The Mid Year Freakout Book Tag!

Hiya!! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do one again? For those of you who don’t know, this tag is a bit like a six month bookish wrap up in tag form. I hope you enjoy!

The Best Books You’ve Read so Far

In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet, but Want To

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year

There are so many that come to mind! But here are the first three that I thought of. It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi looks so fun! The cover is also stunning as well! The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi is a YA fantasy with a Pakistani setting. I’ve never read a fantasy inspired by Pakistani culture, so I’m super excited to read it! Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach is another release I’m also very excited for!

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Biggest Disappointment

A Song Below Water: A Novel : Morrow, Bethany C.: Amazon.ca: Books

I had such high hopes for One Last Stop. However, it unfortunately missed the mark for me.

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Biggest Surprise

Rumaysa: A Fairytale: Hafiza, Radiya, Siddique, Areeba, El Touny, Rhaida:  9781529038309: Books - Amazon.ca

This is a middle grade retelling of three fairytales but with a desi (South Asian) twist. And I adored it! It was filled with girl power, fun plots, and amazing representation!

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Favorite New to You Author

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon was my first book of theirs, and probably won’t be the last!

Favorite Debut Author

Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Sarah Suk’s debut novel was one of my favorites this year. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did, but Made in Korea was so good!

Newest Favorite Characters

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

I really enjoyed reading about Evie and X from Nicola Yoon’s newest book Instructions for Dancing! They were both funny and charming.

A Book That Made You Cry

Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario

Juleah del Rosario’s Turtle Under Ice was incredibly heartbreaking and emotional. It’s about a mother’s death and sisterly love, and was just so beautiful.

A Book That Made You Happy

A Taste for Love: Yen, Jennifer: 9780593117521: Books - Amazon.ca

A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen was such a fun book on food and familial relationships. It definitely put a smile on my face!

Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year

In January I did a post where I gave recommendations based off of people’s favorite Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra character. Feel free to read the post here!

Books You Need to Read By the End of the Year

I hope you enjoyed the tag! Here are some lovely people I nominate to do this one as well. (This is just for fun, so if you don’t feel like it, than no worries!) Also, if you’ve done this tag before, feel free to link it in the comments so I can read yours as well. 😀

I tag…

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February Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! Here is my February wrap-up! A couple books were not listed as I haven’t finished them yet. Anyways, let’s get right into it! I hope you enjoy!

(PS; Click on the post thumbnails to view the posts!)

Novels I Read (In order)

A Castle In The Clouds by Kerstin Gier: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) This was such a cozy book! It’s a mystery novel perfect for winter. It’s also translated from German to English. I highly recommend it! You can read my review for it here!

Together, Apart by A Collection of Authors: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a collection of short stories by numerous authors. It dealt with COVID-19, and was very cute and relatable. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun and light novel to read. Review to come!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I haven’t finished it yet, but I am enjoying it. This is also the first Jane Austen novel I’m reading, and I’m doing a buddy read with Cherry @ Letters To The Lost!

Graphic Novels and Manga read

Blue Flag Volume 2 by Kaito: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This is honestly such a melancholy series. It’s so happy, yet so sad? I can’t necessarily relate to the characters, and I think that’s what makes it such an intriguing story. I don’t know what happens next, hence why I cannot wait to get my hands on volume three!

The Way of the Househusband Volume 4 by Kousuke Oono: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I will admit that the humor was starting to get old in the third volume. However, this addition proved to be both hilarious and unexpected. 😂

Something Is Killing The Children Volume 2: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This particular volume wasn’t as exciting as the first volume, but was as intriguing as always! We also got introduced to some new characters, which I am super excited to get to know more about in the future. Can’t wait for volume three to come out!

Ao Haru Ride Volume Volume 10 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) Io Sakisaka sure knows how to write a heart wrenching story! The art is absolute perfection as always.

The Promised Neverland Volume 18: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Incredibly expressive art style as always, I’m sad to say that there are only two volumes left! The journey has been incredible, and I’m sad to see it end. I highly recommend you read this one, it’s such a mind boggling series!

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 2 by Naru Narumi: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was both an educational an entertaining read that left me very hungry!

Shortcake Cake Volume 1 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) If you’re looking for something light and cute, this is the book for you! It’s filled with such unique and well developed characters. And to think that it’s only the first volume!

SPY×FAMILY Volume 1: I haven’t finished this volume yet, however, I am absolutely loving it! It’s about a spy family. I mean, how cool is that?

Total Number Of Books Read: 11

Total Number Of Posts Published: 7

Average Rating: 7.25/10 or 3.75 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month, I said I wanted to read all of the books on my eARC TBR. That didn’t necessarily go as planned, and that’s okay. 😆 I did however, manage to stay hydrated throughout the days.

Some of my goals for March include…

  • Finish my eARC TBR
  • Post more on bookstagram

I might not have read that much this year, but I did enjoy the books I read this month more than the ones I read last month, so I am happy about that. My schedule has gotten progressively busier, so I might not be able to post as much. I will try my best to interact with all of you lovely people though! You can read last month’s wrap-up here! And with that, I bid you adieu. Have a fabulous day and a wonderful March!

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A Castle In The Clouds | A Review

Hey everyone! Today I bring you my review of ‘A Castle In The Clouds’ by Kerstin Gier! Before I get into my review, I just want to add that this is a translated novel! (Translated from German to English.) I can’t wait to read more translated books in the future!

A Castle in the Clouds: Gier, Kerstin, Fursland, Romy: 9781250300195: Books  - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads.)

Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.

Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure–and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.

First, let’s talk about the plot! The original premise of A Castle In The Clouds was everything I could have ever wanted on a cold winter afternoon. A mystery in an old hotel in the mountains? Sign me up! And can we talk about that stunning cover? The execution however…totally lived up to my expectations! There was mystery, humor, and romance. (Which in case you haven’t noticed already, is one of my favorite combinations.)

The book follows Sophie, a 17 year old high school dropout navigating her life as an intern in the old hotel in the mountains, which is most commonly known as; The Castle In The Clouds. Sophie reminds me a lot of Sophie from the film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. They’re both charismatic and caring people. However, she didn’t have much character development in the story. Nevertheless I did enjoy the fact that it was a very plot driven story. That intrigued me, as I’m used to reading very character driven books. Tristan and Ben where two other lovable characters. There was even a love triangle between both boys and Sophie! Now, I dislike love triangles, so I disliked that aspect of the book too. Why must it always be your favorite character that ends up heartbroken? I also think the romance felt a bit out of place. Moreover, I absolutely adored Tristan! He was a guest at the hotel, and there was this vibe to him that reminded me so much of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. He even looked like him! Tristan was honestly such a delight to read about! Ben on the other hand, was alright. Ben was a young adult set to inherit Castle In The Clouds from his father. I found him to be slightly stuck-up at times, but I didn’t dislike him though.

Unfortunately if I reviewed every side character, this review would be 30 paragraphs long. 😆 The hotel staff had some nice and funny characters, but none of them stood out to me all that much. (Except for Old Stucky, he was one heck of a guy.) Another side character that I enjoyed reading about was none other than Don B. Jr, a snarky 7 year old guest at the hotel who had me laughing like crazy. From his rude comments, to his spontaneous actions, Don was certainly a memorable character. Next we have the Ludwigs, who where the sweetest old couple ever, and had a lovely backstory! From sassy Gretchen and her other self absorbed sisters to Amy and little Gracie, these hotel guests where nothing but boring. But my favorite side character was hands down ‘The Thriller Writer.’ The only thing we as readers knew about him was that he writes books…And asked the kitchen staff to send him a raw animal to 💫inspire his writing💫. All in all, each side character had their own personality, and I found that to be one of the best parts of the book! Despite having so many characters, the story never became overwhelming or complicated. So props to Kerstin Gier for executing the story in such a beautiful way!

“Bienvenue. Willkommen. Benvenuto. Welcome to A Castle In The Clouds. Enjoy your stay.”

― Kerstin Gier, A Castle In The Clouds

The dialogue between the characters was immersive, and every line was fresh and fun! The thing with mysteries is that every piece of dialogue matters, so naturally I paid close attention to it…Only to find that all of my assumptions where completely wrong. (Let’s just say I’m not the best detective. 😂)

In case you’re wondering, the entire novel is in Sophie’s perspective. I found Sophie’s narrative to be super entertaining! The writing style was also very descriptive. Typically, I dislike descriptive stories. However, I loved reading the author’s descriptions of the hotel! The author writes in such a way that allows the readers to feel like they themselves are in the hotel and are experiencing the same events as Sophie, and to me that’s something truly special!

The overall enjoyment level was slightly affected by the weird pace fluctuation. I felt that the climax came out of nowhere, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t anticipating a huge plot twist. Unexpectedly though, I found myself breezing through the last 150 pages! It was simply too gripping to put down!

‘A Castle In The Clouds’ was a cozy read, perfect for fans of mysteries and contemporary! I highly recommend you give this novel a go!

Age Rating: 13 and up

TW: Violence, talk of kidnapping and murder, kidnapping, some suspense

Final Rating: 9.5/10 or 4.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite mystery novel? Let me know in the comments below! Have a fabulous day!

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