Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana MatherTitle: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: October 3, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 16, 2017
Related Posts: How to Hang a Witch

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous "ship of dreams"--a story made all the more fascinating because the author's own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family's connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she'd find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she's been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam's waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

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I really, really enjoyed HOW TO HANG A WITCH from Adriana Mather last year so I was so ready to pick up HAUNTING THE DEEP when I heard of its release! I started reading it close to Halloween, being that HOW TO HANG A WITCH was the perfect Halloween read. HAUNTING THE DEEP didn’t quite have the same vibe for me and it was still enjoyable, but I also felt like it was lacking quite a bit.

I felt like all of the work to incorporate the witch story line was kind of lost. There was still magic involved but HAUNTING THE DEEP was focused more on a ghostly plane versus a ghost being involved in a witchy story. Sam’s interactions with the Titanic and its passengers stretched the imagination a little bit more and moved from what I guess I’d call “believable magic” to a point where it was a bit too far-fetched for me. I also wasn’t as big of a fan of the Titanic concept as I was the connection to the Salem Witch trials.

What is very cool is that Adriana Mather writes these books in connection to her own family  history. Her relatives have some serious American historical roots and their actual involvement in the Salem Witch Trials and the Titanic inspired her writing for these books! It’s really neat to know that she has a personal connection to the stories.

The long triangle from the first book really kind of bothered me but I’m not feeling as bothered by it anymore. I’m still team Human versus team Ghost (the ghost thing is… weird?) but I guess we’ll see where things go! I like the connection but I wish it wasn’t like, a full-on romance thing here.

When it comes down to it, I just really missed the witchiness of the first book and especially reading it around Halloween, that’s just what I really wanted. I’m definitely going to read more from Adriana Mather because I can’t wait to see what else she’s writing about (she has a LOT of sweet family history) and I love the personal author’s notes at the end of these books to explain a lot of that too! I didn’t really connect with HAUNTING THE DEEP like I had hoped but I’m definitely in for the long haul with these books! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: The Titanic. I hadn’t really given much thought to the Titanic outside of the movie, but it was actually really neat to get some more history about it in this book!
Left Me Wanting More: Witches. I just looooved that Craft meets Hocus Pocus vibe from the first book and it was really missing here, being about something totally different haha! It was just so much fun, though.

Addiction Rating
Check it out

Lots of fans of HOW TO HANG A WITCH seemed to enjoy this one and even reviewed that they enjoyed it better than the first, with improvements in writing and plot. For me, I was totally hung up on my witchy vibes. It was still enjoyable but I just wasn’t connected. I think totally worth checking out if you read the first (please read the first book first)!

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BOOKS LIKE HAUNTING THE DEEP

          

Top Ten Tuesday – December 12, 2017: Ten Best Books of 2017

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
December 12, 2017

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was Top Ten Best Books of 2017

I can’t believe the year is already almost over! It feels like we only just kicked off 2017 and here we are rapidly approaching the new year.

2017 was a weird reading year for me. I mostly read audiobooks due to the amount of time that I had to read print books, and that wasn’t a bad thing. I love the performance aspect that audiobooks provide and they can really bring a book to life! I did struggle with a lot of books this year and others just really seemed to fall flat. It’s hard to tell if it’s just a point in my life where I have too many distractions, I’ve read so many books that I have such high expectations, or I just wasn’t picking good me reads. I ended up with quite a few four star books, some threes, and few fives, so picking my best books of the year is actually pretty easy!


GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston

This book was so incredibly cute. I loved the retelling of Cinderella combined with geekness, cons, and a cute love story. I really clicked with this book and it was my first hit of the year!

Goodreads | Review


A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

I actually wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did because I don’t particularly care for the author sometimes and her other books have been VERY hit-or-miss with with — but this series was really enjoyable and contained a lot of elements that I love. This was the best of the series for me.

Goodreads | Review


STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

STRANGE THE DREAMER remains my top read of 2017! I love Laini Taylor’s writing style and this book was intense but so, so amazing. I loved feeling all the feels with this one and it’s still my top read this year!

Goodreads | Review


HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA by Kerri Maniscalco

Naturally, HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA makes the list! I adore Kerri Maniscalco and her books and there are soooo many swoons in this book. (And all the other good stuff too! But, really… Thomas.)

Goodreads | Review


THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne

This book was SO MUCH FUN and it had me feeling all sorts of things! My only “complaint” with it is that I wish the tension had gone on longer but it was adorable and cute and exactly what I needed.

Goodreads | Review


JANE, UNLIMITED by Kristin Cashore

I didn’t even know if I was enjoying this book while I was reading it but it was something that really stuck with me. I really loved the choose-your-own-adventure type feel and the book was super interesting with so many unique elements. I was really impressed with the creative style and it was impressive how everything weaved together!

Goodreads | Review


WARCROSS by Marie Lu

I haven’t read a book by Marie Lu since LEGEND (which I actually enjoyed and still need to finish) so I was excited for WARCROSS! It turned out to not only be an exciting read but full of twists!

Goodreads | Review


RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

I’m so happy to have Marissa Meyer on my top reads of the year again! She’s one of my favorite authors with The Lunar Chronicles holding a special place in my heart (shout out to the graphic novel WIRES AND NERVE which also a great read of 2017 but an honorable mention). I really enjoyed RENEGADES and it didn’t beat out TLC as my favorite Marissa Meyer series but it was so solid and incredibly enjoyable!

Goodreads | Review


MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie

This was the first time I had read this book and it was so incredible! I absolutely loved it from start to finish and the audio narration was also so fantastic.

Goodreads | Review


OATHBRINGER by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve been catching up with The Stormlight Archive and started with the first book in January. It was probably a bad decision because now I’ve read the only three books and it’s going to take forever for the fourth to come out! OATHBRINGER was my favorite of the three with so much happening and so many characters coming together.

Goodreads | Review


Which books top your Best of 2017 list? Do we share any big favorites? Any surprises you saw and agree with?

Mini-Review: Hardcore Twenty-Four – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Hardcore Twenty-Four – Janet EvanovichTitle: Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 14, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 10, 2017
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?

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As always, the Stephanie Plum books are a lot of fun. This was such an easy-listening book that I could read while working and even though they all follow the same pattern, twenty-four books later I’m still enjoying them! I’m beginning to think Stephanie will never choose a dude but I think as long as I expect that, I won’t be disappointing myself. I was surprised to see Diesel back in this book and it was even more fun to see him in action after having caught up on the Lizzy & Diesel books.

There’s always something a little quirky in these books and I enjoyed the quirk this time. It was a zombie theme but I appreciated that there was more to the story and not actual zombies, since sometimes the quirk comes in the form of humanized monkeys and that gets irritating.

There’s always something new going on with these wacky characters and they always entertain me! It all generally fits the mold of a Stephanie Plum book and I’m never really blown away but the mysteries do keep me guessing (especially when my brain is half-focused on something else) and they’re just quick, easy, and fun.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Plum paranoia. The characters have a silly sense of paranoia when it comes to some of these cases but they remain entertaining! Sometimes it’s a little over-the-top but I’m usually laughing.
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. I still want Stephanie and Joe to stay together already but I’m beginning to think she’ll never commit to anyone. I think I have to accept that… you know, 24 books in.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re enjoying these books, they’re worth the read. They’re nothing that bowl me over but sometimes I just need quick, easy, and patterned reads and these always fit the bill! I love being able to finish them so quickly and return to characters I’ve spent so much time with.

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BOOKS LIKE HARDCORE TWENTY-FOUR

          

Series Review: The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Grey

I had been eyeing The Firebird Trilogy ever since I saw the cover for A THOUSAND PIECES ABOVE YOU and fell instantly in love! NO WAIT. I’ve actually been eyeing the trilogy ever since Claudia Grey gave a sneak peek of it at a signing for SPELLCASTER. (Seriously. I made a note of it.) Anyway, I finally got around to reading the books and decided to binge all three for a cohesive series read!

