Monthly Wrap-Up: February ’17

MonthlyWrap-UPDespite only reading six books this month, I still feel like I had a really good reading month. I wanted to get through more books, but the short month made that kind of impossible (why?!) and before I knew it, I was rushing to finish my final book of the month. I bought far too many books in February and may have to restrict myself for the next couple of months. I’ll have a book haul post up at the end of March, so you can see how out of control I’ve been (so much shame).

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.)

Favorite Book This Month:

I read a couple of five-star books this month, but I really want to highlight Tiffany D. Jackson’s Allegedly. I literally finished the book, closed it, and let out a “wow.” It is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. If you haven’t read this one, please do!

Least Favorite Book This Month:

All the books I read this month received a positive rating from me.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read But Not Reviewed Yet:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Wish Had More Relevant Female Characters – Would love it if authors put more energy into writing more than one strong female character in their books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Tropes I Kind of Love – In honor of Valentine’s Day, I shared my favorite romance tropes.

Kernels of Nonsense: Are ARCs Worth it? – In which I discuss my thoughts on ARCs and my hiatus from requesting them.

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag – Loved this tag so much. A look at some gorgeous book covers, back covers, and everything in between.

Reading Challenges:

Didn’t quite get a chance to pick up as many fantasy books as I would have liked, but still making progress…

1. The 2017 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Once again, I read three debuts (I’m on fire, I know): Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza, Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson, and Heartstone by Elle Katharine White.

  • Challenge Goal: 12 books; Current Count: 6 books

2. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017 is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Cherry. I’m still sticking to a more rigid definition of fantasy, so even though I read a couple of books that could be considered both fantasy and science-fiction, I won’t be counting them. This month I read the following fantasy books: Elle Katharine White’s Heartstone and V.E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light.

  • Challenge Goal: 20 books; Current Count: 4 books

March Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Month in Review

How was your February? What’s your favorite book so far this year? Let me hear from you in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

Saw this tag on Jesalin @ JBelkBooks, one of my Comment Challenge partners for this month, and had to take part in it because if there’s anything I do love, it’s a pretty book. If you’d like to give this tag a shot, feel free to add a link to your post in the comments, I’d love to take a look! Covers are linked to Goodreads. Let’s get started…

BEST COLOR COMBO ON A BOOK COVER

The cover for These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner is stunning. I love the billowing green dress, the star-infused blue sky, and how the model’s red hair immediately draws the eye. Ah, so pretty.

BEST TYPOGRAPHY/FONT ON THE COVER

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. These book covers are so lovely, I love how prominent the titles are and the font.

BEST SIMPLE COVER

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. A simple and meaningful cover.

BEST ENDPAGES

I adore the endpapers in my Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

BEST MAP

I love maps. I think every fantasy book should come with a map and that we should be able to remove them from the book as a convenient reference while reading. Don’t know if I have a favorite map in particular, but I did like how important maps were in Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere.

BEST NAKED HARDBACK

BEST BACK COVER

My Jane Austen Heirloom edition box set has the prettiest back covers with quotes from the books. Here is the one for Pride & Prejudice.

BEST CHAPTER HEADERS

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier has the loveliest chapter headers.

BEST ILLUSTRATIONS

My favorite illustrations hands down are Jim Kay’s in the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

BEST SPINE

There are so many books with amazing spines, but I especially love it when a set of spines form one image like this Percy Jackson and the Olympians box set.

FAVORITE COVER ON YOUR SHELVES

Yeah, I don’t know how I could possibly choose just one, but here are a few that I particularly love: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova.

 alt=  

cc-banner-march-1Final Note: Today is the final day to sign up for March for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. We’d love for you to join us. Click the image to the left for all the info. 

Monthly Wrap-Up: January ’17

MonthlyWrap-UPI have very mixed feelings about January. There were some really good moments, but sometimes it feels like we’re living in the Twilight Zone in this country. It can be really disheartening and stressful. Unfortunately, reading and blogging can be hard during these times. This month I did read five books, reread another, listened to my first audio book, and picked up my first graphic novel. I’m so happy I decided to tackle audio books and graphic novels for the first time because I enjoyed both and will definitely be exploring both more in the future.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.)

Favorite Book This Month:

I love it when a sequel is even better than the first book in a series. Susan Dennard’s Windwitch was amazing and I’m dying to get my hands on the third book.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

I am not having very much luck with ARCs lately. Gilded Cage by Vic James failed to draw me in, which leaves me very confused as most seem to have enjoyed this one. Review will go up next month. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read But Not Reviewed Yet:

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Jane Austen Editions I Want – All the Jane Austen books I’m salivating over.

Winter 2017 Comment Challenge: February Sign-up – The Comment Challenge is back in business this Winter! If you’d like to join us for March, look for our sign-up post tomorrow.

2017 Reading/Blogging Challenges – Announcing challenges I’m taking part in this year.

Kernels of Nonsense: Preordering Debut Books – My first discussion post of the year, talking about how one decides if preordering debuts is worth it.

Reading Challenges:

It’s the first month for these challenges and I think I’m off to a wonderful start…

1. The 2017 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I read three debuts this month: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, Gilded Cage by Vic James, and Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones.

  • Challenge Goal: 12 books; Current Count: 3 books

2. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017 is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Cherry. I wasn’t sure if I’d include certain subgenres (magical realism, dystopian fantasy, would graphic novels count?) when it came to this challenge, but I think I’m going to restrict my count to books I’d just label fantasy. This month I picked up the following fantasy books: Susan Dennard’s Windwitch and S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong.

  • Challenge Goal: 20 books; Current Count: 2 books

February Releases I’m Excited For (so many!!!):

Month in Review

How was your January? Any February releases you’re extra excited about? Let me hear from you in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

Monthly Wrap-Up: December ’16

MonthlyWrap-UPThis wrap-up is going to be pretty quick. The beginning of December went as well as November, but getting a chance to spend time with family during Christmas was a really great way to end the month. I still feel like I’m shaking off that blogging and reading slump that crept up during the month, but I have high hopes for the new year. I got through five books which isn’t bad considering the slump and the holidays.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.)

Favorite Book This Month:

Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was the final book I read in 2016. It’s a really charming MG novel and I’ll have much more to say in my review soon. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

Erin Summerill’s Ever the Hunted was so very disappointing. It’s a shame, because that cover is gorgeous.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read But Not Reviewed Yet:

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books of 2016 – A look back at my favorite books I read in 2016

Winter 2017 Comment Challenge: January Sign-up – The Comment Challenge is back for Winter! If you’d like to join us for February, look for our sign-up post tomorrow.

2016 Fourth Quarter Book Haul – I really ought to buy less books.

End of the Year Book Survey – A look back on my year in reading.

Reading Challenges:

Final reading challenge update for 2016!

1. The 2016 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I read two debuts this December: Erin Summerill’s Ever the Hunted and Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper.

  • Challenge Goal: 12 books; Final Number: 12 books – Success!

2. The 2016 Read My Books Challenge is hosted by The Worn Bookmark. This month I read three of my own books: Rae Carson’s Like a River Glorious, Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea, and Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumvented…

  • Challenge Goal: 30 books; Final Number: 31 books – Success!

3. The 2016 Finishing the Series Challenge is hosted by Bea’s Book Nook. Nothing this month.

  • Challenge Goal: 7 series; Final Number: 8 – Success!

January Releases I’m Excited For:

Month in Review

How was your December? Did you enjoy the holidays? Let me hear from you in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

7th Annual End of the Year Book Survey

The 7th Annual End of the Year Survey was created by The Perceptual-Page Turner and is a really great way to look back on 2016. This is my third time doing this survey and I always enjoy taking a little time to evaluate my year in terms of books. If you get a chance to take part in this survey, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll be sure to have a look. Covers featured below are linked to Goodreads.

Number Of Books You Read: 77 (aiming for 78 by the end of the day)
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy, but I read a lot of contemporary and historical fiction books as well.

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Did you say books with an “s” because I’d have to say among my favorites were Ryan Graudin’s Wolf By Wolf, Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom, and Maggie Steifvater’s The Raven King.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Sarah Ahiers’s Assassin’s Heart. I really love assassins and I wanted to fall in love with this one, but it ended up being meh for me.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
I was really surprised by how much I liked Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road. I’m really not into westerns, but yet this one really impressed me.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think I may have mentioned the brilliance of Ryan Graudin’s Wolf By Wolf every opportunity I had. Have you read it? You must!
5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
I feel like Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch has a lot of potential, so I’m going with that for best series started in 2016. Best sequel goes to Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom. I loved it so much, I’m even itching to reread the duology right now. Stiefvater’s The Raven King wins best series ender. It was everything I loved about the previous three books and more.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
I discovered some really good authors this year, but like to spotlight Destiny Soria. Her debut Iron Cast was such a breath of fresh air. I plan to pick up all her subsequent novels.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I already mentioned Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road, but another book I was surprised I liked so much was Natasha Preston’s The Cellar. I don’t pick up a lot of thrillers, but this was very good.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Ryan Graudin’s Blood for Blood was pretty unputdownable. I was fully invested in Yael’s story since Wolf By Wolf, so I needed to know the end of her story.
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
There are a couple of books that I plan to reread in 2017, the highest on my list being V. E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows. I must reread the first two books in the series before the final book is released.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Hands down, it’s Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss cover. I am so happy that the publisher didn’t go through with the original plan to change the final cover.
11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Lada from Kierten White’s And I Darken. This girl, this girl is equal parts scary and admirable.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
This is a toss up for me between Mindy McGinnis’s A Darkness So Discreet and Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star. Both author’s writing blew me away.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
I’m going to have to go with Ryan Graudin’s Wolf By Wolf again. This book, people, this book.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Definitely Mindy McGinnis’s A Madness So Discreet. I feel like this book is the perfect fit for me and I really regret passing it up last year.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
I was supposed to be better at keeping track of favorite passages, but I totally failed on that front. That being said, I did really like this particular passage from Cat Winter’s The Steep & Thorny Way:

“The nighttime forest glowed in a strange haze of gold, and the fat trunks and green awnings soured high above, as if I were nothing more than a spider scampering through a window box.”

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest book was Lauren DeStefano’s The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart (208 pages) and the longest was Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom (546).
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Long Game ripped my heart out and threw it into the fire. Not over it, won’t be over it, can’t be over it.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
This might be the easiest question on this list because my love for Kaz and Inej has no bounds!!!!!
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Ada and Corinne from Destiny Soria’s Iron Cast is my favorite female friendship, I love their relationship so much.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was fantastic. I liked Everything, Everything, but I kind of loved this second book.
21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea is a book I bought and read because of all the praise it received from my fellow bloggers. Thank you all by the way, it was great.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Huh. I don’t think I have any new fictional boyfriends to add to my list this year. How weird.
23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Upon further reflection, I think Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere is the best debut I read this year.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Both Leigh Bardugo and V. E. Schwab excel at wordbuilding, I’m always in awe.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows had me laughing so much. It was such a fun experience to read and I’m really looking forward to what they write together next.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
Both Ryan Graudin’s Blood For Blood and Maggie Steifvater’s The Raven King had me close to tears.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
That goes to Destiny Soria’s Iron Cast. I’ve already mentioned this one a couple of times, but I cannot believe how many people haven’t read it.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom really packed a punch. I’m still feeling it.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke was really weird and really odd and really good.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Honestly, I don’t think any books I read made me angry this year. Even the ones that I didn’t particularly like were disappointing, but they didn’t make me mad.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Stephanie’s Adventures of a Bibliophile is a blogger whose opinion I really value. If she didn’t enjoy a book, the odds are I won’t either. I really trust her judgment and just enjoy everything she posts. If you’re not following her, do it.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
I really enjoyed writing my review for Kiersten White’s And I Darken.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Kernel of Nonsense: When An Author Keeps Disappointing You was my favorite discussion post of the year. It was really a cathartic writing experience.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I participated in Armchair BEA for the first time this year which was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely be doing it again because let’s be realistic, the odds that I’ll ever be able to go to BEA are slim.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Being able to host the Comment Challenge with Lonna @ FLYLēF over the summer was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done as a blogger (A little self-promotion here, we’re hosting the same challenge over the winter months and you can participate in February. Just look for our sign-up post on the 2nd).
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
The slumps. Oh, I had some crazy end of the year reading and blogging slumps. It was a struggle to get through a few books and even more of a struggle to find the motivation to blog.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Kernels of Nonsense: The Ugly Side of Book Blogging was my most popular post this year. Sometimes being a blogger can be messy.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Someone give some love to my review of All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I think one of the reasons it didn’t get too much love is because it’s the third installment in a series that not everyone has read 😦
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I discovered that I would do well not to discover any more bookish sites.
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed my Goodreads goal, along with several other challenges I participated in (the 2016 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, 2016 Read My Books Challenge is hosted by The Worn Bookmark, and 2016 Finishing the Series Challenge is hosted by Bea’s Book Nook).

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
I’m going to go with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I think I might make this one my first audio book as well because Lin-Manuel Miranda!!!!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
I’m super stoked for The Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab and also scared…
3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera, hands down.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I already mentioned The Conjuring of Light, but second would be Heidi Heilig’s The Ship Beyond Time.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Participate in a buddy read and maybe one readathon.
6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
None. I’m saving my 2017 ARCs for next year because I just don’t have time to read them yet.

2016 Fourth Quarter Book Haul: In Which I Buy Far Too Many Books…Again

Book Haul (1)Time for my final book haul post of the year and while I did not plan to buy so many books (is it ever planned?), I really can’t say that I regret any of these purchases. Most of the books I’ve accumulated over the past three months are from Book Outlet. I got to say, those special deals are really hard to resist and when you get a big box of books in the mail, you forget about the fact that Christmas is around the corner and maybe it’s a better idea to save money. Whoops. Click any image below to enlarge.

New Books Not From Book Outlet:

1. Gilded Cage by Vic James – I won this ARC from Goodreads and everyone who’s read it seemed to enjoy it.

2. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – After reading a library copy of this one, I knew I had to own it.

3. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this eARC and so when the book was finally published, I bought myself a copy.

4. Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – It took me forever to read the third book in her Naturals series. Hopefully it doesn’t take me as long to pick up this final one.

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – I’ve wanted a copy of this one for a long while. I spotted this one at 50% for an after Halloween clearance sale. It immediately went into my cart.

6. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather – I kind of hoped to like this one more as it was the only book I bought in celebration of Halloween. I may still pick up the sequel however.


Book Outlet Purchase #1:

7. The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe – This one has been on my radar for a while. It sounds like the perfect blend of weird and intriguing.

8. Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman – I remember coming across this one on a few blogs and I was interested enough to include it with this purchase.

9. The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon – The illustrations for this one are what sold me. Just look at them, they’ve gorgeous.

10. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – Valente’s writing really impressed me and now I think I must read all of her books.

11. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma – This is a really weird book, but Nova Ren Suma’s writing is so good, it pulls you right in.

12. Places No One Know by Brenna Yovanoff – This is my favorite Brenna Yovanoff novel. If you haven’t read it, please do.

13. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson – I haven’t read the first book in this series, but everyone seems to love it, so I thought I’d just go for it and buy the second.

14. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson – I read this author years ago, and I’ve always liked the sound of her books whenever she pops up on other blogs, so I thought I’d give her another try.

15. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – I really enjoyed The Unexpected Everything, so now I’m on a mission to read all her books.

Book Outlet Purchase #2:

16. Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly – I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading it again before picking up the sequel.

17. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed – I really enjoy this author on Twitter, so I really want to check out her novel.

18. Pointe by Brandy Colbert – I’ve heard so many good things about this one and really need to read it.

19. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was so surprised by this debut and her second book is even better. Now I have both!

20. Stands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson – I’ve heard from a couple of bloggers say that this is their favorite fairy tale retelling and now I simply must check it out.

21. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – Everyone loves this book and I want to too. Step one is to actually read it though.

22. Prophecy by Ellen Oh – Another author on Twitter whose point of view I always appreciate. This novel sounds pretty amazing, so I’m anxious to read this.

23. Bright By Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt – This one sounds like the perfect light, one-day read and I can’t wait to dive in.

Christmas Gift:

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (illustrated by Jim Kay) – I got it, I got it, yes! I may be a little excited to receive this book for Christmas and it’s just as beautiful as I imagined.

Was your book buying out of control these last couple of months as well? What books did you receive for Christmas? How do you resist those Book Outlet sales (I’m trying to resist one now!)? Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!