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I Dare You Book Tag

I saw this book tag on Mani’s Book Corner and thought it looked really fun. If you are reading this then consider yourself tagged. Please remember to tag me back so I can read your answers. Now on to the books!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

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1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I am more likely to read newer books than older ones that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren has been out since 2018 and I keep putting it off. I tried the audio book at some point to see if that motivated me, but the narrator’s voice was really annoying so I stopped.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you will read next?

Current read: Gemina (Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Last read: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Next read: Obsidio (Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

lady midnight by Cassandra clare shadowhunters the dark artifices book one
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3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I love ALMOST all Cassandra Clare books, and I adore Shadowhunters, but I just couldn’t get into Lady Midnight. Most probably it was due to it containing one of my most hated tropes “forbidden love” *shudders*

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you will read, but you probably won’t?

My pile of ARC’s. Just kidding! I do eventually read those 🙂

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

I haven’t read many classics, and I think when I retire and have the time I might make a list and read the most famous ones.

6. Last page: Do you read it first or wait to the end?

What kind of monster does this?! I have heard of people doing this, but I don’t like to spoil the ending for myself. I know the last page is out of context and I probably wouldn’t understand it if I read it, but then I would be wondering about it the whole book.

things you save in a fire book by katherine center
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7. Acknowledgements: are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

I like to read acknowledgements. Sometimes they are boring, but a lot of times they are interesting. For example, in Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center I got to learn that her husband is a firefighter and he was a really great help to her while writing and editing. I always like to learn things about the authors which makes their stories more real and relatable.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Definitely Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses, not only is she married to Rhysand (who is my book boyfriend), but she gets to live in the Night Court and be part of the Inner Circle.

treasure island book by robert louis stevenson
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9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

When I was thirteen I got Treasure Island from the school book fair. The class clown in my science classroom thought it would be funny to write on it. I’ve never liked writing on books, so I was pissed. That’s how our back and forth banter and eventually our relationship began. The class clown and the bookworm. That boy is now my husband. We have been together for sixteen years and counting.

P.S. He wrote “Hi”

P.S.S. He’s still a clown, and his dad jokes are the best 🙂

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I cannot think of one.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I give books as gifts all the time. Sometimes I’ll read a book and it will remind me of someone and I’ll give them a copy. Last year for mother’s day I gave my grandma, mom, and my aunt all a copy of the same book (Angels and Demons by Dan Brown) so that they could do a buddy read.

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone by j.k. rowling
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12. Which book has been with you the most places?

This battered paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been with me since I was twelve years old. It has been through about ten moves and too many rereads to count.

13. Any required reading you hated in High School that wasn’t so bad a few years later?

I was that nerd that actually liked required reading AND enjoyed it. I do remember not really liking The Scarlet Letter, but I never reread it.

14. Used or brand new?

A good book is a good book to me no matter what condition it’s in. I enjoy browsing regular book stores, as well as used book stores.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, but only one: The Da Vinci Code. I do plan to read the rest of the Robert Langdon series eventually.

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16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked more than the book?

Never, for me the books are always better.

the hunger games book one by suzanne collins
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17. A book that’s made you hungry?

It’s so cliché that The Hunger Games make me hungry, but they do. It’s not the parts when they’re in the games and can’t get any food, or when they are back home in the Districts. It’s the parties with all the lavish food and drinks that really get me every time.

18. Who is the person who’s book advice you’ll always take?

All of you wonderful people who actually read and take the time to comment on my posts and give me bookish advice. Also, all my friends on Bookstagram and Goodreads who have really good taste in books. I really appreciate all of you ❤

19. Most read authors?

Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Nicolas Sparks. What a weird mix I know. I like to mix it up genre wise every once in a while.

20. Ship from two different books?

Mia from Nevernight and Mor from ACOTAR, dark and light, they would go so well together!

Pandemonium

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

pandemonium by willow anderson
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Author: Willow Anderson

Published: April 27, 2020

Pages: 360

Goodreads Rating: 4.55/5

For fans of: Fantasy, Caraval, and the Night Circus

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lace Ashburn was only twelve years old when she witnessed a murder behind Pandemonium’s grandeur – a strange, magical traveling show where admittance is hard to gain. With a dead Ringmaster and his murderer in jail, Pandemonium packed up and fled in the middle of the night, remaining missing for five years.

When Lace’s older brother steps up to take the throne of Falhaven, he announces not only the return of Pandemonium but an arranged marriage for her with their neighboring country’s prince. With less than a week to discover a way to keep her freedom from her fiancé, Lace finds her way back into the heart of Pandemonium.

With a new Ringmaster heading Pandemonium, Lace is pulled into a competition run by the strange show with an invaluable prize at the end should she win. Paired together with a mysterious partner, Lace fights through the contest to keep not only her independence but her heart safe.

Come one, come all, to the show that will enthrall…welcome to Pandemonium where in order to win, you must lose it all.

My Review:

This was a great story. It was a surprisingly good mix of the competition trope (one of my favorite tropes) and a love triangle (one of my least favorite tropes). Thankfully, the romance aspect was subtle and did not take center stage. The ring master was a morally gray character which I always find enjoyable. Lace was a strong female character, but without an aggressive disposition and not afraid to show some vulnerability at times.

I enjoyed the strong friendship between Lace and her sister, they had a bond I don’t see too often in Fantasy books. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of sibling rivalry and sisters being pitted against each other, and this change was refreshing.

The plot developed with a sense of urgency, but without sacrificing any details or descriptions. There is a mysterious undertone to the story which I enjoyed. As a reader I was able to compete and solve the riddles and clues alongside Lace. I do love a good twist and Anderson definitely delivered. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy fans!

Bookstagram Guide

bookstagram the ultimate guide by taylor mack
Picture taken by me. Get the Guide Here.

I was fortunate enough to have come across Bookstagram: The Ultimate Guide by Taylor Mack, and I want to shout about it. This guide has been a great resource as a bookstagrammer and has helped me grow my Bookstagram account exponentially since I read it.

Disclaimer: You can purchase the Guide or the flipbook by clicking on the pictures or links and I will receive a small percentage. The price will be the same for you whether or not you use my link. If you are planning to buy it please consider using my link and helping a fellow book blogger 🙂

The guide is divided into five parts:

1. A Bookstagram Back Story

This part explains what Bookstagram is (an amazing bookish community that you should join if you haven’t!). My favorite part about this section was the tips on how to Bookstagram on a budget.

2. The First Impression

This part explains what engagement is, and whether a business account or a personal account is the right one for you. My favorite section here was the instructions on creating the perfect Instagram Bio, which was extremely useful.

3. Content Creation

There are some great photography tips in this section, as well as a guide on what your feed should look like. My favorite part here was all the advice about where you can get creative inspiration when you need it.

4. Dynamic Strategies for Growth

This part includes information on hashtags and how they work, posting and tagging, and engaging with your audience. My favorite part here was the information on how to use Instagram stories and what to share on them.

5. Publishers, Partnerships, and Brand Deals

This is the part that I was most interested in learning about when I first got this guide. I really wanted the details on how to get Publishers to want to send me books to read and review, and how to get companies to partner with me. Taylor shared all her knowledge without holding anything back, and she also included some quotes from other successful Instagrammers with great advice.

Get it here

Taylor also designed this Bookstagram Planner and Hashtag Flipbook that I found super useful. You can purchase this flipbook and the Bookstagram Guide, or the guide alone. I use the planner to plan out my posts for the week, keep track of my challenges, and keep a list of the books I plan to read. I love that I can flip through the hashtag list and select the ones I want to use for my post that day. I highly recommend getting both the Guide and the Flipbook if you want to take your Bookstagram account to the next level!

If you want to follow me on Instagram click on the link, I could always use more Bookstagram friends 🙂

Recent Additions to My TBR

the shadows by alex north the vanishing half by brit bennet the book of longings by sue monk kidd books book of the month subscription july
My July Book of the Month picks. Click on link to subscribe for $10! (I get a free book if you do)

I recently received a book cart for my birthday, and I am seriously not sure if it has been hindering or helping my book buying situation. It has definitely helped me tackle my TBR though! There’s something about seeing those books just sitting there on that cart that makes me want to read them…maybe so that I can fill it with more?

tbr book cart
Picture taken by me. Add me on Instagram

I have been loving my Book of the Month subscription, but I do admit it’s not helping the TBR situation. I have been trying to prioritize those, but I almost never get them read on the month that I got them. This subscription has helped to open my mind to so many new genres and authors though, and I really look forward to picking the books I want, and then seeing my little blue box on my door step every month 🙂

Have you added any new books to your TBR recently? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

the shadows book by alex north
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The Shadows by Alex North

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Goodreads rating: 4.47/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

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The Hopeful Book Tag

We need a bit of hope in the world, especially during these uncertain times. I’m sure this year is kicking all our butts, and reading has been a nice escape for me. This book tag was a lot of fun to write. Thanks to Soulful Thoughts for tagging everyone. Everyone who reads this can consider themselves tagged. Remember to tag me back and I can’t wait to read all your answers!

