Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “A.G. Howard

Unhinged by A.G. Howard: Frodo’s Review

Unhinged

Summary From GoodreadsUnhinged by A.G. Howard

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Unhinged…was not what I expected. Splintered, book one in the series, showcased this dark and edgy depiction of Wonderland that I fell in love with. The humor, characters, and style that were used fascinated me and had me hungry for more, instantly I pre-ordered Unhinged.

The characters are there. Morpheus is shown in all of his glory and mysteriousness. Jeb is still loyal, in love, and the kind of knight in shining armor that I expected him to be. Alyssa is conflicted, but slowly finding herself; magical, but wild and unsure.

Danger is lurking with the Red Queen once again causing all sorts of chaos, as well as the turmoil of the heart as Alyssa has to decide who she wants to be with and the life that they can offer her. Drama, magic, and incredible displays of artwork fill this story and make it wonderful with the same dark overtones that I enjoyed so much in the first book.

What’s the major difference? While many of the magical creatures of Wonderland make an appearance, my favorite being that of the White Rabbit (or Rabid White as he is known in this series), the shock to me was how much of this story took place in the “real world” rather than the magical Wonderland I had fallen so in love with. After giving it a fair bit of thought I can understand some of the reasoning for why Howard wanted to do this as there were many issues that needed to be taken care of there, but it caught me off guard.

What Howard did manage to do by keeping the majority of the focus on our world is make it seem magical in and of itself. She makes it so we question our surroundings, second guess preconceived notions of the way things “work” here, and I certainly don’t look at bugs or flowers the same anymore. She made reality wondrous and that is no easy feat.

So did I enjoy Unhinged? Yes. Was it the story I thought I was going to be getting? Nope. Does it really matter? Not really, I enjoyed the tale and I am just as excited, if not more so, to read book three in the series (even though I have to wait a year to do it) which I will likely pre-order as soon as possible. If you liked Splintered, especially the cast of characters, then you will enjoy Unhinged as well. Oh, and if you haven’t read Splintered yet, please do so, it is absolutely amazing and one of my favorite books that I read last year. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #12/365

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the new authors you discovered this year! This was my first year where I really dove into reading at a higher, book blogger-level pace, so pretty much all of the authors I read this year were new for me.  So these are just SOME of my favorites in no particular order. Enjoy! ^.^

1. Jay Asher – Author of Thirteen Reasons Why, my favorite book I read in 2013. I LOVED that book for reasons I can’t even explain. It was easily the book that hit me the hardest emotionally, where I felt like the book really took me to that story and forced me to live through every ordeal and difficulty along with the characters. It was brutal, it was draining, and I loved it, so for that Asher is on this list.

2. A.G. Howard – Author of Splintered, my favorite debut of 2013 by a wide margin, and someone who I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with on Twitter! She is so sweet, and Splintered being her debut with how amazing it was still boggles my mind. I look forward to reading Unhinged so I have an excuse to talk with/about her more just as much as for the book itself. ^.^

3. Gail Carriger – Author of Etiquette & Espionage, my favorite book outside of my usual genres and also in my top 5 overall for the year. I haven’t spoken to Carriger, but I did REALLY enjoy E&E and need to get to book two early next year. Her writing, engaging characters, and fantastic world building do it for me in every way and I get to read steampunk!

4. Ann Aguirre – Author of Enclave and Outpost, two more of my favorite reads of the year and the best dystopian series out there. Aguirre is someone I respect as an author, a person, and as someone who fights against adversity and stereotyping. I became such a big fan of her and her work that I bought EVERY single book she has out for my print collection, and her discussion on females in science fiction writing was a huge part of that. If you haven’t read it I highly encourage you to do so here. I can’t say enough nice things about her, she’s an inspiration.

5. Victoria Schwab – Author of The Archived, a book that definitely made my top ten for the year and a series I can’t wait to continue in January when The Unbound is released. Schwab is one of the best bookish/author personalities on Twitter, really fun to talk to, and I loved The Archived so more of her books in my life in 2014 will be wonderful.

6. Leigh Wilder – Author of the Deadly Liaisons series and one of my best author friends on Twitter. Her naughty books add some spice to my reading life which is much needed and her writing is excellent. She’s got a great sense of humor, I love talking to her as often as I can manage, and I can’t wait for more of her work next year.

7. Zoe E. Whitten – Author of Peter the Wolf and Penny for Your Debts, one of the most skilled writers you probably (sadly) haven’t heard of, and whose collection I own on my Kindle app on my computer. She is another of my best author friends on Twitter, and someone I could never get tired of talking to. She’s amazing and so are her books, I look forward to reading more in 2014. ^.^

8. Rick Riordan – Author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and someone I’m sure  anyone reading this knows all about. I found out about Riordan way late in the game, but I enjoyed the first two Percy Jackson books and I’m excited to read more by him next year.

9. Larry Kollar – Author of Accidental Sorcerers and White Pickups, someone you probably (and again sadly) might not have heard of, and a great friend of mine on Twitter. Larry is a great guy, always funny, and one of the most enthusiastic authors that I’ve come across. I enjoyed his series thus far and look forward to see what he has in store for 2014! ^.^

10. Maureen Johnson – Author of The Name of the Star, a name the vast majority of you know, and a fellow nerdfighter. I’ve only read The Name of the Star by her so far, despite owning the sequel, but I did enjoy it and Maureen, of course, is amazing on all fronts so I’m sure I’ll like the rest of her work too. She’s hilarious, a fantastic Twitter personality, and great on vlogbrothers videos. Need I say more?

So those are the top ten new-to-me authors for this year! What is your top ten list for this week? Are your authors mainstream, indie, or a mix? Are they ones that debuted in 2013 or, like mine, have been at it for a while? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the books you can’t wait to read this winter! I’m not going to be doing much reading with finals going on in the next couple weeks for college, so this is my top ten for January. ^.^

1. Unhinged by A.G. Howard – This was my latest Waiting on Wednesday and with Splintered being in my top 5 favorite reads of 2013, my anticipation for Unhinged is unmeasurable. I’ll be doing a review on the release day so look for that!

2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab – I really enjoyed The Archived earlier this year, and I’m sure The Unbound will have me raving as well. Another book I have on pre-order and plan to review on the release day. Huzzah for planning ahead! ^.^ 

3. Bang by Lisa McMann – Crash was an enjoyable read for me, and I like McMann’s style of writing quite a bit. Bang is pretty short so I should breeze through this one and it is quite literally staring at me on my stacks of books, waiting, watching.

4. Horde by Ann Aguirre – The only reason I haven’t read this already (besides a lack of time) is because I’m saving it for the 365 books in 365 days challenge that I will be doing next year. I loved Enclave and Outpost, and I’m sure Horde will meet and even surpass my lofty expectations. The day I get to read this will be a fun one.

5. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger – Etiquette and Espionage is another book in my top 5 for 2013, so to say I am looking forward to reading Curtsies & Conspiracies would be a massive understatement. These books have fabulous characters, a creative spin on werewolves and vampires, and THE MOST AMAZING WRITING EVER. I’m fine…really I swear. >.>

6. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn – I know, I know, this was released this summer, but I haven’t read it yet! All I have heard about this book is that it’s one of the best “mind fucks” out there right now, which has me really eager to dive in. Can’t wait!

7. In the After by Demitria Lunetta – Another book released this summer that I didn’t devour along with seemingly everyone else. I hesitate to read this in January with In the End not coming out until June of next year, but the wonderful people at Epic Reads keep saying how the first 100 pages are the best they’ve probably read this year. I can’t resist!

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West – I swear I’m reading this in January no matter what! It came out all the way back in February of this year and it’s been sitting on my shelves for roughly that same amount of time along with all of the other neglected books I plan to read next year during the challenge. I know it is going to be good, it will be a stress free reading day because of it, and I’m psyched! Emerald Green

9. 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil – 3:59 came out in mid September this year and I mostly want to get into this one because of how much I like and respect McNeil as a person. I follow her on Twitter, read any content by/about her (which came out a bit more stalkery then I had intended), and just think she’s awesome. If 3:59 is half as amazing as she is I’ll be in for a great time.

10. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier – Book three in the Ruby Red Trilogy, Emerald Green will complete a series that still has me flummoxed. I LOVE certain elements like the characters Lucy and Paul (whom I hope have bigger roles in Emerald Green), Madame Rossini and her fabulous dresses and accessories, and TIME TRAVEL because who doesn’t love time travel? However, the MC, Gwen, is not my favorite and the romance going on isn’t either, but I’m still really excited to finish the trilogy. Where will Gier take us next?

So those are the top ten books I can’t wait to read this winter (specifically in January)! What is your top ten list for this week? Are yours spread out over the course of the winter months? Are they all new books or do you have a few that you’ve put off until now? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Set For Release On: January 7th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsUnhinged by A.G. Howard

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Just about every book blogger I know is either incredibly excited for this to come out and likely has it on pre-order or their holiday gift list, or has read the ARC of it and is raving about its awesomeness. I am in the first group and can’t wait for it to arrive on release day, which is only about a month away! If I could I’d make time go faster just so I could get this book. Splintered is in my top 5 books that I read in 2013, and I expect Unhinged to quickly become, and stay, in my top 5 for 2014.

Does Unhinged appeal to you? Are you as excited as I (and seemingly the rest of the bookish blogosphere) am for it? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Day 45: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Day 45

Summary From Goodreads

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

I haven’t read a fairy tale retelling in quite some time, but if this is what they were all like I’d never stop. Splintered was a fantastic twist on the original Alice in Wonderland story, arguably better and more compelling than the original. It was much darker and more realistic, shredding away any sense of cutesy fairy tale creatures and replacing them with the true characters that our childlike selves refuse to let us see.

Alyssa is a bit of a mixed bag for me as the main character. While I do like her sense of humor and twisted sense of art, she is very, very clingy and boy-crazy. Whether it is Jeb or Morpheus, when one of them is around she is all over them fawning and wishing to be theirs, jealous at the slightest sign of either of them liking anyone else. While that part can get annoying, she does stand up for herself and though the guys in her life always seem to protect her, she truly doesn’t ask for it and does genuinely seem to want to handle her own problems which is admirable even if she does fail at it most epicly. Jeb is the standup guy that every girl seems to dream of, the whole knight in shining armor to a tee. Morpheus on the other hand is the polar opposite, if you aren’t into the super-good-guy routine, then maybe his slightly emo/tortured soul/kick-butt badass one works for you. They make for a fun dynamic.

Then there is the love triangle (I’m ignoring a girl from the beginning because she was never a threat really) which in this case works pretty well. Alyssa seems to actually have difficulty deciding who she wants to be with at times and there is legitimate uncertainty as to who she will choose for quite a while which is vital if you are going to try and pull one of these off. There is an excessive amount of lovey-dovey moments especially directed from Alyssa, as I mentioned earlier, and that did get a bit old. Overall it worked, I just didn’t want it to be quite as much of the focus, the next part is the reason why.

My reaction to the plot and world building

The plot & world that Howard built are just freaking amazing. The action is steady throughout but doesn’t overpower the more serious/informative parts of the storyline which isn’t always an easy feat. Alyssa manages to do something pretty incredible at every turn, usually by complete accident. The creepiness of the wonderland characters and the way they interact with each other and Alyssa keeps things interesting and the impending doom (in a variety of ways) keeps the reader on their toes. At every turn a new way of tearing down the facade of the Alice in Wonderland innocent world is shown and I thought it was brilliantly done.

The book was great. What made it even more amazing was that this was a freaking debut, how the heck is Howard filled with that much awesome already?! Regardless, I can’t wait for their next book to come out so I can devour it immediately. Thanks as always for reading, if you haven’t read Splintered go get it now and come back tomorrow for Day 46!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #45/365

Five Smiling Frodos w Background