ARC Review: Pretty Wicked

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review. As the daughter of a cop, and an advocate for YA horror, I was intrigued by the book concept. This is Kelly Charon’s first book, making it (I believe) my third book of a new author in the past month?

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Pretty Wicked

Kelly Charron

September 2016

Format: Kindle ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
Rating:moose-mdmoose-md 2.5/5 Moose

Synopsis

Ryann is the fifteen year old daughter of the local police detective. She’s lived her life in the shadow of her older perfect sister, feeling the pressure and observing the ins and outs of how crime is handled in her small town.

And she’s decided her one way to be better than her sister: she’ll become the perfect serial killer. She wants to be responsible for death and the fear in her small community.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.

Rants, Raves, and General Thoughts

Goodreads made this book sound so much better than it actually was, unfortunately. Even still, most of the reviews are incredibly positive. This isn’t the worst book I’ve read, but …..it could use some work.

This story is….fine. I can’t decide if I disliked the book or if I disliked the main character. Instead of reading as sociopathic or psychotic, she just read as bratty the entire book. Definitely more narcissistic than sociopathic. The author seemed to have several different stories going at once, but none of them were done amazingly well? It reads a bit like the author did most of her research by watching crime shows, rather than anything substantial. She had the main character doing research on computers that could clearly be traced (everyone has a library login — why keep researching serial killers? So many people can see that information.)

Introducing the Unknown Secret Admirer so deeply in the third act (yes there were hints of it in the second, but it was so understated) read more like the author couldn’t figure out how to end the book, so she added the Admirer in later.

I feel like the author has potential, but could use a good editor and/or feedback. At the very least, there is a point where the author said “night in shining armor,” rather than “knight in shining armor.” I mean, I get things are going to get missed, but this just could have used a few more pass throughs.

Final Verdict

I AM SO BUMMED I DID NOT LIKE THIS BOOK. But I can’t recommend it either. I am, however, going to keep an eye out on the author for her future work.

2016: A Book Review

One of my resolutions is to remember to post more (I got overwhelmed between trying to write more and adjusting to my new city!) But I did still read a ton, and I was organizing my books into categories when I saw Mari at Story and Somnomancy post this breakdown that I liked, that it looks like Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner posted. So here’s my reading habits broken down from 2016 – enjoy!

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2016 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 80
Genre You Read the Most From: Young Adult (too vague?) 

*added in*
Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 26
Between 400-449 pages: 6
Between 450-499 pages: 1
Over 500 pages: 2
Over 1000 pages:  0

Number of…
Audiobooks: 10
Re-reads: 11
DNFs (did not finish): 2 (About 5-7 that I plan on finishing, but shelved for now.)

Number of books rated…
Five Stars: 21 (9 of which were comic volumes) 
One/Two Stars: 7 2 stars, 0 1 stars

Number of authors met in 2016:  11

  • Victoria Aveyard (Signed)
  • Sophie Jordan
  • Rouhani Chokshi (Signed)
  • Sarah McCarry
  • Marie Rutkoski
  • Renee Ahdieh
  • Victoria Schwab (x2….and already planning to see her in 2017 T__T) (Signed) 
  • Sarah Porter
  • Fran Wilde 
  • Kim Liggett (Signed) 
  • Erika Lewis

Number of book events attended in 2016: 5

Number of books you read in one day: 2 at the most

Number of books that made you cry: At least 12. I am a crier. 

Number of 2017 books you have on pre-order: 0 (I don’t pre-order, I just wander into BoW eventually.) 

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2016:

Stand-Alone: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Series: Firebird (A Thousand Pieces of You, etc) by Claudia Gray

Mid-Series: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Graphic Novel: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Remembrance by Meg Cabot, The Last Star by Rick Yancey

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way) Book You Read? Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People to Read (And They Did)? A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

5. Best Series You Started in 2016?  Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Best Series You Started in 2016? Asylum by Madeleine Roux 

Best Sequel of 2016? A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Best Series Ender of 2016? Firebird series by  Claudia Gray

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2016? Ernest Cline and Rouhani Chokshi

7. Best Book From a Genre You Didn’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone? The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year? Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9. Book You Read in 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? I mean obviously A Gathering of Shadows, prior to the final book’s release.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read In 2016? The Wicked + Divine 1831 (both), A Gathering of Shadows, This Savage Song

11. Most Memorable Character of 2016? Lila Bard. Still to this day. 

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2016? Station Eleven by Emily St. John Madel and The Star-Touched Queen by Rouhani Chokshi

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016? ?Laughable Love by Milan Kundera

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? World War Z by Max Brooks

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? Taken from After the Witch Hunt by Megan Falley 

“The first time we made love I realized why
I never prayed. One human can only say
Oh God so many times.”

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016? Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (longest) and Belinda Blinked.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.) A Gathering of Shadows (I KNOW I KNOW)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar) 
Rhy and Alucard FOR SURE

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year Harlan Coben brought back Myron Bolitar and Win Lockwood and my heart was full again. 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Home by Harlan Coben

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016? Alucard Emery 

23. Best 2016 debut you read? The Star-Touched Queen by Rouhani Chokshi

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? ?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? ?

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016? 12 books. I am a crier. I don’t think I can list them all.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? What’s a Soulmate by Lindsey Ouimet

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? I honestly cannot think of one. 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016? I have no idea — I guess Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as it was the only drama I read. 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? A Gathering of Shadows, because of the bloody cliffhanger. 

LOOKING AHEAD

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017? Heartless by Marissa Meyer

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco or Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Caraval by Stephanie Garber

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017? Finally finish a book! 

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: None yet

Book Review: What’s a Soulmate

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My decision to read it came from my fascination with the concept of soulmates and seeing other people’s opinions on the topic.

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What’s a Soulmate

Lindsey Ouimet

Published 2016

Format: Kindle ebook
Genre: YA, AU, Romance
Ratingmoosemoosemoosemoose 3.5/5 Moose

Synopsis

Imagine a world where everything is in black, white, and grey. Now imagine that one day you suddenly start seeing colors, and the reason is because you’ve found your soulmate.

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This is the kind of world Libby Carmichael lives in, one that is magical and wonderful because TADA! You know when you’ve found your soulmate.

But what happens when your soulmate is Andrew McCormack, and he’s been recently arrested and is in juvie? Did fate really pair college bound, smart, perfect high school student with a guy convicted of beating up a cop?

Rants, Raves, and General Thoughts

This book in some ways is a simple plot — girl sees boy, girl falls for boy, girl aviods feelings for boy, girl ends up with boy. But the concept of soulmates in this book is intriguing. Now, the basic premises is clearly taken from a Tumblr post:

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And there is nothing wrong with that at all. I have saved many tumblr posts that would make good book ideas, have facebook comments saved to be used in future stories, etc. I LOVE knowing that these can become actual stories.

I also really enjoy the idea of how the author views soulmates. Finding your soulmate doesn’t automatically:

  • make you a better person. It doesn’t alter your personality or anything.
  • mean that you fall madly in love with said person.
  • mean that you are their soulmate.

Not everyone finds their soulmate either. This is great and keeps me from being slightly horrified like I was while watching Timer.

I do take some issues with the world building. There isn’t any discussion of same sex character relationships  or soulmates. There is a small reference to potentially poly relationships (people have been known to have multiple soulmates), but that could be “what’s played on tv for drama.” I also cannot wrap my head around Libby being her dad’s soulmate. I also can’t…explain what about it rubs me the wrong way, but the logic doesn’t mesh for me.

While I love the world building, the characters outside of Libby fall a little flat for me. More of Drew’s background (what was on the security tape?) would have been great. More of the relationship with her mom. More of her not being a terrible friend to Beth. That friendship bothered me quite a bit, but I think it’s more because the book I read before had a terrible best friend relationship between the main character and the best friend. I find Libby’s frantic brain comforting as it is similar to my own, and despite her being a bit ridiculous sometimes (SHUT UP I KNOW I AM TOO) I enjoyed seeing how she handled the change in her life.

Final Verdict

So I read and finished the book in roughly two days. It’s a light read, and I think a satisfying answer to a Tumblr request. I am now following the author on a few social media sites, and I am genuienly curious to see her writing evolve. I am glad that Netgalley allowed me to read the book, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a light YA book that has an interesting view on soulmates.

And then finding out the author is from Georgia? Yeah I double down on supporting GA authors!

Book Review: Dear Aubrey, The Crush Dilemma

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Spoiler alert: this book is kind of adorable. And silly fun.

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The Crush Dilemma
(Dear Aubrey
#1, apparently?) 

Susan Hatler

Published 2016

Format: Kindle ebook
GenreYoung Adult, Romance
Ratingmoosemoosemoose 3.5/5 Moose

Synopsis 

Poppy Pinkleton (YUP), the quintessential high school geek/nerd  decides to start an anonymous advice column for her high school paper in order to get extra credit for school [Goodreads says 3 units of college credit but um… I don’t see how that’s going to happen], help her relieve some stress from her inner turmoil and SAY WHAT SHE WANTS, and help her work on psychology, her dream career field.

Suddenly Aubrey, her alter ego, has become one of the most popular girls in school, the one all the “It girls” go to for advice.  But the pressure gets worse as Poppy begins to gain more of a social standing, and potentially even a first boyfriend?

Characters

Poppy (Rose) Pinkleton, the protagonist – A typical geeky girl in high school, whose number one priority is her GPA and getting in to Stanford. She decides to write an advice column because she doesn’t feel she can voice her own opinion or break free of her Geek Girl mold. She has a younger brother (Stephen) and a single mom who is always pushing her to her breaking point.

Beth (Ann), the best friend – The geeky best friend who wants to be part of the It Crowd. Poppy and Beth’s friendship is strained and put through tests throughout the book as Beth becomes friends with the most popular girl in school. (Oh yeah there is Mason, their third best friend, but he and Poppy rarely interact for best friends.)

Daniel, the love interest – New kid in school, basketball superstar. Takes an interest in Poppy (and thankfully never says “you aren’t like the other girls!”) Can he be the only one to see into her soul?

Trisha, the antagonist – Think your typical mean girl from all high school stories.

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

I’ve been having a little bit of trouble focusing on books — I get into a bit of a slump sometimes. This book was light and adorable enough to help me get out of the slump.

First, I had some real issues with this book. The beginning seems rushed, the characters are almost cliches of their tropes, and the book could have done with another pass of editing. For example, there is a section where Poppy and Daniel are working on their English essays — writing about who the admire (really? at 16? and only 2 pages?) and it’s a huge dilemma because Daniel can’t figure out who he admires. And with Poppy’s help, he does! …..Except we the readers never find out who that person is.

Second, there are next to no descriptions of anybody physically, except that Poppy has D sized breast, and Jake and Daniel are muscular (and Daniel has “unique” green eyes). Maybe the author did this so that anyone can imagine their own friends in the group, but I couldn’t tell you one thing about Beth or Mason, except that Beth owns shiny shoes. Heck, I couldn’t tell you what color Poppy’s hair is, but she does have bangs.

Despite Poppy’s extreme innocence and naivety (I’ve liked him forever surely he isn’t an asshole!), this book was cute. I always wanted to write my own anonymous advice column, and it was fun to live through another character doing it.

Final Verdict

While writing this review, I realized I had more negative feelings about the book than I initially thought. But the truth is, this book left me feeling happy at the end of the book. I am not sure if I will continue the series, but it was definitely the light fluffy book I needed today. If you like YA romance, give this a shot.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week is a new topic to ponder and make a list on, and this week is a bit of a Halloween freebie. Since I didn’t do last year’s Halloween topics as I was preparing for my big move, I decided to go the obvious route and go with which literary characters I’ll eventually turn into Halloween costumes.


 

Delilah “Lila” Bard (Shades of Magic)

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Taken from ADOM Wikia

Let’s be honest, I wouldn’t want to dress like anyone else if I didn’t have to or it would get eyebrows raised. I love Lila and her insanity. I am going as a pirate this year, which is as close s I’ll get to her this year, but November 1st I’ll start planning. Which brings me to my second choice….

Kell (also from Shades of Magic series)

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Taken from Tumblr
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HI COSTUME IDEA FROM PINTEREST

Love him too, and I wouldn’t have to die my hair, AND an excuse to buy a cool coat. ….Seriously, between these two and Evie Frye, I don’t want to cosplay anything else?

Belinda from Belinda Blinked

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Okay HEAR ME OUT. Yes the amount of weight I would have to lose, and the toeing of the line to make sure I don’t cross into …nudity? But god it would be a lot of fun to walk around in heels, an unbuttoned shirt, bralet, and carrying pots and pans.

Morrigan from The Wicked and The Divine

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Taken from Wikia

Hi, guess who my favourite underworld Goddess is? Seriously, not even just because of this comic. There is a good chance I would totally do Morrigan in Percy Shelley’s body too. (More than a good chance. I would totally do both.)

Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time

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One of my favourite books and heroines. This would be a simple concept to pull off, except that I would have to spend the entire time explaining who the heck I was.

Penelope Bunce from Carry On

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I loved this book, and it’s a way to get past the *EVERYONE* does Harry Potter! So Penelope, who is a bit of a cooler Hermione would be perfect.

A Gallagher Girl from the Gallagher Girls series

….Let’s be honest, this is just my way around “how can I go as a St Trinian’s character. But add in that they’re also spies? I’m happy.

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Rachel Berenson from Animorphs

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This one would require makeup skills to make half my face a bear and have a blonde fighter. I would also carry a fake hawk around too. (TOO SOON?)

Elfie Trinket from Hunger Games

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You can’t go too big. You can’t go too colorful. You can’t be awesome enough!

Gwen Stacy from Spider-Gwen

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She’s pretty much the only super hero comic I consistantly follow, so how coud I not?! So many options. I’m LOVING all the Spider Gwen Venom cosplays going around right now, seriously.


And just to throw my two cents in, here are my Shocktober/Horror books:

1. The Apartment by

2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

3. Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic Tales

5. Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman

6. Necronomicon by Simon

7. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

8. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

9, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

10, Blood and Salt  by Kim Liggett (met her earlier this month and she’s AMAZING!)

Book Review: Home (Myron Bolitar 11)

It has been 5 years since the last Myron Bolitar book, and I don’t deny that I teared up as I rebonded with Myron, Win and Esperanza. I don’t read a ton of detective books, so Myron has especially held a place in my heart. I don’t recommend reading this book if you aren’t familiar with the series. I’ve held off on doing this review for a week or so, wanting to figure out who I would cast as the leads if they ever made a tv show about this series (which it so should be, rather than a movie. I mean come on — they have 11 series already!)


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Home (Myron Bolitar 11)

Harlan Coben

Published 2016

Format: ebook/Kindle
Genre: Fiction, Thrillers, Mysteries, Contemporary
Rating: candy-corn-moosecandy-corn-moosecandy-corn-moosecandy-corn-moose 5/5 Moose

Synopsis 

Myron hears from his best friend Win, who has been in hiding for over a year. He has called, needing help finding two boys that went missing a decade before. Two boys from rich families, one of which happened to be Win’s cousin. Win believes he has located one of the boys half a world away. Relying on their strengths, Myron and Win investigate where the boy has been for a decade, and if they can save the other kid before it is too late.

Characters

If you are reading this review, you probably know the long and sorted pasts of these characters. Instead of my general character descriptions, I’ll just post my defenses of who I would want to start as the characters in a fictional television show now.

Myron Bolitar: So most people want Vince Vaughn as Myron, and I get it. A young Vince Vaughn (we’re talking…shortly after Lost Worldwould have been great, but it’s not who I see if the series was to start today. Myron is tall, adorable, and intellgent. Thus my pick is Jared Padalecki. (Though….cut his hair please.)

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Yes I am a former basketball star turned lawyer/sports rep

 

Windsor “Win” Horne Lockwood, III: Again, I had a previous pick for this — Neil Patrick Harris. I mean, he could easily look innocent and be a cold blooded killer. But Win has always been a hard person to cast. Thankfully, I’ve come across Randy Wayne, specially this picture:

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HOW IS THIS NOT WIN FOLLOWING A SUSPECT 

Esperanza Diaz: Modern Esperanza was the easiest to cast. Intelligent, but sassy as hell, hot enough to have been a pro-wrestler? No one but Francia Raisa came to mind.  I love the actress, and Esperanza is definitely one of my favorite characters of anything.

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Tell me I’m wrong.

Other character appearances:

Mickey and crew shows up (a nice reminder that I need to finish Mickey’s series), Myron’s parents, Big Cindi (try casting her…geez), random characters,  and Therese Collins as Myron’s fiancée.

FYI — I can’t decide if Courtney Ford is more Jessica or Therese, but she’s definitely on my cast list.

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Best selling author or former famous newscaster?

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

Harlan Coben has been on my list of favourite contemporary writers for at least a decade, if not longer. The first book of his I read, Tell No One, opened me up to a world of suburbian mysteries with a good twist. Myron’s been working cases for 21 years now, which lead to me briefly pondering how old Myron is suppoed to be, what year this book is supposed to be…

I mean it’s obviously supposed to be 2016; there are Hamilton references in the book. OF COURSE MYRON LOVED HAMILTON. Myron loves all musicals, come on now. But with that knowledge, Myron should be in his fifties, but I think he’s in his forties?

I won’t lie, I teared up repeatedly with this book. Myron and Win’s friendship and partnership is so deep and what we all hoped our college friendships would become. The book goes back and forth between Win and Myron’s POV (third person of course), a nice change from the consistent Myron POV normally found.

Things I loved about the book:

  • The use of Mickey and crew. If you haven’t read Mickey’s series, give them a shot! I need to finish the third of course, and they aren’t as polished as the Myron books, but definitely good quick reads.
  • Myron’s unlimited optimism has been diminished over the years, but it hasn’t been wiped completely.
  • Win’s point of view is actually pretty well done.
  • In true Coben fashion, there are twists and turns up until the last page.

Things I scratched my head about:

  • Again, how old is everyone?
  • Myron has sold off his agency — is he retired? What is he doing for a living?
  • Didn’t Win already have a cousin that had a son kidnapped? What the heck has cursed this family?
  • I wish Therese had a bigger role and was more than just a sexual release for Myron.

Final Verdict 

This book did not disappoint. I think it’s better than the last few Bolitar books before the break at Win’s (not so subtle) request. If you’ve read the series, read this book….and then join me in re-reading the entire series all over again. (I’ll post about that once I’ve finished the series again!)

Final thoughts: I cannot stress how much I love Harlan Coben and recommend his books, as well as random musings and articles. There’s an amazing one he posts every year on Mother’s Day that I highly recommend.

Now I shall go drink a Yoo-Hoo.

Top Ten Tuesday: National Book Lovers Day

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I am first and foremost, incredibly bummed that I didn’t wear my book scarf today. But it was also too hot for a scarf. But it is, in fact, National Book Lovers Day, and I thought I would combine my celebration with a Top Ten Tuesday, especially since The Broke and The Bookish had a bit of a freebie topic today. So instead what I’ve done is three top fives: My most recently read books, the books I last added to to my TBR list, and the five books I am currently reading.


Last Five Books Read

Broken Prince by Erin Watt 

I read the first book of this series earlier this year. Basically if I look at a review and it goes “it’s kind of like Hana Yori Dango” ……how could I turn that down? The first one was amusing and entertaining, and of course ended on a cliff hanger. I finished the second one last night and was less entertained. The rage from the lead guy in this book is terrifying, and I’m really tired of that being considered sexy.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

I picked this book up on a whim when I couldn’t find the book I was looking for. I am a sucker for horror stories involving asylum turned student dorms. It was decent, with weird art in it, and I picked up the other two books in the series.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

I….am torn by how I feel about this book. I loved it as a silly fan fiction, but as a true canonical story? It’s laughable. But a longer post is due on this. With pictures from midnight parties.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Cannot squeal enough about this book. Cannot squee enough about the author. And there will be a post on this. It’s not my all time favorite Schwab book, but still loved it. It’s a two parter, and I am looking forward to the second book.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Adventure by Neil Patrick Harris

I listened to this book as an audiobook, finishing it in an entire day. NPH narrates it himself. It’s light and amusing, and the love story with his now husband is adorable. They FLIRT IN THE AUDIOBOOK. #RelationshipGoals


Last Five Books Added to TBR

The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

This book was mentioned in a conversation with a friend today, and a concept from the book fascinated me enough to add it to my list. Plus it’s one of those friends that you begrudgingly add any book they recommend.

Home by Harlan Coben

This is the upcoming Myron Bolitar book. It’s been years since Coben’s written a Bolitar book, and I miss the sarcastic detective and crew. I’m also behind on my Coben reading period.

The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates

I know nothing about this book other than it’s a collection of short stories, came out this year, and a friend of mine added it to their TBR list. It was apparently on Netgalley — I should get caught up on Netgalley.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

This book was recommended to me. I do enjoy chick lit, though I have never read any of Colleen Hoover. I’ll definitely pick it up at some point soon.

Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

A steampunk novella by an author I enjoy. I wasn’t a big fan of Carriger as a YA author, but I do like her Parasol Protectorate series.


Current Five Books I’m Reading

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

I am reading this book for a test episode for a podcast I’m working on with a fabulous group of ladies. This book isn’t one that would be normally featured on the podcast, and I’ve been trying to decide if I would have picked it up on my own. It’s based in Brooklyn and has a main character that’s not a typical (white) female protagonist. So far I’m loving it.

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1. by Kieron Gillen

In true fashion of my New Year’s resolution, this is the current comic series I am binging on to catch up. Bought the first three volumes last week.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

I love Shirley Jackson, and was having an “I miss college” day when I picked up this collection. I’m about halfway through it, before switching to a bag that doesn’t allow for actual books in it (currently rocking my ereader.) I may put this one on hold until October, where I’ll do tons of horror reading.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

I’ll admit, I’ve barely started this. This kind of book is one that I’ll either read slowly over the next six months as I let it wash it’s wisdom over me (while flashing the cover on the subway of course) or I’ll read it all in one sitting. I’ve read maybe 1-2 essays in it currently.

Multiverse: A Collection of Superhero Poetry

This isn’t my favorite collection of poetry, and actually my reading of it is on hold as I lent it out to a friend. It definitely makes me think though. Superheroes are such depressing characters these days.


What are you reading? Anything interested added to your TBR list recently??

August Update or I’m Not Dead I Promise!

I’ve been pretty MIA for awhile, I’ll admit. I’ve been doing what I can to get out and explore the city and make friends, plus I’ve started working on projects. But don’t fret! I am planning on getting back in the habit of posting. Plus the projects I am getting involved with are kind of awesome.

So what have I been up to?

Well, I have been reading and listening to more podcasts. This week I plan on getting out a few book reviews, specifically:

  • Asylum by Madeleine Roux (and eventually its sequels, which I’m working on reading)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Podcast wise, I’ve started listening to some new ones — primarily comic book related ones. I’m learning ALL ABOUT the X-Men, and Panelology keeps me up to date on the major comic books of the week (primarily DC/Marvel reviews).

I do plan on doing a Season 2 recap of The Black Tapes Podcast as my Season 1 recap gets hits on a daily basis.

I can talk a little bit about some of the projects I’ve been working on, but not too much:

  • I submitted my first story  idea to a website, which took most of July for me to panic and actually write. I find out tomorrow (GASP) if it was accepted, and either way I’ll post more about where you can find/read it afterwards. …Because I do have a backup plan for it.
  • Also, research, research, research. For both books.
  • I’m going to get into podcasting — woo! It’s in the beginning stages, and we’re (myself and 5 other wonderful ladies) getting ready to record our “lost” episode – one that will never see the light of day. It is book related, specifically YA, and as it gets closer to being released, I’ll post more about it!
  • Gishwhes is…. Gishwhes.
  • I helped a friend with an episode of her podcast — I seriously doubt it’ll ever see the light of day, but man. If you aren’t listening to podcasts, what are you waiting for? There is literally something out there for everyone. And if there isn’t, you can start it yourself.

What else? If you aren’t watching Stranger Things or Scream, you should be.

The One Resolution I’ve Kept…

I am a sucker for new year’s resolutions, to the point that I do mid-year checkups on them. And I’m still a normal human being, so I am really failing at most of them. But that’s what the second half of the year is for, right? This year I made broad resolutions, and then I made specific book and writing ones. I’ve pulled up my book/writing ones and….

….yeah I still need to work on them. But one of the goals was to read more graphic novels/comics, and that I have actually accomplished. I have wonderfully nerdy friends, who I have to actually ignore as they recommend more and more series to start (and as they recommend DC comics. Still can’t quite get into DC yet.) My unfortunate problem is that I have no idea how to actually review graphic novels. Thus below is a quick look at what I’ve been reading in volume format — I’m weeks behind on single issues and will catch up at some point. So here are my rants, ramblings and ravings on five different comics!


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Thanks to Mari @ Story and Somnomancy and my good friend Tim, I bought all 5 volumes on an impulse back in January….and then promptly put them on my shelf and ignored them. Have I mentioned that I’ve been trying to read more of these, but just didn’t feel they were for me?

Brooklyn was hit with a few feet of snow at once earlier this year, and I finally caved and decided to give the first volume a try….and by the end of the snow day, I had read all 5 volumes. It’s a bit of a Romeo and Juliet situation, with more nudity, more violence, a larger playing field, and more non-main character death (meaning Romeo and Juliet are still very much alive). I have no idea where the story is going or if they ever plan on wrapping it up — some of the criticism I’ve read regarding the comic is how flimsy the plot is, but I rather enjoy the epic space drama…drama of it all. Plus the forbidden love between Marko and Alana just makes me happy?

I enjoy the artwork as well. I really can’t comment on much of it as I’ve yet to come across a comic where I didn’t care for the artwork (then again, I’ve looked at a few and put them back — due to a combination of artwork and story line. I’ll work on this.)

Rating: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4.5/5 Moose


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Nailbiter was recommended to me by Tim, again, or well his comic shop. The concept seemed so wonderfully fascinating that I picked them up immediately— I think I had to go to two different stores for the first volume.

The series revolves around a small, fictional town called Buckaroo, OR. This town’s claim to fame is that they have produced not one, but SIXTEEN serial killers. Nailbiter is obviously one of these serial killers, and is actually the most recent one. (Actual name: Edward Charles Warren.) He got his nickname because he has a disturbing fetish where he chews off his victim’s nails and part of their flesh. The story starts when Agent Carrol goes missing, and his friend NSA agent Nicholas Finch comes to down find him. Instead he begins to pull at the threads of the town’s legends, trying to figure out why the town has produced sixteen serial killers.

I wrote about Nailbiter briefly, and my opinions on it haven’t changed. I love this series. It has everything I want in horror.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 5/5 Moose (Yes it has slow points, but I still love it.) 


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Paper Girls is another one recommend to me by Tim, (pretty much he recommends, I read) as well as a group of ladies I enjoy discussing comics with (primarily what are good strong female led ones.) First of all, I LOVE the covers of the individual issues,

The story starts with a bang in the early hours after Halloween in 1988, hints the NEON covers. Four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls find them selves thrown undercover as otherworldly creatures just start colliding with small town suburbia. The muted red-blue-purple tones are wonderful. There’s only been one volume, but issue 6 came out recently as well. I haven’t decided if I am going to keep up with single issues, or wait for the next volume. Either way, I’m a fan.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5Moose


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Phonogram was recommended to me by my friend James, who is currently on a no more recommendations break. (Have I mentioned that my friends are all awesome and want to share the great things they’ve read?)

Phonogram is a bit of a different graphic novel than the other ones I’ve read. The volume is entirely in black and white. It takes place in the UK, following David Kohl, a smug bastard of a mage who use the medium of Britpop music to interpret his magic. His mind starts to unravel — he starts thinking he likes music that he’s never cared for — causing him to lose his identity and magic. And all of this traces back to Britannia, who has been dead for ten years.

I wanted to like this volume. I want to like this series (not that I’ve read the second or third volume.) But there is just something that was not clicking for me. I feel like I missed a previous volume or something, but that’s fine.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.25/5 Moose


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Outcast is my current read. I have read the first two volumes, and I’ll probably pick up the third one for a read this week. This of course is in combination with the television show on Cinemax, which I’m currently watching on Sundays either before or after Preacher. Again, this comic was brought to my attention from my good buddy Tim, so really if you ever need a comic recommendation, I’ll point him out to you. (Maybe. I’ll think about it.)

Outcast is a bit hard for me to read. The possessions make me uncomfortable, the abusive scenes make me cringe…but it’s still a good read. And I have to give major props to Megan, Kyle’s adopted sister, who tells off her childhood rapist in an appropriate manner.

Anyways, Outcast is about Kyle Barnes, who seems to be surrounded by possessed people. His mom, his neighbors — you name it, they might be possessed. Instead of hiding, his normal stance, he’s decided to get out and help the local preacher with his past exorcisms, which seem to have all failed.

I will say that I am enjoying the TV show as well, and can’t wait to see where they go next.

Rating: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5 Moose


My to read next list includes the following, but you are welcome to recommend more:

  • Rat Queens
  • Sex Criminals
  • The Wicked + the Divine
  • The Private Eye
  • October Faction
  • Huck

Seriously, recommend more! And feel free to tell me you think my choices are insane, that’s fine.

Book Review: Unbound

I haven’t been reading Victoria Schwab’s books for a year yet — 9 months from the look of it, but I have already commited to reading all of her books and everything she puts out in the future. And why, may you ask?

Because she seriously just keeps getting better. This was the second sequel book I’ve read of hers, and AGAIN, it’s just as good (or in this case better than) the first book. Which makes me REALLY excited to read Vengeful, the sequel to Vicious.

But this review is about Unbound, the second book in the Archived series. YES, I thought it was just a duology, which led to some disappointment at the ending. Good news — there’s another one coming! And this book didn’t end on a cliffhanger (or well, it was one that was resolved by a wonderful short story later on.)

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The Unbound

Victoria Schwab
Published 2014

Format: paperback
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal
Rating:  moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.75/5 Moose


Synopsis 

Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop: a sixteen-year-old girl who’s destiny in life is to be a Keeper, responsible for keeping Histories (ghosts) from escaping the Archive (final resting place). Unfortunately for her, one nearly killed her shortly after she moved to Colorado. Now onto of having to move on from her near death experience without anyone to talk to, she also has to start a brand new high private high school.

High school would be hard enough, but Mac is also dealing with nightmares, black outs, and now people are going missing, all of which saw Mac last. She’s convinced the Archive is involved somehow, though she’s not one hundred percent those missing aren’t her fault. With her sanity being threatened, her destiny is being held by a thin thread.

Characters

Mackenzie Bishop — The main character of the series, a junior in high school. She’s also one of the youngest Keepers (someone who can read Histories) to exist, taking over her grandfather’s role when she was twelve. Her family moved to Colorado after her brother passed away in order to get a fresh start. She shys away from human contact and friends. In the second book she is trying to deal with her emotional/mental state after Owen attacked her in book 1.

Wesley Ayers — Wes is the first Keeper Mac has met outside of her grandftather. He’s 17, charming, arrogant, slightly narcissistic, outgoing and “eccentric” (re: wears eyeliner and earings and spiked hair). This book shows how little anyone, especially Mac, knows Wes as she didn’t even realize Wes went to the same high school as her.  Mac and Wes seem convinced that they’ll make Crew together soon.

Roland — One of the head Librarians who has been put in charge of Mac. He’s a calming, patient force in Mac’s life, trusting her to make mistakes even after she didn’t tell him about Owen.

Owen — Owen shows up in nightmare form through out this book, a representation of how mentally unstable Mac is. He shows up any time Mac zones out even slightly, threatening her with a knife and chaos.

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

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My reaction almost every time Wes showed up

So I was on the fence about Wes the first book, but I feel like I must say, I find Wes wonderful and need one like him now. I don’t particularly care for him as a love interest (I was team Roland until I realized it was creepy okay? It’s the Chucks. Damn Chucks get me every tim.) but given that Crew tends to be code for soulmates, it made sense that he’d shift into more of a love interest. Plus it’s been awhile since I’ve had a crush on a book character  (looking at my reading list of 2016, I think it’s been since my last book by Ms. Schwab?) And this crush definitely colored my love for this book.

As the book went on, I realized I relate to Mackenzie quite a bit — her internal vibe/aura being a thunder storm makes it even more relatable. I’m guessing mine sounds similar, though probably more like a tornado. (And Wes’s being metal music — swooooon.)

The pacing of this book is better than the first. It still jumps to the “past” (sometimes the past was a few days ago, not childhood) way too much for my liking, and I still found it a tad predictable, but it’s not as ridiculously slow. In true book 2 of a YA trilogy fashion, our lead heroine is quite broken after the events of book 1, but at least she’s not curled up in a ball doing nothing.

The ending is rushed quite a bit, again, but I was appeased by the knowledge of a third book. Maybe one where Wes/Mac make Crew?

I’ve always been good at math. It’s straightforward, black-and-white, right and wrong. Equations. Da thought of people as books to be read, but I’ve always thought of them more as formulas—full of variables, but always the sum of their parts. That’s what their noise is, really: all of a person’s components layered messily over one another. Thought and feeling and memory and all of it unorganized, until a person dies. Then it all gets compiled, straightened out into this linear thing, and you see exactly what the various parts add up to. What they equal.

Final Verdict

Before I read The Archived, I was toying with my own idea of what happens to people when they die. That thin idea has gone on the backshelf as this series does a perfectly wonderful job of handling the dead. If you haven’t read a Schwab book, don’t start with this series (Vicious or A Darker Shade of Magic. GO GO GO.) But if you’re already a fan, give this one a read. It’s still good, just not her top series.