Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why Is 2018 So Far Away

Sometimes I think about books coming out post-2017 and get excited. There are just SO MANY that sound freaking amazing, and I just want to read them already. But I can't. *sobs* In the meantime, I want to showcase the ones I'm most excited about. And I really, really did try to cut this down, but I COULDN'T. I TRIED HARD, GUYS. 

(I checked the dates on Goodreads, so they are all currently scheduled for 2018 publication. But as we all know, sometimes things happen, so let's just cross our fingers we get all of these next year! :D)

From Favorite Authors:
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: as she is one of my forever faves, I don't even CARE what it's about honestly. However, it does sound freaking amazing! And it's one of my highly anticipated for sure.

The Fast Track by Krista and Becca Ritchie: after loving the Addicted series, and the first two books in their Aerial Ethereal world, I will basically read whatever they write. And it's their first YA, exciting!

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West: Kasie is one of my auto-read/buy authors, so OF COURSE I'm excited for her next book! :D

Sawkill Girls and Ashborn by Claire Legrand: I still have only read SKOH, but I loved it so much that I want to read her backlist and her upcoming books.

Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: Roshani has quickly become one of my favorite authors after loving her previous novels, so I'm really looking forward to what she has next!

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi: I binge-read the series last year (or was it in 2015?) and fell so utterly in love with it, but I WAS a bit disappointed with the ending. So while I'm always nervous about add-ons, I'm super happy too.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson: have I told you lately how much I love the Remnant Chronicles? It's one of my all-time favorite series, so when I heard that there were more coming, I about died of excitement. Again, I'm a *little* nervous because I don't always have good luck with add-ons. But since these are companions and not direct sequels, I'm not as apprehensive. Plus, I've no doubt Mary is gonna write another amazing book!

Dear Miss Sweetie by Stacey Lee: I never used to read historical fiction because it just bored me, but I've gotten back into it, and Stacey's books have been some of my faves in that genre. So I'm very happy that she's coming out with another one! And it sounds freaking amazing.


From (Mostly) New-to-Me Authors:
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: Asian mythology-inspired fantasy that sounds like it might have an f/f romance? yes, please!

Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato: well, for one it's set in a cemetery which always makes for a fantastic setting. Two, there are ghosts!

A Court of Miracles by Kester Grant: a Les Mis reimagining! set in an alternate post-French Revolution Paris! starring Eponine! GIMME.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney: all I needed to know was that it's a retelling of Alice in Wonderland to put it on the TBR, tbh. The MC is an ass-kicking black teen, and it's the type of diverse story so many people want and need.

The Pendragon Problem by Mari Mancusi: ALTERNATE KING ARTHUR SET IN THE MODERN DAY. hi, hello, when can I have this?

Pearl by Sherri L. Smith: it's a WWII graphic novel with a Japanese-American MC, and it sounds fabulous!

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton: I just read "a dark fairytale" and I became one of those seagulls in Finding Nemo, shouting MINE. Haha, but seriously the premise sounds awesome!

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke: I have read some of her previous novels and wasn't super impressed. But this is a Beowulf with badass women at the center of it, and I have a strong need.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman: this is a YA anthology that is all retellings and reimaginings of East and South Asian mythology, so I am for this even though I haven't had great luck with anthologies.

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez: another retelling, but this time of the story Tristan and Isolde! I'm not gonna lie, I don't know it well at all, but it still sounds great.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud: it's a Moroccan-inspired fantasy series revolving around a girl becoming the double body for a cruel princess. I'm so excited for it!

City of Islands by Kali Wallace: This looks like it's MG, but I'm still looking forward to it. It's about a girl who discovers bones on the ocean floor of ancient magic. So cool!

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis: it's apparently a hybrid YA/graphic novel inspired by the early life of Queen Elizabeth I. hi, yes, want this.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo: I've been excited about this ever since Allie shared the announcement. I liked her blog a lot, and I'm very intrigued by the sound of her book. Can't wait to read it!

The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes: a story about a vigilante group seeking justice for violence against women? GIMME.

Pilgrim Playwright Genie Guard edited by Marieke Nijkamp: an #ownvoices anthology with disabled teens front and center, which is so, so needed. It's one of my highly anticipated releases!

Toil & Trouble and Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe: the first book is an anthology about witches and witchcraft, so fuck yeah. And the second is a feminist adult thriller. So, yup, I need them both.

Circe by Madeline Miller: I want to get reacquainted with the mythology beforehand, but after loving The Song of Achilles, I'm very excited about Madeline's newest book.


I decided to focus only on standalones or first books in a series (or else there would've been more here because clearly I need Obsidio and the sequel to Strange the Dreamer asap). I did keep off the books that I was lucky enough to pick up at ALA Annual too, so that's why there are some (like The Belles, Unearthed, and More Than We Can Tell) that aren't on here. It started to get REALLY long, so I wanted a cut-off point. :) I'm also eagerly anticipating the books below, which already have fantastic covers!



Which of these books are YOU most excited to read? Are there any that didn't make my list that would be on yours? Are you too crying that we can't have these stories yet? UGH. WHY.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heroes and Monsters: Strange the Dreamer

Title: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 28th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.


My Review!
This book wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a way that was entirely pleasing and surprising. Still the same old Laini Taylor magic: gorgeous fucking prose, monstrous and heroic characters (who are sometimes both), a fantastical world I could get lost in for daaaays. I tried to savor this one, and I did an okay job. But once I started, I just could not stop reading, and I fell so in love early on.

Most of that had to do with Lazlo’s character. This guy. So precious. So incredibly caring and selfless. A dreamer and a bookworm, Lazlo always has his head stuck in a book about far-off places and daring adventures. And he so wishes he was that brave, but he gets his chance soon, and he makes the most of it. He goes after his own dreams, and that is courageous. Because for Weep, he would do anything.

I don’t know what I was expecting with Weep, and this book, but it was completely unlike everything I’ve ever read. Like, I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, but more fantasy than anything. It’s beautiful and monstrous and such a mystery to everyone. But it has a huge problem: no one knows how to get rid of the large shadow over the city.

It’s a reminder of dark days, when the goddesses and gods made playthings of the humans and turned the streets of Weep red. But no one knows what really happened then, not even those in the sky, and the truth is more heartbreaking and rage-inducing than any of them realize. Because when there is more than one bad guy, life becomes a gray area of right and wrong.

I felt like that was a pretty big theme of the book, the fact that not everyone is either a hero or a monster. These characters are all multifaceted and complex individuals. They do both good and bad things (except perhaps Lazlo who is so pure), and they’re put into situations that test resolves and hearts. And they learn that, just perhaps, they might be able to move on and build a better future for everyone.

When the first outsiders arrive in this strange city after hundreds of years, Weep becomes alive again. And all of these people have a simple purpose. But nothing is so simple here. This could easily have gotten boring, given the slower pace and the amount of pages, but I was hooked and WANT SO MUCH MORE. Strange the Dreamer was utterly enchanting, from the first page to the last.

RATING:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From the Den: July Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could still tell y'all about them. :)

*****

I didn't read very much in July, but what I did read was pretty good! I'll be talking about a lot of them later on the blog (hopefully), but I wanted to mention the two below!

Every Heart a Doorway
What a weird but intriguing story! It was so readable, so enjoyable, even when it was creepy and gross at times. This is like Wonderland and Narnia gone so, so wrong. But the worlds were as enchanting as they were terrifying. Not everyone came out of them wanting to come "home" again, which is what Eleanor West's school is for: those who want to go back but can't. Doors rarely ever open again, and all of these children are lost and looking for a way to feel normal, so people will do *anything* to go back. A murder mystery in the paranormal (or urban fantasy???) genre with beautiful prose all wrapped up to make one hell of a story. I liked the characters a lot, and even though it was so short, I felt like I still got to know so many of them really well. And the different places that they all came from were so interesting to learn about, though we don't know nearly enough of them. I cannot wait for the next one!
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!
 

Sinful Temptation 
Aw, this one was cute. I still wish the guys weren't all the same character type, but I'm always a sucker for an overprotective bear. Plus Connor was a feminist, so I loved him even more for not judging Lola and for always making sure she was okay with things. Lola herself was great, and I really liked that she was able to get out of that life and chase her dreams, and that she had a guy who gave her the courage and space to do that. I'm really looking forward to the next one!  
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!


What books did you guys read in July? Have you read either of these before? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Friday, August 4, 2017

My Reading Quest

I'm already doing ARC August and the Make Me Read It Readathon (which does end before this starts, so that's good!), but fuck it, I'm participating in Aentee's reading quest challenge too. She is SO creative, guys. She made a challenge based on a video game, with different "quests" you can do, and where you can pick your own character to play with. It's going to be difficult for me to line up other books with this challenge too, but I'm looking forward to this *so* much. It looks hella fun!


