Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: Spoiler-free ARC Review

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Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: March 6th, 2018
Dates read: December 27th, 2017 – January 5th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Spoiler-free Review:

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The Reading Habits Tag

I saw this tag going around a little while ago, and I thought it seemed like a fun way to get to know everyone’s reading habits! Let’s get into it!

Do you have a specific place that you read?

I like to read in a certain spot next to the window on my living room couch when I’m at home. When I’m at my apartment at school, I usually just read in my bed or at my desk. My dream is to have a little reading nook with a comfy chair or couch when I have my own place!

Book mark or random piece of paper?

Honestly, it varies. I have a ton of bookmarks I could use, but sometimes I’m too lazy and just end up using whatever scrap of paper is nearby.

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2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge!

Hello everyone and Happy new year! As I mentioned in my post about my reading goals for 2018, I hope to get to a lot of the books on my backlist this year that I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Some of them have been sitting on my shelf for years. So when I came across the Beat the Backlist Challenge hosted by NovelKnight, it seemed like the perfect way to get my backlist TBR knocked out this year! Basically, to participate in the challenge, all you have to do is read (and review if you want) books released prior to 2018.

My goal is for about half of the books I read this year to be from my backlist, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I am usually huge on new releases. I think 80% of the books I read last year were released in 2017, partially because I got a bunch of free ones at BookCon, but still – wow. I’ve been ignoring these books on my shelf for too long, and I want to force myself to make time to finally get to them! It’s not like I don’t want to read them, but new releases always seem so shiny and it’s hard to resist the temptation to read them first. But this year, my backlist is getting priority! I’ve never done a challenge before, but I am stoked to participate in this one.

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2017 Reading Wrap Up + Top 10 Books of the Year!

Hello everyone and welcome to my last post of 2017! Every year I like to round up all the books I read and make a top ten, and this year I get to share it with you all! But before we get into the list, I want to talk a little bit about my reading life in 2017 with some help from “My Year In Books” from Goodreads!

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I read 15,148 pages across 43 books, which is sadly about half of what I’ve read in previous years but I’ve had a lot of big life stuff going on this year, such as getting down to the wire with my major classes in college while working two/three jobs and whatnot. So despite this being a lot less than last year and the year before, I’m still happy with how much I was able to read this year with everything else going on.

The longest book I read was Renegades by Marissa Meyer, and the shortest book was The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (which I was re-reading before the TV show came out!)

According to Goodreads, my average rating for books this year was a 4.0, which I think is pretty good. However, this average doesn’t take half star ratings into account, so the actual number is probably a bit different.

Now, let’s get into my top 10 favorite books of 2017! You may notice that some books that I rated three or four stars are on this list, and that some books I rated five stars aren’t. This is because this list is not just of my favorite books, but also the books that stuck out to me the most that I read this year. I may have only rated a book three stars, but I still could have enjoyed it and counted it as one of my most memorable reads of the year. Also, this is just a list of books I read in 2017, not necessarily books that were published in 2017. I will be counting down, starting with 10 down to number one!

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Truly, Devious by Maureen Johnson: ARC Review

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Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: January 16th, 2018
Dates read: December 21st-26th, 2017
Genres: Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ / 5 Stars

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Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Thanks to EpicReads Insiders for letting me read an e-ARC of this book!

Spoiler-free review section:

I know I’m in the minority here, but I had some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I went in expecting to love it, and overall I enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with the structure of the story. The book had an amazing premise – an old boarding school with a mysterious past that returns, a main character determined to solve the mystery of the school, creepy secret passageways – but I feel like the actual story didn’t live up to its premise. The beginning was amazing and set up a really cool story, but it kind of just…fell flat for me. There wasn’t much action or crime-solving at all. There were also a lot of character who I couldn’t really keep track of because most of them weren’t all that interesting. I also felt like this book was just a lot of set up for the second book. A lot of cool things were introduced that I expected to play out into something, but they were left open-ended for the next book. I feel like if some of these things had been explored in this book instead of being saved for the next one, it would have had a bit more substance. However, I did end up enjoying this book because I did like the main character, Stevie, and a few of the other side characters. There was also good representation of Stevie’s mental health issues and medication. The story was compelling and I flew through it, and although it didn’t go as in-depth with the mystery as I wanted it to, it was still enjoyable to read, and I’m definitely going to pick up the next book.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner: Spoiler-free ARC Review

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Publisher: Clarion Books
Release date: January 9th, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Dates read: December 12th-20th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Spoiler-free Review:

This is a review of an advance reading copy that I won in a giveaway! Thanks HMHTeen!

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My Reading Goals for 2018

Hey everyone! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2017 is coming to a close (even though it feels like it just started!) and I’m really happy with the reading I did this year. I read a lot of great books and had some really cool book-ish opportunities, such as going to BookCon and an EpicReads meet-up. I also had the opportunity to read and review many advance reader’s copies, many of which I got from BookCon and trading, and I am very grateful for those opportunities as well. For 2018, I have a few goals set for myself to improve my reading habits. These may change over time as I add or remove goals, but as of right now, they are what I hope to accomplish in the new year! Let’s get started!

1. Read my backlist books

I have SO MANY books that have accumulated on my to-be-read shelf over the past few years, you guys. Like, SO MANY. Probably close to 40. It’s really bad! They’ve been accumulating since I was like 13, when I literally couldn’t go into a bookstore without buying something. This year I’ve gotten a lot better at not buying to many books (I think really the only books I bought this year were new releases that I was eagerly anticipating) but then I ended up only really reading those and the ARCs that I got at BookCon, so the books that have been sitting on my shelf for years………continued to sit.

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Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Books Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: October 18th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Dates read: December 2nd-10th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ½ / 5 Stars

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

Review:

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West: Review & Discussion

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Publisher
: Scholastic
Genres: Contemporary
Release date: July 25th, 2017
Dates read: November 17th-21st, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

(Spoiler-free) Review:

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Everless by Sara Holland: Spoiler-Free Review

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: January 2nd, 2018
Dates read: November 23rd-27th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Spoiler-Free Review:

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