Top 10 of 2017 ~ Taylor’s Picks

Hey all!

Time for my 2017 in books: I read 54, 726 pages spread across 140 books. I was so strong with my reading during the summer, almost reading a book per day, so that’s why it’s so high! The end of the year got super busy because of graduate school but I still managed to get back in the swing of things to finish off the year.

Without further ado, here are my top 10! It was so hard to choose just 10 books I loved. (Disclaimer: I tried to keep to books that were published in 2017 that I read in 2017 for this! They are also in order of when I read them, not by my favorites.)

Continue reading Top 10 of 2017 ~ Taylor’s Picks

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ARC Review: ‘The Cruel Prince’

Hi! Here I am with another Holly Black book! Yes, I know my last review by her wasn’t so good… But this was so much better!
Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pub date: January 2, 2018

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Continue reading ARC Review: ‘The Cruel Prince’

ARC Review: ‘Gunslinger Girl’

Hi! It’s been quite a week with reading for me! I have read slower than I normally do but I have had so many amazing books this week. Ready to meet Pity!?

Title: Gunslinger Girl

Author: Lyndsy Ely

Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5 stars

Pub date: 2018

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Continue reading ARC Review: ‘Gunslinger Girl’

ARC Review: ‘Between the Blade and the Heart’

I was attracted to this book because of the Norse mythology!

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking

Series: Valkyrie

Rating: 3/5 stars

Continue reading ARC Review: ‘Between the Blade and the Heart’

Review: ‘Stealing Snow’

I picked this up while browsing at the library the other day! The cover was GORGEOUS and SHIMMERY and I have to admit that I am a sucker for that sort of thing. I don’t judge books by their cover… But sometimes, the cover is too pretty to not pick it up.
Title: Stealing Snow

Author: Danielle Paige

Series: Stealing Snow

Rating: 3/5 stars

This was my first read by Danielle Paige! She is famous for her Dorothy Must Die series but I haven’t gotten around to picking that up yet (but I plan to!). The summary said that this was a retelling of the classic Snow Queen story and I truly love retelling so, because I love how authors reimagine classic tales into something wonderfully new. This story follows Snow, who is in a psychiartri company hospital. She learns one day that she is actually a princess of another land called Algid. She is taken away by a boy named Kai and she discovers truths about herself that she never thought possible.

This book was alright. I didn’t love it and didn’t hate it, hence my rating above. I like reading books that have some aspect of mental health in them and part of the reason I picked this up was to see how the author portrayed a mental hospital. I found that the representation was somewhat stereotypical but it didn’t bother me that much. I would also categorize this story as more of an Elsa-ish type of story. Yes, her power deals with controlling snow, but I got a very Elsa vibe from the way the story was told: which I was totally okay with! I thought that the story was transformed into something new and it was interesting to see the direction the author took the story in. I thought that there was a heavy fairytale aspect in this book and it follows many of the typical princess tropes that you find in classic fairy tales. My favorite thing about the story was that it depicted the main character as someone who discovers she isn’t broken and she is actually stronger than she ever thought possible, even when faced with the cold hard truth.

There are some twists in this book that I wasn’t expecting. But other than that, the story didn’t really grip me too much. I liked the writing style and how it was told, but I didn’t feel drawn into the world of Algid. I also felt a disconnect between a few characters that I expected to really feel connected to and for those characters to be connected to each other. I kept wanting something more, if that makes sense. I have to commend Danielle, though, for flipping the script and having the girl save the guy in her retelling. It was refreshing to not see that trope in this book and to have a female character doing the rescuing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of retellings. It is a nice read and I am curious to see how she expands on the story in the second book.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘The Night Circus’

Ahhh this cover is so gorgeous! I actually picked this up due to Goodreads and so many friends on there were reading it and loving it.

 

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Series: Standalone

Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary

This book follows the story of Celia and Marco, as well as the rest of the performers at the Night Circus. The Night Circus appears in a different city every few nights and is open from dusk till dawn, closing at that exact time. There are those who try and follow the circus but Celia and Marco became involved for a different reason: they are bound together and to the ‘game’, something that one of them must win in order to end it. But, love has a different idea for the both of them and not everything goes as their ‘masters’ planned.

Likes

I thought the concept of the circus was interesting. It kind of reminded me of Caraval and Daughter of the Burning City in the carnival aspect of it. I also liked that the author separated parts of the book by describing an area that you could walk into during the circus, what you would see, and what you would think. She used ‘you’ and it really put you into the circus at the point and I enjoyed that. I wanted to feel like I was at the circus and what I was experiencing while there. That was a unique aspect aspect and it propelled you into the world a little bit more. I am one for magic and I thought that Celia’s illusions were very cool. One thing she was able to do included changing the fabric of her clothes itself and making new outfits right on the spot. Of course, some would say that’s a party trick, and while it kind of is, she was much more powerful than that. Celia was a likable character and she was extremely intelligent. That quality came out in the story in a variety of ways, including solving the big question that formulated as the plot in the book. Her partnership with Marco was also inspiring and the two of them truly risked it all to be together.

Dislikes

Here is another example of me not liking a book that was super hyped and rec’d for me. And that’s completely okay, it was just disappointing. First, I wish there was more about the actual circus. I understand that there was a side plot that was the bigger picture, but other than those little blurbs I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really get to see what was happening in the circus. I wanted to hear about the characters doing their different acts–the main characters’ acts weren’t touched on in those blurbs. The two twins in the book also had a side plot that was interesting and I wanted to hear more about their part of the circus as well. I also wasn’t attached to these characters at all. I was trying my best to breeze through the book because I just wanted to finish. It was short, so that was possible, but I didn’t feel anything like I normally do when reading. The ending definitely surprised me and I think it was executed well but it should have evoked emotion and it… didn’t. So it missed the mark on an emotional connection for me.

Recommendation

Since it is below 3 stars for me, I’m not sure I could actually recommend this book. But, I will say it is for fans of the books I mentioned above and for those who are fans of the Crown’s Game. the Game is pretty similar and I think that also threw me off.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor