Saturday, December 29, 2018

Best of 2018: Favourite Bookstagrams


2018 was a lackluster year in real life--but Bookstgram ALWAYS makes everything feel better.
Here are my favourite Instagram accounts of the year.
I truly admire these users from afar! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro


New look for reviews--excuse the general messiness! I'm absolutely not satisfied with how this looks.
Booked J will be having a bit of a makeover by the time 2019 arrives, so expect a little design change! 
I finally finished The Case for Jamie this week and it proved to be just as fun as the rest of the series!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter 2018 TBR (#21)


What else is there to do in Winter besides read? 
(The answer is nothing if you live in Chicago or the Midwest!) 

Monday Chitchat: December 9th-16th

The book blogger equivalent of get ready with me!
What you may have missed this week, what's been happening...

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Jingle Bell Book Tag

 
JINGLE BELL, JINGLE BELL, JINGLE BELL BOOK

Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews | Rating: ★★★★★ 

"Mistakes do not cancel the worth of a performance. They encourage us to work harder, aim higher."
 
Was it a smart idea to finish reading this IMMEDIATELY after Queen of Air and Darkness? Probably not. Based on all the feelings that came with it and A Thousand Perfect Notes I am SO BEYOND emotionally exhausted in a very satisfying way. I think I need a cake or seven, now. You may think that I'm kidding, but I'm not.

So, I'm not really sure where to begin? I know, I know, the start of it would be the smart place, but I'm still trying to gather my wits here. There is just a lot to process with A Thousand Perfect Notes due to its subject matter and the way the prose, and the characters, make you feel.

It was everything I'd hoped for it to be: soft and intensely scrappy, humorous and heart-wrenching. Completely unforgettable and 100% compulsively readable. I couldn't put it down. Not like I wanted to. Ultimately, A Thousand Perfect Notes is one of the best YA contemporary releases of 2018 and should not be missed.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Photo Journal: In the Woods with The Dark Artifices

 If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen some of these already. 
But, it's a series of photographs I've been working on for a couple of months. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Chat: 101 Thoughts I Had While Reading Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (Absolutely Not Spoiler Free)

TURN BACK IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS 
Seriously. Now.

Review: plastic heart. by Jessyca Thibault

plastic heart. by Jessyca Thibault | Rating: ★★★★★

"The world dances in your eyes."

UGH. I am so proud of how far Jessyca has come this year with her trilogy of poems. plastic heart. is, without a doubt, her best release yet and just as moving as you'd expect it to be. Thibault's signature prose is as present as ever: honest, raw, thought-provoking and utterly stunning. She will grip you with such simple words and leave a lasting impression.

This is what poetry is meant to be. This is what poetry will always be: life. Impressionable. Thought-provoking. At times so real, it's almost painful and sometimes joyous. In 2018, we've gone on a journey with Thibault and seen her at various highs and lows. There's a bravery in expressing one's self, and Jessyca Thibault has a tone to her that sets her apart from her peers.

As always, I spent a good chunk of my reading experience highlighting various parts that stood out or spoke to me. It is my favourite part about prose--seeing something in their words that reflects parts of you right back at you. Thibault's already poignant expressions become even moreso with plastic heart., with lines that brush against your very soul. "Words mean nothing / When they are abused for everything." being one of my favourites in the collection.

Review: Tripping on a Halo by Alessandra Torre

Tripping on a Halo by Alessandra Torre | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, a copy of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

This was my very first experience with an Alessandra Torre and it was every bit as humorous and enjoyable that I hoped it'd be. Tripping on a Halo had its faults but it was ultimately as heavenly and steamy as readers want it to be. This was one of those books that caught me off guard with its outlandish wit and comedic timing. It had something about it that was unexpectedly fun and will tease its audience throughout.

One thing was certain: Tripping on a Halo was addictive and captivating enough for me to have finished it in one sitting. It has the perfect hook in the form of its first sentence (which takes readers full circle by the end of the novel) and I knew I would be in for a treat when I read it, as well as its synopsis. Torre has her humor highly present in the prose of Tripping on a Halo and if there's one quality to it (aside from its steamier, more romantic moments) that readers should be aware of is its hilarity.

Cover Reveal + Excerpt: Kill Code by Luna Kayne


It's that time again! Our favourite part of book blogging! 
Your exclusive first look at KILL CODE by Luna Kayne 
Not only do we have the reveal, we have an excerpt and a very special giveaway.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Review: The Eternity Elixir (Potion Masters, #1) by Frank L. Cole

The Eternity Elixir by Frank L. Cole | ★★★★☆ (4.5)


A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my thoughts in any way.

A truly fun middle grade read and the perfect start to a brand new trilogy. The Eternity Elixir is for more than just its target audience--it's fun for all ages; sprinkled with charming characters, delightful humor that's smartly woven into a high-stakes plot. Armed with a fascinating premise and a whole new world of Potion Masters (the crew at B.R.E.W. and most of main character Gordy's family are Elixirists) the story is impossible to put down.

From an essence of magic and science, to family (I love the Stitser family) and friendship (meet your new favourite trio: Gordy, Max and Adeline!) development, to the utter normalcy that other plot points bring into the story, and then straight to the tremendous significance the villains play into the story's central arch, The Eternity Elixir masters the art of storytelling. It has a little of everything, solidifying its versatility and appeal to its audience.

To put it simply? You should be reading this deeply imaginative gem of a story. 

Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn | Rating: ★★★☆☆

"People want passion. People want a sense of purpose. And when they get those things, then they come back to you because you predicted their future, and it was good."

It took me a long time to read this novella. I picked it up several times in the last couple of years, only to put it aside. Something I never expected, considering Gillian Flynn is one of my favourite authors. The Grownup wasn't a bad story, per se, it just was let down by its story length. In the moments it was good, it was the exact formula you'd expect from any Flynn story: chilling, thoughtful and brilliant. While it could have benefited further from being a full length novel, there was still a deeply engrossing quality to the short story that will leave fans satisfied with their twisty Flynn afterglow.

The truth is, I'm biased and of two minds in that frame of mind. I'm biased because I practically worship Gillian Flynn's prior releases ("Sharp Objects" is my favourite standalone novel of all-time) but I'm also not a fan of most novellas. So, there was a bit of a struggle for me to complete this.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Times I Judged a Book By its Cover + Ten Poetry Books I Loved This Year (#20)

I am the Queen of uncentered text AND judging books by their cover. 
As an added bonus, and because I couldn't decide between the two: POETRY FUN! 

(Spoiler free!!!) Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare | Rating: ★★★★★

Did I spend the very last of my money on this book? Think about who you're dealing with here. Think a little harder. I ABSOLUTELY spent the last of my money on this. Who needs food when you have Shadowhunters. I wasn't kidding when I said Cassie's basically got me in a choke-hold. It's all fun and games until a demon comes and bites your left eyebrow off. Which is kind of how Queen of Air and Darkness left me feeling--like a demon bit my left eyebrow off. But, like, in a fun, "I can always draw them back on" satisfying way.

I tried to read it slowly. Really, I did. I was like, "Jessica. You're going to regret reading this too quickly." And then I was like, "Jessica. Don't listen to yourself. You can't be trusted. You're having a conversation with yourself when you could be reading Queen of Air and Darkness." Some points were made, right? I made a very valid point. So, I inhaled it.

SO. Queen of Air and Darkness, first of all, ripped my rune necklace off and poked me in the eye with it. Which, again, satisfying. Truly. 10/10 would be stabbed by a necklace again.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Review: Haunted Crown Point, Indiana by Judith Tometczak

Haunted Crown Point, Indiana by Judith Tometczak | Rating: ★★★☆☆

There is one thing you should know before I start off my review: this is about my hometown.Which was equal parts thrilling and terrifying; even moreso, knowing that I would be posting my review online and in turn inviting the possibility of someone from said hometown onto my blog. Which isn't something I really fancy happening. Haunted Crown Point, Indiana, centers on the history of the city I grew up in and, frankly, I learned a few things I'd not known prior.

Which is always exciting.

Right off the bat, Tometczak makes her research known. The heart and soul behind the book is entirely her voice and the knowledge that she's come to possess. While a good portion of this book felt less like a ghost story and more like a retrospect on what makes the city, well, its own place, there was still something about it that kept my attention. While other supernatural-center non-fiction publications can almost feel like some deliriously dull campfire tale, Haunted doesn't take on that tone. It's quietly observation. It's got its turn in the historical department. More, it mostly asks the question and plays on popular ghost-stories.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists by Chloe Benajmin | Rating: ★★★★★

The publisher was kind enough to send me a digital copy of this novel, after they hosted a giveaway. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

You know when you pick up a book and you can just tell it's going to destroy you? That's how I felt immediately after reading The Immortalists synopsis. I could just feel that it would be something that would change me just a little bit. Which is, at the end of the day, what I want from good literature. I want it to make me feel, or change just slightly.

I was like, "okay, this book looks gorgeous but I'm pretty sure Chloe Benjamin is about to knock me out with a ton of emotions." so obviously I entered the giveaway almost instantly. When I won, I was actually the terrible person who didn't see that I wont a digital copy of the novel because, somehow, it got sent to my junk folder. So, I ended up buying the novel (something I would have likely done anyways) and held off on reading it. Because, if there's one thing I've learned of The Immortalists, it begs of you to read it in the autumn or winter. It just does.

What I loved most about the novel was its never-ending connection between siblings. It's hard to explain, unless you've already read The Immortalists, but Benjamin portrays it beautifully. These siblings have something that ties them together far more than blood. And it's tense. It's complex.

Review: Perfect Together by Christine L'Amour

Perfect Together by Christine L'Amour |  Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.8 stars)

If you've been looking for more WLW friendly love stories, this is for you. Perfect Together is sweet and sexy; tied up beautifully with an easy-going pace and likable characters. Fair warning: it's a relatively short read, easy to read in one or two sittings. But, it is one that will surely warm you up from head to toe.

L'Amour takes on the ever-popular trope of a next-door neighbor lending a helping hand in more ways than one, sprinkling it into her story effortlessly and making it into something of her own. While there are many familiar tropes and tones to Perfect Together (be real: all romance novels share them) it never feels like it's trying to emulate another story. It's refreshing and sweet, and oh-so steamy in the end.

This was one of my favourite romance novels of the year, because it was so soft and sweet one minute but then it hit its stride and felt very much so like something far steamier. L'Amour balanced these qualities together with grace and made sure that the story wasn't any one thing: it was just about love blossoming at an unexpected time in two lives.