Oct 31, 2019

Random Thursday

Okay, let's return to Leslie Gilbert Elman's Weird but True and learn some more bizarre facts about things we'd never gave much thought to before!

(image borrowed from Denver Catholic)
While making a case for lining the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Essenes--a strict religious sect--scholars dug where they found the scrolls...which was also the location of a 2,000-year-old latrine. Because the Essenes followed the laws of the Bible word for word, they buried their "leavings" here. The "leavings" were long gone, but scholars found traces of human intestinal parasites like tapeworms that had been buried in the soil for thousands of years.

I guess that means the Dead Sea Scrolls were the reading materials! Lol. Also...eww! 

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
In 2002, archaeologists working at Paisley Caves in Oregon found human "leavings" that were determined to be 14,300 years old, which is the oldest traces of human life ever found in North America.

Fun fact: polite archaeologists call fossilized
'leavings" "coprolites."

Still weird and gross.

(image borrowed from Live Science)
In the 19th century in England, coprolite mining was an important industry. Fossilized dinosaur dung was loaded with phosphates used to make the first artificial fertilizer for crops.

Fun Fact: There's a street in Ispwich, England named Corprolite Street.

More weirdness. Truly hope no one lives on that street! Lol.

(image borrowed from Dinopedia)
Madagascar is a favorite spot for paleontologists in searching for dinosaur bones. One of their finds was a 2.5 foot crocodile that lives on land and was a cannibalistic dinosaur. He was named Masiakasaurus knopfleri, it was named for the lead singer/guitarist of the band Dire Straits for every time the crew realized one of those songs was playing, they'd find a dinosaur bone!

That's interesting, though I don't think I know the band...

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Over 170 species of palm trees live on Madagascar, but as far as botanists know only one is suicidal and that's the Tahina spectabilis. This tree can grow over 60 feet tall with leaves 16 feet in diameter. It wasn't until 2007 that botanist realized that unlike most palms that flower regularly throughout their lives, this one produces flowers only once and then collapses to the ground and dies. It basically "flowers" itself to death.

That's certainly one way to go I guess! Weird too.

Oct 30, 2019

Review--Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who's fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe's most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado's castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado's hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you're all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.

It's been a good 2+ years since I read Kim Liggett's Blood and Salt! I remembered enjoying it and being shell-shocked by the cliffhanger ending and then last year, she wrote Heart of Ash which concluded the duology. Granted, as always, my memory wasn't super hot on the first book. Even my notes weren't entirely detailed like I keep trying to do now. But thankfully, Ash does her own bit of a recap and I was able to remember the events fairly well, or at least well enough to get through the beginning stages of the book with little problem!

It's been a year since the events of the first book have passed. A lot has changed for Ash, tremendously so. Her brother, Rys is MIA, the love of her life, Dane is being possessed by the evil and ancient spirit, Coronado. Meanwhile, Ash and Beth are living the best life they can on the gold Ash can create that her mother taught her how to do and spending all the money possible to find Rhys.

Then Dane comes back into the spotlight, or well her spotlight of sorts as he's been the hot new millionaire for awhile now with women falling over themselves to be with him. He comes to Ash saying he can help her find her brother, but first she has to convince the council that she still has Katia's spirit inside her. That together they can keep the council from trying to kill her brother, since his blood is the one thing that can kill an immortal.

Ash wants to find her brother more than anything, but can she really trust that Dane is Dane? Reluctantly she goes to his mansion in Spain to set out to find her brother, this is when she meets the not-so-friendly, and weirdly Dane-obsessed head of staff, Lucinda. Lucinda seems to want Ash out of the house as quickly as possible. They do not get along, let's just say that. Every hero needs an adversary after all.

This was an interesting book and a rather quick read. If things weren't so hectic in my life at the moment, I'd likely would have had this finished in two days instead of three. The shocks and chills were relentless in this one! While some parts did drag just a bit, other elements were in full swing. The ending especially just let out the jaw-dropping reveals that had me reeling!

There was still a bit of romance brewing between Ash and Dane since Dane retains control over Coronado. Again, I probably should've written notes on my feels with these two but I have to say it was a sweet little romance happening here. 

