The App that Saves My Life: Habitica

For a long time I have struggled endlessly to maintain motivation to actually do things that result in me being the me I want to be. It’s so easy to be lazy and give into thoughts that my apathy convinces me are true. So easy to let things go and believe “what’s the point? Nothing is going to come out of this anyway… so why bother?”

At first, I made a list of things that I wanted to do every day for self-improvement. It became what I called my daily instructions and it worked, but not completely. It was still really easy to let some things go undone and still try to call the day a success. So I added a motivational prize of the ability to buy something I really want to have every 30 Days that I complete all my tasks (which is still in place although I still haven’t made it that far yet).

Then one day I was looking through twitter and found a tweet by Akemi Dawn Bowman that said:

When I looked in the comments and someone had mentioned that an app like that did exist and it was called Habitica I HAD to check it out. Habitica is nerdy and full of questing and finding drops and collecting pets all by doing tasks in your daily life and I LOVE it!

At first it took me a little bit to figure out how to use this most effectively and what things should go in the three different sections habits, dailies, and to-does, but eventually I finally got the hang of it and it has made me more productive then ever!

There are two features that absolutely made me fall in love with this app Questing and Pets that could grow to be Mounts!

Right now these are the base pets I have collected:

They can be all different colors and when you feed them the correct food they grow up to be a mount that your character can ride. Everything is collected by random drops from doing tasks and habits during the day.

Right now this is what my character and rewards set up looks like:

As for Questing you have to be working with a party and once a member of the party submits a quest you can choose to accept or deny your participation. Quests give you extra experience, unique drops, and quest pets to collect on your journey. In order to complete quests all you have to do is commit to your habits and dailies!

There are so many nuances and specifics to this nerdy productivity app. One thing being guilds. If I spoke about all these things this post would go on for ages! But, I will leave you all with this: should you decide to use this app and have any questions let me know! I will definitely help you out. I love this application so much and I think it deserves a lot of love.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

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Crimson Bound: A Review

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6.5/10 stars! I love the imagery of this cover and it made me interested in reading this story, but it isn’t completely my style. I feel like there could’ve been something different for the cover that would capture the story better.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publish Date: May 5th, 2015

Number of Pages: 448

Received: Through a epic reads insiders opportunity.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

Opening Sentence:

“”In all your life, your only choice,” Aunt Léonie said to her once, “is the path of needles or the path of pins.”

Rachelle remembered that, the day that she killed her.”

Musings:

Crimson Bound was a book I had wanted to read since I first saw it in Barnes and Nobel in 2015. It’s been a long time since then, but I am so glad I was finally able to pick this book up! It has a great sense of lore and at times it is heart pounding and truly magical. It is an all around fantastic fantasy read!

What I Liked:

The lore. In between chapters there was a story separate, but also important to understanding the myth of the novel. The way this story is told in a fashion of the way old myths and stories are told to us as small children was really wonderful to see. It put a smile on my face and I really enjoyed it.

A-moralistic. Rachelle is not the only character that has done questionable things in the past. A few of the others have questionable pasts and intriguing back stories. In a way, I wish the story went to an even more into a grey area then it did.

Internal conflict. Rachelle struggles with herself. She has her inner demons and she doesn’t believe that she could ever truly atone for her sins. It also felt like she in some small ways was struggling to have a relationship with God despite her transgressions and that was really interesting to me.

The forest. The fact that the forest bleed into reality and is just as real as what is around is so curious and magical. The touches of this sort of mystical other place mixed in with the generally lush writing of the story was really cool. I loved this aspect of the novel.

Hate to love romance. Rachelle has good reason to dislike Armand. The slow burn and the way they get to know each other little by little made me happy. It was nice to see a romance that wasn’t immediate like many other ya’s seem to have.

Final Thoughts:

Crimson Bound is a retelling that takes you away into another land much in the same way that fairytales swept you away as a child. It’s beautifully written and tells a unique tale that fills you with wonder. It has action, adventure, and magic to capture your heart in its thrall. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you all give it a chance!

About the Author:

When my older brother was thirteen, he started a writing club with his friends and wouldn’t let me join because I was only eight. I promptly swore that I would become a writer and make him sorry.

He still isn’t sorry. (I checked.) But in 2014 I got to publish my first novel with HarperCollins, so I guess everything worked out okay.

Some other facts about me:

• I got a B.A. in English at the University of Dallas, and an M.St. in Medieval English at Oxford. Naturally, I moved to Seattle and got a job with computers.

• I love some things more than T. S. Eliot’s poetry. But not many things.

• I am represented by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this if you’ve read it.

-Till next time!

My Top 5: Favorite Webtoons

Webtoons hold a special place in my heart as they are stories and comics written and drawn by talented storytellers and artists that are completely free to read. There are Webtoons that I automatically shoot to read with joy the second I see them updated and these 5 are the main ones.

In no particular Order:

I Love Yoo

This story is so sad yet so wonderful and engaging I can’t help but feel excited when it updates. It has made me cry and made me smile and I know who I ship although I am highly uncertain that it will ever come to pass.

Oh! Holy

This story is comedic, adorable, and so pure! Featuring a toilet reaper and a couple with feelings that go beyond death (truly they refuse to die (though their souls are often not in their bodies)) Oh! Holy truly makes me smile!

Let’s Play

This is my dream comic. Featuring a Youtubers that is much like my favorite Markimoo and a game designer who had always been his fan. It’s a comedic, adorable, yet at times serious series. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

My Dear Cold-Blooded King

A fantasy that makes my heart sing I honestly would be happy with any of the ships sailing in this story! It’s art is GORGEOUS and the men just as gorgeous. I don’t know. I’m here for it for many reasons.

Egginoid

My dear sweet Eggy fills me with such joy. There is no one I ship more then these two sweet cinnamon rolls. It’s dramatic yet funny and joyful and sweet and just SO GORGEOUS! I’m in love with this webtoon!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! Do you read Webtoons? If so which is your favorite?

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: It’s a Calling

It’s been a few days since I did my last post of this and I wanted to continue on and steadily move forward with this fun series.

Memorable Books that Start with “C”:

Crank

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

This was the first book I ever read by Ellen Hopkins and it was brought me into the world of novel poetry. It was so powerful for me and I loved this intense novel.

Carry Me Home

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

This book was intense and I will never forget it because it takes place in the area I grew up. It was so cool to know the places described in a book because you’ve lived there for so long. It’s a difficult read, but super engaging.

Books I wish to read starting with “C”:

Crazy House

No one gets out alive.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her home and thrown without reazon into a hellish prison known as the Crazy House. To avoid execution, she’s told to shut her mouth and keep her head down.

Becca was never really good at either.

Her only hope for survival is for her sister, Cassie, to find her—that the “good twin” will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it’s too late. Because the jailers at Crazy House soon discover they made a mistake that could get both sisters killed…

I have a hardcover copy of this book that I got in the mail randomly. I am so excited to read it! It sounds so unique, spooky, and interesting.

Contagion

Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Jonathan Maberry, and horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, this pulse-pounding, hair-raising, utterly terrifying novel is the first in a duology from the critically acclaimed author of the Taken trilogy.

After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project—including its members’ dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

This book comes or in July. It’s a release that markets itself as for fans of Resident Evil and those are some tough shoes to fill. It makes me anxious to try out this book!

Thanks for reading! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Let me know if your participating in this challenge as well!

-Till next time!

The Temptation Not to do Anything at All

See I had a couple of different posts I wanted to or really could have written today, but I have not truly felt like getting myself to write any of them. In fact, all I feel right now is tired and all I want to do is watch I Zombie 🧟‍♀️ and relax until tomorrow comes. This is the temptation that follows me everywhere I go at all times. You don’t have to write anything today. You can do it tomorrow just blissfully think about nothing.

For a long time I thought this was normal. Wanting not to think about nothing. Not wanting to write not just out of fear, but something that feels akin to laziness. The truth is my brain isn’t the normal brain I thought I had. I have depression. I have always had depression and as far as I understand it I probably always will. How surreal is this?

The thing is this is the one thing that I have been afraid to share. It’s so new to me (well the idea that I have depression is) and I can’t help but feel odd about it. A few weeks ago I was sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast. I was feeling kind of dejected and to be honest I wasn’t really think of anything at all. My sister told me out of the blue “Tiana I think you have depression.” When the word hit me tears came immediately to my eyes and I hated that I was crying. “You know I said, I want to deny it and I want to say I don’t have depression, but I am already crying.”

I felt like I was a mind in another body. I had always had an interest in mental illness and my short time of hosting a mental health book club reading ya books that talk about mental illness are a test to that. The one thing I kept mentioning in those posts however was that I didn’t have a mental illness. It felt odd to me to actually come to realize that I did.

Ever since I was a little girl I was a crier and yeah I knew at times I was depressed, but I always attributed everything to the things that were happening to me. Moving away, getting yelled at constantly by my grandmother, going through her emotional abuse, losing my one true home, going into financial trouble. With all these things of course I cried.

But when I was crying it wasn’t just about the things that were happening. It was a self-pity and a almost hatred for myself that I could taste. I was always not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. The things that I still tell myself. I denied myself friendships. Through myself into reading and YouTube. And yet still there were times I would go in a rage crying. Sometimes I cry for no reason at all and that’s the worst. I cry and then I get angry at myself for crying and especially in my teens till now it was because I said something wrong to my mom or my sister. During these episodes the one thing that sticks with me is the hollow emptiness in my chest. The hopelessness mixed with pain and sorrow and my mind telling me that I will never be any better of a person then my grandmother was.

But the worst part is, I thought the bitter self awareness and self pity was somehow normal. I thought that my brain was working fine. I thought that in my situation of course I was crying every single night when I was in my first three years of high school. I thought I was normal because I could still laugh, because I was always so engaged in learning and because I have a love for dancing and getting lost in music. I thought it was normal because I was so good at hiding it in plane sight. I knew I was sad, but I also knew that it never stopped me from being happy. It’s when I’m alone or when I say something I thought was ok, but really wasn’t, when I do something wrong and should of known better is when I start my thought spirals. Something as simple as my sister gettin mad at me for not wanting to do the dishes has set it off before.

So when I say that I have the temptation not to do anything at all living inside me I mean that in a sad sense of apathy. It’s so easy for me to be mindless because not only does it chase the dejected thoughts away, but because I get exhausted when I put too much energy into something. Not too long ago I had to stop the habit of sleeping for 10-12 hours every night. In sleep is oblivion no thought no over analyzing and getting angry at myself for not doing things right.

I have depression and I think I have finally truly accepted it.

Suddenly, I am afraid of posting this, but I’m going to anyway. I wrote this because it’s finally stop hiding. Especially hiding from myself. I have spent so long in the dark thinking that there was nothing wrong with me at all. I had thought this way for so long with an almost sadistic thought process towards myself that I had an identity crisis when I was first coming to terms with depression. Because I wanted to know who I would be without it and I ached for a girl who was free of these kinds of thoughts with all of my heart. All I know is that this knowledge gives me something to step forward into the future and that is all I want.

Thanks for reading! Usually I put a I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below, but now I’m at a loss for words. It feels wrong to put something so happy in a post like this but I guess I’ll do it anyway.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you. (Actually I’m kinda terrified but curious about what you have to say)

-Till next time!

Let’s Talk: Reviews

Part of being a book blogger means that inevitably your going to be writing book reviews and lots of them. It’s not something that should be a surprise to anyone as it is written in the laws of hobby description. It’s simple, read book, love/hate book, create opinion about book, share your opinion. It’s an easy formula that I have followed again and again seemingly without end.

However, being a prolific reader who finishes books often reviews become more then just something I do. They become essential yet tiring. I get tired when I write book reviews. It’s not that I don’t want to write them or even that they can’t be fun, but doing them so often can drain me. I am a person that hates too much repetition. I like to have many other kinds of posts to balance out the many reviews that I write. Plus, I think that my blog is more engaging and interesting when I do something different more often then I don’t.

However, I will never stop writing reviews. (Unless authors aren’t allowed to write reviews and I get published someday… idk how this works). Reviews can make or break an authors sales. People turn to reviews to figure out if I book is worth there time and money. Hence why arcs and Netgalley are important to start up conversation about the newest titles.

Another thing too. Authors put so much of there hearts and souls into there novels (not to mention time). Weather I actually like the book or not feels like something I owe it to them to say. However, I just wish that the feeling of not wanting to write them wouldn’t happen so often when I write too many of them in succession.

Thanks for reading! How do you feel about reviews? Let me know down in the comments!

-Till next time!

Life Update: Duolingo Spanish Tree Complete!

Hello everyone! I am so happy to write this post for all of you today, because I finally finished a goal of mine that has been years in the making. Completing the Duolingo Spanish Tree!!!

This little digital trophy means a lot to me. It commemorates the fact that I finally committed myself to learning Spanish and that I have made some significant progress! This is definitely just a stepping stone on my journey, but I hope that it will only get easier from here.

Duolingo has a different interface from what it once had, but the one thing that I hope to achieve now is a Golden Spanish Tree. It’s going to take a long time to get there as skills now have 5 levels each and it will take a long time, but eventually I know I can do it! Right now, I have 4 Golden skills and a few that are at level 3 and level 2. Each level is harder to complete and takes more time so I know that it might take a year or more to get my tree Golden. For now, I will dedicate myself to get skills to level 2 and three and get the easiest skills to be Golden.

For now, I am just excited that one of the things I never thought I would complete got completed! Plus, the one other thing I’m proud of… my 86 day streak!

Whatever it is you want to accomplish, don’t give it up. If you continue working slowly towards your goals you never know that it could be closer to completion then you think. I know I’m going to be applying this to as many things as I possibly can in the future. Who knows? Maybe all the dreams I once had will be a reality!

Thanks for reading! Do you have something you are slowly working towards each day? What are some of your goals?

-Till next time!

All of This is True: A Review

All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 4/10 it’s not my favorite cover. I don’t hate it or anything it’s just too generic for me to be all that interesting. I wouldn’t have picked up this book based off it’s cover.

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publish Date: May 15th, 2018

Number of Pages: 432 pages

Received: got an e-arc opportunity through Epic Reads Insiders

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . .

Opening Sentence:

“So, tell me about Fatima Ro.”

Musings:

This mixed media novel was thrilling, unique, and full of meta. All This is True is a story I think we all should be excited about. It takes you on a journey with ups and downs like none before.

What I Loved:

It is something I could easily see myself being a part of. Who of us book lovers wouldn’t love to be personal friends of the authors we love. To be able to speak with them and ask them our infinite questions about their stories. Being able to let them know how deeply their words touched us in full. To pass time with them and be apart of their world. It would be the experience of the lifetime. Even if it ended the way it did in this book.

Mixed media. Books that are written in unique ways like this make me happy because it shows that there isn’t only one way of writing a novel. It’s fun to read the different formats and see how the story comes together with interviews and reading text messages along with excerpts from the book Fatima Ro had written. I loved this aspect.

You don’t really like anyone, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Some of these characters are downright awful. Some are annoying. Some just make you wonder how they could think that their way of thinking is ok. But honestly, because of how the book is written the interest becomes in the mystery and where the story is going to go. The action propels the story forward in a way that you just can’t stop reading.

Questionable morality. You have to wonder for yourself weather certain aspects of this book are ok or not. Writers get inspiration from the world around them, but was it truly ok for Fatima to write the story she did? Even actions from the other characters cause you to take a back seat and wonder, if I were them.. what would I have done?

Undertow. I loved reading bits and pieces of undertow and how it mirrored and pushed forward the events that were being talked about in the different formats. I loved that the writing styles contrasted so much. How writerly undertow was vs. how much of each characters individual voice was heard with the interviews. The sections were really well written.

It’s meta. Your reading a book about another book (the interviews) while also reading the actual book it’s talking about (the excerpts) but also getting the behind the scenes and it’s just so cool! More books should be meta like this one.

Final thoughts:

All of This is True is just one of those books that takes you by surprised. You can’t put it down and you have to love it for the fandom it creates. It’s juicy and an exciting read. I highly recommend it.

About the Author:

Lygia became a writer by writing letters to a friend she met on a cruise ship when she was 14. She is the author of UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD (Macmillan) and ALL OF THIS IS TRUE, which will be published by HarperTeen US, Bloomsbury UK, and translated in several countries in  summer 2018. Lygia also teaches child stars on television and movie sets. Her students have included cast members of Gossip Girl, Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order SVU, I Am Legend, and others. She lives with her husband on Long Island where she rides horses and watches reruns of everything. Follow Lygia on Twitter @lygiaday.

