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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab | Monster, May I?

 (It took me forever to get this picture right. Appreciate it, please.)

August Flynn is a monster. He can see the souls of people who have sinned, and then with a song from his violin, he can steal their soul.

Kate Harker is a monstrous human. One of the first scenes with this girl is her burning down a chapel, so, yeah, she's not really the "typical YA protagonist" that we see.

Schwab is one of my favorite authors. She has an incredible talent for crafting characters, and that for me always comes across as the strongest point in her books. They are all so complex and real and, often if not always, not entirely good. To be cliche and pull out my inner Harry Potter nerd, no person is ever wholly good or wholly evil, and I think that Schwab is really talented at creating characters with both light and dark inside them.

Also on the note of characters, there are some amazing side characters in this book. August's family, especially his brother and sister, are so interesting and don't fall to the wayside as many YA family members do.

I'm not typically a fan of urban fantasy (meaning: I normally just don't read it) but that's what this is and it's made me interested in checking out more from this genre. 

The history that Schwab creates in this book of an America that has fallen and changed is (let me say it for the thousandth time) endlessly interesting. The beginning of the book does get a little information-heavy; however, because the monsters and how they work and the division of the main city is so interesting, I ate up and valued the information rather than finding it sluggish.

Something happens in this book that genuinely made me stop and freak out a bit. This happens very rarely for me in books, so I was very happy to see that Schwab had made me care so much for these characters that I had to put the book down for a second to calm down. 

I did find the ending ever so slightly underwhelming, but it was only really one aspect of the ending that it really didn't bother me too much. I'm happy with how the story ultimately ended, and I'm now very much anticipating Our Dark Duet, which releases in June of this year.


It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something so monstrous.
 But the teacher had been right about one thing: violence breeds. Someone pulls a trigger, sets off a bomb, drives a bus full of tourists off a bridge, and what's left in the wake isn't just shell casings, wreckage, bodies. There's something else. Something bad. An aftermath. A recoil. A reaction to all that anger and pain and death.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab
Published: 5 July 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Format - Length: Hardcover - 427 pages
Source: Owlcrate
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Goodreads | My Goodreads Review
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?
Have you read this book? What's your favorite Schwab book? Tell me down in comments!


January Wrap-Up + February TBR | 2017

January was almost a complete month of rereads. I needed to clean my slate after a very messy reading year in 2016. Also, my February TBR is ridiculous for a month that only has 28 days.

Wrap Up

  • THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW (#1): This was a reread for me. I really love how Lewis crafts the creation of this world. I want to finally finish this series this year, so I wanted to reread the first two in preparation for that. 4 STARS
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (#1): I mean, duh, I've obviously read this before. I hadn't read the illustrated edition with all of Jim Kay's beautiful illustrations, so I needed to do that. 5 STARS
  • AFTER THE FALL: I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I think it talks about important topics, and it has some nice humor. However, this book felt all over the place for me. It didn't seem to have a purpose or a point but rather about 12 points it was trying to make all at once. If you want a full review, click the title to go to my Goodreads review. 1.5 STARS
  • THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (#2) : This is one of my all-time favorite books. Need I say more? 5 STARS
  • MARCH, BOOK ONE: This was amazing. I highly recommend this one. This is part one of a trilogy of Maus-style comics about John Lewis's involvement with the Civil Rights movement in the southern US; this first volume mainly takes place in Nashville when Lewis was a college student. 5 STARS
  • PAPER PRINCESS: uGH. This book was really frustrating. There's genuinely no way that I can summarize my feelings, so if you want to know my full thoughts, click the title to go to my Goodreads review. I'm going to read the second book, but I hate myself for it. 2 STARS

February TBR

  • CROOKED KINGDOM: I've had this book since the release. I'm just going to keep putting it on TBRs until I finish it. Hopefully (*knocks on wood*) this will be the last one.
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG: I snagged this audiobook from my library's overdrive. I've already started it, and--naturally--I'm in love.
  • GEMINA: Again, another audiobook that I snagged. (And, again, another book I've had since it's release.) I'm a good chunk of the way through this. Hopefully, I'll finish it ASAP.
  • LUMBERJANES, VOL. 4: Lumberjanes is one of my all-time favorite comics. I'm more surprised that I haven't already read this.

  • WONDER WOMAN, VOL 2 & 3: A couple months ago, I discovered my love of Wonder Woman. She is brilliant and strong, and I'm a little bitter that I wasn't introduced to her as a child. 
  • CIVIL WAR: Despite my newfound love of Wonder Woman, I'm a Marvel girl through and through. I think I've developed enough of an understanding of the MU and the characters to finally read this one.
  • GOLDIE VANCE, VOL. 1: BOOM! Box is my favorite comic publisher. (They publish Giant Days and Lumberjanes, two of my favorites.) I've loved everything I've read from them. A couple months ago, the first volume in a new series was published. I just got approved to review this book on Netgalley, so I'm going to finish it ASAP. (It's almost like Nancy Drew, but with a kick-ass WOC main character.)

  • THE PRINCESS DIARIST: I never got into Star Wars in my more formative years. In fact, the first one that I ever watched was The Force Awakens when it came out last Christmas. I didn't really get obsessed until after Carrie Fisher died in December. 
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (#2): I need to read this illustrated edition as well. I don't need to explain myself.
What was your favorite book of January? What book are you hoping to read this month? Have you read any of the books I've mentioned? Let me know down in comments!


17 Books to Read in 2017

I mean, there are far more than seventeen books that I would like to read in this year, but I've pinned down some of the ones that I would really like to read. I've also shaped this list to, hopefully, help guide my reading into the direction that I would like it to go in this year and future years: a mix of young adult and adult books as well as a few classics. Also, that one series that I've had unfinished since elementary school.  

These are all books that I personally own and have been sat, unread, on my shelves for too long. Too long, I say!

Part one of this list is The Chronicles of Narnia. My reread of the first book, The Magician's Nephew, was my first read of 2017. I have also reread The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so now I am well set to continue on with this series. There are five remaining books in this series, and if I don't finish it this year, I don't know what I'll do with myself but the level of disappointment will be incredible.

  • The Mime Order: I was and am an avid fan of the first book in this series, The Bone Season, which came out a few years ago now and was one of the first books I read and adored here on Tomes Project. (The mems, the mems, guys.)
  • The  Black Prism: I have, since drafting this post, already aquired the second book in this series despite not reading the first book. Guys, I'm supposed to be on a book buying ban. I think January has been a good "weening" month for me and February will be full-blown "read 5 before you buy" ban. Anyway, this is a five-book-fantasy series that has been recieving amazing reviews over the past few years. The magic system deals with light which is super unique, and the more colors of the spectrum you can control, the more powerful you are.
  • My Brilliant Friend: I've heard endless good things about this series. Also, it's translated fiction, which I want to read more of anyway.
  • The Night Circus: I've never really been a fan of the circus. Ever since I went as a kid, I just have been very anti-circus. Clowns weren't there, but those are horrible too. But this circus has magic. I've had this book on my shelf forever. It's ridiculous.

  • The Awakening: This is important feminist lit. How the heck have I not read this?
  • Jane Eyre: Every bookish girl who has ever read this book absolutely loves this. I need to join their ranks.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Every person on earth has read this except for me.
  • Franny and Zooey: I've never read any Salinger, but a few friends of mine have read this and loved it. I want to be able to discuss this with them!

  • Gemina: I mean, Illuminae was one of my favorite books of 2015, and I went to Jay and Amie's event when they came to Nashville. I've had this for too long. It needs to be read.
  • This Savage Song: As I'm writing this, I'm actually a good chunk of the way through this one. Victoria Schwab is one of my all-time favorite authors. She's brilliant, and I'm loving this so far. 
  • A Madness So Discreet: Trina @ Between Chapters is a friend that I have gained over the past year, and she's Mindy's #1 fan. I want to read some of her books so that I can talk to her about them. Also, Mindy is coming to SEYA fest in Tennessee in March. I'd like to have read at least one of her books before then.
  • Crooked Kingdom: I'm about halfway through this. I've read the first half of this book about twice (maybe three times) now. It's not bad. I just don't want series to end because I have commitment issues. 
Have you read any of these? Which should I finish first. Convince me to read all of these ASAP with your words of praise down in the comments!

Favorite and Least Favorite Books of 2016

I read 79 things this year. That includes novels, memoirs, comic volumes, novellas, and essays among other things. Jaime's book survey is coming later (at some point) so a more comprehensive 2016 reading recap is coming soon! This list won't include rereads, but obviously, books that I reread this year are favorites otherwise, I wouldn't have reread them.


These first few books are actually DNFs, so I didn't actually finish them but judgment has been passed nonetheless.

  • Captive Prince: I have so many problems with this book. I absolutely hated it, and the main ideas around this series are incredibly romance focused. And, knowing the ship that sails at the end of this series, I just cannot get behind this book, nor could I force myself to read through unnecessarily graphic and gratuitous text. 
  • Second Chance Summer: I really, really tried with this one, probably more so that the other two books on this portion of the list; however, it was just so bad that I couldn't even force myself to finish this book. I thought it was Matson's debut because, for me, the writing itself was leagues beneath the writing in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. There was absolutely no plot (a person dying is not a plot, sorry) and whatever it was that happened between this group of characters (I didn't even get to that point in the story) . . . I can't realistically see the weight of it because it happened when they were about 12 or 14. 
  • The Wrath and the Dawn: My main issue with this was that it threw you into a story with no explanation or buildup. I didn't relate to the characters because I just felt so distant from them because we don't spend much time with them before the plot starts moving.

Okay, so now continuing on with the books I actually finished.

  • Cursed Child: Just go to the link to read my review of this because I have too much to say about this in such a short space. TLDR: It was basically the My Immortal fanfiction that we all laughed at ten years ago.
  • Slammed: Again, I have too many problems with this, most of which boil down to an imbalance of power in a relationship, and it portrays a horribly unhealthy relationship as something swoon-worthy and healthy. 
  • Lady Midnight: Wow, I'm getting repetitive here, but I had multiple problems with this. After a lot of reflection, I think it's coming down to me growing out of Cassandra Clare's writing style and just a general fatigue of the Shadowhunter world.
  • Can You Keep a Secret?: Again, this one boils down to an imbalance of power in a relationship that is founded on blackmail. Additionally, there is an incredibly harmful and inaccurate portrayal of feminism in this book. I just can't support it.


(there will be a bonus comic round, fret not!)
also, these are roughly ordered from "least favorite favorite" to "most favorite favorite"

  • The Unexpected Everything: For someone who doesn't generally like contemporary novels, I was surprised when I was done making this list that there were so many. The thing about this book that I loved the most about this book was the realistic portrayal of friendship. I mean, obviously, so many of the events are a little classically-crazy-contemporary
  • City of Heavenly Fire: I find it strange that Cassie Clare makes both my favorite and least favorite list, but I would be lying if I said that this wasn't one of the most enjoyable and satisfying books that I read this year. (It was almost City of Glass, but I refused to put two books in the same series on this list.)
  • What We Saw: I want to shout this book from the rooftops and make every single high school English class read and discuss it. If you don't know, this is a book that talks about sexual assault in high school and how sports teams, social class, and social media affect that issue. Extra non-fiction reading material to pick up: Missoula by Jon Krakauer
  • Hamilton: I mean, what did you expect? The insight into Eliza's character alone is enough for me to tell you to grab this from your library if you haven't already.
  • Station Eleven: DUUUUDE. Just go pick this up. It was beautifully written and important and moving and impactful. Please, please, check it out.
  • Six of Crows: *for full flailing, please read my review*
  • Simon: *for full flailing, please read my review*


these are in no particular order

  • Giant Days: I actually read the first three volumes of this in 2016, and I loved them all. This is a contemporary comic series that follows a group of girls in their first year of university. I love all the girls in this series (and the guys) and one of the girls in this series is queer, which I thought was only really beginning to be explored; however, I definitely see more of this character being explored in future volumes.
  • Lumberjanes, vol. 3: I live for female friendships and magic in ordinary settings. It's everything I want in a series and more. Distribute it to all the children. 
  • Captain Marvel: I read this during BookTubeAThon, and this character has definitely stuck with me. I constantly think about Carol Danvers and how important the Captain Marvel movie will be for a bunch of girls and teenagers. She is so strong and brave, but flawed and human and breakable. My god, I love Carol Danvers.
  • Spider-Gwen: The theme of these comics (save the next one) is strong female women. Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman and the backstory behind her and how she got her powers and all the shit she goes through prior to this is amazing and it just makes her stronger. She's phenomenal.
  • Doctor Strange: This was my first exploration into Doctor Strange, and I picked it up because the movie was coming out, like, the next weekend. A few things: 1) the art, the art was absolutely stunning and magical and was so much of the story and the explanation of the story and the world (I thought it was explained extremely well) and 2) 
  • Wonder Woman: Another first venture into a popular character for me. I am naming any future female offspring Diana. That's it. Also, I'm a little bit in love with Wonder Woman.

WHEW. Long post is really long, sorry? If you made it through that, *gives you a million chocolate chip cookies* thank you very much! What were your favorite and least favorite books you read in 2016? Have you read any of these? Let's discuss in comments!

Shelved Series to Start in 2017

Hello! Welcome to the third and final day of Series Week here on Tomes Project!

I am exhausted. So many graphics have been born for this. It needs to be a while before I make another.

These are not all but most of the series that have been sitting around unstarted and untouched on my shelves for too long. Too long, I say! Hopefully, I can correct this in the new year. Realistically, I know I won't start and finish all of these series, but as long as I take out a fair chunk, I think I'll be pleased. 

Let's get started!

This is probably the thing I deem "most shameful" in my reading life. I also have never seen the movies. I FEEL ASHAMED. *hides behind my massive piles of books* I did just get new non-mass-market-paperback editions of this with non-hideous covers, so I can actually make myself read them.

Is that shallow? That's shallow.

I actually started the first book earlier in 2016, but didn't get very far in so I'm not counting it. But it's a fantasy series about dragons. I seriously don't know how I haven't read it sooner.

Monsters are not my #1 reading topic, I will admit. However, I am absolute trash for Victoria Schwab's writing. She is a master of words and characters and plot. I will read everything she writes. This story is uniquely interesting to me because it has so much inspiration drawn from the real world. If our actions had direct, physical consequences (in this case, actual monsters) what would happen? It's genius, I tell you, genius.

I've heard great things about this series. I know next to nothing about this series. Nope, scratch that. I know nothing about this series other than that it's a fantasy series. That's literally it. Cinda Williams Chima is slated to come to SEYA in March, which is a book festival in Tennessee, and I own the first book. If I can finish the first book before then, I will be immensely happy.

I actually own this entire trilogy. It's ridiculous, believe me, I understand. Nevertheless, this is another scarily-beloved fantasy series that is comprised of absolutely massive books. 
Ugh. Why am I so weak-willed?

One of my favorite genres--yet least read of 2016--is historical fiction. I really like history; I was raised by a history buff, and I grew up learning about history and going to historical places all around the United States. Essentially, it runs in my blood. It's just hard for me to find one that I know I'll like.

And I know that I will like this because I am a Spanish major in school; I've spent a lot of time studying mainly South America (whereas this book takes place in Spain) and the language in general. As this is a translated piece of fiction, I have no excuses as to why I haven't read this yet.

Can you sense the theme that these are books that everyone loves but I've put off reading because I have an incredible fear of being that one person who hates a book? It's stupid, I know, but that's just me, okay? 

This story supposedly has a ton of political intrigue, which speaks to me on a spiritual level because I am endlessly fascinated by politics. I know, I'm a dork. I've also heard that the romance is great and that the protagonist is more of a wits-over-brawn kind of girl, which again speaks to me on a spiritual level.

Remember all the talk of political intrigue? This series has that too, except it's more adult-oriented. So, The Winner's trilogy can be my appetizer before the main course.

This is an adult fiction series that I have herd zero bad things about. Genuinely. Mari @ mynameismarines is running a readalong for book one in this series in January. I was actually planning on starting this in December (and still might). I have books one and two on my shelves because I've heard they're highly addictive.

What series are you wanting to start in the new year? I really want to know so that I can add more books to my TBR pile. *nervous laughter* *fades into my bookshelves*