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Unstoppable: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Hello!

Is there an author who, in your opinion, can do no wrong? That author whose books you always enjoy. Ally Carter is this author for me. Everything she writes is awesome — her Gallagher Girls series is one of my favorites and Heist Society is really fun too. I was really excited to hear about Embassy Row, her newest series, and had high expectations, so I read All Fall Down, the first book in the Embassy Row series and as I mentioned before Ally Carter didn’t let me down! She is unstoppable!

Overview

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:All Fall Down by Ally Carter

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . .  and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

My Thoughts

I had high expectations for All Fall Down, I was also nervous that I’d be disappointed because it wasn’t a Gallagher Girls novel, which are still some of my favorite books ever. As I started listening to the audiobook I was quickly rewarded with an interesting main character, and a plot full of family secrets and political intrigue, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

That interesting main character is Grace, who is carrying some deep wounds and insecurity. Grace knows her mother is dead, feels alone within her own family and is struggling to feel normal. On top of all that she is dealing with the fact that she is alone in her belief that her mother was murdered. Grace is definitely flawed – she makes some majorly questionable choices and hurts a lot of people while trying to prove she is capable and normal. Isn’t that what makes her interesting though?

One of my favorite things about Ally Carter’s novels is that they’re set in a contemporary time, but are located in a special place that makes the story feel more fantastical.Take the Gallagher Girls series, for example, which is set in today’s United States but takes place in a secret boarding school to train young spies (super cool right?). All Fall Down is similar in that the story happens in today’s world, but it is set in a fictional European country and even more specifically in the very unique setting of the Embassy houses. Because the story takes place in the embassies of many different countries, Grace’s story is placed in the middle of political intrigue and high society events, which makes it that much more captivating! I mean seriously mystery abounds…there are secret underground tunnels! For realz!

I am so relieved and happy that All Fall Down turned out to be a great start to what seems like a fun series! Ally Carter…she will not let you down! Book two, See How They Run, is set to release in January 2016 and I’m so excited I can’t wait!!excited

Have you read All Fall Down —What’d you think? Who, in your opinion, is that unstoppable author that can do no wrong? Please leave your comments below, I love reading them!

Details

Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 20, 2015)
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
Length: 8 hours and 32 minutes
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: YA

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Reading Queue: June

The Reading QueueHi friends!

What month is it?! June you say?! Oh my gosh! June is going to be crazy. First, my maternity leave is over and I started back at work today for one week until the end of the school year (luckily I have a husband with a flexible schedule), I’m still learning how to be a mother to a now three month old, and we’re moving to the UK. Yup! That’s right friends! We’re packing up our little family and moving across “the pond” to Manchester, England for my husband’s job! So yeah, there’s a lot going on!

Let’s talk about my June Reading Queue in the midst of all this crazy, but exciting, life stuff! Remember that I co-host this monthly event with Jessica at Books A True Story, so be sure to visit her blog (and her Reading Queue) too!

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How I Did Last Month

May was a better reading month than April was. Two were continuations in series that I love and one was a new title by one of my favorite authors so I devoured these three books pretty quickly!

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson All Fall Down by Ally Carter Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood

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My June Reading Queue

I have absolutely no idea how the month of June is going to be on the reading front. Moving to a new country is going to take up a lot of time, and although I am preparing myself mentally for less time to read I’m adding six books to this month’s queue!

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Defy by Sara B. Larson The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare The Diry Diary by Anna Staniszewski

Defy by Sara B. Larson

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Dirt Diary Anna Staniszewski

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What are you planning to read this month? Did you reach your goals in May?  We would love for you to join up with us! It’s a fun way to see what others are planning to read each month. Plus, you never know who wants to read the same book you do! If you’d like to join up, just link to your own Reading Queue post below!

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Reading Queue: May

The Reading Queue

Hello there!

April was such a busy, yet fun, month!

In addition to staying on routine with a newborn (now two months old!) we had a bunch of family visitors over the past few weeks. First, my brother and sister-in-law came for a long weekend to meet their little nephew for the first time! A few days later, my parents came to visit for few days. Then after that, my in-laws came into town to see Colin as well.  I’m telling you, they only want to see Colin!

Let’s talk about my May Reading Queue. I don’t know if May is going to be any slower than April, but we can hope that I get more reading in! Remember that I co-host this monthly event with Jessica at Books A True Story, so be sure to visit her blog (and her Reading Queue) too!

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How I Did Last Month

With so many visitors April was a rough reading month for me as I only finished two books. Also Shadow Scale was SUPER long so I didn’t have much time for other books this past month.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

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My May Reading Queue

In May I think I’ll do better than I did last month. None of the books are as massively long as Shadow Scale was and we don’t have nearly as many visitors coming in town. Plus, I’ve been cleared to start exercising again and I’ll be working my way back into running, so audiobooks are my game again!

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

All Fall Down by Ally Carter Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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What are you planning to read in May? Did you reach your goals in April?  We would love for you to join up with us! It’s a fun way to see what others are planning to read each month. Plus, you never know who wants to read the same book you do! If you’d like to join up, just link to your own Reading Queue post below!

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Reading Queue: April

The Reading QueueHi there!

As of today I’ve officially been a mom for a month! I have to say that it’s pretty darn challenging…but also very, very awesome as well! Colin and I are getting to know each other a little better every single day.

But as I said, it’s a new month which means it is time for a new Reading Queue. I co-host this monthly event with Jessica at Books A True Story, so be sure to visit her blog (and her Reading Queue) too!

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How I Did Last Month

I had no idea what to expect reading-wise during my first month with a newborn, but I was pleasantly surprised! I managed to read three books during March. I already loved audiobooks to begin with (which you already know! haha), but I can see that they’re going to be my main source of reading material in these early months because I can “read” and be hands-free!

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford Ruby Red by Kertin Gier Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)

Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)

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My April Reading Queue

I have high hopes for this month because I hit the mother load when I visited my local library the other day. I found a bunch of new titles on audiobook! I couldn’t believe some of them were just sitting there on the shelf! I was like “WHAT?! NO ONE HAS CHECKED THESE OUT YET?!” It was awesome. So here are the titles that are in my plans for the month – all are audiobooks.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Emerald Green (The Ruby Red Trilogy #3) by Kerstin Gier

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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What are you planning to read in April? Did you reach your goals in March?  We would love for you to join up with us! It’s a fun way to see what others are planning to read each month. Plus, you never know who wants to read the same book you do! If you’d like to join up, just link to your own Reading Queue post below!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Welcome to YA

Hi there everyone!

I’m typing up this post from the Detroit airport as I’m waiting for my flight back home to South Carolina. I spent the weekend at an International Baccalaureate educator’s workshop specifically for librarians and it was pretty darn awesome. I met a lot of like-minded librarians from around the world and learned a ton about the IB programs!

But now it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday. It’s been a few weeks so remember that Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish and I participate on a (mostly) weekly basis. This week’s theme is “gateway books” and I’ve decided to focus on books that I recommend to friends and other adults to welcome or introduce them to YA or Middle Grades fiction. Obviously, I do take into account the readers’ interests, but these are some of my “go-to” titles for recommendation. Each of these titles have successfully hooked an adult reader into YA fiction!

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

This is one I recommend the most. It’s great for sci-fi/dystopian lovers and pretty much anyone.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I mean, this is just YA canon. It’s a fabulously easy gateway into YA.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My go-to for contemporary romance lovers

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

If you’re a fantasy fan, I’ll recommend this to you!

Princess Academy by Shannon HalePrincess Academy by Shannon Hale

For those who enjoy a good fairy tale, middle grades style.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Those interested in historical fiction will be hooked.

I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterI’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

For those looking for a fun, girly read with some spying thrown in.

Along for the Ride by Sarah DessenAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Dessen is always good for a realistic contemporary beach read.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail CarrigerEtiquette & Espionage by Catherine Fisher

For those who enjoy some steampunk fun!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

For those interested in some supernatural romance you can’t beat Clare.

There are tons of other books I recommend to introduce adult readers to YA, but these are the ones that come up the most frequently. Each of the ten titles listed above are guaranteed to get you hooked into YA…just let them be your gateway drug!!

 

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Reading Queue: March

The Reading QueueHi there!

Welcome back friends!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other

Snowy House

I like the way our house wears snow!

participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

Well, let me start out by saying that February was a big month in our household. We had our second snow days ever! South Carolina had a huge snow and ice storm in early February and the school district was closed for about a week.  I love snow days because they force you to snuggle down and just relax!

What I read in February

Those snow days allowed me to read some really awesome books!

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (audibook)

LaFevers’ books are just amazingly engrossing. I cannot put them down.

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter (print)

A fitting end for my beloved Gallagher Girls series. I will forever wish I was a real Gallagher Girl!

The Sound of Your Voice Only Really Far Away by Frances O'Roark DowellThe Sound of Your Voice…Only Really Far Away by Frances O’Roark Dowell (print)

What a suprisingly sweet read. I really enjoyed this one!

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergBetter Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (e-galley)

This was my first Eulberg read and I absolutely thought it was a winner!

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner (audiobook)

I really like Dashner’s ability to write page turners.

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

I listened to almost half of this audiobook in one day (thank you snow days) because it was THAT good. I had a hard time going back to work because it meant I couldn’t listen to this one all day!

My March Reading Queue

So I have high hopes for myself this month! There are a ton of books I want to read/listen to, so I figure I’ll go big or go home right!?

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook)

VIrals by Kathy ReichsVirals by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppellSkyBreaker by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

Starclimber by Kenneth OppelStarClimber by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascendence Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Neilsen (e-galley)

Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty (print)

Jinx by Sage BlackwoodJinx by Sage Blackwood (print)

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl (print)

March, you’re going to be a great reading month, I just know it! Are you familiar with any of the titles on my Reading Queue this month?  Are there any I should put ahead of others?  I’ve already started Fangirl, so that’ll be my first one of the month!


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Reading Queue: February

The Reading QueueWell hi there!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hiya!) and Books: A true story , where we share our reading plans for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did Last Month

January is such a great month! I’m always so motivated to do stuff…you know, the whole New Year Effect! haha So, I managed to read seven books in January, three of which were on my Reading Queue! I just feel so accomplished!

Runaway King by Jennifer A. NeilsenThe Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Fever Crumb by Philip ReeveFever Crumb by Philip Reeve

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite (The Selection #2) by Keira Cass

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Airborn by Kenneth OppelAirborn by Kenneth Oppel

Cress by Marissa MeyerCress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer (ARC)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My February Reading Queue

Oh hai February! You’re already here! Wow! Well, my hope is to continue my motivation and read the heck out of some books this month! I was just talking with Alexa Loves Books on twitter last night about how there are just so many books to I want to read!  She said:

Oh so very, very true! hahaha Considering that deep thought, let me share my Reading Queue with you!

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter (print)

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (print)

Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B.. Larson (e-galley)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascension Trilogy #3) by Jennifer E. Nielsen (e-galley)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers (audiobook)

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds by James Dashner (print)

I did pretty good with six last month, so let’s try one more! Have you ready any of the titles on my Reading Queue for February? If so, which ones should I make top priority?  Also, don’t forget to join up with us this month!

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Reading Queue: January

The Reading QueueHappy New Year!

Welcome to the first Reading Queue of 2014!

The Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (howdy!) and Books: A true story , where we share our reading plans for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did Last Month

Okay…so I didn’t read any of the books on my queue for December 2013! WHAT?! I know! I DID read, just not any books that I had planned to. That is a great example of how I was feeling in December! haha Okay, so here are the titles I actually did read last month:

Changeling by Philippa Gregory Changeling (Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory (print)

Prodigy by Marie LuProdigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (audiobook)

Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani TurnerDays of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor (audiobook)

The Humming Room by Ellen PotterThe Humming Room by Ellen Potter (print)

My January Reading Queue

I have high hopes of starting 2014 off right! I hope to read all of these this upcoming month. I think I can! I think I can! Which should I make a priority?

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Fever Crumb by Philip ReeveFever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera Cass

What books are you planning on starting the year off right with? If you’re interested in joining up, please add your Reading Queue post to the linky below! We’re happy to have you!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait to Devour

Hello!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday! I’m very happy that its officially November because November is my birthday month! Yay! Also, November means that it’s time for YALL Fest and my trip to the UK and Belgium over Thanksgiving Break!

I have so much to look forward to this month, but I’m also looking forward to getting my hands on this list of sequels! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Broke and Bookish) theme is sequels I’m excited about. Some of the books on my list have already been released and some won’t release for a while now, but they’re all books I can’t wait to devour as soon as possible!

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail CarrigerCurtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger

It releases tomorrow! Its on pre-order!

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonThe Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson

Should be released sometime in 2014.

Prodigy by Marie LuProdigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

One that I own already. I just haven’t read it yet.

Runaway King by Jennifer A. NeilsenThe Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2)  by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Already released and I just bought it at my Book Fair!

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

Already released, I just need to get it!

Sisters' Fate by Jessica SpotswoodSisters’ Fate (Cahill Chronicles #3) by Jessica Spotswood

Scheduled for August 2014. Come on summer!

Cress by Marissa MeyerCress (The Luna Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Up for release in February 2014.

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanThe Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

Not until March 2015?! WHAT?!

The One by Kiera CassThe One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

I have to wait until May 2014.

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter

This was released a few months ago and I own it!

In the word of my friend Steve, “But I NEED them!” Who else needs these books?

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Reading Queue: November

the-reading-queueHi there!

Welcome to my November Reading Queue!

The Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hi there!) and Books: A true story , where we share our reading plans  for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

Each month we’ve had a few more people join up with us which is pretty exciting! I love visiting the other blogs who participate, it’s just fun to see what everyone else is reading!

How I Did Last Month

Guys, I completely sucked with reading in general during October! And when I did read I didn’t keep to my Reading Queue! LAME. Plus, I didn’t even read anything in print this past month, I only listened to audiobooks, which is not a bad thing (because I love audiobooks), just odd.

Chime by Franny BillingsleyChime by Franny Billingsley (audiobook)
I loved this strange supernatural read. It reminded me a lot of The Gemma Doyle trilogy.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. LockhartThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (audiobook)

Okay, so I liked parts of this book a lot, but the end left me feeling “meh”.

Legend by Marie LuLegend by Marie Lu (audiobook)

My husband and I started and finished this on the drive to and from my little brother’s wedding.

Pandemonium by Lauren OliverPandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

Requiem by Lauren OliverRequiem by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

I really enjoyed this series, but wanted more at the end.

My November Reading Queue

Again, I have high hopes for my reading this coming month. Hopefully I can actually stay on track because I REALLY want to read all the books I have listed here. I’ll be on a plane to and from the UK later this month, so that will be a big help!

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (ebook)

City of a Thousand Dolly by Miriam ForsterCity of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster (print)

The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (audiobook)

I just started this one and I’m really liking it a lot so far!

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter (print)

Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant by Veronica Roth (print)

AHHHHH!

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (print)

Some steampunk to brighten my month!

Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani TurnerDays of Blood & Starlight by Lani Taylor (audiobook)

 There you have it! What are you planning to read during November? Have you read any of the titles on my Reading Queue? Do you have any suggestions on which I should start with?

If you’re interested in joining up, add your Reading Queue post to the linky below! We’re happy to have you!