Whatcha Readin?

Hey all! I’m currently in the middle of a couple of series, so I don’t have a full review for you today. Instead, I’m going to give you a quick glimpse into my current ‘To Read’ pile!

The Series:

Spellshadow Manor (Bella Forrest)

spellshadowMini Review: Well, I’m halfway through this series and still just as interested in the story as I was in Book 1 (see my review of that novel here). The character interactions sometimes seem a bit shallow and the kids’ decision making skills aren’t always the best, but it IS a middle grade-young adult series, similar in style to the early Harry Potters, so you can’t go into it expecting Shakespeare. The story line is intriguing, the action is edge-of-your-seat, and the writing is easy enough to read quickly. All in all, an entertaining series so far.

Creative Woman Mysteries (Annie’s Attic Publishing – Multiple Authors)

strandsoffateMini Review: I plan to do a full review of this series at some point, so for now I’ll just say that this is a fun cozy mystery series. The characters are all pleasant (except, you know, the bad guys), the pace and writing style are easy to follow, and the mysteries are intricate but not mind-bending. The main character, Shannon, drives me a little up the wall on occasion, but for a cozy mystery protagonist, she’s not bad. I’m really enjoying the series so far.

New from the Library:

Warcross (Marie Lu)

warcrossDescription from Goodreads: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Bruno, Chief of Police (Martin Walker)

brunoDescription from Goodreads: Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life — living in his restored shepherd’s cottage; patronizing the weekly market; sparring with, and basically ignoring, the European Union bureaucrats from Brussels. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes everything and galvanizes Bruno’s attention: the man was found with a swastika carved into his chest.

Because of the case’s potential political ramifications, a young policewoman is sent from Paris to aid Bruno with his investigation. The two immediately suspect militants from the anti-immigrant National Front, but when a visiting scholar helps to untangle the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive. His investigation draws him into one of the darkest chapters of French history — World War II, a time of terror and betrayal that set brother against brother. Bruno soon discovers that even his seemingly perfect corner of la belle France is not exempt from that period’s sinister legacy.

“To Myself” birthday presents, waiting patiently in my TBR pile:

Turtles All The Way Down (John Green)

turtlesallthewaydownDescription from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. 

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures (Aaron Mahnke)

loreDescription from Goodreads: They live in shadows–deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our minds. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. Yet no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them: werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. He delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism–some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where seances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, even Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls. As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore.

It Devours! (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)

itdevoursDescription from Goodreads: From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God.

Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.


So how about you? Any exciting book hauls lately? Did you pick up a couple fun books at the library?

What’s in YOUR ‘To Read’ pile?

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Book Tag – Goodreads

I snagged this book tag from Kate over at Read, Eat, Retreat! 🙂

What was the last book you marked as read?

matchless
Matchless, A Christmas Story (Gregory Maguire) – I’m not usually a fan of Gregory Maguire, but this retelling of The Little Matchgirl was very sweet and not too depressing. 😉 I’d recommend it as a quick Christmas-y read.

What are you currently reading?

thelongearth
The Long Earth (Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter) – This sci-fi is an interesting take on what would happen if humans discovered a way to step between alternate universes. I’m really enjoying it so far!

What was the last book you marked as ‘to read’?

dearfahrenheit451

Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Break Up Notes to the Books in Her Life (Annie Spence) – As a bibliophile, I guess it’s completely natural for me to love books about books. 🙂 This one is a collection of love letters and break up notes from the author to books she either can’t live without or can’t wait to get rid of. Sounds fun!

Do you use the star rating system?
Yep! I know some people don’t like it, but I find it very useful.

Are you doing the 2017 Reading Challenge?
Yep! I’ve decided to run the Goodreads Challenge and the 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge simultaneously. I’m attempting to read at least 60 books, while completing as many of the categories from PopSugar as I can. I’m not doing too badly either. 49 books down so far and 30 categories completed!

Do you have a wishlist?
No, my To-Read list is wishlist enough. 😉

Who are your favourite authors?
Hm…I’m always bad at this question. Currently I love Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer is probably my favorite book of the year so far). I also love Neil Gaiman and John Green. Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor from Welcome to Night Vale are also great!

Have you joined any groups?
I’ve meandered my way through a few groups. My current ones are:

Top 5 Wednesday
Cozy Mysteries
Friends of the Apparating Library Book Club
EVERYONE Has Read This But Me
Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge

How many Goodreads shelves do you have?
36 outside of the regular ‘Read’, ‘Currently Reading’, ‘To Read’, and ‘Did Not Finish’ shelves.

I tag…
Kristen from The Brunette Bookworm Blog!


I also tag anyone else who wants to do this one! Please link your post in the comments so I can check it out! 😀

Eclipse 2017 – The Wrath of Ra

So, if you live in the US, you obviously know there was an insanely awesome eclipse on Monday. Our area had around 90% coverage, so not a total eclipse, but still pretty good!

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We were a LITTLE panicked about a week earlier, because we got one of those dreaded emails from Amazon letting us know that the glasses we had purchased might not actually be safe to use (thanks for the advanced notice, sigh). But my boss persevered and found us replacements just in time. 🙂

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Knowing that this was my first ever eclipse (and since I’m the science geek of the office), my super-amazing boss also let me spend almost two hours outside so that I could experience as much of it as possible! It was completely mind blowing and something that truly gives you a appreciation for the forces in our universe. I’m ecstatic that I can finally check that one off the bucket list.

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Let me hear YOUR eclipse stories! Do you live near the path of totality? Were you able to watch any of it? Did you see any animals doing weird things? Did you get sunburn (like me, lol)?

 

Library Haul – The Bibliophile Method for Cheering Up

So, I’m in a horrible mood. I have a ton of stuff to do today, so my anxiety is kicking in, and I had one of those mornings where every little thing went wrong. So I did what every good bibliophile does when they are in the dumps…I got some new books. 😉

Furthermore (Tahereh Mafi)

furthermoreAlice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. — This is the book that actually inspired today’s trip to the library; I’ve been waiting on it to be available for a long time. 🙂

Rose Under Fire (Elizabeth Wein)

roseunderfireWhile flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her? — I recently read ‘Code Name Verity’, which was so good that I binged the last 70% in a few hours. (READ THAT BOOK!) I love Elizabeth Wein’s writing style and her attention to detail. Maybe this one won’t be as sad? Maybe? Should I have tissues ready? :/

The Diviners (Libba Bray)

thedivinersEvie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. — I must be insane adding this almost 600 page book to a library haul that already includes 3 other decently long books, but the last time I read a Libba Bray book, I binged it in just a few hours, so ::fingers crossed::

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (Agatha Christie)

missmarplecompleteIt was, of course, the small village of St. Mary Mead that served as Miss Marple’s training ground in the finer points of criminal behavior, and this, according to the former commissioner of Scotland Yard, Sir Henry Clithering, was clearly a matter of “natural genius cultivated in a suitable soil.” While others are mulling over seemingly unfathomable situations, Miss Marple uses her principles to sort out facts and “go straight to the truth like a homing pigeon.” Presented for the first time in one volume are all twenty of the short stories featuring Miss Jane Marple, that delightful spinster whose innocent blue eyes belie her shrewd insights. Here, in her pretty Victorian home, her knitting needles clicking softly in the background, Agatha Christie’s famous amateur sleuth solves twenty crimes in her mild, quiet manner, basing her solutions on past experience and an insistence that human nature is the same everywhere. — This one is more just for fun and to be a palate cleanser between the other books. I liked the easy pace of the first Miss Marple book and, since my library doesn’t have a copy of the second book on it’s own, I decided to just go whole hog and snag this anthology.


What are YOU reading?

Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Hi all! Jessica from Ever The Crafter posted this book tag a couple days ago, and I’ve decided to join in on the fun! I’ll try not to double up books, but no guarantees! 😉

Best book you’ve read so far?

28449207Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Oh, how I loved this book. I actually hugged it before slipping it into the drop box at the library (yes, I’m a dork, I know). It’s just so beautifully written and the characters are wonderful and the world-building is amazing and…well, you can read my full review here. 🙂

Best sequel of 2017 so far?

10783250Hm, I haven’t read too many sequels so far this year…Let’s go with Dead Cold by Louise Penny. It didn’t come out this year, but I read it for the first time this year, so I’m counting it. 😉

New release you haven’t read yet but want to read?

thepearlthiefWell, now that I’ve finished Code Name Verity, I’d like to read the prequel that just came out: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein. 🙂

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017?

oddandtrueCurrently, Odd & True by Cat Winters. I first read Cat Winters last year, In The Shadow of Blackbirds. It was AMAZING. I’m not a fan of romances, but this one was sweet and creepy at the same time! 🙂 Odd & True looks super-fun, so I can’t wait to read it!

Biggest disappointment?

1964325The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris. This is part of the Lady Trent Mysteries series and it looked really awesome; a book about a lady Sherlock would usually be right up my alley. But I didn’t realize it was also Christian Fiction. Even being a Catholic, I’m not usually a huge fan of Christian Fiction. It always seems so pushy; God IS wonderful, but you don’t have to turn every single conversation into one about him. I mean, your brother is about to be hanged for a murder he didn’t commit, maybe focus a bit on that?

Biggest surprise?

27213244Since I already did Strange the Dreamer, I’m going to go with The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. This book was amazingly well done. The author managed to create an entirely new universe, with several believable species and planets, in a single novel. There also wasn’t a single main character that I didn’t like. Great book!

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

28517611Again, I want to repeat! But instead I’ll do Jackson Lear. The Kingston Raine series is hilarious so far. Great series for bibliophiles who love a good laugh!

Newest fictional crush?

I don’t really crush on characters. I’ll have favorites, but not really crushes.

Newest favorite character?

20312462(Don’t say Lazlo, don’t say Lazlo…) I’ve really enjoyed Jackaby from the series of the same name by William Ritter. Jackaby can best be described as the 11th Doctor with Sherlockian tendencies who investigates supernatural crimes. He’s the closest I think we’ll ever get to the SuperWhoLock dream. 😉

Book that made you cry?

codenameverityI don’t cry easily when reading, but Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein certainly choked me up. Oh my gosh. Poor Verity! Poor Maddie!

Book that made you happy?

23604559My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. This was such a fun book. Have you ever seen the movie Big Fish? It’s kind of like that only main character is still the little girl who believes her grandmothers stories. This was one of the sweetest “growing up” tales, I’ve ever read.

Favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?

I haven’t really seen too many new movies this year…does Beauty & the Beast count? It’s actually a remake of the Disney movie as opposed to an adaptation of the original story, so…but it was still really good! 😉

Favorite review you’ve written this year?

29511753I’m going to go with The Juliet by Laura Ellen Scott. While not my favorite book I’ve read this year, it was still REALLY good and it felt nice to review a book from a local author who I’ve actually met. You can read that review here. I definitely recommend the author to everyone; she knows how to write so that you get caught up in the story. 🙂

Most beautiful book you bought or received so far this year?

sagavol1Like, PHYSICALLY beautiful? Hmm…actually, I’m going to go with Saga Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughan. The artwork in this graphic novel, done by Fiona Staples, was extremely good!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

My goal is 60 books this year and I’ve already read 40, so I’m doing pretty good!


Feel free to snag this Book Tag if you want to do it. Also, check out Jessica’s Book Tag Post!

Library Haul – Look What You Made Me Do!

So I got to reading everyone else’s T5W: Books Without Romance lists and I ended up popping over to the library…where I went a little crazy. I came out with five books. FIVE! Which may not sound like a lot until I tell you that my library has a check out period of THREE weeks (Private Library = Weird Rules).

Here’s what I got…

Murder at the Vicarage (Agatha Christie)

murderatthevicarageColonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head. No one heard the shot. There are no leads. Yet, everyone surrounding the vicarage seems to have a reason to want the Colonel dead. It is a race against the clock as Miss Marple sets out on the twisted trail of the mysterious killer without so much as a bit of help from the local police.  A couple of years ago, I discovered the Poirot series on Netflix and became instantly infatuated. After that, I kept getting recommendations for Miss Marple, but since that show ISN’T on Netflix, I’ve decided to try out the books. This is the first in the series and I’m enjoying it so far! 🙂

Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)

beautyqueensWhen a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition. Ok, so this one could go either way…it will either be HILARIOUS or completely cheesy and dumb. I’m leaning towards hilarious because it was written by Libba Bray and I’ve really only heard good things about her. Fingers crossed!

The Cure for Dreaming (Cat Winters)

curefordreamingOlivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.  This one actually DOES contain romance, but I was looking up ‘Odd & True’ by Cat Winters and found out that it hasn’t come out yet, so I snagged this one instead. I loved ‘In the Shadow of Blackbirds’, so I’m hoping this one is just as good.

Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)

codenameverityI have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do. That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again. He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two. We are a sensational team. I’ve had this one in my TBR list for a LONG time, but for some reason thought there was a love triangle. I hate those, so I kept picking up other books instead. Seeing this on someone’s ‘No Romance’ list made me actually giddy! I can finally go ahead and read it without worrying! 🙂

This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab)

thissavagesongKate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.  I’m ecstatic to find out this doesn’t have romance in it, because the description totally makes it sound like it does. I love monster books and I love them even MORE when they focus on the actual fighting of the monsters instead of “I hate this boy but I also love him”. 😉


What books are in YOUR reading piles?

Top 5 Sidekicks (aka: Happy Birthday Dr. Watson!)

According to Goodreads, today is Dr. Watson’s birthday! In order to celebrate, they have posted a list of their 14 Favorite Sidekicks. While their list is totally awesome, they didn’t include a few that I might have picked, so I’m making my own list! 😀

Note: I’m leaving off Dr. Watson, since this is basically a tribute to him, so I’m considering it implied that he’s a great sidekick. 😉

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

bdc3c1f9b2d2f1b64a50d373f3529049--hair-looks-hermione-hairLook, I love Ron as much as the next person, but if I had to choose between them: Hermione all the way. She’s loyal, honest, and smart. She will tell you to your face when you’re being a jerk, but also have your back against anyone who you might have (accidentally on purpose) offended AND she will know just where to look to figure out how to save your butt when you do something stupid.

Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)

ROTK-Sam-Faces-Shelob-2I am not a huge LOTR fan when it comes to the books (partying for a month in a tree when you are supposed to be saving the world? really?), but you can NOT have a best sidekicks list without Sam. He is completely loyal to Frodo, to the point of being willing not only to die for him, but also carry the ultimate evil just to give Frodo a break. Sam is DEFINITELY the kind of sidekick you want to have with you during an adventure.

Pantalaimon (Golden Compass)

hisdarkmaterialsthegoldencompass2007_91927Who wouldn’t want a little friend who follows you everywhere and knows you better than anyone? I guess daemons are not really sidekicks, considering they are technically like your conscience in physical form, but Pan was basically another character, so I’m counting him. 😉 He was a good balance for Lyra, his cowardice causing her to at least think before she leapt; a fine trait for any good sidekick.

Robin – Tim Drake (Batman)

Tim Drake List 10One of the original sidekicks in comic-dom, there has almost always been a Robin covering Batman’s back. And while each Robin brought something unique to the role, Tim Drake will always be my favorite. I’ve always felt that he was the one that most resembled Batman “The Detective”. He was smart, thought things through, didn’t jump in recklessly…but that caution didn’t stop him from leaping into danger when necessary. He took down some of the most powerful Batman foes all on his own…Joker, Lady Shiva, and more…and he never let it go to his head. That’s MY Robin. 🙂

Merlin (King Arthur legends)

7-7-2017 12-37-44 PMOk, this might be cheating a bit, since I dunno if you can really call Merlin a “sidekick”, but can you imagine having him as your best friend? Granted, he’s definitely not the most noble of characters (especially in the original legends), but he WILL fight fiercely to protect his friends. Also, he can basically do any magic imaginable AND see the future, so that’s pretty awesome. Now, my favorite version of Merlin has to be the one from BBC’s Merlin (2008-2012). He made mistakes, but he always really tried his best to do the right thing. It also helps that Colin Morgan is pretty adorable. 😉


I’m going to leave it at 5, though I could probably write all day on this topic. Feel free to add more in the comments! Who are YOUR favorite sidekicks? 🙂