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?

An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret RogersonTitle: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 26, 2017

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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Sooooo, the hype ran away with this book a little bit there, didn’t it?
Well, let’s chat. There was a huge hype around this book, especially when you say words like ENCHANTMENT and RAVENS, but sadly I appear to be the black sheep again on another hyped book. From some of the raving reviews, I was expecting so much more when it came to the creation of this world, the depth of the romance, and the pacing of the plot. I was missing a whole lot of world-building, history, and character development. There was soooo much more that could have been done with this book and I felt those gaping holes very noticeably.

One of the biggest letdowns for me about this book is that it just felt so… simple. Everything could have gone so much DEEPER and it all seemed a bit surface-level when it could have been so much more complex and interesting. Isobel is swept away to the lands of the fair folk by the Autumn Prince but it was for a very surface reason and I thought that could have been thought out a lot better. Then there’s some journeying (one of my least favorite things), fleeing from the Wild Hunt, random creatures, and then Isobel is painting portraits of the Fair Folk and… some stuff happens?? It’s not like the plot was lacking in THINGS but it was lacking in following through on any of them. I kept feeling like the things that kept happening were going to go somewhere but nothing really developed into an actual interesting tidbit of world-building or plot.

The Wild Hunt was introduced and Hemlock from the Winter Court who was leading it… but then that kind of didn’t really go anywhere as far as details on what it was, why it was happening, how Hemlock got to be leading it, etc. I won’t get into Isobel and her Fair Folk painting sessions because there are some spoilers there, but same thing — there was so much more story to tell there and unravel some magic and WHY it was happening or WHY it was important but it just kind of… was. I understand with magic systems sometimes you just have to suspend the scientific part of your brain where you need explanations why, but I had a hard time and felt like I was left with the author’s promise that this was just the way it was instead of understanding how a world came to be, its governing systems, its hierarchy, its history, how it functions within a magical realm… It just wasn’t there for me.

Some things were explained but really in passing sentences and there was no rich story behind any of it. Being that this book was only 300 pages, I thought that it could have benefited soooo much more from being 350-400 pages and included more of the world-building that I love so much in fantasy novels. Even the title was lacking for me, being that it’s called AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS and then the actual enchantment itself played such a small part in the story. Rook transformed into a raven but that wasn’t the actual enchantment and the enchantment itself was hardly used, and even when it was referenced again, it didn’t even really come into play.

AEOR was also VERY much like A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES when it didn’t have to be and could have been changed in a lot of ways. I understand that this book could have been written 5 years ago and just got published now… but even if that were the case, things still should have been changed maybe a liiiiittle bit to not be so similar to one of the most popular series out there. Maybe that was the marketing strategy — to actually be a little similar? — because I know that some people liked it BECAUSE of that, but some of the main points were just too similar for my tastes and I really wanted this book to stand on its own. Granted, I don’t know a lot about fae folklore/history/culture/origin stories because I haven’t read as many fae books as other high fantasy so it could be that some of these things were taken from common folklore that I just don’t know… but for the average reader who may not know these things (which I guess is me), things just seemed awfully similar and it was irksome. Between the seasonal courts, purple eyes, a main character who paints, a forbidden romance, the involvement of the Spring Court and where that goes, and a spoiler at the end that I won’t share, I just spotted too many similarities to the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and you know how it goes — once you spot a few, you can’t stop seeing them everywhere.

The romance was also very… basic. We knew Isobel and Rook were going to be the romance in this book but I wasn’t sold on their love. It wasn’t exactly instalove since they had spent weeks together (admittedly not really speaking the whole time…) and but it FELT like instalove. I don’t even have a beef with instalove because I believe you can know a person is who you’re meant to be with when you meet them (especially since my husband and I felt that way when we met) but it just felt tropey and I didn’t feel like these characters had a chemistry. They DID have some good banter and then it disappeared, and I was left wanting so much more. The interactions started out somewhat strong, creating that chemistry between them, and then it was “Woe is me, I’m in love with you!” and “Oops, I’m in love with you too!” and I didn’t understand where that love came from. I wasn’t feeling it and it’s a lot to go from not knowing anyone at all and then willing to sacrifice your life for someone many times over. Just because you say two characters are in love doesn’t mean we’re all going to believe it. I didn’t feel that love emanating from the pages or written in the little nuances (something that Rainbow Rowell does AMAZINGLY well — that has nothing to do with fantasy but she is the queen at writing the things that can’t be put into words). I just felt like I was TOLD a lot of things instead of seeing them.

The ending also happened too quickly and easily and I was not a fan. It seemed to happen so simply and was so anticlimactic. After this lead up to a super-villain, I wasn’t feeling the villainy and POOF everything was okay. The ending felt rushed and easy and I didn’t think it wrapped up well. The book closes with finality but also leaves an opening for a series. I’m guessing it was written in case the reactions were good for more books to be added on, or just for readers to be left thinking about the world to come. This book just left me with so many QUESTIONS.

The TL;DR version is that this book could have been so much MORE and it just wasn’t for me. Especially with the hype and so many five-star reviews, I was expecting a loooot more that just wasn’t there so I’m perfectly okay with being the black sheep on not enjoying this one like everyone else. I’m just not seeing what other readers did.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fae, I guess. I used to not like faerie stories at all. Then I loved some. And then I hated some again. I like trying new things and continuing to seek out new and exciting books.
Left Me Wanting More: Everything. I just felt like this could have been so much MORE. I probably wouldn’t have been as disappointed as I am if it hadn’t been so hyped up.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I wouldn’t personally recommend it based on my experience and yet still… people loved it! I guess go check out your regular trusted reviewers on this one!

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BOOKS LIKE AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS

          

As Seen on Bookstagram | A Never-Ending Unread TBR

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

I guess an unread TBR is redundant, but you know what I mean, right? The TBR keeps growing and all I can think about is how many books I still want and NEED to read. The ones I feel the most guilty about are the books that I’ve borrowed (seriously, don’t let me borrow things. Although I HAVE warned these people) and ones that I’ve purchased on friend recommendations.

I purchased PARALLEL (or did I get it as a gift? Gosh, I don’t even remember at this point. Maybe Goodreads knows but I’ve changed my shelves around a few times) a whiiiiile ago. Like, has to be years at this point. I know Andi (Andi’s ABCs) loves this book and it seems like a total me book! But with the TBR forever growing and less and less time to read, it’s still gone unread, sitting on my shelves even though it’s something that I really want to get to. (Don’t even get me started about the copy of TWIST that I’ve had at my house forever. I told Andi I’d take forever to read it. I didn’t think I meant this long!!)

Do you set priorities for the books you want to read? How do you figure out what you want to read next? Do you skip over high priority books that never get read??


How do you prioritize your TBR? Tell me in the comments below! What books have you been meaning to read for ages??

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

Mini-Review: The Dire King (Jackaby #4) – William Ritter

Mini-Review: The Dire King (Jackaby #4) – William RitterTitle: The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter
Publishing Info: August 22, 2017 by Algonquin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 29, 2017
Related Posts: , Jackaby (Jackaby #1), Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2), Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3)

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

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For some reason, this was the least engaging book of the series for me and I felt a little bogged down and that things were going slowly in the middle. It’s entirely possible that it was because I essentially binge-read the first three books, but that was also only earlier this year and it’s not like there had been THAT much time in between reads. I had a hard time picking the book back up because I felt like it wasn’t really progressing for a while, but I also know that’s my lack of reading time that really hurt my reading pace as well.

I also know that I have a tendency to get overwhelmed when so many supernatural creatures are introduced at once because it always feels like overkill to have them all present at the same time, and that was a big part of THE DIRE KING. Things come to a grand conclusion so everyone an everything are involved and it sort of loses that magic for me when so many creatures are present.

I did absolutely love the ending! There was the perfect amount of bittersweet that every series finale should have. Things were wrapped up nicely, concepts exchanged hands, not everyone was perfectly okay, and it presented a new life for the characters after the events of this series wrapped up. I thought that was handled beautifully!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal but historical. This whole series was a lot of fun! I loved the historical meets paranormal and it was great fun to read.
Left Me Wanting More: Grounding. I just felt like everything was rushing to a conclusion and it was all a bit much sometimes. It didn’t really feel like a natural flow and it seemed like ALL of the supernatural concepts were thrown in at once.

Addiction Rating
Read it

The actual ending itself is super solid — one of the best wrap-ups, I think — but I just wish I had felt the same about the rest of the book. Still worth the read if you’re already three books in!

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BOOKS LIKE THE DIRE KING

          

As Seen on Bookstagram | A Bookish Candle & Bookish Coffee

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

On Sunday, I managed to snag a small moment of relaxation before heading to the shop for another long day of making candles! These moments have been few and far between so it was extra special to take some time to drink my coffee and inhale the smells of one of my favorite bookish candles that I liked to save for weekend mornings!

Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite things with you and some recent bookish obsessions! These are some awesome companies that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already!

THE COFFEE | First, let’s start with the coffee. It’s bookish! There are so many tea companies out there but I’m really not a tea person so I was so excited to find a book-themed coffee company! They’re called Book Lover’s Coffee (easy enough to remember, right?) and they sell whole bean AND ground coffee. If you don’t have a coffee grinder for the whole bean products, you can request to have it ground prior to shipping so don’t let that hold you back! There are several different flavors and they run from generally bookish to relating directly to a book or series. My personal favorite is Book Haul which is vanilla and cinnamon! It comes pre-ground since the cinnamon pieces would be too hard on a normal grinder and it’s positively delicious! The pricing is pretty reasonable for a small business selling some pretty good coffee too!

THE MUG | This Ravenclaw mug is one of my new favorite things (well, I guess it’s not THAT new. I got it as a birthday gift last March (I can’t remember if it was Alyssa or Amy who got it for me but it was from my best friend — that covers it haha!) and it’s from Little Paper Mama! I actually don’t know if she’s still selling them (they’re not currently listed in her Etsy store as of today) but her lettering and artwork is gorgeous! She does have a Stars Hollow mug and lots of prints, bookmarks, and more! I love the lettering on this Ravenclaw mug and it’s simple yet perfect!

THE CANDLE | Last but certainly not least is my current favorite bookish candle. I love Laura from Three Knocks Candles and she sent this #amwriting candle to me and I am SO THANKFUL she did because since I’m not a writer, I probably wouldn’t have purchased it for myself… But the scents are heavenly!! I love Laura’s candles because she has an amazing knack for blends and some really creative ones that I wouldn’t normally think to put together (and I also do this for a living haha!). The #amwriting candle combines coffee, cedarwood, and patchouli which blends to create an earthy blend behind a coffee top note. I don’t normally like patchouli a whole lot but it really adds to the feel of the candle more than taking center stage, and I never knew that cedar and coffee made such an interesting combination! It’s my favorite candle to burn in the mornings while I’m drinking my coffee and I highly recommend it, writer or not!


Have you tried any of these bookish companies? What’s your go-to for candles & coffee?

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

** Note: I am not a rep for any of these companies nor did they ask me to post about their products, but some if not all of them have Instagram reps with coupon codes so be sure to check out their pages to find those! I’m just sharing things that I love! ** 

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick YanceyTitle: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 24, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2017
Related Posts: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1), The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

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** This review will contain spoilers for the book! To view with spoiler tags and avoid any direct plot points, please see my review on Goodreads! **

My initial reaction to this book was… What did I even just read???
So to give this book the benefit, I did not look up what had happened in THE INFINITE SEA before starting it so I know I was missing a few things that had happened in book two, but I was kind of hoping it would all come pouring back once I started. (It did not.) I did finally watch THE 5TH WAVE movie a few months ago so at least I had that refresher of how it all started.

I’ve always had a hard time with Evan because I just like… really didn’t want Cassie to be in love with an alien… But the whole series it’s like, is he? Is he not? What in the world is going on?! That’s part of the appeal of the whole series — we never truly know — but I felt like I was jerked around for so long that I just didn’t believe anything anymore and I ended up feeling more numb towards the big, final answer because I wasn’t going to believe it no matter what happened. I was also Team Ben so as much as I got pushed toward Evan as a love interest the whole series, I wasn’t having it.

The book was slow and didn’t seem to move the plot forward much at all. Most of the true action and plot development happened in the last few chapters of the book, and they were also quite confusing. It felt like so much was jammed into the end of the book that I was trying to sort it all out at once instead of being given little kernels of information that I could apply to the series as it came to a close.

There were a lot of perspectives which didn’t bother me but I also think that things could have been a lot more concise and cohesive and better told through a few less. The addition of Ringer as a main perspective always felt a little off to me and I kiiiiind of wish her character had been rolled up into Cassie and allowed Cassie to stay in the spotlight with the romance and the badassery. I get why it was necessary, as far as the end of the plot went, but meh. Not a fan.

I also hated what was done to Ringer’s character. It seemed messy in so many ways, like there were so many ideas and they couldn’t be done to Cassie so let’s do them ALL to Ringer. There was a pregnancy story like which WHAT? UGH. Why was that even necessary? (It wasn’t.) It just felt so off and it didn’t do anything for the book except make me annoyed. I guess like, let’s preserve humanity and rebuild the world but ugh, that could have been accomplished with Sam and Megan. I also really just hate pregnancy story lines so I’m totally biased but I just didn’t feel like it fit at all. 

The whole book felt sloppy and confusing and like it got way too far from the first book, which I loved so much. The tone, pacing, and direction felt totally different (although I’m sure that was the master plan all along, but it didn’t feel like it) and some of the ending was so cheesy. I hate the “love is the answer” plot because it’s cheesy and overdone. It’s also STUPID in this book because if the aliens had been studying the humans for oh, thousands of years, HOW COULD THEY NOT HAVE TAKEN LOVE INTO ACCOUNT. If they’re that smart to mastermind this whole thing, even if aliens don’t understand a love emotion, it can be observed and people’s actions can be explained by it. Nope. Not buying it. I also know that I was doing other things while listening to this audio but what in the world even happened in the end? So what was the answer!? That’s a tough thing with being intentionally misled and redirected so many times — even the reader starts to wonder what’s real anymore, even if the truth is presented plainly. The characters still had doubts so that made me continue doubting. I don’t even know if I understand what the whole point was…

I’m glad I finished the series because it’s been on my shelf for so long but man, I haven’t been this confused and frustrated by a series finale in a while. I’m not even mad because I was already sort of detached (okay, I’m a little mad) but the biggest disappointment comes from loving the first book in a series and by the end, you feel like you can’t even recommend that series anymore. What a letdown.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Aliens, I guess. I enjoyed that this was an alien series that didn’t really feel so alien and far-fetched. Except for this book, where it felt totally far-fetched.
Left Me Wanting More: Conclusion. I just… I was so disappointed. This wasn’t what I expected at all and this whole series fell apart. I feel sad because I was one of those people who loved the second book where so many others didn’t and it ended up falling apart in the next book anyway.

Addiction Rating
If you’ve made it this far, might as well read it?

This isn’t a long book so if you’ve already read the first two, maybe worth finishing the series… But I’d still have a hard time recommending it and I don’t feel like I can even recommend the series now.

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BOOKS LIKE THE LAST STAR

          

Release Day Blitz: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburn

Happy book birthday to Rosemarked by Livia Blackburn!

I’m really excited to share a post today about ROSEMARKED by Livia Blackburn in honor of the book’s release! I got to work with Disney Books for this post AND I really wanted to share this on release day because I was so fortunate to work with author Livia Blackburn herself on a candle inspired by this book that was included in the recent mailings you may have been seeing all over Instagram!

Check out more on ROSEMARKED and a special note from the author below, and don’t miss the purchase links for this book, now on sale!


Hi Everyone!

This is Livia Blackburne, and I’m thrilled to share ROSEMARKED with you at long last. There are a lot of elements to this book, including a love story, a spy story, reflections on trauma and mortality, medical ethics, and political intrigue.  Perhaps because of this, my research for the book was equally eclectic, from archery and stick fighting lessons, to chats with memory researchers and soldiers, and lots and lots of reading, including books about leper colonies, hospice care, and PTSD. Hopefully, I wove it all into an entertaining and thought-provoking story!

This story centers on Zivah, a talented healer with an incurable illness, and Dineas, a traumatized soldier. The two couldn’t be more different, and I had a lot of fun writing their unlikely love story.  In order to work together, they both have to let go of their own prejudices and preconceptions. It’s a painful process, with fights and misunderstandings, anger, laughter and tears, but in the end, they both come out as stronger people.

To celebrate the ROSEMARKED release, I’m offering 3 lucky winners a ROSEMARKED swag pack, which includes a copy of ROSEMARKED and a signed bookplate! Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate. Best of luck, and happy reading!

***

The first in a duology, ROSEMARKED (Hyperion | On Sale November 7, 2017) by New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne follows a healer and a solider on a high-stakes mission to spy on the Empire to uncover a deadly secret. With sizzling chemistry and a heartrending ethical dilemma, this thrilling fantasy with nuanced characters will capture fans of An Ember in the Ashes and The Lumatere Chronicles.

New York Times best-selling author LIVIA BLACKBURNE has a PhD in neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neural correlates of reading. She still blogs on the intersection of writing and brain science, and she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. Livia is also the author of Midnight Thief, an Indies Introduce New Voices selection, and its sequel, Daughter of Dusk.

ROSEMARKED by Livia Blackburne
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Wattpad | Add it on Goodreads
Hardcover: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

 

Also by this author…

MIDNIGHT THIEF
New York Times Bestseller 2014
Indies Introduce New Voices Pick
2015 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee
Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook:  Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

DAUGHTER OF DUSK
Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Google Kobo

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway for your chance to win an amazing Rosemarked-themed grand prize with so many extra goodies! Please see rules above and Rafflecopter notes below for details and eligibility! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looking for Alaska – John Green

Looking for Alaska – John GreenTitle: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Publishing Info: March 3, 2005 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2017
Related Posts: The Fault in Our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.

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LOOKING FOR ALASKA is one of the better John Green books I’ve read (the first being WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON) but I just still don’t love John Green’s writing. Actually, mostly I don’t like his characters and their interactions with each other. Each John Green book that I read is quite different and there are things I enjoy and things that I don’t in each one, but ultimately, I’ve just never fallen in love with any of his characters or novels, but I still keep trying!

Don’t hate me buuuut…. Alaska bothered me. Heck, she even bothered her friends. It was another character who was idealized despite her flaws, which I guess happens all the time in books, but there’s just something about the way it all happens in John Green’s writing that I don’t like. I went into this with an open mind and still had a hard time with his characters. I’m also sure that there’s kind of something about Alaska that you’re not supposed to like but there’s still the matter that Miles idealizes her for seemingly no reason and I just don’t like the way these characters come off as I’m reading. It’s just the writing, I think.

That being said, I did still enjoy it! It wasn’t amazing and didn’t make me feel all the feels but it was an interesting story and I actually enjoyed every other character except for Alaska (which kind of felt like I was missing whole point of the book). It was a quick read and full of interesting points but I also still had issues with parts of the book and how everything came together. I also feel like I might have enjoyed reading this more as an actual teen (I would have been 18 if I had read this the year that it was released) like a lot of my friends did but I guess that’s something that I can never know!

The “After” didn’t kick me in the feels like I knew it was supposed to (I figured it would be something like that but still didn’t know what was coming) and it felt a little anti-climactic. I’m glad that it read it but it wasn’t a stand-out read for me and while I didn’t find anything “wrong” with it, it just wasn’t a book that I really connected to. I’m glad my curiosity was satiated and that I still know my feelings about John Green’s books despite continuing to try them. It’s like… I’m happy that I keep picking them up but they’re still not impressive to me.

Overall, this story did have more characters that I could relate to than most and felt like one of the least pretentious books so that was a good experience! Still the black sheep on so many things, as always, but I’m okay with that. Sometimes being the black sheep on very popular authors lets me know that I’m still reading for me and understanding what I personally enjoy and not just liking a book because everyone else does, so it’s always an interesting experience!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Attempting John Green. I keep promising to give up his books and yet I also keep trying to read them and hoping to enjoy one a little bit more. I actually have zero interest in read TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN so that’s not on my TBR but this book wasn’t either. I guess we’ll see!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I just often don’t feel like the characters in these books are realistic. This was a bit better than most, to be honest, but I was still lacking some of that in Alaska. I guess that’s also not fair for me to say because I’m sure there are many Alaskas in the world but they’re also not people I relate to so I just didn’t enjoy it.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

Gosh, there are just soooo many John Green fans out there and I still can’t bring myself to be one of them. You’ll get nothing but an honest review from me but I pretty much know where I stand here.

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BOOKS LIKE LOOKING FOR ALASKA

          

Blog Tour: Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Favorite Types of Villains

Welcome to the blog tour for
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

As I’m sure you well know, I’m a HUGE Marissa Meyer fan, with my fandom love dating back to The Lunar Chronicles and has continued ever since. I was so excited to hear about RENEGADES and of course, immediately jumped at the chance to participate in the blog tour when offered a spot by Fierce Reads/Macmillan Children’s!

One of my favorite part of any good book is a great villain. I love how complicated villains can be with intricate backstories, their villainous reasoning, the morally grey areas, and that dash of darkness that reels you in. Being an avid reader for so long as introduced me to so many different types of villains so I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites today, being that RENEGADES is actually largely from an Anarchist’s point-of-view with main character Nova being on the side of the bad guys!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Favorite Types of VillainsTitle: Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: November 7, 2017 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 12, 2017
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), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1)

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


ABOUT MARISSA MEYER

MARISSA MEYER is the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles series, as well as the graphic novel Wires and Nerve: Vol. 1, and The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book. Her first stand alone novel, Heartless, was also a #1 New York Times bestseller. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters.

TYPES OF VILLAINS

I took on the side of the Anarchists today, always loving a good villain! According to Huffpost (and originally posted on Screencraft), there are 15 different types of movie villains, but I would imagine that goes the same for books! That’s a lot for one blog post today so I’m just sharing a few of my favorites and some of my favorite villains that fit the profiles with some of my favorite reads!

THE ANTI-VILLIAN (also known as Anti-Hero) 

This is one of my absolute favorite types of villains and a lot of what we see in RENEGADES! RENEGADES has a split POV between Nova, one of the Anarchists, and Adrian, one of the Renegades. There’s a lot more to Nova than meets the eye so I might not call her an anti-hero/anti-villain, but the book sure does make you root for the Anarchists and see things from their perspectives! It’s one of my favorites because I love seeing how complex villains can be and how an author can appeal to a reader’s compassion by creating a villain you can sympathize with. | Example: The Anarchists in RENEGADES, Dexter from the Dexter series, Joe from YOU by Caroline Kepnes

THE AUTHORITY FIGURE

There’s something about an evil authority figure that just gets my skin crawling! Unlike the sympathetic anti-hero/anti-villain, the authority figure is just one I love to hate. They make a main character’s life horrible and there’s nothing they can even try to do about it, often pinning a main character under their thumb because disobeience leads to horrible consquences. | Examples: Benjamin Malvern in THE SCORPIO RACES, Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter

THE DISTURBED

There’s just something about a genuinely appalling villain that brings a story to the next level sometimes. In contrast to an anti-hero, the Disturbed villain may suffer from some psychological disorders that lead them down the path of villainy but the audience doesn’t root for this villain at all. They’re just plain crazy or messed up! | Examples: Levana in The Lunar Chronicles, Amy in GONE GIRL

THE MACHINE

This is one that doesn’t pop up on my list often, but when you read a series like The Illuminae Files, this type of villain is literally everything. How fascinating is a machine as a villain? They have a program and yet are still unpredictable and they’re nearly unstoppable. | Example: AIDEN from The Illuminae Files

THE PERSONIFICATION OF EVIL

And it doesn’t get more evil than evil itself represented in a character! You’ve gotta love a character/person/concept that you can clearly hate and push towards total annihilation. These characters are often horribly frightening, representing everything you could possibly hate and work against. | Examples: Osaron from the Shades of Magic trilogy, The King of Hybern from A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy


Thanks so much for checking out my stop on the blog tour today! I hope you enjoyed my favorite types of villains and I would love to hear yours as well! And don’t forget to pre-order RENEGADES, on sale 11/7/17! I just loved it and it was such a great read!