Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag!

*freaking out*
Oh my god, is it really the middle of the year already?!

It doesn't seem all that long ago when I wrote my Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2016 Edition.
And now it's already time to wrap up the middle of 2017.
Welp! Shall I? 

The second half of 2017... here we come. 

#1: Best book you've read so far in 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3.5

It's funny.
There were books I rated more than this and yet... Lord of Shadows is still my favorite as of this half of 2017.
What's also funny: Lady Midnight was in this exact same place last year.
What can I say... I'm a shadowhunters obsessed. *smirk*. 

The next shdowhunters book cannot possibly come soon enough.
Cannot possibly, I tell you. 

"The Lightwood family motto is 'We mean well'." 
"Very funny." 
Julian looked over at her. "No, really, it actually is." 
"Seriously? So what's the Herondale family motto? 'Chiseled but angsty'?"  
He shrugged. " 'If you don't know what your last name is, it's probably Herondale'?" 
Emma burst out laughing. "What about Carstairs?" She asked, tapping cortana. " ' We have a sword? ' ' Blunt instruments are for losers'?"  
"Morgenstern," offered Julian. " ' When in doubt, start a war'?"  
"How about 'Has even one of us ever been any good, like ever, seriously'?"

#2: Best sequel you've read so far in 2017

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige
My rating: 4 stars

I was going to review this book but... it never happened.
I don't know. I asked my brain many times but it does not reveal its inner workings.
If it had, I'm sure life would be much easier. 

I'm not sure if this counts as a sequel but this is the fourth and final book in the Dorothy Must Die series

A short synopsis about the series (for those of you who aren't familiar with it): We all know Dorothy Gale's story. The lion, the tin man, Toto, Yellow road, magic. It was all supposed to come to an end with 'there's no place like home!'
But what if Dorothy came back to Oz? What if magic corrupted her and she became... evil?
Enters Amy Gum, a modern Taxes girl swept into Oz to be its savior.
But can she do it? Does she have what it takes? Is she willing to fall into the dark side to achieve that? 

This spin-off/retelling story will sweep you off your feet.
It has magic, mayhem, good and evil, dubious morals, a lunatic Dorothy, romance, and so much more.
I highly recommend everyone to give this one a try. 

I had enough problems of my own back in Kansas. Why couldn't I have been swept away to an imaginary kingdom where nothing was wrong at all - where I could just kick my legs up and enjoy a nice, relaxing vacation? I racked my brain, trying to remember if there were any books or movies like that, and realized there weren't any. 

#3: New release you haven't read yet, but want to

                                 If Birds Fly Back          This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes
                           by Carlie Sorosiak  

I've already read a sample of each of those books and they both seem amazing.
I really can't wait to dive deeper into them.
They're complex, they deal with difficult subjects, the writing is great.
I think I'm going to start with If Birds Fly Back. Hope to love it (:

"We can't define people by their worst actions."  
-- Paula Stokes, This is How it Happened

"Sometimes there are no second chances to say how we feel." 
-- If Birds Fly Back, Carlie Sorosiak 

#4: Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

                      Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff        The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
                Publication date: September 5th           Publication date: October 3rd

My level of excitement for Godsgrave: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
My level of excitement for The Ship of the Dead: AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

See? I couldn't exactly choose between those two. I would feel way to guilty for not including the other. 

It's funny, those two fantasy books can't be more different from one another yet I love them with a passion that cannot be vanquished. 

Godsgrave would probably destroy my soul (as Jay Kristoff does best).
The Ship of the Dead would probably make me squeal in happiness and swoon at every single thing.  

Like I said, those two books can't be more different :O 

"Where's the gold?" I demanded. "Don't make me unleash my sword's playlist."  
-- The Ship of the Dead, Rick Riordan

"Conquer your fear. Conquer the world." 
-- Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff 

#5: Biggest disappointment

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 3 stars

I literally started my review with these words: 'I'm disappointed.'

It pains me to say this but Flame in the Mist was so very disappointing for me. For various reasons. The main one being I found the book to lack a lot of development. I felt like I was seeing what was happening but not actually feeling it. 

For basically all of the story I just felt like some unwelcome passenger in the back seat of a car.
Stuff were happening, but no one bothered to explain the motives or feelings behind them.
I just... it's hard to explain, but this is as close as I can describe it.
I did my best to convey my emotions in the review. It was especially important because I received it as an e-ARC from NetGalley (which I'm still so very thankful for). 

"If I am marching to my death, then I will march to it as a girl. Without fear." 

#6: Biggest surprise

How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahren
My rating: 3.5 stars
My review

I definitely did not expect this wonderful little book. 

And it's all thanks to Amy from A Magical World of Words for making me want to read it.

Some of the best books are the ones that catch us by surprise. Especially if it's a book you never imagined you'd like.
I mean, How to Fall in Love is wonderful and it's heartfelt and it teaches you so much about life, love, death. But based on the genre, and considering this is considered an adult book, I would never have imagined to pick it up.
I'm so glad I did, though.
It was such a wonderful journey, and I really highly recommend it to everyone. 
Although, pay attention that this book deal with Suicide, so if it's something that's a trigger warning for you than you shouldn't be reading How to Fall in Love.  

Life is a series of moments and moments are always changing, just like thoughts, negative and positive. And though it may be human nature to dwell, like many natural things it's senseless, senseless to allow a single thought to inhabit a mind because thoughts are like guests or fairweather friends. As soon as they arrive, they can leave, and even the ones that take a long time to emerge fully can disappear in an instant. Moments are precious; sometimes they linger and other times they're fleeting, and yet so much could be done in them; you could change a mind, you could save a life and you could even fall in love.  

#7: Favorite new author (debut or just new to you)

Veronica Rossi, author of Under the Never Sky & Riders

Okay, so... I - ashamedly so - have not discovered any new (debut or new to me) authors this half year.
But! My love for a certain's author books did grow considerably this year with the release of her newest book Seeker

For those of you who don't know, Riders has been one of my most favorite books of last year. It's an original and intense story about the four-horsemen of apocalypse (who are actually 4 messed up teenagers) and the girl who guides them on their journey to save the world.
Really cool stuff. Please read. 

Evil is its own undoing. 

#8: Newest fictional crush

My favorite question is here!
Okay, so... 
Kit from The Dark Artifices.

I am actually aware that he's (currently) way too young for me.
I shall wait. I shall wait as long as I must!
Then again... I'm pretty sure someone already stole Kit away (: 

It wasn't that he had any particular desire to learn how to use a dagger - nothing beyond the general interest he figured most teenagers had in deadly weapons. 

#9: Newest favorite character

This is a hard one.
I have many not-new ones, but the question is newest - which I'm assuming means someone who became my favorite this past half year.
Then it that case I would say...
Daryn from Seeker
We got to know her so much better in this book. I appreciated how strong minded and tough she was. She never gave up, and it's not something that is ever easy to do. 
Daryn is fiercely independent and she would do anything to save her friends. 

Sometimes you hurt people even if it's the last thing you want to do.

#10: Book that made you cry

I would say that there are three book that made me emotional this half-year. Not to the verge of tears, but... to the verge of sadness. Each in their own way. 
And those are: 

How to Fall in love, naturally made me emotional because of its difficult subject. More especially so because something like this happened to someone that I knew and it was very important for me to read this book because of it. 

Lord of Shadows was filled from beginning to end with ominous signs. There were quite a few scenes when I didn't think I could deal with it if it actually happened. I know Cassandra Clare, and while she's not ruthless... she doesn't spare us from tragedy and sadness. I feel like something terrible is going to happen, and it's probably going to crush us. 

When people die, our dreams of what they could be die with them.

The Dark Prophecy's main character is a thousands years old god. You can't have that without darkness. It's not a teenage boy like Percy or Magnus. They had it rough, they had it terrible, but Apollo is old. So old. And when you start learning about all the things in his past... it's also so sad. 

Was there anyone I hadn't betrayed and disappointed? Any relationship I hadn't destroyed? 

#11: Book that made you happy

The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 stars

Reading The Shadowhunter's Codex (finally!) was great.
I found it lying there in one of those rare bookstores that actually have some selection of English books, and I took it and made it mine (*evil laugh*).

It was fun, it was funny, it was insighting.
I simply had a great time reading it, and it was great. 

After my somewhat disappointment in Lord of Shadows, I was reminded with this one why I love this world and characters so much.
I loved it.
Highly recommended for all of you Shadowhunters out there that have yet to read it.
I also recommend reading it in its physical edition (because of the side notes), but it can be read on kindle as well. 

"Sometimes the newly marked go into shock. The good news it, if this happens to you, you are unlikely to notice, because you'll be in shock." 

#12: Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Publication date: January 17, 2017

I have yet to read it (as I tend to do), but there is no denying this cover is absolutely beautiful in the flesh (yep, I have this book in physical copy! One of those rare moments). 

You know what it reminds me of? The crack in the wall from Doctor Who. 

It's simple and it's beautiful. Definitely one of the best looking covers out there. 

I also love the cover of The Shadowhunters Codex and Seeker. They're both beautiful. 

"You want to see people as extremes. Bad or good, trustworthy or not. I understand. It's easier that way. But that isn't how people work."

#13: What books do you need to read before the end of the year?

Well... no one is exactly sitting on me and threatening me to read books here :'D
Reading is not something I need to do, it's something I desperately want to do.
Need is just... it sounds too forceful.
I can never force myself to read something. It has to come from the heart. 

But anyways!
I really-really want to get to Six of Crows & Rebel of the Sands.
I also want to re-read Fangirl, Maybe Someday, and The Mortal Instruments - they're always my go-to comfort books, and I feel like I need to re-read them again (:

And this conclude my Mid-Year Book Freak-Out tag of 2017!
How was it? Hope I did well ;)
What about you? Have you done this already? If not, consider yourselves tagged.
This is a really fun tag to wrap up this half a year.
I guess I'll see you with another wrap up like this at the end of the year, huh? ;)
Until then there should be lots of book reviews and other posts!
*saying is believing*
See you soon!
Until then...

"Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you."  
-- Louis L'Amor 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Most Anticipated Books of July 2017

After last months' embarrassingly long time it took me to write this post, I decided to start up early.
I really love these posts - they're probably my favorite thing to write other than book reviews. But even the slightest of blogging slumps can overshadow that (like what happened last month).
So! I decided not to let it deter me this July ;)

Here I am with my most anticipated books of July 2017! 

This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes
Publication date: July 11, 2017

Somehow I've become a liar. A coward. This is how it happened. 

This is How it Happened is an important story.
It's a contemporary YA about the power of the internet on society today. 

Genevive Grace, a 17-year-old girl, was involved in a car crash that killed her boyfriend - a famous YouTube star. 
She doesn't remember much about the crash or the events that led to it.
As the whole world starts pointing fingers towards the other driver, Brad Freeman, Genevive starts picking up the pieces, fearing she might have had something to do with the crash herself. 

I've actually attempted to read a Paula Stokes book before. It was one that came last year Girl Against the Universe. And while I did enjoy it, I didn't really connect to it for some reason.
Which is why I want to give this author another try with this new book of hers.
I hear a lot of good things about Paula Stokes, and I'm looking forward to checking this one out. 

"We can't define people by their worst actions."

"Where does seeking justice end and seeking vengeance begin?" 

"Some people just want to be part of the story, even if it's a story that's completely fabricated."

"Our 'protective bubbles' - our houses, our cars, our friends, our online identities - might make us feel secure, but most of it's just an illusion. it's easy to get hurt, just as it's easy to hurt other people."

"You have more power than you think. Be careful what you do with it."

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller
Publication date: July 11, 2017

Color me intrigued. 

If I do end up reading The Art of Starving, it'll be the first book about eating disorder I have ever read. 

I'm quick to jump on anything from anxiety to depression to OCD, but the truth is there are many more mental disorders out there. 

I'm also intrigued because this one doesn't seem like your typical eating-disorder book + the author is basing some of it on his own experience with eating disorder as a teenager. 

The Art of Starving is about a young boy named Matt who believes that when he starves himself he gets superpowers.
It also apparently has some LGBT elements to it. 

"Being better isn't a battle that you fight and win. Feeling okay is a war, one that lasts your whole life and the only way to win is keep on fighting."

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Publication date: July 11, 2017

The blurb says it's for fans of Rainbow Rowell. I'm a fan of Rainbow Rowell. So... (:

I also read an excerpt of this book on NetGalley and I pretty much fell in love with David's POV (one of the main characters).
He seems to have somewhat of a mental health disorder, by the looks of it, and the way he thinks is... fascinating. Funny. Wonderful. 

This is the story of Kit (can't help but think about Kit from TDA) & David.  

"I realize we all walk around pretending like we have some control over our fate because to recognize - that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it - is just too unbearable to live with."

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Publication date: July 18, 2017

Stop the magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future. 

Logical conclusion: read the book. 

Esta is a thief. But she's not just your regular run of the mill kind of thief. No, Esta can jump through time itself. 
Where she comes from, modern time New York, magic is all but extinct. But if she travels to 1902 to steal a certain powerful book, she can save the future of magic and restore it to the world.
But not is all that it seems, even the supposed evil Magician.
As Esta navigates her way through the past, she must decide what's wrong and what's right. 

Time travel! Magic! Mayhem!
My favorite bunch :')

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Publication date: July 25, 2017

16-year-old Sorina is an illusionist. She creates life-like illusions at the Gomorrah festival.
Together, she and her illusions make up the cast of the Festival's Freak Show.
So then what happened when one of her illusions is murdered?
As lifelike as they are and as real as they seem, at the end of the day they're only just illusions - not real. And what's not real... can't be killed, can it?
To figure out what's going on and desperate to protect her remaining family of illusions, Sorina teams up with Luca - a gossip worker - to investigate who's behind it all. 

I don't know what about you but this looks awesome to me!

Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno
Publication date: July 25, 2017

I just love seeing these types of books. 
The ones about anxiety.
They make me feel... like I'm not alone.
Logically, I know I'm not.
But it's only when I'm reading these books that I actually feel it too. 

It's only the synopsis, but I can already see myself in Lottie - scared of the world around her. 

It's a story about mental illness and about books and writing.
It's a story I need to read. 

Also... the title... it's like the perfect representation of anxiety. 

"I'm fine," I said quickly, because we are taught as children that automatic response: I'm fine, when we're not. I'm fine, when we are anything but. I'm fine, when we can't stop thinking about death, about dying, about ceasing to exsist. 

Aunt Helen always said if you really wanted to get to know someone, take them to a bookstore. You can tell a lot about a person based on how they behave around books. 

"Whenever someone tells you they don't have time for you, just remember that we make time for the things we want to make time for, and then kick them to the curb." 

Some mentions:  

As you know, I can't include every single book coming out every month.
We would be here for ages.
Some books are just not for me. Others, the above, I'm highly anticipating. And the rest are in some gray area - those are the books that definitely intrigue me, I would definitely try to give them a shot, but I'm not so sure about them for various reasons (reviews I read, my own intuition, etc).
So I decided to put them in a category of their own under 'some mentions'. 
That being said, I read a lot of books in the past that I didn't expect much of that turned out to be my favorite, so... (:

Bombshell by Rowan ManessI See London, I See France by Sarah Malynowski: both seem like possibly interesting YA contemporaries. I had my fair share of disappointments with YA contemporaries, which is why I'm ever so cautious these days.  

Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell: I don't know why but there's something about this book that kind of reminds me of Riders by Veronica Rossi (which I loved). I think it's why I'm so interested in it. 

Waste of Space by Gina Damico: This one seems... weird. Not sure if good-weird or bad-weird yet. Or just plain old weird. Anyways, this is about a bunch of teenagers doing a reality show in a space-like environment (not in space, though, as far as I gathered). It seems to have a lot of humor. I do love humor (a lot), but sometimes too much of it can feel... unrealistic, if you know what I mean. 

What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy: Another teenagers-in-space kind of book. Only this time they're actually in space, fighting an unexpected alien invasion. 

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana: Is it wrong of me for wanting to read this book solely because it says 'perfect of fans of The Wrath and the Dawn'

Heroesville by Cassie James: This books actually sounds hella cool! Done right it could be fantastic! Who doesn't love a good, twisted, fairy tales retellings stories? I know I do. The only thing I'm not so sure about it the publication date of this one. It says July 2017 but nothing specific yet. Which is weird. Hmm. 

And that's it for my Most Anticipated Books of July!
I had lots of fun writing this post (:
I hope you had fun reading it, too.
Now tell me all about your anticipated books this month. Are any of them on this list?
Did you manage to find new ones you want to read?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
See you again soon.
Until then... (:

"Books can make you live a thousand lifetimes, a thousand different lives. Books make you immortal."  

-- Everything All at Once, Katrina Leno