Nov 22, 2019

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Excluding the Bible, name one book that makes you feel thankful and happy. (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
MY ANSWER: Ohhh man, that's a hard one! Just one?! Because I've got a list of those! At the top I'd say Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes for the nostalgia and where my love of vampires stemmed from!
Then there's Caraval and the trilogy at large, by Stephanie Garber that completely captured my heart by sweeping me up with its magic and games!
While I'd loooove to also mention Harry Potter and it did play a huge role in my life as a preteen. It wasn't like a life-changing book for me that spurred my love for reading because I was already a reader at this point! It's definitely a magical read that I am still grateful for, but I don't think I'd put it at THE book.

If I had to choose one, I guess I would go back to Demon in My View for it was THE ONE that started it all for me!


Nov 21, 2019

Review--The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Special edition: Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition features an alternate jacket and contains letters from Cardan.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

Holly Black brings her bestselling series, The Folk of the Air, to a close with the highly anticipated The Queen of Nothing! I wasn't sure what to expect with this one after all the shocks, betrayals, and surprises of The Wicked King. I was essentially unprepared for the magnitude of awesomeness that was about to occur! Needless to say that Holly ends this series with a bang!

We pick things up shortly where they left off, six months later. Jude is still living with her sister Vivi and Oak, as things with Vivi and Heather have turned a little south. Jude is getting by with doing odd jobs for other faeries living on the humanside of the world and is startled when one night after a job she finds her sister, Taryn, waiting at home. Taryn, who betrayed her. Taryn, who now needs her help. Taryn is being questioned in the untimely death of another faerie. She will be put under a geas to tell a truthful testimony and since that presents a problem for her...she needs Jude to go in her place.

Jude has been itching to get back to faerie for some time now. Mostly to confront Cardan and understand why he put her under that ridiculous exile. But of course things never go quite as planned and we learn that there was more to Jude's exile. Jude is soon "rescued" by her father Madoc, who assumes she's Taryn and is whisking her away to safety. There's plans to dethrone Cardan from the crown and take over himself and he wants Taryn aka Jude to help.

This story was mind-blowing!! I will be the first to admit that I did not see these early twists coming! Though I do remember wondering at Cardan's choice in words of her exile and why she was submitting to it, but I'll just push that vagueness aside. It should come as no surprise at all that Cardan knew it was Jude from the getgo, I mean, she is his wife! And just when we're close to getting answers from his, daddy dearest, Madoc sets his "rescue" plan into action. So it was quite flabbergasting to have to wait on that explanation as well! Lol.

I feel like every time I came close to hating Cardan, he does or says something that had me changing my mind! I swear there's a reason why I will never trust a member of the fae! While they cannot lie, they have mastered the art of misdirection! They are cunning and devious and I think that's part of Cardan's appeal in some sense. Yes, he was dreadful in the beginning, but I feel like he's come a long way. There were reasons for some of his actions--some I say.

This was definitely yet another installment that had me turning the pages as fast as I could read! Thankfully I took use of vacation days to do it AND see Holly Black the night after it released! I was over halfway through reading at that point and just wow! I have to say that Holly did a truly remarkable job with ending this one! AND there were teases for the possibility of more to come from this world. Holly might have even personally hinted at this as well because OMG THAT LOOK!!! If you read it, you know the ones I mean!

The romance in this one was yet again, spot on! I kind of love that Cardan and Jude had that love/hate relationship going on. It was complicated and convoluted at the start, but it's turned into something more over the course of the series. And if you haven't already, I would HIGHLY recommend getting the B&N edition of this one too, for the cover alone if anything, but also because there's added bonus content of letters Cardan wrote to Jude during her exile and they are mentioned in the beginning of the story when Cardan outs Jude for being Jude! Lol.

By this point, I'm sure there's thousands of reviews for The Queen of Nothing out there already and there's little more I can add to what's likely being said! If you made it through the first two books of the trilogy, you pretty much have to give the grand finale a go around because after all those cliffhangers, you have to see how it all ends, it will shock and amaze you!

The Queen of Nothing was yet another amazing read from the highly talented Holly Black! I will now be eagerly awaiting for news of her next release! Oh the possibilities...

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Random Thursday

This time around in Weird by True by Leslie Gilbert Elman it looks like we're talking about animals and possible mating techniques! This ought to be!

(image borrowed from Australian Museum)
 Some Australian cuttlefish are larger than the others and when it comes to "wooing" the alluring female giant Australian cuttlefish the littler guys don't have a chance against their bigger brethren. These little guys will then hang out with the girls by changing their colors to resemble the female coloring and then sneak up on them and mate with them.

Fun Fact: Nematode worms will go even further than this and will change its sex to increase its chances of mating. Females actually have the ability to self-fertilize and produce her own offspring, all of which are born female.

That's actually pretty creepy. Scary even. But that factoid on nematoads is rather interesting!

(image borrowed from Parkway Pest Services)
The red and speckled bug of the Coccinellidae family are called ladybugs in the US. In England, Australia, India, and Pakistan they are called "ladybirds." Entomologists call them "lady beetles." They pretty much have a different name everywhere, in Russia their name translates to "God's little cow" and in Turkey, it's "good luck beetle" and in Hebrew it's "Moses's cow."

 FUN FACT: Even the male ladybugs are called ladybugs.

Wow! That's a lot of different names! I mean...Moses's cow? 

(image borrowed from Oceana)
A female blacktip shark grew up in an aquarium in Virginia and had no contact with other male sharks of her kind for the 8 years of her life. Her handlers were very surprised when she became pregnant, but it wasn't a surprise to ichthyologists or fish biologists who long suspected that sharks have the ability to reproduce by virgin birth. Female sharks can become pregnant without the assistance of male sharks and her offspring will have the same DNA as her. Ichthyologists believe this has become more common for female sharks as sharks are being overfished and leaving few viable mates for each other.

That's weird! I honestly didn't know this about sharks! 

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Female blue sharks and Greenland sharks have a very thick skin that's twice as thick as their male counterparts. This breed of shark mates face-to-face and the males bite the female violently to hold them in place while mating.

Dang these animals are violent in their mating habits! 

(image borrowed from Encyclopedia Britannica)
While most sharks tend to live in warmer or tropical waters, the Greenland shark likes it cold, really, really cold! It's found as far north as the Arctic ocean and spends much of its time deep below in the darkest part of the ocean.

Suffice is to say that I will never have to worry about this breed of shark!  


Nov 20, 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

It’s Scooby-Doo and the gang, but this time Fred is…one of the undead!

While the resurrected Fred Jones unleashes his army of monsters on Scooby and the gang, Daphne continues to spiral further into guilt and depression, terrified of losing Fred twice. Fortunately, the gang has another secret weapon: Scrappy-Doo and his mysterious mentor.

Is this the end for the Scooby gang, and perhaps all of humanity, or will Daphne’s love for her resurrected boyfriend win out in the end?

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 6 issues collects #31-36.

I am very behind on my beloved comic book series. I *think* this might conclude the series, but I am not 100% sure to be honest! Lol. Hopefully one day I will be able to pick up my last comic and then these two compilations and finish what was an amazing series!

AUTHOR: Keith Giffen
RELEASE DATE: December 31, 2019


Nov 19, 2019

Review--The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

Dolls can't move by themselves. . . . Or can they?

Special anniversary edition of the hair-raising mystery that's kept readers up at night for thirty-five years. Foreword by Goosebumps creator R.L. STINE and new glow-in-the-dark jacket.

Amy is terrified. She hears scratching and scurrying noises coming from the dollhouse in the attic, and the dolls she was playing with are not where she left them. Dolls can't move by themselves, she tells herself. But every night when Amy goes up to check on the dollhouse, it's filled with an eerie light and the dolls have moved again! Are the dolls trying to tell her something? Could this all be connected to the murders of her great-grandparents?

Sinister secrets unravel as Amy gets closer to revealing the mystery of the dolls in this haunting novel that combines complicated family relationships with a bone-chilling mystery. Readers will want to keep the lights on after finishing!

So I snuck in a quick little read as I ended up finishing my last book sooner than anticipated! The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright found itself on my TBR pile just a few months ago. I never read this one growing up, but I did watch the movie version of it quite a few times as a kid...and was thoroughly terrified of dollhouses ever since! Especially the one we had in our basement and everyone knows basements are on par with attics on the creepiness level! Lol.

This story revolves around Amy, a young girl on the path to teenage-dom, who wants to escape the responsibilities of her younger sister, Louann who has mental health issues. So note that this book published in 1983 and there wasn't a whole lot of sensitivity for people with mental health issues. In fact, a lot of people in Amy's life treat Louann a little harshly because of something she can't control. And though Amy loves her sister, she sometimes just wants a break from having to take care of her all the time. So she finds herself escaping to her Aunt Clare's house for the last few weeks of school and even convinces her parents to let her stay with Aunt Clare so she can have a break from Louann.

Clare is trying to clean out her grandparents old house, they died a long time ago and the house has been sitting on its own for awhile and she and her brother, Amy's dad, are likely wanting to sell it. While helping her aunt clean, Amy discovers a delightful dollhouse in the attic that's a replica of the very house her aunt is living in now. The dolls are even of her great-grandparents, and Clare and her father, Paul.

But then something strange begins to happen with the dollhouse. Amy swears she sees one of the dolls moving! Then there's the mystery of her great-grandparents that her aunt seems to be keeping from her, so naturally, Amy decides to do a little digging herself. But some secrets might be better kept left in the dark.

This was a quick little read, being a middle grade read. I was able to read it all within a day! It was pretty unputdownable! And I have to say, the movie even did a great job with the telling! I mean I haven't watched it in a few years. Tracking down a copy of it was hard even back then as it was never put into DVD format. I did discover that it's up on Youtube! It's called Secrets in the Attic if you're interested! It's from the 90s and I believe it was in relation to Lifetime, so you can expect full 90s Lifetime corniness! Lol! But it was also pretty terrifying because my older sister agreed, you will never look at dollhouses the same way again!

The mystery was as I remembered it, but it was a different experience reading the movie I rented endlessly from the video store. I mean, it does still give me the creeps in this format too! All the strange noises one hears and then of course the freaking terrifying aspects of the dollhouse and dolls THAT MOVE ON THEIR OWN!!! Lol. I was still surprised by the fact that this is a middle grade book and the movie was likely PG because it's pretty creepy! I mean, obviously not Chuckie or Anabelle creepy--two movies I will never ever ever see because I was already scarred by creepy dolls, but it was still a pretty creepy read. Definitely not one to read when you're up late at night in an older house!

There's also a pretty good sibling story going on. While it seems like Amy is being selfish at times, and I do think she is here and there, I also can commiserate with her, because it does seem like she has to do a lot of babysitting and never gets any time for just herself and her friends. Everyone needs a little me time after all.

As with the movie's ending, I was still a touch disappointed with this one. I do feel like the movie did a better job with expanding upon the feelings about all the reveals and develing into that. I feel like here, things were quickly glossed over and that's that.

The Dollhouse Murders would definitely be recommended for young readers looking to get into the creepy or ghosty or mystery reads! It's funny because as I was reading, I was recalling the movie in my head as well and I have to say that I was still kind of terrified by it! Lol!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars


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.

So I'm writing this post early and was about to get my Queen of Nothing game on. Then I realized...I won't technically be starting QoN until later in the morning, long after this post is usually up. I am HOPING that I am already finished with this book by then, but life happens you know? Lol. So here's another teaser for you... 

"'Goddess, I hate space.'

'And tight spaces, and the word moist, and freeze-dried jerky with caminar pepper,' Jax added, looking around the darkened maintenance hallway.'" p 50 

TITLE: Soul of Stars
AUTHOR: Ashley Poston
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

RELEASE DATE: July 23, 2019

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 Changes In My Reading Life

*in no particular order
**looking at this as an overall from the time I started my blog--so a reallllly long time! Lol!

10. READING MORE FANTASY & THRILLERS--in the beginning, I was nearly a 97% Paranormal Girl with a few Fantasy reads, now, it's more like 50/50 or I guess 45/45/10 Lol!
9. READING SLOWER--sadly, yes. My reading speed has taken a turn for the worst!
8. RE-READING--I RE-READ 2 books this year!! I can't even remember when I did that! Probably 2009 or 2010! Lol.

7. NOT STARTING SERIES RIGHT AWAY--I've been holding off starting certain series right away until they are all out! The problem now is all those series are finished! Eep!
6. BUYING MULTIPLE COPIES--if you told me this in 2009 I would've laughed at you! Why buy more than 1 copy of the same book? Then collections started. Then alternate covers started. It's a good thing I have no other vices than books!
5. DECORATING MY SHELVES--by this I mean putting decorative pieces of this or that on my bookcase shelves IN FRONT OF MY BOOKS! I looked at some old pictures of my shelves and slowly saw decor pieces appearing at the end of the shelf...then more appeared, and then there was the middle area. It's insane!

4. NOTING EVERY SPARE INCH--so yeah, now I'm definitely more aware of every inch of free space I have! I look and think, can I fit a bookcase of any size in that tiny little corner? What about a corner case? Yeah, before it was like, an empty wall...yay!
3. TOTE BAG DURABILITY--I'm definitely more aware of tote bags and their durability. I'll only buy or keep ones of great strength for all the book signing, festivals, and conventions I've been attending!
2. BUYING NEW BOOKISH ACCESSORIES--in this instance I was thinking of my handy dandy box on wheels (as I call it!). Basically a large milk crate with wheels, an extended handle and the ever so wonderful LID that makes a great place to sit in long festival lines, one of my TOP bookish investments!

1. NEVER-ENDING TBR PILE--so in 2009 I never thought I would have enough to read, now I feel like my TBR pile will outlive me! Lol.


Nov 18, 2019

Review--Soul of Stars by Ashley Poston

The highly awaited sequel to Heart of Iron, Soul of Stars is a thrilling sci-fi adventure packed with romance, shocking twists, and witty banter, perfect for fans of Six of Crows and Cinder.

Once, Ana was an orphaned space outlaw. Then she was the Empress of the Iron Kingdom. Now, thought dead by most of the galaxy after she escaped from the dark AI program called the HIVE, Ana is desperate for a way to save Di from the HIVE’s evil clutches and take back her kingdom.

Ana’s only option is to find Starbright, the one person who has hacked into the HIVE and lived to tell the tale. But when Ana’s desperation costs the crew of the Dossier a terrible price, Ana and her friends are sent spiraling through the most perilous reaches of the Iron Kingdom to stop the true arbiter of evil in her world: an ancient world-ending deity called the Great Dark.

Their journey will take the sharp-witted pilot, Jax, to the home he never wanted to return to, and the dangerous fate he left behind. And when Robb finds out who Jax really is, he must contend with his own feelings for the boy he barely knows, and whether he truly belongs with this group of outcasts.

When facing the worst odds, can Ana and her crew of misfits find a way to stop the Great Dark once and for all?

It was a lot of fun to be able to binge read the Heart of Iron duology by Ashley Poston. Soul of Stars brings this series to a close and despite a few troubles on my own end, I have to say it was well told. I tend to struggle with "space" books and a slower reading pace and little time to read this one wasn't in my favor, but I still really liked this one overall.

We pick up a few months after the events of the first book. Ana has healed from Di trying to kill her. Di has been HIVED and is ruling as acting emperor and his sister, Mellifare is the Great Dark personified. She's controlling all the Metals and is looking for her heart, a power source so to speak that will help restore her to her great and powerful being. So naturally, Ana is determined to find it first and find some way to rescue Di, restoring him to his former self. Should be easy, right?

Not so much when you throw into the mix that her pilot and friend, Jax soon gets incredibly sick and is dying. Robb thinks that it would be best to take him "home" where he can hopefully be healed, but it comes at a great cost.

Despite my usual struggles with space age books, I did find myself enjoying this one. But as I've been reading it for well over a week, I am struggling to put all my thoughts together because I was struggling a bit with the story itself. And thankfully it wasn't due to memory errors. Lol.

I think one thing that threw me were the random flashbacks, sometimes the transitions weren't as smooth as they should be and when I thought I was on some secret mission with Ana on her own, I wondered why is Di there? And why is he Di and being all friendly like? It wasn't a confusion that lasted long, but it threw me sometimes.

There was a great deal of tension in this one as Di is actively trying to kill Ana. I don't think he ever believed that she was truly dead like the rest of the galaxy, but she was very good at hiding and he wasn't so great at trying to find her even with the use of all the Metals everywhere! Ana wasn't really safe much of anywhere. Then there was also the possibility that among Ana's remaining friends and crew, a traitor was hiding among them. Too many attempts to do this or that were going haywire and Siege beings to wonder who among her crew is working against her and her daughter.

There were quite a few twists and surprises by the end of this one that left me absolutely shocked! But on a whole, I have to say that I thought Ashley ended quiet well. It was definitely a fun series despite my few issues, which are really just "me" issues and nothing to do with the book or story which I did quite enjoy! I would definitely pick up a fantasy or sci-fi read of Ashley's again should she write one! This was a rather unique take or retelling if you will, of the Anastasia story and I thought it was well done! I know I've got another one of those in my TBR pile somewhere that I want to read at some point! It's definitely a story that is worth telling and has so many options available to it! All in all, Souls of Stars was a pretty darn good read!!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

Book Snob Tag

I saw this tag the other day over at Cornerfolds, I also borrowed her adorable image too, because it was too cute! Lol. Tracy originally saw this tag at Finding Wonderland, it was originally made on Booktube, but now it's on blogs too, so let's have at it!

I guess in a way I would call myself somewhat of a book snob, but I prefer the term booknerd with CDO tendencies. Lol.

Adaptation Snob: Do you always read the book before you see the film?

Honestly, yes. If a book I haven't read yet happens to be turned into a movie or TV show, I will immediately up that in my reading queue just so I can officially say that I read it before the movie came out! Although 8/10 times I did already have the book read before its movie debut!

Format Snob: You can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

Physical books all the way! I read 95% physical books with some eARCs thrown in and the occasional ebook from favored indie authors!

Ship Snob: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Yes, I would. If he wasn't a reader himself, that's fine, but he better accept me and my books entirely without question! Especially the collections I've got going! Lol.

Genre Snob: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

I guess I could live without thrillers. I mean, I only read them on occasion. Other times my mysteries tend to run the cozy line!

Uber Genre Snob: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

I'm going to say Paranormal for this one, so that includes all age levels of the Paranormal GENRE and not just subjecting it to a genre and "suggested" age level. Lol.

Community Snob: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

I don't know to be honest. I don't feel like as booklovers we get snobby on any particular genre. We all have our different tastes and if there's a genre we just don't like and we try to give it a chance and end up disliking it once again, we might complain about the reasons why in our review, but I don't feel like we get snobby on a regular basis over a certain genre.

Snobbery Recipient: Have you ever been snubbed for something that you have been reading or for reading in general?

Oh yes, all the time in school. I've always loved reading and soon that turned into reading about vampires, werewolves, and all other creatures that go bump in the night. I was teased occasionally about being a reader, but let me tell you, I was the girl to dish it right back at them too! Lol. My friends would just hassle me about reading about my "vampires" but it was the sort of kind-hearted teasing. Plus I liked watching their eyes glaze over for that little second where I defend my position and mention all the werewolf, witches, demons, and warlock books that I was also reading! Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series was running strong at that time, so I listed the "creatures" from those first few books of that time for my examples! Lol!


It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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:

Nothing completed. As I said, my reading habits have changed drastically this year.

Still Reading:

Soul of Stars by Ashley Poston 

What I Plan to Read Next:

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (B&N ed.)

Other Posts of Interest:


Nov 17, 2019

Stacking the Shelves--Two Week Haul!

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.

This has been a heck of two weeks! There's been more struggles with work and the job front. Nothing positive to report. I got a phone call this week from one of the staffing agencies, I called back, they had left early because of snow and I left a voicemail. Never heard back from them. Sigh...but on the happier front, I did attend YALLFest last weekend and had a blast! I met up with Nikole from A Court of Coffee and Books and we hung out and did some of the festivities together and both ended up calling it a night very early that day! Lol. Of course we both had to leave for early morning flights home, so it was probably for the best! I got all the books I brought signed and snagged a few ARCs I was SUPER happy to get! All in all, a GREAT weekend there! This weekend we started putting up Christmas decorations and as you're all reading this, I am sitting in line at the Disney Store to obtain a special Christmas key! I'm becoming a HUGE fan of these magical keys! Lol!

Here's what I bought these past two weeks:

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao--Now SIGNED!
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder 

Supernova by Marissa Meyer--SIGNED!

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot & Illustrated by Cara McGee--SIGNED!

The ARCs I scored at YALLFest:

Greythorne by Crystal Smith (ARC)
Blood Countess by Lana Popvic (ARC)
All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (ARC)
Chosen by Kiersten White (ARC)
Cool Swag:
A print from House of Salt and Sorrows & a bookmark set of the Aurora Rising crew! Still need to read that one!! 

 a Winterwood sticker
trading cards from Serpent & Dove
trading cards from Grim Lovelies 
My preorder pin from The Beautiful

The Lunar Chronicles necklace from Owl Crate November box! Of course one of the boxes I skip had swag I really liked!! Luckily they put this up in their shop fairly quickly and I bought it without much thought! Lol!

And finally, I bought yet another bookish shirt from Shirt.Woot despite telling myself no more shirts for awhile. I mean it was just too perfect!

TEAM BOOKS all the way!

And that's it for me this week! Not a bad haul for two weeks! What did you all get?