Iron Gold: Bloodydamn Brilliant

iron gold-3From the day that it was announced, to the day I had it in my hands, Iron Gold built up its own hype in my mind with little to no outside influence.  I was excited because obviously I loved the Red Rising trilogy, and returning to see some of my favorite characters was sure to be an adventure.  But also more than a little nervous because, well, have you read the Red Rising books?!  Pierce Brown has no issues with bringing unmentionable pain, or killing off his characters, beloved or not, and the odds of my favorites surviving another three books seemed slim to none.

Warning before picking up Iron Gold:  If you liked the ending of Morning Star, or if you would prefer a happy ending for your favorite characters, than it is probably best that you pretend that Iron Gold doesn’t exist.  Because some people will undoubtedly be uncomfortable with the way Pierce Brown makes them feel in this 600+ page monstrosity.  Pandora’s box has been opened, all hell has been unleashed, and picking up Iron Gold is most certainly a commitment to emotional pain.  Isn’t reading fun?

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Shadowsong: Dark & Deranged, Yet Ultimately Hopeful

Well that was a journey that I am still not sure I was entirely ready for. 

Photo Jan 08, 23 09 07Receiving an ARC of Shadowsong was a dream come true (corny yes, but also entirely accurate).  I finished reading it early into my plane ride home for Christmas and was then left to stew in all the feelings that SJ Jones invoked in me.  I have been trying to formulate thoughts for three weeks, and I really hope I can do Shadowsong justice.  So, with that being said, let’s get to it.

If you pick up Shadowsong expecting the same type of story that Wintersong brought you, then you are going to be disappointed and/or confused.  Wintersong was a romantic journey, but it also read (to me) as a novel of self discovery.  Leisel was never quite sure where she belonged in her family, in her society, and found acceptance in the Underground with the Goblin King and his realm.  Shadowsong is a journey into the troubled mind of Leisel (and her brother Josef) but also is about peeling back the consequences of burying ugly emotions for years.  I was left picking apart and analyzing what leaving the Underground really did to Leisel throughout the book, and I am not sure I am even accurate on my assumptions.  Wintersong is a beautiful book, but superficial in retrospect.  Shadowsong is deranged and dark, and heartbreakingly sad at points.  

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September Wrap-Up: The Month of New Releases

I had a pretty decent reading month in September, especially when you consider the size of some of the books that I finished!

I really tried to focus on new releases, since September was overflowing with them.  I had this grand plan and vision of keeping up with all the books that I had preordered, and unfortunately, that plan did not come to fruition.  But!  October, November, and December are sparse with the new releases that I am actually planning on reading, so hopefully I can use the time to catch up.

So, putting my nonsensical rambling aside, let me share with you the books that I completed in September!

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Shatter Me Trilogy – Am I Being Punked by the Whole YA Community?

shatter me-3After strong urging from the little sister to read the Shatter Me trilogy, I finally gave in. (Well, to be honest, she sent me her extra copies of the books, so it was like I was almost doubly obligated to read them.)  With little hesitation, I finally dove into this bizarre, kind-of-a-mess-but-you-keep-reading-anyway series, and… I have a lot to say now.

On one hand, I am really glad I checked these books off of my “absolute must read YA books” list, but on the other hand I kept thinking to myself: “these are not the type of books I like WHAT AM I DOING!?”

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This is Really Happening – I Bet You Will LOL Too

I don’t often read books without reading the synopsis before hand, but that wasn’t the case with This is Really Happening.

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I had just gotten the book in the mail from Penguin, and the combination of the adorably fun cover, plus the short length of the book itself meant I dove right in without a second thought.

Probably shouldn’t have done that.

This is Really Happening is a collection of essays / stories of Erin Chack’s life.  She is a senior writer at Buzzfeed (awesomeness), is insanely weird (love it), and is also a cancer survivor (wasn’t expecting that).

The book opens with Erin discussing her cancer diagnosis which was the exact diagnosis I received myself almost four years ago.  The first essay was a fun and playful take on an extremely nonplayful topic, and Erin discusses how awkward it was for her to share her diagnosis with her friends and extended family.  I have consistently switched back and forth between the two extremes of being a cancer survivor: either the “I’M A SURVIVOR HEAR ME ROAR” or the “wow, I want to forget that ever happened to me“.  So, when I picked up TiRH, I couldn’t immediately decide which of these mentalities I was going to embrace, and it put me into a mild panic.

BUT.  I worked through the trigger, kept reading, and I am really glad I did.

I hard-core connected to Erin regarding our similar cancer experiences (and the morbid gallows sort of humor that goes along with that), and I laughed out loud on more than one occasion.  While I did think that a couple of the stories didn’t really serve a point, and there were a few instances of redundancy that probably would have gone unnoticed if the book was a bit longer, overall I really enjoyed the read.  Erin has a pretty distinct writing voice, and this was a great book to tackle while I was in the tub over a couple of days.

If you like essay style books but you are looking for something with a younger feel, I would definitely recommend picking up TiRH!  Big thanks to Penguin Teen for sending this book my way, the cover is so adorable too!

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Strange the Dreamer – A Review Months in the Making…

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I finished Strange the Dreamer two months ago, and I am still struggling to put my feelings into words.  BUT.  I think about this book all the time.  Like, ALL THE TIME.  I am borderline consumed with thoughts on what my precious Lazlo is up to, and how everything is going to play out in the next book.

So, since it has been on my mind for months now, I thought I should at least attempt to write a semi coherent review.  Here goes nothing!

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Once and for All – Wedding Planning? Yes, Please!

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I am not usually a fan of YA contemporary, but I am so happy that Penguin Teen sent this book my way because this was one of the more addicting books I have thrown myself into this year.   The tag line had me hooked: As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.  The world of wedding planning?!  Sign me up, I’m sold.

The main character and narrator of Once and for All, Louana, is graduating high school.  Usually I steer clear of high school contemporary reads, but in this book, her age wasn’t as much of a turn off as usual YA contemporary leads tend to be for me.  Louana was extremely grounded, wise beyond her years, and has some serious personal growth throughout the story that really drew me to her.

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