Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

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.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting my current read, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare.  I've only just started it, but I'm very, very excited to be back in the Shadowhunter world! 

Without further ado:



Los Angeles, 2012

Shadow Market nights were Kit's favorite.  

They were the nights that he was allowed to leave the house and help his father with the booth.  He'd been coming to the Shadow Market since he was seven years old.  Eight years later he still felt the same sense of shock and wonder when he walked down Kendall Alley through Old Town Pasadena toward a blank brick wall - and stepped through it into an explosive world of color and light.


"You're all so tanned," Diaaa was saying.  "How are you all so tanned?  I thought it rained all the time in England!"

"I don't have a tan," said Tiberius matter-of-factly.  It was true, he didn't.  Ty detested the sun.  When they all went to the beach he was usually to be found under a terrifyingly huge umbrella, reading a detective story.  

"Great-Aunt Marjorie made us train outside all day," Livvy said.  "Well, not Tavvy.  She kept him inside and fed him bramble jelly."

"Tiberius hid," said Drusilla.  "In the barn."

"It wasn't hiding," said Ty.  "It was a strategic retreat."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Starting Sparks: April Edition

Welcome back to the April edition of Starting Sparks, a monthly writing link-up hosted by Emily @ Ink, Inc. and Ashley G. @ [insert title here].  The idea behind it is to spark your creativity and write on a theme posted at the first of the month by the co-hosts.  You can write whatever you like be it a short story, a scene, a poem, a piece of dialogue, or simply an exploration of an idea.  This month the selected theme is the following:

The Well-Dressed Time Traveler

I'm convinced that I saw a time traveler at work on three separate occasions this week - and no one else seemed to notice.  The first time I spotted him was when he hurried in front of the department desk at precisely 11:00 a.m. on a bustling Monday.  He looked like he had just stepped out of the 1880s, in a suit and top hat that wouldn't have looked out of place on an undertaker.  Two days later on Wednesday at the exact same time I saw him go by again looking worriedly over his should at nothing in particular, and this time he was dressed as if he had walked off the set of a 1920s silent film topping off his suit with a straw boater.  By Friday, I spotted the same man rocking the Rat Pack look, albeit walking faster than before and appearing a little short of breath.  I've never seen him enter or exit the store (both the entrance and the exit are in sight of the department desk), or make any purchases, only to pass by the department desk at exactly the same time every other day - and each time he looked more and more intent on getting to the opposite end of the store.

The first couple of times I just figured he was a sharply dressed customer on a mission.  That's the main reason I noticed him in the first place - it's quite unusual to see anyone so well dressed in a hardware store, let alone someone wearing historical fashions.  I asked about the other departments toward which he was heading, but strangely enough no one else seemed to notice him.  I even asked the service desk and the cashiers because he would have had to go right by them when he entered or exited the store, but still nothing.  Of course, it is a big store and we see so many people everyday.  Regardless, I would have expected at least one of my coworkers to have taken note of our mysterious customer.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I plan on being ready for him when I see him at 11:00.  I want to see where he's going and how he is entering and exiting the store without being seen.  I could be completely wrong about the "time traveler", but the entire situation makes me a little uneasy.  I want to know what's going on in my store.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Infinity Dreams Award

I've been nominated by Emily @ Ink, Inc. for the Infinity Dreams Award!  Thanks very much Emily - if you guys haven't visited her blog, you're really missing out on one of the best!


1. Give 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions set to you by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award

4. Ask the bloggers you have nominated to answer 11 questions (bonus points for those who answer in a vlog).

11 Facts About Me:

1. The next two movies I plan on seeing in theaters are Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse.

2. I'm looking forward to seeing how Spider-Man is introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

3. I'm looking forward to the cool visual stunts Ant-Man will get to do - I mean, this part from the trailer where he's riding Hawkeye's arrow is pretty cool!

4. The trailer for the movie adaptation of Stephen King's Cell starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson was released yesterday and I can't wait to see how it turns out since I enjoyed the novel.

5. The casting for Cell makes me think of one of my favorite underrated Stephen King adaptations, 1408.  John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson both were in it and each gave great performances.

6. When it comes to Stephen King adaptations, I plan on starting 11.22.63 very soon.  I've heard a some good things about the tv adaptation.  The source material is one of my favorites of his recent releases.

7. On a completely different note, I saw a red squirrel in the yard today.  This is only interesting because I almost never see squirrels on the ground in my area.

8. I took a super cute picture of my cat, Finn, on Saturday evening.  Look how cute he is!  He likes staring at the facet in the tub in hopes that it will drip.  Sometimes he will even push the button with his paw to try to make it drip.  On the occasion that it does drip, or a drip begins to form, he'll try to lap it up or let it drip on his head.

9. I took a short walk earlier this evening and picked some flowers - I found blue phlox, yellow buttercup, common blue violets, trillium, and (my favorite) Dutchman's breeches.

10. I received surprising book mail on Saturday: my pre-order of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater arrived!  3 days before its official release!

11. I received some more book mail today!  I took advantage of the Barnes and Noble Teens 3 for $30 special.  I'm so excited to get to Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, and Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.  I'll talk more about my recent book mail in an upcoming book haul post.

11 Answers:

11 Nominees:

Angel Erin @ Angel Erin's Book Obsession
Anna @ Enchanted by YA
Brigid @ Word Fare
Brittany @ Space Between The Spines
Genni @ Ready, Set, Read
Giovanna @ Book Coma 
Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
Laura @ Blue Eye Books
Liz @ Freyja Eats Books
Marie @ Pages to Explore
Sam @ Tsundoku

11 Questions [Plus as an additional challenge - Answer these in a vlog!]:

I like Emily's questions enough (and I'm feeling a bit lazy) that I'm posing the questions she asked me to my nominees.
1. What is your guilty pleasure song?

2. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what, where, and why? If not, would you get one? If so, what, where, and why?

3. What is your favorite city?

4. If you had a daughter, what would you name her?

5. What's your most recently discovered favorite song / favorite at the moment?

6. Name a place or a few places at the top of your travel bucket list.

7. How old were you when you started blogging? How has your blog changed since then?

8. What's your favorite musical?

9. What was your latest five star read?

10. With what word would you most like people to describe you?

11. Tell us about a book that's changed your life.

Thanks again, Emily!

Supernatural Fog (Supernatural Freak #2) by Louisa Klein - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ 

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

Robyn Wise is still learning to adjust to life as the Spirit of the Cat's incarnation and she has a lot of things on her mind. She still has to learn to use her new found abilities and find the other animal spirits who are supposed to help her. She isn't having much luck in either department. To top it off, she's realizing that she's falling for her best friend, James, when she really just wants to stay friends. Then, the mysterious Dark Cloud attacks the city, and Robyn and James have to team up in order to defeat this new threat and survive.

Supernatural Fog by Louisa Klein is the second installment in the Supernatural Freak series, and I can honestly say I'm glad to be dropped back into Robyn's world. I enjoyed seeing her world expand more and more. This novel has so much to like from butt-kicking action, a variety of paranormal creatures, a sharp sense of humor, and even some romance. There is a little more romance in this installment than there was in Supernatural Freak, but it seemed like a natural progression of events and didn't overpower the story by any means. I'm hoping to see more of Robyn Wise in future installments of this action-packed urban fantasy series.

I read this ebook from March 22 - April 7, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ 

Evelyn is bored and fed up with society and her parents expectations. When Evelyn's sister, Rose, mysteriously disappears, she travels to London against her parents (who are doing nothing to find Rose) wishes to find her with her dashing friend Mr. Kent by her side. They quickly realize that they aren't the only ones looking for Rose. The young, and irritatingly Byronic, Mr. Sebastian Braddock is also searching for Rose, claiming that both sisters have special healing abilities. Evelyn, already convinced Sebastian is mad from previous encounters, believes she needs no further proof of his insanity until she stumbles upon the truth, which leads her to realize that Sebastian isn't as crazy as he sounds. Her sister may be in a much different kind of danger than she feared - it's not just her reputation that's at stake now.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas is a fun YA debut. I was intrigued as soon as I heard it's billed as Jane Austen meets the X-Men, and for the most part it doesn't disappoint. Evelyn, our leading lady, is quite sassy and bold and not at all content to have her life dictated for her. She cares deeply for her sister and when no one wants to make a move to locate her, she realizes she'll have to do it herself if she ever wants to see her again. Regardless of what it means for her reputation, she's willing to do what she needs to do to get her sister back. In fact, Evelyn reminds me of Elizabeth Swann from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies with just a dash of Claire Bennet from Heroes.

Mr. Kent and Mr. Braddock round out the main cast and of the two Mr. Braddock is far more interesting, although he certainly gets off on the wrong foot with Evelyn when they meet. I liked getting to know his character's background as tragic as it turns out to be. When Evelyn learns the truth about his power, I was surprised to learn that it is something like (view spoiler). I was totally expecting something different, but I liked that reveal. Also, coming from a imprint called Swoon Reads, I was prepared for swooning and romance in general - even a love triangle, but I was happy to see that it's actually pretty light on that front leaving all the more time for adventure, powers, and snark.

Overall, These Vicious Masks is a fast-paced read that has a lot going for it including a tough heroine, superpowers, and a strong sisterly bond. I'm looking forward to more from Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, and, of course, the sequel (and there has to be a sequel after an ending like that!).

I read this novel from March 28 - April 2, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookworm Delights

Happy Tuesday!  Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week's theme is Bookworm Delights.  This particular post is inspired by this post on The Perpetual Page-Turner.  I will be listing 10 delightful items I would love to own as a bookworm.

Library scented candles

Cait @ Paper Fury's Plan To Rule The World Tote

Book Pendant

Sherlock Holmes Throw Pillow

Carpe Librum Throw Pillow

Floating Bookshelves

Finger Print Bookmark

Book Comforter

Thumb Thing Book Page Holder

A Book Lover Tote Bag

So, what do you think of my list this week?  Do you have any of these items, or something similar?  What Bookworm Delights made your list?  As always thanks for visiting my blog!  All comments are appreciated and I try to respond to everyone.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway - Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret by Paula Berinstein

Welcome to my stop on the Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret by Paula Berinstein blog tour hosted by organized by Lola's Blog Tours.  This blog tour runs from April 18th - May 1st and you can see the full tour schedule here.  Currently, Berinstein's new middle grade series includes four books with Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1), Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2), and Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3), and now Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4).  You can get the first book in the series for only .99 cents on Amazon.  Read on for blurbs of each installment, an excerpt from the newest installment, to learn about the author, and for the chance to win a tour wide giveaway.

Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 31, 2016


What does a dusty old secret have to do with peacocks?

Everything, as it turns out. When Amanda is knocked off her skateboard by a rare all-blue peacock, she learns that the species harbors a vital secret she must race to uncover. But before she can unravel the mystery, a startling archaeological discovery turns all of Britain against the detectives and threatens their very existence.

As old enemies gather strength and new adversaries emerge, Amanda finds herself dealing with hysterical teachers, a disappearing mentor, a mysterious poisoner, and a would-be magician. With so much at stake and so little time, the last thing she needs is to fall in love.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret on Goodreads.

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret here.

