Favorite Reads of 2017, so far

Hello all!

It’s been a long time since I wrote a fun post that wasn’t necessarily a review of some kind, so I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve read this year that I’m thankful for.  Some are debuts, published in 2017, backlist books, new series installments, new authors to me.  But since I’m all about reading to my mood, these books came to me at a time when they were helpful and fun.

Anyway, here’s my favorite reads this year (in no particular order):

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)The Only Pirate at the PartyThe Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)Not Quite NarwhalFirebrandDream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient, #1)Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1)Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)The Saga of RexShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

What books have you read this year that felt right?  Which were amazing?

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#OTSPSecretSister October and November Packages

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My secret sister is on point and always seems to get the month’s package out right at the beginning, so I don’t have long to wait!  October’s theme was Halloween/spooky and included 2 books! and an iZombie Funko Pop for my amazing ladies collection.  The first thing I did after opening this package was spend three hours excavating that tombstone, I found the tiny black skull hidden inside within the first hour.  But that tombstone was huge and I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be any more.  Unfortunately, I did bruise my hand and typing at work the next couple days was quite interesting.

I did read Fiendish last month as my spooky Halloween read and should be sharing my review very soon!  Such as fun package, thanks secret sister.

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November’s theme was Inspire, and it couldn’t be more timely!  I am only tangentially participating in #NaNoWriMo this year, but I am working on getting words on a page.  The round things are inspirational magnets, which I already put on my fridge.  I see them every time I get something to refresh myself.  The colored pencil are my favorite kind of multicolored with multiple shades of a single color to provide blending.  And they will almost certainly make coloring that lovely Labyrinth coloring book so much fun!  I couldn’t be happier with this package 🙂

Sadly, this means that there are only 2 more months for this round and then I’ll have to decide whether I can participate in the next round.  I really hope that I can as this has been such an amazing experience so far.

Surprising Reads: Lighter Than My Shadow, Thornhill, and The Witch Boy

Here’s three new books this year that I didn’t know I would be reading.  On a whim, I picked these up and ended up reading each in a single day.  While they aren’t the best books I’ve read this year, I wanted to share them with you because of their content and the questions they ask and answer.  Read on for brief summaries and my thoughts and opinions on each.

Lighter Than My ShadowLighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

Summary:

Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast.

But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.

Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

My Thoughts:

This is a painfully frank and graphic description of what it feels like to live with an eating disorder.  As someone who has not lived through this but loves to eat and frequently stress eats, I’ve often wondered what it feels like.  Since this is a memoir, I can only assume that the author has the authority to speak on this subject as I have no point of reference.  Even without color, I found myself drawn into this powerful story of pain, suffering, asking for help, and following through again and again.  If you want to see inside the head of someone battling a variety of eating disorders and the kind of help you can seek.  I’m looking forward to reading this story again in color when it releases to see what impact that provides.

-Reviewed from an advance copy through work, trigger warnings for sexual abuse, nudity, and slicing off body fat

Thornhill

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Summary:

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

My Thoughts:

Here’s two stories that parallel each other, told through differing mediums.  The past is told through journal entries belonging to Mary while Ella’s present story is told through wordless illustrations.  The story flowed really well and I devoured the whole book in one sitting.  My main issue with the story is that <SPOILER> it appears that Ella commits suicide at the end to be friends with Mary, who had also committed suicide due to bullying.  And a third girl is introduced at the end, mirroring the beginning of the book and suggesting that the cycle will probably continue.  So I’m conflicted about whether I’d be comfortable recommending this book to middle schoolers, who I believe are the intended target audience.

-Reviewed from an advanced copy through work, trigger warnings for suicide, bullying, and possible off screen rape

The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Summary:

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

My Thoughts:

This story did not go the way I thought.  From the description and the beginning of the story, I thought this might be about transgender expectations.  Instead, the story tackled gender a little differently.  I’m not sure that the characters did much for me, but I like that this graphic novel is something that can be given to middle schoolers as part of the ongoing discussion of why we separate genders in so many areas.  It may not be my favorite, but I already know a few people I’ll be sharing this.

-Reviewed from an advanced copy through work, no overt trigger warnings

 

 

 

Fangirl Friday: Recent Contest Winnings

About a month ago, I won several Twitter/blog/random giveaways, and they all came in by a week or so ago.  I had meant to get this post together to say thank you to all the people who hosted these giveaways!  But alas, I got busy and then fell ill.  If you read all the way to the bottom middle of my Mask of Shadows review, then you’ll have seen the fun package I received from Sourcebooks Fire as a random winner during their promotional prerelease activities.  (Quick note: some of these happened awhile ago and I don’t remember all the details.  Mostly I wanted to share my thanks and gratitude with the people/author/publishers who hosted the giveaways!)

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August 2017 Releases to Read

Here’s a roundup of new releases that I haven’t had a chance to dig into yet.  August wasn’t quite as crazy as July, but it did disappear just as quickly!  So many good books, so little time 🙂

Ready to Read-Look for My Review Later:

The Epic Crush of Genie LoEx Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and LoreSwarm and SteelAn Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

Books I Plan to Read as Time Allows:

Venturess (Mechanica, #2)Shimmer and Burn (Shimmer and Burn, #1)Call of Fire (Blood of Earth, #2)Beast & Crown (Beast & Crown #1)The Book of EstherThornhill

Did I miss one of your most anticipateds for August?  Let me know in the comments!

#BookHaul after a Holiday Weekend

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So, normally I don’t go crazy and order a million things that all show up on the same day, but since the mail has been a little slow, September is full of amazing new releases, September is also full of art show prep and a Leigh Bardugo event, and I’d traded for several books, plus you throw in a holiday.  Can you see where this is going?  All these things combined meant that yesterday I came home to a tower of boxes that almost reached my hips (and I’m not short).  I loved every second of opening each one and gazing at all the beautiful new books that probably won’t fit on my shelves at this time 🙂

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March 2017 Releases to Read

It’s already time to look back on March to see what books came out that I just didn’t have time to read!  Surprisingly, I was able to read more March books than January and February books.  But maybe that’s just because there were so many more releases.  Who knows?  Anyway, here’s the releases I want to read but will have to wait a bit.

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