Thursday, July 27, 2017



I've been trying to make these posts less of a monthly thing, but sometimes when I'm reading -- or listening -- I get carried away and just pick up the next book without even stopping to consider it. Other times, I deliberate far too long on what to read next, and yet I still don't manage to get these posts out any sooner. Oh, well. I suppose as booknerds, you all understand. =)

This month, I was a lot more varied in my reading than I have been in recent months. I think there was a good mix of young adult, adult/romance, and re-reads in there. I read some fantastic books, and I read some duds, but I think my favorite of them all had to be either Here Lies Daniel Tate -- shockingly good, not because I expected not to like it but because I did and it still surprised me -- and The Waking Land, which pretty much no one is talking about but was utterly brilliant. All said and done, it was a pretty great reading month.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)




Y O U N G   A D U L T

Every Move (Every, #3)Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1)

Every Move - I put off reading this final book for ages, and I don't even know why. It definitely wasn't because of the purported love triangle. I can deal with that because I trust Ellie Marney enough as an author not to completely alienate her readership...and we are ALL #Wattscroft shippers, after all. And after reading the book, I think rumors of a love triangle were grossly exaggerated. It was never an issue, though with everything that Mycroft has gotten Rachel caught up in over the course of this series, it's only fair that she's a little confused in this book. I do have to admit, I found aspects of this finale a tad predictable, but it was still a crazy, thrilling ride, despite that. And I am super excited to read Harris' book in a couple of months. I really enjoyed the addition of his character and can't wait to see where his story takes us. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Song of the Current - Fun story. The magic and lore were intriguing. And pirates are always good. Plus a hate-to-love romance with witty banter is my jam. But WTF was that ending?!? Seriously, sometimes I hate listening to audiobooks for this reason. You can be trucking along, the story's getting really intense, and then BAM! The end catches you totally by surprise and leaves you reeling. At least with a paper copy, you can see the end approaching. Anyway, I liked it. It's great for fans of Daughter of the Pirate King, which I loved. But I'm still side-eyeing that cliffhanger. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow - Apparently, now that I've picked up some more exciting reads, I'm going to end up on the edge of a cliff at the end of every one of them. That's fine. I'd rather remain curious at the end than regretting the time I spent reading a book. I loved Weber's Storm Siren series -- though I haven't been able to bring myself to read that final book, d'oh! -- and I enjoy her writing, but I wasn't sure how I'd fare with a gamer book. Gaming is so not my thing. And when this one started out a little Hunger Games-y on top of that, I admit I was a little worried. But this story was not that at all. It wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for but rather something in between. It was very sci-fi, high-tech espionage, with a side of alien overlords thrown in just to shake things up. And I am completely on board with it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Coming Up for AirHere Lies Daniel TateThe Waking Land

Coming Up for Air - I've only read Breathe, Annie, Breathe and Catching Jordan in this series...and in that order, but I can see why so many readers love Miranda Kenneally's books. They all share such a vivid, realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager: a little angst, a little romance, and a whole lot of finding yourself, all while being very sex-positive. Without having read the entire series, I don't think it would be right to pick a favorite, but I've always loved the best-friends-to-more romance, and so Coming Up for Air is definitely a contender. It shows that guys can be dicks and girls are allowed to be unsure of what they want, but real best friends are forever. This was such a cute summer read, and as you can see, you don't have to have read any of the other books in the series. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Here Lies Daniel Tate - I thought about writing a full review for this one. I have quite a lot to say about it. But alas, spoilers. So, I'll just say that this was one thrilling, twisty, fucked up book, and I COMPLETELY LOVED IT. An unreliable narrator is my favorite because you just never know. I read so much that books are typically pretty predictable for me, but that all falls by the wayside when the narrator is this ballsy, sociopathic con-artist. I mean, there were definitely clues and my theory did ultimately pan out, but there's just no way to guess it ALL. And that's what makes this book so great, so unbelievably captivating, despite the tragic circumstances. And Cristin Terrill is so amazing at putting the reader IN the story, making us empathize with characters because they're so multi-faceted and just downright intriguing. Please, book gods, I beg of you, do NOT let it be another four years before we get another book from this woman. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Waking Land - This stand-alone fantasy novel was utterly gorgeous in its telling and breathtaking in its brilliant use of magic to spark a revolution in a kingdom already besieged by pretenders and usurpers. I rarely find the time to read on the weekends, let alone listen to a book, but once I started this audiobook on my way home on Friday afternoon, there was no stopping me. The book almost comes to life with the rich narration, waking your senses as the land is waking in the story, and it made it very hard to put down. This story was simply lovely and unique, and well...magical. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Paper Hearts (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #2)Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us, #3)

Paper Hearts - Ugh. After being sorta surprised (in a good way) by the first book, I am decidedly unimpressed with this companion novel. It was overkill and boring and I never sensed the romantic connection. And this time, the only band member who didn't annoy me was Alec. I'm assuming there's going to be a book for each Heartbreaker, but I don't think I care to see the series through... 🌟🌟

Frostblood - I was just SO bored while listening to this one. I put off reading it for ages because it just seemed so...generic. And it was. The magic system was so unimaginative. The romance, which I'm sure was supposed to be this epic hate-to-love thing, was so trite, and I never felt the love or the hate. The only thing I did like was the narrator, but even she couldn't save this book. I highly doubt I'll be picking up the sequel. 🌟🌟

The Ends of the World - This was a great conclusion to the jet-setting adventure of the first two books. This finale was slightly more grounded, definitely more politically motivated, and full of character growth for Avery and company. And though I could have used more of the steamy scenes that Maggie Hall is so great at, I'm thoroughly pleased that she didn't vilify the guy who didn't end up getting the girl. We got to see the vulnerability behind the masks in this novel, and it made me like the characters that much more. I'm sad that it's over, but I'm completely satisfied with this ending. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Reece Malcolm ListGiven to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)

The Reece Malcolm List - I cannot believe I have only just now read this adorable book! I bought it on sale for Kindle ages ago. It was endearing and the voice was just perfect. Also, I related to Devan and her insecurities and anxiety of always saying or doing the wrong thing, and I loved seeing her grow past that, especially as someone who never really did. The mother-daughter relationship is so central to this book, too, and I couldn't have loved it more. It was genuine and not at all what I was expecting, which is to say that Reece Malcolm ended up being this really above board character who made Devan better. It as just so well done...traversing first loves and first heartbreaks, high school, and family. I'm so glad I decided to peruse my Kindle library to stave off the boredom at work one day. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Given to the Sea - It's Mindy McGinnis, so duh, I wanted to read it. But as with all her books, I knew going into this one not to expect a happy ending, and so I've put off reading it. Thus, the audiobook from the library, which probably helped since there are so many freaking points of view. I'm loathe to actually read a book when there's more than two perspectives and this one had plenty more than that. The one I really could have done without was Witt's. I understand that what was happening with the Pietrans was important to the story overall, but his POV took me out of the story more than it helped add to it. This book was different from the author's previous work, but it was oddly similar, if that makes any sense. The overall mood was similar, I guess. I still feel the same way I always do after a McGinnis book: like I've read something good but in need of some comfort because it's just so bleak. 🌟🌟🌟




R E - R E A D S

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

Kingmaker Chronicles #1-2 - I've been in a bit of a fantasy mood and though I know the third book won't release until January, I couldn't help myself and had to re-read these books. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

All Our YesterdaysThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us, #2)

All Our Yesterdays - After reading Here Lies Daniel Tate and talking up Cristin Terrill's first book to a friend, I couldn't help picking it up for a re-read...again. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This Savage Song - You know, I liked this one a lot more the first time I read it. The narration on the audio was great for a re-read, but I just could not get into it this time around. And I really needed to so I don't feel I'm forcing myself to read Our Dark Duet. :( Which I've been unable to make myself do, regardless... 🌟🌟🌟

Map of Fates - Prep for The Ends of the World. Plus, I could re-read that Stellan/Avery interlude a hundred times and never grow tired of it. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟🌟




A D U L T

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys, #2)Dating You / Hating YouThe Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband - This was cute and I was definitely entertained by the While You Were Sleeping vibe, but as I've said before, I just don't think Julia Quinn is ever going to be one of my favorite historical romance authors. There's nothing inherently bad about the writing or her stories; they just always leave me outside of the story in a way that Tessa Dare or Sarah MacLean's novels don't. 🌟🌟🌟

Dating You/Hating You - Similar to The Hating Game but not? Also, I'm very, very surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, considering how much I loathed the only other Christina Lauren novel I've read, which was not nearly as Sublime as the title suggests. Not even a little bit. But I digress. Honestly, this book made me laugh. Like, a lot. It was witty. And sexy. But it was ultimately the poor man's version of The Hating Game, a book I've re-read no less than four times in less than a year. As entertaining as Dating You/Hating You was, I just can't see myself reading this one over and over again. I will have to check out more of this duo's adult reads, though. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Duchess Deal - The first book is almost always my favorite in a Tessa Dare series, and I'm sure the same will hold true with the Girl Meets Duke series, though I'm holding out hope that the next book will be just as good, especially with the intimation as to which pairing the next book will focus on. ;0) That said, my favorite fairy tale ever is Beauty and the Beast, and there was a strong BatB vibe with this story, also making it one of my very favorite Tessa Dare novels to-date. While also ensuring that Dare is going to be hard-pressed to surpass it, at least in my eyes. This newest novel is everything you've come to expect from her: witty banter, great characterization, clever dialogue, funny situations, and of course, some seriously steamy sex scenes. But there's also that cantankerous cat, the monster and his sidekick, those hilarious nicknames, the well-meaning staff, and the seamstress-turned-duchess' tight-knit group of friends. It was almost too much awesome for one book. I'm entirely serious when I say this just might be my new favorite Tessa Dare novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Dear Mr. KnightleyThe Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes With Love, #4)If Wishes Were Earls (Rhymes With Love, #3)His Scandalous Kiss (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor, #3)

Dear Mr. Knightley - I'm so glad I gave this book a chance after seeing someone discussing it on Goodreads. I just adore epistolary novels. And the writing in this novel, the way the letters are spread out, really works to keep you in the story. I just wish I hadn't known the identity of Mr. Knightley before I even started. I know this is an older novel, but there are spoiler tags for a reason. And, sure, I would have figured it out pretty quickly anyway, but it's the principle. And even knowing didn't make that ending feel any less rushed. I wish we got to spend more time with characters in romance novels once they finally get together. But that's a complaint for another day. I still loved the literary references and how Sam channelled some of her favorite characters when she was uncomfortable in a situation. And though there were definitely some tough subjects being tackled, it never felt too heavy...or too preachy. Definitely a great read if you're looking for something different. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane - I've never read this author's work before but I just had to try this one since it sounds SO much like The Duchess Deal, which I just read and adored. On the surface, the stories are similar: gruff lord has unfortunate run-in with naive spinster-type and is almost immediately besotted but fights his feelings for most of the book. However, that's where the similarities end. This story was entertaining, but it lacked the heart of Dare's novel. Although, I was looking for a happily ever after in both cases, I just never felt a connection to the characters in Elizabeth Boyle's book. I'm going to give her another try, as I already have a previous book in this series checked out from the library. (I'm very good -- or is it bad? -- at reading historical romance series out of order.) I'm hoping that since I didn't just read a story with a similar premise, my expectations won't keep me from enjoying it as much as I otherwise could have, as with The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane. 🌟🌟🌟

If Wishes Were Earls - So, I think the summary on GR is a bit off on this one, but despite that, I quite enjoyed the book. I always love heroes and heroines who would put their own happiness aside to ensure the safety and well-being of those they love -- even when it's frustrating as hell to read, knowing what they're prepared to sacrifice. I also love a heroine who flouts the rules of society, who barrels toward danger, all in the name of love. Harriet, nay Harry, was perfection. (And I definitely want to read more about her five brothers!) Roxley was a fine love interest, but Harry really stole the show. There should be a series -- like the one "quoted" from in this story -- detailing her adventures. 🌟🌟🌟

His Scandalous Kiss - I grabbed this audiobook from the library on a whim, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit, despite never having read a book by this author previously. However, this regency romance was quite a bit tamer than most of those I've read recently. And it is is the THIRD book featuring a battle-scarred/injured hero that I've read in as many weeks, though not my favorite. (Tessa Dare reigns supreme again.) Usually when I read these novels, some type of illicit affair happens as a precursor to obtaining a special license to be wed, but everything in this romance was above board. Well, for the most part. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟




Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!



Thursday, June 29, 2017



The year's just about half over and I've read or listened to a total of 136 books so far, with another one almost done. That's 14 books ahead of schedule, and yet it still doesn't feel like I'm reading as much as I did last year. But there have just been some days where I literally could not bring myself to pick up a book or turn on an audiobook, which, up until this point, was pretty much unheard of for me.

I don't think I'm in a slump, but I just don't feel like I've read anything mega-super-amazing-fantastic recently...despite there being a few five-star reads below. Maybe it's because my last few reads have been really mellow -- and contemporary -- and so I'm just feeling blah. I have been doing some re-reading that had me pretty excited, but that's over and now I'm just looking for the unexpected, I think. Here's hoping that puts an end to whatever this is, anyway.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)




Y O U N G   A D U L T

When It's RealZenn DiagramMade You Up

When It's Real - I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this book going into it, especially considering the ranty reviews I've read of The Royals series. But I didn't hate it. It was super corny at times and pretty unrealistic most of the time, but it was sweet. I'm always here for the fake romance trope, though I've definitely seen it done better. If you're wondering if this book made me want to pick up the duo's others, the answer is a resounding no. Because if I only sorta liked this one, there's no way I'm going to enjoy the others. But I didn't hate it. 🌟🌟🌟

Zenn Diagram - This story was so clever and sweet and genuine, and I can't believe past me would ever have passed up something so adorkable because it was contemporary and touchy-feely. I want to smack that past version of me. Because this book isn't just contemporary; it contains a bit of magical realism, too, and a whole lot of nerdy math convos and science-y stuff. And while I don't believe Eva's condition as it is described is a real thing, there are other very real types of touch-emotion synaesthesia. And I find all forms of synaesthesia absolutely fascinating. I loved the family dynamic, the swoony romance, and even the sense of fate that came with the story. It actually reminded me a bit of The Love That Split the World, which I also adored. The only thing that bothered me was that the ending felt a little abrupt, but maybe that's just me because I wasn't ready to leave these characters behind. And I was still left with a few unanswered questions, even with that touching epilogue. 12/10 would read again. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Made You Up - First off, I love an unreliable narrator, especially when even they don't know if they can trust their own judgment. And I totally sympathized with Alex, even more so when the severity of her condition came to light. And when her parents started looking for other treatment options, including those that would make a normal existence impossible, I railed against them in my head. But this story is about more than just Alex's paranoia and schizophrenia. There's a bit of a mystery to solve. First love to contend with. And an awesome friend group and hijinks to carry out. All in all, Made You Up was sad and serious and fun and triumphant and I can't wait to pick up the author's sophomore novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

What to Say NextA Million JunesFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)

What to Say Next - I loved Tell Me Three Things and knew that I'd read anything else by Julie Buxbaum because of it. This book felt decidedly more tragic than her debut YA novel, but it was no less captivating. And there was still an air of mystery to it that kept me glued to the pages. I also appreciated the handling of autism and bullying; both aspects felt genuine and were interwoven delicately with the other character's grief. And while there was also a sweet romance, this is the type of book I'll pass on and tell others about because it was such a comfort to read. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

A Million Junes - Magical realism is quickly becoming my go-to sub-genre. It lends itself to the here and now while also being a bit mired in fantasy elements. Add to that the star-crossed lovers aspect and I am sold. The O'Donnells and the Angerts have generations-long feud that rivals that of the Hatfields and McCoys and A Million Junes is basically the unraveling of that tale, of how the feud started and how it will end. There is banter. There are flashbacks. And there is magic. And it all culminates into a gloriously unique story, full of the beautiful writing I discovered in Emily Henry's debut novel last year. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Flame in the Mist - Okay, I'm a little pissed at myself for not checking Goodreads before downloading this audio because I had it in my head that this was a stand-alone and GAH I WAS NOT READY FOR IT TO END AND IT DID AND NOW I NEED MORE AND I HAVE TO WAIT FOREVER AND A DAY. So, yeah, it was good. Better even than I was expecting, which is saying a lot because I loved Ahdieh's previous duology. I've seen everyone trussing this up as a Mulan retelling, but it is so much more than that. And it's not that at all. I adored this book because it was all about female empowerment, familial responsibilities, secrets and lies and betrayals. It was about finding your place in the world and holding tight to it. And I can't wait to read more! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Female of the SpeciesRoar (Stormheart, #1)All the Truth That's in Me

The Female of the Species - JFC. Holy shit! That was fucking brutal. I know from experience not to expect a HEA or even any semblance of happiness when it comes to Mindy McGinnis' novels, but I think this book was a whole new level of fucked up. But it was also thought-provoking and shined a very bright light at rape culture and how we react to it and how we should react to it. I want to take this book and shove it in everyone's faces. It took so long to bring myself to read it -- even after reading the first four chapters in an excerpt and really connecting to it -- and I feel guilty about that now. Because this isn't just a story. Any one of the three points of view could potentially be yours or that of someone you know. And I don't know which perspective would be the worst because it's all awful, regardless of the victim. I applaud McGinnis' ability to portray so much -- the emotion, the violence, the indecency -- in one single novel, but I'm almost afraid to read what she writes next. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Roar - I've really enjoyed most of Cora Carmack's new adult novels, but I have to say I was a bit hesitant to pick up Roar. The summary reminded me a bit of Storm Siren, and this being the author's first fantasy novel, I wasn't expecting much. But from the very beginning, I was captivated. The world-building was intriguing. The cast of characters and their development was fantastic. And while the story did lose a bit of steam around the halfway point, with the constant traveling and breaks for training, I'm still very excited to see where it goes. I'm not 100% sold on the romance because I shipped Roar with someone else, so I'd happily take a love triangle in the sequel. :P I believe this is a planned trilogy, but I'd happily read more as Roar learns about herself and her place in the Stormheart world. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

All the Truth That's in Me - A friend was spot-on when she mentioned in her review how very unfitting this cover is for the story within. I mean, if I hadn't been on Goodreads that particular day and seen her review in my feed, I might never have picked it up because it looks straight-up contemporary; an issues book, if you will. But it's about a girl from a Puritan village who goes missing and who is deemed less than upon her return...and all the other truths that come out in due course. It's a page-turner with super-short chapters and flashbacks, and I absolutely could not stop listening. The narrator was superb, especially considering the limitations on the main character's speech. Super glad I gave this one a try, despite that incongruous cover. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ramona BlueOnce and for AllDear Reader

Ramona Blue - I knew I was going to love this book despite (or in spite of?) the controversy when the summary was first revealed. I mean, it's Julie Murphy. Her stories are genuine and heartfelt and though every character is different and going through something different, you can always find some way to identify with them because they're realistic and imperfect, just like us. Ramona Blue is no different. I'm not a 6 ft. tall swimmer with blue hair, but I grew up poor in a small town where being different would get you ostracized quicker than admitting you cheered for someone other than the Cowboys. And Ramona has had to deal with all of that, plus Hurricane Katrina. So, I felt for her. I still think Dumplin' is my favorite character of hers so far, but I feel a kind of kinship with them all, even the side characters. And that's the beauty of a Julie Murphy novel... 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Once and for All - This was by no means my favorite Dessen novel, but it was a very typical Dessen novel: heartfelt and full of loss but also hopeful and full of new beginnings. There were really two love stories rolled into one, and if I could have read each one separately, I might have fared better. I loved the flashbacks and I loved both Ethan and Ambrose, though for different reasons. But I just couldn't help but feel that Louna was not being honest with herself or those around her and it was frustrating to read, especially since the story progressed sooo slowly. It was also kind of a downer. I don't remember Dessen's earlier novels being quite so depressing. 🌟🌟🌟

Dear Reader - Well, that was a wandering, convoluted, ambitious tale...and I think I liked it? Be forewarned, that Gilmore Girls nod in the summary is not all that appropo, except maybe for the fast-talking and that might only be because I listened to the audio on double speed. ;) But on the whole, I found the narrative transformative, at least for the main character. I'm not sure that I'm all that changed for having read this story, but I did enjoy the literary scavenger hunt aspect of it. It also made me want to go back and re-read Wuthering Heights, which I remember enjoying as a teenager, so there's that. The prose in Dear Reader is lovely but it also left me feeling empty when the story was said and done, which is how I remember feeling after finishing Wuthering Heights. And yet I can't help but appreciate the parallel stories of two lonely young women, searching for their own stories in the pages of a book. 🌟🌟🌟




R E - R E A D S

Catching JordanEvery Breath (Every, #1)Every Word (Every, #2)The Winter King (Weathermages of Mystral, #1)

Catching Jordan - It's summer and I miss football. 🌟🌟🌟

Every Breath & Every Word - I have been saying I'll finish this series for years. Since I pre-ordered the Aussie version of the final book. And I am finally doing it. I even created a shelf on Goodreads called "so I can finish the series" because this phenomenon is not restricted to this series. :P I loved it every bit as much upon my re-read and now I'm wondering why I've been putting this off... 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Winter King - I was granted an early copy of The Sea King and I wanted a refresher. Plus, sometimes you just really need a good adult fantasy to get you through the week. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Enclave (Razorland, #1)Outpost (Razorland, #2)Horde (Razorland, #3)

Razorland series - Prepping for Vanguard, and I seriously cannot believe I forgot how much I love this series. I love zombie stories, but I've kind of strayed from them until recently. But now that I'm hooked on iZombie and there's a new book releasing in the Razorland world, I'm a full-fledged zombie lover again. Such a great re-read and. So. Many. Feels. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A D U L T

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen (The Lady Travelers Guide, #1)

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen - Slow to start but pretty par for the course once it got going. Maybe slightly floofier than the standard historical romance fare -- at least what I've read of it -- but also less sexy-times. It was cute, though, and an enjoyable way to pass this dreary Monday. 🌟🌟🌟




Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!





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