Six of Crows

ALSO KNOWN AS THE BOOK THAT CONTAINS SO MANY FEELS THERE SHOULD BE A WARNING ON THE BACK.

FANGIRL MODE

Phew. I’m sorry. I just… I needed to get that out of the way.

*This review/rant/display of my feels contains much fangirling. Read at your own discretion*

Going into Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I had expected amazingness. So many top reviewers had raved about it, and it had been on my TBR list for the longest time.

And all this hype was not without reason. THIS TRULY IS AN AMAZING BOOK.

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I guess I loved it so much because it managed to tug at my heartstings so many times throughout my reading experience, not just by rooting for this ramshackle team of thieves, convicts, spies, Heartrenders, gamblers, and runways to get away with their impossible heist, but for my ships to WORK OUT!

Because really, I think Bardugo was being a bit of a tease.

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Let me just begin to say that never have I fangirled so badly for two characters, shipping them with all my heart. Going onto Goodreads I scrolled through many proclaimations of the shipping of Nina and Matthias, but my ship was COMPLETELY FOR KAZ AND INEJ.

Disclaimer: I loved ALL of these characters. They were so determined and clever; each of them brought something to Six of Crows that made them all crucial to the novel.

But my heart was set on Kaz and Inej. YES YES ONE HUNDRED PERCENT YES.

They were just EVERYTHING to me. EVERYTHING!

 If you need more convincing to know how much I adored this book, here’s a collage I made personally with some of my favourite Six of Crow quotes. (Yes, most of them are Kaz and Inej related. No, of course I couldn’t help myself.)

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To fantasy lovers out there, or lovers of a novel that contains an always-twisting plot, READ THIS BOOK. It is 465 pages of beautiful writing, spectacular world-building, an impossible heist so crazy you can’t help but root for it, and an incredible cast of characters. (There’s also an ending that will just knock you off your feet, but… I digress.)

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February

Before I begin this post, let me just start by apologizing. To my readers and followers, and also to my blog. It’s been nearly a month since I last updated, which just isn’t right! I vow to not let that happen again anytime soon, so expect some good things to come!

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

A Sense of the Infinite, by Hilary. T. Smith

Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman

All the Rage, by Courtney Summers

The Story of Owen, by E.K Johnston

February was an odd sort of reading month for me. We began required reading in my English classroom, so what you see above is an assortment of my personal choices and necessary lit.

I began the month strong with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I took so much from this book, because when I put it down it was like someone had messed around with my heartstrings. If I honestly had to sum up this book in a few words, it would be SO. MANY. FEELS. Just…. so many. I don’t really think I’m going to say much more as I have a special review for it coming up, but all I have to say is this is a definite favourite of mine at the moment.

The next book I read was The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which was as good and addicting as other reviewers have said. I felt that at times it could be a bit ridiculous, but there was such a strong cast of characters, and a plotline that was so crazy it just worked. It was a novel that really made you THINK about the bigger picture, considering this was a book where aliens took over Earth and wiped out a huge chunk of our population. And come to think of it, the plot wasn’t so crazy as one would think. I mean there could be a chance that one day… Ah, nevermind. I told you this book made you think too much. (But really, I loved it!)

A Sense of the Infinite was the first of my school’s required reading. It was a contemporary novel about best friends, and how sometimes relationships don’t always work out, especially when one half of it is more controlling than the other. I liked the story enough that I continued to flip pages in anticipation, because it didn’t feel required to me. I believe I could’ve picked this book up on my own, and overall it made for a quick read.

Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road was one of the originals I had chosen at the beginning of the year that were put on my MUST READ list. And rightfully so. Who’d’ve thought I’d fall in love with the gritty plains of Arizona, 1877? Yes… that was my attempt at the dialect featured in the novel, which made the experience all the more amazing! This Western exceeded my expections and more. With such a strong-headed protagonist who is definitely a new heroine in YA literature, addictive writing that never failed to set the time and place perfectly in my mind, and a riveting conclusion that kept me turning the pages until the very end, following Kate down the road of vengeance was a thrilling journey for sure! More Westerns, please! 😀

All the Rage was also on the school’s list, but the thing was, I had heard of it before. In the end though, it didn’t matter how I ended up picking it up- on my own or because of class- because what mattered was that I got the chance to read it either way. This was a book that tells the story of a girl in a small town who got raped, and the aftermath of it all. Evident by the title, it was dark, serious, and made readers feel, just as I felt anger along with the protagonist. This was certainly a powerful novel that I believe everybody needs to read.

I finished off the month of February with E.K Johnston’s The Story of Owen, which I was conflicted about. For me, it started off really slow, and I wasn’t into it at all. (If you haven’t guessed it yet: This was also required reading). It picked up though towards the middle, and made for an interesting urban fantasy. Not something I would pick up in a store or library myself, though.

Well there you have it! As I promised at the beginning, I’m going to be better now. More updates, more news, and more reading!

Your fellow bookworm,

Zoie 😉

January

So begins another year of reading! With a vow to widen my ‘genre horizons’, I started off this month excited to see what was in store for me. And while I admit I did not venture far from realistic contemporaries in January, I have been making progress by adding more and more fantasy to my TBR list!

Without further ado, here were this month’s reads:

The Boy Next Door, by Katie Van Ark

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

Lost Stars, by Claudia Gray

Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

My Heart and Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga

I’m not going to lie- I didn’t start this year off with the BANG! I had wanted. Because unfortunately for me, Katie Van Ark’s The Boy Next Door wasn’t at all what I had hoped for it to be. A Swoon Reads publish, I expected to be swept of my feet- but ended up falling in the dust. Maybe it could work for others, but most of the time I just found myself counting down the pages until The End.

Lost Stars, however, was not a disappointment! (It was also the only non-contemporary book I read this month, so bonus!) Author Claudia Gray brought the Star Wars world to light in this brand-new story. And the coolest thing of all- it was YA! Best friends Thane and Ciena have always dreamed of becoming pilots for the Empire, but when one of them joins the Rebellion, the two are forced apart on opposite sides of the war. It was a fairly long book, but with such an intriguing plot (not to mention how wonderfully written it is) it’s totally worth it!

Next we have Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss series! To me, it wasn’t so much a series as the last two being companion novels to Anna, but nonetheless I loved seeing familiar characters make cameos and contributing to these stories. The thing about Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After was that they all featured such relatable protagonists, all of whom seemed real. Her writing was absolutely addicting, with swoon-worthy stories to gush over. I recommend Perkins to all contemporary readers, especially those in need of a good romance!

One of my favourites of the month had to be Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by debut author Becky Albertalli! It was just wonderful, with great voice and an even greater heart. This was such a cute read about not-so-openly gay Simon, and how his sexual identity could be on the line when someone discovers his secret emails with the guy who may just be the most adorable person he’s never met. Friendship and family are so strong in this novel, and was just heartwarming all around. I loved it!!

The last book of January was a bit of a darker one- Jasmine Warga’s My Heart and Other Black Holes. When physics nerd Aysel is in need of a Suicide Partner, she finds her perfect match, a boy named Roman. And as he becomes more intent to end his life, she begins to question whether she even wants to go through with it after all. This novel was so beautifully written and SO QUOTABLE, and really makes you aware of the fact that no matter how someone may seem on the outside, the inside could be a whole different story. It did make you feel a bit glum yourself, but in the end this was a story I believe many people should read. It was just dazzling.

So that’s it for this month! Stay tuned throughout the next few weeks- I’ve got a few surprises up my sleeve. 😉

And until then, keep reading!

Zoie ❤

YA: A Genre on its Own?

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Recently here on Zoie’s Bookshelf I wrote a post about my reading resolutions for 2016, and how my number one goal for the year was to be more diverse in my book selections- more specifically, widen my genre horizons. (Do ‘genre horizons’ even exist? Let’s just go with it, okay?)

In 2015, I was introduced into the wonderful world of Young Adult Fiction, discovering some of my new favourite books, and of course authors, such as Rainbow Rowell and Sarah Dessen. But if you recognize these authors, you’d know that they write for YA Contemporary, or realistic if you will, for the exception of Rowell’s Carry On, which was a fantasy. And it wasn’t that I didn’t love all these stories, but I felt like as a true reader, I couldn’t limit myself to only one genre.

Which brings me to my bigger point: can YA be considered a genre on its own?

There are multiple types of Young Adult Fiction- Realistic, Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal… you name it, they’re all there. And I am under the strong belief that YA Literature is a genre on its own; that all of these side ones are more sub-genres than anything.

So it wouldn’t be cheating if I continued to read YA, because these sub-genres would make up for diversity among my bookshelf. One sub-genre I’m particularily excited to get back into would be of fantasy, as I used to be a big reader of it, immersing myself in the newly-constructed worlds authors has mastermindfully created. Because while realistic fiction is relatable, in fantasy there are these whole other rules to live by, complete different ways of life that can have magical realism in them. I can read worlds that I could only hope to one day write. It’s incredible.

Some YA books that I am looking forward to reading this year (that are not contemporary) include Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, and of course Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Also, I am currently reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a YA Star Wars novel.

If this list doesn’t prove how I’m trying to be the type of reader that will read any type of genre (or, fine, sub-genre), I don’t know what will. Because even though there are multiple sub-genres out there, I will slowly make (or READ) my way across them all.

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So fellow bookworms, what do you say? Want to expand your genre horizons along with me? 😉

Keep on reading!

Zoie 🙂

 

December

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While it started off as a slow reading month for me, two weeks off school quickly allowed me to catch up on some necessary winter reading!

Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat

The Distance From Me to You, by Marina Gessner

Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern

Signs Point to Yes, by Sandy Hall

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

Where She Went, by Gayle Forman

My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins

The first book I read this month was Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat. It was the story of two sisters, twins who had been born holding hands, and how one car crash will change the lives of both. Beautifully written and incredibly insightful, this novel is definitely recommended to fans of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay.

The Distance From Me to You, while it took me a while to read, was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing at times could feel flat, not containing much voice, but at the same time it was the way of storytelling that was something that compelled me into the plotine. Thumbs up, Marina Gessner!

And because I loved A Step Toward Falling, a new YA I read just last month, I decided to pick up author Cammie McGovern’s debut, Say What You Will. I found that the storyline seemed to be quick-paced and while I liked how page-turning it was, it made for the plot to be all over the place at times.

Last month I also read A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, which if you can recall was a book that I loved. Like, it just gave me ALL THE FEELS. So going into her second novel, Signs Point to Yes, I strongly believed that this book could not compare to her adorable debut. I mean, how could it? A Little Something Different was just AMAZING. And yet, miracle of miracles, I was surprised again! Signs Point to Yes was just as beautiful as her first book, so fans of Sandy Hall, pick this up!

This December I took to reading If I Stay again, because I remembered loving it when I read it more than a year ago, and found the writing and story as poetic as I did the first time. I also read the sequel, Where She Went, which is a novel I once started but never finished. This time I did, and once again Gayle Forman does a terrific job of telling a story.

The very last book of the year I read was one I recieved for Christmas, a holiday anthology entitled My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. Many YA readers would recognize contributors, such as Rainbow Rowell, who was the main reason it was number one on my Bookmas list, as well as Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, Matt de la Pena, and Ally Carter. While some stories to me were just okay, favourites included Midnights, Angels in the Snow, Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me, Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus, It’s a Yuletide Miracle Charlie Brown, and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer.

I definitely recommend checking out some of these titles, because most were such a pleasure to read! And with January already in progress, it’s time to find some more books to cuddle up with….

Zoie ❤

My Top Books of 2015

Boy, has this been quite the reading year! It was the one where I emerged myself in YA, discovered many of my favourite novels, and met many extraordinary characters, most of whom I felt were my very best friends. Of course, in a year of so many books there were some that exceptionally stood out to me, ones I know I will forever remember, as well as read time and time again!

I couldn’t possibily narrow them down to only five or so, here they are, in no particular order:

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                                                                                                                    Anne of Green Gables for me was a classic I feel I can never part without, because the characters in it were ones that would stay with me forever. I loved the world L.M Montgomery created, and all the adventures (not to mention trouble) Anne got into! She and I are kindred spirits for sure 🙂

Fangirl was the book I re-read the most this year, wiFANGIRLth a grand total of FOUR TIMES! I started reading it on an e-reader, but even a few chapters in I knew I needed the hard copy in my hands, and my friend bought it for me for my birthday. After I finished it the first time, I went right back to page one and started again, because it was a story I didn’t ecarry onver want to leave.

And because I have Fangirl, I’ll follow it right up with Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, a fantasy that started off as just a seedling in Fangirl. I loved it so much, with great voice and a page-turning plot. Rowell strikes again! allthebrightplaces

All the Bright Places was also a favourite this year, written by the delightful Jennifer Niven. It was such a deep and thought-provoking story, with wonderful characters and the best kind of romance. I couldn’t get enough of it, dreading the moment when I was too tired to even turn the next page, because all I wanted to was to continue reading!Red-Queen-Victoria-Aveyard

Red Queen, as some of you know, was definitely one of my top books of the year. Beautifully written by debut author Victoria Aveyard, it was all anyone would want in a book.  Find out why everyone should read Red Queen.emmy&oliver

I also really, truly loved Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway. The friendship that bonded the characters together was so strong and the story just plain incredible. Emmy & Oliver have become one of my favourite literary couples, adding yet another one to my list!

And thea little something differentnsigns point to yes, of course, we have a A Little Something Different! Sandy Hall just has this knack for writing the most adorable romances ever, and her debut was just a pleasure to read. I’m also going to put her second novel, Signs Point to Yes, because I loved it nearly as much.

I’m going to follow Sandy Hall’s work with other Swoon Reads titles, 22718710including Kimberly Karalius’s Love Fortunes and OtherVelvet-Temple-West Disasters (I got the priviledge to do an interview with the wonderful author, as well as a book review, so check them out if you’re interested in reading about the whimsical world of Grimbaud!) and Temple West’s Velvet. I was never one for vampire romances, but this book might have turned me. (Pun intended!)

There have also been so many others- 2015 truly was a spectacular year for reading! Other favourites have been A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern, Finding Audrey by Sopie Kinsella, First & Then by Emma Mills, The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner, Kissing in America by Margo Rabb, Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat, and None of the Above by I.W Gregorio.

Hopefully 2016 has just as many great books to offer!

Cheers to the new year,

Zoie 🙂

 

Merry Bookmas!

Happy Holidays everybody!

I’m sure that some of you out there who read book blogs have heard of Bookmas before, especially for those who follow features such as the 12 Days of Bookmas (Here’s one I’ve been checking daily!).While I’m not doing that (next year, perhaps?) I do have a post to share with you all today. Because for this Bookmas, I was given four beautiful books that I just had to gush about!

Of course, this season the #1 item on my Bookmas list was the holiday anthology, My True Love Gave to Me, edited my Stephanie Perkins, with short stories contributed by many of the most popular YA authors today! (Rainbow Rowell is the main reason I NEEDED this!)

I mean, how could I not want this beauty?

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I know what I’ll be getting cozy with this winter- that is, if the snow decides to even make an appearance! So far where I live, the temperatures have been pretty warm, but hopefully this new year will provide more appropriate weather for me to cuddle up with a cup of hot tea and My True Love Gave to Me!

The next book I got was one I have heard lots about, and was mostly inspired to have after reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. By debut author Jasmine Wanga, it’s My Heart and Other Black Holes!

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Isn’t it just perfect? The problem of being a bookworm is that I want to read all these books right now and all at once, but unfortunately that just isn’t possible. *SIGH*

The third book I recieved was Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, which I’ve heard is hilarious. I’ve already read the first three chapters, and although they were short, I could tell that I’m in for an amusing ride!

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And last but not least, this Bookmas I got none other than All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven! And yes, it is the very one I mentioned above, haha! I’ve already read it, but I feel like it needs its own spot on my bookshelf after checking it out from the library 😉

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And speaking of bookshelves, after recieving these four beautiful additions, I had a feeling it was about time I rearranged my shelf. It was getting boring, looking at my books in the same old alphabetical order, so I placed them all by colour! I’ve been blabbing about it all day:

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Did you notice the little Young Adult label on it, too? Very library-esque. And don’t you guys love the colours and everything? It’s a little something I like to call my ‘Literary Rainbow’.

And because I couldn’t resist sharing more, here are some of my most recent buys: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, and Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall.

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The only one I haven’t read is Love Letters to the Dead, a YA I’ve heard nothing but good things about, and can’t wait to start it! Eleanor & Park I read back in March, but ended up not liking that much. But because I just LOVED Fangirl and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I figured that had to be a fluke. Chances are I’ll love it just as much as her others, because c’mon- it’s Rainbow Rowell! The last book we have is Signs Point to Yes, a Sandy Hall book I read in two days just last week, and loved almost as much as A Little Something Different!

That’s all I have for today (this actually was one of those spur-of-the-moment ‘Oh maybe I should blog about this!’ posts) but this was really fun to share!

I hope all of you are able to snuggle up with a good book this holiday season, and get reading 🙂

Happy holidays to all!

Zoie ❤