Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved and Own, But Will Never Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read.” I wish I could reread all the books that I’ve loved, but there is never enough time to do so. I will say that the books I own have a better chance of getting reread by me, but I’m also very aware that this is a more optimistic view. If I’m being completely honest, I probably won’t ever have time to reread the majority of the books I own. And it fills me with such guilt! Here are ten books that I’ve loved and own, but I’m kind of okay with not rereading them. At some point, I may end up giving them away. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand – One of the few angel series that I loved. It’s been a long time since I read this one and even though I have all three on my shelf, I will probably never touch them again. Still, how can I let go of my dear Tucker?

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – There was a time when I might have binge-reread this series, but years have tempered my enthusiasm. I may unhaul these sooner rather than later.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – I loved this one when I read it 84 years ago. It was actually one of the first YA books I fell in love with, so I’ll be keeping it for sentimental reasons for now.

4. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter – I still think of this series fondly after so many years. In fact, I am determined to save these books for my niece when she’s old enough to read them.

5. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – This is one of the few time-traveling books that I’ve enjoyed. Still, I will probably not revisit it. No particular reason why not.

6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – The more I think about the second book, the angrier I get, so this book, once a favorite, has kind of been shunned by association. Might unhaul very soon.

7. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron – I’ve had the sequel for this one for years and realize I will probably not read it. I probably won’t be touching this one again, so to the unhaul pile it will probably go.

8. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry – Loved this entire zombie series, but will never have time to reread them. Will probably keep them just in case one of the nephews or nieces become interested in zombies.

9. The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams – I don’t really remember anything about this novel and it might be time to donate it.

10. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – I still need to finish this series, but know I will probably not reread the first before doing so. A pretty cover is plenty of reason to keep a book though, right?

How do you decide which books to keep and which to unhaul? Leave me a link to your own TTT post in the comments, so I can visit.

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ARC Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Title: Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 3rd 2018
*I received a free copy of this novel through NetGalley which does not influence my review*

      “Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.
      But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.
      What could go wrong?
      With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.
      And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?”

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Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes suffers from an interesting synopsis that never quite gets delivered on page. Zorie and Lennon were once best friends, but now regard each other with nothing less than scorn. Though the synopsis boasts of a turbulent relationship between their families, the reality is less dramatic. Zorie’s mother has always been friendly with Lennon’s moms. The major point of contention between the two families is Zorie’s father. His bitterness about the failure of his career and his own bigotry toward Lennon’s moms are what fuels the tension between the two families. At times, the novel felt too long and the conflict between Zorie and Lennon felt too short-lived that the initial animosity at the beginning felt rather pointless.

I liked that Zorie, a devoted planner, learns to appreciate spontaneity, that she learns that there is value in the unexpected. Her relationship with her mother is my favorite in the novel. Joy is patient and understanding with Zorie. She never ridicules her daughter for bad decisions, but is always there to help her through her problems. Joy makes a striking contrast to Zorie’s father, Dan, and much of the time, I wondered what he really brought to the table in their marriage and Zorie’s upbringing. So much of the novel hinges on Zorie’s father’s destructive behavior without giving the character anything else to work with. As a result, Zorie’s father falls very flat. The revelations surrounding his character and the consequences with regard to his relationship with his daughter did not have a strong impact on me as a reader because I never could value him as an important influence in Zorie’s life.

One of my major issues with the novel is the hostility between the main character and her love interest. Part of the build-up is revealing what went wrong between former best friends, Zorie and Lennon. Though the two do their best to avoid one another, it seemed obvious from the beginning that this wasn’t something that Zorie felt strongly about. I expected a relationship with more tension, but after only a couple of bantering scenes, the two were already quickly on their way to reconciliation. My problem with this whole dynamic is when everything is put on the table, I could not help but shake my head because a little communication could have saved both characters from a lot of heartache. Strangely enough, I was more interested in finding out more about their friendship than their thwarted romance. It’s an aspect that is forced to take a backseat, but one I was more invested in.

Starry Eyes will probably appeal to those who enjoy second-chance romances and Bennett’s previous novel Alex, Approximately, but left me wanting more overall.

3/5

★★★

Monthly Wrap-Up: March ’18

MonthlyWrap-UPI feel like a ton of things were going on with my reading and blogging life in March even though I spent a week out of the month away from the blog. I took a two-week hiatus and am officially back with this wrap-up. At the beginning of the month, I did a buddy read of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season with Annemieke @ A Dance With Books. I did a guest post for Lili @ Utopia State of Mind‘s blogiversary which you can check out here.  All the guest bloggers were fantastic, so I urge you to check them out. I hosted a bookmark giveaway earlier in March as well. I do have a book haul post that will go up this upcoming week (I completely forgot about this before I went on hiatus), so be on the lookout. I have an ARC review (Jenn Bennet’s Starry Eyes) that should have been posted a week ago, but I was on hiatus, so I let myself off the hook. This will go up tomorrow if my plan to edit it does today does not go up in flames. In March, I read six books which included a reread (These Vicious Masks). April plans include preparing for the Comment Challenge this summer and revamping an original feature on the blog. Stay tuned!

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

Favorite Book This Month:

My favorite read in March was Tomi Adeyem’s Children of Blood and Bone. I know we all had exceedingly high expectations for this debut and I just thought this entire story and its world was nothing short of epic. I did manage to write a review of this one while on hiatus, so hopefully I will edit and post it in the next week or so. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book this month received less than three stars from me.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Dread Nation – I officially have this one in my possession. *does happy dance* This might be my next read. I’m feeling kind of slumpy and I don’t want that to affect how I read this one, so I’m just waiting for the ehhness to pass.

Top Ten Tuesday: Give Me These 2018 Spring Releases Now – My enthusiasm for these upcoming titles knows no bounds.

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only participating in one reading challenge this year.

1. The 2018 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This month I read one debut book: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

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

April Releases I’m Excited For:

Month in Review

How was your March? How are your reading challenges going so far this year? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

Spring Hiatus Announcement!

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of starting to think that I’m getting really good at hiatuses. I’m not necessarily feeling the need for a hiatus, but I know that I probably won’t get a chance to take a break in the next few months because of some previous obligations. Therefore, I am making myself take a two week break. I will be away from the blog starting tomorrow (March 24th) through April 6th. I should be back some time on Saturday, April 7th with a wrap-up post for March. I don’t have any particularly big plans for this break. I might still hang around Twitter and maybe comment on blogs, but I won’t be working on or responding to comment on the blog. See you all soon!

The Friday 56: The Beautiful Ones

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Nobody interrupted Cecilia Gugeno, and as soon as Nina had spoken, she realized her grievous mistake. Not only did Valérie stare at her, but all the other women turned their heads in Nina’s direction and pursed their lips besides. Nina twitched her fingers and without meaning it, she made the the windows pop open with a loud bang, the shutter clacking against the wall.”

I am delighted to share an excerpt from my first five-star read of the year. I was impressed with Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s world-building in her previous novel Certain Dark Things and fell completely head over heels for The Beautiful Ones, a historical romance with a touch of fantasy. You can read my full review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads. 

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
      Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
      Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.
      The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.”

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, #1
Pages: 384
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2nd 2017

      “Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
      To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
      In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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“I thought I was supposed to be good and follow the rules…But I am done with being weak. I am done with being good. I think I am going to be something else.”

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince features a complex heroine who is forced to become more ruthless than the monsters who surround her in order to survive. Jude was taken from the human world along with her sisters when she was a child and has grown up under the watchful eye of Madoc, the High King of Elfhame’s powerful general. As a mortal, Jude will never truly belong in the Faerie realm, but she has been so altered by its cruelty and majesty, that returning to the human world is unthinkable. Jude must find a way to earn her place in the High Court, to ensure her own safety and protection for those she cares about. But sparring with a foe who is stronger and more powerful than she will ever be will push Jude to her limits and could turn her into something even more terrible than than the Fae themselves.

Jude was such an interesting character in that she never wanted to embrace her humanity, but instead understood that she had to rid herself of her very human weaknesses in order to gain any kind of footing in the Faerie world. Her relationship with this world is rooted in opposing emotions. She hates these immortal beings for taking away her parents, for their cruelty, and the alienation she feels being a part of their world but not of it. But on the other hand, she has found a home in this strange and inhuman world. She admires their strength, ruthlessness, and power. Jude longs for the kind of power that no mortal has ever been granted. For the Faeries, mortal are playthings. There to amuse or serve them one minute and then to be discarded the next. It is for this reason that Jude is able to move undetected among them, it’s why her defiance is so provoking to those with more power, and why, though improbably, Jude finds a way to shape not just her own story but those around her.

I loved all the different relationships Jude has with each member of her family. Her twin sister Taryn very much wants to embrace the Faerie world, but in a very human way. She ultimate believes love will be her protection. She is everything that Jude might have been if she hadn’t been consumed by her own ambition. Jude’s older sister Vivi is half-Faerie and half-human. She longs to return to the human world where she has fallen in love with a human girl. Vivi hates her father Madoc for shattering her world and perhaps blames him for her sisters’ love for the Faerie realm. As far as side characters go, I thought Vivi was the most interesting and deserved more page time. For Jude, Madoc has always represented the best and worst part of the Faerie world. He murdered her parents, but has also shown her and her sisters a great deal of affection. He pushes her, but in many ways, also hold her back.

Making these vicious creatures romantic characters is always tricky. Faeries are inherently cruel and selfish. After finishing this first installment, I wonder if there is any goodness to be found in these creatures that you could call redeeming or if their nature is such that the morality we apply to human characters cannot be applied to them. It is for this reason that I found it hard to root for certain characters. Though it is revealed later that the motives of some may not be solely rooted in hatred, I still found it hard to forget the malice shown to the protagonist. I understood more what a Faerie might see in Jude in that she finds a way to overcome her own weaknesses despite her fragility as a mortal, but couldn’t quite see what Jude would see in someone who has been a thorn in her side. Still, I’m curious to see where the author decides to take a certain relationship.

Overall, Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince was a fascinating read that had me racing to the end with its startling conclusion.

4/5

★★★★