Jun 17, 2019

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

Last Week I Read:

Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell (4.5 stars)

Reviews That Were Posted:

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (ARC) (3.5 stars)
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (Early Copy) (4.5 stars)

Currently Reading:

A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell

What I Plan to Read Next:

A Magical Match by Juliet Blackwell

Other Posts of Interest:

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays
Waiting on Wednesday
Random Thursday
Book Blogger Hop
Do I Have that Book? Tag
Stacking the Shelves
Let's Discuss--Unpopular Opinions

Jun 16, 2019

Let's Discuss--Unpopular Opinions

Unpopular opinion time. ARCs. Yup. We all love them! I mean who doesn't want to read an anticipated release months before it's actually out? I know I do. But yet, at times, I kinda wish publishers wouldn't always make them. 

Unpopular Opinions on ARCs

I know the point of ARCs. It's to help shine some publicity on upcoming releases and all that. But for the books 99% of us are already buzzed about...do those really need ARCs? Let's take Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I was scrolling through the BooksforTrade hashtag, as one does when she needs to torment herself over all the pretties. I saw what another person spotted on eBay. Minutes after the signing, someone was already selling their ARC of Ninth House. Really?! I mean it's aggravating enough that people go to those things to get ARCs they have no intention of reading, but to sell it before the event is even over? Really?! I don't know why I'm still surprise by the audacity of others.

And there's all this commotion over a book everyone is already buzzed about! I mean, why do we even need ARCs of this one? Maybe a few ARCs to give out to other authors for quoting and whatnot, because yeah, they're usually pretty friendly with one another and all. I feel like that there are certain books we just don't need ARCs of. When it's that highly coveted ARC of a highly beloved series, why do we even need an ARC for it? There's already enough buzz over it.

I am positive that there is some underlying reason as to why it's necessary other than promo. I just can't see it at the moment. Because sometimes it really sucks. I've been blogging for 10 years and I still rarely ever get ARCs. 95% of the ARC reviews on my blog are from eARCs, and I'm fine with that. There are a few I would LOOOOOVE to have for collecting purposes but since I don't have one of Mose's original tablets with 5 of the 10 commandments on it, I can't really participate in the actually trading. I've made some good trades though for a few books I was curious about but wasn't ready to take the plunge and buy a copy. Still need to read some of those too...

I honestly feel like I could go on more about this topic, but I don't want to hurt feelings or touch on nerves. It's a touchy topic I feel like. As I said, my opinion here might be kind of "unpopular" but it is something that has been nagging at me lately, and I feel like even just hashing it out here might be somewhat therapeutic. But what about you? What are you opinions on ARCs? Particularly, ARCs of already buzzed about books months before there were even ARCs?

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

I'm still amazed that I've survived my first month in our downtown building. Interviews are slow going now after what felt like I had a good chunk of them happen. Got the phone interview, get the whole "we'll let you know either way" and then never hear back from anyone. It's so frustrating. Why tell me that standard BS if you aren't actually going to tell me anything and just leave me hanging. It's aggravating. I've a phone interview again tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well or hopefully the staffing agency I applied to will call me with something. This job is slowly killing me and I can't stand it.

But at least the week is still filled with books! No sign of Momento yet, but hopefully that will come this week since I've heard a few of you got yours already. 

Here's what I got this week:

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout--keeper copy!

Extra goodies:

I went to the Disney Store last Sunday for Donald Duck's Birthday Celebration! I somehow did not receive news about these awesome little keys they tend to have for big events! So I decided I wanted to get Donald's! Lol. 

I was also 1 of 10 lucky people who got to buy this super cute Donald Duck Birthday Cake pin! I'm a sucker for pins. See below...

I was initially going in to buy this pin cute Aladdin pin so I could make my purchase to earn my key, but then I saw the cake one and decided I needed both! The upside was that proceeds from my buying this Aladdin pin went to Make a Wish and I love being able to help donate to them!

And here is the famed Donald Duck key! I don't know if all these "newer" Disney Stores have special key openings, I got to witness it again last week where they bring a big key out and a kid or two helps turn it in the lock to release the ropes so that everyone can go in and shop!

Then bookish goodies that I got were:

I bought the Home Sweet Home Night Court pin from the Bookish Box. I wanted to buy it when I was at an event they were also at, but they didn't have any at the time! I was happy to snag one this time around!

I'm really digging the Fairy Loot Tarot cards, but since I can't afford a subscription box every month, I've had to skip some. But I was psyched to be able to add these to what I have. There are at least another 4 I still need, so hoping they come to the shop soon too!

And that was it for me this week! A few new goodies and really, only one new book to read! So not bad, not bad at all! If only the non-bookish parts of the week could be as nice. What did you all get?

Jun 14, 2019

Do I Have That Book? Tag

I saw this fun tag over at Cornerfolds, though it originated at Keeping Tabs! The image you see is from the latter. I thought it looked like fun and oh so challenging! Because holy cow, I felt frantic as I searched through my books trying to keep a good time! And I might have cheated with the one about sharing initials because yeah, I checked my book inventory list! Lol! 

Here are the rules:

  • Time yourself trying to find each prompt on your shelf.
  • Try and beat the time of the person who challenged you.
  • Don’t forget to tag your challenger and the original creator.
> Do you have a book with deckled edges?
Yes, there are a few, but the first that came to mind was The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson!

> Do you have a book with 3 or more people on the cover?
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

> Do you have a book based on another fictional story?
There are quite a few of those as well, mostly fairy tales. The first to pop in my head was Briar Rose by Jana Oliver.

> Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long? 
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost is my winner though!

> Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter? 
When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter!

> Do you have a Mass Market Paperback book?
There are so many of those! The nearest one is A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell!

> Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?
Burned by Danielle Rollins aka Danielle Vega author of The Merciless (unless it was the other way around, but her books under Vega came out first, so I want to say that's her real name?)

> Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

> Do you have a book with 2 maps in it?
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

> Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (though the show took the story in its own direction midseason and I wasn't overly thrilled with it by its third season)

> Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (celebrity/athlete/politician/tv personality…)
I couldn't think of a book-book, but As You Wish by Cary Elwes came to mind.

> Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?
8th Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones (I mean it's a watch, but close enough!)

> Do you have a poetry book?
I'm pretty sure I still have my book of Emily Dickinson's complete collection somewhere.

> Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?
Oddly no. Most of my "award winning" books were obtained before they won.

> Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

> Do you have a book of short stories?
Grim, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, The Language of Thorns...quite a few more actually.

> Do you have a book that is between 500-510 pages long?
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson at 503 pages (of actual story, there's like 5 more pages of titles and author acknowledgements, so still counts)

> Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?
Harry Potter, Divergent, Jaws, The Princess Bride, Blood and Chocolate--though I don't recommend seeing it after the book. It's one of those movies that wasn't bad but it was a TERRIBLE film adaptation of the book!

> Do you have a graphic novel?
Vampire Academy books 1-3, The Legend trilogy, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

> Do you have a book written by 2 or more authors?
The Illuminae Files & Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The Wicked series by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie, The Rules by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
This took me about 20 minutes to do, which was about what it took Tracy as well. So we're evenly matched! ;)
As usual, I don't tag people for these things, because I know I feel a sense of obligation to do them, but rarely have time at the moment to actually do the post! But if you're feeling game for this challenge, consider yourself tagged!

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Have you ever been called a "book nerd?" If so, how did you react? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
MY ANSWER: Does calling myself that count? 
I don't think I was ever called a name for enjoying reading. If I was ever teased for enjoying reading, the remark probably rolled right off me. But as I said, I don't recall being called such names. 

I did earn the nickname Vampire Girl from a friend in school once. She called me that because "all" I read was "vampire" books. I argued that no, I also read about werewolves, ghosts, demons...and then she started getting a glazed look in her eye. Lol.

Jun 13, 2019

Review--Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Vision in Velvet comes more spooky sleuthing with Lily Ivory, vintage boutique owner and gifted witch…

Lily would like nothing better than to relax, enjoy her friends, and take care of business at her store, which is booming thanks to San Francisco's upcoming Summer of Love Festival.  But as the unofficial witchy consultant to the SFPD, she is pulled into yet another case.

A woman has jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and her apparent suicide may be connected to a suspicious botanica in the Mission District. When the police investigate the shop, they ask Lily to look into its mysterious owner, whose granddaughter also appears to be missing. As Lily searches for the truth, she finds herself confronted with a confounding mystery and some very powerful magic…

I decided it was time to dive into one of my older TBR books, particularly a series I fell behind in! So I went with Juliet Blackwell's Spellcasting in Silk! It's the seventh installment in the Witchcrafy Mysteries. It was great getting back to this world with the characters. Luckily, it's one of those reads where just a few character threads are the only things that continue on. The mysteries are always new and there's enough of a character arc recap in the beginning that starting this one was surprisingly easy!

Lily's friend, Inspector Romero asks for her help in a case that seems like it's right up her alley. There was a recent suicide that may be more than it seems and a shopkeeper is being charged of the murder since she had sold the victim some items for a spell of some sort. Lily goes to see if she gets any vibes from the shop that has been ransacked, which is another mystery. Lily is no stranger to the ghostly encounters and wonders perhaps if it was Nicky, the supposed suicide victim's spirit. There also happens to be a missing teenager involved as well, one who is connected to the shopkeeper as well.

Not only is Lily trying to find out the whodunits when it comes to the suspicious death of Nicky and the missing teenager, but she's also dealing with a rocky road relationship with Sailor. He's learning to use his abilities and get a better grasp on them, but his teacher happens to be a gorgeous, young woman and Lily is feeling a little unsure of their relationship. Add in a visit to Max, her first boyfriend of the series in relation to what happened at the shop where the suspect works, and an encounter with Aidan, things definitely aren't in smooth sailing.

Since I have yet to develop a good reading schedule with my current position, it took me longer to read this one than it used to with the previous books. So my sleuthing wasn't as savvy as it could've been as those breaks in between reading and not reading had me forgetting about my list of suspects. I will say that I was right, in some sense, but the answer became bigger than anticipated, so again, I got part of it right! Lol.

I haven't read one of Juliet's books in years, I sorely regret that because I can't believe what I've been missing! Seriously, "too many books, too little time" is sooo true! What I love about Juliet's books is the mix of mystery, supernatural/magical elements, romance, and a bit of humor here and there! They have all the makings of a perfect cozy paranormal mystery! I'm taking the plunge and picking up the next book in the series! Book ten releases next month and I'm on track to getting myself caught up in time, whether I stay the course or not will depend on life and things!

Spellcasting in Silk was, prepare for a pun here, pure magic! Juliet Blackwell is a wizard with words! ;)  If you're looking for a nice cozy mystery with the added touch of magic, this is the perfect series for you! While it is likely better to start at the beginning, I can say that you're likely to be able to follow along well in you pick up anywhere. Yes, you will miss the history of things and characters, but as I haven't read one of these books in a few years, I can say that I was able to get back into the swing of things rather easily, yeah, I might have missed out on one or two past events, but when it comes to those times, I always just roll with it! But still, I would always recommend starting at the beginning or even giving one of the novellas a try if you're wanting a taste to see if the series is right for you!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

Random Thursday

Time to dive right back into The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox and learn more obscure and interesting facts about words!

(image borrowed from iEmoji.com)
When some is called a "laughingstock" it is coming across as an insult to someone. In early English, "stock" was a tree trunk and in the 14th century if figuratively meant the family tree. An example would be that one comes from "farming stock" when they are a farmer. So when being called a "laughingstock" the insult is to one's family tree being filled with fools.

That's an interesting insult. Now I am dying to use it, though no one would really get it! Lol.

(image borrowed from TripAdvisor)
Dining rooms were called "restaurants" and this came about in 1765 when the inns basically only offered whatever food they wanted to offer for patrons to eat. Then a Paris chef named, Boulanger offered a choice of soups to passersby. he then hung a wooden sign up that had the word "Restaurant" on it, which meant "to restore." Boulanger's success was so great that dining rooms around the world displayed his sign as a promise to restore energy to its customers.

That's an interesting tidbit! I swear, this Words chapter is teaching me so much! Lol.

(image borrowed from Etsy: Hazel Oak Farms)
Clocks were originally called timepieces as in their early days they didn't even have a face or hands. Time was told by the chiming of bells on the hour and eventually on the half and quarter hours. It earned its name "clock" from the French word "cloche" which means bell. Thus we tell time by the bell. O'clock came about as an abbreviation for "of the clock" or "of the bells." Such as it's 12 of the bells or it's 12 o'clock!

(image borrowed from Wonderopolis)
When we don't understand what someone is saying we call it speaking "gibberish." This phrase came about in the 11th century when an alchemist was translating into Latin the original 8th century works of an Arabian alchemist named Jabir. If he was discovered translating this he would've been executed, so he wrote the formulas in a jargon of his own. If someone were to see his writings they wouldn't make any sense, so if someone tried to write like this it was considered "Jarbish" which eventually turned into "gibberish."

I speak about 75% gibberish...mostly because I talk too fast and no one can understand what I am saying. My argument, listen faster! LOL!

(image borrowed from Literary Hub)
A perfect world is called a "Utopia" and this comes from the English philosopher Sir Thomas More and his book that he wrote in 1516. In it, he compared the life of Europe with an imaginary idealistic society. In Greek, "Utopia" means "nowhere," that More's message was that an ideal society or world will never exist and that instead we must improve the standards of our society now.

Well, I chose this picture before I really read the words! "Utopia" was the word choice and I thought BOOKSTORE! Because how perfect and wonderful are bookstores? So More is already wrong, as an ideal society exists plentiful...it's in the bookstore!

Jun 12, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine
New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones teams up with acclaimed cowriter Steven Wedel in this supernatural mystery

It should have been just another quiet night on the farm when Logan witnessed the attack, but it wasn’t.

Something is in the woods.
Something unexplainable.
Something deadly.

Hundreds of miles away, Chrystal’s plans for summer in Manhattan are abruptly upended when her dad reads tabloid coverage of some kind of grisly incident in Oklahoma. When they arrive to investigate, they find a witness: a surprisingly good-looking farm boy.

As townsfolk start disappearing and the attacks get ever closer, Logan and Chrystal will have to find out the truth about whatever’s hiding in the woods…before they become targets themselves.

I have really high hopes for this one and yet, I'm also terrified as the last mystery book with "something in the woods" turned out terrible for me. So you can imagine how frazzled my nerves are about this one with also new to me authors!

TITLE: In the Woods
GENRE: YA Mystery
RELEASE DATE: July 16, 2019

Jun 11, 2019

Early Review--The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic "Little Red Riding Hood"...about a woman who isn't as defenseless as she seems.

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I was unbelievable excited for Christina Henry’s The Girl in Red! I love a good fairy tale retelling and with a post-apocalyptic setting, I was sure that this was guaranteed to be an amazing read! And while it was pretty epically amazing, it wasn’t all what I expected it to be, which in a way, is good. It’s nice when stories can surprise us like that. As you might guess, this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood twisted into a dark and gritty story sans wolfy-wolves!

The world has been infected with the Cough. It’s not your everyday cough either, this is the kind that kills, literally. People are dying or being sent to containment camps, and Red is having none of that. She is headed to her grandmother’s house where she thinks it will be safer. She’s traveling alone, and for a woman traveling alone in this world, that’s a dangerous thing, but she’s no delicate flower. She’s been preparing a long time for this day.

In the beginning of this book, the story goes back and forth between the present and the past. We see how Red came to be traveling alone across what used to be the US. And the story isn’t without its wolves either, as the cover depicts. While it’s not the traditional wolf, there are still other dangerous predators in this world that Red will have to avoid or eliminate once engaged.

Red herself was an amazing character! She comes from mixed parentage and also has a prosthetic leg. Now this might sound like a weird thing to touch upon, but it helps to build Red’s character as she lost her leg when she was a child due to a distracted driver. I grew up wearing a brace on my leg and while it’s not the same thing at all, I did experience some of the same stares that Red did and things like running or other contact sports were different. Our struggles were the same yet at different levels. So seeing Red being all badass and walking so very far and facing multiple enemies makes me admire this young woman very, very much! I don’t think I’d be capable of that, but perhaps I could e if I had the determination like she did!

It was rather interesting having the story told both in the past and the present. Because the first thing you wonder is, how did Red get to be at the point she was at when the story starts and Christina doesn’t leave us wondering for long. For the most part the chapters alternate one after the other with past and present. Sometimes one repeats itself, but eventually we get all caught up and are aware of everything. Including the very weird mystery that seems to be going on that involves the Cough itself. That was by far one of the most intriguing parts, but I will admit to you, that it only gets touched upon here and there. By the end, there’s still some mystery to it all, but since that was merely a side event to the plot, I guess it doesn’t really need a definitive answer.

If you’re looking for romance in your stories, this might not be the one for you, because there was literally no romance. There’s still love for family and the families you create, but that’s about it.

The ending itself was most satisfying indeed. It’s a bit open-ended too, but for the nature of this book, I really don’t see it ending any other way. If taken in another direction, I don’t think the impact would’ve been the same, so I was quite happy with it!

If you’re looking for that fairy tale retelling that totally turns its origins on its head and adds a bit of spice to the tale, then The Girl in Red is definitely one you will want to check out. It’s has a richly diverse heroine who isn’t afraid to take on difficult challenges and be the hero of her own story. It was a read well worth reading! If only there could’ve been the tiniest bit more to answering the mystery of the Cough, it would’ve been perfect. But even with that imperfection, it was still pretty GREAT!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

The Girl in Red releases June 18, 2019


Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page

3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

"The bike is closer now and frustration and fear claws in my chest. Frustration that this man seems to be able to find us no matter what we do and fear because he's going to come and I have no idea what's in store." p 147 

TITLE: 72 Hours
AUTHOR: Bella Jewel
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Paperbacks
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions (submitted by Kaitlin Galvan @ Somehow I Manage Blog)

*in no particular order

10. NON PEOPLE COVERS ARE COOL--okay, this is just my opinion and I honestly don't even know what the "popular" choice is, but I must say I love a good cover that doesn't have a cover model on it! I love being left to my imagination on what the characters look like!
9. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MANY POVS--six is my limit! Or the six plus 1 or 2 random short chapters from a random person! I feel like once you start adding in too many points of view, things start to get messy and complicated and you star to wonder where the story went! I know I read another older series that may or may not have had more than 6 povs but that series is the exception! Plus I was younger and likely more able to keep up! Lol.
8. BOOKMARKS ARE NOT QUITTER STRIPS--I know there's the saying that says the opposite, but honestly, a girl needs a break to eat sometimes. I don't want to get my books dirty and whatnot. Or I need sleep. I can't seem to go without that and I have the need to get other things done, so bookmarks are a necessity for me!

7. COVER CHANGES CAN SUCK--cover changes are literally 50/50 these days. One cover change that I didn't care for was Tracy Deebs' Doomed! The original ARC cover was totally game! I felt like it fit the story with a little added zing. Perhaps the zing was too much and thus the pub thought this plain, boring finger pressing a button was better. Whatever.
6. NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY BOOKS--this needs no explanation. Of course this is the opinion of the vast majority of nonreaders. So this might not count, but I struggled with this topic! Lol!
5. MULTIPLE EDITIONS OF THE SAME BOOK IS TOTALLY NORMAL--I mean seriously, I can't take you seriously as a reader if you don't have at least on set of multiple editions going on! Lol.

4. PUBLISHERS HAVE TO BE INSANE TO CANCEL A SERIES--I don't want to hear numbers and sales and all that jazz, because seriously, it's INSANITY to cancel a series AT THE FINAL BOOK!!! 
3. AMAZON IS GOOD/EVIL--pretty self-explanatory. Another mark for evil is having poor book packers. I've received too many damaged books from packers who show no care for delicate items.
2. EREADERS ARE GOOD/EVIL--another thing I will argue time and time again about. I still seriously hate ebooks despite all the positives everyone always raves about! I do get it, I acknowledge they are all true, but for me, I can't stand reading on my kindle. It's a necessary evil though when I get to read a much anticipated book early though!

1. THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY VAMPIRES--unlike a lot of readers I never gave up loving vampires! I ran out of vampire reads but I am sooooo dying to read some more! *no pun intended* 

Though there are serious merits to vampirism, such as putting an end to the TBR pile over time! LOL!