August 2017: Wrap-Up

So I think I had a decent reading month? Decent as in, sure I didn’t read as many books as I’m used to, but the ones I did get to have been on my to-read shelf for quite some time, so I at least feel happy about that!

I was also actually sick for the first time in a while, as in not just migraines–though I did have those too–but actually stuck in bed for days with a fever. On the bright side, in that time I was able to listen to three audiobooks to get me through it!

Books Read This Month

Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)

1. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (3/5 stars)

Quick Overview: My first NetGalley approval! Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much as I had hoped to, but I am still considering checking out the sequel. I’m hoping that the issues I had with it can resolved with time–if not by the publication date of Mask (I don’t know how updated my ARC was or how much they usually change when compared to the finished copy…), then hopefully in time for the sequel’s release date. (Review here!)

Radio Silence

2. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (4.5/5 stars)

Quick Overview: I am so delighted by how much I loved this book! There was just so much to love, and I wish there were more books like it. (Maybe Oseman’s Solitaire? I have yet to check it out, as the reviews make me a bit hesitant to… but who knows!) I’m currently working on my review, but overall: just a really wonderful, pure book that tugged on my inner fangirl’s heartstrings and offered me so many conversations I needed to hear.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

3. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (4.5/5 stars)

Quick Overview: My second NetGalley approval! This was such a charming story! I absolutely loved it and can’t tell you how excited I am for its release. Within the first chapter, I was hooked. I instantly fell for the characters and prose, and especially loved the complexities that came with this specific stepmother/stepdaughter relationship between Mina and Lynet. A wintry setting, a cast filled with strong women, magical powers, evil schemes, and complicated relationships–this is definitely not the Snow White tale you grew up knowing and loving. It’s even better. (Seriously, Disney. Give me this as a movie!)

Coraline

4. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (5/5 stars)

Quick Overview: Though the movie has been a favorite of mine for years and I found out about the book it was based upon shortly after, I hadn’t actually picked it up until now for some reason… Big mistake! I guess being sick sometimes has its perks, as I finally got to listen to the audiobook read by Neil Gaiman himself! Definitely a new (but not really “new“) favorite.

The Darkest Part of the Forest

5. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (4/5 stars)

Quick Overview: My first Holly Black book! Though the beginning was a bit slow, I was truly interested in the characters and world; and thankfully by the second half of the book, things finally picked up! After wavering between giving it 3.5 or 4 stars for a while, I’ve decided to officially go with 4 stars! Success for my first Holly Black book, yay!

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (3.5/5 stars)

Quick Overview: My best friend adores Mindy and after much pushing finally got me into her show The Mindy Project. While I didn’t take too much interest in her character on The Office, I loved her on TMP! When I heard she had a book (two, actually!), I thought it would be the perfect way to learn more about her. I really enjoyed this glimpse into her life and recommend it for any Mindy fan.


Currently Reading

This month, for some reason, I have quite a few books that I started reading, but did not get to finish. Thanks, ever-changing book tastes. 😭 I do hope to finish all but one (which I’m still debating on possibly revisiting) though!

Jane Eyre

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

| on page 153 out of 652 |

Quick Overview: As soon as I saw an Amazon warehouse deal for it, I finally purchased the edition of Jane Eyre I had my heart set on for a little more than a year. In recent years, I’ve seen and loved several movie and TV adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s classic and figured it was finally time to delve into the source material. I’m currently loving it and cannot wait to finish!

The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1)

 

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

| on page 97 out of 493 |

Quick Overview: I have so many mixed feelings already for this one… I actually started it as soon as I got it, but got a weird vibe about it and put it down. I finally picked it up again without the having the initial weird vibe, and… I guess we’ll see how I feel once I’m finished.

 

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

| on page 280 out of 753 |

Quick Overview: With the show airing its seventh season this month, I figured it would give me the boost to finally finish the fourth book. I was wrong. Though I did manage to read a few more chapters–epic ones, at that (~the Kingsmoot~)–I decided I wanted to focus solely on the show (since there are so very few episodes left), and now I hope to make some serious progress with the book before the end of the year.

Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1) Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Quick Overview: I’m not sure whether to outright mark this one as DNF or just put it “on hold,” but I couldn’t make it past the first chapter. It just wasn’t gelling with me; especially the protagonist. I honestly can’t tell if I truly didn’t like it, or if I just wasn’t in the right mood. I guess only time will tell… Either way, I just wanted to address why I didn’t read it as planned in my TBR. Sorry, book club people! 😭


Well whoops, I completely forgot to post this… Being sick and fleeing hurricanes has been my life for the past few weeks, so sadly that has left me with much less time to focus on my posts. 😞 Anyway, I hope everyone is well, and without any further ado, here is my August wrap-up!

– Taylor

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Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: Book Review

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Publisher: Flatiron Books (Macmillan)
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source/Format: e-ARC approved by the publisher through Netgalley (DISCLAIMER–This is an ARC, so there may be differences from the final copy.)

**Huge thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for accepting my request to read this one!**

Told through alternating perspectives and flashbacks of the two main characters, Mina and Lynet, Girls Made of Snow and Glass is the enchanting, largely character-driven story of two women and the pivotal, defining moments of both of their lives.

All her life, Mina’s father has told her she could never possibly love or be loved by someone. Upon their relocation up north to Whitespring Castle, Mina is desperate to prove him wrong–not only out of spite but also for herself. After a chance encounter with the King, she comes up with a plan. There’s just one thing standing in her way: the King’s daughter, Lynet.

All her life, Lynet has been caught living in the shadows of the much beloved late Queen. People never fail to remind her of the uncanny, almost supernatural resemblance she bears to her mother. In fact, they seem to treat Lynet as if she were her mother and not her own person.

When tragedy strikes, both women must face some difficult decisions, as their strange and complicated bond is put to the test.

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale.

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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller: Book Review

Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)

Title: Mask of Shadows

Author: Linsey Miller

Series: currently book one of an untitled duology

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Source/Format: e-ARC from Netgalley (DISCLAIMER: This is a review of an ARC, so there may be differences from the finished copy.)

**My first approval on Netgalley! 😄🎉 Thank you so much for accepting my request, Sourcebooks Fire!**

Mask of Shadows follows Sal, our gender-fluid protagonist, who at only eight years old was forced into a life of thievery. A life that Sal resents. A life that could have been avoided had Nacea, their homeland, not been destroyed as collateral damage in the recent war between the North and South. The only comforting thoughts Sal has are of one day exacting revenge on the noblemen directly responsible for Nacea’s ruin.

An opportunity soon presents itself when Sal learns that the Queen is holding auditions to replace the recently deceased member of the Left Hand–the Queen’s most trusted group of assassins.

Only thing is, it turns out that it is not so much of an audition as it is a fight-to-the-death competition.

But if Sal wins, it will give them immediate access to the nobility, therefore bringing Sal closer to achieving their ultimate goal of vengeance.

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The New Disney Princess Book Tag

Huge thanks to Darque Dreamer Reads for tagging me! This was so much fun to do!


The Rules:

  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you!
  • Tag Zuky’s and Mandy’s posts (the awesome creators of the tag) so they can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world (Mandy @Book Princess Reviews & Zuky @ Book Bum)
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

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Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi: Book Review

Beasts Made of Night

Title: Beasts Made of Night

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)

Source/Format: e-ARC from First to Read (DISCLAIMER: There may be some differences in the e-ARC from the final copy.)

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Balance is supposed to be the principle that governs us. Sin and sacrifice. Night and day. Death and life.

Seventeen-year old Taj is an aki. A sin-eater. And in the city of Kos–a society literally ruled by sin, or rather the lack thereof–this means he is fated to bear the sins of others; fated to endure a life of injustice in which he will always be looked down upon and used whenever those rich enough to afford it wish to be cleansed of their sins.

Sin-beasts are shadows, beasts made of the night. And an aki is like a ray of sunlight that comes down from the sky and shatters the sin, kills the shadows.

Even worse, being an aki isn’t something you can hide; it’s literally written all over you. Sins, after being summoned by Mages, manifest themselves as dark, inky beasts called inisisa. After the dangerous and painful process of defeating and then Eating them, the inisisa then appear as a tattoo on the aki’s body. For most, these markings disappear with time, but not for Taj. He has always had the same ones, as they have never faded.

It’s nonsense to think that I would ever be accepted here, or that someone like me could be treated with respect here. An aki’s duty is to Eat until they can’t Eat anymore. That’s what we’re here for. Sins are written on our bodies until the pain comes too much and we go mad.

Throughout Beasts Made of Night, we follow Taj as he makes his way through everyday life and soon discovers everything is not quite as it seems.

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August 2017: TBR

Last month I failed to stick to my TBR, so I think I’m going to do my TBRs a little differently from now on. I’m no good at setting a list for myself and planning out my month, as my reading tastes change all the time.

So. I’m going to split my monthly lists into 1) the books I absolutely have to read/am obligated to finish and 2) the books that I don’t necessarily have to read now but want to, and I’m not going to let myself get start the books I’ve deemed “optional” until I’ve finished the “mandatory” ones.

And I know it sounds like I’m taking the fun out of reading by saying “books I’m obligated to read,” but that phrasing just gives me the push I need to start reading and then hopefully the book will do the rest for me.

So yup, that’s my new plan, and without any further ado…

August TBR

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Book Review

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Series: Technically a standalone; however, a companion novel called The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is set to be released in 2018.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)

Source/Format: US hardcover

My Rating: 3/5 stars

“We're not courting trouble," I say. "Flirting with it, at most.” 

Eighteen-year old troublemaker Henry Montague, more affectionately referred to as Monty, has been given one final year–one last hurrah–before he must get his act together and officially take over his family's estate. Before then, Monty is to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, as is common for most young men of his privileged status.

Joining him on this trip is his younger sister, Felicity, and his best friend, Percy. Percy, whom just so happens to be the one Monty, our bisexual protagonist, has been harboring a crush on for quite some time.

So not only does Monty have to worry about what he's going to do when his time is up, but he also must come to terms with whether or not Percy reciprocates his feelings; and even if he does, could they ever make the leap from being best friends to a couple?

“The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other's mouth. 
A long, slow slide, then a sudden impact.” 

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