Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Okay, this book was partially a cover buy and partially because when it was released it was all over the internet and the storyline just begged to be read.

For those of you who don't know it's about a girl, a boy, and a prince. Together they have to work together to assassinate a king and stop a war. The girl can speak to the Gods, the boy has a pretty monstrous secret and the prince has a lot to learn about who to trust. It's got romance, gothic feels, and its the type of fantasy that I love with plenty of magical things going on.

Right off the bat you get thrown into the action. There's a war going on and don't you know it!

The magical element was really different too, and I totally loved it. Having a story about a girl (and culture) of people who, when chosen, can speak to the Gods and use their abilities was pretty seriously great. The other magical element of having people who use their blood to activate spells they tear out of books they wear on their waist was so neat!

This was fast read for me, partially because I was totally absorbed in the story, and partially because it's wasn't an overly complicated read.

The writing in this book was something really great. The way the author wrote the characters, it was like you knew them immediately and you developed feelings about them so fast that when something happened, you could really feel for the characters. This was especially apparent with the villains. One second you feel one way and then it's call different! I won't say more, you'll just have to read the book!

The story was so built up that I was in a hurry for the ending because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen. This meant that the ending didn't quite satisfy me. I've since learned this will be part of a trilogy, so it makes sense the ending I was after didn't quite happen yet.

It's also possible I'm missing something in the ending because I read it so quickly. I think I might need to revisit it, especially before I read the next one when it come out. I will admit that when it was over I felt like I was missing something.

Overall, I really liked this book! It was an interesting and different gothic fantasy young adult read and I enjoyed it! I will definitely read the rest of the series when it comes out.

Recommendations: For fantasy lovers who love a good magic system, gothic elements, and interesting villains!

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Struggle With TBR's

I began this book blogging journey by keeping a notebook where I would write down my thoughts on the books I'd like to write about. At this point I am on my fifth notebook.

On the first page of the first one I placed sticky notes listing the names of all the books I planned on reading and reviewing. I think I was able to get 25 on each side of the first page if I lined them up just right.

I started this because I am a big believer of writing down simple to-do lists and things like that so that I can get that satisfying feeling of crossing out things once I've done them. This was the same idea I had when I created this sticky note list of books. Once I finished reading and taking notes on a book I would gleefully tear off its corresponding sticky note. 

A book made it onto a sticky note usually when it came home with me (either from a bookstore or the library) and I thought it would be perfect to review. Somehow I managed to fill up the first notebook before I finished the list of sticky noted books so I transferred them into the second notebook. By the end of the second notebook, the sticky note list was a lot smaller but still hanging on.

I transferred it into the third book for all of 10 minutes before I pulled half of them off and replaced them with new books that I was more excited to read. That lasted I think for another day till I pulled them all off and threw them out. 

The books on the sticky notes just became like failed tasks. A lot of the remaining books have been on the list since the very beginning and it was starting to drive me nuts. The list was supposed to make me feel more organized but instead I felt confined. 

This feeling was exactly the reason I've stopped trying to keep TBR (to be read) lists. Every single time I wrote out a monthly TBR list, I would give up after about two books. What I think I would love to read would change all the time. Either new books would find their way into my hands or my moods would change and the lists would be ugly little reminders that I wasn't keeping up with my goals again and nobody needs that kind of negativity.

I've since acquired a book cart and decided right off the bad that the top shelf was going to be where I'd place books I'd like to read soon. I went and pulled some books from my bookshelves and then arranged them on the cart. I told myself it wasn't a TBR because those didn't work for me. I told myself that I was just going to put books on there for now and grab them when I wanted to read. It's been about three months, if not more. Some of those books are still there. Do I go there when I need a new read? Nope. It's like those books I was so excited for are now being ignored because they aren't on my bookshelf, they are on my cart.

I believe that am done with ever having another TBR. Goodbye to the book lists and shelves of books set aside because I think I'll read them soon. Goodbye to the stress they cause. I am just going to read what I want when I want and throw the rest out the window. 

Don't worry about my book cart though! She's still there, and still so very useful. Right now I'm in the middle of about 5 different books and they are living on the top shelf along with books who are simply waiting to be put onto my shelf. The middle rack is a catchall from my desk, and the bottom are books I'm going to donate or drop off at a free library.

