Sep 30, 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.

A rather uneventful week which was honestly nice! A little chaos and hubbub at work but not too much! Monday is a new month, so I get to mess with billing again! Oh boy! Hopefully I almost have this down!

Here's what I bought this week:

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli--I still need to read the first one and ordered this one a bit whimsically! Hopefully I'll love it!
Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong--I found this one by chance at HPB! Love finding books that way! Elena and Clay were always among my favorites from the Otherworld so I decided to buy this novella because why not?!
Wildcard by Marie Lu--SIGNED! Because I did not want to have only have the series signed on my shelves! Yes. I am that OCD! LOL!! Now I just need time to read it! Like that will happen any time soon! 

Then I also got my preorder goodies for Escaping from Houdini! My new favorite item now are tarot cards inspired from the book!! Lol.

And then finally, because I am impatient and paranoid that I might not be able to find them when I go in TWO WEEKS, I ordered these off eBay! Ironically it was the same price as they are online at Disney and it was free shipping, so win-win!!

My Haunted Mansion Minnie Mouse Ears Headband!! They complement my bedspread so lovely too! Lol.

And that was my week! I also picked up a few new Bookstagram props and ordered some that should arrive today too! I kind of went a bit crazy at Target! They have such lovely Halloween decor!

How was your all's week? Get any good books or bookish things or non bookish things, but still totally freaking amazing goodies this week?


Sep 29, 2018

Challenges Wrap-up: September

CHALLENGE 1: 2018 New Release Challenge

Neverwake by Amy Plum (8/7/18)
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver (10/2/18)
Taken by Alyssa Rose Ivy (9/27/18)
The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine (2/13/18)

4 books wasn't too bad! I'm 12 new releases away from completing my challenge!

CHALLENGE 2: Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018

You by Caroline Kepnes (9/25/14)
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (1/14/16)
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine (2/16/16)
The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine (2/14/17)

4 books down here too! Not bad, though I'm worried because I'm still 14 books away from my challenge here! Something might falter at this point! Whelp!

CHALLENGE 3: 2018 Discussion Challenge 

9 discussions done! Since I've already surpassed my initial goal and then the top goal, I'm really just riding it out at this point! Lol! Haven't decided if I should go for 100 yet! Seems too daunting at this point! Maybe I'll clarify it next month! LOL!

CHALLENGE 4: 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge

Neverwake by Amy Plum (Dreamfall Duology)
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (You Duology)
Taken by Alyssa Rose Ivy (The Pteron Chronicles)

3 series completed! Not bad at all. I never did move up my challenge goal, but I've surpassed the highest one already! Wasn't expecting that this year, but yay!! If only I had time to get back to the wayyyy older series and get those completed!

I also completed my Goodreads Challenge this month! Though I feel like I cheated a bit since 16 of those "reads" were comic books and novellas. So I'm definitely striving to get over 116 reads for the remaining months, which shouldn't be a problem!

Sep 28, 2018

Review--The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine

Javan Najafai, the crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at school, far away from his kingdom. He’s been eagerly awaiting his return home to his ailing father, but his journey there goes dangerously wrong. A mysterious imposter has taken his place—and no one will believe Javan is the true prince.

After barely escaping the imposter’s hitmen, Javan is thrown in the most dangerous prison in his kingdom—Maqbara. The only way to gain an audience with the king and reveal the truth is to fight his way out in the prison’s yearly tournament, which pits inmates against a coterie of the deadliest creatures in the world.

The one person who can help him is Sajda, a strong and secretive girl who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive—but she’s hiding something.

Together, Javan and Sajda will have to outwit the dangerous warden, outfight the hundreds of deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoners intent on killing Javan before he can win—in order to fight for their freedom, and take down the imposter once and for all.

The latest in C.J. Redwine’s Ravenspire series is The Traitor Prince and it has a sort of The Man in the Iron Mask kind of feel to it for me. It’s been years since I’ve read all my fairy tales so I might not be remembering a particular one if this one was more fairy tale oriented than not. But still it made for an exciting read! One thing that always drives me crazy and sends my blood racing is when there’s an imposter afoot and everyone believes that the imposter is the real deal and the real person is thought to be the villain! And naturally, we see things turn in that direction with this one.

We basically open up to see a devious plot being formed by a young man named Rahim who is the illegitimate son of the current king. He, along with a posse of other nefarious feigns are plotting to put him on the throne in place of the young prince, Javan who is expected to make his return from a long ten years of schooling. It’s their plan to rule the kingdom of Akram through Rahim, not realizing that Rahim has plans of his own.

Soon, Javan is attacked and almost killed but that’s the least of his problems when he tries to return home and gets tossed into prison instead. Someone has already taken over his life and identity and he’s stuck down in the darkest of dungeons where the prisoners are forced to act in gladiator style battles against terrifying monsters and each other. But if he were to win the tournament he would gain a favor from the king and he hopes that by winning, he can tell his father the truth of what has happened.

In a nutshell you got yourselves quite the thrilling read! It’s hard for me to explain why these mistaken identities always get my blood boiling. I don’t even know myself. But the idea of not being believed you’re the real you and an imposter gets to be you instead, sends my heart racing in fear and anger! C.J. does remarkably well in getting my blood boiling with this particular theme! Adding in the fact that people are still trying to kill Javan in order to go along with the false prince really amps up the danger!

But what would this story be without a little bit of romance? Sajda is a prison guard of sorts, she’s a slave of the warden and is little more than a prisoner herself. She’s only ever known prison bars and criminals and the like. Yet, she yearns for her freedom, to see the stars and live somewhere where she can be alone and herself. She has a secret that she’s kept hidden for years, that only the warden knows, but someone else is about to discover what her secret is.

Javan was quite the character too! I enjoyed his determination in this one! It starts out a little annoying in some sense, because he wants to be the best at everything, but there’s a reason for that and once that’s known, his need for success becomes less annoying! Lol. I quite enjoyed his interactions with Sajda. She’s a prickly sort and he’s more the friendly, go-to guy. And ever so slowly a friendship between them forms.

I will admit that this book started off a little too slow for me. Once the plot was known, I almost expected to dive right into Javan being wronged, but we actually don’t get around to seeing that for around 50 pages or so. But once you get passed that part, the tension and danger and excitement never let up!

This was a most intriguing and well developed read! While the beginning was hard to get into, I persevered through that part knowing the best was yet to come! And naturally it does. I would’ve liked to know more about a few loose-ends after the resolution but the details were a little sparse beyond the few basic understandings. All in all, it was still a fun read and I am anxious to read the next one already!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars


Let's Discuss: Cereal Commercials

I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Lucky Charms and the "new" (though not so new now!) unicorn marshmallows. Well, the way it was going, got me thinking...what is with these cereal commercials that show/tell kids it's okay to not share cereal?

Cereal Commercials

I mean when you look at any Lucky Charms commercial they show kids chasing Lucky, saying GET HIM! GET HIS LUCKY CHARMS! So sure, it goes back to the legends of Leprechauns and how if you catch one you get his pot of gold (if you're lucky, obviously, the mythology there can get sketchy and you might lose something you rather not). So here we have kids trying to STEAL cereal from Lucky. Cereal that didn't belong to is that right?

Let's move on to Trix! Now I actually haven't seen a commercial for this one in awhile, but those have pretty much stayed the same after all these years. Though the cereal (as you can see) hasn't stayed the same. The poor little rabbit wants to eat some Trix cereal and the kids are all like NO! You can't have it! It's for kids! Even as a kid I felt like this was wrong. I mean share the freaking cereal! What's wrong with you? The cereal ad was basically teaching kids not to share your cereal. We'll ignore the whole fact of not wanting to share human cereal with rabbit because it was talking, walking rabbit to begin with! Clearly, he would've been fine to digest it!

With the old Cookie Crisp ones you had "burglars" trying to steal the cereal. So okay, that one might be not as bad. But it was cereal. They dude and his dog just wanted some cereal. Yeah, they're stealing and that's bad. But the trend seemed to continue when they were showing it with the wolf who is the current mascot.

Another commercial I haven't seen in awhile, but I feel like the wolf just wants some cereal as well and no one will freaking share it with him! What's the big deal about this? I mean seriously, even though it seems most of them haven't been on the air in awhile--with the exception of Lucky Charms--these cereal companies were basically telling kids not to share the cereal. It was usually with a talking animal, but the point remains the same. Don't share your cereal.

I feel like this is just wrong on so many levels. Perhaps the cereal companies finally realized this too because honestly I feel like I only see commercials for Lucky Charms, Cheerios, and Frost Flakes. I can't remember the last time I saw a commercial for any other cereal.

What do you guys think about these old commercials? Have you seen them? Did you ever think it was telling kids to not share their cereal?

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Do you sneak a peek at the number of views your posts have gotten? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
MY ANSWER: I can honestly say I don't! I guess I should pay attention to that. But I've always seen my blog as something for myself. Of course I LOVE every view and read and love every comment I get. But I honestly don't look at page views unless I'm being asked that for review opportunities!

Sep 27, 2018

Review--The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

Another TBR book down!! I’ve had C.J. Redwine’s Ravenspire series on my pile for too long! This is a perfect series for me and fairy tale fans alike but it tells the classic tales in new and intriguing ways. While our first installment was clearly about Snow White, The Wish Granter is, as you might guess, about Rumpelstiltskin!

C.J.’s twist on Rumpelstiltskin was remarkable! It kind of blends the Rumple we knew from Once Upon a Time with a little bit of Crowley from Supernatural—at least in my opinion he does! And so it happened, one day, Thad was forced to make a wish by Alistair Teague, one that would put him on the throne and basically allowed Teague to do whatever he wanted. Thad who wanted nothing but to protect his sister, Ari, made the wish.

Now Teague is making Thad live up to his bargain as he starts making his own plans for world domination…or the like thereof. When Ari gets wind of what Thad did to save her, she’s determined to save her brother whatever the cost.

In walks Sebastian, who comes from the wrong side of town. He had an abusive father, a mother hooked on drugs, and a brother who died not that long ago. All he wants is to make enough money so that he can build himself a little cottage far from everyone and live in peace. He gets a job at the castle as a weapons master. And when the princess, Ari, comes to him asking for a weapon made of iron and to be trained how to use it, he can’t help but comply. Ari is a force to be reckoned with and he couldn’t refuse her even if his job was on the line.

What Ari doesn’t expect is how truly cunning and devious a man like Teague is. He’s clearly a fae of some kind as her research has given her that much of a clue. But trying to defeat him and save her brother’s soul is shaping out to be a lot harder than she anticipated as Teague has eyes everywhere and seems to know her every move.

This was quite an exciting tale! While it took a while to truly see the Rumpelstiltskin part of the tale, it becomes clearer pass the halfway point. Then trying to foresee the eventual conclusion was even more of a challenge! C.J. really knows how to write a twisted tale indeed, yet still keeping at heart the origin of the original story! It’s a marvelous blend, one that reminds me of a series I read ages ago.

What makes a really good fairy tale retelling for me is one that keeps to the original themes and storyline of the original and adds in some new twists and whatnot. C.J. has shown me twice now that she is exceedingly capable of doing just that! It is what making this to be an incredible series!

I love that each book acts as a standalone as well! Though we did catch a glimpse of Lorelai and Kol in this one, which was a nice touch at connecting the stories and characters, yet keeping them somewhat separate as well!

Naturally the romance element of this one was just as sweet as the one that developed before. Sebastian has a broken past and rarely warms up to people, until he meets Ari that is! Ari is his near polar opposite in some ways, she’s vibrant and full of life! I love that these two came together, though, naturally the circumstances were a bit dire, but that’s pretty much how it goes in fairy tales! If someone isn’t cursed or dying, they’re about to be! Lol!

The Wish Granter was yet another enchanting tale from the amazingly, talented C.J. Redwine! I am so glad I can happily binge this series at the moment! I’m excited to see what the next tale will be about!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars


Random Thursday

Today we're going to finish up the chapter on Customs in The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox!! When I saw how close we were to getting it just right, I decided to add a few tidbits here and there so that we can start next week off with a new chapter section!

(image borrowed from Simpsons Wiki)
The wake before a funeral became most famous with the Irish who tended to have celebrations for the recently deceased. Basically a way of remembrance and a celebration of their life. These "parties" tended to run long for they were a way to ensure that the dead was truly dead and no one was buried alive.

(image borrowed from Country Living Magazine)
The Romans were the ones to introduce the lighting of candles at funerals to ward off evil spirits and so that the deceased would be guided by the light to paradise. Funeral is derived from the Latin word for "torch". It wasn't until the 15th century that people started placing candelabras on the coffin as it was carried to the burial ground. Therefore, the pallbearers (and the rest of the funeral party) had to walk slowly so that the candle flame wouldn't go out. 

So I guess in turn this is why cars like the picture above drive slowly too.

(image borrowed from Mankato Times)
In the 16th century ships would fly their flags at halfway point as a sign of submission during battle. It was said that the flag was at "half-mast". When they reached port, the flag remained at half-mast to honor those they lost during the battle. It wasn't until the 17th century that the custom moved to land when the flags would be lowered to half-mast to honor those who lost their lives in battle.

(image borrowed from Shutterstock)
X became the kiss signed at the bottom of a letter based on the time during the medieval ages when most people couldn't read or write. Whether one could write their name or not, it was customary to sign an X at the end to symbolize the cross of St. Andrew. Without this X, the contract would be invalid. To prove their intentions, they were also required to kiss the cross and in a roundabout way, this is why kisses were symbolized by an X.

That's interesting since I always thought the X should be the hug and the O should be the kiss! I still think they should be that way too! LOL!

(image borrowed from Lisa Eve)
Kissing a "boo-boo" better dates back to the early days of medicine when one would have to suck out the venom from a snake bite. The act of putting one's lips to the infected or "hurting" area is thought to bring relief to the ailment.

That's kind of interesting and rather believable too!

(image borrowed from PBS)
In 10 BC the first coins were produced by the Lydians, but it wasn't until another 900 years passed that flipping a coin turned into a decision maker. Julius Caesar's head was on one side of every Roman coin during his reign. Such was the reverence for the emperor that when he was absent the big problems were solved by flipping a coin. If it landed "heads up" it was thought that through the guidance of the gods that Caesar would've agreed with whatever was being decided upon.

That's really interesting! I never knew that about the flip of a coin!

Sep 26, 2018

TICK TICK TICK!!!! Still need a Roommate!!

I am just over a month away from going to The Origin Event this November and OMG! I still have not found a roommate for the hotel stay!

Is anyone planning on going and want to share a room? I've got one book already and would love nothing more than to be able to share with another blogger/reader! I love getting to know more blogger pals! The room is booked for Friday night through Saturday night (checking out Sunday morning) and I'm willing to bunk with as many as we can fit if you already have a roommate or two!

Or if you're looking for another person for your room stay at the event hotel let me know and I can cancel my reservation and switch to your room!

I'd rather not have to pay the hefty fee all by myself, so if you're going and want to stay at the event hotel, please don't hesitate to reach out to me! My email is listed up in my Review Policy tab.

If you need to see what the event is all about again, here's the link!

The Dreamy Book Covers Book Tag

I found another tag last week at Fiction No Chaser that I thought looked like a lot of fun as well! This tag was created by Tiana @ The Book Raven and it's also where I borrowed this gorgeous image from as well!

I don't usually list the rules for tags, since I obviously don't follow them by doing the tag myself, having not been tagged by anyone! I never like tagging people because I don't want to make them feel obligated to do the tag, because they are time consuming! 

The rules come down to:

Mention who tagged you--no one, I saw it and wanted to do it!
Mention the creator and I did that above
Use the image you see above, or use your own--clearly I used the given image! Lol
Tag a friend--again I don't do that!
Then list the rules--which I'm kind of doing now but not entirely! Lol.



Hunting Prince Dracula pretty much tells you what's going to happen! There's Vlad's castle. There's a stake. It's a Kerri Maniscalco book so you can expect murder, mystery, and mayhem!



I had to agree with Tiana on this one! The Dead House had a pretty creepy cover, but it was amazing because of its creepiness!



The Best Kind of Magic has such a sweet cover! It's magical, colorfully filled with lights and fireworks! It's second novel was equally sweet and even has sweet in the title but I feel more smitten with this one!



I felt like the cover for Grim was pretty minimal! And yet, it was so awesome! It gives you just enough of a clue what this anthology is going to be about! Plus the cover itself was gorgeous! Very reminiscent of fairy tale collections of old!



Shadow of the Fox has a wicked awesome cover! The only reason why I don't have it on my shelves yet is because it hasn't released! Lol! I have read it though and loved it!



This one was a bit challenging, as I was trying to avoid the "fantasy world" pick. Then I remembered Echoes was definitely not in the US! The cover depicts the island that Fiona and Miles find themselves on while they were on their way to Russia for an Internship! So who knows what country this is in or close to or what!! 



Bet you'll never guess my favorite color here! ;) LOL! The Girl at Midnight had the most beautiful covers for this series!