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone by j.k. rowling
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

1. A book world you would like to escape to: Hogwarts

I will forever be waiting for my Hogwarts letter. Always. This is the series I turn to for comfort, and I love rereading it when I’m in a reading slump. I also like to re-watch the movies when I need a reminder.

beach read by emily henry
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

2. A romance that left you all mushy inside: Beach Read by Emily Henry

This was a much heavier romance book than I expected, both from the cover and from the synopsis. It was all very misleading, but in a good way. I thought about this book a lot as I was reading it, and for some time after. You can read my review here.

the existence of amy by lana grace riva
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

3. A friendship we should all aspire to have: Nate and Amy in The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

We would all be lucky to have a friend like Nate. Nate did things for Amy that I wondered if I would ever do for someone I work with. I think I would only go so far to help my husband and kids, and maybe my sister. Honestly, there is maybe only one work friend who I might go that far for. Am I a terrible person? Maybe. Go read my review for this book here.

my siberian husky names leah
Picture taken by me.

4. Intermission! Insert the cutest picture of your pet or the cutest animal you can find.

Meet Leah, my nine year old husky 🙂 She was named during my Twilight phase after the only female wolf in the pack. Don’t judge me!

the boyfriend project by farrah rochon
Picture taken by me. Buy the book on Amazon.

5. A character in a leadership role that inspires you.

Even though this wasn’t an amazing read for me, I still consider Samiah to be a great role model for little girls and grown women alike. Samiah taught the girls she mentored that the color of their skin did not determine the career they should follow, and that they should work hard and do what they were passionate about. I was also inspired by the fact that Samiah went back to school as an adult to obtain another degree in the field she loved, as opposed to the degree she first got in order to please her parents. You can read my review here.

The house in the cerulean sea
Picture taken by me. Buy this book on Amazon.

6. Recommend three books that fill you with hope.

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune -read my review here

This book filled me with hope for humanity. If more people like Linus exist, then perhaps there is still hope for this world.

2. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes -read my review here

These women were heroines in their own right, and as a bookworm this story about a traveling library made my heart happy.

3. Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa -read my review here

This story spoke of resurrection, and this is something that I’ve always wanted to believe in so badly. It gave me hope that maybe those who love us never really leave us, and their souls will always find us again.

7. (Optional) Tag People.

If you are reading this consider yourself tagged, and remember to tag me back. I want to see all your answers!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

Of Rioters and Royals

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Picture taken by me. Buy on Amazon.

Author: M.L. Greye

Published: January 18, 2019

Pages: 421

Goodreads Rating: 4.16/5

For fans of: The Hunger Games, Ash Princess, The Selection, rebellion trope, competition trope

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Emry is a Royal – a princess of Enlennd. As is tradition, she must have a knight at her side as her protector. The only way to appoint one is through The Trials. Her Challengers from the five regions of Enlennd must compete for the infamous title of Princess’s Knight. The problem, though, is that the people of Enlennd are split into two categories: Rioters and Royals. Finding the perfect knight may be the last of her worries. War is coming to Enlennd.

Declan is a Rioter. An upriser. An anarchist. He mistrusts the Jewels – the sovereign family of Enlennd. Yet, he is offering himself up as a Challenger in The Trials. The Mistress, leader of the Rioters, has a mission for him. The first step is for him to become the Princess’s Knight. He is ready for the task, until he actually meets Emry and discovers that betraying her would be much more difficult than he’d thought.

My Review:

Those who were covered in filth tended to be frowned upon by those who could afford to never get dirty”

I really enjoyed the unique magic system in this book, my favorite part being the fact that the person’s eye color determined what powers they had. Emry, the main female character, had gray eyes and the coolest powers in my opinion. I did feel like the story needed a bit more scene setting and descriptions of the characters’ surroundings as we switched from one scene to another.

I loved how fierce and brave Emry was, and how she loved her sister and her kingdom. Declan was smart and cunning, and he complemented Emry’s personality well, they made a great pair. I enjoyed the romance between them, but I was glad it did not completely take over the plot. The plot was very character driven, which I liked. I also enjoyed how the story was told through different characters’ points of views.

The history lesson in the beginning of the book was very useful, and it helped to keep the amount of info dumping minimal throughout the rest of the story. The book was fast paced and action packed after that, and I really enjoyed the tournament, since the competition based trope is one of my favorites. There were some unexpected plots twists, which kept me on my toes. I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed, but other than that this was a great YA/Fantasy story. I highly recommend it, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Disclaimer: A signed copy of this book was provided to me for free by the author in an Instagram Giveaway. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

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Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

I love fairy tales, and I am a big Disney fan. Which is your favorite Disney movie? Let me know in the comments! My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast, so needless to say I was super excited when I found this book tag in Raji’s blog: Worlds Unlike Our Own Blog. Thanks for tagging me Raji! Anyone who is reading this can consider themselves tagged. Moving on to the questions.

a court of thorns and roses by sarah j maas
Picture taken by me. Follow me on Instagram.

“Tale As Old As Time” -A popular theme, trope, or setting you will never get bored of reading

Fairy tale retellings and enemies to lovers trope. This is why I’m such a big ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses) fan. ACOTAR is both a Beauty and the Beast retelling and an enemies to lovers trope. I love when two people who used to hate each other are forced to co-exist, and after they give each other a chance they can find common ground and eventually friendship and love. Other books like this one I enjoyed: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, and the Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi, to name a few.

the house in the cerulean sea by tj klune taken by @deesreadingtree
Picture taken by me.

“Belle” -A book you bought for its beautiful cover that was just as beautiful on the inside too

I don’t usually judge a book by its cover (no pun intended). I did recently buy The House in the Cerulean Sea on a whim because it was so beautiful and it has such glowing reviews on Instagram. Best impulsive buy ever! You can go read my review and see everything I loved about it.

House of salt and sorrows by erin a. craig picture taken by @deesreadingtree
Picture taken by me.

“Gaston” -A book everyone loves that you don’t

Everyone seems to have loved House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, and I just thought it was an okay read. I have learned my lesson since then that I just don’t enjoy ghost stories. It took me forever to get through that book since I found it super boring. There was a lot of poetic prose and descriptive setting, but not a lot of action going on. You can read my review here.

Cress (the lunar chronicles, #1) by marissa meyer picture taken by @deesreadingtree
Picture taken by me.

“Lefou” -A loyal sidekick you can’t help but love more than their counterpart

Definitely Iko from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I liked Cinder, but Iko was the best. She had the best personality and was such a good friend to Cinder, never mind that she was a robot. I think this is why Marissa Meyer also wrote a whole comic series with Iko as the protagonist called Wires and Nerve.

harry potter series by j.k. rowling instagram picture taken by @deesreadingtree
Picture taken by me.

“Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, and Cogsworth” -A book that helped you through a difficult time or taught you something valuable

I came to the U.S when I was eleven years old. It would take a lot more words than I have time or energy for right now in order to fully explain what it felt like to leave everything and mostly everyone I knew behind, and embark on a journey to a completely new place where no one spoke my language. My happiest memory from that time was getting my very own library card. The first book I read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, in Spanish. By the third book, I was reading in English. Harry Potter helped me escape out of my roach infested apartment, which my family shared with other distant relatives of ours, to Hogwarts and a world of magic and adventure. Oh, how I wanted that Hogwarts letter to arrive! I still read the Harry Potter series when I need a pick-me-up or when I’ve landed into a reading slump.

Scythe (arc of a scythe, #1) by neal shusterman picture taken by @deesreadingtree
Picture taken by me.

“Something there” -A book or series you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end

I recently started the Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1) series by Neal Shusterman, and I loved it. I had picked it up a couple of times, but I guess I wasn’t in the right mood. I can’t wait to continue on with the series and see where the author goes with it. You can read my review here.

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

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Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2020

I’m a bit in shock after having turned thirty years old a few days ago. Has it really been eighteen years ago since I first opened Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and fell in love with reading? I spent my birthday mostly in quarantine. My closest family members showed up and hastily sang “Happy Birthday” to me. We were outside, six feet apart, and my grandparents wore masks. They then lit a candle I couldn’t really blow, for fear of the particles in my breath traveling to them (I ended up covering it with my hand and blowing it). This has been a crazy year for sure.

I am grateful I got to spend it with those I love, and that they are all relatively happy and healthy (my oldest child has a stomach bug but he will be fine). I received a ton of book gifts. My favorites were a brand new book shelf, a book cart, and the Harry Potter illustrated editions from my hubby. I spent the day eating my favorite food, watching movies, organizing my book shelves, and cuddling with my kids. Overall, it was a perfect 30th birthday.

I cannot believe it’s the middle of the year already. Thanks to Worlds Unlike Our Own for tagging me. This was such a fun book tag to do. Everyone who reads this can consider themselves tagged. Please remember to tag me back, I can’t wait to read your answers! Moving on to the books 🙂

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

What is the best book that you have read so far in 2020?

the house in the cerulean sea by tj klune
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This book really surprised me, I saw someone’s raving review on Bookstagram and I just had to go and read it. I went and tried a sample and I ended up buying the whole thing. I haven’t read many books that have reminded me of all the feelings I had when I read Harry Potter, but this was definitely one of them. This story was so full of magic, adorable characters, and surprising turns of events. The main character, Linus, had one of the most impressive character arcs I have ever read. Also, I went into this book without reading the synopsis and was very surprised. Here is my review and you will find a full synopsis there as well in case you don’t like surprises 🙂

What has been your favorite sequel of the first half of the year?

aurora burning by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
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Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff obviously hate their readers and love to stomp on their feelings and crush their hopes and dreams. BUT!! This book WAS amazing. The sequel to Aurora Rising was full of action, romance, and plot twists. True to their evil nature the authors left us all hanging off a cliff at the end, so they better hurry and write the next one or we might go and find them! (yes that was a threat) You can read my review here.

Is there a new release that you haven’t read yet but are really excited to read?

Truelife by Jay Kristoff
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The sequel to Lifelike and Deviate will be released on June 30th, and I’m super excited. (click on the links to read my reviews) Like I said above, Mr. Kristoff is an evil bastard (don’t worry he knows this) and the ending to Deviate was a very bad cliff hanger. I won a pre-order of Truelife on a Bookstagram giveaway and I can’t wait to get it in the mail!

What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

blood and honey by shelby mahurin serpent and dove book two
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I fell in love with Serpent and Dove and I’ve been waiting for the sequel since I read it last year. (you can read my review by clicking on the link) This one will be released on September 1st. I can’t wait to learn more about my favorite side characters Coco and Ansel, and see where this sequel takes Reid and Lou after all the revelations that came to light at the end of the last book.

What is your biggest disappointment so far?

imagine me by tahereh mafi shatter me book six
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I was so excited about this one, but to be honest this series has been going downhill since the fourth book and the big “plot twist.” This was not the ending to a six book series that I had expected. There was some closure at the end, but the whole book was basically about Kenji and Warner, and the action was crammed into the last few chapters. The ending felt rushed, and I was underwhelmed. Click here to read my review.

What is your biggest surprise so far?

Buy on Amazon

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, and I hope the rest of the series lives up to my expectations. I plan to read Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) in July which is when I’m hoping to catch up with all my sequels, and then I need to move on to The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3). This story had such a unique premise, very imaginative world building, and great character arcs. You can read my review here.

Who is your fictional crush from this year?

a court of mist and fury by sarah j maas book one of a court of thorns and roses seres
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No one will ever replace Rhysand from the ACOTAR series. I reread this series this year when this whole quarantine business first started. I usually turn to this one and Harry Potter when I land into a reading slump (I reread Harry Potter while in quarantine too :)) The characters from Chain of Gold (especially James and Mathew) came close for me, but nope.

Who is your new favorite character?

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Finian from Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning definitely stole my heart as a great character. He is the comedic relief, and such a good friend to Squad 312. This doesn’t surprise me, because I always fall for the class clown (my husband was, and still is, the biggest clown I know). In my experience, they have the biggest hearts under all the witty remarks and sarcasm ❤

A book that made you happy?

josh and hazel's guide to not dating by christina lauren
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I was laughing the whole time I was reading this, well maybe not in that awkward part where I was screaming at the characters to JUST COMMUNICATE! But yeah, most of the time I was cracking up with Hazel’s antics. Hazel was such an endearing character, and I was rooting for her happy ending throughout the story. You can read my review here.

Your favorite book to movie/tv show that you’ve seen so far?

wonder book by rj palacio
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I really enjoyed the movie adaption of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Of course, nothing is ever as immersive and detailed as the book, but the producers did a good job with this one. They included the most important parts from the book, and the actors and actresses did an amazing job. Well, with Julia Roberts as the mom, Owen Wilson as the dad, and Jacob Tremblay as August, it was expected for it to be a great performance by all of them. They definitely delivered. You can buy the movie here using my affiliate link if you like.

What is the most beautiful book that you have bought?

Harry Potter and the Sorcere's Stone illustrated edition
Pictures from my Bookstagram. Buy the book on Amazon.

