The Dysasters by P.C. and Kristen Cast

GoodReads Summary:
Foster Stewart knows she’s different. Her life has never been “normal.” Talking to plants and controlling cloud formations aren’t things most seventeen-year olds are into. Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor is perfect. Star quarterback and all-around dreamy boy next door he never thought about his “extra” abilities. What quarterback wouldn’t want night vision? That’s not weird, right? It’s cool!
But on the night of their first meeting a deadly tornado brings them together and awakens their true abilities – the power to control the element air. Unbeknown to Tate and Foster, they are the first in a group of teens that were genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements. Which truly sucks for Foster, as she has to face the fact that Dr. Rick Stewart, her beloved scientist father, betrayed her and now wants to use her and the others for his own nefarious world domination plot.
Foster and Tate must stop Dr. Stewart and his minions before he destroys their lives and the world.
The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1)Review:
I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Dysasters to read and honestly review. Reading this ARC saved me two hours of driving and buying a book that I wouldn’t have liked. I planned to go to the book signing for this book in a few weeks and now I’m definitely not going. I had such high hopes for The Dysasters because I’ve loved some other books by these authors but this was just an all-around disappointment.
I didn’t like most of the characters. Foster and Tate were annoying. I didn’t really care about them at all. I think they were immature and rude to each other until all of a sudden, they’re making out and going on dates instead of trying to find the others like them. I think they were both not well developed and almost seemed like they were trying too hard. I’m not sure if Foster was supposed to be an unlikable main character, but I certainly didn’t like her. Tate was the opposite. I think he tried too hard to be a likable character (name dropping certain authors when talking about his five favorite books). It was overkill and make me not like him. They also don’t seem to be actively trying to figure out their abilities which really annoyed me. Charlotte and Bastien were not really present enough in the story for us to know, but I think they might be the only reason I attempt the next book. The only character I genuinely enjoyed was G-pa. Tate’s grandfather was smart and funny and didn’t take anyone’s shit. He made me laugh out loud.
Additionally, the writing could have been better. It almost seemed like it was meant for a younger audience because it was simpler except for the fact that half the characters cursed like sailors. There were a few times where it changed from telling the story in third person and then jumped to first person which was very jarring and just didn’t make sense. Then there were all the different POVs. There were too many perspective changes. And it didn’t make any sense when they changed. We saw the two characters with water powers for like one chapter a third of the way into the book and then didn’t see them again until over 60% of the way into the story. Then there were the changes between Foster/Tate and the villains. The villain’s chapters almost make it seem like we should sympathize with them, but I just didn’t care enough at all.
Overall, I would have DNF’d this book if it hadn’t been an ARC. The concept of the story is super cool but it was not well done at all. I didn’t really care about any of the characters. Everything seemed rushed, but also felt like nothing was happening at the same time. I think this could have been a five-star book, but something went wrong during the writing process. I really wanted to like this book. It was one of my anticipated released for 2019, but I am very sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it very much. To end this review on a more positive note, there were a few things that I did like. I liked the concept of the story as I said, so maybe they will get better as the series goes on. I loved the diversity. There are all kinds of people represented in this story and I think that was done well. I also liked the pictures. There were pictures here and there throughout the book and I think they definitely added to the story. Despite these few good things, I expected more from this story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

GoodReads Summary:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Review:
I have been on a science fiction reading spree. I’ve also been trying to catch up on the books that have been super hyped up that I’ve learned about through Bookstagram. It seems that I’ve missed out on a ton of great reads. This one is included. This series seems to almost have a cult following and I’m starting to understand why.

“You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who’ll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back.”

Illuminae is written in an interesting format. Rather than being written in the traditional style of a novel, this story is told through a series of interviews, instant messages, emails, transcribed video surveillance and materials retrieved from inside the artificial intelligence that ran the Alexander spacecraft. I think this is a really inventive way to tell this story. It shakes up the story and definitely kept me enthralled in the story. I think this formatting also gives the illusion (or maybe it’s not an illusion) that I’m reading the book faster. I feel like I flew through this story trying to get to the ending.

The way this story is told I think also allows the readers to get to know the characters in a unique way. Traditionally the reader is inside the characters head learning who they are, but with Illuminae we get to know Katy, Ezra and gang through their actions and how they treat one another rather from any inner thoughts or ideas. I loved Katy. She’s a fierce female lead and I loved that she was brainy and nerdy but also had a sensitive, vulnerable side that she let us see here and there. Ezra is totally my newest book boyfriend. I love how things turned out with him because I definitely almost cried at certain points in his story. I liked Ezra because he complimented Katy in an interesting way. They both push one another to do the best thing for the most amount of people, even if that means sacrificing themselves. I’m interested to see where Ezra’s story goes especially with the ending of the book.

AIDAN is the artificial intelligence that pilots and runs the Alexander spacecraft adds a very interesting aspect to our story. I was totally creeped out by AIDAN for many reasons.

“But what I do is not murder. It is mercy.”

Alright, you psycho computer. Having artificial intelligence turn evil and take over the world is honestly one of my biggest irrational fears of how humanity / the world will end. So AIDAN’s role in story totally added a creepy and dark aspect to this otherwise thrilling book. I’m incredibly impressed by these authors because by the end of the book I didn’t totally hate AIDAN. Somehow they gave this computer some unimaginable character development. Somehow AIDAN grows and learns and loves Katy. I grew to like AIDAN and get excited for what he (it?) might do next.

Overall this story absolutely lived up to all the hype that I’ve heard from the bookish community. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second and third books in the series. I adored Katy and Ezra and even AIDAN. There were also some wonderful supporting characters that added so much to the story. This book was full of action and adventure, suspense and mystery, menace and intrigue. There were characters to love and also characters to hate. I recommend this to any and all lovers of science fiction. This will for sure be a book that I will read again. I might even have to go out and buy the series so I don’t have to wait to get it from the library every time I want to read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
Review:
I found this book available as an ebook from my library. I’ve been getting ebooks from my library on my phone ever since I had a baby because reading on my phone is the best for those late night breastfeeding sessions. I was planning to spend time with my Kindle, but it’s a bit hard to hold while trying to keep the baby in the right position to feed so I mostly read on my phone. Because of this, I have found a few new books that weren’t on my TBR list. The Magicians was one of those. I did want to read this eventually because I wanted to read it before I watched the Netflix show. I’m excited to watch the show now that I’ve read the book and see what the differences are.
This book is totally not what I expected. It was way more detailed and the story was way more in-depth and involved than I was anticipating. The Magicians follows our main character, Quentin, on his journey to find happiness. On this journey, he finds magic, love, and some interesting adventures. Much of this book focuses on a book series that has stuck with Quentin for his whole life. It’s a series that reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia in a few ways. He dreams of visiting this far off world one day and going on a quest to save the world. Quentin ends up on several different adventures of his own, though none of them are what he expected at all. The storyline of this book was a little bizarre to me. We spent so much time following Quentin through his schooling and the copious amount of time he spent drinking and not nearly as much time on the crazy situations that he finds himself in. I spent more than half of the book wondering where the story was going and what the real plot of the story was. I definitely didn’t predict what ended up happening in any way.
As for Quentin, he annoyed me many times. He’s so stuck in his depression that anytime he gets what he thinks will make him happy it never lasts long. He finds out he’s a magician and that’s not enough to keep him happy despite the fact that he’s learning new things every day and he’s found himself in this incredible new part of the world that he never knew existed. He finds a good group of friends that he has fun with and that’s not enough to keep him happy. He somehow manages to get a girlfriend who is smart and caring and loves him but still, that’s not enough. It was honestly just annoying. Instead of doing something or trying to figure out why he’s never happy he just accepts that he’s not meant to be satisfied or happy no matter what he has in his life. It was an interesting addition to the story, the whole idea that maybe magicians aren’t meant to be happy and all that (there’s more to this idea). But Quentin was just a little annoying in his misery.
The supporting characters added a little extra to the story. While they could have been a little further developed with more backstory and maybe their own personal development aside from being students with Quentin and learning magic. I liked their personalities but they were a little shallow as their own characters. They had personalities, but they weren’t fully developed. I think they could have been done better.
Overall, this story was totally not what I was expecting. I liked the story well enough. It was certainly interesting; though I think certain parts of the story could have been done a little differently it was a great read for sure. I would have liked more development for the supporting characters and a little less of Quentin complaining about being unhappy. The storyline was creative and kept my interest.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Book Tag – TBR

Huge thanks to Inkish Kingdoms for tagging us in this TBR Book Tag! It looks like fun. Besides who doesn’t love talking about books that they want to read? Let’s dive right in!

How do you keep track of your TBR list?

Amanda- I mostly don’t. It’s all in my head. I have a general ‘oh I want to read that in the near future’ list that lives in my brain. But I don’t read off of any list, I look at my shelves and pick whatever looks good. I have recently started marking books on GoodReads as ‘to read’ but they’re all books that I mostly already have at home.

Antonia- It’s mostly just in my head as well. The closest I get to an actual list is books I want to get but once I actually have them it depends entirely on what I feel like reading at the time.

Is your TBR list mostly print or ebook?

Amanda- Mostly print as of now. I recently have gone a little book buying crazy. Once I read some of the books I just bought my ebook TBR list will likely be longer because I’ve been neglecting my Kindle for sure.

Antonia- Mine probably leans a little more towards print but I go through random phases where I’ll just read kindle nonstop then switch to print for awhile.

How do you determine which book from your TBR list to read next?

Amanda- I mentioned above that I mostly just look at my shelves and pick whatever looks good at the moment. I don’t do well with specific lists. One it makes it to the “official TBR list” I’m actually less likely to ever read it.

Antonia- Whatever I’m in the mood for. Usually I’ll just stare at my shelves for awhile or read a few summaries and one tends to jump out and say “You have to read me now!”.

What book has been on your TBR list the longest?

Amanda- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I bought this months and months ago (at this point it’s probably closer to a year ago) and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, but for some reason, I just can’t get myself to pick it up.

Antonia- Hmm… Probably Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I got so mad at the beginning of the book that I never managed to finish it. Now that I have the second and third books I plan on picking it up again soon.

What book have you recently added to your TBR list?

Amanda- Why do all of these book tags want just one book as an answer? I’m a bookworm and I did just say that I bought a ton of books recently. So here’s a few I’m most excited about.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Antonia- ^Same.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
The Mythean Arcana series by Linsey Hall
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

What book on your TBR list is there strictly because of the cover?

Amanda- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I love simple covers.

Antonia- Everneath by Brodi Ashton. The covers have such gorgeous dresses that I just had to get them.

What book on your TBR list do you never actually plan to read?

Amanda- The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. I bought this only because I have all of the other books in the series. It sits on my shelf and begs me to read it but I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll ever get around to it.

Antonia- I don’t think I have anything right now. A couple years ago I moved and had to get rid of most of my books so everything I have now are either favorites or ones I’ve gotten recently.

What unpublished book is on your TBR list that you’re excited for?

Amanda- Again, just one book? Really you should just go check out the whole page we have dedicated to books that are being released this year.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
Windrider by P.C. Cast

Just to name a few.

Antonia- Again, same. I’m really excited for both Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa and Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts.

What’s a book on your TBR list that basically everyone has read but you?

Amanda- Warcross by Marie Lu. I have this. It’s staring at me from my shelf as I type this, but I just haven’t read it yet.

Antonia- Probably Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve been seeing this for forever but never bothered with it until Amanda made me read A Court of Thorns and Roses which I loved so much I HAVE to read her other series.

What’s a book on your TBR list that everyone recommends?

Amanda- Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. I’ve heard amazing things about this book. I recently bought it and hope to get around to reading it soon.

Antonia- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve heard a ton of good things about this one even though a lot of people (myself included) don’t like novellas.

What’s a book on your TBR list that you’re very excited to read?

Amanda- All of them? Otherwise, they wouldn’t be on my TBR list, right?

Antonia- Definitely all of them. None stand out more than the others right now.

How many books are on your GoodReads TBR shelf?

Amanda- There are 65 books that I have labeled as ‘Want to Read’ on GoodReads. Most of which are books that I’ve bought recently and plan to attempt to read in the near future.

Antonia- I don’t use my GoodReads TBR shelf. I could never keep track of adding books and taking them off.

That’s all for this one bookworms! We’re going to tag anyone who reads this and feels like doing the book tag! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your TBR books in the comments!

Magical Readathon – O.W.L. Exams TBR

Hi bookworms, Amanda here! I was recently scrolling through Twitter when I saw Books in the Skye share something about a readathon based on the N.E.W.T exams from the Harry Potter books. I did a little more digging and saw that I sadly missed out on the O.W.L exam readathon, hosted over on YouTube by Book Roast, that took place originally in April. I decided that I could either skip the O.W.L.s and just take whatever N.E.W.T.s I felt like doing or I could do the O.W.L. exams anyway. I have decided that I’m going to take the O.W.L. exams anyway. So I will start this challenge tomorrow, August 2nd, and I will try to complete as many exams as I can until the 29th.

owls tbr

The following grades are awarded for the overall OWLs performance:

 

