Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Top Ten Cozy Winter Reads

As we move into winter I usually pick up fantasy or books set in Victorian times. Though this isn't very different than what I normally read, I reach for these types of books even more often since I don't want to leave my house. These are ones I think fit the winter season the most and make me want to sit under a blanket with tea for hours.

As always check out Top Ten Tuesday topics on That Artsy Reader Girl.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1) Rebel Mechanics Reindeer Boy Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) Outlander (Outlander, #1) For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Tome Topple Reading Vlog

Tome Topple is a really chill readathon. I really enjoy participating even though things don't always turn out the way I would hope. Enjoy this vlog of me reading for Tome Topple!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

October and November Book Haul

These past few months have really shown me I don't have self control. I've barely read anything from my physical TBR, but I continue to buy books like I'm not trying to reduce the number of books on that list. It is a struggle for me. I'll just keep hoping I'll do better next month. Anyway, I have quite a few things to show you from the past couple of months.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Backlist Books I Want to Read

There are so many books on my backlist that I want to read. That's probably what happens to you when you own over 100 books you haven't read. (Yikes I know) Anyway these are the ones on the top of my list and I've had the longest. Hopefully I read these soon!

As always, check out That Artsy Reader Girl for more Top Ten Tuesday topics and be sure to let me know if you are participating!

Opposition (Lux, #5) Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1) All the Light We Cannot See 

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3) The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3) Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1) 

The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep #1) Avalon (Avalon, #1) I Capture the Castle 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Favorite Audiobook Narrators

If you listen to audiobooks, you know the narrator is just as big a factor as the story in determining if you are going to like, love, or hate a book. Over the past few years I've listened to quite a few audiobooks and found some amazing narrators. Today I wanted to share five of my favorites with you. If you have any audiobook narrators that you love and want to recommend me, I'd love to hear from you. Audiobooks are one thing I cannot seem to get enough of.

1) Katherine Kellgren - The late great Katherine Kellgren was an amazing narrator. Each time I listen to one of her readings, I am drawn into the story so deeply and completely. She had a way of bringing characters to life and giving each one a distinct voice that always amazed me. I remember the first book I listened to with her was the narrator was Queen of the Tearling and I tore through that aubioook faster than I had ever read one before. Her voice captured me. I often look at the body of work she complied and try to borrow one from my library. They are often checked out and I have been  on wait lists for ages. She had a true gift for audiobook narration.

My Lady Jane The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1) 41257056

2) Will Patton - Though I've only listened to Patton read The Raven Cycle, I count his performance as one of the reasons the series is one of my favorites. His voices for each character are fantastic and I really enjoy how creepy he makes some of the characters sound. His sound effects (pow, wham, whoosh) are also very good. 

  13435619 The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)

3) Moira Quirk - I don't think you can go wrong having Quirk as your narrator. She is talented and always delivers great accents and inflection. I really enjoy her works and I've actually made a list of books I want to read just because she reads the audiobook. I'm very thankful to Gail Carriger for promoting her own books as audiobooks so often and am thankful Quirk was the narrator of those books!

Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1) The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy 

4) January LaVoy - Though I've only listened to one of her book thus far, I don't think I could make any kind of audiobook recommendations list without recommending The Diviners. LaVoy contributes so many accents and voices to this narration as well as singing several sections. She and her performance are the reason I love The Diviners as much as I do.

 The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

5)  Renée Raudman-  Renée narrates nearly all of Ilona Andrews books and I really enjoy the sarcasm she flavors each one of the heroines with. Andrews writes them like that, but Raudman really gets the tone right. She has a large collection of works you can check out, but I'm still working my way through her paranormal books.

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M.Valente


Series: Fairyland #1
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: All Ages
Paperback: 247 pgs

Audiobook: 7hrs 13mins
Source: Scribd Audiobook
Published - May 2012

Add it // Buy it

Rating: 5/5

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

What I really want to do is put this book in your hands and send you off to read it. I know I will not be able to capture what I love about this book as beautifully as Valente put it all together in the story. So I just want you to read it and see for yourself how lovely it is.

Though I had read this book before, I couldn't remember much of the actual plot. I reread this via audiobook and that turned out to be a fantastic decision. While reading really descriptive or flowery writing, I often skim and don't pick up all the details. With the audiobook I was forced to pick up on more details and really appreciate Valente's writing. 

The storytelling is brilliant and lovely. Even though the story seems to be aimed at children, I think adults can also pull a lot from this story and enjoy it just as much. Every sentence feels carefully constructed and intentional. The wording and phrasing is just so well put together. I, of course, enjoyed and delighted in it.

The characters are complex and intelligent. September makes friends with marvelous different Fairyland residents. The villains are sneaky and easy to empathize with. Much of this story feels like a cross between Narnia and The Wizard of Oz. It was wonderful to enjoy again and find I loved it even more than before.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Reading Plans & TBR

Once again I'm hoping to participate in some readathons this month and I've come up with some ambitious reading plans for the month. If I can stick to half this TBR I'll be very happy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

T5W - Characters I Want to Cosplay #AllHallowWeek

Cosplay is a really cool expression of fandom. I dream of doing it for real, but today I'm sharing my dream with you. If I could cosplay any five characters, I would choose these. Enjoy!

Review - Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews #AllHallowsWeek

 Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Genre: Paranormal
Age Group: Adult
Mass Market PB -400 pgs
Source: Scribd Audiobook
Published - October 2014

Add it // Buy it

Rating: 3/5

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

When I say mixed bad, I mean it for this book. There were things I really enjoyed like our narrator Nevada. She is a strong female character who has really interesting magic. The Houston in this world has a fascinating political dynamic and the origins of magic are interesting too. 

However, I had quite a few issues with this book as well. The pacing is a little slow and the story takes a while to get started. I think this was accentuated because I was listening to the audiobook. The villain is a little flat too. He wasn't very complex and I wanted more explanation about why he was doing what he was doing. 

Most of my issues were with the male lead of this book. First of all, there was a consent problem. "Mad" Rogan continues to pressure Nevada for a romantic/sexual relationship with Nevada after she rebuffs him. He is aggressive and ignores her boundaries which was very frustrating. My other issues were more about how Rogan was written instead of him. His interest in Nevada seems to develop overnight. He is nice to her and he works with her, but things go from vague to intense very quickly. It was such a quick pivot that I didn't buy into it. 

I also didn't believe his anti-hero personality. Even though Curran (the romantic lead in Kate Daniels) is an asshole, I believed he wore a mask in public from the very beginning. I didn't believe this with Rogan. He was too much of an asshole too often. Overall, he was very frustrating. I expected to like him and I did not connect with him. He had some redeeming qualities, but the constant asshole behavior overshadowed everything.
Since the entire trilogy is already published, I am interested in Nevada and the world enough to keep reading.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Top Seven Spooky Books I Forget to Recommend (but are amazing)

As always at this time of year, I'm recommending spooky books and spooky media, but I know there are books I overlook because I'm recommending the ones that come to me immediately. Today for Top Ten Tuesday I wanted to talk about a few I forget to mention most of the time either because I talk about the same author or I read it a while back.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss - Though I posted a review for this book over the weekend, I've forgotten to recommend it to many people over the course of October. It is creepy and has just the right vibe for the fall season

Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly by by Patricia Briggs,  Rik Hoskin (Artist), Tom Garcia (Artist) - The art style in this graphic novel isn't my favorite. The story, however, is scary! It freaked me out. You could read this without the context of the Mercy Thompson series but it would help. 

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks - I often forget about this cute little story. It isn't exactly creepy, but it has a few elements of the supernatural involved. Super cute art too.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - I talk about The Raven Cycle all the time, but I forget to mention this lovely little creepy story too. Not creepy, it just has unsettling elements. I love this book and am hoping to start a reread on Thursday on the first!

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly Friends With Boys The Scorpio Races 

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This book gets dismissed a lot because it is a paranormal romance story, but it holds a special place in my heart. I love Katy and Deamon. Their banter is hilarious and the two of them make a great team. 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - Everyone knows the Three Dark Crowns series by now, but this was my first venture into Blake's stories. Just like a few others on this list it is creepy and unsettling and contains the perfect blend of paranormal elements. 

The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles - This adult M/M romance is extra creepy. The magic system is sinister and the bad guys are willing to do some gruesome stuff. I often forget how creepy this is because I think of it as romance.

Obsidian (Lux, #1) Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews #AllHallowsWeek

Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)
Series: The Iron Covenant #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult 
Hardcover - 406 pgs
Source: Borrowed then Purchased

Published - June 2018
Add it // Buy it

Rating: 4/5 

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast. 

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify. 

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies? 

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.” Hugh and Elara may do both. 

Upon starting this book I wasn't convinced I could be won over to like Hugh let alone root for him. He is vile in the Kate Daniels Series and, even though he was a great foil for Kate, wanted him out of the books for good. Once again though, the Andrews have done what I thought was impossible. They won me over with Hugh story and his actions in this book. He does real penance for his actions and Andrews' came up with a very interesting twist to show he isn't the same person he was while working for Roland. It was clever.

Hugh still isn't an angel. He and Elera both have their issues, but their relationship is very interesting and they play on the same level. They are both powerful and are leaders in their own right. They bicker and remind each other of their faults OFTEN. Personally while I enjoyed the sexual tension, it still felt a little over the top. I would have preferred more plot tension rather than so much sexual tension especially since the sexual tension was resolved so quickly.

Even so, the world building and back stories of both characters are well done.  I really enjoyed the twists and turns we went on throughout the book. I really enjoyed all the references to the Kate Daniels Series. I'm really glad I read this before the final book in that series. It gave me a few hints as to what was coming in that final book.