Author Archives: Brittany

Spellbook of the Lost and Found – Moira Fowley-Doyle

Spellbook of the Lost and Found – Moira Fowley-DoyleTitle: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Publishing Info: August 8, 2017 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 11, 2017
Related Posts: The Accident Season

One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses - and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

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I loved Moira Fowley-Doyle’s atmospheric writing in her debut, THE ACCIDENT SEASON, so I was very excited to read SPELLBOOK FOR THE LOST AND FOUND which sounded fall-ish (it actually takes place in spring/summer. Oops) and I was very excited to start it when I received an audio copy for review!

SPELLBOOK FOR THE LOST AND FOUND has that air of magical realism and a touch of mystery, so it was an interesting read! The story overall didn’t really catch me as much as I had hoped because I felt like it took a little too long to set up and get into all of the inky details (yes, that is a Zenon reference — 10 points to you if you spotted it) and it felt a little lost (no pun intended) when trying to put the pieces together. Once the story really started coming together, it was actually really, really cool. There were so many things that I could have picked up on but didn’t (I was also working while listening so my brain wasn’t trying TOO hard to piece things together, which actually makes for a pretty fun experience sometimes) and I really loved the way everything resolved. The book didn’t feel long per se but it also didn’t really pull me through like I had hoped.

The characters were just… okay for me. Some of the personalities blended for a bit until I got to know them better towards the middle of the book, especially with essentially four different point of views happening in three to four different circles, until a few of the merged. I didn’t quite engage with the characters as much as I had wanted to but I did still connect with them. I think I would have rather had a bit smaller of a focus and gotten to know a few more of those characters better!

Hmmm I guess mild spoiler for the ending! I won’t give anything away but you know, end-of-the-book-talk: I did like how everything concluded but I also wasn’t sure if this really WAS supposed to be magical realism or just a “true story” (to the characters anyway) that only had seemingly magical properties. But then again, I think that was kind of the point. The characters are left wondering a little and there’s still an element of magic there but at the same time, so much was rationalized out that it kind of took away from some of that magic. So to be perfectly difficult, I liked it but didn’t all the same time.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I’ve been horrible about giving my narrator impressions lately so here it is! The author/setting/characters are Irish so I’m glad all of the narrators were Irish as well! There were three different female narrators to take on the points of view that predominantly narrated the story. I love Irish accents but I’m not used to listening to them on audio so it was different and also fun! I’m really glad it brought that atmosphere and setting to the audiobook because I personally would not read an Irish accent to myself in my head when reading a print copy so it’s nice to listen to those accents in an audiobook to keep me in the location that it takes place! All of the narrators were pleasant and I thought they did a great job! I didn’t find anyone particularly excellent like omg I need to listening to everything she narrates, but I would also definitely be up for anything they did work on in the future — I just wouldn’t go seeking books out specifically for any of them like I do with some of my favorites.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Magical Realism. Magical realism was something I had never been interested in before and I actually picked this one up because it was magical realism. When done well, I love it. When not done well, it’s very hit-or-miss. This one was interesting but the twists actually kind of took away some of that magic for me.
Left Me Wanting More: Magic. I think I was hoping for a bit more magic. The cover looks a bit more witchy and given the title, I was thinking this was more witchy than it was, but it was still enjoyable.

Addiction Rating
Try it

If you like magical realism, you may like this book, or if you don’t like it, it could be a good intro to the concept. It’s a little split between magic, mystery, and contemporary!

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BOOKS LIKE SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND

          

Hidden Bodies (You #2) – Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies (You #2) – Caroline KepnesTitle: Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes
Publishing Info: February 23, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 3, 2017
Related Posts: You (You #1)

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

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I picked up HIDDEN BODIES because I was wholly engrossed with YOU by Caroline Kepnes when I had picked it up earlier in the year. (Last year? I don’t even remember when it was.) It was disturbing and yet interesting all at the same time and HIDDEN BODIES was no different in that respect! I came to actually like Joe, despite his murderous and obsessive ways, and had fun following his crazy story in HIDDEN BODIES as well.

This book, however, wasn’t quite as enjoyable as YOU. YOU felt much more fast-paced (although I do remember feeling like it lagged for a while too) but HIDDEN BODIES felt a little too long. The plot is quite different, starting out a little similar but seemingly veering off-path. I guess there’s no “right” way to write about a serial killer but Joe ended up finding some “normal” and while there were still some very messed up moments and the body count grew, it just didn’t feel as… dark… as YOU.

I love these audiobooks with Santino Fontana narrating (who I did not realize is the voice of Hans in Frozen — thanks to my sister for that tidbit! Although I still heard Joe with his great narration) and I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this nearly as much without the audio aspect so I’m definitely glad I ended up doing audio for both books! It did feel a bit slow in plot sometimes but the narration kept it moving and I loved the edge in the narrator’s voice.

The ending was… interesting? I didn’t realize that this series was going to keep going — at least I think it is from the way it ended. I kind of liked where it went and yet it also kind of felt untrue to the character we met in book one. I guess there’s always room for growth, and I guess it’s also true that Dexter took this kind of turn towards domestic life and I didn’t mind it. (Okay, I did a little bit.)

I wasn’t big on the Hollywood scene and I much preferred the setting in New York but the book was still very interesting and I did enjoy following Joe on some more horrific adventures. (Is enjoy the right word for reading a book about a killer? Eek.) I’ll definitely still continue on if we get more Joe adventures but I did feel like this book wasn’t as cohesive as the last.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Relatable serial killers?  Okay, is that even a thing? What I’m really saying here is that I appreciate being able to get sort of sucked into Joe’s world. Somehow he becomes an antihero that you want to root for.
Left Me Wanting More: Darkness. Joe was crazy yet easy to relate to in YOU and I missed some of that darker sidein HIDDEN BODIES. I think this book went a little off-course, though I guess that’s just where the story went!

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you enjoyed YOU, HIDDEN BODIES is worth the read! I much preferred the first book but there’s something so compelling about Joe despite the fact that he’s banana sandwich.

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BOOKS LIKE HIDDEN BODIES

          

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare BlakeTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: October 17, 2011 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Ghosts, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 30, 2017
Related Posts: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1), Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

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I actually tried to read this book, oh about four or five years ago, and decided it was too scary because I hate reading ghost stories but so many people had talked about the book that I had wanted to give it a try. I figured now that I’m braver and decided to read it NOT in the dark, NOT home alone, and NOT in a very old apartment that it would take away some of the fear factor and really… it’s not a scary book at all. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD has some gory and creepy moments but it’s more about the story of Anna and how she came to be, Cas and his family, and the friendships that form, rather than the fear.

The book was fun but it didn’t really pull me in. I liked Cas and enjoyed his point of view but the plot just didn’t quite work for me, which seems to be kind of a pattern with Kendare Blake’s books for me. I didn’t really care about the ending and didn’t really like where the story went. I felt like it would have been a better stand-alone, making this more about Cas and Anna’s story rather than Cas’s family and his history (for once I don’t want character backstory!). Even though there were a lot of things leading up to the conclusion, it still seemed to veer off in a different direction and just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book.

It was a fun read but I don’t think I’ll pick up the second book. I’m glad I “faced my fears” and tried it again because it really wasn’t scary at all! I had just put myself in a spooky place when I first tried to read it and barely made it anywhere because I freaked myself out with a spooky setting, so I’m really glad I attempted this book again. I feel silly for being scared before but I guess I concocted the perfect storm for a fear factor the first time around!

The audiobook narrator was also very meh. He had breaths and pauses in weird places (the middle of sentences) and didn’t have very good accents at all. Anna’s Finnish accent was more Russian and no one had a Canadian accent or even a hint of one despite the fact that the book took place in Canada. I mean, all Canadians don’t have to have a strong, pronounced accent but I do notice the vowel changes a lot with my own Canadian friends so I guess I expected the same here. His voices for the other guys were like, no one’s voice ever in real life, and the girls were overdone and stereotypical, so that didn’t enhance my reading experience like some audiobook narrators can do.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ghost stories?! I can handle ghosts in books as long as it’s not in a scary capacity. I tend to freak myself out when reading scary ghost books but I’ve read quite a few books where ghosts appear in a less threatening capacity. Anna got a little creepy in this book but Cas’s interaction with her calmed it down.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. I felt like the focus strayed, which is silly considering that was the end point all along… So I guess I was looking for the “twist” of the end to play a bigger role in the rest of the book so it didn’t feel like we were talking about two different things.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD was a quick and fun Halloween-time read. It didn’t impress me a lot but I had a good time reading it and while it was middle-of-the-road for me, I’m still glad I read it. I probably won’t read the second book, especially the way that it ended, so I can’t really recommend it but others enjoyed it a lot!

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BOOKS LIKE ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD

          

Fortnight of Fright 2017 | 5 Creepy Books to Read for Halloween (Angela’s Library)

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Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2017

Thanks for checking out the SIXTH (is it really!?) annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Angela from Angela’s Library is sharing her Halloween reading recommendations! Check out her recs below!


5 Creepy Books to Read for Halloween
By Angela Cabezas from Angela’s Library

Hi, everyone! I’m so pleased to be participating in Fortnight of Fright for the third year running. I’m generally a big wuss when it comes to scary movies, but I love me some creepy books. Below is a list of my top five recommendations for Halloween reads.

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: Zombie books usually gross me out, but Summers’ take on zombies is fascinatingly original. What truly makes this story terrifying isn’t the zombie apocalypse that’s taking place, but the mindset of the protagonist, a girl named Sloane who wants nothing more than to end her own life; Sloane’s broken mind is far more horrific than the events going on around her, although those are chilling as well. Another factor that makes this book so interesting is the Breakfast Club-from-hell vibe. Sloane and five other teens, all very different, are barricaded inside a high school together, and the desperation and tensions threaten to destroy them before the zombies do. (Read my review here.)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: My love for this novel knows no bounds, to the point where it’s hard for me to write coherently about it. Instead, I tend to simply gush and ramble about how it’s dark and sensuous and horrifying and thrilling all at once. The book starts with 17-year-old Tana waking up after a party to find she’s one of the sole survivors of a vampire massacre. Traumatized, Tana escapes with her newly infected ex-boyfriend and an ancient, possibly mad vampire whom she’s rescued from his bloodthirsty peers. Knowing the three of them aren’t safe to be around normal society, Tana checks them all into Coldtown, a vampire quarantine where people often go in…but rarely come out. Their adventures and dangers ensue from there.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender: Alender’s novel has all the trappings of a great spooky read: an abandoned insane asylum, eerie ghosts, and a malicious force that hungers for the spirits of girls. When young Delia inherits the Piven Institute, a defunct mental hospital, from her great-aunt, little does she know she’ll be doomed to stay there the rest of her life…and afterlife. (Read my review here.)

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy: Sirowy’s mystery/thriller tells the story of two little girls who go missing. One of the girls, Stella, eventually returns with no memory of what happened to her. The other girl is never seen again. The case grows cold until, years later, a body is found that bears an eerie resemblance to the missing girl. The incident inspires Stella to finally try to get to the bottom of what happened all those years ago…and the answer will shock and horrify you. In fact, it’s what makes the book so impressive; I nearly gave up on this novel several times, but the ending was so epic that it turned around my entire reading experience. (Read my review here.)

Project CAIN by Geoffrey Girard: Do you ever wonder what it would be like to discover you’re a clone? And not just any clone, but the clone of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer? This is the premise of Project CAIN, a marvelous but chilling read. The whole time I was reading, I kept waiting for Jeff to snap and give in to his dark biological tendencies. It’s a peculiar thing to be afraid of a narrator, but it worked perfectly in this case. (Read my review here.)


Thanks so much, Angela! I’ve only read a couple of these but have a few more on my TBR! Thanks so much for your post today! 

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

The Hating Game – Sally ThorneTitle: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Publishing Info: August 9, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 17, 2017

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

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Well, this book was so incredibly enjoyable! I haven’t read an adult contemporary novel in a very long time (most of my non-YA reads tend to be fantasy or mystery) and this was so much fun! I tend to avoid adult contemporary at large because I like reading to have fun and don’t particularly enjoy reading about more serious realistic topics (divorce, babies, cheating, break-ups, blah blah I know that’s not all adult contemp but you know what I mean) but THE HATING GAME was on sale at Audible in a 2-for-1 sale and I had heard such great things from bookstagram that I grabbed it! Thank you, bookstagram.

I agree with my friend Brittany when she told me that the beginning was better than the ending (hence the four stars and not five). I LOVED the beginning of this book and the hate-fire that fueled the tension between Lucy and Joshua. It was tense, exciting, funny, and sexy. I loved those shared moments when you could tell they hated each other so much that they didn’t hate each other anymore. It was absolutely perfect and I loved how this relationship developed!

The ending was also wonderful too. I loved how the book resolved, how both characters really grew, and how the reader learned so many different things about each character’s past by the time the story concluded. It was romantic and brilliant and I could read so much more about Lucy and Josh (except for the fact that the awesome hate-tension wouldn’t be there anymore). I loved their personalities, especially Lucy, and how this book really came to life.

Mild Spoilers: The only thing I was missing was that I wished the “Hating Game” part of the book had gone on longer. The book starts out with Lucy and Josh positively despising each other and I thought that could have gone on just a bit longer and Sally Thorne could have established their relationship (the hate side) a bit more before breaking that sexual tension. The tension was so fantastic that I just wanted it to keep going, and I thought it should have lasted just a bit longer. I enjoyed watching that hate dissolve and Lucy and Josh still spurring each other on all the while, but it almost felt like the resolution of the book started a little too early and it lost a little momentum. You want to keep reading to see when that breaking moment happens and it just broke a little too early, I thought.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book and I immediately added Sally Thorne’s next book to my TBR (I actually added it before I was even done with THE HATING GAME). It’s not a sequel to this book, which I’m glad this was a stand alone, but I definitely want to read her next novel! I loved the writing and the characters were so vivid and real. I’m so glad I picked this one up after seeing it everywhere!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult contemp. I don’t read a ton of adult contemporary, but when I do, it’s books like this! I love the falling in love side of things (it’s why I read so much YA) and it’s fun to read in an adult setting! I loved the publishing office and how work really affected their relationship.
Left Me Wanting More: Tension! I thought the hating side ended just a liiiiiittle too soon because I LOVED that tension and banter! It sort of lost a little steam taking that tension away but the whole book was really so much fun.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was so incredibly cute, a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to read more from Sally Thorne!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE HATING GAME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Talon (Talon #1) – Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon #1) – Julie KagawaTitle: Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
Publishing Info: October 28, 2014 by Harlequin
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 14, 2017
Related Posts: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

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I had no idea what to expect when I started TALON! I picked up it really only because of the audiobook narrators (MacLeod Andrews is one of my all-time favorites) when it was included in an Audible sale and wanting to start something fun a book that wasn’t TOO long (since I’m always behind on my Goodreads challenge).

TALON wasn’t anything super special for me but it was engaging and fun to read (or listen to). The characters were easy to follow and the book felt a little “typical YA” (things that you might place in a YA stereotype) but it was still a fun and enjoyable book. There was a love triangle which I didn’t expect at first but ya know, I didn’t hate it (maybe because there was a bad boy involved… just sayin’) and I would be interested to see where it goes except for the fact that I’m not sure that I’m motivated to continue the series. I wasn’t suuuper sold on the writing but it was still light and easy. There were two main POVs and then a third shows up halfway through the book so I thought it could have been structured better and I felt like the third POV probably should have been eliminated, even though I kind of enjoyed it.

The concept of dragons who can morph into humans was unique and the only thing I’ve read remotely like it, as far as dragons go specifically, was SERAPHINA. This was more on the contemporary side since it takes place in a contemporary time period, whereas SERAPHINA was more deep into the fantasy and a high fantasy world. I enjoyed the different feel that was involved here and it was fun to see the dragons incorporated into modern society. That being said, it also wasn’t the most well-done and there were some super obvious things about the dragons that I thought anyone should be able to pick up — especially a society that specifically hunts them — but I think this is one of those “suspend your disbelief for the sake of the book” kind of a thing.

The plot was fairly predictable but I still had fun with it. I wasn’t in it to be shocked and surprised so that wasn’t something that bothered me. I am curious to see where the rest of the series will go because it ended with kind of a cliffhanger there! BUT I also don’t know if finishing the series will be priority. Maybe Audible will have more sales for the rest of this series and I can finish that way, otherwise I probably won’t continue. It’s a sort of a read-it-because-it’s-there kind of a series and not one that I’ll really prioritize.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dragons! I haven’t read a lot of dragon books and it was interesting to see the dragon-to-human concept since it’s not one that’s done often. It makes you think a little different versus other supernatural-to-human creatures that you see more often in books.
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. I know I’m reading young adult novels and there’s the whole “teens are the target audience here” but sometimes YA is a little TOO YA for me and that was the case with this book. I’m sure going back to read TWILIGHT (I haven’t in probably… oh almost ten years now) I wouldn’t enjoy it the way that I had when I was much younger and that’s okay! But it’s things like obvious tropes, plot holes, and less mature language that leaves me feeling a bit old for the book when I continue to enjoy so many young adult books out there.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

This book was light, easy, and enjoyable but it didn’t really knock me off my feet. I think it’s something to consider if the concept sounds interesting and fun but I wouldn’t put it first on your TBR.

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BOOKS LIKE TALON

          

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan MatsonTitle: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 28, 2017
Related Posts: Since You've Been Gone

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

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I’ve actually only read one other Morgan Matson book so far (SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE) and I’ve found her writing to be fun, enjoyable, a true to real life. I basically have all of her books on my TBR so when this book came up in an Audible sale, it was a quick pick for me and I was excited to read it!

AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR was so cute and also very deep at the same time. I didn’t expect tragedy to be involved (no spoiler — it’s why the book happens in the first place) so I might not have picked it up so eagerly if I had known that but I also like that I didn’t know that because I could have missed a really wonderful book. I tend to trust authors who have good reviews or whose works I’ve already enjoyed so I just kind of jumped into this one and I’m really glad I did! The book starts after the death of Amy’s father and I’ve been avoiding a lot of books surrounding death/tragedy/disease, etc to keep things positive and fluffy and happy and surprisingly, this book was both at the same time.

I loved the dynamic between Amy and Roger and how it grew throughout the book. The two start out as near strangers (they used to know each other as kids but barely) and despite only really knowing each other for a few days, their feelings for each other didn’t feel like instalove. Being stuck in a car with someone for several days allows you to get to know them and know them well within a short period of time so I found that quite realistic and positively adorable. They had their shared interests, their differences, a few quarrels, and a lot of really cute moments. I really enjoyed how their friendship and relationship developed as the story went on!

There was also so much more to this book than just the romance. Amy is forced to embark upon this road trip to take the family car from her old home in California to their new home in Connecticut, but she also makes some important life decisions on her own (and with some enlightenment from Roger) and really matures along the way. The death of her father has severely shaken the family, of course, and Amy starts to come to terms with his death, how it happened, and what it means to continue on with life and how to enjoy it without him there. She learns what it means to be an adult and take on responsibility for your actions, how to make better relationships, and how to make decisions that are best for her, even if they’re not the easiest ones to make.

I loved the depth in this story and the character growth while still having that fluffy, happy feeling of a super cute relationship. AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR was such a fun and wonderful read — oh, and let’s not forgot about the high school/college flashback with all of the amazing road trip playlists! Morgan Matson incorporated music in this book in the form of playlists and everything from Amy’s musicals to Roger’s indie rock took me back to 2010 (when this book was written — I didn’t realize it was that old!) and had me feeling some epic nostalgia too!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Serious & syrupy. I loved the serious and sweet combo! This book did an amazing job at keeping things realistic and meaningful while still incorporating and adorable lightness to it.
Left Me Wanting More: Morgan Matson novels! This was only my second book from Morgan Matson and it was so much fun! I definitely want to keep reading through her entire collection.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I get the Morgan Matson appeal! This book was so well done and I’m so glad I finally read it! It has a little bit of everything for every fan of contemp YA.

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BOOKS LIKE AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR

          

As Seen on Bookstagram | All the Crooked Saints

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

Yesterday was the release date for ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS and I’m still stalled on page 56. I had actually put the book down to pick back up as audio once it was released because Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is so important that it was too hard to read this book on my lunch break at work when everyone else is talking. I wasn’t able to concentrate like I needed to and I was having a hard time getting into the book without being able to focus on the writing so I decided to wait and let the audiobook focus for me!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Raven Cycle and THE SCORPIO RACES. I adore Maggie Steifvater’s writing and how much she gets readers invested in characters while another detailed plot is forming. I had started reading ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS and I didn’t feel that character investment yet and I knew it was my headspace so I’m excited to start it over again as an audiobook! I borrowed the audio from Hoopla (woo!) and started it this morning so instead of picking up where I left off, I’m just going to restart from the beginning so I can pick up anything I missed.

Already, the writing is similar to the books that I love and it’s also very different. Just by changing the setting, a whole new tone is set up and maybe it wasn’t a bright idea to binge re-read The Raven Cycle because I need to adjust my brain to allow myself to fall into the setting of ATCS. I’m trying to let myself be pulled into the book, which I think might be easier now that I’m listening, so I’m interested to see how it goes!

I was also having a hard time with the religious tones because I’m not a religious person and sometimes it’s a turn-off. I mean, “saints” is IN THE TITLE so I don’t know what I’m expecting but I’m curious to see what the Stiefvater spin is on this concept and what the miracles and miracle-workers actually are. It still seems like there are a lot of magical realism elements which I’ve been enjoying lately so I hope it’s something I’m able to connect with!


Have you read ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS already? No spoilers — how did you feel about it? Is it easy for any Stiefvater fan to enjoy or do you have to enjoy specific elements?

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! 

The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie Hall

The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie HallTitle: The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) by Maggie Hall
Publishing Info: July 18, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 20, 2017
Related Posts: The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1), Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us #2)

The Circle is hers. But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found, and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had, and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.

Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack, and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.

Avery will have to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice—for the world, for family, and for love—in this conclusion to the Conspiracy of Us series.

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That was such a solid ending of this series, and done just right, I think! I often times worry with series-enders because it’s so hard to wrap things up. I think THE ENDS OF THE WORLD was just the right amount of action, romance, resolution, devastation, and consequences all rolled into a solid conclusion.

I listened to the first two books back-to-back on audio and I almost wish I had waited until this book was out so I could have binged all three because I always forget a little bit from the previous books, so I did have a tiny bit of a gap in remembering exactly what happened! Fortunately it wasn’t a lot since I read them not TOO long ago, but it still did affect my reading experience just a tiny bit. What I really did love is that Maggie Hall kept all of her characters true to themselves. They really grew throughout the series and their decisions were normal and logical for everything that they had been through. Avery is a very different person from the beginning of the series and I loved how she said it herself — she’s definitely not the same but her experiences changed her and she grew from them. I really loved how the characters evolved but really stayed true to their personalities and beliefs. It happens all too often that things start to really stray from the first book by the time you hit the last book so I’m so happy that Maggie Hall kept a very cohesive feel to this series all around!

Being the last in the series, obviously things had to take some dire turns before they could wrap up! I really liked the amount of danger present in this book and the sacrifices that were made. It wasn’t always easy to read but everything resolved really well, I think, and it was a satisfying ending without being too cheesy. I loved the extra few sentences that stated that even though it was a positive final result, everyone had still gone through so much and it would take a long time for everyone to be okay, if ever. It really put that into perspective that these characters went through some STUFF and it’s not all fluff and cotton candy after it was all over. They have a long road ahead of working to put things back into place, sorting out a lot of political stuff, and working on relationships as well. It was great to see some reality brought into a happy ending while still feeling a little gooey about it.

Without talking about any spoilers, the plot did take a turn that I wasn’t so crazy about? Not bad in any way but I guess you could say it that was one step further that took things into more of a jump outside of reality that I just didn’t know if I could wrap my brain around it. It wasn’t paranormal or fantastical or anything like that but it was an added element to the story that really affected the plot and I was just like of like HMMM. How do I feel about this? I think it took one step past the international espionage and added almost a mild sci-fi element? Ugh, it’s hard to explain without giving things away but anyway, that was my one very small hang-up, and totally a personal opinion.

Overall, I LOVED this series and I love international thrillers like this! There aren’t a lot of really good YA espionage/modern political novels like this (I guess for lack of a better term, a sort of Da Vinci Code concept) and I would love to see more of this in the YA world! I’d absolutely pick it up. No matter what Maggie Hall is writing next, I am totally on board! I loved the details that went into this series, the feel and atmosphere were fantastic, the characters were strong, and the whole series stayed true to itself. Highly recommend and can’t wait to read more from Maggie Hall, whatever that may be!

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Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I hate having to compare every international thriller like this to THE DAVINCI CODE so I’m gonna make a reference to this series from now on! We need more books like this!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality? It was fun but I also felt like the plot went a little too outside of my comfort zone to wrap things up. I understand where it was heading but I also wasn’t the biggest fan. I think I want more thriller less… mythology I guess.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This series is so well done. I love these characters, the locations, and the action!

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A Book and a Candle | Wonder Woman: Warbringer + Themyscira (Flickering Tales)

I was chatting with my dear friend Andi from Andi’s ABCs the other day, mulling over what kind of new blog post I could possibly come up with for my blog. After blogging for five years and feeling like I’m repeating so many things and having candles take over my life with Novelly Yours (in a good way), I just don’t have as much time or energy to create some of those fun graphics and infographics that I used to love to spend hours and even days creating! Book and a Beverage really kind of died out with so many people having already done it and me having a hard time keeping track of blog posts sometimes so she suggested I switch things up to fit my life with more of what I’m doing now… and do a little switch from books & beverages to books & candles! I already post quite a bit of books & candles on my Instagram account and it seemed like the perfect way to really tie everything back together!

Here on A Book and a Candle, I share two of my favorite things! I started my own candle shop about two years ago and ever since then, my candle addiction has only grown exponentially! I share a lot of my photos on Instagram but not many really make it to my blog so this seemed like a great opportunity to talk some more about books and candles and how one enhances the other!

Today I’m sharing a photo of my one and only piece of WONDER WOMAN merch along with my copy of the book! I actually have the hardcover sitting on my shelf but I was too lazy to take it down (I have so much merch sitting on top of book, it’s crazy) so I used my ARC instead! I recently purchased this candle from Flickering Tales and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk about it a little bit more!

THE BOOK: WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER | Goodreads | Review
THE CANDLE: Themyscira from Flickering Tales
Candle scents: ocean, sandalwood, citrus

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Leigh Bardugo fan so when I heard she was writing a Wonder Woman story, I was instantly excited and intrigued! I’m not a big super hero/comic person so the concept of DC origin stories was fun but not really in my wheelhouse, but nevertheless, I was excited for each one of them!

I finished WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER a month or two ago and really enjoyed it! Diana was actually my least favorite character of the book because she’s so… wholesome haha! I adore Leigh Bardugo’s sassy and/or morally gray characters so those were the ones I was more drawn to. But the story was fun and creative and so it was so interesting reading something that wasn’t the Grishaverse!

I actually didn’t plan on collecting any WONDER WOMAN merch because the Grishaverse is where my heart truly lies and if I planned on collecting all the WW books and candles and such, well, I would have to have a whole new bookcase just for Leigh Bardugo items (which realistically, I may need anyway)! I have so many items relating to Shadow and Bone and The Dregs that I didn’t want to add WW candles to it too (and ya know, I should listen to my bank account) but I was so happy to receive the Themyscira candle in Flickering Tales’ Leigh Barudgo locations box!

Flickering Tales has started releasing special edition boxes based on a theme, as many candle shops now do, and I couldn’t pass the opportunity to grab one based on Leigh Bardugo’s books and special locations within them. To be honest, I totally forgot about WW and didn’t think of it being included and I’m SUPER glad it was because the Themyscira candle is actually my favorite of the bunch! I don’t know what it is about it but it just makes my heart happy and reminds me of something comforting and that is truly the best kind of candle magic!

Rachael’s Themyscira candle smells like ocean, sandalwood, and citrus and the scent combination is a perfect balance! I can smell the calming notes of the ocean waves and the vibe of the candle is like being outdoors, standing on the shoreline. I’m not the biggest fan of sandalwood but I love it in this candle, adding a musky and earthy note to the overall profile without overwhelming the other scents as sandalwood can sometimes too. And the citrus blends beautifully with the other two scents, rolling into the overall affect of the rolling sea. These scents just really blended together beautifully and the final effect is simply wonderful!

This candle was a part of a special release box so unfortunately, it’s not on sale on its own but Flickering Tales has a few other candles that have ocean or sea notes that you might want to check out if this sounded interesting to you! She has candles inspired by DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, Shades of Magic, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and more!

FIND FLICKERING TALES: 
Website | Instagram | Pinterest

** All candles featured in A Book and a Candle have been obtained by my own choosing, whether by direct purchase or in a candle swap and there have been no exchanges or free product sent to me to feature. Candle shops featured are of my choosing and each candle summary/review are my own words and opinions. I have not been influenced in any way to write these posts other than my own pure enjoyment of each candle! I’m just sharing what I love! **