#FiveOnFriday Contemporaries

Today for my #FiveOnFriday post, I’m talking about 5 contemporaries I loved! I actually usually try to avoid contemporaries. I’d actually much rather have my nose buried in a fantasy or scifi novel. So without further ado…

First up is All the Rage by Courtney Summers. TW for sexual violence.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It sounded good in theory, but I was nervous I was going to be disappointed by the execution. This was not the case. This book made me FEEL so many feels. I could totally relate to the MC, Romy. She accuses the sheriff’s son of sexually assaulting her and becomes an outcast at school and in her own town. All her friends and the community shun her, not believing her. When another girl goes missing after a party, the town is unsure what to believe.
This book was so well written. I did enjoy Sadie by Courtney Summers (except for the ending :(), so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I enjoyed this book.

Next, I loved Odd One Out by Nic Stone. This book is about three friends exploring their own relationships and sexuality. The book starts by introducing Coop, a straight male, and his best friend Jupiter, his lesbian best friend. We eventually meet Rae and between the three of them, their relationships grow and evolve. Jupiter and Rae start questioning their sexualities and both explore different paths.
I think this book is a must read for teens. There is so much hatred and bigotry in the world, I think teens these days need to see representation of themselves and their friends. I feel like as a straight female I still questioned a lot of things that occurred in my life. Being a teenager and just life in general is difficult without forcing people to choose labels or sexual preferences, if they’re not ready. I feel, in this world today, it is so difficult to find genuine love and friendship without forcing people into boxes and categories.

Third, I really enjoyed Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. This is the essential feminist read. The MC, Vivian, is frustrated with her small-minded town and school that never hold the males responsible for their actions. Viv starts a zine that focuses on feminism and taking down the patriarchy. She ends up uniting the female population of her school who start demanding changes to the school and how males and females are treated differently. I loved this book because I’m a feminist and a strong believer that women should have equal opportunity and be treated the same as their male colleagues.

Another contemporary I really enjoyed was When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book because I thought it was going to be a mushy gushy kiss kiss teen romance. Boy, was I wrong. We follow Dimple, who wants to focus on her career before getting married. For her traditional parents, the “Ideal Indian husband” should be her main priority. To her surprise, they agree to allow her to end a summer program for aspiring web developers. Little does she know, her parents conspired with Rishi’s parents to get the two to meet at this summer program. Rishi is under the impression Dimple knows what is happening and is shocked to find out Dimple has no idea who he is or why he keeps trying to engage her in conversation. The story continues with Dimple and Rishi being partners for the web developer program and we watch as their relationship grows. I love the concept that Dimple can be serious about her career and still develop a relationship with Rishi. The romance was subtle without being the main focus of the story.

Lastly, I loved The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. If you haven’t picked up this book, yet, you need to. I feel as if police brutality is still somewhat of a taboo subject. A lot of society is still in denial that POC are discriminated against just for walking down the street. This book is written from the perspective of Starr who witnesses a fatal police shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. I think this book finally forces people to open their eyes and understand what is happening in the world around them. Police brutality in the country is a problem. I am a strong supporter of THE IDEA of law enforcement. I think a lot of us can’t imagine what some police officers go through on a daily basis. Even more so, so many of us white people can’t even imagine what POC go through just trying to live their lives. This is a very powerful read and hopefully it is one of the first steps of bringing awareness and change to a very serious problem in American society.\

Thank you so much for reading my Five On Friday post! What are some of your favorite contemporaries? What are some of your recent reads that have had a strong influence on your emotions?

#AvengersReadathon19 TBR

Yahoo!! I will be participating in the Avengers readathon hosted by The Perks of Being Noura (@NunuKz). Check out her blog announcement! https://theperksofbeingnourablog.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/readathon-announcement-avengersreadathon19/

This readathon will run from April 14 to May 31.
Here is a link to the prompts: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1clT4nOqlP7NdQ6IV0-VGIVByLnFjx0yU9rmUdx12MD8/edit

I will be taking the Iron Man and Captain Marvel challenges! I chose these because they have the most prompts and I’m a masochist. With that being said, I have a few more OWLs I need to finish, so I will be reading a few books for both readathons.

Iron Man prompts:
Book with a red cover – Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
Sci-Fi book – Recursion by Blake Crouch (eARC)
Award Winning book – The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Mental Health – All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Book with Robots or Artificial intelligence – Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Assignment from Captain America:
White, Red, and Blue – a book with one of these colors on the cover – Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Assignment from Black Panther:
Black Panther – A book with a black main character – I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal (eARC)

Assignment from another character (1):
Hulk – Intimidating book – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Assignment from another character (2):
Black Widow and Hawkeye – Mystery – Black Water by T. Jefferson Parker

Captain Marvel prompts:
Feminist Read – Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan
Book set in a different universe – The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Book with red, blue, or yellow – Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (eARC)
New release – The Promise by Teresa Driscoll (eARC)
Badass Female Character – Wilder Girls by Rory Power (eARC)
Written by a female author of color – Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Assignment from Black Panther:
T’Challa – Book by a black/ African author – American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Assignment from Guardians of the Galaxy:
Groot – Book with Nonhuman Character – This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Assignment from any character:
Captain America – 1941 – Book Released before 2000 – Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

A few of these may change depending on if I can get them from the library on time! Are you participating in the Avengers Readathon?


#FiveOnFriday Series I won’t finish

Bonjourno everybody! We made it to another Friday. This week for my #FiveOnFriday, I will be listing 5 series I started, but probably won’t finish.

First, the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas. I CANNOT believe how many people love this series. For this reason, I MAY read the rest of the books someday. After finishing the first book, I realized I CANNOT stand Feyre. I think she’s whiny and indecisive. I don’t think she’s brave, I think she is stubborn in a negative way. I’ve also very much started disliking the “prisoner falls in love with their captive” trope. I finished the first book specifically so I could have the right to b*tch about it. I can’t even say how badass she was during the trials because she literally had help with every single one. I don’t know if this book just caught me on an off day (week?), but my dislike of Feyre is so strong, I don’t even want to waste my time with the second book (or the rest). I HAVE heard the other books are much better, so MAYBE I’ll try them, but probably not anytime soon.

Next, is The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I read Eragon and I just didn’t like it. I don’t know if I’m just too old to relate to the protagonist? I thought Eragon was a little full of himself and I believe at one point he basically threw a tantrum? (If I remember correctly) I enjoyed the general story overall and rated the book 3 stars. The world building was decent and I liked the adventure aspect. With all the books out there in the world, I just didn’t feel the series was worth pursuing.

Another series I probably won’t finish is Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart. As a feminist, I just don’t have it in me to deal with most patriarchal fictional worlds. I enjoyed most of the story from Serina’s perspective in prison. I understand the direction of the story and why a lot of things happened the way they did. It’s just, once again, there are so many more books that I think I would enjoy more.

One more series I won’t continue or finish is the Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson (probably). I recently read an article that stated that James Patterson doesn’t even write most of his books anymore. (This isn’t the article I read, but basically says the same thing. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10711191/James-Patterson-how-the-bestseller-factory-works.html)
Every single one of Patterson’s books that I’ve picked up I feel are just poor quality. Whether because it was hastily written, or he has someone else write them, or because he just knows if his name is on it, it’ll sell. My mom and I classify these types of books as “easy reads”. This description is for Mass Market paperbacks that you can pick up and read in an afternoon without putting too much thought into what you’re reading. Some people are into that. There are other series by other authors that I can classify as an “easy read”, but I just feel they do it better.

Last, I won’t be finish the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. I actually really enjoyed the first three book of this series, I just felt it ended well in the third book. Naturally, there were just so many other books on my TBR, that I just didn’t feel the need to continue. Maybe someday I’ll get the urge to read them all from the beginning and just continue with the rest of the books. For now, I’m just trying to reduce my TBR list. If you enjoy sci-fi and/or dystopian novels, I do recommend this series.

Well, that is all for this week. I realize there are going to be many people that don’t agree with me for some of these opinions. Thank you for reading my blog anyway.

March Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I read quite a bit in March. I finished 15 1/2 books and reread one book. I’ve read 40 books this year towards by Goodreads challenge of 200. Joining readathons and listening to audiobooks helps me so much to accomplish my goal.

The first book I read for March was The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen.
face of deception
I gave this book 4 Stars. Eve is a forensic sculptor. She takes skulls of the deceased who are unidentified and uses clay to sculpt a face onto the skull to determine what the deceased look like. We learn early in the book that part of her motivation is her daughter was murdered, but the body had never been found. She gets hired by billionaire John Logan for a mysterious job involving an unidentified skull. We follow her as she discovers some of Logan’s secrets and unveils truths nobody would’ve ever suspected. This book was pretty interesting, especially considering it was written in the 90’s. It didn’t blow my mind, but I enjoyed it.

Next, I read The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker. This is the first book in the Merci Rayborn series.
blue hour
I gave this book 3 stars. Merci Rayborn is a detective in Orange County California and she teams up with a retired detective Tim Hess for a disturbing and terrifying case. There is a man going around murdering women. He lies in wait in their backseats and when they enter the car, he kidnaps and murders them. He leaves their entrails behind in their purses, earning him the title of “The Purse Snatcher”. The detectives form a bond and work well together, finding clues and getting closer to solving these crimes. There’s an interesting twist in the end, as with most crime books/thrillers. I enjoyed the overall story, but there were certain occurrences in the book that I personally did not like, which is why I gave it 3 stars.

The third book I read in March was Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.
I LOVED this book and I gave it 5 stars. This is a middle grade book that includes magic, mystery, and adventure. Morrigan Crow is cursed and prophesied to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. The evening before a mysterious stranger, Jupiter North, comes to her home and takes her to the land of Nevermoor. He becomes her guardian and benefactor as she enters the trials to become a member of the Wundrous Society. As long as she is a member (or participating to become one) of this very exclusive organization, she doesn’t have to return to her previous life or world where she is destined to die. This book was just so exciting and entertaining and I can’t wait to read the next book, Wundersmith.

After Nevermoor, I finished reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I started it in February, but finished in March.
In the end, I rated this book 3 stars. I probably would’ve rated it 2, but the second half of the book picked up. I notice a lot of people loved the unique layout of the book, but I wasn’t a fan. I also thought it was just very slow until the 300-400 page mark. One of my biggest complaints about this book was how SERIOUS this situation was and how intense their predicament should have been and 50% of the story is two teenagers making kissy faces at each other through instant messaging. Maybe I’m just too old for these shenanigans. I am curious to see how the story progresses since I did enjoy the last half of the book, but it’s definitely on the lower end of my TBR.

The next book I read was The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. This is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy.
girl in the tower
I read the physical book and listened to the audio book simultaneously. I gave this book 5 stars. I think the audio book really brought the story to life. We continued following Vasya’s story after she left her family home and ventured out on her own. She ends up in Moscow where her brother and sister live. She disguises herself as a boy for her own safety and discovers a threat to the prince of Moscow. I felt there was a lot more adventure and felt more engrossed in the story in this book, compared to the first one. I’m excited to discover how her story continues in the last book.

For my sixth book of March, I read The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. This is the 34th book in the Alex Delaware series. I chose this book for #MarchMysteryMadness for a book involving a wedding.
wedding guest.jpg
I rated this book 2 stars. The book was written well enough that I didn’t feel I was missing a lot by not having read the first 33 books in the series. There were some things that were mentioned that I assumed I would get more of a backstory on if I HAD read the previous books, but I wasn’t confused about anything. Dr. Alex Delaware is a psychologist that assists the police, more specifically, his good friend Detective Milo Sturgis. There is a murder during a wedding and both Delaware and Sturgis work together to find the clues and solve the murder. I rated the book so low because I felt the LGBTQ+ representation wasn’t handled well. There was also the problem of every female description being of a sexual nature and involved a detailed description of their breasts. A lot of the characters were exotic dancers, but I still felt between the LGBTQ+ characters and the females, the descriptions were inappropriate and unnecessary.

