Unsavouries, Killer Fish, and Death by Martini: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

4.5 starsThunderhead

I waited for what feels like forever to read Scythe earlier this year and to my relief, I loved it. Consequently, I had some pretty high expectations for Thunderhead. To make matters worse, there was also the typical worries about the dreaded middle book syndrome, or as I like to call it sequel suckage syndrome. However, I am very happy to report that Thunderhead (a) did not suffer from SSS and (b) largely lived up to expectations. Well done Shusterman! And…end review.
Kidding.

Who, What, Where?

Thunderhead picks up several months after the end of Scythe. Citra, now Scythe Anastasia, continues to live with her mentor, the honourable Scythe Curie, and has now developed her own unique approach to gleaning. This involves allowing her glean-ees to select their own demise no matter how weird or whacky – a realistic performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and a deadly James Bond style martini are a few choice examples. In doing so, she’s begun to make big waves throughout the increasingly conflicted mid-Merican scythdom.

“More and more scythes are coming to enjoy the act of killing. Conscience is becoming a casualty.”

After the death of Scythe Goddard, the order has slowly separated into two camps – 1) It’s totally fine to enjoy your job, even if it happens to involve killing people, and therefore you may murder in vastly creative and messy ways, and 2) Gleaning is a burden and an honour, and should be handled with compassion.

Tricky dilemma, right?

This isn’t the only thing on Citra’s mind as there’s also the small, nagging problem that someone is seemingly out to kill both her and Curie (How dare they! I love Scythe Curie).

Meanwhile, Rowan, the yin to Citra’s yang, is now an outlaw of sorts. Utilising the Thunderhead’s inability to interfere in scythe affairs, he’s fashioned himself a new persona, Scythe Lucifer, to hunt down scythes he believes to be unworthy of their position (aka  Goddard ideology supporters).

“Rowan grinned. “Come now, Your Excellency, there hasn’t been a terrorist in hundreds of years. I’m just a janitor cleaning filth from dark corners.”

As you can probably imagine this path lands him in some particularly hot water which happens to involve his friend, professional partygoer, Tyger.

Aside from the familiar faces, book two also introduces us to Greyson Tolliver. Greyson wants nothing more than to give back to the Thunderhead by becoming a Nimbus agent. However, things soon fall apart when he’s given some information that acting upon would put him in direct violation of the Thunderhead-Scythdom separation. Thrown out of the academy, Greyson is cut off from the Thunderhead and labelled a dreaded “Unsavoury”. But it turns out that the Thunderhead may have a plan for Greyson after all, and it may or may not involve Scythe Anastasia.

Why you should read this book

Do I Laugh or Cry?

The tone of this series is really unique, mostly because the world it’s set in is so completely different and yet also the same as the real one. Real issues like religious persecution, racism, the dangers of technology, abuses of power, and the meaning of our existence all come up but they never develop in the way you’d expect. Well, duh Ashley, that’s because it’s a world with no death run by a supercomputer in which there are nutters who worship a giant tuning fork. Then there’s the not so real-world circumstances which arise that you could never have predicted. This is because they’re just so extremely outlandish that they’re almost comical, even though they might involve things that are disturbing or gut-wrenching. The climax of the book is a perfect example of this. Speaking of which…

Now that’s a Climax!

The climax/end of Thunderhead is outlandish, funny, heart-breaking and just generally fantastic. It’s worth wading through some of the quieter plot sections just to read the end of the book which involves *spoilers* a major character death, a cliff-hanger with our heroes in an awful position, a sinking island, murderous marine life, and the villain doing a fake rescue just to gloat. It’s all very bizarre and yet somehow it just works together. Now that’s some writing witchcraft, I’m telling you.

Inside the Mind of a Super Computer

In Scythe, the story was broken up by journal entries from several of the key scythes in the story, detailing their intimate thoughts about their profession and themselves. This time around we’re given insights into the thoughts of the Thunderhead. These segments are really interesting and provide a lot of extra information about the world, showcasing just how well Shusterman’s crafted it. Although, they’re also a little sad in that you can’t help but feel bad for the Thunderhead as it’s forced to watch the Scythdom become increasingly more corrupt whilst being unable to do anything about it.

“Rain is the closest thing I have to tears.”

However, I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen so many stories involving computers gone nuts that I was constantly on edge waiting for the switch to happen where the Thunderhead just snaps and goes postal.

Me the entire book: I know there’s going to be an AIDAN situation, I JUST KNOW IT. Is it now? It is NOW?

A Worthy Adversary

One of the things I was a little disappointed about with Scythe was the loss of the antagonist, Scythe Goddard. I worried about where the story’s conflict would come from following his decapitation and incineration. As it turns out, I shouldn’t have. Rowan and Citra were given a suitable (and familiar) villain to face off against which tested both their specific skills and different approaches to situations, with Citra perhaps more successful than Rowan (don’t you just love how vague I am? Avoiding spoilers is like making your way through a mine field). How this individual enters the story is pretty creepy and horrifying though. The more you think about it, the more you’re repulsed. Well, I was at least. Here’s a hint: Frankenstein. *shivers*Divider

Why You Might want to Skip it

Where are we going with this?

One of the things that turned people off Scythe was its pace and direction. I didn’t really have this problem but with Thunderhead I’ll admit that I did have some difficulty in seeing where the story was leading for the first half of the book. Several major, and fairly compelling, plot threads are introduced and slowly developed, but it takes a good long while to understand not only how they relate to each other but also their overall importance. This was especially relevant to things like Greyson’s story as well as Tyger’s role.

It’s a bit like a giant puzzle with cool looking pieces that don’t seem to fit together until you discover some extra ones lying on the floor. And then you realise that pieces you thought were part of this puzzle actually belong to a similar one. I really hope you know what I mean. Hint: the similar puzzle is book three.

Unfinished Business

Yes, I know there’s a third book on its way, but there were a couple of things that I felt were left in a bit of an incomplete or unsatisfying place by the end of the book. The first is Scythe Faraday’s search for the hidden land of “Nod” in the hopes of finding a fail-safe against a corrupt Scythdom. The second is Greyson’s storyline which fizzles out and hits a sort of nothing point about a third of the way from the end. Here, he seemingly sits around doing nothing until the last couple of lines. These stories will definitely reach their stride in the next book but for this one, they were a little on the lacking/disinteresting side at times.

A Cliffhanger

Everything is awful now. Why. Why. Why. Where is book 3? I need to make sure my babies are okay. So basically, if you can’t handle books without a proper resolution and everything tied up neatly in a bow, avoid this one. Because everything is awful now.

Verdict

Overall, despite a few bumps in the road, I really enjoyed Thunderhead and am very much looking forward to reading book three, The Toll, whenever it happens to materialise. If you had a good time with Scythe, you’ll likely have a similar experience with Thunderhead. My recommendation is definitely read it. And if you haven’t read Scythe yet, firstly, what the hell are you doing here, and second, GO GO GO, DOOOO IT.

4.5 Stars

Love Ashley

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Top 10 Tuesday: Best Book to Movie/TV Adaptations, Part 2

I wasn’t really in the mood to do this week’s TTT post because (a) it’s winter here, (b) then I have to ask, what the hell is a “winter read”, and (c) I’m likely to do a TBR post soon. Instead I’m doing an older topic from The Broke and the Bookish‘s archives which is top ten best/worst book adaptations. The criteria for making this type of list is always hard because is it a matter of how closely the adaptation followed the source material or is it about the quality of the actual adaptation? In my case, it’s usually a bit of both. I’m cool with the adaptation making changes to the book’s story as long as they’re good changes and don’t mess with my enjoyment of the movie/show. I actually did this same topic for a top ten last year but since then I’ve seen a few other adaptations that I’ve thought were pretty good. Then there were others that missed out on my original list. Besides, no-one’s ever said you can’t do the same topic twice. And well, if they have…er, my blog, my rules, I guess.Divider1

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Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

This is a dark and slightly odd book with a significant shift right in the middle. The movie does a great job of matching it’s eerie tone and remains very close to the book’s plot. Rosamund Pike is perfect as deranged “cool girl” Amy, while Ben Affleck also does a great job as her imperfect husband, Nick. The only thing I wish it’d done was include the couple’s final lines of dialogue.


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Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Controversy aside, in my opinion TRW is a good adaptation of Jay Asher’s book and in a lot of ways, I think it even surpasses it. Often where adaptations deviate from their source material, it’s a bad thing but with this one it works well. The decision to spread Clay’s experience with the tapes over several days instead of one night and actually taking the time to flesh out each of the characters involved enhances the story and ideas of the novel rather than damages them.


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Call Me By Your Name

Call Me by your Name – Andre Aciman

This is a beautifully written book, and although it’s difficult to transfer prose and imagery over to film easily, this adaptation manages to capture the tone of the novel instead through scenery, music, camera angles, and expressions. The set locations are stunning and the casting is absolutely perfect. Also, while the ending is a little different from the novel (which is sort of an extension on the film), it’s still fits the spirit of the story whilst still being damn heartbreaking.


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Love, Simon (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) – Becky Albertalli

I had high expectations for this one and to my relief, it met them. This is another adaptation where there were a few changes made to the plot, mostly in terms of cuts (likely for time reasons). However, the movie never strays from the feeling of the book and is always true to the characters. It’s super adorable, majorly feel-good, diverse, and an easy movie to re-watch.


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The Martian – Andy Weir

The success of The Martian as a book rests heavily on the humour, sass and strength of it’s main character, Mark, and this translated extremely successfully over to the adaptation. Matt Damon is fantastic in the role, as is the rest of the cast of famous faces. The movie’s funny, visually striking, and also manages to get a bit less bogged down in some of the scientific elements than the book, which is a big plus.


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Handmaid's

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I had heard that this particular series was quite different from the book but after recently, finally, watching it, I found it to actually be quite similar. Yes, some of the ages are different and you get a lot more background with regards to the characters and how Gilead came about, but for me these additions have enhanced the story and answered a lot of questions that I know I had while reading the book. The acting is great all around and the show itself is extremely addictive, even if it’s sometimes hard to watch.


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It – Stephen King

I don’t usually do horror movies, at all. I am the biggest wuss you will ever meet but I was determined to see the 2017 movie adaptation of this book and despite looking through my fingers at several points, I really, really enjoyed it. The child actors are all great in their roles and Pennywise is damn scary. Although the movie only focuses on the child part of the book, it’s still a HUGE book and they did a great job cutting down the story while still keeping the important parts intact. Definitely looking forward to part 2 next year.


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ATTWN

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

There have been a lot of adaptations of this particular story, because it’s just so good! In this instance though I’m referencing the 2015 BBC mini-series. This version dwells on the darker undertones in Christie’s story, making it a little bit more modern somehow but it still remains both stylish and true to the novel, right to the very, bitter end. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there’s some eye candy in the form of Mr Aidan Turner.


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Divergent

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Say what you will about the later entries in the series, both films and books (*cough* they sucked *cough), but I really like the adaptation of the first book (Yep, judge away, I know). I’ll admit, they did cut out and strip down some characters (e.g. Edward), and rework certain plot elements but I liked the casting and the story changes never really impaired my enjoyment of the movie. Now I just happily watch it as a stand-alone.


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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Alright, I’m not a huge John Green fan but having read the book and seen the movie for this particular one, even I have to say that it’s a well done adaptation that should have satisfied fans of the book. The actors are chosen well  (Shailene does a great job as Hazel), the plot sticks closely to the book, the tone of the movie is very JG-esque, and the ending is still grab your tissues worthy (okay, well, for those people that aren’t me).


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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Two adaptations were made of this novel, one English speaking and the other in Swedish and surprisingly, both of them are not only very close to the book but well done too. The actors in each version do a great job bringing the characters to life, especially Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, and the plot is mysterious and engaging. Be warned though, this isn’t a lighthearted book and neither movie shies away from the darker content.

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And there we have it, another top ten done and dusted. Was there a favourite of yours that I missed? It might have been on my first list on this topic published last year. You can find that Top 10 here.

What are some recent adaptations that you’ve enjoyed?

Love Ashley

 

The 20 Questions Book Tag

It’s time for another fun book tag. This time we’re doing 20 bookish related questions. Thank you Holly @ Nut Free Nerd for tagging me in this one, there were some tricky ones!

1. HOW MANY BOOKS IS TOO MANY BOOKS IN A SERIES?

If I was going to speak generally, I’d probably say three or four is my ideal. It’s long enough to fall in love with the characters and go on a journey with them, but not long enough to massively drag. However, it very much depends on the series itself. Some stories are meant to be told in only a few books, then there are others that have enough of an engaging plot to go for a lot longer. If the plot has started to feel more like filler or has become repetitive, then it’s too long. Then again, engaging plot or not, my brain does do a very loud internal moan at the idea of 14 books in the Wheel of Time series (how does one have enough plot for that???).

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

I’m in two minds about cliffhangers. When they’re at the end of a book and you haven’t got the next one to read for about another year, they’re an emotional gut punch. It’s agonizing. SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NO ANSWERS. At the same time, from a storytelling perspective, I have to admire them. They completely shake up the plot and end a story  somewhere very dramatic. If there’s one way to make sure a reader will continue with your series, it’s to end your book on an ‘Oh-Shit’ moment.

3. HARDBACK OR PAPERBACK?

Most of the time I’m a paperback girl – hardbacks are epic expensive in Australia. I’m sorry but I can’t afford to spend $35 on just one, thin book. Plus, nobody wants to deal with the awkwardness of trying to hold an enormous hardback in bed. However, I do have to say that hardbacks look a lot nicer on a shelf and they hold up against damage in my handbag a lot better than my poor paperbacks.

4. FAVOURITE BOOK?

The Time traveler's wife

Firstly, how dare you. And second, how dare you! I don’t have a favourite book, it’s just impossible to choose. THEY’RE ALLLLLLLL MY BABIES. One of my absolute favourites though, as you guys know, is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The writing is so lovely, the characters are really well developed (to the point where you feel like you’ve known them their whole lives), and the end always hits me like a ton of bricks, thereby reminding me that I do, in fact, have a heart.

5. LEAST FAVORITE BOOK?

Catcher in the Rye

This is also really, really hard but I think I’ll go with The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I had to read it back in year eleven for English and my gosh, I hated it. I’ve never come across a more annoying protagonist in my life. The whining, the angst…ahhhhhh…, and all over really stupid things. I honestly do not give a flying…well, you know, where the damn ducks go in winter, Holden Caulfield. How it’s become a classic, I’ll never know.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

I recently wrote a post about this, you can find it here if you’re interested. Basically, I actually wouldn’t mind love triangles as a plot device if they were written properly, but they never seem to be – they’re imbalanced, drag on too long, take over the story, etc.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU JUST COULDN’T FINISH?

Dividing Eden

The last book I DNF-ed was Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau. It just lacked, for a better word, soul. I couldn’t connect with the characters, the plot was un-engaging and the world building wasn’t really doing much at all for me. I made it half way before I finally cut my losses.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) – I’ve slowly made my way through the series and now I’m almost there! So close to the finish line. They read very young for most of the series (it’s improved a bit in this book) but it’s always been a bit of fun.

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Gosh, I’m always recommending things to people. Pretty much the minute I finish a book I’m recommending it to people.

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

Pride and Prejudice

I tend to gravitate towards more modern books but according to Goodreads, the oldest book I’ve read is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, published in 1813.

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

Furyborn

I’ve read quite a few new releases lately. Probably the newest would be…Furyborn by Clare Legrand which only came out a few weeks ago.

12. FAVORITE AUTHOR?

I have a whole bunch and I love them all dearly so I refuse to pick just one. Here are a couple of my favourites: Jay Kristoff, Richelle Mead, V.E. Schwab, J. K. Rowling, Sophie Kinsella, and more!

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I’m a buyer. I rarely ever borrow books these days. I feel bad about it, but I love having my own copies of books because I re-read them but also ’cause I love growing my bookshelves.

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE?

SJTR

I was really looking forward to reading Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco because I’d heard so many good things about it, plus the plot and heroine sounded awesome. Unfortunately I ended up being really disappointed. The plot felt rushed, the MC did quite a few stupidly annoying things, and the ending was both predictable and a little silly. The hype train strikes again.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG-EARS?

*shocked face* Dog ears? Are you kidding me? There should be a special place in the afterlife (if there is one) for people who dogear. Plus, I adore collecting awesome bookmarks. They’re so pretty!

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS REREAD?

I love doing re-reads of my favourite books. I don’t make the time to do so much these days and I really should. Some of my re-reads of choice are Harry Potter (obviously), Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games, and The Song of the Lioness books.

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE HEARING MUSIC?

Once upon a time, yes, but nowadays not so much. My brain always seems to get distracted by the music and starts singing along to the lyrics. There are exceptions though when I go on long car trips but it does take me a while to properly zone out, and even then I can lose my groove in a instant.

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE POV’S?

I like single POV books (when the MC isn’t frustrating AF) but I also don’t mind the occasional multiple POV book, however only where all the POVs are interesting. The last thing you want is to have to suffer through some sucky character’s POV or a boring storyline when there’s a better one going on. Essentially, I don’t really have a preference on this one as long as they’re done well.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

This again depends on the book. If it’s something I’m absolutely loving or a super fun, short book I’ll read it very quickly. Otherwise, it’ll take a bit longer. For example, I read The Selection by Kiera Cass in less than day, like it was crack cocaine, but I also managed something as big as Outlander in only a short period of time too.

20. A BOOK YOU’VE READ BECAUSE OF THE COVER?

Geekerella

I’m usually reasonably good about cover buys although occasionally I crack. Normally I use Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor for this question in tags but for something different I’m going with two YA contemporaries – Geekerella by Ashley Poston and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I recently started dipping my toes in YA contemporaries and these were two of the first I tried. Geekerella was really fun and enjoyable but I was disappointed with WDMR, especially after all the hype.

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I Tag

I don’t usually tag people but sometimes change is good. If you don’t feel like doing it or have already done it, no worries. I promise I won’t be offended and/or crawl under a rock somewhere to quietly die of shame.

Rendz @ Reading with Rendz

Beth @ Reading Every Night

Michaela @ Journey into Books

Kristen @ Kristen Kraves Reviews

Love Ashley

WWW: Wednesday | 13.06.18

Let’s get the usual spiel out of the way *clears throat* ahem, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words designed to keep people updated on how you’re going with your reading by answering three questions: what did you just finish, what are you currently reading, and what are you planning on reading next?

RF

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe 2#) – Neal Shusterman

33555224It took what felt like FOREVER for this book to finally come out in Australia. The minute I found it in the bookstore, I jumped up and down, squealed loudly and then proceeded to do a cartwheel down the aisle. Okay, maybe just in my mind. I had such a great time with this sequel. It was exciting, unexpected, and creepy all at the same time. Unfortunately after that ending I’m extremely sad I don’t have book three to jump straight into. Cue tears. If you haven’t tried this series out yet, I definitely recommend you do. It’s fantastic.

SYNOPSIS:

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into

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8130423The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson & the Olympians 4#) – Rick Riordan

I’ve been slowly making my way through the PJO series since about July last year. I’ve finally cracked onto book four. These are really fun reads and as I’ve said before, they’re great palate cleansers in between the more serious adult or YA fantasy novels I read. I do kind of wish that the characters would grow faster. They’re 14 at this point and I’m like, gosh…you guys are still SO YOUNG. Regardless, the mythology is as good as always and the characters are adorably sweet.

SYNOPSIS:

Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears at his potential new school, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth – a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

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And to no-one’s surprise ever, I’m torn about my next read. Here’s just two of many, many options:

The Last Olympian & Shatter Me

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) – Rick Riordan

I could just go for gold and finish up the series now that I’m so close. These books are quick and easy reads so it wouldn’t take very long. However, it’s hard to know if I’ll still be in the mood for more Percy, Annabeth, Grover and co. after I finish book 4. Hmm….

SYNOPSIS

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. 

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

Yes, I know. I blame bookstagram/wordpress. Part of me knows I’m not going to like it but I feel like I just have to give it a go to see what people are talking about. Hey, maybe I’ll end up surprised like I was with Cinder by Marissa Meyer? Then again, maybe it’ll all just crash and burn. Guess I’ll never know until I do it.

SYNOPSIS

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

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Up to speed! Now it’s your turn! Catch me up on what’s going on with your reading life.

Love Ashley

New to My TBR

I feel like one of the characteristics of being a bookworm is constantly thinking about the many, many books that you would like to read but do not in any way have the time to (seriously, would someone get me a time turner already?). It seems like they just continue to pile up, and up, and up until eventually you find yourself sitting in a mental book fort, wondering how the hell you got here. Your brain is on the next book even as you’re reading the current one. It’s crazy! And of course, that is why I present to you the 5 latest books to join my Goodreads to-read shelf – because it’s never big enough, I tell ya.

E & P

I’ve heard it’s cute, warm, sweet, tingly and….that the ending hits you in the chest. Like a semi-trailer. Okay, Rowell, my heart is READY.

The Hate U Give

Up until now I actually didn’t think I’d ever read this one, it just wasn’t something that really interested me (although I know it deals with some REALLY important and topical issues). But it’s rare that you see the amount of love for a book this one has, plus it’s been on the NY times bestseller list forever.

Renegades

I’ve read three of MM’s The Lunar Chronicles books so far and quite enjoyed them, and I really like the concept for this one – people with special powers, heroes, villains. Yeah! Also, the cover is awesome.

Legendary

I’ve been super torn over whether to read this sequel or not because I enjoyed about three quarters of Caraval before being massively disappointed by the climax. However, I’ve decided to take the plunge and give it a go. Fingers crossed.

My Lady Jane

I saw this book making the rounds last year, and people seemed to really be enjoying it, but I never properly looked into it until recently when the sequel started popping up. It sounds like a bit of fun and it’s always nice to have something to break up the more dramatic ya-fantasy stuff I read. Points for historical elements too!

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What are the most recent additions to your to-read shelf?

Have you read any of these books? What did you think – should I pick up a copy or remove them from my virtual shelf before you can say 1-star review?

Love Ashley

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I feel like Everyone’s Read but Me

I wasn’t really feeling this week’s allocated TTT topic or any of the variations I could come up with for it. Instead I’ve dug up this older topic from the archives on The Broke and the Bookish which is top ten books I feel as though basically everyone out there has read except for little old me. I could come up with a whole lot more than ten for this one but for now here’s a few.

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Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

This series is everywhere. Like EVERYWHERE, but it got even worse when Restore Me came out this year. I plan on giving it a read soon just to see what all the fuss is about.

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Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

When you talk about YA contemporaries, this is one that constantly seems to come up. It entered the top 100 reads list at my bookstore this year which definitely increased the feeling of being the only one who hasn’t read it.

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The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

The love for this book is crazy. It was on the NY times bestseller list for ages and ages, and it was all anyone talked about online for a good long while. Now there’s a movie coming out and the FOMO is real guys…

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Milk & Honey and The Sun and her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive poetry person. I can admire a lovely phrase or two but I’m not about to go out and buy a book especially devoted to poems. These two works blew up in a huge way last year and the closest I’ve come to reading them is seeing a couple of photos on bookstagram. However props to Rupi Kaur for making poetry cool.

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Looking for Alaska – John Green

Come on, I had to include a John Green book here because (a) everyone seems to love them and (b) I don’t read them. I’ve been hearing about this book ever since I was in high school and it seems to be the JG book to read other than The Fault in Our Stars (which I actually have read!).

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To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

This is one of those classics that I feel like HEAPS of people have read, likely because it was part of their English curriculum but also because I hear it’s fantastic. I’m not big on classics but part of me is tempted to read it sometimes just to join in on the conversations.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians series – Rick Riordan

This is kind of a cheat answer because I’m actually three books into the series (only two to go!), however I feel like this series was almost a second Harry Potter for people a bit younger than me. Essentially everyone in the bookish part of the internet has read them and the spin off books, and they’re just crazy about them!

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His Dark Materials Series – Philip Pullman

This is another really beloved children’s series that I feel like A LOT of people read when they were younger but I somehow missed entirely.

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1984 – George Orwell

Another classic that people have read because of school or just out of pure interest, likely because it’s great and still culturally relevant. Again, I’m a bit classically deprived here…

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

Yes, another YA contemporary, I know. I only just recently started picking up a few books in this genre and this one seems to pop up like a game of whack-a-mole. It’s actually so much so, I bought a copy last week. Hopefully I’ll finally get why everyone’s always talking about it. Also apparently the rights have been acquired by Netflix, so that’s cool?

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The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

This is a fantasy series that’s become huge. Basically everyone I know who enjoys this genre has read these. It’s been on my Goodreads to-read shelf for ages but I keep putting it off because I’ve heard the beginning is extremely slow. Then again, I should probably learn from my Nevernight experience and just do the damn thing already.

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Which books do you feel like everyone else has read but you? (Don’t worry, I won’t judge…much. Kidding, I won’t at all, promise).

Love Ashley

And That’s a Wrap: May Edition

Another month bites the dust! And onward into June we go (*screams internally at the fact we’re almost half way through the year already*).

Books I ReadMay Reads 2

I read a total of 7 books this month. Alright, fine, 6 and a novella, which is still very decent. It was a wide ranging month score wise and I actually managed to publish reviews for 3 of my reads (shocking, I know). I’m already sitting on 36 books for the year toward my goal of 50 so I’m pretty happy at this point. Here’s what I read:

Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan) – ★ ★ ★.5

I had fun with parts of this and there were several really likeable characters but there were also some really annoying and snobby ones. The climax of the book verges into soap-opera drama and the ending itself is really blunt and unfulfilling. Won’t bother with the sequel but will definitely go see the movie.

Furyborn (Claire Legrand) ★ ★ ★.5

A reasonably entertaining start to a new fantasy series. Both lead female characters are well written and strong, even though they occasionally make silly decisions. The plot is a bit lacking and repetitive in places and the world building needs more attention, however there’s a lot of potential for this series and it has a compelling villain. Full review here.

Lifel1k3 (Jay Kristoff) ★ ★ ★ ★

An action packed, emotional ride of robots, violence, exploding dogs, dust storm car chases, and friendship. The story features an interesting and likeable cast of characters while the plot is entertaining and not without a few twists. A solid read if you can get past the slang and techno speak. Full review here.

Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli) ★ ★ ★ ★.5

The little ray of sunshine I didn’t even know I needed. LotO isn’t Simon, but it’s in no way a disappointment. Once again Becky tackled sexual diversity in a really accessible and positive way, and the characters are still adorable. Leah is super relatable and it was really nice to see her get her chance to shine (and a happy ending). If you can read the end of this book and not break out in a massive grin, who are you?

Darkfever (Karen Marie Moning) ★.5

Despite being very well rated and reviewed, this was a really disappointing urban fantasy read for me. The main character is shallow and annoying (I lost track of how many times she mentioned her amazing, tanned legs) and the story is kind of well, boring. Even the world building I’ve heard so many good things about was a bit patchy. I won’t be picking up any more books in this series.

Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)  ★ ★ ★

One of the rare cases where I feel the adaptation is better than the book. The main reason for this is that there isn’t really any character development at all and because it takes place over one evening, there isn’t much time for the emotions to build or evolve. The novel reads like a lengthy conversation between Clay and Hannah. It’s fine, just could have done more.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (Sarah J. Maas) ★ ★ ★.5

The inner circle does their version of Christmas whilst dealing with the heavy emotional fallout from ACOWAR. It’s fluffy fun that reads a lot like fan fiction during large chunks but SJM does address the trauma well.  I was hoping for more plot wise from something supposed to be bridging two series together but I see a lot of things to look forward to in the new series – particularly some Mor, Cassian & Nesta development. Full review here.

Books I Bought

May Reads

Yes, I bought nine books this month. Nine. NINE. Last month I was dragging myself over seven. Apparently there’s a lower place. However, I actually ended up reading five of them and starting a sixth so that’s something, at least – a bit different from my usual process of buy a book and let it sit around for six months. Progress, guys, progress!

blog posts

Just in case you blinked and missed them (it was a bit of a light month):

Top 10 Tuesday

Books with my Favourite Colour on the Cover (Or in the Title)

Names that Best Suit Their Characters

Let’s Talk

The Sins of Love Triangles

Book Tags

Books I’ll Probably Never Read Tag

The Sims Book Tag

Personal Life

Every time I do my wrap ups it feels like nothing’s actually happened. However, we finally got our second fur baby at the beginning of this month – Lexie, and she’s ridiculously adorable. While Archie belongs to the whole family, Lexie is technically mine. However, she’s such an attention lover that she adores everyone in the family as long as they pet her. Things were a bit rocky at first when we introduced them to each other but now they’re the closest of friends. They wrestle, sleep together, groom each other…you can’t help but make awwww noises around them. No seriously, everyone does, constantly. I said last month that I’d make sure to have some photos this time around so here they are (Archie is on the left and Lexie is on the right):

I’ve been thinking about getting back into my writing again. My poor WIP hasn’t gotten much love at all since NaNoWriMo last year and I still have no idea where the story is heading – so many plot holes and changes. Ahhh!!! However I’ve had a different idea recently that I might consider exploring. The problem is always finding the time – work, blogging, taking photos, seeing my friends, having some R&R, it’s hard to fit things in, but I guess if you really want to do something you make the time.

As a personal goal for myself, I’m going to try and write reviews for every book I read next month UNLESS it’s a re-read. It’s likely to be tough considering how much time I spend on each individual review I write, but maybe with practice I’ll get quicker. Let’s see how long this lasts…

How was everyone else’s month? What was your favourite read of May and which book are you most looking forward to reading in June? (Mine was Leah on the Offbeat and it’s a tie between Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman & The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller)

Love Ashley