Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books On My Fall TBR.  All of the books on my list this week are books that I already own and hope to read this fall.  Here we go - I think I have some great reading coming my way:








These Ruthless Deeds by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Yesternight by Cat Winters

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Have you tried any of these books yet?  If so, which do you think I should tackle first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (ARC) - Review


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I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the wearer. Annis has to create a double life for herself - Annis will live the quiet life with her respectable aunt and in disguise she'd become "Madame Martine", a London-based glamour artist with a magical dressmaking shop. That way she'll still be able to maintain her social standing, earn her own living, and follow the clues that her father left behind to solve his murder. It can't be much harder than successfully making it through the London social season, can it?

I've always enjoyed historical fantasy and Kelly Jones's Regency Era set mystery is no exception. I wasn't terribly blown away by the mystery element, but it has so much else going for it. I, for one, loved the getting to know our cast, the wonderful female friendship, the magical elements, and clever wit. I particularly liked that Annis, although clever and determined, still has a lot to learn about herself, her abilities, and the wider world. As much as I liked her, though, I really liked Millie, Annis's servant. Let's just say she's quite resourceful and has a lot of hidden depths. Plus, their friendship is empowering, supportive, and is totally goals worthy. I also have to admit, I liked the reveal about Annis's aunt - very cool. Finally, I was also hooked on what we got about Annis's magic. The glamour sewing scenes were some of my favorites. I really only wish we got to know more about the state of magic in the wider world of Regency England.

Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is a fun fantasy spy caper through Regency Era London. If you're a fan of historical fantasy such as These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I have a feeling you'll also enjoy Kelly Jones's new release. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author in the future.



I read this eARC from September 10 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Music Monday: Best Music Moments From Supernatural, Season 3 & 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.

Like last week, I'm sharing my favorite my favorite music music moments from seasons 3 and 4 of Supernatural.  I had to choose "Heat of the Moment" by Asia (1982) which is featured in the eleventh episode of season three, "Mystery Spot" - I've actually been hearing this song at work lately and I can't help but think of this show!  Every time I hear this song, I can't help but think of this show!  For season four, I've picked "A Well-Respected Man" by The Kinks (1965) which appears in the seventeenth episode.  It's a bit different from their usual music choice, but it really works in the scene.



Bonus: I also had to include Jensen Ackles lip syncing "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor (1982) which is one of the bloopers from "Yellow Fever", the sixth episode of season four!  It's hilarious!  Why hasn't he been on Lip Sync Battle yet?!



Friday, September 15, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1) 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 one of my current reads, Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1) by Charlaine Harris.  This is the first thing outside of The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris that I've ever read, so it'll be interesting to see how it compares.  I'm also excited to try it because I'm hooked on NBC's television adaptation (I've been following along with it on Twitter actually) - I can't wait to see the season finale this Monday and I really hope it gets renewed - and I really want to know what Manfred and company are like in the source material.  I'm not that far into it yet, but it's definitely promising - and, of course, I can't help but picture my favorite characters as their tv counterparts!  Let's get this show on the road!


Beginning: 

You might pass through the town of Midnight without noticing it, if there weren't a stoplight at the intersection of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway.  Most of the town residents are very proud of the stoplight, because they know that without it the town would dry up and blow away.

56:

Manfred saw that Mr. Snuggly had bypassed them somehow and was now sitting right on the boundary of Fiji's lush and lovely yard and the bare weedy ground in front of the chapel.  His tail was curled around his paws.  he could have been a stripped statue for sale in a home decor shop.  This was a cat who had mastered the art of stillness.



50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Series Cover Set










Favorite - The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater - Just beautiful!




Least Favorite - The Curse Workers by Holly Black - I loved these up until that redesign for book three (WHY?!)!  The first two feature the original covers, then the last shows what they did to it.  The stories, though, are some of my all time favorites!  You can see here what we could have had for the final book here - not as good as the originals, but it's something at least.


Have you been watching Midnight, Texas on NBC or have you read the original series?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps commenting down below!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1) by D.E. Night (ARC) - Review


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I received a free paperback ARC from JKS Communications - Literary Publicity regarding author D.E. Night's debut novel.

For her entire life, Ivy has lived behind a boundary that separates the mundane world from the magical. It's hidden her effectively up until she crosses that border and her magical powers awaken. She ends up becoming a student at the Halls of Ivy, a school for those who need to master their magic as well as to learn how to use Croswald's gems. After an attack, Ivy quickly has to uncover the mysteries of her past to save herself and Croswald before history is swept away.

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is the first in a brand new Middle Grade fantasy series that has been compared to some of my all time favorites like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, along with a dash of Disney's Cinderella. Our sixteen year-old MC, Ivy has lived a life of drudgery as a scaldrony maid at a castle. She only has one real friend who watches out for her, but despite everything she's still brave and curious about the world around her (or at least as much as she can afford to be). Alongside Ivy, I loved seeing the new-to-her magical world come to life as she is invited to attend a school where the students learn their innate magical abilities - and realize just how vital she is to the past and future of the kingdom. While I loved getting to know Ivy, I also found myself interested in the magic of the scrivenists that revolves around quills, ink, and storytelling.

As much as I enjoyed these elements of this story, I did have a few issues with the novel including characterization, world-building, and pacing. As for characterization, I have to mention Ivy's age - we're told over and over again that Ivy is sixteen years old, but on the page she doesn't really sound or feel like a sixteen year old at all. Maybe it's the middle grade classification of the story, but to me (if we weren't told her age so often) would have guessed that she was only eleven or twelve years old - like Harry or Percy are at the beginning of their stories. The world-building that we get is good, but overall it feels a little lackluster as I felt a touch out of the loop when it comes down to some details of the magic system and the background of the kingdom. Finally, I do want to mention the pacing as it does jump around a fair bit from slow with very little actually happening to rushing by. On a similar note, some of the transitions between chapters or sections are a bit jarring.

Overall, The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a decent debut that is quite addicting and adventurous. While it does have a few small issues, it's still a fun read with a magic system that will definitely appeal to book lovers. If you like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Cinderella, and perhaps even Tangled, you may enjoy jumping into the world of Croswald.

Thanks again to JKS Publications and D.E. Night!


I read this ARC from from September 3 - 8, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  You can also check out my unboxing post here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

#TheReadingQuest - Final Results & Mini Reviews


Aentee @ Read At Midnight's brilliant reading challenge called #TheReadingQuest just wrapped up on Sunday, September 10th.  I didn't do quite as well as I had hoped, but I managed to complete 7 squares - four from the Knight's Quest and three side quests - and nearly 8 to finish my last book from my character's quest.  You can see my original TBR here and if you'd like to see my mini reviews on each title I completed, please read on:


Books Completed For The Knight's Quest:


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The First Book Of A Series (Also applies to the Mage's Quest) The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon & Clare #1) by Lilith Saintcrow - I've had this steampunk alternate fantasy novel on my tbr for quite a while, plus I've had good luck with this author in the past.

That was a lot of fun! Think steampunk, alternate history, urban fantasy, and Sherlock Holmes, and you've got The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow. I have to continue this series!


I read this novel from August 19 - 24, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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A Book With A Verb in the TitleDead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison - I've heard so many great things about this urban fantasy series and I have no idea why I haven't already read it.

I've been meaning to start this series for ages, so I jumped at the chance to give it a shot for #TheReadingQuest - plus, a friend of mine has really been pushing me toward it. Anyways, now I'm really wondering why I hadn't read this series opener sooner! I loved the world of The Hollows and our cast of characters - Jenks especially. I couldn't but root for our witchy redhead Ohioan! I will definitely be continuing this series!


I read this novel from September 1 - 7, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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A Book With A Weapon on It's CoverStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco - Again, I've seen so many great reviews for this novel that I have no clue why I haven't already picked it up.

Since this novel was released last year, I've had a copy sitting on my shelf - and for some reason I kept putting off which could have had something to do with all of the hype and fantastic reviews. Anyways, I shouldn't have worried because this debut was stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed Kerri Maniscalco's style! I loved getting to know Aubrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell in their element of the budding field of forensic science. And, we get all the bloody details to boot, so this read isn't for the squeamish. Aubrey Rose is quite a refreshing character with an engaging mind and she certainly stands up for her own beliefs - definitely one of my favorites for a while. She's a difficult act to follow, but Cresswell manages to do it and steal many of his scenes - he totally gives off Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles vibes. Finally, I also really enjoyed the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper and how a piece of classic literature was tied into the story to great effect. I can't wait to rejoin Audrey Rose and Thomas for Hunting Prince Dracula!


I read this novel from August 24 - September 1, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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A Book That Has A TV/ Movie Adaptation (Also applies to the Bard's Quest) My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier - I haven't seen the new movie yet starring Rachel Weisz, but I've been meaning to read this for ages since I loved Rebecca.

Loved this classic, but not quite as much as Rebecca. Why didn't I start it sooner! Now I'll have to try the new movie adaptation with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin.


I read this from August 13 - 17, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Side Quests:





Respawn (Read A Book You Previously DNF'd) Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes - I tried to listen to this novel last year on audiobook, but I ended up giving up on it around 15% through the novel.  I think this time I may try it again but with the print edition of the story instead.

UPDATE:

I decided to try to reread this novel in print for the Respawn side quest on #TheReadingQuest. Unfortunately, I feel the same way about it as I did the first time around. I only made it to page 65 before DNF'ing it, which is weirdly enough at 15%, right around where I gave up on the audiobook.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

As the three rulers of the kingdoms of Mytica grapple for power, the lives of their subjects will be changed. Four will find their lives and destinies intertwined in unexpected ways - Cleo, a princess; Jonas, a rebel; Lucia, a sorceress; and Magnus, the heir. Only one thing is for certain, and that is that kingdoms will fall. The real question: Who will be triumphant when everything comes crashing down?

I was fully prepared to love Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes and have a new series to obsess over, but I found myself greatly disappointed. I actually ended up DNFing this audiobook at 15%. Normally, sprawling epic fantasy is one of my favorite genres, but that's not the case here. I simply couldn't make myself care about anyone or anything that was going on. Although there are so many characters introduced in this novel, not a single one of these cardboard cutouts interested me enough to keep going. As for Mytica, there is not nearly enough world-building to flesh out the three kingdoms that make it up. Falling Kingdoms tries very hard to be Game of Thrones lite, but honestly I would much rather prefer to read, or watch, that instead because this just doesn't work out. By the way, the names of some of the characters are quite similar to GoT characters - there's even a character named Theon.

Overall, I had high hopes for the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, but unfortunately, it just didn't work out for me. The characters are a tad too generic, unrelatable, and uninteresting - plus, there are too many to easily keep track of (and that's just within the first 15%) - and the world-building is lacking the depth for the wide world of Mytica. If you're looking for a YA Game of Thrones read alike perhaps you should try Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas or The Young Elites by Marie Lu instead.



I retryed this novel on September 9, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Mini-Game (Read A Graphic Novel, Novella, or Poem Collection) Batgirl, Volume 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart - This will also work for Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge and fulfill task eighteen which require reading a superhero comic with a female lead.

This is my first ever Batgirl comic book! I'm only really familiar with the character from other media, though. While I felt out of the loop at times, the story is still more or less self-contained. I have to admit that I wish she was still a librarian or at least in training, but I'm still intrigued with this version of the character. I'm not all that familiar with DC characters, but I'd also like to get to know Dinah Lance better. I may be continuing this run in the future.


I read this graphic novel on September 3, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Animal Companion (Book Referencing An Animal In The Title)Big Fish by Daniel Wallace - This will also work for my Summer 2017 Bookish Bingo challenge and will fulfill the Flowers On The Cover square - I love the movie adaptation of this with Ewan McGregor and I hope the book lives up to my expectations.

I had no idea that this story started off as a novel after having loved the Tim Burton film starring Ewan McGregor. As soon as I realized that fact, I had to try it for myself - and I tackled it as a part of #TheReadingQuest. While I ended up liking the book well enough I have to admit that I absolutely adore the movie. There are quite a few differences between the book and the movie, but I'd say the changes are to the film's advantage. Overall, though, I think the film has the tone and the spirit of the story, but it's presented in more of a linear fashion. Plus, the coda from the film gives the viewer a little peek at the truth behind the myth of Edward Bloom, whereas the book leaves us to make up your mind with multiple versions of the ending. Overall, I can't recommend the movie enough and I recommend the book to those that are very interested in magical realism or seeing how myths and legends look in a modern setting.



I read this novel on September 9, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Final Score: Level 2, 65 EXP, 198 HP


Did you take part in #TheReadingQuest and make your goals?  Have you read any of these books?  Thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released When I Started Blogging In 2014


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Throwback Freebie, for example you could do Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc.  This one gives me so many options!  Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to share some of my favorite books that were released in 2014, the same year that I started blogging (although I may not have read them until much later).  Here we go, in alphabetical order by author with my reviews attached:


City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare


Half Bad by Sally Green


This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


You by Caroline Kepnes


The Young Elites by Marie Lu


Cress by Marissa Meyer




Jackaby by William Ritter


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters


Have you tried any of these favorites?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Music Monday: Best Music Moments From Supernatural, Season 1 & 2


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.

If you've been visiting my blog for awhile, you have probably realized that Supernatural is one of my favorite shows.  The series also has an excellent classic rock soundtrack, so this week I thought I'd share two of my favorite music moments from season one and two of the series.  From the first season, I've picked "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult (1976) which is featured in episode twelve, "Faith".  This is one of my favorite episodes from that season and this is really where I started to pay attention to the music in the series.  From season two, I've selected "Renegade" by Styx (1978) which is featured in episode twelve of that season too, "Nightshifter".  This one might be one of the best music cues of the entire series actually.





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Funday: Stephen King's It (2017) - Review


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Residents of Derry, Maine have a good chance of going missing - kids and adults alike.  When Bill's younger brother, Georgie, disappears and is presumed dead, Bill and his friend's, the self-proclaimed Losers' Club, begin to investigate the disappearances that have plagued the town for generations.  Before they know it, the seven friends are all faced by horrific and strange encounters with a clown calling himself Pennywise, a figure at the heart of Derry's curse.

To start off, It is based off of one of the few Stephen King books I haven't actually read.  I've read so many of his novels that I'm still surprised I haven't picked It up yet.  I've had it on my shelf for ages, but I think I know why I haven't read it before - and that's because I watched the original miniseries when I was far too young and it scared the crap out of me.  Tim Curry's take on Pennywise is absolutely terrifying.  That being said the trailer for this new film which covers the first half of the story looked like a must watch in the theater.  I have to admit, Bill Skarsgard's look as Pennywise certainly trumps the design of Tim Curry's - think deranged Ronald McDonald in comparison to Twisty from American Horror Story: Freak Show.  To top it off, Skarsgard's performance as the clown really stacks up - the new Pennywise is just plain terrifying , just wait for that slideshow scene!

I'd also like to mention that aside from being a horror movie also works really well as a coming-of-age film.  Every member of the Losers' Club is really well defined and each of them have their moments as they begin to face their fear head on.  The actors all do wonderful jobs with their roles.  I loved getting to know these kids and seeing them all come together.  They are the real heart of the movie (the sense of humor running through it is pretty fun, too) and that really reflects in their performances.  By the way, I even recognized some of our young actors - Bill is played by Jaeden Lieberher (Alton in Midnight Special), Richie is played by Finn Wolfhard (Mike from Stranger Things), and Henry is played by Nicholas Hamilton (Rellian from Captain Fantastic) - all of which I highly recommend if you haven't seen them already.

Overall, I didn't know if I was mentally ready for what I was about to see when I went in, but I ended up really enjoying the thrill.  It's really effective at building up suspense, delivering on the scares, and making you care about the cast of characters.  Come to think of it, I may even have nightmares!  Plus, I totally had Stranger Things, The Goonies, and Stand By Me vibes while watching  I'm looking forward to the next installment of It and I'll have my eyes on who is cast as the adult versions of these kids.

TL;DR:

Me waiting for the movie to start -


Me (and the audience) during most of the movie:


Me (and most of the audience) as the end credits were rolling:


Theater notes:  The movie theater this Friday night went all out in decorating for the film - not just posters and cardboard cutouts either.  They had red balloons all over the place weighted down with filled clown gloves.  One of the benches in the hallway had even been decorated to resemble that storm drain with bars, an image of Pennywise's face, and another one of those balloons!  Plus, all of the staff were wearing It related shirts.  I've never seen that movie theater do anything like that for any movie that they've shown!  By the time I got seated, about 15 minutes before the movie was due to begin, the theater was already filling up.  I like sitting up near the top at the back, but it was so full by then that I ended up sitting only 3 rows up from the floor (not counting the first three rows right up by the screen).  The crowd seemed pretty mixed from middle schoolers to senior citizens.  Trailers included The Snowman and Friend Request - I'm really surprised that I had no idea that the Jo Nesbo novel was getting an adaptation until now.

Check out the trailer for It here, if you dare.


Next up:





Do you have any plans to see Stephen King's It, or have you already seen it?  What's you favorite Stephen King movie or tv adaptation?  What movies do you hope to see next?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below?