The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

“No wonder men did not want women to wear bloomers. What could women accomplish if they did not have to continually mind their skirts, keep them from dragging in the mud or getting trampled on the steps of an omnibus? If they had pockets! With pockets, women could conquer the world!” –Theodora Goss

33645527Two things drew me in to this book: the cover and the title. From just these two things, I couldn’t fully tell exactly the time period or genre, but I did know that I wanted to find out more and I’m glad I picked it up.

The book mainly centers around Mary Jekyll–yes, as in the daughter of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. She is alone and penniless after the disappearance and (alleged) death of her father and recent madness and death of her mother. Mary decides to seek a reward for the capture of her father’s capturer, the mysterious Mr. Hyde, in order to solve her financial troubles. Her search leads her, in stead, to new companions in the form of Hyde’s daughter Diana, Sherlock Holmes (whom she turns to for aid), Catherine Maureau, Justine Frankenstein, and Beatrice Rappaccini. The soon-to-be-called Athena Club’s adventures lead them around London seeking answers about dark experiments which are both fascinating and dangerous, but which link them all together in some way.

I very much appreciated the concept of this book, which was getting together the ‘daughters’ of gothic horror. For once, we’re not seeing all male monsters but females, and they’re heroines! What?! They are making the role of monstress look good! Its so interesting–the author gives each character their own personality based on their environment and how they were made, taught, raised, or “born” if you will. We get to hear their stories and it really is so fascinating. We do also see a bit of the personality of Sherlock & Watson as well. Goss really does touch on all of the characters.

bigstock-139342157-620x330The only reason that I didn’t absolutely love the book is the structure. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is written with frequent and random present-day dialogue interruptions from the characters in the Athena Club. A running commentary, if you will. To me, they are sometimes too distracting and excessive. I just didn’t feel they were necessary. I just couldn’t figure out if they were meant to lighten the mood? I have no idea what the purpose is. They are literally anywhere from 2-10 lines of dialogue every few pages. Why? Oh well.

Other than that though, I really enjoyed the book. I love classic, gothic literature and this was a great spin on the stories. I can’t wait to read more in this series!

Book Soundtrack: “Psychological Recovery” from Sherlock Holmes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer

signature

 

Advertisements

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

31694016Stranger Than Fanfiction is a book for which the synopsis really doesn’t do the story much justice. True, the book is about teen celebrity and four graduating high school friends going on a road trip. We find out almost immediately that 3 out of the 4 friends have huge secrets. One is gay and going to an extremely conservative college. One is trans and can’t admit it to his family or friends or the guy who she(he) knows has a crush on her(him). And the third wants to attend a different college than her father is making her go to. This is all so that she can pursue what he views as a “good” career when what she really wants to do is become a writer.

I very much liked the idea of the road trip theme, as well as a celebrity peer randomly joining a group of his fans who were best friends all for the fun. Sounds like a good book, right? Well, turns out the celebrity has his own secret, is rather an asshole, and the friends are all pretty flat characters and nothing exciting happens. EVER. Until the very, very end.

Honestly, the final 40 pages all of a sudden are the only redeemable part of the book. My ears perked up, and I even shed a couple of tears! After considering not finishing the book a couple of times along the way, I finally found a reason to finish the book, however unreasonable the out-of-nowhere ending seemed!! I liked the twist and it finally brought the entire book together in a way I thought it needed.

So overall, yes, this book has characters who are LGTBQA+, but does it really discuss these issues in ways that are really important or shed light on the topic in interesting ways? Unfortunately not. I didn’t feel that I really connected with the characters at all, and I hated that I never felt that I had any idea what the show that the characters were always talking about being fans of, Whiz Kids, was about. It ended up just being an annoying, constant reference. Sorry Chris Colfer, this book wasn’t for me.

4919495Side note: speaking of Chris Colfer…just FYI, yes, Chris Colfer the author is the same as Chris Colfer the Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor best-known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the FOX television series “Glee”!! I absolutely did not realize that until after I read the book and was writing my review! It, unfortunately, doesn’t change my opinion, but I do find it fascinating and now I have to connect the “Glee” soundtrack to this book!

Book Soundtrack: “Seasons of Love” by Glee Cast

signature

Tag Tuesday: Inside Out

Hi everyone! So I just started a new job last week and as with any new job, I have been feeling SO many emotions! Its such a roller coaster!! That being said, I feel it appropriate to do the Inside Out Book Tag this week so here goes!

Joy: Which book brings you the most joy?
giphy
Joy, for me, is probably The Hunger Games. Any versions, any merch, any anything and I’m just in love! The series means a lot to me and I just love the contents and the characters. Both the books and the movies are excellent, in my opinion. I love THG!

Disgust: Which book grossed you out the most?
giphy1
This one is pretty easy for me. Whiskey Sour or any of the Jack Daniels mysteries by J.A. Konrath. I have read the first three in the series and they are good but man, this guy is not shy about putting in details about his killers’ murder methods! Let’s just say, for example, that book 1 is responsible for me never eating bite size candy bars without me cutting them in half ever again. Nope, nope, nope!!

Fear: The book that scared you more than anything?
giphy2
I don’t scare easily when it comes to books, but due to the circumstances under which I read it, I am going to choose Amityville Horror for this one. I had to read this for a course in college and I read a few chapters over a weekend when I was staying by myself in a really old building at a camp/forest preserve out in the middle of nowhere! So hearing the creaks and moans of the old building and the wind and all that while reading about a possessed house was NOT a good idea!!!

Sadness: Which book made you cry the hardest?
giphy3
Oh Lordy, do I have to re-live this one? While I don’t scare easily over books, I do tend to cry relatively easily over books. So. My top cry books: Allegient (Divergent trilogy), Extraordinary Means (if you haven’t heard of this book, go look it up. If you liked The Fault in our Stars, or even if you didn’t [because I didn’t… #unpopularopinion ] this book was even better!), and The Light We Lost.

Anger: Which book pissed you off? 
giphy4

I won’t say it “pissed me off” but it definitely was not up to my expectations. Or maybe it wasn’t what I expected. So for this one I’ll choose Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. My favorite character gets killed off, my ideal ship doesn’t happen, and the trilogy ends!! Pout, pout, pout!

decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-gbhglo-clipart2bpinkSo that’s that, my friends! I hope that everyone in the U.S. had a nice, long weekend! If you’re not in the U.S. hopefully you’re having a great week so far. Well wishes to you all!

signature

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

geekerella-cover-1
Geekarella
 has been on my TBR for a long time now and I just haven’t gotten to it. Its the story of Elle, daughter of the man behind the ExcelsiCon CosPlay Convention and Costume Ball. Now living with her awful stepmother and two stepsisters, Elle lives and breathes Starfield. So when a soap opera star is cast as the male lead, she is completely skeptical. She blogs her opinion and it goes viral. When a costume contest is announced at ExcelsiCon, Elle is inspired to enter, wearing an old costume from her attic. With the help of a new friend, the old costume is made beautiful and Elle makes quite the impression at the contest.

geekerella2bquote2b2For soap star Darien Freeman, playing Carmindor in his favorite show-made-movie is a dream come true. The super-fans, however, have lowered their expectations and voiced their opposition to the teen heartthrob playing the classic role. Only Darien knows how dedicated he is to doing justice to the role, yet still, he wants to avoid the awkward meet-and-greets with fans. ExcelsiCon is the last place he wants to show his face but his father/manager gives him no choice.

Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that I do like the through-the-airwaves trope in YA fiction when its done well, and in my opinion, Geekarella was done very well. Elle, at times, did grind my nerves just a little bit. She was so insecure and stubborn that it was just too much. And then she would say “My father raised me to be brave” and bla bla bla….well, you have been failing at that, my friend. Darien, I thought was actually a great character. I thought he was a great representation of a teenage guy and he was fun to read. The secondary characters were great as well, especially Sage. And I just loved picturing the Magic Pumpkin. How creative is that idea? Hats off, Ashley Poston!!

Soundtrack: “Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Main Title” composed by Dennis McCarthy

signature

WWW Wednesdays #1

G’day everyone, and welcome to my very first WWW Wednesday! Lately I have seen at least 2-3 Book Blogger Directories being compiled and as I went to begin browsing for new friends in the blog world, I came across WWW Wednesdays and its definition so I think I’ll try it out! In case you (like me) are new to this meme, it seeks to answer 3 W’s (wow, sensible!): What did you finish recently? What are you currently reading? and What do you think you’ll read next? So without further ado….

www

What did you finish recently?
I just participated in a Read-a-thon and I got so much reading done! I read ten children’s books, two humor books, and two YA books. I will be reviewing the two YA books soon here on my blog (Wires and Nerve: Vol. 2 by Marissa Meyer and Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young). So let me mention a couple other books I read:

Here are the highlights of my children’s book reading experience. These are books by important figures: Malala Yousafzai (the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner), Chelsea Clinton (political activist and correspondent), and Hoda Kotb (TV personality and journalist). I don’t have any children right now, but someday, these are books that I want to read to my child. While I’ve Loved You Since Forever is just fluff (but seriously adorable fluff….the pictures are beautiful and of everyone’s favorite sweet animals. Yep, otters and elephants and owls and foxes!!), Malala’s Magic Pencil and She Persisted are both powerful reads for children. Whether its learning about bringing education and peace, or the STEM sciences, or just finding your own voice, children will hopefully be inspired to take their place in the world and make a difference.

What are you currently reading?
18460392Currently I am about 85% through All the Bright Places. I have had this one on my iPad for a long time now but just never prioritized it, but now I decided to pick it up and go for it. In 2015, it won the Goodreads “Best Books of the Year” in the category of YA Fiction. To give you a little perspective, this book won out over Simon vs. the Homosapiens and Everything, Everything. I have read 4-5 other books from that category and yes, I’m a bit surprised too. Personally, I don’t think I’m liking this one more than others on the list (2 were 5* reads for me), but it definitely is a powerful read. Trigger warnings for suicide and depression.

What do you think you will read next?
31343879I need to read something light and fluffy next because I’ve been binge reading and reading long books and now heavy, emotional books. My default “fluffy” genre is cozy and/or paranormal cozy mysteries. I just found a new series I will try, and then its back to the grind of ARCs to be read, library books to finish, and shelves to clear off.
I know not everyone is into cozies. Maybe some of you don’t even know what they really are. Basically a cozy mystery is a book/story that is usually set in a small town or close-knit community, and violence and sex are downplayed and replaced with mild humor. In a nutshell: not scary, not emotional, but filled with quirky characters and situations. Another thing I enjoy about cozies is that the main characters have a unique quirk (i.e. being a witch, for example) and/or occupation. There are cozies about house flippers, crafters, baristas, bakery owners, stay at home moms, etc. Lots of things you don’t necessarily see in your everyday mainstream genre, but yet you can relate to or find interesting. So that is my take on that topic.

illus_smoke_divider_by_entropies-d4triyr

There you have it folks, my first WWW Wednesday. I look forward to doing more of these in the future. Stick around to see reviews for Wires and Nerve: Vol 2  and Sky in the Deep (which releases next Tuesday, 4/24/18). Until next time….ciao!

signature

 

Tag Tuesday: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

It seems to me that “Unpopular Opinions” are (ironically) very popular these days. Maybe that’s just me?? But anyway, I found this tag created by The Book Archer and I’m going for it this week! Here we go!

ap550x55012x161transparentt-u81. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like. The Fault in Our Stars. I am not a John Green Fan and I was definitely not  a ‘Fault in Our Stars’ fan. It was SO cliche and lame to me. Somehow, though, I absolutely LOVED the movie. I cried my frickin’ EYES OUT FOR HOURS after watching it!!
2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love. Fifty Shades of Grey. Sorry, everyone, but I love Christian Grey in all of his craziness. I absolutely devoured those books. Were they well-written? Hell no. Were they fun to read? Absolutely. So while many, many people say they “hate” the books, I think they’re really just denying their inner goddesses. Just sayin’. *wink*
3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with OR an OTP that you don’t like. Clockwork Princess. Okay, the ending of this one and how the relationships work out is just a hot mess. Cassandra Clare cheated, IMHO. I have my opinion on which guy Tessa should be with and that whole boloney at the end is just dumb and not fair. Everything was ruined. Hated it. Yes, I’m bitter.
leia2124. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for. Pure sci-fi, high fantasy, YA contemporary, or historical romance. I really do read a lot of genres….or I try to, at least.
5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like. Luke & Leia. I know that this is a super unpopular opinion…especially after the recent loss of Carrie Fischer. But in the original trilogy (books or movies, however you look at it), I just felt they were so overrated. Now is a totally different story and my view is changing but I’m still on the “meh” fence.
6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into. John Green. Hands down. I keep buying his books and trying to read them and I just can’t get into them.
7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.) BEAUTY BLIND. I hate MC’s who think they’re ugly…or at least ‘average’ or ‘normal’ and then all of a sudden they have the 2-5 hottest, most rugged and rich men in the city/kingdom/galaxy competing for her love/hand in marriage because she is so beautiful and flawless and sexy. “No I’m not” “Yes you are, you’re the most beautiful creature I’ve seen” bla bla bla. OH MY START SHUT-UP!! You get the point, we’ve all read it thousands of times before. Just be average, for real. Don’t want a MC only for her ‘beauty’ but for her brains or her wit or something!
open book on wooden table on bright background8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading. 
– The Inheritance Cycle
– The Iron Fey
– Bloodlines
– Bluebloods
9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book? The Maze Runner. I actually really liked the movies but I tried to read the book and couldn’t read more than 75 pages or so.

ANNNNNNNND that’s it!! Woo! That was actually pretty difficult because I am typically a go-with-the-flow, very agreeable kind of girl so having un-popular opinions is difficult for me! But there it is! Did you agree with any of my opinions? Disagree? Me, myself, and I want to know about it! Leave a comment or TAG, YOU’RE IT! Try the tag for yourself on your own blog or vlog.

Listening to: Piera Ford Booktube vlog

signature

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

21645469-_sy540_Well hey, I finally got around to reading Caraval in honor of book #2 releasing soon! I hate to miss out on all of the goodies coming out soon…plus, of course, I’ve been hearing about Caraval non-stop since it was released so I gave in to the pressure! I don’t have regrets!

So there are a couple of expectations that I have to quash right off the bat: first – “caraval” =/= carnival, so don’t expect circus tents and a formal show with clowns and popcorn and elephants, etc. Not quite. Second – Legend (master of “Caraval”) is not an omniscient or stalker-ish presence like the Wizard of Oz. Maybe I’m the only one, but I was expecting something like that. I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil anything but….the Legend part of the book was NOTHING like how I expected it to be.

caravalAs for the rest of the book, I really enjoyed it!! The twists and turns of the game keep you very involved and the other players are diverse and fun to meet. Scarlett (the MC) was on the annoying side. She is engaged to be married in 4 days (?), though Caraval ends in 5, so she is obsessed with the idea of finding her sister in time to get back for her wedding. Furthermore, she gets romantic attention from a handsome guy and she’s a blatant jerk about it because she’s engaged to a man back home who she has only met via correspondence. She is obsessively “that’s not ladylike” this and “oh, that’s so improper” that, bla bla bla and it is so obnoxious. Add to that constant whining about her sister being missing and she is a complete broken record for the first two-thirds of the book.

The last third of the book, though, is when the action really picks up and there is just too much happening for there to be any whining or thinking about fiancees or any of that other junk. Its all just go-go-go. I feel that it sounds like I’m listing a lot of negatives but I really did enjoy the magic and the romance in this book. I can’t wait to dive into Legendary !!

Book soundtrack:  “Twisted” by Aaron Taos

signature

Tag Tuesday: 20 Questions

I’m sorry, I lost track of who I got this from! If it was you (yes YOU reading this!) then thank you! Here are my answers for the 20 questions tag:

THE QUESTIONS

How many books are too many books in a book series?
To me, more than four is too much. But then again, I can never get enough Harry Potter so I suppose if the content really is good then why stop?

jesse-bowser-258699-unsplashHow do you feel about cliffhangers?
Cliffhangers are the devil! 😉 Just kidding. But seriously, this is why I don’t like reading books in series until all of the books are released–I hate being on edge and then having to wait in suspense for what feels like decades for the cliffhanger to resolve!!

Hardcopy or paperback?
Honestly I read the most on my iPad, but I prefer collecting mostly hardcovers. (Although I much more prefer the price of the paperbacks.) See? They all have their perks!

Favorite book?
Isn’t this always one of the most difficult questions to answer? My favorite book is between Anne of Green GablesHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 

Your least favorite book?
Books that I think are my “least favorite” are considered such to me either because they were disappointing to me or because they drove me crazy. And these are books that I DID finish! So I will say The 100 and Meddling Kids.

designecologist-560022-unsplashLove triangles, yes or no?
I am okay with love triangles. I mean, of course, some are very poorly written and are annoying but I certainly don’t shy away from books that have them. They aren’t my favorite trope, but I don’t mind them.

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue.  I just wasn’t all that into it at the time and I had other things to read for challenges and what-not. I’ll probably get back to it at some point but for now, its near the bottom of my TBR.

A book you’re currently reading?
I’m reading a physical copy of Caraval and I’m listening to A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares.

laura-kapfer-429073-unsplashLast book you recommended to someone?
I don’t remember for sure. Could be anything…my last blog post was Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson, so let’s go with that!

The oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)
In its entirety? Probably the Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates back to ancient Babylonian times.

The newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)
Everlesspublished January 2018

Favorite author?
I like Marissa Meyer, Kresley Cole, Cassandra Clare….many, many more….

Buying books or borrowing books?
There are opportune times for both. Sometimes you just need to borrow. But most of the time, I prefer to buy (even though my wallet doesn’t want me to)

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?
Well, this isn’t a book that I dislike but one that I have managed to avoid that everyone seems to love…the Maas ACOTAR craze. I plan to get to it eventually but I’m just not there yet. I feel like there are so many other books out there and I have several other series to finish before I start into that monster of a series.

justin-veenema-147056-unsplashBookmarks or dog-ears?
Don’t hate me….sometimes I dog-ear. Good quotes or if I absolutely cannot find a bookmark or something to use for one. But typically I am a dedicated user of bookmarks.

A book you can always reread?
Anything in the Harry Potter series or the Hunger Games trilogy.

Can you read while hearing music?
Yes, but preferably of the instrumental variety. Hearing lyrics just naturally makes me tempted to listen to them rather than focus on reading.

One POV or multiple POV? (POV’ = Points of view)
I am pretty picky about multiple POV’s. I don’t mind it per se, but if it well done then it really decreases the quality of the book for me. The same thing for books that do time jumps. Maybe even more so.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
Several/multiple days unless its a read-a-thon, or I have really planned it out. Especially since I read multiple books at a time.

One book you read because of the cover.
Ha, one book because of the cover?! There are many at this point! So for this one, let’s say An Enchantment of Ravens. I am absolutely in love with that cover!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

So that’s it, friends! If you are reading this and you are interested, consider yourself tagged!!! This was a really fun one to do and I hope you enjoy it too!

signature

Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

18490681There is no way to state my opinion of Kiss of Deception other than to just come out and put it bluntly: I expected far more from this book. The synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound like there will be action and intrigue and peril. I suppose there is, but the pacing of the book is so incredibly slow that its astounding anything gets done at all!

Currently there are three books in The Remnant Chronicles series, with the fourth set to release….sometime, I’m not sure when and I couldn’t find the information on GR. From those whom I have talked to about the series, the characters and relationships are enough to keep you reading, though the pace never really picks up. Fortunately I do really enjoy Mary E. Pearson’s writing, her characters, and the world building. I am curious to see the choices that the characters make now that the first book left off in the middle of a tense situation.

kiss-240x300The final comment I feel that I need to make was my confusion about the book’s fantasy genre tag. I noticed it on Goodreads and then just because of the slow pacing, for most of the book, I had no idea why the book was tagged Fantasy since there was no magic or fantastical beasts or system really in the book. Yes, the lands were made up but really that was all. What the heck was going on!? Who did I even contact to get this fixed?!!? Well, finally a change in the wind (metaphorically speaking) came along and answered my question so now all is settled. It was just strange to me.

So overall, Kiss of Deception does not hit anywhere near one of my favorite books, YA or otherwise. However, I did think it was okay and I am interested to see how things progress with the guys and the kingdoms. I think I’ll head to book 2, but not in a rush.

Book Soundtrack: “Dust and Bones” James and the Wild Spirit

signature

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Hi friends! Hope you all had a good weekend full of many pages of reading! Throughout this week I finished reading the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time, made progress on Siege and Storm, as well as finished A List of Cages in its entirety. There have been several bookish chats going on, as well as readathons and I hope some of you have been able to get out there and take part.

ALOCSo here is something I have learned about myself within the past couple weeks: stay away from reviews and past biases when going into a new book. These things  may have hurt my opinion on both of my last two reads. For example, in A List of Cages, I read on review where a blogger said it was the kind of book that stays with you and I just love books like that. It had a higher rating than another book that I was considering reading. So for those reasons, I chose this book over the other one. Based on the synopses, I wasn’t necessarily more interested in this book than the other, but like I said, a “book that stays with you”? SOLD!! Now I read it, it was good but I don’t think that I was fully swept away or anything.

It is pretty much A List of Cage‘s one year anniversary, I just noticed! It was released last January. The book is written in alternating POV’s between Adam, a popular senior with ADHD, and Julian, a quiet, insecure orphaned freshman. When Adam is assigned to escort Julian to the school psychologist, the two guys are reunited as former foster brothers. Of course, the two growing closer together means learning secrets about one another, and Julian has plenty of those. He just needs a friend with the courage to give him the help he needs to get through it.

simson-petrol-110900I did enjoy this book. There were a few moments where I literally said “AWW!” out loud and my heart melted a bit. There were a few moments where my heart hurt and I felt overwhelmed for the characters. Really, though, it was the characters that made this book. I’m just going to stick to the main characters, but know that the secondary characters are even extremely supportive of Julian and have growth throughout the book. Julian is a character who is a bit immature in how he acts–i.e. what he reads, how he writes, how he reads, etc. but is this because of trauma and his living situation? This is discussed a bit in the book and its a hard topic. Overall, he says genuine things to people around him without even realizing it and it really reaches them. Then there is Adam. Adam is described as “untouchable.” If something sad were to happen, his friends think he would still be happy. Adam is an absolute sweetheart and he is very loyal to his friends and to his own mom as well.

Overall, I felt that this was a really good YA contemporary involving mental health issues, close friends, family, and courage. And on that note, I need to leave you with this quote from the book:

“Hate ricochets, but kindness does too.” – Robin Roe

Book soundtrack: “Be My Escape” by Relient K

signature