May, June and July Wrap Up

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I let you know what I’ve been reading. That’s what I’m going to do today. Since there are three months’ worth of books, I will only mention the books and my ratings. Enjoy!

Books read in May:

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  1. Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman – ★★★★★
  2. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – ★★★★★
  3. Unfiltered by Lily Collins – ★★★★★
  4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – ★★★★★
  5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – ★★★★★
  6. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee – ★★★★★
  7. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★
  8. On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis – ★★★★★
  9. White Cat by Holly Black – ★★★★★

Books read in June:

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  1. Red Glove by Holly Black – ★★★★★
  2. Black Heart by Holly Black – ★★★★★
  3. Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally – ★★★★★
  4. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★
  5. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★

Books read in July:

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  1. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher – N/A
  2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – ★★★★★
  3. Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher – N/A
  4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (reread) – ★★★★
  5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher – N/A
  6. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – ★★★★★
  7. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – ★★★★★
  8. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – ★★★★★
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★
  10. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – ★★★★

 

ARC Review: The Traitor’s Tunnel by C.M. Spivey

Title: The Traitor’s Tunnel34031351

Author: C.M. Spivey
Genre: Fantasy

Publication date: June 20, 2017
Purchase links: Kindle Edition

Rating: N/A

Distinctive qualities: asexual main character, a relationship between two men, a relationship between two women, magic, witches.

Summary:

Witch-blooded robber Bridget has made a reputation for herself in the capital city, but she’s not interested in the attention of the Thieves’ Guild–and she’s not bothered by the rumors of urchin kidnappings, either. With winter coming, she’s looking out for herself and no one else.

Until she picks the wrong pocket, and recognizes her estranged brother Teddy.

Young craftsman Theodor arrives in the capital ready to take the final step toward his dream career as Lord Engineer of Arido. His apprenticeship with a renowned city engineer comes with new rules and challenges, but it’s worth it for the exposure to the Imperial Council.

While spying on her brother, Bridget overhears a secret meeting that reveals a cruel plot. After more than a decade apart, Theodor and Bridget must reunite to stop a traitor whose plan threatens not only their city, but the whole empire.

Set seven years before the events of From Under the Mountain, The Traitor’s Tunnel is the story of two young people presented with a choice–to protect themselves, or to protect others–the consequences of which will change their lives forever.

 

Review:

Thanks to C.M. Spivey for my ebook copy of The Traitor’s Tunnel!

If you read my posts for my April TBR and ARCs I haven’t read yet, you know I was extremely excited about reading The Traitor’s Tunnel. Unfortunately, I was let down. I don’t have a lot to say about the story, so this review is going to be short. Here are my thoughts:

I liked that it was the norm to use gender-neutral pronouns for people whose gender was unknown. I also liked that there was a relationship between two men, and a relationship between two women. That was it. I didn’t enjoy anything else.

My problem with the story is probably an effect of it being a novella. We didn’t get to know the characters at all and the world was widely unexplored (I know that there is a full novel set in this world; maybe that is better developed than this). For those reasons, I wasn’t able to become attached to anything or anyone, and I found myself feeling bored whenever I tried to read.

Additionally, there is a paragraph at the very end of the novella that compared an actual eye condition (myopia) to naivety, which struck me as ableist. I really don’t like when people use words such as “blinded” to signify ignorance.

I might read more from this author in the future because I think the world he created has a lot of potential to be amazing. But for now, it’s time for us to part.

ARCs I Haven’t Read Yet

If you’re like me, you probably go on Netgalley just to take a look at all the books that are available… and then end up requesting half of them. There’s something about Netgalley that makes every book seem like it would be a good one. Because of this, I’ve ended up with a few ARCs that I need to read and review. Some of them I’ve had since I started my first book blog in early 2016 (I know, shameful).

Here’s a list of them, from oldest newest:

  1. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve had this ARC since January 2016. I don’t what happened to make me put off reading this book while I still had my other blog. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2016; yet the second book is already out and I’ve read neither.
  2. The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse: This is an ARC that I’ve had since June 2016. I requested it because of a BookTube video that I watched in which this book was reviewed. It sounded really good and I wanted to read it right away. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
  3. Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon: I acquired this ARC way more recently than the other ones, but my review of it is overdue anyway; it came out on March 7. This book is one that I actually didn’t have any interest in, but an author live-tweeted her experience with the book and I got carried away by her enthusiasm. Not-so-great reviews of this book have surfaced ever since, so I’m sad I got it in the first place.
  4. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray: I got this one impulsively because it was on Read Now for the first 500 people who wanted it. It does sound pretty cool, though. I thought I’d get to read and review it on time for its release, but then university got in the way of my reading and blogging.
  5. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke: There’s kind of a funny story behind this one. A lot of people on Twitter were tweeting about getting declined for this book, so I decided to request it to “join the club.” They all have more followers than me, so I never thought my request would be approved. But it was. The good news is that this one comes out on September 1st, so I can still get a review up on time.
  6. Draekora by Lynette Noni: Draekora is the third book in a series by an Australian author. A BookTuber I watch kept talking about this series, which really sparked my interest. The thing is: I don’t have the first two books in the series yet. I got Draekora because it was on Read Now, and I knew I wanted to read the series. (Fortunately, I still do.) Out of every book on this list, this is probably the one that will take me the longest time to get to. (Check out the series, though; it sounds very good!)
  7. Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon: This is another case of getting carried away by someone else’s praise for the book. A lot of the people I follow on Twitter were talking about it and giving it 5 stars around the same time. I thought, “Maybe I’ll like it too.” It’s erotica, which I don’t like at all. I really need to learn to resist the hype.
  8. The Traitor’s Tunnel by C.M. Spivey: I got this ARC from the author, not from Netgalley. And I’m currently reading it! I’ll probably have finished it by the time this post is published, so keep an eye out for my review. The main character is panro-ace and one of the characters reminds me a lot of Lila Bard. This novella is coming out in June 20th, so check it out, maybe? ☺
  9. Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally: I requested this one recently because the main character is a swimmer, and I’m very interested in books about athletes lately. It’s part of a series, but I think it can be read as a standalone. The release date is July 1st, so I still have time to read and review it.
  10. The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs: This is a book about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. Do I really need another reason to want to read it? The answer is no. This one came out almost a year ago, but it was under Read Now on Netgalley. I had to have it.

Phew, that’s it! Those are all of my unread ARCs. *wipes sweat off brow* I created a Goodreads shelf for the books I want to read this summer; all of these ARCs are on it, with the exception of Draekora. I don’t know if I can read them all in two months, but I definitely want to read all of them before the year ends.

Do you have any ARCs waiting to be read? If so, which one are you most excited to read?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things on my Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic Ten Things on our Reading Wishlist, which is basically ten things that I want to see in books.

  1. Characters who belong in the LGBTQIA+ community. Even in books in which the main character is part of the community, it’s uncommon for anyone else (aside from their love interest) to be a part of the community as well. I want that to change.
  2. Girls who support girls. The popular mean girl trope is so overdone, and for some reason it’s way more present than girls who don’t see other girls as competition. Give me girls being nice to each other, sticking up for each other when people bring up the “you’re not like other girls” cliché (in whatever form), uplifting them instead of putting them down, girls being friends and girls supporting girls they don’t even know. Give me all of it.
  3. Soft boys. I want to read about smart boys, nice boys, shy boys, boys supporting boys, boys who have feelings and don’t think they are less masculine because of it, feminist boys, boys who shut down toxic masculinity, etc.
  4. Music in books. Give me all of the musicians, their life on tour and in the studio or on a theater stage.
  5. Acting in books. I also want more actors in books! I’ve only seen things like, “Our characters are lovers and we’re falling for each other” and “Normal person falls for a famous actor.” But I want books that deal with the process of creating shows, movies and plays. I want acting as a real thing, not as the background for a love story.
  6. Respectful diversity in books. Books need people of color, people who belong in the LGBTQIA+ community, various religious backgrounds, people who are not able-bodied or neurotypical, various cultures, etc. I want to see all of these things being normalized in books, and not just to create a “problem” for the main character or to help characters realize that their lives are good or that other people need saving. Give me books with badass people who are not all white, straight, cis, able-bodied, allosexual, alloromantic, etc.
  7. World-building. It’s very common for the world in a book to be completely brushed over, which is sad because there are some really great fictional worlds out there. I want to know more about them.
  8. Politics. I took a History class at university this semester and realized I really enjoy political topics. So yes, I want more politics in books.
  9. Underwater setting. The ocean is so vast and mysterious, yet there are so few books set in the ocean. Imagine all of the creatures (mermaids!!!), the atmosphere, just… everything. I’m so desperate for a book that takes place in the ocean and is about the ocean that I started planning to write one years ago. Yep.
  10. Puerto Rico. I almost forgot this one, but it’s extremely important to me: I want books set in Puerto Rico, with Puerto Rican characters, preferably by Puerto Rican authors. I’ve only ever read two YA books (or series, in one case) with Puerto Rican characters: More Happy Than Not, which I didn’t love, and Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, which I love but doesn’t actually have a lot to do with Puerto Rico. I need a book set in Puerto Rico almost as much as I need air.

I hope you enjoyed this post! What’s at the top of your reading wishlist?

April Wrap Up + May TBR

If you saw my March wrap up, you know I didn’t read a lot. April was that kind of month as well. I barely read anything, even on the occasions when I had free time. These are the two books I read in April:

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  1. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: This book was a fun story about a girl who pretends to be a boy so she can join an a cappella group. I really liked it! There were a lot of things that, realistically, do not make sense. I tried to put that aside and managed to enjoy the book a lot. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. You can check out my review of Noteworthy here.
  2. Better At Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra: Unfortunately, my reading month went downhill when I picked up this book. I borrowed it from the Kindle Owner’s Library. It was getting so many good reviews and I love wedding planning. What could go wrong? The answer is a lot. I didn’t like the main character, Daphne, at all, the love interest was so-so, and the side characters weren’t very interesting. The wedding planning aspect was not very prevalent in itself; it was only there to bring Daphne and the love interest together. Additionally, Daphne was supposed to be the best wedding planner around  but… she kind of sucked? She had this obsession with convincing her client to get married, even though she knew her client was not in love with her fiancé and didn’t want to admit it to herself. Every time her love interest tried to talk to Helen (the client), Daphne chastised him and went on about how Helen realizing she didn’t want to get married would ruin the wedding and Daphne’s career. She had zero compassion for her client and never even saw her, which makes no sense because she’d just taken over planning her wedding. They should have to at least talk to each other on a regular basis. *takes a deep breath* Can you tell I really didn’t like this book? I gave it 2 out of 5 stars.

On to my TBR for May! I’m almost done with classes for the semester and I’ve started trying to read at least 25 pages every day, so May is bound to be a better reading month than March and April. I’ve already read one book, which is exciting. Here are the books I want to read in May:

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  • The Traitor’s Tunnel by C.M. Spivey: This is actually a fantasy novella, and it’s #1 on my TBR this month. I just started reading it and here’s what I know so far: it’s about an engineer who has moved to a new town to start an apprenticeship; it has two points of view; the second point of view belongs to Bridget, who reminds me a lot of Lila Bard so far. It’s coming out in June, and you can expect a review of it closer to the release date.
  • Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally: Coming Up for Air is #2 on my TBR. I don’t remember exactly what it’s about, but the main character is a swimmer who dedicates her time to nothing but her sport. I think this is the story of how she realizes there’s more to life than just swimming. It sounds like it’s gonna be really cute.
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: I’m buddy-reading this book with my twin. We started reading it a while ago, but I got busy with university and put this book on hold. Maybe this month we’ll get to read a bit more?
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: This is another book that I started months ago, this time by myself. I also put it on hold because I would get annoyed every few pages. All I want to do is read Chaol’s chapters. Is that too much to ask for? (Spoiler: Yes, it is.)
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: Ah, this book. I’ve owned the entire trilogy since 2015 and been meaning to read it for longer than that. Yet, for some reason, I haven’t. I have a habit of putting off reading books I want to read for fear that I won’t like them. But, if I get to all the other books on my TBR, I’m reading Shadow and Bone this month. I can’t keep putting it off any longer.

I hope you enjoyed this post! What was your favorite book in April? What book do you want to read the most this month?

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hi, everyone! Kayla from kdrewkthebookworm tagged me to do the Rapid Fire Book Tag, so that’s what I’m doing today! This tag was created by GirlReading.

Questions:

EBooks or physical books?
Physical books for sure! I trend to gravitate towards my Kindle more than towards physical books it’s easier to carry around, but I have a better time reading physical books.

 

Paperbacks or hardbacks?
Paperbacks are my life. I mostly own hardcovers, but I struggle a lot with reading them. I put them down a lot and pick them back up for quite a while. Paperbacks, on the other hand, are so easy fun to read, especially when they’re floppy. I also have a habit of tapping the cover of a book with my nails while I read, which can get painful when it’s done on hardcovers.

 

Online or in-store book shopping?
Ideally, I would shop for books in-store. I don’t have a bookstore near me ever since Borders closed, so I do all of my book shopping online. I haven’t bought a book at a bookstore since January 2013.

 

Trilogies or series?
Trilogies are great; I’ve had more favorite trilogies than favorite series. But there’s just something so special about series… I don’t know, though. I love both series and trilogies equally.

 

Heroes or villains?
Depends on which heroes and villains we’re talking about. I love villains for sure. And heroes are obviously great. Some villains make no sense, though, and some heroes are annoying. I’m leaning a little bit towards villains but, at the end of the day, I’ll always love heroes.

A book you want everyone to read?
The Diviners by Libba Bray. That book is sooo good, yet not a lot of people talk about it. (I think everyone knows about it, but a lot of people haven’t read it.) Everyone should read it, though. It’s amazing and creepy.

 

Recommend an underrated book!
I can’t think of an underrated book… Most of the books I read and enjoy are well-known. SORRY. I need to give more love to underrated books.

 

The last book I finished:
I finished Girl out of Water last night. It was very cute. You can check out my review here.

 

Weirdest thing you have used as a bookmark?
I can’t remember for sure, but I think I once used hair as a bookmark? As in, actual hair that was attached to my head. I honestly don’t know if I actually did that because I have very vague images of it in my mind. Maybe it was a dream. Who knows? I usually only use actual bookmarks. Anything else I might use is only around for a few minutes until I can find a bookmark. I did use a receipt as a bookmark for about two months last semester. I was borrowing a book and didn’t have a bookmark in my dorm room, so I used a receipt that I got from a gas station.

 

Used books: yes or no?
Yes. I don’t have anywhere to get used books, but I wouldn’t mind having them as long as they were in decent conditions.

 

Top three favourite genres?
      1. YA Fantasy – I barely even read fantasy but I love it.
2. YA Contemporary – I used to say I didn’t like this genre, but it’s what I read the most.
3. …Memoirs? I don’t even know. I like listening to memoirs as audiobooks.

Borrow or buy?
I’d like to say “borrow” because how cool would it be to read books without 1) spending money on them and 2) committing to keep them on my bookshelves even if I don’t like them? But there are no libraries in my country (academic ones don’t count in this case) and most of my friends aren’t readers or don’t read the same books as me. (We don’t even read in the same language.)

 

Characters or plot?
Both are very important to me. Characters are the most important, but my enjoyment of a book heavily depends on the plot as well.

 

Long or short books?
Both! I tend to gravitate towards shorter books, but I also love longer books. They’re a struggle to get through, but they’re worth it.

 

Long or short chapters?
Short chapters for sure. I’m always counting down the pages until a chapter ends. With shorter chapters, a book doesn’t seem as daunting.

 

Name the first three books you think of:
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Books that make you laugh or cry?
Laugh… unless they make me cry of happiness. My heart has been broken my books way too many times already.

 

Our world or fictional worlds?
Fictional worlds. I don’t need to read about our world because I live here. ☺

 

Audiobooks: yes or no?
Only if they’re memoirs/non-fiction. I’ve listened to two fiction books on audiobook and didn’t particularly enjoy either of them.

 

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?
ALL. THE. TIME. I try not to buy books just because the covers are pretty, but it has happened before. I’ve also put off reading good books because the cover wasn’t up to my standards (but to be fair, I didn’t know they were good until after I read them).

 

Book to Movie or Book to TV adaptations?
Book to movie adaptations are my favorite. I don’t have the time to watch several TV adaptations of books! Movies tend to be more similar to the books than TV shows, anyway.

 

Series or standalones?
I prefer series because it takes a while for me to get attached to the characters. While reading standalones, I don’t get to care about the characters that much. That’s why it’s unusual for me to give 5 stars to a standalone.

That’s it for the Rapid Fire Book Tag! I hope you enjoyed this post! If you want, leave a comment with the first three books that come to your mind.

ARC Review: Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman

Title: Girl out of Water33226621

Author: Laura Silverman
Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication date: May 2, 2017
Purchase links: Kindle Edition | Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

Distinctive qualities: Surfing; skateboarding; Samoan side character; black love interest who is adopted (and has a Vietnamese father) and has one arm; family dynamics (father-daughter relationship and cousins who love each other a lot); road trip; f/f side couple.

Summary:

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?

 

Review:

“Why do so many people equate growing up with leaving?” 

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of Girl out of Water!

Girl out of Water is a stunningly-written novel. The prose flows smoothly and slowly. It creates the illusion of calmness and imitates the feeling of a lazy yet happy summer day. I like taking my time with books, to process and absorb each sentence carefully. Girl out of Water was the most perfect book to read that way; it seems to be naturally made to be read like that.

Anise is a relatable character. Even though we’re very different, I could empathize with her feelings, her decisions and her fears. It was so realistic that she wanted to help her family but she also yearned to be home with her friends, even if it made her feel selfish. She was struggling with wanting the best for both her family and herself, knowing that she couldn’t have both things at the same time. I also appreciated her struggle with missing her friends, but not wanting to talk to them because she felt left out of everything they were doing. That felt very realistic as well.

Another great thing about this book is how diverse Anise’s group of friends is. Her best friend, Tess, is Samoan. Two of her other close friends are girls in a relationship. Her love interest, Lincoln, is black, adopted and has one arm. His dad is Vietnamese and his brother is also adopted. This world is way more realistic (do you see a theme in the things I’m pointing out?) and amazing than one in which everyone is white, straight and able-bodied. The real world doesn’t look like that. It’s nice whenever an author makes an effort to include different identities in their work and does it respectfully.

I don’t have anything to say else to say about Girl out of Water aside from this: Read it! It’s beautiful and meaningful without being sad, and it’s the perfect summer read. It’s my favorite YA contemporary of the year so far.