Stacking the Shelves (109) - Jan 31st

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

Upcoming Reads

What books are stacking your shelves? 


There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Title:There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date:January 6th 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher

Summary from Goodreads:
In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.


There Will Be Lies blends two worlds in a wild mysterious story about self-reflection. The summary and beginning of the book immediately intrigued me, I am always down for a good thriller. The first 100 or so pages had me rather lost, I did not quite understand what The Dreaming was nor did I realize the main character is deaf. The book is written in first person with Shelby as the narrator; when she did could not read another character’s lips the words that she did not get are left out of the sentence. Once I understood why this was happening it did not bother me but before I had an explanation for the missing words I was SO confused.

The Dreaming is a world where Shelby has to battle her inner demons and come to terms with secrets from her past. Conceptually, I really like the idea of the Dreaming yet without a strong introduction to it I felt disconnect from the idea and felt that it interrupted the fast pace thriller plot line. The main reason that I could not give There Will Be Lies a higher rating was due to the confusion in the beginning and overall ambivalence towards the parts of the story that took place in the Dreaming.

I did enjoy the thriller and mystery aspects of Shelby’s real life. There are some twists in the story that took me by complete surprise (in a good way)! I do not want to say much about the twists as to not give it away but I will say that I really appreciated the way the story ended.  Reflecting on the book, I think the constant turns and bends in Shelby’s real life journey really kept me on my toes, kept me flipping through the pages and were my favorite aspect of the book.

There Will Be Lies is a unique book that incorporates folklore with a crazy mystery story to bring you a story so different from others. I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Lake and listening to him read from his book! He was awesome and signed a copy of There Will Be Lies for me to give away today! (Thanks Bloomsbury for providing the giveaway copy!!)


Some Burning Questions Related to Blogging

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

Some Burning Questions Related to Blogging

So I have been pondering some questions lately that I would love to hear ya'll's thoughts on.... 

1. Should I post my reviews to Amazon? Currently, I only post my reviews here, and on Goodreads. I have yet to post them anywhere else, mostly out of laziness. But I enjoy spreading the word on books that I've read and it's really as easy as copy and paste so I thought I should make an effort to branch out to Amazon. But I feel like I  have picked up on some dissent over the blogosphere. Like they reject a lot of reviews even if they are fair? I didn't pay much attention to it so that is kind of why I am bringing it up now. If you post your reviews to Amazon, what is your experience like with them? Is there any reason I shouldn't post my reviews there? 

2. How much of an impact does promoting your posts on Twitter have? I suck at using Twitter - both for promotion and networking. But when I do try to promote our posts - I don't really see THAT much of a difference in blog traffic. Is it just me? Am I doing something wrong? I am starting to feel like I should just focus on tweeting the publisher/author when I have good reviews and focus the rest of my time on connecting with other readers - which I think Twitter IS great for. But what is your experience with it?

3. Is Quoting from ARCs ok? I love including quotes in my reviews when I take the time to do so because I feel like it gives readers a glimpse of what to expect, probably more so than my review does. But every ARC you receive says not to quote it without checking against the finished copy, yet if you post the review before the book is released, that is all but impossible (without retrospectively checking, which is not what I think they mean.) Therefore, I try to avoid quoting from ARCs but I'll admit, I do it every now and again. I've seen plenty others do it and so that eases my conscience, and  also, I obviously don't post a quote if there is a typo in it or something. But this behavior might still be frowned upon so I was also wondering what everyone's thoughts were on the subject? And if you are close with pubs, what are their thoughts are on the subject? Maybe they say don't quote it for liability reasons but really they don't care....?

Ok that's all for now :)


Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Gathering Darkness
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #3
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: December 9, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred - the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic...

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia's overpowering magic - all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia's powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica... but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.


I have been seriously impressed by this series from the start. Originally told from the perspective of 4 individuals but growing in scope, the Falling Kingdom series tells the story of a greedy king, a rebel leader, a vengeful Princess, a troubled Prince, a young Sorceress, and an immortal watcher who are all vying for a powerful source of magic for their own reasons. It may seem like a lot, but it's easy to keep track of the different storylines since they all weave together. I love the intricacy of it all and the different motives that drive them toward this power.

There is scheming and spying and deception and romance and fighting and magic and all sorts of fun stuff that I love to read about. And Morgan Rhodes continues to surprise us with her plot twists so even when I think I know what's going on, I come to find that I don't. But perhaps my favorite thing at the moment is the feelings that are starting to surface in two of my favorite characters. It's a hate-to-love romance my friends and I am very pleased about what happened in this book, although Rhodes definitely made us work for it!

I also love that all of the characters are flawed and complex. I keep changing my mind about some of them which keeps things interesting. I have my favorites that I am rooting for but at this point it looks like everyone has a fair chance of coming out on top at the end of this series. It's scary (but exciting) not knowing how my favorites will fare.

Another thing I  love about this series is that it reads both fast and slow at the same time. It reads fast in the way that there is so much that is happening that I was constantly entertained but it reads slow in the way that there is lots of wonderful world-building and a slow but steady build up of the story. I believe there are supposed to be 6 books so we are only half way there! I am really excited for what is to come.

It's hard to say much without spoiling the series so I will leave it at that. If you are a fantasy-lover than this is a must read for you! If you only dabble in Fantasy than know that this has all the right elements but is on the more detail-oriented end of the fantasy spectrum (so don't expect light and quick). I can't quite claim it as a favorite (yet) but it is a very strong contender. I definitely recommend it! 


Top Ten Books We'd Read If We Had a Book Club

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Top Ten Books We'd Read If We Had a Book Club"


Ashley's Pick: Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Because The Lunar Chronicles are amazing.  I think there will be some interesting discussion points seeing as this book really focuses on Queen Levana and her past. 


Nicole's Pick: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I have yet to read anything by JLA and that needs to change. This one is on both mine and Ashley's TBR and I've heard that this series creates a true love triangle and that JLA let her fans pick the winner.


Ashley's Pick: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Because the cover reminds me of Spring and it is a fairy tale re-telling that neither one of us has read.  Other bloggers we follow have seemed to enjoy it so I think it would be worth a try.


Nicole's Pick: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
I read, and fell in love with, both Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire and I cannot wait for this book to destroy me too. Ashley didn't LOVE Code Name Verity but I have no problem forcing her to read this one as a second attempt ;). There are in innumerous reasons why this book, as with all of Elizabeth Wein's books, should be read by all.


Ashley's Pick: End of Days by Susan Ee
Both Nicole and I have absolutely loved this series so far!  It comes out in May so I figure we will both devour this one right away.  Susan Ee is not afraid to be dark and intense at all so who knows what crazy things are going to happen in this book.


Nicole's Pick: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I have heard such good things about this book and I think it is one that both Ashley and I would enjoy.


Ashley's Pick: Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly
Because this one sounds like a perfect fun summer read. The cover is super cute and the summary sounds like it would be a great pool side book. 


Nicole's Pick: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
I LOVED I'll Give You the Sun and I NEED to read The Sky is Everywhere. And maybe it'll happen the opposite way for Ash, since she hasn't read either yet!


Ashley's Pick: Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
Because the book has history, spies, and mystery.  Nicole and I love spy books so it would be interesting to see if we like this historical spy book! 


Nicole's Pick: Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales
Because it's Leila Sales so obviously it will bring all the feels!

What are your top ten?


Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Firefight
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Reckoners #2
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Audible Studios
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Audiobook provided by Audible Studios in exchange for an honest review (thanks Audible!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand. 

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs. 

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.


One of the greatest things about this series is its premise, which is EPIC (no pun intended). After a cataclysmic event, certain humans developed powers, but the powers are corruptive and so they are all evil. The world is now in chaos with humans living in fear of the Epics who are waging turf wars and killing people for play. David has dedicated his life to killing Epics. They all have a weakness and David makes a point of finding out what it is and exploiting it. In the first book, David teamed up with the Reckoners - a secret group with a mission the same as his - and took down Steelheart, who was previously thought invincible. Now they have their sights set on Regalia - a High Epic that can control water, who rules the sunken city that used to be Manhattan. But she isn't playing fair and has rallied other Epics to her side.

I love all of the action that comes with The Reckoners facing off with the Epics. Every Epic show down is an adventure in and of itself and I can't get enough. They are unpredictable and that makes this book so much fun to read. The action did lag a little in the middle, but lots of other developments were happening to fill the pages. First is David's research into Epic weaknesses. He is starting to develop a theory - linking weaknesses with an event in an Epic's past - and is on the verge of a revelation. This puzzle really ignited the nerd in me and I was giddy with each new discovery. Then there is David's complicated relationship with Firefight which is leading him to question his previous assumptions about Epics. I really like Firefight so I am completely on board with the direction Sanderson is taking this. And then there was the mission at hand - taking down Regalia. But her actions had David questioning what she was up to and it was fun trying to figure out her true plan.  There was so much going on in this book, I'm not even doing it justice.

I just love David as a character. He can be so awkward, especially when it comes to girls, and he is such a nerd and I just find it so endearing. But by far one of the best things about him is his habit for using terrible metaphors. They are SO BAD it's great. He showed a lot of growth in this installment.

And the ending was just plain AWESOME. I cannot wait for the next book. The twist at the end... I jut can't even.

I shouldn't even have to tell you to read this series because Brandon Sanderson's reputation proceeds himself. But if you do need a little nudge, I am really loving it and highly recommend it.


This audiobook was better than most. Macleod Andrews did such a good job narrating as David and really made his quirky personality come through. And he even acted out some of the action scenes (shortness of breath and that sort of thing). I'm glad I listened to this one. 


Taylor Swift Book Tag!

Taylor Swift Book Tag

Graphic thanks to Danielle @ Love at First Page!
So Sarah over at The Book Life created this amazing Taylor Swift Book Tag that has been floating around YouTube for the past couple of months. Alexa, Judith, Danielle and I started talking about it on Twitter one day decided that we MUST participate because there is probably nothing better than combining Taylor Swift songs with books. The first 10 questions are the original tag, the next two were added later, and the last 3 are our own creation! Be sure to check out Alexa Loves Books, Paper Riot, and Love at First Page to see what answers Alexa, Judith and Danielle came up with! And now, without further ado, the tag... 

1. ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’

Pick a book (or book series) that you were pretty sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with - 
I think the series that best fits this description is Divergent by Veronica Roth. I LOVED Divergent, but Insurgent was such a disappointment that by the time I started Allegiant, which wasn't much better, I was already over it.

2. ‘Red’ 

Pick a book with a RED cover - 
I  am going to be real predictable here and choose A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas because this one was every bit as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside.

3. ‘The Best Day’ 

Pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic - 
I am going to go with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because of all the books that I have read, this is one of the ones that I am most smitten with and I wish I could read it for the first time all over again.

4. ‘Love Story’ 

Pick a book with forbidden love - 
Easy, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I don't even know how to sum up Kestrel and Arin, for those of you who haven't read this book yet, and their relationship only gets more complicated in The Winner's Crime. But one thing is obvious, these two were made for each other.

5. ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ 

Pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love - 
Vicious by Victoria Schwab has no shortage of bad characters that you can't help but love, but Victor Vale, our anti-hero, takes the cake on this one. Loved him and this book!

6. ‘Innocent’

Pick a book that someone ruined the ending for - 
I made the mistake of allowing my mother to read Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson before me and she accidentally let it slip how it ends before I reached page 3. But I still loved it so no harm done!

7. ‘Everything has changed’

Pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development - 
When I think of extensive character development, I think of Emily from Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. At the start of the book, she was a barely functioning human being without her best friend Sloane around but by the end of the book she has really grown into own identity and living her life how she wants to.

8. ‘You Belong With Me’

Pick your most anticipated book release - 
So you might all expect me to pick Queen of Shadows, the fourth installment in the Throne of Glass series, and it's true I seriously cannot wait to read that book, but I am going to surprise everyone and pick Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray because I have been patiently waiting for this book for FOREVER and I just need it already.

9. ‘Forever and Always’

Pick your favourite book couple -
JUST ONE? That's impossible. So to cheat I am going to pick my most recent favorite couple which would be Paige and Max from The Start of Me and You by Emory Lord, even though they are just friends for 99% of this book. I love them both and wish them the world.

10. ‘Come Back, Be Here’

Pick the book you would least like to lend out, for fear of missing it too much - 
I did have a mild panic attack when I lent out my ARC of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. My friend took a little longer to read it than I thought she would and I started to imagine all sorts of horrible deaths for my beloved  book. I kept thinking that she wasn't returning it because she was stalling until the book released to buy me a copy and cover the loss. (Yes, I am psychotic).

11. Teardrops On My Guitar

Pick a book that made you cry a lot -
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein might be the most moving book I have ever read. It broke me so completely. If you would like to read my glowing review, which I am pretty damn proud of, you can find it here.

12. Shake It Off

Pick a book that you love so much, you just shake off the haters -
Hmmm... this one is tough. I can't think of a book that I love that has a ton of haters. I guess I'll got with Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid which seemed to be a hit or miss for this most part. But I absolutely loved this one and thought it was so unique!

13. Blank Space

Favorite autographed book -
I have been fortunate enough to meet many of my favorite authors and get many of my favorite books/series signed and I cherish them all. But I just about cried while meeting Elizabeth Wein and explaining how much her books meant to me and her message is the only one that doesn't feel scripted. So again, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein wins this category too.

14. Welcome to New York

Favorite setting - 
Ok this time I am going to be real cliche and pick Hogwarts because to this day, nothing surpasses the magic of the wizarding world and my greatest regret in life is being a muggle.

15. Today Was A Fairytale

Favorite retelling - 
I am in love with and in awe over The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and each new installment just keeps getting better and better. It is truly amazing how well she has weaved different fairy tales into one story and yet it is still so uniquely hers.

That's it! Here are the books (minus Divergent and Lair of Dreams)...

And I Tag: 


Stacking the Shelves (108) - Jan 24th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.


Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Author: Meg Wolitzer
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date:September 30th 2014
Source: BEA 2014 & Library

Summary from Goodreads:
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.


I am not going to lie, I really did not really know the summary going into this book; I saw that the library had it in audio format and so I figured I would give it a try.  The narrator just drew me in right away and held me captive through the whole story. I think if it was not for the narrator I may have not enjoyed the book as much. As I write this review I am trying to think what genre/category this book fit into.  It is a contemporary issues book at heart but then there is magic weaved into the story, not your wizards kind of magic either.  The magic here is far more subtle.

What hooked me was the setting and the entire premise.  An alternate school that caters to students that have faced something and are a bit scarred emotionally or socially and unable to be in a more traditional high school environment.  The story revolves around each student in the Special Topics English class; each student has to face their struggles with the help of their classmates and journals.
I really enjoyed the character development and friendship building.  The students really learned to trust one another and confide in each other.  It is a short book,so it goes by very quickly.  

Why just 3 stars though... The main character. She just got on my nerves and I found her to be more annoying as the book progressed.  Her voice was immature and whiny.  The longer I sat here and thought about the book the more a small things started to bug me.  I did not care for the big twist in the plot which really weakened the overall story for me.  
    The best way to describe this book is interesting.  Belzhar tried to tackle some issues while blending magical elements and deep character development.  It works out in some aspects of the plot but not in others.


    Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

    Title: Seeker
    Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
    Series: Seeker #1
    Delacorte Books for Young Readers
    Release Date:
    February 10, 2015
    Source: ARC Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review (Thanks Random House!)

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

    Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.


    Seeker was not at all what I was expecting it to be but I think that worked in its favor...

    The synopsis says that Quin has trained her whole life to become a Seeker, only to discover that, rather than serve some noble purpose, she is meant to serve as an assassin. From this, I expected to read a story having something to do with a corrupt secret society, assassination jobs and a girl who wishes to defy and correct such things. Regardless, I expected some "Seeking" to happen, whatever that, in turn, may be. But in reality, this book had to do with everything BUT Seeking. And yet, it was pretty awesome!

    Something happens on the night that Quin and Shinobu take their Seeker oaths that makes them run away from their birthright and never look back. Only John, who is out to avenge his family, won't let them  leave it all behind. He needs a Seeker for both their athame - a tool used for traveling - and for their knowledge. He is relentless in hunting them down and yet he is not the only threat. There are also the Dreads - or justice keepers, if you will - who have their own wishes for the athame, but they are not all in agreement either. Basically, there were many moving parts to this story - written through multiple POVs - but it was fabulous in its complexity and I couldn't put it down! All of the voices were unique and interesting such that I never preferred one over the other - a true feat!

    The battle over the athame was exciting and unpredictable, especially with different motives driving each player. Quin didn't want the athame for herself, but she didn't want John to have it, for fear of what he would do with it. It wasn't clear what John had wanted to do with the athame, only that he promised his dying mother he would get it back after it was stolen from their family. This was one of those rare cases where I didn't have a favorite. I honestly couldn't make up my mind over who I thought should rightfully have the athame between these two.

    Now, as pleasant as I found the story to be, I did have a couple reservations. The first being that I have a LOT of questions about EVERYTHING. The world-building felt a little lacking in that regard. The second, albeit minor, reservation, is that I am less than thrilled about the romance jumped from one character to another at the end. It's not that I don't prefer that character, it just felt a little engineered.

    Arwen Elys Dayton's debut was thrilling and unexpected. I am definitely intrigued by this new story and looking forward to the next in series, although I am some answers come with it.


    Top Ten Character Mash Ups!

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is a Freebie so we decided to do "Top Ten Character Mash Ups" which was inspired by the Bout of Books Character Coupling Challenge!

    Nicole's Top Five

    So I decided to play matchmaker this Tuesday. Here are my new couples... 

    1. Prince Dorian from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Kelsea from The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - They have so much in common! They are both royalty - Kelsey inherited a corrupt kingdom and Dorian is set to inherit one - they have magic, they are resilient and good! They would make a perfect pair and can rule the world!

    2. Victor Vale from Vicious by Victoria Schwab and Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites by Marie Lu - they both have powers and and are driven by revenge and darkness but they also have goodness in their hearts. Maybe they could find comfort in each other (or just destroy the world). 

    3. Dee Montgomery from Open Road Summer by Emory Lord and Christian Prescott from Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - because they are both perfect. 

    4. Ronan from The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater and Jane Morgan from the Maids of Honor series by Jennifer McGowan - they are both tough and a little scary but completely loyal. 

    5. Jackal from The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa and Katherine Pierce from The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith (the tv version) - because they are both evil and selfish but I like to think there is goodness in both of them. 

    PS: This list was so much harder to create than I thought it would be! I intended to mix and match characters without a care to whether they had a romantic partner already but then I found that I liked most relationships I read and didn't want to mess with them. And then I realized there are a lot more single men than women (what the heck!).  I should have just done friendships and called it a day (Katsa and Celaena would be epic friends).

    PPS: I purposefully did not pair Prince Nikolai with anyone because he is MINE. The end.

    Ashley's Top Five

    So I tried to do couples but I like so many couples as they are written I just could not even think of matching them up with someone else.  I decided to go with mashing up characters that would make awesome, epic friendships!

    1. Kami from The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan and Maggie Also Known As by Robin Benway.  This two have awesome personalities, they both are super witty with a great sense of humor not to mention they both are ready to take on the world.

    2. Eleanor from Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and Tessa from The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.  These ladies battle the supernatural and handle crazy magical occurrences all while wearing elegant gowns.  Imagine the team they could make.

    3. Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and  Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Both girls are fantastic nerds, I think they would could be great friends!

    4. Cassie from The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey and Lynn from Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. Tough! Cassie and Lynn have had to face tragic circumstances and have had to learn to take care of themselves.  They could take on anything together.

    5. Katy from Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Bliss from Losing It by Cora Carmack. Awkward, fun, and smart girls.  Bliss' propensity for making awkward encounters would pair well with Katy's snarky personality! 

    What are your top ten?


    I Was Here by Gayle Forman

    Title: I Was Here
    Author: Gayle Forman
    Publisher: Viking Juvenile
    Release Date: January 27, 2015
    Source: ARC borrowed from Katie @ Polished Page-Turners (thanks Katie!!)

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Cody and Meg were inseparable.
    Two peas in a pod.
    Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

    When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

    I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


    It upsets me to say this but this might be the first Gayle Forman novel that I am not impressed by. Collectively, it just didn’t really work for me.

    Cody’s best friend Meg commits suicide and Cody can’t get over the fact that she had no idea her friend was suicidal, especially when she saw her as so full of life. The two of them were growing apart and Cody blames herself for not being there for Meg. Out of guilt and a desperate need to make sense of the situation, Cody starts looking into the suicide support group that Meg was involved with, specifically the individual that played a central role in encouraging Meg to take her life. Her plan is to confront him and make him answer for what he did and to flesh him out, she reveals the small part of her that would consider death as a way to ease her pain.

    I imagine I was supposed to feel impacted by Meg’s death, sympathize with Cody’s troubles, contemplate all of the thought-provoking quotes about embracing death, but I felt none of that. I felt oddly distant from it all as if I was just an observer. I was interested in her confronting the man that is encouraging others to commit suicide, but I don’t even know if I am completely content with how that whole thing played out. And as for her relationship with Ben, I definitely wasn’t feeling that and know that I am not happy with some of what happened. I get that grief and guilt brought them together but I didn’t witness any other emotions forming between them and I was surprised by a big move that Cody made. I guess they found comfort in each others presence but their connection didn’t feel strong enough to me and all I could keep thinking was that it felt like too much of a betrayal to Meg.

    I won't say nothing worked for me. But what I think what it comes down to is that these characters mean nothing to me. I don’t feel like I knew Meg very well, or Meg and Cody’s relationship, to be moved by her death and Cody’s grief. I never warmed to Cody or Ben to sympathize with either of them or to jump on board with what was brewing between them. There were some secondary characters with potential but they didn’t get enough of a spotlight to make much of a difference.

    I’ve read some great books on the topics of suicide and best friendships and grief and guilt and I can’t say this fits the bill. And again, that makes me really sad because Gayle Forman’s other books rank among my favorite Contemporaries. But I guess you can’t always be in sync…


    Stacking the Shelves (107) - Jan 17th

    Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

    Upcoming Reads

    What books are stacking your shelves? 


    Rebound by Noelle August

    Title: Rebound
    Author: Noelle August
    Series: Boomerang #2
    Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
    Release Date: February 10, 2015
    Source: ARC received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins!)

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Hooking up is only the beginning of the fun in this sexy and irresistible second installment of the thrilling New Adult series, Boomerang.

    Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

    Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

    Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

    But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.


    I thought Rebound started off really strong. Allison’s father is thinking of investing in Boomerang and wants Allison to do some due diligence on the company. She decides to get a jump start on work and goes to a Halloween party to do some incognito early reconnaissance on the Boomerang employees. Instead, she ends up having a very intimate and steamy moment with Zorro who turns out to be Adam Blackwood, the owner of the company.

    If you’ve read Boomerang, you can see that the two books start similarly. Adam and Alison are not quite competitors but they have reasons for wanting to keep their relationship strictly professional. But it’s hard for them to ignore the obvious chemistry that is building between them. There is a ton of banter, innuendos and LOTS of sexual tension, which was all good and fun.

    However, Rebound isn’t all fun and games. It actually gets pretty serious in tone at times. Adam is plagued by a secret he is hiding that, if exposed, could undermine his business. Meanwhile, Ali is still struggling to forgive herself for past mistakes; a struggle which is no doubt fueled by her complicated relationship with her father, which makes her feel like she has something to prove. Both characters have some darkness in their past which weighs on their conscious and that definitely came through to the reader. That and the fact that Alison’s father ended up blackmailing Adam…

    I was really happy to get Adam and Alison’s story. Both characters had a strong presence in Boomerang but were not necessarily cast in the best light. But I really liked them both, as people, in the end and I thought they made a really great couple. I loved their easy way with each other and shared interests. Their relationship felt a bit more mature and solid than Ethan and Mia’s.

    Rebound follows a somewhat predictable plotline, with a lot coming together at the very end. It wasn’t as light and carefree as I expected but that was probably just ignorance on my part. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I recommend it to fans of Boomerang, or NA contemporary. Just don’t expect quite the same read!

    The Funk is Over!

    Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

    The Funk is Over!

    For a while there, I felt like I was in a review-writing funk. For some reason, the words were just not coming to me and I was really struggling to write my reviews. I've never been one to crank out a review in 20 minutes, like I know some of you can, but I could usually write one in, say, an hour once I got going. But it stared taking me SO LONG just to write something that didn't suck and that caused me to keep putting off writing them. I've had this happen before, but not for this long a period of time  and that's when I really started to worry that I had somehow burnt myself out - why else couldn't I find the words to express myself anymore? I was scared of what that would mean for this blog if that continued. I didn't want to be forced into taking a break, but for a little while there, I could see no alternative...

    I don't know if the funk was a consequence of me being overwhelmed with everything going on in my life - I was super busy and stressed for a while there - but it took a very low-key Christmas break for me to finally ease out of it. My Fall semester of school ended, work slowed down over the holidays and for the first time in forever, I had consecutive days in a row with nothing to do except unwind and relax.  I had plenty of time for reading and blogging and it was around then that I noticed I was getting my grove back.

    As I got back into the swing of things, I realized that confidence had played a role in my review-writing funk. During the funk, I was beginning to lose confidence in myself as a reviewer, but after writing a few reviews that I was proud of with relative ease, I started to regain what confidence I had lost and things just kept getting easier. I knew I could do it and so I did. After a couple weeks like this I have caught up on reviews for the first time in a long time and I feel like I am on solid ground again, which feels great when starting a new year.

    I don't know if those of you who regularly visit our blog noticed any difference in quality - I tried not to publish anything that wasn't on par - but if you did, thanks for sticking it out with me.

    Now to turn it over to you guys, has this ever happened to you? It's super scary and I'm wondering how you might have dealt with it. It took a well-timed break for me to recover but I was lucky for one of those. Is a break from blogging the only answer otherwise? 

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