Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

42613944._SY475_Summary: In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thank you to Blink for giving me the opportunity!* 

Release Date: October 1st, 2019


I cannot get over how cool and unique the concept for this book was.  The power to see, take and transport someone else’s memories, an ability which only some people have, was fascinating.  What was even more fascinating was the use of those memories after they were taken from their owners, like the rich taking happy memories to feel those good emotions, absorbing the skills someone spent years perfecting or using painful memories as a means of torture.  The whole idea really brings to mind how important our memories are to who we become as people.  The system of magic was handled so well and played a huge part in the world-building.  I loved Etta, and the more we learned about her backstory the more I loved her.  We meet her at such an interesting point in her life, and it was interesting to watch her try to pick up the pieces of her mistakes and deal with her grief.  The plot in the first half of the book was entirely gripping and I couldn’t put it down.  The pacing of all the little reveals about the past and its ripples were incredibly well done.  There was a great and unexpected twist in the middle of the book but after that the action kind of lost its luster.  It felt rushed through and they had very little obstacles until the ending.  Her relationship with her love interest was sweet and a bit of a slow burn, but I wish they would have had more heat and tension between them so we could really feel the build-up.  The ending was was smart, but I wish it would have been a tad bit clearer so I could have fully embraced the effects of its cleverness.  I’m torn with what to rate this book because I am still completely awed by the concept and the exciting plot of the first half, but in the end, I was left a bit underwhelmed.  Because of that, I have to give it a high 3 stars.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

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Hi everyone! I’m back from a brief and unplanned hiatus as I had some technical difficulties with my computer last week.  Here we are with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, Books On My Fall TBRI have a good mix of new releases and backlist books that I want to get through this fall, and I am so excited for the weather to cool down so I can snuggle in a big cozy sweater with my fall reads! 

New Releases

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

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The Wickerlight by Mary Watson

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The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

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Backlist Books

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Insatiable by Meg Cabot

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Exchange by M.F. Lorson

41039644._SY475_Summary: A time travel student exchange program goes awry when a group of 21st century teens discover love and friendship across time.

Ari hates the Institute and everything it stands for. But to save her father’s job, she’s agreed to help host a time traveling exchange student. She only has to behave for 3 months while he’s here, then off he goes back to 1903 where he came from. Easy peasy, right? There’s just one problem. The more time Ari spends with James the harder she falls for him.

Release Date: September 25th, 2019

 

* I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! *


This story is really cute, but I found that it was too ambitious for such a short book.  At roughly 200 pages, everything moves really quickly and doesn’t leave much room for anything other than the plot movement.  We didn’t really get any development in the characters or their relationships so while the plot was interesting and fun, I wasn’t able to get invested in it.  I really loved the plot and the whole concept, but time travel can be so tricky and there were too many holes left open.  The way the book ended made everything feel pointless because it didn’t answer any of the questions set up in the plot.  In short, the concept was great, but it needed a lot more development to become a fully fleshed out novel.

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Tags

The I Dare You Tag

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Hi fellow bookworms! I found this tag over at Howling Libraries.  Destiny tagged everyone, so I considered myself tagged because this looked like a fun one!

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Probably one of my Harry Potter books- I’m not entirely positive though.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

My current read is The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, my last read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and my next read will be Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake!

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I wouldn’t say hated, but I guess A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  On paper I should have loved it, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  I read about a quarter of it and keep telling myself I’ll go back, but in all honesty, I probably won’t.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Whatever I have left unread.

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait till the end!!

7. Acknowledgments: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

I’ve actually gotten really into reading the acknowledgments lately.  I almost never finish a book without reading them now.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

A random Hogwarts student.  For sure.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen brings back extremely vivid memories of not being able to put it down, and literally bringing it with me backstage at my dance recital to continue reading until the last possible moment before I had to go onstage.  Probably my first serious time “reading in the wings.”

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Ummmm.. I can’t really think of any that interesting.  I did find a bunch of vintage Nancy Drew books at an antique store while doing a show in Maine!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I love giving book presents!

12. Which book has been with you most places?

Harry Potter for sure.  Especially now that I have the whole series on my Kindle.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Nope. To be fair, I didn’t re-read any of them so who’s to say?

14. Used or brand new?

Both.  I love both for different reasons.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

All of them.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Yes! I liked The Help better as a film.  The acting is just so spectacular and I thought the adaptation was so well done.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I have a couple friends who are usually pretty spot on with what I’ll like.  I’m looking at you Kaley, Joey, and Allison!

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Stunning book.

I am going to follow in Destiny’s footsteps and tag everyone! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR

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Hello lovelies! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, comes to you after a long day of travel and a homecoming: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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This has been on my TBR forEVER and I’ve put it off because I am intimidated by it.  There I said it.  I want to read it so badly, but it scares me.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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I’m avoiding this one because I’m nervous it is going to be boring.  I’ve loved the other two Steinbecks that I’ve read, but for some reason, this one makes me nervous.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

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It’s just SO LONG and the last two books were a struggle for me.

The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel

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I really enjoy this series, but for some reason, I’m finding it hard to continue with the next book.  They’re long and a little repetitive and I guess I’m worried it is going to take too long to read and encroach on my other book time.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

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I’m afraid I am going to be disappointed by my Queen.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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It has just been so long since I read the first book, I don’t really even remember what happened.  I remember really loving Divergent, but that was years ago.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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I don’t want it to end 😦

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

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My reading count is too low right now, and I’m nervous to commit to a series with all insanely long books even though I am excited about them…

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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I need to finish a few of my other series before I start another one.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

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My roommate is obsessed with this series and keeps telling me that I’ll love it, but all of the books are so long and there are SO MANY (14 to be exact) and all of them are close to 1000 pages….. it’s a big commitment.


What books are you guys avoiding? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

 

Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

38856385Summary: Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil. 

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Release Date: September 17th, 2019

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Thanks to Delacorte Press for the opportunity!* 



I wanted to love this book.  I REALLY wanted to love this book.  It was one of my most anticipated releases of the fall, and while there are some really great aspects that I enjoyed, unfortunately, it just fell flat for me as a whole.  All of the characters were pretty surface level, so it was difficult to connect to, or really care, about any of them.  Everything moves really quickly, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that in both the characters and the plot it hindered the book’s ability to become fully developed.  I loved the concept and the plot was really interesting and fun, but it wasn’t detailed enough to make an impact.  While I thought the way the spells worked was very clever and cute, the finer details of the system of magic didn’t make complete sense with the other things that were established in the world.  Overall, while this book was cute and had good bones, it wasn’t fleshed out enough for me and left me feeling very underwhelmed.

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Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #15

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?


Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

7664334When you’re on a road trip, life is all about the detours. . . . 

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There’s just one small problem: Since her father died this past spring, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute … and dealing with some baggage of his own. 

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father’s death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most—and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.

My Thoughts: I LOVED Morgan Matson’s Save the Date, and I definitely want to check out her other books, this one included. VERDICT: KEEP


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed 6068551wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My Thoughts: This one sounds so intriguing to me.  I probably won’t go seeking it out, but if I come across it one day I’ll definitely pick it up.  VERDICT: KEEP


The Adults by Alison Espach

9061509In her ruefully funny and wickedly perceptive debut novel, Alison Espach deftly dissects matters of the heart and captures the lives of children and adults as they come to terms with life, death, and love.

At the center of this affluent suburban universe is Emily Vidal, a smart and snarky teenager, who gets involved in a suspect relationship with one of the adults after witnessing a suicide in her neighborhood.  Among the cast of unforgettable characters is Emily’s father, whose fiftieth birthday party has the adults descending upon the Vidal’s patio; her mother, who has orchestrated the elaborate party even though she and her husband are getting a divorce; and an assortment of eccentric neighbors, high school teachers, and teenagers who teem with anxiety and sexuality and an unbridled desire to be noticed, and ultimately loved.

An irresistible chronicle of a modern young woman’s struggle to grow up, The Adults lays bare—in perfect pitch—a world where an adult and a child can so dangerously be mistaken for the same exact thing.

My Thoughts: While this does sound good, I have too many other books to read and I just don’t think this one is going to make the cut.  VERDICT: TOSS


The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Every girl who had taken the test has died.9681214

Now it’s Kate’s turn.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

If she fails… 

My Thoughts: This still sounds really good to me.  I completely forgot that I had this book on here and it sounds like it would be really good and has good reviews.  I’ll have to make an effort to find this one.  VERDICT: KEEP


The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton

8725696Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant. 

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever. 

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.

My Thoughts: This book sounds like it would be really juicy and good, but after reading a bunch of negative reviews about how boring and hard to get through it it, I don’t think it’s worth my time.  VERDICT: TOSS


What books are you tossing out of your TBR?  Did I make any mistakes? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

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Happy Tuesday everybody! This week’s theme, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone.  This one was hard for me because I am really bad at staying in my comfort bubble and really don’t branch out much- but I think I managed to find some good ones for today.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

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This book is incredible and one of the most beautifully written stories I have ever read, but it is DEFINITELY outside my bookish comfort zone.  I read very little of this genre and the location and plot are not something I would usually gravitate to.


The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

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While the genre of this book is right up my alley, the setting and atmosphere is not something I am usually drawn to, and now that I’ve read this book, I think I will be.


Dancer by Colum McCann

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I had never read a fictionalized biography before, and this one about Rudolph Nureyev was absolutely fascinating and like nothing I had ever read stylistically.


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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I don’t usually love reading about World War II.  It makes me depressed and anxious so I generally am not drawn to them.  However; since The Nightingale was written by one of my favorite authors, I picked it up and loved it.  It wrecked me, but I loved it.


Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kafuman

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I don’t love Sci-Fi as a genre in general, but THIS SERIES.  I was completely captivated and enthralled and could not stop reading from the minute I opened the first book.  Not to mention the formatting is also different from anything I normally read.


Starswept by Mary Fan

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Another Sci-Fi book that defied my expectations.  I really loved the way the world worked in this book.


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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I VERY rarely read any non-fiction, but I gave this book a go on a recommendation from a friend and it is shamelessly one of my favorite books of all time.


The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

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Mysteries are not something I gravitate towards, but this one captured me with its setting (Hello, Wisconsin!) and a mix of family dysfunction.  I could not stop turning the pages at the end to find out the whole story.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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For some reason, I never want to read from the “Women’s Fiction” genre, but this story was really beautifully done and explored some really tough subjects.


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Classics used to be (and still are sometimes) intimidating to me, but this book made me realize that I could enjoy them and now I can say that classics are no longer completely out of my comfort zone.


What books were out of your comfort zone that you ended up loving? Do you think it is important to break from our habits and try new books and styles? Let me know in the comments 🙂