The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin

Okay everybody, take a seat. This is another case of “Why didn’t anyone force me to read these before?!” So here I am to shove these books in your face and make you read them.

This is a three-book series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer starts off with Mara starting a new school in Florida after surviving a building collapse that kills her three best friends. Mara is understandably distraught and is diagnosed with PTSD that leaves her hallucinating at random. At her new school, Mara meets Noah Shaw, a supposedly notorious ladies’ man. There’s something about him that she can’t put her finger on, but he eventually convinces her to go on a date with him.

But Mara isn’t sure all of her hallucinations are actually figments of her imagination. Some of them are too real. She starts receiving creepy messages and photographs, and she suspects they’re coming from her deceased ex-boyfriend, Jude.

I can’t really get into any more details because it’ll be too spoiler-y.

This series is awesome because it combines so many genres flawlessly. It has YA contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, historical fiction, and more. It’s amazing, really. The audiobooks are narrated by Christy Romano… yes, that one — Christy Carlson Romano, known best for her role in Even Stevens and the voice of Kim Possible.

My review of the first book was few words — I couldn’t process it. “Wowwwww. Yes. Amazing.”

The same happened with the second book. ” Wow wow wow. Normally a second book falls flat. But that ending……..On to the next oneeeee!!!”

And the last book prompted this, “Well that ending had me SHOOK. But it definitely felt like it was dragging in the middle there. I can’t wait to read The Shaw Confessions series. NOVEMBER GET HERE NOOOOOW.”

Because *excited face* there’s a new spinoff series coming out that focuses on Noah! The first one is called The Becoming of Noah Shaw and it comes out November 7th, 2017.

So get caught up now, because there’s about to be another installment in the series! Overall, I give this series 4.5 stars.

Buy the box set of the first three books here.

Pre-order The Becoming of Noah Shaw here.

7 Series You Need to Check Out

I love a good series — diving in and getting to fly through multiple books in the same world, reveling in the sheer mass of story you have to conquer.

I have many different series I’ve started, some finished, some unfinished, some with books still yet to come. Here’s some you need to check out.

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  • Harry Potter — Okay, this is an obvious one. But it continues to shock me when I find out someone I know hasn’t read them yet! And before you say it, no, the movies don’t count. And if you want my brutally honest opinion, I’d tell you that the movies are complete garbage compared to the books. They left out so many great things! Peeves! Winky and S.P.E.W. All of the flashbacks they left out in HP6!
    • Bottom Line: Read them however you can, but I highly recommend the Jim Dale narration of the audiobooks. It’s like watching a movie IN YOUR HEAD!
  • uglies1Uglies by Scott Westerfeld — In this series, Tally Youngblood is about to turn 16. In her society, that is the age when you “turn pretty” — you get surgery to make you perfect and bubbly-headed. This series has such cool technology and rebels and swoons and fights. Uglies was one of my favorite series when I was in middle school, and I have it from a very reliable source (Mr. Westerfeld himself) that there is more in this world coming!
    • Bottom Line: Is the price of being Pretty worth losing what makes you original? Does Tally have what it takes to fight back?
    • If you liked Uglies, try Divergent and The Hunger Games.
  • d1cehmuxhes-_sl250_fmpng_Helen Grace series by M.J. Arlidge — This is an adult mystery/thriller series in which the main character, Detective Helen Grace, is on the prowl for serial killers. Each book focuses on a different killer, and they are all pretty gruesome and heart-pounding cases. This series has 5 books out in the US, but 2 additional out in the UK that aren’t here yet, PLUS two novellas.
    • Bottom Line: While they won’t win a pulitzer prize, these books are fast-paced, chilling thrillers. I flew through 5 in about a week and a half, and I can’t wait for more!
    • Bonus: Killer covers. (Pun intended.)
  • The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristilluminae-filesoff — These books are awesome for a few reasons. First, the story is just top notch space race against the enemy. On top of that, both books feature absolutely bad-ass young women that show the villain who’s boss. But ultimately, the reason that puts these at the top of many people’s lists, is that the format and design of the book itself is stunning. Told through transcripts, emails, chats, web pages, and more, reading The Illuminae Files is a lot like what it sounds like — you’re literally reading a file of evidence. But it’s extremely well-done.
    • Bottom Line: If you’re looking for something different and fun, plus space and bad-ass bitches kicking ass, you need to pick up Illuminae and Gemina. (Plus Obsidio comes out next year! Time to catch up!) 
    • Bonus: While I haven’t personally listened to them, the audiobooks for this series are narrated by a full cast and are allegedly amazing. Let me know if you’ve listened to them.
    • If you liked The Illuminae Files, try The Themis Files (ALIEN ROBOTS NEED I SAY MORE?).
  • a-darker-shade-of-magic-ve-schwab-series-book-covers-1024x513A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab — Set in a universe where three Londons exist in different worlds (Red London, White London, and Grey London), there exist two beings who are the only ones who can travel between worlds. When one of these beings unknowingly brings a piece of evil magic into the world, it creates a series of chaotic events that seemingly can’t be stopped. You can also read my review here.
    • Bottom Line: If you like fantasy books, this is for you. If you don’t like fantasy books, I think this is still for you. It’s just so much crazy awesomeness that I can’t even properly put into words why you should read these massive, beautiful tomes.
  • 516wcmsapcl-_sx332_bo1204203200_To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han — This is just a cute, squishy, happy feels series. It all starts out when Lara Jean’s letters get mailed out. Sounds normal, right? But they’re not — they’re “break up” letters Lara Jean wrote to everyone she ever had a crush on or “loved,” as the title implies. This series has food, cute decorations and adorable clothes, swoon-worthy boys, and a strong family support system not often seen in books.
    • Bottom Line: These 3 books are definitely something I used as a palate cleanser, and I mean that in the best way possible! They’re just consumable, sweet, and adorable. I love them like a little sister.
  • 51qxkni9til-_sx336_bo1204203200_The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French — This series is super unique in that each book is from a different officer’s perspective, and you meet the new officer in the book before (typically). These books are beautifully written, but thorough, so don’t expect to fly through them. There’s 6 of them, and they range from creepy, to strange, to sad, to school-girl, and so much more. The perspectives aren’t always from a man or a woman, but rather switch off, which I find to be a nice change of pace. Read my review of In the Woods here.
    • Bottom Line: Read In the Woods and try to tell me you weren’t biting your nails and running away from dark rooms. This isn’t to say they are all scary, though, and they’re definitely not horror books, so they’re okay for the easily frightened.

That’s just a few of my favorites. What are your favorite series? Have you read any of these and agree or disagree with me?

April Wrap-Up!

It’s time for the April wrap-up! I read 23 books in April! That makes 87 towards my goal of 200 for this year!

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  1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  2. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  4. Leave Me by Gayle Forman
  5. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan*
  6. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  7. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  8. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (reread)
  9. Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
  10. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  11. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  12. Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star*
  13. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
  14. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  15. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust*
  16. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
  17. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
  18. Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
  19. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  20. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  21. Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge

*Indicates a book not pictured because I read it via library book, ebook, or audiobook.
Does not include 2 books read for work that do not fall in the scope of this blog.

What did you read this month? What are you looking forward to reading in May?

“Shades of Magic” series by V.E. Schwab


Do you like fantasy? I have really been getting into this genre lately. It’s nice to be swept away to a new world full of magic, villains, and adventure.

The most recent series I’ve finished is the series by V.E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light. If you’re not afraid of GIANT beautiful masterpieces, you definitely need to pick this series up.

It’s a bit of a mouthful to explain, so here goes:

There are three Londons: Grey London (has no magic), Red London (has a good amount of magic), White London (has a dangerous amount of magic). The people know of these three Londons thanks to the two Antari in the world, Kell and Holland. They can travel between worlds and deliver messages (and smuggle magical items between the worlds).

In Grey London, Lila Bard is a pickpocket. She’s really good at stealing and weaseling her way out of things. One day, she picks Kell’s pocket, and the two become travelling buddies in a weird twist of events.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so I can’t really get into more details. But there are pirates, evil rulers (in abundance), a magical gladiator-like competition, several curses, and a fight for everything the characters know and love.

V.E. Schwab is a colorful writer, and while the books can be slow-moving, you don’t notice because the world-building and writing style are so magical (pun intended?). I can’t recommend this series enough. Just be glad you are hearing about it now that the books are all out and you don’t have to wait for the story to continue. You’re welcome.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the books here: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light

March 2017 Wrap-Up

March was a little bit better for reading, but I made it through some BIG books. So, March was made of 20 books for me. As of the end of March, I am at 64 of my goal of 200 — 33% of the way there!

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Here’s what I read:

  1. My Secret: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren*
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  3. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
  4. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  7. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones*
  8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  10. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  11. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
  13. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  14. Legend by Marie Lu
  15. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
  16. Prodigy by Marie Lu
  17. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  18. Champion by Marie Lu

*Indicates a book not pictured because I read it via library book, ebook, or audiobook.
Does not include 2 books read for work that do not fall in the scope of this blog.

What did you read in March? What are you looking forward to in April?

December Wrap-Up

Well everyone, 2016 is officially over! I’ll be doing another post about the  year in review, plus a bonus top 20 of 2016 post!

December was a somewhat slower month — I read some larger books that I’d been meaning to get to. I read 22 books in December, giving me a grand total of 214 books in 2016!

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Here’s what I read!

  1. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
  2. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (review)
  3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens*
  5. All Fall Down by Ally Carter
  6. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw
  7. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  8. See How They Run by Ally Carter*
  9. Blankets by Craig Thompson
  10. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  11. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia*
  12. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  13. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  14. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
  15. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  16. You by Caroline Kepnes
  17. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik*
  18. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  19. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
  20. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  21. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio*
  22. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

*Not pictured — read as audiobook, library book, or ebook.

What did you read in December? What are you looking forward to reading in January?

“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman

28954189In a futuristic world, humans have found the cure for every disease and can keep people alive indefinitely. Since this would lead to overpopulation, the world has Scythes who randomly choose citizens and kill them. It’s a government-provided service and is considered something that is good for the community. Citra and Rowan both have run-ins with Scythe Faraday, who is in turn impressed with the two teenagers’ personalities. Faraday decides to take both on as apprentices for one Scythe position. They learn more about the society that Scythes are ruled by, and train in combat, compassion, and common sense. There are several tests that they are required to perform, and the best apprentice will become a full-fledged Scythe, granting them and their family immunity from death.

While this sounds very morbid, this book was absolutely fascinating. I read this monster in one day, putting off everything I should have been doing instead. Scythe is so well-written and has such an amazing premise and world-building. This is the first book I’ve read by Neal Shusterman, and I definitely plan on reading his other books now. It’s easy to get lost in the story, rooting for the good guys, hoping the bad guys get what’s coming to them. Definitely pick this one up — it’s to die for.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.