Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bout of Books 20 - August 21 - 27 and COYER Summer Reading List Read-a-thon #3 - ebook and Audio - August 20 - 27

Bout of Books COYER Wow! Bout of Books 20, can you believe it? Definitely a milestone!

It's also time for the third Read-a-thon of 2017's Summer COYER!

Thanks to a broken arm/wrist I actually find myself with the week off as well, good thing reading can be done one-handed.

I have a few Net Galley ARC's publishing in September, so I need to work on those, along with whatever else I'm in the mood for.

Here are some possibilities:




Sunday 8/20:
Monday 8/21:
Tuesday 8/22:
Wednesday 8/23:
Thursday 8/24:
Friday 8/25:
Saturday 8/26:
Sunday 8/27:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August TBR List Winner - A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas





And the winner is...


Book Synopsis:

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

This was a pretty clear cut vote! I've seen a lot of people excited about this one, so I'm looking forward to it!



74% of the votes


21% of the votes


5% of the votes

Saturday, August 05, 2017

My TBR List - August 2017 - Holmes is Where the Heart is



Welcome to my August 2017 edition of My To Be Read List, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. This is a monthly meme where we offer up 3 choices from our TBR pile for our readers to pick from to help us make the super hard decision of "what do I read next?" a little easier and to whittle away at the ever growing TBR Mountain! 

Theme: Sherlock Holmes et al.

The poll will stay open through Friday 8/11, and I'll update this post with the winning book on Saturday 8/12, then post a review on the last Saturday of the month, 8/26.

If you think this sounds fun and would like to join (the more the merrier, because we love voting!) please head on over to Because Reading where Michelle lays out the rules for us!

And the choices are...

Book Synopsis:

Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name​ ​for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancĂ©e Georgiana Sutton was raised.

Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports​ from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...

Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the​ stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.


Book Synopsis:

Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes' pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.
Book Synopsis:

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.




#MyTBRL

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Coming Soon! - The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee - release date 8/8/17

Description:

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…

Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
My Rating: 4/5 
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a modern day twist on characters from Chinese Folklore. While reading I found myself very interested in what elements were actually found in the old tales and what were new from the author, and after some checking, I discovered that the history or backstory if you will, for Genie Lo is actually from 16th century tale, Journey to the West. The modern translation by Arthur Haley is called Monkey, and I'm very interested in reading it now that I've read Genie Lo.

While the story wasn't as smooth as I might have liked, it does have a lot to recommend it, chief among those to me was getting me interested in the mythology it is inspired by.  It is not a retelling of Journey to the West, instead it takes some of those characters, gives them modern personalities, and with a new conflict, goes to town!   It is action packed, with interesting fight scenes that are unique in the problems faced to overcome each enemy. It is humorous in that Genie is dealing with an invasion of demons and trying to get into college at the same time, a tall order for any teenager, even one with heretofore unknown super powers.

I enjoyed the story line, and the use of mythology, and most of the characters, except for Genie herself.  I don't dislike her, but I had a hard time bonding with her.  I am okay with all the other characters but her, and I wonder if that's because it's written in first person narrative, with Genie telling us the story as it's happening. She grows as the story unfolds, but it's hard to overcome that initial discord for me.  I didn't feel like the times she swears in the beginning of the story are really merited by the events taking place, and some of the expletives chosen really turned me off.  I'll admit this is potentially more of a pet peeve of my own than a flaw, but it was jarring and didn't add to the story for me.

Overall The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was a fun read and got me interested in learning more about the mythological characters it showcased.  I would recommend it to those who enjoy that mesh of modern and myth, like myself!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Book Synopsis:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

I raced through Eliza and Her Monsters in three days, only partially because of the format, but more because it really spoke to me. Probably it would have been less if I hadn't had to do those silly adult things like working and sleeping so that I could work.

Our emotions over things we love are so strong in our high school years, those things are so important to us and they consume us, becoming everything, taking up most of our waking thoughts that are absolutely required for existing and getting through school. I totally get that, I remember it vividly, although with a little confusion now that I'm older, and that slight wish that I could be so utterly consumed by something I liked again, if only for awhile, as long as it wasn't so difficult to come back from.  They are wonderful and yet also torturous times, to be honest, and truthfully I would not go back for anything.

For me it was writing fan fiction about the bands that I loved, and just endless fantasizing over them and scenerios in which we either were them, or factored heavily as girlfriends, friends, etc.  For Eliza it was a story of her own making, a web comic that she poured everything she was into it, with no real thought of what came after.  Her art and the online world in which she shared it were comfortable and safe.  She had become the weird girl in the real world, unable to relate to those around her very well, but online she was a creator goddess, the mother of a story that had taken on it's own life and gathered a huge number of fans.  She was mysterious and powerful in her anonymity, and Monstrous Sea was the only thing she wanted to work on, school was something that she had to do just enough to get by until she could go back to it.  Her family were all very active, her life was online.  Misunderstandings abound, with neither side able to really communicate well with the other, however well meaning.

When Eliza is exposed as the creator of Monstrous Sea, everything comes crashing down, and she is paralyzed in a way she's never been.  She suffers deeply from anxiety that was likely present all along but was something she could escape from until that safe base becomes the trigger, and threatens to undo the fragile life she is starting to build outside of her online world.

Zappia creates very complex and likable characters, even if you sometimes want to wring their necks for their choices or tunnel vision, and remember we're looking at all from that perfect knowledge of outside that is completely inaccessible when you're in a situation.  There is also humor, and finding your tribe, and romance, and that terrible guilt of a secret kept too long.  There is family and self discovery, and so many other things.  I also really enjoyed the additions of art from Monstrous Sea and wish there was an actual web comic to go look at now that I feel like the artist behind it is a real person that I'm rooting for!

I loved it, and I highly recommend it!  I'm looking forward to reading more by Francesca Zappia, I think Made You Up sounds very intriguing!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Coming soon! - The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley - release date 8/1/17

Description:

In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.

Publication Date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Age Group: General Fiction (Adult)
Received from: NetGally in exchange for honest feedback
My Rating: 5/5

I loved this book, there is so much here, magic and mystery, an intriguing landscape and historical elements both in the 1800's and ancient Peru. It really grabbed my Anthropology loving heart, and my need for character's that I can care about.

The Bedlam Stacks starts off with the feel of a historical fiction with a few odd elements that are mentioned in the description above.  It slowly transforms into a more and more magical story, but retains that feel of historical truth.  It seriously had me just about to start looking up flora of Peru to see if what was described really existed!  After all, it mostly takes place in darkest Peru and strange and surprising things are continually found in South America!

The main characters are well developed and complex, and the growing relationship between them is interesting and also makes you wonder what their underlying motivation is.  I liked both Merrick and Raphael very much, as well as the host of side characters that bolstered them.

If I have a criticism it's that I don't think it should be marketed as General Fiction, because when it does turn to the more fantastical elements of the story, it really turns, and it might be more than I think General Fiction can stretch to accommodate.  Devotees of historical fiction might feel mislead, I'll admit I wasn't expecting as much of a change to fantasy as I got, but being already a fan of the genre, I'm fine with it and loved the whole thing.

I will definitely go back and read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and look forward to future work by Natasha Pulley!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

COYER Summer Reading List Read-a-thon #2 - Physical Books Only



It's time for the second Summer Reading List Read-a-thon of COYER! We will be reading physical books only from our reading list, from Sunday July 23rd - Sunday July30th!

Here are the physical books I'll be focusing on!



Progress:

DateActivity
Sunday 7/23:The Library (start/end) 30/57 = 27 pages
Monday 7/24:The Library (start/end) 58/94 = 36 pages
Tuesday 7/25:The Library (start/end) 95/125 = 30 pages
Wednesday 7/26:The Library (start/end) 126/196 = 70 pages
Thursday 7/27:-
Friday 7/28:-
Saturday 7/29:-
Sunday 7/30:-
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