Tag Tuesday: Norse Mythology Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Its finally starting to feel AND look like spring in my neck of the woods and it is marvelous! Our pattern of snow…melt…snow…melt…snow…etc. is finally over (knock on wood, right?). But anyway, on to the reason why we’re all here: BOOKS!

So this week for *Tag Tuesday,* my friend Sarah posted the Norse Mythology Book Tag and it was awesome!

THE RULES of the TAG

  • Link back to my original post and to Kyera’s post
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you…show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wondeful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going.

ODIN – FAVOURITE STAND ALONE

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine and war among other things.

 

 

Going through my list of books there were a couple that jumped out at me to choose as a good stand alone, but then once I found T.H.U.G., all bets were off. If you still have not read this book, get to it! I also highly recommend the audiobook because the narrator is amazing! But really, this book about a teenager witnessing the shooting of her (unarmed) friend at the hands of a police officer will give you a lot to think about. The Hate U Give  is so well-written and its being made into a movie as well so if you’re one of those people who likes to read the book before something hits the screen, then put this on your TBR!

THOR – A BOOK THAT HITS YOU IN THE FEELS

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful lady Sif.

I didn’t even have to think about which book to choose for this one. Hands down, The Light We Lost was a great book that took me in and went straight to my heart. HARD. For me, this book was a clear 5 star read and I still recommend it to everyone who asks for books to read.

LOKI – BIGGEST BOOK PLOT TWIST OR CHARACTER BETRAYAL

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

Ok, maybe I should have seen this one coming, but the plot twist in Red Queen  pretty much tore the carpet from beneath my feet! I think I was too concerned with the love triangle/square (which I believe was what the author intended…well played, Ms. Aveyard) to be concerned with any other deeper plots at play and I completely missed the big twist so by the end, I was SHOOK. The book leaves off pretty much ready to go on to book two but unfortunately I haven’t been able to read on yet. I really need to though, because I really enjoyed book 1!!

FRIGG – OTP

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility and fate.

My next three answers are from the same trilogy–spoiler alert–so sorry not sorry if you aren’t a fan. For this pick, if there is anyone out there who has been living under a rock and doesn’t know how this story ends and who the main character ends up with, I won’t spoil it and give the books/movies away.
So my OTP pick is Katiniss’ man in the Hunger Games trilogy. For the longest time, I was rooting for the other guy but once I reached the end, I could never imagine her with anyone else. Also, it was funny because in the books, I thought she should be with–and I will come right out and say this–Gale, and the movies, I thought she was best off with Peeta. But after re-reading and re-watching and really thinking and being open-minded and trying to be in Katniss’ mind, I agree with the way it all is and its beautiful. *sigh*

HEIMDALL – FAVOURITE SECOND BOOK IN A SERIES

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and it is he who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds. 

Not only is The Hunger Games my favorite series/trilogy, Catching Fire is one of my favorite books. I love the new characters that are introduced (oh, hello Finnick!), the development of the ignorance and manipulation of the Capitol, the cleverness of the Games, just….everything!! I absolutely LOVED this book!

BALDUR – FAVOURITE MAIN CHARACTER

Baldur is the beloved son of Odin and Frigg, twin brother of Hodor.

Katniss. This girl perseveres through everything and comes out stronger for it. True, sometimes (ok, a lot of times) she’s flying by the seat of her pants and/or letting other people make her look good but let’s be honest, in order to survive and keep those you love alive, you have to do what you have to do. She is strong, empathetic, compassionate, sarcastic, loyal, smart, etc. I could go on. After all this HG talk, I really feel the need to re-read this trilogy. I’ve got the itch!!!

SIF – MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

The Forgetting. I love this cover. It has two of my favorite things: a beautiful tree with falling leaves/flowers(?), and gorgeous purple ombre. Silly me has been slacking for years now on reading the book (I have an arc from 2016!!!) but its still on my TBR, partially because of this gorgeous cover!!

FREY – BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Frey is the Lord of weather, God of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

While I did enjoy The Lunar Chronicles as a series, the Wires and Nerve graphic novels are seriously amazing in and of themselves. I mean, you should read the Lunar Chronicles in order to know what is going on and the back story because truly they go together, but the humor in Wires and Nerve and just getting to see the characters all together is so much fun. I really enjoy those books so immensely!

FREYA – FAVOURITE BOOK SETTING

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

 Ivory and Bone is a very interesting and unique book, and I really mean that in the best of ways. It is written in second person, from a male point of view, in a prehistoric type of setting. Yeah, told you it was unique!! But really, it was such a neat setting that all was forgiven for me because it was so beautiful, so natural, and it all just worked together. I really enjoyed it. And like I said, it was just unique and refreshing to me. None of it was forced or out of place so I just really enjoyed it.

TYR – FAVOURITE BOOK WITH A BIG UPHEAVAL/EPIC FIGHT SCENE

Tyr is the god of war.

Travel…death threat…travel…capture…battle…travel…battle…death threat…travel…battle…epic battle…travel…battle…you get the idea. But we all love it. =]

ULLER – CHARACTER DEATH THAT AFFECTED YOU THE MOST

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

Spoiler warning – but after all these years, if you don’t know who dies in Harry Potter, that’s your own fault 😛 Anyway, I’m still not over the deaths of this series. I’m still in major denial. I legitimately do not think that Sirius and Dumbledore are dead. I mean, technically Rowling wrote it but…what’s behind that curtain?? Big D was the master of death! Come on!!!! I’m really not over it….

NJORD – FAVOURITE BOOK AN EPIC JOURNEY ON WATER/OCEAN SETTING

njord2b71yno1_1280Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

My ‘read’ list is sadly lacking on water/ocean books so I have to pass on this one. I have several on my TBR list though so I’ll get back to you !

VALKYRIE – FAVOURITE STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

Well this book just had to be on the list. Eelyn is pretty much the fiercest female character. Well, strictly human character, that is. We could go superhero and talk strong, or emotionally strong, or…basically there are different kinds of strong so choose your strong. To me at this moment, I know I wouldn’t be able to rush into battle wielding an axe in one hand and a sword in another. I wouldn’t be able to watch my brother, father, best friend, and the man I love all risk their lives alongside me. I would be miserable living the cold winters in a tent. To me, that’s a whole lot of strong and fierce!

AESIR/VANIR – FAVOURITE BOOK “CREW”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

For a moment I considered the crew-fam that is The Lunar Chronicles. They are a fun bunch of misfits come together to save a planet and a moon and I love each of them dearly. I also considered the Grisha trilogy Alina-Mal-Nikolai-etc. crew, but really I just love Nikolai and secretly love the Darkling in all of his broodiness. I know of other crews that I know I will love when I read them. But above all of these, I know my all-time favorite and really first crew love was the Harry Potter crew. So–duh–that’s my final answer!illus_smoke_divider_by_entropies-d4triyr

And that concludes our fun for the day! I now hereby tag Ashleigh, Nicola, and Maggie…plus anyone else who wants to get their Norse on! 😉

Currently listening to: Everytime We Touch by Cascada

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What I Leave Behind by Allison McGhee

39791329Title: What I Leave Behind
Author: Allison McGhee
Pages: 208 pages; 10,000 words
Publisher: Athenium/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Release Date: May 15, 2018

What I Leave Behind is a sweet, heart-wrenching book about a young man named Will who has lost his father to suicide. Going through daily life working at the Dollar Only store, he copes with his pain by being compassionate to those around him, including his kooky boss Major Tom, Superman (the homeless man on the street corner who eats Will’s failed attempts at home made corn bread), Playa (Will’s best friend who is sexually assaulted), and the little boy down the street who loves butterflies. The book is basically a repeating cycle of Will walking, walking, walking (he only walks–no cars, bikes, etc. since his father’s passing) past the Blessings Store, over the Fourth Street Bridge, through his friends’ neighborhoods, to work at the Dollar Only Store, and back home again. The end.

The book is formatted uniquely in that there are 100 chapters, each with 100 words. As a result, I found it to be an extremely quick and simple read….almost too much so. The book felt a bit choppy to me because it was constricted to the 100 word limits. But still, Will is one of the greatest guys on the planet. If everyone treated the people around them with this much thought and care, the world would be a better place. Honestly however, the book was repetitious and, as I said, choppy, but the overall concept was worthwhile.

