The Lowdown: Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Ever want to know just the quick, simple details of a book? The Lowdown is just that: just the gist, just an overview. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to join in on The Lowdown fun! If so, I'll create a linky for next week's Lowdown!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series and Author:
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Books in Series:
Shatter Me #1
Destroy Me #1.5
Unravel Me #2
Fracture Me #2.5
Ignite Me #3

Summary of Book One:
(from goodreads)

"I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I'm more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior."

Young Adult - Dystopian

Point of View:
First person (Juliette)

3 Words/Phrases to Describe the the Book:
Suspenseful. Beautifully written. Swoon-worthy.

Main Character:

Brave. Bold. Powerful.

Top Supporting Characters:

The Reestablishment

The Lowdown:
I fell in love with the Shatter Me books at page one. Tahereh Mafi's writing is just so beautiful and it puts words to feelings that so many people have. I loved watching Juliette grow throughout the series by gaining independence and acceptance for who she is. The supporting characters are total standouts, this series definitely has one of my all time favorite cast of supporting characters. I love how through the two novellas, Destory Me and Fracture Me, you can experience Warner and Adam's voices and stories. The plot is the perfect pace with the right about of unexpected twists and turns. I love how Mafi has you question first impressions and challenges you to reevaluate the way you look at yourself through Juliette's character. I'm obsessed with this series and can't wait for Tahereh Mafi's next book!

Stacking the Shelves: March 2015

Links lead to Goodreads.

-Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
-Hollow City (Miss Peregrine #2) by Ransom Riggs

I started Trigger Warning a couple weeks ago and am waiting to have full focus so I can completely dive into the stories. This will be my first Neil Gaiman book and I'm so very excited!
Thank you to William Morrow!

I'm halfway through Hollow City and it's seriously just as awesome as the first book. I've been halfway in the book for quite some time so I can't wait to finally finish!
Thank you to Quirk!

-The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (My Review)
-Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
-Paper Towns by John Green
-The Body Electric by Beth Revis (ebook)
-Literary Listography by Lisa Nola

I completely adored The Miniaturist, so I'm definitely happy I bought it despite the expensive hardcover price. I've been eyeing Burial Rites all year. I found it at Half Price Books last weekend and with my 40% off coupon I had to get it! Paper Towns is being turned into a movie so I want to read it before I accidentally see any movie trailers. Beth Revis' Across the Universe trilogy is one of my all time favorites so The Body Electric is a must read for me. I saw Literary Listography at my local indie book store and had to get it! It has all different list prompts about everything bookish.

-Kindle Paperwhite
My Kindle was a birthday gift from my lovely parents. Thank you Mom and Dad!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Bought from my local indie bookstore.
Published: August 2014
Publisher: Ecco
Amazon - Goodreads

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam-a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion-a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

"There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…"

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

You know you're buying an awesome book when the cashier goes "Oh! I've been wanting to read this one!" I loved The Miniaturist, it was just so interesting! The setting was perfect and the overall haunting feeling of the book is beautifully mysterious. I love books that are so much more than words on a page and I felt like with The Miniaturist there was meaning between the lines.

The Miniaturist is set in 17th century Amsterdam and follows a young bride named Nella who just moved to a new city to live with her older and secretive husband, Johannes. Their marriage was quick so Nella really had no idea what she was getting into, like how his sister would be living with them and that he would rarely be around. Everyone in the house is very closed off and Nella wants to know the secrets of the house and the people that live there.

I was sucked back in time so easily. Burton had a way of describing Nella's surroundings in a way that didn't feel forced. Since most of the time Nella is experiencing places for the first time while your reading, it makes the descriptions that much more enjoyable. 

All of the characters play an important role and are so well-developed. I really enjoyed watching Nella grow and take responsibility for her life. I found her to be a really interesting character and I loved reading about her story.

I loved the mystery that was the miniaturist. It added an eerie feeling to the story that I couldn't resist. 

I've been struggling with trying to comprehend my thoughts for this book because the overall feeling is indescribable. The perfect mix of mystery, suspense, 17th century Netherlands and Nella's odd situation was just so addictive. I felt like The Miniaturist took me fully into Nella's world with Burton's lyrical writing and suspenseful plot.

Waiting on Wednesday: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Amazon - Goodreads

Here is the stunning conclusion to the national bestselling Lunar Chronicles, inspired by Snow White.

When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen.

Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.

I finished the third book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress, last weekend and now I'm dying to find out what happens next! I adore all of the characters in this incredible world Meyer has created and I'm always surprised by how easily I get lost into all their different stories.

According to goodreads Winter is going to be 800 pages, holy cow! I'll need to clear out that week of November, because let's be honest, it's not like I'll want to do anything else but read Winter! I can't believe this series is going to be over soon, it's one of my favorites and can't wait to find out how it'll end.

Also, isn't that cover gorgeous?! I love how the entire series followed a set color scheme and made all the covers so magical.

My review of Cinder is here.
My review of Scarlet is here.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Review: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate 1) by Gail Carriger

Borrowed ebook from library.
Publisher: Orbit
Published: October 2009
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Amazon - Goodreads

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

I absolutely loved this book! I'm usually not a fan of paranormal historical fiction, but I adored Soulless. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is witty, independent and a total badass. Her awesome sense of humor is one of my favorite parts of the book. I usually get so put off by how women were treated in the past (marry, have kids, stay quiet) that I don't read books in this genre, but Alexia's witty remarks and free thinking was a breath of fresh air.

This world perfectly mixes Victorian London with the paranormal in a steampunk sort of way. I enjoyed how the existence of vampires and werewolves weren't kept a secret. They were part of London's society, just not looked at as highly as humans.

There was also mystery in the book with trying to figure out why supernaturals were suddenly disappearing. I loved how it offered suspense and also showed how well Alexia and Lord Maccon worked together. Lord Maccon, by the way, is a total babe!

I usually find the first book in a series to be a bit overkill with all the descriptions, but I thought Soulless had the perfect amount of world building without losing focus of the story.
I seriously cannot wait to read the rest of the books in The Parasol Protectorate series!

Blog Tour - Review: Shadow Scale (Seraphina 2) by Rachel Hartman

Received for review from publisher.
Publisher: Random House
Published: March 10, 2015
Series: Seraphina #2
Amazon - Goodreads

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Shadow Scale is a lot of book. It's right around 600 pages and for me, it felt long. For the amount of writing there was, not a whole lot happened. Like in the first book there's lots of descriptions and imagery, which is great, but sometimes it felt a bit much. I just wanted to get to the action and adventure instead of feeling almost weighed down by the constant descriptions.

In some parts I felt like we lost some of the characters and their personalities. I had some trouble understanding their decisions and truly caring what was going to happen to next. It's like some parts were so great and then there were other parts that felt long and just alright. The plot was a little iffy for me too, it was like everything either happened all at once or nothing seemed to be happen for a while.

I was absolutely not a fan of the ending. I can't say much without spoiling it, but I just feel so let down by it.

I was really looking forward to Seraphina's sequel, Shadow Scale, but I was unfortunately let down a bit. This might be due to my high expectations after enjoying the first book so much, but I just really wanted more for our beloved Seraphina! I'm usually a fan of description, but there was so much of it that I felt like it lost the story in some places. Although I might not have loved this book, I enjoyed the world Hartman created and still adore the Seraphina from the first book.

You can check out my review of Seraphina here.

 **I received this book for review from Random House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die 2) by Danielle Paige

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins

Click here to see my review of book one, Dorothy Must Die.
In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

I picked up Dorothy Must Die on a total whim at my local bookstore because I thought the cover looked interesting. What turned out to be an impulse buy ended up being a seriously awesome read!
I completely adore how Danielle Paige used Dorothy and Oz as a jumping point and then created her own unique story set in a magical crumbling world. I am amazed with how flawlessly the original characters from the Wizard of Oz were remade to fit into this new Oz and how much I loved each of them. I'm still committed to the story and I'm dying to know what happens next!

(While I was making up this Waiting on Wednesday post I noticed that there's a collection of short stories/novellas, Dorothy Must Die Stories, set in this world before the story takes place. How did I miss this?! Anyways, I think that will tie me over until the end of March....hopefully!)

What book are you waiting for?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

My Favorite Young Adult Series

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I was not expecting to love this series as much as I do. I'm not completely caught up (I'm about half way through Cress) and I know the series isn't even completed yet, but I know it's going to be a favorite. I love how fairy tales are used as inspiration, but that the story and characters are so much more than those fairy tales. The idea of cyborgs and a war with the Lunars (those who live on the moon) is just amazing. Not to mention I love how Meyer writes female characters, their each their own person and totally kick-ass! (Also, best covers ever!) 

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I fall more in love with this trilogy each time I read it. I adore the main characters, Amy and Elder, and how the story is told from both their points of view. This was my first experience with sci-fi in the young adult genre and I was totally blown away with Revis' killer story telling. It's been years since I originally read the first book and I still remember not being able to put it down and then going to the bookstore the day A Million Suns came out because I just had to know what happened! Each book was seriously incredible on its own, but when the three come together to form this kick-ass story it just becomes other worldly.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

What I love most about Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me books is the writing style. I love how you can see Juliette growing and changing throughout the story through her voice. I also adore how you original opinions are challenged and how Mafi twists the world to make you look again.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium was one of the first books I fell in love with. The whole concept of a world without love drew me in and Oliver's amazing writing and characters kept me reading throughout the trilogy. Even though I know a lot of people weren't a fan of the ending, I adore it. It still makes me think even though it's been a long time since reading it.

Blog Tour - Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Received book for review.
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 2012
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. 

Seraphina is unlike any other book that I've ever read. The world building was absolutely incredible. Hartman leaves a large amount of descriptions throughout the book which really helped me visualize the setting. I enjoyed the conflict between the dragons and humans in Goredd. The politics and social structure that were involved were also very well thought out and made sense in the context of the story.

Even though most of the time I appreciated all of the descriptions, the book did feel a little slow at times. I definitely think this is due to Seraphina being the first book in the series and a lot of time needed to be spent thoroughly developing this new world.

I liked how the main character, Seraphina, was flawed yet had redeeming traits like independence, kindness and strength. I thought it was interesting how she dealt with her secret, I absolutely adore her 'mind garden' and can't wait to read more about it in the sequel.

One of my favorite bits was the adventure! Yes, there were definitely parts that were slow, but the adventurous action scenes made up for it. I also really loved the supporting characters and seeing them interact with our main character. I'm still a on the fence if the little bit of romance was forced/necessary or not, but I'm really curious to see where that goes in book two.

"I cannot perch among those who think that I am broken."

Although there were some slow parts, I really enjoyed the world of dragons and humans that Rachel Hartman created in her debut Seraphina. I'm looking forward to following Seraphina on her adventures in the second book, Shadow Scale

**I received this book for review from Random House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

February Wrap Up

I seriously don't think I've ever read this many books in just one month before. With all the snow and cold weather I really didn't feel like doing anything but reading. I'm totally impressed with the books I've read this year. So far I'm really enjoying all of them.
For February I finally finished the Shatter Me series, read a book for review and even had some awesome re-reads this month too!

Books Read:
1. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
2. Seraphina (Seraphina 1) by Rachel Hartman
3. Rules of Attractions (Perfect Chemistry 2) by Simone Elkeles*
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
5. Wait for You by J. Lynn
6. Soulless (Parasol Protectorate 1) by Gail Carriger
7. Shatter Me (Shatter Me 1) by Tahereh Mafi*
8. Destroy Me (Shatter Me 1.5) by Tahereh Mafi*
9. Unravel Me (Shatter Me 2) by Tahereh Mafi
10. Fracture Me (Shatter Me 2.5) by Tahereh Mafi
11. Ignite Me(Shatter Me 3) by Tahereh Mafi

Total number of pages: 4340

I know March will definitely be a heck of a lot less than February's read pile, but I'm okay with that. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel to Seraphina titled Shadow Scale and also reading my first Neil Gaiman book, Trigger Warning.

Now I just have to get over my major book hangover from the Shatter Me series because oh my goodness that was amazing!! Here's to more amazing books filling up our March!