Monday, December 9, 2019

Top 5 Relationships of 2019

6:32:00 PM


      In the spirit of the end of the year, I've come up with a handful of lists that highlight some of my favorite (and least-favorite) bookish things. Today I will be kicking off things with my favorite fictional relationships that I read this year.

1. Lucy and Josh from "The Hating Game" by Sally Thorn

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I absolutely loved this book and the chemistry between these two characters. I don't know when it happened, but I've become a sucker for the whole "enemies to lovers" trope. They start off as enemies at work and next thing you know wham bam they are in love and I love it. They has such great tension between them and I love the little things they do to antagize each other. I wish I would have been able to see more of them as an actual solid couple, but I'm not mad with what I got to see. Josh was so caring and naturing towards Lucy and that shit just melted me heart. 

2. Lou and Reid from "Serpent & Dove" by Shelby Mahurin


This is once again a "enemies to lovers" relationship and I was one hundred percent here for it. They start off hating each other because they were forced to marry each other, but as it should happen, wham bam they fell in love along the way. Lou really helped Reid become a better person and I loved watching her force his shell open. Reid was really protective of Lou even when she was actively trying to screw him over and I just couldn't help but swoon. They ended up being really good for each other and I can't wait to see where their relationship heads in the sequel. 

3. Alex and Henry from "Red, White and Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

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You can read my review for this book here, but basically I thought they were a really cute pairing. There aren't many M/M LGBTQIA+ relationships I have read that weren't fanfictions. It was refreshing to read a mainstream romance with such a diverse cast. Also, this was once again an "enemies to lovers" trope. (Do you see a trend here? Do you? Do you?) You can read my review for this book here.

4. Elisabeth and Nathnaniel from "Sorcery of Thorns" by Margaret Rogerson


I did not expect to like this book as much as I did, so I was also thrown a loop when I ended up liking this couple so much. There really wasn't anything particular special about this pairing (besides it being a kinda enemies to lovers trope ahahahhaha) but they hit me for some reason. Nathaniel really made the relationship more than what it could have been. He was just so quirky towards her and every time he called her a terror I was in love. Romance wasn't the key focus of their interactions, but they still had good chemistry. You can read my review for this book here.

5. Nora and Oliver from "Winterwood" by Shea Ernshaw


I think this is the only relationship on this list that wasn't an enemies to lovers one, and I ain't ashamed of that. This relationship was a lot more subtle than the other ones which made it a little more special. This relationship was super cute. Not cute in the Alex and Henry's was, but in like an "oh my gosh this is so precious" way. I knew the main twist from the get go, so that made this relationship super interesting to read because I was like "where is this going to go". They were so timid around each other and I just ate that shit up. You can read my review for this book here.

Honorable Mention: Jude and Carden from "The Wicked King/The Queen of Nothing" by Holly Black

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I read second and third books of "The Cruel Prince" trilogy this year and absolutely loved those books. The relationship between Jude and Carden really heated up in The Wicked King. It wasn't as strong in The Queen of Nothing just because of the events that went down in the previous book, but it was still good shit. They were of course the result of my favorite trope (hahha because why not) so that just made it even more enjoyable. You can read my review for this book here.

      Yeah, so those were my favorite relationships from books I read this year. As became very evident in this list, I have a really big thing for enemies to lovers that I didn't even realize until I started typing this post. I don't what it is about this trope, but apparently it just hits my heart every single time. 

       What do you think of my list? Are there relationships on here that you also ship hard? Are there relationships on here that make you go "nah fam"? What were your favorite ships from this year? I want to hear everything down in the comments.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

November 2019 Wrap Up

4:50:00 PM


      Yes, I know that we are already five days into December and I should have done my November
wrap up several days ago, but hey, better late than never. Besides, I need content for Blogmas. You gotta do what you gotta do.
       So let's get into it. November was not a very productive reading month. I read a whopping three books, and they were all read in the second half of November. In the beginning of the month I was finishing up my PhD applications, so that was pretty time-consuming. I wrote a lot of personal statements and research statements, so reading was like the last thing on my mind. It was also my birthday in the beginning of November. I really enjoyed my birthday outside of the fact that I got food poisoning and my roommate threw a party with 15 people and they all got drunk and threw up all over my apartment until like 6am. But I digress.

43822698Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

I wrote a review for this book, which you can read here. This was the last book I read in November. I'm not going to go into too much detail because I've already said my piece in the review, but I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I liked the magic/supernatural system, the writing, and the way the plot twisted. The book hit me harder than I expected and I'm glad I read it when I did. This book really made me get into the mood of reading again and kinda spurred my desire to blog more. Like seriously, if anyone read this book and would like to discuss it, please hit me up. I don't know      

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Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman

So my roommate/best friend came up with a Youtube series that we are developing about three supernatural roommates. The character I am embodying is a witch so I wanted to make sure I did my research on how modern witches go about things. I'm pretty familiar with the traditional sense of witchcraft, but I thought it would be interesting to get to know more about the less traditional, not-so supernatural aspects of modern witchcraft. It was interesting to read what the authors conceptionalized as ways to tap into your inner energy/strength and connect with the energy of the world to conjure stuff. I personally don't believe in the vast majority of this type of stuff, but I find it super interesting to read about and I'm always for learning new things.

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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing was definitely hands-down my favorite book of the month. It was probably my mostly highly anticipated book of the year. Like earlier, I wrote a review so I won't go into much details. You can read that review here. I really enjoyed this book, though not as much as I had anticipated. I would have loved more Jude/Carden interactions, but I completely understand why that wasn't a possibility. I'm sad this trilogy is over, but glad it happened. Maybe someday Holly Black will revisit this world and give us more. 

      Those were the three books that I read this month. As you can see they were all in the vain of supernatural/paranormal/fantasy. That is hands down my favorite genre and if y'all have any good recommendations along those lines, please send them over to me. I need more!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Blogmas Day 4: December 2019 Goals

4:30:00 PM


      So I have kinda of alluded this on Twitter (which if you aren't following me, you should follow me here) but I am very loosely doing Blogmas this year. This is my first time doing Blogmas. I know myself well enough to know that I am not committing to doing a post every single day. I would love to, but that is not happening. Ideally I'd like to do it at least 3 times a week, so we'll see if that happens.

      Anyway, in the spirit of trying to blog more, I thought I would let you guys know my December bookish/bloggish goals.

  1. Blog at least twice a week. With blogmas, this goal will be easier to obtain because as I mentioned I'd like to blog at least three times a week. At the very least, I can do a Friday Reads in which I let y'all know what I'm reading and then some other more conversational type post earlier in the week.
  2. Finish my Goodreads goal. For the first time in like 10 years I will read less than 80 books in a year. Right now I'm hovering at 45 books. My goal for the year is 50 books. I would have loved to have read more books this past year, but life just did not have that in the cards. I know for sure I can reach my goal of 50 books with the help of all the graphic novel issues I have to catch up on. Ideally, I'd like to reach like 60 books this year. Will it happen? We shall see.
  3. Be more active with my bookish Twitter. I'd like to get into being more active on Twitter. I go on it every day, however I don't necessarily engage every day. I think Twitter is a great way to connect with the bookish community, so I'm going to try to do that. 
  4. Make more bookish friends. I say this all the time, but I still mean it. I absolutely love talking about books and there are not a lot of people in my life whom I can do that with. I'm pretty introverted so it's hard for me to initiate things with people, but I'm going to try to do better.
  5. Read more of my physical books. Due to Owlcrate, I've accumulated a decent amount of physical books. I absolutely love reading physical books, but I don't like carrying them around in my commute. I prefer using my Kindle just because it's smaller and takes up less space in my backpack. I've got like 5 or so physical books that I need to read. I know I won't read all of them, but I'm going to try to read some of them.
      Those are my main goals for December. I'm sure there are some others that I can't think of off the top of my head. I feel like none of these goals are super wild, so I'm confident I can make a decent dent in them.

      What do you think of my goals? Do you have any goals for December? If so, what are they and why? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, December 2, 2019

"Winterwood" by Shea Ernshaw REVIEW

5:45:00 PM


Book: Winterwood

Author: Shea Ernshaw

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

      So as I mentioned in my currently readings post from last week (which you can read here), I picked up "Winterwood" by Shea Ernshaw after reading her debut novel, "The Wicked Deep" a year ago and overall enjoying myself. I  knew nothing about this book going in except that it dealt with witchcraft and took place in winter. That being said...

      I really enjoyed this book! I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Like I've previously mentioned, I thought "The Wicked Deep" was pretty good, but it wasn't anything special. Going into "Winterwood" I thought I would like it, but necessarily love it. That did not happen, which was a nice little surprise. I'd actually say this is one of my favorite books of 2019.

      The writing style for this book is what really drew me in. I really love the way Ernshaw wove her words and descriptions. Everything was just so beautifully written. I don't typically go for poetic-like writing, but this wasn't like in your face poetic if that makes sense. Even the way the characters thought was gorgeous. And I recognize that normal teens don't typically think like that, but hey, it's fiction.

      At first I wasn't entirely on board with the plot because I didn't really know where it was going or what the purpose of all of it was, but after a while I clung onto it. This was definitely more slow-burning then I was used to. The bulk of the action really didn't hit until the last third, and when it hit, it hit with full force. There were two twists that really pushed the plot. The first one I saw coming a mile away from the beginning, and honestly, if that twist hadn't been there, I would have questioned the entire book. That second twist however, boy oh boy did it really rock my world. It incorporated a new element to the book that changed my whole perception of everything that had already happened and made things line up. I'm definitely gonna have to reread this book sometime.

      As far as the characters go, I liked them. The main girl, Nora, could get a bit into her head sometimes and tended to overthink/overreact, but I get like that sometimes too, so that's no big deal. She was weird but not in the typical "quirky" way. Her relationship with witchcraft was a really interesting dynamic. Speaking of witchcraft, I really enjoy the way it was portrayed. I love how the Walker women were connected with nature and that's how they drew there "powers". The concept of "nightshade" was also super interesting. I'd never heard of that before, and I've read a lot of books dealing with witchcraft.

      I had a good team reading about the romance between Nora and Oliver. Even though their relationship kinda went from 0 to 100 real quick and they didn't really know each other, I dug it. They had some really sweet, intimate moments. In the span of the few days (week, I don't know how much time passed), they went through a lot and handled it pretty well. I would have loved to see them learn more about each other, but that air of mystery is also a part of what drove the story.

      Overall, this book checked off everything for me. While some might think this is a typical YA book, I just really enjoyed the writing, characters, and plot. I love a good witchcraft book and this was a good witchcraft book. If you like a good supernatural YA book sprinkled with romance then this is the book for you.

      Have you guys read "Winterwood"? If so, what did you think of it? If not, have you ready Shea Ernshaw's other book, "The Wicked Deep"? Tell me all your thoughts in the comments down below.

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?