Monday, November 30, 2015

On Rereads: Science Fiction Series Ending in November and December

On Rereads is a monthly feature on My Thoughts Lit where I talk about the books I reread during the month. It's an opportunity to share some new thoughts on a book I read before and usually to prepare for a new release. For the foreseeable future I plan to do one reread a month so I want to share my thoughts on these books the second time around.

I wanted to reread six books in October which was a little optimistic although I did reread five in November! What! I mean I didn't read as many new books but that's cool. I got to reread The Lunar Chronicles and the Starbound Trilogy by the end of the month. The fact that I had a drive to Upstate to New York to see my family for Thanksgiving definitely helped with that. I could have squeezed in a book I hadn't read but I didn't want to and these next two months that's what I want to do. But here is my thoughts on the audiobooks for....

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder -  (Amazon / Goodreads / AudibleMy Review)
Scarlet   (Amazon / Goodreads / Audible / My Review)
Cress  (Amazon / Goodreads / Audible / My Review)

I was both excited and nervous for the final book in this series, Winter, to come out. I'm such a fan of this series. It is one of my all-time favorite retellings, not to mention an all-around science fiction series with amazing characters and a thrilling plot. So with the final book coming out I had to marathon the whole series to refresh my memory and also experience it all together.

Once again, I really felt like this is a series that gets better and better as it goes on. Rereading it you can see how good Marissa Meyer's plotting is. Things mentioned in the first book come back in a big way in the third and final book. I was so glad I reread it too because I forgot so many details, especially in Scarlet. Plus I got to once again fall in love with these characters and swoon at the romantic moment.

But what I really liked about this reread was the audio. Rebecca Soler, the narrator does an absolutely brilliant job bringing these characters to life. She got Cinder's snark down perfectly, plus Thorne's charm, Scarlet's toughness and French accent, and Cress' awkwardness. Plus her Iko was just so spot on. I loved it so much that when I was reading Winter, I missed the audio and downloaded it so that I could listen to it too. Her Winter (the character) narration? Brilliant!

The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Amazon / Goodreads / AudibleMy Review)
This Shattered World (Amazon / Goodreads / Audible / My Review)

This series, ugh, you guys. I'm so obsessed. It might be my all-time favorite YA Science Fiction novel. It's so freaking amazing. These Broken Stars was one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I was a little nervous about rereading because what I loved so much about it was the mystery and the crazy plot twist but it was just as brilliant and emotional the second time around. That is the mark of a great read if you ask me. Then with This Shattered World, I wasn't totally blown away the first time I loved it. Honestly, the second time it was even better. Reading them back to back I was able to understand more and see more connections which made it so fantastic.

I also really loved these audiobooks. I like they have different narrators for the different perspectives and I think they captured the mystery and adventure with this series. I particularly enjoyed Jonathan McClain who narrated for Tarver, who I think captured his humor and fun personality, as well as Donnabella Mortel who narrated for Lee Chase in This Shattered World because she captured her toughness and vulnerability.

Now I am ready for Their Fractured Light, the last book in the series. I'm as usual excited and nervous about how it all end but I totally trust Aime and Meg to bring the feels and the mindblowing twists. Marissa Meyers totally did in Winter. These are both great Science Fiction series. I would definitely recommend them if you haven't read them yet.

Have you read the The Lunar Chronicles or the Starbound trilogy? Did you reread in preparation for their series conclussions? Have you done any rereads lately? What books? Do you like doing rereads or not? Tell me why.  Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: November 2015

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Last month I decided to do a Stacking the Shelves at the end of the month just sort of like a monthly book haul and I liked it so much I decided to do it again. I am still on a book buying ban but I did buy a few books this month and got some really great review books that I'm excited about. So here are the books.


1.) Winter by Marissa Meye - (Add to Goodreads / My Review)
2.) Steelheart (signed!) by Brandon Sanderson - (Add to Goodreads / My Review)
3.) The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin - (Add to Goodreads)

For Review

4.) Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman - (Add to Goodreads)
Pirates! Historical Fiction! Dubious main characters! Pirates! I'm so excited to read this debut in February. Thanks Simon and Schuster!

5.) The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May - (Add to Goodreads)
I absolutely loved The Falconer and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. Especially considering that cliffhanger. Thanks Chronicle!

6.) A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry - (Add to Goodreads)
Another debut I am really excited about. This sounds like a really interesting magical realism story and I love that it's about a dark legend in the Caribbean. Thanks Algonquin!

7.) Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange - (Add to Goodreads)
I'm such a sucker for Breakfast Club type stories. I love books about unlikely allies and people from different walks of life coming together. Thanks Bloomsbury!

8.) Gena/Finn by Kat Helgeson and Hannah Moskowitz - (Add to Goodreads)
I'm so pumped for this f/f story about two nerdy characters. It sounds so different and fantastic. Thanks Chronicle!

9.) Charmed by Jen Calonita - (Add to Goodreads)
I read the first book in this series last year and I really liked it. It was a quick and fun middle grade fairy tale retelling. I'm excited to see where it goes next. Thanks Sourcebooks!

10.) The Haters by Jesse Andrews - (Add to Goodreads)
I haven't read Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl yet but I've heard such good things. SO when I saw this on Netgalley I thought I would give it a try. Thanks Abrams Kids!

11.) The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters (Add to Goodreads)
Cat WInters has been on my list for awhile. So when I saw a modern gender-bent Hamlet on Netgalley that she wrote. I snagged it. I'm so excited. Thanks Abrams Kids!

So those are all the books I got this month. Way more than I normally get. Thank you so much to the amazing publishers who approved my request on Netgalley and Edelweiss. What books did you get this month? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Title: Red Rising
Series: Red Rising #1
Author: Pierce Brown
Published: January 24, 2014 by Del Rey (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The Earth is dying. 

Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope. 

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. 

hat Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. 

But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda. 

Break the chains. Live for more.

Red Rising is a book that has been on my TBR for awhile now. I learned about it last year when it first came put and heard good things but never got a chance to read it. Then I was gifted a copy by my previous secret sister (thanks Elizabeth) and grabbed the audiobook for a great deal on an audible sale. So I figured with the final book in the series coming out in a few months I would give it a try and see if I liked it, and I did. It's a brutal and action-packed science fantasy with complex characters and an interesting world.
The first thing I noticed about Red Rising is the world building. Pierce Brown was able to create a subtle and interesting world that constantly had me wanting more. Like most new series, the first section was all exposition and creation of the world. With Red Rising it was the show style of world building so I was constantly curious to find out more about what was happening. It drew me into the story and kept me engaged despite the fact that I was often confused. Then as the book unfolded and we learned more details about the world I was absolutely hooked. What I especially liked about it was the foundation in Roman culture. Everything at the Institute had references to ancient heroes and leaders, not to mention battle tactics and fights that would make even the best Gladiators stand and take notice. And because the book took place on Mars, that seemed to perfectly fit. It's such a genius idea because the planets already are named after Roman gods. The world was definitely one of the most interesting things about the book.

But so much of the world building and plot development also dealt with political intrigue which I always. This is one of those books that walks the line between science fiction and dystopia. Much of the book is based on the idea of a revolutionary who is trying to overthrow a corrupt society from within. You have this specific caste structures and those at the top oppressing those at the bottom so there were a lot of those underlying themes of society and control. But first the MC must attend a brutal training academy where the struggle for power had real consequences. The stuff at the Institute in particular was complex and brutal. It felt like real warfare, like an actual battle between houses fighting for control. I often forgot that it was a school and not the actual society. It was fantastic and action-packed and had me cringing from time to time because of the brutality. If you wanted to call this book Hunger Games in space that would be a really good explanation.

The plot wasn't the only brutal and complex thing about this book, the characters too had so much going on. Within this world you had to be a little bit odious to survive. So many of the characters here did morally circumspect things the question is were they for the greater good. With the main character of Darrow you always felt he had society and the people's best interest at heart but he often had to make tough decisions. He was a really great leader for that reason and it was nice to see him develop within that role throughout the book. That's one of the reasons that made his such a great revolutionary and the kind of main character I enjoy. I liked seeing his development throughout the book and seeing where he goes in future books. But so many of the other characters were just as dubious. It was hard to decide who was an antagonist and who wasn't. I really liked a few secondary characters especially Mustang and Sevro. The characters here were so complex and another thing about the book that I really enjoyed.

One thing I will say is that I didn't particularly like the audiobook. I switched between the physical book and audio and I definitely preferred the book. The action fit perfectly with the book but I didn't love the narrator. He had a really strong accent which isn't immediately a turnoff for me but so many of the characters just sounded the same and it was hard to follow who was speaking throughout most of the book. I would recommend that if you are going to read this one maybe read it instead of listening to the audio or if you do want to listen then try a sample first.

On the whole I did really enjoy Red Rising. It was an action-packed read with lots of political intrigue and mystery, an interesting world that had me curious and questioning, and complex characters that walked the line between good and evil.

I give Red Rising by Pierce Brown 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of science fiction or epic fantasies, especially if you after looking for something that is more brutal and with characters that are on the darker side of the spectrum. I'm excited to see where this series goes.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

ARC Review: The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

Title: The Bronte Plot
Author: Katherine Reay
Published: November 3, 2015 by Thomas Nelson
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy's secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change. 

In a sudden turn of events, James's wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy's predicament better than anyone else. 

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen's wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters' beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change. 

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that's been waiting for her all along.

**** 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. ****

For me, the Bronte sisters are hot or miss. I love Emily, Wuthering Heights is one of my al-time favorites, but couldn't stand Jane Eyre at all. But I was excited to give this book a try and learn more about the authors and fall for a modern character at the same time. Unfortunately for me this fell a little bit more to the miss side of the equation.
One thing I did like is that this was a book for bookish people. You know the type, the main character loves books as much as you do and maybe they work in a bookstore. But one thing is for sure, they're you and you're them. That was the case with Lucy. Not only is she a huge fan of reading, especially Gothic literature, but she's a book collector too. She works for a designer and art dealer as the person responsible for buying and selling books. Throughout the book we learn how deeply her connection with books is. I could totally relate to Lucy in that aspect too and it endeared her to me as a character.

The other thing I liked about Lucy is that she wasn't perfect. She makes mistakes, big ones, and throughout the book she has to live with the consequences of those actions. Those consequences are actually huge ones too. She burns bridges and ruins relationships because of morally corrupt decisions. It was a bit like Wuthering Heights in that way which I enjoyed. Plus it was kind of nice to see a book where that happens. It also led to some really interesting development with her character throughout the book. It had a lot of coming-of-age kind of undertones.

Unfortunately however most of the plot didn't quite work for me. A lot of it was tied with the bookish storyline, which you would think I would enjoy however it ended up just reading like a how to guide in literary tourism. You may know how I feel about travel monologues, unfavorably, so for most of the book I found myself not all that entertained. But I think this aspect of the book could have worked if there was a build more explanation or expansion of the world building. I just felt like the characters were going to each place for a day or two and not seeing much of anything. Even when they did go to important places like the Bronte home, we didn't even get to see much of. If you're going to provide us with a travel story then I at least want more exploring.

But I think what really held me back from enjoying this book was the pacing and prose. It felt protracted. Moving from place to place, moment to moment, without much exposition or explanation. There was no real flow to it. The moments of plot development were then punctuated and advanced with dialogue that felt forced and unnatural. And because of that it took me awhile to get into the book and the writing. I feel like I spend practically all month reading this book and sadly it felt like a bit of a slog. In the end I did like the way it concluded but it was hard to get to that point.

I give The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay 7 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. I think if you are a fan of the author or you are looking for a bookish book than maybe check this one out. It's a decent character driven story about a woman who makes bad decisions and loves books.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Harry Potter Spells Tag

Thank you Tracy from Cornerfolds for tagging me. I love doing tags and of course Harry Potter is an all-time favorite so of course I am excited to do this one. Plus it's the perfect post for today because I'm travelling for the holiday. Okay, here are my answers.

1.) Accio 
An upcoming release you wish you could get your hands on right away

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - My Review
A Darker Shade of Magic was my favorite book of 2015. It was absolutely brilliant. The world, the characters, the plot... everything. The sequel comes out in a few months but I would like nothing more than to have a copy now.

2.) Alohomora
A favorite series starter

Divergent by Veronica Roth - My Review and The Maze Runner by James Dashner - My Review
So there are so many books on this list that could have been the answer to this question, any one that is a first book consider it an answer. But I'm picking these two because they were my favorites in the series and that never happens to me. I usually don't love first books.

3.) Cheering Charm
A book that gave you warm fuzzies

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - My Review
It was embarrassing how giddy this book made me. It was just so freaking adorable and fluffy. I shipped the ship so hard and I loved that it had a message and didn't go overboard with that message. It definitely gave me the warm fuzzies.

4.) Aguamenti
A book that made you ugly cry

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - My Review
These book will never not make me cry. Even though I am well aware that the sad things are coming I am still sobbing as if I had no idea. I cry at least twice during each book and I cry during the movies every time too. I still haven't seen Mockingjay Part 2, I'm not emotionally prepared.

5.) Expecto Patronum
A bookish hero or heroine you want around to protect you in real life.

Celaena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
Who doesn't want a badass female assassin as their patronus. If you don't then honestly I don't think we can be friends. What I love about Celaena too, and the real reason I picked her, is that she has this great sense of justice. She's not just a mindless killing machine.

6.) Lumos
A book you intentionally spoiled for yourself

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
People got early copies for this book and I saw a minor spoiler for this on twitter accidentally. I had a crazy theory about something related to said spoiler and then when I was about half way in I started to doubt my theory and I was freaking out so I read ahead. I regret nothing.

7.) Imperio
A book you wish you could make everyone read because you love it so much

Bitter Green by Kate Forsyth
I just love this book so much and not as many people have read it as I want. It is just so good you guys. It's not for the faint of heart and it's definitely an adult read but it's so good and a brilliant retelling with so many great plot points and surprises.

8.) Engorgio
A book series you wish never ended

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
You can never have too much Harry Potter, amiright? With a lot of books I just want the author to give it up but I want all the Harry Potter I can. Prequel? Sequel? Both. All. I just want more.

9.) Wingardium Leviosa
A book with an uplifting message

Dumplin by Julie Murphy
I love the body positivity in this book. But I also really like that it's not always easy. I think no matter what size you are, there are moments of doubt and this book plays on that. But really it's a story about friendship, family, and finding yourself.

10.) Obliviate
A book you wish you could forget you ever read

A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I'm sorry friends. You probably know that I hate this book. I wish I could wipe my memory for it so that I didn't feel such rage when I think about it. Like I just want to see people talk about it or see copies and not feel such hatred!

11.) Anapneo
An author whose books can always get you out of a slump

Louisa May Alcott
I don't often get book hangovers and I hate admitting when I do but when I do I like to read an old favorite. Rereads are great for restoring my love of reading. Little Women is one of my all-time faves and a book I can just fly through and get all the feels.

12.) Jelly Legs Jinx
A swoonworthy hero or heroine

All the characters in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, especially Thorne
I'm not really one for swooning but there is just something about the male characters in The Lunar Chronicles that I just love. My personal favorite is probably Thorne because a fantastic lovable rogue and I enjoy the cocky humor but he's also super adorable in Cress and awkward in Winter.

13.) Aresto Momentum
A book that caused you to stop doing all other things until you finished it

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I don't want to repeat answers but I have to say Deathly Hallows for this one. When this book came out I actually took the day off of work so I could spend the next 36 hours reading because I knew people were going to spoil it for me. I also was read it during a friend's going away party.

14.) Crucio
A book that was painful to read (for whatever reason) or broke you

The Young Elites and frankly The Rose Society by Marie Lu
I mean don't get me wrong, I love this book and this series but wow is it brutal and hard to read. The characters are some of the most brutal and crazy I have ever seen. Not to mention that this is basically a villain origin story but said villain is so sympathetic that you actually want them to be bad

15.) Rictumsempra
A book that had you laughing out loud

Steelheart and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
The reason I'm saying Steelheart for this one is that despite it being an amazing story about superheroes with some crazy plot twists, it's also so hilarious. I really can't help but laugh out loud at David and his terrible puns. It's such a fun series.

16.) Expelliarmus
A book that made you want to send it (or your ereader) fying

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
This is the first book I read which I would describe as giving me "Shaken Book Syndrome." It was amazing and so many crazy plot twists were happening but because of that I wanted to shake the book, throw it out the window, and/or rip it in half. The cliffhangers man, the cliffhangers!

17.) Portus
Bookish world you wish to visit

Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for Young Women of Quality in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger
I just finished this series and I have to say that I just absolutely love the world. Not only is it a fun Victorian steampunk world but it's also a really cool boarding school for female spies. Steampunk boarding school where you learn about espionage on a giant dirigible. Sign me up!

18.) Stupefy
A book with a shocking twist or ending

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I just reread this one and it didn't blow my mind any less the second time around. Plus it didn't punch me in the feels any less than the first time around. The twist in this book is just so shocking it will never not be crazy in my mind.

19.) Avada Kedavra
A character death that destroyed you

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
CANNOT EXPLAIN OR I WILL BURST INTO TEARS. *bursts into tears anyway*

20.) Finite Incantatem
Best series conclusion

The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
No necessarily my most favorite series ender but in the interest of not repeating (all the series enders I have listed are fantastic) but I did feel like this was just the perfect ending for this series. It ended things in a great way and kept to the spirit of the first few books.


Okay, so I'm not going to really tag anyone. I never know who has done tags or who likes tag posts. I will instead tag anyone who is a member of my house, Ravencalw. So if you're a Ravenclaw then consider yourself tagged. And if you want to do this tag, you should totally do it. It's really fun and the questions are kind of difficult.

That's all I got for today. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!