THE VILLAIN SQUAD TAG

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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BOOK REVIEW: DEAD RINGER BY JESSIE ROSEN


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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TOP 10 BOOKS WITH PLOT TWISTS

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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BOOK REVIEW: LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR BY STEPHANIE PERKINS



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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BOOK REVIEW: REBEL SPRING BY MORGAN RHODES


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

Cleo
 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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BOOK REVIEW: THE YEAR WE HID AWAY (THE IVY YEARS #2) BY SARINA BOWEN





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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BOOK REVIEW: FALLING KINGDOMS BY MORGAN RHODES


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.

Heir:
 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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BOOK BOX SUBSCRIPTION REVIEW: RAVENPOST

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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TOP 10 CONCEPTS THAT SELL US ON A BOOK

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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BOOK REVIEW: RED QUEEN BY VICTORIA AVEYARD


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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TOP 10 BOOK SERIES OF SHAME

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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IN MY MAILBOX: OCTOBER 4TH

It's that time again. The time when I can't control myself and I buy books online. I mean, I've been working hard... I deserve more books... and darn it, why not?

I was quite surprised at how speedy the delivery was to get these, though. I ordered them two days ago, and got them delivered today. On a Sunday of all days! As fellow book lovers, I'm sure you're all aware of the the British postal service and the days they run, if nothing than for this reason alone:



Thanks for reminding us, Vernon!

Not only that, but it's usually slow as hell. So when I received an email about my parcel arriving today, I was shocked. But very pleased. Thank you, Amazon!
I saw my parcel leaning against my door - not stolen (thank you, kind neighbours) - and couldn't contain my fangirlish squeal. 

BOOKS
MORE BOOKS.

Because I don't have enough, do I? Psh.



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FAN ART: THRONE OF GLASS BY SARAH J. MAAS

"She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one." - Heir of Fire


Fan art is a study in contrasts. The series that inspire us enough to create are the series we hopelessly adore. And the series we hopelessly adore are the series we feel no one person and no one visual medium can ever do justice. So we struggle to equal what we believe cannot be equaled. We set ourselves up for the fall each and every time we choose a favorite series for a future piece. But we do it anyway - hopelessly, masochistically, with abandon, time and time again. Because fan art is a study in contrasts.

But if ever there was a character who would understand the picking-ourselves-up-after-a-failure-and-trying-anew cycle, it's Celaena Sardothien. And if ever there was an author who could depict it beautifully in writing, it's Sarah J. Maas. So in the end you put the nagging doubt aside, you pretend you haven't seen a thousand stunning pieces of art on Sarah's Pinterest board, you ban yourself from looking up still more on Tumblr/deviantArt, you take Celaena's own advice and team up with chocolate, and you get it done.

I got it done, you guys! It isn't quite perfect, but in the end I convinced myself that it was never supposed to be. It was my spin on Celeana's "we all bear scars" philosophy, and I'm sticking to it in pure self defense.


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