Aug 31, 2019

Challenges Wrap-up: AUGUST

CHALLENGE 1: 2019 New Release Challenge

In the Woods by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel (7/16/19)
Unearthed by Cecy Robson (9/24/19)--Review to come at a later date

I surpassed my goal of 30 books this month by adding 2 more to the tally!

CHALLENGE 2: The Backlist Reader Challenge 2019

A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter (9/26/15)
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (9/18/18)

2 more down! I'm up to 13 and I will have this challenge finished by the end of September or so help me!! Lol.

CHALLENGE 3: 2019 Discussion Challenge

I surpassed by updated goal of this challenge once again! I have now even reached TOP level!!!

CHALLENGE 4: 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge

A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter (White Rabbit Chronicles)

This challenge was already completed but now I surpassed it! And if I complete my goal for reading 2 more backlist titles, it will also add 2 more titles here!

Aug 30, 2019

COVER REVEAL--The Nemesis!!!!!


So you all know I have the absolute WORST luck for falling in love with series that end up being cancelled at the last book. It's like publishers literally THRIVE on my tears for unfinished trilogies/quartets--I'm looking at you Intertwined!!

Though I have high, HIGH hopes that this one is legit going to happen since there's a TITLE, a tentative release date for next year, and A COVER!!

Lo and behold the cover for Nemesis by S.J. 3 in the Diabolic trilogy!!!!

It's beautiful!! It's tentatively slated for release in February 2020 and there's an audio book page as well, but there's no description and no concrete date for release but let's hope that the publisher is serious about this one releasing soon...otherwise, I will be very, very unhappy once again!

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Have you ever enjoyed the same book in two or more formats? For example, print and ebook, print and audiobook, ebook and audiobook, or all three? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
MY ANSWER: I don't usually read the same book twice these days. And I'm primarily a real book kind of girl vs ebooks and audiobooks. I like to hold the book in my hands as it were! 
So I guess the short answer is just no! :)

Aug 29, 2019

Mini Review--Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco

In this irresistibly-priced short story, catch a glimpse of the inner struggles and triumphs that drive Stalking Jack the Ripper's endearing but troubled hero.

Enigmatic, brooding, and darkly handsome, Thomas Cresswell has always been the one mystery Audrey Rose has never been able to fully solve. As brilliant partners in crime investigation, they understand each other perfectly...but as young lovers, their passionate natures have led to both euphoria and heartbreak throughout the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

This novella features a collection of scenes that takes place during and after the pair's horrifying Atlantic voyage in Escaping From Houdini. Experience new and familiar scenes from Thomas's unique point of view, including an intensely personal look into his plea for Audrey Rose's hand in marriage.

With a romance for the ages, Audrey Rose and Thomas reach the conclusion to their epic, irresistible partnership in their final adventure, Capturing the Devil.


Since I finished Escaping from Houdini, the next logical step was to read Kerri Maniscalco's Becoming the Dark Prince! A brilliant little novella that is told through Thomas Creswell's point of view! This takes place roughly towards the end of Escaping from Houdini and extends past where we left Thomas and Audrey Rose!

The bulk of the story takes place while Audrey Rose was unconscious for a day. We watched Thomas completely fret over her well-being. I like being inside Thomas's head. There were many times you wondered what the young man was thinking while we were in Audrey Rose's head and now we finally understand all his brooding looks! Of course, we did have that small novella from earlier, but I read that ages ago, so this was like a fresh start with Thomas!

We learn a few interesting things in this one...mostly, what I suspect will be the plot of Capturing the Devil! As I mentioned in my review of Escaping from Houdini, I now can mention it freely! There was a murder victim that our murderer didn't basically there's a second murderer on the ship who now walks free in America! He gets quietly dubbed an American Ripper, though the name was never actually said explicitly, it's implied, thus the "quietly dubbed." 

What was also quite enjoyable about this one were the moments Audrey Rose and Thomas had together after all the chaos. They had some endearing moments with each other and I was smiling like a goon! Lol.

This novella is perfect for fans of the series and just want more of Thomas Cresswell in their lives! It's really a novella not to be missed!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Random Thursday

As we wrap up the chapter on Expressions, let's see what interesting factoids we can learn while we still have it! Now back to The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox.

(image borrowed from Titan Fitness)
When someone is on the right track, we say they're "on the beam." This expression comes from the days of early aviators who used a system of radio signals to guide pilots through fog and bad weather. Dots and dashes were beamed out from the landing field and picked up in the pilot's headphones. Dot-dashes meant he was too far left while dash-dots meant he was too far right. But if he heard a continuous buzzing sound, the pilot knew he was "on the beam," or safely on course.

That's interesting! I honestly hadn't heard this expression before. 

(image borrowed from Amazon)
If someone is lost, we say he "doesn't have a clue," since he's clueless as to where he's at.The original spelling of the word "clue" was C-L-E-W, and it originally meant a ball of yarn or string, but that's been long forgotten. A clew of string was unraveled as a way to guide yourself out when entering a maze or cave. If you became lost at any point, you'd just have to follow the string back to its starting point. In the modern cliche, if someone "doesn't have a clue," he's basically in the dark with no idea on how to get out of the predicament.

That's rather intriguing actually! Although when searching for the classic board game of the same name, I was puzzled to see this Dr. Orchid instead of Mrs. White. What's up with that? I mean, it kind of goes in hand with that cliche--the butler did it! Guess they wanted to have an educated woman involved. *shrugs*

(image borrowed from Coin Update)
Being in "close quarters" means to be overwhelmed in a small space. This is a naval term from the 1700s. Merchant ships that were loaded with valuable cargo had the decks outfitted with strong wooden barriers with musket holes so that shipment could retreat and continue to fight if they were ambushed by invaders. They referred to these circumstances as fighting at "close quarters."

Interesting. I just thought it was as simple as one's room being too small! And I couldn't resist a PUNNY picture! Lol!! 

(image borrowed from Entertainment Weekly)
When someone survives disaster, it's said that he "cheated the devil." This saying dates back to the Jewish Talmud, in this story we learn about a man who cheated the devil. The devil offered a farmer two years of flourishing harvest, on the condition that in the first year the devil would get the crops that grew underground and the next year, he would get the crops that grew above the ground. The farmer then grew wheat and barley in the first year, followed by carrots and turnips for the second year. And thus, he "cheated the devil."

And that better image to go with than Tom Ellis? 

(image borrowed from Amazon)
When one goes beyond the known limits, it's said he's "pushing the envelope." This is an aviation expression that refers to how test pilots receive instructions to challenge the known limits of flight. These instructions were ultimately, a flirtation with disaster. The seriousness of the order was always understood, but never spoken. The assignment was given to the pilot within an envelope and quietly pushed across a desk.

While I never heard of this expression before, I still find this whole scenario rather interesting. You'd think they'd rather verbally issue the order instead of having the order in writing!


Aug 28, 2019

Review--Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.

It's up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer's horrifying finale?

I finally picked up Kerri Maniscalco’s Escaping from Houdini, the third installment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and I must say, it was a most spectacular read! I had held off reading this one because I thought it ended with a bit of a cliffhanger and while there is some sort of unsettledness at the end, it wasn’t one that would have driven me crazy with desperate need for the next one…just the basic need for the next one! But at least now my wait for the fourth and final installment is all the shorter!

Audrey Rose, Thomas, and her uncle and Thomas’ chaperone are on their way by ship to go to America for a case. But naturally, a case seems to have found them on their way there. While aboard this grand ship guests are entertained by Mephistopheles’ Moonlight Carnival, among the performers is a young, Houdini and everything is exciting and grand…until the first body is found the first night of the carnival. Audrey Rose and Thomas realize that a murderer is on board the ship with them.

I must admit, this murder mystery aspect had a decidedly different feel to it than our previous ones. It seemed scarier as the ship, though grand, is small when you think about trying to hide from said killer. There’s a good deal of passengers on board, plus the crew and captain, the carnival group, and there’s always the possibility that someone snuck on board. The possibilities for suspects is endless despite the tight corridors. The killer could be anyone and anywhere. Hence the terror.

Then there was also a bit more conflict between Audrey Rose and Thomas. I was saddened by this as—vague as my recollections were—I thought they had worked through their issues in Hunting Prince Dracula, but yet it seems this time Audrey Rose has some soul searching to do. Audrey Rose was almost infatuated with the mysterious Mephistopheles. Or perhaps it was the magic he claimed to wield that fascinated her. There’s some connection or other forming between these two and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, to be honest. I wasn’t for it, let’s just say that!

Audrey Rose finds herself needing Mephistopheles’s help in drawing out the killer, for every night a new body is found and the murders seemed to be tied to the carnival itself. Or is that what the killer wants her to think? For the unforeseeable future of this voyage, Audrey Rose must pretend to want to be in a relationship with Mephistopheles and she isn’t allowed to tell Thomas about her act, for reactions and such must appear genuine or Mephistopheles’ circus group would be on to Audrey Rose’s deception. As you might imagine, this presents a bit of conflict between Audrey Rose and Thomas and it killed me! I wasn’t sure or not if Kerri was leading us into a dreaded love triangle or not, though my suspicions were leaning more towards the negative, one can never be too sure.

I was a little surprise that Houdini wasn’t a more centrally focused character given the title. It almost needs to be “Escaping from Mephistopheles” or something! Lol. Audrey Rose really had no matters with Houdini…expect for a little something that pops up in the early days of the trip, but her interactions with Houdini herself were slim in comparison. I mean, I get that the previous titles have “big” names to draw the reader in and it works, but I felt like the last two books had more of a connection for Audrey Rose and the “character” in question. But that’s just me nitpicking, so it wasn’t a big deal!

The mystery itself was fantastic! I don’t know what it is about Kerri’s mysteries but I can never seem to figure out the whodunit! It drives me bonkers and yet I don’t totally mind being wrong. It just surprises me that I’ve yet to be right! Hopefully I can at least figure out the final book, but no promises! The pacing to this one was superb! It takes place over the course of a week or so and as I said, danger strikes every night while the passengers are on board and Audrey Rose and Thomas are finding bodies everywhere it seems! Though what connects all these victims together will be another mystery…one whose ending still surprises me based on a little line that was mentioned and has me thinking it will play a role in the final book.

If you’re a fan of mysteries this is definitely a series you will want to check out! With characters like Jack the Ripper, Dracula, and Houdini making the titles how can one not be drawn to this series? It has everything a reader could want from witty heroines to snarky heroes and downright terrifying villains! It’s a series I’ve enjoyed full-heartedly and will be sadden by when it’s all over! To note, this is a series that you’ll want to read in order because of events getting mentioned back and forth while no spoilers really exist, it’s still logical to read them in the order they were meant to be in.

Escaping from Houdini was a delightfully dark and twisted mystery that I positively couldn’t get enough of! It leaves you just a few crumbs at the end that will have you dying for the finale…ironically named Capturing the Devil and I cannot wait to read it!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


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

This fourth companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series is narrated by fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto!

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

Excited for this novella too! I mean it's Kenji's POV!!

TITLE: Reveal Me
AUTHOR: Tahereh Mafi
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
GENRE: YA Dystopian
RELEASE DATE: October 8, 2019

Shave the princess? Inconceivable! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.

Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses.

When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails--which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.

This is not a story about finding true love's kiss--it's a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.

But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there's Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there's Tempest, who's determined to become the first dryad lawyer--preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They're joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn'archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you've got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.

I still need to read the second installment in this comedic and fantastical series, but I must say I LOVED the first book and expect amazing things from the sequel and this one too!

PUBLISHER: Del Rey Books
GENRE: Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: October 8, 2019 


Aug 27, 2019

Teaser & Top Ten (Stephanie Garber) 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.

A treat today as I've TWO teasers to share because I couldn't choose between them! One that made me smile and another that had me cracking up!! Lol.

"'Most stories are too good to be true. That's what makes them enchanting." p 76

"'Don't make me sneak spiders into your cabin,' I said. 'I am not above dirty warfare.'

'You delightfully cruel woman.' His eyes practically danced with mischief. 'What does it say about me that I find myself even more attracted to you after that threat?'" p 188

TITLE: Escaping from Houdini
AUTHOR: Kerri Maniscalco
PUBLISHER: Jimmy Patterson
GENRE: YA Historical Mystery
RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2018 

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 I’ve Read That I I’d Like NEED In My Personal Library (Submitted by Annemieke @ A Dance with Books)

*the Stephanie Garber edition
**in no particular order



4. THE PERSIAN LEGENDARY--OMG!! I just saw this as I was looking for other editions!!! It's BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am in DESPERATE NEED!!!



Aug 26, 2019

Let's Discuss: Disney Live Action Remakes

Okay, today's discussion is more like a rant! Lol. The topic:

Disney Live Action Remakes

Do you love them or hate them? I admit, I more in between, but leaning towards the dislking of them. I mean if it's not a "princess" movie, then Disney tends to do animal movies. So all these "live action" animal movies are filled with CGI animals. Kind of defeating the point of the "live action" movie.

So far we've had, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King...and coming up is The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, "maybe" Peter Pan, possibly Hercules...the list goes on, I'm sure. All these live action movies based on movies we already have animated. 

The thing that is bugging me the most...Disney is slacking in their creativity department! Yes, they make changes to these films to jazz them up. Little things usually. I mean, I only saw Cinderella once and of course Beauty and the Beast. The rest, nope! I do want to see Aladdin, but the rest...nah! And it's because they're CGI animal movies and I don't think I can stare at the screen that long watching a fake animal talk.

I really wish Disney could go back to making movies like they used to and take a fairy tale and Disney-ify it!! There's still a TON of fairy tales that they haven't even touched yet, like:

The Worn Out Dancing Shoes aka The 12 Dancing Princesses
Thumbelina--that one wasn't Disney despite having Jodi Benson voicing! Of course with Disney owning Fox now, it well as Anastasia, but the point is that it WAS NOT Disney at its time! :)
The Princess in Disguise aka Princess Furball--if anyone else remembers that storybook!
Hansel and Gretel
The Elves and the Shoemaker
Little Red Riding Hood
The Princess and the Pea
The Ugly Duckling

And that's just me listing some of the more known tales...there's still lots more
that I didn't list because I can't remember what they were about, but we've seen Disney shake things up with stories like The Frog Prince, Rapunzel, The Snow obviously, they don't have to stick to the story as is, but there's a plethora of fairy tales they can work with to create a story that everyone can love and make it animated in either the traditional sense or digitally like Toy Story and Frozen.

So why on earth is every single movie they are putting out a freaking live action remake?! It's just getting soooo aggravating. I mean yes, I enjoy the live action remake every now and then, but not lately. It's becoming too much and with the recent add ons of MORE animal movies to the mix, I'm just annoyed! At least with the Disney+ Lady and the Tramp, they have real dogs instead of fake animals. I realize that dogs are easier to train for movie purposes whereas lions aren't. But it's kind of simple...DON'T DEAL IN PREDATOR ANIMALS!

To me when someone says Disney Movie, I will always think of animated classics, be they princess films or animal ones. So when I see that the newest Disney release is just a live action film of one I grew up on animated, I am disappointed. There's no new story there. Nothing new at all. Unless they're going to do a total twist and make the hero the villain and the villain the hero, there's nothing they can't tell me that I don't already know in their live action remake.

I had hoped Disney's fanfare with these live action remakes would come to an eventual end, but it looks like it won't be anytime soon.

So what do you think of Disney's live action remake lineup? Are you a fan? Do you miss the original animated classics? Do you long for more animated classics instead of all these live action remakes?

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

Last Week I Read:

Unearthed by Cecy Robson (ARC)--Review to come at a later date

Review That Was Posted:

Rage by Cora Carmack (ARC) (5 stars)

Currently Reading:

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

What I Plan to Read Next:

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco

Other Posts of Interest:


Aug 25, 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 was quite the week. Sadly no job prospects came up, I've an interview Monday that's wayyyy closer to my house so hopefully that one will pan out to be something good! Fingers crossed! As for bookish goodies, this was a really, really good week! I've acquired 1/4 of my major bookish purchases for the next two months, plus a bonus item that I wasn't anticipating but yeah...I've got a real book buying problem. The perks of being single though is that I can spoil myself however I choose! Lol. I normally don't go crazy on shopping sprees with the exception of Disney World/Harry Potter World so having all these expenditures occur in a 2 month (well, sorta one month when you look at it date wise) time period is making me look bad! But seriously, I rarely ever treat myself to crazy things like this!

So here, we go...this week I bought:

Finale by Stephanie Garber--SIGNED! Why did I buy a second copy signed you ask? Well...if you follow me on Instagram, I plan to show you why this week if all goes as planned today! Lol.

For review from the publisher I received:

Crush the King by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Wicked Hour by Chloe Neill (ARC)

THANK YOU Harper Voyager & Berkley Books!

Then in a swag trade I received:

 These double-sided Caraval bookmarks!


Then this is why I am not allowed on Etsy/bookish websites:

Elissa J Designs had a sale last weekend and I decided to snatch these two bracelets up! I was originally only going to buy myself the Night Court inspired one on the left, but then I saw there was only ONE Supernatural inspired one you can see what happened! Lol!
Then when I was checking my notifications on Etsy I saw Sew Chic had gotten this fabric in stock again and there was only ONE sleeve left from what the website said, so yet again, I made another snap decision! I had been wanting a sleeve in this fabric for awhile since I ADORE the ACOTAR series!!

So here's a combo picture of you can see, the new Finale is there too! I bought my first ever Pages of the Night Bookish Funko Pop! I had admired them for awhile, but for whatever reason didn't look up her website...there's so many custom Funko sites, but I started following her just a week or two ago and managed to snag this custom Tella Pop! Tella was my favorite of the Dragna sisters, us younger sisters got to stick together! And when I saw her in her blue Butterfly dress, all the feels came back and I made the snap decision to buy her!! And she's GORGEOUS!! My hands shook as I tried to carefully unwrap her yesterday!
And then to the left you will see my other newest acquisition! I had a custom sign made from Bookish Signs and More! I previously bought another larger Caraval sign, but I decided I really wanted a small one to go on my Caraval bookshelf, as the way it's designed a sign can't be seen from the top sadly, so a small sign on the shelf it was! I started sifting through all my favorite quotes trying to figure out which one would look best on a small sign and then noticed my bookmark that I still had out and thought...that's PERFECT!!! So naturally, I had to choose the colors of Finale since it was on the Finale bookmark and it came out beautifully...after a small mishap on the first sign, but thankfully Matt and Amber corrected it for me! I am in LOVE with it all!!! 

And then as you know, I have a Disney problem...when I saw these Minnie Ears earlier on the site, I debated over them repeatedly. And of course when I decided I wanted them, they weren't there. Thanks to Ebay I got them even cheaper than the website PLUS free shipping and they were BRAND NEW! I cut the tags off prior to the picture! Yeah...I've got too many ears now...or just enough for a trip to Disney again!!!
*Needless to say that if they create a gorgeous pair of Beauty and the Beast ones for its 30th anniversary in 2 years, I'm going to HAVE to have that set too! Then no more! I swear! *eye twitches*

And finally the last thing I bought, I blame on my mom who had to go to TJ Maxx for a return and since I can't not look while I'm there, I ended up buying this: *but it was only $1 so it's not a real hardship! ;)

I thought the variety of Sugar Skulls was just too cool to pass up for $1! It's going to replace the boring one in my trunk for bookish emergencies! While I enjoyed it, I didn't think it was of decent quality enough for my Spooktacular giveaway. I like to get a bag that's sturdier for that one for the real bookish adventurer!
And that my friends is it! So not too many books...really just the two review ones! Lol. Plus lots of other bookish and delightful goodies! A good week outside of the working part of it! How was your week?