Monday, June 26, 2017

ARC Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Title: Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Written by: Mackenzi Lee
Published: June 27, 2017 by Katherine Tegan Books (Harper Teen)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I was unbelievably excited to read this book and it was abso-bloody-lutely amazing. I loved Mackeni's debut so I would have read anything that she came out with next but this just sounded amazing and it was. Everything I had hoped it would be with amazing characters, a thrilling plot, and brilliant writing.

Going into this book I expected it to be an interesting piece of historical fiction as the author took us through an engaging period of history. She absolutely did that. I like my historical fiction to take imaginary people and populate them in real places with real events. That's exactly what happened here. Europe in the 18th century came alive in this book. And it wasn't just the upper class goings on either. There were some dangerous and different things we got to experience as well. I loved every place and event that was explored. We were taken to so many amazing cities in Europe that I personally loved when I was there in college and Mackenzi did a great job in describing these beautiful places. It was a beautiful setting for a book and a great backdrop for this historical fiction novel.

However, my favorite thing about this book was, without a doubt, the characters. This book is full of completely amazing and likable characters. First and foremost we have our main character Monty. Monty is seriously everything. He is the perfect combination of charming and vulnerable. I loved him when he was being sullen and reckless just as much as I love him when he was being flirty and rakish. I love characters like Monty who we get to see at their best and at their worst.

But Monty wasn't the only amazing character here. The book was full of likable characters who were complex and engaging. The two most important and interesting are Monty's companions, Percy and Felicity. Percy is Monty's best friend and love interest. He's just so adorable and I love the two of them together. I ship it so hard. Then there is Felicity, Monty's sister. She's described as being bookish and a bit of a bore but she is anything but. She's snarky and plucky and is really the best out of everyone in a crisis. I really loved her and the dynamic she has with Monty is amazing and so realistic. And that is just the beginning. This book had so many amazing characters.

I think part of what made the characters so fantastic was because for me the heart of this book is in the coming-of-age. Each of the characters has this great development throughout the book. I'm not sure they really had a traditional Hero's Journey but they did got through an incredible change throughout the book. The people we meet at the beginning are not the people we see at the end. Each of our heroes go through their own journeys as they figure out who they are and who they want to be. This is something that I love about YA and it was one of the best parts about this book.

But beyond the figurative journey, our characters went on a literal journey throughout the book. The main jumping off point for the plot here is the characters' Grand Tour. It's pitched as a road trip story, something that I don't usually enjoy but I loved it here. I already mentioned how great the settings were and that in and of itself would probably have been enough but then things very quickly veered off plan and it became incredibly more interesting. I didn't know that I was getting an action packed high stakes adventure story with this book but that is exactly what I got. I seriously could not put this book down. It really built to a climax that had me on the edge of my seat and along the way there were so many amazing moments. I didn't expect to be able to finish this in a few days but I was because it was that good. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading and when I was reading I couldn't think of anything else.

Even though this is a love and very gushing review I feel like I cannot do it justice. I really loved it that much. It was an insanely brilliant and engaging l book that I could not stop reading and do not want to be over. It had everything I had hoped it would have and more. There was a descriptive setting, great and complex characters, and a thrilling plot full of adventure and a good coming of age story. Seriously, read it. You won't regret it.

I give The Genteman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Without a doubt you need to buy this book. It is my first ten star review of 2017 so that's saying something. I mean I really loved it. It's funny, it's sweet, it's trilling, it's impactful. It's brilliant. Everyone, just everyone should read it.

Have you read Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: June Haul

A weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

So I would normally wait a week to do this but I think with ALA coming up (see yesterday's post) I want to do my monthly Staking the Shelves a little early. Plus technically it is the last Saturday of the month which is usually when I post this so I'm good.

Anyway, I actually did pretty good this month. I didn't go overboard in the books that I bought and I didn't get too many for review. I mean obviously ALA is going to mess that up completely but I could be a little more discerning this month because of that. Anyway, I still got some books I am super excited about.


Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Add to Goodreads
I LOVED the first book in this series. It was amazing and dark and everything I wanted it to be and expect from a Victoria Schwab book. I'm excited for the sequel

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent - Add to Goodreads
I had this book for review but I still ended up buying the audiobook. I really liked the audio for the first book and I wanted to listen and read this one.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine - Add to Goodreads
I didn't actually buy this book. It was one of the Kindle First books for June and I only listed it because I wanted to talk about it and it's not really for review.

For Review

House of Ash by Hope Cook - Add to Goodreads
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can smell a historical mystery a mile away. This one sounds really dark and interesting so I'm excited to give it a try.

The Witch Who Came in from the Cold by Many - Add to Goodreads
This was originally a serial but they are publishing it as a book and I'm excited to read it. It has some authors that I love and is a spy novel set in the Cold War era.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken - Add to Goodreads
I really love Alex's previous books and I am super excited to read her new middle grade. Plus it is about a boy who discovers a demon inside him which sounds so cool.

Ferocious by Paula Stokes - Add to Goodreads
I have not read the first book in this series but I have heard really good things about Paula Stokes and I feel like it's about time I read some of her books. This one totally sounds up my alley too.

Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn Add to Goodreads
I really liked the first book in this series so I'm excited to see where the sequel takes us. It's such a fun super hero story and I know there will be much more hijinx in the next book.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones - Add to Goodreads
You had me at sold your soul to the devil. Plus I'm interested in Emily Lloyd George's series about superheroes so maybe I'll read this first and then go back to that one.

Those are the books that I got so far in June. What books did you get? Are you excited for any of these? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Going to ALA

Hi Everyone,
This is just a quick update to let you know that I will be at ALA this weekend and for the beginning of next week. I'm not really taking a haitus but I'm also not really going to be around much so I thought I would just give you a quick heads up in case you were wondering where I am.

Also, I'm letting you know I'm going in case you are going as well. I know a few bloggers and bookish friends are also on their way there so if you are one of them and you see me, say hello. If I look intimidating because I'm super tall and not at all smiling, don't worry, I'm a gentle giant. I love meeting fellow bloggers whether I knew you before or not so please say hi.

This is my first time going to ALA so I'm not really sure what to expect but I'm exciting. I've been to BEA or Book Expo but I wasn't able to go this year because of reasons but I needed my bookish conference fix so ALA Annual it is. ALA is the American Library Association and they hold two conferences a year. This is the big one, the annual one. It's in Chicago this year which is where BEA was last year so at least I know the conference hall well.

 I've heard from some blogger friends who have been in the past that ALA tends to be a little more chill than BEA. Not as many long lines and there aren't really galley drops. You kind of just walk around the booths and chat with publicists and see what books they have to offer. I am all for that. I hate lines and crowds so as little as that as possible sounds great. I also don't have a ton of publicist contacts so I'm hoping to make some while I am there. Have you been to ALA? What was it like?

I was honestly a little bummed about not going to BEA this year. It is the first time since I started blogging seriously that I haven't gone and just felt really weird. The lead up to it just didn't feel right. I felt like I should be doing something to prepare and I wasn't. Then when I saw people there the FOMO hit. I wanted to be hanging out in lines with my blogger friends, I wanted to be meeting favorite authors, I wanted those book hauls. But then I remembered that I would be going to ALA in a few short weeks and that it would be just as exciting and fun. I know a few bloggers going already and I'm excited to meet some more as well as some librarians.

And of course I am ready to meet some amazing authors. I am super excited to see that some of the authors I really wanted to meet at BEA are also going to ALA. Including some that have been on my must meet author list which is cool. I can't wait to meet them and tell them how much I love their books. I will probably be awkward. I will almost certainly be awkward.

Authors I'm Excited to Meet

Marie Lu - Signing Warcross
Anna-Marie McLemore - Signing Wild Beauty
Sharon Cameron - Signing The Knowing
Cat Winters - Signing Odd and True
E. Lockhart - Signing Genuine Fraud
Maggie Steifvater - Signing All the Crooked Saints
Kerri Maniscalso -Signing Hunting Prince Dracula
Alexandra Bracken - Signing The Dreadful Case of Prosper Redding 

Any authors you know going that I should make sure I meet and talk to? Any books you know that will be there that you think I should make sure I pick up?

And I'm sure I will come home with way more books than I planned. I don't exactly know what books will be there besides the few that I have seen the ones that have been mentioned with the meet the authors but I'm sure there will be even more than that as giveaways at the publisher's booths. I will need to restrain myself like I tried to do at BEA the last couple of years. Although driving instead of flying does make it easier to take home excess books. NO! I will be good. Anyways, look out for my hauls on Instagram and Snapchat. Also, if you are not following me there and on Twitter, be sure to do that if you want updates and stuff. But I will of course do a recap when I get back.

Alright, that's all I got. See you soon, ALA! Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DNF Mini Reviews: Spring 2017

I don't normally post reviews for books that I don't finish reading but a part of me thinks that if I don't mention my thoughts it's a loose end I need to tie up. Plus I have a whole in my posting schedule because I wasn't able to read much last weekend and this weekend is ALA. There's so many books and so little time so I'm trying to prioritize the ones that are capturing my interest and that means having to put aside a few.

So I decided to to a few quick posts to explain my thoughts on the two books I shelved as "DNF" this summer. Writing DNF reviews is a tricky subject. I didn't want to do full reviews on the book because I don't really have a well-rounded enough view on it. But I also wanted to explain why I didn't quite like the books because I try to be really honest here. So I based this post on Nikki at There Were Books Involved's DNF Q+As. This allows me to explain why the book didn't quite work for me without giving a full review. So here you go, my DNF Reviews

Title: The Shadow Land
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Published: April 11, 2017 by Ballentine (Random House)
Source: Netgalley
(Amazon / Goodreads)                                                                                          

Synopsis: From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes an engrossing novel that spans the past and the present and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria, a beautiful and haunted country. 

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. 

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger. 

Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.

Why it Didn't Work For Me:
This one hurts. It hurts so badly. I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Kostova. The Historian is one of my all-time favorite books and I even really liked The Swan Thieves. But something about this book just didn't hook me. I can't describe why. I mean it had all the hallmarks of a good Elizabeth Kostova novel, there was a fascinating setting and atmospheric plus a good amount of mystery. This should absolutely have hooked me, and yet it didn't. I just never became invested in the plot. I didn't care about Alexandra returning the urn and it felt like it was just dragging everything out. I'm sure Kostova will connect everything and have some big reveal in the end but I just didn't want to stick around for that.

How Much I Read:
26% of the e-ARC

Will I Go Back to It:
Maybe. It could have been a case of bad timing. I read this just as I was coming out of my months long reading slump and I think I was very reluctant to invest time into a book that wasn't capturing me because I didn't want to backslide. But I do love Kostova's writing and I would like to read this book because of that.

Title: The Hush
Author: Skye Melki-Wegner
Published: June 6, 2017 by Sky Pony Press (Sky Horse)
Source: NetGalley
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: In a world where music is magic, the echoes can kill you. 

Chester has been traveling from village to village, searching for his kidnapped father. One night while fiddling to earn a few coins, he accidentally connects to the Song—the music that fuels every aspect of the world. It’s illegal to interact with the Song—only a licensed Songshaper may bend music to his will—and when Chester is caught, he’s sentenced to death. 

 But just before the axe is about to fall, someone in the crowd—a member of the infamous Nightfall Gang—stages a daring rescue, whisking Chester into the Hush, a shadowy nightmare mirror-world where Music can be deadly and Echoes can kill. 

Susanna, captain of the Nightfall Gang has been watching Chester. She needs his special talent to pull off an elaborate plan. And she’ll risk everything to succeed. Even Chester’s life.

Why It Didn't Work For Me:
This one totally sounds like a book I would love. I mean it's a super unique YA fantasy and I am all about those. It also sounds really atmospheric and dark. And to me honest, it was. I picked this up because I needed a quick read before I had to read something for a blog tour. I thought I could plow through this in a few days and I didn't. Then I needed an e-book later in the month and I picked this up again and realized I just didn't want to read it. Again it just hasn't captured me. But I am not very far in. I don't know that I have given this book a fair chance but I don't really want to read it at the moment so I'm DNFing.

How Much I Read:
15% of the e-ARC

Will I Go Back to It:
Maybe. Like I said, I don't think I have given this book a fair shot. Unfortunately I just have so many other e-books for review including some that I am really excited about so I'm not sure I will take the time to go back to this one. But I do want to.

Have you read The Shadow Land or The Hush? What did you think? What makes you DNF a book and do you ever go back to it after you put it down for an extended period of time? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Published: October 3, 2017 by Macmillan

Synopsis: Love grows such strange things. 

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Why I'm Waiting:

Can we talk about how gorgeous this book cover is? Because it is seriously gorgeous. I love how bright and colorful it is and how beautiful the flowers. Anna-Marie has had some seriously amazing covers but I think this one is my favorite. Even now knowing anything about this book I would absolutely pick it up based on that cover.

Speaking of Anna-Marie's other books, I am such a fan of them. I have read both of her previous books and I loved them both. She is a really amazing writer. She does a great job in establishing an atmosphere that brilliantly combines mystery and fantasy. One of the reasons I became really into Magical Realism last year is because of how much I love The Weight of Feathers. It made me want to read more of those books. It also made me want to read more books but Anna-Marie.

But even if this wasn't a book by an author I love, I still would have wanted to read this book because it sounds amazing! I always really like when a character doesn't remember who they are because it always makes for a lot of mystery and drama. And I am sure there will be an amazing magical realism here and great diverse characters because that's what all Anna-Marie's books have,

I am so excited about this book and I am absolutely planning on getting myselfg a copy at ALA this weekend and meeting Anna-Marie. It is one of my must get books.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Wild Beauty along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Fantasy Series I Have Not Started but Want To

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.) Abhorssen by Garth Nix - Add to Goodreads
I severely neglected my 90's teen fantasies I think. I never read these books as a kid and I don't know why. When a new book in the series a few years ago and I wanted to read it because everyone was talking about it and I never did.

2.) His Fair Asssasins by Robin LaFevers - Add to Goodreads
I've heard really good things about this series with female assassins/nuns which takes place in Medieval times. It's a total me book and even though I own the first two books I still haven't read them. I was hoping to read them this month though.

3.) The Queen's Thief by Megan Whelan Turner - Add to Goodreads
So this is similar to Abhorsen because a new book in the series actually just came out. It seems like a series that I would love as I love me some books about thieves. Well now that there are audiobooks out and they are narrated by Steve West I may read them.

4.) The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson - Add to Goodreads
I love Brandon Sanderson, I love him a lot, and yet I have never read this series. If I'm being totally honest it intimidates me a little bit. Each book is over 1,000 pages and I don't know if I can devote that much time to any book even if it is amazing.

5.) The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder - Add to Goodreads
I have heard really good things about this series from some blogger friends who list it among their favorites when I first started blogging. I really wanted to read it but I never got around to it and now I don't know if I will ever have the time.

6.) Falling Kingdoms bv Morgan Rhodes - Add to Goodreads
This is a series with books still coming out. I was given the first book as a gift maybe last year and I had every intention of reading it but I haven't yet. I'm a little nervous because I hear there are a lot of perspectives and that often annoys me.

7.) The Archived by Victoria Schwab - Add to Goodreads
I love Victoria Schwab. I have read all her adult books and The Monsters of Verity series (well I'm reading Our Dark Duet) and yet I have never read this series. I really want to but I don't have the first book and I think it's out of publication.

8.) Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta - Add to Goodreads
This is a series that like everyone was reading last year. I wanted to be one of those people but I wasn't. I don't know why I didn't take the time to read it them but I know everyone loves it so I want to read it.

9.) Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima - Add to Goodreads
And yet another book where another book in the series came out recently and I couldn't read it because I hadn't read this one yet. I know a lot of people were really excited about that so I assume people like it.

10.) The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine - Add to Goodreads
I really like my first Sarah Fine series I read and I want to read more of her books. This totally seems like one that I would love and I even recently bought the first book in the series and yet I still haven't read it.

There you have it, the ten YA Fantasy series that I have not yet read and want to read. Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are there any you think I totally have to read?

Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway


The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: June 13th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Buy Links:
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks

Synopsis: "It's dark magic brings him back." 

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it's their generations-old land the Burns have "stolen." As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori's shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

 Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it's clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter's cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

 As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family's oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.


*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for a blog tour via Netgalley. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I was really excited to read this book. It is totally up my alley, historical mystery with subtle magic. And while it was an interesting read I quite love it how I was hoping.

One thing I did like about this book was the atmosphere and world of this book. When it comes to this kind of historical mystery, the most important thing is that world. You have to establish interest in both the present and the past. The author definitely managed to do that. With flashbacks to the past she established what life was like for indentured servants, and in present day the high stakes plot added to the drama. Both settings were equally engaging and while I did prefer the ones in the past I never felt like I'd rather be in the opposite place, which is common. Then of course there was the magic added. I usually like my books with a lot of magic but the subtle amount here just added to the drama and mystery.

Which was the other thing I liked about this book, I liked the mystery and plot development. This is a book that is full of surprises and twists. Some of them were pretty easy to solve and others of them were not. As the book unfolded it did so in a way that there were more and more surprises and a big finish that was full of action. There were kind of two mysteries here and each of them were interesting but if I'm being entirely honest I did feel like they were a little needlessly complicated. With one of them I felt like I had an obvious solution that could solved things much sooner and with the other I felt like it had a left field reveal. However I was engaged in both their conclusions and with a lot of mysteries that isn't the case.

But I will say, I didn't really like the pacing of this book. It's not a particularly long book but it did take me awhile to get into it. It's one of those books that does built to an exciting conclusion but it took it's sweet time to get there. It took me three days to read the first half of the book and then I read the second half in a day. And even then it felt like it was progressing slowly. I wanted it to get to the big finish but it just wasn't getting there. I wish it had been a little more evenly paced.

I also didn't really like the characters here. It's not that they weren't interesting. For example, many of the secondary characters were pretty odious which is what you want to see when it comes to a mystery. But the main characters just didn't impress me much. They just didn't jump off the page. I think for the most part they just fell a little flat because they didn't have much personality. The main character Tori was fine and I liked the fact that she stuck up for herself and her family but it honestly felt a little misplaced at times. I couldn't quite figure her out and that made it hard to connect. And then there was Nathaniel, the romantic lead. He also just didn't seem to have much of a personality. And their relationship I just didn't understand. It wasn't really instalove but it had all the hallmarks of that trope. I kept hoping that they weren't going to get together because there was nothing really connecting them and then suddenly they did. I think I just wanted a little more from the characterizations here.

But in general it was an okay read. I'm a plot driven reader so I enjoyed how it all unfolded and the way the mystery revealed itself. There was a lot of drama and an atmospheric setting to keep me engaged. I just wish it paced a little more evenly and there was better characterizations.

I give The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I think fans of YA historical mysteries will enjoy this book and should check it out. There's a lot to like for fans of the genre or for those just looking to tip their toe in and try it out.


 Author of NEARLY GONE, NEARLY FOUND, HOLDING SMOKE, and THE SUFFERING TREE (Disney*Hyperion, 2017). Represented by Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency. 



There are two giveaways for this tour! One on the FFBC Tours site where you can win (1) of (9) witch bottles (US Only). You can find that here:

And one that just right here on My Thoughts Literally where you can win a SUFFERING TREE bundle which consists of a finished copy of the book, a sticker and a bookmark.

Have you read The Suffering Tree? What did you think? What are your favorite mysteries? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Crossing Over: Time Travel Books with a Focus on the History

Hey all. It's been awhile since my last Crossing Over post. If you're not familiar with Crossing Over it's a feature that stemmed from my desire to recommend an adult book with crossover appeal based on a YA or sometimes Middle Grade book that are similar. I hate that we pigeonhole books into a specific age range and so I try to combat that. Plus it's basically an if you liked, then try but for crossover books. It runs once a month (usually) here and I pick the books based on the theme of what I'm reading. So this month my theme is historical fiction and honestly that was a pretty hard one for me. I feel like I don't read a ton of adult historical fiction and the ones that I do are very different from the YA I read. So I did a little bit of a twist on the topic and do time travel stories with a big focus on historical fiction

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

So I feel like the first thing I have to say about this book is that it is not really a crossover book. It is very adult. VERY. There are some really explicit sex scenes and a ton of violence. And there are also plenty of violent sex scenes. This book is not for the typical YA reader. But it is still really good and I don't think teens should avoid these kinds of books because they aren't "adults." Alright, that's out of the way so let's get to the good stuff.

This book is about a woman who is ahead of her time who ends up, unbeknownst to her, having the ability to travel back in time. She ends up in the Highlands of Scotland right before the Jacobite uprising and becomes entrenched with a family who is more than meets the eye. There's a ton of action and drama, plus a good amount of political intrigue. As the series develops she starts to realize that if she wants to save the people she loves, she may have to change history.

This book also has amazing characters. I absolutely love Claire for one. As I said she is ahead of her time which often puts her at odds with the historical time period. She's sassy and tough, brilliant and resourceful, and shows a lot of confidence under pressure. She's an easy character to get behind. But Jamie Fraser is also quite amazing as well. He's not your typical war-hardened soldier. He's got a real vulnerability to him which makes him quite complex.  But even more than that, this is a series full of amazing and odious characters including some truly vile villains. Plus the book is way more character driven than you would expect.

But the thing I liked most about this book is that it's a time travel story that reads like historical fiction. The focus is definitely not on the time travel at least not in the first few books (yes, I admit I have only read the first one and seen the second season of the TV show). The time travel is just a means of getting the character to the time period which is a great setting. I loved the themes about the period that were explored and think fans of historical fiction will enjoy it as well.

In general, it's a good read. It defies genre classifications because it has elements of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. If you are worried it's too romance heavy, don't be. Take it from this romancephobic person, there is much more about this series to love. If you are a historical fiction fan check it out.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

So there are a lot of books out there that market themselves at Outlander for teens. Some because they are historical fiction that takle place in Scotland, some because they're time travel, some because they have both. But none of them quite get there. Passenger I think gets the closest. One because it's not trying to be Outlander and two, because it has the same kind of vibes,

This book is about a young woman who ends up, unbeknownst to her, having the ability to travel back in time. She ends up aboard a pirate ship right before the American Revolution and becomes entrenched with a family who is more than meets the eye. There's a ton of action and drama, plus a good amount of surprised. As the book and series develops she starts to realize that if she wants to save the people she loves, she may have to change history and travel through time even more.

This book also has amazing characters. I really liked Etta for one. Etta is a modern girl with modern sensibilities which often puts her at odds with the historical time period. She's tough, smart, resourceful, and shows a lot of confidence under pressure. She's an easy character to get behind. But Nicholas is also quite amazing as well. He's not your typical swash-buckling pirate. He's got a real vulnerability to him which makes him quite complex. But even more than that, this is a series full of amazing and odious characters including some truly vile villains. Plus the book is way more character driven than you would expect.

But the thing I liked most about this book is that it's a time travel story that reads like historical fiction. The focus is on the time travel but what it does right it perfectly capture the location and history of where it is taking you. The time travel is the main plot point but it doesn't neglect some of the larger implications and how the characters inhabit the locations. I loved the themes about the period that were explored and think fans of historical fiction will enjoy it as well.

In general, it's a good read. It defies genre classification by having great elements of historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, romance. Basically it has it all. If you are a fan of historical fiction I think you will like it just as much as fans of time travel.

Have you read Outlander and/or Passenger? What did you think? What steampunk novels with crossover appeal do you like? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

ARC Review: The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

Title: The Fallen Kingdom
Series: The Falconer #3
Written by: Elizabeth May
Published: June 13, 2017 by Chronicle

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. 

Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. 

Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer's story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I have been anxiously waiting on this book after the way the last book ended. I needed to know what happened to these characters. And it definitely did not disappoint. It was a book full of action, surprises, and great characters.

I think my favorite thing about this book and this series in general is the world. Elizabeth May is able to create an amazing fantasy world that feels unique and familiar at the same time. I don't usually like books with fae but I love this one. The magical creatures and fae are much more on the darker side which is totally up my alley. Plus this is a series with a world with a history and a mythology behind it. In this book we get to explore that so much more and it was absolutely fascinating. And the interesting thing too is that it was a subtle kind of world-building. It didn't overwhelm you with information. It showed instead of telling you about what was at play here. Seriously, more we explore the world the happier I was with this book.

But I also really love the characters of this series. In the course of three books I have become so attached and connected to these characters. I immediately fell in love with the main character of Aileana in this series and I loved her even more here. She has been through a lot and I feel like we have been through a lot with her. She's one of those female protagonists that I love because while she is tough, kickass, and smart she is also vulnerable. She makes bad decisions and has to live with the consequences and she is forced to do things she doesn't want to do. I loved seeing her development in this book and watching her step into the role of hero in an even bigger way.

This book also has amazing secondary characters. Some of them I've loved since we first met them, like Derrick who is amazing and hilarious as usual, and Aithinne who is sweet and tough in her own way. While others it took me awhile to fall for. I really liked Kiaran in this book. I think I'm one of the only people who didn't ship this right away but I gotta say, I ship it now. I get the connection between the two characters and I liked seeing Kiaran or should I say Kadamach in a different way. He also had really great development. But the character with the best development was definitely Sorcha. How Elizabeth was able to make a character who was a straight up villain into a sympathetic character I will never know. But I loved Sorcha in this book. She was snarky and amazing. But that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to these characters. There were so many amazing ones. They were all complex and likeable.

And as great as the character development was, the plot development was even better. This is a book full of action and adventure. The series always had amazing battle scenes and tons of moments that had me on the edge of my seat, so of course those continued in this book. And because this was the last book in the series the stakes were even higher. There were tons of surprises, twists, and big reveals that had me shocked and enthralled. I'm a plot driven reader and I loved this book for the ride it took me on.

However I will say, I didn't totally live the pacing and some of the way book unfolded. I think that this is just a slower paced book series. It really takes it's time to build things up. In the last two books it gave us crazy cliffhangers. This book couldn't do that so instead it just gave us almost no falling action. It was over 400 pages of crazy action and plot development and then it was just over. I would have liked a little more falling action for the last book in the series. I also felt like there were some moments in the middle of the book where it just lost a little bit of the flow. It didn't really move smoothly along. But in general it did build to a good conclusion that I enjoyed.

On the whole, The Fallen Kingdom was a great ending to an amazing series. It's a great historical fantasy series with a fascinating world, complex characters, and a thrilling plot. I'd say it leans more on the fantasy side with the world and characters but either way it's super engaging and I really liked it.

I give The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you liked the first two books in this series you definitely need to read this book. You will live it. And if you haven't read this series and are looking for an interesting YA fantasy with a little historical feel to it check this series out.

Have you read The Fallen Kingdom? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Discussion Post: Why I Think Audiobooks Are The Best Way to Reread

Hi Everyone,
In case you missed it a week ago when I talked about the new audiobooks to my wishlist, June is Audiobook Month. As many of you probably know I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I'm an audiotory learner and so listening to books is great for me. On top of that I can listen to them at work, on long walks, on public transportation, and while doing housework. Which are things I both love and hate. But in general, I think there are just certain books who are perfect in audio format.

But some of the best audiobooks are rereads. I really don't like rereading physical books. I have done it before but when it comes to rereads I would much rather listen to the audiobooks. I really think that audiobooks are the best way to reread a book. And just in case you haven't experienced this joy I decided for this month's discussion post, to explain that to you.

1.) You Can Experience the Book Faster.

I'm not a very fast reader. It depends on the book and what I am up to but in general it takes me about 4-5 days to finish a book. But when it comes to audiobooks I can listen to them in 2-3 days, that is if I actually hunker down and listen to them. Partially this is because you can alter the speed and read at 1.25 or in rare cases 1.5 speed but this is also because you can listen anywhere. It really is a super helpful way to read more books.

This is a good thing for reading in general but it's even better for rereads. Say that the book you have been waiting two years for, the sequel to that book you loved, comes out a week and you want to refresh your memory on what happened. You can read the whole book and nothing else, or you can listen to the audio while you're at work and be ready for the next book. I choose the latter.

2.) Doesn't Take Reading Time Away From Other Books

This sort of goes hand in hand with what I just said about reading books faster, but when you are listening to an audiobook you can still read physical books or e-books. I'm the kind of person that is almost always reading two or three books, one of them is an audiobook. And because of this I can keep my audiobook for rereads and have my other reads be new releases or upcoming ARCs.

Now this is particularly important for rereads because if you are taking the time to read something again then it means you can't read something new. But if you're doing it on audio you can have your cake and eat it too. So many times I've thought I wouldn't be able to reread a book because I had review books I needed to prioritize but this way I don't have to worry about that. Everyone wins, especially me.

3.) Gives You a New Perspective

One of the things that I love about audiobooks is how they set a very specific tone for the book. It establishes the atmosphere of the book because the narrator can do certain things like speed up their voice during really thrilling scenes or build the suspense with dramatic pauses. It makes you feel the tone of the book so much more that way.

And for rereads this has an even bigger effect. You can see the book in a whole different way just because of the narrator. There has been times where I started reading a book and I liked it but as soon as I picked up the audio and got the tone of the book it was like a whole different story. A good narrator can make you see things in a totally new light. And when you are rereading a book isn't that what you want? And if they are really good and the audio is good enough, it's like you are experiencing the book for the first time. Plus presumably you liked it before but maybe you'll love it this time.

4.) Immerses You in the World

Again, this goes hand in hand with what I just said about giving you a new perspective. Because just like that one, this is all about the narrator being able to set the scene and create an atmosphere for the book. A really good narrator is able to do that in such a way that you are able to forget about the real world or your location and you are transported to wherever the book takes place. If I am being entirely honest that rarely happens to me when I'm reading a book but when I am listening to an audio it almost always happens. It's like I'm there, I can see the sights, hear the sounds, smell the smells, feel the feels. I am immersed in that world.

Now again, this is even more beneficial when you are rereading a book. It's like a more extreme reaction to the book. And when you are experiencing a book again you want that stronger reaction because then you will appreciate the book as much if not more. It's happened to me many times where I loved the book so much more on audio because I was able to feel immersed in the world. It almost ruins the actual reading of the book for me (more on this later), but it's honestly a good thing for me. Plus when you are rereading a book it's usually because a sequel is coming out and being able to reimmerse yourself in the book helps you jump right into the next one.

5.) Helps You Reconnect With The Characters in a Different Way

You can probably tell that one of my favorite things about audiobooks is the narrators. A lot of what I have been talking about here is how a good narrator is able to create the scene and pull you into a book. But a great narrator is also totally able to embody the character. There are certain books and certain narrators where I have just thought, that person is that character. MacLeod Andrews is David Charleston, Steve West is Sean Kendrick, Elizabeth Evans is Celaena Sardothian. These narrators become the characters so much that you can't help but connect with them because it's like the character themselves is talking to you. This is even more amazing if you have a full cast or multiple perspectives, that narrator becomes the character.,

This too is even more heightened for rereads. In these cases you already met and probably connected with the character. So when it comes to rereads you can just let go and allow them to soeak to you in their tone and their way. Sometimes this can happen so much that I can no longer read a book because I will have the narrators voice in my head. I'll hear the dialogue in their tone and inflections. It's like they have embodied that character so much that I can't experience them any other way. And while this is a good thing, often I'll be like "it's not the same" and I'll just get the audio. But in the case of rereads it really does help you jump back into the characters head which is super helpful.

There you have it, all the reasons I think that audiobooks are the best way to reread anything. I am currently doing my own audiobook reread of This Savage Song. I'm really enjoying it. There Plummer is definitely able to set the tone of the book and immerses me in the world of The Monsters of Verity. She is also able to embody Kate Harker, she's so perfect for Kate. I'm not sure she gets August just right but still it's really good. I'm so ready for Our Dark Duet, I just need to finish this audiobook.

What do you think? Do you like listening to audiobooks on rereads? What are some of your favorites? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!