The End of the Year Book Tag

Hi! It’s wild, but 2017 is almost over. I’ve been rethinking my reading the last couple of weeks and focusing on which books I really, really want to get to before the end of the year. So I thought this tag would be the perfect thing to do. This tag was created by Ariel Bissett.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

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There are three books I’ve left unfinished this year: Walden by Henry David Thoreau, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgaokov. While I do plan on finishing all of them at some point, none of them are a priority right now.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Since autumn is nearly over I don’t plan to read any more autumnal books this year, but I highly recommend: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. A fantasy standalone about a portrait artist favored by the fair folk, who’s taken to the autumnlands by the autumn prince himself – to stand trial.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

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Yes! I’m still anticipating The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden.

Release date: December 5th.

Arden’s debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale is my favorite 2017 release and I’m so happy, grateful and excited that the sequel will also be released this year. Katherine Arden must be some kind of superwoman!

 

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

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The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

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Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Since my favorite book of 2017 has become my favorite book of all time, I’m pretty confident it will remain my favorite of the year. But of all the books I have left on my TBR for the year this is the one I’m the most excited about. It has so many elements that appeal to me as a reader: mountains, explorers, dragons, witches, magic… And it’s inspired by the early climbers of Mount Everest! I can’t wait to read it.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

If you can call planning on not having plans a plan? In 2018 I want my reading to be fun and free. I’m not going to worry about TBR’s or reading goals or be afraid of the bigger books of my shelf. I’m just going to read whatever I want, whenever I want. Quantity isn’t everything

Have you read any of the books I plan to read by the end of the year and what did you think of them? What books do you still want to get to in 2017?

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T5W: Problematic Faves

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads. This week’s theme is problematic faves: characters you don’t want to love, but can’t help liking. While I certainly wouldn’t say I like all the characters on this list, I definitely loved reading about them.

5. Bellatrix LeStrange from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

Of all the fantastic villains in the Harry Potter series, Bellatrix is my favorite. While I certainly wouldn’t say that I like her – she is a cruel, sadistic murderer after all – I definitely love to hate her. I think a lot of my love/hate for this characters comes from the movie version. Helena Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix is completely unhinged: she’s wild, mad and dangerous. But on the screen that makes her utterly compelling.

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4. Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin

Another character I don’t exactly like. There’s no arguing that Cersei’s not a terrible person. But there’s something about an angry, power-hungry woman in a world dominated by men that I can’t help rooting for. A little bit. Once in a while. Also, I’m a Slytherin and Cersei Lannister is Slytherin AF: ambitious, cunning and ruthless.

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3. Amy Elliot-Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I don’t like Amy either. In real life I’d be terrified of her. But as a character – I love her. She might be an evil genius, but that’s still you know: a genius. And she does have some pretty admirable qualities: she’s patient, cool-headed and an excellent planner.

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2. Katherine Pierce from the Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith

(I’ve haven’t read the Vampire Diaries, and to be honest: I don’t plan to – so this is all about the Katherine Pierce from the TV-show.)

Katherine is arguably the main antagonist of the series. She’s cold, ruthless and selfish; her first and often only priority is self-preservation. But she has the best hair, the best shoes and all the best lines, so we forgive her. #TeamPetrova

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1. Marisa Coulter from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Don’t take this the wrong way, but Marisa Coulter is goals. She’s a intelligent, well-educated woman who’s risen to a position of power in a incredibly male-dominated field. She’s ambitious and driven, she’ll stop at nothing to achieve her goals. But while she has a lot of admirable qualities she’s also completely amoral and a master manipulator who’ll stab anyone in the back if it serves her interests.

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Who are your problematic faves? If you have a T5W post up please leave your link below, so I can check it out. Villains and anti-heroes/heroines are my favorites, so I’d love some recommendations!

New Releases: November 2017

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Hi! I only had 5 book on my radar for November. Well, that was until I started looking for books to include in this post. Now I’ve added nearly 15 more books to my wishlist. I’m very excited for new releases from some authors who’s books I adore, such as Janet Fitch, Marissa Meyer and Tahereh Mafi.

November 7th:

18336972.jpgHere We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen Taliah never thought she’d really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother’s out of the country, the famed rock star shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown, to meet his father, who’s nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

33509082.jpgThe November Girl by Lydia Kang

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

 

 

33914005.jpgThe Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her.

 

33155339.jpgKids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.

