Pines by Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines #1) – Non Spoiler Review

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ThreeHalf

Book: Pines

Series: Wayward Pines, #1

Author: Blake Crouch

Pages: 305

Genre: Mystery/thriller, SciFi

My rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Synopsis:

Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

This review will be short and sweet because, as usual, writing a review for a thriller without spoilers is a bit tough. Blake Crouch is known for writing Dark Matter, another scifi-thriller with raving reviews. I decided to start with the Wayward Pines trilogy because I was enthralled by the idea of a small town that seems “off”.

I love thrillers that involve missing people and a conspiracy. The premise is simple: Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in a small town called Wayward Pines to investigate the disappearance of two other federal agents. Then bad things start happening, the people act strange, and nothing is quite as it seems.

This book is non-stop action, to the point where it will stress you out. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing! I love a good page-turner! You will question everything and trust no one. You may even want to throw this book across the room because sh*t hits the fan. A lot.

A few drawbacks: Sometimes Ethan can be a bit of an “unreliable narrator”. If you’re fine with that, great! It’s a trope I’m getting a bit tired reading about, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from finishing the book. There are also some pacing issues for me toward the last quarter of the book, and the writing is a bit generic.

Overall, Pines is a very enjoyable page-turner that’s easy to fly through. You can easily finish this in one sitting. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy!

ThreeHalf

xx,

Amy

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Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle – Non Spoiler Review

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fourstars

Book: Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Pages: 357

Genre: YA Magical realism, mystery

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you’re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.

One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.

Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.

When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.

I’ve been in such a witchy mood ever since reading The Wicked Deep, so of course I jumped on board another buddy read that centers around a spellbook! Spellbook of the Lost and Found is so beautifully crafted, that even though it read like a contemporary, I wanted to keep reading because this book is like one giant mystery after another.

I will admit, at first I wasn’t completely feeling this book. Like I said, it did read like a contemporary. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with contemporary, I just wasn’t expecting that. It took me a while to “get into the groove” and to get all the characters straightened out.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is set in a small Irish town and follows 3 POV’s. Each POV has its own group of friends, all of whom have mysteriously lost or found something.

The 3 POV’s:

  1. Laurel, with her friends Ash and Holly. Laurel and her friends set the story in motion. They’re the original founders of the spellbook and they put it to the test. They are the most mysterious group.
  2. Olive, with her friend Rose. They both end up blacking out at a bonfire. When they awaken, they realize they’ve lost most of their memories from the night before and a bunch of other items. Olive is extremely loyal and caring. I found myself relating to her a lot!
  3. Hazel, with her twin brother Rowan, and friend Ivy. They are squatters in an abandoned home, but their lifestyle draws in Olive and Rose. They are also quite mysterious, and they are desperate to find what they lost. Hazel is my favorite because of her strong personality and sharp tongue.

The spellbook ties all three of these groups together. I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t want to spoil anything since this book is one giant mystery. However I’m going to list out the things I liked and disliked.

The Good:

  • The rep. Olive is partially deaf, Rose is POC, and there is LGBTQ rep. I am always appreciative of authors who seamlessly include these reps in books. It makes my heart happy.
  • The writing. What can I say? The writing is gorgeous. The author left behind so many clues and breadcrumbs for us to follow. Honestly, I missed so many! I want to go back just so I can pick up all the pieces I missed. I tabbed so many lines that stuck out to me (photo below).
  • The setting. I’ve never been to Ireland but it is on my bucket list. The way the woods and town were described makes me want to travel even more.
  • The “side” characters. What I loved the most was that the non-narrating characters played a major role in the plot. They weren’t just side characters who didn’t serve a purpose. They weren’t just there. Have you ever read a book where one “best friend” was just there to serve as the “jokester”, or the “bitch”? Well, you won’t have that with this book. They’re all intertwined perfectly.

The Bad:

  • The pacing. It starts out slow almost to the point where I’d have trouble picking up the book again. It really took me a while to get myself into the story. But once I did, I was fully immersed.
  • The multitude of characters. Like I said before, it took me a while to get all the different groups straightened out. If you don’t like multiple POV books then this may not be your jam.

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Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. The lyrical writing and mystery surrounding all the characters kept me intrigued until the very end.

If you have any other witchy/magical books you’d recommend, please let me know!

Thanks to the amazing group of bookworms that buddy read this with me: Julie from Pages and Pens, Melanie at Meltotheany, Jules at JA Ironside, Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer, Tiffany at Tiffany’s Rainy Day Reads, and Lilly at Lair of Books (she’s grandfathered into this lmao). Julie hosted this buddy read on twitter using the hashtag #brSpellbook!

fourstars

xx,

Amy

The Good Twin by Marti Green – Non Spoiler Review

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ARC provided by Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review

ThreeHalf

Book: The Good Twin

Author: Marti Green

Pages: 272

Genre: Mystery/thriller

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

My rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.

Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.

It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.

But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.

Since thrillers are so hard to review without spoilers, I will try my best to make this as informative as possible!

I am a sucker for thrillers where the characters conspire up something crazy. I am all about lies, deception, and plot twists. I definitely got that out of The Good Twin, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

As the synopsis says, The Good Twin follows a set of twins who were separated at birth. While Mallory grew up poor, Charly grew up surrounded by wealth and everything she could ever want. But once Charly’s husband, Ben, learns Charly has a twin, he approaches Mallory with a clever proposal that may benefit them both.

The Good Twin is a page-turner, and I flew through it. I will admit the writing is a bit basic, though. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Just don’t expect the writing to be elaborate or lyrical. Which, for a thriller, is just fine with me. Another thing that stood out to me was that the characters were a bit one-dimensional. From the get-go, Ben is made out to be the villain — a role he most certainly fits, and quite frankly, I found zero sympathy for him. Mallory is grey area, whom I’m sure will end up being a 50/50 split between whether or not you love or hate her. There were also a few times when a character would give their reasoning for their “bad” decision, and I’d be like, “REALLY!?” So, while that may be a bit unrealistic, you have to remember that some of these people are morally grey, which makes for a great thriller.

The schemes, deception, and the different layers to the plot completely make up for the one-dimensional characters. I mean, I genuinely loved how much was unfolding in front of my eyes with each turn of the page. I thought the beginning started out a little shaky, but once things picked up, I was 100% invested. I would definitely pick up another Marti Green book. I think The Good Twin would be perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review! I enjoyed The Good Twin so much!

The Good Twin releases May 15, 2018.

ThreeHalf

xx,

Amy

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – Non Spoiler Review

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ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

threestars

Book: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Pages: 352

Genre: YA Fantasy, historical fiction

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Format: Digital advance readers’ copy

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I almost didn’t want to include the synopsis above because I feel like it gives so much of the plot away. I went into this blind, which I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed reading this but I was left wanting a bit more!

Sky in the Deep is a viking-inspired story that focuses on the rivals between two clans: The Aska and the Riki. Eelyn is a strong warrior from the Aska clan. On the day she’s fighting the Riki clan, she sees something impossible: Her presumed-dead brother, Iri, fighting alongside the Riki. Due to certain circumstances, she is captured and taken to the Riki’s village where she is forced to reevaluate everything she’s ever known.

So, let’s talk about why I gave this book 3 stars. I try not to fall into the hype of a popular new YA release, so I went in with low expectations. However, I truly expected a more plot-driven story with action (since the central theme is war, after all.) While I loved the characters and the setting, I felt like something else was missing.

With that being said, I’ll now discuss what I liked and disliked:

The Good:

  • Eelyn is strong, brave, and ruthless. I am always down for a badass female lead. I also enjoyed her path to self discovery.
  • The supporting cast. I simply adored Halvard and Inge. They were the backbone of this book, in my opinion.
  • The writing. Young provided stunning imagery to this world. There were some gruesome scenes that had me going, “Ewwww!” And I don’t usually flinch at that stuff. You’ll probably know what I mean once you get to that part. LOL.
  • Fiske. While I wish he could have been a more complex character, I found him to be a genuinely sweet person who just wanted to do the right thing.
  • It’s a standalone. I love series but reading a standalone is also so satisfying! I did hear there might be a companion book releasing next year? But I don’t know what it’s about.

The Bad:

  • One-dimensional characters. I believe this story would have benefited from a multi-POV structure. Only being in Eelyn’s mind made it difficult for me to understand Iri’s thoughts since I feel like he’s the most complex character. I also would have loved to read Fiske’s POV!
  • The pacing. Overall I felt that the plot wasn’t very complex. You could basically break this book up into 3 parts: The opening war scene, a bunch of stuff not happening in the middle, and then the faster-paced conclusion. In fact, the ending wrapped up so suddenly I thought I was missing some pages!
  • Rape threat is brought up a few times, which is a shame. I won’t get into the specifics, but it did make me roll my eyes.
  • Don’t expect romance. Maybe the hype made me expect a huge romance, but in reality it was very minimal. Nothing hot and heavy, ya know?

I definitely still recommend this book if you’re a fan of war fantasies. It reads like a typical YA set in a Viking-inspired world. It is short and easy to fly through. Just keep in mind the pace does get rather slow for the majority of the book, but some of the characters made up for it.

Sky in the Deep releases on April 24, 2018!

Thank you to Melanie, Jules, and Lilly for buddy reading this with me! ❤

threestars

xx,

Amy

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books or Series I’m Afraid to Start

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. There is a new topic each Tuesday, so check out her blog for more info!

This week is a freebie! That means there isn’t a designated topic and we got to create our own. I’m sure my topic has been done before but since I am new to Top Ten Tuesday, I’m going to share with you the books or series I want to read but I’m scared/intimidated to start. Either these books have a lot of hype or they’ve been sitting on my TBR shelf for forever!

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1) The Classics: I have had these books for a while and I WANT to read them, but I know I will read through them very slowly since I’m not accustomed to the writing styles. So, naturally, I’ve avoided it. LOL.

 

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2) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: I PROMISE I will read this, but the size and epic-ness high key intimidates me.

 

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3) The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: I’ve put off this series because I’ve heard so many bad things about the third book. I adore Leigh’s writing so I want to read more from her, though. Do I go for it knowing the third book might let me down? Help!

 

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4) Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: Another series where the books are gigantic bricks which intimidates the crap out of me LMAO. I’ve even tried to listen to this on audio but the narrator isn’t my favorite. So, I will just read it but I am afraid it will put me into a reading slump due to its size. Why do I think these things to torture myself?!

 

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5) Jackaby series by William Ritter: I received the first book as a Christmas gift and then I grabbed the other two during a Book Outlet sale. The paranormal/crime elements really intrigue me but it just keeps getting pushed aside for other books. *cries*

 

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6) Renegades by Marissa Meyer: I loved The Lunar Chronicles so I was excited to grab Renegades. Then I heard some not-so-great reviews so I kept putting off reading it. I really don’t like to be swayed by poor reviews but it is hard to ignore sometimes. BUT! I WILL read it so I can form my own opinion!

 

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7) The Jane Austen Collection: I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice, and I want to read her other works. Again, I know the writing style/language will take me a while to get through, so I’m afraid it’ll take me too long to read them.

 

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8) The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson: I recently discovered Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and Warbreaker — and I am IN LOVE. I was nervous to start those, too, so I know I can take on another epic series. Again, the sheer size of The Stormlight Archive feels intimidating but this is something I highly want to read soon.

 

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9) A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge: Shameful admission – this was a total cover buy (it is also stunning under the dust jacket). I’m really picky when it comes to fantasies with a paranormal twist, so that’s why I’ve been putting it off.

 

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10) The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: I’ve heard this series praised as the “adult version of Harry Potter” but there are so many books in the series which is why I’ve put it off for so long!

 

Do you have a stack of books that intimidate you? Let me know! 🙂

xx,

Amy

One Lovely Blog Award

I was nominated by Kathy at Pages Below the Vaulted Sky for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you, Kathy! I’ve been loving Kathy’s book reviews, so please check out her blog when you get a chance! ❤

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The Rules:

1) Thank the person who nominated you (If you want to ping me back, please remember to link directly to this blog post.)

2) Share 7 facts about yourself.

3) Nominate up to 15 bloggers and inform them about their nomination.

 

7 Facts About Me:

1) I wanted to be a paleontologist “when I grew up”. My dad was a geologist so his love of things like rocks and dinosaurs rubbed off on me. My favorite movie will forever and always be Jurassic Park.

2) I majored in Aviation (part of the engineering department) and minored in Meteorology in college. I spent three days a week flying a tiny airplane while also taking classes at Ohio University. I don’t fly anymore but I will be forever grateful for those amazing experiences. Working in aviation is how I met my husband. ❤

3) I still love cartoons, especially the old-school ones on Nickelodeon. I could binge shows like Doug, Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! all day long.

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4) I really love to travel and my dream is to check off a bunch of European countries from my bucket list. I’ve already spent a lot of time in SE Asia, so I’d like to try some different locations. I want to hike the glaciers in Iceland, so that’s at the top of my list!

5) I am fluent in Thai. I spent my childhood living between Ohio and Thailand, and I’m so thankful I got to experience both cultures. I went to a Thai school where I learned how to read and write Thai, and then I went to an international school to learn English. My dad is American and my mom is Thai which explains my, uh, unique upbringing. Haha!

6) I’m kind of obsessed with Disney World. I try to go about once a year if possible. I just love the magical feeling of being there. I will go into full-blown planning mode and it can be a little scary. So, don’t get in my way! LOL

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7) I love scary movies! I especially love ones about insane asylums, ghosts, and creepy dolls! (What is wrong with me?)

Nominations:

Lilly @ Lair of Books

Melanie @ Meltotheany

Jen @ Pinot and Pages

Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile

Feel free to do this post! But you’re not obligated, so no pressure! 🙂

xx,

Amy

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne – Non Spoiler Review

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ARC provided by HMH in exchange for an honest review

TwoHalf

Book: Brightly Burning

Author: Alexa Donne

Pages: 400

Genre: YA SciFi

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: Advance reading copy

My rating: ★★1/2

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

I was super pumped to receive this advanced copy of Brightly Burning from HMH. I am so thankful I got the chance to read this before publication. Truly, I am so grateful for these opportunities. Even if I didn’t love it, I still want to give you all my thoughts and genuine feelings!

So, with that being said, I did like the book, but I didn’t love it. It’s probably just me, y’all. I had just finished The Illuminae Files recently, and those are some kickass books set in space. I think I was expecting more action, when in reality Brightly Burning is more of a love story.

Brightly Burning is marketed as a Jane Eyre retelling set in space. Set in the future, Earth has experienced a catastrophic environmental disaster which no longer makes it habitable. Humans escaped by living on spaceships that orbit the Earth. For hundreds of years humans lived on these ships, knowing that some day their ships will no longer be “space-worthy” enough to function and will eventually need to “de-orbit” by re-entering back to Earth.  The people are afraid Earth is still in an ice age, so they’re trying everything they can to prevent going back to Earth.

However, not all spaceships are created equally. Some ships are enormous, luxurious, and house the elite. Other spaceships are “poor”: bare-bones, food and water rations, and limited medical supplies. Some have had to battle viruses that wiped out a majority of their population. This class-system is very prevalent throughout the book, and is a major driving force in the plot. Since some spaceships are reaching the end of their life cycle, this puts a huge strain on everyone. What’s the morally right thing to do? Do you allow those people on to your ship or make them de-orbit back to Earth?

