• Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    September 2019 Wrap Up

    *Hello friends! Again, long time no talk! September was another crazy month for me, but I got so much reading done! I made it through 10 books and then had extra days at the end of the month so I started 3 more….oops.

    Best reading month ever!

    I had an almost* unbelievable reading month! I say almost because I know exactly why I had a good month. It had to do with a dirty house and basically not doing anything other than reading.

    I was able to get so many great books read though! It was worth the dirty dishes and the laundry and oh my gosh the bathroom. (That’s my least favorite room to clean so I was ok with shirking that responsibility. Haha.)

    I’m still going strong with my Falling Kingdoms buddy read. We’ve made it through the first 3 books in the series. The third book was good but also frustrating! Several of the characters I just wanted to die. The good news is that three out of the five died by the end of the book. The rest of the book was good because it’s very important to the plot for the whole series. I’m glad I’ve continued to read these even though the first book did not impress me at all.

    Ratings and Reviews

    The Assassin’s Blade
    By, Sarah J Maas
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This book was good. I don’t usually rate novellas very high because they just lack the depth that I love in books. However, it was very cool to see all the connections between these short stories and Empire of Storms.

    The Bronze Horseman
    By, Paullina Simons
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This is the first historical fiction book I’ve read in a long time. It was good even if it was a really long book. It follows the love story between Tatiana, a 17 year old Russian girl and Alexander, a soldier in the Red Army. It is heartbreaking as it covers the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II. It was definitely worth reading and I have the second book in the trilogy on my TBR for October.

    Dev1at3
    By, Jay Kristoff
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Somehow I did not enjoy this book as much as Lifel1k3. I think it is because it does not have the same vibes as the first book and there was no killer plot twist at the end. It was still a good book, obviously if I gave it four stars, but it didn’t live up to the first book for me.

    Red Rising
    By, Pierce Brown
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This book is one of the best debuts I have ever read. Pierce Brown is a genius and I loved this book so much! I was hooked from the first page and there is a plot twist in the first 100 pages or so. I mean, what author does that? I am so excited to jump back into this series in October!

    If You Find Me
    By, Emily Murdoch
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I don’t normally read books from the contemporary genre, but this one was pretty good. It was not phenomenal by any means but it also wasn’t bad. It has a great message even if the content is heavy. Triggers for rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and child abuse.

    Tower of Dawn
    By, Sarah J Maas
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I loved this book! Chaol has always been one of my favorite characters. Even in Queen of Shadows. I know a lot of people hate him but I’ve always been in his corner. It was good to see the character development in Chaol and Yrene. I don’t really care about Nesryn too much. I do like Sartaq though. Hopefully he will help Nesryn calm the heck down.

    Dreams of Gods and Monsters
    By, Laini Taylor
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This is probably the best series finisher I have ever read. The story isn’t finished and it alluded to more, which would be the Strange the Dreamer duology. I loved the ending to Akiva and Karou’s story. The characters in this trilogy will always have a special place in my heart.

    Night of Cake and Puppets
    By, Laini Taylor
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was an adorable account of the night that Zuzana and Mik met and officially became a couple. Zuzana and Mik are two characters from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I love them very much. I’m going to miss my favorite rabid fairy and violin boy.

    Stalking Jack the Ripper
    By, Kerri Maniscalco
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    This was such a good book! I love Audrey Rose and her representation of a strong female character. She was so refreshing compared to the female characters I usually read about. Most of them are just men bashers but Audrey Rose shines as a respectful and self assured individual. She does not need men to tell her what to do but she also does not disrespect them as fellow humans. I just loved her character so much and I cannot wait to see what adventures she gets into in the next book.

    Gathering Darkness
    By, Morgan Rhodes
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I already talked about this book at the beginning of this post. I really enjoyed it even if there were quite a few characters that irritated the heck out of me. The plot got just a bit thicker in this one and I am excited to see what happens in book number four.

    What They Meant for Evil
    By, Rebecca Deng
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I was provided this book by NetGalley in return for an honest review. I’m not going to talk a bunch about this book here since I’m planning a review for a separate post. I will say that I enjoyed this book and it was a great reality check for me. I have so much to be thankful for and this book reminded me of that.

    The one book I didn’t finish.

    The Kiss of Deception
    By, Mary E Pearson
    DNF
    I read over 200 pages of this book and it was the most boring thing I have ever read in my life. Nothing was happening. There was no plot. There were vague mentions of some kind of religious system. It was never explained. I spent most of my time wondering why this book even existed. I’m sure the author means well but I did not like this book at all. Since I didn’t finish it I have not given it a star rating. I don’t believe that’s fair to the author. I know a lot of people love this trilogy, but I’m not one of them. I doubt I’ll pick up any of her other books.

    Some reading statistics.

    Favorite book: Red Rising
    Longest book: The Bronze Horseman
    Shortest book: Night of Cake and Puppets
    Pages read: 5,088

    Unhauled Books: 39

    This is not a typical month for me. I usually read around 5 to 6 books a month. I spent a lot of my time reading when I would normally be doing other things. It was great to get so much read, but I know it’s not a sustainable routine.

    I hope you all had a good reading month as well!

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. Connect with me on Instagram! I’m there every day chatting about books!
    @thecozyshelf

    P.P.S You can see the books I hauled here ==> September Book Haul

  • The TBR,  Wrap Ups+Book Hauls

    August Wrap Up + September TBR

    Here is my August Wrap Up and my September TBR! I'm participating in another Harry Potter themed readathon and I'm so excited! I'm so ready to knock some great books off my unread shelf. Come see what I'm planning to read this month.

    *Well hello friends. It seems I got lost somewhere in the never ending summer activities. And, honestly, I needed a break. I feel much better about spending time here and I can’t wait to add all of the book reviews I’ve been saving up. I have such a hard time writing reviews that I always feel super intimidated by them. But I decided that the only way I’ll get better is with practice. Anyway, grab a cuppa and read on for my August wrap up and my September TBR.

    August Wrap Up

    August was a doozy of a month! I struggled through a reading slump and then when I wanted to read I just didn’t have the time. Plus, it was NEWTs so I felt pressured to read. I ended up finishing 6 of the 7 books I needed to read to become a Librarian. So I didn’t pass my NEWTs but its ok! The whole thing starts over again in April and I’m so excited to take my OWLs next year. I wonder what career I’ll pick?

    Ancient Runes:

    Rebel Spring ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: Morgan Rhodes
    I liked this book a lot more than the first one (Falling Kingdoms). The characters are much improved. The plot is way more complex than I originally thought it was going to be. The writing style is still not my favorite, but it has improved a ton since the first book.

    The Fellowship of the Ring ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: J.R.R. Tolkien

    It’s been 16 years since I first read this magical story and I loved it every bit as much this time around. I don’t know why, but for some reason I was letting myself be intimidated by this book and I kept putting off reading it. I was 13 the first time I read it. I’m not sure why, at 29, I was feeling intimidated. At least I finally got started on my reread.

    The Wicked Deep ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: Shea Ernshaw

    This was a sweet little romance. I loved Hazel and Bo. Their relationship was amazing, but I feel that the author left out a lot of depth and complexity. I wish the book had been a bit longer so that I could really get into the story.

    Defense Against the Dark Arts

    Days of Blood and Starlight ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: Laini Taylor

    My favorite book this month! I love this book so much. I feel that it is the perfect sequel to Daughter of Blood and Bone. There is so much heartbreak but it was written so beautifully. I loved every second of this book!

    Children of Blood and Bone ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: Tomi Adeyemi

    It took me a long time to get through this book, and it wasn’t because I didn’t like it! I hit a reading slump literally in the middle of it so I took 4 days off from reading it. It was such an amazing story though. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out in December.

    History of Magic

    Empire of Storms ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    By: Sarah J. Maas

    This book was so good! There was so much going on and Aelin’s plots were the most complex yet. I love how Sarah is so good at creating such complex story lines. I love making all of the connections between characters and places and times.

    The Assassin’s Blade
    By: Sarah J. Maas

    This was the book I didn’t finish this month. I started it on the 30th and we just got super busy. I literally had no time to read. I’m really liking what I’ve read so far though. It’s not hard to read and it’s great to get a peek into Celaena’s life before Endovier. I’m still reading it and with any luck I’ll be finished with it either on the 3rd or the 4th of September.

    So, that’s my August wrap up! Even though I didn’t get to all of the books on my tbr it was still a really good reading month.

    August book haul.

    If you want to you can see the list of books I bought in the month of August right here. It’s a link to my Goodreads and I always make a new shelf for all the books I bought the previous month.

    September TBR

    Since I love readathons so much I just couldn’t help myself when I was invited to do another Harry Potter themed readathon for September. This one is called Hogwartsathon and it’s hosted by @laureads_ and @niffler_reads on Instagram. The official hashtag is #hogwartsathon.

    Platform 9 3/4: A sequel
    Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff

    Welcome to Hogwarts: A book over 394 pages
    Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

    Sorting Hat: A book with your house colors on the cover
    Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

    Ghosts of Hogwarts: A contemporary
    If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

    Mr. Ollivander: A book over 2 years old
    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

    Diagon Alley: A book with a lot of hype
    Red Rising by Pierce Brown

    Flourish and Blotts: Random book from tbr
    Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

    Bonus: Forbidden Forest: Book with dark themes (only read this if you complete all other prompts)
    Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

    May the odds be in my favor.

    I’m very determined to read all of these books this month. I’m on a book buying ban so I want to make the most of it and really knock some books off my unread shelf. I’m so tired of buying more books than I know I can read or will read so it’s time to start some new habits.

    What are you hoping to get to this month?

    Happy reading,

    Alicen

    P.S. You can always find me on Instagram @thecozyshelf!

  • 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

    A post shared by Alicen (@thecozyshelf) on

    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!