38

[LET’S CHAT] DNF-ing Books

 

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“Mikaela, are you starting another new feature?” Of course I am. I already have a Discussion feature, in which I talk about bigger book topics, but I realized there were a lot of topics I wanted to discuss that I didn’t feel would be able to fill out an entire blog post or seemed a bit unoriginal since pretty much every other blogger has talked about the same issues. So I thought it’d be nice to create a sort of mini-discussions feature called “Let’s Chat” about all the problems/things we as bookworms face. And I thought the perfect first topic was DNF-ing books.

Everyone usually has their own personal policy on DNF-ing. Some people give it halfway, some people give it 25%, some people will just give up ten pages away from the end in frustration, and some will know that the book isn’t for them after two chapters in. It’s so interesting how different we are as readers, and I think it says a lot about us depending on when and where you give up and say, “I’m done!”

For me, I try (the keyword is “try”) to give until at least 50% before I DNF. I personally think that if I’ve read around that much of an author’s book, and it’s still not picking up or improving, then there’s really nothing in the last half of the book that’s going to make me change my mind.

Above are some books that I DNF-ed after reading through 50%. First up is Under the Never Sky, which I actually first read in the sixth grade. I actually liked the novel back then, but last year, I decided to re-read it so I could finish out the series, and lo and behold, I detested it. The insta-love was SO BAD, and the world-building wasn’t too great either. I got so annoyed and I wasn’t enjoying reading it, so I just bowed out before I got too angry. We also have Hollow City, which I gave up on because I was so damn bored, I couldn’t take it anymore. The Iron King was a book I expected to love because all of my Goodreads friends seemed to and I LOVE fae, but I wasn’t really invested in this one, and ended up calling it quits about 40 pages before the end. And for Rebel of the Sands, I also DNF-ed it late in the game, literally two chapters in the end because I just couldn’t finish it. I was bored, I didn’t like the plot, and there were too many characters to juggle.

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Other times, I just end up quitting earlier on because my expectations aren’t met, or I just really don’t feel like suffering through something that has an incredibly slow start. Usually, for most of my earlier DNFs, it really all comes down to how bored I am with what’s going on.

These are some books I ended up quitting early on. As you guys know, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Darkest Minds trilogy, and once I reached In the Afterlight, I was so bored, I just gave up, especially since I wasn’t really a huge fan in the first place. With The Fever, I was expecting something completely different, and I ended up being faced with petty high school drama. I knew I couldn’t take that, so I decided that it just wasn’t for me. For Before the Fall, I was super excited to read this, but it was a slower thriller, more of a literary thriller, and I felt like the plot hadn’t really moved forward, so I skipped on it. Bad Little Girl was one I felt super bad about, since I received an e-ARC of it, but I read 10 chapters and was so incredibly bored, that I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I also had a bunch of other e-ARCs to read, so I didn’t feel like wasting time.

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And there’s also another category of DNFs. There have actually been books I’ve DNF-ed that I just read at the wrong time, and have actually become some of my favorite books (or, in one case, a book that I found just fine). I’m always up for giving books second chances if I see enough hype for them, and I’m always glad when I do and find that it was just bad timing the first time around. 

Way back when, I started to read Cinder. I didn’t hate it exactly, but the first chapter didn’t really pull me in. Later on, I picked it up because of Goodreads reviews, and ended up loving it. I binged all three books in the series (at the time, Winter hadn’t come out yet), and it’s now one of my favorite series ever. With The Maze Runner, I’m sort of angry about it because I picked this up way back in the fifth or sixth grade, when it wasn’t popular. Believe it or not, I was obsessed with romance over plot (I know, crazy, right?), and flipped through the entire book to find the scene where they kissed, and was highly disappointed to see the main characters didn’t. I decided to give up on it after two chapters, and picked it back up once it got popular and loved it. I could’ve been a trendsetter you guys! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shadow and Bone were both fantasy books where I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters, but later read and enjoyed. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, while I thought Shadow and Bone was just okay and I never actually continued on past that.

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Then there’s the big question: Should we rate books we haven’t fully read? Personally, for me, I have rated a couple, mostly the ones I read 50% or more of. I consider that enough for me to judge the book on, but I know there are some people who only rate books they’ve fully read and feel like it’s wrong to assign one star to a book because it’s sort of unfair. For books I read less than 20% of, I didn’t rate them at all, and for the ones I went back to, the only time I rated them was after I actually completed them the second time around.

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And that’s it for the first ever edition of Let’s Chat! I hope you enjoyed it, because I’ve already written about 10+ topics, and I’m not going to waste them all.

(Just kidding. But I HAVE already written a bunch of topics already.)

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What is your personal DNF policy? What are some books that you’ve DNF-ed? Any books you’ve DNF-ed, then re-read them and enjoyed them?

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6

[REVIEW] The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger

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Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Adult

Series: The Otto Digmore Difference #1

Rating: 4 STARS 

Description:

“Road trip!” 

Otto Digmore is a 26-year-old gay guy with dreams of being a successful actor, and he’s finally getting some attention as a result of his supporting role on a struggling sitcom. But he’s also a burn survivor with scars on half his face, and all indications are that he’s just too different to ever find real Hollywood success. 

Now he’s up for an amazing new role that could change everything. Problem is, he and his best friend Russel Middlebrook have to drive all the way across the country in order to get to the audition on time. 

It’s hard to say which is worse: the fact that so many things go wrong, or that Russel, an aspiring screenwriter, keeps comparing their experiences to some kind of road trip movie. 

There’s also the fact that Otto and Russel were once boyfriends, and Otto is starting to realize that he still might have romantic feelings for his best friend. 

Just how far will Otto go to get the role, and maybe the guy, of his dreams? 

My Thoughts:

“People are staring at me, and I’m in the moment, and I want it to go on forever.”

First off, oh my God, this is my first author request book! I was so happy to read this one because LGBTQ+ novels are my some of my favorite novels, as I’m sure you guys know. Plus, I actually have two of Hartinger’s books on my TBR – Three Truths and a Lie and Grand and Humble, to be exact – so, why not start with this one! And, yes, I’m so glad that we’re getting a sequel because this was oh so good.

I absolutely loved Otto so much! He has burn scars on one side of his face because of an incident when he was seven years old, and continually has to overcome prejudice regarding Hollywood because he can’t get the parts he wants, and the parts he’s offered are extremely offensive. He’s such a nice guy that just wants a chance to make it as an actor, and you’ll definitely feel for him. He’s such a real character that it’ll basically be impossible to not care about him even a little, especially because of the situations he’s constantly caught up in and the way he feels because of what he looks like. Do people think of him as sexless because he’s not conventionally attractive? Are the only parts he’s going to be able to act as are monsters or small parts?  It’s one of those things where you’ll feel frustrated and sympathetic because of his thoughts and what’s going on around him, and that’s always a good thing.

Also, the road trip aspect of this was so much fun. Believe it or not, I’ve had yet to read a book centered around a road trip and not become completely bored by it – I’m looking at you Retribution of Mara Dyer and The Darkest Minds – but I read this one so quickly because it was easily captivating, and because I cared so much about Otto, I just wanted to see what was going to happen regarding his story. Of course, we had some out-of-the-blue events going on, but it really didn’t bother me too much because it was just all so enjoyable.

And good news – this book had little to no romance! I truly thought there was something that was going to happen between the two main characters because I’m so used to watching shows or reading books where everything works out happily ever after for the main character romance-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised that this book featured absolutely no cheating and a really adorable bromance (and bromances are always some of my favorite friendships out there). There is a little bit of a fluffy romance near the end, but not too much that it’ll detract from the story, and I thought it was just so, so cute. I don’t think I’ve ever read a contemporary that doesn’t center completely around a romance, so it was nice to see a contemporary that had more of a focus on the importance of friendship and recognizing other people’s sacrifices.

Also, points for all the super modern references! Since it’s a book that takes place in Hollywood, we get to see all these references to modern TV shows – shows that came out just in this fall season of last year, which I adored – and actors – if you actually keep up with that type of stuff. This book reminded me that I was watching The Exorcist, and I never got back to that (like I do most shows I start watching oops). Also, Speechless is A+; I highly recommend it.

Overall, a really fun road trip contemporary that has a larger focus on friendship than anything. I highly recommend.

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I received this book for free from the author via an author request. Thanks so much to Brent Hartinger for allowing me to read this book!

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Does this book interest you? What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ books?

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13

[REVIEW] Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Empress of a Thousand Skies

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

Series: Empress of a Thousand Skies #1

Rating: 2 STARS

Description:

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

My Thoughts: 

“Rhee tore a path through the bustling marketplace, kicking up dust that fell slowly in Nau Fruma’s low gravity.”

 Ugh, I’m so sad. I was super excited to read this book because it sounded really awesome, not to mention how pretty the cover is. But, unfortunately, I was highly disappointed by this one. And it all started out so well! Those are always the most disappointing books.

 I think my favorite character out of the POVs was definitely Aly. He was so sweet and funny and nice, and I think the reason I liked him so much is that he’s different from the typical male POV, you know, the blonde, white guy who’s a player/professional jerk and also spits out sarcastic comments at all times. Yeah, that one. It was nice to get a change of pace with a sweeter guy. And we also get to balance it out with Dahlen, who’s all mysterious and secretive, and, personally, I want to learn so much more about him. Our main female character is Princess Rhiannon, and I feel sort of meh about her. I’m sure she’ll be a favorite protagonist of many, but for me, I think she’s one of many female protagonists that I’ll probably forget about in a couple of weeks. I do really like the fact that she wasn’t physically badass, by which I mean she wasn’t an amazing fighter or came up with witty comebacks like most female badasses seem to have been degraded to. We also have Kara, who plays a larger part in Aly’s story and someone we meet later in the novel, and, again, pretty forgettable on my end. I just didn’t care too much for her and felt she was quite bland.

 I will say, one of my favorite parts of the novel was how it mirrored our real life at the moment. Aly is black and Wraetan (a race of people that reminded me of a representation of Syrian refugees and immigrants), and is immediately blamed for Rhiannon’s murder, even though he didn’t do it, just because of racial profiling. A new leader, Nero (a.k.a. Donald Trump in Space), bases his entire campaign off the fear people have with Wraetan refugees and saying they’re violent savages and that his supporters need to be protected from them. Aly talks constantly about his struggles and the stories of other Wraetan refugees as they leave their war-torn home and are constantly separated. It was such a fantastic representation, and it’s really what makes me love fantasy and sci-fi: the way it can show us the flaws in our own society and how ridiculous they are, sometimes.

 The romance though? Definitely its weakest point. Fortunately, Dahlen and Rhiannon don’t get together (yeah, a boy and a girl travelled together and didn’t end up making out!), but then it’s rendered completely useless because Kara and Aly meet 2/3 near the end of the book, and Aly can’t. Stop. Thinking. About. Her. And I’m being serious here, because I got so annoyed, I started highlighting. Here are a couple of quotes:

 “Her hazel eyes – were they always hazel? – met his and never left as they counted together.”

 This is when the two of them are, you know, TRYING TO ESCAPE.

 “The curve of her hip brushed against him, and even now – filthy and exhausted, skinned to hell, and on the run for his life – Aly felt his face flush.”

 I don’t think I have to explain this one.

 “He’d bloodied his knees and elbows, and he sure that everything would hurt later, but it felt fantastic here – his arms around her, his face in her big mess of tangles.”

 Literally Aly’s thoughts two paragraphs after the previous quote I mentioned.

 “She squeezed him. He could smell her, feel all the warmth from under her coat. For a long time, there was quiet, except for the sound of Aly’s heavy sobbing.”

 Again, TRYING TO ESCAPE.

 “He reached behind Kara to unravel the scarf, and her messy black hair fell everywhere. It smelled good – just a little bit sweet – and he brushed it out of her eyes for no good reason.”

mor eye rolling

 *rolls eyes into the next century*

 I get it, you love her; can we please move on to the actual plot and action and stuff? Or back to Rhiannon? Come on now! Not to mention the fact that it’s just the most boring romance ever, and I just didn’t care at all.

 But, balancing the negative with the positive, I loved the world-building. Because of my obsession with Red Rising, I just love books that take place in space and such, and I thought the different races and the way the system worked was incredibly interesting and captivating. And, again, the way the fictional world mirrored our own was what made it so brilliant. My hat goes off to you, Belleza!

I felt like it was just personal opinion regarding the pacing, but at times I would be on the edge of my seat, and then I’d just become bored and easily confused. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just bad at following things, but it just really bothered me how over the place it was.

 Overall, this book wasn’t too good for me, but I can definitely see this become a new favorite for someone else.

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Have you read this book yet? What did you think about it?

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56

Unpopular Books I Like

So, as bookworms, we all have different opinions on books. Three people could read one book, and come out of learning different things, liking different things, and hating different things, which is what’s so cool about art. But, sometimes, there are books out there that we enjoy, but it seems like people shame us for liking said books and can sometimes act a bit “high and mighty” about it. So, I thought it’d be nice to talk about some of the books that seem to unpopular, in my opinion, that I really enjoy.

Also, I apologize for this being so late. My family overslept and decided not to go to church, and that’s, like, the only way I manage to post at 8 in the morning, so yeah. But let’s get on with the list!

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Queen of Shadows

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So, it seems like the entirety of the TOG fandom ended up splitting up because of this book, because some people literally can’t handle when two fictional characters don’t get together, even though when there are about 24374 hints that it ain’t happening. So, lots of fans hated this book because their ship didn’t happen or because all the characters acted differently (which, in my opinion, didn’t happen at all). This is probably one of my favorite books in the entire series (but all the books are so good, I can never choose a favorite)!

The Maze Runner Trilogy

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So, I’ve seen a lot of people hate on this series and saying the books get worse and worse each book and that Thomas is bland, but I actually love this series. Okay, I haven’t read The Death Cure yet, but I though the first two books were so addicting and wonderful and action-packed, and I absolutely love the entire cast of characters. Especially Minho, because he’s my boyfriend.

(I haven’t watched the movies yet, though? I’m so weird.)

Paper Towns

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Okay, so everyone seems to hate this book (or just John Green in general), but I loved this one. I see everyone say they really hate Margo, even though she is literally in the book for about max 40-50 pages (I mean, really? She’s MISSING pretty much the entire book) and they just found it boring, but I read this book in about two days when I was younger. I thought it was really hilarious and heartfelt). And, again, I failed to watch the movie, for some reason.

End of Days

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Everyone on Goodreads seemed to hate this finale with a passion, but I loved it. People thought it was utterly ridiculous and didn’t make sense and made them super angry, but I actually almost cried while reading this book. I really loved the romantic moments between Penryn and Raffe and the family relationships, not to mention how tense it was. I absolutely love lore about angels and devils, and I loved learning more about Uriel.

Insurgent

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I actually really hated Allegiant, but re-reading the series last year, I actually really enjoyed this sequel. I’m a fan of war politics in books and don’t mind ones that are slower-paced, not to mention that Tris had some really great and realistic character development, especially when she suffers from PTSD. This book was actually really clever, in my opinion, and not at all boring.

The Raven King

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Okay, some people might say this isn’t unpopular, but I know I saw some really negative reviews about this book and how disappointing it was, but I devoured it. Pynch was absolutely adorable in this, the writing was as magical as always, and, to avoid spoilers, I actually really enjoyed the ending and how everything unfolded. Also, apologies, but I didn’t really care much about Noah, so everything revolving around him didn’t bother me. Maybe it’s just the fact that ambiguous endings don’t bother me too much, plus we’re getting a new trilogy in the world anyway.

City of Bones

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And, again, some people might say this isn’t unpopular, but most Goodreads users seem to snark on this book a lot for being similar to Harry Potter (even though, honestly, to do that, most people are reaching like crazy), and I actually avoided it for that reason. In the end, I caved it and read it for myself, and I’m glad I did, because now I’m a Cassandra Clare fangirl.

Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Some also might say this isn’t unpopular, but I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews when I was around Goodreads about this book, and I found it really enjoyable. I definitely didn’t enjoy the rest of this series, but this one was really quirky and funny, and I loved it.

Red Queen

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Yep, I love Red Queen. Everyone seems to hate this one for being unoriginal – which isn’t a crime in my book; nothing can truly be free of cliches – and saying that it was made to become a movie just because it got a movie deal even before it came out, which is apparently an evil motive, even though books like The Hate U Give and Moxie have had movie deals months before their releases. I found this one to just be a really fun read, and, yeah, it may be predictable, but I didn’t think it was too bad, and I really liked Mare.

The Cursed Child

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And I enjoyed this one, too. I’ll wait before someone says I’m not a true Harry Potter fan. But, really, I loved getting back into this world and I smiled and laughed and teared up reading this, and all the Albus and Scorpius (who I shipped years before this book released). Pretty much everyone hates it and says how disappointing it is, but I don’t agree. Guess I’m not a real Harry Potter fan anymore!

All the Missing Girls

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I saw a lot of my favorite crime book reviewers saying they found this book boring and that the format wasn’t good, but I thought this book was pretty amazing. I thought the way this book was told – which was backwards – was what made it really addicting, and I found it really easy to piece all the clues together and keep track of everything. It made the book tense, and though the chapters were long as all hell, I still found myself glued to the pages.

All is Not Forgotten

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Again, another book that had a lot of negative reviews for this book once it come out, and I was going to not read this, but I’m glad I did. It’s more of a contemporary thriller about a small town and its secrets told from the view of a twisted therapist, and it was brilliant. I read this in one whole day, and I loved Dr. Forrester’s POV. Some said he was too clinical, but he’s a therapist. That was sort of the point. I just really enjoyed this one, and now I feel like I’m in a party of one.

Order of the Phoenix

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Not really an unpopular book, but I’ve seen so many people say this is their least favorite book in the series, which shocks me. This is definitely one of my favorites, and it seems that some people hate it because Harry is depressing and the beginning was boring, but again, I’m a fan of slower-paced books, and I thought Harry’s behavior was justified, since, you know, literally saw someone die, saw someone get his hand cut off, and watched Voldemort come back to life, and no one believed him, but, I guess we all have our opinions.

The Widow

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I don’t know if I can really classify this as unpopular, but I saw really average reviews for this one, and I really loved it. It’s a thriller, and I could tell from some of the reviews that people expected some sort of amazing twist, but it’s just a linear storyline where everything you think it is, it is, which is sort of interesting, since it feels like so many people expect thrillers to have a giant twist these days to be considered good. It was such an interesting way of telling the story, and a great way to showcase domestic abuse.

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And that’s it for all the unpopular books that I like! I hope you enjoyed it and it made some of you guys feel less ashamed to like books that everyone seems to constantly belittle!

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What are some unpopular reads that you like? Do we share any of the same ones?

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30

Anticipated Spring Releases 2017

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With spring comes a lot of new releases that make me super excited! I thought it’d be nice to introduce a new feature (because I do this about once a month on my blog at this point) in which I talk about my most anticipated releases for the season!

I actually made a large two-part post for all the 2017 releases, but I ended up deleting both of those posts because I deleted the photos in my gallery, and apparently when you do that, it deletes all the photos on said posts (why did no one tell me this). I was too lazy to redo the entire thing again, so I thought I’d just copy the information, delete both the posts, and recycle them for a much shorter, more organized post. And here it is!

If you want to learn more about the book, just click the title, and it’ll lead you to the Goodreads page! I have a mix of YA and Adult, and I’m pretty sure I have a book for every genre, so, that’s awesome!

(Now I’ll shut up and start talking about the books.)

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MARCH

The Bone Witch

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(Mar 7)

I haven’t read Chupeco’s other novels, but this one sounds really good. I haven’t read much fantasy in a VERY long time, so I really need to hop back on board. And, again, cover love!

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The Roanoke Girls

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(Mar 7)

This book wasn’t even on my radar until I joined Netgalley and read the description and was immediately lured in. This author actually wrote YA dystopian books (which, obviously, are sitting unread on my TBR), so it’ll be interesting to see her tackle a totally new genre. Also, I’ve heard this is dark, and it’s about a twisted family, and that makes me so excited.

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Bleed Through

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(Mar 14)

So, this guy has schizophrenia, and his meds give him the magical ability to see murders that happened in the past. I’m so excited for this, especially since I’m getting used to thrillers with a little PNR twist.

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Hunted

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(Mar 14)

I read her co-written book These Broken Stars (and Amie Kaufman, Queen of Sci-fi, was said co-writer) and loved it, so this should be 100% marvelous. Also, I see that it has fantastic reviews on Goodreads from people I trusted, so, I WANT IT!

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Nemesis

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(Mar 21)

More weird sci-fi books, please.

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Hellworld

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(Mar 21)

I’ve become a huge fan of YA horror ever since my spooky reads of October, so I’m ready to devour some more!

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Goodbye Paradise

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(Mar 21)

This is a M/M novel dealing with cults written by Sarina Bowen. NOTHING CAN GO WRONG AND I NEED IT NOW.

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The Cutaway

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(Mar 21)

First off, WHY ARE THERE 3480280 BOOKS RELEASING ON THE SAME DAYS? Second, this puts politics and psychological thrillers together. UM, THOSE ARE MY TWO FAVORITE THINGS??? (Let’s ignore the fact that they called it a perfect mash-up of Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies – we all know it’s going to be like none of those books).

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Vigilante

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(Mar 28)

How could I have read this summary and not immediately added it to my wishlist? I haven’t read McGinnis’ The Female of the Species, but I’ve heard fantastic things about it, and this one sounds similar, so excitement!

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Strange the Dreamer

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(Mar 28)

I’ve been wanting this one since last year, when it was originally supposed to release, and I just want it right now! It sounds so brilliant, and I loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, so I’m guessing I’ll love this one as well!

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APRIL

Ragdoll

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(Apr 4)

I heard this was a super dark thriller, and I absolutely love dark thrillers, and this one sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to get this one in my hands!

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Given to the Sea

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(Apr 11)

I read the description and I barely understand it, but it sounds interesting? Does that even make sense?

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The Upside of Unrequited

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(Apr 11)

It’s Becky Albertalli. That’s literally all I need to know.

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The Girl From Yesterday

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(Apr 17)

This just sounds like an awesome thriller; please give it to me now. Also, this was again compared to Liane Moriarty, Gillian Flynn, and Jessica Knoll. I see what you’re doing, publishers.

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Meg and Linus

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(Apr 18)

Cute, gay contemporary is my weakness!

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MAY

ACOWAR

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(May 2)

Well, duh.

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Dreamfall

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(May 2)

It’s a sci-fi horror that sounds like Inception. I will sell my soul for this book.

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The Scattering

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(May 2)

This is actually a sequel to The Outliers! I haven’t yet read that book, but I’m a huge fan of Reconstructing Amelia, so it’ll be interesting reading her YA thrillers.

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Into the Water

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(May 2)

OMG A NEW PAULA HAWKINS! I read The Girl on the Train earlier this year, and though I thought it was just okay (I gave it three stars, I think), I’m really excited to see if this one will live up to the hype of her first novel! The cover is gorgeous, and this one sounds so different from her previous novel, so I’m excited to get it.

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The One Memory of Flora Banks

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(May 2)

I’ve been pining for this since I heard about it and thought it had come out way back in January (apparently, that was the U.K. release date ugh) and I read a sample in Buzz Books, and just gimme it noooow.

(Also, May 2 is now declared to be “We Are Trying to Make Mikaela Broke” Day).

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What Alice Knew

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(May 4)

Missing husbands and suspicious phone calls; what not to love? Also, more jealousy at the UK for already having this!

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The Lines We Cross

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(May 9)

This is another book that I’m pretty sure is already out in other countries under the name Where Michael Met Mina, and it’s finally coming to the US! At a time where immigration is such a hot-button topic, this sounds like such a good read, especially since we get to see two sides!

*

The Love Interest

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(May 16)

Yes, this is a book about making fun of YA tropes. Yes, the two guys pining for the girl in the love triangle are going to fall in love. Yes, I want this right now.

*

Lord of Shadows

lord-of-shadows

(May 23)

Obvious excitement is obvious. I mean, the cover is ugly, but I really want to know how this strange love shape is going to turn out? Also, this is 704 pages. WHY?

*

One of Us Is Lying

one-of-us-is-lying

(May 30)

No mistaking, this is definitely a thriller twist on The Breakfast Club. It sounds amazing, and I want it, of course. Give me all the 2017 YA thriller/mystery/horror! Also, I’ve never watched The Breakfast Club (#shame).

*

House of Furies

house-of-furies

(May 30)

I own Roux’s Asylum trilogy, but haven’t yet read it, but, again, YA horror. Hopefully, I’ll read it before this releases!

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And those are my most anticipated releases for the spring! Can I have them all? Can they come just a little bit earlier? Can authors just send free books to me?

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Have I listed any of your most anticipated releases? Have I missed any on your list? Have I added more to your list (if so, I apologize for making you broke)?

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20

[REVIEW] This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

this savage song

Genre: Fantasy, PNR, YA

Rating: 4 STARS

Description:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

My Thoughts:

“The night Kate Harker decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn’t angry or drunk.”

“Mikaela, how dare you call yourself a V.E. Scwab fan when you haven’t read This Savage Song yet?” I know, I know, it’s a shame! I read the first two books in the Shades of Magic trilogy, fell in love with Vicious, even pre-ordered This Savage Song about a month before it was released…and then promptly downloaded it on the Kindle app, and never read it. And then went to meet her, bought a physical copy, and left it sitting on my bookshelf, collecting dust. So when I finally forced myself to read it, of course, I was like, “WHERE WAS THIS BOOK ALL MY LIFE???”

 First off, the world-building in this book was A++. I loved seeing this sort of dystopian/PNR novel in which humans and monsters co-exist. I thought the entire conflict between the two families definitely reminded me of Romeo and Juliet, except there was no romance (THANK JESUS HALLELUJAH). The entire conflict between monsters and humans sort of reminded me of how people can easily stereotype those we don’t know based off of what we’re told and our personal bias, which goes for everybody on any sort of side. I love how the details about this world were sprinkled in and not forced onto us via info-dump. Where does V.E. Schwab come up with these wonderful ideas and worlds?

 The characters were fantastic, and probably what made me really fall in love with this book. We have Kate Harker, a human who has total daddy issues and strives as hard as she can to be this “toughie” who has no feelings (which we all know for sure is completely untrue) and August Flynn, my sweet baby monster, who only wants to be a human being and doesn’t want to hurt a soul (which is quite unfortunate because he has to to, you know, live). I think one of my favorite things about this besides the fact that the two of them didn’t have these cheesy romantic moments (PRAISE GOD), was the fact that their typical gender roles were reversed, in a way? Usually, we have the guys being these broody bad boys with a rough past and family issues, and the girl is innocent and wants to stay out of the special powers she’s forced into, so I thought it was an awesome change of pace to see it be turned upside down a little bit.

 I also really loved seeing Kate’s anxiety. It’s not talked about that much in the book, but I love how it was shown, especially since she struggled with so many problems concerning her past that she just keeps bottled up inside. I don’t have the same anxiety that Kate herself has (I’m pretty sure she has a more general anxiety while mine is a more mild form of social anxiety), but I thought it was a really nice touch to the story. And can we please talk about August’s character development? It was absolutely brilliant to see him go from this shy monster who didn’t want to hurt anybody to someone who could finally take control of his own ability and accepted himself as who he really was. I think it’s a nice change of heart to see someone accept themselves as who they are, even though they feel as if they’re “bad,” especially since we read so many stories in which characters feel as if they have to entirely denounce who they are to be considered a “good guy.” August is just as morally gray and complex as a human being would be.

 The pacing of this novel was totally on point. There’s just something completely magical about Schwab’s writing that always manages to draw me in and keep me turning the pages. How could I ever say no to another chapter when the previous one ended on an amazing cliffhanger? HOW? I think one of the best things about this book is that you can easily go into it completely blind (which is obviously always the best way to go into a book) since the summary is so vague and doesn’t give away too much of the story, so we get taken on this incredible journey full of twists and turns.

 All in all, another V.E. Schwab novel that I completely and totally fell in love with. Can this woman do no wrong? I definitely think so.

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Have you read this book already (you probably have)? What are your feelings on it? What’s your favorite book of Schwab’s?

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21

[REVIEW] The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the-hate-u-give

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Series: None (but I would love a sequel, pretty please)

Rating: 5 STARS 

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

My Thoughts:

I am black. I know, you guys are just so completely shocked! It’s as if I don’t have a picture on my “About Me” page that has my face next to V.E. Schwab’s and clearly shows the color of my skin (now I know you guys are going to go and probably look at my “About Me” page)! But, clearly, that’s not the point. Starr and I live different lives as black girls, but, she’s definitely probably one of the most relatable protagonists I’ve ever read about. She’s definitely up there with Fangirl‘s Cath and Unwind‘s Lev.

 I live in the suburbs. Starr lives in the projects. I don’t in any way suffer from the effects of gang wars because I live in a nice neighborhood over in North Carolina. The closest thing to fear I’ve felt in my neighborhood is when I jump because someone is setting off fireworks and it’s not July 4 (this happens often). I don’t really have any friends that are black, I don’t listen to rap, I’ve never watched Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in my entire life, and any black person could probably be ashamed if they found out I didn’t understand any of their slang. I’ve lived in a nice suburban place since I was born, and I’ll probably go on to live in nice places (unless my life takes a horribly dark turn, which I hope it doesn’t). I don’t ever feel like I’m hiding two parts of myself, because I’m just introverted, and…that’s it. That’s all. There are lots of differences between us, obviously.

 But seeing that Starr went to a private school was what hit home for me. I go to a private school as well, and it also happens to be Christian, because my entire family is, and I am as well (but, like, everything else about me is liberal, so there’s that). Obviously, there are only eight to ten other black kids in grade out of the 120+. Out of the entire school, there’s probably still a lower number than white kids that attend. It can sometimes be interesting, going to school where some of the white boys listen to rap more than I ever will in my entire lifetime. And it can also be highly annoying, because surprise, surprise, some of those same Christian white boys supported Donald Trump and his racist remarks (and his misogynistic comments. And now he’s transphobic. And he’s Islamophobic. And we’re all going to be here all day if I continue). So, imagine my fury at the fact that I’m sure if I asked these people to their face if they thought Donald Trump was racist, they’d probably say no.

 It’s frustrating. It really is. And the fact that Starr feels like such a real, raw character is what makes it so perfect. Her parents are protective and care about her, much like mine are (and she gets annoyed at them, much like I do) and she swears a lot in her head, much like I do when I get rant-y and angry! I’m not the only one who does that! It makes me so happy! And she feels like she has to be this whole different person because she doesn’t want to be the Angry Black Girl, and, yep, I feel for the fact of feeling like I have to keep my mouth shut even though I want to scream, and that’s part “I don’t want to become a stereotype” and part “I am an introvert, hear me keep quiet.”

 Also, this book gave me all the feelings. ALL OF THEM. The entire way the case is handled, the entire way the actual shooting is handled feels so very, very real. You will be angry. You will be frustrated. And if you’re not, you probably don’t care or you’re just emotionless or whatever. But nothing made me want to throw my phone against the wall (I was reading this as an e-book) then that interview with the cop’s dad, where it makes out Khalil and Starr to be these teenage thugs who made the cop uncomfortable and in danger. WHEN THAT IS NOT TRUE. NONE OF IT IS TRUE. And then we have Hailey over here, with her annoying ways, saying the most racist things, and then being angry because Starr is offended by said racist things. #EveryRacistEver

 But then we have Chris, Starr’s boyfriend, and their relationship is so cute, okay? Chris is white, and he doesn’t want Starr to be this different person in front of him, and, yes, he might say some ignorant things that will make you face-palm – especially if you’re black – but I think what I loved is the fact that Starr always set him straight, and he tried as hard as he could to understand. And he’s just a nice guy in general, and he’s such a dork who’s always there for Starr whenever she needs him. Chris is precious; where can I buy one?

 I felt like the case was realistically handled, and I loved how this book gave this sort of POV of black people. We get a look into protests and riots and having to live in a neighborhood that puts a curfew on the people living there, much like what happened in Ferguson a couple years ago. They are angry and they are frustrated and they want justice, and those emotions bleed through the pages, and that’s what makes this book so amazing. That it manages to play with your emotions, by not only being serious, but also balancing those moments with really funny ones. We usually only get to see this type of stuff on TV, so it feels far away unless you’re actually there and living through it, and I liked how Thomas managed to make the feelings the protestors and Black Lives Matter advocates feel going through this conflict. It just makes it that much more powerful and personal.

 We have supportive parents that are ACTUALLY THERE and ACTUALLY SUPPORTIVE and feel real. We have a beautiful representation of family and being black from #ownvoices. We have an adorable romance that doesn’t take center stage. We have wonderful female friendships. We have a raw representation of racism that will probably make you angry and uncomfortable, and THAT’S THE POINT. We have a book that is literally so amazing and perfect and PLEASE READ IT I BEG YOU.

 And if you’re not pushed to read this book after this review, then, I don’t know how I can help you. You must pick this book up. You must.

 (Hopefully, I’ll be able to buy this in hardcover since I had to borrow this via Overdrive, and the hardcover looks so gorgeous, but I don’t have any money to buy it; I am just a poor, jobless teenage bookworm. I’M SUFFERING.)

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Have you read this yet? Why haven’t you read this yet? YOU MUST!

(And if you have, what did you think about it?)

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