End of Year Survey!

This has been the craziest year of my entire life. From graduation to starting a new semester at the University of Florida, I have been busier than a buzzing bee.  I know I have been really MIA both on the blog and on twitter, but I had to focus on this first semester and learn to adapt to college living. I've gotta tell ya, it was really rough, but luckily I had amazing support from my family and friends and I was able to earn myself 4 A's and 1 B+ (so close fam ... so close). I am incredibly proud of how hard I worked and cannot wait for next semester to come, but as of right now, all I want to do is catch up on all the reading I missed!! I have read a total of ONE book while I was in school. That is ridiculously low. Next year I really hope to keep up with the blog and school work - I need to work on balancing some me-time with my education. Thank you guys for being so supportive and patient with me, I hope I can bring Little Lillie Reads back to life in 2017. Now without further ado, here is the 2016 End of Year Survey, created by the one and only Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner!

Number of Books You've Read: a sad sad amount (all because of college) - 40 books
Number of Re-Reads: 2!
Genre You Read the Most Books From: Fantasy

Best Book You Read in 2016: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

Most Surprising Book You Read (in a good way): Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Book You "Pushed" The Most People to Read: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

Best Series You Started in 2016: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Best Sequel of 2016: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2016: Emily Henry

Best Book From a Genre You Typically Don't Read: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Most Action Packed Book of the Year: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Book You Are Most Likely to Re-Read in 2017: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2016: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Most Memorable Character of 2016: Kaz Brekker from Crooked Kingdom, Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury, and the Gangsey from The Raven King.

Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2016 to Read: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Longest Book: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Shortest Book: Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

Book That Shocked You The Most: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

OTP of the Year: Blackstairs from Lady Midnight and Pynch/Bluesey from The Raven King

Fave Platonic Relationship: Blue/Ronan from The Raven King

Best Book You Read Based Solely on Recommendation: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (thank you Alex !!!!!)

Newest Fictional Crush:  Noah from Pushing the Limits and Julian Blackthorn from Lady Midnight

Best 2016 Debut You Read: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

Best Worldbuilding: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book That Put a Smile on Your Face: ok, basically all of them, but these two were super cute - Dreamology by Lucy Keating and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Book That Made You Cry: not gonna lie, I cry over everything, but especially over Crooked Kingdom and The Raven King

Hidden Gem of the Year: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Book That Crushed Your Soul: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Most Unique Book You Read: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

One Book You Didn't Get to in 2016, But Will be Your #1 Priority in 2017: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Book You Are Most Anticipating in 2017 (non-debut): A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas and A Million Junes by Emily Henry

2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Series Ender/Sequel You Are Most Anticipating: Illuminae #3 and Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

One Thing You Hope to Accomplish in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2017: I hope I learn how to balance college with reading and blogging. This first semester was very difficult for me, because I had no clue how to manage my time. Next semester, I know how to use my time for studying, reading, and extra-curriculars. Little Lillie Reads will come back to life in 2017 and 110% better than before. 

ARC Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

3.5/5 Stars
Published by Feiwel and Friends
Published November 8th, 2016

Synopsis: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Hello friends!! I am so sorry for being so distant and out of touch with my blog recently, but college has gotten super stressful for me, and I felt like I should focus on my studies. With that said, I have finally found a little time between everything for me to try to get back in the swing of things and schedule some posts ahead of time. Without further ado, let's get on with the review!

Marissa Meyer is one of the greatest fairytale retelling writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading from. The Lunar Chronicles is one of the most enjoyable series I've read and sets her writing really high up on my radar. When I heard she was coming out with another fairytale retelling, I was immediately intrigued. After hearing it was a Queen of Hearts retelling, I was completely sold for the story. When I received an ARC of this from ALA, I was beyond thrilled. It was one of the happiest moments for me during that weekend. So getting started, Heartless was definitely a good book. The writing is just as amazing as TLC, just as intriguing and eloquent, but I felt that it was really slow at the beginning. Since this is an origin story, and an origin story that I'm sure not very many people are familiar with, it took a while for Marissa Meyer to set the story and develop the background. That is understandable. However, I was expecting so much more from this book, especially since it is a standalone.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

Here is where I share with you my anticipation for upcoming books! Breaking the Spine has introduced me to this and I am super excited to get to participate. Please feel free to comment what books you are looking forward to as well!!

Synopsis: Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry's brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. 

June O'Donnell—a.k.a. Junior, a.k.a. Jack, a.k.a. Jonathan O'Donnell IV, a.k.a. the first female O'Donnell first-born—has always been haunted by her family's mythic but complicated legacy. As she prepares to begin her final year of high school, June is itching to leave behind her ghosts in Five Fingers, Michigan, and travel the world.

And then, just like it always happens to the O'Donnells, a painful glimmer from her past returns to mess everything up. Enter Saul Angert, the eldest son of Eli Angert, a.k.a. June's late father's mortal enemy, back in town from a prestigious writing program to care for his ailing father. June can't seem to avoid Saul, whose very presence makes her ache with grief over her father, and soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn't exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic, and strangely tender boy whom she was born to loathe.

When June and Saul accidentally stumble into a bit of the forest magic, they are allowed a glimpse into the past at the fateful, horrible moment that started all the trouble between their families. Now June doesn't know if this new discovery means she should hate the Angerts even more or if it's finally time for her—and all of the O'Donnells before her—to let go.

For those of you who know me very well, you'll know that The Love That Split the World is my favorite book of 2016. TLTSTW resonates with me on a level that is unparalleled by practically any book. There was something so special in Emily Henry's debut novel, that literally all I wanted to do after reading it was to reread it over and over. Next to Legend by Marie Lu, TLTSTW is that one book I will recommend to everyone when they ask for it. The point of this post is not to gawk and gape at TLTSTW, so if you would like to read my review for that, you can find it here, but besides that - A Million Junes!!

I've been anticipating another Emily Henry book since the moment I finished tltstw and now, we are one step closer to have just that. They just released the cover for this book last week, so we can finally say yes, we are getting another book soon. After reading that this book is pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude, my immediate reaction was yes more magic realism with a cute romance thank you. I love the cover, I love the synopsis, I love Emily Henry, and I cannot wait for this book any longer. 

A Million Junes arrives May 16th, 2017!! 

ARC Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

4.5/5 Stars
Published September 20th, 2016
Published by Jimmy Patterson

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

This beautiful book was such a refreshing read. From the moment I began the story, I was sucked in by the relatively dark theme and Kerri Maniscalo's wonderful writing. While I was reluctant to reading this book at first, as I am not usually a fan of guts and gore, I was so happy with what I got in return. Stalking Jack the Ripper was full of nothing but action, mystery, and chill wreaking late night adventures. This idea of writing a retelling on Jack the Ripper and his notorious murder cases is just plain genius and the basis for a stunning debut novel. Kerri whipped out surprise after surprise, and clue after clue of just pure psychotic deliciousness. I'm definitely looking forward to this sequel and cannot wait to see what Kerri has in store for us and these characters.

I would just like to take this moment to applaud all of the debut authors of 2016, because they have been knocking my socks off. It is unbelievable to think that so many of my favorite books of this year have been debuts - it is astounding. Kerri's writing style is so nice. The words are effortlessly written and stylized in a way that truly captures the essence of the plot or emotions she tries to bring across. Straight from the beginning, you're snagged by her enticing catch lines and descriptive imagery. It is so obvious how much research went into this topic. Everything is layered with such a specific precision, that it's almost impossible to find fault in the storyline, and more importantly, in the mystery. I'm currently enrolled in a professions of medicine course at my college and will soon be covering forensic medicine, which I am now so excited about because of Stalking Jack the Ripper. It's so interesting to read about Audrey and her uncle investing so much time into this practice, and to touch base with a bit of real life techniques.

These characters are so dang cool. I am a sucker for the practice of medicine, as are Audrey and Thomas, and it was just so fun to read about medicine through their eyes. Audrey is my type of main character. She's an independent, intelligent, sharp-witted, complete badass female MC and I love her. Despite the time period in which this takes place (when women weren't prominent in the work place), Audrey still goes out and practices forensics. This is that type of girl-meets-STEM that I need. In addition to Audrey, we our lovely Thomas. He was such an awesome addition to this story. Thomas was able to bring out a playful side to Audrey that was hiding beneath her scalpel and multi toothed forceps. Thomas is witty, very vigilant, and a bit of a brooder, if I'm being honest. Despite his dark and mysterious demeanor, he and Audrey are the best team for the case. These two actually remind me a bit of Holmes and Watson. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fantastic novel full of mystery, forensic sciences, and gory scalpels. I truly enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book and regretted every moment I delayed reading it because I thought it wasn't for me. With every flip of the page, you're met with dynamic characters, a thrilling plot line, beautiful writing, and even better than that - sutures of various techniques. If you're in the mood for a book that has the potential to keep you up until the break of dawn, with chills racing up your spine, then this is the one for you. With this start to an incredible trilogy (I believe it's a trilogy?), Stalking Jack the Ripper has the potential to shatter hearts and minds alike, and the NYT best sellers chart. I am so happy I've found myself a reliable female/STEM trilogy I'll be able to divulge in for remainder of the decade. 

Waiting on Wednesday: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Here is where I share with you my anticipation for upcoming books! Breaking the Spine has introduced me to this and I am super excited to get to participate. Please feel free to comment what books you are looking forward to as well!!

Synopsis: London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

I am currently in the middle of A Gathering of Shadows and I am loving this trilogy so far. There is something so refreshing to me about the premise of these stories. I love the magic, the characters, the world - everything about the Shades of Magic world is so wonderful. V.E. Schwab's writing is excellent in these books. She's great at building up her universe and keeping her readers engaged in the story, even when it's a slow burn. Even though I had trouble getting into This Savage Song, I loved A Darker Shade of Magic right off the bat. Plus, these covers are so pretty! 

A Conjuring of Light comes out February 21st, 2017 and I am so ready

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

4/5 Stars
Published by Tor Books
Published February 25th, 2015

Synopsis:  Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

This is the Victoria Schwab book I wish I had read first. This was everything I've ever heard of Victoria Schwab's writing. It was eloquent, illustrative, so captivating, and absolutely exquisite. I loved practically every aspect of this book and cannot believe it took me so long to read it. Schwab is incredibly good at world building and developing a slow burning storyline. Even though I've heard/read multiple comments on how A Darker Shade of Magic is a very slow paced book, I thought the release of information was dispersed at the appropriate times to keep the reader engaged. I, for one, did not feel that this book dragged on forever. I never wanted it to end. I would delay my reading time just so I could spend more minutes indulged in this world and with these characters. The slow burn made it intriguing - something that is very hard to do if you're not meticulous with your plot line.

ARC Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

4/5 Stars 
Published by Flatiron Books
Published January 31st, 2017

Synopsis: Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval was magical. Stephanie Garber did an excellent job crafting this world with her hands and did an even better job with her words. The experience I had whilst reading this book was whimsical, dream-like, and so mischievous. Everything about this story was intriguing - it makes you wish you were there with Scarlett. Having such high hopes going into this book, I was on the hunt for any bit of fault that would deem it not worthy of the hype it was receiving. Immediately, I was shut down. The writing in this book is flawless and the plot was so enthralling. This is a book you will not be able to put down, and better yet, a book that will keep you on edge until the last page. I am making a prediction now, that Caraval will hit the NYT Bestsellers list come January.

ARC Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

4.5/5 Stars
Published by Random House 
Published September 20th, 2016

Synopsis: I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she's brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

This was such a fun read for me. I read this on a car ride up to Connecticut and could not put it down for the life of me. Jessica Cluess, a debut author, stunned me with her excellent storytelling and amusing set of characters. While I was already super excited for this book (because female sorcerer), I was even more delighted when I found myself a style of writing that was so easy to read. For this book, I felt that the writing played a great part in the development of the foundation of this story. This type of fantasy, one with elemental magic and danger in everything, is my favorite type of fantasy, and I felt that Cluess did a fantastic job molding it to her liking. 

BBCP: If Book Characters Were Superheroes

Welcome back to another year of BBCP! Last year, Nori created the Book Blogger Creativity Project and I am so happy to be able to participate in it again. This year, myself and a group of five other bloggers will basically be either comparing our favorite characters to superheroes, or creating their own. Today, I'll be comparing my faves to my faves. In dedication to the release of Suicide Squad, I now present to you my bookish superheroes.

Clearly I would begin this post with a character from my favorite trilogy - June Iparis from Legend. This girl is literally Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow. If I had an all superhero squad assembly like the Avengers or X-Men, I would kill to have June on my squad. June has spent a good amount of her time at Drake training in the arts of military tactics, which makes her an excellent fighter, great analyst, and overall a certified badass. I'm sure if you got June and Natasha pegged against each other, they'd be going at each other for days on end - because that's just how good each of them are. I also really love girl power, so hell yes to June and Nat.

Next up, Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone. Alina is basically Sunspot from the X-Men, who can absorb solar radiation and then use it in a variety of ways. Sunspot can fire heat and solar power from practically every part of his body, use thermal energy to fly, and produce the heat of a thousand suns, and he's one of my favorite superheros ever. Now if you know Alina, you know this girl can pack a punch with her sun powers. She is the literal light of the Grishaverse and knows how to use her powers to her advantage. Honestly add Sunspot and Alina together and the whole world would combust. 

These two amazing female main characters, who I already consider superheroes, would change the world as we know it. Since I'm a massive Marvel fan, I knew this post would be fun to write up. Are there any book to superhero comparisons that you can make? Let me know in the comments below!!

ARC Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

4.5/5 Stars
Published by Imprint
Published October 4th, 2016

Synopsis: I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

I don't know if you guys have noticed yet or not, but I'm a complete sucker for books with a steamy romance. Kami Garcia delivered, yet again, another excellent book with phenomenal writing, an engaging plot line, and a sizzling red-hot romance. The Lovely Reckless is a book that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. It's about learning to redevelop the trust within yourself and with those around you, discovering that not everything is as it seems, and to never judge a book by its cover. This story is more than just a romance.

Little Lillie Reads Turns One!

Can you believe it's been a year already? It seems like just yesterday, I was sitting in a hotel room in New Mexico planning out my blog. It started with the author list for YALLFest. I was so excited with all the new books I bought in prep of the big festival. Then, I created an account on Goodreads so I could keep tabs on all of my reading and my thoughts. Finally, I realized I didn't just want to post my reviews Goodreads. I wanted to create a website of my own mind - imbed bits and pieces of myself into a blog that was simply me. That's exactly what I did. It took me about five minutes to think up a blog name (I guess the alliteration of my name was easy enough to go along with). and so, Little Lillie Reads was born.

In this post, I'd like to spend the time to give my thanks, discuss my achievements, and what I plan for the future. Without further ado ...


My Thanks:

to Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles: you were the first book blogger that reached out to me. I really look up to you and your blog, and consider you one of my biggest inspirations. you've been a great mentor to me and an even better friend. thank you!

to Nori @ ReadWriteLove28: thank you for being the blogger mom to everyone in the community. you are an incredible blogger (I honestly don't know how you keep up with everything you do) and an amazing person. If I ever feel lost, I know I can look to you for advice in blogging and even in life.

to Gee @ A Book and A Cup of Coffee: I know I can rely on you for anything. you've been one of my best friends since junior year and I'm really going to miss you this coming fall. you are incredibly talented and I know you're going to make it so far in this world - I can't wait to witness it. don't forget about me while you're up in tally and may our boba/book dates live on. go gators // love you.

to Alex @ Fiery Reads: you are such a light in my life. I can talk to you about anything and everything, and know you're listening regardless of whether it's serious or not. you're one of the sweetest people I know in this world. dimple twins!! your blog is seriously one of my favorites and one that I looked up to when I first discovered it. thanks for being one of my best friends - love you!

to Joel: boy, you are such a force to be reckoned with. thanks for all those times you listened to me and made me smile; you're another person I can trust with anything. you are hilarious - I'm so happy you picked me out of all those people to talk to! I'm glad I have you to talk about comics and I can't wait for you to get me into DC. you're one of my best friends, b!!

to Jess @ Princessica of Books: I have so many things to say about you and our friendship. the fact that a tiny DM spurred this entire thing is beyond anything I could've imagined. I can rely on you for advice on any subject and matter, and I hope you know you can do the same. you are one of my favorite people on this entire planet, no matter what. thanks for being honest with me and helping me with my blog (espec. that review policy that took me months to make). you're my best friend and no I'm not crying, you are. I love you!

to my readers: if you've ever read my blog even once, you have helped me get where I am today. I take your comments and feedback seriously, and always look forward to them. to anyone who has ever just said a single "hi" to me, I appreciate you. if any of you ever need to talk, I am always here to listen. thank you to every single one of you, I am so grateful for everything. here's to the future.

My Achievements:

  • July 27th, 2015, Little Lillie Reads was born
  • I attended YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina and met all of my favorite authors including Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, and Alexandra Bracken.
  • I joined Sunday Street Team which is ran by Nori and works to promote upcoming releases. 
  • Little Lillie Reads hit 300 followers!
  • I've collaborated with fellow bloggers and worked with authors.
  • I started a bookstagram despite my inability to stick to an aesthetic/theme.
  • I attended the ALA Conference in Orlando and met up with some of the best bloggers I know.
  • I received my first ARC from a publisher!

My Goals:

I really hope to attend the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta, Georgia this coming January, and return to YALLFest for a second year. I want to start featuring more authors on my blog, as well as other bloggers! I'd love to finally attend a book launch, but they're always so far from me. maybe this year? I hope to continue making connections with other bloggers and publishers, while continuing to nurture my blog. I want to write more discussion posts and finally not be afraid of speaking my mind. It's my goal to have Little Lillie Reads reach 500 blog followers. Hopefully, my blog will continue to grow and I, along with it. 

I've had the greatest year of blogging and could not have asked for a better experience. Here's to the future and what it brings both me and my blog. As a token of my gratitude, lo and behold: a giveaway 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Potterhead July: Marauder's Era

Welcome to Potterhead July! Courtesy of Aentee at Read At Midnight and in honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Curse Child! All month long, people have been sharing their experiences and memories, and favorite parts of and about Harry Potter. Today, I'm going to be sharing with all of you, one of my favorite parts of the Harry Potter universe that isn't covered all that often: the Marauder's Era.

We all know and love the characters of the Marauder's Era. Remus Lupin, Sirius and Regulus Black, Lily and James Potter, the Longbottoms; even the Malfoy's and Bellatrix Lestrange. Each of these characters are so vital to the development of the hp timeline. Without these pioneers, our precious trio would be nowhere. These characters are so important, yet we know near to nothing about them! So today, I'm just gonna spend some time discussing my favorite character of the Marauder's Era.

Remus Lupin:
I respect Remus so incredibly much for his bravery and strength. As it should already be known, Lupin was bit at the young age of five by Fenrir Greyback out of an act of vengeance. After being diagnosed with lycanthropy, Dumbledore (being the light he is) made special accommodations for Remus at Hogwarts. He was sorted into Gryffindor house, where he would meet James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. In order to protect himself and ensure the safety of his fellow classmates, Remus was allowed to visit the Shrieking Shack once a month for his transformations. Thought to be the sounds of wailing ghosts, the villagers of Hogsmeade dubbed the building the Shrieking Shack.

Though Remus fought long and hard to keep his lycanthropy a secret, his friends were eventually able to put two and two together. During their second year, James, Sirius, and Peter all agreed to learn how to become animagi in order to help their friend through his transformations. By their fifth year, James had learned to become a stag, Sirius a dog, and Peter a rat. With their presence, Lupin was able to control his urgencies a bit more. This is the type of friendship everyone in the world should have. Having your friends accept you for who you are, and help you through whatever you're struggling with, is one of the greatest things you could ever wish for. I can only imagine the distress Remus endured when his three best friends were taken from him, but he was able to carry on through the darkness and find the light.

Lupin has one of the most interesting backstory's out of the entire cast of characters, and a charismatic personality that makes for a wonderful character. Ever since I read Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin has been my favorite character. I would reread PoA over and over again, just because I enjoyed having him in it and having the past brought to attention. Remus is compassionate, smart, and intuitive, even a prankster at times, but definitely the most mature of the four Marauders. I thought he was the best Defense Agains the Dark Arts teacher and definitely wished he was in the series more, as he gave each moment a bit more pizzaz. His complex background and dynamic personality is every bit of a reason to love him.

ARC Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

5/5 Stars
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Published August 9th, 2016

Synopsis: In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Have you ever read a book before and had no words to describe the emotional turmoil you just endured? because that was me and this book. Nevernight is a brilliant, brilliant, book that can only be described as a masterpiece. To me, this is Jay Kristoff's best work. His writing style is eloquent and elegant, yet dirty and explicit at the same time, making it the eighth wonder of this world. From the moment this book begins, you're lured in with captivating visualizations, beautiful writing, and a set of characters with layers upon layers of baggage. Somehow able to make you feel safe and at home even in the presence of bloodthirsty killers, Jay Kristoff is a master manipulator of feelings. You will be blindsided, enraged, and distressed, but regardless of the fact, you will be content and in love. 

I love this world so much. The descriptions are so elaborate and the history is so well thought out. From the beginning of the book to maybe a little before the halfway point, the pages are annotated and the backstory is explained in the most clever ways possible. There's an element of mythology that is introduced and revisited all throughout the story, and I could not get enough of it. The origin of Itreya is so fleshed out, nothing is left to your imagination. If you have a question, I can guarantee you it's answered in the annotations. While I was reading, I could just picture myself walking the streets of Godsgrave or sneaking out of my room in the Red Church. Every aspect of this world has something special about it and I cannot wait to see what parts of Itreya we explore in the sequel.

I have a special place in my heart for assassins, but an even more special place in my heart for one Mia Corvere. Mia is the perfect main character and an excellent badass. She's driven by her past and her thirst for vengeance, which hones her instincts - making her as sharp as a blade. Though Mia is now amongst the ranks of the deadliest killers, she's beyond much more than just another sword wielder. First and foremost, she's a teenage girl. So besides her thirst for blood, Mia has feelings that are completely understandable, but they also make her different from her "companions." Another assassin that has a special spot in my heart is Tric. you guys, I love Tric. He adds a light humor to the dark theme by cracking jokes and poking fun at Mia, which added to the dynamic of this book. Together, Mia and Tric are a great team and know how to watch out for each other, despite the inevitable consequences. 

y'all, this is currently my favorite read of 2016, so if you don't get on it, I don't know what I can do to convince you. Jay Kristoff is so amazing at what he does. Nevernight is going to murder you (which quite frankly is funny because it's a book about killers haha), but maybe in the best way possible. I honestly do not have a big of enough vocabulary to describe the beauty I saw in this writing, nor do I think I ever will. For a story set in the light of three suns, Nevernight is of the darkest themes and deepest sorrows. It's a book driven forward by the force of anger and loss, and about reaching into your darkest shadows to find yourself. By the time you think you've built a mutual trust between yourself and this book, the rug will be pulled right from under you. I can only imagine what the future holds for Mia Corvere, but from the looks of that epilogue ... we're in store for something great.

Geeky Con 2016

Woop woop! GeekyCon 2016 is right around the corner!! Thankfully, this jam-packed, all fandom inclusive convention is right here in my backyard of ye old trust Orlando, Florida. I first heard of GeekyCon back in 2014 when it was named LeakyCon and focused primarily on Harry Potter. Now, LeakyCon has spread it's branches and now includes events for all of your favorite things. Potterheads, whovians, sherlockians, gleeks, marvel fans, etc and etc - you're all invited to attend this awesome convention that brings together people of all ages and followings.

GeekyCon is a three day event (July 29-31st) with a schedule filled to the brim with marvelous things. You could spend your morning meeting your fellow house mates (caw caw, Ravenclaw), your afternoon in a Hamilton meet up (which is where you'll catch me), or your evening playing Quidditch. GeekyCon has panels, Q&A sessions, concerts and live performances, and a marketplace merch store that's probably full of your favorite items. Within this three day event, you can meet your favorite writers, actors, youtubers, podcasters, you name them - they might be there!
"GeekyCon is a place where fans can be their amazing, passionate, geeky selves. We are a community of old friends, and new - a celebration of stories, the people who love them, and the people who create them." 
One of the best things about GeekyCon, is that you don't have to pay extra money to attend photograph and autograph sessions. I know at events like Wizard World, you could be spending up to $100 dollars for a photo with your favorite movie star. Here, it is all inclusive with your admission ticket! You bet I'll be waiting in line to meet Joe Moses, aka Snape from A Very Potter Musical.

The best part for me about this convention, besides being surrounded by fellow Harry Potter and Marvel fans, is that I'll be meeting some amazing authors. Those I'm most excited for who are attending the convention are Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Three Dark Crowns, Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and The Dawn, and Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Included in the lineup is Julie Murphy, Cindy Pon, Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton, Kat Zhang - and the list goes on! These authors will be participating in tons of discussion panels that I cannot wait to attend!

If you're interested in attending GeekyCon, tickets can be purchased here! If you're attending the convention, please let me know!! I would love to meet up with you guys! & thank you GeekyCon, for providing me with the press pass to enter - I know this next weekend will be full of fun and new memories to make.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Midnight Star

Here is where I share with you my anticipation for upcoming books! Breaking the Spine has introduced me to this and I am super excited to get to participate. Please feel free to comment what books you are looking forward to as well!!

Synopsis: The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

You guys have no clue how excited I am for this book. Marie Lu has been my favorite author since my freshmen year of high school, when Legend first entered the game. Since then, I've followed everything she has done and admired her brilliant work. Her writing and stories have gotten me through so much stress and anxiety, and I am just so thankful for her and her books.

Alright, sob fest over. The Midnight Star is the epic finale to Marie Lu's The Young Elites trilogy. I have been long anticipating this since I read the last line of The Rose Society, and have been driving myself crazy with every snippet Marie tweets out. I cannot wait to see what is in store for these characters - especially Adelina. There are a ton of ways this story could play out and I am ready for any of those possibilities.

The Midnight Star comes out October 11th, 2016, so make sure you preorder it now!! 

Ten Books Set Around The World

This meme was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new list that involves all things books!

ten books set around the world

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
is set in Germany

And I Darken by Kiersten White
is set in the Ottoman Empire, present day Turkey

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
is set in Japan

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
is set in Russia

Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
is set in Hawaii

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
is set in Puerto Rico

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
is set in England

Origin by Jessica Khoury
is set in Brazil

Into The Dimby Janet B. Taylor
is set in Scotland

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
is set in Scotland

what are some books that I missed that are set around the world? which ones are your favorite?

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Jess brought this tag to my attention and I thought it was the perfect time to do it! I've done a good bit of reading this year, and would love to share with all of you my favorites so far. Feel free to participate!

Best Book(s) You've Read in 2016


The Raven King (review) by Maggie Stiefvater is one of the greatest series enders I've ever had the pleasure to read. Maggie knows her craft and knows how to keep her readers engaged till the end. the gangsey's wellbeing was my main concern going into this book, but Maggie knew how to toy with your emotions till the very end! I loved Maggie's writing throughout the series, but this fourth installment felt darker and more real. 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff was so amazing. I just finished this and was wowed by how great this was. The writing is so beautiful and excellently crafted. I felt so connected to this story the whole way through. Jay Kristoff knows how to torture his readers. Reading this book was a roller coaster of emotions and developing deeper feelings for these characters I grew to love. I need the second book now.

Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2016


A Court of Mist and Fury (review) by Sarah J. Maas. If you know me, you'll know I had the best time reading this sequel. I loved the direction this story took and the introduction of new characters, settings, and feelings. acomaf is brilliant overall and I cannot wait for acotar #3. 

Gemina (review) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I loved Illuminae with all of my heart. When I was able to get my hands on a copy of Gemina, I was so incredibly happy. Speeding through it, I was presented with the same magic I found in the first book. The storyline was fantastic and I loved the additional characters that now make up the Illuminae group. I cannot wait for the third book. This is one of my favorite trilogies by far.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, but I still haven't read it! I have it waiting patiently on my shelf for when I come home and I swear I'm gonna read it this summer. 

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year


I am so ready for The Midnight Star, but not ready for the end of The Young Elites. I love the character diversity featured in this trilogy and the intensity that is presented and amped with every book. Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors, so obviously I'm always ready for her work.

Six of Crows was one of my favorite reads of 2015, so clearly I am so excited and in need of Crooked Kingdom. After the way Six of Crows ended, I've been in dire need of the conclusion. Leigh Bardugo is another one of my favorite authors, so I'll be signing away my soul twice this fall to both of these beautiful ladies.

Biggest Disappointment

This Savage Song (review) by Victoria Schwab. sigh I felt like I was obligated to really love this, but I didn't. It was really slow to me, compared to the synopsis. I was expecting fast paced, with monster fighting and sick action, but half of the book was spent at snails pace. This isn't going to stop me from reading her other books, but I was definitely let down (maybe because of all the hype).

Biggest Surprise

Tell Me Three Things (review) by Julie Buxbaum. I really did pick this one up on a whim, not expecting to be as pleased as I was. I loved this book and now recommend it to everyone in need of a fast, cute read. 

Favorite New Author

Emily Henry! She knocked it out of the park for me with The Love That Split The World (review), and now I know she will be one of my favorite authors for a long time. Her writing really struck a chord in me and I cannot wait for her future books. Besides being a wonderful author, she is the sweetest person. I've had the honor of speaking to her many times online and can confirm that she is a ball of light. 

Newest Fictional Crush

I love Julian Blackthorn so much. Lady Midnight (review) by Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite reads of 2016 and gosh I cannot wait for Lord of Shadows. Julian is just the sweetest, fiercest, most beautiful boy and I'm so happy this fictional boy is in my life.

Newest Favorite Character

I loved and greatly appreciated the sorcerer gang in this book. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess introduces you to a wonderful group of boys who kick butt and I loved them so much. Also, strong ass female lead, which made me love it even more. 

A Book That Made You Cry


A Book That Made You Happy


As you know from above, or from following me on twitter, you know The Love That Split The World (reviewby Emily Henry really impacted me. 

Dreamology (review) by Lucy Keating was just so cute and fun, I loved it so much. As soon as I finished I felt so happy and full of life - I need another book like this.

Favorite Post You've Done This Year

My discussion post "Body Positivity in YA!" I thought it was incredibly important to write, nothing only for myself, but for others.

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought This Year

I really don't know which was the most beautiful book I bought this year. I'm just gonna say Lady Midnight, because I love that cover, but I'm not home and can't look at my bookshelf to decide the final answer. 

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year



and there you have it! this was tons of fun to write up and I hope you had fun reading through my favorite reads of 2016 so far. did you write up a mid year freak out tag? link me to it here!