Sep 18, 2018

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.


FINALLY reading this one!!!


"'My bird can drive her beak straight through your neck and into your artery in less time than it takes for you to draw a weapon, and she already dislikes you intensely. If I were you, I'd do my best not to antagonize her any further,' Lorelai said." p 175













TITLE: The Shadow Queen
AUTHOR:  C.J. Redwine
PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray
GENRE: YA Fairytale Retellings
RELEASE DATE: February 16, 2016




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: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR


*in no particular order
**I'm writing this post in advance, so there's a slim chance that I might have gotten to one or two of these titles! We can only hope! But it's unlikely...LOL! 


10. ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI by Kerri Maniscalco--today today today! It's releasing TODAY!!!!
9. PHANTOM WHEEL by Tracy Deebs--one from one of my latest trades! I was super excited Tracy was writing something again!
8. WHAT YOU HIDE by Natalie D. Richards--I really liked One Was Lost, yet her last book We All Fall Down was kinda meh. Hopefully this one goes back to awesome!


7. THE SHADOW QUEEN by C.J. Redwine--I hope to possibly read the series to date in time for my trip to The Origin Event so I know what's what when I get to meet C.J.!
6. DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES by C.C. Hunter--another Origin Event book I'd like to read in time!
5. THE RETURN by Jennifer L. Armentrout--I might be a bit ambitious thinking I can get this entire series read for the event because yes, I am THAT behind on it!


4. THE GREAT HUNT by Wendy Higgins--yet another Origin Event read I'd like to try to have completed in time, but since this and my Titan series are all signed, I am not "too" concerned with it, though I'd still like to try to read it!
3. WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz--I'd also like to sneak in one spooky read for the month of Halloween! This series has been in my TBR pile for way too long!
2. A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer--one of my highly anticipated 2019 reads and I'd like to maybe try to read it soon, but it likely will be closer to November before I'll even look at my 2019 ARCs that are slowly forming a pile!


1. SHADES OF WICKED by Jeaniene Frost--SOOOOOOO looking forward to this one! Pretty much have been dying to get to know Ian since he stepped onto the page in One Foot in the Grave and then more so when her spinoff series started with Spade's book! It's been a long time coming and I know he'll be worth the wait!!






Sep 17, 2018

Review--The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.


I finally got around to reading C.J. Redwine's The Shadow Queen! I read it during a rather intense and busy set of days, so that I was able to get through it in such a short time considering, was surprising! I liked it! I might have missed out on some bits as my mind drifted back to stressful things, but I still enjoyed it and can't wait to check out the rest of the series!

This is new retelling of Snow White and it was pretty cool! Sadly, there's no motley crew or seven dwarfs but what Lorelai does have is her younger brother, Leo, who is quick with wit and her mentor/guardian, Gabril. When she was a child she watched her aunt, Irina, murder her father and everyone else she cared for, forcing her and Leo to flee. Luckily, Gabril was there to scurry them to safety. And like with any Snow White tale, the stepmother/aunt wants to kill Snow White aka Lorelai, not because she was more beautiful than her, but because Irina feared Lorelai's magical abilities surpassing her own.

For nine years, Lorelai, Leo, and Gabril have been plotting for when Lorelai will take back her kingdom and restore everything that was destroyed or lost. As it is, there's a lot of problems going on as Irina charges high taxes and there's a shortage of food for the villagers. Things are not good in Ravenspire.

Then comes Kol who has become kind of his own kingdom in Elda when the war with the ogres killed his parents and older brother, leaving him no choice but to take the throne. Kol isn't an ordinary guy though, he and the rest of his kingdom have the ability to transform into dragons. But even as a dragon, he and his people are still unable to defeat the ogres. He turns to Irina for help, something he never thought he would do, she's willing to help with the ogres for a price of course. He must bring her the heart of Lorelai until she will do anything to save his kingdom.

I quite enjoyed how the basic plot line mirrored that of Snow White. And naturally, having the prince also being the huntsman who tries to rescue Snow White in the first place was also charming! Lol. We basically then start to see Lorelai and Kol working together despite the queen's hold over him. He wants to help Lorelai with her quest and she wants to help him save his kingdom too. And naturally, along the way, some sparks start to fly!

I really liked how this one was told in third person, I think that's a good way of telling a fairy tale type story since fairy tales were never (to my knowledge) told in first person point of view anyway. I enjoyed it even more because we get Lorelai, Kol, and Irina's point of view! Which is very important since a lot goes on in each of their scope of the world. 

Irina kind of reminded me of Levana from the Lunar Chronicles in some ways, though I didn't sympathize for her nearly as much as Leavana. With Irina, you can't help but think she brought most of her troubles onto herself. I mean, I understood the initial motive, but even then you can't feel too sorry for her. I mean, with fairy tales you're not suppose to root for the villain...unless it's a villain's fairy tale retelling, but that's not this!

I guess it was due to my busy weekend and when I was starting this that my mind was in and out of the story. Without giving 110% of my attention I felt like I missed bits or whatnot and I didn't want to go back and re-read from whatever point I found myself drifting from. Even considering that point, I must say I still really liked this one! I'm eager to see where C.J. takes the rest of this series. I've found that there will be other fairy tales that get a chance to be retold or whatnot so I am looking forward to that in the near future!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars








Let's Discuss: Binge Reading

Let's discuss binge reading! It was an idea that flitted through my head the other day and I thought it would be a good discussion topic because there's a good amount of positives and negatives to it!


Binge Reading


The Positives:

  • No waiting between books!
  • No faulty memory issues between books
  • Enjoy the series/story straight through


The Negatives:

  • Having to wait for all the books to be out
  • Subjecting yourself to possibly spoilers because of that waiting
  • Missing out on a series everyone might be talking about 


That's about the gist of it for me! In the long run, I think binge reading is a great idea! I just don't always get to engage in it because I occasionally get to review the first book or whatever and of course I want to read it asap! This has happened a lot with duologies for me lately! I received the first book to review but was denied the second book. So basically I suffered because of all that waiting I was forced to do! And even now that a few of those duologies have released, I still haven't read them because of time constraints!

I rather think binge reading is an excellent idea. Though I know it could possibly hurt the author by not having reviews out, I'm one to buy the books as they release, I just don't read them at that time. I'd rather binge read a series any day because then my poor addled mind wouldn't struggle to remember things from a year or likely MORE than a year ago! Lol.

How do you feel about binge reading? Do you do it? Like it? 






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:

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (3.75 stars)


Currently Reading:

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine


What I Hope to Maybe Start:

Gone Hunting by Cecy Robson (ARC)


Other Posts of Interest:






 

Sep 16, 2018

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.


This was another intense week. Apparently the things that they are trying to teach me at work are things I should've been doing all along. So yeah, it's been kind of like those first few days on the job again, though not as intense because the people I was working with the prior week were out of town. So this week will be back to the more strenuous training! Whelp! But in happier news, I am LESS THAN A MONTH away from my Disney World trip!! YAY!!!


Here's what I bought this week:

I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck--keeper copy! I really liked this one! It was a fun Halloween-esque read! And it's a potential book choice for my Spooktacular Giveaway! I'm steadily putting pieces together, but oddly, I have yet to decide on a book!


For review from the author I received:

Gone Hunting by Cecy Robson (ARC)


THANK YOU Cecy!


Then in another trade from the #booksfortrade I received:

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver (ARC)


THANK YOU KaraMoriah!


And then I received a few more of my preorder goodies:

 I received character art and a map for The Caged Queen!


THANK YOU Kristen!!
 

Then I got a bookmark, bookplate, sticker, and a button for #murdertrending!


THANK YOU Gretchen!!



And that's it for me this week! What did you all get?





 

Sep 14, 2018

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
 
 
This week's question is: What author do you not read and why? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
 
 
MY ANSWER: I feel like I can't answer this question in a sense. I'm usually willing to try any author...as long as the book they wrote sounds interesting enough to me. It's really not so much that I won't read an author, it's more like I won't read a certain genre or books with a particular theme that I have no interest in.
 
I'm not sure if that really counts or answers the question, but there it is! 





Sep 13, 2018

Random Thursday

It's time to return to the Customs chapter from The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox! Let's see what new and interesting things we'll learn about customs we likely never thought twice about! This week actually stuck to the theme of weddings! As the facts went on they switched over to parties in general, so we'll read about those next week!


