2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, readathons, reading, reviews

Scallywagathon Wrap Up: May 5-12

Hey friends!

I finished Scallywagathon 2019 last night and read 3 books!

For more information and the prompts, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/scallywagathon2019/home

The Map

I double-dipped and chose books from my 2019 Unhaul Challenge to try and work on those stacks a bit.
(https://allthesewanders.com/tag/2019-unhaul-challenge/)

Here are my thoughts

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Starr and her friend Khalil are stopped by a police officer after a party. The officer shoots and kills Khalil and Starr struggles with the event and finding justice for her friend.

My thoughts: This was written very well. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the story because YA Contemporary is just not my favorite genre to read, but I found that this story was engaging, heart wrenching and eye opening, all at the same time. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story based on lives that many people have lived and that happens in America all too often.

Title: The Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)
Author: Colleen Oaks
Published: 2014
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Origin Story

Synopsis: Princess Dinah is destined to be Queen of Wonderland and rule beside her father. When her father brings a long-lost sister to court, Dinah’s world is turned upside down.

My thoughts: Although I thought the first half was a bit slow, I liked the build up of Wonderland that is very different from how Alice will find it in the future. Dinah is a conflicted character and I am curious to see where the story leads and how Oaks envisions her descent into becoming the evil queen we all know her to be in Wonderland.

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: 1999
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Melinda’s first year of high school isn’t going so well. After a traumatic experience at a party that involved her calling the cops, her friends shun her and her parents don’t understand her. Afraid to speak up, she withdraws completely until enough is enough.

My Thoughts: This was done well, although the writing style isn’t my favorite. I am not a fan of short, choppy chapters and vignettes because they typically don’t hold my attention. With that said, the format worked for the story as we are in the head of a traumatized and erratic teenager who is trying to deal with the aftermath of being attacked. It was sad and heart wrenching because I’ve unfortunately known too many people who’ve had similar experiences and were afraid to speak up.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, booktube, reading, TBR, videos

2019 Unhaul Challenge Video

Hey friends!

I will be posting a First Quarter 2019 Progress Video in a few days but until then, I’ve filmed and uploaded a video if you wanted a visual of all the books left on my 2019 Unhaul Challenge. This has been a fun project so far so I hope it continues to go well. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxop9yhit8&feature=youtu.be

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – The Immortal Rules

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: YA Paranormal/Dystopian

Synopsis: Allison, a young teen from the Fringes of New Covington, struggles with her new life as a vampire and retaining her humanity in a world where vampires are the rulers and the enemies.

I liked the writing style a lot more in this one than many recent YA titles I’ve read. The story flowed nicely and the heroine was interesting and someone I’d root for.

Allison is an Unregistered, meaning she is basically a scavenger and homeless in the city of New Covington, where vampires rule. After a plague broke out, vampires surfaced and protected citizens, and eventually took over and established a social system. Additionally, outside of cities are Rabids, vampire-zombies that kill anything they come across.

Allison, who hates vampires and is afraid of them, gets attacked by a pack of Rabids while on a scavenging mission. A vampire offers to save her life by turning her. She chooses life and is turned, then trained by this mysterious vampire. After an attack targeting them, Allison and her mentor Kanin must flee. Allison leaves the city alone and meets up with a group of humans on the search for a refugee city free of vampires, called Eden.

There are four parts and honestly, the book is a bit long. There are some wandering parts that could’ve been shortened but the actions scenes make up for the boring parts. They are written well and are actually pretty violent. The romance wasn’t cringey and the dialogue was fun and sometimes snarky. Allison isn’t helpless or boy-crazy, making her refreshing in a world of seemingly silly YA female heroines.

Final verdict: It took me a while to get through this because I wasn’t inclined to pick it up. While the story is fine, it just didn’t pull me in like I’d hoped. However, for a vampire story, it wasn’t bad. I won’t continue with the serious but if you like this genre, you might enjoy this trilogy.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Glass Sword

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: 2016
Country: United States
Genre: YA Fantasy/Science Fiction

Synopsis: Mare and Cal meet up with the Scarlet Guard to fight against Maven, but new troubles and betrayals will question all we know.

Oh geez…okay. I am soooo annoyed right now. I don’t know what it is about this book in particular but the writing style has gotten on my last nerve. The choppy sentences, the constant reminders and reminiscing of events that happened in book 1, and the non-plot by page 115 have done me in. Is it me or did this seriously regress from book 1? Were these the same problems as the first and I just didn’t notice because the story was interesting? Does this suffer from middle-book/sequel syndrome? Someone help me out here.

I’ve DNF’ed at page 115. I just really can’t deal with this. I even tried the audio book to see if it would help me get over the choppy sentences but it’s no better and when I heard Farley’s weird British accent and Kilorn’s stupidity/betrayal (again), I almost threw the speaker. This is ridiculous and not worth my time. I feel like the story isn’t moving anywhere. Barely anything has happened, which is crazy to say if you’ve read it and know the first scene in the book! It was explosive and started with a bang…and then it got really slow and boring. Not in the way where I would expect more backstory or scheming, but in the sense that all Mare does is pity herself, tell us how she will act weak to make people think she’s broken yet pretends she’s not just acting, and the constant reminders of backstabbing and deaths from book 1. Honestly….I’ve read book 1 so stop reminding me past page 50. I remember what happened, quit telling me and start moving the story along!

Anyway…this is a huge disappointment because I was psyched when I read Red Queen and enjoyed it (even though I didn’t like it the first time around). So here I will put this down, unless convinced otherwise. My friend Nicole is reading this too (check her Youtube, I’m sure she’ll have some thoughts) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChVCae-LXrII_0qSQ3xNdBw and will tell me what’s happening so I can stop being frustrated. I might check out book 3 if she deems it to my liking (she’s a good judge of my reading after all haha) so standby. Otherwise, this series is getting unhauled pronto!

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reading, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – The School for Good & Evil

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy – Fairy tale

Synopsis: Sophie and Agatha are kidnapped by the School Master of the School for Good & Evil. However, they don’t end up in the school they hoped for and their origin stories begin.

Check out the book trailer. It’s so much fun!


I loved this book. From the very beginning I was hooked and enthralled. I love the idea of two friends having to live through a fairy tale in order to understand how to survive it. The characters are so much fun and many of our favorite fairy tale characters have appearances (mostly as heroes, damsels and villains we know them as today) with glimpses into their past at the school. And many of our current characters are children of those same characters we read about, making this a next-generation-type story and I am here for it.

Sophie has spent all her life preparing to be kidnapped into the School for Good, while Agatha has done everything she can to avoid having to leave their hometown. When they are both taken, Agatha and Sophie end up in, what they think, are the wrong schools. Their journey entails Agatha convincing Sophie they should try to go home, while Sophie just wants to prove she’s good and find her prince. So their story begins and it’s an origin story of epic proportions

This reminded me so much of Wicked by Gregory Maguire (not just the play) and the tv show Once Upon a Time. I LOVE fairy tale-inspired stories and I enjoy villain and origin stories even more. This was so much fun and I even cried at the end.

There’s a movie in development, according to the author. Currently, they are working on a script and I hope it gets made. If done right, it can be huge and amazing, and possibly rival Harry Potter. Check out his blog https://schoolforgoodandevil.com/somans-blog-first-peek-at-book-5-movie-update-las-vegas-and-more/

There is tons of fun learning (it’s a school setting after all) and students developing their magic, along with trials and ways for them to get better at their crafts. I loved how it ended and wrapped up but I am conflicted on continuing the series (I don’t want to be disappointed if they aren’t as good as the first). However, their ratings are even higher on Goodreads and there is a spin-off trilogy currently in progress. So maybe I will pick it up, I don’t know yet. Either way, I loved it. Go read it, I highly recommend you do!

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Legend Trilogy UPDATE

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

So I’ve read Legend and really enjoyed it. I moved on to read Prodigy and I got really bored. I’ve DNF’d after page 128. Here’s why:

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: June and Day have fled Los Angeles and are heading east to link up with the Patriots. They are assigned a dangerous mission in order to gain clemency and passage to the Colonies.

The setting is wonderful. I love a good dystopian and in this one we find out more about how America split and became the Republic versus the Colonies. There was a climate disaster, the ice caps melted, half the world went under water and anyone that could emigrated from America. Consequently, America became a totalitarian state of secrecy (think North Korea) and isolated itself from the world. Then a civil war broke out and a war front ran through the middle of the country, dividing it in half. It’s all very interesting and we do get a map this time.

I enjoy these types of science fiction novels. However, this one got really boring. I’m a third through and nothing has happened. We’ve just learned of the plan that June and Day have to carry out and they’ve made their way to accomplish the task. But it’s just very dull and I am not even excited about the plan. I had my friend tell me the ending of this book (she hasn’t read the third yet) and what she told me did not entice me to read the rest of the book or move on to Champion.

While there are a ton of comparisons between Hunger Games and Legend, there are some differences, at least in the first. But I see it moving too close toward HG that I am just not really wanting to continue. So I will leave it at the first one, which was an exciting read. Maybe book 3 is better, y’all can change my mind. However, I don’t feel that I’m missing out and I will be unhauling the series. I definitely want to see this as a movie or show though!

Final verdict: It’s not bad. Marie Lu’s writing is good and flows well, but the story didn’t excite me. The world is interesting and my favorite genre, but I’ve read enough YA dystopians to not feel that I’m missing anything. So, unhaul it is! It’s not you, Prodigy, it’s me.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Red Queen Series

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Red Queen
Published: 2015
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Synopsis: Mare Barrow, a Red, becomes entangled in the world of the elites, the Silvers, after an accident reveals she has powerful abilities that Reds are not supposed to have.

VERDICT: Oh man. You guys…I really enjoyed this one! I read this book exactly two years ago and did not care for it (I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads) and was torn on whether or not to continue the series. But somehow I had this nagging feeling that I should try it again. So I did and it’s like I read a completely different book!! I don’t know if it’s because my reading tastes have changed so much and this is more along the lines of things I like now, but somehow I feel completely different about it. See, the challenge is working!

This could be considered Science Fiction or Fantasy since there are magical powers, etc but the world feels more Science Fiction/Dystopian than Fantasy. There are Reds, who are basic humans and indentured servants to the Silvers. The Silvers have powers, ranging from readings minds to blasting fire, or controlling metal. It’s very X-Men like, except that they are the ones in power, not hunted.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROM https://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

In the background is a century-long war between the different countries in the world and we see bits and pieces of how it affects the world but we mainly focus on the setting of the Great Hall in Harbor Bay and then the capital of Archeon. There is also the Scarlet Guard, a revolutionary group fighting for freedom and equality of the Reds.

Norta, the land the story takes place in (from Red Queen Wiki)
The World of Red Queen (from Epic Reads)

Mare is working at a Silver tournament and the booth she is at falls apart after a Silver blasts it accidentally. She falls and lights up in a ball of energy and lightening. Because she is a Red, the king and queen quickly step in and claim her as a lost silver heiress and betroth her to the younger prince, Maven. Her secret must be kept since Reds don’t have powers and she is now challenging everything the world knows.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROMhttps://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

Of course there are some issues. There’s a cringey love pentagon (you heard that right) and Mare is really pitiful. She’s constantly whining and putting herself down, but it does get better as the book progresses and she stops feeling sorry for herself. There were a couple of times the writing tripped me up, but that’s expected from a debut. I suspect the others will get better. But overall, I think it was pretty good and there are 3 more books (yay) and some novellas that I will be digging into.

There may also be a movie someday. The book was adapted and Elizabeth Banks is rumored to be directing. However, this is news from 2015 and I haven’t found any updates. I think it would be pretty cool on screen, if done right. Here’s the story: https://www.slashfilm.com/elizabeth-banks-red-queen-movie/