State of Merin


Welcome, October! It’s hard to believe that it’s the start of yet another month! First quarter at my school ends tomorrow, which means report cards are literally right around the corner; in fact, I have to have them finished by the 16th in order to have them ready and printed for parent-teacher conferences. If you’ve been a follower of this blog for any length of time you probably know how much I loathe doing my report card comments; luckily, for first quarter, I get to avoid this because we meet with the parents face-to-face, so I don’t have to spend the (ridiculously long) time crafting the comments this go ’round. Thank goodness!

I am a huge fan of the month of October in general, mostly due to the fall-inspired things that come out (hello, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING), and also all of the Halloween paraphernalia that you start seeing around the neighborhood (and also in stores). Also, hello, postseason baseball! That’s definitely a favorite. And Supernatural premiered last night as well (haven’t watched yet because I was watching the NL Wildcard Game instead), so all in all October brings about a few of my very favorite things.

This October I am going to focus on reading some books that I’ve been meaning to read the last several Octobers. Most notably on this list is Anna Dressed in Blood, which I’ve been wanting to read the past three Halloweens and have never managed. If I get to nothing else on my TBR list for Fall, I’m going to knock that one out! I’m also listening to The Scorpio Races, which, since it’s set during the fall, also seems appropriate. I shared my Fall TBR HERE, so if you wanted to take a look-see and let me know which titles you’d definitely recommend I try to get to this month, please feel free to do so!

And that’s all for me this month! I hope you have a fabulous October! ♥


Posted in Personal | Tagged | Leave a comment

REVIEW: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

icelikefireIce Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
Balzer + Bray, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installment: Snow Like Ashes

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for the first book in this series.

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

mythoughtsI really enjoyed reading Snow Like Ashes, so when Ice Like Fire was made available on Edelweiss I jumped at the chance to read it. I enjoyed Meira’s spark in the first book, and loved the growing romance between her and Theron, and – even though the summary of this one promised some drama – I was looking forward to immersing myself once again in this fantastical world. Unfortunately, Ice Like Fire didn’t live up to my expectations, and I actually found several things that I avidly disliked this go ’round. Meira wasn’t the same girl, Mather drove me nuts, and I wanted to strangle Theron. There were actually parts that made me eye roll extremely hard, and I found the whole book to be rather depressing. It didn’t help that I saw some of the twists coming a lot sooner than the characters, either. All in all, this book – to me – wasn’t nearly as good as the first one, although I will admit that it did keep me intrigued enough to make sure I’ll read the final book.

One thing I will say that I enjoyed was a look at the other countries of Primoria. Meira (and Theron) are sent to visit the neighboring lands – Summer, Autumn, Yakim and Ventralli – and I very much enjoyed getting a look at these other territories. Each of them is unique and interesting, and I liked discovering them through Meira’s eyes. It helped that Meira was on a quest to discover some hidden secrets about the chasm of magic, which created a bit of an adventure feel as well. I also very much loved Summer’s princess, who becomes a sort of friend to Meira. Of course, no quest is complete without some danger added in, and I liked that things became darker as the book went on and the true threat was revealed (even if I did see part of it coming).

Ice Like Fire is told in alternating viewpoints, so some chapters are from Meira’s point of view, and others are from Mather’s. I have to say that I didn’t like Mather’s chapters nearly as well as Meira’s. He’s very “poor me” at times, which was annoying to read, and I hated his whole opinion on how he should now act around Meira now that she was queen. He didn’t want to be king himself, but now that he isn’t he’s sort of aimless and wandering and very much blaming Meira for the state of their relationship when he really needed to look in the mirror a bit. While it never got to the point where I skimmed his chapters, it was definitely a close thing.

For me personally, Ice Like Fire was good, but not nearly as good as Snow Like Ashes. I really felt like the characters changed too much from the first book, and while I get that all three underwent some significant events to warrant some change, I felt like all three changed for the worse. Getting to see some of the other lands in Primoria was really interesting, and I did like the way the book ended in terms of the increase in action, but overall this book was just average. Of course, your mileage may vary – and I’ve seen others who say the complete opposite of what I’ve said here, so take this with a grain of salt – so, if you liked Snow Like Ashes, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!


An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

September Book Haul


[Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews]




⇒ featuring my Raven Boys candles from From the Page @ Etsy



I also picked up three Supernatural Funko Pop Mystery Minis from Novelty Realm. Aren’t they cute?

And that’s all for me! Which books did you pick up recently? Please link me to your posts!


Posted in Stacking the Shelves | Tagged , | 3 Comments

September in Review


Wow! How is it already October? I feel like I haven’t really been in school that long, and yet it’s almost the end of first quarter. This means the bane of my existence – report cards – is coming due as well, though, which I’m definitely NOT looking forward to.

In bookish news, I did okay with reading in September. Not great, but well enough, considering I was juggling a lot of work responsibilities and other things. I am hoping to do slightly better this month, though!


girlwhocircumnavigated wewereliars unearthly serpentsshadow


The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


winnerscrime insidious


I once again participated in Top Ten Tuesday last month, sharing my Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With, Ten Completed Series I Have Yet to Finish, the Top Ten Bookish Things That I’d Like to Own, the Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR, and Ten Mythology Retellings for Fans of Rick Riordan. I also shared posts #6, #7, #8, and #9 of my Midweek Musings.

I also shared my August in Review, my September State of Me, and August Book Haul.



Other Things I’m Anticipating: I am looking forward to it finally feeling like Autumn! I can’t wait for the cooler weather, and the leaves to change. I am also looking forward to the Friday I get off after parent-teacher conferences, since we haven’t had one since Labor Day and I could REALLY use a three-day weekend.

Hello, October! ♥


Posted in Month in Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Merin’s Mid-Week Musings #9


Mid-Week Musings is a new(ish) feature here at Read and Reviewed, where I sum up my reading for the past week and introduce a topic for discussion. It is inspired by Musing Mondays over at A Daily Rhythm and her previous WWW Wednesday meme, which has been discontinued.





winnerscrime insidious


Libraries! Do you visit your local library often? I used to go into the library and just peruse the shelves, but my time is so limited now – and I already have so much to read – that I instead am one of those that requests titles online and only pops in to pick them up. Right now I have Insidious checked out, and have one book on hold that hasn’t yet been released. There are a couple of other titles that I’m eyeing as well, but I want to wait until I get a few of my own books read first. Still, I am a huge library lover, and love the service it offers, and definitely make use of it when I can.

What about you? What are your library habits? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


Posted in Mid-Week Musings | Tagged | 1 Comment

Ten Mythology Retellings for Fans of Rick Riordan


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post asks us to come up with a ten books for fans of X-type thing. I had a bit of trouble settling on a topic, but in the end decided to go with my old standby, which is Mythology Retellings. So here is a list of Ten Mythology Retellings you should read if you like Rick Riordan.



vessel1) Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

fury2) Fury by Shirley Marr

valkyrierising3) Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

allourprettysongs4) All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

goddesstest5) The Goddess Test books by Aimee Carter

touchoffrost6) Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

zeus7) Olympians series by George O’Connor

fury8) Fury series by Elizabeth Miles

persephone9) Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

zeusgrantsstupidwishes10) Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien


So those are the books on my list this week! Which topic did you do? Please link me!


Posted in Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged | 17 Comments

MINI-REVIEW: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

unearthlyUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
HarperTeen, 2011
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees…

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.



  1. I am like the last person on earth to read this book. I kept putting it off, because of all the hype, and also because angel books and I haven’t gotten along so well in the past. But this one was good. Honestly I’m not sure I get the hype, though. It was good, not great.
  2. Portions of this book seemed to move REALLY slowly. There’s a lot of setup to get the reader understanding the plot, and there’s a little angel mythology thrown in but not a lot (because Clara doesn’t really know a whole lot about angels herself, even though she is one). The story also seemed to move fairly slowly, which I guess worked in terms of the romance, but also made for parts that I admittedly skimmed.
  3. Tucker Avery is amazing. Once he was introduced as a major player, the book really picked up. I found him charming, funny, and all-around awesome. I really enjoyed the time he and Clara spent together.
  4. Being the first in a trilogy, there are still some major questions left to be answered. I can’t help thinking that something major is up with Clara’s mom, and am also wondering a bit about her brother as well.
  5. I liked the female friendships Clara makes in this book. Angela and Wendy were both awesome in their own rights, and I liked that Clara spent time with them as well as the boys. (Side note: there IS a bit of a love triangle, but it’s more on the part of one of the boys than anything else. Once Clara and Tucker get together she’s pretty singleminded in her devotion.)

FINAL VERDICT: This was an intriguing start to the series, and sold me just enough that I bought the last two books. Best angel book ever? No. But there’s definitely still time to convince me!



Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Merin’s Mid-Week Musings #8


Mid-Week Musings is a new(ish) feature here at Read and Reviewed, where I sum up my reading for the past week and introduce a topic for discussion. It is inspired by Musing Mondays over at A Daily Rhythm and her previous WWW Wednesday meme, which has been discontinued.



wewereliars unearthly


winnerscrime serpentsshadow


Non-Bookish Favorites! What are your other loves besides reading? I am a huge sports fanatic, so spend a lot of time watching sports on TV (baseball is my favorite, but I also like tennis and college basketball, and anything and everything Olympics). I also love all things Disney, listening to music (I’m pretty eclectic in my taste), playing Spider Solitaire, and watching Supernatural. I collect mugs, pens, and Sharpies, and am a huge fan of magnetic bookmarks (so many cute ones on Etsy!). Also, Funko Pop figures are seriously the cutest things ever. ♥

What about you? I’d love to get to know you all a bit better, so if you’d like to share some things you love in the comments, please do so!


Posted in Mid-Week Musings | Tagged | 4 Comments

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post asks us to talk about the Top Ten Books on Our Fall TBR List. This is usually where I’d compile a list of new releases I’m looking forward to reading, but I’ve been really trying to focus on books I already own instead of ones that haven’t been published, so this will be a bit different. I am still including two upcoming releases, because I am super excited about them both, but the rest are all books I own.

So, here’s my list!



magnuschase1) Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
I’m currently working on finishing the Kane Chronicles, and have one book left to read in the Heroes of Olympus series, but – as a giant Rick Riordan fangirl – this book clearly had to make my list. I’m excited to see what he does with Norse mythology!

tenthousandskiesaboveyou2) Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
A Thousand Pieces of You was a pleasant surprise – and one of my favorites from last year – so I’m looking forward to reading the second installment.

annadressedinblood3) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
This has been on my TBR for the past three or four Halloweens and I’ve still never read it. I AM going to change that this year. I AM.

hallowed4) Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
I just finished Unearthly this past weekend and crashed headfirst into Team Tucker. Definitely want to know what’s going to happen next, even though I have a feeling it’s going to hurt me a bit.

tonightthestreetsareours5) Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life was AMAZING, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one. I actually preordered it and received it the day it was released, but haven’t had the time yet to dive into it!

scorpioraces6) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
A friend of mine raves about this book, and I picked it up on audio a long time ago but haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet. I adore the Raven Cycle books, so am looking forward to this one as well. I think it’ll be my next audiobook, after I finish The Winner’s Crime.

curefordreaming7) The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
A long overdue e-galley. But I also want to read it because I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and want to know how this one compares.

nevermore8) Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido
I picked up the first three Supernatural books, and definitely want to read at least one of them this fall. Fall and/or Halloween seems perfect to dive into the Winchester Brothers’ crazy cases!

coldestgirl9) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Another audiobook I picked up ages ago and have let sit. I love Holly Black’s books, so am excited to listen to this one.

blythewood10) Blythewood by Carol Goodman
This book just has a spooky feel to it, which makes it perfect (in my opinion) for fall. Not sure if I’ll actually get to it or not, but I’d definitely like to!


So those are the books on my Fall TBR! Which titles made yours? Please link me!


Posted in Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged | 16 Comments

REVIEW: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

wewereliarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press, 2014
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

mythoughtsI have heard lots and lots of chatter about We Were Liars since its release. Some of it praises the book, and some of it does the complete opposite. It seemed like folks were either on the “love it” or “hate it” side of the argument, so I was very curious to see where I would fall once I finally read the book myself. I do want to note right from the get-go that I listened to this book on audio, and – I think – that’s what made it work for me. The book is written in extremely short sentences, with an overabundance of purple prose, which worked in audio but probably would not have worked for me if I were reading a hardcopy. The narrative is kind of choppy as well, which makes sense since our point of view character is suffering from amnesia. This, of course, makes her rather unreliable as well, so there are definitely lots of things that could have gone wrong for me personally while I was reading. And yet, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the story and wondering throughout what the “twist” would be at the end, because that is the one thing that pretty much everyone did agree on. In the end I’m extremely glad I read this book, because it turned out to be one of the better ones I’ve read in a while.

Because of the nature of this book, I can’t actually talk about too terribly much without spoiling some aspect of the story. I will say, though, that the Sinclair family made me angry and sad in equal turns. There’s a lot of racism in the book – namely from the grandfather – and it definitely colored my opinion of nearly everyone in the story. There’s also a lot of classism; this is a family that’s been raised with a silver spoon in their mouths, and none of them really have any clue how to function without the family money. Nonetheless, there were still portions of the book – particularly toward the end – that actually brought tears to my eyes. Emotional rollercoaster would probably be a good term to use here, because it definitely took me on an up and down ride.

There’s also a touch of forbidden love here, and while I couldn’t quite get behind it, it didn’t make it any less poignant, because that’s how teenage love actually feels. Mostly I just wanted Cadence to figure things out because I wanted to know what happened. There were lots of things pointing to the truth, but I didn’t put them together until it was actually figured out by Cady herself. Sometimes I pride myself on seeing things before they happen in books, but this was definitely one book that, in my opinion, worked simply because I DIDN’T figure it out. I don’t think the ending would have packed the same emotional punch if I had.

We Were Liars is definitely worth a read, mostly because it’s one of those that you can’t really know if you’ll like until you open it up and immerse yourself in the story. It won’t work for everyone, but for those it does work for, it will probably rank pretty darn high on your favorites list. Or at least that was the case for me!



Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments