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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

bone1Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne February 7, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed January 28, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

It could possibly well be that the reason why this was such a delightful read for me was because I’ve never seen the greatly popular film that this book is based off of. (Actually, I hadn’t even heard of Labyrinth until I was approved of my request for this ARC. Labyrinth fans, don’t kill me.) In addition to that, I rarely read the synopses of books thoroughly. Therefore, I basically went into this blind and with zero expectations, and I believe this ended up working in my favor. I would suggest readers that haven’t seen the movie to try the same approach I did.

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground.

Liesl has grown up hearing tales of the beautiful Goblin King, the Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground. But as she’s grown older, her belief has faded since she has more practical concerns to worry about (such as looking after her siblings and taking care of the family inn). But when Käthe, her beloved sister, is taken by the goblins Liesl must travel in the mysterious realm of the Goblin King. There she meets the legendary king, and they make an exchange where she will become the maiden that is sacrificed to appease the old laws. But as time passes and the two grow closer, the contract is becoming more difficult to uphold as Liesl’s life source is obviously diminishing but the Goblin King is also falling for her. Both must learn and decide what they are willing to sacrifice.

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

rosebloodRoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

2.5 Stars, Completed January 14, 2017

– read bold text to avoid SPOILERS –

I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.

RoseBlood is a modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale, The Phantom of the Opera. In this YA retelling, Rune Germain is a girl with a peculiar operatic talent. In the most unexpected moments, Rune will burst into song if she hears music that speaks to her. And, unfortunately, this all consuming musical flair has also lead to some tragic events. Rune’s mother decides to enroll Rune at RoseBlood, an elite French arts conservatory that is the very opera house rumored to have ties to the original classic, in hopes that Rune will tame this musical blessing/curse. There she secretly befriends the masked Thorn, a mysterious violinist who lurks in the school’s shadows and helps guide her musical transformation but with a dark, ulterior motive. The two will uncover that they have an otherworldly, soul-deep connection, and Thorn is forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the only father he’s known, the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Ever_The_Hunted_FinalEver the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1 (1/2)
Published by Harcourt Childrens Books December 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

2.5 Stars, Completed January 5, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Know how to protect yourself, Papa said. You have to be strong. Strong as the trees.

Britta Flannery has grown up tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter of Malam. But those days are over now that her father has been murdered. Britta alone and an outcast to society (because of her identity) decides to seek refuge in the Ever woods. There she’s caught by a royal guard for illegally poaching. Surprisingly, instead of putting her up to the noose, he offers her a chance to live. All she must do is complete a task using something she excels at: track her father’s killer. But, of course, it’s not that simple. The prime suspect is none other than her late father’s former apprentice and her childhood best friend, Cohen McKay. To makes matters even more complicated, Britta was also in love with Cohen-that is before he disappeared conveniently months before her father’s death. On this dangerous quest, Britta will meet many hardships-not only physical but  matters of the heart as well.

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Book Haul: November + December 2016

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In two months I bought less than 10 books, which is an anomaly for me. (Well, actually, I purchased more than ten if you count the ones I got for others as presents, but let me have my small victory anyway.) Unfortunately though, I can’t say my restraint was nearly as successful with magnetic bookmarks. After four months of not ordering a single one, I caved and indulged in several sets. 😄 (Clearly, Christmas shopping is too dangerous of a task for me. LOL.) But, overall, I’d say I (and my wallet) was pretty happy with the results despite the bookmarks splurge. Plus, a few of these featured titles were gifts or review copies that I received.

This is also rare, but since buying these I’ve read a couple. Normally, I buy books and let them chill, collecting dust, on my shelves for years. So I’ll link my book reviews if available. And, of course, all other links will lead to Goodreads. By now, most of you are already aware that I get all my magnetic bookmarks from Happy Hello Art on Etsy, so head over to them if you’re interested in obtaining some. I did order several custom made ones this time; Vivi and her team are simply the best.

Anyhow, I hope that you all like the photos! I tried a new flatlay using a glittery stars wire thing; I have no idea what it’s called actually, haha.

