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The Boyfriend Bracket – Kate Evangelista

The Boyfriend Bracket – Kate EvangelistaTitle: The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista
Publishing Info: June 19, 2018 by Macmillan, Swoon Reads
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Completed: March 31, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother's best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she's always dreamed of—starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan...right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

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To be 100% honest, I made it about 30% – 35% of the way through and then skimmed the rest of the book because once it hit a certain point, there was no point in reading the rest.

Heads up, because we’re gonna have some spoilers here.
So the book is called The Boyfriend Bracket and… we do away with the bracket after 30% when Stella gets together with her longtime crush (and surprise surprise, he’s had a crush on her forever), Will, who is her brother Cam’s best friend. So there really was no point to the bracket other than to get a gimmick to get Will to confess his feelings on the page because “he couldn’t stand to see her with another guy”. Thankfully for him, uber protective big brother Cam has shooed away every boyfriend up until that point (ew). And thankfully for him, he gets together with Stella post-makeover (in fairness, he liked her before but UGH. Now she’s sexy! And irresistible)!

I looove friends to more stories but this was not exciting and all tension was lost when the two get together basically right away. The rest of the book was hiding their relationship from Cam, which was annoying. Throw in some typical teen things like dances and college and that’s the rest of the book. It was just so cliche that I had a hard time wanting to read it, so yes, I did skim the rest. I picked up on the major points and I’m glad I didn’t actually spend the time to read each and every word.

Things COULD have been cute if we went through the bracket and found that all of the guys weren’t the right fit and voila! There’s Will! The old brother thing was creepy, kind of? And just flat out annoying because it was way too much forced interference. Not to say this doesn’t actually happen to teens because oh lord, I did some immature stuff back in my teen years, but I enjoy the books that make it more into a story than just recounting teen moments that we’ve all lived through because who wants to live/re-live those cringe-worthy decisions?

Anyway. I’m just really disappointed with this one because it really had potential but it was way too immature for me and the writing was a little cringe-worthy. There wasn’t much that I enjoyed here, other than broad concepts. This was pretty much the definition of “fluff” with not much substance there.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Friends-to-more. I actually did like some of the cute-factor between Stella and Will, so that was something.
Left Me Wanting More: So much more maturity. This book was just so immature on so many levels. It was really bothersome.

Addiction Rating
Skip it.

I don’t usually say to skip things — often times I’ll suggest getting a second opinion — but this book just made me so mad and irritated. I was really disappointed.

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BOOKS LIKE THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET

          

In Her Skin – Kim Savage

In Her Skin – Kim SavageTitle: In Her Skin by Kim Savage
Publishing Info: March 27, 2018 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: March 25, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.

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This book was so binge-worthy and I didn’t want to put it down! The writing was interesting and kept the story moving with a few nice twists along the way! Once the book started getting into the meat of the plot, my mind started to turn towards some theories (which DUDE turned out to be correct and then some) and things got quite dark.

I really liked the fluidity of a lot of things, from relationships to plot to demeanor. There was room for so many things to develop and grow and change. I loved the interesting turns and it was so interesting to see what the book turned out to be underneath it all. Kim Savage gave readers a lot to play with and think about along the way and I love it when I’m provided with some clues to allow theories to develop.

I always have a hard time with the ending of darker concepts because I can never tell what I actually want to happen. Sometimes I feel satisfied with a happy conclusion and other times I feel happy with a shocking twist where everything falls apart. I obviously won’t say what happens in the end so as not to spoil, except that I found it to be satisfying and yet I still was looking for something more.

Overall, this was a really interesting and quick read for me! I didn’t want to put it down and I was totally sucked in. I had actually pictured the book going a bit differently with the way that the synopsis was arranged but I wasn’t disappointed with how it turned out! Even that little difference was a point of a twist for me so that was kind of neat!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dark concepts. Sometimes I Just need something a little dark and this book was really interesting with that ultimate darkness I was looking for!
Left Me Wanting More: Surprises in the end. I loved the twists in this book and yet I was still looking for something juuuust a bit more in the end.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was so easy to fly through because I didn’t want to put it down! It was interesting and engaging all the way through!

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BOOKS LIKE IN HER SKIN

          

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) – Brandon Sanderson

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: November 14, 2017 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: December 8, 2017
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5)

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin's Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar's blood-soaked past and stand together--and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past--even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

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The Stormlight Archive just gets better with each book and OATHBRINGER is my favorite of the series by far! I’m still not in LOVE with the series like how I fell for Mistborn but I’m really kind of loving this ridiculously massive series. By the third book, I’ve really gotten to know these characters inside and out. I love the relationships between each one and how each relationship is constantly moving and growing. It’s been so much fun spending SO much time with these characters and in this world! I think I’m not quite as in love with this as I have been with other Sanderson works because of its length, and that’s also why I love it all at the same time. It’s not that the length itself is a deterrent but the reveals take longer to reveal and I’m just antsy to get some good plot twists that I love so much!

I just can’t wait to get to the incredible world-building and series-connector moments that I know are coming! I have so many theories and I just have to know how everything connects!!  I love how there’s always more beneath the surface and honestly, I don’t want to wait for book four to find out more! There were definitely a lot of THINGS that happened in OATHBRINGER though and I think this was the book where the most things really took place.

Exploring this world is incredibly fun! There are so many locations, plus locations on other planes… I mean, there’s a LOT to explore! What’s even more interesting is how each of these concepts have started apply in so many ways, and even hints at the other plane concept for all of the other planets in the Cosmere. The Cosmere concept has me totally geeking out, always, and although it gets just a touch confusing, it’s actually super cool.

I also love getting know more about each culture and how much detail and thought has gone Ito their origins. I also love how Sanderson humanizes the horrible, heartless enemy. You really get to peek behind the obvious and dig a little deeper into to truth. The characters have so much depth that we’re constantly getting to discover these characters in new ways. I love Kaladin and Dalinar, obviously, and Shalan grew on me in WORDS OF RADIANCE but she kind of lost her noodle for a while which was a bit annoying (still is). I really loved Adolin as well and I’ve loved the dynamics between all of the characters. Bridge 4 is my absolute favorite too.

Like always, another Brandon Sanderson series has it all. I’m in it for the long haul with this series, only being through the third book and there are expected to be ten or so… But hey, I’m here for this! I’m always up for any Sanderson.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Character depths. I love how much these characters have changed and grown over the series so far!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I just cannot wait for everything to come together and develop even further! I love the twists and turns these series have!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

It’s a commitment… that’s an understatement! But I will always recommend Brandon Sanderson’s books!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE OATHBRINGER

          

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) – Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Rating
Consider it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Rating
Try it

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

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING

          

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) – Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: March 4, 2014 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 31, 2017
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes." Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin's master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

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Whew, 48+ hours of audiobook! That was intense! 

The Stormlight Archive are the longest books I’ve ever read, followed shortly in number by A Song of Ice and Fire. What I love about these enormous books and series is that there’s just so much going on and authors like George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson have a way of spacing all of the characters out enough so that each one has their own individual story but then when they unite or cross paths with other characters, you find out exactly how their stories were meant to line up all along and we just weren’t seeing the bigger picture yet!

WORDS OF RADIANCE starts crossing all of those paths set up in THE WAY OF KINGS so it was great to see how these stories are coming together and where the big picture is going! I enjoyed WORDS OF RADIANCE more than THE WAY OF KINGS because I was better able to see this big picture. I’m so used to shorter series, both in number of pages and in number of books. Since The Stormlight Archive is currently planned to be ten books, there’s so much to explore throughout the whole series that a lot of secrets need to be kept in the first few books before reveals start happening, so at times, this series does seem a bit slower than other series I’ve read. It’s not really a bad thing, because I love really getting into this world and having this fantasy world feel so incredibly real with all of its detail, but it just doesn’t have me falling in love with this series as much YET since I’m still learning so much about it. 

I really liked the character development within this booke. Shalan grew a bit in THE WAY OF KINGS but she really starts to develop as a character in WORDS OF RADIANCE. Her role in the series is much more obvious in this book and she gets tied to many more characters and having already ready OATHBRINGER now as well, it’s great to see how much she grows and becomes more involved in each book, looking back on where she first appeared in THE WAY OF KINGS.
I still love Dalinar and Kaladin and I’m enjoying their characters even more as the series progresses and the supporting characters, like those of Bridge Four, are outstanding additions to the book to bring some levity, camaraderie, and so much more.

I liked getting more hints about the world but I’m still thirsty for so much more world-building! I have SO many questions that I know will get answered but again, I’m used to shorter series where I get more reveals much quicker so it’s hard to tell myself that they will be coming! Brandon Sanderson’s world-building is so incredibly interesting and now that I’ve learned so much about the Cosmere in general, it’s easier to see how each book of his set in this universe are starting to tie together. Things that I’ve read in other books are really starting to connect in The Stormlight Archive and this series has the most information about this universe, in my opinion.

I also like how there are interludes in these books, allowing other important POVs to come in. Some I liked, some I didn’t. I hated Lift’s POV interlude and was upset that she was going to become a main part of the series, being the main character in the EDGEDANCER novella, but I’ll get more into that with OATHBRINGER since that’s where she starts becoming more important. I really like the interludes that offer small pieces of important things later on, or ones that fill in some missing pieces of what we’ve already learned.

So far this isn’t my favorite Brandon Sanderson series but it certainly has potential! The more I read, the more I get into this story and fall in love with the characters, and clearly we’re going to be spending a lot of time together! I don’t know if it was a good or bad idea to read the first three books in one year since I’m going to be waiting very, very long for the rest of the series but I’m also glad I was able to do that so I could really get a solid feel for this world and have the characters stick in my mind so well!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Super long series. I haven’t ever read a series this long that wasn’t something light and easy, like a cozy mystery series. It’s so interesting to see the plot develop for a series that’s so big!
Left Me Wanting More: Reveals. I’m just greeeeedy. I love Brandon Sanderson’s twists and I want themmm!

Addiction Rating
Read it

It’s a commitment… that’s an understatement! But I will always recommend Brandon Sanderson’s books!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE WORDS OF RADIANCE

          

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

          

Last Seen Leaving – Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving – Caleb RoehrigTitle: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Publishing Info: October 4, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, BEA 2016, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 14, 2017

Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

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This was another solid young adult mystery/thriller for me! As with most YA mysteries, I did have a little bit of disbelief that the police didn’t get as involved as they should have but that’s been one of my hang-ups in YA mysteries. The police are often shutting kids down (which, fair, they don’t need to nor can they divulge information about cases to teenagers, no matter how involved they might have been) but too often things are left at a shut-down and then there’s no showing that the police were even investigating at all. Anyway, like usual, we’ll suspend that disbelief for the sake of it being a YA mystery.

Let’s also suspend the disbelief of Flynn’s language because like many John Green books, I don’t know anyone who speaks like that, teenager or adult. I’m not saying you have to be a word nerd in order to use “big words” but some of those words aren’t even in my vocabulary much less in a teen’s, so it was noticeable to me.
January also kind of reminded me of Alaska in LOOKING FOR ALASKA in the sense that I think I was supposed to like her but … I really didn’t. Was I supposed to like January? I can’t tell. She was kind of all over the place and obviously Flynn cares for her but there was also a lot of “January is so special” and some clear manipulation here that I ended up being suspicious of her instead of hoping this was all a big misunderstanding. I think it was also the narration and the was her tone was portrayed because it was a very haughty voice and I wasn’t a fan of her character because of it.

LAST SEEN LEAVING has been compared to GONE GIRL, which is always a huge comparison in my opinion because those are some big shoes to fill, but I also definitely see where that’s coming from. I hate when comparisons are made because then it MAKES me draw conclusions similar to the plot of the book it was compared to which can be spoilers, so boo on that affecting my reading experience, but that’s also part of what drew me in so beggars can’t be choosers! Anyway — I totally see the GONE GIRL comparison except that feel left me thinking it was going to be more sinister than it was. Don’t get me wrong, some very Not Okay things happen in this book and it gets troubling and complicated, but that thought misled me juuuust a bit.

Okay, enough with the complaining. I actually did enjoy this book so let’s talk about the nice things! I really liked Flynn’s character. It wasn’t to the point of gushing but I felt like he was pretty realistic, heroics aside, and I appreciated how he handled all of life’s complications, including a life-changing admission of his own. I really liked how he handled everything, from personal relationships to self-revelations to friendships to murder investigations — it may not have always been in the BEST way, but he always seemed realistic and I thought he did a pretty good job of staying true to himself. The secondary characters outside of Flynn didn’t have as much depth as I would have liked but I also felt them to be pretty realistic as well. I loved his parents and how involved they were in the book. It wasn’t a TON of page time but they were always there to support him no matter what was going on and it’s just always so nice to see that. I wished we had gotten to know Flynn’s friends a bit more and I know some people were upset with how Micah ended up treating him but again, I also don’t think it’s unrealistic. It may have not been the best way to support your friend but what teenager handles everything perfectly?

The mystery was definitely interesting and I was left guessing until the very end! I’m glad I was still surprised at how everything went down but there were a few twists and for some reason the way that they were all laid out, I was still expecting one more (as if that wasn’t all enough for me lol). I was aaaalmost satisfied with the ending but there was just something there that I was missing. Maybe I’ve been reading too many adult thrillers where EVERYONE is so messed up that I’m expecting characters to be even worse than they are. I was very surprised and it was something I never would have guessed, at least how the reveal happened, so that was really cool.

This book has a lot happening and a lot going for it and I was definitely interested from start to finish! There were many complex friendships and relationships, an interesting mystery, and a diverse cast of characters. I think it was a very solid read, even though I had a few hang-ups as mentioned above, but I know they’re more minor things that didn’t really take away from my overall feeling about the book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA mysteries. I enjoyed the way this book was put together! Mysteries can be tricky in YA, especially murder mysteries, but I thought this was done well!
Left Me Wanting More: Shock factor? Being compared to GONE GIRL kind of set me up for a huge shock. The ending was something I wasn’t anticipating but I wasn’t bowled over.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a nice, solid read that I enjoyed and would recommend!

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BOOKS LIKE LAST SEEN LEAVING

          

Blog Tour: Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Favorite Types of Villains

Welcome to the blog tour for
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

As I’m sure you well know, I’m a HUGE Marissa Meyer fan, with my fandom love dating back to The Lunar Chronicles and has continued ever since. I was so excited to hear about RENEGADES and of course, immediately jumped at the chance to participate in the blog tour when offered a spot by Fierce Reads/Macmillan Children’s!

One of my favorite part of any good book is a great villain. I love how complicated villains can be with intricate backstories, their villainous reasoning, the morally grey areas, and that dash of darkness that reels you in. Being an avid reader for so long as introduced me to so many different types of villains so I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites today, being that RENEGADES is actually largely from an Anarchist’s point-of-view with main character Nova being on the side of the bad guys!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Favorite Types of VillainsTitle: 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), Renegades (Renegades #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.


ABOUT MARISSA MEYER

MARISSA MEYER is the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles series, as well as the graphic novel Wires and Nerve: Vol. 1, and The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book. Her first stand alone novel, Heartless, was also a #1 New York Times bestseller. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters.

TYPES OF VILLAINS

I took on the side of the Anarchists today, always loving a good villain! According to Huffpost (and originally posted on Screencraft), there are 15 different types of movie villains, but I would imagine that goes the same for books! That’s a lot for one blog post today so I’m just sharing a few of my favorites and some of my favorite villains that fit the profiles with some of my favorite reads!

THE ANTI-VILLIAN (also known as Anti-Hero) 

This is one of my absolute favorite types of villains and a lot of what we see in RENEGADES! RENEGADES has a split POV between Nova, one of the Anarchists, and Adrian, one of the Renegades. There’s a lot more to Nova than meets the eye so I might not call her an anti-hero/anti-villain, but the book sure does make you root for the Anarchists and see things from their perspectives! It’s one of my favorites because I love seeing how complex villains can be and how an author can appeal to a reader’s compassion by creating a villain you can sympathize with. | Example: The Anarchists in RENEGADES, Dexter from the Dexter series, Joe from YOU by Caroline Kepnes

