Top Ten Tuesday | Buddy Read Memories

 

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!

Hey, loves! This week’s topic is actually “Books with Sensory Reading Memories” but what better memories than the ones of when I look at a certain book and think of the friend I read it with. The only (amazing) problem is, I have too many friends! So, this week I am talking about fifteen different books that remind me of fifteen people who bless my life each and every day! 💖

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Buddy read with May! 💚

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
Buddy read with Paloma! ❄

Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen
Buddy read with Lilly! 🚀

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Buddy read with Julie! 🌙

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Buddy read Kayla! 💕

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft
Buddy read with Petrik! ❤

The Abyss Surrounds Us (TASU #1) by Emily Skrutskie
Buddy read with May! 🐢

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Buddy read with Lily! 🎧

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Buddy read with Dani! 🧛

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Buddy read with Elise! 🌸

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Buddy read with Kaleena! 🦄

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
Buddy read with Amy! ⭐

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Buddy read with Caidyn! 🐦

Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars 0.5) by Audrey Coulthurst
Buddy read with Jules! 🐉

Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand
Buddy read with Alexis! ⚔

Okay, loves! I hope you enjoyed! Also, all these people are so very lovely, and you should follow them on all their platforms! I buddy read with so many lovely people, but I really wanted to just showcase a few that I can’t help to think about when I pass a certain book on my shelves! Tell me a book that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about it! And I hope you’re all have the happiest of reading, loves! 💖

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Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2) by Laini Taylor

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1.) Strange the Dreamer ★★★★★

“I would have chosen you, if they had let me choose.”

Strange the Dreamer was my favorite book of 2017, and Muse of Nightmares is probably going to be my favorite book of 2018. These two books just bring so much love into my heart, and so much hope into my soul. I have no word combinations to ever begin to describe how much this book meant to me, or to do a review worthy of it, but I am going to try.

“Sarai had lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old. For four thousand nights she had explored the dreamscapes of Weep, witnessing horrors and creating them. She was the Muse of Nightmares.”

Whenever I try to give a synopsis for Strange the Dreamer I always say it’s about a librarian who is in love with a lost city, and a girl who only wants to know what love is. Muse of Nightmares is a story all about love, and the different kinds of love that we will experience, and some that we will never experience, in our lifetime. The love between found families everywhere, between siblings both blood and not, between parents both distant and close, between lovers both new and old. And how all this love makes us choose actions that are both good and bad and all the things in-between. Love is truly the most complex force in the entire world, but when someone loves selflessly it can change everything. Sometimes we are unaware of how much power we have inside us, especially when that power is kindled from unconditional love.

“For fifteen years, the people of Weep had lived with the certainty that the monsters were dead, and Eril-Fane had lived with the burden of it…”

And this book picks right up after the harrowing events in Strange the Dreamer. So many of these characters, both blue and not, are dealing with a monumental amount of sorrow and grief. Lazlo, the librarian who has finally found the city that has taken over his heart and mind for his entire life, is going through the greatest amount of changes.

If Strange the Dreamer is about finding the lost city of Weep, Muse of Nightmares is about why no one can remember the city in the first place. We get so much background on so many different worlds, and we get to see them all thread together to create a universe truly unlike anything else. But beautiful and terrible things happen in the name of good and bad, and we get to see pivotal choices be made, that resulted in what happened to Weep.

“Skathis: god of beasts, king of horrors, daughter-stealer, city-crusher, monster of monsters, madman.”

Yet, Muse of Nightmares also introduces you to two new characters: Kora and Nova. They are sisters that were born long before the last Godspawn, but the two stories quickly entangle with each other. And their sisterhood, even though heartbreaking, is so damn beautiful. Laini Taylor really expands on not only this story, but this world and universe too! And you’ll quickly see how this can all be connected to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. And even though this was the final book in this duology, I believe Laini has so much more in store for us.

I’ve been reading stories for over two decades and, in my opinion, Laini Taylor is the best storyteller I’ve ever read. Her words have such a magical impact on me, and I honestly think she has to be a little supernatural to weave words the way she does. (I’m secretly hoping she is fae!) You can just feel so much emotion while reading her passages, like she truly pours every ounce of herself into the words she uses, and I truly think there isn’t another human on earth who can do what she does. The word “beautiful” doesn’t even do her prose justice, so I’ll just say that it’s completely magical, so very immersive, and totally enthralling. She is easily my favorite author of all time.

“The gods had been dead for fifteen years, after all, but their hate had lingered, and ruled in their stead.”

I can’t even believe I’m typing this paragraph, but this book also heavily deals with children in cages, which is something that I truly, with my entire being, wish was only in fiction. Sadly, it’s not. Some of the scenes in this book were a little harder than most, just because of what is going on in 2018, so please be warned going in. Also, trigger and content warnings for war themes, death, torture, graphic blood depictions, slavery, human trafficking, a lot of talk of implied past rape, rape, extreme parental abuse, child abuse, thoughts of suicide, suicide, PTSD, grief, trauma, and sexual content.

Trauma and grief, and how each person deals with those two things very differently, plays a huge role in this book. Yet, this story is a love letter to how we don’t have to be the mistakes of our ancestors. We can change, we can do things differently, and that it’s never too late. And vengeance will always be a driving factor, but you’ll soon realize that nothing, not even redemption, will lessen the feeling of loss. The only thing that can heal is love, but that’s a lesson that is so very hard to learn at times.

“Once upon a time, a sister made a vow she didn’t know how to break, and it broke her instead. Once upon a time, a girl did the impossible, but she did it just a little too late.”

Overall, I’m not sure another story will ever touch me like this duology has. My review doesn’t even do it justice, honestly. This is a once in a lifetime story that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This isn’t just a shining star in literature, but a glowing constellation over the world. If you haven’t picked up Strange the Dreamer, please do so, because I love this series with every bone in my body, with my heart, with my soul, with every fiber of my very being. And remember, it is never too late to start over, and it’s never too late to do good.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

(Forever thankful for Arys, for trading me an ARC of what I’m sure will be my favorite book of 2018! You will never know how much this means to me, but I promise I’ll cherish this ARC forever. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you!💖)

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.”

Most of you know that I’m a pretty big fan of Christina Lauren! Autoboyography is now one of my favorite books of all-time. And friends, I really enjoyed this book and it made me so unreasonably happy! Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is set in Oregon and is honestly one of the cutest friends to lovers stories I’ve read in such a long while. I honestly never wanted this book to be over.

Hazel – Teacher, the quirkiest character I’ve ever read, but I mean that in a good way, and has finally reunited with a guy who she has embarrassed herself around for the past almost decade.

Josh/Jimin – Doctor, Korean (Yeah, named Jimin, smart marketing because BTS Armies are going to love him with their whole heart), and currently in a long distance relationship that isn’t working.

And these two’s paths have constantly crossed since college, but fate has truly brought them together when Hazel attends her best friend’s BBQ, only to realize that Josh is the guy who she has embarrassed herself around since college. But after that BBQ, they decided to be friends and it leads to them going on a lot of double dates, which are all mostly bad.

There is a constant theme of family in this book, both from Hazel and Josh’s side, and I loved it so much. Hazel’s relationship with her mother was so inspiring, and I loved how they loved each other unconditionally. Josh is from a much more traditional background, but the love is so there and so very abundant. Seriously, both of these families warmed my damn heart and it was easily one of my favorite parts of this book.

I also really loved how Hazel wouldn’t change herself for anyone. And I think this book does a really good job at showing you how most people are pretty negative about anyone being too loud, too weird, and too different than the standards society puts on us. This isn’t like the typical “oh, the girl is quirky and cute” but this is the more realistic and sad treatment of people who live their life to the beat of their own drum. And seeing Hazel (and Josh) always speak up if anyone was negative or judgmental, was really beautiful. Because, like, who the hell wants to be normal anyways?

“I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

This book was actually funny, too! Like, I was giggling alone in bed while reading at least a third of this book. Hazel is one of the most fun protagonists I’ve read about, and she and her animals had me laughing constantly. And all the dates? So freakin’ funny! I honestly could perfectly picture this book, and I actually think it would make for a fantastic romcom movie adaptation.

But this book does have a lot of steamy scenes, so trigger and content warnings for sexual content, talk of past death of a loved one, cheating (off-screen and not main characters), and a homophobic slur.

And out of all these trigger warnings, I want to talk more about the homophobic slur, because it was so damn pointless. I mean, it was said in a negative light, but it wasn’t necessarily challenged. Like, it felt so bad to read and took me completely out of the story. These authors could have just as easily said “he said a rude thing” or hell, even “he said a homophobic slur” without actually using the word. Like, I hated it so much and it was easily the worst part of this book.

The only other negative thing I’ll say is that the ending felt rushed. Like, we spend so much time watching these two people become friends, and the romance and love has to come rather quickly. Which I get, and I don’t mind that much, but I was still shocked with how the last few chapters went and then I got hit with the word “epilogue” and it felt so abrupt. Also, this book is 95% light, cute, and heartwarming, and then it just takes a really dark turn during the last tiny bit, and it just felt very disjointed.

“You’re second only to a unicorn as far as best friends go, Josh Im.”

But overall, I really did enjoy this sweet friends to lovers story. I think this is for sure a perfect summertime read. Oh, and even though it has a cover that looks very much like Roomies, these worlds and stories are not connected what so ever. So, don’t be scared or think you have to read Roomies first! But I totally recommend this one, and I hope if you pick this one up, that you’ll enjoy it so very much, too! Happy reading!


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I’m reading this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

And this is a buddy read with Lilly at Lair of books!

Down the TBR Hole #3

Down the TBR Hole was originally created by Lost in a Story! The point of it is to help cull your reading lists down, or maybe push higher anticipated releases up on your TBR! And maybe you all can help me along the way, and tell me if you’ve loved or hated any of these!

How it works:
➽ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
➽ Order on ascending date added.
➽ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
➽ Read the synopses of the books
➽ Decide: keep it or should it go?


Friends, this is the most random combination of six books ever. I swear, I just start giggling looking at the picture because there is a little something here (or not here, I guess) for everyone! Please, I need your help this week with these random books!

The Six Books:

The Other Man by R.K. Lilley
You all, I know this cover is highly sus as fuck, but it is what it is. I really loved Bad Things, and everything else set in that world, by this author, so I’m guessing that is why this is on my TBR. But I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what this is about. Don’t judge me.
Verdict: Delete ❌

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Oh my gosh! Okay so, every author that I love always recommends this book to aspiring authors. I’ve never had the urge to write a book in my life, but because people like Tarryn Fisher thank this book all the time, I’ve always been intrigued to pick it up!
Verdict: Delete ❌

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
I’m like 99% sure I read this, but I didn’t love this. Maybe that’s why it is still on my TBR? Maybe I didn’t finish it? I do own this graphic novel. Maybe because everyone loves it so much I just didn’t want to rain on their parade? I honestly don’t know why this is on my TBR! Why am I like this?
Verdict: Delete ❌

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
If you all have followed my blog and reviews for some time, then you might know that I’m the only human in this Earth that doesn’t love this series. I actually one starred Cinder. But I kept trying, because it is so beloved, but I’m not sure if I can tackle this behemoth too. But then again, I have made it this far, I should just buy the audiobook and force myself.
Verdict: Keep (begrudgingly) ✅

Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands #2) by Cherise Sinclair
Holy shit, two sus covers in one Down the TBR Hole post? It looks like I four starred book one back in 2014, so I guess my pervy ass just wanted to read more.
Verdict: Delete ❌

Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1) by Juliet Marillier
I have read a few books by Juliet Marillier and I’m always so impressed with her worlds, her characters, and her writing. I wish I had more free time to read for pure enjoyment, because I’d honestly pick up Juliet Marillier’s entire backlist.
Verdict: Keep ✅


Okay, friends, these are the next oldest six books I have on my TBR! Let me know if you love, hate, and/or recommend me to read or trash any of these books! Thank you all so much, and I hope whatever you’re currently reading is five star worthy! 💛✨

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Foundryside (Founders, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

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ARC provided by Crown in exchange for an honest review.

“Foundryside. The closest thing Sancia had to a home.”

This is a really hard book for me to rate. The concepts in this book are so unique and creative; I loved them so very much! But some of the banter and conversations felt so dry, boring, and sometimes even offensive. Like, two of the main characters have completely captured my whole heart! The others? Meh. I do think this is worth it though, especially if you have enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett’s other works! I just expected more, especially after the 6/5 star beginning of this book!

In this world, four houses rule Tevanne. While those royals live like kings, the rest of the population lives in Foundryside, where crime is in high quantity and food and clean water are in low supply. And people are willing to do anything to survive.

“Four walled-off little city-states, all crammed into Tevanne, all wildly different regions with their own schools, their own living quarters, their own marketplaces, their own cultures. These merchant house enclaves—the campos—took up about 80 percent of Tevanne.”

And Sancia Grado is one of the best thieves in Foundryside. Not only is she trained, but she also is harboring a secret that enhances everything that she is able to do, while also giving her abilities that no one else has. And this book starts out with her doing a mission for a payout that will completely change her life. But once she gets the item that she is heisting, her life changes more than she would have ever guessed.

“But if you didn’t work for a house, or weren’t affiliated with them—in other words, if you were poor, lame, uneducated, or just the wrong sort of person—then you lived in the remaining 20 percent of Tevanne: a wandering, crooked ribbon of streets and city squares and in-between places—the Commons.”

The magic in this book is so damn well done. There are people who are able to perform scriving, which is a magic founded in words and language, where you can convince items to do certain tasks. Think a lock that refuses to unlock for anyone without a certain type of blood. Or think of an alarm system that only goes off when certain things happen. Or even think of a belt that tricks gravity itself so the wearing would be able to scale buildings. And these artifacts are very sought after. And maybe, our little thief has just found one that will completely change the world.

And Sancia’s path inevitably crosses many different people, and they all start to piece together that a much bigger thing is happening than any of them realized. This book has many points of view, but, in my opinion, Sancia’s is easily the best. She is truly the star of this book, and her backstory still has me feeling every emotion under the sun. Also, Clef and Sancia are everything and I’d probably die for either of them.

But like I touched upon before, this book makes some fatphobic comments. It’s so thoughtlessly done, too, that it makes me sad, because a beta reader should have noticed and corrected. The first “villain” you encounter in this story of course had to be fat, and it had to be touched upon a couple times. Then, when one of the main characters is looking at a baby picture, a freakin’ baby picture, its talked about again in a bad light. Basically, everyone and thing who is bad has to be fat. I felt like I was reading a Roald Dahl book! Like, I think at the 33% mark I had highlighted five fatphobic things, and it really made me want to DNF this book, I’ll be honest. And I hated every Gregor point of view after. But let me pull some quotes, because I guarantee someone will try to call me out on this:

“He could tell which one of them was Antonin right away, because the man’s clothes were clean, his skin unblemished, his thin hair combed neatly back, and he was hugely, hugely fat—a rarity in the Commons.”

“Gregor took stock of the situation. The taverna was now mostly empty except for the moaning guards—and the large, fat man trying to hide behind a chair.”

“Tevanne, a huge dome that reminded her of a fat, swollen tick, sitting in the center of the Candiano campo.”

“Gregor stared at the painting—especially at the woman in the chair, and the fat infant. His gaze lingered on the baby. That is how she still thinks of me, he thought. Despite all my deeds and scars and accomplishments, I am still a fat, gurgling infant to her, bouncing in her lap.”

“She was not like Torino Morsini, head of Morsini House, who was hugely fat and often hugely drunk, and usually spent his time trying to stuff his aged candle into every nubile girl on his campo.”

Like, it’s 2018. How the hell did proofreaders think those sentences were okay?

Trigger and content warnings for fatphobic comments, abandonment, torture, abuse, murder, death, sexual assault (unwanted touching), child trafficking, use of the slur word for Romani people, loss of a loved one, slavery, medical experimentation, and a lot of depictions of blood.

Overall, there was a lot about this that I enjoyed and a lot that I didn’t enjoy. I feel really torn on this one. I feel like it’s so hard to find unique concepts in adult fantasy anymore, and this book reads like a breath of fresh air. I truly did adore this smart magic system. But I could just never totally fall in love with this story! Yet, I am still curious enough to continue on! And I hope if you pick this one up, you’ll be able to get more enjoyment from it than I did. Also, everyone else I know has five starred this, so take my review with a grain of salt! Happy reading, friends!


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside & Michael at Bitten by a radioactive book! ❤

Book Blogger Test Tag

THE RULES:
1) Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog. (Thank you, I love you, Taylor!)
2) Answer the questions asked on this post — don’t stress it’s quick!
3) Nominate and notify some peeps. 5 preferred.


1) WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 BOOK PET PEEVES?

  • Pointless and unbelievable miscommunication.
  • When writers give AIs and robots genders
  • Once a character is killed, they should stay dead. Ghost forms are okay.

2) NAME A PERFECT READING SPOT.

Winter night, fireplace blazing, pouring rain outside, cup of coffee steaming, and me, cuddled up with a blanket.


3) GIVE 3 READING CONFESSIONS.

  • Sometimes (as long as it’s not a REALLY anticipated read) I will read the last page or paragraph of a book. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY! And I know this really bothers a lot of people, but I sometimes do it.
  • I’ve totally read graphic novels at bookstores, taken notes, and went home and reviewed them.
  • I don’t mind it when characters “let out a breath they didn’t know they were holding!”

4) WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED DURING A BOOK?

I’m a crying at, like, everything, so probably last night. For real.


5) NUMBER OF BOOKS ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?

Three: Strange Grace by Tessa GrattonBatman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu, and A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole!


6) FAVORITE READING SNACK?

Does tea and coffee count? For sure tea and coffee!


7) WHAT ARE 3 BOOKS YOU’D RECOMMEND TO ANYONE?


8) PROVIDE A PICTURE OF YOUR BOOKSHELF.

I’m so sorry, friends. I have books… everywhere! And five overflowing bookshelves! I promise, once I have my library, you’ll get an entire blog post!


9) HOW MUCH DO BOOKS MEAN TO YOU IN 3 WORDS?

Whole. Fucking. Lot.


AND THE NOMINEES ARE:
❤ Lilly
🧡 Amy
💛 Lacy
💚 Dani
💙 Kelly
💜 Shai


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The Melody of You and Me (Lillac Town, #1) by M. Hollis

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Okay, first and foremost, you all need to know that I ID as pansexual. And my friend, Alexis, who I buddy read this with identifies as pansexual. And this is a story about a pansexual girl falling in love. And if that’s not one of the cutest things you’ve seen this Pride, I don’t have words for you. 💖💛💙

“…when people doubt her sexuality. Or the times when she needs to explain why she just feels more comfortable using pansexual than bisexual”

But real talk, this is honestly a story about a pansexual music-loving girl, falling in love with a Filipina lesbian ballerina, while they both work at a bookstore together. This book even shouts out Melissa de La Cruz, Mina V. Esguerra, and Rin Chupeco! Like, does that not already sound like a masterpiece?

The Melody of You and Me is a sweet, heartwarming, beautiful novella about two girls coming together and discovering who they want to be and who they want to be together. It’s quick, and fast paced, but I was smiling the entire time while reading. And there are a couple really steamy and sexy scenes in this, too!

“When you grow up hearing that you are not tall enough, not skinny enough, not white enough, you always wonder about how the world would be if you didn’t need to conform to all these ridiculous standards.”

But this book also has a lot of important things that it discusses! This book talks about masturbation and how we normalize it for boys, but never for girls. This book talks about coming out to your family, and how sometimes it feels like you can’t do it alone, no matter what age you are. This book talks about how society puts so much pressure on kids to go to college straight out of high school, never giving them a chance to breathe and think about the choice they are about to make that will change their very lives forever. This book talks about white privilege and the way white people can react when people of color are in those “white spaces”, especially if they are excelling in those spaces. Like, there is so much good in this book!

“Why do they never let young people stop to think? Why is it unacceptable to take a little time to figure out what she wants to do for the rest of her life?”

I see a few people saying this book is hard to read, but I didn’t feel that way at all. Do I think this book reads easy and somewhat simplistic? Yes, very much so. But never difficult to read. And obviously other people’s opinions are valid, but I want to also say that M. Hollis is a Brazilian author, who wrote this book in a language that is not her first. Honestly? It blows me away how well written it is.

Overall, I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. I can’t believe that it took me over twenty years of reading to finally read the word “pansexual” in a romance novel. I could write an entire review on how depressing it is to make an entire TBR of LGBTQIAP+ reads for Pride, but to only be able to pick from five mainstream books that have the word “pansexual” even in them. This book honestly feels like it was written for me, and it will forever and always have a piece of my heart. And I will cherish it being in my library forever. And this is the cute, happy, fluffy, validating, love story that I’ve been looking for my whole life!

“She wishes they could stay like this forever. Just the two of them; telling stories and sharing secrets without a care in the world.”


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Buddy read with Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