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Mini Book Review: Prince of the South by Ava Richardson

Mini Book Review: Prince of the South by Ava Richardson

Being a Prince, J’ahalid is no stranger to the fact that his kingdom requires protecting. When he Sees the Dragon Riders of Torvald, he knows that dragons are the answer to his problems. Prince Of The South Author: Ava Richardson Publication Date: July 2017 Publisher: […]

eARC Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

eARC Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Release Day April 24, 2018! OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Sky In The Deep Author: Adrienne Young Publication Date: April 24, 2018 Publisher: Wednesday Books Page Count: 352 Format: eARC Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Cover Artist: — My Rating: ★★★½ Eeyln […]

Down the TBR Hole #1

Down the TBR Hole #1

I've seen this meme float around the blogosphere for some time now.

Not sure what it was about, I finally checked it out. This wonderful little tactic is a way to cut down on the ever-rising TBR pile. Seeing how mine has broken 600, I need do to something to clean it up. I know there are books that I’ve lost interest in and are cluttering the list. 

This 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 ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’ll be going through 5 books each week. So, let’s get started! 

The Books

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is the oldest book on my TBR. Seeing how it's not that long, and because I already own it, I'm going to KEEP this one.

Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld

I read the first book in this series, "Uglies" in 2016. I wasn't exactly a fan of the main character, Tally, and don't see much intruige at the moment to keep on with the series. For now, this one is a GO.

Snow LIke Ashes by Sara Raasch

Another book that I already own, I'm going to KEEP this one. I've been wanting to give this series a try for a long time. If I don't like the first book, then I'll quit with the series.

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien

I don't need to say much here, because this is a definite KEEP for me. I just haven't gotten around to finishing up the series yet!

Forbidden by Ted Dekker

A Christian fiction dystopia? Yeah, I'm going to KEEP this one. It's the first in a series, but ties in with other books and series written by Ted Dekker, so I definitely want to give this one a shot.

Alright! So, 1/5 books have been eliminated from my TBR.
What do you think of my choices?
Are there any books on this list that you'd recommend taking off?
Which book would you keep?

April ARCs

April ARCs

Yeah, it’s almost May… But I thought I’d still share which ARCs I have to read and review for this month! I’ve read most of them and have been pretty impressed with the releases this month. However, since this post is quite late, I’ll keep […]

Audiobook Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Audiobook Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

THE PLOT THICKENS as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with […]

Cover Reveals for Wheel Gone Cats & Of Stars and Monsters!

Cover Reveals for Wheel Gone Cats & Of Stars and Monsters!

Wheels Gone Cats

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS

Synopsis

In a future where violence is encouraged and duels are required by law, Dathin Long has the answer: devolution. He proposes a medical procedure that will restore humanity to the state of primal bliss—to pure reptilian instinct, before guilty consciences intruded.  When a boy’s grandmother is admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, he learns the procedure will be forced upon her. To save her, the boy enlists the help of Lee Bellows, a member of the hospital staff, to search the records and find his grandmother. But the deeper Lee looks, the more horrible things he finds, until the controllers start looking back at him. His conscience needs adjusting, and soon the procedure may be forced upon him. In a flooded New Orleans in the end days, the only hope is a hero who’s lost his memory and is just trying to get by…

Find Out About Other Books by Beaird Glover at https://www.facebook.com/bluebottletree/

Beaird Glover grew up on a farm in rural Tennessee. He graduated from The Evergreen State College of Olympia, Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing. He then moved to Southern California and wrote Secret Ciphers of the 1876 Presidential Election (Aegean Park Press). He has traveled extensively and lived in eleven of the United Sates, and Taipei and Buenos Aires. His poems have been published in the New York Quarterly and his chapbook of poetry was selected by the Austin Chronicle as one of the Top 10 Best of 1994. More recently, he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree from Long Island University in Brooklyn and has worked as a physician assistant. Beaird lives in New Orleans with his wife Kim and their cats.

Of Stars and Monsters (Of Light and Darkness #3)

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS

Synopsis

After narrowly surviving a near-death experience from yet another showdown with Aiden Price and the Light, Charlotte awakens inside the forsaken, crumbling walls of the Regime Palace. Though she finds herself surrounded by her closest friends, she is conflicted by her feelings for the sudden absence of her Vampire guardian. Where has Francis taken Valek?  With new friend Nikolai there to console her, Charlotte cannot shake the undeniable chemistry she feels for this familiar stranger. But they are running out of time. Charlotte’s peculiar ailment will return, and she will die unless they are successful in finding a cure.  Charlotte, Nikolai, Sarah, and the rest of their tribe of misfits travel to the underbelly of Prague to search for Valek, but what they discover are secrets darker than they could have ever imagined. Charlotte must overcome her mortal limitations to save the life of the one she truly loves and escape the gates of Abelim with her throat intact in this enthralling, highly-anticipated third installment of the Of Light and Darkness Series.

Find Out About Other Books by Shayne Leighton at https://www.facebook.com/shayneleightonfans

With over a decade of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries, Shayne Leighton is a creative professional with edge and quirkiness. Her debut novel, Of Light and Darkness hit Amazon's coveted Top 100 overall bestsellers list once during the fall of 2015, and again in the summer of 2016, reaching the #4 spot. Having a background in film science, Shayne has produced book trailers and marketing materials for New York Times bestselling authors and major publishers such as Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize, Candlewick Press), Alex Flinn (Towering, Harper Teen), and Kimberley Griffiths Little (When The Butterflies Came, Scholastic Press). She strives to be the Guillermo del Toro of the publishing industry, knowing what works visually and creatively to make stories a stunning experience that is visual, just as it is intellectual. She spends most of her time working on things that excite her, drinking coffee, traveling to the Czech Republic where she always finds new inspiration, and discovering hole-in- the-wall bookstores and coffee shops on her random adventures. Shayne is a Libra and a Ravenclaw. Her favorite book is The Night Circus (though soon it may be Six of Crows). Her wand is made out of Hazel wood with a Unicorn hair core 12 1/4" long and reasonably supple flexibility. Her patronus is a robin.

Thursday Blog Trot #9

Thursday Blog Trot #9

“When the weather outside is frightful, blog hopping is so delightful.” Yeah, I woke up to there being 3-4 inches of snow on the ground this morning. Seriously, this weather is so weird. It’s still beautiful to look at! My daughter and I were listening […]

eARC Review: Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody

eARC Review: Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets… and secrets hide in every shadow. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Ace Of Shades Series: The Shadow Game #1Author: Amanda FoodyPublication Date: April 10, 2018Publisher: Harlequin TeenPage Count: 416Format: eARCGenre: Young […]

Cover Reveals for The Garden of Ash & Cursed: The Hunter Inside!

Cover Reveals for The Garden of Ash & Cursed: The Hunter Inside!

Garden of Ashes (Snow SPark Saga #2)

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS

Synopsis

It’s the one place no rustler ever wants to end up. Having survived Rondo’s destruction, sixteen-year- old Rags has been taken captive by the Kingdom and sentenced to ‘rehabilitation’ at the Kingdom’s Threshing Floor, a notorious prison camp for hardened criminals.Those who refuse to serve the Kingdom go in…no one comes out.   Faced with this nightmarish reality, Rags is forced to use everything she knows as a rustler to survive against starvation, a cruel ward master, and torture at the hands of the Kingdom’s ruler, Hyperion. Given only two options—death, or conformation to the Kingdom’s ways—she’s forced to play the Kingdom’s twisted game. With the help of the Kingdom’s second-in- command, Henrick Oreson, and its charismatic luresman, Colton Caelan Fieldson, Rags must find a way to play a convincingly false role she was never meant to play and show the Kingdom she can be ‘rehabilitated’ to its standards. But with the deciding evaluation rigged in the Kingdom’s favor, failure is imminent…unless she can find a way to turn lies into truth and achieve the impossible: actually, escape the Threshing Floor.

Find Out About Other Books by Kathryn Lee Martin at https://www.rynleewrites.com/

Kathryn Lee Martin, known as 'Ryn' by friends and colleagues, spends her days saddling up the literary horse and hitting the “what if” trails on a quest to tell the outlaws’ and underdogs’ stories. Not one to shy away from the darker side of stories for the older young adult audience, her works often explore impossible odds and dire futures, falling into a fusion of post-apocalyptic science fiction meets the gritty lawlessness of the old west with a dash of fantasy and steampunk. Putting her unfortunate characters in situations where faith and fighting often go hand in hand, she’s not afraid to make things difficult for them and when she’s not corrupting society on paper, she’s usually leading the rebellion to save it.
An avid outdoors woman at heart, Kathryn spends her days living a quiet, faith-filled life on her family’s small farmstead where she can usually be found working in her vegetable garden, spending time with her family, and playing the role of ‘critter mom’ to a border collie, several cats, three goats, and a donkey. Prior to choosing to follow her dream of becoming an author, she spent almost a decade joyfully working at a small town, local gourd farm as a parts maker, part of the finishing department, and a proud member of its seasonal field crew.

Website: https://www.rynleewrites.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rynsagequill/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/RynSageQuill/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/RynSageQuill Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RynSageQuill/

Cursed: The Hunger Inside

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS​

Synopsis

A war rages between kings and clans for centuries, nations split and kingdoms fallen. Caught in the midst of poverty and bedlam, twenty-year- old Aldor faces a choice: leave home and start anew, or stay and protect what little he has?   Aldor has only made one friend in his life and has never seen a legendary creature before. As soon as he steps beyond his door, he finds himself an outlaw, hunted by ghosts, dragons, and bandits. Forced into joining a team of misfits in a race to recover a sacred, lost artifact—Haran’s Stone—Aldor finds unexpected friendships and adventure with a huntsman, a smuggler, a scientist, and a princess. Just when their quest begins to appear promising, disaster strikes, wielding the unexpected—and the terrifying!   Aldor’s life will never be the same as he struggles with fear, loss, love for the very first time. As the roots of his world crumble to dust, Aldor and company mustn`t lose themselves in a fury of cannibals, monsters, and illusions; their greatest challenge yet.

Find Out About Other Books by Casey Millette at http://www.caseymillette.com

Casey M. Millette, sixteen, has been into writing since she was five. Her love of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia has inspired her to write the Cursed series. Casey lives just outside Atlanta, Georgia with her family and cat, Hudson. You can follow her on the Casey M. Millette Facebook page, Instagram, and her website: www.caseymmillette.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/warriorcasey5/

March Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

I’m a bit late to the game getting this post up. To be honest, I was trying to figure out how I want to go forward with monthly wrap-ups. I was doing separate posts for each reading challenge and…it was becoming redundant and tedious. So, […]

Fairy Tale Friday #5: The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi

Fairy Tale Friday #5: The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le Avventure Di Pinocchio) By Carlo Collodi The Adventures of Pinocchio, originally titled Le Avventure Di Pinocchio was written by Carlo Lorenzini, better known by his pen name of Carlo Collodi. Carlo was an Italian author, who liked writing about characters […]

eARC Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo and Author Interview with Candace Robinson!

eARC Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo and Author Interview with Candace Robinson!

Release day April 13, 2018!

When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal's office, they're forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival, or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation, especially when it interferes with Lia's relaxed life and Kiev's theater role. But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little love in the air.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Bacon Pie

Authors: Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Publication Date: April 13, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Page Count: 241
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
My Rating: ★★★

High school is a defining time for teens. Studying, extra-curricular activities, and love interests, are all large focal points in the lives of students. For Kiev, Lia, Cole, and Barnabas, this all holds true. Kiev, a theater-lover aspires to be cast for the role of Horatio in the Shakespeare play school is putting on. Lia, an old-school video gamer, spends much of her time hanging out with her best friend Barnabas. Cole, a girl-hungry teen, constantly seeks out his next love interest. Each is on his or her quest for individuality.

These differences, however, cause issues between the characters. Kiev tends to be a know-it-all, even if he doesn’t mean to be. He gets a bad rapport with Lia after answering her questions in class. She assumes that he is trying to show her up, and it infuriates her. One day, when confronted by Kiev about why she doesn’t like him, she punches him in the nose. The two are sent to the principle’s office and punished for the altercation.

Kiev and Lia are force to set their differences aside when they are both mandated to work community service at the local Piggy Palooza event. After spending some time with one another, they begin to realize that their opinions of one another were jaded. As true feelings begin to surface, the two must work out their feelings about one another, and help one another through trials to come. 

Bacon PieBacon Pie by Candace Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

When I first heard the title of this book, I couldn’t help be curious about it. While the Young Adult contemporary genre isn’t really my style, I still wanted to check this book out because I’ve been following (one of) the author(s) since her first book was published. As always, the writing style and quirkiness throughout this book do not disappoint. The reader is able to quickly immerse themselves in the story without much obstructing their path.

World Building

Bacon Pie is set in a small town in Texas, where the hot and dry climate is palpable. Because the setting takes place in a realistic present-tense, not a lot of world building is necessary to immerse the reader in the plot. Notably, the region is important, as its population has a lot of diversity.

Pacing & Readability

I find that contemporary books do not require much prompting in order to get the plot moving. The same is true here, as Bacon Pie, from the opening scene to finale feels as though I’ve stepped into the character’s lives and understand exactly where they are at. The pacing remains consistent, with few valleys of slowness here and there.

Point-Of-View & Characters

The point-of-view alternates between Kiev and Lia. I felt that Kiev was definitely the main character between the two, but they both were well-developed for the plot.

Kiev Jimenez comes from Latino origins. At home, he, his father, and sister only speak English, while at school he speaks English. Kiev’s mother left a few years ago, and they haven’t seen her since. Her leaving caused a fissure between him and his sister Vi. Amidst juggling his strained homelife, Kiev has a deep passion for theater and is rather knowledgeable. His goal is to become Horatio in his school’s play.

Lia (Ophelia) Abbie has grown up with two dads. Spending most of her time with her close friend Barnabas, she immediately reveals her feelings about Kiev and his close friend Cole.

Cole Novotny serves as the comic-relief throughout the story. Constantly stalking the school halls for his next love interest, he relies on Kiev to reign him in. While he is comical (at times), his immaturity is apparent in the way that he handles each and every situation.

Monica Serrano serves as a partial antagonist. Interested in Kiev, she causes jealousy to blossom between Cole and Kiev’s relationship. Later on, when a certain young woman changes her perspective of Kiev, Monica becomes the “competition.”

Major Themes

⇒ Diversity

Diversity is represented racially and sexually. Majority of the more prominent characters come from families with diverse traits. Kiev and Monica are both Latino/a, and Barnabas comes from a culturally diverse family as well. Lia has two fathers (along with a mother who isn’t in the picture much).

⇒ Depression

While this isn’t as big of a theme, I thought it mentionable. Kiev’s mother left his family a few years back, causing a big change to take place in his daily life. His sister Vi was deeply affected and retreated within herself. Struggling to cope with the loss of her mother, Vi spirals into her own bought of depression and harmful coping methods. The repercussions of her methods estrange her from others and make her difficult to interact with. In the end, she was able to reach out to her mother in order to tell her how she felt about the fact that she left them behind. I think the way the affected characters handled this aspect ended in a positive light.

⇒ Assuming

Assumptions between characters are constantly causing issues. Because no one directly confronts others, assumptions are made. This is most apparent in Lia’s opinion of Kiev. However, when she learns the truth behind what she thought was true, she realized that what she had made to be a big issue, was nothing at all.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The writing is seamless and there isn’t an obvious gap between each writer’s voice.
⇒ It was an easy and quick read.
⇒ The diversity.
⇒ The incorporation of Shakespeare.

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ The language.
⇒ While I liked the comic relief that Cole’s character brought to the story, I didn’t care for his “mouth.” He reminded me too much of those kids back in high school that got away with murder because they were “smooth talkers” even though they weren’t (if that makes sense.)
⇒ At times the plot would lag a bit and wasn’t constantly engaging me. However, I think this is preferential on my end, rather than it being the fault of the book.
⇒ The underaged drinking.

Overall, I thought this was a likable read. While I don’t normally read Young Adult Contemporary, I find that when I do, they serve as great palette cleansers between dense and lengthy books. It’s nice to be able to pick up a book and finish it in nearly one sitting, due to its likable characters and dash of quirkiness. While I didn’t care for the amount of language used, and Cole’s (sometimes obnoxious) personality, it didn’t sway me from appreciating the easy flow of conversation and plotline.

Vulgarity: Quite a lot. 113 words total.
Sexual content: Kissing and some references to more. Cole is in general quite sexual with his speech.
Violence: There are two punching scenes.

View all my reviews

This Q&A features author Candace Robinson!

1) How was it co-authoring this book? Do you have any pointers for writers who hope to co-author a book in the future?
 
It actually wasn’t bad! We’d pretty much take turns writing chapters, send it to the other person to edit and look over, and then begin the next chapter. A big pointer for people that want to co-write is to do a test run and bounce ideas back and forth first. I had been asked to co-write a book before, and the problem was the writing styles were completely different. The bouncing of ideas was going no where! I think that’s why most people choose to not co-write lol. But after Bacon Pie, I would definitely do it again in the future if the story felt right.
 
2) Bacon is a large theme throughout this book. What was the inspiration behind it?
 
So we had an idea to do a small-town type of festival feel, and I wanted different events like butter carving. Somehow that led to the festival being centered around bacon and pig related things! 
 
3) What is your favorite part of Bacon Pie?
 
I’d have to go with the butter carving scene between Lia and Kiev!
 
4) You write in a few different genres. Which is your favorite to write in? To read?
 
I actually find writing darker elements the most satisfactory, but with all my books, I tend to go quirky in areas and that’s my favorite aspect. As for reading, I read mostly YA—Sarah J. Maas for fantasy, Tahereh Mafi for dystopia, and Jenn Bennett for contemporary. I also love the Under the Never Sky series, The Bear and the Nightingale, Trick by Natalia Jaster. Too many to name!
 
5) Which character do you like most in this book?
 
Oh, that’s a toughy. I’d have to go with Lia, though. Mainly because she is one of the funnest characters I have ever written. As for Gerardo’s character’s, I have to go with Cole, just because he’s so ridiculous yet awesome.

 

About Candace Robinson

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words. When she’s not writing stories, she maintains a book review blog. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Thursday Blog Trot #8

Thursday Blog Trot #8

Happy Thursday, everyone! Here we are again. There are some great posts to check out this week, from self-care guides for book bloggers to book review tips! Thursday Blog Trot is a weekly meme dedicated to passing along great information provided by bloggers from all over […]

Auto-Buy Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors

Auto-Buy Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors

This week’s TOp 5 Wednesday prompt was a difficult one to narrow down. –which I think is a good thing! That means that there’s no shortage of great authors out there! Seeing how Fantasy is the genre I most commonly read, it’s easy to want to […]

How Do You Prefer To Read A Book Series?

How Do You Prefer To Read A Book Series?

I think it's time for a discussion post.

‘Nuff with all of these reviews and what not! I’m kidding, I’ll be posting another later today 😛 Anyways, I thought it would be fun to take a break from this April ARC madness and pick all of your brains on this topic. 

As a book blogger and reviewer, I find that I’m constantly battling with myself over how I want to read book series

I believe that perhaps every book lover encounters this at some point or another. If I tried to count how many series I’m trying to keep up with, want to read, or have read, I don’t think I’d be able to. There’s simply too many! This is especially true in the Young Adult genre, where it seems majority of books are part of a series…even when they shouldn’t be…

Before I got into writing reviews, I would almost always read complete series that were already published, instead of waiting impatiently for the next installment to be released. 

However, when I started blogging, I wanted to conquer the book world and stay on top of every new release that tickled my fancy. Yeah, I quickly realized I wasn’t WonderWoman and could only handle about a fraction of what I actually desired to read. I also made the mistake (several times) of requesting books that I didn’t realize were sequels. So, thanks to my lack of investigation, my TBR would double instead of slowly increase. 

Then, book series began to turn into my nemeses. 

Amidst my stacks of awaiting ARCs and new-releases, I found that because of jumping from one book–to a new book series–to the last installment in a series– that they sort of all lost their luster. In other terms, I began to have difficulty deciphering one from the other because I was just trying to get through my TBR. Doing this, however, made me appreciate and analyze less in what I was reading–which is not my goal when it comes to writing reviews. I began to look at my approach and what I could do to improve the book series reading experience altogether.  

A few solutions I came up with were:

  1. Write much more detailed reviews, including a longer-than-necessary summary to outline the events of the book for me to look back on–spoilers or not. (I always include right away if the synopsis contains spoilers or not for viewers’ sake.)
  2. Re-read (and sometimes write a new review) for earlier installments before the upcoming release of the sequel.
  3. Focus on completing already-started series before moving onto another.
  4. Don’t request ARCs that are part of a series!

I’ve actually been trying to implement all of these strategies to see if they work. My reviews have become immensely longer (which is a downfall in a way because of the amount of time they take to write, but also positive because I’m reflecting more on different aspects of the book that I had left out entirely before.) 

I have also been doing some rereading, but have also been refraining from that to stay on top of current reading demands. 

The last two suggestions I listed I’m trying to implement more, but for now, don’t foresee much of a change in the next few months because I’m already in this pickle!

Is there truly a perfect formula? I’m not really sure. When it comes down to it, I think I still prefer reading book series as a whole before moving onto another one. It suites me better, as I try to stretch myself too thin between all demands of life. However, I really do enjoy staying on top of series as the books are released. So, I can’t even make up my own mind! 

Now, it’s your turn.

Pick your poison (or juice is fine too):

Do you prefer to read a series consecutively, or when each book is released?

What are tactics that you have found that help you remember the plot of a series while in-between books of the series?


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