After that disappointment, the next book on my list was Witness by Caroline Mitchell. This book was also pretty disappointing.
I also rated this book 2 stars and was another pick for #MarchMysteryMadness. The synopsis of this book sounded really interesting, so I was excited and thought it would be a decent thriller. The MC Rebecca has a secret that her ex husband Solomon knows. The problem is Solomon was just released from jail and has decided to exact his revenge on Rebecca, blaming her for testifying against him in a murder. Rebecca is now hiding in a remote village in Wales (if I remember correctly), with her daughter and new husband. One day she finds a cell phone hiding in her home where she gets a text message stating that she has to witness crimes and assaults against the people she cares for. The MC was just annoying and cowardly and basically allowed others to be injured and assaulted because Solomon threatened her and family if she went to the police. The book was written in a way that I wasn’t bored, but I just very much disliked the MC and the how the story developed. I might give this author another chance, but as a thriller, this book was a let down.

Verity by Colleen Hoover was a much more exciting thriller and I gave it 5 stars.
The ending of the book wasn’t 100% satisfactory for me, but the story was suspenseful and messed with the reader’s mind. The MC, Lowen Ashleigh, is hired to continue famous author Verity Crawford’s popular book series. Verity’s husband, Jeremy, hires and offers Lowen to stay in their home while she reads Verity’s notes on the series and how the series should progress. Verity is unable to continue her series because she was an a car accident that essentially left her a vegetable. In her perusing, Lowen finds an unfinished autobiography. Verity writes some of her terrible actions and thoughts in this manuscript and strange things start occurring in the Crawford home. I found myself nervous about what was happening and excited to read about what was going to happen next. This is one of the few thrillers that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Next, I read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
silent patient
I rated this book 4 stars. It was a good story and pretty suspenseful. I don’t know if I quite predicted the twist, or I had just been reading so many thrillers lately, that I just wasn’t shocked. Alicia is found at home with a gun in her hand and her husband found dead. She doesn’t speak again. She is tried and because she doesn’t speak is found guilty. She is committed to an asylum where psychotherapist Theo Faber begins working and he makes it his goal to get her talking about what transpired. I think I read this book in one sitting. It was very engrossing and well written. I’d recommend this book if you are interested in thrillers.

My next read was the Red Light by T. Jefferson Parker. I also read this book for the #MarchMysteryMadness readathon and it is the second book in the Merci Rayborn series.
red light
I rated this one a little higher than the first book at 4 stars. As I mentioned before, with the first book, I thought the story was really good, there were just certain things that occurred that I just personally didn’t like. In this book the story was well written and interesting. We continue with Merci’s story and her next crime to solve. The other officer she is dating is suspected of a murder. She wants to believe he is innocent, but starts unraveling clues that point to his guilt. I enjoyed how the story progressed and generally enjoy Parker’s writing style. There is one last book in the series that I will read for #OWLsReadathon2019

My eleventh book of the month was The Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps.
I rated this book 4 stars. I found the synopsis of this book instantly intriguing. Emma Whisperer is the last child allowed to live in Territory L. Every woman who becomes pregnant after her birth is thrown in jail and the baby is killed. When the President throws a celebration for Emma on her 18th birthday, Emma feels compelled to speak up and defy the President’s laws. She’s thrown in jail and so many interesting things happen to her as the story progresses. TBH, this book was a bit slow and the writing was rough, but the overall story was extremely interesting. I also read the second book of this series in March.

Next, I read The Killing Game by Iris Johansen. This was actually my first book for the Charms prompt for #OWLsReadathon2019. I was allowed to start 5 days early for this readathon.
killing game
The rating I gave this book was 3 stars. As with The Red Light, I rated this book lower for certain aspects that I personally disliked. Eve Duncan returns from her hiatus and begins receiving mysterious phone calls from a man who claims to have murdered her daughter. She thought her daughter’s murderer had already been executed for his crimes, but the mysterious caller knows details only the murderer could know. He starts threatening a young girl in a foster home and Eve feels it’s her obligation to keep this girl safe while the police try to locate him.

After finishing my Charms book, I still had a few days left before I could begin any other books for my OWLs readathon. I picked up One For the Money by Janet Evanovich trusting it would be a pretty quick read.
one for the money
I rated this book 4 stars. Stephanie has lost her job and is to the point where she is selling furniture for money. Her parents suggest she see her cousin who runs a bail bonds business. Instead of becoming a receptionist, as was her initial plan, she becomes a bounty hunter. Her first target is not only the kid that took her virginity when she was 16, but Joe is now also a cop. In her struggle to find and capture him, she uncovers a plot that appears he had been framed. They eventually work together to try and prove his innocence while she learns the ins and outs of being a bounty hunter. Stephanie’s wit and tough girl resilience made her an easily likable character. The story wasn’t perfect, but overall quite entertaining.

Still needing to tackle some books on my TBR and waiting patiently for April to get here, I started Punishment by Scott J. Holiday. I was able to borrow this book from Kindle Unlimited and read the ebook and listened to the audio book simultaneously.
I rated this book 4 stars. In the not so distant future, there is a machine that attaches to a person’s memory and can extract it to replay their experiences. As a detective, John Barnes uses this machine to see murder victim’s last visions. He starts seeing the same masked man in several victims’ memories. The murderer, Calavera, starts antagonizing the detectives and getting off on leaving clues for the detectives. The overall story was really interesting and I liked Detective Barnes’s character. I’ll likely read the next book in the series next month.

My second to last book for the month of March was Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I was given the earc of this book from NetGalley. I had started it earlier in the month and wanted to finish and review it before April.
wicked saints
I gave this book 4 stars. I did write a more thorough review on my blog. (https://starvinforbooks.com/2019/04/02/wicked-saints-by-emily-a-duncan/) A prince, a girl who derives her magic from the gods, and a mysterious boy’s paths all intertwine in this fantasy. In the end, they plan on murdering the king to the end the war. The story is essentially their journey to get that point. I enjoyed it, but I felt I was missing something. During the first time I read it I felt easily distracted. I wanted to love it like a lot of others seem to. I REREAD it hoping to discover what it was the enthralled so many others. I just didn’t feel it. It was a well written book and I enjoyed the unique magical aspect and I definitely plan on reading the second book, but something about it just fell flat with me. (Sorry 😦 )

My last book for March was Journey to Territory M. This is the second book in the Extinction of All Children series by L. J. Epps.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]
I rated this book 4 stars. We continue with Emma’s journey into Territory M. Here she is seeking answers to questions the President couldn’t seem to answer for her. She’s determined to find the leader of M and convince them to assist her in overthrowing President Esther and her unscrupulous laws. There were parts of this story that I enjoyed more and some parts I enjoyed less than the first book. I felt the story was a little faster pace and the plot got juicier. I did begin to dislike the MC, Emma. I found her reckless and annoying in this book. I will read the last book in the series to see how her adventure concludes.

Well, that was it for March! Thanks for reading!

#FiveOnFriday Favorite Historical Fictions

Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another #FiveOnFriday. This week I’ll be writing about five of my favorite historical fictions. Let’s get to it!

First, I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I talked about this book in my #FiveOnFriday favorite audiobooks edition. (https://starvinforbooks.com/2019/03/22/fiveonfriday-2/)
Monique Grant, an unknown magazine reporter is chosen by the notorious Evelyn Hugo to write her biography. Evelyn invites Monique into her home to share her life story and takes all of along her journey. The audio book was spectacular and I highly recommend it. We alternate between Monique and Evelyn speaking in the present tense and Evelyn relaying her story. I think why this book is such a delight is because the title hints that the book is likely about a typical American actress, her privileged life, and her experiences with seven different husbands. The husbands are mentioned and parts of their stories told, but there is so much more to Evelyn and this story than we expected.

Next, I loved Moloka’i by Alan Brennert.
In this book, we follow Rachel at a young age, to her diagnosis of leprosy, to her life on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i that became a leper colony in the late 1800’s. I spent an entire day reading this book from start to finish and it was absolutely beautiful. I felt so many emotions reading Rachel’s experiences, growing up and eventually living her life away from her family and eventually finding new people to call family. All the ups and downs and challenges she faced living with this disease. Any time someone asks for a recommendation for historical fiction, I recommend this book.

Another book I loved was Circe by Madeline Miller. When I finished this book, I instantly became a fan.
I’m not completely familiar with the original myth of Circe, so I’m not sure of any similarities or differences. What I do know is this book was beautifully written. Circe is banished to a deserted island by Zeus who is threatened by her power. She tells her story as we meet other famous figures of mythology, such as, Icarus, Odysseus, the Minotaur, and others. Greek mythology has always been one of my favorite topics and this has become one of my favorite books.

I also really enjoyed The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. This is a novel loosely based on Albert Einstein’s first wife Mileva Maric.
I had previously not known about Mileva Maric Einstein. There was a special TV event about Einstein’s life that I had watched and instantly became fascinated with this woman. There is quite a bit of speculation, in this book and other sources, that Mileva helped Einstein with his discoveries and his science research. She was never credited in his papers as a co-author even though she contributed much of her time and research to help Albert. This book takes us on a journey to her early life, to when they first meet, to their divorce and their relationship afterwards.

Last, one of my favorites is Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler.
In this book we follow Zelda Fitzgerald nee Sayre, to a novelization of her early life, to her introduction to famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald, and continues through their tumultuous marriage, and continuing on to their deaths. This was a very entertaining novel. I am curious how it compares to their real lives and marriage. I liked Zelda’s character and there was enough drama throughout the book to keep the reader engaged. If you are interested in high society life in the early 1900’s and the ostentatious marriage of F Scott and Zelda, I recommend this book.

Thanks for reading!

Journey to Territory M by L.J. Epps

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Journey to Territory M by L.J. Epps
4 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
Emma Whisperer’s journey continues in this sequel to the Extinction series. Emma, the last eighteen-year–old in Territory L, finally escapes Territory L and makes it into Territory M. She tries to find her niece, Abigail, and searches for the leader of Territory M to see if the walls can come down. She brings two friends with her on her journey to finish what she started back in Territory L.

Emma hides out, trying not to get caught. Who can she trust? Will they find Abigail? Is she still alive? Will they find the newbie camp? Will they find out who the leader of Territory M is? Will the leader help them bring the walls down?

Emma thought escaping from Territory L would solve all of her problems. She soon finds out that escaping to Territory M is not all she envisioned it would be. President Esther, Rich, and the leader of Territory M have more in store for Emma than she bargains for.

Take a ride with them as their adventure begins in an abandoned college where they meet up with some unruly characters. Will these people, known as the runaways, be friends or foes?

Emma and her friends—old and new—find themselves searching for places to hide out from President Esther and her henchman Rich, all the while trying to find the leader of Territory M.

Take a ride with Emma as she finds some much-needed answers.

I felt this book, compared to the first, had a little bit more going on. I’m enjoying how the story is progressing and find myself still engaged in Emma’s story. In this book, she escapes into territory M with Eric and Julian. Her niece Abigail is taken away by President Esther and Emma is hoping to find her. She meets some others along the way and her goals are to find Abigail and talk to the leader of M.

Emma was more annoying in this book. She’s becoming careless and selfish. She’s taking more risks in this territory and is continually putting herself and her friends in danger. I’m not sure if she is supposed to appear brave or fearless, but I just see her as reckless.

I’m curious to see how the final book wraps things up and see what Emma accomplishes. I’m not too concerned with Emma’s well-being and don’t really care where she ends up. I still find this alternative future fascinating and the story entertaining. I’ll be completing the last book for #OWLsReadathon and plan to post my review towards the end of April. If you enjoyed the first book, I feel it’s worth continuing the story.

Thanks for reading!

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
385 pgs
4 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

I ENJOYED it. I LIKED it. I just didn’t FEEL it. I’m not sure what I’m missing, but I just didn’t FEEL what everyone else seems to be feeling. I enjoyed the unique magical aspect and the story started off strong. The characters were likable enough. I’m a little disappointed because I feel like there was a lot of hype about this book and I just didn’t LOVE it like a lot of people did. I even read it twice thinking I may have missed something.

I suppose I would have liked a little more backstory on the characters. There was a bit about Malachiasz and it was explained Nadya doesn’t seem to know where she came from. Hopefully in the second novel there will be a little bit more information. I’ll definitely continue the series and hope some questions get answered in the second book.

Thanks for reading!

Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps
4 Stars

A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.

Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.

During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret. If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.

During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.

After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger. In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

As soon as I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I would enjoy it. The writing is a little rough and a lot of the comparisons are unconventional, but the overall plot and story itself, are very intriguing. Emma lives in a world that is divided into three territories. L, for Lower class, M, for middle, and U for Upper. She lives in the poorest class, territory L where it is illegal to have babies. Any citizen who impregnates or becomes pregnant is thrown into jail and the child, upon birth, is killed.

All this is courtesy of President Esther. After several successful terms of being president, the people voted for her to be president until she resigns or dies. This is when she decides to enact all of her laws regarding separation and murdering innocent babies.

Emma was the last baby allowed to grow to 18 years old. President Esther decides to throw a party in Emma’s honor and during her speech, she rebels against Esther and her ideas. Thus begins a rebellion.

As I mentioned, the writing isn’t perfect, but this story just completely intrigues me. I like Emma as a character. I feel a lot of female leads in series today are whiny and try to act tough, but fall short. I feel Emma is realistic and though she’s no kick-ass assassin, she holds her own pretty well. After speaking against President Esther and her policies, Emma is thrown in jail. The way the rest of the book progresses is quite unexpected. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopians and has an open mind. I’m continuing with the next two books in this trilogy and I’m excited to see how Emma’s story progresses.

Thanks for reading!

#FiveOnFriday Audio Books

Hello! Welcome to today’s #FiveOnFriday blog. Today I’m talking about my five favorite (recent) audio books. I mainly listen to audio books on my ride to and from work. Occasionally, when my eyes are tired, I’ll listen to an audio book at home. The problem with that is I usually end up falling asleep! So, without further ado, let’s started!

First on my list is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Alma Cuervo and Julia Whelan. I was hearing really good things about this book, so I had added it to my TBR without really knowing what it was about. The MC Monique Grant, who is a journalist, is sought out by famous actress Evelyn Hugo to write her biography. Monique has no idea why Evelyn has chosen her when she’s essentially a nobody in journalism. The SHoEH is a narration that alternates between Monique’s and Evelyn’s interactions and Evelyn telling her life story for the autobiography. I absolutely loved the audio version of this book and I think it absolutely enhanced the experience. Both women did a phenomenal job narrating this book and sharing this story.

Next is Heartless by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This book is about the Queen of Hearts of Wonderland before she became the Queen of Hearts. We follow Catherine as an adolescent and learn of her experiences which eventually led her to become the QoH. Rebecca Soler does an incredible job narrating this story and became an instant favorite. I just love her commitment to creating all the different voices for the different characters. I would solely recommend this book just on her performance alone.

My third choice is Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, narrated by Andy Secombe, Eric Meyers, Laurel Lefkow, Charlie Anson, Liza Ross, William Hope, Christopher Ragland, Katharine Mangold, and Adna Sablyich. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this book nearly as much if I had read it versus listening to the audio version. The cast of characters made this book amazing to experience. One of the characters, Rose, finds a hand of what appears to be a giant statue in a hole in the ground in her neighborhood. She grows up to become a scientist and eventually leads a team to discover the secrets behind this hand. The story is presented as a series of interviews that I think communicated better through audio than it would have the book (imo). This is one of my all time favorite audio books and sci-fi books and I recommend it to everyone.

I also really enjoyed The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, narrated by Kathleen Gati. The Bear and the Nightingale was decent, but I felt this book was so much more action-packed and had a lot more going on. We continue following Vasya’s story after we meet her in the first book. She was an unusual child and becomes an unusual, but independent and strong woman. (**THE NEXT LINE IS A SPOILER FOR THE FIRST BOOK**)

She loses most if her family in the first story and we find her reuniting with some of her siblings in this story. She also meets several other allies and enemies and must prove herself to all of Moscow. I think Kathleen Gati did a beautiful job narrating this story and made me feel completely engrossed. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Russian fairy tale type of books or general fantasy.

Lastly, I enjoyed One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, narrated by Kim Mai Guest, Shannon McManus, Robbie Daymond, and Macleod Andrews. I definitely don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this physical book. I gave it 5 Stars because I listened to the audio, but I’m guessing I would’ve given it 3, maybe 4 if I had read it. One out of five high schoolers dies during detention and the 4 become suspects. We follow their experiences of the aftermath and are led on a old-fashioned “who-dun-it”. I think the cast of narrators really brought this story to life. Hearing the intonations and suspicions and reflections in their voices kept me engrossed in the story. The ending wasn’t a complete surprise, but I felt the journey there was very interesting and well told. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in YA and/or mystery/thriller books.

Thank you so much for reading!

#OWLsReadathon2019 prompt options

I’ve decided to compile a list of options for the prompts for this years OWLs Readathon! I personally tend to lean towards YA and/or Fantasy/Sci-Fi, so a lot of these options are probably going to be of those genres, but I will try to include some other options as well.

This list is for US Editions. For the prompts that require a specific characteristic of the covers, Goodreads has an option to change the current edition under “Book Details”. Watching G’s (@MagicalReadthn, Book Roast) bookshelf tours on YouTube, I notice the UK editions may look different. So, if you want to read a specific book, check the other editions and see if it could apply to a prompt.

To see the list of books I chose, go to my blog post https://starvinforbooks.com/2019/03/10/owlsreadathon2019-tbr/

Ancient Runes – Retellings
Twisted Tale Series by Liz Braswell
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Could also apply to Herbology)
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Alice by Christina Henry

Arithmancy – Written by more than one author
House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Could also apply to Divination)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan (Could also apply to Muggle Studies)
Any comic book would fit this prompt

Astronomy – “Star” in the title –
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Could also apply to Muggle Studies)
Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan
Any Star Wars or Star Trek comic/ graphic novel

Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (Could also apply to Transfiguration)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Could also apply to Herbology)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Could also apply to Charms or History of Magic)

Charms – Read an adult work
Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Could also apply to Muggle Studies)
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Circe by Madeline Miller (Could also apply to Ancient Runes)

Defense Against the Dark Arts – Title that starts with an “R”
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Could also apply to Divination)

Divination – Set in the future
The 100 by Kass Morgan
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Could also apply to History of Magic)
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Could also apply to Transfiguration)
Internment by Samira Ahmed (Could also apply to Muggle Studies)
Warcross by Marie Lu

Herbology – Plant on the cover
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Could also apply to Ancient Runes)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago
Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
The Outsiders by S E Hinton
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Idlewild by Nick Sagan (Could also apply to Divination)
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Most classics could this prompt

Muggle Studies – Contemporary
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Could also apply to Ancient Runes)
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Potions – Next ingredient: sequel
For the sake of this blog, I will just list sequels to books already on this list
Red Queen by Christina Henry (sequel to Alice)
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (sequel to Illuminae)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel to Shiver)
A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab (sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic)
Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft (sequel to Senlin Ascends)
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (sequel to Sleeping Giants)
Archenemies by Marissa Meyer (sequel to Renegades)
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (sequel to Red Queen)
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel to The Raven Boys)
Day 21 by Kass Morgan (sequel to The 100)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (sequel to The Hunger Games)
Wildcard by Marie Lu (sequel to Warcross)
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale)
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (sequel to Every Heart a Doorway)
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (sequel to The Magicians)
Edenborn by Nick Sagan (sequel to Idlewild)
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (sequel to The Lightning Thief)
Vengeful by V E Schwab (sequel to Vicious [see below])
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (sequel to SVtHSA [see below])

Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover
You’ll know if you have a book with sprayed edges, so these books will be books with red covers
Dry by Neal Shusterman
Vicious by V E Schwab
Odd One Out by Nic Stone (Could also apply to Muggle Studies)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This took way longer to put together than I thought it would, but hopefully it’ll help some of you for your OWLs! I’m a little obsessed with giving recs on books to match prompts, it’s like a treasure hunt to find an appropriate book. I also get to discover more books to add to my TBR, so there’s that.

Thanks for reading!