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Friday, January 11, 2019

Backlist Love (12): DOTF, Keeper of the Bees, Words in Deep Blue!

New year, same old amazing stories sitting around on shelves, waiting for you to LOVE THEM.
Here are some favorites.


daughter of the forest, juliet marillier, sevenwaters, fairy tale retellings, fairytales, backlist love, booktube, book blog, the book rat, book rat misty
Juliet Marillier is a rare talent, a writer who can imbue her characters and her story with such warmth, such heart, that no reader can come away from her work untouched. Daughter of the Forest is a testimony to that talent, a first novel and the beginning of a trilogy like no other: a mixture of history and fantasy, myth and magic, legend and love.

Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.

But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.

To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known, and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss, and terror.

When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for her to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between the life she has always known and a love that comes only once.

keeper of the bees, meg kassel, magical realism, entangled teen, backlist love, booktube, book blog, the book rat, book rat misty
KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

words in deep blue, cath crowley, australian fiction, contemporary romance, contemporary ya, backlist love, booktube, book blog, the book rat, book rat misty
A beautiful love story for fans of Jandy Nelson and Nicola Yoon: two teens find their way back to each other in a bookstore full of secrets and crushes, grief and hope—and letters hidden between the pages.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though some of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my channel!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Best of 2018: JANUARY

There is a thing I am really bad at, and that is self promotion. I just don't do it. Partly it's because it can feel so awkward, but mostly it's because I'm lazy and forgetful. And also, I like to pretend that everything I do is such magic that people are just going to find it out of ***sheer amazingness*** or something.

I've always just been grateful for apps and extensions that auto-tweet/share my blog posts and videos, because I could set them up once and let 'em have at it, hope for the best, and then promptly forget about it all. But at some point last year, I realized that I was not only doing myself a disservice, but that this feeling of sharing things you make with the world and being proud of them is something awkward and to be frowned-upon is something women are conditioned to feel and internalize in the name of being seen as cool and not pushy, and that also, probably nobody cares? — and I have no need for that voice in my head anymore. 

This year marks my tenth year blogging, and I am proud of what I've done here.
I am proud of reviews I've written and books I've discussed in videos.
And if I can't share my own work and be happy with it, how can I expect it to find an audience of people who do care, and want to relate and discuss; who don't give a damn about being coolly aloof  and would rather gush about books along with me?

Obviously, since I run a blog where I share my opinions with the world, it's not like this is new territory. But in 2019, I want to embrace the work I've done, and let the world know it. 
Which is my long-winded way of saying, today starts a small series of looking back at my 2018 in reviews, videos, and general booknerdom and sharing my favorites.  Maybe you missed some of these things the first time around, or meant to read or comment when it first popped up, but forgot. Or maybe this is your first time here, and you're thinking I'm really dramatic right now, but still, maybe you'll look around and find a book you're going to love.

That's cool, too.


Okay, I really am not  going to share basically every post for each month, and not each post is going to be dedicated to one month only — but January had some good stuff, you guys! I mean, obviously, we need to start off by taking a look at all of the many things I loved (and the many that I did not) in 2017, with my Best Of / Worst Of, Year-End Wrap-up. I also had the first of a number of "lunch chats," which I intend to continue doing this year, because it's really relaxing to sit down and chat books over lunch with you guys! For this first one, I gushed over one of my favorite books of the year, Tess of the Road! (spoiler for a later post in this series. ;P )

I had a very. . . in depth and emotional discussion of T. E. Carter's I Stop Somewhere, rape culture, and the #MeToo movement.

I also reviewed Marissa Meyer's Renegades and Jennifer A. Nielson's The Traitor's Game (lolol):

"Some people might not find enough of a redeeming quality in the characters or the plot. . .[I rated it highly, but] in hindsight, when you get out of the glow of the book, you're like, ummm, was this a plot hole, could this have been stronger?"
"Yes, hello, I've just kidnapped you and am threatening your life, are we in love yet? It's been nearly a full 2 days, after all. Oh, we are? Yay!"

I gave you some of my favorite tips, tricks and approaches to reading more (as well as hosting the 3rd 30 Day Book Binge! And hey, wouldn't you know, it's still going strong! We're currently in round 7!), and shared some of the series I've really liked... but never finished. (Oops.)

I'll be back in a day or two with a look at my fave posts from February and March, but until then, I'd love to hear something that YOU did last year that you're proud of or wish more people had seen. If it's linkable, feel free to drop a link!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

30 Day Book Binge (7) FREE PRINTABLES!

In case you missed my announcement (and in case you missed this challenge entirely -- where have you been the last year and a half?!), today begins the 7th round of the 30 Day Book Binge!

This is basically the book blogosphere's most chill reading challenge:
I don't care what you read;
I don't care how much you read;
I don't care what time of day you read, or how you read (or listen);
All I care about is that you read.
The goal of the 30 Day Book Binge is to build a daily reading habit, and we do that by, well, reading daily. Go figure.
(And trust me when I say, it works. After a number of slump, slogging-through-it years, I read 365 days last year, and I credit it entirely with this challenge.)

To participate in the challenge, you commit to reading something — anything — for 30 straight days. What you read is up to you (I strongly suggest a mix of things you want to read, things you need to read, and things that are easy to squeeze in on tired days, like comics or audiobooks). You can two birds, one stone is and combine this with other challenges, and you can also get (and provide!) and additional boost of motivation by chatting along / sharing you progress / encouraging others on social media with the hashtag #30DayBookBinge.

But all of that is entirely up to you. All that matters is that you want to take on the challenge, and you're willing to start somewhere. No pressure. No points or demerits or people calling you out if you don't succeed. Just a willingness to read, and a stack of books to choose from!

And of course, as always, I offer up some freebies in the form of printables to jumpstart your challenge and give you a little added motivation. This month's printables are simple and clean with a bit of New Years glitz, and are all about encouraging you to hit your goals. It includes a January calendar and a trio of bookmarks, one of which allows you to check off your reading every day!

You can access the free printables here, or by visiting http://bit.ly/30DBBprintables, and then print or save them to use at your discretion. 

There may be more printables this month, but I'm just not sure what, so if you have ideas or requests, let me know in the comments! Also, I know sometimes a Monday-start calendar is requested of me, so if you want me to make a second version of the calendar, let me know!

Hope to see you on the hashtag, but either way, here's to a good month (and year!) of reading!

Sunday, December 30, 2018


You knew it was coming...
If you missed the first video and want more details on my faves from the first half of 2018, you can find that here!

Nearly all of the books listed, whether in the top or in the honorable mentions, has been reviewed! Click through to see full thoughts, where I've given them. I had things to say.


[Reviews: Pride Guide  |  Namsara  |   Lies review to come]

[Reviews: Garden  |  Hearts  |  Keeper]

[Reviews: Kingdom  |  Realm  |  Dance]

[Review: Sadie  |  Tess  |  Silver]

(in no particular order)

Shout outs to Courtney Milan and Abigail Reynolds, both of whom I read a lot of this year!
Ummm, RANSACKER will definitely be in next year's faves, because I read it after this video, and it would have been in this one
Saga, vol 8
To All the Boys I've Loved Before / PS I Still Love You (linking the box set, which is a better deal)  [reviews]
Fiendish [review]
The Prince & the Dressmaker  [review]
Toxic  [review]
Seventh Born [review]
The Raging Ones [review]
Bloom [review to come]
Delilah Dirk & the Pillars of Hercules [review to come]
Toil & Trouble [review]
Spies, Lies & Allies [review]
The City on the Other Side [review]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

#30DayBookBinge Round 7!

It's almost that time again!
Kick off your year of reading right by joining me for the 7th 30 Day Book Binge! The goal is just to read -- something, anything -- daily; and if you feel like it, posting updates, encouraging others in their reading, making use of various 30DBB free printables, or even making a reading vlog! You do you.

For more info, visit bit.ly/30DayBookBinge

Need a reading motivation push? Check out my tips to read more!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


I had so many plans for end of the year posting around here, but of course, the end of the year got to me. But you can expect to see my Top Reads of '18 very soon (it has been recorded and edited and ready to go for half the month now, after all...), and a look back at some of my favorite posts and things from this year, among other things!

But until then, as my little gift to you this holiday season, I thought I'd give you all one last chance to grab any of the printables you may have missed from this year, including four sets of bookmarks (20 in total!), two versions of a "bookshelf" printable/coloring page that allows you to fill in the titles of books (that you've read; favorites; whatever you choose), and a couple of "Janeite" pieces from Austen in August! The next round of the 30 Day Book Binge kicks off January 1st, and with it comes  a new round of printables* — and all of these old designs will be officially retired. This is your last chance to snag 'em!

You can see some of the free printables in the image below (there's more!), and you can download them to print or save here!

free, freebies, printables, free printable, bookmarks, bookmarks designs, jane austen, reading printables, free book blog

* I haven't actually designed, or even brainstormed, the new designs, so if you have ideas or requests, leave them in the comments!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Backlist Love 11: Funk Breakers

I thought for the last BLL of 2018, we'd look at fun, engaging, quick reads to squeeze in during the holidays, or to get your 2019 reading off to a good start.
For more funk breaker picks & discussion:

Hex Hall, Rachel Hakins,  young adult, funk breakers, reading ruts, backlist love, booktube ya booksHEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

'The Splendor Falls, Rosemary Clement-Moore, young adult, funk breakers, reading ruts, backlist love, booktube ya booksTHE SPLENDOR FALLS by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Can love last beyond the grave?

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’ s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

After the Woods, Kim Savage, ya books, thrillers, young adult, funk breakers, reading ruts, backlist love, booktubeAFTER THE WOODS by Kim Savage

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia's memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia's abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The NISSERA CHRONICLES Books | *spoiler free* review!

Today I'm talking about two fairytale-inspired stories from Hannah West, and just. . . Keep an eye out for my Best of 2018, I'm just saying...
SPOILER-FREE for both books!
And if you want to give the world a try for FREE, you can pick up the short story, Fields of Fire!

About the Books:

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid, finds herself in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she has elicromancer magic in her blood. Elicromancers are an ancient breed of immortal people, but only two remain in Nissera after a bloody civil war. Bristal joins their ranks without knowing that one of them has a dark secret . . . Tamarice is plotting a quest to overthrow the realm's nobility and take charge herself. Together, Bristal and Brack must guard the three kingdoms of Nissera against Tamarice's black elicromancy. There are princesses to protect, royal alliances to forge, and fierce monsters to battle—all with the hope of preserving peace.

With clever homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a fast-paced, exciting, and wholly original debut. The Nissera Chronicles continue with Fields of Fire, a short story set against the events of Kingdom of Ash and Briars, and Realm of Ruins, a gripping companion novel.

REALM OF RUINS by Hannah West
Print Length: 461 pages
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

Weaving together her imaginative world of magic with snippets from Beauty and the Beast and other classic stories, Hannah West’s gritty adventure is a thrilling, immersive companion to her acclaimed debut. Read this first and then discover the rest of Nissera or start with Kingdom of Ash and Briars—either way, you’ll love the journey.

Richly packaged hardcover edition includes an illustrated family tree, detailed map of Nissera, and embossed jacket with shimmering metallic effects.

Friday, December 7, 2018


Heyyy, I'ma be super over-ambitious for a month as crazy as December, because why not?
I'm also giving you a quick wrap-up of what I read in November (I don't even know what happened... but judging by these first few days of December, I don't think it's over).
Keep an eye out this weekend for a review of 3 recent reads (1 I loved, 1 I liked, and 1 I had some serious issues with...)!



ALSO MENTIONED: First Impressions & teaser of Borrowed


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