Book Talk: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Renegades by Marissa MeyerRenegades by Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 7, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 552
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Renegades, though only recently released, has already been divisive. Everyone I know who has read it has given it either two or four stars. It seems to be one of those books that’s either a hit or a miss. Based on what I’d heard about it, I thought I’d be on the miss side, but I’m happy to have ended up on the hit side. Renegades may not have the magic of The Lunar Chronicles, but on the whole I thought it was a well done and engaging superhero story.
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Series Review: Five Boroughs, Books 5-6

I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Series Review: Five Boroughs, Books 5-6Concourse by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs #5
Published by Riptide Publishing on April 29, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 366
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

Of all the full length novels, Concourse is lower on my list. This one certainly took the longest for me to get through, and it was one I shipped a bit less. All that said, Hassell always seems to work for me, even if I’m not as invested, because he does such a good job building the whole world.
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Oh Hey!

Hello, blog friends! It’s been 2 months since my last blogfession.

Wait, no. That’s not right. Let me try again. Hello, friends! I’m still alive! This blog is also still alive! I haven’t quit or left the community or perished of a lack of reading (but if that were possible, I would have tbh). Nope, I just went on your average two month unscheduled hiatus. Everyone does that sometimes, right? But, maybe, if you’ve been a loyal reader and/or dear friend  for a while, you’re curious what happened to me. Where did I go? Am I okay?

2018’s been an interesting year so far, full of stresses both good and bad. I’ve been all over the map emotionally, and what it’s come down to in broad strokes is that I haven’t yet found a way to balance all the things that I want to do. As I mentioned in my 2018 Goals post, this year, I had big writing plans: 1000 words a day every single day! Finish a book in a year! Actually, January went really well. I got good work done on three projects, and I even genuinely liked some of the scenes I wrote. I kept Twitter updated on my progress, and I was so proud of my focus and dedication.

Then, um, well, February happened. Writing didn’t happen. I knew writing would be hard, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be when my life became more chaotic. January was a really quiet month, and I didn’t have a lot going on. During that period of time, it was pretty simple to keep my brain churning on my plots and characters; ideas were constantly popping up. Though it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, progress was visible and moving forward; words were getting on the page, not all of them atrocious (although some of them very much so). Then, life happened and anxiety happened and I smacked into a wall.

Not a literal wall. Or even a writer’s block kind of wall where I just couldn’t figure out what happened next. It’s more like my stories are Princess Aurora’s castle and real life was the briars growing up so thickly I can’t even see past. I’ve been so much embedded in real life that I haven’t had the energy to get through to fiction. Like, seriously, I pretty much entirely stopped reading too. Now, there are people who manage to deal with life and write and all the things, and honestly they are bomb ass witches because wow. Serious respect. I’m not quitting my efforts at writing, but I’m trying to regroup and give myself more manageable goals. For example, I’m counting blog posts toward my word count as I restart in March, because otherwise I would just never post again, which is not what I want.

Some of you may be thinking, “dude, you’re being so vague. What the effffff is up with you?”, which is super true. There was a lot that happened towards the end of January/beginning of February that caused my spin out. I’ll tell you about some of it, but some things will remain personal.

First thing: I met a boy at the end of January, and he’s awesome and also now my boyfriend. He brought up the topic of toxic masculinity on the first date, so like he seems like a real keeper to me. He totally gets me, and he’s positive and nerdy and intelligent and loves puns. Early days obviously, but I’ve been so happy. The goofy smiles on my face would totally ruin my book world bad reputation I earned by writing Cover Snark for years. Obviously that’s awesome, but wow it’s hard to focus on other things right now; I feel like a YA heroine who was a nerdy badass who loses all focus when she gets a cute love interest. Whoops. On the plus side, no one’s counting on me to save the world.