 

 

28421168.jpgRenegades by Marissa Meyer

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies, humans with extraordinary abilities, who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone, except the villains they overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she’s on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza 33877998

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

33843235Eight Days on Planet Earth by Cat Jordan

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to return to pick her up.

Of course she is.

 

33510013.jpgThe Ocean in My Ears by Meagan Macvie

Meri lives in Soldotna, Alaska, where the most riveting activities for a teenager are salmon fishing and grabbing a Big Gulp at 7-Eleven. More than anything, she wants to hop in her VW Bug and head somewhere exciting, like New York or L.A.

Her senior year should be all boys, SAT prep, and prom drama, but Meri feels more and more distance between herself and the people she loves. Her grandma dies, her brother gets hurt, and her best friend’s spending hrt time with some guy. As she struggles with family, grief, friends, and hormones, Meri must decide if she’s really ready for the world beyond her backyard.

36164190.jpgThese Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry and for impressionable teenage girls. He operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two more Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

 

34606064.jpgJade City by Fonda Lee

Magical jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

33876540.jpgBonfire by Krysten Ritter

It’s been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, her life begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to a decade old scandal involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell.

34523120.jpgThe Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch

St. Petersburg, New Year’s Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers’ rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn.

 

 

November 14th:

31563982.jpgWhichwood by Tahereh Mafi

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

 

33914011.jpgGoldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas

In the wild, free woods of the Hinterlands, where magic is as real as stories are, there lives a girl named Goldeline. Goldeline has hair as white as summer snow and gold-flecked eyes, and she travels from camp to camp with Gruff and his bandits.

But someone is after Goldeline. The Preacher—the man who wants to cleanse the Hinterlands of anyone who’s different and turned the Townies against Goldeline’s momma for being a witch. He thinks that Goldeline must be a witch, too.

 

32718027.jpgThe City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty 

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an mysterious djinn warrior during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale, of Daevabad, the legendary city of brass. A city to which Nahri is bound.

32484322.jpgThe Traitor’s Crux by Jessica Prather

In a country ravaged by years of war, plague, and death, witches and wizards are blamed for the state of the world and hunted by the U.S. government. Kenadee Coria was only a young girl when her brother was taken prisoner for having magical powers.

Now sixteen years old, Kenadee discovers she too has magical powers and must face the facts: the government is watching, and they have plans for her. She’s given a deadly mission and an impossible ultimatum: the lives of a hidden group of magic refugees, or the safe return of her long-lost brother.

34928122.jpgArtemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.

33574161.jpgBeasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Are any of these books on your TBR as well? 

October Wrap Up

Hi! October’s been a fantastic reading month for me, but I didn’t realize how fantastic until I sat down to write this wrap-up and counted 28 books read. Which is why this post is a little later than I’d planned. So yeah, prepare yourself for a lot of opinions about a lot of books. I’m going to start with the books I enjoyed the least and finish with my favorites of the month.

17661416Made You Up by Francesca Zappia – 2 stars

I read Francesca Zappia’s second novel Eliza and her Monsters earlier this year and absolutely adored it. So my expectations where high going into this one, I was so sure I’d love it. Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all. I had so many problems with it, not least of which was the portrayal of schizophrenia. I’m not qualified to point out the inaccuracies portrayed in this book, but if you want to know more about it check out this review written by a mental health professional.

 

18584855.jpgHeartless by Marissa Meyer – 2 stars

I’m actually impressed that Marissa Meyer managed to make Wonderland so fucking boring. All our heroine, the future Queen of Hearts, does is think about what cakes she wants to bake and wallow in self pity because she doesn’t want to marry the king. Yes, there’s a boy and a monster and adventure, but I never cared about any of it. There were no real stakes. If the point of the novel is to explore how the sweet Lady Catherine became the cruel Queen of Hearts, I think it fails. Sure, we see the events that got her there. But the internal change was juts too extreme and sudden to be credible. This needed a lot more character development and a lot more wonder to wow me.

23638955.jpgPretty Baby by Mary Kubica – 3 stars

I read two of Mary Kubic’s thrillers this month and this one, about a woman who inserts herself into the life of a young, homeless mother she meets at the train station, was my least favorite. Which has more to do with my personal preferences than quality. This isn’t a bad novel, it’s just centered around themes that I personally don’t enjoy reading about such as child abuse and motherhood. That being said I really like a lot of things about this book. It’s slowly paced, but the tension never stops building until it reaches it’s breaking point. And once it does, it delivers.

