Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Ramble - Six of Crows [SPOILER FREE]

Hello everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and at the end of 2018 I decided to join the Leigh Bardugo hype train and read Six of Crows, which I've decided most definitely earns a DESERVES ALL THE HYPE!

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

"The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true."

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic Violence, Death, Slavery, Sex Trafficking, Emotional Abuse

REPRESENTATION: POC, LGBTQ+, Plus-Size, PTSD, Disabled Character

I read Six of Crows because I am incredibly excited for King of Scars to come out at the end of the month! I was a bit scared because this is a heavily hyped duology, but I am absolutely loving it.

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S P O I L E R - F R E E  T A L K 

What makes this book amazing is the characters. The story focuses on a cast of six characters: Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, and Jesper. Out of these six characters, one is plus-sized, two are people of color, three are LGBTQ+, and one has a physical disability and PTSD. This book is heavy with representation and I am all for it!

To say that the book starts off slowly is a bit of an understatement. It takes about a hundred and twenty pages for all six of the main characters to be introduced and for the main plot of the story to start. The pages before are used to develop most of the characters and their relationships with others (Most of Wylan and Jesper's development comes after the group is all brought together, if at all). This helped me care about them more, keeping me invested in the story as they continued on the quest. 

Here are some of my quick feelings about each character. Inej and Nina are both strong characters and seem to be foils of each other in one aspect. Nina is considered flirtatious, and certain scenes show that she isn't shy of showing herself off. Inej, on the other hand, is known for being able to make herself invisible, and her behavior is more modest than Nina's. The best part of this though is that neither of the girls is considered to be lesser than the other because of this. Inej isn't labeled a "prude" and Nina isn't considered a "slut", something I feel is incredibly important. They are both strong, well-developed, and these differences don't stop them from being friends. These behaviors aren't their main character traits, but it was something I noticed and thought was nice. I also enjoy that the flirtatious and confident one is Nina, who is plus-sized. As a plus-sized girl, it makes me incredibly happy. Both Nina and Inej are amazing characters who can totally kick my butt any day and I'd thank them for it. They are fierce and steadfast in their emotions and beliefs, and I love them.

Wylan and Jesper are the two characters that the book spends the least amount of time on. Almost everything about Wylan is a spoiler so I won't go in depth about his character. Jesper seems to be the stereotypical flirtatious and cocky sidekick in the beginning. To be honest, that opinion didn't exactly change for me in this book, but I still fell for him. He's the comic relief, like Thorne in the Lunar Chronicles, and he's important to the heist. I hope these two both get more time in Crooked Kingdom because I absolutely loved them, despite the lack of focus on them.

Kaz and Matthias are heavily focused on. A lot of Matthias' development comes from flashbacks of him and Nina, and he grew on me. Kaz is the main character of the story. He has the heaviest and longest backstory, and he is the character that's focused on the most. I loved learning about both of them as the story continued, but if I had to pick a favorite between the two, it's Matthias. He has an incredibly strong (yet skewed) moral compass, while Kaz (supposedly) has none. I also enjoyed reading about Matthias' internal struggle between his mission and Nina. Their interactions were heartbreaking and I loved every second of it. Kaz is definitely a strong and amazing character though. He refuses to let anything about him be seen as weakness, something he had to learn in order to survive the Barrel. Unfortunately, this has definitely put a wall around him, and it's interesting to see his internal conflicts throughout the book.

 I absolutely adore these characters and their quest, and if you haven't read Six of Crows yet, I highly recommend it. It takes a while to get into the actual plot, but if you care more on character-driven stories, like me, then it shouldn't be a problem. And if you find yourself waiting for the plot, then it starts about a hundred and twenty pages in. You're welcome.
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I actually decided that I don't want to write a spoiler talk for this one! I think this is an accurate summary of my feelings about the book and the characters. I seriously hope that you enjoy it as well.

Which six fictional characters would you take with you on a dangerous heist? I'm picking Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, Ronan from the Raven Cycle, Wolf from the Lunar Chronicles, Alucard from A Darker Shade of Magic, Barry Allen from the Flash (comic books are books too), and Psylocke from X-Men.

Have a great day!

~ Nox

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Hello everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and the prompt for today's Top 5 Wednesday is Most Disappointing Reads of 2018. 



I want to point out that I did have a great reading year in 2018. These books are just the more disappointing of the amazing books that I read.

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1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)
I was so excited to read Three Dark Crowns. I was expecting a story full of politics and battling with magic. In the end, though, this story was mainly introducing the three queens. One Dark Throne was everything I expected Three Dark Crowns to be.

2. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
I absolutely love the Illuminae Files, alright? I finished Illuminae at a baseball game and I absolutely flew through Gemina, so much so that I was using my phone as a light so that I could read it during a dark car ride. I think I would have loved this a lot better if I had actually cared about Rhys as a character, but I didn't. At all. Rhys was the least interesting character out of the main six and the supporting characters, and he honestly brought the book down.

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
If you follow me on any of my social media, or you've read a couple of my other posts, then maybe you know that I've practically turned everything into a Maggie Stiefvater stan account. I absolutely love the Raven Cycle series. However, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, is the weakest of the four. I still love it, but compared to the other three, it isn't even a competition. (The Dream Thieves was my favorite if anybody is wondering). What Blue Lily, Lily Blue does have going for it though is that it introduces Henry Cheng, my precious son, it has Jesse Dittley, another precious character, and that it has one of the best quotes in the series.
"I like the way you losers thought Instagram before first aid.**** off."


4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)
So this series was incredibly hyped on Bookstagram and Booktube. I trusted you all. I trusted this book. And it let me down big time.
I didn't hate the book, but I don't think it deserves to be on as high of a pedestal as it is. I read Glass Sword because I was curious about what happened next, and I hate myself enough to force myself to continue the rest of the series, but I seriously don't care. I don't care about Mare. I don't care about Maven. I kind of care about Cal? And I am so absolutely sick of love triangles, and I don't care about the Cal/Mare/Maven love triangle. She can end up with either one of them, or they can all die in a scary lightning/firestorm. You know who I care about? Julian, Sarah, and Julian's sister (Cal's mom). I would love to read the novella about Cal's mom. I care much more about her than I do about Mare. Maybe if I keep reading I'll care more.


5. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying
I actually liked this book. I wrote a book ramble about One of Us is Lying which goes more in-depth about my feelings. It's not that I didn't enjoy the book, but to be honest, I'm never reading it again. We had a nice emotional rollercoaster, and it was fun, but I'm not visiting the book again. I think Karen M. McManus is writing a sequel to this (not Two Can Keep a Secret, which is what I initially thought) which I will probably check out, because like I said, I did enjoy the book, and I thought her writing was good and her characters were interesting.

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So here you go. These were the most disappointing books I read in 2018. It's not me, it's them.

If you enjoy any of these books, I'm sorry I didn't love them as much as you. I tried, I really did. They weren't bad, but out of all the books I read last year, these were the ones that were lacking something.

Have you read the Red Queen series? Does it get any better? I'm not holding out much hope, to be honest.

Have a great day!

~Nox

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Bookish Resolutions!

Hi everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and I solemnly swear that I won't fail with these bookish resolutions the way I usually do!

This is just a short little post, but I wanted to let everyone know what specifically bookish goals I had in mind for 2019! Since it's so short I'm posting it on the same day as my 2018 Wrap Up.

Without further ado, here are my bookish resolutions!
  1. Read 36 books this year! This is my Goodreads challenge, and while I read 35 in 2018, it was pretty tough to get to it.
  2. Read the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. I've seen the movie but never read the books!
  3. Read more new releases! I received so many new releases but never got to them!
  4. Read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Once again, saw the movie without reading the books!
  5. Grow my blog! This isn't really a specific one, but I want to work on fixing it and making the blog a place where more people want to come and interact!
  6. Post at least once a week on my blog. This is a challenge for me usually...at least I've succeeded this week!
  7. Post at least three times a week on my Bookstagram! Posting once a week is a challenge for me, but I'd like to post more on Bookstagram! It's different from my blog because I can carry it around with me.
  8. Make more bookish friends! This isn't so much of a resolution as it is a hope, but the bookish community seems so awesome and I'd love to get to know more people from it and be more active in it!
  9. Participate in more readathons! Readathons and readalongs are such interesting concepts that I have to dedicate more time to! 
  10. Start a Maggie Stiefvater buddy read with my friend Tyler! Tyler was one of the first bookish friends I made online, and we met over Booktube-a-thon when she was reading The Dream Thieves and I was finishing The Raven King. We both thought it would be cool to read all of Maggie Stiefvater's books (because after the Raven Cycle we are now lifelong stans), and I hope we can do that this year! I already have Shiver!
  11. Read more #ownvoices books! I want to read more books with diverse main characters and mental health awareness. Eliza and Her Monsters was one of the novels with the greatest impact on me in 2018, and I want to open myself up to more of those stories. I want to see myself more in characters, as a plus-sized multiracial female that struggles with her mental illness. Obviously, I don't expect to see a character who checks all of those boxes, but I'd like to explore books with characters that have some of those aspects.
Those are the main bookish resolutions I have this year! Some of them are generic, while others are super specific. We'll see at the end of the year how I did!

What are some of your bookish resolutions for 2019?

Have a great day!

~ Nox

End of the Year [2018] Wrap Up!

Hello everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and 2018 was a rollercoaster of a year for me!

B O O K I S H  M O N T H 
  • I started the year with a Goodreads goal of 20 books, and I surpassed it with 35! Normally I would post all of the books I've read, but (shameless plug here) you can check out my previous wrap-ups for most of them! I even have a tag for wrap-ups on my blog, so if you scroll down to the end of this post and click wrap-up, it will take you to all of the ones I have posted!
  • I discovered some amazing new (well, new to me) authors this year, some of who are now favorites! These include:
    • Maggie Stiefvater, my queen.
    • Leigh Bardugo
    • Mary H.K. Choi
    • V.E. Schwab
  • I started using this blog! I actually created it in December 2017, but I had never really used it until June/July of 2018. I'm glad I did, because I love sharing what I think of books with others!
  • I started using my Bookstagram and Twitter more! Both of my handles are @nox_reads, because I am just oh so creative. I put links though, so just click on Bookstagram or Twitter to be taken to the respective social media.
  • I got to meet one of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer! I have a picture with her, she answered one of my questions, and she signed my copy of Archenemies! I was sick but it was worth every moment of illness. 
  • My parents have been getting me a book a month from July 2018 to July 2019 as a birthday present. So far I have gotten:
    • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
    • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
    • Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
    • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
    • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
    • Heartless by Marissa Meyer (extra November book because something went wrong with the Red Rising order)
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
    • Vicious by V.E. Schwab (extra January book because I survived one of my classes...it was a nightmare)

  • Because I beat my Goodreads goal back in August, my dad ordered me a subscription to ShelfLove Crate for three months. It was great having something awesome to look forward to each month.
Overall my love of reading and the bookish community grew so much in 2018, and I can't wait for it to grow more in 2019!

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P E R S O N A L  M O N T H 
(It gets a little dark here, fair warning. Lots of mental health stuff happened)
  • So 2018 was one of the highest and one of the lowest years I have ever had. On the surface, nothing too bad really happened, but mentally, I was really fighting a war. One that to be honest, I almost lost.
  • For two years I had been going to an amazingly loving church, and I had been part of both the youth group and the worship team (which really, the youth group ran). I loved it, but at the beginning of the year, I started pulling away from singing with the worship team, and I started feeling left out of the youth. The entire thing escalated and in June, I left my church for a bit. It wasn't until July where I officially left. Church was one of the biggest parts of my life, and I haven't been to one since late June. I'm trying to find a way to get back on my feet when it comes to my faith, but it does feel a bit like the rug was pulled out from under me.
  • My mental health got to an all-time low in June. I didn't feel like getting out of bed, not in a lazy way, but in a way where I couldn't find the energy or will to get up. Everything was a struggle, I had so many mood swings, most of which were low. On top of everything with my church and the pressure my family was putting on me to get a job, I couldn't take it. I was feeling alone, and like there wasn't a point. So I almost lost my fight.
  • I mentioned in a previous wrap up that September was a hell of a month for me. My grandfather was in the hospital for most of it, and I had just gotten in a fight with one of my closest friends, one I trusted wholeheartedly and had honestly thought would be in my life forever. In the end, said friend decided it would be best if we didn't talk anymore, and I haven't heard from them since. Admittedly, it broke me a little, but I have others who have helped pick me up on my feet. On the plus side, my Gramps is home and feeling so much better. We're still trying to find ways to get him better (and to follow the restrictions he has to follow), but at least he's here, making terrible jokes and yelling at football games.
I want to say here that I'm not saying all of this because I want sympathy and I want people to feel sorry for me. I was at a point where I felt like I was alone and that nobody would care or understand. I'm sharing this because I think that it is important to break the stigma around mental health. It has to become something that people can talk about and not be ashamed about. I had been dealing with depression since middle school, with social anxiety gradually adding up, and I kept it to myself and only my closest friends. I had no idea how to tell my family, and if I could do it over again, I'd rather that I told them earlier than later. So if you need someone to talk to, I'm here. There are people who care and understand. And I had so many highs this year.
  • My dad and I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert, which was just absolutely amazing! This was my second time seeing them live and I loved it.
  • I started off the year in Big Bear with my family, and got to spend time with them in the snow! It was amazing.
  • I got to hang out a lot more with a group of friends that really do care about me, and we've had a blast together.
  • Every year I volunteer for a week at this Girl Scout camp. It's my absolute favorite part of the summer and I love volunteering and spending time with the girls in my pod. They're the best and I adore them.
  • I went to see Hamilton in March! I was a bit of a theatre kid in high school, and Hamilton was a staple my senior year. There were so many songs sung during lunch time in the drama room, or during the rehearsal for A Christmas Carol. I love Hamilton.
  • Despite all the struggles with my mental health, I feel like this year I also did the best with it. I've started paying more attention to it. I know that I'm going to need therapy, and I'm not scared of that fact anymore. I'm more open with talking about it (not completely open, but still open). And those are big steps for me.
  • Also gradewise, I had one of the worst teachers I've ever had in my life this semester, but I came out of the class with an A- and my highest GPA in college yet! Here's to a better semester!
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So I hope that your 2018 was great and that 2019 will be an absolute blast! And if you need someone to talk to, or just someone to nerd out to, I'm always here. I won't know all of the answers, but I'll listen, and I do care. #breakthestigma

Have a great day! I love you all!

~ Nox

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January TBR

Hi everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and this is my TBR for the month of January!

I usually don't write TBRs. I'm mainly a mood reader, which is why sometimes it takes me months to get to certain books. This month I'm participating in a buddy read and a reading challenge, however, so I have a basic idea of some of the books I want to read.

Here we go!
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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my last book of 2018, and I absolutely need to finish the duology! I finally see what all of the hype was for! Crooked Kingdom also counts as one of my books for Fox & Wit's January Reading Challenge: a title with two words. Also, there has been a readalong going on for a few months over on Instagram under #QueenBardugoReads getting ready for King of Scars! Needless to say, this is a must read for this month.

East of Eden

This is one of two books that my aunt lent me in November that I just haven't gotten around to reading yet. I'm slightly dreading it, especially since it's over 600 pages (I thought Steinbeck only wrote short stories?) but it's one of her favorites so I have to read it.

The Grapes of Wrath

This is the second book that my aunt lent me! I feel like as an English Education major, I'm going to have to read this at some point, so it might as well be now. Besides, it's a classic for a reason, right?

Sense and Sensibility

Wow I'm just realizing that I have a lot of classics on this list. I'm participating in a readalong for Jane Austen's works, and January starts off with her debut novel Sense and Sensibility. I've seen the movie and I enjoyed it, so I hope that means I'll love the book! This also counts for Fox & Wit's January Challenge: debut novels. The readalong is known as #ArdentlyAustenBookClub over on Instagram, go check it out!

Skyward

I received Skyward in my Fairyloot box in November, and I haven't really had a reason to get to it until now. One of my favorite bookstagrammers, @treatyoshelfbookclub, hosts buddy reads each month, and guess what the January book is! I'm really excited to read it, and it's not too late to join in! The buddy read is from January 7th to the 15th, so come and read with us!

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

I'm including A Game of Thrones because it's for another readalong I'm doing! Catch Up Book Club on Twitter is doing a giant readalong for all of the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. You're given two months for each book because they're incredibly large (I have Bibles smaller than these books), and they'll host a liveshow at the end for everyone to discuss! This is at the end of the TBR because the others take more priority and I have more time to read this one, but maybe I'll get to start it this month.

There is one more book on my TBR, but I can't mention it because the truth is, I don't know what book it is.

Strange, right? My mom and I were talking and she made a deal with me. I'll read one book of her choosing and she'll read one of mine. I've already decided that I'm making her read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, but she hasn't decided what mine is. No matter what it is, I have to read it in January.
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Thank you for reading my TBR for the month! If you have a TBR, which book are you most excited to read? I'm really hoping that I enjoy whatever my mom picks, and that she loves The Raven Boys as much as I do! My other number one pick is Sense and Sensibility.

Have a great day!

~ Nox

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December Wrap Up!

Hi everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and I'd say that December was a good month for me!


B O O K I S H  M O N T H 
  • I read 4 books and 2 volumes of manga this month! I was trying to participate in four different readathons, but sadly, I had finals this month which made it nearly impossible to participate as much as I wanted to.
  • The 4 books I read this month were:
    • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    • Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Amerie
    • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • The 2 manga I read this month were:
    • Fruits Baskets Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
    • Fruits Baskets Vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
  • I wrote a guest post over on Cerys' blog, Browsing for Books! For Blogmas, she had 24 days of guest posts, all of which were absolutely amazing. Check mine out here!
  • So many of my bookish friends tagged me in tags! I've already done two of them, the Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag and the Festive Christmas Book Tag, and there is still one more to come!
  • My best friend Christi helped me pick out a theme for my Instagram, so (shameless plug here) go check me out on Instagram as @nox_reads! Shoutout to Christi for dealing with my several questions about editing, theme, and aesthetic, because I am lost without her. 
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P E R S O N A L  M O N T H 
  • I've finished my first semester of sophomore year with my highest GPA yet! I got a 3.3 this semester, which has raised my overall GPA to 2.7. I'm still not honestly sure if I belong in college, but this definitely makes me feel better, especially since I struggled so much with a particular teacher and her class.
  • I celebrated Hannukah twice with friends. I'm Christian, but I have a friend who is culturally half-Jewish, and another family friend who is Jewish by religion. Both invited me to celebrate Hannukah with them, and I had a great time!
  • I have an XBox One now! If you want to be friends my name is @noxturnal7.
  • My dad and I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert! It was my second time seeing them (the first without Lindsey Buckingham) and it was still amazing.
Those are the highlights of my December 2018! I hope yours was awesome, and here's to a fantastic January!

~ Nox

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Festive Christmas Book Tag!

Hi everyone! Welcome to Nox Reads, I'm "Nox", and Ash from For the Love of Books (click here to go to their blog!) tagged me in The Festive Christmas Book Tag!

You can go see Ash's post here on Cerys' blog, Browsing for Books. For this Blogmas, Cerys is having a series of different guest posts (and I got to post one too which you can see here!). I definitely recommend following the blog and checking out everyone's amazing posts and blogs!

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1. A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with.
      I feel like the obvious answer would be the Weasleys, because they are amazing, but since Ash picked that I'm going to go with my other option: the Rampion Crew from the Lunar Chronicles! They count as a family, right? Family isn't just blood. Seriously though, I would absolutely love to spend the holidays with them, watching Cinder constantly roast Thorne, fangirling with Cress, sharing sarcastic remarks with Kai. I feel like Iko would help me dress better and Winter would be the sweetest person to talk to. I'd go "aww" at Wolf and Scarlet's relationship, and...well, Jacin is cool I guess. It would be fun regardless.

2. A bookish item you would like to receive as a Christmas present.
       Honestly, I would love a bookish subscription box or some money to spend on bookish pins and shirts. There are some pretty amazing shirts based off of the Raven Cycle series, and I need them all in my closet. Also, if there's anyone who makes shirts or bookish merch, please make more based off of the Raven Cycle series. Thank you!

3. A fictional character you think would make the perfect Christmas elf.
       See, I really want to answer Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, because he's short and I would love to see him get mad because everyone is calling him an elf. His brother Al might be a better choice though, considering he is the more cheerful of the two.

4. Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.
       I'm matching Illuminae to the Dance of the Sugarplum Faries, mainly because I think it would be hilarious to hear this while watching the "spider-monkey" surveillance video. I'd be laughing hysterically. 

5. Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you've been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list.
       I have two for this: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. Both of these books disappointed me. I thought Three Dark Crowns was going to be full of action, plots, and fights, but the action didn't really start until One Dark Throne. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is arguably the weakest of the Raven Cycle series, and at times it was a struggle to finish. Both of these books have wronged me.

6. A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserves to be put on the nice list.
      Welcome to How Many Times Can Nox Mention the Raven Cycle Series! Okay, I'll give you a different answer (but my precious baby Noah deserves to be protected and loved at all costs). Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is not the kind of book I usually go for, but it ended up being a heartfelt story. Both of the main characters are flawed and aren't always making the right decisions, but it makes them more human. Also, I absolutely love Sam, and Penny is relatable. I definitely recommend it (but TRIGGER WARNING: mentions of r*pe.)

7. Red, Gold, and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmassy feel to it. 
       The cover for Caraval by Stephanie Garber looks like something my mom would put on top of the Christmas tree. I haven't read any of the series, but I really want to!

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

8. A book or series that you love so much, you want everyone to find it under their Christmas tree this year.
       ....look the Raven Cycle series is underappreciated and amazing, it needs to be read by more people! The Dreamer trilogy is coming soon hopefully, and I need more people to fangirl with! Join me, my people!
         But also, Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, because it's my favorite book of all time. Also, Emergency Contact, because it was amazing.

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There you go, everyone! I managed to finish the tag and not mention the Raven Cycle series in every question! Thank you so much for reading, and if you would like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged. I'm serious, you can say I tagged you, and make sure to actually tag me on Twitter or Instagram (@nox_reads) so I can check it out!

I have still have another tag to do after this (I'm trying to knock them out before the holidays) and then I have a couple of book rambles to share!

Have a great day!

~Nox