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Thursday, January 31, 2019

TITLE LOVIN' | Book Chat

These are some of the (many, many) things I like in a book title.
What are some of yours?

Some of the things I look for in a "good" title:

  • Intrigue. Does the title make me curious (about the characters, the setting, the crux)?
  • Darkness. I love a good deep, dark, unsettling title.
  • Poetic/Lyrical -ness. If the title just rolls off the tongue, or gets stuck in your head for sheer beauty, I'm about it.
  • Humor. I love a good pun title, or something particularly oddball and quirky.
  • Lists. IDKW, I just really like a good list.

What do YOU look for in a good book title? And what are some books you've bought, read, or added to your shelves based purely on title appeal? 

Monday, January 21, 2019

LITTLE WHITE LIES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Little White Lies, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, debutantes, Southern belles, freeform, ya books, ya mysteries, ya contemporary, book review
Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Freeform (November 6, 2018)
Set in the gentrified south among debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines the charm of a fully-realized setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off. When Sawyer Taft agrees to move in with her grandmother, she expects some things to be different, but what she doesn't expect is to get sucked into a group of over-privileged, yet somehow lovable debs who have—wait for it—kidnapped one of their own in hopes of blackmailing her into keeping their secrets under wraps—secrets which are far bigger and more scandalous than anyone could have imagined. As Sawyer works to uncover the identity of her father, she must also navigate the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, and help them discover the villain among them.

At some point in my blogging career, I’ll stop prefacing every contemporary review with “I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary…” but alas, this is not the review in which I do so. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary, generally, or at least, I used to think I wasn’t (maybe my tastes are changing?), but I most certainly am a fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Little White Lies.

To be fair, it’s got additional elements than just “contemporary” : there’s a healthy dose of what I’m going to call “soft mystery” — more on that in a minute — as well as a hearty dash of Southern Bellery, and a scoche (is that how you spell scoche? That’s how I’m going to spell scoche) of snark.

All of the elements would be right at home in your favorite over-the-top soap opera: rich people with shady secrets, lovelorn teens, cheating and pregnancy scandals, blackmail and schemes that would probably land one in a federal prison, kidnapping (again, prison), absurd amounts of generational wealth, and a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks, thrust into the middle of it all. Oh, and debutante balls. Of course.

And yet it never feels false or cheesy; playful, yes, but not necessarily unrealistic. Alternating between what I’m calling D-day (aka Debutante Ball day, aka present day) and various stages of the past that led to the debacle that is D-day, Little White Lies maintains a series of gentle mysteries (who’s my father, how did everything fall apart, who’s blackmailing whom and why, who is this mysterious blogger, what other secrets are people hiding), answers to which are slowly revealed, as Sawyer learns more about her family, her mother’s past, and her place in this wealthy world that she never knew she was a part of.  I’m calling these things “soft” or “gentle” mysteries, because they’re (for the most part) not life or death/stalking/murder/things you’d find in a mystery-thriller. It’s a story of secrets, balanced by a lot of heart and humor.

I'm not saying Little White Lies is life changing or revultionary. I'm just saying, it was damn enjoyable, snarky and funny, and surprisingly effective — enough that it ended up in my Best of 2018 list. And that's saying something for a contemporary.

Here's to looking forward to book 2!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by... someone? Disney Hyperion, I think? IDK, it just showed up in my mail in this awesome package, and I read it, and I liked it.
All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, and are based on a finalized copy of the book.
This post does contain affiliate links. Thanks for helping support my blog!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Best Of 2018: FEBRUARY + MARCH

LOL, that thing where you totally forget that you were doing something... What did I come onto the internet for? Oh, I was writing a series of blog posts highlighting some of my favorite bits of last year? Cool, so -- oh, look, a shiny thing! Wait, what did I come onto the internet for...?

So, yeah, it's been a couple of weeks since we took a look back, even though it was only supposed to be a couple of days, but THAT'S OKAY, WE'RE DOING THIS, BRITCHES!

It's okay, I make myself laugh, at least.



I reviewed a number of things, including The Price & the Dressmaker (so cute!), Amid Stars  Darkness (I have so many issues, so WHY DO I LOVE THIS SO MUCH?!) and the audiobooks for The Last Namsara and Fiendish (both of which I recommend, and also, that you check out my review, for reasons).

I also started what would go on to become a new regular feature — and one that so many of you seem to love, which makes me so happy! — Backlist Love! And did the first (but certainly not last) of my book unhauls.

I also hosted a book challenge on Instagram called #28DaysOfBookLove — but more on that in a minute!


Has it been a minute?
I did a wrap-up of my #28DaysOfBookLove challenge, showcasing some of my favorite design details (maps! spines! end papers!) and surprise things in books!

We talked about comics a lot this month, inlcuding some of the ones shown below, in these two posts.


I let you into my life a bit more, with a look at my bullet journal and a bookish GRWM.

We also had a Book Chat about locking yourself into tiny reading boxes, and a 2nd Backlist Love, featuring some favorites that I feel like I've been pushing on people for literal years.
Actually, I probably have been...

Do you want to see more of anything in particular? Let me know in the comments!
And feel free to share some of YOUR highlights from last year, too!

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!


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