Friday, June 29, 2018

Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari

Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari

1.5 stars

Ari wakes up in darkness. She is trapped at the bottom of a well with no memory of the events leading up to how she got there. She is running out of time before she dehydrates and she must fight for her life to survive. The only thing keeping her alive is thinking about her friend Lynn and the fact that she must also be searching for Ari. Ari will do whatever it takes to survive and find the monster who did this to her even if she can’t remember how she got there in the first place. I really like the concept of being thrown into a novel with the main character trapped in a well. I’ve read stories with similar premises with women trapped in rooms (Comfort Food and Stolen: A Letter to My Captor), but I was incredibly disappointed by this YA thriller. The writing doesn’t set the tone for suspense and impending doom. In fact, the well is left behind quite early into the story (before the 50% mark) and it quickly becomes a confusing mess of Ari trying to stumble around and guess who kidnapped her. The stakes do get raised, but not enough to feel like I had to keep reading. In fact, I found this book really easy to put down and it was lackluster in the thriller department. A good thriller heavily relies on the writing and I don’t think Treggiari delivered a writing style that captured me and made feel sucked into the story.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

I couldn’t stand Ari. She makes for a mediocre heroine and she wasn’t very likable. I felt like she was so run of the mill and mediocre. Nothing about her stood out and really made me root for her. Her conversations with people felt fake and I didn’t really buy the naivety and innocent ploy that Treggiari was trying to convey. Also, she is a terrible investigator and proves that most suspense novels are only suspenseful because people who don’t watch the Investigative Discovery network make the wrong move and try to be like Nancy Drew. It never works out well, but in this case, it felt very juvenile and campy.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1.5

The Villain- I did enjoy the chapters detailing and chronicling how the psychopath has gotten to this point, but the reveal made this less enjoyable. This is where my problem lays with this novel. At first, I was thinking this was a relatively okay novel and then we run into a ridiculous reveal. This villain was so out of left field that when the character’s name was revealed to be coming out of the trees with a killer look in their eyes, I thought to myself, “WHO?” It was out of nowhere and it kind of doesn’t make sense. I get that the events all point to that direction, but come on, that character was only mentioned one time at the very beginning and it wasn’t even brilliantly done. It felt like a twist to be a twist, but no thought went into it.

Villain Scale: 1

Lynn is Ari’s best friend and I found her to be insufferable. There were a lot of comments that she made that just felt incredibly rude and condescending towards others. She would say something cruel and Ari would trail along her continuing to perpetuate bad habits and when she would tell Lynn something she would get shot down with a cruel remark about being stupid and innocent. I just couldn’t really root for their friendship because it felt a little toxic. Also, one of Ari’s potential serial killer suspects suddenly saves the day and becomes friends with them in the end and it is so random and weird.

Character Scale: 1

Overall, Blood Will Out isn’t a horrible novel, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I’m disappointed in the turn of events with the villain and I just feel like this novel tried to be a new hit YA thriller because that’s something the market is searching for, but it didn’t work for me. I’m disappointed because I thought I was going to really enjoy this one, but I was also reading it alongside a Karin Slaughter novel and that woman can write suspense that shocks the reader. This was just disappointing for me. I do think readers who are less familiar with serial killers, crime, and thrillers will really enjoy this one and that’s the reader I would recommend this for if I was asked.

Plotastic Scale: 1.5

Cover Thoughts: It’s creepy. I love the way that it looks as if you can't get out of a well.

Thank you, Netgalley and Penguin Teen, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Are you interested in Blood Will Out? What are some scary places you wouldn't want to wake up, but would love to read in a thriller? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Video Review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Hello lovely people! I read (well, listened to) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas back in February of this year. It has become an absolute favorite and I'm attempting to speak about how awesome I think this novel is. I really just want to hear what other people are thinking about this novel. 

Are you a fan of THUG? What aspects did you love? Are you excited for the movie? Let me know down below in the comments!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Endless Night by Richard Laymon

Endless Night by Richard Laymon

1 star

Jody is sleeping over at her best friend Evelyn’s house when Evelyn shakes her awake in the dead of night and claims that a window downstairs has been broken. As Evelyn and Jody brave waking up the parents in the house Evelyn is murdered with a spear. The killer walks off with her body and Jody is able to find a weapon and get Jody’s brother. There’s something strange about the killer in the house. There’s more than one, they smell rotten, don’t appear to be wearing clothes—that is until one sees that they are adorned in human flesh, and seem to be partaking in the eating of Evelyn’s parents. Jody and Andy barely escape. Simon’s gang of ruthless killers have left him behind because no witnesses can be left behind. He failed at capturing Jody and Andy and now he must capture them and make sure they can’t reveal any more secrets. Armed with a tape recorder, a plan for destruction, and a thirst for the inhumane torture of Jody and anyone who stands in his way of getting his hands on her. I read this book for Peter’s Book Club! I love Peter and I trust his recommendations. I’ve read so many books that are favorites that he has recommended, but not every book one picks up from someone’s recommendation will be one you walk away loving. In fact, Endless Night by Richard Laymon may be one of my most hated reads ever. I’ll just be up front, Laymon can create a fast-paced narrative that is easy to fly through, but the content left my stomach in knots. I like dark novels. I read and watch true crime, my favorite author is Stephen King, and I’ve done maybe a little too much research into serial killers. I like the macabre, but this isn’t macabre this is obscene. This is a complete degradation and glorification of rape, torture, and murder. I was expecting that, but Laymon writes in such a way that it feels almost like he wants you to root for Simon and agree with him as he is scalping a woman he just murdered, stuffing her in a freezer, and then putting her hair on his head as a wig. No thanks. I don’t want to sympathize, understand, or root for anyone like that. I like reading about the depraved, but not when it feels like I’m reading a book that could potentially inspire other readers to carry out violent acts. Let’s not forget that the writing is just bad. Grammar errors aside and the constant annoyance of the letter I being written as the number 1, Laymon is not a crafter of a beautiful sentence. His diction choice is subpar and its obvious he uses words for dramatic effect instead of to get one thinking.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 1

Jody, our heroine, and the girl who everyone tells, “You don’t look too bad for a young lady who’s just been shot up,” (real quote folks on page 169) and happens to be the luckiest survivor in the history of survivors. She happens to be well-trained in guns and self-defense, which makes for a thrilling opening sequence with her bashing heads and surviving, but beyond that she is as bland as unbuttered toast. I can’t tell you one thing I liked about her because I didn’t.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1

Then there’s Andy, the twelve-year-old brother of her best friend. Andy reminds me of that disgusting little psychopath from Apt Pupil: A Novella in Different Seasons by Stephen King (now that’s a fantastic character study on psychopaths done right) who was obsessed with WWII and concentration camps. Andy even reminiscence about pictures he saw of human lampshades even though his family was just brutally murdered by a murder cult clothed in human skin. LIKE WHAT. Then [he watches Jody almost be sexually assaulted and doesn’t immediately shoot Simon on the spot. He watches and allows Simon to manipulate and taunt him because wow a hot naked chick. (hide spoiler)] I just can’t fathom who would actually act this way and I can’t help but wonder if Laymon depicted Andy this way because he was planning to keep him alive and have him become a twisted killer with Simon. Jody’s father and the cop, Sharon, are the only characters in this novel who don’t seem to have a thirst for degrading their fellow human aside from Jody. This book is just a ball of sunshine when it comes to portraying humans loving one another and not wanting to run them over with cars.

Character Scale: 1

The Villain- Why did we need to hear from Simon? This book could’ve been two hundred pages shorter and far less disgusting. I couldn’t stand being inside his head (technically voice recording) and it made my skin crawl. I wasn’t the only one in the book club either with this problem. It was too much. He’s a scary human, but a good villain? Honestly, no. The reason these perverts starting killing and torturing humans is disgusting and also nearly implausible with human psychology. I’m just thankful that I will never be inside his head again.

Villain Scale: 1

Will I read another Richard Laymon? Highly unlikely. He’s just not for me. However, I’m not against it, but I’m not jumping for joy thinking about the prospect of reading another twisted narrative. I think I’m better off sticking with Stephen King, Karin Slaughter, and Gillian Flynn when it comes to character studies of the depraved and sick. I’m going to take a hard pass. However, I’m happy that I read this alongside the people in Peter’s Book Club because I love Peter and he talks about Laymon all the time. It was nice to finally pick up an author he praises often who isn’t more recent. Would I recommend this? Ere on the side of caution. I never will tell someone not to read a book because books change lives, but I don’t think anyone’s life will be changed for the better with picking this one up. Go read Apt Pupil instead.

Plotastic Scale: 1

Cover Thoughts: Spooky creepy horror cover. It has that old school mass market paperback vibe.
Have you read any Richard Laymon? Are you a fan of horror? What is your favorite horror author? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tess of the Road Video Review

Hey, everyone! I have a written review of Tess of the Road for those of you who aren't a fan of video reviews. You can check it out here. I was a huge fan of Tess of the Road and it is one of my favorite reads so far this year. It caught me off guard and was a complete surprise!

Have you read Tess of the Road? What are your thoughts on it? Have you read Seraphina? Let me know down below in the comments!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer TBR

Hey, everyone! Summer started for me at the beginning of May, but I decided that I wanted to make a 40 book TBR. I sat down and wrote down lists which made me so happy. My TBRs are incredibly tentative because I'm a mood reader, but these are the books that I'm attracted to the most/have the most interest in. I don't expect to read all of these books and it's important to keep in mind that that I also have ARCs to read, but these are 20 physical books that I own and 20 audiobooks that I am really excited for.
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I wrote out this list mid-May and so far I've only made progress with two novels on this list. I'm about halfway through Child of the Prophecy and I'm loving it! I can't believe it took me two years to pick up the sequels to the Sevenwaters trilogy. I'm also listening to the audiobook for The Diviners and I'm loving it so much! I feel as if I'm in 1920s New York.

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I've finished rereading It. I gave it 5 stars. The audiobook was a wild ride and it enhanced my second reading experience. I listened to The Woman in the Window and gave it 4.25 stars. When I got to chapter 75 this went from 3 star to a 4 star reading and the ending sealed the deal for me. It's a well-done thriller. I listened to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and it was a cute story, but I couldn't be bothered with it if I'm being honest. The writing is simple and the story is important, but I didn't like the characters very much. I rated it 3 stars. I listened to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and gave it 5 stars. I've never read the Chronicles of Narnia series, but this was so much fun and I loved it so much. Long Way Down is narrated by Jason Reynolds and it is only 2 hours long. It was an amazing experience and the story touched my heart. I gave it 5 stars. I've read In Cold Blood before and it's one of my favorite novels.

What books are you planning to read this summer? Have you read any of these novels? Which ones do I need to read ASAP? Let me know down below in the comments!

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

First in the Lifelike series

4.25 stars

“This is not the end of me. This is just one more enemy.”

Eve spends her time destroying murderbots in the Dome in hopes to get enough money to buy medicine for her sickly grandpa. Eve isn’t completely human. Her grandpa enhanced her brain after a horrible crash that killed her family. Along with her ragtag team—Lemon, Cricket, and Kaiser—they find themselves in a predicament when a bot in the Dome destroyed when Eve lets out a deadly scream before the Goliath destroys her. Suddenly, they are on the run from the Brotherhood (a group hellbent on destroying abnormal humans by crucifixion), a hired hit man, and a group of lifelikes (genetically modified robots with extreme human emotions who have broken the three laws that robots live by. This is a very different sci-fi novel and I must say that I really enjoyed it. I’m not a sci-fi reader. It’s not really my favorite genre and I’ve read some duds in the genre that have put a dissatisfying taste in my mouth, but I really enjoyed Illuminae, which is co-authored by Kristoff. I’ve been meaning to read his single work for a while now but have just never got around to it. I do really enjoy his work and I can tell which parts of Illuminae were written by him now because he tends to focus on more universal themes of today and plugs them in a slightly satirical setting to a slightly possible, but still impossible world. I’m not going to say that this novel is perfect because it’s not. There were a lot of times where I was reading and I was wondering what the purpose of this was in the grand scheme of things (I’m looking at you, Kraken chapters), but Kristoff is really great at diction choice and weaving together things from the first sentence to the middle of the novel to a showstopper ending that left my mouth hanging open and wanting more than what was offered. I feel like I have to be so secretive about this novel because it’s primary focus is on uncovering the secrets of Eve’s life and just when you think you know who she is—BAM! — there is another secret. I really like that about Kristoff’s writing. He keeps the reader on their toes and it’s a brilliant way to paint this story.

Whimsical Writing Scale:4

The main female character is Eve. This is a multifaceted character and it is kind of overwhelming. By the end of the novel, I’m more confused about who this character is and the actions she chooses to make. Y’all, this book is wild! Eve is wild and I really liked her struggle and constant inward battle. She was brash, feisty, and headstrong. Sometimes she would rush into things and it wasn’t always the best idea, but it was realistic to her thought process. I was rooting for her. I liked Eve, but now I’m not so sure. I’m always looking for a good antihero to root for though. 

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.25

The main male character is Ezekiel. We run into Ezekiel early on in the story after the Dome bot incident that causes Eve and her friends to be on the run. Ezekiel is a lifelike. A robot that is created to look exactly like humans and is based off the personalities of by the Gnosis founder’s children as well as employees. Ezekiel is the keeper of secret after secret. I like Ezekiel, but I don’t feel like I really know who he is. I’m showed who he is through flashbacks, but I don’t know who Ezekiel is as something outside of being lifelike. I don’t think he knows who he is either and so I’m hoping that as the series progresses we can begin to see his personality and convictions take shape outside of being connected to one woman.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 3.5

“No matter how perfect they make us, they can’t make us human. It’s your flaws that make you beautiful, (name redacted due to spoilers). It’s the imperfections that make you perfect.”

The Villain- I really want to talk about this section, because I really enjoyed the multiple villains after Eve and her crew. There was the preacher who was unsettling but upped the ante with having a tangible pursuer. However, the lifelikes in the tower of Babel (Gnosis headquarters) were my favorite thing about this novel. I want to say so much more, but if I say a little I could give the whole plot away and this is just a fun novel to watch unfold gradually and be sucked in, so I want the reader to have the full experience. (So, I won’t be talking about spoilers in this review, but if you would like to message me or comment to discuss, I would love to continue this conversation.)

Villain Scale: 5

“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

Okay, one of the best things about this novel is the ragtag group of friends alongside Eve. There’s Lemon who has a lot of secrets and is fiercely protective of Eve. I loved their friendship so much and it was one of my favorite things about the group dynamic, but also the story. Lemon also has a great storyline and stands on her own as a character. I suspect that the next novel will heavily focus on her because she is the true hero of this story. Cricket is the most adorable little bot. He curses and has the best lines. He’s fiercely loyal to protecting humans because of the laws that robots must follow, but it’s obvious that he may feel some love towards these two girls outside of programming. He also had the scenes that made me laugh the most. Then there is Kaiser who is Eve’s blitzhound. He’s a robotic dog with the brain of a real dog and he was so cute. He went through some stuff and if you are not of violence towards animals there is a scene in here that is really graphic (even if it is a robot, it’s still graphic).

Character Scale: 5

This novel has a lot going on. It feels very much like a movie and I think this would make an excellent film. I’m really excited to see where the story goes because it was obvious that this novel was an explanation as to how a character became a villain and another became a hero despite being best friends. I can’t wait to continue with the series because I was completely surprised by how the events unfolded. I definitely recommend this to fans of Kristoff and readers who are looking for something a little bit more on the serious side of sci-fi.

Plotastic Scale: 4.5

Cover Thoughts: I don’t like this cover at all. It is so simple and just looks so mediocre.

Thank you, Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

*Quotes are taken from an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) and are subject to change upon final publication.
Are you planning to read LIFEL1K3? Are you a fan of Jay Kristoff? What are your thoughts about sci-fi novels (fan or foe)? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

5 stars

“Freedom was far more intoxicating than safety could ever be.”

The mermaid swam in the oceans and enjoyed her freedom. Then a fisherman’s net captured her and the eyes of sad and lonely Jack stuck with her. Thus, began her decision to go onto land and shift from the horrifying alien creature into a woman with gray eyes. The transformation is not easy and it comes at a price that nearly cripples the mermaid, but she crawls into the fisherman’s house and finds a home. The sea is cruel and it stole her husband away.
“Still she loved him, and loved him more for she knew his heart, and after many, many years she found she loved him even more than the sea. And so the sea, who can be bitter and jealous herself, took Jack away— perhaps in hopes that Amelia would love her best again.”
If this doesn’t immediately destroy your soul, then you have a heart of iron. This isn’t all to the story though. This is only the first chapter. Amelia’s story starts a decade later when Levi Lyman, a business partner of P.T. Barnum, arrives with the hopes of convincing Amelia to come to New York and be a part of Barnum’s museum of odd things. This story is based off the real incident of the Feejee mermaid that was exhibited in Barnum’s museum.

Henry tackles the tale from the perspective of what if the Feejee mermaid was a very real mermaid? A mermaid who longed for a friend. Who was headstrong and refused to let anyone own her. A mermaid who saw all the injustices placed upon women to fit and mold them into the boxes that their husbands so desperately they desired they fall into. Henry takes liberties with Levi and Barnum, of course, they are depicted as the story is fit and not true to history. Henry uses this story to tackle a lot of important topics within feminism and her writing is absolutely captivating. One of my favorite parts of this novel is when Amelia reflects on the fact that Barnum is hanging up posters of a half-naked woman and it is nothing like what Amelia truly looks like. It’s great commentary on how she is outside the realm of objectification for human enjoyment and sexuality. I highlighted so many passages and cried within the first twenty pages. That wasn’t the only time I cried. I was emotionally attached to this story. I was mesmerized and overwhelmed by the beauty of the words and the horror of humanity.

Whimsical Writing Scale: FLAWLESS

“She came from the sea, and humans would always sense the strangeness in her even if they didn’t know why she made them shift uneasily, or why they didn’t want to spend too long looking directly into her eyes.”

Amelia is a wonderful character to follow. She has no concept of societal standards and is put off by a lot of the things that people to do other people. It’s so wonderful to see a character who sees the world through eyes of confusion, but also a fierce desire to be close to humanity. She was strong and she spoke her mind even when it was deemed that she should be quiet. This isn’t a Little Mermaid retelling, but it does rely on the fabrication of Barnum that Amelia can’t speak and so when she is performing, she must remain silent. It removes her voice when she has one and it is quiet depressing, but also a fitting contrast to Charity, Barnum’s wife, and her own ability to speak, but the silence her husband forces upon her with scathing comments and uninterest.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 5

“He had stardust in his eyes, and Amelia was sorry for it.”

Levi is Amelia’s main love interest. I don’t particularly love Levi. In fact, I don’t think he’s all that and a bag of chips, but I did appreciate what he did for this story. He was sweet and he stood by his convictions through thick and thin (which is admirable even if it causes tension with Amelia). They were a lovely together because it was a gradual process. Amelia didn’t automatically love Levi. In fact, she pitied him. After a while, though his constant helpful and protective presence became a solace to her and she began to think that she could love again. I loved that message. I didn’t even care that Levi wasn’t all that interesting and he doesn’t have much development outside of greatly loving Amelia and feeling guilt over Barnum’s last stunt, but I loved the message that their love held.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 4

The Villain- Barnum is probably the most obvious “villain” of this story. He’s pretty despicable and he does a lot of horrible things to his family and Amelia. I wasn’t a fan of him, but I think that’s what Henry was trying to convey with presenting a man so obsessed with owning things, particularly women, who could garner him great wealth and be used to his benefit. He was pretty much a representation of male dominance and privilege.

Villain Scale: 5

“Until I became human, nobody ever told me there was something wrong with my body.”

Charity and Caroline were absolute sweethearts. My heart broke when Charity didn’t accept Amelia because she thought she was lying about being a mermaid. When they became besties, it warmed my heart and made me happy because female friendship is the best. Caroline is also so sweet and the first interaction she has with Amelia absolutely stole my heart. They are wonderful and Charity as a character is an important image of what many women of the time period were dealing with when it came to being forced into fitting marriage standards.

Character Scale: 5

“Humans often valued what they should not, she reflected, and most often they did not value what was right before their eyes.”

I think this book is flawless. You probably will disagree, but honestly, I think many will enjoy this book. It has so many wonderful elements that make this magical story an important tale of loss, love, friendship, standing up for your personal rights, and never giving up hope. It’s a great novel and I’m so happy that it blew me away because I wasn’t expecting to love this when I requested it for review, but I’m so glad that I do. It’s always wonderful when I find a novel randomly and it becomes a new favorite.

Plotastic Scale: 5

“Wild things ought to be free. They can’t belong to anybody, not really.”

Cover Thoughts: I absolutely adore this cover. It’s stunning.

*All quotes used in this review are from an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) and are subject to change upon publication. *

Thank you, First to Read and Berkley, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Are you excited for The Mermaid? What are some of your favorite mermaid novels? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

May Reading Wrap-Up & June TBR

Hi, everyone! I'm currently on summer vacation and I've been getting some reading done. Mainly, I've just been immersing myself in God's glory and that's been my predominate focus as I'm preparing for the upcoming year as I will be leading Life Group and disciplining women and guiding to them to loving Jesus. It's so nice to do another wrap-up. This is has become my personal favorite post to write on my blog and it started out as a haphazard shot in trying to track my reading. Doing wrap-ups has made me really excited to reflect on what I've read past writing a review and creating TBRs has just been fun and I don't follow them, but it's fun to throw some possible options out there that I may pick up and see what you guys think. So, let's dive right in to looking at all the books I've read in the month of May.

Books Read in May:
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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter- 5 stars This is one of my favorite books of the year hands down. This novel blew me away. It shocked me and made my stomach hurt. It made me cry at the injustice of women being kidnapped and tortured by men who think they have a right to dominate women who are just trying to live their life. It is a heart-stopping novel, but thing that makes me so passionate about it is that I couldn't stop thinking about it. I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it, but I will forewarn that listening to the audiobook is a much more graphic experience than just reading words off a page and if you are queasy and don't do well with extreme graphic violence then just read it as opposed to listening.
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner - 4 stars I was really excited to pick this one up because it follows a woman who was a stripper at The Mars Room and is now in prison for murder. This novel was dark and it was an interesting look at the women in prisons at the darkest parts of humanity and how they are usually a victim of circumstance not truly evil people. Check out my review here. (Netgalley ARC)
Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter - 3.25 stars This was at the end of the Pretty Girls audiobook as bonus content and follows Julia, the missing sister in Pretty Girls, and it follows her leading up to her kidnapping and her hope at discovering why these women in the area are going missing. I didn't love it as much as Pretty Girls, but it offered great insight into who Julia was outside of who her family painted her to be as we saw in Pretty Girls.
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan - 4 stars I really enjoyed this audiobook. It's a lot of fun, but I don't have nostalgia to the Percy Jackson series and even though I see why so many love it I don't think it's spectacular. I'm glad that I finally got around to picking up and do plan on continuing the series.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku 1 by Fujita - DNF (1 star) I thought I was going to like this manga, but I hated the panels and the story felt all over the place. I just couldn't get into it and I know that this has a fan base, so I'm obviously in the minority and I don't think this was the story for me. Check out my review here. (Netgalley ARC)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - 5 stars This book was so lovely. It was heartbreaking and listening to it almost directly after Pretty Girls was a beautiful experience. I read two novels about missing and murdered girls at the hands of men. This novel is very different from Pretty Girls as it follows the people who are affected by Susie's death and the ability to not move on as well as move on and continue living. It was so beautiful and I'm so happy that I listened to the audiobook and read pieces of it at the same time while listening. It was beautiful.
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut - 4.5 stars I haven't read a Vonnegut since I was a senior in high school (two years) and I was missing him. I really enjoyed Vonnegut's satirical look at money, greed, capitalism, and the power of a buck. It was a lot of fun, but I will admit that it was a little boring at times and I felt it dragged a bit. It's not my favorite of his novels, but it's still a good novel.
Heaven by V.C. Andrews - 3 stars I read this for Peter Likes Books' book club and it was fun. I used to be an Andrews fan in middle school and would gobble up all the taboo stories I could check out of the library in the summer. However, I quickly lost interest with the formulaic plots that technically weren't Andrews but a ghost writer. Andrews is the queen of taboo and this story is over the top. It follows Heaven and her life is just full of tragedy. The problem is that the book will lag for about fifty pages and then all of a sudden we will have ten to twenty pages of emotional, physical, or mental torture that Heaven faces and then back to dull pages. Repeat that same cycle. It was tedious, but I lived for the drama.
The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor - 3 stars This is a typical HR novel. It follows a girl who is raising her siblings after both of her parents pass, which is different from most HRs I've come across. The thing that ruined this for me was the writing and the hero. They were lackluster. It's a mediocre HR, but it's fun and I think fans of MacGregor will love it. Check out my review here. (Netgalley ARC)
The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland - DNF 2 stars This novel follows the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte. How interesting does that sound? I was so excited for this one when I came across on the First to Read program page, but I couldn't finish it. I hated the writing style and felt no connection to characters. I couldn't figure out why I should care and so I DNFed because why continue to read something that isn't moving me or igniting passion. Check out my review here. (First to Read ARC)
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg - 3.25 stars I received an ARC of this years ago and I'm just now getting to it because I am a bad reviewer. Anyway, I really like the concept of magic through paper folding. It sounds so beautiful, but the novel didn't have a lot of particularly shining points outside of creativity. Check out my review here.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara - 4.5 stars I listened to the audiobook of this one for Peter Likes Books' Book Club (2nd book club read in one month!) and I really enjoyed this. It was so well written and McNamara was a talented writer. There were passages that chilled me to the bone. However, I didn't always feel captured by the information and found myself losing focus while listening at times. I think I would have to reread this in physical format to get a grasp of the full information. The afterward was heartbreaking and the epilogue letter McNamara wrote was amazing. Highly recommend!
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier - 5 stars This is my favorite book I've read so far this year!!! I picked this up because my Facebook memories kept telling me that I read Daughter of the Forest (my favorite fantasy novel) two years ago and I felt guilty that I still hadn't continued. This book follows Sorcha's daughter Liadan and the journey she embarks on when she is abducted by a nefarious group of assassins to heal a man in the group. It is so much more than that, but I don't want to spoil several important plot points. If you haven't read the Sevenwaters trilogy, you are doing yourself a disservice. It's amazing and this book was stunning!
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn - 4.25 stars I first heard Peter Likes Books rave about this audiobook and since I've been on the waiting list at my library. For the longest time I was just kind of bored by this. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing. Then chapter 75 happened and I was blown away. After that, I listened to the whole audiobook in a day. It was a really well done mystery and the slow pace makes sense because once it builds up it's BAM BAM BAM!

2018 Goals:
 -I want to finish at least three series (five doesn't seem doable). COMPLETED 3/3 
*I finished The 5th Wave Trilogy with reading two novels!
*Burn for Burn trilogy was finally finished!
*I read and started The Lord of the Rings trilogy in one month!
-I want to read five sequels (I don't have to finish the series). COMPLETED 8/5 
*Flawless by Sara Shepard is book 2 in the PLL series. 
*The Infinite Sea and The Last Star by Rick Yancey are the 2nd and 3rd book in The 5th Wave series.
*The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon is the fifth book in the Outlander series. 
*The Lord of the Rings: The Towers and The Return of the King are the first and second in the LOTR trilogy.
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is the last book in the Burn for Burn trilogy.
 *Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is the second book in the Sevenwaters series.
-I also want to read four short story collections. COMPLETED 5/4 
 *Harry Potter and Philosophy. 
*Manga Classics: The Jungle Book
*Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe.
*The Merry Spinster
-I want to read three classics that are not Stephen King novels. COMPLETED 8/3 
*Manga Classics: The Jungle Book
*Anne Frank Remembered
*The ABC Murders
*Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
*The Master Plan of Evangelism (Christian Classic) 
*The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 
*Heaven (It's one of the few real V.C. Andrews novels.)
-I want to read five Stephen King novels (I've already read one in 2018). 2/5  
*The Long Walk (5 stars)
*Gerald's Game (5 stars)
Read 2018 ARCs. Read 20!
Books I Posted on End of the Year Survey. YES! 3/18
*The Fiery Cross
*Ashes to Ashes
*Gerald's Game 
*God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
*Son of the Shadows
Overall Thoughts: I read 14 books and two of those were DNFs. It wasn't my most lucrative month of finishing novels, but I read a ton that I didn't finish. I also noticed as I was writing this that my reading month started off fantastic and then hit a huge slump. I blame this on Pretty Girls and The Lovely Bones and then starting Son of the Shadows. No novel could compare to Song of the Shadows because Marillier is a truly magnificent writer. The month ended with high notes though! It balanced out. I also read two physical books that were on my End of the Year Survey goals list and that's awesome! The fact that I had three 5-star reads and five books that were rated over 4 stars astounds me. I think it's a successful month of reading!

Currently Reading/ Hoping to Finish in June:
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Already Finished: Furyborn and IT
Netgalley ARCs: Furyborn and LIFEL1K3
First to Read ARCs: The Mermaid
Eldeweiss ARCs: Amity
I'm currently reading Child of the Prophecy because I'm going to finish the original Sevenwaters trilogy! I'm reading The Mermaid (and I'm loving it dearly), The Pursuit of Holiness (for my future leadership position and loving it), and LIFEL1K3 (which I'm really liking so far). I started listening to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I'm loving it. I grew up watching the movie, but I've never read the book. It's lovely so far. I'm still reading A Wilderness Station, Helter Skelter, East of Eden, Against Forgetting, A Darker Shade of Magic, and Amity.

Books I'm Thinking About Picking Up:
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So, I have a lot of ARCs for the month of June that I have an option to pick through. Blood Will Out is the one I think I'm the most excited for out of all of these because it's a horror! The Hawkman sounds like something I would enjoy. I was just approved for Lying in Wait a couple of days ago and I'm really intrigued by this one! The Last Time I Lied comes out July 3 and I would like to read it before then because I'm curious about Sager's suspense novels and I was really surprised that I was approved for this one. One for the Rogue sounds cute and I was offered an ARC by the publisher and I decided to snag a copy. Technically, Ballad for a Mad Girl is an old release, but the paperback comes out June 22 and I thought it would be nice to pick up an older ARC. I was just approved for I Am Still Alive through First to Read, so I will be starting it after I finish The Mermaid.
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I know The Hollow keeps popping up. Technically I could've read it this month, but I had way too many audiobooks in my queue and it was stressing me out to look at it. So I returned and I put myself back on the waitlist. I saw Jason Reynolds in an interview with Trevor Noah and I was blown away. I need to read Long Way Down and finally become familiar with Reyonlds' work. I really want to give Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda a try even though contemporary romance isn't my genre. I recommend The Diviners to my library and they finally purchased it! I'm really interested in The Case for Jesus, but it's hardcore nonfiction, so I'm a little nervous. I've been interested in The 5 Love Languages forever and I was so excited when I saw it was available as an audio at my library. Circe sounds so good and I'm here for it. I love Karin Slaughter and I need to read another by her! I want a cute romance and I've Karen Kingsbury is nice, so I'm going to give her a shot.
Books I Own
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I didn't get to ACOFAS in May because I didn't own until now and it's June. I keep putting The Shining on my list to read, but will June be the month I finally read it? Endless Night is one of the picks for Peter Likes Books' book club and this is something I'm really excited for. I got it on Kindle for 99 cents!

What did you read in June? Have you read any of these books or do you plan to? Did you wrap-up the books you read? Leave me a link to your blog if you did! Let me know down below in the comments!

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...