Dec 11, 2018

Mini Review--Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong

The team-spirit sign by the side of the highway seems a good omen to loner Morgan Walsh, as he drives to what could be the most important visit of his life — a chance to join the North American Pack. Then he wakes naked in the woods, surrounded by wolf tracks and a ring of suspicious cops. The situation only gets worse when he’s bailed out by Alpha-elect Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers, her terrifying enforcer and mate.

Disappointed that such a promising young werewolf risked exposing them, Elena isn’t expecting anything from the pesky retrieval job except some much-needed alone time with Clay. Instead, she finds a different kind of evil stalking the streets and forests of Westwood, New York. Trapped in town by a snowstorm and sabotage, Elena, Clay and Morgan must find the mysterious threat before it sets its sights on them.



I decided to take a little trip back to The Women of the Otherworld series with Kelley Armstrong's novella, Forbidden! I picked this up at HPB one day when I saw it just sitting there and I decided, why not? The novellas are always fun because you can basically read them without having to read the original series. Since I did read the series already, I was even more game, but it also helped that it wasn't necessary since I read Frostbitten when it came out in 2010 and this book takes place right after that sometime! So yeah, it's been a while! Lol!

In this one we have Elena and Clay who are called to a small town just outside their own home when a potential werewolf recruit gets himself into a bind. This is the part that I couldn't really remember, though I vaguely recall Morgan's character, just not his entire role in things. Morgan was considering joining the Pack, but gets waylaid in the small town and winds up in jail.

After being snowbound with twin five-year-olds, Clay and Elena jump at the chance to get out of the house for a bit. Though Westwood was a small town where everyone knows everyone, there is definitely something weird happening in this town. Elena can shake the feeling of being watched constantly and when they try to leave town the next day, they find that the tires of their car have been slashed. 

While wandering around the town, they uncover a decomposing body and it basically sets the course for them in the mystery solving area as the strange happenings don't stop there. There's the sheriff who seems a bit dodgy and secretive, a few deputies who may or may not have secrets of their own, and of course whoever the mystery vandal in town is. 

This story read really fast for being just over 200 pages! The time just flew by and I found myself really missing the Otherworld. I know I have a good amount of novella compilations in my TBR pile that I really ought to drag out, but who has the time!? Lol. I will have to make time for that return soon though.

I think that Clay and Elena will always be my favorite Otherworld couple. They were the first and there's just that special bond a reader develops with those first book characters. That holds true for me with this series! I also enjoyed that there was just the tiniest bit of romance in this one! Clay and Elena definitely deserve some alone time after the chaos of their twins! I'm also really interested in checking out their serial story, but I am terrible with reading serial episodes. I'm an all or nothing kind of reader! Lol.

Forbidden was a fun trip down Otherworld memory lane! It was great to return to one of the first adult series I ever read and what basically got me hooked into the urban fantasy genre! This is a read no Otherworld reader should be without!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars





 

Review--The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

Ding dong—Dorothy is dead.

I watched as the Emerald Palace crumbled to the ground, burying Dorothy, the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone, under the rubble. And now that the rightful ruler, Ozma, has been restored to the throne…

Oz is finally free.

My name is Amy Gumm. You might remember me as the other girl from Kansas. When a tornado whisked me away to the magical land of Oz, I was given a mission: Dorothy must die.

But it turns out girls from Kansas are harder to kill than we look.

Now the Road of Yellow Brick is leading me away from Oz to the dark world of Ev, where I have a new, powerful enemy to deal with: the Nome King. And—surprise—he has a gingham-clad bride.

With my magical shoes and a shrinking group of allies, I have one final chance to fulfill my mission, and save not only what’s left of Oz, but Kansas, too. As the line between Good and Wicked blurs even further, I have to find a way to get rid of Dorothy once and for all—without turning into a monster myself.

Dorothy once said there’s no place like home. Can I stop her from destroying mine?
 


The End of Oz is the epic series finale of Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series and it was quitter literally one of the most shocking series finales I’ve ever read! Things ended in a totally surprising ways and not just on the normal front! I can’t remember which edition I bought, but it’s the one that has a bonus epilogue that made it all the more worthwhile, of course, I am left reeling with all that’s been said and done!

Just when Amy and Nox think things might finally be going their way, they are proven dead wrong. Firstly, Glinda may not be as defeated as they thought, Dorothy might just in fact be alive, the Nome King is now public enemy number 1! Though Dorothy is still pretty high on that list too, maybe 1.5, just don’t tell her that! Lol. There’s lots to do and very little time to do it all. Factor in that Madison, Amy’s long time bully now turned ally is also stuck in Oz and wants nothing more than to go home and see her child again. Things are pretty crazy n this one, but it was nothing short of epic and amazing.

What surprised me right off the bat was that Dorothy actually get point of view time in quite a few chapters! It was amazing to finally be inside her head for a change! I mean, we’ve seen her be a bit whackadoodle this entire series and now to finally be in her head, you’d think she’d be nothing but crazy talk, and while there is some of that, you also notice a bit of sanity and loneliness. She’s not the villain we all knew back from book one.

Dorothy actually gets “rescued” by the Nome King who wants to make her his queen, yet Dorothy knows she can’t trust this old goat, for he is rather older than her, and she bows to no one. She’s wise to what his real plans are and naturally, starts making plans of her own. Ones that will have to include Amy Gumm.

This book was pretty exciting! For a while I almost wondered if Amy and her friends would be joining with Dorothy, however temporary, in order to defeat the Nome King. But that’s not how things go at all. Amy and Nox still have plans to kill her and free Oz. Madison tagging along was quite the trip though! She wasn’t magically inclined and seeing her truly be a friend to Amy was kind of mind-blowing!

I was also surprised to see other new characters make an appearance that were from Oz lore, that I was aware of this time! Lol. And that would be Langwidere. While her name didn’t really ring any bells, it was really learning that she was the character who constantly changed her head whenever she felt like it! I remember being terrified of this when I saw the movie Return to Oz. Though I liked the spin that Danielle took with this particular character.

Things were pretty intense with this one but one thing I really enjoyed was watching Amy and Nox grow closer together. While I can’t remember much about the first half of the series, I just remember being swept away with their budding romance. As things progress, you start to wonder what their fate will be as Amy is starting to decide where she feels the most home at.

The ending is one I will likely never get over! And I can’t figure out how I mean that! Lol. I was reading the special edition version that included a bonus epilogue and I am now wondering if that was a good idea or a bad one because whoa! Where the ordinary ending leaves off leaves things nice and open-ended in a happy way, the epilogue gives you things to think about and ponder and wonder and oh wait! There’s not another book to see answers with! This is the aggravating part, and yet, in some ways, it was kind of exciting and almost happy-like. I can’t describe how I feel about it being so open-ended and at the height of a new adventure ready and waiting, but it feels right to see these characters live on…I just wish I could get a sneak peek at it! Lol.

One thing that bothered me, outside the ending which was really just a mix of emotions, was the thing with Glinda and Glamora. As things ended kind of off with Yellow Brick War I sort of expected there to be something more to them in this one, but there really wasn’t. And that leaves me baffled and wondering what the what?! You know? Oh well, just something that I wanted to mention as I felt like it needed addressing in the book to help make things feel more complete.

All in all, The End of Oz was exactly what I was hoping for in a series finale. There’s conclusion, resolution, and the hope for more adventures…even if we can live them out with the characters. I always like knowing that their stories won’t be over, even if they are in the written format. That’s just the weird part of being an avid reader I guess! Lol. The Dorothy Must Die series was a unique and engaging series that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way and I am sad to see that it’s over, but the adventure is one I will not forget!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 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.



"'Good-bye for now, dear Amy,' she said. But her voice sounded farther away. Below me, the verdant jungle was crumbling into dust. Darkness swallowed me again, but this time I wasn't afraid." p 122















TITLE: The End of Oz
AUTHOR: Danielle Paige
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
GENRE: YA Fairy Tale Retellings 
RELEASE DATE: March 14, 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: Freebie: TOP TEN CHRISTMAS COLORED BOOKS!


