It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and this week’s topic is: standalone books. Another pretty difficult topic to narrow down this week! I generally read as many standalone books as I do series. Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from reading books in a series, especially when you’re left with cliffhangers and have to wait what feels like forever for the next book. It’s a nice change of pace to read a book and know that at the end of it your questions will be answered and you’ll have a satisfying resolution to everything that happened. There’s certainly no shortage of these books on my kindle and physical shelves either, but what’s new there?! 😂 Here are five standalone books that I’d like to get to at some point in the (hopefully) near future…Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Standalone Books”
I stumbled across this post on Loretta’s page (which by the way is awesome and you should defo check it out if you haven’t yet!) several months ago and it looked like so much fun that I couldn’t wait to try it myself. But of course with life, reading, and all the awesome tags out there, I’ve only just now got around to doing it! It involves one of the things that I secretly really love to do on the interwebs: take quizzes! Yes, I’m a quiz-taker-lover! Especially when it’s a book related quiz but also pretty much any rando quiz I come across; you can bet that I’d love to do it, if I haven’t already done it 😂 This tag is then pretty perfect for me! Here’s what Loretta has to say about her tag:
“Now here we are! All of these quizzes tell you who you would be if you were in that specific universe. I tried to stick with the same quiz makers as much as possible for the sake of consistency, but was forced to stray on a few of them. Each fandom title links back to the original quiz I took (at this point you’re like, please for the love of god, stop saying the word quiz), so you all can take them too. So go forth and prosper. May the odds be ever in your favor. MWAHAHAHAHA!!”
With that said… Let’s get to it! First up are THE RULES:
- Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers somehow. I decided to just copy the text from each quiz and paste it into my post, but screenshots work too! Whatever floats your goat (Yes goat. I SAID WHAT I SAID).
- NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz my friends. I’m watching you. ∗Suspicious squinty eyes∗
- Use this post to give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag me on twitter @LaughnListener so I can see everyone’s answers!!
- Tag some friends to spread the fun!
We’re back with another Goodreads Monday, a weekly meme started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.
This week’s book is Sadie by Courtney Summers. Well, I’ve had this one on my list for quite some time now (added in September 2018)! Sadie has pretty great rating statistics on Goodreads: an average rating of 4.18 stars with 39,121 ratings and 9,949 reviews.
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
Why do I want to read it?
I’ve heard a lot about this book and much of it is mixed ! I’m getting the feeling that you either really love/hate this book and there’s very little feeling in between. That said, the cover has always pulled me in (I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking: MUST TO HAVING)! I don’t know what it is about it, but I love it. I’ve also heard that listening to this as an audiobook really enhances the reading experience, as the story is told partly in podcast format. I’ve never read anything in podcast style before so it’ll be interesting and I’m definitely looking forward to it!
Have you read Sadie or is it on your TBR too?
Goodreads: Frankly In Love
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Frank Li is a high school senior living in Southern California. Frank’s parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank – he must only date Korean girls.
But he’s got strong feelings for a girl in his class, Brit – and she’s not Korean. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and knows her parents will never accept her Chinese American boyfriend, so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.
Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love – or himself – at all.
My heart! I’ve had time to digest my thoughts on Frankly in Love and I’m still not sure if this will even be a semi-decent review. I really suck at writing good reviews y’all, but bear with me and sorry in advance for the rambling and incoherent thoughts! If you want to read a great review for this book I’d recommend checking out CW’s post because it is awesome. For those who look at this beautiful and cheerfully colored cover and read the synopsis thinking that you’re getting a lighthearted YA contemporary romance, I’d say adjust your expectations because this story is much more than that. It’s about immigrants, culture, identity and understanding yourself in a world that expects you to be one thing when you so badly just want to be.
Before I dive into my reflection, I want to take a moment to appreciate the friendships in this story; particularly between Frank and Q. They are the epitome of a bromance. Their interactions are so geeky and pure, and I don’t even have the words for how full of warmth they always left me feeling. I felt strongly for Frank’s character, but my love for Q knows no bounds! He’s the one that inspires you to forever protect because he deserves ALL THE GOOD THINGS. There’s a twist to Q’s arc at the end of the book that I kind of felt coming 3/4 of the way through the story, so when it happened I wasn’t necessarily surprised. However, I don’t know why Yoon threw it in because it didn’t add anything or really go anywhere, so that was a little confusing. That said, the scene still left me in tears because everything was ending and I was just so proud of that gorgeous, nerdy-licious, pure nugget. *insert a million heart-eye emojis*
Yoon’s debut was a well-written story full of heartfelt emotion and quirkiness. Frank and his friends are all
pretty big huge nerds and that really came out in the way the story was written. I thought it was endearing, but I thought the quirkiness went a little OTT at times, although it did make me more fond of the characters. As I mentioned earlier, this book is less about romance and more an exploration of the immigrant identity, culture, racism and family (the parent-child relationships). The representation in this book was pretty amazing. I learned a lot about Korean culture and norms, and I enjoyed seeing the immigrant story through the eyes of a coming-of-age young adult. Frank’s parents were really racist and I thought it was an interesting perspective showing that other ethnicities can be racist too, which you don’t see a lot in many novels. It was pretty upsetting at times and I wish that Frank stood up to his parents more, even if he didn’t believe they would ever change. I thought all the teens were pretty ‘woke’ though and the discussions on racism and other sensitive topics were done well.
While it’s marketed as a romance, I think that aspect really takes a backseat, although it does stem from Frank’s desire to start dating Brit, a white girl (which is a huge no in his parent’s book). While a lot of the sensitive issues were handled well, my least favorite aspect of the story was how the whole fake-dating situation was dealt with because if there’s one thing I really hate, it’s exactly what Frank did.
Could you see that the situation was heading in this direction? Yes, but I was still a little disappointed that Yoon took it there when it could’ve been avoided. I was also a little ‘meh’ on the whole outcome of Frank’s relationship at the end of the book too. After going through all that drama I thought it would’ve been nice for a happier ending, but knowing that there is apparently going to be a sequel makes me curious to see if there’s a reason Yoon left it this way. That said, all of the disappointing romance drama didn’t massively affect how I felt about the rest of the book because for me it wasn’t about the romance; but it is where points came off on my final rating.
“I feel like I don’t belong anywhere and every day it’s like I live on this weird little planet of my own in exile,” I say all in one breath. […] “I’m not Korean enough. I’m not white enough to be fully American.”
Now’s the part where I reflect lol I’m not Asian-American and I didn’t grow up in America. I did however grow up internationally as a “Third Culture Kid”. From the age of 3, I went to American/International schools in several countries and by the time I hit my mid-twenties and realized that I’d have to move to Indonesia, I was feeling more than a little apprehensive. Indonesia is my passport, is where I was born, is where I came from but I knew almost next to nothing about the place and that was terrifying. I came back and the struggle was on: I wasn’t Indonesian enough to be seen as Indonesian, but I wasn’t foreign enough to be seen as a total foreigner either, and that identity struggle is still something I deal with today. So reading about Frank’s struggle with his identity really hit home. How he compared his relationship with his family to those of his friends and recognizing the stark differences in the warmth and openness was also something that I did growing up. TL;DR although I don’t have the same ‘background’ as Frank, there was so much about the exploration of his identity and relationships that really resonated with me and I think it’s what made this book great for me.
While the ending wasn’t really what I expected it to be, I thought everything was wrapped up nicely. I liked that Frank had a greater sense of optimism and assurance about who he is because despite the not-so-happy ending, there was still a sense of hope to it. Frankly, I fell a lottle in love with the story of Frank Li (yuh, I went there) and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a well-written own-voices story about immigrants, culture and identity. It wasn’t the book that I thought I’d get it was a great story nonetheless.
Have you read Frankly In Love? Were you happy with it or was it different to what you expected? Let’s chat in the comments!
It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:
- What did you read last?
- What are you currently reading?
- What will you read next?
What did you read last?
I haven’t been able to read as much as I’ve wanted to over the last week because life was still incredibly hectic but I’m slowly getting back into the groove and was happy with what I did read. It’s pretty clear from the list that I’m still on that romance kick and unfortunately, a few of the ones I read this past week were not my jam. I still have TONS of reviews to do but I promise they’re coming!
Falling For My Brother’s Best Friend by Piper Rayne ★★☆☆☆
Not even an Alaska setting could save this one for me and we all know how much I love Alaska settings!
Park Avenue Player by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland ★★☆☆☆
Most misleading title ever and most disappointing Ward + Keeland book I’ve read to date.
The Dugout (Brentwood Baseball #2) by Meghan Quinn ★★★★½ (Yaas, gimme all that baseball!)
Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager ★★★★½
A chilling read that made me glad I never went to camp! My new favorite Sager.
To Have & Hate by Donna Alam ★★☆☆☆
I’m not gonna lie, I was objectifying the guy on the cover (he’s hot, please don’t judge me) and that’s why I decided to read this one. Welp, not my best decision 😅
What are you currently reading?
So I’m late for the buddy read because I totally forgot that I was also part of a Riley Sager buddy read and wow, bad organization panda! I’m about to finish up Frankly in Love tonight and… I’ve really been loving it and the fact that it’s more than just a love story. As a TCK I really relate to Frank’s cultural identity crisis and I was so ready to give five stars, but then Frank had to go and do something that made me so damn angry (I frankly don’t care what your damn ‘excuses’ are, Frank Li!) but let’s see how the rest of the story plays out.
What will you read next?
I want to give focus to Non-Fiction this November but I’m hoping to give Wicked Saints and Under Locke a read before diving into some non-fiction reads. I know me and I know that I won’t be able to stick to only non-fiction next month, so I’m definitely going to break it up with some more romances, maybe some SFF (THE TOLL!) and maybe even some thrillers. Also, eARCs need focus but we all know that 😅
What are you currently reading? How’s your week and reading going?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂
Goodreads: The Black Mage
Publish date: 29 October 2019
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s “Magical Minority Initiative,” begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.
Wow, this was a cool concept for a story: Harry Potter meets American Civil War history and the KKK. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy novel that incorporates deep elements of racism in it! This artwork isn’t the type that I usually like, but I think it suited the story and I especially liked the use of all the colors. I really enjoyed the HP setting of the school! Honestly, it was a little terrifying to see all the KKK outfits being worn by children in school (even if it’s just fiction) and the thought of them having ‘magical powers’ in a fantasy world where they are still the oppressors, was also a terrifying thought.
One aspect that I didn’t enjoy so much at the start was that there’s a lot of text in the speech bubbles and I felt like I had to really zoom in to be able to read it all properly (so that broke up the panels a bit weirdly). As the story progressed there was still a lot of text in certain speech bubbles but for the most part it lessened. Since this is a standalone(?) the story progressed very quickly and it also wrapped up very quickly and neatly, which was kind of “eh”. I honestly would’ve liked to have the story be longer so that we get to learn more about the characters, and to get some character development in the story as well. The ending while “happy” not only felt too abrupt but also a little unresolved — I mean, how does the school still exist? I want to know more. Overall though, I’m glad that I decided to pick this up. It was an interesting read!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy in exchange for an honest review! This graphic novel is out 29 October 2019.
Goodreads: Rules for Vanishing
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.
Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?
It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side
WHO AM I EVEN?!
I honestly can’t believe I managed to read this because well know I’m such a chicken and this type of book is really not my jam! When I started it I honestly didn’t know if I could get through it. Being as smart as I am, I started this book past midnight last night and my toes were curling up, I was getting insane goosebumps and full body shivers the whole time. I was TERRIFIED and I truly didn’t know what I was thinking 😅 That said, the more I read the more I found that I also could not put it down. You know when you don’t wanna know but then you also REALLY wanna know how messed up things are gonna get because you know shit is about to get really real and fast? That was my internal debate at 3:30am and I was shocked to find I didn’t want to throw this book across the room out of fear! LOL
The story is told in the (I guess) fairly “normal” documentary style of these types of paranormal stories. There were written testimonials, news articles, blog/site clippings, and transcripts of audio/video too. This made the book really easy to read and I thought despite the many formats it flowed really well.
We’re also introduced to a wide range of characters and while I initially got confused by who’s who, it didn’t take long to keep track of them as the story progressed. The group dynamic was interesting and I think the author did a good job in developing the individual personalities, especially considering the format. The characters were diverse and there was more representation than I expected too, which is always great! There were a few characters that I found annoying at the start but by the middle of the story I found myself attached to all the MCs, so the ending made my heart hurt a little 💔 I really enjoyed the world building as well—it was so sinister and completely terrifying, but I loved the details of the “world” that was created for the game. It was a little bizarre and not at all what I expected when the story started, but it added to the creepy atmosphere and enhanced the paranormal aspects for me.
I was horrified at so many points of the story and I was often gasping in shock at events that happened. If I was wearing boots, I defo would’ve been shaking in them! I find that on the very rare occasion that I read these types of books, I’m usually too scared/paranoid to give much focus to the details but I got really excited when I noticed inconsistencies in the characters when the ball got rolling and being able to guess at what was happening to who 😂 That said, I thought the ending was a bit rushed and some explanations of events weren’t very satisfying and a little underwhelming…
Overall, this book really took me on a ride that I didn’t know if I would’ve ever been prepared for but I still found myself really enjoying anyway. Am I convert to these types of paranormal ghost stories? Hell no! But I can appreciate a good book when I read it! Also, I’m still thinking about the ending—hit me up if you’ve read this coz I defo wanna chat!
Have you read Rules for Vanishing? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!
It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and this week’s topic is: books that cast a spell on me. I think this topic is pretty open to interpretation; it can be about a book that wrapped you up completely in its story, it can be a book whose cover enchanted you, it can be a magical/witchy story. For this one I think I’m going to look at five books that cast a spell on me by completely wrapping me up in its story, only to spit me out at the end in a daze (almost always very satisfied with the ending and most of the time also emotionally destroyed).
After hearing so much hype about this book, I read it together with a group of bookstagram buddies in June and it completely shattered me. I a crying hot mess by the end of this story–and I’m not just talking about silent tears, it was the ugly kind of crying where I couldn’t catch my breath. This book honestly sucked me in so much that I felt like I’d never been SO INVESTED in the lives of book characters before I read it. Obviously, that’s not true, but the story swept me up completely and I was lost in both Isabelle and Vianne’s lives. If you love historical fiction set during WWII/the Holocaust, strong/bad ass female characters, sister relationships, and a touch of romance, then read this book!
I literally just finished this book yesterday and every time I picked this book up, I felt completely immersed in this terrifying gothic tale. It’s like a shroud of creeping horror would be pulled over my head each time I started reading it again (you can get I made sure to only read it during the day)! It was really unique and I don’t think I’ve read anything like this before. It was definitely refreshing to read a retelling based one of the more obscure fairytales by the Brothers Grimm.
I honestly don’t know what to say about this book other than it gave me the biggest book hangover of my life. I wasn’t able to focus on another book for almost a month after finishing ALL! I also spent a full day in bed after finishing it bawling my eyes out and basically scaring everyone at home who came to check on me to make sure I was well (I WASN’T). This is probably one of the most difficult books I’ve read emotionally and mentally. There’s a lot of criticism against it but also a lot of praise for it–I kind of feel like there’s no middle ground when it comes to ALL. But I was completely in it all the way to the heartbreaking end. THIS BOOK.
This book has been shared a lot every where by everyone and I think by now a lot of people are sick of hearing it always be recommended (same might go for The Nightingale actually lol). But the way Owens wrote about the marsh teeming full of all kinds of life, and about Kya, the Marsh Girl, who absolutely stole my heart, definitely cast a spell on me. This was a very slow paced novel, but it was so atmospheric, I felt I could smell the tang of the salt from the sea, the dragging humidity of the marsh, and the call of the wildlife all around me. It was beautifully written and one of my favorites this year!
I’ve mentioned this book frequently on this blog. This was my first Gaiman and it was what made me want to catapult myself into the wildly bizarre and captivating worlds in his stories. I was enchanted by the dark and magical elements of London Below. I love stories that write an alternate reality of places I’ve been and am somewhat familiar with. My imagination would love to believe much of it is true, although it would also be terrifying.
What are the books that cast a spell on you? Any of these get you like they did me? I’d love to know in the comments below! Let’s chat! 😂
Publish date: 15 October 2019
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods.
As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
How cute can a graphic novel be?! I’ve seen Mooncakes making the rounds on a few blogs and it sounded so cute I just had to pick it up asap. It’s a very quick and enjoyable read that is full of representation and diversity. We have queer grandmas, a queer young witch that wears hearing-aids, and a nonbinary young werewolf. We also have lots of magic, books and cute little forest creatures! Not to mention a demon and a cult… This fantasy graphic novel really has it all! The artwork was rich and full of vibrant autumn colors that leant a cozy but also a darker mood to the story. The art style reminded me of the late 90s-early 00s comics that I’d always read.
Tam and Nova are lovely main characters and the relationship that blossomed between them was sweet. The grandmas were also great and extremely supportive–I loved the little grandma jokes and banter! I do wish that we got more backstory to the characters. Nova and Tam got together pretty early on and while they were ‘picking up where they left off’ as the reader, I found their chemistry lacking at that point and I would’ve liked to know more about their history together as kids and how their friendship grew, and had the potential for romance. I still enjoyed their relationship and how they learned to grow together and as individuals. Everyone was heartwarmingly supportive in this comic!
Another issue I had was that it initially felt like we were jumping into the middle of a story that was already almost finished because there was very little backstory and world building. I wanted to know more about the place and the history! I also found it a little unbelievable that they could get away with carting a demon in a floating magical cage and there were still zero people around? Where were the townspeople that they’d occasionally mention? Unless they actually live in seclusion but that wasn’t the impression I got!
Overall, a quick, witchy and heartwarming read. I can’t wait to see the finished product and the bonus material that will be included. I would definitely recommend it to those who love cute, magical, and queer comics!
Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Have you read Mooncakes or is it on your TBR?
This is out in October 2019 so be on the look out!
It’s the first Monday of September and we’re back with another Goodreads Monday, a weekly meme started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.
This week’s book is Enchantée (Enchantée #1) by Gita Trelease. I added this to my list in January 2019. I remember seeing the cover for the first time and thinking WOW, must have! This book has a rating of 3.74 stars with almost 4k ratings and 1,183 reviews.
Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…
Why do I want to read it?
I’ve already mentioned it but honestly, this was 80% a cover buy for me 😂I have no shame! Not surprising that I didn’t know it was a series beforehand haha But I love historical fiction and I don’t often read ones that are also a mix of fantasy, so this combination already has me even more intrigued! The whole thing sounds like a proper magical adventure, with a little bit of mystery and I’m always on board for those kinds of stories. I’ve heard some pretty mixed reviews about it though and I have a feeling that it’s either love or hate, but I’m still looking forward to reading it.
Have you read Enchantée? Is it on your TBR too?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat!