Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sci-Fi Month 2017 - Wrap Up, Mini Reviews, & Giveaway (US Only)


And that's a wrap for Sci-Fi Month 2017, a month long celebration of all things sci-fi hosted by Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow and Imyril @ One More (originally created by Rinn @ Rinn Reads who has stepped down from hosting duties this year).  I've had a great time participating this year and last - I hope I'll be able to be back next time because this is such a wonderful event.  Anyway, I was very ambitious when I made my tbr of ten books that I've been meaning to tackle - I only managed to make it through four of them, but I think I still got in some fantastic reading!  Read on to see my thoughts on the books I've knocked off my tbr, a listing of the Sci-Fi Month posts I've published this time around, and a giveaway (US Only):

Mini Reviews:



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I've actually already shared by full review of the ARC of Andy Weir's Artemis - you can read it here.  Spoiler alert: It's awesome!



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To say that my expectations for Armada by Ernest Cline were high is quite the understatement. While Cline's second novel is still good, it isn't nearly as awesome as Ready Player One. Honestly, I would have been stunned if this story could have surpassed (or have equaled) it in awesomeness, but still I had hopes. Either way, there's still quite a bit to like about the story. I particularly liked that conspiracy theories and pop culture (movies, tv, and video games) get worked together and that we get to see Zack's relationship with his mother (who is described as an Ellen Ripley type). The novel also moves along at a good pace and the action scenes are pretty epic. Plus, those pop culture references are fun to spot. At the same time, I'm not much of a gamer - or at least not the kind of shooter games featured here - and some of the exposition really bogged down for me at times. Overall, think Ender's Game as told by Ernest Cline and you'll have a good idea of how this works out.


I read this novel from November 2 - 17, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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This is a quick, but fun little Doctor Who story set in series six. I definitely preferred the second half of it, compared to the beginning. I also think that it could have made a cool tv episode. Mann does a good job of making Amy, Rory, and The Doctor come alive in the story and I enjoyed how the story is put together, even though sometimes things got a bit obvious. My main issue with this particular story is that the pace is all over the place. Either way, if you're a fan of the television series, you may definitely want to try this story set during the sixth series of New Who.


I read this novel from November 16 - 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Wow! I can't believe it took me so long to finally pick up Red Rising by Pierce Brown, but I'm glad I finally took a chance on this YA sci-fi dystopian novel. In my opinion, it was nearly perfect - amazing to think that this is Pierce Brown's debut novel! I admit that I had a bit of trouble connecting to Darrow, our main character, at first, and that I think I preferred the first half of the story a little more. Overall, though, this book is totally worth it's almost 400 pages - it keeps you right on the edge of your seat and keeps you wondering where it's going to go next. Although I've read a ton of dystopian, the world-building, the core cast of characters, the Mars setting, and it's uniqueness (even that slang) make it stand out in the best of ways. Like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, then you absolutely need to try this fantastic award winner. Bloodydamn - I need to get my hands on a copy of Golden Son, stat!


I read this novel from November 23 - 30, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


My Sci-Fi Month 2017 Posts:

Announcement & TBR

Music Monday - Jurassic Park, The Incredibles, Panic in the Year Zero!, Captain America & Agent Carter

Top Ten Tuesday - Sci-Fi Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders, Sci-Fi Books I Want My Future Descendants To Read, Sci-Fi Books On My TBR

The Friday 56 (Book Beginnings) - Armada by Ernest Cline, Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Sunday Funday - Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - Review


And now for the main event: A GIVEAWAY (US Only - Sorry)!



One lucky winner will win a paperback copy of both Red Rising by Pierce Brown & Armada by Ernest Cline!  This giveaway will last until Midnight (ET) on Friday, December 8th, 2017.  I will alert the winner via email and they will have 48 hours to respond or I will have to select another winner.  Good luck!



As always, thank you for visiting my blog and perhaps commenting down below!

Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge - November Update: Warhead & St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves


How has Thanksgiving already come and gone with Christmas already on the way?  If you've been following my progress this year for Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge, you'll know it's time to find out how I did in the month of November!  Well, this November I completed tasks twenty-one and twenty-two which required me to read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, Hunger and Difficult Women) and a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere).  For the tasks, I selected Warhead by Ricardo Delgado and St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell.  Read on to see my mini reviews of both and what books I plan on reading to complete this year long challenge:


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Like dark and gritty sci-fi in the style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, then you need to try Warhead by Ricardo Delgado.  By the way, there are no humans in this novel from Reliquary Press.  It features nearly everything I could have been looking for, but sometimes Delgado's prose turns just a little too violet-tinged for my tastes.


I read this novel from November 20 - 23, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Karen Russell's debut collection of ten short stories is unique and absolutely fascinating.  I don't read a lot of short story anthologies, but Karen Russell is one of the best in my opinion at completely reeling you in over the course of twenty or so pages.  I also really appreciate her brand of magical realism.  My favorites from this collection include "Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers", "from Children's Reminiscences of the Westward Migration", "Out to Sea", and "Accident Brief, Occurrence # 00/422", and "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves".  Several of these stories I would enjoy seeing more from that world, especially the title story.

I read this from November 10 - 11, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Next up for December, the final portion of the Challenge:

23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)



Initially, I planned on reading Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam by Osib Mandelstam, translated by Christian Wiman, but as it turns out that particular book has been withdrawn from the library I was hoping to borrow it from via interlibrary loan (there was only one copy in the entire consortium).  Instead I've decided to tackle Purgatory, the second part of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.  (Unfortunately, I actually don't have that many options available to me through the library consortium when it comes to translated poetry not about love - so I figured I'd tackle a classic narrative poem.)

24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)



My choice - One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia - I've been meaning to read this middle-grade historical fiction novel for quite a while, so what better time than for this challenge.

Congrats if you made it this far!  Have you read any of these books or have you taken on Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge before?  Thanks as always for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fiskur Book Tour

Happy Wednesday everyone and welcome to my stop on the Fiskur Blog Tour from Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC.  Read on to learn more about this book, the author, see an excerpt from the story, and to watch the book trailer!  On to the tour:


Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio

November 7, 2017

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 2

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC


Summary:

With his family's talisman in his possession, Kristan Gemeta is ready to face the Wichelord Daazna – but he has no inkling of the scope of Daazna's power, nor the depths of his hatred.
     
With the recovery of his family's protective talisman, Kristan Gemeta has found hope, courage – and perhaps even the first stirrings of love. With the aid of Heather Demitt, her band of rebels, a shipload of Northern brigands and the legendary Kentavron, he readies himself to face the Wichelord Daazna. But neither he nor his comrades realize the strength of Daazna's power and hatred. The Wichelord's first blow comes from a direction Kristan least expects, with horrific, lasting consequences.

Excerpt:

[From Chapter 4]

The badger’s claws were worn to bloody stumps, but Daazna drove it brutally onward. Earth and rocks and roots hurtled past, hammering the badger and the burden it dragged. The Gemeta had ceased struggling some time before, but Daazna could still feel his pulse, beating strongly in the leg the badger gripped in its jaws. Yes, live, he thought. I don’t want you dead, Gemeta. Not yet.

At last he sensed the looming mass of his castle ahead, and he forced the badger up and up, through gravel and sand and soil. It erupted from the earth by the keep wall, opening its jaws in a final, tortured gasp. As it expired, Daazna flung his senses through the keep wall. He found his inert body, thrust himself into it, sucked air into his lungs and lunged upright with such ferocity that those clustered around him – guards, commander, mother – leaped back with cries of fear. On cold, numb legs, Daazna lurched from the keep to the badger’s hole. Kicking the torn black-and-white body aside, he dropped to his knees and plunged his hand into the tunnel. His fingers locked on the Gemeta’s ankle and he pulled with all his strength. Battered and bleeding, the Gemeta’s body burst from the earth.

“Get out of my way!” Daazna shrieked at the people gathering on the keep steps. He dragged the Gemeta past them into the keep, through the great hall and down the corridor to Iele’s chamber. He kicked open the door and slung the Gemeta inside with such force that the boy’s inert form skidded halfway across the room. Daazna slammed the door shut and pressed himself against the wall. “Chamaeleonte,” he whispered. His body sank backward into the stones and became cold, gray and still.

The Lost Men made their slow and deliberate way around the room, pacing past the crumpled figure on the floor. At the back of the room there was a faint splash as a dripping, green-clad form heaved itself from the pool and insinuated itself among the Men. Within the wall, Daazna smiled. Iele was alert and watching.

Suddenly, the Gemeta’s chest heaved. Coughing painfully, he struggled to his hands and knees. His dirt-matted hair hung in his face, his tunic and leggings were in tatters, his exposed flesh was scraped raw. He sat back on his heels and raised one hand to his chest. Daazna nearly giggled at the utter desolation in the boy’s face when he realized his Stone was gone.


Buy Links:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ iBooks

About the Author:


Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, "Yaa & The Coffins," was featured in Thinkerbeat's 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Social Media: 

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Sci-Fi Books On My TBR


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books On My Winter TBR - since it's Sci-Fi Month (if you want to know more about this go here), I'm giving my list a sci-fi spin. I'm narrowing my list down :to New & Upcoming Sci-Fi Books On My TBR.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title.

New & Upcoming:


Artemis by Andy Weir - November 14th - Even though I've already read this one I thought I'd share just how much I enjoyed this one!  You can read my review here.


Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich - November 14th


Saga, Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples - January 2nd


Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines - November 7th



Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - January 9th

2016 Releases On My TBR:



The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie


Bluescreen by Dan Wells


Crosstalk by Connie Willis


Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn


Underground Railroad by Ben H. Winters

Have you read any of these sci-fi books yet, or are you looking forward to any of these new and upcoming releases?  As always thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!



Monday, November 27, 2017

Music Monday: Captain America & Agent Carter


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.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few 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.

Welcome to the 4th and final Music Monday of Sci-Fi Month (if you want to know more about this go here)!  This month all of the music I'm going to be sharing will be sci-fi related - this week I'm sharing some of my favorite music from Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), composed by Alan Silvestri, and Agent Carter (2015-16), composed by Christopher Lennertz.  Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is one of my favorite characters of the MCU and I particularly liked Silvestri's work in the first film.  I love that it totally fits the WWII era sound - the "Captain America March" and "Star Spangled Man" (I included the movie scene rather than just the album version) are my two favorite pieces.  I don't know about you, but it still kills me that Agent Carter was cancelled.  Anyway, I really like the music from that show - two stand outs are the "Credit Suite" and "Whatcha Gonna Do (It's Up To You)" from "A Little Song and Dance" (season two, episode nine).  Both Hayley Atwell and Enver Gjokaj do their own singing and dancing in the scene.  Is it just me or does anyone else want to see Enver Gjokaj in a Gene Kelly biopic after that?










Friday, November 24, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Red Rising by Pierce Brown + 50/50 Friday





On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


Happy Black Friday everyone - congrats if you're braving the crowds today!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (my American readers anyway)! Anyway, this week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, Red Rising by Pierce Brown.  I'm not far into it yet, but I'm really enjoying it so far.  I don't know why I didn't read this years ago.  Since it's Sci-Fi Month, I thought it's more than time to tackle it (if you want to know more about this go here)!  

Beginning: 

The first thing you should know about me is I am my father's son.  And when they came for him, I did as he asked.  I did not cry.

56:

"We have a passcode.  No brains in slaves.  Mine Tinpots are idiots.  It's the Grey elites, or the Obsidian monsters you watch out for.  But they don't waste their time down here."

50/50 Friday: Books That Left You Hungry For More/ Satisfied


Hungry For More - The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee - This was awesome and I'm dying for the sequel in 2018!


Satisfied -  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - This had just about the perfect ending I could have imagined.  Is anyone else excited for the movie adaptation, Love, Simon?  Have you seen the little teaser that's been released - it looks very promising!

Have you read any of these books?  Thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down on below!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Footnotes - A Quotation About A Character


Welcome back to Footnotes, a new link-up hosted by Emily @ Stranger Worlds & Ashley @ [oddly novel title] for quotation obsessees.  Each month they will post a prompt and participants will share a quote that fits the prompt as well as share their thoughts on it in any way they wish.

November's Prompt: A quote that defines or captures the essence of a favorite character

“Aren't you afraid of dying?" he asked Lila now. 
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. "Death comes for everyone," she said simply. "I'm not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here." She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” 

I've always loved this quote from Lila in A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and this was actually the first quote that popped to mind for this month's prompt.  I'd say that last line encapsulates her character just about perfectly.  By the way, that piece of fan art is currently one of my favorites for her character.

What are some of your favorite quotes that you think really captures the essence of a character?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkhite (ARC) - Review


❋ 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Pen's life has been wreck since her sister committed suicide last year. Now, she's hooked on Fix, a drug that changes how she thinks and sees. Although the drug has horrific side effects, she keeps coming back for more because she sees hallucinations of a guy called Nate. Even though she's knows Nate is only in her head, he seems to be the only person who cares about her future. She knows she has to change, but she's more confused than ever when Nate professes his love for her. Then, during a Fix trip one of her classmates goes missing and Pen quickly realizes that she's in more danger than she thought. If she doesn't get her act together quick, she may be next on the missing persons list.

Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkhite is one of those novels where I definitely preferred the concept of the story to the overall execution of the novel. At least 95% of the novel is Pen high on Fix and hallucinating, or suffering from all sorts of insane side effects. Now, I've read a lot of selfish characters but Pen really takes the cake. She truly thinks of nothing but herself - not to mention that she's astoundingly unreliable. I was also hoping for a little more in terms of the mystery, especially one that makes a little more sense and is less contradictory. I also would have preferred a little bit more clarity when it comes to that paranormal aspect - was that just a figment or what? Quite a few events just seem to crop up with zero warning making me scratch my head and wonder if I missed something along the line. Finally, I also wanted to mention that tonally Pen doesn't really sound like a modern teen (to my ears anyway).

Overall, Fix Me wasn't for me in the long run - I enjoyed the basic premise more than the final result. The story covers dark, heavy themes, but doesn't really handle them in a satisfactory manner. There's so much more that I wish would have been done or could have been explored by our cast.

Thanks for the opportunity, NetGalley.


I read this ARC from November 16 - 17, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released on November 28, 2017.

Top Ten Tuesday: #OwnVoices Books I'm Thankful For


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books I'm Thankful For in honor of Thanksgiving - this week I'm spotlighting ten #OwnVoices books I'm thankful for.  Here we go, in order by title:


American Street by Ibi Zoboi


The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee


The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi


George by Alex Gino


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova


Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Want by Cindy Pon

What are some of your favorite #OwnVoices books?  Have you tried any of the ones on my list?  As always thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!