Book Soundtrack: Appletree by Erykah Badu

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S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

So I was just going through my list of ‘read’ books for this year on Goodreads and I have read 25 books not including short stories and what-not. That’s pretty much on-track with my reading goals, so YAY for me! Blog-wise I have also made exactly 25 posts, but they aren’t all bookish, some of them are Tag Tuesdays or Readathons or Monthly Wrap-ups or whatever so I have a little catching up to do on my reviews! That’s what my blog is supposed to be doing, afterall! So without further ado, here is one I missed!:

Title: S.T.A.G.S.
Author: 
M.A. Bennett
Pages: 296 pages, Hardcover
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press

35926234STAGS is a boarding school for the wealthy elite. Greer (“Grey-uh” for us Americans who are un-used to seeing this name) is admitted on a scholarship, whereas most other students at the school have had generations of attendees in their families. When Greer and two other new/outcast students are invited for a weekend of “Huntin’. Shootin’. Fishin'” with the Medievals (the elite clique of students at the school), she is warned against going by a former friend, but ultimately decides to go, seeing it as a chance to finally make friends and be accepted. What occurs instead is a weekend of veiled bullying and the thrill of the chase.

I honestly feel that this is one of the better YA thrillers I have read lately. That being said, though, the book certainly has its flaws. However, regarding the genre, I thought M.A. Bennett did a terrific job of setting up a bit of background for the Medievals by showing them flaunting their personal family lineage back to the crusades in class and even around the dinner table. Their shady words alluding to hatred of outsiders was a first clue as to their true motives. However, their talk is so flowery and conversation so natural that who would really think that there was a threat present? Nel just wants to make friends, Greer wants conversation, and Shafeen wants to stand up for himself.

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Borrowed from Alba in Bookland.

The setting in a boarding school and then a large family estate on the moors of Northumberland was also perfect. Beautiful, yet ominous and eerie…much like the Medievals themselves. I could just imagine mists and fog and these elite teenagers showing off their knowledge of “huntin’, shootin’, and fishin'” to the outcasts who had never or who had hardly been exposed to that before. It truly was another world for the three outsiders, or “Savages” as they came to be called. The author’s descriptions were just wonderful and added an extra dimension of creep factor.

Despite the good in the book, I will admit that I never felt fully invested or connected in the main characters. I cared for them, yes, but I was preoccupied with the bigger picture in the book. Greer is a teenage narrator who really reads like a teenager. She is constantly referencing movies–which I didn’t mind much, and it sort of made sense since her father makes films–and jumping around in her telling of the story (“But that was not nearly as bad as what was to happen next,” etc.). I could do without that. I felt that some of the descriptions were too drawn out and the action too underplayed. I wanted a bit more out of those.

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And of course, the ending. I like the concept and how the book wrapped up. Certain aspects I saw coming, while others were a nice touch. If ever there was a book that should be a movie, its this one. I can absolutely see this as a screenplay and I would definitely go see it.

Book Soundtrack: Danse macabre, Op. 40 by Camille Saint-Saens

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WWW Wednesdays #1

G’day everyone, and welcome to my very first WWW Wednesday! Lately I have seen at least 2-3 Book Blogger Directories being compiled and as I went to begin browsing for new friends in the blog world, I came across WWW Wednesdays and its definition so I think I’ll try it out! In case you (like me) are new to this meme, it seeks to answer 3 W’s (wow, sensible!): What did you finish recently? What are you currently reading? and What do you think you’ll read next? So without further ado….

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What did you finish recently?
I just participated in a Read-a-thon and I got so much reading done! I read ten children’s books, two humor books, and two YA books. I will be reviewing the two YA books soon here on my blog (Wires and Nerve: Vol. 2 by Marissa Meyer and Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young). So let me mention a couple other books I read:

Here are the highlights of my children’s book reading experience. These are books by important figures: Malala Yousafzai (the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner), Chelsea Clinton (political activist and correspondent), and Hoda Kotb (TV personality and journalist). I don’t have any children right now, but someday, these are books that I want to read to my child. While I’ve Loved You Since Forever is just fluff (but seriously adorable fluff….the pictures are beautiful and of everyone’s favorite sweet animals. Yep, otters and elephants and owls and foxes!!), Malala’s Magic Pencil and She Persisted are both powerful reads for children. Whether its learning about bringing education and peace, or the STEM sciences, or just finding your own voice, children will hopefully be inspired to take their place in the world and make a difference.

What are you currently reading?
18460392Currently I am about 85% through All the Bright Places. I have had this one on my iPad for a long time now but just never prioritized it, but now I decided to pick it up and go for it. In 2015, it won the Goodreads “Best Books of the Year” in the category of YA Fiction. To give you a little perspective, this book won out over Simon vs. the Homosapiens and Everything, Everything. I have read 4-5 other books from that category and yes, I’m a bit surprised too. Personally, I don’t think I’m liking this one more than others on the list (2 were 5* reads for me), but it definitely is a powerful read. Trigger warnings for suicide and depression.

What do you think you will read next?
31343879I need to read something light and fluffy next because I’ve been binge reading and reading long books and now heavy, emotional books. My default “fluffy” genre is cozy and/or paranormal cozy mysteries. I just found a new series I will try, and then its back to the grind of ARCs to be read, library books to finish, and shelves to clear off.
I know not everyone is into cozies. Maybe some of you don’t even know what they really are. Basically a cozy mystery is a book/story that is usually set in a small town or close-knit community, and violence and sex are downplayed and replaced with mild humor. In a nutshell: not scary, not emotional, but filled with quirky characters and situations. Another thing I enjoy about cozies is that the main characters have a unique quirk (i.e. being a witch, for example) and/or occupation. There are cozies about house flippers, crafters, baristas, bakery owners, stay at home moms, etc. Lots of things you don’t necessarily see in your everyday mainstream genre, but yet you can relate to or find interesting. So that is my take on that topic.

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There you have it folks, my first WWW Wednesday. I look forward to doing more of these in the future. Stick around to see reviews for Wires and Nerve: Vol 2  and Sky in the Deep (which releases next Tuesday, 4/24/18). Until next time….ciao!

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Tag Tuesday: Easter Book Tag

170412-better-chocolate-bunny-easter-se-335p_56963533f30696ec7e11f1525df3013c-focal-1000x500Happy (belated) Easter, everyone! I hope that your baskets were full of goodies and you had a nice weekend with family. If you aren’t an Easter holiday observer, then hopefully you had a good weekend in general. My fiance and I had a Star Wars marathon in addition to Easter festivities. His birthday was last Thursday and he was so excited about the release of The Last Jedi so you better believe we watched all nine movies. Oh boy!

Anyway, today I bring to you the Easter Book Tag. This tag was originally vlogged by Rosie the Reader. This is a pretty short and sweet tag but I’m working on a monstrously large one for next week – stay tuned!

Rabbits – A book you wish you could multiply

1505944943061594800_220I’ll kick this off with Outlander. I have only read as far as Voyager (book 3) in the series so far, but I simply love these books! And the show now too, of course. Yes, the two have their differences of course, so I have to keep them different in my mind and sometimes I feel like I need to keep my books handy by my side while watching. Or maybe I just need a “quick guide”! But back to the books. One cannot mention Outlander without expressing love for Jamie Fraser. He is a man of beautiful words and deep love and will make any reader swoon! Another amazing thing about these books is the historical detail. Its no wonder these books are so long. They are thoroughly researched and beautifully written. If only all books are so thorough and beautiful.

Egg – A book that surprised you

32766747My pick for this is one of my favorite reads from 2017: Library of Fates. I didn’t have high hopes for this book because Aditi Khorana’s first book didn’t have the highest rating on Goodreads, but this book blew me away! I was so surprised by the beauty of this book and how wonderfully the magic and folklore were woven into the story. I honestly did not predict most of the events of the book, which I had very much expected to. This book was one that I received for free as an ARC but loved so much, I bought a hard copy for myself when it was published. If you still haven’t read it, pick it up! Its a really great read! I would love to read more books like this–it was perfection!

Hunt – A book that was hard for you to get your hands on

cb19f00d-3a9e-4884-8e70-0516e274ad32Generally I read books as I find them, rather than hunting books that I want to read so this one was tough for me. I’ll choose Dumplin’ though, because last year at a signing I got to meet Julie Murphy at a release party for Ramona Blue. I had her sign my copy of RB but what I really wanted her to sign for me was Dumplin’ because as a singer with body issues, I identified with that book. I looked around the shop and could not find a hard cover copy to have her sign for me! I was so bummed! I complained probably a little too loudly and a store employee overheard me. She went to check the store again and no, sure enough, no more copies. Julie was sad for me, the employee was sad for me, I was sad for me. Bummer all around. Well, then a manager overheard. She thought maybe there were one or two stashed in the back. Sure enough, there was one more copy in the back and it was all mine! And that’s how I got my signed copy of Dumplin’.

Lambs – A children’s book that you still enjoy

Hands down: The Giving Tree. There are several more, of course. I am a sucker for kids books and books from my childhood or books that we read to young campers at my summer camp, but man, The Giving Tree just gets me in the feels! I hope that everyone has read this book. If not, add it to your personal library. Share it with your children and with your friends’ children, and your family members’ children. Its just that worthwhile.

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Spring – A book with a cover that makes you think of Spring

35020380Wild Beauty! This book came in a Fall/Winter Owl Crate box and I haven’t been able to motivate myself to read it just yet because it hasn’t felt like the right season! But now that its spring, it feels like the perfect time! Either this month or next month I’m going to try to dive into this book. Its all about a family of women living on a lush garden estate which enchants guests from around the world. In their legacy, they may not fall in love too deeply or their lovers will vanish. Then one day a mystery boy appears in the garden and changes everything. From what I read in reviews, Wild Beauty is all about beauty and love–all the things we need more of in the world.

Rising From the Dead – A book from a deceased author

18373Get your Kleenex ready. My pick from this one is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I can barely say or spell the title without getting sad. I think I’m just scarred from reading this in my childhood. I remember reading it in, maybe sixth grade and becoming so engaged in the book and being extremely crushed by the ending! I have no idea how I would feel reading it now. If it would still bring out such an emotional reaction from me or not, but I know it made an impact from me and I thought it was a powerful book.

Baskets – A book that is in your Amazon cart or wishlist right now

37546906There are so many!! Right now I am debating on whether or not to pre-order Ace of Shades. I’ve been waiting on this one for months now (haven’t we all?!)! ARC reviews being posted are really great and are only making me more excited. Is it April 10 yet?!

Candy – A book that is sweet

23395098My pick for a sweet book needs to be Fangirl. I put off reading this one forever because I read Carry On first and didn’t like it too much (don’t hate me!). However, I’m glad that I gave Fangirl a chance because it was SO.GOOD.!!! I loved Levi and his sweetness. He went straight into my list of top 5 book boyfriends. Another sweet thing about this book was Cath’s relationship with her father. Her relationship with her sister was strained throughout the book but of course they had to work things out. So ultimately, a very sweet book that I very much loved.

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So that’s the tag, my friends! If you’re reading this and are still in an Easter-y mood, feel free to take this on. I picked out a few books I haven’t thought of in a while, so maybe this tag would give you the same opportunity as well! Until next time…happy reading!

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

35121240From the first time I saw the cover for The Hazel Wood, I was desperate to read it. I remember seeing it plastered everywhere at ALA in Chicago last summer and I was SO bummed that I wasn’t able to get an ARC. This book just screamed my name with all of those little cover details in silver and gold and its promise of dark fairy tales and mystery! I never got my ARC and I had to wait all the way until release day to read it. AHH!! Once I did read it though….well….its one crazy ride, let me say that!

In The Hazel Wood, we read about seventeen year-old Alice and her mother Ella, who have lived their lives on the run trying to escape the bad luck that seems to follow them. Alice’s grandmother, Althea, is a famous author who wrote a collection of dark fairy tales called Tales from the Hinterland. When Alice and her mother receive word that Althea has died, they believe they can stop running from life. Ella marries a rich New Yorker and Alice settles into school. One day their lives are turned upside-down again when Ella is kidnapped by two people claiming to be from the Hinterland. Alice’s only thought is, of course, to save her mother and to do so, she enlists the help of a rich friend (guy–duh) from school, named Ellory Finch. The adventures in the Hinterland and the Hazel Wood thus ensue.

The first half of the book has a relatively straightforward, young adult, urban, contemporary feel to it. We meet the characters, we see Ella and Alice’s relationship and background, we feel the curiosity about Althea’s book, we definitely get a feel for Alice’s hot temper and icy attitude (in my opinion–not good character qualities and she wears on my nerves). I was never bored because there is always curiosity being fed and then eventually it just smacks you in the face.

So about a third through the book everything breaks loose when Ella is kidnapped. Worlds collide and now we really meet Ellory Finch. Now, its a good thing the guy who has a crush on Alice happens to have parents who don’t care about him AND a credit card without a limit. They run around the city of New York and search and run away and search, etc.

61cfb50fac2c90725043dd5378250617Maybe halfway/two-thirds through, we make it to the Hinterlands. I’m not going to lie. I feel like I just need to read this whole part over again because so much happened and I didn’t fully latch onto the logic of the where and the what and the big picture. Honestly it was just rather a blur of confusion. There were some good concepts and some neat ideas and I absolutely loved the darkness and creepiness of it!! HOWEVER, it made my head spin and I felt like I was the one lost in the Hazel Wood. Maybe that was the point?!

To sum this up, I liked the writing and the concept…I think I just need to read it again and smooth out some of the details in my mind. My mind was lost in the dark forest but I was really enjoying the scenery!

Book soundtrack: Freak on a Leash by Korn

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Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

To open, I hereby present you with a synopsis of the book named above as written by NetGalley:

2c8b641f9eebb5ac312c04485b2c4396After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel. Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.

38492055Definitely not the best summary, but the NG ones never are. Here is what I can tell you about the book: After reading it, I was pleasantly surprised. I went into Phoenix Fire not really knowing what to expect because all I got was….well, what NetGalley told me. Being completely honest, I saw a cool phoenix on the cover, I saw the YA fantasy genre, and I said “let’s give it a shot!”. I’m glad that I did!

So in the beginning of the book, things were a little cliche. Our main character, Ava, is in a foster house and never feels like she belongs, and doesn’t really want to belong. Then she starts to experience memories and maybe come into certain “powers.” *Eyeroll* and I’m thinking “crap, is this a middle grade book?” because it really seemed way to juvenile early on. Enter: new guys. New guys with secrets about her past, her powers, and what she has to do with said powers.

635811964343779843-thinkstockphotos-490635524When it came down to it, I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the phoenix life cycles, as well as the familial ties and how all of that came into play. Also, the romance in the book came was really sweet but also had its bitterness as well. Wyatt, at times, got a little whiny but I really liked seeing his character and his relationship with Ava and the two brothers unfold. Plus I think it will be really interesting to see what further role Yuki will play in things. I am very intrigued to read the next book in the series!!

Book Soundtrack: A Crime to Remember by Pop Evil

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Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

I LOVED this book. I know that not everyone who reads it will love it in the way that I did, mainly because this book hit my two main teenage/college hobbies: camping and singing. Not only that but Ingrid’s journey and trials were told through her experiences in these activities, making her connections with the outdoors and with her life in music even stronger. If you’re thinking about reading this book, let me give you a little bit of a synopsis:

257521542Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined is told from Ingrid’s point of view, but through two different timelines: one as she is growing up with her opera star-gone wrong mother, and one in the present on a month long wilderness survival-turned disaster trek she wasn’t quite expecting. Growing up, Ingrid and her mother lived a wonderful life, with Margot-Sophia Lalange performing in the spotlight of the great opera houses until she does exactly what she knows not to do–she over sings and does not take care of her voice thus resulting in vocal nodes and the end of her career. Ingrid’s mother becomes bitter regarding music and theater, and the glamorous life ends. Ingrid struggles to fit in at school and she grows up taking care of her mother. Eventually, a role in the school play and (of course) a boy will change many things for both Ingrid and her mother.

5-star ratings are very difficult to earn from me, but I’m feeling generous today and I will round up a 4.6 rating on this one to a 5 for a few reasons. First of all, the wilderness survival camp is one for at-risk teens and while Ingrid didn’t feel that she wasn’t “at-risk” so she didn’t need to be there, she still toughened up and took it like a champ. I think that a lot of her thought processes were exactly like mine would have been (I won’t really give more information than that because it’s part of the humor and charm [lol…sass?] of Ingrid). Second, the way that passion for music and performing on stage is described. How you get up on stage and more or less don’t always know if you did well or not. Or Margo-Sophia’s phrases like “You did well last night but today you must be better. Always better.” In some ways she often comes across as self-centered but her career and that state of mind was her entire life. It was her state of mind for years. It was hard to see her discourage Ingrid from pursuing music but she was completely horrified for her. The one thing I did NOT like was how Ingrid treated Isaac after the show and the incident with the other girl. I didn’t think that blaming him so strongly was fair at all and I hated that. I thought that was the big chink in the book for me. And the end, of course, is a cryfest and my biggest weakness in books. It could have been more played up but I think it was just the right amount considering the characters so I say it was very well done. Overall, wonderful book. It is one that I highly recommend.

–I was given a copy of this book by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review–

Book soundtrack: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

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First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

20795198_995366038329_2075362817_oThis book has me left with mixed emotions! No, scratch that. This book has left me an emotional wreck! Let me first say that I am a big fan of thrillers and there aren’t too many in the YA genre so when one releases, I am ON IT! I dove into First We Were IV with a fiery fury. Pranks, secrets, a murder mystery…all the yes!!

Here comes the actual synopsis: Izzy (often called “Icky” by the popular kids in school), Viv, Graham, and Harry are best friends. They only have each other and are often pushed around by their peers, some rivalries even stemming back as far as elementary school. NO MORE, they decide. So this, coupled with the fact that the four best friends will soon be parting ways for college, leads them to form the Order of IV, a “secret society” of the four friends created for pranks, fun, and forever memories. All they wanted was to be included in parties and to keep in touch. Of course that’s not how it ends. Of course it escalates….and I’ll let you read all of that for yourself.

So in my opinion, the beginning is interesting, and the ending rocked me to my core. The middle 300 pages were filled with 95% eye-rolling drama and 5% interesting plot. For me, the murder mystery with Jane Doe was so disconnected from the central characters….I just didn’t understand why Izzy cared so much to begin with. Maybe if the incident occurred a week ago, or if it was her cousin she was seeking justice for, or if she really had PTSD. I’m not trying to be cold or like I don’t care about missing persons cases but really, there was no real reason why Izzy cared. I don’t get it! Harry had a reason to want to pursue crimes against his father, yet they didn’t pursue those. I get that. But Izzy was selfish. This was hugely unsettling (and mildly boring and even confusing) to me.

While I didn’t like this, it was also an ironic point in the book. Live in the moment. Just be with your friends and loved ones. When friends are so loved and so close like this group is, there shouldn’t be competition of who loves who more; of who was friends first, or of which memories are better or stronger. Just make the most of everything. Bullies and adults will do what they will but you have each other and that is the strongest thing and that is better than anything than they will ever know (haven’t you seen Harry Potter? lol – just kidding). So that’s what I felt was a theme, who knows if that was an actual intent of the author.

MAJOR SPOILER IN WHITE – WARNING – DON’T HIGHLIGHT UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK – FINAL NOTE: HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH ALL OF THAT? NO WAY! WHAT?! 

Soundtrack: “Your Song” by Elton John

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The Wrapping Up of All the Things

As always, the end of all things came too quickly. More specifically in this case #24in48, the Biannual Bibliothon, and even more significantly, JULY!! How did July get by us? I guess we say that every month. Ah, well. Time to wrap it all up.

o7f2dlnf_400x400To begin the recap, for #24in48, I completed my full 24 hours of reading plus just a little more and I felt so accomplished! In those 24 hours, I finished All Things New, and I came close to finishing Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I also made some progress on The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but for whatever reason, that is a really slow read for me. It just doesn’t hold my interest very strongly.

dcj4gyko_400x400Next up was the weeklong Summer Biannual Bibliothon, which just wrapped up yesterday. My week was busier than I anticipated, unfortunately, but I did get some reading done and some books wrapped up. So during the Bibliothon, I finished Once and For All, I started a new cozy series (because they tend to keep me out of slumps and I am really anticipating fall!) called Curse the Day and I finished that book as well, I started and finished Erin Watt’s When It’s Real, and I have been reading First We Were IV and When I am Through With You. So that’s 3 finished and 2 progressed through. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with that!

And now for the overall July breakdown:

★★★★★ The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

★★★★ Hook’s Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself by John Leonard Pielmeier

★★★★ When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

★★★★ All Things New by Lauren Miller

★★★ Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

★★★★ Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

★★★★ When It’s Real by Erin Watt

So that’s it, folks. 7 books total finished for the month. 3 of them were ARC’s read before their publication dates. Average rating = 4.0

Its so weird for me to be reading so many contemporaries. As I mentioned earlier, I was craving that cozy/witchy mystery with fall coming up because I just felt a slump coming on and I think it is partially because of the genres I’m reading. I tend to read more YA contemporary romance in the summertime. It just feels right to me. I’m glad that I have been because I have been finding some gems and obviously, from the ratings above, I recommend them as well! Until next time, I also highly recommend finding yourself a readathon or two to participate in. It boosted my reading from 4-5 books read per month to 7! Sure it takes a little organization if you are going to commit and there are optional challenges you can participate in but they are all in good fun. Goodluck and as always, happy reading!

Currently watching: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

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