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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: 4 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) Wayfarer (Passenger, #2)

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: 3 Sequels Read

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

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. Phoenix was a Make Me Read It pick that I should have read YEARS ago but I absolutely adored it!

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 (29 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 (but finished it the next day!).

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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Reading Challenge: Summer TBR Wipeout – Reading List

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Read my Sign-up Post Here

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

As I mentioned in my sign-up post, I used this challenge as a way to re-evaluate my reading progress mid-year. I left my sign-up post pretty general but now that I’m only a few days out, I thought I would update my reading list with the titles I plan to tackle.

My Plan & Selections:

No ARC requests!

I’m not picking up any more ARCs for the rest of the summer. I did get a little request happy in early June and do have some titles I need/should read in this time frame (a lot are sequels for previously reviewed series) but I hope to get a few out of the way before this one starts.

Leave The Night On Royal Replicas The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1) The Forbidden

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

The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) Endure (Need, #4) The Morning Star (Katerina, #3)

Read Sequels for (at least) 2 Previously Started Series

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4) Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)

Read 1 Classic Novel

Jane Eyre

Binge Read 1 Series from start to end!

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Do you have any priority reads for the summer?

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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 Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

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

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Synopsis for Poison Princess (from Goodreads):
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

breakdown

Series: Arcana Chronicles
Author: Kresley Cole
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Dark Calling will be published in Spring 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: public library–hardcopies & eBook

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My Expectations:

In the same vein of bestselling adult romance author Gena Showalter writing a Young Adult Series (White Rabbit Chronicles), Kresley Cole has done the same thing with the Arcana Chronicles. And like Showalter, I had never read a book by Cole until I picked up this YA series.

The Concept:

I wanted to read Poison Princess because the premise really interested me. It sounded like it was going to be like the White Rabbit Chronicles meets The Scorch Trials–two of my favourite apocalyptic themed books–but with a Tarot Card theme (instead of zombies or science fiction) so I just had to read it! Once I started reading it though it also reminded me of a lot of other novels. Not in the sense that it is a carbon copy of these other books but that it incorporates elements that I have come across in other series. For example: Evie’s character reminds me a lot of Isobel from Nevermore; and the post-apocalyptic world and book delivery reminds me of The Blood of Eden Trilogy. (Endless Knight also had some Cruel Beauty vibes coming from it as well).

But the whole tarot card aspect is definitely a unique feature of this story and its best feature for sure.

The Plot:

Unfortunately, Poison Princess (to me) falls prey to the same issue The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) did: it’s boring until the very end. I didn’t mind the beginning so much (before the apocalypse) because it had some character development, but there is a solid 100 pages where nothing of importance happens. I’m not lying. I honestly don’t think anything happened to progress the plot forward other than days passing. The last 50 pages definitely improve with the addition of a few new characters and the actual progression of the supernatural plotline.

I could probably rant for a few days on why I didn’t like Poison Princess, but I’ll just keep it short here:

  • The supernatural elements really don’t come into play near the very end which sucks! I feel like Poison Princess simply served as a really long prequel novella because it didn’t do much to set up the Arcana Game in the slightest, rather it just introduced you to Evie and her life before the apocalypse.
  • The romance just fizzled for me! I really didn’t see the connection besides the physical lust. Jackson isn’t anything to write home about in my books so I was disappointed in that aspect as well.
  • Evie is just plain annoying! She is not the kick-ass heroine I wanted. She is a petty, immature girl who isn’t all that bright either. I get that she is 16 and all, but the world is ending! Being thankful that you don’t have to shave your legs because you had laser hair removal isn’t something I would worry about in an apocalypse! I really didn’t connect with her whatsoever and all I really wanted to do was slap some sense into her as I turned the pages!

Part of the problem is that I built up what the plot of this book was going to be in my head before I ever read it. I really thought the focus was going to be more on Evie finding other Arcana characters in this new world. Not her wandering boringly towards one destination for 200 pages.

Turns out that Endless Knight is the book that I thought I was getting with Poison Princess. This book managed to keep my attention the entire time and actually had some plot development to it. Evie was still annoying to me, but I felt like she had some great character development so she went from “extremely annoying” to “annoying”–which is quite the leap. I also liked the romance a touch more as well–I think this is the rare case where a love triangle actually helps the story progress. But what I really think helped with this book was the addition of more characters that I found to be much more interesting to me. Reading Endless Knight made me happy I continued on with the series despite the painful drag that was Poison Princess.

Dead of Winter is probably my favourite of the 3. I quickly motored through it because the plot is fast, the action is high and–dare I say it–I actually started to like Evie as a character. I know! CrAzY! Well, it’s partly true: I liked Evie the “let’s-get-down-to-fighting” Evie, not the “I-can’t-decide-between-the-two” Evie. Evie has a true case of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome when it comes to “dealing” with her love triangle. Man-oh-man, I don’t know why she struggles so much with just saying the full truth to these boys who constantly fawn over her! It would solve a lot of problems other than assuming shit all the time! I also don’t know why there were 50 pages dedicated to each boy giving his case for why she should pick her–let’s just get on with the story please!

The Romance:

Speaking of the romance, I think I have to mention that it borders more on the “older” scale of young adult reads. If you are someone who doesn’t like sex being mentioned in their YA reads or having it described in more detail (I’m not talking full blown erotica, merely descriptions of how the body is reacting, etc) you might not like this series. The sexual situations aren’t really a huge focus of the books but it is definitely present. (For those who have read the White Rabbit Chronicles, the sex scenes here are the same as in it)

updates

–July 11, 2017– Book #4: Arcana Rising

This started very slowly for me and while it did pick up, I feel like it was just coasting along to get to the end. Bigger things are definitely in store for this series but this book was nothing more than a (necessary) bridge in the middle.

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My Rating: 3.5/5

Poison Princess 2.5/5  |  Endless Knight 3.5/5  |  Dead of Winter 4/5  |  Arcana Rising 3.5/5 |  The Dark Calling TBR

overall

Poison Princess lived up to its name in my opinion: it truly poisoned my views for the other books because I really struggled to read it. The series definitely gets better as you go, especially when the Arcana aspect of the plot actually comes into fruition and more characters are introduced. But the love triangle and heroine are often hard to swallow, even in the later books. It’s definitely a series that you have to invest into to enjoy

Read if You Like: slow building stories, post-apocalyptic worlds, fights to the death
Avoid if You Dislike: petty heroines, love triangles (extreme), slow starts

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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

breakdown

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.

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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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