Category Archives: Books

What I Loved [October 2019]

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 hit a bit of a slump in October, trying to find that perfect Halloween/atmospheric read and struck out on kind of a lot of titles. I actually started and stopped three different books, which I don’t know if I’ll count as DNFs quite yet but I certainly didn’t finish them. I may qualify them more as “false starts”. Despite that, I still finished a decent amount of audiobooks!

BOOKS READ (22):

  • 🎧 Prodigy by Marie Lu | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Champion by Marie Lu | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Only Human by Slyvain Neuvel | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • 🎧 Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Fallen by Benedict Jacka | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 🎧 Dark Places by Gillian Flynn | ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 🎧 Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Betrayal In Death by J.D. Robb | ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀

OCTOBER READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 11
  • # BOOKS DNF: 3? We’ll see if I count them “officially”.
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 1
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 3
    • 3.5 STARS: 2
    • 3 STARS: 5
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 11

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in October:

  • Mindhunter (Netflix): finished Seasons 1 & 2, caught up on all released episodes
  • Dead Like Me (Hulu): finished Seasons 1 & 2, series complete
  • Insatiable (Netflix): finished Seasons 1 & 2, caught up on all released episodes
  • Prodigal Son (Fox): Starting watching Season 1, caught up on all released episodes
  • Salem (Hulu): didn’t finish episode 1

I wanted some creepy shows this month and I had a few good ones! Insatiable was a funny, dark comedy which sometimes went a little too over the top for me but I still really enjoyed it. I looooved Mindhunter and it ended too quickly! And Dead Like Me was a fun, easy show that still had some darkness to it. I tried watching Salem on Hulu and it was just too weird for me so I don’t think I even finished the first episode.

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) – Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) – Kate WilliamsTitle: The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) by Kate Williams
Publishing Info: September 17, 2019 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Date Completed: Septemner 9, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it's kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she's good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let's just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She's Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme's babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra's mother left her: "Find the babysitters. Love, Mom."

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they're about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

bookreview1

When I first saw the title of THE BABYSITTERS COVEN, I knew I had to read it. It sounded quirky, witchy, and like it would be so full of that dark comedy that I love. It ended up being significantly different than what I expected, which isn’t always a bad thing but this one really didn’t work too well for me.

THE BABYSITTERS COVEN mostly just wasn’t what I was expecting in a few ways. The first was that it was less witchy and more generally paranormal/urban fantasy, reaching into the depths of demons and monsters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s not something I really enjoy as much as I do general witchy themes and exploring more magic and magic systems instead of getting into supernatural creatures. The spells that we do get to see the girls cast were a little silly. The spells are “adapted” for modern purposes so there are some silly items that can be incorporated in place of some more arcane ones. Again, not a bad thing but I like the humor in these types of books to be more snarky or focused on the “oh this insane thing that’s happening is totally normal” feeling.

The other issue I had with the book is that it just read really young. Yes, it is a young adult book and yes, it is written so that it’s enjoyable for teens… But I’ve also read hundreds of YA books in my lifetime that I’ve been able to enjoy without feeling like it’s young or immature. I just didn’t enjoy the tone and the immaturity of some of the themes like the friendships, the romance, and just some of the ways the book was written in general. The overall voice and tone was just not for me.

I didn’t know that this was the first in a series when I started it but I was able to notice that it was on Goodreads. I think it would have been much better as a stand alone and I can’t imagine I’ll pick up the next book in the series, unfortunately.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Dark comedies. This book definitely had its funny moments! There was some nice comedy amongst some of the other darker moments.
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. I just felt like this was a little too young for me. Maybe I’m not the age group its meant for but I’ve also ready plenty of YA that was quite enjoyable. It just didn’t click with me.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Some people loved it while others really didn’t click with it. It was cute in some ways and not so pleasing in others.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE BABYSITTERS COVEN

             

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten WhiteTitle: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Publishing Info: September 25, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: ALAAC18, Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Retelling, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: October 13, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Mind Games (Mind Games #1)

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

bookreview1

My history with Kiersten White books is quite rocky, finishing some with intermediate feelings and deciding to abandon others. I feel like I just don’t click with her writing style but I couldn’t resist this Frankenstein adaptation, especially when I saw it pop up as an available audiobook.

I still didn’t quite click with this one for some of the same reasons, but I also didn’t struggle as much either. The beginning intrigued me but I also still felt like so much was narration. With the adage of “show, don’t tell,” I feel like so much was still told to the readers from Elizabeth’s point of view and there wasn’t as much happening through the plot and dialogue. There were a lot of flashbacks to supplement the story line but I’m also not sure how I felt about them. As an audiobook, some of them seemed to come on abruptly and it took me a couple sentences to realize we were flashing back based on the characters ages and which characters were present.

I also felt like there wasn’t quite a clear direction for the characters and there wasn’t a commitment to their demeanor. I guess you can see it as the fact that people aren’t black and white, so I did like the shades of grey where you weren’t sure who had dark motives and if we were still rooting for said motives… but the way that some things in book ended was a little too light for me given other darker things and it just didn’t feel like it fit with the tone of the rest of the book. I ended up being bored and disappointed with Elizabeth’s actions towards the end and things really lost steam instead of having a big, thrilling conclusion.

I’m glad I read the book given its context and I like being able to continuously try authors that I haven’t quite connected with in the past. It’s still not something I’m thrilled with and it wasn’t a superb match for me but it did offer something different as far as a literary style, even if it wasn’t the best match for me.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Frankenstein retellings. For some reason, I think Frankenstein retellings and adaptations are really cool and I liked this take on the story!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. This book had a cool, creepy vibe to it and it ended a little dully for me. I thought it was leading up to something insane and the ending just felt a little tame.

Addiction Rating
Try it

It looks like Kiersten White’s writing just isn’t for me. This was an okay read for me but for a cool retelling, I still didn’t love it.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN

             

No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) – Meg Cabot

No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) – Meg CabotTitle: No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot
Publishing Info: September 24, 2019 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Date Completed: September 17, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4), The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5), The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

bookreview1

Meg Cabot was one of the authors that got me back into reading all those years ago and so her books always hold a special place in my heart! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a new one and I was so excited to read NO JUDGMENTS!

It was so much fun to be back in the world of Meg Cabot’s writing again! She always has such a fun feel with the perfect mix of sass and goofy and NO JUDGMENTS was no exception! It was such an easy read with some great things to ground it as well and I especially enjoyed the setting of the little island in the Florida Keys too. I haven’t been to the Keys but I could just so clearly picture it and I loved the little island feel, including all of its residents!

I did enjoy the romance aspect of it and I thought Sabrina and Drew had some great chemistry! I think there could have been a little bit more somewhere because while I fully enjoyed it, I didn’t quite love it. I think Bree was just a little too stubborn at times, which can bother me, and there were moments where I felt the hate-to-love was a little too drawn out and I was ready to get to the romance part.

I have to admit, I was expecting just a bit more from this book. Maybe I built it up too much in my head because I love Meg Cabot so much and her contemporary novels always sit well with me but I felt like it took a long time to get to a few different plot points. I think it was about halfway through when we finally go to why it’s called “NO JUDGMENTS” and I wished it had been introduced sooner. Ultimately what didn’t do it for me were the characters. I kind of felt like the island had more personality than the characters did and I wanted so much more backstory from them. They had good histories and I would have loved to see more of that in their every day encounters. Drew did have some good family moments but those were kind of more about than family than they were about him and I found some of the island residents more interesting than our main characters at times.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: A nostalgic author for me. I love being able to keep reading an author who got me back into reading, and that will always be special for me!
Left Me Wanting More: Character development. I just needed more from the main characters. They were just a little flat and having some more well-rounded characters could have made the book that much better for me

Addiction Rating
Try it

Even though it wasn’t my favorite book of Meg Cabot’s, I still found to it to be a fun, easy romantic read. If you like her adult contemporary books, I’d still recommend it and say it’s worth the read!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE TENTH GIRL

             

What I Loved [September 2019]

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

September was a big reading month with tons of audiobooks!! Quality wise? Maybe not the best but I managed to listen to a whole ton while I was working, including a re-read of The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski which I’ve wanted to re-read for years!

 

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BOOKS READ (22):

  • 📖 The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Maybe This Time by Kasie West ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 📱 Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate Williams ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield & Lauren Gershell ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 If She Knew by Blake Pierce ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 If She Saw by Blake Pierce ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 If She Ran by Blake Pierce ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 No Judgments by Meg Cabot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Across the Universe by Beth Revis ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 ⠀
  • 🎧 The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Lexicon by Max Barry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀
  • 🎧 Legend by Marie Lu (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SEPTEMBER READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 22
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 2
    • 4.5 STARS: 1
    • 4 STARS: 8
    • 3.5 STARS: 5
    • 3 STARS: 7
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 1
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 20
    • EBOOK: 1
    • ARC: 1

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in September:

  • Killing Eve (Hulu): finished season 1, super bummed that season 2 wasn’t available online
  • Veronica Mars (Hulu): finished Season 1, watched Season 2 and 3

This month was really all about Veronica Mars! I got into it a few episodes in and really enjoyed the whole series. In early October, I read the two audiobooks and watched the movie so I could get a move on and watch season 4!

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston | Feature & Giveaway!

DO YOU LOVE ROM-COMS?

I’m partnering with Disney Book Group to help spread the word about 10 BLIND DATES by Ashley Elston! I’ve loved her previous thrillers and I’m so excited for this new contemporary romances from her! 10 BLIND DATES is billed as rompy romance which is just perfect for me. I love the cute romances and I especially love rom-coms. After a long string of dramatic contemporary romances, I am HERE for the light and fun and that’s exactly what 10 BLIND DATES promises! A little family chaos adds to the mix to keep the story interesting but there’s plenty of romance for readers to love and vivid characters within main characters Sophie’s family! There’s also an added bonus of the book taking place during the holiday season to add some extra holiday spirit!! Check out more about the book below!

ABOUT THE BOOK

One broken heart, ten blind dates—and a whole lot of confusion!

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas—a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

BUY IT ON AMAZON | FIND IT ON GOODREADS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Elston is the author of several novels including: The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards) and This Is Our Story. She has a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing. Ashley lives in Shreveport with her husband and three sons.


IF YOU LIKE THESE ROM-COMS, YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS 10 BLIND DATES!

So I’m a huge fan of cute, light romances and mega bonus points if they include some awesome comedy as well! Today I wanted to make a recommendation list of books that would be great read-alikes for 10 BLIND DATES and vice versa!

26 kisses anna michels    

    

    

GIVEAWAY

Disney Book Group is also hosting a giveaway for one lucky winner! See the rules and details below! All you need to do

A NIGHT FOR ROMANCE!
Enter for your chance to win this romantic prize pack! Winner receives:

  • Copy of 10 Blind Dates,
  • and a $50 Visa gift card to plan your own date night.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prepare for the Supernova Reread with a Renegades Recap!

The release of SUPERNOVA by Marissa Meyer is SO CLOSE and I can’t wait to see how this epic trilogy will come to a close! Once again this year, I’m partnering with Fierce Reads to help you refresh your memory on RENEGADES! I did a fun re-read recap last year and Fierce Reads has assembled a new team of bloggers for your ARCHENEMIES recap. Check these out if you don’t have time to re-read before SUPERNOVA or hop on in the reading along at any time!

Need the links to all the recaps? Fierce Reads has got you covered! Check out their post to all those recap links from last year plus meet the new bloggers who will guide you through ARCHENEMIES! They also have toooons of SUPERNOVA news, where Marissa Meyer will be touring, and so much more book release fun!

Want to know more on how to join in the read along? Check out the checklist that Fierce Reads has prepared for everyone!


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! Make sure to visit the other blog recaps and the new ARCHENEMIES recaps too! 

GIVEAWAY

I also promised a giveaway and here it is! One lucky winner will receive a A Renegades themed lunchbox, a Universe of Marissa Meyer tote, a Renegades quote print, Prepare for the Supernova sunglasses, and a final copy of Supernova + signed bookplate! This giveaway is only open to US/Canada residents. Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter! Good luck!!

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The Tenth Girl – Sara Faring

The Tenth Girl – Sara FaringTitle: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
Publishing Info: September 24, 2019 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Ghosts, Science Fiction
Date Completed: June 7, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi's existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

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I think readers will either love this book or lose steam with it like I did. It was interesting and had a lot going for it but there was so much happening with it that I felt like it was hard to keep up with, and I usually don’t have too many issues like there. There were a lot of new things, clues to pick up on, a bunch of characters (which wasn’t an issue for me but there were a number), and without a rapid pace to keep things moving, I quickly started losing interest without any reveals towards the middle. I had some Goodreads friends who loved it and from the other early reviews that felt similarly to me, it seems like we had the same issue: pacing.

While the book is suspenseful and atmospheric, I just felt like plot points took forever to come around. There’s a lot to keep readers really hyped up by providing new questions, throwing in suspicions, and having Mavi running around this creepy house, but I just felt like not a whole lot was happening for most of the book. It felt like she was getting more questions and we never got any answers until the end, which makes things a little frustrating at times.

THE TENTH GIRL goes back and forth between a couple time periods but it’s a little confusing. Mavi is at this creepy house in the 1970s but her present seems to be in the future or present day. The flashbacks are to the present but the past and yet somehow Mavi is in the past in the present. It’s enough to make your head spin for sure! It was definitely interesting to try to wrap my head around it but I feel like these kinds of plot devices really stole time away from actually getting to know all of the characters. I just really wanted to experience their personalities more and I felt like I never got to know anyone when I was spending so much time on the mystery and different time periods.

Then there was the twist at the end. I… did not like the twist in the book. There is a twist, as other readers have stated, and I found that it really took away from the whole tone and concept of the book for me. It’s one of those things where it makes you rethink the whole book, which can be really interesting, but in this case it made me feel like I was reading something totally different the whole time and not in the best way. I’m really a person who likes a cohesive feel throughout a whole book so to have a twist at the end basically change the genre, it really is irritating for me and takes me out of the whole experience.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique settings. I loved the Patagonian setting, bringing in a new culture with new myths and a new location. It was different from a lot of other books out there and it was really enjoyable to explore.
Left Me Wanting More: Pacing. I just had a hard time with the structure of the book, I think. I would have liked to know the twist basically at the beginning so I knew what kind of feel this book was going to have. I would have liked to have more answers along the way. I would have maybe skipped so many flashbacks. I just didn’t love the structure and pacing overall.

Addiction Rating
Try it, or get another opinion

I’m torn. It’s an interesting read and I liked a lot about the setting and atmosphere, but is that enough to recommend the book? I’m not sure I’d actively pass it along to a friend but it’s also not a bad read. For its length and how I felt about it, I don’t know if I’d tell someone else to read it.

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BOOKS LIKE THE TENTH GIRL

             

The Swallows – Lisa Lutz

The Swallows – Lisa LutzTitle: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz
Publishing Info: August 13, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: August 16, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: The Passenger

A new teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences--in a provocative novel from the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Spellman Files series.

What do you love? What do you hate? What do you want?

It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy's new creative writing teacher. When the students' answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there's more going on the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten--the students at the top of the school's social hierarchy--as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom.

Ms. Witt can't remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who've started to question the school's "boys will be boys" attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her--including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can't find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there's Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt.

As the school's secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal--and potentially fatal--consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz's blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long--and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

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I first found Lisa Lutz with her Spellman Files series and absolutely loved the tone, funny family, and easy mysteries. I know she’s written a few different works and not all of them share the same tone, but I think I excepted something much different from THE SWALLOWS. That being said, that’s not the cause for my rating because I’m happy to read different styles from the same authors, but I just didn’t like the way this book was put together and I don’t think that the structure did the topic as much justice as it could have.

The book is presented as a mystery/thriller, but it doesn’t really get too thrilling until the very end of the book (like the last couple chapters) so those few chapters are the reason I’m throwing a half star in there instead of just rating it two stars. The book deals largely with a secret contest and website held by the boys at the school, rating the girls on their sexual performance and having them unwittingly play a part in this school-wide “contest”. It is off-putting and gross, and yes it’s supposed to be, but I hated how the first half of this book just basically kept going over the details and adding more to the concept, leaving the justice and revenge until the end of the book. I sat their feeling incredibly disgusted and bad for all of these girls while they uncovered the secret of the contest and how terrible all of these boys were. It seemed like overkill to keep developing the concept of the contest and describing the message board when we could have spent more time developing the female characters and getting them ready for their moment of empowerment, and it really felt like a lot of time wasted by giving this contest way more attention than it deserved. It wasn’t just a big reveal or anything, the reader knows about it almost the whole time, so I wanted to see more empowerment on the female side much earlier.

There were also a lot of erroneous things in the book that didn’t really make much of a difference. The weird cottage Alex Witt stayed in didn’t really play a big role. There wasn’t really a reason why this was set in 2009 other than to look back on the occasion but there was no flash forward to 2019 or anything, so that was kind of pointless as well. Alex’s romantic involvements with various characters were irrelevant. A side character’s relationship with her mother I guess tied in at the very end and was supposed to “explain” some of her actions, but I think it was entirely unnecessary and threw in random bits of “mystery” to keep the readers wondering. Lisa Lutz is primarily a mystery/thriller writer in various tones and forms, but the beginning wasn’t much of a mystery or a thriller and read more like general fiction. The tone very much switched in the action towards the end to a chilling thriller-type feel with escalating events and some remorseless acts so it was just kind of a jumble of too many things overall.

I mostly just didn’t enjoy reading this book while I was reading it. It came together at the very end but I wished the rest of the book was like the ending. It really didn’t feel cohesive in so many ways and I just really disliked the structure.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Empowerment. I liked seeing the female characters take matters into their own hands and fighting back against the injustices throughout the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot movement. For a book that’s supposed to be empowering, I felt like way too much time was spent dwelling on the oppressive and bad parts, giving them too much power and attention. I wanted to see the plot move forward much sooner to get us into the more empowering moments and actually seeing these girls and women making their stand.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I’m sure some people will enjoy it but I just was far too annoyed, frustrated, and even disgusted to think about recommending it. This one was not for me and I don’t think I’d recommend it to my friends.

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BOOKS LIKE THE SWALLOWS

             

Mini-Review: Providence – Caroline Kepnes

Mini-Review: Providence – Caroline KepnesTitle: Providence by Caroline Kepnes
Publishing Info: June 19, 2018 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Scribd
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: October 10, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: You (You #1), Hidden Bodies (You #2)

A propulsive new thriller about the obsessive nature of love when an intensifying relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he's suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and "fit in" with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away.

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity—but he's soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

Whisking us on a journey through New England and crashing these characters' lives together in the most unexpected ways, Kepnes explores the complex relationship between love and identity, unrequited passion and obsession, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

bookreview1

I knew this was part sci-fi going into it but I still didn’t quite click with PROVIDENCE like I had hoped… and it wasn’t even because of the presence of that element itself. It was more how it was incorporated for sure. YOU was so creepy because the madness was 100% Joe and this was sort of something that was inflicted upon Jon so it took away some of the creep factor.

With all of Kepnes’ books, it didn’t quite feel cohesive but there was an addictive sort of quality and I wasn’t as into PROVIDENCE. I had a little pause in the middle where I didn’t feel the jump to get back in, but it was easy to continue with the audio and good audiobook narrators.

It was definitely an interesting story and Caroline Kepnes always does a great job at pushing that character emotion (or sometimes lack thereof) forward and there were some really nice suspenseful moments in PROVIDENCE that I appreciated. I’ll always be looking forward to more of her books but I think I like the more psychological aspect of YOU more than I did the sci-fi element of PROVIDENCE.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Caroline Kepnes. I’m definitely interested in picking up whatever Kepnes writes! It was exciting to read something outside of the “YOU world”.
Left Me Wanting More: Twists? Things were revealed but I also didn’t feel that shocked or surprised like I was hoping.

Addiction Rating
Try it

It’s a curious little story and it definitely has an addicting quality to it but I also didn’t totally love it.

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BOOKS LIKE PROVIDENCE