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Monday, October 9, 2017

Q2 + Q3 Reading Recap: April-September 2017


I decided to forgo monthly wrap-ups to do quarterly recaps this year, and I'm still not sure what I prefer. I know I skipped Q2 back in June/July, so I'm basically talking about half a year's reading in this post! I guess that doesn't really help me decide what I like more, haha. What do you guys think? What would you rather read?


books read in Q2 + Q3

Favorite books of Q2 + Q3: Geekerella, Noteworthy, After I Do, The Names They Gave Us, Invictus

I finally have full reviews to share! Trying to get back into the swing of things 💪 I wrote one for Geekerella back in July, one for Genuine Fraud last month, and one for Invictus on Thursday. I also added some ratings and thoughts on Goodreads for three books (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemBig Magic, and Frazzled) if you're interested!


goals update

Books read in Q2 + Q3: 12 + 11
Pages read in Q2 + Q3: 3,816 pages + 3,784 pages
Comics (volumes) read in Q2 + Q3: 3 + 2

Books read in 2017: 27
Pages read in 2017: 9,168 pages
Comics (volumes) read in 2017: 8

#RockMyTBR challenge (15/61)
I'm actually surprised at how many TBR books I've read since the end of March! Especially since I've only read 27 books so far. I added 21 books to my TBR this year (I started off at 211) and now it's at 215! That means I only have an addition of FOUR, which I could totally zero out by the end of this year. Now I'm getting ahead of myself, haha. I probably should've taken the buying/receiving of books into account before being ambitious and telling you all I wanted to lower my TBR pile to 150 😅 I don't know if I want to make any changes to this goal, we'll see how this last quarter goes and I can make adjustments for 2018!

POPSUGAR reading challenge (13/52)
  • A book that's published in 2017: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • A book that's been mentioned in another book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  • An audiobook: Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • A book with pictures: Frazzled by Booki Vivat
  • A book about a difficult topic: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • A book with a subtitle: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It's Impossible to be Spirituality Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero
  • A book with an unreliable narrator: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • A book that's been on your TBR for way too long: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
  • A book set in two different time periods: Invictus by Ryan Graudin (this kinda works, right?!)
  • A book by or about a person who has a disability: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  • A book you bought on a trip: The Dinner by Herman Koch

Other related links: 2017 Goals •  Q1 Recap

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin


invictus by ryan graudin

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Format: ARC // 452 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Links: Purchase from The Book Depository or AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome, Far's very existence defies the laws of nature. All he's ever wanted was to explore history for himself, but after failing his entrance exam into the government program, Far will have to settle for a position on the black market captaining a time-traveling crew to steal valuables from the past.

During a routine heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl named Eliot who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Eliot has secrets—big ones—that will affect Far's life from beginning to end. Armed with the knowledge that history is not as steady as it seems, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to set things right before the clock runs out.
Buzz wordstime travel + black market + crew + Titanic!

reason for reading
Wolf by Wolf was one of my favorite reads of 2015. After being immersed in a world where Graudin so effortlessly combines history and sci-fi to create this atmospheric + incredibly unique story, I want more! (But let's not talk about the fact that I haven't read the sequel yet ... 🙈)

things i love about invictus
I LOVE THAT INVICTUS IS A STAND-ALONE! So many adventure-packed stories are broken down into trilogies or full series, but you can read this one and be satisfied with the ending. No cliffhangers, no waiting for the sequel — the plot is complete in one book. With that said, I can still see a companion of some sorts happening ... and I wouldn't be mad/surprised if one was written, but it stands solid on its own.

WHAT A CAST OF CHARACTERS. Their distinct personalities made this reading experience so much fun! Farway's cousin, Imogen, was undoubtedly my favorite. Her quirkiness and bubbly outlook on all things made her the glue for this crew. I found she was a good balance for Farway, who is stubborn and a little prideful. In Invictus, you'll also meet Gram (incredibly shy and nerdy but so cute), Priya (cool girl vibes), and Eliot. They were such a flawed team, but I like that they worked together in an unconventional way.

some things to note
The synopsis is a bit misleading. Which, after reading Invictus, makes sense. There are a lot of things that can't be said because it'd ruin the plot, so to give just a brief introduction for new readers is difficult. Like I mentioned earlier, Titanic was one of the words in the synopsis that caught my attention. And I thought we would spend more time with that, but it's actually not a big part of the story. But it IS important, so I get why it was included. Anyway, I say all that because there is more to Invictus than stealing valuables. It's a mind-warping chase through time and space to save the future's past.

"[The past] was ... the weight all mankind was born to bear.
The roots we did not choose, but chose us." (2)

verdict (tl;dr) + breaking it down
Another Graudin book worth reading, Invictus has it all: a thrilling story about space + time travel, a fun cast of characters, AND it's a standalone so no cliffhangers!

  • Would I re-read this? // YES!!!
  • Can I read this in one sitting? // I'm not able to with books over 300 pages, but I think it's possible. If you read an average of 60 pages per hour, you can finish this in 7.5 hours.
  • Are there any diverse characters? // YES. Although diverse characters aren't spoilers by any means, I don't want to list them here because I was EXCITED every time we were introduced to one. SO LOOK FORWARD TO THESE GEMS 😄

Other books by Ryan Graudin: All That GlowsThe Walled City, Wolf by Wolf


Thank you to the kind people over at The NOVL for allowing me to read and review an early copy!

🖤🖤🖤

What are your favorite stand-alone adventure books?

Friday, September 29, 2017

TBR: October 2017



October better be the month I get it together 😂 I have allowed WAY too many books to pollute my "currently reading" shelf on Goodreads!!! So many half-read, abandoned books ... sorry friends :(

This TBR is longer than normal because there are two read-a-thons I'll be participating in this month: #GetGraphic (graphic novels/comics), which starts on Friday, October 6th and ends on Sunday, October 8th; and Spookathon, which starts on Monday, October 16th and ends on Sunday, October 22nd.

Let's get reading!

#getgraphic readathon picks


My only goal next weekend is to finish all the trade paperbacks I own, which is THREE — Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson, Black Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson, and Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone! Definitely do-able. I also have a bunch checked out from the library, so I will read like the wind. (Note: I will only be reading comics!)

cleaning up my "currently reading" shelf


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern // 26%
Started this back in April, STILL READING IT. I've been putting it off because it's one of those books where you have to WANT to read it or else you won't like it. I'm ready to jump back in, and it's the perfect season.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo // 3%
I am currently reading this for Abby (from Crime by the Book)’s book club in preparation for the movie coming out on Friday, October 20th! Her book club will be officially finishing this tomorrow, so I'm a little late for the discussion portion 😅

spookathon picks 👻


A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis // thriller + spooky setting
I put this on my TBR two Octobers ago with every intention of reading it but I ended up not doing so. Hopefully I can remedy that this year! I’ve heard a lot (from bloggers and reviewers) about Mindy McGinnis’ other books, but nothing about this one so I’m looking forward to reading this without any preconceptions.

Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman // spooky word in the title + orange on the cover
I don't think this is actually about witches, but "witches" is a spooky word so it counts in some way :p

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins // a book based on a childhood fear
This may be Perkins' first teen horror/slasher novel, but don't mistake her to be unknowledgeable in the genre. I've been following her on Twitter for a while now, and she's always talking about scary movies! Although I stay away from reading/watching ANYTHING scary, I will make an exception because I like Perkins' books.

🎶 ambition is my folly 🎶


Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Joce from Squibbles Reads invited me (!!!) to join her book club, Storytime with Squibbles, and this is her October pick! The synopsis of this one is incredibly intriguing — 1) a monogamous + married couple is unable to get pregnant. 2) The wife is introduced to her husband's second wife. 3) She knows the only way she can save their marriage is to get pregnant, and she does, but at what cost? I'm excited (and also a little nervous!) to discuss this book with other readers (y'all know I have issues translating what's in my brain to actual sentences) but I want to try and be challenged in the way I think about the stories I'm reading. We'll be using the hashtag #StorytimeWSquibbles on Twitter, so join us!

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
I love comics, I love Wonder Woman, I love Leigh Bardugo. WHAT A COMBINATION.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
I want to read this before her next book, Not Now, Not Ever, which Goodreads says is the sequel. It works out because I will crave something contemporary after finishing these heavy books.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I AM SO BEHIND ON THIS SERIES! I brought this book with me to jury duty a couple of months ago and ended up not reading it — but it got destroyed because my water bottle decided to leak in my book bag 😔 Of all the books on this list, I probably won't get to this one this month but I want to at least finish the Shadow and Bone trilogy by the end of this year. (Siege and Storm is the sequel to Shadow and Bone, a story that follows a girl who finds out she can wield something powerful.)

🖤🖤🖤

I meant to only put four books on my TBR, but alas ... I am really reaching for the stars with this list. If I magically finish all 12 items, I will have three less books on my TBR than I started this year with! (Feel free to reference this goals post to use your math skills and figure out how many books I own but are still unread.) S l o w l y making a dent in my physical pile, hahaha ...

What are you planning to read in October?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Feature Asian Main Characters


Top Ten Tuesdays is a feature created by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to share your own lists in the future, the prompts can be found on their page! You can also find my previous lists by searching the label "top ten tuesday" 😊

I originally wanted this post to be a list of all the books I've read that feature Asian main characters, but I'm sad to say I haven't read many. There are plenty that include an Asian classmate or villain — but the story wasn't about them, and they were gone in a couple of pages. Here are four I've actually read and six I am committing to read one day.

read + loved


Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
Frazzled follows Abbie Wu, who is freaking out about starting middle school. It's such a fun read, especially with all the doodles. (This book reminds me a little of Amelia's Notebook by Marissa Moss!) When I was in elementary/middle school, cute illustrations in a book meant I automatically checked it out from the library. I don't think the kids now are any different! 😁 Yes, this is targeted to younger readers, but I really think everyone of any age will enjoy Frazzled.

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
A great read about a Chinese-American girl who knows she's treated differently because of her ethnicity and status, but doesn't let it affect who and where she wants to be. I especially loved the family elements (as it is a big part of Chinese culture) and the simplicity of it all despite the subject matter being heavy. I wrote a small review on Outrun the Moon last year, if you want to read more on my thoughts.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I'm not 100% sure about the main character's background, but I do know that she is at least half-Asian. It's been quite some time since I've read Cinder, but I can tell you it is the beginning of a really fun series. As the title suggests, Meyer uses Cinderella elements to tell her story — but in this version, Cinder(ella) is part-cyborg!

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A CAPPELLA — NEED I SAY MORE?! (If yes, here are some other things this book includes: accurate portrayal of Asian parents, a soundtrack, so many laughable moments, and a quirky + fun gang of friends.)

books i hope to read soon


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Warcross by Marie Lu
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

🖤🖤🖤

Other books that feature Asian main charactersSaints and Misfits by S.K. Ali, Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz, Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo, Want by Cindy Pon, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Please recommend your favorites below, I know I've missed a ton!
(I will update the list above as comments come in!)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart


genuine fraud by e. lockhart

Young Adult + Fiction // Categories: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Format: ARC // 262 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Links: Purchase from The Book Depository or AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three. Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her. A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
reason for reading
E. Lockhart is an author I've read from before I even started blogging. I'm fairly certain that one of her earlier novels released in 2006, Fly on the Wall, was one of the first YA novels I've ever read—before I even learned what YA is—but I can't remember a single thing about that book now.

I decided to pick up Genuine Fraud because I read We Were Liars back in 2014 and loved it. It got a lot of hype, and I remember it was either well-loved or really hated. I haven't come across anyone who has nothing to say about it.

what genuine fraud is about
In the same vein as We Were Liars, you want to go into Genuine Fraud with as little information and influence as possible. So I won't give any clues as to what this book is about, but I will tell you that it's a story told from present to past. The first couple of chapters may feel a little disorienting, just trying to figure out what's going on, but I think it's worth the wait.

"Jule believed that the more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle." (5)

good story vs. good writing?
Lockhart is an incredible writer — the way she structures her sentences, the way she tells her stories, the way her stories flow. She really knows how to capture readers and maintain the right amount of mystery. But I have to admit I didn't really like the story itself. Almost every character is unlikeable—which, normally, doesn't matter too much to me—but because their lives are driving the plot, I wasn't invested and I didn't really feel sympathy for their misfortunes 😔

Wanting to figure out the HOW and WHY is what kept me reading. I needed to find out how it all plays out! Lockhart is also very strategic in unraveling her stories slowly, at the perfect pace, leaving you with some sort of reaction after every chapter.

verdict (tl;dr) + breaking it down
Although I love the way Lockhart writes, I didn't like the actual story. Genuine Fraud was good, but it's no We Were Liars.

  • Would I re-read this? // Unlikely, but I won't say no! I was reading other reviews and some theories got me thinkin' ... what did you guys think of the ending?
  • Can I read this in one sitting? // Yes! And you should, if you can. It's a fairly fast-paced book, one you can definitely finish in a day.
  • Are there any diverse characters? // I think just one. He is described as "Some white and some Asian heritage, Jule guessed." (221)
  • Trigger warnings? // Suicide, some detailed violence.

Other reviews from bloggers I follow: The Book Addict's GuideBooks & Cleverness




Thank you to Delacorte Press and Penguin Random House for allowing me to read and review an early copy!

🖤🖤🖤

Have you come across any books or movies where you've disliked the story but loved the writing? I felt this way toward La La Land ... I LOVED the music and the production, but not the story :(
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