ARC Review: Miraculum by Steph Post

41037463From Goodreads: The year is 1922. The carnival is Pontilliar’s Spectactular Star Light Miraculum, set up on the Texas-Louisiana border. One blazing summer night, a mysterious stranger steps out onto the midway, lights a cigarette and forever changes the world around him. Tattooed snake charmer Ruby has traveled with her father’s carnival for most of her life and, jaded though she is, can’t help but be drawn to the tall man in the immaculate black suit who has joined the carnival as a geek, a man who bites the heads off live chickens. Mercurial and charismatic, Daniel charms everyone he encounters but his manipulation of Ruby becomes complicated when it no longer becomes clear who is holding all the cards. For all of Daniel’s secrets, Ruby has a few of her own. When one tragedy after another strikes the carnival, and it becomes clear that Daniel is somehow at the center of calamity, Ruby takes it upon herself to discover the mystery of the shadowy man pulling all the strings. Joined by Hayden, a roughneck-turned-mural-painter who has recently reentered her life, Ruby enters into a dangerous, eye-opening game with Daniel in which nothing and no one is as it seems and yet everything is at stake.

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Miraculum was quite the magical ride! Really, it was more than that. There was magic, mythology, mysticism, and so much mystery! The setting of the carnival isn’t quite as central to the book as I expected. Our main character, Ruby, is a snake charmer. Basically a second-rate tattoo’d lady/snake charmer act who is cast aside for the most part. From the time Daniel, a stranger in upscale black suits, joins the cast, strange and terrible things begin happening. There really wasn’t much splendor or marvel to the Star Light Miraculum to begin with, however. I found it to be a little disappointing unfortunately. A little bit more American Horror Story than The Greatest Show. Moving on though….

american-horror-story-freak-show-circoWhat I did like, was the ancient history and mythology woven into the story. Samuel’s books and the hoodoo magic of the bayou held an immense amount of intrigue. I loved those story lines. Plus the interjections from throughout time every few chapters. These I found so fascinating, I looked forward to reading them every time they came around. They fueled the story in a vital way I felt. I wish that the characters were as fiery. I felt no connection to them, unfortunately. Not a one.

My final thoughts on this book: it was certainly a slow burn. The book is only 320 pages long but it felt like 500. I didn’t mind in the beginning because I thought things were interesting and I wanted to know where the story would go. Then the fiery interjections would come in a move things along a bit. I was so determined to do my duties as an ARC reader so I stuck with the slow reading. The ending was very good I thought. It wasn’t quite the battle I expected it to be, but of course, good pretty much won out so I was ultimately satisfied. If you like settings in the 1920’s, carnivals, magic, mythology, mystery, and don’t mind a slow burn read, then this book will be good for you. Miraculum releases on February 1st so keep an eye out!

I was provided with a free copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions are my own.

Book soundtrack: Devil’s Hands by Truth

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Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

What better way to start off the new year than by not giving a f*ck, am I right? I thought this would be the perfect book to start off 2019 and while it was pretty funny at times, and surprisingly smart (if not fully supportive of itself), I wouldn’t really call it profound or life-changing, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

28259130In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

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not-a-single-fuck-was-given-memeThroughout the book, author Mark Manson quotes various psychologists, philosophers, and pop culture experts from the Buddha to Homer Simpson himself. Of course, Manson draws from personal experience as well, and he has quite a bit to share including illegal substances, the tragic loss of a close friend, and more. Just to leave you with a morsel of the book’s wisdom: “In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.” You’re welcome.

Book Soundtrack : “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” by Paramore

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Blogmas 27: Review – The Witch of the North Pole

40625309The Witch of the North Pole was one of the most delightful Amazon Prime surprises I have encountered so far! Our main character, Cinnamon Mercy, is fighting for her independence working a dull accounting job on the West Coast. Then one day her eccentric grandmother rolls up and whisks her away for the holidays…to the North Pole. Turns out Grandma is Mrs. Claus herself, and she is feeling under-appreciated for all the hard work she does 364 days a year, and she’s had ENOUGH! The next witch–yes, witch–in the family line who can possibly do all the work is Cinnamon, and she’s on her own to figure out how to save “the naughties” and develop Santa’s flight plan, all before Christmas Eve. As much as she wants to use logic and numbers, Cinnamon has to listen to her heart and cast a spell of intuition to really connect with others to determine how to throw the best Winter Solstice gathering, bring Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus together, and save Christmas for the entire world.

This book was so fun and easy to read, I enjoyed it so much! The descriptions of the North Pole were so fun, and I loved how all of the events played out. There was a huge crisis, but for once, the issue was not a murder or an affair. Just a Christmas crunch where people lost sight of their joy and priorities. Two ‘towns’ living basically together without interacting. Years of traditions being taken for granted and becoming just work rather than love and magic. Everything was written out very nicely with charming characters and good pacing. An absolutely charming holiday read! If you have Prime, check this one out!

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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

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton + GIVEAWAY

35720690Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns #1)
Publisher: Katherine Teagan Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 464

Synopsis: In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Goodreads   |   B&N   |   Amazon   |   iBooks   |   Book Depository

The first thing I need to say about Heart of Thorns is that this book is 446 pages long (which I was a little intimidated by at first) but it absolutely flew by! The chapters are relatively short and there is so much action and movement happening from the very beginning. I never felt bored by the characters or the plot, and things never felt rushed. I instantly liked Mia…but then again, any characters who are speaking anatomy and are trained huntresses are pretty awesome in my book. I was a bit concerned about cliche plot-to-escape-marraige-to-the-prince trope, but the bigger picture really is vengence for her mother’s death.

My hat is off to the author, Bree Barton, for doing an excellent job diversifying a medieval fantasy world! I am in awe of your skills! I mean, its relatively subtle, but its there. There are references to different skin colors on the people, different abilities, and different sexualities. Read closely, its there. Thank you, Bree!

So how about the reason we’re all here….the magic. So in this trilogy only women can possess magic and every woman is suspected of having it. The men, of course, view them as demons and teach the children to view this ability as such as well. The overall magic system in this book (without delving too much into things and spoiling everything) is actually tied to a deeper mythology, and boy do we get information about it! Mia, you’re in for an education! Ironically, the magic is also how she ends up meeting (and injuring/healing) the love interest, Quin and then its all downhill from there. Their relationship is honestly one of the most dynamic that I have read in a while. I very much enjoyed it.

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER

  • Hardcover copy of HEART OF THORNS
  • US Only
  • Please read the rules in the Rafflecopter before entering
  • Go to any stop on the tour to enter!!

14112802Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she’s not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.

On those parting words, I will leave you to decide whether you think this book is worthy of your time. I know I will be picking up book #2 when it comes out. Happy reading!

Book Soundtrack: “Queendom” by AURORA

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Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

30063453Imagine this: you are partying at a club with your best friend just like any other Friday night in a world where humans and aliens (who look just like humans, albeit super-hot humans) co-exist peacefully. You are ready to leave, but your best friend is hitting it off with some otherworldly guy, so you let her know and head for the door. On your way out, you brush against this tall, leggy girl who turns and smiles at you with this strange look in her eye. But whatever, you’re done for the night. Outside of the club on your way home, you are ambushed by an alien guy who insists that your name is Olena and that you must return to your home planet to marry the Zane (Prince) of a different planet. He kidnaps you, knocks you out, and you wake up on his ship three days later soon to arrive on this new planet. Come to find out that girl who bumped into in the bar was the princess and by bumping into you, she used a device to transform you into her. You now have no choice but to impersonate her to avoid war between two alien races and all humankind.

So this is how the book starts off. Delany is a teenager who finds herself in an impossible situation and has to make the best of it. She has the help of her bodyguard, Ruckus, to coach her through. She is to be wed to rival Zane Trystan, but her personality is so different from the real Lissa (Princess) Olena that even Trystan softens to her.

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I felt that the author did a good job of world building. Space worlds and alien kingdoms cannot be easy to build up. The only thing that didn’t sit with me was that there were so many new words developed for royalty (Lissa, Zane, Captain, Scientist, etc.) but yet, there was no word for ‘alien.’ For whatever reason, I hear alien and I think little green men but obviously the author is describing these aliens as tall, ideal, beautiful versions of humans basically. I almost wish they  had their own word for themselves, but no. They’re just aliens. Ok. Whatever.

alienSecondly, the writing was all pretty flat. Fortunately, I felt like most of the characters had some dimension to them. Delaney and Trystan definitely did. Ruckus was a little flat. And the writing overall was pretty simplisitic. There were just times when I thought a seventh grader could have been writing it. The ideas? Good. The format? Eh.

Finally, I loved the plot and the quick pacing. I was very entertained by the whole story and the concept. I thought that Delaney was a strong, witty character. I thought her relationship with Ruck was a little too easy so I’m not convinced it will last. Maybe I’m wrong, we’ll see. And that cliffhanger!! So overall I had to get over the writing and just let myself enjoy the story and once I did that, it was a quick and enjoyable book. I’m looking forward to reading book 2 soon for a book tour. Stay tuned!

Soundtrack: “The Sky is Broken” by Moby

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Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

uglylovech-2840Hey everyone! I’ve got some more CoHo love coming at ya! This time around, I read Ugly Love, which was published back in 2014. This is one of her earlier novels and in my opinion, her books get better and better as time goes on.

Ugly Love is told in two voices, on two timelines. Tate is telling the story in the present, while Miles starts his story six years ago. Tate is a nurse who just moved to the city to live with her brother, who is a pilot based in San Francisco. Miles is a pilot like her brother, except Miles is taciturn, with sadness radiating off of him. Even still, the chemistry and draw between them is too strong to ignore. They enter a friends-with-benefits relationship, and those benefits are WAY steamy, I’ll tell you! As the two spend more time together, Tate realizes her feelings are growing stronger, while Miles insists that he is incapable of love. Miles has to figure out how to get over the his past and the sadness burdening his heart, or he will lose the love he has in the present.

ugly-love-its-so-ugly-tsJust a quick run-down of my likes/dislikes about the book itself: Ugly Love had a LOT more sex than Colleen’s other books. And a lot more descriptive sex at that. I, personally, don’t mind, but this was borderline erotica! I don’t typically expect this in Colleen’s books so I was a bit surprised! A second point I would make is that I felt that Mile’s timeline was so brief compared to Tate’s present perspective and it was actually moving from past to present so I got impatient at times. PLUS, I listened to the audiobook and I really didn’t like the male narrator. This was a book which had a lot of word repetitions (i.e. names, descriptions, etc.) so it made these so obnoxious. Maybe its different if you’re reading them on a page…or maybe they’re still annoying. I’m not sure but either way…Miles was a great character and I wanted him to unfold a bit quicker and with more detail. Tate was also a wonderful and her pacing was perfect.

So overall, I still very much enjoyed this book, as I do all of Colleen Hoover’s books, but it was not among my favorite CH books. On to the next!

Soundtrack: “Temporary Bliss” by The Cab

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Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast

Do you ever get hankerings for one particular genre and that’s all you want to read? Yeah, that’s me with sci-fi lately. I have no idea why, but it seems like there have been some great releases this year! Actually, what am I talking about?! 2018 has been an amazing year of new releases of all genres! But back to my point…I’m craving sci-fi and my most recent read hit the sweet spot!

28945665Raven is sent away to summer camp as part of a rehab program. While isolated out in the wilderness with her group, aliens (called the Nahx) invade Earth and decimate most of the population.

Eighth is one of the Nahx. When his partner, Sixth, is killed he is left to his devices and begins to ignore the directives he was given–kill the humans. When he first sees Raven as her group is trying to move toward the coast, his reaction is instantaneous and he knows he needs to know her.

Honestly this book was a bit of a slow burn, but it was written with enough tension and excitement to keep me going. I would go even farther to say that the beginning was actually slower than the second half of the book. Once August and Raven are together, their friendship develops into something so beautiful. I loved their communication and everything that August did for her. I just could not get enough and I HAD to know what happens next.

61uvo1k2ivl-_sy679_I admit that at first, I was just waiting for Eighth to take off the space suit and be a human underneath. When that never happened, I thought that falling for an alien species was just plain creepy. Can we say Stockholm Syndrome?! Well, then I got over it and I couldn’t help but fall for Eighth/August and it really was just all downhill from there. I now am in love with August and I’d follow him across the country and let him keep me warm in a mountain cave! *wink*

And of course, the biggest question in the book still is “Who ARE the Nahx?” “WHAT are they?” Well, here’s the biggest caution I can give you: its a cliffhanger. A damn good one! Man oh man, I am ready for the second book and I didn’t see that ending coming!! I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!

Currently reading: “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man

Tag Tuesday: Norse Mythology Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Its finally starting to feel AND look like spring in my neck of the woods and it is marvelous! Our pattern of snow…melt…snow…melt…snow…etc. is finally over (knock on wood, right?). But anyway, on to the reason why we’re all here: BOOKS!

So this week for *Tag Tuesday,* my friend Sarah posted the Norse Mythology Book Tag and it was awesome!

THE RULES of the TAG

  • Link back to my original post and to Kyera’s post
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you…show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wondeful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going.

ODIN – FAVOURITE STAND ALONE

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine and war among other things.

 

 

Going through my list of books there were a couple that jumped out at me to choose as a good stand alone, but then once I found T.H.U.G., all bets were off. If you still have not read this book, get to it! I also highly recommend the audiobook because the narrator is amazing! But really, this book about a teenager witnessing the shooting of her (unarmed) friend at the hands of a police officer will give you a lot to think about. The Hate U Give  is so well-written and its being made into a movie as well so if you’re one of those people who likes to read the book before something hits the screen, then put this on your TBR!

THOR – A BOOK THAT HITS YOU IN THE FEELS

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful lady Sif.

I didn’t even have to think about which book to choose for this one. Hands down, The Light We Lost was a great book that took me in and went straight to my heart. HARD. For me, this book was a clear 5 star read and I still recommend it to everyone who asks for books to read.

LOKI – BIGGEST BOOK PLOT TWIST OR CHARACTER BETRAYAL

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

Ok, maybe I should have seen this one coming, but the plot twist in Red Queen  pretty much tore the carpet from beneath my feet! I think I was too concerned with the love triangle/square (which I believe was what the author intended…well played, Ms. Aveyard) to be concerned with any other deeper plots at play and I completely missed the big twist so by the end, I was SHOOK. The book leaves off pretty much ready to go on to book two but unfortunately I haven’t been able to read on yet. I really need to though, because I really enjoyed book 1!!

FRIGG – OTP

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility and fate.

My next three answers are from the same trilogy–spoiler alert–so sorry not sorry if you aren’t a fan. For this pick, if there is anyone out there who has been living under a rock and doesn’t know how this story ends and who the main character ends up with, I won’t spoil it and give the books/movies away.
So my OTP pick is Katiniss’ man in the Hunger Games trilogy. For the longest time, I was rooting for the other guy but once I reached the end, I could never imagine her with anyone else. Also, it was funny because in the books, I thought she should be with–and I will come right out and say this–Gale, and the movies, I thought she was best off with Peeta. But after re-reading and re-watching and really thinking and being open-minded and trying to be in Katniss’ mind, I agree with the way it all is and its beautiful. *sigh*

HEIMDALL – FAVOURITE SECOND BOOK IN A SERIES

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and it is he who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds. 

Not only is The Hunger Games my favorite series/trilogy, Catching Fire is one of my favorite books. I love the new characters that are introduced (oh, hello Finnick!), the development of the ignorance and manipulation of the Capitol, the cleverness of the Games, just….everything!! I absolutely LOVED this book!

BALDUR – FAVOURITE MAIN CHARACTER

Baldur is the beloved son of Odin and Frigg, twin brother of Hodor.

Katniss. This girl perseveres through everything and comes out stronger for it. True, sometimes (ok, a lot of times) she’s flying by the seat of her pants and/or letting other people make her look good but let’s be honest, in order to survive and keep those you love alive, you have to do what you have to do. She is strong, empathetic, compassionate, sarcastic, loyal, smart, etc. I could go on. After all this HG talk, I really feel the need to re-read this trilogy. I’ve got the itch!!!

SIF – MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

The Forgetting. I love this cover. It has two of my favorite things: a beautiful tree with falling leaves/flowers(?), and gorgeous purple ombre. Silly me has been slacking for years now on reading the book (I have an arc from 2016!!!) but its still on my TBR, partially because of this gorgeous cover!!

FREY – BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Frey is the Lord of weather, God of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

While I did enjoy The Lunar Chronicles as a series, the Wires and Nerve graphic novels are seriously amazing in and of themselves. I mean, you should read the Lunar Chronicles in order to know what is going on and the back story because truly they go together, but the humor in Wires and Nerve and just getting to see the characters all together is so much fun. I really enjoy those books so immensely!

FREYA – FAVOURITE BOOK SETTING

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

 Ivory and Bone is a very interesting and unique book, and I really mean that in the best of ways. It is written in second person, from a male point of view, in a prehistoric type of setting. Yeah, told you it was unique!! But really, it was such a neat setting that all was forgiven for me because it was so beautiful, so natural, and it all just worked together. I really enjoyed it. And like I said, it was just unique and refreshing to me. None of it was forced or out of place so I just really enjoyed it.

TYR – FAVOURITE BOOK WITH A BIG UPHEAVAL/EPIC FIGHT SCENE

Tyr is the god of war.

Travel…death threat…travel…capture…battle…travel…battle…death threat…travel…battle…epic battle…travel…battle…you get the idea. But we all love it. =]

ULLER – CHARACTER DEATH THAT AFFECTED YOU THE MOST

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

Spoiler warning – but after all these years, if you don’t know who dies in Harry Potter, that’s your own fault 😛 Anyway, I’m still not over the deaths of this series. I’m still in major denial. I legitimately do not think that Sirius and Dumbledore are dead. I mean, technically Rowling wrote it but…what’s behind that curtain?? Big D was the master of death! Come on!!!! I’m really not over it….

NJORD – FAVOURITE BOOK AN EPIC JOURNEY ON WATER/OCEAN SETTING

njord2b71yno1_1280Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

My ‘read’ list is sadly lacking on water/ocean books so I have to pass on this one. I have several on my TBR list though so I’ll get back to you !

VALKYRIE – FAVOURITE STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

Well this book just had to be on the list. Eelyn is pretty much the fiercest female character. Well, strictly human character, that is. We could go superhero and talk strong, or emotionally strong, or…basically there are different kinds of strong so choose your strong. To me at this moment, I know I wouldn’t be able to rush into battle wielding an axe in one hand and a sword in another. I wouldn’t be able to watch my brother, father, best friend, and the man I love all risk their lives alongside me. I would be miserable living the cold winters in a tent. To me, that’s a whole lot of strong and fierce!

AESIR/VANIR – FAVOURITE BOOK “CREW”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

For a moment I considered the crew-fam that is The Lunar Chronicles. They are a fun bunch of misfits come together to save a planet and a moon and I love each of them dearly. I also considered the Grisha trilogy Alina-Mal-Nikolai-etc. crew, but really I just love Nikolai and secretly love the Darkling in all of his broodiness. I know of other crews that I know I will love when I read them. But above all of these, I know my all-time favorite and really first crew love was the Harry Potter crew. So–duh–that’s my final answer!illus_smoke_divider_by_entropies-d4triyr

And that concludes our fun for the day! I now hereby tag Ashleigh, Nicola, and Maggie…plus anyone else who wants to get their Norse on! 😉

Currently listening to: Everytime We Touch by Cascada

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S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

So I was just going through my list of ‘read’ books for this year on Goodreads and I have read 25 books not including short stories and what-not. That’s pretty much on-track with my reading goals, so YAY for me! Blog-wise I have also made exactly 25 posts, but they aren’t all bookish, some of them are Tag Tuesdays or Readathons or Monthly Wrap-ups or whatever so I have a little catching up to do on my reviews! That’s what my blog is supposed to be doing, afterall! So without further ado, here is one I missed!:

Title: S.T.A.G.S.
Author: 
M.A. Bennett
Pages: 296 pages, Hardcover
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press

35926234STAGS is a boarding school for the wealthy elite. Greer (“Grey-uh” for us Americans who are un-used to seeing this name) is admitted on a scholarship, whereas most other students at the school have had generations of attendees in their families. When Greer and two other new/outcast students are invited for a weekend of “Huntin’. Shootin’. Fishin'” with the Medievals (the elite clique of students at the school), she is warned against going by a former friend, but ultimately decides to go, seeing it as a chance to finally make friends and be accepted. What occurs instead is a weekend of veiled bullying and the thrill of the chase.

I honestly feel that this is one of the better YA thrillers I have read lately. That being said, though, the book certainly has its flaws. However, regarding the genre, I thought M.A. Bennett did a terrific job of setting up a bit of background for the Medievals by showing them flaunting their personal family lineage back to the crusades in class and even around the dinner table. Their shady words alluding to hatred of outsiders was a first clue as to their true motives. However, their talk is so flowery and conversation so natural that who would really think that there was a threat present? Nel just wants to make friends, Greer wants conversation, and Shafeen wants to stand up for himself.

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Borrowed from Alba in Bookland.

The setting in a boarding school and then a large family estate on the moors of Northumberland was also perfect. Beautiful, yet ominous and eerie…much like the Medievals themselves. I could just imagine mists and fog and these elite teenagers showing off their knowledge of “huntin’, shootin’, and fishin'” to the outcasts who had never or who had hardly been exposed to that before. It truly was another world for the three outsiders, or “Savages” as they came to be called. The author’s descriptions were just wonderful and added an extra dimension of creep factor.

Despite the good in the book, I will admit that I never felt fully invested or connected in the main characters. I cared for them, yes, but I was preoccupied with the bigger picture in the book. Greer is a teenage narrator who really reads like a teenager. She is constantly referencing movies–which I didn’t mind much, and it sort of made sense since her father makes films–and jumping around in her telling of the story (“But that was not nearly as bad as what was to happen next,” etc.). I could do without that. I felt that some of the descriptions were too drawn out and the action too underplayed. I wanted a bit more out of those.

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And of course, the ending. I like the concept and how the book wrapped up. Certain aspects I saw coming, while others were a nice touch. If ever there was a book that should be a movie, its this one. I can absolutely see this as a screenplay and I would definitely go see it.

Book Soundtrack: Danse macabre, Op. 40 by Camille Saint-Saens

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