Catching Up with Arika …

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t been writing much about what I’ve read. It’s been a crazy month and I wasn’t really in the mood to write as much but more just read! And I also have discovered the awesomeness that is audio books….they are amazing.

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These audio books have allowed me to listen to some books that I wouldn’t have picked up because I have books already at home to read. Anyway, back to what I have been reading/listening too….I’ve kind have been all over the board this past month, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some good books and some books that need a little more help. But overall I think most of these books I would definitely suggest you give them a try. I’ll give you a little bit of what I liked and disliked about the books and then you should go check them out!

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What I Read:

spelledSpelled by Betsy Schow: I gave this book 4/5 stars. It was a nice easy read and I enjoyed the main characters mostly (Dorthea got on my nerves at first). I like the play off of fairytales but wished at times that some of the side characters mentioned would play bigger roles. There was a bit of humor in it and the romance was not overwhelming, which helped the book since sometimes it seems romance is way overplayed in YA lit. Overall it was a cute, funny book that I see many teens would enjoy.

23308084The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh: The end of this duology definitely deserved the 5/5 stars! I kick myself for not getting this book sooner since its been out for awhile and I did enjoy the first book. One of the main things I loved about this duology was the main character Shazi. She is a fierce, not gonna back down, take matters into her own hands, kind of girl. Those are my favorite main characters and Ahdieh does a great job of giving life to Shazi and making you as a reader root for her in every way. This book packed a lot of action, romance and a little bit of magic in between it’s covers. I highly recommend the series and can’t wait for more of Ahdieh’s work in the future!

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The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: A solid 4/5 stars for this retelling of Snow White. It was a good book overall and had some definite pluses to it. One of my favorite things about the book was the banter (which in most cases makes or breaks a book for me). I was laughing out loud a couple times during the book with some of the commentary from multiple characters. There was also some cool magic and, thank goodness, no insta-love. And the best part….Dragons! Though it could have used more dragons. There were only a couple things I wish there were more of: 1. More background on the magic and 2. More about the lead male character. Otherwise a fantastic book and i will definitely be checking out more from this author!

What I Listened To:

falling kingdomsFalling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes: The first four books that I’ve read have all been 4/5 stars. Lots and lots going on in this series but I think that’s what I love about it. I, along with a lot of others, describe it as a more toned down Game of Thrones. There is many POV’s, war between countries/families, and of course a little bit of romance. And of course my favorite character is Magnus! Ugh I almost wish the whole book was from his POV…but I can only hope. The narrator, Fred Berman, is fantastic! I love the way he narrates the book and is very captivating when he tells the story. I can’t wait till the next couple are released on audiobook.

hawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: Not one of my favorite audiobooks that I have listened too, with a 3/5 stars rating from me. I enjoyed a little bit of a switch up since I had been reading a lot of fantasy but at times this book dragged on. It did have a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Overall an interesting mystery novel and the narrators were ok to listen too, nothing to gush about though. (I couldn’t really watch the movie, turned it off about a 1/2 hour into it, I would stick with the book if you are interested.)

prisoner of night and fogPrisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blackman: The Prisoner of Night and Fog felt to me more like a murder mystery with the added fact that Adolf Hitler was a character in the book. It was interesting how Blankman put Gretchen in the middle of Hilter’s life before he became Furer of Germany and how we saw what someone who was taught from the beginning who to hate and who to like.
While I did enjoy the story, it wasn’t something that jumped out at me until the very end when Gretchen started getting answers for questions that didn’t seem quite so right at first. The audiobook was ok, I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it as much as other audiobooks I have listened to lately.
Overall I would gave it 3.5/5 stars

dorothy must dieDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: I have to say that Dorothy Must Die was an interesting twist to the Wizard of Oz world but it wasn’t a major hit for me. I enjoyed how Danielle Paige added to the world that we already know and love but I felt that there could have been more added to it. I felt as if the world building fell short of what I am used to in a retelling of stories. I think the reason I liked it was more for the side characters, like the Order of the Wicked and how the good characters from the original story are now evil in this one. I enjoyed how the roles of the scarecrow, lion and tin man changed compared to the original story. Especially how the scarecrow was like a mad scientist and the tin man was like a hitman. The main character of Amy kind of fell flat for me though….she didn’t seem all that confident in herself throughout the book and always second guessing herself, I was hoping to see a little more growth from her. The audiobook narrator was so-so for me, she did an ok job but I had a hard time listening to her for the whole book. Overall 3/5 stars, I didn’t absolutely love it but would recommend for people who enjoy more modern day chick books.

Question: Has anyone else read/listened to any of these books? If so, what did you think?

 

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What did Emily do for Spring Break?

A few weeks ago I had spring break. Yes. That time of year where I hear rumors of people taking trips and basking in the sun. sprangbreak

Did I do those things? Nope. I so wish that I could have. It was cold and rainy and I had so wished that I could have been anywhere with some sunshine. Instead of traveling and spending all that money I decided to do the next best thing…READ! I hit up my library for some books that I had been dying to read but couldn’t afford to buy (and some I was unsure about purchasing too).

So what books did I get?

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Yea…I had quite the list going. I seemed to pick a little of this and that to create a wide range of books to read, which really helped with my mood reading habits. My goal over spring break was to read as many of these as possible. Seemed like no big deal since I had no plans and could easily read a book a day it was doable. Unfortunately…not all the books were read. And even more unfortunate…some had requests so I could not renew them.

So…what books did I end up reading?

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Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

I had anticipated this one a lot. I thought it sounded really cool, a sci-fi that I could get behind even though I am not much of a sci-fi reader. Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. I loved the concept. It had some amazing ideas behind it, but I just found that I didn’t enjoy it. To me the writing was choppy. I liked having two POVs, but it with the alternating chapters I actually felt like I was missing out on what was happening with Rhee while reading a chapter about Aly. I started to get confused, and I think that really started to sway my opinion of the book. There was also a romance that I didn’t fully buy, and the promise of characters meeting that never happened. I was pretty sad to not enjoy this one, but it is what it is.

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

This is my second Emery Lord book. I immediately fell in love with her writing style after finishing When We Collided, so I knew that I needed to get another one of her books as soon as possible. Spring break seemed like the perfect time. I absolutely loved every single minute of this book. It was absolutely adorable in so many ways and I cannot gush enough about it. It showed some amazing friendships and reminded the reader of the importance of having those close relationships in your life. Though the romance was a part of this book, the biggest take away for me was the friendship. I absolutely loved that it seemed bigger than the romance. Obviously there were some swoons, and a friends turned romantic interest sort of story going on (my favorite). I loved the interpretations of grief in this book and found so many instances to really hit home for me. Wonderful writing and a wonderful read for my spring break.

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I just thought you should know that I am writing about the books in the order that I read them, so you can see that even in a matter of 4 days I went through reading moods. I adored Jennifer Niven’s first book, All the Bright Places. It made me feel all kinds of feelings and cry and I just adored it. It wrecked me in all the best ways. So obviously after that heartache I was drying to see what she was up to next. I enjoyed this book. I felt like while I did not cry I did feel a lot of different emotions as far as the situations that the characters were going through. My biggest thing was feeling sad. There were moments my heart ached because I know that people actually treat others like they treated Libby. It is so sad and uncalled for and it sucked to really digest that. I loved Libby. I loved her attitude and how far she seemed to come from some of the worst times in her life. I loved her fearless nature and I think that I could really use some of that strength that she has. I struggled with Jack, but in the end I did grow to like him which made sense with the story. This book shows the importance of family, friendships, and standing up for yourself. I don’t think I loved this book as much as I loved her first one, but I did enjoy it and am so glad I had the chance to do so.

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This series has become a typical spring break read for me. Last year I flew through Illuminae in a day during my spring break, and Gemina was no different. This book took me 24 hours. I still cannot get over the creativity of this book. My mind is constantly blown by authors because I lack the vision that they have and the stories that they tell. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff take that up like 20 notches and leave me speechless. This book seriously had me thrown for loop after loop and I think that I am still recovering. I thought I had Hanna and Nik pegged from the beginning. I had so many theories about them but I seemed to be wrong every single time. These characters were strong, courageous, and fairly selfless. They lengths they went through to fight for people they hardly knew was crazy. It was such a cool thing to read. There were many head scratching moments, and so many times I was literally on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed this addition to the series and look forward to plowing through the next one after it comes out.

Unfortunately these three fabulous book (The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Caraval by Stephanie Garber) were not finished over spring break. I was fortunate enough to be able to keep Caraval a bit longer and finish it after spring break (but since I didn’t finish it during that time my thoughts don’t really belong on this particular post right?). Sadly the other two were due, and there were requests which made renewing impossible. I am sad because I was really looking forward to seeing what these books had for me. Guess I will have to get my hands on them at a later date.

Thoughts on Caraval are obviously to come…still processing.

So, those were the adventures that I had over spring break. I was a little all over the place, but in the end I felt like I read some pretty awesome books and have more that are on my list of books that I need to get my hands on ASAP.

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QUESTION: What books would be on your ultimate spring break TBR?

Catching Up on books with Emily

Hi guys! I feel like it’s been FOREVER since I have talked to you about what I have been reading. As far as books go, I have been slaying the reading portion and failing on the reviewing portion. I have been feeling a lot of stress and anxiety lately, and I think I escape into books so much easier than I do reviews. But I hope that’s about to change.

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I have reading quite a bit this year. I have gotten really into listening to audiobooks while I am driving lately, which has really helped me to knock some books out of my TBR. Today I am just going to talk about a few of the books I read. I do have a couple that I am working on entire posts for due to various reasons, but the books listed below are all fantastic. I have really enjoyed the reading I have accomplished this year so far, and honestly…very few low starred books for me. So, without further ado…here is what I have been reading…

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

One of the reasons this book doesn’t get it’s own post from me is because Arika has already discussed this book not too long ago. I was so on the fence about this book, but Arika changed my mind. And I was pretty excited to find the audiobook at my library so I could dive right in. At first this book confused me. I understood that there were 3 sisters, but I didn’t quite understand the transition between all of them. As the book progressed I became more familiar with how it was set up and was able to really enjoy it. I really enjoyed this story. The choice of taking it slow with the writing in the beginning really worked in the author’s favor, in my opinion. Because of how she wrote the book we were able to really get to know each of the sisters. We got to know how each of them go about their days and how different (and somewhat similar) their personalities were. Because we got to know them in that way the action was much more intense and the ending was that much more shocking. What a dark story. I am definitely going to be looking into the next book when it comes out, and am super excited to see what comes of it’s adaptation.

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The Moth & The Flame by Renee Ahdieh

If you know me then you know that I am absolutely in love with The Wrath and the Dawn duology. So when I FINALLY had the opportunity to read one of the short stories…well, I jumped on it. I absolutely loved reading about Despina before The Wrath and the Dawn started. It gave me a little bit of a taste of what she has always been like, and the type of person she is. Also, I love Jalal, so this was a fantastic story to read. Obviously you need to wait to read this until after you have finished the duology. Gives away a few spoilers, and it kind of dives right into the story without really giving you any hint to the world and what happens in it. A quick read, a fabulous read, a wonderful trip back into a world I love so much.

Hawkeye volumes 4, 5, and 6 by various authors

I am a sucker for the Hawkeye graphic novels. I absolutely loved the first three, and I loved who the authors made Hawkeye to be. He is just your average guy that seems to be super gifted with a bow and arrow. These stories follow him as he continues to live his life and deal with the consequences of his actions. I was a little worried because 1-4 are done made by one set of authors and then 5 and 6 are done by another set. I was worried the art would change and the story wouldn’t be the same, but it all worked out. I really liked taking a break from all the longer books and series I have been reading to go back into the Marvel world. Graphic novels are something I am still trying to read more of, and I am glad that I was able to read more Hawkeye.

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The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

This was another audiobook that I started listening to on my drives to and from work, and oh.my.gosh. I was absolutely and totally addicted to this story! I was completely drawn into the world, in a similar way that I was drawn into The Selection. I am not saying they are the same, but I just felt connected to it in the same way. I was so interested in Adelaide’s world and why she was choosing to leave such a privileged life for an uncertain future. Watching her disguise herself as someone of a lower class was interesting, and the challenges she faced were not what I would expect. Her friends were awesome. They were caring, honesty, and friends that I would want to have. And then, there was Cedric… Oooooh Cedric, what a sweet man. I was drawn to him from the beginning and was so curious what his role in everything would be. This plot was full of the drama that you would expect when reading about a house full of girls trying to rank higher than the others. Add that to the more real (to their world) drama that could make or break the characters…man, the book becomes a page-turner (or, in my case, it becomes a “I-can’t-leave-my-car-quite-yet” sort of listen). The twists, turns, and surprises that continued to pop up in this book have me just DYING to get my hands (or ears) on the next book!

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I finally got to this book, after owning it for months, and got it knocked off my Rock My TBR list! I was not prepared for this book. It went into a lot of details about the human body, and cutting it up, that I was not at all anticipating. Once I adjusted to that the book went pretty smoothly. The atmosphere of the book is breathtaking. No details were spared in transporting the reader to England, and eventually I was venturing through the streets alongside Audrey Rose and Thomas. The plot to this book was crazy good. I had some suspicions as to who The Ripper was, but at the same time I was completely and totally surprised. I seemed to skim over a few important details. With that being said, the author does a fantastic job creating a story that makes you want to continually turn the pages. The only thing that slowed me down was the creepiness of the details. If that is something that you don’t think you could handle, then I would suggest really thinking about if you want to read this book. In the end, I fell in love with the plot and setting. I am not at all sure how I feel about the characters at this point. All of them kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but the plot was so good that it didn’t even matter in the end. Definitely interested to see what is next in this series!

QUESTION: What are some books that you have been reading recently?

Let’s Catch Up…on What Emily has read

Hey guys!

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As I am sitting here staring at my list of reviews to be done I started to get a little overwhelmed. For the longest time I have been the person that is on top of things. I am always quick to start typing a review (or jotting down notes so I can write it later that week) and typically have something up promptly and feel accomplished while I dive in to my next book. This has been an issue for me as of late. I had so much happening for me personally and then that bit of a hiatus while I was back home for the holidays happened. I honestly feel like I am just getting back on my feet. So, instead of giving you little individual posts about each and every book (which they all deserve) I am going to give you a few thoughts on each one (which we can discuss more later if you wish).

So…here are some things that I read recently…

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I was dying for an audiobook to keep me company on my drive to and from work, and this definitely fit the bill. I kept hearing that Nicola Yoon’s work was beautiful, and this just proved that to me. She painted such a beautiful picture of a young woman who is so used to her routine and doesn’t even question it. I got so invested in finding out just what it was that Maddy had and how she was going to continue to be friends with Olly. They became these two characters that I was constantly routing for as the book went on. I responded to them in my car (and they did not listen to me) and I continued to wish for the best for them in their lives. I got lost in this story and struggled to find an audiobook once I was finished with this one. This story was unique, interesting, and something that kept me wanting to stay in my car to listen to more. I definitely recommend getting this book into your possession.

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Unashamed by Lecrae Moore

Lecrae is an artist that I have always been interested in. This rapper has lived quite the life and really turned it around to bring a message to the public that we need to hear. In this book Lecrae tells us his story, which is a story indeed. This story opened my eyes to what people can go through while also giving me a little idea of the inspiration for his style of rap. Lecrae tackled of life of drugs, alcohol, abuse, and a lot of bad choices and situations. He was put through the ringer over and over and many times could not see a way out. Every time he tried, every time he thought he changed his life around and followed the path he was supposed to, something pushed him back. This story is about rising above your circumstances  to bring out what God wants from you. This book is about faith and trust and not letting the past define who you are in the moment. This book gave me a whole new perspective on Lecrae, his music, and his message. It was eye opening and inspiring.

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The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

This book was something else, in the best way. I am not entirely sure if I have the right words even. To me this was a portrayal of grief that I found relate-able, realistic, and, in a way, beautiful. This young man lost his mother and is dealing with all that comes after you lose a parent…kids at school treating you funny, developing odd routines to help you cope, the dreams, watching a parent cope. At first I thought some of his coping mechanisms were weird, but the more I read the more I get it. In the end, while grieving, you don’t want to feel alone. You want to know that you aren’t the only person in the world that has ever felt this level of a loss. Matt was looking for that, and he found it. I loved the story. I loved the writing and the relationships between characters. I really don’t know how else to describe it without giving away my feelings towards this book. In the end I just want you all to know that you NEED to read it and pass it along. It explores a life that is tough, but with ways to find the bright side in the darkness.

A few other things I have listened to lately in the car….Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Yes, I am laughing my butt off in the car. I love these two women and the work that they have done. Their books are entertaining and kind of empowering. I love listening to them to and from work. A great thing to listen to after a stressful day.

QUESTION: What are some books that you have been reading lately?

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Some Things I’ve Read Lately

Isn’t life crazy!? I swear it was September just last week. But nope, it’s halfway through November and Thanksgiving is next week. I really can’t believe just how fast things have gone.

With time flying by I have noticed that I have neglected to tell you about some awesome books that I have read lately. How rude of me right? I feel like a lot of these are books that I am just late to the party on, but getting some backlist books checked off the TBR  is always a good thing. So, I am just going to give you a few quick thoughts on what I have read (because time…time is ALWAYS an issue).

So…want to know what I have read lately?

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Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection by Marissa Meyer

I have recently discovered my love for listening to audiobooks on my drive to and from work. Though its only a 20-25 minute drive, it’s nice to have a story to listen to (especially after a pretty cruddy day when you just need to escape). Of course, this was the fabulous first choice to get me back into the love for audiobooks. I absolutely loved listening to these stories! It was so fun to be back into that world that I loved so much, and to see the character before we as readers had met them throughout the series. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think that I began to love the series even more. I had even more sympathy towards certain situations (Oh my gosh Cinder, Scarlet, Winter, and Cress…BREAK MY HEART). There were tears, there was laughter, there were swoons…I experienced it all. Thank you so much for writing these short stories about our favorite characters Marissa Meyer! I am so glad to have had just a little more time with them. If you are a fan of this series and haven’t read these yet I HIGHLY recommend it! You will not be disappointed (especially with the WEDDING at the end! I won’t tell you who or what happens but oh my gosh…swoons).

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Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

I am so glad that I have FINALLY read this! I have had this on my shelves for about a year, and it’s been on my TBR for a while prior to me actually owning it. And though it sucks that it took me so long to get into it I am SO glad that I finally had time to read it. And all I have to say is wow…WOW. What a great mystery set during the Nazi Uprising. I think that this gave me a unique view on what it was like for Germans at this time and how easy it was for them to just assume Hitler was in the right. I loved reading about Gretchen and seeing her discovery of what was actually going on. Though it broke my heart to see her world rocked and seeing her find that everything is a lie, I loved that she didn’t just hide, cower, and accept, but that she did what she could to set things right. This book was a little slow at first, but when it picked up…BOY did it pick up! From that point on I was unable to put it down. It was addicting and I just HAD to know what was going to happen. And now…well now I need the next book! And soon.

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These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This is another book that I have owned for awhile and kept putting off for some odd reason. Lucky for me I found the audiobook so that I could listen and read when I wasn’t driving. At first, I wasn’t sure about this book. I was a little unsure of the pacing of the book more than anything even though I thought the plot was interesting. So glad I stuck with it though, because I think this has the makings of a very interesting series. The world that the authors created was so amazing. Scifi is a tricky genre for me, but I think this was a nice dip into the genre for someone like me (a casual scifi reader). The characters were fairly interesting, and I loved seeing how they grew throughout the book and throughout the situations that they were thrown into. The plot constantly kept me guessing (I seriously had no clue what to make of the whispers for the LONGEST time). All in all, a very enjoyable book. And a series that I need to continue.

Has anyone else read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Let’s Chat About Some Amazing Fantasy

So, I have been having a solid book year. Most books seem to have been a 4 or 5 star read on goodreads, and I just want to push ALL the books on you guys. Unfortunately, I have been reading way faster than I have had time to review for the most part. And because of that, this summer I had started writing shorter reviews to make sure that I can keep up. However, I have about 4 books that seem to have missed my gushing and love. So here are 4 fantasy books that I have absolutely loved and adored this summer.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This book takes you back to the world of the Grisha, back to Ravka. And even though this isn’t directly a part of the Grisha Trilogy, it does take place in the same world but years later. Six of Crows follows a group of criminals and outcasts as they take part in a massive heist that could leave than richer than they could ever imagine. The heist is dangerous, but so are the criminals running it.

This book is packed with action, intrigue, and suspense. Honestly, it was a page turner from the very beginning. Not only did we jump right back in to the world that I absolutely love and adore, but we are thrown into the story of Inej, Kaz, Nina, Jesper, and Mathias as they are dealing with their own problems while taking a part of the most dangerous heist they have every been a part of. Their story just MOVED, and I was completely lost in this world. I loved that the chapters were from the perspective of different characters. I think that I really got to see in to the minds of each and every one of the main characters. I got to see the strengths of each and every character from every view point. I got to know more of their back story and what their end goal was. I fell in love with each and every one of them. There was so many twists and turns that I did not see coming, and I was left shocked by many different things by the end. Also, can we talk about the swoons that Leigh Bardugo writes!? MY GOSH! IT was intense and I cannot wait for the next book to come out OH SO VERY SOON!

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A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

To be perfectly honest, I am not going to sum this one up for you. This one picks up with Feyre’s story right where A Court of Thorns and Roses left off. The first book…I liked it, but I wasn’t 100% sold on the story. BUT THIS BOOK SOLD IT FOR ME! This book was filled with so many twists and turns and characters that I grew to love. Feyre became so much more to me. She became stronger. She became a fighter. She became someone who finally figured out how to stand up for herself. Rhysand became a man that I absolutely adored. This book really showed the reader more of him, and once you understood Rhys he became the most amazing and loveable character ever. I am so sorry for doubting you in the first book Rhys. My opinions on a lot of characters changed, which really shows that you can’t judge someone by first impressions. So many people come off as one thing and then you find out they are the complete opposite, and the characters in this book really reflected that. Besides the characters this book was full of action and a plot that just wouldn’t slow down. There were moments that I literally yelled out loud in frustration and confusion because I was not expecting these things to happen.

This book seriously blew the first book out of the water, and my need for book 3 is INTENSE!

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Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Set in 1888 New York City, this story follows Verity Newton in a world where the British still rule the colonies. Verity lands a job as a governess for a prominent family and is thrust into a world where mechanics and magisters are at war. As she gets further into her job she finds herself torn between the sides; a spy for the mechanics and the governess for a magister family. This book follows her journey in this amazing alternative history.

I absolutely loved this book and had so much fun reading this book. I forgot how much I really enjoy a good steampunk, and this book definitely fit the bill.Verity became a fast favorite of mine. She was thrown into this world that she knew little about and forced to really dig deep and find out more about herself. She learned, she failed, and she grew from her experiences. By the end of the book she became a brave individual who was totally capable of holding her own. I absolutely adored the family she fell in with. The children were always good for some comedic relief and Henry, their uncle, was absolutely amazing. There is so much you don’t know about him, and he becomes more interesting and intriguing throughout the entire book. I loved watching their journey through Colonial America as they decided which side they were on and how to fight for their beliefs. You will fall in love, be betrayed, and go on an amazing adventure with Verity.

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The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Again, another book that I am not going to sum up because it continues right where The Orphan Queen left off. Meaning yes, if you are still dying to know what happens after that cliffhanger ending you WILL know what happens after (though it may take quite a few chapters but I could be wrong..). I loved how this book wrapped up this series. We were thrown back into Wil’s story and all of her challenges that she faces as she tries to take back her kingdom. She is learning who she can trust, who will be at her side, and who is going to try everything in their power to destroy her. Wil learned more about who she was and who she could be. She became a stronger individual than she was when we first met her in The Orphan Queen, and she handled all the situations thrown at her with grace and ease. I still absolutely adore her friend Melanie. The most trustworthy friend a person could have, and Wil was so fortunate to have her by her side as took on each and every obstacle. This book was filled with so many plot twists, so much suspense, and so much action that made it just move. For a 500+ page book it did not get dull. I was hooked in instantly and could not turn the pages fast enough. There were moments where I yelled, where I talked back to the book, and there was at least one moment where I jumped in shock at what was happening. This book did not disappoint and it is a duology that I will always treasure in my list of favorites.

Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Let’s talk about What I’ve Been reading lately

So, as I have said early…my summer has been weird. And I have kind of been keeping the blog updated as far as reading goes, but I know I can do better. For now I want to just tell you about two books that I have read (because that is all I have completed this month so far…come on Emily. Get your stuff together!). One book is a standalone, with many many laughs. The other, the end of a series that I become so addicted to for a wide variety of odd reasons.

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For a full synopsis of My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows head on over to Goodreads!

Essentially, My Lady Jane is a retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for 9 days and then was beheaded. Not exactly a pleasant story in history, but the retelling is FANTASTIC. The details that are added to this story to make it a little lighter than the actual history event are amazing, and the humor in this novel is unforgettable. I honestly can’t remember the last time a book had me literally laughing out loud like this one did. There are pop culture references all over the place that just had me rolling; for instance…when Jane became queen she had to respond to invitations to various events and she automatically turned down the Red Wedding. There are so many little things like that throughout the book that just keep the reading guessing and keep them wanting more. Jane was a headstrong woman from the beginning, and I don’t think it was a bad thing but it also didn’t help her. Throughout the book she continued to be a bit headstrong and stubborn, but she really grew to become a well rounded individual and to accept what is actually happening in her life. Edward and G also really grew in the book. Their views changed, and they added to the already amazing attributes. I absolutely LOVED G (Gifford). There was something about him that was so sweet, kind, and compassionate. He only grew on me more throughout the book as he continued to get in touch with what he was feeling and what he could do about it. This book was filled with adventure, beautiful friendships with unbreakable bonds, and romances that had me swooning (and yelling because sometimes the characters really don’t know just how much they need to stop second guessing themselves and JUST DO IT). All in all, I adored this book and I think it has definitely made the list of some of my favorites from this year. If you haven’t read it YOU SHOULD!!!

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To find the full synopsis of The Crown by Keira Cass head to Goodreads, but if you haven’t read this series yet you should probably check out The Selection.

Ok, I binged the first three books in this series so hard two summers ago. I was kind of obsessed, and I couldn’t really put my finger on why. The premise of The Selection is essentially The Bachelor, just a little cleaner and with royalty in a dystopian world. I just got so invested in the world and who the prince would pick that I just couldn’t stop reading. So naturally I was ecstatic when I heard that Keira Cass was going to write TWO MORE BOOKS about the Prince and chosen’s daughter as she goes through her own Selection. The first book with the daughter, Eadlyn, was pretty good, but I do think that this one was better. Was it better because I finally got to figure out who she chose? Probably. I honestly was filled with many emotions, going back and forth to figure out just which one would be selected. But beyond that there were some really good elements to the story. First there was the idea that you are capable of more than you ever thought. In this book you see Eadlyn take on A LOT of things and she kind of nails it, for the most part. It showed the importance of friendships. First, you see Eadlyn’s mom and her friendships and how strong they still are, no matter the distance or issues going on. They were always friends, no matter what. They all had such a strong bond, and I think that by the end of the book the reader can really sense the importance of it. It also showed strong friendships between the sexes. YES MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE FRIENDS WITH NO ISSUES ACTUALLY HAPPENING. IT’S POSSIBLE. Obviously they were in a competition, but as suitors left they all (minus some) left in friendly terms and had some connection back to Eadlyn. No matter what she wanted the best for them, and they wanted the same for her. She got really close to her Elite, and I think that if the story did continue on you would see those friendships growing even stronger. Lastly, you see the importance of family. I think the bonds in Eadlyn’s family just grew stronger throughout this book and showed us why our family is there. They are there for the good and the bad, no matter what. I loved that, for once, there is a book series with some positive family interactions. So often you get the deadbeat parent, but in this family neither one was a deadbeat and both were so proud of their daughter. It was refreshing to read that. So besides the slightly cheesy part, I think there are a lot of benefits to reading this book and this series.

So tell me…have you read either of these books? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Some things I’ve read lately

It seems to me that summer has decided to take off full speed ahead. Not that this is a bad thing, but I had some books I had intended to talk about that I just couldn’t get a full post going on. This isn’t to say that I have been reading bad books, it’s just that I am getting so easily distracted that I seem to lose focus pretty quick. To avoid that I am going to just give you a little idea of what I have been reading and liking so far this summer.

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

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I actually just finished this one with a bunch of other fabulous people as part of Rock My TBR. This book was the dystopian book I didn’t know I needed. When I had originally read the description I had some mixed feelings about it. I was a little worried that this book would spend ALL this time complaining about men. Now, don’t get me wrong…men can suck sometimes. But so can women. And since this book was about women being hunted and sold off I think I had a right to be concerned. I am so thankful that Kristen Simmons wrote this though, because she tackled this subject beautifully. It showed the balance that needs to happen between men and women while also showing that women are strong individuals, capable of so much more than they are sometimes given credit for. Aya was an amazing character. She was tough. She fought for her loved ones. She did whatever she could to keep her people safe. She was also tragically flawed. She tried and failed so many times, as most all humans do. Her failures never stopped her though. She continued to fight. She is the role model I think teens need. I think she is the role model that a lot of people need. A strong, independent woman who tries, fails, and tries again. I also adored Kiran, but honestly…who doesn’t? He was a great guy that really seemed to give Aya her space, listen to her, and help her in whatever way that he could. They worked so well together. And this world…this world was so much more brutal than I had ever imagined. It honestly shook me a bit. It was a very dark world, but a world where some light was able to shine through Aya and what she did. I am so incredibly glad I was finally able to read this and I hope that you give it a go if you haven’t already. I mean…it’s a standalone so that’s about 10000000000 bonus points right?

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

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Not going to lie, I picked this book up on a total whim. I had seen it all over the place and I was curious. While I may not have been in love with it I think I definitely liked it well enough. I found some value in it. The biggest thing to me is that it was a reminder that everyone handles grief differently. Some bottle it up SO much that it become too much to handle, others go the complete opposite way. Gottie was one to bottle it up, which is not quite how I was. She never even let it out in private, which blew my mind. I thought that this is a good reminder, in a fictional way, that everyone handles grief differently and that when we approach them we need to keep that in mind. The romance in this book was fun. It’s a troupe that I am so in love with (possibly because I kind of lived it). They just made my heart so incredibly happy. There were other awesome secondary characters too, like Sof, Ned, Mrs. A, and Grey. I found myself much more drawn to them than the main characters, which is too bad because it really was her story. The time travel aspect of this book confused me a bit (and I had totally forgotten about it until all of the sudden we are in a possible loop and I was super confused). I was also not a fan of Gottie. It could just be differences in personality, but I had a very hard time with her. But even with that I was super glad to have taken the time to read this book. I think it opened my eyes to some possible real life situations in front of me.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

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Ok, so I know this isn’t necessarily a book and more of a short story but STILL. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors. I think there is just ONE book of hers that I didn’t love, and I think that was more of a me thing than anything else. This short story was ADORABLE. It was exactly the pick-me-up that I needed during a pretty rough month (the person that I send to for Secret Sister sent it to me and seriously…I sobbed when I got it because it was so thoughtful and it came just after I was told of a massive and necessary car repair I needed to do. Crazy). Now, you have to know that it does involve Star Wars. I like Star Wars well enough, but I don’t necessarily LOVE it and can get annoyed with people when they overly talk about it and such. This book didn’t annoy me one bit. It was less about Star Wars and more about getting out of your comfort zone and exploring the world. You never know who you might end up meeting, what relationships you might end up creating, and what memories you may make along the way. I think, in a way, this book told the reader to take small risks and put yourself out there. I probably would be ok with MORE about these particular characters and the life that they have ahead of them, but I will be satisfied enough with the short amount of time I spent with them. Seriously, if you have the opportunity to read this short story I highly recommend it. Well worth your time.

Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Chatting about Books

So there are quite a few books that I have read recently that I just haven’t reviewed. Possible reasons for this…I have so many feelings about it that I couldn’t find words for an entire post, it’s a continuation in a series and I really do struggle with talking about those without spoilers (all the books I am going to talk about today are continuations in a series), sometimes it’s just that they are talked about so much that I feel I don’t need an ENTIRE post on it but that I can add a few thoughts and move on.

So you’re probably DYING to know…WHAT IS IT THAT I HAVE READ THAT I CAN’T KEEP MY EMOTIONS IN CHECK TO CREATE ONE POST ABOUT ONE BOOK!

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Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Ok, so if you haven’t read this series I must say that you NEED to! I did not expect to love it as much as I do, and this author just keeps making each book better and better. I love them all and honestly haven’t been disappointed by her work with this series yet! I was definitely going back and forth about reading this one.It’s a prequel (though I have heard some say to wait to read it until after Cress. I dunno if that’s necessary or not but that’s what I did) and about a character I honestly cannot stand. I mean tell me…does she look like the most amazing character ever based on the cover? NO! She looks awful. And she is terrible. I was scared this story would make me sympathize with Levanna, because she is so terrible. But I think this story had me see just WHY she is the way she is. Is there any excuse for her behavior? No. None at all. But I see that there was very little chance of her being a decent human being.She drove me crazy though. She had opportunities to be the bigger person, but seemed to NEVER take the high road. So I think in a way I kind of understand her a bit more (KINDA being the key word). There were some great characters in this book. I loved Winter, and I loved Everett and my heart definitely ached for him because he was just doing the best he could. I love how this book really shows how all these different parts of the books relate. To see where it all started with the main characters that are currently in the book is awesome. I did not expect to be completely and totally addicted to this book, but it happened. I am so excited to hopefully get my hands on Winter soon!tumblr_mbji98VD401r7zjhx

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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

This book reminded me so much of the books that I read as a child. It filled me with feelings of nostalgia. I read so many books about the westward movement and life out on the frontier and this book screamed to my 10 year old self.Lee, the main character, was someone I really enjoyed reading about. She dealt with so many crappy situations in this book, but she seemed to make the best of it and move forward. She showed a lot of strength as she tried her hardest to not let life get her down, which is something I can never read to much of. I loved watching her grow, mature, and become more confident in herself. Jefferson was someone I would definitely want as a friend, but I didn’t feel like I got to know him as much as I had wanted to (PLEASE LET THERE BE MORE ABOUT HIM IN BOOK 2 KTHANKSBYE!). I felt like all the people that she and Jefferson were traveling with were such a great addition. They became like family, and my heart broke when tragedy would strike because I definitely wanted everything to go smoothly (good jokes right? How many people traveling during this time towards to gold in California had smooth trips? Yep..). The magic in this book was super subtle, which I think is something people should know BEFORE diving in. It is definitely more historical fiction with a dash of fantasy. I loved that, but I know that some people were not anticipating that. I love how this book kind of closed up one part of their adventures and we have a whole new adventure ahead of us for book two. Cannot wait to see where this one goes!7400499

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The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E Pearson

This is the first book off of my TBR for Rock My TBR that I finished! YAY!

OHHHHH MYYYYYY HEART!!!!! I think that I liked this book way more than book 1. Not 100% sure why, but it is what it is. I absolutely love Lia. She is a bit fiesty, sassy, and also super caring and compassionate. She has such strength that I kind of envy. Yes, she sometimes gets in a little over her head and yes she sometimes is a bit impulsive, but that is so her that it kind of makes sense. She’s not perfect, which I think is important. Kaden and Rafe…honestly, they are both good guys. I may have my own opinions on who I would choose in this love triangle type thing, but in all honesty…I think either guy is good (though she could just be independent and awesome. I’d be cool with that too). The world…the world created in this book is AWESOME; a world I definitely got lost in. And the TWISTS!
OHHHHH the twists and turns of the plot! My heart!!!!! I mean I was loving it but then I got to the last 100 or so pages and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! And the ending…IT WAS SO GOOD! If you love some fantasy (ok, some fantasy with romance) then this is the book for you to try! Oh+godthe+feelsthey+re+everywhere+_c6461479a0f43a987e524705cb9e5e18

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these books (AND HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THEM!?)?

Fantasy Book Chats

So there are quite a few books that I have read recently that I just haven’t reviewed. Possible reasons for this…I have so many feelings about it that I couldn’t find words for an entire post, it’s a continuation in a series and I really do struggle with talking about those without spoilers (all the books I am going to talk about today are continuations in a series), sometimes it’s just that they are talked about so much that I feel I don’t need an ENTIRE post on it but that I can add a few thoughts and move on.

There are 4 books that I have done nothing with on this blog within the last 3 months. 4 books that I do want to talk about, but decided it best to not dedicate an ENTIRE post to each and every one. All of them are a continuation in a series, but I promise to not have any spoilers whatsoever in these little chats.

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas

Now if you haven’t read the Throne of Glass series I almost want to yell at you and ask what you are waiting for. This is one of my FAVORITE fantasy series. I started reading it on a whim last summer and am so glad I did. Each and every book gets better, and so many things happen (and there are STILL 2 more books coming out). I loved this addition to the series. I felt a stronger connection to characters, such as Manon. I honestly was not a huge fan of her in Heir of Fire. Mostly I just didn’t understand what her role in this story was. In Queen of Shadows you understand. You get it completely and totally and I was all for it. I think that this book had me add quite a few characters to my favorite characters list actually (welcome aboard Lysandra!). Aelin is still amazing as ever and the story was fantastic filled with so many twists and turns. Loved this book and I cannot wait until the next on!

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Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch

This series is another that has become a favorite of mine. The world that Sara Raasch builds is so fantastic, and it is a series that I find myself CONSTANTLY flipping back to the map because I just want to make sure I know exactly where they are going and what they are doing (and that is not always the case for some reason). Now I must admit, it was not all sunshine and roses right away with this sequel. There were parts that I definitely felt drag on, and there were times where I wondered if I should just come back later. But I remembered that the first book started somewhat slowly, and I had a friend tell me to keep reading because it gets good. SO glad I listened and continued because the plot twists and the pace of the story definitely picked up and I ended that book in shock and needing the next story. This is a book that I legitimately talked out loud to myself to make sure that I was on the same page as what had just happened. I had to reason things out with myself. I love when that happens. So even with a slow start I found this book to be a great sequel and I am anxiously awaiting book 3.

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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

First off, if you have not read this series I highly recommend it. I liked the first book, but oh my gosh did the 2nd book really take off. This is like a mix of fairy tales with some sci-fi elements and some romance and AH. It is perfection. If you have not started this you should definitely get on with Cinder right now. Cress was awesome. I always get worried about long books because what if there are all those pages and nothing happens. That is definitely not the case with any of the books in this series. There is so much action and so many plot twists that I just cannot get over. I love that each book as added a new character to the squad, and I think Cress is awesome. She fits right in with Cinder and Thorne (who seriously grew on me in this book) and Iko. I just felt like she was meant to be with these characters. I feel like with each book this series gets better, and I am definitely reading for the final book (which just came out a few weeks ago)!

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The Heir (The Selection Series #4) by Kiera Cass

This series is something else. I have seen other bloggers refer to it as book crack, and book crack it most certainly is. I started The Selection Series thinking that it would just be something cheesy that I could listen to as an audio book and that’s about it, but I became completely and totally addicted. This series has had me laughing, crying, cheering…all of it. All the feels have come out in what seems like a simple premises. I was shocked when a 4th book was added because I was under the impresssion that this was to be just a trilogy, but I love that Kiera Cass added this (and one more soon to come) book! I really enjoyed looking at the Selection from the other side. It was interesting to look at it not through the eyes of the competitor, but through the eyes of the selectee. It shows you a whole new side to the process, and honestly…I had a hard time trying to decide who I think she should pick (and thank goodness there’s another book because I still can’t choose). I am REALLY struggling to not post spoilers because I need to talk about that ending, but I won’t. I will just anxiously await for the final book in this series. I do highly recommend this series, especially if you are currently stressed and needing to take your mind off of things. That is how I came upon this series, and I feel like it’s one that has always been there. I love it.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your thoughts on them?