Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: Underrated Books I Loved

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This week, the prompt is for books we loved with fewer than 2k ratings on Goodreads. I had to stretch the definition of “love” just a little, and instead went more with books I very much enjoyed, that I think deserve more love. (These were all 4-5 stars for me, though.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Mad Woman

Mad Woman by Kat Savage– I love Kat Savage’s poetry, so far, and I really think her work deserves more attention. Mad Woman (reviewed here) was the first of her books I read, and I’ve since then read a couple more, and I highly recommend her books.

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman– I reviewed this one last year, and I really enjoyed it. It covers such a broad range of topics, and was a truly fascinating read if you’re looking for something feminist (I think this one is also intersectional) and/or a micro-history, that reads very easily.

Tell Me Where It Hurts

Tell Me Where it Hurts by J.R. Rogue-– Another poetry recommendation. All I remember for sure about this one is feeling like my heart had been ripped out. It was raw and painful, and probably not one I’ll revisit, but I loved it.

The Rose Master (The Rose Master, #1)

The Rose Master by Valentina Cano– This wasn’t a 5 star for me (reviewed here), but I really enjoyed it when I read it a few years ago, and I think Cano has real talent for gothic fiction. This was like a Beauty and the Beast/Jane Eyre retelling, and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff.

Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis– This book is so, so underrated! I really loved this one, and I highly recommend it. (Also, for anyone doing a reading challenge that has the task to read an epistolary, this one counts for that!) I also reviewed it, if you want to see more of my thoughts.

Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self through the Wisdom of the Cards

Modern Tarot: Connecting With Your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards by Michelle Tea– Okay, despite the kind of new-agey, hokey title, I freaking loved this book. It has been the absolute best thing I’ve ever found for helping me with reading tarot more intuitively, and I highly recommend it if you’re sick of the hetero-normative and gender binary things in most tarot sources, because that’s not really a thing in this book.

The Witching Pen (The Witching Pen series, #1)

The Witching Pen novellas by Dianna Hardy– This is very much an adult series (sexual content, and maybe violence? It’s been a while…), and maaaybe I wouldn’t love it as much now, I don’t know. But I think Dianna Hardy is a great writer, and I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read.

DROPKICKromance

DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker– That’s right, a third poetry book. I love poetry, and this debut was fantastic (reviewed here). If you like modern poetry like Amanda Lovelace, Michael Faudet, Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur, etc., check out Cyrus Parker.

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga, #1)

27 Hours by Tristina Wright– This series has been cancelled, and I have a lot of feelings about that, but…because I obviously can’t know the full story, I’m not getting into it. I’ll just say that I’m sad, because I was anxiously awaiting the sequel to this book, which I really enjoyed. (Reviewed here)

The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2)

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco– This is the sequel to The Girl From the Well, and I can’t believe it has less than 2k reviews. The first book was a 4-4.5 star read for me, but this one… ❤ It was so freaking good, and if you enjoyed the first book, but never read this one, I highly recommend it.


What are some of your favorite underrated books?

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Posted in books

Husband (and You!) Picked My TBR

That is such a clickbait-y sounding title, but whatever.

Some of you may remember the poll I ran here on my blog to help me pick my backlist Kindle TBR. Well, that poll ended (and life got in the way of me posting the results sooner, as I’d planned, so I’m scheduling two posts in one day), and the results are in!

Thank you to everyone who voted, and especially for those of you who voted at the end, helping to break the five or six way tie 😛 Now, there actually is a clear winner, and a runner-up, yay!

So, I’ll be reading The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh first, then An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

After that, I’ll probably roll a D4 or pick names from a jar to choose one of the four books that tied for third place (so many 4s…maybe I’ll have husband choose, since 4 is his favorite number hehe).

The rest of the books, including the three I don’t choose from that tie, will probably just be read as I feel like it.


A few days ago, I was half asleep and apparently thinking about YouTube, because I started thinking about those “Significant Other Does My…” videos that have been popular on and off over the last few years. (Things like “Boyfriend Does My Voice Over,” “Fiance Does My Makeup,” etc.)

And that gave my lazy ass an idea: get my husband to pick my TBR!

It took a few days for it to actually happen, and he ended up picking more than I’d asked for (which I’m not complaining about). I asked him to pick 3-5 things, and he chose 6 originally, but one was a book I was considering unhauling, so I read a few pages, chucked it aside, and asked him to pick again. He replaced it with two haha.

His picks:


The books are (back row left to right, then front row left to right):

  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  • John Dies at the End by David Wong
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
  • The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman
  • Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon

(Side note: I have no idea why, but trying to embed an IG post now is a massive pain. This is the first time I’ve found something that actually worked, and it took me like an hour to find the information to do it. Ugh.)


All in all, I think this is a pretty nice TBR. There are some other things I’ve chosen (or need to read, like a couple of ARCs) that will get mixed in, but I like this selection. It’s a little eclectic, but still fantasy-heavy, which is usually what I prefer. And, of course, this will certainly help me with the Beat the Backlist challenge 🙂


Have you read any of these? Are any on your TBR?

Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Book Couples

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This was so hard. I don’t care a ton about romantic relationships in books, usually. I mean, I care, but…the romance is way less important to me than world-building, individual characters, etc.

After searching my shelves for days, and going through some of my old reviews, I finally came up with 10, whoo! (I kind of cheated by using 10 books/series, so there are actually 12 couples, shhhh.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Under the Lights (Daylight Falls, #2)

Bri and Van from Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler– I barely remember this book now, but I do remember absolutely freaking loving Bri because she was a bi girl, she was out, and also spoke about bi-erasure.

The Shades of Magic Series (Shades of Magic, #1-3)

Two couples from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab– I’m not naming these two, just in case there are people who haven’t read them/been spoiled for the couples. I loved both of them, but loved one more than the other.

Six of Crows Boxed Set: Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom

Two from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo– Pretty much everyone probably already knows who these are. But I’ve been spoiled for pairings from posts like this before, so I’m trying to not do that to someone else. I loved both of these couples, together and as individual characters. Well, I didn’t necessarily love one, but that character grew on me.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Ari and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz– It’s been a few years since I read this one, but I still love these two nerds. Do I really need to say more about it? I feel like everyone was talking about this book a few years ago, so I’m not sure what I could add.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon from The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger– Ok, these two had some issues at one point, and I’m still pissed about that thing that Maccon did because he’s a moron. But, overall, I loved these two so freaking much. (I almost went with a different couple from this series, but it’s still too painful.)

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Mik and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor– Yep, that’s right. I’m not going for the main couple from this trilogy, but a couple of side characters. Why? Because they’re better. I was fully invested in their relationship, their happiness, etc. throughout the entire trilogy. They. Are. Perfect.

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4)

Sookie and Eric from the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris– I have been Team Eric from day one, sorry (not sorry). Yes, Eric is an asshole. I love him anyway, and I wanted Sookie to end up with him from the first time they really interacted with one another.

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen– Even though I didn’t absolutely love P&P when I read it, how can I not include these two? The evolution of their relationship is just great.

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I was so, so late to the party with these books, but they are so freaking good! I love the relationships (platonic and romantic) in them, and Rose and Dimitri are probably one of my favorite couples ever.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

A pairing from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– I’m not naming this couple because spoilers? Maybe? But holy crap, I loved it so freaking much ❤ So. Damn. Cute! I was shipping it way before it actually happened, which was a little weird for me because I’m not really a shipper.


Who are some of your favorite couples from books?

