The I Should Have Read That Book Tag

I would like to think that I’m not a picky reader. As long as the the story appeals to me I’ll add it up on my TBR. Most of the titles on my TBR were influenced by people I follow on Social Media and my friend’s recommendations. But still, not because the title is on my TBR and is popular I’ll immediately pick it up. I’m a huge mood reader that’s why (and I know) a LOT of great titles are still left unread on my TBR shelf.

I was browsing for Book Tag ideas and saw this at Dora @ Berries and Books and thought this was a fun post to do to reminisce and bring back to life some titles that are still left unread on my shelf.  😉😉

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

I would go with Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I have a LOT of friends who are bugging me to read and finish this series.

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

This was just released four years ago but it feels like it has been sitting on my TBR for forever. I remember really anticipating for The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1) by Roshani Chokshi during it’s release year but life happens and I was not able to pick it up. Its companion book was also released a year after and that book has also been sitting untouched on my shelf.

A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet

For the past two years, I’ve really been itching to finish The Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I wanted to binge read the whole series so I can get the whole feels from it but unfortunately time seems to be not working on my side because I can’t seem to squeeze in this binge-reading that I wanted to do on my schedule. But I’ve included these books on my “Series To Finish Challenge List” this year so hopefully I’ll be able to finally tick this off on my TBR list.

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

I’ve always been intrigued with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I’ve read a lot of references about this book on some novels that I’ve read but I never really got into reading this – except the quick browse that I did on Wikipedia to know the book’s gist. 😜

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas. Yup. I haven’t read any SJM books aside from the Throne of Glass #1.

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet

The Umbrella Academy is one of my favorite series on Netflix (++ I’m so excited for it’s 2nd season this year!!) but I haven’t read the book/comics version of it.

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

Almost all the bookish people that I follow on Instagram has at least one photo of The Folk of the Air Series by Holly Black on their feed. I also heard nothing but awesome-sauce things about this series.

DO WE HAVE COMMON BOOKS THAT ARE STILL LEFT UNREAD IN OUR TBRs? MAYBE WE CAN BUDDY READ THEM SOON?
I’M NOT TAGGING ANYONE SPECIFIC TO DO THIS POST BUT I WOULD LOVE TO READ YOUR ANSWERS! PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE THE LINKS ON YOUR POSTS SO I CAN CHECK IT TOO. 💚

Books I loved When I First Became a Reader

I’ve always loved to read. My parents and relatives always give me books when I was a child. But it was just on my senior year in high school when I really thought of myself as a reader. I find myself reading almost everyday! That’s the time when I felt and realized that reading is something that I really enjoy doing.

Today, I’m going to take you guys for a quick throwback spin featuring the books that I loved when I first started to really become a reader. 😉😉

Full House (Full #1) by Janet Evanovich

This is such a fun romance book! The story is very light, fluffy and has the right amount of action, mystery and romance as well. I believe that this is the series that really started my penchant for romance books! + it does not hurt that all the book covers of this series are cute and pretty!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ahhh. Of course, this classic thing? Even after almost 11 years, I still find myself thinking how much I really love this book. This book somehow started it all for me. I remember borrowing a copy of this book to my Highschool classmate and I was immediately under Edward Cullen’s spell.

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

By far my most favorite Nicholas Spark novel and movie adaptation. This is such a bittersweet story and I love it! I remember my younger college self, reading and crying over this book countless of times. (lol)

Marked (House of Night, #1) by P.C. Cast

After getting really addicted with Twilight, I find myself looking for other vampire novels to read and I got really hooked on this series up until I graduated college and the series have not ended yet. The series really has a pretty interesting story line and character arcs but the story became too long already imo. I thinks the series has like 12 books on it.

The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner

Quick Story Background: I was on queue to ride a train on my way to school. The girl standing beside me was holding a book so I kinda eavesdrop and read the synopsis at the book which is facing me and damn I was immediately amazed! When I got home after that day, I scoured the internet to look for that book and was glad I found it!! I believed, The Maze Runner is my first Dystopian book. I remember having a hard time adjusting to the world and characters but I ended up actually loving it!

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

A book gifted to me that is all about spells and flowers and fruits and magic! I love everything about this book. Sarah Addison Allen is one of my early favorite authors.I just feel bad that I was no longer able to follow some of her current works. 😣

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) by Stephanie Perkins

The thought of Paris and a cute English character guy immediately got me interested in this book. Even years after, I still find myself feeling the rush of love and excitement for this book! Anna and the French kiss feels like will always have a special place in my heart. (Cheesy much, eh?)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) by Jamie McGuire

The start of my New Adult era! Despite this book being so problematic and too angsty, I loved it! This is my first new adult novel and what really got me hooked on that genre as well. I guess, it was also very timely that I was at what you consider a new-adult age when these types of books surfaced that’s why I easily loved them.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

Just when people are going gaga over Sarah Dessen’s YA Books, I was really into Susane Colasanti. Her stories are your typical and cliche YA stories with fun plots and admirable characters.

You, what are some of the books you loved first when you started to become a reader? Any titles that stood out? I would love to hear from you!

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: Ink in the Blood(Ink in The Blood #1)by Kim Smejkal

(Full Blog Tour Schedule here.)

Ink in the Blood(Ink in The Blood #1)by Kim Smejkal

Published 11 February 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

GOODREADS 
AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES AND NOBLE 
KOBO | ITUNES | GOOGLE BOOKS

*ARC Kindly provided by HMH Books thru FFBC in exchange for an honest review*

Since I’ve reached my 20’s getting a tattoo has always been on my “what-if” list and getting one is still something that I haven’t ticked off from that list. (lol) Now, getting a tattoo without really feeling the pain of it – uhm – yes please, right? Magical Tattoos, Eccentric Theater and a religion where tattoos are of great importance – these are just some of the words that really got me interested and intrigued with Ink In The Blood.

“But the child didn’t leave. Not really. She transformed into the Divine, still guiding us with her ink from afar.”

Ink In The Blood’s story focuses on Celia and Anya. People or what they call Inklings of a religion called Profeta. This religion uses tattoo to represent their Divine’s will. The followers receive this magical tattoo and guides them on whatever life circumstance they are facing at that moment. These two Inklings has been serving Profeta for ten years and they are witnesses that everything that this religion has been preaching is built in lies and the magical tattoos that they have been giving? Instead of guiding the followers, it strips away their freedom. How hard or easy would it be to strip away the beliefs that you have built for more than half of your life?

“With her black everything – short hair, suspenders, tie, top hat, attitude – Celia stuck out like a monochrome stain amid all the color and life.”

Celia is the feisty protagonist. Actions without much thinking. Ruled by alcohol and hate. Determined and strong-willed. She aspires to simply be free. I came to like her character at around 60% of the book because for some reason, I really cannot connect with her. I find Celia to be a pretty complex character because I really had a hard time reading her. I cannot anticipate what her next move would be.

Anya, on the other hand, is the voice of reason on this duo. She thinks things through, and I get this vibe that she’s very modest and gentle. A total opposite of Celia. Maybe that’s why they are best friends, right?

“The Rabble Mob of Minos is nick-named as Citizens of Everywhere and living apart from regular society and opened their gates to sell revelry and illusion. You were born into it or you stood in the audience – in-between didn’t exist.”

Celia and Anya were able to find their escape from Profeta thru the Rovers aka The Rabble Mob of Minos. They are travelling a theater-folk who performed the traditional Commedia Follia. Kinda similar to a circus group. I really didn’t have an idea how would Celia and Anya be a part of the Rovers as they were a fiercely tight-knit group. Impenetrable. But that first performance/audition they did deserve a standing ovation! The performance was exciting and thrilling!

“Perhaps she started out good, but for all her desire to help, her own people had killed her twice. It was enough to change anyone from philanthropist to manipulator. It was clear that she held some grudges.”

Just when Celia and Anya are adjusting to the troupe life someone, they never expected followed them – The Divine suddenly made an appearance. Now, this is where things got a bit confusing to me. Because a LOT happened when The Divine showed up! I honestly got lost and I was not able to fully grasp the scenes that happened. I just find myself skimming thru some pages.

But despite that, I find the story good in overall. It had its ups and down and it took me sometime to get used to the flowery writing, but the solid magical system and world building carry me thru some of the mishaps I have encountered while reading. Plus, the story is original, unique and really intriguing. I can definitely see myself anticipating for the next book!

3/5 Flower Rating

Another question mark bloomed on Celia’s forearm, bigger and bolder than the others. The ink unfurled in an oily black stretched-out tentacle, wrist to elbow, the dot on the bottom a furious splatter. An hour ago Celia had still tried to hide Anya’s messages by tugging her shirtsleeve down. An hour ago she’d still cared that she was in a busy shisha lounge, surrounded by people who might notice the strangeness of Divine tattoos appearing, then vanishing, on her skin.

But lovely absinthe made cares like that disappear.

Celia pressed her finger to the angry splotch on the bottom. I’d tell you where I am, Anny, if only I knew! Her gaze drifted over the haphazard collection of empty glasses on the table in front of her. “Huzzah, absinthe.”

The rest of the room was alive with clusters of pretty people doing flirty things: enjoying their drinks and smoke, unwinding after a long day of doing whatever it was normal people did all day. Shimmering tenors, as individual as fingerprints and much more visible, shone around each body. Tenors were usually the boldest thing about a person’s look, but there in the lounge their glint and vibrancy blended in the fog of shisha smoke that swirled from the colorful hookahs. Glasses clinked, laughter swelled, and everything fluttered: colorful sleeves, loose pants, long hair, light from a hundred candles, jingly jewelry hanging from ears and wrists and necks.

With her black everything— short hair, suspenders, tie, top hat, attitude— Celia stuck out like a monochrome stain amid all the color and life. Judging by the lounge owner’s fluency in scowls, they’d finally noticed.

Not bothering to right her awkward sprawl, Celia smiled as they approached.

Or maybe it wasn’t a smile, but a frown.

Whichever way was up. Whichever way was down.

“Time to move on,” they said, their voice a deep baritone.

No, time to take a hostage. Pulling the hookah to the floor, Celia clamped the large bowl between her legs and hugged tight around its neck. They wouldn’t muscle her out with so much expensive blown glass at risk. “A few more blasts, good soul,” she said, jiggling the mouthpiece in her hand and then putting it to her lips.

The smoke trapped in the bowl tasted like all the people who’d touched the pipe that day, swirling together. Dia, how long had she been sitting there, doing nothing but staring?

The owner raised their caterpillar eyebrows as Celia struggled to hold in a violent cough. “You’ve had the green fairy; you’ve had some shisha. Now out you go, Lalita.”

A flush crept up Celia’s neck. Fragile bird, my nimble little ass.

Read the full Excerpt here.

Kim Smejkal lives with her family on muse-satiating Vancouver Island, which means she’s often lost in the woods or wandering a beach. She writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, INK IN THE BLOOD, will release from HMH in early 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. She is represented by Daniel Lazar of Writers House.

GOODREADS | WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Get a chance to win one (1) of two (2) finished copies of INK IN THE BLOOD by Kim Smejkal and temporary tattoos (US Only)

Are you excited for ink in the blood? are you into tattoos? 

What got you interested and intrigued?

Share your thoughts and comments below. 💚

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen

(Full Blog Tour Schedule here.)

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)   by Abigail Hing Wen

Published 07 January 2020 by Harper Teen

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, and praised as “an intense rush of rebellion and romance” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Garber, this romantic and layered Own Voices debut from Abigail Hing Wen is a dazzling, fun-filled romp.

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

GOODREADS 
AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES AND NOBLE 
KOBO | ITUNES | GOOGLE BOOKS

*ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru FFBC in exchange for an honest review*

Starting this book on the first day of the year was really a good decision! I had a great time reading. Makes me more excited for my own Taipei trip this year.

Abigail Hing Wen have written a very promising and powerful debut which as the tagline says fits “For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land” Now, I love all of these three and have them altogether in one book, uhm yes please?

“This is Loveboat. One big party. All summer. And no one’s going to ruin it.”

On her last summer before college, Ever was sent by her parents to an educational program in Taipei. But what her parents don’t know is that this program also known as Loveboat often leaves the students unsupervised. This means a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop – things that are very new for Ever.

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

The story introduces us to a unique set of characters that I enjoyed reading about. Ever is studying to be a doctor but her passion is really with dancing. She was introduced as this character who lives by her parents rules but as the story progress, we’ve read about her breaking every single one of those rules and along the way learned new things about her  heritage and herself.

I had fun reading about the bubbly character of Sophie – she’s boy obsessed and had a great fashion sense. She’s a bit wild and liberated; total opposite of Ever. Maybe that’s why they really matched up from the start. But there is really more than meets the eye on her character. I was surprised and hurt by the twist, but I know somewhere, that is bound to happen. Duh, a friend complication needs to arise somewhere. (lol) (I know I’m being pretty vague here, but I don’t want give out spoilers).

Rick aka Wonderboy is the Ivy League bound football player and Ever’s bane of existence. While I did not really like him on the first few chapters, Rick has somewhat grown on me, I guess. He was entirely just an okay character for me. Then, there’s Xavier, the sexy loner but a player character. I always fall for the dark bad boy types, so its again no surprise that I ended up rooting for Xavier. For some reason, I just enjoyed his brooding and mysterious character.

For the romance part of the story, you all know how much I hate love triangles. I was actually hesitant to continue reading when I felt that a triangle is approaching, but since I was hooked and I actually liked both parties involved, I continue reading. And I can say that in such a long time, this the only time again that I have honestly liked reading a story that involves a love triangle. (Yay me!)

The situations that these teens have went thru are pretty entertaining to read. It was like I’m there with them walking into the unknown. Though, there are times that it feels like the story tends to get all over the place especially with the Ever, Sophie, Xavier and Rick drama, I ended up loving that mess of complication.

The issues mentioned and included on this story are very relevant to today’s world. Family Pressures/Responsibility is one of the main topics of the story and as an Asian myself, I relate to this. Though, I was still given by my parents the freedom to choose my degree and other school and adult stuff that I wanted to do, the pressure that Ever’s parents were giving her felt so real and on point. Correct me if I’m wrong but parents especially Asian parents really tend to be dramatic and protective especially on the future of their children. I guess these types of parents are leaning more on the practical side of life that’s why they choose the way they do. The story also talks about several other relevant topics but as I write this review, I thought that they were somewhat brushed off. There’s a talk about leaked nude photos, cheating, depression – these topics were mentioned but I can’t really point out if they were properly addressed.

Overall, Loveboat, Taipei is one fun and enjoying book to read! It’s a whirlwind story of teenage romance filled with drama, heartbreaks, cultural and self-exploration and familial ties. If you are fans of contemporary reads with interesting and bold characters, this one is really for you!

4/5 Flower Rating

 “Rick and this summer gave me the courage to take charge of my own future. I can only hope that I’ve done the same for him.”

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

“And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drumbeats, I feel all parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American and all of me is simply me.”

Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.

Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.

GOODREADS | WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Two (2) Winners will bring home  finished copies of Loveboat, Taipei (US Only). Enter on the link below.

download

Have you read, Love boat, Taipei? What do you think about it?

If not yet, are you interested to read it? What makes you want to pick it up?

Share your thoughts and comments below. 💚

Book Challenge: Series to Finish 2020

Hello everyone! Hope you are all having a good start this year! I’m so excited to share with you that this year, I have decided to join a book challenge called “Series To Finish”.

I first saw this from  Anna of Reader and Proud on twitter. She is actually one of the hosts and founder of this challenge. I tried doing this last 2017 but unfortunately I failed. 😅 But this year, I’m ready to redeem myself and tackle that Series TBR.

WHAT’S SERIES TO FINISH?

It’s a challenge in which we aim to complete series; it does not matter if you only have one book left or ten, the important thing is to finish them in 2020. Similarly, the amount of series you’re aiming to finish is not important; we’d like this challenge to be as chill as possible so as long as you try to read and complete more series, you’re already a winner!

The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st and you can join at any point. ARCs do count for the challenge, as well as books published in 2020. You can also include comic books graphic novels and manga. Again, the only rule is to complete the series in 2020.

You can check more updates about this challenge on their blog page: Series to Finish.

BOOK SERIES ON MY LIST

As early as December last year I have already made a list of books that I will include on this challenge. Most of these books are back-back-list titles that has been sitting on my shelf for some years now (lol). I think, one of the main reason why I didn’t get to finish these series even though I have the complete copy of them sitting on my shelf is that I don’t have spare time to reread. Sequels or accompanying books to series are released almost or more than a year apart so I usually make it a point to reread the previous books before diving into the latest installment just so my memory of the whole series if somehow fresh. Now, I’m really eager to reread and finish these series. I have several more on my list but I don’t want to get too ambitious; if ever I’ll be able to finish these books before 2020 ends, I will make another post including a different set of books. But for now, here are the book series that I’m aiming to finish this year.

Empress of a Thousand Skies Series by Rhoda Belleza
(Book #1-2)

Passenger Series by Alexandra Bracken
(Book #1-2)

Riders Series by Veronica Rossi
(Book #1-2)

Starbound Series by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
(Books #1-3)

The Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
(Books #1-3)

The Star-Touched Queen Series by Roshani Chokshi
(Books #1-2)

Are you joining this challenge as well? What is in your TBR? Share the series titles that you wanted to finish or if you have a TBR post, link them below.

Are you interested to join this challenge? You may sign up by doing your own TBR Post and tagging Anna (@readrandproud) or Tiffany(Tiffany_Jane13) on twitter. 💚