Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Things to Eat/Drink While Reading!

I’m not sure I even have ten favorites for today’s Top Ten Tuesday. We’ll see what happens as I think about what to post here.

LET’S FIND OUT.

Popcorn

Oh, how I loooooooooove popcorn. Forever, and ever AMEN.


Water

I finally gave up drinking sodas regularly (it’s a special occasion drink only now) so I usually have a large water sitting next to me. Stay hydrated!


Kind brand breakfast bars

I wake up every morning and find a breakfast bar my husband leaves for me (he leaves at 5 AM). I eat while I read before the day gets started!


Chips

I keep a bag of chips as my “treat” when I’m craving something salty late at night. My current fav? Lays Natural Ruffles, so good, and much better than other options!


Granola

I have this favorite granola: Love Crunch Organic Chocolate Coconut Macaroon. PERFECT dose of chocolate without feeling like I am eating something horrible for me. Win-win in my book.


Lemonade

Y’all, lemonade-holic over here. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I make a great lavender lemonade that is to die for too. I am now craving it. Will probably have to make ASAP.


Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

My one truly not so great for me item. But sometimes, YOU NEED TO EAT THE CHOCOLATE. And this is what I’m always craving while reading.


Chick-fil-a

I don’t eat too much fast food. I’m also 90% vegetarian (I eat fish sometimes), but you know what I won’t give up? CHICK-FIL-A NUGGETS. Never.


Muffins

I love baking. I love baking muffins. I probably make them once a week. You can usually bet I’m eating one while reading at that point.


French fries

You know at the beginning of this when I said how much I love popcorn? My other life weakness: FRENCH FRIES. I will eat potatoes in any form (besides potato salad because: ew) and for every meal. Having a bad day? French fries will cure that.

I did it! Thanks to my hubs, we came up with ten things I can be found eating or drinking while reading.

What about you? What’s your favorite thing to eat or drink while reading? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy (retelling)
Length: 416 pages
Author: Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

SO CREEPY.

I did this as a buddy read with some friends on Instagram and it was so much fun! It really made this book even better being able to discuss it with everyone.

I thought it was incredibly creepy. The descriptions of what Annaleigh was seeing would flat out make me full body CRINGE. And nobody would believe her! It was the perfect dose of eerie and disturbing that I’m comfortable with (which is low, I don’t love horror-ish stuff).

The mystery itself kept me busy the entire book. I never knew where to point my finger! The author was able to draw attention to character after character that could be the murderer and wow, I was impressed. By the end though (and the reason I gave it 4 stars) was because the ending was a little cliche. I did appreciate that it wasn’t clear and that truthfully, they weren’t inherently evil.

The ball scenes were beautiful and descriptive but I wanted more of them! I love ball scenes and since this is based off of Twelve Dancing Princesses I was hoping for even more dancing. It was amazing to see how this was woven into the murder mystery though. It brought out a very macabre side to the story that I was all over.

I did ship Annaleigh’s endgame from the beginning, but I also don’t know that the romance was entirely necessary. It did give her a chance for a romantic happy ending. They didn’t get a lot of chances to connect on screen, leaving me wanting more of them or not at all.

All of the death left me shocked. I only flipped pages faster and faster wondering who was going to die next. SO MANY DEAD. I mean whoa. No wonder there had to be twelve princesses for this story to work out. It was unpleasant and occasionally gruesome. Definitely a great read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little (maybe one word?)
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: murder, possession, drownings, falling from buildings, fire, freezing to death; fairly detailed and cringe-worthy

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) by Tamora Pierce

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 17th, 1988
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From Tamora Pierce, the final book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. She has triumphed in countless bloody battles, and her adventures are already legendary. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs…but Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when she is challenged with the impossible. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good—but only in the right hands. And she must work fast. Tortall is in terrible danger from all directions, with enemies great and small plotting to destroy everyone and everything Alanna loves.

WELL I FINISHED THE SERIES.

That about sums up this series for me. This will be a shorter review as the book itself is short, and I don’t have too much to say over it.

I didn’t love Alanna’s character by the end. I was totally cool with her finding love and all of that jazz. I’m also fine with her being with multiple people, but I didn’t like the way it went about. I felt she was throwing herself at any guy that came on the page and there was never anything deep between them.

The ship that did last, that I was behind, at least sailed. I’m happy she chose and made up her mind about him because it was about time! I thought he was cute, sweet and was the best match for her. I like that she worked things out with Jon and they were able to come to a working relationship.

I do appreciate how quick these are to read. It would be nice to have a bit more background on people and places, but I think that was the point of this series. Short and quick fantasies. I was able to fly through them in under two days.

I didn’t love the way the bad guy worked out. It was a cliche trope that I think appears too often in novels. I woulds say more, but it would definitely spoil things for everyone. Just know, I was disappointed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, mentions of sleeping with each other, but no descriptions
  • Violence: poison, swords, magic, necromancy
  • Trigger warnings: mention of off screen suicides

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor’s Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor’s Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

I CAN’T GET ENOUGH.

I really loved Pearson’s trilogy, The Remnant Chronicles. I’m pretty sure I love this duology more.

This book was an epic conclusion. My heart was was in my throat the entire time. I never can quite pick out how things are going to happen next. Pearson keeps many options open and comes up with amazing and clever way to get characters about of dicey situations (but without hurting them first). I love it. I am always kept guessing and it only makes me turn the pages faster.

I am TOTALLY IN LOVE with Kazi & Jase. Oh goodness, OTP ALERT. I could read many more books with these lovebirds at the forefront. They have precious banter and soft moments. They also are great on their own. Full of ideas and plans that would make me run in the other direction. Kazi and Jase have the ability to execute these plans with grace, pizzazz, and maybe a few scratches.

The story, plot, characters and everything else made the perfect young adult fantasy romance. I can’t even form all of my love into words. I love that this involved a lot of close family bonds as well as romance. The Ballenger family are tightly knit and actually don’t mind being around each other (most of the time). They had a lot of great little sub-plots with them that I loved seeing. There’s more books about them right?! I need more!

I love this world that Pearson has created and it only gets more diverse and unique as she has expounded upon it. The cameos by previous characters is a lot of fun and it’s nice seeing them. Makes me want to reread The Remnant Chronicles all over again. While I was maddened at times by the situations at hand, it was ultimately an amazing conclusion and satisfying ending.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (some focus on the romance)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, a basically no-detailed fade to black love scene
  • Violence: poison, hangings, swords, animal attacks, torture, skirmishes

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 757 pages
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 30th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. 

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? 

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

LIVED UP TO ITS NAME.

It’s not often that I read a book where I can clearly see that it was named appropriately. HOLY COW Y’ALL. I can’t even begin to cover the darkness, and amazingness of this book.

My notes for this book were allllll over the place. I have so many caps sections of me shouting WHAT IS HAPPENING. All of my characters were [okay, still are] strewn across planets and in various disarrays of maybe dead, definitely captured, hope they’re alive, scenarios. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT? I need a dose of happiness before this is all over or I’ll cry. I want my babes to be happy. They gosh dang DESERVE IT.

This without a doubt, kept me on my toes. It took me about 100ish pages to really get into it because I was having a hard time remembering who everyone was, and some specifics of what happened in previous books. It is insane how much work clearly goes into making these sci-fi masterpieces. I am astounded at the writing (though I do wish it wasn’t so vulgar at times – you win some you lose some), and how easily captivating it is to keep flipping pages. I am deeply invested in everyone’s lives at this point. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath as the bombardment of action hits you over and over.

I want to rattle off a hundred reasons I love MY main characters (those being: Virginia, Darrow, Victra & Sevro). These original four are so flawed and so full of strength that I cheer for them at every turn. I love that they make mistakes, love deeply and care a great deal about what happens in their world. Everyone has occasions of boldness, passionate monologues and lethal how are they that good at killing moments. Even better, characters like Lysander had me questioning who’s side I was on (only for a little bit y’all, he’s a great villain).

All of this sounds great right? Well, the reason I gave it 4 1/2 stars vs. 5 is because of one scene. It was way too dark for me personally and I haven’t seen the purpose of it other than to be realllll cruel. I actually put the book down for a few when it happened. I will mention it with a spoiler warning prior in my Overall audience notes section!

Can’t get enough of this series regardless. I am in awe at the behemoth of a book this was. Absolutely amazing and I highly recommend catching up with this series! I’m not a huge sci-fi lover, but these have really become a winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult sci-fi
  • Language: a lot of strong language and often crude/vulgar in nature
  • Romance: a few kisses, towards the end a few little detailed fade to black love scenes
  • Violence: okay, I have no way of conveying all of the violence that happened literally every page so a small breakdown would be: explosions, war, battle scenes, swords, poison, storms, mobs, torture [all scenes are very bloody, gory & very detailed]
  • Trigger warnings: a lot of mentions of off screen rape, now: SPOILER ALERT (from what I mentioned in my review): the scene that I thought was too much was that of Victra’s murdered NEW-BORN nailed to a tree; NAILED.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR and WHY

This is such a fun week! I’m excited about this topic and dove right into my TBR to find some books.

I found a list of books that I’m definitely hiding from for a myriad of reasons. Check them out below!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

WHY – I have heard great things about this middle grade series, but it’s also a LONG series and LONG books. And I just haven’t hit the mood of wanting to read them yet. I can get them all digitally from my library though which is a huge plus.


Eidolon (Wraith Kings #2) by Grace Draven

WHY – I really loved the first book, Radiance, and thought I’d dive right into the next one but never got the chance. Now I’m afraid I’ve waited too long and won’t love it like I want to. So there it sits on my TBR.


The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

WHY – I have seen SO MANY CONFLICTING REVIEWS Y’ALL. Everything from 1 star I hated this, to 5 star this was amazing. Which is why I stare at it on my shelf and have yet to pick it up.


Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury

WHY – I am a mood reader. And I haven’t really been in the mood for a non-fiction. I picked this up for super cheap on Book Outlet and I really hope to get to this soon. It sounds interesting!


Hunting Prince Dracula & Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

WHY – I’m including these together since they’re by the same author. I have wanted to continue this series and binge the last two before Capturing the Devil came out. My library hasn’t gotten EFH yet though. And I’ve requested a few times without getting anywhere. They have the first two so I thought they would be cool with getting the third? UGH.


The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May

WHY – I’m not loving this series as much as I’ve seen other people. And since I’ve been reading it through the library it’s turned into an out of sight, out of mind book. I might eventually get to it, we’ll see.


Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova

WHY – Okay, it’s no secret around here. I LOVE THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES WITH MY WHOLE BOOKISH HEART. This is the next series and is a spin-off. Oh how I want to read it. Oh how I’m frightened to meet new characters and know I will compare it to Air Awakens.


The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2) by Lisa Maxwell

WHY – After super enjoying The Last Magician, I was excited to get to The Devil’s Thief. Then I saw some reviews and people seem to hate the second book?! WHY. This makes me want to pick it up, and also hide from it.


Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

WHY – I LOVED BEARTOWN. And thought I would pick up book two immediately. I spoke to a Bookstagram friend about why she DNF this one. She mentioned that it was a bit repetitive if you read it right after Beartown (they go over everything that happens in book one). So for now I’m putting this away until I can’t remember Beartown quite enough to really love this one.

What books are you hiding from on your TBR? Are any of these on your list? Lets talk in the comments! Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 320 pages
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

DEFINITELY INTERESTING.

This was great as an audiobook! There’s a whole cast that really brings the book to life. I honestly think it influenced how much I like it. The book itself is also short, so it was quick and easy to get through in no time.

I started out wondering why in the world nobody was questioning this random interviewer who seems to be making some sort of record about the giant being assembled. Then, as the book went along he turned from what I thinking was a bad guy to a good guy? I honestly don’t know where he stands, but this transition alone has me really intrigued about his true role in the story.

The formatting was dynamite for this type of novel. Written in interviews, journal logs, etc. I really felt connected and invested in the characters. They all went through so much in the time span I got to see them. What happens next?!

It was really trippy putting this in a now day and age concept. Thinking that there’s some crazy massive pieces to a metal god underneath us? Whaaaaat. The politics of it all was well put in and didn’t overtake the story. A lot of worlds colliding and unknown allies and enemies.

Definitely ended on a cliff-hanger that had me questioning everything and quickly putting a hold on the next audiobook ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-fi + Fantasy
  • Language: some light language
  • Romance: some kisses, light description of a love scene; discussion of sleeping with others
  • Violence: explosions, car accident (with malicious intent), medical procedures done without consent, medical experimentation

Instagram || Goodreads