Sadie by Courtney Summers

Rating: 5/5 stars

Sadie

Pages: 308

Series: N/A

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Fiction

I didn’t know what to tell her. That I tried not to think about that kind of stuff, because it was painful, because I thought I could ever have it, but when I did end up liking someone, it always made me ache right down to my core. I realized pretty early on that the who didn’t really matter so much. That anybody who listens to me, I end up loving them just a little.

I have to admit, getting this book as an AudioBook is the best call I made in regards to this story. The cast of the AudioBook is extremely talented and helps me jump into the story every time I can press play. I don’t think that I’d be able to follow the story as well as I have if I were reading it with eyes. Not to mention the fact that you’d be missing out on the amazing storytelling that comes with listening to a podcast type story rather than reading it on a page. In my opinion, if you’re going to pick Sadie up you should really try the AudioBook version of this story. It just brings so much to the story that you’d otherwise be missing.

Looking at the writing itself, I love the way that Summers deals with the “issue” of having a stutter and peoples reaction to it. My aunt is a speech and has dealt with many cases of stutters throughout her career. Because of this, I know how amazing of a job Summers does at depicting what having a heavy stutter is like. It’s not easy going about your days with a stutter and even worse when you know that people are looking down at you for it and there’s nothing you can do about it. The truth of the matter is not everyone has the luxury of visiting a speech pathologist, instead having to live their lives with something – like a stutter – knowing that there’s a chance something could have been done to “fix” it. Sadie does quite well for someone who is constantly looked down on and belittled for her stutter. And though it may not be in spoken words, Sadie has a strong mind and a lot to say.

Summers also did a good job at keeping me on my toes as the story progressed. It took me a while to get into the story itself but as soon as I did the fact that the story continued to switch between Sadie’s perspective and West McCray’s radio story keep me enthralled. I loved the way that the story flipped between the two, allowing for a glimpse into what happened from Sadie’s perspective and how each person she interacted with saw the situation, what they got from meeting Sadie.

If you’re looking for a great fast-paced mystery, I highly recommend picking Sadie up.

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Lodestar by Shannon Messenger

Rating: 5/5 starsLodestar.jpg

Pages: 688

Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 5

Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult

 

His cheer sounded forced. But she knew Fitz was trying.

That’s what they did now.

Try.

Wait.

Hope.

I don’t know what I expected from this book, but I certainly got more than I bargained for. More happiness, more stress, more heartache… just more. Messenger seems to do an amazing job at pulling emotions out of me and playing with them like that’s her job. Which, in a way, I guess it is.

You see, after reading Neverseen, I was really hoping for some good news in this series. Yes, there were some extreme highs in this book – and for that I’m grateful – but the lows were so much… lower than I would have expected. These lows were written so beautifully, so intrinsically to the story, that I can’t help but love them – even if I do hate that they’re there just a little bit.

Basically what I’m saying is this: if you’re going into this story hoping for a lighthearted and carefree read, you’ve got another thing coming to you. But wait! Don’t let that turn you off of this amazing story. Instead, be prepared for a dynamic cast and a world that is going to keep you guessing. Heck, even when things are rough for the main squad my heart is screaming out that I need more.

While yes this story can be dark at times, the joy that it brings me is endless. And, as I’ve questioned so many times throughout my life, what’s the good in good if you don’t have something compare it to? (Now this might just be the Philosophy major in me talking, so bare with me a second.) If you don’t have anything to compare joy to, how are you supposed to know you’re happy? Of course it sucks to go through hard times – even seemingly impossible times – but getting out of these struggles alive not only makes you stronger, it also makes you realize just how great other times in your life have really been.

Okay, tangent over (for now). In a more directly related to Lodestar itself thread, I continued to be shocked and amazed at the maturity and brilliance that the squad shows. While only teenagers, they’re willing to risk everything in order to help save people – and not just the people they care about. Sure as teenagers they don’t always go about things the right way. But what’s more important than that is their willingness to risk it all to help people because it’s the right thing. Sophie might just be a fourteen year old from a race that lives much longer than I can comprehend, but she is wise beyond her years. Heck, if she wasn’t so grounded I’d worry that the series was unbalanced.

Thankfully, Messenger manages to break my heart time and time again by proving she doesn’t really believe in plot armour. (Yes, that sentence was a touch sarcastic – but the wound is still fresh!) I say this hoping it doesn’t spoil the emotional impact of Messenger’s words. I say this as praise to Messenger, for keeping me on my toes no matter what I expect to happen. Even when it hurts, it hurts so good.

On a much happier note, I love the little teasing bits of relationship drama that gets thrown in during the strangest times. Heck, as someone who was once a teenage girl myself, I know any relationship conversation with your dad is going to be awkward. But a conversation about boys with your dad and your bodyguard while you’re trying to figure out how to save people? BIG OOF. Of course I felt a touch of secondhand embarrassment during these scenes, but I couldn’t help but grin at Sophie’s reactions to boy talk.

I also love how dynamic Messenger makes her characters feel. Even someone as happy and bright as Sophie can sometimes have a dark side, which is how people are in real life, too. Seeing the extent to which Sophie and her friends are willing to go for those they care about, ignoring the consequences, makes them feel real to me. Your loved one is a bad guy? Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to punch them in the face.

The final non-spoilery note I’d like to make on this book is how Messenger isn’t afraid to touch on hard subjects. One of these that is touched on in Lodestar is the topic of verbal abuse. Many people brush off the severity of verbal abuse because there’s no tell-tale signs that it’s happened. Some lump it in with toxic masculinity and think that if they let it get to them then it’s making them less of a man/a person. (Yes I know these issues can be handled separately, but I find it important to point out they can go hand in hand.) Messenger isn’t afraid to call out verbal abuse when it happens – even if we are talking about fictional characters here. It’s important to show real people that these things happen, that it’s okay to acknowledge that it’s affected you.

Now, I know I’ve said this before but it won’t be my last time saying it: don’t be scared away from this series simply because it’s classified as “Middle Grade”. Yes, the characters are young. But so were the characters in Harry Potter and that doesn’t stop people from all ages loving the story and its world – or getting something out of the tale. The KotLC series is just like this. It’s filled with morals and lessons for both the young and the old[er]. It’s filled with jokes that children will understand… and a couple for when you’re a bit older (but don’t worry – nothing crude!). If you haven’t already picked up this series, I highly recommend you do. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favourite series like I did.

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December TBR

As the year comes to a close, I figured I’d try to get as many of the books I’ve previously had on my TBRs completed. This means that my December TBR is going to be longer than normal. However, I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself to complete this list. Instead, my monthly goal will be to read as many of these titles as I can.

Of course, I’ll be planning my reading around work and the holiday season, so I don’t think I’ll be able to get all of these read. My prediction is I’ll get maybe 8 or 9 books from this list read (if I’m lucky). After all, the holidays mean family time – and I’m willing to sacrifice some reading for that. And, of course, I added a couple new books to the list – I couldn’t help myself!

Once again, I’ve placed a nice mix of Physical Books, AudioBooks, and eBooks.

So, how crazy long is this TBR?

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November Wrap Up

Thankfully, I managed to start this reading month off with a bang. The very first weekend in November, I finished one story and picked up 3 more. While this might not seem like the best ratio, it worked out well for me. I enjoy giving myself a mixture of mediums to read from – it helps stop me from getting distracted all the time.

Sure, this whole month wasn’t the best for reading for me. Yet overall I know it was a decent month. I got a bunch of good reads in which means more to me than having a whole bunch of smaller, and worse, books completed. I hope I’m always a quality over quantity gal.

While Yzma is still in that excited puppy stage where she won’t let me sit and read in peace for longer than five minutes, I truly think I managed to get a decent chunk of reading done. Besides, puppy love is a welcome distraction from my reading goals. Especially when you get to play with said puppy in her first snowfall.

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for this month:


For reference: Physical books, eBooks, and AudioBooks.

Total books completed: 12

Total pages read: 4410 (avg. 368 pages per book)

Completed Books:

  1. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers, Book 2)[4 stars]
  2. Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Healer, Book 3)[3.75 stars]
  3. Haunted by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld, Book 5)[5 stars]
  4. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers, Book 3)[3.75-4 stars]
  5. Elevation by Stephen King [5 stars]
  6. Antebellum Awakening by Katie Cross (Network, Book 2)[5 stars]
  7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling [4 stars]
  8. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (Darkness Rising, Book 1)[5 stars]
  9. The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (Darkness Rising, Book 2)[3.5 stars]
  10. The Rising by Kelley Armstrong (Darkness Rising, Book 3)[4.25 stars]
  11. Lodestar by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 5)[5 stars]
  12. The High Priest’s Daughter by Katie Cross (Network, Book 3)[4.5 stars]

Dedicated Blog Posts:

  1. Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
  2. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
  3. Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder
  4. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
  5. Haunted by Kelley Armstrong
  6. Elevation by Stephen King
  7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  8. Antebellum Awakening by Katie Cross
  9. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
  10. The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
  11. The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Continue reading “November Wrap Up”

Fall Book Haul

It’s been a while since I put in writing the books that I’ve picked up. While I haven’t gone as crazy as I have in the past with buying books, it’s been a couple of months so I’ve definitely added to my collection. Thankfully, I’ve read more books than I picked up so my TBR list is shrinking instead of growing.

Without further ado, here are the books that I’ve picked up over the last couple of months:

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The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4.25/5 stars

The Rising.jpg

Pages: 406

Series: Darkness Rising, Book 3

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance

 

“Claws in, little cat,” he said, still grinning. “Just like a cat, aren’t you? Rescue you and get scratched for my trouble.”

I can’t imagine having to come to terms with your whole life being a lie. Okay, not necessarily a lie, but living with a very big secret the whole time. Sure, finding out you’ve got supernatural powers can’t be the easiest thing in the world, but that’s got to be easier to swallow than finding out you’ve been part of one big experiment your entire life.

It’s also got to be hard being on the run, unsure of who you can trust. Is it even safe to visit your family? Can you contact them, let them know you’re alive? Or is it safer for them to think that you’re dead the way the people you’re running from want them to believe?

Yeah, it’s got to be hard knowing your family thinks you’re dead and not being able to do a damned thing about it.

I greatly enjoyed the way that the supernatural world is explained in this story. While I came into this already being accustomed to this world, other may not. I can see how there’d be an overlap between readers of this series and Armstrong’s other series in the world, allowing them to already understand the way the supernatural world works, but I can also understand how someone is coming into this series without prior knowledge. That’s the benefit of being a companion series and not the continuation of a previous series.

Keeping this in mind, Armstrong does a great job at giving the reader enough information to understand the world without regurgitating the information she’s given out previously. While this series gives more information into the supernatural world in this world that isn’t said in her other series, it also gives enough information that’s covered in them to properly tie them all together. I’ve got to say, having read the Women of the Otherworld and Darkest Powers series, it’s a pretty thought out and defined world.

She also wonderfully reintroduced characters from her other series, cementing the fact that they all take place in the same world at the same time. Oh, and that the people with morals continue to have morals outside of their direct conflicts.

Overall, if you’re interested in a story about coming to terms with having powers and the fact that people in your life aren’t always going to tell you everything, I’d recommend giving this series a try. Armstrong has a way with words and it’s apparent in this series.

Of course, I’d recommend starting with The Gathering if you’re reading this series.

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The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 3.5/5 stars The Calling.jpg

Pages: 326

Series: Darkness Rising, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance

 

Like a cougar with a cache, I knew where we’d left Corey. Hayley said they’d moved a little, but he’d he close enough for me to find him.

While this book feels fast paced at times, it doesn’t add much in the way of plot to the series. In this way, it definitely suffers from second book syndrome. There’s lot of the crew walking around the forest, trying to get somewhere and find help. Every time it seems like they’re moving ahead, it becomes apparent that they’ve only moved sideways.

It becomes more and more obvious to that the crew doesn’t know who they can trust. Are they even able to trust each other?

More importantly than that, are there any adults that they can trust? It’s become apparent that the quiet life they thought they knew wasn’t as perfect as they’d always thought. As Maya and her friends start learning the truth about the town they grew up in and themselves, they’re left with more questions than answers.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It’s nothing too intense, and the focus of this story is more heavily on the characters and their interactions than it is their supernatural powers. If you’re interested in a story about friendship and trust, with a hint of mystery and the supernatural thrown in, try giving this series a try. It’s a cute story with an interesting premise, and I definitely enjoyed every second of it.

Continue reading “The Calling by Kelley Armstrong”