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In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters - Review

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I read an ARC copy I was lucky enough to find for free at my local bookstore.

In 1918, the world is on the verge of apocalypse what with the death, destruction, and despair from Spanish Influenza and WWI. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black, named after the author of Frankenstein, watches as desperate mourners visit séances and spirit photographers hoping to find some little piece of comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink everything because Stephen, her first love—a boy who died a hero's death on the battlefield — comes back in spirit form. Mary Shelly's every curious mind needs to know why he's come back to her.

I was so thrilled when I came across this ARC because I'd been wanting to read it for so long. I wasn't disappointed and I greatly enjoyed reading this tragic paranormal mystery set during the Great War and Spanish Influenza outbreak. And, there are even interesting tim…

Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions for 2015

I know I'm getting to this a little late (I've just been so busy lately), but yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, was Resolutions for 2015.  Since today is New Year's Eve, I figured today is just as good of a day for me to post it.  I usually don't make formal resolutions, but here are some of my goals for reading, blogging, and life in general.

Catch up on my series reads - I've started so many that I need to finish or catch up on this coming year.

Don't buy as many books when I already own so many that I haven't read yet.

Reorganize my personal book collection.

Read broadly and from outside of my comfort zone.

Donate more books to my local library.

Write more - aside from social media and reviews, I mean.

Become more unique with my blog content - host another giveaway, event, or interview of some sort.

Come up with a new feature for my blog - still trying to come up with ideas for this one.

Complete my Goodreads group ch…

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist - Review



Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. Four identical girls (except for their hair colors) who spend their days doing the same thing in order to learn by their two adult keepers. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.

You know, I think the cover is what got me on this one - that and the fact that is was only $1.99 at Ollie's...and you know the description on the dust jacket doesn't sound too bad. Turns out I only made it through the first chapter (nearly 20 pages). What is called a "stark directness and straightforward tone" on the dust jacket, I call highly tedious. It was so slow, boring, and repetitive that I gave up after only 20 pages. If that's how it opens, I wonder how the rest of it comes across... Even though it extremely repetitive, I had a hard time rememberi…

The War of the Sidhe: Dawn Arising by Annalise Josephine Sullivan - Review

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I won a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program.

Fifteen-year-old Lilith Becker is a regular Los Angeles teen. Until, that is, she learns she's a Descendant of The Morrígan of ancient Irish mythology, and is a part of a prophecy that could decide the fate of mankind. She'll have to make a decision between the light and darkness, a decision that will move the war beyond humans.

If you enjoy Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, or perhaps even Hounded by Kevin Hearne, you will love this action-packed YA fantasy novel. Annalise Josephine Sullivan works Celtic mythology into this wonderful series opener to great effect.

I loved meeting our cast, especially considering how the author would depict the Tuatha Dé Danann in relation to Lilith. She did a pretty fantastic job, and Lilith herself is also well-drawn. I am looking forward to seeing more of the Sidhe world, and even other pantheons.

The only reason I'm giving this four stars i…

Christmas Book Haul!!

I did very well this holiday season!  Which should I read first: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin, Schizo by Nic Sheff, The Girl From Felony Bay by J. E. Thompson, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, The Fall by Bethany Griffin, Revival by Stephen King, The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Denard, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Martian by Andy Weir, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, or Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers?

The Friday 56: The New Joys Of Jell-O Brand Gelatin Dessert Recipe Book

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.
These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

This week I'll be sharing a recipe with you from a 1974 Jell-O cookbook I received for Christmas.  You can see my review here.  The recipe is actually from page 58 - there is a picture of the recipe on page 56 and 57.


Richelieu Mold
(photographed on page 56)

1 can (16 oz.) pitted dark sweet cherries
1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Gelatin, any red flavor
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup diced orange sections, well drained
1 cup Birds Eye Cool Whip Non-Dairy Whipped Topping, thawed, or prepared Dream Whip Whipped Topping
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds

Drain cherries reserving 3/4 cup of the syrup. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add reserved syrup…

The New Joys Of Jell-O Brand Gelatin Dessert Recipe Book - Review

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So, Mom got me this for Christmas! Weirdly, I kind of like looking at strange old cookbooks - it seems like whenever I go to an antique shop I see cookbooks using either Jell-O or bananas (banana meat loaf, anyone?). I cannot believe that these were as actually popular, or, even edible for that matter. This is one of the newest (1974) I've seen for a Jell-O cookbook - I've seen some real doozies from the 1950-60s!

A few of the recipes in here aren't bad, like Jell-O cubes or Jell-O with fruit. Those are standard Jell-O fare, right? Some of these I may just try. Well, it's when you start adding mayo, sour cream, olives, tuna, pickles, tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, turkey, and assorted vegetables to that Jell-O that things start to get downright weird and disgusting. In the future, I may actually try to make one of those just to see if they are as bad as they sound. For example, "Chicken Mousse", "Molded Ham and Egg Salad", "Creamy B…

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  May you spend your time with good people, have a delicious meal, and enjoy your gifts as much as as my cat is enjoying this stack of boxes.


The Silent Deal (The Card Game #1) by Levi Stack - Review

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I received a free copy of The Silent Deal from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Viktor and Romulus, two young Russian serfs, awaken the wrath of a mysterious overlord as they begin to investigate the mystery shrouding their town. Their search takes them through gambling parlors, fortune-teller dens, and dangerous forests they've never seen the likes of in the past. But even with the help of their friends, can they escape the dark experiments that their foe is creating in Staryi Castle?