How about you? Tell me your thoughts! Do you love TBR's? Do you hate them? If you love them, tell me how you deal with them and make them work!





Saturday, July 6, 2019

Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan

This completely new to me book was one I stumbled across by sheer luck on my last bookstore trip. It's bright beautiful cover was facing out at me on the shelf as I walked by. As soon as I read the back, I was hooked.

It's the 4th in a series and it's about a retired Inspector turned private investigator in India. The best part? He is quite often accompanied on his investigations by his baby elephant Ganesha!

This book has never crossed my feed on bookstagram, and I'm seriously sorry for that because this book/series deserves all the attention!

As I intend to gush about each and every one of these on my blog when I finish reading them, I'll tell you a little bit more about the actual story: There has been a death at the Grand Raj Palace hotel. An American billionaire business man has been found dead, the day after buying India's most expensive painting. Officially, the police and officials want to label it a suicide, but the man in charge of the investigation doesn't believe it's suicide. Chopra is called in to investigate, and along with his baby elephant Ganesha, he gets down to work on the case.

The writing is so good! The characters are phenomenal! The story is just so much fun that you just can't put it down! This is a more intricate cozy mystery. Books like this one are exactly the kind of reads I so adore!

There are four books in the series, with another one coming out later this year in August. I believe there are also two short stories as eBooks too that go along with this series. All I know is I need to get shopping and put these on my shelf A.S.A.P for a binge reading weekend! I will say I was a little miffed because even at the bookstore, I could tell this wasn't the first in the series, but they didn't have any of the other books in stock. After going online and checking my other local bookstores, they don't have them either, which I think is totally nuts.

Honestly, I don't even want to tell you anything else about the book because its so good. If you're reading this, you need to just go read the book and see what I mean Really though, I don't remember being this excited about a book I've read in a really long time. It's that freaking amazing!

Recommendation: If you love mysteries, this is 100% for you. It's got amazing characters, intriguing mysteries, and wonderful writing. You need to read this book!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

You might have seen this book around, or you've seen the other books in the series, so this probably isn't a new-to-anyone-book. I arrived late to this particular party and I am regretting it!

When I first heard about this book, it was 100% due to bookstagram. People were posting about it, photographing it, showing it off. It was a thing. Like I usually do with books I see on bookstagram (especially with YA books that are hugely hyped up) I go to my local bookstore to find the book and check it out myself in person.

For whatever reason, the first time I picked up this book.... I wasn't interested.

Honestly, I was surprised at myself. I love murder mysteries, particularly historical ones so the whole history of Jack The Ripper and all the books/folklore/stories written about it have always captured my attention. This one though? I didn't think this was the book for me.

Right off the bat, the back cover alludes to the main character loving Jack The Ripper. Maybe I was afraid this book was going to go down some seriously unforgivable path of adoration and encouragement of a murderer. I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't think I should read this book.

Then another one in the series came out, this one about Dracula. Then another one came out. Now there's a fourth one coming out.

I caved and grabbed up one of the mass market paperbacks. Guess what? I liked it. A lot. I'm going to read more of the series. It's on my TBR. Especially the next one.

This book was quite different than a lot of the other books I've read surrounding Jack The Ripper. The story about people around the case was different enough and new to me that I found it to be quite interesting. Not often do you see a story from the point of view of a young woman who is studying forensic medicine in that time period.

This book does tell you who (in this fictional literary universe) Jack The Ripper is, which was a surprising but interesting take on it. 

If this book is something you've stayed away from, for whatever reason, I urge you to pick it up and read a couple of pages. It's not what I expected but in such a different and good way, that I think you'll find yourself regretting not having read it sooner like I did!

Recommendations: If you are intrigued by the mysteries surrounding Jack The Ripper and love reading anything and everything, fiction or not, about him and the case, then you'll most likely enjoy this one. Also if you have a love for tough female heroines who stand up for themselves and for women in general, you'll like this book!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Roar by Cora Carmack

I loved this book!

If you're not familiar with this book, it's a young adult fantasy featuring a princess who's kingdom is in trouble, storm magic, princes, hunters, and a quest to save the world.

The writing in this book was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this story.

We meet a princess by the name of Aurora who's about to marry a prince she's never met so she can hide the fact that she doesn't possess the storm magic that her family was born with. Her kingdom would suffer from the ravages of storms because she would be powerless to help, and she would be in major trouble if anyone found out. Marrying a prince who does have storm magic would cover it all up and both she and her kingdom would be safe.

She's almost fully resigned to her fate when she finds out that there are regular people in the world who weren't born with storm magic either, but now have it. There's another way to get storm magic and perhaps she can too, and won't have to marry that prince, or fall into ruin if she's found out.

I won't go into any more details because I don't want to spoil the story, but the rest of the book is her chasing that possibility.

I did think, going into this, that it might be like a lot of other books of this type (which I totally love) but it was more than that. It had a lot of the same bits and pieces from other YA fantasy featuring princesses and magic, but it was put together in a new way. This book was really refreshing that way.

There's romance, there's character growth, there's sub plots, and side stories. There's a lot of meat in this book, and I am digging it!!

There will be a second book very soon that follows this one and I CANNOT WAIT! I need to know what happens!!

Recommendation: For the YA fantasy lovers, for those who like a little love with their adventures, for those who love strong female characters coming into their own, this is for you!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell


This was a cover buy from Book Outlet some months back and I finally picked it up last month.

I picked this up one evening and read it all in one sitting, I think around 3 or so hours. 

The main reason I got this book was because I thought it was a thriller of sorts. The cover shows what books like a breakfast with lovely plates and cups but if you look closer, there's food splattered on the wall and things aren't quite right. The blurb on the front mentions nail biting suspense.

The back cover talks about this man who's third wife has died under mysterious circumstances and there's underlying secrets around her death. Could it have been suicide? As the man digs into her death, more secrets arise. It appears like someone close to home could have had something to do with her death. The word "psychological" was written on the back.

All of this made me feel like it would be a mysterious, thrilling read that I typically really enjoy.

This wasn't that.

First off, let me tell you what I did like. The writing itself was great. Lisa Jewell is a wonderful writer. I was drawn in and I was glued to the page till about the last 30 pages of this book. I had to know what happened. I didn't like her characters, but I could immerse myself into the story enough that I was swept up by it like every well written book.

My problem? I didn't like the story.

There was no where near enough mystery and thrilling bits for me. It felt more like a permission slip to men who create families and leave families. That it's okay to keep jumping ship and marrying someone new. Everyone's fine, and even when they aren't you can make it better later.

I won't say anymore than that about the storyline, because even though I didn't love it, I don't want to accidentally spoil it.

The end was the worst part to me. The was the story resolved just fell flat and disappointed me. I was so into seeing what would happen next that the ending just made the journey feel cheap.


Recommendation: For the lovers of family stories, for the broken down parts of family life, for those who are into the drama of the perfect looking families. Not for those seeking mystery and thrilling suspense.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Slayer by Kiersten White

This book just came out recently and I am so happy its out in the world! I had requested this book on Netgalley and I was quite happy that I was able to read it last year!! I used to watch Buffy on TV as a teen, and since then I've renewed my interest in it.

This book is about The Watchers, the ones who are left, and the last Slayer to exist after Buffy. Basically things are in shambles due to what Buffy did (which since I haven't watched the whole show I have no real frame of reference for) and it follows the lives of Nina and her twin sister Artemis who grew up at the Watchers Academy. There are only a small number of Watchers left, and they are focused on being ready when needed for any future Slayers.

Nina gets quite a shock when she discovers she's the last Slayer. Ever.

There's demons, monsters, all the baddies from this world you could think of. There's betrayal, secrets, and anger. It's one heck of a journey.

I read this all at once and I liked it. There were moments where I was wondering why bits were necessary, but I think perhaps there's a larger story at work here and as the series goes, more will be known.

Slayer was well written. I was glued to the page and had to finish it in one sitting! It's just one of those engrossing reads that pulls you out of your everyday life and throws you into an adventure to the point where you forget your troubles. 

I'm happy to have read gotten the opportunity to read this before it was released. It wasn't what I was expecting but it was quite good!

Since I've only just begun to re-watch all of Buffy, I am looking forward to needing to re-read this novel again once I'm finished, and to follow along with the series!

Recommendation: For the lovers of Buffy and vampire/creature type stories. For the lovers of books about finding out who you are and those who just love one heck of an adventure

Thursday, January 3, 2019

I Like Big Books

Towards the end of last year I found myself drawn to the fantasy section at the bookstore and to the thick mass market paperbacks that live there. 

Before picking up The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, I didn't know anything about the Wheel of Time series, or that it even existed. What happened was I picked up one of the huge books on the shelf, saw on the back there were 14 books in the series, and I was hooked. The blurb on the back was a total non-blurb, just a sentence about the Wheel of Time. The cover art was gorgeous and detailed, and there was no way I was leaving without that first book. There were 14 in this series. That was a whole lot of amazingness that I needed in my life. 

Funnily enough, after never having seen these books before in my life, I started seeing little mentions of The Eye of the World on bookstagram, along with mention of the rest of the series. 

So far I am about 250 pages into the book and I am loving it. Having been a fan of fantasy since being a child reading Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall of Pern and David Eddings books that were on my Mom's bookshelf, it was great to come across another series of such greatness. I'm really not sure why I hadn't read anything by Robert Jordan before. 

Since buying the first book, I was finding myself just staring at it. I loved the feel of the book, the weight in my hand, how it looked on my shelf. It was massive as far as I was concerned, and I couldn't wait to devour it. I carried it around with my in my purse when I left the house, knowing I probably wasn't going to get to read it, but I didn't care. It just made me happy. 

I've sense bought the second and third one, and I received a box set of the 4th, 5th, and 6th books from my fiancee this past Christmas. 

Problem was, I had a book goal to get to last year, and The Eye of the World was such a big book. I kept putting it down in favour of faster reads, even though I've been enjoying it. I just couldn't devote the time to it because I needed to reach my goal. Spoiler alert: I didn't even reach my goal last year. 

I was also not familiar with the work of Brandon Sanderson, although I had heard of him before now. I found the first two books in The Stormlight Archive in mass market paper back size and I am in love. I haven't started reading them, but seeing them on my shelf makes me incredibly happy. 

2019 is the year of the big books, the books I want to read, and no big reading goals. I am just going to have fun with things and read what I want, which lately happens to be fantasy! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reading Goals for 2019

First we need to talk about 2018:

For the last couple of years I've been trying to read 100 books in a year. This hasn't actually happened. I think I made it to 50 or 60 in 2017 and then in 2018 I made it to 66 books when my goal was 75, which I thought would be easy.

I tried to read smaller books, ebooks, those that would be quick reads so I could add the book to the list of books I've finished. This was a really crappy way to read, and although I read a couple of good books last year, I don't have any that stand out as must-read-I'll-shout-it-from-the-rooftop books. That sucks. 

I tried to branch out by picking up some popular books, those that everyone else loved, telling myself I need to experience more reads outside of my comfort zone. Guess what? Those books are still sitting on my shelf unread. 

As for the Unread Shelf Project... well I was good for a couple months and then it was like it was never a thing. I acquired a lot of books last year and I still have yet to read most of them. I'm going to go count the unread and take stock of my books later today. 

Here's what I've decided to do in 2019:

1. My Goodreads goal is 12 books. That's one book a month, and more than doable. It's not about reaching a number, it's about reading whatever I want to read and just be happy. 

2. I will be attempting to do the Unread Shelf Project again, with two small changes. I will still acquire free ebooks and review copies, along with the occasional library trip. I will make allowances to buy books I need because they are part of a series I already own and am reading, or if it's one of the new releases I require from an auto buy author. Otherwise, there's no more trips to the book store buying a bunch of books because they sound good and I might like to read them, and I'm going to be "shopping" my own shelves for reads.

3. Catch up on reviews/post more frequently on here. I really do love bookstagram and writing reviews on my blog, regardless if who reads them. I really want to write more than just reviews and this year I'm going to make more time to do just that. 

4. I want to be as free as I can be about what I read, like I used to do. I think the last year or so I was more focused on reading what everyone else was reading, including new releases, when there are so many older books out there I would love to read. Now it's going to be all about what I want to read.

This is my plan and I am excited for all the great reads waiting for me! 

What are your reading goals?