Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Starting Sparks: August 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:

We Meet Again - This time I'm continuing my story from April.

It had been few months since I'd last seen the man I'd dubbed the well-dressed time traveler.  That Sunday that I fully expected to see him again came and went without fanfare.  I couldn't help but wonder if whatever had seemingly been after him had finally caught up with him, or if I was simply imagining him, since no one else had noticed him after all.  Then I ran into him.  More accurately, he plowed into me at a dead run while I was carrying a big, open box of paint brushes up the middle aisle (the one behind the department desk and behind our department's shopping aisles).  One second I was walking up the aisle with the nearest people down at the far end of the store, then he's five feet from me and running flat out.  I had no time to get out of the way so I froze like a deer in the headlights, hoping he would somehow avoid hitting me at full speed.  He didn't.

Concrete floors are not comfortable to wipe out on.  I only had a second to lie there and catch my breath after having the wind knocked out of me before he'd scrambled up and was yanking me to my feet.  I eyed him while gasping for breath - it was definitely him, but this time his style was very '90s grunge - think Kurt Cobain.

"You!... Why do I... keep seeing you?"  I wheezed as he started to pull me along.  "Looking like you just stepped out of another era (I pointedly glared at his frayed and oversize cardigan) ... And then you kept disappearing.  What are you?... Some kind of time traveler?  At a hardware store?!"  It kind of hurt to laugh.

He stopped suddenly but before he could say anything there was a flash of white light from behind us.  I turned to look, but he resumed pulling me in the opposite direction, cursing all the while.  He pulled me behind one of the other department desks that happened to be empty at the moment.

"I didn't expect to find you so easily.  You're supposed to come back with me -"

"Back to the future, right," I scoffed.

"Yes!  You remember - this will make things so much easier!"  He seemed excited.

He had to be joking, but I couldn't come up with a good enough retort.  "What?"  How do you respond to something like that?

"After that last memory wipe, I've been looking all over for you, but they were after me so I couldn't spend much time anywhere.  It took me a while to pinpoint your location to this store, but it's so big and I had no idea when exactly you'd be here.  Seriously, though, a hardware store?"

What. A. Lunatic.  I don't know who this guy thought he was, stylish time traveler or not, but he must have been completely bananas.  I wasn't going anywhere with this guy and I let him know that in no uncertain terms.

He looked hurt, but he got up, looked me in the eye, and said, "I will find you" or some such nonsense.  Then without a backward glance, I watched him run back out into the middle aisle and get the attention of the things that came out of the light - whatever they were they weren't human - and took off up the aisle.  I saw him roll up the sleeve of his torn cardigan and stab at some device wrapped around his wrist.  White light flashed in front of him and swallowed him up as he ran headlong into it.  A millisecond before it closed, the things that had followed him to my store sprinted into it as well, closly trailing after him.

If I was honest with myself, I wanted to know more, so, so much more, but somehow I'll attempt to do my own research first, or search my own memories even.  No way was I trusting his word alone.

I stood and walked over to my now empty box of paint brushes.  The one hundred brushes that had been in the box were scattered all over the floor.  I hoped I could find them all, and that none of them had gotten broken.  I started picking them up before my boss could could come around the corner and see the mess.

Next time, I'll be ready for him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books That Should Be Taught In High Schools

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is a Back To School Freebie, so I selected YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels That Should Be Taught In High School.  Three of my choices aren't necessarily YA, but I they cross over well.  Here we go, alphabetical order by author.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Would you like to see any of my selections taught in high schools?  What titles would you add?  What did you do for your freebie topic this week?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Music Monday: Matt Dusk

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 spotlighting Matt Dusk, a Canadian jazz singer that I've just recently started listening to.  He has a great voice for the genre and if you like Michael BublĂ©, Frank Sinatra, or Chet Baker, you should give his music a try.

"Please Please Me" (2009) - Dusk's cover of the classic by The Beatles.

"My Funny Valentine" (2013) - Here he's covering the classic Chet Baker number.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Funday: Book Haul

Since my last book haul post in early June, I've accumulated a tremendous amount of books.  Most of them, I won through giveaways, received for my birthday, bought secondhand or at bargain outlet stores.  Of all of them, I only actually bought five of these brand new (but still with various discounts applied).  I tried to restrain myself, but you know how that goes, especially when you come across awesome sales.

