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.

“Hello, Sunshine” by Laura Dave

New release Tuesday!

71uRCzlwUgLSunshine Makenzie is a YouTube star, coming up in the world with a fresh cookbook deal and a Food Network show in the works. But when her twitter account is hacked and the hacker posts proof that she’s a fraud and has cheated on her husband, Sunshine’s world falls apart.

When her apartment is sold out from under her, she is forced to go to her last resort — her estranged sister in Montauk. Burned from the cooking celebrity world, she has to rebuild her confidence in herself, her friends and family, and the world to get back to what she enjoys. She makes some new friends — a burly fisherman, a chef with a Gordon Ramsay-like temperament, and her own 10-year-old niece, Sammy.

This is the classic story of a woman’s life falling apart, her losing everything, then fighting to regain some semblance of normalcy in the aftermath. But the unique part about this book is that it has lots to tell about the celebrity chef world — gaining a following, creating recipes, working in a restaurant, getting a cookbook deal and Food Network show.

I absolutely love watching Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Next Food Network Star, and the like, so I enjoyed the subject matter here. In fact, I read this entire book in one night, which doesn’t happen too often anymore! I originally picked it up because of the adorable cover and because I really enjoyed Dave’s last book, Eight Hundred Grapes.

Bottom line: Want a fresh, tasty read with a couple of spicy twists? Get this one to-go — you won’t be able to put it down until you devour the whole thing.

Rating: ★★★★

Purchase the book here: Hello, Sunshine

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?

“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

static1.squarespaceAnna and the French Kiss is a YA contemporary book that despite its frustrating premise and the questionable actions of one of the main characters, is too cute for words. Anna, to her disgust, has just been forced to attend a boarding school in Paris, far away from her best friend Bridge and her love interest, Toph. (At this point, I’m like BOO-freaking-HOO! You’re having your school and living expenses paid for to study in Paris! How awful could that be?!)

Though Anna is angry and frustrated at starting at a new school in a new country, she quickly becomes friends with her dorm neighbor, Mer, and all of Mer’s friends.Including the absolutely dreamy Etienne St. Clair (known to most as just St. Clair). He’s gorgeous, funny, smart, and British. *swoons*

But there’s one problem. St. Clair has a girlfriend already at a nearby college (and her name is Ellie, which made this book really hard for me to read!). But then St. Clair begins to take an interest in Anna, finding out they both like movies and they both enjoy each other’s company. They become very close — like best friends close.

As much as Anna likes St. Clair, she has to remember Ellie. And St. Clair seems to have a hard time remembering her as well. Thus, here’s the book’s big question: Will St. Clair stay with Ellie, or will he follow his new crush with Anna?

This book had me feeling very conflicted. I found it absolutely adorable and fun and unputdownable, but I also had a lot of issues with Anna’s spoiled attitude and St. Clair’s unfaithfulness (while not physical, it was still emotional cheating). If you can look past these things, it was really enjoyable — don’t get me wrong. It’s just really exhilarating to cheer for Anna to finally get her French Kiss.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Purchase the book here.

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?

“One True Loves” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

27189194Emma Blair’s first husband died in a plane crash over the ocean. She was understandably heartbroken and it took her years to recover from the tragedy. But eventually, Emma heals, and she decides it’s time to start dating again. She runs into an old school friend and they end up getting engaged. But one evening, when Emma and Sam (her fiancee) are out at dinner, Emma gets a life-changing phone call.

Her first husband is alive. He survived the plane crash. And he’s headed back home. Now, Emma must make the unbelievably hard decision between going back to her husband, her first love, who she was so horribly separated from, or continuing with her plan to marry Sam, her new love.

I listened to this on Audible, and I loved the narrator. I adore Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books — I loved Maybe in Another Life last year, so I was so excited to see she was coming out with this book. This book was heartbreaking, beautiful, and addicting. This would be a good one to read by the fireplace, cozy in a warm blanket. Who knows — maybe this book will be one of your One True Loves…

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.

“Glitter” by Aprilynne Pike

★★★★☆ New release Tuesday!

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Glitter has a tough premise and setting to describe, but I’m going to give it a go. In the future, there is an entire palace full of people who live like they are in Victorian Versailles. They wear corsets and fancy clothes every day, all day. Yet it’s also futuristic — there are robot maids, the people communicate through specialized contact lenses, and more. So it’s a futuristic sci fi historical fiction novel. The blurb for this book labels it as Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. (Also, *swoon* that cover though!)

With all that being said, let’s get into it. The main character, Danica, is set to marry the ruthless king of Sonoman-Versailles. He’s done some pretty horrendous things (read: a murder and subsequent coverup), and she’d rather escape and leave her family and friends behind than marry him. So Danica finds a way to sneak a new drug called “Glitter” (seemed like an upper/hallucinogen-type drug) into the palace and sells it to make money to fund her escape.

Despite this book being a complete conundrum to describe, it’s un-put-down-able. I flew through it. It’s got a super interesting premise, love triangles, bad guys you hate, bad guys you love, awesome technology, a queen-to-be drug dealer, twists galore, and so much more.

This is the first book in the series, and I honestly would place the sequel on my to-be-released highly anticipated reads list.

Take one hit of Glitter — I promise you’ll be hooked and begging for more.

Purchase the book here.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for my honest review.