September Haul and Wrap-up

How can it possibly be time for a September Haul/Wrap-up post already?? I can’t believe it is almost October. I love all things fall, and I’ve been anticipating October reads for quite some time, but I can’t believe how fast time is flying.

September was such a jam-packed reading month, mainly due to ContemporaryAThon. I knocked a ton of books off of my TBR shelf – but don’t worry guys, I hauled a ton of books to make up for it.

HAUL

I gained 13 (!!!!) books this month – that’s the biggest haul I’ve had in a LONG time. Two were from subscription boxes, and two of them were for our #FridayFrightAThon next month, but STILL. That is a ton of books. Here’s what got added to my shelf this month:

  1. You by Caroline Kepnes
  2. The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
  3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  4. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  5. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
  6. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
  7. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
  8. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
  9. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  10. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  11. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
  12. #FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar (Book of the Month)
  13. Mirage by Somaiya Daud (Owlcrate)

Ok that’s a ton of books. BUT in my defense, 6 of them were off of Book Outlet for only $35, so at least I bought them on a sale??? I also plan to read 4 of these next month in October.

WRAP-UP

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I read a ton of books this month, mainly due to ContemporaryAThon but also because I had a ton of ARCs to get to. If a review is available, you can click on the title of the book. Because it was such a busy reading month, I fell super behind on reviews, but I’m hopefully going to knock a couple out tomorrow and I’ll update this post then. Here are the books I read, in order:

  1. Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton (ARC): ★★★★★
  2. I Do Not Trust You by Laura J Burns & Melinda Metz (ARC): ★★★★
  3. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ARC, buddy read with Melanie @ Meltotheany): ★★★★
  4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (audiobook, reread): ★★★★
  5. Words We Don’t Say by KJ Reilly (ARC): ★★★.5
  6. Blanca y Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (ARC, buddy read with Mel @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills): ★★★★★
  7. Fence Vol 1 by C.S. Pacat: ★★★★
  8. Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky (ARC): ★★★★.5
  9. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (audiobook): ★★★.5
  10. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: ★★★.5
  11. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: ★★★★.5
  12. Vicious by V.E. Schwab (buddy read with Kaleena @ Reader Voracious): ★★★★★
  13. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (ARC)

I was blessed with such a wonderful reading month: 3 5 star reads! I don’t remember the last time that happened. I strongly urge you to check out these three books, particularly Strange Grace and Blanca y Roja: they are easily on my top 5 of 2018. I haven’t QUITE finished Girls of Paper and Fire as I’m writing this, but I’m hopeful that I’ll knock it out before October.

That’s all, everybody! I hope you all had great September reads as well! Did we read any of the same books? Let me know – I’d love to discuss!

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR #7

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s what’s on the chopping block this week:

ONE: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

I actually kind of rolled my eyes at the synopsis of this one. I don’t think I’d make it to the 50% mark.

VERDICT: DELETE

TWO: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I love Rainbow Rowell. I’m not even reading the synopsis. This one is an easy decision.

VERDICT: KEEP

THREE: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I also love anything Sarah Dessen. I’m not reading the synopsis on this one, either. I love that Dessen tackles hard topics straight-on. I need to read this ASAP.

VERDICT: KEEP

FOUR: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

This book sounds cute, and I know the movie did well. As a rule, I like to read the book if I’m going to watch the movie (usually before, but not always). For that reason, I’ll keep it for now.

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I don’t know why I haven’t read this book yet, but I really am dying to. I’m keeping this one for sure, and hopefully getting to it soon!

VERDICT: KEEP

So it turns out I’m actually super bad at this series and don’t know how to get rid of ANY books. Have you guys read any of these? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Mammoth

IMG_1902Title: Mammoth

Author: Jill Baguchinsky

Publisher: Turner Publishing

Release Date: October 10, 2018

Pages: 304

My Rating: ★★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

Review:

ARC provided by Turner Pub in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars to Mammoth! Thank you so much to Turner Publication for sending me this gorgeous ARC – I absolutely adored this book, and couldn’t put it down!

“I can be awesome, or I can be myself. I can’t be both.”

I read this book for contemporaryathon this year, and absolutely adored it for so many reasons. Not only is this book highlighting women in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but this book also gives you a plus-sized main character who is smart, funny, loves paleontology, and is also a fashionista and designs her own clothes.

Meet Natalie: size 20, blogger (Fossilista.com), paleo nerd. She uses her fashion sense and style as her armor against bullies – it allows her to be what she thinks of as “awesome,” aka confident, flawless, and easy going. Every day, she wakes up, puts on her armor, posts a look of the day on her blog, and doesn’t take her armor off until she goes to sleep. That is, until she goes off for a month-long internship near Austin, Texas for paleontology. Unfortunately, heels, makeup and dresses don’t mix well with digging in the dirt. If she wants to follow her dream, Natalie is going to have to ease up a little bit on her armor, make new friends, step out of her comfort zone, and learn a little bit about herself along the way.

I loved watching as Natalie becomes more confident and discovers herself, as she discovers that it’s not the clothes and the makeup and the “armor” she puts on every day that makes her feel good – it’s happiness and being true to herself. This book is a love story to science, body positivity, and self-confidence, and I fell in love with it from page one.

“I love the site. I love paleontology. This is me, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m done apologizing for being myself.”

I also have always loved books that have multi-media type writing, and at the beginning of a lot of the chapters, Mammoth has Natalie’s blog posts along with her look of the day. I found this to be a super cute and seamless way to show the difference between “Awesome Natalie” and Natalie’s true self. It also was interesting to watch them start to blend together and become one and the same.

There were a few comments that I didn’t love, and honestly there’s a scene with Chase that really just felt a little gross. There’s also a decent amount of lines mentioning other girl’s weight and Natalie’s thoughts about other people watching her eat, so if these are triggers for you I’d steer clear.

Ultimately, this book is about learning to love yourself just the way you are, having confidence in yourself, and going after your dreams. It has just the right amount of young love mixed in, and a lot of nerding out over science, which I absolutely loved. This book was fast-paced, adorable, and one of my favorite contemporaries of the year. I urge you all to pick it up!

Mammoth is being released on October 10, 2018.

xoxo

Jen

All quotes are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

#FridayFrightAThon 2018

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Hello friends! If you’re like me, you’re a little sad that summer is over… but have highly anticipated the arrival of fall for months. Fall is my very favorite season, and I’ve had my eye on October reads for a while now. This fall, I’m so lucky enough to be hosting #FridayFrightAThon with some of my very best friends, and we want you to join us!

HOW IT WORKS:

Every Friday in October, we’re starting a new buddy read (schedule is listed in the picture above, taken by the supremely talented Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills.) We will post page breakdowns soon, but over the week we’ll read the book together, and will be tracking the hashtag #FridayFrightAThon for discussion, comments, and pictures! The buddy reads are taking place both on instagram and on twitter. This is meant to be laid back and fun, so don’t feel pressured to stay on schedule!

MEET MY CO-HOSTS:

I’m so lucky to have found these lovely ladies, and I strongly encourage you to check them out!

Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

Melanie @ Meltotheany

Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

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THE BOOKS:

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: October 5

I can’t think of a better way to kick off a month of spooky reading. I bought this true-crime non fiction book as soon as the Golden State Killer was caught – this book actually aided in that crime being solved! It’s been sitting on my shelf, eagerly awaiting October, and I can’t wait to dive in. Page breakdown below:

  • October 5th: Pages 1 – 51
  • October 6th: Pages 52 – 107
  • October 7th: Pages 108 – 168
  • October 8th: Pages 169 – 234 (up to “Walnut Creek”)
  • October 9th: Pages 234 – 283 October 10th: Pages 284 – 328

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware: October 12

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Woman in Cabin 10 – I don’t care for ‘unreliable narrators’ – but I really liked The Lying Game. I’ve heard great things about this one, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t take a great look at the synopsis, so I’m essentially going in blind. Here’s hoping! Page breakdown below:

  • October 12th: Pages 1-60 (Chapter 9)
  • October 13th: Pages 61-124 (Chapter 16)
  • October 14th: Pages 125-185 (Chapter 23)
  • October 15th: Pages 186-248 (Chapter 34)
  • October 16th: Pages 249-304 (Chapter 43)
  • October 17th: Pages 305-368

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio: October 19

Another book where I’m going in blind! I apparently really like to live life on the edge. Check out the synopsis, and if you love how it sounds, I got mine off Book Outlet for about $6 and I think it’s still there. Page breakdown below:

  • October 19th: Act I
  • October 20th: Act II
  • October 21st: Act III, Scenes 1 – 8 (Pages 145 – 189)
  • October 22nd: Act III, Scenes 9 – 18 (Pages 190 – 244)
  • October 23rd: Act IV October 24th: Act V

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

I got this in a Book of the Month box a few months ago and have been holding onto it, waiting patiently for October, and now IT’S FINALLY HERE. This has gotten such polarizing reviews, and I haven’t read The Final Girls, but honestly a book that has Pretty Little Liar vibes has my name all over it. Page breakdown below:

  • October 26th: Pages 1 – 62 (Chapter 6)
  • October 27th: Pages 63 – 128 (Chapter 13)
  • October 28th: Pages 129 – 191 (Chapter 20)
  • October 29th: Pages 192 – 252 (Chapter 26)
  • October 30th: Pages 253 – 311 (Chapter 32)
  • October 31st: Pages 312 – 370

Ok everybody! That’s it! We’ll be posting page breakdowns soon. I hope you can join us for one, some, or all of these buddy reads! After all, reading is always more fun with friends. Let us know if you’ll be joining us next month! Happy Fall!

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

This week’s prompt was books by my favorite authors that I haven’t read yet! I may cheat a little bit and list upcoming releases, although I’m not sure if those count? Looks like I still have a lot of work to do!

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LEIGH BARDUGO

ONE: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

I’m pretty surprised I have yet to read this series, because I love Wonder Woman AND Catwoman. They are definitely something I’m planning to get to in the next year! I’d kill for those UK covers.

TWO: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

I’m not actually sure I’ll ever get to this one, but I’m leaving it on the list because of how much I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing. We’ll see if I ever pick it up. See my review for Six of Crows here.

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SARAH J MAAS

THREE: Catwoman: Soulstealer

Again, I’m dying to get to this series, especially since I’m trash for Queen Maas. I need to pick this up ASASP!

FOUR: Kingdom of Ash

I know this isn’t technically out yet but it comes out SO SOON that I’m including it! I cannot wait to get my hands on this beauty, although I’m pretty sad to see the series end.

RAINBOW ROWELL

FIVE: Landline

I actually already own this book on my e-reader, I just haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I maybe should have added it to contemporaryathon this year, but didn’t think of it!

SIX: Carry On

I loved Fangirl, so I’ve had this one on my TBR list for quite some time. I’ll get to it eventually… I swear…

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LAINI TAYLOR

EIGHT: The entire Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

I’m actually not sure if I’ll pick these up, but I adored Strange the Dreamer so much that I can’t help but be intrigued by anything Laini Taylor.

NINE: Muse of Nightmares

Again, I realize this isn’t out yet but SO. SOON. I’m sure I’m going to go MIA as soon as it’s in my hands. I cannot wait to read it.

MISCELANEOUS HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  • All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
  • Tempest and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

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Ok, that was more than 10, but I’m actually kind of embarrassed how many are on this list. I should really get my butt in gear and check these out! Have you read any of these? Any that I should get to immediately or skip? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the FoxTitle: Shadow of the Fox

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Pages: 400

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher, Harlequin Teen, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Absolute power can corrupt even the purest of hearts. Such is the folly of men.

I went in pretty much blind for Shadow of the Fox and I was not disappointed! This year is the first time I’ve really delved into Japanese fantasy/mythology stories, and I am now obsessed (check out my Empress of All Seasons review as well) after this ownvoices novel. Shadow of the Fox follows two main characters (with a third character that pops in every now and then) as they journey to track down an ancient scroll – although their motives are very very different.

THINGS I LOVED:

The main characters! First and foremost I loved these three with my whole heart.

Suki: Suki gets the opening chapter in the book, and I can honestly say that when I reached the end of that chapter my mouth was hanging open. This book gets points for the most punch in the first chapter so far this year – I promise you’ll be hooked. Suki was sent by her father to work in the palace, and her new employer plays a very large role in the carnage to come. I wish I had gotten more chapters from Suki, because she was one of my favorites.

It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night that she died.

Yumeko: Yumeko is half human, half kitsune (MY LOVE) and has grown up with monks at the Silent Temple. She has been taught to surpress her power and natural inclination to mischief and live as mortal as possible. She rails against the restraints put upon her but cannot imagine her life elsewhere – until she has to. The Temple comes under attack, and Yumeko (along with her powers) is the only choice. The monks send Yumeko, along with the scroll, on a journey to try and protect it.

Her name is Yumeko, child of dreams, for she is our hope against the coming darkness.

Kage: Kage is a Samurai of the Shadow Clan, and the chosen demonslayer. He carries a sword that houses a demon, Hakaimono. Kage is constantly fighting the risk that the demon will overpower him. To do this, he has trained his entire life to feel as little emotion as possible. He has been sent to retrieve the scroll at all costs, and cares for little except the success of his mission. Yumeko ropes him in to helping her on her journey, all the while keeping the scroll hidden.

I was a weapon to the clan, nothing more. Kindness had no place in my life.

I also loved the journey. I’m not always the BIGGEST fan of books that contain so much journey-ing, but in this one, each stop they made along the way had some small little task they had to complete to move on AND I LIVED FOR THAT. This was such a neat and unique concept and held my attention the entire time. I loved the Japanese myths and stories that were included, and I loved all the different demons, yokai, and humans we met along the way.

This book also brought to light how much the world tends to treat those different from you as less than you. The hierarchy of mortals, yokai, and demons was clearly established. Yokai were treated as less than people, even if they had no malicious or evil intent, and that hurt my heart. I loved that the heroine of the book was half yokai, and that she was able to use her powers and truly, finally, be herself to complete her tasks.

It was an unspoken rule among yokai; one did not call attention to their…yokai-ness if one did not want to be hunted, harassed, or cursed with extremely bad luck.

MINOR COMPLAINTS:
I had a few minor complaints: there were a few plot holes that I wish had been filled in, and honestly the first four or five chapters were a little confusing for me as I figured out who was speaking and who was who. But honestly, these are so minor and so brief that they hardly bothered me at all.

Ultimately, this book is about friendship, bravery, and doing what is right instead of what is easy. It’s about being true to yourself and using what you have to get what you need. It’s about working together with all different kinds of people, and learning that accepting them can bring joy and wonder and new friends. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from this book, and then I urge you to go preorder it immediately. You will not regret it.

Master Isao had a saying. He told me that the tiniest pebble, when dropped into a pond, will leave ripples that will grow and spread in ways we cannot comprehend.

Shadow of the Fox releases on October 2, 2018.

Buddy read with Melanie @ Meltotheany! Check out her page – she is the kindest soul and I’m so grateful for her friendship.

xoxo

Jen

All quotes are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

Down the TBR #6

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

ONE: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

I know I read a few of Marissa Meyer’s series, but I honestly don’t remember a ton – which means I wasn’t in love with it. It is something I intend to return to eventually, but even knowing that, I do not tend to care for novellas.

VERDICT: DELETE

TWO: Blue Hydrangeas by Marianne Sciucco

As a health professional, the synopsis of this story still appeals to me. I don’t know when I’ll get to it, and I’m always hesitant when it comes to these types of books, but it’s something I’d like to get to eventually.

VERDICT: KEEP

THREE: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I don’t remember adding this to my TBR, and it sounds like every other YA romantic contemporary I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’ll miss this one.

VERDICT: DELETE

FOUR: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Like I mentioned before, I’m not a huge novella fan, but I absolutely adored The Program series. I still want to get to this one eventually.

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: All The Rage by Courtney Summers

I just read Sadie by Courtney Summers last month and LOVED it (check out my review here). Combine that with how much I was drawn in by the synopsis, and this one is an easy one.

VERDICT: KEEP

Have you read any of these beauties?? Let me know what you thought!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Blanca and Roja

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Title: Blanca and Roja

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Macmillan- Feiwel and Friends

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

My Review:

ARC provided by Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends in exchange for an honest review.

“There will always be two daughters. But we will always take one back.

What would you do if you knew, from the day you were born, that it was always going to be you or your sister? That one day, the swans – los cisnes – will take one of you as their own, to live the rest of your days with wings and away from everyone you love?

Blanca y Roja follows the story of two sisters who, for generations, have always had to surrender one of their daughters to a group of swans that live in their woods. The daughter is chosen by the swans after their 15th birthday, and the threat of losing everything usually pits the sisters against each other. Blanca and Roja decide to try it differently: they try to become so alike that the swans cannot choose, and remain close and each other’s best friends. They thought they’ve won – until one day the swans appear. As the girls fight to save each other and themselves, their story twines with that of two boys who’ve experienced the strange magic of the woods.

This book is about so many things – family, friendship, love, betrayal, bravery, acceptance, identity. And it is complete and utter perfection. I loved this book completely and with my whole soul from start to finish. There is not a single thing I did not enjoy. This is easily one of my top 5 books of 2018, and may be #1.

Let me touch first on the writing. I’ve never read any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s other books – but I sure as hell will now. The writing in this book was so haunting and gorgeous. I felt so completely transported into the woods right alongside the sisters and the boys. It was so vivid and descriptive, I could picture everything exactly. The writing itself was magical, and weaved it’s own sort of spell right alongside the swans.

I also fell completely in love with the four main characters.

Blanca: Blanca is the sister who everyone expects to remain human. She is gentle, sweet, and as pure as her name. She loves Roja and will do anything to save her, even if it means sacrificing herself. My favorite part about Blanca is how she grows throughout the story. She finds her own sort of courage, her own way of fighting, and she never wavers in her mission to save Roja.

Good girls had their own ways of hitting back.

Roja: Roja is the daughter everyone expects to be taken, even herself. She is all sharp edges and wild anger. She’s difficult and fierce and tries her hardest not to resent her sister for being everything that she isn’t.

I wasn’t just fighting her to survive the swans. I had been fighting her my whole life to be seen.

Page: Page is easily my favorite character. Page is gender fluid, identifies as a boy but also likes to be called she/her pronouns – but not girl or young lady. He’s been fighting gender constraints her whole life and feels like he doesn’t really fit in anywhere. His parents love him but can’t understand him, and he’s never met anyone who’s accepted him unconditionally – before Barclay, who becomes his best friend. Page is kind, loyal, and ultimately I want to put him in my pocket and keep him safe forever and ever.

There was no room for me to ask to be called both him and her. There were already too many people who thought I was just a failure as a girl. They wouldn’t listen long enough for me to say that I had never been one. I was a boy who had to bear the same assumption so many girls endured, that I was simply the wrong kind of girl.

Barclay: Barclay comes from an affluent family that doesn’t always feel like a family – his mom is something of a socialite who only cares about appearance, and his father is aggressive who encourages brawls between Barclay and his cousin, Liam (who I hate). Barclay escapes into the wood to lose his own name, and when he meets Blanca and Roja he goes by Yearling in an effort to cast off all he knows and hates about his family. As the story develops, he learns that becoming someone new doesn’t always help you escape what’s chasing you.

This was the thing I knew, the thing I’d been trying to tell Barclay for so long: even if there is no retracing your path, no unbreaking what has been broken, the heart of you, the heart of everything, can still knit back together.

The representation and diversity of this book is incredible. Beyond the Latina sisters, their family, and the bits of their heritage and culture that peak through, there’s a Lesbian relationship and a gender fluid/trans character. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mix.

This book is so important, and touches on so many hard things. It’s about friendship, and what that really means. It’s about family, and the love and sacrifice that comes with it, but it’s also about making your own family – the people who will love and accept you for everything you are and everything you aren’t. It’s about deciding who you are for yourself, not letting anyone else tell you what you should be, and giving yourself that same unconditional love that your family does. It’s about discovering what first love is, with all it’s sharp edges and soft, stollen moments. Ultimately, this book is the deepest love story I have ever read, and I mean every kind of love under the sun.

I’ll leave you all with my very favorite quote from this book – and it didn’t come from the story. It came from the Author’s Note.

For me, the point where fairy tales and magical realism intersect is this: We find what is beautiful in what is broken. We find what is heartening in what is terrifying. We find the stars in the woods’ deepest shadows…My hope for you, reader, for all of us, is two sides of the same wish: that the world gives us each the space to write our own story, and that we leave room for each other’s stories. They are where our heart survives.

Blanca y Roja releases on October 9. Go buy this book. I promise you will not regret it.

xoxo

Jen

I buddy read this with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills and Melanie @ Meltotheany and if you haven’t checked out their blogs, you are missing out! Go now!

Any quotes are taken from an ARC and may be altered by pub date.

September Pick: Book of the Month

Hello everybody!

It’s been a couple months since I’ve done one of these – I actually skipped August for Book of the Month. BUT I made on pick in September, and I almost added a second but decided not to at the last minute. Here’s the pick I went with this month:

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#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar

Goodreads Synopsis:

A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dextermeets The Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead.

WHY I PICKED IT:

Ok, truth time: I have actually forbidden myself from getting ANY more mystery/thriller books from Book of the Month. I have SO MANY still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. But I couldn’t resist with this one, plus it sounds so different than anything else I own!

That being said, I also picked it as I narrowed down from the other options. I don’t care for most historical fiction, and I have so many thrillers and crime books sitting on my shelf that I bypassed November Road and Cross her HeartThe Silence of the Other Girls almost got me, but I still have Circe from a previous BOTM sitting on my shelf, so I was unsure how I’d like something along the same lines. #FashionVictim definitely stood out as something unique and intriguing!

If you haven’t tried Book of the Month yet, I highly recommend it! You can use my referral link here, and I believe you get a free book when you sign up!

Happy reading!

xoxo

Jen

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

This week’s topic is so perfect, because I was just sitting down and planning this earlier today! The topic is “books on my fall TBR”. I absolutely love fall, and have been looking forward to my fall reading for the past couple of months already. Most of the books listed are going to be for October, since that’s what I have mapped out most concretely. Let me know if we have any of the same ones on our list, I love buddy reads!

These first 4 I’m not going to say much about, but keep an eye out for more info soon!

ONE: I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

TWO: The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

THREE: If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

FOUR: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

FIVE: The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra

This is an ARC that I received that comes out ON Halloween, so it seems perfect for October reading. It sounds a little bit like a YA revenge story, which makes it the perfect level of creepy.

SIX: You by Caroline Kepnes

I’ve heard such good things about this book, and with the Lifetime show starting up, I’m dying to dive into this one. I refuse to watch the show until I’ve read it, though!

SEVEN: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Ok I bought this book AGES ago, and also preordered Vengeful, and still haven’t gotten around to picking it up. But I WILL get to it in October, if it’s the last thing I do!

EIGHT: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Again, a book I bought eons ago, but I’ve been sneakily holding onto this one waiting for Halloween! I will definitely be getting to this one in October.

NINE: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

This is on every single person’s list ever. Wouldn’t be surprised if I stay up until midnight to download and start it immediately.

TEN: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is one of my top 5 books of this year, and Muse of Nightmares is up there with my most anticipated release. I have already preordered two (yes, two) copies of this book and cannot wait to jump into it.

After looking over this list I realized I want to read every single one of these just in the month of October – which is slightly unrealistic. Ah well, we all need goals, right?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Ok, these aren’t books that are on my TBR – because I already read them – but I think they should be on yours! If you’re looking for some great spooky or fall themed books to read this year, I cannot recommend these two enough. They easily make my top 5 of 2018 list, I 5 starred them both, and I already have preordered finished copies of them.

  • Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton [see review here]
  • Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore [review to come]

Are any of these on your fall TBR?? Maybe we can read them together! Happy fall, bookworms!

xoxo

Jen