So, I'm picking the Mage. Once I'm finished with its squares, I'm moving onto the Knight's quest, which I think is how it works? I'll just go around the board that way, but I don't even know if I'll make it there because of these other challenges and work. This does run from August 13th to September 10th, so a lot of time to read! I can also complete some of the blue squares in the middle, but they won't be a priority. However, I'm going to make TBRs anyway, because that is always fun for me. :D

My Main Quest
A Book With a One Word Title: Want
A Book That Contains Magic: An Enchantment of Ravens
A Book Based on Mythology: Wonder Woman or The Library of Fates
A Book Set in a Different World: The Last Namsara
The First Book of a Series: The Belles

The Knight's Quest
A Book With a Verb in its Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
A Book With a Weapon on its Cover: Gunslinger Girl or Blood and Sand
A Book With a Red Cover: Reign of the Earth
A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: Tuck Everlasting or Percy Jackson

Side Quests
Expansion: Whichwood 
Potions: Unearthed
Time Warp: Invictus
Animal Companion: Little & Lion

I am so excited to start reading for this challenge! I doubt I will get to them all, and I might read something else for a square instead, but I do really hope to read most of these books. And here is my character card! :D
*character art made by CW from Read, Think, Ponder*


Are you guys participating in this challenge too? If so, what character class are you and are we reading any of the same books? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017 Releases

IT'S A NEW MONTH. TIME FOR NEW BOOKS. YAYAYAYAY.

(I'm sorry, I never know what to say in these anymore.)

Anyway! ONTO THE RELEASES.

August 1st

August 8th

August 14th

August 15th

August 22nd

August 29th


I've already read: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell, which was super good. I'm really loving the way he writes such gritty and sensitive stories!

From NetGalley/ALA: Mask of Shadows and In Some Other Life for review. I've heard mixed things about the former, so I'm nervous, and the latter is a HUGE contemporary, so I've put it off because who has time for that? I also picked up Little & Lion and Dress Codes for Small Towns from the ALAs I attended this year, and I'm so excited for both!

My most anticipated: WONDER WOMAN!!! Gah, I'm so happy it's *finally* releasing, and I sure hope I can get to it as soon as I get my copy. Leigh Bardugo is one of my fave authors, so I'm doubly excited. SO HERE FOR THIS KICKASS GIRL POWER STORY. I'm also really excited for Tiger's Watch. It sounds amazing! Can't believe I forgot The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. This one would've flown under-the-radar to me if it hadn't been for other bloggers. I've not heard a bad thing about it yet, so I can't wait to read it.


What August releases are YOU most excited about? Did I miss any that should be on my radar? Let's talk! :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Checking In for the First Half of Summer

I don't do a monthly recap on the blog, partly because I'm lazy and partly because there isn't usually much to say. But I was inspired by Jamie's If We Were Having Coffee feature (which was inspired by someone else!) to start doing more personal posts on here. And what better way to do that than to recap my month in LIFE instead of just books and blogging? So Checking In will be a monthly feature on here that will help you guys get to know ME better, and hopefully you'll start sharing your own stories with me. :)

*****

Well, this is longer than the first half of the summer, but I decided to put this off for a bit. Much has been going on in my work life that I wanted to wait until the month of July was over before I checked in with y'all. So, around the beginning of June, one of my coworkers became our new shift supervisor. Not the coworker we all thought it'd be, but one we were still all good with. At least, I hope it'll be good once everyone settles in with the change. There have been moments of unrest and anger from a lot of people, and this guy had been not really a friend but someone I talked to post-boss title, so it's been a little hard for me personally to manage. It's been tense and stressful for everyone, but it's gotten better lately. His girlfriend is the coworker I'm closest with there too, so we're both trying to figure out a new balance. Should I mention things I've heard from others? Should she mention things she hears from her boyfriend? It's a bit UGH.

My other friend there is our shift lead, so I hear stuff from her too. And it's been good to have the two of them around as our shift hits these snags. We typically spend a lot of time together during work, depending on what jobs we get put on. The company is also starting up a 3rd shift this week, so it'll be really interesting. Or it'll go really badly. The jury is still out on that one, but I don't see the tension slowing down anytime soon. This is a lot of change to throw at our shift specifically in such a short time, and I'm afraid we'll lose even more people than we already have so far. (There are a host of reasons for the recent quitting and firing, but all of this has had a definite negative impact on a lot of people here). I'm doing better with this all than I had in June and early July, and like I said, I've got my friends and I'm still so much happier here than I would be at a different job.

I've been driving a lot more recently, mostly on those longer Fridays we work or when the uncle I carpool with takes vacation days, and I don't even MIND the commute so much anymore. I even drove on a day I didn't have to, just so I could go out after work with people. There aren't big groups anymore, but that's actually better for me, as I feel like you can still have conversations with everyone. I'm friendly with most of my coworkers, and I've enjoyed getting to know some of them a bit more than I have since I started. My shift lead friend had a party last weekend, and it was my first time going to an actual TRUE party. It was an interesting experience. Haha. I mostly stayed by the bonfire, but I had a few drinks, and it was fun after my social anxiety went down. And my friends and I have started making plans for more activities, so while I it's true I don't go out much on weekends, I still have some semblance of a social life! :D

Other than work, not much has been going on. I'm still writing, just not nearly enough. I'd wanted to finish the contemporary WIP redraft before summer ended, but I don't know if that'll happen. My summer has gone by fast, with me reading very little but doing social things with people from work, so I'm not too upset with myself for not doing more. And honestly I'm just so tired of people thinking my weekends are boring or that I need to go out more to be satisfied/fulfilled with my life. I just took the Myer-Briggs personality test and got 99% introverted, so I'm starting to understand myself A LOT more, and I'm done with people commenting on my life as if it's theirs to do so. As if they're owed my explanations or my reasons or my so-called unhappiness. It's aggravating when people think they know best for you. I'm TIRED, guys.

I haven't been blogging much either, and gah. I just don't know. I still love blogging and writing posts and reviewing and just in general this community. I decided to finally participate in the OTSP Secret Sister project, and it's already been a joy. I can't wait to spoil my person and get to know more people better. But as for my blog, I'm starting to feel drained of creativity and passion. This happens at least once a year, so it's not something so huge where I feel like I'm done here, but it sucks because I have all of these books I'M SO EXCITED FOR but hardly feel like reading them. I'm hoping that the reading challenges I signed up for in August will help! But yeah, my summer has been filled with work, weekends of doing whatever the hell I want, and playing computer/video games with my brothers. And I hope that continues because it's been great for me. :)


What has your summer been like, guys? I hope it's been filled with wonderful and fun things and people. Check in with y'all at the end of August! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I'm All About Subscription Boxes

Last year, it had seemed like there was only one or two subscription boxes. At least, ones that were well-known in the community. But now, they are ALL over the place. And that's a good thing since there are different themes and boxes to choose from, but it's hard to sift through them all and find the one that is perfect for you, or that you at least love most of the time. So I thought I'd write a post on my thoughts regarding the three I've tried, and the three that I want to get someday. :D

Subscriptions I Haven't Tried But Want To

Uppercase
While not a box, I still pay a lot of attention to this one. I've not only heard great things about them, but I've liked what I've seen. I just haven't gotten to a point where I want to try them, because it doesn't seem like they do themes, just new releases??? I don't preorder often, but I do worry that I'll get a book I didn't want or one I already bought. But the items they pair with the book are always fun and useful, and literary-themed. And the bags they come in are so cute!

Whimsify
This is a newer one, and they have potential. I haven't loved any of their previous boxes on a whole yet, which is the reason I haven't tried them. But I'm definitely going to keep on the lookout and see where this box goes!

Fairyloot
I want to try their subscription SO. BADLY. I've always been impressed with the quality of their boxes, and the thought put into them. But since they're UK-based, holy shit is shipping expensive. I added it up once, and it was like $50 altogether. And I just cannot justify that, especially for a book I haven't read. So, to get me to actually try Fairyloot, it'd have to be for a book I'm absolutely head-over-heels obsessed with, or from a capital FAVE author. I definitely stalk the hashtag on Instagram every month to see the boxes, and they're fun! But luckily, I've only been sad about missing a box ONCE. There are many repeat items in their boxes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But I don't need more candles I won't light or pretty quotes that I don't know. Plus they only do fantasy or science fiction books, but that isn't completely a con for me since fantasy is my favorite genre. The price, though, that is really my hangup with them. So until the book or author makes it a must-have for me, I won't be getting Fairyloot sadly.


A Bad Experience
LitCube
Last October LitCube had a Beauty and the Beast-themed box, so OF COURSE I had to get it. It was my first experience, and not a great one, so I'm glad it didn't ruin subscription boxes for me. I did write about it in a post last fall, but I wanted to mention it again in this one. The biggest priced item was completely damaged (like it's still usable, but the purpose of the product is ruined), and I probably could have made a fuss, but it just didn't seem worth the energy. I think people were having trouble getting a hold of the owner too. I do LIKE that they pick indie/self-published books, because I'm a firm believer that it does not make a book somehow less the way it's published. (I don't understand the elitism some people feel when discussing self-pubbed books especially). They've also got a Gilmore Girls subscription box, but I don't love that show sadly. And I just feel like the items don't always mesh well with the themes they choose. I know people who really like LitCube. But I don't think I'll be getting a box again.


My Favorites
OwlCrate 
They are, by far, one of the best in the business. And I don't think I'm the only one saying that. So far, I've gotten three boxes, and bought another, and I love their creativity! tbh, I don't think any since the Wonderland (November 2016) theme have surpassed that box, because that one was AMAZING. Although I'm biased because of my love for Alice in Wonderland. ;) I grabbed the pirate-themed one in March, and while I liked a lot of the items, I didn't overall LOVE it. I also felt quite the same about July's box that I got this past weekend. But I'm SO EXCITED to get yet another Owlcrate; I'm so here for the Something Wicked This Way Comes theme. I think what makes them stand out is just the quality of their boxes. Their themes are pretty unique, and they tend to pick ones that other subscription boxes don't. I mean, the June 2017 one was wanderlust, how cool is that? ALSO. I love that they're adding more exclusive covers to their boxes. That was a huge reason why I bought the June one (as well as the previous Wonderland box). I've loved them more than the originals, tbh!

The Bookish Box
What made me start looking into this subscription was the fact that they did fashion. Each box comes with a shirt, for sure, and other wearable or usable items. Always some type of mug too! Sometimes the shirts don't seem as creative as they could be, but as someone who is always in need of new clothes, I really appreciate them. The sizes have given me a bit of trouble, but that happens when it comes to online shopping. I just need to find the perfect one, and get that each time. I've even grabbed some of their past shirts during their sales. The funny thing though is that I don't generally subscribe to their month's theme, but to their one-time boxes. They've done so many good ones (HP Yule Ball, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Hogwarts Houses), and I think I prefer them to the month's box, especially after they started adding a book option. Of course since they're a BOOKISH subscription it makes sense, but another thing that attracted me to them was that they DIDN'T do books. It made them unique to all the others. I will obviously still be buying their boxes, though. One can never have too many literary-inspired t-shirts. ;)

*****

I think there are so many positives to subscription boxes, but a major con for me is the fact that I don't know whether I will love the items or not. It can be a toss-up, like when I got a damaged one from LitCube, or when I didn't love all the items in the OwlCrate pirate box. It's always a concern, because they ARE expensive, so you want to make sure you love the whole box, right? There are a few boxes I thought about getting until I saw the fandoms the items were based on, and unless you love them, I highly doubt you'd love the box. But to each their own, yeah? Sometimes the boxes don't have fandoms involved. Or if they do, it's only one or two. So I personally just wait until I a) know the book, b) at least like the fandoms, and c) love the theme.

Another thing that can be hard to determine is whether or not the subscription box is a GOOD one. There are *so many* that have popped up after this business started getting more popular, and I've been too wary to try them. Spearcraft seems fun, but their items just don't scream high-quality??? The Enchanted Book Box is one that I went to try until I saw the price. For a US-based box, it is ridiculous. It was as much as Fairyloot would be for me! So I've kind of just stuck to the older, more reputable ones. But I check out so many of them on Instagram. I have an obsession. 😁


Have you guys gotten any of these subscription boxes yet? Or any different ones? If so, what did you think of them? I'd definitely love your opinions on the top three, as I haven't tried them yet. :D

Monday, July 24, 2017

Challenge Accepted: ARC August

hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat!

I always enjoy participating in this reading challenge, because I am just TERRIBLE at reading and reviewing ARCs. Although I don't request nearly as much as I used to, I'm still not great at keeping up or getting through that backlist. So I like pushing myself by setting goals. And participating in a challenge always seems to help that, especially since I'm so competitive WITH MYSELF. LOL.

But this August, it is definitely not going to be easy. For one, I'm also participating in the Make Me Read It Readathon, and only three of the books I placed in the poll are ARCs. (Though it definitely looks like I will be reading one of those for sure!). For two, I work a long second shift job and so I only generally get time to read on the weekends. But I'm not going to let that stop me!

My official goal is 8, but my unofficial one is 10. I'm not trying to push *too* hard, given a series I also need to read in August, and work. So I'm actually making a goal that is a bit more doable than what I would normally say. Haha. And here is my TBR for the challenge! I'm definitely going to be reading a few of these below, but I'm adding some that I MIGHT read if I have the time.
 
Make Me Read It


August ARCs


September ARCs


Some I Missed

I might even read books not on this list, depending on my mood! But the priorities are the ones that aren't out yet, plus My Lady Jane. I'm SO EXCITED for it, plus all of the other books on this list. In particular, my September ARCs. I cannot wait to dive into those stories! I'll try to track my progress on Twitter, and I'll definitely be posting a wrap-up after August ends. Wish me luck! And good luck to you guys as well! :D


Are you guys participating in ARC August too? What are some of the books you're hoping to read during the month? :)