Apr 30, 2020

Random Thursday

This week in Weird But True we learn a bit of a mish-mash of facts from Leslie Gilbert Elman on a variety of things. After skimming the facts briefly before this post it looks like half of it continues currency before moving onto a reading/literature type theme.

(image borrowed from Lakeshore Learning)
The U.S. Mint produced 3.548 billion circulating coins in 2009; 2.354 billion of those were pennies.

FUN FACT: Pennies contain more zinc than copper whereas nickels contain more copper than nickel.

So...the majority coins produced are pennies...which is basically the coin that gets used less because all those vending machines won't take them.

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
In February of 2010, the general manager of a mint in Chile was fired because thousands of fifty-peso coins had "Chile" spelled "Chiie." Though the coins were actually put into circulation in 2008 and it took two years to find the mistake.

That's just weird! But oddly, I would sooooo want a coin with a misspelled word on it! Think of the collectors value! Lol!

(image borrowed from Everything Everywhere Travel)
Andorra is a small town in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. This little principality has a literacy rate of 100%! The entire country encompasses just over 180 miles with fewer than 85,000 people living here.

Again, let's note my little book here was published in 2010, so these numbers could be different now!

(image borrowed from The National)
The most popular reality TV show in the Arab world is Million's Poet...think American Idol but for poets! Yes, here we have aspiring poets who read their poetry in front of judges and the TV broadcast and then viewers from home vote for their favorites until 1 winner remains. The winner receives a cash prize of 5 million dirhams, which is about $1.4 million dollars.

How cool is that?! But also, how nerve wracking to be voted on YOUR OWN words! And in front of live television?! EEK!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons)
The longest poem in the world is still a work in progress and it continues to grow every day but about 4,000 verses. Andrei Gheorghe, a Romanian web developer, takes random tweets from Twitter and pairs them into rhyming couplets that get added to his collective work titled "The Longest Poem in the World."

But yet...when will it end?!


Apr 29, 2020

Review--Starfall by Melissa Landers

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics—she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Heyooooo! Guess who just finished off another series, and a duology at that! It had been wayyyy too long since I read Melissa Landers' Starflight, but I was extremely lucky that one, I had notes from it, and two Starfall was a companion novel versus direct sequel! So I still got to see Solara and Doran while also seeing Cassia and Kane in new light! Oddly, I couldn't remember them as much from the first book, other than that they bickered and danced between the lines of friends and maybe something more.

When we start off with our story, Cassia and Kane have yet another fight. Nothing new there, except this fight felt a little different. And in the aftermath of cooling down, Cassia is kidnapped. She's brought back to the home she ran away from two years ago, and she finds things have changed a lot. Her intended fiance, Marius has been evil in attacking the neighboring kingdoms, saving hers for last. And naturally, when she's finally presented to him...it wasn't the happiest of reunions. As Cassia was held captive during the flight she also began plotting revenge.

With the help of Jordan, a sort of palace guard turned rebel, they are able to secure Marius in a prison cell while Cassia hopes to settle the troubles in her kingdom, the most pressing being a deadly plague that is running rampant in the neighboring areas headed straight for her home.

It's not long before Cassia is reunited with her crew, Kane among them as they are about to set on their next galactic quest; finding the cure and finding the man who was supplying Marius with the weapons he was using in his attack.

This was an amazing read! Though I only had the foggiest idea of what happened in the first book, I was happy to be back wit these characters! I remember distantly adoring Cassia and Kane and their antics with one another! Having them as the star characters this time around was a real treat. Though naturally, things aren't all happy between them and pretty much from the getgo these two had so many obstacles being flung their way, you weren't ever really sure what the outcome would be!

That being said, there were a few stolen moments between them that definitely had me rooting for these two! But of course, there may or may not have been a few other romantic entanglements that threatened to tear the two apart.

The action to this one was impeccable! There was a great deal of tension in this one. So many secrets building up and puzzles to solve! You won't see half of these surprises coming! 

Rebellions, betrayals, battles, and secrets galore Starfall is a book you will never want to put down! The ending was superbly ideal as well! This is my favorite way to see a series end (no matter its length!)! It's one where you know where the characters are at and where they'll be going. You know that their adventures won't stop once you close the cover, I always love to imagine the characters living on even after THE END appears on the page. It's a happy feeling as a reader!

If you love a good space setting and well-developed characters with an action packed plot with a great pace, this book couldn't be more perfect for you!

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.

A new dystopian sci-fi YA series from the New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck

Warning all Astronauts:

In the future, a terraforming ship lands on a perfectly green planet.
Two perfect young men, one a budding colony leader, the other an engineer, compete for the affection of one perfect young woman training as a botanist.
The only problem?
She’s not perfect.
Astra has a secret.
A big one.
And someone or some thing just maybe trying to kill her for it

A new Colleen Houck book?! Yes please!!! This one sounds particularly intriguing too! If you click the link below, you can go to Goodreads and read the FULL description! There's a lengthier description that I left out because otherwise this post would be super long! 

TITLE: Terraformer
AUTHOR: Colleen Houck
PUBLISHER: Self/Indie?
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2020

Apr 28, 2020

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.

"'Because bickering is what you guys do,' Doran cut in. 'Some people write sonnets. Other people drew hearts. You two yell at each other. It's your twisted love language.'" p 9

TITLE: Starfall
AUTHOR: Melissa Landers
PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion
RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Wish I Had Time to Read Already

*yes, I changed the topic for myself. I mean, as a child, I read the books I wanted to read. I read the books I wanted to read as a teen (that were available at the time of course). So there aren't any books that I wish I read as a child, because I read what I had!
**in no particular order

10. NEVERLAND by Anna Katmore--an adult Peter Pan story? Hell yes!
9. HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD by Sarah J. Maas--I practically need a week's vacation in order to read this baby! Granted, I wouldn't need all 7 days, but definitely around 3-4 with my reading pace.
8. DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY by Terri Garey--one of the founding books of my TBR pile...as in it was the literal foundation on which the pile was built upon!

7. TOUCH OF FROST by Jennifer Estep--I pretty much got this entire series when I was attending the RT conventions wayyyy too long ago. Still need to start it so I can get around to reading that spinoff series! Lol.
6. SNAKEROOT by Andrea Cremer--I loved the Nightshade series! Nightshade was one of the first ARCs I ever received for review! It even came with another old random book with markings in it that was apart of a clue for the book that reviewers posted in a blog tour to try to solve it! I still have THAT book too! Never read it...not even sure what the book itself was for that matter. Lol.
5. HEART OF STONE by Christine Warren--uh, gargoyles! HELL YES! And it was apparently a B&tB theme?! Sadly now it seems everything past the first book is out of print...so more reason why I need the stay at home order to be done so I can start going to HPBs to track down the rest!

4. SILVER by Rhiannon Held--a werewolf read I really wanted to read but haven't found time for yet! I just hope tracking down the other 4 books won't be a pain in the you-know-what!
3. NIL by Lynne Matson--a series I realllllly wanted to read that I haven't even started yet! A sentient island? Hell yes!
2. BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS by Molly Harper--I always heard good things about this author and this one appealed to me because GHOSTS!

1. THE COLLECTOR'S SOCIETY by Heather Lyons--an adult Alice in Wonderland?! YES PLEASE! Can you tell I really love adult themed fairy tale reads? Lol!


Apr 27, 2020

Review--Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab


KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.



Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

Picking up my next unfinished duology, I turned to Victoria Schwab’s Our Dark Duet which brings a conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology. It had been awhile since I read This Savage Song, but luckily I found a summary for THAT!  Diving back into the series was still a bit hard, but manageable.

When we start we join Kate in Prosperity, having left Verity behind, and somehow finds herself working with a group of monster hunters, for monsters are everywhere in this world. Though one chance encounter with a monster leaves Kate shaken, this monster was different from the usual sort and as you can imagine will be a feat of impossibility to defeat.

Eventually, we pop back in on August who’s still in Verity acting as a sort of police force trying to keep some semblance of order and justice in the city that is being run rampant with monsters.

Then of course, as teased at the end of This Savage Song, we see that Sloan is still alive and well, and there’s a new monster in town, one who just rose and looks like Kate in a lot of ways and goes by the name of Alice. Apparently whatever theories I had developed about this were grossly incorrect as I seemed to have forgotten the tidbit about how new monsters are created! Lol. It seems these two have decided to join together because of shared common enemy.

I remember reading reviews saying that it took a while for Kate and August to reunite, and it does. Over a 100+ pages into the story, it almost makes those pages feel like an overly drawn out prologue especially since Kate was in Prosperity all that time. Already, I felt like I was getting off to a bad start with this one since the pace was slow. I understood the need for the slower pacing, there was a lot that had to be built up, but at the same time, I had hoped for something more along the way to these bigger events.

One thing that I did miss that I felt like wasn’t as present in this one was the relationship between Kate and August. They had that sort of reluctant budding friendship that danced along the lines of something maybe more but also the greater potential to turn into a battle to the death. It was heavy. It was complicated. Here, I feel like we got know of that. Mostly because they spend so much time apart. Even when they finally reunite, they still put physical distance between them and I kind of hated it. That spark of chemistry that was infrequently teased in the first book was no longer here. I had idealistic hopes that there would’ve been a stronger romance segue in this story, but alas that was not the case.

The ending was even more shocking! I mean, I was expecting something major to happen but the results were far more devastating than I anticipated.  It’s an ending that left me with conflicted feelings and I am not sure how I feel about everything overall now that it’s all said and done. Was it fitting? Sure, I guess. Could it have ended in another way and been better? Most assuredly. Is this ending the right one? Tough to say, but it’s the ending that we got. Despite the conflicting feelings I have about its ending, Our Dark Duet was still a satisfying read that definitely was one that took me by surprise.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars


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 Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost (5 stars)
The Brightest Embers by Jeaniene Frost (4.5 stars)
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco (4.5 stars)

Currently Reading:

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

What I Plan to Read Next:

Starfall by Melissa Landers

Other Posts of Interest:


Apr 26, 2020

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.

Well, another week down while living in a COVID19 world. On Monday, I decided I needed a break. So I put in PTO for Friday and Monday and I have to say I am soooooooooo enjoying myself though I'm homebound. I managed to read a book in two days which was more like one and half days and more like my old reading speed and it was wonderful! I could've done without my old dog interrupting me by needing up for numerous reasons. Poor baby has hip issues and can't get up on his own anymore. Maybe like 1% of the time he can get up...usually when he's outside and angled on the slight hill we have in the backyard. Since I'm taking Monday off, next week is a 4-day week and I'm up for that! Lol. Wondering how many vacation days I have right now...might need to take another one next month. I'm feeling hesitant about planning any fall trips this year because of everything going on right now. It's a scary year right now.

This week I bought:


Yes, this week I didn't get a single book! I didn't buy any, no preorders came in, didn't get approved for any galleys...I was rejected for one my most anticipated summer reads! There was only 2 in that category...so yeah, being rejected for one was devastating!

I did get some cool preorder swag though:

My preorder gift for Crave!! Sadly, I didn't win the airpods, but notepads are still narly!

Then this wasn't so much preorder gift related, but book/tour gift related! Every Hallows book, Kim Harrison had a little gift that you got when she went on tour that was tied to the book she wrote. Since her release is in June...she might not go on tour :( but she decided to create a gift item that could be easily mailed within a SASE, so naturally, I sent mine in!

This is a little shopping bag from a store the heroine frequents. Since I pretty much have every swag piece Kim every created, I was happy to add it to my collection!

Then not at all book related but 100% Disney related, here's my latest Disney purchase:

Well, when Disney put this The Little Mermaid necklace that I had been eyeing on sale, I pretty much couldn't say no! I took this picture for the review I wrote for the website. The pendant is a tad smaller than I anticipated but I still think it's gorgeous!

And that my friends, was it! What all did you get this week?

Apr 25, 2020

Review--Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer---or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World's Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they've heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him---and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device---is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end---together and in love---or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

To say that I enjoyed Kerri Maniscalco's finale to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Capturing the Devil, is an understatement, I was so thoroughly engrossed and blown away that there is not an accurate enough word to describe my enjoyment! Kerri's mystery series has been one shocking installment after another! That she incorporated such scandalous figures in history in mostly accurate and pleasing matters left me tickled with glee!

When we last left our heroes, Audrey Rose and Thomas along with her uncle and cousin had arrived in America after their frightful trip aboard the RMS Etruria. Though it would seem their frights are far from over. As was hinted at in its finale, there was a second killer aboard the ship and he was now in America roaming free. While Audrey Rose and Thomas were hoping to make plans for an engagement announcement, instead they are learning about bodies dropping around the city and trying to solve the mystery of why and how...and who.

While I do looooove the relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas and have enjoyed every moment of watching it grow and develop...I was a little upset over how loooong this first part spent on further development. They were planning an engagement then a quick wedding...only to have a catastrophe strike at the ceremony and you know, put a barrier between them once more. Said barrier seemed to take up a great deal of the remaining half of "part one" in the story. The thing that came between Audrey Rose and Thomas' happiness was a burden of course, and it threatened to tear them apart. But at the same time...I couldn't help but want to get back to the mystery at hand.

Luckily, around the 200+ page mark we get back to mystery solving by landing in Chicago! As the cover foretells, the mystery draws them into Chicago during the World's Fair. Though getting the mystery fired up again does take a bit of time, but the fact that they were led to Chicago because of a string of missing women does give them cause to be there.

I'm not certain it was clear what historical character will take precedence in this story, so I won't reveal who it was in this review either as it came as a surprise to me as I'm not good at remembering history! Plus, I don't think this "subject" was touched in my history classes, because I am sure I would've paid more attention had it been brought up! Lol. But when it finally became more clear about who the historical who was, I instantly remembered a show that touched upon it and was seeing the similarities! 

The whodunit here was pretty scary too! What's even more terrifying about these stories is that whodunit killer was really real! These are the monsters the other monsters were based on!

What I loved even more was how the events of the first book get tied back around to the present story. I distantly recall a few lingering questions about that mystery and the whys behind the killer's motives and such. Well, here are those answers! It presents an even more astonishing theory behind the TRUE history of these events that transpired in both books! It's truly mind-boggling!

One of the other things that I loved about this entire series were the characters, mostly Audrey Rose and Thomas! I mean, if you can't enjoy Thomas's quips and humor and Audrey Rose's reactions and comebacks, then you might not be reading the right story for you. Their banter was something that always left me in stitches! And that the switch can easily be flipped from bantering to flirting to acting romantically was a transition that felt so natural and toe-curling. I positively adored these two! And as a side note, I adore Audrey Rose's grandmother that we briefly get to meet in the latter half of "part one." She was a spitfire of an old lady and I loved her for it too!

Of course, as most series finales go, this one ends in a way that leaves readers happy. All is as it should be in a series finale. We know where our characters are at and we can imagine the adventures they will have long after we turn that last page. That is honestly the way all series should end! Kerri Maniscalco pretty much made her way onto my favorite author list after Stalking Jack the Ripper, but she's pretty much cemented herself there with every book she's written since then! I am so looking forward to her next book later this year! This is definitely an author to read if you enjoy a good historical fiction mystery!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars