Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 10 Books of 2019

10:00:00 AM

TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2019

      Well, it's finally here. The end of 2019. Without further ado, I'm not going to waste time and just jump straight into the best books I read this year. 

10. Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Klassel

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I saw this book at my library and decided to check it out without really knowing anything about it. I hadn't read a book in less than a day in forever, so it felt really good powering through this bad boy so fast. The beginning act was rough, but it grew on me a lot. The romance was so unrealistic but gave me fuzzy feelings nevertheless. The supernatural aspect was really interesting and I would love to know more about the lore behind it.

9. Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout


This really banged. I can always count on Jennifer L. Armentrout's books being absolutely everything I need them to be. Paranormal romance will forever be my favorite genre and I can't wait to see what happens next. It doesn't even matter that I remembered next to nothing from the main series this spin off series is based on because the characters and plot make it great on its own.

8. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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This book was a curve ball. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did just because contemporaries aren't really my thing. There was also so much hype surrounding this book that I was afraid the hype would let me down, but it didn't. This was a cute LGBTQIA+ read, which unfortunately, is a genre I haven't had a lot of exposure to, which as the a (for asexual), is a bit sad. You can read my full review here, but basically this book was an excellent enemies to lovers book (which if you know anything about me, I love that trope- read my list of fav romances from this year here and you'll see).

7. Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddiw Dawson


This book was a complete curveball. This was a free book I decided to pick up on Prime Reading and it ended up being perhaps my favorite book I read this summer. Like this was a 4.5 Star book. I don't typically like women's fiction or chick-lit, but this book was just an amazing read. I love the two POVs we get to read from and the events that unfold in their lives. It was written so well and I just devoured it for the 5 hours I was at the airport coming home from my Bahamas cruise. If women's lit isn't typically your thing, I recommend giving this a go.

6. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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While I was slightly let down by the end of this trilogy with this book, I still enjoyed it. You can read my full thoughts here, but overall this book gave me the YA fantasy romance vibes I needed.

5. Winterwood by Shea Earnshaw


I liked this book more than I anticipated, as seems to be the trend with the majority of the books on this list. I knew little going into it other than the author wrote "The Wicked Deep" which I enjoyed last year for my school's book club. You can read the full review here, but basically I enjoyed the way the story was written and the little plot twists that really gave the book a new layer.

4. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson


This was a YA fantasy book that featured one of my favorite couples of this year. Nathaniel, the main love interest was just a hoot to read. While I had issues with the plot itself, I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, even then non-love interest characters like Silas. You can read my review for the book here

3. The Wicked King by Holly Black

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So even though this book came out last year, I didn't read it until this year. Sue me. This book was hands down the best one in the entire trilogy. We got to see more into Carden and Jude as individuals and as a couple. Their power dynamics were off the charts in all of the right ways. It was in this book that I felt the plot was really going somewhere. It's dissapointing that the last book didn't do justice to the plot of this book, but that's neither here nor there.

2. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


This was a really tough decision. This book almost made the top of my list, but there were other factors at play that bumped this down to second place. That being said, I loved this book. I buddy read it with Olivia from Oliva's Catastrophe (twitter link here) and we both enjoyed this far more than we anticipated. What to say about this book. I loved the romance, I loved the setting, I loved the plot. You name it, I probably loved it. I'm so excited to read the sequel when it comes out next year. I'm planning on rereading this book before the sequel comes out, so if anyone wants to buddy read this, I'm game!

1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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How this ended up being my favorite book is a mystery to even me. This isn't in my typical genre of favorites, as evidenced by the plethora of YA fantasy/paranormal romance on this last. But alas, this book snuck its way into my heart. I've read this book three times this year. Three! The first time I read this book, I only rated it about 3.5 stars, but now it's between 4 and 4.5 stars. I have no idea what it is about the romance in this book that gets to me, but it does. I didn't realize how much I love the enemies to lovers trope until this book. I also didn't realize how much I love the whole "healing another person" trope. That shit really got to me. I'm thinking of rereading this book again when the new year kicks off. Why? I apparently have an addiction to this book and the couple in it.

Honorable Mention: The Guinevere Deception by Kierstin White


I'd already ranked everything on this list and written half of it when I read this book and didn't feel like rearranging things on my list. That being said, this would have probably made it into the top 5. This was an Arthurian retelling that I enjoyed more than I probably should have considering the predictable nature of it. I just really enjoyed the characters and their nausances.

