Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge - January Update: Only Human & The Stone Sky


How is it already the end of January?  Wow! This month has gone fast!  Anyway, this means that I've completed 2 out of 24 books of Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge!  How is 2019 going by so quickly?!  The tasks I completed required me to read an epistolary novel or collection of letters and a book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018.  For the tasks, I selected Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel and The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) by N.K. Jemisin.  Read on to see my mini reviews and what's next for February:


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Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is the third and final installment of The Themis Files. The first two novels in the series were absolutely fantastic and I loved the epistolary style they're told in. The finale is formatted in the same way and it's a pretty great wrap up to the story, but unfortunately this was my least favorite novel of the trilogy. I wasn't into the alien world nearly as much as I hoped to be. It's not quite that I didn't like it, I just didn't really care all that much. It didn't quite turn out as I was hoping and I missed some key characters who didn't survive this long, particularly the Agent Smith-esque interviewer. Luckily, though, we still have Vincent. Overall, this series finale is still worth picking up but keep in mind that it isn't quite as fulfilling in the end.

I read this novel from January 1 - 3, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin is the brilliant finale to The Broken Earth series. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better end to a marvelous series! This entire series has been absolutely brilliant. With this series, N.K. Jemisin has quickly become one of my favorite authors with these three novels. Her world-building and storytelling skills are absolutely amazing. If you haven't tried this series yet, it is entirely lives up to the hype. I also have nothing but great things to say about the audiobook production which is narrated by the talented Robin Miles.

I listened to this audiobook from January 6 - 7, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Next Up For February:


A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads


My choice: Reveal (Among Us Trilogy #3) by Anne-Rae Vasquez - This May 2018 release currently has 15 reviews on Goodreads.  I've loved the first two books in this series and I can't wait to jump into the sequel!

A novel by a trans or nonbinary author


My choice: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders - I've been eyeing this fantasy novel ever since its release and now this challenge is finally giving me a good reason to try it.


Have you read any of these books?  Are you participating in the Read Harder Challenge this year, or have you in the past?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title:


Akata Witch (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor - I recently read the first book in this series and it really impressed me (honestly, I don't know what else I was expecting).  I need to continue it!


Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen - This YA fantasy novel doesn't come out until May, but I'm still really excited for it.  All I really needed to hear was pirates and I was sold.


Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870 by Sylvia Van Kirk - One of my friends found a copy of this at Goodwill and recently passed it on to me.  You may think this non-fiction history book doesn't sound like my kind of thing, but it really is!


Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London #2) by Ben Aaronovitch - I recently read book one in this series and got sucked in.  I need to continue the series.  I just wish the American covers looked as nice as the originals.


The Municipalists by Seth Fried - This sci-fi novel doesn't come out until March and I'm really looking forward to the dynamic between the partnership of a human and AI.


Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter - This YA fantasy book doesn't come out until March and basically all I had to hear was fairies.  It's totally making me think of The Cruel Prince at that.


Pendulum Heroes (Pendulum Heroes #1) by James Beamon - This comes out in June and it sounds like it would be perfect for fans of Ready Player One.


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim - This YA fantasy will be released in July and it has been described as Mulan meets Project Runway.  I'm not all that interested in Project Runway, but I'm all about Mulan.



Where I End & You Begin by Preston Norton - I was really impressed this author's Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe and I'm really interested by his upcoming YA contemporary coming this June.


Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk - This horror novel is coming out in March and it sounds like a combination of We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix meets The Ring.  I don't know about you, but that sounds like an awesome combination to me.


What books have you recently added to your tbr?  Are you planning to read any of the books on my list this week?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Music Monday: The Mummy (1999)


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.

Happy Monday everyone!  This week I'm sharing some of my favorite songs from the soundtrack of The Mummy (1999) composed by Jerry Goldsmith.  I just recently rewatched both this and its sequel The Mummy Returns (2001) which I absolutely love.  The two movies are just so much fun (let's just forget about The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)!  But, I prefer the soundtrack to the first movie - I can practically picture what's happening when I hear the music.  My favorite songs from the album are "Imhotep", "The Sarcophagus", "Giza Port", and "The Camel Race".










Friday, January 25, 2019

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Night Shift (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris + 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 my current January Jam Jar read (as a part of Devour Your TBR), Night Shift (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris.  I've been enjoying this series and I'm interested to see how the novels wrap up.  I've also really been loving the tv series (actually I prefer it to the books) - unfortunately it's been cancelled by NBC but I hope that it will be picked up by another network or a streaming service.  



Beginning:

The first suicide arrives early one October night.

56:

"I can take him," Olivia said.  She sounded remote, calm.

"I know you can, Olivia.  But in this case, I just about owe this man an explanation."

50/50 Friday: Most/ Least Overrated Main Character


Most - Mare Barrow from the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard - This character/ series jumped to mind first.  The first book was decent, in my opinion the series went down from there - and I've only read the first three.  Definitely overhyped.


Least - Ling Chan and Henry DuBois (and pretty much everyone else from the ensemble cast of) The Diviners series by Libba Bray - This series deserves so much more love - Ling and Henry are my favorites by far.  (In the great piece of fan art above you can see from left to right Ling, Henry, and Theta.)

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim #9) by Melanie Dickerson - ARC Review




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

Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret? Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights. Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster . . . or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways. When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen—and usually does. When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?

I was so exited to read The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson when I was approved for it via NetGalley. I'm usually ready for anything involving my favorite Disney (and legendary) character Mulan, and the description of this novel sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, now that I've read it I can say that this novel just didn't work for me. Firstly, I had no idea that this novel was actually the ninth book in the Hagenheim series. Obviously, I felt a little lost from the get-go. Secondly, so much of what I love about Mulan as a character (and story) are gone - her identity has been stripped away. Thirdly, I knew that it was a Christian YA book going in which is fine, but sometimes I felt like I was reading a sermon rather than anything else. Overall, Dickerson's newest novel just wasn't what I was hoping it would be. I might have felt differently about it if I had read the first eight books in the series, but then again this version of Mulan wasn't exactly to my liking. Thanks, but no thanks, NetGalley.


I read this ARC from January 22 - 23, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.  The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim #9) by Melanie Dickerson will be released on February 5, 2019.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Enchantée by Gita Trelease (ARC) - Review


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

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible. But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns.

Enchantée by Gita Trelease is a brilliantly captivating new YA historical fantasy novel. Once I got started I didn't want to put it down. The complex world of Revolutionary France that Trelease has created in this novel is atmospheric and thrilling. I practically felt like I was right there in Paris alongside Camille - the city practically becomes its own character. On that note, Camille has easily become one of my favorite new characters. She's willing to do just about anything to protect her younger sister from the crushing poverty all around them and I can totally get behind that. Camille is also quite flawed, but it is remarkable to watch her struggle to deal with the consequences of her magic and ambition. It was also intriguing to track her addiction to magic and how that related to her own identity. As great of a character as Camille is, Lazare is easily my favorite character in the entire novel. He has fantastic chemistry with Camille, and he even has a hot air balloon! As for the magic system, it's quite unique yet simple and I loved seeing the transformations and illusions. It's easy to see how it could all be so addictive. Finally, this easily could have been a five star read for me, but the formatting of the ARC pulled me out of the story. There were several lines on every page where all of the words ran together. Unfortunately that got pretty old quick, but not enough to completely put me off of such a fantastic story.

Overall, Enchantée is a great YA debut with a glamorous setting, fascinatingly flawed characters, and a cool magic system. Gita Trelease's writing style is absolutely beautiful and she had me hanging on her every world. I loved how she integrates real life history of the early days of the French Revolution into Camille's story. Plus, I have to admit that I was quite pleased with myself for recognizing all of the French words and phrases peppered throughout the story. If you're a fan of Caraval by Stephanie Garber and Les Misérables, I have a feeling you'll love this new release. I can't wait to read more from Gita Trelease in the future. Merci, NetGalley! C'était merveilleux!


I read this ARC from January 20 - 22, 2019 and my review is also on GoodreadsEnchantée by Gita Trelease will be released on February 5th, 2019.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant To Read In 2018 But Didn't Get To


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Books I Meant To Read In 2018 But Didn't Get To.  Well, my tbr is pretty massive so my list of books I mean to get to is pretty long, but these are the books that I didn't get around to that made me feel very disappointed in myself.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title:


Dreadful Company (Dr. Greta Helsing #2) by Vivian Shaw


For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Heilig


Future Lost (Future Shock #3) by Elizabeth Briggs 


Given to the Earth (Given Duet #2) by Mindy McGinnis


The Invasion (The Call #2) by Peadar O'Guilin


Odd & True by Cat Winters


Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda


The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters


This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis


Yesternight by Cat Winters 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Winter Bookish Bingo 2018-19 - Update #1 & Mini Reviews



Welcome to my first official update for Winter Bookish Bingo hosted by Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews!  I haven't made a bingo yet, but I have managed to tackle ten books so far since the challenge began last month.  I'd say I'm off to a pretty good start!  Read on for my mini reviews of these books:

Historical:


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Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland was fantastic. I didn't quite realize just how much I needed that zombie novel. Historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres and this series opener hits all the right notes and is quite a page turner. Jane McKeene, our leading lady, is easily one of my new favorite characters. The novel is both incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking as well. I can't wait for the sequel and I will have to read more from the author.

I read this novel from December 7 - 16, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

White Cover:


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Sherlock Holmes: The Red Tower by Mark A. Latham does a fantastic job bringing some of my all time favorite classic characters to life.  I love that in this story we get to see a little more of Watson on his own than usual.  I'm also a fan of the spiritualism aspect and seeing how Holmes and Watson handle that topic.  Holmes deals with it in exactly the way you would expect.  Finally, while the ending was satisfactory enough, I wouldn't call it a favorite wrap up to a Holmes story.


I read this novel from January 13 - 20, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Religious Minority MC:


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Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah is a diverse novel focusing on Amal's, a sixteen year old Muslim Australian-Palestinian, decision to wear the hijab full-time and just how much that one piece of fabric changes her life. This novel, while a little overlong, is definitely worth reading, but I wish I had read this back in 2005 when it was new and when I was actually 16 years old. My favorite aspect of this novel is watching Amal's relationship with her elderly Greek neighbor grow over the course of the story. Unfortunately, the novel is definitely one of extremes of characters. It could also be difficult to differentiate between some of the voices of the supporting characters.

I read this novel from January 11 - 12, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Free Space:


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Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson #6) by Darynda Jones is such a fun and laugh-out-loud urban fantasy novel. I don't know how but this series just keeps getting better and better. I'm thoroughly invested now in all of the characters, from Charley herself to Reyes, Cookie, and even Mr. Wong. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it especially on audiobook. Lorelei King is easily one of my all time favorite narrators.

I listened to this audiobook from December 14 - 16, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Pink Cover:



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The Merciless (The Merciless #1) by Danielle Vega is incredibly intense. I mean, I think I probably should have been breathing into a paper bag after I finished it. I don't know about you but I think this could make a good horror slasher movie. Even though I wasn't all that interested in any the characters aside from Sofia, I was hooked by the plot and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Now I need to continue this series stat.

I read this novel from December 27 - 30, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Fantasy:


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Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas is the awesome third book in the Throne of Glass series, and I think it might be my favorite volume so far. That's really saying something since Crown of Midnight set the bar so incredibly high. Even though this book is over 600 pages, I sped through it and didn't want to put it down for any longer than absolutely necessary. I'm pretty sure Sarah J. Maas must be some kind of genius. I can't wait to jump in to Queen of Shadows.


I read this novel from December 13 - 31, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Book was a Gift:


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Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic by The British Library is a really cool behind the scenes look at one of my all time favorite series. I loved reading about all of the real life historical elements. I wish I could have visited the special exhibition at the British Library because that truly would have been awesome!


I read this book on January 5, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Author of Color:


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Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor is a brilliant fantasy series opener. It was exactly what I needed. Thank you very much for that, Ms. Okorafor. I loved the unique and diverse world and magic system as well as the unique cast of characters at the helm. I haven't read many novels set in Nigeria before, but now I'd love to read more about it. If you're a fan of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, I have a feeling you'll want to meet Sunny as well. I can't wait to read Akata Warrior.

I read this novel from January 3 - 5, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Set in Europe:


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This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1) by Kenneth Oppel is definitely an underrated prequel to Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein. Personally, I think it was a great decision to begin reading this novel after watching The Ghost of Frankenstein on Svengoolie. If you're a fan of retellings and prequels, I highly recommend starting this duology. Now, I need to read book two, Such Wicked Intent.



I read this novel from January 5 - 9, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Spin-Off:


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Nancy Holder does a good job of bringing Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle to life in Not Forgotten (Angel: Season 1, #1). Now if only she hadn't forgotten that Angel's human name was Liam... I'm going to have to rewatch season one again soon because I forgot how much I missed Doyle.


I read this novel from December 25 - 27, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Are you taking part in Winter Bookish Bingo?  Have you read any of these books?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!