ARC August TBR!

It is almost August, and that means ARC August is nearly upon us! I wasn’t a blogger last August, so I’m really excited to participate for the first time this year. If you don’t know what ARC August is, it’s a month long event where bloggers try to read as many ARCs as they can (it’s not a contest). It’s hosted by Shelly and Octavia at Read.Sleep.Repeat, and you can sign up here!

I’ve had a lot of ARCs pile up in the past few months because of BEA and ALA, so this will be a great opportunity to knock some books out of my TBR.

Here are a few books I’m hoping to get through! Knowing me, I’ll probably read a couple of these and then deviate from this list *shrug*.

  1. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – a sequel to one of my favorite books of 2015! The first book left off on such a high note, and I’m really excited to see what kind of trouble Elias and Laia can get into!

2. Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton – This book sounds so cute. I live near DC, so I’m really interested in books that take place there. Plus, there’s a cute romance! Count me in.

3. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge – Rosamund Hodge writes some of my favorite books, and I have no doubt I’ll love this one, too.

4. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess – I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, so I’m eager to see where I fall on the spectrum.

5. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – AH! I went through a phase where I was obsessed with Jack the Ripper, so I am soooo excited to read this book!

6. The Cat King of Havana by Tom Crosshill – I picked this up on a whim at ALA, mostly because of the whimsical cover and title, but the book itself sounds really cute!

7. Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz – Another book that has a foreign exchange student! It reminds me of Diplomatic Immunity so I’m excited to see how the two compare.

These are just some of the few books I hope to get through in August. I’ll be on vacation, and I’ll be sitting around anxiously for pitchwars results, so I’ll have lots of free time. Hopefully I can get through a bunch and write some reviews for you guys!

Are you Participating in ARC August? What books are you hoping to read? Let me know in the comments below.

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Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Places No One Knows
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA, Magic Realism, Romance
Pub Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: ALA

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

I first saw this book on Maggie Stiefvater’s tumblr. The author is Steifvater’s critique partner, so I was desperate to try this book because if Maggie likes it, I should definitely pay attention to it. I devoured it in a couple of hours on a car ride and was left emotionally drained by the end of it.

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Discussion: Technicalities vs Enjoyment–Which Matters More to You?

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you probably know I used to post discussions every Sunday. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Sunday discussion, but never fear, I have returned to my old habits! And with a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

So, I recently read The Kiss of Deception (I just posted my review yesterday if you want to know my thoughts on it!). There were a handful of things I didn’t like about it–the plot lagged in some places, the romance was a bit instalove-y, etc. But you know what? I loved the book. As soon as I finished it, I got my hands on the sequel and I’m already 50 pages into it.

That book got me thinking. While I didn’t enjoy some technicalities of the book, the story itself gripped me and I enjoyed it more than I’ve enjoyed books that I’ve given higher ratings. It’s not going to go on my favorite book shelf, but I liked it enough to immediately get the sequel. I’d recommend it to other people, too!

I guess when it comes to rating books, I favor technicalities over enjoyment. When I’m rating a book, I take enjoyment into account, but it doesn’t mean everything to me. For example, The Kiss of Deception would have gotten 5 stars if I rated it solely on enjoyment, but I only gave it 4 stars because I had some issues with the writing itself.

But I know some people might do it the opposite way. Maybe they overlook the technical things and just rate the book based on enjoyment. I can see how people would prefer to do it either way, and I would trust a blogger’s opinions no matter which way they choose to rate their books.

For me, I’d say 75% of the rating comes from technicality, and 25% comes from my enjoyment levels. I’m more likely to bump up a review after the fact based on my enjoyment level. For example, I originally wanted to give The Girl From Everywhere 3.5 stars, but after a few days I realized I really liked parts of the book, so I bumped it up to 4 stars.

Technicality plays a bigger part in the actual rating of the book, but enjoyment is what decides if a book goes on my favorites shelf.

Here are a few books that I really enjoyed, but didn’t get 5 stars because of technicality issues (I still recommend them!)

  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

What about you? Does Enjoyment or Technicalities Matter more to you when rating books? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pub Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: Purchased

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love (RAFE) | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

This book was the most voted book for the Make Me Read it Readathon that you guys voted on, so I picked it up as soon as the readathon started. I originally picked up this book about a year ago, but ended up only getting a few pages in before giving up. Thankfully, when I picked it up this time, it turned out much better! I think it’s safe to say you all have good taste 😉

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Review: The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions)

The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions)
Author: Amy Spalding
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pub Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Source: Given a copy from the publisher for review

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

—-

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

Sometimes you just need to pick up a fluffy romance novel. I had this book sitting on my shelf for awhile, so I finally just picked it up. I flew through it in less than a day. I know the author is pretty popular, but this was my first time reading anything of hers. While this book wasn’t bad, I didn’t think there was anything spectacular about it, either.

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Red Light, Green Light | Mini Reviews: Kiss Cam, How to Hang a Witch and Vitro

Hey everyone! I have lots of reviews that I need to post, but instead of bombarding you with them for next few weeks, I’ve decided to try out a new feature called Red Light, Green Light Mini Reviews! Each feature will showcase 3 different books; one green light, one yellow light, and one green light. The green light book will be one I really liked, the red light book will be one I didn’t like, and the yellow light will fall in between the two.

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Cover Reveal for Long Way Home by Katie McGarry!

I have a special post for you guys today! If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you know that I absolutely love Katie McGarry’s books (I’ve reviewed Walk the Edge, Nowhere But Here and Crash Into You)! That’s why I’m so excited to help share the cover for her newest book, Long Way Home, book 3 in the Thunder Road Series!

Without further ado, here is the beautiful cover for Long Way Home!

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LongWayHome_KatieMcGarry_FC

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

Click here to add to Goodreads!

Pre-order Now!

Amazon // Kobo // BAM // Barnes and Noble // iBooks // Indiebound

About the Author

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Goodreads // Tumblr // Instagram

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

What do you think of the cover? Are you absolutely in love with it like I am? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

The May Queen Murders
Author: Sarah Jude
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pub Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HMH
Source: Gifted by the lovely Deanna

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

This is another case where the cover of a book calls to me. I mean, do you see this gorgeous cover? I’ve been in the mood for a good, old fashioned mystery so I decided to pick this book up on a whim and see what it was like. The May Queen Murders, despite having some negative reviews by my friends on goodreads, is an eerie, romantic mystery that I really enjoyed.

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Top 10 Books of the First Half of 2016

It’s the first day of July, meaning that we are officially halfway through 2016. Isn’t that crazy? While this year hasn’t been the best so far, I can confidently say I’ve read some incredible books so far. I do a recap of my favorite books at the end of the year, but now, I thought it would be exciting to share my favorite reads for the first half of the year!

This list is in order of when I read these books (books reads in January first, newest read books last), because I couldn’t possibly rank them in order of favorites! The pictures link to the books on goodreads, and if I’ve posted a review, it’s linked to the title.

THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN BY SARAH FINE


This book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It has a bisexual MC, fantasy, and a swoonworthy romance. I loved it, and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

WALK THE EDGE BY KATIE MCAGARRY


This doesn’t really need much of an explanation. I LOVE Katie McGarry’s books, and this one was no exception! Razor and Breanna were so cute and I fell for their romance quickly.

BLACKHEARTS BY NICOLE CASTROMAN


Blackhearts will definitely end up being in my top 5 of 2016. The chemistry between Teach and Anne was truly electric, and the ending absolutely DESTROYED me. Thank god there will be a sequel out next year, otherwise I’m sure I’d be a puddle on the floor.

THE FORBIDDEN WISH BY JESSICA KHOURY


I’ve had a hot and cold relationship with this author’s books, but The Forbidden Wish really knocked it out of the park. It was the perfect Aladdin retelling, filled with all the magic of the original with an extra dose of romance and originality.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


While I wasn’t completely in love with the first book, the second book was absolutely brilliant. New characters were introduced, the romance was cranked up a few dials, and the magic itself turned darker and more intriguing. Can I have the last book now, please???

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski


HOLY MOLY. This was the stunning conclusion to the Winner’s Trilogy, and I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. It broke my heart a million times, but it also mended it a million times more. Honestly, I can’t say enough about this amazing trilogy.

The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater


This is pretty self-explanatory.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas


No one is going to be surprised to see ACOMAF on this list. It was a million times better than ACOTAR, and I found an OTP to end all other OTPs. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but I was definitely surprised with how it played out. Bravo yet again, Queen Maas!

WHEN WE COLLIDED BY EMERY LORD


There are some books that really touch your soul, and this was one of them. I related to a lot of painful parts of this book, and the hopeful parts gave me hope, too. Everyone should read this book–not just because it deals with painful issues in an expertly done way–but because it’s just damn spectacular.

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff


I’m not really sure how I can describe how much I love this book. I read it all in one sitting, just because I had to know what would happen next between the two main characters. It was angsty and romantic and beautiful and I absolutely loved it.

 

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do we share any of the same picks? Let me know in the comments below.