Thursday, July 27, 2017

I've been trying to make these posts less of a monthly thing, but sometimes when I'm reading -- or listening -- I get carried away and just pick up the next book without even stopping to consider it. Other times, I deliberate far too long on what to read next, and yet I still don't manage to get these posts out any sooner. Oh, well. I suppose as booknerds, you all understand. =)

This month, I was a lot more varied in my reading than I have been in recent months. I think there was a good mix of young adult, adult/romance, and re-reads in there. I read some fantastic books, and I read some duds, but I think my favorite of them all had to be either Here Lies Daniel Tate -- shockingly good, not because I expected not to like it but because I did and it still surprised me -- and The Waking Land, which pretty much no one is talking about but was utterly brilliant. All said and done, it was a pretty great reading month.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

Every Move (Every, #3)Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1)

Every Move - I put off reading this final book for ages, and I don't even know why. It definitely wasn't because of the purported love triangle. I can deal with that because I trust Ellie Marney enough as an author not to completely alienate her readership...and we are ALL #Wattscroft shippers, after all. And after reading the book, I think rumors of a love triangle were grossly exaggerated. It was never an issue, though with everything that Mycroft has gotten Rachel caught up in over the course of this series, it's only fair that she's a little confused in this book. I do have to admit, I found aspects of this finale a tad predictable, but it was still a crazy, thrilling ride, despite that. And I am super excited to read Harris' book in a couple of months. I really enjoyed the addition of his character and can't wait to see where his story takes us. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Song of the Current - Fun story. The magic and lore were intriguing. And pirates are always good. Plus a hate-to-love romance with witty banter is my jam. But WTF was that ending?!? Seriously, sometimes I hate listening to audiobooks for this reason. You can be trucking along, the story's getting really intense, and then BAM! The end catches you totally by surprise and leaves you reeling. At least with a paper copy, you can see the end approaching. Anyway, I liked it. It's great for fans of Daughter of the Pirate King, which I loved. But I'm still side-eyeing that cliffhanger. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow - Apparently, now that I've picked up some more exciting reads, I'm going to end up on the edge of a cliff at the end of every one of them. That's fine. I'd rather remain curious at the end than regretting the time I spent reading a book. I loved Weber's Storm Siren series -- though I haven't been able to bring myself to read that final book, d'oh! -- and I enjoy her writing, but I wasn't sure how I'd fare with a gamer book. Gaming is so not my thing. And when this one started out a little Hunger Games-y on top of that, I admit I was a little worried. But this story was not that at all. It wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for but rather something in between. It was very sci-fi, high-tech espionage, with a side of alien overlords thrown in just to shake things up. And I am completely on board with it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Coming Up for AirHere Lies Daniel TateThe Waking Land

Coming Up for Air - I've only read Breathe, Annie, Breathe and Catching Jordan in this series...and in that order, but I can see why so many readers love Miranda Kenneally's books. They all share such a vivid, realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager: a little angst, a little romance, and a whole lot of finding yourself, all while being very sex-positive. Without having read the entire series, I don't think it would be right to pick a favorite, but I've always loved the best-friends-to-more romance, and so Coming Up for Air is definitely a contender. It shows that guys can be dicks and girls are allowed to be unsure of what they want, but real best friends are forever. This was such a cute summer read, and as you can see, you don't have to have read any of the other books in the series. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Here Lies Daniel Tate - I thought about writing a full review for this one. I have quite a lot to say about it. But alas, spoilers. So, I'll just say that this was one thrilling, twisty, fucked up book, and I COMPLETELY LOVED IT. An unreliable narrator is my favorite because you just never know. I read so much that books are typically pretty predictable for me, but that all falls by the wayside when the narrator is this ballsy, sociopathic con-artist. I mean, there were definitely clues and my theory did ultimately pan out, but there's just no way to guess it ALL. And that's what makes this book so great, so unbelievably captivating, despite the tragic circumstances. And Cristin Terrill is so amazing at putting the reader IN the story, making us empathize with characters because they're so multi-faceted and just downright intriguing. Please, book gods, I beg of you, do NOT let it be another four years before we get another book from this woman. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Waking Land - This stand-alone fantasy novel was utterly gorgeous in its telling and breathtaking in its brilliant use of magic to spark a revolution in a kingdom already besieged by pretenders and usurpers. I rarely find the time to read on the weekends, let alone listen to a book, but once I started this audiobook on my way home on Friday afternoon, there was no stopping me. The book almost comes to life with the rich narration, waking your senses as the land is waking in the story, and it made it very hard to put down. This story was simply lovely and unique, and well...magical. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Paper Hearts (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #2)Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us, #3)

Paper Hearts - Ugh. After being sorta surprised (in a good way) by the first book, I am decidedly unimpressed with this companion novel. It was overkill and boring and I never sensed the romantic connection. And this time, the only band member who didn't annoy me was Alec. I'm assuming there's going to be a book for each Heartbreaker, but I don't think I care to see the series through... 🌟🌟

Frostblood - I was just SO bored while listening to this one. I put off reading it for ages because it just seemed so...generic. And it was. The magic system was so unimaginative. The romance, which I'm sure was supposed to be this epic hate-to-love thing, was so trite, and I never felt the love or the hate. The only thing I did like was the narrator, but even she couldn't save this book. I highly doubt I'll be picking up the sequel. 🌟🌟

The Ends of the World - This was a great conclusion to the jet-setting adventure of the first two books. This finale was slightly more grounded, definitely more politically motivated, and full of character growth for Avery and company. And though I could have used more of the steamy scenes that Maggie Hall is so great at, I'm thoroughly pleased that she didn't vilify the guy who didn't end up getting the girl. We got to see the vulnerability behind the masks in this novel, and it made me like the characters that much more. I'm sad that it's over, but I'm completely satisfied with this ending. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Reece Malcolm ListGiven to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)

The Reece Malcolm List - I cannot believe I have only just now read this adorable book! I bought it on sale for Kindle ages ago. It was endearing and the voice was just perfect. Also, I related to Devan and her insecurities and anxiety of always saying or doing the wrong thing, and I loved seeing her grow past that, especially as someone who never really did. The mother-daughter relationship is so central to this book, too, and I couldn't have loved it more. It was genuine and not at all what I was expecting, which is to say that Reece Malcolm ended up being this really above board character who made Devan better. It as just so well done...traversing first loves and first heartbreaks, high school, and family. I'm so glad I decided to peruse my Kindle library to stave off the boredom at work one day. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Given to the Sea - It's Mindy McGinnis, so duh, I wanted to read it. But as with all her books, I knew going into this one not to expect a happy ending, and so I've put off reading it. Thus, the audiobook from the library, which probably helped since there are so many freaking points of view. I'm loathe to actually read a book when there's more than two perspectives and this one had plenty more than that. The one I really could have done without was Witt's. I understand that what was happening with the Pietrans was important to the story overall, but his POV took me out of the story more than it helped add to it. This book was different from the author's previous work, but it was oddly similar, if that makes any sense. The overall mood was similar, I guess. I still feel the same way I always do after a McGinnis book: like I've read something good but in need of some comfort because it's just so bleak. 🌟🌟🌟

R E - R E A D S

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

Kingmaker Chronicles #1-2 - I've been in a bit of a fantasy mood and though I know the third book won't release until January, I couldn't help myself and had to re-read these books. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

All Our YesterdaysThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us, #2)

All Our Yesterdays - After reading Here Lies Daniel Tate and talking up Cristin Terrill's first book to a friend, I couldn't help picking it up for a re-read...again. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This Savage Song - You know, I liked this one a lot more the first time I read it. The narration on the audio was great for a re-read, but I just could not get into it this time around. And I really needed to so I don't feel I'm forcing myself to read Our Dark Duet. :( Which I've been unable to make myself do, regardless... 🌟🌟🌟

Map of Fates - Prep for The Ends of the World. Plus, I could re-read that Stellan/Avery interlude a hundred times and never grow tired of it. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys, #2)Dating You / Hating YouThe Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband - This was cute and I was definitely entertained by the While You Were Sleeping vibe, but as I've said before, I just don't think Julia Quinn is ever going to be one of my favorite historical romance authors. There's nothing inherently bad about the writing or her stories; they just always leave me outside of the story in a way that Tessa Dare or Sarah MacLean's novels don't. 🌟🌟🌟

Dating You/Hating You - Similar to The Hating Game but not? Also, I'm very, very surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, considering how much I loathed the only other Christina Lauren novel I've read, which was not nearly as Sublime as the title suggests. Not even a little bit. But I digress. Honestly, this book made me laugh. Like, a lot. It was witty. And sexy. But it was ultimately the poor man's version of The Hating Game, a book I've re-read no less than four times in less than a year. As entertaining as Dating You/Hating You was, I just can't see myself reading this one over and over again. I will have to check out more of this duo's adult reads, though. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Duchess Deal - The first book is almost always my favorite in a Tessa Dare series, and I'm sure the same will hold true with the Girl Meets Duke series, though I'm holding out hope that the next book will be just as good, especially with the intimation as to which pairing the next book will focus on. ;0) That said, my favorite fairy tale ever is Beauty and the Beast, and there was a strong BatB vibe with this story, also making it one of my very favorite Tessa Dare novels to-date. While also ensuring that Dare is going to be hard-pressed to surpass it, at least in my eyes. This newest novel is everything you've come to expect from her: witty banter, great characterization, clever dialogue, funny situations, and of course, some seriously steamy sex scenes. But there's also that cantankerous cat, the monster and his sidekick, those hilarious nicknames, the well-meaning staff, and the seamstress-turned-duchess' tight-knit group of friends. It was almost too much awesome for one book. I'm entirely serious when I say this just might be my new favorite Tessa Dare novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Dear Mr. KnightleyThe Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes With Love, #4)If Wishes Were Earls (Rhymes With Love, #3)His Scandalous Kiss (Secrets at Thorncliff Manor, #3)

Dear Mr. Knightley - I'm so glad I gave this book a chance after seeing someone discussing it on Goodreads. I just adore epistolary novels. And the writing in this novel, the way the letters are spread out, really works to keep you in the story. I just wish I hadn't known the identity of Mr. Knightley before I even started. I know this is an older novel, but there are spoiler tags for a reason. And, sure, I would have figured it out pretty quickly anyway, but it's the principle. And even knowing didn't make that ending feel any less rushed. I wish we got to spend more time with characters in romance novels once they finally get together. But that's a complaint for another day. I still loved the literary references and how Sam channelled some of her favorite characters when she was uncomfortable in a situation. And though there were definitely some tough subjects being tackled, it never felt too heavy...or too preachy. Definitely a great read if you're looking for something different. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane - I've never read this author's work before but I just had to try this one since it sounds SO much like The Duchess Deal, which I just read and adored. On the surface, the stories are similar: gruff lord has unfortunate run-in with naive spinster-type and is almost immediately besotted but fights his feelings for most of the book. However, that's where the similarities end. This story was entertaining, but it lacked the heart of Dare's novel. Although, I was looking for a happily ever after in both cases, I just never felt a connection to the characters in Elizabeth Boyle's book. I'm going to give her another try, as I already have a previous book in this series checked out from the library. (I'm very good -- or is it bad? -- at reading historical romance series out of order.) I'm hoping that since I didn't just read a story with a similar premise, my expectations won't keep me from enjoying it as much as I otherwise could have, as with The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane. 🌟🌟🌟

If Wishes Were Earls - So, I think the summary on GR is a bit off on this one, but despite that, I quite enjoyed the book. I always love heroes and heroines who would put their own happiness aside to ensure the safety and well-being of those they love -- even when it's frustrating as hell to read, knowing what they're prepared to sacrifice. I also love a heroine who flouts the rules of society, who barrels toward danger, all in the name of love. Harriet, nay Harry, was perfection. (And I definitely want to read more about her five brothers!) Roxley was a fine love interest, but Harry really stole the show. There should be a series -- like the one "quoted" from in this story -- detailing her adventures. 🌟🌟🌟

His Scandalous Kiss - I grabbed this audiobook from the library on a whim, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit, despite never having read a book by this author previously. However, this regency romance was quite a bit tamer than most of those I've read recently. And it is is the THIRD book featuring a battle-scarred/injured hero that I've read in as many weeks, though not my favorite. (Tessa Dare reigns supreme again.) Usually when I read these novels, some type of illicit affair happens as a precursor to obtaining a special license to be wed, but everything in this romance was above board. Well, for the most part. ;0) 🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

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