Monday, March 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Most Recent 5 Star Reads


Happy Tuesday everyone and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is My Most Recent 5 Star Reads.  Below, I've listed my most recent five star reads beginning with the most recent and I've linked the titles either to my review, or the book's Goodreads page.  


The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman


Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson


Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer


Black Heart (The Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black


Unstoppable (Un... #2) by Bill Nye


Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman




The Walking Dead, Volume 18, 19, and 20 by Robert Kirkman


The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen


Lumberjanes, Volume 1 by Noelle Stevenson


So, what do you think of my list?  Have you read any of these and did you enjoy them as much as me by any chance (it's okay if you didn't)?  Do you have any recommendations for me?  What are some of the books that have made your list this week?

Black Heart (The Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black - Review


❋ ❋ ❋  

The Feds are willing to forgive Cassel's past crimes if he'll leave his family behind and go straight - and work for them, of course. They want him to get rid of a powerful man who is spiraling out of control. What separates the bad guys from the good guys if they want him to use his ability to hurt people. Now all of that puts Cassel on the wrong side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves, the daughter of a mob boss who can probably never love him back anyway given their history. That alone would be bad enough, if her father wasn't holding his mother hostage until she returns the priceless diamond she took from him years ago - now she just needs to remember what she did with it.

Black Heart by Holly Black is the perfect conclusion to The Curse Workers series. Although it isn't the most fast moving story, I was still fully invested in every moment. I couldn't get enough, and honestly, I wouldn't say no to more adventures with these characters. Each member of the cast has their own moment to shine. Cassel is such a fascinating character to follow. He's definitely a bad guy, but he's still good - which does actually make sense. I'm so pleased with the ending - it offers just the right amount of closure with just a bit of open-endedness. Overall, I highly recommend this series, especially if you're a fan of The Sopranos, Memento, Inception, gritty noir, and urban fantasy.


I listened to this audiobook from February 17 - 21, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Starting Sparks: March Edition


Welcome back to the March edition of Starting Sparks, a monthly writing link-up hosted by Emily @ Ink, Inc. and Ashley G. @ [insert title here].  The idea behind it is to spark your creativity and write on a theme posted at the first of the month by the co-hosts.  You can write whatever you like be it a short story, a scene, a poem, a piece of dialogue, or simply an exploration of an idea.  This month the selected theme is the following:


It took me a while to decide on what I wanted to write about this month.  Then I thought - wouldn't it be interesting to write about dreamcatchers for a topic like this?  The answer - yes.


Dreamcatcher

I never remember my dreams.  I take that back - on the rare occasion that I do, they are always strange and horrible.  I can't remember any of the details when I wake, but I'm left with a worrying sense of foreboding.  Within a week afterward, I see something bad happen.  It could be anything - like a friend getting the news that a loved one has passed on or someone getting fired from their job - but it involves someone getting hurt, mentally,  emotionally, sometimes even physically.  The most troubling part is that this sense seems to be coming more frequently now.  Six days ago, it happened again - I woke to that feeling of foreboding that I've come to dread.  Three days ago, I watched someone get run down in the street by a passing car.  The driver never stopped.

Since then I've convinced myself that the dreamcatcher that's been hanging over the head of my bed for the last ten years must have something to do with it - whatever it is.  I know, I know.  Dreamcatchers are supposed to filter out bad dreams and let only the good ones pass through to the owner.  In the light of day under normal circumstances, I don't believe in that sort of thing.  Not at all.  Yes, I love reading paranormal and urban fantasy novels, but that is all together different.  I wouldn't want to live in that kind of world.  I like the rules of the real world, thank you.
  
I'm going to take my dreamcatcher down.  For all I know, I could be psyching myself out and working myself up over nothing.  I'll slack off the dark urban fantasy and horror for a while and see what happens.  Though, I'll admit I can't help but think of all of the terrible things I've seen.  There is no way that all of that can be coincidence.  If so, I must have  the worst luck in the world, or that is, the people around me do.  My mind automatically goes to the legends surrounding dreamcatchers - only good dreams pass through.  It becomes a mantra in my mind and my hand stops just before I can take the dreamcatcher down.  I take a step back.  On second thought, I'll leave it where it is.  Just in case it is protecting me from something far worse.

Music Monday: 1994 Releases


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 one or two of 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 at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm spotlighting two favorites that both happened to be released in 1994.  I knew both of these songs had been around for awhile, but I didn't realize that they were released 22 years ago.

"Run-Around" by Blues Traveler - I never knew who performed this song until recently.  Recently this song has received a lot of airtime at work which prompted me to look up this old favorite.



"Buddy Holly" by Weezer - Within the last week or two, I've heard this one quite a bit on the radio.  It's one of my favorite songs by the group and the video, directed by Spike Jonze is so cool - they're playing at Arnold's from Happy Days!





Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Last Rites by Perry Michael Smith


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.




This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, Last Rites by Perry Michael Smith.  I picked this up this past Saturday at the Scott Antique Market.  The vendor I purchased this from was quite interesting and he had a very wide selection from gigantic history books about the Marquis de Lafeyette to 1970s sci-fi (like Last Rites, published in 1971) to classic 1990s kids books, and more.  The vendor used to be a school teacher in the 90s and at the end of the school year if there were any books left that weren't text books or school library books the teachers could take home what they liked.  He said that his entire basement had enough books to more than fill the school library - and that's including his own collection and what he got from the school lockers.  The books that he was selling at his booth were those that he was culling from his library.  There were several intriguing books, but this one in particular caught my eye.  I mean, just look at that cover - it's so weird!  And, the summary on the back of the paperback is really interesting.  It just begs to be picked up and read!  Now, since there isn't really any information about it on Goodreads - I thought I would also share the summary from the back of the book for everyone:

Summary:
"What does a retired ax murderess have in common with an alcoholic expert on St. Thomas Aquinas?  How can a man sealed inside a Patton tank be shot and killed when the only witness is able to swear that there was no murder?  Why are Quasars suddenly blinking out all over the universe?

Father John Doffenbaron, a soul at home only when emptying a bottle or programming a computer, is taken into the Fellowship, a super think-tank organization hidden beneath a mountain of granite somewhere in the American desert.  The organization exists to sell Power to anyone able - or willing - to pay their price.  Each member of the Fellowship team receives a special reward for his services.  For Father John, the reward is the exclusive right to operate the greatest computer ever conceived.  In return, he has only to surrender his loyalty - and his soul..."

Beginning:

MEMORANDUM TO: DANIEL TAMINO, DIRECTOR
FROM: ERLAND IVANSON
CONCERNING:RECENT OBSERVATIONS OF QUASAR BEHAVIOR, LACK OF COOPERATION FROM THE COMPUTER CENTER, AND SUNDRY OTHER MATTERS OF CONCERN TO DR. IVANSON.

My annoyance, you see, has reached a new peak.  Never before, not at Upsala, not in Berlin, not at Jodrell Bank, not in Houston, have I been forced to put my complaints in writing.  A word here, a word there, a gentle admonition; these have always proved sufficient in times past to remove annoyances, to still troubled waters, and to obtain the cooperation necessary for the pursuit of my work.

56:

"If, on the other hand, the computers are at present operating without guidance, please be so advised to have the situation corrected at once.  The radio telescope, at any rate, is in motion."  The voice climbed an octave and spoke more rapidly.  "Without any direction me, Mr. Tamino."  The voice shrieked.  "Do you hear me?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bookish Siblings Tag


I've been tagged by Sam @ Tsundoku to complete the Bookish Siblings Tag!  Thanks very much, Sam!  If you're not familiar with her blog, I have to recommend that you check it out!

Rules:

1. Answer all questions.  Repetitions are fine.
2. You can put yourself in any of the categories.
3. Tag others!
4. Fill in the categories with bookish characters.  These characters don't have to feel sibling-esque.  If you don't know, you can say, for example, "A character that... I can't stand is____"

The Questions:

1. Your Older Brother?


Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

2. Your Younger Brother?


Max Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

3. Your Sister?


Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

4. The Popular One?


Levi

5. Parent's Favorite?

Me - most likely!

6. The Little Rebel?


Max

7. Your Twin?


Hermione

8. The One You Can't Stand?


Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

9. The One You Could Prank The World With?


Fred and George Weasley (I can't pick just one of the twins!)

10. The Shy Introvert?

Probably me - until you really get to know me, that is.

11.  Your Ultimate Book Sibling?


Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

12. Your Blogging Sibling?

I'm going to have to go with Sam @ Tsundoku! :)

Tag You're It!

This time I'm not tagging anyone because I'm not sure who has done this one (I know, I'm flouting rule 3).  If you would like to join in the fun, feel free!  Just remember to link back to me so I can see your responses.

Thanks again, Sam!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About In A While


Happy Tuesday everyone and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  The theme this week is Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About In A While.  The titles in my list are in no particular order, but some of them have come into my life more recently than others.  Three of them have linked reviews that appeared on Goodreads and/ or here on my blog.  Those that do not have linked reviews are linked up with the respective Goodreads page.



Doubt (Among Us Trilogy #1) by Anne-Rae Vasquez - I've read the first two books in this series which are both absolutely amazing, and I currently have the honor of assisting Anne-Rae Vasquez beta read the final book in the trilogy (as I also did with the second book).  Think Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor + City of Bones by Cassandra Clare + Fringe  + Medium + Supernatural.



Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets by J.A. Buckle - This was a real hidden gem!  If you like Ryan Dean from Winger by Andrew Smith, you'll want to meet Josh from Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets.



So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards #1) by Diane Duane - I'm a huge fan of this entire series actually (well, all except the two most recent which I still have yet to read).  If you like Harry Potter, you'll probably enjoy this series - although it is quite different and has a very different tone and takes place in an urban setting, and there isn't a magic school exactly... Just try it!



Through Wolf's Eyes (Firekeeper Saga #1) by Jane Lindskold - This series is another favorite (again, I still need to read the final book).  If you like epic fantasy with plenty of intrigue you'll probably like it, too.  Also I should mention that the main character was literally raised by wolves, and may be the lost princess.


Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames Williams - I just happened to stumble upon this noir originally published in 1944 and absolutely loved it - the main character, Ellen, reminds me a little of Phyllis from Double Indemnity.  And, there is a movie adaptation from 1945 (which is in Technicolor - pretty uncommon for noir, but the pop of color just adds to it) and it's pretty good, too.  The adaptation stars Gene Tierney and Richard Cornell, and it features Vincent Price (sans mustache).


He looks so young without the mustache - and a little less crazy!


The Wayfarer Redemption (The Wayfarer Redemption #1) by Sara Douglass - This whole series is another one of my favorites (all six books!) and it's well worth picking up!  I really should reread them again one day!


Divided We Fall (Divided We Fall #1) by Trent Reedy - Do you like dystopia?  How about pre-dystopia set in the very near future?


The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford - This standalone noirish urban fantasy is as good as it sounds!


Full Blooded (Jessica McClain #1) by Amanda Carlson - Really cool urban fantasy series opener featuring werewolves and shifters and an awesome leading lady!  I can't wait to read more of this series either!


All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman - If you like Rob Thurman, you absolutely have to try her first mainstream supernatural thriller!  I really want to see more of Jackson Lee, although that probably won't be happening.


So, what do you think of my list this week?  Have you read any of the book I've mentioned?  Have I piqued your interest, or do you have any recommendations for me?  All comments are appreciated and I try to respond to everyone!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Music Monday: I've Been Everywhere


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 one or two of 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 at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

"I've Been Everywhere" by Lucky Starr (1962), Hank Snow (1962), Johnny Cash (1966) - This week I'm spotlighting three versions of the song "I've Been Everywhere".  Originally, the song was made popular by Lucky Starr and featured Australian place names.  Lucky Starr's original version has a very fast tempo and an early rock and roll sound - here are the lyrics.  Hank Snow's North American cover of the song was released months later and keeps the fast pace, but gives it that classic country twang.  Then four years later Johnny Cash released his version, which is probably the one that's most well-known today.  I used to prefer the Johnny Cash version until I found the Hank Snow version - Cash sounds so slow and boring in comparison (the lyrics to the North American versions by Snow and Cash are included in the Cash video).  Also doesn't the guitarist in the Lucky Starr version remind you of Harold from The Red Green Show or is that just me?








Sunday Funday: Dragon Loyalty Award Answers and Book Haul


A couple of weeks ago Emily @ Ink, Inc. nominated me for the Dragon Loyalty Award: The Great Game and I posted my nine "facts" - which if you remember four were true and five were false, or five were true and four were false.  Now, it's high time to reveal the answers!


1. A personal life goal is to amass a personal library to rival the Beast's library from Beauty and the Beast.  TRUE - Isn't this every bookworms goal?



2. Every week I take part in four separate memes, two of which I host on my own blog. FALSE - I take part in four weekly memes (Music Monday, Top Ten Tuesday, The Friday 56, and Book Beginnings) and I host Music Monday on my blog.  Every now and then I also do a Sunday Funday post, but not weekly.


3. I live in middle of a bustling city in the state of Ohio in the U.S. FALSE - I do live in Ohio, but out in the country.


4. I recently had myself resorted on Pottermore - originally I was a Gryffindor, but now I am a Hufflepuff. TRUE - When Pottermore originally started I was a Gryffindor, but then just a month or so ago when the Sorting Hat was brought back I got myself resorted into Hufflepuff.


5. The movie I last saw in theaters was The 5th Wave. FALSE - The last movie I saw in theaters was Deadpool.  Still looking forward to seeing The 5th Wave when it's released on DVD.


6. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the pilot episode of The Magicians considering how irritated I was after I read the first book. TRUE - I can't wait to continue with the tv series.


7. My favorite actor to play the Doctor is Matt Smith. FALSE - Matt Smith is great, but so far my favorite actor to play The Doctor is David Tennant.


8. One of my favorite reads of 2015 had to be A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  TRUE - I loved it and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!


9.  My favorite genres of music to listen to are big band swing, bluegrass, and alt-rock. TRUE - I know, I like strange combinations of music.

So, how did you guys do?

And now, on to my most recent book haul since the spoils of Christmas.  Since then I've purchased four books.  Two of which were bought when I stopped by my favorite local bookstore during an event they were hosting on March 15th - I just couldn't walk out without buying something, you know.


The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox - This one was released on March 15th which means I bought it on its release day - wow!  I listed this one on a TTT back in January about books I recently added to my tbr.  I have high hopes for this one - it sounds like a fascinating middle grade novel.


The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1) by Michael J. Sullivan - This book came out about three years ago, but it sounds exactly like something I should have read much sooner!

The next two books I picked up from different vendors at the Scott Antique Market in Columbus.  I really wanted to go since this weekend's show is the last of the Columbus shows for the season,  I got pretty good deals on these two!


Last Rites by Perry Michael Smith - Okay, there's zero information on Goodreads about this 1971 sci-fi paperback, but let me tell you what the back of the book says:

"What does a retired ax murderess have in common with an alcoholic expert on St. Thomas Aquinas?  How can a man sealed inside a Patton tank be shot and killed when the only witness is able to swear that there was no murder?  Why are Quasars suddenly blinking out all over the universe?

Father John Doffenbaron, a soul at home only when emptying a bottle or programming a computer, is taken into the Fellowship, a super think-tank organization hidden beneath a mountain of granite somewhere in the American desert.  The organization exists to sell Power to anyone able - or willing - to pay their price.  Each member of the Fellowship team receives a special reward for his services.  For Father John, the reward is the exclusive right to operate the greatest computer ever conceived.  In return, he has only to surrender his loyalty - and his soul..."

After seeing the cover and reading that description, I willingly handed over my fifty cents!


The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton - I hadn't heard of this one before now, but the description hooked me right off the bat!

Well, that's all for now everyone!  Have a great weekend!