Wednesday, July 10, 2019

{Review: Series Reread}: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer



Hey, guys!



I had already decided that for 2019 I would splurge and reread more books -- especially my favorite series. The past six months have been really rough. I have to be honest. Going back to some of my favorite series has been so therapeutic. Visiting The Lunar Chronicles, especially, has been like visiting a good friend. I absolutely adore this series. It has one of the best cast of characters and being with them again is so nice. 



Here are my thoughts when it comes to rereading the series!



First things first, I decided to pick these up via audio and I definitely do not regret it. I love these audiobooks! Sometimes I'll be a little iffy about the audio and pick the book up physically, but I've only picked up the physical books to see if I've hit the halfway mark and check out name spellings.


Cinder (#1)

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This is the third time that I have read Cinder. Back when it first came out in 2012, I quickly picked it up from the library and loved it. I gave it five stars. Three years later, in 2015, I picked it up again and gave it 5 stars. This year is no different and I gave it 5 stars. I originally picked the audiobook up on a whim and I definitely do not regret it. I absolutely adore every part of this book. Marissa Meyer's method of creating characters is so much fun and I love how she develops them throughout the book. She's such a fantastic storyteller. You can just tell that she put so much work into the world building and the character building. She's so wonderful. 


Scarlet (#2)

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I've also read this 3 times:
March 2013: 5 stars
February 2015: 4 stars
May 2019: 4 stars

I honestly do not remember rereading this book in 2015 and giving it 4 stars. I vaguely remember rereading the series to continue the series, but I don't remember docking the book a star. 2015-me had the right idea, however. Scarlet did not stand the test of time. The characters, Scarlet and Wolf, were just not as compelling as Kai and Cinder. They were dynamic and really well fleshed out, but their behaviors are just kind of annoying sometimes. 

Scarlet has this persona that she's really tough and brave, but she was just constantly screaming, sulking, and crying. Granted, she goes through a lot of crap that no one should have to go through, but sometimes it was just so repetitively tragic. I wish she had been more complex than what she portrayed. Also, the voice that the audiobook narrator gave her is annoying as hell. Fake French accents just grate on my nerves. It wasn't fun. 

Wolf, however, I understand. I think I enjoy him more than I have in the past. I think this reread really cemented the demented-ness of the mutation experiments that occurred on Luna. It's really messed up! I don't think it had fully sunk in how terrible Luna's actions were until now. Let's chalk that up to the lack of development and understanding in 15/17-year-old Olivia. 

Also! Carswell Thorn is amazing and I adore him. He's so flawed, but I can't help but root for him. He's just so fun.


Cress (#3)

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2016: 5 stars
2019: 4.8 stars

Cress never disappoints. I absolutely adore the character Cress and I especially love the interactions between Cress and Thorn. I love their romance and I love how they help each other grow as people. They're precious beans and need to be protected. 

I loved how there were so many perspectives throughout the book. It really added the extra depth and dark vibes that the series is so well known for. Each character goes through so much, but they always grow into themselves and learn from their mistakes. I love these characters.

Wolf and Jacin really annoyed me in this addition, however. Wolf was being a mopey asshole and was putting the team in jeopardy. He just wasn't acting like himself and it was annoying. Jacin is just a grump, but I appreciate that he doesn't change himself for others. He's a bit dense, but he's fun.

This book is so action packed and fast paced. I really didn't want to stop listening to it. There's a reason that it's one of my favorites of the series. (However, we will see which one is my new favorite after I finish the series.)

Fairest (#3.5)

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This was actually my first read of Fairest! 
4.5 stars

Back when this first came out, lots of people were telling me to just skip it because it didn't really add to the story....WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? I love it when authors include additions that develop other characters -- especially the villains! This was so good! 

This didn't make me sympathize with Levana's cause, but I definitely understand her more now. I hate that she had to go through what she did, but she could have done something to make her life better and make the lives of others better because of what she experienced. Instead, she consistently made terrible choices, didn't learn from them, and then made even worse choices. 

She's so self-centered and self-absorbed. She's a narcissistic asshole and she's straight up evil. Her character is so frustrating and it just made me feel sad for her because she didn't want to change and she didn't want to make an effort to be kind. 

She's evil. 

You definitely should read this if you're going to read the series.  


Winter (#4)

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2016: 5 stars
2019: 4. stars


This was the longest audiobook that I've ever read, but it was also so freaking fun. By the end of it, I was making the most ungodly noises as things were happening and I managed to wake up my dog as he sat in my lap while I listened. This book was just a fantastic roller coaster of emotion and character development. I am so freaking happy that I reread this series. 

Of all of the Lunar Chronicles books that I've read, this was the book that I had read only one time. Because of that, I hardly remembered it. This was as close to first-read do-over that I could get and I'm so glad. 

I love these characters and I love how the series ended. I'm eager to see what I think of Stars Above.

*written as soon as I finished this book June 25*



 Stars Above (#0.5, 0.6, 3.1, 4.5)

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Rating: 4 stars

The Little Android: This was so sweet. I was quite confused at first because I thought it was an Iko story, but I really love how Meyer tied in the story of the Little Mermaid. It was tragic, but still hopeful and heartwarming. I really liked how we got to get a glimpse into the world of the Lunar Chronicles before Cinder was even introduced. 

Glitches: Oh my goodness. This was so sad, but so cute. I loved seeing how Cinder's life began after the surgeries. It was so fascinating to see the family dynamic of the Linh family before the plague struck.

The Queen's Army: Wow. This was one of my favorites. It was so fascinating to see who Wolf was before his transformation and after he was transformed. It's sick how Levana treated her people. This was just so good.

Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky: Oh my goodness. This was really fun too. It's so interesting to get the chance to see such a pivotal moment in Captain's life. I love him still.

The Keeper: Scarlet is probably one of my least favorite characters, but reading this novella gives me a new perspective to why she is like she is. I like her a little more, but I still don't like her as much as I like the other characters. 

After Sunshine Passes By: Oh. My. Gosh. I love Cress. A precious bean who doesn't deserve any bad in her life. A literal sunshine.

The Princess and the Guard: Winter is such a strong character, but she's so misunderstood by the end of the book. Winter goes through so much, but she still remains so wholesome and good. She deserves the world.  It was also really nice to see Jacin before he became the hard guard- dude that he is. I loved his interactions and adoration for Winter. A wholesome duo. 

The Mechanic: This was honestly probably my least favorite of the novellas. I understand why so many enjoy this novella - Kai is beautiful and lovely and deserves the world - but I wish that this had been a retelling from his perspective and a different scene. It just didn't feel so different from the actual scene. 

Something Old, Something New: This was my favorite by far. AAAAH it almost made me cry. I am so happy with this ending. I wish that there was another wedding novella to follow this one, but I'm so happy with this novella! I want more!


Favorite of the series: Cinder or Winter
Favorite romantic pairing: either Cress and Thorne or Cinder and Kai
Favorite character: Cinder or Cress
Favorite non-romantic relationship: Thorne and Iko

What's your favorite of the series? Let's discuss in the comments!

Happy reading!
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Teen TItans: Raven by Gabriel Picolo and Kami Garcia


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Page Count: 192
Published On: July 2, 2019
Published By: DC Ink
Genre(s): YA, fantasy, comics, graphic novel, sequential art
Source: personally purchased
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository 

My Rating: 4 stars












Goodreads synopsis:

When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth's foster mom--and Raven's memory--she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn't easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can't remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.

But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she's ready to face what's buried in the past...and the darkness building inside her.


~~~

Hey, guys!


I originally was provided an ARC on NetGalley for this graphic novel, but I was unable to access the file no matter how hard I tried. After a couple of days, the book was released and I pretty much ignored my bank account and bought the book. I definitely wasn't disappointed. I'm so excited to continue to support Gabriel Picolo and his artistic endeavors. His art is so beautiful and exciting. 

I've been a fan of the DC superhero group - the Teen Titans - for the majority of my life. Though I'm more of Marvel fan, I still consume some of the DC work from time to time. I tend to stick to Aquaman, Wonderwoman, Catwoman, and the Teen Titans and whatever comes from their respective canons. I'm not well versed in the DC universe, but I still like some of what they've released. From the animated Teen Titans TV show from the early 2000s (NOT Teen Titans Go), to the comics that are so iconic and fun to the new material that has been gradually been released -- the characters have always been a staple in my (still limited) DC Comics consumption. 

Garcia has been such a big name in the YA world. I've never really been a fan, but I'm really pleased with the story in Raven. Raven is one of my favorite characters and I'm really eager to see where her story goes in these graphic novels. This graphic novel was a really fun look into her character, but it was still quite underwhelming. I had hoped for a more solid story line, but it just wasn't the tea. The ending was very flat and I just felt like the writing itself wasn't that great. 

However! I feel like the artwork really carried this graphic novel. Picolo is so freaking talented and every line, every bit of his art was flawless. He did such a fantastic job! I've followed Picolo on social media for quite a long time and I couldn't be more pleased with his work in Raven. This graphic novel was excellent. If you enjoy the Teen Titans, you'll like this graphic novel.

Overall, I had hoped for more from the story, but the art really boosted the entire package. 

Happy reading!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd ~



Sunday, July 7, 2019

June 2019 Reading Wrap Up + Mini Reviews


Okay, guys!

I've read so many freaking books this month. It's honestly so bizarre that I've done so much reading the past two months. Perks of working part-time and having the summer off from school I suppose. I really really love the books that I read this month. It was just such a fun reading month. Let's jump into it! 




Reading Stats:

Total Number of Books/Things Read: 20
Number of Novellas:2 
Number of Rereads: 6
Number of Graphic Novels: 6
Adult: 3
YA: 9
Middle Grade: 5
DNFs: 1

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Circe by Madeline Miller
4.75 stars 
read physically and through Audible

This was such a fantastic book. It's definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year. This is the sort of feminist novel that I didn't know that I needed. Circe is such a fascinating, strong, and powerful character. Her development throughout the book was so addicting to watch and I just love her so much. The focus on her growth, her story, and her power was just so fabulous. When she first had her child, the focus and narration surrounding her first two years of motherhood were just so spot on. I'm not a mother -- full disclosure. However, I'm the eldest sibling (kind of, my sister is 1 minute older -- so whatever), so I understand how hard being a mother is. When my mom first started working full time, I had to pick up the slack of helping with the kiddos. 

This book is just so phenomenal. Click {here} for my review!



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Fangirl & Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
5 stars
read physically

Two of my all time favorites! These books are just automatic five stars. I was honestly so scared that I wouldn't enjoy these as much, but they absolutely lived up to the hype. 

I'll have a re-read review up soon!

Here are my original reviews!

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
4.9 stars
read physically

Another new favorite! Margaret Rogerson did not disappoint! This was so freaking magical and beautiful. I honestly want to reread it and tab it up. It was honestly just so phenomenal and well done. I love Margaret Rogerson's books so much!

Full review to come!

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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

4 stars
read physically

This was the only book that I managed to read for the Buzzword-A-Thon, but I'm really happy that I read it. Francesca Zappia is such a wonderful writer and I absolutely adore this story. The main character, Alex, struggles witschizophrenia and the hallucinations that result from her disorder. With her schizophrenia, Alex's perception causes her to be an unreliable narrator. I really loved that perspective. She's so scattered and confused and scared -- while I feel terrible that she has to deal with those experiences, it allows me to learn something new and empathize with her more easily. This book was so good. I cannot wait to read more from Zappia. 

Full review to come.

Click {here} for my review for Eliza and Her Monsters.

Courtney's review for Made You Up {click}



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Saga #54 by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan
5 stars
read through Hoopla 

One day during the middle of the month, I decided that I wanted to torture myself and read the last bit of the Saga series because I missed the series. Instead, I made myself cry and I almost threw my phone across the room. This series is phenomenal and I cannot wait for more to come out. I need it.


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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
4.8 stars
read via audio through Hoopla 

Aaaaah! Cress is probably one of my favorite additions to the Lunar Chronicles series. Before I did this series reread, it was my favorite. I'll discuss more of that once my series review is up. 

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Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
4.5 stars
read via audio through Hoopla 

Of all of the Lunar Chronicles books, this was one that I hadn't read. I'm really glad that I read it though. It was awesome to get some back story on Levana, Winter, and Selene. It definitely added to the story and gave it an extra layer of depth. 


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How To Read by Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet
 3 stars
e-ARC provided via publisher

This was such a lovely picture book. I loved the poetry and how the art contributed to the story that the poem told. This is going to be a favorite amongst the young children of the world. This is so great for kids.

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{DNF} The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

no rating
read physically

I just really could not get into this book. I didn't like the characters, the plot, the conflict. I just wasn't a fan at all. I DNF'd this around 145 pages in.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

3 stars
read physically 

This just wasn't it. I've been anticipating Sally Thorne's sophomore novel ever since I read The Hating Game. I even pre-ordered it. However, this story was just so bland and boring. I was semi-entertained for the majority of the time, but I hardly liked Darcy, Tom was just bleh, and their romance was just so forced and annoying. I liked the concept and the themes surrounding family, change, and sibling relationships -- but it just wasn't done well. This was just so scattered. I feel like the pressure was too intense for Thorne. This was kind of a flop.

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
4.8
read via audio through Hoopla

Another Lunar Chronicles reread. This was so much fun to listen to. I loved being with these characters and seeing the story wrap up. Marissa Meyer is so wondeful.


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Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #1-4 by Josceline Fenton, Rebecca Sugar, and Chrystin Garland
4.5 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

I loved this little volume. Steven Universe is one of my favorite shows and reading these graphic novels brings me so much joy. 


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Wundersmith the Trials of Morrigan Crowe (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend
4.8 stars

AAAAH THIS BOOK! I'm still recovering from the wonderfulness of this story. I cannot wait for book 3. I need it! I'll have more cohesive thoughts in a review. Stay tuned!


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Memento by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman 
5 stars

This was perfect and everything I needed from an Illuminae Files and AIDEN back story. I cannot wait to get back to Obsideo.


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Steven Universe: The Ultimate Dough Down by Talya Perpa, Rebecca Sugar, Meg Omac, and Lorena Alvarez Gomez
4.75 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

This was so cute. I love Steven Universe so much and this was just so wholesome and wonderful. I love the focus on Sadie's character and her feelings surrounding Lars' absence. 

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Steven Universe: Camp Pining Play by Rebecca Sugar
5 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

This was so much fun. This volume focused on Peridot and Lapis and their relationship. I just need more wholesome stories about them. I love them so much.


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Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems (#1-4) by Josceline Fenton, Rebecca Sugar, and Chrystin Garland
4 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

I'm such a massive fan of SU and this volume was just so wholesome and great. I honestly don't know what order to read these comics (thank you Goodreads). If you love the show, you'll love the comics.


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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O'Neill
5 stars
e-ARC provided via NetGalley



This was such a lovely and perfect little story. I absolutely adore everything about this story, the art style, the plot, and the characters.

The representation in this book was so freaking wonderful! Wonderfully done!

I loved learning more and more about the world of dragons and tea dragons. I'm so in love with this world.

I hardcore recommend this book to anyone who loves whimsical, lovely, soft stories. Everything by Katie O'Neill is perfect so far.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

4.5 stars

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
4.75 stars

Letters to the Lost was such a freaking fantastic contemporary romance. Declan and Juliet are such fascinating characters and I loved their love story and I couldn't put this book down. Kemmerer has a way of creating a cast of characters that you absolutely root for and hope for. This book was so addicting and I wish that I had more from these characters. I'm so freaking glad that Brigid wrote More Than We Can Tell. SO GOOD!

More Than We Can Tell is one of the best contemporaries I've read all year. I didn't think it could live up to the awesomeness that was Letters To the Lost, but oh my gosh it did. Rev is such a wonderful, complex, soft boy. His story was so compelling and I couldn't put it down. Emma was just wow. So realistic, so smart, so complex...I love her. As their stories intertwined, I just fell in love. I have so many feelings that aren't fully manageable. This book was so emotional and perfect. 


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Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson)
3 stars
the reading is 4 stars
read via audio through YouTube

Alex pulled this up on his phone on a quick little car ride and I was completely shook. The audiobook is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and he just hit every line perfectly. This book is definitely not for kids, but it's a satirical play on the classic bed time stories that they love so much. This is a really fun book for parents and siblings of younger siblings.


What's your favorite book that you read in June?
Happy reading!
Olivia
~Liv the Book Nerd~


Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 2019 Book Haul



Hey, guys!

Once again, I've acquired SO many books through my wily means. I've bought quite a few, been gifted some, and I've traded quite a few as well (though some aren't here yet). I've also read quite a lot, so don't think I'm just acquiring all of these books just because. I'm so excited about these books!

Here are the books I received, bought, and traded for.



  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
    • I bought this through the Book of the Month club! I'm so excited to read this book!
  • Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
    • I purchased this from Good Choice Reading! I'm so excited to have another Kristoff/Kaufman book signed! I cannot wait to read this for the last Biannual Bibliothon Read-a-Thon!
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
    • I actually acquired 2 copies of this book this month! One was a preorder and the other (which is pictured) is the OwlCrate edition. My regular edition is being lent out to Julia who is reading it for our book club! 
  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 
    • Guys! Another OwlCrate edition! This is actually an exclusive new cover, signed, and so pretty! I acquired this through a Twitter trade!
  • Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer [ARC]
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
    • Alex and I have been wanting to pick this book up for a while, so while he was away for the week I snagged us two copies from Books A Million. I'm so excited to read this book. It looks phenomenal.
  • Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
    • I preordered this gorgeous book soon after finishing A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I plan on reading this in the next few days! I love bingeing Kemmerer's contemporaries!
  • Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane
    • This is another BOTM pick! It sounds so intriguing! I cannot wait to dive in!
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    • I went to an amazing sale at the beginning of the month and I found this 1st edition hardback for $2! How could I pass that up!?
  • How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
    • Another BOTM pick! I'm such a sucker for adult romance! This just sounded so fantastic! Not to mention, Taylor Jenkins Reid RAVED about this on the BOTM site!
  • The Song of Achilles by Margaret Rogerson
    • I actually got to meet Madeline Miller a few days ago! She spoke about her work for about an hour and then signed. I got my copy of Circe signed and then I bought a copy of The Song of Achilles for Alex and me, as well as a copy of Circe for him.
  • Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills [ARC]
    • This is also another book I acquired through a Twitter trade! I feel so blessed!
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Okay by Gail Honeyman
    • I'm so excited to read this! A huge shoutout to the BOTM swap group that has blessed me with so many awesome swaps!
  • The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
    • This book sounds so good! I cannot wait to get to it in July. Reese Witherspoon actually sold me on this book. It's her book club's June pick! I'm sad that I couldn't fit it into my June reading, but I'm definitely reading it in July.
  • The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger
    • This sounds so fascinating. Thank you Michael Balanger for the copy! Stay tuned for a review, all.
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
    • Thank you, Berkley, for the gifted copy! I had the pleasure of reviewing WFTH through NetGalley and I really enjoyed this book. Don't forget to check out my review! 
  • The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
    • I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexandra for a blog post in early June. She and Putnam sent me a complimentary copy to review. I cannot wait to dive into this one. It sounds so freaking good.
  • The Moderne Faerie Tales by Holly Black
    • Another pre-order! I cannot wait to read these books! I've already started Tithe and I'm honestly iffy. 

Do you buy a lot of books? What has been your favorite of your recent purchases? 

Happy reading!
Olivia
~Liv the Book Nerd~


Thursday, June 20, 2019

{Mini-Reviews} Young Adult & New Adult Romance Novels!



Hey, guys!

For the past few months, I've been on such a romance kick --especially new adult and adult romance. I've just really enjoyed reading older protagonists. When it comes to new adult, I've really enjoyed reading romance stories about people in their twenties. Sometimes YA romance is just too young and cringy for my taste. Here are some of the lovely romance novels that I've read lately! 

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Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren 
4.9 stars 

Roomies by Christina Lauren

4.8 stars

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

4.75 stars

If you've been following my recent reads, you'll know that I'm becoming trash for Christina Lauren's books. They're so engaging and addicting. I always love the characters, the story, the romance -- everything. Those ladies just have the best writing style and the best characters. I'm so glad that I've been reading their work. I cannot wait to read more from them. They're my romance crack books.

If you enjoy slow burn, hate to love, and fake relationships turned real, you'll really love these books. They use such bleh tropes, but really make them fantastic. I particularly enjoy all of them, so they just take all of my money.



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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
5 stars

Another all-time favorite! Ugh! This book is just perfection! This is the perfect example of the hate-to-love trope. I can only praise this book because it's just so freaking wonderful. 

I definitely will be reading this again because I can't get it out of my head.



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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
3 stars

I quite enjoyed this little contemporary, however, I really didn't enjoy the "talking on the internet, meeting irl, having crushes on each other, and allowing confusion to ensue because of the lack of communication" trope. I think that the confusion from that executed trope just added an extra element that wasn't needed. It would have been a much better fluffy romance without it. Overall, it was really cute and I liked the characters. The way that the author handled trauma, teen drug use, and safe and consensual sexual escapades was really nicely done. I love how sex-positive and healthy this romance was. It was also nice to read a hate-to-love romance that was written for teens. I'll definitely have to check out more of Jenn Bennett's work. 


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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
4.8 stars

I loved this book! Taylor Jenkins Reid did not disappoint! I've read two of her works now and I'm just so freaking impressed with how wonderful they are. They're cheesy in the best way, but so original too. I didn't find myself guessing what would happen next and I really enjoyed the pacing. I also really loved the characters in this book. They were so realistic and so raw. Their emotions are so well done and I cannot believe that Reid did that...SHE DID THAT! I definitely recommend this book. I love it so much. 



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Daisy Jones + The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
5 stars

Trigger/Content Warnings for: substance abuse/addiction and abortion

Guys! This book! It was so freaking wonderful. I absolutely love love love everything about this book. It's so iconic and memorable. I can't stop thinking about it, and it's almost been a full month and a half since I've finished it. The formatting of the story was so fascinating and the way that Reid connected each character's voice through their perspectives was so masterful. I do not think anyone could write a book like this again. Fantastic! I cannot wait to read more from Taylor Jenkins Reid and I cannot wait to get my hands on the audiobook and reread this book. I need to read it again.


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Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
3.5-3.75 stars

Trigger/content warnings for: misogynistic comments about physical appearance, parental abuse, attempted sexual assault, abuse, domestic violence, cheating, talk of miscarriages and abortion, and slut shaming

I'm sort of on the fence when it comes to this book. It was fluffy, it was steamy, it was a bit mindless...but there are an equal amount of pros and cons to this story. I really enjoyed the enemies-to-lovers trope and the FWB aspect, but it was absolutely infuriating at times. I was so annoyed with these characters, but so completely invested in their story. I had to finish. This book could be read as questionable, but I did really enjoy it. 


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Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
4 stars

Last year, my boyfriend Alex and I went on a trip to Seattle where I got to present my academic work to a bunch of academic professionals. During our free time, we visited the Amazon Book Store and this was one of the books that we picked up. Alex read it right away and loved it. It took me a bit longer (who's surprised) and I also enjoyed it, though I read it via audiobook.

I really enjoyed the multicultural aspects of this story and I really loved the characters that developed throughout the story. The stories that the widows wrote were so hilarious and so steamy. Some of them were really shocking.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone. It touches on some important issues and concepts. I cannot wait to read more from Balli Kaur Jaswal.


What are your favorite romance reads? Let's discuss in the comments!

Happy reading!
Olivia
~Liv the Book Nerd~


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

{Review} Circe by Madeline Miller

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Page Count: 393
Published On: April 10, 2018
Published By: Little Brown & Company
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fiction, Mythology, Historical Fiction, Retelling
Source: audiobook via Audible & hardback purchased through Book of the Month
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository 

My Rating: 4.75 stars










Goodreads synopsis:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.


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Hey, guys!

I've been really meaning to read this book for the longest time. I've been a fan of Madeline Miller's prose and style for such a long time. Back in April of 2018, I picked up Circe fully intending to read it right away, but in the true Liv the Book Nerd fashion, it didn't happen! Who's surprised? (No one.)

I also read her short story, Galatea, back in January and I was instantly hooked. It's truly a masterful short story. I read it free through my library and Hoopla. If your library provides the Hoopla service, I definitely recommend Galatea. However, I did use my free trial for Audible to read Circe because it was not available through Hoopla.

Here is my review of Galatea: {click here}
Here is my BOTM book haul that features Circe: {click here}

This novel contains some themes and scenes that may trigger other readers. 
TW/CW: violence, gore, torture, physical/emotional/child abuse, suicidal thoughts, (brief scene) self harm, graphic childbirth, (mentions of) bestiality, (mention of) incest, animal sacrifice, death of siblings, death of child/ren, death, rape, adultery, and war themes and scenes

The standalone novel, Circe, follows the nymph, goddess, and witch Circe throughout her life -- from her creation and birth until the end of her life. Over the course of her life, Circe goes through many life-changing experiences that change her as a being and help her to realize her full worth and potential. This book is about love, healing, family, motherhood, and self-love. It's about finding your truth, your true chosen family, and *magic*. 

I've always been such a big nerd for mythology -- especially Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. My love for mythology and storytelling stems from stories like The Illiad, The Odyssey, anything by Rick Riordan, Hans Christian Anderson, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, and so many more. Stories have always been such an impactful part of my childhood and have impacted what I've chosen to do with my life. Even now, I'm writing my own story that is influenced and inspired by Norse mythology. Mythology, to me, is very important because we can learn from the lessons that the characters have experienced and try to understand the struggles of others. 


Circe is known for her role as the enchantress in The Odyssey. Odysseus and his men come to her island and attempt to take advantage of her hospitality -- stealing from her, attacking her, and just generally being pigs. So, she turns them into what they are -- she turns them into stinky swine. However, Odysseus convinces her to keep him for herself and they become lovers. He also is immune to her magic because of the aid of Hermes. He becomes distracted from his quest and he stays with Circe for a year as her lover. They eventually leave, but many believe that his stay with Circe was to teach him and others who read/listen to his tale that women are irresistible seductresses who manipulate men and are threats to men's morality and lead them astray. (Which is bullshit.)

Reading Circe was such a lovely experience. I actually listened to 90% of the book and read about 10% physically. I personally enjoyed listening to it much more than reading it physically. Circe is not a speedy quick book. You can't just pick it up and read it in a day. (However, if you did do this, more power to you. This is my personal opinion and I could never read a Madeline Miller novel in one sitting.) This story is slow, but still quite fast paced. If you enjoy slower books, but they are a bit of a drag for you to physically read, I definitely recommend the audiobook. The narrator, Perdita Weeks, was PHENOMENAL! I love her work.

So much happens in this story. So many things are shown to the reader that honestly made me have to stop and put down the book/pause the audiobook. Circe goes through so many traumatic and terrifying things that I just had to sit and THINK. While this is a really great retelling of The Odyssey, it's not just a retelling! It's Circe's story! The Odyssey plays a small part in her story -- as does Odysseus -- but this is all Circe. The Odyssey is just a small part of Circe's journey to self-fulfillment and growth. 

Circe is probably one of my new favorite protagonists -- well, she's not new, but she's new to me! She's strong, she's driven, she's flawed, she's a feminist boss ass chick! I just absolutely adore her journey and I wish that I could have more from her. I aspire to be as strong, confident, magical, and independent as Circe. I love her.

Throughout the story, readers realize that any story will be told differently by whoever tells it, but it will especially be told differently if a man tells the story. Ballads and epics will always be told to favor the hero, not the heroine. Women in the stories are witches, sorceresses, and enchantresses that need to be stopped, defeated, tamed, subdued, ended, killed. Circe is like no other hero that I've heard before. She's not a hero! She's a witch, she's an enchantress, a goddess -- she's a woman! She fights for her independence and autonomy. This is a story of a woman who is fighting for her worth. 

“They do not care if you are good. They barely care if you are wicked. The only thing that makes them listen is power.”


If you are unfamiliar with Madeline Miller's writing, I definitely recommend her work. She is a true queen of mythology and retellings. With her background in classic literature, history, languages, and her immense talents in writing, you won't be disappointed.

If you haven't already gone to put your copy on hold at the library, bought it, ordered it, etc. PLEASE DO! READ THIS BOOK!


You can order a signed and personalized copy of Madeline Miller's books {here}.

I will be going to a discussion and signing for Madeline Miller toward the end of June. I am so excited! Pictures and gushes to come to my Twitter and Instagram!

Other Retellings You Would Love:


Happy reading!
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~