Posted in book review

Dreams of Gods and Monsters: Reviewed

Sorry about the shifting formatting of reviews :/ I’m still trying to work out what works for me.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor (book three in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy)

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy>paranormal>angels; paranormal romance; YA

Pages: 613

Check it out on Goodreads


I’m not adding a description, since this is the final book in a series (my reviews for book one and book two), so we’re jumping straight into the…

Review:

I’ve stalled as long as I can in reviewing this book, for a few reasons. Mostly because I was so irritated and disappointed by it. If someone had told me, before I read this, that I was going to read a book by Laini Taylor that just didn’t do it for me, I would have laughed about it and thought it was a joke.

The characters were absolutely the best part of this one, and saved the rating from being shamefully low (my shame, because I did not expect to not love this book). Buuut…there were issues with the characters, too.

Eliza is dumped in at the beginning of this book, and I didn’t dislike her character. (My issue isn’t with not liking the characters, it’s the way they were all just poured into the story. More on that later, though.) I just feel like we didn’t get enough time to really grow to care about her. By the end, I liked her, but only barely. I was mostly indifferent, not wishing for her to be killed off, but not cheering for her much, either.

Then there were the Stelians, finally making an appearance on the page. But, once again, we didn’t really get much from our time spent with them. It was basically enough to establish that they’re powerful, with a tiny glimpse into what life is like for them, and that was pretty much it. I. Want. More. I want more information, more character development.

Our surviving cast from the previous two books return, and I loved them. Mostly. I found it really strange that I just stopped caring about Karou and Akiva (as a couple) about halfway through. I expected them to end up together, but I just didn’t care anymore. That said, I did still like them on their own, and I was rooting for them. Just not as a couple :/

Mik and Zuze make a return, and I absolutely freaking love them. They actually might be my favorite characters from this series, even above Karou. Karou might be one of my all-time favorite protagonists, but Mik and Zuze are just wonderful. They’re so cute, and brave. They’re kind of like the heart of things, helping to keep spirits and hope up for the others. Not to mention their loyalty, oh my gosh. I thought they were impressive in the second book, but in this one? Seriously determined, and it leads to a pretty freaking awesome scene that continues to bring a smile to my face every time I think about it.

Ziri, oh man. What do I even say about him? My heart breaks for him, and he is my precious cinnamon roll book child. Then there’s Liraz. I liked her a lot in the first two books. In this one, I liked her, but there were some things, changes in her, that felt a little rushed and artificial. It’s not that I think she was incapable of them, just that they came about so quickly, which made it hard to believe.

Even minor characters we get to know are amazing in these books, and you really grow to either like/love them, or hate them. Well, that was my experience, at least.

The writing was still superb, because Laini Taylor can write. My issues really come in with the plot. This should have been a quartet instead of a trilogy. There was too much dropped in, especially closer to the end, that just wasn’t expanded enough. I don’t care about seeing how everything ends, because I’m fine with the book ending with the future being uncertain for the characters. My complaint is that there was just too much happening, too much being added, and not enough explanation of it all. I really wish the stuff with the Stelians had been added in at least the second book, to introduce that whole situation. (I also think Eliza being introduced at the end of the second book might have been good, because we really needed more of her.)

There was also a really irritating hint that two of the female characters were going to get together, but it was mentioned so briefly and vaguely that I didn’t even catch it until I was checking out some spoilery discussions about the book after I finished it (to see if I was the only person who wasn’t really happy with everything).

There’s another pairing that annoys me, but talking about it would involve either blatantly stating spoilers, or dancing around them in such a vague way that’s just too complicated. I’ll just say I’m not really happy about it. I thought I shipped it, before it actually happened. I don’t hate it, I’m just tired of characters being paired up in finale books.

This book had some ridiculously awesome things in it, but there wasn’t enough detail. There was a huge bombshell dropped, and then…that’s it, the story is over. It made the story feel rushed and even a little incomplete. It wasn’t a very satisfying experience for me, and I hate that. There was so much that could have been expanded, with the mythology and the universe and the characters, so this didn’t really feel like a conclusion to me. If I didn’t know the series was over, I would be wondering when the next book was going to be released.

I have a lot of feelings about this book, and I think the not-so-good ones outnumber the good.

Thing were ended so neatly it was kind of hard to believe. I mean, I did hope for some of it, but it all felt a little too tidy, especially after the huge thing that was revealed, and the consequences of some actions that might have made that huge thing a bigger problem than it already was. Basically, it wasn’t tragic enough 😛 I didn’t want all the characters to die, or be miserable at the end, but everything felt too perfect, despite the looming challenge of the huge thing I keep mentioning.

I could ramble and rant about this book for ages, but this has already gotten pretty long, so I’ll wrap it up.

I was so disappointed by this book, and I almost wish I’d never read it. It’s turned me off Laini Taylor’s books (I was planning to read Strange the Dreamer this month or next) for a while, until I can get over this one 😦


I gave it a grudging 3.5 out of 5 stars, mostly for the characters and writing. The rest was just mediocre for me.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Posted in book review

Days of Blood and Starlight: Reviewed

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight

Author: Laini Taylor

Genre/Other Descriptors: fantasy>paranormal>angels; YA; romance

Publishing info: November 6th, 2012; Little Brown Books for Young Readers; e-book & audiobook

Narrator: Khristine Hvam

Pages: 517

Check it out on goodreads


I’m not going into what it’s about and all that, because this is the second book in a series. If you want to see my thoughts on the first book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, you can check out my review here.


Review:

I’ve read this book twice. Most recently, I finished it like 10 days ago, and I’m already forgetting most of the book. Again. I don’t know what it is about this one (second book syndrome?), but I find it so forgettable. It isn’t a bad book, it just doesn’t stick in my brain the way the first book does.

The characters were probably the strongest part of this one. Karou did not have a good time, and it was hard to read about the things she endured. There were also some sweet moments, though, especially with Zuze and Mik. I loved their interactions with other characters. And then, there was Ziri. Oh my gods, my precious book child. I’d forgotten about him, between readings, which I think is really sad because he’s a precious cinnamon roll. Okay, he’s a lethal cinnamon roll, but he’s just so good, and I hated that he went through something awful towards the end.

The angel characters were more interesting in this one, and I kind of ended up loving all three of the main ones (Akiva, and his brother and sister…I remember Liraz, but now I’m blanking on the brother’s name). Seeing things from Akiva’s perspective was an interesting change, and it took me a little while to adjust. After that, I think I ended up liking Akiva more than Karou in this one.

If you think trigger warnings are spoilers, skip to the next paragraph. There’s self-harm (not cutting) in this one, which I didn’t find triggering. I think I did the first time around, but I was fine this time. Also, be aware that sexual assault is a thing that happens. There was the intent to rape, but the rapist was stopped, by the intended victim.

Romance wasn’t a huge part of the plot, but I was still rooting for Karou and Akiva. The angst in this one, oh wow. It was angsty in the first book, but this one turns it all the way up. That said, Zuze and Mik were just freaking adorable, and their relationship kind of stole the show, in my opinion. They were kind of disgustingly cute, but also believable, and I love them.

Laini Taylor’s writing is still absolute perfection in this one, which (in my opinion) was well suited for the darker themes. The first book had a touch of darkness, but this one was much, much darker. In this one, you really start to see just how horrible the war between the angels and chimera was, and how vicious both sides can be. It also throws into perspective just how daunting the challenge of finding peace between them must have been to those who wanted the war to end, and not end because one side had destroyed the other entirely.

I think one of my favorite things about this was the way a situation was set up, and then later you find out that what you think happened was not actually what happened. Ugh, that’s so vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Even though this was a re-read for me, I’d forgotten this book pretty much entirely (except for literally the last couple pages), and not really knowing where the twists were going to take the story kept me nervous and flipping pages as fast as I could.


I don’t really know what else to say about this book, because it’s already faded so much from my memory. I really liked it, but didn’t love it as much as the first book. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