Category Archives: YA

Book Title Buzzwords | LIE

Book Title Buzzwords

I love noticing title trends in the YA world (and in adult books too!) and I can also tell that there are certain words I latch onto. Book Title Buzzwords features books that I’ve read (or want to read) that follow some recent trends! 

TELL ME LIES, TELL ME LIES…

I have some new books on my TBR all about lies and I’ve realized how much it pops up in YA lit! I actually think I’ve posted a Book Title Buzzwords about “lies” before but it bears repeating since it keeps popping up and I wanted to share these new titles with you too! These four are specifically all mystery/thrillers and they all sound quite interesting!!

LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME by Jennifer Donaldson
This is my most recent read in the “lies” department and it was a really interesting book! I did have some things I wished would have been developed a little differently but I liked the overall ending and I think it’s worth the read!
Find it on Goodreads

THE LIES THEY TELL by Gillian French
I love a good summer thriller and this book sounds perfect. I’m interested in the intrigue and mystery wrapped up in this novel and I hope it has a few surprises for me!
Find it on Goodreads

DARE YOU TO LIE by Amber Lynn Natusch
The name of this series is “Hometown Antihero” and if that doesn’t immediately get me, I don’t know what will! I love the sound of this book about a daughter hellbent on clearing her father’s name.
Find it on Goodreads

THE TRUTH BENEATH LIES by Amanda Search
Two girls on the run and their stories collide. I love when two separate story lines merge to create the bigger picture. It sounds like a very interesting book and consider me hooked! 
Find it on Goodreads


What are you favorite “lying” books? Have any of these titles caught your eye?

If You Liked… Stranger Things

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book!

12 BOOKS FOR STRANGER THINGS FANS

I’ve recently become a huge fan of Stranger Things, having binge watched back in October and watching two more times since then. The show has probably become one of my biggest fandoms as of late and even though it’s not a book-inspired show, it’s taken the bookish community by storm!

I also re-read THE DARKEST MINDS so I could finally finish the trilogy and also because the movie is coming out and as I was reading, I was thinking about how it’s such a good recommendation for Stranger Things fans… and then I finally watched the movie trailer and saw that the Stranger Things producers are involved in THE DARKEST MINDS movie!

If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, check out some of these book recommendations below!



IF YOU LIKED STRANGER THINGS…


Try… THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I just started reading this series again and it’s just so perfect for fans of Stranger Things! A group of kids with abilities band together, form great bonds, and oh yeah, have all kinds of telekinetic powers. It’s great if you’re an Eleven fan and want to see a whole gang of people like her, basically! Plus, there’s a movie coming out in August thats based off the book so now’s the time to read it! There are a lot of different abilities in this book and there’s a whole lot more powers/abilities to enjoy which makes it interesting when every kid (who is left) has the ability to do something out of the ordinary! Imagine a book full of Elevens…


Try… VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

What if you weren’t just born with powers but actually went to the extent of forcing them upon yourself? That’s kind of what VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab entails. Main character Victor Vale is kind of an anti-hero so he’s not the most lovable person but I did come to really appreciate him and his companions throughout the novel and just really enjoyed if from start to finish. This is an adult novel but is great for crossover aspects! I really love the feel here and it’s an interesting take on being born with a power vs coming into one (or, you know, literally taking it for yourself) and how you use it.


Try… THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Schwab look familiar to you? That’s right — the same V.E. Schwab who wrote VICIOUS above also writes young adult novels under her full name, Victoria. THIS SAVAGE SONG kicks off a two-book series that explores what happens when monsters live among us. It’s not identical to demogorgons and kids with abilities but I think it has the same great horror/paranormal feel with some great family moments, a sweet love story that happens among some crazy things, and other really interesting characteristics along the way! hi


Try… HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER by Lish McBride.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
One thing I love about Stranger Things is that no matter how insane things get, there’s always comedic relief. HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER has plenty of that, as you can probably tell by its hilarious title. NECROMANCER dips even further into the paranormal creature concept with a whole cast of paranormals and weres, including a guy who thought he was normal until everything got turned upside down. It’s a really fun novel, easy to read, and packed with sarcasm, humor, and puns.


Try… THE DEMON’S LEXICON by Sara Rees Brennan.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Got demogorgons and demons on your mind? Check out THE DEMON’S LEXICON! The story follows two brothers who are demon hunters and have a mysterious, crazy mom (who’s a bit more off her rocker and a whole lot scarier than Joyce Byers) and there are even some good twists along the way! This book was an interesting take on the demon concept and incorporated some folk lore to make up the basis of its plot and how demons surround the characters.


Try… A GOOD IDEA by Cristina Moracho.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Just craving that 80s/period vibe? A GOOD IDEA by Cristina Moracho is a really interesting thriller that takes place in the 90s! This one is more straight mystery/thriller than it is paranormal but it has a very spooky and dark vibe, has mysterious woods, and no one uses cell phones. I really love when a book or series is set in the 80s or 90s, making it relatable and yet without some of the modern conveniences that make solving mysteries too easy! Things get a little bit crazy towards the end but the whole book is a wild ride getting to find all of those answers you’ve been craving since the beginning!


Try… A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Whoops, I swear I didn’t realize I was recommending three Schwab books when I made this list but apparently if you enjoy Stranger Things, go check out her books! A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is definitely more fantasy and not that urban fantasy/paranormal feel of the show but I wanted to pick it for it’s alternate world concept! In this book, there are four different Londons (Gray, Red, White, and Black) that the travelers get to through special abilities able to control doors, or portals. Black London is totally destroyed and the concept of it really reminds me of The Upsidedown in a way! Plus there’s a creepy villain that I won’t talk about because spoilers, but I think there are plenty of aspects for ST fans to enjoy!

The Raven Boys - Maggie SteifvaterTry… THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE RAVEN BOYS has a lot of magical realism but I could also categorize that as paranormal! It also has the most amazing friendship and group of tight-knit friends which tugs at my heartstrings as much as Eleven, Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas do. There are a lot of crazy things that happen throughout this book and although Eleven isn’t psychic, it has that same sort of feel with main character Blue’s psychic mother and family and the world that they’re able to tap into because of their true psychic powers and the energy that they surround themselves with. I love this book for its plot but I REALLY love it for its characters and relationships, even for the family aspect too, which is something I love so much about Stranger Things. I also love how much I got invested in the romantic side of things by actually FEELING them without it reading like a romance novel. Sometimes less is more, which is how I feel about how much emotion is packed into Mike and Eleven’s little romance.

Try… NIL by Lynne Matson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

This is another book I chose for a sort of “Upsidedown” concept. The island of Nil isn’t quite so obvious as a sinister alternate world but it does come with gates that take kids to the island and your time there comes with an expiration date. It’s not an exact parallel to Stranger Things but I like how the concept reminds me of the show a little bit (or rather, vice versa since the book came out first). It actually really reminds me of Lost, but the concept of the island has some interesting origins that I think ST fans could enjoy! The island also only takes teens so you’ve got a great group of kids who are working together to figure out this crazy island, sold problems, and of course, stay alive.


Try… THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
It’s hard to talk about this one without spoilers since I don’t know how much would give the ending away and what readers might pick up on it before then. It’s more of a contemporary story with bits and pieces of … something off. The main character ends up seeing flashes of things that aren’t there (sound familiar, Will?) and may be coming from a different time or place or just from her head alone. The boy she meets along the way changes her world, but she needs to find a way to hold onto him. There’s so much about this book that I loved and I can’t say more except that if you’re into the love story side of the show, this is one filled with more romance for you!


Try… THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is just that perfect twisty book where you have no idea what’s going on but can’t wait to find out, which is exactly how I felt when I was watching the show! Something strange is happening to Mara Dyer and she can’t quite figure out what it is. I loved being taken along this trippy ride and was constantly guessing what might happen next! I also think it has that great same dark, mysterious feel that the show does. This kicks off a three book series that has you guessing the whole time! Like Stranger Things, I ended up bingeing it because I couldn’t stop to see what happened! It definitely gets a hold of you and keeps you on your toes.


