Top 10 Tuesday – February 19th, 2019

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten books you loved with fewer than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. I’m someone who tends to read books that are lesser known much more frequently than popular and/or hyped up novels, so this was a difficult list to narrow down! This is such a great topic because I absolutely love bringing more attention to these wonderful novels. So here are my top ten favorites (and, obviously, I highly recommend all of them!).

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1. The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz (Click here for my review)

2. The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras (Click here for my review)

3. Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid (Click here for my review)

4. The Road Between by Courtney Peppernell (Click here for my review)

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5. Alice by J.M. Sullivan (Click here for my review)

6. Sea of Doubt by Jeremy D. Holden (Click here for my review)

7. Paper Wishes by Spencer Hoshino (Click here for my review)

8. Remember, Remember by Anna Elliot (Click here for my review)

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9. Wherever Grace Is Needed by Elizabeth Bass

10. Songs With Our Eyes Closed by Tyler Kent White (Click here for my review)

What are some lesser know books that you guys love? I’m always looking for more, so definitely let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour: To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

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I’ve done a number of blog tours before but this one has been particularly special. To go with the theme of this novel—pen pals building a friendship that stretches all the way from the East to the West Coast—we were paired up with a fellow book blogger from the opposite side of the country to create our posts.

I was lucky enough to be paired up with the lovely Marília from Happy Reading Co.! She is a wonderful blogger and such a sweet person—I am so glad that we got to meet and work on this together. This has been a truly fun and unique experience, and the two of us are definitely planning to keep in touch and hopefully collaborate again sometime soon!

For our posts, Marília (West Coast) and I (East Coast) talked about and picked out our favorite quotes from the novel. We also split our final list between each other’s posts, so make sure to head over to her blog to see the other half of our collab!

Book Info:

tonightowlfromdogfishTo Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Date Published: February 12th, 2019

Publisher: Dial Books

Pages: 304 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

From two extraordinary authors comes a moving, exuberant, laugh-out-loud novel about friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters.

Avery Bloom, who’s bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who’s fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads.

When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends–and possibly, one day, even sisters. 

But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can’t imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

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My Favorite Quotes

A moon appears. We make wishes on shooting stars. Words beyond words are spoken.”

The reason I chose this quote is very simple—it is absolutely beautiful. This is describing one of the key moments in the novel that sets in motion the events that truly bring together this patchwork family. Wording this moment in the way the authors have here emphasizes the beauty of the relationships that are formed between not only the two girls but their loved ones as well.

I did have another dad (named Phillip), but he died super long ago so we’ve adjusted to his being gone, but we will always miss him. Every year on his birthday we light a candle and then we look at the stars because he told my dad that his soul was going to stretch out across the sky.”

This quote is honestly one of the most touching quotes in the novel. It is a wonderful sentiment and, having just gone through a number of huge losses in the past year or so myself, it really spoke to me on so many levels. It demonstrates the pain of loss but also how love transcends everything. Though we may experience the loss of loved ones, they never leave us. They will always be woven into our lives and absolutely nothing can break that link.

No one’s supposed to tell anyone, “You two shouldn’t love each other.” But maybe, also, no one’s supposed to tell anyone, “You two should love each other.”

I love the message that this quote is conveying and it also perfectly sums up the deeper meaning of the story. This book is all about bridging gaps, accepting people for who they are, and what it truly means to be a family. Love is love without question—it doesn’t need to abide by a set of rules or conform to one single definition. Families are not just people related by blood or marriage. They are formed by the profound connections we have with those we care about that will always stand the test of time.

Marília’s Favorite Quotes

Maybe when it’s your own story, you’re always going to be an unreliable narrator.”

Some people are a lot more interested in raising kids than other people. From what I can see, the person most interest usually does the best job.”

Dancing is a way of setting your spirit free.”

Make sure to go check out Marília’s post to see the rest of our favorite quotes!

Author Bios:

Holly GoldbergHolly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent her childhood living in Holland; Istanbul, Turkey; Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, California; and Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Wellesley College and spending some time as an advertising copywriter, she began writing family feature films, including Angels in the Outfield and Made in America. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Counting by 7s and Short, among other novels. 

Meg WolitzerMeg Wolitzer was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the town of Syosset, on Long Island, and sold her first novel, Sleepwalking, while a senior in college. She is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous novels for adults, including The InterestingsThe Ten-Year NapThe Wife, and The Female Persuasion; the young adult novel Belzhar; and the middle-grade novel The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One

February 4 – Books4yourkids – Author Guest Post: What are the constraints – and freedoms – of writing an epistolary novel? Is it similar to writing a first person narrative?

February 4 – Two Points of Interest – Author Guest Post – what inspires you to write? 

February 5 – Pages and Pugs – Favorite Quotes 

February 5 – Amber After Glows – Favorite Quotes

February 6 – Read. Eat. Love. – Inspired by the Book: Food 

February 6 –  The Hermit Librarian – Inspired by the Book: Food 

February 7 – Book Loaner Blog – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 

February 7 – Books. Libraries. Also, cats – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 

February 8 – Happy Reading Co.  – Favorite Quotes

February 8 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Favorite Quotes 

Week Two

February 11 – That Reader Girl – Listicle: Camp Songs 

February 11 – We Live and Breathe Books – Listicle: Camp Songs 

February 12 –  Sam Maybe Reading – Review 

February 12 –  Randomly Reading – Review 

February 13 – The Reading Corner for All – Creative Instagram Picture 

February 13 – Dos Lit Worms – Creative Instagram Picture

February 14 – Laceydoeslit – Review + Playlist 

February 14 – The Bookworm Banter – Review + Playlist 

February 15 – YA Books Central – Author Q&A 

February 15 – Because reading is better than real life – Author Q&A

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February 2019 TBR

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Happy February, everyone!

I apologize for posting two pretty short posts in a row (I will have some new reviews coming soon!), but I’ve realized I haven’t posted my monthly TBR in quite a while. I’ve missed sharing it and I absolutely love hearing from you guys about what you’ve been reading lately or plan on picking up soon!

As always, my TBR is way too ambitious and I’m sure some of these books will end up on my March TBR, but since I’m such a massive mood reader, I like to give myself plenty of options. Of course, if I were actually able to read all of these, that would be absolutely awesome! I’m so determined to hit my goal of reading 100 books this year! 😀

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here’s my February 2019 TBR!

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To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Halo of Power by Jeremy Holden

The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Doctor Who: Deep Time by Trevor Baxendale

What are you guys reading this month? What have you read so far this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Down the TBR Hole #7

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This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes! 

This time around, I didn’t clear out too much, but I thought it would still be fun to share my TBR with you guys! It’s been so long since I did one of these, so my TBR shelf has gotten ever more out of control. I’m hoping to get back to doing these regularly because it’s definitely in desperate need of a clear out.

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1741

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thenightmysisterwentmissingThe Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci

I vaguely remember picking this up somewhere because it was really cheap and sounded intriguing. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this one, so I’m not quite sure what to expect with it. That being said, I do think I still have enough of an interest in it to keep it on my TBR. It’s an extremely short novel and I think I can probably breeze through it.

Judgment: KEEP

lifeisbutadreamLife is But a Dream by Brian James

This is another one I found randomly and have been very interested in for years but I just haven’t gotten to yet. I don’t ever hear about this one either, but it does sound good. I’ve been cutting down on the amount of books I read about mental illness for personal reasons, but this is one of the few I do want to keep on my list for now.

Judgment: KEEP

witchandwizardWitch & Wizard by James Patterson

I’ve had this book—and series as a whole—on my radar for ages but I kept putting it off for some reason. I never seemed to be in the mood for it whenever I thought about picking it up. Between that and the fact that I am now well out of the age range for this one, realistically, I’m probably never actually going to get around to it. I’m going to let this book go.

Judgment: GO

gonegonegoneGone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

I had an incredibly hard time making up my mind about this book. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not likely to be something I read anytime soon and I have too many books on my TBR to keep something I feel that way about. I’m sure this is a great read, but I need to pass my copy off to a better home.

Judgment: GO

flawedFlawed by Kate Avelynn

I don’t actually remember adding this one to my TBR and when I came across it while making this post, I realized I had absolutely no clue what it was about. It also definitely isn’t something I want to read anymore.

Judgment: GO

dreamsleevesDreamsleeves by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Despite how long it’s been since I discovered and added this book, my desire to pick it up is still pretty strong. It sounds like such a sad but heartwarming story with a very unique concept. I definitely want to try my best to get to this one at some point.

Judgment: KEEP

nerveNerve by Jeanne Ryan

I remember hearing tons about this when it first came out and it was exactly the kind of novel I was enjoying reading at the time. But I remember my enthusiasm about it dying down somewhat quickly. This also seems like something I would have been a lot more interested in when I was younger anyway. So this one is going off my TBR.

Judgment: GO

crazyCrazy by Amy Reed

As I mentioned earlier, I am cutting down on the amount of mental illness books on my TBR. I read one other book by Amy Reed years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I added some of her other books to my list. However, though I do think she is a good author, I’m not feeling any inclination to read this one anymore.

Judgment: GO

thissideofparadiseThis Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am for sure going to keep this one. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I seriously need to read more of his work. I swear, I will get to this some day!

Judgment: KEEP

thecuriouscaseofbenjaminbuttonThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Same reasons as I stated above!

Judgment: KEEP

carrieCarrie by Stephen King

I’ve said before in these posts that almost anything by Stephen King is an automatic keeper and this is no exception. I am a massive fan of his and it’s crazy that I still haven’t gotten around to this one yet. But I am planning to try and work some more of his novels into my reading in the near future and this is toward the top of the list.

Judgment: KEEP

ihuntkillersI Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I’ve heard lots of great things about this novel—and the entire series—particularly from some friends of mine who I know I have very similar tastes to. And I am still extremely interested in this story. I will admit, I don’t know if I will be getting to this one really soon, but I am definitely going to keep it on my TBR.

Judgment: KEEP

thehoundofthebaskervillesThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle is another one of my all-time favorite authors, so any work of his is something I want to read. I’m hoping to get back into this particular series this year and finally finish it. I’ve really missed these stories and I can’t wait to continue on with them.

Judgment: KEEP

thewatchthatendsthenightThe Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

A combination of a novel in verse with a story about the Titanic? This is a definite keeper! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been so interested in learning about the Titanic and I also enjoy reading historical fiction about it. It sounds like this will be such a beautiful and poignant way of approaching the topic. I’m still very eager to read it.

Judgment: KEEP

thestoryofbeautifulgirlThe Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

This is another one of those books that I just randomly found and I know I was also very drawn in by the wonderful cover. It is likely going to be a very heavy and emotional read, but I’m still so interested in the story. I’m keeping this one on my list.

Judgment: KEEP

shadowandboneShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I have been thinking a lot lately about how few series I have read—or at least completed—in my life and I want to change that. This year, I am dedicating myself to expanding that part of my literary experience and Leigh Bardugo’s novels are ones I have at the top of my list. I’m especially eager to get to Six of Crows, but I really want to read this trilogy first, so this should be a book on my monthly TBR very soon.

Judgment: KEEP

lucyintheskyLucy in the Sky by Anonymous

I remember reading Go Ask Alice—which is a book similar to this one—for school many years ago and I enjoyed it a lot. I have a couple of these novels in my collection and, though I don’t think I will like them quite as much as I did when I was younger, I believe they will still be good reads. It might be a while before I get around to this one, but I definitely want to keep it on my list for now.

Judgment: KEEP

readyplayeroneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

I am absolutely, 100% determined to read this novel this year. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for ages and I’m sure I will absolutely love it. I think I put this off because I know it will probably be a bit of a slower read for me. But I’m going to try my best to make time for it sometime in the next few months.

Judgment: KEEP

carnivalofsoulsCarnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

I have to be honest, this was mainly a cover buy, which is a somewhat rare thing for me. I was also interested in the story, but I don’t remember ever being fully sold on it. It’s another one that I also feel I’ve outgrown. My tastes have changed so much in the last few years and I just know I’m never going to get around to this book.

Judgment: GO

milesfromordinaryMiles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

This is one other mental illness story that still makes it onto my list (I feel like I’ve made a ton of exceptions in this post!). I read another novel by Carol Lynch Williams years ago and it became one of my all-time favorites. This also seems like it will be a very quick read, so I believe I will in fact pick this up one day.

Judgment: KEEP

Getting Rid Of: 6/20

TBR Total: 1735

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Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of Winter 2018-2019

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I’ve been having a bit of a hectic winter so far, so I’m running a bit late with this post. However, I wanted to make sure to get this out because I’m really looking forward to these next few months book-wise. There are so many awesome-sounding releases coming out very soon and it was incredibly difficult to narrow down my list to just five. But here are the novels that I am most looking forward to this winter.

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo (February 12th, 2019)

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Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into a dark adventure: a mirror world of secrets and superstitions.
Eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy Ren also has a secret, a promise he must fulfill to his dead master: to find his master’s severed finger and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths wrack the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
Yangsze Choo’s The Night Tiger pulls us into a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzling and propulsive novel is the intimate coming of age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.

Lovely War by Julie Berry (March 5th, 2019)

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A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.
It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep—and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (March 5th, 2019)

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I’ve been chased my whole life. As an illegal immigrant in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.
Now I’m done hiding.
My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.
When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.
No pressure.

Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare (March 5th, 2019)

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In this propulsive, twist-filled, and haunting psychological suspense debut perfect for fans of Sharp Objects and Room, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played on the night her life changed forever.
For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town–brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he’s hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne–something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can’t remember the night in question.
The fragments of Kate’s shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he’ll help her fill in the blanks–but his story isn’t adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she’d been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she’s responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.
A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (March 19th, 2019)

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Robin of Locksley is dead. 
When news comes that he’s fallen in battle at the King’s side in the Holy Land, Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on. Betrothed to Robin, she was free to be herself, to flout the stifling rules of traditional society and share an equal voice with her beloved when it came to caring for the people of her land.
Now Marian is alone, with no voice of her own. The people of Locksley, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, are doomed to live in poverty or else face death by hanging. The dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sherriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley, and Marian’s fiancé. Society demands that she accept her fate, and watch helplessly as her people starve.
When Marian dons Robin’s green cloak, and takes up his sword and bow, she never intended that anyone should mistake her for Robin, returned from the Holy Land as a vigilante. She never intended that the masked, cloaked figure she created should stand as a beacon of hope and justice to peasant and noble alike. She never intended to become a legend.
But all of Nottingham is crying out for a savior. So Marian must choose to make her own fate and become her own hero…
Robin Hood.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to the most this winter? I’d love to hear about your reading plans for the next few months, so make sure to let me know about them in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday – January 16th, 2019

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five most disappointing reads of 2018. My reading year overall ended up being fairly average. There were a few novels that stood out and became new favorites as well as some that I really just didn’t enjoy. However, I would say most of them ended up being around 3 to 3.5 stars. That being said, there were still some books that landed at those rating or right below them that were still disappointing, as I had expected to enjoy them more than I did. So here are the top five books that fell a bit flat for me.

5. The Elizas by Sara Shepard

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This was definitely the least disappointing on this list and I did quite enjoy the story as a whole. However, there were parts of it that brought my rating down lower than I thought it would be. The number one thing that caused this was that it was a lot less complex and dark than I usually like my thrillers to be. I believe this was due mainly to the fact that it was a young adult novel and not the adult thrillers that I tend to read the most. There were parts of the narrative that also felt very repetitive and choppy, so it was harder to connect with the writing and really get into the story. The tension would build only to suddenly stop without triggering any satisfyingly major event. And I really disliked the romance. In the end, I did give this novel 3.5 stars, but I had expected to like it a lot more than I did.

If you want to check out my full review of The Elizas, click here!

4. Doctor Who: Royal Blood by Una McCormack

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I am a huge fan of Doctor Who and I always enjoy reading the book series as well. These novels are not the best literature, but they’re typically tons of fun. When I review these books, I do tend to evaluate them in a much different way than other books due to the style of the series. The premise of this one sounded particularly interesting and I was really eager to pick it up. However, there were so many issues with it that I just couldn’t ignore. It was a surprisingly challenging read because of the massive amount of typos and grammatical errors in the actual text itself. The plot was confusing and lacking the mystery it promised, and it really didn’t live up to its potential. The writing was also not the best, lacking detail and a good narrator. I ended up rating this one 2.5 stars.

If you want to check out my full review of Doctor Who: Royal Blood, click here!

3. The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie

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I read this back in October but I haven’t yet written my full review. This is another premise that had so much potential, but it unfortunately did not live up to. It sounded like it would be a really creepy and intriguing story and I am a huge horror fan, so I was excited for this. But it wasn’t what I was expecting and was definitely not for me. The author’s descriptions—particularly of the main monster in the story—were so vague and I was completely unable to picture much of anything. There were some interesting aspects of the plot, but mainly it was quite uneventful and severely lacking in creepiness. And I absolutely hated the narrator. I know that she wasn’t supposed to be particularly likable, but she was not unlikable in a good way either. The writing as a whole was just really crude and disgusting a lot of the time—that’s something I cannot stand. I ended up giving this novel 2 stars.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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This was another book that I did not rate particularly poorly. However, it was still one of the more disappointing reads. At the beginning of the year, I fell completely in love with her first collection of poetry in this series and I was highly anticipating this follow-up. Though I did enjoy it, I felt it was really not on par with her previous work. She focused on many issues that are very topical and frequently addressed in poetry these days. But there was just not as much of a personally emotional connection to it. The first collection was truly a story of her life and this one didn’t quite feel the same. I ended up rating this 3 stars.

If you want to check out my full review of The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, click here!

1. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

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And now we come to, by far, the most disappointing read of my reading year. I have been wanting to read this book since it came out and I finally got around to it. I had such high hopes for it as the plot sounded incredibly intriguing and unique—I may have hyped it up a bit too much in my mind. The story was quite repetitive and slow, and it felt a bit too similar to many other dystopian novels that I’ve read. I could not stand the main character and the story is told in first person so there was no escaping her. She made so many selfish and poor choices without caring about the consequences to her loved ones and others. So many people suffered because of her and she never seemed to even understand the rebellion she started and what she was fighting for. I ended up rating this one 2 stars. I’ll have a full review coming out in the near future.

So, what was your reading year like? What ended up being some of the most disappointing reads? Some of the best reads? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh

song of the dead coverSong of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh

My Rating: 4.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Reign of the Fallen #2

Date Published: January 22nd, 2019

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 416 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review, however, it may contain spoilers for the previous novel, Reign of the Fallen.

Song of the Dead was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it definitely did not disappoint. I read the first novel in this series at the beginning of last year and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I adored it—though fantasy is by far my favorite genre, certain aspects of the story are a bit out of my usual comfort zone. However, I was hooked right from the start and fell in love with every aspect. It proved to be incredibly refreshing in a genre that can sometimes get to be a bit repetitive, and it truly distinguished itself from the rest. These books are such addicting reads.

This sequel continued to be more of the same and Marsh constantly impressed me with her talent and creativity. It is a journey both physically and emotionally and it carried the reader right along with it. The themes of strength and courage, sadness and resilience, and the tremendous power of love run through this narrative once again. From the beautifully detailed world to the extremely lovable and diverse cast of characters, it is a tale that is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming and is sure to stick with you well after turning the final page.

Returning to this world was such a joy and getting to see these characters and their relationships continue to evolve from the last novel was great. So much more dimension is added to an already multifaceted plot. We reconnect with the familiar, but the plot is entirely new and absorbing. Every moment is full of a certain magic with darker and more sinister undercurrents woven throughout. Marsh’s interpretation of necromancy is unique in many ways, which only adds to the intrigue of the narrative. And of course, the animal companions—by far one of the best parts of the story!

Again, the characters ended up being my favorite part of the novel. Marsh approaches diversity in the best way. There is a great deal of representation—particularly LGBT representation—and it makes this novel a fantastic addition to the ever-expanding collection of literature involving these important topics. These elements are not dwelled on or magnified in a way that draws a huge amount of attention. The characters just are who they are, no matter their gender, race, or sexuality. And, as they should be, their differences are completely natural and accepted, both by each other and the reader.

Odessa is an even stronger heroine than in the previous installment and her growth as a character is huge. We see her confronting the painful events in her life, learning and maturing. Her strengths, as well as her flaws, are clearly depicted, which in turn causes her to become an even more multi-dimensional character who is easy to understand and connect with. In fact, this is true of every character. Marsh devotes plenty of time and effort to fleshing them out, making them and their stories incredibly compelling. The romance between Odessa and Meredy begins to really play out and I felt it was executed well—I enjoyed it, and that’s not something I say very often! I thought I would never love anyone quite as much as Evander, who will always be one of my biggest book crushes, but I ended up liking where things went.

Overall, I absolutely love Marsh’s writing and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She is always so descriptive and vivid, pulling you into the unique world she has created and building it up around you. Her storytelling style is action-packed and fast-paced but never lacking in detail. She is also an absolute master at creating realistic and relatable characters. I will genuinely read anything and everything she writes. Part of me hates to see this series end, but it concluded in an extremely satisfying way. Once again, my reading coincided with some experiences of great loss in my personal life and again it turned out to be very cathartic, the themes of hurting and healing being especially relatable. This story and these characters will stay with me for a very long time.

4.5 TARDISes

Author Bio:

sarahglennmarshSarah Glenn Marsh has been an avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life; she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys painting, ghost hunting, traveling, and all things nerdy.

She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their menagerie: four rescued greyhounds, a bird, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep and Reign of the Fallen.

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