Book and a Beverage [98] – Lauren from Bookmark Lit

 

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 Lauren from Bookmark Lit!

Bookmark Lit Book and a Bev

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Name & Blog Name: Lauren – Bookmark Lit
Tell us a little about your blog! I just started my blog up in July of last year but have had so many great experiences so far. I definitely focus on YA in general but lately have been trying to feature a wider variety of books. The biggest thing I try to remember with my blog is to keep it fun and read what I WANT to read. I’m luckily not too bogged down by ARCs and schedules, so I use that to my advantage. Overall my blog has a wide variety of reviews, discussions, and features!
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) This is hard! I’m pretty proud of a lot of my posts, but I really enjoyed writing about blogging recently. There’s been a bit of drama around certain authors or ARCs or just in general, and I tried to reflect on my time so far and give advice to newer bloggers. I had a lot of great comments and interaction from people on it!
Got anything special coming up we should know about? I recently started my own feature called Inside and Out that features guest posts! I asked people to reflect on their favorite book cover and favorite bookmark. Sign-ups are always open and I’m currently scheduled out until summertime. I love this feature because book covers are my favorite thing to creep on :)

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Whatcha reading? Harmonic by Erica O’Rourke!
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) I preordered it a LONG time ago and it was delivered to my Kindle on its release date in March. I would have definitely purchased a physical copy if it was available.
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? Even though it’s a novella, it’s definitely one of the books I’ve been most excited to read! I’ve been reading it covertly at work on my Kindle app on the computer, as you can see here. It’s pretty long for a novella with 19 chapters.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s the e-novella set in the timeframe between Dissonance and Resonance. I’m hoping it holds me over until Resonance is released this summer… I’m definitely enjoying it so far! I really missed this complex world that O’Rourke set up in Dissonance. Parallel life and alternate universe books are some of my absolute favorites to read.

beverageWhatcha drinking?  I’m drinking Vanilla Coke because it’s the BEST soda and I always need extra caffeine at work ;)
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading?  Coffee is definitely my reading go-to. My favorite thing to do is read in my bed before work with a cup of coffee. I take my morning routine out onto the back porch when it gets a little nicer out…which is a fairly narrow window of time in Connecticut! I think it’s important to start your day on the right foot, doing something you enjoy, instead of just jumping into work-mode. It’s funny because I will drink coffee any way it’s given to me, but my tastes vary a lot if I made it at home or bought it elsewhere. I have dark roast K-cups because I tend to add too much cream and sugar to it. Anything flavored that I make myself ends up tasting like cream and not like coffee! If I get it from Dunkin, I get something flavored (french vanilla, blueberry, raspberry, cookie dough) because I know that they’ll make it correctly.
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! This is difficult. I wrote this answer three times before deciding that I needed to cheat. The raspberry version of Simply Lemonade is definitely one of my favorite drinks. I have to hold back on buying it too often or I get addicted. The same goes with orange juice. My boyfriend and I crave it forever and never stop drinking it when we have it in the apartment! But I also can’t avoid saying how much I love slurpees and get multiple per week from Cumberland Farms during the summer. Okay, sorry, I had to do a top three!

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What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? I recommend anything by Kasie West because she writes the best books, no matter the genre! I’d definitely go with The Distance Between Us as a favorite by her. I recently finished Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer, which is an adult title, but it was seriously amazing. I loved the characters, setting, and food! Even if it doesn’t sound like something you’d like, I still would highly recommend taking a chance on it. My final recommendation has to be the Anna and the French Kiss companion series by Stephanie Perkins. So cute, fluffy, and just all-around amazing… but I don’t have to tell YOU that, Brittany! ;
)What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? Overall I’m just really proud of myself for starting my blog, sticking with it, and making some friendships with other bloggers. I’ve only been in this community for nine months and feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. Sticking with a hobby for this long is seriously a big deal for me; I tend to abandon things pretty quickly.
Anything else you’d like to share? I love taking pictures of books (and often beverages!) on my Instagram account, if you’d like to check it out!

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 Thanks, Lauren! YAY ANNA! I’m always an Anna advocate! I do love Kasie West’s books too!
Mmmmm coffee. I like the Dunkin’ flavor too!
And YAY HARMONIC! I’m actually reading that right now (well HOPEFULLY I’m done by the time this goes up haha!) and so happy to be back in that world again.

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


And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

Sign-ups are once again CLOSED (you guys sign up so quickly!) and I am booked through May 2015! It will be a long wait, but keep your eyes peeled for sign-ups to reopen in the spring!

#bookandabeverage

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) – Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) – Susan DennardTitle: Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) by Susan Dennard
Date Completed: March 7, 2015
Publishing Info: July 22, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Hardcover purchased from Amazon
Genres: Magic, Paranormal, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
Related Posts: A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2)
    In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.
He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.
With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.
Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

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I started this book because I just needed a series to fall back into when nothing else was grabbing me at the moment. After scanning my shelves, I thought it was finally time to finish the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy! The funny (or not-so-funny) thing is, after picking a book I was sure would grab me, I had nothing but struggles trying to get into STRANGE AND EVER AFTER.

I’ve been a fan of the trilogy from the start. SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was just a lot of fun and Susan Dennard is an absolutely sweetheart! I actually even enjoyed the second book, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, even more so my plans to finally hop into book three and wrap up the series had me really excited and feeling all kinds of warm fuzzies. It started off well and I was definitely interested in where we had left off (plus Oliver <333) but for whatever reason, I just could not get into the book. My interest started REALLY waning after the first few chapters and I just found myself struggling to focus.

Falling out of love with a series is hard, and I think that’s what happened here. The book wasn’t “bad” by any means but my interest in the series overall just seemed to… drift. It also makes my review that much harder to write because how can I feel SO differently now than I did when I first started the series? It seems unfair to say “it’s me, not you” with a series that I’ve already invested time in and spent time sharing… but either way, that seems to be the case here.

I did still like the magic aspect of the book but I felt like in STRANGE AND EVER AFTER, I just wasn’t AS interested. Did I not get enough answers? Enough explanation? Was I so unfocused that I totally missed those fine details on how the magic system worked? Whatever the true answer is (maybe yes to all of the above), it just didn’t seem as concrete as I had hoped. Oliver (the demon!) was one of my favorite characters from book two and honestly, if he wasn’t in this book, I would have had a very hard time continuing at all. I did struggle with the characters a bit in each book, but I still had that love there for the plot. Struggling with the pacing and seemingly similar battles versus the undead several times over just really made me feel like I was reading what I already read in the previous books and I didn’t quite feel that growth from the characters in this book like I had hoped either. There was character growth, but maybe not as much or not in the way that I was hoping. The worst part of it all is that I honestly cannot place my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would except for the fact that… falling out of love with series happens.

There were still some things I enjoyed about STRANGE AND EVER AFTER but I just was not feeling it this time around. I wished we had gotten to see more of Egypt (and I was secretly hoping for more Egyptian mythology tie-ins). I wish I had seen even MORE from Eleanor. I wish someone hadn’t spoiled the ending for me on Twitter… But such is life and I can’t have all of the happy endings to series that I want! Sometimes these things just happen and really, I should have known this was a possibility. More than anything, I’m just really sad because Susan Dennard is SO amazing that by not liking this book, I almost feel like I’m letting her down. It’s a tricky thing when you start to interact with authors! I think I had many more personal feelings attached this time around so I really felt bad as I was reading.

view_from_goodreads

“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!

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Eleanor // Character Obsessions: Magic, Daniel, defeating Marcus.
I was just so back and forth with Eleanor. I did feel like she had done a lot of growing and I actually REALLY liked that she struggled with her temptations to use her magic… But overall she has always just fallen a LITTLE flat for me and I don’t know why. Everyone else really seems to love her as a kickass heroine but for some reason I just kept TRYING to connect and couldn’t.
Oliver // Character Obsessions: Eleanor, freedom, justice, friendship.
I really loved Oliver the whole time. I think it was his snark that really drew me in! Plus, demon. He really felt like the most well-rounded character in terms of personality and he was the only character that really ever fully came to life for me. I loved his addition and what he brought to the series.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Zombies. I keep saying this but it’s true. I usually don’t have the desire to read zombie books but this was such a fun idea and I liked how everything really played out with WHY the undead were plaguing the nation.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I wished and I tried but ultimately I just didn’t really make that connection in this series. It was working for a while and I was caught up in the plot but I felt the same things happening in book three and the plot felt tired and similar to the second book. With that, my connection to the characters waned even more and I just had a really hard time.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Well you’ve made it this far into the series so if you haven’t read book three yet, it’s worth it to finish! If you haven’t read the series yet, well… I’m not sure! How do I recommend something that I didn’t fall in love with at the very end? I think it’s a fun series and maybe something I should have read much closer together. It’s possibly the time between book two and three killed me and maybe I should have read the more back-to-back.

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BOOKS LIKE STRANGE AND EVER AFTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB     BLOODLINES

My Latest Bookish Addiction [14] – Blogger Spotlight Features

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In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Blogger Spotlight Features!

Somehow, someway I ended up hopping onto a lot of blogger guest posts and/or Q&A features in March (The Bloggers We Read @ The Things We Read, The ABCs @Andi’s ABCsInside & Out @ Bookmark LitBook People Talk Movies @ Bring My Books) so I figured what better time and what better way to repay the favor by spreading the word?

I really enjoy blogger spotlight features! Naturally, we’re always wanting to get to know books and authors, but I also really enjoy getting to know more about the bloggers behind the posts. I’ve made SO many great friends by being a part of this community and I’m always thankful for the people who helped spread the word about my blog, especially when I was starting out. I really wanted to compile a list of all of the features I could possibly find that showcase other bloggers and their work!

We bloggers love spreading the word about books but I think it really creates even more sense of community when we help spread the word about each other! I think it’s a great way to reach a new audience, show support for fellow bloggers, and also get to know someone new yourself. I’ve had a few bloggers sign up for my Book and a Beverage feature that I got to know because of the feature and I’m so grateful that we started to chat!

So without further ado, here’s a list of all of the blogger Q&A/guest post features I’ve been able to find so far! If I missed one that you know of, please hop on over to the Google Doc so I can add it to the list!

** Thanks to Asti from Oh, The Books! for the heads up that she also has a list of Blogger Spotlight Features! Some of these were found thanks to her blog! **

BLOGGER INTERVIEW FEATURES
(includes question and answer format)

BLOGGER GUEST POST FEATURES

Which blogger spotlight features are your favorites? Are there any other blogger Q&A features or guest post features that I’m missing? I’d love to add them to the list!

And to see where else The Book Addict’s Guide has been featured, check out a complete list on my About Me page!

Liars, Inc – Paula Stokes

Liars, Inc – Paula StokesTitle: Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes
Date Completed: March 3, 2015
Publishing Info: March 24, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: egalley approved by the publisher via Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
    Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.
Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

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I’m always looking for more YA mysteries and thrillers so when I first heard about LIARS, INC, I was VERY excited! I was finally in the mood for a good mystery read so I picked it up right around its release date, hoping to instantly get hooked on another exciting book. The beginning started off well, reminding me of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, which I loved and inhaled last year, but shortly thereafter, I felt my mind drifting as I read and was having a hard time staying focused.

Long story short, LIARS, INC is a murder-mystery and for some reason I just have a very hard time finding young adult books that properly capture the essence of a great murder-mystery. I think it’s just because of the age range. Obviously we’re reading about mostly teenagers in YA and there are too many times when it’s illogical to have a teen involved in a crime investigation so in order to work that angle in properly, I feel like compromises have to be made and there are too many YA mysteries that just feel forced. I only felt it slightly with LIARS, INC but it was noticeable enough for me that the transitions from scene to scene and overall path of the plot just didn’t quite sit right with me for some reason.
The plot revolves around three main characters — Max (the MC), Parvati (his girlfriend), and Preston (their mutual friend). They have a sort of weird sexual tension between the three of them and I’m definitely not against sex in YA books at all but the role that their sexually-charged, jealousy-ridden non-love triangle played just felt like it would have been more natural in an adult book than young adult. Maybe that’s just a personal thing since I was fairly conservative in high school but it was just enough for me to notice and feel just a smidge turned-off since it was an ever-present thing and a driving force of the novel.

I also had an issue connecting with the characters. I liked Max a lot but it wasn’t until literally the VERY end that I felt like the walls came down and I got to see a more personal side of him. I can understand that he’s a guarded person and doesn’t easily let people in but it really prevented me as a reader from really connecting with him. I just wasn’t really a fan of Parvati or Preston at all though. The both seemed a little static for me and I also had a hard time connecting with them. I really liked the idea of how these three became friends and I also really liked the idea of their Liars, Inc plan (something I wish I had gotten to see more of), but the murder-mystery took the stage and that was okay too.

I actually really enjoyed the ending! Paula Stokes definitely devised a great mystery. I’ve had a few issues where I’ve guessed the ending before and it kind of ruined the book a little bit, but I really did not know how LIARS, INC was going to end! I even tried guessing — several times — and didn’t even come close so I was so happy to see a unique ending that had me confused and excited until the very end! I also really loved how you can’t even describe the ending in one sentence. The answer to “whodunit” is far more complicated than “the butler did it” and I think that also really prevented me from guessing how everything came together!

All-in-all, the ending really pulled everything together for me but I still had issues with the flow of the book. I just really wish I had connected to it more before the ending. It seems like a lot of people are really enjoying it which is a great! There’s a chance I just may be too picky about my mysteries so this one didn’t quite do it for me.

view_from_goodreads

“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!

liars inc GR updates

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Max // Character Obsessions: Parvati, friendship, family, indifference to trends.
I actually liked Max! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was from his POV only (for some reason I thought it was multiple POVs before I started) and I really liked getting to know him. It was interesting to see how Max, Parvati, and Preston all became friends because of their apathy, I guess you could say. They didn’t care how anyone else did things and they just did things their way.
Parvati // Character Obsessions: Risks yet playing it safe, Max, thrills.
I think part of my issue was that I wasn’t a fan of Parvati. It wasn’t totally negative but she felt a little too “snooty rich girl” for me even though that was sort of the stereotype she was contradicting. I still felt it there, possibly just because she had that cocky sort of confidence? But that’s not always something I get along with. I can’t QUITE place my finger on it but I wasn’t a big fan.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Twisty YA thrillers. I always, always need more good YA mysteries. For some reason it’s so hard for me to really get into them and I LOVE adult mysteries. I think often times I feel like the mystery would fit better in an adult setting (like this books) and I feel like it’s almost harder to fit everything into a YA novel just because of the circumstances. This one had a really interesting ending and was perfect for YA characters!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. I had a hard time staying engaged the first part of the book. I just wished I had been as into it as I was towards the end. The beginning had a lot set-up and I think it could have benefitted from a few more thrills to bring the reader in.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I’ve actually seen quite a few four and five star reviews on Goodreads! This one didn’t really do it for me but I know that my issue was mostly with characters and some with pacing. I enjoyed the overall plot but it didn’t quite gel for me.

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BOOKS LIKE LIARS, INC

(Click the cover to see my review!)

DANGEROUS GIRLS      KILLER INSTINCT

Silent Alarm – Jennifer Banash

Silent Alarm – Jennifer BanashTitle: Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash
Date Completed: March 17, 2015
Publishing Info: March 10, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Hardcover sent to me by Penguin. Thank you!!
Genres: Contemporary, Death, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
    Alys’s whole world was comprised of the history project that was due, her upcoming violin audition, being held tightly in the arms of her boyfriend, Ben, and laughing with her best friend, Delilah. At least it was—until she found herself on the wrong end of a shotgun in the school library. Her suburban high school had become one of those places you hear about on the news—a place where some disaffected youth decided to end it all and take as many of his teachers and classmates with him as he could. Except, in this story, that youth was Alys’s own brother, Luke. He killed fifteen others and himself, but spared her—though she’ll never know why.
Alys’s downward spiral begins instantly, and there seems to be no bottom. A heartbreaking and beautifully told story.
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Wow, SILENT ALARM was a very difficult read for me but not in a bad way — in a way that really shook me. I graciously accepted the review request from Penguin (thank you again!) fully knowing that it was about a school shooting and what happens to the friends and families of the shooter and the victims in the aftermath of the event, but I just didn’t expect it to be so hard to witness.

The book opened with the actual scene where the shooting occurs and Alys’ life — among many others — are changed forever and I could just feel how incredibly earth-shattering that was for her. I’ve actually never read a realistic fiction book before with such a devastating opening and subject matter. I very much enjoy the fluffy romances and I do read quite a few books that touch upon loss, grief, and trauma but wow. SILENT ALARM puts the readers right there in the moment.

The book is definitely emotionally powerful. Alys is left to deal with everything that happens after her brother takes the lives of her fellow classmates and then himself and she and her family are forced to try to deal with their grief while trying to weigh out guilt, remorse, and shame, not to mention what the friends and families of the victims hurl at them. I really felt for Alys and her family and that was one of the things that made this book a difficult read for me. I really get invested in each book I read (so long as the story has already hooked me) so I really felt this jumble of emotions and I actually felt the anxiety. I guess you could say that Jennifer Banash really did a great job of making this book feel incredibly realistic because I truly internalized everything that was going on. Just trying to put myself in Alys’ shoes… It was truly heart-breaking and horrifying. I think the hardest part is that she and her family are handed the responsibility for what her brother did even though they were in no way involved in the actual shooting.

One thing I really appreciated was how the relationships changed and evolved throughout the course of the book. Not every relationship gets better or has a happy ending, but I felt Jennifer Banash did a great job of really bringing everything to life very realistically in SILENT ALARM. Alys really questions who she thought were her “real” friends, her parents reach a breaking point, and I think most importantly, her relationship with her brother changes, even though he’s no longer there. I also really enjoyed seeing how Alys and her brother’s best friend Riley end up finding solace in each other. Usually this is the place where a romance in a book might form, but I appreciated that they really form a friendship and help each other figure out how to move on in their lives. The bond that they form was really touching and I thought that relationship was handled excellently.

SILENT ALARM was definitely emotionally overpowering. For someone who internalizes a character’s emotions, it was actually kind of a hard read for me at times and definitely emotionally draining, but I felt like I really understood what this situation would be like and I went on a very personal journey with these characters. I think Jennifer Banash did a really great job at putting together this realistic young adult novel.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Tragic realism. I don’t often read books with such difficult subjects because they really are emotionally draining for me, but this one was done really well!
Left Me Wanting More: Structure. There were a few times when Alys’ internal thoughts were a bit hard to follow but really it didn’t bother me TOO much. I think I would have preferred it a little different but it also didn’t turn me off from the writing style.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This is a hard book to recommend because it’s such a serious, emotional, and sensitive subject. If you’re up for a gritty and realistic read, I would definitely point you in the direction of SILENT ALARM but I also know it won’t be for everyone!

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BOOKS LIKE SILENT ALARM

(Click the cover to see my review!)

SHADOW AND BONE             LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods – Neil GaimanTitle: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Date Completed: February 23, 2015
Publishing Info: June 19, 2001 by HarperCollins
Source: Gifted from Alyssa for Christmas
Genres: Adult, Mythology
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust
    Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what and who it finds there...

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For February, I read AMERICAN GODS with my lovelies from On the Same Page! Alyssa is a huuuge Neil Gaiman fan and thanks to her suggestions I’ve read a couple of his books and really enjoyed them all so far so I was really anxious to pick up AMERICAN GODS which also incorporated something that I’m extremely interested in — mythology.

The book follows Shadow, a now ex-con with nothing left to lose so he joins the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on a quest to gather up some other, er… mysterious persons (*whispers* gods) for an epic and un-elaborated upon showdown. Right away, the book grabbed me and felt a little dark — a good kind of dark (wait, is there a bad kind?) — and I was sooo interested in what was about to go down! The only problem was… I quickly hit a lull in the action. I knew right away that this was going to be a book I would really have to pay attention to and that’s not a bad thing. It was more that I knew Neil Gaiman’s story telling would be very intricate, along with several subtle clues to pick up along the way (I missed a lot but Alyssa is a mythology pro and she clued me in) so it wasn’t something I could rush through. I tried to take my time but there was a section in the beginning that I was really struggling to get through. Thankfully it passed and I was once again totally hooked!

Mythology is actually kind of hit-or-miss for me as far as adaptations and retellings. I always have high hopes and I guess I never really know what to expect. Usually the more I know about the myths and the gods, the better the adaptation goes for me but I think the great part about AMERICAN GODS was that it wasn’t just a retelling of the story of X god in a modern world. These were the real and true gods, brought over to America by their believers and then abandoned, not sure what to do in this new world with no followers anymore. It felt like a totally original idea and an original story, not just adapting one that has already been told many times before. Instead of knowing what happens and seeing how the tale was interwoven into the plot, I was following a completely new plot and had no idea what would happen next! I was always excited to see what new god or character would pop, how they fit into the plot, and what could possibly happen as a result of their presence there. Not to mention how Shadow might fit into everything and why he was chosen for this mission in the first place (literally one of my first thoughts when I started reading).

Naturally, Neil Gaiman let everything unfold at the perfect time. Everyone slipped perfectly into place, their roles and motives carefully revealed when the time was right. The magic never felt unnatural or hokey and he had me believing that these gods could really be walking among us, the mortals and non-believers of this world none the wiser.

It’s hard to say too much about the book because as I said before, it’s one best explored as you read it, allowing the story to present itself naturally. If you feel a bit of struggle, push past it because this book was definitely worth it! I’m really glad I read with Alyssa and Amy because I might not have read it on my own (one of the things I always enjoy about the books we read for On the Same Page)!

view_from_goodreads

“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!

American Gods GR updates

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Shadow // Character Obsessions: Laura, assisting Wednesday, going with the flow.
Shadow was a really interesting character. I really liked his laid-back demeanor despite his ex-con status. He was really fun to follow around in this book and I love what we get to know of him!

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Kept Me Hooked On: A modern take on mythology. I really loved this modern take on mythology without the book being a retelling. I really got to see the stories and histories in a different way and it also made the gods feel much more real.
Left Me Wanting More: Smoothness. Really, the book was smooth. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing — BUT there was that one lull that really took a big hunk of enjoyable time away from the book for me. I still loved the rest but I wish I hadn’t fallen into the doldrums there!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was SUCH an interesting story! I really enjoyed how creative this book was on so many levels and I just really am finding Neil Gaiman’s writing wholly captivating.

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BOOKS LIKE AMERICAN GODS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RAVEN BOYS     THE NIGHT CIRCUS

Book and a Beverage [97] – Amanda from Beautiful Bookish Butterflies

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 Amanda from Beautiful Bookish Butterflies!

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Name & Blog Name: Amanda @ Beautiful Bookish Butterflies
Tell us a little about your blog! Beautiful Bookish Butterflies was created by myself and Stacie and came about when the both of us considered how much easier and enjoyable blogging could be without the demanding work load our own blogs asked of us, so at the beginning of 2014, we came together, halved (mostly) everything and created a joint blog. There’s always a discussion happening, or a handful of reviews being posted, and there’s a few features for people to share opinions and get involved in too.
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) Oh that’s a difficult question! For me personally, it’d probably be a toss up between Why Libraries Are My Second Home and both my Commitment to Series posts from 2014 and 2015. Without a doubt these posts highlight my love for libraries and how they’re really important. I don’t think they’re appreciated enough.
Got anything special coming up we should know about? Ooo, yes. Last year I hosted a read-a-thon during the summer on Book Badger (my old blog) and, well, lets just say that there’s definitely something similar in works this year. We’ve also got our Month of Series coming up in April, and we’ve always got new reviews and discussions every week, so there’s always something new to view.

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Whatcha reading? Dark Star and Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) Gifted (Dark Star) and Purchased (Burn Bright)
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? Dark Star is a really underrated series within the community — I think I can name two other bloggers than know of it’s existence other than me, and that’s a shame, because it’s got so much going for it.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? There’s a really brilliant leading lady, with an equally brilliant mother/daughter relationship going on. There’s a whole urban fantasy/parallel world thing going on with demons and magic and super powers and under/other world which is executed pretty well. Oh, and the romance. I looooove me some realistic, awkward, imperfect romance.

beverageWhatcha drinking? Tea. How very British of me.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? I’m usually pretty boring and just stick to water because I tend to read late at night, but if I’m feeling like pushing the boat out, I might make a small hot chocolate, especially on the colder nights.
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! I’m going to sound about 5 years old now, but I adore slushes in the summer, especially when you can have 5-6 colours going all at once in a little rainbow. Sucks when the colours mingle and you’ve got a brownie coloured slurpy drink, but they taste amazing!

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What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? I’m going to cheat because I simply cannot pick just three.. Unknown Assassin by Allen Zadoff is a pretty awesome series, with a quick thinking, dangerous leading male, a program decided to create assassin’s, corruption, murder, tension, action and a really realistic friendship. Thirteen and Spiders by Tom Hoyle are also pretty similar, with a younger male protagonist, cults and kidnappings, iffy government officials and some really creepy aspects; mystery with horror. Life Unaware by Cole Gibson is my most recent favourite contemporary and it’s well deserved – there’s school drama, great romance and twisted friendships, but there’s tough subjects covered such as suicide, self-harm, anxiety and stress, bullying and mental illnesses too, which is always good to have highlighted in fiction.
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? In the least cheesiest way possible, I’d probably have to say that the entirety of 2014 was my proudest blogging and reading moment. It’s the year I celebrated my first blogversary, the year I met and got to know my co-blogger, the year I hosted the Summer Surge Read-a-thon and the year I read over 150 books just to name a few stand out moments. If 2015 is even half as rewarding as 2014, then I’ll be one very happy blogger.
Anything else you’d like to share? I’d like to thank you Brittany for featuring me here at The Book Addicts Guide, you and your blog inspire me and I always look forward to your new content, huge thanks!


 Aww, thanks, Amanda! I love your best blogging moment. It’s so rewarding just to see what you accomplished in a year! It really does make it all worthwhile :)
Oh my gosh, I don’t know ANY of your highly recommended books! Will have to check them out!! Thanks for the recs :)

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Amanda! Connect with them at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Goodreads // Instagram // Google+ // Bloglovin’


And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

Sign-ups are once again CLOSED (you guys sign up so quickly!) and I am booked through May 2015! It will be a long wait, but keep your eyes peeled for sign-ups to reopen in the spring!

#bookandabeverage