my favorite books from 2016!

Hey guys! Happy New Year! How’s your 2016 going so far? I just started school again (-_-), but at least spring break is soon, right?

Sorry it’s been so long, but I’ve just been so busy! I’m so excited to come back and finally write some blog posts and reviews.

So, as you can see by the title, I’m going to be giving you guys a list of my favorite books from this year, with a few excerpts and information. Just so we know, I’m going to be mentioning books that I read in 2016 (that may not have come out that year), along with books that actually came out in 2016. Let’s go ahead and get started?

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

IMG_2491 copy.jpg★ pages: 640

★ genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, adventure

★ release date: may 3, 2016

★ rating: 4/5 stars

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ series: a court of thorns and roses

book one: a court of thorns and roses

book three: a court of wings and ruin (expected arrival: 2017)

A Court of Mist and Fury (forgive me for saying this) was SO MUCH better than A Court of Thorns and Roses. Maybe it’s because I was always partial to Rhysand, but I enjoyed the story and the characters much more than the first one. The new characters are exciting, and Rhysand’s Night Court and Velaris sound so beautiful. It really is a great book, but I don’t think that it actually deserved Goodreads’ Choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy (I thought it should have gone to Heartless or Gemina, just saying).

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

IMG_2465 copy.jpg★ pages: 528

★ genre: young adult, fiction, romance, contemporary, fantasy, lgbtq+

★ release date: february 25th 2016

★ rating: 4.5/5 stars

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ series:

▽  (unrelated prequel): fangirl

 

Carry On is actually the cutest book I have ever read. It’s Cath’s fanfiction from Fangirl turned into a book (it’s nearly 600 pages long, you see why Cath couldn’t let go)! But Carry on is actually adorable. It’s pretty much a Harry Potter AU, where Drarry happens, but with funnier spells and more PoC characters. I hope you’ll love it as much as I did!

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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★ pages: 352

★ genre:

★ release date: september 20, 2011

★ rating: 5/5 stars

★ links: goodreads // amazon

 

 

 

When I say you guys need to read a book, this is the one I mean. The Song of Achilles is my all time favorite book, and should be cherished and revered as one of the best books of all time! It is akin to Romeo and Juliet (in the sense that you walk in knowing exactly what will happen to Achilles and Patroclus in the end), but the journey Madeline Miller takes you on leaves you despairing and depressed anyway. She writes so masterfully! If you don’t take my advice for any other book, please read this one.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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★ pages: 449

★ genre: fairytale retelling, romance, young adult

★ release date: november 8th, 2016

★ rating: 4/5 stars

★ links: goodreads // amazon

 

 

I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned this, but Marissa Meyer is by far one of my favorite authors. She writes so beautifully and so clearly and her descriptions are wonderful. She always has unique ideas and this story is so unbelievably different from the Lunar Chronicles. I also LOVE fairy tale retellings! Maybe she’s captivated me so much because she’s able to capture the essence of these stories while keeping true to their roots.

 

I hope you guys enjoy this list! Honorable mentions include Stars Above, Me Before You, and You Will Know Me.

I hope you guys enjoy this list! Sorry it came so late ^_^

love,

Alexis

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book review ▽ you know me well by nina lacour and david levithan

book review ▽ you know me well by nina lacour and david levithan

you know me well by nina lacour and david levithan

basic information:

★ pages: 248

★ genre: young adult, contemporary, romance, LGBT+

★ release date: june 7th, 2016

★ rating: 4.5/5

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ synopsis:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

review:

plot: 4/5

I really liked it. I revolved around the group of friends at Pride Week, and the romances and hijinks that ensue. I guess part of the reason we read is to see thinks go better than they would in real life, but some of this stuff was just too unrealistic.

characters: 3/5

Kate and Mark are really cute, and really good friends. But their insta-friendship is a little hard to grasp. Violet is the ultimate french girl. Which is absolutely amazing. Ryan is a cutie, but I feel like he takes Mark for granted too often. And they each have problems that feel a little ridiculous to their lives. But I do love each of them.

writing style: 5/5

It was written well, very easy to follow and what I thought to be a lot like the thought process of a teenager. One think I don’t usually like about YA books is that the author tries to write the main character like they’re actually an adult. It bothers me immensely, and this book managed to veer all the way away from that.

overall: 4/5

final thoughts:

I know the book is very cliché and what not, and that everything wraps up too nicely. But it kind of reminds me of a Disney princess story and this is the contemporary gay version (something I’ve always wanted), and I’m really glad I finally got one. Even if you end up thinking this book inauthentic, I hope you enjoy the quick, short read.

love,

alexis

book review ▽ illuminae by amie kaufman

book review ▽ illuminae by amie kaufman

illuminae by amie kaufman

basic information:

★ pages: 608

★ genre: young adult, science fiction

★ release date: october 20th, 2015

★ rating: 5/5

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ series:

sequel: gemina (release date: october 18th, 2016)

★ synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

review:

plot: 5/5

So interesting! It’s a space opera, mixed with chemical warfare, and terrifying technological advancements. I absolutely love it, it’s nothing like I’ve ever read before.

characters: 5/5

Kady and Ezra were so cute. I loved their relationship, and how they continued to latch onto each other, even with the miles of space in between them. And all the effort they put in to stay alive for each other made my heart melt (plus Ezra’s cute rose. aww).

And Kady and Ezra separately still kicked butt. Kady was hacking a high class ship, undetected and untraceable, just working as hard as she could to stay alive, and learning all the information she could to stay that way. Ezra was recruited to fly, destroying enemy ships and (i bet) looking fly as heck when he was doing such.

writing style: 5/5

The book was written a couple of different types of logs, which by far was the most interesting style of literature I’ve ever encountered. Each chapter either came in the form of a Hypatia Log, an Alexander Log, a Copernicus Log, a conversation involving Kady, Ezra, or a commanding officer, surveillance reviews and AIDAN’s reports (at least I think that’s it).

overall: 5/5

final thoughts:

This is one of the best books I have ever read. 100% amazing, and I really recommend this to everyone. Illuminae made me feel things I never thought a book could, my chest was tight, or I couldn’t breathe, or I was jumping with joy. For real.

love,

alexis

book review ▽ glass sword by victoria aveyard

book review ▽ glass sword by victoria aveyard

glass sword by victoria aveyard

basic information:

★ pages: 444

★ genre: young adult

★ release date: february 9, 2016

★ rating: 3.7/5

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ series:

▽ book one: red queen

★ synopsis:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

review:

plot: 4/5

The plot of the book ran a little fast for me, as Mare and her gang of New bloods were always running around, never really stopping for too long. I understand what it meant, I just wish there had been a little more elaboration into everywhere they went.

characters: 3.5/5

I know this is the style of YA books, but all of Mare’s thoughts are way too advanced for a 17 year old girl. It bothers me. I understand she is smart, but it’s unrealistic, and it pulls me out of the story.

My favorite character by far is Maven. He is completely a mess, stalking Mare completely and somehow managing to still have total control, as evil as ever. I absolutely love the duality of his descent to madness but his rise to power.

writing style: 3.5/5

My notes about the writing style are pretty much the same as my notes on Mare, I think she tries to be too sophisticated. I would appreciate it if Mare spoke more casually about the things she does talk about.

overall: 3.7/5

final thoughts:

It was a good book! The plot was interesting, and I would suggest to others. It’s never gonna be my favorite, but that’s just personal. But it really  is an enjoyable read. I promise you, the ending WILL DESTROY YOU.

love,

alexis

book review ▽ a court of mist and fury by sarah j. maas

book review ▽ a court of mist and fury by sarah j. maas

a court of mist and fury by sarah j. maas

basic information:

★ pages: 640

★ genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, adventure

★ release date: may 3, 2016

★ rating: 4/5 stars

★ links: goodreads // amazon

★ series:

book one: a court of thorns and roses

book three: untitled (expected arrival: 2017)

★ synopsis:

 

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two. With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

review:

plot: 4/5

I really liked the story line of this book. Most times, with a heroine, we forget the psychological pain they may have experienced, and this book never lets it fall to far out of your thoughts. You must remember that Feyre, strong as she is, is broken, and experiences pain just like any of us. But her pain is not the only aspect of this story, and I feel like the synopsis of the book doesn’t do the rest justice. The King of Hybern is currently trying to start war, and Feyre and her friends are trying to stop it. It’s a very interesting dynamic, to accompany the thread of Rhysand and Feyre’s budding friendship.

characters: 4.5/5

Rhysand, my son. I loved him in A Court of Thorns and Roses, but now I love him even more! How is that possible? And jeez, I promise you, you will leave this book upset with someone characters and loving others even more! My favorites were Rhysand, Amren, and Cassian, but of course, Rhysand is my all time favorite (I don’t know if you can tell, but I have a thing for characters with black hair and internal conflicts), and he’s just so cute, honestly.

writing style: 3.5/5

I didn’t like the writing style as much as I could, I felt like the writing itself was an attempt at fancy, with casual words spread about. I just feel like either it should be regal writing, or casual, not both.

overall: 4/5

final thoughts:

I liked this book, all the way up until the end, when I LOVED it. Please check it out, even if just for the ending (which I’m telling you, is super awesome).The book is a smooth ride, easy to read, and all around wonderful. Please give it a look, but make sure you read A Court of Thorns and Roses first!

love,

alexis

book recommendations ▽ two: may 2016

book recommendations  ▽ two: may 2016

Hey guys! Sorry this is so late, but I’ve been so unbelievably busy these past few weeks I barely even have time to pick up a book! In April, I made a book recommendations list, and I figured I’d continue the trend with stuff I read from this month! There will be 1o books in this list, and I really hope you guys read some of them!

10. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen was actually really good! I went in not expecting much, because my friend had told me she didn’t like it, but by the end, I was SCREAMING. It was absolutely gold! Please read it if you haven’t.

9. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

StarsAbove

As most of you may know, the Lunar Chronicles is my favorite series of all time. Everything about the books is spectacular and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever love anything more. So of course, when I finally bought Stars Above,  I almost cried because I was so happy. I finished the book moderately quickly, and please please PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you haven’t decided to pick them up even after all the praise I have given this series, GET IT NOW.

8. The Summer I Turned Pretty (series) by Jenny Han

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These books are pretty cute, even though you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen because they’re pretty cliche. My only real problem with these books were the covers, because I hate these covers SO MUCH. They are just so awkward! I don’t like it.

7. Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

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This book is so adorable! The drawing style is so amazing, the jokes are hilarious, and it’s inappropriate in a way that’s totally not offensive. There’s an LGBT character in the book, and I just relate so thoroughly I thought I might have BEEN her. If you like graphic novels! Give this one a look!

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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This book was really nice! Honestly, I don’t really know what to say about it without giving too much away, but I can say Rhysand and Lucien are my favorites! This book and the second, A Court of Mist and Fury (which I’m reading right now) are getting really popular, so I suggest you read them now!

5. Me Before You

'Me_Before_You'

This book DESTROYED MY SOUL. I didn’t cry or anything, but Will Traynor, my poor, poor son, was so upset and that made me upset and I didn’t want to be upset. The love story in the book is very adorable, and Louisa was an eccentric but relatable character. I’m really excited to see the movie, since I haven’t yet, but if it’s any bit as good as the book I know I’m going love it.

4.Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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This book was pretty weird. Not in a bad way, but the ending was so confusing, I’m still not sure I know what was going on. If you want a low-key psychological thriller, you should definitely pick up this book.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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AGH THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE. I loved it so much, and I really relate to Cath in the sense that I am an obsessive fangirl, and books don’t really get written about fangirls except to paint them in a negative light, and I am all for Cath loving Simon Snow and being represented in a completely human way.

2. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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This book is SO GOOD. Shahrzad’s love for Khalid is so pure and he is humanized in the best way possible and their love story is just great. They overcome all sorts of obstacles (namely them hating each other) and have some crazy adventures together. And they’re POC! What more could you ask for?

1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Oh boy. Ohhhh boy. Based on Simon Snow from Rainbow Rowell’s fangirl, Carry On is the greatest book ever. Literally, I spent the entire first half of the book going, ‘where’s Baz?’ and then he showed up and I immediately fell in love. Baz and Simon were so cute together, and Baz’s feelings toward Simon can only be described as the cutest puppy dog of unrequited love. And Penelope? How was she so great? I don’t know, point is, if you haven’t read this book, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Well I hope you guys enjoyed my book recommendations! I’ll be doing these once every month, and check out the previous one here!

Side note: I am changing my featured image of art from watercolor to Monet! Really excited, he’s an artist I am really starting to enjoy.

Love,

Alexis

2016 summer reading goals !

2016 summer reading goals !

So, as a lot of people seem to be doing this, I decided I’d throw my hat in. As I have a lot of work this summer (three weeks of summer school, 2 weeks at fencing nationals, and two week sleep-away camp in new york), I know I can’t set my goals too high, but they can be high enough.

1. Get to 60 books on my Goodreads Challenge. 

As any book blogger must, I love to read. I am trying to find a reasonable amount of books to read this summer, and as I have already read 2 books in the past 2 days, I feel like this goal might not be too far fetched. I’d have 41 more books to read. I feel like I could probably (??) do this, but then again, I’m going to be all kinds of busy.

2. Read five classics.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Classics are ever so important, and there are a LOT I have been desiring. The ones I’m thinking of right now are:

★ Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

★ Inivisble Man by Ralph Ellison

★ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

★ Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

★ Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

★ Inferno by Dante

3. Read a Memoir or two.

People are always going on about how good Memoirs are, and I really wanted to read Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. I never got around to it, but now’s the best time! Some other ones look good, like I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Yes Please by Amy Poelher, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, and Mindy Kaling’s two books, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?

4. Finish two series I started this summer!

I just recently started the series, The Wrath and the Dawn (I just finished it today! A review is coming soon ^_^!) and I’m dying to get my hands on the next one. And of course, I’ve heard The Raven Cycle is absolutely perfect, and A Court of Thorns and Roses, which I’ve just started, has a second book. Of course there’s more, like the Selection and Delirium, but this is all I’ve gotten to so far.

5. Read some of the sad books on my shelf.

Even though I checked out a grand total of thirty three books from my school’s library (and I’m nowhere near done), my poor shelves need some attention! I own three biographies, the Alexander Hamilton one (which inspired Hamilton!) and the Stephen Hawking and Alan Turning ones (which inspired The Theory of Everything and the Imitation Game in that order). Plus, I recently got Matched by Allie Condie, The Program by Suzanne Young, and I already own The Maze Runner by James Dashner, the third Vampire Academy book by Richelle Mead and the Private School Murders series by James Patterson.

 

Well this is it! My summer reading goals. This might get updated in the near future,  but for now, this is it. Thanks for reading!

Love,

Alexis