End of Year Survey: 2016 Edition!!

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What a year! While the world has both frightened and angered me in equal amounts, reading and blogging has been a wonderful outlet for my anxiety and stress. I’m so happy that I created Rattle the Stars and can share my love for all things bookish with everyone. I cannot thank you all for visiting, liking and commenting on my posts. It means the world to me!

So, to wrap up my first full year of blogging, here is my End of the Year Survey! This survey was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner and is in its seventh year! It’s quite long but a great way to reflect on the past year and look forward to 2017. Happy new year!🎉

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Number of Books You Read: 118
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read the Most From: Fantasy

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1. Best Book You Read in 2016?

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2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t?

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 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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 4. Book You “Pushed” the Most People to Read (And They Did)?

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 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

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 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Kat Ross really knows how to write unique, engaging and swoony fantasy stories. I beyond loved The Fourth Element trilogy and can’t wait to see what she will come up with next! If you haven’t read The Midnight Sea or Blood of the Prophet do it NOW!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

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Yes, I love everything Leigh Bardugo and this book appears often in this post. Deal with it! 😛

 9. Book You Read in 2016 That You Are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

I don’t really re-read books…I will skim through parts if I’m looking for something in particular but it’s very rare for me to actually sit down and read a book again and again. The only exception are the Harry Potter books. I must have read them at least a dozen times!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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11. Most memorable character of 2016?

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Inej is just…I adore her so much! She’s been through so much. Literally through hell and back, but still remains loving and determined. She wants to benefit the lives of others and will stop at nothing to protect the ones she loves. EVERYTHING about Inej makes me heart burst.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

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13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

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14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

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15. Favorite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2016? 

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.” — Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2016?

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17. Book That Shocked You the Most:

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18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!):

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Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom! I will love these two forever and ever. ❤

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year:

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I loved the friendship between Ada and Corinne! They would do (and often did) anything to help each other. This book totally put their friendship before anything else and didn’t involve a plot line where there was backstabbing, a love triangle or boyfriend stealing. Ahem!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 from an Author You’ve Read Previously:

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21. Best Book You Read in 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

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22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

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There’s just something about Luka that I just love. My heart bled for him in the novella Iron to Iron. I really need to pick up Blood for Blood to find out what happens to this loveable marshmallow.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

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24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

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25. Book That Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most FUN to Read?

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26. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2016?

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27. Hidden Gem of the Year?

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The Fourth Element trilogy was amazing. Seriously, check it out!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

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29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2016?

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30. Book That Made You the Most Mad?

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

There have been so many wonderful blogs that I’ve discovered this year, but the ones I have enjoyed visiting the most have been: Freedom Library, That Bookshelf Bitch and Reading Every Night.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

That would definitely be my review for Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I was beyond excited to recieve a physical ARC of the book and devoured it in one day. Best of all? The book exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait for the sequel.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I haven’t written many discussion posts (something I would like to do more of in 2017), but I am quite proud of my Twitter & Blogging post from this past July.

4. Best event that you participated in?

I joined my first ever street team, Knights of Whitechapel, in support of Stalking Jack the Ripper. I also completed my first readathons (ARC August and Bout of Books) which were a huge challenge for me due to work commitments. I’m looking forward to doing more in 2017.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

That would be finally starting this blog. Yay for almost one year of blogging! I lurked around bookish Twitter and visited blogs for ages but was so scared to start doing it myself. What if nobody read my reviews? Visited my blog? This year has been fantastic. 🙂

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

For me it would be balancing the time spent working on the blog with work/life commitments. Also, trying to ignore stats or followers. It becomes so consuming if you don’t remember why you are blogging. Of course it’s wonderful to have people reading and liking posts, but that wasn’t why I started Rattle the Stars.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?

Strangely enough, my Top Ten Tuesday post on April 19th received the most views this year. I don’t think there was anything special about it, but I do appreciate all of the comments and views it received.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?

I’m very proud of my bookish playlists for Six of Crows, Outlander, Stalking Jack the Ripper, The Wrath and the Dawn and Rebel of the Sands. I haven’t done one in a long time, but I adore them to bits.

9. Best bookish discovery?

Probably the best (or worst if you are my bank account) discoveries this year have been the book inspired candle stores I found on Etsy. My personal favourites are Novelly Yours, From the Page and The Melting Library.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get to in 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

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2. Book You Are Most Anticipating for 2017 (non-debut)?

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3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

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5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish Or Do in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2017?

There are tons of things! I would like to redesign the blog, finally create a tag (I’ve been wanting to for ages and have tons of ideas) and write more discussion posts.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend to Everyone:

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Review | That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

28695904That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson
Release date: January 24th, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

It’s July 1940 on the south coast of England. A plane crash-lands in the marsh, and sixteen-year-old Peggy finds its broken pilot—a young Polish airman named Henryk. Afraid and unwilling to return to the fight, Henryk needs a place to hide, and Peggy helps him find his way to a remote, abandoned church.

Meanwhile, Peggy’s eleven-year-old brother Ernest is doing his best to try to understand the war happening around him. He’s reading all the pamphlets—he knows all the rules, he knows exactly what to do in every situation. He’s prepared, but not for Peggy’s hidden pilot.

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I used to read tons and tons of historical fiction. It was my go-to genre but in the past year or so I’ve switched to pretty much only reading fantasy. I’ve completely neglected the genre that used to bring me so much joy. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to read That Burning Summer. Set during the Second World War with that amazing vintage cover I knew I was going to love it and I really did! This is a fantastic book and a must read for historical fiction fans.

I read through this book at unbelievably quickly. I remember looking down and realizing I was at 50%. I only planned on reading for a while then going about doing other work. This book had other ideas. I just kept reading on and on. I was so drawn into the story by the characters. That Burning Summer takes place in the English countryside near the beginning of the war. Peggy and her by-the-book brother Ernst (who was exceptionally irritating) have recently moved in with their aunt and uncle. While out in the field Peggy stumbles upon Henryk, a Polish pilot who crash-landed in a nearby marsh. Peggy cares for Henryk but knows that she would be in a lot of trouble if she was caught. Henryk doesn’t want to return to the war and it’s illegal to conceal deserters.

I loved the whole what will happen? Will they get caught? How long can it last? There was a lot of tension and me rooting Peggy and Henryk on. Their slow developing romance was a lovely but I wish it could have had a larger role in the overall plot. These two deserved more time. A lot of the pages were sadly dedicated to Peggy’s brother Ernst who drove me crazy! He was constantly going on about the rules and you just knew from the first page that he was going to cause some major drama.

What really stood out for me was just how accurate and precise the history was within the story. The author, a history teacher, must have conducted extensive research. She really knew her stuff but didn’t overload the reader with facts and details. It never felt like a history class. Information was introduced naturally and the story flowed without interruption.

So many other books have been written about the Second World War. For a book to stand out it must discuss topics not usually seen and I applaud the author for highlighting the contribution Polish pilots and soldiers made to the British war effort. Also, how deserters were treated is something not often brought up. We always read books about the “brave” soldier but what about the ones so traumatized that they cannot go on? For these reasons alone this book is really one that needs to be read.

So, if you are looking to pick up a well written and fast paced piece of historical fiction, That Burning Summer is for you! I’m really glad that I discovered this book and I cannot wait to pick up other books written by Lydia Syson.


about

2022047Lydia Syson is a fifth-generation North Londoner who now lives south of the river with her partner and four children. After an early career as a BBC World Service Radio producer, she turned from the spoken to the written word, and developed an enduring obsession with history. Her PhD about poets, explorers and Timbuktu was followed by a biography of Britain’s first fertility guru, Doctor of Love: James Graham and His Celestial Bed, and then two YA novels for Hot Key Books set in the Spanish Civil War (A World Between Us) and World War Two (That Burning Summer). Liberty’s Fire, a passionate tale of the Paris Commune of 1871, is the third of her novels to be inspired, very loosely, by family history: Lydia’s anarchist great-great-grandmother moved in Communard circles in late nineteenth-century London.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

29939048This week I’m looking forward to Roar by Cora Carmack. THE COVER ARTWORK! OMG! I’m dead!! It’s so good! That alone is enough for me to want this book, but the whole magic, spies and kingdom politics makes me want this book even more. June 13th…please arrive quickly!

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In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

ARC Review | Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

28818217Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
Release date: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: NeGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Only women and girls are allowed in the Red Abbey, a haven from abuse and oppression. Maresi, a thirteen-year-old novice there, arrived in the hunger winter and now lives a happy life in the Abbey, protected by the Mother and reveling in the vast library in the House of Knowledge, her favorite place. Into this idyllic existence comes Jai, a girl with a dark past. She has escaped her home after witnessing the killing of her beloved sister. Soon the dangers of the outside world follow Jai into the sacred space of the Abbey, and Maresi can no longer hide in books and words but must become one who acts.

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I was really apprehensive when I started reading this book. I requested it solely based on the totally gorgeous cover and then started to read the dozens of rave reviews for it on Goodreads. My interest was totally peaked but could it really be that amazing? The feeling that I was going to get burned again by an overly hyped book haunted me through the first few chapters. While I don’t think it deserves all of the five star reviews it has received, Maresi was a quick and overall enjoyable read.

The story focuses on a group of women who live at the Red Abbey, which is located on a secluded island in a fantasy world where women are often marginalized and undermined. On the island, these women are self-sufficient and promote learning and hard work. Many of the women came to the abbey because they had suffered greatly at the hands of men. Some had been beaten and others sexually assaulted. These women had been through great hardship, but found a place and purpose on the island.

The fantasy world that these women lived in was harsh, but the island sounded like a wonderful paradise. It was peaceful, with hot springs, misty mountains and a huge library full of bookish treasures. However, there was a lot to be desired. I would have liked to know more about the lands that the women had originally come from and the religion they practiced, but this will most likely be further touched upon in its sequel (which hopefully will be translated into English from its native Finnish).

The start was a bit slow. This seems to be a trend in the books I’ve been requesting from NetGalley, they all have slow starts, but have excellent endings. The first 40% of the book is mostly just setting up the story and characters. Not much happens except for the description of everyday things: chores, prayers, etc. After this though the story truly picks up and is full of activity. That said, the second half features graphic scenes of violence and sexual assault that surprised me. Based on the synopsis and its target audience I was completely not expecting what happened. While these scenes were upsetting, the characters maintained a sense of hope that I sincerely appreciated.

I liked the fact that the story promoted female empowerment, but disliked how there was a clear divide between women and men. I believe in equality and at times the ideas pushed forward were clearly women are good and men are bad. This way of looking at the world irks me because that’s not how I see feminism. It’s not one gender is superior than the other. I’m not sure if others felt this way while reading the book, but it was something that annoyed me the more I read.

Overall, Maresi was a mixed read. It didn’t live up at all of the insanely positive reviews I had read, but it did hold my interest with its world and characters. The story is definitely not for everyone, the slow start doesn’t do it any favours, but I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would.


about

Maria TurtschaninoffMaria Turtschaninoff is a Swedish-speaking Finn who has been writing fairy tales from the age of five. However, there was often a twist: the poor farmer boy and the princess he had just saved from the evil witch did not end up marrying, because they “didn’t feel like it”. Her biggest grief as a child was that no wardrobe led to Narnia.

After a detour as a journalist for a few years Turtschaninoff debuted in 2007 with a middle-grade portal fantasy and has since published four more novels, all YA fantasy.

Website | Twitter Goodreads

Review | The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

32182684The Blazing Star by Imani Josey
Release date: December 6th, 2016
Publisher: Wise Ink
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, historical fiction
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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The Blazing Star starts slow but the wait is more than worth it. I was excited to pick this book up because I had heard so many great things about it on Twitter. That and the fact that the cover is gorgeous! I love how it features a woman of colour. We definitely need more of that in Young Adult literature.

But back to the slow start. The first quarter of the book is all about setup: introducing the characters, their dynamics, etc. I found it to be extremely tough to get through. The fact that I was constantly picking it up and putting it down didn’t help, but the first part dragged on a little too long for my liking. I wanted time travel and ancient Egypt. Instead I got high school drama and pointless banter. However, once the whole time travel component was introduced I was hooked! Staying with it was more than worth it. Trust me!

The idea of featuring twin sisters was extremely unique and fascinating. Portia, the main character and narrator of the book, was struggling with her own individual identity. Always in the shadow of her overachieving sister, Portia felt small and insignificant. So, while the story transports the reader to ancient Egypt and features magic and lots of action, it’s mainly a story about self acceptance and discovery, which I adored. Portia was a wonderful character. Kind, caring and willing to stand up to injustice. Her development was amazing. I just wish that the twin dynamic would have been explored more than it was. The girls spend much of the book apart. I totally understand why the author did this, but I feel it was an untapped storyline that could have further enriched an already well written book.

The strongest parts of the book are those that take place in ancient Egypt. The modern day scenes were meh. I could take or leave them. But the ancient Egyptians characters, the descriptions of the clothing, temples…everything were so beautifully described I felt like I was actually transported with Portia. Also, while a lot of expiation about the religion, culture, etc. needed to be transmitted to the reader, the author didn’t resort to information dumping. Everything is inserted seamlessly into interactions between the characters. The reader learns about Egypt as Portia does. Historical facts meld perfectly with the mention of time travel and magic. As a reader I believed it all. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story. Ancient Egypt is just so much fun!

Also, this book features so major girl power! All of the main characters are women of colour who are intelligent, powerful and strong. These women form a strong bond and use their kickass magical abilities to fight against evil. YES!!!

The story end with room for a sequel, which I so totally hope will happen. I loved these characters to bits. The Blazing Star is definitely a book that you need to check out!


about

15857834Imani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA.

Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. She now spends the majority of her time working on backstory, teaching dance fitness classes, and cuddling with her American bulldog, Thor.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

A to Z Bookish Survey Tag

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I saw this tag on ThriceRead (a fantastic blog that I highly suggest you check out) and decided it looked like a lot of fun to do. So….let’s do this!


AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS FROM:

It’s a 3-way tie between Leigh Bardugo, Juliet Marillier and Michelle Moran. I just can’t get enough of their books! ❤

BEST SEQUEL EVER:

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CURRENTLY READING:

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DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING:

Coffee or tea. It depends on the time of day.

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK?

It really depends. I’m not picky because a book is a book, but there is nothing better than physically holding a book in your hands. Plus, with so many now coming with beautiful designs at the start of each chapter, maps, etc. the physical book is so much better.

FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL:

Mmmmm…that’s a hard one! Probably Logan *swoon* from Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn. He was just so darn adorable and sweet…PERFECT!

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE:

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HIDDEN GEM BOOK:

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IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE:

Discovering the Harry Potter series changed my opinion on reading and books. Before it had been something I was forced to do in school, but after reading the Philosopher’s Stone I couldn’t get enough of magical worlds, the suspense and adventure. I was hooked on reading!

JUST FINISHED:

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KINDS OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ:

I won’t read horror (I’m a HUGE scaredy cat), erotica or anything about math/business (zzz….).

LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ:

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All 912 pages of it! The sequel, which I’ve had on my TBR for years, is a whopping 1,168 pages!

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER BECAUSE OF:

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NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN:

I currently have 2, but I need a lot more! I have books piled up everywhere and it hurts my heart that they don’t have a proper home. My husband is really into woodworking so I’m praying that he finally makes the bookcases he’s been promising me.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:

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PREFERRED PLACE TO READ:

Curled up on my bed with a cup of coffee or tea. Since I’m in my room, no one will bother or distract me.

QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU:

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” – Ann Landers

READING REGRET:

That I still haven’t started Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve been saying that I am going to read it soon for months now. Lies! In 2017 I AM TOTALLY MAKING IT HAPPEN!

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH (ALL BOOKS ARE OUT IN SERIES):

I’ve read the first two books in The Mortal Instruments series and have the third sitting on my shelf, but I just haven’t picked it up. I’m honestly not sure why. I really enjoyed them! Maybe I’ll get back to them in 2017.

THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOKS:

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UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR:

ANYTHING by Leigh Bardugo. THE WOMAN IS AMAZING!!!! I’ve been collecting Grisha/Six of Crows related bookmarks, candles, prints…whatever. I also have several copies of her books in different languages because the covers are just so darn pretty.

VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS:

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Rebel of the Sands was one of my favourite books of 2016. It totally took me by surprise. I just loved the characters, the setting…just EVERYTHING! Plus, just look at that gorgeous cover. *swoons*

WORST BOOKISH HABIT:

Buying more books than I have room for? Not finishing the books I have and buying more? Purchasing a book solely based on the cover? I seriously have a problem! 😛

X MARKS THE SPOT. START AT THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK:

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YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE:

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ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE):

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Since I wasn’t tagged, I won’t be tagging anyone either. Still, this tag is tons of fun and if you do plan on doing it I would love to see your answers!

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

25314447This week I’m looking forward to Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. I saw this listed on another blog a few weeks back…I don’t remember which one but their post sparked my interest in this book. I’m not really sure how I feel about the cover (something seems a bit off) but the story sounds like it will have tons of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The book is set to be released on April 11th, 2017 by Putnam.

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Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.