Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Audiobook Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Title: Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1) 
Author: Laura Sebastian
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
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Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Ash Princess has been on my radar since it was published, but for some reason I never got around to reading it until now. I was surprised upon finally reading it to find that it was not a Cinderella retelling! I don't really know why I assumed it was other than the title, but I definitely enjoyed this original YA fantasy!

Theo has been a prisoner in her own home for ten years, forced to bend to the will of the Kaiser to stay alive after he killed her mother. She has grown complacent, even making friends with the daughter of one of her enemies, but she starts to consider things differently after an old friend reappears in her life unexpectedly.

Theo was such an incredible character! She is definitely one of my new favorites. It's very easy to understand how she chose to follow the rules of her enemies instead of fighting every second of the last ten years, but I loved watching her realize her strength. I loved how blurred the lines were between good and evil. Morally gray characters are my absolute favorite and I adore when an author can make a case either way.

Speaking of other characters, there is absolutely a hint of romance and, yes, a love triangle. While this isn't a trope I always enjoy, I felt that it worked really well here. While one of the love interests made sense as someone Theo had always known, I also really liked her chemistry with Soren and I am wholeheartedly on that ship.

While I am getting a bit sick of elemental magic in general, I liked the way that it worked in this book. The magic system is familiar, but still manages to be unique. I also enjoyed the politics and the world, although I would have liked seeing a bit more of it. Based on the way Ash Princess ended, I assume there will be much more of the world in book two and I can't wait to see all of it! The author definitely took her time crafting what we did see of world and its different cultures.

This book was everything I could have hoped for, although I went in with no expectations at all. There was magic and romance, twists and mystery! And the ending was BRUTAL! I am just so glad that I already have book two available to read immediately.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #235: Rainy Day Reads

Today's Topic: 
Rainy Day Reads

Oh no. This is such an open ended topic and I am horrible with those! I stared at the screen for quite awhile trying to figure out what a rainy day read was. I decided there are two distinct types of books I'd classify as "rainy day" books. The first is a quick read with a mystery that you can't stop reading until the end. The second is a super moody book that fits the weather. These are the ten that I came up with! 

Alone by Cyn Balog
The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Pines by Blake Crouch
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Weekly Recap: 4/7 - 4/13


Hi everyone! Well, this has actually not been a busy week at all, at home or around the blog. Instead of blogging or doing much else, I've been laying around trying not to die. What started as a cold on Monday seems to have progressed into a sinus infection and I literally might not make it, you guys. I couldn't think well enough to even write a review. I am EMBARRASSED to have only posted twice this week. What even?? I haven't had a week this bad in years. But alas, here we are. Hopefully next week will be better! At the very least I'll be seeing a doctor tomorrow if I'm still not better. I fear antibiotics may be in my future. In better news, today is my birthday! I'm trying to enjoy it despite feeling very under the weather. :/





The topic was crazy things I've done for books for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday I talked about weird books



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Weird YA books for weirdos

I've always been a bit of a weirdo, but lately I have been extremely into weird books. Sadly, there aren't nearly enough of them and no matter how hard I look I can't find a list of weird books that are strictly YA and not contemporary. I can't quite put my finger on what I mean by "weird" here other than a specific atmospheric quality, but I think each of these books speaks for itself. If you're like me and love weirdness and YA, look no further than this list (unless it isn't long enough and you need more to read, in which case keep looking).


This book is definitely based on Labyrinth and if you're a Labyrinth fan you're already weird, so you'll probably love it! Wintersong is for people who secretly shipped Jareth and Sarah despite the weird age difference and general creepiness of the Goblin King. There are spooky goblins, a creepy underground, and a lot of weirdness, but the Goblin King is very handsome, a bit weird, and of course, swoon-worthy.


THIS. BOOK. I only read this very recently and it hasn't been published yet, but I promise you want to read this book! It's a retelling and a ghost story and it's just a weird, atmospheric masterpiece. This is the kind of book that you're never really sure you can trust and it will keep you guessing until the very end.


I fell in love with Peternelle van Arsdale when I read The Beast is an Animal last year (also a very weird book). The Cold Is in Her Bones is just as weird, but I loved it even more! This is a medusa retelling and has a very folktale feel about it, which adds to the strange atmosphere. There are snakes and curses and demons and it is AMAZING!


The cover of this book tells you everything you need to know about it. Every part of this book is original and I literally have nothing else to compare it to. It involves a weird disease that gives the girls of the island really, really awful symptoms and basically the entire island is out to get them. Think Annihilation, but YA. Read it.


I literally finished this last night and, while it's not my favorite, it definitely belongs on this list. This book involves a monster on an island and the girls who come together to fight against it. There are so many things going on in this book, but the atmosphere is chilling and every part of it is weird from the monster to the romance.

This one was recommended to me when I asked for more weird books and it definitely fits the list! I had only read a handful of other Holly Black books and I honestly wish everything she wrote was like this. The vampires were much closer to Lestat than Edward and the Coldtown was creepy and unique and I loved it! Of course, there's also some vampire romance that I absolutely could do with more of.


Cruel Beauty was one of the first Beauty and the Beast retellings I read and I was not prepared for how strange it was. I loved the dark, creepy atmosphere and the anti-hero that the author created. This book has magic and mythology and a lot of general weirdness. All of this author's books are super weird, honestly. You should probably just go ahead and add them all to your TBR.


I did not know what I was getting into with this book, but I absolutely loved it! It's about a girl who lives with her brother on a cliff and a mystery boy named River who comes into their lives. The town is creepy, the characters are weird, and the atmosphere the author creates is incredible. I still need to pick up the sequel, but she is definitely an auto-buy author. Her recent Beowulf retelling is pretty weird too.

(but that I haven't read yet)

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
The Graces by Laure Eve
The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
The Accident Season by Mo├»ra Fowley-Doyle
A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Do you like weird books?
Are there any others you'd recommend?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #234: Crazy things I've done for books

Today's Topic: 
Crazy Things I've Done
For the Love of Books

Hi everyone! This is a topic that's a little hard for me since I tend to prefer the easier ones that only require digging through Goodreads. I can confidently say I NEVER forget to eat, so that was out for this list, but I appreciated the suggestion. XD I really had to dig back to think of things to go on this list, but here we go! 

  1. Went to the principal's office in high school for reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan in math class. 
  2. Carried around a red leather-bound edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy for weeks in high school. I'm really lucky there weren't more bullies. 
  3. Planned multiple weekends and vacations around book conventions. 
  4. Stood in a three hour line at one of said book conventions to get a really anticipated ARC.
  5. Bought a house partially based on the layout of one room in particular that I thought would accommodate a full wall of shelves (it did). 
  6. Spent literal years trading and re-trading books to complete collections. I'm still working on one of them. 
  7. Planned entire days around getting a book on opening day at a B&N an hour from my house on multiple occasions. 
  8. Stood outside in Florida heat for two hours to meet Leigh Bardugo. 
  9. Pre-ordered FIVE different editions of Finale including two book boxes, two UK exclusive editions, and the normal one from Amazon. Whoops. 
  10. Woke up at a ridiculous hour to order one of the UK editions. I hate mornings.

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

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Weekly Recap: 3/31 - 4/6


Hi everyone! What a week! Obviously, this has been a bit of a lackluster week around the blog. No reviews were posted and I have been awful about commenting back, but it was all because I was gearing up for a super exciting event on Friday! I ran my first Disney race! It was a little baby 5K race, but I'm so proud that I completed it and have already signed up for the next one in November! It was a whole mess with weather delays, pouring rain, and an altered course, but I had SO MUCH FUN and I can't wait to do it again! I'm including some super rare pictures of me because I'm so excited about it!






On Monday I posted my 5th blogiversary giveaway
The topic was covers that drew me in for Top Ten Tuesday
On Friday I went back down the TBR hole



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, April 5, 2019

Down the TBR Hole #13

Hi everyone! I've been missing around here this week as I prepared for the Star Wars Rival Run 5K, but this seemed like a quick post I could share today! As you read this I'm either running or have already run (and hopefully not died). In sadder news, my TBR is back up to 408. Oops!

The Down the TBR Hole meme was started by Lost In a Story and it is the most perfect tool for cleaning off shelves that I've come across. Here's how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?



This book got added because I am a HUGE lover of dystopian fiction and, thanks to a recent look at my Kindle library, I know I also added it because it was free. Unfortunately, reading the description now, I realize this isn't the kind of dystopian I'd actually enjoy. I'm not really into books about viruses ending the world. VERDICT: PASS


Krampus is my favorite Christmas movie, so who's shocked this one ended up on my TBR? I don't usually love short stories, but this is a horror anthology all about Krampus and that just sounds awesome! I'm definitely going to be keeping this around to read one Christmas. VERDICT: KEEP


I'm not sure what happened here, but I guess I didn't read the synopsis very thoroughly because I somehow didn't know this was another killer virus book. I'm just not into it! I also thought it was horror but... no one shelved it as that. I'll have to skip this one and look for my horror elsewhere. VERDICT: PASS


Oh look, more dystopia! I've noticed I tend to add genres in waves. I think at the time I was adding these I really didn't know what I liked because I am not about viruses or zombies and hey, this is a zombie book! Don't get me wrong, there are good zombie books! I just doubt I'll ever actually pick this one up. VERDICT: PASS


If you've been reading my blog for awhile you've probably seen me talk about Insylum, which I loved! This was written by the same author, but it's a full length novel and there are vampires! I'm not sure why, but the author never wrote anything after 2015 unless it was under another name. I will probably be reading this soon and crossing my fingers that I love it as much as Insylum! VERDICT: KEEP

Do you add lots of similar books to your TBR at once?
Have you grown out of genres over the years?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #233: Covers that drew me in

Today's Topic: 
Covers That Made Me Pick Up a Book

Hi everyone! Today's topic is supposed to be things that make me pick up a book but, since that's usually covers for me, I decided to share ten covers that made me pick up a book! Some of these I haven't read yet, but all of them are books I picked up initially solely based on the cover!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Ink by Alice Broadway

Jackaby by William Ritter
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
Nocte by Courtney Cole
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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

Monday, April 1, 2019

Cornerfolds 5th Blogiversary Giveaway

It's so wild that another year has already gone by and I'm still here amongst all of you fine bookish nerds. Sometimes I think about what life would be like without book blogging and... I can't?? In my non-bookish life I'm the biggest introvert I know, but in the blogosphere I've made so many incredible friends and I just don't know what I'd do without you all!

In my last blogiversary post I talked about what a hard time I'd had the year before and how much I appreciated all of you. This past year has been such an amazing one! I've had ups and downs, of course, but I can't even describe to you the difference and I am so thankful to still have this amazing community. Thank you so much for sticking by me for another 365 days!


April 2018: Chelcie became my new co-blogger
June 2018: I went to ALA although it was cut short
July 2019: I had a home library built
August 2018: I became a solo operation again
January 2019: I started hosting a Retellings challenge


Stain by A.G. Howard
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer



This year for my blogiversary I'm giving two people a chance to win one of my favorite books from the last year! These are all 2018 or 2019 release books I rated 4 or 5 stars, absolutely LOVED, and would love to share with someone else! If you win and would rather have a different book in the same series, that's totally fine too (since I know a few are sequels). You can find my reviews of each one through the navigation menu or in the search bar! This giveaway is international, but prizes may be sent via Amazon if you're in the US. 

Must be 18 or have a parent's permission to enter. No giveaway accounts. Ends 4/30/19.
Winners will be contacted via the email within 1 day after the giveaway ends.
If winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more April giveaways, check out the April of Books Giveaway Hop!