Books

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

9780142420591-1-683x1024Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel Books on March 22, 2011
Genres: [Young Adult] Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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5 Stars, Completed January 14, 2017

– SPOILER free –

Between Shades of Gray sets place in early 1940s Europe. A young Lithuanian girl and her family are torn from their comfortable life and sent to a camp in Siberia and later a prison in the Arctics; at both locations and during the passages between they will witness and endure horrifying treatment from the Soviets under the rule of Stalin. This affecting novel recounts a journey that spans over several years and covers 6,500 miles. It displays one of humanity’s unfathomably darkest and most hidden parts of history.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

whenbreathbecomesair_0When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Published by Random House on January 12, 2016
Genres: [Adult] Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover –> eBook
Source: Purchased –> Borrowed

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

5 Stars, Completed January 8, 2017

– SPOILER free –

When Breath Becomes Air shares the story of Paul Kalanithi, an exceptional and gifted neurosurgeon that found his life upended while in his last year of residency when signs of illness started to appear. After medical tests, it was discovered that he, in fact, had stage IV metastatic lung cancer. With his life no different from a ticking clock, he began to ask questions that would confront his mortality. What should he do with the remaining time he has left? Should he return to neurosurgery, or should he write? Should he and his wife, Lucy, have children? In this memoir, Kalanithi answers these questions (and provides responses to many more) by taking readers along his trek of leading a life as (some days) a doctor, (most days) a patient, and (everyday) a human desperate to stay alive.

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Bookshelf Tour

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If you guys saw my Instagram story from last week, you might have noticed that I decided to reorganize my books once again. (At first, it sounded like a good idea due to my “new year, new changes” mentality, but then I soon realized how insane I was when a sea of books started to emerge as I began pulling books off the shelves.) Anyway, I thought I’d share these changes since it was quite a drastic transformation this time.

It’s been over a year that I’ve had my books arranged as a quasi rainbow shelf. Though it looked glorious for bookstagram pictures, I couldn’t stand that I had my series separated and it was impractical when I had to search for a title. Keeping that set up was also becoming tedious because I started to accumulate more manga series, which I couldn’t bear splitting up and having them together made the overall look of the scheme pretty wonky. I also now have so many books that I need to double stack shelves in order to conserve shelf space, which doesn’t look as great with the color coordinated trend either.

Therefore me and my dad had a talk and agreed that we were going to move his DVDs (which were at the time occupying the two side shelves that you guys seldom see in my photos) into an empty room we have upstairs. (In exchange for the extra space, the compromise is that he gets unlimited library access to all my books whenever he wants. It’s sort of always been an unbreakable rule that no one-no matter how long or strong of a tie/relationship you have with me-borrows my books. But considering how much shelf space he sacrificed for me, I think the trade is fair. XD) So, basically, now I have a total of five columns of shelves just for books, which is amazing!

With so much room to work with, I didn’t really know how I wanted my books… I just knew I wanted my series reunited once again. Anyhow, I ended up settling with how I had my books set up prior to my rainbow experiment, which was by genre.

So here’s the final look! I admit that it isn’t half as pretty compared to what I had before, but the logical person in me approves and loves this so much more than the former. Also, there’s still a small color coordinated section with my contemporary standalones. If I ever feel like I miss the previous arrangement, I at least have that last remnant of the epic rainbow shelf to stare at. Haha.

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Blue Spring Ride

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0072Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) (アオハライド)
Original Story by
 Io Sakisaka
Art by Io Sakisaka
Published by Bessatsu Margar from 2011 to 2015
Genres: [Shoujo] Romance, School, Slice of Life
Volumes: 13
Chapters:
53
Status of manga:
 Completed*
My rating for the anime: 8/10
My rating for the live action film: 6.5/10

*Review based on entire manga series

MAL Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

Purchase links are not available because, as of when this review is published, this manga has yet to be officially serialized in English. However, you can still read this online with fan-subs.

3.5 Stars, Reread January 1, 2017

– read the bold text to avoid minor SPOILERS –

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Gif credits to wordstuck

If I had to choose one word to describe this manga series, it would be the Japanese adjective, “懐かしい” (natsukashii). This term is difficult to translate into English accurately and completely, but it is often used to express a yearning for something, or a slightly nostalgic feeling of missing. As a non-native and amateur learning the foreign language for my own fun, how I’ve personally interpret natsukashii is the feeling you get when you’re reminded of the past. And Blue Spring Ride made me feel just that.

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The story begins with two middle schoolers, Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Tanaka, that like each other making plans to attend a festival together during their school break. However, misunderstandings arise after Futaba accidentally blurts that she hates boys because of their obnoxious behavior. Kou hears her exclamation, and doesn’t meet up with Futaba the day of the event. Futaba believes that he stood her up for the outburst that he overheard, but really he couldn’t make it because of family issues. So she decides to address this misunderstanding when they return to school. But on the day of the new semester, Futaba discovers that Kou has already transferred schools to another town. With a lot of loose ends left and the strength of first love, the two never forget each other in spite of the distance. And then years later, fate makes them enrolled in the same high school. Will they finally face each other after all this time? And will the attraction they shared from the past be rekindled?

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Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

bloodforblood_coverBlood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #2 (2/2)
Published by  Little, Brown Books on November 1, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Science Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 481
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read With: Lois at My Midnight Musings

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3.5 Stars, Completed November 8, 2016

– read only the bold text to avoid major SPOILERS  –

Blood for Blood is the second and final installment to the Wolf by Wolf duology. It begins with Yael on the run after having just assassinated Adolf Hitler on live television. But it seems like the truth of what happened at the Victors’ ball is much more complicated than what the world saw. The man Yael shot was only another skinshifter, like herself, that took up Hitler’s face as a guise. The consequences for treason and murder is inescapable, and the Resistance is unable to recover after having started Operation Valkyrie too soon. The only way in saving the few people Yael has left in her life is for her to travel across enemy territory in hope of reversing the New Order and completing this last mission without fail.

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Yallfest 2016

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Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me justing chatting with you recently) but I visited Charleston, SC for a bookish event on November 12th! My feet and arms are actually still a little sore from Saturday (lol) but the trip was so worthwhile because I got to meet many wonderful authors and hang out with the coolest bookworms.

This was my second year attending Yallfest, the biggest YA book festival and event in the southeast US. I want to say the level of excitement was about the same as last year, and the turnout of people attending and participating were a lot higher, which was to be expected since this event only grows each year.

Since I had already gone in 2015, I had the routine down to a tee this year. Driving and parking was so much easier. (Though I’ve been to Charleston many times before I had never driven there myself. So it was a bit of a struggle with the congested streets to find a parking garage last year.)

I also learned my lesson and didn’t bring a book bag. I do think it’s an absolute must that attendees bring something to carry their books in, such as a backpack, tote, or even suitcase (don’t worry people actually bring wagons of books to this event-it’s pretty intense). However, if you plan to drive there like I did and find a parking space near the venue, you can easily go to your car to exchange and get books throughout the day. But I must say this only works well if you can coordinate these mini runs. Personally, I really liked this technique because it really saved my back. I would only carry about five books at a time, which wasn’t any trouble at all, and after each signing I tried to use my time efficiently so that I could make a trip to the car to exchange it for another set of books for the next signings. I did this about twice in the day. Like I said, it may not be practical for some, but this method gave me a much better experience because I was more comfortable as I was walking around.

Oh! Plus, throughout the day it’s very unlikely for you to not get free totes along the way to signings and panels. So you’ll end up with more bags than books by the end of the day anyway. (I literally had a huge book bag and 5 totes to lug around last year hence the body aches the following days.)

Also, this year was much more meaningful with signings for me. Because I took a long hiatus from reading during high school and the beginning of college, I wasn’t up to date with new authors that wrote YA fiction. It wasn’t until I started blogging early 2015 did I come to learn about these authors (such as Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, etc). So the author line up from last year had a lot of familiar names but only a handful were ones that I had read books by them. And since I wanted to see as many authors as I could, all the while trying to avoid picking those that I read their books pre-2010, I decided on authors of books I’d already owned (regardless if I read their books yet) to get signed. (Man, what a wordy sentence. I hope I made my point…) I was somewhat greedy, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting to meet those authors even if I hadn’t read their books. (Honestly, it was only three authors that I did this: Alexandra Bracken, Renée Ahdieh, and Victoria Aveyard. This proved to be a smart move since both Bracken and Aveyard became “wristband authors” this year where only a limited number of readers could get the chance to meet them if they had a wristband.) I was still able to make great conversation, but because this year I only chose to meet authors where I’ve read nearly all their published work (and quite recently)… I was able to have much more meaningful, memorable conversations.

Anyway, I don’t want this post to be just text… so like last year’s Yallfest blog post, I will continue to recount my fun day in pictures and captions from here on. Hope you guys enjoy!

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To begin my day off right, I met one of my all time favorite authors (and absolute favorite YA contemporary author), Sarah Dessen. She said she loved my name, guys. T_T And that she liked it so much she was close to naming her daughter Summer. (Dessen’s husband insisted on a different name though so their daughter’s name is Sasha.) Also, she was the only author where I wrote an actual letter to. I made it the day before because I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to adequately express how much I love her books in the short time I got with her. (And the other author also signing in the background is Adam Gidwitz.)

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