I recently bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Illustrated Edition, and it’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen. The art within is amazing as well. My husband then bought me the rest of the illustrated books for my birthday. I’ve been enjoying reading them to my kids before bed time, and they’re very into it. Needless to say I’m a proud momma.

What is your favorite post that you have written so far this year?

My favorite Series post

This post was super time consuming and I poured my heart and soul into it. Please go read it if you haven’t. I couldn’t just include my top five series, I had to do ALL ten of them. While in the middle of writing it I deeply regretted doing the whole thing, but I pushed myself to finish it. I am very proud of it.

What are six books that you want to read by the end of the year?

collage of books ninth house we hunt the flame one of us is next a good marriage beach read thunderhead
Pictures from Goodreads

Some of these I’ve been putting off for some time. Some I’ve just recently received from my Book of the Month subscription. (click on the link if you want to pay only $10 for your first month and I get a free book credit) Finally, some are sequels that I really need to get to. (click on the link to read my post on that topic)

Book of the Month Books:

1. Beach Read by Emily Henry –buy on Amazon

2. A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight –buy on Amazon

Sequels I need to read:

3. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) –buy on Amazon

4. Once of Us is Next (One of Us is Lying, #2) –buy on Amazon

Books that have been sitting on my shelf:

5. Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo –buy on Amazon

6. We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arwiya, #1) by Hafsah Faizal –buy on Amazon

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

Crown of Feathers

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

crown of feathers by nicki pau preto
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Series: Crown of Feathers, #1

Published: February 12, 2019

Pages: 496

ISBN: 1534424628

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

For fans of: Eragon, The Poppy War, and Mulan

My Review:

Is love ever really a choice?”

I enjoyed this story and found the plot and magic system to be very unique. The concept of animages (people who can control and communicate with animals) was interesting. Also, the idea of phoenix riders who bond with their mounts, similar to dragon riders bonding with dragons, was very appealing.

There was a lot of info dumping in the beginning, but the action picks up after that. I enjoyed the little history snippets and quotes from the old queens inserted in between chapters. I liked the flash backs which provided us with more insight into each character’s personality, and I enjoyed all the different character point of views.

This story had a few shocking moments, and the characters never behaved as expected, which was very refreshing. I liked Veronyka, the main character, and I enjoyed her character growth. She taught us about living in the moment, making your own happiness, and not letting it depend solely on any one person or thing. I highly recommend this book to all YA/Fantasy fans, and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

The House in the Cerulean Sea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the house in the cerulean sea by tj klune
Picture from Goodreads

Author: T.J. Klune

Published: March 17, 2020

Pages: 393

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My review:

It’s the little things. Little treasures we find without knowing their origin. And they come when we least expect them.”

This book made my heart happy. It was so full of magic, love, and adorable characters that will stay with me for a long time after. For years I had been searching for a story that would give me all the same feelings that I had while reading Harry Potter, and I have finally found it. This story was all about family, and the fact that family can sometimes mean the people we surround ourselves with and love unconditionally, and not exactly the ones we are born into. It was also about overcoming our preconceived notions and prejudices, and learning to love others for who they truly are.

A person is more than where they come from.” “Than the sum of their parts.”

The character development was simply amazing. Each person stood apart from the others, with their own quirks and eccentricities. I had a really hard time picking a favorite character. From the adults I would have to say it was Linus, because how could I not? The story is told from his point of view, and we see him slowly come out of this fog he has been living in all his life and step into the light. From the kids I would have to go with Theodore, because I have a really soft spot for Wyverns. I should also mention that I found Linus’s next door neighbor simply hilarious, and I also loved his cat Calliope who always went after the neighbor’s yard squirrels.

“Sometimes,” Mr. Parnassus said, “our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.”

The plot was entrancing, and it kept me reading way into the early hours of the morning. There was a mysterious air to it that kept me wanting to learn more about this magical world and its inhabitants, about DICOMY and its function, and about the way the humans and the magical creatures could coexist. They barely did. If you have ever wondered what would have happened in Harry Potter if the magical world was no longer hidden from the muggles (or non-magical people), then this book is your answer. I recommend this book to all Fantasy fans, and all those wishing to read a wonderful heartwarming story.

We get trapped in our own little bubbles, and even though the world is a wide and mysterious place, our bubbles keep us safe from that. To our detriment.” She sighed. “But it’s so easy because there’s something soothing about routine. Day in and day out, it’s always the same. When we’re shaken from that, when that bubble bursts, it can be hard to understand all that we’ve missed. We might even fear it. Some of us even fight to try and get it back.”

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