Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Books On My Fall 2018 TBR and I'm focusing on new releases from this September through November.  Here we go, in order by release date.

September:


Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco - Release date: September 18, 2018 - This author has quickly become one of my favorites and I can't wait to see more from Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell.


For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Heilig - Release date: September 25, 2018 - I loved Heilig's brand of fantasy in The Girl from Everywhere duology and I'm excited to see where she goes in this all new Asian cultures inspired fantasy series.


Vengeful (Vicious #2) by V.E.Schwab - Release date: September 25, 2018 - I don't think I can adequately express just how excited I am for this sequel!!

October:


The Hollow Fear (Lady Sherlock #3) by Sherry Thomas - Release date: October 2, 2018 - Currently this series is my new favorite take on the classic character and like with the first two installments I want to listen to this on audiobook.


The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2) by Mackenzi Lee - Release date: October 2, 2018 - Felicity was my favorite character from the first book in this series and I'm thrilled that she's the main character in this sequel.


Saga, Volume 9 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples - Release date: October 2, 2018 - It's been way too long since I've had a new volume of my favorite graphic novel series in my hands!


A Sorrow Fierce and Falling (Kingdom on Fire #3) by Jessica Cluess - Release date: October 16, 2018 - I've loved this historical fantasy series and I need to know how it all ends.  I'm hoping to try it on audiobook as the productions of the previous installments have been excellent.


Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph Fink - Release date: October 30, 2018 - I love this Night Vale Presents podcast and I can't wait to see the novelization of the story!  I'm hoping to try the audiobook version since Jasika Nicole is narrating and she plays the lead character Keisha in the podcast.

November:


Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean - Release date: November 6, 2018 - I actually got approved for an ARC on NetGalley and I'm looking forward to diving into this YA fantasy that's inspired by Japanese folklore.


The Dark Days Deceit (Lady Helen #3) by Alison Goodman - Release date - November 20, 2018 - This historical fantasy series has quickly become one of my favorites and I'm not ready to say goodbye to Lady Helen and Lord Carlston, but I have a feeling this finale will knock it out of the park!


Are you planning on reading any of these new and upcoming releases?  What books are on your Fall TBR?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Night Crossing by Robert Masello (ARC) - Review


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

An intrepid explorer discovers a mysterious golden box in the Carpathian Mountains. She is unaware of the danger it poses and she takes it home to Victorian London - unaware that evil has already started to take root in the city. Bram Stoker, a theater manager and frustrated writer, finds himself pulled into the nefarious plan of the rich owners of a mission house for the poor. The shelter isn't the safe haven it promises to be, but instead harbors a horrific secret. Stoker, the explorer, and a mission resident grieving the loss of her child must work together to save their city from ancient Egyptian enemy, but first they'll have to survive London's overgrown graveyards, rat-infested tunnels, and even the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

I'm so pleased to find out I was approved to read this novel - I mean, how could you go wrong with a historical fantasy horror featuring the legendary authors Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle? As it turns out it works out really well with only a few minor issues. Like I know I've mentioned before, historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read and I love how Masello combines real history, and real facts about Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle with awesome fantasy elements. I've always been interested in Egyptian mythology and it's pretty interesting how the author integrates that with real world Victorian London. My only major issue with this story are in the number of POVs. They all move pretty quickly and held my interest once I got into the swing of the style, but I only found myself truly invested in Bram Stoker's perspective chapters. Honestly, I could have done without at least one fewer POV - the novel may have flowed a little more without it. I will say, though, that I enjoyed how things begin to come together with Stoker at the lead.

Overall, The Night Crossing by Robert Masello is a creative and unique scary historical fantasy novel. It is definitely must-read for fans of the author Bram Stoker, who begins to find inspiration in the horrific events going on around him for what eventually becomes Dracula. Even though I had a few minor complaints I was still quite addicted and on the edge of my seat to see what would happen. This is my first experience reading Masello, but I'm going to have to read more from him in the future and I believe I'll have to start with The Jekyll Revelation.  Thanks again, NetGalley!



I read this ARC from September 14 - 17, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsThe Night Crossing will be released on September 18, 2018.

Music Monday: Seo Linn


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.

This week I'm spotlighting the music of the bilingual (English and Irish) Irish folk-pop band called Seo Linn with lead vocals by Stiofán Ó Fearail.  I first started listening to their music due to their performance as a part of TG Lurgan's Gaeilge cover of Avicii's Wake Me Up.  Since then I've been enjoying listening to my copy of their debut album Solas (2017).  For "Music Makers" they were tapped by the RTE for Ireland's the celebration of 1916 Centenary to make an English/ Irish song inspired by Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy"Buy Me Time" is one of their most recent releases from this year, in fact today they're releasing a video for the Irish language version of it!  Enjoy!  What are you listening to this week?






Friday, September 14, 2018

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix (ARC) - Review


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

In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was nearly a breakout success, but the lead singer Terry went solo and became a superstar as Koffin, leaving the rest of the band in the dust. Now, former guitarist Kris is miserable as a night manager at Best Western. Then one day she learns a horrific secret about Terry's meteoric success -it may have come at the price of Kris's soul. With this information, Kris plans to confront the man who ruined her life, but first she's going have to get the rest of Dürt Würk back together again and travel across the country to a monster of a music festival where Koffin is playing his final show.

I was so excited when I realized I had been approved for this ARC via NetGalley because Grady Hendrix has quickly become one of my favorite new horror writers. His brand of horror is right up my alley - I loved Horrorstor and My Best Friend's Excorcism was pretty fantastic. Needless to say, I had really high hopes and was expecting to be thoroughly creeped out by his newest novel. Luckily for me, We Sold Our Souls totally delivers in all the ways that matter. I'm not a guitarist and heavy metal isn't one of my favorite genres, but as a musician I forgot how much I like reading about fellow musicians. I especially like seeing it in genre fiction which doesn't happen often enough, and I love how key Kris's music (and love of music) plays such a central role in this horror story. Kris herself is a fascinating lead character. Even though she's quite flawed, a bit rough around the edges, and doesn't always make the best decisions, I couldn't help but root for her throughout. In fact, all of the characters in this novel are complex and well-drawn. Finally, I just need to mention just how well this novel works as a psychological horror story. I was on the edge of my seat and there are plenty of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Plus, if you're into conspiracy theories this will probably get you going as well.

Overall, We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix is a thrilling new Lovecraft-esque horror novel that focuses on music and its cast. If you've enjoyed this author's previous works, I have a feeling that you'll love this too. I can't wait to see what he's going to do next. One thing's for sure, though, I will never look at UPS in the same way!

Thanks again, NetGalley!



I read this ARC from September 10 - 14, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsWe Sold Our Souls will be released on September 18th, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Academ's Fury (The Codex Alera #2) by Jim Butcher + 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.



This week I'm spotlighting one of my current #BeatTheBacklist reads, Academ's Fury (The Codex Alera #2) by Jim Butcher.  I read the first book in this series, Furies of Calderon, years ago and I absolutely loved this Ancient Rome inspired epic fantasy.  I don't know why I put off continuing the series for so long, but I'm glad to finally be back now.  Plus, I'm glad to have a new-to-me full length novel from Butcher after catching up on The Dresden Files, except for some short stories.

Beginning:

Wind howled over the rolling, sparsely wooded hills of the lands in the care of the Marat, the One-and-Many people.  Hard, coarse flecks of snow fled before it, and though the One rode high in the sky, the overcast hid his face.

56:

Bernard frowned.  "For fury's sake, Aric.  I'm still the same man I was two years ago, title or no.  You shouldn't worry about bothering me when it's hold business."

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Book Set In A School


Favorite - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - How could I choose anything else?


Least Favorite - The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman - It's not that I really had anything against Brakebills itself, but the characters were so irritating.  I have to admit though that I do like the tv adaptation.

Have you read any of these books?  What are you reading this weekend?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Hidden Gems.  The books I've selected below are some favorite historical fantasy novels under 3,000 ratings on Goodreads.  All of these novels totally deserve more love.  Here we go, starting with the fewest number of ratings to highest.  The titles are linked to Goodreads.


Only the Dead Know Burbank by Bradford Tatum - Ratings: 91


Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney - Ratings: 369


Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer - Ratings: 557


Sharps by K.J. Parker - Ratings: 1,217


Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto - Ratings: 1,249


Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly - Ratings: 1,463


A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly - Ratings: 1,544


The Uninvited by Cat Winters - Ratings: 2,177


The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson - Ratings: 2,618


They Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson - Ratings: 2,868


Have you read any of the books on my list?  What are some of your favorite hidden gems?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Music Monday: The Greatest Showman


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.


This week I'm sharing my three favorite songs from The Greatest Showman (2017) - "The Greatest Show", "The Other Side",  "This Is Me".  I don't know why I put off watching this movie for as long as I did, but I'm glad I finally watched it because it's so much fun.  Sure it takes quite a few historical liberties, but the set pieces are fabulous and the songs are infectious!  Of the three songs I've picked, "The Other Side" is the best song out of the entire movie.  Definitely the catchiest and best choreographed anyway!








Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Funday: Literary Book Gifts - 20% Off Promo Code


Happy Sunday everyone!  This weekend I'm doing something a little bit different.  As a book lover, I can't resist quality bookish merchandise.  Well, the good people over at Literary Book Gifts have a lot of unique designs featuring classics that would be great to add to your collection.  They feature t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and tote bags.  The clothes are available in women's, men's, and unisex sizes. 

As a special treat, Melissa from Literary Book Gifts have asked me to offer my readers a promo code which is good for 20% off anything in the store.  There is no required minimum amount to take advantage of this discount which has no expiration date.  That means it can be used multiple times!

Promo Code: never-anyone-else20 

Check out some of my favorite t-shirt designs - each picture is linked to the corresponding product page:


Visit Literary Book Gifts today and stock up on some nice bookish merch!  Thanks again to Melissa for making this all possible!  Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Good, The Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows #2) by Kim Harrison + 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.



This week I'm spotlighting one of my current #BeatTheBacklist reads, The Good, The Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows #2) by Kim Harrison.  I loved book one in this series, Dead Witch Walking, when I read it this time last year.  I'm glad I finally have the chance to get to more of this series.

Beginning: 

I hitched the canvas strap holding the watering canister higher up on my shoulder and stretched to get the nozzle into the hanging plant.

56:

"All magic requires a price paid by death, Detective.  White earth magic pays for it by my blood and killing plants."

50/50 Friday: Best/ Worst Read In August


Worst - The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson - This audiobook sounded like it had a lot of potential, but I ended up DNF'ing it at only 10%.  I guess it just wasn't for me.


Best - Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett - I read  a lot of great books, but new fantasy novel stands out the most.


Have you read any of these books?  What are you reading this weekend?  As always, thank you for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

#BeatTheBacklist 2018 Reviews - Cal Leandros, The Kane Chronicles, The School For Good And Evil, Six of Crows, & Stalking Jack the Ripper


Happy Thursday everyone!  It's been a while (April, oopsie!) since I've shared about my progress for #BeatTheBacklist 2018, which is hosted by NovelKnight, so I thought we'd play some catch up.  Okay, initially I had fifty books on my challenge TBR and since I was focusing on working my way through series that includes books from twenty-five separate series.  So far I've completed a grand total of twenty-two titles off my list and managed to meet my goals for getting caught up (at least to an extent) on nine series.  Anyway, today I'm going to share my thoughts on the series I've met my goals on since my last update.  Read on to see my thoughts on finally completing my goals when it comes to the following series - Cal Leandros, The Kane Chronicles, The School For Good And Evil, Six of Crows, & Stalking Jack the Ripper:




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I absolutely love this this series! Nine books in and I think this one might be my favorite of all of them. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the reincarnation thing until now. Downfall totally sold me on it. It became one of my favorite aspects of the story actually, on top of everything else that's going on with Cal, Niko, Goodfellow, and company. I loved getting alternating chapters from Cal and Goodfellow's perspective - that's what made me get on the bandwagon. I also liked seeing consequences of Cal's Auphe genes coming to the surface more than they ever have before, which also begins to tie into the reincarnation aspect of the brothers.

I read this from March 30 - April 12, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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I've been addicted to this series since the beginning and I'm finally caught up. Nevermore is the tenth book and it still manages to keep things fresh. This time we get to see 26 year old Cal time travel eight years into the past to prevent a psychotic Vigil experiment/ assassin from killing his younger self and everyone he cares about before they can truly become a threat to the organization. It's fantastic seeing him interact with his 18 year old self and 20 year old Niko. I have to admit it was fun seeing them, especially Niko, at a loss. He also decides to go to Goodfellow a year before the brothers first met him regardless of the consequences. I particularly enjoyed that and how Cal convinced Goodfellow to trust them. Unfortunately, this installment ends on quite a cliffhanger and the next book, Everwar has missed it's publication by nearly a year and a half, and no one seems to know what's going on with it or the author. I desperately hope it's still coming in the future because Cal, Niko, and Goodfellow's story can't end like this.


I read this from April 19 -May 1, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles isn't my favorite series from him tackling mythology.  Still I can't resist Egyptian mythology and either way this author's take on it is entertaining either way.  I couldn't help but devour these last two books in the trilogy.  I have to admit how much I enjoy how all of his mythology worlds interconnect in some way or another.  Overall, Serpent's Shadow is a great wrap up to the series as a whole.

I read book two from May 7 - 10, 2018 and book three from May 19 - 20, 2018.



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I feel like this series doesn't get the attention it deserves, but then again I would consider it more of an older MG series (or perhaps younger YA series).  Either way, this series is so much fun and offers such creative spins on classic fairy tale-esque stories and character types.  It's compulsively readable - I didn't want to put either book down - and they both manage to pack more of a punch than you would expect.  If you're a fan of fairy tales and fantasy this series is a total must read regardless of your age.  I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to the companion series The School for Good and Evil: The Camelot Years, beginning with Quests for Glory.  

I read book two from June 3 - 5, 2018 and book three from June 5 - 8, 2018.



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Crooked Kingdom is the absolutely marvelous conclusion of the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. I don't think I could have asked for anything better. I easily could have just sat down and devoured this in a few sittings but because I love this series so much I wanted to savor it as much as possible. I read it over the course of approximately three months - just small parts here and there until I got closer and closer to the end that is. The closer I got to the end, the more I realized I couldn't restrain myself quite that much and just wanted to finally see how it all ends for these characters. I don't know what this says about me, but Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Matthias, and Nina are totally my squad goals. I know my review doesn't do my love of this story justice, but regardless when I this novel I believe I actually applauded I was so thrilled with this masterpiece. Anyway, I hope that someday we'll see these characters again in the future. In the meantime, I still need to complete the last two books of The Grisha Trilogy.

Check out one of my new favorite pieces of fan art for this series from Davood Diba (he did the cover art for Cassandra Clare's short story called "Son of the Dawn"):


I read this novel from May 24 - August 30, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco had a lot to live up to as the sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2017. I shouldn't have worried, though, because it is a brilliant and more than worthy sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. I thoroughly enjoyed being back with Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell. Plus, the setting here is so cool and quite creepy - I mean, it's Dracula's castle as a school of forensic science! You can't get much better than that for atmosphere! This time around we also get introduced to few great new additions to the cast of characters. Daciana, Thomas Cresswell's sister, totally steals the show in my opinion. Anyway, aside from the characters, one of my favorite aspects of this story are all the twists and turns - and here there are quite a few doozies. Let me tell you, after that ending I'm dying to see some of my favorite characters return in Escaping from Houdini. I don't know how I'll be able to wait until September. Overall, if you haven't started in on this series and enjoy brilliant characters, great twists, and a tight central mystery, you absolutely need to begin Kerri Maniscalco's Stalking Jack the Ripper series.


I read this novel from April 26 - May 7, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.  My review also appeared in this post featuring five star reviews.


Congrats for making it through this far!  I'm currently working my way through the last two books in the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger and next up I'll be working my way through more of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher and The Hollows by Kim Harrison.  So far I'd say I'm making pretty good headway and luckily I've enjoyed the the books I've tackled so far.  Have you read any of the books in these series or are you planning on picking them up?  Are you taking part in #BeatTheBacklist this year?  What books have you tackled so far?  Anyway, as always thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!