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:-

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Hate U Give - Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Katy C., the winner of my giveawy for The Hate U Give!

This was such a powerful read for me and I'm so glad to be able to share it with someone, passing along that book love, and the great messages inside!   Katy, I'll be contacting you soon!





Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Sunday Post #8



Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


I have enjoyed my hammock that I showed off last week several times this past week! I will say that it takes surprisingly more effort to get into and out of than I had expected, practice makes perfect though, right? ;)

Our 4th of July celebrations were last week here in the US, and while I didn't go to any fireworks displays in person, there are quite a few online. I discovered that there is an international fireworks symposium every year, usually in Spring, held in different places. This past year was in Japan, who also has their own National Fireworks Competition that they have held since 1910. Here is a fun display from this year's International Symposium as a sample:



Finally, I have a bit of a funny story to share about my attempts at going to a book club. Our local library has three offsite bookclubs that they hold once a month, at breakfast, lunch and dinner times. Last month in June I wanted to try and go to the breakfast time club as it was at a local coffee shop I hadn't been to before, and it was on a Saturday. We went, but got there a little late, so the club was already underway into discussion and I completely chickened out on joining in. So we sat right nearby and I eavesdropped, to get a feel for the personality of the group. Yes, I am a book club spy. I decided to try again this month. We managed to get there on time, and I took the plunge and joined in! It might sound silly, but it's kind of a big step for me to do social things like that with an unknown group of people, so actually having that first month to just listen really helped me this time to be able to join in discussion and share some books with the group. I even confessed my nefarious spying from the month before, which the librarian leader was amused at, as I knew she would be, or I wouldn't have said anything. ;)

Tonight we are going to a concert, Queen and Adam Lambert, really looking forward to it!  If only we could have seen Freddie Mercury, but I have seen Adam on TV and I think he does a great job, so it should be fun.


I reviewed My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows.

I reviewed Ether & Elephants by Cindy Spencer Pape.

I revealed the winner of my July TBR List Vote: Eliza and Her Monsters.

Don't forget!  My Giveaway for The Hate U Give is still open until Tuesday!



I didn't get The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict reviewed, so I'll keep that on the list for coming soon!

I'm not sure what else I'll be up to!



We went a little crazy this week, but some of it was supporting one of the few local bookstores left nearby, Rainy Day Books, who always have amazing guests and a fantastic store!  They have a lot of autographed books available from their past events, which I believe they will ship, so you may want to check them out!  We found out today that Astronaut Scott Kelly will be visiting in October, so we had to sign up for that one!




I picked up a few Kindle Deals this week as well. Secondborn was my Amazon Prime first read pick, the rest were just on sale at the time.





Last but not least, I took home these ARC's from the library book club that I thought sounded great!




Saturday, July 08, 2017

July TBR List Winner - Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia





And the winner is...


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'm excited to read this one, everyone seems to be loving it!  It has tones of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell to it, which I really enjoyed.


43% of the votes


36% of the votes

21% of the votes

Friday, July 07, 2017

Ether & Elephants by Cindy Spencer Pape

Ether & Elephants (Gaslight Chronicles, #8)Ether & Elephants by Cindy Spencer Pape
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sir Thomas Devere and Eleanor Hadrian have loved each other most of their lives—but sometimes love doesn't conquer all.

Their chance at happiness was ruined by Tom's hasty marriage to someone else. Heartbroken, Nell left home, finding a new life as a teacher at a school for the blind. But when one of her supernaturally gifted students, Charlie, is kidnapped, Tom reappears and her worlds collide.

Tom claims he hasn't seen his wife since the day of their marriage…yet he fears the missing student could be his son.

The deeper they dig, the more Tom and Nell discover: a deadly alchemist, more missing gifted children and long-suppressed feelings neither of them is ready for. A race on airship across England and India may lead them to answers—including a second chance at love—but only if all of British Society isn't destroyed first.


This was a good ending to a fun series! While we didn't get everyone's story in the series, this one wraps up with two of the original Wapping group getting the always hoped for HEA, which isn't really a spoiler, because that's how they all end, so you know it has to work out!

This time around we see Nell and Tom from the original group of kids adopted by Merrick Hadrian from, the streets. We get to see that they've always felt something for each other, but somewhere along the way things have gone haywire and what should have been a no brainer pairing, seems nearly impossible now. Nell is a teacher at a school away from home, and Tom is now a full fledged member of the Order. When one of her students goes missing, she sets out to find him, with the help of Tom and others, and of course there is much more to it than just one child's disappearance.

I've really enjoyed this series, with a loose basis to the Knights of the Round Table set in Industrial Victorian, Steampunk times (because mechanical pets sound like a lot of fun, at least the ones that Wink makes). All of the main characters have special abilities, or high intelligence in certain areas and personalities that speak to me. Feisty ladies, chivalrous men, and a huge family that works together. As an only child I always love stories involving many siblings that get along well and care deeply for each other.

A definite recommend on the Gaslight Chronicles from me for light, romanc-y and satisfying reads. I look forward to trying this author's other work!

View all my reviews on Goodreads

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

From Goodreads:

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.


This was a humorous and snarky, young adult, paranormal alternate history for Lady Jane Grey. I did enjoy it. It was funny. And the audiobook is read by one of my favorite narrators, Katherine Kellgren, who is the best with doing royal voices. With that said, I felt faintly guilty enjoying it when the true history was so bad for Jane.  I do realize that the whole point of this book was to take a sad bit of history and make it an HEA instead, but I'm afraid it may come off as a bit irreverent and flippant to true events.  However if it gets readers interested in actual history, that's not a bad thing.  And if you go into it knowing to expect an outrageous reworking of history, then maybe it's a little easier to take.  I would advise fans of strict adherence to historical facts to steer clear. 

With that bit of criticism out of the way, My Lady Jane was a lot of fun! Jane is a heroine that any Disney's Belle fan will love, and Edward and Gifford are bumbling and adorable, and there is that bit about the shape changing which causes more than a little trouble.  I also love when there is 4th wall breaking, used here when the authors occasionally address the reader to set the record straight (or even more wrong).  Kellgren does a fantastic job of getting the intonation just right, especially the snarky and sarcastic bits, which make it a pleasure to listen to.

My Lady Jane will definitely go down as one of my favorites of the year. I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes next with two more books forthcoming, according to Goodreads. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Sunday Post #7



Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


Today is the last day of  COYER's first Summer Reading List Read-a-thon and I'm hoping to get one more book finished!

I'm a big Book Riot fan, and they have recently released a new Podcast called Annotated that is really cool!  The first episode is about 1984 by George Orwell, not so much a discussion of the book itself, but the history behind it.  There were some surprising things I didn't know, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what other topics Jeff and the gang at Book Riot tackle in the next episodes.  I actually enjoy all of their podcasts, they currently have 6 different ones now that get new episodes, 7 if you join their premium Insiders group. Be careful if you do start listening though, because your TBR list will explode!

I kept seeing people in hammocks, relaxing and reading, so I decided to get one!  Here's where you'll find me the rest of the summer!





I talked about my top ten reads of the year so far, and have a giveaway for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas in Top Ten Tuesday.

I reviewed One Love by Amanda Shofner, my first read for the COYER Summer Reading List Read-a-thon #1.

I put up 3 new books from the subscription boxes I've joined to vote on in the My TBR List Meme for July, help me out, please vote!

I also shared my June Read - July TBR #Bookstagram posts.  If you look back at my June TBR, you might notice that none of those books appear on June's Read post! lol! Best laid plans and all that.  We'll see what happens for July!  I just like making collages of book covers, to be honest! ;)



I'll be reviewing The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, which I read as part of  the latest Big Library Read.

On Saturday I'll be posting July's winner of the My TBR List Meme vote.



After last week's little spree, I managed to only add one library book to my TBR this week!





In the meantime I'll be reading in my hammock, with a glass of limeade! ;)


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