Friday, July 29, 2016

Pokemon Indigo League Read-a-Thon Signup/TBR

With Pokemon being such a great big part of my life (I remember collecting the cards and playing the original games on the Gameboy), I thought this would be a great read-a-thon to take part in. It is being hosted by Aentee at Read At Midnight. She came up with a whole host of challenges, point systems, and more for this readathon; I can't wait for it to start. 

The Pokemon Indigo League Read-a-thon starts Sunday August 14th and continues for a nice long 3 weeks. It's nice and cushy, giving you plenty of time to complete the challenges without the stress a shorter read-a-thon might have. It ends on Sunday September 4th and in that time you have these challenges to complete:

Read the first book in a series.

My selection: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read a book that might make you cry.

My selection: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Read a book with thunderous hype.

My selection: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Read a book featuring diversity.

My selection: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Read a book with an epic romance.

My selection: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Read a book with fantasy or supernatural elements.

My selection: Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Read a book with a red cover.

My selection: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Read a book with post-apocalyptic settings.

My selection: Wool by Hugh Howey

These are just the gym challenges, though! There is a point system and the points aren't just that, oh no, they are combat points. You get to pick a representative Pokemon and these points you earn act as combat points for them. The more you get, the stronger your Pokemon gets and if it gets strong enough (and if it can) it evolves! :o I have chosen Happiny as my Pokemon. 

Current CP: 10

This evolutionary line has always been my favorite and I was really happy when it got expanded to have three stages.

Happiny, Chansey, and Blissey are the Pokemon you'd be most likely to see around the Pokemon Center as Chansey is the often chosen companion of Nurse Joys the world over. She's such a sweetheart, so I'll begin with her baby form and work towards her ultimate form as Blissey.

For reference, here is the point system chart to figure out how to earn the most points:

  • Each participant can choose one Pokemon, and will start with i) 10CP (Combat Power) for a Pokemon that can evolve OR ii) 50CP for a Pokemon that cannot evolved e.g. Lapras.
  • For each 10 pages they read during the challenge, their Pokemon will gain +1CP. That’s +10CP per 100 pages!
  • For each gym badge/book completed, they will gain an extra +20CP.

  • For each review you post of a book you read during the Read-a-Thon period, gain an extra +20CP.

  • Each time you tweet under the hashtag #ReadThemAllThon on Twitter, gain +2CP.

  • Each time you post a photo of your book + a Pokemon (via Pokemon Go camera function) under the hashtag #ReadThemAllThon on Twitter, gain +5CP.

  • When you are 150CP, your Pokemon can evolve, earning you gain an extra +50CP. If your Pokemon has a third evolutionary form, it can evolve again at 400CP and gain you an extra +50CP.

  • If you choose a Magikarp, you can’t evolve until you get to 450CP, but you will gain an extra +120CP when you have a Gyarados. Basically, if you think you can read loads of books, choose a Magikarp.

  • Whoever owns the Pokemon with the highest CP in the end, wins the title of Pokemon League Champion and will earn a prize (to be announced), as well as bragging rights.

I recommend this read-a-thon even if you don't play Pokemon Go. The challenges alone are interesting, but this might also be a good introduction to the game if you're unfamiliar with it. Either way, it looks to be a load of fun, so please join in and check back here frequently during the read-a-thon to see how my little Happiny is doing in her quest to be the very best!

**Thank you to Aetnee for the use of her banners/graphics in this post.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Invisible Library is one of those books that a bookworm looks for, dreams about finding, and can spend an evening reading only to want to pick it back up immediately upon finishing and starting over again.

Irene is a spy for the Library who gets to travel through time, space, and dimensions to find books that are specific to a time, place, or reality. It can be a grand adventure that involves magic in varying levels, from barely there all the way up to DRAGONS. Who doesn't want to be a time traveling librarian with the possibility of hanging out with dragons?

I thought that the premise alone sounded promising and I'm glad that I picked this book up. The summary likened this book to Doctor Who and I can definitely see the appeal to fans of that show (I am one myself). I think it would also appeal to fans of the Thursday Next and Harry Potter books. The worlds/realities are filled with the magic/science fiction appeal of the previously mentioned titles, but there's a bit more in-depth thought needed when dealing with the chaos infestations and specifications.

Irene was a bold character that had a lot of strength in her without being too brash. She is a Librarian because her parents were. She seems to enjoy her fate as best as anyone can and does her job pretty damn well, I think. She doesn't let the tedium of an assignment get in the way of her completing the job and getting her man (or book, as the case is).

The writing was a good pace. I wouldn't say it was the fastest going story I've ever read, but I think that worked in this instance. Rather than rushing through the story and hurrying past something important, Genevieve Cogman took her time and let us figure out Irene's world and what it entailed. She found a good balance between finding things out for ourselves and showing us what we needed to know as we needed it.

There are two more books in Irene's adventures thus far and I cannot stress enough how glad I am that they are already published. These are stories that are begging to be read and read quickly.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Harry Potter Thursday: You can have lunch with 2 characters from the series, Who are they and why?

Harry Potter Thursday is a weekly meme created by Uncorked Thoughts.

I love this week's topic. It's a take on that traditional topic of what historical figure would you have lunch with. Who hasn't thought of what fictional character they'd like to meet, much less spend a meal getting to know?

I think this one is a little more complicated because, as I sit here thinking about who I would pick, I wonder how they would get along during the meal. Would they act civilly? Would a wizard's duel break out over tea and dessert? 

There are just so many to choose from, I'm going to have to go with the first two characters that come to mind.

Luna has been one of my favorite characters since her first appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was a free spirit that was someone I wanted to be. She didn't care for one moment what others thought of her, thought of the things she was interested in or talked about. That takes a kind of strength that is unheard of to me and I admire her for being able to be who she was without compromise.

I'd want to have lunch with her because I think we'd have a lot to talk about. Not only would I have a lot of questions for her, but I bet if the conversation ever lagged, she'd be able to pick it up and tell me all about different magical creatures.

Neville Longbottom is another character whose strength is very admirable. He changes so much from the first book to the end of the series. Think about it: he starts out as a bit of a meek person and, over the course of time and through many trials, becomes someone capable of killing a Horcrux. He never loses his gentle nature, though, even though there are many that bully him over the years from fellow students to teachers.

I'd like to have lunch with him because I relate to him a lot. I get what it must have been like to go through school and deal with people trying to take you down every day. I think I'd like to ask him about that, to start with, ask him how he got beyond it and grew into the man he is today.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group here.

This was a well timed topic. I hadn't realized it would be the topic when I was doing this, but about an hour before hand I was updating my wishlists on Amazon and Goodreads for a swap coming up. What are the odds? There were a lot more additions to those lists than just 5, but these were the latest ones to hit the list.

The list goes from the book that was the "longest" on the list to the one that is the "newest" on the list.

5. The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

I love reading books from all over, even if it is sometimes comforting to read them from a setting I'm familiar with, aka the US. Someday I hope to travel and visit some of the places that are mentioned in these books, but until then I shall read about them and share them with you, fellow readers. This Top 10 Tuesday's topic is about sharing our favorite reads that take place outside of the US and I have compiled just such a list for you today.

10. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

This is one of the few books I've actually enjoyed that talked about mental illness and didn't make it sound ridiculous. 

Setting: London, if I remember correctly

I thought this book to be very beautiful. It imitated it's heroine and left me wanting more every time I put it down.

Setting; I forget the exact country, but I believe it's somewhere in the Middle  East.

There's quite a lot I would give to be able to visit the circus just once. Maybe someday it will appear, but until then I will have to read it again and again and simply dream.

Setting: This one might be cheating a little as there are a couple chapters that take place in the US, but for the most part it doesn't. There are stops all over the world, primarily in Europe. Germany, France, etc. You name it, the Cirque du Reves probably stopped there.

I liked this collection of letters because it was about books, yes, but it was also about a friendship that developed slowly and without a lot of complicated nonsense. There wasn't much in the way of distraction and you could concentrate on the people involved rather than background noise.

Setting: This one is also a little bit of a cheat, as one half of the writing pair is located in the US, but oh well. :P

This book has one of my favorite heroines of all time. She's much more vicious than any in recent memory and her story flowed so well it was a pity to be done with it (for now; it was only the first book in a new series).

Setting: Transylvania, Wallachia

These were some of my favorite stories as a child. They're great for bedtime and if they're a little sad now, being a grown up and all, I don't think I realized it as a child.

Setting: France

This had beauty, tragedy, and all manner of monsters in it. It's only the first book! How much more can one person's heart take? I'll find out eventually, as I have the rest of the series ready to go, but until then. tears, people, and lots of 'em!

Setting: Prague

When I picked this up, I was fascinated. I'm used to reading books told with text and pictures as I read a lot of manga, but this was different.  The illustrations were near on art work, as they're a misty charcoal quality, and the story was like a fairy tale. It was wondrous and sad and beautiful and, honestly, quite a lot of the things you'd expect in a fairy tale.

Setting: Paris, France

If it hadn't been for work, this easily would've been a book I had read in one sitting. It's eerie and there's just the right amount of mystery as to what's going on. You can never quite tell whether  there's magic or not, whether the tree is actually what the MC thinks it is or not. Is it all real or just the deepest wish of a grieving girl? You'll have to read it find out for yourself. The journey is not to be missed.

Setting: Great Britain

This was an odd book that tricked me at first because I didn't realize the author, William Goldman, was making fun of things (aka S. Morgenstern not being real, for one). It's a grand adventure and one that transcends the page into film beautifully. Whether you first find it via one or the other, reading about Westley and Buttercup will be funny, sad, baffling, and all other sorts of insanity.

Setting: Florin/Gilder (not real countries, but based off places in Europe)

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood

May 1904. Coney Island’s newest amusement park, Dreamland, has just opened. Its many spectacles are expected to attract crowds by the thousands, paying back investors many times over.

Kitty Hayward and her mother arrive by steamer from South Africa. When Kitty’s mother takes ill, the hotel doctor sends Kitty to Manhattan to fetch some special medicine. But when she returns, Kitty’s mother has vanished. The desk clerk tells Kitty she is at the wrong hotel. The doctor says he’s never seen her although, she notices, he is unable to look her in the eye.

Alone in a strange country, Kitty meets the denizens of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. A relic of a darker, dirtier era, Magruder's is home to a forlorn flea circus, a handful of disgruntled Unusuals, and a mad Uzbek scientist. Magruder’s Unusuals take Kitty under their wing and resolve to find out what happened to her mother.

But as a plague spreads, Coney Island is placed under quarantine. The gang at Magruder’s finds that a missing mother is the least of their problems, as the once-glamorous resort town is abandoned to the freaks, anarchists, and madmen.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magruder's was an engaging novel that takes place in the early half of the twentieth century. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about, though I'm sad to say that until now I had not read one concerning Coney Island.

The story had a slow building quality to it that was comfortable and fit well with the situation at hand. The characters were a motley crew that I never doubted for a moment, which is possibly why I rated this a bit lower that I might normally have.

Kitty's travels to and through the mysterious Curiosity Cabinet certainly grab your attention and I don't think you'll want to put it down for long if at all. There's the trouble with a vanishing mother and then, more terrifying I think, the threat of an illness that is sweeping through the island. Stories that have a disease, especially in a historical time before much was known about treatment, are quite chilling.

Be prepared for wonder and fear, excitement and nervous terror. Enjoy a trip to Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Street Team: Interview with Emily France, author of Signs of You

Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

As part of the Sunday Street Team and in celebration of the release of Emily France's Signs of You, I have the pleasure of hosting Emily France on my blog today. I got to ask her some questions that were inspired by the synopsis of her book, and a few that were off the cuff.

It was a great chance to get to know her and I hope, having taken this chance to get to know her too, you'll look forward to her book, Signs of You, as much as I do. There's a Rafflecopter at the end, so be sure to check that out!

Do you thinks ghosts are real?

Well, I’ll say that I believe that the people we’ve lost are always connected to us. I’ve felt loved and supported by family members who are no longer physically with me, whether it’s through their memories, or maybe a bird I see flying across the sky at just the right moment, or even in a dream. So I’m not sure how we all stay connected, I just know that we do.

What is one thing that people typically think is imaginary that you most wish was real? Time travel, unicorns, etc?

Magical wardrobes. I would love to come across some antique cabinet, hop in, and get out in a magical world. Maybe I just haven’t found the right closet yet? I’m keeping hope alive.

In your travels, what has been the most awe inspiring sight you've seen thus far?

Standing in a tea field in Darjeeling, India and seeing the Himalayan mountains loom in the bright blue sky. It very literally took my breath away. And I drank the greatest cup of tea of my life in a little shelter on that hillside.

Is there a book that has ever helped you get through a difficult time? If so, what was it and how did it help?

So many books have done this for me. When I was in the tenth grade, my very favorite person in the world was my grandmother and she started suffering from a horrible illness. I watched her deteriorate for years. I became obsessed with The Great Gatsby at that time. I even drew larger-than-life characters on huge reams of paper and hung them around my room. Looking back, I think I loved being whisked away from my grief and into the glittering, glamorous world of Gatsby.

If you could write any genre other than the one you've already written in, and didn't have to worry about deadlines or anything, what genre do you think you'd like to tackle?

Fantasy! I would love to write a story that legitimately called for the use of castles. I’ve tried to shoehorn them into a few of my contemporary stories and they’re just awkward. It’s kind of a tough sell to have a castle right beside a mall.

If you could bring a literary being out of a book for a day and share an experience with them, who would it be and what would you do with them?

I would totally hang out with Nancy Drew and solve a crime.

What do you find more peaceful, sunny days or rainy afternoons?

Sunny days! That’s one of the many reasons I love Colorado. We get lots of sun here.

Adult coloring books are a big trend right now. If you are interested in them, or were to get into them, what show or book series do you think you'd most enjoy having a coloring book based on, i.e. Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones, etc.?

I haven’t used these, but I totally get the appeal. I love to meditate and to me, coloring sounds like just another meditative practice. A way to be in the here and now, one pencil stroke at a time. I get it.

Oh, and I’d like a coloring book based on Game of Thrones. I mean . . . dragons. Enough said.

What is the first book you can remember reading or being read as a child?

Frog and Toad are Friends!  I adored that story and still keep a copy on my bookshelf in my living room. Now that I think about it, it’s funny that SIGNS OF YOU is centered on four epic friendships. I guess I’ve loved stories about friends for a long, long time.

Thanks for having me!

About the Author

Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure 

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. 

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Rating: 3 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you're looking for something in the vein of A Man Called Ove, a book about an elderly man and life after loss but with a somewhat more lighthearted tale, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a step in the right direction.

Arthur Pepper is a nice gentleman, a kind soul if you will, who seems perfectly content to stay at home with his routine. I get that, I do, and I really connected with Arthur and his need for a steady rhythm, particularly in light of the fact that his wife died recently. However, life has other plans for him when he finds a charm bracelet of his wife's he doesn't recognize which propels him into the wider world and on an adventure he didn't see coming.

The story was very mellow, which I appreciated. I think this would be a good book to pick up in the spring, after the coldness of winter has worn away at you and you're ready for the life of spring to come again. You can picture all the foreign places that Arthur visits in his quest to learn more about his wife prior to their life together.

It isn't overly complicated or involved. I think there's enough plot to keep you going, but it does dip low in the beginning and I was worried that it wouldn't pick up the pace enough. Once I got over the initial hump, I enjoyed the story because it was, as I said, simple, lighthearted, and a cute adventure that doesn't ask too much of the reader.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was an awesome combination of comic book hilarity, anime zaniness, and a touch of uniqueness that Sarah Kuhn brings to the table.

I can easily imagine this story in any medium and would love to see it grow from it's initial incarnation: this hilarious, fun, fast pace adventure that brought a smile to my face in all the right places.

Evie is the personal assistant to a super heroine who is much put upon. I think any personal assistant is, but boy does Evie have her work cut out for her. Scrubbing demon cupcake goo out of leather? Out of the hardwood floors in their San Francisco home/headquarters? Man does she have it rough, but she has it all in hand. She's brilliant, strong in more ways than one, and doesn't let anything stop her, even personal difficulties. Evie is an admirable kind of girl and watching her handle everything in this book, from demons to her boss to her sister and more, was entertaining, bewildering, and more.

Under different circumstances, Aveda might have been a terrible character that I could easily hate and wish harm upon. However, Sarah Kuhn made her sympathetic and explained a lot about her character. While she still had a few moments that made me kind of want to smack her, they were ordinary moments and not over the top. Aveda made the best of a weird, bad situation and built up this cool new persona. There's a lot of pressure behind doing that, but she's doing it to protect her people, regardless of what the gossip mags say about her.

This is a great story for fans of the superhero genre in any incarnation: movies, comics, etc. It has a cool view into the behind the scenes set up of being a superhero in the modern age: managing your brand, dealing with reporters head on, etc. I highly recommend this for fans of fun, snarktastic super heroines, their sidekicks, and all that that entails.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

In Ink and BoneNew York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If Ink and Bone introduced us to a fantastic world that had us on the edge of our seats in wonder, then Paper and Fire had us fully out of them and on the run.

There are a great many terrifying images in this book that range from the loss of friends to the burning of books (any bibliophile's nightmare) to being hunted by automatons.

At every turn there's something else for the characters to worry about. There's a lot of action packed into a very short period of time, which makes it a bit of a whirlwind to follow. There's more of the book's world to see here and seeing it through the eyes of Jess and his friends while they're dealing with the sheer amount of chaos and adrenaline that must be rushing through their brains is a roller coaster reading experience.

The ending was a bit of a shocker for me and almost makes me sad that I read this book early because that makes it feel like I have to wait just that much longer for the third book in the series. I can't wait to see it and experience another story in the world of the Great Library, all powerful and frightening as they are.


As a special treat from the publisher, I'm giving away a trade paperback edition of Ink and Bone, the first book in the Great Library series. If you haven't had a chance to read it or Paper and Fire yet, please feel free to enter!

Just an aside, as it will be shipped directly from the publisher, it is limited to US entries only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Review: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

Rating:  5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so much fun. I thought that I would like it from the description alone, but I had no idea how much I would love it.

The characters were a blast. Yuri reminded me of a young but slightly more likable Sheldon Cooper if he were played by Anton Yelchin. That is who I had in my head the whole time I was reading this book. Katie Kennedy was really about to make this an engaging character that made my emotions run the gamut from impressed to annoyed to in love with to sad for.

I think the story about the asteroid heading for Earth is important and certainly frightening. After all, there isn't a whole lot us "ordinary" folks can do to stop it. Certainly can't run away, can we? But besides that part of the book, there were a lot of metaphors that Yuri and the asteroid and his research stood for that I thought were equally as important. There's standing up for yourself, being the best you can be even if others think that's weird.

Yuri may have annoyed me, angered me, and quite a few other things, but he also (and more importantly) made me happy and proud to have read a story about his journey from a socially awkward genius who can't make people listen to reason to so much more.

The side characters were a hoot as well. Dovie's family was amazing. At first I wasn't sure what to think of them, but they were so welcoming (mostly ;) ).

Some of the science talk went a bit over my head, but thank god for context clues because even if you don't wholly understand some of what Yuri or the other scientists are saying at a given point, you can work it out after a minute.

This was a great story with more than a decent ending. It was funny and heart warming and, really, just all the good things.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White


And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The summary says it all: no one expects a princess to be brutal.

Lada was a refreshing character because she has a savagery that made her more than what she appeared and made her wholly unique to me. She was still sympathetic as a character, but she tiptoed on the line that I see becoming more blurry these days. From another point of view, Lada might well be considered a villain and these days, readers and show watchers are being made to love these characters, to want them to be what they are and nothing more just so we can love them for it. If Lada is to be that kind of villain, then I embrace it because she was fantastic in this book.

Her brother Radu, while not my favorite character, acted as a good counterbalance to her strong personality, though that may not have worked out well for him, considering he's supposed to be the boy who's strong and fierce and he just isn't. He's a sensitive soul born in the wrong time and if he or Lada let's it, it's a time that will destroy him.

The storytelling doesn't linger too long to get to the heart of the story and takes it's time once there so you can enjoy it. I like that the author didn't hover over something terribly unimportant and make me groan while waiting for the next thing to happen.

And I Darken is full of morally questionable characters I can't help but love, a few honorable ones that are too good for their world, and it has a story that I anticipate gobbling up each volume of until we get to what I'm sure is going to be a terrifying conclusion.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.