Thursday, December 8, 2016

Challenge Update: Favorite Audiobooks of 2016

I've decided to do something a little different for my end of the year wrap up. In addition to doing a favorite books of the year thing, once a week in December I am going to do a challenge wrap up to talk about some of my favorite books in the categories that I did challenges for. I did a total of four challenges this year and so that works out really well. So I figured I would start with the audiobooks because I don't really have any plans for more audiobooks to listen to this year. I'll probably listen to at least one more on my drive to New York for the holidays but I can confidently mention some of my favorites for the year.

So I listened to a ton of audiobooks this year. I am currently at a total of 38 audiobooks for the year which is above my goal of listening to 30 for the Audiobooks Challenge which was hosted by Hot Listens. And as I have read a total of 151 books so far this year, that means that about a quarter of by books have been in the audio format. If that doesn't show how much of a fan of audiobooks I am, I don't know what will. I love them because I can listen at work, while I'm doing stuff around the house. and while I'm driving but also because I think some books are just perfect for that format.

Most of the audiobooks I listened to in 2016, about half, were rereads and I don't want to mention them here. That's for two reasons. First it's not fair to all the other books to that were amazing but also I think many of them are used to me blabbing about how much I love the Reckoners, The Raven Cycle, and Throne of Glass on audio. If not check out This Post, This Post, This Post, or This Post. Suffice it to say, I talk about audiobooks a lot. So without further ado, here is more talk about my favorite audiobooks of the year, in no particular order.

1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - My Review
Narrated By: Davina Porter
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

I was late to the Outlander party. I had wanted to read the series but was intimidated by how think the books were and how many books there were in the series. So I took the plunge and listened to the first book this year and loved it. It's long coming in at a whopping 32 hours but it doesn't feel long. There is a ton of action, great characters, and it's the kind of audio where you don't want to stop listening.

As far as the narrator goes, I thought she did a fantastic job. There are a ton of different accents here with the Scottish and the English and she did them all really well. I have a hard time with heavily accented characters sometimes but I was impressed with these ones. Maybe they were terrible Scottish accents though. I'm not the best judge for this sort of this.

But I would absolutely recommend this one. I had it suggested from someone who is a huge fan of this series and a huge fan of audio and she was totally right. This was great and now I need to listen to the rest.

2.) You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnas - My Review
Narrated by Santino Fontana
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

If you read my review of Hidden Bodies last week, the fact that I loved these audiobooks should not come as a surprise. Because seriously, these are amazing. Like they may end up on my favorites of the year list but if they don't they have to be on this list. I mean these books are super messed up, like it's about terrible people doing terrible things. Spoiler alert: the main character is a serial killer, and Kepnas still makes him really sympathetic. Like you root for a guy to kill people, it messes with your head.

A lot of why this book is so fantastic is because of the narrator. Santino Fontana is an amazing voice talent (he is the voice of Hans in Frozen if you weren't aware) and honestly no one does sympathetic and odious villains as good as he does. He really brings Joe to life and makes him a character you love to hate. My only issue is with his Rhode Island accents, but I'm bad at that accent too even though I lived there for six years.

Again, a book and audio I would absolutely recommend. Do I have to say that for all of these books. I recommend them all. But seriously, these are super messed up in the best possible way and the audio is amazing.

3.) Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar - My Review
Narrated by Michael Crouch
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

There are a few books that I considered including on this list that I think would probably end up on my favorites of the year list, including this one. The reason that this makes my list over The Diablic is because I think the main reason I loved this book is because of the narrator. Michael Crouch honestly did an amazing job here. He put so much emotion into the book. I think it may have fallen a little flat for me if I didn't listen to the audio. His accents were great and it helped develop the characters in a way that really made the book for me.

But honestly this was a really amazing book. It is one of the most unique books I read this year. It's one that defies categorization with elements of magical realism, mystery, and contemporary. It was a strange and interesting book and therefore super compelling. I really loved the plot development and the world building. It's atmospheric tone was perfect for the audio format.

If you are interested in this book I would definitely suggest listening to the audio. I think it kind of made it what it was for me. It's a great read and perfect for the audio format so yes, listen to it.

4.) The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - My Review
Narrated by Steve West
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

Okay so once again I have to start by talking about the narrator because STEVE WEST! If you have read those posts I linked earlier you probably know that Steve West is among my favorite audiobook narrator. So when I saw that he was narrating a book I was super obsessed to read I knew I had to listen to the audiobook. And I was not at all disappointed. Steve was did amazing, was amazing. I usually hate Russian accents but ohmygod, this was amazing. Steve West's voice is like velvet and makes me feel things that I should not talk about in a public setting.

But also, this is another really atmospheric read that is perfect for the audio format. I love my high fantasies in audiobooks and this is a great example of that. It's the kind of book with a setting and magical system that you can perfectly visualize. Steve West totally brings it all to life. Plus it's a book that it a little light on the plot and that also works really well when in the audio format.

Again, an audio I would totally recommend but also one that I would say would be much better when it comes to audio. This was a book that I think was hit or miss for a lot of people and it was a total hit for me. A lot of that, of course was due to the fact that I love Steve West, but still.

5.) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - My Review
Narrated by A Full Cast of Awesomeness
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

If I had to come up with a favorite audiobook of this year it would probably be this one, it's that good. I did not expect this series to be good in the audio format but after some recommendations from people around Illuminae so I decided to try this one out. And honestly, it is really fantastic. Full disclosure, I did also flip the pages to look at some of the images but the audio is really amazing. It's a total immersive experience and definitely worth it for this series. You guys, there are sound effects and music. It's perfect and amazing.

Part of what makes it so immersive is that it has a full cast. In case you didn't know, I FREAKING LOVE FULL CAST AUDIOBOOKS. I'm sorry but that required all caps. I feel that strongly about it. One of my biggest criticism about audiobook narrators is when all their characters sound the same so different narrators combats that. Plus this had some of my all-time favorite narrators like Steve West, MacLeod Andrews, and Carla Corvo. Plus the narrator for  Ella was so freaking perfect. The narrators are all amazing.

I honestly think after listening to this audio I have been totally ruined for this series, I can never go back to just reading the book. It's such a uniquely formatted series and the best way to experience it is by listening to the audio and flipping through the book.

Honorable Mentions:

6.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - My Review
My only reread on this list but it was so good. It also had a full cast and they were all amazing. They perfectly embodied the characters. I only wish it was radio play style and not you narrator your sections because I wanted it to always be the same voice when a character was speaking.

7.) The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - My Review
I didn't expect to love this audio as much as I did but it was really fun. The narrator did a great job with the accents and it worked really well in this format. If you are a big contemporary fan and like audio, check this out.

8.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - My Review
This is an honorable mention because while it's not totally a reread, I've talked a lot about how much I enjoy the Lunar Chronicles audiobooks and Rebecca Soler and therefore it should come as no surprise that loved this one.

There you have it, all my favorite audiobooks of the year. I seriously loved a ton of them you guys. It was a great year for audiobooks. Not only is 37 books total not to shabby but I loved so many of them. I think I only disliked about 5 of them, maybe 6. But if you want to see the full list on all the audiobooks I listened to this year and to find my thoughts, check out the Audiobooks Challenge page HERE. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Valiant
Author: Leslie Livingston
Published: February 14, 2016 by Razorbill (Penguin Random House)

Synopsis: Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival. Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, "The Valiant" recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire."

Why I'm Waiting:

Do I really need to explain why I am super excited about this book? No, we're all on the same page here? Cool, cool. Well then, see you next time.

Just kidding! Except not really. I mean obviously I am super excited about this book because it is about a female gladiator. Who would not be excited about this book? I love me some kickass female protagonist, especially if the female in question is in a world dominated by men. And this has all the trappings of that. Not to mention that it is billed as a brutal fantasy and I am a big fan of those as well.

But I think that the thing I am most excited about is the historical fiction aspects. I read a fair amount of historical fiction and while I enjoy some of the classic periods like Victorian England and World War II, it can get a little stale. I am always really excited for historical fiction set in different periods and involving different things. I don't think I have ever read something about gladiators and that is exciting in and of itself, but I am also super interested in the Celtic/Viking portion of the story. I'm guessing it will be brief but I'm cool with that, it's something different.

I recently preordered a copy of this book because I am so excited to read it. It is definitely one of my most anticipated books for the first half of 2016, it sounds super interesting and creative. I haven't seen many reviews for it but the ones I have seen are good. But seriously friends, I can't wait for this book

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on The Valiant along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors I First Read in 2016

A weekly meme by The Broke and Bookish

There are so many book and so little time, amiright? There are always popular authors that I have never read any books from. So here is a list of authors who I read for the first time this year and want to read more books from.

1.) Tamora Pierce
Books Read: The Song of the Lioness Quartet
Let's get the most shocking one out of the way early, shall we. I can't believe I waited until now to read Tamora Pierce. What was I doing in the 90's? Reading Michael Crichton and R.L. Stine that's what.

2.) Agatha Christie
Books Read: And Then There Were None
I can't believe it took me this long to read my first Agatha Christie. I love mysteries and I never read any of her books. I'm glad I could amend that this year and now I need to amend that further.

3.) Ruta Sepetys
Books Read: Salt to the Sea
For the longest time I was trying to avoid books set in World War II because I thought they weren't for me. But then I went and read a ton of them and realized there are some great ones. I still need to read Between Shades of Grey, though.

4.) Cat Winters
Books Read: The Steep and Thorny Way
I read a ton of really amazing Shakespeare retellings this year and this was one of them. Plus it was my first Cat Winters. But I need to read more. Why I haven't read her stuff sooner I have no idea.

5.) Diana Gabaldon
Books Read: Outlander
I have wanted to read Outlander for a long time but the amount of books intimidated me. But with the show coming out I finally read the first book, now I want to read all of them. If only they weren't so long. But the audio is great.

6.) Kiersten White
Books Read: And I Darken
I have wanted to read many of Kiersten's books for awhile now but I haven't actually done it until this spring when I read her genderbent Vlad the Impaler. It was really good and now I want to read more of her stuff.

7.) Ryan Graudin
Books Read: Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood
You may have noticed my gushing review of Blood for Blood yesterday. I was late to this series but I'm guessing I am no less fanatical. I seriously loved it and found it super creative. I need to read more of her books. Maybe start with The Walled City.

8.) Robin Talley
Books Read: Lies We Tell Ourselves and As I Descended
I had a copy of Lies We Tell Ourselves for nearly two years before finally reading it and I wish I had read it sooner. But I got me hooked on Robin Talley and then I read and loved As I Descended which is another of the amazing Shakespeare retellings of this year.

9.) Sharon Cameron
Books Read: The Forgetting
Oh man, I loved The Forgetting. It is another of my favorite reads of the year because it was just so super creative in the most unexpectedly amazing way. I really loved it and now I want to read more of Cameron's books. I hear good things too.

10.) Caroline Kepnas
Books Read: You and Hidden Bodies
The audiobooks for these were really amazing and super messed up. I mean You freaked me out in the best possible way. This series has the most terrible antihero who is also super compelling and the audio is narrated amazingly well by Santino Fontana.

11.)  Lindsay Ribar
Books Read: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Another one of my favorite books of the year that makes my list because it was so freaking weird and creative in the best possible way. I love the spin the author takes on fantasy with this book and I kind of want to find out if her other books are as good.

12.) Mindy McGinnis
Books Read: The Female of the Species
I have wanted to read McGinnis' books for some time now and despite owning both Not A Drop to Drink and A Madness So Discreet, the first book of hers I read was The Female of the Species. But I really like it (and reviewed it yesterday) so now I have to read her other books.

Those are all the new to me authors that I want to read more books from. Which authors did you read for the first time this year? Did any of these make your list? Have you read any of these authors? Which of these authors have you read? Which of their books do you recommend? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, December 5, 2016

ARC Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Title: The Female of the Species
Written by: Mindy McGinnis
Published: September, 2016 by HarperTeen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence. 

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways. 

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her. 

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for. 

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I always try to review a book immediately after finishing it, that way my thoughts are fresh. But this is a time where I wish I could sit with this book a little bit more because honestly this book will stick with me. It was brutal and dark but also sweet and oh so compelling. I was kind of surprised by how much I liked it.

For one thing, this is a super intense and serious book. I don't read a lot of contemporary and the ones I do read are usually on the lighter side. But this book is not at all lighthearted and fun, it's raw. It has all the intensity that I enjoy about mysteries and thrillers but without that mystery element. It's very much about the people but the darker side of life. It's not the kind of book that will leave you feeling good about humanity but at the same time it is still oddly empowering. I don't usually like this kind of book but in this case I really enjoyed it. I think because it did have that intensity, it was gripping and engaging and it kept me reading. Once I had started I really couldn't stop. Contemporaries are not usually pageturners for me and this one was.

Because of the intensity I would probably consider this book to be an "issue" kind of contemporary, and the issue that it addresses is rape and rape culture. It's kind of a dark and brutal look at a dark and brutal thing. If you have triggers for rape and sexual assault I would probably avoid this book because if I'm being honest, it "goes there" and it does it in a big way. It doesn't beat around the bush in it's depiction of rape and rape culture. It addresses some pretty intense issues in a way that gives it levity and makes you think and for that I respect it. I appreciate that it didn't shy away from some of the complexities and the cultural treatment but it was definitely hard to read at times. It's serious and intense.

However I think the heart of this book is in the relationships. It looks at a lot of different ways that people relate and interact with one another in both positive and negative ways. I really liked the way it handled familial relationships, romantic relationship, and friendships. They weren't always perfect but they felt real and raw. The love that they shared for one another was obvious and the way that particularly the romance and the friendship developed throughout the book was one of my favorite parts. The relationships really grounded the book and balanced the seriousness in a way that felt honest.

But perhaps I liked the relationships so much because I really liked the character. Mindy McGinnis does a great job here in developing complex and interesting characters who walk that fine line between good and evil. Alex being the prime example of that. When we first meet her, she's killing someone. You wouldn't think that would make for a likable character, nor the fact that she's disconnected and violent, and yet it does. We see inside her head and we see her at her best and her worst, and her terrible actions almost seem justified. I don't really know how but she's just so likable and because of that and by the end of the book I was really attached to Alex. But she's just the beginning. This book is full of people that I should hate but I don't. It switched perspectives between Alex, Jack, and Peekay which honestly makes for a well-rounded look at things and I really liked that.

On the whole, this is a really great book. I wasn't sure how I would feel about it but after some good review and recommendations from friends I gave it a try and I'm glad that I did. It's a serious, intense, and brutal book but it tactfully handles a serious issue in a compelling and complex way.

I give The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I'm a little late to this book, I know it came out a few months ago, but I'm glad I took the time to read. I'm not a huge fan of contemporaries and I don't usually like serious books but this one was fantastic. It was complex and compelling and I would definitely recommend it. If you are a fan of issue books check this one out. Or if you like Thrillers and want to read more contemporaries I would say you'll probably enjoy this one as well. I really did.

Have you read The Female of the Species? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

*** This is the third book in a series so if you have not read Soulless and Changeless proceed with caution. But seriously, read them because I am obsessed with this series and I'm only marathoning it now.***

Title: Blameless
Parasol Protectorate #2
Written by: Gail Carriger
Published: September 1, 2010 by Orbit
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season. 

 Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead. 

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto. 

BLAMELESS is the third book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Another fantastic book in the Paradol Protectorate series. I am absolutely spying through these book. They are so fun and the perfect combination of action, adventure, mystery, and silliness.

For one thing, I just adore these characters. I have become so attached to them in the last three books (7 books for some of you count the Finishing School series). First and foremost I love Alexia. She really is such a spitfire. She's sassy, intelligent, and resourceful. I love seeing her in action and she continues to make me smile. Lord Maccon too is fantastic despite the fact that he was very frustrating in this book. I still love him and love their relationship. I can't wait to see them develop, especially as parents.

I also really enjoy the secondary characters here. Some of my favorite from the Finishing School series are still favorites here like Madame LeFoux, who will always be Vieve to me. I feel like there is still more to learn about her and I like learning it. Same thing with Lord Akeldama who was only minimally involved but affected the book in a big way. In this book too we got a lot more of Professor Lyall which was really interesting as well.

But the characters are not the only interesting thing about this book. This is a book full of action and adventure. By now I should expect the hijinx and shenanigans that this series is capable of and yet it still manages to surprise me. This is a plot where you have to expect the unexpected. There was a lot of different perspective and storylines here but in the end they came together in a complex and interesting way that was full of thrilling moments that had me surprised and enthralled.

But I will say, this felt like a middle book. As far as the pacing of the larger story it did feel a little bit basic. There was a lot of attention spent on something that I'm sure will come into play later but it didn't feel like it was enough to fell a whole book. It felt a little bit like filler or the kind of book that serves as a bridge between books. These kind of books are needed for the series as a whole, but when you're reading them it can seem a little stunted. I'm ready to continue on with it though.

And I'm also ready to explore more of the world. I continue to be blown away by how well Gail Carriger is able to create a world and a setting that brilliantly combines elements of historical fiction, steampunk, and supernatural fantasy. It shouldn't all work together but it does. It works to make a fascinating backdrop for the story. There was a lot of focus on preternaturals here and this kind of scientific approach to them that the book has been touching on and was explored even further. I'm also so curious to learn more about what their child will be and what they will be capable of as they only are just starting to explore that and why the other supernatural set, particularly the vampires, are not happy about this. I know there is more to learn and I am really excited to learn it as the series develops.

I am really loved this book and I'm definitely enjoying this series. I'm so glad that I'm finally taking the time to read it and I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm so invested in these characters and it's a series that is full of action, humor, and mystery.

I give Blameless by Gail Carriger 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are following along with my marathoning of this series you will know that I am loving these books. If you are late to the party like me and you like steampunk or supernatural fantasies then get your hands on these books.

Have you read Blameless? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Wrap Up and December TBR

Read in November: Sci-Fi and Steampunk

Well this might be a new low for me. I did not have a very good reading month. Things just keep getting lower and lower. I was really busy and didn't have a lot of time to read and my FM transmitter in my car broke so I couldn't listen to my audiobook on the way to work. This is my busy time for work and honestly things will not be slowing down until the holidays. But I'm no longer concerned about. It is what it is. So this month I read 9 new books and no rereads which brings things to a total of 9 books for the month. But I did also read two comics so I guess that brings me 11 for the month

For challenges, I'm still doing okay thanks to some really good months early this year. I don't think I'm going to meet my reach goals for many of the individual challenges but I'm still doing okay. I have officially completed my Goodreads goal of reading 150 books this year, so YAY! I was hoping I could to do it without rereads but that would mean reading 18 books next and the way things are going, I doubt that will happen. Still, I met my goal! I exceeded it. I'm also on track of my secondary goal for the Debut Author Challenge of 30 debuts,  having read two this month which brings my total to 29. I just need one more in December. I'm also slowing down for the Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge. It was a slow month for that, having only read 1 books for that challenge. I don't think I can reach my goal of 50 for the year, I'm currently at 39 but we shall see. But I'm picking things up for the Rock My TBR Challenge. I read 3 book for that this month getting a total of 23 towards my goal of 25 for the year. I think I will actually be able to complete it. And finally, the Audiobook Challenge. I listened to 2 audiobooks this month, giving me a total of 38 for the year which is behind my goal of 50.

The Books
1.) Iron Cast by Destiny Soria Rating: 8.5 out of 10 [My Review]
2.) Heartless by Marissa Meyer Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
3.) Timekeeper by Tara Sim Rating: 8 out of 10 [My Review]
4.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid Rating: 10 out of 10 [My Review]
5.) Soulless by Gail Carriger Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
5.) Changeless by Gail Carriger Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
7.) A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray
 Rating: 8 out of 10 [My Review]
8.) Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnas
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
9.) Blameless by Gail Carriger Rating: 9 out of 10 [Review to Come]

Comics [Reviews to Come]:
10.) Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett
11.) Princeless by Jeremy Whitley

Other Posts

To Be Read in December: Contemporary

I was originally not going to have a theme for this month but then I looked at the books I had planned and realized there was kind of a theme to them so I'm going to go ahead and call it, this will be a contemporary month. Most of these, however, are books I planned to read or wanted to read earlier in the year but didn't get the chance.

Books for Review

Replica by Lauren Oliver - Add to Goodreads
I was originally going to read this last month and the month before when it came out but I didn't get to it. So let's see if I get to it this month. But honestly, I'm not super hopeful.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - Add to Goodreads
I was planning to read this last month but didn't. Because I didn't read much and also it wasn't steampunk. But it's contemporary so... this month!

The Blazing Star by Imani Josey - Add to Goodreads
I got a copy of this from Netgalley and I'm really excited to read it. It sounds really cool and I like the fact that it involves Ancient Egypt.

Spindle by E.K. JohnstonAdd to Goodreads
This is a spinoff of A Thousand Nights which I didn't love but I'm still really interested to read this retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - Add to Goodreads
I have been wanting to read this for awhile, ever since Michelle read and loved it. I think I might have time this month.

Metaltown by Kristen SimmonsAdd to Goodreads
I was saving this book to read during my steampunk month and I didn't end up reading it. I got caught up in reading the books in the Parasol Protectorate series and so I am hoping to read it this month.

New Releases

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerhill Add to Goodreads
This book sounds really interesting and I have definitely heard good things about it from people so I preordered the e-book and I can't wait to read it.

Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Claudia Gray - Add to Goodreads
I love this series and I cannot wait for the conclusion. If you read the rest of the books in this series you know why I am excited for that gamechanger ending.

The Reader by Traci Chee Add to Goodreads
I was considering reading this last month but I didn't get the chance.I'm hoping to get to it this month instead. I think it's a fantasy but it does have dystopian and sci-fi vibes.

Backlist Books

Heartless and Timeless by Gail Carriger - Add to Goodreads
I read the first three books in this series and loved them. I'm going to finish marathoning this series in December and I'm really excited. They are seriously so good. And then maybe Custard Protocol?

There you have it. All the books I hope to read in November. We'll see. As always, these are subject to change. I may read all of these or I may only read a few and then read a bunch of different one. But honestly I think this list I can stick to. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Audiobook Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnas

**** This is a sequel and therefore may contain spoilers. If you have not read You, proceed with caution. But seriously, read You. It's amazing. Here's my review.****

Title: Hidden Bodies
Series: You #2
Written by: Caroline Kepnas
Published: February 23, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
(Amazon / Goodreads)

SynopsisJoe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him. 

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

This book is seriously messed up. I'm totally reeling by the way it ended. It was so freaking crazy. I loved the first book in the series so I had to read the second one and find out what Was going to happen next. And I was not disappointed. Everything I liked about the first book made this book seriously entertaining.

For one this, this is such a fantastic thriller. The author did a great job pulling in moments and loose ends from the first book while still creating a completely new plot lines for this story. It felt like a continuation of the story and yet still completely unique. It's not really a book with a heavy mystery element which I usually prefer but it is a book full of twists and thrills. It had me guessing and on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. There were so many omens throughout the book that had me shocked in the best possible way. It just had me so surprised and when it was all said and done I was left practically speechless.  The plot development is seriously crazy.

But he craziest thing about this book is the characters, especially the main character of Joe. I mean if I didn't know it in the first book I definitely know now that Joe is an absolutely horrible human being. He is a selfish, egomaniacal psychopath who can justify even the most awful behaviors. Yet there is something so compelling about him. You secretly want him to get away with it all even though you know he should get punished. Kepnas does such a great job in making him strangely likable.

A lot of what makes Joe so likable I think is that every character here is super unlikable. He surrounds himself or is surrounded by equally awful people. Albeit none of them are serial killers, but still. They are awful, vapid, annoying, and self-centered. It oddly justifies some of Joe's baser actions because you can almost let him convince you of their terribleness because in the darkest let of your soul, you were kind of thinking it yourself.

That's what this book does, it appeals to the darkest part of your soul. Because seriously, this book is dark. It's brutal and vulgar and dark. I loved that about the first book and I loved the fact that this second one was just as dark. This is a book that is definitely firmly in the adult category. Not that teens or fans of YA read can't read but just be warned that it is on the mature side. It's full of sex and violence and terrible people doing terrible things but I kind of loved that. This series is not for the faint of heart but if you like those kind of books then totally read this one.

All in all I loved it. It's really amazing and I thought it was a fantastic sequel. I once again listened to the audiobook and it was great. No one does morally ambiguous characters like Santino Fontana. He truly embodies the charm of Joe while also capturing his terrible characteristics. He makes him a character that you love to hate.

I'm honestly not ready to see this series go. I don't think there are any plans for a third book but I would seriously love it if there was. There are definitely some possibilities of where this story can go but it ended in a very messed up and very satisfying way.

I give Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnas 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Definitely get a copy of this book. If you enjoyed the first book you have to get this one. It's just as messed up. And seriously if you like thrillers and books with terrible people doing terrible things you need to read this series. If you like audiobooks I recommend this one.

Have you read Hidden Bodies? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!