I guess what I will say is that I wish this one could've been a little longer. It was relatively short at 276 pages. Though it does seem somewhat refreshing to read a book under 350 pages every now and then. But at the same time, things started to feel rushed in the end. I mean, I wouldn't have said no to an extended conclusion with the characters who were left. But we just kind of get that sense that everything will be all right with those who remain and while there is a feeling of contentedness I just kind of wished there was a bit more. But all in all, a satisfying conclusion to the duology! 

Overall Rating 3.5/5 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

Two teens fight for their lives after an alien invasion in this heart-stopping follow-up to Zero Repeat Forever.

Humans. Clones. Aliens. No one is safe anymore. It’s the end of the world.

Xander Liu survived the alien invasion—just barely. For more than a year, he has outsmarted, hidden from, and otherwise avoided the ruthless intruders, the Nahx, dodging the deadly darts that have claimed so many. When the murder of his friend leaves him in the protective company of August, a rebellious Nahx soldier, Xander is finally able to make his way back to human controlled territory and relative safety. But safety among the humans is not what it seems.

When Raven awakes on a wide expanse of snowy sand dunes, she has many questions. What has happened to her and the other reanimated humans gathered around her? What is the meaning of the Nahx ships that hover ominously above them? And most pressing of all, where is August, who promised to keep her safe?

In the shadow of an unforgiving Canadian winter, Xander and Raven find themselves on opposite sides of an alien war. Left with little choice about their roles in the looming battle, they search for answers and allies all while being drawn back to the place where their respective fates were determined, and to the one who determined them: August.

SUPER excited for this one to finally be coming out! The ending was sooooo shocking and I can't wait to see what happens next!!

PUBLISHER: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Dystopian
RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2019


Oct 29, 2019

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.

"He reached out to touch my face, I flinched at first--not because I didn't want him to touch me--I flinched because I wanted it more than anything in the entire world.

And he knew it." p. 72

TITLE: Heart of Ash
AUTHOR: Kim Liggett
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Horror
RELEASE DATE: February 20, 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: Halloween Freebie: Top Ten Perfect Reads for Halloween!

*in no particular order
**quite a few of these were books I gave away in my annual Halloween giveaway, so this one was quite easy to think on! Lol!

10. RULES FOR VANISHING by Kate Alice Marshall--a totally creepy read and THIS YEAR'S giveaway prize!
9. THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins--another past giveaway choice and one that was super eerie with what the killer did before he killed!
8. THE LANTERN'S EMBER by Colleen Houck--not so much a scary read but a really fun story delving into the mythology of Jack of the O'Lanterns! ;)

7. ENTER THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz--the series that was meant to be a trilogy. I always fall in love with the unfinished ones, don't I? This was a really creepy and weird series that I would've loved to seen finished!
6. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake--the perfect ghost story! I mean seriously, it was the creepiest duology I ever read with a ghost as a main character and I adored it!
5. SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS edited by April Genevieve Tucholke--this was the best anthology ever! It's filled with totally creeptastic stories and I loved them all! 

4. THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll--a gorgeous and creepy graphic novel with creepy stories inside it!
3. CAMPFIRE by Shawn Sarles--a typical teen camping in the woods horror slasher story that was AWESOME!!!
2. THE MERCILESS by Danielle Vega--I loved this first installment and still need to read the rest! But it was perfectly creepy and I expect the rest will be too!

1. SURVIVE THE NIGHT by Danielle Vega--I LOOOOVED this one! This one was super super weird and ultimately chilling! It had a twisted ending and I remember just being shell shocked yet I adored it!!

Oct 28, 2019

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:

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring (3.75 stars)

Other Reviews this Week:
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Part 3 (4 stars)
About to Start Reading:
Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett
What I Plan to Read Next:
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Other Posts of Interest:
Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays
Waiting on Wednesday
Random Thursday
Book Blogger Hop
Stacking the Shelves 

Oct 27, 2019

Review--The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi's existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

I picked up Sara Faring's debut, The Tenth Girl on a bit of a whim. I had refrained from reading any reviews on it but from twitter buzz I got the impression that this was a perfectly creepy read for October! It was definitely an eerie read, but it was also a tad confusing as it was told in two points of view, but one character definitely was making this bizarre puzzle even more bizarre!

