#ReadIndie Book Review: The Road to Amazing by Brent Hartinger

book review (2)


Russel Middlebrook is gettin’ hitched!
The wedding is taking place in a remote lodge on an island in Puget Sound. Russel and his husband-to-be have invited all their close friends to spend the whole weekend together beforehand.

And for the first time in his life, Russel is determined to not be neurotic, and not over-think things.

But that’s before things start going wrong. Who expected a dead killer whale to wash up on the beach below the inn? And what’s this about a windstorm approaching? Then there’s the problem of Russel’s anxious fiancé, who is increasingly convinced the whole thing is going to be a disaster.

Meanwhile, the wedding is taking place near the ruins of a small town, Amazing, where, a hundred years earlier, the people supposedly all disappeared overnight. Why does it feel like the secret at the end of the road to Amazing has something to do with Russel’s own future?

Can Russel’s friends Min, Gunnar, Vernie, and Otto somehow help him make it all make sense?

It’s funny, because contrary to what the religious nutjobs tell you, I think gay guys like weddings more than anyone else. And it isn’t that we’re mocking the institution of marriage, or because we want to destroy it all to hell. It’s because we really, really want to get married.

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Music Monday [#2] | Madi Wolf − Lucky

Music mondays

Music Monday is a weekly feature hosted by Total Book Geek. The rules of the feature are simple:

  • Choose a book or a scene from a book.
  • Choose a song that fits said book or scene.
  • Tell us why you paired them together.
  • Don’t forget to share the title and author.
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!


This week I’m going to be talking about Madi Wolf’s debut single, Lucky, and Brent Hartinger’s finale to the Russel Middlebrook series, The Road to Amazing.

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Anticipated 2016 Releases

Now that we’ve broken the seal on the new year I think it’s time to give a list of some books that I’m looking forward to this year. Some of these book have titles, covers and synopses, while others have one or none. Either way, here’s a list of my most anticipated 2016 releases in order of release date:

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson


With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

Release date: January 26th, 2016

Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi


For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen–Conquest, Famine, and Death–are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now–bound, bloodied, and drugged–Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for–not to mention all of humankind–he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

Release date: February, 16th 2016

A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Release date: February, 23rd 2016

The Road to Amazing (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #3) by Brent Hartinger


According to the author’s blog post:

What’s The Road to Amazing about? Well, I don’t want to give too many spoilers, especially if you haven’t read Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams yet. But I can say the book takes place over the course of a single wild weekend, there’s a mystery element, and Russel’s friends Otto, Min, Gunnar, and Vernie Rose are all back with plenty going on in their lives.

Release date: March 2016

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater


All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Release date: April, 26th 2016

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab


The city of Verity has been overrun with monsters, born from the worst of human evil. In North Verity, the Corsai and the Malchai run free. Under the rule of Callum Harker, the monsters kill any human who has not paid for protection. In the South, Henry Flynn hunts the monsters who cross the border into his territory, aided by the most dangerous and darkest monsters of them all—the Sunai, dark creatures who use music to steal their victim’s souls.

As one of only three Sunai in existence, August Flynn has always wanted to play a bigger role in the war between the north and the south. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate Harker, daughter of the leader of North Verity, August jumps on it.
When Kate discovers August’s secret, the pair find themselves running for their lives and battling monsters from both sides of the wall. As the city dissolves into chaos, it’s up to them to foster a peace between monsters and humans.

A unique, fast-paced adventure that looks at the monsters we face every day—including the monster within.

Release date: July, 5th 2016

Crooked Kingdom (The Dregs #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Following SIX OF CROWS, this is the second book in a new fantasy epic from the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING, Leigh Bardugo.

SIX OF CROWS took Leigh’s fans back into the world they know and love, and now she continues the adventure in the dangerous and fascinating underworld of Ketterdam city.

As gripping, sweeping and memorable as The Grisha Trilogy, this is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore and Game of Thrones.

Release date: September, 22nd 2016

The Lost Metal (Mistborn #7) by Brandon Sanderson

The Lost Metal is the tentative title for the fourth and final book set in Mistborn Era 2.

Release date: October, 20th 2016

The Black Key (The Lone City #3) by Amy Ewing

Release date: 2016

The Inexplicable Logic of My Heart by Benjamin Alire Saenz

A YA novel set in El Paso about family and friendship, life and death, by Printz Honor author Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe).

Release date: 2016

T5W: Books You’re Thankful For

I know it’s not Wednesday but I’ve been super busy and super out of it the past few weeks, hence the inactivity. Then Sara told me about this week’s Top 5 Wednesday and I thought this topic would be fun to do.

Without further ado, let’s get into five books that I’m thankful for:


5. Geography Club by Brent Hartinger


Geography Club is probably one of the most influential books in my adolescent life. Granted I discovered the book after I saw the movie, I still adored it. It’s almost scary how similar I am to Russel, but it just made the book all the more impacting. I even got the opportunity to beta read for the current sequel series which chronicles Russel’s life as a young adult in contemporary times. Brent Hartinger will never know how grateful I am to him for writing these books.

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth


Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the series as a whole, or even the book itself right now, Divergent was the book that got me back into the world of reading – and YA. I remember reading it in 2013 and being so fascinated by the concept of dividing people by their personality. Even now as I’m learning about personality theorists, doing research and writing papers I still think about the world Roth has created.

I may not be finishing the series, or even interested in what Roth has to write next, but I’m still thankful to have crossed paths with Divergent.

3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived

If you know me at all you would know how much I love Victoria Schwab. The Archived series will be the death of me. Just thinking about it is getting me emotional and I can’t even write right now.

I love her so much. 

2. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm


The first book that I’ve had to read for school and completely finished. Not only is it an interesting read, it gave me a lot of insight on how people (and I) handle relationships – romantic and otherwise. I’m probably going to use the information presented in this book to psychoanalyse myself to another depressive episode but it was worth it.

1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


Easily my favorite book of the year (so far). I wrote a full review of this book here, but it took me forever. I had such a maelstrom of feelings from this book and it pretty much destroyed my ability to focus on another.

Adam Silvera, touché. I look forward to your new book next year. (And call me 😉 )

Book Review: Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger



“There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I’d already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked.”

Twenty-four year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter.

Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets Isaac Brander, a once-famous film producer who is convinced he can turn Russel’s screenplay into a movie.

Russel knows that success can’t possibly come this easy. After all, most of Russel’s Los Angeles friends are so desperate to make it that it’s downright scary. His ex-boyfriend, Otto, is trying everything to become an actor, and Daniel, the sexy neighbour, doesn’t even need a casting couch to get naked.

So what’s the catch with Mr. Brander? Could it be that movies about Hollywood don’t tell the whole truth? But what does that mean for Russel’s soul?

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August 2015 Anticipated Releases!

I thought August didn’t have a lot to anticipate but then I checked Goodreads. I’m not super excited for a couple of these but they sure do sound interesting. As always, click the cover images to be linked to the GR pages:

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi


Genre(s): contemporary, realistic fiction

Release date: 4th August, 2015

The Uninvited by Cat Winters


Genre(s): paranormal, historical fiction

Release date: 11th August, 2015

Reawakened by Colleen Houck


Genre(s): urban fantasy, mythology

Release date: 11th August, 2015

Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger


Genre(s): contemporary, LGBT fiction

Release date: 14th August, 2015

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman


Genre(s): historical fantasy

Release date: 25th August, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray


Genre(s): paranormal, historical fiction

Release date: 25th August, 2015

Air Awakens by Elise Kova


Genre(s): fantasy

Release date: 27th August, 2015

July 2015 Wrap Up!

July was a very odd month for me. I was busier than normal getting a lot of errands done and I also got hooked on Steven Universe. The entire time I didn’t feel like reading which made for some erratic activity like binge reading five volumes of manga a day or DNF’ing more books than usual. But it’s over now and let’s hope that August will be better.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


Rating: ☆☆☆☆½

End of Days by Thomas E. Sniegoski


Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger


Rating: ☆☆☆

Soulless by Gail Carriger


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

The House of Stone by Amy Ewing


Rating: ☆☆☆☆

World Trigger vol. 6-10 by Daisuke Ashihara


vol 6: ☆☆☆☆☆

vol 7: ☆☆☆☆☆

vol 8: ☆☆☆☆☆

vol 9: ☆☆☆☆☆

vol 10: ☆☆☆☆

Something Like Winter by Jay Bell


Rating: DNF

Tristen: The Last Seeker by Fleur Camacho


Rating: DNF