Book Review: Before She Ignites

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse. 

Wow. Just… wow. This book was so intense, so wonderful. I just can’t even express how much I love it.
Let’s start with the world building WHICH IS FREAKING AMAZING. The world of BEFORE SHE IGNITES is heavily reminiscent of earth, but full of fantastical dragons and legends enough to fuel a million stories. We don’t explore much of it in this book, but sheesh I would but a book that does. It’s so complex and there’s so much left to explore.
On it’s own, this is a WONDERFUL fantasy novel. But what really pushed it to 5-star, hall of fame, favorites shelf level was the featuring of mental illness. The main character, Mira, suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. (Note: as someone with anxiety, nothing in this book was triggering to me, but everyone’s triggers are different, so just be careful because it does get very intense!) This novel also features a coping mechanism, which is something I haven’t seen before, even in contemporaries. I can’t personally speak on Mira’s use of counting to cope, as it isn’t a method that I use, but I feel like Jodi Meadows really thought through all of the different things featured in this book(main character is a WOC, plus there’s mental illness.) featuring anxiety in a fantasy novel wasn’t something I have read before, and I feel like it was such a great addition, as it heightens the relatability of the characters and story world. It’s something a lot of people suffer from, and it was so great to see that representation.
Most of the book takes place in the Pit, which is like the worst place in the universe. The scenes there are so intense and the whole place felt so real.
Something I want to talk about is how this book is absolutely wonderful and inspirational. The plot is amazing, but the character development is just… stunning. Mira was conditioned to a certain way of action, of thinking, and it was so inspirational to see her break through… and ignite! (A few of my fave quotes below(taken from my uncorrected proof and therefore it is possible they will change before the final copy is released))

“There is strength,” he said slowly, “in knowing when to speak, and when to listen.” His hands stayed on his chest, motionless. “And when to say nothing at all.”

🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉

::Strength through silence.::

🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉🐉

“Love does no harm.”

I just.. I love this book so freaking much. LIKE Y’ALL
THERE’S THIS GUY AND HE’S WONDERFUL AND DELIGHTFUL AND I LOVE HIM AND HE’S MINE BTW oh who am I talking about? OBVIOUSLY I’M TALKING ABOUT AARU. he’s just so precious and wonderful and I NEED HIM IN MY LIFE HELLO.
I can’t even review anymore these feels are just TOO MUCH
So to recap! This book is a deliciously written fantasy set in a gorgeous story world that feels utterly real, with a main character whose arc is absolutely stunning. aka: READ IT

What books have you read lately that are just mindblowingly good?

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Book Aesthetics Tag!

THE RULES

Thank whoever nominated you (maybe you’re bitter that you have ANOTHER tag to do on top of the billions you already need to do (#relatable), still though. Someone thought of you. Be thankful. At least pretend to be)

Credit the creator of this tag 

There’s no limit of how many aesthetics you can make for a question, but think of your poor readers.

Make your OWN aesthetics, please don’t steal them from someone else. Also what’s the fun in that?

thank you so much for tagging me, Fernanda! And thank you, Michelle, for creating the tag!

Favourite book of the year

the color project by sierra abrams

The year isn’t done yet, and obviously I have one more favorites than just one(I even have a whole page dedicated to my faves of 2017!), but this book means a lot to me. I love it okayyyy???

Character you relate to a lot

bee from the color project by sierra abrams

Bee is someone who I found myself violently relating to, and she’s like a better version of me, the me I want to be. I love her bunches and she is so, so precious and dear to me.

A character you look up to

ellie from the girl with the red balloon

Ellie is such a courageous and strong character. She’s smart, witty, and comfortable enough with herself that she accepts that it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes. I admire her decision making skills, and really her as a whole.

An underrated gem

how to disappear by sharon huss roat

Before reading this book, I heard absolutely nothing about it. After reading it, I still heard almost nothing. This book is insanely good. It’s beautifully written, and the story portrayed is full of hope and will definitely make you cry.

A character that deserves more love

mira from before she ignites

Now, this book isn’t actually out yet so there’s not like tons and tons of hate on Mira, but I’ve seen some things said about her that are full of ignorance and I’m just going to interject here about how much I love her thanks bye.

An underrated OTP

design-4

cammie and josh from I’d tell you I love you but then I’d have to kill you

You see, when I first read this book I was a stubborn tween who always shipped the first ship of a story. And of course, this led to me developing a fierce love for Josh and Cammie as a couple, and of course that fused with my soul and now I slightly resent Zach and this is my no. 1 Main ship of that series. #oops

Share with me! Your choice of question: underrated gem or underrated OTP!

Muse Monday #15

This week I found myself wondering about my bookstagram. I had begun to feel uninspired by my current them but after awhile of searching my house I couldn’t find a good place to take new photos(that includes good lighting and space). After I little while, I began to think about getting a tapestry and fairy lights to switch things up. Money is tight, so I wasn’t sure if I could even afford it. A quick Amazon search compnfirmed that I needed to save my current fund for something that I truly need.

However, I still really wanted the tapestry and lights, so I posted on a twitter, seeing if anyone wanted something designed. Within the hour I got a response, and it was such a blessing! With that, and I design I did Sunday, I was able to afford the things I wanted for my bookstagram! 😱😱 I legit cried. It was such a blessing, and it helped me through what was a very hard weekend.

You can expect my new bookstagram theme in the next month! I already have a bunch of pre-taken photos for my current theme, but once I get my new stuff I’m gonna start pre-taking photos!! ❤️❤️

What has inspired you this week?

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl with the Red Balloon

gwtrb_postcard-front_no-bleed-page-001When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

 

I went into this book expecting something light, romantic, and fun.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
noooope. This book is dark. It’s romantic. And it’s one of those books that leaves you thinking about the deeper thing in life, about how cavalier we can be with our lives, and the chances we get.
I liked Ellie right away, but she is such a badass. She’s strong, and kickass, and she has such a great vulnerability to her. No one is strong all the time, and she isn’t. She’s strong when she needs to be, but she breaks down sometimes and there’s no shame of backlash for it.
I’ve been very blessed in life, and I acknowledge my own privilege, but as someone who has never had to truly think about the horrors of the Holocaust or the Berlin Wall, this book was so eye-opening. As a human being, I have (of course!) wondered sometimes about the “why” of things.
Why someone has died. Why so many horrible and awful things have happened to the world. And this quote… y’all, this quote had me tearing up.
“I want to believe that we’re all here for a reason, and what we have now, and all that history behind us, is important and meaningful even when it’s terrible. Even when it’s sad.” (quoted from my ARC, and therefor subject to change before the release of the book)
I just. This book is so sad, in so many ways, but it’s also hopeful. Ellie, being from the future, knew that in just a few months, the horror would end. The Wall would fall. But it was such a dark time, for everybody, and I think it’s actually said that they don’t think it would end. As a reader, I felt that speaking to my soul. Whatever’s going on, no matter how dark, how horrible, how awful it is, there is hope. It may feel like it’ll never end, but it will. Just stay strong.
Okay, whew! That was all super deep. So let’s talk romaaaaance.
Kai. Kai. KAI. he was. amazing. like… seriously. He was respectful and kind, and wonderful and the relationship was just a++++ and I LOVE IT.
also: kai, ellie, and mitzi: SQUAD. GOALS. I am not kidding. Squad. Goals. S Q U A D   G O A L S ! I can’t even review anymore. I’m legit just flailing.
Overall, this book packs a powerful punch with colorful characters, healthy romance, a world that maybe isn’t as black and white as we think.

five stars

What book have you read lately(or ever!) that has really made you think?

Edelweiss+: A Guide

HEYO. so remember how awhile back I posted a poll on twitter seeing if people wanted this post.

WELL. there was an overwhelming response of “omg yes” with a runner-up of “bless me with this please”. So CLEARLY y’all want me to be sarcastic and slightly condescending(all in good fun!) and teach y’all how to use Edelweiss+. LET’S GO.

Step One

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As with all good tutorials for Edelweiss, this one begins with SIGNING UP! this is very important because you need an account to use Edelweiss. ALSO BECAUSE I SAID SO. also click next

Step Two

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Okay so I messed up this screenshot BECAUSE I’M A HUMAN BEING SHUT UP. Where it says Media I think you need to select “Individual”. Then your blog/brand name goes in under Account name and your country gets selected then SIGN UP BECAUSE I SAID SO AND IT’S IMPORTANT SHEESH

Step Three

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Take the tour because you need Edelweiss to tell you things I’ll probably botch up or repeat later so JUST DO IT OKAY

Step Four

 

step 6

Okay so one BIG thing about Edelweiss is that there’s tons of books, and you kind of have to know what you want. I recommend making a saved filter BECAUSE I DID IT AND YOU SHOULD TOO

Step Five

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click “add new filter” I KNOW IT’S HARD BUT YOU CAN DO IT OKAY

Step Six

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Okay, so this is my main(and only) filter. It’s for MG and YA books, so you can see my custimizations circled. But you can have custom filters per publisher, genre, age bracket, pretty much anything. Click “Edelweiss Vendors” to customize.

Step Seven

 

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Okay, so now go to the “Review Copies” tab (CLICKING OMG NO SUCH HARD WORK)

Step Eight

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We’re almost to where you can request a title of your choice, but first click up above on your name. We’ve got to customize your bio!

Step Nine

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Okay, so this is my current bio. My old bio was less wordy, but worked. While writing your bio, include follower counts, amount of time you’ve been blogging, and links. Also add where you’re willing to post your review once finished with the book. You can include stats if you want, but keep in mind that this is a description of your role, not a long bio.

Step Ten

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Okay, depending on if you want to read a synopsis because a cover caught your eye, or if you know you want the book, you have two options here. To read the synopsis, click on the circled title. To request, click on the circled request button. SHEESH SO MUCH FREE WILL UGH

Step Eleven

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So this is why you have to keep your bio fairly short. It’s put here as a “description of your role, so if it’s too long and rambly then it might turn publishers away.

Step Twelve

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I find this part particularly useful. If the book is written by my fave author, or things like the MC’s anxiety, or something(for some ppl, you could put that you’re marginalized like the MC or something). I write a short statement here about that.

Step Thirteen

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DON’T CRY BUT YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO CLICK SOMETHING. iT’LL Be OkAY I pROmISe Click submit so it’ll submit.

Step Fourteen

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Okay, so now that we have requesting under our belts, we need to be able to review! Because that’s our main purpose on the site duh. In order to view our unreviewed books, click on your filter title(circled)

Step Fifteen

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Click “clear filter”. DON’T WORRY: this will not delete your filter, it’ll just clear it from your view.

Step Sixteen

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The picture isn’t wide on this sorry BUT TO BE FAIR I’M BEING A GREAT TEACHER SO SHUT UP BYE. After clearing your filter, you’ll be shown all the review titles, and you need to find this bard(on your left) and click “Not Reviewed”

Step Seventeen

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omg. look. alll the pwetty ARCs. that you haven’t reviewed yet. So anyway find the ARC you want to review, then click the little thought bubble with dots that I circled (LOOK AT ME DOING ALL THE HARD WORK WHAT)

Step Eighteen

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See the awful circle on the right? Paste a pre-written review OR write your review there. The rectangle masquerading as a bad circle on the left? select the different buttons and setting ratings for each one, and the overall book above.

Step Nineteen

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CLICK THE CIRCLED BUTTON BECAUSE I SAID TO

Step Twenty

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Okay, so to actually review the title, you have to send the review to the publisher by clicking this, and you can send it to IndieNext if you want, but idk what IndieNext is soo I don’t do that.

Step Twenty-One

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CLICK THE SAVE ICON THE SAVE ICON IS YOUR FRIEND(also it submits your review)

Step Twenty-Two

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You can also find your approved, denied, and open requests over here if you want to. That’s it for the tutorial, but I’m going to answer some FAQs below!

Q: Can I get physical ARCs from Edelweiss?

A: No. The main purpose for reviewers is getting the DRCs(Digital Review Copy). Booksellers, however, often use Edelweiss to order books.

Q: Is there a time limit on my ARCs? 

A: Not that I know of. There is a time limit for downloading them, but I think as long as you review them within a reasonable amount of time near the release date, you should be fine.

Q: How long should I wait to hear back with a rejection or an approval?

A: I usually hear back within two months of requesting, but it’ll be different with every blogger, and every publisher.

Q: What does the publisher see when approving or rejecting requests?

A: They see your profile info, whatever you write in the message, and a rating (which is feedback from other publishers about how often you write reviews)

Hi! Let’s chat! Was this helpful? Let me know!

Muse Monday #14

This week I got to cook dinner for my family. I love cooking for people, but I don’t get the chance a lot, so it felt so good to cook for someone other than myself.

(sorry it’s so short this week ugh!)

What has inspired you this week?

Book Review: the Art of Feeling

9780062317353_17d31Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven’s New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places, this contemporary YA novel explores the friendship between a girl in constant pain and a boy who feels nothing at all.

Since the car accident, Samantha Herring has been in pain, not only from her leg injury, but also from her mother’s death, which has devastated her family. After pushing away her friends, Sam has receded into a fog of depression. 

But then Sam meets Eliot, a reckless loner with an attitude and an amazing secret—he can’t feel any pain. At first, Sam is jealous. But then she learns more about his medical condition…and his self-destructive tendencies. In fact, Eliot doesn’t seem to care about anything at all—except maybe Sam. As they grow closer, they begin to confront Sam’s painful memories of the accident—memories that may hold a startling truth about what really happened that day.

Well.
To be completely honest, I truly didn’t know if I would like this book. But in the end, it one me over with a relatable heroine, adorableness, and dogs!
OH AND IT DESTROYED ME BUT THATS NOT IMPORTANT
I did really enjoy how the romantic interest, though it is clear that Sam is totally crushing on him and he likes her, the relationship was built as a strong friendship first, before ever escalating to romance. I feel like everything is about sex and romance these days so I genuinely appreciated a relationship that was about two people connecting and getting to know each other before rushing into sex or kissing or a relationship.
LET ME JUST INSERT HERE THAT ELIOT IS A SMOL CUTE WONDERFUL AMAZING DELIGHTFUL LITTLE MARSHMALLOW AND IF ANYONE HURTS HIM I WILL END THEM okay thanks. So speaking of Eliot, HES AMAZING. I loved the character development we got to see in him, and I pictured him as a young Benedict Cumberbatch because he reminded me of Sherlock a bunch! Here’s my fave quote from him because I love him and he’s amazing
“On Thursday after school, I find the results of my outburst spray-painted on Eliot’s car, marring the beautiful hood: ELIOT ROWE GET OUT OF OUR SCHOOL NARC.
Eliot tilts his head critically, then dips his finger in the still-wet paint and draws commas after ROWE and SCHOOL. “Better.”
I’m shaking. “That f-ing . . .”
“Oh, I’m upset, too. Horrible grammar.” He smirks.”
DO YOU LOVE HIM YET I DO HE’S AMAZING.
also let’s just take a second for the dog. THE DOGGGG. I can’t say much because spoilers but THEEEE FREAKING DOGGGGG. *sobs eternally*
The characters in this book are just astoundingly amazing. The development in each and every one… it’s wonderful. I loved the grief in this story. It starts out after our main character’s mom was killed in a car accident that disables Sam and leaves her with awful depression and mild anxiety. Everyone in her family and some other characters are all suffering and grieving, but for each character it was expressed differently.
One thing that bothered me at first was that when Eliot first told Sam that he has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, she began romanticizing his condition which fed into a dangerous plot line. While it was resolved and Sam learned the error of that snap judgement later, it rubbed me wrong when I first read it.
I also loved how gender roles were totally messed with. You know when people insult the heroine in books and the love interest gets are mad and punches and slaps people? YEAH THAT WAS SAM’S JOB HERE. It was A+.
So since I’m basically rambling now I’m going to wrap up my review of this amazing book. Definitely pick it up because it’s amazing but IF YOU HAVE A HEART IT’LL MAKE YOU CRY.

four and a half stars

What was the last book you read with characters you thought were astoundingly amazing?