TTT: Books I Bought Because I Read and Loved the ARC

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together!

Hey all, happy Tuesday! I’m super excited for today’s TTT, because this topic is such a fun one: Books I Bought/Borrowed Because… (Fill in the blank. You can do 10 books you bought for the same reason, i.e., pretty cover, recommended by a friend, blurbed by a favorite authors, etc. OR you could do a different reason for each pick.)

I decided to fill in the blank like so: Books I Bought Because I Read and Loved the ARC. I saw Kathy @ Books & Muches do this, and I thought it was a great idea! These are all books I purchased finished copies of after reading and enjoying the ARCs I received. I’m so excited to share all of these great books with you guys, so without further ado, let’s begin!

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  • Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim: This is one of my all-time favorite books, so of course after reading the eARC of it, I had to buy a finished copy! I think I’m about due for a Spin the Dawn reread since Unravel the Dusk is coming out very soon!
  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig: This was another great read, and I’m a total sucker for its gorgeous cover! Such a pretty addition to my bookshelf! 😀
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa: I received the eARC for this book, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I never got around to reading it. I eventually purchased it at a book store and ended up really enjoying it!
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers: I loved this book so much! I feel like this one doesn’t get enough love, so definitely go check it out if you haven’t already!
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: Another one of my favorites! I was so ecstatic when I received the ARC for this one, and I was even happier when I ended up loving it! Buying a finished copy was a must!
  • Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small: I received an ARC for this one and was lucky enough to be able to participate in the blog tour! I simply had to show my support and gratitude to the author by purchasing a finished copy.
  • Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power: This book just came out, so go order your copy now! Whoever designed the cover art literally deserves a medal, it’s so frickin pretty!
  • You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen: Another recent release that I absolutely loved!
  • Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith: After reading the ARC, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this book in a Unicorn Crate box!
  • Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian: This was such a fun fantasy read! One of my favorite covers!!!

What about you?

Are there any ARCs that you received and loved so much that you HAD to purchase a finished copy? Let me know in the comments!

Have a fantastic Tuesday!

xoxo,

Octavia ❤

 

The Throne of Glass Series Isn’t Feminist and Here’s Why

Disclaimer: I know that what I’m about to say is very controversial!!! Please keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that this is simply just me sharing mine. So please take that into consideration before you come at me in the comments 😀

So… I know I’m about to get attacked for this BIG TIME, but here it goes:

The Throne of Glass series is not “feminist”…

It’s just not.

Sarah J. Maas, the author of the Throne of Glass series and one of the biggest names in YA, is often praised for being a feminist author who writes very feminist novels. And sure, her books do feature some characters with some feminist traits, such as a physically strong female assassin. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

I enjoyed the Throne of Glass series to a certain extent, but I’ve always had issues with it. The lack of representation and diversity since book 1 (especially considering the number of books and characters this series has), the forced diversity in Tower of Dawn, the killing off of PoC… and now there’s the false claim that this series is feminist.

To those who may argue that it is, let me ask you this:

  • Is having territorial claim over your significant other empowering?
  • Is getting jealous and controlling when your female love interest even speaks to other males an example of a healthy relationship?
  • Should romantic relationships based off of one person having claim or ownership over another be romanticized in literature, especially in books targeting a teenage audience?

In my opinion, the answer to all of these questions is a flat NO. I know I’m in the minority, but I think that the way Sarah J. Maas writes her romantic relationships is extremely toxic. Depicting relationships based off of inequality is not okay, and never will be. Not only that, but all of the romances in these books are literally. the. exact. same. You can pull any two romances from the series, compare them, and you’ll see that they are the same problematic, typically male-dominated relationships.

What also bothers me about the romance aspect of this series is that NOT ONE CHARACTER CAN STAY SINGLE. Seriously, none. Throughout the series, we’re introduced to about 5-10 main female characters, and not one of them can last a whole book without having a love interest. I’m not saying that that’s un-feminist, but in my opinion, it boils down to this: all of these female characters are “strong, independent, badass women who don’t need a man”… but they choose to have one anyway? And their entire character arcs are essentially based off of relationships with said males? What??? Sarah J. Maas, why?

I don’t get why all of these women HAVE to have a love interest, especially when all of the romances just blur together. To me, it totally contradicts the “strong female heroine” trope that all of SJM’s books are said to have. When it comes to romantic relationships in books, I like to see feminism portrayed in the following ways:

1. A healthy, non-toxic relationship between two characters based off of trust and equality

or

2. A willingly single female character who recognizes that her story doesn’t need to be defined by her relationship with a love interest

Throne of Glass does not depict either of these things, sadly. Again, I don’t mean to hate on this series, because I enjoyed it too. I think that there needs to be a balance between appreciating all of the good things about this series, and being aware of its flaws as well. I think that Throne of Glass deserves the hype it gets. It’s okay to love the series while still being mindful of its problematic elements. Again, it’s all about balance.

Okay, okay, I’m done ranting, you guys. Please don’t be too mean to me in the comments. I hope you all know that I wrote this post with a light heart, and that I have no ill will towards Sarah J. Maas or any of her books.

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe! Happy reading and blogging! ❤

xoxo,

Octavia

Review for The Wicked King by Holly Black

Synopsis:

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Trigger Warnings:

Violence, murder, death, torture, blood, vomiting, poison

My Review:

First of all…

THAT ENDING! Not a cliffhanger, really, but so deliciously sinister. Holly Black never fails to surprise her audience. The only reason why I’m glad I’ve waited so long to read this series is that now I can just sail straight into the next book. No waiting!

I have yet to decide whether or not I enjoyed The Wicked King more than its predecessor, The Cruel Prince, but I can say with certainty that both books blew me away. They both share the same addictive quality, but there are some aspects of The Wicked King that make it slightly more intriguing than The Cruel Prince. For starters, the tension between Jude and Cardan in this book was absolutely thrilling to read. I’m a huge sucker for the enemies to lovers trope, but this is something entirely different. No, Jude and Cardan don’t go from enemies to lovers… They are, simultaneously, enemies AND lovers. Which is… really hot. I love the dynamic between Jude and Cardan in this book– it’s a bunch of “will they, won’t they,” and it’s such a delight to read. I prefer a romance that is intense and entertaining, but never the focus of the whole book, and that’s exactly what Holly Black delivered with The Wicked King.

Another thing I loved about this book was the expansion of Jude’s character arc. I liked her well enough in The Cruel Prince, but I felt like I connected with her on a totally different level in The Wicked King. Since the book begins with a time jump, Jude’s rise to power makes a lot more sense, and we’re really able to understand how she, a human, has become so feared in a world of faeries. The thing is, Jude isn’t a good character. She is very cunning, untrustworthy, and power-thirsty. She will do anything to acquire power and hold on to it, no matter what the cost is. She is flawed. Very, very flawed.

But that’s what I love about this series.

All of these characters are bad. There are no truly good characters to compare them to, which is what makes them so likeable. I get major Slytherin vibes from everything about this series, and I’m so down for it.

The atmosphere of these books is very mysterious and wicked. Every aspect of Faireland, from the tension between different races of faeries to the constant political intrigue, will keep you engrossed in Holly Black’s devourable writing. Black has really upped her game with her incredible storytelling, and I think other big names in YA fantasy need to watch out (*cough cough* Sarah J. Maas).

Overall, The Wicked King is a spectacular sequel, and my expectations going into Book 3 are higher than ever. I have no idea how Jude and Cardan’s story is going to end, but I know that Holly Black will manage to surprise me with whatever epic conclusion she’s written.

If you haven’t read The Folk of the Air trilogy yet, what the hell are you doing with your life, because it is absolutely incredible. It’s dark, intriguing, and utterly intoxicating. As soon as I finish typing this review, I’m going to dive into Book 3…

QUEEN OF NOTHING HERE I COME!!!

five-stars - TouchSuite - Point of Sale Systems | Merchant ...

 

 

April Fools’ Day Book Tag

Two posts in one day?! Very unusual for me, I know, but I swear it’s not a prank. Speaking of pranks, though, it’s April Fool’s Day! So of course I had to do the April Fool’s Day Book Tag! I’ve never done this one before, so I’m super excited!

Here are the rules:

  • Mention the creator of the tag (Olivia @ The Candid Cover)
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Answer all of the questions, or just the ones that you find the most fun (I didn’t answer all of them because there were quite a lot).
  • Tag some other bloggers to do this tag and spread the love!

A FOOL’S ERRAND: A BOOK WHERE SOMEONE IS SENT ON A WILD GOOSE CHASE

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: 9780451419439 | PenguinRandomHouse ...

Les Mis will always be the most iconic wild goose chase novel I’ve ever read. In the novel, French policeman Javert vows to bring Jean Valjean back to prison after he escapes and reinvents himself. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother’s death, but Javert’s relentless pursuit means that peace will be a long time coming.

NON-EXISTENT: A BOOK WHERE A CHARACTER LOOKS FOR THINGS THAT DON’T EXIST

Caraval by [Garber, Stephanie]

Remember, it’s only a game! In this book, you never quite know what’s real and what’s not… Characters always question reality and wonder whether or not what they’re pursuing actually exists. As said in the book: Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

PRANKSTER: A BOOK THAT INCLUDES A CHARACTER WHO PLAYS A PRANK ON SOMEONE

The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air Series #1) by Holly Black ...

Both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King end with characters backstabbing and betraying one another in very dramatic ways… Typical Holly Black 😂

ABSURD: A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER WHO TRIES TO GET OTHERS TO BELIEVE RIDICULOUS THINGS

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is an absolutely hilarious book. The main character, Simon, gets blackmailed by his “buddy” Martin to do all sorts of ridiculous things that will benefit Martin. This includes lying to his friends and trying to get them to believe some super fishy things.

POSER: A BOOK WHERE A CHARACTER PRETENDS TO BE SOMEONE ELSE

Amazon.com: Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel (9780316420235): Emmich ...

As a theatre geek, it’s only natural that I have so many books on this list that are also broadway musicals! In Dear Evan Hansen, Evan doesn’t exactly pretend to be another person, but he does fabricate a relationship with a deceased student to become closer to the boy’s family… which definitely gets him into a lot of trouble later in the story.

COMEDIAN: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD WHILE YOU ARE READING

There’s no good way to put it, but this book is ironically hilarious, considering it’s about a girl with cancer. I know, I know, I sound like a horrible person saying that, but read it and you’ll see what I mean. There were definitely several times when I laughed out loud while reading this book!

I tag the following bloggers:

Hope you all have fun with this tag if you choose to do it! Happy April Fools’!

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2020

What’s up, everyone?

I haven’t done a monthly wrap-up in a looooong time, so brace yourself for the mess that this post is going to be. You’ll have to forgive me for having read so little in the month of March since 1) the world has gone completely haywire and 2) I’ve just gotten out of an embarrassingly long reading+blogging slump.

Books Read:

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I warned you… I have read very little this month, considering I’m a pretty fast reader and typically finish 20+ books each month. I have linked any reviews written this month to their respected book titles. Pink represents physical books, blue represents eBooks, and purple represents rereads.

Even though I didn’t read much in March, I am happy to say that all of the books I read were at least four star reads! I definitely read some great books this month.

Posts Published:

I think I’ve done a pretty good job sticking to my posting schedule this month! The goal was to post at least twice a week, and it looks as though I’ve succeeded. I’m hoping to post even more in April.

Favourite Posts of the Month:

Recreating my Favourite Book Covers: the lunar chronicles edition by May @ My 1st Chapter

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this post since I saw it! May has recreated the original book covers of the Lunar Chronicles, one of my favorite series, in the most beautiful, astonishing way. I kid you not, her drawings look EXACTLY like the actual cover art. Please check out her post and her blog because she is the best!

Top 5 Tuesday K to O Authors by Sophie @ Beware of the Reader

This was such a fun post! Sophie has set up author teams and we get to decide which team wins! I was Team O which consisted of Lauren Oliver and Michelle Obama. Go check out Sophie’s post and let me know what team you’re on!

Book Review: Fairest By Marissa Meyer || Queen Levana’s Novella by Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪

As I already mentioned, I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles, and I really enjoyed reading Miri’s review for Fairest, the novella of the series. I really liked the book, so I was happy to see she liked it too! Definitely go take a look at her review and her blog!

CORONAVIRUS TBR (FT. LIFE UPDATE + I’M BACK!!) by El @ Elated Books

El has just returned from a blogging break, so please check out her blog and welcome her back! I loved reading her coronavirus TBR, as I need to find some new reading material. I suddenly have so much more free time to read due to this virus.

How has your month been? Have you read anything good lately? Let me know!

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This or That Book Tag

I haven’t done a good book tag in ages, so when I saw this one pop up on HappilyEverBookish, I knew I had to do it!

Here are the rules:
-Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda at Tea and Paperbacks)
-Choose one of the options for each question
-Tag some other bloggers to do this tag and spread the love!

1. Reading on the couch or in bed?

Definitely in bed! I love being able to sink into all my pillows and get lost in a good book. I usually do all my reading, writing, and blogging on my bed, so it’s basically my go-to spot for any of those activities. My cats usually hop up onto my bed too, and I love cuddling with them while I’m reading!

2. Male main character or female main character?

Female for sure. Being a girl, I tend to relate to female main characters much more than I would relate to male main characters. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve even read very many books with male protagonists. I typically gravitate towards ones with female protagonists because if there’s a male love interest involved… 😉 (*pulls out long list of fictional boyfriends)

3. Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

I don’t typically eat when reading, mainly because I know that all that delicious food will take my attention away from the actual book. Also, I’m a messy person, and I’d be terrified of accidentally staining the pages with whatever snack I’m eating.

4. Trilogies or Quartets?

For me, I’m fine with whatever number of books is needed for the story to be told. But if I had to choose, I would go with trilogies. I like the structure of having a beginning, middle, and end, and I feel like each book always serves its own important purpose.

5. First-person point of view or third-person point of view?

This one is easy… First person! I feel like with first person POV you gain a much better understanding of the character you’re reading about than you would with third person POV. You development a closer connection to the main character, and that’s something that’s not as easily achievable with third person POV.

6. Reading at night or in the morning?

I prefer to read at night. My brain is super foggy in the morning, and I’m definitely more of a night owl. There’s nothing I love more than staying up late at night reading an amazing book!

7. Libraries or book stores?

The responsible part of me wants to say libraries, but… come on, what’s better than shelves upon shelves of new, shiny books? I try not to go to the book store very often because by the time I leave my wallet will probably be empty. But I have to admit, even just the experience of browsing through a book store beats going to the library.

8. Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Cry. I know that any novel that can draw tears out of me will result in a week-long book hangover, but in the end it’s weirdly worth it (this is actually what I’m going through right now after my Mockingjay reread). If a book has such an emotional impact on me that it’s capable of making me cry, it’s safe to say it holds a very special place in my heart.

9. Black book covers or white book covers?

I’ve never thought about this… well, I’m gonna go with black.

10. Character-driven or plot-driven stories?

I know I’m supposed to choose “this or that”, but to enjoy a book, I need it to be both character-driven AND plot-driven. Both elements are very important. Without good characters, there’s no way to have an emotional connection to a book. And without a good plot, a book is just… nothing.

I tag the following bloggers:

If you decide to join in on this tag, please let me know because I’d love to see your answers!

Stay healthy and safe, friends! ❤

-Octavia

 

 

 

 

 

Review for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Amazon.com: The Hunger Games (9780439023481): Collins, Suzanne: Books

Synopsis:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Still, if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Trigger Warning:

Uh, this is a book about a bunch of 12-18 year olds being forced into an arena where they’re basically told to murder one another. So… read at your own risk.

Review:

Years ago, when it first came out, I was, quite literally, obsessed with the Hunger Games trilogy.

I loved everything about the series, from its exciting plot, to its nail-biting suspense, to its noticeable connections to the modern world. Katniss Everdeen was my idle, and Peeta Mellark was my dream boyfriend, putting it simply. (I LOVE YOU PEETA PLS MARRY ME)

Years later, I wanted to see if things had changed. Is the Hunger Games really that amazing? Or did my immature elementary-schooler reading tastes just cloud my judgement? The ultimate question I wanted answered was: Is the Hunger Games actually a good book?

Spoiler Alert: IT TOTALLY IS.

This was my second time reading the Hunger Games and I now love it more than ever, if that’s possible. The two main reasons for this reread were my nostalgia for the OG YA dystopian books and the upcoming release of the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR BY THE WAY!!!).

This was a very successful reread. Where do I even start?

Suzanne Collin’s characters never fail to steal my heart. They are incredibly realistic, and they bring the story to life. Katniss is a strong female protagonist that I admire and understand. She’s a fantastically complex heroine– the mindset to survive unthinkable circumstances, to push others away as first reflex, to wrap oneself in emotional distance… those are all things that really drew me to her character. I remember when I first read this book, Katniss frustrated me. A lot. I didn’t understand why she pushed people away and denied love from others, particularly Peeta. But now I really get it. Katniss Everdeen is a flawed and relatable protagonist, and ultimately, that’s what makes her a great one.

All the supporting characters in this book–Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, and Rue being only some–are just as significant as Katniss is. In Book 1, we don’t get to delve that deep into each individual character arc– THG is mainly Katniss’s survivalist story. But still, we quickly get an understanding of how different each of these characters are, and how their values, flaws, and identities all contribute to this incredible story.

That leads me to my next topic. Suzanne Collins is a phenomenal storyteller. With this amazing series, Collins has created something so rare, brave, and original. An action-packed page turner, the Hunger Games was impossible to put down, yet I never felt like I was being forced into the next chapter. I don’t know if this is just me, but it bothers me when authors end EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER with a cliff hanger, instead of just letting the story flow. Suzanne Collins knows how to draw her readers in, but one chapter never shoves you into the next.

Experiencing the story in first person present, the reader walks through the world of Panem inside of Katniss’ head. I was sucked right into the book with the surroundings, circumstances, characters, districts, and everything else that Collin’s so expertly articulated. Its astonishing how cautionary connections can be made between Panem’s iron-fisted government and our world today. This makes The Hunger Games by far one of the best mainstream dystopian novels, and I can tell how other books of the same genre have taken inspiration from it.

Overall, it’s easy to see why The Hunger Games is a modern classic. The story is imaginative, filled with action and touch of romance, and well-written. This outstanding dystopian novel is one of my favorites out there, and if you haven’t already read it, I highly encourage you to do so.

This book is an excellent beginning to a series with thorough planning, development, and presentation in characters, plot and setting.

Star Rating:

Five Star Rewards — Red Arrow | Tapville