Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Of 2017

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Favorite Books Of 2017 - I couldn't narrow it down to just ten, so how about fifteen instead.  Without further ado, here are some of my favorites in alphabetical order by author.  My reviews are linked to the titles:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - I can't believe I waited so long to pick this up, but it was absolutely awesome!

The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson - Exactly my kind of historical fantasy - I need to see more of Li-Lin!

The Diviners Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray - The first two books in this series are also fantastic historical fantasy with a dose of horror.  By the way, the audiobook production is fantastic.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare - I can't resist Shadowhunters and The Dark Artifices is a great new addition.

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock - Honestly, this was one of the best surprises of the year for adult fantasy!  If you haven't tried it yet, you need to give it a shot!

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - Definitely believe the hype when it comes to this adult sci-fi novel that takes on the multiverse.  I listened to it on audiobook and it's so cool.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows - As a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Princess Bride, I couldn't resist this hilarious historical fantasy take on Lady Jane Grey.

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova - Such a cool steampunk fantasy - I need to continue the series soon.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco - This debut was exactly up my alley and it's done so well.  I need to get my hands on book two.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley - Kingsman: The Secret Service and Supernatural meets the X-Men - what a perfect combination!

A Gathering of Shadows & A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - This series is one of my all time favorites - Schwab is so talented!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Hands down, this is the novel I want everyone to read.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee - This had pretty much everything I could have wanted and it totally lives up to the epic in the title.

Monday, December 11, 2017

To Discover A Divine - Cover Reveal

Welcome to my stop on the Fiery Seas Publishing cover reveal of To Discover a Divine (Rise of the Stria #1) by Tessa McFionn!  While it doesn't look like my usual sort of read, I think the description sounds like it has a lot of potential!

To Discover a Divine 
By Tessa McFionn 
Rise of the Stria Book 1 
Fiery Seas Publishing 
March 20, 2018 
Sci-Fi Romance

When Kahlym cal Jhuen, freedom-fighting leader of the Chandar Stria, breaks into a prison ship controlled by the Rimmarian Thrall, he only expected to rescue two of his crew. But when he discovers a terrified female during his escape, he is immediately captivated by her unique beauty and makes a snap decision to take her with him. However, his good deed backfires when he learns he has stolen the Thrall Emperor’s prize.

Down to her last dollar, Evainne Wagner expected nothing out of the ordinary when she stepped out of her Boston apartment. Instead, she found herself in the middle of an intergalactic firefight, complete with strange soldiers with deadly weapons pointed directly at her. Salvation arrives in the nick of time in the form of a mysterious leather-clad warrior, skidding in and whisking her away. Trusting her heart, she follows, hoping to find answers as well as a way home.

Safely on board his ship, he learns more about her and her rare skills, triggering the memory of a half-forgotten prophecy spoken at the time of his cursed birth. Outcast because of a cruel twist of fate, he finds unexpected acceptance, even affection, from his new passenger.

Could she be the one who holds the future of his people, as well as his own heart, in her tender hands?

About the Author:

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards.

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.

Social Media:

Music Monday: 1-800-273-8255

Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.


Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

I just realized that I haven't mentioned how much I appreciate Logic's "1-800-273-8255" featuring Alessia Cara (2017) - I'm glad that it's getting so much radio airplay.  Without further ado:

Like last time, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Christmas songs all month long.  This time I'm sharing a medley of "Here We Come A-Carolling, O Christmas Tree, and I Saw Three Ships" from Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops (1972).  The medley is on this 27 year old Christmas cassette that I have which has a mix of classic holiday music.  Some of them are really well known, but others not so much - and it doesn't help that the track listing doesn't include the artists.  Anyway, after some searching I finally figured out who's behind this medley because they are my favorite versions of each tune, especially "I Saw Three Ships".

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Titan's Wrath by Rhett C. Bruno (ARC) - Review

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I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Keeping control of people requires a different set of skills than does inciting a rebellion against Earth throughout Titan's off-world colonies.  It's not all about fighting as Kale Trass finds out.  After a key battle, Kale moves deep into enemy territory "seeking peace", but peace is far from his mind.  Malcolm Graves used to be a retired Collector, but following Kale's wake of destruction he finds himself ready to jump back into a fight he left behind him.  The solar system is divided and heroes are hard to come by, but someone is going to have to put Kale Trass back in his proper place.

I'm glad to be back for my third Rhett C. Bruno novel - they just keep getting better and better!  Titan's Wrath is a stand alone sci-fi epic set in Bruno's Titanborn Universe.  While this novel is technically the third and final book set in that universe, you don't need to have read any of the others to follow this novel.  I will say though that already being familiar to with From Ice to Ashes, Bruno's previous Titanborn novel, is certainly a bonus.  There's only one novel in this group that I haven't tried yet, and that's Titanborn itself - I definitely want to see how it all ties together and I'd like to see more of Malcolm Graves, one of the major characters here.  Like before, the action, world-building, and complex characters are excellent.  So much happens in this novel's four hundred pages!  I particularly enjoyed the fact that all of the characters are multilayered and that all of them fall into a gray area, the level of description detail, the political intrigue, and, of course, the action.  Plus, I think this one has the coolest cover of all of his novels.

Overall, I highly recommend Rhett C. Bruno's Titanborn Universe.  There's so much to enjoy about these stand alone books set in the same universe.  He has done a marvelous job of making each engaging on its own terms, but it's even better if as a reader you can tie them all together.  I will definitely be following Bruno's future projects, and I still hope to read Titanborn as well.

Thanks again, Mr. Bruno!

I read this ARC from December 3 - 7, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman + 50/50 Friday

On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.

This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman.  I really loved book one in the series, The Dark Days Club,  and I'm really enjoying the the sequel now too.  I'm about 25% of the way through and so far just as great as the first book.  It's great to be back with these characters!  My only gripe is the design change for the covers between them - I definitely prefer the tone of the first, but either way the story is still excellent.


At Lord Carlston's bidding, Lady Helen Wrexhall studied the gentleman walking rapidly toward them up the rise of Brighton's Marine Parade.  Even at such a distance she could see that he was a thin, bitter-faced man in a sober blue coat rather badly cut across his stooped shoulders, and an unfashionable tricorn hat drawn low over his brow.


Helen sat back.  Why on earth would Pike choose her to deal with someone like Lowry?  She opened her mouth to ask, but Mr. Hammond was already on the attack.

50/50 Friday: Newest/ Oldest Book You Own

Newest - So, last week I went to a library book sale and stumbled on a stack of free ARCs! I've been to this yearly sale before and found ARCs there, but they've always been older ones - this time though I came across two that haven't been released yet: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (1/8/18) and Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke )1/9/18!  I can't wait to try them, Black's newest especially!

Oldest - Here I thought I'd give a shout out to a tag I did last year where I mentioned a 1934 high school year book I own - you can check it out here, if you're interested!

As always thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Steadfast by Michelle Hauck - Blog Tour, Excerpt, & Giveaway

I'm very excited to welcome you all to my leg of Steadfast (Birth of Saints #3) by Michelle Hauck blog tour, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours!  Today, you'll find the details and summary for this novel, an exclusive excerpt, an about the author, Michelle Hauck, a giveaway, and the blog tour schedule.  Thanks for visiting my stop on the Steadfast blog tour!

About the Book:
Title: STEADFAST (Birth of Saints #3)
Author: Michelle Hauck
Pub. Date: December 3, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Pages: 560
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks
The final novel in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.
When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.
But there are still those with hope.
Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.
A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.

Claire jumped as Errol grabbed her arm. “Help Momma,” he demanded.

“I can’t. It’s too late. She’s dead. I was too slow.” Claire reached for his hand—strange as he was, the boy was her responsibility now, her only kin—but he pulled on her. Confused, she resisted. He only tugged harder, drawing Claire away from Jorga and to the pile of supplies Ramiro had left near her horse.

“Help Momma,” Errol insisted, bending to roll a saddle bag at her. His eyes focused on her shoulder, demanding, hopeful.

“I don’t understand. She’s dead.”

He pulled at the leather straps holding the bag shut and upended it, giving it a flick to send the contents spilling across the ground. “Help Momma!” The red Diviner lay in the midst of shirts and coils of rope. A slender staff about as thick as a man’s thumb and the length of a forearm. “Hurry!” Errol said, pointing to the weapon.

Claire’s stomach revolted and she stepped back. By the Song! What was she to do with that? It was a Northern weapon for killing, usually carried by their priests.

Her uncle was at her side in an instant, seizing her arm again and dragging her down, closer to the weapon. Errol was bigger, stronger, for all his child-like mind. Trying to pull away got her nowhere.

“Help Momma!” For the first time since they met, his eyes landed squarely on hers—not over her shoulder, not directed at her torso or chin, but making contact. They expressed utter confidence and belief in her ability to help.

This killing device could help her grandmother?

Errol nodded as if he saw into her mind. The muddled blue of his eyes was the same color as Claire’s mother’s had been.

She closed her eyes and held her breath and reached out, taking the deadly weapon gingerly in her hand. She stood slowly—the terrible thing stretched out from her body as if distance could keep something bad from occurring.

Nothing happened.

Errol danced ahead of her, back to Jorga, watching her expectantly. Reluctantly, she followed as he pointed to Jorga’s prone body. “Help Momma now. Hurry.” His gestures made it plain what he expected her to do.

Claire gathered her courage and touched the blood-red stick to her grandmother’s cooling flesh. The moment of contact felt like a lightning bolt went off in her hand. Electric shock traveled up her arm and down her legs. Her hair stood on end, lifting from her head. Her fingers, instead of loosening, clamped tighter on the Diviner, beyond her control. She screamed at the pain curling her muscles and cooking her flesh.

About Michelle:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive paperbacks of the first two books in the series, GRUDGING & FAITHFUL, US Only.

Week One:
12/4/2017- Hooked To Books- Interview
12/4/2017- Lisa's Reads- Excerpt
12/5/2017- Bibliobibuli YA- Spotlight
12/5/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland- Review Book 1
12/6/2017- Cuz I'm A Nerd- Review Book 1
12/6/2017- Always Me- Excerpt
12/7/2017- BookHounds- Interview
12/7/2017- Books and Ladders- Review Book 1
12/8/2017- Spilling Words- Excerpt
12/8/2017- Myth! Magic! Mayhem!- Review

Week Two:
12/11/2017- Book for Thought- Review
12/11/2017- Author Dan Koboldt- Interview
12/12/2017- Don't Judge, Read- Review Book 1
12/12/2017- Literary Musings- Spotlight
12/13/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
12/13/2017- K.T. Hanna – Author- Review Book 1
12/14/2017- Books at Dawn- Excerpt
12/14/2017- books are love- Review Book 1
12/15/2017- Twinning for Books- Guest Post
12/15/2017- Book Briefs- Review

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fall Bookish Bingo - Wrap Up & Mini Reviews

Welcome to my wrap up for Fall Bookish Bingo hosted by Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews!  I managed to make two bingos, and completed 16 of 25 bingo squares since it started back in September.  I'd say I did a pretty good job this season!  Read on for my mini reviews of the books I've completed since my last update on this challenge:

Ensemble Cast:

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Wow! Easily one of my favorite reads of 2017! Why did I wait so long to jump into this story? There is so much to love about Six of Crows from outstanding to world-building, a fantastic crew of anti-heroes at the helm, a cool magic system, and a seemingly impossible heist - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. One of my favorite aspects of this story are the characters hands down - I couldn't get enough of them. My favorite is easily Kaz, followed shortly by Inej, then Jesper, Wylan, Nina, and Matthias. I know this review can't do this justice, but I can't recommend this novel enough! Even if you haven't read Bardugo's Grisha Verse, you still need to dive right into this novel that's set in the same universe - you shouldn't have much trouble figuring it out. I bet that if you liked The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, you'll absolutely adore Six of Crows. I can't wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

Check out my favorite piece of fan art of Kaz by Merwild below.

I read this book from September 27 - November 2, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


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As soon as I heard about this, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and luckily it wasn't disappointing! If you ever wondered what a grown up Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc. and H.P. Lovecraft combination would look like, you've come to exactly the right place. It's probably the grimmest possible future for the detective club too - don't get me wrong as it's horror, humor, adventure, and sci-fi with a little bit of something for everyone. I think my favorite characters of the club are Andy, Nate, and Peter (in Nate's visions anyway). The author does a great job mixing all of the elements with intriguing characters and a twisty mystery. Just a heads up though - the formatting shifts around a fair bit and it can take a bit to get into the swing of things. Otherwise, though, I really enjoyed this and I was pleased to see it made the semifinals in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Horror. I can't wait to see more of what Edgar Cantero does in the future.

I read this novel from October 5 - 10, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Set at a School:

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That was so much fun! I don't know why I was putting off this middle grade fantasy novel that puts a fantastic twist on classic fairy tale tropes. There are so many things that I absolutely loved about it - plus, the writing is addicting and it has a great sense of humor as well. Of all of our characters, Agatha is by far the best of the group. If you like Once Upon A Time and Shrek, I have a feeling that you would love The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. I'm going to have to continue this series soon.

I read this from November 16 - 22, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Black Cover:

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I think I set my expectations a little too high after having seen the movie, which is still one of the scariest movies I've ever seen, but it just didn't quite live up to them. I felt too distant to be really afraid, or care especially care for the characters. Plus, it takes a little too long to start picking up speed. I was totally expecting more creepy possessed Reagan and while I was comparing this to the movie I totally had The Conjuring on my mind - Chris should have called the Warrens!

I read this novel from October 26 - November 3, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Poetry or Verse:

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Sports really aren't my thing, and poetry or novels in verse really aren't either. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, though, still managed to keep and hold my attention. It's an incredibly heartfelt story about the complexity of family relationships, basketball, love, brothers, and the choices one has. Josh's voice, our narrator, still manages to sound natural and authentic regardless of the sheer musicality of the style. I bet this would be stunning on audio or even as a read aloud.

I read this novel on October 6, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

First in a Series:

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The Diviners by Libba Bray was everything I could have wanted in a YA historical horror fantasy. I have no clue why I didn't jump into this series sooner! I decided to explore Bray's 1926 NYC on audiobook - and the production is stunning and incredibly atmospheric. I was actually surprised to realize that there's only one narrator - January LaVoy does a marvelous job of bringing everyone to life. While the story itself is a bit slow at times (it clocks in at 18.5 hours of listening), I never lost interest at all and found myself completely wrapped up in Evie, Theta, Jericho, Will, Sam, and Mabel's lives, as well as all of the supernatural goings on. I can't recommend this enough - just go read (or listen) to this book! If you like In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I have a feeling you'll love this novel.

I listened to this audiobook from October 25 - November 2, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


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I completed this novel in October for Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge and my review can be found here.

Congrats for making it this far!  Have you taken part in book bingo before.  If so, how did you like the books and how well did you do for the challenge?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below.