Tag: 2017

Top Picks for 2017!

Top Picks for 2017!

2017 introduced me to many lovely books. I tend to be sheepish when it comes to giving my heart to a book, but the following twenty books all captured my senses for a wide berth of reasons. I’ve tried to come up with a list […]

Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

Let’s be honest, there were a lot of books I didn’t get to in 2017. I have every intention of doing so, but just ran out of time! There truly never is enough time in the day—especially when you feel your TBR staring at your […]

State of the ARC: December

State of the ARC: December

December has come and gone. The new year is upon us!

Thus bringeth another State of the ARC update! State of the ARC is a Meme created by AvalinahsBooks. Check out her website for more information if you are interested in participating! I’m pretty happy with the progress I made in December. I always wish that I can read more, review more, write more…more, more MORE! Yet, I’ve come to find that the more we try to push and “get things done,” the less we spend on actually enjoying the process. 

This is something I've found myself doing.

I love to read. I think it’s safe to assume it’s the reason why we are all here. However, I don’t want to hustle through books to get as many done as possible. Because of my ARC TBR, I feel all-the-more temptation to do this. 

But let’s be honest, we need to take our time to read. We need to have time to reflect. (We need to take notes!) We need to write good reviews. Or else, what’s the point in being a book reviewer?

I’m saying these things to remind myself more than anyone. I feel like I’ve gotten in such a rut with hurrying through books to get to the next one, never really stopping to smell the pages. 

I think I’ve found a bookish New Year’s resolution. Anyways, onto the stats for this past month!

I participate in both the State of the ARC Meme, as well as the #ARCsAnonymous group on Goodreads (they go hand-in-hand.) Majority of my reads fell in with the theme of the month: Fantasy reads. 

Since I like to see, and read the stats, I’ve shown them in graph and written formats. 🙂

Netgalley

I know my feedback ratio looks atrocious, but it increased by quite a bit over this past month! (Like, almost 10%) I’m quite proud of my accomplishment. Hooray to small victories!

Netgalley Feedback Ratio
Overdue Stats Increased By:
  • New ARCs:  6
  • Read and reviewed: 7
  • Read, but needs review: 1
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 4
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 7
  • Overdue: 35

Newly Approved ARCs

Edelweiss

Edelweiss Feedback Ratio
  • New ARCs: 1
  • Read and reviewed: 2
  • Read, but needs review: 0
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 3
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 5
  • Overdue: 1
Overdue Stats Increased By:

Newly Approved ARCs

Direct Requests

UGH! It is my goal to have 100% feedback ratio in all areas, but especially with these directly requested reviews! This area needs major improvement!

Request Feedback Ratio
Total Overdue
  • New ARCs: 0
  • Read and reviewed: 2
  • Read, but needs review: 1
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 0
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 0
  • Overdue: 12

Totals

Let's Get This Done!

I have been trying to read my oldest ARC for the longest time–Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson. In order to do so, I also need to read the second book in this series, Dragons of Kings. Let’s get this done before it hits the year mark of sitting there, untouched!

That’s if for now! My next State of the ARC update will be posted on January 29th–stay tuned! How are you doing on your ARC TBR?

Welcome, from WordPress

Welcome, from WordPress

I know what you are thinking— Something looks different here. Well, that’s because it is! I’ve decided to take the leap of faith and migrate my website from Wix to WordPress. Wix has supported me throughout my first year of blogging, but I have seemed […]

2018 Wish List

2018 Wish List

  This is going to be a hard post to write. Limiting my Wish List for 2018 to just five books!? Let’s see if I can do this and be content with the results. There are a lot of great books coming out in 2018–many sequels, […]

Mini Book Review: The Young Queens by Kendare Blake

Mini Book Review: The Young Queens by Kendare Blake

Release Day December 26, 2017

They used to be together. Just three sisters. Alone in a glen. This is the story of the three queens—after they were born, before they were separated, during the time when they all lived together, loved each other, and protected each other. It’s also the story of the day they were torn apart, and the several years that follow.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. 

The Young Queens

Series: Three Dark Crowns #0.2
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 93
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

The three queens are always brought up in the Black Cottage, secluded from the rest of the world. While their lives are unique, they are still children and siblings who enjoy each other’s company. 

They aren’t born hating one another–that hate is instilled in them. This devastating short story tells about the relationship between Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine before politics tears them apart. 

The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns #0.5)The Young Queens by Kendare Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out today!

This prequel to the Three Dark Crowns series serves mainly as a detail-gap filler. While there are some moments of enlightenment as we peek into the past, there isn’t really any big reveal

Despite that fact, I simply enjoyed being back on the island of Fennbirn whilst waiting for The Oracle Queen and the third book in the series to come out in 2018. 

I loved how the point-of-view followed the same rhythm of the other books in this series. It switches between multiple (different) characters’ perspectives, to give an even further glimpse into the events that took place when the queens were young. I really liked this tactic 


“I am doing it.” Camille lay her hand on her Midwife’s shoulder. “I know that I took my crown off and threw it at you. But I am still the queen.

If there is one thing that would be considered the big reveal, is that we find out how Arsinoe and Katharine are switched. The story opens in Queen Camille’s perspective, telling about the birth of the three young queens Maribella, Arsinoe and Katherine, and her leaving them at the black cottage. While it’s a sad part of the tale, the reader starts to see some of the injustices of the poisoner group being in power for such a long time. 


Three dark queens are born in a glen. But only one will rule. Jules knows the thyme by heart. But in her young mind it is only a rhyme.

Jules is no stranger to the spotlight in this series. You could say it’s a must that her story is told as well. The reader meets Jules at a young age and sees how she and Arsinoe become acquainted, as well as when she discovered her familiar Camden.


“Have this, your last day as sweet girls,” she whispers. “For when you next meet, you will remember none of it.”

I’ve always wondered about the woman that raised the three queens until the time they left the black cottage and what she thought about their future doom. Willa’s story brings to light that several people recognize the injustice the girls must face. 

There’s more, but I don’t want to reveal too much. Overall, I enjoyed this short read. It wasn’t anything ground-shaking, however, it helped to clear up some details that I had questions about. It’s worth taking the time to read if you are a fan of this series!

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual content: A brief and non-descriptive scene between Jules’ aunt and her love interest.
Violence: Naturally, this series features some violence between the sisters and different groups – especially when it comes to the poisoners. 

View all my reviews

Top 5 Books Of 2017

Top 5 Books Of 2017

I was going to hold off on sharing my top reads and do a full post on them at the end of the year. However, the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads chose this topic to feature! …(grumbling)…messed up my posting plans…ANYWAYS, I guess it won’t […]

eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

Shea MacNamara’s life just got complicated. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he’s never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes […]

Beat The Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge

Beat The Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge

How many of you have books that you bought years ago that have just been taking up space?

Okay, okay. More than a few.

The problem with these back-listed books, is that they keep sitting there! With too many ARCs to stay on top of, too many anticipated reads, and an already towering TBR, it can be almost intimidating to backtrack to 1991 and finally pick up Titas Groan, or whatever that book may be for you. 

However, these back-listed books don’t stop me from buying new books–which some of the time end up in the same dusty situation!

I think I have book guilt!

Lucky for me, and any other back-lister out there, NovelKnight has come up with a solution through the Beat the Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge!

What is the Beat the Backlist challenge, you say? I’m glad you asked, because I’m about to share what it’s all about!

2018 marks a fresh start–and start date to buckle down and knock off some of these old reads!

Starting at 12:00 AM on New Years Day 2018, this challenge will commence.

Take it as a New Years resolution–YOU pledge how many, and which books you are GOING to finally get around to! Whether it be made known to the world via blog post, a virtual bookshelf on Goodreads, a simple Twitter tweet, or an Instagram picture, just proclaim that you’ll be taking part in this great and wonderful reading challenge by using #BeattheBacklist or tagging @BeattheBacklist on Twitter!

And you want to know the best part? It’s open to everyone! Now how fun is that to enter an even with people from all over the globe? Talk about international reading!

Once you’ve shared your lovely list, go to the Beat the Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge post on NovelKnight’s blog to sign up to see which team you will be competing for! (You’ll find out the team after you’ve pledged to take part.)

My team: Story Sorcerers!

Now, to pick the reads I will be knocking out for this challenge...

I’m going to choose 12 books, one book to complete each month. Perhaps if I’m on top of things, I’ll be able to read more. 

Not in any particular order, I'll be reading:

There you have it! Like I said, I’m really hoping I’ll be able to add some more books to this challenge, and will update this list as the challenge commences if I do so. But for now, LET’S GET THESE READ!

If you are participating in this reading challenge, I wish you all the best of luck! Let’s encourage one another to stay on track!

eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Released today, December 5, 2017! Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life […]

December ARCs

December ARCs

  Luckily, my list for ARCs this month is quite short, (as you can see) so I will be catching up on overdue ARCs. The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are […]

Book Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Book Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Stalking Jack The Ripper

Series: Stalking Jack The Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Page Count: 326
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

“The first rule in tracking a madman should be to never believe their moves were predictable. It was a hard lesson to learn, with astronomically devastating consequences.”

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a lady of a respectable family in 1888 Britain. She is exactly the type of person who shouldn’t be up to her elbows in a blood, examining cadavers, according to society’s standards. But society’s expectations don’t stop her. 

There is a murderer on the loose, attacking, maiming, and brutalizing women. 

Audrey Rose takes it upon herself to aid her uncle, and his irksome apprentice, Thomas, to solve the mysterious murders by Jack the Ripper, himself. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

description

I thought this read was addicting. Once I picked it up, I had a hard time putting it down. 

I’d like to note right away that I don’t think this is an appropriate read for young, young adult readers. Because of the grotesque topics and details given, it requires a more mature, and objective mind.

With being her debut novel, I was impressed with Manicscalco’s writing. I’m always more lenient with debuts because writing is like a muscle. It needs time to be honed to perfection. But Maniscalco’s quality of craft is apparent. Her artistic prose pepper a dismal tale with sunspots of radiance.

For example:

“Winter was biting at autumn’s toes, reminding the milder season it’d be here soon.”

 

“Questions married other questions and had theories for children.”


A book in this genre isn’t my typical type of read. But I’m glad I took the chance in picking it up. I won’t discuss much in this review because I simply don’t want to give anything away to anyone who wants to read it. 

Our main character, Audrey Rose, is an interesting combination of poise, action, and intent. Despite her tendency to expatiate on her mental ruminations, she was well-written. She wasn’t the overruling female character, which was refreshing. 

Thomas Cresswell is just as intriguing. Perhaps mysterious, Sherlock Holmes-y characters will have that effect on me. Despite what society expects of him as a gentleman, he doesn’t overlook Audrey Rose’s capabilities, and encourages her to use her wit and skill to work alongside him and help crack the case. 

The physical book adds its own unique experience. Featuring ominous photos and blood spatter, it never allows the reader time to forget that time is of the essence in solving the mystery of the Whitecastle murders. 

This book could easily be considered as steampunk, with odd gears and the like as key clues in the murder cases—especially in the finale, which I won’t discuss here. (I guess you’ll just have to read it to see what happens!) However, I would like to point out that certain steps in solving the case could have been expounded on further, as they were rushed and more speculation than anything.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, much more than I anticipated. Maniscalco cleverly retold this story, with an interesting motive in the end. I’m thoroughly looking forward to more mysteries with Audrey Rose in Hunting Prince Dracula

Vulgarity: Minimal.
Sexual content: Kissing. The book discusses prostitution (not in detail) because the women who were the victims were involved in that vocation.
Violence: Yes. This is a murder mystery, and cadaver dissection is discussed in detail, so it is not for someone with a light stomach. 

View all my reviews

Book Review: Dragons of Wild by Ava Richardson

Book Review: Dragons of Wild by Ava Richardson

Into this dark and twisted land, Saffron was born sixteen years ago. Cursed with dragon affinity and magical powers, she has been forced into a life of exile and raised by dragons—secretly dreaming of a normal life and the family she lost. But as her […]

Book Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Book Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Release date, June 1, 2017! As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her […]

eARC Review: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

eARC Review: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

Release day May 30, 2017!

