What I Learned at my First YA Panel Event

On Saturday, August 27th, Chapters held a YA Panel featuring Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen), Leah Bobet (An Inheritance of Ashes, Above), Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf, The Walled City), E. K. Johnston (Exit, Pursued by a Bear, A Thousand Nights), and Lindsay Smith (Sekret/Skandal, Dreamstrider).

But first, I went to a team building event for work, where I finished the scavenger hunt first but ultimately lost because my partner had given me the wrong symbol, and where I was too competitive in a quiz game and ended up losing in a tie-breaker.

But that’s now what you’re here for. You’re here for the YA Panel, right? I hope so.

I was running behind schedule, and though I showed up just as the authors were taking their seats, all of the chairs had been claimed.

Note to Self #1: Come earlier next time.

With my copy of The Star-Touched Queen gripped in my left hand, I grabbed a copy of Exit, Pursued by a Bear (which I’d recently borrowed from the library and loved) with my right, and bought it while the guests introduced their books. The Chapters staff were super friendly and helpful, which is always awesome!

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(Left to Right: Roshani Chokshi, Leah Bobet, Ryan Graudin, E. K. Johnston, Lindsay Smith) (Photo Credit: Chapters Brampton on Twitter)

I stood at the back with my books and other late-comers. I saw some bloggers I’ve spoken to online sitting near the front – Giselle of BookNerd Canada and Sarena and Sasha of The Writing Duo – but never got the chance to say hi, though I wish I had.

E. K. Johnston was pretty much the master of ceremonies, because not only did she do a lot of the introductions, but she’s also the one who invited the other authors up for a writing retreat (which I enviously caught glimpses of on Chokshi’s Instagram). They started by talking about their books, upcoming projects, etc. And then Johnston announced that it was time for the audience to ask their questions.

For 5 full, awkward seconds, nobody raised their hands.

Note to Self #2: Come prepared with questions next time.

Slowly, but surely, people began asking questions. I don’t quite remember all of the questions and answers (thanks to my poor memory), but I’ll try my best!

“What is your writing process?”

  • Smith: outlines
  • Johnston: binge writing
  • Graudin: screen staring
  • Bobet: it changes
  • Chokshi: visuals/Pinterest

“What are your Harry Potter houses?”

  • Smith: Slytherin
  • Johnston: Hufflepuff, possibly Slytherin
  • Graudin: “Gryffinpuff”
  • Bobet: Ravenclaw
  • Chokshi: Slytherin

“What authors would you write with?”

Okay, the only answer I remember from this question is Chokshi & Graudin fighting over Laini Taylor. Although I vaguely remember Graudin also saying she’d work with Maggie Stiefvater, if she couldn’t have Taylor.

Note to Self #3: Take notes next time.

“Which of your books would you live in?”

Once again, I can’t remember all the answers. E. K. Johnston had said Exit, Pursued, because she “fixed the legal system” (TRUTH), and Chokshi had said her upcoming novel, a Crown of Wishes.

“How did you get an agent/published?”

Some of the authors got in more traditionally – writing, sending out query letters, etc. E. K. Johnston, funny enough, got an editor before getting an agent.

After that, it was time for the signing! I felt bad for only having two books, while a lot of the people in the line had at least one book from every author up there. I was worried about standing in front of one of the authors awkwardly, having nothing for them to sign because, well, I hadn’t read their books! After hearing them all talk during the panel, though, I definitely want to check out all their writing – especially Leah Bobet, because that woman has an awesome reading voice.

After a 30 minute wait in line (seated people got to go up first), I approached Roshani Chokshi. She is honestly one of the sweetest people in the world, and we ended up talking about how nice Bobet’s voice is. I had wanted to tell her that TSTQ had gotten me out of my reading slump, how beautiful her book was, and ask for a picture, but I was honestly too star-struck (author-struck?) to function properly, so I didn’t do any of that.

Note to Self #4: Stop being awkward.

E. K. Johnston signed her book for me next, although we were all kind of busy admiring another girl’s victory rolls to say much.

Note to Self #5: Wear something that will start a conversation.

I left the stage quickly after that, not wanting to block the lineup. It was then that I remembered that I’d wanted to get a photo with Roshani Chokshi, but decided that it was too late now. My mother and brother (who had come with me but went elsewhere in the store) were purchasing books for themselves, and when I told them about the forgotten picture my mom said “Go back! The line is short, and you don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Canada!”

So I went back, and snuck in a picture with the infinitely beautiful Roshani Chokshi (sorry my gross face ruins the photo)

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Thanks to the Chapters staff member – Leisha? – for taking the photo!

I would have asked for one with E. K. Johnston, but she was deep in conversation with some other people. She’s a Canadian author, so I’m hoping to have other photo opportunities with her another time.

And then, finally, I headed home, which is where I opened the books to see what the authors wrote.

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I posted this and my photo with Roshani Chokshi on my Instagram.

Overall, it was a really cool event! I’m glad I went and got to hear these wonderful authors talk books and writing. In fact, I think going really inspired me – but that’s a story for another day.

Until next time, lovely readers.

~ Becca

Book Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston.

Exit Pursued

Publisher: Dutton

Date of Publication: March 15th, 2016

Dates Read: August 24th – 25th, 2016

Description:

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

Trigger warning: Rape.

I’m having a hard time deciding how to write this review. I think I’ll start off by saying that I haven’t read too many books on this topic, so I am not at all qualified to really discuss how it should and should not be written. It is an important topic, however, and I do (eventually) plan to work on reading more.

But you know what convinced me to finally read this one? This article on the Penguin Teen website, which Johnston wrote, where she talks about exactly why she decided to write it how she did. TL;DR: How she wrote this book is not how it happens in real life –  but it is what real life could eventually have.

I mean, E. K. Johnston was going to be near my city, too, doing a YA Panel with a bunch of other authors, so that was also a factor in my decision to read it.

Needless to say, I read it and loved it.

I’d like to start with this: Exit, Pursued by a Bear is funny. Yeah, you heard me correctly, I laughed quite a few times while reading this book. There are moments where it’s a lighthearted tale of a high school girl who’s trying to win a competition and survive her final year of high school.

On the completely opposite end, this book legitimately had my eyes brimming with tears at least once, and brought on the feeling that comes before crying multiple times. I have never cried while reading, and the fact that this book got me so close to it probably says a lot. It has its heavier, more serious moments, the story of a girl who was raped and how she deals with it.

It was an emotional roller coaster, and I loved the ride.

Most of the characters became my sweet little children by the time I’d finished the book. I see a lot of myself in Hermione – organization, determination, competitive nature. Polly was probably my favourite, though, a wonderful and well-rounded character. Dion and Clarence were adorable and I wouldn’t mind being friends with them, and Amy is a precious snowflake that I want to protect at all costs. Listen, they’re not perfect – they screw up, say things without thinking about how they’ll affect people, act on impulse and let their emotions get the better of them, just like everyone. And that’s what makes them seem so realistic, at least to me (in fact, in the Author’s Note Johnston believes that Polly is the least fictional character)

One of the things I love about this book is all the love and support. Their relationships are so strong, and the girl power/love between the girls was so amazing to see. I actually think seeing the love is one of the things that made me cry. When girls support other girls, it’s a really powerful thing.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear shows us a character who wants to prove that she is so much more than a girl who was drugged and raped. Not every situation is going to be like this one, but this is the direction that the author decided to take it, and I see it as quite empowering. Hermione must fight through triggers and town gossip and cloudy memories, among other things, to keep moving forward with her life.

As you can see, I finished this book in 2 days. While it is short, I will tell you that I never wanted to put this book down. I kept following Hermione’s story, watching what happened next and which questions were answered. There’s drama and competition, strong friendships and family, and a touch of romance that’s not overpowering (in fact, the romance that I think was more developed wasn’t a heteroromantic one, so yay representation!)

Overall: I can’t say enough good things about this book; my words won’t do my love for it justice.

My Shelf Monday: the Talon Saga by Julie Kagawa

Where did I get it from?

First two came from Chapters, and my parents just recently bought Soldier from Barnes & Noble in Hawaii!

Why did I get it?

Besides the gorgeous covers/inner cover/end pages, I wanted to read a book about dragons!

Have I read it?

Yes ||| No

Why haven’t I read it?

It’s the same story every time: other books I want to read more. I’m running out of excuses LOL

Where is it on my TBR?

Not below the middle, but not at the very top; I do very much want to read them, but they’re not in my top 5 TBR.


My Shelf Monday is a weekly post on my blog in which I discuss one of the books/series that I own. It’s a way to catalogue my book collection, and it also acts as a slow, miniature tour of my shelves.

Thanks for reading!

~Becca

My First Indigo Teen Hangout Event

Last night at 7PM, ten Indigo locations across Canada held (what I believe is) their first Teen Hangout Event. I made the trip to my nearest location along with my wonderful boyfriend, Lucas, and this is how it went.

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It started off with a lot of rain. Lucas’s dad had agreed to drive us there, since he needed to be in that area anyway. Unfortunately, we ended up getting stuck in heavy traffic; it seems that people completely forget how to drive in pouring rain. We ended up getting to the location at 6:15PM – so much for grabbing a nice sit-down dinner beforehand. Lucas and I settled for a food court dinner, and ate quickly before heading up to the Indigo.

After hitting the washrooms, Lucas and I found the Teen section, where a bunch of other readers had gathered. The Indigo team – donning #TeamRhysand I Survived Chapter 54 shirts – were still setting up the space, which was tightly packed into a corner of the already small Teen section. Lucas and I stood in the furthest aisle, reading the titles and finding our favourites.

The staff finally called us to gather in the corner at 7:10PM. They apologized for the small space – they hadn’t expected this many people to show up (there were about 15 of us). They introduced themselves, and explained the fairylights and autumnal decorations; they were going for an Autumn Court theme (ACOTAR, anyone?), since fall is just around the corner. Then they jumped right into the hangout activities.

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First, we were all given a real rose and asked to place it in one of the vases on the closest table. Each vase had a book sitting in front of it – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Cinder, Miss Peregrine’s, Throne of Glass, and Looking for Alaska. Our roses would be used as ballots, and the book that got the most votes would become the Reader Pick of the Month at that Indigo location. I voted for Throne of Glass, but when Lucas handed me his rose (he didn’t know which one to vote for, since he hasn’t read any of them) I put it in the Miss Peregrine’s vase. What can I say, I wanted all the books to get some love!

After the voting finished, they handed out a little quiz for us to fill out, and the person who got the most correct would win an Indigo gift card, the second place getting a copy of the winning book in the previous vote. Thankfully, all the questions had to do with popular books, so I guessed the answers to most of them. The ones I didn’t get were:

  1. What’s Prim’s cat’s name? (Buttercup)
  2. What marks Magnus Bane as a warlock? (Cat eyes – one of the girls at the event actually gave me this answer, which was super nice of her)
  3. What are the names of Feyre’s sisters? (I got Elaine, forgot Nesta)

On the back of the quiz was a suggestion form – what did we like and not like about the event, what are our favourite books, etc.

After that we played a version of Heads Up, where we had to guess the title of the book on our foreheads with the clues the others gave us. The catch was that we weren’t allowed to say the title (obviously) or name any of the characters (a little trickier). People volunteered to go up and play, and everyone who guessed correctly got to pick an ARC from a pile they had on the furthest table. Unfortunately, because they hadn’t expected this many people they didn’t have enough ARCs to give out.

Luckily, I was picked to go up and play. The clues I was given were “It’s being turned into a movie” and “old”. So I guessed Miss Peregrine’s, and I was right! I was quite relieved, actually, that I got a book I knew (though never read), because I had been worried I’d be given a book I didn’t know, and therefore wouldn’t get an ARC. Priorities, I know LOL.

When I went to the ARC table, there were only about four books left to choose from. All of them were wrapped in brown paper and burlap, with tags on them that had 3 word descriptions of the books within. Like a Blind Date with a Book kind of deal. I picked the one that said “Royal, Survivor, Rebellious”.

From that description, can you guess which ARC I got?

Drumroll, please…

 

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I unwrapped it to find The Swan Riders by Erin Bow! The cover’s really neat, but when I saw the tech-y background I showed Lucas, who instantly took it from me and read the description. Now, unfortunately this is a sequel to The Scorpion Rules, so I’ll have to read that first before I read this. But the cool thing is that both Lucas and I are interested in it now – we both love a good sci-fi novel. What a neat way to be introduced to a book!

After that we took some pictures and sat around to talk books. One girl recounted the tale of how she didn’t talk to her grandmother for a month after she spilled coffee on her paperback Selection series books. The Starbucks in the Indigo brought us some mini vanilla bean frapuccinos, which was cool. The Indigo team even let us take home one of the roses!

Lucas’s dad called him at this point to let us know that he’d come pick us up. I went up to the Indigo workers (one of whom I swear is the sister of one of my former TAs) and thanked them for the fun event and for the ARC. They were really appreciative of the fact that we came to the event. They were so nice!

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And that was pretty much it. It was only an hour long event, so it actually took us more time to get there than we spent there. In the future, I now know that if I want to attend one of these events I need to make a day out of it. Spend more time in the big city, you know?

Thank you to Indigo for the fun event, and to Simon & Schuster Canada for the The Swan Riders ARC!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and thank you for reading!

~Becca

Book Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date of Publication: September 2nd, 2014

Dates Read: June 18th – July 02, 2015

Description:

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Honestly, I’m really on the fence about what to give this one. I think it’s a solid 4.5 like Throne of Glass. Crown of Midnight is still my favourite of the series, but by no means does that mean Heir of Fire was bad. It was still very very good. (This review is going to be really short, just so you know.)

On the one hand, it was so very interesting. I loved seeing from all the different points of view, and finally meeting all the characters I’d heard about on Tumblr. There was a good struggle in there for the characters, with events I was holding my breath on and squirming about. The characters are as great as ever, and I’m slowly getting very attached to all of them. Which is very, very bad.

Speaking of the characters, love the development.

The reason I’m undecided about my rating is because, honestly, sometimes it felt a little too long, a little too dragged out. And though I know it’s better that the hero’s journey not be easy – one of the qualities I enjoy about this series – I still felt really weird about its length. Maybe I’m just impatient. But sometimes I have to wonder if all of the scenes were necessary, or if parts could have just been added to the next book. Then again, I’m not a literary genius. Like I said, I could just be really impatient and have a short attention span.

But yeah, it’s nice to be caught up and know what the hell everyone’s talking about.

Overall: A great 3rd book in this series. (Unless you count The Assassin’s Blade?) Can’t wait for the next!


This review was originally posted to my booklr on July 6, 2015.

 

Books I Would ReRead

Good morning everyone, and happy Wednesday!

For a lot of people out there, rereading is a pretty normal thing. There are certain books that are easy to fall into over and over again, whether to get you out of a reading slump or as a bit of comfort after a rough week.

Funny enough, for a long time I haven’t been one of these people; I’ve always thought that I have way too many books to read to bother re-reading old ones. I made a post a while back about the few books I have reread, the last time being four years ago.

Every once in a while, though, I do get a small urge to reread certain books. So maybe I’m /not/ so abnormal – ha! Anyway, for today’s post I’m going to talk about the books that I consider rereading, and why those specific books have sparked this tiny new fire.

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

This was one of my favourite books that I read in 2015, though it didn’t come out until March 2016 (hooray for ARCs!). My parents just recently bought the hardcover for me while on vacation, and now that I own a physical copy I am very tempted to reread it. And, I will admit, the other day I saw the author discussing one of the characters, and I cannot seem to remember that character a t  a l l. So if I do reread a book anytime soon, it’ll probably be this one.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Everyone and their mother seems to love this book, but when I read it I had such a hard time getting through the first half that I gave it 3/5 stars. I like to think that if I reread it, it’ll go smoother because I’ve read other books and will be in a different mindset from the first time I read it. Plus, I pretty much already know what happens; if I reread, I’ll be able to focus more on the writing and story itself. Maybe? Is that how rereading works?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This was one of my favourite books in elementary school, and it makes me sad that I can’t remember any of it. I also recently learned that it’s a Banned Book, so I’d like to reread it to try to see what’s so taboo about it, but also to try to understand why I loved it so much as a kid. No long winded explanation here, just a straightforward want to understand it better.

The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

This was also in my Books I’ve ReRead post, and it’s for that reason that I’d like to reread it once more! I love-love-loved this trilogy when I was a young teenager, especially all the romantic bits 😛 I haven’t read it in a long time, though, and I think it would be fun to see if I react to it the same way I did when I was a teenager.

The Matched Trilogy by Allie Condie

This trilogy has some very mixed reactions. I remember everyone used to love it, but over time more and more people have not liked it at all. I read it when I was a teenager, and at the time I gave all the books 5 stars, but seeing all the recent dislike of it is making me seriously question my judgement. Now, I’ve read a lot of really good books since then, so maybe my standards are just higher now than they were back then. I am a little hesitant to reread these, though, because I remember them so fondly, and a reread may make me hate them…


What are your go-to re-read books? Let’s talk about them in the comments!

Have an awesome day, everyone! Thanks for reading!

~Becca

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of Publication: April 26th, 2016

Dates Read: August 16 – 21, 2016

Description:

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

Actual rating: 4.75

I was worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the hype for me. Let me tell you, it is absolutely wonderful.

Now, I would like to preface this review: this book definitely isn’t for everyone. You’re not given very many clues about the reality of Mayavati’s situation (until the very end in a large info dump), and sometimes the poetic prose could be a little confusing. I can imagine many people getting frustrated with this book, and I will admit that I may have felt a little bit of that frustration once or twice.

But, in the end, this book totally won me over. I don’t think my words will do justice how much I absolutely loved it, but I’ll try.

Like I said, the writing was beautiful. I loved exploring the worlds and all their customs and cultures. Sometimes I felt like I was there alongside Maya, tasting the fruit and holding everything in my own hands, feeling the power and touching the tapestry. Chokshi’s writing is just so vibrant, like it jumps off the page and makes you part of the story, too. Of course, I loved the mythology, and the use of the terminology that really transported you there (hooray for the glossary at the back!).

I loved Maya and Amar and Gupta all so much, all for very different reasons. I love that Maya makes mistakes, but ultimately learns from them and becomes stronger because of them. She has such a fire in her heart, and she’s got so much love to give. Amar is swoon-worthy and so loving, Gupta is adorable and loyal. And KAMALA! Kamala may be my favourite character of this book.

The story was so much more than it seemed, with so many secrets to be discovered and so much more magic than I expected. I never truly knew what the heck was going on, so I kept reading and reading to find out, to get the explanation I was very much craving. And in the end I was surprised by – yet very happy with – the story behind the story, the reason why this all was. It was pretty clever, when I think about it, all coming back to Maya the way it did. (Sorry, have to be vague so I don’t spoil it. If you want to know what I mean, send me a message!)

The Star-Touched Queen pulled at my heart in so many different ways; at the love between Amar and Maya, at Maya’s love for Gauri, and at all the heartbreak in between. This is truly a book from the heart, meant for the heart.

Overall: A romantic, beautiful, magical, heart-tugging story.

My Shelf Monday: The Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Description (from Frostfire)

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who’s determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

Where did I get it from?

I bought the first 2 books from Book Outlet, and the last one from Chapters.

Why did I get it?

I’ve never read anything based on troll folklore, and the description sounded interesting. Plus, the covers are really nice.

Have I read it?

Yes ||| No

Why haven’t I read it?

There have just been other books I want to read more, I guess.

Where is it on my TBR?

Middle-ish, maybe slightly above the middle. I think making this post has rekindled my want to read it.


My Shelf Monday is a weekly post on my blog in which I discuss one of the books/series that I own. It’s a way to catalogue my book collection, and it also acts as a slow, miniature tour of my shelves.

Thanks for reading!

~Becca

Popular Books/Series I Haven’t Read

So I watched Kat from Katytastic do a video on this topic the other day, which was interesting to see because she reads like 10x as many books as I do. Anyway, after watching her admit the popular books she hasn’t read, I’ve been inspired to let you all know that there are many, many popular books that I have yet to read – and a few I may never read.

In no particular order, here are 10 popular books/series that I haven’t read.

1. Book 3-7 of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I decided to just rip the bandaid off and start with the series that may shock the most people. I didn’t grow up reading Harry Potter – my brother did, but I read a lot of Dear Dumb Diary, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, and A Wrinkle in Time (one of these things is not like the other…). I’ve also only seen the first movie, and that was when I was a kid. Basically, I’m pretty personally removed from the Harry Potter fandom, although everyone else around me is chest-deep in it. I really only read the first two books to see what the hype was about, but so far I’m not incredibly impressed by it – maybe because it’s Middle Grade? (although my grandmother loved the books, so that can’t really be an excuse.) Anyway, eventually I’ll probably read the rest, but right now they’re just not a priority for me.

2. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

This is one of those series that I’m pretty sure I’m never going to read. The entire plot doesn’t necessarily pique my interest, and I’ve already been spoiled for how it ends and basically the entire story, thanks to the Internet. At this point reading it seems unnecessary, especially when there are other books I want to read a lot more.

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Funny enough, I’ve had this box set for about two years now, and I still haven’t read any of the books. I keep hearing wonderful things about this trilogy, especially from Katytastic, and I’m curious to see what it’s about. I actually listed it in 5 Series I Own but Haven’t Read, which went up almost a month ago.

4. Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

For a while I did own the first two books of this series, but recently I decided to donate them to my library’s used book sale. I’m still not sure whether or not I’m going to read them; they don’t seem to be “my” kind of books, but maybe sometime down the road I’ll give them a try.

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I have owned Cinder and Scarlet for a while now, and at this point I think I’m just waiting until I own all the books in paperback before I read them. I’ve heard only wonderful things about this series, and I really just love sci-fi retellings of fairytales, so this is a series I definitely want to read relatively soon!

6. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

If you follow me on Instagram, I talked about this book being on this list yesterday. Lucas bought it for me for our anniversary, which was super awesome of him, but I just haven’t picked it up yet! I do want to read it, I’m just not sure when I’ll get to it.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I assume this book is popular, since The Melting Library (not sponsored) has a candle inspired by it. Anyway, I’ve owned this book for a long time, buying it after hearing so many people say good things about it. I still have no idea what it’s about, but I think I’d like to keep the mystery going until I actually read the book. Not sure when that will be, though.

8. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

I’m not sure if I’m going to read this series or not. I recently read Six of Crows, and I loved it. These books take place in the same universe, I believe, but I know the Grisha books have very polarizing reactions; people either love them or hate them. It would be nice to form my own opinion of them, but like Harry Potter, these books aren’t necessarily a priority for me at the moment.

9. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Yet again we have another series that I’m on the fence about reading. I honestly don’t even remember what these books are about (yes, I know, it’s a Goodreads search away), but I remember at one point I was interested in reading them. A couple of months ago I tried reading Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, but I couldn’t get into it, so now I’m concerned that I may just not like this author’s writing style.

10. The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater

Now this is a series that I DEFINITELY want to read. In fact, I think it holds the top spot in my list of series I don’t own and want to read. Again, I just hear such wonderful things about these books, and I’m really interested to see how the story plays out, since I hear it’s a little weird. I actually think I’ll just wait for a Raven Cycle box set to come out so I can get all the books at once.


What about you? What popular books/series have you not read yet? If you think I should prioritize any of these books, let me know in the comments – I am open to persuasion!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone ❤

~Becca

Book Review: State of Grace by Hilary Badger

State of Grace

Publisher: Capstone

Date of Publication: September 1st, 2015

Dates Read: July 5th – 7th, 2015

Description:

The trees are laden with fruit and the water in the lagoon is as clear as crystal. Wren’s world is a utopia.

If only she could stop the strange visions she’s started having: flashes of another world, where there are people she doesn’t know, couldn’t possibly know, but who somehow feel familiar. What does Blaze, the most beautiful and mysterious of creations, know about what’s going on in Wren’s head?

When she uncovers the lies that are propping up everything she has ever believed in, Wren must choose: remain in blissful ignorance or face the ugly truth?

State of Grace on Goodreads

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from Capstone via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

I remember seeing someone review this book a while back with a different cover (which I learned is the physical copy) and having a little bit of it spoiled for me. But when I requested it, the description didn’t say anything about the part that had been spoiled, so I assumed it was a different book. It was, in fact, the same one, as I found out later in the story. Which was good for me, since I’ve wanted to read this book since I saw that review.

The story behind State of Grace isn’t necessarily obvious at first, and that I enjoyed. It was pretty well paced, maybe a little slower at the beginning but it picks up speed in no time. I really was interested in this book, I think finishing the second half all last night. I kept turning the pages hoping to see what would happen next, and to find out all the secrets and such. The plot had me squirming, sitting on the edge of my seat, and laughing. A great roller coaster of emotions.

And the world was pretty cool to see, too. It was fairly easy to pick up on their lifestyle and how things worked. It took me some time to piece together the big reveal, but I did it at about the same pace as Wren did, maybe only slightly faster. But anyway, great suspense and thrills.

I love the cast of characters and the diversity, too. No two were exactly alike, and seeing them mesh together was fun. One of my only complaints is that sometimes the way Wren speaks is very child-like for a 16/17 year old. Now, I’m not sure if it’s because of the circumstances, since her tone of voice does change throughout the book. I didn’t like that very much, either way, but if the tone changes because of the context, then I guess I could live with it.

One of the other things that bothers me is that we never really find out what happens to one of the characters that we spent so much time getting to know. The last time we see him is when he’s running with Wren, and then the next chapter starts with Wren and Blaze, no word of this character ever again. I want to know what happened to him! (I’m trying not to be spoiler-y)

Overall: Wonderful book with an interesting plot and exciting events.


This review was originally posted on my booklr on July 8th, 2015.