Tuesday, November 21, 2017

{Bookish Subscription Box} Book of the Month #4: October

Hey, guys! 

I'm coming back to you with another Book-of-the-Month-Club monthly unboxing! I decided to treat myself after my birthday and get a couple books from the October box... I know. You've probably seen my Fall 2017 Book Haul and you've laughed at me. My birthday "treat yo'self" mantra really got out of hand, but I am so excited to read these books. They look absolutely fantastic. I have never read a Stephen King novel, so Sleeping Beauties (or The Gunslinger) should be a really great way to dive into his work. 

What Is The Book Of The Month Club??

Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, 5 curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month. You can also add up to 2 additional books for only $9.99 each.

How It Works:

1. New selections are chosen each month. On the 1st of the month, the site announces the 5 books that they chose for the month.
2. Choose your book! Choose by the 6th, or skip the month.
3. The boxes are shipped and you get a beautiful BOTM box and book!

Shipping: U.S. only (apologies to my international readers!)

Overall Product: Subscribers will receive a hardcover book from the books that were selected that month. You can add up to 2 extra books for $9.99 each plus BOTM goodies for an additional fee.


October Picks:
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
  • Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance: A Novel by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • After the Eclipse A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search: A Memoir by Sarah Perry
  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

My October Box:

About Sleeping Beauties:

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.83 stars (10,528 ratings & 1,380 reviews)
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genres: Horror, Fantasy, Fiction, Thriller
Page Count: 702


About Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance:

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.26 stars (991 ratings & 327 reviews)
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fiction, Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 352

My Other BOTM Club Blog Posts:

These books sound so fantastic and I can't wait to read them. I'm especially excited to read Sleeping Beauties. These are on my immediate TBR, but who knows when I'll have time to binge so extensively. 

Happy reading!
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

Friday, November 10, 2017

{Review} Whichwood (Furthermore #2) by Tahereh Mafi


Page Count: 368
Published on: November 14, 2017
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House
Genre(s): Fantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Source: ARC/Hardcover -- Provided by Penguin
Age Rating: 10+
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.


This book was sent to me for an honest review. 

Hey, guys!

      Penguin contacted me a few weeks ago about being on the blogger tour for Whichwood and holy cow was I excited. This book was absolutely fantastic. I think I actually enjoyed this more than I enjoyed Furthermore. This book was whimsical, magical, morbid, and so beautifully written. I adored the connections to Furthermore and the new characters we got to meet. This Persian folk tale was absolutely stunning. 

     I adored how dark this book is, however, I do not think kids as young as 10 years old would actually appreciate this book for what it was. I think some kids would even get terrified of this book. This book became really dark towards the end and I honestly do not think that my 9-year-old sister would be able to handle it. I, as a 20-year-old, really appreciated this book. The whole theme and message behind it were just fantastic. I adore the characters, especially Laylee.

     Laylee, our main character, is a mordeshoor. She and her ancestors before her were in charge of ensuring safe passage to the underworld for the dead. Laylee washes the bodies of the dead. How rad is that! After her mother dies and her father leaves to find Death, Laylee is left alone to was the dead of Whichwood. Laylee was such a relatable and complex character. She goes through so much growth and self-discovery in this book. I loved how she grew closer to Alice and Oliver. Their friendship was so sweet and I love how they became so close. 

Let's talk about Ben. He is such a sweet and interesting character as well. I loved his relationship with the bugs an how he used his abilities to help, rather than to terrorize those who rebuked him. His mother is such a cool lady too. She was probably one of my favorite characters too. She and Ben are the greatest. I love how they became closer to Laylee, Alice, and Oliver.  

     The magic system that develops throughout this book is just fantastically and wonderfully done. I cannot believe how mind-blowingly magnificent this book was. I adored how the magical aspects of Furthermore intertwined with Laylee's mordeshoor magic. It just created the perfect story. I cannot wait to reread this duology. 

Tahereh Mafi's writing has just gotten better and better. She has this magical ability to create fantastic worlds and stories that you cannot help but devour. 

Tahereh Mafi Reviews:

Happy reading!

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fall 2017 Book Haul

Hey, guys!

     I've managed to acquire about 30(ish) books these past couple months...I know ridiculous. October was my birthday month and I also ended my book-buying-ban....so I splurged...I'm awful. I actually did a big purge of my read and TBR shelf last night, so...it's not all bad... I'm also on another book buying ban until Christmas, so that's a thing. I've also already broken it...so I'm awful. I'm totally done buying books! The only exception is for gifts for others! That's it! Okay here are the books I bought and received this month!

  • Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
  • Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan
  • Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman
  • Quests for Glory (The School for Good & Evil #4) by Soman Chainani
  • Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • BOTM Box Extra: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King
  • BOTM Box Pick: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling [FIRST EDITION!!!]
  • The Orphan Queeby Jodi Meadows
  • A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
    • Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdom #1) by Morgan Rhodes
    • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    • Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab
      • one for me one for Julia
    • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
    • Throne of Glass coloring book (not pictured)
    • Bloody Jack (Bloody Jack #1) by L.A. Meyer
    • Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack #2) by L.A. Meyer
    • Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber (Bloody #3) by L.A. Meyer
    • [SIGNED] Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas



    Shoutouts to:

    • Alex for spoiling me 💗
    • Sarah for being a rad sister
    • Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House for also spoiling me and sending me an ARC & a finished copy of Whichwood 
    • Entangled Teen for sending me Haven & Never Apart
    • Chris Africa for sending me his book
    • Bethany House Publishers for sending me Where We Belong
    # Bought: 22
    From Authors/Publishing Companies: 8
    # Gifted: 8
    Number of Books I've Read: 11
    Number of Books Unread: 27

    Happy reading!

    @LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

    Wednesday, November 1, 2017

    October 2017 Wrap Up

    Hey, guys!

          This month has been really productive for school and for reading. I've managed to read 2 books for fun/leisure and 4 books for class. School has really sucked up the majority of my time, so I'm really happy with what I've read this month. October is, actually, my "birthday month", but I also had to do my midterms which took up the first two weeks of October. I had a 4-day break from school and it was mainly taken up by homework catch up. I've mainly read for school this month, but there were a couple books that I read that were really great. Here are the books I read this month:

    • Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
      • No Rating? I might rate this if I review it, but I don't know if I will yet.
    • Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
      • I hate philosophy. I think I skimmed this book and read the sparknotes really seriously. I'm still not sure I understand.
    • Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins
      • Super cute! Check out my review!
    • Filter Bubble: How The New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read & How We Think by Eli Pariser
      • This wasn't awful, but I wouldn't read it for fun.
    • Red Hood & the Outlaws, Volume 1 Redemption by Scott Lobell, Kenneth Rocafort, & Joshua Williamson
      • This was so rad. I bought this for Alex for our 10 months and he let me read it after him over night. I'm intrigued.
    • Whichwood (Furthermore #2) by Tahereh Mafi
      • Love love loved this book. Review coming soon!
    • Grendel by John Gardner
      • This was pretty good too. There were some chapters where I was just sooo confused. But overall, I really enjoyed this story.
    Number of Pages Read: 1,591
    Favorite Book Read: Whichwood! (Penguin Teen just sent me an advanced finished copy!!!)
    Number of Sponsored Reads: 2
    Number of Non-Sponsored Reads: 4

    Number of School Texts: 4

         Overall, I spent the majority of my reading time on school texts, but I did manage to read a couple of great books. I'm currently reading too many books at once for school and a couple for fun. I hate reading so many books at once, but when you only have a little time to actually read for fun, you've gotta read what you're in the mood for.

    Happy reading!

    @LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

    Tuesday, October 31, 2017

    {Review} Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

    Page Count: 565
    Published on: September 2, 2014
    Published by: Bloomsbury
    Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
    Source: Paperback 
    Age Rating: 16+
    Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

    My Rating: 5 stars

    Goodreads synopsis:

    Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

    The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Timesbest-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.


    "There was a glittering darkness in her, an endless rift straight through her core."
    ~Heir of Fire~

    Hey, guys!

         I've been such a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas for a long time and every time I write a review for her books I'm equal parts excited and nervous to put my feelings into words. Books like Maas' books are just so much fun to write but they're so difficult at the same time. 

    Expect a bit of a ramble-y review:

         Anyway, I adored Heir of Fire. Compared to the slight disappointment that Crown of Midnight, HoF was stupendously great. I adored every part of this book. SJM has really written a great book. Oh my gosh the new characters were so much fun --- MANON! Oh my gosh I love Manon. This story is becoming so fleshed out and magical. I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

         Heir of Fire follows Celeana right after Crown of Midnight. After the events of CoM, her world is going to be forever changed as Celeana has to figure out how to navigate the hardships of life and her inner demons. What will happen when crazy and dark evils are unleashed on Erilea?

         I adored this book. We were introduced to some really fantastic characters, the plot developed really nicely, the previous characters were beautifully fleshed out, and I was so addicted to this story while reading. I'm currently reading Empire of Storms, so I, of course, had to continue with the series. 
         I loved the new characters in this book. In Heir of Fire, we were introduced to Manon Blackbeak, Rowan Whitehorn, and Sorcha. I loved all three of these characters intensely. Sorcha is such a sweetie and I loved how she and Dorian interacted. I loved their relationship. However, I was really skeptical the whole time because of my doubts. I love Dorian and I just wanted him to be happy and safe. 

         Manon. Oh, she is probably going to be one of my all-time favorite characters. She is such a badass. I adore everything about her. She is so twisted and so unlike any other character I've ever read about. I love the whole concept of the witch covens and Manon and her Thirteen are just such a great group. I wish that the witch-y dynamic had been introduced into the series a bit more throughout book 1&2 (but because I just hit the 130ish page mark in EoS I'm glad that I slowly built up). 

         Oh my oh my let's talk about Rowan a bit. He is so dreamy and wow. He is just so wow. I am so in love with his character. I ship Rowaelin so hard. They are probably my #1 ship in this series. They are the perfect pair in the TOG universe. I love how their relationship progressed from the "I freaking hate your guts" to "gradual tolerance" to "we have to work as a team" to "oh I get you now we're almost friends" to "friends" to "best friends" to "soul mates" (they're soul mates in my book). He is just such a great character. He is definitely one of my favorites.  

    I know I'm rambling but that's what I typically do in Maas Reviews.

          I had really hoped that Celeana and Chaol would make up a bit, but Celeana was in Wendlyn for the majority of the book, so that didn't happen. I really love how realistic their relationship is. They don't make up overnight. 

         I also really loved the political and magical aspects of this book. The world building just keeps on building with Maas books. Her writing style is so eloquent and beautifully done. The magic system just keeps developing as the historical aspects of Erilea keeps getting developed as the conflict builds. I love how Maas has been building up the conflict bit by bit in every book. It's just magic. She has that magical ability to create a well fleshed out story that you never get sick of.  

         The ending of this book really threw me for a loop. I was totally shaken to my core. I was so close to crying...I'm surprised I didn't full out sob because I was definitely screaming "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!" In my head. I don't think I'm over it still. 

    I've already read Queen of Shadows and I'm probably 25% through Empire of Storms and I loooove them. Expect rave reviews for them as well. 

    My Maas Reviews:
    Happy reading!
    @LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    {Q&A/Review With Bailey} Jorie & the Gold Key by A.H. Richardson


    Page Count: 247
    Published in: 2015
    Published by: Serano Press
    Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Childrens, Middle Grade
    Source: Paperback -- provided by author/publishing house
    Age Rating: middle grade
    Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon

    Bailey's Rating: 4.5 stars

    Goodreads synopsis:

    When Jorie and Rufus planned another summer of adventuring, they didn’t plan on sharing it with a snooty, stuck-up, bossy 10-year-old Nigel. When the Wizard Grootmonya calls on Jorie to remedy another disaster in Cabrynthius — the theft of the Magic Stones, Jorie grabs the Gold Key and the three children descend to the enchanted land beneath the Tarn. There they find more extraordinary adventures that bring them face to face again with the wicked Lord Fodomalk and his evil butterfly. Their troubles grow as the fiendish dragon not only snatches Nigel, but confines him to a cold dank cell with the illusive Professor Schrinch (yes, he’s still alive and as sneaky as ever). Jorie and Rufus — and the persnickety Nigel — are joined by all their old friends in this rollicking tale of magic, strange impersonations, and hair-raising exploits. They help Master Nigel with his confusion of the world beneath the Tarn and discover strengths in their new friend that even he didn’t know he had. Aside from spurts of jealousy from Rufus and impatience from Jorie, Nigel learns about bravery and friendship as he struggles with belief and enchantment. Follow this feisty threesome back to the evil, dark world of Shyloxia and the beautiful, bright world of Cabrynthius, where live all manner of creatures, naughty and nice. Do they recover the Magic Stones? What does that Gold Key open for them? Do they survive the shadowy world of nasty characters? Do Jorie and Rufus accept Nigel into their world? And what about Chook — that beloved baby dragon? And if you want to know how Jorie and Rufus survived their first summer adventures, pick up your copy of Jorie and the Magic Stones.


    Hey, guys!

    Bailey's been asked by Serano Press to review the next book in the Jorie series and she's finally able to write a review! I hope you all enjoy it. She has a fun time reading and reviewing for LtBN blog. Here are her thoughts on Jorie 
    & the Gold Key! 

    Bailey's Review for Jorie & the Magic Stones: {click here}


    Q: What is Jorie & the Gold Key about? Can you summarize it a bit?
    A: This book is about Jorie when she's called back to Cabrynthius to find the Magic Stones. She has to go to a place called the Cave of Fire and she has to unlock a door to find a magic blanket. By then, a boy named Nigel is captured by the evil wizard Lord Fodomalk. They go on the magic blanket to meet up with the great wizard Grootmonya and save Nigel.

    Q: What would you rate this book? Why?
    A: 4.5 stars. Because it was a really good book. I really liked the plot. I like the drawing style of the cover. 

    Q: What did you like about this book? What did you dislike?
    A: That even though the evil wizard is evil, he has a daughter (Anwyn) who is really cool and who was in love with Greddan. I like the magic stuff too.
    I just didn't like the name Rufus on a person. It makes them sound like a dog. 

    Q: Are you going to continue with the series?
    A: Yes if there are more books.

    Q: Do you have anything else to say to the people reading this?

    A: No.

    Other Reviews By Bailey: {click here}

    Happy reading!
    Olivia & Bailey
    @LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    {Review || LivTheBookClub June 2017 BOTM} Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

    Page Count: 240
    Published on: October 24, 2017
    Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
    Genre(s): Middle Grade, Mystery, Paranormal
    Source: Paperback - via publisher 
    Age Rating: PG
    Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

    My Rating: 3 stars

    Goodreads synopsis:

    The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

    So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

    The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


    Hey, guys!

         This review has been a long time coming, but I'm finally getting to it! Julia and I read this for the summer book club back in June. I, unfortunately, was really disappointed in this book. Unlike Renee Ahdieh's previous books, the characters, the plot, and the whole concept of this book fell really flat for me. The characters were boring, annoying, and two-dimensional, the plot was underdeveloped, the magic, overall, lacked any kind of magical-ness. I was entertained and the writing style was interesting, but I just felt like Ahdieh just wasn't writing her best in FitM. I adored her Wrath and the Dawn duology. They were stunningly written and so intensely beautiful. I was so impressed, however, I feel like this book was written by a completely different person. 

          Let's talk about characters. This book didn't have any characters that I connected to. I felt like the characters that we met in this book were just "there" and didn't actually fit the story. The main character, Mariko, was just so annoying. I felt like she just whined the whole time and she would never make up her mind. She was just a mess. At first, I was really into her character. I thought she was really badass and really inspiring, but once the book started to progress, she just constantly whined and didn't progress at all. Anything that happened to her just seemed like a convenient plot device to keep the story going. The story didn't flow well at all. 

         The whole romance aspect of this book was just a big "nope" for me. I could not get behind the random and all-of-a-sudden kind of love. The romantic plot did not build up at all. It felt like it just was plopped into the story to make it "interesting". The little development that we got was much too rushed and I didn't really sense any real chemistry between the two characters. They went from enemy strangers to acquaintances to lovers. I just really didn't like that pacing. It was too much. The romance could have been left out and the plot would have been fine. I just think it was really unneeded. 

         I feel similarly about the magic system in this book. I don't know much of anything about it after reading the book. It just exploded towards the end of the book and left me confused. I really thought there would be more magic throughout the book, but I felt like it was just a mish-mash of an attempt at a history-based fantasy novel..but not done well. 

         I was hoping for a more history-based Japanese story, but I was just left with a massive state of confusion. The first part of the book was really fantastic and intriguing. I was really into the first part, however, the rest of the book was just a muddle of confusing ... stuff. I was just really confused throughout the book. 

        This book was far too busy for my taste. There was just too much happening and nothing productive. The ending was far too rushed and confusing. I'm still not sure what was happening. There were far too many instances where I was just questioning why I was reading the book. If I had not been reading it for the book club and buddy reading it with Julia, I would have probably DNF'd the book. Overall, I was just bored and confused. I only like a couple of the minor characters. I don't even remember their names. 

    Favorite Characters: Yumi, Yoshi, and the peasant girl Mariko's brother likes
    Least Favorite Characters: Mariko, Okami, & Ranmaru

    Book Club Discussion Board: {click here}

    Book Club Links:
    Goodreads: {click here}
    Twitter: @livthebookclub
    Instagram: @livthebookclub

    Liv's Social Media:
    Twitter: @livthebooknerd
    Instagram: @livthebooknerd

    Julia's Social Media:
    Twitter: @jujuthereader
    Instagram: @juliatharp

    Happy reading!
    @LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino