Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Devour Your TBR - Sci-Fi July Wrap Up & Avid August TBR

Happy Thursday everyone!  This year I'm taking part in Devour Your TBR which is hosted by Kathy @ Books and Munches and destiny.  Each month the Goodreads Group for the challenge dedicated to knocking out our ever growing TBRs comes up with a themed challenge. Keep reading to see mini reviews of my Sci-Fi July reads & my potential TBR for Avid August (all about catching up on ARCs and reading books that were on previous TBR lists but you never got around to reading):

❋ ❋  ❋ 

I think The Custard Protocol is going to become a new favorite series. I loved seeing Prudence all grown up, favorites popping up from the prequels, and more of the wider supernatural world. Gail Carriger's brand of steampunk is one of the best.

I read Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger from July 11 - 13, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ 

I've heard so many great things about The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past #1) by Liu Cixin and had high expectations.  Unfortunately, though, this wasn't just quite for me.  I had a difficult time making it through it.  I guess hard sci-fi just isn't for me.

I read this novel from July 21 - 24, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Wow! Redshirts by John Scalzi was so much fun. I love Scalzi's style and his dark sense of humor. Plus, it's just about as meta as it gets as well. As a fan of classic Star Trek, this was a real treat. It's short, but it's a real page turner that keeps you laughing. I have a feeling you'll also like it if you're a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Galaxy Quest.

I read this novel from July 13 - 17, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Marissa Meyers does a fantastic job writing YA superheros and Archenemies, the sequel to Renegades is no exception.  Her world-building is pretty fantastic and I absolutely love having a morally gray villain leading the story, especially a female villain at that.  My only issues with this is that it slows down for a good chunk in the middle and that I wish we got to know a little more about the rest of the teams members aside from Nova and Adrian.  Overall, though, I'm dying to know what's going to happen in Supernova.

 I read this from July 19 - 21, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ 

I love the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books and I usually like Eoin Colfer so I was hoping that I'd enjoy Colfer's continuation, And Another Thing...,  of the classic series.  Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out for me.  I suppose my expectations were a little too high.  There were some spots where everything felt authentic, but this didn't happen often enough for me.  This probably would have been a two star read for me if it weren't for the Norse mythology aspect.  That's always fun, and can you blame me if I totally imagined Thor and all the rest to look like their MCU counterparts.

I read this on July 19, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen is an absolute gem of a time travel novel.  I can't say that I've read a time travel novel quite like this, but I enjoyed getting to know Kin, the ex-Temporal Correction Bureau special agent who got stuck for eighteen years after a mission to the 1990s went wrong.  He had no choice but to accept his situation and he built a new life for himself.  The longer he's stuck there the more he suffers the debilitating side effects.  When a TCB rescue team finally comes for him, he doesn't know how he can leave behind everything he has now regardless of his health even if could finally go back to his old life.  The science stuff gets pretty technical in some spots, but either way the story has a lot of heart.  It's quite a roller coaster ride of emotions when it comes to Kin and his predicament.  This flawed character is one of the most relatable I've had the chance to meet.  If you're a fan of thought-provoking time-travel that's a fast-paced, fun adventure as well, then you'll absolutely need Mike Chen's debut novel.  I can't wait to read his next release due out this coming January, A Beginning at the End.

I read this novel from July 21 - 24, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ 

This series opener has a strong beginning and an intriguing concept and setting that really kept me turning the pages, but none of the characters really stood out all that much.  There's a lot of potential for this to be great but it never quite made it there for me.  If you're for a lesser known YA sci-fi dystopia though you may want to give this a shot.

I read The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1) by Nick James from July 17 - 19, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Exo (Exo #1) by Fonda Lee is my second book by this author and I'd say she's solidly on the path to becoming an auto-buy author for me.  I quite enjoyed her brand of a post-alien invasion world and what that means for us.  It's very unique and original.  I can't say I've ever seen aliens quite like the zhree before now.  Her world-building especially is fascinating.  Plus, this dystopian definitely raises a lot of important questions and each side makes many valid points.  I only wish we got a bigger picture of the wider universe.  I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series, Cross Fire.

I read this book from July 7 - 10, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1) by Richard K. Morgan was a fantastic series opener. I don't know why I put this off for so long. I enjoyed getting to explore Kovacs' world and the technology. Plus Kovacs was a pretty great character to go on this ride with as well. I can't wait to continue this series and watch the Netflix adaptation.

I read this cyberpunk novel from July 4 - 6, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ 

To be honest, my two favorite short stories included here in The Best Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle are The Adventure of the Devil's Foot and The Adventure of the Creeping Man. Both are Sherlock Holmes stories that I was already familiar with as they were featured in His Last Bow and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. I also quite liked the two Professor Challenger stories, The Disintegration Machine and When the World Screamed. They helped remind me that I need to read The Lost World and its sequel.

I read this collection of short stories from July 10 - 11, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

I didn't quite know what to expect from Annals of the Time Patrol (Time Patrol #1-2) by Poul Anderson , but that was actually pretty cool and imaginative.  Of course, it is fairly episodic in nature (the two books included in this collection are actually put together from several short stories the author had written between the 1950s and the 1970s), but I enjoyed reading Anderson's take on time travel.  If you're interested in scholarly time travel where it's clear that the author has done their research, Doctor Who, and The Time Tunnel (a totally underrated 1960s sci-fi show), I have a feeling this series could be for you.

I read this book on July 17, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty is tricky, complicated, and cinematic.  I couldn't get enough of the tech, the cast of characters, and the mystery at the heart of everything.  It's particularly to learn about the crew of the ship via flashbacks and what lead them to where they are now.  There are a lot of twists and turns that take you to all kinds of unexpected places.  My only complaint is that the ending wrapped everything up a little too neatly for me all things considered.  If you like Altered Carbon, then I have a feeling you'll enjoy this novel too.  I can't wait to read more by Lafferty in the future.

I read this paperback from July 1 - 4, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

My Avid August TBR:


The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot - Novels in verse aren't usually my thing, but I think this is going to be a great one.

Bursts of Fire (Addicted to Heaven #1) by Susan Forest - This sounds like it's going to be an amazing fantasy to me.

Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl #1) by Mara Rutherford - This sounds like it's going to be an epic new YA fantasy.  I can't wait to read it!

The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham - This sci-fi novel is getting a lot of great reviews so far and it sounds like it'll be great for people who like Battlestar Galactica.

The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman - This Israel set urban fantasy sounds like it will be well worth reading.

Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman - I'm so excited for this Hitchcockian YA mystery thriller by the author of one of my favorite reads of last year.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart - Have you heard of this near future set sci-fi thriller?  It sounds like it has a lot of potential, especially since Blake Crouch has provided a blurb for it!

From My TBR Mountain:

Breaking the Gloaming (Light in the Gloaming #2) by J.B. Simmons - This has been on my mountain for five years and it's time I get to it especially since I loved book one.  I featured this book on a tbr in 2016.

The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett - This has been on my Goodreads want to read list for a very long time and it's part of my Beat the Backlist Challenge this year as well.

Dreadnought (The Clockwork Century #2) by Cherie Priest - This has also been on my Goodreads want to read list for ages and it's been on shelves practically forever too.  It's time I continue this steampunk series.

Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori - This manga has been on my Goodreads tbr for forever, and it's also part of my August plans for Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge.

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters - I included this on my Fall 2017 tbr.  Cat Winters is one of my favorite historical fantasy authors and it's about time I read more from her - after this I'll only have one more novel to read from her before I'm caught up!

Have you read any of these novels?  Are you taking part in this reading challenge?  What should I read first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

And Then There Were Dragons by Aicy Leyva - Release Day Spotlight

ALCY LEYVA | JULY 30, 2019
Urban Fantasy, Adult
For Amanda Grey, stopping the all-encompassing Apocalypse fated to plunge our entire existence into never-ending darkness ... just kind of sucked. Sure, she had managed to capture every demon set loose on New York City. And yes, she ended up thwarting an evil angel’s plans to destroy humanity. But she also lost her sister, her apartment, and—oh yeah—Amanda Grey totally died and got her soul banished to hell as a result.

Luckily, she’s not the type to take that kind of thing lying down.

AND THEN THERE WERE DRAGONS thrusts Amanda Grey into a whole new world of weird as she ventures out into the fiery wastelands, decrepit cities, and Olive Gardens of the afterlife in search of her sister and her own redemption. As the penultimate entry in the Shades of Hell Series, Amanda will be coming face-to-face with the truth behind the demon Shades, as well as a destiny she sure as hell didn't ask for.


Catch up with Amanda Gray in And Then There Were Crows


Alcy Leyva is a Bronx-born writer, teacher, and pizza enthusiast. He graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) and an MFA in Fiction from The New School. He has been published in Popmatters, The Rumpus, Entropy Mag, and Quiet Lunch Magazine. Follow Alcy on TWITTER.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mini ARC Reviews - Spin the Dawn, #MurderFunding, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and The Dragon Republic

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today I'm sharing three mini reviews with you: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim (available July 9th,2019), #MurderFunding (#MurderTrending #2) by Gretchen McNeil (available August 6th, 2019), Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (available July 23rd, 2019), and The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang (available August 6th, 2019.  Thank you very much to NetGalley for providing me with ARCs of these novels in exchange for honest reviews.  Read on to see my thoughts on these books:

❋ ❋ ❋ 

Spin the Dawn is a great series opener from Elizabeth Lim.  It totally deserves and lives up to the hype surrounding it.  To be honest, as soon as I heard it compared to Mulan, I knew it would be right up my alley.  I loved getting to know this Chinese folklore inspired world, the whimsical and fairy tale-esque sense of magic, and the cast of characters.  The detail in the world-building and in the descriptions of the clothing are marvelously lush.  Aside from Lim's beautiful writing style, all of the characters are a joy to get to know especially Maia herself.  She's competitively ambitious, determined, and devoted to her family.  The romance aspect of the story wasn't my favorite, but honestly that's no surprise there as I was more in it for the competition and the awesome adventure, as usual.  Overall, I have a feeling you'll enjoy Spin the Dawn, the first novel in The Blood of Stars series by Elizabeth Lim, if you like Disney's Mulan, Renée Ahdieh, and Leigh Bardugo.  I can't wait to see where this series goes in the future.

I read this from July 7 - 10, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ 

#MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil wastes no time in getting down to business.  It's a fast-paced follow up to last year's #MurderTrending.  Just like it's predecessor, this makes great use of feeling up to the minute with its use of language, social media, and depressingly even a bit of the politics.  It's easy to quickly tear through this story because it's just so compulsively readable.  If only I had a nice tub of popcorn to go with it.

I read this from July 10 - 11, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ ❋ 

Gods of Jade of Shadow by Silvia Morena-Garcia is a brilliant new historical fantasy.  It's my first novel by this author, but it definitely will not be my last.  Her writing style is absolutely lyrical.  I didn't want to put it down.  Before this I'd never read a story that draws on Mayan folklore, but I couldn't have asked for anything better.  I've probably mentioned it before, but the 1920s is one of my favorite time periods to read about as well.  The magic and mythology on top of the real world culture of Yucatán come to life and pop off of the page.  I don't want to go into much more detail to avoid spoilers, but it's well worth jumping feet first into Casiopea's story.  Finally, did anyone else have The Road to El Dorado in the back of their mind every time they saw the word Xibalba?  Or was that just me?  Either way, believe the hype for this one!

I read this novel from July 21 - 24, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋ ❋ 

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang is very nearly the perfect sequel to The Poppy War.  The first novel was such a pleasant surprise and my expectations for it went from next to nothing to sky high for this follow up.  I really lucked out when I was approved for this advanced copy on NetGalley because book two really delivers.  I don't want to give too much away, but Rin is a pleasure to know regardless of all of her complexities and the rough situations she finds herself in the middle of.  She and her crew go through some stuff to say the least.  Fair warning: the stakes are very high and not everyone is safe.  Overall, The Dragon Republic will keep you on edge and dying for more.  I can't wait to see what happens in the next novel in the series.  Not only that, but I also can't wait to see everything this author will work on in the future.

I read this story from July 24 - 28, 2019 and my review is also on Goodreads.

What are you reading now?  Have you read any of these books, or do you plan to try any of them?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge - July Update: Queens of Geek & The Swan Book

How has July come and gone so quickly?  Anyway, now that means that I've completed 14 out of 24 books of Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge!  The tasks I completed  this month required me to read a book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse and an #ownvoices book set in set in Oceania.  For the tasks, I selected Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde and The Swan Book by Alexis Wright.  Read on to see my mini reviews and what's next for July:

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

The only reason Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde isn't getting a full five stars from me is because I had a hard time differentiating between the perspective characters while listening to the audiobook. Otherwise this YA contemporary story is practically perfect. The characters are even fans of Supernatural.

An #ownvoices book set in Oceania


My choice: The Swan Book by Alexis Wright - I was originally planning to read Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina for this task but unfortunately it's now no longer available from my library via interlibrary loan.  Then I selected The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera via Playaway from my library as that's the only format that it's available from our ILL system.  Turns out that when the Playaway arrived it wouldn't actually play, no matter how many new batteries I tried.  Anyway, on to my review: I know this has won awards, but this just didn't work for me at all.  It's a combination of the rambling purple prose, the minimal plot, and losing interest in the characters very early on in the book.

Next Up For August:

A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman

My choice: The Vegetarian by Han Kang - I've been wanting to read this nontraditional literary horror story for a while now and I'm glad this challenge is giving me an excuse to finally try it.

A book of manga

My choice: Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori - Not my usual choice for manga, but I want to start this series because I've enjoyed what I've watching on the anime.

Have you been taking part in Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge?  Have you read any of these books?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'm Not Planning To Finish

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a freebie, so that gives me the opportunity this week to do anything I like this week.  This week I'm sharing Series I'm Not Planning To Finish.  Here we go, in order alphabetical order by title of the next book in the series that I'm not going to read:

A Betrayal So Cruel (The Reckoning #2) by Candace Wondrak - The first book in the urban fantasy series seemed like it had so much potential, but it never managed to live up to it.

The Book of the Unwinding (Witches of New Orleans #2) by J.D. Horn - I much preferred the concept of the first book in this series to the final product to continue on to the sequel.

Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes - I've tried the first book in this series twice and couldn't make it beyond the halfway mark.  I don't think this series is quite for me.

Eclipse the Skies (Ignite the Stars #2) by Maura Milan - The first book in this series was a decent debut that had a lot going for it, but it didn't hook me enough to want to continue on to the sequel which is due out this September.

The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid - The first book in the series as good, but it never lived up to all of the hype since it didn't feel original enough to me to merit continuing on to book two.

Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland - The premise of the series opener was so cool, but the execution was a bit lacking so I'm not expecting to go on to book two.

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2) by Louise Penny - I'd head a lot of great things about this series, but I was too bored with book one to try out the sequel.

The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg - The first half of book one was pretty cool, but I wasn't all that satisfied with the second half or at least not enough to continue to book two.

Trinity of Bones (The Necromancer's Song #2) by Caitlin Seal - The first novel sounded cool, but I couldn't bring myself to care about the cast enough to really be all that interested in following up on book two which is due to be released this October.

War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard - I can't believe I made it through the first books in this series to be honest, but I'm going to save myself from fourth book.

Have you read any books in these series?  What books are you not planning on finishing?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!