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Readathon: Summer TBR Wipeout & Make Me Read Wrap Ups

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My Reading Time Frame: July 8 – August 19, 2017

My main goal for the Summer TBR Wipeout was to get back on track with my reading. I find by mid-year, I’ve lost some of the momentum and am scrambling to keep up.

In general my goals for this challenge were:

No ARC Requests

Result: Slight Fail

Leave The Night On  The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1) The Forbidden When the Scoundrel Sins (Capturing the Carlisles, #2) An Earl by Any Other Name (Sins and Scandals #1)

I ended up getting ARCs for a lot of sequels for series I had already started so I picked up books I shouldn’t have in theory. I don’t regret them though! I really enjoyed all of these!

Finish (at least) 3 Series I’ve Previously Started

Result: 3 Series completed

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

My Make Me Read It Readathon helped with this a lot since I purposely chose sequel novels I needed to read. The Rising was the only one I had listed as a priority for this challenge so I’m happy I got it finished.

Read Sequels for (at least) 2 Previously Started Series

Result: 2 Sequels Read

In Too Fast (Roommates Trilogy, #2) Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)

I suppose In Too Fast shouldn’t really count since I had just read the first novel a week or two before, but I’m glad I picked it up sooner than later! And it was nice to return to the Arcana world nearly a year later.

Read 1 Classic Novel

Result: I only started Jane Eyre

Work really kicked my ass on this one. I felt like I was scrambling to read my other books so this one soon became forgotten.

Binge Read 1 Series from start to end!

Result: Finished the Shatter Me Series!

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I’m so glad I finally picked this series up! I really, really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next set of books in this fantastic world to be released!

Summer TBR Wipeout Wrap-Up:

I had a great experience with this challenge. I managed to read a lot of books during this timeframe (25 to be exact!) that didn’t necessarily meet my above criteria so I consider it a success. I’ve decided to do my own “Sequel September” self-challenge to help tackle some of those sequels I didn’t get to this month.


-are getting married! (3)

My Reading Time Frame: August 6 – August 13, 2017

My Goal: 4 Books

First, a big thank-you to everyone who voted! I know that I don’t always pick books that everyone knows but you still make such a great effort to vote!

The Results of the Vote:

Shadows in the Silence | This So Isn’t Happening | Phoenix | Across a Star-Swept Sea | Hitched | The Savage Blue | Trust in Me | Caught Up in Us | Derailed | The Bet

What I Read:

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Phoenix (Black City, #2)

Ok, so I know the point of this challenge is to read the books in the order of most votes but I needed a lighter read to counteract the teenaged angst of Shadows in the Silence. It’s the curse of being a mood reader and I usually break up my YA reads with a romance novel. That’s why I read Hitched second instead of fifth like I was supposed to according to the poll results. I only got about halfway through Phoenix as well.

Unfortunately, I also wasn’t able to get my library’s copy of This So Isn’t Happening in time for the challenge (it literally came in the last day of the readathon) but I will read it as soon as I can!

So I didn’t meet my goal of 4 books but hey, I got some long overdue novels off my TBR!

What about the rest?

For me, the Make Me Read It Readathon doesn’t end until everything on the list is read. As I said above, September is going to be all about the sequels and as most of the books are sequels, they are top of the list!


Did you participate in these challenges? Are you participating in anything right now?

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Series Review: A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Thousand Nights (from Goodreads):

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Cover Love, Canadian Author
Series: A Thousand Nights
Author: E K Johnston
# of Books: 2 (A Thousand Nights, Spindle)

There is a FREE short story, #1.5 called The Garden of Three Hundred Flowers

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes — I think
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2015 – December 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Like most people, the cover is what drew me to this series. They are gorgeous!

But A Thousand Nights was everywhere the year it came out, gracing a ton of lists for one reason or another. It is also a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights–a story I’m still not acquainted with despite reading The Wrath and The Dawn last year and noting that I probably should read it because it is a popular base tale for retellings.

The Concept / The World:

It’s hard not to compare two similar things and I’m going to do my best to stop comparing A Thousand Nights to The Wrath and The Dawn before I even begin this review.

This series is a world layered with a darker power. Whether that power actually exists or not: I’ll discuss that in The Writing Style section below. You have a king murdering women for some unknown reason and people are suffering because of it. There is this air of mysticism to the story and it makes the circumstances so much grittier as a result. You truly get transported to this other world within the first chapter and that was definitely a highlight for me

The Writing Style:

I think you will either love or hate E K Johnston’s writing style. It has an old fashioned feel to it often seen in your classic stories; the words flowing like you are reading an epic.

It took me awhile to get comfortable with her style because books just aren’t written like this nowadays (or at least what I usually read isn’t). Personally, it’s a touch wordier than I like, though I found it had a great flow.

But I think my biggest issue was the fact that I couldn’t tell what was real vs what was just allusion. What I’m trying to say is that I had a hard time deciding whether the magic of it all was actually happening or it if was just the result of the narration. As a result, I often had a hard time understanding the progression of events and that in turn caused me to lose interest at times.

The Plot:

I was really disappointed in the plot for A Thousand Nights. I truly felt like nothing was happening until the last 50 pages or so. It seemed to be more stories about the Heroine’s life back home and I just didn’t care–that wasn’t the story I wanted to read. I wanted to see how she was going to save the king. Instead, you spend most of your time reading about stories within the story and that just has no appeal to me. I needed a little more stimulation and the book just seemed to drag.

Spindle started off a little more promising but it lost that momentum around the 45% mark. I’m not a huge fan of adventure stories and this one felt like that at times. Again, my interest waned and I found myself skimming the last half of the book. It just couldn’t keep my attention.

The Characters:

I think this is one of those rare cases where the worldbuilding overshadows any character development. Johnston spends so much time weaving tales of this land that she fails to really build up her characters. Yes, you get their histories thanks to the various stories but because you spend so much time in the past, their growth in the present is lackluster.

I also think because of the writing, I felt distant from the characters. You weren’t getting a lot of inner monologues because not a lot was happening in the present.

The Romance:

As a romance fan I like it in my stories and it really isn’t present here. That isn’t a bad thing but when you don’t have much going on, it would have served as a nice distraction.

The Novella–A Garden of Three Hundred Flowers:

This is supposed to be a bridging novel of sorts between the two stories and it does serve that purpose. I really found it to be more of an extended epilogue of A Thousand Nights so I like that it brought me some closure in that respect.

It is a free eBook so if you like this series I do recommend you pick it up before you read Spindle.

Series Rating: 3/5

A Thousand Nights 2.5/5 | [A Garden of Three Hundred Flowers 3/5] | Spindle 2/5

overall

If you are a fan of worlds filled with stories and love the weaving of tales, you’ll enjoy this series. But if you like action, romance and adventure in your retellings, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: story telling, retellings
Avoid if You: want more romance, want more action
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Single Sundays: Just Say When by Kaylee Ryan

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Just Say When (from Goodreads):

Saving myself for marriage, not hardly.‬‬
Saving myself for someone who will make my heart race, most definitely.

In theory it’s a good plan, however even the best-laid plans fall through. Seeing him, being around him, alerts all my senses and I dream about being his, wrapping myself in his arms and never letting go. The only problem – he sees me as his sister.

My name’s Ava Evans and I’m in love with my older brother’s best friend, Nate Garrison.

Burying myself in work for the past two years, avoiding any thought of her, has worked, until now. She’s everywhere, in my dreams, in my gym, and in my heart. I’m not sure when I fell in love with Ava Evans, but I am completely in love with my best friends baby sister.

At first she was too young for me and that made it easy to stay away. Now, it’s a struggle to keep my distance.

How am I supposed to resist her when I can’t escape her? If he ever found out, it would ruin our friendship. Even with that knowledge all she would have to do is…

Just Say When.

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Author: Kaylee Ryan
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 16, 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I marked this as a novel I found on a blog but I’m not sure who’s blog that was (sorry!).

Anywho, I enjoy the “in love with my brother’s BFF” trope for many reasons so that’s what caught my eye. They’re usually filled with delicious tension and swoon worthy moments. I had just finished a YA novel I didn’t particularly enjoy and had just DNF’d another NA read that bored me to tears so I had high hopes that this novel would lift me up from a downward slump.

The Plot:

There isn’t anything new here. If you’ve read any book with this trope, you’ve essentially read this novel. It’s not a bad thing, but I need a little more to stimulate my interest. There isn’t much to this story but these two trying to deny their obvious feelings.

I contemplated DNFing this one pretty early on to be honest because it just moved so, so slowly. But I stuck with it and skimmed the rest of the novel.

The Characters:

They were pretty flat if you ask me. Again, nothing new here. I didn’t care for either of them.

The Romance:

This is definitely a slow burn romance. It wasn’t until the 30% mark that these two make their first move. Which is fine, but not exactly what I wanted from this novel. I wanted tension and longing looks early on…and they are there to an extent. It just wasn’t as passionate as I wanted; it was more sweet and cheesy.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

If I read this when I bought it two years ago, perhaps my review would be different. This novel isn’t awful, it just isn’t anything new. So if you are looking for a sweet and cheesy read about a young girl finally realizing her crush isn’t so unrequited, it might be worth your time.

Read if You Like: sisters in love with brother’s BFF
Avoid if You: want a deeper romance
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Single Sundays: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for 5 to 1 (from Goodreads):

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

Told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Contestant Five’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: Holly Bodger
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Poetry
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I marked this as a book I found from a blog but I’m not sure where. Not that it really matters, this book seemed to be everywhere when it came out so I’m sure it wasn’t a single source. The cover was making lists of fave covers; the synopsis is more than intriguing and the narration style is noteworthy. So I put it on my TBR but never got a chance to read it back in 2015. Which is why I added it to my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge as a pick for 2015.

The Concept:

I love stories that challenge our everyday norms; in particular our views on gender roles. I just loved the idea of a matriarchal society–where women are in control and boys compete to win their hand. It’s very reminiscent of something you might see in Victorian times; only this is the future and an isolated society and girl’s are the ultimate prize. I thought this exploration was done fantastically and you can tell it is the driving force behind this story. It really makes you think about what it means to be a woman or a man in society and the expectations that come along with it.

The Narration Style:

I definitely missed the part in the synopsis about Sudasa’s chapters being in verse so that was a cool surprise. It’s easy to read (the flow is great) and the formatting is awesome. Very unique. As a whole it really works as a tool to convey how restricted Sudasa is in her life.

HOWEVER, I did struggle near the end trying to interpret what was happening. The ending seemed so rushed to me because it is told in verse (not in full paragraphs) and I had a hard time following. I just felt like I was misinterpreting what was being said and so I couldn’t put in together the developments. And in turn, that dampened my reading experience (and my rating).

The Characters:

I really liked these two as leads. They were not only rebellious but also intelligent as well. Meaning they thought about everything they did before they did it. I liked that they weren’t overly impulsive.

For this story being a shorter novel, I was really impressed by how developed they were as characters.

The Romance:

I just want to say that if you think this is going to be some epic romance between two people who never wanted to get married–think again. Like I said above, this story is all about pressures from society and not the romance. The marriage situation is just a tool to emphasize the circumstances.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

As I approached the final few chapters, this was going to be a 4/5 star read for me. Unfortunately, this story just felt a little rushed at the end. It’s a great story about gender roles/expectations but it isn’t a romance by any stretch of the imagination.

Read if You Like: dystopia, reversed gender roles
Avoid if You: want a romance
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Reading Challenge: Summer TBR Wipeout

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Like most Book Bloggers, I do yearly challenges but I don’t often do time-limited challenges or very many readathons throughout the year.

When I saw this challenge on the Candid Cover, I thought this was a great idea! Sometimes, I need that little kick in the butt to get those titles down and having a plan/goal works well for me. I can’t wait to get some things done!

How it works:

You do not have to run a book blog or a website for that matter. All that I ask is that you create your posts on some sort of social media website, such as Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr, etc. You can also read backlist books, ARCs, new releases, audiobooks,  or anything else that has been beckoning you to read it. There will be 4 posts in total that you can link up to here on The Candid Cover.

My Reading Time Frame: July 8 – August 19, 2017

Thanks to this event, I was able to do a bit of a midterm review of how my reading is going so far. While I’m knocking my Goodreads challenge out of the park (meaning I’m reading wayyyy more books than I expected to this year so yay!), I feel like I’m not always reading the titles I should be. I’ve been a little swept into some request/ARC madness and been a little too “checkout now” happy when browsing my library’s eBook section. I want to get back to reading those titles that have been sitting on my Kobo for months and reading some of those “much anticipated” sequels I couldn’t wait to release last year.

I’m going to keep my plan for this TBR Wipeout a little general so I can have some flexibility. I try to do the Make Me Read It Readathon every July (hopefully it’s happening this year!) and that’s when I get title specific. So for this, I’m going to create some general goals and highlight some priority titles for each category.

My Plan:

  • No ARC requests!
    • I’ve closed requests until September so I can focus on those TBR titles
      • That means I’m limiting my hosting and review copy sign-ups as well!
  • Finish (at least) 3 Series
    • Hopefully I can knock off some oldies but goodies this summer!
  • Read Sequels for (at least) 2 Previously Started Series
    • Waiting a 1+ for the sequel is not something I’m good at remembering!
  • Read 1 Classic Novel
    • I was doing so well at the start of the year but flopped once my new job started
  • Binge Read 1 Series from start to end!
    • I feel like I don’t get to do this anymore!

Priority Reads:

Endure (Need, #4) The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

What plans are you making for your Summer TBR?

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Series Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Crown’s Game Duology

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Crown’s Game (from Goodreads):

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

breakdown

Series: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
# of Books: 2 (The Crown’s Game, The Crown’s Fate)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: May 2016 – May 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book EVERYWHERE last year, and so the hype (and curiosity) was inevitable. But it was also on my radar because it is set in Imperial Russia–the kryptonite of book settings for me. I LOVE that setting and I try and read any book that uses this time period.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

Like I said, Imperial Russia is one of my favourite book settings and this one was pretty perfect. You could tell that Evelyn Skye had done her research before writing this book. She really brought this setting to life in nearly every aspect: clothing, royalty, perception of magic. It hit all the marks.

–Multiple POV–

I LOVE having multiple POVs in my novels. It just gives you a full-circle view of the world I think and adds dimension to the plot and world. This one succeeds in that. It kept the story moving, added suspense to the plot and just gave you more insight into the characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Hard Time Picturing Magic Scenes–

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t in the best headspace to start reading this book. I was studying for my licensing exams and was a little pre-occupied in my brain. So maybe take the next two paragraphs with a grain of salt and read another review to get another perspective.

For a third person POV, this book flowed wonderfully. It’s easy to get lost in the 3rd person narration when pronouns are used liberally; but I never found that to be the case here.

What I did struggle with is the scenes where magic is described. I had a hard time visualizing it. I think I missed the part about the purpose of the Enchanter and how the Game works so I didn’t get why these two were doing what they were doing when it was their turn. Again, I think I just wasn’t in the right place to read this.

–The Romance–

While I don’t enjoy the aspect of a love triangle in any book, that isn’t my sole issue here. My issue: the insta-love. I can forgive Vika and Nikola’s insta-connection because of the magic. That makes sense. But love? Stretching it a little. And Pasha hardly interacts with Vika before he is swooning at her feet. I just wanted a stronger romance here or at the very least, pick a team to root for and I never did.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There was a rush of things that happened at the end and so I’m excited to see what will happen next. There’s so much potential moving forward.

updates

–June 25, 2017– Book #2: The Crown’s Fate

I think I might be in the minority but I fully believe that this book was better than the first one. I found the plot to be much more engaging and interesting than it was in The Crown’s Game. Despite some slight monotony in the middle of the book with one plot aspect, I found that this story always kept moving and developing in a way that was rather addicting to read. I was flying through the pages.

The character development was also great. When you have essentially 3 key players to keep tabs on, one or more will inevitable fall to the wayside in terms of growth. But I felt like everyone had a great story to tell and I’m glad we got to see them all.

This series is still missing that something to make me give it a 5/5 though.  And truthfully, I was leaning more towards a 3.5/5 rating for this particular book because I did find the middle of the novel to be a little stale. But I really liked how everything was brought together in the latter half of the novel and I did feel like this was a much stronger showing on Evelyn Skye’s part. I think she has a very bright future ahead of her in terms of her writing and I’ll be keeping an eye on what she writes next!

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Crown’s Game 3.5/5 | The Crown’s Fate 4/5

overall

I enjoyed myself while reading this novel, I just wasn’t blown away. (Maybe the hype monster killed this one for me?) It’s a solid series and definitely worth a read if you love alternate history with a dash of magic!

Read if You Like: fantasy, Imperial Russia, alternate history
Avoid if You: dislike magic, want more romance
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2017 Reading Challenge Announcements

2017 Reading Challenges

Last year, I participated in 2 reading challenges. One was Rock My TBR in which I focused on reading books I had purchased over the years. Another was a personal challenge to read books listed on Epic Reads’ 365 Days of YA infographic.

I had great success with the Rock My TBR and was able to clean up my eReader a bit by focusing my reading on those books I had purchased over the years. So moving into 2017, I knew I wanted a similar challenge (I like trying new challenges each year). On the other hand, my personal YA challenge fell through the cracks; I was much too ambitious with that one but I learned a lot from that attempt and know what to do moving forward.


What’s the Plan for 2017?

This year, I am a part of a Jane Austen reading group so I plan on reading more classics. But other than that, I really don’t know if I’ll have the time to dedicate to a particular challenge. I’m going to be joining the working world once school is over in two months and I really don’t know how that will affect my reading time (hopefully not too much).

Learning from my 365 Days of YA failure, I wanted to create my own personal yet flexible challenge!

Some of my most anticipated reads slip through the cracks simply because of time or my lack of memory. So, I decided to pick 5 books from each of the last 5 years that I was dying to read upon their release, but never got around to. The result is the following personal challenge:

5yr5bk1

The 5 Year 5 Book Challenge

The list totals 25 titles that were published between 2012 – 2016. Because most are the start of a series, I plan on reading as many of the sequels as possible in order to get some reviews for this blog!

(Fun Fact: That’s a total of 54 Books and 10 Novellas!)

Here are my picks:

2016

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1) The Forbidden Wish (The For... Smut Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)

2015

A Thousand Nights (A Thousand Nights, #1) The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1) The Cage (The Cage, #1) 5 to 1 The Isle of the Lost (Descendants, #1)

2014

Loop (Loop #1) Solitaire Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy M... Prisoner of Night and Fog (... Beautiful Oblivion (The Maddox Brothers, #1)

2013

The Archived (The Archived, #1) Born of Illusion (Born of I... Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor, #1) These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

2012

The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon & Clare, #1) Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1) The Unnaturalists (The Unnaturalists, #1) The Raven Boys (The Raven C... Tiger Lily

Full details on how I plan to do this can be found on my challenge’s homepage.

See any that you plan on reading this year? I’d love to have a buddy!


Shelf Love Challenge 2016

#ShelfLove Challenge 2017

In the same vain as my Rock My TBR Challenge, I wanted one that would focus on the books I already own. I don’t like doing the same challenges twice so I went out in search of a new one and I found #ShelfLove.

What I liked about this challenge was that each month had prompts for discussion. It also didn’t require me to pick out all the books I wanted to read in advance. I also liked that it was a yearly tally and not necessarily a monthly goal. I could just tally whatever I read from my TBR shelf whenever I read it and I had the flexibility to change my own guidelines/goals when I needed to.

(Not that Rock My TBR Challenge didn’t provide that; just this one compared to other similar challenges had more flexibility).

My Goal for 2017:

41-50 books: my shelves are now my bff

With this challenge, I’m going to try and curb my book purchases as well. Only if I find a really good deal (<$5 typically) will I buy the novel. I read a lot of books from my TBR last year but essentially replaced a good number of them with purchases.


As always, you can follow my progress on my 2017 Reading Challenge Page.

You can also learn more about my Goodreads & Judged by Cover Challenges.


What Challenges are You Doing this Year?

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Spin-off Saturdays: Darkness Rising Series by Kelley Armstrong

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

The Darkness Series is a spin-off of the Darkest Powers

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: Darkness Rising Trilogy
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 3 (The Gathering, The Calling, The Rising)

This is a spinoff of the Darkest Powers Trilogy.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Action, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 2011 – April 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Paperback

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WARNING: If you have not finished the original series, The Darkest Powers, this review may have spoilers!

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**This post was originally posted as a review of the first two books of the series. It has now been updated to include the last publication in the series.**

My Expectations:

Because I loved, Darkest Powers Trilogy, this spin-off series was a must read for me. That also meant I was going in with high expectations.

My Review of The Gathering and The Calling:

Unfortunately the first book, The Gathering didn’t quite meet my hopes. I found it a little predictable and a little lackluster in plot. It does pickup plot-wise near the end (and book 2, The Calling continues with this faster pace) but for the most part I was a little bored with it. I also didn’t really like Maya. I really tried to like her (and at the start it seemed promising) but she seemed very petty and selfish to me so I had a hard time liking her character. However, if there is one thing this book does well, it is establishing the setting and circumstances for the next book.

I enjoyed The Calling a lot more than book 1. In this book, the plots begin to unfold and there is a lot more action to be found. We also get to learn more about the other characters in the series, so there is a little less focus on Maya, which in my opinion is a bonus.

How Does it Compare to the Original Series?

This series is very similar to Darkest Powers Trilogy and rightfully so as it is the sequel series (I mean, even look at the titles and you can see a pattern between the two). Both involve a group of teens learning about their true heritage and what that means for them in the world they find themselves in. Of course there are different plot stories, but the main progression of the novels follow a similar path. For those hoping for a direct sequel to Chloe and company, as you can probably tell, this isn’t it. The two series are loosely connected but the Darkest Powers Trilogy plays a huge role in the plot development of this series.

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–August 7, 2017– Book #: The Rising

I will admit, it took me far longer than it should have to pick up this finale. But thanks to my Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge, I got around to this final novel.

Even though it has been nearly 4 years since I read this trilogy, I was immediately thrown back in. There was enough info at the start to get me up to pace and feel like I literally just read The Calling last week.

This book was good and definitely a solid finale. It was nice to see how this series intersects with The Darkest Powers and I felt like I was able to get closure with both series because of that.

I still found myself irritated by Maya at times and some of her friends. They just aren’t as likeable as Chloe & co. to me. They come across as entitled and slightly petty (and they are because of the circumstances of their situation so its understandable). So I found myself getting frustrated at the romantic developments of this series. (Let’s just say my “team” didn’t win).

Series Rating: 4/5

The Gathering 4/5 | The Calling 4/5 | The Rising 4/5

overall

Not as good as the Darkest Powers series, but a solid sequel that is unique in its own right. I recommend that you read the Darkest Powers before you read this series, but you can probably make do on your own without doing so.

similarreads
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers Trilogy, #1)

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED the Darkest Powers SERIES THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS may have SPOILERS!

Synopsis for The Gathering (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn’t know much about her background – the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip – but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town – from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend’s hidden talent for “feeling” out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya’s biological parents and it’s easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

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