*in no particular order


10. 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
9. THE SHADOW QUEEN by C.J. Redwine
8. A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas
7. CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge
6. LEGION by Julie Kagawa
5. THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD by Darynda Jones
4. LETHAL OUTLOOK by Victoria Laurie
3. ENSNARED by A.G. Howard
2. FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET by Darynda Jones
1. ACE OF SHADES by Amanda Foody






Dec 10, 2018

BOOKISH NAUGHTY OR NICE TAG

I saw this tag over at Fiction No Chaser who originally saw it over at Jenniely. I thought it looked like fun and was perfect for Christmas in determining if you're on the naughty or nice list when it comes to books!

Here are some rules:
  • Tag & link the person who tagged you
  • Tag and link me/this post (if you would be so kind, I love reading your answers!)
  • Tick/cross off the ones you’ve done
  • Tag another 10 people!


Received an ARC and not reviewed it

NAUGHTY: *casts eyes down* I received a box of ARCs by surprise and have only read one. I have titles on Edelweiss I still haven't gotten to. I am trying reallllly hard to finish my challenges for the year and I'm afraid ARCs don't count if the reviews themselves won't be up until next year!


Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley

NICE: I am perpetually always at 99% because apparently long ago, I forgot to review a title. I think it was because I DNF'd it and didn't feel right leaving feedback for only a handful of pages, but I guess I should've!


Rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)

NICE: I keep a reminder to do my cross-posting of ARC reviews in my planner. I might be a day or two later on occasion, but that's because life gets in the way. I'd say that 99% of the time I am on time though! ;)


Folded down the page of a book

NICE: I NEVER do this! In fact, I am more likely to buy you whatever book you want to borrow from me to prevent you from doing this to my books too! Lol.


Accidentally spilled on a book

NICE: probably on a technicality because it happened once years ago, but it was on an ARC so does it really count? Probably, but my finished copies remain spotless!


DNF a book this year

NAUGHTY: Every book is not for every person. So while I may have done this this year, I don't feel bad about it. I can't even remember what book it was! There may have even been more than one! But since it's technically "naughty" in eyes of this tag, I must sadly be naughty.


Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it

NICE: I mean sure, I've bought books because they were pretty but I always read them. Unless I've already read the book and then the publishers go and make a new version that's just gorgeous. Since I rarely ever have time to re-read, I will buy the pretty copy, but I might not read it, only because I've read it before in its less prettier copy! Lol.


Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)

NAUGHTY: I suppose you can call it naughty when I read at work, but it's only because I don't have any work to do at the moment. 


Skim read a book

NICE: I never do this. I don't even know how to do this really! Lol.


Completely missed your Goodreads goal

NICE: It hasn't happened yet! I usually even surpass it!


Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library

NICE: I rarely go to the library anymore for books. There are times I think about checking out "this" book if I remember. But usually that would be for a book I was hesitant on and then I later forget whatever book it was and don't bother. But I've never had a late fee even when I was in school!


Broke a book buying ban

NICE: Book buying ban? That would be like a food buying ban! Lol! Needless to say I've never gone on one of these to break. I usually keep a list of books I'll buy throughout the year and sometimes I occasionally even change my mind on even buying one of those! Of course, I still might buy a book that wasn't originally on it. But no bans for me!


Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about

NICE: Can't be done! I can't even read more than one book at a time anymore! Lol. My system is, read the book and once I finish it, write the review. I will not start a new book until I write that review. It usually works better for me to write the review right away because everything is fresh in my head and then I can go into a new book and immerse myself into a new world very easily!


Wrote in a book you were reading

NICE: I don't do this. I couldn't even do this when I was in my college textbooks. I tried but it was too hard. But I NEVER EVER wrote in one of my own personal books and that's what counts!


Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

NICE: I pretty much add the book to my Goodreads list once I buy it. What I don't usually do is say when I'm reading it. And that's because I might write my review at work on break and then paste it into the book itself so I can then transfer it into a blog post when I get home. This way my blog can still be where the review was first! It's weird, but nice because then I don't have to type the review twice!


Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend

NICE: Like with libraries, I hardly ever borrow books from friends. I usually just prefer owning the books I want to read! I have a good idea of what I will enjoy and am only wrong maybe once every 100 books or so! And even then, it's not that I hated the book, just didn't LOVE it. Maybe liked it.


Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book

NAUGHTY: I guess you can say it's naughty that when I anticipated my sister wanting to borrow my copy of Allegiant that I just ordered her one as a gift! I saw what she did to her own copy of Insurgent and freaked out! Though ironically I didn't care whatsoever what she did to my copies of the Twilight books! LOL!


Broke the spine of someone else’s book

NICE: I don't do this to my own books! And since I rarely borrow books from people I couldn't do it anyway!


Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged

NICE: If I did take the jacket off to protect it, it basically worked! But since I've invested in book sleeves for transporting my books back and forth to work, I've saved a lot of covers and don't even have to take them off anymore. Unless they keep sliding off when I'm trying to read!


Sat on a book accidentally

NICE: I don't even know how that's possible! Lol. If I set my book down it goes on my desk. If I'm reading in bed, it goes on the far side of my bed where I couldn't possibly sit on it!


My final score: 

NICE 16     
NAUGHTY 4

Safe to say that I am definitely mostly on the nice list! LOL! What would your score be if you took this test? I basically tag anyone and everyone who wants to join in on this fun little tag!!











  


 
     


          

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 was a nightmare! I barely got any reading done and it was dreadfully busy. This week might not be as bad, but it won't be better either. Hopefully after this it might be back to normal but I'm not certain.


Last Week I Read:

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige (4 stars)


Reviews That Were Posted:

The Fade by Demitria Lunetta (ARC) (2.5 stars)
Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder (ARC) (4.5 stars)


Currently Reading:

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige


What I Hope to Maybe Start Reading:

Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong



Other Posts of Interest:








Dec 9, 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.


I survived the week! Thank god! It was insanely busy and stressful and I barely got any reading done! :( This week won't be as bad, but still rather busy with yet another round of orientations I have to conduct. Hoping I can take Friday off, need to ask my manager about it on Monday. Fingers crossed!


This week I actually didn't buy any books! Shocking I know!! I still got one book in a trade though...


Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller (ARC)


THANK YOU Tracy!!!


Then for review from the publisher I received:

Moonlight Scandals by Jennifer L. Armentrout (ARC)


THANK YOU Avon!!
 
 
Then I got a few of my Cyber Monday buys:
 
 The first two pictures are postcards from Redbubble, from LOWEANA I bought The Cruel Prince, then I have the Caraval collection from DARK-BEAUTIFUL, a collection of Stalking Jack the Ripper from PHANTOMRIN, and one last Caraval beauty from ZULFA BEGUM.

Then I hit up LitJoyCrate for a few extras I had my eye on, I was bit by a shopping bug this past month or so! LOL! I bought all four dragon coins that were Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire related, plus a Night Court pin!

Then I shopped Out of Print's Cyber Monday sale and bought a few enamel pins, two Harry Potter bookish ones and one classic Book Nerd pin!


Then while shopping for Christmas presents I found this gorgeous journal that I actually had my eye on on Amazon, then found it at Target for an even lower price!!




And I received what is likely my last preorder gift of the year, as I have received all them, I keep track of them!



My preorder goodies from Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix arrived! I got:
an enamel pin of an apple, two stickers, a signed bookmark, and a signed book plate!


THANK YOU Penguin Random House!!









 
 

Dec 7, 2018

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
 
 
This week's question is: Do you tend to visit the same blogs each week but also try to look for new blogs? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
 
 
 
MY ANSWER: For the most part, yes! I tend to visit the same blogs each day, basically whatever the meme is I go to everyone I follow who participates in it. I I follow new people on occasion, mostly looking for people who like the same books I do!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dec 6, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder (Guest Post + Giveaway)

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/


Welcome to my stop on the Navigating the Stars Blog Tour! As you all know, I am a HUGE fan of Maria's and I was super psyched to read her latest YA release Navigating the Stars! It brought back some of the same feels I had with her first YA series Inside Out, though really only space and the futuristic theme were the only similar elements! Lol.

Today I have Maria here talking about how she got the idea for Navigating the Stars! Check it out!



When a new book is released, one of the most popular questions I receive as an author is how I get my ideas. For my latest novel, NAVIGATING THE STARS, it’s a rather interesting story that spans fifteen years! 

Let’s go back to June 2003. My husband had a business trip to Beijing, China and me and our children, ages 8 and 5 tagged along. It was certainly an adventure. During that trip, I learned about the Terracotta Army that was discovered in Xi’an, China in 1974. It was a fascinating story. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see them in person at that time as it was a twelve hour drive one way.

But my imagination had sparked and I thought about them. There are over eight thousand life-sized and life-like statues each having unique facial features, built approximately two thousand years ago to protect the first Emperor of China – Qin Shihuang from demons in the afterlife. He built an entire Necropolis. I gotta build me one of those!

Fast forward to 2010 and I see an advertisement for a special exhibition of the Warriors at the National Geographic museum in DC. It’s a two hour drive, but my friend and fellow author, Mindy Klasky lives near DC so I called her to see if she wanted to go along. She did. While viewing the Warriors, I wondered if the army that’s supposed to be protecting the Emperor in the afterlife is now short a few Warriors because they’re in DC. Which led to wondering if the Warriors are broken (which many were due to cave ins) are they no longer able to fight in the afterlife? And is this causing problems in the afterlife for the Emperor?

Those thoughts formed into a short story idea that I never wrote. I even had a title for it – The Language of the Dead. It was going to be about an archeologist who wants to study these life-like, life-sized soldiers (sound familiar?) but the site is closed by the corrupt government, and the only way she can see them is if she joins one of the treasure hunters/looter groups that have been raiding the tomb. In the name of scientific discovery, she goes with the nefarious gang. She identifies the really significant statues (i.e. most valuable) and then the gang’s leader kills her. She arrives in the afterlife and it’s a brutal fight for survival. She learns that every time a looter steals a statue, the army loses a soldier. It’s only a matter of time before they lose the battle and be dragged to hell by the demons. I didn’t have a happy ending so that’s probably why I never wrote the story.

Then in 2016, my agent was asking me about any new book ideas. I brought up my interest in having Terracotta Warriors in a story. As we were brainstorming, the idea to have them discovered on other planets sparked. He loved it, told me to write a synopsis and get it to him right away. So then I had to figure out why the Warriors are there, how they got there, and, most importantly, who put them there. And then I needed someone to figure all this out in the story.

It was obvious I needed archeologists for my story so in came, Ming and Spencer who had worked at the site in Xi’an, China. Their reluctant daughter seemed a good point of view character. Once I started seeing the story through Lyra’s eyes, she took over! Her voice was so strong, Lyra told me what was going on. The story had to be written in first person present tense because she wouldn’t stand for any distance between her and the reader. And she talks to the reader – which is something that’s never happened in one of my books before. I also like that her parents are alive and well and involved in her life – too involved if you ask Lyra – they’re a reasonably normal family. That is another aspect you don’t find in many YA books.

Of course no book just flows, I did a ton of research on the Warriors, exoplanets, the Milky Way Galaxy, and traveling through space. I asked two Chinese friends of mine to read through the manuscript to ensure I was properly representing the Warriors and the Chinese people.

As far as ideas for stories, I’m lucky that my overactive imagination and my love of travel gives me plenty of them. Too bad what I lack is the TIME to write all these stories!

I hope you enjoy NAVIGATING THE STARS! The second book, CHASING THE SHADOWS will be out in December 2019. 



Here's a little more about the book and the author...

Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels' parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.





Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her. 

Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study. 

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal. 

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. 

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com


Where you can find Maria:
 



Now for the giveaway: 





Be sure to check out the rest of the tour:



Week One:
12/3/2018- Moonlight RendezvousReview
12/4/2018- My Bookish EscapadesReview
12/5/2018- Debbie's World of BooksReview
12/6/2018- a GREAT read- Guest Post
12/7/2018- Two Chicks on BooksReview

Week Two:
12/10/2018- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
12/11/2018- Wishful EndingsReview
12/12/2018- Good Choice ReadingInterview
12/13/2018- Dani Reviews ThingsReview
12/14/2018- Feed Your Fiction AddictionReview
 



And you can read my review of Navigating the Stars from yesterday's post! Be sure to check it out!!