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. If your interested in poetry check out some of mine on Vocal.com Thanks so much for the support!

-Till next time!

June TBR: 2018

It’s June and that means it’s time to share a brand new tbr! I have a few roll overs from last month as well as some more Netgalley reads. I’m starting to dwindle down on the Netgalley books and I’m super excited about it. I’ve got 23 books to go till I’m finally back on track!

Currently Reading:

By a Charm and A Curse by Jaime Questell

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

I am loving this Netgalley read. It’s fun, magical, and quite a bit unexpected. I’m a bit more then halfway through it and I’m excited to see how it ends!

Once again…

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness?

What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

So the past few months I have included this book and each month I put it aside to read other things, but I swear I’m going to get through it in June. I’m not too far into it but I hope to at least get through it as much as I possibly can.

Netgalley Reads:

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Award-winning Rachel Hartman’s newest YA is a tour de force and an exquisite fantasy for the #metoo movement.

“Tess of the Road is astonishing and perfect. It’s the most compassionate book I’ve read since George Eliot’s Middlemarch.” — NPR

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is. . . different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she’s done is so disgraceful, she can’t even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess’s family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.

But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She’s not running away, she’s running towards something. What that something is, she doesn’t know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else–a life where she might belong.

Returning to the spellbinding world of the Southlands she created in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling novel Seraphina, Rachel Hartman explores self-reliance and redemption in this wholly original fantasy.

Four starred reviews!

“The world building is gorgeous, the creatures are vivid and Hartman is a masterful storyteller. Pick up this novel, and savor every page.” — Paste Magazine

I’m so excited for this novel! I’ve been anticipating reading this since the moment I got approved and I’m sad to say I was approved for this months ago. I’m just grateful to finally be able to read this!

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?

This is a highly rated novel that I can’t wait to take on! It sounds heartfelt and beautiful and a great addition to my tbr!

The Beauty that Remains by Ashely Woodfolk

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Another heart wrenching novel I am excited to read. It seems contemporary, unique, and delightfully musical.

Thanks for reading! What are you excited to read this month?

-Till next time!

S.T.A.G.S. : A Review

S.T.A.G.S. By M.A. Bennett

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 7/10 I really like this cover and the opulence meeting the image of a shotgun scope. It’s a fun cover that accurately portrays the essence of the story.

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Publish Date: January 30th, 2018

Number of Pages: 290 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school..

Opening Sentence: “I think I might be a murderer.”

Musings:

S.T.A.G.S. is a book that unsettled me, disgusted me, made me all kinds of uncomfortable, and turned my stomach. I loved it.

What I loved:

The pacing. I rarely say anything about pacing in a novel, because for me it never seems to matter that much and I feel like it can be kind of trivial at times, but this book is so nicely paced. It has its action and it’s mystery mixing between a fast and steady pace seamlessly and for once that is something I can truly appreciate.

It grossed me out. There are parts of this story that really made me physically uncomfortable due its description and the fact that it accomplished that shows how well it was written. Thrillers like this are meant to make your skin crawl and S.T.A.G.S. accomplishes that quite well.

Cult vibes. There is a cult in this book although they would call themselves a “prestigious organization” or “keepers of the old ways”. The mystery of this group and even that they were truly an order of some kind was fascinating.

Greer might actually be insane. The group that invites her on this trip to hunt, shoot, and fish are all pretty insane, but this isn’t killers going after a girl who is normal and is shocked by it all. Nope. It’s the insane hunting the insane. Some of this girls thoughts made me take a step back and wonder who should I truly root for here?

Simply a story well told. This boarding school thriller fest has all the makings of a brilliant novel. It is unique, well thought out, with a mixture of dark humor to balance it out.

Final thoughts:

S.T.A.G.S. Is a book that will stick in my memory for a long time. It’s a twisted thriller that I highly recommend to anyone that wants to get into or already loves this chilling genre.

About the Author:

M. A. BENNETT is half-Venetian, and was born in Manchester, England, and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as a historical source. After university she studied art and has since worked as an illustrator, actress and film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands, including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in north London with her husband, son and daughter. Follow her at @MABennettAuthor on Twitter and at m.a.bennettauthor on Instagram.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!