29981261The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison – 3 stars

Our main characters is kidnapped by a serial killer who’s called ‘The Gardener’ by his victims. He tattoos butterflies on the girls he takes and keeps them trapped in his greenhouse for years of abuse before killing them. Obviously this was a very dark and disturbing novel to read. It truly creeped me out. But the ending didn’t live up to the beginning.

 

 

8051458.jpgThe Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell – 3 stars

This is a book I read only because of Halloween. It’s a dystopian featuring zombies, which is really not my thing. This one also has some western vibes thrown in, which isn’t really my thing either. So no one will be shocked when I say this book wasn’t really my thing. It is however excellently written and probably very interesting if you’re into zombies or westerns or both.

 

 

35890397.jpgIt by Stephen King – 3 stars

I don’t like books with child protagonists, anything about the 80’s, clowns or Stephen King’s novels. So I decided to read It… and I kind of liked it??? This is so weird. Ben and Bev are my new OTP  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

23346377.jpgIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – 3,5 stars

In this thriller a woman is invited to the bachelorette party of her former best friend, it ends in murder. I was surprised by how much I liked this book, it’s a fun and fast-paced thriller that keeps you guessing ’till the end. I’ll definitely be picking up more of Ruth Ware’s thrillers soon!

 

 

 

18509623.jpgThe Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco – 3,5 stars

This ghost-story based on a Japanese legend is told from the perspective of the ghost herself. I love Rin Chupeco’s writing, The Bone Witch’s one of my favorite books of the year, so I was super excited to read this one for Halloween. The first part of this novel is set in America and follows a boy with a curse, his cousin and of course our ghost. In the second half the characters travel to Japan in hopes of breaking the curse, and this is really where the story got interesting for me. I loved exploring Japanese culture and mythology along with the characters, I just wish the whole book had been as good as the second half.

32890474.jpgThe Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember – 3,5 stars

This is a F/F retelling of The Little Mermaids inspired by Norse mythology. I love mermaids and I love Norse myths – so I knew I’d enjoy this. Though 3,5 stars isn’t the highest rating, this is the best mermaid book I’ve ever read (Why is my luck with mermaids books still the worst???) There’s nothing about it I don’t like, the characters are great, the plot is great, the romance is great. There’s just not enough of it for me. I wish this book had been longer so I could’ve really immersed myself in it.

 

33230997.jpgBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – 4 stars

Thrillers always have blurbs that promise unexpected and shocking endings, but they rarely live up to the hype. This one left me gaping. It’s been weeks since I read it and I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. So, fair warning, this book requires some suspension of disbelief. There’s some weird stuff going on here. In a good way. I think.

 

 

26047310Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – 4 stars

This book is quite the mix of genres, a YA-fantasy-western inspired by Arabic myths and folklore. It might sound strange, but it works! Plotwise it’s pretty typical YA fantasy, but Hamilton’s created such an interesting world full of magic and danger that it stands out nonetheless.

 

 

 

28220892.jpgVassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – 4 stars

This is definitely the strangest book I read this month, if not this year. A YA Urban Fantasy set in Brooklyn, featuring Baba Yaga as the owner of the creepiest convenience store in town. I won’t even try to explain what’s going on in this one. If you like the dark and creepy weirdness of Russian folklore, you’ll love this.

 

 

29385546.jpgWarcross by Marie Lu – 4 stars

I used to play Donkey Kong obsessively when I was 8 years old and that’s the extent of my gaming career. So books about video games aren’t something I’m usually drawn to, but this one caught my attention. It’s set in bright and neon-lit future New York and Japan and follows rainbow haired Emika as she’s drawn into a world of fame, danger and dark conspiracies. I got more and more invested in the story towards the end, so I’ll be checking out the sequel when it’s released.

 

17926775.jpgStolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen – 4 stars

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse by marrying their prince.

I really enjoyed this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy novel about trolls before, so that was really fun. I love seeing different kind of magical creatures in books, not just the typical fae, vampires and werewolves. I also really like the romance in this, it’s the kind of slow burn hate to love, I can’t resist.

25365530.jpgGood Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – 4 stars

I’ve been on such a thriller binge this month and this is the book that started it. Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Now she’s in jail and Milly is the one who put her there. In this book we follow Milly as she adjusts to her new life without her mother, but with her mother’s voice always present in her head. I loved this book, it’s so different from any other thriller I’ve read. If you’re looking for a fast-paced page-turner – this is not that. But if you want a beautifully written and darkly fascinating character study, I recommend picking this one up.

 

34643773.jpgUnder the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – 4 stars

There’s a lot of books out there about the fae and this is the most stunningly original one I’ve read yet. It’s set in an alternate version of history in which English explorers have discovered the land of the fae: Arcadia. Our MC’s brother is a missionary who’s traveled to Arcadia to spread the word of God and save the souls of the fae. When she goes to visit him there she’s drawn into a mystery that gets increasingly dark and strange the deeper she digs. I really enjoyed this one. It’s such an interesting take on the Gothic novel and on the fae as well. It was a perfect Halloween read, so atmospheric and quite gruesome in parts.  I just wasn’t prepared for how biblical it would be. There’s a lot of quite academic theology in here that didn’t exactly have me on the edge of my seat.

3682.jpgA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – 4 stars

This  YA Victorian boarding school novel is kind of like Jane Eyre meets Gossip girl, with some magic sprinkled on top. I’m usually not a fan of novels set in Victorian times, that weren’t written during that period. But this one really worked for me. It’s such a fun read, full of mystery, magic and intrigue.

 

 

31920647.jpgGood Behavior by Blake Crouch – 4 stars

Good Behavior is my favorite tv-show and with season 2 around the corner – I finally picked up the book it’s based on. Thief and con-woman Letty Dobesh is an anti-heroine it’s impossible not to root for, as she lands herself in one sticky situation after another. All three of the interlinked novellas collected in this book are exactly what I wanted: fast-paced, wildly entertaining and full of unexpected twists and turns.

 

 

15837671.jpgTurtles All the Way Down by John Green – 4 stars

It’s been 4 years since the last time I read a John Green novel, so I was equal parts nervous and excited to read his new release. YA contemporaries are not something I read as much of or enjoy as much as I used to, but I should’ve known this would be one of the exception. This was one of those slow burns for me. At first I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but then it reached an unexpectedly emotional crescendo and I fell head over heels. I’m happy to say I still love John Green’s writing.

 

27833670.jpgDark Matter by Blake Crouch – 4 stars

This is one of those books where it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible and just enjoy the experience of having your mind well and truly blown. I know I did.

 

 

 

 

17378527The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – 4 stars

I FINALLY FINISHED A SERIES! I FINALLY FINISHED A SERIES! I FINALLY FINISHED A SERIES! I FINALLY FINISHED A SERIES! I can’t really say much about this book without spoling the previous books in the series, so I’ll just say that I really enjoyed it. While it’s not my favorite in the series, I think it’s a mostly satisfying conclusion to an amazing story. I’m really going to miss Henrietta!

 

 

18812405.jpgThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica – 4,5 stars

This is my favorite of Mary Kubica’s books so far and my favorite adult thriller of the month. It’s told in alternating chapters of the young woman who’s been kidnapped, her mother, the detective who’s investigating her case and her kidnapper. It’s also split into before and after, which made things a little confusing to begin with, (Especially since I listened to it on audiobook) but once I got into it – I loved this story. It might not have the most intricate plot (Even I guessed the ending, and I’m terrible at that), but the characters are so well-crafted and interesting, that it didn’t bother me one bit.

28245707.jpgQueens of Geek by Jen Wilde – 4,5 stars

This YA contemporary about three bestfriends who spend a weekend at the con of their dreams really stole my heart. It’s told from the perspective of the two girls of the duo, Charlie and Taylor, in alternating chapters. It’s so full of friendship, romance and pop culture it’s impossible not to read it with a big, dumb grin on your face. It’s just so cute. But it also tackles some important themes and offer some awesome diverse representation. Thank you so much for recommending it to me, Winter!

 

36280154Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – 4,5 stars

Practical Magic was one of my favorite movies as kid, and one of the first DVD’s I ever owned – I used to watch it over and over again. But for some reason it took me this long to finally read the novel it’s based on. If you’ve seen the movie you know this is a story about two sisters with magical powers and their rocky path to true love. There’s a lot of differences between the book and the movie, perhaps the biggest being that the magic in the book is much more subtle. But I love both versions of the Owens sister’s story, and all the other strange and wonderful Owens women too.

30969741.jpgAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – 5 stars

This book was such a sweet and wonderful little surprise. It’s so beautifully written and utterly charming – I just adore it.

The fair folk are immortal, powerful and dangerous – but the cannot create without crumbling to dust. Therefore they desire and value human craft highly. Isobel is a portrait artist who’s highly esteemed among them. But when she paints a portrait of the Prince of Autumn she makes a mistake, one that sends them both on a wild and dangerous journey through the fae lands.

32259911First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy – 5 stars

This novel about four friends who decide to start a secret society is everything I never knew I wanted in a YA thriller. It’s all secrets and mysteries and anger and revenge and murder. I was hooked on page one and my interest never waned. I kept turning pages as fast as I could, desperate to discover how it all would end. And damn, that ending ripped my heart out.

 

 

35611140.jpgInvictus by Ryan Graudin – 5 stars

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD. He and his crew travel through time, plundering historical events for valuable artifacts. When they land on the Titanic to steal a book worth millions a mysterious girl is already there – waiting for them. She’s got a mission of her own, that’s about to change all their lives.

This is such a fun and entertaining adventure novel where the twists never stop coming. I love the future world Ryan Graudin’s created where time travel is a lucrative business, I love every single weirdo on the rag-tag crew of the Invictus, I love the historical settings we got to visit, I really, really love the red panda. I love all of it. A lot.

30079439 (1).jpgSpellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle – 5 stars

The highest compliment I can give a piece of fiction, whether it’s a book, a movie or a tv-show, is that it feels more real than real life. That’s the feeling I’m always chasing, the reason I love stories, the reason I’m a reader. This book felt more real than real life. When I finished it I had that feeling you get when you walk out of a movie-theater into bright daylight. Nothing I say about it will do it justice. Just read it if you want to believe in magic.

 

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear what you thought of them. And what were your favorite reads in October?

T5W: Scary non-horror books

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads. This month all the topics are Halloween themed and this week’s theme is Non-horror books that scared you. There’s a lot of non-fiction books on my list this time. I guess truth isn’t just stranger than fiction. It’s also a lot scarier.

332895715. Traveling With Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler

Shannon Leone Fowler’s fiancé Sean was killed by a box jellyfish in Thailand. The scenes in which she describes what happened are more spine chilling than Jaws, but the scariest part is how badly the situation was handled by authorities, who not only tried to label Sean’s death a drunk-drowning, but also failed to warn tourists against swimming, resulting in another death on the same beach the very next day.

 

 

193244504. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer’s first-hand account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which killed 8 people, is equal parts terrifying and devastating. It really reminds you that humanity is no match for the forces of nature.

 

 

 

 

135471803. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This memoir about the authors own experience suffering from an autoimmune disease in which her body attacked her brain is truly terrifying reading. Losing control of one’s mind is something I think all people fear and one of the scariest things I can imagine.

 

 

 

70535 (1)2. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C Clarke’s masterpiece is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the scariest. Not only is the vastness of space terrifying in itself, but imagine being alone on a spaceship with an AI that wants to kill you…

 

 

 

 

218536361. All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Romy Grey was raped by the sheriff’s son. As terrifying as that is what’s truly chilling about this novel isn’t the rape itself, but it’s aftermath. Romy is bullied, slut-shamed and branded a liar for her accusations, which unfortunately is the reality for a lot of rape survivors in real life as well.

 

 

 

What’s the scariest non-horror book you’ve ever read?

Book Haul + Try A Chapter Tag

Hello! I have a small haul of shiny new pretties that I’m very excited about. I want to read them all right away, so to help me decide which one to start with I’m going to do the Try a Chapter Tag. I think the title sums it up pretty well – you pick a selection of books, read the first chapter and pick which ones you’re the most interested in. It was created by Malia at Book Paradise.

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The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

There’s something very cinematic about the first chapter of The Nowhere Girls. The opening shot is a panoramic view of the city, then it zooms in on one of our main characters – new girl Grace, before jumping to Erin, then Rosina. Once we’ve been introduced to all our main girls and gotten some insight into their lives and personalities, the camera zooms out again, taking us on a quick tour around the city, allowing us tiny glimpses into the lives of a handful other, unnamed girls. I really like the way the author’s chosen to introduce us the setting and characters. I know this book tackles some very important topics and I’m curious to see if it does so well.

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

This books opens with a father telling his daughter a story about a land of magical trees and the people who ruined it with their desire to exploit it. The father is the ruler of a small kingdom threatened by a great conqueror, the daughter is to marry the great king. In typical fantasy fashion there’s a lot of information to take in in the first chapter, there’s world building, characters to introduce and plot to set up. While the plot isn’t the most original (so far), I really like the characters and the setting. So I’m hopeful I’ll really enjoy this one as well.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Our main character is reading fan fiction in her pajamas when an emergency alarm starts blaring – an asteroid is about to slam into the space ship she’s the sole passenger of. In addition to seeing her deal with this threat, we get some backstory on how she ended up alone in space and a glimpse into what her daily routine is like. I think this will be a very fascinating read, not only because it’s set in space – which always captures my imagination. But also as an exploration of the emotional and psychological consequences of such extreme isolation.

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

We’re dropped right in the middle of the action in the opening chapter of First We Were IV. Our main character is kicking wildly to get out of the grips of a police officer. Her friends are also being arrested. There’s a bloody dagger on the ground, a mysterious idol on top of a burial mound and somebody is dead. This chapter if absolutely drenched in foreshadowing and I love it. It might be a cheap trick, but I don’t care. I’m completely enthralled by this book already.

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

The first chapter of Under the Pendulum Sun takes us into an alternate version of history, in which English explorers have discovered the land of the fae: Arcadia. Our main character Catherine and her brother Laon used to play explorers as children. Now Laon has journeyed to Arcadia as a missionary to spread the word of God and in the first chapter Catherine is on her way to visit him. There’s something quite Gothic and eerie about this novel, an undercurrent of darkness that let’s the reader know all is not as it appears. I’m very intrigued by this world and can’t wait to dive in deeper.

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

Ah, love at first sight. There’s something so lush and atmospheric about Popović’s writing that really speaks to my soul. Her words drew me in so easily and made this world come alive in my head. In the first chapter we meet Iris, who’s sneaking into her house after a wild night, and her sister Malina, who’s sound asleep in her bed. After just one chapter I already feel like I know these sisters: their differences and similarities, their likes and dislikes, their hopes and fears, and care what happens to them. It’s rare for me to feel so invested in a story so early on. That combined with the fantastic writing style maks me think this could easily be a new favorite.

Conlusion:

Wicked Like a Wildfire won my heart and First We Were IV piqued my curiosity. Knowing me curiosity will probably trump heart when I decide which to read first – but I’m equally excited about both. I’d also like to get to Under the Pendulum Sun soon. I think it could potentially get quite dark, so perhaps I’ll read it in time for Halloween.

Which one would you most like to read? If you’ve already read some, please tell me what you thought of them! 

T5W: Books Featuring Creatures from Folklore

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads. This month all the topics are Halloween themed and this week’s theme is paranormal creatures. I couldn’t decide on just one paranormal creature to include when there are so many interesting ones to choose from. So I made my topic creatures from folklore, since that’s where most of our paranormal creatures have their origins.

21396155.jpg5. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Jessica Khoury’s fantastic Aladdin retelling is told from the Jinni’s POV. Zahra’s been trapped in her lamp for hundreds of years, until a thief find her in the ruins of the palace where she once served and betrayed a great Queen. To win her freedom, she must again play the betrayer.

 

 

8694389.jpg4. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Most of Catherynne M. Valented’s books are populated by fascinating creatures. In Deathless she weaves Russian folklore and history into a strange and magical tale about a girl who becomes the bride of Koschei the Deathless. We also meet Stalinist house elves, rusalkas, leshy and of course – Baba Yaga – with her hut on chicken legs.

 

 

25203675.jpg3. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queens is a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth drenched in the magic and mystery of Indian folklore. Maya doesn’t want to marry, she’s been cursed with a horoscope that promises she’ll have a marriage of death and destruction. But when a mysterious suitor offers to whisk her away to the magical world of her bedtime stories, she sees a chance to create her own fate outside her father’s harem.

 

6369113.jpg2. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is the Queen of inventing fantastical worlds and populating them with strange and wonderful creatures. In this underrated little gem we are invited into three such worlds where we meet three more or less ordinary girls, who each experience something extraordinary.

This book is beautifully illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo.

 

25493853.jpg1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Set in Medieval Russia this dark and magical fairytale features lot of creatures from Russian folklore. Vasilisa, our heroine, can see these creatures and talks to them. The people in her village leave them offerings. Her stepmother calls them demons. The new priest is determined to exorcise them and save the village. In the woods, an old evil is waking up.

 

 

Have you read any of these books? What’s your favorite novels inspired by folklore?