Friday, April 28, 2017

Month in Review: April 2017

Unsurprisingly, April has been yet another insanely busy month. There just seems to be so much going on in all aspects of life! I hope all of you are doing well!

My reading took a bit of the brunt of all the business this month, but that was also partially due to Anna Karenina taking quite a while to get through. Regardless, I still managed to get through seven books apparently, so I can't complain. Below you will find the rest of my monthly shenanigans from my blog, so read on!

Books read: 7

Anna KareninaBlood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion, #1)I Capture the Castle
Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves 
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith 
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes 
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab 

Have you read any of these? What books did you read this month? Comment below!

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

TBR Thursday: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

This week I have decided to jump on board with TBR Thursdays, created by Kim @ Kimberly Faye Reads! This feature was created with the intent of spotlighting a title from your shelf that you planning on reading in order to discuss why you want to read it, as well to discuss the book with others! If you'd like to join, feel free to use the banner created by Kimberley (or your own), and stop by her page to participate.

I just received access to A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge and I am so excited to read it! I've never heard of Frances Hardinge, but after looking her up it appears that she is a wonderful children's author! This particular book seems to have already been released in the UK back in 2012, but it is being released in the US next month, and I think it sounds fantastic! I am hoping to get started on this one soon. :)

A Face Like Glass
Synopsis from Goodreads:

"In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell's expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . . "

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge Publication Date: May 9th, 2017
Amulet Books

Are you interested in reading this book? What books are on your TBR?

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Blog Tour: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy - Author Guest Post + Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I am happy to welcome you to today's stop on the First We Were IV blog tour, hosted by Brittany's Book Rambles! First We Were IV is an incredibly new YA thriller by Alexandra Sirowy that will be published July 25th. This book was such a pleasure to read, and I hope you all have a chance to check it out!  For my stop, I am pleased to share with you a guest post from Alexandra Sirowy herself, which you can find below the book and author information, as well as a tour-wide giveaway at the bottom of the post.
Huge thanks go out to Brittany from Brittany's Book Rambles, Alexandra Sirowy, and Simon and Schuster for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful tour!

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy
Publication Date: July 25th, 2017
Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Goodreads Link:


A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Author Bio:

Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Disclaimer: All content directly from First We Were IV (such as quotes and excerpts) is taken directly from an advanced reader's copy of the book. Therefore, it is not to be separately quoted from due to the fact that it is not in its final publication form. 

What we do for friendship…
The impulse for First We Were IV came from me wanting to write a thriller about friendship, a topic that I’ve been obsessed with for almost my whole life.

Way back when I was a plucky seven-year-old who got her first diary, I used to write short ghost stories, though not of the spooky variety. My stories always featured a live child and a ghost child meeting, becoming friends, and going on adventures. I was obsessed with friendship. I was also a lonely kid since we moved around a lot and I didn’t have siblings yet.

We finally settled in one place and I made friends in middle school who I’m still friends with today. The road was not smooth, though. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve when it comes to friends and that has led me into some embarrassing situations. Like, in the seventh grade, one of my best friends decided she was going to put on a Nutcracker Ballet, have it performed in her attic, and charge for tickets. I jumped up and down when she said she wanted to include me and cast me as the Snow Queen. Just one problem, I wasn’t a ballerina. I hadn’t danced since I got kicked out of ballet class at six-years-old for asking the teacher if class was almost over. What’s more awkward than a pudgy, uncoordinated twelve-year-old girl dancing in a white leotard? Said twelve-year-old girl in a leotard tripping and falling on one of the dancing snowflakes on opening night, all in the name of not letting her friend down.

These little embarrassments have made me think a lot about what friends do for one another. The four best friends in First We Were IV – Izzie, Viv, Graham, and Harry – have known each other since they were little kids. They’re the perfect storm of friendship. Izzie is spirited and funny, Viv is stylish and dramatic, Graham is brainy and sarcastic, and Harry is sincere and thoughtful. They’re on the periphery of everyone else’s social scene, and they couldn’t care less. Their entire universe revolves around their headquarters in Viv’s barn. So as their senior year of high school begins, they’re worried about what’s to come. Will they text every day in college? What if they’re replaced by newer, shinier friends. What if without living in the same town, they drift apart?

Izzie proposes a solution. The four should invent a secret society so that they’ll always have something tying them together. And the secret society won’t be for nothing, it will have meaning, vigilante-pranks it plays to improve things. What ensues is a story of friendship, love, revenge, murder, and secrets.

While writing First We Were IV, I couldn’t help feeling that I was writing the friends I needed as a high school student. The kind of friends who make a universe and who you risk everything to protect. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule: 

Week 1
March 27: Brittany's Book Rambles - Intro Post + Excerpt
March 28: YA and Wine - Most Mischievous YA Characters
March 29: Rattle the Pages - Nail Art
March 30: Book Nerd Addict - Inventing A Secret Society
March 31: Fables Library - YA Books with Secret Societies

Week 2
April 3: Emily Reads Everything - Fancast
April 4: The Eater of Books - History of Secret Societies
April 5: It Starts At Midnight - Author Guest Post: FIRST WE WERE IV vs. Alexandra's Previous Books
April 6: BookCatPin - Mystery YA List
April 7: A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Moodboard

Week 3
April 10: The Book Buzz - YA Thrillers You Need to Know About
April 11: The Candid Cover - Bookworm Initiation Quiz
April 12: Girl in the Pages - Book Recs for First We Were IV Characters
April 13: Stories and Sweeties - Author Guest Post - Story Behind the Title
April 14: Little Lillie Reads - Playlist

Week 4
April 17: Literary Legionnaire - Favorite Quotes
April 18: Chapter by Chapter - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Initiation Rituals
April 19: Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Secret Societies You Never Knew Existed
April 20: YA Book Central - Author Guest Post:  3 Favorite Books About Secret Societies
April 21: The Bookish Feels - Author's March Favorites

Week 5
April 24: Waiting For Wentworth - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Rules
April 25: The Reader and the Chef - Book Inspired-Recipe
April 26: Forever Lost in Literature - Author Guest Post: What We Do For Friendship
April 27: Flying Through Fiction - Favorite YA Friendships
April 28: One Way or an Author - Phone Wallpapers

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic really made me think, and I think I've come up with a pretty accurate list. There are probably more than a few other things that are major turn-offs (such as when the FBI or 'retired cop' is mentioned, which just occurred to me), but these are a few of the biggest ones!

I don't care if you love or hate books marketed as "chick-lit," I just hate this term. Why do we have it? Why do we need it? All it does is unfairly categorize books and make sure some people (especially men) never read them. Be gone from our dictionary, "chick-lit"!

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who didn't join this train, but I just can't stand zombies. I really hate them. It holds no interest to me in any way, shape, or form.


Okay, is everyone done throwing things at me? Please don't hate me for this one, I just have gotte so tired of this setting that I so often just put a book immediately back on the shelf when I see this is in the blurb. It's just so overused.

The only sports I ever played and ever were gymnastics and badminton. Otherwise, I'm not much of a sports person. And I absolutely do not like reading about sports at all. Or watching them. Or watching movies about them. I'm sorry, it just doesn't hold my interest.

It gets confusing, I stop caring, I always end up hating one or two of them and that just makes the book drag unnecessarily.

This usually happens when I'm reading a synopsis that sounds fantastic or just supremely interesting and then suddenly the dreaded phrase pops up: "until/and then s/he meets so-and-so" and I just dropped it because, really? Did we have to just thrust some weird romantic relationship into something where it would have been fine without it? Did we have to do that?

Look, there are some awesome, talented celebrities out there. And while maybe a small percentage of them could actually write a great book and have a great story to tell, most of them don't. All they do is unfairly dominate book sales and book lists and it frustrates me. Especially when said person is writing a 'memoir' in their 20s or 30s. Please, stop.

I've dealt with terminal illness in my life. I don't want to read about it. Plus, I don't know... I know it's a real thing out there that many of us will have to deal with, but I just do not want to settle down to enjoy my book and read about that.

Although there are a lot of wonderful books out there that use revenge as a main plot device, I'm not really drawn to books in which revenge is the character's main motive for everything. I personally am not really into the concept of revenge, so it's just something that really turns me off. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but in general revenge is not a reason that I will pick up a specific boo.

I've read some fantastic contemporary YA (The Female of the Species, The Hate U Give, etc.), but this genre in general just isn't my favorite. It is extremely rare, if not impossible, for  me to find a contemporary YA book that features young adults with realistic language or realistic situations. I'm just not drawn to this genre.

Do you like or dislike any of these topics? What topics make you immediately put down a book?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King

*Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King is available Tuesday, April 25th!*

Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King. Touchstone, 2017. 416 pages.

I am always up for some ancient historical fiction, and Feast of Sorrow fit that niche perfectly. If you enjoy vivid descriptions of food and the fine nuances of Roman decorum, then this is the the book for you.

In brief, Feast of Sorrow tells the story of Thrasius, a young slave sold into the hands of Marcus Gavius Apicius, a man whose main goal is to one day become the gastronomic advisor to Caesar. Thrasius is a talented cook who impressed Apicius, and thus Apicius sees him as the key to helping him attain his ultimate goal. 

The first thing that I would like to mention about Feast of Sorrow is how incredibly impressed I was with the historical accuracy in which King constructed Ancient Rome. I've been studying Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome for my entire undergrad career, so it's sometimes frustrating to see authors completely misrepresent these societies. I was endlessly impressed with the some of the details and tidbits she added into every corner of the story that conveyed great historical accuracy. Of course, this book is still fiction so there are many artistic liberties, but I absolutely expect that and am no less impressed.

One of the best parts of this book is the food descriptions. I wanted to eat all of the food, which was thoroughly and vibrantly described. There was so much variety and I loved how much research King obviously went to in order to create such intricate descriptions of the food. It's always surprising to see some of the types of foods the Ancients ate, ranging from delicious to downright unappetizing (in my opinion). The food was also especially fun for me because I have this other book called The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby that has adapted a vast array of Classical foods into slightly more modern recipes--there are also recipes from Apicius, so I had fun looking them up in that book.

This book is told in the first person narrative by our cook, Thrasius. Although Thrasius was a strong narrator and I enjoyed hearing this story from his point of view, I felt like there was too much telling and not even showing. Thrasius is much more of a passive character in this manner, and there are many instances in which I almost forgot that Thrasius was telling the story as his narrative would delve into a complete description or telling of a particular dinner party of Apicius or Apicius' interactions with another person.

Feast of Sorrow is not exactly a fast-paced book, and it certainly dragged in quite a few places. I didn't mind the somewhat leisurely pace of the novel for the most part, but there was certain time periods or scenes that just went on for far too long, and I desperately wanted the story to move on. Each chapter also usually indicates a time jump, which helped to move the story forward. Thrasius' romantic relationship, however, moved too quickly for my taste. I felt that that was one relationship that just didn't quite fit in as well as the rest. Don't get me wrong, I thought they were a great match and their love was beautiful, but the pacing just didn't match up with the rest of the book as well as it could have.

Just about every character was wonderfully developed and held a distinct, interesting personality. Apicius was someone that you want to love and hate; he's intense and not the most sensitive person, but I also wanted to pity him at times because of how badly he simply wanted to achieve his goals, despite the horrid ways he occasionally pulled this off. Thrasius is a gentle man as well, but he also learns to be someone who does not always just roll over for others to walk over. There are also the characters of Passia, Apicata (Apicius' daughter), Aelia (Apicius' wife), and Sotas, all of which were also developed extremely well. My only complaint would be with Apicata, whose daughterly affection for Thrasius seemed slightly out of place at times.

I found the master-slave relationship a little odd at times, as well. The development of understanding between the Apicius and Thrasius grew at a steady pace, but I just felt that the closeness of Thrasius and Apicius' family was a bit too heavy at times. I also found King a little too sympathetic to the upper classes, which I didn't quite think fit into the story or accurately depicted the period. Of course it wasn't easy for the nobles, but I definitely think it wasn't quite as hard as the slaves.

Overall, I have given Feast of Sorrow four stars! This was an extremely well-written and developed novel of Ancient Rome, and I would absolutely recommend it to pretty much anyone.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Anticipated May 2017 Releases!

Somehow April is already wrapping up and it's time for yet another month of new book releases! There are, yet again, so manynew releases, so I've just decided to highlight a select few. Be sure to let me know if you've read any of these, are looking forward to them, and what book releases you're excited for!

A Face Like GlassThick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)Men Without Women: Stories
The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game, #2)New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare)The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
House of FuriesRoyal BastardsViolet Grenade
Mr. RochesterFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

What are your anticipated May releases?