Category Archives: YA

The Naturals (The Naturals #1) – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals (The Naturals #1) – Jennifer Lynn BarnesTitle: The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publishing Info: November 5, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: June 29, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Fixer (The Fixer #1)

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

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For some reason I thought this book was about kids with extra special abilities as in, supernatural of some sort, but it’s actually just special as in heightened and highly perceptive. In case you had some misconceptions as well, it’s actually about a group of gifted teens who are gathered together to form a sort of natural superbrain team brought together to solve murder cases! I actually liked that a lot though! It was really interesting and I kind of liked that it didn’t have a paranormal twist, as I had expected.

THE NATURALS was a really enjoyable book! I had fun with the mystery/thriller aspect and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. I really liked getting to know Cassie and I felt like I got to know each character pretty well. They interacted really well and the audiobook narrator did a great job of giving them different voices and creating different personalities through those voices. The secondary characters really brought more life to the pages and added a great depth to this book as well. I can’t wait to see how they come into play in future books too!

It, like most books nowadays, was pretty solid and still enjoyable but missing that oomph that has me falling in love with a book. The way the mystery part of the book played out was really interesting and had plenty of surprises! I wasn’t expecting it take the turns that it did and really appreciated that the book kept me on my toes.

I’ll definitely continue the series and with the way this book wrapped up, it makes me very interested to see how the other books will continue! This one wrapped up fairly well and I’m curious to see how the other books go from here.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Non-magical squads. This was an interesting team of characters! I liked all of their natural abilities without them being magical abilities.
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. I did like the thrills presented in the book and the mystery had a nice twist, but I also still felt like it was missing a little something to give it that extra wow-factor!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was really enjoyable! I’m not dying to rush ahead to continue the series but it’s in the solid want column.

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Exclusive Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Archenemies Tour!

ARCHENEMIES TOUR

Marissa Meyer at North Central College/Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

I always go see Marissa Meyer when she’s in town and I was so excited to be able to see her again in Naperville, this time for the ARCHENEMIES book tour! The amazing folks at Macmilan/Fierce Reads asked me if I wanted to interview Marissa before the event and of course I said yes! I sat down with Marissa to ask her a few questions about the Renegades series, super powers, and of course, Harry Potter sorting.

(Portions edited for time and flow, only affecting ease of reading and not the actual interview or answers.)

Brittany: We’re celebrating the release of ARCHENEMIES, which is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. The series was initially planned to be a two-book series. Did you always feel like it should have been a trilogy, or did that develop as you were writing the series?
Marissa Meyer: Originally, it did sell as a trilogy so for many, many drafts of RENEGADES. I wrote it attempting to make it a trilogy, but I had thought that the central idea of this hero and villain character falling in love wasn’t itself enough to carry it through three whole books. My plan had been to focus on other characters for the first two books and then Adrian and Nova were going to be the central characters of the third and final book… and it just didn’t work and it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and after years and years of kind of pulling my hair out, we decided, you know what? Let’s just focus on Nova’s and Adrian’s story and make it a standalone! So RENEGADES became a standalone. I started writing it and finally it started to come together. Finally, I was able to focus on this story between Nova and Adrian, which is what I really wanted to be writing the whole time! So I’m writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer, and at some point I realized, hey! I think this could actually be two books. I told my editor and she was thrilled. So we made it two books and I finished RENEGADES. That was done and I started working on ARCHENEMIES, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer… And, at some point it became clear that it was actually three books! And so now it’s a trilogy and working on book three, and I’m preeetty sure we’re done at three. I’m pretty sure.
Brittany: That’s interesting! I like that, though! It’s like you never know where it’s going to take you.
Marissa: Yeah, this book has had a lot of surprises!

Brittany: That was actually one of my other questions! Was there any character scene that really surprised you as you were writing these books and brought you to places you didn’t expect? So I guess we kind of already answer that in part!
Marissa: Yeah. There are tons of things that surprised me! Hmm, what are some specific examples…
Brittany: Were there any characters that ended up getting more page time that you didn’t think were going to be such a big part of the book?
Marissa: No, if anything, there are characters that ended up getting less face time than I expected that they would initially, but it kind of fluctuates. There are characters who you didn’t see a whole lot of in book one, but then they come up more in book two. There’s a character who was supposed to play a huge role in book two and then it ended up not working at all. So now we’re going to see them in book three and that kind of whole [concept] got moved to book three. Then there’s, you know, ideas for scenes that you think will work and end up not working, or you’re writing along and suddenly character says something that completely surprises you and you have to go with it. I mean, there’s always things in writing that come up and change.

Brittany: I really love a well-rounded villain, and I love how often we get to see the inner-workings behind the villains in your books! We got to see Levana’s sort of origin story in FAIREST, the Queen of Hearts and her beginning in HEARTLESS, and now we have so much insight to the Anarchists with Nova being a main character in the Renegades trilogy! Are these types of characters more difficult to write because of their many layers? Or does that actually help you with so much to build off of?
Marissa: It depends! I mean, some of my hero characters are more difficult to write than others, and some of the villain characters difficult are more difficult to write than others, so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be one or the other. But certainly in writing the villains, I’m always trying to make sure that I really understand where they’re coming from. Whether it’s something in their past that has driven them to be a certain way, or something that they’re trying to accomplish that’s motivating them, I want readers to may say, “You know, well, I don’t agree with what they’re doing — they’re really making bad choices — but I can kind of understand why, or I can empathize with them on some level.” So as the writer, of course, I’m always trying to find ways to empathize with them and connect with them in the hopes that we’ll come across to the the readers.
Brittany: I think that’s really interesting with all of the Anarchists who kind of have different levels — there are some people who are so far gone and then Nova, especially being a main character —  you get to see how she interacts with the heroes. And I just think that’s really neat how you get to see all of that, all in one book.
Marissa: Well, thank you! I love writing the villains.

Brittany: Were there any specific sources of inspiration for some of these unique superpowers? Like Ruby’s? Or Honey & Danna with their insect connection?
Marissa: For the most part, [I go with it] if i get an idea that I think seems really cool. Most of the superpowers, I got the idea for them and thought they would just be cool ideas to write about, or were a very visual superpower. I like to write my books to have a very kind of cinematographic quality to them and so something that[, the visual superpowers,] I just thought it would be really neat to play with in different battle sequences and whatnot, so I’m always drawn to powers like that. Alternatively, if there’s something that I think I would really like to have, like that’s a superpower that I would love, then those tend to take top billing too.
Brittany: Were there any of the book that you were ones that you really wanted to have?
Marissa: Nova’s… I would love to never have to sleep! I do also like Adrian’s, too. I do not have any really artistic skill and I’ve always envied people who could drive and paint. You know, it’s sort of symbolic that there are people who could draw something, and it feels like it comes to life on the page. Adrian can actually make things come to life and I just think that’s so cool!

Brittany: The Renegades trilogy is your first release that didn’t have fairy tale inspiration. Was the writing process a lot different without having to go back to a specific source like that? Or did it have any different inspirations?
Marissa: So different, it was so different! I mean, when you’re doing a fairy tale retelling or origin story, like with HEARTLESS, you have a built-in framework already. You know, if I’m doing Cinderella — we know there’s going to be a stepmother. We know there’s going to be a ball. We know there’s to be some sort of shoe that gets lost — like there are things that you know are going to happen, and then you can kind of build the story off of that. But with Renegades being completely original, I had influences — plenty of influences — but nevertheless, I had complete freedom to do anything that I wanted with the story. At first I thought that was going to be great and so easy and fun! And it turned out to be the opposite… I had so many ideas and so many different directions that I thought about taking the story. I tried so many things and really got very lost many, many times and saying, “What could I do with this story? There’s so many options!” and lost focus with it again and again until I finally was able to figure out okay, what is this story that i’m trying to tell?
Brittany: Do you think there would be any like spin-offs or little novellas for the things that did have to get pushed aside?
Marissa: I don’t know! There are a couple of characters that ended up getting cut that I thought had potential for their own works… probably not in the Renegades world — probably a completely different universe’s story world — but I just like some of the ideas that came along with them and I think I could definitely recycle them into something new at some point. As far as, spin-off stories… I have felt like there’s definitely potential to do something from the Age of Anarchy. There’s certainly lots of cool stories that could be pulled from that time period! I don’t know that I will, but it’s something that I have thought about, so we’ll see.

Brittany: There are so many excellent character connections in this series, from family to friendship to romance to teammate. Do you have a favorite character relationship in the Renegades trilogy?
Marissa: Well, I always love the romance story lives obviously! Adrian and Nova, but I also Adrian’s dads, Simon and Hugh — I love every scene where we see them! I think they’re so charming. So in all of my books, everything I’ve ever written before, none of my characters ever have good families! Like, they’re always neglected, and abused — these poor characters of mine! And Adrian was really the first protagonist that I have where he comes from a healthy, loving family, and that is so refreshing to be able to write! I always enjoy those scenes.

Brittany: If you could get yourself a tattoo like Adrian does, which power would you give to yourself first?
Marissa: That’s really good question! I haven’t been asked that before…  I’m trying to think if there’s a tattoo that would let me fly…
Brittany: Wings on your feet?
Marissa: I’m going to have to think about that one!
Brittany: It’s a tough question! I couldn’t think of one for myself…
Marissa: Yeah, because all of his are very centric on like fighting! Even like the jumping thing — having tattoos on the soles of your feet sounds painful… so I’m not sure!

Brittany: If characters from your other books had superhero names and powers, what do you think they would be?
Marissa: So, the first that comes to mind for Cinder would be The Mechanic! She somehow be able to magically fix things… which she sort of already has that superpower! I could totally see Scarlet having fire power and being… the Scarlet Witch,  but that that already exists — there’s Scarlet Witch in Marvel! Hmm, like the Scarlet Flame or something! Wolf would probably [something like a shapeshifter]… There’s another word I was going for, but that works, so he can turn into a wolf!

Brittany: If we were to sort the Renegades characters into Hogwarts Houses, would all of the Anarchist be Slytherins, or will there be a good mix or balance in there?
Marissa: Good question! I almost feel like Nova might be more Ravenclaw than Slytherin…  She might even pass for Gryffindor. Honey would definitely be Slytherin. The Puppeteer, he would be Slytherin. Leroy… He could be Ravenclaw too. But maybe Slytherin. Who am I forgetting ? Phobia! We forgot Phobia!
Brittany: That’s a good question! Are we going to get to know more about Phobia? I’m very excited for that! I just feel like we’re being led up to that.
Marissa: He’s an example of someone who I thought was going to play a much bigger role in the first two books and then ended up not really coming to fruition, but he just become more central in book three.
Brittany: I’m loving the lead up, though. Like, you know that you’re going to get more information and that’s really exciting!

Brittany: I know you love writing romances and I love how naturally they develop. It’s not quick into romance, like you can feel that tension and everything leading up with Nova and Adrian. Is it hard not to just jump right into the kissing scenes?
Marissa: So hard!! All I ever want is for my characters to start kissing! In my very first draft that I ever wrote of CINDER, her and Kai were kissing on like, page 30. Like, let’s do this!! But yeah, I mean, i’m always looking forward to that part. But also as a reader, if the romance develops too fast and they’re kissing too soon, then I lose interest. Like no, no, no, I want the struggle and the tension and suspense, and I really like it to last as long as possible!

I had SUCH a great time interviewing Marissa and another big thank you to her for giving us this scoop and insight on the Renegades trilogy!

The Lying Woods – Ashley Elston

The Lying Woods – Ashley ElstonTitle: The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: November 13, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: September 9, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2), This is Our Story

Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees' retirement accounts, Owen's father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father's crimes. It's bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac--and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.

Owen's only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets--and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he's claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past--and write a better future.

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I’ve been a fan of Ashley Elston’s since her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING and I’ve enjoyed every book of hers since then! I jumped at the chance to read and review THE LYING WOODS when Disney-Hyperion presented me with the opportunity and I really enjoyed it!

THE LYING WOODS was an interesting read! At first it read a little more realistic fiction than mystery/thriller, taking its time to get into the story. There was always and underlying mystery, slowly being put together, but I did feel like this one took a little bit longer to get more into the mystery and investigation side of things. It was an interesting change of pace and really allowed readers to spend more time getting to know the main characters and their backgrounds. The history is a big part of this book and was important to keep it developing.

The end was really packed with punches! There were some clues and the mystery along the way but it wasn’t really about investigating and discovering like a lot of mystery/thrillers are, so when reveals and twists started popping up, it was a huge surprise! I loved how fast-paced it got towards the end and it was really exciting! The ending was really interesting and I loved how it all came together. I love those moments where facts are presented and you realize you should have known them the whole time. It’s so much fun to look back and see all the things that were there the whole time!

I’m definitely interested in everything that Ashley Elston writes and THE LYING WOOD was another enjoyable novel! It was an interesting and unique mystery/thriller that had some elements that I didn’t expect!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Various thriller styles. I feel like every Ashley Elston book has been a different style of mystery or thriller! Each book has a unique concept and pacing and THE LYING WOODS felt so unique!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. The end of the book was very exciting but I had wished there were a few more thrills in the beginning so it felt a little less realistic fiction and more mystery/thriller!

Addiction Rating
Read it

THE LYING WOODS was enjoyable, a quick read, and a great concept! I had a really great time reading it!

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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly BlackTitle: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: January 2, 2018 by Hachette, Little Brown
Source: ALAAC18, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: June 4 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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This was probably one of this biggest reads of 2018 and the hype was REAL. I definitely enjoyed it and there was a lot to appreciate here BUT I think the hype also got me a little bit.

I really loved getting to know Jude but I also felt like I wanted to get to know her a little bit more outside of the current events. There were several places in this book where I knew I felt like I was missing something and I just didn’t know what it was. I don’t know why I felt a slight disconnect from Jude but I did. We did get her backstory but… I don’t know. I think I just wanted more of a personal connection that I just didn’t get somewhere. I did love her personality and her ambition. She had a great balance of ferocity and loyalty.

This book was broken up into two parts and I really did wish that there was something more in the first half to really bring me into the story more. There was a lot of really great set-up but the pacing was just a bit off for a trilogy, I think. It felt like we were setting up a much longer series with so much more backstory and character development in the beginning. It wasn’t a bad thing but it was definitely a different pace. Gah, it’s so hard to explain because this was just such a different sort of book all together. It was a slightly slower pace but not in a bad way — it was in a way that allowed the characters to show us who they were and allowed the world to really get set up before the action set in. I think I just expected more action, or rather, an important piece of the action, to happen earlier on.

I also really, really wanted to get to know more of Cardan and his story in the first half. I really liked that Holly Black didn’t rush the romance and had plenty of action and development in the end, but it almost felt like Cardan wasn’t really important until the end of the book. He was a significant part of Jude’s life in the beginning as well, but I wanted to see more of him and more of the reasons why he was so important much earlier on.

I really did love all of the events in the end of the book! There were soooo many things and I loved how everything unfolded in so many ways. I don’t know if that was an intentional nod to The Princess Bride but I 100% was there for that. I think the set-up for THE WICKED KING was absolutely excellent and I think book two will be stellar! I’m really excited to see where things go from here.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Holly Black. I haven’t read ALL of Holly Black’s books but I’ve read a few and it’s so interesting seeing how different they all are! No matter the subject matter, I can see the same sort of tone throughout all of them but they’re all so unique! I also love how clever each book is.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoons. I don’t ACTUALLY need more swoons, but I was expecting more the way everyone talks about Cardan. He was an interesting character but once again, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was (as happens a lot with reviews/Instagram).

Addiction Rating
Read it!

THE CRUEL PRINCE was really enjoyable and quite the interesting read. I really liked the politics behind everything and it had a really great, mature tone.

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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.

bookreview1

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.

addiction_factor1

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.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE BROKEN THINGS

              

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!

Top Ten Tuesday – July 3, 2018: Books With Red, White, and Blue Covers

TOP TEN TUESDAY
July 3, 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

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday but I really liked this Red, White, and Blue theme! There aren’t a lot of covers that have strictly red, white, and blue in the true sense of the colors so some of these are a touch stretched, but I do love how these colors right brighten up a book cover!

BOOKS WITH RED, WHITE, AND BLUE ON THE COVER

I’LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather DemetriosReview


WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo | Review


 

WIRES AND NERVE by Marissa Meyer | Review


CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber | Review


ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter | Review


THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE by Sarvenaz Tash | Review


TRULY DEVIOUS by Maureen Johnson | Review

(I actually think that’s orange and not red but I’ve committed to it now and I like the bright blue)


the fixer jennifer lynn barnes

THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Review


SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich | Review


Do you have any favorite red, white, and blue books? I do like how these colors look together but I’m extra fond of blue books!

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!