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#2020 reading challenge

15. The Farseekers (Obernewtyn Chronicles #2) by Isobelle Carmody

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The second book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles series, set three years after the events of the first. I’ve realised I’m super unclear on peoples ages in this series, like I keep forgetting that Elspeth was maybe mid-teens in the first book so she’s probably around 18 or something in this one and Rushton was only a mid-late teen in the first book too. I always imagined them older for some reason. If I have all that wrong please let me know, I didn’t see her exact age stated in the first book.

This was originally the currently reading post for this book and then suddenly I’d finished it and was half way through the next book lol.

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Fable by Adrienne Young. Rating: 4.25 Stars.

Read May 24th to May 25th.

Let’s get this part out of the way before I start raving about this book. I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review from Wednesday Books through NetGalley. This was the first time I’ve had a wish granted on NetGalley and I am so, so happy it was for this book.

“As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home Fable has ever known…But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him.”

I had such a good time reading this book. It’s fully of pirate-y adventure and treasure and the open sea. It felt like Young knew a lot about this world and time so the reader feels grounded in the story. Also, there’s this found family aspect that warms your heart like nothing else. It takes a while for it to happen so when it finally does it feels like it was earned. Young is a master in the art of crafting realistic and believable characters. Not to mention that you feel so attached to them so quickly. 

The only real downside for me was feeling like I could predict where a plot point or two was headed. I’m not a huge fan of predictability in stories so when that happened that did put me off a little. But I enjoyed reading this book so much between the setting, the characters, and the general pirate-iness of it all that I could overlook it.

This was such a fast read for me–75% in one sitting–and the plot really drives the story forward. I cannot believe I have to wait so long before the second book in the duology! This first book comes out on September 1st of this year.

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I actually finished reading The Young Elites a little over a week ago, but I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the finale. So, I waited a bit before I posted this because I want to say a lot, but didn’t really know where to start.

The Young Elites is about a group of teens who survived a blood fever that swept through the world and left them with super powers. The story is told from the POV of a girl named Adelina Amouteru who discovers she herself has the power of illusion after running away from her emotionally and physically abusive father. The trilogy follows Adelina as she grows into her powers and confidence, transforming from a neglected daughter into a fearsome conqueror, leaving chaos and panic in her wake.

Keep reading

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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. Rating: 3.0 Stars

Read from May 22nd to May 23rd.

I’m realizing that I need to finally admit that this author is just not for me. This is the third Ruth Ware book I’ve read since discovering her and I still didn’t enjoy the book too much despite being the highest rated one. I liked the first half of the book and then it all went downhill when she started using a plot device that I hate–the unreliable narrator. I should have seen it coming given that she’s used it in every book of hers I’ve read. It’s the one Mystery/Thriller trope I hate more than anything. This book not being for me should have been a no brainer.

I originally picked this one up because I’ve heard so many people say that this is their favorite Ruth Ware book. That and it was on Scribd. I wanted to like it so much. And originally I did enjoy it way more than any of her other books. I liked the setting and the weird vibe from all those in attendance of this weird bachelorette party. It just went off the rails for me as soon as the person who died showed up for the dying.

I wish that I liked more Mystery books and I wish that I liked Ruth Ware because her setting are fantastic. It’s just the other parts of her books that I can’t stand. I’m going to spend the next few weeks focusing on genres I really enjoy to get the taste of this one out of my mouth.

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The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh. Rating: 3.75 stars.

Read from May 19th to May 22nd.

I reread this vampire book in preparation for the second in the series coming out next month. I was surprised about the amount of stuff I only vaguely remembered. And there was a turn in the last chapter that I had forgotten completely. I can’t believe I forgot one of the most important aspects of this story. I’m so glad I reread it before jumping into The Damned. I still enjoyed how dark and unsettlingly this book is. I also picked up on a few things I missed the first time around.

I have a lot of the same complaints I had in my original review so if you want you can go check it out on GoodReads. I still have trouble with the fact that I can see a lot of The Originals/The Vampire Diaries in this book. But, again, that could just be me bringing baggage to the table and maybe Ahdieh has never seen the show. Things are different enough that it might not have come from there. It’s just a little annoying to see. I think this time around I was bothered less by the fact that nothing is really explicitly stated until pretty far into the book. Since it’s going to be at least a quartet, I don’t think it’s necessary to say it in the text right when the main character arrives in New Orleans. Plus you know it as a reader before you ever pick up the book so…

This time I enjoyed Odette much more than the first time around. I think it’s great to see someone like that in a historical setting in fiction. I wish we had more characters like that. I also like that there’s no girl hate in this book. I think the YA genre is moving away from it and I’m always glad to see it. I think Odette might actually be my favorite character now. *is shook* New Orleans in the late 19th century is such a setting. I can’t get over how much I love the setting and how dark and unsafe it feels. I think it makes for the perfect Fall read if you’re into seasonal reading. Or picking this up on a dark and stormy night would be perfect.

That cliffhanger though. Thank god the second book is almost here. Rereading this one made my anticipation so much worse. Give me The Damned!

IG: libertyreads789

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne, and Kate Meader. Rating: 2.5 Average Star Rating

Read from May 19th to May 20th.

Searching for You by Jennifer Probst–2 stars.
It’s a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase–1.5 stars.
Saving Grace by Kristen Proby–4 stars.
Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne–3 stars.
Rekindle the Flame by Kate Meader–2 stars.

I was in a really bad mood yesterday from being stuck in bed and isolated from my husband and the rest of this house (for going on three weeks now) so I decided to find a Christmas-y/romance short story collection to read on Scribd to try to lift my mood. I love Christmas, winter, Christmas-y romances so I thought this seemed perfect. I was expecting these stories to be more along the Hallmark lines of romance, but this drifted into rated R/rated X categories in quite a few places. I’m not big on those kinds of romance stories so all of these got pretty low ratings from me except for one. I think that almost solely came from location/setting.

Overall, they are cute romance stories that are quick and easy reads so something to fluff up your GoodReads challenge for sure. These just aren’t for me as a reader.

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. Rating: 3.0 Stars.

Read from May 16th to May 18th.

Join a handful of college friends as they take their yearly New Year’s vacation as friendships are tested in the harsh wilderness of Northern Scotland. An isolated murder mystery happening during a blizzard at New Year’s time. What isn’t there to love here? Well, for me, quite a bit.

My main problem with this story stems from the characters. At first, we have trouble differentiating between characters. Everyone seems too similar and no one has a distinctive voice even when they’re the narrator in their chapters. Then we struggle with them being so horrible. I don’t understand how these people are friends. I wouldn’t allow my friends to treat me this way. Then it just reads like a CW show where friends are all sleeping with each other or holding secrets over everyone’s heads. It’s a lot. Not to mention the side plot with the people who work at this estate. I get that it was included to add some confusion and raise some red flags but it was a little too much for me.

I think the only reason this book is rated this high for me is the combination of setting and a group of friends meeting back up for the first time in a while. I think if we had gotten more flashbacks from the good times in these friendships then I would have enjoyed the book more.

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I’ve been wanting to read this series for ages. The first book definitely did not disappoint. This book is about Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, the descendants of the infamous crime solving duo. The pair had never met until they wound up attending the same boarding school. When a student at the school is killed, Holmes and Watson become the prime suspects. They work together to clear their name and a not-so-unlikely friendship forms. But as it says on the cover, “you’ve never seen Watson and Holmes like this before.” As soon as I started reading this book I was hooked. A high-stakes murder mystery with the constant underlying possibility for romance? Count me in! Then you add to that the fact that it’s based around Sherlock Holmes characters. I could barely put it down. I would recommend this to anyone loves Sherlock and/or murder mysteries.

This fulfilled my goal of a book about a woman in STEM

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Sadie by Courtney Summers. Rating: 3.0 Stars.

Read from May 13th to May 14th.

“I wish his darkness lived outside of him, because you have to know it’s there to see it. Like all real monsters, he hides in plain sight.”

I hadn’t been planning to pick up Sadie this month (or possibly ever because this isn’t my normal genre), but when I saw it was on Scribd I felt compelled to read it. I have heard such amazing things about this book for a year and a half now and I finally had a chance to read it. While, I do agree that it’s a good book, I think the hype did a disservice for my reading experience.

There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this book. It’s relatable in a lot of ways because who doesn’t feel like they live in a town “that’s only good for leaving” and who doesn’t know someone who seems so perfect but really that charm is hiding a monster? I think that adding in a Podcast aspect to the story helps a lot in the telling because if the audience is only following Sadie’s linear timeline then there’s a lot for backstory we’re missing. So that was done really well. I would have loved to listen to those chapters in the audiobook, but I have so much trouble processing them that I think it would have taken away more than what I would have gained.

There are two things I had a problem with in the story that took a lot from it for me. They both happen at the end of the novel so spoiler warning here I guess. I found it completely out of character for Sadie to try to take that little girl away from the situation she was in. We spend so many pages seeing Sadie wanting to protect other people and I think even in a scrambled state of mind she would be so against that idea. She knows that the monster is in the house. She knows she’s there to slay him. So, why would she feel the need to take this kid away? I think this was a sloppily executed attempt by the author to get the little girl away from the scene so that whatever violence unfolds she’s protected from it. Also, I have trouble with how open ended it is. Not only because we don’t have a proper conclusion, but because we’ve been spending chapter after chapter switching back and forth between Podcast and Sadie’s perspective and yet we’re left hanging with no real reason. I think there could be a way to slip in Sadie’s perspective of what happens after she’s hit that doesn’t necessarily mean we know whether she lives or dies. And I think it would have given the reader a better payoff to see Sadie actually stab him.

Despite the rating, I actually had a fun time reading this one. It had a lot of beautiful moments and a lot of heartbreaking moments. I think the end just messed it up for me. I think if you like open ended books then you’re probably going to really enjoy this one.

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Of the Blood by Cameo Renae. Rating: 2.5 Stars.

Read on May 12.

First, I have to say thank you to NetGalley and Victory Editing for the eARC of this fun vampire book. I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. This foray into vampires and magic was an adventure the whole way through and comes out on May 15th.

I went into this novel only knowing the GoodReads pitch which left a LOT out. I think my two main issues with this story come down to 1) world building and 2) the book trying to be too many things at once. The world building in this story is almost nonexistent until you get to a plot point that needs it and then the reader gets to hear about it from a character. That’s frustrating as someone who reads a lot of SFF over the course of a year. I think there was a way to include lore, rumor, folktales…etc. in the story at the beginning to lay the foundation for the wilder things that happen later on. I also struggle with how many different things this story is trying to be in so few pages. I can tell that we’re setting up some alliances/friendships for the future when the main character is probably really going to need them. But I would have spaced it out a lot more–between a few books probably. Which is possible if you include that world building and lore in the earlier sections of the novel.

With characterization, there are a few character I really enjoyed and wish we could have gotten even more from. But I also struggle with understanding the purpose of having four male love interests in the first book in a series. It’s too much. I love Sebastian’s flirting, but I wish it was made clear to the reader very early on that he’s just joking and that it isn’t saved to the end of the novel. I think Trystan is a good character with potential for more. I like him as a love interest and I even kind of enjoy that we aren’t clear on his motivations. It leaves a lot to explore later on in the series.

Despite having trouble connecting to the characters, there is one scene about halfway through the novel where the angst is just pouring off the page. My angst loving heart about lost its damn mind. (Yeah, my heart has a mind of its own.) And as I absolutely gushed to a friend after I finished the chapter–it’s a good scene because there’s a solid reason for two character who want to be together being unable to. It’s reasonable that the thing that’s keeping them from being together is the thing that’s keeping them apart. I see in so much Young Adult or New Adult novels these miscommunications that keep the couple from being together and it drives me up a wall. But this one was done well and the author obviously spent a lot of time getting it just right so it would pull at your heartstrings. I also could not get over the first line of the novel which is a real hook to pull people in. That was a great line. I think if we had gotten a little more build up in the flashback then it would have even more of a payoff.

I think if you’re someone who enjoys magic, vampires, pirates, political intrigue, or those fun CW shows then there’s something in this story for you. It was a fun and easy read that always left me wondering what twist or turn we were going to stumble into next. I’m curious to see where the next book takes us.

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This book… oh my gosh. It is amazing. It’s a horror novel which is new for me, but I’m so glad I read it. I didn’t want to put it down. As a matter of fact, the only reason I didn’t read the whole book in one sitting is that I read at night and I don’t want nightmares. The book is about a girl and her sister who go to live with their aunt. This paradise slowly turned into a nightmare. The imagery was extremely vivid. The characters seemed very real, especially the main character. I was constantly wanting to read more. I wanted explanations. Overall, I think this was an amazing read.

This fulfilled my goal of a book that I picked because of the title.

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All Systems Red by Martha Wells. Rating: 4.25 Stars.

Read on May 10th.

I wasn’t planning on reading/finishing another book today, but my husband took a nap and this was just waiting for me on my Kindle. Suddenly, I was half way through and didn’t want to stop. I’ve been dying to read this novella since I first heard about this series last week. I don’t typically read Adult novels and Adult Sci-Fi even less, but I would kill for Murderbot.

I’ll keep this review on the shorter side since the novella’s pretty short to begin with. This was everything I enjoy in Sci-Fi and so binge-able. I wish I could binge read the rest of the series right now. I had to deduct from the star rating a little because it feels like the ending comes out of nowhere. I know this is a heavily plot focused novella, but I think how it suddenly ends takes away from the story that had been told so far.

It’s funny, cute, and quick so a perfect read for getting caught up on your GoodReads goal. OR it’s just a really well told Sci-Fi with a slice of Mystery and a could be evil bot who is hilarious and would rather watch his Serials instead.

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Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally. Rating: 2.5 Stars.

Read from May 9th to May 10th.

Meg and Kieran Ferris were ‘90s rock stars living the life they always dreamed of having. But that was 20 years, two kids, and a divorce ago. Now, no one will ever fully explain what happened: why the band broke up, why they divorced, what’s been keeping Kieran away. So, Phoebe takes an opportunity when visiting her Indie-Rocker sister in New York to get the answers she’s been searching for.

I had been hopeful when I picked this book out from Book of the Month, but it turns out that it’s like a lot of the books I picked up from them–unimpressive. The GoodReads synopsis makes it sound like there’s some big family secret that only the youngest daughter doesn’t know about, but in reality there’s nothing there to explain what happened. Her father said it best at the end of the novel when he said it was “a lot of little things.” And the thing that drove the father out of their lives was just the eldest daughter telling him to go away. That might spoil the novel for some people, but I would rather have known that beforehand than to read over 300 pages to get to a lot of nothing. The lyrical writing might have been a selling point for a lot of the readers giving this story higher ratings, but for me it fell flat everywhere except for when the main character was writing lyrics.

The only reason this book got above a 1 star rating from me was the setting and the ‘90s music references. If there had been any decent plot or characterization, then this would have been a much better book. But this being a love letter to New York and ‘90s music pushed me through the novel anyway. There’s also a pregnancy scare that is brought up and resolved in the same chapter so that didn’t make any real impact on the story. Nor did it seem to bring the sisters closer together at all.

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