Friday, December 29, 2017

End of the Year Book Survey 2017

And here we are, another year come and gone. Where does the time go honestly?

So here I am, filling out the 2017 version of the book survey, which looking back, I definitely did not blog as much as I did in the past years. Mainly because 2017 (like 2016) has been a mess. I'm hoping that 2018 will be the year where I get into blogging, as I kind of did in November (like seriously, I used to average 15 posts a month, now it's like 3). But nevertheless, I'M STILL HERE.

And now I'll go through my year in books! Woo.

(This was created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner, and here's the link back to the original post if you want to do your own!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: Meet Cute

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined To Meet
by Jennifer L. Armentrout & various others

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 12/16/17 to 12/18/17
320 pages

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

As you may know, I recently read an anthology where the them was all love triangles, and I did not like it. Now, I’ll be featuring an anthology of the complete opposite (or at least I think it’s the complete opposite). Here’s to hoping that it is so much better than the latter!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Slumping Along

I think I have caught the book slump blues from Shannon over here, and I don’t know what to do about it. I mean, my problem isn’t that all the books I’ve been reading suck, it’s just that I am having the problem of getting myself motivated to pick up a book. Even though I really want to read.

So anyways, here are some reasons WHY I cannot just get myself into the mood for reading.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Review Required (Reads From My Laptop?)

When RivetedLit started putting up a free book a day this month, I wasn’t at all interested, as I wasn’t keen on reading books off a laptop screen. For one, it’s a bit annoying, and plus I had papers to write and exams to grade. But then, I caved and started with Long Way Down. And then I became hooked.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No Review Required (Fantasy Reads!)

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past few weeks due to the stress of the end of the semester. And even though that’s ALL over, I still haven’t recovered. But nevertheless, I’m going to aim to post the same amount as I did in November.

Here are two reads that I have been highly anticipating since they both came out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Finishing All My 2017 ARCs! (Recap)

So, I am happy to say that I have finished reading all the ARCs I requested for 2017, which is actually a SUPER good feeling. And I’m also proud of that fact because 1) I don’t think I did the same last year, and 2) I really cut down this year in requesting because I knew I did not enjoy having a huge pile of required books to read. Honestly, it was such a good idea on my part because this year wasn’t exactly the best year in regards to the ARCs I had. And I’m not sure if it is because I am worn down and tolerate nothing, or because there truly wasn’t anything good.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Three Sides of a Heart

Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles Edited by Natalie C. Parker
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 11/19/17 to 11/23/17
448 pages

You may think you know the love triangle, but you've never seen love triangles like these.

These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss.

This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.

What do all these stories have in common?

The love triangle.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Seeing as this is an anthology (and the first one I’ve read in a while), I’m going to be reviewing these stories one by one, and rating them individually!

I also do want to mention that I don’t mind love triangles, but uh…my opinion might change after finishing this entire anthology? Haha. Like there are definitely well written love triangles out there, but most of them flop.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Books For Cat Lovers

Hello there. I am dedicating this post to my cat, Primrose, because she’s such a precious baby. Plus, she wanted to take over my computer (opening tabs are her specialty), probably to talk about how much she loved the book The Great Catsby. Anyways, since cats are so awesome, today I’ll be showcasing nine books that feature cats in them!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Excitement of New Books

Have you ever been in the middle of a book, and just, didn’t feel the motivation to pick it back up. Or maybe you’re skimming through the end, because you can’t wait to start the hundreds of new, shiny books you have on your shelf? WELL THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Because I 100% understand, and also, I have these feelings as well. Which is why I’ll be listing 10 reasons why I’m more excited for a new book instead of the one I’m currently reading.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Review Required: The Hype Monster Strikes!

OK SO THE TITLE OF THIS POST IS SLIGHTLY MISLEADING, as only one of the books discussed here was killed by the hype. But nevertheless, I hope you enjoy both of these not-required mini reviews!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

An Innocent Life #21: Take Over The World With Me (With Paperclips)

Academic work may be taking over my life. Along with my cat, who right now is demanding that I pet her. She's so needy, all the time.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shiny, Pretty Covers

I think the last time I did a post about covers was for a Top Ten Tuesday, maybe more than a year ago? But anyways, today I’m literally just going to go into my 2018 releases list on Goodreads, look to see what has a cover or not, and pick my favorite ones. BECAUSE I LOVE SHINY THINGS. Also note I probably won’t be linking up to any of these books because I’m a lazy bum. Sorry NOT SORRY.


Do you have a favorite 2018 or 2017 cover? Have you heard of any of these?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Disappointing Reads of 2017

I don’t know about you, but 2017 hasn’t exactly been the greatest year for reading. For me at least. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a continuation of the dumpster fire from 2016. Or just the fact that I don’t want to waste time on mediocre books nowadays. And so that’s why I’ll be sharing 2017 releases I either read and hated or DNFed this year! (Also my favorite person*, Ely, ever shared her disappointing reads too!)

* this applies to more than one person, DO NOT COME AT ME.

I mean, I am not surprised I was let down by this book. To be fair, I did enjoy reading this, but Aristotle and Dante just blew my mind. I mean, yes, I kind of had pretty high expectations, which led to my overall disappointment, sadly.

I’m mainly sad about this book because it was just overall more simple than I thought it would be. Also I remember almost nothing from it. I know I had high hopes for this because someone (cough Shannon) convinced me it was a great read (IT’S OK SHANNON I STILL LOVE YOU).

THIS. I would say, and I’m probably not alone in this, was my biggest disappointment. Like I was really expecting amazing things. Amazing characters, well-developed world-building. And yes, the female relationship was there, but everything else … wasn’t.

I DNFed this. It was just rubbing me the wrong way. I felt uneasy uneasy about how I'm made to feel sympathetic about privileged people being targeted and oppressed by the bad guys...which are poor people.

I did like A Million Junes, but again, it just did not live up to the author’s first book.

The fact that I cannot even remember this tells me that it wasn’t memorable whatsoever. Like…what happened? At least this isn’t part of a series, haha.

I was a bit disappointed in this because I was misled by the pretty cover. LIED TO! The synopsis talked about serpents and perhaps mythical creatures? But I…didn’t get any of that. And the writing style, it’s very…British? But like, classic literature British (think Pride and Prejudice and To the Lighthouse). And I am just not a fan.

I DNFed this one too. Too much talking about hair, and…curses? Uh, something along those lines.

Or wait, maybe it was this book? I cannot tell the difference between the above book, and this one? All of them involve a group of girls, forbidden love, I don’t even know anymore, I feel like that trope is waaaay overused at this point. Also I DNFed this.

This one saddens me, because I really did want to like it. I heard such great reviews, yet I don’t know. I guess this one just didn’t work for me?

Is it just me, or have there been a lot of mediocre reads this year? More so compared to past years? Maybe my tolerance is going down...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: Renegades Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour! I'll be reviewing Renegades today, which I absolutely enjoyed. And yes, I am siding with the Anarchists, especially since I just know my cover as "innocent" is blown at this point, thanks to my *friends* that keep pointing out my mischievous side. And you know what? I do love the Anarchists in this series, so maybe I do belong with them.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Renegades #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Source: Blog Tour
Date Read: 9/27/17 to 10/13/17
576 pages

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

After loving the Lunar Chronicles (or most of it, seeing as I have yet to finish Winter because I don’t want it to end), it’s no surprised that I also enjoyed Renegades, Meyer’s newest release.

Renegades features superheros and supervillains, but it’s clear that at the start of this novel, the superheros have everything under control. They’re the winners, while the villains hide in an abandoned subway tunnel. At first glance, it seems like a black and white situation, because obviously heroes can do no wrong, right? Well, there’s always two sides to everything. For one, the heroes aren’t doing a very good job governing the city. Second, some of the Renegades are really vicious, and they justify their violence by saying they’re heroes.

I liked getting to know our two main characters, Nova and Adrian. Nova is an Anarchist, but the Renegades know almost nothing about her. Because of this, she becomes the perfect Renegade spy for the Anarchists. Adrian was born into the Renegades, but feels like he can do more with his powers. Plus, he is determined to find his mother’s killer, and believes that Nightmare (Nova in disguise) knows more than she lets on.

Overall, I really liked Renegades. Although the plot was slightly predictable, the world-building and character development were solid. I loved reading about each character’s abilities, especially since some of them were really unique (find cool character cards here!).

I’m very curious to see how the series will continue, especially with how this first book ended. And I seriously cannot believe that I have to wait at least a year before the next book!

MARISSA MEYER is the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles series, as well as the graphic novel Wires and Nerve: Vol. 1, and The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book. Her first stand alone novel, Heartless, was also a #1 New York Times bestseller. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters.

New York, NY – Feiwel & Friends will publish bestselling author Marissa Meyer’s Renegades on November 7, 2017, the first in a two book series about teen superheroes. With the blockbuster success of the Lunar Chronicles series and Heartless, Meyer has become one of the most sought after authors in young adult fiction. She will embark on a two-week national author tour at on-sale.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Kids Like Us

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Source: Macmillan
Date Read: 10/31/17 to 11/1/17
288 pages

Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Kids Like Us was an interesting read, but ultimately not the book for me. BUT, I still think it had an amazing message overall, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for more ASD representation (I say this but I'm not exactly sure how accurate it is).

The story revolves around Martin, who is diagnosed with autism. He’s attending a local school in rural France during the summer while his mom is directing a movie. And it just so happens that his father taught him French before he left, so Martin is able to communicate with his new friends. The problem is that he doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to believe, that his new friends only hang out with him because of the connections his mom has with all these famous people.

The thing that really stood out to me was Martin’s inability to make things his own. And he is very much obsessed with the book Search by Proust. So much so that he takes what happens in the book and “applies” it to real life. For example, he meets a girl in school, and he just cannot imagine her being anyone but a character from his book, Gillberte. And so this is a bit of a problem because she’s a real person, but Martin does not attempt to know her or even her real name. The focus of Kids Like Us is Martin’s development as the summer goes by. And the message that kids with ASD are not something to be fixed.

I really liked the overall message of this book, and Martin himself. I would say that this is a rather simple book, due to the fact that there is not much of a plot throughout. And I may have skimmed through a couple pages because of that. But nevertheless, it was still a good read.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Vote For These Books On Goodreads!

HI ALL. So this might be a wake-up call that it’s already November and the year is almost over (it was to me), but you can now vote for the Best Books of 2017 on Goodreads! Though this is only the opening round. BUT I am here to try to convince you to vote for some of these books. And okay, to be fair, I haven’t exactly read all of these, BUT WHO CARES. I’m just having fun ha.


So, I voted for  A Conjuring of Light  by V. E. Schwab. Why? Well it was an amazing finale if I do say so myself. And right after I finished it I just wanted to start the whole series over. Because I didn’t want to leave the world or the characters. I could confidently say that it’s a favorite series. BUT HEY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR THIS TOO!

If I had read White Hot by Ilona Andrews, I would have voted for it in the Romance category. I mean I know none of the other reads, so maybe I’ll just go with that?

In the science fiction category, I voted for Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuval. WHICH I DID LIKE. I don’t think I liked it as much as the first book, Sleeping Giants, but I think that’s because I forgot about half of the characters. Whoops.


I voted for We Have No Idea, mainly because it’s by the same people that draw the funny Ph.D. comics on Twitter (or whatever other platforms they have). One day I’ll own and read their book too! There’s an interesting octopus looking book that sounds cool, hopefully I’ll read it one day.

GRAPHIC NOVELS! I got stuck between Saga and Ms. Marvel, even though I haven’t read neither of the new volumes featured. But in the end, I had to go with Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples just because it really is a phenomenal comic. It really is nothing like I’ve ever read before.

There’s a bunch of poetry I want to read, but I have no doubt that Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers will win. No doubt. Still need to read it!

VOTING FOR The Hate U Give for both Best Debut Authors AND Young Adult Fiction! There were actually some REALLY good choices for YA Fiction, and let’s be honest, I haven’t read THUG yet (I know, I’m ashamed), but I think that really deserves the spot. Like Turtles All The Way Down was good, but not as great. I think When Dimple Met Rishi, Goodbye Days, and Gentleman’s Guide also would have been great choices, but I don’t know. I think THUG deserves this more.

For YA Fantasy and Sci-fi (why are these lumped together?), I voted for Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Because I absolutely loved that book, and it’s definitely one of my favorites of the year. Another great choice would be Scythe, which I also adored (Thunderhead comes out next year!).

For MG & Children’s, I haven’t read any of the books, but I know Rashika keeps raving about Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. SO I VOTED FOR IT AND YOU SHOULD TOO.

Last, but not least. Picture books! Not that I have read any of these, but my vote went to Malala’s Magic Pencil, because Malala is awesome and doing so much to help the world right now. So yes I will vote for her book!

What books will you be voting for? Are you voting for the same ones I am?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Books I Need To Get To (Because It’s Already Freaking October)

Gonna be honest, I didn’t have as many anticipated releases as I usually do this year. And the ones that I did have (cough Starfish cough) I have already read. I might later do a post on my disappointing reads of 2017, but for now, I want to showcase the ones that I still haven’t gotten to yet. Because it’s ALREADY OCTOBER and how did the year pass by so quickly? (Also, I feel like everyone is already focusing on 2018, and I’m just like “hold your horses”).

This year, I managed to read 41 out of 88 of the books on my 2017 releases Goodreads shelf. I know, compared to like…Shannon, 88 is a really small number. But to be honest I just haven’t really been paying attention to new releases. But next year I’ll try harder :D

But without further ado, here are the books I want to get to before the year ends!

I don’t think I have read a bad review of this yet. And also the cover is so pretty? AND I WANT TO READ ABOUT THE GOBLIN KING, which reminds me of another book, Stolen Songbird, which is pretty popular? So I kind of wonder how similar the two are.

I even pre-ordered this, but just HAVEN’T gotten to this one yet. Why? I’m not really sure? I think mainly because I’m scared that I’m going to be so annoyed by the males in this novel, that I’m not ready for it? Like I am not ready for the sexism. BUT because it probably is so empowering, I really don’t have anything to fear. SO hopefully I will read it soon!

I reaaaally want to read this because a) cover is super shiny and I cannot get over shiny things and b) it’s kind of about parallel universes. Or something. Either way it’s something cool, and I need it.

Not going to lie, but I DID try reading this at Shannon’s place. And I am willing to give it another shot. BUT TO BE FAIR, I don’t think it exactly sat well with me that a well-known character from my childhood (aka the monkey king) reincarnated into a super hot-looking dude. LIKE IT’S JUST WEIRD TO ME OK? I JUST NEED TO GET OVER IT.

I have a problem with finishing series, and the same holds true for duologies. Also, I’m hesitant because I’m not sure I need to reread the first book? So I’m just…waiting, until I decide what to do…

This book screams me but because I don’t have a copy of it (yet, I guess), I haven’t gotten to it. Right now, it is on my “To Buy ASAP” list. BUT YES. SPACE. SPAAAAACE.

My best friend has my copy of it right now, but I’m almost scared to read it because I just know it’ll hit me hard. Fun fact, the author will be visiting my former high school. So, guess we’ll see how that goes (to give context, I went to a private school in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. One time, some sort of activist came to talk at our school, and these rando conservatives on Twitter got super salty about it. My best friend engaged with them online so she knows more about it than I do).

Been anticipating this since my Australian blogging buddos gushed about how good it was. So, this is definitely high on my list.
I still don’t know why I haven’t read this. I think it’s because every time I think about it, there’s something else that I need to read? And this just keeps getting pushed further and further down the list.

Surprise, still have not read this, and I don’t know why. Well, just kidding, I do. It’s mainly because of the hype monster. This was wayyyy too hyped up back in January, which is why I just…haven’t gotten to it yet.

And that’s it (well no it isn’t, but gotta stop somewhere). What 2017 releases do you still need to read?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Turtles All The Way Down (And Thoughts On John Green)

WoooOOoooo. It’s a new John Green book! I mean finally, right? Well, I’ve never been one to fan over his books. But at the same time I don’t mind John Green much. And I’m not biased to rate his books highly, so hopefully you’ll get some insight from this review.

Also, I guess I was anticipating more thoughts on John Green? But I guess I don’t have any? Whoops. I mean I know my best friend absolutely loves him, but I never really interested in any of his books? The first one I read was Looking for Alaska, which I only rated 3 stars. And maybe it was just me because I wasn’t too into contemporary back then? But I for sure can say that it did not motivate me to continue reading his books. Then on the other hand, I absolutely LOVED The Fault in the Stars. I kind of sobbed through the whole thing? AND THEN THE MOVIE TOO. I remember bringing a pack of tissues into the movie theater because I knew I was just going to bawl.

A post shared by Valerie (@innocentreads) on

Seeing how much of a hit TFIOS was, I’m not at all surprised that I only liked Turtles All the Way Down. It’s true that I did enjoy it, but it just didn’t have the “umph” that it had in his last book (which yeah, I’m not surprised by at all).

On the other hand, we get to experience Aza’s mental illness firsthand, and it relates directly to the cover of the book. Her struggle with mental illness is like a never-ending, tightening spiral downwards. And even though there are times were everything is okay, sometimes it’s just not. I honestly was not expecting such a vivid experience of her mental illness, something I could very easily connect to. It’s really what made this book stand out from all the others I have read.

The plot of the story is a bit bizarre, and also takes place in the background. It starts off with Aza and Daisy wanting to claim some reward for finding a wanted man (I don’t remember exactly, I think maybe he partook in some shady dealings). Anyways, this man happens to be Davis’ father. Davis used to be friends with Aza, but they drifted apart over time. Daisy wants to use this connection to investigate, but Davis is not really onboard. He knows that everyone trying to get close to him only wants the money. Which is why right from the beginning, he hands the two of them $100k.

But Aza is like nooo, I really like you for who you are! And so, the rest of the novel focuses on the development between the two.

Overall, I really liked the book, especially how it portrayed Aza’s anxiety (although I’m not sure, it might be OCD? It wasn’t exactly labeled in the book, but I know it’s mentioned in interviews with John Green somewhere, I just don’t remember right now). But this was definitely more of a character-driven novel rather than a plot-driven one. Also, I’m not really sure how I feel about the conclusion? I almost felt like it just…ended. I guess that does reflect real life, I suppose.

In the end, I’m glad I read it and enjoyed it. It did provide a very unique perspective on mental illness.

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