Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Favorite Novellas and Short Stories!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl in which we share out top ten lists relating to the bookish topic assigned that week.

This week's topic is...

Favorite Novellas and Short Stories!

Okay, a little warning: I hardly ever read novellas or short stories. I'm definitely more of a novel girl so this look is probably going to be a pretty short list! 

1. Filthy Gods by R. Scarlett 

2. Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

3. Trust in Me by J. Lynn

4. Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

5. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas 

Aaaaaaand that's it. Honestly, it's so rare for me to read a novella or short story. I just always want more time with the characters and find it hard to get drawn into the story in that short amount of time. Luckily, most of the novellas I have read are from already established series where I am familiar with the characters and the world. Do you guys read novellas more than me? What are your favorites? 

Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Series: Creekwood #1
Author: Becky Alertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+, Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to read this because it was so good. Seriously, so good. This is the sort of book that gave me all sorts of happy, giddy feels. The sort of book that left me with a smile on my face after I turned the last page. I totally get the hype around it now. It's so adorable; I had heart eyes the whole time I was reading!

Simon is my favorite. Seriously, he was such an awesome character and just a joy to read about. He's the kind of character I wish I could make real and be best friends with. Even though he's not real, he felt so real and I loved that. It was refreshing reading about a character who was so vivid and was an accurate portrayal of high school students today. He was friendly and had awesome friends but also dealt with anxiety and overthinking at times. I know I've already said it a bunch but I really appreciate the realness of him and the other characters in this!

I loved the slow development between Simon and the mysterious Blue. The fact that they became confidants and such good friends through email was so adorable and sweet. And I had a field day trying to figure out who Blue was. Every guy that Simon interacted with at the school was suspect and I really loved the mystery aspect of the story! 

ALSO! I loved the relationship between Simon and his friends. They were awesome to each other and -- even though there were some problems sometimes -- always had each other's backs in the end. This was a super healthy representation of a friend group which isn't often found in YA but which we definitely need more of. AND Simon's relationship with his family was just as awesome and healthy. It was wonderful.

My only little tiny complaint is that the story sometimes felt rushed, disjointed, or abrupt. Some scenes ended so quickly that I was left with a bit of whiplash -- not a huge deal but it sometimes took me out of the story.

If, like me, you've waited years to pick up this book . . . do it now! It's an amazing story full of awesome representation and it needs to be read by all! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author!

“People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it's a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.” 

Four out of Five Teapots

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: The Girl in the Tower

Title: The Girl in the Tower 
Series: Winternight Trilogy #2
Author: Katherine Arden 
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Fairy Tale
Publisher: Del Rey 
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Source: Bought 

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
I honestly was pretty scared to read this book. After loving the first book -- The Bear and the Nightingale -- and loving it, I was worried that this one wouldn't live up to my high expectations. While I didn't fall in love with it like I did with TBatN, I still thoroughly enjoyed falling back into this world with these characters!

In this second book, the already lush and vivid world established in TBatN was expanded -- we saw a lot more of Russia and were given more details about the different conflicts occurring at the time. There were a lot of different threats surrounding Vasya and the people she was with -- one of these threats being the fact that no one in Moscow knew she was a woman. I'm generally a fan of this aspect in books and I was a fan of it in this one. Of course, it was frustrating and infuriating seeing the way Vasya was treated as a man versus how she was treated as a woman, but I think showing this injustice is important. 

The characters in this series are amazing. They have completely stolen my heart and I don't even want it back. I'm so inspired by Vasya's resilience and strength. She's so unapologetically herself and, honestly, I wanna be like her when I grow up! And then we have Morozko, the love of my life. I need more of him in these books. Seriously, I do. He's such an interesting character and I love the mythology surrounding him and the magic. I'm really, really hoping we see more of him in the third book. 

Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I wasn't quite as in love with it as I was the first. I don't know exactly why -- it may be because there was a lot more politics throughout this book. While I enjoyed that aspect, I missed Vasya's home and the magic and wonder of the Russian wilderness surrounding it. The city just didn't hold that same spark for me. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a great sequel for The Bear in the Nightingale and has made me even more excited for the third (and final) book in the trilogy to release in August. 

“Witch. The word drifted across his mind. We call such women so, because we have no other name.” 

Four out of Five Teapots 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #129

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: To Best the Boys 
Author: Mary Weber 
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

Why I'm waiting on To Best the Boys: Girls pretending to be boys? A kickass girl scientist? A dangerous labyrinth? Holy cow, I want this book bad. Plus, it has a gorgeous cover. I could look at it all day! Although I wasn't a huge fan of this author's first series, I'm excited to see if I enjoy this book more!

Have you read anything by Mary Weber before? If so, did you like it? I'm excited to hear what people think of this book; there isn't a whole lot of talk about it yet but I have a lot of hope for it!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Books I've Read in 2018 (So Far)!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl in which we share out top ten lists relating to the bookish topic assigned that week.

This week's topic is...

Top Ten Best Books I've Read in 2018 (So Far)!

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

2. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

3. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

4. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

5. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

6. Filthy Gods by R. Scarlett 

7. Jock Row by Sara Ney

8. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 

9. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 

Yeah, there's only nine books so far but these are the ones that I've enjoyed the most so far this year! Clearly, I've been reading a lot of contemporary romance, which isn't entirely surprising. This whole year I've been in a bit of a reading slump and when I'm in a slump, I tend to just pick up quick and easy fluffy books. Hopefully I'll be more motivated to read my usual fantasy books the rest of the year! There's a couple coming out that I'm really looking forward to. 

What are your favorite books of 2018 so far?

P.S.: Don't forget to enter my giveaway; a $25 Amazon gift card is up for grabs! Find the giveaway here.

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