Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge - October Update: Handling the Undead & Grave Mercy


It's already the end of October - meaning 20 of the 24 tasks for Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge are complete!  Where are the days going?!  The tasks I completed required me to read a book of genre fiction in translation the first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series.  For the tasks, I selected Handling the Dead by John Ajvide Lindqvist and Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers respectively.  Read on to see my mini reviews and what's next for November:


❋ ❋ 

Good, but not nearly as great as Let the Right One In. I love the concept behind the story but less so the execution. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but I think I would have preferred if it had just followed David and Mahler. I wasn't all that interested in how the story ended either, but I did particularly appreciate the first half. Regardless I think I'll be trying more of this author in the future.

I read this novel from October 4 - 6, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ 

I think I've found a new series I'll really enjoy. It's a little too long, but it still held my attention every step of the way. As much as I liked Duval as a character I do think that it focused a bit too much on the romance aspect for me to thoroughly get behind it. Overall, though, I can't wait to see where Ismae will go next in Dark Triumph. If you like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, I have a feeling that you'll also like Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

I read this book from October 6 - 20, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Next Up For November:

A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author 


My choice: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers - I've heard so many awesome things about this from some of my favorite people, so I need to get to this stat!

A book with a cover you hate 


My choice: A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray - Have I ever mentioned how much I can't stand the covers of Amish fiction?  You know, the ones where the Amish men and/ or women are facing the camera - and they look nothing like a real life Amish person in terms of hair styles, facial hair, clothes, or makeup?  Those have always irked me and this one is no exception.  Hopefully the story will surprise me - I have to say that I am kind of pleased that it's set in Charm, Ohio, a place that I've actually visited!  I've always enjoyed visiting Amish country here in Ohio.  Fun fact: Guggisberg Cheese Company, which is less than two miles from Charm, developed Baby Swiss Cheese in the 1960s!


Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think of them.  As always, thanks for visiting and perhaps even commenting down below!  And finally, Happy Halloween - don't eat too much candy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Movies I Have Watched & Plan To Watch This Season


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a Halloween/ Creepy Freebie - and I'm sharing Horror Movies I Have Watched & Plan To Watch This Season.  Before this year, I'd never seen any of these classic horror movies.  Here we go, in order by title (linked to the Letterboxd page and/ or my Letterboxd review):

Watched:


An American Werewolf in London (1981)


Blade (1998)


Shutter (2004)


Re-Animator (1985)

To Watch:


Donnie Darko (2001)


Cronos (1993)


Jacob's Ladder (1990)


Tales from the Crypt (1972)


They Live (1988)

What movies are you watching to get in the mood for the season?  Have you watched any of these movies?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Music Monday: Halloween, Week 5


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.

Each week of this month I've been sharing some of my favorite lesser known Halloween songs - and this is the fifth and final week.  This week I'm sharing "Graveyard" by Leroy Bowman and The Arrows (1958) and "50% Murder" by Reverend Glasseye and His Wooden Legs (2001).  "Graveyard" starts a bit slow, but it really picks up the pace and has a great piano and saxophone bit.  I hadn't heard of Reverend Glasseye before I stumbled upon this one, but with that sound I'd say that song is perfect for Halloween.  What are some of your favorite Halloween songs?





Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Funday: Book Haul


Happy Sunday everyone!  I hope everyone's had a great week and are enjoying their weekend.  I know I am, I've actually had all weekend off for a change!  I've been able to catch up on my reading, watching, blogging, and sleeping.  Anyway I've acquired a lot of books in the last two weeks - last weekend a local library held a book sale where you could fill an entire paper grocery sack as full as possible for only $1 and yesterday I went to probably one of the biggest indoor flea markets I've ever been to and there were a lot of book vendors that were selling used books for my kind of prices.  Check out what I've added to my collection:


Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan - I've enjoyed what I've read from Brennan in the past and this YA fantasy retelling of A Tale of Two Cities sounds like it could be an intriguing one.

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers - I was really pleased to find this one because I just finished up the first book in the series and loved it.

Empire of Dust (Blood of Gods and Royals #2) by Eleanor Herman - I particularly enjoyed the first installment of this series back when it was released, but for some reason I never continued on with the series.  It's time to catch up!

Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge - I had never heard of this novel originally released in 1977 before, but this historical fiction story on Hatshepsut, the second female pharaoh of ancient Egypt, sounds really cool.


The Better Part of Darkness (Charley Madigan #1) by Kelly Gray - I've had this urban fantasy series opener on my tbr for ages and I'm glad I've finally picked up a copy.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume 1 (The Glass Books #1.1) by Gordon Dahlquist I hadn't heard of this one before either, but this sounds like it could be a cool steampunk mystery.  As it turns out, the first book in this series was split into two separate volumes so technically this is the first half of book one.

The Red Plague Affair (Bannon & Clare #2) by Lilith Saintcrow - Book one of this steampunk, urban fantasy, alternate history, Sherlock Holmes-esque series was so cool and I can't wait to start in on the sequel!

The Best Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle by Arthur Conan Doyle, Edited by Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenberg - Sherlock Holmes is one of my all time favorite characters, but I've never actually read anything else from his creator.  I hope this collection of short stories will be a decent introduction to more of his work.


Japanese Mythology by Juliet Piggott - I love learning about the mythology of cultures all over the world, and this sounds like a fascinating piece when it comes to the mythology of Japan.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn - I've heard a lot of great things about this new mystery thriller and seeing as Alfred Hitchcock is one of my all time favorite movies I'm really excited to finally give this a try.

The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb - The movie adaptation of this novel starring Robert Mitchum is one of my favorite thrillers.  I actually had no idea that it was based on a book until I rewatched it a couple of weeks ago, so when I saw this at that flea market I knew I had to pick it up.  I can't wait to see how the two compare!


InterWorld (InterWorld #1) by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves - Somehow I had totally missed this YA Gaiman novel, but it sounds like it could be pretty epic.

Princep's Fury (Codex Alera #5) by Jim Butcher - I've gotten hooked on Butcher's ancient Rome inspired epic fantasy series.  I'm looking forward to coming back to this world.

First Lord's Fury (Codex Alera #6) by Jim Butcher - I can't believe I'm so close to completing this epic fantasy series.

Anansi Boys (American Gods) by Neil Gaiman - American Gods is one of my favorites and I can't believe I've never read this urban fantasy novel set in the same universe.  Time to finally fix that!

Alright then - like I said I picked up a lot of books in the last couple of weeks.  Have you read any of the books I picked up for a real bargain?  Which should I read first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps commenting down below!

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ 

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

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean is a uniquely creative new standalone YA fantasy. While it wasn't quite a favorite, it still has things to love about it. The concept of the novel drew me to it right away - I mean, it's a fantasy novel inspired by Japanese culture, mythology, and folklore after all. Right from the opening chapter I knew the author's vividly descriptive writing style would completely suck me into world of Honoku. Now that I've finished reading the novel, I can officially say that Jean's world-building is absolutely phenomenal and is the overall standout of the book. The setting and descriptions are so well written that I felt like I was actually there seeing everything first hand, especially when it came to the season rooms. As blown away as I was by the world-building, the characters and character development left something to be desired. I never really connected with any of the perspective characters. They were all intriguing, but none of them really stood out. All have the potential to be great, but they fall a little flat. Also there are times when the pacing isn't balanced - there are sections that moved much too slow and then others where too much was going on to keep up with.

Overall, Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean is a good standalone YA fantasy novel. It has moments of real greatness when it comes to world-building, but then there are other places like character development that could do with some work to really polish it off into a truly unforgettable story. If you're interested in Japanese culture, folklore, and mythology or even Princess Mononoke, I do recommend giving Emiko Jean's newest richly atmospheric release a try.


I read this ARC from October 27 - 28, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsEmpress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean will be released on November 6th, 2018.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas + 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 & Fall Bookish Bingo reads (it will fulfill the copper, bronze, or gold cover square), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) Sarah J. Maas.  I loved book one and I'm glad to finally be back for this series!

Beginning:

The shutters swinging in the storm winds were the only sign of her entry.  No one had noticed her scaling the garden wall of the darkened manor house, and with the thunder and the gusting wind off the nearby sea, no one heard her as she shimmied up the drainpipe, swing onto the windowsill, and slithered into the second-floor hallway.

56:

Thankfully, no one paid them much heed - not when there were so many people, and so many stores.  Oh, how she adored this avenue, where all the fine things in the world were sold and bartered!  Jewelers, hatters, clothiers, confectioneries, cobblers... Unsurprisingly, Chaol stomped right past every shop window, not even glancing at the delights displayed inside.

50/50 Friday: Scary/ Book Movie You Want To Read/ Watch




Ring (Ring #1) by Koji Suzuki - I love both the original Japanese movie and the American remake.  I need to rewatch both movies, and try picking up the novel that inspired it all.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Villains


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Villains (favorite, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc.) - I'm sharing some of my favorite villains (but perhaps are not villains in the traditional sense and may even be the protagonist).  Here we go, in order by book title:


Queen Levana - Cinder by Marissa Meyer




Holland Vosijk - A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


President Snow - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark


Count Olaf - A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket


Kaz Brekker - Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Victor Vale and Eli Ever - Vicious by V.E. Schwab


Joe - You by Caroline Kepnes


Adelina Amouteru - The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Who are some of your favorite villains?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Salt by Hannah Moskowitz (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ 

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

Even though their parents disappeared during a hunt three months ago, seventeen-year-old Indi and his siblings, Beleza, Oscar, and Zulu, continue to roam the Mediterranean on their sailboat and hunt down monsters--but Indi yearns for a more settled life for his family, and he hopes that his parents' journal with its tantalizing hints of a treasure, will provide them all with the means of escape from their nomadic and dangerous life before it is too late.

Salt is my first novel by Hannah Moskowitz and I can definitely say it will not be the last. There is so much to love here. I particularly enjoyed getting to know all four siblings - Beleza, Indi (our lead) Oscar, and Zulu - over the course of their tale. They are sea monster hunters who taken up the family business after their parents went missing. All of them have quite distinct voices and it's incredibly easy to get completely wrapped up on their lives. Their relationships with one another are believably complex and incredibly tight. While they might sometimes be at each others throats, they'll do whatever it takes to keep their family safe.

As much as I enjoyed what we got, I felt like the book didn't live up to all of its potential. Firstly, the world building is quite minimal. There's so much we just don't know about the world of monster hunters and the creatures they fight. The story could have truly benefited from fleshing out locations, scenes, backstory, fights, and descriptions because some things just go by way too fast.

Honestly, I think Salt by Hannah Moskowitz could be truly fantastic if it were a little longer and more developed. This personal novel isn't bad at all as it is, but there's so much potential that it doesn't quite manage to live up to by the time you make it to the end of the story. In fact, the close focus on family absolutely makes it. I have a feeling you'll enjoy this novel if you are a fan of the early seasons of Supernatural and can't get enough of the relationship between Sam and Dean Winchester.



I read this ARC from October 18 - 22, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsSalt by Hannah Moskowitz will be released on October 30th, 2018.

Music Monday: Halloween, Week 4


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.

Each week this October I'll be sharing two lesser known songs that are perfect for Halloween.  This week I'm sharing "Riboflavin" by 45 Grave (1983) and "Night of the Vampire" by The Fuzztones (1992).  "Riboflavin" is so much fun (bit of a tongue-twister) and it's perfect for this time of year.  There are a quite a few different covers of "Night of the Vampire", but The Fuzztones version is my favorite of all of them.  What are some of you favorite Halloween songs?






Friday, October 19, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton + 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, Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton.  I loved book one in this series and I don't know why I've put the sequel off for so long, but I'm glad I've finally picked it up now!

Beginning:

Once, in the desert kingdom of Miraji, there was a young prince who wanted his father's throne.

56:

"We need to send her reinforcements," she said as we felt our way through the inside of the cliff toward camp.

50/50 Friday: Favorite Longest/ Shortest Series


Longest - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - I'm dying for the future release of book sixteen! 


Shortest - Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - It's only a duology, but it's awesome - I hope we get to see these characters in the future!

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