellion quickly becomes the most interesting storyline, but his is the only point of view involved that we get. While I see why the other POVs are involved, I could have done with a book that follows only Luke and probably been happier reading. Otherwise, I think the only other character that interested me was Silyen. Because his motives are completely inscrutable, you don't know what he's going to do. Maybe give me Luke and Silyen?

The romance is also a little upsetting. Abi is a slave. Jenner, even without any powers, is her master. Romance here is just a no. It gives me the icks and I don't like it. It also feels a lot like instalove; even though a lot of time passes that I'm sure they spend a lot of time together, we see very little of it, so their "attraction" feels baseless.

I'm sad not to have liked Gilded Cage because I was so excited by the premise. I'll probably give a look to the sequel when it comes out later this year, because I'm curious, but my interest may not go any farther. I read the whole book, but it was hard to get through for me, honestly.

About the author:

Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now writes full time.

Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.

Monday, April 3, 2017

March Recap (and a Little of February?)

Weeeeeell, I fell off the face of the earth again! I may not be doing the best with the whole working/school/blogging thing... I do try, but I find it hard at times to muster enthusiasm for getting on the computer and typing things up, especially after I've just finished an assignment. I'm reading, yet I'm not reviewing. So this should be an interesting recap!

What books did I get?

Considering this is two months, I feel no shame! I actually did buy a couple more Saturday, but that was the 1st of April, so that'll go in next month's. Muahahahaha.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Vanguard by Ann Aguirre
Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

These are my review books! And all but one came in February,  I believe. I have a coworker I'll be passing Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies to, because she has a son who I think would enjoy it, and it's just not my style.

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray
Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This is ALL I purchased, y'all! I had the benefit of a Disney trip looming, so I could hold myself back in buying books. I've literally already bought this many books in the month of April, so the next recap won't show such restraint.

Also, my copies of Caraval and A Million Worlds With You are from the Stephanie Garber signing in New Orleans I went to on Valentine's Day! She was so sweet and charming, and it was a really fun signing. I happened to see Claudia Gray tweet about being at the signing, so I brought a couple of her books I hadn't had signed yet and actually bought this last one at the bookstore, was totally creepy, and asked her to sign them for me! She was SO nice and seemed happy to do so. I was kind of sad that the only copy they had had been signed already, but I got it personalized, so that's okay. :)

And finally, books I won! I so rarely win things, so I was excited, and I've been interested in these books from the get-go. Plus, I won them from Becky! :D

What did I post?

This is going to be amusing, since this is representative of two months...

I said I did badly in my January recap, but I think this one wins. 

What did I read?

This is less embarrassing!

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
Gilded Cage by Vic James
A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray
Starfall by Melissa Landers
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Truth Above Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke

Currently reading: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
Favorite of February: Tie between Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Devil in Spring, but I also really loved The Dark Days Pact!
Favorite of March: Hunted

What will I read?

I didn't put together a picture for my TBR this month, because I'm planning on getting through a bunch of eARCs, if possible. Once my copy of Rebels Rising comes, I'll read that for sure, but otherwise, I'm going to focus on digital books because there are SO many backed up. Here are a few I'd like to get to, though:

What am I doing?

School and work. School and work. School and work. That's pretty much it! In February, we did take our trip to Disney World that I'd been so looking forward to. However, I got sick the second day we were there and it really put a damper on the trip. I kept going but... I definitely puked a lot.

I have seen Beauty and the Beast a total of 5 times at this point, so I've spent my fair share of time seeing that. I really love the adaptation!

It's my birthday this month! I'm excited because I love my birthday, but I'm not excited about turning 25. I think I wanted to be somewhere else in life than I am by this point. But I'm okay with things, really, especially being in grad school.

That's it for now! I'm going to go actually schedule some reviews now, so we'll have some real content this month!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore

Release date: January 31, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 342
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.
You know, How to Break a Boy was an interesting read. I expected something different from what it was, certainly something lighter and more straightforward, but I can't say it's not worthwhile.

