January Wrap Up and February TBR

Well, bookish peoples, we have completed the first month of 2019. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HECK? HOW IS TIME DOING THIS? *cough* Okay, I’m good now.

I’ve always been bad at keeping track of my book reading and buying, so I’ve never been one for monthly wrap ups, hauls, and TBRs. But this year I am trying to be more mindful of my consumption of books. So, welcome to my first attempt at a wrap up/haul/TBR on this little blog of mine.

January Wrap Up
Books Acquired: 11

Books Bought:

ARCs Recieved:

  • Enchantée by Gita Trelease
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
  • The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
  • Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg (I got this through the Amazon First Reads program)
  • Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao (I just found out last night that this book is being pulled from publication at the current time so I won’t be counting it towards my stats for the month)

Books Read: 6 + 3 in progress

  • Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty | ALL THE STARS! Read my review here
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner | 3 Stars! Read my review here
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa | 4.25 Stars! Read my review here
  • Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller | 1.5 Stars! Read my review here
  • The Armored Saint by Myke Cole | 4.5 Stars! Read my review here
  • (Audio Reread) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | 4.5 stars for the story, 5 stars for the audiobook performance (review for book is here, I’m actually working on a separate review of the audiobooks because holy hell are they good!)
  • In ProgressEnchantée by Gita Trelease | I am enjoying this book so damn much. Good chance this will be a 4.5 or 5 star read for me. As I said to Sabreena over at Books and Prosecco: The writing is so decadent, and it literally makes me want to drink champagne while I read.  
  • In Progress – (Audio Reread) Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Since this is a reread I can still hold true to my 4 star rating of the book. I am confident in saying that I’ll be giving the audiobook performance a 5 star for this one as well.
  • In Progress – (Audio Reread) The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. I’m doing this as a buddy read with my Sanderson Sisters. Two of them haven’t read this one before and one has. Really, I can consider myself as having not read it either because with the exception of a few random moments (and one BIG MOMENT from the end), I don’t remember much at all.

So, I’ve read six books and am in the process of finishing 3 more. Darn, I was hoping to read more than I acquired this month. Oh well, at least it’s not a huge gap in numbers. I wonder how I’ll do next month since it is a short one…


February TBR

My original plan for February was to read only books with tragic love stories. But then ARCs happened and I have a few that I need to get read and review ASAP. So, I have some heart breakers and some ARCs (which may also be heartbreakers *crosses fingers*)…and some books to finish from last month…

So, that’s the plan. I am pretty notorious for never sticking to a strict TBR, but I think I might be able to do it this month. GO TEAM TBR!

How did y’all do this month?

Friday Favorites: Teacher/Mentor Characters

Hello, hello and welcome to another Friday Favorites! This week’s topic is Teacher/Mentor Characters. This is one of those topics that I know I’m going to realize like five other characters I want to add to the list after I post this. I love teacher/mentor characters but I also have a garbage memory, so the fact I could think of six is a darn miracle.

REMEMBER: If you have a Friday Favorites post of your own, drop the link in the comments so I can add it to the post list I’ll be making at the bottom of this post!


Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter

Professor McGonagall is the teacher I wish I’d had at some point in my academic career. She is snarky AF, fierce AF, and 100% would have kicked my ass into line. It doesn’t hurt that she was portrayed in the movies by Maggie Smith who is one of my favorite actresses (can I also mention how amazing she is as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey?). If Rowling had killed McGonagall, I would have rioted. As much as I dislike all the additions to the HP universe, I wouldn’t be against a McGonagall origin story.

Mercurio and Chronicler Aelius from Nevernight

Mercurio is that grumpy, verging on cruel, mentor character that I love. For some reasons I love tough love in a book (but not real life…I’ll start crying if someone barely raises their voice to me. I’m the worst.) and Mercurio definitely deals some tough love to Mia. Chronicler Aelius is actually the character that inspired this prompt for me. I don’t know what it is about librarian characters that just always stand out to me. The Chronicler always seems to have a wise word and a good smoke for Mia.

Jeremy Danvers from Bitten

As an Alpha werewolf in Bitten, Jeremy Danvers is both mentor and teacher to many characters in the book. I will be 100% honest with you and admit that I originally thought of Jeremy for this list purely because I have such a book crush on him. But I confirmed with my resident Kelley Armstrong fan over on #bookstagram that Jeremy definitely fits the bill for this topic.

Kelsier from Mistborn

*sigh* Oh, Kelsier. He was just a man, but oh what a man he was. He is not only the lead of the crew tasked with killing a god, but he teaches our main girl, Vin, how to be a kick ass Mistborn. Kel could give Kaz Brekker a run for his money with plots behind plots. While Kel is a fantastic leader of men, he really shines as the teacher to Vin. He teaches her so much, not just about her Mistborn powers, but how to trust and become comfortable in herself.

Numair and the Badger God from The Immortals Quartet

I feel the need to admit that this is kind of a hot for teacher entry for Numair. He was one of my first book boyfriends. All powerful mage with a mysterious past and a bit of a reputation for being a ladies man? Yeah, sign me the heck up. And I couldn’t not include the Badger God, because he is a grumpy god and a badger. Basically a grumpy Hufflepuff, like me.

Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Okay, yeah, sure…Giles is technically from a TV series, but there are books based on the show and that’s the loophole I’m jumping into so I can feature one of my favorite characters of all time. Giles deals with a lot of shit from the Scoobies and reacts with anything from genuine, caring wisdom to scathing snark. He’s got a dark, mysterious past and a great signing voice. And I’m starting to realize I’m just focusing on all the things that make me have a crush on him instead of how awesome he is a as a mentor and teacher to Buffy and the Scoobies. I’m pretty sure that if Giles hadn’t been around, Sunnydale would have fallen to one of the many apocalypses.

And for good measure, here are some extra Giles gifs because I couldn’t choose my favorite:


So, there is my list of favorites for the week! Do you have any beloved teacher/mentor characters?

Friday Favorites posts from the Bookish Community:

Friday Favorites: Epic Journeys

Welcome back to another Friday Favorites! This week the topic is Epic Journeys! I am particularly enamored with a good adventure story, so narrowing down my favorite journeys was a bit difficult. So, without any further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorite books with epic journeys:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Well, isn’t this a timely choice from me! But Netflix deals aside, Six of Crows is not only a damn amazing book (see my recent review here), but it has a journey of some epic damn proportions.


Kingdom of Ruins by D. C. Marino

I mean, this book has an archaeologist who travels to another world where nature communicates with people. There is much journeying and adventuring in this awesome story!


The Martian by Andy Weir

Okay, not a traditional journey, but there is definitely some epic traipsing around Mars. I have only ever read this book via audiobook and let me just say it is AWESOME! Mark Watney is the space pirate of my heart.


The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Look, I’m going to be honest here: I had to ask a friend if this book counted as an epic journey book because it has been so long since I’ve read it. I had vague memories of journeying, but was unsure if it was epic in nature. I’m not sure why I doubted the epicness in this book. It’s written by Brandon Sanderson, of course it’s epic!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

I loved, loved, LOVED the journey of the Golden Trio in this book. It was such a deviation from the past books and just talking about it makes me want to start my HP reread right damn now!


The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

What? Did you think I was going to leave this one off? I mean, is there any journey more epic than the ones in these books? No, I think not.

So that’s it for my favorites this week! I can’t wait to see what all of your favorite epic journeys are. Remember to drop the links to your posts in a comment and I’ll add them to a post list here! Happy Friday book people!

Friday Favorites posts from around the bookish community:

Friday Favorites: First Book in a Series

Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to the first FRIDAY FAVORITES post! I am so excited to start this weekly blog prompt challenge meme thingy! (I’m sure that’s the technical term for it…)

First, a quick announcement: I updated the main Friday Favorites page but I wanted to say it here too. My original intention was to have a link thingy that people could enter their blog post link in and it would make a list of everyone’s posts. Well, I found out that I can’t use plugins without a business plan (*biggest eye roll ever*). I’m not html savvy enough to know if I can work around this yet, so for now, here is what I’m going to be doing: If you do a Friday Favorites blog post or #bookstagram post, leave a comment with a link to your post and I will manually make a list at the bottom of my Friday Favorites post for people to see! I will do the list for any comments with links left in the first 48 hours after my post. I want to share the love to all, but I also can’t be updating the lists forever. Even if it doesn’t make it on to my list, the link will still be in the comments for people to find. Whew, this ended up being way more wordy than I intended. Sorry! I kinda hate that I can’t do the link thing in the way I originally wanted. If anyone has any insight they could provide it would be greatly appreciated.

OKAY, NOW FOR THE FAVORITES!

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown – Read a book about Mars and an uprising, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. This book is such a fantastic introduction to the brutal, yet brilliant author that is Pierce Brown. I will scream about my love of the Red Rising Saga forever (see my reviews of the trilogy here), but I am really looking forward to Brown starting a new series. I’d love to see what fresh hell he brings with a new book.

The Confectioner’s Guild (The Confectioner Chronicles #1) by Claire Luana – This book was my happy book of 2018. While I sadly haven’t had time to read the next two books in the series, I was blown away with how much I enjoyed the first book. If you want a book that will make you smile the whole time you are reading, then I highly recommend this book! (my review, riddled with Great British Bake Off gifs, here)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives #1) by Brandon Sanderson – The Way of Kings was my introduction to Brandon Sanderson. Because if you are going to start a new author, why not jump into the 1000 page first book in their epic, high fantasy saga? And honestly, it is one of the easiest “high fantasy” books I have ever read. If you are looking to try out some high fantasy, I’d recommend starting with The Way of Kings.

Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce – Tamora Pierce has built a beautiful world in Tortall and there are many different series within this world. Wild Magic was my (out of order) introduction. It has everything I want in a book: awesome female main character, snark, talking animals, grumpy (eventual) love interest, and solid world building. Though I’d consider this a middle grade book by today’s standards, it is still a fun, quick read.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Oh hello, favorite read of 2018! I honestly don’t know if I can fully describe how much I love this book. I read it in March 2018 and then reread it via audiobook at the end of December 2018. It’s just…so perfect to me. This trilogy will be one that I reread consistently for years to come. (read me scream about my love from this trilogy here)

Well that’s it for my first Friday Favorites! Thank you for joining me! What are some of your favorite first books in a series?

Friday Favorites posts from around the book community:

Sabreena @ Books and Prosecco
Alison @ Alison in Bookland
Ainslee @ Jest and Hearts
Brittany @ Bookishly Brittknee
Iza @ That Transylvanian Chick Book Blog
Sam @ Tinted Prose Reviews

Be sure to go check them out!

A Look Back at 2018 and a Look Forward to 2019

2018 was the year I truly immersed myself into the bookish community online. I gained traction with my #bookstagram account and started this blog. I learned the true value in books reviews and started reviewing regularly. I made more friends this year than I think I’ve ever made in my whole life. This was a year of so many books. So. Many. Books.

2018 Bookstagram Stats
Bookstagram Posts: 452
Likes Received: 138.8k (WHAT????? HOW???? WHAT????)
Followers Gained: 3,720 (Again, WHAT????? HOW???? WHAT????)

2018 Goodreads Stats
# of Books Read: 65. My goal was 100, so I obviously failed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
# of Pages Read: 26,540
Shortest Book Read: Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge (270 pages)
Longest Book Read: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (1,248 pages)
My First Review of the Year: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (this was also my favorite read of the year!)
My Five Star Reads of the 2018 (not including rereads): Illuminae. The City of Brass, Queen of Air and Darkness, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, Kingdom of Ash, The Confectioner’s Guild, The Last Namsara, The Wicked King, LIFEL1K3, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Vicious

Looking at 2019, I have plans and goals. Which is not something I usually have. I’m aiming to continue my growth in the online bookish community because my first year here has given me such joy. But I also want to focus on my reading, because all my bookish social media focus has taken me away from actually reading. So, here are my bookish goals/resolutions:

  • Actually read 100 books – Last year, my Goodreads reading challenge was 100 books and I only got to 65. I am DETERMINED to not fail again. I’ll be trying to read more short stories and graphic novels this year, so that should hopefully help me hit my goal. I’ve also joined Beat the Backlist 2019, hosted over at NovelKnight, so that should also help keep me on track.
  • Lessen book buying and mostly read books that I already own – I just finished inventorying my owned books a couple hours ago. Of the 633 books I own, 398 are unread. That’s 63% darn percent unread! While I know I can’t truly topple my TBR, I can make a sizable dent in it if I curb my book buying.
  • Read more at home instead of re-watching Great British Bake Off for the hundredth time – I tend to do most of my reading during my lunch break at work. So that’s just under an hour, 5 days a week. While that is good, it’s not enough for me. I need to focus on reading again and turn off my darn TV.
  • Get better at reviewing – I’m new to the review game and I can tell that my reviews need work. I need to find my own style, my own voice, within my reviews. When I first started this blog I had the idea of audio reviews, but short ones, like a quick review/recommendation similar to how I’d recommend a book to a friend or someone asking about a particular book. Maybe I’ll start that up this year…

So, cheers to the new year and all the good things, bookish and not, that I hope it brings! And now, as is one of my resolutions, I need to go read!

Beat the Backlist 2019

I have spoken many times about the amount of unread books I own. Frankly, the number of unread books I own is shameful. Enter Beat the Backlist, hosted by NovelKnight. Go check out her blog for all the official info about the challenge, but I’ll sum it up for you…

Basically, read your damn (pre-2019) books!

Me to me…

So, without further ado or abuse of gif posting ability, here is the beginning of my Beat the Backlist TBR for 2019:

  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • The Seven Realms and Shatter Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The final three books in the Jackaby Series by William Ritter
  • The Confectioner’s Coup and The Confectioner’s Truth by Claire Luana
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series by Brian Stavely
  • Hunting Prince Dracula and Escape from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
  • Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
  • Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

That’s just the beginning, mind you. On January 1st I will be taking an inventory of my current owned books and making a full blown list of books I plan to read in 2019. I really need to get my ratio of read to unread books in better shape. I will be setting my Goodreads challenge to 100, so I am aiming high next year.

Anyone else doing the Beat the Backlist challenge? And if yes, are you participating in the Hogwarts Houses? And if yes, what house are you in? Just wrapping up with a few rapid fire questions…

Happy New Year’s Eve eve! Cheers to many hours of reading in the new year!

Book Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publish Date: November 14, 2017
Raiting: 4.5 Stars
Synopsis: 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, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side 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: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.  After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

Wow. Can someone invent time travel, so I can go back and shove this book into my own face when it was first released? I am pretty damn cross with myself for sitting on it for so long.

S.A. Chakraborty created a rich world the likes of which I have never experienced. This book is part magic realism and part fantasy, but the world is centered Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures that I have very little knowledge of.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to walk through this story from the eyes of characters who are very different from me.

The story is told from two perspectives: Nahri, a street criminal with magic and mysterious heritage, and Alizayd (Ali), prince of Daevabad who is equal parts awkward and bad ass. While I loved Nahri more than Ali, they both irritated me at times. But really, people aren’t perfect and fictional characters shouldn’t be. Dara is the grumpy Daeva that Nahri accidently summons at the beginning of the book and hot damn I loved him. It’s no secret that I love grumpy male characters in books and Dara is no exception to that. Really, all the characters in this book, even the side ones, are very well developed and they all stuck with me.

One of the problems I had with this book was the world building. It was SO MUCH. I love books with good world building but I felt like this book took it one step over the line. Each scene felt like it added another layer to the world, but sometimes I just wanted a break. I felt like it was hard to keep track of the history in the world too. Each character had their own perspective on what happened in the past and I felt like the story’s history got a bit muddled by this. I get that there are always two sides to history and all that, but I just felt like I couldn’t tell you what actually went down in this world to bring us to where it currently is. The pacing was really thrown off sometimes by the world building too.

But, at the end of the day, this book was damn good. I remember when I first read the synopsis last year I knew I’d like the book. It still took me by surprise just how much I liked it though. What I think it really boils down to is this book is not like any other fantasy book I’ve read. Sure, it might have similar story elements to a lot of fantasy books: female main character (with some kind of hidden past) teams up with broody male and takes on some kind of corrupt system. But the setting and cultures represented brought out new elements and gave this story a richness that other fantasy books can be lacking. When people ask for fantasy book recommendations, The City of Brass is what I’ll be telling them to read for years to come.

Waiting On Wednesday: All the Jay Kristoff books

It should come as no surprise that I love Jay Kristoff, especially when he writes with Amie Kaufman (you can read me screaming and mildy curising about how much I love their Illuminae Files trilogy here). So, you can imagine the fact that not one, not two, BUT THREE Kristoff books coming out in 2019 makes me quite happy. Let’s break down all the ways I’ll be freaking out over his upcoming books.

Aurora Rising
Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Release Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


Where do I even start with this? Illuminae was my favorite read of 2018 (yes, I know I was late to the party. I blame that damned orange cover) and when I found out Kristoff and Kaufman were collaborating on a new sci fi trilogy I damn near lost my mind. I’ve basically been internally screaming since this book was announced.

DEV1AT3
Jay Kristoff
Release Date:
May 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

I am not going to put the synopsis here because it has straight up spoilers for LIFEL1K3, the first book in this series, but you can read the synopsis on Goodreads. Basically, LIFEL1K3 was a wacky and wild ride with one heck of an ending and OMG I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. LIFEL1K3 was one of my top ten book in 2018 and I’m fairly certain DEV1AT3 will be a favorite of 2019.

Darkdawn
Jay Kristoff
Release Date:
September 3rd, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Once again, I won’t put the synopsis here since it has MASSIVE spoilers for the previous two books, Nevernight and Godsgrave, but you can find it here. Godsgrave was the book I finished on the last day of 2017 and what an ending that was. Kristoff really is kinda of a mad man when it comes to his endings and the extended wait for Darkdawn has been particularly painful. But with each day that passes, I get closer to continuing the stabby, smutty adventures of Mia Corvere.

What is a book that you are desperately waiting for to be released?

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

Alright y’all, it’s Tuesday again, which means it is time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Winter TBR. I’m in the process of trying to loosely plan the first few months of reads for 2019, so this theme is very timely for me.

  1. Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden – I mean, these books just scream WINTER. I fully expect a blast of ice cold air and snowflakes to explode from these books when I open them. I’ve been wanting to start this series since The Bear and The Nightingale was released and the dead of winter seems like a good time to pick them up. I anticipate these being February 2019 reads for me.
  2. Heartless by Melissa Meyer – I am NOTORIOUS for buying books, saying I’m going to read them ASAP, and then waiting like 10 months before ACTUALLY starting to read them. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the bookish community who does this. Anyways, Heartless was one of those books for me and darn it I just need to get it read. I’m also thinking this will be a February read for tragic romance reasons.
  3. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson – I will be reading this Sanderson sci-fi novel with my Sanderson Sisters in January and I CANNOT WAIT! I’ve loved every single fantasy word I’ve read by Sanderson and I’m beyond excited to read some sci fi from him.
  4. The Illuminae Files (audio reread) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I loved these books SO DAMN MUCH when I read them in March 2018 (read me scream about them here) and I have been dying for a reread. I do 99% of my rereads via audiobook, so I was very excited to hear from many people that the audiobook adds a whole new layer of awesome to this wonderfully chaotic sci fi trilogy.
  5. Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy – I cannot wait to crack into this beautiful book. I was ecstatic when I got an ARC recently and it is my next read after I finish The City of Brass. Go read the synopsis on Goodreads and try to tell me you don’t think this book sounds amazing.
  6. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – I mean, it’s a Nikolai book…WITH NINA ZENIK. Of course, I’m going to read the heck out of this one when it is released. There will be waffles involved, I’m sure.
  7. Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Props to my #bookstagram book club for suggesting this one to me. Someone said it was snowy and I was sold. Also, I’m like 99.9% sure I have this one on my Kindle and I desperately need to catch up on my kindle books next year.
  8. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch –  Another series that has been on my radar for…well, longer than I’d like to admit. In a nutshell, it’s magic cops in London. So I am 100% here for this book.
  9. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean – This was an impulse by for me. I was at the book store for a different book, but this beautiful blue spine stood out to me and once I read the synopsis I dropped that book right into my basket.
  10. Keiko Trilogy by Mike Brooks – Yet another series that I bought ages ago that has just languished on my shelves. I mean, this series has been compared to Firefly and just that was enough to get me to buy all three books at once.

What books are you planning to read this winter?

Book Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly ChaseHolly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 24th, 2017
Genre, as told by Kibby: YA contemporary with a dash of weird magic/science-y realism
Rating: 5 Stars!
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
She didn’t.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Let me start by saying that I DO NOT like YA contemporary novels. qG2h9G9NMRRE4I’ll read them only in the most exact of situations (The Charlotte Holmes novels, for instance), but this book was the selection for my Bookstagram Book Club (GO #TEAMKINGWHALE) and the synopsis had just enough vague magic-y/science-y weirdness to intrigue me.

But The Afterlife of Holly Chase melted even my cold, dead old lady heart.

The novel follows failed scrooge, Holly Chase, through…you guessed it: her afterlife. There is no heaven or hell for her, just the life as a sort of ghost/zombie vagueness that works for Project Scrooge. I felt like some of the intricacies of Project Scrooge could have been fleshed out more, but this novel is about the human aspect, not the technical. I can forgive it leaving out that part of world building.

I was worried that I would hate Holly Chase. There is nothing I hate more than a “poor rich girl” but Cynthia Hand deftly wrote Holly as flawed human that has depth and the ability to grow. I did dislike Holly at first, but very quickly I was drawn into her loneliness. Not the loneliness of her rich, teenage life, but the loneliness of her afterlife. I felt for her and found myself rooting for her to somehow get a happy ending (which is surprising since I’m usually a fan of tragic endings).

There was a fairly large supporting cast in this book and while some were not well explored, I felt I was able to get enough about them to work within the story. I think Boz and Stephanie were my favorite of the supporting cast. And while we got quite a bit of Stephanie’s backstory, I wish we’d gotten to know Boz a bit more. But at the same time, the unknown gives the novel the right feel.

I think what I liked most about the book was that even though I knew something was going to be all plot-twisty, I never could quite put my finger on it. It kept me invested and constantly wondering where this was all going. There were some bits that could be classified as clichéd but they were written in a way that I enjoyed and therefore didn’t care about the cliché.

And then there was the ending…

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I will not say any spoilers but I will say that I cried a lot because even though I try to hide it, I am a total sap. I called one thing about the ending, but not everything. And regardless, I loved everything that came to pass.

At the end of the day, this was not a perfect book. But it made me cry AND it made me happy, which is what I love in a book. So 5 stars on enjoyment alone, 4 stars if I was being critical about clichés and some lack of world building.