The Silent Deal was such a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the story, but it's a great beginning to The Card Game series by Levi Stack. The prologue had me hooked right from the beginning.

There are so many elements I enjoyed when it came to the story. I haven't read that many YA (or possibly upper-Middle Grade) novels set in 1830's Russia, so that aspect alone is quite fascinating. I also liked the fact that Stack weaves R…

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year

This week the theme of Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books that I wouldn't mind Santa bringing this Christmas.  Well, like usual, I have more than ten to include but I'll try to narrow it down.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


The Walled City by Ryan Graudin


The Martian by Andy Weir


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


Skin Game by Jim Butcher


Schizo by Nic Sheff


Red Rising by Pierce Brown


This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Revival by Stephen King


The Body Electric by Beth Revis



Bonus:

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters


The Fall by Bethany Griffin



What do you think of my list?  Do we both want the same thing for Christmas this year?

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu - Review

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Adelina Amouteru was a child when she survived the blood fever that wiped out a good portion of her country. Most who caught it died, but all of the children who lived came away from it with strange markings. Adelina's black hair turned silver and there's only a scar where left eye used to be. Her father considers her to be a Malfetto, an abomination ruining his merchant family's reputation and standing in the way of any potential business deals. However, there are rumors that some marked survivors have powerful and otherworldly abilities, and although their identities are secret they have come to be known as the Young Elites. As far as Adelina knows, she has no powers just scars, but on the worst night of her life she realizes that she is indeed a member of the Young Elites, with powers unlike anyone else. When she inadvertently gets pulled into the Dagger Society, a special group of Young Elites that fight against the kingdom's Inquisition Axis which se…

Holiday Mixed Bag Book Giveaway!

I know I love a good giveaway, so I thought I would return the favor to my friends and readers.  I'm hosting my very first Holiday Mixed Bag Book Giveaway!

My giveaway begins now and will run until Saturday, December 27.  I will be giving away six books and two lucky winners will have their choice of three books apiece:




To have a shot at winning these titles, please follow the link below!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Friday 56: From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.
These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


Jamie looked over at Claudia; he shouldn't have.  Claudia looked as satisfied as the bronze statue of the Egyptian cat she was standing near.  The only difference between them was that the cat wore tiny golden earrings and looked a trifle less smug.

[While at my local thrift shop, I spotted this classic in paperback.  Somehow, I've never read it, so I figured I better grab it while I could.]

Humpty Dumpty Jr.: Hardboiled Detective (Case #1 and Case #2) by Nate Evans, Paul Hindman and Vince Evans - Review

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Humpty Dumpty Jr. is the best hard-boiled egg for the case. He always catches the bad guy...except once when things got too personal with his dad. Now, a frantic call for help tells him that someone is making it personal again. And this time, Humpty better watch out before he gets scrambled.

I stumbled upon this awesome chapter-book series for young readers at my local Goodwill store. Needless to say, I fell in love with this pun-tastic fairy tale noir mystery. I've always enjoyed a good hard-boiled crime mystery and I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it turns out it's a pretty great combination of both worlds. I could easily hear all of the characters presented in these pages speaking inside my head and see them in gritty black and white.

I highly recommend this "Egg-cellent! Egg-citing! [and] Egg-splosive!" chapter book! If you have an interest in film noir, hard-boiled crime fiction, or fairy tales, …

Aces Wild (Sin City Collectors #1) by Amanda Carlson - Review

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I received a free ecopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Aces Wild is the first novella of the Sin City Collectors series. It follows a young dhampir Collector named Nevada on her mission to Collect a powerful vampire for the Boss. By the way, Collectors are supernatural bounty hunters. After screwing up her first vampire Collection job, she has been been assigned a partner to make sure things don't go south. Her partner is a hellhound named Jake. She and Jake have a history, a painful one, but they're both professionals. However, this new Collection will push them both to their limits.

I knew there was a reason I liked Amanda Carlson's urban fantasy! I love the characters she creates, even if they are sometimes a bit difficult to like. I also enjoy the detail that goes into her paranormal worlds. The Las Vegas of the Collector's sounds like one I would like to spend some more time in. I will be back for the rest of this series!


I rea…

Brew (Salem's Revenge #1) by David Estes - Review

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Salem's Revenge comes swiftly without warning and without mercy. Gangs of witches, warlocks, and wizards unite to wipe out the practically powerless human race. Rhett Carter's foster family is killed and his best friend and girlfriend are captured by one of the most powerful witch gangs out there, the Necros. Rhett's mysterious neighbor, who happens to be handy with a sword, saves Rhett from being another victim and teaches him everything he needs to know to survive in the new world. The only thing really keeping Rhett going is his need for revenge, that and his new witch hunting skills and his magged-up dog called Hex. His mission is to hunt down and kill those responsible for destroying everything good in his life. However, there are a few secrets Rhett doesn't know about himself - secrets that the enemy will stop at nothing to keep him from discovering - and learning the truth just might be the only hope humanity has left.

Brew is refreshing, thrillin…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read In 2014

It's time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  The theme this time around it Books I Read In 2014.  I've read some fantastic stories this year and theses are my absolute favorites.  I've tried to put them in order starting with my most recent read.

Jackaby by William Ritter


Resist by Anne-Rae Vasquez


The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy


Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson


All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


Half Bad by Sally Green


Blood Red Road by Moira Young


Hounded by Kevin Hearne



And here are three bonus, just because I couldn't pick only 10:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon



What do you think of my list?  Do we share any titles?  Have you read something that sounds like it might be something I would love?

Thanks and see you this time next week!