Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! (2019)

This is sort of an annual tradition for most book bloggers, I think– taking time in the middle of the year to reflect on the books we’ve read in the past six months.

I have had a fabulous year of reading as of right now and that is making me really excited for the rest of the year. Last year was just okay, but I have read some truly splendid books in 2019.

Let’s get into the tag!

Best Book of 2019 So Far

sky in the deep

I read Sky in the Deep (review here) a couple weeks ago and I am still reeling from it. It was magnificent. Everything about it was wonderful and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about it for a very, very long time (if ever).

Best Sequel of 2019 So Far

wicked king

I *almost* used this for Best Book So Far but realized it fits this question too so this is where it’s going.

It had been a long time since a book made me feel the feels when I read this and it truly delivered in every department.

Also the last book in the trilogy is out in November and I AM NOT READY. If Holly hurts my son I will come for her.

Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of 2019

queen of nothing

Yes I just need to read about Cardan resolving all the problems he started.

And he has a lot of work to do.

Biggest Disappointment of 2019 So Far

bad arranged marriage book 1

Yeah this was…terrible, actually. Sure, parts were good, but I had expected something entirely different and I didn’t get it. What I did get was not something I liked. Alejandro deserved better; that’s all I’m saying.

Books to Read by the End of 2019

I’m a mood reader, really, so I don’t have a set list to read. There’s a few upcoming releases I want to read ASAP but other than that, I don’t have anything I’m forcing myself to read this year.

I do want to read Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepherd, The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, and Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi, specifically. There are more that I’m currently working on but those are just a few!

I’m tagging anyone who hasn’t yet done this this year and wants to!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year? The biggest disappointment? Let me know in the comments!

-Clara

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Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

sky in the deep

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. (via Goodreads)

To Adrienne Young, the author, and Khristine Hvam, the narrator:

download_20170405_130129

I was completely, utterly blown away by this book. 

I did not expect to love this as much as I did. Vikings wasn’t the most appealing concept to me, but it’s been a long time since a book consumed my thoughts as much as this one. So much so that when the audiobook came to a close, I was tempted to go back to the beginning and listen again.

I loved absolutely everything about this story: the plot, the characters (especially the characters), the setting, everything. It was brutal but it was beautiful.

Sky in the Deep has one of the most unique plots I’ve ever seen in the YA genre. It seems so simple– a few Viking clans fighting each other– but it is compelling.

I will say that it is rather violent at times and I did squirm more than once during battle and medical scenes. But that comes with the territory.

Layered into this epic plot is an immense amount of character development. Eelyn goes through a beautifully written inner battle as she is forced to abandon everything she’s ever been taught about the Riki, her supposed enemy. It’s exquisite.

As a character, Eelyn is a strong, independent, brutal woman. I loved her. She’s going to be living in my heart for a long time. I loved seeing her strength, physically and emotionally. She was just a wonderful character throughout the entire book.

And now I would like to introduce you all to my new boyfriend. His name is Fiske and he’s Riki. He’s also dark and brooding and exceptionally attractive. We’re madly in love.

Ahem. Yes, I fell in love with a fictional character again. Fiske is such a good character on his own, but together, he and Eelyn were something else. They had so much chemistry from the very beginning and I think they may be my second favorite enemies-to-lovers romance now (Jurdan is first and that’ll be hard to beat).

Eelyn’s Aska family- her father and her best friend- weren’t my favorite characters ever, but in the end, I still found them fascinating. Myra had her own outstanding arc that drove me crazy but also made me love her.

I loved Iri (I think I spelled that right?) and his Riki family, too. They were all wonderful characters and I kinda wish I could live with them for a few days.

As a whole, Adrienne wrote a magnificent novel and Khristine Vham was a magnificent narrator. I was never bored, not even for a second.

If it’s not obvious, I gave Sky in the Deep a 5-star rating and I recommend it to anyone after a unique story with wonderful characters.

Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think?

-Clara

Summer Reading and Writing!

Hey everyone!

I have done my best to do somewhat monthly posts for a long time but I have no school for about 5 weeks now and will hopefully be able to write some more posts for you guys. I have quite a few books I’m hoping to read so you can expect some reviews!

Today I wanted to let you all know what books I’m hoping to read and give you a writing update.

Here we go!

Books to Read:

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

I saw Laura on a panel at YALLFest last year and read Ash Princess over Christmas break. I’ve been looking forward to reading this sequel since it was released and plan to kick off my summer reading with it.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Another book I’ve been anticipating for a while and just haven’t gotten to yet. It sounds absolutely magnificent and I adore Julie’s book The Passion of Dolssa. 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Apparently I’ll be spending my summer catching up on all of my anticipated 2019 releases that have already come out. I’ve also been predicting Sevérin to be a new crush so we’ll have to see if I was right or not.

I’m just focusing on these three for now, but I would like to add in at least one classic as well. Chances are I’ll end up reading The Great Gatsby again because I hope to expand and publish an essay I wrote on it.

Writing:

Captain Guinevere Book #3 is a top priority. I am having a lot of trouble finding a direction for this book but an idea came to me last night and I’m going to try it and see how it goes. I have a nice looking Pinterest board for it though and that’s definitely helpful. I made an aesthetic today that I may share here as a draft gets closer to being finished.

Edit The Nikolai Project. I’ve started this already (draft #2 is in progress!) and there is so much work that has to be done. But I love every second of it and I intend to work my butt off on this thing so I can a) start querying agents and b) start writing a potential sequel (no promises but I have an idea that I really love for two of the side characters to have their own full-length novel).

Expand my essay on The Great Gatsby. My English teacher suggested I do this and I honestly loved writing the essay. I’m hoping to expand it and submit it for publication.

There’s a lot to do this summer but I am really, truly excited about all of it.

What are your summer plans?
-Clara