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Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

I happen to have read two novellas/short stories from Brandon Sanderson recently and I decided to combine them into one set of mini-reviews! I grabbed the audio of PERFECT STATE  and SILENCE FOR SHADOWS IN THE FORESTS OF HELL in a recent Audible sale and managed to squeeze them in between full-length novels. Then I immediately ran to read MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY after finishing THE BANDS OF MOURNING because A) that series is addicting and B) I always want more answers and backstory to the Mistborn universe! Below you’ll find some brief thoughts on each.


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: March 31, 2015 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 25, 2016
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), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1)

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.
Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

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PERFECT STATE was a lot of fun! I really liked the whole concept of “meta fiction” (I recently discovered this term!) in which the main character is essentially playing out their life through a simulated world (think The Matrix or even a VR world like in READY PLAYER ONE). PERFECT STATE follows the story of Kai who is the ruler of his own (fictional) world and now the time has come for him to interact with other actual humans and do his duty to reproduce in order to keep the population going.

These quick novellas from Sanderson are always so hard to rate! I know his amazing world-building and I always go into these novellas excited to read more Sanderson and I’m left wanting so much more! I could easily read a whole novel or series about this world and these characters! It would have been a fantastic series if that were the case. It’s classic Sanderson through and through — great world, witty characters, interesting intersection, creative twist. I loved the characters and I wished I could have spent more time in all of these different worlds!
I also really loved the combination of fantasy and sci-fi. It was really neat to see the two collide like that! I’ve really enjoyed everything that Brandon Sanderson has written, no matter the genre, and I will keep reading everything that crosses my path!


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Amazon
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 4, 2016
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), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1)

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.
As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.
Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.
In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)
Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.
There’s always another secret.


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MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY was incredibly mind-blowing. I can’t really say TOO much about it because it’s incredibly spoilery for those who haven’t read MISTBORN yet or even those who haven’t finished THE BANDS OF MOURNING yet. This short story takes place just after the rush of events as MISTBORN is ending and continues to span throughout the rest of the original trilogy, setting things up for the Wax & Wayne era.

Sanderson’s world building is astounding. I love that he’s been compiling this story little by little as he’s been writing the series and finally shared it in this novella. I agree that it may have been too much to mix in with the series chronologically and I was happy to read this all from one POV!

Honestly? I got a tad lost in the middle. Well, not lost but I just have a hard time adapting to new ideas/places/people without enough anchors to hold me to an original character/story. Maybe I’m just not well-versed enough in the Cosmere? But I was having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around some of the sections in the middle just because we’re dealing with such higher forces (without giving any spoilers away) and a nearly new concept which I would have loved to spend more time with! Could be that these things/concepts/whatever also appear in other Sanderson books that I just haven’t read yet and that’s why I’m not picking up on it as much! Truly, the things you find out in this short story are so amazingly fantastical that I actually want to re-read the whole series and have MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY in hand so I can read them on the same timelines. I also want to go back and read sections of this again so I can really grasp what’s going on. Some things did  seem to be tied to other books set in the Cosmere so I really need to read those soon!!

There were some amazing moments between original Mistborn characters that just totally warmed my heart and really put a happy ending on everything. I loved tiny glances at different POVs (especially Kelsier’s) as scenes from the endings of MISTBORN, THE WELL OF ASCENSION, and THE HERO OF AGES appear in the novella. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters and getting even more answers as to what happened to them and exactly how things played out since we get a different perspective here.

Always a joy to read, some MIND-BLOWING knowledge that has me dying to pick up more books (not like that was an issue anyway. I already have reads planned out!), but now I can’t believe how long I’ll have to wait for new Mistborn books! AHHH!

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 7, 2016
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), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1)

When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: "Don't kindle flame, don't shed the blood of another, don't run at night. These things draw shades."
Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.


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I think this is one of my favorite Brandon Sanderson novellas to date. (Though I think LEGION is right up there but in a totally different way.) SHADOWS FOR SILENCE IN THE FORESTS OF HELL (whew, that’s a long title for a short book) was instantly engaging for me! It took just a minute or two before I figured out who the focus of the novella was (you know me — I don’t re-read synopses before starting a new book) and then once I was there I was totally there. It was a short story but I was instantly captivated. Although it’s set firmly in the Cosmere, the characters and setting actually really reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ THE NAME OF THE WIND — which I also adore — and so I think that familiarity (even though totally unrelated) really helped me get a feel for things quickly which is something that I do have issues with sometimes in novellas.

The characters, action, and plot were all great! As usual with a short story, I was left wanting so much more world-building and backstory but in the sense that I was interested and invested, not that it was lacking. I felt like I had a nice grip on the concept of what was happening and the characters were interesting and showed a nice depth.

I think if you’re interested in picking a novella of Sanderson’s this is one I’d highly recommend on starting with! The audiobook was also great (and cheap) and it was perfect for a little change of pace between full-length novels.


Are you a big Sanderson fan? Have you read any (or all) of these? I can’t get enough of the Mistborn books!!

Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the World

It’s time again for a collection of mini-reviews and reports with feedback on a few things that I’ve read recently (or started reading and chose not to finish)!

Mini-Review: Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson | DNF Report: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
DNF Report: An Amber in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | DNF Report: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: July 20, 2010 by Tor Books
Source: Read for free on Tor.com
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 29, 2015
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), 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)

Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected.
And expected.
And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart-

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FIRSTBORN is a bit misleading for a title if you’re a fan of Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy (and companions). It actually has nothing to do with that series whatsoever so don’t be too surprised if you start this and feel totally lost! I actually did know that it was not related when I first started reading but I still felt lost in the beginning of FIRSTBORN. I’ve read all of the Mistborn books published to-date and a few Sanderson novellas plus his YA series, The Reckoners, and yet reading a new story from Sanderson, I never quite know what to expect.

Since this was an independent short, it was a bit hard to just jump into the story where it began. It’s quite a different world from anything I’ve ever read from him so it took me a while to adjust to the feel, the characters, and the general conflict. The story was interesting once I got a firm grasp on it but I think the world building and character development would have really benefitted from a full novella instead of just a quick short.

I wasn’t totally in love but there were some really nice twists packed into a very short story! That’s one thing that Sanderson always seems to accomplish. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with the way the story closed but overall, it was enjoyable. I think I had wished for more since it didn’t quite wow me but I’m glad I read it!


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Time Travel
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 27, 2015 | DNF at approx 25%

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.
After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.
Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.
Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.
Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.


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When I first heard about this book, I was REALLY excited for the concept. I always love time-travel novels so I was really anxious to pick this one. Looking back, I probably should have thought about this a bit more… It’s not so much time travel as traveling back into one’s past. The time travel elements I seem to enjoy the most are individuals who physically move through time (so for example, like Back to the Future when even if you travel back/forward in time, there is still a past-you who exists in that time period). PROOF OF FOREVER was much more like (in fact, almost identical to) the Hot Tub Time Machine concept — going back into one’s own past and actually reliving that chain of events as oneself instead of being able to view it as an outsider. Long story short, this concept just felt incredibly cheesy and kind of irritating to me as a reader.

I actually loved Hot Tub Time Machine but the concept worked for me, I think, because it was a comedy. It’s poking fun at itself (I mean, how goofy is that) so it all just sort of works. PROOF OF FOREVER has a contemporary feel but it’s much more on the serious side so without that humor, the concept really just fell flat for me and I couldn’t help but make comparisons to the movie the whole time I read. I really tried not to but there were too many parallels that really stood out for me.

The book also read very young for me. Each girl’s voice sounded a lot younger than… 17? 18? And I’m of course assuming each girl will learn some valuable life-lessons and to grow throughout the book, but they were really hard to relate to in the beginning and I didn’t feel the desire to witness that change. The four different POVs also felt very unnecessary. The different voices were all written in third person so it felt awkward to have that POV shift. It sort of felt like it was originally written in first person and then was changed to third? It works for some books but it just didn’t seem like the right choice for this one (or at least it just didn’t work for me).

I found myself not enjoying the writing really at all and I didn’t really care to see what happened to the characters. I was discussing with someone else who was reading at the same time and ended up getting the rest of the scoop from her to see if I even wanted to continue and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. This one just was not the right match for me.


