My Favorite Books of 2020…so far

Somehow the first quarter of 2020 has passed us by and I know a lot of us (myself included) are having a rough time, so I thought that today I would talk about a few of my favorite books of 2020 so far. I wholeheartedly recommend picking up each of these books and they are definitely in the running for my top books of the year!

First I have to mention Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith. This one took my completely by surprise but I LOVED it. It tackles so many issues that are relevant in the gaming and streaming community, as well as in society in general. The friendships and relationships that Smith crafted were wonderful and there were so many beautifully crafted scenes in this book. I can guarantee this is going to be on my top books of the year as I don’t see many books being able to top it.

Next let’s talk about Poems to See By. This one was really interesting as it was comics created to accompany classic poems. Each comic is a different style that goes along with the subject matter or tone of the poems. While I knew a lot of the poems included already, this would be a great way for someone to be introduced to the poems themselves. It gives a new avenue for people to be exposed classic poetry with beautiful imagery.

Another poetry collection that I have absolutely loved this year was the latest installment from Amanda Lovelace, Break Your Glass Slippers. I’ve read most of her poetry collections and enjoyed them all to different degrees, but Break Your Glass Slippers was by far the best in my opinion. It shares themes with her other works, but this one really spoke to me. It’s definitely going to take a lot for her to top this one in my opinion.

Finally let’s talk about the book that was easily my most anticipated book of the year, Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa. This was the conclusion to the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. I knew this one was likely going to wreck me and oh boy, it did. It was an amazing conclusion to the trilogy even though it destroyed me. If you’re looking for a trilogy that reads like an anime and is a thrilling adventure, definitely check these out.

Do any of these sound good to you? If so, I’ve made sure to link to the amazon pages for each one. Check them out and see if they are new favorites for you too.

Happy reading!

#Bookblogtober Day 8: Creepy Reads

Something about fall and October makes a lot of people, myself included, want to read creepy books. Colder nights, warmer beverages and cozier clothes just lends to curling up with a creepy or scarier story. I have some favorites for sure, but I eagerly want to read even more and find new favorites. Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite in some of the ones I like.

City of Ghosts – In City of Ghosts we follow Cassidy Blake, a girl who has almost died and can now see ghosts. Along with her best friend Jacob and her ghost investigator parents, they go on an adventure in the haunted city of Edinburgh. She learns more about what has happened to her while also navigating the emotions and feelings that come with being a young teen. I’ve recently finished the sequel Tunnel of Bones as well, which is set in Paris, and loved it as well.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – I am an avid fan of Shirley Jackson. My AP English teacher introduced me to her when I was in high school and I have been hooked ever since. A great place to start with her work is her short stories, but We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one of her better known novels. It follows two sisters who are trying to live their lives while also dealing with the consequences/ramifications of past events. It’s better to go into her work not knowing much as it is very psychological.

The Dead House – A lot of people have heard of Dawn Kurtagich’s newest book, Teeth in the Mist (we I am eager to read) but her previous book was really good as well. Told mostly in interviews and transcripts, it tells the story of a few key characters and the mystery of the events at a school. This is another book that it is best to go in knowing very little. It is sure to leave you guessing and definitely has a number of moments that are confusing yet creepy.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys – I have a couple anthologies that I’m hoping to read this month, but one that I absolutely love for its creepy factor is this one. It is definitely in my top three of anthologies and there are some stories that still give me a shiver when I think about them. So many of the stories went all out even though it was a YA anthology. If you’re feeling like reading short stories that could creep you out, for sure think about picking this one up!

Let me know if you decide to pick any of these up and give them a read, hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Happy reading!

Event Recap: A Cup of Holiday Fear Release Party

I love hearing about book events that are close enough for me to go to them, but that’s sometimes a challenge as the closest events are usually hours away; however, when I heard that Ellie Alexander was having a release party for the 10th book in her Bakeshop Mystery series in Ashland where the books are set, I had to go. Not only is Ellie on my list of favorite authors, but Ashland is one of my favorite places and is only about an hour from where I live.

Winchester Inn, Ashland, Oregon

The release party was held at the beautiful Winchester Inn which also happens to be the setting for the book that we were celebrating, A Cup of Holiday Fear. It was the perfect cozy and historic location for this gathering and I can only imagine it being an amazing backdrop for the mystery in the book.

Everything was decked out in Christmas decorations and touches and we were treated to delicious treats and custom made drinks. Ellie took some time to discuss the genesis of her writing this book and we also heard from the owner of the inn regarding how the Winchester Inn came to be. We also learned the story of the Dickens Feast, which is an event at the inn every year that plays a part in the book.

It was amazing hearing Ellie talk about her books (as always) she is so personable and passionate about her characters and stories. Many of her characters are based on actual people in real life. For example her father is the inspiration for The Professor in the books and we were treated to meeting him at this event. While all of her books are able to be read as stand alones, I definitely recommend starting at the beginning so you get to know the characters over time.

After the discussion everyone was able to explore a few different areas including buying Torte merchandise, taking a selfie with Santa, getting some of the treats and of course getting books signed by Ellie. It was an amazing time and it was wonderful to see Ellie again! I love being able to support a local author and it’s even better when it’s an author whose books I love.

Be sure to check out Ellie’s books, they are enchanting, hilarious and so enjoyable. Though I’m not completely caught up, I have loved everything I have read from her. Happy reading!

Review: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

tea dragon festivalI cannot fully express how excited I was to get approved on NetGalley for this title, there may have been some squealing, just saying. The Tea Dragon Festival was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and has fully cemented the fact that I will probably buy anything Katie O’Neill writes in the future.

This story is a prequel to The Tea Dragon Society and you do meet some characters in this story that are in that one as well, which was a great surprise. It really feels like O’Neill is building a world for these stories and I desperately hope there will be many more installments featuring tea dragons and these characters.

I love how seamlessly she works diversity and inclusiveness into her stories, it isn’t there as any kind of novelty or anything, it’s there because these things are part of everday life and part of people’s worlds. This book specifically features a non-binary character and also highlights the use of sign language. Along with that it featured information at the beginning and end for resources regarding sign language, which I thought was a great way to provide information for anyone who is curious after reading.

I will also forever love O’Neill’s art style, she has the perfect balance of simplicity and detail and the color are so vivid that the scenes easily come to life. These stories are whimsical and full of fantasy, but still grounded and full of important messages.

The Tea Dragon Festival is coming out on September 17th from Oni Press, make sure that you check it out and also check out The Tea Dragon Society while you’re at it!

Happy reading!

Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

the gilded wolvesThis book is probably going to be in my top 5 books of the year, no joke. This book did take me a while to read, but I think a big part of that was the fact that I kept stopping simply so I could absorb what was happening.

The writing in this book is so rich and has so much depth. Chokshi’s description of the places and items were so well built that everything was vivid and could be seen in your mind’s eye. The Paris of 1889 that she built perfectly captured the glitz and opulence of the time, while also weaving in the fantastical elements she created.

I found myself falling in love with each character and their individual quirks. Every character was unique in their back story and motivation, so it was wonderful to see how their paths wove together and allowed them to work towards a common purpose. I won’t lie, there were quite a few tear filled moments as you see the consequences of actions unfolding, but I couldn’t stop reading and had to keep coming back to find out what happened.

I can’t wait for the sequel to this book to come out and waiting is probably going to drive me a little mad. While the story doesn’t necessarily end on a cliff hanger, there are definitely questions that still have to be answered and conflicts that have to be resolved. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would, but alas, that’s the cutoff.

The Gilded Wolves is already out and is available, be sure to check it out!

Happy reading!

Review: Haphaven by Norm Harper

haphavenWhen I initially read the description of Haphaven I was intrigued. Haphaven is a graphic novel by Norm Harper and illustrated by Louie Joyce that follows a young teen named Alex as she goes on a quest to save her mother. She has to use all of the superstitions she has learned throughout her life to aid her in a magical world called Haphaven.

I really enjoyed the story in this graphic novel and was surprised by it. It had depth to it that was well developed. The layers to the story lined up beautifully and you find yourself going on this journey with Alex, understanding her hurts and her thoughts. The backstory that was created explained her motivation as well as her character and why she believes the things she does.

Overall this was a really fun story that was full of laughs as well as a daring adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think anyone who likes stories with fantastical elements would also enjoy it.

Haphaven comes out on March 19th from Lion Forge.  Be sure to check it out if it sounds like something you would like.

Happy Reading!

Review: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

fierce fairytalesOkay – first and foremost something that has no bearing on my rating at all but must be mentioned – this cover! It is so breathtaking in person and was done excellently.  The detail when you really look at it is exquisite.

Now that I have that out of the way, I will be the first person to admit that modern poetry is typically not my thing. A six word sentence broken up into three lines does not a poem make in my opinion. I know a lot of people enjoy that style, but I don’t, so I was a little hesitant heading into this. I was pleasantly surprised that this book of poetry and short stories was a more traditional style while still being modern and I LOVED it.

The way Gill twists the common fairytale themes and looks at them in a different way was so refreshing and beautiful. Her writing at times is so lyrical and descriptive that there were times I literally stopped, had to take a breath, and then re-read. I was often swept away by the imagery that she was portraying and building within these passages.

It was great looking at these stories from a different angle and while the poems and stories definitely lean towards feminism, it’s feminism that speaks of strength and resilience, belief in oneself. I was not expecting to love this collection as much as I did, I thought I would probably enjoy it and have a few that really spoke to me, but I truly fell in love with it. i’m definitely looking forward to picking up other collections and works by Nikita Gill in the future and would definitely recommend checking our Fierce Fairytales.

Happy reading!