UPDATE: Reading Goals for 2020

Reading Goals for 2020

I’m a little late on this update, but when I checked on my goals I was surprised by how much I’d gotten done! Here’s my original post from the beginning of the year. But for those of you who don’t want to click through, here’s my list:

I’m super proud of everything I’ve accomplished so far. Early in the year I read The Little Prince and the beginning of quarantine was a great time to binge the entire Princess Diaries series. I quickly binged the Twilight series before Midnight Sun came out this summer (I was never planning on reading it, but it reminded me that I had this as a goal). I was really curious to see how the series would read as an adult since the last time I read it, I was still a teenager (my review).

I only ended up reading one Kristin Hannah and Ruth Ware book apiece–I just didn’t LOVE their writing styles so I didn’t feel that urge to pick up any of their other books. For Kristin Hannah, I read The Great Alone (review)and for Ruth Ware I read The Death of Mrs. Westaway (review). I liked The Great Alone a lot more than the Ruth Ware book, but I’ll definitely have to be in the right mood before I read another Kristin Hannah book I think.

I ended up listening to the audio book for The Tale of Two Cities and I thought that ended up being a really good decision. I think if I’d tried to read it, I would have missed some things. I think I would have been more confused as to what was going on and I definitely would have missed the little jokes throughout–Dickens is funny! Who knew? So to anyone who’s struggling with reading classics, I might suggest finding an audio version!

I’ve got 1984 sitting on my Kindle right now, but I’m not sure I’ll get to it before it’s due back at the library. I still need to pick which series I want to finish, but right now I think I’m planning on doing three which would consist of four books that I own. We’ll see though…

How are your 2020 Reading Goals coming?

MINI-REVIEWS: Arc of a Scythe series

I’d been meaning to read this series for a while and I’m happy that I finally did! My timing was really good too since the third book came out pretty soon after I finished Thunderhead.



I liked both Rowan and Citra as main characters. There was also a great cast of secondary characters and antagonists. Everyone is really complicated and this is a crazy world to try to wrap your mind around. There were definitely some plot twists that I saw coming, but some that took me completely by surprise. And that ending! Definitely did not see that coming. Just one complaint I had plot-wise…when they decided that the loser would be gleaned, I feel like Scythe Faraday had an obvious argument against that. He should have argued that that condition was not in the original offer. He originally offered that the loser would be able to return to their regular life. If they had known that the loser would be gleaned at the end, they may not have chosen to become apprentices. In the long run, I guess that doesn’t really matter, but it just seemed so obvious to me at the time. 4/5

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One thing I loved that this book really explored more was how each of the scythes are still individuals and glean differently. I especially liked Citra’s method of gleaning. I thought Rowan’s path was really interesting as well and wished that we had gotten more from Scythe Lucifer. The Thunderhead started to develop more as a character as well which I thought was really intriguing. Greyson of course is a great character and I was very interesting to see how he would develop in the last book. I’m amazed that he was only introduced in this book but I felt just as invested in him as I did with Citra and Rowan. One thing I didn’t LOVE about this book was that there was an extreme amount of foreshadowing. Just too much especially when Shusterman usually went on to tell you exactly what happened to the character. So…why foreshadow in the first place? One last little thing I liked was the mention of the revival center’s ice cream. It’s little running gags like that that help make a series really enjoyable. This book ended on such a cliffhanger and I could not WAIT to get my hands on the last book. Seriously, I had no idea how he was going to end this series. 4/5

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The TollThe Toll

This book was SO COMPLICATED. It’s honestly so crazy how complex the plot becomes in this book. It’s also amazing to me how Shusterman was able to bring in these characters that he might have mentioned in an off-hand way, but then they end up playing a huge role (or at least, a bigger role than you might have predicted). In this book I really grew to love Greyson even more. I felt like he stayed true to who he was and didn’t let being “The Toll” effect him in a negative way or let that go to his head. I also loved Scythe Faraday and his three year long temper tantrum–the best. I didn’t love the way the story unfolded though. The timelines kept getting a little confusing for me. I wished that the story had been told in a more linear timeline. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | eBook

12 Best Book Deals for 7/11/19: A Princess in Theory, After You, Robin, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $2

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

After You by Jojo Moyes

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

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Roar by Cora Carmack

The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff

The Madman’s Daughter by Meagan Shepherd

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

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1776 by David McCullough

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

Recommended from this post:

Another book about kids with special powers | The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I found this book to be SUPER underwhelming. I read it because the movie was coming out and Mandy Moore is in it and it has such a high star rating on Goodreads. Honestly, I just feel like I read the book too late. If I had read it about five years ago not long after it came out, I think I would have loved it. As it is, I felt like the book really dragged and the characters weren’t super interesting to me. The author didn’t really explain anything either, but maybe that comes in the later books?

I found the romance to be cringey at best and eye-rolly at worst. It verges on insta-love and the love interest is this perfect specimen of a teenage boy. Literally, his only flaw is that he cares too much about the little guy. The main character’s motivations seemed extremely fluid and didn’t make for a very concrete character. I will say that the secondary characters of Zume and Chubs were a nice addition, but they weren’t enough to save this book.

While there were a few plot points that genuinely took me by surprise, overall this book was predictable and much, much longer than it needed to be. It took me almost an entire month to read simply because there was nothing drawing me back to it.

While the cliffhanger was surprising and, honestly, completely wrecked me, I do not plan on reading the rest of this series. Or watching the movie tbh.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: None
Sexual Content: Mild

BLOG TOUR: Meritropolis by Joel Ohman [GIVEAWAY]

MerMeritropolis (Meritropolis, #1)
by Joel Ohman
Release Date: September 8th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult


SYNOPSIS: In Meritropolis everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die. After a young boy is killed because of a low Score, his brother plots to take down the System.

The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment–to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn’t an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing–not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science–is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn’t possibly have bargained for…

REVIEW: The premise of this book was extremely promising. I like the idea of everyone getting a score to determine a person’s worth in society (not in real life, obviously, but in a fictional scenario, that seems intriguing). I felt like this book fell flat a little bit though as it didn’t really go into the system much–we didn’t really see it operating asides from people being “zeroed out”.

Charley as a main character was kind of hard for me to swallow. He was very aggressive and abrasive–I didn’t find myself connecting with him at all. Sure, he’s got this tragic backstory, and I feel bad for saying it, but I just couldn’t make myself sympathize with him. He seemed really unlikable to me and I didn’t feel like he experienced any kind of character development. I did like other characters though like Grigor and Sandy. They seemed like solid characters and I wish we’d seen more of them.

Overall, this book was just okay. The premise was so promising, but then the world just ended up being confusing (I don’t really understand the animal combinations–they just seem super random).

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: None
Sexual Content: Mild


Click on the picture above to be taken to the giveaway!

JoelABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joel Ohman is the author of the Meritropolis series –“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Get notified of new books here: Meritropolis.com



Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

This is the second book in The Reckoners series and so my review may contain spoilers if you have not read the first book.

Steelheart is gone, Newcago is free, and David is finally a Reckoner. He knows he should be enjoying life, but this would all be a lot better if Megan–otherwise known as Firefight–was there with him. Unfortunately, there are rumors that she’s killed another Reckoner in Babylon Restored (what used to be known as New York). David knows that this rumor cannot possibly be true (Megan is still good!) so he goes with Prof and Tia to Babilar to clear her name. When they arrive, they quickly learn that Regalia, the leader of Babilar, wants something with Prof. The only question is, does she want to kill him? Or have him kill her?Cover_of_Brandon_Sanderson's_book_-Firefight-

I just want to start by saying that I do not read this series for the characters. They’re a little two-dimensional for me and I can’t find myself relating to any of them. That being said, HOLY WORLD BUILDING. The reason that I’m keeping up with this series is because the world building is amazing. Sanderson has brilliantly constructed an alternate future (or is it supposed to be the present…?) This is a world ruled by cruel beings with superpowers. The people aren’t necessarily inherently evil, but using the superpower makes you evil. Literally, that’s what happens. Now that I think about it, this may be somewhat of a commentary on the effects of power…but I won’t get into that here.

While the characters are only vaguely described and given somewhat flat personalities, the world that Sanderson has built rises off the pages. I can see what New York looks like as Babilar and the entire world is so convincing that I wonder why I haven’t heard about these things on the news. I’ve also been trying to imagine what state Provo, Utah would be in after Calamity’s rise. Probably incinerated. I think the whole city would just be gone. If world building is something that you’re into, YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS.

Okay, but enough gushing. I think you guys get the point. I did have a few more issues even though I’m more than willing to overlook them. First, David seems a little more immature than he should be for his age. If I’m going to be reading from a guy’s point of view, I’d like them to take things a little more seriously than David does and, you know, act his age. Second, there’s a lot of action. A LOT of action and at times I was confused as to what was going on. Third, there might have been too many twists.  I’m a little on the fence about this one. You want to keep readers on their toes, but if you’re giving them whiplash…no bueno. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good plot twist (especially one that I don’t see coming) but plot twists in these types of books are usually negative in nature and make the book feel a little hopeless. I like to have hope when I read.

Overall, a good read but maybe not one that I’d reread. I’ll definitely be looking to pick up the third book, Calamity, when it comes out Spring 2016. I think the series is looking to wrap it up in this third books, but who knows?

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Language: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare is a red. She has red blood and she’s slated to go directly into the army in a few weeks when she turns 18. The purpose of reds are to serve silvers. Those with silver blood have powers–abilities. This difference makes silvers gods and reds less than dirt. When Mare finds herself with abilities and blood just as red as ever, she’s thrust into the middle of the royal court pretending to be a silver. Engaged to the younger prince, Mare must decide whose side she’s on and what she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the ones she loves.

10212034Right off the bat I just felt like the story seemed familiar. It had elements from The Hunger Games, The Selection series, and Pawn all rolled into one neat package. It’s got to be hard these days to come up with new concepts for dystopian YA featuring a strong female lead, am I right?

My first thought–besides the “this feels familiar” one–was “what’s up with Mare’s trust issues?” Maybe I’m too trusting, but it really seemed like Maven and Cal had only been nice to her at the beginning. They hadn’t really given her a reason to distrust them, besides the color of their blood, and they even showed elements of disagreeing with how their father ran the country. It made me a little exasperated with the main character. Secondary characters weren’t really helping either. They all seemed rather one-dimensional and caricature-ish. Like…okay, yeah, I’ve seen about one million books with this character. Not interesting.

I think most of my issues with this book centered around Mare. It didn’t feel like she was  a very well thought-out character. First there were the trust issues I mentioned (you have to trust someone!) and then there was the fact that she wasn’t sure how she felt about the rebellion. She joins up (not a spoiler) but she keeps going back and forth about whether or not she did the right thing and if she likes what they’re doing. If she hadn’t been 100% sure about joining a rebellion, she shouldn’t have done it. Mare had to know that she would become the face of the rebellion with the position she’d been placed in at court. You have to have conviction and confidence in what you’re doing if you’re going to be in that position!

Another little issue I had is the brother love triangle. Love triangles aren’t my favorite, but I especially dislike them when there are two brothers who like the same girl (I’m looking at you Jenny Han!) I mean…I’m sure it actually happens sometimes in real life, but it just seems cruel. At least one of the brothers is not going to end up with the girl and they’re just supposed to be okay with that? It’s not like they’ll never see the girl again…I mean they’re going to be in-laws. So it just seems like a really painful (and unnecessary) situation.

In the end, this book was just okay for me. Partly this is because I’ve read so many other similar books, but another part is that it only feels about 80% thought-out. The abilities–super interesting. But the rest…not so much. There was a HUGE twist at the end that, I’ll admit, I did not see coming, but before that it was just kind of predictable. I realize this review makes it sound like I really did not like the book, but that’s not true. I liked Mare’s relationship with her family and like I said earlier, the powers were really interesting to me. It just wasn’t anything that blew my socks off. Not good enough that I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book, but good enough that I’ll read the second book eventually.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Language: None
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Some drinking.

Hit by Delilah S Dawson

Patsy’s mom is in debt to Valor Savings Bank. Only Valor Savings is claiming that they paid off the United States’ debt so now they run the country. According to the fine print, Valor Savings is legally allowed to make indentured servants out of anyone with an outstanding balance on their credit card. They’re saying that Patsy has two choices to work off her mother’s debt: become a bounty hunter or die. Please choose.

Why did I start this blog? To post reviews! What have I not been doing lately? Posting reveiws! I’d just like to start this post off with an apology for not posting many reviews lately. Luckily, I have about five books that are waiting to be reviewed so…hopefully I’ll get some of those out to you this week. Now, without further ado…

Check out that cover! Not the first reason I decided to read it, but I like it all the same. I feel like it’s something you have to study for a little bit before you get what’s going on. But once you do, it’s absurdly cool.

First off, I thought “Patsy” was an interesting name for a main YA character. It just seems a little old-fashioned, but not in a bad way necessarily. Just…unexpected I guess. Disclaimer: I’ve never had to work as a bounty hunter. However, I did feel like both Patsy and Wyatt’s reactions throughout the book were pretty authentic and believable. Obviously if they had it their way, they wouldn’t be killing anybody but this is the choice they made and they’re sticking to it–no matter how hard it gets.

I thought the premise for this book was really interesting and that’s why I decided to read it, but I don’t feel like it reached its full potential for a few reasons. The story got to be a tad predictable. Each kill was different, but in a routine way. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but it was kind of like each kill followed a formula. Get to house, approach person, something minor goes wrong, person chooses, Patsy leaves. In addition, I didn’t feel like the characters experienced much growth. They felt pretty one note and I had a hard time buying all the way into the romance. I just felt like Patsy and Wyatt really didn’t have a reason to like each other. Lastly, the “government conspiracy plot” is getting a little old to me. Maybe if I had read this book a few years ago, I’d have liked it better, but this is just another book where a girl has some random skill and the government tries to use her. Then she defeats the government (that part doesn’t happen in this book, but I’m pretty sure it’s a series so we’ll get there).

Overall I thought the book was alright. I’m glad I read it and I’ll probably read the sequel. According to Goodreads the sequel, Strike, is due out March 2016.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy. A lot of killing, some gore.
Language: Heavy
Sexual Content: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Fire & Flood and Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Tella’s older brother is sick and none of the doctors can figure out what’s wrong with him. After being forced to move to Montana with the rest of her family, Tella receives an invitation to compete in the Brimstone Bleed–the winner gets a cure for any disease. Contenders will have to race across four different regions: jungle, desert, sea, and mountain. They will have an animal guide called a Pandora to aid and protect them. The only rule is to make it to base camp before the 14 day limit is up.

fire and flood20657437

I’ve heard some people say that these books are a cross between “The Hunger Games” and “The Amazing Race”. To them I say, “You’ve obviously never watched ‘The Amazing Race'”. Basically the only similarity to “The Hunger Games” is that the race officials don’t care if people die while out on the course. But the contenders are all different ages, they have these Pandoras with them to help out, they don’t have donors or mentors, and not everybody has to die for there to be a winner. The only similarity to “The Amazing Race” is that it’s a race that changes locations.

With that rant over with…these books are just okay. It’s a really interesting concept and I especially like the detail that Tella is trying to win the cure for her OLDER brother (as opposed to the younger sibling that most dystopian novels favor). Besides that, there’s not very much that I like about Tella. She’s vain and selfish and immature…she kind of bugged me the whole time. I didn’t feel like she grew as a character and let’s be honest, who is really thinking about their glittery closet when they’re in the middle of the desert dying of dehydration??? Her whole relationship with Guy was pretty weird too.  There’s a quote on page 108.

“[Guy’s] face pulls together. I realize it then–he hates me. And not in the way in which I find out later that he actually liked me the whole time.”

Except…he does end up liking her. So in retrospect, this sentence makes zero sense. I actually would have found the book much more interesting if Guy hadn’t liked her. The books had a lot of other inconsistencies as well. In the second book, Olivia refers to something that happened in the jungle leg of the race…SHE WASN’T THERE. That kind of thing just really bugs me. It feels like the writer isn’t being careful.

Overall, the books were just okay. The concept of the race and the whole setup was really promising (even the whole conspiracy theory) and I absolutely LOVED all of the Pandoras. But the human characters just didn’t do it for me. I think there’ll be a third book out sometime, but I’m not sure when. I’ll probably end up reading it.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Moderate (mostly mild, but a few scenes with brief strong language).
Smoking/Drinking: Mild in the first, None in the second.

Gone by Michael Grant

In Perdido Beach, CA everybody over the age of 13 has vanished into thin air. Soon the kids discover that some of them have special powers, animals are mutating, and there’s an invisible wall surrounding their town. Bullies from the local private school, Coates Academy, are soon running things in a way very reminiscent of Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. Some kids are interested in finding a way out, some kids rejoice in their new-found power and authority, and some kids are just trying to stay alive.9780061448782_p0_v2_s260x420

I loved reading “Lord of the Flies” when I was in high school so I was excited to find a book that has a similar premise (kids running wild without adult supervision). Just a warning right off the bat: this book is long (almost 600 pages) and it’s the first in a six book series (all about as long). If you do not have the time, the patience, or the desire to invest in this series, I do not recommend starting the first book. That being said, up to this point I have only read “Gone” (although I do have the second book in the series waiting on my Kindle as I’m writing this).

With that disclaimer out of the way…the book was pretty good, but frustrating. First the good. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I appreciate realism. Even in fantastical worlds that abide by different laws than Earth, I appreciate when characters are realistic in their choices and reactions. This book mostly does that for me. The author acknowledged the reality of having all adults disappear simultaneously. Babies and small children would die if no one were there to take care of them and the author brings that up. The older kids in charge may not have been as realistic as I would have liked…maybe a little too smart/clever for 13-year-olds, but I can forgive that.

Now for the bad. The mutating animals are just weird and whatever darkness is going on in the mountains…also weird. The special powers are also a little hard for me to swallow, but I’m more okay with that than I am with the talking coyotes. Like I said, weird. My main issue with this book is the length. It’s interesting to read about how the kids reestablish civilization and all that, but does that really take 600 pages and five more books? I just want to know how the kids get out and if they’ll be reunited with their families! Truth be told, if I wasn’t so interested in how that was going to happen I probably wouldn’t read the rest of the series. Alas, I’m dying to know how the heck they get out of this dang city. Looks like I’ll be slogging my way through 2,500 more pages of pre-teens fighting with each other.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Moderate. Some gore.
Sexual Content: None
Language: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Some characters drink beer.

The rest of the books in the series: Hunger, Lies, Light, Fear, and Plague.