#Blogmas :December is the month for ebook bargains!

Hi everyone! So I have noticed that I have been grabbing up bargain after bargain ebook on Amazon and I have actually had to hold myself back because there are more that I sort of want, but I know that I just won’t get to for a long while. I thought I would go ahead and post a list of what I have picked up so far in December:

1533de298cd56ff91657319fdc1e13abThe Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

purchased 12/2/19 for $0.99

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

purchased 12/2/19 for $2.99

Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

purchased 12/14/19 for $5.99

The Beholder by Anna Bright

purchased 12/21/19 for $2.99

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

purchased 12/25/19 for $2.99

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

purchased 12/25/19 for $1.99

So that’s about $18 for six books this month! I am completely happy with that! The couple of other titles I am still looking at snagging for a good deal and maybe you’d like to consider too: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan (currently $1.99), Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron (currently $1.99), Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford (currently $2.99), Shadow Frost by Coco Ma (currently $0.99),  Final Girls by Riley Sager (currently $1.99), and Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (currently $1.99). Just to say again, all of these deals were found on Amazon and may not still be valid, but if you’re interested, its always worth checking, right?

That being said, hope you found yourself a deal on a new read today also! Or maybe you know of a bargain going on to share. Any recommendations? I’d love to know about it! Thanks in advance!

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June 🌈Pride Progress

Hello everyone! I’m just checking in as the month is about halfway over now. I have seen so many supportive and loving posts about the LGBTQIA+ community and it has been so great to share in this with everyone! I didn’t get around to posting an original list of goals for the month but I’m going to put up some have’s and will’s in this entry because I want to get my opinions out there too!

The have’s…

These Witches Don’t Burn is about real (fictional) Salem witches trying to sleuth out the new Blood Witch in town. I loved the YA cozy mystery vibes of the story, and the hype of witchcraft in Salem!

Hot Dog Girl was a book that actually had a lot more to it than I expected. I love a book with a good message to it. And hey, tell me that cover isn’t adorable!

And finally–my new favorite book of 2019–Red, White & Royal Blue. I listened to the audiobook of this one and people, THIS. IS. EVERYTHING. I truly enjoyed every minute of this book. If you haven’t read it, go do it. There is humor, there is love, and just everything.

The will’s…

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue — Yes, believe it or not, I haven’t read this book. I have heard so many people say it is a great read so I am taking it on vacation with me and I am so excited to read it!

Fence has been on my TBR for a long time and I just haven’t found a copy to pick up. I books vs hard copies are one thing, but I just can’t do e-graphic novels. These I have to find the real things, and my library has a terrible graphic novel section.

So that’s where I’m at. I may stray from my little “TBR” or I may stick to it. One never knows with me. Plus I have at least 1-2 more audiobooks to pick from and read this month. Could be anything!

Are you reading any LGBTQIA+ books this month? Do you have any recommendations to share?

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Blogmas Day 3: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Whoa. Where did November go?? The past month has been so busy for me, doing what, I don’t even know! Work and holidays and just fall frolicking in general. And now we’re three days into December. Wow. Of course I’ve been reading the entire time, I just took a little step back from blogging. But now I’m back and it feels so good!

For now, I want to share my thoughts on Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Just as a caution, this review may contain swearing (or edited swearing), as this book was an absolute mind f**k! And I mean that in the best of ways.

So yes, I heard that this book was worth a read before I picked it up. I didn’t know too much about it or the author, but I was seeing it everywhere when it released. Took me a while to actually get to reading it, though, and I AM SO GLAD I DID! I listened to the audio book and it was fantastic. 

27833670Honestly, this book reminded me a little bit of Timeline by Michael Chrichton, in that it was so well-written and (Timeline is one of my all-time favorite books) has a strong mix of science fiction and thriller and it really plays with your head and makes you think “MAN, what if this could really happen?!” Unlike Timeline, though, rather than travelling to the historical past, in Dark Matter, main character Jason Dessen is a physicist who has learned to travel to different worlds, more or less. Alternate timelines of his own life, if you will. He finds himself battling, well, himself basically, as he struggles with the question “What if I had made choice Z in stead of choice A?”

I will leave it at that so as to not spoil anything. The concepts in this book will spin your head around several times and leave you questioning your entire existence. This is absolutely the type of thriller that I love to read. It wasn’t too overwhelmingly scientific, but just enough to where I could keep up and get excited about ideas and plots and characters and action. I LOVED it and highly recommend it!

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Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

I really, really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book!! I mean, I enjoyed Dumplin’ (“Book 1”), but Puddin’ was even better! Do I have to read Dumplin’ first? you ask. Nah. It would be great to support the wonderful Julie Murphy, but you won’t be missing out on plot points or anything. PLUS, Dumplin’ is being made into a Netflix movie which is scheduled to release in ONE MONTH (yes, December 8th!) so maybe you want to prep for that. But anyway….

40628793_524192508027856_3957805933697957888_nDumplin’ was told from Willowdean’s perspective. She was the fat girl who worked at the fast food diner, had never had a boyfriend, and worked her big butt off to get up the confidence to compete in the town’s beauty pageant. Will was never my favorite character and despite the premise of the book, it just never stirred me the way I hoped it would.

Puddin’, on the other hand, was a great story. This book is told from two points of view. We have Millie, who is our fat girl, and Callie, who is a co-captain of the school dance team. One day, a seemingly meaningless prank brings Callie and Millie together in a huge way and the tale of frenemies begins. Both Millie and Callie are amazing characters who are funny and have great growth curves throughout the book. I also loved their interactions with the secondary characters. The book definitely had its funny moments and its sweet moments.

I have met Julie Murphy twice now and I love her talk about her inspiration for her characters. Thanks for writing this awesome book, Julie. I can’t wait to hear about your next Julie + Millie!!

Book soundtrack: Rebel Heart by Madonna

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October Reads: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

alex-geerts-424409-unsplashOctober is absolutely my favorite month (and tends to be my most motivated month) to read in. I gather the biggest TBR–whether by accident or design–and read as much as I possibly can. I also sign up for as many challenges as I can find….and it seems like there are more challenges around as well. There are spooky challenges, trick-or-treating challenges, movie-themed challenges, classic book challenges, just everything under the sun. And I LOVE IT!!!! So as of now, we’re not even halfway through the month and already I have completely finished two books and I am halfway through another, and more than 100 pages into a monster of a horror novel (Stephen King’s “It”), which I probably won’t finish until next Halloween. Ugh. However, now that I’m decompressed post-wedding for the most part, I am going to be posting more with reviews and what I am getting myself into this fall (there is so much to DO!) and whatever else needs to go into the blog. So without further ado: my first review of the month!

October read number 1 was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. I’ve had my copy since it released in late August but I was waiting for October to read it (that, and…uh….wedding). This book was spectacular! City of Ghosts is about a girl named Cassidy, whose beachy summer vacation plans are going out the window because her parents are about to start shooting a ghost hunting show abroad in SCOTLAND!!! Add on top of that the fact that Cassidy can not only see ghosts, but her best friend IS a ghost, and we have the makings of an amazingly fun story!

I am always wary of reading middle grade books for fear that they will be too slow (yes, I realize that I am an adult and I acknowledge that this is a risk that I take…that’s exactly my point here). The book has its moments of defining ‘vocab’ words that a MG reader may not know, but those moments are few and far between. Ultimately, I wasn’t bothered.

43951950_2159170047735147_2880454404434034688_nProbably my favorite part was how Schwab seamlessly wove history into the story as well. In no way does it feel like we’re reading a history novel, but there is so much history all around the characters in Edinburgh and its fascinating to hear about it and even see it! And creepy at times too. I am SO glad I read this book in October. It was the perfect spooky read to kick off the month.

Which leads to my next perk: the spook effect! There definitely was some creep factor in this book! References to hangings, shootings, drownings, etc. I mean, it wasn’t all out gory or violent, but it wasn’t exactly a bedtime story either. The family and camera crew travels to graveyards and what used to be execution grounds and an old prison. I don’t say this to be spoiler-ey, but it these truly freak you out, be warned! Most of it is narrated in a pretty historical way and our ghost friend is always there to coach that its okay to be afraid of things (he’s the scaredy cat in these scenarios).

Ultimately, I can’t recommend this book enough. This is going to be one of those books that I re-read at least once or twice in Octobers to come, and I recommend that you do too. I am so glad to see that this is book #1 of more to come because I can see Schwab setting Cassidy and Jacob and her parents with their show in other historical/ghostly locations and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Book soundtrack: Mordred’s Lullaby by Heather Dale

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Hands down, favorite book of 2018. So glad I picked it up…I highly recommend it!!

40603053_252614982058477_5801272868566204416_nSo the biggest question surrounding this book–and I know that I am not the only person asking this, because friends in the bookish community have asked me this, and I have seen this discussion multiple times–is: is it worth the hype? My opinion, of course, is ABSOLUTELY! But of course, everyone really must choose for themselves. All hype aside, though, this book grabbed me from the start and had me spellbound all the way through. I loved all of the characters, I loved the magic system, I loved the writing, I loved….EVERYTHING!!! And yes, I almost let hype stop me from reading this but I’m so glad I didn’t! This book is SO worth reading. Plus, Tomi Adeyemi is everything. I love following her on social media. Her soul is in this book, you can just tell. Its just so beautiful. So beautiful.

In case you don’t know much about the book yet, here is a link to the Goodreads summary. I highly, highly, highly recommend you get on reading this one. My mom even read this one and enjoyed it. Hey, Jimmy Fallon recommends it! Ha! So give it a shot (or another shot?) and enjoy!

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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

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On the third day of #blogmas …

…we jumped in on the Book Blogger Hop! For those of you who don’t know, the Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books but is now maintained by Billie B. at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, and receive new followers. There is a new prompt each week so feel free to jump in any time!

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Q: What is your favorite Christmas-themed read?

A: I think my favorite Christmas-themed read is either A Christmas Carol or Skipping Christmas. A lot of people don’t realize it, but Skipping Christmas (written by John Grisham) is the book that the movie “Christmas with the Kranks” with Tim Allen and Diane Keaton is based off of. I thought the book was very well-written and I love the movie too!

I’m always on the lookout for more good holiday reads. I especially like reading cozy Christmas mysteries, paranormal, contemporary romance, etc. so if you’ve got any good recommendations, please leave them for me! Thanks!

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

For several months now, I’ve been seeking a good YA mystery/thriller. As I read more of them, it just seems that contemporary YA authors just fall into cliches and I dislike them and drive me farther and farther away. Not this one, though. My hope has been renewed! Thank you, Karen McManus! And this is a debut novel! Bravo!!

23472238_10100116527721319_209185853208846123_nAll righty, so as indicated by the above, that alone is a recommendation from me. One of Us Is Lying basically begins with murder in detention (dun dun DUN!!). The four survivors alternate narration as they navigate the media storm of their classmate’s death. The ‘victim’ was the school gossip mill via his own app, but also–as we find out–very interested in online chats about other school shootings and acts of violence. We learn about the four survivors’ secrets as they become closer to each other and how they ultimately unravel the truth and the lies behind what the bigger plan really was for detention that day.

Here is my brief opinion of the cliches I mentioned earlier that I usually see in YA horror and/or thriller and/or mystery: way too much high school drama i.e. the he said/she said heartbreak gossip OMG LOL ETC. BS. I can’t handle all of that. Or at least too much of that. I understand that I am reading the YA genre so I expect some of it. Fine. <u>One of Us Is Lying</u> has some, but does it with grace and gets the heck past it. There are way bigger issues to worry about. Like a MURDER. Lawyers to be hired. Press and media. Parents. Still trying to keep life in line and get into college. This was realistic to me. Yes, there were still petty high schoolers being jerks, but these kids (“the murder club,” they were taunted by the other kids in school) just banded together and got through it together and the story moved on. I loved that about this book. THANK YOU!!! Miracle!

Other big perks: I guessed at the killer, but I didn’t KNOW. Plus, I was too engrossed with the characters to really care about the story line. Sorry but, I hardly even cared about the story line. I cared about the characters’ lives and what would happen to them, LOL. There were maybe a couple draggy parts (not much though) and I marked it down to 4 rather than 5. The book wasn’t perfect. However, the end redeemed it. I loved the ending. We get our happy ending. Loved that. I can’t deny it….I absolutely LOVED it because (without spoiling anything)….yeah….dude is my GUY!!!! That’s my trope right there! ❤

So if you have not yet, check this book out. +19 weeks at the top of the NYT bestseller list and a 4.06 rating on Goodreads…this book is killin’ it (no pun intended).

Book soundtrack: “Bad to the Bone” by ZZ top

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

13578987This book has been on my TBR since it first released I’m pretty sure. I remember seeing the description and thinking “Wow, that sounds really neat!” I remember buying it as a Kindle daily deal at some point quite a while ago and just never got around to reading it until now. There has been so much hype lately around Leigh Bardugo, I just couldn’t put it off anymore and I’m glad for that because I really enjoyed the book.

So just in case you are one of the people left in the world who still has not read Shadow and Bone, the book is centered around our orphaned heroine Alina. She is a map maker in the king’s First Army along with her best friend, Mal, who is a soldier in the army as well. The author does a pretty good job with the world building, as the world is meant to more-or-less parallel/alternate Russia. However, in the middle of it all is The Fold, a dark epicenter filled with winged beasts called the Volcra, that will show mercy on no one. When the Army travels through The Fold, Alina must save Mal’s life and unknowingly calls upon a light within herself that turns out to be a rare Grisha power. The Darkling, and many others, take notice of this gift and whisk Alina away to the Little Palace. Here she settles into what should be a life of comfort, but in stead is hard training and (spoiler) meetings with the Darkling, who is filled with secrets.

36315977That’s about all I can say plot-wise without going into bigger spoilers. Regarding my character impressions thus far, I will say that I am not 100% impressed with Alina but I am not disappointed. Orphan-to-Princess/Powers isn’t my favorite trope so that might be part of it. I definitely don’t dislike her though, I’ll say that. She’s just not my Katniss (my favorite heroine ever). Mal–the best friend–is pretty ok as well. Thus far he is pretty stubborn and he was a little “I didn’t notice you before but I see you now” and to me he loses points for that. The winner of the book, however, is the Darkling. I love dark characters with secrets. I’m sorry, guys. Other examples: Jean Claude in the Anita Blake books. The Darkling has the good one-liners, the moves….oh man, I’m sorry, but if we’re making him the villain, he’s my favorite villain because….yeah. Just, yeah. Its all up in the air as to what direction the series is going to go at this point and I am definitely reading on!

Book Soundtrack: “Over” by Portishead

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