Saturday, January 30, 2016
A couple of years ago, I first read Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate Series and fell in love with it. There was something about the author's style, mixed with the old-world steampunk setting, and engaging characters that pulled me right in. I read the whole series in less than two weeks and then went through a short withdrawal, unable to find a new book that satisfied for a while.
With Carriger's Finishing School Series, I found that same joy as soon as I began the first book, Etiquiette and Espionage. This time, I purchased the Audible version and was delighted with the narrator. Having the story told with the British accent was an added bonus, a perfect accompaniment to the story.
The books follow the main character, Sephronia, and her friends as they begin finishing school. However, this isn't your ordinary finishing school. These girls are not only learning manners, fashion, and etiquette, but also poisons, weaponry, and diversion, all while attending the most popular balls and shopping for the latest fashion accessories. The girls bond while attending school in the flying dirigible and deal with all of the normal teenage dramas with a good deal of espionage added in.
I'm being honest when I say that I couldn't wait to drive to work in the morning and take the dog for a walk in the afternoon. I listened every chance I got and enjoyed every minute. I found myself wanting to talk with a British accent and wishing I could have my own small mechanical sausage dog. I couldn't have asked for more. Such fun to read, with much action while still keeping a light-hearted feel to the stories. I highly recommend the Finishing School Series for both young adults and adults if you are a fan of the steampunk genre. If you are looking for something more edgy but just as engaging, try the Parasol Protectorate books. I will definitely be reading everything I can get my hands on from Gail Carriger!
Friday, January 29, 2016
Melissa and I are hoping to post regularly to all sites about the books we are reading. Since it is still fairly early in the challenge, we thought a good starting place would be to share a couple of books from our TBR lists that we are really looking forward to reading this year. I know my TBR is entirely out of control but there are a few books that will move right to the top as soon as I get my hands on them.
Leave a comment to let us know what books you are looking forward to this year.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Release date: March 8, 2016
The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.
It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.
What book are you waiting on?
Monday, January 18, 2016
When members of tarot's Major Arcana begin manifesting in the mortal world, magic is in the air and change is in the cards.
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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To celebrate The Magician's cover reveal, we are giving away a signed cover art postcard and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Giveaway ends February 2, 2016 midnight EST.
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I have to say that I was hooked right away but also a little bit confused during the first pages. It took me a few minutes to figure out who was narrating and get used to the author's style. Once I figured out who was talking and what was going on, I picked up the pace and was completely engrossed in the story. I liked that most of the chapters were fairly short, sections were separated by a black page with white title, and that every few chapters the point of view would change from Cassie to Ben, and once or twice to Sammy, Cassie's little brother.
Cassie is perfect as the heroine of the story. She's a young girl who has survived the first few waves of the alien invasion and who is forced into situations that cause her to grow up fast. She is strong, but at the same time fragile, on the verge of total breakdown. It almost seems like she is in a state of permanent shock over what she has seen and that fear and her natural instinct to survive are what help her to stay alive. The only thing that keeps her going is the possibility that her brother Sammy is still alive and she can find him. Once Evan enters the picture and she is no longer alone, she lets go a little bit and we see her start to lean on someone for support. This doesn't last long however, and she toughens up once again. I knew something was suspicious but I kept going back and forth about whether my theories were correct or not. I was able to predict a couple of things accurately but I was also surprised once or twice at a twist that I was not expecting. I already have a few different theories going about what path the next book will take.
My only issue was with Cassie and Ben's meeting toward the end of the story. I had been wondering how it would play out but it seemed a bit rushed and awkward and I found myself a bit disappointed. I would have liked the author to give this section a bit more meaning. I guess though, that the awkwardness of the meeting could have been intentional...
Otherwise, the fast pace and engaging storyline kept me reading. I finished it in just a few days and I will definitely be picking up the next one soon.
Friday, January 15, 2016
FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by A Daily Rhythm and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Over 400 Pages
New-Adult Romance / Sports Romance
By Rachel Dunning
Expected Release Date: March 2016
The Debt Collector
I pay my debts, and I expect others to.
I was raised in the slums of London, I knew nothing of privilege. My father was murdered when I was seventeen. Morty figured my father's passing meant I would automatically take on dad's debts. I refused. And I paid for that refusal.
So did my sister.
So now I fight. All I know how to do is fight. The best cash is in the states, so that's where I am now. A big fish called Vito came along offering me a "favor" when I arrived. Another debt.
I paid for that one too.
I knew Kyla Hensley would be trouble when I met her. So I chased her.
Besides, trouble is my middle name.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A02LNLC
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01A02LNLC
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01A02LNLC
Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01A02LNLC
Rachel Dunning hit the scene in August 2013 and is the author of the highly praised Naive Mistakes Series, Truthful Lies Trilogy, Johnny Series and the paranormal romance series, Mind Games.
A prolific writer, she sticks to stories where where women have guts. She’s lived on two different continents, speaks three different languages, and met the love of her life on the internet. In other words, romance is in her blood.
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You can sign up here:
Blog / Website: http://www.rdunning.com
Barnes and Nobel: http://bit.ly/RachelDunningBN
Monday, January 11, 2016
So... I waited.
I'm not really sure what made me choose now to grab the first book in Carringer's Finishing School series. Maybe it was the lure of the British dialogue, the Victorian steampunk setting, or knowing that I was most likely about to meet a strong sassy female heroine that I would adore. The reality? I got all three of these and more. The characters and their adventures gave me the same joy as the first Harry Potter book. Sophronia is truly a girl ahead of her time whose family doesn't appreciate her love for technology and books. They send her to finishing school, but no ordinary finishing school. Sophronia and her friends are learning how to gather intelligence, spy, and if need be, kill, and to do it all with perfect poise and impeccable manners.
I love Sophronia's spark. She is smart, spunky, and unafraid. She, Soap, Vieve, and her other friends embark on several covert missions that include both suspense and a bit of humor. One minor character I especially adored was Bumbersnoot, the mcanimal dog, who was an accidental acquirement at the beginning of the book but ended up being of the utmost importance to the main mission. The story is perfectly paced with just the right balance of action, character development, and setting detail.
I closed this book smiling and have already grabbed the second one on Audible. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens to these characters next. There is also an entire website dedicated to the series and the Academy. Well worth checking out. You can find it at http://finishingschoolbooks.com/ Enjoy!
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser for this week (I never stick to the two sentence rule... I just can't!):
Monday, January 4, 2016
One word... I've been thinking about it for a while now and I've narrowed it down to three. One choice is essentialism because I'm participating in a book study and webinar series on accomplishing more with less and creating positive life goals. However, I could also choose growth because this year, I'm not only a reader and a book blogger but also one of the hosts of the #sixtybooks reading challenge for 2016! I'm loving the whole process and really feeling like I am beginning to move to the next level as a blogger. Finally, cherish would be my third option. I would choose this because the older I get, the more I realize that life moves too fast and often quality time is lost in the shuffle of jobs and activities.
So, as I wrote the last sentence, it seemed perfectly clear which word is the most important to me. I'm going with CHERISH and I'm going to make a goal to cherish all things, especially time with my children outside of driving them to and from their activities. And that... is my word for 2016.
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you do when you finish a book? Do you immediately start another one?
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Library of Souls continues where Hollow City left off, with our main characters Jacob, Emma, and their companions searching for Miss Peregrine and the other captive Ymbrynes and friends. All the while, they are either avoiding or being chased by Hollowgasts or Wights. The story is fast-paced and full of suspense as you wonder if some of the characters we have come to know will live or die. There are some fabulous photos in this story also but I didn't find them to be quite as intriguing as they were in the first two books. However, I loved that this book really focused on Jacob and his growth as a peculiar. He spends a lot of time doubting himself but finds that when it really counts, he is able to achieve. He also learns that it is ok not to be the hero all the time and no one feels less about him when he fails. Jacob basically finds his place in the world and everything wraps up nicely.
Although there could be the possibility of other adventures for Jacob and his friends, it does seem as though it is over. I will however, be returning to the world of the peculiars often to visit and these books by Ransom Riggs will always be fondly remembered.
Synopsis from Amazon:
The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.