Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 1/31/16

It goes without saying that we are BACK with another weekly wrap up with what we read! Besides all our great posts, Michaela also out-read me by about 200%–though I do give you a sneak peek at a recent ARC I read!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

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Worth It Wednesday: “Splintered” by A.G. Howard

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

SplinteredTitle: Splintered

Author: A.G. Howard

Goodreads Description: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Why it’s worth it: This post is shamelessly inspired by me and Michaela’s recent video about our favorite fairy tale retellings, during the filming of which I was reminded about this book. Listen, I hate the original Alice in Wonderland–book, movie, whole shebang. Splintered came out in a time when there was a lot of Alice retellings being published, and I really wasn’t a fan. But, I was intrigued by this book’s blurb among all the others–and I was not disappointed.

I think my favorite thing is that Howard isn’t TRYING to re-do the original tale. This is a book that deals with the consequences of the original Alice’s trip into Wonderland on her descendants. Then, when Alyssa finally gets to Wonderland, it is amazing how many creative ways Howard came up with to say “Well, Carroll wrote this but actually it’s like THIS.” For example, the White Rabbit is really called the White Rabid and he’s part skeleton. SO COOL.

To me, this version of Wonderland is much more creepy and visceral and amazing than the original story, and really twists the world into something for the more grown up mind. Howard’s writing is also really strong–to the point where I fell in love with a story related to Alice in Wonderland, which I thought would never happen.

In my original ARC review, I rated this book 4 1/2 stars–the half was docked for the love triangle, as you can see in the blurb. All in all, though, I wouldn’t let the presence of a love triangle keep you from checking out this great book!

Read it if you’re looking for: Alice in Wonderland stories, fairy tale retellings, fairy tale retellings for an older audience, strong world building, a creepy and fantastical world, love triangles, plot twists

Waiting on Wednesday #41

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

UnhingedTitle: Unhinged (Splintered #2)

Author: A. G. Howard

ETA: January 7th, 2014

Summary from Goodreads: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Read my review of Splintered HERE!

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

This is a fairly tough list for me, but I think I managed to cull it down to 10 books I’m happy with. These books are in no particular order, except that the last 3 or so didn’t get a full 5 star rating on Goodreads.

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Fashionably Late – My Debut Author Challenge Info

Button5

So, you guys may or may not know that I wasn’t very good at blogging over my first year at college. This means that I missed the signups for a LOT of things I wanted to participate in. The Debut Author Challenge was one of them! I only just found the link now, after forgetting to look for it for forever.

If you forgot to sign up for this too, here’s the link to the Hobbitsies sign up and info post. I have no shame linking up this late, because I’ve basically been hard at work on this anyways!

Here’s my list:

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Top Ten Books Featuring Travel In Some Way

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This is going to be the loosest top ten list I EVER make. It is also a top ten list made up of my most current reads. I’m sure there are others, but I found ten of them and I decided not to push it. 😛

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ARC Review: “Splintered” by A. G. Howard

SplinteredSplintered by A. G. Howard

Goodreads | Amazon

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

4 1/2 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for this eARC! This title is now available.

I liked basically every Disney movie as a kid. Every one, that is, except for Alice in Wonderland. When the new fad became Alice retellings, I rolled my eyes and said, “There’s no way this goes well.” I still requested Splintered anyways.

Then I finally started reading.

Alyssa isn’t supposed to be Alice. Alice went and came back from Wonderland ages ago, and now her family has to deal with the notoriety of that fact—and the fact that all the women in her family since Alice had ended up locked away in asylums, if they didn’t kill themselves first. Alyssa’s mother has been committed for a great deal of Alyssa’s life, and Alyssa herself has just started hearing the voices of plants and bugs. She’s pretty sure she’s going to follow her mom shortly. She tries to make the voices stop by turning bugs into artwork and skateboarding with her iPod turned up. The other voice, the familiar and male one, that’s in her head all the time like a second consciousness isn’t helping matters, though.

And that is just the beginning.

Now, you may be able to understand how much I was drooling by this point already. This isn’t the Alice story of your childhood, people. Even when Alyssa gets to Wonderland, Howard turns all your preconceptions on your head. For just a teaser, you know the White Rabbit? Well, Alice messed up his name. He’s actually called White Rabid, and he’s partially a skeleton. You cannot tell me that isn’t an awesome way to go. You can’t.

I wish I could explain more of the twists, but then there would be spoilers and oh dear. But just know they’re SO AWESOME.

Besides all the things Howard has done to the world, I was also impressed by how layered the plot was. Morpheus—this hot fairy dude who Alice called the Caterpillar—is the mastermind behind everything that happens, but he is so good at keeping the truth concealed that you never know what’s actually going on until the end. Is he good? Is he bad? His character arc is a zigzag that doesn’t stop! (Well, until the end, but that would be a spoiler.)

I think most of the reason for the half star loss is the characterization of Morpheus and Alyssa’s other love interest, Jeb. Yes, other love interest. Morpheus yanks Alyssa’s chain so many times that I still don’t know what to think of him, and I never believed she could love him. Jeb, on the other hand, is the usual best friend/knight in shining armor. So, yeah, this love triangle has the requisite bad boy vs. good boy thing going on, which I don’t like. However, I will say that I did NOT expect the ending in anyway, so kudos for that.

At the end of the day, though, I cannot believe how much I liked this book. Despite being tied to a retelling, it was interesting and unique. The plot never ever stopped moving, and I was always kept guessing. If Alice in Wonderland is your thing, GET THIS. NOW. Even if it isn’t, though, and you’re looking to check out one of the new Alice books because you’re curious, this would be my pick FOR SURE!