Thursday, October 11, 2018

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver-- She's Baaaaack!!!!

Broken Things

Summer was killed 5 years ago.  Everyone thinks her 2 best friends did it.  The shocker?  The girls were only 13 during the time of the crime.

Their obsession with a little-known fantasy book called The Way Into Lovelorn, made the media think the murder was some sort of fan-fiction fantasy gone-wrong.

Brynn and Mia have lived under suspicion for the past 5 years.  5 years of not knowing who did it, but knowing that they didn't.  They've been pulled apart-- Mia being slowly suffocated by her hoarder mother, and Brynn pretending to be an addict so she can live at rehab-- but now they may be ready to come together and prove they aren't the "Monsters of Brickhouse Lane".

Lauren Oliver is BACK!!!  I know most people fell in love with her for The Delirium series-- but I'm a Before I Fall girl & I've been WAITING for some kind of Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller from her for a long, long time.  It's finally here!!!  And it's SO GOOD!!

I didn't realize this book was full-on based on true-life events, but shortly after starting it, I realized this story is very similar to the case where those girls were obsessed with Slenderman and stabbed their friend over it.  It doesn't follow it exactly or anything, it just starts with a similar beginning.  I'm a big true-crime fan, always watching the ID channel and I used to read tons of true-crime books, so of course I'm drawn to books that get inspiration from them.

Brynn and Mia were really interesting characters.  I rooted for their friendship the whole time.  I could tell they cared about each other even though they THOUGHT their only real connection was through Summer.  Summer may not have been in this book in the present, but I loved how well we got to know her through flashbacks and the people they talked to.  She's the type of complicated girl that I love to read about-- she's that alluring/dangerous girl that people can't resist, but probably should.  I'm a total sucker for girls like Summer in books.

Mia was the one that really pulled at my heart because of the heartbreak she went through with Owen, a guy she grew up being best friends/hopelessly in love with.  Owen had made Mia FEEL like they were going to be together, but then Summer stole him from her right before her death.  Owen was originally arrested for the murder and he's also had to live under suspicion all this time.  He was adorable and I loved him and I feel like Lauren Oliver writes perfect book boys just for me... okay, maybe for you too??

The side characters could've been done a little better.  Mia has a new friend, Abby, that started out with so much potential-- but somewhere along the way, her development was dropped.  I thought she deserved more attention.  The other character was Brynn's cousin Wade.  He was a "fan" of the case and came along to help them solve it-- but he was just sort of a weirdo that was THERE.  I wanted him to mean something more.

The ending was good, if not a little meh.  I don't really "get" why the person who did it, DID it.  It seemed like it was meant to be surprising, but I felt like it was just confusing and didn't make much sense.  I wanted this book to do something twisty in the end, and this really wasn't that book.

PS-- Is it weird that I thought that the cover was jellyfish instead of hair??

OVERALL: SO ADDICTIVE.  If you love Lauren Oliver, you'll love this.  I could get used to her writing Mystery/Thrillers & I hope they are all like this-- except maybe a TAD more twisty??  Broken Things is loosely based on the Slenderman Stabbing crime and I would rec it to all my true-crime & mystery lovers.

Quote: "And in that moment I wonder if Lovelorn wasn't so special after all.  Maybe everyone has a make-believe place.  Make-believe worlds where they play make-believe people."

Date Published: 10/2/2018
How I got this book: Thanks to HarperTeen and ALA for providing me an advanced copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: HarperCollins

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Character: Mia Ferguson
Book: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  • I think Mia needs a non-fantasy, "friends to lovers", cute romance book.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- Author Bucket List

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (October 2nd) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Authors That I Really Want To Meet

  • I've been lucky enough to meet some of my all-time favorite authors-- Maggie Stiefvater, Jandy Nelson, Sara Shepard, Marissa Meyer, Sarah Dessen, Lauren Oliver, Jenny Han, A.S. King, Gayle Forman, Adele Griffin, E. Lockhart, Sarah Mylnowski, Megan McCafferty, Rainbow Rowell, Libba Bray, Katie McGarry, Stacey Kade, Nova Ren Suma, Ann M. Martin,  R.L. Stine, Andrew Smith, Louise O'Neill, Nina LaCour, Jesse Andrews, -- and the BEST ONE OF ALL: Courtney Summers!

  • But I'm definitely not satisfied!!  These are the ones that are still on my SOMEDAY LIST:

  • 1.  Jennifer Brown

    • Author of: The Hate List, Bitter End, Thousand Words, Torn Away
    • I even like this author's Middle Grade books.  My son and I read them alllllll.

    2.  Laurie Halse Anderson

    • Author of: Speak, Wintergirls, Twisted, Catalyst
    • She's the OG of YA and I need to meet her.

    3.  Stephanie Perkins

    • Author of: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Lola and the Boy Next Door, There's Someone Inside Your House
    • This author seems so nice.  I've really liked all of her books and I hope I get to meet her someday soon!

    4.  Sarah Ockler

    • Author of: Bittersweet, Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, The Book of Broken Hearts, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
    • Can we make this happen ASAP???  I lovvvvvve this author and I think she's jumped to my number one MUST MEET author on my list.

    5.  Huntley Fitzpatrick

    • Author of: My Life Next Door, The Boy Most Likely To, What I Thought Was True
    • I also want to make this happen ASAP.  And can she pleaseeeeee write a new book??  Pretty, pretty please??

    6.  Alexandra Sirowy

    • Author of: The Creeping, The Telling
    • I completely love this author's books.  That is all.

    7.  Lauren Strasnick

    • Author of: 16 Ways to Break a Heart, Nothing Like You, And Then You Were Gone
    • I would put her up near the tippy top of my list because I connect with this author's books like few I've come across.

    8.  Mindy McGinnis

    • Author of: The Female of the Species, Not a Drop to Drink, This Darkness Mine, A Madness So Discreet
    • This author sort of scares me because she comes up with some messed up stuff-- but still, I need to meet the genius behind some of that messed up stuff.

    9.  Stephanie Kuehn

    • Author of: Charm & Strange, Complicit, Delicate Monsters, When I Am Through With You
    • Another author that scares me a little, but I still really really want to meet.

    10.  Megan Miranda

    • Author of: Hysteria, All the Missing Girls, Fragments of the Lost, The Perfect Stranger
    • YES!!!!  I decided I'm obsessed with this author last fall-- and now I will read everything everything she writes.

    Honorable Mentions: Kim Savage, Emma Chastain, Tara Altebrando, Jessica Brody, Jo Knowles, Kat Spears, Annabel Pitcher, and people I'll probably never get to meet-- JK Rowling, John Green, & Gillian Flynn

    What authors are on your MUST MEET lists??  Or what authors are you so excited that you met?

    Friday, September 21, 2018

    The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond by Max Brallier-- Listicle

    Today, I am so excited to be apart of THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE COSMIC BEYOND Blog Tour!!

    Note: I was provided with a copy of The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond by Penguin Young Readers to read and spotlight this book.  It didn't affect my opinion in any way.

    Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

    If you're not familiar with this series, I reviewed the previous 3 books HERE.  It's a series about 4 friends that are dealing with a monster apocalypse in the coolest ways ever.

    The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond

    (Book 4)

    Release Date: September 19, 2018

    It's the first winter after the Monster Apocalypse. For Jack and his buddies, that means sled catapults, epic snowball battles, and one monstrous Christmas celebration. But their winter wonderland turns dark when a villainess begins hunting them. And this villainess is different--she's a human. 

    When the villainess steals Jack's prized monster-slaying tool, the Louisville Slicer, he vows to get it back. But it won't be easy. Jack and his friends soon discover that the Louisville Slicer is the key to a dark plan that threatens the entire world--and beyond . . .

    This book continued on with the more serious feel that the last book left off with.  I 100% thought this 4th book would have the kids traveling to New York since they found the radio signal telling them that people were congregating at the Statue of Liberty.  Their plans to do that were halted by the arrival of a winter like they've never known.  It's a blizzard wonderland.  The monsters (the friendly ones) are freaked out by the snow, June is missing family more than ever, and they've finally found another person!!!  Too bad this person is worse than the monsters.  As if the scary creatures weren't enough, now they have to deal with a human villain who is determined to bring a Cosmic Terror into their dimension.

    Guide to monsters in Jack's post apocalyptic world:

    • Blarg- a 40 foot tall beast with tentacles and armored skin
    • Winged Wretch- mutated pterodactyls. There is also a King Wretch with swirly eyeballs and the ability to enter minds
    • Rover- not really a monster, more like a dog/companion and a transportation option
    • Wormungulous- giant worm monster
    • Thrull- fake good monster who turns into a tree beast
    • Bardle- good monster who guides the kids
    • Zombies- as if giant, scary monsters weren't bad enough
    • Hairy Eyeball Monster- eyeball covered in spiny quills. It attacks by throwing those quills like spears
    • The Scrapken- a one-eyed, octopus-like monster that lives in the scrap yard
    • Meathook- a one-armed beast controlled by Evie, the villainess
    • Biggun- friendly giant monster who doesn't know his size
    • Abominable Snow Monster- sort of self-explanatory, has a giant mouth
    • Warg- loner monster who isn't good or bad.  He does however have 999 eyeballs that detach and roll around
    • Ghazt- controls the zombies
    • Evie- not technically a monster, but just as bad

    Max Brallier ( is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books and games, including the previous books in The Last Kids on Earth series. He is the creator and writer of Galactic Hot Dogs, an ongoing middle-grade web serial and book series with Aladdin. He writes for licensed properties including Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Uncle Grandpa. Under the pen name Jack Chabert, he is the creator and author of the Eerie Elementary series for Scholastic Books. In the olden days, he worked in the marketing department at St. Martin's Press. Max lives just outside of New York City with his wife and daughter.

    Douglas Holgate has been a freelance comic book artist and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia, for more than ten years. He's illustrated books for publishers including HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, and comics for Image, Dynamite, Abrams, and Penguin Random House.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Top Ten Tuesday-- Fall 2018 TBR

    Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (September 18th) I'm one of them :)

    Today's Topic

    Top Ten Books on my Fall 2018 TBR

    • Fall reading is looking really good!!  There are so many cool sounding books coming out & I can't wait to dive in.

    1.  Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand- This book is definitely out of my comfort zone, but it has elements of things I love to read about-- like missing girls and monsters that may or may not exist.

    2.  The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston- I am SO excited for this book!!!

    3.  The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig by Don Zolidis- This book is set in the 90's & features a dysfunctional relationship AND is supposed to be funny!!

    4.  Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer- Who doesn't want to read something gory around the Halloween season?

    5.  Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith- This sounds SO weird, but it's Andrew Smith and I need weird in my life.

    6.  The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody- Jessica Brody is queen.

    7.  Watch You Burn by Amanda Searcy- We worked with this author while touring her first book, and she is super nice.  But also, I like to read about pyros.

    8.  The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke- I never read Fantasy or books with wolves on the covers-- so I'm scared, but also kind of excited??

    9.  Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes- I love this cover + YA Mysteries are my jam.

    10.  Broken Things by Lauren Oliver- This is kind of a cheat because I'm reading it now-- but guys!!! It's SO GOOD!!!!

    What books are on your Fall TBR?

    Monday, September 17, 2018

    The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein-- A Quick, Creepy, Friendshippy Read

    The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

    Elizabeth was taken in as a child by the Frankenstein family to be a companion to their troubled son Victor.  She knows she has to do everything she can to make herself indispensable or risk being sent back to abuse and neglect.

    When Victor leaves for school in Ingolstadt, she fears that her place in the household is threatened.  She's willing to do whatever it takes to make sure her future is secure, so she sets off to bring Victor back and be the person that he wants her to be.

    I wasn't sure what to expect with this book-- would it be a legit retelling??  Would it be something loosely inspired by Frankenstein?  What it ended up being was a very close retelling with a few twists, which I really really enjoyed.

    I read the original Frankenstein for a class in college and while I don't think it is NEEDED to enjoy this book, I think it helps.  This book goes along with the original pretty closely, it just tells the story from a different perspective, so knowing the original story made the twists that much more shocking and effective.  I don't think it's a bad idea to at least Google a plot outline of the original book to get a feel for what story this one is following.

    Elizabeth travels with her friend (and the Frankenstein's governess), Justine, to Ingolstadt to find Victor and figure out why he's been out of touch with her.  She knows that her place in the Frankenstein household is to be Victor's companion and with him gone, she feels that place is threatened.  She's not sure how long it will be before his father deems her presence unneeded.  When she gets there, she realizes that Victor left unchecked is not a good thing.  She thinks she needs to save him from himself and bring him home where she can stabilize him-- she doesn't realize that things have gone too far for that.

    I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and her dilemma of trying to be someone that she's really not in order to secure her future.  What I loved most about her was her ability to use what she has to get what she wants.  She was cunning, manipulative, and tenacious.  It was interesting to see her wrestle with being a woman in the 1700's and figuring out how to use that to her advantage.  It was also sad to see some of how women were treated back then and the fact that she was led to this really dark place because she was a woman and didn't have options beyond finding a husband.

    Beyond Elizabeth, the characters in this book were really well developed.  Justine was my favorite and a bright point in this book.  I also loved Henry and Mary-- they added to the theme of friendship that ran throughout this book.  Especially because of the short length of this novel, I wasn't expecting to get to know these people so well, but I was pleasantly surprised by how attached I got to them.

    I liked that this wasn't a romance-- I don't even know if Elizabeth is capable of those feelings.  I loved the darkness and the way this book SPIRALED about 3/4ths of the way into it.  I love when a book gets thrown on it's head and becomes something different than you thought.  In a retelling, that is especially cool.

    OVERALL: Such a quick read!  I loved that this wasn't just "inspired by", this was a true retelling from the POV of Elizabeth, Victor's future wife.  I thought the writing created the perfect atmosphere of creepy and compelling.  The only drawback I had was that it felt very short.

    Date Published: 9/25/2018
    How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Random House and ALA for providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review
    Publisher: Delacorte Press

    Add it to your To-Read List!!

    My Rating: 4/5

    Character: Elizabeth Lavenza
    Book: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    • If Elizabeth was allowed to follow her own dreams, I think she would've been an awesome student of the Earth Sciences.  I'm recommending this book to her because the m/c in it has a love for education and nature.