Let's start at the beginning, it's 1978, Mavi is a young girl who is trying to escape capture from government types for the things her mother did. Her mother has already been taken prisoner and Mavi feels she might share the same fate so she takes her mother's advice and goes to her uncle for help who gets her a job at an elite school ofr young girls. Mavi isn't exactly teacher material but she can fake it until she makes it with these adolescent girls.

The school is in an old mansion style home and there are many rules meant to be followed by students and teachers alike. Mavi first learns that one of these rules is to never leave her bedroom at night. So of course, she ends up doing just that. The old mansion is filled with Others, or ghosts, if you will and strange and sinister things tend to happen at night if one leaves the safety of their room.

Mavi's priority is to protect the girls but how can she do that when she's not entirely sure what she's fighting against?

Then there's Angel and boy was he a mystery! For a few of his chapters, I had thought he was a girl since Angel is one of those generic names and I'm not entirely sure why I thought girl first anyway! Lol. But it does finally mention him being a him and I just went with it. Lol. Angel is a ghost just trying to get by with his new existence. And yet...he'll think certain things, things that happened after 1978 that lead you to wonder just what kind of afterlife is he living? It's mind-boggling. Absolutely mind-boggling!

Angel soon possesses the body of the only teenage boy in residence, Dom, the son of the principal and as you might guess, a romance of sorts starts to form between him and Mavi. It was definitely an odd sort to get behind as Angel is a ghost in another person's body, who is still in said body spiritually, so they're kind of co-inhabiting said body. Mavi thinks she's falling for one guy when it's actually someone else entirely. I'm not usually a fan of this sort of deception and I will admit there wasn't a great deal of focus put onto this sort of romance, so it wasn't the greatest aggravation that it could've been.

The mystery really opens up in the last 50+ pages or so and it's life changing! Like a serious shocking twist that I never would've guessed in a million years! I enjoyed that sort of scandalizing twist but then at the same time, I was still a tad confused at it's mechanics and whatnot. It gets explained to some extent but I suppose it was the matter of the explanation that left me a little wiped out. Plus, I was reading this at a far slower pace than I was used to and with such gaps between the time I started and finished, I am possibly missing some of the connections that would have made this explanation so much easier to comprehend! But it is what it is.

The Tenth Girl was a jaw-dropping shock of a mystery read with an ending that you won't see coming! While the mystery only continues to build as the book goes on, the answers will leave you spellbound! It's a refreshing read in a sense and I can easily say this is not the last time I will be reading Sara Faring's books! She's definitely an author to keep an eye on!

Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars--the awkward rating makes another appearance! This one was almost a 4 star for me, but still better than 3.5, hence the awkward rating! If I was able to read this more consecutively these last few days I am sure my rating would've been the full 4!

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 keep hoping and praying each week will be better, but sadly, it's just not there yet. This week I was told that they are FINALLY making a plan for me here at work. It only took them 5 and 1/2 months to do it. They're finally giving me something to do...only I still have to wait another week or so until my old manager gets back to help train/guide me through everything. Which is kind of ridiculous. They keep wanting to make all these plans for me, yet they always tell me that and then vanish for a week or 3 months. I did get two phone calls while I was at work and unable to answer them and when I tried calling back once I got home, they had left their jobs for the day. So hopefully Monday I will get some call backs on something! Fingers crossed!

Amazingly enough I didn't buy any books this week! Weird, right? Lol! But I did get some fun stuff and I won a book too...though I had it in hardcover! I honestly don't even remember entering this contest! Might have just been one I saw and thought pretty cover! Lol!

I won:

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert--the paperback in the new color design!

Fun stuff I got this week:

Another gorgeous custom Funko from Pages of the Night! Can you guess who it is??


Then in a trade with Eileen from Book Cat Pin I got this Beauty & the Beast bookmark!

THANK YOU Eileen!!

Then I bought this one from LitJoy Crate:

My weird obsession with coins continues! This one is the Ministry of Magic coin!

And finally I bought the new Veronica Mars TV Season on DVD! It apparently got mixed reviews but I'd rather just buy this then mess with trying to subscribe to Hulu for a month!

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

Oct 25, 2019

TV Review--Are You Afraid of the Dark? Part 3

All right kids! It was finale night! The epic conclusion to the new Midnight Society crew and their plight of dealing with the villainous Mr. Top Hat.

This was an interesting episode...if a bit rushed, because 60 minutes, plus commercials...yeah, it's hard to provide concrete answers. The episode opened up with some muddled history on who Mr. Top Hat was. Though I feel like there's still a lot of questions like WTF?! What was the point of him traveling everywhere? Why kidnap children? I mean seriously. What is with the kidnapping?

We learn about Rachel's connection to him and why there was such a connection. I mean that answer literally comes at the tail end, but you know they still have their "destiny" connection.

I also felt like the ending got wrapped up a little too easily. I mean I get it, it's a 1 hour special with multiple commercial interruptions. So it's what 40 minutes? Maybe 35? So you got a lot of pushing and rushing of things that don't get to have answers.

I did like the continued nods to the original series though. Little things here and there. It just had me grinning like an old fool! Lol. And I guess like its predecessor there were some hokey moments in this one too. Like Rachel and Gavin...reminds me of Gary and Sam!

Of course in this episode we had that super spooky treading through water and having creepy ghost like dudes grabbing Rachel's friends! Totally freaky! I mean, I would never want to trudge through chest deep water and where did this water come from when they had entered some sort of carnival attraction? It was weird.

Despite a few things that were basically ignored when it came to the mysteries and unanswered questions, this was still a fun episode and decent ending all in all. The main points were answered and just as I was wondering things in the last ten minutes or so, the answer came along, so that was good!

All in all this was a really fun reboot of one of my favorite shows as a kid! And yes, I am totally opening up separate tabs trying to see if Amazon is selling the original show on DVD. So far, I'm only seeing 5/7 seasons on separate DVDs. From what I can tell on IMDB the first 5 seasons are what I remember and the last two were with the new crew...the ones that brought friggin couches into the woods! I mean really, you think the critters and SNAKES are going to leave YOUR couches alone? Plus it rains and snows eventually, I don't think you want all that upholstery getting wet! But that's a debate for another time!

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: What's your favorite horror book-to-movie adaptation? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
MY ANSWER: I can't say that I have one. The few horror books I've read have never been made into movies. I can't really pinpoint a favorite. If you want to call Jaws a horror book, I'd say that one! Lol.

Oct 24, 2019

Random Thursday

Okay kids, it's time to enter a new book of weird-ness! And I actually just ordered another one online that looked pretty cool! I'll be sure to share that one with you too if it ends up being a winner! Today we're digging into Weird But True Facts by Leslie Gilbert Elman!

(image borrowed from Science Mag)
Every year there are 16 million thunderstorms. In January of 2010, in Sydney, Australia, a man was struck by lightning while washing the dishes. During that same storm, lightning entered a different home through an open window and set the curtains on fire.

Lesson is never leave windows open during a thunderstorm no matter where you live! And maybe not wash dishes during one either! 

(image borrowed from Live About)
The most common victims of indoor lightning strikes are people who talk on their landlines during a storm.

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a picture of someone talking on a landline! You search for "phone" and it's all cell phones! Lol.

(image borrowed from NPR)
During a thunderstorm with lightning, Earth broadcasts quite the variety of sounds; pops, crackles, whistles, and sizzles via radio waves as a result of the lightning strikes. Storms on the other side of the planet can still send very low frequency radio waves that bounce between the planet's surface and the ionosphere that can "bounce" all the way to your house.

That's weird about the storm on the OTHER side of the planet!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
When lightning strikes sand the heat cause the silica to form craggy glass tubes that fossilize the lightning. These "lightning fossils" are called fulgurites. "Fulgur" is Latin for lightning.

That's cool! I'd like to see one of these in person!

(image borrowed from Inverse)
A fulgurite was found in the Sahara that was estimated to be about 15,000 years old. According to geochronologists--scientists who specialize in determining the age of rocks--this suggests that the Sahara wasn't always the hot, dry desert that we see today.

That's interesting!