ARC REVIEW: The Living – by Isaac Marion

Title: The Living
(Warm Bodies #3)
Author: Isaac Marion
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: November 13th 2018
Publisher: Zola Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2018
Pages: 384

“It’s easier to fall than to climb, and yet against all logic, life keeps rising.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Zola Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Before I start I have to make a confession and say that I probably would never have decided to read The Living if I would have read The Burning World before requesting a copy of this final book. Why? I was considerably underwhelmed by the sequel, and I had serious problems with the writing style. Still, part of me hoped that this final book of the Warm Bodies series would be an improvement and a satisfying conclusion to R and Julie’s story. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be. The Living follows the same structure as the sequel and even intensifies the confusing writing style and structure as the end is coming near. Once again, I felt that the story in general lacks a proper plot and that both plot and characters were mostly all over the place and running into random trouble instead of following a coherent line. As for the writing style: especially the WE chapters were frustratingly confusing and there were too many jumps and switches between past, present and the different characters to make for a coherent story. I can forgive a zombie story not being scary and the humans being the bad guys for once. This is actually quite a refreshing angle. I can forgive the romance, especially since we are spared a love triangle. But between the writing, lack of proper plot and general feeling of confusement I can’t say I had a great time reading The Living, and to be honest I was relieved when I finally reached the final page. I didn’t find the ending particularly satisfying either… All in all not exactly a positive experience unfortunately.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

R used to be a flesh-eating zombie, but now he is breathing again. But what if he was something worse before he turned that first time? He finally remembers his former life, and what he has learned terrifies him. Especially if he things how it will change how Julie sees him… R feels the only way to redemption is to destroy what he once helped create, but how to start such an impossible task? And who will help him achieve that goal?

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I was really hoping The Living would be a more positive reading experience for me, but sadly it was a repeat experience of The Burning World. The whole different stages of zombies and returning to life angle is without doubt refreshing, and the story has some interesting aspects. But between the writing style, lack of plot, confusing POV switches and WE chapters I just couldn’t enjoy this final installment. I was in fact relieved it was finally over, and that is never a good sign. If you are able to connect to the writing style though, you will probably have a significantly better experience.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #62 – The Burning World & Elevation

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two stories that ended up disappointing me unfortunately. The Warm Bodies sequel The Burning World by Isaac Marion and the ‘impossible to understand why this is horror’ Elevation by Stephen King.


Title: The Burning World
(Warm Bodies #2)
Author: Isaac Marion

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: February 2nd 2017
Publisher: Atria
Finished reading: November 6th 2018 
Pages: 512

“There’s no bigger threat to the world than people who think they can improve it. “


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I confess I actually read the first book so long ago (three years) that I confused my feelings for the first book with another zombie read. Oops? It turns out I wasn’t convinced by the first book Warm Bodies, and sadly this sequel didn’t wow me either. The first thing you have to know before you start the series is that the zombies are not actually scary and they are in fact not the real enemy. That on its own isn’t a real problem, as the idea of having different kind of zombie states is actually quite interesting and original. What I didn’t expect is just how NOT scary either book is. And of course, the romance plays a big role in the story. While I appreciate the idea of a zombie and human being together and all (you can’t deny it’s a slightly disturbing but original idea), it doesn’t lend itself for the most exciting plot. And talking about plots, I found that The Burning World in general lacks a proper plot and that both plot and characters were mostly all over the place and running into random trouble instead of following a coherent line (although things might become clearer in the final book I guess). This wasn’t the only thing I struggled with though, as more importantly I wasn’t a fan of the writing style itself. Especially the WE chapters were frustratingly confusing and there were too many jumps and switches to make for a coherent story. The story was overlong for me with its 500+ pages and I sincerely hope my experience with the final book will be better.


Title: Elevation
Author: Stephen King

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Science Fiction
First published: October 30th 2018
Publisher: Scribner
Finished reading: November 8th 2018
Pages: 160

“This was the same. Not a wind, not even a high, exactly, but an elevation. A sense that you had gone beyond yourself and could go farther still.”


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I was curious when I saw a new Stephen King was coming out, and I’m sure we can all admit that cover is gorgeous. Even though Elevation is a novella and I don’t read a lot of those, I was really looking forward to reading it. The first thing that stands out for me is that I have no clue whatsoever why this novella is marked as ‘horror’. Contemporary romance with a hint of sci-fi and even a far-fetched urban fantasy… Maybe. But horror? I don’t think anyone would find Elevation scary unless you are afraid of hights or stepping on the scale. That was the first thing that went wrong for me. The second thing had to do with the characters. I know it’s only a novella, but the characters just felt like one big cliche for me and didn’t add anything interesting to the story for me. A big problem, as the story is mostly focused on them. I did like the huge focus on the running, but overall there wasn’t really that much of a plot to talk about. Just a guy losing his pounds until he is closer and closer to zero… Not horror, not thrilling at all, and mostly a cliche contemporary story on how one person’s doom can bring other people together. And mostly just a meh story for me.


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WWW Wednesdays #196 – November 14th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m probably already finished with Educated by Tara Westover by the time this post goes live, but as I’m putting this WWW together I still have quite a few pages left. I also started Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume and wasn’t impressed; part of the reason I put it down and picked up Educated instead, not wanting to have three disappointing reads in a row. I’m also starting Las Lullaby by Carol Wyer soon; I always seem to love her books so hopefully this one will tip the balance towards the positive again. I know picking up The Cruel Prince by Holly Black will be a risk, as there are very mixed reviews out there and I’m scared I will belong to the negative group. But I guess I’ll never know if I don’t try right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/11
If the blurb of The Liar’s Wife doesn’t convince you already, I can promise you that this is only just the tip of the huge iceberg of plot twists, shocking surprises and suspenseful scenes that this story has in store for you. Make sure to free some time, because you will want to keep turning those pages until you find out what exactly happened all that time ago and how everything fits with what is happening now. Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and a very satisfying read despite some difficult themes.

2. Elevation by Stephen King (2/5 stars) REVIEW 20/11
I have no clue whatsoever why this novella is marked as ‘horror’. Contemporary romance with a hint of sci-fi and even a far-fetched urban fantasy… Maybe. But horror? I don’t think anyone would find Elevation scary unless you are afraid of hights or stepping on the scale. I know it’s only a novella, but the characters just felt like one big cliche for me and didn’t add anything interesting to the story for me. A big problem, as the story is mostly focused on them.

3. Daughters Of The Lake by Wendy Webb (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/11
Daughters Of The Lake is a wonderfully written paranormal romance and mystery story with a gothic feel. What at first glance seems to be a simply mystery and historical crime with a dual timeline turns out to be so much more, giving you a rich and original plot to savour. I especially loved the folk tale elements, and the paranormal touch is well constructed as well. The balance between all those different elements is spot on, and with easy to like characters you will have an excellent time discovering more about the past and how it affects the present. Recommended!

4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (1/5 stars) REVIEW 26/11
I was hoping to find something interesting and inspirational in Girl, Wash Your Face, especially after hearing others swear by it. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I don’t even know where to start summarizing my opinion about this one, but my shorties review has turned into a full blown rant with a LOT of details. Make sure to prepare yourself for that one. 😉

5. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/11
There is no doubt Colleen Hoover is a star in creating flawed and realistic characters that will have to go through a lot before they reach the final page. I had a few problems with the story, but I still think All Your Perfects was mostly a great read. And once again she has managed to make me enjoy a genre I normally tend to stay away from… Something not to take lightly.

6. Her Final Confession by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/11
I have consistently enjoyed the books of this detective thriller series so far and book number four is no different. Her Final Confession is fast, suspenseful and filled with plot twists and shocking surprises. Intense is an understatement! While not everything about the plot and twists is exactly credible, it’s still quite easy to forget about the credibility and enjoy the ride anyway. The writing style and the characters have a lot to do with this! Entertaining, intense and full of suspense: Her Final Confession is without doubt another excellent addition!

7. An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris (DNF at 30%) DNF REVIEW 29/11
I have picked up An Officer And A Spy only to put it down again after only a few pages multiple times over the last few weeks. I’ve tried and tried to at least make it to the end to see if things improved later on, but in the end I decided to make the difficult decision to just DNF it. I hardly ever give up on a book, so it definitely makes me sad to do so… But between the superslow pace, writing style, too many descriptions and a lack of interest in both the plot and the characters, I think this was the right choice for me.

8. The Living by Isaac Marion (2/5 stars) REVIEW 23/11
I was really hoping The Living would be a more positive reading experience for me, but sadly it was a repeat experience of The Burning World. The whole different stages of zombies and returning to life angle is without doubt refreshing, and the story has some interesting aspects. But between the writing style, lack of plot, confusing POV switches and WE chapters I just couldn’t enjoy this final installment. I was in fact relieved it was finally over, and that is never a good sign. If you are able to connect to the writing style though, you will probably have a significantly better experience.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I will probably read my last pending November NG ARC next, which is Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it.Then I’m hoping to pick up a few Goodreads Choice Awards finalists… It’s going to be between The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen depending on which genre I’m in the mood for. . My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble; I don’t think I’ll get to it this month, but I’m hoping to read it before the year is over.


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WWW Wednesdays #195 – November 7th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the ARC The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes, a psychological thriller I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for a while now, so here’s me finally doing that. I’m also starting the Warm Bodies conclusion and ARC The Living by Isaac Marion since it’s due very soon… At least it has made me speed up and finally read the sequel so I can cross off another series. I’m not sure what to do with An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris though… I’m about 30% into the story right now and I’m really not sure whether I should force myself to keep reading or just throw in the towel and DNF it. I’m keeping it on hold until I decide what to do.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Corner To Corner Crochet by Jess Coppom (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/11
Corner To Corner Crochet offers, apart from the explanation of the technique itself including how to change color and weave ends, 15 patterns using this technique. Corner To Corner Crochet was without doubt enlightening, with techniques and stitches explained with both words and numbered photos. I will be looking forward to try this technique myself!

2. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
The Chalk Man has been said to having that Stranger Things feel and isn’t just another crime thriller. There is something more going on that is hard to put your finger on, something that will both keep you on edge and brings a whole lot of suspense on board. This is one of those stories where the dual timeline actually worked for me.

3. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
I’m always in awe how she is able to put a devastating neurological disease in the spotlight, mixing medical facts and symptoms with a fictional story in such way that you end up both being educated and entertained at the same time. This balance between facts and fiction is what makes Every Note Played such an interesting read for me. It’s not just a simple description of ALS and its symptoms. Through the main character Richard we get to see exactly how this disease evolves and what effects it has on both his life and those close to him.

4. River Bodies by Karen Katchur (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/11
I was looking forward to River Bodies, but sadly it didn’t completely hit the mark for me. Part of the problem was probably that I was expecting a crime thriller, where River Bodies has more focus on the characters and their relationships rather than the actual crimes committed and the consequent investigation. Having to deal with multiple cheating characters and a love triangle came as a very unpleasant surprise for me, and definitely influenced my reading experience negatively. The crimes themselves and the investigation weren’t as important in River Bodies, something that surprised me. Fans of slower paced and character-driven mysteries with a dose of romance will undoubtly enjoy River Bodies a lot better. Just be warned there might be some graphic scenes involved.

5. The Cheerleaders by Karen Thomas (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
There is just something about the writing that draws you right in, makes you forget about your surroundings and just read. I was intrigued from the start, and even though not all characters are likeable and there are a few high school cliches involved, somehow the mystery around the death of the five cheerleaders was enough to forget about those objections and keep on reading. Entertaining and twisty enough to finish it in record time. The Cheerleaders is without doubt one of the strongest YA contemporary/mystery reads I’ve had the chance to read this year, minor flaws and all.

6. The Burning World by Isaac Marion (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/11
I confess I actually read the first book so long ago (three years) that I confused my feelings for the story with another zombie read. I wasn’t convinced by the first book, and this sequel didn’t wow me either. This was partly because of the writing style, partly because I didn’t like the WE chapters, partly because of the lack of horror, partly because of the lack of a proper plot and partly because of other reasons.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have quite a few pending ARCs coming up, and I think Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt will be the next one I will tackle. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m also planning on reading the ARC Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume. As part of the whole Goodreads Choice Awards theme, I’m also picking up The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen soon. There has been a lot of hype around that one, so fingers crossed it will live up to it. My newest TBR jar pick The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble will be on hold until I decide what to do with An Officer And A Spy first…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #14: Hide And Seek (ARC) & The New Hunger


Oh yes, it’s time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! And I’m happy to say that with today’s edition I will be finishing my last pending 2017 review; Hide And Seek by M.J. Arlidge is the (un)lucky book to win that title. No more backlog, woohoo!! It was an interesting enough thriller that can be read as a stand-alone as well. The New Hunger by Isaac Marion I finished earlier this month, a zombie novella that will hopefully make me get a copy of book number two some time this year (although I saw there is going to be a third book, so I might wait until there is more news about that one).


Title: Hide And Seek
(Helen Grace #6)
Author: M.J. Arlidge

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 8th 2016
Publisher: Berkley Books
Finished reading: October 14th 2017
Pages: 416

“In prison it is the hope that kills you, not despair.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Berkley Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


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I kind of messed up when I requested a copy of this one, because I totally didn’t realise Hide And Seek was actually book number six of a series. Oops? Thankfully (at least for me), Hide And Seek can also be read as a stand-alone without missing too much of the background information. What I liked in this thriller is the fact that the main character is actually a cop trapped inside a prison… Call that original! Helen Grace is framed for a murder she didn’t commit and now has to survive in a prison full of enemies; more than one inside thanks to her and they are not happy. This setting and plot makes for some very interesting reading and the writing only makes it easier to emerge yourself fully in the problems Helen Grace has to face while trying to survive. And it’s not just the daily life that is challenging, because on top of that there is a killer on the loose on the inside. Hide And Seek definitely ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to a thrilling read.


Title: The New Hunger
(Warm Bodies #1.5)
Author: Isaac Marion

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Horror
First published: January 28th 2013
Publisher: Atria
Finished reading: January 17th 2018 
Pages: 170

“Nothing is permanent. Not even the end of the world.”


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I read the first book Warm Bodies ages ago (read: 2015) and wasn’t aware a sequel came out last year until recently… So I thought it was about time I picked up the novella while I wait until there is more news on book three so I can read both sequels together. The New Hunger is a prequel novella and I think I actually enjoyed it better than the first book. It might have been because of the lack of romance in this one, but The New Hunger turned out to be quite an interesting read despite the fact I’m not really into zombie stories. The writing and pace make it into a superfast read and I enjoyed reading about the background of the Warm Bodies characters and how it is to survive in this dystopian world in the first place. Get ready for a bunch of zombie attacks, dystopian scenes and characters in survival-mode when you pick up this one! Short, but sweet with a healthy dose of fresh brains.


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WWW Wednesdays #160 – January 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading a pending NG ARC: Best Friends by Carys Jones. It’s still early days since I didn’t have much time yesterday, but I’m having high hopes for it. I’m also about to start with Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, a story I have been looking forward to and has been highly recommended to me a couple of times.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The New Hunger by Isaac Marion (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/01
The New Hunger is a prequel novella and I think I actually enjoyed it better than the first book. It might have been because of the lack of romance in this one, but The New Hunger turned out to be quite an interesting read despite the fact I’m not really into zombie stories. The writing and pace make it into a superfast read and I enjoyed reading about the background of the Warm Bodiescharacters and how it is to survive in this dystopian world in the first place. Short, but sweet with a healthy dose of fresh brains.

2. The Silent Girls by Dylan Young (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
There is no doubt that The Silent Girls is a very promising start of a new detective series that will be on my radar from now on. From a flowing, engaging writing style, interesting plot, refreshing cold case angle to great characters and a healthy dose of suspense and creepy suspects; The Silent Girls has it all. I can definitely recommend this new series to fans of the genre. Detective Anna Gwynne is one to keep an eye on.

3. Stage Four by Sander Kollaard (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I vowed to read more international authors/translations this year, and somehow this book spoke to me when I saw it mentioned. Stage Four is both a beautiful, tragic and heartbreaking love story of a couple trying to accept and live with the diagnose of stage IV lung cancer. The flashbacks to 1968 help build their characters and it was interesting to see their relationship evolve as well as how they deal with the progress of the disease. There are lots of descriptions of the Swedish destinations included, making it feel as if you were there yourself… A very intriguing read although the ending was quite shocking.

4. From Bad To Cursed by Katie Alender (3/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
Sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy this sequel as much as I thought I would. I still love the writing style, which is engaging, flowing and makes you fly through the story. But I wasn’t so sure about the plot. The idea behind From Bad To Cursed is an interesting one and definitely involves a healthy dose of creepy, BUT I wasn’t so happy with all those high school cliches included as well as a lot of ‘perfect pretty girl’ cliches. A bunch of teenage girls playing perfect and bitching to others if they don’t dress perfectly, eat the right food and say the right things? No thank you.

5. Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
If you like dark, intense, action-packed thrillers, you will be in for a treat with Vanishing Girls. The case described in this first book of a new detective series is both disturbing and fascinating, and this story is not for the weak-hearted. Trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse and graphic scenes! Vanishing Girls is without doubt my kind of thriller and I had a blast following this rollercoast ride. The plot is so packed with action and twisted that it’s on the border of credible, but there is no doubt you won’t find a boring minute while reading this one. The main character Josie Quinn is on fire in this one!

6. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
I was fully expecting to be loving this read, but I ended up feeling the complete opposite. I don’t think my opinion has all that much to do with the fact I don’t really know her… It’s more that her writing style, crudy humor and sexual talk simply aren’t a right fit for me. I guess her humor and writing style either works for you, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately I belong to the second group, and honestly I kind of struggled making it to the last page. Oh well, we can’t like them all, can we?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really want to read The Camera Lies by AB Morgan after my current reads since the publish date is coming up soon… And after that I want to read my ARC copy of The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace because I’m in the mood for some good poetry. After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off my first series of the year… I do hope it’s better than book two. My latest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. (I’ve been saying this for too long now; really have to kick my own butt and read it soon!)


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WWW Wednesdays #159 – January 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m almost finished with The Silent Girls by Dylan Young, which is turning out to be a really good start of a new detective series. I’m about to start The New Hunger by Isaac Marion as well, a Warm Bodies novella I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I still have to get a copy of the sequel; hopefully some time this year… I’m not a big zombie fan, but I remember enjoying the first book.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Ends Of The World by Maggie Hall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
I picked up this title as part of my goal to finish more series this year… I really enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy so I was looking forward to it, but unfortunately The Ends Of The World ended up disappointing me. Too much focus on the romance and political background and the spark of the previous books was completely missing. The international settings saved this final book for me, but all in all not the thrilling ending I was expecting.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
Oh yes, I definitely know why so many people love this book now. Because even though I’m not into romance and hate both sexy scenes and love triangles, Sally Thorne made me completely forget about that and I had a blast reading this one. Even though there are a lot of cliches in this book and the whole ‘gorgeous, gorgeous, I’m drooling’ thing can get annoying, somehow the dynamics worked and resulted in a highly entertaining read.

3. Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/01
I messed up and didn’t realise this was actually a sequel, but besides a few confusing first pages it wasn’t that hard to follow the story without the background info. This was one firecracker of a thriller and such a good read! I loved the bounty hunter angle and both the writing and plot are excellent. Highly recommended for sure.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I did it again, misbehaved and requested another Bookouture thriller… And since the publish date is today, I want to read Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan ASAP. As part of the whole finishing my series goal, I’m probably picking up The Last Star by Rick Yancey afterwards even though I’m not a big fan of the first two books… I want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater for the same reason, but I might wait a little until I have time to binge-read all three books since I have a few other titles I want to get to as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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