Category Archives: YA

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!

 

 

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), Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)

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.

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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.