December TBR

For the last month of the year, I’m being extremely ambitious and hoping to read eight books, so that my total of books read in 2017 goes up to 60 books. I currently want to read all the things, so I chose 13 books that I might want to read this month. My strategy is to read mostly contemporary and/or shorter books so that I can read as much as possible without getting burnt out.

Here are all the books I want to read in December:

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  1. More than Fashion by Elizabeth Briggs – This New Adult book follows Julie, an aspiring fashion designer, who enters Behind the Seams, which is a competition/reality show in which people compete to win money to start their own business. I’m 15% into it, it’s very easy to read and is helping me get out of the reading slump that I was in for most of November.
  2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I actually started reading this at the beginning of November and had to put it down because I couldn’t get into it. Wait, don’t panic, I don’t think it’s a bad book! The thing is that I read a lot of books in September and October, many of which were fantasy, and I was burnt out from reading all of them. But now I’m getting out of my reading slump, and I plan to read the entirety of Six of Crows before the year ends.
  3. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – This book follows Simon, a closeted gay teen who is blackmailed by a classmate: either he helps him get a date with the girl he likes, who is Simon’s friend, or he will out Simon to everyone. I’ve actually read this book before, multiple times, but the trailer for the movie came out and it was great. It made me want to read this book again because it’s the cutest.
  4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I think we’re all familiar with the ghosts of Christmas (thanks, holiday movies)! I picked up this book from Book Outlet at the beginning of the year, and now is the perfect time to read it. It’s short, which helps with my goal of reading eight books this month, and it takes place during Christmas! However, I refuse to read it until our Christmas tree is up because I want there to be some Christmas vibes when I read it.
  5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst – This story follows Princess Denna, who is a magic user betrothed to a prince from a kingdom in which magic is forbidden (I think), but instead of falling in love with the prince, she falls in love with his sister. I just bought this book on my Kindle last night (it’s on sale for $1.99), and I have a feeling it’s going to be a fairly quick read. I’m hoping I’ll get to read it this month.
  6. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – Safiya can tell when someone is lying; Iseult can see the bonds between people. They’re best friends and have to fight people who would do anything to capture a Truthwitch. That’s all I know about this book, but I’ve been in the mood to read it for a few weeks. I kind of don’t want to read it right now; the other books in the series will take a while to come out, and I don’t want to have too wait too long for them. But at the same time, I want to take advantage of my desire to read it. We’ll see what happens when I post my December wrap up.

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  1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – This is a Hades and Persephone retelling following Maya, whose horoscope promises “a marriage of death and destruction.” Her father marries her off as part as a political alliance, and she becomes a queen. People say this book is beautifully written, and I just got it during Book Outlet’s Black Friday sale, so I can’t wait to read it.
  2. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine – This is a book I never expected to read but, again, Book Outlet Black Friday sale. All I know is that it is a Snow White retelling with a beautiful cover. It’s not too long or too short, so it will be perfect to read in December.
  3. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – Dimple Shah’s parents want nothing more than for Dimple to find her Ideal Indian Husband, and they know exactly who they want to fill that role: Rishi Patel, the son of their old friends. Dimple, however, doesn’t want to find her Ideal Indian Husband. She wants to go to a summer program for aspiring web developers. She’s shocked when her parents agree to let her go without putting up a fight, but here’s what she doesn’t know: Rishi is going, their parents plan to set them up while they’re there, and Rishi has no idea that she doesn’t know they’re supposed to be there to meet each other. I started listening to this book on audiobook during the summer. The story was interesting but I didn’t like that each character had two narrators. I’m going to read the hardcover instead, when my Book Outlet order arrives.
  4. Want by Cindy Pon – I don’t know a lot about this book, but it seems like a mix of dystopia and sci-fi, in which a boy (Jason Zhou) and his friends try to take down a corporation that makes suits to prolong the lives of the wealthy but also may be the reason the suits are needed in the first place. I’m not a huge fan of either dystopia or sci-fi, but Want sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to read it.
  5. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson – This is the story of Henry Denton, who has been abducted by aliens several times and is given a choice: let the world end or press a button and save it. I’ve seen nothing but praise for this story, so I know I want to read it as soon as it arrives.
  6. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller – All I know about this book is that the main character is the daughter of a pirate king, and I think she lets herself be kidnapped on purpose to fulfill a goal. That’s all I need to know.
  7. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Last but not least is Becky Albertalli’s second book! I can’t believe I still haven’t read or even own this book. It’s about Molly, who is fat and Jewish. She has had 26 crushes but has never acted on any of them (relatable). When Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, gets a girlfriend, Cassie decides that she’s going to help Molly get a boyfriend. I love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with all my heart, and I’m hoping I’ll feel the same about this book. The reason it’s the last book on my TBR is because my brother is giving it to me as a Christmas present, so I won’t have it until late December.

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Bonus book (because I was approved for it on Netgalley when this post was almost finished and I can’t be bothered to change the entire layout of it to accommodate another book):

  • Girl: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Karen Rayne – “an inclusive growing-up guide for teen girls with information on gender and identity, dating and romance, relationships, and sex.” This book is non-fiction, and I figured it was worth a read since I was a teenager not that long ago. I’m hoping it will end up being informative and awesome.

 

That’s it for my December TBR. I know I won’t get to read all of these books, but these are the books I will be choosing from throughout the month. Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What’s on your own December TBR? Let me know!

 

November Wrap Up

Hi, everyone! Happy December! (Is it really December already? Gosh, 2017 is almost gone.)

I started out the month of November really strong. I was in the mood to read, and I finished two books within a few days of each other. But then… I picked up another book and realized I felt no desire to read. So between the 9th and 30th of November, I finished zero books.

It’s okay, though, because the books I did read were ones I really wanted to read.

  

The first book I read in November was The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin. While I was anticipating the release of this book, I was also wary because the Mara Dyer trilogy had been my favorite at one point, but the third book was a huge disappointment for me. I knew what I wanted out of The Becoming of Noah Shaw, and I knew it was highly unlikely that I would get it. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting the story to be like, but it was probably better than the reality. There was no plot (at least, not one that revolved around the main characters) and Noah was insufferable. I gave it two out of five stars. You can check out my review here.

The second and last book I read was a way bigger success than the first one. That book was none other than Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. I won’t go into detail about my feelings because it is the last book in a trilogy, but I will say this: I enjoyed it a lot right up until the epilogue, which I didn’t like as much. But overall, it was a satisfying (and painful) end to the story. I gave it four out of five stars.

What did you read in November? Out of everything you read, what was your favorite book? I’d love to know so feel free to tell me all about it. ☺

ARC Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Becoming of Noah Shaw25548744

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Paranormal

Publication date: November 7, 2017
Purchase links: Hardcover | Kindle Edition

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary:

In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

 

Review:

Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon and Schuster for my review copy of The Becoming of Noah Shaw!

“The scars you can’t see are the ones that hurt the most.”

If I had to describe The Becoming of Noah Shaw in one word, I would say messy. Because that’s quite honestly what is it: a mess.

The Mara Dyer trilogy was once favorite series when I was fifteen years old (up until the third book came out… That was another big mess). I know that wouldn’t be the case now; if I reread them, they would probably not get more than two stars. I knew that before I read The Becoming of Noah Shaw. But still, I wanted to read this book for nostalgia’s sake, and because I was hoping the characters would redeem themselves and I could like them again.

No such thing happened.

The main thing I can say about this book is that it was unnecessary and not a lot happened. Technically this book didn’t need to exist. The Mara Dyer trilogy had a very rushed and incomplete ending, but this book doesn’t add anything that makes up for it. Instead it jumps straight into a new storyline… but the thing is, Noah, Mara and their friends are all hearing about it secondhand until the very end of the book. The first 45 chapters or so could be categorized as fillers. While the “plot” of the book was interesting, it didn’t really take off until right before the book ended. And if Hodkin’s other books are anything to judge by, the next book in the series will not provide any answers and will take until the very end of the story to provide more questions that will go unanswered… until the very end of the third book. (The Shaw Confessions is going to be a trilogy, right? I don’t even remember.)

There’s really nothing appealing about having ~350 pages of nothing, and only a few pages that actually matter when it comes to the plot. The rest of the book consists of Noah being mean to others, sulking, and lying to everyone. That got old really quickly.

Another thing that I disliked about The Becoming of Noah Shaw was that it threw around insensitive comments, many times for the sake of “humor.” Even the trigger warnings made me weary of the book; some of the things are probably not even triggers, and the way the list was written felt… condescending, maybe? (That could be the wrong word.)  Which makes no sense for a book in which the plot revolves around suicide. Anyway, here’s the list:

“Trigger warning for suicide, homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly mind, harm to others, harm to self, disordered eating, disordered thinking, disordered feeling, disordered being, body shaming, victim shaming, shaming of every kind, dark humor, ill humor, shitty humor, maiming, miming, death of teenagers, death of adults, death of authority figures, death of inconsequential red shirts. Also sex. But if you need a trigger warning for that, you’re reading the wrong book.”

And here are some examples that are part of the actual story:

A glance at the screen reveals the caller. “It’s our favorite bisexual Jewish black friend.”

“Which?” I try handing the phone to her and she waves it away. “Can’t. Exhausted.”

“It’s jet lag, not Ebola.”

 

“Now, did you do something to a goose to earn your moniker?”

Goosey pretends to think about it for a moment. “Not so much ‘to’ as ‘with,’ I’d say.”

“The goose verbally consented,” I say.

 

“How much did you drink?” She holds up three fingers. “Did you eat?”

“Mmmhmm.” Lying.

“We’re going to have to work on her.” Goose says, tipping his chin toward Mara. “Unless you prefer them unconscious now?”

 

“You’re my preferred method of self-harm.”

 

“There’s… family stuff.” Mara’s expression changes, and I need to choose my words more carefully than I have been. “Things of my mother’s I had sent over. I want to be the one who sees it all first, all right?” I’m not above playing the dead mother card.

 

“She looked so rare and exotic and exquisite, her husband could not take his eyes from her, and neither could anyone else.”

(So Hodkin is still calling Indian women exotic.) Image result for thinking emoji

I know these things won’t bother everyone, but they bothered me and made it harder for me to like the story and impossible to like the characters.

One thing this book had going for it, though? It was a super quick read. I read the majority of it in two days.

August, September and October Wrap Up

Hi, everyone! Apparently I’ve made it a habit to share my wrap ups way too late. This time I have a valid reason (for September, at least. Not for August): Hurricane Maria. Because of Maria, I’ve had no electricity or cell signal since September 20, so I had no way to update what I read in September. So, I’m going to do that now.

August

  1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – ★★★★★ (though it’s more like a 4.5)

 

September

  1. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★★
  2. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins – ★★★★★
  3. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – ★★★★★
  4. Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons by Dodie Clark – ★★★★★
  5. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – ★★★★★

 

October

  1. The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan – ★★★★★
  2. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – ★★★★★
  3. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older – ★★★★★
  4. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore – ★★★★★
  5. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – ★★★★★
  6. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – ★★★★★ (for now… I’m so confused about my feelings on this book)
  7. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★
  8. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas –  ★★★★

 

What was the best book you read between August, September and October?

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?