As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Breakwater

Series: Broken Tides

Author: Catherine Jones Payne

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Fathom Ink Press

Page Count: 240

Format: eARC

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Cover Artist:

My Rating:  ★★★½

Breakwater (Broken Tides #1)Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 

I was already seen as a naiad-lover.

Jade is the daughter of one of the mer-king’s closest advisers. Growing up in a life of privilege and opulence, she knows little of struggle and inequality—other than the fact that her father was killed trying to fight it. 

Engaged to Tor, she prepares for her future with him—until she stumbles upon him in the courtyard, holding a dead naiad girl.

Forced to decide whether to believe his story, or turn him in for the crime which he admits to, Jade is thrust into the world of politics, where privilege and blind eyes are everywhere. With her beloved city on the cusp of war, she grapples with the truth of what is really going on in Thessalonike. 


I think it’s worth mentioning: I dare you to stare at the cover for a while.

description

I just dare you…

It’s beautiful!

On to the review.

How cruel power, prosperity, and position can be. It is cruel enough to evoke racism, slavery, and trafficking. This story speaks loudly about the injustices of racism and prejudice. In Breakwater, the two races who coexist in Thessalonike are the Mer and Naiads. Mer have resided in Thessalonike for eons, but the Naiads had been taken in as refugees after being forced from their river-homes. 

Things that I liked

#1 The scandal. Although simple, it was well done—so well done, that it took away from the rest of the story. 

#2 The idioms. Even though they are small, and sometimes quirky, I loved them. A few examples were: “the elephant in the room,” replaced by a “blue whale,” and as often said inappropriately in our culture today, “thank God” was instead “thank the tide.” Sometimes these small changes in a story bring the world-building full circle for me. I did still want to see more description, but this helped.

#3 The cliffhanger was completely unexpected! I’m curious to see where this tail (haha—get it?) will go. 

#4 This book is great at walking in the shoes of others. Even in the smallest of versions. In a scene, Jade is talking to her younger brother, Benjamin, and asks how he is after their family has become central to gossip because of Jade’s accusations against Tor. He replies:

“No, I’ll be fine. I haven’t been through nearly as much as you have.”
“Doesn’t mean it isn’t hard,” I said.

I’m not certain why this interaction struck me so. Maybe because it shows the influence an event can have on each and every person, not just the people directly involved. I think it did a good job at—even if not capturing fully—glimpsing each party’s direct or indirect involvement. 

Things that I didn’t like:

#1 Character names varied so widely in this book. From Maximus to Jade, to…George? I felt like it didn’t help the novel to flow together because when I think of a name like Maximus, and then compare it to George—they just don’t go well together. It’s like a mix of ancient world, the 50’s era, and contemporary. This is more of a personal preference, and some people may be entirely fine with the variety. I just didn’t care for it. 

#2 The character development was lacking. As stated earlier, the main topic of this story was discussed majority of the time, and I felt that it pulled attention away from getting to know the characters more. We are privy to Jade’s inner-workings more than anyone else—but I still felt like she needed more complexity. However, I was glad that her character did develop after the instance with Tor. I felt that she went from a silly, conceded teen to, this-is-real-now-young-adult.

#3 I liked the world-building to the point that it took the reader, but this was another area where I wanted to see more of. I wanted to understand the explore the breakwater further, and to get to know more about the history and cultural differences between the races themselves.

#4 The romance/not-so-love-triangle was “meh” to me. I don’t think the story benefited from it much, and made it obsolete for me. 

Overall, it was a good read for the lesson to which it offers. Especially for present times and valid for all peoples being aware of prejudices and inequality and how they effect members of society is imperative. 

Sexual content: Minimal.
Vulgarity: Besides some what I deemed to be derogatory terms in Mer and Naiad tongue, there were none.
Violence: There was some, but it was non-descriptive and didn’t bother me. 

A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

description

View all my reviews


Subscribe!

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

%d bloggers like this: