Heartless

HeartlessTitle: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: November 8, 2016
Pages: 453
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
1 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


I read the synopsis for Heartless and decided it was a must read for me. Alice retellings tend to be really whimsical and there is something about it that just resonates with me. I also tend to be fascinated with villains, so a story about how the Queen of Hearts got so cold? I’m in!

However, my favorite thing about Heartless ended up being the synopsis. I just didn’t like it! The characters were pretty good, but my biggest issue is that it was boring. I could care less about most of the story. No suspense, not a great plot, and nothing revolutionary.

I kept waiting for that moment when all of the boring stuff is worth it, but it never came. As much as I wanted to love this one, it just wasn’t for me.

Cinder

CinderTitle: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 395
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


I put this off for so long! Cyborgs just don’t sound appealing to me, and as much as I love Cinderella, I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. My desire to read it was at 0. But with so many people telling me that I had to read it and that I would adore it, I caved! End result? I really enjoyed this one.

Since I’m really not into cyborgs and science fiction isn’t my top genre – what made me like this so much? Was it the Cinderella parallels? Nope. They were fine, but not amazing. Heart-stopping romance? Nope – again, fine but not amazing. Shocking ending? Nope, saw it coming.

I think it was the writing and the suspense. There was something about it that just kept me turning pages and I was very eager to see what would happen next. I can already tell that I’m going to like the inter-woven fairy tales. And the concept is one that should provide plenty of drama, action, and thrills throughout the series (I’d say more, but we’d be approaching spoiler territory).

I’m really happy I gave this one a shot and can’t wait to read the other books!

Gemina

GeminaTitle: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date: October 18, 2016
Pages: 659
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

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.


Gemina was great! While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Illuminae, it was a very strong sequel. We’re introduced to a new cast of characters (notably Hanna and Nik) and at first it’s not clear how the story relates to Illuminae. Once we get into the action though, the connection is obvious.

My favorite part of Gemina is the suspense and the overarching storyline. I literally freak out reading these books! I’m on the edge of my seat, frantically turning pages and trying to devour every word. It’s great! On top of that, the writing is really awesome. It feels like I’m reading a movie. The personalities jump off the page and the scenes are so detailed, it’s like you’re watching them.

As soon as I closed the book, I wanted more. I can’t wait to see where the story wraps up and I’m seriously hoping this gets optioned as a movie. Have you started this series yet?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildTitle: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter #8
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Date: July 31, 2016
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


This is crazy to me! I have been blogging for quite a few years and this is my first ever Harry Potter review. Now since this is a script, it is very, very different from the first 7 books. I still absolutely loved it, but if you go into it expecting it to be the same you’ll be disappointed.

The story follows Albus, Harry’s youngest son, during his first few years at Hogwarts. We see Harry struggling as a father to connect with a son who is pretty different from him. I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but I will say that it was pretty exciting!

My absolute favorite part, however, was seeing Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny as well as their children. It was such a treat to see Harry & co. all grown up, but still acting in more or less the same ways as they did as children. They are all much more mature, but their personalities hold steady. Similarly, you can see so much of Hermione in her daughter and that was really delightful as well.

While Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is very different from the rest of the series, it is still a great read. I think you’ll appreciate this one a lot more if you’re a fan of the series and are looking forward to spending more time with your favorite characters.

How to Game the Walk of Shame

How to Game the Walk of ShameTitle: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


How to Game the Walk of Shame is my kind of book. I adore the fake-dating trope. There is something about it, that just tends to work for me. I think it allows the characters to fall for each other slowly, and it creates a lot of adorably awkward moments.

Many of the elements of this story have been done before, but it just worked for me. I loved Taylor and Evan and the differences in their personalities. If it wasn’t for their little mix up, they wouldn’t even be friends. But it’s those same differences that make them work. Taylor needs to learn to chill out and enjoy life, while Evan desperately needs direction and some one to push him to do his best.

How to Game the Walk of Shame is not original in concept, but I still freaking adored it. It’s the kind of contemporary that pulls you in and just won’t let you go until you read the last page. If you’re looking for a romantic story you can fly through, How to Game the Walk of Shame is for you!

The Head of Medusa

The Head of MedusaTitle: The Head of Medusa
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: Elementals #3
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Date: June 29th 2016
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The epic story of witches, gods, and monsters that USA Today called a "must read" continues in the third book of the Elementals series!

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake -- the fire Elemental -- is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him -- the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.


The Head of Medusa was as exciting as I was expecting it to be! Michelle knows how to write books that just keep you turning pages. The chapters are short and always end on a cliff hanger. Similar to the prior novels, I’m really curious to see where this is going to happen next!

One thing that surprised me with the Head of Medusa is that the story takes a darker turn than the previous novels – I wasn’t expecting that. I suppose things got pretty dark in book 2, but I wasn’t invested in the particular characters that were affected, so it didn’t seem like too big of a deal to me. Book 3 is a different story!

There are a lot of parallels to Rick Riordan’s series, which may bother some people. If you loved Rick Riordan’s work  and are looking for a similar story, I think you’ll love this!

Dream On

Dream OnTitle: Dream On
Author: Kerstin Gier
Series: Silver #2
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Date: May 3, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Things seem to be going well for Liv Silver: she’s adjusting to her new home in London; she has a burgeoning romance with Henry Harper, one of the cutest boys in school; and the girl who’s been turning her dreams into nightmares, Anabel, is now locked up. But serenity doesn’t last for long.

It seems that Liv’s troubles are far from over—in fact, suddenly they’re piling up. School gossip blogger Secrecy knows all of Liv’s most intimate secrets, Henry might be hiding something from her, and at night Liv senses a dark presence following her through the corridors of the dream world. Does someone have a score to settle with Liv?


Dream On is even stronger than Dream a Little Dream,. Now that the initial world building is out of the way, we’re able to get a little deeper into the crazy dream world that Gier has created — and it’s awesome. With the way book 1 ended, you might assume that the creepiness is over and I am happy to say that is not the case at all. If possible, Dream On is even more creepy.

Dreams can be very happy and whimsical, but they can also be terrifying. As someone who is prone to nightmares, I enjoyed seeing the darker side of dreams — although, Dream On got much, much darker than my dreams. The elements I loved in Dream a Little Dream are still present (mystery, romance, awesome characters), but what’s really sucking me into the story is the exploration of the dream world.

While it was wonderful getting a more in depth look at the whole shared dreaming thing, I know we’ve just started to scratch the surface. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything wraps up in the final book and seeing what fun secrets are in store for us!

With Malice

With MaliceTitle: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 316
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.


I really enjoyed With Malice. Our main character, Jill, wakes up to find she’s been in a horrific accident and can’t remember several months of her life. The big question here is “was it really an accident?”

Since Jill has no memories related to accident, she can’t really say and the reader gets to decipher various news stories, police reports, and flashes of Jill’s own memories to try to put together the pieces. It was exciting! For most of the book, I was pretty torn on whether or not it was an accident or intentional. From the information we’re given, it could have gone either way. Unraveling the puzzle pieces definitely kept my attention on the book and me want to keep turning the pages.

I definitely want to pick up other books by Eileen Cook in the future! I just enjoyed this one so much and it was like a breath of fresh air since I read it after finishing a book I wasn’t crazy about. If you’re into thrillers and mysteries, I highly recommend giving With Malice a shot.

Dream A Little Dream

Dream A Little DreamTitle: Dream a Little Dream
Author: Kerstin Gier, Anthea Bell
Series: Silver #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Date: April 14, 2015
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv's dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she's in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They're classmates from her new school in London, the school where she's starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what's really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn't possibly know--unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute....


Dream a Little Dream manages to be both whimsical and creepy — which I loved! This story just has a little bit of everything in it: romance, mystery, some magic, and of course drama. You can definitely see a Gossip Girl inspiration here, but it’s worked into the plot very nicely.

This is the second series I’ve read by Kerstin Gier, so I feel like I can officially say I’m a fan. I love the pacing and the writing style, and she continues to write really strong characters into the story. There are some that are really unlikable and some that you’d likely be friends with —I love that part of the book!

My favorite part, though, is definitely the crazy dream world Gier has created. It’s vivid, yet mysterious. There is just so much we don’t know about it yet and I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more! If you’re into fantasy, this is a great book to check out.

Queen of Shadows

Queen of ShadowsTitle: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 648
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


I put Queen of Shadows off for awhile for two reasons: it’s huge and I thought it would start off slow. The books in this series just keep getting bigger and bigger, which means the pacing is likely to slow down. Heir of Fire, for example, was an enjoyable read, but it took me awhile to really get into the story. I was SO happy to discover that wasn’t the case with Queen of Shadows.

Queen of Shadows is ginormous, but we’re sucked into a fast moving story from the very first page. And it didn’t really slow down at any point. It was just f-ing amazing! Now if you’re reading this review, I’m assuming you’ve read the prior novels in the series – so you already know the characters are awesome and the world-builing and writing kick ass. None of that has changed.

What has changed is the story. It just continues to evolve and move in directions we couldn’t have seen coming from the first novel. Hell, there are plenty of twists I didn’t even see coming after finishing Heir of Fire. Sarah J. Maas just continues to surprise me and I LOVE that. As someone who reads a lot, surprises are hard to come by and I definitely cherish them. Finding a series that is really able to keep me on my toes is refreshing.

Needless to say, I am eagerly anticipating Empire of Storms and I just can’t wait to find out what happens next for Celaena & crew.