Reviews for each book/the series are a whole are generally spoiler-free for any major occurrences or twists but may contain info about plot points so I can properly discuss the plot. 

Series Review: The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia GreyTitle: A Thousand Pieces of You (The Firebird Trilogy #1) by Claudia Grey
Publishing Info: November 4, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible, Gift
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate Reality, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 26, 2017

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

This book had been on my TBR and on my shelves for a very long time (I mean, hello, one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen) and the concept was something that instantly drew me in. I finally grabbed the audio for this, wanting to read something more sci-fi and what better to pick up than an multi-dimension story?

The book started off abruptly for me. It kind of starts right in the action and things immediately start happening. I really wished Claudia Gray had taken the time to set up a little backstory before throwing readers into things because it permanently messed up my feelings towards some of the characters, without giving away any spoilers, and once that happens, it’s really hard for me to go back and “correct” that. The first impressions stuck with me and I didn’t even have time to learn a little backstory, but more importantly, see some character history and personality, before the action took off.

The concept was exactly what I was looking for! Hopping from dimension to dimension and travelling between worlds. I have to say, I was super impressed with the different universes that Claudia Gray created for these characters! Most books, when dealing with alternate universes, focus a lot on things that are very close to the life that we’re living now but a few major or minor things have been changed to have a significant impact on a character. Here, Gray set up worlds where the main characters have a whole lot more to figure out. From a world where technology has progressed much faster to a world where technology has progressed MUCH slower so that the world is essentially still in the dark ages. A world where Marguerite ends up in a place almost exactly like her home to a world where she lives in a different country and has an entirely different upbringing. It’s easy to create a setting for a book a tamper with it slightly to come up with an alternate universe. Claudia Gray really gets into the different possibilities and how anything minor can create a huge major difference!

I also really love the family aspect and how tightly knit this family is. There’s a great dynamic, the parents are loving and supportive (although I guess it depends in what universe, right?), and the graduate students that work with Marguerite’s parents have become a part of the family too.

What I didn’t love was the romance. It was set up a little awkwardly and there were some… things that happened that really turned me around right from the start. I won’t get into details because that heads into spoiler-ville but the set-up and execution of the romance felt really clunky to me and even heading straight on to the second book (which I’m reading now), I still can’t shake that feel because of how it was set up in book one. Again, with no backstory for these characters when the book started, I had no sense of who was supposed to be what to Marguerite, the history she had with them, her feelings for them, and why she should trust anyone. I just really needed that chapter or so in the beginning to introduce all of the characters. The book felt like it was the second book in the series, not the first, with the way that it started and threw the story and characters at me right away and that made things a little difficult. The book does offer flashbacks so readers are still able to see things from “before” but that didn’t really make up for what I was wanting in the very beginning.

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU didn’t exactly go how I had hoped but it was still an enjoyable read and I’m so impressed with the different worlds that Claudia Gray has built! I’m already in the second book because I’m interested in bingeing the whole series and I’m loving her creativity so far.

Series Review: The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia GreyTitle: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (The Firebird Trilogy #2) by Claudia Grey
Publishing Info: November 3, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe, Alternate Reality
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 29, 2017

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

I think I enjoyed this book better than the first! I liked having everything established and it was neat to see these concepts expanded even more. One thing I love about good fantasy/sci-fi writers is when they make the readers think they’ve gotten all of the reveals and then something totally new is revealed and it’s like a whole new world opening up!

I’m still not the biggest fan of the romance, but I don’t think I will be at this point. It’s kind of just there for me and I don’t love that it’s the main reason why Marguerite is doing what she’s doing, but I guess I also like that her guy isn’t someone she just met and that it’s someone who’s been in her life for a long time. There’s just something about it that still feels like instalove for some reason, and I think it’s the way it was all set up in the first book. I don’t have a problem with instalove when it’s executed well but I’ve just never been a fan of this relationship.

The further development of the multiverse is fascinating! We get to know the same characters but in different dimensions and how their lives are different, as well as how one dimension may be affecting another. Things dig way deeper in this book and the plot was even more fascinating!

I’m still not tooootally in love like I had hoped to be but these books are proving to be very enjoyable and I’m glad I’m reading them back-to-back-to-back so I’m able to soak everything in and not have a year in between each book!

Series Review: The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia GreyTitle: A Million Worlds With You (The Firebird Trilogy #3) by Claudia Grey
Publishing Info: November 1, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe, Alternate Reality
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 31, 2017

A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

In the conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites…and only one can win.

I think this may have been the best book of the series for me! I really liked how everything came together and it was nice to follow the story having gotten to know these characters and really get into their histories. I really enjoyed the conclusion and that it included even deeper layers of these worlds and how they entwined with each other.

One thing I always have a hard time with in sci-fi books is how much science the reader should really be exposed to. We knew the Firebirds worked and that there was a lot of physics and science behind them, but I always found myself wanting to know just a bit more about the science behind it. I understand we don’t want to bog readers down with complicated explanations but I always feel that it adds to the world-building (at least personally, for me) and adds that sense of reality instead of just saying “we created these with science and the science works”. Obviously there’s no real technology like that (at least not that the public knows *cue conspiracy theory music*) but I was left wanting just a biiiiit more of an explanation of why the science made it work the way it did. There were descriptions of how the Firebirds worked but I wanted to know how the science made those functions possible. Maybe I’m going one step too far, haha.

Anyway, I found this book really enjoyable! The whole series was a very solid four-star read for me but I never quite fell head over heels for it, and I think that was because of the characters. They were all very good characters with depth (as noted in their different personalities in different dimensions), but I just never LOVED them. I did love all of the different universes and I’m still impressed with how much time and thought went into each one of them.

Listening via audio, I did find one discontinuity which wasn’t a big deal but it really bothered me for the brief moment that it existed and I needed to get it off my chest! If you want to check it out, head over to my Goodreads review and peek between the spoiler tags!

So TL;DR, this series was very fun in terms of concept and set-up! I didn’t totally love the characters — mostly the romance. I don’t know why but I never fully got on board! I think I liked Theo better, to be honest… I love the rakish rogues, what can I say? — but it was a super solid series and I loved the creativity and detail!

SERIES THOUGHTS

The Firebird Trilogy was really enjoyable! I thought it was a very solid series, all quite good with some great characters, excellent settings, and creative plotting. I really loved that the different universes Marguerite travels to aren’t just slight changes but large changes. It was different from the other alt-reality books I’ve read and it was quite fun to experience such alternate realities!

I was on the wrong side of the love triangle the whole time, so that was hard for me, but I did enjoy the characters to a certain extent. When you’re on the wrong side of a love triangle, it’s REALLY hard to fall into the “do anything for love” concept so that became slightly unrealistic for me but I tried to go with it.

I did want a little more detail with the science to better explain some things but I really enjoyed all of the dynamics between all of the characters and how the different worlds shaped them. I never quite fell in love with these books but they were all very, very good reads and I like the way everything wrapped up! It’s always nice to be able to recommend a series from start to finish.

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Addiction Rating
Read them!

These books were so interesting and Claudia Grey did a wonderful job with the different worlds. I’m really glad I finally read this series!!

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BOOKS LIKE THE FIREBIRD TRILOGY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Top Ten Tuesday: December 5, 2017 – Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic: 
Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

If they could all be Hogwarts, they’d all be Hogwarts…. But I GUESS I can pick a few others…


HOGWARTS | At least now we really CAN visit Hogwarts, even if it’s a theme park and not the actual thing. It’s as close as I’ll ever come! I can’t wait to finally go HOPEFULLY in 2018. That’s the dream and I’m sticking to it!

THISBY | I listen to THE SCORPIO RACES every year and I would just love to be on Thisby with its wonderful simplicity, camaraderie with Sean & Puck, and dear Finn.

HENRIETTA | Take me to gorgeous Henrietta where I can live with the Gangsey forever and ever.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS | Don’t you just immediately want to visit The Night Circus when you read about it? Real magic disguised as false magic. Ugh. I bet it’s amazing.

SOAP | That’s the School of America in Paris for you non-ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS people. I could be in Paris and spend time with Anna and her friends!

THE GRISHAVERSE | So this coooould be dangerous depending on the time but I need to get lost in the Grishaverse. Take me to Ravka and Ketterdam and all of the exciting and dangerous and beautiful places in this universe!

WESTEROS | Another potentially dangerous place but I’m just visiting, right? I can vacation somewhere safe or just jet-set to each location without actually interacting with anyone/anything TOO bad.

PANEM | This sounds insane but I’ve always been interested in dystopian worlds and I’d really just like to see what it was like! I’d love to explore and see how the world has changed, how society is different, and all of the new and crazy things that have happened.

THE COSMERE | The Cosmere isn’t the most glamorous place but I’m in love with so many of its worlds. I’d just really love to poke around and explore where some of my favorite books take place!


What are some of your favorite bookish settings? What literary location would make your vacation spot?

Statistics Survey 2017

Four years ago, Andi (Andi’s ABCs) and I got to talking about how much we love the end-of-the-year surveys (and really all of the other surveys) that go around, obviously Jamie’s Annual End of the Year Survey (The Perpetual Page Turner) being one of our favorites! After a discussion of our love of stats and looking back on our year in reading through statistics, we decided to devise a survey to help us with our quest and the STATISTICS SURVEY was born! The Statistics Survey is back for another year so feel free to fill out any time you’re ready with your reading year in stats!

Obsessed with your bookish stats like we are? Join us for the 4th annual Statistics Survey!

This survey is more about checking out the facts and details behind what you read and not necessarily favorites and reflecting. Fill out and post whenever you like (my answers will be going up in late December or early January to get the full year in)! These statistics should all be for books that you read in 2017 (not books necessarily published in 2017). We have a linky at the bottom to link up your survey once it’s done! Hope you have fun!

NumberOf

  • Number of books read…
    • Under 250 pages (not including novellas):
    • Between 400-449 pages:
    • Between 450-499 pages:
    • Over 500 pages:
    • Over 1000 pages:
  • Number of…
    • Audiobooks:
    • Re-reads:
    • DNFs (did not finish):
  • Number of books rated…
    • Five Stars:
    • One/Two Stars:
  • Number of authors met in 2017:
  • Number of book events attended in 2017:
  • Number of books you read in one day:
  • Number of books that made you cry:
  • Number of 2017 books you have on pre-order:

BytheBooks

  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?):
  • Book that took you the longest to read:
  • Book that you personally connected with the most:
  • Book that made you love the villain:
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again:
  • Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date:
  • Book you read on your birthday:
  • Book with a character who shares your name:
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?):
  • Book you read in 2017 but already want to re-read:
  • Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have:
  • Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again:
  • Most books read by one author this year:

ThisThat

  • Happiest & saddest:
  • Longest & shortest…
    • By page number:
    • By title:
    • From buying to reading:
  • Best & worst…
    • Average rating on Goodreads:
    • Books you read/your rating:
    • Series enders:
  • First & last…
    • Reads of 2017:
    • Books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right):
  • Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise:
  • Fandom you joined & one you abandoned:
  • Series you picked up & series you quit:
  • Most lenient & harshest ratings:
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False Start [3] – Hold Me Closer Necromancer, Heart of Iron, The Names They Gave Us

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My schedule has been sooooo busy lately that I’ve hardly had time to read anything in print. Almost everything has been an audiobook and really audio or no, it’s hard to stick with a book when I’m not totally enjoying it in one way or another.

Today on False Start, I’m sharing a couple titles that I’ve put on hold and I’m deciding whether I should come back to them or not!


NECROMANCING THE STONE by Lish McBride

I really enjoyed HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER but I’m just having a hard time getting into this one! I grabbed the audio to read around Halloween and I didn’t reeeeally like the narrator but he also wasn’t awful. I also have a lot less fondness for shape-shifters than I did for the other paranormal happenings in the first book.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I’ll probably come back to it someday as print. It’s only two books and they’re very fun, but this one wasn’t grabbing me.


HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston

This actually started out really fun in the first few chapters, reminding me of The Lunar Chronicles meets Mistborn. Now it just feels TOO much like The Lunar Chronicles and so many other series out there. I’m not feel like it’s super original, there are a lot of characters, and I hate this robot romance.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I thought this was going to be a stellar read for me (no pun intended) and it’s just … disappointing. I loved GEEKERELLA from Poston but this one isn’t clicking. I made it 30% and I’m having a hard time getting further in so I may ditch it with a sad heart.


THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord

This kiiiinda of doesn’t count since I barely started it but I immediately had to put it on hold. I’ve loved all of Emery Lord’s books but with cancer being so prominent in the first few chapters, I just can’t bring myself to read it. I tried. I can’t right now. The main character’s mother’s cancer returns and I’m putting all of my energy into keeping focused on cancers being in remission that I just can’t read this at the moment.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I want to finish, but it can’t be right now. Maybe down the road when everything is further behind me, personally.


Have you read any of these books? What have you thought? Did you love them or leave them?

Last Seen Leaving – Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving – Caleb RoehrigTitle: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Publishing Info: October 4, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, BEA 2016, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 14, 2017

Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

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This was another solid young adult mystery/thriller for me! As with most YA mysteries, I did have a little bit of disbelief that the police didn’t get as involved as they should have but that’s been one of my hang-ups in YA mysteries. The police are often shutting kids down (which, fair, they don’t need to nor can they divulge information about cases to teenagers, no matter how involved they might have been) but too often things are left at a shut-down and then there’s no showing that the police were even investigating at all. Anyway, like usual, we’ll suspend that disbelief for the sake of it being a YA mystery.

Let’s also suspend the disbelief of Flynn’s language because like many John Green books, I don’t know anyone who speaks like that, teenager or adult. I’m not saying you have to be a word nerd in order to use “big words” but some of those words aren’t even in my vocabulary much less in a teen’s, so it was noticeable to me.
January also kind of reminded me of Alaska in LOOKING FOR ALASKA in the sense that I think I was supposed to like her but … I really didn’t. Was I supposed to like January? I can’t tell. She was kind of all over the place and obviously Flynn cares for her but there was also a lot of “January is so special” and some clear manipulation here that I ended up being suspicious of her instead of hoping this was all a big misunderstanding. I think it was also the narration and the was her tone was portrayed because it was a very haughty voice and I wasn’t a fan of her character because of it.

LAST SEEN LEAVING has been compared to GONE GIRL, which is always a huge comparison in my opinion because those are some big shoes to fill, but I also definitely see where that’s coming from. I hate when comparisons are made because then it MAKES me draw conclusions similar to the plot of the book it was compared to which can be spoilers, so boo on that affecting my reading experience, but that’s also part of what drew me in so beggars can’t be choosers! Anyway — I totally see the GONE GIRL comparison except that feel left me thinking it was going to be more sinister than it was. Don’t get me wrong, some very Not Okay things happen in this book and it gets troubling and complicated, but that thought misled me juuuust a bit.

Okay, enough with the complaining. I actually did enjoy this book so let’s talk about the nice things! I really liked Flynn’s character. It wasn’t to the point of gushing but I felt like he was pretty realistic, heroics aside, and I appreciated how he handled all of life’s complications, including a life-changing admission of his own. I really liked how he handled everything, from personal relationships to self-revelations to friendships to murder investigations — it may not have always been in the BEST way, but he always seemed realistic and I thought he did a pretty good job of staying true to himself. The secondary characters outside of Flynn didn’t have as much depth as I would have liked but I also felt them to be pretty realistic as well. I loved his parents and how involved they were in the book. It wasn’t a TON of page time but they were always there to support him no matter what was going on and it’s just always so nice to see that. I wished we had gotten to know Flynn’s friends a bit more and I know some people were upset with how Micah ended up treating him but again, I also don’t think it’s unrealistic. It may have not been the best way to support your friend but what teenager handles everything perfectly?

The mystery was definitely interesting and I was left guessing until the very end! I’m glad I was still surprised at how everything went down but there were a few twists and for some reason the way that they were all laid out, I was still expecting one more (as if that wasn’t all enough for me lol). I was aaaalmost satisfied with the ending but there was just something there that I was missing. Maybe I’ve been reading too many adult thrillers where EVERYONE is so messed up that I’m expecting characters to be even worse than they are. I was very surprised and it was something I never would have guessed, at least how the reveal happened, so that was really cool.

This book has a lot happening and a lot going for it and I was definitely interested from start to finish! There were many complex friendships and relationships, an interesting mystery, and a diverse cast of characters. I think it was a very solid read, even though I had a few hang-ups as mentioned above, but I know they’re more minor things that didn’t really take away from my overall feeling about the book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA mysteries. I enjoyed the way this book was put together! Mysteries can be tricky in YA, especially murder mysteries, but I thought this was done well!
Left Me Wanting More: Shock factor? Being compared to GONE GIRL kind of set me up for a huge shock. The ending was something I wasn’t anticipating but I wasn’t bowled over.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a nice, solid read that I enjoyed and would recommend!

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BOOKS LIKE LAST SEEN LEAVING

          

This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnis

This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnisTitle: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
Publishing Info: October 10, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Psych/Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Thriller, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 18, 2017
Related Posts: A Madness So Discreet, The Female of the Species

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.

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I can’t even… what??? This book was not at all what I expected and without heading into spoiler-town (yet), I will say that I went through an array of feelings while reading it. Well hell, the book isn’t what I expected while reading it either. It was just… well-done, Mindy McGinnis. You have slayed me.

Okay, so avoiding spoilers for now, here’s what I can tell you about this book: it’s about a girl named Sasha who is the good girl, won’t even swear, is extremely dedicated to her music (clarinet) and works hard to the point of obsessing over being perfect with music, grades, and being good. Things start to take a turn when she discovers that she is (used to be) a twin, but her sister was never actually born and was absorbed in the womb. This is an actual thing that happens sometimes so okay. Sasha seems shaken by this information and tries to gather more information about her sister-that-could-have-been and things start to go haywire as she becomes entangled with a boy named Isaac, the stereotypical bad-boy with whom Sasha would never interact… except she has, and Isaac has proof. Sasha tries to figure out how and why and then we head into the twisty part of this book…

So up until this point, I was like eeeeeeehhhhahhhahhh I don’t know about this. I wasn’t super keen on the twin-thing being a big part of the story because I didn’t see that coming (yes, I KNOW it’s in the synopsis — reminder 184300495 that I go into books blind so I can be so very surprised by things like this and usually it creates for an even more amazing story because it was definitely a reveal that I was surprised by instead of knowing it was coming. See?) and like the obsessive person that Sasha is, she starts to take the investigation of her sister a little too far and takes on a little too much.

There are a LOT of spoilers I could talk about but won’t include them in here for those who haven’t read the book but be sure to check out my Goodreads review if you want to see what’s behind the spoiler tags there!

The book truly shook me with its ending but there were also parts that were just plain weird. It ended up totally coming together but I must admit that I was kind of like oooooookay for a few good sections of the book where I wasn’t sure how I felt. This book is one to mess with your head and your emotions and even if you’re not crazy about the beginning, it’s so worth finishing because you won’t want to miss that ending.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Twisted stories. This was a sort of psychological thriller that I was not expecting and I kiiiind of loved it. I love being surprised by something new and this was definitely different!
Left Me Wanting More: Realism? I mean, things got straight up WEIRD for a while. I guess the book sooort of lost me just for a bit but really, it all worked itself out.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

This gets kind of weird but WHOA the ending was totally worth it! Stick with it and you’ll be shocked.

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BOOKS LIKE THIS DARKNESS MINE

          

Top Ten Tuesday: November 21, 2017 – Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic: 
Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

It’s almost Thanksgiving and it’s not usually my favorite holiday (not a bad one but just not on the top of this list) but I’m actually super excited for it this year. We didn’t get to celebrate at all last year due to some medical things so I’m super looking forward to spending the day with my family! I also get Black Friday off of work for the first time in eight years so I’m pretty pumped about that too!

I’m always, always thankful for books. Not only because of my love of reading, but they’ve provided me with so many opportunities to connect with amazing people who have become my closest friends! Here are a few I’m extra thankful for!

THE HARRY POTTER SERIES by J.K. Rowling | This will basically always be number one on this list. There’s just a magic (no pun intended) that this series brings to people’s lives and has connected SO many people through books and even through movies. My parents have never read the books but they’ve enjoyed the movies and even want to go to HP World! I’ve connected with so many readers from our love of this series and the magic truly spans generations.

CINDER by Marissa Meyer | The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series and I have been able to have SO many amazing experiences because of my participation in sharing the love! I’ve been able to received advanced copies, a manuscript, be on blog tours, interview Marissa Meyer, moderate a Fierce Reads panel, and so much more. It’s VERY cool to be recognized by the publisher for doing something you already love and I’m so thankful that I not only fell in love with this series but that it’s brought me to so many other amazing opportunities too!

THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldberg | If it wasn’t for this book, I don’t know if Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I would have met! Well, I’m sure we would have but we both knew we were super cool people because of our love for The Princess Bride and it’s what kicked off our friendship!! She’s been one of my best friends for years and I’m so glad that this book kicked off our friendship. Plus I’m also so thankful for the movie HA.

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater | After my first read of this book, I’ve started re-reading it every year. It’s not super heavy in action (though it has its moments) but it doesn’t need to be. The characters carry this book and the atmosphere is so magical. There’s something truly realistic about this magical place and I love revisiting it every year.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins | I adore this book and always will. I’ve taken to re-reading it on my birthday every year as a birthday present to myself. I relate to Anna in so many way and I simply adore Etienne St. Clair. It’s just such a wonderful read and I love reliving it!

THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater | While we’re talking about Maggie Stiefvater, let’s also talk about The Raven Cycle. These books. This series. These characters. They just make me FEEL so many things. I re-read the entire series from start to finish this year and I just felt it all over again.

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry | Sadly the end of this series didn’t go so well for me but I still remember reading this book in 7th or 8th grade and being so in awe of it. I re-read it as an adult (though I still haven’t seen the movie) and it’s still just as solid!

WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech | Any nostalgic list of mine will hold this book on it. I read it as a pre-teen and fell absolutely in love with it and this was another childhood re-read that I read as an adult and oh my word. I SOBBED. I still have all of those feelings and they’re even more magnified with all of my adult experiences.

TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer | Don’t hate, guys! Without TWILIGHT, I might not be the reader that I am today. I wasn’t reading for fun for quite a few years and then I just started dipping back into reading with some adult fiction but wasn’t obsessive over it. The TWILIGHT craze got me really back into reading with book discussions with my friends, obsessing over movies, and epic binge reads and re-reads.

HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter | This is a little different because while I do enjoy the books, it’s on my list because it was one of the first audiobooks that I really enjoyed. I had listened to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS as I think the very first and I didn’t like the narrator (or, well, the book) so I’m so thankful for this book launching me into the world of audio!

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo | Like The Lunar Chronicles, this book/series has presented me with so many bookish opportunities and I’m SO thankful to have the amazing books by Leigh Bardugo in my life. I’ve been able to see Leigh on tour many times and she’s absolutely wonderful. I continue to enjoy her books, the fandom, the Grishaverse, her tours, and everything involved with these excellent works.


What are some of the books that you’re thankful for? What books have changed your life?