First Lines Friday #2

Good [insert your time of day here]!! I started partaking in a new weekly feature last week and I really liked it, so here it is again for week two! First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers that I saw over at One Book More, but it was formerly hosted by Wandering Words.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by it’s content? It’s first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

  • Take a book off your shelf and open it to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Here’s the first line…

Dear Evangeline,

Eventually you will see him again, and when you do, do not be fooled by him.

Ooh, what book could it be…? Here’s some pictures of lovely books to stare at while you think.

And the book is… The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber!

(Did you get it right?)


first lines friday - the ballad of never after

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Book #2)

Length: 403 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Book Description:

Stephanie Garber’s The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can….


I’ve been looking forward to reading this since I read the first one a year ago. Now, I haven’t ever read the Caraval trilogy, but this new spin-off intrigued me. It really seemed like my type of book, even though I’ve never had any interest in Caraval or its sequels.

And I ended up really, really liking Once Upon a Broken Heart. It just hit a lot of the stuff that I like in romance. It also had a relatively unlikable protagonist, but she grew bit by bit as a character throughout the novel. And I love it when characters are like that, and I don’t see it that often because it’s hard to pull off well.

But yeah, I’m pretty freaking excited to read the sequel, but I kinda pushed it back on my TBR because of other stuff. But I’m definitely still planning to read it and soon – hopefully in time for a Valentine’s Day post or before!

As always, thank you to everyone so much for reading, and I’ll see y’all on the flip side for more bookish things! (As well as another First Lines Friday next week!)

~ Mar ~

WWW Wednesday #2

Look! It’s a double post! I’ve been wanting to post stuff more often, so I’ve been looking for different blog posts to take part in. I tried WWW Wednesday last week and immediately loved it, so I think it’s here to stay!

WWW Wednesday is a meme that used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws of WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What I’m Currently Reading:

www wednesday - deeplight

Title & Author: Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Length: 432 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Description:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever?

When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster–and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?


What I Recently Finished Reading:

www wednesday - spinning silver

Title & Author: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Length: 466 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Description:

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.


What I Might Read Next:

www wednesday - what moves the dead

Title & Author: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

Length: 165 pages

Genres: Horror, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

Release Date: July 12, 2022

Description:

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.


What are your 3 Ws for the week? Are any of these books part of it? Have you been enjoying what you’ve been reading lately?

Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day/night! Join me next post for more bookish things, and next week for another WWW Wednesday!

~ Mar ~

WWW Wednesday #1

So, I’ve decided to start taking part in another meme on The Blog That Nobody Knows. It’s called WWW Wednesday!

This meme used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws Are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What Are You Currently Reading?

Length: 466 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Description:

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

Length: 416 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 10, 2023

Description:

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.

Kellen does not fully understand his talent, but helps those transformed maliciously – including Nettle. Recovered from entrapment in bird form, she is now his constant companion, and closest ally.

But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything – and everyone – around him…

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: April 2, 2020

Description:

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever?

When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?


What books have you been reading? Do you know what you want to read next?

Thanks for reading! Have a great day/night!

~ Mar ~

Reading Retrospective: Red Winter

Let’s see… It’s been, I don’t know, about exactly a month right down to the day since I last did one of these. So I’d say that it’s been more than overdue for me to post another one.

Since it’s been such a looonng time since the last one – or if you’re new – Reading Retrospectives are posts where I go over a book I read in the past, of which there are many (ei: before I started posting stuff on this blog), and determine whether it still deserves the star rating that I originally gave it. So I basically just give it a proper review.

This time, I’m reinspecting a book I read around three years ago. It’s Red Winter by Annette Marie.

Red Winter by Annette Marie

Series: Red Winter Trilogy (Book #1)

Length: 348 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Book Description

Emi has spent her entire life hiding from the creatures that hunt her. The savage earth spirits are determined to kill her before she can become the living host of a goddess, so she stays hidden–until the day she saves the life of one of her hunters.

Shiro isn’t the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. He’s mysterious, cunning, unpredictable … and now hers to command. He’s sworn to pay his debt to her, but he doesn’t know who she is. If he finds out, he’ll kill her.

But she can’t send him away–not yet. Her future isn’t what she thought. The lies surrounding her fate have begun to unravel, and she needs answers before time runs out–answers that lie in the spirit realm. Shiro can take her there… if she dares to trust him.

And only then will she find out how deep the gods’ treachery runs.

My Review

Then: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.

So, like… This book still holds up for me. I still really like it. I’ve seen it compared to shoujo manga and anime, and, speaking as someone who has watched some of the latter, I absolutely agree. So I’m just gonna say straight up, that if you enjoy shoujo, you’ll like this book.

My favorite part about the book is how much the author cared about her book. It’s very clear just by reading this, that Marie put in a considerable amount of research and effort into making this as authentic, and true to the cultural source, as possible. And it really shows. It really does feel like I’m watching a shoujo anime (anime geared towards teenage girls), only no I’m not, I’m just reading a really well written novel. With a few really pretty illustrations.

But yeah, the setting is solid. It really feels like I’m reading a book set in Japan. I also adore the Japanese folklore here. I feel like I really don’t see enough books about it, outside of anime and such.

Not that that was the only thing that I really liked about Red Winter. The characters were pretty alright too.

“Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.”

I really liked Emi. She’s “not like other girls” in the best way – by which I mean she doesn’t have the stereotypical, overly sassy, good at most everything characterization problem that most YA female protagonists do. And I loved that about her. Emi has a traumatic backstory, like many leading characters, and most of her development over this novel is her learning to deal with, and begin to move past, said trauma. And she doesn’t put up a badass, sassy front to hide this part of herself from the world. She’s timid and vulnerable, and because of this, you can really start to see her evolve and shine that much more brightly. She’s definitely one of my more liked female protagonists in recent years.

Shiro was also decently interesting, despite being the more stereotypical of the two. Marie might have given Emi a variation on the “chosen one” cliche, but Shiro was the one to really inherit a lot of the more common tropes. Not that that’s a bad thing – I really like Shiro! I just wanted to acknowledge that he’s tied to a few literary (and anime) stereotypes. But yeah, Shiro is a kitsune (a Japanese fox spirit), so it’s really no surprise how likeable he is. Most people just love foxes.

She stopped, a half-dozen paces still separating them. The frantic thudding of her heart filled her ears as she met his vacant crimson stare. “Don’t forget me, Shiro,” she said hoarsely. “You’re not allowed to forget me.”

He blinked slowly and something shifted in his gaze. His lips curved in his familiar crooked smile. “You’ll forget me someday, little miko.” His voice was even hoarser than hers, rough and coated in a hint of an animal growl.

“I’ll never forget you,” she told him. “I’ll remember you to my last day.”

“Do you promise?”

Her heart gave an odd little flutter. “Yes, I promise.

The romance is also done just right between the two of them. It’s slow-burn, the (for the most part) best way to write a romance, which is your biggest giveaway that it’s well-written. (Hey, when the other option is insta-love, I will always choose a slow-burn any day!)

And, to top it off, Red Winter isn’t just a standalone novel. It’s the first part of a trilogy! So there’s even more to enjoy if you just couldn’t get enough of this one. (And yeah, haven’t read the rest of it yet, on account of life happening. In a good way, but it still happened.)

So yes, in short, I really like this book. The only downside is that, due to some pretty extensive world building at the start, it takes a bit for the plot to get going. Despite that, I still highly recommend it. If you like any of the novel’s genres, or folklore, or Japanese shoujo media, definitely give this book a shot!

Books I Read in 2022 | A Year in Review

You might have noticed, but 2023 is upon us. Which means that 2022 has ended.

And so has my first year on The StoryGraph.

And the year that I started blogging dedicatedly.

It wasn’t the best year, for me and for lots of other people, but it wasn’t the worst year. And I read more books than I had in years, a lot of which I really enjoyed. So, you know the drill – it’s time for the reading stats.

(Note: I actually read twenty-two novels last year, not twenty-one! I forgot to start my Goodreads reading goal thing until after I read Mickey7. And whatever I did, I couldn’t correct it. So, thanks Goodreads… 😒)

😐 Moods: I had a lot of moods on the mood pie graph last year. The biggest ones were adventurous and funny; and considering that I read seven Dresden Files books and the entirety of The Murderbot Diaries (minus one short story – don’t @ me!!) it really isn’t much of a surprise. My third biggest slice was mysterious which also wasn’t a surprise – most plots have at least a little bit of it, after all, since it makes a lot of different plots more compelling.

👢 Pace: As you can see, my favorite books to read are generally fast-paced. Medium-paced is also usually pretty okay some of the time for me as well, but I cannot get into slow-paced novels. I’m sorry Legends & Lattes. I’m so sorry.

🔢 Length (or “Page Number”): I usually like to read books that are between 300 and 500 pages, otherwise books sometimes feel like they’re dragging me down or they’re too short. There are exceptions, of course, but 300 – 500 is generally my comfort zone.

🎭 Genres: Okay, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s pretty obvious that my favorite genre to read is fantasy. And the bar graph on the left displays that very prominently. I also like sci-fi and YA, with some flavorings of mystery, which the graph also shows. After that, it just gets into the more miscellaneous stuff that’s in the books that I tend to read – aka: the stuff that I don’t care about as much when I’m reading, like romance.

📄 Format: Print or digital mostly, but I did read an audiobook this year, which confirmed to me that I don’t much care for them. (Note: This pie graph is inaccurate because I imported almost all of my book data from last year over to StoryGraph from Goodreads, and I think StoryGraph just picked random formats for all the books that I read or something.)

📖 Fiction/Nonfiction: 2022 was a full fiction year for me. I do have a couple of nonfiction books in my TBR, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I’ve just kept getting distracted by fantasy novels and stuff.

✍️ Most Read Authors: Not surprising at all. As I mentioned in the Moods section, I read a bunch of the Dresden books and all of Murderbot. And I guess that the only other author that I read more than one book by, courtesy of the Prosper Redding duology, I guess that it makes sense for Alexandra Bracken to be on the graph, too.

📚 Number of Books and Pages: This section is pretty self-explanatory, and the line graph can probably explain it much more succinctly than I can with words, but I guess I’ll embellish a little. My peak months were March and November, which isn’t surprising since I read like eight books in the former, and like five during the later.

Star Ratings: I gave ten books that I read 5 perfect stars. Which I say is pretty good, considering that that’s almost half the books that I read in 2022. Yay!! My second highest rectangle is right in the middle of the bar graph with 4 stars. Also a respectable rating for a good book. Which totals it to fifteen books that got really good ratings! Yay again! The rest are kind of middling height, so I’m happy to say that I didn’t really read many novels that I didn’t like in 2022. (Except for really The Conjurer, but we don’t talk about that in this house.)

§ • § • §

Annnd… that’s a wrap! That’s really a wrap, actually. Wow, a whole other year is gone already. Hard to believe.

But that just means that everyone and everything has a fresh start once again. And there’s so many new books coming out in 2023 to enjoy – and old ones, too! So, Happy New Year once again to everyone and I’ll see you on the flip side for more bookish things!

December 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

It’s January now, which means December is over. And with it, my (frankly pathetic) amount of reading, as well. Seriously, I did not read nearly as many books as I’d wanted to. As I had aspired to.

But, it can’t be helped; I was once again dealing with stuff, and there were also a lot of familial holiday obligations. Let’s not dwell on what could have been any further – time to get into the StoryGraph statistics.

😐 Moods: Even though I only finished one book last month, I did read a lot of pages from other books that I either DNF-ed, or just haven’t finished yet. The moods from December were mysterious and adventurous, the latter being a mood I frequently feel whilst reading, or looking for books to read. Mysterious is also a relatively frequent mood for me. It makes sense; after all, every adventure needs a bit of mystery.

🎭 Genres: The genres are also not a surprise. I read a ton of YA, and fantasy has always been my favorite thing to read about. Romance is a common genre paired with these two as well, even if I don’t care for it as much, so no surprise there either.

👢 Pace: The pace of the novels I read (or tried to read) in December was slow, which explains why I (1) had so much trouble getting through the books I was reading, and (2) why I DNF-ed more books than I was able to finish. I should just steer clear of slow-paced books when I see them then, huh?

🔢 Page Number: Despite only finishing one book – and one that was just under 300 pages at that – I read almost 600 pages last month. So I still read a fair amount, even if I (very unfortunately) didn’t finish every book I tried to read.

📖 Fiction/Nonfiction: 100% fiction this time around, as per usual. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: I don’t read nonfiction very often.

📄 Format: All Kindle e-books this month. I don’t care for audiobook format.

Rating: I only finished one book last month (The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg), so I only rated one book last month. And it was 3.5 out of 5 stars. I just thought the book was okay, so that’s why.

📉 Pages Read Daily: The line graph on the right indicates how much I was reading every day, if I was able to read at all. As you can see, it really dips and then goes at a complete straight line at 0 pages near the end of the month, because I was busy for the holidays.


Annnd that about wraps it up for December! Not as much of a productive month where books (or this blog) are concerned, but I have faith I’ll do better this month. I’m already starting off pretty strong, so hopefully I can keep up this momentum. We’ll see what happens.

I’ll be doing a yearly reading wrap-up for the whole of 2022 very soon, so keep an eye out for that if you like my monthly reading wraps. It’ll probably be something pretty similar, but on a slightly bigger post. Otherwise, join me next blog post for more bookish things!

Retrospective Review: Among the Beasts and Briars

Briars, brambles, bones, and blossom, I smell a girl who can’t be forgotten.

It’s been weeks since I last ruminated on a book from my past. So, I thought that it was beyond high time for me to another reading retrospective. This time, I’m retroactively reviewing Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

Length: 352 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Book Description

Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.

Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.

But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

My Review

Then: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

I always thought that gardeners’ daughters couldn’t thrive where our roots didn’t grow. But maybe we were like dandelion tuffs.

I love, love, loved this book when I first read it twice years ago, and I still love, love, love it now. It was a wonderful fall fairytale, and I regret completely that I never made a fall vibes book recommendation list like I did for Halloween and winter, so that I could recommend it. (Maybe something for next year? Hmm…)

The vibes and prose in this book are – as I said before – absolutely perfect for autumn. Personally, I recommend the days leading up to Thanksgiving, if you have the time. It just feels the most like fall during that time to me, and since this book embodies the season so well… you get it.

Anyway, like I said, the prose and writing in this book was fantastic. I love the way that Poston describes things. It presents such a wonderful visual.

The leaves on the trees we approached were a molten gold, like an artist had taken a sunset and poured it over the forest, and the crisp smell of the coming winter floated on the autumn breeze. It was early afternoon, and the birds sang bright and loud in the treetops.

See? An absolutely beautiful description. And just one of many, I might add.

The story and characters were also great. I loved Cerys. I loved how she wasn’t a so-called “strong female protagonist” and that, even though she had a strange power via a curse, she never felt “special.” She just felt like a nice girl trying her best to fulfill her mission. Fox was a fantastic personality for Cerys to interact with, and I loved his POV sections just as much as Cerys’, if not more. He just had the right amount of sass to be both hilarious and compelling.

The plot was also fantastic. It wasn’t super complex, but I loved the fairytale inspired aspect of it, as well as how it never slowed down or dragged at any point. I also loved how the forest was essentially a character in its own right – the lush descriptions really made it feel like one too.

She said that the people who die never really leave. That we carry them with every breath we take, until the wind itself is gone.

Anyway, yeah, this book was still just as good as the first time, and I completely recommend it. Definitely check it out if you haven’t read it – it’s a wonderful fairytale-like story. Pair it with some fall scents, a warm blanket, and some hot chocolate, and everything will be more than perfect when you read it. Thanks, as always, for reading, and join me next time for more bookish things.

Weekly Wrap-Up: 11/28 – 12/4

It’s Sunday again, which means that it’s once again the end of the week, so it’s time to wrap it up, by reflecting on what appeared on the blog this week.

Here we go!

Monday 11/28: Majestic Monday Week #4

This Monday, as per usual, I highlighted some pretty book covers during Majestic Monday. This week focused on Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, and Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. You can read the full post here, if you missed it.

Tuesday 11/29: ACOTAR Retrospective Review

On Tuesday, I posted a retrospective review on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. (The first book, not the series.) It has been a while since I’d posted one of these, so I thought that it was more than overdo. Check out the post here if you missed it.

Wednesday 11/30: Shelf Control Week #5

Halfway through the week, it was once again time for some Shelf Control. This Wednesday, I highlighted a book that’s been languishing on my (virtual) shelf for over a year now, still unread. It’s Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson. If you missed it, you can check out this Shelf Control here.

Thursday 12/1: Looking Back on November 2022

Thursday was the first day of December, so it was time to go over my reading stats from November. Which I did. Fairly in-depth, I might add. It was fun doing a little analysis on myself. You can check out the full post here.

Friday 12/2: Error 404 – Not Found

Close your eyes and imagine that there’s something here. Or just close your eyes and scroll past this. (I was busy this week, okay?!?) (Lol.)

Saturday 12/3: “The Last Life of Prince Alastor” Book Review

On Saturday, I finally posted my book review on the second Prosper Redding book, The Last Life of Prince Alastor by Alexandra Bracken. It was a bit of a long time coming, but this week was busy. I really liked this book, though not as much as its precursor. You can read my full review here if you want to see my full thoughts on it.

Sunday 12/4: Reflection & Goals for Next Week

Sooo… This week I didn’t post quite as often as I’d have liked, but life sucks sometimes like that. Hopefully next week I’ll do a little better. I did have fun though, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters most, so I wouldn’t say it was a bad week by any means. It was just… weaker. A weak week, if you will.

This Week’s Goals Met (and Un-Met)
  • 2 or 3 book reviews
  • 1 or 2 reading retrospectives
  • Majestic Monday
  • Shelf Control
  • Something new, maybe (no, technically, did not do this)
Next Week’s Goals
  • 2 or 3 book reviews
  • 1 or 2 reading retrospectives
  • Most interesting-looking new books releasing in December 2022
  • Majestic Monday
  • Shelf Control

And that’s all for this week! Thank you, as always, for joining me for bookish things. Join me again next time for more of that kind of stuff!

November 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

November is over, and with it, part one of holiday season hell. Oh, and my StoryGraph statistics for my November reading are complete, too. Can’t forget about that; this is a book blog, after all.

Just like for October, I’m going to do a bit of a reading wrap-up talking about my book stats, a la The StoryGraph. This includes my reading moods, genres, page count, et cetera. So, let’s get started!

To begin, I’m going to highlight three pie charts: my moods, pace, and page number. Regarding the moods (the pie graph in the middle), they were adventurous, mysterious, and lighthearted. That’s one mood up from October! Woohoo. I also read more books this past month, so that also probably affected the stats here. I think you guys can get an inkling of the energy I like in my books.

For the pacing, it can be inferred from the graph on the left that I most likely enjoy fast-paced novels the best. Which is… absolutely correct! I just like their flow, and how, even though the characters still have time to have a few moments to reflect, the plot really keeps chugging along.

Regarding page count, it’s obvious from the rightmost pic that I enjoy primarily average length novels. Nothing too long or too short – something juuusst right.

For this section, I’ll be discussing three more graphs: genres, format, and the fiction/nonfiction ratio. Looking at the bar graph in the middle, you can see that I really, really love fantasy. Which is totally me – it is absolutely, hands down, my favorite genre ever. I just can’t get enough of it. The rest of it is a little more all over the place, so it’s a bit harder to identify what other stuff on the graph I like, so I’ll just tell you. Just this once. (Probably.) I primarily read YA and NA (I know, you totally can’t tell from my book reviews, haha), with the occasional adult or middle-grade book here and there. I read books for the story first, and what section I found it in the bookstore second, though. I also really like sci-fi and horror, though this graph doesn’t indicate that nearly as much (or at all).

For the format, print all the way! I’m just not an audiobook kind of person. Like, I’ve given it a shot a couple of times, and it just didn’t do it for me. I like to do the heavy lifting myself when it comes to reading books. No offense to you audiobook lovers out there or anything.

Concerning the fic/nonfic ratio, it more often than not gonna be mostly – if not completely, as seen on the pie chart on the right – fiction. Occasionally, I will however, read a nonfiction book of sorts. Occasionally.

And here we are, the last two graphs. Two lovely bar graphs, one for star ratings and one for pages per day. For the star rating graph, you can see my average is 3.75 stars. Almost a perfect 4 star average! But I just didn’t like The Conjurer all that much, so they really brought the average down.

As for the pages per day graph, it can be seen that I really picked up reading the second half of November. (The first half was just busier, okay?!?) At the end there, though, I really pick up on the book consumption. Like, it really spikes right after Thanksgiving.

And now that we’re finished with all these stats, let’s get into the actual books that I finished last month. Without further ado…

The Conjurer by Nick Oliveri

This book is about a guy named Mikalla, who works as the Conjurer to the king of Idaza. Throughout the novel, he discovers a terrible plot, and the majority of the book deals with his struggle with serving his kingdom, and with what he believes to be right. As well as a lot of extraneous bullcrap.

Those who have been reading some of my book reviews for a couple of weeks now know just how I feel about this book. I won’t spoil anything for anyone, since it’s technically my first book roast (though I really wish it wasn’t – I really wanted to like this one). I gave this 1.5 / 5 stars. Check out the full review here.

In Deeper Waters by F. T. Lukens

This book is about a prince named Tal who’s going on his coming of age kingdom tour. Through all of the crazy stuff that ends up happening, he encounters a mysterious boy named Athlen. Who is definitely not a merman. Definitely not. More stuff happens, they bond, you might be able to figure out the rest. (I know this is a bit vague, but I like to be as spoiler free as possible.)

I gave this 4 / 5 stars, so I totally liked it. Come read the full review here, if you haven’t already.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding [Prosper Redding #1] by Alexandra Bracken

Prosper Redding is the disappointment to the Redding family; as in, he’s a bit of a disaster. (He’s good at art, but unfortunately, no one cares about that. A-holes.) His family’s disdain for him comes to a head two weeks before his thirteenth birthday, where it is revealed that he has the demon, Alastor, Prince of Friends, sharing his body with him. And it all devolves from there.

It was my favorite book that I read in November. I rated it 5 / 5 stars. Check out the full review (if you haven’t yet) here.

The Last Life of Prince Alastor [Prosper Redding #2] by Alexandra Bracken

After the ending of the first novel, Prosper and Alastor must learn to work together, if they want to save the things that they love. But can they? This is really short, but it is a sequel, so I want to keep spoilers to the bare minimum.

I haven’t posted my review for this book yet, but know that I gave it 4.5 / 5 stars. Still a great book, but I liked the first one a little more. The book review for this is coming soon.


And that’s a wrap for the November 2022 Reading Wrap-Up. What books did you read last month? What did you think of them? Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night!

Majestic Monday #4: Defy the Night, The Paper Magician, Once Upon a Broken Heart

It’s that time of week again, so it’s time for another Majestic Monday.

Majestic Mondays are when The Blog that Nobody Knows takes a look at some pretty book covers. That’s it, that’s what we do.This week, the three book covers I’m gonna highlight are Defy the Night, The Paper Magician, and Once Upon a Broken Heart.

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Series: Defy the Night [Book #1]

Length: 467 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: September 14, 2021

Book Description

A desperate prince.

A daring outlaw.

A dangerous flirtation.

In the Wilds of Kandala, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade has been watching people suffer for too long. A mysterious sickness is ravaging the land and the cure, Moonflower Elixir, is only available for the wealthy. So every night, she defies the royal edicts and sneaks out, stealing Moonflower petals and leaving the elixir for those in need.

In the palace of Kandala, Prince Corrick serves as the King’s Justice, meting out vicious punishments and striking fear into the hearts of agitators and outlaws. Corrick knows he must play this role convincingly–with a shortage of elixir and threats of rebellion looming ever closer, the King’s grip on power is tenuous at best, and Corrick knows his brother is the kingdom’s best hope for survival.

But when an act of unspeakable cruelty brings the royal and the outlaw face to face, the natural enemies are faced with an impossible choice–and a surprising spark. Will they follow their instincts to destroy each other? Or will they save the kingdom together… and let that spark ignite?

First off, as usual, this cover is gorgeous. It’s purple and gold once again (hmm, is there a pattern here, I wonder?), and I just love how the neon effect on the golden lettering looks on the purple.

The flowers are also lovely, and I love how they frame the title and the castle cast in shadows. Everything in this cover stands out, and I absolutely adore it.

Cover Rating: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Series: The Paper Magician [Book #1]

Length: 234 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: September 1, 2014

Book Description

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

To start off, I just love covers that incorporate a monochrome scale, paired with one, distinct color. It’s similar to what V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series does, and I find this book cover art beautiful in the same way.

I also love all the red lines here, and how they still appear to be connected in some fashion, despite not doing so in any visible way. I think that the contrast and different pairings with all these colors here are also really pretty.

Cover Rating: ★★★☆☆ • 3 / 5 stars

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart [Book #1]

Length: 408 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: September 28, 2021

Book Description

Once Upon a Broken Heart marks the launch of a new series from beloved author Stephanie Garber about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

Getting into the cover, I’m starting off with one of my favorites. Contrast. I adore the black background and the pale pink dots (that glisten in the hardcover version), that sit atop it.

I also love the pink heart that almost appears to be made from locks of hair, and how it looks to be rotting from the inside out. And the day that the ivory font is used for the title and author, and how it still stands out, despite looking similar to the pink of the art, is just gorgeous.

Cover Rating: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars


And that’s it for this week’s Majestic Monday. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them (and their covers)?

Join me next Monday for (most likely) the same type of thing, as well as next time for book bookish things! Thank you, as always, for reading.