Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Totally Random Tuesday

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

Summary From GoodreadsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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

belle_book_gif

There are books that you fall in love with because of the world, the author’s creativity, or the relationships that are forged both inside of the story and between you and the characters within. Then there are books that you connect with because they feel like yours, stories that seem like the author’s intended audience was you and you alone. The latter was my experience with Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, and it made me both love the book, and reflect a lot on my life. With that said, I clearly have a bias here, but if you don’t mind then read on.

First, I should expand on my connection with the story of Vanishing Girls. This is the first blog post since October 2014, and there is good reason for that. On January 11th of this year I attempted suicide, and my mode of choice was to crash my vehicle into a tree at high speed. I hadn’t felt like blogging again until reading this book, and while Nick and Dara weren’t involved in the car accident because of a suicide attempt, the results were similar.

Scars, both emotional and physical. Major life changes in behavior, friendships, and overall lifestyle. Overwhelming guilt.

Now that you have an idea of why I connected with the story and characters so much (if you want more on my life just hit me up via Twitter and such) let’s get into the review.

Lauren Oliver’s writing is as wonderful as ever. I became a fan of hers after reading Liesl & Po, an adorable MG read, and Vanishing Girls is even better. The story flows extremely well, despite the confusion of the characters within, and transitioning between the POV of the sisters is seamless. Everything concerning the sisters, the accident, their warped family and relationships was fascinating, with just enough edge to keep it from becoming too sappy. However, I will admit that while I understand why the hunt for Madeline Snow was included (spoilers!) it did feel forced, and her character never really adds much to the book.

River_spoilers

The characters are what makes or breaks this book in my opinion. You have to feel for Dara and her physical injuries, struggles to return to her usual self, and her black sheep role in her discombobulated family. There needs to be sympathy for Nick’s guilt and emotional struggles over the crash, her frayed relationship with Dara when they were so close before, and her drive to find out the truth to fill the gaps in her memory and the resulting world around her.

Vanishing Girls utilizes the sisters so well, equally showing off the issues and negativity between them after the accident (the usual way sisters are represented in YA), and the positively cute development of their close friendship prior to it (something rare in YA). There should be more books that have sisters who actually like each other in YA, that are also main characters, at least in my opinion. It’s a relationship that doesn’t seem to be tapped enough.

sibling-3

There is also the trio of friends/relationships dynamic with Nick, Dara, and their best friend Parker. All three were really good friends growing up until Dara and Parker became a bit more. That played a major role in Nick and Parker’s relationship, as well as Dara and Nick’s due to Nick feeling like a third wheel. It’s awkward, and the book doesn’t try to hide that, instead exploring each pairing (as well as the atmosphere when all three are together) with plenty of love and care.

In addition, Vanishing Girls explores all kinds of issues, something I really applaud Oliver for, and a big reason why I think the book is worth the read for any teen or young adult. Divorce, step parents and siblings, PTSD, depression, guilt, DID, drinking, drugs, and a plethora of other issues are explored and in just the right amount of detail. Best of all, Oliver manages to do all of that without saying anything that might trigger problems for those suffering from or dealing with those same issues. There is an art in doing that, and I really appreciated that she pulled it off.

Finally, the setting does a lot of the work in the fun department, making lighter situations to balance the deeper parts of the book. Nick is forced into a job at the local amusement park FanLand. It’s old, the employees are bizarre as one would expect, and best of all Parker is there for all the nostalgic feels. FanLand is a diversion from all the shitty things happening to Nick, and it’s one that she and the reader need every so often, plus metaphors, so many metaphors. I loved how Oliver brought it to life.

a metaphor

Overall Vanishing Girls was an excellent read, even if it was pretty dark at times, and while my bias is real, I don’t think it is clouding my judgement. I loved this book so much that it made me blog again. I HAD to share my thoughts on it, and a book that powerful is worth reading. Yes, I’m late to the party (the book came out in March), but hopefully I’m only fashionably so. It’s been fun. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Loop by Karen Akins: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

 

Summary From GoodreadsLoop

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

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

I received an eBook copy of Loop from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a fascination for everything involving time travel, whether it is in the form of a book such as with the MG/YA Pendragon series, in a tv show like Forever or Doctor Who, or a movie like Back to the Future. It doesn’t seem to matter what medium it is in, if it involves time travel even at a small level I’m going to at least be interested and willing to give it a try; that’s where Loop by Karen Akins comes in. I heard about Loop from the publisher who was looking for people to do reviews for its blog tour, and while I did not participate in that, I did request it because I was curious to see if this would be a good example of time travel, and a way of quenching my thirst for it.

Time Travel Back to the Future

The result? A bit of a mixed bag. I found the beginning of the book to be a struggle to get through, adjusting to Akins using fake curse words in place of regular ones (something I know bugs some people and in this case was a mild irritant to myself), and getting accustomed to the jargon used to describe the process of time travel itself, and everything that goes on with it.

Fake Swear Words Battlestar Gallactica

Unfortunately, even when I had immersed myself in the world, it never felt like something I could wrap my brain around, especially concerning the bits and pieces of explanations we get for how the world functions in the 23rd century. This isn’t due to lack of experience with various reasoning given in other examples of future worlds, but that Akins doesn’t do a very good job at describing it in a clear way.

Part of the issue here, and something that is the case across the board with this book (technical babble aside), is that it seems like the reader is intentionally led in circles in order to give the story a kind of mystery. In reality, all that occurred was that I was increasingly frustrated at the contradictions that started to arise, the dense main character that took forever to realize what was right in front of her face (where the reader could put the pieces together chapters before), and being left to wonder if (from a technical aspect) this world even made sense at all.

Going Around in Circles

Every time a technical bit was brought up it was almost immediately discarded and a vague response given instead. My head hurts just trying to put those last few paragraphs together to try and explain what wasn’t explained in the book, but suffice it to say that there are problems in the world building in Loop.

Then there are the characters. Bree (the MC) is dense as I mentioned before, but is also inconsistent. At times she seems lost and unsure, as well as just plain slow, and often can’t figure out what is happening around her, even when it’s pretty clear. Other times Bree plays a Sherlock-esque figure, picking up clues and hatching schemes (even if they aren’t always brilliant ones), all the while complaining about the same issues repeatedly. She had a pretty rough past, but despite that I was never able to pity her after the first couple of chapters because she is so abrasive and whiny.

Finn, the love interest, grasps things often before Bree does despite being from the 21st century, but otherwise is just an overprotective lug, and one that happens to be quite attractive seemingly just for gushing at random intervals from Bree. The supporting cast outside of them are even more cliche, from the standard BFF Mimi who is only there to be overly devoted to Bree, to one of the “villains” that is confused and used, and that eventually goes a tad nuts but still garners pity for whatever reason. Just…no.

nope

The part of Loop that pulls you in, however, is the past-to-future experiences, at least if you love time travel like I do. Unfortunately, while some of those aspects are pulled off well, such as with various cultural references in the 21st and 23rd centuries, much of the future elements are not well done at all. The world Bree lives in is barely discussed, the book focuses way too much on a couple modes of transportation instead of the time travel part, and the cliched joke of instant meals was used a couple times and wasn’t really funny. There is always a lot to work with in time travel books because you have such a wide range of times and locations to choose from, but that wasn’t showcased in Loop at all. The world in the 23rd century was simply bland.

Bland World

The writing and conversations that took place were decent, but it wasn’t enough to grab me, especially with the previously mentioned issues involved. A few solid jokes were made, and the sheer awkwardness of various situations were enjoyable, but there wasn’t enough chemistry between the main characters to enjoy those scenes fully. Having the inevitable future of the timeline Bree and Finn were on, something that was told almost immediately in the story, made it so there were hardly any surprises or suspense.

Overall, while the idea of time travel was present, and some of the issues with it (even if many are obvious) were addressed, I couldn’t enjoy Loop like I had hoped to. It isn’t a bad book, it just doesn’t excel in any category. Time travel wasn’t exciting in Loop, it was just a way of circumventing plot issues, something it didn’t do all that well anyway. The ending of the book only serves to try and confuse the reader even more, and too many issues remain unresolved, even for a book in a series. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background


Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

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 I get to gush about my favorite authors since those are the ones I own the most books from. I’ll let you know why I love them and give a mix of physical and ebook collections. Let’s get into it!

The Lightning Thief 1. Leigh Wilder – 31 – Wilder is a writer of naughty tales, a constant presence on my Frodo’s Frisky Friday feature, and one of my favorite authors. The collection I have from her is mostly in eBook form, since they are novella length and she doesn’t really do physical copies yet. I’ve read almost all of them, including ones from her alter egos, and the level of writing is always impressive.

 2. Zoe E. Whitten – 34 – Whitten writes books with mature content, though not necessarily the naughty variety, and like Wilder has an exceptionally strong level of prose. My collection for her is completely made up of eBooks, many of which I have yet to get to, but she’s awesome and I know they’ll be great when I do get around to them. I recommend checking out her more mainstream title, Nobody Special, which I wrote about here.

 3. Rick Riordan – 12 – You all know of Rick Riordan even if you haven’t read his books. I’ve only read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so far, but I own the Kane Chronicles and the four released Heroes of Olympus books too. Oh, and all are physical copies. ^.^

 4. Jeremy C. Shipp – 15 – Another frequent author for this blog, Shipp is a horror/bizarro author that I absolutely love. His work is insightful, creepy, hilarious, and thought provoking. I own his Attic Clowns volumes in physical and eBook form (only counted each volume once though), and the rest is split between the two versions. I can’t recommend his work enough!

 5 and 6. – D.J. MacHale (10) and Eoin Colfer (8) – These two authors I put together because all of their books that I own are from one series each. I own both series in physical form, MacHale’s being the Pendragon series and Colfer being Artemis Fowl. I read both of the series when I was a kid and still love them to this day. They are great MG reads if you haven’t checked them out already!

An Abundance of Katherines 7. Kelly Apple – 10 – Another “naughty” writer, Kelly Apple is not only one of my favorite authors, but also a fantastic person, and someone I love talking to on Twitter. Nine of the ten books are from her Monstrous Tales series, which has been a bunch of fun to read, and all of them are eBooks. Take a look at her work if you would like some sexy monsters in your life!

 8. Larry Kollar – 8 – A MG and YA author, Kollar is a bit of a mixed bag. He’s written dystopian and fantasy for YA audiences, and is now four books into a MG fantasy series, but no matter what audience he’s writing for it has been enjoyable for me to read. I own all of his work in eBook format, and if you follow the blog you’ve seen me review most of them already. Give him a look!

 9. Sean Beaudoin – 5 – Beaudoin is an oddball, writing stories that make you question whether it was the content within that was crazy, or if it is really your own mind that developed the delusions. His books are hilarious, they always blow my mind, and are excellent for readers of YA or Adult. I’ll definitely be buying all of his other books as they come out!

 10. John Green – 5 – While many of the authors in this list are ones you probably haven’t heard of (unless you read this blog often) that doesn’t mean I don’t love mainstream authors too. I own every John Green book with the exception of Let It Snow, and that’s really just because I’m not big into holiday stories. The ones I do own and have read are all amazing, as you all probably know, though An Abundance of Katherines is actually my favorite, and is the one that speaks to me the most.

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

There are other authors that I could have chosen, possibly even a few that might have more than 5, but those were the ones that immediately came to mind, and are my favorites. Do you have any of these authors in your list? What is your biggest number of owned books by an author? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Blogging Confessions

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 letting you lovely people in on some of what goes on behind the scenes. I’ll tell you a couple things you might not know about me and what I struggle with in terms of blogging. Let’s get into it!

1. This blog was not my first – Some of you know this already, but I had a sports blog before I decided to create the bookish one. While I have always loved reading, sports are another passion of mine and I thought I’d try my hand at writing about it. That didn’t last long and the blog no longer exists, however, there is a new one that I post on occasionally, so now you know.

2. I’ve wanted to be a booktuber, but I’m not confident on camera – That pretty much sums it up, but basically I love the format of booktubing and vlogging, but can’t stand how I look when I’ve recorded. There is so much you can express with that medium that blogs simply can’t, and I love watching booktuber content, alas I doubt I’ll try it myself.

3. I try not to care about stats, but do – This is a common one among bloggers I’m sure, but while I try to just post for the love of books, when I was posting daily and seeing little from it that was discouraging. Right now I’m back to posting only when I want to, so hopefully I can be less fixated. What are your thoughts on stats?

4. The first time I did the book/day challenge, toward the end I didn’t finish some of the books, but reviewed them anyway. That’s the whole thing, but I did feel guilty about it, and that’s why the second time around I structured things differently. However, I did go back later in the year and finished all of the ones I had done that with, so no more guilty conscience. 🙂

5. I mean to comment more, but am just lazy – I could argue that I am too busy, but there have certainly been times when that wasn’t the case and I still didn’t. Hopefully I can visit blogs more regularly and comment on posts because I know how much that means, at least when I get them. If not, I’ll at least respond via Twitter, and that’s something right? ^.^

6. I totally forgot about Netgalley – I try not to request much at all, but this year I did get a few and…spaced it. I’ve since read and reviewed those books, many of which I had posted reviews of on here on time, but I still feel bad. At least my ratio is alright now? >.>

7. I love memes, but I feel guilty for posting them – This isn’t always true, but often when I post memes, even this one, I feel like I’m “phoning it in” or the blogging equivalent. Maybe I feel like that because reviews take so much time (especially when you factor in reading time) and so it feels like I’m not doing enough? Idk. I’m weird. XD

8. Anytime I turn down authors/bloggers I feel guilty – I’m starting to notice a trend… People don’t contact me about that sort of thing to often, especially since the latest hiatus, but when it does occur I do feel really bad. I usually have a good reason (time, not posting that type of content, don’t read that kind of book) but that doesn’t make it easier. Blah. >.<

9. My Kindle library is insanity – Another common one, but goodness gracious. I’m often hesitant to even open the app on my computer unless I have a specific book I want to read because my face when I see the number is always. O_O and then -_-‘ I should get my Killing My Kindle feature going again…

10. I’m back! Kinda – So this one is more of a semi-announcement/statement of the semi-obvious, but I have returned to book blogging, but only as much as I feel like. I won’t post every day, but I will likely post multiple times a week. I don’t know, and it is more fun that way. However, I have made it into the University of Minnesota and Fall semester does start in September, so idk what will happen then. I’ll keep you posted. ^.^

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

There are so many other confessions I could make, but this should do for now. What confessions do you have in common? Do you have others that you’d like to share? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


What Kind of Reader Are You?

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

I recently read (most of) Cruel Beauty and despite disliking a lot of aspects of the book made it through around 250 pages or so before skimming the rest through to the end. This got me thinking about why I pushed through as far as I did despite tweeting out that I’d stop around 100-150 pages if it didn’t improve since I had almost DNF’d it twice. Why do I make it through certain books even if I’m not enjoying myself that much and what crosses the line to become that rare DNF? Finally, what does this say about me and the facets of a book I enjoy most, in short: what kind of reader am I?

So the first question, why did I push through as much of Cruel Beauty? Early in the book the MC was already bugging me. Her inner monologues/quarrels with herself were incredibly irritating and it was just a slow beginning in general. She’s showed signs of just being a jerk at times and yet acted high and mighty at others, it was infuriating.

Its Like Youre Begging Me To Hate You

As I pushed through the book maintained a relatively slow pace, but the world showed itself and I did like a lot of the aspects of it. There was magic, mythology, religion, mystery, and complexity not often seen in YA. The side characters (for the most part) were engaging and funny, each in different ways, but I was pursuing for those reasons. However, eventually the MC wore me down, instalove and a pseudo-love triangle emerged, and the book lost any luster it had previously gained. What had kept me going had failed in the end, and it just wasn’t enough to do more than skim the ending.

Hate This Crap

The next question is why do I make it through some books but others I give up and DNF? This one is pretty simple at first glance, I know how much work goes into making these books and I want to give the authors every opportunity, plus I hate shining a bad light on books other people may enjoy and love.

Digging deeper it is due to what about books gets me reading, keeps me there, and appeals to me the most. Which leads me to the third question, what kind of reader am I? I’m a character driven reader, I live for them, often in the best book live within them, and love seeing their reactions to whatever is going on around their world. I enjoy the other main elements (world building, plot, writing style, romance, etc.) and the best books incorporate most, if not all, of these things. There are never enough amazing characters for me to love.

I Love Them All

When I am struggling with a book what will kill it for me the easiest is that the MC (or at least one of them if there are multiple) drives me crazy. Whether it is flip flopping, showing signs of instalove, being annoying/overly whiny, or any other irritating trait, the main character (and to a lesser extent side ones) can make me hate a book enough to never go back to it or even read it all the way.

Seriously

A world that is unbelievable (in a bad way), a plot that is convoluted, instalove and love triangles, or flat out poor writing/unappealing writing style, can all be the cause of such a letdown. There needs to be some redeeming qualities for me to stay with the book for long and not quit after 100 pages or less. Regardless of genre it would appear that I am a character driven reader, but what about you?

What kind of reader are you? What one of the major elements of books do you enjoy most, which one has the biggest consistent influence? What makes it difficult to keep reading, what can you not stand in a book? Why have you DNF’d ones you have and what has kept you from doing so to others? Have you ever regretted DNF’ing a book or not doing so when you could/should have?

I Tried

Do characters inspire you? Do you fall in love with certain plots and never want to leave the story? Do you fall so in love with worlds that you wish you could live there? Do romances take you away and make everything unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows? Does beautiful writing move you to tears (happy or sad)? What element speaks to you most? Let me know! I hope you enjoyed this random post and thanks as always for reading!


Top Ten Books That Will Give You All The Feels

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 about books that make you cry. The problem for me is I don’t really cry when I read a book, no matter the genre or subject matter, it just doesn’t happen. So, instead I am going to talk about books that give you all kinds of feels. Here we go! ^.^

Unhinged by A.G. Howard 1. I Ship The Heck Out of This Romance! – Unhinged by A.G. Howard – You know that feeling you get when you are reading a book and EVERYTHING about the pairing does it for you? Like you can’t imagine them being with anyone else? I’m fully team Morpheus, and I felt all of those feels when it came to their pairing, regardless of what actually will come to them.

not a drop to drink 2. I’m Going to Throw This Book if They Do That! – Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis – A common example of this is when animals are on the covers of books in dystopian books where I see bloggers saying how upset they will be if it dies. Without spoiling too much, in Not a Drop to Drink there is a little girl that joins the story about a third to halfway through and she has a rough go of it at times. I felt physically ill at the thought of McGinnis killing her off, I won’t say if she did or not, but a very strong feeling indeed.

 3 & 4. Why Did They End the Book Like That?! – Beta by Rachel Cohn – Last year I read this book, if you want the review it is here, and loved it for 99% of the way, and then the ending killed me. I hated it and it made the character’s decisions seem pointless because they went against everything they stood for. I raged on Twitter a little bit and even though I gave the book 4/5 it fell from “I’ll mention this all year as a favorite read” to “good but can’t think about it without being disappointed” so there’s that. (Honorable Mention – This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales – review soon to explain)

 5 & 6. Stop Torturing These Beautiful Characters! – Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons – I just reviewed this one yesterday, so the wounds are still fresh, but suffice it to say that I really felt all the suffering Ember and Chase went through. The imagery and depictions of the situations were done extremely well and the visuals were crazy powerful in my head. Can’t they be happy for more than five minutes? Please?! (Honorable Mention – Shades of War by Sarah-Jane Lehoux – review here)

Ready Player One 7. I Connect With This Book Completely – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I loved this book because of how much it brought out my geeky side. There were gaming references of all varieties, old pop culture references and music, and throughout all of it I felt like the book was designed purely for my personal enjoyment. All of the happy feels for this one!

 8. I Am An Empty Shell – Paper Towns by John Green – You might be wondering how a book that stripped me of all my emotions, leaving behind an empty husk of a person, could be anything but The Fault in Our Stars. TFiOS is fantastic and I can see why some people would get very emotional because of it, but Paper Towns resonated more with me. I’ve got family members who have had cancer, but I’ve BEEN Q before, led down a crazy adventure that somehow ends up teaching you about yourself, all started by an amazing girl. By the end of this book I was completely drained, but in the best way.

In The Dark 9. Let’s Get Physical! – In the Dark by Leigh Wilder – Most of her books would qualify here, but this is reserved for any “naughty” books that get you in the mood. In the Dark is the first one of hers that came to mind with plenty of action and well written sexy times. Hey, these are definitely a powerful type of feels too!

 10. Everything in This Book Is Awesome, Can I Live There?! – Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger – This reaction is saved for books where the world is amazing, the characters are awesome, the writing is beautiful, and the events that occur within are so fantastic that you can’t help but talk about it with EVERYONE. While some might suggest things like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings for this, I could not choose them because so many terrible/sad events took place within, but for the entire time while reading C&C I was enthralled and having a blast. Definitely reserved for books giving emotional highs!

So those are the top ten books that gave me all the feels, even though they’re wildly different in which ones they illicit! What is your top ten list for this week? Did you manage to compile a list of cry-worthy books or did you have to tweak the theme like I did? Was there any common trait or pattern with the books you chose that explains your strong reactions to them? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


The Unbound by Victoria Schwab: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

The Unbound

Summary From GoodreadsThe Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

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

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Normally I wouldn’t do b2b mini-reviews, but since yesterday’s wasn’t really all that short I’m making an exception, because with The Unbound my emotions can be summed up pretty quickly.

I loved it, so much so that I fought through an allergy & benadryl fog in order to read it today. I’ve had this book on pre-order since it was first available on Amazon, and NOTHING was going to stop me from devouring it. The Unbound is fantastic, filled with characters that I love, from Mackenzie the broken but resilient MC, to Wesley the always caring and sweet love interest, and even to Owen who haunts Mackenzie’s dreams and even sometimes her waking moments. They are all excellent, fleshed out, and the chemistry between Mackenzie and Wesley is especially beautiful to witness.

What amazes me about Schwab’s writing ability the most is how she can make the “real world” seem just as incredibly vivid as the Archive. Each is stunning, from the descriptions of the courtyard and buildings of the private school, to the labyrinth-like halls of the Archive. It’s impossible not to get lost in such a detailed, and truly beautiful world, one that blends realistic setting and the fantastic seamlessly.

What makes The Unbound a sequel that not only doesn’t succumb to second-book syndrome, but excel and even surpass The Archived, is the way that Mackenzie’s mind is breaking and altering her reality so that each twist and turn the book has is as shocking for the reader as the characters within. She has such a hard time determining what is in her dreams, what is in the Archive, and even what is real in her regular everyday life. The constant struggle to hold onto her sanity in the ever-changing world around her is something that many of us can relate to, and Schwab does it more justice than I thought was possible.

There is romance here, beautiful and touching, and heart wrenching at times too. Battles with the law, crime scenes, escapes, psychosis, and questioning of oneself, The Unbound has all of these things and so much more. If you haven’t read The Archived, I urge you to do so, because not only is that book great in its own right, but then you can read what I would argue is one of the best sequels out there. Thank you as always for reading.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #32/365

Five Smiling Frodos w Background