Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of Year Book Survey 2019

It's time again for the annual end of year survey that Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner hosts to reflect back on the books we've read throughout the year.

2019 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 111 
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Nonfiction

1. Best Book You Read In 2019?
I had many favorite books this year but Night Huntress by Kate Quinn was definitely the best out of them all. It's historical fiction at its finest. Not surprising because I've enjoyed all of Kate's books so far of the ones I've read.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
This is probably going to surprise most people because I've only seen readers be very enthusiast about this book but I wasn't a fan of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I'm a big fan of Brigid, I've enjoyed her writing in the past but compared to some of her other books this wasn't the best and I thought it was way too hyped for what it was.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Oh so many! But Desperate Measures and its sequel Learn My Lesson in the Wicked Villains series by Katee Robert are probably the ones that surprised me to most, in the best way possible. I discovered these because of Gen @ Whispering Chapters. She reviewed them and was really possitive and excited about them so I was instantly intrigued. I gave the first book a shot and it was a total hit for me. Now I'm basically obsessed with these books and can't wait for the next one to come out.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
This is always such a hard question for me. I'm sure I recommended a bunch of books to people and that some read them but I can never just think of one out of the top of my head. I'm always recommending books by Eoin Colfer, Pepper Winters and Kate Quinn to fellow readers.

5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?
Best series I started: Sins for All Seasons by Lorraine Heath
Best sequel: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
Best series ender: Crooked Kingsdom by Leigh Bardugo

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?
Lorraine Heath. I discovered her Sins for All Seasons series also through Gen @ Whispering Chapters. Clearly she has very good taste! I read three books of the series out of five so without a doubt Lorraine is my favorite new author that I discovered.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook. This is a powerful collection of poetry that just blew me away. I love poetry but I don't actually read a lot of it usually so that's why it was the best book from a genre I don't typically read. Very highly recommended!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I had a hard time with this question. There are quite a few books that were action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable but I decided to pick The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden. It was set in the ancient world with lots of battles so it definitely was all of that. I loved it.

9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
As hard as the previous question was, this one is probably the easiest for me. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer is the one I'm most likely to re-read next year. I usually re-read the book once a year anyways so I don't see why 2020 would be any different.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

11. Most memorable character of 2019?
Alex Stern from Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Also a top favorite book of mine and I just loved Alex. This is one of those books you either like or dislike from the reviews I've seen but I thought it was pretty brilliant. Easily Leigh's best book so far!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
It's got to be a tie between The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and The Octopus Curse but Salma Farook. I can't choose between them and I really don't want to. Both were so very beautifully written!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?
Again I'm picking The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook. It's a poetry collection but even so it was very thought-provoking and life-changing.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I loved Six of Crows so I don't know why the hell I waited until 2019 to read the sequel. Procrastination, I guess.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?

“Some call ships, infantry or horsemen
The greatest beauty earth can offer;
I say it is whatever a person
Most lusts after.”
― from Come Close by Sappho

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?
Shortest: Claudius: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History — 35 pages
Longest: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas — 980 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Because of that one plot twist. Those who have read it probably know which one I'm talking about. ;)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR? (you will go down with this ship!)
Why is this one so hard? I have too many ships! But if I have to name just one OTP of the year I'm gonna go with Aiden Trewlove and Selene Sheffield from The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath. I just loved them so much!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Myles and Beckett Fowl from The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer. I loved these brothers already in the Artemis Fowl series as toddlers but I love them even more now that they're 11 years old. They're so different but they still would die for each other. *cries in Gnommish*

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
I could name so many books now but I'm gonna go with one I haven't mentioned yet. Dark Matters by Michelle Diener. I always love Michelle's books but I was thrilled to learn that she decided to write another book in the Class 5 series, which is my favorite of her science fiction series. And it was such a good read too!

21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.?
This one is easy peasy! In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark. I saw this book on Sissi Reads' bookstagram and I just knew I would love it. Luckily I was right. It ended up being one of my top favorite reads of the year.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?
I have to go with Aiden Trewlove again. I'm not even sorry. I just love him too much. ♥

23. Best 2019 debut you read?
... I haven't read any debut books this year that I consider to be "the best" so I'm gonna have to pass on this question. 

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
House of Rejoicing by Libbie Hawker. I absolutely loved the worldbuilding in this book and the setting was so vivid that it made me feel as if I was in ancient Egypt in Akhenaten's court. I loved it!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
At first I wanted to say The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer but since I already mentioned it I'm gonna go with Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa, which was easily just as fun to read. I actually listened to the audiobook of it and didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did but it absolutely put a smile on my face every time I listened to it.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?
I actually didn't read any book that made me cry or made me nearly cry. I don't know if this is a good thing or not...

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Ugh. I've read so many hidden gems this year. SO MANY! I'll go with The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau. It surprised the hell out of me and not a lot of people know about it so definitely a hidden gem. 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. Not only the best sequel of the year but also the book that crushed my soul. Congratulations! I also can't wait to read the next book. I'm both excited and scared for it. Also feel this series is a bit underrated? I feel like not a lot of people are reading these books.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?
Hmm... tough one again because I've read quite a few unique books this year. But I'm thinking that A Scarcity of Condors by Suanne Laqueur is the most unique out of them all. I honestly haven't read a book like it, or like any in the series that went beforehand. They have the unique factor for sure!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. First of all, I didn't dislike the book (I gave it 3 stars) but... for a book that was one of the most hyped up and anticipated books I was left feeling a little disappointing because I had expected more. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the best either.

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?
This is also always one of the hardest questions. I always struggle with this one because I'm always discovering new blogs, bookstagrams and YT channels. Although the only YT channels I regularly watch are true crime ones. One of my favortie new accounts is Tucker. I know it's not a bookish one but how can you resist him, he's so darn cute!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2019?
Hmmm... probably my posts about my favorite podcasts. Part I and part II.

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2019:?

Because Artemis Fowl!

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?
Sadly enough I didn't go to any bookish events. Hopefully in 2020 though!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Eoin Colfer followed me on bookstagram and commented on and liked some of my pictures. That was pretty cool. :)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
The most challenging was blogging regularly. I had a lot going on, especially since the summer so I didn't always feel like doing a lot of blogging. I'm still struggling with this actually.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I think my review of Night Witches by History Titans did pretty good. It's a nonfiction about The Soviet Female Pilots. It was super interesting!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Honestly, non in particular but any review post could use a little more love. 

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Again I'm gonna have to kind of pass on this question because I didn't discover anything new book related like sites or book stores. 

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes I did! I completed the Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal was 50 books and I read 111 so I did pretty good.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?
Feversong by Karen Marie Moning. I've been meaning to read it all year but then I never got around to it so it'll be my number one priority. And I also hope to read the book that comes after that one also.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?
Highfire by Eoin Colfer. Nobody who knows me will be surprised by this answer. It's Colfer's first fantasy for adults so I'm very excited for it!

3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to debut books but Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles sounds pretty good. And it has a beautiful cover!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?
I can't think of any series ending that I'm participating the most but a sequel I'm looking forward to is Wicked Bite by Jeaniene Frost. 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?
I'll be happy if I manage to finish my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books and to read more backlist books as well.

6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone? (if applicable):
The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath. This is the 5th book in the Sins for All Seasons series and I totally loved it. The romance was so swoon-worthy!

I hope you all have a happy new year and may 2020 be filled with good health and lots of books! ♥

Friday, December 27, 2019

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2019

📚 Top 10 Books I've Read in 2019  📚

A Scarcity of Condors by Suanne Laqueur
The Huntress by Kate Quinn

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook
The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

Ten Caesars by Barry Strauss

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Venus & Aphrodite by Bettany Hughes

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

What were your favorite books of 2019?

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: A Scarcity of Condors by Suanne Laqueur

Title: A Scarcity of Condors
Author: Suanne Laqueur
Series: Venery #3
Publication: December 16th 2019
Genre: Adult, Romance, LGBTQ
Purchase it on: Amazon
Rating: 5/5

Juleón "Jude" Tholet has survival in his DNA. His father, Cleón, lived through imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's military coup in Chile. His mother, Penny, risked everything to gain her husband's freedom and flee the country with their newborn son. But as a closeted gay teenager growing up in Vancouver, Jude is targeted by a neighborhood bully called El Cóndor, culminating in a vicious hate crime that forces the Tholets to flee their country again.

Jude cautiously rebuilds his life in Seattle, becoming an accomplished pianist, but his his wings have been clipped and he cannot seem to soar in his relationships. Only family remains a constant source of strength and joy, until a DNA test reveals something that shocks all the Tholets: Jude is not their child.

Stunned by the test results, the Tholets must dig into their painful past, re-examine their lives in 1973 Santiago and the events surrounding Jude's birth story. It’s a tale rooted in South America’s Operation Condor. It spreads through Pinochet’s terrifying regime of detention camps, torture, disappeared civilians and stolen children. The journey forces Penny Tholet to confront the gaps in her memory while Cleón must re-live an ordeal he’s long kept hidden away in a secret world. The tale ends with Jude digging through his genetic code in a quest to find his biological parents. Are they alive? Or are they among Los Desaparecidos—the Disappeared Ones?

Suanne Laqueur’s third book in the Venery series explores the desperate acts of love made in times of war, and the many ways family can be defined.

I've been trying to write this review for a few days now. Sometimes I find it so hard to do a review of a book I immensely loved because I feel like I can't find the right words that will convey how much the book touched me and with A Scarcity of Condors it's no different. 

In my experience this author never writes about easy things. I love reading about the themes she writes about even though they are often very hard to read and punch me in the gut, basically. This story also had a rollercoaster of emotions for me and it just touched me to the core. It may even be my favorite book of Suanne Laqueur so far and it's definitely in my top 5 of 2019. 

The story really had me emotional, screaming inside for the characters because of course I fell in love with each and every one of them and I just wanted them all to be happy and okay but life often doesn't really go that way as almost every person knows I think. But anyway, all my rambling aside, I would without a doubt recommend this book to everyone. It's just one of those books (and series) that you just have to read.

And also, The Beatles. Lots and lots of Beatles references making this story even more special and important to me.

Overall, how can I give this masterpiece anything less than five amazing stars? If you're not reading Suanne Laqueur's books then what the hell are you doing with your life because this woman is one hell of a talented author. I love her writing so much and I especially enjoyed this latest books of hers. A Scarcity of Condors is a must-read. 

About the author:
A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as "Therapy Fiction," "Emotionally Intelligent Romance" and "Contemporary Train Wreck."

Laqueur's novel An Exaltation of Larks was the Grand Prize winner in the 2017 Writer's Digest Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards and was named Best Debut in the Feathered Quill Book Awards. Her follow-up novel, Give Me Your Answer True, was also a gold medal winner at the 2016 RFBA.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010.

Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.
Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

My Top 5 Favorite Podcasts Part II

As promised (not that anyone remembers lol) here is part two of my favorite podcasts. They're arranged in no particular order and you can find all the podcasts on pretty much all platforms.

Voices for Justice

This is a true crime podcast that focuses on the case of Alissa Turney who went missing in 2001 when she was 17 years old. The podcast is hosted by her sister Sarah Turney. I've been following this case for a while now and it breaks my heart, honestly. I'm not totally caught up yet with the podcast but I'm working on it and so far it's been really interesting. I would highly recommend you to read on on this case and of course listen to Sarah's podcast.


This is another true crime podcast about a case I really care about. This case is about Christian Andreacchio who was found dead in his bathroom and after a investigation of only 45 minutes it was ruled a suicide. Everything about this case is so unjust but this podcast is topnotch. Definitely worth listening.

Crime After Crime

More true crime because why the hell not. This podcast is a little less heavy than the previous two if you're more into that, with episodes like Sana Claus Crimes, Crazy Craigslist Crimes, World's Worst Alibi, etc... It's hosted by Danelle Hallan and John Lordan who are both true crime Youtubers with their own channels that I enjoy watching videos from. They post only once at the start of each month but their podcast is one of my absolute favorites. You can also watch the podcast on Youtube.

Ancient History Hound

This is a podcast I only recently started listening to but so far I've been loving it. The topics are my kind of thing (ancient history duh). The first episode was about bees in the ancient world and I thought right away how fascinating that was. I highly enjoyed that episode and all the others I've listened to so far. Very well done.

Next Door Villain

This podcast is hosted by Joe and Tiana where they talk about a different villain each episode. I really love this podcast and think it's definitely the most underrated one I know. It's not only interesting to hear the hosts talk about villains but also really fun. Some episodes include The Joker, The Wicked Witch of the West, Cersei Lannister and Don Draper (there's more though!). Once again very highly recommended!

If you also listen to podcasts: what are your favorites? 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Monthly Wrap-Up — November 2019

I absolutely can't believe it's December already. The months from September to December have gone by so fast. No complaints though because December is my favorite month. I didn't read as many books in November as I usually do but I read some really good ones so I'm glad about that. Also, THE FOWL TWINS! ♥

Learn My Lesson by Katee Robert — 4/5
A Scarcity of Condors by Suanne Laqueur — 5/5
The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer & P.J. Lynch — 4/5

Britain in the Age of Arthur by Ilkka Suvänne — DNF
Tales From Cushman Row by Suanne Laqueur — 4/5
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle — 2/5

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer — 5/5★ (Review)

Favorite book of the month:

Criminal genius runs in the family... Myles and Beckett are eleven-year-old twins, but the two boys are wildly different. Beckett is blonde, messy and sulks whenever he has to wear clothes. Myles is fanatically neat, he has an IQ of 170, and he wears a fresh suit every day like his older brother, Artemis Fowl.

Perhaps you have heard of the Fowl family and their adventures?

This Fowl adventure is filled with the most unusual of individuals: an immortal duke, a miniature troll, a nunterrogator and a Police Specialist that's 42% elf. And of course, the Fowl twins - one a certified genius with a criminal leaning, and the other possessing an unusual talent that has not been fully explored... yet!

Here begins the second documented cycle of Fowl Adventures.

The first in a breath-taking new series from global superstar Eoin Colfer. Set in the multi-million bestselling world of ARTEMIS FOWL.

I don't think anyone is surprised that The Fowl Twins ended up being my favorite book of November. I've been looking forward to it for so long and it ended up being everything I wanted. I really couldn't have been happier with this book.

What was your favorite book of November?