Reviews

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

shadow of the fox

Goodreads: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy
Age Range: 13 and up
Source: My wonderful library
Rating: 👑👑👑👑 (4 crowns)

 

Official Summary:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

Review:

So, for a few days, I was trying to decide whether to give it 3, or 3.5, or 4 stars. As you can see, I have chosen four stars, mainly because I just grew so attached to the characters I couldn’t give it any less! I loved every single one of them (except for the villains…of course.) I’ll give you a short overview of the story before we move on to the other good stuff (in which I compare the characters to Winnie-the-Pooh characters thanks to my whimsical nature).

Basically, Shadow of the Fox is split into two POVs: Yumeko, a half-kitsune girl who was raised by monks, and Tatsumi, a Kage demonslayer. In the beginning, Yumeko learns that her temple home has been guarding a special scroll that, if in the hands of the wrong people, can lead to catastrophe. Meanwhile Tatsumi is sent there to steal the scroll for the Kage clan.

But! When he arrives, an oni and his minions are already attacking the temple. Yumeko barely escapes with the scroll hidden on her person and the instructions to travel to the capital city to get instructions for a hidden temple where she can hide the scroll…and runs into Tatsumi. They form an unlikely partnership: Tatsumi will protect Yumeko from all kinds of dangerous yokai BUT Yumeko will have to lead him to that hidden temple.

As you can imagine, this was mostly a journey story and I have a bone to pick with it (is that the way you say it?). Don’t get me wrong, journeys are awesome! I enjoy reading them. But in this case, it got slow at some points. Sometimes it even felt to me that it dropped into a “travel a bit, run into some yokai, fight and escape, travel again” pattern.

But I enjoyed every bit of the Japanese mythology incorporated. Like this is the first time I’ve ever seen a book that was heavily inspired by Shinto (At least all the mention of kami, from the major ones to the many, many minor ones and the shrines made me think so.) And I just adored ALL of the main cast for different reasons.

Time for the fun part now!

Yumeko: She’s so sweet that the whole cast (and me) ends up liking her! She’s like the glue that holds them together, and because of that, she most resembles Winnie-the-Pooh. Also, her name makes me think of “dream child” because “yume” means “dream” in English.

Tatsumi: He’s super broody and kind of emotionless and deadly so it’s hard to find someone. I always feel incredibly sorry for him every time he repeats his mantra that he’s a weapon, nothing more! I hate it when humans dehumanize others, including him. I suppose his gloom and pessimism (he’d correct me as realism lol) would make him alike to a darker, infinitely more dangerous Eeyore.

Okame: He’s annoying and rowdy and can be a drunkard, but, heavens, there’s way more to him than that. The fact that he gave me something to laugh about, and his deepest inner self easily titles him as a Tiggur!

Reika: She’s just so cool and kickbutt and awesome! I mean, what can you find not cool about an ofuda-brandishing shrine maiden who takes no nonsense at all and kicks lots of butt with her dog sidekick? I consider her kind of a “mom” of her friend group, so Kanga, I think.

????: I don’t want to reveal a lot about this character because I feel like it’s has mild spoilers so…I’ll just say they make me think of Christopher Robin, or Owl.

Oddly enough, the feels came AFTER I finished reading. Maybe in the chaotic end chapters, I was just racing through and not noticing my emotions very much. Either way, thanks to the cliffhanger and horrible things that happened to a few characters, I can’t wait for the sequel Soul of the Sword.

 

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Reviews

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Lousiana's Way Home

Goodreads: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Categories: Middle Grade, Realistic
Age Range: 8 and up
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Library 💖
Rating: 👑👑👑👑👑(5 crowns)

Official Summary:

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

Review:

A quick note: This is a companion novel to Raymie Nightingale. You don’t have to have read it to understand and enjoy this (I’ve forgotten most of what happened in Raymie Nightingale and could still savor this book) but I would recommend you do, because I would sing the praises of Kate DiCamillo to the heavens. On with the review.

Kate DiCamillo has done it yet again. Reading Louisiana’s Way Home has reminded of why she’s one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all her novels and each of them was truly wonderful. And this was no exception!

This story is about Louisiana and Granny, who leave their home of two years, Florida, in the middle of the night because of what Granny calls the “curse of sundering”. Louisiana resents Granny for it – for she has to leave her two best friends Raymie and Beverly and Archie the cat and the one-eyed dog Buddy. They end up in a small town in Georgia, where most of the story unfolds, a story where everything Louisiana believes is ripped away from her, where she must learn to find herself.

Louisiana meets a number of people in the Georgia town, including Burke Allen and his crow friend Clarence and Burke’s family, Reverend Obertask, and Bernice. Yet again, Kate DiCamillo reveals a lot of character depth with just quietly insightful statements. For example, this is how Louisiana describes Burke:

He was the kind of person who, if you asked him for one of something, gave you two instead.”

I just fell in love with Louisiana’s voice. It was so Louisiana, with her pluck and insight and resourcefulness, but I saw Kate DiCamillo’s signature writing style too. One reason I admire her books so much is that her writing style is beautiful. It’s very sparse and simple but it looks effortless and lovely and…just so subtle. I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of subtle that hides plot twists well. It’s the kind that just hints at the emotions brimming under the surface. I think she’s a born storyteller. I can’t find any other way to explain what makes her stories so special to me.

“Sometimes, when the light starts to fade, I get a terrible feeling of loneliness, like maybe I am the only person in the world.”

As a warning, this story has quite a few sad scenes, which tugged at my heart partly because of all the subtlety hinting at loneliness and heartbreak but also hope. Even though it ended pretty happily, I was left with a lingering sense of sadness. But some scenes were so sweet (looking at you, Grandfather Burke Allen) that it really touched my heart 💖

As you can guess, I’d recommend this very very much. And I think I will now go and reread one of her other books. It’s been far too long.

Memes/Tags

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This time’s theme is“Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019”.

Although I have plenty of backlist releases on TBR, I still have more 2019 books to look forward to. Isn’t it so terribly exciting to have books you’re itching for to release so you can snag a copy from the library or bookstore and settle down and READ? For me, I always feel a tickle of excitement when I think of them. Anyway, without ado, here’s the list!

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

 

1. The Wicked King, by Holly Black, released on January 9, 2019: I read The Cruel Prince, its predecessor, and I was blown away by the complex characterization and dynamics, the political intrigue, and the amazing reveals. The end was technically an end but also a cliffhanger. Ever since I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book, and the reviews of The Wicked King suggest that things get even wilder. If I knew…I’d have probably waited to read The Cruel Prince until after all three books of this trilogy was released, so I could binge them. But ah well.

 

2. The Vanishing Stair, by Maureen Johnson, released on January 22, 2019: This book is the second in a trilogy, and the first was Truly DeviousTruly Devious was a great, twisty boarding-school mystery, and I have high expectations for mysteries after reading plenty of Agatha Christie books. I wonder what new mysteries and reveals I’ll encounter in The Vanishing Stair.

 

 

3. King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo, released on January 23, 2019: I previously read Ms. Bardugo’s collection of short stories The Language of Thorns and I enjoyed it very much, so I was looking forward to any books she might release. I’ve also heard great things about her other books, so naturally this is an anticipated read.

 

 

4. Courting Darknessby Robin LaFevers, released on February 5, 2019: Now this book sounds amazing, judging from the Goodreads summary. Daughters of Death? A French court? I’m always up for a great court intrigue and this book seems a likely fit.

 

 

 

5. The Everlasting Rose, by Dhonielle Clayton, released on March 5, 2019: This is the second of a duology, the first being The BellesThe Belles was both an exciting YA fantasy and a story that explored some very relevant themes about how we perceive beauty and ourselves; I was engrossed. Naturally, I was excited to find a sequel on Goodreads.

 

 

6. The Queen’s Resistance, by Rebecca Ross, released on March 5, 2019: I read and enjoyed The Queen’s Rising, its predecessor. Though the plot is pretty typical for a YA fantasy, the prose was lovely and the worldbuilding of the two kingdoms, Maevana and Valenia, was sketched out well. I’m looking forward to read more about Brienna’s– and now Cartier’s too, I suppose–stories.

 

 

7. Return of the Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner, released on March 19, 2019: This is the sixth, and the finale of the Queen’s Thief novels! Let me tell you this: the Queen’s Thief novels are one of my most favorite series EVER. They’re so very clever and twisty. The clues are right there but aren’t really obvious unless you reread some of the key scenes, I think. Hmm, time to reread all the first five books?

 

 

8. Finale, by Stephanie Garber, released on May 7, 2019: The last of the Caraval trilogy! It’ll be sad to know that this is The End, but at the same time, I want to know how everything gets resolved. In the second book of the trilogy, Legendary, the end was bursting with questions I need answered.

 

 

9. The Queen’s Secret, by Jessica Day George, released on May 14, 2019: The Queen’s Secret is the second book of the middle grade series called the Rose Legacy. The Rose Legacy, book one, ended on an interesting note. Besides, it has horses in it and telepathy with horses and a cast of plucky friends loyal to each other. Who wouldn’t want more? (P.S.: How funny that there’re two books with the title The Queen’s ____)

 

 

10. Stepsister, by Jennifer Donnelly, released on May 28, 2019: The Goodreads summary calls it a “fiercely feminist re-imagining of Cinderella” and it’s told from the perspective of one of the stepsisters. Fairytale retellings are splendid, and I’ve never read a Cinderella retelling with the stepsister as a main character, so this definitely is high on my TBR.

Teatime Thoughts

Teatime Thoughts: What Are Your Library Habits?

teatime thoughts

Teatime Thoughts is a feature where you, the reader, and I can sit down together with tea and little treats and talk about many topics, mainly bookish and writerly. This time let’s have tea over, “What Are Your Library Habits?”

I’m a regular patron of the library. My parents drive me there a number of times every month (thank you!) and I get most of my books from there. Libraries are definitely a very important part of my life! I’m quite curious to know what are your library habits (what do you do there? where do you like to browse? etc.). To break the ice, so to speak, I will tell you mine first!

Make a List

Well, technically, I do this at home. I open my Goodreads ‘books-to-get’ or ‘Want to Read’ shelf, pick a number of books from there, and search them in my library catalog. If it’s there, yay! I’ll go and add it to my list. If it’s not, well, I can either put a hold or just wait. Most of the time I just wait but recently I’ve begun to put in more holds, especially for books I’m so excited to read.

Or books that I probably can’t get if I don’t reserve it (I’m looking at you, Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming with your 32 holds so far.)

Check the Holdshelf

I’m certain many of us do put holds on books in the library and travel there when they come in (and panic if they need to be returned at a fixed date). And there’s something very satisfying about picking up a book from there, because the library kept it specifically for ME.

Maybe I sound a bit nosy but I also like to glance (quickly!) at what other books are there. What books are so appealing that people would want to reserve them? Once I saw a whole Rick Riordan series laid aside for one person!

Go Grocery-Shopping Fill My Bag with my TBR

This is where I glance at my list and trip from shelf to shelf (usually in the juvenile or YA areas) and pull out books I’ve been wanting to read. I add them to the library bag, which consequently gets heavier and heavier (thankfully, my parents often volunteer to hold it for me!)

And then if I get a book I am especially eager to read, I squeeze the book a little, grin, skim the summary and admire the cover, and slip it into the bag. I remember I was so excited when I could get Muse of Nightmares so quickly from the library – I must have been one of the first patrons to get it. I also remember I was thrilled to get The Hate U Give when I couldn’t find it for months.

Restrain Myself from Borrowing All the Books in the New Book Section (and Everywhere Else)

A confession: one of my guilty pleasures at the library is to linger in the new book sections, whether it’s in the YA or juvenile. There the books have such shiny, shiny appealing (and gorgeous) covers and the synopsis is just so interesting! I don’t randomly browse the regular shelves often, but when I do, the books published a few years ago are just as tempting to borrow. At that point, I have to remind myself that I do not have forty-eight hours a day or that I cannot spend the whole day reading.

Still, it is hard not to. Often I end up with five or six books when I know very well that I cannot read that much in one or two weeks and that I’ll end up panicking when it’s near the due date. Alas, it seems to be a lesson I never learn from! (Do any of you have any tips? If you do, let me know. But then again, I might not want to learn. I am an oddball.)

*nibbles on a scone and sips tea* What about you? What are YOUR library habits? Are there any specific areas you like to visit often, like library sales?

Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions: 2019

Hi book dragons and book dragonesses! Today I’m not going to blog about a book review or a Book Dragoness feature, but about my 2019 resolutions.

I’m a writer as I think you already know, so here are my writerly resolutions:

  1. Write for fifteen minutes a day. It’s not much but as I anticipate getting busy with school and blogging and real life, this will be a satisfactory amount. Besides, writing regularly builds good habits.
  2. Edit the WIP I’m working on till I’m satisfied with it, till it’s ready to send off to beta readers other than my immediate family members. I’m still very new to this revising process, so we’ll see!
  3. Write another first draft. I want to keep churning out stories!
  4. Write and edit short stories and poems to try for publication (and get over your dread for formatting, Miri…)
  5. Don’t stress about your writing! I don’t expect to accomplish ALL of the above but I do intend to accomplish number 5 (okay but that is hard to do…)

Now for my bookish/blogger resolutions:

  1. Have more “blind dates” with books. That is, go to the library and pick something purely because it looks interesting, not because it’s on my teetering TBR pile.
  2. Try not to borrow too many books because that causes me to panic when it’s near the due date.
  3. Write more recommendation/discussion posts. Naturally, this is a book blog, so most of the content will be book reviews, but there’s that adage called “Variety is the spice of life”.
  4. Interact in the community. I want to meet bloggers I haven’t met before and befriend a few.
  5. Go at my own pace. I think I’m doing pretty well at it, but I’ll try not to panic because I have literally no time to blog or interact near exams or other circumstances that keep me away from the computer.

How about you? What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you excited for the upcoming year? I certainly am!

Reviews

Picture Book Reviews I

There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow:

There was a Cold Lady who swallowed some snow

4.5 stars.

Well, this was so much fun! The title reminded me a lot of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” – but since I don’t remember it much (time to reread it!) I can’t say whether the stories were similar.

Anyway, we learn why the cold lady swallowed some snow, pipe, coal, stick, you get the pattern. She keeps swallowing things. Each time she swallows something, the story repeats everything she ever swallowed – it’s sort of like the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. I didn’t mind the repetition. Little kids might find it fun, and I did enjoy the singsongy narration style.

The illustrations were also cute and suited the story style well. I liked the little details in the background. They did also enhance the story and add its own mini-plots, and reminded me of why I love picture books.

My favorite part was the end. It had a really charming twist! I didn’t see it at all and I thought it was brilliant. Recommended.

Andy Web: Artist

Andy Web Artist

3 stars.

If I were to sum up this book in two words, it would be “cute” and “educational”.

Andy Web: Artist follows the spider Andy Web, an aspiring artist. He hones his art skills by weaving spiderwebs to trace over famous paintings like the Mona Lisa. He learns of the many kinds of arts including the traditional Renaissance-style paintings to surrealism. At the back of the book, there was a list of the styles which I think would be useful as an introduction to art in elementary school (this picture book seems to be targeted to young kids).

I liked it. I thought the spider was kind of cute, but at the same time, the book feels…a little forgettable. Something I might read through at the library or bookstore, shelve it, and not remember it some months later. Maybe it might be because I’m not an art aficionado – but I think it was because I was unlucky and couldn’t connect to Andy very much. Oh well. It was a pretty good read anyway.

Reviews

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Book Information:

IMG_20181124_071450261_2

Goodreads: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Categories: Historical Fiction, Adult
Age Range: 14 and up
Source: My wonderful library
Rating: 👑👑👑👑 👑(5 crowns)

Official Summary:

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” 

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Review:

I cross-posted my review on Goodreads here

Why, why, did I not read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society earlier?

This book was absolutely wonderful and I loved every word of it. I mean, this book is totally up my alley; it’s a love letter to books and reading and writing (pun intentional). If you love books (as everyone here does) and haven’t read this, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is composed of letters exchanged between the characters. After World War II, tired of writing funny war pieces as Izzy Bickerstaff, Juliet Ashton is looking for a new book subject. Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey Island, contacts her after he finds her name in a book. Charmed by each other, they strike up a correspondence, through which Juliet learns about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, its origin, and its members. This correspondence opens up a whole world of ideas – and friendships – to Juliet.

I think that’s the gist of what you need to know before diving in.

The characters were so interesting and varied. At first, I had a little trouble distinguishing the members of the Guernsey Literary Society because I didn’t know them very well, but soon enough, I could. There’s shy, quiet, bookish Dawsey; Amelia Maugery, the “mom” of the Guernsey Literary Society; Isola Pribby, wonderfully quirky and my favorite characters; kindly Eben Ramsey;and finally, there’s Elizabeth McKenna, who was the glue of the friend group before she was arrested during the German Occupation.

Juliet also exchanges letters with others in her life. She writes to her best friend Sophie and Sophie’s bossy older brother Sidney; a rich American Mark (who is a jerk in my opinion) courts her. Obnoxious Miss Adelaide Addison, who lives on Guernsey Island, goes on and on about how horrid Elizabeth and the other Guernsey members are.

Some parts got dark, as much of the flashbacks in the letters are set in World War II. If you’re uncomfortable with that, maybe this book is not for you. But to me, the darkness never felt too gratuitous. It was horrible but when such things as concentration camps existed, there is no way you can sugarcoat it because it was true for some.

So READ IT READ IT READ IT. That’s all I have to say.

Memes/Tags

Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

This tag’d been circulating around my feed for awhile and it looked fun, so I thought I’d join the bandwagon! Just in time before Christmas (that makes me a bit naughty but we shall see) [EDIT: I must mention it was created by the lovely Jenn. Thank you for making such a fun tag!]

1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it.

So no. I’m so new I haven’t requested any ARCs (I did get one or two from my librarian but I will end up reviewing it because I need to suggest whether to get it for my library or not.)

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley.

Yes. I made an account…but I haven’t requested anything yet.

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and it never did).

Oops,  yes! (And actually more than once…double oops.)

4. Folded down the page of a book.

I don’t remember ever doing that! Unless it was a heavy textbook and I closed the book and accidentally creased a page because of the weight.

5. Accidentally spilled on a book.

Yes…it has happened more than once, when I try to read and drink water at the same time. I must stop!

6. DNF a book this year.

Yes! A few times (sometimes because I had to return it to the library and then I had forgot to get it back). And just recently, I DNF’ed a few audiobooks. Somehow I can’t stick with an audiobook from beginning to end!

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it

Nope. At least, well, even if I bought it because it was lovely, I planned to read it someday…

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)

Heheh. Yes. Sometimes I read instead of working on my story. Need to write more!

9. Skim read a book

Yes. Sometimes I get too anxious about the characters and I NEED TO KNOW IF THEY END UP OKAY so I end up skimming. I’m wayyy too impatient.

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal

No. I’ve only joined once and I went over it! Wahoo!

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it.

Maybe not. Though I have a library book which I’ve kept for months and not have had to return because I kept renewing my loan…

12. Broke a book buying ban

No. I’ve never banned myself from buying books since I buy so few of them in the first place (I get most from the library). Library ban is a different story, though, if you look at my piles.

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about.

I don’t think so… Because if I leave it for too long, I tend not to write the review after all.

14. Wrote in a book you were reading

Do textbooks or books I read for school count?

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

Yes! Mostly picture books because I tend to read and then forget to add it.

16. Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend

I haven’t borrowed books from a friend.

17. Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book

Nobody has asked, yet!

18. Broke the spine of someone else’s book

I don’t think I have.

19. Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged

Most of the time I get my books from the library, like I said, so I can’t remove the jacket cover. Also, most of the books I buy are paperback.

20. Sat on a book accidentally

Umm, entirely possible!

 

So my naughtiness scale is 9/20, which is means I managed to be a good book dragoness. So Santa, will you pleeaaaase send me lots and lots of books? And I’m sure most of you bloggers have already been tagged/already did it so I’ll be tagging you if neither apply!

 

 

 

Uncategorized

The Book Dragoness Recommends ~~ Books I Read in 2018

thebookdragoness recommends

The Book Dragoness Recommends…is a new feature where I recommend books of many kinds- best sequels, best series, books with a lot of dessert in them, and more! The first theme is “Books I Read in 2018”.

This is like a yearly wrap-up of some of the books I read, loved, and want to recommend! I divided it into Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult so if you’re looking to specifically read YA, for example, no need to wade through my other reccs.

Middle Grade:

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. This is a lovely story about a Pakistani American girl, Amina. She struggles with her own identity and wonders if she should Americanize more like her friend. This is also a middle school story so there’s plenty of school drama if you like that! I also liked the details of Pakistani culture woven in the story.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, color by Jane Poole. I read this graphic memoir in one sitting. I really felt for little Shannon as she navigated rocky relationships with her classmates and her sister at home. Plus, the illustrations are absolutely wonderful!

The Parker Inheritanceby Varian Johnson. Ooh so this is a must-read for fans of The Westing Game. There’s an inheritance and clue puzzle which was SO fun to follow along and try to solve. This book has great rep too- the main characters are African American and it’s hinted that Brandon is gay. The Parker Inheritance also (slightly) challenges the division of girl books/boy books.

Princess Academy and Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale. Princess Academy was a reread. Just so good with beautiful prose! Last time I read Palace of Stone I DNF’ed it but this time I finished and liked it just as much as the previous, especially the depth with which the novel explored topics of politics. It’s so funny how perspectives change over years!

Young Adult:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. If you know me in real life, I’ve kept mentioning it ever since I read it back in spring 2018. Warning: it’s very nasty but it also has some of the best (and twisted) political intrigue and characterization I’ve ever read. IT DESERVES ALL THE HYPE. And the ending was even more evil than the rest of the book. If there was one wish I could ask Santa, it would be that The Wicked King, its sequel comes out IMMEDIATELY.

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. These five books are in my all-time favorites (and the last one’s coming out next year). Like The Cruel Prince, it has plenty of political intrigue and amazing characterization. AND THE TWISTS AND DOUBLE ENTENDRE. Every time they landed I was shaken. Bravo, Megan Whalen Turner! Bravo!

Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor. This is a very hyped series and in my opinion, it does deserve it. Each character is painted out deftly, the worldbuilding is so vivid, the writing itself…is so gorgeous. And my feels sort of imploded near the ends of the two books. Laini Taylor is a truly talented writer and I’m looking forward to read whatever else she writes in the coming years.

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. This is the story about Jane, who is invited to her old acquaintance’s glorious mansion Tu Reviens soon after her aunt’s death. Jane goes…goodness, what mystery and weirdness happens! This is like a CYOA story in which one important (but seemingly minor) set of choices leads you to wildly different stories. Think mystery, spy, horror, sci-fi, fantasy. This was an odd read but I loved it!

Adult:

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This is told in diary-style format by an aspiring writer Cassandra. She lives in an old crumbling castle in the English countryside with her family and hired lad…till two young rich men show up and their lives begin to change. This was absolutely amazing up to the end. It did have a resolution but it felt so abrupt and unsatisfactory that it left a bitter taste in my mouth, so to speak. Still, I’d suggest you to give it a try! You might have a different reaction to the end.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. So wonderful with plenty of book love. This is a post-WWII historical fiction: a collection of letters between the writer Juliet Ashton and the members of the book club The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, as well as people close to Juliet and people living on the island Guernsey. I remember that while I was reading it, I was thinking, “If I could, I’d gift it to everyone!” I have a review scheduled here a few days from now!

What are your best reads of 2018, and why? Did you try reading something outside of what you normally read?

 

Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

I Now Have a Bookstagram

Hello book dragon friends, I decided to take the leap and try out Instagram for bookish photos. Here’s my link: https://www.instagram.com/thebookdragoness_/ I hope you’ll check it out. I also would greatly appreciate some tips in bookstagramming…because I very new to this and I don’t really know what to do.

Oh, and feel free to link your bookstagram below so I can check yours out in return.

 

Happy Holidays, everyone! 💖 💖