TTT: Ten Books on my Spring TBR

My Lady Jane

I am a terrible person when it comes to TBR lists. I`m not even joking when I say that I have some unread books from a similar post I wrote in 2017. Like most people, I`m a mood reader. There are months when I struggle with 1 book and others when I read 8 books (cheers, February). Sometimes I want to read fantasy, other times I`m in a contemporary mood. So why do I even bother writing this post? Because I`m a hopeless fool, that for once wants to stick to a plan. I might do it, I might not; but here are the 10 books I`m hoping to read this Spring.

1. "My Lady Jane" by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
After I`ve had so much fun reading "The Gentleman`s Guide to Vice and Virtue", I`ve decided to pick another brilliant and hysterical historical fiction (like what I did there?). Everyone has been raving about this book, but I could never find the hardback. Until January, when it was my birthday.

2. "Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi
This book is one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, as you can see from this post. This novel features magic, a kick-ass POC main character and a rogue princess. The reviews have been incredible, which is why I wanted to wait a bit until I dive into it. From what I can tell, I`ll love it...but I want to wait a month for every new release, so I don`t fall prey to the hype.

3. "Leah on the Offbeat" by Becky Albertalli
It`s no secret that I love "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" with a passion, so when Becky decided to release a book focusing on Leah, I was thrilled. I thought that Leah was a brilliant character, and we`ll also get cameos from our favourite group of friends, so I can`t wait to read this novel. 

4. "Ace of Shades" by Amanda Foody
The first book in a (possible) trilogy, "Ace of Shades" has my type of mischievous main character. Even though Enne was raised as a proper young lady, she gives up her reputation to visit the City of Sin and find her missing mother. Some people have been comparing it with "Six of Crows", and I must say, I`m intrigued.

5. "Everless" by Sara Holland
I`m almost done with this book, but I`ll share my thoughts in a more in-depth review. If you remember "In Time", that movie with Justin Timberlake, you`ll be familiar with the concept. "Everless" is a fantasy book, where time is currency. The rich live forever, whilst the poor die on the streets. Because I`ve already seen that movie, the idea does not seem so innovative. But the writing is decent, even though it`s full of tropes and predictable.

6. "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens
At the beginning of the year, I made a list of some classics I`d love to read. So far I`ve only finished modern classics that weren`t even on that list. But with the new cover releases, I`m more inclined to pick up some Dickens masterpieces. Because classics are easier to digest when they come in gorgeous editions.

7. "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer
Yes, this book was on my 2017 Spring TBR. I don`t know why I have not read it yet because I love retellings. I just...get distracted by other books. Help!

8. "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr
If I don`t read this book by June, feel free to come to my house and smack me. I am a history buff and I`m passionate about WWII. I love historical fiction, and I`ll probably adore this book if I stop being such a lazy person.

9. "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
Although Sci-Fi is not really my genre, I can appreciate a book that pays pop-culture its fair tribute. I also want to read the book before I see the movie so I can compare the two.

P.S. Is it only me or does that trailer look weird? 

10. "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell
Am I afraid that this book won`t live up to its hype? Yes. But I`m always in the mood for contemporaries in April/May, and I`ve been staring at this book for two years, so now`s the time to pick it up and read it.

If you`ve read any of these books, let me know which one you liked the best so I can pick it up ASAP. Thanks for stopping by!

* TTT is a weekly meme/feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

TTT: Ten Books That Surprised Me

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

It`s not easy being a bookworm. You spend hours reading, buying books, rearranging your bookshelves, buying more books, and so on. Not only that, but you also love finding out what books are popular, which are taking the world by storm or winning prizes. You look at books, you read them, take photos or tweet about them. And IF you have to, you socialize with other people and see what novels they`re loving. But because everyone has different tastes, you might end up disappointed. Here`s a list of some titles that surprised me in a good and sadly, in a bad way.

The Good Surprise

"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo is my Queen. I was apprehensive about reading the Grisha trilogy because I was afraid it won`t live up to the hype.But except my dislike of Mal and the ending, that trilogy was a lot of fun. I loved The Darkling and Nikolai. And then I picked up "Six of Crows", and I adore everything about it, from the misfit group of characters to the plot.

"The Gentleman`s Guide to Vice and Virtue" by Mackenzi Lee
It`s not often that I read light-hearted YA historical fiction novels. And don`t get me wrong, this book deals with some heavy topics like abuse and mental illness. But for the most part, you can`t stop chuckling because the main character is so witty. Some people had problems with Monty, but underneath his sass, he had a good heart. Percy was as precious as THE RING, and Felicity was such a kick-ass young lady.

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor
Whilst this book relies on some well-known tropes, Laini Taylor put her original spin on the story. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, and Karou was a refreshing YA female main character.

"Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli
I`ve talked about this book non-stop so I won`t get into too many details now. This book is adorable and heartwarming, everything you need to put a smile on your face. If you want to know more about it, here`s my review

"The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green
I can`t get into John Green`s other books, but this one will always remain my favourite YA contemporary. It`s hard to say why I love it so much! I first read it when I was 24 so you can`t say I was impressionable. I for one, love John`s writing and I don`t think it`s pretentious. He writes beautiful sentences that make you think. I also adored Hazel`s love for books.

The Bad Surprise
The Infernal Devices

"The Mortal Instruments" by Cassandra Clare
I know I`m in minority here, but I first saw the movie, and I really enjoyed it (maybe because I`m a fan of the actors). And then I read the books, and I found Clary the most annoying, whiny and entitled main character that I encountered. So far I`ve read the first three books, and I`m not sure if I`ll continue on with the series.

"The Infernal Devices" by Cassandra Clare
A lot of people suggested this trilogy when I mentioned that I have issues with TMI. And again, I hate the main character. I do see an improvement in the writing, but it`s not enough. It`s funny because I love the secondary characters Cassie created, but her main ones fall flat.

"Miss Peregrine`s Home For Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs 
Boring and predictable. I liked the creepy pictures, but that`s pretty much it. And I`m so annoyed because I invested in a hardback set. And I`ll keep it on my shelves forever because your girl is cheap. (also, I`ll use it as a reminder to buy a cheap first book until I decide if I like the series or not)

"Caraval" by Stephanie Garber
It had insta-love, no character-development or world building. A pretentious writing style that wanted to look poetic, but ended up being silly. Here my review for more in-depth thoughts.

"13 Reasons Why" by Jay Asher
I`ve struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, so for me, this book was such a letdown. I agree with the message, that our actions have consequences, and that we should treat others better. But what Hannah did was revenge suicide. And I felt it cheapened the struggle people with suicidal thoughts go through. From experience, if you want to end, you do it because you feel there`s no other way. You don`t leave behind notes blaming others. I don`t have a problem with people that loved this book, but from my point of view, it was harmful.

I really hope you enjoyed this post, and if I trashed one of your favourite books, don`t take it personally. We all have different tastes and we all enjoy diverse things. After all, isn`t debate at the centre of progress?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Book Review "Batman: Nightwalker" by Marie Lu

"Batman: Nightwalker" by Marie Lu is the second instalment in the DC Icons quartet. After Leigh Bardugo did such a phenomenal job with Wonder Woman, I had high expectations for this book. Although I enjoy the Marvel movies, I`m a DCU girl at heart. And I adore "Gotham", which is an amazing TV Show that focuses on the origin story of Batman and the future villains. But when it comes to the actual book Marie Lu wrote, I found myself disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the novel lacked something to keep me engaged.

After interfering with Gotham PD, 18-year-old Bruce is sent to do community work at Arkham Asylum. There, he meets Madeline Wallace, a skilled criminal that may or may not want to help Bruce save Gotham from its latest menace, the Nightwalkers. From the beginning, you could feel that the story seemed a bit farfetched. Who would send a teenager to do community work in Gotham`s most dangerous place? Where they keep the worst of the worst. I get it, Bruce made a fool out of the police and he needed a lesson. But it was not that plausible.

Anyway, as far as the characters go, I am conflicted. Bruce was likeable, and I was happy to see that the book lacked too much teenage angst. Sure, at times he was a bit one dimensional, but he was still young and learning. But enter Madeline, who at 18, is as gifted as Hannibal Lecter in reading people:

" She`s a skilled manipulator. Apparently, she can read a person better than they can read themselves, can figure out the people who matter to you and can then use your relationship with them to burrow into your mind" p. 79

"Even without uttering a word, she`ll find a way to make you doubt yourself. She`s impossible to intimidate, and I`ve never seen her lose her composure. Be careful what you say to her"  p.83

I know that some people are geniuses, at a very young age. But something did not click. The author tried so hard to make Madeline complex and mysterious, but as a reader, I was irritated with being fed information. Let me decide for myself. One thing that I adore about "Gotham" is that Bruce and Selina Kyle for instance, (whom Madeline was heavily based on) are still kids, who make mistakes. They`re gifted, yes, but not smarter than every adult person you could meet.

Now I`m going to tell you something shocking: Bruce falls for Madeline. Mind-blowing, I know. Nobody could have seen that coming. Cause Madeline is pretty and she can read Bruce like an open book. And she knows that he has everything, but he has a heavy heart. And they`re kindred spirits. I could go on and on with sarcastic things, but you get my point. Instead of doing something original, the author decided to take the most common trope and turn everything into a cheese fest. Although predictable at some points, I did enjoy the fast-paced plot. But the romance was too much for me and overshadowed everything interesting going on.

I was debating whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. In the end, I went with three stars. Despite the lack of originality, Marie Lu has an engaging writing style. And I enjoyed the interactions between Bruce and Alfred. Although I was enthusiastic at first, now I`m terrified of what Sarah J Maas will do with Catwoman. She`s my favourite character in the DC Universe, and I`m scared that Maas will create a one-dimensional, overly sexualised character. Here`s hope that she`ll pull a Leigh Bardugo and create an interesting story.

Book Review: "Everything Here Is Beautiful" by Mira T. Lee

" Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister's protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life-changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it's Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor's diagnosis. 

Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?

Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we're willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it's time to let go and save ourselves."             Goodreads blurb

I have no words to describe how touched I was by this story. At its core, it`s a beautiful story about how mental illness affects the lives of everyone, not just the ones that suffer from it. But to put this book in just a category would be wrong. "Everything Here Is Beautiful" is a multi-layered novel that also touches subjects like immigration, poverty and class. It has unique and fully-fleshed characters, that come together in the most unexpected ways. 

Lucia was a complex character, and sometimes it was infuriating reading the chapters from her point of view. Because she`s clearly sick, and you want her to get help. But as her sister Miranda observes at the end of the book, how can you tell anyone how to live their life? Right or wrong, it`s their decision. When she wasn`t erratic, Lucia was one of the sweetest people you could meet. She was full of life, and she was always considerate of others. That`s why it felt heartbreaking to read the chapters when Lucia`s illness takes over. As the story progresses, it`s becoming harder and harder to draw the line between the person and the illness, and I think the author did an amazing job of conveying that.

Miranda, on the other hand, was harder to read. She`s calculated and pragmatic. But her devotion to her sister knows no boundaries. Again, I felt conflicted because, on one hand, love and family bond knows no limit. But I also wanted Miranda to live her life, to stop putting everything on hold because of her sister. 

As for the men in Lucia`s life, they couldn`t be more different. I found Yonah sweet and reliable, although I wished he understood more of Lucia`s illness. In that way, I think that Manny handled the situation better. What I loved about Manny was his devotion to his family and especially his daughter, Essy. As an illegal immigrant, he lived in a constant state of fear, and I must say, it was somewhat eye-opening to read his chapters. 

Although this book deals with many important topics, I would say that its main theme is love. All of these characters, with such different backgrounds, they`re united by the love they have for each other. Family plays a big part in the story, but one of the things that impressed me the most was Miranda`s relationship with Yonah, founded on their unyielding love for Lucia. 

Definitely one of the best books I`ve read in a while, 5/5 stars. 

TTT: Favourite Book Quotes

A few years ago I was really into artsy notebooks, and I remember I had a scrapbook filled with book quotes and paper cuts from various magazines. I don`t know what happened with that, but luckily you can like quotes on Goodreads and keep up with the times. Today`s TTT post is about your favourite quotes, and I`ve decided that not only will I share them, but I`ll tell you why they mean so much to me. So let`s get down to business and become an emotional wreck:

"It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool`s paradise" - "The Idiot", by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"The Idiot" is my favourite book, and it`s hard to narrow it down to just one quote. I think that this quote is every pessimist's motto. I think that for everyone, each sentence has a different meaning. For me, this quote is similar to wanting to know about all the injustice that happens in the world. Just because I have a comfortable living that does not mean I should be blind to everything wrong with this world. Granted, you should not let it consume you. But you should be aware of the bad and try to do everything in your power to fix it.

"The only thing that doesn`t abide by majority rule is a person` conscience" - "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
Again, I could have picked so many quotes from this wonderful book. But I think that this sentence speaks for itself. You always have to do what`s right, regardless of what might happen.

"We`ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That`s who we really are" - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J.K.Rowling
I think one could write a 200 pages book just with the quotes from Harry Potter. There are many more that I like, but this is my favourite. I don`t think that anyone is truly good or evil (well, maybe a few exceptions), it`s our choices that define us.

"Not all those who wander are lost" - "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
So I should say something smart about the meaning of life. But the thing is you have one life, and that is yours alone. So you better live it.

"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you" - "The Shadow of The Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Quotes about books and reading are my favourite! Because reading is such a personal matter, and everyone will understand situations individually. We sometimes connect with fictional characters because we see a part of ourselves in them.

I could have probably picked many more quotes, but I`ll leave it like that at the moment. I might do a series where I talk about my favourite quotes from classics, fantasy, contemporary, etc. Let`s be honest: with so many masterpieces out there, there are countless quotes to choose from. And because I want to finish on a light note, here`s a bonus:

  "Accept who you are. Unless you`re a serial killer" - Ellen Degeneres, "Seriously...I`m kidding"

* TTT is a weekly meme/feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

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