January Wrap-Up

January was such a great reading month for me! I honestly could not have possibly kicked off 2019 in a better way. I got to do a lot of mood reading, and it’s really been a while since that’s been possible. And SO many great reads! If you guys have been following my page, you know that this year, I’m trying to read one Book of the Month book and one backlist read each month (check out my 12 backlist read choices here). Here are the books I read in January:

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  1. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum (Dragons & Tea Book Club): ★★★★★
  2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (audio, reread): ★★★★★
  3. The Lost Sisters by Holly Black: ★★★★★
  4. The Wicked King by Holly Black: ★★★★★
  5. Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton: ★★★.5
  6. A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B Sheinmel (ARC): ★★★.5
  7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (BOTM, backlist): ★★★★★
  8. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare: ★★★★
  9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (audio, reread): ★★★★★
  10. You by Caroline Kepnes: ★★★★
  11. Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward (audio, reread): ★★★★

This was way more than I was intending to read this month, but I’m so glad I did! I think this is the most 5 star reads I’ve ever had in one month (6??? Seriously????) and I think that bodes so well for the rest of 2019 (hopefully). I hope you all had a great January!

xoxo

Jen

January Haul

My goal in January was to really cut back on my book buying, for a couple reasons. 1, Christmas really kicked my wallet in the ass. 2, my TBR shelf is SO FULL and I am desperately trying to carve away at it. I didn’t want to do a full book-buying ban, because those really have not gone well for me in the past, but I really did a decent job! Here’s the books I hauled in the past month:

BOOK BOXES

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I actually skipped using my Book of the Month credit this month (GASP) so I only got one book from a book box: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye, in the January Fairyloot box. This gorgeous exclusive had beautiful sprayed edges!

PUBLISHERS

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I was lucky enough to receive a few books from publishers this month, and I always am so so grateful for these opportunities!

  1. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – Sourcebooks Fire
  2. The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – Harper Voyager

PURCHASED

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Ok, I admit, I did cave and buy some books. HOWEVER a couple of them were preorders… so do those even really count??

  1. The Wicked King by Holly Black
  2. The Wicked King by Holly Black (Barnes and Noble Edition)
  3. Slayer by Kiersten White
  4. Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
  5. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Overall, 8 books isn’t that bad, and really, I read more than that, so I’m going to count that as a win?

How many books did you haul in January??

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recent Additions To My TBR List

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!

Happy Tuesday, bookworms! I hope your Monday was short and your reads have been great. I wasn’t sure whether to take this prompt as my 10 most recently bought books, or the 10 I most recently added to my ‘want to read’ list, so I went with the second one. For a list of my most recently hauled books, check out my January haul, which will be up tomorrow! So without further ado, here are the most 10 recently added books to my “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads.

TEN: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I had the pleasure of reading Shadow of the Fox last year and absolutely ADORED it. If that hadn’t been enough to hook me, a story involving the Fae would have done it. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.

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NINE: These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

I actually already own this book, and I’ve definitely heard mixed reviews. HOWEVER, I am here for all the pirate things, so I’m going to give it a shot.

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EIGHT: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This is honestly just one of those series that I am extremely embarrassed not to have read yet.

SEVEN: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Ditto above.

SIX: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Ok, if you haven’t read The Wedding Date yet, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. This book was honestly so adorable, and I’m planning on reading Jasmine’s other book, The Proposal, for contemporaryathon. The Wedding Party is coming out later this year, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

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FIVE: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Ok, unlike most of the world, I haven’t read anything else by Sally Thorne, but this ARC keeps popping up all over my feed, so I of course HAD to add it.

FOUR: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This was one of the January Book Of the Month options, and I found the description super intriguing! The only reason I didn’t use my January credit on it is honestly because I haven’t been in the mood for thrillers/possibly unreliable narrators lately, but I’m definitely keeping this one on my radar for a later date.

THREE: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

Are you guys sick of me praising Tessa Gratton yet? TOO BAD. If you follow my page at all, you know that I was absolutely OBSESSED with Strange Grace and that it was my top publication of 2018, hands-down. That immediately makes every single thing Tessa Gratton has written an auto-add.

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TWO: Your Heart Is A Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

I actually don’t have a super good explanation for this one, except that I subscribe to The Skimm, which is a daily news email I receive. On Fridays, they include a little blurb at the bottom about a book they’ve had on their radar, and this one sounds FANTASTIC.

ONE: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

I finished You minutes before writing this post, and was so obsessed with it that I immediately added the sequel to my TBR list. I cannot wait to check out the Netflix adaptation, too!

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Have you guys read any of these?? What’d you think? Any I need to get to immediately? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: A Danger to Herself and Others

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TitleA Danger To Herself and Others

Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 352

Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I suppose your name is the first thing that ever really belongs to you, but when you think about it, it’s not yours at all. Your parents chose it.

What would you do if the most important thing in your world – your brain, your mind, your intelligence – suddenly came into question? That’s what happens when Hannah is sent to an institution for observation after an unfortunate accident with her summer program roommate, Agnes. At first glance, Hannah seems like the perfect high school junior: perfect grades, well-rounded, lots of best friends. She’s looking forward to starting her senior year and applying to the top colleges in the country. And when she’s taken to the institution, she isn’t worried. She knows this is all just some huge misunderstanding. After all, why would she hurt her own best friend?

Of course, the other patients are here because there’s actually something wrong with them. I’m only here because of a misunderstanding, so there’s no need for me to panic.

As the story continues, it becomes clear that there are definitely some inconsistencies in Hannah’s stories. This book is told from Hannah’s POV, so the reader is privy to all of her internal monologues. It becomes obvious that Hannah is a very unreliable narrator, and a lot of her reasoning raises some red flags. When Hannah gets a roommate, Lucy, she decides to prove that she couldn’t have hurt Agnes by showing what a great best friend she is to Lucy.

It was so easy when I was five, to manipulate my parents’ friends into being ashamed of their own children, into thinking I was so much better. It’s still so easy.

Unfortunately, this situation isn’t one that Hannah can manipulate her way out of, and as her story continues, the reader gets to discover the truth right along with her. When everything else is taken from her – her choices, her books, all of her best friends – will Hannah be able to deal with what’s left behind: the truth?

I ended up giving this book 3.5 stars overall. The writing was unique and intriguing, and I loved the little bits of mystery that were left along the way. While it’s marketed as a YA contemporary, it almost reads like a YA mystery some of the time, which I really enjoyed! I also LOVED Lucy, Hannah’s roommate at the institution. She was hands-down my favorite character, and I wish we could have had more of her!

Unfortunately, I am just not a huge fan of the “unreliable narrator” trope, so Hannah and I got off on the wrong foot right away. Not to mention, she’s also just not… likable? I admire how determined and driven she is, but she’s also manipulative to everyone around her and at times cruel. However, the author did a GREAT job at portraying Hannah’s story. I really felt for her as she learned more and more about herself, and struggled with the truth of her situation. The writing really put me in her shoes, and I could see how terrified and distraught I would be if I were her.

I also felt like not a lot happened. Since the story takes place mostly in Hannah’s thoughts and in the institution, the plot isn’t all that exciting. I saw the one twist coming miles away, so that was a little disappointing. HOWEVER, this was a super quick and entertaining read, and I enjoyed the process!

It also touched on something that I felt was so so important. While I can’t speak to how accurately the author portrayed mental illness and an experience in an institution, she did touch a lot on choices, and how it feels to have simple, daily choices taken away. For example: Hannah no longer gets to choose who she talks to, or when. She doesn’t get to choose if she can take a shower, or take a pill. Coming from a life where she’s made all of her own choices from a very young age, this is such a culture shock, and I can’t imagine how that must feel. The author also did a great job at getting to the root of Hannah’s internal struggle: what makes up a person? What makes you, YOU? Is it your brain? And what happens when you can’t trust your own mind? What does “normal” mean anyway?

The orderlies don’t understand that a pill can be more invasive than a shot. Taking the pill implies that it’s your choice. Willingness to swallow what they hand you suggests that you agree with them: There’s something wrong with you; you need to take your medicine. If they force a shot on you, at least you’re taking a stand. At least they haven’t made you believe there’s something wrong with you.

While I definitely had some issues with this book, it was an entertaining, although very dark, read. I really felt for Hannah, and was rooting for her throughout the book. If you like unreliable narrators with a couple of good plot twists thrown in, this is a book for you!

Maybe I’ll never know for certain what’s real, what’s madness, what’s the medication.

A Danger To Herself and Others is releasing on February 5, 2019.

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

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR Hole #21

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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:

ONE: We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

So I actually read the firs two books in the The Summer I Turned Pretty series, and unfortunately, while they were quick and cute reads, they just weren’t for me. The flip-flopping back and forth between the boys was really irritating to me. I gave them 2 stars each I think, and it just isn’t enough to get me to continue with the series.

VERDICT: DELETE

TWO: The Nix by Nathan Hill

Yikes. I hate when I re-read the synopsis of a book and it just can’t hold my interest. I obviously added this to my TBR for a reason, but it doesn’t seem like it’s the book for me now.

VERDICT: DELETE

THREE: Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

Parts of this sound cute, and parts of it sound tropey, and parts of it actually leave kind of a bad taste in my mouth. I may read it at some point, but I don’t think it’ll be anytime soon.

VERDICT: DELETE

FOUR: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

This actually sounds super good and a really unique way to tell a mystery/thriller about a disappearance. I just might have to get to this one soon!

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: Exist West by Mohsin Hamid

Um, YES. That is all.

VERDICT: KEEP

I’m considering to start doing this series as twice a month instead of once a week. Have you guys read any of these? What’d you think? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Reads of 2019

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 year, I’m making a goal: to read more backlist reads. I have so many books on my shelf that I am DYING to get to, but something always gets in the way. Each month, I’m making it a goal to knock one off my list. With that in mind, here are the twelve backlist books I MUST get to in 2019!

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ONE: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This made so many of my dear friend’s top ten lists of 2018, I’m actually embarrassed that I haven’t read it yet. This will hopefully be the first one I tackle off this list.

TWO: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I bought this with the goal in mind of reading it prior to the movie coming out, but obviously that didn’t happen. I’m still holding off on seeing the movie until after I read it, though.

THREE: Circe by Madeline Miller

Yet another book that made a ton of top 10 lists last year that’s sitting on my shelf, begging to be read. I really should try to stay more on top of it this year.

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FOUR: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Ditto above. Also, props to Book of the Month for including so many incredible books in their 2018 selections.

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FIVE: Radio Silence Alice Oseman

I bought Oseman’s three novels from Waterstones last year…and have read none of them.  I’m planning on starting with this one.

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SIX: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

I absolutely adored my first read by Anna-Marie, Blanca y Roja – so much so that it was #2 on my best of 2018 list, and it immediately made her an auto-buy author for me. When this book went on sale on Book Outlet, I couldn’t resist.

SEVEN: A Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

My friends raved about this book so much last year that I knew I had to read it. Luckily, my dear friend Melanie @ Meltotheany is such a blessing and sent me a copy for Christmas! I cannot wait to start this beauty.

EIGHT: City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

I got this book as a BOTM pick last year, but it’s been sitting on my shelf gathering dust. Which is a damn shame, because it’s an own-voices Muslim fantasy series, and has been 5 starred by so many people I love and trust. Hopefully I get to it and then can dive right into it’s sequel, which is releasing this year.

NINE: Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

My girl Chelsea is the one who put this book on my radar. She couldn’t stop singing it’s praises, and everyone who picked it up after her had to agree. I’ve been sitting on it for a while, because it’s certainly not a light read, but I need to get to it this year.

TEN: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The conclusion to this trilogy comes out this year, and pretty much like every book on this list, every single person I love and trust adores this book. Which means, obviously, that I have to read it.

ELEVEN: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Another book that has been gathering dust on my shelf. I’m not a huge sci-fi person, but this book has gotten such fabulous reviews by everyone, and now that the final installment was released, I really have no excuse. Plus, it’s in mixed media format, which I absolutely adore.

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TWELVE: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I didn’t really know much about this book except that it was a reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin, and it kind of came out of left field. As soon as it was released, everyone was raving about it. I can’t wait to get started on this one.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • You by Caroline Kepnes
  • The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire
  • A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
  • Caraval and Legendary by Stephanie Garber

 

Have you read any of these books? What’d you think? What books are you making sure you pick up in 2019??

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Wicked King

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Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

Author: Holly Black

Pages: 336

Rating: ★★★★★

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)★★★★★

The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air #1.5): ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Review:

“You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.”

It feels so, so good to be back in Faerie. It feels just as good as I remember it…except better. The stakes are bigger, and everyone’s got so much more to lose – which means everyone’s being twice as wicked. This story is filled with everyone’s favorite things from The Cruel Prince: betrayal. bargains. and perhaps most importantly: CARDAN.

The Wicked King starts off about 5 months after the ending of The Cruel Prince. Cardan has the throne, but Jude holds his strings. Oak is in hiding in the human world with Vivi, Taryn is married to Locke, and Madoc is still plotting. Balekin is locked up in a tower, and holding some secrets of his own. If everyone plotting among themselves isn’t problem enough, the Queen of the Undersea is plotting to gain control of the land, by using her daughter Nicasia. There are threats from all sides (including from inside) and no one can be trusted.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.

Friends, if I didn’t swoon over Cardan after The Cruel Prince (spoiler: I did), I sure as heck am now. He might be one of my favorite characters of all time. He’s clever and more than a little bit cruel, but he’s got some soft spots hiding underneath all of that. He’s one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read. I’d also like to give Holly Black massive props here: in one book, she was able to make me forget just how much Jude and Cardan were at each other’s throats in The Cruel Prince. I forgot every cruel, wicked, scheming thing he’d ever done, and forgot how humiliating it must be to be at Jude’s beck and call. I forgot everything except for how much I was swooning. I forgot to be on the lookout for any tricks or schemes, in a book full of characters willing to do anything for power. And more than one of these characters managed to take me by surprise. Everyone in this book is power hungry, and not one of them can be described as a “good person.” Every single one of them is untrustworthy, and I was LIVING. FOR. IT.

Jude is back better than ever too. I love this girl so much. She is strong, power-hungry, and conniving. She has finally found a place she loves and belongs in Faerie, and now she’s fighting tooth and nail to keep it. I love her stubbornness, her cleverness, and her ruthlessness. But most of all, I love her scenes with Cardan.

“I hate you,” I say, the words coming out like a caress. I say it again, over and over. A litany. An enchantment. A ward against what I really feel. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

These two together is the most interesting and overwhelming relationship I’ve ever read. I love how much they hate to want each other. I love dissecting every single sentence between them. And I love watching them slowly start maybe? liking? each other? I love enemies to lovers, and this book wipes all the other stories with that trope clear off the map. I ship these two so hard, and that will be the hill I die on forever and ever.

“I have heard that for mortals, the feeling o falling in love is very like the feeling of fear. Your heart beats fast. Your senses are heightened. You grow light-headed, maybe even dizzy. Is that right?”

Ultimately, what I loved most about this book was the writing. Holly Black has done it again. She is truly the Queen of Faerie. This book was so complex and beautifully written. It was full of betrayal, political intrigue, and plotting, but also had beauty and love and forgiveness. This book made me feel every single emotion so so hard, and I’m still recovering. This was such an unpredictable, magical ride. And holy shit kids. If you were wrecked after The Cruel Prince cliffhanger? Hold on to your seats, because that was NOTHING. I think my mouth hung open for a full five minutes after finishing. Once I turned the last page, I went back and reread the last couple chapters. Then I wandered around my house like a ghost for several hours. THEN I downloaded the audiobook version so I could reread this book and analyze every single sentence. And I say again, as I say after every single Holly Black book I’ve read: I can’t wait to go back to Faerie.

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR Hole #20

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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:

ONE: Did I Mention I Need You? by Estelle Maskame

I guess since I decided to keep #1 in this series, I have to keep these as well. Although if I don’t care for the first one, they’ll probably get kicked to the curb…

VERDICT: KEEP (for now)

TWO: Did I Mention I Miss You? by Estelle Maskame

Ditto above.

VERDICT: KEEP (for now)

THREE: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

While I’m planning to finish the Lunar Chronicles eventually, I actually am not a huge fan of short stories…so I probably won’t be reading this collection.

VERDICT: DELETE

FOUR: All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

I don’t know about this one, guys. It sounds intriguing but I’m not rushing to pick it up. I also feel like every book I’ve read lately has had rape in it, and I may try and avoid that for a little while.

VERDICT: DELETE

FIVE: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I’m really sad I haven’t read this one yet. I’ve heard such great things, and I can’t wait to check it out for myself. The synopsis sounds so haunting, and I have a feeling it’ll be one of those books that sticks with me for a long time.

VERDICT: KEEP

Have you guys read any of these? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Wicker King

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Title: The Wicker King

Author: K. Ancrum

Pages: 305

Rating: ★★★★★

Buddy read with the Dragons and Tea Book Club, hosted by Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills and Melanie @ Meltotheany!

Goodreads Synopsis:

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

Review:

Water dripped off the branch and glittered in the setting sun, and August gazed up at the Wicker King. So fierce and proud, chin jutting out so bravely, that August couldn’t help but lift his branch beside him. Jack had grinned at the sight. They were stronger together; they were always stronger together.

Every once in a while, you read a book that within the first 100 pages, you just know is going to stay with you forever. It’s story is so perfectly written and evokes so many emotions that you know it now has a permanent place in your heart and soul. For me, this was one of those stories.

The Wicker King follows two boys, Jack and August, told from August’s perspective. From the outside looking in, they don’t look like the type of boys who would become friends, but from the time they were young, these two boys came to rely on each other, and they always take care of each other. That friendship becomes more complicated as Jack starts to see vivid hallucinations. Instead of revealing Jack’s problem, August follows him into his fantasy world, lending his belief and love and support as he tries to “fix” his friend. Their quests become more and more involved, and the boys become more and more desperate, but always keep their grip on each other, even when they alienate everyone else and their sanity becomes more and more questionable.

Perception is relative. So is sanity, if you think about it. It’s totally a Minority vs. Majority thing. If you fall on one side of the line, take a ticket and proceed. If you fall on the other, shit gets real.

I absolutely fell in love with these characters. Jack is terrified and trying to comes to grip with his new reality in the only way he knows how: by looking to August for belief and support. August is struggling under the weight of caring for Jack, and looks to Jack for authority. Their love for each other is so overwhelming and all-consuming, but the unhealthiness of their relationship is clear. August follows Jack blindly and allows him complete control; it’s a type of a dom/sub relationship formed out of necessity, giving them each a relationship they find acceptable. Borne out of parental neglect on both sides, these boys care for each other the best they can – which results in a really big mess. I found myself confused a lot of the time on how to feel: while I loved this pair, and wanted them to be happy and safe and together, it was clear how unhealthy this relationship was, and how much they both needed help.

This “world” wasn’t real. But it was real for Jack, so that made it real for him. This was his decision. August was choosing this. He wasn’t Alice falling unaware down the rabbit hole – that was Jack.

Jack’s mental downward spiral is portrayed so well in this book – the author does a great job of showcasing how it might feel to lose your grip on reality (mental illness is different for EVERYONE, if this is not your story or your perspective that is ok). The pages get darker and darker as Jack falls deeper and deeper into his fantasy world. The mixed media pieces are a great touch, too: pictures, notes, mixed tapes. It gives you such a great background on each character, and I was living for it. I could not have started 2019 off on a more beautiful story.

This is not a lighthearted read. It is real and raw and wrenching, and it tackles some serious topics: mental health, unhealthy relationships, parental neglect. As a health professional, I found myself mentally SCREAMING throughout the book: for an adult to just PAY ATTENTION, for August to tell ANYONE, for Jack to go to the hospital. This may be the most heartbreaking book I’ve ever read: I feel like in every section I felt a little piece break off for Jack, then a piece for August. The only thing that helped put my heart back together again was the Author’s Note and Dedication. These might be the best I’ve ever seen. Thank you, K. Ancrum, for tackling such hard and painful topics. And thank you from taking the blame off the shoulders of the young people struggling with circumstances beyond their control, and fighting just to keep their head above water. You have said, in the most beautiful and heartbreaking story possible, what desperately needs to be said: it is not your fault. You are not alone. Keep fighting.

“You’re the most precious thing in the world to me. They’re trying to make you forget that. Don’t let them make you forget it.”

xoxo

Jen

PS:

Below are some resources the author placed in the back of this book, and now I’m passing them on to you. If need help shouldering a burden, please reach out. You are not alone.
-http://www.crisischat.org/
-http://www.crisistextline.org/ (mobile access)
-National Youth Crisis Hotline: (800)422-HOPE
-Teen Help Adolescent Resources: (800) 840-5704

Mystery Blogger Award

mystery-blogger-award

A gajillion years ago, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills nominated me for the Mystery Blogger award, and as I’m actually trying to participate in tags these days, I decided to finally do it. Sorry I took so long Amy! xoxo

This award was created by Okoto Enigma. The explanation included on her blog is:

The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

 

The 3 Things About Myself:

  1. I’m a physical therapist, and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
  2. I swam competitively for a Division 1 college, but am now happily retired – and have switched to running.
  3. I’m a die-hard Michigan State fan, and love football season with my whole heart and soul – Go Green!

 

The 5 Questions from Amy for Me to Answer:

Where is your favorite place to visit? 

One of my favorite places on earth is Mackinac Island, but I’ll settle for anywhere on Lake Michigan. I love being surrounded by water, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I’d have a hard time living somewhere else.

Which book do you relate to the most?

Yikes this is a hard one, and I actually don’t have an answer. Oops. I’m terrible. I’d say Hermione from Harry Potter, honestly, even though that’s such a cliche answer!

What’s your favorite thing to blog about?

Books! Haha but I love doing reviews, honestly. AND making “Best of” or “Worst of” lists, like these:

Best Pubs of 2018 Most Disappointing Reads of 2018 Top Non-2018 Pubs of 2018

Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcovers, eBooks, or audio books? Why?

Honestly hardcovers, because they’re so dang pretty! But I’ll read ALL of them – I don’t discriminate.

What’s a word or song lyric you misheard your entire life?

You know that scene in 21 dresses, where they sing Bennie and the Jets and get the lyrics wrong? I agree. It’s totally ‘electric boobs’.

 

My 5 Questions for YOU:

  1. What’s your favorite animal?
  2. If you could live in any bookish world, what would it be?
  3. If you unexpectedly won one million dollars, how would you spend it?
  4. What’s your biggest bookish pet peeve?
  5. What’s your favorite book?

 

I Nominate:

Lilly @ Lair of Dreams | Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills |  Kaleena @ Reader Voracious | Tammy @ Books, Bones, & Buffy | Kayla @ Books and Blends |Mel @ Meltotheany

AND anyone else who wants to do this tag!

xoxo

Jen