#ReadersCrossing Sign Up Post

Saturday, December 9, 2017

So, I haven't been super active on the blog since the last readathon that Aentee from Read at Midnight hosted, but maybe if I participate in another one, things will turn around for me.

I had really avoided playing this game until I saw this readathon. Not really for any reason other than I didn't really care that much about it. But I figured if I was going to try to do this readathon, I would try out the game.

And now I can't stop playing it. I don't understand why these stupid animals keep using my campsite and refuse to give me cotton.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the post yet, here is the gist of it:

I am going to do the Sporty path because that is the path that I had the easiest time coming up with a reading list for.

I'm not sure what book I'm going to do for SET IN THE WILDERNESS.

WRITTEN BY A TEAM OF AUTHORS: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

MAIN ADVENTURE PLOT: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
(I hope this counts, I think it sounds like it has a lot of adventure in it.)

SUPERHERO: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

GRAPHIC NOVEL OR MANGA: Sailor Moon Volume 1

I might try for some of the side quests, but if I read 4 books in December, I will consider it a win.

The Rules:

All campers starts with 0 Experience Points (EXP), and each book completed for the challenge (in any format: physical, eBook, or audiobook will gain them 2 EXP.

#OwnVoices novels will give you an addition EXP point, instead of gaining 2 EXP for their completion, you’ll gain 3 EXP.

You will level up every time you get 10 EXP points. You begin at Level 1.

Tweeting or Instagram posts on the #ReadersCrossing will earn you points (every 5 tweets/photo will earn you 1 EXP). You can gain a maximum of 5 EXP for your social media interactions. These should be tweets related to the challenge such as comments on your current read, book recommendations, or posts about the game itself).

You can also make an ID card type thing if you check out Aentee's post, which I have linked above. I am probably not going to because I am lazy.

If you want to add me as a friend on the app, my ID is:

6851 2283 942

Are you participating in the #ReadersCrossing challenge? What books are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for a book set in the wilderness?

Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Publication Date: October 1st, 2017
Rating: 2 Stars
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 288

Summary (from Goodreads):

A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti's eerie, sensual poem, "Goblin Market." Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters...

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. 

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

**I was given an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

So, basically I picked this book up for two reasons.

1. That cover.

2. The fact that it's NA and I was expecting to read some smut.

Only one of those things didn't end up disappointing me at all and that was the cover.

So, this book is told from 4 different perspectives. Kit Sylvain is the liaison to the goblin tribe that lives in the forest near Bellwater, Washington. This curse on his family requires him to bring a monthly offering of gold to the goblins to keep them from causing trouble with unsuspecting people.

Skye is an artist who loves the forest and finds herself cursed by the goblins after following one of their secret paths. She is unable to talk about it and is doomed to slowly lose her humanity and become a goblin. Grady is Kit's cousin, who was pulled into this curse by Skye.

And then Livy is Skye's older sister.

Basically, this book was a lot of meh written romance and creepy, cackling goblins. It did not feel like NA to me. The characters were supposed to be in their 20s, but definitely didn't feel that way. Out of the two relationships in the book, I think I only really liked Kit and Livy together. Skye and Grady was completely instalove. It was totally goblin-curse related, but still.

And being that this was NA, I was expecting some smut. There was a lot of sex going on in this book, but it's all off the page.

I read this book fairly quickly despite the fact that it really started to drag for me. It wasn't particularly exciting until the end, but by that point, I was just kind of over it and praying for it to be over.

If 2017 has taught me anything, it's that goblin books aren't for me. First Wintersong, now this.

Have you read The Goblins of Bellwater? What did you think?

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 453

Summary (from Goodreads):

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, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. 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 upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Okay, this review is probably going to be short and sweet since it has been so long since I read this book. 

What I DO remember about this book is that it was SO good! It will make you angry, it will make you sad, it will open your eyes and enlighten you. Starr is such an amazing character. She has to go through things that no kid should have to go through. But she's so strong and handles it so well, despite the strong (likely) possibility of an unfavorable outcome.

I loved the family dynamic in this book. I loved how much Starr's family all loved and cared for each other. It's so refreshing to see a full, functional family for a change. 

Another thing I really liked about this book was the sense of community in Garden Heights. I loved all the interactions between the different people and seeing how much they all loved their community. That's not something I recall seeing in really any books and I enjoyed it.

A couple of things I remember wanting to talk about regarding this book:

-While I was reading this book, I remember thinking that Sekani was an odd name. And I love that this was actually addressed in the book and that it totally put me in my place. I don't remember exactly what was said, but I remember I liked it. But I feel like I can't really say anything about anyone's name because I feel like Cyra is an odd name.

-I was so so so glad when Starr stopped putting up with Hailey's crap. She was a really rotten friend and it made me sad to think that Starr had to be a different person around her white friends at school.

Overall, this book was fantastic! I was a bit late to the party on reading this one, but I would definitely recommend it if you are also fashionably late to this party. It is powerful and deserves every single ounce of hype that it gets and MORE! I hope it's on the NYT list FOREVER!

Have you read The Hate U Give yet? 

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Monday, November 6, 2017

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 300

Summary (from Goodreads):

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

If I had to describe my feelings after finishing this book in one word, that word would be frustrated. I have SO many questions about it!

Why are the fair folk so dangerous to humans? I didn't really see enough evidence of this to buy it. Like, just because of their tricks? I feel like all the stuff that happens in the forest is kind of just a "wrong place, wrong time" kind of thing.

Why can't the fair folk do Craft? Like what is the point of them being unable to perform simple, mundane human tasks? I can see why they would crave the end result if they can't perform the task, but why would something so stupid turn them into dust?

Why is mortal sorrow painted in Rook's eyes a weakness that could cost him his life? The fair folk seem to spend entirely too much time playing at being human and trying to seem as human as possible. I don't understand why being seen with a human emotion would be something to warrant losing your life over. Especially when they all crave human things so much.

I don't understand why Rook is even the autumn prince. Like, they spend all of two minutes in the autumnlands. There is literally not a single point in this book that I can think of where it is at all important that Rook is the autumn prince. They don't go to the autumn court. You don't meet anyone else from the autumnlands. He's probably making it all up to look cool for a girl.

What is the point of the Wild Hunt? It is literally just a super minor inconvenience a couple times in this book. I feel like there was a lot of interesting potential with the Wild Hunt and Hemlock, but it was squandered because a mortal and the autumn prince fell in instalove.

For the longest time, I had no idea what the hell the Good Law was. At one point, I literally thought it was that they couldn't have sex. I had no idea until like 3/4 through this book that the law was that they couldn't fall in love. Why??? It would be interesting to know why that came about. Did the Alder King get scorned by a mortal lover and ruin the fun for everyone? Like any backstory on the Good Law and especially on the Alder King would have made this book better. Especially since the whole book was about Rook and Isobel breaking the Good Law!!!

That's just questions I have based on what's in the summary. And not even all the questions I have based on just the summary.

I feel like I have said in several reviews that sometimes getting history lessons on these fictional worlds in the story makes my eyes glaze over. I was PRAYING for some history in this book because I feel like so much more of this book would make sense to me if I just knew WHY.

And this book has a bit of a journey in it, which was rather dull. And obnoxious because it seemed like they could walk through a whole court in a day. I feel like they were travelling for like two days and they made it from Whimsy to the autumnlands, got sidetracked by the Wild Hunt, detoured through the summerlands (which were decaying for some reason and it seemed to be a problem, but who the hell knows why??), fought a barrow mound monster, slowly travelled back to the autumnlands because Rook got injured, and then changed their plan all together and went to the spring court. Or something like that. And they slept!!! There was time for that!!

Despite all that, I found that I kind of enjoyed the book while I was reading it. BUT I don't think that I can say that that feeling really lived past closing the book.

What did I like about this book?? I guess I kind of liked the characters. I liked Isobel and Rook. And I was rooting for them to be together (despite having so. many. questions about them).

Overall, this book just wasn't for me. If there had been more history, explanations, explorations of ANYTHING in this book, I think that I would have loved it. I think it had SO much potential, but definitely didn't live up to the hype for me.

Have you read An Enchantment of Ravens yet? What did you think?

Review: Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz

Monday, October 16, 2017

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384

Summary (from Goodreads):

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines. 

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

AMONG THE RED STARS has quite possibly been my #1 most anticipated book of 2017 since the second I heard about it. I probably say this a lot, but I LOVE WWII historical fiction. Even better when it's about badass women. And the Russian Night Witches were DEFINITELY badass women.

I don't even know where to start with this book. I have been let down by so many of my most anticipated books this year that I was almost scared to start it. But I shouldn't have been worried because it was just as wonderful as I imagined it to be.

When Valka hears about an all-women aviation group starting up at the beginning of the war (run by one of her heroes, no less!) she and her cousin, Iskra, hitch a ride to Moscow to sign up. They both make it into Aviation Group 122 and after training, both are assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, which became known as the Night Witches.

The story is told mostly from Valka's point of view, but is also told in letters between Valka and her sweeheart on the front lines, Pasha.

This book has so much going for it. The characters are wonderful (and a majority of them were REAL people). I can't think of a single character that I really didn't like in this book. I loved the relationship between Valka and Pasha. Pasha is so shy and sweet. I would like one Pasha for myself, please. I also loved all the friendships built between the women in Aviation Group 122.

But as this is a book about the war, there were definitely a few heartbreaking moments. Friends are lost, hard missions are assigned. It can get kinda sad.

Is it weird that my favorite part of the book might have been the Author's Note at the end? Yes, you learn a lot from reading the actual book, but I feel like the Author's Notes in historical fiction novels are where you learn the most. The fictional part of the book is fun, but knowing the parts that are real history is so amazing. Especially when it's something that's news to you!

Overall, this is SUCH an amazing book! I will never do it justice in a review. I want so badly to word vomit onto this post and tell you every little thing about this book that makes it so so amazing, but if I did that there would be no need for you to read the book and the book is infinitely better than my ramblings. So hopefully I have written just enough to peak your interest to read the book yourself. If you are like me and loooooooove WWII historical fiction, I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

Have you read AMONG THE RED STARS yet? If you haven't, you should. Stay tuned for an A Glimpse Back in Time post that may or may not contain a chance for you to win a copy of your own. ;)
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