Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Heartless – Marissa MeyerTitle: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: November 8, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 5, 2016
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection)

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

bookreview1

If you know me or my blog, I’m sure you know how big of a Lunar Chronicles fan I am! I’ve basically grown obsessed with Marissa Meyer’s books so naturally when I heard about HEARTLESS, I was freaking out. When I received a glorious, glorious copy of HEARTLESS at BEA this year (as well as getting the chance to meet and chat with Marissa), I knew it was the first book from BEA that I was going to start! I was a bit apprehensive but wholly excited, as one usually is when starting a new book by their favorite author. I really love prequel and sequel adaptations of classic novels as well as the “what might have happened” retellings but prequels have a special place in my heart for some reason. I was doubly excited to start HEARTLESS because of this reason and also because it promised to be a little bit darker since the book revolved around the beginnings of the Queen of Hearts!

The first thing I’ll say is that this not The Lunar Chronicles… But I’m glad that it wasn’t! I think it’s easy for a writer to stick to a style or tone that they know and that’s definitely great to sort of make a name for yourself with a specific style. You could say that Marissa Meyer is getting that niche of fairy tales and retellings since HEARTLESS is different in so many ways but it still is a fairy tale adaptation. I’m really glad to be able to read such a different tone, setting, and context for this retelling than what we had see in The Lunar Chronicles! I’m impressed with how different this book was and how it really stood on its own, even after following such a massive series. Marissa really did an amazing job at bringing HEARTLESS to life and having it stand on its own!

I’m not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan so I don’t know the story inside and out, but from what I do know, I feel like the book followed the general story quite closely. This was nice to see so many things from the original tale pop up throughout the book and yet I felt like I was missing that sense of originality that I felt in The Lunar Chronicles (as an easy example) that really developed a story of its own and wasn’t just a straight retelling. Even though HEARTLESS is a prequel of sorts, it still really felt quite similar to Alice in Wonderland in many ways and I would have loved to see a few more original aspects that truly had the book standing out from Alice. On the flip side, it was cool to see how something could be used in the Queen’s time as a teenager/young adult that later comes back when Alice enters Wonderland. HEARTLESS was much more of a closely-following adaptation than just an inspiration.

One thing I worried about with an Alice adaption is how whimsical the original story is and that’s not something I always get along with in books. I enjoy adaptations so I was hoping HEARTLESS would be like The Lunar Chronicles in that way — the fairy tale inspires the book but it’s a bit more modern. HEARTLESS was definitely more like Alice than The Lunar Chronicles in this sense. The tone, content, and whimsy were all reminiscent of the original book. Rather than being a prequel concept, this was written as a true prequel to mimic the original Alice story itself. I did have a hard time with some of the whimsical fantasy in the book (as I have with Alice). Well, I shouldn’t say that I had a hard time. More like it wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed. I didn’t dislike it but sometimes those things end up feeling more silly to me than fun.

The characters were really quite lovely. We get to see pre-madness Hatter (who was always one of my favorite Alice characters) and glimpses of characters like the White Rabbit and other Tea Party guests. Cath was so interesting throughout the book and I kept trying to take a peek at what might turn her into a heartless queen later on in the book. It actually did make me rather anxious because I just knew that the book couldn’t have a happy ending!! Every hope she had I was nervous for and of course that went doubly for the romance. Jest (the romantic interest) fought for my favorite character (against Hatta) in HEARTLESS and I didn’t know whether I was supposed to be wary of him at first or fall in love with him! And the King of Hearts was just so bumbling and cringe-worthy that it truly made every scene with him unbearable and nerve-wracking since you know that Cath is supposed to end up as the Queen!!

I really did enjoy HEARTLESS from start to finish. I thought the tale of the (future) Queen of Hearts was quite interesting and very well done. I liked how Catherine was a seemingly normal girl right from the start of the book and I spent the entire read really wondering how this whole thing was going to flip and turn back on itself to inspire a personality change. The concept was handled really well and even though I was expecting this to read a bit more sinisterly as if from a villain’s point of view, I did enjoy that I was really kept guessing until the end how that switch was going to happen!
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 2.31.50 PM

character_breakdown1

Catherine // Character obsessions: Baking, friendship, love, avoiding the king.
I’m not gonna lie… I was hoping this book would have Catherine as a villainous character right from the start. I was excited to read something a little dark and sinister… But I also did appreciate seeing the “true” history behind the Queen of Hearts and how she came to end up so ruthless when she was once normal Catherine. Marissa Meyer did a great job with her character and I really loved that slow creep of doubt slip in and then the sudden flip!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Prequels. Prequels are SO cool. I really, really love seeing what a world was like before the story even begins ad all of the backstories of everything. It also adds a whole separate level of world building that I LOVE.
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I know that it’s a fairy tale retelling and this definitely felt more like a retelling than an adaptation, which I was surprised to find in a prequel since those usually build their own stories a bit more. Granted, I’m not SUPER familiar with Alice so I’m not sure what changed and what was the same but I did feel a lot of Alice elements that I did know and I just wanted more of the Queen’s story than Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

Addiction Rating
Read it

It wasn’t my favorite book from Marissa Meyer so far but it was fun and absolutely enjoyable. I loved reading a different fairy tale adaption and like always, she did a great job with the characters and really pulling a story together! It’s also so nice that it’s a stand alone so you won’t have to wait for future books!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE HEARTLESS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

NANTUCKET BLUE    TIGER LILY

Crooked Kingdom Blog Tour | Matthias Is…

copy-of-crooked-kingdom-blog-tour-banner

Welcome to the blog tour for
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo!

I basically have two super-huge fandom loves and Leigh Bardugo’s books are one of them! Leigh Bardugo’s books are special to me for so many reasons but I’ll always remember that the Fierce Reads tour in 2012 was the very first author event that I ever went to and I bought SHADOW AND BONE because of that tour! I fell in love with the book and have been obsessed with everything Grisha ever since! (As you can see, the love for all things Grisha is STRONG!)

grisha shelfie

I’m so excited to be on the CROOKED KINGDOM blog tour today, sharing some thoughts and quotes about one of my favorite Dregs characters, Matthias! Matthias Helvar is almost sort of the straight-man for the group of thieves, cons, and misfits. Even after being accepted into the group as one of them and eventually accepting that he really does sort of fit in with these “heathens”, as he affectionately calls Nina at once point in time, Matthias is still the person who (ineffectively) tries to be the voice of reason and morality. I think I love his story the most in SIX OF CROWS because I think he goes through the largest personal transformation. The only reason he survives in Hellgate is because he’s so intent on exacting revenge on the girl who got him there… who happens to be Nina. He also used to be a member of the Druskëlle, a group of Fjerdan “witch hunters” who hunted down those with Grisha powers. Matthias really stuck with me throughout this book because I loved seeing all of the changes within him. The Dregs crew springs him from prison so he owes them for his freedom and agrees to work with them… And the more time he spends with them, the more they grow on him. He realizes that Grisha powers doesn’t make someone a bad person. Those hard edges soften and he begins to let people in. And he starts down the load and beautiful road of one of my favorite tropes, a hate-to-love romance, with finally letting that vengeance grudge against Nina go and letting her into his heart. I loved watching Matthias find his place with this band of misfits, him being one himself after not being able to return to the Druskëlle. I also love watching his gruff demeanor soften and all of the glorious, glorious banter that occurs between Nina and Matthias throughout the  book as they really grow fond of each other.

My task on today’s blog tour stop is to share some things about Matthias by completing the sentence “Matthias is…” so for those of you who said TL;DR to my love-professing paragraph above, check out these short and quick descriptions of one of my favorite SIX OF CROWS characters, Matthias Helvar!

This beautiful Matthias image is by Kevin Wada!

This beautiful Matthias image is by Kevin Wada!

MATTHIAS IS… a convict.

“A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”

Matthias is broken out of Hellgate prison, a convicted man after Nina essentially got him stuck there.

MATTHIAS IS… traditional.

“Why don’t Fjerdans let girls fight?”
“They don’t want to fight.”
“How do you know? Have you ever asked one?”
“Fjerdan women are to be venerated, protected.”
“That’s probably a wise policy.”
“It is?”
“Think how embarrassing it would be for you when you got trounced by a Fjerdan girl.”

Matthias is a bit more traditional in his ways of thinking and not as modern and progressive as the rest of the Dregs. Nina is pretty much a badass, sassy, and whip-smart. She keeps Matthias on his toes and calls him out when his antiquated thinking is getting him in trouble. Matthias learns a lot from the strong women he meets along the way of this story and really starts to understand that women are so much more than things to be protected. (Or witches.)

MATTHIAS IS… reasonable.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

I love how Matthias is essentially the voice of reason for this crew. I’d say he used to be a bit pious in his former Druskëlle days and he still carries around that notion to make things “right” and “respectable”. It cracks me up to watch the rest of the Dregs crew throw morality out the window and Matthias appalled reactions to it!

MATTHIAS IS… strong.

“Matthias and Wylan seized the rope to pull him up. Jesper wasn’t sure how much Wylan was actually helping, but he was certainly working hard.”

Matthias is the brute force of the group. Where others have strength in wits and education, Matthias has more strength in physicality.

MATTHIAS IS… passionate.

Then he cupped her face in his hands. “Jer molle pe oonet. Enel mörd je nej afva trohem verretn.” Nina swallowed hard. She remembered those words and what they truly meant. I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath. It was the vow of the drüskelle to Fjerda. And now it was Matthias’ promise to her.

I’d say Matthias is one of the most passionate of the bunch! While many of the others in the Dregs crew have worked on hardening themselves and shutting themselves off to feelings, Matthias lets his emotions dictate his actions in so many ways. He joined the Druskëlle and let his passion for witch-hunting define who he was. He allowed his rage to consume him and drive his life forward when all else was lost in Hellgate. And he made a vow to Nina to protect her at all costs when she won his heart.

MATTHIAS IS…  a tulip.

“I wonder what Matthias would have to say about that outfit.”
“He wouldn’t approve.”
“He doesn’t approve of anything about you. But when you laugh, he perks up like a tulip in fresh water.”
Nina snorted. “Matthias the tulip.”
“The big, brooding, yellow tulip.”

In all ways that Matthias is a brute and brooding and fierce, he’s also just a little yellow tulip that perks up whenever Nina is around.

LEIGH BARDUGO ON MATTHIAS

Oh, Matthias, my big blonde tulip. So Jay Snyder narrates Matthias’ chapters in the Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom audiobooks, and he has this fantastic movie trailer voice. In Crooked Kingdom, Matthias is really wrestling with his feelings for Nina and his ideas about propriety, and I could not get Jay’s voice out of my head. It always left me giggling. I’d just imagine Jay in the recording booth, looking up from his script and saying—in that super gravelly Optimus Prime voice—”Really?”

I 100% agree with Leigh! I LOVE Jay’s voice. It’s perfect for Matthias and kind of dreamy to listen to. It’s makes his personality come alive that much more — and I can’t wait to see what Leigh Bardugo has in store for Matthias in CROOKED KINGDOM after that snippet!!

Author Links/Info

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Full International Blog Tour Schedule
Each blog features different original blog content as well as exclusive content from Leigh Bardugo about the main characters of The Dregs crew!

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY: Anyone who comments on all 12 blog tour posts (US and UK) by 11:59 PM EST on Monday, October 3, will be entered into a raffle for a special Grisha Prize Pack thanks to the team at Macmillan/Fierce Reads! Check out the full schedule below to see where you need to head to be entered!

September 21:
JESPER is…
UK: FANTASY FACTION
US: Two Chicks on Books 

September 22:
WYLAN is….UK: BENJAMIN OF TOMES
US: The Irish Banana Reviews

September 23:
MATTHIAS is…
UK: JESS HEARTS BOOKS
US: The Book Addict’s Guide

September 24:
NINA is…
UK: MUGGLENET
US: Adventures of a Book Junkie

September 25:
INEJ is…
UK: BOOKSMUGGLERS
US: Across the Words

September 26:
KAZ is…
UK: WINGED REVIEWS
US: The Midnight Garden


Thanks so much for stopping by for this Matthias-filled post! Hope you enjoyed the exclusive content from Leigh Bardugo and don’t forget to visit the  other stops on the blog tour to enter yourself in the raffle to win a Grisha prize pack!! 

Book and a Beverage [162] – Ava from Bookishness and Tea

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

In case you don’t know the deal about Book and a Beverage, it’s a very simple yet fun feature: We read books, we drink beverages, we take pictures of them and then I share your photos and a little about you to the blogging world!

Give a big welcome to Ava from Bookishness and Tea!
image3

1

Name & Blog Name: Hi! My name is Ava, and I’m the blogger at Bookishness and Tea.
Tell us a little about your blog! On my blog, I like to do a little bit of everything: discussions, reviews, Top Ten Tuesday’s, lists… I love spotlighting diverse (especially LGBTQIAP+) books and talk constantly about my favorites. I love tea, and I obviously love books, so that’s where the name comes from.
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) Oh, hmm…that’s difficult! I’ve written a LOT of posts in my year of blogging. One of my favorites, however, is a post I published a few months ago featuring 30 post ideas for book bloggers! I know that a lot of the time, people struggle with coming up with post ideas, so that’s what this post was for. I’ve been told that it WAS helpful! 
Got anything special coming up we should know about? So I found out today that I’m allowed to talk about this now: I was chosen as a teen blogger for Barnes and Noble Teen blog! This is a huge honor for me, and I’m so excited. If you read the blog, you can find me flailing over books under Ava M, starting at the end of this month.

book

Whatcha reading? I’m currently reading The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, the third in the Mistborn trilogy! I loved the first two books, and I was so excited to start this one.
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc): I borrowed this book from my school library, who actually has a lot of YA books I’d like to read, unlike my previous school! It’s the American edition, which is SO UGLY, as you can see by the photo above. The U.K. editions (which I own the first two in) are so much prettier.
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? It’s my current read, but also: I think EVERYONE needs to read this trilogy.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s really hardcore high fantasy, with a complex magic system, large world, and lots of characters. But it’s incredible. Yes, yes, YES! If you like the things I mentioned above, then I highly recommend it.

beverage

Whatcha drinking? Hmm…can you guess? (Hint: It’s kind of in my blog name.) Yes, I’m currently drinking tea!
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? I know this is the boring answer, but I actually DON’T drink while reading. I’ve spilled on my books too many times to make that mistake again.
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! Of course, I’m choosing tea. What else did you expect?

bonus

What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? You can’t just ask me that!
Okay, fine.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
I could list so many more, but currently, these are the books I’ve been obsessed with. (I read them all over a year ago, so it’s been a WHILE.)
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? Last week, I might not have had an answer for this…but now I do. I found out a little while ago that Kerri Maniscalco, the author of (the soon-to-be-released) Stalking Jack the Ripper, included me in her acknowledgements. This book was one of my favorites that I read from BEA, and I even created a street team for it! Finding that she’d put me in there…I was so, so overwhelmed with emotion. I STILL can’t believe it!
Anything else you’d like to share? My blogiversary (book blogging anniversary) is the 21st of September! It’s crazy to think I’ve been blogging for a whole year.


 Thanks, Ava! Ahhh YAY! I LOVE Kerri. She’s just the sweetest. And I’m so excited/jealous that you’re reading the Mistborn books for the first time! I am SO in love with them! And I agree with you – I can’t stand those version of the American covers! 

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Ava! Connect with her at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Instagram //  Pinterest

A Comprehensive List | Friends-to-More Romance

A COMPREHENSIVE LIST is a new feature designed to help bloggers and readers alike find books according to a specific theme, feature, or concept!

With so many bloggers participating in memes like Top Ten Tuesday or creating lists of their own and so many readers craving a book based on a specific topic or location, I came up with the idea of attempting a database sort of post called A COMPREHENSIVE LIST.

I love making lists and with so many constant topics to choose from — based on blog post or reading mood — I thought this would be a great way to help out other bloggers or readers when they’re in need of a list based on a specific topic that’s not easily searchable.

Below you’ll see my list of books for the designated post topic. I also invite anyone and everyone to use the form all the way at the bottom to submit their own! There are obviously so many books that I haven’t read that I wouldn’t think to include so we need community support to make these lists as wholly encompassing as possible!

These lists will be for YOUNG ADULT BOOKS although I would like to also include some adult books or middle grade books with YA crossover (like middle grade series that extend up into young adult age range or new adult/adult books that feature teenager characters, etc). Before submitting anything to this list, please check the post to make sure it hasn’t already been added! I’m manually updating these lists so any assistance not to add extra work is helpful. All books will be sorted by author and then series.

This post is all about the FRIENDS-TO-MORE romance and YA books that feature them. Check out the list below and add your own using the form!

book list

FRIENDS-TO-MORE ROMANCES

Because some of these are series, please note that that not ALL of the books in the series may feature the friends-to-more romance but it does play a big role in the series at some point in time! 

  • BARDUGO, LEIGH
  • BENWAY, ROBIN
  • BUXBAUM, JULIE
  • BRODY, JESSICA
  • CARTER, ALLY
  • CIOCCA, GINA
  • COLLINS, SUZANNE
    • The Hunger Games trilogy | Number of books: 3 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • The Hunger Games (#1), Catching Fire (#2), Mockingjay (#3)
  • DERTING, KIMBERLY
  • EULBERG, ELIZABETH
  • GAUGHEN, A.C. 
    • The Scarlet Trilogy | Number of books: 3 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • Scarlet (#1), Lady Thief (#2), Lion Heart (#3)
  • KONEN, LEAH
  • LONDON, KIARA
  • MEYER, MARISSA
    • The Lunar Chronicles | Number of books: 4 (plus novellas/prequels/shorts)| Goodreads | Amazon
      • Cinder (#1), Scarlet (#2), Cress (#3), Winter (#4) | Note: The “friends-to-more” romance doesn’t appear until book #4, Winter
  • PALMER, ROBIN
  • PERKINS, STEPHANIE
    • Anna and the French Kiss companion novels | Goodreads | Amazon
      • Anna and the French Kiss (#1), Lola and the Boy Next Door (#2) | Note: Book #3 in the companion collection, Isla and the Happily Ever After, does not feature the friends-to-more trope
  • POSTON, ASHLEY
    • Radio Hearts series | Number of books: | Goodreads | Amazon
      • The Sound of Us (#1), We Own the Night (#2) | Note: We Own the Night is the book with the friends-to-more romance
  • ROWLING, J.K.
    • The Harry Potter series | Number of books: 8 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (#1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (#4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (#5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (#7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (#8)
  • STIEFVATER, MAGGIE
    • The Raven Cycle | Number of books: 4 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • The Raven Boys (#1), The Dream Thieves (#2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3), The Raven King (#4)
  • TASH, SARVENAZ
  • WEST, KASIE

ADULT/NEW ADULT/MIDDLE GRADE CROSSOVER

  • CAHILL, ELLIE
  • HALLE, KARINA
  • KENNEDY, ELLE 
    • Off-Campus Series | New Adult | Number of Books: 4 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • The Deal (#1), The Mistake (#2), The Score (#3), The Goal (#4)
  • LAYNE, LAUREN
    • Love Unexpectedly series | Number of books: 3 | Goodreads | Amazon
      • Blurred Lines (#1), Good Girl (#2), Love Story (#3)

Have more books to add to the list? Submit them using the form below!

Want to see more comprehensive lists of different topics? Leave me a comment and let me know which lists you’d like to see!

Top Ten Tuesday – September 20, 2016: All About Audio

TTTbanner

TOP TEN TUESDAY
September 20, 2016

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was All About Audio! 

I accidentally jumped the gun on this topic a couple weeks ago when I posted about my favorite audiobook narrators (Rats!) so instead, for today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m going to compile a sort of hodgepodge of my favorite audiobooks, narrators, and other things audio-related, except in threes instead of tens!

BY BOOK

MY TOP THREE WELL-KNOWN SERIES RECS

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling | Read by Jim Dale
  • The Magicians series by Lev Grossman | Read by
  • The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich | Read by Lorelai King

MY TOP THREE BRANDON SANDERSON READS/LISTENS (because I’ve read so many)

  • The Mistborn series | Read by Michael Kramer
  • The Reckoners Trilogy | Read by MacLeod Andrews
  • The Rithmatist | Read by Michael Kramer

THREE AUDIOBOOKS I DNFed WHOSE NARRATORS I ACTUALLY LIKED

  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

THREE SERIES I’VE RE-READ AS AUDIOBOOKS

  • Harry Potter
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • The Grisha Trilogy

THREE SERIES I BINGED AS AUDIOBOOKS

  • The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
  • The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
  • The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

THREE BOOKS I HALF READ & HALF LISTENED

  • A Song of Ice and Fire (series) by George R.R. Martin
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (I couldn’t stop!)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (wanted to hurry up and read!)

MY TOP AUDIOBOOKS EVER

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

BY NARRATOR

MY TOP THREE NARRATORS WITH AN ACCENT

  • Michael Page
  • Jim Dale
  • Philip Battley

THREE SURPRISING NARRATOR CHOICES THAT TOTALLY WORKED

  • Will Patton for The Raven Cycle (old southern guy narrating a teen novel)
  • Michael Kramer for The Rithmatist (usually does adult audiobooks)
  • Jesse Eisenberg for The Curse Worker Trilogy (surprise celeb narrator)

MY TOP THREE MALE NARRATORS

  • MacLeod Andrews
  • Steve West
  • Michael Kramer

MY TOP THREE FEMALE NARRATORS

  • Julia Whelan
  • Jorjeana Marie
  • Lorelai King

MY TOP THREE CELEBRITY NARRATORS

  • Wil Wheaton
  • Jesse Eisenberg
  • Anne Hathaway

MY TOP THREE “AUTHORATORS” (AUTHORS WHO NARRATE THEIR OWN BOOKS)

  • Neil Gaiman | The Graveyard Book
  • Adriana Mather | How to Hang a Witch
  • Libba Bray | Beauty Queens

MY TOP FULL CAST/MORE THAN THREE NARRATOR RECORDINGS

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • As You Wish by Cary Elwes

MY TOP THREE NARRATORS OVERALL

  • MacLeod Andrews
  • Wil Wheaton
  • Michael Kramer

Those are some of my audiobook favorites! It was actually really fun breaking them down into categories. I’ve never done that before!

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally CarterTitle: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: January 20, 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 31, 2016
Related Posts: Heist Society (Heist Society #1), Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

bookreview1

I’m actually really disappointed that this is a new series opener from Ally Carter. I guess I’ve only read two of her books (Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals) but her early books were SO GOOD and this book just fell so flat. I heard it had a bit of a rough start but truly, the whole book felt rough for me.

ALL FALL DOWN felt super repetitive. The story repeating the same five concepts over and over again with no action to follow them up (until the very end of the book) and literally nothing happened for the first half of the book, in my opinion. I felt like the first 75% could have been crammed into a few action-packed chapters but instead, everything was drawn out. I wouldn’t have minded spending time with these characters in place of action, but the time I did spend with them didn’t feel to developed. They weren’t personalities that jumped off the page and everyone fell a little flat.

There were hints at the snark and sass that I love so much but Grace was too busy falling apart all the time for that to really take shape. I get what the book was going for and I followed it, but it all felt a bit too dramatic for me. The visions and hallucinations were just way too much and they really bothered me — as they do in pretty much any other book unless it’s really important and necessary. I’m all for showcasing a character who is suffering from PTSD and other consequences of going through some serious stuff but for some reason this just didn’t work for me in this book. It all felt forced and cheesy instead of informative and genuine.

After all that, I was waiting for the twist (I heard there was one) and… flat again. There were parts of it that were a bit predictable — I got there and understood what was going on but Grace still didn’t and it irritated me how long it reasonably took for her to catch on. There was something I actually wasn’t expecting because it was so cliche but the cliche happened anyway.

ALL FALL DOWN was an easy read and I do think I’ll continue the series but I might sneak a peek at reviews before I do so. I do love the Heist Society series and from the way this book ended, I am hoping for maybe a little more levity and a lot more intrigue in the second book.view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

untitled

 

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I’ve been really into international thrillers lately and I loved the mix of worlds in this book! The vibe was also really great.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I just felt so let down by the overall plot here. There wasn’t much development at all and it was a total snooze-fest throughout the beginning. I was just so bummed because I came to hope for a lot from Ally Carter!

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

It’s hard for me to say. I think I’ll continue the series but I can’t outright recommend this one. I think if the series gets better, I’ll have a better feeling about it!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE ALL FALL DOWN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    

Fast Five Friday | For Fans of Harry Potter

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | FOR FANS OF HARRY POTTER

I previously compiled a list of my Harry Potter recommendations with a whole ton of suggestions for adults who grew up reading the series. Today I’m sharing five quick recommendations for books that had a sort of Harry Potter feel because after finishing Sherry Thomas’ Elemental Trilogy, I can’t stop thinking of all of the HP feels that it gave me! With everyone either trying to push CURSED CHILD out of their minds or hungry for more magic after being back in the world of Harry Potter, I thought this would be a great time for some more recs!

What: The Burning Sky (Book one of The Elemental Trilogy)
Who: Sherry Thomas
Why: Boarding school, a chosen one, a parallel that totally just dawned on me but I can’t tell you now because it spoils a character’s twist, giant serpents, an evil villain, and an Umbridge archetype. Oh, and magic of course.
Where: Goodreads | Review (to come)

What: The Rithmatist (Book one in the Rithmatist series, number of books TBD)
Who: Brandon Sanderson
Why: Magic, Snape archetype, boarding school, magic and non-magic wiedlers, a character with a thirst for knowledge and a best friend who doesn’t really care about school.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Name of the Wind (Book one in the Kingkiller Chronicle)
Who: Patrick Rothfuss
Why: Orphan main character, evil villain crew, boarding school, learning magic, great friend crew, wacky teacher who lends great support, teacher who seems out to get MC
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Alanna: The First Adventure (Book one in the Song of the Lioness quartet)
Who: Tamora Pierce
Why: General Harry Potter feels, from the age range (starting at middle grade and moving to young adult) to the friendships to the general tone and feelnigs it gave me
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Night Circus
Who: Erin Morgenstern
Why: “Harry Potter for adults” — real magic, competing wizards, a beautiful love story, a motley crew of family
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are your go-to recommendations for Harry Potter fans? Which books do you think are the best read-alikes?