Monday, October 15, 2018

Book review -- Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss

Book Summary
Every twenty- or thirty-something woman knows these books. The pink covers, the flimsy paper, the zillion volumes in the series that kept you reading for your entire adolescence. Spurred by the commercial success of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club, these were not the serious-issue YA novels of the 1970s, nor were they the blockbuster books of the Harry Potter and Twilight ilk. They were cheap, short, and utterly beloved.

PAPERBACK CRUSH dives in deep to this golden age with affection, history, and a little bit of snark. Readers will discover (and fondly remember) girl-centric series on everything from correspondence (Pen Pals and Dear Diary) to sports (The Pink Parrots, Cheerleaders, and The Gymnasts) to a newspaper at an all-girls Orthodox Jewish middle school (The B.Y. Times) to a literal teen angel (Teen Angels: Heaven Can Wait, where an enterprising guardian angel named Cisco has to earn her wings “by helping the world’s sexist rock star.”) Some were blatant ripoffs of the successful series (looking at you, Sleepover Friends and The Girls of Canby Hall), some were sick-lit tearjerkers à la Love Story (Abby, My Love) and some were just plain perplexing (Uncle Vampire??) But all of them represent that time gone by of girl-power and endless sessions of sustained silent reading.

In six hilarious chapters (Friendship, Love, School, Family, Jobs, Terror, and Tragedy), Bustle Features Editor Gabrielle Moss takes the reader on a nostalgic tour of teen book covers of yore, digging deep into the history of the genre as well as the stories behind the best-known series.

Flo's Review
This book was just completely fun. I knew from the second that I read about it that I would adore it -- and I did. Reading this was basically a trip back into my childhood, and I enjoyed every second of the journey. I got to see familiar and expected old friends like Sweet Valley High (and Twins...and University) and the Babysitters Club. But I also got to see familiar titles that I'd forgotten about until I saw them in this volume and remembered reading and loving them. For example: Pen Pals. I was all over that series. And the book Megan the Klutz? Had it. And remember The Fabulous Five? See, I bet you didn't until you just now read my last sentence! That's what this book was like for me.

The author kept reiterating the same point though: these books weren't diverse, these books weren't diverse, oh-- and guess what? These books weren't diverse! Yes, we know. I feel like she could have just mentioned that in the introduction and that would have been enough, instead of mentioning this observation, like, every single chapter. 

Hubby mentioned that boy books weren't really covered in this one, and I think it would be interesting to see that perspective in another volume. Because, honestly? I bet I would have read a lot of those, too. 

Overall, Paperback Crush brought me lots of smiles and nostalgia for a time where I loving reading and devouring basically anything I could get my hands on. Wait. That's pretty much now, too. But, oh what a fun blast to the past this was!

Thank you to Quirk Books for providing me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

Jacque's Review:

This is a book that I picked up at a book convention several years ago.  I was actually pretty excited because I had heard great things about it, so I'm not quite sure why it took me so long to read it.  It probably has something to do with the 400+ books that are constantly on my TBR list.  Deciding what to read next is always a challenge.

Pushing the Limits is told from both Echo and Noah's points of view.  Echo was involved in a traumatic event involving her bipolar mother, but she doesn't remember what happened.  The only evidence she has are the scars on her arms and the constant nightmares that have been plaguing her ever since.  Noah is equally as troubled.  His parents were killed in a house fire and he has bounced around the foster care system.  His younger brothers are living with another family and he wants nothing more than to be involved in their daily lives. 

Noah was once a star basketball player with excellent grades who was on track for a college scholarship.  Since the fire, he hasn't had the resources or the motivation to continue...until the new guidance counselor convinces him that improving his grades and getting into college may be his only shot at eventually being able to take care of his brothers the way he wants to.  The same guidance counselor is working with Echo to help her remember her past and hopefully get her past the nightmares.  Echo needs money, so the counselor suggests she tutor Noah, which is how the two of them connect.  

While they may appear to be complete opposites based upon their social circles, they actually had far more in common than you could imagine.  Their study sessions quickly turn into plotting sessions to get information about their cases from the counselor and their relationship slowly begins to develop.

This was a highly engaging story with great characters that you couldn't help but root for.  They have already lost so much in their young lives that you want them to finally come out on top.  They hit a few rough patches along the way, but I really enjoyed the story and how it ended.  I know Katie has several additional books in this series, so I sincerely hope we will get a glimpse into their future post graduation.  I know they aren't the main characters in the additional books, but a cameo would certainly be nice.  If you have read any of the companion novels...please leave a comment to let me know if I can expect to see Echo and Noah again :)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Audiobook review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Book Summary
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Flo's Review
I cannot wait for this on Netflix! It is going to translate so well to film. I look forward too seeing Willowdean's house with the broken front door, all the people in their Harpy's uniforms, and the insanity of everything around the pageant. 

