Renegades (Renegades #1) – Marissa Meyer

Renegades (Renegades #1) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: November 7, 2017 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 12, 2017
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1)

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

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This was incredibly enjoyable and I especially think fans of Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy will love it! The book had some great characters, a fun concept, intrigue, and a few good plot twists that we’ve enjoyed so much in Marissa Meyer’s other books! I really enjoyed this book from start to finish and as always, I regret that I didn’t have longer strings of uninterrupted time to read this so I wasn’t as distracted, but I did my best!

One thing Marissa Meyer always does a great job with is setting up a new world. Gatlon City easily came alive in my mind, as did the various locations within it, how everything looked, and all the details down to the Renegades uniforms. I’m always able to get such a clear picture in my mind and I love being able to be IN the story like that. I would have loved to get a little more info about prodigies and how they came to be. I’m pretty much always feeling like I need to know the reasons WHY worlds are the way they are in a lot of books lately, leading me to feel like I’m missing a tiny something and I definitely wanted more history of how this current world came to be, but there’s also a second book in which we can get a lot more backstory! It’s always hard with the first book in a series because I never know what’s been held back because of future twists or spoilers!

I LOVED reading from the perspective of an Anarchist (Nova) and a Renegade (Adrian) and seeing how their two worlds collided. It’s always so much fun to read the “villain” POV because you know I love villains with a soft heart or those morally grey areas, so I really enjoyed getting to know Nova in that respect! She deals with a lot of questions about herself and her life and I liked being able to see why she was on the side of the Anarchists and why her mission had meaning. I always like villains with a purpose and not just characters who are evil for the sake of being evil, so that was something I really enjoyed about all of the Anarchists. They all had their reasons for choosing that side and it was interesting to be able to see their human side!
The perspective of the Renegades through Adrian’s eyes was also incredibly interesting! He’s the son of the two “head honchos” of the Renegades council and so his part in missions becomes in more complicated. People wonder if he’s favored or given special treatment because of this and he also is “forced” (he chooses) to do things out of the public’s eye so he can do something anonymous for once. He aligns with the Renegades, of course, and has a special investment with his fathers being the leaders but like any typical teenager, he also veers off-course and tries to find himself, what’s important to him, and essentially rebels just a little bit when he feels he’s being left in the dark for no reason.

The forbidden romance aspect is always a favorite of mine and I loved the interactions between Nova and Adrian! I did wish for a bit more banter and for Nova to give him a bit more acid because I adore banter and it’s the best, end of story. But it was also something I loved so much about The Lunar Chronicles. Also, with so many different groups — Renegades, Anarchists, squads, teams, patrols, etc — I was kind of hoping for some more #squadgoals to appear in this book and the friendships fell just a little flat for me. They were enjoyable but I would have loved to see more interaction, with everyone really, to feel more of a tug at that forbidden romance and really pull at my emotions for Nova and Adrian, and to see more BFFs and squads who have each others back. These elements were surely there but I didn’t QUITE feel it at the level I was hoping for and have enjoyed so much in the past.

There were some really great twists here, some I saw coming and some I didn’t at all, and I loved all of them, big or small. This book was well thought out and executed and I had fun following this story throughout the first book! I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the series to come and I already really look forward to re-reading this on audio before book two comes out! I think my re-read will be even more enjoyable when I’m able to listen at a much more consistent pace than I was able to read my ARC. Always a big fan!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. I haven’t read a lot of superhero books and this one was really fun! I especially enjoyed hearing from both the good and evil sides!
Left Me Wanting More: Squad goals. I really was expecting a little bit more from the friendships so that was one noticeable thing that was missing! Even with the focus on Nova and Adrian, I had hoped for those friendships to shine a little bit more.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Perfect for Marissa Meyer fans, fans of superheroes, or just anyone looking to enjoy a good read. I had so much fun reading this book and I’m so excited for its sequel!

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BOOKS LIKE RENEGADES

          

Statistics Survey: The Book Addict’s Guide in 2017

Four years ago, Andi (Andi’s ABCs) and I got to talking about how much we love the end-of-the-year surveys (and really all of the other surveys) that go around, obviously Jamie’s Annual End of the Year Survey (The Perpetual Page Turner) being one of our favorites! After a discussion of our love of stats and looking back on our year in reading through statistics, we decided to devise a survey to help us with our quest and the STATISTICS SURVEY was born! The Statistics Survey is back for another year so feel free to fill out any time you’re ready with your reading year in stats!

Obsessed with your bookish stats like we are? Join us for the 4th annual Statistics Survey!

This survey is more about checking out the facts and details behind what you read and not necessarily favorites and reflecting. Fill out and post whenever you like (my answers will be going up in late December or early January to get the full year in)! These statistics should all be for books that you read in 2017 (not books necessarily published in 2017). We have a linky at the bottom to link up your survey once it’s done! Hope you have fun!

2017 READING YEAR IN REVIEW


NumberOf

  • Number of books read…
    • Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 4
    • Between 400-449 pages: 14
    • Between 450-499 pages: 3
    • Over 500 pages: 6
    • Over 1000 pages: 3
  • Number of…
    • Audiobooks: 76
    • Re-reads: 9
    • DNFs (did not finish): 3
  • Number of books rated…
    • Five Stars: 5 (not including re-reads)
    • One/Two Stars: 4
  • Number of authors met in 2017: Two? I think the only events I went to were Leigh Bardugo and Laini Taylor!
  • Number of book events attended in 2017: Just author signings. I didn’t make it to any conferences this year.
  • Number of books you read in one day: 9
  • Number of books that made you cry: I don’t remember. Probably only one or two?
  • Number of 2018 books you have on pre-order: 3

BytheBooks

  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I didn’t go far from home this year — just to Indiana. I read a few books while I was there.
  • Book that took you the longest to read: Probably THE DIRE KING. It took me over a month to finish it, through lunch breaks at work, but I had a hard time keeping the momentum going. 
  • Book that you personally connected with the most: You know it’s funny, but I’d say THE HEIST by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. It wasn’t my favorite read of the year but HEISTS and CONS and SWOONS.
  • Book that made you love the villain: THIS DARKNESS MINE by Mindy McGinnis. It was so weird and so interesting!
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: THE TRAITOR’S KISS, HEART OF IRON, and AN UNKINDNESS OF MAGICIANS
  • Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA (read in May, published in Sept)
  • Book you read on your birthday: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, as usual, and audiobooking CLOSER TO HOME
  • Book with a character who shares your name: I don’t know if there was one?
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): HELLO, SUNSHINE by Leila Howland. I just did not connect with it. I gave it two stars even though I kind of skimmed the end.
  • Book you read in 2017 but already want to re-read: The Raven Cycle, again HAHA
  • Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: I STILL HAVE ANDI’S COPY OF TWIST FROM YEARS AGO, ALL RING THE SHAME BELL
  • Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer. I read it in such broken pieces for only a few minutes at a time. I wish I could read it again with uninterrupted reading time.
  • Most books read by one author this year: 7 Janet Evanovich books, 7 Brandon Sanderson books (one was a novella), 7 Maggie Stiefvater books (5 re-reads, one new read, one re-read of a novella)

ThisThat

  • Happiest & saddest: Happiest: THE HATING GAME | Saddest: LOOKING FOR ALASKA, I guess? I tried really hard not to read sad books this year. It didn’t really make me sad but it had the most sad feelings.
  • Longest & shortest…
    • By page number: Not including novellas, LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green (shortest), OATHBRINGER by Brandon Sanderson (longest)
    • By title: TALON (shortest), A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES (longest)
    • From buying to reading: I had a few that I bought and read immediately but we’ll say A CONJURING OF LIGHT was my first one of those of the year. The longest would probably be WICKED APPETITE which I’ve had for yeeeears as a mass market and finally read on audio this year!
  • Best & worst…
    • Average rating on Goodreads: WORDS OF RADIANCE by Brandon Sanderson (best at 4.77 stars with 100k+ ratings), A GOOD IDEA by Cristina Moracho (worst at 3.26 stars with 760 ratings, which I actually enjoyed!)
    • Books you read/your rating: STRANGE THE DREAMER (best), I had a few 2-star ratings but I guess the worst was INTERWORLD. It was just… weird and not enjoyable.
    • Series enders: The worst series-ender was THE LAST STAR by Rick Yancey. Wow, that book made me mad. The best..? Of things that I read this year, probably A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU by Claudia Grey.
  • First & last…
    • Reads of 2017: First: JACKABY | Last: THE SHELL GAME (Fox & O’Hare novella)
    • Books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right): I’m not sure of the first because the most recent photo of my shelves is cut off. The last is READY PLAYER ONE!
  • Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise: Most disappointing is definitely HELLO, SUNSHINE. I didn’t click at all and I LOVED (like loved loved loved) Leila Howland’s other books and I was also really disappointed with TRAITOR TO THE THRONE!! Biggest pleasant surprise was probably A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES! That wasn’t what I expected and I totally loved it!
  • Fandom you joined & one you abandoned: I joined the Stranger Things fandom WHICH I KNOW ISN’T BOOKISH but that’s my biggest fandom of the year. I abandoned SJM and all of her books hardcore, like poof gone forever. I was jumping off last year but it’s super solid this year.
  • Series you picked up & series you quit: I picked up quite a few series this year and binge read a bunch! Too many to list, really. I gave up on the REBEL OF THE SANDS trilogy, I think. I was super disappointed with TRAITOR TO THE THRONE and it killed my interest in the third book.
  • Most lenient & harshest ratings: Lenient: Ehhh we’ll say WIRES AND NERVE. I put it in the five-star range because Lunar Chronicles but it wasn’t super duper a 5-star book. Harshest: Hmmm I think the books I rated low are accurate, so I guess I’d say I don’t really have a harsh rating.
  • Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read: Most hyped was probably A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, and A DARKEST SHADE OF MAGIC. Under the radar, HELLO SUNSHINE, CLOSER TO HOME, A GOOD IDEA

GrabBag

  • Book you read that is red: WICKED APPETITE by Janet Evanovich
  • Starts with X, Y, or Z: Lots of W but no X/Y/Z!
  • Book you hugged when you finished it: THE HATING GAME
  • Book you wanted to throw across a room: THE LAST STAR
  • Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: November cakes during THE SCORPIO RACES, always
  • Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: STRANGE THE DREAMER
  • Furthest out of your comfort zone: LOOKING FOR ALASKA and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
  • Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself): JACKABY
  • Forced yourself to finish: TRAITOR TO THE THRONE
  • Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): The Raven Cycle, Shades of Magic, The Stormlight Archive (to currently published), The Firebird Trilogy, Monsters of Verity, Jackaby, Lizzy & Diesel

BloggingLife


Thanks so much for joining our 2017 Statistics Survey! We hope you had a lot of fun! Want to share with others? Post the link to your answers in the linky in the original intro post!

A Book and a Candle | Outlander + Air Like Cider (Canterbury Road Co)

I was chatting with my dear friend Andi from Andi’s ABCs the other day, mulling over what kind of new blog post I could possibly come up with for my blog. After blogging for five years and feeling like I’m repeating so many things and having candles take over my life with Novelly Yours (in a good way), I just don’t have as much time or energy to create some of those fun graphics and infographics that I used to love to spend hours and even days creating! Book and a Beverage really kind of died out with so many people having already done it and me having a hard time keeping track of blog posts sometimes so she suggested I switch things up to fit my life with more of what I’m doing now… and do a little switch from books & beverages to books & candles! I already post quite a bit of books & candles on my Instagram account and it seemed like the perfect way to really tie everything back together!

Here on A Book and a Candle, I share two of my favorite things! I started my own candle shop about two years ago and ever since then, my candle addiction has only grown exponentially! I share a lot of my photos on Instagram but not many really make it to my blog so this seemed like a great opportunity to talk some more about books and candles and how one enhances the other!

Today I’m sharing a photo of my beautiful, special edition copy of OUTLANDER and an Outlander-inspired candle from Canterbury Road Co!

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THE BOOK: OUTLANDER | Goodreads
THE CANDLE: Air Like Cider from Canterbury Road Co
Candle scents: hot cider, smoky nutmeg, autumn fog

I actually haven’t read OUTLANDER yet but I’ve been meaning to for a very long time! It’s such a big series — in the number of pages and number of books — that it’s been a little intimidating to start but I’ve started a sort of unintentional tradition where I read a big series (or at least start one) each year. Since I’m all caught up in Brandon Sanderson books and those seem to be go-tos for big series selections, I’m looking towards Outlander as the large series that I want to start in 2018!

I received this beautiful copy from my best friend Amy as wedding present and it’s so special to me! My bridesmaids each gifted me a book that was special to them and wrote a personal note inside to me for my wedding day and it was such a wonderful and perfect gift! Not only is this one of Amy’s favorite books/series, but her hand-written note inside makes this special edition even more special!

I’m not sure which format I’ll choose for my OUTLANDER read yet. I’ve been doing a lot of audiobook reads for my longer books because they’re easier to get through and less intimidating sometimes, so I may end up listening to the audiobooks for these! I’ve heard they’re very good and then I can treasure my special copy of the book and not worry about spilling something on it or toting it around.

Even though I haven’t read the series yet, I knew I needed this candle from Canterbury Road Co! I looove autumn scents and this candle is delicious perfection. It’s spicy, a little smoky, and a little earthy to combine all of my favorite things about fall. I haven’t burned it yet but I absolutely love the scent and I’m hoping to burn it while I read OUTLANDER next year!

FIND CANTERBURY ROAD CO: 
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

** All candles featured in A Book and a Candle have been obtained by my own choosing, whether by direct purchase or in a candle swap and there have been no exchanges or free product sent to me to feature. Candle shops featured are of my choosing and each candle summary/review are my own words and opinions. I have not been influenced in any way to write these posts other than my own pure enjoyment of each candle! I’m just sharing what I love! ** 

Mini-Review: The Demon’s Lexicon (The Demon’s Lexicon #1) – Sarah Rees Brennan

Mini-Review: The Demon’s Lexicon (The Demon’s Lexicon #1) – Sarah Rees BrennanTitle: The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publishing Info: June 2, 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 23, 2017
Related Posts: Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1)

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

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I read THE DEMON’S LEXICON on audio before Halloween (well, long before Halloween — in September) when I was in the mood for paranormal/urban fantasy/horror reads so it’s been a while since I’ve read it but I’ve also put off writing the review for a while because it wasn’t as stand-out of a book as I had expected and I didn’t quite know what to say.

I had no idea what to expect going into this book but I was expecting a fun urban fantasy feel and I wasn’t let down in that respect! It was actually a little more fun than I had expected with some nice banter, and interesting family dynamic, and some concepts that actually reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s novels in a way. I’m not exactly sure how but it just had that sort of feel.

The book had its ups and downs, full of some really interesting twists but it also hit some slow spots too. It actually felt more like the writing style rather than the actual plot/book slowing down, but still my interest starting waning once I started losing speed.

I really liked how the end played out and there were a lot of things that really surprised me! The story was really interesting and the reveals were perfect… And yet still, I don’t really feel drawn to continue the series. I found that the second book switches POVs to a character that I don’t really care about and I was invested in these two brothers which was half of the reason I was reading. I meant to start the second book right after and pushed it aside so I’m not sure that I’ll ever get to it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban Fantasy. Urban fantasy is very hit-or-miss with me. Some I LOVE and others I really don’t care for. This was a fun one and it hit the mark!
Left Me Wanting More: Momentum. Things slowed down every once in a while and the pacing seemed to lose my interest. If it had kept going, it would have been even better!

Addiction Rating
Consider it

I enjoyed reading this book but I don’t feel driven to continue the series so it’s a tough one to recommend. I wasn’t disappointed with my read and  yet, if I don’t feel like continuing the series, I’m not sure if I’d tell someone to go out and pick it up!

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BOOKS LIKE THE DEMON’S LEXICON

          

Fast Five Friday | Christmas Vibes

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | CHRISTMAS VIBES

I don’t do a lot of seasonal reading for winter or Christmas and going through my list on Goodreads, I’ve read surprisingly few books that involve the Christmas season or holiday! I did find a good few to compile into a Fast Five Friday list to quickly share some books with Christmas vibes!

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless Liz Czukasmy true love gave to me book coverLandline - Rainbow Rowell

What: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
Who: Liz Czukas
Why: A very cute romance that takes place in a grocery store on Christmas Eve!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: My True Love Gave To Me
Who: Stephanie Perkins (editor) and various authors
Why: An anthology of Christmas/holiday-themed stories, varying from contemporary to magical realism to fantasy!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Landline
Who: Rainbow Rowell
Why: A fun and yet serious adult novel about a woman who is seeing a different side of her marriage that takes place around Christmas.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Who: J.K. Rowling
Why: I think every Harry Potter book has a Christmas scene but I love this one for the inclusion of The Yule Ball and a whole Christmas party!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: A Minor Raven Boys Holiday Drabble
Who:  Maggie Stiefvater
Why: This is a little extra that Maggie Stiefvater wrote and I LOVE seeing the holidays at Monmouth! Totally worth the quick read for the Raven Boys holiday feel. There’s also a 300 Fox Way piece!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Do you do any seasonal or holiday reading during the winter/Christmas season? Happy holidays, everyone!!

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – Krystal Sutherland

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – Krystal SutherlandTitle: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
Publishing Info: September 5, 2017 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Psych/Mental Health, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 21, 2017

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather met Death, her entire family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime—a fear that will eventually lead each and every one of them to their graves. Take Esther’s father, for instance: He’s an agoraphobe who hasn’t left the basement in six years. Then there’s her twin brother, Eugene, whose fear of the dark goes far beyond the things that go bump in the night. And her mother, Rosemary, is absolutely terrified of bad luck.

As for Esther, she’s managed to escape the curse…so far. She doesn’t yet have a great fear because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, crowds—anything that might trigger a phobia is off-limits and is meticulously recorded in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old elementary school classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. The encounter leaves her stranded at a bus stop and swindled out of her phone, all her cash, a Fruit Roll-Up she’d been saving, and her list—not to mention her dignity. But the theft is also the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two, one that sends the pair on a journey of self-discovery as they try to break the curse that’s consumed Esther’s family. Together they face their greatest fears, one debilitating phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love.

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A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES wasn’t what I was expecting, and then it was, and then it wasn’t — all in a good way. I thought this would be heavy on the magical realism based on the synopsis and then it turned more realistic fiction for a while, and came back as a blend of both. There was a lot of care taken when writing this book and it really shows through each of the characters and their own personal situations. I was really impressed with it!

The characters of this book were so wonderful and real and had such amazing personalities. Every single one has their own thing they’re dealing with and Esther blames this on the family curse, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface than she understands and more importantly, is willing to face. It was interesting to see both sides of that concept — from the magical realism/curse side and from the realistic side that really tackled mental health head on. It was addressed so well and I felt like it was a very realistic representation. The magic is both real and also a coping mechanism/avoidance method and I really enjoyed the blend between the real and the imaginary. The reader is left wondering how much is really magic and that’s something I love about magical realism when it’s done well!

This is also one of those realistic fiction novels that’s great for those who aren’t normally contemporary romance readers. The family is quirky and fun to read, the plot of the book involves a lot of fun instances where characters face their fears (some of them silly), and there are some really great representations of mental health on many levels. I liked that there was an actual plot with an end goal of conquering fears and the way they tackled each one was fun and also beautiful.

The characters really brought this book to life, every single one unique and beautiful. I loved getting to know this family and the people who supported them. I laughed, I cried, I was afraid, and I was happy. This book took me through so many emotions and I’m so glad I read it!
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Kept Me Hooked On: Quirky Families. It takes a really good author to write a quirky family without having them be goofy or over-the-top. This family had their quirks but they were fun to get to know and it wasn’t in a crazy way. Everything just felt right.
Left Me Wanting More: Pages! I really, really enjoyed this book. I can’t think of anything I was missing! I would just want to keep reading more but I’m also glad that it was a stand-alone and wrapped up the way that it did.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

No matter which genres you enjoy, this is such a lovely book. I would definitely recommend it!

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BOOKS LIKE A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES

          

As Seen on Bookstagram | #12Daysof2017Favorites

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

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Yesterday, I shared a photo that began the #12Daysof2017Favorites, which is a little something my friends @_livelaughread and @bookswrotemystory are doing this December! Instead of sharing 10 favorites, they extended it to 12 and are sharing a different favorite each day! I thought it was a really fun idea and also wanted to share my top 12, some of which I probably haven’t photographed since they’re audiobooks and some of which I haven’t shared since the beginning of the year!

My #12 book was WIRES AND NERVE which was the Lunar Chronicles graphic novel by Marissa Meyer. I rated it 5 stars but it’s still #12 on my list because, well, okay. It’s kind of a fluffy rating! If I was actually writing a critical review, there are things it could have improved on but I took it simply as an enjoyable reading and put my critical reading hat aside.

I read WIRES AND NERVE at a time where I really needed a good comfort read. Macmillan sent a copy of the book straight to me while I was staying with my husband in the hospital out-of-state and it was so wonderful to get book mail away from home, read a book by a favorite author, and have such a great time returning to the world of The Lunar Chronicles! It made the top 12 books of the year not only for its content but also the way it made me feel at that time.

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I’ll be counting down the rest of the Top 12 books over the next week and a half alongside Kori and Brittany, and you can join in too if you’re interested! Just post with the hashtag #12Daysof2017Favorites!


Did WIRES AND NERVE make your top reads this year? Are you excited for the next installment in this series of graphic novels??

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab

I’ve been very hit-or-miss with Victoria/V.E. Schwab but my friends loved this series so I wanted to give it a shot! It made it easy to read with my library having copies of the first audiobook and I ended up purchasing the second to finish it out.

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

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria SchwabTitle: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: July 5, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 17, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I wrote a pretty quick collection of thoughts on Goodreads and since it’s been quite a few months since I actually read the book, it’s interesting to read these thoughts and look back on my experience reading the book… which is that I don’t remember as much as I had hoped. THIS SAVAGE SONG was a solid read, but it didn’t really stay with me. The book kind of had a feel like THE 5TH WAVE except more of a paranormal/urban fantasy concept with monsters instead of aliens. (I mean, it’s not a direct comparison because a lot is different but that kind of post-apocalyptic feel is there.)

I was entertained the whole way though and I enjoyed the characters of August and Kate. I really liked Kate’s toughness and I appreciated August’s situation but I was always left feeling like I wanted a little more background. It’s only a two-book series so I was hoping there would be more world-building and set-up included in THIS SAVAGE SONG and there wasn’t, so I was left waiting for that in book two.

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria SchwabTitle: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: June 13, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 19, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

OUR DARK DUET was a less enjoyable read for me. I kept hearing about all of the FEELS here but since I didn’t really have them for the first book, I really didn’t keep anything moving to the second book. I felt like the author was relying on feelings to carry the book through and still, I was really lacking that development of the world and the background of the story. I wanted so many more details on how the monsters are formed, WHY they started forming in the first place. I mean, this isn’t a fantasy world — it’s our world and monsters have changed the way we live in it… so where did they come from? Why did they start forming? The concept is there of the reason that they do but what changed that this process creates monsters? There’s a difference between an urban fantasy world in which these creatures have always existed and or own world in which a change has been made that created an urban fantasy setting. It’s SUCH an important part of my reading experience and without it, I just didn’t believe the story.

SERIES THOUGHTS

I find myself disappointed again with the lack of development from Victoria Schwab. Just a bit more thought on the background of things could make any one of her books so much richer. There was plenty of space for it and ample opportunities but she doesn’t seem to go that extra step to really make her worlds that much deeper.

I did enjoy THIS SAVAGE SONG but I lost something with my read of OUR DARK DUET. I just have a really hard time when I like the conclusion of a series less than its beginning because it ends on a lower note and I have a hard time wanting to recommend the series.

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Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

SO many people seem to love this series but it wasn’t a hit for me. I had some issues with the structure that really bothered me and it affected my whole read. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend these books but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to tell anyone not to read them. It was just very middle-of-the-road for me.

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BOOKS LIKE MONSTERS OF VERITY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana MatherTitle: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: October 3, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 16, 2017
Related Posts: How to Hang a Witch

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous "ship of dreams"--a story made all the more fascinating because the author's own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family's connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she'd find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she's been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam's waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

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I really, really enjoyed HOW TO HANG A WITCH from Adriana Mather last year so I was so ready to pick up HAUNTING THE DEEP when I heard of its release! I started reading it close to Halloween, being that HOW TO HANG A WITCH was the perfect Halloween read. HAUNTING THE DEEP didn’t quite have the same vibe for me and it was still enjoyable, but I also felt like it was lacking quite a bit.

I felt like all of the work to incorporate the witch story line was kind of lost. There was still magic involved but HAUNTING THE DEEP was focused more on a ghostly plane versus a ghost being involved in a witchy story. Sam’s interactions with the Titanic and its passengers stretched the imagination a little bit more and moved from what I guess I’d call “believable magic” to a point where it was a bit too far-fetched for me. I also wasn’t as big of a fan of the Titanic concept as I was the connection to the Salem Witch trials.

What is very cool is that Adriana Mather writes these books in connection to her own family  history. Her relatives have some serious American historical roots and their actual involvement in the Salem Witch Trials and the Titanic inspired her writing for these books! It’s really neat to know that she has a personal connection to the stories.

The long triangle from the first book really kind of bothered me but I’m not feeling as bothered by it anymore. I’m still team Human versus team Ghost (the ghost thing is… weird?) but I guess we’ll see where things go! I like the connection but I wish it wasn’t like, a full-on romance thing here.

When it comes down to it, I just really missed the witchiness of the first book and especially reading it around Halloween, that’s just what I really wanted. I’m definitely going to read more from Adriana Mather because I can’t wait to see what else she’s writing about (she has a LOT of sweet family history) and I love the personal author’s notes at the end of these books to explain a lot of that too! I didn’t really connect with HAUNTING THE DEEP like I had hoped but I’m definitely in for the long haul with these books! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: The Titanic. I hadn’t really given much thought to the Titanic outside of the movie, but it was actually really neat to get some more history about it in this book!
Left Me Wanting More: Witches. I just looooved that Craft meets Hocus Pocus vibe from the first book and it was really missing here, being about something totally different haha! It was just so much fun, though.

Addiction Rating
Check it out

Lots of fans of HOW TO HANG A WITCH seemed to enjoy this one and even reviewed that they enjoyed it better than the first, with improvements in writing and plot. For me, I was totally hung up on my witchy vibes. It was still enjoyable but I just wasn’t connected. I think totally worth checking out if you read the first (please read the first book first)!

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BOOKS LIKE HAUNTING THE DEEP

          

Top Ten Tuesday – December 12, 2017: Ten Best Books of 2017

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
December 12, 2017

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was Top Ten Best Books of 2017

I can’t believe the year is already almost over! It feels like we only just kicked off 2017 and here we are rapidly approaching the new year.

2017 was a weird reading year for me. I mostly read audiobooks due to the amount of time that I had to read print books, and that wasn’t a bad thing. I love the performance aspect that audiobooks provide and they can really bring a book to life! I did struggle with a lot of books this year and others just really seemed to fall flat. It’s hard to tell if it’s just a point in my life where I have too many distractions, I’ve read so many books that I have such high expectations, or I just wasn’t picking good me reads. I ended up with quite a few four star books, some threes, and few fives, so picking my best books of the year is actually pretty easy!


GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston

This book was so incredibly cute. I loved the retelling of Cinderella combined with geekness, cons, and a cute love story. I really clicked with this book and it was my first hit of the year!

Goodreads | Review


A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

I actually wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did because I don’t particularly care for the author sometimes and her other books have been VERY hit-or-miss with with — but this series was really enjoyable and contained a lot of elements that I love. This was the best of the series for me.

Goodreads | Review


STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

STRANGE THE DREAMER remains my top read of 2017! I love Laini Taylor’s writing style and this book was intense but so, so amazing. I loved feeling all the feels with this one and it’s still my top read this year!

Goodreads | Review


HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA by Kerri Maniscalco

Naturally, HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA makes the list! I adore Kerri Maniscalco and her books and there are soooo many swoons in this book. (And all the other good stuff too! But, really… Thomas.)

Goodreads | Review


THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne

This book was SO MUCH FUN and it had me feeling all sorts of things! My only “complaint” with it is that I wish the tension had gone on longer but it was adorable and cute and exactly what I needed.

Goodreads | Review


JANE, UNLIMITED by Kristin Cashore

I didn’t even know if I was enjoying this book while I was reading it but it was something that really stuck with me. I really loved the choose-your-own-adventure type feel and the book was super interesting with so many unique elements. I was really impressed with the creative style and it was impressive how everything weaved together!

Goodreads | Review


WARCROSS by Marie Lu

I haven’t read a book by Marie Lu since LEGEND (which I actually enjoyed and still need to finish) so I was excited for WARCROSS! It turned out to not only be an exciting read but full of twists!

Goodreads | Review


RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

I’m so happy to have Marissa Meyer on my top reads of the year again! She’s one of my favorite authors with The Lunar Chronicles holding a special place in my heart (shout out to the graphic novel WIRES AND NERVE which also a great read of 2017 but an honorable mention). I really enjoyed RENEGADES and it didn’t beat out TLC as my favorite Marissa Meyer series but it was so solid and incredibly enjoyable!

Goodreads | Review


MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie

This was the first time I had read this book and it was so incredible! I absolutely loved it from start to finish and the audio narration was also so fantastic.

Goodreads | Review


OATHBRINGER by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve been catching up with The Stormlight Archive and started with the first book in January. It was probably a bad decision because now I’ve read the only three books and it’s going to take forever for the fourth to come out! OATHBRINGER was my favorite of the three with so much happening and so many characters coming together.

Goodreads | Review


Which books top your Best of 2017 list? Do we share any big favorites? Any surprises you saw and agree with?