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ARC Review: We Own the Night

6.30.2016
We Own the Night by Ashley Poston
Published: June 28th, 2016 by Bloomsbury Spark
Source: NetGalley

"Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls..."

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay "Niteowl" by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock 'n roll and a hard place. She can't wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can't abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer's, or her best friend Micah--who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn't timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She's the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy's manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular-- Dark and Brooding--whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she's in love with Micah or anything. Cause she's not. 

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.


I'm going to get straight to the point here: We Own the Night probably isn't the kind of contemporary that I would read over and over again like, say, Anna and the French Kiss or My Life Next Door, but it's fun, it's quick, and surprisingly emotional. As in I almost cried a few times.

Ingrid North is trapped. In her tiny town, in her life, in her head. She feels like she's stuck in Nebraska working in a store where she's miserable forever, and while her friends are moving on, she feels left behind. She lives with only her grandmother, who has Alzheimer's. She's really the only one there is take care of her grandmother. And this is really where my heart broke - Ingrid's struggles with her grandmother. Ingrid loves her grandmother so much, but she's also a teenager who's not meant to be the caretaker of someone like this, and the way she struggles with this felt so genuine.
"Is losing your memory painful? Or is it something that happens slowly, like sand slipping through your fingers, so slight you barely notice you're leaving bits of yourself behind?"
In addition to that, Ingrid deals with bullying. Between her thoughts of being trapped and the way she always feels like she's not good enough, like someone like football player Billy could never be friends with her because she's not pretty and cool, I don't think I've related to a character that way in a long time. I know I've said it already, but I need to say it again. My heart broke for her.
"I see how small I am, and realize how easy it is for him to call me nothing. Am I nothing?" 
I AM IN PAIN.

When Ingrid's grandmother was diagnosed, Ingrid kind of went off the radar. Which is something Micah in particular holds a grudge for, which is pretty annoying, to say the least. I can't say much about the romance without spoiling the entire thing, but I will say this: Micah is a pretty horrible friend to Ingrid most of the time. He has his moments sure, but that doesn't make up for all the crap and I think the way that Ingrid's thoughts progress about him throughout the course of the book are realistic and really show her growth.

The radio aspect is cool, too. I really like that part of Ingrid's character, how important it is to her life, how she can become a different person at night. (Plus, her banter with Dark & Brooding is adorable, even though I knew exactly who the caller was pretty quickly.) And it's such a different hobby than anything I've ever done, so that made it fun to read about for me! Not that I would ever do it. Radio certainly takes away some of the pressure of being right in front of an audience, but me and any form of public speaking are basically enemies.

tl;dr: A quick contemporary that has a surprising punch of emotion to it. I did want more depth from most of the secondary characters (and for them to be a little nicer sometimes), but Ingrid herself was a really great main character because I connected to her so easily and the way her emotions came across felt painful, genuine, and true. 3.5 stars. 


ARC Review: And I Darken

6.20.2016
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Expected Publication: June 28th, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: BookCon
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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.


I want to start by saying: this is a fantastic book. The writing is incredible and descriptive and exactly the kind of style I love. The detail given to fleshing out the characters and developing them through the years is better than anything I've ever read before. And I Darken sees Lada and her brother from infancy to young adulthood, and Kiersten White does such an incredible job showing their growth and their personalities and developing her world.

And Lada, of course, is delightful. Delightfully insane. I've never read of a protagonist like her. As a child, she constantly bites people - hard. She delights in their pain, she's violent, she's bloodthirsty. And not in a cute tormented villain way. She's actually pretty creepy. She threatens to tear a man's tongue out and let him drown in his own blood, and I have no doubt that she would do it because she's a true badass. She has a very complicated relationship with her brother, Radu, who is meek and cautious and afraid but eventually develops into a man who can read and evaluate situations, can fool people so easily with his charisma. Occasionally she tries to protect him in her own way, but her own way involves beating him up so he'll get the message - he needs to be hard, tough, to survive in this world. And because Lada is so different from any other character I've read, I found her amazing. She defies any and every stereotype about females, both present and past. And the way Radu is written makes it impossible not to empathize with him, especially as a young child.

Basically, Kiersten White writes some damn good characters. (There's also Mehmed, who some people will find a very complex character and probably enjoy. He has a harem, which is, you know, whatever, appropriate for the times, but the way he talks about his harem and then the way he talks about his feelings for Lada pretty much blinded me to any of his potentially redeeming qualities, because, you know, gross.)

But I, personally, could not enjoy this book. We spend so much time on Lada's childhood. The politics of the world started to flood the book, and they weren't even remotely interesting to me. It dragged and dragged and dragged until I kind of wanted to cry because I was so bored. I can't even begin to tell you how much skimming I did. And it kills me, because the writing is phenomenal, and this world is so rich and detailed. But I just couldn't do it.

I'm not a person who is solely focused on plot-driven books. I can often forgive weaker plots if I'm so attached to the characters. I could read an entire Harry Potter novel without any of the danger or death - literally just all of them going to class, doing homework, reading the newspaper, whatever. I would read an entire novel about Finnick Odair taking naps and having nightmares, I DON'T KNOW. The point is that I love characters more than I love plot. But it felt like there was no plot here at all. It felt . . . directionless. It was all about the characters and the world building. And I think that's going to be great for a lot of people, but it really was not for me. I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen, and I never really got my wish.

tl;dr: My rating of this really isn't fair, because part of me knows that And I Darken is an incredible book. The writing style itself is amazing, the world building is so carefully crafted and detailed, and the characters are so compelling and unique. But there's so much focus on these things and hardly any plot. I think everyone should give this a try, but I found myself just wishing for the book to end. 2 stars.

Discussion: Do You Read Reviews?

6.17.2016

Personally, reviews are consistently my least viewed posts. (Admittedly I am awful at promoting them on Twitter.) I've heard the same from a lot of people over the years. And I'm sure there are a ton of other discussion posts on why that is that I haven't seen, but I really am curious: why? If you don't read reviews too often, why is that?

I've heard from some people that they just don't want to go in with any expectations one way or the other, which totally makes sense. The fear of the hype. Or that they don't want to see any spoilers, which also makes sense! Sometimes I actually hunt down spoilers for some books. Oops. I also like reviews because they help give me a bigger picture of the plot than what the blurb does.

And I will admit that there have been a ton of books I've been super excited for that I completely gave up on after reading a few reviews. (Ivory and Bone is one of the more recent ones.) But for me, that's okay! I like that! Because it saves me time. I don't like feeling like I've wasted time (or money or space) on a book because I don't read as fast as I used to or have as much time as I used to and I get stressed out a lot more than I used to and BASICALLY REVIEWS ARE VERY USEFUL FOR ME.

And the thing is, reviews are probably the posts I write the most of. It's why I'm here. I've posted before about how I really struggle to come up with creative posts for my blog, and so reviews have become kind of a fallback for me. I'm not creative with them, either, but I'm accomplishing something when I express my thoughts. (Of course, I procrastinate them until I don't even know what's going on anymore but I'M WORKING ON IT, I SWEAR.)

Reviews are also what I read the most of. Sometimes it's hard for me to write up my opinions on discussion posts in a more coherent manner, but reviews? Those comments are easy-peasy. And there usually aren't a ton of comments on them unless it's a super popular blog so I WANT TO PUT ONE THERE. And as I previously stated: I like reading reviews! They genuinely help me and I also like to see what other people have to say about my favorite books (or even better - what they have to say about books I totally hated.)

And of course, there seem to be tons of people who mainly read reviews from their favorite blogs, the people they know they have the same tastes as. Which makes so much sense! And is honestly something I could and should probably do more of, but I don't even know whose tastes align almost perfectly with mine. I guess I just haven't found that person yet like it seems many of the people I follow on Twitter have.

There's a few things that ruin a book for me immediately more than 75% of the time. Those things aren't often written in the blurbs, but I find out when I read reviews. Basically: they save me time. I think a lot of people don't like to dismiss books as easily as I do. And I do - I dismiss books very easily. And I definitely regret it sometimes and feel guilty, because why am I letting one little thing stop me from reading a book? But I do, and in the grand scheme of things no one really cares so WHATEVER.

They also help me discover new blogs! Reviews are one of the first things I read to find out if we have the same tastes.

But what I really want to know is: how often do you read reviews? Are there certain kinds of books you do and don't read reviews for, or certain blogs you always seek out for reviews? (I'm sorry. I rambled too much, didn't I?)

Upcoming 2016 Releases I'd Sleep Next to a Polar Bear For

6.14.2016
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
This post was actually painful to make because LOOK AT THESE BOOKS THAT ARE NOT IN MY HANDS. I know that September and October and such will be here soon enough, but that's not good news either because that means the semester starts again and let me tell you, my fall semester is a killer. (Plus it's junior year so I actually have to, like, get my shit together. I'm awesome grades-wise but literally DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE.) 

This week's topic: most anticipated reads for the remainder of 2016!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Expected Publication: September 27th, 2016 by Henry Holt & Co.
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I mean, duh. Absolutely my #1 most anticipated read. I MISS INEJ. AND KAZ. AND INEJ AND KAZ. AND THE ENTIRE CREW BECAUSE WOW DOES LEIGH BARDUGO KNOW HOW TO WRITE CHARACTERS.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Expected Publication: October 24th, 2016 by Henry Holt & Co.
Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

Okay, first of all? I want to marry this cover. Second of all, I loved Emma Mills's debut novel First & Then, and this one sounds like even more fun so CAN YOU PLEASE RELEASE NOW? 

Discussion: Let's Talk TV

6.13.2016
This may be a book blog, but let's be honest. I watch a lot more TV than I read. Or more accurately, I watch a lot more Netflix and catch up with other shows online, because I don't have cable. Or a TV. I'm not that great at keeping up with airing shows - it's too hard to keep track of what shows are airing which nights or how far behind I am, so I'm definitely more of a binge watcher, but I do keep up pretty religiously with a few shows. Either method works for me! So I thought I'd talk about a few shows that I love, and hopefully you can talk about a few of yours too!

No Longer Airing 


LOST

I can't even tell you how many times I've rewatched this. I remember talking about it in my French class in THE 8TH GRADE. It doesn't feel right that I was watching it even then, because I must have missed out on SO MUCH. But that's fine, because now I can watch it whenever I want, as many times as I want. I have a particular affection for the time jumping storyline because when they eventually get stuck in Dharma times, JULIET AND SAWYER. Plus the show includes people stranded on a tropical island with a smoke monster, so I mean, this is my THING.


OFF THE MAP

I AM STILL SO ANGRY THAT THIS ONLY GOT ONE SEASON. It's about doctors who run a tiny little clinic in the jungle that's always low on supplies and I WANT IT BACK. It had two actors I now love on Grey's Anatomy, Rachelle Lefevre who has the greatest hair ever, and that guy who played Matt Saracen. (Also I'm not gonna lie I shipped Ben and Ryan so hard.) Why do we get a decade of The Vampire Diaries but ONLY 13 EPISODES OF OFF THE MAP? The world is an unjust place.

Discussion: Blogger Faux Pas

6.09.2016

I don't know about you, but I've been seeing a lot of conversations about how to blog. The general theme is one I think we all know: blog what you want, how you want, when you want, but there are a few fundamental rules. Don't tag authors in bad reviews. Don't insult people. Don't beg for ARCs on Twitter, etc, etc. And of course I agree with these. (I would also like to add: stop telling people they're ridiculous for not wanting to read a book for some reason or another that you deem ridiculous. Just let people read whatever the hell they want or don't want.) I see people constantly trying to make others feel guilty for having ARCs, constantly tagging authors and publishers about how badly they want them. And that's bad. We know that's bad. I see it and basically turn into this.


But I think we need to remember something. Some people are new. It's one thing to see an adult who you know has been blogging for years doing these things. But there are 14 year olds who are very new, and I don't see enough people considering that. I've seen people I follow ridicule young girls for making mistakes. And I get it - there are some very mature 14 year olds in the blogging world. A lot of them. And you probably think everyone should be like that.

But I started blogging when I was 14, and you know what? I made a lot of mistakes. Some of which I remember too vividly for my own good. I tweeted authors 3 star reviews, which I would NEVER do now. I probably embarrassed myself in tweets to authors and publishers more times than I even want to imagine. I was definitely a little over obsessed with ARCs. I cringe whenever I think about it. But the thing is, I learned. I watched others, yes, but really I think it just came as I grew up and realized that wasn't how you talk to people, especially not to professionals. I was not fortunate enough to be all refined and sophisticated at 14. I can definitely say I'm amazed by the maturity of a lot of the younger bloggers I see.

But I know we all see a LOT of stuff on Twitter that probably isn't appropriate. I just think that before judging, we should ask ourselves: how new is this person? How young? And obviously there's a difference between tagging authors in horrible reviews/tagging them in hate and what I'm talking about. But is it just me? Or do you think it's important to consider this too? 

(In retrospect I realize this post doesn't adequately get my point across or EVEN HAVE A POINT but it's too late now.)

Waiting on Wednesday: June

6.01.2016
Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Expected Publication: December 27th, 2016 by Harcourt Childrens Books
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Okay, I mean, OBVIOUSLY I NEED THIS. I've been drifting away from fantasy a little bit lately just because they usually require more of my attention span, but THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE BOOK OF MY DREAMS. 

6.30.2016

ARC Review: We Own the Night

We Own the Night by Ashley Poston
Published: June 28th, 2016 by Bloomsbury Spark
Source: NetGalley

"Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls..."

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay "Niteowl" by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock 'n roll and a hard place. She can't wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can't abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer's, or her best friend Micah--who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn't timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She's the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy's manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular-- Dark and Brooding--whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she's in love with Micah or anything. Cause she's not. 

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.


I'm going to get straight to the point here: We Own the Night probably isn't the kind of contemporary that I would read over and over again like, say, Anna and the French Kiss or My Life Next Door, but it's fun, it's quick, and surprisingly emotional. As in I almost cried a few times.

Ingrid North is trapped. In her tiny town, in her life, in her head. She feels like she's stuck in Nebraska working in a store where she's miserable forever, and while her friends are moving on, she feels left behind. She lives with only her grandmother, who has Alzheimer's. She's really the only one there is take care of her grandmother. And this is really where my heart broke - Ingrid's struggles with her grandmother. Ingrid loves her grandmother so much, but she's also a teenager who's not meant to be the caretaker of someone like this, and the way she struggles with this felt so genuine.
"Is losing your memory painful? Or is it something that happens slowly, like sand slipping through your fingers, so slight you barely notice you're leaving bits of yourself behind?"
In addition to that, Ingrid deals with bullying. Between her thoughts of being trapped and the way she always feels like she's not good enough, like someone like football player Billy could never be friends with her because she's not pretty and cool, I don't think I've related to a character that way in a long time. I know I've said it already, but I need to say it again. My heart broke for her.
"I see how small I am, and realize how easy it is for him to call me nothing. Am I nothing?" 
I AM IN PAIN.

When Ingrid's grandmother was diagnosed, Ingrid kind of went off the radar. Which is something Micah in particular holds a grudge for, which is pretty annoying, to say the least. I can't say much about the romance without spoiling the entire thing, but I will say this: Micah is a pretty horrible friend to Ingrid most of the time. He has his moments sure, but that doesn't make up for all the crap and I think the way that Ingrid's thoughts progress about him throughout the course of the book are realistic and really show her growth.

The radio aspect is cool, too. I really like that part of Ingrid's character, how important it is to her life, how she can become a different person at night. (Plus, her banter with Dark & Brooding is adorable, even though I knew exactly who the caller was pretty quickly.) And it's such a different hobby than anything I've ever done, so that made it fun to read about for me! Not that I would ever do it. Radio certainly takes away some of the pressure of being right in front of an audience, but me and any form of public speaking are basically enemies.

tl;dr: A quick contemporary that has a surprising punch of emotion to it. I did want more depth from most of the secondary characters (and for them to be a little nicer sometimes), but Ingrid herself was a really great main character because I connected to her so easily and the way her emotions came across felt painful, genuine, and true. 3.5 stars. 


6.20.2016

ARC Review: And I Darken

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Expected Publication: June 28th, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: BookCon
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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.


I want to start by saying: this is a fantastic book. The writing is incredible and descriptive and exactly the kind of style I love. The detail given to fleshing out the characters and developing them through the years is better than anything I've ever read before. And I Darken sees Lada and her brother from infancy to young adulthood, and Kiersten White does such an incredible job showing their growth and their personalities and developing her world.

And Lada, of course, is delightful. Delightfully insane. I've never read of a protagonist like her. As a child, she constantly bites people - hard. She delights in their pain, she's violent, she's bloodthirsty. And not in a cute tormented villain way. She's actually pretty creepy. She threatens to tear a man's tongue out and let him drown in his own blood, and I have no doubt that she would do it because she's a true badass. She has a very complicated relationship with her brother, Radu, who is meek and cautious and afraid but eventually develops into a man who can read and evaluate situations, can fool people so easily with his charisma. Occasionally she tries to protect him in her own way, but her own way involves beating him up so he'll get the message - he needs to be hard, tough, to survive in this world. And because Lada is so different from any other character I've read, I found her amazing. She defies any and every stereotype about females, both present and past. And the way Radu is written makes it impossible not to empathize with him, especially as a young child.

Basically, Kiersten White writes some damn good characters. (There's also Mehmed, who some people will find a very complex character and probably enjoy. He has a harem, which is, you know, whatever, appropriate for the times, but the way he talks about his harem and then the way he talks about his feelings for Lada pretty much blinded me to any of his potentially redeeming qualities, because, you know, gross.)

But I, personally, could not enjoy this book. We spend so much time on Lada's childhood. The politics of the world started to flood the book, and they weren't even remotely interesting to me. It dragged and dragged and dragged until I kind of wanted to cry because I was so bored. I can't even begin to tell you how much skimming I did. And it kills me, because the writing is phenomenal, and this world is so rich and detailed. But I just couldn't do it.

I'm not a person who is solely focused on plot-driven books. I can often forgive weaker plots if I'm so attached to the characters. I could read an entire Harry Potter novel without any of the danger or death - literally just all of them going to class, doing homework, reading the newspaper, whatever. I would read an entire novel about Finnick Odair taking naps and having nightmares, I DON'T KNOW. The point is that I love characters more than I love plot. But it felt like there was no plot here at all. It felt . . . directionless. It was all about the characters and the world building. And I think that's going to be great for a lot of people, but it really was not for me. I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen, and I never really got my wish.

tl;dr: My rating of this really isn't fair, because part of me knows that And I Darken is an incredible book. The writing style itself is amazing, the world building is so carefully crafted and detailed, and the characters are so compelling and unique. But there's so much focus on these things and hardly any plot. I think everyone should give this a try, but I found myself just wishing for the book to end. 2 stars.

6.17.2016

Discussion: Do You Read Reviews?


Personally, reviews are consistently my least viewed posts. (Admittedly I am awful at promoting them on Twitter.) I've heard the same from a lot of people over the years. And I'm sure there are a ton of other discussion posts on why that is that I haven't seen, but I really am curious: why? If you don't read reviews too often, why is that?

I've heard from some people that they just don't want to go in with any expectations one way or the other, which totally makes sense. The fear of the hype. Or that they don't want to see any spoilers, which also makes sense! Sometimes I actually hunt down spoilers for some books. Oops. I also like reviews because they help give me a bigger picture of the plot than what the blurb does.

And I will admit that there have been a ton of books I've been super excited for that I completely gave up on after reading a few reviews. (Ivory and Bone is one of the more recent ones.) But for me, that's okay! I like that! Because it saves me time. I don't like feeling like I've wasted time (or money or space) on a book because I don't read as fast as I used to or have as much time as I used to and I get stressed out a lot more than I used to and BASICALLY REVIEWS ARE VERY USEFUL FOR ME.

And the thing is, reviews are probably the posts I write the most of. It's why I'm here. I've posted before about how I really struggle to come up with creative posts for my blog, and so reviews have become kind of a fallback for me. I'm not creative with them, either, but I'm accomplishing something when I express my thoughts. (Of course, I procrastinate them until I don't even know what's going on anymore but I'M WORKING ON IT, I SWEAR.)

Reviews are also what I read the most of. Sometimes it's hard for me to write up my opinions on discussion posts in a more coherent manner, but reviews? Those comments are easy-peasy. And there usually aren't a ton of comments on them unless it's a super popular blog so I WANT TO PUT ONE THERE. And as I previously stated: I like reading reviews! They genuinely help me and I also like to see what other people have to say about my favorite books (or even better - what they have to say about books I totally hated.)

And of course, there seem to be tons of people who mainly read reviews from their favorite blogs, the people they know they have the same tastes as. Which makes so much sense! And is honestly something I could and should probably do more of, but I don't even know whose tastes align almost perfectly with mine. I guess I just haven't found that person yet like it seems many of the people I follow on Twitter have.

There's a few things that ruin a book for me immediately more than 75% of the time. Those things aren't often written in the blurbs, but I find out when I read reviews. Basically: they save me time. I think a lot of people don't like to dismiss books as easily as I do. And I do - I dismiss books very easily. And I definitely regret it sometimes and feel guilty, because why am I letting one little thing stop me from reading a book? But I do, and in the grand scheme of things no one really cares so WHATEVER.

They also help me discover new blogs! Reviews are one of the first things I read to find out if we have the same tastes.

But what I really want to know is: how often do you read reviews? Are there certain kinds of books you do and don't read reviews for, or certain blogs you always seek out for reviews? (I'm sorry. I rambled too much, didn't I?)

6.14.2016

Upcoming 2016 Releases I'd Sleep Next to a Polar Bear For

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
This post was actually painful to make because LOOK AT THESE BOOKS THAT ARE NOT IN MY HANDS. I know that September and October and such will be here soon enough, but that's not good news either because that means the semester starts again and let me tell you, my fall semester is a killer. (Plus it's junior year so I actually have to, like, get my shit together. I'm awesome grades-wise but literally DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE.) 

This week's topic: most anticipated reads for the remainder of 2016!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Expected Publication: September 27th, 2016 by Henry Holt & Co.
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I mean, duh. Absolutely my #1 most anticipated read. I MISS INEJ. AND KAZ. AND INEJ AND KAZ. AND THE ENTIRE CREW BECAUSE WOW DOES LEIGH BARDUGO KNOW HOW TO WRITE CHARACTERS.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Expected Publication: October 24th, 2016 by Henry Holt & Co.
Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

Okay, first of all? I want to marry this cover. Second of all, I loved Emma Mills's debut novel First & Then, and this one sounds like even more fun so CAN YOU PLEASE RELEASE NOW? 

6.13.2016

Discussion: Let's Talk TV

This may be a book blog, but let's be honest. I watch a lot more TV than I read. Or more accurately, I watch a lot more Netflix and catch up with other shows online, because I don't have cable. Or a TV. I'm not that great at keeping up with airing shows - it's too hard to keep track of what shows are airing which nights or how far behind I am, so I'm definitely more of a binge watcher, but I do keep up pretty religiously with a few shows. Either method works for me! So I thought I'd talk about a few shows that I love, and hopefully you can talk about a few of yours too!

No Longer Airing 


LOST

I can't even tell you how many times I've rewatched this. I remember talking about it in my French class in THE 8TH GRADE. It doesn't feel right that I was watching it even then, because I must have missed out on SO MUCH. But that's fine, because now I can watch it whenever I want, as many times as I want. I have a particular affection for the time jumping storyline because when they eventually get stuck in Dharma times, JULIET AND SAWYER. Plus the show includes people stranded on a tropical island with a smoke monster, so I mean, this is my THING.


OFF THE MAP

I AM STILL SO ANGRY THAT THIS ONLY GOT ONE SEASON. It's about doctors who run a tiny little clinic in the jungle that's always low on supplies and I WANT IT BACK. It had two actors I now love on Grey's Anatomy, Rachelle Lefevre who has the greatest hair ever, and that guy who played Matt Saracen. (Also I'm not gonna lie I shipped Ben and Ryan so hard.) Why do we get a decade of The Vampire Diaries but ONLY 13 EPISODES OF OFF THE MAP? The world is an unjust place.

6.09.2016

Discussion: Blogger Faux Pas


I don't know about you, but I've been seeing a lot of conversations about how to blog. The general theme is one I think we all know: blog what you want, how you want, when you want, but there are a few fundamental rules. Don't tag authors in bad reviews. Don't insult people. Don't beg for ARCs on Twitter, etc, etc. And of course I agree with these. (I would also like to add: stop telling people they're ridiculous for not wanting to read a book for some reason or another that you deem ridiculous. Just let people read whatever the hell they want or don't want.) I see people constantly trying to make others feel guilty for having ARCs, constantly tagging authors and publishers about how badly they want them. And that's bad. We know that's bad. I see it and basically turn into this.


But I think we need to remember something. Some people are new. It's one thing to see an adult who you know has been blogging for years doing these things. But there are 14 year olds who are very new, and I don't see enough people considering that. I've seen people I follow ridicule young girls for making mistakes. And I get it - there are some very mature 14 year olds in the blogging world. A lot of them. And you probably think everyone should be like that.

But I started blogging when I was 14, and you know what? I made a lot of mistakes. Some of which I remember too vividly for my own good. I tweeted authors 3 star reviews, which I would NEVER do now. I probably embarrassed myself in tweets to authors and publishers more times than I even want to imagine. I was definitely a little over obsessed with ARCs. I cringe whenever I think about it. But the thing is, I learned. I watched others, yes, but really I think it just came as I grew up and realized that wasn't how you talk to people, especially not to professionals. I was not fortunate enough to be all refined and sophisticated at 14. I can definitely say I'm amazed by the maturity of a lot of the younger bloggers I see.

But I know we all see a LOT of stuff on Twitter that probably isn't appropriate. I just think that before judging, we should ask ourselves: how new is this person? How young? And obviously there's a difference between tagging authors in horrible reviews/tagging them in hate and what I'm talking about. But is it just me? Or do you think it's important to consider this too? 

(In retrospect I realize this post doesn't adequately get my point across or EVEN HAVE A POINT but it's too late now.)

6.01.2016

Waiting on Wednesday: June

Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Expected Publication: December 27th, 2016 by Harcourt Childrens Books
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Okay, I mean, OBVIOUSLY I NEED THIS. I've been drifting away from fantasy a little bit lately just because they usually require more of my attention span, but THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE BOOK OF MY DREAMS.