Let's start with the books that I actually bought:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne - I actually pre-ordered this one and I almost never do that.  You can see my review here.

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters - This is one of my most anticipated adult sci-fi and fantasy releases for the second half of the year - hopefully it will be as intriguing as it sounds.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley - This novel made my list of most anticipated releases of this summer and I've heard so many great things about it!  Can't wait to dig in!

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton - I realized that I couldn't pass up on this one - it sounds like so much fun.

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak - This just sounds awesome - I mean, Saint George in Prohibition era Chicago?!

And now for my winnings:

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - I really lucked out here!  I won my choice of book under $17 or under via Laura @ 125 Pages, so of course I had to choose this one.  Thanks so much, Laura!

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter - I was absolutely thrilled that I won the third book in the Jackaby series ARC via Goodreads Giveaways!  It was so awesome - you can see my review here.

If you thought those were lucky, you won't believe that I won all sixteen books in the above two pictures as part of the three great prizes given away for Autumn and Kari @ From the TBR Pile's sixth blogoversary celebration!  Of the three prizes, I received one of the surprise mixed box of books, a good deal of which are ARCs.  Thanks again, guys!

To make it a little more manageable, I sorted them into two groups.  Those in the top picture are the ones that I'm most interested in, going from top row left to right and then bottom row left to right.  For instance, the three that I'm most looking forward to are:

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger - Come on, it's a thriller set in Chaucer's London!

The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert - The back of this ARC says that it features "an octogenarian obituary writer who stumbles on the story of her life when her small Midwestern town surprisingly becomes the seat of pop culture notoriety - with a missing girl, a famous YA book series, and so much more..." That sold me on a book I'd never heard of before!

Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne - This one follows an FBI agent from a long line of illusionists investigating a case that seems to defy all logical explanations.  Sounds cool to me!

Next up are the books that I received from the local library book warehouse sale:

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry - I've been told I need to try this author, so when I saw this advanced copy at the library sale for free I thought I ought to try it out.

Blue City by Ross MacDonald - I'm always interested in hard-boiled crime fiction from the 1940s.

Gilded by Christina Farley - I don't know a lot about Korean mythology, but this seems like it could be a great place to start.

M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action by Robert Asprin - This is actually the ninth book in the series, but I've heard it's something like Discworld and that was enough for me to want to give it a shot.

The top picture in the set was found at Half Price Books and the bottom picture is from the Half Price Books Clearance Sale.  I found so many interesting titles there that I've been looking forward to, and some that were brand new to me.  Some of the new ones that piqued my interest included The Lazarus Gate, The Walls of the Universe (the main character's from Ohio!), Tin Swift, The Ring of Five, and The Hallowed Hunt.

I really lucked out when I found the above books at bargain outlet shops like Ollie's and Book Outlet while they were on clearance!  I've been looking forward to all of these, so while they were a dollar or two dollars a piece I couldn't pass them up!  And, they're all in excellent condition - since sometimes that can be a bit of an issue at Ollie's.  I'll finally have an excuse to continue the Immortal City series and finish the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy!

Now the above picture are all books were those I've received for my birthday (on July 24th) which we're either gifts or the result of gift cards.  I really lucked out and got my hands on what look to be real winners this year!

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn - Read the blurb for this one and I'm sure you'll be sold, if you aren't already.

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells - This sounds like exactly the kind of urban fantasy I need in my life.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - It's been billed as Doctor Who with librarian spies!  Doesn't that just sound awesome?!

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix - After Horrorstor, I'll try anything by Hendrix!

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan - It's Rick Riordan - of course, I'll be reading it!

The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim by Shane Peacock - I hadn't heard of this one before, but it sounds like it could be a good piece of gothic horror, and that's one of my favorite genres.

Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel - Stars a psychic spy - cool!

If you made it this far, congratulations!  I know, I know... My tbr has truly become mountainous in the past couple of months.  Although, if I'm honest with myself, it already was a mountain long before that.  Anyway, have you read any of these books that I've managed to accumulate recently?  If you have, would you recommend one for me to dig into first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even leaving a comment!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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 Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.  As soon as this arrived at my library, I knew I wanted to give this a try - I mean, Ruth Ware's new novel (my first) has been billed as very Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins-esque mystery thriller.  I've only read through the prologue and first two chapters so far, but I'm particularly enjoying the intensity.  I'm pretty sure I look like this while reading it, too!


The room was like a perfect replica of a drawing room in a five-star hotel, or a reception room on the QE2, but it was small.  In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depths of the North Sea.  Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.


There could not have been more than twelve or fifteen people in the room, and yet they filled the space, and even the chandelier was scaled down to fit.  It gave the strangest impression - a little like looking in through the doorway of a doll's house, where everything is miniaturized and yet slightly off-kilter, the replica cushions a little too large and stiff for the tiny chairs, the wineglasses the same size as the fake champagne bottle.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

Nothing is what it seems to at Victory Street Pictures, a movie studio in operation at the end of Hollywood's Golden Era. Their newest noir film is stuck in reshoots, a screenwriter who didn't come back the same after the war drowns his sorrows in the bottle, and the starlet has died under mysterious circumstances has been replaced by a lookalike. Soon, they'll have no choice except to believe their own lies.

Ed Brubaker's The Fade Out is a favorite new graphic novel series. I'm a huge fan of film noir and hard-boiled crime fiction, so I loved every gritty second of the world behind the movie (and novel) genre I enjoy. The color, tone, and art style had everything I could have wanted from the series. Ed Brubaker's storytelling and Sean Phillips illustrations complement each very well. If you're looking for an all engrossing graphic novel mystery, you can't go wrong with this dark peek into the world of the Golden Era of Hollywood. Plus, even Clark Gable makes a cameo appearance - I think that earns a star all by itself!

Act Two of The Fade Out delves deeper and deeper into the mystery presented in the first act. It's full atmosphere and so many elements of the installment are pitch-perfect to the genre. We get to further explore the seedy world of Hollywood and Los Angeles - Charlie's world is fully realized. The volume also features some great cameos by Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart, and Desi Arnaz, all of which combined earn their own star.

Act Three wraps up this great graphic novel series in absolutely perfect (and depressing) noir fashion. If you love classic film noir, the sleazy underbelly of classic Hollywood, and a compelling mystery, you'll be hooked on this superbly crafted and highly detailed series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  I can't recommend this series highly enough.  I will need to read Brubaker's and Phillips's collaborations together in Criminal and Fatale.

I read this graphic novel series from August 1 - 5, 2016 and my reviews can also be found on Goodreads for volumes one, two, and three.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bookish Book Lover Tag

I've just been nominated by Emily @ Ink, Inc. to complete the Bookish Book Lover Tag - thanks very much, Emily!  If you haven't checked out her blog, you're really missing out.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I'm currently got four in the works - Carry On by Rainbow Rowelll, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, and Spark by Brigid Kemmerer on audio.

2. What's the last book you finished?

I just recently finished Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky on audio - I was surprised by how much I liked it.  The audiobook narrator definitely earns a full star for her performance alone!

3. Favorite book you read this year?

I always have a hard time choosing just one when it comes to a question like this, but it may very well be The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

4. What genre have you read most this year?

According to Goodreads, the answer is "other" but otherwise it's fantasy.  I can't say I'm surprised!

5. What genre have you read least this year?

I've read the least of mystery this year - I am actually kind of surprised...

6. What genre do you want to read more of?

Based on the answer to the previous question, I'm going to have to go with mystery!

7. How many books have you read this year, and what's your goal?

So far I've read 156 books of my 200 book Goodreads goal - nearly there!

8. What's the last book you bought?

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

9. What book are you saving up to buy next?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

10. How many books did you check out on your last library visit?

Only two - but it can be a challenge not to check out lots more (I'm a librarian, so I'm at the library all the time).

11. What's a book you can't wait to read?

Both A Gathering of Shadows and This Savage Song by V(ictoria). E. Schwab

12. What's a series you'd recommend to everyone?

William Ritter's Jackaby series

13. Who's an author you're hoping writes more?

William Ritter - either more Jackaby or anything, really!

14. A few books your heart adores?

Rick Yancey's four book Monstrumologist series - it deserves more attention!

15. What series' coming conclusion makes you sad?

I really don't want The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater to end, so I'm taking my time with the finale.

16. What books are on your wishlist?

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

The Reader by Traci Chee

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake\

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I tag:

Lys @ The Mad Reader

Mari @ Story and Somnomancy

Laura @ Blue Eye Books