(image borrowed from Pinterest)
June became a popular month for weddings way back with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans favored June because it was named after the goddess, Juno, who was the goddess of marriage. It was thought that if the bride conceived right away she wouldn't be too pregnant to help with the harvest and that she would likely be recovered from pregnancy to help in time for next year's harvest in the fields.



(image borrowed from People/How Stuff Works)
The history behind carrying the bride over a threshold does not have a happy backstory! In fact, it's rather scary! It dates back to around 200 AD with the Germanic Goths. When the supply of marriageable women became low, the men would raid nearby villages and kidnap young girls to take home and make them their wives. Somehow from this barbaric act, we got the whole act of carrying the bride over the threshold.


Yeah, that's just creepy! 


(image borrowed from Holy Trinity & St. Saviour's Church)
The act of announcing wedding banns before a marriage began in 800 AD when the Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne was alarmed by the high rate of interbreeding in the empire. He ordered that all marriages must be publicly announced at least a week before the ceremony and that anyone knowing that the bride and groom were related must come forward.


Oh. My. I get that interbreeding was a thing wayyyy back when, and gross. But to think that Charlemagne had to do this to help stop interbreeding was a bit disturbing, but good for him!


(image borrowed from Etsy)
The tradition of something old, something  new, something borrowed, something blue was basically to help promote a happy marriage. The something old was to remind the couple of their happiness while dating, the something new was to represent the success of their new life together, the something borrowed was to symbolize the support of their friends and family, and the bride was to have something blue because blue was a the color of fidelity. The bride was also to wear a garter from her single girlfriend to improve her prospects of marriage.

That was actually rather interesting! Though I don't remember hearing about the silver sixpence in her shoe that the picture talks about. Guess I should've bought myself a garter before my sister's wedding and had her wear it too! Though I was pretty much the only single one there, so I can't say it would've helped! LOL!


(image borrowed from Watch Friends Online)
The act of having a best man dates back to ancient times when marriages were arranged and the bride's preferred choice would come and carry her off during the wedding. It became a custom that the groom would have a "best man" at his side who would act as a guard and basically keep anyone from stealing the bride away!


And to think now, the best man has a happier note to it! 


(image borrowed from Hollywood.com)
The wedding reception that comes after the wedding soon gained the name "bridal party" as well as the formerly mentioned one. It was around 1200, other terms used were bridal feast, bridal bed, and bridal cake and it's not necessarily related to the Bride herself, but the drink that was often had. The drink was "bride-ale", this was a special beer brewed for weddings and then it was sold to guests to raise money for the newlyweds. As you might assume, this would lead to some rowdy parties and it wasn't until the 17th century that the church managed to get things under control.


Or did they? Lol! Though I've attended like 3 weddings already this year, I didn't stay all that long for the receptions. They weren't super rowdy but you always hear about those other receptions happening down the hall! LOL!






Sep 12, 2018

Review--Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies marks the return of a voice that Stephen King described as original and hypnotic, and through the divisive and charmingly sociopathic character of Joe Goldberg, Kepnes satirizes and dissects our culture, blending suspense with scathing wit.

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…



Hidden Bodies is Caroline Kepnes’ sequel to her smashing hit, You. In this one we see Joe trying to move on with his life from the terrible way things ended with Beck. He has a new lady love in his life and things are going really well, until they don’t. I’ll admit up front that this one didn’t turn out the way I expected. I went back and forth with wanting Joe to succeed and for him to fail. The end result was completely unexpected and it’s left me with mixed feelings! Lol.

Joe had built a new life for himself with Amy, but then the unthinkable happens and Amy betrays him. He’s now out for revenge and travels across the country to Hollywood to track her down and show her why you don’t make Joe angry! Joe is starting a new life from scratch here and has very little to go on, but he knows what to look for when it comes to tracking Amy down. The only thing he doesn’t expect was to fall in love, again.

This time the woman is different, Love—yup, her name’s really Love—is everything he could hope for in a girlfriend. She’s perfect for him and we already see him planning their life together. Love though comes with a bit of baggage, an ex-boyfriend who remains a really good family friend, a druggie brother who just wants to make it big in Hollywood. But Joe is willing to look past all that just to be with her…until things start to get in their way of happiness.

Trouble continues to brew when his past comes back to haunt him. He’s forever remembering the bit of evidence he left at Peach’s place that fateful weekend so long ago. He tries to forget, but it haunts him still. And yet more problems continue to appear and interfere with the life and happiness Joe is trying to build.

I guess when I picked this one up, I was expecting to see the same Joe Goldberg we met in You, and while we might see that Joe in the beginning, his change was unexpected. Sure, he doesn’t change completely, not right away, but I feel like the creepy-stalker-murderer Joe has turned a new leaf. It was odd in some ways because can killers really change? I don’t know what this is saying about my own morale and all that, but it was just odd to see things playing out the way they did in t end.

Another surprising turn was that his mission to hunt down Amy gets waylaid when he meets and falls in love with Love. His whole mission gets tossed aside because he’s found love, again. And that just didn’t really feel like Joe to me. I mean, he’s Joe! You don’t make Joe angry, yet this new side to him allowed him to forget his mission, his revenge.

This one doesn’t quite have the same tone as You did either. Joe is still narrating to us in his usual first person point of view, but it feels less like he’s talking to someone specific. So basically he’s telling us the story versus whoever he was falling in love with, which was kind of odd to in that sense, but it definitely made it easier to read at times! Though I did kind of miss the language that was pure Joe.

The ending was unexpected either! You kept thinking this would happen or that was going to happen but in the end, you are taken completely by surprise! It definitely wasn’t an ending I foresaw in my thought process! I can’t quite be sure how I feel about it either. I guess I don’t really know what I wanted to happen. As I said I went back and forth with this one a lot. While Hidden Bodies definitely had its merits, I found that I enjoyed You a lot better than this one! This is still a worthy read if you enjoyed the first book, because one has to know, what will Joe do next?


Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars






 

Let's Discuss: The New Polly Pocket

I apparently had toys on my brain when I started writing these posts! Lol! It amuses me seeing the toys I played with growing up making a comeback now. Though what saddens me is how the toy companies are kind of tarnishing what was once a super cool toy! If they could just get it right, I'd had no issues but seeing them "revamped" in a way that's just not at all like the original one irks me. I do get that it can't be the same and they're trying to improve it in a way they think's an improvement, but alas I still feel hurt at seeing what they've done to my favorites, such as this one...


The New Polly Pocket


I'm not really sure what year it was when Polly Pocket made her first change. She went from being totally pint size and able to fit in your pocket (hence her name) to this...

I remember looking at this and thinking, that's not Polly! I mean come on, she barely fits in your pocket now! Especially a kid's pocket!

Does anyone remember this version of Polly Pocket? I know I am totally showing my age this week with these 90s toys, but nostalgia gets to me! Lol. I love it and I love when the toys I played with make a comeback but always feel disheartened by the finished product.


This will always be Polly Pocket for me!

And then it was just a week or two ago I saw a commercial for a new Polly Pocket. She had returned once again after her stick figure debacle and here she is now...









This actually is rather cute since they are more like the originals. Though I still feel like the Polly figures are still too big. But choking hazards and all that! I'm surprised the toy company from the 90s got away with its tiny size. I'm contemplating getting one of these for my niece for Christmas. I'll have to wait and see her list...which is pretty long at the moment! I admit, sometimes I'm buy her the toys I just want to see up close! Lol! But since she does pull out all our old toys from the basement, I figure she'd like the new version too!


Does anyone else remember Polly Pocket in her many evolutions? I'm feeling old lately by seeing all these childhood toys of mine! There was one I picked up for myself not that long ago, Cupcake Surprise! I remember that one so well! I eventually gave the doll to my niece because yeah, I don't really need it! I again just wanted to see it again! Lol! They even made miniature ones of that too! But my niece walked right past those the other weekend when she was spending her money in the toy aisle! Lol.

But back to the question because I got sidetracked, does anyone else remember this toy? Or better yet, has there been a toy you loved as a kid that was brought back in a new way? Did you like seeing it again or did it kind of disappoint you in its appearance/execution?





Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.


It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.


Excited to see Lauren writing another mystery kind of read! This one sounds like fun! Also found out she's coming to my town touring for this one! Can't wait to pick up a copy!!


AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
GENRE: YA Thriller/Mystery 
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2018