Stacking the Shelves

This week felt like a slow bookish week though I got some amazing mail. I posted a tiny bit more on the blog this last week and hoping I’ll do much more in the coming weeks. It’s summer vacation here at my house and yet I feel more busy than during the school year. I’m loving having my kiddo home all week though.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.



I already read A Book of Spirits and Thieves and really enjoyed it. I don’t know about you but I’ve heard some amazing things about Uprooted. I had to start it and I am loving it so far. Everything is hitting me right. The Gathering Dark is the UK version of Shadow and Bone before they switched the cover and title. I absolutely adore this cover and title and wish they’d kept with it. Would it cause confusion? Most likely the book is so pretty. I’ve got to post another picture so you can see that the printing is shiny…


I really love shiny letters and this book is just so beautiful. I really want to reread Bardugo’s series so I think when I do it’ll be this version I read.

I don’t know if you’ve been participating in the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter but I have had the best time. I’ve met some really amazing bloggers and exchanged for some books that I never dreamed of owning. Case in point…


I love Robin LaFevers’ books so much and I never dreamed I’d own this arc. I am still hunting for Dark Triumph. If I ever find it then my collection will be complete.

Posts from Last Week

Next Week

  • 6/10 Blog Tour- Ninja Bunny Guest Post
  • Review of Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
  • Review of The Eternal City by Paula Morris
  • and more

How was your week?

Review of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty
By: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray

An advanced copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

The Story:
I’m pretty mixed on my feelings regarding Cruel Beauty. I loved the creativity Hodge brought to her reworking of the classic tale. The main story arc was surprising as well as interesting and I found the idea behind the Beast’s curse to be beautifully done (I can’t reveal much since spoilers). Hodge has a beautiful writing style that is easy to read and flows very well. The pacing was fast for the most part and I was interested in the story immediately.

What I didn’t like was the romance and Nyx’s internal dialog (which I’ll discuss in the character section of my review). I felt like Nyx and Ignifex had very little, if any, chemistry and I think their relationship lacked the slow burn that I look for in any retelling of Beauty and the Beast. To me, the most beautiful aspect of the original story is the journey for the two to get to know one another and see beyond the façade to what makes the other tick. Sadly, I didn’t really get that feeling in Cruel Beauty. The relationship felt disjointed and the love missed the mark for me.

The Characters:
Nyx’s character fought many internal struggles through-out this story. She felt guilt and resentment in equal parts, her constant flip flopping between emotions was understandable but grew to be grating after reading many pages dedicated to it. I did feel that her character developed over the course of the story and I appreciated her strength and determination in her duties.

Ignifex had an interesting back- story though I wished I had a better sense of him than I did. I loved his justifications for why he acted the way he did. I felt he brought some intriguing arguments and really had Nyx contemplating what truly makes one evil. Overall, I liked where Hodge took his story but I felt that I needed just a little more depth and detail to really flesh him out to me.

Another character I have to include is Shade. He is a major player in Nyx and Ignifex’s story though I can’t go into any details without revealing spoilers. I will say that he frustrated me and the ease in which Nyx trusted him was much too fast in my opinion. He really did add some intriguing aspects to the story-arc though and I do think that I might have had the strongest emotions regarding his character and actions.

Final Thoughts:
It’s really hard for me to rate Cruel Beauty. I loved the overall story and felt that it was an original take on the classic. Hodge has a very easy-to-read style and her writing is elegant and flows beautifully. On the other hand, I felt the romance could have used some depth and I wished I had connected more with Nyx.

Cruel Beauty Book Trailer:

12 Days of ARCs + International Giveaway

12 days

Can you think of a better way to spend the holidays than with some wonderful books??  Neither can we!  So, for 12 days, beginning tomorrow at 10 PM EST, Stephanie  from Inspiring Insomnia and I will be hosting a giveaway, and the winner will receive 12 ARCs!  The ARCs will go to a US winner, but because we want our friends outside the US to participate, too, a non-US winner will receive his/her choice of finished copies of any two of the ARCs that we feature.  (These may include pre-orders, if you choose.)

Here’s how it will work: On each of the 12 days, Stephanie and I will take turns revealing one of the ARCs to be given away, beginning at 10 PM EST.  At the same time, both of our blogs will feature a question that you can answer to earn points in the Rafflecopter.  You can ONLY answer a particular set of questions during that 24 hour window, and there will be a new set of questions each day at 10 PM EST.  (We will keep the last questions open for two additional days, to allow those of you celebrating Christmas some extra time to comment.)  You may want to bookmark our posts for the duration of the giveaway, since we will be updating our posts, rather than creating a new post each day.

December 25th Update:

All the books have been unwrapped and I think it is one epic haul. Because we know everyone is busy over the holiday we are keeping the giveaway open until midnight EST on the 27th. people out of town can still enter. 

So for the next two days, you can answer your choice of any two of the previous questions listed below the Rafflecopter (one for me, one for Stephanie) that you may have missed, for additional points.  

And for those that visited each site and answered all 24 questions for the appropriate 24 hour window, you can check an entry on the Rafflecopter for additional points.  NOTE: You can get 6 points for answering the two previous questions OR 10 points if already answered all 24 previous questions.  But you cannot do both.

Take a look at all the ARCs we are giving away to one lucky winner.

IMG_8128Day 6


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Day 12 textThis is it!  The last ARC to be revealed!  As usual, this last set of questions will be available to be answered for 24 hours, ending at 10 PM EST on the 25th.  But because we know many of you will have plans during this time, the giveaway will actually end at midnight EST on the 27th.  So, when this last pair of questions closes on the 25th, you will have the opportunity to come back anytime over the next two days to answer your choice of any two questions (one for me, one for Stephanie) that you may have previously missed, for additional points.

And for those rock stars who managed to answer all 20 questions during the appropriate 24 hour window, there will be an opportunity for you to check an entry on the Rafflecopter for additional points.

Thank you to everyone who has participated!  We have had so much fun doing this giveaway with you, and we can’t wait to pick our winners!

So far we have revealed:

  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale
  • Awaken by Meg Cabot on Inspiring Insomnia
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Roomies by Tara Altebrando on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • A Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (SIGNED) on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Hostage Three by Nick Lake on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Deception by C.J. Redwine
  • Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
And the last book is…
HER DARK CURIOSITY by Megan Shepherd

Day 12 Questions:
Mine: Which of the Arcs we are giving away are you most eager for?
Stephanie’s: Have you had as much fun with 12 Days of ARCs as we’ve had? 🙂 Answer at Inspiring Insomnia


-Previous Questions-

Day 11 text

Day 11 already! Tonight’s reveal will be over at Inspiring Insomnia. As for the books we’ve revealed so far,

Day 11 Questions:
Mine: What gift are you really wanting for Christmas?
Stephanie’s: Who would win in a fight – Santa or the Tooth Fairy? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 10 text

We are day 10 of the 12 Days of ARCs Giveaway.  I love the selection of books we’re giving away.

and tonight’s book is:

Day 10 Questions:
Mine: Which book have you read that you feel didn’t get enough buzz either by publisher marketing or blogger buzz?
Stephanie’s: Do you have any tips for traveling during the holidays? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 9 text

I can’t believe how close we are to being done with this giveaway! It’s gone really fast and been a lot of fun. Tonight the book reveal is over at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 9 Questions:
Mine: Is there a book that is very popular that you read but didn’t care for? Which one?
Stephanie’s: Oh no!!  Santa’s stuck in your chimney!  How will you help him to get out? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 8 text

Tonight’s reveal is:

CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge

Day 8 Questions:
Mine: Do you have any book/blogging resolutions for next year?
Stephanie’s: Holiday lights: White or colored; blinking or non-blinking.  Debate! Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 7 text

Tonight the ARC reveal is over at Inspiring Insomnia …head over to check it out. Here are tonight’s questions

Day 7 Questions:
Mine: Did one of your favorite series end this last year? Which one and were you happy with how it ended?
Stephanie’s: Is there any chance of snow for Christmas in your state/country?
Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 6 text

Today My Friends Are Fiction turns one year old! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by and how far this blog has come in that amount of time. When I started blogging I had no idea that the community would be so amazing and I would make such wonderful friends. I also had no idea that I would get so excited to give away books. This giveaway is a great way for me to celebrate one year of blogging and thank you all for following. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes me.

For tonight I am revealing one of the most coveted books of the year. To be honest, when Stephanie and I started this giveaway I didn’t know I’d be giving this one away–I am so, so excited to tell you it is:

CRESS by Marissa Meyer

I absolutely love the Lunar Chronicles and Marissa Meyer. She was so incredibly kind to do an interview with me when I was barely a few months old. I am so thankful for her kindness (you can read the interview here). I hope you guys are excited to see this book revealed.

Day 6 Questions:
Mine: What was your favorite 2013 Debut book?
Stephanie’s: What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? Answer this question at Inspiring Insomnia
Day 5 text

Tonight Stephanie is revealing the ARC; head over to Inspiring Insomnia to see what it is. I have to say tonight’s question from Stephanie is my favorite of all the questions. Made me laugh so hard when I read it. I can’t wait to read your answers 🙂

Day 5 Questions:
Mine: Which book are you most eager to read releasing in 2014?
Stephanie’s: Guess Santa’s weight. Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 4 text

I am SO excited to be unwrapping tonight’s ARC–this is a book that I’ve read and it is by far one of the very best books I’ve read this year and I am beyond thrilled to be able to gift one of you with it. Thank you Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux! Tonight’s reveal is…

THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski

So far we’ve unwrapped Avalon by Mindee Arnett, Dangerous by Shannon Hale and Awaken by Meg Cabot

Day 4 Questions:
Mine: What was your favorite book of 2013? Answer below in the comments.
Stephanie’s: If the reindeer went on strike, what kind of animals should fly Santa’s sleigh instead? Visit Inspiring Insomnia to answer this question
Day 3 textI have loved reading which gifts have meant the most to you. I can’t wait to continue reading your comments.

So far we have revealed Avalon by Mindee Arnett and Dangerous by Shannon Hale…Stephanie at Inspiring Insomnia is ‘unwrapping’ the tonight’s.

Day 3 Questions:
Mine: What is your favorite Christmas carol/song? Answer below in the comment section.
Stephanie’s: Are there any holiday traditions that you wish your family would give up? Head over to Inspiring Insomnia to answer this question and see the 3rd ARC revealed.

 Day 2 textThank you to everyone that has visited our sites and entered this giveaway! I have really enjoyed seeing which ARCs you would love to be revealed. I’ll give you a hint…I’ve seen a few requested that we are in fact giving away.

Now without further ado the second book is (drum roll)…

DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale

Day 2 Questions:
Mine: What is your favorite Christmas (or for any reason) gift you’ve received?
Stephanie’s: Are there any holiday traditions from when you were a kid that you miss? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Check back tomorrow at 10 PM EST to see the third book and to answer two new questions.

Day 1 text

Stephanie at Inspiring Insomnia and I are hosting a giveaway, and the winner will receive 12 ARCs! Head over to Inspiring Insomnia to see the first ARC that has been revealed. Answer my below question in the comments to earn entries then head over and see the book you could win and answer Stephanie’s question.

Day 1 Questions:
Mine: Which book would you love to see revealed as an arc being given away? Answer below in the comment section
Stephanie’s: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Check back tomorrow at 10 PM EST to see the second book reveal and the two new questions.

We are so excited to do this giveaway with you, and we hope you will have fun participating!  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Showcase Sunday/Stacking the Shelves

This post is Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review:
Thank you HarperTeen for sending me copies of these books!

Avalon by Mindee Arnett, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, Evertrue by Brodi Ashton and Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd.

Thank you Regina from Mel, Erin & Regina Read-a-lot


Signed copies of Apollyon, Sentinel and Origin by Jennifer Armentrout


Signed copy of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I absolutely loved this book- check out my review, Lego version of Paige and Warden and Interview with Samantha Shannon.

Showcase Sunday #23

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review (via Edelweiss):
Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

For Review (via Publisher):
Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill, 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil, Deception by C.J. Redwine, Twinmaker by Sean Williams , How to Love by Katie Cotugno and No Angel by Helen Keeble

Thanks HarperCollins!

The Winner’s Curse by and Marie Rutkoski and After Eden by Helen Douglas

Thank you! Sheedy Lit and Krys (Bibliopunkk)

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Be sure to check out my GIVEAWAYS

What did you get this week?