Mar 31, 2019

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 week felt extra long for some reason. Sadly there was nothing worthy of note to happen. It was just blah. I've an interview set up for this week with another company and I'm really trying to make myself be positive and cheery about it, but after I was turned down for the one I reallllly wanted, it's kind of hard. I had to break out my leftover birthday cookie cake from the freezer this weekend because I was just feeling down. Here's hoping this week's interview goes well!

I didn't really add to my TBR pile this week either! I received coupons galore from B&N since they neglected to tell me at the beginning of the month that I had coupons mailed to me (they weren't!) and on top of that there was another one for this weekend. But I was pretty caught up on reads so yeah, didn't add any. I might go there today, who knows! 

The books I did get were my Apollycon order! I've got to get myself to the event itself one of these days, but in the meantime I order books and since Jennifer's series had all new covers...well, I found myself ordering them on cold, January day! I was sad that Shadows and Oblivion didn't get to have the new covers as I already had these signed and there was no way for me to ask to skip the personalization, but oh well.

I'm too lazy at the moment to get pictures from Goodreads and then link them all up. LOL. So here's where they've been sitting all week as they arrived on Monday!

And here they all are lined up in their new cover glory!! They are really different from their predecessors but I have to say that I like them!! And every single one of them are SIGNED & PERSONALIZED!! 

And then I ordered this beauty on Etsy from Bookish Signs and More!

With my obsession of Caraval, it only seems fitting to have some merchandise of it! And how can you forget the famous tagline of the first book? Since I'm hard to find quotes that I positively adore, I thought I'd go with this because let me tell you, I had to remind myself several times when reading Caraval that it was all only a game! LOL.

I've many ideas for this beauty in my bookstagram shots, so hopefully I'll be able to take pictures sometime soon! Today I'm busy, but we'll see how things go!

So what did you all get?


Mar 30, 2019

Challenges Wrap-up: MARCH

CHALLENGE 1: 2019 New Release Challenge

Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (4/23/19)--Review to come later this month
House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig (8/6/19)--Review to come at a later date
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (4/2/19)

Challenge completed! I went ahead and upped my goal number, it's still the same category but since I'm still hoping to find a better job this year I am keeping it low.

CHALLENGE 2: The Backlist Reader Challenge 2019

Wicked Charm by Amber Hart (1/30/18)
Every Breath You Take by Chris Marie Green (4/7/15) 
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (3/6/18)

Making progress slowly but surely! I'm 1/3 of the way there!

CHALLENGE 3: 2019 Discussion Challenge

19/30 done! So very close to getting this one finished too! Guess I'll be upping my level soon!

CHALLENGE 4: 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge

Every Breath You Take by Chris Marie Green (Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire)

Hopefully soon I can get back to a series and finish it to get this one cleared out! I have too many series that need to be STARTED and FINISHED! Lol!

Mar 29, 2019

Review--Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

It's been sixteen days since Juliette Ferrars killed the supreme commander of North America and took over as ruler of The Reestablishment on the continent.

Sixteen days since she assassinated Warner's father.

Juliette thought she'd won. She took over Sector 45 and now has Warner by her side. But she's still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch--and with so much power in young hands, the world is watching her every move, waiting to see what happens next.

Juliette and Warner have risked everything. But when tragedy strikes, they must confront the darkness that exists both around and inside them. Will they be able to control the power Juliette wields, or will it control them?

Oh my god!! Oh. My. God. I had waited to read Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi because I knew I would need the next book asap. I idealistically thought I’d binge the series like I did with the first trilogy but since Tahereh will be at my library next week, I decided to break protocol and now I am suffering the consequences! Needless to say that Restore Me was just as mesmerizing as its predecessors! The story hooked me in despite a slightly slower pace, but the storyline itself was well developed and had me turning the pages as fast as I could.

I told myself I needed to pace myself with this one, but it’s a hard thing to accomplish when returning to a series I thought over! Getting back into the groove took a bit of doing, I had read some series recaps on the previous books so I felt mostly prepared; I did have some confusion about The Reestablishment itself because the recaps didn’t really go into detail on that. Otherwise, this one was a breeze…a soul-crushing and intoxicating breeze! Lol.

Juliette is slowly adapting to her new role as the Sector 45 leader. She still has no idea what she’s doing, but she’s learning. Warner is at her side, but he’s dealing with a lot of emotional baggage after the execution of his father. He doesn’t miss him, but there’s a lot of emotional turmoil to be dealt with. It was saddening to see such disconnecting from him. Warner was a hard character to like in the beginning, but naturally, I found myself warming up to him by the end of the first trilogy.

Despite my enjoyment of the story, I will admit that the storyline itself was kind of slow. It’s a lot of Juliette trying to get herself together for her new role. There are children of other Sector leaders coming in for a “visit” prior to a large symposium that’s to take place. These teens are the kids Warner grew up with, so he’s slightly leery of trusting any of them.

There was a lot of reveals happening in this particular installment! It’s amazing how many more secrets there are to uncover when we really thought all things were said and done. I won’t get into many details, but let’s just say that the secrets that come out are big. Incredibly big. World-changingly BIG! They will likely be setting the course for the next two installments as I haven’t gone so far as to read what Defy Me will be about.

I was happy to see that Adam was back in the picture, if only briefly. I can’t remember exactly what he was up to at the end of the series. I recall wanting to know where he’d “be” at and while we don’t quite get that answer to the point of my satisfaction, it was still nice seeing that he was still around! And let’s not forget Kenji either! I don’t know where we or Juliette for that matter, would be without him!

As far as romance goes, this one had a few good moments between Warner and Juliette. Though as seems typical for most of the YA series I read, just when we think things are all happy and nice…something comes along and wrecks it all. Let’s just say that Juliette and Warner will have a lot to overcome if they want to stay together. But before all that happened, I was quite happy watching these two be happy! Lol.

The ending. Oh my god, that ending! It was kind of chaotic, but in a good way, it was bad for the characters, but made for exciting reading. If only it didn’t have to wait until the very end and egads the cliffhangers!! I mean seriously?! Now I have to wait THREE WHOLE DAYS until the next installment comes out! It really feels like four since I have to wait until after work to pick up a copy! But yeesh!

Restore Me proves that no series is done for good and can still pick things up with a blast and have you hooked long before the last page. If you’re a fan of the Shatter Me series and haven’t yet picked this up, I’ll say that there is nothing wrong with waiting to binge read the series. It does wonders for one’s sanity, but if you’re impatient like myself, then well, we can go crazy together!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Name one classic novel you have always wanted to read. (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer
MY ANSWER: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! It's actually in my TBR pile, so hopefully one day I will get to it!

Mar 28, 2019

Random Thursday

Shockingly, we are slowly nearing the end of the Animals chapter in Dave Lennox's The Little Book of Answers! I can't believe how quick that went! The next chapter should prove to be interesting though, but sadly, that's a really short one too! There's a total of 4 more chapters after this one and after that I have another little book of oddness I found in the clearance section of B&N, so we'll be getting into that one afterwards!

(image borrowed from The Spruce Eats)
Pumpernickel bread has a strange history of origin! It was in the winter of 1812 when Napoleon and his army were leaving Russia where the only available food for them was stale, dark bread. Even though they were dying from hunger, Napoleon always made sure his horse was fed and this led the soldiers to grumble, "pain pour Nicholl" which translates to "bread for Nicholl." When the saying was anglicized it became "pumpernickel."

That's definitely an odd factoid! But at least the horse didn't starve! Lol. I hate when the animals die.

(image borrowed from Scoobypedia-Fandom)
A "red herring" is a fake clue that would lead detectives off course of a criminal investigation. The name came about when police officers would train police dogs with smoked herring. When herring is smoked, it turns red. Young dogs were trained to follow the scent when trainers would put the herring in one spot or another. Prisoners soon learned of this and if they would escape, they would grab herring and toss it in another direction to throw the dog off their trail. 

That's new to me too! I couldn't resist going with this picture of Red Herring from A Pup Named Scooby Doo! And it makes sense too that that was his name as Freddy always thought he was the culprit and Mystery Inc would get off track whenever dealing with him.

(image borrowed from Science)
Cows are generally left on their own throughout the day but come to the barn for a milking twice a day. The expression, "until the cows come home" came about in the 16th century, at this time most people were familiar with the cycles of farm life. The expression was used commonly when parties went on long into the night and ended in the the time when the cows came home for a milking.

I honestly never knew where that expression came from...or what it really meant! Lol.

(image borrowed from Thrillist)
When someone has a wasted life, it is said that he has "gone to the dogs." This expression came about in prehistoric China when dogs weren't allowed in the city because of hygiene and safety reasons. Garbage also wasn't allowed to be disposed of in the city, so it was tossed outside where dogs would eat it. When there were criminals to be dealt with they would eventually be tossed outside the walls as well and have basically "gone to the dogs."

I don't like learning about dogs being mistreated like this. I know, different times, different cultures, but it makes me sad. I can't even watch Homeward Bound 2 anymore because of the mistreatment of dogs. I still cry just thinking about that one!

Mar 27, 2019

ARC Review--The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn't: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne's bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family's powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can't let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn't yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families' abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

I received this ARC in a fair trade from a fellow blogger. My review is completely honest and voluntary; I was in no way compensated for this review.

Christine Lynn Herman’s debut, The Devouring Gray had a lot of potential! I mean we have this creepy atmospheric setting alongside a quiet little town. There are dark secrets being kept hidden and a bizarre mystery slowly unfolds…and yet it was a very lackluster read for me. It kills me to say this as I had such high hopes for this one, but me and this book just did not mesh.

Violet recently lost her sister and now she and her mother are moving back to her mother’s hometown to help care for her aunt who is getting ill. Four Paths is a quiet little town where pretty much everyone knows everyone’s business. It’s a town with a mystery to it. The town already seems to know who Violet is and who her family is and that’s she’s important. She will soon have a hard time knowing who in this town that she can trust and who is untrustworthy.

She meets the town hero boy, Justin, first along with his friend Isaac. They seem to know what’s what and Violet is itching for answers after a few strange occurrences at her aunt’s manor house. Then she meets Harper who’s, according to her, life was ruined by Justin, resulting in the loss of her hand and basically being shunned by everyone in town. And it’s at that moment Violet writes off Justin and Isaac as she feels a friendship with Harper in the works. This part nagged at me, I mean she never even bothered to hear Justin’s take on things. And what really made me snap was shortly after her saying thanks but no thanks to Justin, she says this, “everyone deserved the chance to tell their own story when they were ready.” She basically takes the “there are two sides to every story” and ignores it. It just felt very hypocritical to me and that is one thing I can’t tolerate without getting ranty!

Another issue for me was the mysterious Gray itself. The Gray is a place where a monster is being kept prisoner by the important townspeople. And I feel like that’s all we know. There’s so much emphasis put on this place and I feel like I have no clue how this other world works, why it’s so parallel to the real world, how one gets there…there’s just too many questions for me concerning it and I feel like nothing was ever addressed, that everyone just knows what it’s all about. I don’t like feeling left in the dark when it comes to world-building but that’s where I felt like I was with this one.

Surprisingly there wasn’t much romance in this book whatsoever. There were a few maybe tense moments, but I wasn’t really sure if they were that or not. It’s kind of weird these days reading a book with little to no romance, I’m not even sure if we’re on the cusp of potential romance or not and that’s a strange feeling. Lol. It’s refreshing, but strange.

Pacing wise, this one wasn’t too bad, but at the same time I felt a little lost. Like we’re building up to something very big concerning the Gray, but because I don’t understand the Gray I couldn’t really see what the big picture was. World-building makes the world go round and when the world-building isn’t so strong, you feel like you’re not really moving anywhere.

I would say the mystery was the strongest aspect of the story. It’s not so much a whodunit kind of mystery and with some of the things that happened, I am still not sure who did it if there was something nefarious at hand. There were plenty of secrets though, ones that were pretty shocking once revealed and that was definitely one of the higher points to the story.

Sadly though, The Devouring Gray just wasn’t the read for me. It had plenty of potential but I felt like the world-building needed a little more depth to it in terms of explaining. I know we say “show, don’t tell” but sometimes when you only “show” snippets of a strange and mysterious world that is parallel to your own, you’re left with no clear picture of what it is and a little “telling” would’ve gone a long way towards comprehension. Needless to say this is one duology I won’t be continuing. But I will say that if this is still a book that captures your attention, do give it a read! This is only my opinion and as well all know, not everyone will love the same book.

Overall Rating 2/5 stars

The Devouring Gray releases April 2, 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

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.  

Ironically, as much as I want to read this one, I did not request it on Netgalley! I don't know what's wrong with me! LOL! I guess I want to give my TBR pile some love since it's been neglected lately and figure a book this big (though sadly less than the Illuminae Files) needs to be enjoyed in my hands! 
PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2019 


Mar 26, 2019

I Want to...But I Don't Book Tag

I saw this really fun tag over at Cornerfolds last week and decided I wanted to give it a go! I borrowed the image above from her since I have zero graphic skills and didn't see one at Jami Shelves who is the creator of the tag!

A Book You Feel You Need to Read Because Everyone Talks About It

I had head a lot of good things about this one and decided to pick it up when I went to a signing of hers. I still haven't read it but intend to!

A Book That's Really Long

I chose this in another TBR style tag last week and it's still my choice for this one! It's a super long book at 500+ pages! It's intimidating to get started on it.

A Book That You've Owned/Had on Your TBR for Too Long

Based on my Goodreads stats this one as been on my TBR pile since the beginning! It was the first book I marked as "To Be Read" on Goodreads in 2011.

A Book That's Required Reading
(eg. school text, popular classic--something you feel obligated to read)

I've wanted to give this one a try for awhile...still haven't read it but it's in the TBR pile!

A Book That Intimidates You

I wanted to read this one for a long time but haven't gotten around to it yet. I think it's because it's size and subject manner have me a little worried. Fantasies can be hit or miss depending on world-building.

A Book That You Think Might Be Slow

Despite hearing good things, I can't help but worry that it might be a bit slow for me. I haven't tried it yet but it's in the TBR!

A Book You Need to Be in the Right Mood For

I've a couple of this style book in my TBR pile. A sort of "non fiction" book that dives into the inner workings of Disney!

A Book You're Unsure if You Will Like

I bought this because I love the author's previous books but I'll admit the plot has me wondering if I will like it or not. I will still read it at some point...just don't know when!

If you want to get in on this tag, consider yourself tagged!

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.

"They were nothing more than stories. But Harper had learned by now that some people would always prefer a story to the truth." p 41*

*This quote comes from the ARC, therefore it and its page number are not final.

TITLE: The Devouring Gray
AUTHOR: Christine Lynn Herman
PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion
GENRE: Fantasy/Paranormal YA
RELEASE DATE: April 2, 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 Series That NEED Finales!!**

*in no particular order
**I don't listen to audiobooks or podcasts or anything music related really, so I made my own topic!!

10. CASHMERE by Temple West--this started out at Swoon Reads, then moved to Medias Res Publications. A third book was supposed to happen but never did. I've been waiting since 2017 when this one came out for word, but nada!
9. NIGHT MAGIC by Jenna Black--the cliffhangers, the cliffhangers, THE INSANITY!!!

7. BREAKING by Danielle Rollins--this was an intense little series of two books. From my recollection this one ended in a way that there could've been other additions but there's been ZIP! 
6. NEARLY FOUND by Elle Cosimano--another intense thriller series. I feel like this one ended good, but left an itty bitty cliffhanger twisty thing that never amounted to anything, SOB!!!
5. SPARKS OF LIGHT by Janet B. Taylor--there should've been THREE! THERE SHOULD'VE BEEN THREE!!!!

4. THE SHADOW CABINET by Maureen Johnson--there was supposed to be a fourth! There was something that happened at the end of this one that was omg shocking and THEN NOTHING!! WHY?!!!
3. RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz--the reason why this ending felt so mediocre was because that there should've been a third one! Laurie told me this in a post not too long ago and it DEVASTATED ME that I knew this! 
2. BLOOD REVELATION by Jamie Manning--my indie favorite that never seemed to get published! Goodreads said it was, but it wasn't! THEY LIE!!! The ebook never came about and there was never a paperback that I saw and I searched hard for this one!


1. TWISTED by Gena Showalter--until my DYING DAY I will mourn the loss of this series! My last words will be "There should've been a FOURTH!"