Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Recap

Can y'all believe July is over?? I feel like I just did the June recap (maybe that's because I didn't post too much in between, though...)

What books did I get?


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely


Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
Dream On by Kerstin Gier
Roseblood by A.G. Howard
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Again, I'm proud of myself because I only bought two books! I got Three Dark Crowns and Once and For All at work because they were on sale already and I had coupons I could stack, so it was too good a deal to pass up! Nearly everything else, except for The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and Genuine Fraud, are all from trades. And I'm pleased as punch with my trades!

What did I post?

June Recap
Best of 2017... So Far
Review: Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra
Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

So... Not great. But last month's posts were all for blog tours, which obviously I'd made a commitment to and had to do, but all of these were instigated by me! So that's better, and I'm gonna take it. :)

What did I read?

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Want by Cindy Pon
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
Rebels Rising by Shanna Swendson
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

Favorite of the month: I looooooooved Flame in the Mist, but I also have to give a shout out to Lord of Darkness for being the first book in the Maiden Lane series that I loved. I've enjoyed the series well enough up to that point--but I loved Lord of Darkness! (I loved Flame more though.)

Currently reading: A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

What will I read?


Can we talk about how I'm the WORST at sticking to a TBR? I read like two books from last month's. I'm such a mood reader, though, so if I force myself to read something I'm not in the mood for I don't enjoy it as much! I can tell, too, because of how I react. I didn't put any historical romance on this pile, but I've got lots of egalleys, so if that mood strikes (as it has been!), I can pull from those. Hopefully with a wide enough selection to pull from, I can manage to make a little progress!

What am I doing?

Well, this month has been largely uneventful! I've just been working. I guess work is a little better than it was. The no tasks thing has loosened a lot, so I can actually get stuff done--though I've barely kept my head above water, I'm just treading, at this point. Maybe eventually I'll get ahead.

I'm a month away from my next Disney trip! I am pumped--because I'm determined not to get sick this time, and have lots of time there! I'm in full Disney obsession mode, reading all about the news in the parks and watching the movies. YAY.

I've got...even more bookish candles on their way. Oops. I'm working on a post about them for once I get everything in and get to burn them all! I'm not allowed to order any more for a while, I'd say. I've got two orders in the mail right now--and that's it for now! (I'm trying, I swear.)

I also just turned in my first story writing for a local magazine! My best friend's family actually publishes several about the casinos and goings on around us, and she'd been begging them to let me write for them, so she called in a favor, and I wrote a story! More to add to my about-to-be bulging schedule, once school starts. 

Well, that's it, at least that I can think of! What has been going on with y'all? Anything exciting coming up? :)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Release date: April 11, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 336
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
I fell in love with Becky Albertalli and her books immediately when I read Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda earlier this year. The book is just infused with charm and joy, and it was such a treat to read--so needless to say, I was pumped to know she had a second book coming out so soon after my first experience. And The Upside of Unrequited is sure to please any Becky fan--or any fan (casual or serious) of contemporary young adult fiction.

Who can't relate to a bunch of crushes you don't tell anyone about? (I, at least, can!) And Molly is such a fun, easily relatable girl in all ways. She feels awkward about her chubbiness at times, but she also loves herself! She voices all the kinds of fears I think teenage girls feel, and she's just the kind of character I'd have loved to read about at that age.

And I loved, loved, LOVED her romance with Reid! They're so comfortable with each other, friends first, and once Molly makes up her mind in that direction, so fun. That's one of my few complaints, actually. Molly is so indecisive, and I kind of hated that another love interest was even around. Like, we didn't need another guy to substantiate the romance? I would've just liked to have alllll the Molly and Reid, honestly.

While I didn't run around like a crazy person after reading this from the adorable (like I did with Simon, but that's a rarity!), The Upside of Unrequited is still wholly adorable and absolutely worth all your time! For many teenagers, I think there's a lot they could take away that would make them feel understood--and that's actually more important than being adorable in the long run. Gimme alllll the Becky Albertalli, please!


About the author:

Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Release date: January 3, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Pages: 272
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
There are things I cannot say in any voice.

London, 1872. Seventeen-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is preparing to be presented to upper-class society—again. She’s strikingly beautiful and going to be very rich, but Leo has a problem money can’t solve. A curious speech disorder causes her to stutter but allows her to imitate other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back…and watch as Leo unintentionally scares off one potential husband after another.

London is also a city gripped by opium fever. Leo’s brother-in-law, Dr. Dewhurst, and his new business partner, Francis Thornfax, are front-runners in the race to patent an injectable formula of the drug. Friendly, forthright, and devastatingly handsome, Thornfax seems immune to the gossip about Leo’s “madness.” But their courtship is endangered from the start. The mysterious Black Glove opium gang is setting off explosions across the city. The street urchins Dr. Dewhurst treats are dying of overdoses. And then there is Tom Rampling, the working-class boy Leo can’t seem to get off her mind.

As the violence closes in around her, Leo must find the links among the Black Glove’s attacks, Tom’s criminal past, the doctor’s dangerous cure, and Thornfax’s political ambitions. But first she must find her voice.
Weeeeeell. I was so excited to see that Mad Miss Mimic was going to be released in the US, after falling in love with the cover and the premise prior to its release in Canada.  I quickly requested it on Netgalley and read it. And it's taken me this long to write a review. So.

I suppose there's nothing overtly wrong with Mad Miss Mimic. When I finished (after rather laboriously making my way through), I was left mostly with boredom and sadness that I'd been so bored. Leo is a character who mostly just lets things happen around her, and gets lucky in the things that happen. Her speech impediment is a huge part of who she is, and that's done well, but a disability does not a book make.

 Not only all of that, but it's pretty obvious who our bad guy is going to be and the climax is not all that climactic. It's like there's a lot of interesting things, yet nothing has the punch it needs. Everything just left me feeling meh, and pretty sad I'd spent the hours to read the book, short as it is.

And, finally, I hate a lot of the ending. Any kind of power Leo has gained for herself is lost in the wallowing she does just before the ending, and it becomes so...simple. Somehow everything is made right (including Leo's speech impediment) and it's just not compelling.

Honestly, my advice is to skip this one. It's got so much that pushes my "love" buttons, but it just doesn't pay off. There are plenty more YA historical fiction novels you could read otherwise, and most would be a better use of your time. I'm sad to say it, but it's true.


About the author:

Sarah Henstra is the author of Mad Miss Mimic (Razorbill, 2015), an historical novel for young adults. She is a professor of English literature at Ryerson University, where she teaches courses in Gothic Horror, Fairy Tales & Fantasies, Psychoanalysis & Literature, and Creative Writing. She grew up on the wild, wet coast of British Columbia, but now she lives in Toronto, Ontario with her two sons.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Best of 2017... So Far

Six months of the year are over, so it's time for me to count down my top books of 2017 so far! This is one of my favorite posts to do every year, because it's a lot of fun to look over what I've read this year so far and see what I've loved. So far, I've read over 60 books this year, so I've got a few to pick from--and, especially in the last month or so, I've been reading some good books. This is gonna be hard!

So, in no particular order, my favorite books of the year so far:





So these are my favorites! I've given each five stars. I really wanted to keep it to ten, but I couldn't actually bear to cut one of these, so I went with eleven. Don't even let me think of the end of the year, when I really try to keep it to ten. 

I didn't include ACOWAR, even though I loved it, largely because it was the end of the series and I didn't love it as much as ACOMAF. It's a similar story with Devil in Spring, simply because it couldn't live up to Devil in Winter!

Three sequels, two contemporaries, and even something non-fiction! I'm actually surprised at my own variety, because I am such a fantasy reader. 

So, what are your favorite reads of the year so far? Let me know, or if you've written a post, link me to it! :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June Recap

Hiiii! I'm heeeeeere! I really thought I'd get better with the posting in June, but I failed. I've got a bunch of reviews nearly done, so hopefully I can get some out this month. I swear.

What books did I get?


A Million Junes by Emily Henry
Time and Time Again: A Collection by Tamara Ireland Stone
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
The Knowing by Sharon Cameron

Give me a high five--I only bought two books! (That's because I bought a lot of candles...) This is the kind of month-long haul I like, because I definitely read more books than I got! Improvement! I got Mask of Shadows, What to Say Next, and The Best Kind of Magic for review (also an improvement!), and Lair of Dreams and The Knowing from trades! I'm especially excited to have The Knowing, because that keeps my Sharon Cameron ARC collection up to date, and I'm super curious to see how she's continuing the story.

Egalleys for review:


Just Another Viscount in Love by Vivienne Lorret
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody


A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe
Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

What did I post?

What did I read?

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
Duke of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass (audiobook reread)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Currently reading: I actually just finished a book, so I'm rather undecided. I'm thinking of Want by Cindy Pon. Any other suggestions?
Favorite of the month: SIX OF CROWS. Oh my lord, this book.

What will I read?


I did such a bad job keeping to my TBR for last month (I read a grand total of two books from the fifteen I put on there), so I went with low expectations for myself. I know I'll get to Crooked Kingdom because I adored SoC so much, so there's that! At least a higher percentage than last month.

What am I doing?

Well, y'all know I was taking a summer class for grad school, and it seriously kicked my butt. It was a lot of reading entire books and then writing little essays on them. Then, in the course of about a week, I had three huge projects due. Each took me at least eight hours to complete, with a least one of them taking more like twelve. Needless to say, finishing was a relief.

Also, if you're familiar with the blog, it's looking a little different, no? I logged on the other day to get some posts written, only to find that all the images hosted with the person I bought my template from were over their usage, so none were showing up any more. So, I went ahead and got a new one! It looks pretty similar to what I had before, just a bit different. I'm still working out some kinks with it, but I think I'll ultimately be happy with it!

And I talked a lot about work last month. The cafe shifts are gone, because they hired several more people who are all trained up, so that's nice. However now, the company is mandating that we have "no task" hours every day, so times where we can't do anything but help customers. Problem is, we're short on hours, so we're behind on pretty much everything. It's one of those things where you just have to shrug your shoulders and get whatever you can done--which I am not good at. I'm handling it so far, but we'll see.

I'm still obsessed with bookish candles, though! I haven't gotten anymore, but I have a couple of orders on the way... I love them and I want them for everything!

Anyway, farewell! Cheers to a wonderful July!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blog Tour: The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean {Review + Excerpt}


Release date: June 27, 2017
Author info: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google |iTunes | Kobo
The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day...
From the beginning, I was so excited to read The Day of the Duchess. Almost all romance novels focus on the start and flourishing of a relationship, so after being introduced to Haven and Sera in such an interesting manner in The Rogue Not Taken (if you don't recall or haven't read it, Sera's sister, Sophie, shoves Haven into a fountain after finding him cheating on his pregnant wife), I knew the road to their happiness might not be a terribly happy one, but it would be worth the experience--and it was!

Certainly, making Haven into a sympathetic character was hard. All we've seen of him is his cheating and his pushing Seraphina away, but as we see moments from his point of view, while his actions are still not the best decisions, we can see more of his motivation. And what's more, his journey to understanding of Sera's feelings is wonderful. It's endearing to see him trying so hard to win her back, to see him truly fight for her, but it's even better to see him realize why he hasn't convinced her to be with him and make a change for her.

And Seraphina! Even through all of her heartbreak, she is made of steel, fighting through the pain to make a life for herself. In situations when other people would give up, let themselves go with the flow and let life take them down, she pushes back. But, what's even better is how much of the Soiled S's we're treated to! The sisters are truly one of the best parts of this series, and their loyalty to and love for one another is a joy over and over again.

I think what's most striking about this book, though, is how it covers how different people deal with grief. Even though the event is far enough past, the grief plays a huge part in forming who Sera and Haven have become and how their relationship reforms. Their emotional arc is more than a little heartbreaking, but it's also completely wonderful.

I've really enjoyed the Scandal & Scoundrel series so far, but The Day of the Duchess is by far my favorite of the series! It's a story with real emotional heft, yet there are also plenty of funny (courtesy of the wonderful Talbot sisters, mostly) and sweet moments.


About the author:

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "gracefully furious." A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Find Sarah online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads




Chapter 1
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, Parliament


She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.

Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.

August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.

Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.

He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.

January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.

His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.

April the seventeenth, 1833.

The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.

He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.

Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.

Where had she gone?

The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.

And they had.

March the first, 1833. The day they met.

So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.

If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?

That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.

And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.

Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?

Where had she gone?

The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.

Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.


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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blog Tour: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum {Review|

Release date: July 11, 2017
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
I adored Julie Buxbaum's YA debut, Tell Me Three Things, so when I was offered the opportunity to be on another blog tour for her second YA novel, What to Say Next, of course I jumped! And while this book is rather a different read, it's just as delightful as her first.

Kit is reeling from the sudden death of her beloved father in a car accident. She doesn't feel like herself. She doesn't feel like pretending to be the person she was before the accident. On the thirtieth day after, she can't take anymore, so she sits with David Drucker, thinking he will let her be in peace. David is perhaps the class oddball; he navigates the halls with headphones, and he doesn't speak to much of anyone, keeping his thoughts and observations in a notebook. As the two form a friendship, their worlds are rocked--in more way than one.

There's so much to love in this book! I have to start with the friendship between Kit and David. There were times I wanted to holler at Kit because she didn't understand David--but I can't say I would have either, I just had the luxury of being in his head. But as they become friends, Kit begins to understand David and how he works, and David starts to understand the nuances of Kit. There's a lot in the synopsis about the two "solving the mystery" of Kit's dad's accident, but it really doesn't play much into the story, except in one or two moments. To me, most of the story is Kit coming to terms with her dad's death and David coming out of his shell.

However, the true highlight of What to Say Next is David. I'm about the farthest person from an expert on Autism, but being in his head seems quite authentic from my limited knowledge. (I'd love to know from someone with experience!) He's not diagnosed, but he's definitely on the spectrum somewhere. He's sweet, brutally honest, and completely genuine. Being in his head is truly fascinating, and something that made the book memorable and even more of a joy to read.

Well, did I like What to Say Next? I feel as if it might be obvious that I loved it! Not only is it a touching story to read, but Buxbaum weaves in a lot of nuance and emotion that can often be lost in your typical YA contemporary romance. Read both of her books now!

About the author:

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, and the critically acclaimed novels The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.