At times, How to Break a Boy is actually hard to read. There are moments when Olivia is making the worst choices I could imagine, and I just wanted to smack her. It's hard to read about a character who is so different and who you know is making the wrong decision, but who believes she's making the right one. It's not that she's unlikable, especially by the end of the book, but Olivia truly doesn't know who she is--and I think that's what makes it worthwhile.

By the end of the book, Olivia still doesn't know who she is, but she's working on it. She's done so much to hurt people, but she's figuring it out--and that's why I think How to Break a Boy is interesting. It's the story of a girl who realizes her life is far from what she thought it was, and she breaks down in that realization. It's kind of like watching a train wreck, because you can't look away yet it's hard to endure.

But I really liked the romance! Whit really is exactly what Olivia needs, and you hate to see him get hurt. Moments between them are hard to read as well, because I just wanted Olivia to really open up and just give up on her vendetta against Adrienne.

Problem is, I think there are people who won't like the "mean girl" aspect of it. Olivia and Adrienne are truly awful to others and one another. The book doesn't make excuses for them, but it's hard to imagine they--Adrienne especially--have a good understanding of just what they're doing.

How to Break a Boy is a fascinating read. It's one I don't think will be for everyone, but it's a great character study of Olivia, warts and all. I'll definitely be looking for more from Laurie Devore.

About the author:

Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV,  and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Starfall Launch Blitz + Giveaway

Hi, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m so excited to launch STARFALL, the second and final book in my Starflight duology! This story picks up shortly after the first book ends, but now Cassia and Kane are the main characters, with Doran, Solara, and the rest of the Banshee crew pitching in to help take down an intergalactic mafia. (You know, just an ordinary day in space.) And while saying goodbye to characters is never easy, I think I gave the crew a proper sendoff with plenty of humor, heart, and action. I hope you love STARFALL as much as I do!

Haven’t read the first book? You’re in luck, because for a limited time, Starflight is on sale for 99 cents in all e-formats. Now you can binge read the entire duology in one sitting!

Praise for Starflight:

“Smart, action-packed and utterly addictive!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman

“Starflight has the cinematic appeal, warp-speed action and unlikely heroes of Star Wars.” –Justine Magazine

“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist

“A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal

If you love sci-fi adventure with a dash of romance, I hope you’ll pick up the Starflight duology today. Starflight and Starfall are both available in stores and online.


The Book Depository (free international shipping!)


To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a Starflight duology swag pack, complete with bookmarks and two signed mini posters! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.

Monday, February 6, 2017

January Recap

Hiiii! Back again with a recap! I had to wait till I was actually home with some actual light outside to get my pictures taken, so that's why this is late! Like I said last month, part of my hope for 2017 is that I'm going to get fewer books to keep--whether that be books I've bought or been given for review. I have so many books to read already, so I'm hoping to whittle down those piles, as well as actually keep up with the review books I do get.

I think I'm doing okay with that? I'm not buying much, for sure, but I've gotten my fair share of review books. Ooooops. So let's look at what I got!

What Books Did I Get?

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Gilded Cage by Vic James
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

All but Sisters' Fate are from work. They've been sending some really good ARCs, and I snatch them up. I can defend that because I'm in charge of kids and teen, and I'm largely the only one who reads the stuff among the booksellers, anyway. So I get the gooooooods. I'm pretty excited to have Sisters' Fate because it finishes my collection of that series' ARCs! I have them all, though I haven't read this one yet. Hopefully it ends well!

But... I got more than I should have when it comes to eARCs...

See? I did bad. But... Maybe because a couple of these are really far away, I can feel less guilty?

What Did I Post?

What Did I Read?

The Book Jumper by Mechtild Glaser
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Currently reading: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
Favorite of January: Gemina

Y'all. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my TBR! I only read one book that wasn't on the list, and that was because I was in the mood for historical romance, but not the Elizabeth Hoyt one I had left on the pile. I'm calling it a win!

What Will I Read?

I kept a couple of holdovers from my January TBR, because I'm still interested in getting to them this month! I made this TBR smaller, because I am planning on reading a few eARCs and ebooks this month. I've been dying to read Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I'm definitely going to make room for it, and I'm planning to read a couple of January and February eARCs. But also, Devil in Spring comes out at the end of the month, and I will be dropping everything to read that ASAP, so imagine that's on the TBR, because !!!!! I'm dying.

What Am I Doing?

Well, I'm behind on commenting and posting. I do have a small backlog of books I've read but not reviewed, so hopefully one day soon I'll get to it. 

But school seems more demanding this semester? I had one assignment that made me go observe a librarian, so that's probably why, but hopefully I'll get into the groove and it'll get better. I just feel like I'm doing homework every spare moment of the past couple of weeks, but I don't really think that's true? I am finding that once I'm done with homework I don't want to read, so I didn't get as much reading done this month. I'd rather stare at the tv and watch my same shows over and over again. 

I've been doing AMAZING with not spending money, y'all. I've bought groceries and paid bills, and that's pretty much it. I've bought food maybe three times? That's huge for me, and I hope to get better this month coming. I'll buy Devil in Spring and buy food and my copy of Caraval at the signing, but that's largely it. At least, aside from...

We're going to Disney World this month! I feel like I'm eating, sleeping, and breathing Disney right about now, but that's totally alright. That's probably why I'm not reading, truly, because any other free time is spent obsessing. My coworkers will probably be happy once this trip is done, because I'm talking about Disney almost 24/7. :)

Well that's it for this month! I'm still liking the recap format! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blog Tour: Breathless by Beverly Jenkins {Inside the Book + Giveaway}

Release date: January 31, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: pages
Buy the book: Avon | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability-qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none have looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman-and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known-and one he intends to win…

About the author:

BEVERLY JENKINS has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild. Ms Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature. To read more about Beverly, please visit her website at www.beverlyjenkins.net.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser

Release date: January 3, 2017
Author info: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger—someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.
Well, poo. I was really excited to read this one, because... I mean, could anyone reading this review not adore the idea of being able to jump into books? Of course the synopsis reminded me of Inkheart, but there have been a few different books recently about people going into books and characters coming out of them, so I figured something being published now would have its own unique spin on the idea. And there are definitely some unique things about The Book Jumper, but those couldn't save it for me.

I generally refuse to DNF books. Instead, I skim from whatever point I've lost interest. I think I was around a third of the way through this when I could barely motivate myself to read anymore. So, I skimmed. I'm glad I finished the story, because there were a couple of interesting surprises in store--who the bad guy is, much of the ending in general--but I'm also glad I didn't fully read all of that, either.

I have a few problems with The Book Jumper. First, I think it reads too young. Largely, if the romance had been removed, it would've been a perfectly decent middle grade novel. Amy is impetuous and immature, and she'd be a more likable protagonist if she were a few years younger. She only considers the repercussions of her actions once things start to go very wrong, and I couldn't help but wonder what kind of book lover would go tramping through their favorite stories without any regard toward how their actions would affect the books.

Second, some of the specifics of book jumping felt cheesy? I think, again, they'd not feel quite this way if this were a MG novel. The idea of the margins were interesting, and I kind of liked the visuals of the book's characters chilling off to the side of the story--but this almost cheapens the magic of books to me.

Third, the romance actually feels out of place anyway. I never felt any real chemistry between Amy and Will, and, as I said, you could get rid of it and the book would be stronger for it. It only works to give a little bit more emotional heft--which I didn't feel was all that strong to begin with.

Honestly, upon finishing The Book Jumper, I only felt ambivalence. There are a couple of good points, and I think there's some charm to the world and setup, but I couldn't heartily recommend much of anyone read it. It stinks, because that cover is fabulous. (And, to me, the best part of the book.)

About the author:

Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning author in her native Germany. The Book Jumper is her first book to be translated into English.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, & Stefanie Sloan

Release date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 416
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Beloved authors Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, and Stefanie Sloane deliver the stories of four friends from Madame Rochambeaux’s Gentle School for Girls who find an old sixpence in their bedchamber and decide that it will be the lucky coin for each of their weddings… 

“Something Old”
Julia Quinn’s prologue introduces her heroine Beatrice Heywood and the premise for Four Weddings and a Sixpence.

“Something New”
In Stefanie Sloane’s unforgettable story, an ever-vigilant guardian decrees that Anne Brabourne must marry by her twenty-first birthday. But love finds her in the most unexpected of ways.

“Something Borrowed”
Elizabeth Boyle tells the tale of Cordelia Padley, who has invented a betrothed to keep her family from pestering her to wed. Now she’ll need to borrow one to convince them she’s found her true love.

“Something Blue”
In Laura Lee Guhrke’s story, unlucky Lady Elinor Daventry has her sixpence stolen from her and must convince the rake who pilfered the coin to return it in time for her own wedding.

“... and a Sixpence in Her Shoe”
Julia Quinn finishes with the story of Beatrice Heywood, who never believed that the sixpence was anything but a tarnished old coin—until it led all of her friends to true love. But her faith in the coin is tested when it keeps sending her to the wrong man!
I loooove me some Julia Quinn! So, when I saw the concept for Four Weddings and a Sixpence, I was really excited. Anything with Julia Quinn's name on it is something I'm going to want to read. But I also loved the idea of trying out a few authors I'd never read without the commitment, AND I loved the friendship aspect. As is the nature of collections, I have a couple of stories I liked more than others, however--but I'm pleased to say I have a couple of new authors I'll check out with confidence!

"Something Old": This is a quick little intro to our characters and the basic setup. No one really stood out too heavily, but I think that was the point. There's plenty of time to get to know the characters in their particular stories. Yet, it was cute enough.

"Something New": Neither idea that a girl has to marry by a certain age or that the man helping her falls in love with her is new for historical romance, but Stefanie Sloane's story is, of course, still cute. This makes for some really fun banter--and I love banter.

"Something Borrowed": Elizabeth Boyle's story is, I think, my favorite of the group (and truly, it's hard for me to like something more than Julia Quinn!). I always love childhood friends falling in love and I'm always a fan of house parties in my historical romances, but I especially liked how everything comes about in this. I like a character who is dedicated to their family and willing to make sacrifices, and that's Kipp, but I adore a character who chases what they want most--and that's also Kipp!

"Something Blue": Laura Lee Guhrke's story is my least favorite of the group. While the concept is interesting--former flames have a falling out because he was investigating her father's alleged wrongdoing, essentially--there were parts of the ending that rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't want it to be the way it was, and it soured the happy ending for me.

"...And a Sixpence in Her Shoe": Everything I've ever read from Julia Quinn has been pitch-perfect delightful--and this story is no exception. While the other stories have a little more angst, there's something especially charming about such a straightforward happy ending. I think it works perfectly as the ending to the collection, and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.

I believe this is the first time I've read a collection like this, but it certainly won't be the last! I can't get enough Julia Quinn, so of course I loved her story, but I'm excited to have found a couple of new authors I can confidently pick up a book from and expect to enjoy.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December Recap

Hi! So I'm trying something new this month. For a long time I've posted Stacking the Shelves weekly, but I've found that those posts don't necessarily work for me any more. Part of my hopes for 2017 is that I'm going to get fewer books to keep--whether that be books I've bought or been given for review. I have so many books to read already, so I'm hoping to whittle down those piles, as well as actually keep up with the review books I do get.

And so, because I won't normally have new books to show off, I figure STS wasn't the way to go. I'm also finding it more of a chore to put together, so I'm hoping a once monthly recap will better suit me now! I'll be covering what books I got, what I posted, what books I read, my tentative TBR for the coming month, and anything else I might like to share.

What Books Did I Get?

For review:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This works out so well, because I was mourning not having an ARC and I'm going to her signing in New Orleans in February--and then this showed up! Hoorah!

From trades:

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Zodiac by Romina Russell
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Such great trades with Alyssa, CJ, and Liz! I've actually never had a truly bad trade on the hashtag, if you'd believe it (also, KNOCK ON WOOD), and always managed to get exactly the things I'm looking for--eventually. It may help that most of the stuff I actually collect isn't the stuff everyone else wants... :)

What Did I Read?

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (Started end of November, but I finished in December!)
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, & Stefanie Sloane
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

Currently reading: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

What Did I Post?

Truthfully, not a lot. I'm working on it!

I've put together a January TBR, but we'll see how well I do with it. Like I said, I'm trying to catch up on some of the older stuff I've had for a while, as well as keep up with my review books--so hopefully what I'm doing will help. I don't expect to get to all of the books, but I'm determined to pick by books from this.

Most of January is review books, because apparently I have more than I anticipated--but as the year goes on that'll get better. I'm also trying to limit myself on romance books, so I only have three I'm allowed to read--and if I finish all of those, I can't read any more! There are a couple on here I am pumped about and I think choosing my first book of 2017 is going to be hard!

What Am I Doing?

December started off rough because I had a couple of big assignments to finish off my semester, but I got those done and then classes were over! That was quite the relief--and I'm excited to have finished my first semester of grad school with A's in both classes!

Then, of course, was Christmas, and with work being a little bonkers crazy, it's been quite a time. Problem is, with work, that now that the holidays are over, they want us to do a changeover (It was all due the day after Christmas! EEK!), a huge list of returns downloaded (I'm the kid's lead, and between kids and teen, I probably had 4000 books due out?) that I have to pull before inventory--which is mid-February, along with doing all of my projects and shelving. It's a lot, so we'll see how I cope with work, school, and blogging.

Otherwise, life is good! We're going to Disney World over Mardi Gras break, and I'm, of course, thrilled. I've got every day all planned and perfect, and I seriously can't wait.

However, part of why I'm trying not to get more books (buy them, in particular) is money. I live with my parents for free, but I also pay for school out of pocket. I have a scholarship that covers the out-of-state portion of my tuition, but that still doesn't make grad school cheap. With that and taking a trip to Disney, I've realized just how tight my money is going to be. Cutting out buying books, as well as anything else unnecessary, like new clothes and stuff, and going out to dinner, is the necessary step. I'd rather have an education and a vacation than more things I don't need. 

Whew! This had been kind of fun! I like not having any rules to follow on this, so I can imagine keeping this for a while. What do y'all think? Maybe I'll make myself a graphic for next month and make it official! :) Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Favorite YA Reads of 2016

The year is up! Can y'all believe it? 2017 is here! And while I wanted to get this up earlier, the last week of the year was kinda crazy, so I didn't get around to it. But, I can start this year off right!

This list is YA exclusively, so there are certainly some historical romances I might've added, but I wanted to focus.

So, in no particular order, here are my favorite YA books I read in 2016:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
Rebel Magisters by Shanna Swendson
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I also wanted to include Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, but I couldn't find my copy to include in the picture!

I'm not in the least surprised that 80% of my list is essentially fantasy. Certainly if I broke down my reading into genres, overwhelmingly what I read the most of was fantasy and historical romance. What does surprise me is how well spread across publishers my favorites are! I've got Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Random House, Hachette, Penguin, and Macmillan all represented--as well as Shanna Swendson's self-published sequel. Sometimes I feel like I read too heavily from certain publishers, but I suppose I don't love books heavily in any one direction.

So now I want to know: what were your favorite books of 2016? If you have a post of some kind, link me to it! I'd love to see!