On Monday Amanda and her friends had their first class with the new logic teacher. It was a scary affair. The pirate was rude, strict, and humorless, and now he smelled like cigars. Probably drank grog too, by the look of him, Amanda thought, whatever that was. The first thing Professor Darktower said, in a really loud voice, was, “Alice in Wonderland is not fun!” No introduction, no “Good morning,” nothing. The statement was so abrupt and the message so out of any context that every kid in the class dropped something, gasped, choked, or bit their tongue, even if they weren’t chewing. Then he said, “In this class we will read nothing but Lewis Carroll—Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, the whole shebang. These publications are no laughing matter. You think Tweedledum and Tweedledee are funny? The Mad Hatter is a joke? Alice is cute? BALDERDASH!”This extremely loud exclamation caused poor Dreidel to fall off his chair and twist his knee. But Professor Darktower would not let him go to the nurse. “Detectives are not sissies,” he said. “You will stay here and learn to be absolutely, impeccably logical. Got that?”The boy nodded up and down and attempted to hide his pain. It was obvious that he was hurt, though, because he kept grimacing every time he tried to move his leg. Amanda was so outraged that she refused to keep quiet. “He’s hurt. He needs medical attention.”The huge man fixed her with a stony stare and said, “Then he’s out of my class. Do you think, missy, that when you’re out battling the likes of Blixus Moriarty you can take a time out and go to the nurse? Now stop acting like a girl and be a detective. And as for you, laddie, one more sissy incident like this and you’re out of my class. Got that?”Dreidel nodded again but Amanda was furious. She opened her mouth to protest, but Ivy tugged on her sleeve and gave her a low “Uh uh,” and she realized that her revenge would have to wait. But revenge she would have, and it would be a doozy. The man was worse than a boor. Why, he was even ruder than an arch-criminal. Even Blixus had never been as bad as that. She wondered what Professor Darktower’s parents must be like to produce a son like him.
There was something she could do right then and there, however. She reached into her bag and surreptitiously texted Dreidel: “R U OK?” “Y,” the response came almost immediately. Of course he would say that. Dreidel was a trouper. And then it hit her that he hadn’t gone off to Skye after all. She was glad, not just because he’d stayed to support Legatum, but because he was a good guy and a great lab partner. She texted back a smiley and let it go for the time being.Darktower glared at the class and said, “As I was saying, there are equations and syllogisms in these volumes that underlie every word, and we’re going to find them. You will be responsible for finding them. Then, for your term paper, you will be expected to arrange them in a different way that’s still logically valid and write the text they would produce. Is that clear? I repeat: this task is not humorous or fanciful. It is deadly serious work, and you won’t be able to build ironclad cases unless you can master it.”The man made about as much sense as that strange page Amanda had found. Sometimes it was hard to understand Professor Ducey, but not like this. What did he mean, equations and syllogisms underlie every word? It sounded like he was saying that the books had been translated into English from math. You could read an equation out loud, of course, and you could translate it into Spanish or Chinese, but how could you—OMG. This was storytelling, just like the way she and Holmes had done when they’d put together the training film about a cyberforensics problem, except with math rather than words.
She glanced over at Holmes and found him looking at her and smiling. He’d got it too. He gave her a quick wink and then everything exploded.“MR. Holmes!” bellowed the teacher. “Out, NOW!” Holmes looked astonished, then got up and walked out of the room. “MISS Lester!” the teacher continued. Amanda was surprised. “Oh, you thought I didn’t know who you were,” the man said. “I want you to take your things, find Mr. Holmes, and wait in my office. Is that clear?”“But—” Amanda said.“OUT!” he roared.
Amanda felt the strongest urge to stick her tongue out at him again, but she managed to control herself and abstained. She picked up her bag and followed Holmes out into the hall.“What in the world was that?” he said when she’d caught up with him. He looked confused, as if he didn’t know quite what to do with himself.“The man is a lunatic,” said Amanda. “He wants us to go to his office.”“But the class just started,” said Holmes. “It will be fifty minutes.” Gosh, he looked good. His eyes seemed to be on fire. She looked away for a second.“All I know is that’s what he said.”He shook his head but he was smiling. “You know, the dumb thing is that up until he had his little meltdown, he was making sense.”
“You got that too?” she said, matching his grin.“Of course. You taught me.”
“I did, didn’t I?” she said. She felt absolutely triumphant. It was a wonderful feeling after that ridiculous scene in the classroom. “Who needs him?”“I guess we do,” said Holmes. “If we want to stay here.”“You’re not thinking of going to Skye?” she said.“Never. Not even for Professor Ducey.”And then, instead of worrying or fuming or plotting revenge, the two of them cracked up so hard they had to hold their stomachs.When they calmed down enough to speak, Holmes looked at her with mischief in his eyes and said, “You know what this means, don’t you?”She threw back her head and laughed. “We have forty-five minutes to do whatever we want.”“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Earlier Books in this series:

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1) 
By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: May, 2015


A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and . . . sugar?

Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these seeming clues mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.

Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads.

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here for only .99 cents:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes & Noble

Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2)

By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: September 15, 2015


If only Sherlock Holmes's great-great-grandson weren't such a dork . . .

There’s a new student at the Legatum Continuatum School for the Descendants of Famous Detectives and Amanda is supposed to work with him. Scapulus Holmes is a descendant of the great Sherlock and he’s crazy about her. Unfortunately she thinks he’s a dork and would rather die than have anything to do with him.

But when the kids discover a dead body encrusted with strange living crystals, Amanda realizes she needs Holmes’s help. If the crystals fall into the wrong hands they could be used for nefarious purposes, and only he knows how to protect them.

Can the detectives keep the bad guys from learning the crystals' secrets? It would help if they could figure out who the dead body is too. Only if Amanda and Holmes can find a way to work together can they prevent a disaster, and it isn’t looking good

You can find Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis on Goodreads.

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis here:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes & Noble

Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3)

By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: November 15, 2015


Purple rainbows, a mysterious crypt, and pots of gold . . .

Things are not going well for Amanda and the secret detective school. A priceless artifact has disappeared, a dangerous hacker is manipulating matter, and zombies are being seen all over the Lake District.

Then the real trouble starts. When her cousins go missing and her friend Clive is kidnapped, Amanda is forced to turn to someone she’d rather not deal with: her old boyfriend Scapulus Holmes. But then he vanishes too. Now’s she’s sure that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty is involved . . . or is he?

You can find Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle on Goodreads.

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle here:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback

About the Author:

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Paula's blog on Goodreads
- The Writing Show podcasts
- Newsletter

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret. Open International. These are the prizes you can win:
- a Kindle Paperwhite
- A physical copy of all four Amanda Lester books by Paula Berinstein
- 2 physical copies from Paula Berinstein her books, winner's choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Music Monday: My Chemical Romance

Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.


 Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing three of my favorite My Chemical Romance songs.  I listened to this group a fair bit while I was back in high school.  These three are the ones that have stuck with me since then.

"Welcome to the Black Parade" (2006) - This is the one I still probably listen to the most now.

"Helena" (2004) - So much emotion...

"The Ghost of You" (2004) - Easily my favorite of their music videos and I still get misty eyed when I watch it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Island and the Kite by Aurora Zahni

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.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting my next Kindle read, The Island and the Kite by Aurora Zahni.  I won a copy of it from the author during Chelsy's Book Review MileStone Event on Facebook and I can't wait to start in on this short novel.


Book One: Mary Susan

11:45 PM Tuesday: The Middle of a Long Day

Mary Susan always traveled in her sleep.

If she was walking, she’d have the most comfortable shoes. On a train, she’d have a window seat. By air, she’d often have wings. 

Her slumber vacations never seemed to have any destination. In her dreams she felt content just to be holding a suitcase and heading somewhere.


“Mary Susan,” Trish said through a yawn. “I’m parked right down the street and I can give you a ride home unless you want to do breakfast or something.”

“No way. As much as I’d love to hang I really need to clean up. I checked before. I do not look cute and I need to take a shower.”

“Dumpster squatting will do that to you.” Cassie noted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman - Review

❋ ❋ ❋  

Just before Lady Helen Wrexhall's presentation before the Queen Charlotte, one of her family's housemaid's turns up missing and Lady Helen finds herself drawn into the darker side of Regency era London in her quest to learn the truth behind the disappearance. Lord Carlston, a man a girl of her station should not be seen anywhere near or else their reputation will suffer, is one of the few people who knows the truth and has the ability to stop the the perpetrators. The truth is almost unbelievable: the perpetrators are demons who have infiltrated all levels of society. And, he reveals another secret, Lady Helen is actually a member of The Dark Days Club, like him, and has all the skills that go with it, she just needs training to learn how to use her abilities to fight the demons.

Alison Goodman's The Dark Days Club has been one of my favorite reads so far of 2016. The level of detail and the world-building are absolutely exceptional. The historical setting feels incredibly real with so much detail to flesh out the rest of the her world that it's clear Goodman has done her research. Even without the fantasy elements, this novel would work pretty well as regular historical fiction novel with a dash of mystery in its own right.

While the world-building is fantastic, our cast of characters are well-written and fleshed out, even the supporting cast. Lady Helen is a character I could really support. I was pleased to see that she struggles against her destiny every step of the way; she doesn't just accept the fact that her new life is so radically different from everything she knows. I'm also glad to find out that Lord Carlston is much more than he appears, as we realize he is a demon fighter of the Dark Days Club rather than a Byronic (possible) murderer of his wife who could wreak havoc on a girl's reputation. And, Darby, Lady Helen's maid, easily steals her scenes.

Of course, I also have to mention the fantasy elements of the story. I particularly enjoyed the way the that Lady Helen is introduced to the world she has never known existed all along. This world isn't separate from ours either, just one that most wouldn't take note of. It is side by side with ours as the demons attempt to gain a greater foothold amongst us. I also liked learning along with Lady Helen about the background of the Club and just what part they've played in the wider world. Lady Helen's presentation into this world also comes with a good deal of self-discovery, and she grows so much as a character from the start to finish as she learns to find her footing.

Overall, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman has been one of my favorite reads of the new year. It was a pleasure getting to know Lady Helen and her fellows, and I loved spending so much time with them before diving headfirst into the deep end. If you enjoy well-researched historical-fantasy with an admirable cast, as well as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or even Grimm, you will adore The Dark Days Club. I'm definitely interested in reading more of Alison Goodman's work, and I can't wait for the release of the sequel.

I read this novel from March 17 - 28, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh (Or At Least Chuckle)

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week's theme is Books That Will Make You Laugh (Or At Least Chuckle).  The ten books listed below are some of my recent reads that definitely tickled my funny bone - and all of these are quite different - from age group, genre, and sense of humor.  Each is listed in order from most recent read and each title is linked to my review.

Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne

Hawkeye, Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Hostile Takeover (John Lago #2) by Shane Kuhn

Stand-Off (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets by J.A. Buckle

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

The Martian by Andy Weir

Sidekicked by John David Anderson

What do you think of my list this week?  Have you read any of the ones that made my list?  Do you have any recommendations for me?  What made your list this week?  As always thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment.  All comments are appreciated and I try to respond to everyone.