It's New Year's resolutions time, and here at The Honest Bookclub we are nothing if not resolute. We make bold, lofty promises. We aspire to greatness and world domination. We pledge to read our way through the Library of Alexandria on days off, and to write the Great American European Novel.

And then we throw it all to the wind and do whatever we want, because who ever heard of organized readers?

But this year! This year it all changes! We are turning over a new leaf. We are fresh of mind and sprite of spirit (and idealistic of heart), and this year, we are meeting our goals! We are conquering the world one subliminal message at a time, and we are reading our way to enlightenment (and ultimate fangirling) one page at a time.

(We are also racing the Goodreads challenge tracker. It's out to get us, that one.)

May the odds be ever in our favor.

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'Tis the season... to attempt to stick twelve Christmas trees in your living room and decorate them with a levitating charm. 'Tis also the season for owl post. Much as we hold out hope for Christmas letters with our initial(s) and a certain wax-sealed letter of admission into a certain magic school, once again it all seems for naught. (Or this is all an elaborate lie and we're in the Great Hall as we speak type.)

Do not despair for us yet, friends! Because this particular season we've gotten an OwlCrate box each from a certain someone whose name rhymes with menace, and whose gifts are irreparably on the extravagant side. And it's almost as good as the twelve Christmas trees.


* That's okay, though. We suspect the OwlCrate staff agrees with us. Nothing really beats Christmas at Hogwarts. Except full-time attendance of Hogwarts. Which we are definitely not attending. Definitely. Scout's honor.

Given that our boxes were a generous holiday gift from a friend, this review/overview/fangirly session is in no way sponsored by OwlCrate, nor any Owl Association of the world. Though we are partial to Hedwig and the plight of all owls who brave this harsh climate to deliver our presents to us at this time of the year.

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Happy first-night-of-winter, fellow snowflakes (because, let's face it, the day is short here in the northern hemisphere on this date in particular)! Your choices are twofold: you can bemoan the cold and the gloom and the lack of proper daylight, or you can grab a good book and fail to notice the cold and the gloom and the lack of proper daylight.

You can also move to the southern hemisphere.

Or you can, plain and simply, enjoy the winter.

(I guess your choices are fourfold.)

To kick the season off on a good note (it's D#, we think), we have compiled a list of the ten of our most anticipated book releases in the upcoming months. Who needs swimsuits and beach when we have dragons, spaceships, pirates and murder?

Nobody, that's who.

This is for you, everybody.

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An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family

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Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Ironically enough, the review below is entirely devoid of spoilers.

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*another obligatory flail about WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE*

We don't always eat books. When we do, however, we make sure to devour them whole in a span of few hours, then proceed to flail about their deliciousness for at least a year. Normally, Nutella and pizza are the sort of food groups we recognize and resort to in times of need for emotional comfort and support. But every now and then, a book goes a long way in demonstrating that a story is all you need.

Heads up, escapist enthusiasts. This one's for you.

This week we're featuring our favorite books of the past year. Not, perhaps, the ones released in 2015. We aren't that good about new releases. We're a disorganized bunch. (Sympathize with us and send us Nutella.) These are the books, however, which we have devoured in 2015 and which have made the less-than-intelligent choices worth it in the end. Not that we ever make less-than-intelligent choices. We're basically geniuses.

And these are the stories which tickled our genius minds.

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I am exactly 3497 decades too late putting this up. I did the math. (And you thought you were a procrastinator!) 3497 is also, serendipitously, how old I am in draconic years. It's how old my soul is... when I'm not writing dirty limericks or watching Courage The Cowardly Dog over and over again.

But I digress.

In human years, my birthday was at the end of October. I'm a Halloween baby, which really goes such a long way in explaining my tastes and predilections. Go ask Tumblr what a Scorpio is like. When they go MURDER, GORE, FANTASY, DEATH, BLOODY RITUALS IN THE MOONLIGHT, DRAGONS, SASS - nod and slowly back away. I don't really set much store by the Zodiac, but... my bookshelf says that that's pretty accurate.

My wonderful, lovely friends, however, don't seem to mind my ritualistic homicidal tastes, so for my birthday they SHOWERED ME WITH BOOKS. One might think they were trying to purify and cleanse my soul, but... the books they chose suggest otherwise.

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Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Spoilers ahead.

I got this ARC from the publisher St. Martin's Press on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen...

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*obligatory flail about WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE*

Now that that's behind us, let's begin. 2015 has been good to us in terms of new releases. We've been... a bit less good about actually staying on top of them all. Our bad. But now that the end of the year draws near, we apparently rhyme have are actively working on catching up with all that we've missed, and we are already pining for the 2016 releases to come.

The blogging community at large made this list the first week of December. We are once again fashionably late to the party. It's a running theme and we look cool when we show up late. Right? Right?

So this week, our top 10 picks are all about the MUST HAVE NOW books of 2016. Get in our way as we race to beg for an ARC and we will jump over you and keep running. We're only ever that sprightly when these books are at stake.

Disclaimer: The release dates indicated are tentative and will 1000% be pushed back by about a year and break your collective hearts. You have been warned.

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You know those mysterious, mysterious creatures who are active online and post plenty, but never about themselves? For all you know, they were trained at the Ninja Academy (which may or may not be a real thing) - they pop in and out, never for long enough to get a hold of them and shake some solid personal facts out of them?

We are those Ninjas. (Or not. Depending on whether the Ninja Academy is a real thing.)

It has recently come to our attention, however, that in order to see our current mission through, it is imperative that we prove our non-robotic nature and reveal some non-compromising facts about ourselves and our bookish existence. It is therefore that this Tuesday we have sat down and come up with some. 

Marvel in our weirdness! And then tell us your own, because quid pro quo, and because we need to be reassured despite our potential ninja-status that we are not alone in this.

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So you find yourself steeping in ennui. Reading is a chore. Books are a chore (and too heavy to carry, anyway, and why even bother, and you don't even read them when you're out). Life is a chore and nothing makes sense anymore, and how did you ever even manage to finish a book?

The bad news is, you have been diagnosed with a troubling case of The Reading Slump (TRS for short). The good news is, you are in excellent company.

Also, there are ways to manage the condition and lessen its symptoms. The Reading Slump, while recurring, is not chronic. You might yet come out on the other side a reader again.

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It's that time of the month again! Well, the good kind anyway. I got another delivery for my subscription to Fandom Of The Month and I was jolly excited, to say the least! (I can't believe i just wrote 'jolly excited' but okay). It arrived attached to my other delivery of OwlCrate, which will be my first time receiving that one and a review will be up momentarily.

But one at a time. I was so excited to open this month's FOTM. I had no idea what it could be since I thankfully hadn't been spoiled. I might have listed which fandoms I thought it could be before opening the parcel.

Yet again, I was wrong. 

But not disappointed.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend you at least have a look at the site and consider getting yourself a subscription. This is by far my favourite box subscription so far. Do it, go do it now! Here is the site: CLICK ME.


WARNING: Don't look if you don't want to be spoiled. Just in case your box hasn't arrived yet.

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Just... ten? How can we pick just ten?

It wasn't an easy process.

We all love a good quote from a wise reader. Whether it's something to get you back into reading, to inspire someone else to start reading (do it!), or because they're just awesome read, we can't get enough of them. We love the one's that make get you to pick up that book, one's that will encourage a new reader to finally read that book you've been pestering them about. They're also great to proudly show why you love the printed word and explain why you love to read.

We decided to collect our favourite ones, quotes that we would love to have on our wall near our hopefully one day pristine library, walls jam packed with many incredible stories. For now? Just hang them by our crammed bookshelf. A Top 10 is definitely a great opportunity to show off those amazing lines, and maybe give you a chance to share yours too. Spam us with reading quotes!

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Mail time!

I have to say - this is a biggie. 

This post contains books I've bought and parcels I've received in the last couple of weeks, and due to my laziness and busy life (well... reading time), I've yet to write a post. So here I am, shoving it all in one and hoping you don't get bored mid-post.

Come see!

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My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


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Feeling alive is always worth the risk.

Meeting Jack on the Owl—San Francisco's night bus—turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive...and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists.

But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.

Spoiler-free review!

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The Grisha Trilogy introduced readers to the irresistible fantasy world of the Grisha - and now Leigh Bardugo brings us a new sweeping epic.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Below, you will find: (a) a three-part review that's about six paragraphs too long, (b) in which I reveal no spoilers, but (c) in which I make you incredibly hungry. I'd offer apologies, except I'm too busy re-reading Six of Crows right now and all the calls go directly to my voicemail. In lieu of an apology, I offer pictures. Proceed with hunger. And feast your crows eyes on this incredible, incredible beauty.

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#1 New York Times bestselling author S.C. Stephens brings us the next book in her Thoughtless series! 

The spotlight doesn't only shine. Sometimes it burns.

Being the bad-boy bassist for the world's hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife, Anna. The one thing it hasn't brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.

Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he's caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos. One that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he's seen an ache in her eyes--and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers...

We wish to thank Little Brown Book Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I received my Fandom of the Month box a lot faster than I expected! I came back from a week's holiday and went to pick up the little box of goodness from the post office, and it looks so diddy and cute. I saw a few videos of BookTubers opening their boxes of previous months and they all look great, and although most of the fandoms I like have been and gone, I was very curious as to what this month would be. My first FOTM box.

If you're not aware of what the Fandom of the Month is, it's a monthly box subscription where you receive 3-4 different fandom-related jewellery in a cute drawstring bag. It's only $13 and it's carefully selected items that relate to one specific fandom each time.

This month? Come check it out.

For more information on the FOTM box, pop over to the website HERE

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It is a well-established fact that we intend to take over the world. We have given ample warnings in outros to most of our posts. If you are the sort of reader who skips the outros - good job, you are now unprepared and defenseless. Fear not, however. There is ample time to join our team as we assemble the good, the bad and the very handsome (because villains are nothing if not handsome in half the books we read) in this quest for world domination. As you debate whether to join this winning team or attempt to be the lovable underdog to thwart us (pick the former - we have chocolate; you can thank us later), we are gathering up the resources available to us as we meticulously plan Stage 1. 

Chief among those resources is the Villain Squad tag, created by Kassidy, Lainey, Mallory and Whitney over on YouTube. 

October, they reason is an excellent time to be villainous.

We tend to agree.

And while Natalie traverses the European north in search for Vikings, vampires and Fjerdans to recruit for our cause, Lexie is setting about assembling the villainous team right here, at The Honest Bookclub. A mwahahaha is in order, so... Mwahahaha! Enjoy.

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From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and… spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.

It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn't just anyone—it's Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.

Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.

But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.

What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?

After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Earlier this month, we compiled a list of our favorite hooks - the concepts most likely to draw us to a book, and ones most likely to ensure our continual enjoyment of said book. There was beautiful writing. There was witty banter. But the one universally agreed-upon hook was The Plot Twist. 

Oh, The Plot Twist. It barges out of nowhere like an unwelcome guest, it proceeds to slap us across the face, turn us around in circles and laughs at our lack of perceptiveness. By the time it leaves, we are punch-drunk, wine-drunk, all kinds of drunk, just to battle the side effects. And still we love it so.

So this week, we have compiled a list of our favorite books where plot twists were a prominent factor of our overall enjoyment. And while we've done our best to keep away from so much as hinting to the actual twist, we do acknowledge that some people are so allergic to spoilers that even a knowledge that a book contains a plot twist is unwelcome. If you are one of those, we thank you very much for stopping by and suggest you check out some of our other posts instead. If the knowledge about the existence of a plot twist only serves to fuel your desire to read a book, however, then welcome aboard! You are among friends. Please proceed, and keep away from the cages. The plot twists bite.

Image credit: Huffington post

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Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

minor spoilers

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The road to power... is paved with blood and magic.

 is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.

After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over...

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas's hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia's, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus's, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius's road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.

And then there were three (love interests).

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She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror. 

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

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In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war... Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

 Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

Well, thanks a lot, ending. Now I have to pick up book 2 immediately.

This book was a process. It goes something like this:
1. Ignorance of the book's concept
2. A promise of greatness by others
3. Initial disillusionment
4. Expectation management
5. Whoa, everyone's dying, this is unexpected
6. (And interesting)
7. Damn you, ending, for your abundance of death and awesomeness!

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Last month, I signed up for receive a monthly book box subscription. It's the thing at the moment, they seem to have started up out of nowhere, and now they're competing against each other. I think they're an amazing idea. As I live in the UK, the shipping for the US boxes always put me out of pocket, as they charge a lot to send it over here. Fair enough, it was never going to be cheap.
I did, however, find one based in the UK. It's called RavenPost.

I wrote a review of their August box, which you can read here.

I canceled my my subscription, as I will admit, I wasn't too impressed with it. I had, however, already paid for Septembers box so I thought I might as well get that one too.

It arrived this morning.

Here's what I got and my thoughts.

NOTE: I paid for this box, so it wasn't sent for free for review. Just to clarify. I'm being 100% honest about my thoughts, as this blog is The Honest Bookclub. Yeah, you get the idea..

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Some of the reasons we buy books: beloved authors, parts of beloved series, recommendations we deeply trust.
Slightly more shallow reasons we buy books: the hype surrounding them, intriguing synopses, book trailers.
Still more shallow reasons we buy books: beautiful covers, they're on sale, and/or we get them for free in the mail.

But ultimately, the reason we discover (and read!) books often lies in none of the above. Rather, it lies in concepts. It's a particular hook specially designed to draw us in and keep our attention. That anticipation prior to a purchase of an unfamiliar book? It's the hook. That certainty we'll love said book? It's the hook. (And not Hook, either, though we'd certainly read that.) We all have them, they differ for many and overlap for many more, and this week for our Top 10 picks, we are sharing ours.

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This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...

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You know the theory of social roles? In the simplest of terms, it stipulates that you aren't the same person when you are with your friends as you are among family. And you don't act the same in class as you do at pep rallies. (Are these still a thing? We're out of the loop on teen movies so we don't know anymore.) And it's true. It makes sense.

When it comes to book-specific behavior, we tend to behave one of two ways.

Situation #1: A stranger/commoner/plebe/muggle mentions a specific book series.
Our response if we have read said series: I am Lord Supreme of Books and I know all. I see all. I have read all. There is no book, no topic, no author under this soon-to-bring-about-a-dystopian-apocalypse Sun that I have not already discovered.
Our response if we haven't read said series: I am Lord Supreme of Books and I know all. I see all. I have read all. There is no book, no topic, no author under this soon-to-bring-about-a-dystopian-apocalypse Sun that I have not already discovered.

Situation #2: A fellow Established and Impassioned Reader mentions books/reading/a specific book series.
Our response if we have read said series: A reasonable discussion of said series ensues. We humbly offer our opinions, with an immediate caveat that for all we know we are wrong, and our understanding is flawed. Their logic is just as good as ours.
Our response if we haven't read said series: This post.

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