May 2019 Monthly Wrap Up // Lots Of Books, Less Reviews, And Wrapping Up Senior Year

Hey loves! Somehow it’s already June and that means we’re more than half way through the year???????? Anyways, that’s super weird, but I guess first I’m going to get into my late May Monthly Wrap Up!

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Reading

1. Red Glove (reread): 4 stars // Wow it’s been so long I almost forgot I reread this series at the beginning of this month? I looove this series so much!
2. Black Heart (reread): 4.5 stars // Seriously, I love all the love for Folk of the Air but I love Black’s earlier series just as much and these books with the urban crime fantasy are amazing!
3. Stepsister: 4.5 stars // 
This book feels like reading a fairy tale and it’s so feminist so of course I love it!
4. Summer Bird Blue: 4.5 stars // 
This was such a beautiful lyrical book and also hapa representation the first time I’ve ever seen the word hapa in a book so yayyy!

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5. I Love You So Mochi: 4.5 stars // This book was ADORABLE and I loved the family themes and food and Japan so yeah.
6. This Mortal Coil: 5 stars //
 The science biology nerd inside me LOVED this book omg it’s so geeky and I’m here for it.
7. A Curse So Dark And Lonely: 5 // 
This dark unique BATB retelling was so amazing!
8. The Star Touched Queen: 2 stars // so boring. so, so boring

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9. Ignite The Stars: 4.5 stars // This amazing cool criminal killer teenage girl in space morally grey stuff was so cool!
10. Tell Me Everything: 1.5 stars // This felt really juvenile and silly and also the representation was very questionable sooo
11. Girls Made Of Snow And Glass: 4 stars // This Snow White retelling about both the princess and her stepmother was so cool
12. Permanent Record: 4 stars // This contemporary was so fun celebrities but also so real and mature life is hard but I just really liked reading it and yeah.

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13. The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali: 3 stars // A solid meh–a really good idea and concept and representation, but the writing I mean I could have done better in 3rd grade.

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As you can see, I read 13 books this month, which is quite a lot, and I had a ton of really good 4 or 5 star books in there so overall it was a big YAY! My average rating was 3.9, which is high!!A good reading month for sure.

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Blogging

If it was a good reading month, it wasn’t the best blogging month. I only published 9 posts, compared to around 20 in all my previous months. I’m trying to post around 3-4 times a week now though (which is significantly less than when I used to post 6-7 times a week this time last year) so it’s not that much worse than what I was aiming for. I’ve been slow at commenting back, blog hopping, etc, but I’ll get to that later, and I still did put out some posts I really loved!

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Reviews:

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Other posts:

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Although I didn’t read that many other posts this month, I still found a few that I really loved!

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Life

Well, the reason I was less active here was because I was trying my hardest to be more active in my personal life since this was my last full month of high school! In fact, as this post goes live, I’ve graduated!!!! Here are some of the things I did this past month with my personal life.

  • I went to Yallwest! Well, still bookish, and you can see above I made a post about it.
  • I took 5 AP exams. It was rough, but now I’m…done with college board and standardized tests?? That’s so crazy (and so amazing!)
  • I went to my senior prom! Wearing a floor length princess gown, doing my makeup, taking pictures with flowers, dancing all night long…I definitely felt a bit like a princess and it was truly magical ❤
  • I’ve been working hard on final projects! I filmed a really fun video with my friends (and it took so long because we ruined so many takes laughing), and did a couple presentations, my last presentations of hs ever!
  • We had senior crazy week at school! From beach day carrying around pool floating to school, to powder day where we all threw colored powder at each other, it was so much fun! And of course, the looks of confusion on the faces of the underclassmen wondering what we were doing was priceless!
  • We got the yearbooks! I was in yearbook this past year, and going from the hundreds of hours pouring over a computer screen to actually seeing and holding my pages in print was absolutely incredible!

That was a lot and probably nobody cares haha but this blog is a place were I can write about myself for myself and I definitely want to remember this past month, so I’m jotting it down here so I can remember all the fun times ❤

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Let’s Chat

How was your May? When do you finish school if you’re a student? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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Ignite The Stars Review // Complex Characters In An Incredible Space Setting

38469737Title // Ignite The Stars

Author // Maura Milan

Publisher // Albert Whitman & Company

Publication Date // September 4th, 2018

My Rating //★★★★★ (4.5)

Synopsis // Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

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Before I even start the review, I think I need to have a moment of cover appreciation. I mean, have you seen the cover? The colors? It’s g o r g e o u s!! I swear I can’t even articulate how much I love this beautiful colored cover. But okay, enough of that. Let’s talk about the book. The book that was absolutely phenomenal.