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Publishing Info: April 28, 2015 by Penguin
Source: ALAMW15, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 5, 2015 | DNF at approx. 25%

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


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This was a tough decision for me. There’s been lots of hype about this book — even before its release — and I was so excited for Steve West and Fiona Hardingham to narrate that I pre-ordered the audio. I NEVER pre-order an audio. Ever. I was so excited to listen to them narrate, claiming I could listen to them read the phone book and I would still just love the sound of their voices… But then I went and ate my words because I just didn’t feel the desire to keep listening to this book even with two of my favorite narrators bringing it to life. (There’s also possibly the issue that I LOVED Steve and Fiona so much in The Scorpio Races that they will always be Sean and Puck to me so it was just too hard to adjust to them narrating something new.)

I think I could have fallen in love with the audio and adjusted to my favorites narrate something new but… really the story wasn’t grabbing me either, and if you don’t get along with the heart of the story, there’s really no hope for narrators saving it. I actually really loved the first couple of chapters. The beginning was exciting, lively, and suspenseful.. but from there my interest waned and somehow the sharpness of the book started to slowly dull.

I didn’t really like either of the main characters very much. Laia seemed very blah and one-dimensional and it seemed like her personality flip-flopped a lot. She went from being paralyzed with fear to being take-charge. She was terrified and then brave. I suppose that is how real life works and we force ourselves into situations when life makes us do so but the transition or decision to go from terrified to brave just didn’t feel natural. It seemed like a light switch was flipped instead of seeing that internal conflict and Laia pushing herself to work past her fear.

Elias was all right but again, seemed very blah to me. He was excellent, he was special, and of course all he wanted was to be normal. To NOT be where he was, to not be related to who he was… Of course things go deeper than that but it felt like Laia was exactly one side of the spectrum and Elias was Laia’s exact opposite. She felt weaker, he felt stronger. She was outcast, he was in the midst of the elite. They felt a bit too polarized and it just sort of irked me.

I also wasn’t a fan of a few of the plot points. Too many things felt familiar or tired, like I had read it all before. I made some direct parallels to other books and other things just seemed to convenient. (Oh look, a random prophecy that came out of nowhere! And of course it involves the boy who doesn’t want it! And it comes with very, very specific rules! How convenient!) I just felt like I had read it before and it was done better.

I really struggled to put this one down because so many people had loved it… But I shared my feelings on social media and found that there were a lot of people who really didn’t as well. The ones who felt similarly to the way I was feeling said it really didn’t get much better for them. Others said they chose to DNF as well. I was hoping I could get back into the story but I think I would continue to have the same issues. I just think this book wouldn’t get much better for me so I should devote my reading time to something I would enjoy more.


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan
Publishing Info: November 15, 1990 by Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 5, 2015 | DNF at approx. 40%

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

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I picked up THE EYE OF THE WORLD for a couple reasons — firstly that Alyssa was loving it and she’s been giving me great fantasy recs lately and secondly that Brandon Sanderson eventually picked up this series after Robert Jordan’s death. Where I went wrong though is that Alyssa actually didn’t recommend this one to me. She and Amy were reading it and I wanted to join in the fun too but I didn’t realize she had a very good reason for not recommending it to me too. It’s just not a Brittany book.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the book but it’s just not my type of pacing, really. It felt slow and I even through the action scenes, I never really got into it. Part of it is that it’s the whole “journey” concept. It’s been compared to The Lord of the Rings (I guess) in that sense and that was one of the reasons I really couldn’t get into that series either (yes. It’s true). I’m not sure why that’s one of my issues but there’s something about it that prevents me from really getting into the book.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t liking the story but it always felt like it dragged. And for a 30-40 hour audiobook to drag. Ummm, that’s not good. I took the time to make it all the way to 40% and finally put it on hold after much debate. Then FINALLY four months later, I decided it’s time to DNF. I don’t have the heart to continue with the book and I shouldn’t have to PUSH to finish when I’m not enjoying it. This series is HUGE so what’s the point of pushing to finish a book if I’m not even going to continue the series? Just seems silly.

Again, not a bad book but I should have opened my ears before choosing it and not just picking it up because I didn’t want to be left out in my group of friends. SILLY. Also another case of a favorite narrator not being able to save a book. Don’t rely on that, friends. It doesn’t work.


Have you read any of these yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I know there were soooo many mixed reviews about AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. Do tell!

Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2) – Brandon Sanderson

Title: Legion (Legion #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Completed: December 13, 2014
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible
Find it Online: Goodreads // Amazon
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) // The Well of Ascention (Mistborn #2) // The Hero of Ages (MIstborn #3) // The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)

     Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion,’ is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his ‘aspects’ are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society.

Title: Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Completed: December 13, 2014
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible
Find it Online: Goodreads // Amazon
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) // The Well of Ascention (Mistborn #2) // The Hero of Ages (MIstborn #3) // The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)

     Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…
What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices.
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Well, let’s first say OOPS. I was so excited about getting the free ebook from Audible for LEGION: SKIN DEEP that I didn’t realize that was book two in stead of book one in this series of novellas (also an issue I have when series titles end up being book titles too) so I listened to the second one first and the first one second. Actually, I think I ended up liking LEGION: SKIN DEEP better because of that! (Though I would have liked it better either way… Okay, I’m just rambling.

Anyway — I really enjoyed these novellas! They were a bit more science-fiction than fantasy with a psychological twist. Since I actually read the second one first, I got more info about Stephen Leeds than is divulged in the first book (obviously) but I didn’t really feel lost either. His aspects were incredibly interesting and there were some hints at what exactly they were — or weren’t — that kept me guessing. I really loved the various characters — both real and imaginary — and it was really interesting to see how the scenes unfolded when Leeds was the only person who could see and interact with this aspects.

SKIN DEEP had much more of a plot than LEGION (it was much longer as well) so that was my favorite of the two. I sort of just felt like I was catching up and there wasn’t a whole ton of substance to the original novella besides the introduction that I’d already received (plus some plot, but the fact that I had the bulk of this knowledge about the aspects kind of slowed the book down a bit for me — my own fault, obviously). Reading these two really had me craving more, though! I can’t wait for the next novella and I love that I was able to read (listen) to this so quickly!

Even though they were novellas, they still had plenty of plot (especially book two) and I was really hooked on the second book! I love that it was a bit more mystery and sci-fi than fantasy this time around and I can’t wait to see where else this series plot goes because so far I’m definitely intrigued and very excited!

Audible also offered me a free clip to include in my review for anyone who’s interested in the books and also the audio! Check out a little slice of LEGION: SKIN DEEP below!

LEGION: SKIN DEEP audio sample

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Stephen Leeds // Character Obsessions: Mysteries, his aspects, logic.
I really like Leeds. His character is so interesting and I love the concept of the aspects. It’s not quite schizophrenia, not quite dissociative identity disorder… So what is it? Ooh I can’t wait. I really loved this character overall and his though process — along with what his aspects provide to him — really was fascinating.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Novella SERIES? I’ve never read a novella/short story series before! It’s really interesting and so much fun to zip through and not feel weighted down by another series. (I mean, I LOVE series, but I’m still in the middle of so many!!) It’s a very cool concept!
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I actually got a lot of plot in the second book but the first felt just a bit slow; however, after finishing LEGION: SKIN DEEP, I cannot WAIT for more of this little series!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re not quite a fantasy person, these are some great Sanderson books to try out. I love his writing and cleverness and these were really fun mysteries with a psychological twist!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

          SHADOWLANDS           FORGOTTEN

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle Mead

 

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Mystery/Thriller, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 11, 2014
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

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GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is a little bit of everything… Part dystopian/speculative fiction, part paranormal, and part romance. This was the first adult book I’ve read from Richelle Mead so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I really had a lot of fun with the book although it wasn’t entirely what I was picturing. The book takes place in a speculative future world so I was anticipating more dystopian elements, but the paranormal and mythology-based aspects played a much larger part than I originally thought. My overall view felt more like a futuristic mystery with a touch of a DaVinci Code feel!

It actually took me a little while to get into the book because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Instead of diving into a concept head first, I had to feel it out a lot more. Since the only books from Richelle Mead I’m familiar with are the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off Bloodlines, it was a bit of a personal adjustment to fall into a new world with new characters who were totally unrelated. Not that it was a bad thing, but after reading nine books with the same theme and characters, it’s an adjustment nonetheless! Once I finally hit my stride, I was really starting to enjoy everything!

One thing that really appealed to me was the mystery of the book. I’m a mystery girl at heart so it was almost reminiscent of J.D. Robb’s In Death series for me — a futuristic world, a good romance, and a good mystery! I think if I had known the mystery was going to be so prominent, I might have fallen into the book easier but it definitely helped rope me in! It was very well put together too. I felt like I was getting plenty of clues along the way, but not enough that it was giving away the whole ending. Looking back once I finished, it was interesting to see how things had always fit together, even when I hadn’t known they were!

Another thing that really brought the book together for me was the characters. I loved the dynamic between Mae and Justin. I wanted them to get together and at the same time, I loved Mae’s constant refusal of his advances. It was a great back and forth and despite the fact that Justin probably annoyed Mae a lot, they worked together really well. The supporting characters were great as well! Each one had their own unique personality and played important roles to the story. I never felt like anyone was irrelevant and I just got such a realistic feel from each one of them!

The only minor complaint I really had was that I wished the book had started out a little quicker in the beginning. Since I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, I was a little lost in the beginning with who Justin and Mae were supposed to be and what their purpose was. Once I got into the groove of the book, things really started to come together and take off. The ending was great and I really loved how it set everything up for the next book, which I’m excited to get to shortly!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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It took me a while to get into, but I enjoyed the book overall! I think the end really helped wrap everything up and gave me a better overall feeling. 

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Mae // Character Obsessions: The fight, her country, her duty.
Mae was feisty! I really liked her character and I’m also so glad we got to know more about her past and how it really came into play with the overall plot of the book. She was very complex and she didn’t often react based on emotions and yet, they still affected her a lot. It was very interesting!
Justin // Character Obsessions: Intelligence, solving mysteries, citizenship.
I liked Justin a lot! He was always making me laugh and I love when intelligence and humor come together. I think he was my favorite character! He had a lot of heart and somehow a mix of determination and laziness. He was kind of all over the place but in a good way! Definitely a lot of fun, though!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The world. I love a story that has a dystopian US/North America. I wanted to learn all about the new world that Richelle Mead had created and almost wished there was some kind of Wikipedia page! I actually may go look now… I need to learn more about it!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. As a person who goes into books blind, it was a little difficult to figure out what the point of the book was in the very beginning and I felt like it was a little bit slow to start. BUT! Things were set up for book two and I feel like that won’t be an issue in the future!

Addiction Rating
Try it

This book may not be for everyone, but I ended up really enjoying it! It was a nice mix of genres and if you like mysteries, this is a good one to jump into! So happy to see that element there!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Conspiracy In Death       First Grave on the Right

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. SchwabTitle: Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 22, 2014

    Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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I had heard so many good things about VICIOUS before I had finally gotten around to it for our group read with On the Same Page. I actually didn’t quite know what it was about due to my penchant for going into books blind, but I did know that it was something along the lines of science mixed with superheroes. I mean honestly, how can you say no to that? It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to go into a book that so many people LOVED, but clearly I had nothing to fear here!

VICIOUS was actually my first Schwab book and I somehow started with her adult book before I read her YAs — seems a bit out of order for me, but there you have it — so I actually wasn’t familiar with her writing at all beforehand. I felt like the book really flowed well, from character to character as well as from scene to scene. There are moments when the book jumps from present day, back to ten years ago, and even hopping around from time to time, but I really never felt lost or confused. I actually really enjoyed following this non-chronological way of story telling because I got exactly the story I needed at exactly the right times. If told chronologically, there wouldn’t have been nearly enough suspense or too many details all at once.

The story line of the EOs (Extraordinary [humans]) was fantastic. If you were a fan of the TV show Heroes, it had very much of the same vibe, except there are a few interesting twists to the “superhero” concept which also brought quite the darker tone to the novel. I won’t go divulging what those little twists really are (although the synopsis touches on it) because I like to let the reader experience that journey of discovery themselves, much like the characters did. I really loved the idea of how each EO obtained their powers and how their power directly related to their specific situation. It was incredibly fascinating and the way science, research, and Victor and Eli’s thesis papers all tied in was truly interesting and I was totally captivated the whole time.

I love the tale of revenge in this story. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Victor and Eli, formerly best friends, are now mortal enemies and Victor is hell bent on getting his revenge against Eli and ending their connection once and for all. I really, really loved seeing Victor as this antihero. I just love a good antihero. I was totally rooting for him, pretty much at all costs, and I really felt a lot of sympathy for him. I also loved that Victor, aside from his relationship with Eli, had his own unique and interesting relationships with each of the secondary characters in the book (specifically loved this post that Amy wrote for our On the Same Page feature of this book)! The relationships created in this book are just so interesting and each one is complicated and yet delicate.

VICIOUS was a tale of revenge, intrigue, adventure, and brought up several issues of morality and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it and I’m so glad the hype I’d seen from my fellow reviewers hadn’t affected the outcome for me at all! The mash-up of supernatural and science was excellent and VICIOUS was definitely a fantastic read for me!

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Victor // Character Obsessions: Revenge, taking care of Sydney, recruiting EOs.
Ooooh, I loved Victor. I always root for an antihero, I think. I loved his quest, his motivation, and everything he went through with Eli. It was really interesting to see his history as well as his present-day situation. I loved reading about his journey and it was really interesting to see how different he and Eli were and how their differences split them apart.
Eli // Character Obsessions: EOs, God, doing the “right” thing.
Eli was an interesting sort of human being. (More than a human being?) He ended up going through a MAJOR internal struggle until he found a path he felt was right for him — a path of justice. A path of righteousness. And yet, who’s to say what he feels is right really is the right thing? I found him incredibly interesting, although a bit annoying at times… But I understood his reasons for his actions, even if they were ridiculous reasons at that.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. The EOs in this book aren’t exactly like superheroes, but this book reminded me so much of the TV show Heroes and I just really, really loved it!
Left Me Wanting More: Adventure + science. This book really wasn’t short on adventure or action or science, but I just loved every bit of it! I just want so much more! (Greedy, I know.)

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I loved this one. VICIOUS was such a “me” book and I loved all of the elements that V.E. Schwab put into this book!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE VICIOUS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        How to Lead a Life of Crime        Pivot Point

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas AdamsTitle: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Publishing Info: December 18, 2007 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Bundles of Books
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 19, 2012

    Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
    Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years

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This was my attempt to venture slightly out into the world of sci-fi… I’m not a big science-fiction fan. I really appreciate and am interested in the conceptions behind the genre, but most of the hard-core science fiction books are usually just a little too out there for me, and I’m not a fan of stories based on aliens.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a little bit sci-fi, a LOT quirky, and extremely imaginative. I was very impressed with the creativity of Douglas Adams for all of his other worlds, different creatures, and strange technology out in the universe that lowly Earth has no idea about. I’m always fascinated with space and the universe because although I’m not a fan of alien stories, you’ve got to believe that something else is out there, even if we can’t reach it. Well, at least I do, to a certain extent.

Anyway, the creativity is astounding, so much so that it was over my head a lot of the time. This guy is either a genius or he’s totally nuts… Or maybe both. But in a way that it puts together such an enjoyable novel that I’m surprised I hadn’t read it sooner. I think it’s really enjoyable for everyone, as long as you can follow the zips through the universe that the story is taking you on. The second book is on my to-read list and I look forward to it!

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As a person who isn’t a fan of sci-fi, I’m a fan of this book. It’s mild enough and filled with comedy and satire so that the story itself isn’t overly intense since we’re dealing with such an intense think as exploring the rest of the universe. I’d definitely recommend trying it, even if you’re a little skeptical – I think it really might surprise those people who aren’t fans of science fiction or fantasy (think of it more as a comedy)!

If You Liked This, You Might Like…
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle — It’s another classic, but okay, so this one’s a children’s book. Want to know a secret? I never read this as a child. I read it just a couple months ago and still so enjoyable. Something that really transcends the generations. It’s another story about a simple earthling who gets whipped up into space, forced to make sense of everything in the different worlds in the universe. It doesn’t have the comedy like Hitchhiker’s does – more of a serious reflection on the galaxy and science. Very advanced thinking for a children’s book!
…OR…
The Time Machine by HG Wells — Again, doesn’t have the comedy tie-in, and although we never leave Earth on this one, still quite the creative process in creating another world simply with the advancement of time – Not to mention how wildly advanced this book was for its time. Just a quick read, but definitely worth the journey!