THE AUTHORITY FIGURE

There’s something about an evil authority figure that just gets my skin crawling! Unlike the sympathetic anti-hero/anti-villain, the authority figure is just one I love to hate. They make a main character’s life horrible and there’s nothing they can even try to do about it, often pinning a main character under their thumb because disobeience leads to horrible consquences. | Examples: Benjamin Malvern in THE SCORPIO RACES, Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter

THE DISTURBED

There’s just something about a genuinely appalling villain that brings a story to the next level sometimes. In contrast to an anti-hero, the Disturbed villain may suffer from some psychological disorders that lead them down the path of villainy but the audience doesn’t root for this villain at all. They’re just plain crazy or messed up! | Examples: Levana in The Lunar Chronicles, Amy in GONE GIRL

THE MACHINE

This is one that doesn’t pop up on my list often, but when you read a series like The Illuminae Files, this type of villain is literally everything. How fascinating is a machine as a villain? They have a program and yet are still unpredictable and they’re nearly unstoppable. | Example: AIDEN from The Illuminae Files

THE PERSONIFICATION OF EVIL

And it doesn’t get more evil than evil itself represented in a character! You’ve gotta love a character/person/concept that you can clearly hate and push towards total annihilation. These characters are often horribly frightening, representing everything you could possibly hate and work against. | Examples: Osaron from the Shades of Magic trilogy, The King of Hybern from A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy


Thanks so much for checking out my stop on the blog tour today! I hope you enjoyed my favorite types of villains and I would love to hear yours as well! And don’t forget to pre-order RENEGADES, on sale 11/7/17! I just loved it and it was such a great read!

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare BlakeTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: October 17, 2011 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Ghosts, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 30, 2017
Related Posts: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1), Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

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I actually tried to read this book, oh about four or five years ago, and decided it was too scary because I hate reading ghost stories but so many people had talked about the book that I had wanted to give it a try. I figured now that I’m braver and decided to read it NOT in the dark, NOT home alone, and NOT in a very old apartment that it would take away some of the fear factor and really… it’s not a scary book at all. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD has some gory and creepy moments but it’s more about the story of Anna and how she came to be, Cas and his family, and the friendships that form, rather than the fear.

The book was fun but it didn’t really pull me in. I liked Cas and enjoyed his point of view but the plot just didn’t quite work for me, which seems to be kind of a pattern with Kendare Blake’s books for me. I didn’t really care about the ending and didn’t really like where the story went. I felt like it would have been a better stand-alone, making this more about Cas and Anna’s story rather than Cas’s family and his history (for once I don’t want character backstory!). Even though there were a lot of things leading up to the conclusion, it still seemed to veer off in a different direction and just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book.

It was a fun read but I don’t think I’ll pick up the second book. I’m glad I “faced my fears” and tried it again because it really wasn’t scary at all! I had just put myself in a spooky place when I first tried to read it and barely made it anywhere because I freaked myself out with a spooky setting, so I’m really glad I attempted this book again. I feel silly for being scared before but I guess I concocted the perfect storm for a fear factor the first time around!

The audiobook narrator was also very meh. He had breaths and pauses in weird places (the middle of sentences) and didn’t have very good accents at all. Anna’s Finnish accent was more Russian and no one had a Canadian accent or even a hint of one despite the fact that the book took place in Canada. I mean, all Canadians don’t have to have a strong, pronounced accent but I do notice the vowel changes a lot with my own Canadian friends so I guess I expected the same here. His voices for the other guys were like, no one’s voice ever in real life, and the girls were overdone and stereotypical, so that didn’t enhance my reading experience like some audiobook narrators can do.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ghost stories?! I can handle ghosts in books as long as it’s not in a scary capacity. I tend to freak myself out when reading scary ghost books but I’ve read quite a few books where ghosts appear in a less threatening capacity. Anna got a little creepy in this book but Cas’s interaction with her calmed it down.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. I felt like the focus strayed, which is silly considering that was the end point all along… So I guess I was looking for the “twist” of the end to play a bigger role in the rest of the book so it didn’t feel like we were talking about two different things.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD was a quick and fun Halloween-time read. It didn’t impress me a lot but I had a good time reading it and while it was middle-of-the-road for me, I’m still glad I read it. I probably won’t read the second book, especially the way that it ended, so I can’t really recommend it but others enjoyed it a lot!

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BOOKS LIKE ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD