LIBRARY LOVIN’:The Library Loves Tag

As someone who has always loved the library, it shouldn’t be too surprising for me to realize that I absolutely love writing posts about libraries. Back in my early blogging days, I did a post on all the reasons you should love the library and I did the Library Lovers Tag back in 2018.

That being said, I think I have officially established a Fangirl Fury tradition in which I must do a least one library-related post every year. 2019 shall thus be the year of The Library Loves Tag, created by Jess of Read by Jess in honor of Library Loves month. I saw this tag done by Kate of Reading Through Infinity.

When did you first go to the library/get a library card?

I cannot recall my exact age when I first got my library card, but it had to be when I was in elementary school. My mom is other sole bibliophile in my family, so I would always accompany her to trips to the library. I think she made me check out my own card at some point because I would take out so many books on her account!

How often do you use your library?

My use of the library is an ever-changing question, as it really depends on my school schedule and the amount of books I have received for review or purchased myself. I definitely use the library way more when I am home for school breaks, given that I have way more time to read than during the semester. While I am somewhat close to home, I tend not to check out books from the library during the semester so I don’t have to worry about constantly renewing books. I used my college town library a lot during my sophomore year- although my library at home is awesome at ordering in books from other libraries, my college town’s YA selection was amazing- but my school schedule have gotten significantly more hectic in the past two years that I rely on my review and owned books for reading.

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I don’t think I have ever explained this before, but I use my county library system (I live in the US). This means that while I primarily visit one of the local branches in the town over from me, I can borrow books from almost any library in the county (some libraries are private and only the town’s residents can borrow books from them). If my local library doesn’t have a title, I can put the title on hold from another branch.

Have you ever had a late or lost library book?

I’ve definitely had late books before. This usually happens when one of my parents borrow a book from my account (yes, I made the mistake of giving them my library card number), but even I admit that I am the delinquent user from time to time. BUT NEVER DELINQUENT ENOUGH TO LOSE A BOOK!

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PERFECT HALLOWEEN READ: The Beautiful Review

Summary (from the publisher):

71gLnQ5HEkLIn 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

It isn’t Halloween season without having read at least one book with a demon or two, right? 

I’m usually not one for paranormal stories, but The Beautiful received so much hype from a few of my book blogger friends at Book Expo. I really loved Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn back in 2015 (unfortunately I wasn’t as much of a fan of the sequel), so I was really excited to jump back into her writing. In short, The Beautiful follows Celine’s entrance into 1870s New Orleans society after fleeing from her life as a dressmaker in Paris. However, life doesn’t settle down for Celine in her new home. A string of gruesome murders leaves Celine and the city on edge, including its underworld led by the Court of Lions. If there’s anyone who Celine shouldn’t trust, it’s the Court of Lions’ darling, Sébastien.

Outside of my friends’ excitement, The Beautiful caught my interest for two reasons: its setting and Celine’s interest in fashion! The book is set in 1870s New Orleans, which was really unique when it comes to my reading experiences. I’ve only read a handful of books in this setting, let alone the time frame (let’s be honest, the only one I can really think of right now is Ruta Sepetys’ Out of the Easy). From exploring Celine and her friend Pippa’s time at the dreary convent to the extravagant nightlife of the Crescent City’s elite, Renée Ahdieh really delivered on an atmospheric setting. Being the (book) foodie that I am, I loved any scene that involved food and sent Celine thinking back to her days in Paris.

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FALL MOOD READ: Pumpkinheads Review

Summary (from the publisher):

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

61aM-kW30cL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Whether you’re new or old to Fangirl Fury, you’ll know that I’ve been screaming about Pumpkinheads across the Bookternet since 2017. How could I not be excited about a graphic novel from my all-time favorite author, Rainbow Rowell, about two best friends who work in a pumpkin patch?? At the time of reading this graphic novel, I also just finished reading Faith Erin Hick’s Comics Will Break Your Heart, so I couldn’t wait to see her art work.

I am happy to report that I loved Pumpkinheads as much as I thought I would. If you’re ready to embrace the season, Pumpkinheads is a more than the perfect read. I ate up this book up one night during the first weekend of September. While the weather was still fairly warm, I broke out my Hogwarts candle and favorite cozy blanket to set the mood. I might’ve also picked up some pumpkin-spice flavored K-cups for my coffee machine that Sunday…

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Although I tend to focus more on the plot when it comes to graphic novels, I couldn’t help myself from pouring over all the details at the pumpkin patch. When I first heard the concept of Pumpkinheads, I thought it would be about best friends Deja and Josie working in a field of pumpkins. Let me tell you, I am so happy that I was wrong! The patch is so much more than pumpkins, as the space is filled with food stands and other fall-themed activities.

Pumpkinheads will not only fulfill your fall mood, but it will also cause the fall-themed food cravings you didn’t know you had! While Josie spends most of the night trying to work up the courage to talk to the girl he’s always had a crush on, Deja’s number one mission is to eat all of the pumpkin patch’s treats on the duo’s last night. Much like Josie, I didn’t know how much I needed a pumpkin bomb in my life until Deja introduced it to me. My next baking mission is going to be tackling this pumpkin pie sandwich, with vanilla ice cream in between its pie slices and covered in chocolate – or I’ll just have to find a fall festival that sells them! I also wouldn’t mind an apple cider slush or double dipped caramel apple.

I overall loved Faith Erin Hick’s work. I love the patch maps on the book’s inner cover. The color scheme was just so smart, as the book goes from lighter to darker tones as the story goes on. This choice both follows the book’s sequence from daytime to nighttime and captures the plot and character’s emotions.

Regarding the plot, Pumpkinheads was the perfect fall-themed Rainbow Rowell story. While the book is fairly short and the plot is fast-paced, I felt that we really get to know Deja and Josie as friends and maybe something more. While Josie is upset that this is his last night at the patch (and is trying to figure out why that’s so), Deja just wants to enjoy the night with her best friend as much as possible. To no surprise, I think Rainbow Rowell really captured Deja and Josie’s (dis)stress over everything changing as they spend their last time at work together before college.

Overall, Pumpkinheads is the perfect fall-mood read that I wanted and more. I am so happy that we have two total Rainbow Rowell books this fall (hello Wayward Son!), and I’m really looking forward to exploring Faith Erin Hicks’ graphic novels.

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Have you read Pumpkinheads? What’s your favorite fall treat or drink? Share in the comments! 

 

‘TIS THE FALL SEASON: The Autumn Tag

As much as I’m a summer girl, I have a special place in my heart for fall. While fall is also an amazing time in the book community, since it often brings some of the most anticipated titles of the year, autumn signals such an exciting time in the year in general. Blame it on my love for school/being a student for most of life thus far, but the season always marks a sense of change and new beginnings (the new notebooks and pens are an added bonus). As a recently new coffee drinker – blame that one on being an overstressed/overworked college student and working in an office- I can’t help but admit that pumpkin spice is often my flavor of choice (and for some reason this year, salted caramel!).

As I get going on all these fall facts about me here, I think it’s about time I just start today’s tag: The Autumn Tag. This tag was created by Jenn of Jenniely, who created this tag based on some of her favorite fall things (scarves and cardigans of course included).

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Hot Chocolate- What is your comfort book?

I always have a few books prepared for this question, but I don’t think I’ve ever answered with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. If you know me, you’ll know that isn’t a surprise at all since I have so much comfort in and relate so much to Lara Jean.

Pumpkin Carving- What is your favorite creative outlet?

I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine, but I consider blogging to be my favorite creative outlet. Outside of writing about all the bookish and fangirlish things, I do like taking on craft-like projects from time to time.

My latest project was actually a string-nail art board in shape of my home state for my college dorm. I’ve always seen this trending on Pinterest. Since I decided to update my dorm decorations for this school year, I figured it was time to give it a shot! It was a fairly inexpensive project- I spent around $10 on the board and yarn at Hobby Lobby and I had the nails leftover from mini home renovation projects. Nailing the shape was definitely the most time consuming part, but weaving the yarn back and forth was a fairly easy process (although I sometimes had to re-hammer some of the nails back into place).

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Falling Leaves- Changes that appear bad but you secretly love

Jenn meant for this question to be fairly ambiguous, which the answer ranging from life to books and TV/movies.

As I somewhat alluded to in the beginning, saying goodbye to summer is always hard for me, just because I love the season (aka beach and pool season aka reading all the time season) so much. However, after plenty of long days in the sun and warm weather, I do appreciate the change in weather and all the cute cardigans that fall brings. I feel like this is something I’ll get more into when I have my own place one day or even decorate my work place, but I also love fall decorations. Another change that might be bad for my wallet, but lovely for my inner designer.

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THOUGHTS, FEELS & RANTS: Wayward Son Review

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

My Rainbow Rowell and Pre-Wayward Son Feels

It’s no secret that Rainbow Rowell is my all-time favorite author, and it’s no secret that I needed another book by my all-time fave this year. You can then imagine my excitement that 2019 brought us Rainbow and Faith Erin Hick’s fall-themed graphic novel, Pumpkinheads, and the much anticipated sequel to Carry On, Wayward Son.

Like most Carry On fans, I was pretty excited for Wayward Son. I admit that I wasn’t super anticipating it or staying up until midnight to start reading it upon release because Carry On isn’t my all-time favorite Rainbow Rowell book (look at my blog’s name for a hint at which book of hers is). However, I did find myself getting more and more excited for Wayward Son as September 24th came closer. I was just so excited to have a new novel by my favorite author, realizing that we didn’t have a full Rainbow Rowell novel since Carry On came out in 2015. Fortunately for me, I had a few days off from school at the end of the month, which meant having extra free reading time- and let’s be honest I definitely neglected some school work along the way. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition. Rainbow Rowell’s B&N editions have the best fan art as end papers!

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Somewhat returning to my anticipation, I didn’t really have too many expectations for Wayward Son going in. I knew that the book explored what happens after ‘happily ever after and the hero saves the day’ for Simon in quite an unexpected way- a U.S. cross-country road trip. It made the book just seem so much fun. I was ready for a fluffy story following Simon, Baz, and Penelope’s trip across America. While there was some fluff, even with my little expectations, Wayward Son’s plot was completely what I was not expecting, even as someone who didn’t have expectations.

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FAVORITE LEIGH BARDUGO BOOK: Ninth House Review

Summary (from the publisher): 

81WHkIj6+yLGalaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House has been on my TBR since March 2017. At that point in my reading life, I had recently finished reading and fallen in love with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Add those feels with the premise of Leigh Bardugo’s first adult debut set at Yale University and you had me hooked. Having read Ninth House in July 2019, I can tell you that this book was completely worth the wait because it is one of  my favorite books of 2019.

When I picked up Ninth House this summer, I had read 73 books so far in the year, already having proclaimed my favorite book of the year. As expected, I devoured Ninth House over two days. While that might not seem too long to be reading a book, I definitely spent more time reading Ninth House than normally. I tend to take longer while reading literary/adult fiction, and I pay more attention to details in fantasy books (which again means more time).

Despite this book practically never leaving my side over these two days, it wasn’t until I read the very last line that I realized this book was my favorite of the year. As you can tell and likely already know, I read and love a lot of books. Yet, it has been such a long time that I had ‘this feeling’ of loving a book so much immediately after finishing.

In short, Ninth House follows Yale University freshmen Alex Stern as she joins the Ninth House, a group that protects the universities’ magical secret societies and often dangerous rituals. Alex is the survivor of an unsolved multiple homicide and while working for the Lethe House, she finds herself trying to solve another unsolved murder  in New Haven. Led by an upperclassmen, Darlington, Alex gets involved in the societies’ sinister happenings and in doing so, must confront her own dark past.

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Leigh Bardugo doesn’t exactly lay out the plot and details from the get-go, as the book jumps between Alex’s present at Yale, her past, and some flashbacks from her mentor, Darlington. In a way, not having everything detail or element explained helped make the world more expansive and really left me not knowing what to expect. I knew Ninth House had some sort of fantasy element, but in reality, Leigh Bardugo explores all sorts of magic and spirits within each society. The best way I could describe this book is in terms of another fantasy queen’s books, V.E./Victoria Schwab. Ninth House had City of Ghosts vibes, set  in an adult fantasy world like Vicious, but of course with Leigh Bardugo’s magic, ghosts and other twists.

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NEW FAVORITE FROM FAVORITE AUTHOR: The Fountains of Silence Review

Summary (from the publisher):

Fountains of SilenceMadrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I read Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray during my senior year of high school while home sick a few days. I felt that I had learned more from that book than I would have if I were in school those datys. Within that same month, I also read her two other books, Out of the Easy and Salt to the Sea.

Why this short trip down my Ruta Sepetys memory lane? I have been basically waiting for The Fountains of Silence since having read all three of her books in February 2017! The Fountains of Silence was one of my most anticipated books EVER and it was definitely a must-grab during Book Expo.

IMG_7777Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray take place during WWII and Out of the Easy in  in 1950s New Orleans. Ruta Sepetys’ latest release takes a different route that has rarely been done in YA historical fiction, taking place in 1950s, Franco-era Spain. It’s 1957 Madrid and Americans are flooding into Spain, including amateur photographer Daniel. Daniel finds himself captivated by the country and Ana, a young maid at Daniel’s hotel with dark secrets of her own. Ana’s family has faced many struggles under Franco’s dictatorship, and she must decide if she can trust Daniel despite everything she has been taught. As Ruta Sepetys describes at the end of the novel, Daniel is very much like the reader, an American from the outside looking in. Despite his desire, he cannot truly understand Ana and the others’ struggles living in this dictatorship.

The Fountains of Silence met my expectations and more. I admit that I was nervous about the 1950s Spain setting because I love her Ruta Sepety’s work set during World War II. I took a history class on the World Wars during my sophomore year of college and we only briefly covered Franco and Spain (let alone VERY briefly covering it in high school American history class). The Fountains of Silence was just such an emotional and educational experience. The chapters are divided into sections with some sort of historical and government documentation describing life in Spain or the U.S.’s relationship with the country at the time. I can definitely see The Fountains of Silence being taught in high school history and literature classes.

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