Review: Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

*This review may contain some mild spoilers from Books 1-3 of the series. No spoilers for Iron Gold.*

Other books in the series:

Red Rising

Golden Son

Morning Star

So, Stephanie, you just finished your most anticipated book of the year (of ever, really). Now how about you write a halfway coherent review? Yeah, right. I really wish I could do that, but my thoughts are everywhere on this, so I’m going the list route.

The Writing. Pierce Brown is just a beautiful writer. His style, pacing, imagery, emotion. Even the violent scenes. Even the sometimes adolescent humor among the Howlers. Even the small, seemingly insignificant moments. If Pierce Brown writes it, I want to read it.

World building. Who knew there would be so much more world building to do in the 4th book of a series!? The story begins about 10 years after the last book ends (side note: I really should’ve done my series re-read before starting this. I was thinking Darrow was late 20s when Morning Star ended, not early 20s) and it is a whole new world. There was no Happily Ever After when Darrow and company “won.” The fight was not over and the government is far from stable. While I appreciate the need for the world building, it did slow things down a bit, plot-wise, when I was itching to just get going

POVs. Unlike the original trilogy, which was told completely in Darrow’s 1st person POV, Iron Gold is told through multiple 1st person POV. Besides Darrow, there are chapters from Lysander, all grown up and as Gold-arrogant as ever, Lyria, a Red who has lost most of her family and gets the opportunity to move to Luna and cross paths with those in charge, and Ephraim, who is connected to a character that had a small, but vital, role in Darrow’s history. It pains me to say that I didn’t love all the POVs. I think the problem lies with Darrow still being a major player. If this was a true companion series then it would make sense for Darrow to have more of a cameo role while new characters take the lead. But since this is more a continuation to the series, Darrow still has a big part to play and all I wanted was him. I was disappointed every time the POV changed away from him. I could not make myself really care that much about Lyria or Ephraim. I was ok with Lysander’s POV, but mostly because he was with Cassius. I also thought what was happening in his chapters are really important to the future books, whereas Lyria or Ephraim could have had much smaller roles and still had the same impact to the overall plot. So, Darrow’s POV was by far my favorite, but including it kind of made the rest feel a little lacking.

The Characters. Sevro, my little Goblin! How I have missed you! I loved seeing him and Darrow together again so much! And they’re fathers now! They’re relationship did hit some rough spots throughout the book, but they’ve been there before and I know they will get through it. I also enjoyed seeing Victra, Mustang, the Telemanuses, Cassius, and some of the original Howlers again. As for the new characters, I liked Lorn’s grandson, Alexander, “Tongueless” a new Obsidian Darrow and Sevro befriend, and Volga, Ephraim’s partner in crime, but I could take or leave the rest. Again, I think I may have liked the new characters more if there were not so much of the original ones. But I will never be upset about getting more of the original characters. 

Darrow. I’ve read several reviews where people were pretty annoyed with Darrow in this book. While I can see their point, I don’t think it’s really a valid argument. Listening to other people’s opinions/orders and then doing whatever he bloodydamn wants is kind of his thing. To be fair, that often works out in his favor. I say let Darrow be Darrow. Plus, he has two books to grow his character. A perfect Darrow this early in the game would make for a boring continuation of the series.

Plot Development. I’m not going to rehash the whole plot, because ya’ll can read the synopsis. I feel like the plot development was very similar to the first book in the series. A lot of set up and character development. Unlike the previous books, though, there weren’t many of the small twists and surprises that I have come to expect. While it’s not super predictable, I did not find myself really surprised by anything that happened. I will say there is one death that I did not think would happen, but I am not 100% convinced that the character is really dead. *Crossing my fingers the character reappears in book 5.* From other reviews I skimmed before reading this I was expecting a big cliffhanger ending and I guess there kind of was in a couple of the POVs (it was not until writing this sentence that I even remembered there were, which tells you that I did not find them very impactful). The last chapter in Darrow’s POV did not have one. However, I absolutely loved the last sentence of the book. It made me so excited for what’s to come!

Overall, I enjoyed Iron Gold. I have been waiting for this book for so long and am so glad I finally got to read it. While it was maybe not all that I hoped it would be, it was a well written continuation of the series and I am counting down the days to Dark Age.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Good Reads group) is: Second Book is BestWe’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

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1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown. The first book was great, but this second book in the Red Rising series just blew me away. One of my all time favorite books.

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2. Scarlet & Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #2 & #3) by Marissa Meyer. (Since there are 4 books in this series I’m counting the middle two books as one.) I remember not being all that impressed with Cinder, but the books just kept getting better after that.

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3. Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black. With all the 5 star reviews I saw of the first book I ended up being a little disappointed. But then I read Red Glove and it was everything I expected the first book to be. I loved it.

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4. For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne. Even though I ended up reading this series in reverse order, it was still the second book I read and my favorite of the whole series.

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5. New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay #2) by Beth Kendrick. This was actually the first book in the series I read, but I thought it (and the following books in the series) was a big improvement over the first book.

What are some of your picks for Second Book is Best?

2016 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and is always so much better than the end of year posts I try to make up for myself. Though I originally wanted to not use the same book for more than one or two answers, I decided just to go with the most honest answer, despite how many recurrences. Fair warning: this survey could also be called The Red Rising Survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 136 (as of 12/26/16)
Number of Re-Reads: 19
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I gave five books 4.5 Stars and while I could narrow it down to maybe my top 2 or 3, I think I’ll just name the 5 – in order I read them.

1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

2. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, et al.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, but the conclusion to the series just really underwhelmed me.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I thought it would be really light and cutesy and was definitely surprised by the great character development and the major ups and downs they went through. It was a good surprise.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While it could have *possibly* been because I read it the month before the final book came out, I’m totally taking credit for at least a couple people I know reading and loving it after I read/loved/hyped/talked endlessly about it. 🙂

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ok, we all know the answer to this one. SorryNotSorry

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Started: Red Rising

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Sequel: Golden Son

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Ender: Morning Star

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Pierce Brown, obviously.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m a broken record and I know it. But I don’t really read sci-fi and the Red Rising trilogy is amazing.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Golden Son. The pace was so, so fast and there were so many surprises!

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Such a cute, quick read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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This Adventure Ends

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker will always be one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved him just as much in Crooked Kingdom as I did in Six of Crows.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

There isn’t really a book that stands out for this one. Though I think I described Pierce Brown’s writing as both beautiful and brutal in one of my reviews.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, after reading this I am pretty positive I am OCD. I understand so many things about my life now that never made sense before. Mental Health Awareness, guys. It’s important!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Red Rising, yet again

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I’m awful at these questions. I don’t have one.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh – 9 pages

Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Golden Son. It had so, so many little twists and turns. I think the reason it was my favorite of the series is because it just continually surprised me when not many books can these days.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game.

Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sloane and her friends from This Adventure Ends (though there is one romantic part to that, it focuses more on the friendship)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

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I had zero interest in My Lady Jane but all the hype made me read it and I LOVED it. I rarely agree with hype, but I really thought this one deserved it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

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Garret Graham from The Deal. Even though he’s the kind of guy I usually hate in books – and in life.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

My Lady Jane! So funny!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner made me ugly cry at a few parts.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I discovered Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series this year and it’s one of my favorite chick lit series ever.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to go with The Serpent King again.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy’s behavior absolutely INFURIATED me.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I love you all!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I am usually very disappointed with how my reviews come out, but it always makes my day when someone says they want to read the book based on my review. So the most recent review where that happened is for My Lady Jane.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner. I talked about my very strict rating system and how I’ve loosened up slightly from when I first started. But through the comments I also learned a lot about other reviewer’s rating criteria and as a result I am far less angry when I see 5 star reviews for books that I don’t think deserve it.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to 3 author events this year and they were all great (Linda Castillo, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer)! I also got to finally meet my long-time-online-book-world-friend, Amanda!

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5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I would probably go with getting my Six of Crows duology signed and meeting Leigh Bardugo (as stated above).

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

There seemed to be frequent reading slumps where NOTHING sounded good. Though I was often disappointed with the number of posts I had done at the end of most months, I am happy that I didn’t pressure myself to do posts I didn’t care about just to fill the days.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By views since I don’t know how to look it up by comments: Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) is the most viewed post of the year. The most viewed post that I actually wrote this year was my 3 Year Blogaversary Giveaway.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any reviews, really. Even though I’m sure it reads like I just throw them together, reviews take me so long to write so when some of them – especially on books I really loved – get really low views, it’s sad.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Outlet! Though I wish they had more of the books that I was looking for, I got most of my Christmas book shopping done during their Black Friday sale. It’s definitely a site I will be re-visiting.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

The only challenge/goal I do is on Good Reads. I had reasons to go really conservative at 75 books, but as of 12/26/16 I’ve read 136 books (181% of my goal).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

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I’m not sure if it will be the first book I read, but I really need to read Twisted Palace by Erin Watt!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t really think of anything. I always seem to be the last to find out about good debuts.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

There are a couple sequels I can think of, but neither are ones I’m super interested in.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Go to more author events!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

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The Young Wives Club and Still Life are my two favorite 2017 releases I’ve read so far.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I want to Re-Read

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Books I want to Re-Read. I have always been a big re-reader of books I love. I’ve decided to list some of my favorite books that I have only read once and am in desperate need to revisit.

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1. The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star). I started this series shortly before the last book came out and could not believe that I waited so long! It’s beautifully written, brutal, thought-provoking, suspenseful, action-packed, twisty, surprising…I could go on and on.

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2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A very different kind of serial killer story. Very character-driven and suspenseful. Every time I see someone new reading/reviewing it I want to re-read it.

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3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I have great love for Rainbow Rowell books and I gave this one a really high rating, but I have only ever read it once. I think I definitely need to remedy that.

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4. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I’ve heard from people that this isn’t as good the second time around since you know the ending, but I still want to give it a try and see if there are clues I missed the first time around. Plus, it was just really good and I want to read it again.

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5. Defending Jacob by William Landay. I read this long before I started blogging, when I was just getting back into reading again, and gave it 5 stars on Good Reads (if you follow me now, you know that never happens anymore). I’d like to see if it’s as good as I thought it was back then.

What books do you want to re-read?

Pokémon Go Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check her out, she’s awesome!). I’ve never played Pokémon or Pokémon Go (I don’t really get it, to be honest), but I love book tags!


Pokemon-Tag-01Starters

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I’m going to go with The Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen. Every time I re-read this I love it just as much. The Letter!.

Pokemon-Tag-03-Zubat

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. While I did see this everywhere, it’s not why I lost interest. I just didn’t find it to be an interesting book. Even though I was so excited to get an eArc of it, I DNF-ed it.

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Wife for the Weekend by Ophelia London. I absolutely love fake relationship stories and this is my favorite one I’ve read this year.

Pokemon-Tag-05-Snorlax

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The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I was just talking to someone at work about them and how she’s re-reading them and loves them, but the size of it just intimidates me so much!

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Golden Son by Pierce Brown. What is a book tag without a Red Rising mention? I could not stop thinking about this book when I was reading it (or after I finished).

Pokemon-Tag07-NidokingQueen

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I’m going to go with Kami and Jared from The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. I love them soooo much!

Pokemon-Tag08-Rapidash

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I read Paper Princess by Erin Watt in a day…and thought it was a little too “fire-hot” for YA…

Pokemon-Tag09-Eevee

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We are getting a Red Rising spin-off series AND a pre-quell comic book!!!

Pokemon-Tag14-Magikarp

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The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Even though the first book in the series didn’t quite live up to the hype, I fell in love with the series in the second book.

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The Dreamland series by E.J. Mellow. I’ve seen soooo many glowing reviews on it. I want to go to there.

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I would love to have a first edition of a Jane Austen book!

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The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is getting a lot of hype lately.

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Pierce Brown. I will read anything he ever writes. This Adventure Ends also convinced me to make Emma Mills an auto-buy.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo!!! This month!!!

The Olympic Book Tag: Take 2

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I love the Olympics and I love Olympic Book Tags! Yes, I have already done one, but there are 2 Olympic Book Tags floating around the blogosphere and Deanna from A Novel Glimpse, tagged me for this one.

The Opening Ceremony — What book did you think had an incredible opening?

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Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. I was hooked on this book from the start


The Games — What is your favorite fictional competition?

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The Hunger Games is literally the only book I can think of with a competition. I feel kind of bad for saying it’s my favorite competition, though, haha.


The Original — The modern games are based on the original Greek competition – what is your favorite book based on a classic?

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Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London. A cute re-telling of Pride and Prejudice


The Eternal Flame  — What is one ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen?

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I usually end up shipping the ship we’re supposed to ship, so the only one I can really think of is *Ruin and Rising Spoilers* Nikolai and Alina. While I was ok with her ending up with Mal, Nikolai was always my favorite.


Gymnastics — What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

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Golden Son. I was trying really hard not to repeat books, but what is a tag without a Red Rising mention?!


The Controversial Judge  — What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people?

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I just don’t get it. I really did not like this book at all, but the blogosphere loves it.


Beach Volleyball  — What is your favorite fictional duo?

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I’m going to go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. I thought they were a great example of a romantic pairing also working together for the greater good.


Weightlifting — What is the most massive book on your shelf?

A collection of Jane Austen’s novels. I love it.


Track & Field — What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?

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I read P.S. I Like You by Kasie West in a day.


Synchronized Swimming — What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why?

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Pretty Little Liars. I made it to book 10 before I couldn’t take anymore.


The Tortured Fan — What fictional family, group, nation, or organization do you irrationally root for no matter how many times they break your heart?

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Joe from the You series. He is a sociopath, but I always root for him.


Closing Ceremony — What book had an ending that just blew your mind?

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Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Olympic Book Tag

Olympic Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Brandie is a Book Junkie and since I am a little obsessed with the Olympics, I knew I had to do it.

01 - Olympics

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I read this book in one sitting.

02 - Olympics

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins.

03 - Olympics

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. There are not many books that can pull off a good love triangle, but this one definitely does.

04- Olympics

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a re-telling and I think maybe I should’ve read the source material to really appreciate it.

05 - Olympics

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Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot. I don’t actually remember if this takes place in the summer, but it’s definitely a beach read, so I’m counting it.

06 - Olympics

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Golden Son by Pierce Brown. And I loved every second of it!

07 - Olympics

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

08 - Olympics

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

09 - Olympics

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen. Not a lot of plot, but loads of character development.

10 - Olympics

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The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I read so, so many of these books as a kid.

11 - Olympics

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White Cat by Holly Black. This isn’t necessarily about animals, but the white “cat” plays an important role.

12 - Olympics

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. While I liked many other books by this author, this one just drove me completely insane.

13 - Olympics

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I just loved the group of friends in this series.

14 - Olympics

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Ok, this one isn’t actually about the Olympics, but it does have a side character that’s an ice skater trying to get into the Olympics.