• Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    July 2019 Reading Wrap UP

    *Wow has July been a busy month! I didn’t have one free weekend! We had a wedding, picnics, bonfires, mini-vacations. The activities and events were never-ending! I’m so hoping that things will start to slow down and I can really enjoy my last month or two of summer. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my reading wrap up for July! It was an interesting month for sure!

    July was a good reading month considering how busy it was! Check out this post to read my mini reviews of the books I read and to see my book haul for July!

    Five star reads.

    This month I was lucky to read three 5 star books! Here they are:

    Lifel1k3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Jay Kristoff
    This book was so good! I think I got reading whiplash from all the plot twists. But it was one of the best books I’ve read all summer. The pacing was amazing and I loved the unique language in the world of Yousay. I would consider this book to be a cyberpunk Anastasia retelling. It has some serious post-apocalyptic vibes and as always, renegade AI. The ending blew my mind and I can’t wait to get back into the story with Dev1at3.

    Queen of Shadows ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Sarah J. Maas

    Oh. Em. Goodness. This book was a whirlwind of action. And planning, and spying, and secrets. I could not put this book down. The character development in this book is on point and I really appreciated the direction this story is taking. Is it scary and am I afraid for my babies? Of course, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m fairly certain this series is going to destroy me.

    Skyward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Brandon Sanderson

    This is one of my new favorite books! I LOVE Spensa so much! And I can’t forget M-Bot and Doomslug. This book has great characters and the camaraderie is amazing. Skyward Flight is my new favorite group of characters. The end of this book was excellent. I love Brandon’s writing and his characters are really relatable.

    Three-star books.

    The rest of the books I read this month were pretty good in their own way. I did enjoy reading them. Most of the problems I had were writing style or plot depth but other than that they weren’t too bad.

    Falling Kingdoms ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Morgan Rhodes

    This was an ok start to a six-book series. It was not amazing. The pacing was pretty slow for me and I found myself getting bored often. But…I can’t wait to see where this series goes. I’m reading this series as part of a buddy read so it’s very exciting. It’s definitely more fun to read this as a group than to try and go it alone. I probably would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t for the buddy read. Thank goodness for accountability! I think what bothered me most about this book was the writing style. It was really way below my reading level and a bit juvenile. I really hope this improves with the next book in the series.

    The Elite ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Kiera Cass

    I actually listened to this on audio and I enjoyed it! I felt much better about reading it since I could do so without feeling like I was wasting my time sitting and reading it. The Elite was much much better than The Selection and I am actually invested in finishing the series now.

    The One ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By Kiera Cass

    This was my last book for the month! Like The Elite, I listened to this one on audiobook as well and I liked it even more than The Elite. It was really good to see the story wrap up and it seems that (almost) everyone got a happy ending.

    Book haul!

    As always you can see all of the books I’ve bought this month on my Goodreads! I made a special shelf just for you! You can see that here.
    The book I’m most excited to read out of all of these is Red Rising.

    In conclusion.

    All in all, July wasn’t a bad reading month! I really like to do these wrap-ups because it can be easy to forget what books I’ve read in a month. It’s nice to see how many I read that I loved. It’s also important to take note of the books that we didn’t end up liking too well. That way we know what types of books to stay away from and which ones we should pick up! Now the only thing I need to do for August is to lay off the book buying. 😂

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. You can see my August TBR right here! It’s N.E.W.T.s time again! I am SO excited to participate in the N.E.W.T.s readathon for the second time. Gah, I’m just so happy and excited. My little Harry Potter heart is so happy! 😊

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    June 2019 Reading Wrap Up and Book Haul

    *Heeeeelllllloooooo loves! Is it really time for my June 2019 Wrap Up?? I feel like June just zoomed right by and now it’s July and look at that, this post is late. Haha. Oh well, better late than never. Right? Anyway, here’s my June wrap up! Enjoy!

    June 2019 wrap up coming your way! Click through to hear about my FAVORITE book of the month! June was a great reading month!!

    June 2019 Wrap Up

    The Five Star Book

    Sorcery of Thorns
    By: Margaret Rogerson
    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
    FAVORITE book of the month! I loved this book. The characters, the world, the plot, the magic! I really related to the main character, Elisabeth. Silas was so sweet and I’m going to miss him. I adored him! And we can’t go anywhere without our brooding, sassy sorcerer Nathaniel. I’m just so sad that it’s a standalone. The ending just isn’t fair.

    Four Star Books

    Winter
    By: Marissa Meyer

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
    This was the best ending for the Lunar Chronicles. It wrapped everything up so nicely! My favorite character in the whole series was Iko. Followed closely by Cinder and Kai. I’m going to miss the whole Rampion crew though! I’m sad that it’s all over, but I can always reread them!

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone
    By: Laini Taylor

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
    This book exceeded all of my expectations for it! I’m in love with the world and the characters! I love Laini’s writing and her imagination. She has written one of the most vibrant worlds in this book. Her characters are so complex and so human. I love all of them.

    Heir of Fire
    By: Sarah J. Maas

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
    Holy wow! So much happens in this book! I am so glad I finally read this book. I’m in love with the new characters. I am sad that the original trio is no longer together though. I really loved their dynamic. But, it is so amazing to see Celaena’s growth in this book! I can’t wait to continue with Queen of Shadows in July.

    Three Stars and Below

    An Enchantment of Ravens
    By: Margaret Rogerson

    ⭐️ ⭐️
    This book was a complete miss for me. I didn’t like or relate to any of the characters. There was zero world building, no map, and quite a few times I had no idea what was going on. It also didn’t have a very thought out romance and the plot was extremely easy to guess.

    Memento
    By: Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

    ⭐️ ⭐️
    This was an interesting little novella but I did not have the experience with it that most people have had. I liked Olivia, I was upset that she only got 82 pages. I feel like she deserved more than that. Seeing AIDAN before it was crazy was interesting. It was not; however, mind-blowing.

    Siege and Storm
    By: Leigh Bardugo

    ⭐️ ⭐️
    The only reason this book exists is to introduce Nikolai. What even was this book?

    Wrap up the wrap up 😂

    Overall this was a great reading month for me! Even if every book had been terrible, Sorcery of Thorns would have made up for every single one of them.

    Happy Reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. You can find my July TBR right here!

    P.P.S You can see my June book Haul right here on Goodreads!

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    May 2019 Reading Wrap Up

    *Hello! Long time no see. If you didn’t notice I missed my Book Chat post this month. It’s been a busy and long month. My oldest was sick for a week and we have had appointments every week so I just forgot about it. Anyway, I’m back and I’m bringing you my wrap up for the month of May 2019!

    Here's the books I read in May 2019! I read a whole series, finished a series and started a new series! Check out the reviews and add these to your TBR.

    My really short “reviews” of the books I read in May 2019.

    A book that wasn’t for me.

    The Priory of the Orange Tree {⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Samantha Shannon
    This was my first read for May 2019 and it is a mammoth. And unfortunately, I just didn’t care for it too much. I love Samantha’s series The Bone Season, so I was really disappointed in this book. The world building and writing were phenomenal, but it contains themes that I don’t agree with. Specifically, men being in the service of women.

    Please do not get all in my face with any kind of feminist stuff. I am not being anti-female. I do not think that any one gender is better than the other. Women are not on this earth to serve men. Neither are men here to serve women. I firmly believe that we (men, women, and people) are here to help each other.

    The men in this book are basically domestic workers who were used to reproduce more women. I really can’t stand that. Women shouldn’t be treated that way either. It’s just not right. It would have been much better if both men and women served the priestesses in the Priory. And that the men had a choice in if they were going to help create another human.
    Bottom line: I can’t recommend this book to anyone.

    Finale {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Stephanie Garber

    This book was amazing! I seriously had to take breaks after each chapter to think about what had just happened. Such a good finish to an amazing trilogy.
    Bottom line: I recommend this book to lovers of magic and mystic and the bond of family.

    Aurora Rising {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Jay Kristoff + Amie Kauffman

    After reading the Illuminae Files last month this was one of my most anticipated reads. It did not disappoint. I loved Squad 312 and the plot. I’m so excited to discover more about the world, I should say space, and to find out what the squad has to do next.
    Bottom line: I recommend this book to fans of The Illuminae Files and who like easy to read books that hold a lot of meaning.

    A new-to-me series.

    The Queen of Blood {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Sarah Beth Durst

    This book took me completely by surprise! I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a book that is so original. I love the characters and the story is deep without being too complex. There aren’t a lot of new words and lore to learn and the world of Aratay is explained thoroughly but simply.
    Bottom line: I recommend this book for people who love high fantasy but also need a break from most of the dense worlds out there.

    The Reluctant Queen {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Sarah Beth Durst

    This is the second book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy. It had a bit of a rough start for me. A new character was being difficult. Now I understand that it was necessary for the story. So, at first I wasn’t a huge fan, but I love the middle and the ending. Ven is also my favorite character in the series.
    Bottom line: I recommend this for people who have read The Queen of Blood and for those who like to have female main characters but isn’t considered feminist.

    The Queen of Sorrow {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Sarah Beth Durst

    This is the third book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy. I’m really sad to say that this was not my favorite book. I had a hard time caring about one of the main characters and a secondary character was making choices that I thought she was too young to be making. It was a mostly aggravating read. I’m glad I read it so that I could finish the story, but it just wasn’t as good as the first book.
    Aside from that the writing was excellent and the world building was also really good. I just wish I had enjoyed it more than I did.
    Bottom line: I recommend this book if you’ve read The Queen of Blood and The Reluctant Queen.

    Edit: I forgot to add my May book haul!

    As always I created a special shelf on Goodreads where you can find all of the books I purchased in the month of May 2019!

    You can find that list right HERE!

    In Conclusion:

    That’s my wrap up for May 2019. I read some great books and some ok books. Overall it was a decent reading month for me. I’m really excited about June because I have a lot of books I want to get to!

    Happy Reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. You can see my entire June TBR right here!

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    April 2019 Wrap Up and Reviews+New Books

    *Hello! Can you believe it’s the end of April already?? I swear it was just the end of March. Time seems like it’s flying already and it hasn’t properly warmed up yet! What great books did you read this month? I read quite a few really great books. I also acquired some amazing books that I can’t wait to get to next month!

    April 2019 reading wrap up and book haul lists.

    *Quick update on the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon. I chose the Librarian career. I completed all my required O.W.L.s and I’m all set for the N.E.W.T.s in the fall. If you participated in the readathon, which career did you choose?

    Most loved books!

    *I already talked about two of these books in my April Book Chat, you can read about them here.

    The Raven Boys {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Maggie Stiefvater
    {Defense Against the Dark Arts: Reducto-Title starts with “R”}

    Illuminae {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    {Arithmancy: Written by more than one author}

    Gemina {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    {Astronomy: “Star” in the Title.}
    The second book in the Illuminae Files. I’m still recovering from this one. The same high stakes from the first book + bad guys + brain eating parasites. Oh, yes, this book is a wild ride! It’s also very easy to read because of the format. I loved this one more than the first one and I LOVED Illuminae so you can tell this series is going to be one of my favorites!

    Sepulchre {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Kate Mosse
    {Transfiguration: Sprayed Edges or Red Cover}
    Inside this book, you will find some light romance, ghosts, a mysterious heritage, the strong bonds of family. It’s quite a melancholy book, but it’s very fitting for the content. As a historical fiction/mystery I found it to be very intriguing. It’s very, very fictional, with only the locations being actually real. It is the second book in the Languedoc series by Kate Mosse. You don’t need to have read Labyrinth before you read Sepulchre, but there is a much-loved character from Labyrinth who makes plenty of appearances in Sepulchre.

    More great books!

    The Pale Dreamer {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Samantha Shannon
    {Divination: Set in the Future}
    I bought this ebook for a couple of dollars on Amazon Kindle. It’s one short story about Paige, the main character from The Bone Season series. It happens several months, or years, before the events in The Bone Season and it tells how she got started with Jaxon Hall’s gang, The Seven Seals. It was a quick, fast paced read that I rather enjoyed. If only for the other characters. Paige was not my favorite character for a long time in The Bone Season. I love her now, but at first I was not a fan.

    Caraval {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Stephanie Garber

    This book took me completely by surprise. I loved it quite a bit. The unbreakable bond between Scarlett and Tella coupled with some light romance, and the mystery of illusions made this book a winner for me. Scarlett battles for hers and Tella’s freedom. Trying to get away from a very painful past all the while playing a game she doesn’t know if she can win.

    Books I finished at the tail end of April

    Obsidio {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    Holy wow. I have no words for this book and this series. I think this series is for everyone. Regardless if you like sci-fi or not. This book was everything I needed from this series. It wrecked me in all the good ways. This series has definitely earned a place on my most loved shelf.

    Legendary {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Stephanie Garber
    I loved this sequel to Caraval! It was definitely much more high stakes than the first book and I finally know a bit more about the characters. I do with the plot was a little less predictable, but it was still a really good and well-written book. I can’t wait for Finale to come out!

    Books that were okay.

    The Final Empire {⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Brandon Sanderson
    {Charms: Age-Line, Read an Adult Work}
    This was a very long high fantasy. I liked it but it did not play on my emotions as the books above did. It is very well written fantasy and droves of people love these books. I plan to read the next book because I’m hoping I’ll get introduced to a character that I will fall in love with. That would make it so much better. I just didn’t connect with any of the characters.

    Cress {⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By: Marissa Meyer
    {Ancient Runes: Retelling}
    I liked this book pretty well. It was jam-packed with action just like Cinder and Scarlet were, but there was just something about it that I didn’t connect with. Honestly, I thought Cress was an idiot. I mean, she lived on a satellite with a supercomputer at her fingertips and yet she knew nothing. She irritated me because she screwed up a lot of things. All because of her obsession with Thorne. Only toward the end did I start to like her a little. And that might be attributed to the fact that Cinder was there to make up for it all.

    Angels’ Blood {⭐️⭐️}
    By: Nalini Singh
    {History of Magic: Published at least 10 years ago}
    I should not have expected so much from this book. I really wanted to like it, but it was just ok. The romance was awful, and the plot was predictable. Also, all of the women were hot and so were the men, which is completely stupid. I don’t plan on picking up this series again.

    A book I didn’t finish.

    The Winter Horses
    By: Philip Kerr
    I talked about this book in my book chat this month so you can read about it there. Basically, this book was beyond boring and I could not make myself finish it.

    View this post on Instagram

    Hello loves ☺️ ✨ It’s another week and I’m not ready for it. I just want to curl up on the couch with a book and a blanket and read all day. But that’s not very productive. 😂 ✨ ——————————————————— QOTD: Did you get any new books this month? ✨ I got quite a few but the ones I’m most excited about are in this picture! ✨ I already read The Illuminae Files and Caraval and Legendary. I’m excited to dig into Wicked Saints and Skyward next month. 😁😁 ✨ ——————————————————— I was tagged by the lovely Breeanna from @booksandchocolatefrogs to do the #hotornottropes Here we go! ✨ 💔Love Tirangles: Not! I loathe love triangles. I can’t stand how indecisive the characters are. 💗Chosen One: Hot! I really enjoy the chosen one trope. Anyone met Harry Potter?? 💗Enemies to lovers: Hot! No spoilers but have you read A Court of Mist and Fury yet?? 💔Childhood friends to lovers: Does this have to be a thing? I don’t really care for it. Personally I wouldn’t want a long standing relationship to tank because of that. 💗The OTP are tragically kept apart: Hot! but only if they are allowed to be together at the end. It adds to the story if they are separated for a time. 💛Parents are conveniently absent: This doesn’t really bother me honestly. I feel if I wrote a book about kids the parents probably wouldn’t be present. Or they would be so low key they might as well not be there. ——————————————————— #bookqueensapr19 {April bookhaul} #allthebooksapril19 {April bookhaul} #fireheartapr19 {April bookhaul} #bookhaul #bookstagrammers #bookhoarder #bookcommunity #books📚 #michiganbookstagram #bookstagramusa #thecozyshelf #bookspiral #bookshelves #bookobsessed #bookishglee

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    Book Haul Time!!

    By now you all know that I buy more books than I can ever read in one month. But I know that you want to see what I got and which ones I’m most excited to read. I buy a lot of my books based on people loving them. I’d rather know someone loved it than the synopsis. I feel like the synopsis always give away the plot and we just don’t need that in our lives now do we?

    This month is probably my biggest haul yet, and I know I should stop. I think the next three months are just going to be purchases of backlist books from my favorite authors and new releases that I’m excited about. So do you want to know how many books I bought this month?? Ok, here goes…
    I bought 72 books…Um, I’m officially on a book buying ban. I’ll never get them all read…Ok, that is not true. If I’m not spending my time looking at books then I can be reading them right??

    *I am changing things up a bit here. I used to link every single book back to Goodreads, but that just takes way too much of my time. Instead, I have created bookshelves on my Goodreads account that correspond with the current month. For instance, you can find all of the books I bought on my April Book Haul shelf.

    You can find this new shelf here!

    Well, that’s all from me today! I hope you all had a fantastic reading month and that you found some new books to add to your TBR pile. I know mine has gotten a lot bigger. 😂😂😂

    Happy Reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Check out my May TBR. I’m rocking the boat next month. Or at least I’m rocking my own boat. 😂

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    March 2019 Wrap Up+Book Haul

    *It’s my March 2019 monthly wrap up where I briefly review the books I read and list the books I bought. I read quite a few really good books and quite a few okayish books. But mostly I read books. 😂

    What were your favorite reads of March 2019? I loved "Enchantée", "Muse of Nightmares", and "Shadow and Bone". You can read my full March 2019 wrap up here!

    Duologies, trilogies, series, oh my!

    Are you a fan of series? Trilogies? Duologies? Or a stand-alone? I think I like all four of them. If I’m emotionally invested in the story and the characters, I’m not super picky about what form they come in, or how many books are involved.

    I like a stand-alone if it feels resolved at the end. By that I mean, was the character able to resolve the big issue/mission they were facing in some way by the end? For this reason, I don’t like a stand-alone that leaves me wanting more words after the last page. Consequently, I always gravitate toward series and trilogies than anything else.

    I think that my favorite is a book series. When there are more than two or three books in a series I’m given the chance to really get to know the characters and the world in the book. There are only so many words you can include in a duology or a trilogy where a series has basically unlimited potential.

    My favorite books in March

    *Next up, the books I read in March. March was a great month for me quantity wise. I read so many books and I had the opportunity to read some really great books.

    5 Star Books

    Enchantée {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By Gita Trelease
    This book took me completely by surprise. I was not expecting the masterpiece I found within its pages. Set in revolutionary Paris in the late 1780s, Gita perfectly blended poverty and opulence. And it involved magic. Beautiful but scary magic. Almost all of the characters were adorable, I say almost because the bad guy was anything but adorable. I really appreciated the French words sprinkled throughout the book and the very handy glossary in the back. Enchantée is just as beautiful as its title. It was an adventure I completely enjoyed.

    Muse of Nightmares {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By Laini Taylor
    Please hold the pieces of my heart together while I recover from this book. It was absolutely stunning! I was so afraid to read it because I wanted everything to turn out ok, and everything was not ok when Strange the Dreamer ended. By the last page, everything did turn out ok, even if it wasn’t ok at the beginning or the middle or most of the end. This is one of my favorite books this month!

    4 Star Books

    Shadow and Bone {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By Leigh Bardugo
    This book blew me away with how quickly it captured my interest. The characters in this book are really complex. There is definitely more than meets the eye here. My favorite part of this book was the friendship between Genya and Alina. Genya is probably my favorite character in the book. She is just too sassy for her own good. I was constantly giggling when she would come into the story. Also, I must take a moment to appreciate the map in this book. It’s simply stunning.

    The Song Rising {⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By Samantha Shannon
    I know the book world is caught up in reading her newest novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, but I needed to read this book. It was so good! The third book in The Bone Season series just amped up the stakes much higher than I thought they could go. This series has taken up lodging in my story-loving heart and I don’t think I mind. I am, and will always be, in love with Arcturus. Rhysand will just have to share me. 😂

    Books that were good, but not great.

    *The next few books were not terrible, they just weren’t what I was expecting. They were still good in their own way and I don’t want to discourage you from reading them.

    The Cruel Prince {⭐️⭐️⭐️}
    By Holly Black
    First of all, this was a difficult book for me to read. I was at turns mortified and spellbound. Holly has a great talent for making worlds seem very real. She’s also excellent at creating cruel characters. There should be trigger warnings all over this book and there aren’t. I only hear people rave about how much they love this book, but I was just disgusted through most of it. The amount of mental and emotional abuse in this book is tremendous. It’s important to realize that it is just a story, but there should be a trigger warning or something. All I ask for is a fair warning about what I’m getting myself into.

    *Because I’ve already talked about these books in my March Book Chat so I’ll list them here for you.

    The Bullet Journal Method, by Ryder Carroll {⭐️⭐️}
    Crown of Feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto {⭐️⭐️}
    The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, by Christopher Paolini {⭐️⭐️⭐️}

    If you want to read my short reviews of these books you will be able to find them here.

    March 2019 Book Haul

    Yikes guys. 😱I bought way to many books this month. And I told myself I didn’t need anymore. My tbr is big enough thank you very much. I should probably be grounded from buying books for a bit. Don’t you agree?

    New Books:

    Additional Copies

    *As a pure bibliophile, I must have all the copies and editions of my favorite books. Lol.

    Ok, now I need to go hide from the death glares I’m getting from my tbr pile.

    Book Merch Creator of the Month

    Every time I get on Instagram I seem to find another amazing creator of bookish merchandise. I really enjoy highlighting them in my blog posts for you guys to check out.

    Lucy creates the most stunning little “dreams in a bottle”. The one I just bought is of The Night Court from A Court of Mist and Fury.
    She sells on Etsy @ Dream In a Bottle Shop
    Her Instagram handle is
    @dreaminabottle

    All of her creations are lovely and I can’t wait to get more. She has a monthly package you can buy that has exclusive content that isn’t available in her Etsy shop. April’s theme is “Game of Thrones” and you can preorder it now through April 1st. They ship April 15th! I’m totally getting my hands on one!

    *I’m not an affiliate, I just really love Lucy’s unique creations.

    That’s a wrap for my March 2019 wrap up. (hehe, see what I did there?😂) Look for my April TBR in the next few days. It’s magical readathon time again! O.W.L.s will take place next month! I can’t wait!

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Don’t want to wait to find out what the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon is? Check out this video to get started on your own magical journey.

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    February 2019 Wrap Up + Reviews

    *It’s time again for a recap of what I books I read, bought, and loved this month. I also mention my favorite bookish merch and what I’m looking forward to next month. Grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation!

    February 2019 Book Reviews and Wrap Up

    February 2019 Book Reviews

    The Mime Order
    By: Samantha Shannon
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    1920’s gang atmosphere set in a future dystopian London. Espionage, crime, secrets, mayhem, betrayal. Oh my lovely, this book was jam-packed with action and breathtaking circumstances. The ending has me itching to get to the next book in the series, The Song Rising.

    The Gilded Wolves
    By: Roshani Choski
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    A group of 6 kids take on the mysterious Order of Babel. Secrets abound in this race around 19th century Paris. There are lost heirs, destroyed Houses, and so many secrets. I can’t wait for the next book in this trilogy.

    Strange the Dreamer
    By: Laini Taylor
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This book has some of the most beautiful writing. Dreamers, unknown pasts, and ghosts abound in this magical tale about dreams dead gods. There is some instalove, but I didn’t notice it until after I finished the book. The second book in this duology is next on my TBR.

    Shadow of the Fox
    By: Julie Kagawa
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    First of all, I have never read a book like this before. I like it so much. The Japanese inspiration is amazing. It was like reading an anime instead of watching it. I felt that the world in Shadow of the Fox was just about perfect and I really liked how new it felt. I know that nothing is original, but Julie’s take in this book was very refreshing.

    Sky In the Deep
    By: Adrienne Young
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    While this wasn’t a terrible book, it was not great either. I felt that it was too rushed to really do the topic it addressed justice. There was barely any depth to the story. Character development was non-existent. Since it is a stand-alone, I feel that it could have been much longer than it actually was.

    Rereads:

    Inheritance
    By: Christopher Paolini
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was a looong book. The first couple hundred pages were a bit slow, but the middle and end were amazing! I could have been less descriptive, but that is Christopher’s writing style. I expect as much from him.

    Book Haul

    *I was able to purchase quite a few books this month. I’ll just link them to Goodreads below so you can read the synopsis for them.

    Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
    Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo
    Ruin and Rising, by Leigh Bardugo
    Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
    Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo
    Eragon (Barnes and Nobel Special Edition), by Christopher Paolini
    City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare
    The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon
    Crown of Feathers (Owlcrate Editon), by Nicki Pau Preto
    Enchantée (LitJoy Crate Edition), by Gita Trelease
    Sightwitch, by Susan Dennard
    Strange the Dreamer (U.S. Edition), by Laini Taylor
    Year One, by Nora Roberts

    This was a really good book buying month for me. But, who am I kidding? There are always more books I want to buy. Maybe a monthly wishlist would be helpful for me? I will have to add one to my book journal.

    I hope you all had an excellent reading month!

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. If you want to catch up on February’s posts you can find How I Organize My Books, Why +How I Unhaul Books, and my February Book Chat.

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    January 2019 Wrap Up + Book Haul

    *January 2019 was a great reading and book buying month for me. Almost all of the books I read I loved and I was able to fill out my new bookshelves a little more. I hope you find some new books to add to your TBR and maybe some to buy!

    It was a great month for reading! Add some great books to your TBR.

    January 2019 Books

    The Bone Season By Samantha Shannon

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I really really liked this book. The world is dark and dangerous and also amazing. It’s about a girl who has a really rare and dangerous form of clairvoyance. She gets kidnapped and becomes a slave of an immortal race of aliens called the Rephaim. Throughout the course of the book she works to fight her way back to civilization and her freedom.

    Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This book wasn’t particularly mind-blowing, but it was definitely surprising. I keep getting surprised by books that walk the fine line between sci-fi and fantasy. I think my favorite part about this book was all of the different kinds of magic in it.

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

    ⭐️⭐️
    This book was not for me. I love and adore the Harry Potter books, the Wizarding World, and the Fantastic Beasts movies, but this story just fell flat. I knew at once that it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling. I felt like I was reading some very bad fan fiction. A lot of people love this and a lot of people don’t. I fall into the latter category.

    Whichwood By Teherah Mafi

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Let me preface this by saying that there are some pretty gross aspects to this book. Washing dead bodies, a boy with body full of bugs, and people being stripped of their flesh, but still alive.
    But I really liked it. It’s the sequel to Furthermore and it continues the story of Alice and Oliver. They meet a new friend and learn that to make an impact on someone you have to take the time to help them and not just provide them with a temporary solution.

    I read this book for TCS Reading Challenge this month. The prompt was, “A book you bought for the cover”.

    Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was a good introduction to Dr. Leaf’s work but I preferred her other books “The Perfect You” and “Think, Learn, Succeed”.

    I read this book for TCS Reading Challenge nonfiction prompt, “A book about mental health”.

    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I will admit that this book was pretty slow at first. It wasn’t that there was nothing happening, there was just no mystery to figure out. I wasn’t super compelled to read it, but somewhere around page 200 everything got really interesting. I’m very glad I stuck with it and gave it a chance.

    I read this book for the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge prompt, “A book on the backlist of a favorite author”.

    Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Absolutely loved it. It was my second reading and I forgot so many things. The world building and character development are amazing. It was really good to read it at a slower pace and really soak up the story.

    Specials by Scott Westerfeld

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was another reread for me. I like this book because it’s a quick read and the world is fascinating. It’s one of the only dystopian series I can stand reading and I think it’s the best.

    Book Haul

    January 2019 Book Haul

    So…..I wasn’t supposed to buy any books this month but I did anyway. Ooops. 🤷🏼‍♀️I hauled quite a few books this month. I was really excited to get these and to fill out my shelves a little better. They are not big shelves by any means but they are still pretty empty.

    I went through a stage a few years ago where I got rid of most of my books. But now, I’m realizing that this was a bad idea and I’m slowly rebuilding my collection.

    It makes me very happy to see my shelves filled with books that I love.

    What about you? Did you read any great books this month? Or did you go out on a book buying spree like I did?

    I hope you all had a great month.

    Happy Reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. The Cozy Shelf 2019 reading challenge is going great! I’ve found that it’s really helpful in getting me to read books I already own rather than going out and buying new books. You can get all the info you need to participate here.

    P.P.S. You can find my February 2019 TBR here!

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    December 2018 Book Haul + Gifts

    *I typically include the books I bought in my wrap up posts, but December’s wrap up was so long that I decided to split them up this month. So here is my December 2018 book haul.

    December 2018 Book Haul + Gifts

    Books I Bought

    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

    december 2018 book haul

    I fell in love with Sarah J. Maas’ stories with the Court of Thorns and Roses series and I am very excited to read this one next month.

    The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

    december 2018 book haul

    I heard about Samantha Shannon and this series from Owlcrate’s Youtube Channel. The reason I bought them was for the covers. I know absolutely nothing about the series. But I have high expectations of it for some reason.

    Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene

    december 2018 book haul

    I was so happy to receive this book in my December Owlcrate box. After reading the synopsis and the reader letter and I wanted to drop my TBR and start this one right away. I didn’t though, but I can’t wait to get to this one in the new year.

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

    december 2018 book haul

    I am slowly collecting the new hardcover Bloomsbury editions of the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love them. They are beautiful. I got rid of my original scholastic editions because they were very worn out and I just hated the covers. These copies will be my new set and I can’t wait to have them all.

    Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

    december 2018 book haul

    I started reading the Shadowhunter series when I was still in high school and for some reason I just stopped reading them. I think it was because they weren’t releasing fast enough for me. Anyway, I noticed that they have had a makeover. I honestly started buying them for the new covers, but now I actually think I’m going to read them.

    Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

    december 2018 book haul

    Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

    december 2018 book haul

    Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

    december 2018 book haul

    I happened to find one copy of this book at Target, which was very surprising considering that Queen of Air and Darkness just came out.

    The Fork, The Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini

    december 2018 book haul

    Of course I had to get this one! It his first book in ages, and I desperately need to know what has been happening since the end of the last book. I’m not sure when I’ll get to this, but its lucky because I’m in the middle of rereading the Inheritance Cycle right now.


    Books that were Gifts

    * Self-explanatory, but these are books that my husband got me for Christmas. The above books are gifts I got for myself.

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

    december 2018 book haul

    It does not surprise me that the artwork in these books is getting increasingly dark. Some of the stuff in here is downright creepy. I really love these illustrated editions though. They are fun to read and they are beautifully colored.

    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    december 2018 book haul

    I’ve been wanting this book since it came out. The story sounds so intriguing and I can’t wait to read it. I’m really hoping for some more diverse fantasy novels in 2019!

    Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf

    december 2018 book haul

    I’m reading this one next month for The Cozy Shelf 2019 Reading Challenge. If you don’t know what that is, you can head here to get all the details.

    Make It Happen by Lara Casey

    december 2018 book haul

    A productivity book written by my favorite goal planning instructor. Seriously, it you haven’t checked out Cultivate What Matters, you are missing out!

    Reading People by Anne Bogel

    december 2018 book haul

    Written by one of my favorite book bloggers and podcasters. I’m excited to discover more about my reading personality. I think I’m more excited to find out why I don’t like certain books than why I do like certain books.

    Conclusion:

    That’s all the books I bought and received this month. It was a pretty decent month for me. Not too many new books, but not no new books. That would be terrible. 😂

    Happy Reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. What books did you get as gifts in December? Anything you really wanted? Let me know in the comments below!


  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    December 2018 Reading Wrap Up

    *My monthly post where I talk about the books I read and bought during the past thirty(ish) days.

    December 2018 Reading Wrap Up

    December 2018 Book Wrap Up

    December was a great reading month for me! After slumping for most of October and November, I finally feel like I’m reading because I want to and not just because I feel like I should. I was able to read 11 books, which is quite a lot for me.

    A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

    december 2018 wrap up

    I read this book so fast. It broke my heart and then put it all together again. I can’t say much about it in case you haven’t read the series yet because of spoilers. But it was So Good!

    A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

    december 2018 wrap up

    A sweet novella set around the winter solstice holiday. It wasn’t originally on my TBR but it was a perfect December read. It follows the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin and I was just dying for more of the characters from the Court of Thorns and Roses series. So I read this one right after I read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

    The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson-Levine

    december 2018 wrap up

    This was a reread for me. A beloved childhood book. But I wish I would have just left it as a perfect memory. It was cute, but terribly boring. I had to make myself finish this one.

    Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

    december 2018 wrap up

    This was probably my worst read of 2018. I talked about it in my current reads post, so if you want to know what I said, you can read it here.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

    december 2018 wrap up

    This is my favorite Harry Potter book. I loved rereading this one. It wrapped everything up so nicely. And I do love a happy ending.

    Mirage by Somaya Daud

    december 2018 wrap up

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing new kind of story for me. I had no idea that it was science fiction, but I really loved it. The message that anyone deserves the chance to be understood and loved was really great. I feel that a lot of people will say that the main character was weak. But I think she is strong for seeing the good things in her supposed enemy. I am looking forward to the sequel!

    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

    december 2018 wrap up

    This was a great look at the psychological effects of the concentration camps and it explains why some people survived and others did not. I really enjoyed the first part of the book; which was a recounting of some of his camp experiences. The second half was a lot of technical psychiatry terms that I didn’t exactly understand.

    Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

    december 2018 wrap up

    First of all, this was my first experience with Tahereh Mafi books and I fell in love with her writing. I had high expectations and they were all fulfilled. Normally I can’t stand middle-grade books, but this one was very intriguing.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

    december 2018 wrap up

    This was a mash-up of the Jim Dale audiobook and the hardcover Ravenclaw edition. I listened to the story on Audible, but I read the interesting bits about Ravenclaw house in the book. This was my second time reading it this year. I liked it. It wasn’t fantastic, but I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I’m going to make audiobooks a regular part of my reading life because I was either distracted and didn’t pay attention to it, or I wandered around my house and felt like I couldn’t do anything because I would miss the story.

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi

    december 2018 wrap up

    I must have really liked this book more than I thought. It’s a low 4-star, but I was expecting only 3 stars. So, I’m pleasantly surprised. I normally don’t gravitate toward contemporary fiction at all so to have like this one so much makes me happy. It was a great Pride and Prejudice retelling. It was kind of a light read. I say kind of because it deals with big topics, but it also had some light romance where there’s a happy ending and the future looks bright. It’s an important book to read without being too deep and sad about the content.

    The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

    december 2018 wrap up

    This book came out of nowhere for me. It was recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy on one of her podcast episodes. I really really enjoyed it. It was satisfyingly creepy and well written. The twisty fairy tales were like nothing I’ve read before. This book may have opened up a whole new sub-genre for me. I’m just trying to figure out why there aren’t more people talking about it.

    Conclusion

    I was really surprised I read as many books as I did this month. Several of them I was able to finish in one day. I hardly get hours to myself where I can read uninterrupted. December was a great end to my reading year.

    How was your reading this year? Did you complete any challenges? Finish up any series? Did you reach or exceed your Goodreads goal?

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. In an attempt to keep this post at a reasonable length, I’ve decided to make my book haul into a separate post. It will be short and sweet, but it will also have pictures, which is not typical for my book hauls. You can find that post here.

  • Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    November 2018: Wrap Up + Book Haul

    *disclaimer: In order to keep these posts at a reasonable length, I don’t include pictures of the books I bought. They are all linked to Goodreads so that you can add them to your own TBR.

    November 2018 Wrap Up + Book Haul

    November wasn’t a bad month for me as far as reading goes. Would I like to read more books? Um….yes. But I can’t seem to focus on a book when chaos is reigning all around me. Once upon a time I could read a book and be so completely engrossed in it that I paid attention to no one and no thing. Not the case anymore. Too much noise and I just can’t concentrate. 

    I got to read seven books this month. Two of which I haven’t completed because technically the month isn’t over yet. I’m still going to include them here because I plan on completing them both by November 30. I like to start my month fresh with no book carryover. 

    Well, enough chatter from me. Let’s get to my November 2018 wrap up.


    The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

    wrap up, november 2018

    This book was a perfect fall read. Justin writes some of the best literary fiction. I loved it. It was a sad story but also a hopeful story, filled with friendship and determination to survive. The City of Mirrors was the perfect ending to The Passage trilogy.

    Think, Learn, Succeed by Dr. Caroline Leaf

    wrap up, november 2018

    This book is a great read if you are looking to increase your learning potential. I know there are so many books out there about being a better you, but none of them compare to this one. In this book, you’ll learn your customized way of thinking and how to use that knowledge to leverage your own learning curve. I really, really enjoyed this book. I can’t wait to read it again and get even more out of it. 

    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

    wrap up, november 2018

    I love, love, love this book so much! It was better than A Court of Thorns and Roses (if that’s possible). I love Rhysand so very much. Feyre can be a bit of an idiot but she did endure some pretty hard stuff in A Court of Thorns and Roses so I have to remind myself to go easy on her. I loved all of the character development with Rhysand. He is very snarky and I love main characters with a lot of sass to them. 

    The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie

    wrap up, november 2018

    This book was super easy to read and to understand. I loved all of the book recommendations for reading to your children at any age. If you have been wanting to start reading aloud to the littles in your life, this book is great for beginners. My biggest takeaway: Don’t wait until you have the perfect situation before you read aloud to your kids. 

    A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

    wrap up, november 2018

    I’ll be honest and say that when I started this book I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. But, by the end, I was hanging on every word. I was antisocial for at least 30 minutes at my husband’s family Thanksgiving (oops) just so I could finish the book. I love Kell and Lila, they make such a great pair. Their relationship is so sassy and it makes the book amusing even though its pretty dark. I was disappointed by lack of character depth. I just feel like I don’t know enough about the characters to help the story make more sense. I am; however, ready to dig into the next book in the trilogy, A Gathering of Shadows.

    The Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

    wrap up, november 2018

    I picked up The Cozy Minimalist Home for the freebie I got when I preordered, but it has turned out to be much more than just another minimalist book.  It’s helping me to finally figure out why  I’ve struggled to make my home cozy without overwhelming myself. This book is quickly becoming my go-to decor book! 


    In conclusion:

    That’s it for my November 2018 Wrap Up. Now we can get to the books I bought. All the books are linked to Goodreads so that you can add them to your own TBR list!

    • City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
    • Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare
    • The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert (*I bought my copy from Book Outlet and I have to say I learned my lesson in buying their “scratch and dent” copies. This book looks like it got slashed by a book murderer. If you like pretty books stay away from the “scratch and dent” ones from Book Outlet.
    • Sky In the Deep, Adrienne Young
    • Whichwood, Tahereh Mafi (I bought this purely for the cover. I do intend to read it in January 2019 though)
    • A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas (While I’ve already read this one, I needed it to complete the series on my shelf.)
    • Truthwitch, Susan Dennard
    • A Gathering of Shadows, V. E. Schwab
    • Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Nigan (I got this copy from my Owlcrate box!)

    Those are all the books I hauled this month. It’s significantly less than last month but also more than it should be because I said I wasn’t buying books this month…..we can just not mention this to my husband, okay? LOL.

    Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you had a wonderful November filled with much reading and drinking of hot beverages. 

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Check out my December 2018 TBR! Bonus: Another Harry Potter themed readathon!