This brings us to Stella Ainsley (based on Jane Eyre.) Stella is an engineer aboard the “poor” ship, the Stalwart. Wanting a change, she leaves the Stalwart to go work as a governess on the Rochester, a spaceship that orbits the Moon. The Rochester is owned by a very elite family and it is operated by a small crew. Almost immediately she falls for the ship’s captain, Hugo Fairfax. But another ship, the Ingram, wants to form a marriage-alliance with the Rochester. Also, there are some weird, haunting things happening on board the Rochester that Stella cannot explain.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going especially if you’ve read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Now let’s talk about The Good and The Bad:

The Good:

  • Stella’s morals. Stella is beyond selfless, caring, and will go above and beyond to help anyone. She’s extremely lovable and smart.
  • The mix of future and primitive eras. I really liked how the Earth went from being a habitable planet with the technology to put people into space, to being in an ice age, to having people living in space, only to have that technology start to fail, and the people needing to go back to Earth to start life all over again. It really made me think.
  • The mystery. There are definitely some creepy moments of strange laughter in the middle of the night and parts of the ship getting mysteriously sabotaged. This was woven very well into the story.

The Bad:

  • Hugo Fairfax. I know Hugo is the characterization of Jane Eyre‘s Mr. Rochester who, well, isn’t a great person. He’s arrogant, selfish, moody, mysterious, an alcoholic, and leads Stella on when it’s obvious she has feelings for him. He forces Stella to spend time with him, even when she clearly states she doesn’t want to. I just cannot with men like this. Also? He’s supposed to be the captain of a SPACESHIP but he literally does no captain duties at all. He basically treats his spaceship like one giant party cruiser. Again, I know Hugo is supposed to have Mr. Rochester’s unlikable traits, but I just… I can’t. Not in this day and age, sorry.
  • The insta-love. Stella has hardly been working for very long on the Rochester, but, yep! She’s already in love with Hugo. I’m not usually a hater of insta-love, but this was a bit much for me.
  • The writing felt a bit juvenile. “Frexing” is the made-up swear word. Let me just say: I am not a fan of made-up swear lingo. Lol.
  • I was bored. I feel so bad saying this, because I genuinely do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But the pacing was too slow for me, and I wanted more action since this is a SciFi in space, afterall. I wasn’t blown away by any twists. By the last 100 pages, I just wanted it to be over.

While Brightly Burning hits all the major Jane Eyre plot points, I felt like it failed to exhibit the complexity of the characters. I think YA SciFi is a really difficult genre to get right. The more I think about it, it may just not be the right genre for me anymore. I think this book is for anyone who likes insta-love romances with a bit of a SciFi twist. Again, I am so grateful to HMH for sending me this copy of Brightly Burning.

TwoHalf

xx,

Amy

The 20 Questions Book Tag

Thank you so much to Lilly at Lair of Books for tagging me to do the 20 Questions Book Tag! Please check out her blog because she is the loveliest person alive ❤

This was a fun tag and a good change of pace from writing reviews! I hope you enjoy my answers. Feel free to do this tag! Remember, if you do, please ping me back by linking directly to this blog post so I get the ping notification. 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a book series?

I think going beyond 4 books in a series gets to be a bit much. And for the love of god, please don’t change the covers half way through a series! *screams*

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2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

I can handle a minor cliffhanger as long as the major plot points are wrapped up. But in general, cliffhangers make me want to throw the book across the room.

3. Hardback or paperback?

I don’t discriminate. I love all book forms. I prefer to collect hardbacks, but I like the feel of paperbacks. I also enjoy reading on my Kindle. I have a form of inflammatory arthritis, so using an e-reader has been such a huge pain reliever for my wrists.

4. Favorite book?

I’m going to agree with Lilly on this one; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my absolute favorite. I love meeting the characters from other schools, the Yule Ball, the Triwizard Tournament. Everything!

5. Least favorite book?

I can’t say I have an absolute least favorite book. So I’ll choose my least favorite book for this year, which was The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.

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6. Love triangles, yes or no?

I think a love triangle can be well done. What I don’t like is when there’s a love triangle, and then all of a sudden the author does a dramatic shift where she turns one of the love interests into a raging douche. I want to see the romances evolve organically.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black this year, and I had to DNF with only 30 pages left. It makes me so sad because I love Holly’s The Cruel Prince. It was too slow, the characters were not good, and the world building fell flat IMO.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

I just started Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne! I’m reading an ARC that was sent to me from HMH. It releases May 1, 2018. 🙂

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9. Last book you recommended to someone?

There are a few, but the one that stands out the most to me is To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. It’s an appealing recommendation because: 1) It’s short, 2) it’s a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid, and 3) it’s a standalone.

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10. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

I don’t read a lot of classics, guys. Sorry! I’m going to have to think wayyyy back to high school for this one. So… uhh.. Pride & Prejudice?

11. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Not counting ARCs (I feel like that’s cheating haha), I think the most recent release I read was Obsidio by Jay Kristoff!

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12. Favorite author?

I’m just going to list a bunch: Rainbow Rowell, JK Rowling, Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Karin Slaughter, Jen Lancaster, Victoria Schwab, Jay Kristoff, Kendare Blake.

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

I love supporting my local library, but I love buying and collecting books!

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seem to love?

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I am actually a fan of the Shadowhunters books, but the very first book in The Mortal Instruments is…. not so great. I know so many people love it, so I hope I’m not insulting anyone! I just think The Infernal Devices is written so much better! Also I just don’t like books that romanticizes ambiguous-incest-love interests. I KNOW how things turn out but the overall idea still grosses me out.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks! Even though I love to collect beautifully crafted bookmarks, I often reach for whatever I have laying around: a receipt, post it note, whatever. I cannot bring myself to dog ear. (Photo: I purchased these woodmarks from Ink & Wonder)

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16. A book you can always reread?

I want to say the Harry Potter series, but I’ll choose something else since that’s already a given. Haha! So let’s go with The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’m planning to “reread” it by listening to the audio version.

17. Can you read while hearing music?

I can’t. I prefer silence. I’m so boring. LOL

18. One POV or multiple POV’s? (POV’s = Point of views)

I like multiple POVs as long as the characters are developed well. It’s always nice to read from different perspectives. I feel like we get to really know them better!

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Usually I read over multiple days. I’ve definitely binged a book in one day before, but I don’t think my dogs and husband appreciate it. They’re like, hi, want to go outside to see the sun for a bit? LMAO.

20. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This UK hardback edition slays me. Look at its beauty! It is also gorgeous on the inside. ❤

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Now I tag:

Jen @ Pinot and Pages

Cassandra @ The Bibliophagist

Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile

J.W. Martin @ Storeys of Stories

Jakob @ Book Lover From Down Under

Scrill @ Vicariously & Voraciously

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

Please feel free to join this tag! If you do, please ping me back by linking directly to this blog post so I get the ping notification. 🙂

xx,

Amy

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Non Spoiler Review

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Book: The Wicked Deep

Author: Shea Ernshaw

Pages: 320

Genre: YA Paranormal, fantasy

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I read The Wicked Deep as part of a buddy read hosted by Julie at Pages and Pens on twitter with Melanie at Meltotheany, Lilly at Lair of Books, Jules at JA Ironside, Chelsea Palmer, and Paloma!

I must be lucky, because I’ve had an awesome reading month so far. I’m always up for a buddy read with these awesome ladies. They’re always such a joy to discuss books with! We laughed, we cried, and as Melanie put it, we put our FBI hats on to try to predict all the spooky twists.

“The Swan sisters are collectors of boys. Seducers. Once they have each taken a girl’s body… the drowning begins.”

The Wicked Deep is a paranormal, atmospheric read set in present day Oregon, in a small town called Sparrow. Two hundred years ago, three sisters (known as the Swan sisters) were accused of witch craft and executed by drowning. Now in present day, the town of Sparrow prepares for the Swan season: Every June 1st until the summer solstice, the Swan sisters will inhabit the body of a girl and then lure boys to their deaths in the harbor.

“They don’t inhabit bodies just to be alive again; they do it for revenge.”

Penny is the main protagonist. She’s a high school junior who does everything she can to avoid getting caught up in the Swan season. But then the town is flooded with tourists, and a mysterious boy named Bo arrives. He becomes entangled in the town’s lore, all while remaining skeptical. But he has secrets of his own, and Penny cannot reveal her own secrets either.

As you can tell from my rating, I loved this book. The setting pulled me in immediately. I am a huge fan of books that take place in small towns that contain some spooky lore. I am from one myself, so while the book may be haunting and mysterious, the overall ambiance reminded me of home.  And it was strangely cozy to me.

As usual, here are my thoughts on what I liked and disliked.

The Good:

  • The setting. Sparrow is a haunted town. While this book may be a great read during Halloween, it is interesting that it is set in June. I don’t associate paranormal books with summer, so this was a very unique change for me. Also Sparrow is a coastal town, so the wickedness of the sea is always present.
  • The legend. I love how the lore of the Swan sisters and witch craft were the constant focal points of the story. Everyone in town believed and accepted it, to the point where I grew a bit concerned about how they allowed things to get so out of hand (more on that below).
  • The romance. There are a few romances in the book, and all of them tore at my heart strings. Seriously, I will get teary-eyed if I keep talking about it. There is a bit of insta-love but I think the author created a good balance between a new romance while staying true to the mysterious elements of the story.
  • The writing. Ernshaw’s writing is magical, beautiful, and realistic. I could feel myself completely immersed in Sparrow. I could feel the wind chill, see the fog, taste the fruit and cakes, and smell the bonfires. I was also continuously guessing the twists and felt like I couldn’t trust anybody. That makes for a good story in my opinion!

The Bad:

  • While I loved Bo, I wish his character had more dimension. He is a very mysterious character, and I felt like we didn’t get enough of him.
  • Without saying any spoilers, I wanted to address a certain part in the book that bothered me because someone was used in a very personal way. While I know this book’s entire premise is based around spirits inhabiting a body, this particular scene rubbed me the wrong way.
  • The nonchalant attitude of the adults in Sparrow. Like, boys are drowning. Maybe try a little harder to protect them? Put everyone on lockdown for a few weeks? Call the coast guard? LOL SOMETHING!?

Overall, this was another 5 star read for me! I loved the journey this book took me on, the romance, the town, the legends. I’m in such a witchy mood that I now need to read all the witchy books! So, hit me up. Tell me some of your witchy or paranormal favorites! If you decide to read The Wicked Deep, please let me know your thoughts. Happy reading!

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xx,

Amy

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Loved But Will Never Re-Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. There is a new topic each Tuesday, so check out her blog for more info!

This week’s topic was another hard one for me. I don’t like to use the word “never” because I don’t know what kind of mood I’ll be in 3-4 years from now. Maybe I’ll feel the burning need to read The Hunger Games again? But for now, here are my top 10 books I loved but will (most likely) not read again:

 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Loved the story, but it is so long. I’m not sure if I will pick it up again due to the time commitment.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My gateway to dystopian YA. Great story, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I loved The Diviners so much, but I could not get through the sequel. I doubt I’ll ever go back to it.

Grant County series by Karin Slaughter

Karin is one of my favorite crime/thriller writers. While Grant County was a fun series, I doubt I’ll read them again. I much prefer the Will Trent series, which is basically a sequel series to Grant County.

Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain

What started as a fun crime/thriller series turned… meh. I know I won’t visit this series again.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Yep! I really enjoyed Twilight when it first came out. Now that I’ve “matured” (lol, debatable) I understand its problematic themes. But I give Twilight credit for opening my love of reading again. Will I ever re-read the series? Doubtful.

Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins

Cute, fun, contemporary. But I have no desire to go back and re-read them.

Miss Peregrine series by Ransom Riggs

I haven’t read the third book yet, and by this point, I probably won’t ever get around to it. It is a great series, though. But I think the content is more for younger YA readers, and my taste in books has changed over the years.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book made me think so much about life and death. Good read, but sad. Not something I want to read over and over.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I like John Green’s writing, but reading about kids with cancer just doesn’t jive with me very well. It’s a beautiful book, but just reading it once is good enough for me!

 

What are some books you loved but have no desire to re-read? Let me know!

xx,

Amy