Friday, October 20, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker + 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 upcoming reads, Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker.  I'm so excited to read this since I absolutely loved book one, Borderline.  This book will also fulfill the mental health space on my Fall Bookish Bingo board.  By the way, Millie, the leading character has Borderline Personality Disorder and is physically disabled.

Beginning:

Here's the thing about PTSD: it doesn't understand the rules.

56:
In retrospect, that was a terrible plan.  I'd been pretty damn close to fine, and then there I went blundering right into the kitchen.  Apparently PTSD and grief flunked out of the same charm school; neither of them seems to know when it's cool to drop by.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation


Favorite - You can never go wrong with The Princess Bride by William Goldman!


Least Favorite - I'm still upset with what happened to Percy Jackson from Rick Riordan - one of my favorite series with so much potential for a movie franchise just threw all of my favorite things about pretty much all of it out the window.  Even though it had a solid cast and good team behind it, it just didn't do justice to the original series.  I mean, they couldn't even get the pen right, come on!

What are you reading this week?  Have you tried Mishell Baker yet?  What's your favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptation?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange an honest review after the author reached out to me.

Last year, Lenora "Lenny" Ragno should have rocked her duet with Jeb, her long-time crush, at the Gypsy Cob music festival - and they should have finally kissed. That's how thing's should have gone, but in reality, she completely choked on stage in front of everyone. Since then Lenny has spent the last year avoiding Jeb and avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was totally wrong. Now's she back at the music festival and avoiding playing her fiddle is just as impossible as avoiding Jeb. Facing Jeb should have been the scariest part, but then another friend convinces their group to try astral projection after picking up a book from a new festival vendor. While on the other side, Lenny catches the attention of a frightening demon. This demon can now pull Lenny from her own world into it's disturbing in-between plane of reality which is full of its past victims. If Lenny doesn't want to be next, she's going to have to face an actual demon, as well as come to terms with personal ones.

I'm so glad that Jessica Bayliss contacted me about her newest release, Broken Chords, because it's exactly up my alley. I mean, YA Horror Fantasy, demons, astral projection, plus bluegrass and acoustic folk music? What's not to love? Luckily, this short, fast and thrilling read hooked me right from the start - and I have to mention that it's a perfect read for the Halloween season. I also loved that it balances the horror and nightmarish really well with the non-horror elements of the music festival and the tight knit friendships. I was so pleased to see a couple of my favorite real life bands, Nickel Creek and Del McCoury, get mentioned in the story - you usually don't see bands like that show up in YA! I don't want to spoil too much about the horror aspect of the novel, but I will say that it's incredibly dark, eerie, and intense. The author does an excellent job of describing what Lenny experiences during those traumatic astral projection scenes and really amping up the tension. I'm pretty sure this is also my first YA novel featuring astral projection so prominently, and after this I'd love to see it used more. In my opinion, the only things that could have made this a little better would be getting to know Lenny's parents better, know a little bit more about Lenny and her musician friends relationship outside of festival season, and to see some more of Lenny's other friends who don't get as much page-time like Amanda, Darnel, and Jose.

Overall, Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss is a great new YA Horror release that features both astral projection and bluegrass and acoustic folk music. I have a feeling that if you liked the style of The Call by Peadar O'Guilin which I loved, you will also enjoy this brand new book. Like me, you'll probably want to finish it in one sitting! I am definitely looking forward to more of Jessica's future projects.

Thanks again to NetGalley and Jessica Bayliss!


I read this novel on October 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This book was released on October 9th, 2017.

Black Box Inc. by Jake Bible (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since the extradimensional happening a decade ago, every sort of creature, monster, and fairy tale creature has shown up in Asheville, North Carolina (and every other portal location). As a result of the happening Chase Lawter is the only human who's gained the unique ability to draw material from the Dim, the space between those dimensions, and shape it into whatever he wants, but boxes are his specialty. Boxes that can be used to hide smoking guns, severed heads, and the like - and only Chase can hide them in the Dim and later recover them, if needed. Plus, Chase and his team at Black Box Inc. don't work for free. Chase's crack team at Black Box Inc. is made up of a fae-trained assassin, a brainy zombie, and a charming yeti - and together they'll get the job done for a tidy sum. There's an uneasy truce between all of the races that have come through to our world since the happening, but Chase and his team's work put them right in the center of many dangerous crosshairs.

Black Box Inc. is the first novel in a brand new series by Jake Bible and I have a feeling that this series could be amazing. If you like your urban fantasy with a lot of gritty, fast-paced action, a diverse range of supernatural creatures that you won't usually see in one story, and healthy sense of humor, you need to meet Chase, Harper, Sharon, and Lassa, the team behind Black Box Inc. Everyone gets their moment to shine, even the minor and supporting characters like Teresa, Flip, and Aspen, a banshee, a gnome, and a member of the fae. Sure, sometimes it's a little over the top, but this story is such a fun adventure. I really liked this author's take on fairies and the fae which are some of the most dangerous creatures out there, who in this case can and will lie. I also particularly enjoyed the look at the "Not Hell" dimension and "Not the Devil" character - I can't resist Depression-era gangsters!

Overall, I'm so glad I came across Jake Bible's newest release on NetGalley and managed to get approved for it. If you need a new urban fantasy series in your life, I bet you'd like this if you also like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and Supernatural. I will need to try more by Jake Bible and I can't for the next novel in the Black Box Inc. series to be released because there is still so much to explore.


Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC from October 13 - 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released October 20, 2017.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Wizarding World Foods I'd Like To Try


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books, but I'm narrowing it down to one series - Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling, sweets mostly.  By the way, I've actually made some things from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and some of them turned out really well.  I've also tried some of the tie in sweets as well - like Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans from Jelly Belly and the Chocolate Frogs which were something like Nestle's Crunch bars.


Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans - Yes, even though there are gross flavors!


Butterbeer - How could anyone pass up the opportunity to try this?


Cauldron Cakes - I always have thought that these would be something like chocolate lava cakes - delicious!


Chocolate Frogs - Just have to be careful when opening the package - and you'll have a famous witch and wizard card collection, too!


Fred and George's Skiving Snackbox - Maybe just the once...


An Ice Cream Sundae from Florian Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour - Ice cream is one of my favorite deserts, so how could I pass this up.


Petunia Dursley's Violet Pudding - You have to admit that it does look like a masterpiece.


Pumpkin Juice - I've always wondered how pumpkin juice is supposed to taste.


Pumpkin Pasties - I've actually made this one from that cookbook and they turned out really well - even got some compliments when I took them to a family get together!


Treacle tart - This is Harry's favorite desert - and I have never tried it before.  I don't even really know what it's supposed to taste like for sure - I've heard it's supposed to be something like shoo-fly pie or maybe pecan pie minus the pecans.  One of these days...!


What fictional foods would you love to try?  Have you made any of these, or had the opportunity to try them at the theme park in Orlando before?  As always thanks for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Music Monday: Tim Burton & Danny Elfman Favorites


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.

Rules:

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.

Happy Monday everyone!  For the next few week's I'm getting into the holiday spirit and sharing some of my favorite spooky and/ or Halloween themed songs.  Below are two of my favorite Tim Burton & Danny Elfman favorites (that aren't from either Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas) - "Remains of the Day" from The Corpse Bride (2005) & the Opening Titles from Sleepy Hollow (1999).  I totally need to rewatch both of these movies before Halloween arrives!






Friday, October 13, 2017

Autonomous by Andy Marino (ARC) - Review


❋ 

I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After winning a contest which just about killed him, William has the opportunity to to take an all-expenses paid cross country road trip in Autonomous, a luxurious futuristic driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. Better yet, he even gets to take three friends along for the ride. For William this will be the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after high school graduation. Autonomous, though, has much greater capabilities than even they realize - it can sync with its passengers by downloading all of their social media and digital history. All of that information has been used to program their customized itinerary on the way to their final destination, but it will also reveal things that they all would prefer stay hidden. #WorthIt

Based on the description of Andy Marino's Autonomous, this was going to be a funny road trip book featuring a great group of friends with plenty of action and thrills. It's also rated as appropriate for ages 14+. I've never read the author's work before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect in terms of style but the description really caught my attention. In the end, though, this is one of those where I completely preferred the idea presented in the description to the actual execution of the story. I was very close to DNF'ing it, but I powered my way through hoping that it would improve - unfortunately it never really did.

First things first, this is not appropriate for 14 year olds, unless your 14 year old is very mature for their age. Based on the content - cursing, drugs, drinking, sex, self-harm, and suicide, etc. - this is definitely for older teens. Usually, I don't really discuss this aspect in these terms, but that was at the top of the NetGalley description, so I must mention just how surprised I was at the content. Second, I was expecting to laugh or at least chuckle once during my reading experience, but it isn't funny - at all. I don't know if I missed something, but I didn't come away from this book thinking it's a funny road trip novel at all. I'd say it actually borders up against horror/ thriller more. Maybe I've read and watched too much about technology and/ or vehicles gone bad (Christine, The Car, Maximum Overdrive, and 2001: A Space Odyssey among others). The more I read, the less I would have been disappointed if the story had gone that route with Autonomous (aka Otto) - too bad that aspect was never really explored although there are a handful of moments.

Third, in regards to the cast of characters, I was expecting to love getting to know this group of friends, but that didn't happen. I didn't like anyone and they all grated on my nerves throughout. Christina is the only halfway decent character out of everyone in the novel (everyone else is just irritating or flat). Her character definitely deserved much better than she got in this story. I bet I was inadvertently grinding my teeth down while reading about the rest of our cast. The prevalent social media stuff was also exasperating - and that's coming from someone who tweets, blogs, pins, and the like regularly. I usually like seeing a bit of that kind of thing in YA contemporary (which this also brushes up against) because that can make it feel very current and now. Maybe, though, my irritation is connected to the characters who push it the most (ie: not Christina) or because it just feels too forced in this case - at least it does touch on some of the more creepy aspects of social media when it comes to the driverless car itself but not nearly enough.

Finally, I was really let down by Autonomous by Andy Marino - it was one of those reading experiences where I actually preferred concept to the final product. Christina, the use of social media, the driverless car, the elements of horror/ thriller, the official description - there's so much potential, but it just stalled out for me. I nearly gave up on this novel, but I kept going in hopes that it would eventually improve. I doubt this story will age well, and I expect it will date quickly. It's going for #relatable, but it never hits the mark. Reader beware: Ages 16+ are recommended.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to try this ARC.  


I read this ARC from October 11 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel was originally going to be released on November 14, 2017, but has now been pushed back to April 3, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt + 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 the Mistress of  Mellyn by Victoria Holt, which was first published in 1960 and will be one of my next reads.  I just happen to stumble up a 1966 mass market paperback edition at a junk shop the other day.  On the back cover, it's basically described as the the next Rebecca, which is one of my favorites so I had to try it.  Plus, it was only a quarter - unfortunately, I couldn't take it off that sticker unless I want to mess up the cover.

Beginning: 

"There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances," my Aunt Adelaide had said.  "One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility."

As the train carried me through wooded hills and past green meadows, I was taking this second course; partly, I suppose, because I had never had an opportunity of trying the former.

56:

As we came out of the field a figure rose from the grass and I saw to my surprise that it was Peter Nansellock.

He clapped his hands as we came along.

"Here endeth the first lesson," he cried, "and an excellent one.  I did not know," he went on turning to me, "that equestrian skill was included in your many accomplishments."

50/50 Friday: Best/ Worst Bookish Job (From A Book)


Worst - Hogwarts Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts - As brilliant as being a Hogwarts would be, let's be honest with ourselves, Defense Against the Dark Arts professors didn't have the best track record.  Lupin was really the one exception, but we all know how his career ended at the end of Harry's third year.


Best - Libriomancer Librarian from the Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines - Isaac Vanio is a librarian which is a fantastic position by itself - he's also a libriomancer which means he can magically reach into books and pull objects from the story.  Sounds like a dream to me!

What's your favorite fictional job?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Footnotes - A Quotation From A Poem


Welcome back to Footnotes, a new link-up hosted by Emily @ Stranger Worlds & Ashley @ [oddly novel title] for quotation obsessees.  Each month they will post a prompt and participants will share a quote that fits the prompt as well as share their thoughts on it in any way they wish.

October's Prompt: A Quotation from a Poem
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
"The Tyger" by William Blake from Songs of Innocence and of Experience

This poem was originally published in Songs of Experience as a follow up to Songs of Innocence in 1789.  It's the companion poem to "The Lamb".  "The Tyger" was the first poem to jump to mind when I saw the prompt for this month, probably because I've studied William Blake so much.  I can recite some of the poems from this collection from memory with this one being my favorite.  Remember that Infiniti car commercial with Kit Harrington, the one where as he's driving he recites this poem?  Yeah, I've recited it with him a few times... might have gotten a few weird looks from friends and family who weren't already familiar with William Blake!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall For A Good Book


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books With Fall/ Autumn Covers/ Themes.  This time I'm taking a slightly different track - each of the books I've included on my list this week have the word "fall" or "falling" in the title.  I've only read one of these (the novel by Bethany Griffin - my review is linked below), but I did just have a book display at my library featuring these books.  Here we go, in order of title:


All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner


Fall of Giants by Ken Follett


The Fall by Bethany Gfriffin


Falling for Rachel by Nora Roberts


Falling Stars by V.C. Andrews


Hard Fall by Ridley Pearson


In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent


Night Fall by Nelson B. DeMille


The Sky is Falling by Sidney Sheldon


Have you tried any of these "fall" themed books?  As always thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting below!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Music Monday: I Prevail & Queens of the Stone Age


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.

Rules:

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.

You know, I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I really like the sound of both I Prevail and Queens of the Stone Age.  I've been hearing their two newer songs, "Alone" and "The Way You Used To Do", on the radio quite a bit.  At this point, I don't think I'll get sick of them even with all of the airplay they're getting!





Friday, October 6, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero + 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, Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, which is one of my Fall Bookish Bingo reads.  It will fulfill the horror square and it's been described as Scooby-Doo meets Welcome to Night Vale meets H.P. Lovecraft which sounds like it's right up my alley!  I'm not that far along yet, but so far so good.


Beginning:

It starts when you pull the lamp chain and light doesn't come.  Then you know you will never wake up in time, you will not make it to the end of this paragraph alive.  Desperate reassuring thoughts try to rise over the panic in your head; it's okay, you don't need lights, you are practically awake already.  You are lying on your bed, you can guess the familiar shape of the side lamp in the morning twilight and hear the old radiator clunking in the night; you are safe.

56:

NATE: The pants fit, Kay.  Thanks for those. (He sits down next to Kerri and across from Andy, and waits for the dialogue to resume.  It doesn't.)  What's up?

KERRI: Andy was in jail!

NATE: (To Andy.) Wow. (To Kerri.) Well, you have that in common.

ANDY: What?!

KERRI: It's completely different.


50/50 Friday: Best/ Worst Book You Read In September


Worst: The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller - I was hoping this would be something like a YA dystopian 1984 or Minority Report, but it fell quite short.  Not enough world building or character development for me to be invested.  I gave it only 2/5 stars.


Best: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee - This totally lives up to it's name - epic!  I couldn't have asked for more (except hopefully more of Genie and Quentin's adventures in the future).  If you haven't read this yet, you really need to pick up a copy!  One of my favorite reads of 2017 and Genie is now one of my favorite YA heroines!

Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think of them?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Bookish Bingo - Update #1 & Mini Reviews


Welcome to my first official update for Fall Bookish Bingo hosted by Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews!  I haven't gotten a bingo yet, but I have managed to tackle eight books so far since the challenge began last month.  I'd say I'm off to a good start so far!  Read on for my mini reviews of these books:

Yellow Cover:



❋ ❋ 

I had no idea that this story started off as a novel after having loved the Tim Burton film starring Ewan McGregor. As soon as I realized that fact, I had to try it for myself - and I tackled it as a part of #TheReadingQuest. While I ended up liking the book well enough I have to admit that I absolutely adore the movie. There are quite a few differences between the book and the movie, but I'd say the changes are to the film's advantage. Overall, though, I think the film has the tone and the spirit of the story, but it's presented in more of a linear fashion. Plus, the coda from the film gives the viewer a little peek at the truth behind the myth of Edward Bloom, whereas the book leaves us to make up your mind with multiple versions of the ending. Overall, I can't recommend the movie enough and I recommend the book to those that are very interested in magical realism or seeing how myths and legends look in a modern setting.


I read this novel on September 9, 2017 and my review is on Goodreads.


Required Reading:


❋ ❋ ❋ 

This novel was one of my September reads for Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge and you can read my four star review here.  I read this novel from September 17 - 18, 2017.


Illustrations:


❋ ❋ ❋  

Ever wondered how June Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver would be if she was an assassin? Meet Josie - she's the perfect wife, mother, and homemaker, is very polite, can host a marvelous cocktail party, and can kill a person with her bare hands. The results are pretty awesome and darkly comic! I honestly wish there was a little more to this series - I would love to see where Josie goes from here. Plus, those vintage style ads featuring her character are inspired.


I read this graphic novel on September 10, 2017 and my review is on Goodreads.


Free Space:


❋ ❋ 

I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the wearer. Annis has to create a double life for herself - Annis will live the quiet life with her respectable aunt and in disguise she'd become "Madame Martine", a London-based glamour artist with a magical dressmaking shop. That way she'll still be able to maintain her social standing, earn her own living, and follow the clues that her father left behind to solve his murder. It can't be much harder than successfully making it through the London social season, can it?

I've always enjoyed historical fantasy and Kelly Jones's Regency Era set mystery is no exception. I wasn't terribly blown away by the mystery element, but it has so much else going for it. I, for one, loved the getting to know our cast, the wonderful female friendship, the magical elements, and clever wit. I particularly liked that Annis, although clever and determined, still has a lot to learn about herself, her abilities, and the wider world. As much as I liked her, though, I really liked Millie, Annis's servant. Let's just say she's quite resourceful and has a lot of hidden depths. Plus, their friendship is empowering, supportive, and is totally goals worthy. I also have to admit, I liked the reveal about Annis's aunt - very cool. Finally, I was also hooked on what we got about Annis's magic. The glamour sewing scenes were some of my favorites. I really only wish we got to know more about the state of magic in the wider world of Regency England.

Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is a fun fantasy spy caper through Regency Era London. If you're a fan of historical fantasy such as These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I have a feeling you'll also enjoy Kelly Jones's new release. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author in the future.


I read this eARC from September 10 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Asian-American Author:


❋ ❋ ❋  

Genie Lo is an overachieving Bay Area high school student with big dreams. She's the kind of girl who wins - whether that's in the classroom, the volleyball court, or even trying to crack the Harvard entry code. Let's just say her priorities shift when her town comes under attack by monsters and demons right out of Chinese mythology. That's where Quentin Sun comes in - he's Genie's self-appointed guide to fighting these monsters. As far as Genie's concerned, Quentin's the attractive new kid with who speaks in a weirdly formal way. Really though, he's the Monkey King - with a tail and a love of peaches and everything. Quentin assures Genie that her inner power and strength are beyond belief, and before she knows it, everyone and everything depends on her discovering her true self.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is an absolutely outstanding YA debut! It had pretty much everything that I could have wanted and it truly lives up to it's title. It really is epic! I was hooked right from the beginning and my reading experience was just so much fun. Yee does a great job of making us care about all of his cast members, writing incredibly visual action scenes, and mixing Chinese mythology seamlessly into the narrative. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Genie and
Quentin - they are quite a team and they have a hilarious rapport. Genie is hands down one of my new favorite YA heroines. Fingers crossed that we get to see more of Genie's world in the future!

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee is easily one of my favorite reads of the year and one of the best YA debuts of 2017. Like the awesome characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the mythology of The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson, and the relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha in InuYasha? If so, I have a feeling you'll love this YA #OwnVoices fantasy debut! If you haven't tried this yet, what are you waiting for?! I'm can't wait to see F.C. Yee's future projects.


I read this novel from September 12 - 15, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


American History:


❋ ❋ ❋ 

The Poisoner's Handbook is absolutely fascinating and not for the faint of heart. It follows the careers of Charles Norris, an NYC medical examiner, and Alexander Gettler, a toxicologist, who modernized and completely changed the game when it comes to forensic toxicology from about 1918-1936. Their work helped get the innocent out of murder charges and convict the guilty. One of the more well known cases today that they worked on was the Snyder-Gray case which inspired both The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity.

I read this novel from September 21 - 22, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


LGBT:


❋ ❋ ❋ 

This book is also one of my October reads for Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge.  It's an LGBTQ+ M/M romance that's also for fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.  I've actually just recently finished it, but my review won't be posted until my next Read Harder Challenge Update at the beginning of November.


Paranormal:


❋ ❋ 

I have to admit that I'm kind of underwhelmed. I've really gotten hooked on the tv adaptation, so I wanted to try the novel, but this is one of the cases where I actually prefer the show. This mystery is told in a very round about manner and it's difficult to connect with any of the characters. Plus, I might have been constantly comparing it to the show and I couldn't help but be surprised by how different some of the characters look/ act particularly Lemuel and Manfred himself. I was also pretty disappointed in the lack of Xylda, aside from a couple of short memories of her via Manfred. At least we get plenty of Mr. Snuggly action, though!


I read this novel from September 14 - 17, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Congrats for making it this far!  Have you read any of these books or are you participating in Fall Bookish Bingo?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!