      Well those are the best books that I read this year. As you can see, it was a pretty YA fantasy heavy year with some contemporaries sprinkled in. I didn't read as many books this year as previous years, and that's ok because I still took away some great books. Some of these books have more books to come, and I'm excited to see where those stories leave. To the ones that are over, I'm sure I'll revist them in the future.

     What did you think of my list? Did you like some of the books on my list too? Or did you dislike some? What made the top lists for you this year? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below. I can't wait to see what 2020 holds for all of us!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Currently Reading: 12/28/19

6:02:00 PM


     This week has been a pretty good reading week for me. My plan was to finish the year off strong, and I think that's going to happen, thank goodness.


       I started and finished "The Guinevere Deception" by Kiersten White and ended up super enjoying it. I plan on having a review for that up within the next week, so keep an eye out for that. Overall though, it was exactly the type of book I needed to get into the reading mood. YA fantasy/paranormal romance are the genres I know I can always rely on. It had the perfect blend of fantasy and romance in a setting I really enjoyed. I'm a sucker for Arthurian retellings. Even though the plot itself was prectiable (mainly because it's one so well known and integral to the OG story), it still kept me on my toes.


      After finishing "The Guinevere Deception" I was in the mood to read something else in the fantasy/paranormal genre so I decided to pick up "House of Salt and Sorrows" by Erin Craig. I don't know a whole bunch about this book other than it's like a cross of YA fantasy with murder mystery sewn into the plot. I'm only 45 pages into this book, which is about 10%, so not a whole bunch has happened, but I don't have a problem with it. I like the main character, Annaleigh. She's your typical stubborn-headed female YA character, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm interested to see how the murder mystery plot is incorporated because from the get-go it seems like it is a key thing for the story.

      Well that's what I have been reading and am currently reading. My goal is to finish "House of Salt and Sorrows" by the time the new year rolls around, which if I just sit my ass down and do that instead of typing this post, I can definitely accomplish. Have you guys read either of these books? If so, what are your thoughts on them? I'd love to hear them down in the comments.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Top 5 Disappointing Books of 2019

11:31:00 AM


      The end of the year is almost here, and with that, comes end of the year lists. I've already told y'all my favorite bookish relationships (which y'all can read that here if you haven't already), so now it's time for the most important lists. First I'm going to go over my most disappointing books and then next week I'll tell y'all my favorite books of the year. Before we get into this list, I want to clarify that the books on this list are what disappointed me, not necessarily what were the absolute worst books (though some of them were bad books). These are mainly books that I had higher expectations on and they didn't meet those. Without further ado, here we go.

5. F*ck~ I'm in My Twenties by Emma Koenig


This book had been on my TBR since I turned 20, which was a couple of years ago. To be honest, this book was a complete waste of my time. It didn't actually give me anything worth taking away, it was just shitty drawings of oddly specific situations the author had been in.

4. Brief Chronicles of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid


This book just added to be disdain towards YA contemporary. I was really hoping this would be different and give me warm bubbly feelings, but I didn't get that. You can read my full review here, but basically this book did nothing for me. I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. It just kinda happened. 

3. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

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This falls into the same situation as the last book. It was a YA contemporary that everyone and their mother liked, but it didn't do anything for me. The beginning of this book was super annoying to me, but it got a lot better. Overall it just wasn't as great as everyone had chalked it up to.

2. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne


 I was highly upset when this book turned out to be kinda trash. The author wrote "The Hating Game" which has become one of my favorite ever, so I was expecting great things from this book. That being said, this was a huge disappointment. I didn't like the plot, the characters, romance, or pretty much anything about this book. The sparks I was expecting was not there. 

1. What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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This book did not do it for me. There. I said it. This book was anticipated by the entire bookish community because of this tag team of authors, and to be honest, I was anticipating it too. The hype built up, and after it died down a little I allowed myself to read the book, and has become routine for me, the hype was wrong. Maybe I just need to give into the fact that me and YA contemporaries are just not meant to me. You can read my review here.

      Well those are the 5 books that just didn't do it for me. Have you read those books? If so, what did you think of them? Did you also think they were meh? If some of these books are your favorites, why? I'd love to hear everything down in the comments below.

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?



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