Whatcha Readin?

Hi all! I am in the middle of a few books, so I don’t have a full review for you today. Instead I thought I’d do a little promo for the books I’m currently reading. They are so good!

The Juliet (Laura Ellen Scott)

29511753Description: During Death Valley’s great wildflower bloom of 2005, retired cowboy actor Rigg Dexon gives a rootless woman a gift that will change her life forever: the deed to The Mystery House, a century old shack long thought to be the hiding place of a legendary emerald known as The Juliet. Willie Judy remembers Dexon from cereal commercials she watched as a kid, but now she’ll spend the next seven days searching for the truth about him, the house, and herself, as the history of The Juliet reveals the American Dream’s dark side—one that is corrupt, bawdy, and half insane.

Thoughts: This one is a bit odd, but I’m really enjoying it so far! I plan to do a full review of it when I’m done, so I won’t say too much here. Suffice it to say, if you like a little bit of mystery, a touch of thriller, and a lot of The West, you should enjoy it! 🙂

Ireland (Frank Delaney)

90360Description: One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland’s history. Ronan, a 9-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again. Ronan’s search for the Storyteller becomes both a journey of self-discovery, long unspoken family secrets, and an immersion into the sometimes conflicting histories of his native land.

Thoughts: I’m really loving the storytelling vibe of this one. I’m doing the audiobook, which is the perfect medium for this type of novel, especially since the author contributes his wonderful Irish brogue which only enhances the tales. If you love history, Ireland, or even just listening to someone tell you a good story, this one is for you!

Up Next:

The Shack (William Paul Young)

1812457Description: Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

Thoughts: This one was chosen by my Book Club to be our next read. I’ll be honest, even being Catholic, I get a bit leery about “religious” books, but the story line sounds thoughtful and hopefully a bit inspiring, so I’m gonna give it a go.

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery (Kurtis J Wiebe, author & Roc Upchurch, artist)

20299683Description: Who are the Rat Queens? They’re a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they’re in the business of killing all the god’s creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.

Thoughts: The description goes on to say the book is “like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack”…how could I resist that?!? 😉 Honestly, this sounds like a fun series and the artwork is really cool, so I’m going to cross my fingers and dive on in!


So how about you guys? What are you reading right now?

Bookish Book Lover Tag

Found this on the Thrice Read blog and thought it looked fun!

Rules:

  • Use the original banner.
  • Answer the questions!
  • Use lots of book covers.
  • Tag your friends.

What book are you currently reading?

90360Ireland by Frank Delaney – This is a wonderful little book about a Storyteller in Ireland and the boy he inspires. I’m listening to it on audio, which is probably the best medium for this novel, since it makes you feel like you’re actually sitting and listening to the Storyteller and the boy tell you the history of Ireland.


What’s the last book you finished?

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber – I did a review that you can read here, but basically it’s a fun adventure/mystery about a girl searching for her lost sister within a magical treasure hunt.


Favorite book you read this year?

28449207.jpgStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I ADORED this book!!! You can read my review of it here. I can’t wait until the sequel comes out! Unfortunately, since this one literally came out like a month ago, I think I’m in for a long wait.


What genre have you read most this year?

I’ve actually read a good mixture so far this year. Mysteries, fantasies, sci-fi, contemporary fiction, non-fiction…I’ve been all over the place. 🙂


What genre have you read least this year?

90160Western. I’m not really a huge fan of pure westerns (give me a steampunk anyday), but I managed to force myself to read Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey for my reading challenge. My admittedly biased review can be found here. 😉


What genre do you want to read more of?

I’ve been trying to get myself to read more contemporary fiction lately. I have a tendency to stick with mysteries, fantasy, and sci-fi, so part of my reading challenge this year was to branch out a bit. I’m doing pretty well so far.


How many books have you read this year, and what’s your goal?

I have completed 26 books so far this year and am about halfway done with Ireland. My goal is 60 books, which is pretty average for what I read in a year.


What’s the last book you bought?

I actually just picked up 6 book from local authors at a Book Fest last weekend:


What book are you saving up to buy next?

I just recently (finally) read Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fables Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham. I loved them both! I might pick up the second volumes of each this weekend if I happen to swing by my local comic store for Free Comic Book Day.

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How many books did you check out last library visit?

Three. I went in for two, but got three. It’s an addiction, I swear.


What’s a book you can’t wait to read?

28208687I’m actually really looking forward to It Devours by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor. It’s the next book from the Welcome to Night Vale universe and it sounds pretty interesting. 🙂


What’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

22088245Hm…tricky. Depends on what genres you like. If you like fantasies (and especially if you like role playing games), then you’d probably enjoy the Spells, Swords, & Stealth series by Drew Hayes. I’ve only read the first book, NPCs, so far, but am looking forward to the next one.


Who’s an author you’re hoping writes more?

28517611Jackson Lear, author of Kingston Raine & the Grim Reaper. This was a fun little book where Death accidentally kills a fictional character who then flees into other books. It’s a bit hard to explain, but I tried my best in this review. It was funny and action-filled, and I highly recommend it, especially to book lovers.


A few books your heart adores?

Oh, this is a hard question! There are so many!…Let’s try, books I would try to save if my house was fire:

  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (the early years)
  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman

What series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

The Weird West Tales series by Mike Resnick. I LOVE this series. It’s a steampunk AU of the old west, complete with classic gunslingers, zombies, magic, dinosaurs (yes, I said dinosaurs) and more. I haven’t started the fourth novel yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s the last one. 😦

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What books are on your wish-list?

27809678Way, WAY too many to list. I do want to pick up the Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling (I’m trying to get the full series). I’ve also been eyeballing The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette, but I’m waiting for the price to go down.

 


My Tags:

I tag anyone and everyone that is reading this tag. I had a lot of fun and would love to see your answers.

T5W – Judging a Book by its Cover

Crud puppies! I completely forgot to do my T5W yesterday! That’s what happens when you stay home sick on a Monday; it throws your whole week off. 😉

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is Favorite SFF Cover Art! Tough category, but here are a few that really drew me in.

Meddling Kids (Edgar Cantero)

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This book is a kind of horror satire of the 1970’s Scooby Doo and the cover does a great job of capturing the essence of those old cartoons.

Shutter (Courtney Alameda)

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This cover is just creepy. It was what first drew me to the book when I was scrolling around Goodreads and it matches the storyline perfectly.

Leven Thumps and the Eyes of Want (Obert Skye)

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Really the entire series has wonderful covers, but this one is my favorite. It’s just gorgeous!

End Games (T. Michael Martin)

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Another horror, I know, but you have to admit the cover is neat. It has a wonderfully creepy feel and I love how they turned the trees into zombies.

The A.I Gang series (Bruce Coville)

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Ok, yeah, I need to explain this one. No, the artwork isn’t the best. But, you have to admit, 90’s era kid’s book artists really knew how to draw in the reader. All three covers show the main characters right in the midst of action, battling mortal danger. Exactly what you’re looking for when you want an adventure.
Let’s compare that to the 2014 version…
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Seriously? Come on now. Which would YOU have picked up as a kid?


Show me yours! What are some of your favorite covers?!?

Chocolate Fest & Book Faire

Can you believe it? My tiny corner of the world (or, well, the town adjacent to my tiny corner of the world) actually holds an Annual Chocolate Fest & Book Faire. I have died and gone to Heaven!

The event takes place in downtown Martinsburg, West Virginia (USA). Several shops on “Main Street” host local authors and you can grab a piece of chocolate while you chat! The local chocolate factory, DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates, also runs tours. And, yes, they DO give samples and their chocolate is delicious! 😉

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There was also a cupcake tasting, yum! 🙂

I snagged six new books from four local authors:

It was really nice getting to meet the authors. You could tell how excited they were about sharing their books with people. They even all signed the books I bought! 🙂 I have to finish up my library books first, but I can’t wait to get started on these. They all look really good!

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In extra cool news, I was chatting with Laura Ellen Scott and mentioned my book blog, so she offered to put me in touch with her publishing company, Pandamoon Publishing, to see if they would be willing to get me more books to review! I’ve already gotten a message on Goodreads from her company and another author! 😀

Netflix Book Tag

While scrolling through my Reader list on WordPress, I stumbled across this fun little book tag (sources at the bottom). Turns out that it’s quite the fad on Youtube!

Recently Watched
The last book you finished reading 

The Haunting of Gillespie House by Darcy Coates – This was a good little suspense/horror novel. Not TOO scary, but still kept me on my toes. The author included a short story he had written, which inspired this novel.

Top Pick
A book that has been recommended to you based on books you’ve previously read

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – People keep telling me that I will like this series. Apparently it’s ‘right up my alley’. I’m sure I’ll start it eventually.

Recently Added
The last book you bought 

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer – I made myself give up buying books for Lent this year, so I bought one final present right before it started. The story sounds cute, Colfer is a good writer, and honestly, it had the word Fanfiction in the title, so I was intrigued. 😉

Popular on Netflix
Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading)

Read: Paper Towns by John Green – I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were all pretty interesting and the plot was fun. More light-hearted than The Fault in Our Stars, but still introspective.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m reading this one right now and it’s pretty good so far! I like all the characters (at this point anyway) and I’m really curious to see if they will accomplish their mission.

Not Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – I love Neil Gaiman AND mythology, but I’m so far into the Myths & Legends podcast (highly recommend!) that I’m pretty sure I’ve heard all the myths that will be covered in this book. I may still read it eventually, but I’m not falling over myself to get it right now.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – I was in high school during Columbine and I just can’t bring myself to read this book. Even seeing it brings up memories of being terrified, walking down the halls looking for hiding places, praying it wouldn’t happen at my school…I just can’t.

Comedies
A funny book: 

The Martian by Andy Weir – It’s pretty impressive that a true sci-fi book, with all the technobabble involved in that genre, can still make me laugh as much as this book did. I binged this one in 6 hours and a lot of my sticking with it had to do with the humor.

Dramas
A character who is a drama queen/king.

Can I say Harry Potter here? Will people stop speaking to me? – Order of the Phoenix especially. He’s a total butthead in that one! Granted, he’s a 15 year old boy, but really; I almost gave up on the series at that point. JK’s writing skills were the only thing that kept me going.

Animated
A book with cartoons on the cover

Hyperbole & a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh – This is one of my all time favorite books. If you are having a bad day and need a bit of cheering up, you should definitely try this one. 🙂

Watch It Again
A book/book series that you want to re-read

The Tapestry series by Henry H. Neff – I’ve been trying to purge my shelves a bit, donating to the local library and mission, and I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of these books. I really should re-read them to jog my memory of why I liked them so much!

Documentaries
A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – Considering that it’s likely you are a nerd to some degree if you are reading my blog, I’d definitely recommend this memoir to everyone, even if you have never heard of Felicia Day (though you should really look her up if you haven’t heard of her; she’s totally awesome!)

Action and Adventure
An action packed book

Cuckoo Song by Francis Hardinge – This book was amazing. Well written, action-packed, suspenseful, full of interesting characters & mythology…plus you were never quite sure if the main characters were going to make it!

New Releases
A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I was shocked that my library already had this one, since it came out like a month ago, so I grabbed it immediately. All the 5-star reviews were right; this book is AMAZING! I’m completely distraught that it just came out and I have no idea when the next one will be published. 😦

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Sources: I snagged this book tag from The Paperback Pilgrim and the photo from A Book Lovers Playlist.

Book Tag – Hufflepuff Appreciation Post

HuffPuffs Represent! 😀

A lady in one of my book clubs, Erica Robyn, created a new Book Tag for Hufflepuff House Pride Day (March 20th), so I’ve decided to join in the fun!

Rules: The only rule is that the book must NOT come from the Harry Potter ‘verse.

Hard Work
Name a difficult read that you were proud to have finished.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Suzanna Clarke) – This book took FOREVER. For a book about magic, it was amazingly dry. The overall plot was interesting and I liked the characters well enough, but the book itself just dragged. It honestly read like a history book rather than a novel (there were FOOTNOTES). Don’t get me wrong, I like history, but I’m not fond of novels that read like textbooks.

Patience
Name a book with a slow start that you almost gave up on, but ended up loving.

American Gods (Neil Gaiman) – This book was on my DNF shelf for a LONG time; I just couldn’t seem to get into it. But the mythology nut in me wouldn’t let it go, so I eventually tried again. Man, I’m glad I did! This book is completely awesome! The amount of myths/legends the author is able to work into the story is amazing and, considering the character cast, the fact that the story remains completely believable is astounding and totally down to his superb writing skills.

Loyalty
Name one of your favorite loyal sidekicks.

Questionable Content (Jeph Jacques) – Ok, so Pintsize is a really odd pick for this one, but he IS actually one of my favorite sidekicks of all time. He throws out weird one-liners, is kind of vulgar, and definitely keeps everyone on their toes. But if any of his crew are in a jam, he’s right in there trying to help…even if his idea of help isn’t always the best. 😉

Fair Play
Name a book or series that frustrated you because things just didn’t seem fair.

Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket) – I will admit, I didn’t make it past the third book of this series. It just felt TOO contrived, like the author was just hurling every ‘unfortunate’ thing he could think of into the books without caring about realism. I guess that was kind of the point of the books and it IS a good way to keep kids interested, but it just felt like too much to me, so I DNF’d it.

Newt Scamander (Magizoologist)
Name a book or series with creatures that you would like to see come to life.

His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) – I think it would be awesome if people really had daemons. I would enjoy having a ready-made buddy to hang around with, even if it is technically just a manifestation of my inner-self. 😉

Cedric Diggory (Prefect, Quidditch Captain/Seeker, Triwizard Champion)
Name a character that is a great leader.

Going Postal (Terry Pratchett) – You wouldn’t think it of a character described as an ‘arch-swindler’, but Moist von Lipwig (yes, that is his name) actually ends up as a really good leader of this (kind of insane) post office/town. This is part of the Discworld series, but can be read totally separate.

Pomona Sprout (Professor of Herbology & Head of House)
Name a book with a character in the teaching profession.

My Teacher is an Alien (Bruce Coville) – These books are great! I loved them when I was in middle school and they still hold up pretty well now that I’m an adult. This was one of the books (series) that made me fall in love with science-fiction as a child. The idea that your teacher was not only and alien, but (spoilers) wants you to join them on a trip through outer space? Totally awesome!!!

Nymphadora Tonks (Auror & Member of Order of the Phoenix)
Name a strong female character.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Fannie Flagg) – This is cheating a bit, since it’s multiple characters, but I want to call it out because every single woman in this book is a strong woman. Every single one of them does what needs to be done to protect themselves, their friends/family, and their town. I would be proud to know any of the women in this book.

Fat Friar (House Ghost)
Name a book that you would like to get more attention.

Fairytales for Wilde Girls (Allyse Near) – I fell completely in love with this book. The author interweaves fairy tales (of her own making) so well into the story that it’s hard to tell what is real and what isn’t; but then, that’s kind of the point of the book. I won’t go into to much detail, but if you like fairy tale types books, I recommend this one.

Helga Hufflepuff (Founder of House)
Name your favorite bookish organization (real or fictional).

Goodreads – I can’t think of a good bookish organization in an actual book, so I’m just going to go with Goodreads in real life. This is a great website, where you can keep track of books that you read, give reviews, see what your friends are reading, join groups to discuss books, and find new books that you’ve never heard of before. I love this site. 🙂

Hengist of Woodcroft (Founder of Hogsmeade)
Name a world/town/setting/etc. of a book that you would love to visit.

Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper (Jackson Lear) –  This may also be cheating a bit…but wouldn’t it be awesome to have a magical scythe that allowed you to travel into any book you wanted? That allowed you to make friends (and foes) with all your favorite characters? And then allowed you to pop right back out once things started getting hairy? Yeah it would!

Yellow & Black (House Colors)
Name a book with a cover that is mainly yellow and black.

The Knowland Retribution (Richard Greener) – Well, the title is in pink, but the rest of the cover is mostly yellow and black, at least in my edition. 😉 This is the first book of The Locator series, which inspired The Finder tv series. I LOVED that show and was ecstatic to find out that is was based on a real series. The books are actually quite different, but still really good!

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Whew! Well, that list took a while. Good Book Tag, Erica! Let’s keep this one going, you guys. Feel free to snag the list from me, but please remember to credit Erica Robyn. And link your posts in my comments! I’d love to see what you pick! 🙂

T5W – Fave Sci-Fi/Fantasy!

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday! This week, in collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, we’re exploring favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy books! This is a genre near and dear to my heart because, though I’m more of a mystery gal nowadays, I grew up as a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic. I’m going to forgo the most popular books in this list, since most everyone already knows about Harry Potter, Doctor Who, etc, and you don’t really want to read the same lists over and over. So here are a handful of books that you may not of heard of, but should really give a try! 😀

Long Way to a Small, Angry Plant (Becky Chambers)

27213244.jpgI just finished this book a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing! The amount of world (universe) building that went into this novel is insane. The book starts out focused on a woman named Rosemary who is joining a spaceship that creates wormholes for the public to travel through space. Once on board, you get to learn about each of the members of the crew: their personality, their family/friends, their homeworld, and you learn about the universe as a whole. The author has created a universe as detailed and diverse as Star Trek or Doctor Who in a single book. I highly recommend this one.

Circle of Magic (Tamora Pierce)

I LOVED this series as a child and I still love it today. It’s four of only a handful of books that I still reread from time to time. The books are about four young children who discover that they have unique magical skills. This was one of my first ever “misfit realizes they are special” books, so it really affected me at the time. It also was one of the first series where I liked every single character, which was VERY helpful in encouraging me as a young reader.

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Redshirts (John Scalzi)

Have you ever seen that movie, Galaxy Quest? This is kind of like that,13055592 only reversed. Here the crew of a starship find out that the reason all this wacky stuff keeps happening to them is that they are actually characters in a TV show. Star Trek fans will LOVE this one; I know I certainly did. It gets a bit mind-bendy towards the middle, but if you can stick with it, you will end up really enjoying the book.

Leven Thumps (Obert Skye)

214856This is a wonderful series! Fourteen year old Leven Thumps finds a gateway to the magical land of Foo and has to help save both worlds from the evil Sabine. This one is kind of reminiscent of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series by Philip Pullman, but with a completely unique cast of characters. What’s extra nice about this series is that the teenagers are actually believable AS TEENAGERS. For some reason, it seems very difficult for the average author to write a believable teenager. I haven’t finished the entire series, but this seems like a great one for the young adult fantasy nut!

NPCs (Drew Hayes)

I LOVED this book! For those of you who don’t game (that includes22088245 myself, though I am a bit of a gaming voyeur, I suppose), a NPC is a Non-Player Character in a role playing game, like Dungeons & Dragons. Basically anyone who isn’t played by a real person, like the pub owner or the guy selling cabbages, is a NPC. In this book, the NPCs in a game end up having to take over a quest for the actual players in order to save their hometown from being destroyed by the king. The humor is great, the characters believable, and the world building awesome. There are a lot of inside jokes for gamers, but anyone who likes fantasy will enjoy this as well.

Honorable Mention:

Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)

We’re only supposed to do five and this isn’t technically a book (though they DO have a novel now so I’m counting it), but I can’t resist adding in my favorite podcast, ‘Welcome to Night Vale’. My favorite description of this podcast is that “it’s like Steven King and Neil Gaiman made a Sim City together and left it running for a few years”. Yeah…it’s THAT GOOD!

WtNV is a community radio program for a city (called Night Vale, obvs) where pretty much every conspiracy theory you’ve every heard of is true. The characters and story lines are all really off the wall, but somehow still completely believable. The fan base is amazing as well, welcoming to everyone regardless of age, gender, anything (and you should see their fanart, wow!), probably because the podcast itself is so welcoming (as long as your name isn’t Steve, lol). You should all definitely check it out!

WelcometoNightVale

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Well, there you have it, my less well-known list of recommendations for sci-fi and fantasy lovers. I tried to get a mixture in there for you, so I hope you found something that sounds interesting!