Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words In Fantasy Titles


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles.  I'm going with fantasy titles that begin with "The Girl" and I'm breaking down my list by books I've read books and books on my TBR.  Here we go:

Read Books:









Books On My TBR:














Have you ever read any of these books?  What words or phrases have you noticed that are commonly used in books?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

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

Eelyn is a warrior alongside her fellow Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Life is brutally simple: fight and survive until the next battle. Then Eelyn sees something impossible - her brother alive and fighting on the side of the enemy, the same brother she watched die five years before. Faced with his betrayal, Eelyn has no choice but to outlast the winter in the mountains with the Riki. She is surrounded by the mortal enemy of her people, where every scar could be one she delivered in the heat of battle. Then, the Riki village is raided by another ruthless clan thought to be legend, Eelyn is more desperate than ever to get back to her family. Now she has no choice but to trust her brother's new Riki friend, Fiske, who sees her as a threat. The three will have to do the impossible and unite the Aska and Riki clans if they all want to survive this new danger.

Wow! Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young was exactly what I needed! It's one of the most hyped up books out there right now and it totally delivers. As soon as I heard YA fantasy with Vikings, I was in. Looking back on it, though, this new release definitely outclassed my expectations. The best part is that this is Adrienne Young's debut - how impressive is that - I mean, after that I'm dying to know what she's going to do next. Thank you so much to NetGalley for granting my review request!

Like I said, this story is features Vikings and there are a ton of well-executed fight scenes with a real take no prisoners kind of heroine. It's incredibly action-packed and it's also perfectly paced for that as well as some of the calmer moments. I never felt like the story was moving too fast or dragging. The author does a fantastic job of introducing us to the world of the Aska and the Riki. Although the world-building is a little more limited and narrow than what I prefer, it doesn't hinder the story as it's very tightly defined, controlled, and clearly set up from the beginning.

As fantastic as all of these elements are, though, the cast of characters is what really sets this story off. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how character-driven such an action-packed novel turned out to be. Eelyn has easily become one of my new favorite YA characters and I honestly wouldn't say no to seeing more like her in the future. I love her conviction, honor, loyalty, strength of body and mind, and the realistic relationships she builds with her family and friends. She also has a brilliantly done character arc and we get to see her grow and change on the page - we get to see her at the top of her game, vulnerable, doing what was thought to be impossible, and more. There's also a bit of hate-to-love romance between Eelyn and Fiske and I found myself rather enjoying that much more than I expected to as well. I don't know about you, but aside from Lagertha in Vikings, Okoye from Black Panther came to mind when considering Eelyn's character and values.

Overall, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young is an amazing YA debut that easily lives up to the hype. It's a brilliant standalone fantasy, but I can honestly say I wish I could be spending more time with Eelyn in the future. I can't recommend this story highly enough. There's so much to love about this incredible new release, but you shouldn't just take my world for it. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on Adrienne Young's upcoming projects.


Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC on April 19, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young will be released on April 24th, 2018.

Music Monday: Westworld


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.


I've recently finished the first season of Westworld.  I liked the old movie with Yul Brynner and I'd been told I ought to try this series - as it turns out I love it.  There's so many great characters and I love the sci-fi element, as well as how creepy it begins to get the further you go along.  Anyway, one of the best little surprises of the series is that player piano in the saloon, so this week I'm spotlighting the show's version of "Black Hole Sun" and "Heart-Shaped Box" which was featured in the trailer for the second season.  I can't wait to see season 2!





Friday, April 20, 2018

Time Was by Ian McDonald (ARC) - Review


❋ 

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

During World War II, Tom and Ben were brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar. The two had to kept their growing love for one another secret. When the project they were assigned to went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished and were never seen again, presumed to be dead. Now they are lost in time, searching for one another by leaving clues in books - hoping to make their timelines overlap in order to be together again.

I'm a sucker for a good time travel story and Time Was by Ian McDonald sounded exactly like the novella for me. Unfortunately, after I completed the story I felt like I'd been duped because the story is described as a WWII time travel love story, but really it's about pretentious book-loving historian who happens to find some of Ben and Tom's correspondences and begins to put their story together. We do get a handful of short POV chapters from our time travelers perspectives but not nearly enough to really care about their story at all, no matter how much I wanted to become hooked. Plus, I hate to say it, but Tom and Ben were actually on the dull side.

Overall, I love the idea of Time Was, but I was underwhelmed by the execution. The storytelling begins to get more disjointed and disconnected the further you go along and we don't get nearly enough time with the cast to become invested in their stories. I think I would have preferred to have followed Ben and Tom's storylines directly without the historian framing their tale. Unfortunately, Ian McDonald's newest release just wasn't for me although there's plenty of potential.

Thanks anyway, NetGalley.


I read this novella on April 18, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsTime Was by Ian McDonald will be released on April 24th, 2018.

A Graveyard Visible by Steve Conoboy (ARC) - Review


❋ 

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

Caleb can see an ancient graveyard from his bedroom window and he's certain that it's a just a little bigger every time he looks at it. There are funerals there every night, but no one in his town seems to be dying. Misha, the odd girl who lives at the cemetery with her grandfather, is interested in Caleb and no matter what Caleb does he can't get rid of her. He's sure those creepy graveside mourners that are at every funeral are forcing her into strange rituals against her will. Caleb, who is still reeling from the death of his mother, has found himself pulled into the world of the dead and it may be too late to pull himself back out.

A Graveyard Visible by Steve Conoboy is a very promising story to start off. I liked the author's gothic and descriptive writing style. The first twenty to thirty percent were actually pretty fantastic that really had me hooked. However, the further I read through the story the more my interest waned. I was most interested in what was going on with the graveyard, but we never really get any real answers about it. Plus, the more I read the more difficult it became to follow the course of events. In the beginning, Conoboy does a brilliant job of building and creating that sense of suspense and tension. Unfortunately, by the end of this story I was close to DNF'ing this one. Most of the questions I was interested in are never answered and sometimes the shifts in perspective and formatting could be a bit confusing.

Overall, I really wanted to like A Graveyard Visible by Steve Conoboy much more than I did. It has a lot of potential and it started off well. By the end, though, it just wasn't for me. I felt like I was left hanging on the elements that intrigued me the most.

Thanks anyway, NetGalley.


I read this ARC from April 14 - 17, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsA Graveyard Visible will be released on April 27th, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Nevermore (Cal Leandros #10) by Rob Thurman + 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 #BeatTheBacklist reads, Nevermore (Cal Leandros #10) by Rob Thurman.  I love this urban fantasy series and with this novel I'll be caught up on the series.  Unfortunately, I've heard this one ends on a cliffhanger and as it turns out book eleven, Everwar, missed it's publication on December 6th, 2016.  I haven't heard anything about that book, the author, or anything.  I hope everything's alright.  Anyway, I'd bet you'd love this series if you're a fan of Supernatural.


Beginning:

People die.

All the time.  Everyone knows that, right?  The world is dangerous.  Existence is precarious, the footing beneath you shaky.

56:

One corner of his mouth crooked upward.  It was the closest thing to a smile you'd get out of me at that age.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Harry Potter Novel - I love this series to death, but if I was forced to choose...



Least - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 



Favorite - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


What are you reading today?  Have you read any of these books?  As always, thanks for visiting and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Come Back To The Swamp by Laura Morrison (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Bernice is doing invasive species research in Cleary Swamp for her graduate degree in ecology when she is confronted by a strange woman who claims to be the swamp. When Bernice uncovers that the old woman is a missing person named Rebecca Hallet who disappeared ages ago, she tries to get her some help. However, Rebecca has a supernatural connection to the swamp itself. The swamp knows that Rebecca's body isn't going to last much longer and it needs a new caretaker host, and it doesn't want to let Bernice go.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Laura Morrison's novella, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to try Come Back To The Swamp. Ecology isn't really my subject, but what we get of the science is quite readable either way. My favorite aspect of this story is easily Bernice herself. She's a fan of classic sci-fi, Lord of the Rings, and bluegrass music. I don't know about you, but she sounds like someone I'd want to make friends with. She's also very level-headed and isn't not willing to take whatever Rebecca/ the swamp says at face value. I appreciated that she does her best to put together the pieces behind what's going on with Rebecca and the swamp. Tonally, I also liked how this story comes across - it's very creepy and disconcerting - and how the tension builds up as the story is reaching the conclusion. Finally, I only have one complaint - the story is too short. I wish we got to see more of these characters and the swamp. There's so much more I want to see that we just get a taste of here.

Overall, Come Back To The Swamp by Laura Morrison comes with high praise from me. There are so many great things about this story from intriguing characters, great writing, and supernatural elements that leave you wanting more. If only this story was longer so we could stay with everyone for longer. I am definitely interested in trying more from this author in the future.



I read this ARC from April 8 - 9, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsCome Back To The Swamp by Laura Morrison will be released on August 7, 2018.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: TV Shows I Want To Start


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a freebie - I've decided to try list some tv shows I plan on starting in on soon.  Here we go, in order by series title:


Altered Carbon - I don't know about you, but I think this looks like a pretty awesome cyberpunk series!




Big Little Lies - I just recently finished the novel and I'm definitely interested in what they do with the adaptation - This one actually came in much sooner than expected so I just finished watching it actually.



Damien - Bradley James in a horror series that expands on The Omen? I'll have to give it a try!




Hemlock Grove - I've been told that I need to start in on this werewolf series so many times.




Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - I have no clue why I haven't already started this one honestly!



The Librarians - I loved the tv movie series and I've been meaning to watch the tv show. I've heard lots of good things about it!



The Man in the High Castle - This alternate history series has been recommended to me too many times to count...




Orphan Black - I've been meaning to start this for ages, but for some reason I keep pushing it further down my watchlist. I need to just start it once and for all.



Westworld - I love the movie 1973 movie and I'm actually about halfway through season one as you read this.


Wynona Earp - One of my friends watches this show and she has nothing but good things to say about it, so I'd better try it out.

Have you watched any of these shows?  Which should I start in on first?  What are you watching now?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Music Monday: Music From The Bahubali Series


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 spotlighting some of my favorite songs from the Bahubali two-part movie series.  I just recently watched the final part and I absolutely loved every minute of the series!  It's an epic action fantasy set in ancient India - it has something in it for everyone, including great musical numbers, stunning fight scenes, and breathtaking cinematography.  Seriously, this series was everything I never knew I needed in my life and I highly recommend it!  Below, I'm sharing my five favorite songs from the series - the first three are from the first movie and the last two are from the final movie.  Unfortunately the videos below don't have English subtitles, so you won't know exactly what's going on unless you know Hindi or have already seen these movies, but either way these will totally give you a taste of just how awesome this series is.  By the way, the movies were originally made in both Telugu and Tamil, but it was also dubbed in Hindi (which is what the DVD editions I watched were in).  Check out the trailer for Bahubali: The Beginning (2015) here and Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) here.  I think I'm going to have to be on the look out for more movies featuring Prabhas, the actor playing both Bahubali and Shivudu, even though before this series he was mostly known for his work in romantic comedies because he's just that good.







Saturday, April 14, 2018

Boy of Blood Blog Tour


Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to my stop on the Boy of Blood Blog Tour from Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC.  Read on to learn more about this book, the author, and see an excerpt from the story!  On to the tour:


Boy of Blood

By Megan O'Russell

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing
Series: Girl of Glass
Genre: YA Dystopia
Release Date: April 10, 2018

After Nightland’s vicious attack on the domes, the safety and perfection of the world within the glass has been contaminated. Desperate to rebuild, outsiders are allowed into the domes to help, breaking the cardinal rule: outsiders and Domers must always be separated. But the city is in shambles, crumbling into chaos without the Vampers of Nightland to keep order, and one name is carried on the wind: Nola.
Clinging to Jeremy, Nola struggles to find a way to exist in the domes, turning her back on all she learned in the city. But when one of the outsiders brings the dark secrets of the domes to light, the line between survival and murder blurs against the spectre of the dying world.
Can Nola follow the dark path laid out by the Domes? Will the dangers of the night become her new sanctuary?

Excerpt from Chapter 7:

The sounds coming from the lower level were different from those of the medical area. There were no screams of pain or panic. The Outer Guard were groomed to stay calm no matter what, but the lack of sound was more terrifying than the screams had been. Nola ran down the stairs, but before she was three steps into the hall, a hand reached out and grabbed her. “Nola, what are you doing here?” Blood streaked Gentry’s face and matted her blonde hair.

“Jeremy,” Nola panted. “Where is he? Is he okay?”

Gentry’s eyes flicked to the door behind Nola for a split second. “Nola, he’ll be fine. They’re taking care of him.”

“Is he hurt?” Panic surged in her chest. “What happened?”

“Nola, you have to get out of here.”

Another stretcher was being carried down the stairs. The guard at the front pushed Gentry and Nola aside, not seeming to care if he knocked them over. Gentry’s grip on Nola’s arm slackened for only a moment, but it was enough. Nola yanked her arm away and ran toward the door that Gentry’s eyes had flicked to, hoping that it would be the right one.

Nola pushed open the swinging door and froze.

It was Jeremy, lying on a table, covered in blood. His own blood. Doctors moved around the table, one of them shouting orders to the others. One ripped away the tattered shreds of uniform that covered Jeremy’s stomach.

“No!” Nola screamed without realizing the word had left her mouth, but the doctors didn’t notice the noise.

Ragged gashes cut deep into the flesh of Jeremy’s stomach. Blood poured from a bullet-shaped hole in the center of his chest.

Jeremy’s face was untouched; his helmet had protected him. His eyes were closed, he could have been sleeping.

“What the hell are you doing in here?” A doctor shoved Nola aside, a needle filled with black liquid held in her hand. “Someone get her the hell out of here!”


BUY LINKS


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About the Author:


Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received its world premier in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

Social Media:


Friday, April 13, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson + 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 that will fulfill the true crime task for Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder ChallengeThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.  This nonfiction book has been recommended so many times, both by friends and on the job.  It easily one of the most popular nonfiction books (that isn't about WWII) that we can't keep on our shelves at the library, so I'm excited to try it for myself!  By the way, the gif below is from the Supernatural season two episode called "No Exit" which featured H.H. Holmes - it seemed appropriate!



Beginning: 

The date was April 14, 1912, a sinister day in maritime history, but of course the man in suite 63-55, shelter deck C, did not yet know it.

56:

The delay was maddening, absurd, the hourglass long ago upended.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Short Story



Favorite - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman - Gaiman is one of my favorite author's and I love his short stories.  This collection was one of my favorite reads of 2017.



Least Favorite - Futura by Jordan Phillips - Technically, this is a novella but I'm still counting it here.  I liked the concept, but I think I would have preferred the story as a dystopian from the perspective of the Basics and the Holdouts rather than from Ruby's utopian view.


Have you ever read any of these stories before?  What are you reading this weekend?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read.  Here we go, in no particular order:


Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter #1) by Jeff Lindsay - I really liked this mystery thriller (and what I've seen of the tv adaptation), but I doubt I'll go back and reread this though I may someday continue the series.


The Last Orphans (The Last Orphans #1) by N.W. Harris - I read this YA dystopia for review a few years ago and it was pretty great, especially if you're a fan of The Walking Dead or Revolution.  The sequel was also pretty cool.  One of these days I'd still like to read book three.


I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga - This was an excellent YA mystery thriller.  While I probably won't reread book one, I'd still like to attempt the rest of the series.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - This was absolutely fantastic, but the odds of me doing a reread are pretty low actually.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan - This was my first experience with Levithan and I'd still like to try Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story.


Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon #1) by Dan Brown - This is my favorite book in the series, but odds are pretty low that I'll be return to this story.


Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander #1) by Henning Mankell - I've read five books in this series and I need to continue it, but I doubt I'll start again from the beginning of the series.


The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - I should probably reread this classic, but I honestly I doubt I will.


Dhampir (The Noble Dead: Series 1 #1) by Barb and J.C. Hendee - I love the first series in this world, but I think I'd rather move on to series two rather than reread the first.


A Living Nightmare (Cirque Du Freak #1) by Darren Shan - Shan's take on vampires is so cool and this twelve book saga is well worth jumping into, but there are other books by Darren Shan I'd prefer to pick up for the first time.


Have you read any of the books I've featured this week?  What books have you loved, but have no plans to reread?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!