Tag Thursday – 2019 Mid Year Freak-Out Tag

Good morning (/afternoon/evening/night depending on where you are) my dear friends!! I hope your week was spectacular! Today, I’m going to do the 2019 Mid Year Book Freak Out tag. I know, it’s halfway through July, and the middle of the year was June, but late is better than never right? This is my first year doing it, and hopefully I’ll continue doing it for many years to come! I think there are different versions of this with different questions (I think??) so this version is one I saw on Paws and Paperbacks!

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019

There are so many amazing books that I’ve read so far this year, but Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo definitely tops them all!


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

The Wicked King by Holly Black. I really didn’t like The Cruel Prince, but this sequel made me really like the characters and also managed to make me super excited for The Queen of Nothing!


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. This sounds so cute and also seems to be what my life will possibly be like in the future (minus the cat!!), so I definitely want to read this!! It’s also a book about a girl who loves books so…


Most Anticipated Releases For the Second Half of the Year

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black and Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff


Biggest Disappointment

I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I was excited to read one of her older books, but Nobody was such a huge disappointment. It was so cliche, and so boring, and the MC annoyed me so much.


Biggest Surprise

I really didn’t expect much from My Lady Jane because it was a historical fantasy with a bit of romance. To my surprise, it turned out to be amazingly hilarious, super entertaining, and refreshing. And the cover is beautiful as well!


Favorite New Author

Lisa Gardner. I loved her D.D. and Flora Dane novel, Look For Me, and I’m definitely going to check out the rest of her mysteries!!


Favorite New Crush

KAZ BREKKER!!! 100% no doubt about it. Actually, the whole crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardguo is my new favorite crush!


Favorite New Characters

Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Wylan from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardguo, Nasir and Altair from We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, Nate from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, Nate from One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, Shirin from A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, Aza from Turtles All The Way Down by John Green…and I think I’m going to stop here.


Books That Made you Cry

No book has made me cry yet…I don’t really get emotional like that when I’m reading.


A Book That Made You Happy

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan was different from my usual read, and the struggles of Lila as a stay-at-home mom of two who is married to a food critic made me laugh a lot and definitely made me feel happy.


Most Beautiful Books You’ve Bought So Far This Year

Lol, I haven’t bought any books this year? But I think that the cover of Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore is gorgeous!


What Books Do You Need to Read Before the End of the Year?

Including my most anticipated releases: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle, and The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

Tagging/Nominating:

So it looks like no one gets tagged for this? People just do it, so I’m not going to tag anyone! If you’d like to do it, go right ahead!

P.S. No pressure. If you don’t want to do the tag. That’s absolutely fine. If you’ve already done it, please share the link so I can check it out!

And that’s it for today! Have you done the 2019 Mid Year Book Freak Out tag? Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Monthly Wrap-Up: March

Hello friends and fellow bookworms! I am going to start off, by apologizing for disappearing this past week, but I was swamped with school work and I couldn’t make time for blogging. Thank you so much for understanding!

March was a pretty bad month for me overall. I was gone for almost two weeks, and I managed to only read 6 books. I have two overdue book reviews to complete and one tag to do as well! I also had an announcement planned, but that’s going to have to wait.

Anyway, here are the books I managed to complete, the tags that I finished, and some amazing posts by other bloggers around the bookish blog-o-sphere.

Books:

Covers are from Goodreads.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson // ★★★☆☆ One sentence summary: An okay book with an intriguing mystery, and great characters. (Reviewed)

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson // ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: A great sequel with an intriguing mystery, amazing cliffhanger, and lovable characters. (Reviewed)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black // ★1/2 One sentence summary: A very hyped book with one-dimensional characters and a boring plot. (Reviewed)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab // ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: An interesting sci-fi story with fantasy aspects, great characters, and an intriguing plot. (Review To Come)

In The Woods by Tana French // ★★☆☆☆ One sentence summary: A meh book with an okay mystery and a disappointing ending. (Review To Come)

Damaged by Lisa Scottoline // ★★★☆☆ One sentence summary: Interesting plot, great characters, and an exciting legal fight.

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 6

Tags:

Only one. I was tagged by the lovely Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads and Bakes to do:

The 80’s Movie Tag

Thank you so much Meeghan!

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

The Life of a Bookworm with Dyslexia – An Interview by Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

Discussions & Rambles // What do you think about spoilers? by Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me // Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

Privilege in the YA Book Community: Discussing Ways How Some Influencers are at More of a Disadvantage Than Others by May @ Forever and Everly

‘Small Town Hearts’ Blog Tour: Recipe! by Ashley @ Bubbly Booknerd

Anything Else?

Yes! I did a re-branding (I know, I did one in January too) and changed from my pinkish theme, to this vine, flowers, and leaves theme! I hope you like it! I’m probably going to change it in a few months again, lol

That’s A Wrap!

March was not a good month, blogging and reading wise. In February, I hoped to do better, but I didn’t do anything more than I did in February. However, this time, I will hopefully be able to read more books and take less hiatus’ while blogging some more.

How was March for you? How many books did you read? Any opinions on the new theme?Let’s chat in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday #13

Hello and welcome back to WWW Wednesday! WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Let’s get started!

What I just Finished:

Images are from Goodreads | Links lead to my reviews

Since I didn’t do a WWW for last week, here are the two books that I read then. I finished Truly Devious and was lucky that my library had my hold for The Vanishing Stair ready because that cliffhanger ending was way too much for me to handle. And now I still have to wait for book three coming NEXT YEAR.

I finished The Cruel Prince over the past weekend and even thought it was amazing, I was a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure how or what to rate it. My review for it should be up next week.

My Review of Truly Devious | My Review of The Vanishing Stair

What I’m Currently Reading:

Image is from Goodreads | Links lead to its Goodreads page

I’m reading Vicious as a group buddy read on Goodreads. My review should be up in a few weeks.

What I Want to Read Next:

Images are from Goodreads | Links lead to their respective Goodreads pages

I want to read The Wicked King and Vengeful next since they are the second books in their series. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get hold of them right away.

That’s it for this Wednesday. What are you reading? Have you read any of the books mentioned? What did you think of them? Let’s chat in the comments! (Be sure to link to your WWW)

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – Review

Welcome back to the review of the sequel to Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. The Vanishing Stair was an amazing sequel and a definite four star read for me. The mystery was explored some more, new secrets were revealed and the cliffhanger ending was amazing.

This review may contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Book: The Vanishing Stair

Author: Maureen Johnson

Series: Truly Devious

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

Quote: “All the money, all the power—none of it compares to a good book.”

The Good:

*Mystery. In this book, the Ellingham mystery takes center stage and I really like that because that’s the main reason why I picked up the first book to start with. I was also eager to find out what happened to Ellie and what her secret was. Solving two mysteries at the same time was a little mind-exhausting, but still so much fun.

*Characters. I liked Stevie much more in this book. She didn’t sound so whiny, and she seemed much more mature. Nate was always my favorite, but I loved him even more in this book. His reluctant but fierce loyalty to Stevie and always helping her when it is against his better instincts is very touching. My favorite quote by him: “Why. Do. People. Do. Stupid. Things.” (Stevie answers: “Because we’re stupid.”)

*Ending. Chaima’s review of The Vanishing Year conveyed my thoughts on that ending so well. That cliffhanger is probably the best I’ve ever read and it’s making me crave the third book so much! So many questions were answered, but at the same time, they opened doors for even more theories. I’m pretty sure I’ve solved it, but there are still several unanswered questions and it ended on such a tense note and I really really need the third book.

(As you can see, there is a reason why I usually read series when all the books in it are out, instead of waiting a WHOLE YEAR for the next one.)

Quote: “The real magic rocks are the friends we make along the way.”

The Bad:

*David. What. Is. His. Deal. He totally went off in this book and seems to have no regard for his or anyone else’s future. I understand that Stevie might have broken his heart, but he shouldn’t just throw his life away just for the fun of it.

*Riddle. There’s a crucial riddle in this book and it’s solution wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought that the answer was something no ordinary person would think to do. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not good at solving riddles/thinking outside the box?

Quote: “Detection has many methods, many pathways, narrow and subtle.”

The Wrap:

All in all, I REALLY liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

One sentence summary: A great sequel with an intriguing mystery, amazing cliffhanger, and lovable characters.

Overall, 4 shinning stars

Have you read The Vanishing Stair? What did you think? Did that ending make you crave more of the Truly Devious series? Do you think you’ve solved it? Let’s chat in the comments!

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Review

Welcome to another book review! I hope you are having a fantastic start to this new and wonderful month. Today’s review is of Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. This book was okay. I liked the mystery and there is diversity and representation, but I felt like the new mystery overshadowed the Ellingham kidnappings and murder.

Book: Truly Devious

Author: Maureen Johnson

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Summary: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Quote: “When you have enough power and money, you can dictate the meanings of words.”

The Good:

*Mystery. If ya’ll haven’t realized it yet, I love a good murder mystery. Especially ones that are cold cases and the killer has come back to commit more murders. And this story delivers that. I loved the idea of the Ellingham Murders and I was super excited to join Stevie on the quest to solve them. Tiny hints were given through-out the story and I was engrossed by the two timelines, one from 1936 when the kidnappings happened, and the present day. I loved it, and I was super disappointed that this ended up more about the new death than the Ellingham mystery, but I was still super intrigued and immediately picked up the second book.

*Representation. You do not know how happy I was to see some diversity/representation in this book. Janelle, Stevie’s best friend, is described as a person of color and is also a lesbian. During their initial tour of Ellingham, we also meet a girl who’s in a wheelchair and a hijabi. Stevie suffers anxiety and has panic attacks. It was just so nice to see a group of people who aren’t perfect, who are from different backgrounds, and who are still awesome amazing people.

*Characters. I liked Ellie. She was so vibrant, confident, and cool, but beware of being in her company for too long. Janelle is perfect. She’s a builder and super handy with tools, yet she dresses up and wears make-up and perfume. It’s nice to see her not being a stereotypical female mechanic character who wears overalls and doesn’t even know that makeup exists etc. Nate is probably my favorite. I loved the fact that he’s socially awkward, pale as a ghost, and loves to write. The way he doesn’t know how to communicate, is forever grumpy and pessimistic, and who would do anything to help Stevie even though it goes against his better judgement just made him an amazing character and a super loyal friend.

*Setting. To be honest, I liked the setting of the story. Ellingham Academy is located on top of a mountain in Vermont. There is only one road in and it is very very rough. The remoteness of the place made it seem more surreal and also narrowed the cast of suspects down to whoever was staying there. The description of mountain air and the beauty of the woods was amazing and I loved it.

Quote: “You have to take things as they are, not how you hear they’re supposed to be.” 

The Bad:

*Writing style. The beginning of the book and I aren’t best friends. I just thought it felt a little off and a little bit more telling than showing. But it got much better and I ended up enjoying it.

*Character voice. I didn’t feel like Stevie was a teenager. She sounded a bit childish. I didn’t feel like the characters in general were teenagers but more like fourteen/fifteen than seventeen.

*New Mystery. I was honestly disappointed that this was more about the new mystery than the Ellingham case. The only reason I probably finished this was because of the new secrets being revealed about the Ellingham mystery throughout the story and maybe because I needed more Nate, Ellie, and Janelle.

Quote: “Where her books were, she was. Get the books right and the rest will follow.”

The Wrap:

All in all, I liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

One sentence summary: An okay book with an intriguing mystery, and great characters.

Overall, 3 stars

Have you read Truly Devious? What did you think? Am I the only one that was a little disappointed that the mystery wasn’t that focused on the Ellingham murders? Let’s chat in the comments!