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.

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

“I Liked My Life” by Abby Fabiaschi

New release Tuesday!

51h7j9fq7glI Liked My Life is my first 5-star read of 2017. The story is told from three viewpoints: Maddy as a ghost after her suicide; Eve, her daughter; and Brady, Eve’s father and Maddy’s widower.

Maddy is trying to find a replacement for herself — someone who can bring Brady and Eve back to happiness after her own sudden death. Eve is learning how to deal with not having her mother around anymore, trying to figure out what would cause her mother to do what she did. Brady is struggling with alcohol abuse, anger issues, and the nagging notion that he was the reason for his wife’s suicide.

All of the characters grow in their own way throughout the book, learning, grieving, and stumbling through life. This book stole my entire Sunday — I started it in the morning and didn’t move until I finished it. I Liked My Life has an exquisite, sweeping story with relatable characters and stunning writing.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

“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.

“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.

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” by EK Johnston

25528801.jpgThis is such a hard review to write. It’s a book I enjoyed a lot, a book that I thought about for days after finishing it. But here’s the thing: It’s going to sound pretty morbid for this to be one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheer team, plus it’s her senior year of high school and that’s stressful enough as it is. The captain has a lot of expectations, especially at cheer camp — be the loudest, the bubbliest, the most precise during their routine. But at the end-of-camp dance, Hermione is drugged and raped, and left in the lake. When she comes to at the hospital, she has no memory of what happened. She remembers going to the dance, and getting tired and thirsty, and that’s where her memory ends. Exit, Pursued By A Bear is the story of Hermione’s assault, recovery, healing, and coping with what has happened to her.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear is heartwrenching, beautiful (in a sad way), exceptionally well-written, and it’ll stay with you for days (if not longer). I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was captivating. Honestly, this book was one of my favorites of 2016. You’ll find yourself cheering for Hermione to overcome.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.