Try… LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE by Paul Krueger.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
And lastly, we have LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE. This one is an adult/new adult read, more focused on the demon hunting… with cocktails! I don’t think it has a direct parallel to the show aside from demons and mysterious creatures but it was such a fun and quirky read (its publisher is literally Quirk Books) and it’s a great book to have fun with the darker side! It’s a shorter book, quick, easy, and just plain fun, complete with cocktail recipes and illustrations. I had a lot of fun reading this one and although it’s not a direct relation to Stranger Things, I still think fans could love it!


I always have a blast picking out recommendations and I hope Stranger Things fans agree with these! There are some recommendations that are a little outside of the box but I like the elements that connect to some fundamental Stranger Things themes!

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

 

These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerTitle: These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publishing Info: December 10, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: February 28, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

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

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

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This one didn’t really do it for me. I wonder if it’s in part because of the audiobook narrators? Lilac’s narrator was not very good — over dramatic and she couldn’t just SAY anything. It was always a whine or an exclamation or drawn out. But I also know that my favorite narrators can voice things that I don’t like and I still wouldn’t be hooked.

I sort of worked my way backwards here, obviously being a huge fan of the Illuminae Files and then reading UNEARTHED this year so I was like well, I better go back and read THESE BROKEN STARS to read more of Amie’s works. I knew it had received a lot of five star reviews and I can’t remember who I had talked to who was frustrated with it but I remember our conversation and didn’t think I was going to read it anyway. I’m not upset that I read it but it also wasn’t really something of interest for me.

Obviously this came first but it did feel like ILLUMINAE meets UNEARTHED (which makes sense since Amie is the author of all of those) but this book just didn’t have that hook that really grabbed me. I really wanted to love it but I didn’t really feel connected to it at any point in time. I liked Tarver. I did not like Lilac, but she was okay. The romance was a little too overdone and I just don’t feel like a whole lot happened throughout the book. I wanted so much more exploring and less just traveling. There was so much to explore in a BRAND NEW WORLD/PLANET and yet there wasn’t that much revealed about it except for the fact that Lilac and Tarver appeared to be alone there.

It sort of had a Lost vibe at the end which…. was kind of eyeroll-inducing. I guess I do want to see what else happens here and I know that this series is sort of a collection of companions, so I’m excited to see what the next group of characters have in store for readers and how it connects to the Lilac and Tarver story.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Foreign planets. It was very cool to see more of space, planets we don’t even know, and all of that cool sci-fi stuff that I love exploring, even if it is fictional!
Left Me Wanting More: Of a little of everything. I didn’t love the romance or the plot or the pacing BUT I think this will get better as the series goes on. I hope?

Addiction Rating
Try it

I didn’t LOVE it but it was definitely interesting! I’m actually more interested to see where the rest of the series goes and how everything connects!

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BOOKS LIKE THESE BROKEN STARS

          

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen JohnsonTitle: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson
Publishing Info: January 16, 2018 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult
Date Completed: February 19, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

bookreview1

In my defense, I didn’t realize this was a series halfway through, so it did affect my reading experience BUT knowing that and getting to the ending was still preeeeetty disappointing. I love mysteries and read a lot of them and there are essentially two ways to end a book in a mystery series (to break it down to the bare bones): extend the mystery over the whole series OR have each book be one mystery that’s resolved in each novel. Obviously there are finer points than that, but those are essentially the two strategies here. TRULY DEVIOUS does not resolve in the first book, which is fine, but I was pretty disappointed at the lack of any closure whatsoever. We get some clues and Stevie comes to some conclusions but there’s really not even one answer to what happened in the present day or in the past. I was hoping for just one hint one way or another to bring some kind of closure to the book but still leading into the rest of the series and I really didn’t feel that at all.

I felt like the characters were more cohesive and realistic towards the end of the book — the beginning was kind of garbled with some of the students blending together but the personalities really started to shine towards the end. They were also all a little too quirky for my tastes, but you know how I get when a whole cast is quirky and not just a few select characters. I feel like it ruins the reality of that specialness and ends up just making everyone seem silly and unrealistic, though I guess this really was the school for the unique.

I also felt like there could have been a bit more history given in the flashbacks to the 1930s, just maybe some more for us to see how these two mysteries are connected, because we’re coming to that point even if we haven’t gotten there yet. I think it would have really tied the book together more for me and made me feel like we were going somewhere with the flashbacks. They’re definitely connected and that’s very obvious but I just wanted more to really tie them together.

I think the lack of any resolution just really let me down and left me feeling disappointed so I can’t say that I had fond feelings for the book, but I really do look forward to continuing the series knowing what I learned and what I’m in for!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique mysteries. It was interesting to see something from the past connected to something in the present like this!
Left Me Wanting More: Answers. I didn’t realize this was a series going into it but I still would have liked something to at least wrap up this book in some way.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I didn’t LOVE it but it was definitely interesting! I’m curious about the next book but I think this might be a more binge series since the first book didn’t really close anything.

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BOOKS LIKE TRULY DEVIOUS

          

Top Ten Tuesday – February 27, 2018: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 27, 2018

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was a love freebie so I chose Books I Could Re-Read Forever

This is such fun topic because it’s almost time for one of my annual re-reads when I read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS on my birthday in March! I have a couple other yearly/seasonal re-reads and I love reading my favorite books and experiencing my favorites over an over!

BOOKS I COULD RE-READ FOREVER

Anna and the French KissThe Scorpio Races paperback coverThe Raven Boys - Maggie Steifvater

  • ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins | A couple years ago, I read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS as a re-read treat on my birthday and I just decided to keep it going! I’m looking forward to reading it again this year too!
  • THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater | I love this book — specifically the audiobook — so much! I love reading it every year at the end of October/beginning of November when the book takes place!
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater | I only just re-read this whole series last year but then I immediately wanted to read them all again. I may end up reading these again this year because they’re just too perfect. 
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling | Because… of course! I think I’m due for another re-read this year.
  • The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo | I haven’t read the series since RUIN AND RISING came out but I’m read for another read of this whole series!
  • IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman | These books were what had me fall in love with Gayle Forman and I just connect with them so much, especially Adam’s POV in WHERE SHE WENT. After watching the If I Stay movie, I really wanted to re-read the book but I didn’t like the audio so I need to re-read WHERE SHE WENT especially this year!
  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins | It’s been a while since I’ve read these (wow, like five years???) since I keep watching the movies but the books are just SO good.
  • WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech | I’ve actually only read this twice but I read it once as a kid, maybe when I was… 10 or 11? And again my 20s and I was stunned how it really stood the test of time. I really want to read it again!
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer | This is clearly one of my favorite series and I’ve read it twice, up to WINTER because I re-read the series for WINTER’s release. I need to read again I full!
  • READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline | Okay sooooo I haven’t actually re-read this yet but I LOVED it so much and I plan on reading it again very, very soon! I think it’ll be just as great the second time.

What are your favorite books to read over and over again? Do you have any books you read every year?

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) – Brandon Sanderson

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: October 17, 2017 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: November 17, 2017
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older--a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can't help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.

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Sooooo I didn’t like Lift’s interludes in WORDS OF RADIANCE so I was worried about reading this novella. LIft’s voice is young — a little too young for me, especially with the way that Kate Reading narrates it (I listened to the audiobook for all of the Stormlight Archive novels) — and I have a hard time with characters who are meant to intentionally sound young/uneducated/use a lot of slang so I knew it wasn’t going to be a… pleasant listen, but if there’s a practically full-length novella for a Brandon Sanderson series, obviously it’s important.

… Except EDGEDANCER really wasn’t as important as I had hoped. I am glad to have this piece of world-building and character development but to have a whole story aside didn’t really seem to add that much to the current world that couldn’t have been included in OATHBRINGER. I heard in the notes of one of the books (it’s been a couple months by now so I’m not entirely sure which one it was) that Brandon Sanderson felt that Lift was very important and wanted to include her actual sort of “origin story” with how she discovered and came into her abilities. Personally, I didn’t think this piece was crucial to the main storyline but since she does become a bigger character in OATHBRINGER, I do understand the feel for it. Even though I read this before OATHBRINGER, it’s been a couple months since I’ve read them both and Lift’s narration isn’t as bad with Michael Kramer’s narration. He always does a much better job with younger voices, having them sound more jaunty and upbeat versus Kate’s narration which is usually just irritating.

I also found Lift’s interactions with her Spren irritating as well (or maybe it was Kate Reading’s voice. Or both.) due to her actions and Wyndel’s overreactions to them. They just weren’t jiving for me. I did like seeing a new Radiant/Spren relationship though and it was an important piece of the magic system.

This extra character arc just didn’t seem as important as I had hoped and the character herself is a little irritating. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad in OATHBRINGER and I wouldn’t say I regret reading it or would have skipped it but I’m also not super invested in it either.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Radiant/Spren relationships. I meannnnnn I didn’t really love anything in this novella but it was nice seeing more of that Radiant/Spren bond.
Left Me Wanting More: Adults? The whole voicing was young and in an unpleasant way. I think Brandon Sanderson’s adult works are definitely better written although I have enjoyed some of his middle grade novels as well. This just didn’t jive for me.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

I didn’t feel it was SUPER important but usually if Brandon Sanderson includes a novella, there’s a reason for it. Maybe others benefit more from it? I was more distant because I didn’t love it.

Top Ten Tuesday – February 13, 2018: Ten Cute Contemporary Romances

TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 13, 2018

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was a love freebie so I chose Ten Cute Contemporary Romances

I love a good, cute romance. After binge-reading action-heavy sci-fi novels like the Red Rising series and UNEARTHED and ILLUMINAE, I was ready for some cute contemporary for a bit of a mood change! I’m not a big Valentine’s person but cute romances are always good for any time of the year! Here are some of my favorites!

  • ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins | Are you surprised? I hope not! ANNA is one of my all-time favorite contemporary stories and I love how it shows how messy true love can be. Not all great loves start out perfect or easy and it’s still light and cute all at the same time!
  • ON THE FENCE by Kasie West | I’m two books behind on Kasie’s current works but ON THE FENCE is still my favorite of hers so far! Her books are light, adorable, swoony, and always have great relationships and support systems.
  • ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas | This was such a cute prom story with a fun twist of a parallel timeline! I loved reading this one and it was so easy to fly through!
  • GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt | It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book but I love the tone in Lindsey Leavitt’s YA novels! Her characters are so relatable.
  • ALSO KNOWN AS by Robin Benway | I love Robin Benway’s books and ALSO KNOWN AS is a little more than just contemporary with an espionage twist! Her other works are a bit more on the serious side so I’m sticking with AKA for today’s list!
  • THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD by Leah Rae Miller | A cheerleader who is secretly nerdy? Yes, please! Swooning over nerdy boys? Of course!
  • QUEENS OF GEEK by Jen Wilde | I love the diversity and geekiness in this book. It’s a great example of having some fun romance stories and still getting a great message and excellent content. Cute romances are more than just fluff!
  • THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne | My sole adult recommendation for this list, I adored THE HATING GAME! It’s a great hate-to-love romance, super cute, and the characters are excellent.
  • GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston | Another adorably geeky novel, I loved the inclusion of conventions and the Cinderella retelling twist!
  • WANDERLOST by Jen Malone | This book had a very ANNA feel but standing on its own two feet. I loved it!

What are some of your favorite cute contemporary stories? Are there are romances you read around Valentine’s Day?

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce BrownTitle: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adult, Action/Adventure
Date Completed: December 27, 2017
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Golden Son (Red Rising #2), Morning Star (Red Rising #3), Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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By the time I got around to writing my review for RED RISING, I’ve already finsihed the entire first trilogy and finished the first installment in the next era with IRON GOLD, so admittedly, I have quite a different view of this book than when I write down my initial thoughts. It actually makes it all the more interesting to see how I’m able to look back at this book in a such a different light, so I’ll try to capture both aspects since I’m able to do so!

RED RISING really wasn’t what I expected at all. First off, it’s not really young adult. It’s a young adult book in the sense that it has a teenage protagonist and involves many things that are prominent themes in YA novels, but the whole series is marketed and was sold as adult, which I had no idea! It’s weird because I don’t find young adult to be young, or limiting, or unable to reach the depth that adult novels have, but there was a sort of different tone that had a more mature feel and made the journey much more of one where the main characters are being pushed into adulthood rather than experiencing the normal coming-of-age transition that many YA novels focus on. This also becomes a lot more noticeable throughout the series, at least for me.

To go along with that feel and concept, the book had a much different flow than I was anticipating. I’m not sure what I really was expecting with this book but I was not anticipating a HUNGER GAMES read-alike, something of which I have never truly found. The book kicks off with Darrow and his life on Mars, setting up the current state of things and once that’s established, it quickly moves to murder school where the teens essentially learn what it is to be an adult in this type of society. I was kind of disappointed with the abrupt switch because I really wasn’t expecting it and it felt like a whole different plot and even a different book. That being said, I did still enjoy everything that happened, but it was quite a different feel! It was super brutal and really had that cut-throat (sometimes literally) feel of the HUNGER GAMES mentality, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away and everything that takes place there sets up the relationships for the entire series, which I loved.

At the end of the book, I wasn’t totally dying to run and pick up the next one. I had mixed feelings on the overall flow and while the writing was deep and beautiful and amazing, the way that it ended just didn’t push me to pick up GOLDEN SON right away (even though I basically did). It was hard to see where life was headed after this and it was set up but still quite fuzzy. I could tell it was going to delve much more into the politics but without knowing what the world was like outside of this academy, it was hard to anticipate exactly what the feel of the next books would be. 

This was the first book I’ve read (in print) in a while that I’ve really been able to focus on and enjoy so that did have me excited to continue with the series! The hype was real and while I didn’t seem to love this first one as much as other people had, obviously at this point in time, I know the hype for the series is real! If you’re new to the series, it is definitely worth it, even if you’re not in love with RED RISING; however, if you’re not a fan of the themes, action, or writing of RED RISING, that is the general feel of the whole series so you may want to think how you might feel about future books!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mars?! I loooove books that take place on other planets. I love space and it’s so neat to see how authors create livable atmospheres on other worlds.
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. The book didn’t really flow like I had wanted it to. It felt a little choppy in the beginning but I think it really came together in the end!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This one wasn’t my favorite of the series but it really sets up everything for the series and the characters, action, twists, and adventure are so worth it!

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BOOKS LIKE RED RISING

          

Top Ten Tuesday – February 6, 2018: Ten (YA) Books Still on my TBR

TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 6, 2018

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was Ten (YA) Books Still on my TBR

I decided to change up the topic just a smidge since I did something similar in 2016 for Top Ten Tuesday and I thought it would be fun to have more of a focus! Not to mention the fact that I literally only read one book from that list last year so we have to change it up somehow!

  • BUMPED by Megan McCafferty | Date Added: 8/4/11 | I was super into dystopian when I discovered it in 2011 and added every dystopian book I could find to my TBR. Still haven’t gotten around to this one.
  • THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson | Date Added: October 7, 2011 | Man, I really have been meaning to read this book! I actually want to and I think I just keep forgetting about it because I don’t own a copy.
  • ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis | Date Added: 11/26/11 | I don’t really have a reason why I haven’t read this yet. I guess so many books, so little time! I actually won a copy of the whole trilogy ages ago and yet… there they sit.
  • ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin | Date Added: 12/1/11 | Another dystopian I just had to have! And then never read. It sounds good, though…
  • SLIDE by Jill Hathaway | Date Added: 3/1/12 | I actually had a book idea for something like this (before I knew this book existed) and I don’t think that’s WHY I added it to my TBR but it ended up there anyway. I actually own it now but alas. Still haven’t read it.
  • ARTICLE 5 by Kristen Simmons | Date Added: 6/12/12 | Again, another dystopian encounter! And then I lost my love for dystopian along the way so a lot of these stayed on the TBR but went unread.
  • INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows | Date Added: 6/12/12 | I added this on the recommendations of friends and I just never made it around to it! I’m still interested but apparently it never took priority.
  • THE LINE by Teri Hall | Date Added: 6/21/12 | This looked creepy and interesting and reminded me of an M. Night Shyamalan movie.
  • SKYLARK by Meagan Spooner | Date Added: 6/27/12 | Do I get points for starting this one? I think I had started it and wasn’t in the mood but barely made it far enough to call it any sort of reading. I really need to get back to this someday…
  • HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire | Date Added: 6/27/12 | I’ve always, always wanted to read this book… and I don’t know why I haven’t. It seems like such a me book!

Which books have been sitting on your TBR forever? Any of these books something I should pick up after four years of waiting? Or should I start scrapping ones I’m not sure I’ll read?

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1) – Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1) – Tricia LevensellerTitle: Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1) by Tricia Levenseller
Publishing Info: February 28, 2017 by Macmillan
Source: Audible, Owlcrate
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: http://December%2020,%202017

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

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I was told how much I’d love DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING since it’s full of banter (which it was – woo!) and I definitely did enjoy that aspect of the book, but I just didn’t seem to connect with it like I had hoped. My biggest hang-up was that I felt like there was very little plot. I absolutely love character-driven books and I don’t need a book to be full of action and while the characters were fun, they weren’t enough to carry my momentum through the whole book.

Alosa is fierce, clever, and skilled and she uses everything she’s learned at every opportunity. I really enjoyed watching her in action because piracy is cons on the open seas so naturally, I love it. Riden is a little broody and dishes the sass right back to Alosa, but I felt like his character was less consistent. Sometimes he was super broody, other times he was super sassy, and then other times, he was just a jumble of things in between. Humans are quite the kaleidoscope of emotions but it just really didn’t feel cohesive when it came to Riden’s character and he felt like a few different pieces instead of one round, whole person.

It’s true, the two do have great banter but it felt very choppy. They’d be dishing it out to each other and then pull back, and there was something that just didn’t quite feel natural about it. I think it felt like this book lack transitions in many ways, mostly in character consistency and in dialogue. It was a little jumpy and didn’t really flow.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading too many epic adult fantasy novels that are over 1000 pages long, but this book felt like it was the first part of a book, not the first part of a series. The plot didn’t really progress much. We do find out more about Alosa that brings another element to the book and sets up the next but that element didn’t grab me like it should have. Even the romance didn’t really feel like it had the substance there. The banter added to the meat of it but aside from that, I didn’t really feel like Alosa and Riden really clicked. The banter added to the chemistry but something else needed to seal the deal and I wasn’t feeling it.

This book was cute and fun, but it almost felt too cute and that there just wasn’t enough on the pages to really suck me in. The characters were enjoyable and I LOVED the atmosphere but I’m not sure if that’s enough for me to really want to keep reading, BUT it’s only a duet so I might as well see how it ends! It was enjoyable enough to invest my time in reading another book but if it was more than that, I’m not sure I would have continued.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Pirates! I feel like we just need more books about pirates.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. The book was fun but I expected a whole lot more from it, to be honest.

Addiction Rating
Try it

The book was fun but it didn’t wow me like I thought it was going to. Everything just seemed to fall a liiiittle bit short.

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BOOKS LIKE DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING