Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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 one of my current reads, Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn.  I've only made it through the prologue so far, but I've certainly been hooked by those opening pages and the premise behind the story sounds excellent - moonshine that grants twisted wishes, yes please!  Here's to hoping the rest of the novel holds up!


"I gave you my name for a reason, Lennie.  It might not be worth much now, but someday real soon, I'm going to make it so Cash is a name nobody ever forgets.  I'm serious, Lennie.  People are gonna remember us."


"If your father were here, he'd roll out the red carpet and gilded cage.  And if he knew that in his absence you'd been treated with anything but the best, well, he'd kill me."  The man titters nervously.  "I'm joking.  Probably.  I hope.  Right?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ 

Rose is riding her brand new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota when she falls into a square hole lit up with intricate carvings. When the firemen rescue her, they realize something even weirder - that the girl landed in the palm of a giant metal hand. Years later, the mystery surrounding it remains unsolved - none of the reports make any sense. All they have are rumors and theories. Now, seventeen years later Rose is a top physicist leading a team to figure it all out and they are on the edge of a real breakthrough and discovering what it all means for humanity.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is a fantastic debut novel. I loved following Rose and her team's journey to figure out the mystery involving the hand and the subsequently found pieces. Honestly, I love the plot and getting to know the cast. Usually, I love stories that are a told in another format, so I was expecting to enjoy that about this novel, but I felt too disconnected from characters and events to rate this a full five stars. Plus, I wish we had a better sense of how much time passes between interviews. All that being said, I really wanted to know more about our interviewer, who has a very Agent Smith vibe!

Overall, I highly recommend reading Sylvain Neuvel's debut novel, Sleeping Giants! If you also love The Iron Giant, Fringe, Power Rangers, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and The Fold by Peter Clines, you will most likely enjoy this story as well. I can't wait until the release of book two, titled Waking Gods, especially after that ending!

I read this novel from June 4 - June 8, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fathers and Father-Figures In Fiction

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week the topic is a freebie - so you could do whatever you like, or do a past topic you might have missed.  This week in honor of Father's Day, which was on Sunday, June 19, I'm going to share some of my favorite father's in fiction.

Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Ben Moore & Cillian Boyd from the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Grandpa Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Hans Hubermann from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Luke Garroway from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

The Man from The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Ned Stark from A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Are you familiar with any of these fantastic father figures?  What did you do for your freebie topic this week?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Music Monday: Disney Songs In The Characters' Native Tongues

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 by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing a couple of my favorite Disney songs as performed in the characters' native tongues!  So cool!  You can listen to more here.

"Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast)

"Part of Your World" (The Little Mermaid)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Starting Sparks: June Edition

Welcome back to 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:

After Work Treat

Today, he had nearly botched a job for the first time in years.  The professional assassin had come within a hair's breadth of letting his target escape - and that would have been like signing his own death warrant.  In the end, though, he had taken care of it and no one knew that the entire operation had been this close to going south.  On his way home from the job, he decided to treat himself to one of his favorite meals to reward himself for a job well done.

"Thank you for choosing McDonald's!  Please order when you're ready."

The heavenly aroma drifted through the assassin's open window.  "I'll have a number one, large, with a Coke and that's all.  Thanks."

The chirpy voice coming through the speaker responded, "So that's a large Big Mac extra value meal with a Coke, correct?"

He confirmed his order and pulled around to the second window.  He was the only person in the drive thru and by the state of the parking lot, he was likely the only customer at 1:00 A.M.  The cashier quickly traded his cash for his food, and the assassin was back on the road in no time.  He was so looking forward to those french fries that he was almost salivating at the thought.  Usually, he kept himself healthy and fit, so normally that meant Micky D's was out of the question.  However, tonight he certainly earned it and he could afford to let himself splurge this one time.

Five minutes later, he walked into his apartment and was more than ready to feast.  It's an understatement to say that he was angry when he saw what was actually in the bag.  There was only a small, plain hamburger and a side salad.

Where are the fries?!  He quickly emptied the bag only to confirm the obvious.  There. Were. No. Fries.

He stood, took a breath, and paused to get his jacket and to holster his two favorite sidearms before he walked out into the hallway toward the elevator, the bag of food clenched tightly in one hand.  He stepped inside the elevator readying himself for what he was about to do when he walked into that restaurant.

His mind was filled with thoughts of french fries and revenge.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Real Neat Blog Award

I've been nominated by Cara @ Periods and Semicolons for the Real Neat Blog Award!  Thanks so much, Kara!  Everyone go check out her blog!


1. Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer the seven questions set to you.

3. Create seven questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate seven other bloggers.

Cara's Questions:

1. What is your favorite food?

Baked macaroni and cheese - yum!!

2. How many languages do you know?

Aside from English, I know some French and Japanese, and a bit of ASL.  I've recently been using Duolingo to take Swedish lessons - Duolingo has to be one of my favorite apps.

3. Describe the last book you read using only one word.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (Audio) - Fun!

4. What books are you currently reading?

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine (ARC)

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen (Audio)

5. Of all of the unread books in your bookshelf, what has been there the longest?

According to my Goodreads tbr that would be The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.

6. What is the last dream you recall?

Last week I dreamed that my cat smashed through a wall like the Hulk in order to get a mouse - it was equal parts hilarious and horrifying!

7. How long have you been blogging?

This August 12th I'll have been blogging for two years here at Always Me.  Time flies!

My Nominees:

Brittany @ Space Between the Spines

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense

Ellen and Sierra @ Quest Reviews

Sam @ Tsundoku

Skye @ Ink Castles

Czai @ The Blacksheep Project

My Questions:

Please answer the seven questions posed to me - I want to see how everyone else's answers compare to mine!

Thanks again, Cara!

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

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 one of my current reads,  The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude.  I've just read the prologue so far, and I'm enjoying it so far.  I've seen quite a few mixed reviews on this novel, praising the concept but not so thrilled by the overall execution.  


Kerosene slopped from the rusty pail and splashed against the abandoned stable.  Fumes burned my eyes but didn't blur my father's silhouette as he faced the building, bucket in hand.  It would burn and, with it the body inside.


My hands slapped against his abdomen and knocked him backwards, but he regained his balance.  It made me want to throw my weight into him again.  I lunged for him.  He caught my wrists and we twisted together, me trying to strike him and him deflecting me  no matter how rabid I was.  

"Stop!" he ordered.  "You're gonna get hurt!"

"I'm already hurt!"

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Scavenger Hunt Book Tag

I've tagged myself to complete the Scavenger Hunt Book Tag, which I spotted over on Giovanna @ Book Coma.  I thought this looked like a fun one to take part in, so without further ado here we go!

1. Find a book with the letter "z" in its title or the author's name.

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz - I have several of his books, but this is the first one that jumped out at me.

2. Find me a classic.

The Beetle by Richard Marsh - If you like weird Gothic Horror from Victorian England, you have to read this.  It actually was released the same year as Dracula, and initially it out performed that novel, but it's virtually unheard of today.

3. Find the oldest book on your shelves.

I'm taking a different a different approach to this one - rather than doing the physically oldest book, I'm going to share the oldest yearbook I own.  This isn't one of my personal school yearbooks, but it's one that I've picked up later.  Yes, sometimes I buy old yearbooks if one looks interesting enough.  Anyways, this is The Shadean from 1934 in Shadyside High School in Ohio.  The original owner of the Louise Kirkland, a high school junior in 1934.

Here she is, second from the left:

Here are some of the seniors.  James Davis, middle of the fourth row, has hair that would behave like mine if I brushed it that way, seriously.  

On the opposite of each page of photographs, it features their names, a quote from each student, and a list of their high school activities.  Some of these quotes... Mr. Davis's for example is "Chivalrous as in the days of old."

The class history page totally makes me wonder how the class went from 112 students as freshman down to 87 as sophomores.  I'm guessing it somehow ties into family economic situations in the midst of the Great Depression.

The class will is pretty interesting - I'm sure there are plenty of stories behind some of these things!

I really like what's going on with the memories page.  Basically, the yearbook staff has predicted what everyone will be doing when their 40 year class reunion in 1974 rolls around.

Next up are the juniors, here are some intriguing nicknames / superlatives, plus some really intriguing questions.  Like I mentioned above, I expect there are some great stories behind these!

Then we have the football team - total rogues gallery - turns out they won every game of the season (yes, each game is listed in detail on another page).

I always like looking at these - so much more casual than the senior portraits.

Again, I bet there are some awesome stories behind these!

The back endpapers are fantastic in this and still legible - lots of Louise's friends and classmates signed her book and left little comments many of which make me want to know more.  For example, Ruth Mowder (fourth down) says, "How about a ham sandwich?"

And there's another ham sandwich reference on the other side, too.  It comes from Margaret Dunning (twelfth down): "How about a ham sandwich or maybe a lemon coca-cola."  I want to know what's going on here! 

4. Find a book with a key on its cover.

The Door Between by Ellery Queen - All I could come up with for a key!

5. Find something that isn't a book on your shelves.

I have some of those Willow Tree figurines, a big cat with a little cat on its head, and Hades (my favorite Disney villain!) alongside Cerberus!  I think those two actually started out life as Happy Meal toys...

6. Find a book with an animal on the cover.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - If you haven't read this hilarious autobiography or the made for tv movie adaptation from 2005 (which aired on Masterpiece in the U.S.), you are really missing out!  The cast of the adaptation is has some real talent behind it, including Imelda Staunton, Russell Tovey, and Matthew Goode.

7. Find a book with a girl on its cover.

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson - I really need to continue this series!

8. Find a non-YA book.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - I've had this on my shelf for quite awhile - I really need to get to it!

9. Find a book with stars on its cover.

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill - I suppose this counts, right?  I mean, I think that's technically a star in the background!

10. Find a book with golden letters.

Gilded by Christina Farley - I just found a copy of this novel last weekend at a huge library book sale - it sounds like it has potential.

And, that's it!  I'm not sure who else has taken part in this tag, so if you do want to take part feel free to jump right in.  Just don't forget to link back to me so I can see your responses!