Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best Books of 2017!

It's that time of year again! 2017 is almost over and this year I'll be doing my top 7s from 2017! These are all in my opinion!

Best Books from 2017*

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Traveler by L.E DeLano
3. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
4. The Battlemage by Taran Matharu
5. Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
6. Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
7. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

*Note: These are my top choices of books I've read that were published in 2017.

Best Covers from 2017*

1. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright
2. Hunted by Meagan Spooner
3. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
4. Roar by Cora Carmack
5. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
6. Windwitch by Susan Dennard
7. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

*Note: The amount of time this section took was astounding.

Best Characters from 2017*

1. Rhysand from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Julian Blackthorn from Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
3. Finn from Traveler by L.E. DeLano
4-5. Cassian and Azriel from a Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
6. Maven Calore from King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
7. Mark Blackthorn from Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

*Characters based on books I read that were published in 2017

And finally, here are my top 17 books that I read in 2017, regardless of publication year.

Top 17 Overall Books of 2017

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
3. The Queen's Rising (ARC) by Rebecca Ross
4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
5. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
6. The Fever Code by James Dashner
7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
8. Traveler by L.E. DeLano
9. Dreamer (ARC) by L.E. DeLano
10. Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
11. Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
12. Catalyst by Lydia Kang
13. Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes
14.  The Novice by Taran Matharu
15. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
16. It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
17. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The 17 overall was nearly impossible to figure out because I'm positive I'll never be able to organize them perfectly. I read 66 books over the year (including rereads) and picking just 17 of those is ridiculously stressful. I loved all of the books above and suggest all of them!

It's been a good year, getting to read all these amazing and beautiful (and some not so amazing and beautiful) books. I look forward to a great 2018 filled with all new books. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Debut Author Bash - Rebecca Ross

35098412When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

1. Q: Which passion would you pick and why?

A: I would definitely be a passion of knowledge (although I think dramatics have the most fun!).

2. Q: What gave you inspiration for your world (books, movies, etc.)?

A: Since I'm a very visual person, I glean a lot of inspiration from Pinterest; I have a board for TQR that is full of landscapes and castles and costumes. I think there is something about the Renaissance that really draws me; I love the thought of culture going through a rebirth. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is one of my favorite books ever, and I loved the world she created in that story. And I'm also a huge fan of the movie Ever After! I think all of these things really built up my own imagination.

3. Q: Which character do you relate to the most?

A: I relate the most to Brienna. I feel like she and I would be pretty good friend in real life :)

4. Q: Will we learn more about Brienna’s passion-sisters or Cartier?

A: Yes! You will definitely learn more about Cartier in the second installment. And Brienna's passion-sisters are some of my favorite characters, so I hope to also do more with them.

5. Q: Do you have any writing habits?

A: I must always have a drink with me when I'm writing. I typically have coffee, water, herbal tea, and kombucha on my desk (sometimes all of those at one time!).

6. Q: What kind of research did you do for The Queen’s Rising?

A: Here are a few things I did research on before I got started writing: clothes, music, castles, food, medieval swordsmanship. I feel like most fantasy is grounded in history, and while I didn't use all of my research, it definitely provided a good jumping off point for me to get started writing.

7. Q: What kind of books do you read in your freetime?

A: I love to read fantasy in my spare time.

8. Q: Do you have an author you always read/a favourite author?

A: My top two favorite authors are Juliet Marillier and Melina Marchetta. They know how to write characters and create worlds like no one else (and they also have both made me ugly cry in their books).

9. Q: What can we look forward to from you in the future?

A: Definitely more stories! TQR is a trilogy, and I'm actually going through edits for Book 2 right now. Book 2 is a direct sequel (not a companion book).

10. Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: My advice for aspiring writers is to write. And I know that sounds simple, but you really must learn how to dedicate time to getting words on the page. You don't have to necessarily write every day (although I do feel like it helps turn it into a good habit), but you must hone the discipline to write even when you don't feel like it. You learn the most about crafting a novel by going through the whole process: the beginning, the middle, the end. And be prepared to rewrite. All good writing is rewriting.

And a Giveaway!!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Review

Image result for the song of achilles
**Quotes based on the US paperback
“Name one hero who was can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I can’t”
“I know. They never let you be famous and happy...I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.” He took my palm and held it to his. “Swear it.”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re the reason…” (pg. 104-105)

The Song of Achilles tells a twist of The Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus. It follows the life of Patroclus from being a young, simple prince and all the way through the Trojan War. It tells a heartbreaking tale of him meeting Achilles and the progression of their relationship from strangers to companions to something more. 

I latched onto this story from the very start. In my freshman year of high school, before I knew this book even existed, I wrote a retelling of The Iliad where Achilles and Patroclus were implied lovers, but never explicitly said so. When I heard of this book, I knew I had to read it. This story was beautifully tragic and wonderfully heartbreaking. In the beginning, Patroclus is so depressing (yet somehow humorous) that you can’t help but feel bad for him and the bad luck the Fates seemed to bestow on him. 

“She wants you to be a god,” I told him.
“I know.” (pg. 55)

Watching Achilles grow in his experiences from a perspective other than Homer’s is unexpected and something I welcome. Seeing him embrace Patroclus as a friend so readily was so heartwarming. 

Thetis. The wrath I felt for the minor goddess was not something I had anticipated. She clearly loved Achilles and the fact that she wanted him to become a god is something I had never looked at before. Heracles became one, so why shouldn’t he? Her disdain for Patroclus was gut-wrenching and left me tense with every interaction. By the end, I was almost completely over her character, but the last few pages left me feeling only grief for the goddess.

“There is no law that gods must be fair, Achilles,” Chiron said. “And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone. Do you think?” (pg. 84)

It was when the war came that I truly began to feel the full weight of this book. Anyone who has read The Iliad or read up a little on Greek stories/history knows there is only one way for this book to end. I saw a deep change in Achilles during the Trojan War. He was no longer the same innocent boy and he knew what the war would mean. Not only for himself, but for Patroclus. In the war, it is the first time Achilles feels the full weight of his mortality as realization sets in that he will not be a god.

Achilles was looking at me. “Your hair never quite lies flat here.” He touched my head, just behind my ear. “I don’t think I’ve ever told you how I like that.” (pg. 182)

Patroclus makes it clear to the reader that he has no intention of surviving the war or ever leaving Troy. He will do anything to keep Achilles alive and even goes as far as to keep him from killing Hector. It is a running theme during the war for Achilles to claim he has no reason to kill Hector. It is obvious that he is doing this not only to buy time from the Fates, but to remain with Patroclus for as long as possible. 

The time in war weighs heavily on Achilles and even starts to change who he is. His hubris begins to consume him as he realizes that the gods never promised how much or why he will have fame. Patroclus fears that people will remember him for the wrong things, the terrible things he does in war instead of the Achilles he knows and loves. There is even a time in which Patroclus considers suicide in a fit of rage to punish Achilles for his selfishness. 

I forced my voice to match his in lightness. “I’m sure you’re right. After all, Hector hasn’t done anything to you.”
He smiled then, as I had hoped he would. “Yes,” he said. “I’ve heard that.” (pg. 247)

This book was the most beautiful book I have ever read. I could read the story of Achilles and Patroclus and still cry at the end. That is how amazing this is. I could go as far to say that this is now my favourite book and that I play to read it many many more times in the future. The Song of Achilles truly makes you appreciate the time you have while on earth, however short it may be. 

Achilles makes a sound like choking. “There are no bargains between lions and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.” (pg. 344)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mini Reviews - November

The Queen's Rising (Untitled Trilogy #1) (ARC) by Rebecca Ross
Without giving too much away, I adored this. I can't wait for everyone to be able to pick this up and jump into Brienna's life! This book is full of magic and adventure that every fantasy lover absolutely needs to get their hands on!

Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy #1) by Chani Lynn Feener
I make my love for this book no secret. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres and throwing hot aliens into the mix just makes it 110% better. Main character Delaney is so awesome, I just can't get enough of her. Seeing what an alien culture would be like without all of the corruption and change humans would bring is facsinating. Book two comes out July 24th 2018 and I am more than ready to get my hands on it!

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifacts #2) by Cassandra Clare
This book once again throws us into the lives of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn (who is, let's face it, perfect). If the entire book was written in Julian's POV I would love it so much more, but apparently multipul POVs is the hit new thing and we're forced to read about Livvy, Ty, and Kit as well. I love them as much as the next character, but they get in the way of me reading about Julian and Emma, which makes me just want to skip their chapters. Not to mention a certain something that Clary brings up in this book that sent me reeling. I am now incredibly nervous for Queen of Air and Darkness.

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff
Jay Kristoff is amazing. His world building skills are on point and, for the most part, I love his characters. Mia, beautiful character. Mr. Kindly, not only an amazing character but perhaps my favourite. Furian, I wanted so much more of him, he had so much untapped potential. However, I cannot get past how biblical his writing is. By this I mean that I have a hard time understanding one paragraph and find myself gravitating to the dialogue more than anything. Mia and Ashlinn were a fun plot, but I can't find it in me to trust anything Ashlinn says and, for this alone, I didn't like them together.

The Piper's Price (The Neverland Wars #2) by Audrey Greathouse
Neverland has always been a special kind of world. In a way, I think it's one of the first fantasy worlds we learn about as child, so reading this as an adult is such a different experience. Gwen and Peter are adorable together and if I had one complaint about this book it would be that I didn't get more of them together. With the amount of twist and turns in this, my head was swimming with theories and assumptions almost the entire time!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mini Reviews - October

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi 
This is always my go-to book to read when I have a book slump. I adore Warner and with the upcoming 4th book, I just had to immerse myself in this world again. His relationship with Juliet is so heartbreaking and beautiful it's hard not to fall in love with it over and over again.

The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
I finally decided to read Crooked Kingdom, so naturally I read Six of Crows as well. If both books were entirely from the point of view of Kaz, I don't think I would have been disappointed, but I still loved both books. Kaz and Inej have so much depth to their characters that I can't help but want more about their lives and relationship, especially after reading the last page of Crooked Kingdom. I can only hope that there will be more of them in the future!

Fire Falling (Air Awakens #2) by Elise Kova
This wasn't as amazing as the first book, but it was still fantastic. For some reason I didn't realize how much older Aldrik was than Vhalla and that made me pause for a while, but after the initial realization I got over it and went straight back to loving them. I have no idea why it took me so long to read this other than the fact that now I have to go buy the third book. The last page was a bit of a disappointment and not near as panic-inducing as intended.

Dreamer (Traveler #2) (ARC) by L.E. DeLano
I make my love for the first book no big surprise, so the fact that I love this one as well came as no shock. Finn and Jessa have to be one of my OTPs, but throughout the entire book I couldn't get it out of my mind that I was somehow betraying the original Finn. I love Pirate Finn, but the fact that he wasn't, dare I say, my Finn made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I get that he's essentially the same person in every reality, but it was at the back of my mind from page one. As much as I want to love Ben, he angered me so much with his clinginess to Jessa. This book was overall heart-breaking and earth-shattering. I can't wait to have my hands on the final copy.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Book in Quotes - Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Image result for ignite me by tahereh mafi
Page #s based off of US paperback

'My eyes are filling fast with tears and I blink and blink but the world is a mess and I want to laugh because all I can think is how horrible and beautiful it is, that our eyes blur the truth when we can't bear to see it.' (pg. 5)

'There's a strange kind of freedom in the dark; a terrifying vulnerability we allow ourselves at exactly the wrong moment, tricked by the darkness into thinking it will keep our secrets.' (pg. 50)

'No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence' (pg. 121)

'Sometimes I wonder if the planets are still up there, still aligned, still managing to get along after all this time.' (pg. 154)

'Words are like seeds, I think, planted into our hearts at a tender age.' (pg. 358)

'We are hours and minutes reaching for the same second, holding hands as we spin forward into new days and the promise of something better.' (pg. 365)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Abducted Life by Patricia Josephine - Spotlight

Image result for goodreads abducted lifeTitle: Abducted Life
Author: Patricia Josephine

Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. When she reappears a year later––alone––she’s a shell of her former self. Robbed of her popularity and her boyfriend, she has no memory of what happened to her. Savannah struggles to move forward as strange, new abilities manifest.
Evan Sullivan never gave extra-terrestrials much thought until the night he and Savannah were abducted. While Savannah’s memory was wiped clean, he remembers every horrific detail. Constantly reminded of the experiments that made him less than human, Evan hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him.
But neither can let the other go. When their paths cross, Savannah and Evan finally see a glimmer of their old lives return. As they face what happened to them, they soon discover they aren’t safe. There’s more to fear than what’s hiding in the stars.
Something––or someone--closer to home is watching.

Where to buy/more information?

GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes and Noble

Get to know Patricia Josephine:

Image result for patricia josephine
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.