Monday, April 30, 2018

Month in Review: April 2018

I'm finding it hard to believe that May first is tomorrow. Maybe because I've only had spring weather for a week? But it's true. April's over. Here's what we've been up to.

Check out our April book hauls:
Can you believe I only got one book?

Rose Red


New Releases

Rose Red

I'll be honest. I was in a hardcore reading slump for most of April and only read two volumes of manga. I mostly watched the new anime season and I can't say that I regret it.


Blood Veil (Mission #2) by Megan Erickson
X-Ops Exposed (X-Ops #8) by Paige Tyler
Lake Silence (The Others #6) by Anne Bishop
The Linnet Ellery series by Phillipa Bornikova
Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

KissCon Wrap Up

Read This F@!%ing Book
The Forbiden Hearts series by Alisha Rai

Goals and Challenges
Spring TBR Bingo

We Love Lists
Kindle Unlimited Book Recs
Authors We Would Love To See Write Vampires

Bookish Product Review
Book Beau and StoryHero Book Sleeves

Weres Wanna Know
Do you read more backlist or new releases?
Gateway Books and Reading Histories

Rose Red Talks Anime
Spring Anime Premieres, Part 1
Spring Anime Premieres, Part 2

Our Most Anticipated May Releases:

May 1
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May 7

May 8

May 13

May 15

May 22
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May 29

Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

(The Illuminae Files #3)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release: March 13, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

I'm calling it now. The Illuminae Files is one of the BEST YA sci-fi series I've ever read and Obsidio is the finale the series deserved! I will try to keep this review spoiler-free. If you haven't read this series yet, stop right here and go read them now!

I was so excited and scared to start this book coming off a recent audiobook reread of
Illuminae and Gemina. The first two books had such amazing characters and heart-stopping, twisty, action-packed plots that I couldn't even begin to fathom what would happen in this last book. Let's just say that this book had a big job set for it with all of the plotlines and character arcs it had to tie up. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it was going to do it. 

I’m so glad to report that for me, Obsidio completely knocked it out of the park and surpassed all of my very high expectations. It was an immensely satisfying conclusion that stayed true to all of the elements I loved from the first two books. It had the well-developed characters, insane plot with the on the edge of your seat suspense, beautiful original designs and images, and, of course, the incomparable and creepy as hell AIDAN.

I was so stuck on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next that I didn’t take the time to consider how sad I would be to see these characters’ story end. But now that it’s over, I’m realizing just how much I’m going to miss navigating new adventures with them.

The majority of the cast were so well developed from the previous books, but here we are given even more context and character development for the Illuminae Group as they execute their final face off with BeiTech. The addition of Asha and Rhys, both who I love dearly after this book, just added even more depth to the story and crew.

I wasn’t sure if I could be shocked in the same way by the plot of this book after the first two but I was. Honestly, I was about ready to have a heart attack trying to guess everyone’s next moves the whole time. I never got them right but that is one of the best and most nerve-wracking things I've loved about this whole series. And like the previous books in this series, this one made me both laugh out loud and cry my eyes out in parts. Thanks for the emotional trauma, Jay and Amie.

Can we just give a slow clap to the whole design team for how beautiful this book was? The formatting, the sketches, and all of the visual details that set these books apart were fantastic and so excellently done. These books are some of the prettiest and most unique books I own on my shelves.

I absolutely adored this book and this series! I listened to most of this book on audio and I can't recommend it enough! Like Illuminae and Gemina, it's a full-cast, full sound effect recording and I can't even begin to explain just how awesome they are. Just take my word for it and go try them out. I'm so sad that this series is over but I can't wait to get my hands on the next series Jay and Amie write together!

  5 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Gateway Books and Reading Histories

A few weeks back, I had to reorganize my bookshelves and in the process I came across some books that got me thinking about my personal reading history and gateway books. I've been thinking a lot about my reading history and the books that made me the reader I am now. Recently, I've specifically been thinking about how much one book and one author influenced my reading and changed everything. Since then, I've gotten to have numerous conversations with friends and family about the books that made them the readers they are now. So bear with me, I'm going to get a bit nostalgic and long winded on you.

Personally, I owe much of my reading history to Robin McKinley and her books. I’ve spoken often about how The Blue Sword was the first book to really interest me in fantasy. It is THE book that I can attribute most of my current reading tastes to. Before I read it, my reading tastes ran along the lines of classics like The Swiss Family Robinson, The Boxcar Children series, and the Nancy Drew books. Let’s just say that if I hadn’t picked it and the rest of McKinley's books up my reading tastes would probably be very different today.

Let’s flashback to the 90s. 1995 to be exact. Eight year old me was browsing through the books at the local library and I found the above beauty and the cover immediately drew me in. I was so intrigued by the pretty horse and awesome glowing sword that I had to check it out. As soon as I was home, I sat down and read it in one sitting. That book made me a Robin McKinley fangirl for life. It had everything I never knew I had wanted. There were kidnappings, magic, horses, swords, a kickass heroine, and just a hint of romance. I loved it. Like loved it so much that I immediately reread it and proceeded to reread it four more times before we went back to the library a week later.

I was obsessed! I wanted more of the world and more of the horses! When we returned the book, I asked my librarian if The Blue Sword was part of a series. She just smiled knowingly and lead me to where all of McKinley’s books were located. Let’s just say that my librarian made sure that I went home with both The Hero and the Crown, Spindle's End, and Beauty in my hands. And I loved them every bit as much as I had The Blue Sword

It was the book that lead me to fantasy. Every time I returned to the library after that, the librarian always had a couple books set aside that she promised that I would love because I loved The Blue Sword. I devoured each and every book she gave me after that. And guess what? She was right. I loved all of them! And each one was always a fantasy novel. That librarian recognized the intense love I was developing for the genre and she kept the fire stoked. She and the books she gave me became a lifeline. I was that weird girl who read all the time. Each book offered an escape and an adventure and I couldn't resist diving in to one every chance I got.

Over the next several months and years, my librarian introduced me to some of my favorite books of all time. After I finished Hero, Spindle's End, and Beauty, I was introduced to Patricia C. Wrede and her delightful Mairelon the Magician books. And let’s not forget her wonderful The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and her Sorcery and Cecelia books. Those were quickly followed by Ella Enchanted, Gom on Windy Mountain, and The Hobbit which then led to me devouring the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. From there it snowballed dramatically. I quickly picked up Sabriel and my first Shannara book. And then the wonderful Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released and books with magic and mythical creatures became cool in my small town. I was no longer the weird kid who read all of the fantasy books she could get her hands on but became the person that people came to for book recommendations. Ironically enough, that’s something that hasn’t changed and I still read fantasy with an undying fervor.


When I think about it, the moment I picked up The Blue Sword for the first time was probably the most important moment in my reading life. It started my life long love affair with fantasy and all of its awesome subgenres. That book and that librarian helped shape who I am as a reader and as a person today. I shudder to think of all the books I would never have found if I hadn’t read it and asked my librarian for more books like it. Robin McKinley's other books had just as big of an impact on my reading. Beauty and Spindle's End introduced me to fairy tale retellings and I devoured all I could get my hands on and I still have a soft spot for them. When I first read Sunshine, I had no idea what urban fantasy was but it was the first book that exposed me to the genre. 

I've wondered more than once if I would have been brave enough to pick up the a lot of the books I love today without having read The Blue Sword. I really don't know if I would have even though I seriously can’t imagine my life without steampunk, urban fantasy, or Brandon Sanderson books in it. I’m so grateful that Past Me was so intrigued by the cover. I wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t taken it home that day.

What about you? What book changed your reading history forever?

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