• Bookish Lists

    20+ YA Books Under 400 Pages

    *Sometimes we just need a quick read. Something that isn’t too complex and is easy to pick up and set down. These books are usually on the shorter side and don’t have a difficult reading level. Read on for my list of YA books that fit the requirements.

    Not all of these are Fantasy. There is some sci-fi mixed in with the paranormal. Nor are they all strictly under 400 pages. Some of them are just over 400 but they all make good candidates for quick reading. Quite a few of these I have enjoyed but there are still a lot that I need to read.

    The ones I have read.

    The Gilded Wolves
    By Roshani Chokshi
    Pages: 388

    My Rating: 5/5
    Caraval
    By Stephanie Garber
    Pages: 407

    My Rating: 4/5
    Falling Kingdoms
    By Morgan Rhodes
    Pages: 412

    My Rating: 3/5
    Shadow of the Fox
    By Julie Kagawa
    Pages: 409

    My Rating: 5/5
    The Selection
    By: Kiera Cass
    Pages: 336

    My Rating: 2/5
    Cinder
    By Marissa Meyer
    Pages: 400

    My Rating: 3/5
    Amber & Dusk
    By Lyra Selene
    Pages: 368

    My Rating: 3/5
    Lifel1k3
    By Jay Kristoff
    Pages: 402

    My Rating: 5/5
    The Wicked Deep
    By: Shea Ernshaw
    Pages: 310

    My Rating: 3/5
    Mirage
    By Somaiya Daud
    Pages: 320

    My rating: 3/5
    Sabriel
    By Garth Nix
    Pages: 367

    My rating: 5/5
    A Darker Shade of Magic
    By: V E Schwab
    Pages: 400

    My rating: 4/5
    Shadow and Bone
    By Leigh Bardugo
    Pages: 356

    My rating: 4/5
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    By J K Rowling
    Pages: 332

    My rating: 5/5

    These are ones I haven’t read yet.

    The Beast Player
    By Nahoko Uehashi
    Pages: 352
    The Storm Crow
    By Kalyn Josephson
    Pages: 352
    The Merciful Crow
    By Margaret Owen
    Pages: 384
    Wicked Saints
    By Emily A Duncan
    Pages: 385
    Shatter Me
    By Tahereh Mafi
    Pages: 338
    Grim Lovelies
    By: Megan Shepherd
    Pages: 376
    Romanov
    By Nadine Brandes
    Pages: 337
    Three Dark Crowns
    By Kendare Blake
    Pages: 403
    The Wren Hunt
    By Mary Watson
    Pages: 399

    Why are some of these still on my unread shelf?

    I’m trying to figure out why nine of these books are still sitting on my unread shelf. With them being just over 400 pages or less I don’t really have much excuse for not reading them. Some of them have even been on my tbr in months past and I still haven’t gotten to them. Yikes. Well, I guess I know where I need to start my tbr for November!

    Happy reading friends!

    Alicen

  • Favorite Books Ever

    My Favorite Historical Fiction Books

    *This is my last post in my “Favorites” series. I’ve really enjoyed putting these lists together. I can’t wait for the end of the year to do my favorite and least favorite books from 2019. It will be interesting to see my reading trends as well. Anyway, here are my favorite historical fiction novels.

    I don’t read a lot of historical fiction. I’m not sure why because it’s something that I really enjoy. I love the ones that span years and have interconnected stories between characters past and present. This list is short but I have loved all of these books.

    The list:

    Anne of Green Gables
    By Lucy Maud Montgomery
    I read this entire series in middle/high school and I loved them. I loved reading about all of Anne’s shenanigans and how she and Gilbert finally fell in love and got married. I think this is a wonderful series and I can’t wait to read them again.

    Wuthering Heights
    By Emily Brontë

    I read this book a long time ago. I was probably way too young to understand what was going on. And the language is pretty hard to understand. That being said I still remember loving the book.

    Homegoing
    By Yaa Gyasi

    This book. Just. I love it soooo much. I read the whole thing in one day and I could not put it down. The way the character’s stories connect is so amazing. I felt like I finally got some culture in my life with this book. I love reading about all different kinds of things that happened in the past. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. I’m ashamed that it took me this long to learn them. It’s so important to know our history to understand what’s going on now in our culture. This book was eye opening and I recommend it to everyone who loves historical fiction.

    All the Light We Cannot See
    By Anthony Doerr

    Another book I loved and can’t wait to read again. I know I read it way too fast, but the story was so good! It took the author, like, 10 years to write this book so it’s basically literature perfection. I plan to snuggle up with it again in the new year.

    Labyrinth
    By Kate Mosse

    This is the first book in her Langudoc trilogy. I read this when I was in high school and I loved it. The love story is so beautiful. I really enjoy books that have characters connected over hundreds of years. I love making all of the connections between them. I’ve read the second book, Sepulchre and the third book, Citadel is patiently waiting on my shelves for me.

    This list needs to be longer!

    That’s my list of favorite historical fiction. Like I said, I don’t read a lot of it, but when I do I really enjoy it. I prefer the meaningful stuff and not the dime a dozen stuff that authors put out like spam. The bigger the book the more likely I am to pick it up. I don’t know why I think this but I feel that if the book is longer than 400 pages it’s probably a good book. This isn’t always true, but most of the time it works out for me.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Do you read historical fiction? What’s a recent one you loved? Let me know in the comments!

  • Bookish Lists,  Favorite Books Ever

    Favorite Sci-fi Books Ever

    *I am relatively new to the sci-fi genre but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. There isn’t a lot that appeals to me in this genre but the ones I have read I’ve really enjoyed. Some of these books are more paranormal but I count them as sci-fi as well as space themed books.

    The Passage
    By Justin Cronin

    I read The Passage years ago and it really stuck with me. I’m not sure why because it’s a bit freaky in places. I can’t read them after dark because everything bad happens after dark in the book. My favorite book in the series was The City of Mirrors. I will probably read them again in the future.

    Skyward
    By Brandon Sanderson

    This is one of my favorite books ever! I love this book so much. I love Spensa and her crew. I love the premise of this book. I am so looking forward to the sequel!

    Lifel1k3
    By Jay Kristoff

    This book knocked my socks off! The plot twist at the end made me go “what the heck??”. It was so good. The sequel, Dev1at3 I was not as much a fan of. I felt a little let down. It was still good, I just didn’t really see the point to it.

    Aurora Rising
    By Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

    This is a hilarious, but still serious book about a misfit crew of new space cadet grads. It has Lord of the Rings references, what more do I need to say?

    The Illuminae Files
    By Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

    This series is everything! I loved it so much! I think that everyone should read these regardless of your favorite genre.

    The Raven Boys
    By Maggie Steifvater

    I have sadly only read the first book in this series. But it was amazing! I actually expected to hate it when I picked it up but I ended up loving it. As soon as I can buy the next book I will pick it back up again.

    The Bone Season
    By Samantha Shannon

    This is one of my top series ever. I love it so much! There are so many amazing things about this series. I love the idea of this world even though it’s really scary. Also anxiety inducing. But it’s so good.

    Uglies
    By Scott Westerfeld

    This is dystopian but I don’t think that’s really a genre. It’s a science fiction in my book. (ha. see what I did there?) I reread the first 3 books earlier this year and I really enjoyed them. I wasn’t expecting to because they are geared toward a younger age group but I found them to be entertaining.

    Mirage
    By Somaiya Daud

    I didn’t know this was a science fiction when I got this in one of my Owlcrate boxes but I really liked it. I am (im)patiently waiting for the sequel to be released.

    A Great and Terrible Beauty
    By Libba Bray

    Another paranormal series but I feel that it falls within the science fiction genre. I reread the first book a few months ago and I liked it. I remember the next two books being much better. I hope to reread those soon as well.

    The Circle
    By Ted DekKer

    These are some of the most complex science fiction books I’ve ever read. They are mind blending (yes, blending, as in your brain will turn to mush trying to sort it all out) inter-dimensional adventures. The stakes are high in this series. Ted also wrote a companion series for the YA audience called The Lost Books. I actually recommend all of Ted’s books if you love sci-fi thriller adventures.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. What are some of your favorite science fiction books? I would love to know!

  • Bookish Lists,  Favorite Books Ever

    My All-Time Favorite Fantasy Books Ever

    *I’m rolling out the favorites lists. This is one of my favorites to do because fantasy is my favorite genre. No, I don’t like every book I read from this genre but most of my favorites are fantasy books. There is just something so nice about escaping to a world where nothing is familiar. It’s a great way to relax after a long day. Unless of course you choose to read Kingdom of Ash like I do. It’s not so much relaxing and more like holding your breath every time a character has a close shave with death….Anyway, here are my favorite fantasy books of all time.

    It's my all-time favorite fantasy novels of ever! Grab a cuppa and settle in, this is a long one!

    A Court of Thorns and Roses
    By Sarah J Maas

    These books are on the very top of my favorite books ever list. I haven’t read anything that even comes close to these. They kinda saved my sanity as a stay at home mom and ended an almost 3 year long reading slump. I don’t know if anything will even come close to toppling these out of their spot on my list.

    Harry Potter
    By J K Rowling

    Always. Until the very end. I love the Harry Potter books so much. Unfortunately I was not allowed to read these books as a child so I came to the HP world very late. I started reading them in high school because my friends could not believe that I hadn’t read them yet. I had seen the movies but the books held so much more magic for me. They will always have a special place in my heart. I’m just hoping the magic of Harry Potter will convince my boys that books are a great place to spend their time.

    The Inheritance Cycle
    By Christopher Paolini

    I think Eragon was my first fictional crush. I mean, seriously. A boy who can do magic and has a dragon for his best friend? What could be better? This book also started my obsession with all things elves. (The tall beautiful kind, not like Santa’s elves. Just so we are clear.) I grew up on this series. The last book came out the year I was married and it really felt like the end of an era for me.

    Twilight
    By Stephanie Meyer

    There are a lot of things I could say about these books. I loved them soooo much in high school. It was the beginning of the sexy vampire era and I was LIVING for it. I don’t regret having loved these. And I’m not ashamed to say I still like them.

    The Lord of the Rings
    By JRR Tolkien

    I was in the dark about this amazing series for a very long time. I didn’t even know it existed until my mom rented The Fellowship of the Ring movie for movie night once. I watched all of the movies before I read the books. The Return of the King movie released when I was 13. I read the entire book the following summer. I was OBSESSED with Legolas. And Orlando Bloom. Serious crushing going on there. At one point I had a Lord of the Rings wall in my room. I’m sure my parents were slightly worried about me.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone
    By Laini Taylor

    This series is very new to me even though I know it’s a few years old. I love it! I was having a hard time deciding if it was Fantasy or Science Fiction. It could be either one. I love the world that Laini created here. I love her writing style and her characters make you just want to scoop them up and snuggle them.

    Strange the Dreamer
    By Laini Taylor

    This duology was my first experience with Laini’s writing and I fell in love with it. It is such a beautiful story about loneliness and friendship. There is something powerful that happens when someone else see’s you for who you truly are and they don’t run from you.

    Abhorsen
    By Garth Nix

    I read this series a long time ago. It was scary but also fascinating! It’s been so long that I struggle to remember what all happens in it. I know there is a girl who must protect the line between humanity and demons. It’s a lot more complex than that and I think that people of any age would enjoy these books.

    Throne of Glass
    By Sarah J Maas

    I have not yet completed this series. I’m halfway through the last book but I know it’s going to be one of my favorite series. Reading a series this long and getting to know the characters so well makes it feel like they are old friends. I’m going to be sad when the series is over, but at least I can always reread them.

    Sorcery of Thorns
    By Margaret Rogerson

    I LOVED this book so much. I’m a little disappointed that it is a standalone but the story was amazing. I really related to Elisabeth and I adored Silas. I will be rereading this at some point.

    A Curse so Dark and Lonely
    By Brigid Kemmerer

    This book is amazing! A true YA fantasy novel. If you don’t want to worry about young readers getting exposed to stuff you don’t want them to then Curse is a good bet. It feels like I’ve been waiting ages for the sequel to release. I will be rereading it soon. Probably in January 2020 right before A Heart so Fierce and Broken releases.

    The Sight
    By David Clement-Davies

    I read this book a long time ago too but I loved the story. It’s about a tight nit wolf-pack and some kind of prophecy. I think. It’s been a while so I could be wrong.

    Fire Bringer
    By David Clement-Davies

    Another book I read a long time ago. This one is about a deer herd and a prophecy. I really love David’s writing and these stories pack a lot in them.

    His Dark Materials
    By Philip Pullman

    I know that these books can be controversial. I read them when I was in middle school and I loved them a lot. Somehow I was mature enough to know it’s just a story and I don’t have to change my whole belief system based on a fictional novel. It must mean my parents did something right with me. I do plan to introduce these books to my boys when they are older. Just to show them that other people have different ways they view the world and that’s ok.

    Shadow of the Fox
    By Julie Kagawa

    I don’t have a lot of experience with Japanese mythology so when I read this book I was blown away! I loved the story telling and the developing romance. I have the second novel on my shelves but somehow have managed not to pick it up yet.

    Enchantée
    By Gita Trelease

    This story was so magical! I loved how it was written with French words sprinkled throughout. I also loved the relationship between Camille and her sister and between Camille and Lazare. Definitely a true YA book.

    Well! That was an excellently long list. Clearly I have a preference for fantasy books. My favorite sci-fi and historical fiction lists are not going to be this long.

    Anyway, I hope you saw some of your favorites in this list. Let me know in the comments if any of your favorites made it on my list.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

  • Bookish Lists,  Favorite Books Ever

    My Favorite Books from my Childhood

    *I was an avid reader from about the time I turned 10 until, well, forever. I fell in love with books and haven’t looked back since. Here are some of my favorite books from my adolescent years.

    It's The Cozy Shelf's favorite childhood books! Take a trip down memory lane and feel all the nostalgia in this post.

    The Uglies Series
    By Scott Westerfeld

    I love these original covers!

    The Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit
    By JRR Tolkien

    Still one of my favorite series of all time! I have so many great memories of these books.

    The Inheritance Cycle
    By Christopher Paolini

    I would not be the reader I am today without these books. I grew up on these! The last book came out the year I was married and it signified the end of an era for me.

    The Gemma Doyle series
    By Libba Bray

    I’m not going to lie. I put off reading this series for a long time because of the cover of the first book. I thought it was a “bad” book….I was such a self-righteous little kid. Haha. Anyway I’m glad I rebelled and read this anyway. It’s such a great series!

    His Dark Materials series
    By Philip Pullman

    The books I’m glad my parents didn’t ask me about. They wouldn’t allow me to read Harry Potter because it was about “witchcraft” but they didn’t bat an eye when I brought these home from the library once….Obviously they cared about what I was reading…..or not.

    Fire Bringer
    By David Clement Davies

    This is great reading material for young kids! I mean not super young. Definitely a middle school aged book. But you don’t have to worry about any nasty sex scenes ruining the story. Regret free books for parents to hand to their kids!

    The Sight
    By David Clement Davies

    Again, another amazing book! I loved this one a lot!

    Anne of Green Gables series
    By Lucy Maud Montgomery

    I read this whole series in high school and I loved it so much! I think it has great appeal to all readers. It’s very with the times even for how old it actually is.

    The Old Kingdom series
    By Garth Nix

    These are about the scariest books I’ve ever read. I’m a scaredy cat so they aren’t too bad. I could not read them after dark though. My imagination is way too out of control.

    Artemis Fowl series
    By Eoin Colfer

    I loved Artemis Fowl! I thought he was the coolest genius ever! I never did finish the series because I grew out of them, but I think I might get the chance to find out what happens if I read these aloud to my boys.

    Ella Enchanted
    By Gail Carson Levine

    I loved this book when I was little. I read it after I watched the movie because I didn’t know it was a book first.

    The Two Princesses of Bamarre
    By Gail Carson Levine

    This is one of my very favorite books I’ve ever read. I was obsessed with it when I was younger. Also I’d give almost anything to get a hardcover copy of the original cover! It’s very sentimental for me.

    Not a conclusive list.

    This is just a short list of books. I used to track my reading back then and one day I decided that I didn’t need to keep my journal and I tossed it. *Insert weeping face* I can’t remember all the books that I read. Usually it takes me seeing the cover or someone bringing it up in conversation for me to remember it. The good news is I started tracking my reading again at the beginning of this year. It’s good to know that I will have records from now on.

    I think the thing I regret the most about throwing away the journal is that now my kids won’t know some of my favorite stories from when I was younger. But it’s ok. Now I have somewhere to start.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Do you track your reading? How long have you been doing it? I’m so curious to know!

  • Bookish Lists

    Our Favorite Children’s Books

    *Hello friends! I missed yesterday’s post, but in my defense I literally spent the entire day reading! It was so nice. I was able to finish City of Bones. The ending was blah. But I liked the rest of the book. Anyway, this post is all about our favorite children’s books! My boys LOVE these books! They always bring out the giggles.

    Our favorite of all time children's books!

    Favorite board books.

    All of the Sandra Boynton books. Some of our favorites are:
    The Dinosaur Dance
    Blue Hat, Green Hat
    Happy Hippo, Angry Duck
    Are You a Cow?

    The taped up and extra loved books.

    Little Blue Truck
    By Alice Schertle

    These are the sweetest books! Little Blue is the epitome of kindness. Now only if that would become embedded into my boys that would be great.

    The Mother Bruce books!
    We had the original Mother Bruce until it got so beat up we couldn’t read it anymore. Now we have 1 Grumpy Bruce which is an adorable counting book. My three year old LOVES it.

    God Bless You and Goodnight
    By Hannah C Hall

    This book is a great book to read right before bed. The illustrations are so cute. There are a bunch of books in this series. We have the Christmas one too.

    Read to Tiger is a must for little bookworms. A great little adventure between a boy and his tiger.

    All of the Little Critter books! I grew up on these. They have definitely stood the test of time.

    Skippyjon Jones
    By Judy Schachner

    These books are some of my absolute favorites to read! They have amazing illustrations and Skippyjon is always getting into some adventure or another.

    King Jack and the Dragon
    By Peter Bently
    This is a cute rhyming book. I love to read this one too. It’s great for kids 5 and under.

    Chika Chika Boom Boom
    By Bill Martin Jr
    If you don’t know this one you may have been living under a rock. Or just don’t have kids yet. Either way I don’t think a kid’s library is complete without this book. My kids love this book.

    Llama Llama
    By Anna Dewdney
    These can be a bit juvenile. But they teach amazing lessons to young kids. My oldest gave up on them early, but my three year old still likes them.

    A good starting place.

    This is no where near and exaustive list. There are thousands and thousands of children’s books out there. These are just some of our favorites. I hope you find something new to introduce your kids to or see a bunch of old favorites!

    Happy reading friends!

    Alicen

    P.S. Tell me, what are some of your favorite children’s books? My boys and I would love to know!

  • Book Reviews

    Nevernight Book Review

    *Blogtober day 5! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up this schedule but so far so good. I finished reading Nevernight on the 3rd of October and you can find most of my thoughts on it below!

    A spoiler free review of the book "Nevernight" by Jay Kristoff.

    Title: Nevernight
    Author: Jay Kristoff
    Published: 2016
    Pages: 463
    Genre: Fantasy
    Reading Level: New Adult (not to be confused with YA)

    Synopsis:

    Our main character, Mia, is a sixteen year old goddess of death…I’m kidding. But, she is pretty freaky in the good at killing people arena. Filled with a need for vengeance for her dead family; she has been training since age ten to become an assassin. Her journey to the Red Church, home of the Black Mother, is fraught with peril and one stubborn horse. Once she arrives at the Red Church her main goal is to become a full Blade (a.k.a: assassin of the dark). Along the way she falls in love. It doesn’t work out. But not in the sense that you think.

    This book is not for the faint hearted. I started it once and took a long break and then I picked it back up with a now or never attitude. I’m still not sure I’m glad I did. There are a lot of gross things in the book. Disturbing encounters to go along with disturbing people. The one upside is Mr. Kindly, a shadow cat who eats fear. Who is also sassy. Perfect.

    Things to note:

    I had a really hard time caring about Mia at first. She seems very cold and distant from everything. It feels like there isn’t a compassionate bone in her body. But the more I read and got to know her I realized she does have a soft spot. She just has to get the life almost beaten out of her for it to show up. I think the characters in this book are very interesting if disturbing. My favorites were Mr. Kindly, Tric, and Ashlinn.

    The world of Godsgrave and the Red Church are unlike anything I’ve ever encountered before. If you are looking for unique fictional places, then this is your book. It all seems very complex to me and I need more answers Jay!

    The themes in this book range from revenge to redemption. There is a strong emphasis on friendship and choosing not to do something because you know it’s wrong. I know, not what you would expect in a book about a school for children assassins.

    I am having a hard time with the plot of this book. Because it’s very simple. Girl who wants revenge trains for and seeks out the place that trains the elite assassins. Of course when she get’s there nothing goes according to plan. It’s almost as if the plot doesn’t really matter. It’s the journey the girl makes within herself that is more important.

    Mr. Kristoff’s writing style took me a bit to get used to. A lot of the language is unique to the world it’s set in so it seems odd at first. Of course, you get used to it and it doesn’t shock you quite as much as it did maybe the first 100 pages or so. The one thing that bothered me the most were the footnotes. There’s nothing like getting yanked out of the story every other page or so. I hated it so much that’s the reason I quit reading it the first time around.

    Some quotes:

    “Never flinch” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

    -Jay Kristoff, Nevernight

    “When all is blood, blood is all.”

    -Jay Kristoff, Nevernight

    “If I were going to name my blade,” Mia said thoughtfully, “I’d call it ‘Fluffy’.”

    -Jay Kristoff, Nevernight

    My final thoughts:

    Overall feelings? Disturbed, a little grossed out. The parts that didn’t bother me? The sex scenes. Out of every thing in this book those don’t bug me at all. Not sure what that says about me….Anyway, Nevernight was ok. I’m not in love with it but I will finish the trilogy. Because now I need to know what happened and to also find out if one of my favorite characters is still alive.

    Recommendations:

    If you liked Red Rising by Pierce Brown or the works of Patrick Rothfuss you would probably like Nevernight as well. I love Red Rising and Nevernight has similar vibes.

    My rating:

    I gave Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 3 out of 5 stars based on my personal rating system.

    Happy reading loves,

    Alicen

  • Book Reviews

    Red Rising Book Review

    *It’s day four of October and so far so good with my #blogtober challenge! It’s actually been a lot of fun to think of things to write about this month. After barely being active most of the summer and all of September I am really enjoying creating content again. Anyway, here is my spoiler free review of the masterpiece that is Red Rising.

    A spoiler free book review of the book Red Rising.

    Important information.

    Title: Red Rising
    Author: Pierce Brown
    Published: 2014

    Pages: 382
    Genre: Sience Fiction
    Age Range: New Adult (18-25)

    A short summary

    A young man named Darrow must fight for his life to win a competition designed to break him. This book is gruesome, intense and not for the faint of heart. Darrow is on a path of vengeance, but he has to be careful. One slip and his deepest secret will be revealed.

    Themes to note in the book.

    *This is loosely based on my personal rating system.

    The character arcs in this book are amazing. Darrow is a very serious character. He learns a lot along the way as he focuses on coming out first in this competition. This book is full of characters you will start out hating, but then come to love. You’ll also find characters that you loved have become a subject of your hate. Darrow gathers around himself an elite pack of friends. Mustang, Pax, Sevro, and Cassius to name a few.

    Pierce Brown’s world building is rich. It’s also not distracting from the story, but part of it. It’s always refreshing to find a book that doesn’t devote paragraphs to world building. In Red Rising it happens organically through the character’s experience.

    The themes in this book are very much in tune with culture today. It’s the story of a boy who is willing to fight back against a society that pits the weak against the strong. Of course, he has ample motivation to do so. (See plot twist in first 100 pages.) Red Rising is a story of redemption and justice.

    I’ve said it a few times already, but there is a GIANT plot twist in the beginning of this book. I was not expecting it. I thought I knew what this book was going to be about. Nope, I was wrong. But what Pierce has done is so much better than what I was thinking.

    Quotes from the book.


    “I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”

    -Pierce Brown, Red Rising


    “Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.”

    -Pierce Brown, Red Rising


    “You do not follow me because I am strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.”

    -Pierce Brown, Red Rising


    “I am the Reaper and death is my shadow.”

    -Pierce Brown, Red Rising

    My conclusion.

    This is one of my favorite books of 2019. Pierce Brown has created a masterpiece that will be creating ripples in the book community for a very long time. I appreciate his work immensely. This book has themes that will speak to a lot of people when they read it. It gives us all permission to fight back against injustice.

    Similar books.

    If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood I think you would enjoy Red Rising as well. The good thing is that there is a lot more closure with Red Rising than The Handmaid’s Tale. And there are more books in the Red Rising series to carry on the story.

    My star rating.

    I gave Red Rising 5/5 stars because it touched me emotionally. Pierce Brown is a master story teller and this book hooked me from page one. I will eternally be grateful for this book.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

  • The TBR

    The Last Quarter of 2019 TBR

    *Give me ALL the lists! I love reading lists, making lists, checking things off lists. I just love lists! Lists are especially great when they are lists of books. Grab your favorite drink and snack and read on to find out what I want to read before 2019 ends.

    I don’t know about you but I have quite a few unread books on my shelves. I also have a bunch of books I’d like to reread before 2020.

    So, what do bookworms do when they have a bunch of books they want to read?

    Of course they make a list! Lists are my favorite things in the whole world! You can put anything you want on a list. Like what you need to do tomorrow or the five best ways to decide if your cat is really evil or not. The possibilities are endless!

    Series to finish

    These are all series I started this year and I would love to finish them this year too.

    Singles/Debuts:

    These are books that are an author’s first work or the sequels haven’t been released yet.

    Series to start:

    Series I’d like to start in 2019.

    Sequels:

    The answers to all my questions! Or at least more questions that need answers.

    Books to reread:

    I love rereading books! Here are the ones I want to read again before 2019 is over.

    2019 Releases:

    New releases/will release before the end of the year. (Basically a wishlist)

    I want to read all the books!

    That’s a lot of books I want to read. I know I won’t get to all of them before 2020. I hope to really focus on series I’ve already started and books that have just been sitting on my shelves for too long. I know the more books I read the lower my unread shelf count will be. And that thought makes me a happy bookworm.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. What books do you want to read before the end of the year?

  • Book Reviews

    What They Meant for Evil Book Review

    *I was provided the book What They Meant for Evil by Rebecca Deng by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

    What They Meant for Evil book review sponsored by NetGalley.

    Synopsis

    What They Meant for Evil is a personal account from a Lost Girl of Sudan. Rebecca Deng tells a heartbreaking story. Trying to escape a violent civil war Rebecca finds herself in a refugee camp that houses thousands. She lives in this camp for most of her childhood. Conditions are terrible and they are not properly cared for. But Rebecca rises above her past to make a place for herself in this world that tried to destroy her. This is a story of redemption and forgiveness. And the truth that your past does not define your future.

    This book is not a guide to grieving or working through your past. It’s just the journey Rebecca had to take to get from damaged and frightened girl to confident, if still broken, woman. She tells of the things that happened to her through the lens of the girl she was when it happened. Her story is real and honest.

    Important themes

    After getting her master’s degree Rebecca began working with a program that helps women from war-torn countries in Africa work through their own trauma. It was going through this program herself that made her realize how badly she had been traumatized as a child. Even though it was hard to relive what had happened to her, it was vital for her to work through it.

    “…I learned how to grieve, question, take my pain to the cross of Jesus, and ultimately forgive.”

    -Rebecca Deng, What They Meant for Evil

    Rebecca also addresses the indisputable right we have to stand up and say no to something we don’t want to do. In Dinka culture, it is very common for girls as young as 14 to be given to a man in an arranged marriage. Usually the father will arrange this but in Rebecca’s case, because she was an orphan, her uncle arranged this marriage. She was only 15 years old.

    Ultimately, this is how she ended up in America. She applied for the Lost Girls and Boys program the UN was running to get away from this marriage. She knew she was worth more than this and she fought for herself in a culture that told her everyday she was not in control of her life.

    In America with help from her adoptive parents she graduated from high school and college. She has spent most of her adult life helping people from Sudan recover from the trauma of civil war.

    In conclusion

    Rebecca’s story was eye opening for me. I feel that reading stories like hers allows me to see what it is like for people living in war torn or third world countries. Places where their basic human rights are denied over and over again.

    I have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for Rebecca and her story. I’m thankful that she keeps fighting for those who have been overlooked and beaten down. She shines as an example of what people can do if only they are given the chance. Her story is heartbreaking but also wonderful. The theme of redemption is woven throughout and the importance of forgiveness is paramount in healing from any kind of trauma.

    Recommended reading

    If you want to read books similar to What They Meant for Evil I can recommend They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky. This story is told by three Lost Boys of Sudan. I read it a few years ago when I was in college and I liked that one just as much as this one. Here is a list from Goodreads of books similar to They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky.

    My rating for the book

    I gave What They Meant for Evil 4.1/5 stars based on my own personal rating scale.

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. I was provided this book by NetGalley for free in exchange for my honest review.