Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Add to My Shelves

TTT pretty design

After participating in my first Top Ten Tuesday in March (you can see my post here), I knew I had take part again! I didn’t realize there was such a big community behind TTT and after talking with so many awesome readers last time, I couldn’t wait to do it again!

April 17th’s topic is a freebie, so I decided to go with “Books I Want to Add to My Shelves”, because who isn’t continuously seeking to expand their collection? This way I will also have a set list to refer to when the semester ends and I go out to treat myself to some new books as a reward (only 2 more weeks, praise the lord).


For those of you who don’t know:

“Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”

(This quote comes directly from the blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)


I’m specifying this list to include old favorites I need to buy and books coming out within the next month or so that I plan to preorder.

Lol, prepare for a lot of middle grade nostalgia, my friends!

1. A Court of Frost and Starlight

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I’m SJM trash, I can’t deny it (and I know most of you guys can’t either), so of course ACOFAS is first on my list. I wish I could say I will be reading it on its release day, but I will being taking a stats exam and moving out of college on May 1st, so I will be binge-reading on book May 2nd instead. Speaking of which, I need to go preorder this book now…

2-4. The Books of Bayern #2-4

(lol how fitting is this numbering? I swear it wasn’t intentional)

Lol I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the original cover of Forest Born before. But yeah, these are the covers that match my copy of The Goose Girl, which is the first book in this series. A big part of this series involves the ability to “speak” with the elements, so each companion novel focuses on a different character and a different element. The first book, Goose Girl, focuses on Princess Anidora and the element wind. The first book is one of my all-time favorites, so I’m not quite sure why I haven’t added the rest of the series to my collection already?

5. The Cruel Prince

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I keep talking about this book, but like, I can’t help it? I will without a doubt be preordering The Wicked King next year and I can’t own the sequel without owning the first book, right? This book is dark, amusing, and so captivating, and arghh, I really just want more now. I think I’m going to have to start looking into Holly Black’s other books while I wait…

6. The Two Sisters of Bamarre

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So I actually use to own this book. I loaned it to a friend in middle school and she never returned it (and I’m still salty about it, tbh), so the desire replace it has been lingering in the back of my mind for awhile now. Even though I tend to hate books with people’s faces on the cover, this is the cover I owned when I was younger, so I want to replace it with an identical copy for nostalgia reasons.

7. The Exact Opposite of Okay

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I first heard of this book from Lia on her blog Lost In A Story, and it’s been on the top of my TBR ever since. My library doesn’t own a copy, so what a bummer, I guess I’ll just have to go out and buy a copy…

8. The Bird and the Blade

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I’m literally so hype for this book to release in June. It’s based on the opera Turandot, and even though I’ve never seen it, I adore one of it’s aria, “Nessun Dorma” (and I’ve read the summary of the opera on Wikipedia, lol). The book is written from the perspective of a side character and think that’s such a cool concept! This is one of my most anticipated releases for 2018 so I really hope it doesn’t disappoint me.

9. Reign the Earth

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I’m a totally sucker for stories that revolve around elemental magic (Avatar the Last Airbender anyone?) so this book is right up my alley. Not to mention the cover is stunning.

10. Monstress

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I rarely read graphic novels, but I keep seeing this book pop up in my Goodreads feed, so I’ve itching to know about the story that lies beneath this cover. I really don’t know much about this book, but with a title like Monstress, I’m already sold.


So, those are my top 10 books I want to purchase!

Have you guys read any of these books? What books are you itching to buy?

Did you participate in TTT today? If so, what topic did you pick? Feel free to link up your TTT posts in the comments, I would love to read them!

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The Rainbow Tag

the rainbow tag

So, nobody technically tagged me for this, but Kayla @ Kayla’s Book Nook welcomed anyone to complete the tag who wanted to, so I decided to go ahead and do it!  I haven’t done a tag this year and I thought it would be a great way to spice up some of my content since my blog is like 50% long reviews, so yeah!

Plus, how perfect is it to do this tag in April, the month of rain and hopefully rainbows?!


Here are the rules:

  • Thank the lovely person that tagged you!
  • It must be the dominant color of the cover not the spine!
  • It has to be a book you own or the exact copy that you read. (Ex: There are two copies of The Hate U Give, choose the cover of the copy you read)
  • If you do not own a book of the certain cover, choose one that has the color somewhere on it.
  • Tag some people do it! Whether they are bloggers, bookstagrammers, or booktubers. Spread the love!
  • Make it a game or do the tag as originally intended.

I decided that I’m going to refine this tag a little. Not only am I going to include books that I own/read that fit with each color, but I’m only going to list favorites and books that I would personally recommend, because who wants to read about sucky books?

RED

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Yessss, starting this off right with my favorite color! I read The Queen of the Tearling and it’s sequel and couple years ago and I really need to reread them so I can finish the trilogy. This series features a strong, badass protagonist, complex characters, and a crazy unique setting (I won’t elaborate on this because it’s spoilers for the sequel, so go check out this series!).

ORANGE

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I loved this series years ago (and so did my mother actually— wow, I should really try to read more things with my mother, that was great). This book is actually a sequel, the first book being Tiger’s Curse. This series involves a young woman up against a 300-year-old Indian curse, tigers (obviously), and a beautifully crafted world inspired by Indian mythology.

YELLOW

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I read this book back in high school and fricking adored it. It’s the first in a duology (why aren’t there more YA fantasy duologies?). It’s about a girl trained in dragon magic, so how can you not love/want to read this book?

GREEN

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This is mostly green, right? Yes? Good. Literally, how could I write a list of recommended favorites and not include this book? I’ve read this book 3 or 4 times now and I still completely adore it. It’s more on the younger side of YA, but like, please just pick this up if you haven’t already!? In involves an awkward princess who can talk to birds, struggling to find her place in the world after her lady-in-waiting stole her identity on  their journey to the neighboring kingdom. (wow sorry, that was a mouthful. But I promise, the book is so much better than my poorly written description of it!)

BLUE

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And how can I make a list of favorite books and not also include a Sarah J. Maas book? For those of you who have yet to read her Throne of Glass series, this is the 6th book of series. I decided to include this book because as much as I love the first book, I will admit the writing is a bit amateur, and I wanted to stress how fabulous the later books are. Not to mention, on the off chance there’s someone reading this post who loves TOG but refuses to read this book because the main POV is Chaol; YOU’RE AN IDIOT PLEASE READ THIS BOOK IT’S SOOOOO GOOD AND YOU ARE MISSING SO MANY IMPORTANT DETAILS BY NOT READING IT!!

TURQUOISE

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Sharon Shinn is a master of fantasy and I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read 3 books by her. This book is the first in a series of 4 companion books, each one focusing on a different element and a different badass woman. I can’t really elaborate much more than that because I really need to reread this book so I can complete the series, but like, how do you not want to read a book with a cover like that?

PURPLE

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Okay, yes, I’m soooo pushing it by calling this one purple. But like, this book is a great YA fantasy standalone that needs more attention. It’s short, cute, has a historically inspired setting, and there’s lots of magic!

PINK

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Have you read this trilogy yet? If not, GO OUT AND READ IT NOW! The Winner’s Curse has so many fabulous things going for it: hate-to-love romance, lots of political intrigue, an intricate & detailed world, rebellion, and the list goes on.

BROWN

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This counts as “brown,” right? Wow, I forgot how pretty this cover was. Okay, so this book is actually a sequel (the first book is Gates of Thread and Stone). I’ve never seen anyone else talk about it which I find weird because I thought it was a great read? It involves an archaic society with a dash of technology, magic, gods, and great brother-sister dynamic. It’s been like 3 years and I’m still waiting on the third book though…

WHITE

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Okay, so I know that everyone’s already heard and raved about this book but I read it in March and FREAKING FELL IN LOVE and just like how could I not include it? (Wow sorry, I’ve been asking that a lot, lol) This could honestly become a new favorite series for me and I can’t wait for the sequel.

BLACK

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Haha, so don’t hate me, but yes; I’m including a vampire book on this list. I fell in love with this series as a middle schooler/young high schooler so I had to include it in this tag for nostalgia reasons. 😀

Bahaha, these books we’re all fantasies. Sorry you non-magical people.


I TAG…

No pressure if you guys have already done this tag or don’t like to do tags, but please know I’d love to see the books you’d chose if you do the tag! 🙂

I also welcome anyone else who didn’t get tagged, but wants to complete the tag, to do so! The more, the merrier, my friends!


Have you guys read any of these books? What’s your favorite color? What are you guys currently reading? Let me know down in the comments!

ARC Review: Ash Princess

Are you my book_(2)

Release Date: April 24th, 2018

***I received a free ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

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Ash Princess is a dramatic and dark YA tale. Bombarded with constant action and intrigue, this book becomes increasingly addictive the further one dives in. Although the numerous YA fantasy tropes had me frequently rolling my eyes, they didn’t hinder my curiosity to see the novel through. While I wish the story had avoided that wretched insta-love, Ash Princess is overall a solid contribution to the YA world.

The novel follows Theodosia, Princess of Astrea, forced to live in the palace among the Kaiser and the Kalovaxians who killed her mother, conquered her country, and renamed her Lady Thora. Theo lives an existence of expressing obedience, denouncing her people, and serving as a scapegoat at the Kaiser’s whim when the Astreans rebel. During one of the Kaiser’s punishments, Theo witnesses a death that wrecks her to her core, igniting the dormant rebellious spark harbored within her. As hidden allies emerge and they begin to hatch schemes, Theo has to figure out who she is and what she’s willing to do for her people.

One of my favorite things about this book is its darker edge. There was murder, violence, beatings, and death! From what I’ve read, YA has a tendency to hint at these things, but in Ash Princess the violence was clearly written across the pages. Yes, give me more brutal YA fantasies!

Another praiseworthy characteristic of this novel is its emphasis on religion. Sebastian gave evidence of religious beliefs not just of Astreans or of Kalovaxians, but also for all the surrounding kingdoms. This is important in worldbuilding because historically, while civilizations obviously have social structures, government, and language, the defining element that makes a group of people a civilization is RELIGION. A lot of fantasies tend to skimp out on this aspect of worldbuilding, mentioning religious beliefs briefly, if at all. But Ash Princess DIDN’T do this and I loved it! Readers are given repeated insight into the Astreans’ beliefs and their impact on Theo’s actions and thoughts. Heck, the readers even get to bear witness to an Astrean holiday!

Aaah, I’m so excited for the sequel of this book (dang, 2019 is so far awayyy), and my main reason for being so isn’t even for the central plot (although I’m also curious about where that will go), but because of the side characters. Specifically, I can’t wait to see where Laura Sebastian will take Lady Crescentia and how she’ll write her character arc. Strong books get the readers invested in side characters, and Ash Princess definitely did well in that department. With a title like Lady Smoke for the sequel, I’m bouncing on my toes in anticipation.

An additional commendable quality of the novel is its pacing. The pages are alight with constant action and intrigue, making this an addictive and easy read. There are no slow points. Every time I stepped away from the story, I found myself eager to return, persistently wondering in which direction the plot would next turn.

However, while I liked the pacing, I felt that the narration was a hindrance to the novel. Don’t get me wrong; I love strong, female protagonists, but Theo’s voice came off as too dramatic. It was obnoxious how often Theo told the reader’s about her fluctuating emotions and how she relayed the same information over and over again. Too many times I found myself thinking, “Why are you telling me this? I already know this!” Maybe the author was trying to pack a punch, but it just seemed overly dramatic. In fact, at first I thought I was going to like this story a lot less than I did in the end because the beginning was such a bombardment of information and dramatic thoughts. Maybe some readers like this strategy, but I prefer when a fantasy eases you into their world, instead of throwing everything at you at once.

The only other thing which harms the story’s value is the underlying love triangle and insta-love. These are my two least favorite YA tropes, not only because they are unoriginal, but because of their tendency to be unrealistic and melodramatic. Not only were these qualities hampering, but I felt that they damaged the Prinz’s character. Prinz Søren is described as this fierce, badass warrior, yet whenever he interacts with Theo, he seems soft and overly kind. While these qualities are not bad themselves, given how brutal the Kaiser and the court is, the two-sided nature and openness of his character didn’t mesh well and came off as unrealistic.

Overall, Ash Princess was an entertaining and delightful read. I wish I could say it was a new favorite, but the narration and heavy trope dependency inhibited too much of the potential of this book. I view it as typical YA fantasy with a few well-executed elements. I definitely recommend this to all YA fantasy lovers, but it’s not a book that needs to be at the top of one’s TBR pile. Nevertheless, I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“Not quite, but my series has the potential to be.”

Long Way Down Review

Are you my book_(2)

22552026Normally, I’m not one to pick up a contemporary book, especially one written in verse, but Jason Reynolds visited a library near me in March, so I knew I had to pick up his latest book (especially since I had heard only good things about it). This book was both insightful and amazing and I’m honestly surprised I haven’t seen more bookish people raving about it (have you seen how many awards are plastered on the cover?).

Long Way Down follows Will, a teen reeling from the murder of his older brother, Shawn, that happened the day before. The first chunk of the book focuses on the death of Shawn and some backstory before diving into the main plot. The rest of the book happens over the course of a one minute elevator ride, where Will interacts with a series of unexpected riders as he descends down to the ground floor.

but if the blood

inside you is on the inside

of someone else,

 

you never want to

see it on the outside of

them. (pg. 5)

Who knew a story could be so brilliantly told in so few words? I read this book in two sittings and about a total of 2 hours. Each page of the book (for the most part) is its own little poem consisting of only a few lines. And every single one of those 320 pages packed a punch. Every detail and every word was put there for a reason. The writing was also not your typical flowery, poetic voice, but was very straightforward and sounded like the real words of a teenager. Generally, I struggle to grasp poetry, but Jason Reynolds’ poems was easily understandable and could be clearly seen how they propelled the story forward.

The screams are always

heard over everything.

 

Even the sirens. (pg. 17)

Another unique and astounding quality of this book was the premise. The majority of the book taking place within 1 minute—how unique is that!? I loved how Reynolds focused in on this one defining moment. And without spoiling anything, I was stunned and wrecked by this magical realism aspect that surrounds the elevator setting. These pages consumed me and I couldn’t even think about setting aside the book.

I’ll tell you one thing,

the moon is lucky it’s not down here

 

where nothing

is ever

new. (pg. 21)

AND THEN THERE WAS THAT ENDING. I wouldn’t say anything to spoil it (I’m not that cruel), but I must say that the ending DESTROYED me and completely made the book for me. As I read it, I thought the book was remarkable, but the ending made it 10 TIMES EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE. That finally page resonated in my thoughts for days afterwards and it still makes me want to scream of its brilliance. Please, just do yourself a favor and go out and read this book.

Overall, I was highly impressed by this piece of art. It was so relevant and so real. When I saw Jason Reynolds speak, he mentioned that his books are inspired by the stories and pieces of his life. He revealed that Long Way Down comes from a time when he was 19 and faced with the death of one of his friends. This book wasn’t just put out there to be a good story, but to make connections with teens in similar situations. I cannot stress how important and how appreciated this book should be. Every young adult, and really adults too, should read this book. I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up a book by Jason Reynolds and I am now ashamed for not having read any of his other works.

Rating: 4.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I should be everyone’s book.”