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The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie Hall

The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie HallTitle: The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) by Maggie Hall
Publishing Info: July 18, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 20, 2017
Related Posts: The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1), Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us #2)

The Circle is hers. But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found, and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had, and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.

Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack, and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.

Avery will have to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice—for the world, for family, and for love—in this conclusion to the Conspiracy of Us series.

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That was such a solid ending of this series, and done just right, I think! I often times worry with series-enders because it’s so hard to wrap things up. I think THE ENDS OF THE WORLD was just the right amount of action, romance, resolution, devastation, and consequences all rolled into a solid conclusion.

I listened to the first two books back-to-back on audio and I almost wish I had waited until this book was out so I could have binged all three because I always forget a little bit from the previous books, so I did have a tiny bit of a gap in remembering exactly what happened! Fortunately it wasn’t a lot since I read them not TOO long ago, but it still did affect my reading experience just a tiny bit. What I really did love is that Maggie Hall kept all of her characters true to themselves. They really grew throughout the series and their decisions were normal and logical for everything that they had been through. Avery is a very different person from the beginning of the series and I loved how she said it herself — she’s definitely not the same but her experiences changed her and she grew from them. I really loved how the characters evolved but really stayed true to their personalities and beliefs. It happens all too often that things start to really stray from the first book by the time you hit the last book so I’m so happy that Maggie Hall kept a very cohesive feel to this series all around!

Being the last in the series, obviously things had to take some dire turns before they could wrap up! I really liked the amount of danger present in this book and the sacrifices that were made. It wasn’t always easy to read but everything resolved really well, I think, and it was a satisfying ending without being too cheesy. I loved the extra few sentences that stated that even though it was a positive final result, everyone had still gone through so much and it would take a long time for everyone to be okay, if ever. It really put that into perspective that these characters went through some STUFF and it’s not all fluff and cotton candy after it was all over. They have a long road ahead of working to put things back into place, sorting out a lot of political stuff, and working on relationships as well. It was great to see some reality brought into a happy ending while still feeling a little gooey about it.

Without talking about any spoilers, the plot did take a turn that I wasn’t so crazy about? Not bad in any way but I guess you could say it that was one step further that took things into more of a jump outside of reality that I just didn’t know if I could wrap my brain around it. It wasn’t paranormal or fantastical or anything like that but it was an added element to the story that really affected the plot and I was just like of like HMMM. How do I feel about this? I think it took one step past the international espionage and added almost a mild sci-fi element? Ugh, it’s hard to explain without giving things away but anyway, that was my one very small hang-up, and totally a personal opinion.

Overall, I LOVED this series and I love international thrillers like this! There aren’t a lot of really good YA espionage/modern political novels like this (I guess for lack of a better term, a sort of Da Vinci Code concept) and I would love to see more of this in the YA world! I’d absolutely pick it up. No matter what Maggie Hall is writing next, I am totally on board! I loved the details that went into this series, the feel and atmosphere were fantastic, the characters were strong, and the whole series stayed true to itself. Highly recommend and can’t wait to read more from Maggie Hall, whatever that may be!

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Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I hate having to compare every international thriller like this to THE DAVINCI CODE so I’m gonna make a reference to this series from now on! We need more books like this!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality? It was fun but I also felt like the plot went a little too outside of my comfort zone to wrap things up. I understand where it was heading but I also wasn’t the biggest fan. I think I want more thriller less… mythology I guess.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This series is so well done. I love these characters, the locations, and the action!

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     THE FIXER     HEIST SOCIETY

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

The Wicker King – K. AncrumTitle: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Publishing Info: October 31, 2017 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Psych/Mental Health
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 30, 2017

The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

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This is another book that’s so unique that it’s hard to rate! I didn’t fall tooootally head over heels with it but at the same time, I absolutely could not tear myself away for so many reasons. The book was so creative, obsessive, and incredibly unique and I loved every bit of it!

The book gets DARKER as it goes on. No, literally. The pages start out normal and then doodles get added along the edges, gathering until the middle is a shade of gray when the book is closed, and as things get darker in the book, the actual pages turn to black. It’s a VERY cool effect that’s immediately eye-catching and makes you want to tear through to the end and see why it’s so dark. Gimmick to get you to pick it up? Maybe. Did it work? Abso-freakin-lutely. This book release date is in October and and I threw my TBR aside to read it to read it in June!

The pacing is intense! Each page is only a page or two long, maybe three at the most, so you finish one and say “just one more” and before you know it, you’ve inhaled the whole book. If I hadn’t been reading this on my lunch hour at work, I probably would have read it in a single day. The action always keeps moving forward and with such quick snippets, you just feel like you can keep reading and reading and won’t want to stop!

The obsessive nature of the characters will make you obsessed as well. August and Jack are very obsessive and co-dependent (not like, judging them here, that’s truly a point that’s made in the book). This nature only intensifies throughout the book resulting in destructive actions on many levels. The obsessiveness throughout the book really pushes that constant urgency and makes it so you can’t put the book down.

I loved the writing of this story in so many ways and K. Ancrum brilliantly structured this book to keep the reader hooked. I ended up not quite loving the end of the book but I’m not totally sure why. I think it was just all of these things leading up to something B I G and there was a big thing that happened in the end but I guess it wasn’t quite what I was hoping or expecting and I also wanted something a little bit … more. I couldn’t tell you what it is but something felt like it was missing!

This book will definitely be one that readers just tear through and I’m interested to hear everyone’s else’s reviews! I think it’s going to be a big buzz book this fall and I can’t wait to hear what readers think of it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Visual writing styles. That makes no sense but I don’t know how to say it. I loved how the darkness of the book really affected the tone of the novel (or followed it). Like the physical, dark, black pages, not just the feel. It’s so need to see a physical manifestation of the words on the pages!
Left Me Wanting More: Horror? I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I keep expecting YA mystery/thrillers to end more… horrifically. I mean I don’t want that to happen to people in real life but I guess I’m just looking for more of something I wouldn’t even think of and I guess being a mystery reader all my life, there’s not a lot that surprises me anymore. I keep feeling like the endings are just missing something and I don’t quite feel satisfied.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book is a wild ride with a unique relationship, action-packed pages, and some cool visual effects.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE WICKER KING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors and I’m so obsessed with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS! I was so excited to read THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, which is the very first Stephanie Perkins book (aside from short stories) outside of the Anna-verse! I don’t normally read horror but I do enjoy books exactly like this — a little mystery, a little thriller, and pretty much a 90s slasher movie! I’m way too chicken to read scary horror but I do love the thriller murder-mystery!

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

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!Title: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 9, 2017
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.


ABOUT STEPHANIE PERKINS

Stephanie Perkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. She has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. Stephanie lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband. Every room of their house is painted a different color of the rainbow.

BOOK-INSPIRED CANDLE: THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Ever since I started making candles, I’ve been so much more in tune with the sensory notes in the books that I read. I feel like aromas in a book are easily skipped over and forgotten once a reader has finished because noticing and committing a smell to memory is such a unique experience that it’s harder hang onto if you haven’t experienced it first hand. I know at least for me, when a book draws on a familiar smell, I’m instantly hit with memories and nostalgia that have the potential to tie me to a book more than any other scenic description so I feel like those smells that add to the atmosphere are not to be overlooked!

I usually try to pick out specific scent descriptions in books, but when you’re reading a murder mystery like THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, so many of those scents tend to be… unpleasant haha! But not to worry — there was still plenty more to choose from even if they weren’t specifically mentioned.

THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE takes place in the fall, specifically around Halloween, and fall scents are my FAVORITE scents. The book also takes place in the cornfields of the midwest, so there are a lot of outdoors, fields, and corn inspirations to draw upon. The overall feel of this candle is Halloween in the midwest, with delicious fall spices cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, a touch of softer harvest fruits, fallen leaves, hay, and grain. It’s a lovely overall combination and I had so much fun making this candle for the book and one of my favorite authors!

FRAGRANCE PROFILE: 

Top notes: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
Middle notes: fallen leaves, hay
Base notes: harvest fruits, grain

So what do you think?! Which scents do you think are the strongest sensory inspirations? Which are your favorites?


Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour stops for THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE! I’m smack in the middle so make sure you check out the posts that are already up and follow along with the rest of these amazing posts!

Week One:
September 18 – Mostly YA Lit – Author Q&A
September 19 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
September 20 – Peace Love Books – Review
September 21 – Lost in Lit – Book Photography
September 22 – Novel Novice – How You’re Going to Feel While Reading TSIYH
 
Week Two:
September 25 – Stories & Sweeties – Review
September 26 – In Wonderland – Book Photography
September 27 – Book Addict’s Guide – Bookish Candle
September 28 – YA Romantics – Horror Movie Quiz
September 29 – Twirling Pages – Author Q&A
 
Week Three:
October 2 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – 5 Reasons to Read TSIYH
October 3 – Oh the Book Feels – Review
October 4 – Andi’s ABCs – Author Q&A
October 5 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Event Recap
October 6 – YA Bibliophile – Top Fall Activities as Inspired by TSIYH
 
Week Four:
October 9 – ButterMyBooks – Author Q&A
October 10 – BookCrushin – Top 10 Horror Villains in Movies & YA
October 11 – The Wednesday Blog for Books – Review      
October 12 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Dream Casting
October 13 – Don’t Fold the Page – Review

GIVEAWAY

There are TWO exciting giveaways for my stop on the blog tour today! The first is through Penguin for a chance to win a copy of the book! See rules and details below and enter the first Rafflecopter form for you chance to win!

BOOK GIVEAWAY (from Penguin)

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 18, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 16, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 18, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CANDLE GIVEAWAY (from me)

The second giveaway is my own personal contribution to this blog tour stop for the candle inspired by this book! The candle giveaway is for one 4oz tin called “In the Killing Fields”. Open to US entries only. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. Candle giveaway open from 9/27/17 through 10/3/17 . Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Midnight Tales Blog Tour | Favorite Books With Fairy Tales + Folklore

I’m so excited to participate in a unique blog tour for THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Barudgo, which in case you haven’t heard is a collection of original Ravkan fairy tales & folklore! I absolutely love that Leigh Bardugo goes so deep into her worlds as to create entire histories and legends relating to her people, places, and beliefs. It’s one of the most amazing things about world-building, how these fictional worlds can have such rich history and it really makes these worlds feel entirely real!

For my post today, I wanted to share a few more books that I’ve loved that contain rich world-building all thanks to inclusion of the world’s legends, tales, and myths! They’re so much fun and provide such amazing background that if you love Leigh Bardugo’s books, you’re sure to love these as well!

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

Midnight Tales Blog Tour | Favorite Books With Fairy Tales + FolkloreTitle: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 26, 2017
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


BOOKS WITH THEIR OWN MIDNIGHT TALES

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor | Laini Taylor’s world-building is also incredible and fans of Leigh Bardugo will love her books! There’s so much rich history that dates back soooo many years in DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and the timing of every reveal about the history and legends couldn’t be more perfect!


THE THIEF by Megan Whelan Turner | The Queen’s Thief series has some really interesting, continuous tales of the world’s legends, myths, and gods and it provides such a rich backbone for the series! These dark and curious tales were some of my favorite parts of the whole series.


THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson | I’m a huge Brandon Sanderson fan and I saved his largest series for last as I worked my way through his entire collection. THE WAY OF KINGS has some SERIOUS connections to the history of the gods and I love the way the characters learn about these legends and how it affects their stories throughout the books!


HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling | You really can’t go wrong with Harry Potter! I adore all of the little extras that we get for this series, including THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, which include fairy tales from the wizarding world, not to mention all of the folklore we learn throughout the series. It’s things like that which allow readers to fall so far into this world that we feel like it’s real!


THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss | Patrick Rothfuss includes so much folklore in his books and I love how detailed everything is! The legend of the chandrian is enough to scare all of us and there are so many other little legends and stories that create such a rich world!


A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin | And of course, one of Leigh Bardugo’s inspirations, A Song of Ice and Fire! These books are long, but so worth it. The amount of different legends, myths, histories, stories, tales, you name it. This world gets built from the ground up so many different times and it’s so incredible to see this detailed world. I have friends whose favorite characters aren’t even alive at the point that this series takes place — that’s how detailed the histories and legends are! It’s a very cool concept.


Which books or series hold some of your favorite myths, legends, and fairy tales? Don’t miss THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS, on sale now, and if you haven’t read any of Leigh Bardugo’s books yet, start at the beginning with SHADOW AND BONE and go binge read. It’s okay. I’ll wait.

 

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Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin CashoreTitle: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Publishing Info: September 19, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate Reality, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 6, 2017
Related Posts: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

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JANE, UNLIMITED is literally the most unique book I’ve ever read. It’s unlike anything else, with a unique concept, characters, plot, and structure, and this both enhanced my reading experience and left me utterly confused.

I need to go into books blindly so I don’t ruin the twists and the overall experience for myself so I did some reading up on the book immediately after finishing to help ground me a little bit, and I found (which I actually had heard before and completely forgot) that the concept originally started as a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel and developed into what it is. It’s quite impossible to really discuss the book without mentioning specific spoilers so for spoiler-free thoughts, I’ll say that it was quite a wild ride and listening to an audiobook may have made it even more complicated, not able to SEE what was going on with the print on the pages, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the audio performance (one of Rebecca Soler’s best, in my opinion).

Without knowing the CYOA concept, the book seemed unmoored — flowing from story to story not really knowing where one ended and the next began. Once I understood that these were actually telling different parts and weren’t following a chronological timeline, it made a lot more sense to me and I was able to appreciate it more. I thought at first that things were just non-sequential and I kept trying to put each part back into the first to follow through with the same timeline and it was just so confusing, but again, that probably would have been more easily deduced if I was reading a print copy and not the audio version. It also made a LOT more sense once I figured out that these were being told in different parts because I was thinking as I was listening that this story feels like it’s wrapping up but holy cow, I have a LONG way to go to finish this book haha!

That being said, I enjoyed most of the adventures. The first few parts were more enjoyable than the last few because things really started to go off the deep end towards the end of the book. It sort of starts in the more probable and drifts towards the more fantastical with each story and it was hard to grasp so many different genres within the same book as possibilities all at once, but I will say that it was incredibly interesting and I found them all fascinating, even if I didn’t particularly love each one. I DID love that each part revealed a little something and tied back to a point that was made in the beginning of the book or a part of another story. There were so many things going on in this peculiar house and Jane ended up discovering them all… just not all in the same version. I’m really glad the readers get to see why the characters are doing peculiar things, why the house feels a little bit emotional, and why the art plays such a big part of everything. Though I still don’t know why umbrellas are such a big deal.

One of my disappointments with the book was just that I needed a little something more from the ending. I would have been really impressed if the book had wrapped up with a singular ending that sort of put all of the stories at peace because none of them really ended and I would have been SUPER impressed if Kristin Cashore somehow tied them all up, sort of how the beginning set them all up. Instead they all kind of just taper off and there’s not a solid conclusion for any of them. I don’t mind open endings but I think this was a little TOO open and I would have been super impressed with something closing all of those open doors.

Usually when I’m confused about a book, the more I write about it, the more I realize how disappointed I was but I’m actually finding the opposite with JANE. The more I talk about it, the more fascinated I am and I wouldn’t be opposed to another collection of JANE stories somewhere down the road with even more possibilities. It’s a story with infinite worlds to explore and I’m sure even more things could be touched upon that I haven’t even thought of. I don’t think it’snecessary to know the structure of the book before starting but it did help me understand it more after finishing and helped me appreciate it more. I still would love that one last thing to tie it all together though.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Listening Library has basically been my reading savior this year. With so many candle things to do, I just don’t have time to sit and read anymore and they are so kind as to keep me on their reviewer list for audiobooks. I’ve been listening to one right after the other this year and I was so excited to see JANE, UNLIMITED as one of the options!

I knew I was in good hands with Rebecca Soler as the narrator. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she narrated The Lunar Chronicles audiobooks but personally, I feel like this is her best audiobook performance yet. I think her voices were more distinct in this book than in previous books and her voice and tone just really fit the overall feel of JANE, UNLIMITED.

The audio was probably a little bit harder to follow than the print copy due to the nature of the book but it still totally works and probably isn’t confusing if you don’t go into reads blind like I do!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Extremely unique formatting. I love seeing new and unique things not only in YA but anywhere in the literary world. This book cobbled together the different decisions that Jane could have made and it was interesting to see each one of them play out!
Left Me Wanting More: Closure. I didn’t really feel like the ending of the book really closed it off. I guess the point is kind of that the choices really are unlimited… I’d totally be up for another book full of possible endings though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was so clever and so unique. The tone was also a LOT of fun with a neat cast of characters, including a house that was a character in itself.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JANE, UNLIMITED

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Warcross (Warcross #1) – Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross #1) – Marie LuTitle: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: September 12, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 10, 2017
Related Posts: Legend (Legend #1)

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

bookreview1

WARCROSS is only my second Marie Lu book (I’ve only read LEGEND. I know, how horrible am I? I loved it too…) and I’m so glad I had the chance to get back into her writing! Every since READY PLAYER ONE, I’ve been dying for more video game/virtual reality-type adventures and I know there are others out there but WARCROSS was one that really caught my eye, both because of author and concept.

Either this book was shorter than I thought or time just flew by as I was listening! I listened to the audiobook (thanks, Listening Library!) while I worked and it seemed like this story just flew by, which I guess means that I was really enjoying it! I really enjoyed WARCROSS! It was a fun, futuristic read that reminded me of READY PLAYER ONE meets THE HUNGER GAMES but still in its own original way. I loved the game aspect behind it and I think games within a story really pull me into the action! There were plenty of action-packed moments, especially during the games themselves, which were not at all like Quidditch but reminded me of the action breaks that Harry Potter took to play out a Quidditch game. It brought some fast-paced scenes to the book and added more the the character relationships, meanwhile adding a dash of plot all at the same time. The game sequences also really added to the world-building, showing exactly how Warcross worked and why everyone was so excited for these competitions. It’s essentially like everyone playing sports and then the tournaments featured here are like the Olympics.

I really enjoyed all of the different relationships throughout the book! Emika is kind of a loner to start and as the book progresses, she learns how to work on a team and finally starts to let people back in. She also lets go of her heart a little bit and ends up with an unexpected relationship (or at least more than friends) with a prominent figure in the book and the romance was sweet and exciting all at the same time! I really liked the team aspect and how that really brought Emika in, as much as she didn’t want or expect that, and I always love gangs of characters who might not have otherwise been friends coming together like that.

I’ve only read one Marie Lu book but I feel like she’s good at keeping readers on their toes! One thing I really enjoyed was a nice set of twists that she incorporated into the plot. I totally saw one twist coming and was like, “Oh yeah, predictable…” and then BAM! A totally different twist caught me by surprise. I’m not sure if I was supposed to see the one coming but I definitely appreciate that it threw me off for the other one, thinking I had already caught the “twist”.

The book ended before I knew it and I was so engrossed in the audiobook that I didn’t even realize it was coming to a close! Marie Lu left us on a hell of a cliffhanger which I loved but also whyyyyy! I’m so anxious to read the next book and as much as it sucks to be left on a cliffhanger sometimes, I’m definitely left wanting more as soon as possible!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Gaming books. I’m not a gamer but I actually love reading about virtual reality and gaming-type books. I love the sense of competition and how reality and games meet!
Left Me Wanting More: Oomph. I loved the book but it was missing just a touch that would have pushed it towards the edge for me. I’m not sure what it was, but either way, it was still a great read!!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

What a fun start to a series! I can’t wait to read more, I love where this is going, and this was such a solid beginning.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WARCROSS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud – E. LockhartTitle: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Publishing Info: September 5, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 19, 2017
Related Posts: We Were Liars

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

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For many, WE WERE LIARS was an epic, twisty, and gripping read but it never really stuck a chord with me. Being my first E. Lockhart book, it had be a little hesitant and yet also curious to read more of her works. I didn’t grab a copy of GENUINE FRAUD at ALA because of my hesitation but when I was offered a review copy of the audiobook from Listening Library, I knew this would be a good way to read the book!

GENUINE FRAUD was so different than what I expected! It was highly unique and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it to be honest… It’s just book that’s really hard to put a rating on because of how different it was and what it turned out to be. I love reading Cait from Paper Fury’s reviews on Goodreads and she kind of summed up exactly how I felt as well — “This book is very very good but I also didn’t like it.” It was so incredibly interesting and very well put together but I also still had a hard time liking it.

The set-up of this book is wholly unique and I don’t think I’ve read anything like it. I received the audiobook for review from Listening Library and since the format is a collection of files, I thought something was wrong with my file when the book started with Chapter 18 (because that’s happened to me before when a book got jumbled up and I couldn’t straighten it out)… but it really does start with Chapter 18 works its way backwards to Chapter 1. The screwy timeline and twists and turns were very akin to movies like Pulp Fiction and Memento, where stories work themselves backwards and all around from a certain point rather than moving in chronological order. It was super interesting to watch the story unfold in reverse while still unfolding forwards and I’m so impressed with E. Lockhart’s writing in this book!

The book is also hard to rate because of this concept. It was so fascinating but it was kind of in that way where I was in awe of the writing and the absolute debauchery that was happening in the book that I just couldn’t tear myself away. The characters are actually mostly unlikable, which isn’t a turn-off for me because those can be some of the most interesting characters, but sometimes I do have a hard time connecting to them. There were also moments where action abruptly started or stopped, cutting off the flow and picking up at a different point in time, so some things were a little hard to follow, and I didn’t even realize the end of the book was coming when it happened!

It was really different than I expected, but in a really neat way and yet I still can’t quite put my finger on how I feel about it. I feel like it’s worth the read with its sinister plot, moments of action, intense thrilling points, and morally complex characters, and yet at the same time, I still didn’t love it. I think if I had made that one connection where a character really pulled me in, it would have blown my mind.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Twisty writing styles. Man, this was sooo unique and very cool to read! Once I realized there wasn’t an issue with my audio I was like, okay. I’m here for this! I love seeing stories not follow a chronological timeline and still progress the plot forward.
Left Me Wanting More: Character Connection. Almost all of the characters were unlikable and that doesn’t always deter me but here it did a little bit. It wasn’t like a morally gray character that you know you love, but more like, “Wow, these people are actually awful human beings and yet I’m kind of rooting for them?” I think I wanted a little more sinister or a little more like.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

It’s a very cool book, and if you make that connection, it could be a total five-star read for you!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE GENUINE FRAUD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Little Monsters – Kara Thomas

Little Monsters – Kara ThomasTitle: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Publishing Info: July 25, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: ALAAC17, Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Psych/Mental Health
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 13, 2017
Related Posts: The Darkest Corners

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

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LITTLE MONSTERS caught my eye because of the author and concept. I had first read Kara Thomas’ work with THE DARKEST CORNERS and enjoyed her writing and I’m always looking for more YA mystery/thrillers! I’m very glad to have read LITTLE MONSTERS and I continue to be pleasantly surprised at the conclusions of Kara Thomas’ books, not always able to guess the ending!

I enjoyed LITTLE MONSTERS from start to finish and it was hard to stop listening to the audiobook. (Thanks to Listening Library for the review copy!) The concept reminded me of what I imagine Pretty Little Liars is like (I haven’t read the books or watched the show) combined with A GOOD IDEA and THIS IS OUR STORY — a little bit frenemies, a little bit mental health, and a little bit small-town mystery. I always find thrillers involving fatal friendships fascinating, especially when it comes to young adult thrillers. Teenagers are quickly trusting and throw themselves into their friendships and relationships, so it’s easy to completely trust someone that you feel is your best friend. When a friend’s character gets questioned, it’s so interesting to watch the other side of the story unfold and see what secrets were lying beneath the surface the whole time.

I certainly didn’t figure out the ending of this book, that’s for sure! Being a mystery lover, I tend to read a lot and I can therefore guess a lot of endings but LITTLE MONSTERS was very well-crafted and I had no idea which way it would go! There were lots of pieces to throw the reader off and lead me in a different direction and it was really interesting to see the ending unfold!

I wasn’t AS hooked as I had hoped to be but it was a very solid read and very enjoyable. I’m always looking for solid young adult thrillers and/or mysteries and LITTLE MONSTERS is definitely a solid, well-crafted read. I love being able to see how an author started with a concept and worked their way backwards to keep the big reveal moment at the ending, and it’s always so neat to see a mystery unfold. I’m definitely up for anything Kara Thomas writes and I’ll continue to look forward to more books from her!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Frenemies. MAN, frenemies in thrillers just get me. I kind of really don’t like it in contemporary fiction because I don’t like when things get catty but in thrillers? BRING IT. It’s so sinister and usually ends up being horrifying which I… kind of like. Ha.
Left Me Wanting More: Magic. Not literal magic, but there’s just that little something that didn’t WOW me. It was still such a solid read but it didn’t quite blow me away.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you enjoy mysteries or thrillers, this is an interesting read and I’m confident recommending it! Add this one to your TBR.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE LITTLE MONSTERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek – Jen WildeTitle: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Publishing Info: March 14, 2017 by Macmillan, Swoon Reads
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 21, 2017

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

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This book was soooo much fun! I loved the con-vibe, the overall geekiness, and the characters. Books at conferences always remind me of my time at BEA/ALA/whatever book conferences I’ve attended and it really makes me feel right at home! I loved the atmosphere here and including things like a comic or book convention really allows the characters to be right at home and let their true geeky selves shine!

Jen Wilde did an amazing job at bringing these characters to life and creating wonderfully realistic diverse people. Everything was very spot on, well-supported, and felt true to real life. I loved how the personalities shone for each character and that they were comfortable with who they were, and those times where the characters weren’t 100% confident, they were able to work through some personal hurdles to be their best selves. The friendships were so solid and I loved to see a good trio of friends where no one got stabbed in the back. I think that’s one of the things I loved most about the book — there wasn’t anything catty (minus a rude ex, but he was supposed to be a bit villainous in a way) and everyone was so positive and supportive. It can be hard with a group of friends not to have one turn on the other (it just happens so often in life and in books) and it was refreshing to read positive and healthy friendships.

The romances featured here were also very cute and I loved the different factors involved! This book was great to include a lot of diversity and highlight mental health as well but still keeping things light and fun, which I personally love. I often find myself picking up lighter contemporary novels instead of the heavier, darker, or more serious realistic fiction nowadays because I need a break from the serious of adulting sometimes, so I loved seeing some true representation here and still allowing the book to be a little fluffy. Just because it’s a cute romance doesn’t mean it has to be less meaningful and I loved that Jen Wilde was able to put that all together!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Diversity + fluff. Who says fluff can’t have depth? The romances were cute and adorable, and the overall vibe was light, but this book also had a lot of meaningful points. I loved seeing the combination of the two!
Left Me Wanting More: Attention. This is one I’m definitely recommending and it needs to be in more people’s hands!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

QUEENS OF GEEK was very fun, diverse, cute, nerdy, and an overall refreshing read. I’d definitely recommend it for a cute love story with a whole lot more substance!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE QUEENS OF GEEK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh BardugoTitle: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: August 29, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Superheroes, Fantasy, Mythology
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 10, 2017
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1),

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

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As always, Leigh Bardugo’s writing is so incredibly enjoyable! It was kind of weird not reading a strictly fantasy book from her — or rather, something not set in the Grishaverse — and also weird reading a stand-alone from her. I enjoyed my read of WONDER WOMAN but being an adaptation, it didn’t quiiiite have that Leigh Bardugo magic that I love so much when reading her original concepts, plots, and characters.

Mostly the reason I didn’t love it was the mythology aspect. I used to love mythology when I was a kid and I’ve sort of fallen out of love with it over the years and haven’t really enjoyed too many mythology adaptations or retellings as much as I had hoped. As we know, Diana (aka Wonder Woman) is an Amazonian princess and of course has many ties to the gods and goddesses, and really the entire plot starts to delve a little deeper into some myths. It was really interesting how everything tied together BUT mythology just isn’t that much of a draw for me anymore. I also never got into Wonder Woman in the first place so I wasn’t as connected to the book as others who are already fans might be. I’m actually not a superhero/comic person much at all (aside from catching the occasional movie) so this is a little step outside of my comfort zone but in a great way!

I loved seeing Leigh Bardugo’s writing style still shine in a totally different book/genre/world! At first I was worried since Diana is a mostly serious person but there were some amazing supporting characters (and main characters) who livened things up, delivered that classic sass & snark, and got Diana to come out of her shell. Since Diana spent all of her time on the island with her mother and sisters, away from the mortal world, she was a little sheltered and the sheltered-person-gets-hit-with-modern-day-culture-shock concept is also super hit or miss with me. I loved it in things like Sleepy Hollow but sometimes it just makes a character seem more simple and I felt like it took something away from Diana. BUT I know that’s also my personal preference as I’ve noticed with several retellings. I much more enjoy adaptations that fit a classic already within a modern world (CinderGeekerella) rather than fitting an old myth into a new setting, or retelling that story in the original time period. (Did that even make sense?) So I guess TL;DR, I don’t like mixing worlds & vibes.

I loved all of the characters, but weirdly enough, I liked Diana the least and felt like she was the least developed character. She has a very straight-forward quest and very straight-forward values and I just looooove Leigh Bardugo’s complex and morally grey characters, so that’s what I’ve come to appreciate the most with her writing! The secondary characters (the supporting friends) were always there for some banter and sass and really had their own backstories that added to the base of main character Alia. I really liked Alia a lot and it was interesting to see her character growth throughout the book!

Naturally with any Leigh Bardugo book, there were some things that I just did not see coming… and I loved that I’m always surprised! The ending brought an interesting twist and a satisfying ending. I’m just a modern adaptation kind of person but I also liked that the book stayed true to Diana’s origins since that was the whole purpose of writing this book! My own personal preferences got in the way (who is surprised here) and I didn’t fall head over heels but WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER is a very solid novel and a quick and fun read! I loved the variation in tone from serious to sarcastic to romantic to intense and every other emotion in between.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. I don’t usually read a lot of superhero books but I’m not opposed to them. It was great to see a Wonder Woman story and I loved reading Leigh Bardugo to sort of introduce me to that!
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. Okay, that’s a silly thing to ask. These are teens and I know that. I just felt like things were a little dramatic at times and I could have enjoyed that more if it was less dramatic, but that’s life!

Addiction Rating
Read it

Elizabeth Eulberg is an absolute will-read author for me! I pick up pretty much anything she writes and this book was no exception. Very cute and a lot of fun!

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BOOKS LIKE WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    READY PLAYER ONE