Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bout of Books 20 Wrap Up

Bout of Books
I hope everyone had a quick week reading! Despite getting sick mine wasn't really good. Though I spent the week between reading and preparing for my flatmate to be back from her summer job. So basically I've been nesting. I've missed having another person in the house for the last three months! Could have done without the head cold that came on toward the weekend that laid me up for a whole day. A whole day I could have been reading if I hadn't been a ball of blankets and misery. I don't handle being sick well...

Anyway! Despite that I had a couple of awesome reads and one kind of so-so. But here's a run down of my stats for the week:

 Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 580
Didn't Finich: 1 (though I did finish it up on Monday)

Bout of Books 21 will be back January 8th to January 14th! For updates on that check our the Bout of Books blog for rules, sign-ups, and tips for the next round! Hope to see everyone joining up in January. By the I'll need a week to chill after the holiday at the bakery. I'm sure my TBR will be over flowing by then.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Picture of the Dead - Review

Author: Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262

Jennie feels the tingling presence of something unnatural in the house now that Will is dead. Her heart aches without him, and she still doesn't know how he really died. It seems that everywhere she turns, someone is hiding yet another clue. As Jennie seeks the truth, she finds herself drawn ever deeper into a series of tricks and lies, secrets and betrayals, and begins to wonder if she had every really known Will at all.

Picture the Dead is one of those books that I was actually really excited to read. It had a lot of things going for it: Historical Fictional, Civil War Era, non-traditional set-up, and a Gothic tale of Spiritualism. Normally one of those is enough for me to snag a book, but all of them together and I'm there. Sadly, something in Picture the Dead fell a bit short for me. It was just one thing that really bothered, but small things throughout the book.

At the start I was pulled into the book. No punches were held when I was thrown into the story as one of the boys returns home from the battlefield. The Civil War in its last few years, and things have gotten ugly. Jennie has been plagued by the ghost of her twin brother, but he's not the only ghost whose about to return to Pritchett House.

It was the first few pages that I devoured, but about halfway through is when I had hard time staying with the story. The writing style is wonderful and Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown did so much research into the era. Not just the war, but the fashion and attitudes of the time as well. Even the pieces of Jennie's scrapbook were amazing. However the plot went a bit wonky for me.

For me there were a few chapters where the plot sort of stopped and we were stuck with this internal debate with Jennie. Who I found the longer I was with the book I didn't really like. I know the era well enough to know women didn't have a lot of option outside of a decent marriage, but I found I didn't so much care what happened to Jennie.

However I wanted to see something horrid happen to Aunt Clara.

The last thing is really me being nit-picking I think. I wanted more of the ghost story aspect. The whole chills down my spine, sleeping with the lights on moments. Which wasn't really what we got. I know our ghost was suppose to be angry, but other than Jennie telling us he was angry, I didn't see it. The after effects of the haunting were described in Jennie's appearance, but there was only maybe two good moments where we saw their anger.

Also the ending left me wanting a bit a more. I don't mind a happy, or even a happy adjacent, ending, but I wanted a bit more with the big reveal I guess. Wanted Jennie to be angrier or something. Maybe for Toby to have not have left her at all. Just something

That all being said, Picture the Dead, was a quick read that had parts I really enjoyed. I liked that these two authors didn't really hold punches when talking about the ugliness of the Civil War. A lot of people were driven to things they would never have done before the war. Even its lead to the Spiritualism Movement as more and more boys were being announce Killed in Action.

I loved their dive into the Spiritualism Movement and the photography used then to capture the ghosts of loved ones. Through my weird fascination with the Civil War and 19th Century I love the idea of the Spiritualism Movement would have been like in its height.  So it was lovely to get a taste of that in Picture the Dead.

The artwork attached to the story as Jennie scrapbook was amazing however. I thought it added a nice visual as Jennie pieced things together. I was able to see the things she saw in the photos and clippings. They were also I nice way to help see the characters coming and going since a few had photos taken.

Buy, Borrow, or Skip: Borrow it. Maybe I'm too picky when it comes to ghost stories, and I missed out one something with Picture the Dead. The writing is solid and its an easy afternoon fire, curled up in blanket book.

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about what we have yet to read. Generally they are books that have yet to be released, but don't have to be. It is based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous at Breaking the Spine

Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Vertigo
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 180

After his harrowing confrontation with God himself, it's time for Lucifer to enjoy the season to be merry. Featuring a Krampus-approved holiday special, this third volume of the new hit Lucifer series takes the bringer of light through the streets of Los Angeles, the depths of the underworld and the deepest recesses of his own mind while he tries to live his life as a part of an ancient evil tradition and as a member of the living world.

Why I'm Waiting: I adore this series and I'm excited to pick up the next volume!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

HAPPY RELEASE DAY - Mask of Shadows

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

The whole idea of this book pulled me, and I love the fact that Sallot is gender fluid. I'm excited to see how Linsey Miller writes Sallot and the Audition process. Mask of Shadows just hits a lot of positive buttons with me. I'm very excited for this book to arrive in my mailbox!


Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

I'm very excited about this entire series, and that Wonder Women was the first to be published of the four scheduled to be written. Personally I don't think that Diana gets enough love in the DC Universe so I'm glad she got first dibs and has an amazing author telling her story! Currently I'm waiting for my copy of this bad boy to arrive.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they chose a new meme and bloggers pick their Top Ten Books, TV Shows, Movies, etc that fit that theme. For the next week the girls at the Broke and the Bookish are on hiatus. That means that won't be any set themes until August. It's a free for all!! This week I thought I'd do: Ten Hidden Gem Books in Sci-Fi.

  1. The Warm Bodies Series by Isaac Marion
  2. The Immortal Empire Series by Kate Locke
  3. The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer

  1. The Dirk Gently Series by Douglas Adams
  2. The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  3. Twilight Streets by Gary Russel 

  1. William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Can't Wait Wednsday

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about what we have yet to read. Generally they are books that have yet to be released, but don't have to be. It is based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous at Breaking the Spine

Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Author: Elizabeth Byrne
Genre: Paranormal / Young Adult
Pages: 320

Lately, Athena Windham has been spending all her spare time in her grave.

Her parents—owners of a cemetery in Upstate New York—are proud of her devoutness, but her younger sister, Laurel, would rather spend her time exploring the forest that surrounds the Windham’s’ property than in her own grave.

The Windham girls lead secluded lives—their older sister died in a tragic accident and their parents’ protectiveness has made the family semi-infamous.

Why I'm Waiting: It sounds creepy and I love that!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they chose a new meme and bloggers pick their Top Ten Books, TV Shows, Movies, etc that fit that theme. For the next week the girls at the Broke and the Bookish are on hiatus. That means that won't be any set themes until August. It's a free for all!! This week I thought I'd do: Books I'd never would have read without some pretty rad teachers/professors. 

My set is a little different this week, and here's why. The books above where all put in front of me because of a couple of really amazing High School English teachers. It was one of those upsides of going to small school where the teachers were able to be more one-on-one, but both teachers put a lot of good books in front of me in the three years I was in there classes. These are the six I fell in love with, and my battered copies are proof of that!


In pure college form, in my last semester they changed the requirements to my Major. Instead of taking just a general Literature class, I now needed to a second. Why one needs this for a Criminal Justice degree the world my never know. But, I wasn't going to complain since my last semester was meant to be finish of my electives, so I picked American Lit because at the time I hadn't read a lot of American authors. This forced me to pick up Jane Austen, I seriously hate the Regency Ear writing for so many reasons, but I found I do enjoy a bit of Austen. While I found I have deep hatred for the way Virgin Wolfe writes, I also fell in love with H.P Lovecraft and Seth-Grahame Smith. I learned that sometimes a romance novel can hold my attention. And, really I learned to fall back in love with reading.

So that's my list for this week! As always remember if you want to check out any of the titles, just click on the image for the Goodreads page!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Make Me Read It Wrap Up

Well, my second year of the Make Me Read It Readathon is in the books! A huge THANK YOU to Ely and Val (Tea & Titles & Innocent Smiley)!! I had a lot of good book up on my poll this year, but The Song of Achilles took a quick lead and stayed there. Thanks for all who voted! I'm going to try to get to the rest of those books before 2017 ends. 

I rarely read a book a week. Mostly because between my full time job and extracurricular activities, sometimes I only get a couple of hours before bed to crack open my book. However, that wasn't so much the case with this book you guys chose. I got sucked in, and everything else took a back seat. So much so that I spent the last of the Readathon both healing from the end of The Song of Achilles and picking up my house.

So how was my book that everything everyone picked?

Holy crap! I'm so glad I included it on the poll. If I hadn't it would still be sitting on a pile on the floor (I need a new bookcase after the last one broke! Don't just me my poor life choices!!) and kept collecting dust. Which would have been a terrible thing because the it was fantastic. You can see my review here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week reading, and their books as fantastic as mine!!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Song of Achilles - Review

Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Retelling
Format: Hardback
Pages: 352

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

I've had this books sitting in one of my TBR piles for longer than I really want to admit. There were a lot of things Song of Achilles that pulled me in: the covers were amazing, I love Greek History, and the Iliad is one of my favorites. However, I've never been much of a romance reader, and I have a bad habit of passing on books based around any romance because that's usually the part of the plot that annoys. Like I said a bad habit. 

So a huge thanks to everyone who voted for Song of Achilles during Make Me Read It Readathon last week! 

Holy crap! Madeline Miller hooked from the first page. The entire book is told through Patroclus's point of view, which I thought was a nice change. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with him as a character. I liked how he understood his faults, but instead of spending pages whining about them, he accepted them. Accepted himself. It's not that he didn't wish to be more, or he didn't try, he just knew that he'd never really be the man his father wanted.

As for the story itself, I thought it moved along very smoothly. There wasn't ever really a moment where I thought the story slowed, or wondered felt the need to put down the book because the story was dragging along. In fact it was just the opposite. I had hard time of putting the book down. Of finding a place to pause to do other things, like go to work. Which I feel is a good problem to have with a book.

Who needs sleep?

One of my favorite parts is that through Patroclus you get to see the man behind the legend of Achilles. How his mistakes shaped him, how his mother shaped him, and maybe how Patroclus always seemed to remind how to be mortal. It's a beautiful story that I wished I would have picked up sooner.

The problem for me was knowing how the story ends. All through the story you know the outcome because of the Iliad and the movie Troy.  Sadly there are certain aspects that cannot change, and the more foreshadowing that came to the events. The closer to the end of the book, the hard it became to read. Because I didn't want to see Patroclus go through that, didn't want to see Achilles loose him, and I didn't want Pyrrhus to come alone.

No one likes you Pyrrhus!

However, the ending is totally worth going through the pain. I really liked how Madeline Miller tied everything up. I enjoyed the whole book, and I really should have snagged Song of Achilles up sooner. My copy is already on its way to a friend who I think will also thoroughly enjoy it, and I've had a other friends add it their ever growing TBR as well!

Buy, Borrow, or Skip: Definitely do not skip this one! In whatever format you read pick up!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about what we have yet to read. Generally they are books that have yet to be released, but don't have to be. It is based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous at Breaking the Spine

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Scribner
Author: Stephen King & Owen King
Genre: Horror
Pages: 720

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.

 Why I'm Waiting: I love Stephen King! It sounds amazing and a reason to sleep with the light ons!