Bringing 2017 To A Close – My Top Ten Reads of the Year

My bookworms, my loves!

First of all, I hope you have a wonderful New Year. May it be lively and fun and renewing. Secondly, I was looking back on the year and I have compiled a list of the top ten books out of the many that I’ve read this year. The ones that I’ve loved the most and had the greatest adventures with. It was no easy feat because I enjoyed more than just ten.

It’s been a crazy year, but I wanted to take the time to share them with you. They each left an imprint on me in their own way and I’m sure you know what that feels like after reading a FANTASTIC book.

Starting at number 10…

10.
The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger

FullSizeRender

Blurb: Labeled a DUFF, Bianca Piper is determined to prove she’s anything but. In the midst of parental drama and friend drama, she finds a strange comfort in the arms of the boy who started calling her a DUFF, Wesley Rush.

This was such a fun book. Certainly a little more than PG-13, but still. Having seen the movie first, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. It feels like the movie and book feel like their two completely stories, but they occur in the same universe. They’re both two situations that are rather relatable.

Review here

9.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
Author: A.S. King

History of the Future-Goodreads

Blurb: Glory O’Brien can see her future and it’s not bright. It’s filled with war and tragedy and she doesn’t know what else to do except write all down in hopes that it will be useful for what will come to pass.

Though the story was slow building, I was so intrigued with seeing how Glory O’Brien was seeing the future and how destructive it was. A.S. King is wild and has boundaries when it comes to writing crazy and making you believe it in a strange way. This book was so imaginative and brilliant and really had me looking at some serious issues from a new angle.

Review here

8.
The Poison Eaters
Author: Holly Black

Poison Eaters

Blurb: This collection of short stories ranges across a wide variety of supernatural beings and creatures with their own tales. Maenads, vampires, and the devil. Oh my!

I don’t read short stories very often, but these were so much fun. They were filled with faerie mischief and supernatural hardships. All of the things I enjoy and even some new things that really piqued my curiosity. Very coming-of-age and delightful.

Review here

7.
 Anna Karenina
Author: Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina

Blurb: It’s such a wonderful and beautiful classic that follows the affair of Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky as it spirals in a whirlwind of lust and jealousy. And then there’s Levin who is very deeply in love with Kitty, and she’d holding her heart out for Vronsky. Like many journeys for true love there is strife, tragedy, and passion.

I haven’t written up a review for this one yet. I began reading it last year and finished around the beginning of this year, so I’m counting it as one of my favorite books this year. It filled me with such intensity that I found myself audibly sighing at some parts and gasping at others. What can I say? Russian Literature does that to me. Such a magnificent classic.

6.
Unbreakable
Author: Kami Garcia

unbreakable

This one snuck up on me. Thrilling and reeking of Supernautral-esque style, I was sucked into the world of ghosts, poltergeists, voodoo, and demons just like the main character, Kennedy Waters, was after a ghost killed her mother. Rescued by twins, Jared and Lukas, she quickly learns about the Legion and how she may be a part of this demon fighting group.  I didn’t expect this to be as good as it was and I’m currently waiting on the third installment! It was riveting and gut clenching for me.

I also recommend the second book as well: Unmarked.

Review here

5.
Love & Misadventure
Author: Lang Leav

Love & Misadventure - SR

This book of poetry was my utmost favorite this year. It explored the way love opens a person up and how much of a roller coaster it is with its ups and downs, making you dizzy and ill. Its bright lights will blind you and make you feel like you’re flying. The book is so beautiful that it makes my heart swell and ache with a longing of sorts and I’m usually closed off in affairs of the heart because of how shy I am. It really had me spinning.

Review here

4.
Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman

Ocean at the End of the Lane

Blurb: A man returns home to attend the funeral of a family member and is suddenly drawn to the pond out behind his neighbor’s home. There, on the bench at the edge, he begins to remember his encounter with Lettie Hempstock and her mom and grandmother, each who claim that this pond is actually an ocean. Mostly he remembers how a man committed suicide in a stolen car and that these three ladies helped him defeat the cruel, frightening and utterly monstrous Ursula Monkton when he was a young kid.

I can still remember the anticipation I had when I started this book. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I jumped into it head first because Neil Gaiman has a way of sweeping me away into a completely magical world filled with all kinds of unimaginable wonders. I’ve never read anything like this. It’s utterly perfect and phenomenal.

Review here

3.
LUX (1-2)(3-4) (5)(1.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lux-Consequences - entangled in romanc

Blurb: Katy Swartz moves to a new town so that she and her mother can get a fresh start. What she didn’t expect was to be saved from an oncoming truck by the boy next door, Daemon Black. That isn’t what shocks her, though. It’s that he stopped times down to the raindrops falling out of the sky. Daemon is an alien. The alien next door and by saving her he’s put in more danger than she realizes. They know they should stay away from each other, but they’re like magnets. Drawn to each other.

This is the first book series I reviewed on my blog. The book was a constant rush of adrenaline for me, keeping me on my toes with a tension that could glued me to my seat. If it wasn’t the angst between the two main characters it was the game of denial they played with each other. Then there’s the deadly situations they get themselves into because of this denial. It’s the common case of ‘I’m addicted to you, but I don’t like you because you’re going to get me killed’. We’ve all been there, right? I found that this Sci-Fi was very interesting for me because of the added elements of romance and danger that they found themselves in. Certainly on my reread list.

Review here: (1-2)(3-4)(5)(1.5)

2.
Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole

Poison Princess

Blurb: Evie Greene was living the life. Cheerleader, amazing boyfriend, great school. But, there’s that word. Was. All of the great things in her life started to slip and then were completely ripped from her fingertips after the Flash obliterated the planet, leaving it a desert wasteland. To make her life more difficult are the voices in her head, telling her strange things. To figure out what they mean, she’ll need help, which is where the devilishly handsome and dangerous Jackson Deveaux comes in. The boy from the bayou promises to help her, protect her, but for a price. Will she pay it?

This book. THIS. BOOK. I was swept away and completely drawn down, like an anchor to the bottom of the ocean. This series had been suggested to me by my boss. She’d been telling me how great Kresley Cole was, and I’m so glad I finally gave it a chance. This is a jaw dropping series of crazy, eye-popping magic, and that kind of love that will tear you in two, and the page to page action that will make forget to breathe. I haven’t finished the series yet. I’m waiting (rather impatiently) for the third and fourth book to arrive so that I can continue. I can’t get enough. I’m quite addicted.

Review here

1.
American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman

AG - bustle

Blurb: Shadow Moon gets released from prison early due to the death of his wife. On the way home, he’s hired by Mr. Wednesday, a mysterious man, to help him as he visits people across the U.S. Little by little, Shadow begins to see that not everything is as it seems. Wednesday is actually gathering allies in a coming war of new gods versus old gods and Shadow is caught the middle. Not far behind these two gentleman is Shadow’s dead wife, seeking him out in hopes of finding him and seeking forgiveness before her rotting body completely falls apart.

Is there any reason this shouldn’t be numero uno? I’d heard about the TV show coming out in the spring and it sounded fascinating, so I went ahead and got the book so I could get the lowdown on the story before the show aired. Normally, I don’t care about that kind of thing. This book took me two and a half days to finish; I was so engulfed. The imagination and sheer detail put into this book is a work of art. I have this book up in my nook beside my bed, where all of my favorite books go. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who loves the fantasy and/or supernatural genre. Even those interested in mythology should read this. You’ll get sucked in so quick that when the end comes you’ll be left in a pleasant haze of fascination. Neil can do that. Even my mom says so, and moms are usually right.

Review here

There it is. My top ten. I haven’t read as much as I wanted to, but a brand New Year is about to begin. And as my personal book resolution for 2018, I want to read from at least 25 authors that I’ve never read from before. I feel like that is a solid goal and a great opportunity to try new books, (of course it’d be within range because mysteries, if you remember, make me sleepy). I also have a resolution to get more sleep, but I’m already breaking that one before the New Year. LOL.

In addition to a resolution, I’ll be working on my layout some more. I know that most blogs, if not all, have an end of the month round-up of what they’ve read. I haven’t done one because I never thought it necessary, but beginning next month I will start posting one. That way, in case you miss a post, I will be able to catch you up.

What’s your resolution for 2018? Tell me in the comments below!

And just remember to stay safe and have fun on New Year’s, loves.

HAPPY 2018!!

2018

-K.

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To Love Would Be an Awfully Big Adventure (Love & Misadventure – A Book Review)

Love & Misadventure
Author: Leav Lang
Published: 2013

Love & Misadventure - SR

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

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While I am not a person who seeks out poetry, when I do find a book of that truly reaches out to me, I’ll seize it faster than Carpe Diem. I do have a love for poetry, though I don’t read it with the same ferocity as I do with YA or supernatural fiction. That love is strong and passionate and vulnerable which also makes it scary because I’ll find myself relating to it in ways you never thought.

So when I found this book, I spent a month debating whether I wanted to add it to my ever-growing library or not. While only looking at it from the outside, it was elegant and intimidating, but on the inside it was alive with so many emotions. Leav Lang uses various things, like fairs, rides, bright lights and more, that awaken and inflame the excitement of love and adventure in us all.

Carnival

The book is divided in to three parts.

Part I: Misadventure

Part II: The Circus of Sorrows

Part III: Love

Each section bares a part of Lang that you can almost touch, and mostly certainly feel, like butterflies tickling the inside walls of her chest as they fly around your heart. Threadbare and vulnerable are most definitely likely while reading and getting lost in the words on the pages. However, there are a couple of poems that have ripped the wings off of some of those butterflies. Not to say that new butterflies have replaced those, though. Their wings are various colors in relation to the feelings that erupt from the poems.

This book of poetry is extremely beautiful in giving you the experience of highs and lows of such strong emotions. Exploring them in various prose and verses has never seemed so bright. I’m used to seeing it seem so morose and filled with sorrow. This was extremely refreshing.

 

Below are some of the poems that struck me the deepest.

An Endearing Trait (p. 23)

The scatterbrain,
   is a little like,
   patter of rain.

Neither here,
   nor there,
   but everywhere.

As I write this poem down for you to read, it is raining outside. For some reason that feels significant. This isn’t some light rain. There’s thunder and lightning, reminding me of the summer rains. This poem is one of my utmost favorites from the book and it’s for the simplest of reasons. I relate to being scatterbrained so easily and I would’ve never thought to compare it to rain. The way it can come down in large drops or small, and how it can be in one spot and not in another. More so, the way drops will come down, spread out; it was just perfect. A person can be the same way.

My mind moves so fast and sometimes I leave things behind and it just happens. It’s not something you have control over. Upon reading such a great comparison, I actually squealed happily because it’s so true and such a delightful way of expressing it.

 

Circus Town (p. 45)

From a city so bright
            to a strange little town;
            on a carousel spinning,
            around and around.

The dizzying height,
            of the stars from the ground.

The world all alight—
            With his sights, his sounds.

It’s like a rush of the bright lights and wind on a ride and the way it makes you dizzy. That’s what new love is like, or so I imagine. Yes, I must confess. I am a girl who’s never been in love. But, as I read this poem I feel like it must be quite similar, making you feel heady much like these things do and feel excited from the endorphin rush.

rollercoaster scene

 

After You (p. 65)

If I wrote it in a book,
            could I shelve it?

If I told of what you took,
            would that help it?

If I will it,
            can I un-feel it?
            now I’ve felt it?

This is one of the ones that made my heart drop a little bit. Who hasn’t ever wished they could un-feel something? Sadly, it’s impossible to take back feelings that have been had, and tainted. They leave a shadow and sometimes a pang, and the destruction feels irreparable. As has always been said though, it’s always darkest before the dawn, and before you know it you’ll be glad you couldn’t throw away those feelings you had because you could look back at everything that was good about them.

 

Beauty’s Curse (p. 95)

Her brow is drawn
            to worlds of dark;
            where arrows spring
            and miss their mark.

She’ll turn their heads—
            but not their hearts.

This poem strikes true with real life. It’s difficult to express, but beauty is often what people see first. Here, I feel like ‘she’ tries and tries, but always seems to miss out of finding love because each possible partner only sees how beautiful she is. Everything else about her gets lost.

There’s more to a person that what can only be seen.

 

Wishful Thinking (p. 99)

You say that you are over me,
            my heart—
            it skips,
            it sinks.

I see you now with someone new,
            I stare,
            I stare,
            I blink.

Someday I’ll be over you,
            I know,
            I know—
            I think.

With each new stanza, I saw the process of wishing you weren’t in love with this person who was no longer in love with you. It’s a longing you want to obliterate but can’t. You’re heart still pangs with the shadow of that love you have for that person, and as time goes on will it dwindle? Will it ever go away forever? Who knows?

 

This was truly a phenomenal book that allowed me to get lost, not so much in a fairy tale, but a wispy dream. I enjoyed the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding for certain  emotions I face in my own life very much.

I most certainly will come back to it and reread my favorite poems.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Wild Horses by The Sundays

Midnight Tease

Midnight Tease - Giphy

 

Hello my loves! My amazing bookworms!

I hope everybody had a great Halloween. It is the best time of year. Even better than, dare I say it, Christmas. I KNOW!! You disagree probably, but I’m a Halloween baby. You keep your Christmas. I’ll dance around to the theme from Halloween. I know this year I dressed up as Void Stiles from Teen Wolf. It was a lot of fun. My boss at work was very worried and kept asking why I was angry though. I just smiled.

VS

Anyway! It’s that time. The midnight hour has struck and I have the Midnight Tease, because who needs sleep? Not me! Actually, I probably do need sleep, but I love you and so I’ve brought this monthly update to you.

For those of you who have just recently joined me here, on The Scarlet Reader, this is the time when I show you what I’m reading, what I’ll soon be reading and what’s up for review this month. I love to keep everyone updated with what is on my current queue (which is on the back of my couch).

So without further ado…

 

Coming Soon…

Ghost_atniquity - LiveJournal

 

 

Icons-Idols

Icons/Idols
Author: Margaret Stohl

This one kind of piqued my curiosity because the author also worked on Beautiful Creatures, which I enjoyed.

 

F-D-JH

Frankenstein/Dracula/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Mary Shelley/Bram Stoker/Robert Louis Stevenson

Ahhhh, a collection of classic horror novels. It’s like opening a Dr. Pepper. Completely delightful and thirst quenching. I got this collection last year, needing to have all three and it also comes with an introduction by Stephen King (a bonus!).

 

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew: Ghost Stories #2
Author: Carolyn Keene

I discovered this one on my college campus actually and was kind of excited. I enjoy Nancy Drew every once in a while and ghost stories are always fun.

 

Hidden Oracle-Dark Prophecy

The Hidden Oracle & The Dark Prophecy
Author: Rick Riordan

I read the Percy Jackson series and really loved the cameo Apollo had, so I’m really looking forward to reading these. Plus I got Dark Prophecy for free because the pages were damaged, which helped me decide to get it. (Score!) I’m glad I can get these read before the next one come out which is May 1, 2018.

 

 

Currently…

About

There are some books I’ve been working on for a few months now and some that I’ve been waiting to get to. I look forward to telling you about them in future reviews.

 

Diary of a Sex Fiend

Diary of a Sex Fiend
Author: Abby Lee

 

Broken Glass - Shattered Memories

Broken Glass & Shattered Memories
Author: V.C. Andrews

 

Where It Began

Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler

 

Up for Review…

Midnight tease II - giphy

 

Love & Misadventure - SR

Love & Misadventure
Author: Lang Leav

 

Poison Princess

Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole

 

Mirror Sisters

The Mirror Sisters
Author: V.C. Andrews

 

Have some good books? Let me know in the comment section.

You can follow me at:
Twitter: CheshireKat_92
Goodreads: Kat J.

More to come soon..

-K.

n o-d a m s e l-h e r e (the princess saves herself – A Book Review)

the princess save herself in this one
Author: amanda lovelace
Published: 2016

Princess Saves Herself in This One

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Follow Amanda Lovelace as she lets you in on her life journey and what’s made her who she is today. Through her four-part book of poetry she discusses loss, abuse, imperfections and being able to come out on top after all of it. This book holds nothing back about the dark parts that haunted her, which not only makes this a book of poetry but also a memoir.

At the same time, she strives to empower people with her words and encourage bravery in the face of fears that society brings down on a person, like the standards of beauty for example.

princess saves herself

One of the beautiful things about poetry is that it doesn’t have to rhyme. It doesn’t have to be a super long piece or even more than a word. It’s a work of art that is to be felt and pondered and explored. You put a personal part of yourself in it and then share it with others. It’s a reason I can’t discriminate against any poetry piece. The most I can say if a poem doesn’t reach out to me is that I don’t get it. I can even say I don’t like it. But I’ll never go as far as to say it isn’t poetry.

 

The language of the book is very simple, but it’s easily buffered by the waves of emotions that are in each word or lack thereof. Even more was the way the words took shape on the page, emphasizing what Amanda was getting across to me. Some words were spaced, some vertical. There wasn’t a single word that was upper case, which created a sense of equality among it all. In some cases the poetry was scattered to show give off that she felt that way. So there was a very nice balance. Everything had its place and really reached out to me.

 

The book is a quick read if all you’re doing is reading. However, it’s a long one if you’re taking a moment to allow the words to sink, allowing yourself to imagine what Amanda has been through. So I definitely found myself rereading a few and also losing myself in them.

 

Below are a couple of the poems that really reached out to me.

 

where
do all the
memories go,
the ones we
hide away
with
lock &
key yet
continue
to shape
us all the
s a m e?

did it really happen if i can’t remember it?

(p. 13)

This poem really posed an important and personal question to me. A lot of bad things happened to me when I was younger and so I repressed it. So much so that I don’t really remember anything from ten years old and back. I rely on what my mom tells me and my gut feeling on what to believe. So when I read this, there was one nasty pang in a both my heart and gut because I don’t want to remember what’s lost, but I know that alone shapes me and it’s been for the best. Sure, I’m excitable, nervous, and super awkward, not to mention I can have a short temper, but if anything, not remembering things has made my life better.

 

his talent:
he never
once
had to use
his hands
to touch
each & every
part of
me.

-he could touch me across highways

(p. 120)

This is one I think is relatable in one way or another. We’ve all been hurt by someone that didn’t even need to raise a hand. Words are twisty that way. After reading this one, I only had silence and a nod that said-I get it, I know. It’s okay.

 

 

i am
a tigress
who has earned
her softer-than-velvet
stripes

-ode to my stretch marks

(p. 152)

This one made me smile so much. There are times to accept your beauty and thrive in the imperfections of life. I started getting stretch marks in the tenth grade. I also weighed 80 lbs. and approached the final height of 5’2’’. I know, 80 lbs. and stretch marks? How!? Well, it happened and at the hips. For years they bother me and it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I started accepting it because at that point they’d trickled halfway down the back of my thighs and I only came out to 107-112 lbs. Today, I’m only 110 lbs. and haven’t grown another inch taller. My skin only does what it can and so I have stripes. Reading this poem made me so fuzzy and warm inside because I totally get it! There are just some things you say ‘to hell with it’ and laugh because you have no control. In fact, I found this amazing tattoo idea for stretch marks!

 

 

trees
have words
the wind
cannot carry,
so we must
write
on them
their stories
until there are
none left
for them
to tell.

write the story

(p. 161)

Reading this one, I can still hear the breeze in the summer twilight as it rustles the leaves. It’s dropped to 70 degrees and a small shiver falls over my shoulders, making smile as I sit on the stoop with my bare feet in the cool grass. Looking up, the stars are peeking out one by one. Fireflies are on the edge of the woods, twinkling, searching for their other half. They look like the stars themselves that have decided to visit us little humans down here. I have this moment every summer. It’s my favorite one and when I hear the breeze ruffling the leaves I swear it’s the trees talking. Maybe that’s cheesy, but it’s so beautiful. It’s a moment when I can just be. And that’s important. Having moments like that means my head isn’t clogged with stress. And to write stories is my passion. It’s why I went to college. I’m not out give underlying motivations or understandings. Readers will find that on their own. I just want to give someone the opportunity to lose themselves because every once in a while we need that. Having a place to go in books helped me survive high school. So when I read this poem, it was really drawing back to all of and reminding what I’m working toward and keeping me tethered to a moment that I want to always have.

 

Obviously, this book really spoke to me. So I’ve decided to be brave. Below are a couple of the poetry pieces that I’ve worked on.

 

Fruit:Human

Rigid teeth drag over the soft and fuzzy surface
Scratching until bitter juice trickles down my arm
A nasty shutter

Another bite
There’s no taste

Another bite
There’s no satisfaction
No feeling of fulfillment to be had
But the teeth marks remain.

So does the shame

 

 

First Cup

The cranes stand tall
I can’t help but imagine the smaller birds,
The ones I can’t see so well in the early hours,
As seagulls
I can only guess it’s my mind missing the ocean
I’m not an early morning kind of woman

The stone is chill as I lean against it,
Standing on my tippy toes
The graffiti on the other side of the river is as vibrant as I feel the day will be soon

The building behind us still block out the sun
But not its ever reaching rays that touch the river sands with its golden fingers
I contemplate jumping over so I can squish my toes in those grains
It’s an early morning thought
Which isn’t really a thought at all

As the city awakens, so do I
Or at least I try.
The sound of the rushing water could put me back into a slumber
I lay my head down on the bridge wall

I don’t drink coffee
I don’t see the appeal
However, I thought that this momentous occasion called for such circumstance
Like drinking champagne for an anniversary
Or shots for a special birthday

This place all on its own is no longer in the depths of my imagination
It now lingers in the vault of my memory
A peaceful place
Where the water rushes
The birds sing like seagulls
And that first ever cup of coffee tastes like water

 

 

Fireflies in the Garden

Some cup them in their hands
Making small wishes and release them to the sky
Others swing at them with rackets and fly swatters
Angry about the wishes that never came

From the porch,
With my chin in my hands
Watching
Waiting
Anticipating

Only for a moment
They fly around like stars
I am one of them
But only for a moment
It’s freedom

In a wisp
A swish
A buzz
A glowing ember returning to the sky
It’s gone and so am I

As I sit here on the porch

 

This was a phenomenal read for me. I will more than likely find myself coming back to it at some point. I recommend that if you haven’t read it that you consider it.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Safe by Britt Nicole.