Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Book Review: The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

Title: The Compound (The Compound #1)
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 256
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Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy.

For Eli, no amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day.

As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary—and their sanity—Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside.

Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe—or sorry?

Before The Compound, I had read two S.A. Bodeen books: The Raft and The Detour. One I absolutely loved and the other I really, really did not. The Compound, though, is right up my alley. Not only do I know I'll get a good twist out of Bodeen, but I've been on a dystopian kick lately and this definitely fit the bill.

Eli is an unlikable character. He goes into the compound, an underground luxury bunker designed by his millionaire father, as a young child feeling responsible for the loss of his twin and grandmother. He hates being touched and makes no effort to be kind to his sisters or parents. I didn't like him at all from the beginning, but then he slowly began to grow on me. Eli lived with a lot of (deserved) guilt, but he started to do the right thing by the end.

Eli's family were all a bit underdeveloped in my opinion and everyone seemed a bit too detached. Eli's father was obviously a bit off throughout the story and it was obvious that he was controlling the show, forcing the members of his family to behave in a certain way. As much as I hated Eli, I at least understood why he behaved the way he did. Eli's dad was a mystery.

My favorite thing about Bodeen books is that I know that I'm looking out for something that isn't immediately apparent. Fairly early on, a yellow door was mentioned. I didn't know what was behind the yellow door, but as soon as it was mentioned I was hooked! The mystery in this story is top notch. I'm not sure I loved it as much as I loved the twist in The Raft, but there was definitely enough here to keep me hanging on until the very last page.

The world of The Compound is obviously confined to a bunker. I love these kinds of claustrophobic stories where you have no idea what is going on outside! Once Eli begins questioning everything, the story gets even more uncomfortable. Like in The Raft, Bodeen does a fantastic job of creating a world confined to a small space and full of uncertainty.

If you're a fan of dystopian books, or really just of really good mysteries, this is one you should definitely pick up. I was on the edge of my seat from the first page and blew through this quickly. Although there is a second installment, I've read that it was really unnecessary and I can see how that's true from the ending of The Compound. It wraps up nicely and leaves you with just enough unease to make it great. I'm going to be on the lookout for the next book from S.A. Bodeen!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #217: Books I didn't love from favorite authors

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Books I Didn't Love
From Authors I Love

This week I wanted to talk about something that always bums me out - when I don't love books by authors I have LOVED in the past. Some of these are continuations of series that I loved previously, and others are new standalones or series by authors whose other books I adored. Either way, ti's always sad!

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
The Detour by S.A. Bodeen

The Heir by Kiera Cass
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, December 10, 2018

2019 Retellings Reading Challenge

Hi everyone! I'm back to challenge hosting for 2019 after a year off. This year I'm so excited to be hosting a challenge based on my absolute favorite genre, retellings. Although my favorite retellings are based on fairy tales, there are amazing retellings from all kinds of classic stories and this challenge celebrates all of them! This challenge will include monthly group reads and retelling bingo!

  • This challenge will run from January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019.
  • Books must be read and reviewed in 2019. (You don't have to review books to count towards your goal, but you do have to review them if you want them to count as giveaway entries.)
  • Audiobooks, e-books, re-reads, short stories, novellas, and graphic novels all count, and you can read adult, YA, and middle grade books for this challenge.
  • It's also totally fine to use books from this challenge to fulfill other reading challenges and vice versa. 
  • ALL retellings count! 
  • You don't have to be a book blogger to participate! You can link up and track your progress on Goodreads, Instagram, Youtube, or wherever you share books!
  • Sign up below with your post, shelf, etc. and leave a comment letting me know what your personal goal is. 
  • Link up your reviews each quarter on the post provided! (Bookmark this page to make sure you don't miss a link-up!) 

  • Silent Assassin: 1-5 Retellings
  • Warrior Princess: 6-10 Retellings
  • Elemental Witch: 11-15 Retellings
  • High Fae: 16-20 Retellings
  • Fairest of them All: 21-25+ Retellings

  • Each block describes a book or type of retelling. For example, "Bronte or Austen" means that you can read a retelling of a book by one of the Bronte sisters or Jane Austen to complete that category. "Debut author" means that you can read any author's debut book. 
  • Getting BINGO (making a line vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the card) will get you an additional 5 entries in the end of year giveaway!
  • If you get a Bingo blackout (filling the entire card), you get an additional 10 entries in the giveaway! 
  • Right click to save the card to your computer!

  • The Goodreads group can be located HERE!
  • We will have monthly group reads (as long as they go well) and suggestion threads to help complete bingo categories. 

  • Link-ups will be posted here each quarter for you to share your reviews!
  • Each linked review will count as an extra extra entry in the end of year giveaway.
  • Giveaway will be included in the fourth quarter update. 


  • Enter your information in the link-up below (Your name @ Your blog name).
  • Make a post with your goals and be sure to link back to this post!
  • If you're a blogger, add the challenge button to your sidebar. 
  • Tweet about the reading challenge using #2019RetellingChallenge.



Sunday, December 9, 2018

Weekly Recap: 12/2 - 12/8


Hi everyone! I have good news and bad news. The good news is my puppy is still alive. The bad news is I guess he just gets random, unexplained fevers now. He made it over a week without having another fever, then on Friday one spiked out of nowhere! We covered him in wet towels and put him in front of a fan, then ended up having to give him a fever reducer, and we were able to get it down at home. Please send good thoughts and pixie dust for him!

Outside of dog news, I have an exciting announcement coming up next week that may or may not be reading challenge related! I also have lots of updates coming over the next few weeks from my year end survey to next year's goals. It's hard to believe that 2018 is almost at an end! I may also be a little scarce around the blog over the next week, but I'll still be posting and I promise I'll be commenting back and blog hopping as soon as I'm able!


Nothing new this week!




The topic was my winter & holiday TBR for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday book review of Sanity and Tallulah
On Thursday I went back down the TBR hole
Friday audiobook review of Snow & Rose


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, December 7, 2018

Audiobook Review: Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

Title: Snow & Rose 
Author: Emily Winfield Martin
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 224
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Snow and Rose didn't know they were in a fairy tale. People never do....

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves.

Snow & Rose caught my eye the first time I saw it at Barnes and Noble. The cover was gorgeous and when I flipped through it I was hooked! Emily Winfield Martin's illustrations are beautiful and I could not wait to dive into this fairytale retelling.

Somehow, I ended up picking up the audiobook of Snow & Rose, despite being in love with the art, but the story still had my attention immediately. Snow & Rose are sisters who have lost their father to the woods. They live with their mother, who has never gotten over his disappearance. They come across an enchanted library of objects in the woods one day and suddenly find that magical things are happening all around them.

Snow and Rose are both wonderful, enchanting characters. Although they were both grieving their father in their own ways, I loved following them around the woods as they discovered new things and people. The two come across a boy named Ivo, who lives underground, and he is a fantastic character as well! I loved the mystery surrounding him and how the three worked together and formed an unlikely friendship.

There are so many things to love about this children's book. The characters are lovely, there's magic everywhere, and the writing is beautiful! I read a lot of fairy tale retellings, but not all of them are able to capture the magic of the original. This one definitely did. The plot does meander a bit, but I think that's okay in this kind of story. I never got bored and was constantly finding reasons to keep listening.

I can't say much more without spoiling the plot, but trust me when I say that you will love Snow & Rose if you're a lover of fairy tales. While I did love the audiobook and found it to be magical on its own, I definitely recommend picking up the physical copy to follow along with the artwork. They should definitely be enjoyed together!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Down the TBR Hole #8

Hi everyone! This week I DESPERATELY need to get rid of books from my TBR because I accidentally added a ton of new ones recently. I don't know what's wrong with me!

The Down the TBR Hole meme was started by Lost In a Story and it is the most perfect tool for cleaning off shelves that I've come across. Here's how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?



Back when I added this book, I didn't realize it was book three in a series. Whoops! This series still sounds insanely interesting though. Why haven't I read this yet? I think I'm probably going to keep this one, but also add the other two... VERDICT: KEEP


Winterspell is SO pretty and it sounds so interesting! I've never been super into The Nutcracker, but I have to admit, this synopsis gets me every time. There are a lot of mixed reviews though. My previous co-blogger even rated it poorly, but it just looks so good! I'll keep it around and decide for myself whether it sucks or not. VERDICT: KEEP


So this book has... not great ratings. I added it because it's a retelling, but it just doesn't seem to be a great read. I'm not sure I want to risk reading a book that every single person I know has rated 2 or 3 stars. VERDICT: PASS


Parasite sounds super interesting! Definitely right up my alley. Then again, FEED sounded really great too and I hated that with a fiery passion. I don't think I'm over it and I just don't feel like giving Mira Grant another chance yet. VERDICT: PASS


Here's another one that sounded really great, but has pretty bad reviews. This is a creepy mystery/thriller about a weird little town, which is totally my thing. Reviews from people I trust say it isn't horror at all and is actually really boring. Woe is me. VERDICT: PASS

Hurray! Another three books off the TBR! That seems to be the going rate. I wonder if I'll ever get rid of five in one go...

What have you added or deleted from your TBR lately?
Do you base what you read on reviews from people you trust?
Let me know in the comments!