Second thing: Work has gotten so much busier for me lately. That means I’m more drained at the end of the day and, where I used to be able to accomplish some minor blog tasks from the office occasionally, I don’t have time for anything anymore ever. In some ways, this is super great, because I’m getting more respect and possibly actually starting to make career movies consciously rather than just floating into whatever role was needed at the time. In others, it’s stressful, because I’m basically ending up with more tasks than before, and I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends and the sides. To make matters more exhausting, I had two training trips during February, which a) make my anxiety go through the roof because so much of that requires the ability to fly by the seat of your pants and I am such a planner and omg no and b) make my introverted self so fucking tired at the end of an 8 or 9 hour day that I almost literally cannot do anything more than stare at mindless TV.

Third thing: I can’t talk about this one, except to say that there was a tough time with a friend of mine. We are both fine physically, but that really brought me low for the first couple weeks of the month, and I’m still sad and concerned and probably will be for a while.

So yeah, that’s where I’ve been so far in 2018. My plan, which I may or may not be able to stick to, is to keep the blog going, keep writing, and get back into reading a bit more reliably. However, there will be major changes to my blog.

Since I started blogging in 2010, I’ve written over 2500 blog posts. This blog remained pretty consistently active at least five days a week. That’s a lot of content. A lot of time. A lot of work. Especially since most of those posts are reviews, which, though much less popular than other post types (*cough COVER SNARK cough*) take the longest to put together because you have to read a book. Aside from a couple of rare exceptions, I never took a break unless I was traveling and unable to post. I wouldn’t say I was tireless, but I remained consistent (I like nice regular plans). I’m having to face up to the fact that I’ve burned myself out and that I cannot devote that same amount of time to blogging anymore.

Lenore (the lovely author of Level 2 and Chasing Before) worked with me on ideas about how to keep the blog alive with all the other stuff I’m trying to accomplish, and she helped me come up with this plan. Much of the inspiration is drawn from Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), as well, who’s been a blogging inspiration from way back (though Lenore will always be the og of book blogging to me).

My hope is to post three times a week: MWF, with two of the posts being book talks (about books that stood out for me in some way). Expect the book talks to be a bit more to the positive and more chatty, with less attempt at being particularly objective. You may not think I had that as a sort of goal ever, but I sort of did. They might be super short, which I will hate but which I need to give myself the freedom to do. I have a couple old format posts mostly written that I will post, but after that these new ones will be the way I operate until I innovate again. The third post a week will be either a discussion post, a round-up, or a mini cover snark post (if I find the motivation, Lenore’s idea for this is fantastic). Cover Snark takes way too long for it to be feasible in full format going forward, but 20 covers a month or so might just be doable.

The blog won’t ever be what it was again, but I’m going to try to find a new paradigm that fits my life and goals now.

Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Series Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate TiernanImmortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Published by Little Brown BFYR on September 7, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Immortal Beloved was one of my first ever ARCs. I read it way back in 2010, and I remember having very mixed feelings, but I will absolutely not link my review because I looked at it and honestly it was horrible and I’m judging my past self. On reread, I was actually quite surprised how much I enjoyed Immortal Beloved, though it does have a few aspects that I wasn’t wild about.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (211): Nicola and the Viscount; If the Duke Demands

Size Doesn’t Matter (211): Nicola and the Viscount; If the Duke DemandsNicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot
Published by HarperTeen on December 28, 2004
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Nicola always gets what she wants.

Nicola Sparks, sixteen and an orphan, is ready to dive headlong into her first glittering London society season. She's also ready to dive headlong into the arms of handsome and debonair Lord Sebastian Bartholomew. Nicola's dream is a proposal from the viscount—a dream she's about to realize at last! So naturally, Nathaniel Sheridan's insinuations about her fiancé's flawed character annoy her mightily.

But when Nicola's natural curiosity gets the best of her, she begins to piece together a few things for herself. To her great surprise, Nicola realizes she's had the wrong viscount all along . . . but is it too late to make things right?

The journey through Meg Cabot’s backlist has been a rocky one but now I’m firmly on solid ground. I loved Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue when I found them as a teen, and Nicola and the Viscount remains thoroughly charming.

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