Tag Archive: April


The end of Beyond the Shadows is coming up next week and everything will finally come together. It’s all so nerve-racking!

*As a reminder, we’re both doing giveaways for this trilogy. If you haven’t entered already, you can do so on our introduction post.

**The following may contain spoilers for The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge.

 

Did anything surprise you in this section?

{Diana} Actually, there were several things, but TWO things flat out shocked me. First, there’s The Wheel. Not only could I not believe how incredibly, horrifyingly brutal it was, but I absolutely could not believe who was using it on whom (or is it whom was using it on who??? Whatever.)!!!! And then there was the truth behind Kylar’s immortality. Jaw, meet Floor. For real.

{Heather} I was pretty surprised by one scene with Dorian. I honestly did not see him ever doing something like that to keep himself and Jenine safe and to keep everyone thinking he was the rightful Godking. I wish Grakaat Kruhn wouldn’t have challenged Dorian like that then Dorian wouldn’t have had to do what he did.

 

Who was your favorite character in this section?

{Diana} In a surprising turn of events, I’m going to go with Vi. That girl has shown some serious growth in this book! That thing that she did for Kylar and Elene should definitely qualify her for sainthood.

{Heather} I’ll definitely agree with Diana about Vi growing in this book. She is becoming one of my favorite characters overall, but for this round I’ll have to say Logan is my favorite character because he is so sassy as king. I love how he just takes charge, and I’m hoping everything works out for him.

 

Who was your least favorite character?

{Diana} For lack of a better response, I’m going to say the Wolf. I still don’t entirely know what he’s up to and therefore don’t trust him as far as I could throw him into Ezra’s Wood.

{Heather} Elene all the way! I cannot stand this girl, and I’m mad that Kylar still wants to be with her even with the whole Vi thing. I’m rooting for Kylar and Vi to get together and for Elene to just disappear. Shoo, Elene!

 

What was your favorite quote or passage?

{Diana} My favorite quote this week comes from Heather’s favorite wetboy 🙂

“There’s no guarantee that justice will win out or that a noble sacrifice will make any difference. But when it does, there’s something that still swells my chest. There’s magic in that. Deep magic. It tells me that’s the way things are supposed to be.”

{Heather} Yes! My favorite wetboy! My favorite quote is from Logan when he is explaining to Lantano Garuwashi why he makes certain decisions.

“I knew this kid, small kid, nothing to look at. Someone picked on him once, and he flew at the guy like he’d lost his mind.”

“Did the little kid win?”

“He got destroyed. But no one picked on that little kid again, because he approached every harassment as if his life depended on winning. There were no rules in a fight with him. He didn’t care how badly he got hurt. He would win. I was always bigger and stronger than other kids, but I would fight fair and stop when someone conceded victory. I had to fight a lot more than he did.”

I just love this metaphor because it makes a lot of sense why Logan is responding to others a certain way. He tries to prove he will not be stepped on and pushed aside. I also really love how the conversation continues because you get to see that while Logan is a great king, he is still new to everything and worries if he is making the right decisions for his people. He is just all around awesome.

 

What do you think will happen next?

{Diana} Sooooo, I kinda already finished reading the book and I may have forgotten to make a note of what my prediction was when I got to the end of this section. I’m just going to leave this one up to Heather 😉

{Heather} Ahh, I need to know what happens next. This is driving me crazy. I’m really hoping that Elene dies, even though that is terrible to say, but boo on her. She needs to go away. Kylar needs to figure his life out, and I want Vi to find happiness. I’m hoping Dorian can rule the Khalidorians effectively without compromising who he is. There are just too many things I want to find out! I’m so nervous about the ending!

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Beyond the Shadows is getting better and more chaotic as the story progresses. What will happen next?!

*As a reminder, we’re both doing giveaways for this trilogy. If you haven’t entered already, you can do so on our introduction post.

**The following may contain spoilers for The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge.

 

Did anything surprise you in this section?

{Diana} There were quite a few revelations surrounding Dorian in this section, but the thing that surprised (and dare I say terrified) me the most was The Strangers. Can you say creepy? And horrible. And, I’ll say it again, terrifying. The implications of what could be done with them is. . .is. . .I don’t even want to think about it.

{Heather} The Strangers are completely creepy. I was not expecting creatures like them to be in this world, but they add a whole new level to everything. If they were ever used, the results could be disastrous for everybody. They are just too awful to use.

 

Who was your favorite character in this section?

{Diana} Kylar, Kylar, and Kylar. I LOVE Kylar. He did something that made me very, VERY happy. If you’ve been following along you can probably guess what he did, but if not I’m not going to spoil it for you 😉

{Heather} Yes to Kylar! He was amazing! I was so happy with him. It’s funny because this is the first time Diana and I have said that Kylar was our favorite character. He’s developed a lot and becoming a really interesting character.

 

Who was your least favorite character?

{Diana} If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Terah Graesin. Seriously, she’s so incredibly despicable. GAH! I HATE HER.

{Heather} Terah Graesin is a horrible brat. She gets upset when something doesn’t go her way, and she is a terrible ruler. She needs to move over so Logan can be king!

 

What was your favorite quote or passage?

{Diana} My favorite quote this week is short and to the point. I love it because I feel like it applies to SO MANY situations in this story. Like, once you’ve hit rock-bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.

“Cenaria had been burnt to the ground, and something good was trying to grow from the ashes.”

{Heather} My quote involves Kylar and Logan talking about Kylar wanting to do a certain wetboy assignment.

“Can you love an idea more than you love a man and not become a monster? How many friends will you sacrifice on the altar of Justice, Logan?”

“If you force my hand, at least one.”

I feel like this conversation between the two really shows the different perspectives and morals each of them have. They both believe strongly in what they feel and might even sacrifice friends for their beliefs.

 

What do you think will happen next?

{Diana} Complete and utter chaos? Really, your guess is as good as mine. There are so many cogs spinning in the wheel that is the plot of this book and I have no idea where any of them are going. It’s kind of unsettling.

{Heather} It’s getting so intense that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m nervous about where the end of this trilogy is going, but I want to know how everything wraps up. I just hope it does it in a way that doesn’t crush me.

Diana and I have started our Beyond the Shadows buddy read this month! There is a lot of excitement built up for the finale of this trilogy, and neither of us can wait to find out how it all ends.

*As a reminder, we’re both doing giveaways for this trilogy. If you haven’t entered already, you can do so on our introduction post.

**The following may contain spoilers for The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge.

 

Did anything surprise you in this section?

{Diana} Honestly, I feel like things are pretty mild right now, but I was surprised by what Dorian did to save Jenine. One might almost call it a sacrifice, and I’m excited/scared to see what happens with him because of it.

{Heather} I have to say finding out who Dehvi is really surprised me. For some reason, I just wasn’t expecting that character to show up so soon, but I’m glad he did. I can’t wait for Kylar to meet Dehvi. I think that scene will be quite awesome.

 

Who was your favorite character in this section?

{Diana} I am totally loving Dorian right now. I mean, I’ve always liked his character, but we’re getting to see A LOT more of him and he’s pretty awesome. Plus, the scenes between him and Jenine are just too cute for words 🙂

{Heather} I really enjoyed Dehvi. I mean you find out who he really is, and I’m just so excited. I actually squealed when it was revealed. So awesome!  I can’t wait to see more of him. At least, I hope there is more of him!

 

Who was your least favorite character?

{Diana} Terah. Graesin. Why has nobody killed her yet?!

{Heather} Yes, to everything Diana said. Terah is awful, and she needs to be eliminated soon! Her brother should go too. They can die together.

 

What was your favorite quote or passage?

{Diana} Speaking of Dorian and Jenine, this little scene between them made me laugh 🙂 *Possible Spoiler* *Explicit Language*

“You really are a wytch, aren’t you?”
“Not now. That magic is evil. I left it long ago and trained with the magi.”
“Could you use your magic to bring me warm food?” Her eyes sparkled with mischief and as they laughed together, he fell in love with her all over again.
“If I could manage a disguise that convinced Yorbas Zurgah I’m a eunuch, I think I can warm your food. Here.” And he warmed her gruel right then, hoping his I-do-have-a-penis was subtle enough.
She cocked an eyebrow at him. “Here I was thinking that if I’d been in an enchanted sleep and my prince needed to awaken me I’d have been out of luck.”
“Uh, in the books I’ve read, he wakes her with a kiss,” Dorian said.
“You’ve been reading the wrong books.”
Dorian coughed and blushed, and Jenine giggled wickedly.

{Heather} *My quote has possible spoilers as well*  This is a conversation between Dehvi and Vi:

Dehvi looked at her strangely, weighing her. “Have you ever felt that you were part of a grand design, Vi? That some benevolence was shaping your fate?”

“No,” Vi said.

Dehvi laughed. “Me neither. Goodbye, Vi. Watch out for that husband of yours; he’ll change you.” Then he left.

Once you find out who Dehvi is, it’s makes this scene even better. He’s awesome, and I love that he met up with Vi. It’s just really cool to see them in the same scene together. I hope there’s more!

 

What do you think will happen next?

{Diana} Somebody’s gonna die. Or maybe even lots of somebodies. I mean, it’s been 170 pages and the carnage has been uncharacteristically low. I feel like the other shoe is about to drop and when it does, I hope Terah Graesin is the first to go.

{Heather} I really want something to happen to Terah too, but I’m sure we’ll have to wait a while before anything horrible happens to her. Hopefully, it does because I can’t stand if she wins and doesn’t get what’s coming to her.

Diana and I finished reading Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks, and we wanted to discuss as much as we could about it because so much happens within this book. This is our conversation from Twitter.

*As a reminder, we’re both doing giveaways for this trilogy. If you haven’t entered already, you can do so on our introduction post.

**The following may contain spoilers for The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge.

Bookish Talk

{Diana} So, what did you think of Shadow’s Edge? Was it all you’d hoped it would be and more? 😉
{Heather} Yes, but now I want even more from Beyond the Shadows! After the ending in Shadow’s Edge, I need to find out what happens next.
{Diana} Oh, girl, me too! And that ending!!! GAH! Mind = Blown.
{Heather} Yes! I did a little dance when I finished. I was so excited!
{Diana} Ha! I bet you were! That was a pretty fantastic surprise. I’m dying to know what it all means 🙂
{Heather} I can’t wait to find out where it leads. Oh and especially everything with Logan! I wonder what’s going to happen to him in the next book?
{Diana} He’s going to punch Terah Graesin in the face and take his throne back, that’s what. Or, at least I hope that’s what he does, LOL! Like you, I’m super intrigued about the Wolf. Who is he and what in the world is he up to?!
{Heather} Logan better punch Terah in the face or I’m going to jump in the book and do it myself, haha. And, I know! The Wolf is so strange, and that note at the end really made me not trust him as much as I did.
{Diana} Right? I feel like we should have known better though. It seems like everyone has their own agenda or ulterior motive for EVERYTHING that they do. At this point I’m not entirely sure we can trust anyone. Except for Logan. . .I hope.
{Heather} That’s so true. Everyone is up to something. Logan better not betray us. I don’t think I’ll be able to get over that if he does.
{Diana} You know what’s funny? I was looking back at all of our chats, and not once did either of us say that Kylar was our favorite character. Why do you think that is?
{Heather} Hmm, that’s really interesting. I know I really like him though. Maybe, for me, it’s because he grew a lot in the first book, but in Shadow’s Edge he seemed to regress when he was with Elene. Maybe I just really can’t stand her, but I didn’t like what she did to him. I wanted him to not change just for her. What do you think?
{Diana} I actually agree with you. While Kylar is definitely, like, the driving force of this story and while I really do like him, I feel like he kind of devolved in this book. I largely blame it on that manipulative cow Elene, but I also think it has something to do with the loss of his mentor and, therefore, a loss of direction and/or purpose. I don’t think he knew what to do with himself once he was in charge of his own destiny and ended up making some pretty sketchy decisions because of it *cough* Retribution *cough*. I’m glad he got his act together though and I’m interested to see how the developments at the end change him, because I’m pretty sure they will.
{Heather} I completely agree. Without his mentor, Kylar just seemed a bit lost and didn’t know what he really wanted to do with his life. I feel like he became even more attached to Elene because she was someone in his past and he didn’t want to lose her. I wanted to smack Kylar so hard during the Retribution scene. I was like “you crazy, boy!” haha! Yeah, I’m ready for some more development from Kylar. I can’t wait to see how the third book will go for him.
{Diana} Okay, we’ve established that while we both liked Kylar, he didn’t quite do it for us this time around. Who was your fave character overall? I’ll be surprised if we don’t have the same answer 😉
{Heather} Haha I would have to say Logan! He’s just such an awesome character. Who was yours?
{Diana} Ha! I knew it! He’s my favorite too! He went through some pretty horrific things in this book but still managed to grow SO much. I have high hopes for his continued development in Beyond the Shadows—-so that probably means Weeks is going to kill him off :/ LOL
{Heather} Brent Weeks better not! I don’t know if my little heart can handle that. I know I would be extremely upset and be in a reading slump for the rest of the year, haha.
{Diana} Alright, flipside—who was your least favorite character overall?
{Heather} Oh gosh, it’s so hard to pick one least favorite character. There were so many for me, but I would have to say overall, the Godking was the worst. After all he did and all of the “decorations” in his bedroom, he was purely evil and power hungry. There were no redeeming qualities about him. My other least favorites were, of course, Elene, Terah, Fin, and Hu Gibbet.
{Diana} Man, I almost forgot about the bedroom decorations. That was. . .disturbing. He definitely is evil incarnate and the worst kind of bad guy, but my least favorite character was definitely Terah Graesin. She made me so FURIOUS. I literally didn’t know what to do with my anger for what she did to both Kylar and Logan. Especially Logan. If Weeks kills off anyone in the next book, I hope it’s her. And I hope it’s gruesome.
{Heather} Terah was just plain awful. I completely agree with you about how she should be killed, haha. She doesn’t deserve a fast or easy death.
{Diana} Out of all of the surprises that Weeks threw our way, what surprised you the most?
{Heather} The one thing that surprised me the most would have to be the note at the end. I really didn’t see that coming, and I just stared at the book for a long time in shock. I was so happy, and I didn’t think that would happen at all. What part surprised you the most?
{Diana} The same 🙂 I couldn’t believe my eyes—I had to read it, like, three times before it sank in! LOL. I was also pretty surprised by that whole Vi-Kylar-Earring thing and I’m dying to know how all that’s going to work itself out.
{Heather} Yes, as soon as Vi looked at the earrings, I was like do it! This would wreck Elene’s day, haha.
{Diana} Bahahahaha! That’s funny 🙂 So we’ve talked about what shocked us the most, but what was your favorite part of the book in general?
{Heather} *This will be a spoiler* I would probably say when Logan gets out of the Hole. I waited so long for it, and at first I thought Brent Weeks would get him out of the Hole only to kill him from infection, haha. I was so happy when that didn’t happen. What about yours?
{Diana} I was super happy when that happened too, but my favorite part is actually twofold: first I LOVED Logan’s speech before the last battle, and second I loved what happened after the last battle. You know, all the chanting. Look out Terah Graesin, the true King will rise! Lol 🙂
{Heather} I was chanting with them! Terah just needs to leave forever and never come back. She would be a terrible leader.
Logan is just so amazing! Every scene he was in was great, haha. His speech was fantastic, and I loved what he did for the women who had to become prostitutes to survive. He gave them so much hope, and he didn’t even have to do that.
{Diana} Oh gosh, I felt so bad for those women. Especially when they were rejected by their men at first after all they did to survive. What those women did on The Nocte Hemata was truly spectacular and it was so awesome for Logan to recognize them for it. He’s the best 😀
{Heather} Exactly! They did so much, and I really felt they deserved all the recognition. I can’t wait to see more of Logan! haha.
{Diana} Okay, so other than the very obvious, what plot thread are you looking forward to seeing the conclusion of the most?
{Heather} I want to see what happens with Vi. I mean after the earring incident, I want to see where all that puts her in the third book. Elene is another character that I want to see what’s going on with her. Mostly to watch her suffer, haha. While we are at it, I want to see Terah suffer too. Oh gosh, this just turned very dark. 😀
{Diana} Ha! Maybe just a little, but I’m right there with you 😉
I’m super curious about the whole Dorian-Jenine plotline. Especially because Logan and Jenine kind of have a thing going on. And of course I want to know about all things Logan. And the great earring debacle. And ALL THE THINGS. I’m ready for Book 3!!!
{Heather} I forgot about the Dorian/Jenine thing! That was really interesting when that happened. It was kind of cute when Dorian was talking about it. I wonder how Logan will take it when he finds out. I’m so ready for book 3 too! 😀
{Diana} Yay! Let’s do this!!!
{Heather} YES!

April was a fantastic month for me! I read eleven books and watched seven “new” movies. Most of these movies were not new releases, but they were new to me. I’m surprised I did this well. It’s really exciting, and now, I know that it’s possible for me to read a bunch of books at once.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Genre – Science Fiction
My Rating – ★★★★

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Review: I have a full review for Ready Player One on my blog. Overall, Ready Player One is an enjoyable read. There are plenty of 80’s references to satisfy anyone’s need for nostalgia. While there are a few issues, the novel is entertaining and keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next. The finale is intense and should be quite fulfilling for most readers. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a unique story.

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow – Katy Towell
Genre – Children/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★

Twelve years ago, for 12 days straight, the town of Widowsbury suffered a terrible storm, which tore open a gate through which escaped all sorts of foul, rotten things. Strange things and strange people were no longer welcomed in Widowsbury, for one could never be sure of what secrets waited under the surface . . .

Adelaide Foss, Maggie Borland, and Beatrice Alfred are known by their classmates at Widowsbury’s Madame Gertrude’s School for Girls as “scary children.” Unfairly targeted because of their peculiarities—Adelaide has an uncanny resemblance to a werewolf, Maggie is abnormally strong, and Beatrice claims to be able to see ghosts—the girls spend a good deal of time isolated in the school’s inhospitable library facing detention. But when a number of people mysteriously begin to disappear in Widowsbury, the girls work together, along with Steffen Weller, son of the cook at Rudyard School for Boys, to find out who is behind the abductions. Will they be able to save Widowsbury from a 12-year-old curse?

Review: Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow is an interesting story. While there are very stereotypical characters such as the overly mean head mistress or the almost too sweet librarian, it has enjoyable main characters that are unique in their own ways. The plot was entertaining, and I loved the spooky aspect of the story. The villain is predictable, but it was fun to see the girls solving the mystery of the missing people. The novel is definitely targeted at younger audiences, and it won’t be for everyone but children should enjoy it.

The Archived – Victoria Schwab
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Review: When I first started reading The Archived, I felt extremely confused. I kept thinking Da was Mackenzie’s father and had to go back to reread certain parts. There did seem to be a lot of information given to the reader at the beginning of the story to explain the world, but once it gets passed the first chapter or so, the story picks up. Even though the novel had a shaky start, I liked the world building. Everything felt as though it could exist. The story has a nice mystery theme throughout. Although the villains are predictable, it has likable characters and an engaging world.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hairactually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone is beautifully written. The story and the world are so well-crafted with some great characters. Each character has a distinct personality. It’s easy to have characters blend together in some stories, but Taylor has a way of describing them that makes them stand out. They are unique and different from the rest. There is a large focus on the romance in the story with the two characters, mainly, pointing out that the other was very attractive. Near the end, when everything is being explained, the story was sort of sluggish, and I wished the unraveling was placed at a different part of the novel. However, it didn’t take away from the story. I’m excited to read the next one.

Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
Genre – Horror
My Rating – ★★★★

In the realm of psychological suspense, Thomas Harris stands alone. Exploring both the nature of human evil and the nerve-racking anatomy of a forensic investigation, Harris unleashes a frightening vision of the dark side of our well-lighted world. In this extraordinary novel, which precededThe Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, Harris introduced the unforgettable character Dr. Hannibal Lecter. And in it, Will Graham — the FBI man who hunted Lecter down — risks his sanity and his life to duel a killer called the … RED DRAGON.

Review: Red Dragon was a nice introduction to the Hannibal world. Even though Hannibal is barely in this novel, it’s entertaining to read. The characters were realistic. There was a lot of characterization that really made the story. Although I didn’t like Will’s side of the story, getting inside his mind was cool, and I liked his meeting with Hannibal. I loved learning about the Red Dragon and his past. He was an interesting character, and it’s possible to even feel sorry for him at some points in the novel. I enjoyed the writing style and the plot. I’m excited to read The Silence of the Lambs, and I want to learn more about Hannibal since readers only get a tease of him in this novel. I want to finish reading the books before I watch the movies, but the Red Dragon movie is getting harder to resist watching every day.

The Moth in the Mirror – A. G. Howard
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★½

An original ebook-only novella in the Splintered series, told from the points of view of both Jeb and Morpheus. Morpheus wants to know more about his rival for Alyssa’s affections, so he digs into Jeb’s memories of his time in Wonderland. But he may be surprised by what he finds.

This brand-new story and perspective from A.G. Howard’s dark, magical world stands alone, but also provides a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come in Unhinged, the sequel to Splintered.

Review: I’m glad I read this novella because it helped me understand Jeb better. Of course, he still isn’t my favorite character (Team Morpheus!). I felt that this helped explain what Jeb thought of Alyssa and how he only wanted to protect her, instead of control her, which is how it seemed in the first book. I did wish there were more moments with Morpheus, but I will settle with what I got until I read the second book, Unhinged. I really need to buy Unhinged soon, so I can continue reading. Plus, I just found out it’s going to be a trilogy!

The Broken – Shelley Coriell
Genre – Romance/Thriller
My Rating – ★★★

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim—and only survivor—of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . . .

Review: Full review for The BrokenThe Broken was an entertaining read. The characters were likable and provided some great moments in the novel. There were some problems I had with the plot, but I did end up liking the overall story. The killer was not the best or most memorable, but the plot was enjoyable. I would recommend this book. I will most likely be picking up the second book The Buried because it tells Hatch’s story. The synopsis sounds really interesting, and I’ll get it when it’s released later this year.

We Are the Goldens – Dana Reinhardt
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary
My Rating – ★★★★

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

Review: I’m planning on a having a full review of this up tomorrow. The writing style is different in We Are the Goldens. Nell is speaking directly to the reader as if she is talking to her sister Layla. Although I didn’t fully understand the “obsession” with the older sister, I did appreciate Nell and Layla’s relationship. Nell looked up to Layla, and Nell only wanted what was best for her sister. The characters are realistic and the plot is engaging. It makes you keep reading to find out what happens next. We Are the Goldens is still available on Netgalley, if anyone wants to read it before the publication date May 27th, 2014.

Red Bang – Brandt Monroe
Genre – Fiction
My Rating – ★★★★

Adam Murphy is a Hollywood screenwriter who has clearly lost his way. His wife, Jess, is a Los Angeles publicist who just lost her job. With the bills mounting and nowhere to turn in the City of Angels, Adam takes a chance on a complete life reboot – taking a job in Seattle at a billion-dollar, Fortune 500 technology behemoth and bringing his family along for the ride.

While working at The Company is a gloriously heady, benefit-laden playground for today’s smartest minds, Adam quickly realizes he has descended into a foreign land where the language, customs and politics will either make him stronger or cause a meltdown of epic proportions. Faced with a ‘win or fail’ attitude, Adam must find a way to deliver an innovative new product, defeat his political nemesis, align with a mysterious Company founder, and save his wife from a weather-induced depression all before The Company finds out he has no idea what he’s doing.

Inspired by the unbelievable things that go on behind closed doors of America’s largest companies, and bolstered by a warm-hearted, humorous look at one family’s fight against a Stepford-like culture, RED BANG will take you on a hilarious journey into the ridiculous hive mind of today’s tech giants.

Review: Full review for Red BangRed Bang has relatable characters and takes place in a realistic world. I enjoyed watching Adam develop through the story. While the story is based off of real life companies and products, it refrains from being predictable and has a satisfying ending. If you’re looking for an interesting story with lots of real-world references, you should definitely check out Red Bang. You won’t be disappointed!

Casting Shadows Everywhere – L. T. Vargus
Genre – Young Adult/Thriller
My Rating – ★★★★

In his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He’s too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.

Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neighborhoods night after night, ransacking houses for jewelry and sweet valuables. Nick teaches Jake the finer points of breaking and entering along with his dark philosophy – that there is no right or wrong in the world, just a series of events that happen without meaning.

At first, adopting Nick’s callous worldview helps Jake get over his fears and confront his tormentors, but he also unleashes an aggression in himself he never thought possible. And as he learns more about his cousin, he realizes that Nick’s crimes go way beyond burglary.

In the end, Jake must face not only the monster in his cousin but also the one in his own heart.

Review: I’m planning on doing a full review of this novel as well. Casting Shadows Everywhere really surprised me. I, honestly, was not expecting to like the story as much as I did. The novel is written like journal entries without dates. The main character Jake is writing about his experiences with his cousin Nick and his friend Beth. It is crude at times, and there is some strong language, but it adds to the realness of the story. I loved the ending, and I’m sure all of the twists will shock a lot of readers. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys surprises and interesting characters within their stories.

Trapped – Michael Northrop
Genre – Young Adult/Survival
My Rating – ★

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. . . .

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. . . .

Review: This was such a disappointing story. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy anything about Trapped. I wish I did because I was looking forward to a survival story, but it didn’t impress me. The characters were flat and some were hard to distinguish from each other. A lot of unimportant events were talked about such as going to the bathroom. I don’t need to know when and where the characters go to the bathroom. One explanation would have been fine, but it was discussed at a lot of different points in the story. Scotty even talks about his zit on more than one occasion. This mainly seemed to show that he was a teenager and had no other reason to be there. The novel had no surprises. Since Scotty says that not everyone survives at the beginning of the story, it’s easy to tell who doesn’t make it as soon as they are put in a life or death situation. The ending was unsatisfying, and it left so much unresolved. I normally can handle an ending with some unexplained events, but it felt as though some chapters were ripped out. It was a frustrating read, and I don’t recommend it.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★★

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Review: What an amazing movie! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. While the movie was playing, I was trying to get some work done, but I ended up focusing all my attention on the film. It’s a pretty long movie at 161 minutes, but it doesn’t seem like it. No events drag on, and every scene has a purpose that adds to the story. All of the characters were fantastic and had great characterization. That ending! I was on the edge of my seat while the confrontation was happening. I was constantly asking Chad what was going to happen. Of course, he wouldn’t tell me, so I was even more anxious. This was such a incredible movie, and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finally watch it. I would highly recommend this!

Planet of the Dinosaurs
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★

A space-ship gets lost and is forced to make an emergency landing on an unknown planet. The planet looks much like Earth, only with no trace of civilization. Soon the crew discovers that there are dinosaurs on the planet, and blood-thirsty buggers at that. The crew hopes to be found and rescued, but they have to struggle to survive until then.

Review: Chad and I did a full review on Planet of the Dinosaurs. My review was especially silly because I felt it matched the movie. Planet of the Dinosaurs is far from a well-made movie, and it’s quite terrible at some moments. If you do plan to watch it, just be aware that you will most likely laugh. A lot. It’s one of those films where it’s so bad, it’s funny. Of course, it’s unintentional, but we enjoyed ourselves while watching.

Cannonball Run II
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★

The original characters from the first Cannonball movie race across the country once more in various cars and trucks.

Review: This was such a disappointing film. After loving The Cannonball Run, I was looking forward to the second installment. I’m used to sequels not being as good as the first, but this was not even close to the original. There were a ton more famous celebrities involved, and it took away from the story because everyone had to have a longer amount of time on screen. A lot of these characters were pointless and the scenes were even more pointless. It mostly felt like the creators were like “let’s see how many famous people we can shove into one movie.”  The plot was lacking and about half way through, it completely changed into something else. I know that it was probably just a movie for fun, but I would recommend The Cannonball Run for that. It’s an entertaining movie while maintaining plot and characters. Overall, Cannonball Run II is worth skipping.

The Nut Job
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★

An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery.

Review: When I first saw advertisements for The Nut Job, I didn’t have high hopes for it. However, I decided to give it a try. Sadly, it was not impressive. It’s not a very unique story and the characters are generic. There is not much for an adult to enjoy, but I’m sure children will like it. It’s a pretty straightforward plot and doesn’t have too many surprises. There is supposed to be a sequel to this movie coming out in 2016, so some people must have enjoyed it.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

Review: This sequel was quite entertaining. I really enjoyed getting to know the dwarves more, and I liked watching Bilbo grow as a character. It’s full of action and fast-paced scenes. There were some moments where the plot dragged on but that will happen when you make three movies based off of one book. I’m looking forward to the third installment of The Hobbit that is supposed to come out in December of this year.

Top Secret!
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★★

Parody of WWII spy movies in which an American rock and roll singer becomes involved in a Resistance plot to rescue a scientist imprisoned in East Germany.

Review: I really enjoy parodies. Anything that pokes fun at something while also being witty and educated about the source material is always entertaining for me. Top Secret! was a fun movie. The movie combines spy movies and musicals that featured Elvis. Every scene is filled with something funny, and it’s easy to find yourself laughing out loud during some. This was also Val Kilmer’s first feature film so that’s always interesting to know.

Airplane!
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★★

An airplane crew takes ill. Surely the only person capable of landing the plane is an ex-pilot afraid to fly. But don’t call him Shirley.

Review: I figured since I watched Top Secret!, I might as well watch Airplane!. This is also a pretty hilarious parody movie directed by the same guys who directed Top Secret!. I enjoyed the random moments or the scenes where the character would look at the camera as if the character knows he/she is in a movie and goes along with it anyway. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to have a fun time while watching. Just don’t eat the fish.

April 2014 Movie Haul

Today, Chad and I went to yard sales. I didn’t have any luck finding books, but we did buy a lot of great movies. All of these movies are VHS except for Red Dragon which is a DVD. We also bought another VCR (which works perfectly), so now we have a total of three. All of the movies and the VCR cost us under $15. I think that’s pretty awesome. There are more yard sales next weekend, so I might get more goodies. Here are the movies that we got today:

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

The Silence of the Lambs
Rating – R

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney

 

Red Dragon
Rating – R

A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down “The Tooth Fairy”, a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned criminal genius Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

Director: Brett Ratner

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes

 

The NeverEnding Story
Rating – PG

A troubled boy dives into a wonderous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writers: Wolfgang Peterson, Herman Weigel

Stars: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach

 

 

The Rescuers
Rating – G

Two mice of the Rescue Aid Society search for a little girl kidnapped by unscrupulous treasure hunters.

Directors: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman

Writers: Margery Sharp, Larry Clemmons

Stars: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page

 

Doug’s 1st Movie
Rating – G

Doug and his pal Skeeter set’s out to find the monster of Lucky Duck Lake. Though things get really out of hand when some one blurts out that the monster is real.

Director: Maurice Joyce

Writers: Ken Scarborough, Joe Aaron

Stars: Thomas McHugh, Fred Newman, Chris Phillips

 

The Flintstones
Rating – PG

In this live-action feature of the cartoon show, Fred Flintstone finally gets the job he’s always wanted, but it may just come at a price.

Director: Brian Levant

Writers: Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein

Stars: John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell

 

Good Will Hunting
Rating – R

Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writers: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

Stars: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

 

Total Recall
Rating – R

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writers: Philip K. Dick, Ronald Shusett

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

 

A Beautiful Mind
Rating – PG-13

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Director: Ron Howard

Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Sylvia Nasar

Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly

 

Mad Max
Rating – R

A vengeful Australian policeman sets out to avenge his partner, his wife and his son whom were murdered by a motorcycle gang in retaliation for the death of their leader.

Director: George Miller

Writers: James McCausland, George Miller

Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne

 

Double Jeopardy
Rating – R

A woman framed for her husband’s murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can’t be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him.

Director: Bruce Beresford

Writers: David Weisberg, Douglas Cook

Stars: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood

 

Lethal Weapon
Rating – R

A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Shane Black

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey

 

Lethal Weapon 2
Rating – R

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Jeffrey Boam (screenplay), Shane Black (story)

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

Lethal Weapon 3
Rating – R

Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh pursue an arms dealer who is a former LAPD officer.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

 

Lethal Weapon 4
Rating – R

With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with a deadly Chinese crimelord trying to get his brother out of prison.

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Shane Black, Jonathan Lemkin

Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

 

A Bug’s Life
Rating – G

A misfit ant, looking for “warriors” to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe.

Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

Writers: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

Fantasia
Rating – G

A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.

Directors: Norman Ferguson, James Algar

Writers: Joe Grant, Dick Huemer

Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton

Beautiful Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by littleonionwrites. Thank you so much! Her blog is amazing, and it’s such an honor to receive this award. This is the second award I have been nominated for, and it really helps motivate me to keep working on this blog in my spare time. I appreciate everyone’s support!

The Beautiful Blogger Award is an honor bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words.

Rules:

  • Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.
  • Nominate 7 (yes, only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.

My Nominees:

1. Lydia Devadason – This is such an entertaining blog. It has great advice for parenting while also telling funny stories. Of course, I don’t have a child, but I love reading all of her posts.

2. Callum McLaughlin – I really enjoy reading his poetry and his discussions about different writing topics and books.  Plus, he has a debut novel out now, which is pretty awesome.

3. A Writer’s Life For Me – It’s motivating to watch a person accomplish their goal of writing a book, and she is on her third one now! I love when she adds her progress reports to the end of her posts.

4. See It Or Skit It – I’m a big fan of lists and movies, and this blog combines both! She has top tens, and it’s easy to find what movies I need to watch next or ones that I should probably skip. Her movie reviews are great as well.

5. Brilliantly Novel – Diana’s blog is similar to mine in that we both blog about books. She has been blogging longer than I have though and her reviews are well organized. I enjoy all the quotes she posts as well.

6. Honey Lemon Tea – If you’re looking for a variety of topics, you should check out her blog. She posts recipes, tea of the month, book reviews, and even health tips. It’s a nice combination of topics that makes me crave food and reading at the same time.

7. via GiantGag.com – I love this blog. It’s filled with funny pictures, and I probably spend way too much time just looking through all the pictures posted every day.

April 2014 Book Haul

Wow, I almost went two weeks without any new books. So close, and yet, so far. In other news, I’ve been keeping up with my new reading strategy, and I’m really liking that I’m able to enjoy more than one book at once. I want to make my TBR pile smaller. Of course, it doesn’t help that I keep buying more books, but shhh, we won’t discuss that. I’m also really enjoying Daughter of Smoke & Bones and Red Dragon. On Sunday or Monday, I will post what two books I will be reading next. Anyway, on to the book haul!

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

The Fairest of Them All – Carolyn Turgeon
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and MermaidThe Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.

Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.

One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.

Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.

But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.

Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Tender Morsels is a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever—magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Now, having known Heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?

 

Hater – David Moody
Genre – Horror

A modern take on the classic “apocalyptic” novel, Hater tells the story of Danny McCoyne, an everyman forced to contend with a world gone mad, as society is rocked by a sudden increase in violent assaults. Christened “Haters” by the media, the attackers strike without warning and seemingly without reason. Within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. As the carnage mounts, one thing soon is clear: everyone, irrespective of race, gender, age, or class, has the potential to become either a Hater or a victim. At any moment, even friends and family can turn on one another with violent intent. In the face of this mindless terror, all McCoyne can do is secure his family, seek shelter, and watch as the world falls apart. But when he bolts the front door, the question remains: Is he shutting the danger out or locking it in?

Bestial – William D. Carl
Genre – Horror

BENEATH THE DIM LIGHT OF A FULL MOON, MADNESS REIGNS. . . .

As night descends on Cincinnati, the city braces for hell on earth: The populace mutates into huge, snarling monsters that devour everyone they see and act upon their most base desires. Planes fall from the sky. Highways are clogged with abandoned cars, and buildings explode and topple. The city burns.

And when daylight comes at last, the same monsters return to human form, many driven insane by atrocities committed against friends and families. . . .

Only four survivors are immune to the metamorphosis: a smooth-talking thief who lives by the code of the Old West; a bank teller who’s put her past behind her; a wealthy, disillusioned housewife; and a desperate teenaged runaway. Together they form an unlikely quartet that must find a way to stop the apocalypse before the next full moon.

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Genre – Young Adult/Romance

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Every Day – David Levithan
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Red Spikes – Margo Lanagan
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Margo Lanagan’s electrifying stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all.

If you think you don’t like short fiction, that a story can’t have the depth or impact of a novel, then you haven’t read Margo Lanagan. A writer this startling and this original doesn’t come along very often. So for anyone who likes to be surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared senseless, prepare to be dazzled by what a master storyteller can do in a few short pages.

Find Me – Romily Bernard
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

The Nightmare Affair – Mindee Arnett
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

So This Is How It Ends – Tui T. Sutherland
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Something was different. She stepped hesitantly out of the subway car, her boots sounding even louder now. What was it? The graffiti. Had that been there before?
Emblazoned across the far wall in huge silver letters:

The end has come.

In New York, Kali wakes to an empty subway car, and an even emptier city. Venus and Gus survive an earthquake in Los Angeles and realize they have to deal with more than just the aftershocks. In Chile, Tigre finds himself in an unfamiliar jungle, and strangely not alone. And Amon, in Egypt, can see his path but is blind to the full picture.

They are suddenly trapped in a deserted world, five teenagers with no hope of escape. Why have they survived? What force or intelligence connects them? Drawn inexorably toward one another, they only know their future involves an experience outside anything they could have imagined. Fantasy newcomer Tui T. Sutherland creates a future in which teens have the power to complete the destruction of Earth or to save it.

The Iron Thorn – Caitlin Kittredge
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft’s epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.
Aoife Grayson’s family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

Written in Red – Anne Bishop
Genre – Fantasy

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

New Reading Strategy

As I’ve stated in some of my recent posts, I’ve started to use a new strategy for reading books. Since I have such a huge TBR pile, I want to read a large portion of my books. If someone asks, I want to be able to say I’ve read quite a few books from my shelves. I’ve only been reading one book at a time. It’s fine, but I’m a slow reader, and I’m not able to read my books as fast as I would like. I can also be a bit unmotivated to read sometimes. For some reason, when I start a new book, I feel like I have to finish it the same day. Don’t ask me why, but that’s how I feel. Of course when I don’t complete this unreachable goal (unless it’s a short book), it’s kind of discouraging. However, I stumbled upon a new way to read my books faster.

While I was searching through Youtube (like always), I found this reading tip:

I was able to successfully use this new method to read Endless and Cinder. Right now, I’m reading three books Ready Player One, The Archived, and Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow. It’s quite ambitious, but it’s actually going pretty well so far. They are different genres, so it’s easy to keep up with. I give myself a week to read the books, same as Melissa in the video. I divide the chapters up, so if a book has 35 chapters, I will read 5 chapters each day. If the book doesn’t have chapters, I just divide the pages. She explains it better in the video.

I also read the books at different points in the day, so one in the morning or evening and the other in the evening or at night. Really I read whenever I have time. So far, it’s been working really well. I’m able to feel accomplished each day because I finish my reading goals. Plus, at the end of each week, I have completed two or three books instead of one, which is even better. Just thought I would share my new discovery. Let me know how many books you read at a time. Do you read only one book or do you have multiple books going at once?