Dumplin' was one of those books that was a cute and fun read, but also brought deep issues to the forefront in a relatable way. Willowdean is such a great character. Her thought spirals are so real and honest. There's kick-ass in there, but there's also doubt and vulnerability. There's toughness, but also fragility. This reads to me like the thesis statement of the book and is spelled out pretty well toward the end when Willowdean thinks:

Sometimes figuring out who you are means understanding that we are a mosaic of experiences. I'm Dumplin'. And Will and Willowdean. I'm fat. I'm happy. I'm insecure. I'm bold. 

Amanda, Hannah, and Millie were all fantastic secondary characters and I loved watching the friendship build among them. The narrator was also 100% on point. I flew through this audiobook in no time and am looking forward to continuing the journey in Puddin'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Audiobook review: The Golden Tower by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I heart this series so much! And, yes, I am missing the third book. I need to fix that...
Book Summary 
The final, thrilling installment in this extraordinary series from bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

A generation ago, powerful mage Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn't succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt.

Facing up to what he is, Callum has battled chaos and evil across four years of magical training at the Magisterium, eventually defeating the armies of chaos in an epic battle.

It came at a cost.

Now, triumphant and heartbroken, Callum Hunt has just about had enough, and is ready to complete his training. But the evil Callum faced has not given up just yet...

Flo's Review
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series! It's been 5 books of fun. I feel proud of how the characters have grown, almost as if they are my little brothers and sisters. The Golden Tower found a creative and effective way to both solve a seemingly unsolvable problem and also give the reader all the remaining background information on the events that led up to this series. It was kind of a lot -- there was what seemed like a pretty big reveal in there, but basically nothing came of it. Also, what was the point of including Gwenda? I feel like her only purpose was to -- ahh never mind, I won't say it (minor spoiler), but it's not a big or necessary plot point in the story. Jasper however -- Jasper FTW! I love that crazy little boy. 

I found myself getting teary eyed as I listened to the closing scene of the book, which was 100% perfect...
and true to Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. That's all I can say about that.

The Magisterium series is such an overlooked gem in middle grade literature. You don't hear much about it, but I simply adore it. I love how it purposely is kind of like Harry Potter, but then is totally not. I love how all the book endings are true to Black and Clare (read: cliffhangers of the "OMG!" variety). I loved this trio of main characters, and some of the supporting ones as well. And when I reached the end of The Golden Tower, I felt the happy combination of satisfied with the ending, curious about what may come, and sad to say goodbye.

Read our reviews of the Magisterium series:

The Iron Trial:

The Copper Gauntlet:

The Bronze Key:

The Silver Mask:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

TITLE: A Blade So Black
AUTHOR: L.L. McKinney
PUBLISH DATE:  September 25th 2018
PUBLISHER: Imprint (Macmillan)
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


Click on the "Read More" arrow for an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with author L.L. Kinney and a chance to win a copy of the book!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I'm spoiled and have been lucky enough to meet Tomi twice. This picture is from when she came to  my favorite local bookstore, Books & Books, earlier this year.
Book Summary
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Flo's Review
I am about a thousand percent late to the party on reading this book. Especially since my journey with Children and Blood and Bone started way before it was even released. I was lucky enough to snag a sampler at Comic Con 2017. I was going to give it away to a blog reader, but then my Dad got ahold of it and I never saw it again.

Then, the awesome ARC box became my very first unboxing video:
Anyway, all this has led us here. I read this book in a combination of book reading and audiobook listening, over a period of months during which I set it aside and then picked it up again. One of my strongest memories of listening to this audiobook will be of yelling at the characters when they did things I did not approve of. Like, all 3 of the main characters. I definitely yelled at all 3 of them at least once at some point.

Needless to say, I was invested in the story. I (luckily) hadn't been spoiled about the ending, so I really wanted to know how it would all end up and that kept me listening and turning the pages. I tend to struggle with long books and audiobooks, so even though I split this up into multiple periods of listening and reading, I was by the end ready for the end. I've seen and read many reviews of the book, so I won't rehash everything floating around. But everything this story represents, all the issues it brings up, all the power struggles and the representation, and at the very base a strong plot with action and romance -- it truly is legendary. This book deserves all the hype.

Here's Tomi reading from it:

Book review: The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

Book Summary
When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella - and even 'cool kid' Opal -rush to his rescue... only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.

Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can't quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they've never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.

As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries - and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened... and it knows their wishes and dreams - and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?

Flo's Review
First of all, I have to let you know in full disclosure -- I'm kind of obsessed with Ally Condie. Did you know that there used to a fansite for the Matched trilogy? That's right. Guess who was the main writer? This girl. Wanna hear about Atlantia? Here's the review I wrote for Fangirlish. Anyway, I love Ally.

So when I read about this middle grade story she was co-authoring with Brendan Reichs, I immediately wanted it. First the cover: it's cute and creepy at the same time! Yes, a contrasting combination, but it somehow manages to pull it off, what with the 4 kids in the rowboat (aww!) heading toward a big, dark scary thing (eek!)

What a creative story! I don't want to give away details, but so many elements are so unique and quirky. I can definitely see a kid exclaiming, "Cool!" as he experiences some of the supernatural things in the story. But there's also so much more to the Darkdeep than I think we learned in this first book. I was impressed and intrigued with the back story and I am so curious to learn more about its history. 

The Darkdeep also does so well with character relationships and development. Everyone has that super enthusiastic friend like Emma. Tyler's comments made me laugh at several points in the story, because, dude, Tyler is me! He reacted to the Darkdeep probably how I would react. But he will drop everything for Emma and that is just adorable and I love it. I also thought the relationship between Opal and Nico was well done, especially for a middle grade novel. It's true to the age group, but there's definitely more to it that I hope will be uncovered in future Darkdeep novels. I can't say too much about Logan's character arc and remain spoiler-free, but I appreciate his journey and contribution.

The Darkdeep publishes on October 2, and if you're looking for a creative, easy-to-read middle grade novel, I'd recommend you check this out. But I have to know....what's the thing in the jar??!?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Book review: What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Book Summary
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Flo's Review
I apologize in advance for this review, which is basically going to be a big, gushy mess. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH, Y'ALL. I think it's my favorite book I've read this year. Because I was 18% into it when I started reading it again last night and I literally couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 2 a.m. when I turned the last page with a huge smile on my face. The last time I remember a book having quite that effect on me was the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. (I stayed in one weekend and just read books 3 and 4. Like, that's all I did all weekend. Zero regrets.)

But this book. Oh my goodness! First of all, I love both of these characters so much. They are fun, smart, sassy, vulnerable, loyal, and brave. I wasn't to hug them both and then start a group hug with both of them. I want them to be my friends! I would have so much fun talking Hamilton and writing and pop culture with them.

I love how Arthur's ADHD was presented as part of him that he and everyone accepts and it's not stigmatizing. I love how the reality of ignorance and hatred is in there, honestly, as a little reminder that wow, it's 2018 and some attitudes and hearts can still open and grow more. I love how Ben is proudly Puerto Rican and calls out someone he loves on it from a place of wanting them to be better and not from a place of judgment. I love Dylan, but that guy is crazy! I loved seeing New York through Arthur's new eyes and the East Village through the eyes of Ben, who grew up there. I love that both boys had real and open relationships with their parents. I loved the scene where Arthur reads Ben's story and Ben listens to Hamilton for the first time -- the writing there, the wordplay, is so well done. I loved the reality in the way  all the relationships -- the romantic ones and the friendships -- grew, developed, and morphed as time went on. I laughed out loud at several parts, and I wanted to cry at a few as well. 

I could go on...and on...and on.

This book filled me with the same level of happiness of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited -- if not more. I definitely need to read all Adam's other books now. 

What If It's Us comes out October 9, 2018 and oh my gosh, guys. In case you didn't get the gist of my review -- I love it so much! Get thee to the bookstore or the library and get your copy ASAP!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Audiobook review -- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Book Summary
Founder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Flo's Review
I first heard about this book from CatFairy Books, who talked about it in a blog post. I thought, "Hmm, interesting title," but then not too much past that. Then a few weeks later as I was scrolling through my Goodreads account, I found it on the "Want to Read" shelves of several of my friends. I decided to look and see if my library had the e-audiobook available, because as you may or may not know, one of my favorite things are audiobook memoirs read by the authors. I found it! And that's how this review begins.

Girl! I devoured this book. First of all, I'm so glad Rachel was the one reading it. Because when she really wants to emphasize something, when she really wants you to do something, her tone gets SO SERIOUS, and I think I would have missed that by just reading it. On the flip side, this book had so many good, practical suggestions that I wanted to be able to flag them and write them down as I heard them -- but I couldn't because I was driving. Then by the time I got to my destination, I'd forgotten them. Such is price you pay for audio. 

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was the relationship between faith and girl power. Rachel recognizes and worships God, but at the same time believes that you are in control of your own life. It's a balance -- one that I subscribe to, and one that I appreciate. Some of the thoughts and tips she gave did stay with me, so much that I jotted them down the first chance I found myself with a pen and paper on hand. This is one of those books that I want to pass on. I am legit thinking about giving it to my sister for Christmas. I think she will relate to it and enjoy it. (No worries, my sister doesn't read my blog so the surprise will stay safe! Lol)

Rachel's voice is real and honest. Brutally honest. She admits that some of it is "tough love" and it is. But she is also so vulnerable in it, and several chapters where she related some of her hardest experiences made me cry. I will definitely be taking some of her advice on writing, dreaming, and bringing it every single day. 

I definitely recommend this book/audiobook to any woman who wants to be inspired and feel validated. Rachel's message is one of solitary, hard work, and the power to live your dreams.

Book review: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

To keep this review spoiler free, I will not post the book summary, as it may be a spoiler for Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne.

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
I have had so much fun binging this series over the past weeks! I was spoiled to receive Two Dark Reigns early for review, and I've loved every moment of my three book journey.

Like its predecessors, Two Dark Reigns brought non-stop action and surprising twists. However, not as much as the first two. I wasn't in love with the Blue Queen story line. I understand why it's in there in that I see what it had to accomplish for the characters to set up the end of the book, but it didn't feel connected to the main story. I also had trouble with Arsinoe in this installment. Her stubbornness came off as rude, and her independence just put everyone around in danger without her consulting them about it.

But in this series, "not as good as the first two books" is still so good! I had an e-book of this and it made me want to go to the gym so I could read it on the bike! And last night I stayed up past my bedtime because I had to finish it. If you've been following the series thus far, you will enjoy the story's continuation.

If you haven't -- dude, get on that! Three Dark Crowns is one of Barnes and Nobles' Book Haul Blowout, so you can get it for like $5!

Two Dark Reigns publishes on September 4th, 2018.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumed by J. R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumed
by J. R. Ward
Available: August 28, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105389 | Free

The Wedding from Hell, Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumedis the final part of J.R. Ward’s The Wedding From Hell ebook serialization. Don’t miss this exclusive teaser to her upcoming standalone romantic suspense, CONSUMED (available in October 2, 2018). See why “Consumed takes it to a whole new level” (Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

About the Book:
From the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.              

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...  

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.       

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse blaze changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.    

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again—until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the commonwealth, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Book review: Macbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone and William Shakespeare

Book Summary
Macbeth, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!

Imagine: What if that tragic couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!

A prophecy from three witches.
A social-climbing couple committing a murder most foul.
A cover-up that spins way out of control.

and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)

 tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.

Flo's Review
This is quality fun, you guys. First of all, the dedication at the beginning of the book from the author reads: "For all the slackers being quizzed on this tomorrow, good luck."

It was clever and I literally LOL and several parts of it.

Such an enjoyable 30 minutes of my life. (Yeah, that's how long it took to read this -- lol.)

Apparently there are others in this series (OMG Shakespeare) so clearly I have to find them all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Audiobook review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Note: To keep this review spoiler free, I will not post the book summary, as it may be a spoiler for the first book in the series Three Dark Crowns. Go read Three Dark Crowns! In the meantime, proceed to the review feeling safe that I won't ruin anything for you :).

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
Kendare Blake and the Queens of Fennbirn have done it again! I listened to this one on audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The narrator was great -- she really made the queens sound distinct and gave them voices to match their characters. Nicolas Martel's voice did kind of make me laugh, but he needed an accent, so there you go.

What I loved about this book (and the last one) is that I really had no idea how it could end. A big event would come up and I'd think it would be the kind of thing that would end everything, but it wasn't. Every time! Something happened and I continued to be pulled along in this intriguing story. The action and the pacing in these books is truly fantastic.

I kept saying "No spoilers!" when I wrote the books, and I wouldn't even let myself look at the summary of book 3, just in case. Speaking of book 3, I am so glad I don't have to wait to continue this story. Naturally, I have no idea what direction this is going in after the end of One Dark Throne, and I'm excited to find out.

Next up: Two Dark Reigns. Let's do this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

No, but for real -- I looove this book!
Note: To keep this review spoiler free, I will not include the book summary here, as it may be a spoiler for the first book of the duology Warcross. Although, if you haven't read Warcross yet -- get on that! Gooooo!

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
Ahhh!!! Wildcard was my most anticipated book of 2018, and it did not disappoint. This book brought all the action, romance, and suspense at the same level of the first book, if not more. It never felt like any time was passing as I kept flipping the pages. And the plot twists! Holy reveals, Batman!! They just kept coming, and they were so clever and so fully integrated into the storyline that they blew my mind every single time. Like, I'd physically set the book down and think, "Whoa..." The plot of these two books was so tight and intricate, and I loved the way that certain scenes in Warcross circled back in different iterations in Wildcard. We got to look deeper into the characters and relationships we came to love in Warcross. And we also got to meet new characters -- some to hate and some to love.

Like Warcross, this book presents a lot of thought-provoking questions about the connections between technology and morality, and gives the reader a lot to ponder in terms of society and human thought. I mean, from the Dark World to Hideo and with everyone in between, there is so much to contemplate about humanity and its choices. But it's also just so much fun to read. When I finished reading the last page, I closed the book and immediately hugged it to my chest. I felt like I was getting off a fun ride at an amusement park -- kind of sad to go, but also knowing that I'll look back and remember how much I enjoyed it.

Wildcard publishes on September 18th, which gives you enough time to read Warcross, if you haven't yet. And if you have read Warcross -- you're almost there! And trust me -- it's worth the wait.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book Summary
King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

Flo's Review
I had fun with this book! From the moment I first heard about it many months ago, I was looking forward to it. The idea behind the book, following King Midas' golden daughter is just so unique and clever. From the beginning, I was swept up into Kora's well-created world. It was easy to keep the turning the pages as the first stirrings of romance and adventure heralded what was to come in the story. 

But A Touch of Gold was not predictable in the slightest. It changed course much like the ship Kora was on would change course, as new information discovered at several points throughout the story caused me to question everything I thought I knew about these people. (Seriously, though -- trust no one! Lol). The villain was deliciously horrible and the character growth that both Kora and her cousin Hettie undergo is inspiring. The romance plays out with a twist, but I'm happy with the way it ended up and I think other readers will be, too. 

A Touch of Gold comes out August 14, 2018.

Thank you to Blink YA Books for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mystery Blogger Award!

So, guess what?! The Book Nerds have been chosen for the Mystery Blogger Award! {insert happy dance} Um, it turns out we were actually nominated for this back in April and I just now saw it because #FloFail. Whoops. At any rate, better late than never, right?! Right!

Here are the rules of the Award:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. (Maggie @okoto enigmas blog)
4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

5. Nominate 10-20 people.

6. Notify your nominees.

7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
8. Share a link to your best post(s).

1. I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. Excited for the new bling!

2. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Catfairy Books! I am so sorry I just now saw this! If anyone is reading this who hasn't seen her blog yet, you should definitely check it out. She updates regularly, is writing a magical realism book, uses lots of fun pictures and GIFs, and loves Dawson Creek! Basically, it's a win all around:

3. Thanks to Okoto Enigma's Blog for starting this fun:

4. Let's see...these are going to be completely random. 1) I'm not a fan of olives. 2) Today (August 8) is the 28th anniversary of my sister seeing our favorite band, New Kids on the Block, in concert for the first time. My parents told me I couldn't go because I was too young, and I legit am still sad about it to this day. 3) I own 4 sets of the Hunger Games trilogy books. It might even be more, honestly, but I can think of 4 of them at this current moment. 

5. 10-20?!?! Hah! I don't think I know that many people. How about 1-2? That's better. So any of the owls at Owl Always Be Reading and Jacque at Jacque's Book Nook -- you're up. I suggest not waiting 4 months like I did....

6.  I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. 

7. Here are Catfairy's questions with my answers:

1) If you were stuck in a television show which show would you want to be stuck in?
Maybe because I'm thinking of Catfairy, but Dawson's Creek might be fun. I'm also currently obsessed with Disney Fairy Tale Weddings...if being stuck in that show means that I would get to have Disney weddings over and over again, then sign me up!
2) If you could travel anywhere around the world where would you go?
Greece and Ireland are on my bucket list! Anyone want to come with??
3) What is your most life-altering book?
Probably The Hunger Games. That book and series got me into fandom and through fandom I met some really great friends and people! I also had so, so many amazing experiences. And it's all because of my love of Peeta Mellark....oh, and Katniss.
4) We always say that the book is better than the movie! Although if you can pick one movie that is actually better than the book which movie would you pick?
Good question! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I cannot wait for part two this November!
5) Now for my silly/funny question! You’re stuck on a deserted island! What boy/girl band member would you want to be stuck in a deserted island with? 
Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block!
I swear I am not coping out, but I had so much fun with these questions that I am passing them on to my nominees!

8. Best post? Well, here's one I'm super proud of: