Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe, Book 2)

33555224I read an ARC of Scythe by Neal Shusterman last year, and it absolutely blew my mind. It is on my list of top favorites of all time. Check out my gushy ramblings about book 1 here. Obviously if you haven’t read Scythe, you will not understand all the spoilers for book 1 below. Come back after you’ve read Scythe and you’ll thank me!

Just as a refresher, when we left off last time, Citra had just been named the newest Scythe in Mid-Merica. Her first task was to glean Rowan, but due to her brilliance, he got away.

Enter Thunderhead, the second book in the trilogy. The Thunderhead is the all-knowing being that controls and regulates everything on earth, with one exception—anything dealing with the Scythedom. The main theme through the entirety of the book is whether it’s right or wrong for the Thunderhead to police the Scythedom, especially with the rise of the New Order Scythes. They love to cause pain, fear, and revel in their celebrity and immortality.

Citra has continued her fellowship with Scythe Curie, now as her new identity: the Honorable Scythe Anastasia. They continue to glean as they are required, and always ensure they perform the grim duty with dignity and humility. When there’s a shake-up at the Mid-Merican conference, they are both thrown into deep political drama.

Rowan, meanwhile, is cavorting around as Scythe Lucifer, all dressed in black like the grim reaper. He has taken on the task of hunting down, gleaning, and burning the bodies of the Scythes who have gone bad. He makes one mistake, and definitely suffers the consequences.

The rest of the plot will just absolutely blow your mind. It is literally unreal and haunting. I sat catatonic for quite an embarrassing amount of time when I finished reading.

So anyway, this series is incredible and you are missing out so hard if you haven’t picked it up yet. It has amazing characters, enchanting world building, puzzling moral questions, and twist after twist after twist.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Buy the book here.
Buy Scythe (Book 1) here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter

We all know the actress, Krysten Ritter, from a myriad of things: The B in Apartment 23, Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Jessica Jones, etc. But in her debut novel, Bonfire, we get to know another side of her. And it is full of thrilling, scheming, curious characters.

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Abby heads back to her small hometown in Indiana to work a case for her environmental law firm against the big corporation in town, Optimal Plastics. She has bad memories of the town, it being where she was teased and harassed incessantly in her high school. She runs into many of her old classmates, and notices the absence of her old friend, Kaycee. When they were in high school, Kaycee and many other girls came down with a mysterious illness that caused them to seize, vomit blood, and pass out. The illness eventually passed, and Kaycee left town. But no one knows where she went.

Abby is working the case against Optimal, but she also falls back into town gossip and rumor, and tries to figure out what happened to Kaycee.

This book is like Erin Brockovich meets Gillian Flynn, with the big corporation  (think Sweetums in Parks and Rec) with their hands in everything. And I do mean everything.

★★★★

Buy the book here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Artemis” by Andy Weir

I read this book a few weeks ago and still can’t properly put into words how addicting it was! I read it over a few days because I had real life responsibilities (ugh *eye roll*), but every free minute I had was spent with my nose in my kindle.

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First off, you have to go into Artemis knowing that it is not and will never be The MartianIt’s set in space, and that’s about the only similarity. This one has a female narrator. She’s a criminal. She also has human interaction all over the book. So it’s different. And I absolutely loved that!

Jazz is a smuggler, paying to bring contraband to the moon to wealthy inhabitants. The contraband really isn’t all that bad, when you think about it — cigars, lighters, etc. But one day, one of her regular customers pulls her into a large conspiracy to take out a rival corporation. This is the point where everything starts to go haywire in Jazz’s life.

This book is equal parts space-y and science-y as The Martian, but it’s as if you gave it a city, a female protagonist, and an Ocean’s Eleven level heist. I have heard that the audiobook is narrated by Rosario Dawson, and I can’t imagine the level of awesomeness that brings to the story.

★★★★

Purchase Artemis here. And if you haven’t read it, purchase The Martian here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“13 Minutes” by Sarah Pinborough

Out today in the United States!

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Sarah Pinborough is one of the reigning queens of the thriller, right up there with Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins. Her other title, Behind Her Eyes, released earlier this year, and I was skeptical of its promotional hashtag of #wtfthatending. It was so unbelievably accurate I was blown away. So, having loved that book, I knew I had to get my hands on 13 Minutes.

Tasha is technically dead for 13 minutes when she is pulled from the freezing river and revived. No one knows how she ended up there or if it was foul play. The story switches between viewpoints, and is such a good whodunit, with lots of threads leading to dead ends. No matter where you think the story is going, you’ll be wrong. It’s just a given, and that’s what I adore about Pinborough’s books.

The more I thought about this book as I was reading it and after I finished, the more I thought it was comparable in nature to Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia. The characters are young, there’s been a horrible crime committed, and they both use technology (e.g. texting) to convey parts of the story.

★★★★

Purchase 13 Minutes here.

Also, purchase Behind Her Eyes and Reconstructing Amelia. You won’t regret it!

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin

Okay everybody, take a seat. This is another case of “Why didn’t anyone force me to read these before?!” So here I am to shove these books in your face and make you read them.

This is a three-book series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer starts off with Mara starting a new school in Florida after surviving a building collapse that kills her three best friends. Mara is understandably distraught and is diagnosed with PTSD that leaves her hallucinating at random. At her new school, Mara meets Noah Shaw, a supposedly notorious ladies’ man. There’s something about him that she can’t put her finger on, but he eventually convinces her to go on a date with him.

But Mara isn’t sure all of her hallucinations are actually figments of her imagination. Some of them are too real. She starts receiving creepy messages and photographs, and she suspects they’re coming from her deceased ex-boyfriend, Jude.

I can’t really get into any more details because it’ll be too spoiler-y.

This series is awesome because it combines so many genres flawlessly. It has YA contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, historical fiction, and more. It’s amazing, really. The audiobooks are narrated by Christy Romano… yes, that one — Christy Carlson Romano, known best for her role in Even Stevens and the voice of Kim Possible.

My review of the first book was few words — I couldn’t process it. “Wowwwww. Yes. Amazing.”

The same happened with the second book. ” Wow wow wow. Normally a second book falls flat. But that ending……..On to the next oneeeee!!!”

And the last book prompted this, “Well that ending had me SHOOK. But it definitely felt like it was dragging in the middle there. I can’t wait to read The Shaw Confessions series. NOVEMBER GET HERE NOOOOOW.”

Because *excited face* there’s a new spinoff series coming out that focuses on Noah! The first one is called The Becoming of Noah Shaw and it comes out November 7th, 2017.

So get caught up now, because there’s about to be another installment in the series! Overall, I give this series 4.5 stars.

Buy the box set of the first three books here.

Pre-order The Becoming of Noah Shaw here.

7 Series You Need to Check Out

I love a good series — diving in and getting to fly through multiple books in the same world, reveling in the sheer mass of story you have to conquer.

I have many different series I’ve started, some finished, some unfinished, some with books still yet to come. Here’s some you need to check out.

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  • Harry Potter — Okay, this is an obvious one. But it continues to shock me when I find out someone I know hasn’t read them yet! And before you say it, no, the movies don’t count. And if you want my brutally honest opinion, I’d tell you that the movies are complete garbage compared to the books. They left out so many great things! Peeves! Winky and S.P.E.W. All of the flashbacks they left out in HP6!
    • Bottom Line: Read them however you can, but I highly recommend the Jim Dale narration of the audiobooks. It’s like watching a movie IN YOUR HEAD!
  • uglies1Uglies by Scott Westerfeld — In this series, Tally Youngblood is about to turn 16. In her society, that is the age when you “turn pretty” — you get surgery to make you perfect and bubbly-headed. This series has such cool technology and rebels and swoons and fights. Uglies was one of my favorite series when I was in middle school, and I have it from a very reliable source (Mr. Westerfeld himself) that there is more in this world coming!
    • Bottom Line: Is the price of being Pretty worth losing what makes you original? Does Tally have what it takes to fight back?
    • If you liked Uglies, try Divergent and The Hunger Games.
  • d1cehmuxhes-_sl250_fmpng_Helen Grace series by M.J. Arlidge — This is an adult mystery/thriller series in which the main character, Detective Helen Grace, is on the prowl for serial killers. Each book focuses on a different killer, and they are all pretty gruesome and heart-pounding cases. This series has 5 books out in the US, but 2 additional out in the UK that aren’t here yet, PLUS two novellas.
    • Bottom Line: While they won’t win a pulitzer prize, these books are fast-paced, chilling thrillers. I flew through 5 in about a week and a half, and I can’t wait for more!
    • Bonus: Killer covers. (Pun intended.)
  • The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristilluminae-filesoff — These books are awesome for a few reasons. First, the story is just top notch space race against the ene<my. On top of that, both books feature absolutely bad-ass young women that show the villain who's boss. But ultimately, the reason that puts these at the top of many people's lists, is that the format and design of the book itself is stunning. Told through transcripts, emails, chats, web pages, and more, reading The Illuminae Files is a lot like what it sounds like — you're literally reading a file of evidence. But it's extremely well-done.
    • Bottom Line: If you’re looking for something different and fun, plus space and bad-ass bitches kicking ass, you need to pick up Illuminae and Gemina. (Plus Obsidio comes out next year! Time to catch up!) 
    • Bonus: While I haven’t personally listened to them, the audiobooks for this series are narrated by a full cast and are allegedly amazing. Let me know if you’ve listened to them.
    • If you liked The Illuminae Files, try The Themis Files (ALIEN ROBOTS NEED I SAY MORE?).
  • a-darker-shade-of-magic-ve-schwab-series-book-covers-1024x513A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab — Set in a universe where three Londons exist in different worlds (Red London, White London, and Grey London), there exist two beings who are the only ones who can travel between worlds. When one of these beings unknowingly brings a piece of evil magic into the world, it creates a series of chaotic events that seemingly can’t be stopped. You can also read my review here.
    • Bottom Line: If you like fantasy books, this is for you. If you don’t like fantasy books, I think this is still for you. It’s just so much crazy awesomeness that I can’t even properly put into words why you should read these massive, beautiful tomes.
  • 516wcmsapcl-_sx332_bo1204203200_To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han — This is just a cute, squishy, happy feels series. It all starts out when Lara Jean’s letters get mailed out. Sounds normal, right? But they’re not — they’re “break up” letters Lara Jean wrote to everyone she ever had a crush on or “loved,” as the title implies. This series has food, cute decorations and adorable clothes, swoon-worthy boys, and a strong family support system not often seen in books.
    • Bottom Line: These 3 books are definitely something I used as a palate cleanser, and I mean that in the best way possible! They’re just consumable, sweet, and adorable. I love them like a little sister.
  • 51qxkni9til-_sx336_bo1204203200_The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French — This series is super unique in that each book is from a different officer’s perspective, and you meet the new officer in the book before (typically). These books are beautifully written, but thorough, so don’t expect to fly through them. There’s 6 of them, and they range from creepy, to strange, to sad, to school-girl, and so much more. The perspectives aren’t always from a man or a woman, but rather switch off, which I find to be a nice change of pace. Read my review of In the Woods here.
    • Bottom Line: Read In the Woods and try to tell me you weren’t biting your nails and running away from dark rooms. This isn’t to say they are all scary, though, and they’re definitely not horror books, so they’re okay for the easily frightened.

That’s just a few of my favorites. What are your favorite series? Have you read any of these and agree or disagree with me?

January Wrap-Up

Well, January was a fantastic reading month! I read 31 books this month — one per day! One reason I read so much this month is that I re-read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events series because of the Netflix series. The series is good either book or movie (but the book is better).

My goal this year is 200 books again — I have some more vacations/trips planned than last year, so I think I’ll be even with last year at least (214).

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Here are the books I read in January:

  1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  2. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness*
  5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  6. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  7. Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter*
  8. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
  9. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
  10. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
  11. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
  12. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
  13. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
  14. The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket
  15. The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
  16. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
  17. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket
  18. Indelible by Adelia Saunders*
  19. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
  20. The End by Lemony Snicket
  21. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  22. Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee*
  23. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  24. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  25. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  26. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough*
  27. I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (review)
  28. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  29. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Plus 2 books that don’t fit the scope of my blog and were read for work.)
*These books aren’t pictured because they were either audiobooks or ebooks I don’t own a copy of.

What was your favorite book you read this month?