Pass

Outstanding – sit and pass at least 5 OWLs
Exceeded Expectations – sit and pass at least 3 OWLs
Acceptable – sit and pass at least 2 OWLs

Fail

Poor – sit only one OWL
Dreadful – start but not finish any OWLs tasks
Troll – do not show up at your OWLs examinations

Ancient Runes – A book with a symbol on the cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (print book)

the wicked deep

Arithmacy – A Book with a number on the cover or in the title

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (print book)

zeroes

Astronomy – A science fiction novel

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (print book)

this mortal coil

Care of Magical Creatures – A book that includes magical creatures or features magical creatures on the cover

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling (print book)

hp - sorcerers stone

Charms – A fantasy novel

A Darker Shade of Magic  by V.E. Schwab (print book)

ADSOM

Defense Against the Dark Arts – A book about or with a secret society or club

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (print book)

city of bones

Divination – A book featuring prophecies 

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ebook)

shadow of the fox

Herbology – A book with a nature-related word in the title 

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (ebook)

air awakens

History of Magic – A historical fiction novel

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (audiobook)

my lady jane

Muggle Studies – A muggle non-fiction novel

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook)

yes please

Potions – A book with or about alchemy 

Allies by Bella Forrest (ebook)

allies

Transfiguration – A book with transfiguration / shapeshifting or a book with a cat on the cover

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (audiobook)

paranormalcy

I don’t expect to read all of these books but I’m someone that does well with options so I wanted to give myself a variety of books to choose from throughout this reading challenge. I’m going to aim to read at least five of these books. Wish me luck!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

Summary:
Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

glass vault
Review:
I received this book as an e-book version advanced readers copy (my first ARC ever!) from Parliament House Press. I was interested in the summary of this book along with the fact that it’s a horror/fairytale retelling – oh, and the cover. How cool is this cover? I’m trying to expand my reading tastes and horror books are not usually high up on my tbr list, but I’m glad I went out of my usual books and requested this book.
This story follows our main character, Perrie (I love this name.) while she’s trying to figure out what the hell is going on in her town. We get to meet her cousin/best friend Maisie, who was probably my favorite character in the entire book. Maisie wears eye patches that she designs and wears for fun. She doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks and knows that she’s an oddball. I love that she’s super enthusiastically her own person and doesn’t let anyone tell her she should behave differently. Though her silly, oddball personality ends up getting her into trouble.
Now, our main character, Perrie, she’s a total band geek who just wants to finish high school and figure out what she wants to do with her life. She has some mommy issues because her mother left when she was younger. Perrie is a super relatable character and I liked her, mostly. She seems to be trying to move forward from a hard breakup. Neven used to be one of her best friends as well as her boyfriend. The circumstances of their breakup are not revealed until a decent way into the story. This was a little annoying to me and I don’t know that it was entirely necessary to create so much suspense and mystery around the reason that Perrie broke up with him.
The last character I want to mention is August. There’s so much I’d like to say about him that I can’t because it would be a spoiler, but I will say what I can. I love August. I love his friendship with Perrie – even through the plot twist that I totally did not see coming. He was funny and charming and seems to be a great friend. He played an interesting part in the friend group. The three of them together, Perrie, Maisie, and August were entertaining to read about. They were relatable high school kids.
There were a few things that I didn’t like about this book. The writing was a bit awkward here and there. There were just a few places that the writing was awkward and things could have been written a bit better. At the beginning of the story, Perrie and Maisie say things like, “Oh darn.” But then later they’re swearing up a storm. They seemed to go from super innocent to mostly normal high school kids; it was just a weird change. The start of this story was a bit slow. It took me a few days and reading sessions to get into it, but once I got into the story I stayed up way too late to finish it. Much to my dismay, CLIFFHANGER. Oh, how I hate cliffhangers.
I enjoyed the storyline once I got fifty or so pages into the book. It’s a very unique and creative fairytale retelling. And not a retelling of just one tale, there are several different fairytales involved in Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault and I was definitely entertained by the horror aspect that the author used.
Ultimately, I liked this book. The writing could have been a bit better, but the story was interesting and creative enough for me to look past that. I really enjoyed the characters. They were relatable and entertaining. I especially enjoyed the plot twist because I did not see it coming at all. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault was a fascinating mix of horror with the traditional fairytales. I would recommend this book to the older end of young adult readers because of the horror aspect. I would also really like to know when the second book is being released because the cliffhanger ending was killer and I need to know what happens next.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.