Sunday, February 6, 2022

January 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

 


Happy Saturday, all! 

This week a snowstorm rolled into my area and Alex and I were snowed in for basically an entire week. Since I squish in my 40 hours of work into Monday through Thursday, my normal three-day weekend turned into five. I can't say I'm mad about it. Did I catch up on the bookish work that I had to do? Absolutely not. We absolutely vibed and I read quite a lot... I also nostalgia-watched Phineas and Ferb. What a time. 

In January, I managed to read 15 books. I'm very pleased with it all. It's honestly quite graphic novel-heavy, but I really loved what I read. I also did the thing where I kept mood reading, starting books on whims, and not finishing anything I had previously started. I currently have seven books marked as 'currently reading' on Goodreads, if that says anything about my fickle reading moods.

One of the main reasons I think I read so much this month is the readathon I hosted with my friends. Essentially, I had three of my friends come over, sleep over all with the goal to read as much as we possibly could. It was magical and so much fun. We are definitely doing it again. If you're interested in seeing some sort of content for our 24 Hour Read-a-Thons, let me know in the comments! Until then, I'll be casually posting those nights on my stories via Instagram.


Anyway! Here’s my January reading wrap-up!

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse- 5 stars
Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick, and Juliana Moon - 3 stars
BL Metamorphosis volume 5 - 4.5 stars
Throne of Glass (TOG #1) by Sarah J. Maas - 4.5 stars
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec - 4.5 stars
Bound to the Battle God (Aspect and Anchor #1) by Ruby Dixon - 3 stars
Electric Idol (Dark Olympus #2) by Katee Robert- 5 stars
Saga volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 5 stars
ExtraOrdinary (Villians #1.5) by V.E. Schwab- 4 stars
✨ Saga volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 4 stars
Saga volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples 
- 4 stars
Saga volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 4 stars
Saga volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 5 stars
Saga volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 4 stars
Fangs by Sarah Anderson- 5 stars

Number of Pages Read: 3,520
Number of Books Read: 15
Average Rating: 4.4 stars

I really enjoyed what I read in January. I'm very pleased with what I decided to pick up as well. As a bonus, here's what I'm currently reading!


Sworn to the Battle God by Ruby Dixon 
35% in

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
reread & I'm 60% through

Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
38% in

All You Want by SenLinYu
TikTok sold me on this one. I'm 30% in. 


What did you read in January and what are you currently reading?

Happy reading!
Olivia

Friday, January 21, 2022

{Review} The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Page count: 359
Publisher: Ace Books
Published on: February 9, 2021
Genres: adult fantasy, romance, mythology, retelling, historical fiction
Format: hardback - personally purchased

TW: burning alive, gore, sutures, near pregnancy loss, childbirth (x3), family separation, torture, and death (list acquired from author's website)

✨ RATING: 4.5 stars


Goodreads synopsis:

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin's all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she's foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

~~~

Hey, all!

The lovely members of my book club and I picked this book to read for January. Wow am I glad that we picked this. Reminiscent of the style of Madeline Miller's Circe and The Song of Achilles (one of my all-time favorite authors and book duos), this book ticked all of the boxes for me. This book follows the witch, Angrboda as she falls in love, faces betrayal, loss, and hope.  

I loved this book. Honestly, the only reason I docked the half star was that at the beginning of the story, she is said to be the witch responsible for the Vanir-Aesir War, While I know that the myths are open for interpretation and that the details are not set in stone. But I've done so much research for my novel about Freyja that I was just bothered. Freyja was the witch responsible for the war. However, I really loved the concept that Gornichec introduced that the people from the myths could possibly forget entire parts of their lifetime, take on new names, and relearn things. I really loved that aspect of the story. Reading this book really helped me cement the ideas that I could implement (and hesitate to decipher) for my own novel. 

The characters in this story were incredibly fleshed out. I absolutely adored reading from Angrboda's perspective. She's so wise and she isn't stuffy or held down by the expectations of the Aesir or the Jotunn. I loved her strength and independence. I also really loved that this story captured the ambiguity surrounding gender, sex, and love that you can frequently find in the actual myths. When it comes to relationships and the capabilities that the gods and creatures from Norse lore have, gender, sexuality, and relationships are so fluid. When I read this book, it was like reading an old friend. It's obvious that Gornichec did her research and knew her stuff when she wrote this. I really resonated with the details that she included in the story and how she managed to touch on so many of the stories from the myths through the eyes of Angrboda. It was masterfully done. 

This book was absolutely beautiful and I'm so excited to discuss it with my book club. Let's discuss mythological retellings and reimaginings in the comments! 

Happy reading!
Olivia


Monday, January 17, 2022

Top Favorites from 2021

 

Hello, my lovelies! 

I hope your week was wonderful! Today I’m bringing you my top reads from 2021. I usually do a top XX of 20XX, but I don’t think I can reasonably do 20+ every year. Especially when I’m averaging 120 books a year. It’s just too many and I’m going to start narrowing it down every year.


Naturally, I’ll give you my top 5, but I’m going to just list the rest of my faves. They aren’t in any semblance of an order after the top 5.

✨1 - A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
✨2 - The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab    
✨3 - Heartstopper (any of them tbh) by Alice Oseman
✨4 - The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
✨5 - King of Battle & Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

I have 19 books featured in this picture. Again, in no particular order:
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
- Neon Gods by Katee Robert
- Vengeful by VE Schwab
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell
- The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
- Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
- Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
- Lore Olympus Volume 1 by Rachel Smythe
- BL Metamorphosis Volume 1 by Kaori Tsurutani

All of these books were 4.5 stars or higher. When I look back on them all, I’d give them all 5 stars if I hadn’t initially. I definitely recommend them all.

See any of your favorite reads? Or maybe you disagree and didn’t enjoy one of them as much. Let’s discuss them in the comments!

If you're interested in seeing my favorites from the past 7 years, I'll link those below. Just click on the year and it will direct you to the blog post. Enjoy!


If you're interested, I also have a video up on my Instagram page where I discuss my favorites from the past few years + a book haul from the massive 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble. 

What were some of your favorite reads from 2021? Or maybe just some of your all-time favorites in general?

Let's discuss!

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

{Review} Vengeful (The Villains #2) by VE Schwab


Page count: 462
Publisher: Tor 
Published on: Sept. 25, 2018
Genres: adult fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy
Format: paperback - personally purchased

TW: gore, violence, death, attempted murder, murder, and mental illness. Be kind to yourself when reading this book.

✨ RATING: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

~~~

This is a bit of a backlisted review. I published it on my Instagram page in October and then forgot to repost it on the blog and Goodreads. Better late than never I suppose!

While on our honeymoon, Alex and I adventured around and found new bookshops and coffee shops that we loved, but we really took to a coffee shop near where we were staying. It was called Grinder House and seemed to be a staple of the community. We were there for breakfast nearly every morning. It was awesome. On one of our first days, we were just hanging out and reading while we waited on our food. It was just like our dates before the COVID times. It was so nice. 

I managed to finish Vengeful at the delightful Grinder House. It was so much fun. I think I’m of a different mindset because I think Vengeful is my favorite of the two books written in the series. To me, Vengeful had a pretty different dynamic compared to Vicious. I just liked it better because it was really character-focused and action-based. 

The plot really dove into who Eli is and who Syd wanted to be. I also really loved the newly introduced femmes. Marcella was completely bananas and I loved her violent character. June — I loved her as a character, but I’m not sure how I feel about her as a person — which I absolutely love. These characters were immaculately developed and written. 

Since the story swaps between so many perspectives and through the different time periods that lead up to the massive clash between the characters, the pacing is so snappy quick. I just loved it so much. It was the perfect read to have while we traveled about Tennessee. 

Schwab has definitely firmly wedged herself into my top 5 favorite authors. (I just need to read all the graphic novels and comics she has out and The Near Witch.) There are loose strings that will be tied up in Victorious and I just can’t wait. This book was just so excellent. I loved every page!

Happy reading!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd
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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

{Review} BL Metamorphosis Vol. 1-5 by Kaori Tsurutani

Hello my beautiful chickens!

This manga instantly gripped me, and I couldn’t put this series down if I tried. Naturally, I found this series while browsing in a bookstore. I bought the first four volumes on a whim slash #treatyourself moment before the holidays. I couldn’t resist. The art style is adorable, the synopsis instantly hooked itself into my very soul – I had to pick them up.  

I managed to read all four of the volumes back-to-back that evening and I was completely devastated to find out that there weren’t just four volumes, but five! I wish I was ashamed to say this: but I absolutely went online and bought the fifth and final volume the moment I finished volume 4.  

 

This is going to be a series that I recommend to any budding manga lover and any manga reader that adores slice of life, BL, romance, and delightful friendships.  


Goodreads synopsis: 


Ichinoi, a 75-year-old woman living a peaceful life, unwittingly buys a Boy's Love manga one day...and is fascinated by what she finds inside. When she returns to the bookstore to buy the next volume, the high school girl working there--Urara, a seasoned BL fan--notices a budding fangirl when she sees one. When Urara offers to help Ichinoi explore this whole new world of fiction, the two dive into BL fandom together, and form an unlikely friendship along the way.

 

 


BL Metamorphosis  Volume 1: 


5 stars 

  • The whole story is so heart-warming and adorable to read. I was instantly hooked, addicted, captivated with these characters and their interactions. 
  • I loved how the author would have different moments switch between Ichinoi-sensei and Urara 
  • I am obsessed with how these characters complement each other. Even though there is a 50+ age gap between them. Between the two of them, I loved Ichinoi-sensei the most. Her humor and just the way she approached any obstacles or new experiences was adorable and wonderful to read. Her reaction to the wait-times between book releases and her voracious appetite for manga and stories was so lovely. Urara was such a great character too, but for so many different ways. I really related to her shy and anxious demeanor, as well as her reluctance to venture out of her shell and experience more. I loved seeing her work through her personal struggles.  
  • I wasn’t sure how BL was going to be incorporated, but I loved that we go to see bits of U & I’s favorite books. It was really cool to see the style change to indicate the stories woven throughout the books. I also really loved how it was shown as a niche that brings readers together. 


 


BL Metamorphosis Volume 2:


5 stars 

  • So adorable! I loved how these characters ventured off and how their friendship became ever stronger.  
  • While the synopsis seems to put a focus on the convention that they adventured to, I really loved how they faced the new challenges that their friendship faced. They really do bring the best out each other.  

 


BL Metamorphosis Volume 3: 

3 stars 

  • This volume felt more like filler, but I still really loved it.  
  • Seeing these characters pursue their own ventures to go out of their comfort zone was so lovely.  
  • I’m obsessed with the growth that we see in Urara.  
  • Ichinoi-sensei is iconic and adorable as always. 

 


BL Metamorphosis Volume 4: 

5 stars 


  • Ahhh! I loved getting more fired-up, passionate, driven Urara! Seeing her pursue something out of her comfort zone and thinking outside the box to ramp up her drawing abilities was so lovely to see. I loved how she put herself out there and worked so hard to not only improve her school studies, but to learn how to draw like her favorite authors and tell her own story.  
  • I really loved Ichinoi’s part in this chapter of the story. Her sass and support were so lovely to see. It’s obvious that these women consider each other family now – they’re a found family in a way! Love! Her unconditional support is absolute friend goals. She made me so emotional in this volume. 
  • I also really love the small glimpses that we are getting into the writing/illustrating life of their favorite author. The little moments where their lives almost cross are just so fun. 





BL Metamorphosis Volume 5: 

4 stars 

  • Well, now this series is over, and I’m devastated. This is such a sweet comfort read and I devoured it in probably less than 3 hours all-together. Who’s surprised? You should be surprised when I don’t push these books and this adorable, wholesome story onto you. Read it! Read these volumes!  
  • This was such a bittersweet ending. I loved seeing Urara’s growth come full circle and see that she still has so much potential for her life. She’s so sweet and I just want to know what happens after this.  
  • I really do not like to think about Ichinoi’s end ever, but she really kept bringing up how old she was and how she would eventually die. It sent me straight into my feels and I cried at least twice while reading this book.  
  • This manga series is all about the power of friendship and I just adore that. It was the perfect read and reading volume 5 as 2022 began was just the perfect decision.  

I just cannot recommend this manga series enough. I adored every moment of the reading experience and I know I will absolutely reread soon. I already crave the adorable bits of the story and the lovely feelings I experienced while reading. 

Happy reading!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Reading Wrap Up


Hey, all!

It's been a hot minute since I've been able to post, but I hope you forgive me. If you've been keeping track of my bookish shenanigans on Instagram, you'll know that I've contracted some sort of cold that has transformed itself into a sinus infection. The last week of 2021 was very strange and I had a hard time even reading my current reads. 

In 2021, I read 115 books, graphic novels, manga volumes, and short stories. 

Number of Pages Read:  33,143
Number of Books Read: 115
Number of Books DNF'd: 7
My 2020 average rating: 4.0 stars

Shortest Book: Leave the Window Open by V.E. Schwab (9 pages)
Longest Book: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas (757 pages)

Average book length: 288 pages
  
Most popular: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (1,512,912 people shelved on Goodreads)
Least popular: So You Want to Be A Viking by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Takayo Akiyama, and John Haywood (66 people have shelved on Goodreads)
Highest Rated: A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab (4.68 average on Goodreads)


 J A N U A R Y  reads:


  • Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill
  • How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Joanna Shupe, Sophie Jordan, and Sarah MacLean
  • Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
  • Check Please Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert
  • Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
  • The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1) by Michael Buckley
  • The Unusual Suspects (Sisters Grimm #2) by Michael Buckley
  • The Problem Child (Sisters Grimm #3) by Michael Buckley
  • Once Upon a Crime (Sisters Grimm #4) by Michael Buckley
  • Desperate Measures (Wicked Villains #1 ) by Katee Robert
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal
  • Heartstopper Volume 2 by Alice Oseman
  • Lore Olympus Volume 1 by Rachel Smythe


F E B R U A R Y  reads:

  • Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3) by Ashley Oseman
  • A Court of Mist & Fury (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J. Maas

M A R C H  reads

  • A Court of Frost & Starlight (ACOTAR #3.5) by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer


A P R I L  reads






M A Y reads:


- The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag
My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kohei Horikoshi
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert 
- Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Norse Mythology Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
DNF -- All the Stars & Teeth by Adalyn Grace
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
First Kill by V.E. Schwab 
A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab
Rhapsodic by Lauren Thalassa 
DNF-- Sabriel by Garth Nix
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield



J U N E reads:


- The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
- Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
One Last Stop by Casey McQuinston
All the Feels by Olivia Dade
A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady and Jules Zuckerberg
- DNF - Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
So You Want To Be A Viking by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Takayo Akiyama, & John Haywood
Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
The Sprite and the Gardener by Rii Abrego & Joe Whitt
- Neon Gods by Katee Robert
Spy x Family Volume 1 by Tatsuya Endo




    J U L Y reads:

    - Stealing Thunder by Alina Boyden
    - A Sky Beyond the Storm (Ember in the Ashes #4) by Sabaa Tahir
    - Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Comic Book (#1-5) by Leighton Gray, Vernon Shaw, Wendy Xu, Lee C.A., C. Spike Trotman, Josh Trujillo, Ryan Maniulit, Jack Gross, Jarrett Williams, Drew Green, D.J. Kirkland, Matt Herms, Reed Black, Jeremy Lawson, & Kris Anka
    - Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab
    - This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab
    - Wynd by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
    - The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab
    - Lightfall by Tim Probert
    - The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab
    - Leave the Window Open (The Archived #2.5) by Victoria Schwab
    - Catwoman Soulstealer: The Graphic Novel by Sarah J. Maas, Louise Simonson, and Samantha Dodge
    - Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger



    A U G U S T reads:


    - The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
    - The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan
    - The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan
    - Spy x Family Volume 2 by Tatsuya Endo
    - Spy x Family Volume 3 by Tatsuya Endo
    - Spy x Family Volume 4 by Tatsuya Endo
    - Spy x Family Volume 5 by Tatsuya Endo
    - The Way of the Househusband Volume 1 by Kousuke Oonu and translated by Sheldon Drzka
    - Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
    - Isn't It Bromantic (Bromance Book Club #4) by Lyssa Kay Adams
    - DNF - Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

     

    S E P T E M B E R reads

    - The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
    - The Way of the Househusband Volume 2 by Kousuke Oonu and translated by Sheldon Drzka
    - The Way of the Househusband Volume 3 by Kousuke Oonu and translated by Sheldon Drzka
    - The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
    - The Way of the Househusband Volume 4 by Kousuke Oonu and translated by Sheldon Drzka
    - DNF - Hot and Badgered by Shelly Larenston
    - Slaughter House-Five (the graphic novel) by Kurt Vonnegut and Ryan North
    - A Touch of Darkness (Hades x Persephone #1) by Scarett St. Clair
    - Animal Farm the Graphic Novel by Odry and George Orwell
    - It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey - ARC
    - The Way of the Househusband Volume 5 by Kousuke Oonu and translated by Sheldon Drzka
    - The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

    O C T O B E R reads

    - Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff
    - Vicious (Villians #1) by V.E. Schwab 
    - Warm Up (Villians # 1.5) by V.E. Schwab
    - Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
    - Blue Flag Volume 1 by Kaito
    - Saint Young Men Omnibus #1 by Hikaru Nakamura
    - Vengeful (Villians #2) by V.E. Schwab
    - Extraordinary (#0) by V.E. Schwab
    - This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal E.E. Mohtar and May Gladstone
    - Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
    - Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major
    - For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
    - DNF - The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
    - Saved by the Lumberjack by Kori Hart


    N O V E M B E R reads

    - From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
    - Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M. Nascosta
    - The Mabon Feast by C.M. Nascosta
    - The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
    - Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell



    D E C E M B E R reads

    - Caste Heaven Volume 1 by Chise Ogawa
    - Vampironica Volume 1 by Greg Smallwood
    - King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair
    - The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
    - Dekoboko Sugar Days Volume 1 by Atsuko Yusen
    - A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
    - Heartstopper: Become Human by Alice Oseman
    - BL Metamorphosis Volume 1 by Kaori Tsurutani
    - BL Metamorphosis Volume 2 by Kaori Tsurutani
    - BL Metamorphosis Volume 3 by Kaori Tsurutani
    - BL Metamorphosis Volume 4 by Kaori Tsurutani
    - Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
    - Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran
    - The Girl From the Other Side Volume 1 by Nagabe
    - The King's Spinster Bride by Ruby Dixon 


    What did you read this year and what stood out to you? Let's discuss in the comments! Happy New Year! Stay tuned for my favorites from 2021!

    Olivia