The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018!

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I can’t believe it’s June already….we are halfway through the year! This year is going by so quickly. I’m already out on summer vacation, my baby is due in a few weeks and life is about to change big time! As for reading, this year so far has been a mixed bag of ups and downs. I’ve gone through periods where I love to read and actively make time for it, as well as times where I’m just not feeling anything that I pick up. Here’s hoping that the second half of the year is much more even. There are so many good books that I still want to read!


The Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2018:

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It was very hard to narrow it down to one book because I’ve had some excellent 5-star reads so far this year. I settled on Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collection because it’s something that I’ve gone back to multiple times this year. It’s uplifting, heartbreaking and absolutely beautiful.

Your Favourite Sequel of the Year:

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Kat Ross is the most underrated fantasy writer out there. Her books deserve so much more love! Solis was the perfect follow-up to Nocturne. There was excellent character development, twists and turns…I won’t say anymore but you seriously need to read her books!

A New Release That You Haven’t Read But Really Want To:

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I adored The Bone Witch and its ending floored me. There was no closure whatsoever and I had more questions than I began with. That’s why I cannot for the life of me explain why I haven’t read this sequel yet.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year:

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I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this book. The way The Dark Days Pact ended broke my heart into a million tiny little pieces. This book will probably break it again, but the pain will be more than worth it! Plus, the cover is perfect! ❤

Your Biggest Dissapointment:

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OK…before I start, I do want to say that I enjoyed reading this book. It was adorable and quirky, it wasn’t When Dimple Met Rishi (a book that I LOVED!). I guess I built it up too much in my head before reading? I don’t even know. But it did come across as predictable and a bit of a rehash of things that have been done before. I really need to write my review soon for it.

Biggest Surprise of the Year:

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This middle grade novel took me by surprise. It touches on some very important topics, is heartbreaking, uplifting and left me wanting to stand up and make a change. Since I finished reading it I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends. It has an important and powerful message that simply cannot be ignored.

Favourite New-to-You or Debut Author:

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Why did it take me so long to start this trilogy? Why?!?! It’s super adorable, fluffy and fun. Jenny Han really knows how to write a story that totally invests you in its characters. I’ve already read the sequel and just need to pick up a copy of the third book in the series. It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited about a trilogy!

Your Fictional Crush:

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I’ve been crushing on Darius, a magical daēva, since he was introduced in 2016’s The Midnight Sea. So, when Kat Ross announced that she was continuing the series that featured him I was beyond happy. Every time he appears on the page my heart skips a beat. ❤

New Favourite Character:

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Lara Jean is such a lovable protagonist…cute, quirky and full of flaws, she totally reminded me of what it was like to be a teenager. High school was such a confusing and fun time where everything little thing was blown out of proportion and revolved around friends and boys. I haven’t been this invested in a character in ages. I’m so glad that I finally gave this series a chance!

A Book That Made Your Cry:

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Amanda Lovelace did it again! This collection of poetry was amazingly well written and at times completely broke my heart into a million pieces. I’m always amazed at how much she can say when only using a limited number of words. I can’t properly describe how reading this collection made me feel.

A Book That Made You Happy:

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Jennifer E. Smith has this way of writing simple, emotional and thoughtful romantic contemporaries. I loved every second of this book! It was totally the perfect beach read.

Your Favourite Book-to-Movie Adaptation That You’ve Seen This Year:

I honestly can’t think of a single book-to-movie adaptation that I saw or enjoyed. Hmmm…I usually don’t like them anyway. The book is always better! 🙂

The Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought/Received This Year:

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Don’t purchase a digital version of this book. You need to experience the gorgeous illustrations in all of their glory with a physical version. They really bring the stories to life and make you feel as if the book actually came directly from Ravka.

What Are Some Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year:


This tag is quite old and people do it every year. I’m not going to tag anyone for that reason, but if you do decide to do it, please link back (or add your link below) to me so I can check out your answers. ❤

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Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

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I saw this tag on Lia’s blog Lost in a Story and thought I’d do it too. This tag is about all the books that you’ll never read and the reasons why. So, here we go…


The Questions:

1. A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

I won’t be reading anymore of the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I started ToG and initially loved it. The hype was spot on but then after the third book I felt like it was all just too much. I began to hate everything about the books…the characters, the dialogue, the direction the author was taking the story, etc. I only read the first book in the other series by Sarah J. Maas and also feel like it was overhyped.

2. A series you won’t start/won’t be finishing?

A few years ago I read the first book in the Falling Kingdoms series and absolutely hated it. I picked it up after being caught up in the hype surrounding Frozen Tides, the fourth book in the series. The fact that I didn’t like it made me so sad. The plot sounded intriguing and I love fantasy, so what could go wrong? Ugh…nothing in the book worked for: the romance, the multiple POVs, the flow, the dialogue. I think it’s great that so many people enjoy the series but it’s just not for me.

3. A classic that you’re just not interested in?

Oh where do I even start? There are a bunch! Now, don’t get me wrong. I like a few of the books labeled as “classic” such as novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, but others reads in English class kind of turned me off. Life is too short to struggle through reading something just because other people say it’s amazing. I want to read what interests me…period.

4. Any genres you never read?

I’ll pretty much try every genre once because you never know unless you try right? But I know for sure erotica is not for me. Same with horror. I’m such a big baby and my mind runs wild.

5. A book on your shelves you’ll probably never actually read?

There are a few books that were sent to me by the publisher or I won in a book box giveaway that I have no interest in reading anytime soon. It’s either the cover does nothing to excite me or the summary leaves me feeling nothing. I should probably donate them or host a giveaway. One day…


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Book Blitz: Birth of Chaos by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

Birth of Chaos Cover FINAL smBirth of Chaos (Wish Quartet #3) by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh
Release date: June 28th, 2018
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Genres: New-adult, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance

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A WISH FOR DESTRUCTION…
HAS JOSEPHINA UNRAVELING

A new wish is pushing the weary members of the Society to their breaking points. But as Jo’s complex relationship with their leader reveals dangerous truths about who she truly is, and was, her priorities quickly change. Now, she seeks to expose the enemy lurking in their midst, but it may already be too late to thwart an ancient goddess bent on stealing Jo’s power and destroying everything she loves.


Read the Rest of the Series:

Wish Quartet Three Books


About the Authors:

Author-Photo-3-smElise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet.

In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.

Website | GoodreadsTwitter

Lynn-Larsh-Author-Photo-smLynn Larsh considers herself to be a serial hobby-dabbler. She got a bachelors degree in music (which she used for all of four months), studied aerial acrobatics and classical piano for many years, worked briefly as a stunt woman in a Wild West stunt show (it’s a long story), and eventually settled down into the bar tending business in St. Petersberg, FL. When she’s not acting as a purveyor of fine libations, you can find her diving head first into her newest venture as a New Adult author, or simply writing Voltron fan fiction on Archive of Our Own.

Website | Goodreads| Twitter

Book Blitz: Dark Water by J.A. Armitage 

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39343873Dark Water (Reverse Fairytales, #4) by J.A. Armitage 
Release date: June 19th, 2018
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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You think you know the story of The Little Mermaid…

A tragic accident on the eve of her eighteenth birthday leads Princess Erica to a chance encounter with a mysterious man on the beach. When he turns up at her birthday party and whisks her off her feet, she knows she has to find out everything about him, but why won’t he speak and where does he keep disappearing to?

Ari knows he’s crossed a line by mingling with the land humans, but how can he resist the beautiful princess whose life he saved? He must decide whether to stay on land and become like her, or continue to live without her in the depths of the ocean. Trapped in a centuries long battle between his kind and hers, his decision will rock both their kingdoms. With a sea witch that needs repaying and the small matter of Erica’s engagement to someone else, Ari knows the odds are stacked against him.


Teaser:

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About the Author:

JAJ.A. lives in a total fantasy world (because reality is boring right?). When she’s not writing all the crazy fun in her head, she can be found eating cake, designing pretty pictures and hanging upside down from the tallest climbing frame in the local playground while her children look on in embarrassment. She’s travelled the world working as everything from a banana picker in Australia to a Pantomime clown, has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and once gave birth to a surrogate baby for a friend of hers.

Website | GoodreadsTwitter


Giveaway:

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. It’s international and you could win:

  • A mermaid swag pack including prize candle (with ring worth between $15 and $5000) and a signed copy of Dark Water
  • A $20 Amazon giftcard plus an eBook of Dark Water
  • An eBook of Dark Water

Review: My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

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.

36095350My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Release date: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Middle grade, historical fiction
Format: eBook

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By turns thrilling, dramatic, and touching, this is the story of Queen Victoria’s childhood as you’ve never heard it before.

Miss V. Conroy is good at keeping secrets. She likes to sit as quiet as a mouse, neat and discreet. But when her father sends her to Kensington Palace to become the companion to Princess Victoria, Miss V soon finds that she can no longer remain in the shadows. Her father is Sir John Conroy, confidant and financial advisor to Victoria’s mother, and he has devised a strict set of rules for the young princess that he calls the Kensington System. It governs Princess Victoria’s behavior and keeps her locked away from the world. Sir John says it’s for the princess’s safety, but Victoria herself is convinced that it’s to keep her lonely and unhappy. Torn between loyalty to her father and her growing friendship with the willful and passionate princess, Miss V has a decision to make: continue in silence or speak out. In an engaging, immersive tale, Lucy Worsley spins one of England’s best-known periods into a fresh and surprising story that will delight both young readers of historical fiction and fans of the television show featuring Victoria.

I love Lucy Worsely’s documentaries on British history. She’s such an engaging speaker and I devour them whenever I can find them online (I wish I lived in the UK so I could actually watch them when they air on TV). So, I jumped at the chance to review her middle grade novel My Name is Victoria when it was posted on NetGalley.

My Name is Victoria tells the story of a young Queen Victoria and what her life was like living in seclusion in Kensington Palace. The young princesses’ life is highly controlled by which makes her feel sad and lonely. Her life changes when she meets Miss V. Conroy, another girl around the same age as her. Things get off to a rocky start, but soon they are close and inseparable companions. While much of the book is historically accurate, it does deviate to a “what if” plot that allowed the author to take a different route and get creative. I thought it was interesting and it totally took me by surprise. I thought the book would be a straight up review of history due to the author’s academic background. I do have to say that I liked it! It kept things interesting!

What I enjoyed most about the book was seeing Victoria as a young girl. Every movie or TV show that I’ve seen has been based on her life once she’s ascended to the throne. At first I honestly had a difficult time imagining her as a young girl but it got easier as her story was unveiled. I totally felt for her, how could I not? I can’t imagine being so restricted, overly guarded and unhappy all of the time. I thought the story was well paced and interesting, although not much really happens. It’s just Victoria’s life and her budding friendship with Miss V. in the palace. So, while the setting doesn’t change a lot, the focus and drama of the book is created through the relationship between the two girls. I thought their friendship developed naturally. They initially weren’t sure what to do with each other, but as time went on, they became close as sisters…loyal and willing to put their own needs aside for each other.

Overall, this book was a fun, quick read with a twist. I think this book is great for middle grade readers and especially those interested in historical fiction. I will definitely be picking up Worsely’s other books in the near future!


About the Author

for-front-page-229x309Lucy Worsley was born in Reading, studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, and received a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex. Since 2003, she has been the Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She has written a non-fiction book for adults called Jane Austen at Home, and a novel for younger readers called My Name is Victoria. Her latest BBC series is Lucy Worsley’s Nights at the Opera.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Mini Review: Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager

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.
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Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers of the Past by Vanita Oelschlager
Release date: April 1st, 2009
Publisher: Vanita Books
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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Ivy in Bloom captures the weariness of a young girl tired of a long winter. “I stare out the window,” she says on the first spread of brown and gray, “looking for birds or flowers / or even warm showers / but I don’t see any such thing.” But then Spring comes when “March is out of breath snow melting to flowery waters and watery flowers spring rose from its wintry rest.” And Ivy’s “heart dances with daffodils.” As these words also dance across each spread, Ivy’s world erupts into a riot of color.

Ivy in Bloom introduces the poetry of Dickinson, Longfellow, Browning, Wordsworth, Frost and others. Excerpts from their writings, as seen through Ivy’s eyes, will open up poetry as a way for children to express their own feelings about the changing of seasons. This book includes longer excerpts and brief bios of each author.

I really enjoyed reading Ivy in Bloom. I probably wouldn’t have requested it on NetGalley because it was listed as being for children (a category I never check) if I didn’t need a spring themed book for the Spring Fling read-a-thon. However, it surprised me and it’s further proof that I shouldn’t judge a book based on its listed age group. Teenagers and adults can most definitely appreciate this sweet little book as well.

Ivy in Bloom was an adorable illustrated children’s poetry book that used excerpts from famous poems to highlight aspects of spring. The drawings were fantastic! The poetry snippets could have been longer in my opinion, but since it’s for children, it’s perfect because it provides them with a snapshot of some classic poems by authors such as Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings. It acts as a good introduction to poetry for children and even older people who haven’t explored the genre before.

I think the book is perfect for people of all ages, but especially children 4 years old and up. The blending of images and parts of poems was wonderfully done. It made me smile and want to pick up the full length poems of the authors featured. I highly recommend it! 🙂


About the Author

vanita_meetvanita_largeVanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet. She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee. She has also supported and helped Jim as he built Oak Associates, LTD. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won’t go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this “elephant”, and to share some of the larger lessons about life they’ve learned through the disease.

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The ABC Book Challenge | “C”

Book Blitz_I absolutely love everything about this challenge/tag! I saw this on Life of a Literary Nerd and was super excited to start it right away. Each week I’ll be posting another letter of the alphabet. So, be prepared for lots of posts in this series! 🙂


Memorable Titles That Start With “C”

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty is without a doubt one of my favourite books EVER! It’s truly fantasy at its best…complex world building, diverse characters, political intrigue, slow burn romance. YOU REALLY NEED TO READ IT! Cold Summer by Gwen Cole was a fantastic debut. If you like stories involving time travel, World War II and romance than this book is most definitely for you! And…Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Oh my poor, poor heart. I just adore everything about this book that when I think about it my heart explodes. Everything she writes is pure gold!

Books Starting With “C” On My TBR

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson has been on my TBR for over a year now. I have a copy downloaded onto my Kindle, I’m just not sure why I haven’t started it yet. Chainbreaker by Tara Sim is also another book I was crazy looking forward to reading but haven’t started yet. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman is an older book that I think I simply forgot about. I loved its predecessor Prisoner of Night and Fog, but got caught up in my rediscovery of fantasy books and it got left behind. I have a lot of reading to do!


Which memorable books that start with an “C” have you read? Have you read any of the books included above? What were your thoughts about them? ❤