Lately, it’s probably not a trend and just me being behind, but I’ve been reading more and more books set in space and I’m loving it! This book was no exception, and the setting and world building were phenomenal! I loved the concepts of people flying spaceships around, battling each other from these ships, dodging asteroids while flying, immigrating to and from different planets, living in different star systems, and just basically the whole thing.

(Side note: is anyone else lowkey annoyed with changing curse words in novels, particularly futuristic ones? I’ve read it a few times, and it just makes the flow of sentences sound so awkward? I mean, I get in the future the language would change, but it seems so weird that only the curse words and nothing else, not the syntax or slang or common words would change, just the curses? I just couldn’t take them seriously when they were like mung this and that lmao.)

It felt like there was some subtle political commentary in here, particularly with the mention of the Tawnies and other races that people didn’t like. There was talk of trying to throw migrant refugees, such as Tawnies, out of the Commonwealth, manipulation and propaganda of the media in order to create a specific mindset, and overall just the immense forestation of hate. It was subtle, and well integrated in the book, but parts of it I felt were very powerful and relevant to today, and really made this book powerful.

I also really liked the immediate setting of the sort of space force academy. It was kind of fun easy YA, with moments where students were trying to pass tests, hanging out with each other on breaks, and dorming together. But at the same time, we’re dealing with Ia, a dangerous criminal who is acutely aware of the world beyond their small school, and many of the other characters having links back home to everything happening with politics and battles, and I found there to be a nice contrast between the lighter and heavier content.

I initially thought that the book would just be about Ia, but it’s actually split POV between three characters, and honestly, I loved them all.

–Ia, the Blood Wolf, was kind of giving me Kaz Brekker but female and in space vibes and obviously anything that gives me Kaz Brekker vibes is an 11/10. She’s ruthless, and not afraid to knock people out, break a few fingers, or even kill and slaughter people to achieve her means. She’s cunning and resourceful, and knows how to play and manipulate people. Yet at the same time it’s clear how much she cares about her friends, and is willing to sacrifice herself for them, and just overall what she believes in. She’s definitely kind of morally grey; she does bad things, but she does them for good cause, sooo… I loved seeing her character evolve and grow as she starts to see the other side of things, and realize that the world isn’t as black and white as she used to think of it.

–If Ia had good character development, Brinn’s was incredible! She’s half Tawnie, a race of blue haired geniuses who are discriminated against and hated, who feels she must always hide her true identity and play herself down in order to fit in with everyone else. I loved seeing her start to change, and to accept herself for who she really is. And of course I’m always looking for multiracial representation, and I loved seeing Brinn struggle with being a halfie, feeling like one half of her was more important than the other instead of embracing her identity of being both.

–I was lowkey least interested in Knives, but he was still a pretty good character (although I didn’t fall in love with him the way I love Ia and Brinn!!). He’s a bit of a smol bean, with a famous and powerful father and other people pushing him to accept a job filled with glory instead of his small training job, just trying to lie low and hope people don’t judge him for his family, and struggling with a tragic background on top of that. Also, his and Ia’s romance was super slow burn and amazing and I was so quickly in love with the both of them together!

 

Top Ten Tuesday // Best Fantasy Novels

Hey loves! Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is Books From My Favorite Genre. My favorite genre is definitely fantasy, and there are some truly AMAZING books in it, so let me begin raving 🙂

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1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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And, ya know, the rest of the series. I mean, do I really need to explain?

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2. Crooked Kingdom

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This book DESTROYED ME my feelings were an absolute mess and it’s been a year since I’ve read it and tbh I’m still not really okay.

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3. Winter 

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The Lunar Chronicles is just a masterpiece and this book is the best of all. I mean, fairy tales and princesses and revolutions and monsters in space? On the moon? Need I say anything else.

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4. Legendary

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This book knew what it was doing with the title because it’s truly legendary.

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5. The Wicked King

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someone give me the queen of nothing

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6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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I looved this cool kooky concept of the monsters and the teeth and everything!

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7. Sorcery of Thorns

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This book releases TODAY June 4th so here’s your friendly reminder to GO GET YOUR COPY NOW BECAUSE IT”S AMAZING I mean magical libraries, enchanted books, sorcerers, demons, the whole shenbeng is amazing and you must read it!!!!!!!

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8. Girls of Paper and Fire

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Don’t we all love this one? Asian inspired lesbian girls against an evil demon king yES pLEASE

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9. A Court of Mist and Fury

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To the stars who listen…and the dreams that are answered ❤

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10. A Curse So Dark and Lonely

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Of all the bazillions of BATB retellings this one is sooo cool and unique and dark and amazing and I love it.

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Let’s Chat

Okay so I loved gushing about my fantasy faves, but what about yours? Any on this list you’re absolutely in love with too? What’s your favorite genre? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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Legendary Review // A Legendary Fantasy

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Title // Legendary

Author // Stephanie Garber

Publisher // Flatiron Books

Publication Date // May 29, 2018

My Rating // ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Synopsis // A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

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This book was…dare I say it…LEGENDARY! Seriously. I had heard such great things before I read this book, and it definitely did not disappoint. I liked Caraval enough, but it wasn’t my favorite…well, this book was everything its the first was and more and I am so impressed and also I need to read the next book very very much.

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This book takes place in another game of Caraval like the first one. Caraval…be careful of being swept away. Well, I was certainly swept away. Even at the end of the book, like with the first one, I’m still not one hundred percent certain what’s real and what’s just part of the game. The stakes were definitely higher, with Tella getting swept up in a very real mess with the heir and the nobles, the fates, and, of course, the players of Caraval.

And Legend! We got to see who Legend is!! I figured it out partway through the book, and was giving myself many many pats on the back at the end when I got it right haha. I have so many questions though now aahhhh I need to know more about him!!

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I loved Tella! It was such a welcome surprise to see that this book wasn’t going to be narrated by Scarlet, but by her sister! Tella had already watched a game of Caraval being played, so she had a distinct new perspective on this one that I loved seeing. But more than that, she’s just so fierce and strong and badass and herself. She rises to all the challenges, lying to get into court, kissing guys and making others jealous, and honestly I just loved her.

But while I enjoyed Scarlet and Tella both by themselves, it’s definitely the interactions between the sisters that really sell this book for me. It’s so clear how much they both care about each other, and how much of their motivations are set around making sure that the other one is happy, or at least safe. This story also dives more into the backstory of their mother, who disappeared years ago, and who exactly she was…not who they thought she was, for sure! Tella is so furious with her mother for leaving her, but at the same time loves her so much, and aoasiljfdk I just loved the sisters and family themes in this one.

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I loved Stephanie Gaber’s writing style. Most of the time fluffy purple prose annoys me, but in these books it really doesn’t. It’s so beautiful, and really adds to the whimsical, magical, enchanting world created, and when reading this book, I could really imagine and fully immerse myself in her world.

The romance! This book was more romance centered than the last book, and I was all here for it! From mysterious Dante who keeps following Tella around, to the cruel Prince of Hearts who might be more than he appears, I was just swept away! It kind of felt like a love triangle though…which was annoying…but I still have high hopes for the way this romance it going to end up in the third book!

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Top Ten Tuesday // Favorite Books Released In The Last Ten Years

Hey loves! Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books Released In The Last Ten Years. Honestly, I’m nowhere near organized enough to do something like figure out what years stuff is published in, especially since I’ve only been blogging for a year so that’s the only year I’m really on top of releases haha. Some of these, particularly the earlier ones, I went with books I know I loved back in that year when I was a smol child, but others, particularly the more recent ones, are ones that I just love now even if it took me a while to discover them ❤ So, with a little help via my good friend Google, here we go!

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2009 // The Last Olympian

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What a throwback to reading the Percy Jackson series…aww, my childhood I loooved this ❤

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2010 // Princess For Hire

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This was one of my first YA books, although it might be more middle grade…it’s shelved in YA in my library anyways and it’s so much fun! A normal teen girl getting to be a princess?? Count me in!

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2011 // Divergent

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This was another of the very first YA books I read and I remember loving it back in middle school, even if the rest of the series was less than great haha.

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2012 // The Selection

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Is this book objectively trash and problematic AF? Yeah, but that didn’t stop me from loving it when I read it and continuing to love it today.

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2013 // Awaken

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Honestly 2013 was when I kind of went through a Meg Cabot phase and read all 50 or whatever of her YA books and yeah, no regrets. I definitely love some Persephone and Hades!

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2014 // To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Okay, this one I actually didn’t read in 2014; I read it last year in 2018, but I loved it so much I couldn’t not put it on this list.

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2015 // Winter

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The Lunar Chronicles is my absolute favorite series and Winter is my favorite book of the series so of course this deserves a spot on the list!

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2016 // Crooked Kingdom

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This book is AMAZING.

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2017 // Renegades

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Yep, still obsessed with Marissa Meyer. I read this at the very very end of 2017, as my very last book of the year, and it was still my favorite book of the year.

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2018 // Legendary

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And we’re at last year! I read this one this year, but it was so amazing I had to leave it here.

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2019 // The Wicked King

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I mean…this speaks for itself. #givemequeenofnothing

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Let’s Chat

What are some of your favorites from the last ten years? Do we have any similarities on our lists? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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