Important Update: Please Read!

Important Update: Please Read!

What to expect on Shes Going Book Crazy for the next few months.

Recent Posts

Mini eARC Review: Ride On by Gwen Cole

Mini eARC Review: Ride On by Gwen Cole

In the near post-apocalyptic future, the skies are always gray and people are constantly searching for the sun. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Ride On Author: Gwen Cole Publication Date: May 22, 2018 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Page Count: 280 Format: eARC Genre: Young Adult, […]

Blog Tour & Author Interview: Beyond the Moon by R.J. Wood

Blog Tour & Author Interview: Beyond the Moon by R.J. Wood

Beyond the Moon The Voyages of Jake Flynn #2 By R.J. Wood This is my stop during the blog tour for Beyond the Moon by R.J. Wood. This tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 11 till 24 June. See […]

Guest Post by PoetryBooksYA: Book Events’ Diversity and FOMO Issues

Guest Post by PoetryBooksYA: Book Events’ Diversity and FOMO Issues

Hello, everyone!

Today I have Danielle from PoetryBooksYA on my blog discussing her thoughts on diversity at book events. I’ll let her take it from here!

Speaking only from my experience, I wanted to discuss my thoughts on how I feel about seeing so much drama on book event FOMO (fear of missing out) and their diversity issues.

On one hand, I’ve never felt jealous of the book content creators who do attend these events. In fact, I’m a fan of a lot of the Booktubers who go because it gives me a chance to see from their perspective on what they did, who they were with, which authors they went to check out. It doesnt do me any harm to see how they chose to spend their weekend or week-long vacation.

On the other hand, I do think that specific book events like BEA (Book Expo America) and BookCon have a bit of a diversity problem that needs to be addressed. As a young, black female book blogger, I feel like I don’t have a proper space for things like BEA and BookCon because they’re not catered to me. They’re mostly catered to the white, cishet (cisgender/heterosexual) book content creators who invest their time to go every year. That’s why we see the same faces attending; there’s little to no growth in expanding the audience level. They’ve already shown that they hustled hard for their craft and have the privilege to go. But can they say the same for underprivileged creators? Black creators? Disabled? LGBT? I don’t think so. The book community has taken a step forward in wanting to read more diversely. However, it has taken five steps back by not expanding their brands to be more inclusive, and not exclusive.

I’ve never felt the desperate need to go to any book events, even ones that are local to me. I dont have the time or money to be fake around people who would just ignore or avoid me, and the friends i do have, theyre not diehard book fans like that, so I’d probably feel alone in my hyped up feelings. Also, these overhyped events seem fun for a minute but get exhausting later lol. It’s like Disney World; hyped so much, but once you get there, you want go back home, so whats the point?! I’d rather form my sense of community with the community online in my own way, rather than be too out in the open with people I barely know at an event that I barely know. These big events are an added bonus, not an absolute need.

Danielle @ Poetrybooksya

Thank you to Sheila for letting me guest post on her awesome blog! Follow me on @poetrybooksya on most social media platforms, and let’s discuss.

Now let's hear your thoughts!
Leave them in the comments below :

eARC Review: The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

eARC Review: The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal […]

Down The TBR Hole #5

Down The TBR Hole #5

Wow, a week has already come and gone. Time to take another look at my looming TBR. This challenge/meme was started by Lost In A Story back in 2016. Here are the rules, in case you are interested in participating too! Rules: Go to your goodreads to-read […]

eARC Review: The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

eARC Review: The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave. 

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

The Bone Roses

Series: Snow Spark Saga #1
Author: Kathryn Lee Martin
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Parliament House Press
Page Count: ---
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Westerns
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

16-year-old Rags is a wanted rustler. In the city of Hydra, she works her magic to steal supplies for her settlement of Rondo. Rondo has suffered greatly after being cut off from the kingdom’s supplies after publicly denouncing the tyrant King Hyperion. When Rags witnesses other rustlers being tortured in the city for doing the same job, Rags experiences real fear for the first time. Luckily, her mentor Tracker finds her before she is recognized by anyone in Hydra, and the two flee back to Rondo. Little do they realize that they are being tailed by the king’s second-in-command.

Upon returning, Rags is met by another threat: Hunter, the town’s self-proclaimed sheriff. Always having hated Rags since she came to Rondo, he discloses to the townsfolk that Rags has a substantial reward out for her if she is brought in dead or alive to King Hyperion. Matthew, Jericho, and Tracker come to Rags’ aide and back her against Hunter’s accusations. Matthew, Rags’ dearest friend pleas for her to run away with him, so that she may escape whatever fate that lies before her if she continues to be a rustler. 

Before they are able to leave, Rondo is invaded by the king’s guard, and Matthew is killed before Rags’ eyes. The king’s own second-in-command Henny leads the charge and is determined to destroy Rondo in just four days. Rags is forced into difficult situations, as she must try to help her loved ones escape the town before a spectacle is made of them to the entire kingdom. 

Stakes are high and the clock ticks rapidly as Rags must not only fight an incredible resourceful opponent, but also steer clear of those who want to reap the bounty on her head. When she crosses paths with one of the Kingdom’s informant, Rags is challenged in even more ways, as her feelings try to take the reins above common sense. 

When everything comes to a head, and the town is set to be “cleansed” via live broadcast, an unexpected turn of events throws King Hyperion’s plans back in his face. While some find sanctuary, Rags finds herself on a train with the wiry luresman, bound for the Threshing Floor and an uncertain fate before her. 

 

The Bone Roses (Snow Spark Saga, #1)The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

 

description

“A petite trio of gray stone roses and a tiny pewter charm shaped like a rearing stag tethered together with elegant, braided leather cords rest in it. One rose in full bloom, one still a bud, and the third caught in-between. ‘ I’ve held onto these mythical bone roses for a long time. Sort of like a good-luck charm in a way. They hold the key to rare and powerful secrets, and well, I can’t think of anyone better I’d trust with them than you.’”

In all honesty, I barely skimmed the synopsis for this book before starting it. I knew that it was a Young Adult Fantasy with a Western flare, so I immediately wanted to give it a try. Boy, am I happy that I did! While I had some issues with certain elements in the plot, I found myself loving the characters and the world they were set in.

World Building

While The Bone Roses is in the YA genre, it’s definitely geared towards more mature readers, as some of its contents are harsh and in-your-face. Considering that the world is set in a post-apocalyptic West in the United States, it comes with the territory. This book felt reminiscent of The Wolves of Winter, which I read earlier this year, and the arid isolation that the setting brought. Shockingly, even though The Bone Roses is set in the West, the climate doesn’t reflect the traditional desert hotness the West is known for. This is particularly reflected in the settlement of Rondo, where the main character Rags resides.

“People used to drive everywhere, so I’m told, but when Yellowstone erupted thirty years ago and the snow started to fall, that came to a halt.”

I’m not sure why, but portraying the West blanketed with snow instead of dust, tumbleweeds, and cacti were incredibly submersive to me.

Set in an era thirty years after Yellowstone erupts, the United States as it was once known as has been completely reformed. A cruel king known as Hyperion takes over and establishes his reign over the entire region. Small settlements situated in the surrounding area know hardship—especially those that choose to not bow down to the king. Rondo has long been cut-off from the supplies that Adonis, the capital city, has to offer. In order to survive, Rustlers (outlaws) risk their lives in order to steal supplies for the town’s survival. If caught, the punishment for rustling leads to a brutal death.

“‘Solstice.’ That settlement sits at the heart of ‘forbidden’ things in our household. Unlike Rondo’s miserable past, Tracker spared no words when warning me about the lewd settlement just outside the Kingdom’s capital city, Adonis.
Liquor flows freely. Cheap whores are plentiful. It’s supposedly so far in bed with Adonis that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.”

The old-time western towns that we are accustomed to aren’t completely lost beneath a layer of snow, however. Many of these settlements reflect those of the past and “safe” isn’t a term that’s thrown around.

Another aspect which murmurs the Old West is the presence of Christianity. While it’s something that Hyperion tries to outlaw, Rondo is basically governed by the town preacher, Jericho. While Christianity doesn’t play as massive of a role as perhaps was intended, it is worth mentioning especially when looking further into the dynamics between Rags and the troublesome Hunter. Hunter, the town sheriff, constantly accuses Rags of being a witch (off of what basis, it’s never really revealed other than her having rare blue eyes and the fact that she’s an outsider.) While is accusations felt quite random for the plot focus, it definitely created an atmosphere that felt like the people of Rondo were ticking time bombs.

Pacing & Readability

Because of the way the story is set up, the plot felt more character-driven than plot-driven. While there are events that take place, the characters stories and relationships always remain in the spotlight. Because of this, I felt that at times the plot would lose its focus in minor details for longer than necessary, and halted plot progression. While the writing style made it very enjoyable to read, these variations in pacing gave it a start-go quality.

Point-Of-View & Characters

“I am Rags, Rondo’s rustler and we will never bow to his Kingdom.”

Rags, a sixteen-year-old girl is a protagonist in The Bone Roses. The point-of-view is told from her perspective and helps the reader become acquainted with her unique character. With a somewhat quirky but strong presence, Rags’ story immediately grabs the reader’s attention. Often accompanied by her mule Nigel, she serves as one of Rondo’s main and feared Rustlers. While I really wanted to get to know more about her backstory, I appreciated how real Rags’ character came across. While she’s strong, she’s also realistic and sensitive. What she feels and experiences is very relatable for many readers.

Tracker is the mentor and the “adoptive” father of Rags. A mysterious man with a complicated past, he takes Rags under his wing when she first arrives in Rondo.

Matthew, preacher’s son is Rags’ dearest friend. While I first presumed their relationship to be romantic, it proves to be oddly platonic, as their interactions are flirty.

Jericho serves as Rondo’s preacher and is also Matthew’s father. As the town’s preacher, he often oversees how the town goes about settling issues and confronting problems. Along with Tracker, he is one of the few supporters of Rags against the rest of the superstitious townsfolk.

Sadie’s character doesn’t have a large role. However, she’s mentionable as she serves as a mother-figure to Rags.

There are more than one antagonists in The Bone Roses.

1. Hyperion, the evil king who has long since abandoned Rondo to fend for itself.

2. Hennrick Oreson aka “Henny”

“A dangerous young man, Rags. The Kingdom’s own second-in-command, Henrick Oreson, or “Henny” as some call him. You are never to cross paths with him. Understood?”

Known as the second-in-command to Hyperion himself, Henny’s job is to seek out rustlers and anyone trying to defy the king and his ways.

“I’ve been hunted before. It comes with the job. But I’ve never been hunted by someone like him. No one’s ever stupid enough to give a rustler the advantage. He’s far from stupid, though. The way he toys with me confirms that. He’s doing this intentionally, letting me turn all the tricks I know for his amusement. He doesn’t just think he can win. He knows it.”

Henny’s character as the antagonist is fantastic. While you want so badly to dislike him, there’s just something about him that makes the reader believe there is more to him than meets the eye. Is he really as bad as he seems? The dynamics between him and Rags are electric as the two are constantly trying to out-do one another.

And can I just mention…Xanthos!?

description

I was swooning over this horse more than anything else.

3. Lawrence aka “Hunter” serves as Rondo’s sheriff. This guy has a severe case of bad-cop to his swagger. He blatantly hates Rags because she has blue eyes and isn’t originally from Rondo. Discriminatory, much? Because she arrived in Rondo around the time that Hyperion stopped the supply trains to Rondo, he blames Rags for practicing witchcraft and being the reason why Rondo suffers so. His hatred is completely blind and is a good example of a person who fails to look deeper than the surface.

4. Colton, a character who shows up later on the scene, is another antagonist-type character that the reader can’t really peg down and who his allegiance lies with. Is he good? Is he bad? He works as a luresman–a person highly skilled in the art of negotiation. The mystery of his true intentions make his character frustrating, yet incredibly engaging throughout the entire plot.

Major Themes

⇒ Family

A strong sense of family and belonging is evident at every turn. Rags constantly worries about her hypothetical mother, father, and brother figures, and feels a strong need to protect them. While no information is given about her biological family, Rags’ relationship with her Rondonian family is strong and unbreakable, even when secrets are revealed about their pasts.

⇒ Cleansing or Purification

Hyperion doesn’t take kindly to those who disobey his commands. It’s rather ironic how he terms his punishment for rebels, especially in the sense of religion. His form of “cleansing” is allowing rebel settlements like Rondo starve, and then be brutally treated once captured by his army. His cleansing results in death, instead of bringing forth a purified life, as Christianity does. Seeing how the religion is outlawed, he transforms this term into something sinister instead of revitalizing.

⇒ Hardship

Hardship is an obvious theme in a post-apocalyptic world such as this. Each day is a struggle. Everything is fighting against Rags, the Rustlers, and the Rondonians in their survival. The king, the terrain, the climate, the lifestyle all reflect the realness of their plight.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The atmosphere and the way the “Old West” is portrayed.
⇒ Despite a few flaws, I loved the characters and the voices and personalities that developed for each one. It made character-driven plot all-the-more dynamic and enjoyable.
⇒ The author’s writing style and descriptiveness.
⇒ This is a personal preference because I’m a horse person, but Martin knows how to write scenes involving horses! In a Western book, knowing how to portray horse characters is key because they majorly influence the plot mobilization. She writes them correctly down to the swiveling of the ears.

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ The amount of vulgarity.
⇒ The plot’s tendency to dwell on insignificant points at times.
⇒ Christianity didn’t have the best portrayal and felt more of a “fall-back-on” asset than a focal attribute for how the characters act and react.
Very little backstory for Rags is given.
⇒ Hyperion, the main antagonist is nonexistent other than the presence of Henny and the K.C.
⇒ While I loved the mythical white stag which kept appearing, I want to know why and what its purpose is!
⇒ I’d love more information on the bone roses themselves and what secrets they hold!

I really enjoyed this book and the style in which it was written. While there were a few issues that I had with it, but I cannot be too critical. A sequel has yet to be published in the Snow Spark Saga, Garden of Ashes. I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next, and to learn more about the characters’ journeys and also some history (especially Rags!)

Vulgarity: A lot. I counted 227 words total.
Sexual content: Kissing.
Violence: Quite a bit. It is a Western…

View all my reviews

Down The TBR Hole #4

Down The TBR Hole #4

Hi everybody! I always think of this guy when I say that phrase 😛 It’s already time to go through my TBR again! This Down The TBR Hole challenge/meme was started by Lost In A Story back in 2016. Here are the rules, in case you are […]

Personal Update & April Wrap-Up

Personal Update & April Wrap-Up

I wanted to give a bit of a personal update on what to expect in the next few months on this blog. I’ve mentioned here and there that I am expecting a baby (now in two weeks–which is crazy). Because of prepping for his arrival, […]

May ARCs

May ARCs

I feel like my ARC pile gets bigger each month instead of smaller...

It’s funny how the opposite tends to happen of what my intentions are. I keep pledging that I’ll request NO MORE ARCs for a while, yet, I keep receiving them. Anyways, May seems to be the month of western fantasies! I have a few to get through and I’m looking forward to the change in scenery in the fantasy genre. 

Song Of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave.

But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal family apart.

The kingdom’s only hope will lie with two young men raised worlds apart. Aric is the beloved heir to the throne of Calidon; Albaric is clearly of noble origin yet strangely out of place.

The Oddling Prince is a tale of brothers whose love and loyalty to each other is such that it defies impending warfare, sundering seas, fated hatred, and the very course of time itself. In her long-awaited new fantasy novel, Nancy Springer (the Books of Isle series) explores the darkness of the human heart as well as its unceasing capacity for love.

Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Ride On by Gwen Cole

The law can't help her. But one outlaw can.

In the near post-apocalyptic future, the skies are always gray and people are constantly searching for the sun. For teenage outlaw Seph, it’s the only world he’s ever known. With his horse, his favorite pistol, and his knowledge for survival passed down from his dead father, Seph knows it’s safer to be alone. But after a run-in with a local gang that call themselves the Lawmen, and having been wrongly accused of murder, Seph teams up with Avery—a determined girl whose twin brother has been taken by the same gang.

After living in a small, rundown town her whole life, Avery knows nothing of the Wild—the lands controlled by nobody where travel is risky. With Seph’s help, they track down her brother but quickly find the tables have turned and they are now the ones being hunted. With rumors of mysterious dangers to the south and a safe sanctuary to the west, they’ve only got one option, but getting there won’t be easy with the Lawmen on their trail. The only thing that matters in the Wild is how fast your trigger hand is, but Seph doesn’t know if his will be fast enough to save them all.

Bright Burns The Night by Sara B. Larson

Ten years ago, King Lorcan of the Dark Kingdom Dorjhalon defeated Queen Evelayn and cut her conduit stone from her. Since then, he has kept her trapped in her swan form. With the loss of balance between Dark and Light, winter has descended and the Draíolon of Éadrolan lose more power every day. But once a year, Lorcan transforms her back to her Draíolon form and offers a truce. And every year Evelayn refuses -- for he requires her to Bind herself to him for life.But now, with an Ancient power bearing down upon them, everything may change. Evelayn will learn that the truths she once believed have shattered, and that she may need her enemies even more than her allies. Lorcan and Evelayn become partners in a desperate quest to return the balance of power to Lachalonia. How far will this partnership go? Can friendship -- perhaps even love -- bloom where hatred has taken root?

What ARCs are you reading this month?
Which one are you looking most forward to?
Have you found any new favorites coming out in May?

eARC Review: No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

eARC Review: No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

David Galloway can’t die. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. No Less Days Author: Amanda G. Stevens Publication Date: May 1, 2018 Publisher: Shiloh Run Press Page Count: 320 Format: eARC Genre: Christian Fiction, Speculative Fiction Cover Artist: — My Rating: ★★★ What happens to a […]

Down the TBR Hole #3

Down the TBR Hole #3

Let’s see if I can knock a few more off the Good Ole TBR… This challenge/meme was started by Lost In A Story back in 2016. Here are the rules, in case you are interested in participating too! Rules: Go to your goodreads to-read shelf. Order on […]

State of the ARC: April

State of the ARC: April

Wow, May is already here.

Does anyone else feel like 2018 is absolutely flying? Maybe it’s because I’m counting down to June. Either way, I really can’t believe it’s already May! Before I get into this, let’s recap what State of the ARC is all about!

The State of the ARC Meme is hosted by AvalinahsBooks. Go check out her website for further information if you’d like to join! It’s a great way to get some motivation to tackle those old ARCs that have been bogging down your TBR piles.

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use the State of the ARC image Evelina created (found on her website.)
  • Be sure to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • Most importantly – have fun!

State of the ARC has a Goodreads group, called ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.


Compared to last month’s post, my numbers seem a bit worse, according to the graph. While my numbers continue increasing, I feel quite accomplished this past month. How? You ask? WELL! My overall feedback ratios have increased on all fronts! There were a few ARCs that I ended up contacting the publisher about, stating that I won’t be reviewing them because they were sequels…and I hadn’t realized that at the time I requested them. Reading all of these series is far too time consuming!

My current feedback ratios:

Netgalley: 60%

Edelweiss: 42%

Author: 50%

Publisher: 40%

Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to writing those reviews that have been sitting a while. I actually ended up adding to the list ;( Either way, I was able to read and review a total of 4 ARCs. 

Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

2 books I emailed the publisher back on because they were sequels. One I couldn’t read and review because the copy I had access to wasn’t working. Lastly, one was a DNF which I technically reviewed in May, so I’ll include that in next month’s post. Netgalley recently changed their feedback portion and have a specific selection now for DNFs. So, that’s how I have a total of 8 “reviewed” reads. At least it ups the ratios, right? 😛

I also had set some goals in April that I…didn’t complete. They were:

  • Complete all unwritten ARC reviews. Currently, I have 5 waiting to be written.
    • Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith – DONE
    • Solomon’s Ring by Mary Jennifer Payne
    • The Rogue Queen by Emily R. King
    • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
    • A School of Dragons by Amy Wolf
  • Complete reading and reviewing all ARCs for April. I have 6 total. (I’ll post which these are in a separate blog post.) – 2 left to read and review
  • Complete reading and reviewing all ARC requests from Publishers. I have 1 review to write, and 1 ARC to read to get my feedback ratio to 100% – I didn’t even touch these
  • If I am able to complete these tasks before the end of April, my goal is to complete reading and reviewing May ARCs as well. I currently have 6. – This didn’t happen.
  • Also, I’m on an ARC requesting BAN for the next few months, until I can get these numbers under control! – Also, didn’t happen. 

So, since I drastically failed these goals, I still would like to try and set goals for each month to keep motivating me to move forward with ARCs!

May Goals:

  • Read and review all May ARCs before release dates. I now have 8 total.
    • Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope
    • No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens
    • Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel
    • The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer
    • Onyx & Ivory by Mondee Arnett
    • Ride On by Gwen Cole
    • The Bone Roses by Katheryn Lee Martin
    • Bright Burns the Night by Sara B. Larson
  • Read and review all June ARCs. I only have one.
    • My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand
  • Complete all unwritten ARC reviews.
    • Solomon’s Ring by Mary Jennifer Payne
    • The Rogue Queen by Emily R. King
    • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
    • A School of Dragons by Amy Wolf
    • Traitor Born by Amy A. Bartol
I’m going to leave it at that because that’s quite a bit. I’d like to keep them somewhat reachable. 

How did you do this month?
Were you able to keep up with your ARCs?
What are some of your ARC reading goals for this next month?

Down The TBR Hole #2

Down The TBR Hole #2

Even though I was able to get some books off of my TBR this past week by reading them, I’m looking forward to see if I can keep dropping that massive 600+ need-to-reads! Hey, guys! It’s time sit down and look at the next five […]

eARC Mini Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

eARC Mini Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Release Day, May 1, 2018! In the beginning, there was silence. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Song of Blood & Stone Series: Earthsinger Chronicles #1Author: L. PenelopePublication Date: May 1, 2018Publisher: St. Martin’s PressPage Count: 384Format: eARCGenre: Young Adult, Fantasy, RomanceCover Artist: —My Rating: Since […]

Blog Tour and Author Interview: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Blog Tour and Author Interview: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Song of Blood & Stone

Earthsinger Chronicles: Book One

By L. Penelope

Synopsis

From the very first pages of her debut, L. Penelope delivers as a new force in the fantasy genre. The first book in the historical fantasy Earthsinger series was originally self-published, earning a quick fan base, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award and a starred Publishers Weekly review calling it a “fantastic opening to a promising series”. Now traditionally published to kick off the new series, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE (St. Martin’s Press; May 1, 2018) is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. With the world building of Brandon Sanderson, the romance of Ilona Andrews, the epic quest of Lord of the Rings, and the doomed star-crossed love of Romeo & Juliet, the start of the Earthsinger series has something to keep any reader entranced for books to come.
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

As a reader, it’s not common to come across a truly original world, but Penelope manages to do just that in SONG OF BLOOD & STONE. In the vein of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, Penelope “shines a bright light into epic fantasy” (Booklist) and bridges the gap between the world of romance and fantasy. Inspired by religion and folklore, Penelope develops the start to what will be a series that will take readers by a storm.

SONG OF BLOOD & STONE
Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One
By L. Penelope
Published by St. Martin’s Press
**On Sale May 1, 2018**
Hardcover | $26.99

ISBN: 9781250148070| Ebook ISBN: 9781250148087
For more information or to set up an interview with the author, contact:
Brittani Hilles at brittani.hilles@stmartins.com or 646-307-5558

“This debut, which won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award, shines a bright light
into epic fantasy. Battle-scarred lands and peoples, ancient powers at war, star-crossed loves and hints of racial and

refugee themes gives this a solid place on library shelves.”
—Library Journal, STARRED review

“Penelope parallels our own world, exploring a refugee crisis and race relations with emotion and nuance…Fresh,
suspenseful, and perceptive, Penelope’s first in a new series will appeal to historical-fantasy readers, especially fans of

N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.”

—Booklist

“”Penelope delivers an engrossing story with delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a promising series.”

—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“L. Penelope’s page-turning apocalyptic epic SONG OF BLOOD & STONE does what fantasy does best: provide epic plots,

epic world-building and epic myth. A rewarding, carefully crafted read.”

—The Root

1. What inspired you to write this series? What came first: The characters or the world? What was your inspiration for the magic of Earthsong? Were you inspired by other books? Movies?

 

When I first wrote this book, up until the time I gave it to my first editor, I thought it was going to be a
novella. It was always meant to be a fairytale-esque story of a girl’s journey from the margins of society
straight to its upper echelons. The characters Jack and Jasminda were there before the world was ever
clear in my mind. The first scene I wrote was the one where they meet in front of her cabin. I knew they
were from different, warring countries and they came from very different sorts of lives, but that was all.
Through the magic of revision (lots and lots of revision) I discovered the journey that the characters
would go on and all the conflicts they would face.

I love fantasy and there were so many inspiring series that I soaked in prior to writing the book, from
Graceling by Kristin Cashore to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. But I think this book owes its biggest
inspiration to the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. Her fantasy world felt well realized and
complex, filled with incredibly detailed characters, groups, nations, and settings. But I also wanted to
write a kinder, gentler fantasy novel that wouldn’t double as a doorstopper. And mix in a really strong
romance like some of my favorites Nalini Singh or Kresley Cole.

 

2. What were your favorite scenes to write for SONG OF BLOOD AND STONE? What was the
hardest scene to write? Is there a scene or moment that really sticks with you?

 

Though Usher, Jack’s valet, spends relatively little time on the page, I loved writing the scenes with him
and Jack. When two characters have known each other for a long time, it can be really fun to play with
how to show their relationship. Usher has known Jack his entire life and so the way they interact is
unique. I also loved writing the visions that Jasminda gets from the stone. They were in a different voice,
from a totally different perspective and the peeked in on a vibrant, fully formed world that’s different to
the one of the main story. Hardest to write were the ones where Jasminda is confronted with the racism
and bias of Elsirans.

The scene that sticks with me is when Jack and Jasminda are in the army base and he sleeps on the
ground beside her, holding her hand. I find it really sweet and romantic.

 

3. What advice would you give aspiring authors, especially authors or color, striving to have their
stories and truths shared?

 

I would tell aspiring authors to really investigate your goals and be frank with yourself about why you
want to do this. It’s a difficult path emotionally, creatively, and professionally and what will get you
through the low points is being very clear about your “why”. It can also be incredibly rewarding, but
knowing what you’re getting yourself into is key.

Writing and publishing are two different disciplines. Your “why” will inform whether you pursue
traditional publishing or seek to self-publish. It will keep you going through rejections, delays, bad
reviews, disappointment, and the imposter syndrome that we all go through.

The other very important thing is to have a community to fall back on. Whether that’s a chapter of a
professional organization like RWA, SFWA, SCWBI, and others, or a Facebook group, critique group, or
writer’s circle, having others to commiserate and celebrate with you makes the journey much easier.

 

4. Is there a character in SONG OF BLOOD & STONE that you most relate to? How do you select
names of your characters?

 

I think Jasminda represents various aspects of myself both as I am and as I’d like to be. She’s definitely
bolder than I am, but her struggle to feel a part of things is one that I understand.

As for naming my characters, for each nation, I asked questions about how the names should generally
work. Things like: which prefixes and suffixes are common? Which letters and sounds are prevalent?
Which letters or sounds either don’t exist or are more rare? So the Elsirans have a lot of double vowels
in their names. Qs, Vs, and Zs are prominent, but there are no hard Cs.

Lagrimari names generally don’t use Js. I set up which suffixes were for men and women and the types
of sounds the names would have. There are only 9 last names in Lagrimar, corresponding with the
Houses. Jasminda as a name is an exception. Her parents didn’t follow the naming conventions of either
country for her or her brothers. Because their interracial relationship was unique, they wanted their
children’s names to be distinctive as well.

5. What do you most hope that readers take away from SONG OF BLOOD AND STONE?

I really just hope readers enjoy the story and the characters. Jasminda is a heroine that I had been
longing to see, so I hope people get as much joy and heartache from her story as I did when I wrote it.

6. Can you tell us more about the next books in the series? What are you working on now?

Book 2, WHISPERS OF SHADOW & FLAME, follows a parallel timeline to SONG. It’s about Darvyn, a character we hear about in SONG who was the Earthsinger responsible for disguising Jack. The disguise’s failure gets Jack captured and he wonders what happened to Darvyn. So in WHISPERS, we find out. But it also pushes the story forward, showing what’s going on in Lagrimar in the days before the Mantle comes down and setting up the next challenge that Jack, Jasminda, and Darvyn will face. Book 3, CRY OF METAL & BONE picks up the story of how Elsira and Lagrimar deal with the fall of the
Mantle and the new threat facing the nations.

I’m also working on a brand-new series with dragons.

7. What are your favorite books you would recommend to readers?

Among my favorites of all time are Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay,
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor and Sheltered by Charlotte Stein. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there.

L. Penelope

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.


Upcoming Reads

May ARCs

May ARCs

I feel like my ARC pile gets bigger each month instead of smaller...

It’s funny how the opposite tends to happen of what my intentions are. I keep pledging that I’ll request NO MORE ARCs for a while, yet, I keep receiving them. Anyways, May seems to be the month of western fantasies! I have a few to get through and I’m looking forward to the change in scenery in the fantasy genre. 

Song Of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave.

But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal family apart.

The kingdom’s only hope will lie with two young men raised worlds apart. Aric is the beloved heir to the throne of Calidon; Albaric is clearly of noble origin yet strangely out of place.

The Oddling Prince is a tale of brothers whose love and loyalty to each other is such that it defies impending warfare, sundering seas, fated hatred, and the very course of time itself. In her long-awaited new fantasy novel, Nancy Springer (the Books of Isle series) explores the darkness of the human heart as well as its unceasing capacity for love.

Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Ride On by Gwen Cole

The law can't help her. But one outlaw can.

In the near post-apocalyptic future, the skies are always gray and people are constantly searching for the sun. For teenage outlaw Seph, it’s the only world he’s ever known. With his horse, his favorite pistol, and his knowledge for survival passed down from his dead father, Seph knows it’s safer to be alone. But after a run-in with a local gang that call themselves the Lawmen, and having been wrongly accused of murder, Seph teams up with Avery—a determined girl whose twin brother has been taken by the same gang.

After living in a small, rundown town her whole life, Avery knows nothing of the Wild—the lands controlled by nobody where travel is risky. With Seph’s help, they track down her brother but quickly find the tables have turned and they are now the ones being hunted. With rumors of mysterious dangers to the south and a safe sanctuary to the west, they’ve only got one option, but getting there won’t be easy with the Lawmen on their trail. The only thing that matters in the Wild is how fast your trigger hand is, but Seph doesn’t know if his will be fast enough to save them all.

Bright Burns The Night by Sara B. Larson

Ten years ago, King Lorcan of the Dark Kingdom Dorjhalon defeated Queen Evelayn and cut her conduit stone from her. Since then, he has kept her trapped in her swan form. With the loss of balance between Dark and Light, winter has descended and the Draíolon of Éadrolan lose more power every day. But once a year, Lorcan transforms her back to her Draíolon form and offers a truce. And every year Evelayn refuses -- for he requires her to Bind herself to him for life.But now, with an Ancient power bearing down upon them, everything may change. Evelayn will learn that the truths she once believed have shattered, and that she may need her enemies even more than her allies. Lorcan and Evelayn become partners in a desperate quest to return the balance of power to Lachalonia. How far will this partnership go? Can friendship -- perhaps even love -- bloom where hatred has taken root?

What ARCs are you reading this month?
Which one are you looking most forward to?
Have you found any new favorites coming out in May?


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