Wednesday, August 23, 2017

(80) Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read in High School

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

This week's topic: Back To School Freebie: anything "back to school" related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher, etc.


so yeah, if you're wondering why I'm posting this on Wednesday, that's why. I JUST GOT SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROMPT, OKAY? 


1. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
I didn't become a feminist until college, after so many years believing the toxic attitudes toward women and thinking it was a Bad word. But I wish I'd read a book this empowering when I was in my young years, to tell Teen Me that she shouldn't be so mean about other girls, that she should be supporting them. And this was just so inspiring that I wish I'd had a Moxie "club" back in high school.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
tbh, I think this book should be required reading for ALL teens. But myself especially could've used this after growing up near a small-town that was (and still is) predominantly white. My high school was not inclusive and pretty terrible, and none of us grew up understanding how the world actually was. We had our little bubbles of privilege, and that wasn't tested for me until after HS, so I'm so excited that this book can help shatters those for teens around the country.

3. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
I was always very shy about my religious beliefs, because people my age just had Views on church folk. I needed a book saying, "hey, it's okay to have faith" but one with an MC who still questions God and herself, and her values. One that says it's okay to not have it all figured out. Also love the strong focus on friendships in Emery's stories, so I could've used that when I was struggling with fitting in and being myself around people.

4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I STILL struggle with body image and insecurity and self-hatred, but in my younger years, it was a damaging cycle that kept me from feeling the even the slightest bit happy about how I looked. I needed the warm hug that is Molly and this book, this girl who is overweight and working through her own body image issues but who still is crushing and finding a new level of confidence in a boy who likes her for her.

5. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

To be fair, this came out before I was in high school even, but I'd never heard of it until I started blogging, SO I'M COUNTING IT. This is a story about a girl navigating being a teen after learning that her mom has depression, and wondering about her identity without her mom around. My mom was diagnosed with MI when I was young, so I definitely felt for Francesca's character, and how hard it is relearning a world that doesn't make much sense anymore. So good, I need a reread!

6. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
This book had such honest and open dialogues regarding race, sexuality, mental health, etc, that it would've been a great story to have at a time where you question everything about who you are and what you want out of life.

7. Quiet by Susan Cain
I've never felt more understood as a person. I didn't realize how much I needed someone say it was okay to be an introvert for me to believe it. I've always been told to go out and have fun, socialize, stop reading so much. For some reason, people have always thought (and still do apparently) that my life is unfulfilled and has no meaning because I need my introvert and quiet time, because I'd rather stay home to read on a Friday night than go to a party. It's aggravating, but I'm definitely happier with who I am than I've been in the past. SO. I'm fine missing those parties. ;)

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I don't want to get TOO personal here, because damn my feelings for this book are so twisted up. But let's just say I could've used this book when I was a senior in high school, when I'd just lost someone very important to me, to say that it's okay to be angry. That it's okay to want to break things. That it's okay to cry. Though I did graduate after it came out, I would not read it for another 5 years, so that is sad. I also really loved Release and am glad teens nowadays have it!

9. Play On by Michelle Smith
There is so much good in this book that I don't even know where to start. It was so personally relatable for me that I definitely wish I'd had it as a teen. Austin and his beautiful soul, the exploration of mental illness through both a caregiver's perspective and someone who is going through it. Still one of the best portrayals I've read. This is the book of my heart, y'all.

10. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Not only was it super nostalgic for me, but I really loved how Claire wrote Finley's character. I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit, and all I wanted to do was wrap Fin in a giant bear hug and tell her that I get it. <3

It's not really surprising that most of these are YA books, of which that have come out in the last few years. YA has gotten a hell of a lot better since I was a teen, and books now are more inclusive and more diverse than they've been in the past. Not nearly enough for sure! And there are still so many problematic ones out there. But I love what I'm seeing and reading right now, and teens are lucky, guys. 

What books do YOU wish you'd read in while you were in middle/high school? Would any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why Is 2018 So Far Away

Sometimes I think about books coming out post-2017 and get excited. There are just SO MANY that sound freaking amazing, and I just want to read them already. But I can't. *sobs* In the meantime, I want to showcase the ones I'm most excited about. And I really, really did try to cut this down, but I COULDN'T. I TRIED HARD, GUYS. 

(I checked the dates on Goodreads, so they are all currently scheduled for 2018 publication. But as we all know, sometimes things happen, so let's just cross our fingers we get all of these next year! :D)

From Favorite Authors:
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: as she is one of my forever faves, I don't even CARE what it's about honestly. However, it does sound freaking amazing! And it's one of my highly anticipated for sure.

The Fast Track by Krista and Becca Ritchie: after loving the Addicted series, and the first two books in their Aerial Ethereal world, I will basically read whatever they write. And it's their first YA, exciting!

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West: Kasie is one of my auto-read/buy authors, so OF COURSE I'm excited for her next book! :D

Sawkill Girls and Ashborn by Claire Legrand: I still have only read SKOH, but I loved it so much that I want to read her backlist and her upcoming books.

Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: Roshani has quickly become one of my favorite authors after loving her previous novels, so I'm really looking forward to what she has next!

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi: I binge-read the series last year (or was it in 2015?) and fell so utterly in love with it, but I WAS a bit disappointed with the ending. So while I'm always nervous about add-ons, I'm super happy too.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson: have I told you lately how much I love the Remnant Chronicles? It's one of my all-time favorite series, so when I heard that there were more coming, I about died of excitement. Again, I'm a *little* nervous because I don't always have good luck with add-ons. But since these are companions and not direct sequels, I'm not as apprehensive. Plus, I've no doubt Mary is gonna write another amazing book!

Dear Miss Sweetie by Stacey Lee: I never used to read historical fiction because it just bored me, but I've gotten back into it, and Stacey's books have been some of my faves in that genre. So I'm very happy that she's coming out with another one! And it sounds freaking amazing.

From (Mostly) New-to-Me Authors:
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: Asian mythology-inspired fantasy that sounds like it might have an f/f romance? yes, please!

Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato: well, for one it's set in a cemetery which always makes for a fantastic setting. Two, there are ghosts!

A Court of Miracles by Kester Grant: a Les Mis reimagining! set in an alternate post-French Revolution Paris! starring Eponine! GIMME.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney: all I needed to know was that it's a retelling of Alice in Wonderland to put it on the TBR, tbh. The MC is an ass-kicking black teen, and it's the type of diverse story so many people want and need.

The Pendragon Problem by Mari Mancusi: ALTERNATE KING ARTHUR SET IN THE MODERN DAY. hi, hello, when can I have this?

Pearl by Sherri L. Smith: it's a WWII graphic novel with a Japanese-American MC, and it sounds fabulous!

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton: I just read "a dark fairytale" and I became one of those seagulls in Finding Nemo, shouting MINE. Haha, but seriously the premise sounds awesome!

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke: I have read some of her previous novels and wasn't super impressed. But this is a Beowulf with badass women at the center of it, and I have a strong need.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman: this is a YA anthology that is all retellings and reimaginings of East and South Asian mythology, so I am for this even though I haven't had great luck with anthologies.

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez: another retelling, but this time of the story Tristan and Isolde! I'm not gonna lie, I don't know it well at all, but it still sounds great.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud: it's a Moroccan-inspired fantasy series revolving around a girl becoming the double body for a cruel princess. I'm so excited for it!

City of Islands by Kali Wallace: This looks like it's MG, but I'm still looking forward to it. It's about a girl who discovers bones on the ocean floor of ancient magic. So cool!

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis: it's apparently a hybrid YA/graphic novel inspired by the early life of Queen Elizabeth I. hi, yes, want this.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo: I've been excited about this ever since Allie shared the announcement. I liked her blog a lot, and I'm very intrigued by the sound of her book. Can't wait to read it!

The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes: a story about a vigilante group seeking justice for violence against women? GIMME.

Pilgrim Playwright Genie Guard edited by Marieke Nijkamp: an #ownvoices anthology with disabled teens front and center, which is so, so needed. It's one of my highly anticipated releases!

Toil & Trouble and Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe: the first book is an anthology about witches and witchcraft, so fuck yeah. And the second is a feminist adult thriller. So, yup, I need them both.

Circe by Madeline Miller: I want to get reacquainted with the mythology beforehand, but after loving The Song of Achilles, I'm very excited about Madeline's newest book.

I decided to focus only on standalones or first books in a series (or else there would've been more here because clearly I need Obsidio and the sequel to Strange the Dreamer asap). I did keep off the books that I was lucky enough to pick up at ALA Annual too, so that's why there are some (like The Belles, Unearthed, and More Than We Can Tell) that aren't on here. It started to get REALLY long, so I wanted a cut-off point. :) I'm also eagerly anticipating the books below, which already have fantastic covers!

Which of these books are YOU most excited to read? Are there any that didn't make my list that would be on yours? Are you too crying that we can't have these stories yet? UGH. WHY.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heroes and Monsters: Strange the Dreamer

Title: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 28th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

My Review!
This book wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a way that was entirely pleasing and surprising. Still the same old Laini Taylor magic: gorgeous fucking prose, monstrous and heroic characters (who are sometimes both), a fantastical world I could get lost in for daaaays. I tried to savor this one, and I did an okay job. But once I started, I just could not stop reading, and I fell so in love early on.

Most of that had to do with Lazlo’s character. This guy. So precious. So incredibly caring and selfless. A dreamer and a bookworm, Lazlo always has his head stuck in a book about far-off places and daring adventures. And he so wishes he was that brave, but he gets his chance soon, and he makes the most of it. He goes after his own dreams, and that is courageous. Because for Weep, he would do anything.

I don’t know what I was expecting with Weep, and this book, but it was completely unlike everything I’ve ever read. Like, I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, but more fantasy than anything. It’s beautiful and monstrous and such a mystery to everyone. But it has a huge problem: no one knows how to get rid of the large shadow over the city.

It’s a reminder of dark days, when the goddesses and gods made playthings of the humans and turned the streets of Weep red. But no one knows what really happened then, not even those in the sky, and the truth is more heartbreaking and rage-inducing than any of them realize. Because when there is more than one bad guy, life becomes a gray area of right and wrong.

I felt like that was a pretty big theme of the book, the fact that not everyone is either a hero or a monster. These characters are all multifaceted and complex individuals. They do both good and bad things (except perhaps Lazlo who is so pure), and they’re put into situations that test resolves and hearts. And they learn that, just perhaps, they might be able to move on and build a better future for everyone.

When the first outsiders arrive in this strange city after hundreds of years, Weep becomes alive again. And all of these people have a simple purpose. But nothing is so simple here. This could easily have gotten boring, given the slower pace and the amount of pages, but I was hooked and WANT SO MUCH MORE. Strange the Dreamer was utterly enchanting, from the first page to the last.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From the Den: July 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 didn't read very much in July, but what I did read was pretty good! I'll be talking about a lot of them later on the blog (hopefully), but I wanted to mention the two below!

Every Heart a Doorway
What a weird but intriguing story! It was so readable, so enjoyable, even when it was creepy and gross at times. This is like Wonderland and Narnia gone so, so wrong. But the worlds were as enchanting as they were terrifying. Not everyone came out of them wanting to come "home" again, which is what Eleanor West's school is for: those who want to go back but can't. Doors rarely ever open again, and all of these children are lost and looking for a way to feel normal, so people will do *anything* to go back. A murder mystery in the paranormal (or urban fantasy???) genre with beautiful prose all wrapped up to make one hell of a story. I liked the characters a lot, and even though it was so short, I felt like I still got to know so many of them really well. And the different places that they all came from were so interesting to learn about, though we don't know nearly enough of them. I cannot wait for the next one!
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

Sinful Temptation 
Aw, this one was cute. I still wish the guys weren't all the same character type, but I'm always a sucker for an overprotective bear. Plus Connor was a feminist, so I loved him even more for not judging Lola and for always making sure she was okay with things. Lola herself was great, and I really liked that she was able to get out of that life and chase her dreams, and that she had a guy who gave her the courage and space to do that. I'm really looking forward to the next one!  
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

What books did you guys read in July? Have you read either of these before? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Friday, August 4, 2017

My Reading Quest

I'm already doing ARC August and the Make Me Read It Readathon (which does end before this starts, so that's good!), but fuck it, I'm participating in Aentee's reading quest challenge too. She is SO creative, guys. She made a challenge based on a video game, with different "quests" you can do, and where you can pick your own character to play with. It's going to be difficult for me to line up other books with this challenge too, but I'm looking forward to this *so* much. It looks hella fun!

So, I'm picking the Mage. Once I'm finished with its squares, I'm moving onto the Knight's quest, which I think is how it works? I'll just go around the board that way, but I don't even know if I'll make it there because of these other challenges and work. This does run from August 13th to September 10th, so a lot of time to read! I can also complete some of the blue squares in the middle, but they won't be a priority. However, I'm going to make TBRs anyway, because that is always fun for me. :D

My Main Quest
A Book With a One Word Title: Want
A Book That Contains Magic: An Enchantment of Ravens
A Book Based on Mythology: Wonder Woman or The Library of Fates
A Book Set in a Different World: The Last Namsara
The First Book of a Series: The Belles

The Knight's Quest
A Book With a Verb in its Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
A Book With a Weapon on its Cover: Gunslinger Girl or Blood and Sand
A Book With a Red Cover: Reign of the Earth
A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: Tuck Everlasting or Percy Jackson

Side Quests
Expansion: Whichwood 
Potions: Unearthed
Time Warp: Invictus
Animal Companion: Little & Lion

I am so excited to start reading for this challenge! I doubt I will get to them all, and I might read something else for a square instead, but I do really hope to read most of these books. And here is my character card! :D
*character art made by CW from Read, Think, Ponder*

Are you guys participating in this challenge too? If so, what character class are you and are we reading any of the same books? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017 Releases


(I'm sorry, I never know what to say in these anymore.)


August 1st

August 8th

August 14th

August 15th

August 22nd

August 29th

I've already read: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell, which was super good. I'm really loving the way he writes such gritty and sensitive stories!

From NetGalley/ALA: Mask of Shadows and In Some Other Life for review. I've heard mixed things about the former, so I'm nervous, and the latter is a HUGE contemporary, so I've put it off because who has time for that? I also picked up Little & Lion and Dress Codes for Small Towns from the ALAs I attended this year, and I'm so excited for both!

My most anticipated: WONDER WOMAN!!! Gah, I'm so happy it's *finally* releasing, and I sure hope I can get to it as soon as I get my copy. Leigh Bardugo is one of my fave authors, so I'm doubly excited. SO HERE FOR THIS KICKASS GIRL POWER STORY. I'm also really excited for Tiger's Watch. It sounds amazing! Can't believe I forgot The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. This one would've flown under-the-radar to me if it hadn't been for other bloggers. I've not heard a bad thing about it yet, so I can't wait to read it.

What August releases are YOU most excited about? Did I miss any that should be on my radar? Let's talk! :)