Author Archives: Brittany

Series Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

With the release of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie on Netflix, I figured it was finally time to read the series! I at least wanted to read the first book before I watched the movie and I’m definitely glad I did! It made me appreciate the movie even more and I always like having that knowledge base before starting a book-inspired movie!

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

Series Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanTitle: To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han
Publishing Info: April 15, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible, Audiobook borrowed from library, Book Outlet
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Completed: June 19, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

This is my first time reading TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE after much, much hype! It was definitely cute and there was quite a lot that I liked about the book. After hearing so much love for this book/series though, I didn’t really see what the hype was about. It was a cute contemporary with some great family interactions, a cute fake boyfriend situation, unexpected turns, morals, and diversity.

I’m wondering if maybe the swoons for Peter K come more in the rest of the series as well because it took me a while to get there. I actually really appreciated how all of the romance was handled. There’s a bit of love triangle but it wasn’t one that was annoying. I really didn’t know how the ending would play out and I really enjoyed it!

I was surprised to see that it ended in a cliffhanger and I definitely do want to continue on! I’m hoping to fall more in love with the series.

Series Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanTitle: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han
Publishing Info: May 26, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Completed: June 20, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Well, I’m still not getting the appeal here and it’s such a bummer! I was ready for a cute, fun, smart series and it’s a weird thing because it… is… cute and fun and smart. But there’s also a sense of immaturity that just kept me from really enjoying it to that special level.

I’m also not understanding why everyone is swooning over Peter K (which I feel like I need to call him Peter K because of people’s swoons except Lara Jean doesn’t even really refer to him that way). I like him, yes, but it’s not to a super swoony level. He and Lara Jean keep having these stupid misunderstandings that could be avoided if they just talked to each other, which they said they would do.

I think the biggest thing about the series so far is that it’s just not the feel I expected. For it being a series there just doesn’t really feel like a clear direction or plot. And this is another weird thing in that’s not unrealistic. It actually feels like real life with spliced in moments of drama that are maybe too dramatic. There was a normal amount of things happening and then there was this whole weird Gossip Girl concept that was going on here. I enjoyed the realistic parts of the book and the drama was just mehhhh.

I do still want to read the last book but I guess I’m not really expecting anything different. It’s been cute and fun but I’m not getting the hype for it so far.

Series Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanTitle: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han
Publishing Info: May 2, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Completed: August 22, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Lara Jean is having the best senior year.

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Meh. Even after watching the movie, I’m still not in love with the series. I forgot how much Lara Jean annoys me in the books, always butting into things that she wasn’t asked to do and muddying things up for other people. It was nice of her dad and Trina not to corral her but I think she needed to be corralled a bit to let her grow up and learn that not everything I about her. Her voice is just very immature, even for 18, and that bothered me still.

One thing I like and dislike all at the same time is that these books are an accurate portrayal of high school meaning…. not a lot happens. The premise of this last book was waiting for college admissions, deciding where to go, and what happens when couples stay together or go away separately, but there wasn’t really a story, per se. Things happen, there’s a timeline, but there’s not really much of a plot so while I find it realistic, it is a bit boring. We read to experience a story and this didn’t really take me anywhere. I guess you could say it’s more character-driven, which it is, but even the characters didn’t really seem to grow throughout the series because Lara Jean is pretty much the same since book one.

I’m glad I read them but I don’t get the hype and the love.

SERIES THOUGHTS

When it comes to TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE hype, I think I’m sticking with the movie. The concepts were really cute and the characters were fun, but I just had such a hard time with Lara Jean! She just felt so immature and her inner dialogue was hard to enjoy for me. With all the time we spent with Lara Jean, I was really kind of disappointed that we didn’t see what actually happened with her and Peter once they decided about college. The third book didn’t feel like a very good conclusion and while others really enjoyed this series, it was just okay for me.

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Addiction Rating
Consider them

These books were worth the read but I didn’t fall in love with them like so many other people did. I’m really glad I read them, especially reading the first two before the movie, but the movie definitely has a bigger piece of my heart!

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BOOKS LIKE TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

The Everything Box (Another Coop Heist #1) – Richard Kadrey

The Everything Box (Another Coop Heist #1) – Richard KadreyTitle: The Everything Box (Another Coop Heist #1) by Richard Kadrey
Publishing Info: April 19, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: June 18, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

2000 B.C.
A beautiful, ambitious angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he should know. He’s going to play a big part in it. Our angel usually doesn’t get to do field work, and if he does well, he’s certain he’ll be get a big promotion.
And now it’s time . . .
The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. Looking over the Earth at all that could have been, the majestic angel utters a single word.
“Crap.”

2015
A thief named Coop-a specialist in purloining magic objects-steals and delivers a small box to the mysterious client who engaged his services. Coop doesn’t know that his latest job could be the end of him-and the rest of the world. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome enforcement agency that polices the odd and strange. The box isn’t just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers, they tell him.

It’s a doomsday device. They think. . .
And suddenly, everyone is out to get it.

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Well, I went out on a limb and selected a book that literally none of my friends have read and this was it. I was looking for a clever book with humor, interesting characters, and a well-crafted novel. THE EVERYTHING BOX definitely had its humor and gave off some serious Dogma (movie) vibes, but I didn’t really connect with the plot or the characters like I had hoped.

The book started out a little too silly, then started softening out to a more well-balanced flow. Then around the second half of the book, I just felt like I lost it. I couldn’t focus and there were a lot of different POVs/perspectives but I felt like they sort of bumped around a little too much. Each perspective added something to the story, yes, but it felt like a few of them didn’t really need to be separate perspectives. There just ended up being a lot of characters and they didn’t stick around long enough for me to feel like there was any development. Even with the main characters, new people kept coming onto the scene and it was just a large cast that I didn’t make a good connection with.

The plot itself was also not the greatest. There was a lot of moving around, lots of plotting and even a heist or two… but it seemed like it was all kind of pointless. There just wasn’t a whole lot going on to push the plot forward and it just all felt a little jumbled. Ultimately, that was probably what took me out of the book the most. There were a few different story lines involved here and they would just bounce around, featuring new characters we hadn’t met before, and that took a while to adjust to.

I doubt I’ll continue the series because I just didn’t feel any strong feelings for this book. There were a couple decent points throughout the book but it really didn’t come together for me.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Reads that not a lot of people have reviewed. I really wanted to get into something to form an opinion for myself without seeing any reviews at all, maybe “discover” a new great book. This wasn’t it, but I really did enjoy trying something new!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. I didn’t love how things really jumped around a lot from concept to concept.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series and it wasn’t something I was keen on recommending.

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BOOKS LIKE THE EVERYTHING BOX

              

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) – Jay KristoffTitle: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff
Publishing Info: August 9, 2016 by Macmillan, St. Martin's Press
Source: Book Depository
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: June 3, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1), Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

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NEVERNIGHT was easily one of my favorite books of the year! I had put off reading it because I started an egalley when it was first being released and it didn’t have any of the footnotes (although someone else said they were all at the end) and I didn’t want to miss out! Then I sampled the audiobook and really did not like the narrator so I had to wait for a good time for me to read the physical copy!

This book was so cinematic and it had everything that I love. I could just picture the entire book happening as things were unfolding. The beginning of the book started out just a tad slow but it didn’t feel like it was slow in a bad way. Things took time to set up and provide a little world-building and setting, so it was a little while to get into the main action, but it was still interesting and I liked getting to know some of the characters during that time.

I absolutely loved the rest of the book. Mia is a fantastic character with a complicated history, a determined mission, and even though she’s a precious murder baby, she still has so many different layers to explore. I love a good antihero and Mia is an amazing protagonist. Each side character really has a full range of emotions, stories, and motives that make for a truly well-rounded book. Basically every element of the book from the characters to the fantasy concept to the darkness to the setting was exactly my taste!

I do have to yell at Jay, though, for one particular thing that happened at the end… I really did NOT see it coming which is surprising because it could have been a really big spoiler and I hadn’t read the book even close to when it came out so I’m surprised that I was able to avoid it for so long! It was quite surprising and unique.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Antiheroes. Ugh, I loved Mia so much. This whole book was full of great antiheroes and morally grey characters.
Left Me Wanting More: Quick beginnings. I didn’t want it to be TOO quick to get into everything but it did take just a little while to get into things. I enjoyed the backstory but then there were a few journey scenes that were a little slow.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I cannot WAIT to read the rest of this series! This book was absolutely fantastic and I loved every bit of it.

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BOOKS LIKE NEVERNIGHT

              

Renegades Recruitment: Week 2

It’s time for week two of the RENEGADES Recruitment read along! We’ve been (re)reading RENEGADES in preparation for the ARCHENEMIES release along with the Fierce Reads team and few other helpers! Fierce Reads recapped chapters 1 – 10 last week and this week I’m sharing a recap and some FEELS on chapters 11 – 21!

Week 1 — October 4 
Chapters 1-10: Team Fierce Reads
Week 2 — October 11 (Todayyy!)
Chapters 11-21: Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide
Week 3 — October 18
Chapters 22-32: Alexandra @ Twirling Pages
Week 4 — October 25
Chapters 33-end: Emma @ EmmmaBooks

Obviously with a recap, I’m sharing some major spoilers for these chapters so if you haven’t read these chapters yet, beware!! Pluuuus there’s a super awesome giveaway at the end of the post so trust me, it’ll be worth reading!

RENEGADES RECAP: CHAPTERS 11 – 21

This section kicks off with Nova getting all set up with her new *gasp* Renegades identity! With plans to infiltrate, Nova Artino changes to Nova McLain complete with a new uncle a some new digs (which seem less than stellar, but I guess it’s better than the sewers… maybe). Because of all this, Nova also needs a new set of fingerprints which doesn’t seem to be anyone’s super power (that seems like it would only be used for evil anyway) so she gets them burned off with… acid. Yikes!

With all of this established, Nova heads off to the Renegades trials, which is such a fun part of the book! All of the current Renegades host trials to see if any new prodigies are worthy of officially joining the renegades. With this chapter kicking off from Adrian’s point-of-view, we get all kinds of fun anecdotes from Adrian, Ruby, and Oscar about their own trials (well, minus Adrian since he didn’t have to try out) and the trials of their other friends. They even get snacks and the atmosphere kind of reminded me of the Triwizard Tournament, which is always a fun feel to have!

As soon as Nova enters the ring for her tryout, Adrian recognizes her as the girl with the bracelet and the reader’s spidey senses start tingling, wondering if, when, and how Adrian will make the connection from Insomnia (which is now Nova’s new superhero name) to Nightmare. Nova in turn recognizes Adrian’s name because of his mother, Lady Indomitable, and of course because he’s the son of the two biggest Renegades out there. Not surpringisly, Nova gets immediately rejected when she shares that her power is the inability/lack of need to sleep and she can’t even demonstrate it in the ring. Snooze. Buuuut of course we have smitten Adrian who accepts her on his squad without even consulting his friends. Renegades bad-attitude Genissa challenges this acceptance since no one can even see proof of Nova’s ability, and a sudden death sort of challenge is initiated!

Nova actually gets to pick whichever person she’d like as her opponent and we know Nova has something up her sleeve here but she ends up picking Gargoyle… the biggest and toughest guy there, but Nova does know what she’s doing. She already boasted about her physical training and cunning and she proves it by defeating the biggest guy she can, both with endurance and with brains. Her only weapon is a knife and after a few minutes battle, Nova trips up Gargoyle with a banner and the help of Adrian’s sketched toy cannon. Nova wins and Adrian and friends welcome her to the team! SPARKS FLY.

The team gets a tip on the “Librarian” who is rumored to have all kinds of weaponry and it might be where Nightmare gets her weapons. We see Adrian messing with some new tattoos, inking in some permanent additions to his skin, which is the foundation of his Sentinel persona. Adrian’s ability to draw and bring things to life work on his own body since it’s based off intent, so we get the backstory of some of his older tattoos and the history of the Sentinel, which was based off of an idea for a story Adrian had as a kid.

Adrian is desperate to work on the Nightmare case, the tip on the Librarian being a big next step, and he begs his dads to let him go on the surveillance mission. They’re very hesitant, naturally, but he wears them down and finally Simon agrees, telling Adrian that he’s allowed to take his team to go watch, but if ANYTHING happens, he needs to call for back-up and not to engage, because his team isn’t ready or equipped for that yet. Adrian is thrilled and the tension is palpable with the audience knowing that Nova is now a part of his team and she’ll be going on a mission that may set her against the Anarchists and set up an opportunity to really damage the Renegades, serving the first blow.

READER’S NOTE: One thing not in the book here but my general observations while reading is just how complicated all of this really is! Nova seems like a person with a good heart. She’s a part of the Anarchists but I still felt like it would take a lot for her to fully sabotage the Renegades on a real level. She doesn’t seem super evil and it seems like once she gets to know them, she may have a hard time hurting them, especially Adrian.

BACK TO THE RECAP: So Nova enters headquarters for the first time and she wants to see EVERYTHING. She immediately feels like a fraud upon entering (especially with messages ringing out about Nightmare… awkward), sure someone’s just going to rush in and grab her, but it all goes really smoothly! She starts mingling, meeting more Renegades, and feeling out the possibilities she’ll have to thwart this giant operation. She speaks to her team and grabs her uniform, all without a hitch. There’s a very detailed tour of every room she can access, basically, and Nova starts to realize how much the Renegades really do and points out that regular people (not prodigies) could really do a lot of these things, but the Renegades take it all on.

Nova takes a chance and asks when the Sentinel trains and Ruby steps in to reply that he’s an impostor and isn’t actually a Renegade, clearing that up for Nova’s suspicions. They watch Danna train and there’s TENSION with Nova being a new member of Danna’s team, because she worked with Adrian & Co before she got injured in the Nightmare confrontation. Nova shows off her prowess, especially in her observation skills, and Danna decides she’s not so bad.

Adrian takes Nova to meet Max aka Bandit, who’s locked up in a glass enclosure. I mean, it’s his home and where he stays, but it’s basically a big glass quarantine. Adrian’s says he doesn’t know why, but he is dangerous and it’s highly classified…. but really Adrian knows because of his dads. Nova gets her communicator, knowing that it probably has some tracking implement as well, and now has to figure out how she’s going to get around that when she goes places she can’t be tracked. Adrian fills Nova in about the surveillance plan and Nova has a hard time walking around in the Renegades uniform because she feels so NOTICED when she usually blends into the background.

Nova arrives back at her new home (the crappy one, remember?) and DUN DUN DUN, someone’s there! Turns out it’s a squatter and Nova gets rid of him before her fellow Anarchists show up to check out the place. Nova had noticed Adrian’s nervousness about the Sentinel, but she credits it back to his dads and there being an awkward pressure there or just knowing more than he should. She tells the Anarchists about Cronin (The Librarian) and how they connected Nightmare’s gun back to him. Ingrid volunteers to warn him when Nova suggest someone should and Nova recounts the plans for the surveillance team and what might happen. The Anarchists think the Renegades might plant something there to capture Cronin (which hey, that’s an Anarchist way of thinking) and Ingrid says to try to get the Renegades to ACTUALLY go in and search so they can really prove that there’s nothing there, that she will go clean up ahead of time and make sure there’s nothing at all to find.

The surveillance starts and Nova, Adrian, Oscar, and Ruby decide they’ll take turns who has the main watch. Nova makes fun of their watch snacks since it’s all sugar so it’s a good thing Nova doesn’t have to sleep because they’re all going to crash. A fun part here is that we get the origin stories of each of the team members! Oscar tells a story about how he was saved from a burning room. He passed out, had a dream about the fire and smoke, and when he woke up, he was breathing smoke! Ruby’s grandma had hidden all kinds of jewels after her jewelry store closed up and the house was raided by villains. Ruby swallowed  some jewels — you guessed it. Rubies — and when she wouldn’t vomit them back up upon demand, the villains stabbed her. Her power manifested and her wounds spouted rubies that she used as weapons from there forward. Adrian was born with his power. Boring story, but seems pretty cool! And Nova was also born with her power (which she can’t tell the group since that power is putting people to sleep) so she tells her actual history about the murders of her family and how she gained the power not to sleep from that event.

AND THAT’S IT FOR CHAPTERS 11 – 21!

Check back with Twirling Pages next week on 10/18 for the next quarter of the book!!


GIVEAWAY

I also promised a giveaway and here it is! One luck winner will receive a prize pack consisting of: Renegades paperback, Archenemies ARC, tote bag, and lenticular! I have my own giveaway here on the blog but you can check out this tweet from @fiercereads to see what this prize pack looks like (and what a lenticular is if you don’t already know)! This giveaway is only open to US/Canada residents. Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Broken Things – Lauren Oliver

Broken Things – Lauren OliverTitle: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: October 2, 2018 by HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Source: ALAAC18
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: October 6, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Panic

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

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BROKEN THINGS was a very interesting read! I always appreciate Lauren Oliver’s storytelling style and this book certainly followed suit. There were a number of pieces that fit into Summer’s murder and as the book unfolded, things fell out of suspicion and others fell into place. I actually had no idea who Summer’s actual murder was until it was revealed but looking back, there were still small clues that I could have picked up on but didn’t. It was woven in well throughout the book and I was surprised, even though it didn’t quite feel right somehow.

One thing I really loved what the depth of each character. The main characters and narrators, Mia and Brynn (the girls who were blamed for Summer’s death), have both had life-changing experiences from their best friend’s murder, of course, and not just because they were blamed for it. They had other things going on with their families and friends and I really liked how Lauren Oliver really included all of those burdens & secrets that a person carries with them on a daily basis, not just the events after this tragedy and subsequent shunning. There was so much more that each character, including the supporting characters, was going through. They were mentioned as broken people and misfits, but really, I think everyone has a little bit of something that they’re carrying with them and I didn’t really love that label. I think a lot of people may feel like they’re “broken” but what I did love was that all of these characters found solace in each other, which is really what friendship is all about. When you’re a kid, everything feels so personal and I think as these characters grew up, much like I’ve experienced growing up, you find out that everyone has something they’ve gone through and you start listening to other people’s experiences. Each person got to understand things outside of their own world in different ways and that was a neat thing to witness in this book.

The other really interesting concept here was the addition of Lovelorn, a fantastical place in the girls’ favorite book that they used to imagine was real. There was a blurry line whether the place was real or not due to the experiences that they had, and even though the world is fictional, in a way it became real with the girls’ fan-fiction novel and how they tried to bring it to life through their actions. I liked how the line was constantly blurred throughout the book to get readers to feel like it could be real but there are still facts and truth that show what the real story is.

BROKEN THINGS definitely held my attention and I read over 200 pages in just a few hours. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down and the characters were well-rounded, and I really enjoyed it from start to finish.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Muddy boundaries. I did enjoy how there was a blurred line between real and imaginary/fantasy! I liked how this was still a mystery but there were moments when you weren’t quite sure what was real.
Left Me Wanting More: Clues. I think I wanted just a few more clues to point to the killer. I liked that I had no idea who it was but it also made it less believable once it was revealed.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This is very typical of Lauren Oliver’s writing style and it was really enjoyable! I think if you like her books, this one will be a hit.

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BOOKS LIKE BROKEN THINGS

              

What I Loved [September 2018]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I did more Netflix binge-watching this month and ended up reading the same amount as August (11 books), which is still highly respectable! I just ended up reading what I felt like and even put a couple books aside that just weren’t working for me.

 

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BOOKS READ (11):

I had a lot of fun with new releases in my latest series binges like Alex Verus #9 and October Daye #12! I basically ruined myself for any new books because between those and re-reading The Raven Cycle, I just haven’t wanted to read much of anything else unless it’s a favorite author or book. Maybe October will be the month of re-reading… I always like September and October to be witchy months but I feel like I’m striking out on those!

PURCHASES

I actually had quite a few candle orders come in this month! I took advantage of a few sales and of course needed everyone’s fall candles!

  • MY WICK OF TEA:  Sweater Weather, Pale Daughter, Nikolai Lantsov (trade)
  • CANTERBURY ROAD CO: Rowan, Currently Reading: Trick or Treat Yo Shelf, Reading in the Library, Currently Reading: Autumn Edition, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Belles, Love Simon, Reading by the Fire
  • FROSTBEARD STUDIOS: Winter Keep, The Inklings
  • THREE KNOCKS CANDLES: Physical Kids Cottage, Stalking Jack the Ripper box (trade)
  • ALCHEMY & INK: Sirius Black, Ravenclaw, King of Scars, Reading Nook
  • WICKY WICKY CANDLE CO: Illyrian Warrior, Lazlo Strange, House of Mist

I also bought my first-ever Shelflove Crate box! I loved all of the fandoms involved and Shelflove did a great job of curating the box… But I think I’m still just struggling with feeling the need to keep anything in sub boxes. There’s a gorgeous pillow case (like for a throw pillow) but it’s something I’ll never use and I have so many little stickers and bookmarks that things just end up in cabinets or shelves. As wonderfully curated as it was, I’m not sure I’ll continue getting any sub boxes. I wanted to try a new one to see if it worked better for me but I’m just too picky and I have too much stuff! (Thanks, #bookstagram haha)

MOVIES & SHOWS

I did a lot more binge watching this month! I was still on a sci-fi kick so after finishing Continuum last month, I watched the only season (so far) of Ascension and it was neat! There were some good twists but I also still didn’t totally love it. Then I moved to Dark Matter which had some REALLY good episodes but then there were a lot of in between ones that were blah. I watched all three seasons and I’ll definitely keep watching if/when there are more episodes but I felt like it could have been a little more cohesive going from episode to episode.

Now I started Castle Rock on Hulu and I’m six episodes in! (Yes, that was all from one day.) I have no idea what’s going on but it’s really interesting and I’m dying to find out!

LIFE

September was a chill month! The weather FINALLY started to cool down and I have been loving it! Shane and I went to a few local beer events and they were a lot of fun, but now I think I’m done with them for a while too haha! We got to try a lot of great new beers but we’re also in our 30s and while that was really enjoyable, that was a lot of drinking that we’re not used to doing haha!!

Blog Tour: Wildcard by Marie Lu | Reasons to Read the Series

Welcome to the blog tour for
WILDCARD by Marie Lu!

WILDCARD was one of my favorite reads of 2018 so far and I’m so honored to be on the blog tour for this amazing book! I loved this duology and it was such a great way to close out the series.

On today’s blog tour stop, I’m sharing reasons why I think readers should pick up this amazing set of novels, so if you need any convincing, here are some excellent reasons to read WARCROSS and WILDCARD!

  1. IT’S A TWO BOOK SERIES. I love duologies. It’s so great being able to have more than just one book but it’s not unnecessarily stretched out into three books when it doesn’t need to, and readers aren’t left hanging forever to find out what happens in the rest of the series! WARCROSS set things up beautifully and WILDCARD packed the rest of the punches to deliver some more excitement while still winding things down.
  2. IT’S JAM-PACKED FULL OF EXCITEMENT. Warcross in itself is a game, so each book has action of the plot itself, game scenes, and all of the drama that comes with both!
  3. TWISTS, SAY WHAAAAT! It takes a great author to pull off a great twist and Marie Lu has plenty within these pages. The twists are well-timed and shocking, but not over-the-top and fit right into the feel of the book while still being able to upend the entire plot.
  4. EMIKA IS AMAZING. Main character Emika Chen really brings the book to life! She’s sort of an outsider and misfit, making a living as a bounty hunter and is a self-proclaimed hacker when she ends up entangled within the world of Warcross. She’s confident, fierce, loyal, innovative, clever, adjust all-around amazing. She’s a wonderful character to follow throughout this journey .
  5. MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS ARE THE BEST. The Warcross duet has a few morally grey characters that make for interesting antagonists as well as protagonists. The characters who come to known as villains still have personal, positive sides and some of the protagonists end up making some decisions that put other characters in bad places. Neither side is all good or all bad, and it makes the series even better seeing this attention to each character and how many layers everyone really has.
  6. THE ROMANCE. Without giving anything away, there are also so many layers in the romance as well. It develops just perfectly with the right amount of infatuation, growing to a crush to a mutual attraction to more.
  7. YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. These books are fun, easy to read, and you won’t want to stop reading! I listened to WARCROSS as an audiobook (which was also a wonderful experience) and read the WILDCARD ARC and I just didn’t want to stop reading either one. They both earned spots in my top reads of the year, respectively.

Have I convinced you to read these books yet? Hopefully just by saying that they were both in my top reads of 2017 and 2018, respectively, will have you interested! They’re such fun reads with some awesome sci-fi technology and so many amazing concepts all around. If you need more info, check out my review for WARCROSS and read more about WILDCARD below!

Blog Tour: Wildcard by Marie Lu | Reasons to Read the SeriesTitle: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: September 18, 2018 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, ALAAC18, BEA 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: August 12, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Legend (Legend #1), Warcross (Warcross #1), Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2)

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?


ABOUT MARIE LU

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites series, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator/author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their dogs.

BLOG TOUR STOPS

I’m one of the last stops on the WILDCARD blog tour so make sure you stop by all of the other blogs & instagram pages of the other tour hosts!!

WARCROSS

WEEK ONE

September 3 – Read Voraciously – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 4 – Finding Wonderland – Reasons to Start Reading the Series
September 5 – Jo Loves to Read – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 6 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 7 – Velvet Spade Reads – Review + Favorite Quotes

WEEK TWO

September 10 – The Fandom – Character Appreciation Post
September 11 – Librarycutie – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 12 – Mike the Fanboy – Listicle: Read Warcross if you like the following
September 13 – Upon The Pages – Review
September 14 – _livelaughread – Creative Instagram Picture

WILDCARD

WEEK THREE

September 17 – The Life of a BookNerd Addict – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 18 – Hey Atlas – Creative Instagram Picture
September 19 – That’s Normal – Review
September 20 – Reading Forevermore – Creative Instagram Picture
September 21 – Lovely Loveday – Review

WEEK FOUR

September 24 – Chapter_Break – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
September 25 – Fan-Girl-Tastic – Favorite Quotes
September 26 – Lisa’s Lost in Lit – Creative Instagram Picture
September 27 – The Book Addict’s Guide – Reasons to Start Reading the Series
September 28 – @xenatine – Creative Instagram Picture


Thanks so much for checking out my stop on the blog tour today! Have you read and loved these books? Are they on your TBR?? Happy reading!

Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) – Kerri Maniscalco

Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) – Kerri ManiscalcoTitle: Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco
Publishing Info: September 18, 2017 by Hachette, Little Brown, Jimmy Patterson
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction
Date Completed: June 4 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1), Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

bookreview1

I’ve enjoyed all of the Stalking Jack the Ripper novels and ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI was no exception! It didn’t quite bowl me over the way the previous novels have but I always love a good murder mystery and the chemistry between Audrey Rose and Thomas is stellar, as always!

Let’s start with the awesome things. Audrey Rose always feels like such a real character. She’s strong, quick-witted, and she’s still human and makes typical mistakes that we’ve all mad. Sometimes it’s frustrating (and some things in the book did frustrate me more than I would have liked), but that’s all very true character-building. Thomas really comes more and more alive in each novel and I really felt like this was his best book yet. Where I’m normally drawn to Audrey Rose, Thomas really stole the show here and I was itching for more scenes with him front and center while Audrey Rose was off having carnival adventures! There was something that caused their chemistry to be shaken up here, which honestly, I didn’t love, but I did love how much more it connected me to Thomas and his emotions.

I noticed here were moments where I was having a hard time getting into the setting and putting myself in that place and I’m not sure why. It’s happened before (mostly in HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA) and I’m wondering if it’s maybe the historical element throwing me off since I don’t read or enjoy a lot of historical fiction. Usually it’s not an issue when a mystery or some sort of supernatural element but for some reason I just haven’t been as attached to settings like Bran Castle and here, the cruise ship. I had moments where I’d be into it and then moments where I just didn’t feel like things were clicking but I still can’t quite pinpoint why, even looking back. I think the settings are just so different from book to book that maybe I’m just missing the London/Whitechapel/original setting.

I do basically live for Audrey Rose and Thomas though. I have so much love for the chemistry between those two and I was saddened to see how a few things were handled here because you know I hate shaking up couples, depending on how it’s handled. I don’t want to say a lot more so I don’t spoil anything but I just really wanted more time with them together and the murder investigation be the only thing that really shook things up. I’m so curious to see how the final copy differs from the ARC! The ending was changed and now I need to know so I’ll have to decide whether I want to go reread the whole thing or peek at the last section! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Historical murder mysteries. The historical aspect of a murder mystery really makes things interesting! I love the lack of technology and how much the characters have to rely on investigative skills. Left Me Wanting More: Couple time. I was really saddened to witness a few of Audrey Rose’s choices. I guess I can understand how a mysterious stranger is alluring but she also doesn’t seem like she should be manipulated so easily, especially at the expense of Thomas.

Addiction Rating Read it!

I do enjoy this series so much and I’m a big fan! This wasn’t my favorite book of the series but was still very enjoyable. I’m hoping with this obstacle out of the way, we get back to some major swoons again!

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BOOKS LIKE ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI

              

As Seen on Bookstagram | Adult Fantasy Reads

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!

 

 

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I’ve been in a little bit of a YA slump and trying to read more adult-focused novels, especially fantasy!

I’ve been having a great time reading fantasy/urban fantasy series this year like the October Daye series and the Alex Verus collection, as well as trying out some other adult fantasy series like PROMISE OF BLOOD, which I picked up on a whim at a used book store. Some I’ve loved and some were just okay, but it’s been a really fun change of pace from the usual YA reads.

I’m not sure if I’ve read so much YA that I’m getting sick of the themes or if some of these books really just need some more editing, but I’ve been finding that I’ve needed to branch out and away from YA for a little bit, which I also think is a good thing. I get into reading binges where I’ll read all YA or all adult or all of a specific genre so it’s been really nice to try to step out of that little box of reading and pick up something new.

I’ve had some deep loves for adult fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch and ever since I fell in in with their works, I’ve been on the hunt to find something like those reads. It’s difficult because I don’t know where to start and some of my attempts, even books that these authors have blurbed, just don’t live up to the expectations I’ve set for them. It’s not entirely their fault — these are huge names that I’ve pitted them against (well, not against but you know. Looking for something to give that same feel) so hopes are high and sometimes they just don’t quite meet what I’m looking for, but I’ve been loving trying things based on recommendations as well as selecting some random books based on description.

I did recently love FOUNDRYSIDE which was a really neat fantasy read with an original universe and magic system. I just love the heist/misfit concept and things really came together for me in that book with that particular feel. I also adored Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series and that got me picking up a lot of sci-fi too.


What are some of your favorite adult fantasy reads? How about sci-fi? I’d love to hear your recommendations!!

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! 

DNF Digest [6] – What the Woods Keep, The Casquette Girls

I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.

I haven’t decided to put any books aside for a long time, and these two are actually my first DNFs of 2018! I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks so usually I’m able to push through some of those that I’m not super crazy about, they’re just not “as bad” on audio, or maybe I just haven’t been picking books that I haven’t been able to finish! These next two I just decided to scrap due to how long they were taking me to read and once I stopped, I just didn’t want to come back to them.


Title: What the Woods Keep
Author: Katya de Becerral
Format I was reading: ARC, received from the publisher at BEA 2018
Started reading: August 25, 2018
Date marked as DNF: September 1, 2018
Marked DNF at: Page 170 (43%)
Reason for marking DNF: (My mini-review from Goodreads) I started reading this book a week before and after letting it sit and trying to get back to it, I’m still just not jiving with it and I don’t have it in me to push through more than half the book to finish. If I’m not enjoying the concept and writing by now, I’m not going to enjoy the rest of the book anyway.

The writing style is hard to follow, throwing things in where they may feel appropriate but not fitting into the time and place at all. There are things the reader should pick up but it doesn’t feel like the right place to introduce a new idea. The story is just ALL over the place and there are too many shock-value suspense moments inserted into the story that feels like a silly horror movie. It doesn’t work and wasn’t creepy.

The synopsis is also fairly misleading as far as tone and content go. The synopsis on the back of the ARC makes it seem like Hayden is returning to a creepy home and woods that are characters themselves — possessive, creepy, has its own secrets, but really that’s not the case. It seems like a Fall of the House of Usher concept and instead it veered off into dwarf race and weird fantasy that I just wasn’t into.

From all of that, I just decided that I probably wasn’t going to be enjoying the rest of the book and I doubt I’d be satisfied with the ending so I’d rather move on to books I might enjoy with this little reading time that I have to be attempting print ARCs.

Title: The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls #1)
Author: Alys Arden
Format I was reading: Audiobook, purchased from Audible
Started reading: September 12, 2018
Date marked as DNF: September 12, 2018
Marked DNF at: 50%
Reason for marking DNF: (My mini-review from Goodreads) THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is a 500+ page book (17+ hours on audiobook) so I still had 9+ hours left when I decided not to finish it. I made it halfway and still really nothing much has happened… The intro took forever and things took so long that I just got bored. Even at 50%, I barely know what the purpose of the book was. I thought this was supposed to be witchy and Adele randomly discovers that she can move metal (how it took her that long to realize that everything she was moving was metal, and that someone else had to tell her that UGH. That was ridiculously obvious) and then that’s it for a while. Okay, she can move metal and…? That’s all we get in the first half. By now we should at least know why or what a connection is or something to keep me interested. She experiments and hides it from everyone else and that’s it.

We get more info on the vampire side of things, but nothing except for exposition and old letters until 50% in as well.

Knowing how long this book is, I think it really could have used more editing. We could have condensed a LOT in the first half because it lost my interest completely. There was a lot about the arrival back to New Orleans, the description of destruction, intro to schools, side characters, etc that could have been combined in with other dialogue or action to make it feel less like an info dump. The first few chapters were JUST about coming back to New Orleans and it had already felt like too much at that point. I wanted to keep going to see if things would pick up and it just wasn’t what I was looking for.


I haven’t DNFed in so long that I feel like I could have finished these… But it really was the right decision to DNF. I just wasn’t enjoying WHAT THE WOODS KEEP and looking back, I don’t think I would enjoy going back to finish it. I still had nine hours left of THE CASQUETTE GIRLS when I felt like I should be close to finishing the book at that point and I was upset with the pacing. I think it would have been rough to finish either.