Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

archenemies

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they’re each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer
Published November 6, 2018, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: e-book; 560 pages
Young Adult / Fantasy
Also By This Author: Renegades, The Lunar Chronicles Series (including Stars Above)
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Originally this series was set to be a duology instead of a trilogy, so when Marissa Meyer announced that she was extending her series into three books, I was really excited! I love the worlds and characters Marissa Meyer creates, so of course I wanted to see more.

The Renegades and the Anarchists are two polarizing groups of prodigies–humans with supernatural abilities. The Renegades are society’s leaders, politicians, and role models. They enact laws and maintain the peace in Gatlon City. The Anarchists are a group of terrorists who were driven underground after the defeat of their leader, Ace Anarchy.

Ace’s niece, Nova (alias Nightmare), has a special mission: to infiltrate the Renegades from the inside. Fueled by her desire for vengeance against the council members she holds responsible for the deaths of her entire family, Nova has earned herself a respectable reputation as a quickly rising Renegade. But now she finds herself in an endless battle with her conscience. She wants to fight for her Anarchist allies while also defending the genuinely honorable Renegades, like Adrian.

Adrian has his own secrets. As the son of the most famous Renegades, Adrian takes his responsibility as a model citizen of society very seriously, except for when he transforms into the Sentinel, his second alter-ego and a wanted vigilante. Adrian has done some questionable things as the Sentinel, but all in the pursuit of Nightmare, whom he believes knows his mother’s murderer. In Archenemies, Adrian and Nova’s secret identities are threatened to be revealed while the Renegades roll out a morally questionable weapon and the Anarchists hatch a plan to restore their power in society.

The moral argument surrounding the Renegades’ new weapon was one of the most interesting and engaging parts of the novel, the full effects off which won’t be felt until the third book. While I wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.Although I was initially excited about a trilogy, I do see how the series could have probably been contained into two books instead of three. There were times when the plot dragged on a bit, and overall this book was less suspenseful than Renegades, as it focused more on the characters’ inner battles instead of physical fights between the Renegades and Anarchists. It was still an intriguing novel that I had a hard time putting down, especially towards the end when things start to really happen. I just wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.

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The Delphi EffectRed Risingimg_1833

The Delphi Revolution (The Delphi Trilogy #3) by Rysa Walker

A psychotic killer hijacked her mind and her body. She’s taking them back.

Eighteen-year-old Anna Morgan is on the run from the very government project that created her abilities. Now they seek to weaponize the gift she doesn’t want and can’t control: the invasion of her mind and her body by spirits, some of whom have their own unusual powers. Her latest “hitcher” is a former top Delphi executive. Unlike Anna’s previous guests, this one has taken over, and he’s on a personal mission of revenge.

The target is Senator Ronald Cregg, a corrupt, power-hungry presidential candidate. One of Delphi’s creators, he’s now manipulating the public into believing “psychic terrorists” are a scourge to be eliminated. There’s only one way to stop him, but Anna draws the line at murder.

Pulled into a dark conspiracy, Anna struggles to reclaim her body, mind, and soul as she and the other Delphi psychics join together to fight for their right to exist.

The Delphi Revolution by Rysa Walker
Published October 9, 2018 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 528 pages
Young Adult / Paranormal Fantasy / Science Fiction
Also By This Author: The Delphi Effect, The Delphi Resistance, Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts

After a climactic ending to The Delphi Resistance, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion to Rysa Walker’s Delphi Effect series. I had so many questions and curiosities after the second book! When I started The Delphi Revolution, I was a bit confused because there is a noticeable jump in time from the ending of book two to the start of book three. I actually ended up rereading The Delphi Resistance thinking I had forgotten how it had ended; but no, book three starts abruptly without a quick recap of previous events. Instead, Anna is having unexplained blackouts weeks after her run in with Graham Cregg, and there seems to be some distance between Anna and the rest of the characters.

Eventually, the gaps are filled in, the characters continue their quest to take down Senator Cregg, and the plot thickens. A lot of the supporting characters that were introduced in the previous two books have a deeper role in The Delphi Revolution. Unfortunately, there was a lot more telling than showing in this final installment. The first two books in this series also have thick, political storylines, but there seemed to be so much summary in The Delphi Revolution that it was hard to stay connected to the plot at times. The ending was unfortunately anticlimactic for this very reason, and much of the suspense was lost overall.

One thing I did enjoy about the series overall, and wished that there could have been more of, was the fantasy side of the story. I loved the special abilities of the “adepts”, and the scenes where they were more present and spotlighted were the most enjoyable for me.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with thick political plot lines, especially concerning government conspiracies.
…you’re a fan of paranormal fantasy and sci-fi.
…you are looking for a new thriller or series to dive into.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Revolution in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin – Audiobook Review & Giveaway

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has delighted readers for over 100 years. Published in 1903, when girls were inevitably depicted as pretty, gentle and proper, Rebecca Rowena Randall burst onto the scene of children’s literature. Sent to live with her prim and proper Aunt Miranda, who is expecting her much more demure sister, Rebecca is a “bird of a very different feather”. She has “a small, plain face illuminated by a pair of eyes carrying such messages, such suggestions, such hints of sleeping power and insight, that one never tired of looking into their shining depths…” To her Aunt Miranda’s continual dismay, Rebecca is exuberant, irrepressible, and spirited – not at all “proper” or “demure”. She wins over her aunt soon enough, and the whole town, and thousands of readers and listeners everywhere.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Published 2017 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1903)
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 11 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: The Bird’s Christmas Carol, Mother Carey’s Chickens
Goodreads | Audible
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Surprisingly, I had never heard of this novel until very recently, which shocks me because it’s the type of classic young adult novel that I usually gravitate towards. I was also pretty surprised at the similarities between this novel and L.M. Montgomery’s novels Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, especially since Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was published several years beforehand.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm follows the journey of Rebecca Randall as she leaves her family home to live with her two polar opposite aunts. When Rebecca arrives, she is rather plain and unbecoming, but her personality and imagination are quite the opposite. Her guardians, especially Aunt Miranda, do their best to raise Rebecca into a respectable young lady. If you’re familiar with L.M. Montgomery’s most iconic heroine, Anne Shirley, then you will probably notice the similarities between her and Wiggin’s Rebecca Randall, although I would argue that Rebecca is a milder mix between Anne Shirley and Emily Starr, another one of Montgomery’s heroines.

My favorite aspect of Wiggin’s novel was Rebecca’s character growth. She reigns in her temper and impulsive reactions fairly quickly, and her adolescent mistakes become fortuitous opportunities, such as when she sells a large amount of soap to Adam Ladd. She also possesses a pure heart and genuinely cares about others.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with fierce, unconventional heroines.
…you appreciate the traditions and values of small town, early 20th century life.
…you are a fan of novels like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery.

Audiobook Review

I previously listened to (and loved!) the first three Anne of Green Gables novels which were produced by Post Hypnotic Press, so I was looking forward to listening to their adaptation of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Ann Richardson’s performance did not disappoint! She brought a liveliness to the characters that was enjoyable and engaging. I especially love listening to classic novels on audiobook, and I would definitely listen to another one of Ann Richardson’s narrations :)

Ann-Richardson-headshot.jpgAbout the Narrator: Ann Richardson has been narrating for major publishers as well as independently published authors since 2008, happily giving voice to classics such as “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (Kate Douglas Wiggin), “Greenwillow” (B.J. Chute), and Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage”. Her narrations have been awarded AudioFile Magazine’s Earphones Awards, as well as having been finalists in the Voice Arts Awards in 2016 and 2017. In her spare time Ann is a volunteer narrator for Learning Ally (formerly Recording For the Blind and Dyslexic), and speaks to author groups and at writers’ conferences about the process of making an audiobook.

Giveaway!
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Giveaway: 3-Month Audible Membership

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Banner.jpg

And stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm :)

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

Summer Reads and Mini-Reviews

Hello, and happy Saturday! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite recent reads with you.

Are you a fan of seasonal reading? I always seem to prefer certain genres or story lines during specific seasons. In the fall, I tend to read classics, especially the brooding and Gothic ones. In the winter, I find myself cosying up to historical romances. During the spring, I love to read L. M. Montgomery novels, or anything that makes me feel alive and in love with everything. And during the summer, I usually binge young adult novels or humorous romances.

Here are some of my favorite recent summer reads:

Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Shortly after her mom passes away, Jessie moves to a new town, where her school is full of bullies, her new stepmom and stepbrother aren’t very hospitable, and where loneliness threatens to choke her. The only person who seems to understand is a mysterious online penpal named Somebody Nobody, who quickly becomes Jessie’s lifeline as she copes with grief and high school.

My Thoughts: This novel is full of dark and light bursts of emotion. The penpal aspect is fun and intriguing, and Jessie is a realistic teenager, easy to relate to whether or not you’ve experienced grief like she has. Although the book opens with Jessie battling through the black holes of loneliness and grief, it ends will some uplifting feelings that left me with heart eyes for days.

Can You Keep a SecretCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Emma has a huge heart, a lot of secrets, and a big mouth, which unfortunately shows itself when she’s overcome with terror. During a particularly turbulent plane ride on the way back from a disastrous business trip, Emma spills all of her most embarrassing and hilarious secrets to the stranger sitting next to her. The plane is surely going to crash, so who cares, right? But then the plane lands safely and the stranger, who now knows the most private details of Emma’s life, turns out to be her boss (the CEO, actually).

My Thoughts: This book is dangerous to read in public, and not for the reasons you might suspect. You will laugh out loud until you cry. I did this so many times, my husband kept giving me strange looks. This book is hilarious, and has some great messages about being proud of who you are, knowing what you deserve, and not giving a crap about what others think of you.

The Hating Game.jpgThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Lucy hates her coworker Joshua. He’s her exact opposite in every way: he’s uptight, unlikable, and critical of everything Lucy does. The two of them play these subtle and petty games with each other, and Lucy can never seem to get an edge over her nemesis. So when Lucy and Joshua are up for the same promotion, Lucy decides to change her strategy. But soon Lucy starts to discover that hating someone can feel a lot like being in love with them.

My Thoughts: This book is real steamy, so if that’s not your cup of tea, this book is probably not for you. The office rivalry/romance makes this book a quick page turner, and Lucy’s character development is admirable. Joshua will surprise you, but you may also be rooting for Lucy to slap him. I adored Sally Thorne’s writing style; it made this book so much more than another chick lit romance.

Finding AudreyFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder and depression. After being traumatically bullied at school, she can no longer leave the house or make eye contact, hence the dark sunglasses she wears even around her own family. But then her brother’s friend Linus starts writing notes to her and soon he challenges Audrey with little dares: go to Starbucks, make foot contact with someone, ask a stranger directions to the circus. It’s not long before Audrey feels ready to reenter the real world, despite her therapist’s warnings of doing too much too fast.

My Thoughts: Sophie Kinsella is officially one of my new favorite authors. Audrey’s home life will crack you up, and the sensitive way she covers mental disorders will also soften your heart. The characters in this novel were all so lovable (especially Linus), and I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of Audrey’s mother’s freak outs.

The Only Thing Worse Than MeThe Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Trixie and Ben are lifelong enemies, academic rivals, and intellectual equals (although don’t bring that up–it’s a sore point). It’s their senior year and neither of them wants to be outranked by the other. So when their best friends start dating each other, forcing Trixie and Ben to hang out together, it seems impossible that they will ever act civilized in each other’s company. Until one of them overhears a huge secret that changes everything.

My Thoughts: I didn’t realize until a few chapters in that this is a nerdy YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite Shakespearean comedy. There is plenty of witty banner, disguises, and mischievousness occurring both on and off the page that will keep you entertained. My only problem with this novel was a lack of suspense (which is really just because I loved the webseries adaptation Nothing Much To Do and how it handles the big scandal. I can’t help comparing it to every other retelling).

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades.jpg

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 by Marissa Meyer
Published November 7, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: Netgalley* e-book; 556 pages
Young Adult/Fantasy
Also By This Author: The Lunar Chronicles Series (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above), Heartless
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

When a book makes me cry during the prologue, I know I’m in for a fantastic read! I tend to rate books based on the emotional impact they have on me, and I have given books an extra star rating before just because they’ve managed to make me cry. The prologue to Renegades connected me instantly with the antihero, Nova, and I can honestly say she is one of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered in a book before. She is fierce, intelligent, and confident, and even though she’s intimidating to her enemies, I would love to be friends with her in real life.

Nova is an Anarchist, a group of exiled rebels who have been living in abandoned subway tunnels ever since the Renegades defeated them ten years before the novel takes place. The Renegades are Gatlon City’s beloved superheroes, leaders, politicians…basically they do everything and are loved by everyone, except the Anarchists. Nova hates The Renegades, and would like nothing more than to shatter their perfect image that the city idolizes. Adrian is a Renegade legacy, and he is good (honestly, he’s such a pure character, like a perfectly compassionate All-American brainiac with glasses–too many adjectives?). It’s no surprise that Nova feels conflicted about her mission the more time she spends with Adrian.

When I finished Renegades, I had SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’s one of those books that stays on your mind for a few days afterwards while you unpack and analyze everything. This book ends on a major cliffhanger that seriously had me questioning one character’s entire point of view (not really a spoiler, but I felt like one character was revealed to be an unreliable narrator, which of course had me as a reader feeling betrayed!). The sequel (and conclusion) to Renegades had already been announced before I started reading this book, so a cliffhanger wasn’t a huge surprise for me, but the actual cliffhanger was shocking and I did not see it coming. I’m definitely excited to read the finale later this year!

Read This Book If…

…you are a fan of The Hunger Gamesor other dystopian novels that feature a fierce female main character (seriously, Nova is awesome).
…you love superhero movies!
…you enjoy reading books from the POV of a villain or antihero.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own!

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker

Delphi Resistance

Struggling with evolving psychic abilities, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan and her equally exceptional friends are on the run from the ruthless Graham Cregg, leader of a covert operation known as the Delphi Project. Cregg has already killed repeatedly to test Anna’s ability. Now, he and his father, a presidential contender, will stop at nothing to recapture the Delphi adepts, whom they see as weapons to be controlled—or destroyed.

Navigating an increasingly hostile landscape, Anna and her friends form a resistance to rescue those still in the Creggs’ fatal grip. As more gifted kids vanish and public awareness of the Delphi Project grows, so does the opinion that getting rid of the adepts may be a necessary evil.

Yet even as they face off against cold-blooded killers, government operatives, and a public intensely afraid of their psychic powers, the greatest threat to Anna and the resistance may come from within themselves—and their own mysterious abilities could spell their ultimate downfall.

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker
Published October 24, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 456 pages
Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Also By This Author: The Delphi EffectTimebound
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

First off, I love this cover. The splotches of blue and purple look so well together (also, they’re my two favorite colors!), and the sphere in the middle reminds me of a black hole, even though this book series has nothing to do with black holes or space travel.

My favorite thing about this series so far has been the characters, especially the ones with special abilities. In The Delphi Effect, we mostly see Anna with one “hitcher”, as she calls them. Towards the end of the book, however, as the plot and conspiracies grow deeper, Anna takes on multiple hitchers and her self-control and focus are pushed to the limit as she tries not to be pushed to the backseat of her consciousness. In The Delphi Resistance, Anna consistently has multiple hitchers, but she has learned how to keep control, even during stressful situation (these hitchers are more friendly than some of the ones we met at the end of Delphi Effect.

Similarly to its prequel, The Delphi Resistance has more exposition scenes and fewer high-intensity action scenes, although there are two really suspenseful ones in this novel. The characters spend weeks researching, investigating, and, in Taylor’s case, tracking down key people in the Delphi Project. I believe this reflects Rysa Walker’s own writing habits, as I know she is a history buff who loves researching real events for her novels. It’s one of the biggest things I admire about her as an author :)

The ending to The Delphi Resistance came suddenly, and I’m anxious to read the final installment of the series next year. I’m really excited to find out what’s going on with some of the “gifted” characters, like Daniel, and the boy Anna first encounters at The Warren.

You May Also Enjoy:

mara dyerdivergentMarvel’s X-Men

The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Resistance in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!

Behind the Song by K.M. Walton

Behind the Song

A song to match everyone’s heartbeat.

A soaring melody, a pulse-pounding beat, a touching lyric: Music takes a moment and makes it a memory. It’s a universal language that can capture love, heartbreak, loss, soul searching, and wing spreading—all in the span of a few notes. In Behind the Song, fourteen acclaimed young adult authors and musicians share short stories and personal essays inspired by the songs, the albums, the musicians who move them.

So cue up the playlist and crank the volume. This is an anthology you’ll want to experience on repeat.

Behind the Song by K.M. Walton
Published September 5, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Netgalley e-book; 400 pages
Anthology/Short Story/Young Adult
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Behind the Song is a Young Adult anthology of short stories inspired by music. There are fourteen stories in all, and while most of them are fictional, there are a couple that are nonfictional. I love creating my own personal soundtracks for favorite books, or even for my own writing playlists, so I was very excited about reading Behind the Song and listening to the different songs that inspire other writers.

For the first twelve stories, I read the story after listening to the song that inspired it. I listened to the last two songs after reading their respective stories, and this may have contributed to a greater feeling of suspense since I couldn’t make guesses about what would happen next based on the song lyrics.

Below are my favorite stories from Behind the Song, and I’ve also linked up to the anthology’s playlist below :)

Miss Atomic Bomb by Anthony Breznican (inspired by The Killer’s “Miss Atomic Bomb”)

If you enjoy dystopian stories, you will love this one. I was a bundle of nerves the entire time I was reading Miss Atomic Bomb, and I had to take a bit of a breather after finishing it because there was so much to unpack and think about. I love short stories for this very reason: every action, every moment of suspense is magnified and condensed into the length of a novel chapter.

‘Cold Beverage’: The Song I Wrote That Changed My Life by G. Love (inspired by his song “Cold Beverage”)

Before reading this story, I had never even heard of the song “Cold Beverage”, but now I listen to it about once a week because it is SO FUN! Check out the video on the playlist below, even that is fun to watch (I watched it twice while typing this blog post). This is a memoir short story (I refrain from using the word “essay” because that makes it seem dull, and it’s anything but), because it’s written by the singer G. Love about how he created his song “Cold Beverage” and why he still loves it nearly two decades later.

Time To Soar by Donn T (inspired by Amy Winehouse’s “October Song”)

This is one of those stories that really needs to be read multiple times. First of all, I’m not too familiar with Amy Winehouse’s music, but after listening to “October Song”, I see why she had such a loyal fan following. Time To Soar reads like a true story, perhaps creative nonfiction, but it isn’t. It’s filled with suspense, heartbreak, and hope, and overall it has an inspirational and optimistic message.

Anyone Other Than Me by Tiffany Schmidt (inspired by Dave Matthews Band’s “Dancing Nancies”)

This short story could have been turned into a full-length novel, and I would have loved it just the same. It’s a coming of age story about turning over a new leaf and finding oneself. There are swoon-worthy moments, and even suspenseful ones, and it all takes place at a summer camp which makes it really fun to read. I had heard of Tiffany Schmidt before, but this is the first time I’ve read anything by her; I will definitely be picking up one of her books sometime because I really enjoyed her tone and writing style.

Doomed? by K.M. Walton (inspired by Marcy Playground’s “All the Lights Went Out”)

I’m glad that Behind the Song ended with a fantastic story like Doomed? It’s one that surprises you with a twist you won’t see coming, one that will keep you thinking about the story long after you’ve finished it. Doomed? is told through two narrators, and it’s easy to follow along, although it’s another story that deserves to be read more than once.

Final Musings:

Here is my YouTube playlist for Behind the Song. Unfortunately, one of the songs (“Planting Trees” by James Howe) is not on YouTube, but you can listen to it here.

Behind the Song Playlist

Disclaimer: I received a free, advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinion of Behind the Song, je promets!