This is one of the harder questions because I honestly tended to enjoy the original covers more than whatever was redone! But I will say that with Shatter Me I feel like the cover change was for the better. The original one (which I do have) was just kind of meh. It didn't really fit with Juliette's character or the story. While the new look doesn't really give you much clue to what the story is about, I can say that it is more aesthetically pleasing!



I truly loved the cover for Blood and Chocolate! I am pretty sure when I pulled it off the shelf at Borders, I knew I'd want it right away and was only reading what it was about as I made my way to the register, because yes, I walked and read at the same time! I knew that store like the back of my hand!



This one was just too cool! I love the colors, the silvery contrast of the fox, the Japanese garden (I assume, not sure where it's supposed to be!) in the background, the sparkliness of the flare of magic. It's just too cool!

Echoes was a close second! Literally went back and forth! Echoes' cover was so dark and beautiful! It's almost hypnotic with how mysterious it is!

And if you were at all entertained by this and want to join in, consider yourself tagged!

ARC Review--Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

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

Kill the Queen is Jennifer Estep’s first fantasy and hopefully will not be her last and it spins an epic tale about family, betrayals, and magic! Though it had a somewhat slow start, the story was quick to draw me in once the plot started to roll. By its end, I was thoroughly hooked and eager for the next installment.

Everleigh, aka Evie, is seventeenth in line for the throne though she has no ambitions to be queen or rule over anything. It’s enough that she’s the “chosen one” who gets to do all the boring public appearances that the queen cannot do. Then one day the unthinkable happens, Vasilia the heir to the throne and Evie’s cousin slaughters her entire family and it’s only by luck that she manages to survive and escape.

Evie heads for the gladiator camps to find Serilda, a former guard of the late queen. She’s not sure what her plan will be but it soon becomes clear that she might be the last member of her family alive. Vasilia will be queen unless Evie challenges her, but being queen doesn’t quite make Evie’s to-do list. Instead she finds herself joining the gladiator troops and training with them. Convincing Serilda’s crowd to take her on was its own challenge, but soon she finds a place for herself. And of course, what would a story be without a little friction in the romance area?

Sullivan helps train the gladiators to be in fighting shape and naturally, he and Evie butt heads a lot. Their interactions were quite comical in the beginning and really from the start, you know there’s going to be something brewing between them, I was a tad upset that it happened so quickly. Yet they still don’t actually get together right away, but the feelings are all there.

While I did really enjoy this one, I still had a few issues with it too. The speed of the romance being one of them, but also the passing of time went by rather quickly. Within a blink of the eye weeks would pass by and I just felt like a lot of good could have come from seeing those weeks pass by other than just jumping ahead. I think this is where the romance kind of failed for me. What felt like seconds of Evie and Sullivan possibly falling in love might have really been months. Time is a tricky thing here.

The other problematic area was the beginning, we already know what’s going to happen to Evie’s family, yet it seemed to take a great deal of time to actually happen. The book is divided into three parts and we slog through a bit of everyday life for Evie before the massacre happens, which I get that we needed a bit of buildup to the tragedy but some parts just seemed to drag and you kept waiting for something to happen and I noticed little hints to what was to come.

The pacing after that first part though was pretty spot on. Evie keeps her identity a secret from her new friends for she’s not entirely sure she can trust that they would have her well-being in mind if they knew the truth. Which that built up a kind of tension because you knew things would eventually come to pass and the fallout that followed would definitely have some repercussions.

All in all though, this was still an enjoyable read. It’s not without flaws, minor ones though, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. It builds up an exciting storyline and the characters were all fantastic. I truly enjoyed the magical elements Jennifer added to the story and that there weren’t just humans in this world either, and I’m not talking about animals either! It made for an exciting world and there’s definitely going to be more excitement in the series to come, I can feel it!

The ending was satisfying and fulfilling. You can kind of guess where things are headed but there’s still plenty left unsaid that makes you wonder what the future will hold. Especially in regards to Evie and Sullivan’s possible future, yet those dang roadblocks that stand between them will have to be overcome at some point. Kill the Queen was by far one of the more intriguing fantasy reads I’ve read and its world is one I will be happy to revisit next year with its sequel! I hope Jennifer spends a good amount of time in this place, because I am not quite ready to say goodbye just yet.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Kill the Queen releases October 2, 2018