Welcome

Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: A Killer Harvest

A Killer Harvest A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Cleave is severely underrated here in the US. He's a big deal, I think, in the thriller market. I've read four of his books now, and every time, I read that final page and shut the back cover thinking, "Damn, this guy is GOOD at writing." Seriously, he writes page-turners with good characterizations, twisted plots, and creative scenarios.

This creative scenario is based around the concept of cellular memory -- that donated organs can pass on memories and feelings. Interesting spark for a story, and this tale definitely weaves that scientific potentiality into the story well.

Ironically enough, I didn't see the ending coming (bad pun intended -- SEE, blind kid getting his sight from donated eyes, come on, that's funny!) even though, after reading through the final twists, I feel like I *should* have seen it coming. That's yet another reason Cleave is one of my favorite thriller writers, and I'm savoring working my way through his works without rushing to burn through them all -- I don't want to run out before more are on their way.

Pick up a Paul Cleave book. I doubt you'll be disappointed. 4.5 stars, highly recommended.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Update, Day 18

Day 18, and five books down.  That's two more books in the five days since the last update, so we're getting closer to my normal pace.  I've picked up Ilona Andrews, because if there's anything that will cure a reading slump, it's Ilona Andrews.  That writing duo is pretty much the cure for any type of slump. LOL

Remaining on list:
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Started/In Progress:
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)


Didn't read/DNFed:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Fifth Doll

The Fifth Doll The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie Holmberg is a relatively new author. I've read her Paper Magician trilogy, and it was highly original and was quite entertaining. The magic systems that she comes up with are Sanderson-esque.

The Fifth Doll is no exception. It's got a really creative and almost scary twist on magic and Russian nesting dolls.

You can read the blurb for what it's about, but basically, the main character stumbles upon a secret that a fellow townsperson is keeping, and is forced to start messing with the magic of some Russian nesting dolls. Over time, more and more is revealed, and Holmberg has done a great job of peeling back the layers of humanity, one doll at a time, to reveal that fifth doll inside.

Overall, a unique and hard to put down take on Russian folklore, magic, and seeing past the outside shells of the people around us. I'd definitely recommend this to people who like interesting magic and folklore and slow-reveal stories.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Magicians

The Magicians The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a generous 2.5 stars rounded up. The main character, and let's be honest, most of the secondary characters, weren't remotely likable. The story had great potential that felt squandered and lost in the sea of depressing and melancholy emotions that the author drenched this world in. The twisted Narnia (which I read online the author's intention was to actually use Narnia but was told he wasn't allowed) is disturbing, but still intriguing... but the nihilistic under-/over-/every-which-way-tones kinda sapped all the fun out of this story, which is sad because, as stated before, SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

I've heard book two and three eventually end up going in a better direction and overall the series is a good one... but it's hard to believe that the publishers kept this one alive long enough for a book two or three... or a tv series... but I guess that's what happens when you're a big TIME book critic. No one wants to piss you off.

2.5 stars for Alice and Josh and sometimes Penny, amazing potential, some cool magic, and an interesting, if dark, twist on Lewis' masterworks. The other stars were lost by Quentin's inability to do anything of value or show any kind of growth for longer than it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

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July Update, Day 13

Well, we're almost halfway through July and serious burnout (mostly from two months of hardcore reading AND a core conversion at work merging our two data processing software systems into one and the headaches that come along with that) has made this a bad reading month so far.  [Let's not also mention the newly rediscovered WoW problem... yeah, go me.]

I've only read a measly three books. Time to try to get back at least to my original pace of around ten books a month.  I can do this.  Work will not conquer me.  This reading slump will not conquer me.

Remaining on list:
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Started/In Progress:
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Didn't read/DNFed:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Scorpion Trap

Scorpion Trap Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the best book in the series yet. While it didn't have some of the characters I had grown to love in it, it did have lots of Shukra (who is kickass) and some crazy twists.

Oh, also, a frickin' massive cliffhanger. So there's that. Thank goodness Pippa writes like a beast and book five will be out in August.

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Review: The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruth Ware has crafted a Christie-esque mystery, minus some of the charm of the "olden-days" of Dame Agatha's writing.

Ware has a way with words -- she crafted some great characters and truly excelled at building the setting of the book and making it feel alive and foreboding and scary and cut off from the world.

My biggest gripe was that the first 60-70% of the book was slow, and that there was all of this buildup. We never quite got to the "Poirot rules out suspects" parts because the answer is smacked across your face in a reveal that turns this from mystery to thriller.

I did figure out what was going on -- it was fairly obvious after reading so many Christie novels and mystery/thriller, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment - it just made me more interested in seeing how it would all play out. Decent little twist at the end. :)

Overall, enjoyed it. Fun read for a beach weekend or a rainy summer day.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

July Reading Plan

July is here already!  Crazy, right?  I'm adding a new category to my plan called "maybe."  :)

Remaining on list:
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Started/In Progress:
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Didn't read/DNFed:

Review: Two Nights

Two Nights Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has created an explosive mystery (pun intended) with an interesting and very current-times-relevant case. You may know of her from her Temperance Brennan series (you know, the one that Fox's longest-running hit series Bones was loosely based on), but if you haven't read any by her, this one is a great place to dip your toes in the water.

You've got an interesting protagonist: Sunday Night... in a weird way, she's a heroine you want to root for -- even if she's more of an anti-hero loner with a very dark and complicated history, not to mention the great name!

You've got an interesting hook: in a bombing outside a school, a visiting family loses two of the three members in the explosion, and the other goes missing... and leaves a grieving grandmother with money to spare looking for answers.

You've got some highly entertaining side characters: specifically Gus, but also Bob! :)

Overall, I enjoyed this romp across the country in search of a group of bombers and a missing young girl. I actually enjoyed it so much that I'd be thrilled if Reichs decided to write another Sunday Night novel. :)



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Friday, June 30, 2017

June Update, Day 30

So, last day of June (wow, already? this year is flying by!) and I've read 23 books this month!  To be fair, that looks higher than last month's 20, but page-wise I've only read 7,017 pages (not counting my in progress book), so that's a bit less than last month but still well over my normal pace. :)

Let's hope July, the last month of Tower Teams challenge over on GoodRead's NBRC group, I can keep up the pace and finish strong!

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC - July 11)

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Alpha & Omega by Isabelle Arden
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta
Red Dirt Heart #3 by N.R. Walker
Dog Tagged by James Brock
Witches' Bane by Pippa DaCosta 
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong 
See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta

Didn't read/DNFed/Pushed back: 
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August)
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (ARC - August)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Living with the Dead

Living with the Dead Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, Adele, you're a seriously disturbed individual. Sociopath, murderer, schemer, stalker, sexual molester, manipulator, disgusting all around person. Gross.

Interesting "mystery" but it felt more like a lot of run-around and not a lot of development or plot. Still love the series, but wasn't thrilled with this one. I do like Finn, and I like Robyn as well. I'd be okay if they popped up in a later book. Guess since I'm reading the rest of the series, I'll see if they do or not, eh? :)

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Red Dirt Heart 3

Red Dirt Heart 3 Red Dirt Heart 3 by N.R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charlie and Travis and the Sutton Station family are just so lovable. :)

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June Update, Day 22

18 books down!  Looks like I'll be passing my record that I set in May and having an even better month!  I'm around 5,750 pages currently, so we'll see if I pass the page record along with the total number of books! :)  I had to move some things to a later month because of both mood and group reads being chosen, and I'm sure things will move around more before the end of the month. :)

Remaining on list:
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta

Started/In Progress:
Red Dirt Heart #3 by N.R. Walker
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Witches' Bane by Pippa DaCosta

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Alpha & Omega by Isabelle Arden
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta 

Didn't read/DNFed/Pushed back: 
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC - July 11)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August)
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (ARC - August)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: Hidden Blade

Hidden Blade Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars rounded up. It would have been a full four but I felt that the end didn't really tie up the plot very well and make it feel complete. I loved the Egyptian mythology and have high expectations that book two will feel more complete and take the story to a higher level of awesome.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Red Dirt Heart 2

Red Dirt Heart 2 Red Dirt Heart 2 by N.R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stupid of me to try to read this at work. I'm too sensitive/emotional/empathetic and had a hard time not crying at multiple beautiful or difficult times in the book. But these two are awesome together.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: The Dead House

The Dead House The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This would have been a four star read for me, but I felt like the story had a lot of buildup towards a big fiery ending, and then didn't deliver. I still enjoyed the book, and liked the interesting style.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: Cast in Balefire

Cast in Balefire Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting plot twists? Check.
Really neat world and lore? Check.
Entertaining secondary characters? Check.
Really obnoxious, too stupid to live, makes terrible decisions, can't make up her mind about whether she wants to be a stupid bitch or a good, kind, and powerful person main character? Check.
Very abusive, awful, immoral, ridiculously rage-inducing love interest who deserves to have a million fire-biting fleas infest his genital regions until he fills up the billion gallon tank that he's captured in with his tears enough to drown himself? Check.

Seriously, Reine. If you'd stop pumping out books so fast and start giving them the extra attention you used to, we wouldn't end up with disgusting, awful Marion and Konig issues, now would we?

2.5 stars rounded up, because, well, Goodreads still won't do half stars.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June Update, Day 13

We're a little under halfway through the month of June, and I've already read 10 books! :)  That's awesome!  I'm hoping to finish at least one more today, maybe another.  I probably won't get through all the books on the list, especially since I've been adding random strays to the list when the mood strikes, but I'm still doing great!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker

Started/In Progress:
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet

Didn't read/DNFed:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is starting to feel... blah. I dunno if this one just didn't have as much action, or had too much "feelings" and crying and emotional stuff, but it felt like, I dunno... less like men fighting side by side against bad guys and being naughty in the bedroom, and more like a girly romance novel/chick lit that just happened to have male protagonists. This is an issue I find that I have with so many of the female MM authors. It starts to feel like it's more aimed at female readers and less at the actual gay male readers. No offense intended to female MM readers or female MM authors... just hard to know how to accurately write something you'll never really get firsthand experience in ALL the time.

Sorry about the rant. This one wasn't BAD per se, just kinda boring.

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Review: Super Quick Mysteries

Super Quick Mysteries Super Quick Mysteries by Andrew Stanek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book of fun little mysteries and brain teasers. Definitely enjoyed it. Didn't love it, but it was fun. :)

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: And the Rest is History

And the Rest is History And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life isn't fair. Jodi Taylor knows that, and certainly makes a point of showing it in her books. But the main reason I'm saying life isn't fair? Because I have caught up to the current book and am not waiting a year for the next. I call bullshit. I need it now. NOW I SAY.

*wails uncontrollably, loudly, and unhappily*

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoy the misadventures of Ruth Galloway and the cast of characters of her small town in the UK. Another solid entry with lots of character development. :)

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: Imago

Imago Imago by N.R. Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lost a star because of the overuse of the word "hummed"(LOL!) but otherwise, cute story. I want me a Jack Brighton... yowza.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Reading Plan

Welcome to June!  Let's set a high goal for the month and do our damnedest to meet that goal!!!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
The Long and the Short of It by Jodi Taylor
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker


Started/In Progress:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor


Finished so far:


Didn't read/DNFed: 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Check-in, Day 31

EDIT: I lied... I finished another one before the day ended, so my final totals were 20 books, ~7,800 pages!!!

So it's the final day of May, and here's my final update.  It was a crazy month!  I finished 19 books, a personal record!!! The month isn't over until the end of the day, but as of this moment, I've read over 7,500 pages!  Also a personal record!

All in all, a very productive and enjoyable month of reading.  Now, onto June and making more headway into this giant pile of unread books just waiting for me to read them!

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Jodi Taylor
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Sixty Five Hours by N.R. Walker
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

Didn't read/DNFed: 
MOVING TO JUNE:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do

The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do by Mark Sanborn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Anecdotes, platitudes, and inspirational quotes are nice and all, but this was far too long for what it provides. Mostly common sense. Meh.

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Review: Cast in Hellfire

Cast in Hellfire Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Decent story. Marion is still hard to put up with, though I don't entirely hate her... I do want to smack her a few times and see if that helps. Konig on the other hand... #skeeze. Entertaining enough that I'll continue... 3.5 stars

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm at a loss for words. Even knowing some of the details in advance thanks to some spoilery people, I thought I was prepared. I wasn't. I sobbed like a baby for half an hour at least. Now I have a headache and am struggling at work... I shouldn't have finished this in the morning before heading into the office.

Thank you Sanderson, for yet again toying with my emotions.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

May Check-in, Day 22

I've moved a few things around and bumped some to June... some of which I might actually get to this month, but we will have to see. :)  My plan isn't set in stone... but I am doing REALLY awesome thing month!  13 books finished already!!!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
something in physical form at the beach at the end of the month

Started/In Progress:
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Jodi Taylor
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire 

Didn't read/DNFed: 
MOVING TO JUNE:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Cast in Angelfire

Cast in Angelfire Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While that twist was pretty damned obvious the whole time, I like the story that Reine is setting up with so many players from her larger world making appearances.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I'll settle on 3.5 stars for this one.

I love most of Sanderson's work, and I really enjoyed the first Mistborn novel. I'm not surprised by the fact that the last 20% was the most entertaining -- that's a typical Sanderson thing. But so much of this one felt like "lather rinse repeat" before anything got done. Vin goes out into the mist, meets Watcher, talks to kandra, returns to Keep Venture. Elend and team discuss the future of the city, and deal with two armies/siege. Vin goes out into the mist... you get the idea.

The end did make me excited to read the next one, which is good, because when I started this one the first time, I barely made a dent before I put it down and then couldn't bring myself to come back to it. I think book three will be easier to pick up and finish the first time.

Those middle-of-a-trilogy books tend to be this way. :)

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

May Check-in, Day 11

Making some excellent progress this month so far!  Tower Teams challenge has started, so I'm in banshee reading mode and trying to tear through as many as I can.  I'm also doing a much better job of reading what I'm in the mood for at the moment, even if it doesn't stick to my plan or with what I "have" to read, which is making the books fly by even faster!

Remaining on list:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine

Started/In Progress:
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Didn't read/DNFed:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Broken

Broken Broken by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I totally would have given this 4.5 stars instead of 3.5 if the protagonists had spotted the VERY obvious villain right away, like I did. ;)

Fun entry into the series, and a welcome revisit to Elena's POV.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My complaint would be that it was too short, and that, while the ending was satisfying, it left me way too desperate for more. So, in short, it was typical Seanan McGuire.

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Review: Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Catch a Tiger by the Tail Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. It was entertaining, and nice to see Ethan and Calvin's story... but this series has started to feel forced.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

For those who didn't know, I'm a huge Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child fan. Their Pendergast series is one of my top favorites, an instant preorder, and one of the series I've reread most entries multiple times. Each of those authors also writes their own books on a solo basis, and while I've read many of those, my favorites of their solo works definitely goes to Lincoln Child's Jeremy Logan series. I've got some catching up to do - I haven't read the first two in the series, not realizing they were part of a series until The Third Gate, book three, was released and I had read it already. They work very well as standalones, and it wasn't clear that it was the third in a series.

Anywho, long story short, I've been keeping up with the new releases in the series about this intelligent, compassionate, enigmologist empath, and enjoying the hell out of them. I read this one in under 24 hours -- sneak reading at work because I couldn't put it down!

I subtracted a star just because by the end, it was obvious to me the path the book was going to take, and I had predicted it much earlier in the novel... but it didn't sap any of my enjoyment out of reading this excellent entry, as evidenced by my complete inability to put it down!

Take a chance on this series. I'm sure you'll be entertained. :)

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May Check-in, Day 8

I've also read quite a few shorties while waiting for Tower Teams to start on May 4th at 11AM EST, but I won't list all those here. :)

Remaining on list:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
War Hawk by James Rollins
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine

Started/In Progress:
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

On Deck for May

A quick rundown of the things I'm planning on reading in May.  This will totally change, I'm sure, based off of my moods. :)  It also doesn't include whatever series the Wednesday UF group over at Buddies Books and Baubles decides on for our next read, after Jane Yellowrock.

Remaining on list:
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
War Hawk by James Rollins
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Started/In Progress:

Finished so far:

Didn't read/DNFed: 

April's List, Day 27

So I moved the two books I wasn't sure about into May. I really need to give that ARC a shot before the May release date... but I just am not interested in it anymore.  I will definitely finish Key to the Indian before the month ends, and round out a VERY productive month of reading. :)

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: A Trail Through Time

A Trail Through Time A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't praise this book series enough. Even when the author turns everything we know on its side and upside down and backwards and shakes it all up, these books are still well-written, fun, sexy, exciting, action-packed, and adventurous.

Quickly worming its way up into my favorites list. :)

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April's List, Day 19


Remaining on list:
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Started/In Progress:
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Snared

Snared Snared by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jennifer Estep knows how to have FUN in her stories. This one covered some really dark material (I mean honestly, the series is about an assassin... let's not act shocked this one has dark stuff in it, guys), but I still loved it.

Gin finds out that some of her enemies aren't just violent evil thugs. She also finds out that some of them *ARE* just violent evil thugs. She makes some progress on her Circle hunting. And we get to see quite a few of our favorite cast members. (Also, can I get an AMEN to Owen being less cardboard-cutout-y in this one? :D )

My biggest complaint is that it was predictable. I pretty much guessed almost everything that was going to happen. But, in typical Estep fashion, I had fun anyways.

All in all, a very solid entry into the series. She says she's planned now through book 19 (really? You're killing me, Estep -- why 19 instead of 20? Stephen King fetish?), and I will definitely be along for the final few novels on this ride through the world of the Elemental Assassin.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April's List, Day 12


Making good progress so far, but I can't let up if I plan to finish this lofty goal.  I did mark some reads as "maybes" now, just in case.  But I'm proud that I've finished as much as I have in the first 12 days of April!

Remaining on list:
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Started/In Progress:
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
The Lost Order by Steve Berry

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April's List, Day 5

I added a novella by Seanan McGuire because, well, I just had to read it immediately.  I needed the followup to Incryptid book #6 SO BADLY.

I also forgot to include the new Cotton Malone/Steve Berry book, which came out April 4th, so I added it to the plan and we'll see if this list is completed or not!

Additionally, I was approved for an ARC I forgot I requested (oops), so I will probably end up not finishing all of this, or bumping something to May!

Remaining on list:
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC)

Started/In Progress:
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April's List, Day One

Here's my game plan for April.  Hopefully I can exceed expectations and tear through more than just these!

Remaining on list:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (started in March, finish if didn't in March)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Started/In Progress:

Finished so far:

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Reading Game Plan, Final Update

Since I leave tonight for a quick weekend trip and won't be able to update, here is the final update for March's reading.

I met every goal, and might even exceed the goal by finishing Broken Soul before the month ends! Go, me! :)

Remaining on list:


Started/In Progress:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: A Second Chance

A Second Chance A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy effing craziness, Jodi Taylor. What did you do? You completely demolished every expectation I had. I didn't see anything coming, other than one tiny little bit of inconsequentialness....

Jeez, if you haven't read this series and you like time travel and snarky, strong female leads, then you need to pick up The Chronicles of St. Mary's.



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Monday, March 27, 2017

March Reading Game Plan Update #4

A quick update as we head into the last week of March... I'm about 10% into A Second Chance. We will see if I can finish it and get a big chunk of Broken Soul read or not. I might actually meet this game plan.

Remaining on list:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (will start, won't finish)

Started/In Progress:
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm so sad that Meg and Simon and Lakeside's story is over. I'm so happy that Bishop is going to be writing more about this world that she has created and that I've fallen in love with, but I'm still so sad to be leaving these characters behind. I'm sure we'll get some cameos or mentions, but it just won't be the same. I've come to care about these characters, and to feel like I'm part of their pack.

If Bishop's series to this point hasn't convinced you of anything else, I hope it's convinced you that all it takes to change the world is ONE PERSON. Don't ever forget that you are important, that you affect those around you, and that you can make that difference be a positive one.

Bittersweet feelings, to see this ending. *sad and happy*

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Reading Game Plan Update #3



Update number three is already here? Wow, can't believe we're almost done with March! A fourth of the year is already gone!!!  Disney trip is NEXT WEEK! Because the last week I've barely had the energy to read (work stuff, friend stuff, family stuff, relationship stuff, sick all add up to EXHAUSTED), I might not finish the plan *sigh*

Remaining on list:

Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (will start, won't finish)

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Started/In Progress:
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: The Long Way Down

The Long Way Down The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 stars

Thanks, Sarah, for recommending this one to me. It was a lot of fun, and I'll definitely pick up book two.

That being said, this book had a few things -- the relationship between Faust and Caitlin seemed a little fast, and a lot of the characters felt kind of "cardboard cutout"-ish. I'm sure there will be more development for a lot of those though, so I'll be reading book two to get to know them a little better. Faust himself was pretty decently developed, which is enough to push me forward and give book two a shot.

Plus #twogaydads. So yay for that. :D

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March Reading Game Plan UPDATE #2



Update number two sets us firmly halfway through March.  Can't believe March is halfway over and we're already this far into 2017.  Disney trip coming up in two weeks! Can't wait for that long weekend of crazy running to do everything and visit with our good friends from DC that we don't get to see often... and hopefully see Rivers of Light for the first time, and mourn Wishes by seeing it one last time... anywho, on to the BOOKS!


Remaining on list:

Black Arts by Faith Hunter
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (will start, won't finish)

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Started/In Progress:
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Magic for Nothing

Magic for Nothing Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seanan McGuire, you rock my socks. I dunno whether this review should be a love letter to your writing skills or a letter of supplication, begging for beta reading opportunities, friendship (like really, let's be BFFs and hang out every day), and a chance to be an Aeslin Mouse to your Awesomesauce Priestess.

This series has had a few POV changes. Each time, I've been wary for some reason, and then pleasantly appreciative at the development and growth of the world that these POV changes bring. This one was no exception. I wasn't sure I'd like Antimony, and trust me, I didn't like everything she said or did, but I LOVED her POV. She's strong, stubborn, a fighter, and hilarious. And damn, is she willing to make sacrifices for the ones she cares about. SERIOUS sacrifices.

This book emotionally destroyed me, and I loved every second of that destruction. Up until this book, I was more a fan of her October Daye series. Don't get me wrong, I loved Incryptid, but it just wasn't on the same level as Toby... but this installment seriously kicked it up a few notches, changed the stakes of the game even farther, and added some dark and powerful twists. It's now tied with Toby for me, at the very least. We will see how she cleans up the mess she made for our Cryptozoologist family in this installment in the next, and then I'll make a judgment call. But since it's Seanan, I have every faith she will pull off whatever she has in mind with gusto and emotion.

It's going to be a long year. Time to hit the blogging hard so I can make myself Berkeley-worthy at some point in order to get an ARC!

PRE-REVIEW/POST-FINISH THOUGHTS:
I'll try to write a review when I'm able to process.

*weeps*

And having to wait a year is going to kill me. I've never been more upset to wait for the next installment for ANY series than I am right now. #emotionallydestroyed

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March Reading Game Plan UPDATE #1

Wow, we're already eight days into March!  I've already made some good progress on reaching my goals this month too!  I've finished a book started in February and read two full-length books and a novella already, along with being over halfway through a third full-length book.  That's pretty grand!!! :) I might even get MORE read than my goal, which is always great.

Sadly, I also decided against spending the time on reading the ARC of Lovecraft Squad.  The blurb sounded like something I'd like - I mean really, I loved the Lovecraftian stuff of Cherie Priest SO MUCH - but the first few paragraphs were trying so hard at being "beautifully written" that it just miffed me, and I couldn't ever bring myself to pick it up.  That was the sign I needed to say "thanks but no thanks"... I hate doing that to the publishers after they graciously approve me for an ARC, but it's rare enough that I can accept it every now and then.

HERE'S MY LIST:

Remaining on list:
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Black Arts by Faith Hunter
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Started/In Progress:
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC)

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: Final Girls

Final Girls Final Girls by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

For those who don't know, Mira Grant is a pseudonym for the genius and brilliant Seanan McGuire who, over the past two years, has weaseled her way up to my top favorites list of authors. She's absolutely fantastic, and this shorty is just another shining example of how she can throw you into any situation and make you care about the characters and what's happening to them AND make you feel like the world she's creating is bigger than just the words on the page.

This one wasn't perfect by any means - the resolution seemed a little rushed, and the novella could have been another 20-30 pages long and felt more complete, but it was still a shiny little gem of a story.

Read it. :)

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Reading Game Plan!

I'm hoping that March lets me knock off a LOT of books on my TBR.  Here's the list of planned reads!

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendig
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Black Arts by Faith Hunter
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC)
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

We shall see if I can get all these read. That's a really big goal!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017 Recap

Thought I'd do a quick run down of the books I read in February 2017.

First, I'm involved in a group called Buddies Books and Baubles over on Goodreads, and every Wednesday we pick up a book in a UF series. I've convinced them all to read Jane Yellowrock, which I've been dying to reread.  We read the first four (Skinwalker, Blood Cross, Mercy Blade, and Raven Cursed), all of which got five stars on the second read, because, well, Jane + Beast = epic.  I've also read the shorties up through book five in the Blood in Her Veins anthology, which I'll be reading alongside the main series reads each week until I finish it.

I read a few ARCs as well.  Strange Magic by James Hunter came out a couple of years ago, but the whole series is up on Netgalley, so I gave it a shot. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly didn't turn out to be as fun as it was trying so desperately to be. It felt overdone and like it was trying WAY too hard to be hip and cool -- like Dresden, but with a pop culture reference EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH.  I doubt I'll pick up the others in the series when this barely over 200 pager took me almost two weeks to finish.

I was super excited to read the ARC of The Turn by Kim Harrison. I miss her Hollows world so much, especially Jenks, and this prequel hit the spot.  It had a few great characters, but I think my heart belonged to Orchid. Something about the way Kim Harrison writes pixies just works so well!  And of course, Al/Gally was involved, and he's just fantastic.

I also read the first in a new trilogy by an author named Vic James, who created a really fun new world and a really intricate plot in Gilded Cage. I am VERY excited to get book two later this year (*crosses fingers*).

I also had the chance (finally!) to pick up A Symphony of Echoes, book two in the Chronicles of St. Mary's by Jodi Taylor. This is a fun romp through history and the future with the time-traveling historians of St. Mary's.  I definitely plan on getting to book three in March... hopefully. :)

Lastly, I've made some progress in A Conjuring of Light, the final book in V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy.  I'll be sad when it's over, because it's turned out to be one of the best series I've ever read.  Schwab has certainly perfected her craft and become an excellent writer.  I hope she writes more beautiful worlds and stories like this trilogy in the future.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am thoroughly impressed. This book gets all the stars from me. I'd give it more if I could.

You've got an interesting concept - two kinds of humans, Equals and the normal people. Equals have superhuman powers. Normal people are, well, normal. Every normal person is required at some point in their life to serve ten years of "slavedays," service to the Equals in some form or fashion.

You've got superpowers - instant hook for me - and they're not used on every page or constantly thrown about. We get glimpses of the power throughout, and it feels like a taste of what's to come...

You've got some great characters - a family divided, an infant with mysterious seeming lack of powers, some Equals very full of themselves, a creepy Equal with stranger powers than most, power hungry politicians and rebellious normals.

I don't want to give away too much -- but I will say this. I wasn't surprised at all by one of the biggest twists of the book. I had actually come to expect it a while before the reveal. But what happened AFTERWARDS did kind of throw me for a loop, and set up the next book extremely well.

Thankfully, the next book comes out later this year, and hopefully the wait for the third won't be too long, because as of right now, *GRABBY HANDS*

Special thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: The Turn

The Turn The Turn by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, let's get the pesky tidbit out of the way -- I received this book as an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Now, down to business. Kim, darling, I know that all good things must come to an end, but this book proves that you're at your best when you're in the world of the Hollows. Don't get me wrong, I adore Peri Reed and the cast of that series. The premise is neat and you add lots of fun twists and turns and bad boys and good boys and cats and a badass lead... but the Hollows is just BETTER. I mean honestly, the Hollows has PIXIES like Jenks and, newly introduced in this book, Orchid. I ADORED her, almost as much as I did Jenks - who happens to be one of my favorite book characters of all time.

A little backstory (see what I did there? this book is a prequel, so it's all backstory!) -- remember in the Hollows when we are introduced to this Urban Fantasy world? Yep, tomatoes + virus = human population decrease and supernatural creatures coming out of the hidden in plain sight closet. This book tells that story. It did such a good job that now I'm hankering for a reread of the entire 13 book (plus myriad shorties) series.

Even though we knew the inevitable ending, the path to get there was fun, the characters were well developed and lovable (for the most part), and we got more Hollows out of the deal. Side note here: we also get some cameos! I won't tell you who, because spoilers, but I loved the cameos!

I think there's enough material for another prequel to get us to the start of the Hollows, Kim, darling... even if it's just a series of shorties or a novella. Don't make me beg (because I will, and it will not be cute).

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Review: Strange Magic

Strange Magic Strange Magic by James A. Hunter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Goodreads rating system proved to be perfect. Two stars = "it was ok."

It had a lot of promise, and it was short (only 200 pages or so), and took me almost 3 weeks to read. I just couldn't pick it up once I set it down.

My biggest gripe was that it tried too damn hard. We don't need pop culture references and jokes and witty dialogue EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH. It takes away from the realism that is needed to ground Urban Fantasy into our world when it's constantly reminding us that "hey, this is your world. hey, that show you like is in here. hey, funny joke" over and over and over.

I'll consider the second. Maybe he polishes his writing up some and some of this problem is reduced? If he could tone it back some and stop trying so hard to be funny and awesome, it would actually BE funny and awesome (see: Jim Butcher's Dresden Files).

I appreciate Netgalley providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I'm just sorry my honest review of what could have been an awesome series wasn't as positive as I had hoped it would be.

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