Top Five Wednesday: Books I’m Intimidated By

While Top Five Wednesday is on hiatus for the summer, I’ve been revisiting some older topics. Today’s throwback topic is from April 2016, in which I’ll be discussing books I’m intimidated by. From page length to hype, there are books I’m definitely nervous about picking up, but I mostly see myself picking up no matter my reading fears.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon- The Priory of the Orange Tree definitely falls under the intimidation category because of its 827 page length. I also haven’t read a book by Samantha Shannon, who is much loved by a lot of readers for The Bone Season. This book actually isn’t on my TBR, but more or less on TBR radar (books that I may possibly pick up). I could see myself reading it if I’m particularly in the mood for high fantasy or a fantasy standalone.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan- With the upcoming sequel Girls of Storm and Shadow coming this fall, Girls of Paper and Fire has been receiving extra hype on book Twitter lately. I’m also always a tiny bit intimidated by fantasy series because I struggle keeping up with multiple unfinished series.

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills- Another case where I am more intimidated by the hype more than the book itself. I’ve enjoyed Emma Mills’ other three books (This Adventures Ends is currently my favorite), but I know so many readers who consider Foolish Hearts to be their favorite Emma Mills’ book. This isn’t a case where the hype is preventing me from putting it off, but I really hope it lives up to my expectations.

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GHOST STORIES & BAKING: Dead Voices Review & Inspired Recipe

Summary (from the publisher):
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.Cover.jpg

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

 

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces captured my middle grade heart in 2019. This spooky and scary middle grade series from the author of the adult fantasy series, The Bear and the Nightingale will be composed of four books, each following friends Ollie, Coco and Brian during each season in spooky Vermont. The latest installment, Dead Voices, follows the three friends over their winter break at a ski resort. However, their vacation is filled with strange happenings, including the arrival of a ghost hunter, and the particularly bad snowstorm isn’t helping.

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Like Small Spaces, Katherine Arden provides such a vividly wintery and spooky atmosphere in Dead Voices. I honestly just could have read a story about Ollie, Coco and Brian hanging out at the Egg or at the ski resort playing chess and eating Ollie’s dad’s treats! Although this story definitely screams winter, I will say that I think I preferred the spooky Halloween-like atmosphere in Small Spaces more. While Small Spaces‘ plot does deal with ghosts, Dead Voices definitely screams ghost story more. Blame it on my own personal reading taste perhaps, but I really wasn’t too invested in the main storyline.

What really captured my attention in Dead Voices was Ollie and Coco’s relationships with their parents. I broke out my reading tabs to mark such beautiful and heart-breaking dialogue between Ollie and her father about ghosts and the memories of loved ones, especially considering Ollie’s mother. I found Coco and her mother’s relationship to be really charming. And speaking of charming, Coco, Ollie and Brian’s friendship was just so heartfelt. I’m interested in seeing how their dynamic may shift or develop, in light of Dead Voices‘ ending. While Dead Voices stands out for its spookiness, it’s emphasis on friendship and loss are standouts themselves in the middle grade genre.

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Book Blogging Firsts Tag

I probably enjoy talking about blogging as much as I love talking about books! At the time of writing this post, I’ve been running Fangirl Fury for two and half years. Considering how happy I am and proud of  far my little corner of the bookternet has come over this time, I decided to look back at some of my firsts through the Book Blogging Firsts Tag. I recently saw this tag done by Kristin of Kristin Kraves Books.

First Blog Name and Design?

Fangirl Fury has always been my blog name. It definitely wasn’t the first name that I came up with when coming one with my name. I always tell people who are thinking of creating a blog of any kind that coming up with the name is the hardest part!

My featured design hasn’t changed too much since my blog first began, other than changing the look and color of the fires in my logo.

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First blog post?

What I Read in February 2017. This was before I started doing monthly wrap-ups. Like a few of my early posts, there are no pictures included, but I’m not sure why I just didn’t include the book covers.

First book review?

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. Like my first ever post, there are no pictures included. I guess it’s not that surprising because it was my first review, but this is one of my shortest reviews. There’s been a lot of discussion lately in the book blogging community about book reviews (including length and popularity among other things) and I’ve been trying not to overextend my reviews lately if I don’t have anything to add.

First meme?

I did book tags before then, but my first meme was Top Five Wednesday (which I still participate in) in May 2017. The topic was Favorite Minor Characters.

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First discussion post?

My first discussion post was about star ratings in July 2019. While my writing style has changed a bit, I still have many of the same feelings about star ratings now as I did then.

First book blog I followed?

According to WordPress, the first book blog I followed was Jenaca of Jenacide by Bibliophile.

First book I read because of other bloggers?

I definitely read certain books thanks to bloggers’ recommendations before I became a blogger. A book I picked up because of others early in my blogging days was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

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What were some of your book blogging firsts? Share in the comments!

LIVE LOVE FRIENDS: I’ll Be There for You Review & Favorite Friends Episodes

Like so many people, Friends is a constant in my life. The 90s’ and early 2000s’ sitcom is my sister’s all-time favorite TV show and is always on repeat at least once a day in our house. With the show leaving Netflix next year, I’ve been going back and rewatching with my sisters this summer. Between my Friends’ mood and always trying to get to books on my TBR, it was time to pick up Kelsey Miller’s I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends.

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Rating: 4/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I’ll Be There for You provides a ton of background and behind the scenes information about Friends. Kelsey Miller welcomes readers into the book by sharing her own experience with Friends and then dives into everything Friends related. There was a nice blend of information on the show creators, the cast and how the show was perceived at the time—and how it’s more popular than ever thanks to Netflix and cable reruns. I really liked how she integrated interviews with cast members alongside her own interviews with people involved in the show and the TV industry. I loved getting some ‘inside’ information from the cast and crew—for example, Matt LeBlanc really didn’t want Joey to come off as a player and there’s one storyline in the latter seasons the cast really wish didn’t happen. One element I really didn’t pick up as a fan evaluating each season was that the latter seasons are really transition from stories about being in your  twenties to true adulthood and growing up (which silly storylines of course still involved).

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Top Five Wednesday: My Favorite Blog Posts

As Top Five Wednesday continues it summer hiatus, I am revisiting some old topics from before I joined the group. This week, I’ll be jumping back to June 2016, in which us Top Five Wednesday-ers get to talk about our favorite blog posts. While talking about books and all the fangirl things is my favorite blogging topic, I also enjoy reflecting on blogging in general. Today I’ll be discussing my favorite blog posts that I’ve written.

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Inspired Baking” 

My To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before inspired baking post is the most viewed post on Fangirl Fury. When I originally wrote this post, I think I was going to write a TATBILB viewing party prep list, but I connected with my inner Lara Jean and focused on three recipes inspired from the book. The chocolate chip cookie bar and Snickerdoodles recipes are my own, while I used the white chocolate cranberry cookie recipe from the paperback edition of TATBILB. My biggest regret when it comes to this post is not making everyone hungry by including photos of the cookies. I am for sure doing another baking post for the Netflix adaptation of P.S. I Still Love You.

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“Book Con Survival Guide for the Best Weekend”

Any of my Book Con and Book Expo posts and recaps are always among my favorites to write and reread because I just hold so much love for the week/weekend. I’ve received so much positive feedback from so many people about this post based on my 2015 and 2017 Book Con experiences. I took some notes after Book Expo 2019 this year and I plan on writing a Book Expo survival guide for next April or May.

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FOODIE NEW ADULT READS: Hudson Valley Series Review

Everyone knows that I especially crave contemporaries in the summer, let alone summer contemporaries! This year, I have been reading more new adult books than I ever have before. I really like new adult for having mature characters, who are often in college or in that stage between college and ‘real’ adulthood. Enter Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series, a new adult romance series set in the Hudson Valley area of New York. I found this series through Kristin of SuperSpaceChick. This series has the perfect blend of summer setting, romance, family, and so much crave-worthy food. Does calling myself a summer-romance-foodie count as a fangirl classification? 

IMG_7766Nuts (Book #1)

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

After a dairy disaster that leaves her nearly client-less, LA private chef Roxie’s return to the Hudson Valley to help run her family’s diner for the summer. Roxie is reluctant to return home to her hippie mother and small town life, until she meets local farmer Leo. While much of the focus is on Roxie and Leo’s relationship development, Alice Clayton delves into family dynamics and personal growth—not to mention all of the delicious sounding cake. I really enjoyed the romance and relationship dynamics, but my favorite part was hands-down the food!

Roxie is just so passionate about cooking and I feel like I learned so much from her! Catch me trying out caramel cake, strawberry pie, and grilled cheese with apples inside while also learning how to pickle and make jam. Not to mention that this book also has inspired me to go to a farmers’ market for the fruit, NOT for finding a cute farmer like Leo of course. Anyways….

As stated, Nuts revolves around Roxie adjusting back to small town life and navigating her relationship with Leo and her family. There’s just so much development on her end that I found myself constantly rooting for her. When it came to the romance, there’s definitely some steam- and some food-inspired nicknames- with just the right amount of details and pace. I honestly love details when it comes to contemporaries, and Alice Clayton delves into Roxie’s past and present. The setting was so descriptive and for once, made me crave some upstate farm life. For those looking for summer contemporaries and romance set outside the beach, this one is for you.

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My Favorite Book Pins & Collection

Every reader loves their bookish merch. One of the most popular bookish swag over the years has increasingly been book pins or book buttons. While I do love my pins, I don’t really go out of my way to collect them. I haven’t really purposely tried to collect or buy them. Much of my collection has come from Book Expo, Book Con, author signings, and a few other bookish events like B&N’s Teen Book Fest and Epic Reads Day. I have also collected a few pins more recently from pre-order campaigns.

Today I’ll be shortly discussing and sharing my favorite bookish pins as well as a glimpse at my collection. I’ve definitely thought about getting a banner for my pins, but I really like using my own BookBub lanyards from Book Expo and Book Con.

My Collection

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My Favorites 

Harry Potter 20 Years of Magic- 20 years of magic later and even I still love some good HP merch. I received this at Book Expo 2018.

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Stay Sweet (inspired by Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian)- This favorite is likely influenced by the fact that Stay Sweet is one of my all-time favorite books. I received this from the awesome preorder campaign, which also included a signed bookplate and a Meade Creamery T-shirt. But what else could be cuter than an ice cream pin? I’m always tempted to pin this on to my denim jacket or vest, but I live in fear that it will fall off.

Alex & Eliza (inspired by Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz)- I have a love-hate relationship with the Alex and Eliza series (loved Alex and Eliza, really disliked Love & War, and will likely read All for One because I am Hamilton trash). I coveted this Alex & Eliza pin for a while, purely out of my love for Hamilton. This pin was originally included in the preorder campaign for the first book, but I received it from Penguin at Book Con 2018.

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