Sunday, March 31, 2019

Weekly Recap: 3/24 - 3/30


Hi everyone! This has been a pretty productive week and I really can't complain! I'm going to be even busier than normal over the next week or two as I finish up some huge candle orders and get them packed up, but I'm so thankful to be able to do it. I'll also be running the Star Wars Rival Run 5K on Friday and I'm so excited! Although I've run a lot of 5Ks over the last year this will be my first one in a crowd and I'm so glad I get to do it at Disney World! Of course, I'll be running for the Dark Side (as you do). This has also been a wonderful reading week! I'm not sure if I'm in a really good mood or have just been picking fantastic books, but my last TEN reads have been between 4 and 5 stars. That is unheard of around here. I'm really hoping the trend continues!


Nothing new this week!




The topic was an audio freebie for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday reread discussion of Shadow and Bone
On Friday I talked about sub-genres I can't get into
Saturday audiobook review of Alone


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, March 30, 2019

Mini Audiobook Review: Alone by Cyn Balog

Title: Alone
Author: Cyn Balog
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 277
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When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

I've been wanting to read something by Cyn Balog for years, but never had the chance until Alone popped up on my library's Hoopla. I went into this book not knowing much about it, but seriously hoping for a really creepy horror experience, something I feel I don't get nearly enough of in YA.

Seda lives in an old mansion with her mom and siblings. It was never supposed to be a permanent residence, but her mom is seeming less and less like she's actually going to leave. There are entire wings of the house that are burned out and shut off with tarps and her mom refuses to let it go except to a very specific type of buyer. I felt for Seda and her family immediately. It's obvious that all everyone but Seda's mom wants is to go back to their normal lives.

On top of everything else, Seda is dealing with increasingly violent messages from her dead twin brother's voice in her head and doesn't know how to handle them. Seda is a delightfully unreliable narrator and her imaginary friend is extremely unnerving. I didn't love her as a character, but I did love never quite knowing what was real and what wasn't.

Everything goes completely off the rails when a group of stranded teens decides to take shelter through a storm and her mom offers to put on a murder mystery to occupy everyone and it seems like she's way too good at it. I feel like I can't say much about this book without spoiling anything, but it was definitely the horror I've been looking for!

Alone is an extremely fast-paced horror story that has a bit more to it than your standard YA horror book. There were twists and turns that I NEVER saw coming and I'm so excited that Cyn Balog was able to pull it off. I could definitely see this as a horror movie. I definitely recommend this for lovers of YA looking for a great creepy read.

Friday, March 29, 2019

5 Sub-genres I just can't get into

Happy Friday, bookworms! Welcome to some unpopular opinions that I sincerely hope don't make any of you think less of me. Haha! Today I wanted to talk about sub-genres that I just can't seem to get into. I've read several of the books I included in today's lists and none of them have been winners, despite some being by favorite authors. Let's get to it!



Six of Crows was one of my MOST anticipated reads when it came out. After all, it was written by Leigh Bardugo so how could I not be excited? But I quickly realized that I am really, REALLY not into heist books. At all. In fact, when I start reading the back of a book and see a bunch of names listed in the synopsis and a hint that they team up for a job, I am immediately turned off. Which is unfortunate because now I'm wary of reading The Gilded Wolves despite owning it. I'm not sure what it is about this particular type of book, but something about the whole thing seems so cheesy to me and I just can't.



I've tried reading both Ready Player One and Warcross and just could not get myself to enjoy either one. Again, I'm not sure what it is exactly that I don't like, but I just immediately start to shut down when I realize a book is largely about a virtual reality world. It's weird because the concept is actually really cool in real life! I just haven't found a book about it that I loved.



I just... why does this sub-genre need to exist? I think my deep repulsion to this type of book stems from the fact that my dad LOVED westerns when I was a kid and I ended up watching all kinds of weird movies that I just was not into. I love fantasy, but throw the word "gunslinger" on the back and it's almost an immediate no thank you from me. I still have a copy of Rebel of the Sands on my shelf just in case, but it's one of the books I'll probably never get to.



This one feels weird coming from someone who always found The Beast more attractive than Prince Adam, but I have never been able to get into werewolf paranormal romance. Give me some vampires, elves, warlocks, sexy goblins or whatever, but if it's got fur I don't think I'm here for it. Despite how creepy Edward was, I always preferred him to Jacob.



The only pirate movie my dad made me watch a hundred times was Hook, but pirate books are not something I've ever been able to enjoy. It's a real shame since there seem to be approximately a million of them being published recently. Nikolai is an obvious exception, which makes me think I don't mind pirates IN books, I just don't like books about pirates. Maybe it's because I hate the ocean...

What sub-genres can you not stand?
Do you have any recs that might change my mind?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reread Discussion: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Last week I went out of my comfort zone again and reread another book! This time I tackled one of my favorites.

I was honestly kind of scared to read it again because I was really worried that I might not like it anymore. I read it a few years ago and fell in love, but after not loving Six of Crows or King of Scars, I thought maybe my tastes had just changed that much. Alas, after a year of putting it off, I finally gave it another read and here's how it went (Spoilers, obviously):

  • I had a hard time focusing on the story. It was weird, but I was so focused on trying to decide if I liked it that I found myself reading but not really absorbing the story. 
  • Another reason I had trouble focusing was because I kept trying to figure out what the characters would look like in the show. I couldn't fully enjoy the Darkling because I was too busy thinking about who could possibly be cast to play him! (Any ideas?) 
  • Leigh Bardugo's style of writing characters changed DRASTICALLY between the Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows. All of the characters are so much more snarky ALL THE TIME in Six of Crows and it carried over to King of Scars. I found the way the characters interacted in her later series to be really unrealistic and found the characters of the Grisha Trilogy to be much more relatable. 
  • Mal is still soggy bread. He's so bland and useless and I still can't stand the way he treats Alina once she embraces her power, even in book one of the series. I thought maybe I'd grown as a person and would love Mal now, but nope. Still hate him.
  • Similarly, I still adore the Darkling. Another reason I had a hard time focusing was that, after reading King of Scars and having DARKLING BAD shoved down my throat for 500 pages, I tried really hard to see the Darkling as pure evil. There were times when I thought that maybe his "feelings" toward Alina were a big manipulation, but I really don't think they were. I know that he's definitely evil, but I still have sympathy for him and understand the reasons behind his actions, even if they aren't great. Reading about how he thinks again makes me wonder if he might actually get that redemption arc after all. 
  • I liked seeing all the places that come into play in Six of Crows. Obviously they were there before, but I didn't pay much attention and didn't remember them being mentioned when I picked up Six of Crows. It's cool to see it all come together. I'll have to keep an eye out to see if Ketterdam is mentioned in future books. I wonder if Leigh had that series planned already while writing this or if she just wrote it to fit the world. 
  • I definitely can't wait to read book two and compare Nikolai of this series to Nikolai of the book. I'm curious to see if he's as different between the two as I think he is. 
  • Reading this was like coming home to the Ravka I remembered after the really weird experience that was King of Scars. It's so bizarre going back to this after reading that and being reminded of how much different the two books feel. 

So in the end, I still really love this book! I did have a hard time paying attention for all the reasons I mentioned, but I really enjoyed starting this series again. I can't wait to dive back in again with Siege and Storm! 

What past favorite are you scared to read again? 
Have you ever hated a book you used to love?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #232: Books I wouldn't have read without audiobooks

Today's Topic: 
Ten books I would probably wouldn't have 
read (and loved) without audiobooks

Hi everyone! I love this topic so much! I actually read a TON of audiobooks and they're my go to when it comes to a book I'm on the fence about or something way outside of my comfort zone. These are ten books I may have read eventually, but probably not. I'm so thankful for audiobooks because they allow me to expand my reading horizons without having to actually read pages. 

Alone by Cyn Balog
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Weekly Recap: 3/17 - 3/23


Hi everyone! It has been another busy week, but not a bad one! I even got a day off that was totally unexpected and used my afternoon to get Pad Thai (after debating whether to have that or ice cream for lunch). I also saw Captain Marvel AGAIN and it was still amazing! I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it already. This week I did another reread (who even am I?) and loved it! I was kind of scared to read Shadow and Bone again after my reaction to Bardugo's Six of Crows and King of Scars, but I'm happy to report it's still wonderful. Speaking of King of Scars, I did something unusual and revised my rating. I posted a discussion about my feelings after thinking more about it. If you've read the book, please head over and talk to me about it!

I also wanted to ask something of you guys! April will be my blogiversary AND my birthday and I would really love to share a bit more about myself with all of you. I made this nifty form that you can use to ask me questions (anonymously) that I'll answer in my blogiversary post next month. Please ask me anything!






On Monday I posted a spoilery King of Scars discussion
The topic was my Spring TBR for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday ARC review of Wicked Saints
On Friday I talked about books I Want to read, but don't want to READ
Saturday book review of The Cold is in Her Bones


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Book Review: The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Title: The Cold is in Her Bones
Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 288
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One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla's whole world is her family's farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she's forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

Last year I read The Beast is an Animal and found it to be an incredibly unique and refreshing take on YA fantasy retellings. It was a little bit weird and pretty dark and definitely should NOT be on a "romantic Beauty and the Beast retellings" display, although I saw it on far too many. When I saw that this author was writing a new book I knew that I had to get it!

This time around the story retold is Medusa, although I'll admit I didn't realize that until way too late in the book. Although there were snakes in Milla's hair in the book and on the cover, it never occurred to me that this was a retelling - it's just that unique. Milla is a girl who doesn't fit into the life laid out for her. Her family sees her as rebellious and odd and beg her to just fit into the mold to save herself from the curse that has plagued the nearby village, a curse that takes daughters and possesses them.

Milla is such a wonderful character! Although she did try very hard to stay within the boundaries set for her, she just couldn't be kept there and I loved her strength and resilience. Things are pushed over the edge when Iris comes to stay with Milla's neighbors and ends up being taken by the demon. Milla goes after her and the journey and revelations are dark and creepy and amazing.

The relationships in The Cold is in Her Bones were really well written, mostly friendships between girls and girls looking up to girls and girls saving girls! There aren't nearly enough really great female friendships in YA literature, at least not in fantasy, so I really appreciated this aspect. I also really loved the moral of the story! Again, not something super common (or at least not super blatant) in YA fantasy, but I enjoyed the way it was written. The Medusa character, Hulda, was fascinating and complex. Even the characters I hated were wonderful. I loved everything!

It's really hard for me to review this book because a lot of what makes it so great is the atmosphere created by Peternelle van Arsdale. She has a style of writing that makes you feel as if you've been placed right in the middle of a dangerous, dark folktale. I loved the feeling of this book and was eager to jump back into it every night that I was reading it. The story grabbed me from the very first line of the prologue and when it was over I didn't want to leave. I will admit that there were times when things just meandered along, but I felt that it added to the atmosphere so I didn't mind it.

The Cold is in Her Bones is a book for people who don't mind stories that are a little weird and dark (and especially for people who love them). Again, this author has given us a very unique and atmospheric retelling of a classic that I absolutely devoured. She has most definitely found her way onto my favorites shelf!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Books I WANT to read, but don’t want to READ book tag

HURRAY! A book tag! This tag was created by Jami Shelves and perfectly embodies my TBR, which is full of books that I think I would like to read but don't actually want to take the time to read... No one tagged me, but I thought it looked fun so here we are! The rules are simple! Just make sure to link back to the original tag creator and tag some people if you want to, or not.


I am sure there are people gasping AT THIS VERY MOMENT. I haven't read this book and I haven't seen the movie. I don't enjoy 99.9% of YA contemporary and yet every time I tell people I haven't read this they tell me that I NEED to read it! It's still very tentatively on my list. I've been pressured into reading more than one YA contemporary. We'll see what happens. 


Seriously, what book needs to be over 800 pages? I OWN a copy of this book, but it's so freaking long! How am I supposed to commit to reading one 800 page book knowing that I could read two or three other books instead? But also it seems really interesting. Maybe I should commit to the audiobook?


So this book has been on my TBR since the 90s and I've had a physical copy for years. At first I didn't read it because, you know, my mom said it was evil. Then I didn't read it because what if I hate it?? It's a classic and I HAVE to love it! I tried the audiobook, but it was weird. One of these days I'll actually take time to sit down and read this series. Probably.

(eg, school text, popular classic – something you feel obligated to read)

Thank goodness my days of actual required reading are behind me, but of course EVERYONE and their mother (and grandmother) has read Pride and Prejudice. Everyone loves Mr. Darcy. I feel like I know Mr. Darcy personally based on everything I've been told about him, but I still don't know if I actually WANT to read this! I have such terrible luck with most classics.


I'm not sure why I'm so intimidated by this book and series. I definitely WANT to read it. For some reason, certain fantasy series really intimidate me and I talk myself out of starting them. How many books are in this one? Two or three? I should just set a date on my calendar and force myself to do it.


I think this because several people have told me. I know this fandom is huge and several of my friends love the series, but I'm so scared to start it! I can't stand slogging through books that drag and this story sounds so good that it seems easier not to risk it!


I saw the movie and I really do want to read the book! I just know that it's going to be really, really weird and I need to get into the right mood to dive into it. I desperately want to love the series as much as the film, but if I try to make myself read it without getting into that headspace, it won't end well.


I recently read Warrior of the Wild and loved it! I still haven't read Daughter of the Pirate King though, because I'm scared I won't like it nearly as much. I'm not huge on pirate books (like at all), but I probably will read this at some point just based on how many good things I've heard and how much I enjoyed what I have read by her.

Yay, another book tag complete! I love these posts so much, I really wish I found amazing ones more often. I'm tagging NO ONE because you're all amazing independent people who can decide on your own whether you want to participate! Go forth and comment!