Personal Thoughts: As you may remember from my Dark Matter review, I’ve been focusing on reading more adult books this year, particularly sci-fi and fantasy. After binge-watching the first season in The Expanse series, I had a craving for more sci-fi and I didn’t yet want to fill it with Leviathan Wakes (although that is the next adult sci-fi book atop my TBR). I landed on Sleeping Giants because 1) that cover! 2) that cover without the dust jacket! and 3) Penguin was kind enough to send me the second book in the series, Waking Gods, which is being released on April 4th so I thought this would be a good time to catch up! And FYI because I know you’re curious, Waking Gods also has a beautiful cover with an sans dust jacket. (But question! If you know whether this series is a duology, trilogy or series, please let me know! I only see two books listed on goodreads but early reviewers seem to be saying that the second book ends on a cliffhanger).
Plot Summary: It’s almost difficult to summarize the plot of Sleeping Giants because it’s such a strange story. It begins with a prologue about a young girl at her birthday party who wants nothing more than to sneak off and use her new bike. Once she does so, she bikes into the woods, only to crash and land in a really strange room atop a giant metallic hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the giant hand is no closer to being solved and the young girl grows up to be a physicist who takes over as the leader in learning the origins of the hand.
Critique: Sleeping Giants is told through a series of case files, each one documenting an interview between a nameless and mysterious interviewer and various members of the hand team, government officials and a couple of other people of interest. The intrigue is real in this book as the team lead by Rose Franklin, works to decode the otherworldly symbols and learn more about the origins and metal used in crafting the giant hand with an unlimited amount of government funding and an incredibly tangled web of countries vying for control of such an anomaly. While the air of mystery surrounding literally everything (the narrator, the hand, why the team chosen is qualified) kept me interested from start to finish, I did feel that it was a bit challenging to connect with the characters since we really only get a limited view of their psyche through the answers to the questions they’re asked (with the exception of a handful of journal entries, all of which the characters know are being monitored so there’s not much free thinking going on there either). I totally understand that this is a “bigger picture” kind of story and the characters are mostly replaceable with the exception of the narrator but it was still missing any kind of human connection that I could get behind. When the story ended, I left feeling almost as clueless as I had at it’s beginning which is why I am eager to start Waking Gods but also nervous that it won’t answer all of my burning questions!
Do I Recommend?: If you like adult sci-fi, then I do! I think Sleeping Giants is definitely worth a read and it will keep your mind reeling with questions and thinking on a global and solar system wide level. But if you prefer character driven tales, I would steer clear.
Personal Thoughts: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon was high upon my list for most anticipated contemporary releases in 2017 so when a beautiful red box containing the ARC and some other goodies arrived at my house, I was physically jumping up and down. It was the best surprise to come home to! Like most of the book community, I have been making an effort to read more diversely and I became particularly interested in When Dimple Met Rishi when I learned that it featured two Indian protagonists who are computer programming nerds. Consider me sold! (PS. Every single time I look at the beautiful cover I find myself craving an iced coffee.)
Plot Summary: When Dimple Met Rishi follows two Indian protagonists at a computer programming summer camp as they struggle with balancing the expectations their parents put upon them with finding their own happiness. The pair end up at the program for two hugely different reasons- Dimple is a complete and total computer programming nerd. She’s going to Stanford in the Fall for programming and she basically lives and breathes computers. She sees this opportunity as the chance to meet her programming idol, start making a name for herself early on in her field and escape her mother’s incessant nagging that she find the Ideal Indian Husband. Then there’s Rishi, a kind hearted guy who packs his bags and heads to San Francisco to meet his potential future wife. As it turns out, Rishi and Dimple’s parents thought they could be a good match and Rishi, who is all about traditions and pleasing his parents, sets out in the hopes of meeting the girl he’ll marry.
Critique: I’m happy to say that When Dimple Met Rishi not only lived up to the hype for me, but also far surpassed it. The book is told in dual perspectives, from both Dimple and Rishi, which allowed the reader to get two very polarizing views of the same culture. I love both Dimple and Rishi equally and as much as I disliked some of the side characters, they added so much to the overall story. There were a ton of moments where I was laughing at the dialogue, the situations and the awkwardness of everything occurring. Rishi is the sweetest, most adorkable male love interest and his optimism and self confidence are so admirable. Then there’s loud, outspoken Dimple who is a force to be reckoned with. She’s so sure of herself, her vision for her future and the misogynistic boundaries others have tried to place on her. Seeing the two of them open up to one another and let the best of their personalities positively influence the other one is such a joy (especially after their catastrophic first encounter). The way that Menon perfected such complex relationships and seamlessly wove Indian culture into the story makes it difficult to believe that When Dimple Met Rishi could possibly be a debut novel. The friendship dynamic between Dimple and Celia who decide to be roommates but end up having completely incompatible sets of friends and how they handle it is something I would love to see more of in YA. And of course, the whole reason they’re in San Fran, the competition to develop the most promising app, kept me hooked the entire time.
Do I Recommend?: Absolutely! When Dimple Met Rishi is such a heartwarming and real contemporary story and I’m so excited for it to be released into world so we can all talk about how much we adore these characters! I’ll also most definitely be picking up any future books that Sandhya Menon writes!
Hi all! This is going to be a kind of rambling post since I feel like I’ve neglected my blog for the past week! The funny thing is, I have like 8 book reviews sitting in my drafts but I’ve been too lazy / busy to take photos for them so this is what you’re getting instead :-) First of all, HOW AMAZING IS BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?!?!?! I cannot even tell you how much I loved the new live action adaptation. It’s easily one of my favorite Disney movies ever at this point. Everything was so glamorous and French! Second of all, I have rainbow bookshelves now! It took A LOT of time and I’m not finished putting everything away yet but looking at these shelves so far gives me a sense of calm (I think because I only used books that are the same height). I’m worried about adjusting to finding books while I’m filming but I’m sure I’ll pick up on it quickly! And I moved all of my Harry Potter merchandise to one bookshelf… and it still seems like I don’t have enough space. Only me!
Next, me, Alexa and Cristina have been doing a re-read of ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas and I just finished yesterday (way ahead of schedule!). I just couldn’t put it down this time around and my reading experience was completely different knowing what I know about ACOMAF. It was also the perfect book to read to cure my Beauty and the Beast hangover! I’m also finally reading the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay and it’s just like seeing the film again<3 I also started a new (hopefully monthly) video series on my channel today- my Bookish Merch Haul! It basically just shows all the bookish and geeky merchandise I amassed in the past month. Let me know what you think because I had fun filming it! (Even though it took forever to pull all the links >.<). I’m also so excited that this week is almost over for me. I’m off on Friday because I have TWO weddings to attend! I still have to try on my dress which just arrived on Monday… here’s hoping it fits!
And just overall, Andrew and I have finally been eating healthier and I think we’ve both felt better as a result! Spending so much time cooking after work has definitely taken away some free time but as long as I have BookTube to keep my company, it doesn’t seem like such a chore. And speaking of eating healthy, I’m pretty excited that Spring and ice cream season are upon us. Despite the random cold weather, I’m hopeful that we’ll transition into those 70 degree days I’ve been longing for! What have you been up to lately?
Personal Thoughts: I have yet to read a Kasie West book that I don’t fall utterly in love with so reading By Your Side was a complete no-brainer. I’ve heard people talking about it and saying that it didn’t quite capture the magic of the rest of her backlist but I completely disagree. I actually would rank By Your Side as my second or third favorite book of hers. I loved that in addition to all of the swoons, she touched upon a much more sensitive topic that I relate to greatly. That being anxiety. That and the premise of a girl getting locked in a library with a cute guy was more than enough to push it to the top of my TBR upon it’s debut.
Plot Summary: By a string of unlucky (or lucky?) circumstances, Autumn finds herself locked in a library over a three day weekend while the rest of her friend group has fled to the mountains for one long party. At first, Autumn thinks she’s alone but she quickly realizes that there’s someone else “trapped” in there with her. His name is Dax and he’s a cute loner boy who everyone knows of for having gone to juvie. On top of being stuck with Dax, Autumn also has to keep her anxiety under control so she can survive until the librarians come in on Tuesday morning and free them from this nightmare.
Critique: As I stated above, I really loved this one! I thought Autumn was such a great character and I really loved the way she handled herself. I found her to be extremely relatable in regard to her anxiety disorder (having an attack, not being able to stop it from happening even when she recognizes it coming, and needing to leave wherever she is to get fresh air and deal with it). Autumn seems perfect on the outside, she hasn’t even told any of her friends about what she struggles with and she’s constantly worried about letting them down so she agrees to events that she knows will trigger her. Then there’s handsome misunderstood Dax. After their time together locked in the library, they forge a special bond but they both have other things going on in their lives that need to get sorted out before they can see if being together is even an option. I’ve heard others say that the locked in a library scenario was underused which I suppose I can see but I think it was done well (because really, if Autumn and Dax had just read for three days straight that wouldn’t make much of an interesting story for the reader). I found myself rooting for Autumn in every area of her life (romantically, friend-wise and with family) and I just feel like I really bonded with her among the pages. I would honestly be disappointed every time my train ride would come to an end because I didn’t want to put down this book!
Do I Recommend?: I think that’s a pretty obvious yes! Kasie West is one of my favorite contemporary authors and so far she can do no wrong as far as I can see!
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s books but the A Court of Thorns and Roses series has an especially strong hold on my heart. I immediately fell in love with the characters and the story, even more quickly then I came love Throne of Glass and I count it among my favorite series of all time (it’s probably tied for third with The Raven Cycle, right after Harry Potter and The Kingkiller Chronicles). During this year’s LoveAThon, Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cristina of Girl in the Pages and I found ourselves gushing about our love of Prythian and we decided that an ACOTAR re-read must be in order prior to the release of ACOWAR. And since we know how much we love the series, we assumed there would be other readers in the same boat as us so we wanted to open up our buddy read to all who are interested in participating!
This post is an introduction / invitation detailing the event! Below you’ll find our reading schedule and the dates for our wrap up posts for both books (each of which will include a giveaway). We’ll be using the hashtag #acotarSR on all social media when talking about our feels, posting photos and the like (but please be mindful of spoilers for those who have yet to discover the magic!).
A Court of Thorns and Roses
March 13-19: Chapters 1-15
March 20-26: Chapters 16-30
March 27-April 3: Chapters 31-46
A Court of Mist and Fury
April 3-9: Part One: The House of Beasts
April 10-20: Part Two: The House of Wind
April 21-May 1: Part Three: The House of Mist
A Court of Thorns and Roses Wrap-up Post + Giveaway: April 4
A Court of Mist and Fury Wrap-up Post + Giveaway: May 2
And that’s all folks! We wanted to keep this re-read casual and low stress since we’re mostly doing this because we want to re-read these books before A Court of Wings and Ruin and we know how busy everyone’s schedules are (including our own)! Happy rereading!
I’m so excited to be hosting such an enormous giveaway thanks to Disney Books! One lucky person is going to win TWENTY BOOKS!! It’s a library worthy of Belle herself :-D This giveaway comes in conjunction with a video that I’ve been dying to share since the moment I decided to film it. It’s my full Beauty and the Beast collection! I decided to share it in anticipation of the live action film which comes out this week! The book that sparked this giveaway, Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly which is one of several new Beauty and the Beast books (you’ll see some more of them in the video)! Disney was kind enough to send me my own copy of Lost in a Book and Belle’s Library. You can read a synopsis of Lost in a Book and Belle’s Library below my video!
Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.
The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.
Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. But what exactly is on her reading list? In this unique literary journal, enjoy inspiring quotes from some of Belle’s favorite books, as well as her insightful notes and colorful drawings. Includes a forward by noted Disney screenwriter Linda Woolverton.
CREATE YOUR OWN LIBRARY!
One (1) winner receives a spectacular collection of 20 Disney page-turners! To start your own library worthy of Belle! The full list includes:
- Lost in a Book
- Belle’s Library
- Art of Coloring: Beauty and the Beast
- Tale as Old as Time
- A Twisted Tale: As Old As Time
- The Beast Within
- The Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost
- Kingdom Keepers: The Return (3-book series)
- Star Wars trilogy (3-book series)
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians (5-book series)
- Tales from the Haunted Mansion: Volume 1
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Press.
Visit the Official Site
Follow @DisneyHyperion on Twitter
Follow @DisneyBooks on Instagram
Personal Thoughts: At the beginning of 2017 I set a goal for myself to read more adult literature (particularly more adult science fiction and fantasy) and while I didn’t meet that goal in January, I could not be more pleased with my February pick! I felt like I was suddenly living a world where Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was mentioned EVERYWHERE. I’d been aware of the book since it’s release last July but seemingly out of nowhere, it was being mentioned on multiple podcasts that I listen to, by several BookTubers I watch and it’s pretty cover was just calling to me from my bookshelf. I became obsessed with making it my next read and I’m so very glad that I did!
Plot Summary: Everyone should go into Dark Matter knowing as little as possible about the story because this is truly a tale that is way more fun to see unfold on the pages. The little I will tell you is that it follows a professor named Jason who teaches physics at a college in Chicago. He’s happily married to his wife Daniela and he loves their son teenage Charlie very much. One night before his family is sitting down for dinner, Daniela encourages Jason to go to a bar in Logan Square to congratulate his former college roommate on his success in the scientific field. On his way home from the bar, Jason is attacked by a person in a Geisha mask who asks him if he’s happy with his life. The next thing he knows, he wakes up in a world that is completely foreign to him and that’s really where the story begins.
Critique: I loved this book so much! I was completely addicted to the story from the very first chapter. It’s rare for me to become as engaged in a story as I was in Dark Matter when I’m so few pages in but Dark Matter just completely gripped me. Blake Crouch did a fantastic job of creating dimensional characters who the reader feels fully invested in from the very beginning. Despite Dark Matter being a sci-fi book focusing on quantum mechanics, the books language is extremely accessible and the reader does not need any prior scientific knowledge to follow the story. One thing I will say is that it was quite easy for me to figure out a certain aspect of the story. I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that I read a lot or because I’m familiar with a lot of stories in the genre but I am pleased to say that while my initial suspicions were confirmed, there ended up being a lot more to the story than I was expecting.
Do I Recommend?: Yes!! I’m currently pushing this book on my husband at the moment who is slowly reading it on the train next to me while I continue to devour books at a much quicker speed. I had been so hesitant going in because the author also wrote Wayward Pines which I loved until the middle episode when everything changed but thankfully, this book was for me the whole way through. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he comes out with next!
Personal Thoughts: I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to finally finish the His Fair Assassin’s trilogy. I really enjoyed Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph which I read last year but I hadn’t reached for Mortal Heart until very recently. Maybe I was worried about not having anymore to read once the story concluded but someone pointed out to me that we’re getting two more books set in the same world over the next couple of years so I suppose that’s why I felt ready to dive in! I was certain that none of the girl’s stories would top Ismae’s for me (Grave Mercy) but I actually think that Annith has taken her place as my new favorite.
Plot Summary: Following the events of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, the tweenage Dutchess of Brittany is in quite the predicament. The French are threatening to take over Brittany and they’ve been sending their armies in for war. With the help of Ismae and Sybella, the Dutchess has been able to avoid several assassination attempts and attempts at usurping her but the situation is really coming to a head in this final installment which follows Annith, the last of the sisters never to be sent out on a mission by the convent so she takes matters into her own hands.
Critique: Annith is by far one of the most interesting girls at the convent of Saint Mortain. As a handmaiden of death, she spent her entire life training to be sent out on a mission but time and time again she’s seen many of the girls, some much younger and less prepared than she be sent out while she’s stuck at the convent. The mysteries surrounding her birth and her relationship with the abbess and her predecessor is a complex web that is fascinating to watch unfold. I love that Annith takes matters into her own hands and despite always being the agreeable person she is, she really challenges authority, searches for truth and handles the revelations she discovers with a large amount of grace. She never loses sight of herself or her main objectives despite all of the questions that her past leaves her with. I also really loved the relationship between her and Balthazaar. Annith’s unwavering faith in Mortain is also something to be admired and I just loved where her storyline went because it diverged far away from what I had been expecting. I also think Mortal Heart is my favorite of the series because we get to see Annith, Ismae and Sybella reunited and there are so many heartwarming moments between these sisters. Everything plays out nicely and the story is completely tied up upon the completion of the novel but there are enough questions that the further installments will definitely be high upon my TBR list!
Do I Recommend?: Oh yes! But you must start with Grave Mercy and work your way to Mortal Heart first! If you like historical fiction with an element of fantasy and appreciate 15th century jokes, this is the book for you!
Personal Thoughts: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was hands down one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. I had listened to Kendare talking about her inspiration for the book in a podcast I listened to at the end of 2015 (which attracted my interest because I loved Anna Dressed in Blood so much) and I was immediately like YES I NEED THIS. She said that she came up with the premise for Three Dark Crowns when she heard about the way that bees choose their Queen- they give birth to potential Queen’s who fight to the death until the last one left standing takes over the hive as a ruler. She thought about how that would be an interesting story, especially if applied to humans. Yep, you probably want to read this book now too.
Plot Summary: Triplet sisters who were separated at the age of six must battle it out and be the last girl alive to take over the island of Fennbirn as Queen. There’s Katharine- the poisoner, Mirabella- the elemental and Arsinoe- the naturalist. The battle occurs once the girl turn sixteen and that’s pretty much all you need to know!
Critique: Three Dark Crowns is a much more politically driven novel than I had previously been expecting. I ended up loving the story despite having heard some negative reviews early on which is why it took me so long to start reading it. I did not want to be disappointed and thankfully, I wasn’t! Blake spent a good portion of the novel setting up the world and the three sub-worlds for the reader. I found the differences between the different areas of the island fascinating and I was immediately invested in Katharine, the poisoner’s, story. I also enjoyed Mirabella who is the strongest of the triplets as well as the only girl to have had memories of her sisters and reservations about what they must do to take over the Queendom. The only queen I wasn’t completely on board with was Arsinoe until the ending when everything got a whole lot more interesting. I had heard complaints that there are too many characters to keep track of but I would have to respectfully disagree. I liked that each girl has her own very fleshed out world and it’s going to make the conclusion, One Dark Throne, that much harder to read because I’m partial to more than one of them! The only element that seemed to be lacking for me was the romance which I was totally okay with because this female dominated society was more than enough to hold my interest.
Do I Recommend?: I do! The reviews are very polarizing on this one so you should read it for yourself to see where you fall. If you struggle with slower burn fantasy, I might not suggest reading it but I’m betting there will be a ton of payoff in One Dark Throne.
Personal Thoughts: When I heard there was going to be a YA retelling of You’ve Got Mail my interest was immediately piqued. What a fun concept! And it’s a much more current work to be adapted than those we typically see. I rarely request books from publishers for review unless I feel 100% confident that I’ll love them and I plan on reading them the moment they come in the mail. Otherwise, reviewing tends to feel more like work than enjoyment and that’s just not what I’m here for. Alex, Approximately met both of my requesting guidelines so I took a chance and I was lucky enough to get an early ARC copy and I’m thankful that I completely loved it! I also just want to mention the beautiful cover. I love the laid back California vibe and the gorgeous hanging lights that grace the background!
Plot Summary: Bailey Rydell has been talking to a mysterious fellow film lover named Alex on an app for quite some time now. He just so happens to live in the same town as her father in California and he’s been begging Bailey to come visit but after a traumatic experience earlier in her life, Bailey is extremely guarded and skeptical of getting too close to anyone over the internet. She ends up moving in her father in California but neglects to tell Alex this important bit of information because she’s worried he might be a creep so she decides to scope out the town and try to find him on her own terms. Bailey gets a summer job at a local museum where she meets who she believes to be, one of the most obnoxious jerks ever, son-of-a-famous-surfer- Porter Roth. Little does Bailey know that the hypothetical man of her dreams Alex, is none other than the person she cannot stand, Porter.
Critique: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett is everything I hope for out of a YA romance! The book covered a wide range of topics, not focusing solely on the romance aspect. There were familial relationships, friendships and Bailey’s own relationship with herself that were all tackled and everything was handled so well. Alex, Approximately is definitely on the longer side of YA contemporary, clocking it at nearly 400 pages but it’s completely worth the time it takes to conclude Bailey’s story in a satisfying manner. I loved Bailey sense of style- she always modeled her hair after Lana Turner and tended to dress like a retro film star on most days. She struggles with trust issues after a prior experience has left her reasonably guarded and reading about her journey to letting her walls come down a bit is completely gripping. I really loved Bailey’s dad and his addiction to Settlers of Catan (a board game that I too share an addiction for). He’s a really good example of a single parent doing the best job they can raising a teenage girl. Then there’s Porter who is one of the most swoonworthy book boyfriends. Porter is half white and half Polynesian and his sun-kissed curls, golden skin, and surfer’s body are often mentioned. He’s such a sweetheart and his in-person interactions with Bailey are so precious! Alex, Approximately is a hate to love romance at its finest. I will say that I didn’t totally get why Bailey was so hung up on Alex because their online interactions read much more like a friendship than a romance to me but I was living for their in real life scenes. Even the way that Alex handles things once Bailey and Porter meet will make your heart swell. I love that we get a big glimpse into Porter’s life and his situation and he’s not only there to serve as a love interest. Each protagonist has a very specific set of challenges they’re facing and watching Bailey and Porter learn to trust each other and work through them together is just swoon after swoon after swoon!
Do I Recommend?: YES! I really loved this contemporary romance, even more than I was expecting to. I already preordered my finished copy!