Friday, July 31, 2015

July Wrap-Up

July has been a really interesting month.  The beginning of the month was extremely productive writing-wise.  I was participating in the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I ended up finally finishing the first draft of my WIP and got started on revisions.  Unfortunately, I saw how behind I was on everything else and had to set that aside.  So I didn't end up meeting my word count goal.  But I still count it as a win, since I've been working on this project since 2011 and I finished the first draft!  I also just finished my first round of revisions (it only took me three weeks) the other day.  So things are really moving along.

Other things that happened this month:
I signed up for the three-month trial of audible.  I know, I know.  I was seriously on the fence about this because I'm not really into audiobooks.  But I'm so behind on my reading challenge.  And it seemed like listening to audiobooks at work would be a nice change of pace.  I don't plan on keeping the service after the three months.  It's kind of expensive.

I also finally got a library card.  I was completely opposed to this for reasons seen here.  But there is no point in not having one when I pay property taxes.

One last thing that happened was I started a new discussion thing every Sunday.  Let me know if that's going okay, if you have ideas for discussion posts, etc.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (22) The Thirteenth World

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's top ten theme is Top Ten characters who are fellow book nerds! WOO!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)Title: Hidden Huntress
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Beneath the mountain, the king's reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cecile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king's power. Or his manipulation. Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high. To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cecile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Discussion: Romance

Romance can play a huge role in books.  It can help the plot along, hinder it, or just be there subtly in the background.  There are people who don't like romance in books.  Either they find it cumbersome, or they are just made uncomfortable by it.  And others prefer it.  I am in the latter category (likely because my life is as dull as cardboard), as long as it's not terrible (I'll get into that) or erotica.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

Court of Fives (Court of Fives, #1)Title: Court of Fives
Author: Kate Elliot
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 18, 2015

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy's life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family she can be whoever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom's best contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between two Fives competitors--one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy--causes heads to turn. When Kal's powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes's family apart, she'll have to test her new friend's loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (21) The Veil

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases that we're excited about.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Helen the Transartist by Anita Stairs-Oberlick

Helen the TransartistTitle: Helen the Transartist
Author: Anita Stairs-Oberlick
Publisher: Carleton Books
Release Date: October 15, 2014

Twelve-year-old Helen Robley believes she is an orphan. She lives with two adoptive aunts until one day she discovers that the drawings she loves to make become reality. Helen is about to discover she is a "Transartist." Using her magic, she travels to the East Pole, home of the creatures that populate children's imaginations ˗˗ creatures like the Sand Man, Cupids, and Toothfairies, who are nothing like their stereotypes. Helen discovers that the East Pole is her birthplace and learns the fate of her parents before she confronts the vain and evil Queen Narcissa. Helen uses a variety of unconventional tools and techniques against the Queen, and in the end is reminded that beauty is on the inside.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Discussion: Point of View part 1

Before I start my discussion, I would like to point out the probably obvious.  I have messed with my blog template a lot over the last week.  Any thoughts on it?  Better?  Worse?  I am really bad at html so it's a miracle I even did what I did.  And now onto my discussion about POV:

This will mainly be about the differences between first person present and past tense.  Third person is its own monster.  

A lot of YA authors lately have taken to writing in first person point of view.  Honestly, the first time I read The Hunger Games, I was a little put-off by it.  It seemed awkward, strange.  It was so different from anything I was used to.  Because it wasn't just first person, but first person present.  We were literally in the main character's head as things were happening, hearing her thoughts.

This has become commonplace in the literary world.  After the first chapter of The Hunger Games, I got much more accustomed to reading in first person present.  What are some of the other big books that are guilty of this?  Here's a short list of a few of the offenders.

  • Divergent
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  • Red Queen
  • Magonia
  • An Ember in the Ashes
  • Penryn and the End of Days
  • Every Day
  • The Young Elites
  • Acid
  • Snow Like Ashes
  • Defiance
  • Matched
I like most of these books.  And I love... a couple of them.  But let's think.  Why is it that authors use first person present so often these days?  I'm guilty of it too.  I use first person present in my current WIP.  Why?  It's easier to get into the character's head.  Simple as that.  Now again, here is a list of books that use first person POV, but in the past tense.

  • The Darkest Minds
  • The Winner's Curse
  • The Kiss of Deception
  • Gates of Thread and Stone
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
  • Something Strange and Deadly
  • Incarnate
  • The Orphan Queen


A really quick glance at this list shows me one thing.  The second list are books that seem to be better, or more beautifully written (for the most part, that is).

Authors use present tense as a bit of a cop out to help them connect with their characters.  As a result, it can make the reader awkward while reading.  This doesn't mean that first person present is always bad.  Sometimes it's absolutely necessary.  But I generally prefer reading past tense.  Of course this doesn't mean that I will stop writing my WIP in present tense.

So here's my quick thoughts on third person vs. first person.  I honestly like them both.  I've seen books with third person that just wouldn't work with first and vice versa.  It really depends on the story being told and how the author wants to tell it.  It's nice to have third person omnipotent sometimes, because then we get to know basically everything about everyone and everything.  But sometimes it just doesn't work.  And sometimes it's nice to find things out as we go along.

What about you?  Any preferences or thoughts on POV?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mini Reviews for Mini Books: I, Corinthius & The Hidden Prince

I, Corinthius: The Vasterium SagaTitle: I, Corinthius
Author: Shae Christi
Publisher: Oak Crown Publisher
Release Date: May 27, 2015

I, Corinthius is in the style of a dark, mythical folklore tale.

A 15th century monk whilst out recording data for his botany studies stumbles on to a parallel forest seen through the eye of a hollow of a mythical giant oak tree. Over time he unearths a large number of stones with words on them telling of an ancient culture that inhabited the forest, Vasterium, where gods and goddesses once co-existed together within its elemental kingdom in ancient Britain.

Corinthius is a lonely stag who is caught up in the seething inferno engulfing the Vasterium forests and tries desperately to find a home of his own.

In his quest to find roots and understand who he is, he is forced to deal with the unforgiving and cruel characters in deer and man alike, a dark supernatural elemental being who wields an incredible power over him revealing a history between them, and the transforming love of a wild-crafting maiden. But, Corinthius is destined make a decision that will incur a terrible consequence.

I, Corinthius is a 19,500 word Novella from first time published author, Shae Christi. It deals with the themes of identity, love, emotional pain, and compassion, under the mythical world of the Vasterium forests, a parallel world that once co-existed alongide our own back in ancient Britain.

When I first started reading this, I thought it was really strange.  The main character was a stag.  But he was obviously more than a stag.  He could think cohesively, he understood humans, he was curious.  So the question was, what happened to Corinthius to make him the way he was?

Poor Corinthius just wanted to find his way in the forest.   A lost stag without a home.  But he ended up be scorned by most everyone for the way he was: different.  And of course there was a reason he was different.  I really don't want to say much, because mostly all I could say would be full of spoilers.

This was an interesting world, where gods and goddesses existed in truth.  There were some things that I found to be slightly predictable.  But others came as a complete shock.  I enjoyed reading this enough enough.  If you like historical fantasy, you might enjoy it too.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Liebster Award

Thank you Wren at Books in My Suitcase and Welcome to Book City for nominating me!

Here are the Rules

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions asked
  • Nominate at least 3 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  • Ask them 11 new questions

1) What's your favorite series?
This constantly changes, but at the moment I'd have to say the Newsoul series by Jodi Meadows.

2) Have you ever met an author? If yes, which one(s)?
Not yet!  I'll be heading out to YALLFest this November, though.  If you're gonna be there, let me know!

3) Who is the funniest author?
Authors are funny???  Okay I don't read many funny books.  I did really like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, though.

4) Do you have any signed books? If yes, which ones?
I have a few.  Of my indy signed books, I have the Benjamin McTish books and Blood Street.  I also have a signed copy of Never Fade by Alex Bracken.  But I'll be at YALLFest (as I said), so I'll have a lot more soon, I'm sure.

5) What book influenced you the most as a kid?
That's hard to say.  When I was little I read a lot.  But I stopped reading around middle school in through high school.  My favorite as a kid was probably the Magic Tree House  series. 

6) Which book world would you like to go into?
The world in Graceling no doubt.  I love the thought of the different graces.

7) What book turned movie did you hate the most?
Probably Divergent?  I'm not sure.  I'm generally not a fan of the adaptations.

8) Ebooks or tangible books?
Tangible.  I find it a lot easier to read paper books.

9) What is your favorite movie in general?
Blade Runner.  I'm a child of the 80s.  I like a lot of older movies and such.

10) What's your favorite TV show in general? 
This may (or may not) shock people but... I don't watch TV.  I have a television.  I do not have cable.  Anything I watch goes through Amazon Prime.  That said, probably Avatar the Last Airbender.  I still love that show so much.

11)Who is your role model?
Sooz for sure.  Also that would be Susan Dennard if you don't know.  Like me, she was a scientist turned writer.  So I look up to her a lot.  Trying to become a writer is not an easy feat.  And I'm still working on it very slowly.

Okay.  I don't know that many people with newer blogs sooooo...

I tag anyone who wants to do this tag!  Let me know if you do it, I'd love to read your post!

1) What's the last book you read that you absolutely loved?
2) Are you particularly anxious for a certain book to be released?  Which one?
3) What book do you hate that everyone else loves?
4) Who is your favorite (or one of your favorites) author?
5) What's your favorite place to read?
6) Was there a movie you hated as a kid, but love now?
7) What is a hobby of yours (other than blogging and reading)?
8) Is there a book to movie adaptation you would really like to see?
9) What's your favorite thing about blogging?
10) Cats or Dogs?
11) What food can you not live without?

Interview Robert Eggleton, author of Rarity from the Hollow

Rarity from the HollowTitle: Rarity from the Hollow
Author: Robert Eggleton
Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing
Release Date: March 16, 2012

Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who's very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn's android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth's earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He was sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop 'till You Drop): he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.

So let's get down to it!
Describe your book in one word.


What inspired you to write Rarity from the Hollow?

Since winning the eighth grade short story contest in 1964, I’ve dreamed of being
a writer. Except for a couple of poems published in the early ‘70s, I supplanted my need
to write fiction by concentrating on nonfiction publications related to my work, child
advocacy: social services manuals, research, investigative, and statistical reports, you
know – the stuff that sidetracks the dreams of aspiring authors. In 2002, I took a job as a
children’s psychotherapist at our local mental health center. It was an intensive day
program for severely emotionally disturbed kids. One day in 2006, I was facilitating a
children’s group session at work. A couple of seats from the head of the table where I sat,
a preteen female’s aura glowed with a strange power as she described the horrors that she
had experienced at the hands of her very mean daddy. Before the end of that session, I
had a protagonist and the seed of a recurring story – victimization to empowerment. This
girl prompted me to go for my dream the way that she had decided to go for her own – to
find a good family that would love her forever, and ever.

What was your favorite book growing up?

Tom Sawyer, a required read for class was much more than an assigned book
report for me. I was born into an impoverished family. Tom’s initiative and inventiveness
in earning money inspired me toward determination and creativity when supporting my
own family since childhood.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment in life has nothing to do with writing or entertaining
others. I have delivered effective child advocacy services for over forty years. The
improved welfare of children in the state of West Virginia is my greatest
The greatest accomplishment of my writing career has been the publication of a
novel at a time when the marketplace was undergoing so many rapid changes with new
technology that it was hard to keep up. The original version of Rarity from the Hollow
was published by a now defunct eBook company. Its release preceded the advent of indie
publishing, at a time when self-publishing was equated to vanity, and when only paper
was valued by book critics. After the excitement and pride of having a novel published
without having spent a cent, only to have my long-standing dream of becoming an author
dashed when the press went under, I could have given up.
Instead, I pitched the project to a traditional small press located so far away from
my home that I will never likely have the money to visit, and at a time when small
presses were going down faster than seals in an oil spill. The existence of Rarity from the
Hollow today, with increasing sales on paper and as an eBook, is a tribute to my
perseverance with this project and my greatest writing accomplishment. God willing,
readers on this planet will vicariously experience many more Lacy Dawn Adventures.

Displaying roberteggleton.JPGRobert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997. Today, he is a recently retired psychotherapist from the mental health center inCharleston, West Virginia. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (20) The Forbidden Wish

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about.

This week, I'm excited about:

Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Pages: 368
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 23, 2016

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

So I have Arabian Nights as I believe I mentioned in some post at some point.  Anyway, I like Aladdin and this looks pretty fun.

What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten theme is last ten books that came into my possession.

I have to look this up and it will be more than 10 because I got multiple books delivered in a day but.... These will be mostly in order?  I think?

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
People (mostly Zoey at Uncreatively Zoey) keep telling me to read this.  So I bought it, by itself, on a whim.  I usually buy like 4-5 books at once...

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)
Already read and reviewed this one.  I was so excited to finally get this on my shelves.  It was easily my most anticipated read of the entire year.

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)
I've been meaning to read this one for a while now.  So on my last spree I picked it up.

Crimson Bound
I loved Cruel Beauty, so I was really excited about this one.  But then I forgot about it.  So yes, I finally bought it.

More Happy Than Not
I have heard nothing but good things about this book.  I love the premise and I love that LGBT is becoming more prominent in mainstream YA.

My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)
I've really been wanting to read this one and the sequel.  Of course, Zoey (again at Uncreatively Zoey) convinced me o finally shovel out the money for it.

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)
I haven't started this series yet, but it looks interesting.  And it was super cheap on bookoutlet.

I bought this from bookoutlet as a gift for my sister.  We'll be going to YALLFest in November, and she saw that R.L. Stine will be there and I think she nearly wet herself.

Made You Up
I've been wanting to read this one for a while now.  For some reason I decided against pre-ordering it, but that's okay.  I never would have gotten to it anyway.

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)
I finally got this sequel! now I just need to read it!

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
I really need to get on this one too.  Whenever time allows...

I'm not sure about this one.  We'll see.  But I bought it anyway.  I have a problem lol.

Those last four were all delivered on the same day so... yea. 

What were the last ten books you acquired?

Monday, July 13, 2015

ARC August: I signed up!

arc august

I saw this over on Michelle's blog at Michelle's Minions and thought it looked like a great idea!

Octavia and Shelly at Read. Sleep. Repeat. are hosting the third annual ARC August event.  And well, my ARCs and review copies are piling up this month.  So I love this idea!  Here are the rules.

  • It may be a physical ARC or and eARC but it MUST be an ARC
  • Yes it can be an ARC that has released as long as it’s an ARC I’m not going to nit pick much
  • HAVE FUN WITH THIS! Feeling like you are being “forced” to read is the best way turn a fun event into a yucky obligation.
  • Update post! I personally will do a post for each Saturday in August but that’s just me. You can update once a week, every other week or once for the whole darn event. This update can be in the form of a blog or tumblr post, vlog, link to your “ARC August 2015″ shelf or even an instagram pic! I want to make this as easy and low pressure as possible for you.
I will likely be posting reviews on Saturdays (or Mondays per my usual posting schedule) and saying they were also for ARC August.  Here are some of the unread ARCs that I currently have and might be doing:

I may have some others at the time, who knows?  And since I accept a lot of indy books, I may have some indy ARCs to read!  Who knows!  All I know is, I want to get as much done as possible and increase my NetGalley rating!

Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: July 7, 2015

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

If you haven't read the first book, I beg you to stop reading.  In fact, I hope you didn't even read the book synopsis.  The Kiss of Deception was one of the first reviews I posted on this blog (found here before I figured out how to review books).  I fell in love with The Remnant Chronicles right from the start.  The Heart of Betrayal was easily my most anticipated read this year.  And Pearson did not disappoint.

So I'll cut to the chase.  Did I love this book as much as the first one?  Not quite.  Did I still love it?  Yes.

And here's why:
The world building is phenomenal and the writing is beautiful.  Venda... It's such an interesting place.  There are secrets everywhere and things aren't necessarily as they always seemed.  And I liked that Venda certainly had some aspects of Russian culture.  From the Komizar to calling friends comrades.  Even trying to distribute food and wealth evenly (but fully failing because people are biased) seemed slightly reminiscent of an old socialist Russia.

There are things that aren't stated outright, but they happen.  And the reader is left to figure it out.  I feel like if I reread these books I would glean a whole bunch of new information I hadn't seen before.

The characters... Oh my goodness the characters.  I love most of them to pieces.  Kaden earned a particularly special place in my heart when we learned more about his backstory and how he became the Assassin.  Rafe spent much of the book as a prisoner, but it was interesting seeing him interact with all of the Vendans, pretending to be the prince's emissary, pretending he had no regard for Lia.  He is truly a wonderful actor.  Lia is still the strong and feisty heroine she was in The Kiss of Deception.  And we see he scheme even more in this installment.  The Komizar, I'm not sure how I feel about him.  He was an interesting and complex character, but altogether an ass.

In this book I would say my least favorite was Pauline.  So I was really grateful that her chapters were kept to a minimum (there were four I think).  She was weak in the first book and she's weak in the second book, not seeing past what's right in front of her and not seeing past her own feelings.  But every time I came upon a Rafe or Kaden chapter I got really excited.

Overall, the only issue that I took with The Heart of Betrayal, the only thing that made me love this book slightly less than the first, was the plot.  Over the course of 470 pages not much really happened.  They arrived in Venda as prisoners.  Some minor things in the middle, then the end of the book.  Sure, there were lots of revelations about this person betraying that kingdom and all sorts of political intrigue and some growth of Lia's gift.  But it still felt like not much happened.  The slow plot was definitely saved by Pearson's gorgeous writing.  Of course, the ending was full of action and left off at such a wonderful cliffhanger, just as evil as did The Kiss of Deception.  I am now anxiously awaiting the next book to be available for pre-order.

And now some spoilers so look away if you haven't read:
My thoughts on the end... hmmm... I don't think Kaden is dead.  I think we'll see him in the next book, probably come back and kill his father.  I also don't think Lia will die from her injuries since hers is the main voice in the story.  I hope that Sven and the others can get to Rafe, or that they can get to someone and tell them the truth of what happened with Lia being a prisoner and all.  But that wouldn't make a good story for the next part would it?
It's okay to look now!!

My opinion overall?
Overall, I loved this book.  I would recommend it if you loved the first one and aren't afraid of love triangles that are actually done well.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Discussion: Book Series

Sunday Discussion is something new I'm trying out to get myself more into blogging.  Every Sunday, I'll try to find a new topic to talk about.  Any ideas for a discussion post?  Just leave a comment or send me an email at

So today I feel like I'm talking about something that gets discussed a lot in the bookish community.  Reading a book series vs. standalone books.

So to start off, I would like to say that I am currently in the middle of more series than I can even remember.  Either I started the series and decided not to finish it, or I started it and haven't gotten around to the rest of the books, or the rest of the books haven't come out yet.  It can get really confusing sometimes.  

Yesterday, I just finished the second book of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.  I finished reading The Kiss of Deception in early January.  I have literally read 100 books since then.  So some of these characters... Well I was a bit confused.  I'm still a bit confused for some of them.  Was Ulrix one of the Vendans that was travelling through the Cam Lanteux?  I can't remember him.  But the way he's spoken of, it seems likely.

Looking to my left at my small bookcase (just two shelves) I will list the series on there that I haven't finished:

  • Firewalker Series by Josephine Angelini
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Modern Faerie Tale series by Holly Black
  • Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
  • Graceling series by Kristin Cashore
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
This is on just TWO shelves of physical books (keep in mind I have three bookcases and a bunch of ebooks).  So what's my point?  My point is that how can one person remember everything from all these series once they get to the next book?  The wait for The Heart of Betrayal was long and terrible and so worth it.  But by the time I got it in the mail, I didn't have time to go back and reread The Kiss of Deception.  So I was left slightly lost at some details I just couldn't remember.  And while I obviously love reading series, I would like to take this time to share why I wish more authors would write as standalone novels.

  1. The wait - Oh my gosh.  The Mirror King is finally available for pre-order.  But it won't be out until next April.  I think I might just die if I don't get it in my hands in like the next month.  
    1. Okay, this is really a good marketing scheme.  Publishers want us to wait for the books and go crazy because omg there are ARCs and omg other people have the book already and omg where are these reviews coming from?!  And it makes people pre-order their books.  I'm guilty.  I pre-order all the time.  But what it also does is make us forget about the last book we read.  I pre-ordered Winter months ago.  But honestly at this point, I have hardly any recollection of how much I liked Cress or even why, so I don't even know if I'll pick it up right away when it comes in.  If at all.  I might just cancel my pre-order.
  2. So many books! - Most YA novels aren't guilty of making me read more than I really want to on a topic.  The Mortal Instruments series definitely is though.  It's soooo many books.  And I just don't love them enough to really be excited about finishing six books.  The other series that is extremely guilty of this (not YA) is A Song of Ice and Fire.  I set the fifth book down when I was about 150 pages in.  I just couldn't do it anymore.  Over 4000 pages of size 8 font single spaced writing and I just couldn't do it anymore.
  3. That awesome feeling - You know that awesome feeling you get when you finish a book?  Or even better when you finish a series (and it doesn't make you want to die)?  I get that feeling far more often from standalone novels, simply because I feel like I've truly finished something.  Even if I don't plan on finishing a series, I feel kind of empty.  Like I'm betraying the books because I don't want to read them even though I started them.  So that happy feeling is just the world to me.  And then I can move on to something else without the next book looming over me. 
So I walked away while writing this and forgot what I was writing lol.

I understand that some stories are longer and need more than one book to finish them.  But sometimes the wait is not worth it.  The next book was not good.  And I wish I could have just not read the series to begin with.  Series have become very popular lately.  And I think that's part of the problem.  Publishers seem to buy series over standalones (I know authors write them dammit) because they do well.  But they frustrate me to no end.  I like duologies the best.  They aren't very popular at the moment, and there is only one book that I will need to wait for.

What about you?  How do you feel about book series?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review: Lunar Rampage by Samantha Cross

Title: Lunar Rampage
Author: Samantha Cross
Publisher: Summer Solstice
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Photographer, animal lover, and unfortunately for the summer, the new girl in town, Cora Nash considers herself a simple girl. Renovating and living at her grandmother's house seemed like a good idea, until events took a turn for the bizarre. Garbage cans viciously torn into, howls from the woods, wild animals behaving erratically, and an ominous warning from the good looking bad boy, "Stay out the forest."

This seemingly normal town hides a mysterious and violent secret. When one of the townsfolk up and disappears in the forest, leaving nothing but a pair of shoes, Cora is the only person willing to investigate. The answer, however, is nothing she could have ever anticipated, when under a full moon she finds herself face to face with a… werewolf.

If werewolves don’t exist, where did it come from? And… more importantly, who could it be?

I don't read a ton of paranormal YA fiction.  But when I do, I tend to really enjoy it.

I definitely really enjoyed Lunar Rampage.  Hints of romance and lots and lots of werewolves and action.  This was just the book that I needed.

I kept putting this book off because I had so many other things I needed to do.  Now I wish that I hadn't.  It involves the only kind of love triangle I will accept: the kind where two people like one person, but the one person is only interested in one of them.  No flip-flopping back and forth between love interests.  Just some silly obliviousness of the main character not realizing her friend has a crush on her.  Which is amusing.

So enough about the hilariousness of the weirdo love triangle that I think actually worked this one time.  I hated Max the first time we met him.  And I loved Owen.  But as time went on, I started to really like Max.  I mean, I tried to dislike him.  But I just couldn't.  Sure, he killed cute, innocent animals for a living.  But I mean he wasn't doing it for sport, right?  Carnivores gotta get there meat somewhere, right?  Not all people are vegetarians.  So that is I guess a legitimate job.  And his interactions with Cora were funny.  He's surly and kind of mean.  But he's also sweet and the only person that Cora really comes to trust.

I really liked the characters.  Owen, okay I kind of figured out early on what was going to happen with Owen.  It was hinted at pretty strongly.  But I was still pretty upset with everything that eventually happened to him.  And oh my gosh the ending with Max.  I am trying not to give spoilers but it's so hard.  If you like paranormal I think you will probably enjoy this book.  Especially if you enjoy a side romance.  I hope there is a second book coming.  Because I have to know what happens next.

I totally recommend this book.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way changes my opinion of this book!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (19) Reawakened

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about.

Today, I'm excited about:

Title: Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Pages: 400
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 11, 2015

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. 
And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. 
From New York Timesbestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

I love it when I find new books that I have never heard of before.  And when they just look amazing! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's top ten theme is: Top Ten hyped books I've never read.  This is really similar to the May 5 theme of "Top Ten books I will probably never read".  My post that week can be found here.  But I'll try...

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)
And I started with the same book.  Good or bad, this book is surrounded by hype.  And I have not read it.  Probably never will.

And another that was on my other list.  I really wonder, did I read the same book as everyone else?  the series was... okay.  But everyone rants and raves and loves it!  And so I have not picked up this sequel yet.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
So here's a change.  I actually really want to read this one.  I have it.  I just haven't gotten to it yet.

More Happy Than Not
I have heard nothing but praise for this book.  And I just jumped on the bandwagon and bought it.  So soon it should be off my list of not-read-hyped-books.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
I have this on my TBR list, but I'm a little frightened to read it.  I'm not big on historical fiction.  Am I going to hate it?

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
Mixed reviews on this.  You either hate it or love it.  I had a pre-order of it and still haven't read it (which is sad since it came out in April).  The poor book has been on my shelf for months sitting next to The Arabian Nights without much love.  Maybe next year...

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
Am I crazy? Am I weird?  I need to read this.  Or so I have been told hundreds of times.

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)
So, what I read next is dictated by a few things. 1) Is it for review? 2) When did I receive the request? 3) How long is it?
Because I'm so far behind on my review books I haven't had much time to do my own pleasure reading much lately.  Hidden Huntress fails the first two questions.  And the third, well... It's a lot longer than some other books.  So it constantly gets shoved aside.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)
I will literally never read this series.  I don't care what you say.  It's not gonna happen.

My last pick doesn't have a cover.  I'm not sure it counts as hyped or even as a book.  But my last pick is The Starkillers Cycle by Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard found here on tumblr.  It looks wonderfully hilarious and something I need to read.  But that requires time.  Which is something I am very short on these days.

What hyped books have you not read?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree

Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather TreeTitle: Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree
Author: June M. Pace
Publisher: Pressed Leaf Publishing
Release Date: July 2, 2013

The McTish Series is an explosive adventure through a dimensional Gateway into another world, a world of beauty and magic, Coranim...a land of insight, thought and possibilities, that sits beneath the enchanted Gilley Forest.

There is local legend in the small town of Grandlochcheshire that has been passed down for a 100 years about the mysterious disappearance of the Chickering family, that trails on the coat tails of the equally shocking abduction of the Skeffington Union Rails heirs. The circumstances that follow this notorious tale enter into the modern world of Benjamin and his two best mates.

One day Benjamin watches as a mysterious little woman steps out of a tax and in one synchronistic moment their eyes lock and a series of visual snippets of unfamiliar events unfold in his mind’s vision. His razor sharp sixth sense allows him the freedom to explore the extrasensory messages coming at him like a derailed freight train.
And when Benjamin finds a peculiar relic of a key in his grandmother’s garden shed, he could never know his world was about to change forever.

Annabel and Mathilda, two sisters who have come from America, have become more than mere friends to Benjamin, they have all become the three Muskydeers (Mathilda’s mispronounced version of Musketeers, which was a huge laugh and of course it stuck), as they are plunged head first into this curious journey.

In the Gilley Forest they discover that the path they have chosen is inundated with many obstacles as well as intrigue. Alliances are made with the Forest clan of Gnomes and with the aid of the Vila sisters, Sethina and Morel, as well as some surprising and unexpected allegiances, the three friends take on the test that is the Grandfather Tree. They must stay on the pre ordained Path of Prophecy, whose ancestry comes from the home of the oldest living beings on the planet, the Elves of the Darmon. However, this is no easy task for the Muskydeers as they have the foulest of sorcery hunting their every move, the powerful dark beauty, Tar Vigorn.

This ruthless Queen is not without humor however and loves a good game of cat and mouse, as long as she’s the cat. With her biting sense of sarcasm and calculated taunting, she knows just how to unnerve Benjamin. Her phantom army, the Blunt, are searching for a way into the Grand Tree and will stop at nothing to infiltrate the pristine world beneath his giant roots.

Once in Coranim the children make the acquaintance of the greatest Medicine Elder alive, Esmerelda Fet. A most powerful Light Sorceress with a brazen in your face attitude, who guides the trio on their Path of destiny. However, a Path can change in the blink of an eye...what could alter the overpowering trajectory Benjamin has followed to Coranim? How will it change his life?

Find out as our three heroes delve into the mystic, as well as their own inner character, as you watch from the edge of your seat.

That is the longest synopsis I've ever copied and pasted.  I don't think my review will even be quite that long haha.

It's true, this book is extremely magical.  It starts out a bit slow, going through the life of Benjamin McTish and then jumping back 100 years in time to a family that lived in his English town a century before... and disappeared.  The time jump confused me a little.  But it works out well in the end.  Though I think it also would have worked if it started out 100 years in the past and moved to the present so as not to jump back and forth.

The plot mostly covers Benjamin, Annabel, and Mathilda's journey to Coranim, starting in Grandlochcheshire.  It takes lots of brains and logic and some magic to figure everything out and get to outwit the evil Queen Tar Vigorn and get to Coranim.  

Tar Vigorn is a scary, evil, powerful villain.  In The Door Through the Grandfather Tree, she doesn't seem to show her true motives aside from being power-hungry.  Maybe those are her motives for being evil.  I'll have to wait until the second book to find out.  But it is shown that she does care for the forest.  Which is something that you wouldn't necessarily expect from an evil, power-hungry villain.  And it gives her character depth.  This makes me believe that she has other reasons for being what she is, and all will be revealed eventually.

Dunston is an amusing character that serves as a sort of narrator.  He's truly met in the story far near the end.  But his voice is throughout the book.  And his affinity for going on tangents made me laugh a lot.  I liked most of the characters.  Mathilda was probably my least favorite.  

Since this book seems to be compared to Harry Potter a lot, here is one comparison.  Imagine Colin Creevey being one of Harry's close friends, having a larger part in those books.  And yet, he still is the same Colin Creevey doing pretty much all the same things he does already.  Sure he does a few things that are pretty cool, but for the most part, he's just an annoying side character that becomes beloved because he's not overused.  But imagine him being much more involved, and yet not any more important than he already is.  That is how I feel about Mathilda.  She is kind of annoying with her bursting out shouting things, impatience, etc.  And she does do things for the story.  But a lot of those could be done by someone else.  It didn't have do be done by Mathilda.  I feel like she was supposed to be funny and silly.  But she just annoyed me.

The Door Through the Grandfather Tree ends on a really intriguing cliffhanger.  And I'm excited to read the second book in the series.

What did I think overall?
I really liked it.  It's been said before, but I think if you liked  the Harry Potter series, you'll probably like Benjamin McTish.  I would definitely recommend it for fans of Ya fantasy.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way changes my opinion of this book!