You may or may not have noticed, but I haven’t been posting for a few weeks. The answer to that mystery is as follows: I’ve been overwhelmed with life. I struggle with a combination of depression and anxiety that usually rears its ugly head in the winter months, though it can strike at any time.
I’ve also been imposing a lot of writing related goals on myself lately with my multitude of writing works in progress and it has been bogging down my soul. I love to write. It’s my passion. But sometimes I need to unwind, unplug and get back to the core of why I love to write. Which is because I love to read. I love to explore new worlds and escape into literature and that drives me to create my own worlds and give my own characters life.
So I decided to unplug from my biggest social media drain, Facebook, and just read for a week.
It has already done wonders for my mental health. I even did work around the house and straightened things up so the place looks tidy and uncluttered like my mind from this social media sabbatical.
So my book challenge is a go and already part complete.
Sunday I read The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser. I really liked the beginning of this book when I started it weeks ago, but I finally read it all the way through and I was not impressed.
It’s a modern-day fairy tale who-dun-it that features characters that can literally jump into the literary world, and while that sounds good on paper, I wasn’t very impressed. Even though it is well-written, it was not my cup of tea. 3/5 Crows.
Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
Monday I read When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore and, as always, she created a beautiful modern magical story about diverse characters that was lovely, well-executed, and everything I could have hoped for and more.
I will do a more thorough review of this one at a later time but suffice to say McLemore continues to be one of the best writers in the YA genre of this day and age and never disappoints. Her stories are works of art and her descriptions so beautiful they could be poetry. I recommend this novel and the author’s complete body of work. 5/5 Crows.
Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple “Best YA Novels” lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.
Today, Tuesday, I am reading Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Cashore is one of my favorite authors and I’ve already talked about and recommended her novels at length on multiple posts here for a reason.
I am sucked in already but can’t say more at this time. But I’m definitely enjoying this read so far.
Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.
Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.
Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.
Wednesday I plan on reading Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst.
I was drawn to this book initially because I saw the cover and I was like… wait … is that princess holding a girl’s hand? So of course I had to buy it. I was at a bookseller and added it to the ever-growing pile in my husband’s arms, but such is the way of things, I’m just getting around to reading it this week. I’m excited for it though and can’t wait to check out this new author.
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms.
But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.
Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.
Thursday I’ll be reading The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.
This book was introduced to me at the same bookseller by my friend who saw the lovely purple and gold cover and the intriguing description and pointed it out to me. Though the cover is freaking gorgeous and the blurb is interesting, I might not have picked it up on my own. But with her encouragement, I bought it several months ago, and with another friend’s encouragement, who also saw it and thought it sounded rad on my bookshelf, it’s now near the top of my to-read pile.
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
Friday I’ll be reading another gorgeous novel by Anna-Marie McLemore, Wild Beauty.
I’ve already discussed in many posts why this is near the top of my to-read list, namely because I can’t get enough of McLemore’s gorgeous writing style and the magical, moving tales she grows as naturally as flowers and uses to illuminate diverse cultures and points of view as brilliantly as stars.
Love grows such strange things.
Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate—and pulled apart by reality.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.
Saturday I want to finish off this week of YA novels with
Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?
Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?
Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero’s Guide to Achieving Main Character Status, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.
If any of these books pique your interest, feel free to check them out and then look forward to seeing my reviews and book rants about them in the weeks to come!