The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Genre: Not totally sure… Would appeal to YA, New Adult, Adult, Thriller, Action/Adventure, Sci-fi, Apocalypse
ISBN: 9780356500157
Published: June 6th 2014 by Hachette Audio
Rating: 5

the girl with all the gifts

I’m still reeling from this book. It’s addicting and fast-paced from the very first page, and ends with a surprising weight and finality. It’s the kind of wild book that ends in an unexpected way and you aren’t quite sure if the good guys won, or the bad guys won, mostly because you aren’t sure which is which anymore, or even who you were rooting for. The writing is subtly distant and formal, and yet personal at the same time. The humans are real. So are the Hungrys. The deaths hurt, the blossoming love fills the heart.

There’s so much I could say, but I really think the book says it the best. so:

1. Read it, even if it’s not your usual genre

2. I would 100% recommend it to anyone over the age of 14 (there is some graphic deaths and language)

3. I would totally read it again, and will read anything else by M. R. Carey.

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

There were a lot of things about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown that I liked. There was only one thing I didn’t like.

1. I liked that Vampires were both romanticized, and despicable. They were beautiful, physically, but they were ugly and awful and broken and were the worst thing to happen to the world. I liked that even though there was a love story, it wasn’t a “Turn me into a vampire so I can be with you forever” story.

2. I loved the plot. It was action packed from the first chapter, easy to follow, but still complicated. The amount of twisting and changing and plotting it must have taken is astonishing, and I have become a fan of Holly Black simply because of her artistry of working this plot.

3. I absolutely loved the protagonist, Tana. She is awesome. She is brave, kick-ass, hard working, she loves passionately in her own way, she is broken and imperfect, and she makes hard choices. She’s stubborn in a good way. She’s wonderful. I want to be like her when I grow up.

4. I liked all the characters. They were all well developed and unique. I would have liked to get to know Pearl, her sister, a little more. I would have liked more relation between Tana and Aiden pre-vampiric adventures, but all things considered, all the other characters were still awesome.

5. The writing itself was lyric, descriptive, and engrossing. It was almost impossible to put down (I only stopped because my ipod died…)

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was beautiful and excellent and sweet and nerve wracking… but the very last bit, the conclusion, the “now what,” was frustrating. I didn’t know what was going to happen and that irritates me. (HGHLIGHT TEXT FOR SPOILERS: does she sweat out the cold, or not? does she stay human? or forever cold? does she age? so many unanswered questions.)  I know the open ending lends itself to the feel of the novel. You know it ends one of two ways, and you know both options are equally possible. That keeps it in your mind. It makes you wonder. It lends itself to a sequel, if the publishers decide to pursue one. But it still annoyed me because I like to know what happens!

All that being said, It was an excellent book, and I would re-read/listen to it in a heartbeat.

*pun intended.

Genre: YA, Paranormal | ISBN: 9780316213103 | Published September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown | Rating: 5! | Amazon | Goodreads

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Calliger
Genre: YA, Steampunk
ISBN: 9781478926504
Rating: 5

Saphronia’s adventures at a not-quite-normal finishing school continue as she tries to figure out which student the local vampire is feeding on, who is trying to kidnap her best friend, and why the teachers are taking an emergency trip to London and bringing boys on the all-girl’s air ship. And those boys… they’re making life complicated.

This is one of those books that you can’t put down because you’ll go crazy. Also, I picked up book 2 nearly a year after reading book 1, and I had no trouble at all remembering details or getting back into the story.

There was a lot of drama in this one. It was good though. Silly teenage Victorian era drama. Fun stuff. Also boy drama. There’s this one boy who is a future duke… and boy has he fallen hard for Saphronia and her gorgeous green eyes and bright smile. But then there’s Soap, the sootie that she doesn’t know she’s in love with. So that’s a fun triangle.

I will admit the plot is a little more back and forth, and a little less of a straight line. Etiquette and Espionage was a straight line of a book… although there were subplots, there was one center line: the device. This one carries the story farther, and goes from the device’s true use, to what it has to do with the girls at the school, and then on to more plot devices (which I won’t include for the sake of spoilers). That being said, it was still 100% enjoyable, exciting, and fulfilling. The last chapter’s ending was a little abrupt, but I still liked it. Expertly narrated by the same Moira Quirk.

When Did You See Her Last

When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions #2) by Lemony Snicket
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780316123051
Published: Published October 15th 2013 by Little Brown (first published August 1st 2013)
Rating: DNF

As I said in the first book of this series, I found this book very hard to read (in my case, listen to) and hard to get into. The writing style was frustrating and a little annoying, and I found the characters frustrating. Maybe it’s because the time between reading books 1 and 2 was too long… but I just couldn’t get into this story, and I no longer care for the characters. It’s not that it’s bad… it’s just not for me.

Series review, Part 1: How to Train Your Dragon Series

How To Train Your Dragon Series part 1
100/5 stars!!!!!!

How To Train Your Dragon, How To Be A Pirate, How To Speak Dragonese, How To Break A Dragon’s Curse

This series follows young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III on his adventures from being an awkward young boy to a heroic Viking. Suffice to say it was quite a journey, because as you will see, Hiccup was definitely not originally cut out to be a Viking, let alone a hero. But with the help of his friend Fishlegs (a young boy with a squint, a lisp, and an allergy to reptiles), and his tiny, ridiculous, toothless dragon so adequately named “Toothless,” Hiccup becomes the most legendary leader of the Harry Hooligan tribe in the history of the Vikings.

My original plan for this series was to read each book and write up a little mini-review for each one and put them all together. Except there was a flaw in my plan. That flaw came out when I didn’t stop between books to write the mini-reviews. I couldn’t stop. I just kept going from one to the next. I read (listened) to one every day. I’m about to finish the fourth one and I don’t know how I’m going to survive waiting for the rest of the series to come in the mail! (I had them shipped to me in two parts).

Suffice to say I didn’t know what I signed up for when I requested these awesome audios for review. Each story is captivating from the very first sentence, and doesn’t let you go for the entirety of the story… even at the end you’re ready for the next ones. There were parts of the stories that made me laugh out loud, and others that made me gasp, and some endings that sent chill bumps down my arms. I’ve decided that I want to be a Viking when I grow up.

They’re expertly read by David Tennant (which may or may not have been the reason I requested them in the first place…) and are expertly “translated” (written) by Credissa Cowell. I’m adding Cowell to my Author Watch List. Also David Tennant does an amazing job with his excellent energy, pronunciation, and character voices (and swoon-worthy Scottish accent).

The point is, I’m a 22-year-old college graduate with an English degree. And I am totally in love with these children’s books. Guys, if you haven’t read them before, now is the time to get down to your nearest book store (preferably a local one) and grab these a.s.a.p..

About the Author

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton. Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring. Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit. How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others. Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.

Review: The Alligator Man

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan
Genre: Crime, Suspense | ISBN: 9781455508648 | Published: October 8th 2013 by Center Street | Amazon | Goodreads

Rating: 5

From Goodreads: Kevin Wylie's crooked boss wants to run him out of town, and Kevin's long-time girlfriend is ready to take a hike. He decides that now is the time to leave Miami, visit his father, who he hasn't seen in 28 years, and get some answers. Heading back to his hometown, he doesn't realize that he and his dad will become embroiled in a murder case.
The victim, one of the richest and most-hated corporate criminals in America has been dubbed The Alligator Man since pieces of his clothing were found in a local swamp. Billy Fuller had every reason in the world to want Johnson dead and all the evidence leads right to his doorstep. But legendary trial lawyer Tom Wylie believes in Billy and he and his son reunite to fight the courtroom battle for Billy's life.
The Alligator Man is a story of greed, anger, love, redemption and two powerful trial attorneys who fight to the end-- and risk everything--for the truth.

I decided I loved James Sheehan’s work after reading last year’s release The Lawyer’s Lawyer. I jumped at the chance to read this new book and was not at all disappointed.

The Alligator Man starts off with a chapter from the perspective of a murder victim. From the very first chapter, I was hooked. There were two parallel stories going on at the same time, and at one point I didn’t know how they related. About halfway through the book the connection became clear and suddenly every character was a thousand times more important, and every word more interesting. At one point the case seemed hopeless, at others it seemed there could be no other alternate ending. But of course there were several wild twists at the end that totally through me. Yeah, several. Not just one surprise. Like, surprise after surprise. And maybe a little bit of crying at the very end.

All in all, I loved The Alligator Man and am, once again, impressed with Sheehan’s ability to make a dry boring courtroom seem exciting, and to weave a powerful story about humans and love and greed and destiny.

The narration was very good, though not as good as The Lawyer’s Lawyer. In the same way that the narrator didn’t add anything to the book, he didn’t take anything away either.

Oi! It’s a new year!

Suffice to say I was a little busy this past year. Hopefully 2014 will be a year filled with lots of books. Especially because I’M A COLLEGE GRADUATE, GUYS!!!

Anyway. Here is the list of books I’ll be reviewing (hopefully) by the end of January.


I’ll Seize The Day Tomorrow by Jonathan Goldstein

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan

Parasite by Mira Grant

Rags and Bones by Melissa Marr

The October List by Jeffery Deaver

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Suite Life by Suzanne Corso

Anomaly by Krista McGee

The Art of Falling by Catherine Craft

How To Be Alone by Tanya Davis

In Mint Condition, 2013 by Shannon John

When Did You See Her Last by Lemony Snickett

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff (just have to finish this one)

Dark Secrets by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt

It’s a lot. I’ll do my best. Not making any promises.

I’m also hoping to get some writing done on my own book this year. But if I learned anything from college, it’s that you should read just as much as you write (if not more) so I’m going to make reading a priority again this year.I didn’t read enough last year and I started to feel it! you start to miss books. It’s awful.

In other news, I’m teaching at 3 ballet studios, and working full time at Panera Bread. So there’s that.

Happy (late) new year!

With love from me and Ariel my sweet kitty.



Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.