Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Things That Happened in 2017

Today, I'm building off of a Twitter thread I did awhile back, as a way to end the year on a high note. I couldn't resist the healthy and positive meme, and I thought, hey why not make this into a blog post? Because fuck guys, 2017 was rough. It brought the end of 2016, which was one of my good things, and also made me feel at least semi-okay, until... it was literally day after day of this asshole's nonsense, of a leader who is doing his very best to defeat the rest of us. It was actual hell, and it is impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you know what? He didn't defeat me. I'm not defeated. I've lost too much of my life grieving dead loved ones only to turn around and do it again for the country. So, no. I'm not finished yet, and I've got 2018 ahead of me, and I'm determined as fuck to make it the best year in a long, long time.

I'm going to be talking more about 2018, and my hopes and dreams and fears and wants, in January. So instead I'm going to add to the growing list of good things I'd started on Twitter, in the event that I need to come back to it next year to remind myself that I've been broken once before and I'm still here, that I'm still fighting and won't give up. Some of these are HUGE things, and some of them are small, but they all mean so much to me. So yeah, here's to looking back on what happened in 2017!


♛ I got hired in part-time at my job, with a small pay raise I wasn't expecting. And while I don't plan to stay here forever, it's good for now. It's just enough. The people are (mostly) great, the work is sometimes challenging and can get stressful but it's chill and often easy, and I feel so much more confident there than I have for so long. I've learned A LOT, and I'm good at what I do. I don't want to change that yet.

♛ I made friends at this place too and have gotten to know a lot of my coworkers better over the summer and into fall. I've had so many moments of joy and laughter here. I enjoy going out after work with them. I drove up a Thursday before Christmas and was able to do Buffalo Wild Wings night with a few people, which was great. And even when I get teased (which is often and daily), I feel a sense of, I don't know, belonging? Even though I would probably only keep in touch with my closest friend there when I ever leave, I'm less filtered than I am in a lot of ways. The people make the bullshit worth it.

♛ I've slowly, but surely, been finding my voice this year. Calling people out who hurt or anger me, opening up about my feelings or opinions. I'm still not the greatest at any of that, but it's a start. And I've been focusing on MYSELF. It's been wonderful, and something completely needed in this trash fire of a year.

♛ I've become open about my depression and social anxiety (in this community, not IRL yet), and I'm finding it easier and easier to talk about. And in 2018, I also want to take the next steps to better my mental health.

♛ I went to ALA midwinter *and* annual this year. I got so many books, met/saw tons of authors, and spent amazing days with the BEST people. Also did a gift exchange with faves Val, Shannon, and Rashika during our trip, which was the most fun ever. ❤️❤️

♛ I got to meet Emery Lord, who is one of my favorite just in general human beings, and SHE RECOGNIZED ME FROM TWITTER. πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

♛ I won NaNoWriMo! I need to actually finish this book, but I'm so determined and MOTIVATED to do it. 2018 is going to be the year for chasing my dreams of becoming a published author!

♛ I got practice driving in the city because of my job (when before it had scared me so much I'd never tried), so I was able to go to Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns tour stop, which was so FUN and the only non-conference bookish event I did.

♛ I went to the mall BY MYSELF. It was a little scary, but also like really great? Crowds at stores like this can make me anxious (and it's in the city), but I actually liked the time alone and not feeling like who was with me would judge me for my purchases. Haha.

♛ I got closer to family members I'd barely talked to before starting this job. Learned more about them, became FRIENDS with them. It's been nice. It hasn't been all good (I've recognized just how toxic one of my cousins is and how much she hurts my mental health), but I do appreciate the things my family has done for me. My feelings are a tangled mess after the election and whatnot, but I guess I'm glad to have my eyes wide open now about who some of them are as people? It's a work-in-progress, to be sure, so we'll see what 2018 brings in this regard. But for a few of my relatives, this HAS been a good thing because I actually have relationships with them now. :) 

♛ I got a new laptop, and it's so much better than my last one. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

♛ I got to see Shannon twice this year, and at least Val and Rashika once, SO I CAN'T COMPLAIN TOO MUCH BUT IT'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME TOGETHER. They are the best friends in the world, and I wish we lived closer to each other. 😭

♛ I bought more dresses JUST BECAUSE. I used to loathe wearing them, but now I love them, and I have a Wonder Woman one that I just adore. 😍

♛ I BOUGHT SCRIVENER. And it is the actual best. I haven't switched over stories yet from Word, but I (re)started the first book in my only ~planned~ trilogy on it, and it is so. fun. The split screens! The levels of organization! It's going to help SO MUCH that I can't believe I've gone so long without this program.

♛ I [kind of] celebrated my 5th blogoversary! My feels on blogging have changed a little, but I still love what I do here, and I can't wait to see what opportunities 2018 brings. But yeah, it's a big number and I was very happy to reach it and realize that I want to continue doing this!

♛ When I was having a REALLY bad week, one of my coworkers made me a cootie catcher to cheer me up. And little moments throughout the year from other people in my life just reminded me that I have them, that I'm not alone, that my feelings matter. I just 😭😭 From friends checking up on me to being invited to things to having coworkers who understood and didn't mock or scoff at my social anxiety about something as simple as a party, I've come to appreciate the small gestures and kindness. 

♛ I got to see and hangout with other friends this year too! Like Sabrina and Zoey. And I got to meet Theresa for the first time. I love bookish people. ❤️

♛ I FLEW FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER AND IT WAS GREAT. A little scary, made me anxious at times, but I surprisingly loved it.

♛ Also met authors Anna-Marie McLemore, Victoria Schwab and Roshani Chokshi (who gave me like two hugs, she was so excited to meet me), and new faves Angie Thomas and Brandy Colbert. IT WAS SUCH A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR MEETING FAVES.

♛ I've gotten a lot more confident in myself: my abilities, my writing, my driving, my socializing. I still have a long ways to go re: insecurity, but I feel a lot better than I have in the past. I've grown as a person, and that's a great thing to see after so many years of feeling like a failure. I'm not perfect nor at 100%, but I'm heading in a good direction. And I can see that, and I can keep working toward it in the new year!

♛ New Taylor Swift album πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

♛ New books from favorite authors, favorites from new-to-me authors. It's been a FAB reading year. Only about half a dozen 2/2.5 stars. Everything else was above 3, which I'll take. :D

♛ Playing Cards Against Humanity with my friends during our ALA annual trip. So much laughing to be had, I was crying.

♛ Year 3 of Shattering Stigmas, which was amazing. I loved the group of hosts we had this time around, getting to know some of them better and also meeting new faves of mine. I also felt brave and comfortable enough to share my own story, and the response had me in tears. Seriously, thank you for the support and love you have shown me over the years and with this mental health event. It's because of you that I was able to say, hey I have depression but it doesn't define me.

♛ ALSO I came out as bisexual on the blog. I still have yet to ~formally~ do it on Twitter but I plan to soon. I just didn't want do it while IRL people were following me (but I soft-blocked them all except one, so it's almost okay to do so). I have known this since last year, but it took me a long time to feel fully safe to come out. But since doing so, I have felt RELIEF, like it was something I didn't want holding me back anymore? I'm currently writing a few stories with bisexual main characters, and they make me so happy. Here's to queering up ALL my books. :D (I swear my NaNo WIP has not one straight important character in it)

♛ I reread a favorite childhood series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and it was a fantastic experience. So different seeing it through my adult eyes! And I could not at all remember the ending, so the refresher was great.

♛ the Wonder Woman movie. It was entirely girl power and amazing and Diana is the most precious cinnamon roll, and it's something I wish we'd had AGES ago.

♛ I've fully embraced my Gryffindor side. I've always wondered if that was a fluke, considering how very Ravenclaw I am. But I think I do fit into this house, more so now than in the past. I'm trying to be more brave, to be more adventurous, to unsheathe my claws when I deserve better, to fight. And I'm going to need my lion heart to get through 2018. It won't be easy, but I know I can do it.

♛ I went on a spontaneous one-day trip to Chicago, which is something huge I'd normally *never* do because I like to be prepared, to plan for things. While it wasn't the best, I'm happy I did it. It was nice to get out of Michigan for a bit, and to explore the city more than I've been able to every other time I've been there. I visited the bean again, ate some good food, explored the Chicago Cultural Center, and was invited into a fire station. :D

♛ By the time tomorrow ends, I will have *hopefully* hit 161 books for the year. One more than in 2016, which is awesome! 


I'm even inspired by this to do something I'd thought about doing before: journaling, a place where I can record the good, positive, and happy-making things that happen to me throughout the year. I remember reading about it from Inge, and I really loved the idea, but I never started one. Well, we've got even more fights ahead, another year of this fucker in the WH, so I think it's time to make one. I'm going to need all the tools in my arsenal to kick 2018's ass.



What are some good things that have happened to you in 2017? Did you hit any goals, make new friends, fall in love, read a book you saw yourself in, survive 2017? Whatever it is, however many you can think of it, remember that you got through this year. You're still here. And that is something to absolutely celebrate. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

More Santino Hassell Stories

I have steadily been working my way through Santino Hassell's backlist, and oh my gosh, I really love this author. His gritty, real, queer romances are so great, and I fall so hard for the characters. The Five Boroughs series was no exception. I'm not finished with it yet, but I just can't wait to read more from him. LOVELOVE.

*****

Title: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 11th, 2015!

Find it on Goodreads.

Not my favorite Santino book. It was going so well, but then everything went downhill when the romantic drama was kicked up waaaaay too much. There was a lot of angst and fighting and tempers flaring and omg these kids. I was never really a big fan of David's, and that still hasn't changed much. But he wasn't the only one complicating a situation unnecessarily. Both Raymond and David had a lot to work through, and they were both immature assholes at times. Still, I liked it. They had growth, especially Raymond (his angst over careers and jobs was so relatable), and they were majorly cute together when they weren't being idiots. It just took them a loooong time to reach that ending. I'm not sure how to feel about Caleb, but I'm still looking forward to his book! I think he and Oli make an interesting pair, and I can't wait to see how that goes.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: First and First (Five Boroughs, #3)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 18th, 2016!

Find it on Goodreads.

I was eager to read Caleb's story after learning about him through his ex, especially because it featured Oli. The two of them seemed mismatched, but it actually worked. Oliver got Caleb to be more confident in himself and to ask for he wants. Caleb got Oliver to realize how good a relationship can be, and that their love is worth fighting for. It was low on the angst and drama (unless David was involved, sigh), and I quite liked that. Also, SO HOT. Definitely a good book in this series!

Rating: 4 Paw Prints!


Title: Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 24th, 2016!

Find it on Goodreads.

I wasn't aware this was a continuation of Raymond and David's story before I went into it, and I was kind of disappointed? Like, I appreciate this because the two of them needed more, and the romance felt well-rounded by the end of it. But I could've skipped this and been fine honestly. I LOVE my baby Raymond, but I still am just not really a fan of David. Oh well, onto the next soon. Very intrigued about Ashton!

However, that epilogue was basically worth it all. I CRIED, A LOT. I JUST REALLY LOVE MY BABIES NUNZIO AND MICHAEL, OKAY.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


I also read the two little extra novellas in the series. :D (Also, both of them are free to read!)
Corrupting Chris
Short and smutty and absolutely fun. Love this trio's combination of snark, playfulness, and heat.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


Third Rail
I went into this expecting it to end, AND I FEEL BETRAYED. but fuck who am I kidding? I'm excited there's gonna be another novella with more Jace, Aiden, and Chris! The banter was great and the connection between them all was HOT and still felt realistic even though it's a short lead-up to when they all basically start a relationship with each other. I want more. #hereforthis
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

(89) Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic: Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2018!

1. Dance of Thieves
The Remnant Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite series, so I am dying to get my hands on this book. I'm a little nervous because I don't always like it when there are add-ons to a fave series. But I'm going to read it as soon as I can, because I can't not.

2. Circe
After loving The Song of Achilles, and rekindling a love for Greek mythology because of that + the PJ series, this book has risen high up on my to-read list. I'm so excited for it!

3. From Twinkle, With Love
After loving her debut novel, I will read anything Sandhya Menon writes!

4. Children of Blood and Bone
This has got to be one of the most highly anticipated novels for everyone. It sounds AMAZING, and I love diverse fantasy (diverse everything really, but esp fantasy), and I can't wait to read it.

5. Toil & Trouble
This anthology is aaaalllll about witches, so of course I NEED it.

6. Aru Shah and the End of Time
I'm a huge fan of Roshani Chokshi's, so I need all of her next books stat. But I have to settle for just one right now, and I'm seriously so excited. It's MG, but I'm not too worried, because duh it's Roshani. 

7. Obsidio
This book is going to kill me, but I'm ready for it.

8. The Queens of Innis Lear
a retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear? GIMME.

9. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
A fantasy anthology of East and South Asia stories? OMG YES PLEASE. I've been excited about this ever since I heard of it, and omg what a stacked list of authors. June cannot come soon enough!

10. Restore Me
I loved, loved, loved the Shatter Me series, so I was so stoked to hear that Tahereh was continuing it. I'm, again, nervous because I'm notoriously not a fan of add-ons. But eh, I'm gonna read it anyway!

honorable mentions (aka the books that would have made it on the list if they had covers): 
Blanca & Roja
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Dear Miss Sweetie


What books are YOU looking forward to reading in 2018? Did any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Here's to Year 6 of The Fox's Hideaway!

So like, awhile back in November, my blog reached 5 years

GUYS. FIVE. YEARS. Like... h o w is this possible? How did my little corner of the internet grow into what it is now? Sure, it's not a big blog. I roughly have around 650 total blog followers. I have contacts with publishers, and I'm on a few blogger lists, but I still get rejected by some of them. I get very few comments, but I know why, yet I have very loyal readers and I know that I CAN do better and work harder to return and reply to comments. (It's always a goal of mine, even though it never happens). So it's not like this space is omg so great, but 5 years is a long damn time to keep up with a hobby. 

I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but more, I'm so incredibly grateful for what blogging has given me. I've got the most wonderful friends, some of whom are my best friends and people I talk to daily, no matter how I'm feeling or what happens in my life. I've also learned so much about writing and publishing that I can be hopeful yet realistic about what I want as an author. My writing itself has gotten a hell of a lot better, and my goal is to be as inclusive as possible with my stories. There is so much good that has come out of this, and though my feelings have changed a little, I won't be going anywhere.

I think I've come to just sort of accept that my blog is staying where it's at, and I'm okay with that? Like, there are only a few goals I even have anymore, things that would be AMAZING if I got the opportunity. But as I'm slowly working toward becoming a published author, I've become less inclined to push this blog to be bigger than it is. I'm quite content where I'm at. Sometimes, I still feel that pang of jealous or insecurity, the lack of confidence when a post I really loved gets no love itself. But ultimately, I like not feeling the pressure or stress to do more, to be more. It's super nice to just do what I want!

I do want to branch out into other areas, talk about more than books. I've done it before, just not very much. I definitely want to talk more about writing! I'm so excited about the WIPs I'm working on, which is another reason blogging has fallen a bit on the wayside. But I'm still here, writing posts and reading books and I've no desire to stop. Year 5 was filled with ups and downs, as the years generally are, but I'm still happy with what I've done. I'm still proud of the content I've created. I can't wait to see what Year 6 brings to The Fox's Hideaway. And to end this small celebration post, a tiny list of goals! :D


a few bucket list items:
*be asked to blurb a book - would seriously be the most wonderful thing ever!
*receive a special ARC mailing
*get something from Disney and Random House
*moderate a book tour stop/event 


I did a US giveaway on Twitter back in November, and I promised an INT one to celebrate. So, here it is! :D One winner will receive a book of their choice from The Book Depository, up to $17. Just a small thank you for the support and love you've all shown me over the years. <3

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Stunning Companion to Futhermore

Title: Whichwood (Futhermore, #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 14th, 2017!
*I picked up an ARC of this at ALA annual.

From Goodreads...
A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.


My Review!
I had a feeling I’d love this, given how enchanted I was with Tahereh’s Furthermore. But I didn’t expect to love it SO much. I love how she writes; it’s always so easy to get sucked into her stories. I felt the same way with her Shatter Me trilogy. She’s become an auto-read/buy author for me, and I can’t wait for all that she’ll publish next. But anyway, let’s talk about the love I have for Whichwood.

This is a story about a lonely girl, and her lonely profession. Laylee is only thirteen, way too young to deal with the shit that she does, and on top of it, she prepares bodies for death. So it’s a dark life, and she’s not always sure of herself, and she definitely doesn’t quite know what to do with a pair of friends who just want to help her. But as she forms a connection to Alice and Oliver, she starts to understand what real care looks like, and wants it, but she doesn’t know how to take it. She’s always been stoic and determined, doesn’t feel as though she needs what they bring her. But she did so badly, because she’s still just a little girl doing too much with no support and love. My heart just broke for Laylee; all that she’d been through and all that she did, without payment or thanks. She tried her hardest; she didn’t always get it right, but she was the only one who held it all together. I loved that she was able to realize her worth and see that she deserved better, and I’m glad that she finally had people who would be there for her, even if they messed up at times. Her journey was beautiful to watch!

I was so happy to see Oliver and Alice again! These two are the cutest, and I enjoyed their banter and quests in the previously mentioned Futhermore. Like I said, they didn’t always get it right either, and sometimes they thought Laylee needed something different from what she actually needed, but their intentions were good and pure. Alice had a bit more selfish intentions at the start, because of why she was there, but her kindness is unfathomable. And Oliver is just so funny, and he helped remind Laylee to live. I wasn’t sure where this would go, so I was pleasantly surprised not only by the story but by how much I came to care for these characters. How much that they brought to this world, and by how both heavy and hopeful the book felt. It was just so good, everyone!

I could read dozens of more stories about other worlds besides Furthermore and Whichwood. Pretty please, Tahereh? THAT WOULD BE SO GREAT. I’m so enchanted by these tales, and I think there is so much more here that could be explored, even in the same two worlds. So I’m just going to sit here and keep begging for MORE until I get the books I want. ;)

RATING:
    

Thursday, December 14, 2017

From the Den: November Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could still tell y'all about them. :)

*****

I read so very, very little in November. It was the worst month of 2017 in terms of blogging and reading. But I like to attribute a lot of that to NaNoWriMo and just in general my slip into depression and how busy work was. Still, though, I loved all 5 of the books I read, plus the two novellas were really great. Here's to a better December!

Rereads
I reread these in preparation for The Fallen Kingdom, and oh my gooood I loved them even more the second time around. This series just got better and better, and the third book was my favorite, though I've a soft spot for them all.
Rating: 4 and 4.5 respectively


A December Release
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Macmillan.

This book snuck up on me, quietly, without me even realizing it. I was enjoying it, of course, but that slowly and surely changed the more this group of genuinely adorable people feel the magic of theater and close friendships. I love Claudia. Sweet, awkward, quiet Claudia who finds it hard to make friends but who banishes her fears and figures out that some people are worth everything. I love Iris. Sharp, smart Iris, who tries so hard to do better and who comes to understand the pure joy of friendship. I love Gideon. Charming, quirky, kind Gideon who will drop everything to do what he can for the people he cares about. And hilarious Noah who is Gideon's other half, and who will always build him up when he feels down. (The two of them introduce each other to others with, "He's one of the best people I know." LIKE. OMG. I CAN'T HANDLE THE PURE LOVE). I love Alex and Zoe and Claudia's parents and Dr. Prewitt and Paige and Victoria. Literally, almost every single character. It's a heartwarming story that reminds you of the purest meaning of friendship with nerdy, passionate people, and a little bit of Shakespeare thrown in for good measure.
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!


How was your November? Have you guys read of these books yet? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Readers Crossing Sign-Up and TBR

*graphics and reading challenge made by the ever-talented Aentee from Read at Midnight*
*another disclaimer: Nintendo owns Animal Crossing and all these adorable animals that are in the post*


I'm picking cute, because it has been my favorite theme on Animal Crossing (with some of my fave animals). So, I'm going to try to get that one finished completely, and then move onto the cool course! I don't know how much reading I'll actually get done, because of work, but I'll damn well try my best. Making a TBR is probably ridiculous, but OH WELL. 


*Graphic Novel/Manga: Immortal Souls (queer witch anthology)
*Pink Cover: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
*Main Romantic Plot: Until It Fades
*Middle Grade or Children: The Battle of the Labyrinth 
*Contemporary: You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone

*Written by a Celebrity: Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery
*Book Award Winner: Scythe
*Recommended by a Friend: Autoboyography
*Set in Your Country: White Rabbit or Girl Made of Stars


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

(88) Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017!

1. Wild Beauty
Amazing and gorgeous and full of queerness and family and love and light. I was pleasantly surprised by where the story went, and I absolutely LOVED the characters. Definitely a reread-worthy book.

2. A Conjuring of Light
Hands down, one of the best series finale I've ever read. I'm so in love with this series and I'm sad that it's ended now. But THAT'S OKAY I'LL JUST REREAD IT.

3. The Names They Gave Us
Such a personal book for me. I loved the exploration of faith, and Lucy, and how her mom pushing her out into the world brought her so much more than she could have imagined: a boy, friends, and memories she'll treasure forever.

4. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
This was SO FUNNY AND SO GOOD and I loved the characters a lot. My bisexual rogue, sweet and kind Percy, feminist Felicity. I can't wait for her story! And I hope we'll see more of Percy and Monty. :D

5. Saving Francesca
I will never not have a Marchetta book on these lists. She is QUEEN. I've already decided The Piper's Son will be my first read of 2018. I'm so excited. I'm also planning on rereading this one next year because it's a must.

6. The Fallen Kingdom
I was scared of this finale, because I wasn't sure how it would go or if my characters would make it out alive. And it surprised me so much, but I had no need to fear, and this was definitely the best in the series. I WILL MISS AILEANA AND KIARAN AND AITHINNE SO, SO MUCH.

7. Starfish
I could relate so much to the MC, Kiko, which made the read really special for me. I loved the social anxiety rep, and how Kiko fought her way through a painful past and went after a future she wanted. SO. AMAZING.

8. Whichwood
Even better than its predecessor, I fell so in love with this world. Laylee was a brilliant character, and someone I rooted for so hard. And it made me so happy to see Alice and Oliver again. Just, LOVELY.

9. Daughter of the Pirate King
I waffled between a few books, but when I thought about this one, I didn't want to leave it off the list. It was just freaking funny, and it made a big impression on me. I can't wait to read the sequel!

10. Letters to the Lost
This book made me ugly-sob, but in the best way. I loved the two main characters, and seeing how much grow throughout the book. It was just so wonderful.

honorable mentions bc they were too good to not mention:
Every Breath
Little & Lion

What have been YOUR favorite reads of 2017? Would any of these books have made your list? Let's talk! :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Foolish Hearts Blog Tour: Favorite Shakespeare Quotes


Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: December 5th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

*****

I'm a pretty big fan of Shakespeare, and while I haven't been able to read A Midsummer Night's Dream, I was excited about the Shakespearan aspect to Foolish Hearts. So I knew that I'd want to make my blog tour post about that particular part of it. But what to talk about? One thing I love most about his works is that they were really modern for the time. There is much that you can relate to, that's relevant to the world now. So I thought about my favorite quotes, the passages I've marked in the plays of his that I've read. But with an added twist of seeing if any characters of Foolish Hearts would say or agree or be these. :D (I was inspired by Mary's Shakespeare post [which is perfect] to do *this* part). Anyway, here they are! 

"I am not bound to please thee with my answers."  -from The Merchant of Venice
Though part of a larger conversation I really liked, this was my favorite of the comments (but also "Every offence is not a hate at first" is GREAT TOO). Self-explanatory, and also something that Iris adheres to for sure. Not often a nice person, no, but someone who wouldn't take shit from anyone and who always stood up for herself. I loved that. (Also can we talk about how this play ended with a sexual joke? I love Shakespeare).

"I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier?" -from As You Like It
Love so much because Rosalind is like asking her cousin to let her feel sad, because that's what she wants to feel. She doesn't want to have to fake it. I can 1,000% relate to that. And so would Gideon. People only see what they want to see when it comes to him. They see this fun, sometimes weird, life-loving guy. But he's so much more than that. He can't always laugh or smile away things. But they want him to be able to, because a sad Gideon is apparently too much. (People can really suck).

"Can I not say 'thank you'? My better parts are all thrown down, and that which here stands up is but a quintain [a wooden post], a mere lifeless block." -from As You Like It
ahh, tongue-tied Orlando who got defeated by Rosalind's quick wit and (probably) beauty. I feel it, how awkward and hard it is to speak, when you like someone. And so does Claudia. She's shy, not-so-socially-competent, and she doesn't always know how to talk to Gideon. But she tries, and she learns who he is better than most, and also becomes more confident in herself re: socializing, as the book goes on. She is my kindred spirit.

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts."
You might have heard of this one, which is (yet again) from As You Like It. If you can't tell, this play is one of my favorites! Haha. Anyway, I feel like it's just really accurate about how people are. It's not that people lie or deceive or fake it til they make it. It's that people are just really multifaceted individuals, and they especially don't stay the same throughout their lives. And I think it fits a lot of the characters in this book. They all have their own personalities. But they might be different depending on who they're with or how comfortable they feel in certain situations or if they grow throughout the course of the novel.

a few more from As You Like It I just really want to share:
"Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak."  
"Good shepherd, tell this youth what 'tis to love. -It is to be all made of sighs and tears."

"Our doubts are traitors, and makes us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." -from Measure for Measure
This definitely fits myself, and Claudia, and probably every person ever? How many of us have let our doubts get the best of us? Keep us from going after dreams or love or success? Shakespeare knew, as well as we all do, that we can't let the doubts win. We have to TRY and work and do our best. <3

"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope." -from Measure for Measure
Another incredibly relevant quote! Hope can be a lifeline.


Going back through all my notes and saved passages, I remembered just how much I love Shakespeare. And how much his works make me smile. I haven't read enough of them yet, though. I HAVEN'T EVEN READ A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Say whaaaat? I'm hoping to change that in the near future because when I asked Twitter (as you do) what play I should read next, an overwhelming majority voted for Midsummer. So it has to be good, right? And this book made me want to read it *even* more. Foolish Hearts was AMAZING, y'all. You should absolutely check it out. And laugh and cry and feel *all* the feelings.