Recommendations: Winter Reads

It’s that time of year again when the snow starts falling, the fires start crackling, and out come the coats and mittens! I don’t know if it’s because I’m a winter baby or what, but I’ve always loved wintertime. It’s the season of nostalgia and the perfect time for curling up with some hot cocoa and a good book. And to make it just a little easier or deciding what books to grab, I’ve compiled a list of some that I think would be perfect to pick up this season.


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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

This is Beauty and the Beast retelling that is just really beautiful. The writing is lyrical with lush descriptions and the story itself really evokes that sense of nostalgia that this time of year is all about. Plus, the romance is the kind of slow burner that we all love!

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The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game, #1) by Evelyn Skye

This first book in a duology, follows two enchanters who must compete to become the Imperial Enchanter to the tsar of Russia. I haven’t gotten around to reading the sequel yet, but this book was just such a warm and fuzzy read. If you enjoyed the competition aspect of The Night Circus, then you’ll easily be able to dive into this story as well. If you’re a history lover like me, you’ll also appreciate the mix of real life with the fantastical elements.

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This book is all about nostalgia. It will remind you of the classic children’s novels you read when you were little, and still be completely enjoyable at any age. This is one book that I recommend for the entire family, especially the audiobook version. There’s a special audiobook version that includes an entire cast, music, and sound effects. IT IS AMAZING. This would be a great story to listen to while everyone sits around the fireplace in food coma after Christmas dinner.

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Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Now, this story is a little bleaker than the rest on this list but I think it still fits perfectly for winter. It’s a love story set during the Civil War, but is more about the journey rather than the destination. I can’t promise you’ll finish this book all rainbows and sunshine, but I can promise that you’ll appreciate the beautiful prose. Afterwards, you can turn on the movie adaptation starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law. It’s actually a very good adaptation that I highly recommend.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Because Harry Potter. Duh.

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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness

This is just one of those that you want to savor and stay up all night devouring. It has an actual vampire to fangirl over, no Edward-wannabe here! This series actual combines science with the paranormal/fantasy elements which I found to be incredibly intriguing. You can definitely see Harkness’ scholar background coming through in this series. It has actually been turned into a television show that is currently filming its first season. The wait is killllllllling me!

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This is the perfect book if you’re in the mood for something with a wonderful cast of characters and a heartwarming story. I read this one just last month and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s charming, sweet, and is definitely a story that I can see myself revisiting for the rest of my life.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

I don’t what it is about this trilogy, but something about it just screams winter to me. I feel like this is one of those series that you should binge it over Christmas vacation. The story, the characters, the romance – all of it will completely engross you from beginning to end. I recommend reading this one while munching on some holiday treats!

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Nothing will give you the holiday spirit quite like spending time with your loved ones, and this book will definitely get you in that kind of mood. The March sisters will make you feel like family as you follow their adventures. One of my all-time favorite books and one that is perfect to pick up this season.


What are some books that you recommend reading during the wintertime? Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you like to reread old favorites during the holidays?

September Wrap-Up: Reviews, Reading Challenges, etc.

September saw the end of a crazy reading slump and a renewed urge to gobble up every book in sight. Woohoo!


Books Read

  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo – 5/5 stars
  • Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Claudia Gray – 5/5 stars, REVIEW
  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner – 4/5 stars, REVIEW
  • American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse – 4/5 stars, REVIEW
  • Artemis Awakening (Artemis Awakening, #1) by Jane Lindskold – 3/5 stars, REVIEW

Total Books Read: 5

Overall in 2017: 59

Reading Challenge Updates

POPSUGAR

  • A Book with a Subtitle – American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
  • A Book with a Cat on the Cover – Artemis Awakening (Artemis Awakening, #1)

Beat The Backlist

  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
  • Artemis Awakening (Artemis Awakening, #1)
  • Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Goodreads Challenge

  • Total: 59/100
  • Previous Total: 54/100

Blog Posts

WWW Wednesday

Discussions/Misc.


How many books did you read in September? Did you have a good reading month? How are you doing with all of your reading challenges? Which book was your favorite read?

WWW Wednesday – September 13th, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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American Fire by Monica Hesse

I have finally dove back into the non-fiction genre with my July pick for Book of the Month Club. I wasn’t really sure if this book was going to really grab my attention after just having come out of a reading slump, but I was hooked from the very first page. Hesse does a wonderful job weaving the story with the rural Virginia county’s history and socioeconomic background.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

This was such a wonderful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I loved Spooner’s writing and her ability to blend this story with Russian folklore. I highly recommend it! You can find my full review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I’ve had this book ever since it first came out and I want to kick myself for putting it off for so long. I’m also really in the mood for some science fiction. I mean, what says science fiction more than Star Wars?! There has also been lots of talk that this is one of the best Star Wars novels to date, and that is just freaking awesome. Why is Claudia Gray so freaking talented?!


What are you currently reading? What books have you finished lately? Which one do you think you’ll pick up next? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

Book Review: Hunted

I don’t know about you, but my favorite classic fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. When I found out that Hunted by Meagan Spooner, was going to be retelling of this beloved tale but mixed with Russian folklore, I was immediately hooked.

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

The Good

  • The Characters – Beauty (or Yeva), is such a strong and independent main character. I loved that Spooner was able to take away those criticisms of the original character, by giving us a young woman who is known for her hunting and not her looks. Ummm, yesssss please! I also really enjoyed the depth to the Beast. We were given a very complex character who was able to show how much he struggled internally with his dual natures of man and beast.
  • Beautiful Prose – I loved the writing in this book. It had an almost lyrical quality that went really well with the folklore in the story. This was my first book by Spooner and I was pleasantly surprised to see such beautiful words.
  • Philosophical – The YA genre catches a lot of flack for being superficial, with a focus on action and plot. However, I would definitely say that was not the case for Hunted. The entire theme of the book is very deep, revolving around wants, desires, and the endless need for complete satisfaction. Pretty important in today’s society, huh?

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The Bad

  • Pacing – I will say that due to the prose and the overall plot (which we are all quite familiar with!), the middle of the book does tend to drag for a bit. I think there’s about a good 100 pages where not much is happening. It was almost like a Groundhog Day moment, where we had to relive the same everyday routine. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I struggled to push through it.

Overall, this was a really interesting take on the Beauty and the Beast story. I loved how it was able to seamlessly blend with Russian folklore and create a completely new story, that was still the beloved tale that we’ve all come to know. Don’t expect to breeze through this story. I think it’s better to be savored on a snowy day, curled up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read Hunted before? What did you think of it? Did you like how it was mixed with Russian folklore?

WWW Wednesday – September 6th, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

So I’ve stopped reading multiple books at once and am just focusing on the one book. And I really love this one so far. It’s a little slow-moving but the way it’s written makes it so mysterious and you just can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Y’all, this book was just sooooo good. I should be having the review up tomorrow, as I try to break my blogging slump. So if y’all have been pissed at me because I haven’t been posting hardly any recently, I’M SORRY! I hope that’ll change this month. Fingers crossed, at least!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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American Fire by Monica Hesse

Thought I’d switch it up a bit next with some non-fiction. This one was one of my picks for Book of the Month Club a couple of months ago and has been begging for me to pick it up ever since. I used to read non-fiction at least a few times a year, but haven’t in a long time. Time to change that nonsense!

And afterwards? I have no idea, because I’ve been in such a reading slump that I haven’t really planned ahead for this month. I should probably do that though, huh?


What are you currently reading? Have you finished any good books lately? What books do you plan on reading this month?

WWW Wednesday – August 30th, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Parker by Jillian Quinn
  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) Leigh Bardugo

Still going through a bit of a reading slump, but I did read over 100 pages in Heartless last night and can’t wait for my lunch break to get back into it. I’ve kind of put aside Crooked Kingdom at the moment because I’m pretty sure it’s what put me into the slump in the first place. Uh oh, controversial opinion time!… It’s boring. Sorry to everyone who is just obsessed with this book but I’m not particularly enjoying it at the moment.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing….. yet again.

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • American Fire by Monica Hesse
  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Going to dive into some non-fiction with American Fire next. It’s been a while since I’ve read any and this book sounds so intriguing. I’ve been terrible about reading the books I’ve received from Book of the Month Club, so this will be my push to finally get into those. Due to my reading slump, I didn’t read either Hype or Like Friday August BOTM choices and so I’m going to finish the second one. Fingers crossed!


What are you currently reading? Have you finished any good books lately? How do you get out of reading slumps? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

#TheReadingQuest Introduction & TBR

You’ve probably seen this new readathon/bingo around that was created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight. It looked like so much fun (plus, I love me some video games!) that I decided that I had to join! The quest will be running from Sunday, August 13th until Sunday, September 10th. You can learn more about it and sign up by clicking on Aentee’s name at the top. There are quite a few different ways to earn XP & HP to become the top character and win the grand prize, so be sure to read the entire information post!

All of the amazing artwork for this fun reading quest was created by CW @ Read, Think, Ponder. It’s just so cute and perfect!


The Quest

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My Character

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Each participant will choose one of the above characters to follow their reading quest. And the character I have chosen is….

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The Mage!!!

MAGE: As wielders of spells and witchcraft, these players will conjure and summon their way through the First Down path on the quest. Their tomes contain magic and whispers of alternate lands.

I typically play as a rogue or mage in most video games, so I thought I’d stay true to my gaming self by choosing to be a mage. It also doesn’t hurt that the mage path focuses on fantasy, my fave! And yes, I was too lazy to make my character profile. It happens, you know?

My TBR

  • A book with a one word title – Hunted by Meagan Spooner
  • A book set in a different world – Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • A book that contains magic – Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
  • A book based on mythology – The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins
  • The first book in a series – Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1) by Tricia Levenseller

As luck would have it, some of the books that I had already planned to read this month, were able to count towards the reading quest. I may have to change up the rest of my TBR but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I do that anyways usually, haha!

Can’t wait to get started on this fun quest!


Are you participating in #thereadingquest? Which path did you decide to follow? What books are on your TBR?

August TBR: Where I Try Way Too Hard

Well it’s that time of the month again… And by that, I mean that a new month is starting which means a whole new monthly TBR! Obviously. I’m a little late getting out my TBR this month but I’ve just been really busy between work and all that jazz to sit down and formulate what my reading plans were for August. I was also in a bit of a mini reading slump this past week which affected my blogging plans. But I’m finally here, right?! So let’s get to it!


August Tome Topple Readathon TBR & Announcement

Yes, I am participating again this round! I’m joining in a few days late because of my stinking reading slump which has pushed me back just a tad. However, I have full plans to catch back up and finally start on my two book picks for this round!

Tome Topple is a readathon hosted by Sam @ ThoughtsOnTomes. She’s one of my favorite booktubers, in case you don’t recognize the name. This readathon is all about reading those big books on your TBR that you’re usually too scared to grab. The only rules is that the books must be over 500 pages and cannot be an anthology of short stories. Sounds easy, right?! This readathon is running from August 4th – August 17th. You can visit the Goodreads Group to learn more about the readathon.

And the choices for my readathon TBR are….

  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
  • Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I’m aiming for only two books during this readathon, as I will be starting late due to the fact that I’m still reading Six of Crows at the moment. So the logical first book for the readathon should be its sequel, Crooked Kingdom. Then I want to finally pick up Lost Stars so I can check another Star Wars canon novel off of my list. I’ve also had both of these books since they were published, so you know, just a little behind on reading them. OOPS!

August TBR

  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner
  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo – currently reading
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • Fuse (Pure, #2) by Julianna Baggott
  • American Fire by Monica Hesse
  • The Child Thief by Brom
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1) by Trenton Lee Stewart

I think I might be a little ambitious with my TBR for this month, especially after not really reading at all during the first week. However, if I can even get through half of these books then I will be satisfied. I think I have a really good mix of genres this month, which should help keep me from getting too bored. At least I hope so.


What books are on your TBR for this month? Are you participating in Tome Topple? If so, what books did you choose to pick up for it?