Reading Challenges For 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time to reflect on the past months and start planning for the future. It’s enough to make any person anxious, isn’t it?

In terms of reading, I had a fairly productive year. According to my Goodreads challenge, I’ve read over 170 books, though that may include a comic or graphic novel here and there.

(Hush, it’s totally not cheating.)

I think I’ve had a successful year, not full of too many horrible or humdrum novels. A lot of my now favorite books have come out of this year and I can’t wait to see them continue in the next.

For now, though, I’m going to focus on one of my favorite parts of ringing  in the new year: picking new reading challenges! Really living life in the fast lane, aren’t I?

Continue reading “Reading Challenges For 2018”


Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.Goodreads

It appears that faeries are becoming the next trend in the YA genre. With the popularity of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorn and Roses series, it would bound to happen eventually. If anything, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve seen from the faerie genre. I’ve never really liked the whole, “faeries are just for little girls and are sweet and good all the time.” It’s absolutely gag-worthy. I’ve always been drawn more to the older depictions, ones that paint them as dangerous, terribly clever creatures of pure magic. An Enchantment of Ravens definitely has no trouble showing them in this light, giving a somewhat refreshing view of the fair folk. Unfortunately, it is only this aspect that makes it stand out among the genre.

Continue reading “Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens”

Book Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance. –Goodreads

It’s been some time since I’ve read a fun book. The last few books I’ve read, while good, also dealt with a lot of heavy stuff and I didn’t really space them out enough to have some reprieve. Then struts in The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, ready to shake things up and bring me a story I hadn’t realized I’ve been waiting to see. On first glance, it appears to be just like any other YA action book, and, in some ways, it is. But, what sets it apart from the others is its focus and sense of humor. If you’ve been longing for story that has a butt-kicking, Chinese-American high schooler fighting the forces of evil with the Monkey King at her side, wait no more.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo”

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. –Goodreads

I’m not really a fan of John Green, the author. What I mean by that is, as a person, I think he’s a cool guy. I’ve watched some of his YouTube videos and he seems very genuine and interesting. His books on the other hand…aren’t, at least, not wholly.

I remember reading Paper Towns and absolutely hating it. I didn’t like the main character, finding him a little too immature, and the story was so bare and pretentious. After reading this, I didn’t even want to touch The Fault in Our Stars since, on top of all the John Green-isms, sick kid lit isn’t really one of my interests.

But, once I read the description for Turtles, I decided to give him another chance. Anxiety and OCD is something I can slightly relate to and, seeing that John actually has OCD, I thought this would a different kind of read. In some cases, I was right. The book has a truly realistic and non-romantic view of these two illnesses, to the point where it becomes unsettling to see Aza constantly spiral downwards. This is the story I so wanted to see; however, every now and then those Green-isms pop up to ruin the balance of the story.

Continue reading “Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down”

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day. – Goodreads

I like books about death.

Is that weird? Probably, but it’s not like it comes as a surprise to me. I love it when people either personify death or tackle the theme as its main focus. Even though it makes me worry about my own mortality, it oddly makes me feel better. Maybe because books like this treat it as something not to be feared, but inevitable. Why constantly be terrified of something when you know it’s going to hit you sooner or later?

But I’m blathering, so onto to the book. On a scale of one to ten om how I felt when I finished, I was about a twelve. They Both Die at the End doesn’t pull any punches. Hell, just look at its title. It was an emotional roller coaster, though it isn’t a book that makes you sob on every page. While it does touch on the fear of imminent demise, it’s also a compilation of moments that make life worth living: taking risks, opening yourself up to new experiences, finding love. While the message of carpe diem isn’t exactly an uncommon one, the way it is treated here definitely makes this a feel fest worth having.

Continue reading “Book Review: They Both Die At The End”

Books I Read as an Adult that I Wish I Read as a Kid

When I was a kid, I was not very adventurous. I didn’t like to do new things or break out of my comfort zone. This applied to many things: food, activities, meeting new people, even books! Yeah, you know, the thing my life has centered around for years.

I would reread books constantly, knowing that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I kept revisiting the ones I liked. Naturally, this lead me to miss out on a bunch of books growing up; however, as I got older, I expanded my literary horizons and am currently trying to play catch up with all the those I disregarded in the past. Some warranted my earlier hesitation, while others made me regret not reading them sooner.

In no particular order, here are some books I read as an adult that I wish I read as a kid.

Continue reading “Books I Read as an Adult that I Wish I Read as a Kid”

Book Review: Hunted

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast? –Goodreads

Fairy tale retellings have been no strangers to this blog. I’ve covered a couple and with each one I find myself tiring of the genre. For whatever reason, retellings seems to be the current “thing” for YA, following in the footsteps of the vampire and dystopia phases. It seems like every month there are five new retellings out and it becomes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Thankfully, today’s book is definitely on the wheatier side. With a decent balance of retelling and original content, a badass Beauty, and a relatable, complex message, Hunted stands out among the more beastly competition.

Continue reading “Book Review: Hunted”

OwlCrate Unboxing September 2017

Another month gone, another OwlCrate delivered. This month’s theme was Mythical Creatures, a theme that I am 100% behind. Not only was I psyched because I’d be getting items Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones related, but also the book in the box has dragons. FREAKING DRAGONS YOU GUYS! There really is no faster way to my heart. With all this good stuff ahead, let’s dig in.

Continue reading “OwlCrate Unboxing September 2017”

Comics Spotlight: Giant Days

We’re going to try something a little different this week. When I look at other book blogs, I notice that there is one type of book that is mostly left out: graphic novels. Now I know it’s not like comics are a niche thing. They have come a long way, telling a wider range of stories beyond the superhero genre. And yet, no one really talks about them. Well, I’m going to shake it up with a comic spotlight, talking about graphic novels that I think deserve more attention. So let’s get into one of my favorite new reads of this year: Giant Days.

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird. –Goodreads

Continue reading “Comics Spotlight: Giant Days”

Book Review: Alex and Eliza

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. – Goodreads

I was not entirely surprised when I saw that a book based on Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler’s relationship popped up on the YA shelf. Hamilton the musical is obviously a very big deal right now and no doubt will have a lot of cash-in attempts as long as it remains popular. With several Tony wins and endless sold out shows, it looks like its appeal isn’t going anywhere. As a big fan of the show, I was interested to see how De La Cruz would weave the tale of this amazing relationship, but was immediately disappointed. The story itself is so drawn out and dully written that it was almost a challenge to get through. On top of being a sluggish read, it also has no real sense of conflict, making the whole book seem pointless. I went in with high expectations and an eagerness to see more of this inspiring duo, but only received a half-attempted love story that has no reason to exist.

Continue reading “Book Review: Alex and Eliza”