My Year in Reading (In Which I Lament How Epically I Failed My Goodreads Challenge and Recount My Faves)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fellow readers, the year draws to a close (finally!) and some of us were crowned Reading Champions while others brought nothing but disgrace upon our cows.*

 In my case I read a total of 64 books, which is way more than the average person, but less than I wanted to. Starting this year I was enthusiastic and promised to read 90 books (HA!). Mid-year I realized this was a thing that was not going to happen and lowered my reading goal to 70 books. So, the year is over and it's now time to review!

*I kid, no one brought disgrace upon any cows as long as you read something this year. 

Goodreads Challenge

I didn't complete my Goodreads challenge, and that's okay. Sometimes you've just got to sit back and be grateful for the books you did read. Besides, 2016 was just not very productive reading wise. I felt slumpy all year, but hey, I read 64 books and that feels pretty damn good. So what if I didn't make it? I can always try in 2017.


(click images for either a review or a Goodreads link. Which one is it? Click to find out)


Least Favorite (aka my very personal opinion in what I thought were sucky books)


The hype killed them for me


Small disclaimer: I still loved some of these (aka The Raven King) but the hype was crazy and I was expecting so much more and it just didn't live up to the hype thus lessening my excitement and enjoyment of said book

Better than originally expected


This has been a tiny itsy bitsy of my reading year because I'm honest to god writing this on the 31st and I didn't have time to whip up anything better. Excuse me, but now I'll proceed to go and drink some sort of drink (preferably with alcohol in it) and enjoy watching 2016 die in the fiery pit it came from. 

'Tis The Season for Books Under the Tree | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas is coming up and for the first time in forever my gift is not books (although my family might just surprise me with the gift of either money or gift cards), but that doesn't mean I'm not lusting after way too many books. Because let's get real, I'm always lusting after books. So, of course I wouldn't mind to find any of these under the Christmas tree this year (in theory I wouldn't mind finding my whole TBR list under the Christmas tree, but I'm trying to come off as a good person and not a book greed filled individual).

1. Lang Leav's books


Poetry is a love of mine. Well, the trendy internet poetry because scholary poetry bores me to no end. So, it's no surprise I wouldn't mind finding Lang Leav's books under my Christmas tree. That and the fact that poetry books are kind of really expensive. Get your life together, poetry publishing industry!

2. End of Days by Susan Ee

End of Days is the conclusion to the Angelfall series and I just know that it will be a while before I get this book for myself because I'm a procrastinator that way. So, if someone could just get it for me that would be really neat. I'm willing to do absolutely nothing but exist and look touched as I open the wrapping.

3. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

I read Wolf by Wolf this year and I absolutely loved it. I even filmed a review in which I gush about it. Like, seriously gush about it and I'm dying to read the sequel because it promises to be amazing and fantastical (not in the adjective sense, but in the full of fantasy one). Also, alternate history and its ramifications fascinate me. So, please Santa, if you're out there listen to my pleas.

4. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

This is another sequel I've yet to buy. Why? Because I suck at buying sequels. I think to myself, oh what's the rush I'll buy it later once the next book is closer. What ends up happening is that once I buy them I can't remember what happened in the first book and I have to look it up on the Internet and feel bad about it.

5. Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I'm on a mission to read every word of the official Word Wizard Benjamin Alire Saenz.* Of course, whoever is feeling generous can be awarded with awesome Sidekick benefits aka watching me read and be awed at my abilities. It is a coveted spot, so while you fight for this honor I'll be enjoying some hot chocolate. Try not to leave blood in the carpet. Thanks.  

*I mean how cool can a title be? Last Night I Sang to the Monster sounds so dark and promising and fancy. I can totally tell he was a teacher.

6. A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Are you guys sensing a theme here? Another sequel! Well, I want it. Becuase Character Builder Extraordinaire Victoria Scwab writes such great stories and I suck at getting sequels. Also, there's the whole issue of awesome fashion and dark magic and dimensional travel. So, I need this and whoever gets it for me can enjoy the joy of seeing me squeal like the actual seven year old I am.

7. Books 2 and 3 in the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson


I suck at buying sequels. That is the theme of this list. Okay, but I have some totally and completely valid reason for this and it all comes down to the fact that the US covers are ugly. I lust after the UK versions, but every single time I'm about to buy them I don't. It's weird. I go, but but... I'm a mess. So, yeah, Santa should work its around the world in a night thing and stop by the UK to get me the pretty covers.

8. Gemina by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

Enough said. I will go crawl somewhere in shame now. 

9. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Finally, a book that is not a sequel! I've been wanting to read this book for a while. I don't even know what it's about other than a couple losing a baby and then rescuing another baby from the sea. The cover, however, is incredibly beautiful. So, naturally I, as the Mistress of Shiny Things and Pretty Covers, want it desperately.

10. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

I read Mosquitoland this year and really enjoyed it, so I'm intrigued about this book. Just because of the author, because I don't have the faintest idea of what in the seven hells this book is about. However, I'm cool with that because I'm a loyal reader and Mr. Arnold proved himself worthy of my loyalty with Mosquitoland. Should he prove not worthy, we'll do with his head but in the meanwhile I wish someone would leave this book under my tree.

What books do you wish to find under your tree this year?

And I Darken by Kiersten White | Book Review

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerer's Saga
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets. Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion. But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

What I thought

And I Darken is a difficult book to define, and if I had to I guess with would be a mix of historical fiction and alternate history.  That, my friends, is where things get interesting.That and all the people getting stabbed and court intrigue and the diversity in this book.

I loved this book. It was a little slow moving at times, but it was necessary to forge all the relationships in the book, to let the reader perceive how complicated they truly are. Which is one of the most delicious aspects of this book. Seriously, I will always show up for complicated character relationships. Radu, Lada, Mehmed and the people around them are all a tangled web of intricate character relationships I cannot wait to explore more in further books.

The writing, too, was beautiful. It was very character-centric, which was okay. We didn't always get a super detailed description of the surroundings or things of that sort, because well they weren't really necessary. So, it's all good. I enjoyed being inside Radu's and Lada's head. The two of them were two very complicated people and I love their pretty little hearts for that. The matter of me liking Mhemed is an entirely different one, though.

I've got to say, though, that in the middle there I got kind of frustrated with Lada because I liked her fierce and wild and promising to stab anyone in the vicinity, and she had seemed to have lost just that. She, however, got it back and it was awesome.

I'm looking forward to the next book. Mostly because I can't wait to see everyone grow to their full potential and sort of become the people history remembers them to be (they are after all fictional and can't be the exact same people history remembers them to be).

Books That Promise to Be Awesome | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As the year comes to an end the promise of more amazingness (technically not a word, but whatever) comes to us, promising tales of wonder and struggle and other nice and awful things. And because you're all clearly super invested in what I want and need today I'm going to talk all about the books I'm looking forward to in the first half of 2017.

1. A Court of Wings and Ruins by Sarah J. Maas

The cover for this book has not been released yet. I know, bummer. However, I'm still super pumped because A Court of Mist and Fury was one of my favorite books this year. Also, I'm huge Rhys trash. I'm Night Court trash, really, but more so Rhys trash. Besides, I can't wait to see Tamlin having his ass kicked by every single person I love. I'm so here for that. 

2. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

I recently read This Savage Song (you can read my review here) and loved it. As a result, I'm super pumped for the sequel. I need to know what happens after that finale. It is a mighty need. Nothing more will be said, but if you haven't read the first book yet you should really get to it, or you can wait until June 13th and binge read them both.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This book is about a fat girl falling in love. I say this with the outmost respect and enthusiasm, because I am a fat girl myself. I always have been and I've always been cautious around the subject of love. I think it's awesomesauce to see a fat girl as the protagonist for this story. God knows it would have been of great help to have a book like this when I was growing up. So, I'm super pumped that there is a book like this out there for every teenage fat girl out there to love and make their own. 

4. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Now, it should be no secret that I love Ari and Dante. I also happen to live in the same city as Benjamin Alire Saenz, and as such I feel like it's my duty to read his books. That and the fact that they are diverse reads by a POC (just sign me up for life). He also has a style that I really enjoy and his new book is about a boy named Sal, who has an adoptive gay father, a loving Mexican-American family and a best friend Samantha and it's all about finding your identity. What more could you ask for in a book, folks? Remember to mark your calendar for March 7th.

5. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

I've been reading Sarah Dessen for almost a decade now (wow, I'm old) and I fall in love with each and every single one of her books. Sure, I have my faves, but I still love the other ones too. So, when I heard she was coming out with a new book about the daughter of a wedding planner I about flipped. I love wedding planner infused plots, for real. I also love Sarah Dessen. Match made in heaven, isn't it? So June 6th better come fast.

6. Always and Forever,  Lara Jean by Jenny Han

I've devoured both To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You and while my best friend will tell you that one of my major character flaws is my love for Peter Kavinsky, I can't and won't stop. I'm also a fan of John Ambrose McClaren, but Peter K will always have my heart. So, I'm excited to actually see him and Lara Jean together. I'm a dork, okay? Jenny Han is also one of those authors that's been for me since I was only around fourteen or so, I'm super excited to read her newest novel this April. 

7. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I enjoyed both The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger so when I heard that Ahdieh's new book was going to have samurais in it I about pulled all my money from the bank and flung it out to her publisher. Samurais are a thing that has always fascinated me and the world needs more samurai stores. Besides, the summary gives me serious Mulan vibes. Enough said. So, now shut up and take my money.

8. Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Author Cinda Williams Chima once replied to one of my tweets saying that her readers were only collateral damage to the abuse she put her characters through. I love her because of this. I also love her books because of their stellar writing, awesome world building and complicated politics. So, of course I'm excited to read Shadowcaster, although I wasn't the biggest fan of Flamecaster (the instalove irked me to no end) there were dragons and magic and those are two things I will no doubt show up for. So, of course I'm excited to read the next book in the series this coming April. I just realized May and April are going to drain my wallet, but oh well.

9. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Okay, hear me out: this book is about spies. Possible gay spies. According to early reviews it also pokes fun at YA tropes. I love a book that's kinda self-aware of its genre constrictions and does and don'ts. Also GAY SPIES. Like, spies that are possibly gay falling for each other when they're supposed to be seducing a girl! Where do I sign up? Literally take my money, but not all of it because I need most of it to spend this May.

10. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I am a big Laini Taylor fan. Her Daugher of Smoke and Bone trilogy has some of the most beautiful writing ever and there's also the matter of the world being super fascinating. Of course I'm pumped for her newest release. The cover is super gorgeous, too, so that helps. I don't really know what it's about, but I'm still excited for it. Oh, and what do you know it doesn't come out in April or May, but March instead. Good news for my wallet, indeed.

What are some of the first half of 2017 releases you are looking forward to? Are any of them in this list?