Monday, January 22, 2018

Music Monday: lovelytheband


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing "broken" by lovelytheband (2017) - I've just started to hear this on the radio and I'm already hooked.  So far this is their only song that's been released, but I'm looking forward to more!  This time I'm also sharing "Imperial March played on pencil" (2018).  I don't know if you've heard it yet, but it's pretty darn cool!




Friday, January 19, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15) by Jim Butcher + 50/50 Friday




On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.



This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15) by Jim Butcher, which is also one of my #BeatTheBacklist challenge books.  Once I finish this novel, I will be caught up on the series (at least until the Peace Talks is released).  If you haven't already figured it out, this is one of my all time favorite series (being up to the fifteenth novel in the series should be a clue) - and this one is already pretty darn awesome!

Beginning: 

There was a ticking time bomb inside my head and the one person I trusted to go in and get it out hadn't shown up or spoken to me for more than a year.

56:

In the middle of the floor were a dozen brand-new work lights, blazing away, and an enormous wooden conference table complete with big leather chairs, brightly illuminated in the glow of the lamps.  There was a second table loaded with what looked like a fancy coffee machine.  A few feet away from that was a small pen of wire mesh, and inside it were a dozen restless brown-and-tan goats.

Goats.  Huh.

50/50 Friday - Book With Most Complex/Straightforward Plot Structure


Straightforward - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - Usually, when I think of contemporaries, I think straightforward.


Complex - A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin - Could be a bit of an understatement there! 

Have you tried any of these books?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lair Of Dreams & Before The Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #2 & #3) by Libba Bray - Double Review



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Summary for Lair of Dreams: 
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Summary for Before the Devil Breaks You:
After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

This past autumn, I took part in Fall Bookish Bingo and I found a new favorite series, The Diviners by Libba Bray.  It was pretty much everything I could have wanted in a YA historical horror fantasy novel - and the production of the audiobook, narrated by January LaVoy, was absolutely stunning.  Well, in the last month or so I've managed to get myself caught up on the next two books in the series, Lair of Dreams and Before the Devil Breaks You on audiobook - and now it's just a waiting game until the release of book four which so far is untitled and doesn't have a release date.  I don't know how Bray does it, but this series just keeps getting better and better.  I would honestly give these two books more than five stars if I could.  Like with book one, January LaVoy does a marvelous job bringing all of these great characters to life in the sequels.

Just like with book one, the sequels both travel at a slow pace, but regardless they reeled me right in from the beginning.  I didn't want to press pause and put the Playaway down for anything or anyone (except when my lone AAA battery died and I had to go out and get another pack of batteries - yes, the sequels are just as long) because Bray's storytelling (and LaVoy's narration) totally reeled me in right from first chapter.  There's so much to love about this series - I love how the author blends real-life history with cool fantasy elements of Diviner powers and spine-tingling horror.  I also enjoyed being back with our main cast - from Evie, Theta, Will, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Henry, and Mabel (my heart!).  Then again, as great as it was to primarily follow Evie before, I loved that the sequels let the others shine.  I liked getting to see more of Theta (and learn more of her crushing background) and Memphis explore their budding relationship.  Hands down, though, Henry and Ling's friendship completely steal the show in these two sequels.  Ling is a brand new Chinese-Irish-American character that is first introduced in Lair of Dreams (well, technically, she's the girl with the green eyes in book one).  Like Henry, she's a dream walker, but she can also communicate with the dead.  The two of them make a great team, and, she quickly became one of my favorite characters on her own.  On another note, I also have to admit that I was totally wrapped up in what we find out about Project Buffalo, the good and the bad.

Anyway, I could go on about how much I love this series all day long, but I don't want to inadvertently spoil something.  I highly, highly, highly recommend picking up the criminally underrated Diviners series if you haven't already had the chance (on audiobook if you're interested in hearing January LaVoy's brilliant narration skills for yourself).  If you like Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly, pretty much anything by Cat Winters, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Supernatural, I expect you'd absolutely adore this series as much as I do.  Now, I just have to wait until the fourth book in the series to be released (and hope they can come up with a better book cover that'll actually suit the series) - or perhaps listen to another audiobook read by the same narrator while I bide my time.  This series quickly became one of my favorite reads in 2017 - I totally should have started in on it much sooner!



I listened to Lair of Dreams from November 23 - December 8, 2017 and to Before the Devil Breaks You from December 20 - December 31, 2017.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions And Goals


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, which is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  The rules are exactly the same as they were before - this week's topic is Bookish Resolutions and Goals.  Here we go:

1. I've set my Goodreads reading challenge at 200, which is the same as I've done for the past few years.  I hope I can make it again this year, too. It's probably a good thing I'm a fast reader and can handle multiple books at once...

2. I'm back this year for Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge!  I enjoyed taking part last year and I really appreciated how it pushed me to read more widely and broadly.  It introduced me to some fantastic books and authors!

3. This year I've signed up for my first ever #BeatTheBacklist Challenge, hosted by Austine @ A Novel Knight.  I plan on earning lots of points for the Story Sorcerers team.  The rules are pretty easy for the challenge - all you have to do is read books published in 2017 or earlier.  I've narrowed the challenge a little further for myself by planning to focus on continuing series.

4. Going back to number three, I want to do a better job of keeping up with series rather than getting distracted by the next new shiny thing.

5. Like usual, I hope to read more of the books that I actually own - I really need to clear my shelves!

6. I also want to buy less books - I've only got so much shelf space and I'm running out.

7. For the books that I do buy, though, I want to make sure that I get the biggest bang for my buck - I plan on taking advantage of coupons, gift cards, thrift stores, and overstock stores.

8. I would like to explore more nonfiction this year.  It isn't one of my go to genres, but I've seen quite a few intriguing titles that I want to try out.

9. I would like to take part in more bookish events whether those are online like Twitter chats, readathons, and linkups, or in person, like talks or signings.

10. I also really need to weed my tbr on Goodreads because it has totally spiraled out of control.

Well, it looks like I've got quite a year ahead of me - wish me luck!  What are some of your bookish goals this year?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Music Monday: Puddles Pity Party


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

Every since Puddles (aka Mike Geier) started appearing on Postmodern Jukebox, I've been following his music - I couldn't believe it when he appeared on season 12 of America's Got Talent!  He has an great voice and I always look forward to hearing his covers of popular songs. Folsom Prison Blues/ Pinball Wizard Smoosh Up & Dancing Queen covers are some of my favorites from the last year - enjoy!  If you'd like to find Puddles Pity Party on YouTube, click here.





Sunday, January 14, 2018

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magic is leaving this world, making the witches who've relied on it forever absolutely helpless. Some are willing to accept it, while others are willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. Alice is using her remaining power to solve the mysterious disappearances of those in occult circles of New Orleans. She knows the feeling as her family put in an asylum and she just recently got out. She's afraid that her family is connected, and the more she investigates the more she comes to realize that her fragile psyche may be in trouble. Figuring this out, though, may be her only way to get out from under her mother's thumb while determining the future of magic.

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn sounded like it would be exactly my kind of read. There are so many elements that I love - magic and witches, atmospheric setting (New Orleans), voodoo, warring families, and more. Unfortunately, I ended up preferring the concept to the final product. The novel travels at far too slow of a pace for me, and it follows far too many characters to get thoroughly invested in anyone. I liked Alice quite a bit, but I wish that the story would have focused primarily on her (and perhaps one or two others at the most) rather than bouncing back and forth between its enormous cast. There are a lot of characters, and there were many times I had trouble keeping everyone straight in my mind - definitely took me out of the story to have to keep flipping back to the cast list. Overall, J.D. Horn's new release just wasn't for me in the long run, although I wish I could say otherwise. I still would like to try his Witching Savannah series, which is described as a Southern Gothic urban fantasy with witches.


I read this ARC from January 11 - 14, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released on January 23, 2018.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Memory Detective by T.S. Nichols (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In order to do his job, Cole undergoes surgery to receive the implanted memories of murder victims. After he recovers from the eight hour operation, he can remember the thoughts of someone else - right up until the moment of their death that is. Sometimes these memories are fuzzy, but others are perfectly clear. Cole's cases completely consume his every waking moment, leaving him without much of a personal life but that's how he prefers it. He will do whatever it takes to solve the case and track down the killer. While Cole is working his most recent case, however, he begins to suspect that someone else is using the memory-transfer tech for another purpose altogether. Cole isn't far off, in fact, he's the only one standing in the way of a ruthless company harvesting people's most intimate memories and eliminating anyone standing in the way.

The Memory Detective by T.S. Nichols has so much potential. The concept behind it is absolutely fantastic, but it never quite hits that mark in execution. I liked getting a look into this author's take on near future technology. I was particularly interested in the consequences of the memory-transfer surgery. Everyday people can receive only one sometimes two transfers, but Cole is the exception to the rule due to his detective skills. He's had many more transfers than the average person could ever hope to receive - and the consequences are high. Think insanity. Unfortunately, I couldn't really connect with Cole because he feels too distant and a little flat. If this novel were told in the first person, I think that would have definitely helped get us into his head. I don't know about you, but with the memory subject matter I think that could only be a good thing. Also as much as I enjoyed the tech, there were moments when I was left wanting more when it came to some of the details regarding how the process all worked. During my entire reading experience, I totally had iZombie in the back of my mind. It's a very similar concept - aside from the zombies and brain eating part, of course.

Overall, The Memory Detective features a good mystery and intriguing near future sci-fi elements. The cast of characters could definitely afford to be more well drawn and developed in order to connect better with them on the whole. The story has a lot of potential to be great, but it doesn't quite hit the mark, plus it isn't terribly unique. You may want to give T.S. Nichols first novel a try if you enjoy iZombie and Total Recall.



Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC from January 9 - 11, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsThe Memory Detective by T.S. Nichols is due to be released on January 23, 2018.