Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Books for People Not a Fan of Horror

A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

Okay, so I love an atmospheric and spooky read but I am not a fan of horror. Every once in awhile I like being scared but like stereotypical stuff like ghosts, vampires, zombies, possessions, stuff like that is not my cup of tea. So if you are like me, here are ten(ish) books to read this Halloween season.

1.) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - My Review
Okay, had to start with the most obvious one. Yes, this book is about Dracula or well Vlad the Impaler but it is not your typical vampire story. It's more of a historical mystery travel epic kind of book so if you are into those kinds of books check this out.

2.) Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett - My Review
So the author describes this book as romantic horror and while it does have elements of both of those things, them working together make it feel totally different. Plus there is a good historical mystery element to which helps balance it out.

3.) Rebecca by Daphe du Maurier - My Review
So this is another one that could be categorized more as horror but to me it felt more like a Gothic mystery. But it definitely is spooky and has an atmospheric feel to it which is perfect for the Halloween season.

4.) The Diviners by Libba Bray - My Review
Like a lot of these books, this is a historical mystery with some atmospheric and spooky elements that makes it perfect for this time of year. And like a lot of the other books on this list, it is definitely spooky. It freaked me out in the best possible way.

5.) Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - My Review
And another historical mystery with supernatural elements. I think if you want to feel like you are reading a Halloween book that is not horror, a steampunk book with zombies is probably going to do the trick. Plus it's Susan Dennard and it's great.

6.) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalso - My Review
This would make such a perfect Halloween read. The author describes it as Victorian CSI so you know it's got good atmosphere, blood and gore, and a good mystery. Plus it's about a notorious serial killer. It's really brilliant and probably my favorite debut of this year.

7.) Jackaby by William Ritter - My Review
What's this nothing but a list of historical mysteries? Yeah, kind of. WHAT! Those are my favorite and they are totally perfect for Halloween. Anyway, this one is fun and hilarious but also involved supernatural creatures and a great mystery.

8.) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - My Review
Okay, finally one that is not historical. But it is a book about monsters, literal monsters, so you know it's the perfect book for the Halloween season. I mean it's such a fantastic dark fantasy with like a complex dystopian world. It's amazing.

9.) The Young Elites by Marie Lu - My Review
Speaking of dark fantasies. This one is the perfect atmospheric read for the Halloween season being that it is basically a villain origin story. But also I have been reading these books every October so it just feels like Halloween to me with them.

10.) Menagerie by Rachel Vincent - My Review
So I actually tried to read this one last fall and for some reason I couldn't get into it. But if I had listened to the audio then it may have been a different story. I mean this a book where mysthological creatures are imprisoned in a circus. And it's dark.

11.) The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma - My Review
So this one is hard to categorize. I mean it is a mystery and a thriller but it does also has some supernatural elements to it. But bottom line, it's a fantastic atmospheric read that will mess with your head and has a crazy ending.

12.) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater - My Review
Okay so maybe this surprises people that it's on the list but it involves clairvoyants and the search for dead kings so it works. Plus it's an atmospheric read that is perfect for the fall and as the series unfolds and you learn more it definitely feels more Halloween-esque.

There you have it, all the Halloween reads I would recommend to people who are not a fan of horror. Moral of the story, historical mysteries. What books would you recommend? What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, October 24, 2016

ARC Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Gemina
Series: Illuminae Files #2
Written by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: October 20, 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis:Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. 

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. 

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. 

 But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

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

This book was so good! So good! Illuminae was one of the most creative and compelling books I read last year and I couldn't wait for it's follow up. And seriously, Gemina was just as amazing. It's such a unique, interesting, and engrossing read with a fantastic Sci-Fi setting and great characters,

For one thing, the format of these books are so amazing. Gemina is once again told in an epistolary format with hacked documents, IMs, diary entries, pictures, etc. That was one of my favorite things about Illuminae and it once again made for an amazing book here. It makes for such an interesting reading experience, too. I absolutely love this format and for a story like Gemina and the Illuminae files it works so well. It's a very complex book with a lot of moving parts and different things happening and this way you get the whole feel and understand it all better.

But I didn't just read this book. I also listened to the audio. You want a holistic and immersive way to experience this book, listen to the audio while flipping through the book. The audio is seriously brilliant. It has a full cast, sound effects, and two of my all-time favorite narrators. It was amazing and added so much feel and flavor to this already unique book.

But the plot of this book is just as unique and interesting. There is seriously so much to the plot of this book, it's intense. Every time I thought things couldn't possible get more complicated, they got more complicated. There are so many amazing science fiction elements all working together here and they all come together in a totally gripping ending that had me on the edge of my seat, surprised, confused, and totally really. It was amazing. I'm such a plot driven reader and this one was absolutely fantastic from the plot side of things.

The characters too were fantastic. There are a lot of characters and they were all great. The epistolary format means that we get in the head of each of them and see the book from the perspective. It really helps with characterization and makes for a well-rounded book. I really liked both of the main characters of Hanna and Nik. They both very easily could have been cliches, her a kickass female protagonist and him a bad boy with a heart of gold, and neither of them were. They were complex and easy to root for. Plus their banter was top notch.

There were also all kinds of fantastic secondary characters. My personal favorite was Nik's cousin Ella who was hilarious and an amazing hacker. I loved her sass so much. I also really liked Hanna's boyfriend Jax who was narrated by Steve West and was surprisingly complex. And if you are wondering if the characters from Illuminae make a cameo, they do. But all the characters here were amazing and interesting, even the villains.

On the whole, Gemina is as fantastic as I was hoping it would be. It's a unique and interesting book in every way, from the format, to the plot, to the world, to the characters. I really loved the way that this series is developing and I cannot wait to see how it all ends. It's going to be fantastic, I can already tell.

I give Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Without a doubt you need to buy this book. If you loved Illuminae you will not be disappointed by Gemina. Whether you are a fan of hard SciFi or are just looking for a different kind of read with an interesting format I would definitely recommend this book. And if you are an audiobook fan, seriously listen while you flip through the pages. It sounds weird and clunky but trust me it's the best way to experience this book.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Written by: Erin Morgenstern
Published: September 13, 2011 by Doubleday (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

I am kind of nervous about writing this review. I know so many people who just love this book so much. And I get, I totally do, it was really good. But I think that the hype monster may have gotten the best of me here. Because while it was a good read, it didn't blow me away like I was expecting.

One thing I did love about this book was the plot. I did not expect to say that a few days ago though. But this is a book that is very intricately plotted. There are a lot of moving parts here and multiple storylines that felt independent and connected at the same time. It's not until very late into the book that all the cards fall into place that you see exactly where things are going and how it is all connecting. And honestly, I liked that. When it finally got to the real meat of the story I was totally hooked and needed to know what was going to happen. It really built to a thrilling and engaging ending that definitely had a few surprises in store. In the end, I did like the way it all unfolded.

But that being said, the pacing here was really slow here. Because there is a lot going on with the plot it was sometimes confusing and jarring to go back and forth between perspectives. I think that format slowed the pacing down for me. I would have to reconnect with a storyline and sometimes I wasn't able to. On top of that the nature of the plot development meant that it also took it's sweet time getting to the good stuff. There were periods where I was so confused as to where it was going that I spaced out a little bit and lost focus on the book. And that's never a good thing. In the end it did always pull me back but along the way it was a slow and sometimes bumpy ride.

I think what really drew me in to the book every time was the world. Oh wow, the world of this book is so fascinating and magical. For one thing you have the circus. The circus is explained in lush and beautiful detail. You can perfectly imagine the tents, the illusions, and the characters interacting with it all. But the circus was only the beginning. The magic then takes over and brings things to the next level. It's a low fantasy kind of magic with never specified rules but it was used in such a fantastic way that It somehow worked. It was kind of felt unexplainable in a way that almost grounded it in reality. I really enjoyed the world and it's what kept me reading here (well that and a desire to find out how it was all connected).

The characters too were interesting but I think that was one of the aspects of the story that I didn't love. Because there was a lot going on with the plot, there was also a lot of characters and perspectives too. It was sometimes hard to keep the characters straight and who knew and interacted with who. This was a case where I think there were too many cooks in the kitchen for me. I liked some storylines more than others and therefore I liked some characters more than others. And when we got perspectives from characters I wasn't as interested in I found myself wanting to go back to the ones that I did enjoy. In the end the characters were all likable and engaging I just think a more narrowed focus would have added a bit of mystery and helped me connect a little more.

But on the whole, this was a really great read. I ended up listening to the audiobook which is narrated by Jim Dale and he did a fantastic job. He perfectly captured the atmosphere of the book and the setting and the magic really came alive with his narration. I've listened to him narrate the Harry Potter books and he has a great way with this low fantasy. Although I do think sometimes his characters sound very similar making it hard to keep them straight, which may have affected my thoughts on the characters.

The Night Circus is a great atmospheric fantasy with a fascinating world and an intricately plotted story. I had really high expectations which may have been to my detriment but I did enjoy it.

I give The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If like me you have heard really amazing things about this book and have still yet to read it, it is worth the time. I did enjoy it despite some hiccups. Plus it is the perfect atmospheric fall read if you are looking for something that has some mystery and magic but don't got for horror or supernatural. check out this fantasy.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Wayfarer
Series: Passenger #2
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published: January 3, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis: All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

Why I'm Waiting 

I'm a big fan of Alex's books. The Darkest Minds is one of my favorite YA dystopias and I loved Passenger. It was one of my most anticipated books of 2016 and I read it as it came out and really liked it. It was a bit slow, yes, but when it did pick it up wow, it was really good. So obviously I can't wait to find out what happens next.

But in particular, I can't wait to find out what happens next because of the way Passenger ended. I did not think I was that emotionally attached to this book and these characters until that ending hit and then I was reeling. I am anxiously awaiting finding out what happens to these characters and how they "make things right."

But I am also really excited to see where this book takes us. It's one of those time travel books, I think, that pays close attention to the historical elements of the story. I'm excited to see what new locations and time periods that it takes us too. And if the artwork for the Wayfarer pre-order deal is any indication, it's going to be cool.

I of course have a copy of this book preordered. I'm really excited to read it after the holidays, hunkering down and getting back to normal. Normal being not leaving my house and just reading.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesdays: Bookish Characters I Want to Name My Next Cat After

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Many of you probably know that I already have a cat named after a bookish character. My cat is named Eponine after the character in Les Miserables. I named her that because she is a street cat who never got much love before and is a little needy because of that. But also I love the musical and found myself singing On My Own and A Little Fall of Rain to her. You know, as one does. But there are so man other bookish names for a cat. Here are some that I have considered.

1.) Sansa Stark 
from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
I am obsessed with Sansa, the Queen in the North, and have been since I read book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire. I would love to get a ginger cat and name it Sansa. Then people would be all "why's you name your cat Sansa, she sucks" and I could tell them why they are wrong.

2.) Vin 
from the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Not only is Vin one of my all-time favorite characters but she is also a really amazing and kickass character who tends to do cat-like things like jumping around the city, attacking people, and wielding swords three times her weight. What? Cats don't do that? Huh.

3.) Abraxos 
from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
I just adore the wyvern of Manon Blackbeak. I mean that would be a great cat name too (shout out to Becca for naming her dog Manon) but I think it would be so perfect to name your cat after a wyvern who likes smelling flowers and killing equally.

4.) Adelina Amouteru 
from The Young Elites series by Marie Lu
I just finished The Midnight Star and *weeps for days* now I absolutely want to name a cat after Adelina. Not only do I adore her as a character but that would be the perfect name for a white cat what with Adelina's white hair.

5.) Beth March
from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I mean Little Women is one of my all-time favorote books and I love Beth so much. She's so sweet and kind and gone before her time and *bursts into tears just thinking about it.* I feel like I should honor Beth's memory by naming my cat after her. She did love kittens afterall.

6.) Auri 
from the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Seriously, Auri is one of the most interesting and intriguing characters I have ever read about. And like a lot of the characters on this list she tends to be hidden in the shadows. Plus Auri has the cat-like behavior of hiding from people she doesn't know or like

7.) Inej Ghafa
from The Dregs series by Leigh Bardugo
Inej is the "Spider" of this gang and can frequently be found skulking in the shadows and climbing high things that she should not be able to climb. If that doesn't scream the perfect name for a cat I don't know what does. Plus I freaking love her.

8.) Luna Lovegood 
from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I mean I can think of a ton of Harry Potter characters that I would want to name an animal after. Many of them have names that end in Weasley (or just Weasley) but I think my first choice would probably be Luna. She is not only one of my favorite characters in the series but feels deserving of a cat named after her.

9.) Iko 
from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
So basically I want to name many of my cats after my favorite sidekicks and Iko definitely tops that list. She is fun and up for adventure as well as fiercely loyal to Cinder. Plus she's just a great character and I'd name a cat after her.

10.) Kamala 
from The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Naming your cat after a man-eating demon horse is a pretty amazing choice. Also added bonus, a cat named this could also be named after Kamala Khan who is totally kickass as the current Ms. Marvel so doubly amazing.

11.) Pantalaimon 
from the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Okay so the most obvious reason for naming a cat after Lyra's daemon is that I could pretend I have a daemon, which obviously I want. But it's also a really fantastic name. Although I think naming a cat after Iorek Byrnison would be just as amazing.

12.) Verity 
from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Okay so this is not a real name but a call  sign for one of the main characters in this book. But I love this book so much and the character and then I could say things like "kiss me Hardy" and "fly the plane Maddie" to this cat and then weep.

There you have it. The twelve bookish characters I would name my next after. What characters would you name your pet after? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

*** This is the third book in a trilogy. If you have not read The Young Elites and The Rose Society proceed with caution during this review for read of spoilers. Also... READ THEM! They're amazing.***

Title: The Midnight Star
Series: The Young Elites #3
Written by: Marie Lu
Published: October 11, 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu. 

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen. 

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved. 

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger. 

 Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina's story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

I knew going into this book that it was going to be fantastic and would wreck me, which is exactly what it did. I loved the first two books in the series, they have been among my favorites of the year so I was nervously anticipated the ending of the series. And it did not disappoint, The Midnight Star was just as amazing and dark and emotional.

My favorite thing about this series and one of the major reasons this book was so good and emotional is the characters. In the course of three books I have become insanely attached to all these characters. For one thing, I love how dark and complex they are. This book has multiple perspectives and it gives a much more well-rounded look at them, which I like. And multiple perspectives is key because every single character in this series is dark, damaged, and devious. They do terrible things but at the same time they are sympathetic. You are able to get inside their head and understand their motivation, however flawed it may be. Because of that you root for them, you want them to succeed, and that's what makes this book so good.

But the main character here and the most symapthetic dark character of all is of course Adelina. I love her SO MUCH. Throughout this series we have seen her at her best and we have seen her at he worst. Here she is absolutely at her best. I went into this book thinking that this was going to be a villain origin story and in some aspects, it is. But what makes this book so good is that it goes deeper than that. And in The Midnight Star we are taken deeper still. I don't want to give too much away but there is such great development here with Adelina. I'm not entirely sure that I would call this a villain origin story anymore but I've always felt like Adelina was more of a hero, albeit an antihero, than anything else. She's so likable despite the fact that she does terrible things. And in the end I was so glad that I was rooting for her all along.

But things here are not easy for Adelina, her allies, and her adversaries. Many of the most emotional moments when in this book came from the fact that the characters go through such hardship. The fact that this is the last book in a trilogy it should come as no surprise that the plot is full of thrills and surprises. There is a lot of action and adventure here. I wasn't really expecting an end of the world epic fantasy vibe but there were elements of that. There were also fantastic elements of a Hero's Journey. The two really combined to create a plot that really built to a thrilling conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat and in tears. Not freak you out or anything but I haven't cried this much at the ending of a book in a very long time. But I was openly sobbing here because it was so emotional and so perfect. But that was this book on the whole, emotional and perfect. I absolutely loved it.

I also really love the world of this series. In particular, I find the magical system so fantastic and it was great seeing it at play here. The Elite powers are so interesting and they were very much tied to the plot of the book. In The Midnight Star we got to learn more about the larger reason behind the powers, why they have them, and how they are wielded. We also get to see a lot more about the consequences of the power. It's one of my favorite things when the magic of a series doesn't solve problems, but creates them and that was the case here. The powers and the plot were also really connected with the history and religion of the world which added another interesting later to the world and the story. I loved being in the world so much that I'm not ready to let it go.

The Midnight Star was a great ending to an amazing series. This is without a doubt one of my new favorite YA fantasy series. It complex characters that you will become attached to, thrilling action and a plot full of emotional turmoil, and a fantastic world full of magic.

I give The Midnight Star by Marie Lu 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you liked the first two books in this series do not hesitate, get this one and read it. (Be prepared for feels). And if you have not yet read this series and like dark YA fantasies or villain stories, or books about sympathetic antiheroes, just read this series. It is amazing and this book was the perfecting ending for it.

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

ARC Review: Last Seen Leaving by Kaleb Roehrig

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Written by: Kaleb Roehrig

Published: October 4, 2016 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own? 

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something. 

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

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

I went into this book expecting a twisty and interesting mystery full of complex characters and surprises. And yes, it had some of that but it didn't totally blow me away though it was a good read.

I think the hardest thing for me to categorize about this book was the mystery. I love a good mystery. I like when they mess with my head and take me through all kinds of twists and turns. And while this book did manage to surprise me more than once, on the whole I wasn't super impressed with the mystery. They over-arching mystery felt in some respects basic, and in other respects too complex. It wasn't the kind of mystery where clues unfold throughout the narrative leaving you knowing in the end whodunnit, which is what I prefer. No this was one of those mysteries where you are left obtuse until the reveal and those just never resonate with me.

But much of the reveals of this book didn't have anything to do with the crime aspect. Because, Last Seen Leaving is more of a coming of age story than anything else. The real heart if this book is the story of not pretending to be someone that you are not. There are more than a few secrets in this plot point and these were the ones that interested me more. To me the best and most interesting thing about this book is that it is about a teen boy figuring out who he is and who he wants to be. It is about someone coming to terms with who he is, accepting himself, and sharing that true self with the world even if it's not what they expect of him. And that part of the narrative was fantastic. It wasn't what I was expecting but that made it all the more enjoyable.

And maybe I enjoyed the character-driven moments because I did really like the main character Flynn. Despite some frustrating moments of me thinking "what teenage boy talks like that," I enjoyed Flynn's voice. I enjoyed his dry humor and irreverence as much as I enjoyed his more vulnerable moments. And boy does he have some vulnerable moments. He felt real and complex in the way he was finding his way in the world. I think a lot of people can empathize with him in that way.

But Flynn wasn't the only complex character here. This book was as much about January and learning who she was. Throughout the book you see flashbacks to her and see her at her best and her worst. January is not a super likable character but I appreciated that. She was this presence that you felt throughout the book and the author did a good job of making you want to learn more about her and her motivations. There were a host of other complex and unlikable characters, like January's parents and students at the school that I kind of wanted to learn more about. The characterization here was pretty good, I just kind of wanted more when it came to the secondary characters.

On the whole, Last Seen Leaving was a good and enjoyable read. It isn't the kind of mystery that I usually love but it more than made up for it with the coming of age story that I could get behind. It had complex characterizations and an interesting plot full of secrets and surprises that I enjoyed reading.

I give Last Seen Leaving by Kaleb Roehrig 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I think that I would maybe recommend this more to fans of contemporaries more than to fans of mysteries. The mystery was not my favorite part and if you are looking something super twisty I would try something else. But if you are a contemporary fan and want to try more mysteries than I would definitely recommend this one.

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