Reading

T5W: Top 5 Underrated Books

I am really excited for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic! Not sure what T5W is? Check out the Goodreads group for more information.

This week, we’re discussing underrated reads that really deserve more love than they got. I’m counting books less than or just right above 4 / 5 stars in my list. Without further gilding the lily, here we go!

Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.

The Other Guy by Cary Attwell

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Some say that the main character is cowardly, and maybe he is in some measure, but I found him to be delightfully honest, real, insecure like many of us, and riddled with flaws that made him seem more human to me. I loved Emory. I loved Nate. I loved Linnea. I loved these characters and the relationship that blossomed for Emory and Nate after their unlikely meeting in Thailand. Great fun read. Will look forward to more from this author.

 

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

I have always enjoyed Tan’s books and this one was no exception. Winnie and Helen’s story will haunt you with its beauty and make you ponder the hard life so many have led. It has been a LONG time since I read this book, so I don’t have a ton to say about it now, but as with all of Tan’s books, it left a lasting emotional impression.

 

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

I remember reading this book when I was in middle school. It looked interesting, so I picked it up and literally did not put it down until I had finished it. I read it in one day while sitting on a float in the pool. 🙂 I have read it two or three more times since then. GREAT book. There was such an air of mystery and beauty about this book. Even though it was clearly written for a younger audience, you can’t help but love it as an adult.

 

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara

This book right here changed my middle schooler life. I adored this book and literally searched for it for years before I finally found it at Powell’s online bookstore in college. It was such a beautiful tale of light and dark essence and how they are not always what they seem. I will love Chihaya FOREVER. That is all.

 

Scarlet and White Wolf by Kirby Crow

This book was an enchanting introduction to the world crow has built around the protagonists, Scarlet and Liall. Scarlet was instantly likeable to me. Sassy and yet unsure of himself. Liall was a swaggering type with charm and assertiveness that contrasted with Scarlet’s character. Their slow-building relationship was a breath of fresh air in a genre that often throws characters together too quickly. It’s clear that Crow put in a TON of background world building. The world felt rich with a variety of languages, religions, and cultures all jampacked together in one continent. I look forward to uncovering more about this place in subsequent books. I really enjoyed Kirby’s lyrical prose. It gave the book some of the “old style” feel. I really enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down. Looking forward to the next one! (Purchased it right after I read this one.)

 

What are your top 5 underrated reads? Do you have a number one out of those 5? I’d love to hear about it!

Reading

Book Review: Deep Magic by Gillian St. Kevern

I’ve already read 17 books in January (most of which have been novels!) I think this is hands down the most I’ve ever read in one month. Seeing if I can break 20 before the month is over.

My 17th book for January was Deep Magic by Gillian St. Kevern. I try to review every book I read on Goodreads, but don’t always share those reviews on my blog. But this book definitely needed a blog and GR review.

4 Stars

 

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be whimsical.

I instantly fell in love with the wild landscape of Wales and the quaint small town our protagonist Oliver Evans inhabits.

Oliver is a wanderer–plagued by an insatiable Longing for home. When his grandmother passes away, he inherits her cottage up on a set of cliffs overlooking the sea. So many memories in this place haunt him and he is drawn into the history of his own life while searching for a long lost friend named Myrhydion.

As the story progresses, we are pulled into a world of cunning magic and mythology about sea dwelling creatures called morgen. I was utterly fascinated by it all.

Olly and Myrhydion’s relationship was so sweet and yet still full of fun. The only reason I knocked off a star for this book was because of the sensual scenes. In my opinion they did absolutely nothing for the story and though they were short, they still drew me out of the overall sweet and epic tone of the story.

If you are looking for a book about mermen or selkies, I would highly recommend this one. Though the morgen are different from the previously named mythical creatures, you get a similar feel.

I am very much looking forward to book 2, Morgen’s Curse.

Reading

January 2017 To Read

I can’t believe it’s already January 2017!!! How does time go by this fast? Seriously. Books always seem to go too fast, too. Since that’s the case, my January TBR pile is pretty ambitious. But! I’ve already read 8 books this month and it’s only the 7th. I’m doing pretty well. So far, I’ve read:

  1. Harmony by Jordan L. Hawk (short story)
  2. Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin #6) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  3. Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin #7) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  4. Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  5. The 13th Hex (Hexworld 0.5) by Jordan L. Hawk (short story)
  6. The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat (short story)
  7. Once Upon a Dream by Megan Derr (collection of fairy tales, begun in 2016)
  8. Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk

As you can see, I’ve been a total Jordan L. Hawk fangirl this month. Her Whyborne & Griffin series is going down as one of my absolute favorites EVER. For Real. I will do a series review when it finishes up in the next year or so. But expect me to wax poetic about it here when I discuss favorite characters or “excited for” posts, etc.

My must-reads (not the entire list) for January are:

Magics Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

I’ve been looking forward to this series for a while and though it’s a bit older, I think I’ll enjoy it. It’s a YA fantasy novel about a young musician intent on becoming a bard, but his skills are a bit lacking. The story unfolds as his powers awaken and he becomes the last Herald-mage!

Hexmaker (Hexworld #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

I’m currently reading book 1 of this series (Hexbreaker) at the moment and am THOROUGHLY enjoying it. The magic system in this series with a witch + familiar + the utilization of hexes is fascinating. A definite fun read if you like shape-shifters, Alternate History, and a bit of romance thrown in!

The Crown’s Dog by Elise Kova

I am a huge Elise Kova fan. I was enchanted with her Air Awakens series and am super looking forward to jumping into this–one of the prequels to the AA series. Jax was one of my favorite characters in those books and he’s the star of this one. I’m way behind as the rest of the book bloggers have already read this, but I’m down for catching up! 😀

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

This is another Kova novel that has been much anticipated in the fantasy fandom. I’ve heard such good things about this steampunky YA fantasy and can’t wait to crack open my Kindle version when it comes out in just a few days.

What are you reading in January? What are your most anticipated reads? Can’t wait to hear!

Reading

Book Review: The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat

Guys, we need to talk about this book–this epilogue to the freaking fantastic Captive Prince series. It was so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so good. Everything I had been hoping and waiting for. I got up at 5:50am this morning so I could read this beauty that I had pre-ordered. Boy was I NOT disappointed.

Pacat’s writing is gorgeous. Honestly, it’s truly a work of art. I could practically taste the summer palace atmosphere on my tongue when reading her prose. And Damen. Laurent. OMGOISDLKJFSOIEWRRRRR.

Let me back up. If you haven’t read The Captive Prince, The Prince’s Gambit, or Kings Rising, stop every single thing you’re doing right now and go read those books. You won’t be sorry. The series is one of my top favorites of all time and I’m willing to bet it will be one of yours. What follows will include spoilers, so you’ve been warned.

This epilogue picks up (most likely) several months after the end of Kings Rising. Damen’s stomach wound has healed, Laurent has done an admirable job shoring up their kingdoms and their cultures are beginning to mix. Damen arrives at the Summer Palace to find Laurent waiting for him–Laurent having been waiting breathlessly and watching the road for Damen’s arrival.

What follows is a beautiful dance of memory and touch and gossamer feelings. Fluff. Lots and lots of precious, adorable, much-needed fluff after the rip-your-heart-out ride that was the main series. Everything in this short story felt needful and necessary. Each word, each remembered incident, each moment. Some of my favorite quotes were:

“Are you courting me?” said Damen. He felt foolish with happiness. He knew courtship was new to Laurent, didn’t know why it felt so new to himself. “I haven’t done this before,” said Laurent.

~~

Having made the decision to let Damen in, Laurent had not gone back on it. When the walls went back up, it was with Damen inside them.

~~

It was so close to his own thoughts– that everything he knew was gone, but that this was here in its place, this one bright thing.


TEARS. I mean, come on. How can you read those and not stumble over yourself to get to this book???

It was such a sweet, glorious ending to such an incredible series. It showed so much tenderness and care between Damen and Laurent that I was left speechless. These two have been through so much together and it was a joy to see them able to heal and relax together after such a hard journey.

I am very much looking forward to the next short story to come our way and to more of C.S. Pacat’s work in general.

In case you’re interested, my review of The Captive Prince series.

Reading

T5W: Five Goals for the New Year!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is goals! Huzzah! To join us in Top 5 Wednesdays, just join the Goodreads group.

Most of these are reading goals, but a couple are general life goals. I’m typically a big goal setter, but the last few years, I’ve tried to keep goals simple and manageable (and realistically achievable). I find this helps boost confidence while also building up discipline toward the things I want to achieve. My goals for this year are definitely going to be a big challenge, but I’m ready to hit them hard!

 

  1. Read 100 books // I somehow managed to read 90 books in 2016 when my goal was originally 36, so I decided, why not? The only person holding me back from hitting the 100 mark is me! Onward we go! (I’ve already got 1 short story and 2 full novels under my belt, so we’re off to a good start.)
  2. Read more YA. // There are so many great YA authors and books floating around out there and the genre has always been a favorite. I read some YA last year, but not a ton. I’ll probably stick with fantasy YA, but it still counts. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary fiction unless it really grabs me.
  3. Get better at writing book reviews. // Sometimes I’m just lazy about writing extensive book reviews, other times I just have trouble expressing how amazing (or not amazing) a book was in so many words. This year, my goal is to significantly improve my reviewer skills and bring some pizzaz to them.
  4. Be able to watch anime without subtitles by the end of the year. // I’ve been slowly working on building up my Japanese skills for years and it is really important to me that I get conversational with the language before 2018. I’m trying to do a bit of study every day and it is starting to click. Anime is a top fave of mine and it seemed like a good, measurable goal to shoot for.
  5. Celebrate others and refuse to tear down myself. // Real talk. I get jealous and so down on myself when I look at other writers or readers who seem so much more talented than me. I think this is normal, but I don’t want to settle for bad habits like this. This year, I’m going to try to step up my positivity game and work hard to celebrate my fellow writers and readers for their amazing, unique skills and do the same in myself.

 

What are your goals for the new year?! Any series you’re particularly looking forward to reading or a specific number of books you’d like to read? Comment and tell us!