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Book Review: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza and her monsters

Eliza and her Monsters

Release date: May 30th 2017

4.5 stars

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea‘s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

I loved Made You Up by this author so I was really excited to see a second novel. I thought the way the story was told using illustrations from the character’s webcomic and screenshots of her online chats and the fan forums made for a very unique reading experience. I’ve read books that involve seeing characters’ text messaging before but with the online world being so important to Eliza, it felt like an extra way to connect with her.

I absolutely loved Eliza. I could definitely relate to how she felt about finding solace in online fandoms in a way that she couldn’t in the real world. The online world was just so much easy to navigate for her. The real world had so many people and variables that were out of her control and social interactions/cues that she didn’t get. She was a quiet bookworm with anxiety in a family full of loud, seemingly confident athletes. It was an interesting dynamic to see them all try to relate to each other but it was clear there was a lot of love in that family. I could understand why she kept her webcomic such a secret from everyone expect a few select people and why she didn’t reveal too much about how big it had become to her parents – who she didn’t feel wanted to know or hear about her online life.

The relationship between Eliza and Wallace was really interesting. There were many times I would be cringing in sympathy for Eliza because I knew there was no way keeping her identity as Monstrous Sea’s creator a secret would end well but I could understand why she did it. There were other times I actually felt proud of her for doing something outside her comfort zone – like meeting Wallace’s friends or going to a Halloween party. Their relationship was sweet and they understood each other in ways only they could.

I also thought the author did a great job in showing Eliza’s anxiety and panic attacks through the books. It was a very realistic portrayal of a young woman living with a mental illness and how much it can affect your life and how it doesn’t magically go away just because you might be happier or more confident. This ended up being one of my favourite reads so far this year.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Well, hockey playoffs didn’t last too long in this house. More time to read:)

Currently reading: dreamfall

Finished reading: Four weeks Five PeopleGirl out of waterEliza and her monstersAntisocial

Reviewed: WarbringerDefy the Stars

What I’m hoping to get to next week: avengedThe Gauntlet to read

Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters to review

Books read it 2017: 69

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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Book Review: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Release date: August 29th 2017

4 stars

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

When Leigh Bardugo and Wonder Woman collide, I expect great things. This was the first book release of the four planned DC Icons series featuring Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batman, and Superman and it set the bar pretty high. I was never into comics growing up so my superhero love is a more recent thing and I feel like I’m forever playing catch up to these amazing characters’ stories. Maybe not knowing all the details about Wonder Woman’s story helped me just be able to read and enjoy this book since I wasn’t looking for holes or differences.

Diana was definitely a badass but she was a badass who had yet to prove herself to her sisters and to her mother. She was still young compared to most of them and longed to be accepted. She was really easy to relate to in a lot of ways. She just wanted to do what was right and keep her family safe. She was smart and determined and brave. And while she was trying to save everyone, she was going through her own self-discovery journey.

The plot ticked off most of what I would expect from a book based on a superhero. The origin story, the moral dilemma, the mission, the sacrifice, and of course the good versus evil. I could recognize Leigh Bardugo’s signature storytelling through the whole book and it just drew me in. There were a few predictable moments but still many twists that were surprising and makes me wonder if we’ll see another Wonder Woman book coming out soon.

I thought the book did a great job showcasing a young Diana on the cusp of her legacy, making her relatable but also other-worldly. The supporting cast were all wonderful additions and the five teens that ended up on the mission together were a lot of fun to watch banter back and forth. If there is a sequel, I will definitely be reading it.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars

Release date: April 4th 2017

4 stars

She’s a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is a seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

I loved Claudia Gray’s Firebird series so I was really excited for a new Sci-Fi story from her. The story of Noemi and Abel intrigued me before I even started it and with each page, I found myself getting more and more invested in their stories, both separately and together. It was an interesting dynamic. For a lot of the book, it was just the two of them on the mission Noemi was hell bent on completing but they did meet up with some great supporting characters.

The book was a dual POV between Noemi and Abel. I always find it interesting when a dual POV has two such different characters and it was hard to get any more different than these two. Noemi was a soldier from a planet cut off from the rest of the galaxy and whose people had strong opinions about the technology the rest of the galaxy was using. Abel was a machine, a mech, with such advanced programming that it was almost impossible to tell he wasn’t human. These were two individuals with limited life experience who’d both been raised to believe one way of thinking and were learning that maybe their elders/creators weren’t telling the whole truth.

I was a little surprised that I didn’t miss the crew feel in this Sci-Fi book. Usually, that would be high on my list of loves when I read a book involving space and missions, but the dynamic between Noemi and Abel was so well done and so entertaining that they filled all the areas I would normally look for in a crew. I loved watching the relationship between them change and the little ways they realized they’d become to care for each other, much to their own confusion.

The plot was a mix between the type of action scenes one might expect(and hope) for in a space book and a slow build-up toward the mission’s end goal. It did a great job setting up for the second(and final?) book. It didn’t get too slow that I felt my attention wandering and it didn’t get too fast where I felt like I was missing pieces of information. I’m very excited to see where the travel takes us in book two.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Hockey playoffs have started, which means lots of time to read while my mom is watching the games.

Currently reading: Antisocial

Finished reading: No Good DeedDefy the Starsinconceivable-life-of-quinnWarbringer

Reviewed: Windfallone-of-us-is-lying

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Four weeks Five PeopleGirl out of water to read

Defy the StarsWarbringer to review

Books read it 2017: 64

Debut authors read in 2017: 18

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I binged watched 13 Reasons Why this weekend. That was…it just was. How do you describe something like that?

Currently reading: Warbringer

Finished reading: Once and For AllHouse of Furiesone-of-us-is-lyingWindfall

Reviewed: traitors-kissRamona Blue

What I’m hoping to get to next week: inconceivable-life-of-quinnDefy the Stars to read

one-of-us-is-lyingWindfall to review

Books read it 2017: 60

Debut authors read in 2017: 18

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten unique books I’ve read. Or, at least they were unique at the time I’d read them.

10. challenger deep Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. This book is unique is many ways. It was one of the first books I’d ever read with a teenager character dealing with a mental illness and the use of the dual POV to portray the real world vs what the world was to the main character was fantastic.

9. symptoms of being human Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin. I think this is still the only book I’ve read where the gender of the main character wasn’t stated as boy or girl.

8. under the never sky big Under the Never Sky – Veronica Rossi. I’ve read a lot of Dystopians now but this was one of the first series I read, is still a favourite, and I love the blending Dystopian and Sci-Fi.

7. goodbye The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand. This one is unique for the way it affected me. Even when I find myself connecting with a book, it’s still rare that it affects me to the point where I’m shaking and my chest actually hurts.

6. salt to the sea Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys. I feel like any of Ruta Sepetys’ books could make my list. I love that she takes lesser known parts of history and molds them into her stories.

5. 9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.indd Outrun the Moon – Stacey Lee. She’s another author I feel like most of her books could make this list. I love the blending of historical events with the culture of the characters.

4. rebel of the sands Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton. There were a few westerns I could have chosen but this one stood out with the setting.

3. burned big Burned – Ellen Hopkins. Her writing style is just so unique.

2. Raven boys big The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater. Everything about this book is so unique and I loved every bit of it.

  1. harry potter Harry Potter – JK Rowling. I feel like I put HP on every list but this series is so unique and so special that even 20 years after the first book, new fans are coming into it and falling in love, fans grab on to any bit of extra information released, and it’s a series that will never die.

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Book Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Wild Beauty

Release date: October 3rd 2017

4.5 stars

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Part of me feels like the only thing to say about this book is Anna-Marie McLemore does it again. I loved her debut The Weight of Feathers. There’s something absolutely magical about her writing and where it transports the reader. I wanted to visit La Pradera, maybe never leave it. It was described so perfectly that it was easy to picture it in my head.

This is one of those types of books where I worry about saying too much in a review because I don’t want to give away even the tiniest plot hint. I loved the characters, I loved the romance, I loved the setting. I didn’t think I would enjoy this one as much as The Weight of Feathers because that one was amazing, but somehow, this one ended up being my favourite of the two. I went in with really high expectations based on The Weight of Feathers and Anna-Marie McLemore managed to not only exceed them, she pole-vaulted over them.

It’s still very early in the year but I have a feeling this one will land on my top ten of 2017.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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March Wrap-Up/April TBR

Another month done, another month closer to Summer.

March Wrap-Up:

royal-bastards Royal Bastards – Andrew Shvarts. 4/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this world and the misfit feel to the group of characters.

hundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti. 3/5 stars. It took me a while to get into this one. Once I did, I thought it got better but it still didn’t pull me right in.

hidden-memory-of-objects The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the twist with the main character being able to see memories attached to objects.

the-crowns-fate The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye. 4.5/5 stars. Review. A great follow-up to one of my favourite books from last year.

upside-of-unrequited The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli. 4/5 stars. Review. Another great follow-up to a favourite from last year.

geekerella Geekerella – Ashley Poston. 4/5 stars. Review. So cute and I enjoyed picking out the parallels between this story and Cinderella.

Blacklist Blacklist – Alyson Noel. 3.5/5 stars. I missed the competition aspect from the first book but this one definitely upped the mystery factor.

Lotterys Plus One The Lotterys Plus One – Emma Donoghue. 3/5 stars. It was a really cute story but it did feel like a MG-written story.

Miss Ellicott's School Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded – Sage Blackwood. 3.5/5 stars. Another cute story and I really enjoyed the magical world.

starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. 4/5 stars. Review. I did miss that the misfit crew from the first book was less present in this one but it was still great going back to this world.

flame-in-the-mist Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing and this one already has me excited for the next one.

image After the End – Amy Plum. 3/5 stars. I really enjoyed the Revenants series so I had high hopes but it took me a while to get into this one.

image The Last Thing You Said – Sara Biren. 3.5/5 stars. The way the two main characters kept hurting each other out of grief was very realistic.

image Maud – Melanie L Fishbane. 4/5 stars. Review. It was a little strange at first, reading a fictionalized version of LM Montgomery’s life when I grew up in PEI but it was good.

image Wild Beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore. 4/5 stars. There’s something very magical about Anne-Marie McLemore’s writing and the characters she creates.

Metaltown Metal town – Kristen Simmons. 3/5 stars. This was another one that was hard to get into. The pacing was a bit uneven.

The Midnight Dance The Midnight Dance – Nikki Katz. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed the dark and twisted spin the plot took but there was a lot of things that could have been explained better.

April TBR:

Ramona Bluetraitors-kissWindfallone-of-us-is-lying

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Sometimes I feel like all I do is read. And I’m perfectly content with that. Actually, I’m ecstatic.

Currently reading: The Midnight Dance

Finished reading: Metaltownimageimageimage

Reviewed: flame-in-the-miststarfall

What I’m hoping to get to next week: traitors-kissRamona Blue to read

imageimage to review

Books read it 2017: 51

Debut authors read in 2017: 15

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