American Gods

**Spoiler Free Review**

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods is a story that will take some time to settle into, but the story is well worth it. The story follows Shadow through America in his quest to help his employer, Wednesday. During his journey, Shadow is tested emotionally and physically. He must overcome what he thinks to be true and his assumptions on how the world works, question what he knows about love and loss, and discover who he was meant to be.

Shadow is a character we can all find something to relate to. Shadow starts out in prison and is released shortly after his wife dies. In the aftermath of his wife’s death, he meets Wednesday, who seems to know a lot about Shadow and promises him a job. Wednesday is intentionally vague about the terms of the employment, but Shadow remains loyal throughout the book to Wednesday. Wednesday continuously tests Shadow’s loyalty and ability to see through facades. Shadow sometimes follows Wednesday blindly, but he believes in his cause.

Along the way, Shadow is introduced to Gods—old and new. Some Gods were brought to America over time form different cultures and religions. Others were created by a rapidly growing world. The old and new gods are locked in a battle between the preservation of the old ways and paving a path for a new world. Shadow acts as a middleman and is constantly thrown between what he knows to be true and what he thinks he sees.

Overall, I think American Godsis a phenomenal book. Neil Gaiman delivers a remarkable story with a cast of characters that will not disappoint. While all are fictional, some bare a resemblance to the gods many of us have read about through different facets of history. Simultaneously, Gaiman makes a shocking comparison to the new gods people tend to worship in the twenty-first century, such as technology gods.

But the true champion of the story is Shadow. While he seems to be a simple man, he was put forth in a plan that unravels slowly. He is willing to sacrifice his old life and beliefs for an understanding of how the world used to work and where the world is headed. Shadow does not question often, and instead observes the way people interact. A character that seems ((( at the beginning of the novel, quickly becomes the kind of person we all aspire to be.

I cannot recommend this book enough! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and has a spot on my all time favorite reads shelf. While this book did take me some time to get through, it was worth it. At times, the reading was dense and there are a lot of small characters to keep straight at times. But, everything comes together in the end and Gaiman’s writing and beautifully crafted characters will blow you away.

Rating: 5/5

 

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June TBR

This month, I am going a little ambitious again and hope to finish four books. When gathering books this month, I realized that they are all space operas. It was entirely accidental, but I am just going to roll with it. I LOVE space operas, they are probably one of my favorite things to read. Here are the four books I hope to finish this month.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis: “This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.”–Goodreads

I have had this book in my possession for quite some time. I picked it up because I thought it looked interesting, but I put it on my shelf and forgot about it. With the recent hype surrounding the release of the third book in the series, I decided that I need to read this book. Especially is the series is as wonderful and addictive as everyone claims it to be.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Synopsis: “Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.”–Barnes & Noble

I have no idea where I got this book from to why I picked it up. Odds are, I found it at my favorite used book store. But, I have been wanting to find a space themed book that I love because everything I have picked up lately has left me more than disappointed.

Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Synopsis: “This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends–Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell–who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them–and the galaxy–apart?”–Amazon

I found this book at Target and bought it on a whim earlier this year. I have read the first few chapters and then this book was left in my car. So far, I like what I have read and I am excited to continue this book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”–MarissaMeyer.com

Despite this book being out for a while, I picked up this book to get it signed by Marissa Meyer in November. To this day, Renegades is the only book of her that I have finished and I was left disappointed. I have read maybe a third of Cinder and put it down because I was bored with it. I have heard great things about this series, so I hope it picks up and that I have the motivation to continue with the series.

What are you reading this month?

May TBR

This month, I am setting our to read new books I hope to become some of my favorites, a book that seems like everyone’s favorite, and a classic I cannot believe I have not picked up yet. This May, I hope to finish Leah on the OffbeatA Court of Frost & StarlightSix of Crows, and Stardust.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 

Synopsis: “When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.”–Amazon

I want to start out by saying that I LOVED Simon vs. the Homo-Sapien Agenda. I laughed, cried, had my heart crushed, and felt for each of the characters in that book. Alberalli’s writing style blew me away and I have been excited for this sequel ever since. I preordered this book a a while ago and I cannot wait to devour this. I have been a little upset that I haven’t found the time to sit down and read this book, so I am proclaiming this the first book that I must read this month.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis: “Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series. Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.”–SarahJMaas.com

Sarah J Maas is a quintessential young adult author While her other series, Throne of Glass is my favorite of the two, I am still excited to read this book. But I am also hesitant. I usually hate spinoff books, but I miss the characters from the ACOTAR series so much that my curiosity outweighs my hesitations right now. And I’m sure that once I dive into another SJM book that I will lose track of time and my heart.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: “Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone… A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”–LeighBardugo.com

I have heard nothing but positive things about this book. I can’t tell you why I never decided to pick up this book until now, but I am glad to finally have it in my possession. I’m a little iffy about Bardugo’s writing style, but I won’t be quick to judge because I’ve only read one book by her and my expectations were so high that disappointment was inevitable. Hopefully, this one lives up to the hype.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Synopsis: “In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall — a secluded hamlet so named for an imposing stone barrier that surrounds a fertile grassland. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in the bulwark to keep the inquisitive from wandering through, relaxing their vigil only once every nine years, when a market fair unlike any other in the world of men comes to the meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant — as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises — and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.”–Barnes & Noble

I want to start of by saying that Stardust is one of my all-time favorite feel good movies. It is visually stunning and the story warms my heart. I knew it was based off of a novel, but I did not know that Neil Gaiman wrote the book. After reading American Gods and Norse Mythology, I can confidently say that I enjoy Gaiman’s books and I am excited to read this one. I have heard conflicting reviews and comparisons between the book and the movie. So I decided to approach this book as its own entity, and entirely different from the movie.

What are you reading this month?

The Book of Joe-Joe Biden

The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden by Jeff Wilser

The Book of Joe is a book full of anecdotes, short stories, and how Joe Biden became the man people know and love today. Through a series of quotes, advice, and a summary of the major points of his life, this book shines the light on how Joe Biden became Vice President and everything he has achieved until now.

I will admit that I did not know much about Biden; outside of being the most meme-worthy VP we have ever seen. There are things that genuinely shocked me about this look into Biden’s life. For instance, Biden has a stutter as a kid. People called him dash because he could barely finish a sentence. But, he never gave up. He would spend countless hours memorizing speeches and passages just to practice having a strong and concise voice.

We learn that Biden always put family first. When he was first elected to Congress, he had a lof of family issues. His two sons were recovering in the hospital. Every day, he would commute to and from Capitol Hill and make sure that he was always there for his sons. He vowed to always take a call from his boys, no matter how important of a meeting he was in. Putting his family first made sure that Biden was grounded in what he believed in most. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, this is an admirable trait to have.

Speaking of politics, we learn Biden’s role in the history of politics and just how crucial he was. Biden is a generally liable guy. Because of this, he made friends on both sides of the isle. He would appeal to people at a basic level because some issues may seem like “hot button political issues,” but they are actually human issues. Biden also indirectly had a hand in getting Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Many decisions over the past couple of decades have fallen on Kennedy’s swing vote.

What I enjoyed most about this book is the look behind the guy we always saw smiling or maing jokes. Sure, Biden is known for his love of ice cream and the bromance he had with President Barak Obama, but there is a story of loss and tragedy that many don’t know about. Biden lost his first wife, first daughter, and his oldest son. He sympathized with people who have lost love ones. Instead of being angry and quitting, he wanted to make his wife and son proud. Biden uses compassion to connect with others, not hatred.

VP Joe Biden will live on in history. He still has not given up the fight and works to this day to change America. This book highlights only a fragment of the work Biden has done and continues to do.

I highly recommend picking up this book. It is a quick, short read that will make you smile. And the Biden-isms are great tidbits of advice to follow.

 

Rating 4/5

March TBR

This month, I do not have much of a plan for what I want to read. Instead, I want to use this month to finish a few books that I have started or checked out from the library and need to soon return. The books this month may seem a little random, but I am hoping that such a wide range of books will keep me interested and occupied in March.

The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental Wisdom of Joe Biden) by Jeff Wilser

Synopsis: “The aviators. The Amtrak. The ice cream cones. The memes. Few politicians are as iconic, or as beloved, as Joe Biden. Now, in The Book of Joe, Biden fans will finally have the definitive look at America’s favorite vice president—and what he can teach us. Structured around key moments in Biden’s life and career—and filled with Biden-isms like “That’s a bunch of malarkey” and “I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid”—this blend of biography, advice, and humor will reveal the experiences that forged Joe Biden, and the lessons we can use in our own lives. Along the way, readers will also encounter fun sidebars on his love of muscle cars, his most endearing gaffes, his bromance with President Obama, and much more. Yet beneath the memorable Biden-isms, the book will reveal an inspirational story of a man who keeps “getting back up.” We need this right now. Much as Biden has come back from both professional missteps and personal heartbreaks, sometimes we all have to get back up and fight. Given Biden’s reputation as a decent, plainspoken, patriotic statesman of integrity, this entertaining and practical book will be both a celebration of great political figure and an essential guide to creating the America he believes in so dearly.” —Amazon

This is a book a received from Blogging for Books last month and never got around to reading. Because I’m going to read to review this book, it is at the top of my list for this month.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Synopsis: “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.”–Goodreads

This book has been everywhere! I have seen mostly amazing reviews about this book and I feel like everyone is talking about it and I am tired of being left out of this narrative!

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Synopsis: “Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing though: no human boy is this good-looking. But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life-not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.”–Barnes & Noble

I have mixed feelings about Melissa Landers. She is a great person and I felt honored to meet her, but I go back and forth about whether or not I love her writing style. Her other series, Starflight, had me hooked on the first book and then I was just so “meh” about the second book. But I figured I should give this series a shot. Who knows, maybe I’ll love it.

Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton 

Synopsis: “It is 922 A.D. The refined Arab courtier Ibn Fadlan is accompanying a party of Viking warriors back to their home. He is appalled by their customs—the gratuitous sexuality of their women, their disregard for cleanliness, and their cold-blooded sacrifices. As they enter the frozen, forbidden landscape of the North—where the day’s length does not equal the night’s, where after sunset the sky burns in streaks of color—Fadlan soon discovers that he has been unwillingly enlisted to combat the terrors in the night that come to slaughter the Vikings, the monsters of the mist that devour human flesh. But just how he will do it, Fadlan has no idea.”–Amazon

This book was recommended to me by a dear friend after we had a conversation about Norse Gods and Vikings. He recommended this book without much discussion on it, because he “didn’t want to spoil anything” for me. I’m still up in the air about this one, but given that it is written by the author of one of my favorite books of all time, I think I’ll enjoy it.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman 

Synopsis: “Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.”–Goodreads

I am listening to Norse Mythology on audiobook currently, and I am loving every minute of it. The book itself is only about 6 hours long and I’m about 1/3 of the way finished with it. So far, this is the perfect book to listen to. I cannot wait to hear more stories.

What are you reading this month?

Galentine’s Day Books & Treats

February is generally seen as “the month of love” because of Valentine’s Day. I have never been one to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a relationship because why should one day be devoted to adoring your significant other when it should happen every day. So this month, instead of giving you books about romance, I’m focusing on books about a different kind of love. The kind of love you have for your best friend! These books tell a great story of friendship in one way or another.

What is Galentine’s Day? Galentine’s Day comes from a Parks and Recreation show. As character Leslie Know explains “it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” So, I suggest grabbing your favorite gal pals and binge reading and treat making some treats to go along with each book.

Here are my Galentine’s Day book recommendations and a little special treat to go along with each.

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

This book is split between Veronica and McKenna’s point of view. Vee and Kenna are two best friends who complete and compliment each other in every way. One is hard headed and the other is more free spirited. I adore this friendship because it feels real, and you can connect with each BFF. This story will make you laugh and maybe make you cry. It is a great book to settle into for a night as your transported to a beautiful Scottish backdrop.

To pair with this book, I recommend making Scottish Shortbread. I recommend using this easy recipe.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

If you’re into stories that give you wanderlust, this is the perfect book for you! Childhood BFF’s Leela and Sydney travel through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France and learn about themselves and their friendship along the way. It is fun to read and leaves you longing to backpack through Europe. The BFF dynamic in this book is realistic. Sydney and Leela’s friendship is tested at times and it is something every long-term friend will eventually see. But both girls push each other in ways only a best friend knows how.

I recommend grabbing your favorite pint of gelato! My favorite is talenti’s black raspberry chocolate chip.

You Deserve A Drink by Mamrie Hart

While this book has some awesome gal pals and tales of friendship, I recommend this book for Galentine’s Day because Mamrie Hart is someone I would LOVE to have as a friend in life. She’s hilarious, ambitious, a pretty mean cook, and eccentric. She tells her stories in a way that makes you feel like you were there.

The best part about Mamrie’s book, is that each chapter comes with a built in drink menu. You can make your favorite, or try them all. My personal favorite with a sweet touch is “Frame the Cookie.”

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Quincy Carpenter is intent on leading a normal life. She’s the survivor of an event that killed her closest college friends. She was the only one who survived. But why? Her wounds were not even remotely fatal. Some doubt Quincy’s story. She’s conveniently forgotten the details of the murders. Did she kill her friends? Was it the mysterious boy that Janelle invited into the cabin with them? Someone else entirely?

Why a slasher story for Galentine’s Day? Because there are some fundamental friendships that every woman faces in her life. Sometimes we don’t know who to trust and other times we need to learn to trust our instincts. This is a quick read that will leave you on the edge of your seat!

For this one, I recommend this strawberry cupcake recipe in honor of our baker, Quincy.

February TBR

This month, I have decided to read books that have been on my TBR for a while. I put myself on a book buying ban for a while, so the only new books I’ll be getting for a while are books I preordered months ago. I want to work through my personal TBR pile and make it a little more manageable.

The three books I have chosen for February are Love & GelatoAssassin’s Blade, and Warcross.

 

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Synopsis: “A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure. Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home. But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself. People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.”–Barnes & Noble

Any book set in Italy, I am bound to read. I fell in love with the country when I spent time studying abroad there in 2013. Maybe it is nostalgia, but reading about the Italian countryside sounds like a perfect escape to me. Especially in these cold winter months! I have heard nothing but good things about this book, I’m excited to read it this month.

Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas 

Synopsis: “Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam. When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes-and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches-and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . .A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling-and deadly-world.”–Bloomsbury Publishing

The Throne of Glass series has left me with a giant book hangover. I finally finished Empire of Storms and I cannot wait to see where the final book in this series goes. I look forward to learning more about who Celaena is and her background that has been alluded to time and time again.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Synopsis: “For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.”–Penguin Random House

Truth be told, I don’t know much about this book. I have seen it all over the Internet, though. But I have recently grown to love sci-fi novels and the premise of the novel seems interesting to me. I was introduced to Marie Lu’s writing style when I read Batman: Nightwalker last month, and it seems on par with other author’s I enjoy reading. I’m not sure whether to go into this book with high hopes, because I’m afraid of being disappointed.

 

What are you reading this month?

Yearly TBR

I sometimes stick to my TBR list and other times, I just pick up a book that makes me want to read it. I am still going to try to do monthly TBR’s this year, but I know it will be easier for me if I just make a general yearly TBR. Hopefully, this can be a tool I look back on if I’m stumped about what to read next.

There are books that I absolutely want to read/finish this year, so I will make that list first. The second list is books I hope to finish this year, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I don’t get around to them. This is my first time doing a yearly TBR, but hopefully this can help me stay on track with my reading goals for the year. This is also not an all-inclusive list. I know myself, and I know that I will want to read books not listed below.

*Note: I am trying not to repeat all the books I’m excited about coming out this year, so any preorders listed are those books that I will likely read the day I receive them.

Books I Will Read:

  1. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  3. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  4. The Case Against the Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky
  5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  7. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  8. Let it Snow by John Green
  9. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
  10. Rising by Holly Kelly
  11. Starfall by Melissa Landers
  12. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  13. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  14. Warcross by Marie Lu
  15. *A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  16. *Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas
  17. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  18. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  19. Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
  20. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  21. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  22. Zodiac by Romina Russell
  23. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler
  24. Lord of the Rings Series (The Fellowship, Two Towers, Return of the King, Hobbit, Silmarillion) by JRR Tolkien
  25. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

 

Books I Hope to Finish:

  1. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
  2. Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
  3. With Malice by Eileen Cook
  4. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  5. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  6. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  7. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  8. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  9. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
  10. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  11. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  12. As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott
  13. A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner
  14. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  15. Shrill by Lindy West

 

***As a read these books through the year, I will come back, edit, and cross out the books that I have finished***

What books do you plan/hope to read this year?

Anticipated Book Releases of 2018

A new year means new book releases to look forward to. For the past couple of months, I have scavenged sites and marked my calendar to compile a list of books I am excited about this year. I am not listing all YA new releases for the year, just the books that I want to read.

Here’s a list of books that I’m looking forward to reading as well as their release dates and brief description (where applicable).

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu* [Jan 2]

  • “One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminal. In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.” —Goodreads

When My Heart Joins the Thousands by A.J. Steiger [Feb. 6]

  • “A heartbreaking debut YA romance featuring a neuroatypical girl with a tragic history and the chronically ill boy trying to break the vault encasing her heart.Alvie Fitz doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t care. She’s spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy. If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she’ll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she’ll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home. All she wants is to be left alone to spend time with her friend, Chance, the one-winged hawk at the zoo where she works. She can bide her time with him until her emancipation. Humans are overrated anyway. Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is—a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. But Alvie remembers what happened to the last person she truly cared about. Her past stalks her with every step, and it has sharp teeth. But if she can find the strength to face the enemy inside her, maybe she’ll have a chance at happiness after all.” —Harper Collins

I’ve Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart* [Feb. 6]

  • “When Mamrie simultaneously enters her 30s and finds herself single for the first time since college, the world is suddenly full of possibilities. Emboldened by the cool confidence that comes with the end of one’s 20s plus the newfound independence of an attachment-free lifestyle, Mamrie commits herself to living life with even more spirit, adventure, and heart than before. Mamrie dives into new experiences at full-tilt and seeks out once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (like meeting the Dixie Chicks), bucket-list goals (like visiting the Moulin Rouge), and madcap adventures (like going anchors-away on a Backstreet Boys cruise)—all while diving back into the dating world for the first time in a decade. In I’ve Got This Round, readers will find the same shameless honesty and I’ll-try-anything-once spirit they loved in Hart’s New York Times bestseller You Deserve a Drink. Mamrie doubles down on her strong female friendships, her willingness to engage in shenanigans, and her inimitable candor, taking the reader along for a wild and unforgettable journey through adulting.” —Amazon

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen [Feb. 27]

  • “Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for.” —Goodreads

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw [March 6]

  • Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them. Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.” —Simon & Schuster

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir [March 6]

  • “When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.” —Goodreads

Frat Girl by Kiley Roache* [March 27]

  • Sometimes the F-word can have more than one meaning…For Cassandra Davis, the F-word is fraternity—specifically Delta Tau Chi, a house on probation and on the verge of being banned from campus. Accused of offensive, sexist behavior, they have one year to clean up their act. For them, the F-word is feminist—the type of girl who hates them to the core and is determined to make them lose their home. With one shot at a scholarship to attend the university of her dreams, Cassie pitches a research project—to pledge Delta Tau Chi and provide proof of the misogynistic behavior for which they are on probation. After all, they’re frat boys. She knows exactly what to expect once she gets there. Exposing them should be a piece of cake. But the boys of Delta Tau Chi have their own agenda, and fellow pledge Jordan Louis is certainly more than the tank-top-wearing “bro” she expected to find. With her heart and her future tangled in a web of her own making, Cassie is forced to realize that the F-word might not be as simple as she thought after all.” —Barnes & Noble

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton [March 27]

  • “The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes. The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted. Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.” —Goodreads

Bound to You by Alyssa Brandon [April 10]

  • “Mate—from the word soulmate—the person who is ideally suited to you. Your perfect match. The one you’re destined to be with. Your one true love. The one you can’t live without. Megan Ross has been waiting her whole life for her mate to come and sweep her off her feet. But, the wolf she meets on the beach is NOT the sweet gentle boy she’s been dreaming of. Instead, he’s a warrior, one who has locked his heart away in a prison as cold and hard as a diamond. Far from home, with a soulmate who is still in many ways a stranger, Megan learns that the path to true love isn’t quite as straight and easy as she thought…” —Swoon Reads

A Court of Frost & Starlight (ACOTAR #3.5) by Sarah J Maas* [May 1]

  • “Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming spinoff novels. Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.” —Goodreads

Royals by Rachel Hawkins [May 1]

  • “Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.” —Penguin Random House

The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan [May 15]

  • “Kendall Evans is a good girl. Good student, good daughter, good friend. Happy to be “spotlight-adjacent” to her best friend, Kendall enjoys popularity-by-proximity. But with one mistake—an accident, really—she becomes the “bad girl” of her senior class. After getting caught “in the act” with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall spends her summer hiding out, unplugged from social media. Now it’s the first day of her final semester and graduation can’t come soon enough.” —The Rights Factory

Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein [June 19]

  • “For seventeen-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT + two new science nerd friends + a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue. Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?” —Goodreads

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen [July 10]

  • “They say that Château Beaumont is cursed, but servant girl Lucie doesn’t believe in such foolishness. How could anyone as handsome as Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont and master of the estate, be cursed? But when the chevalier behaves with brutal cruelty, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish with a spell that transforms handsome Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast. At last the chevalier’s appearance reflects the monster he is inside. But Beast proves to be nothing like Jean-Loup. Jean-Loup would never tend his roses so patiently; Jean-Loup would never pick up a pen and attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.” —Target

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre [July 17]

  • “A 16-year-old girl wakes in the hospital following a car crash that killed her best friend to discover everyone calling her by her dead friend’s name, and when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore.” —Ann Aguirre

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart [July 24]

  • “In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding. Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.” —Tracy Banghart 

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning [July 31]

  • “Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.” —Goodreads

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J Maas* [Aug. 7]

  • “Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing. Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that’s closest to her heart?” —Sarah J Maas

The Struggle is Real by Maggie Ann Martin [Aug. 21]

  • “Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her big sister―and best friend―goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.Amazon

Untitled Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J Maas* [Oct. 30]

 

*Denotes books that I have pre-ordered

 

What books are you looking forward to in 2018?

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