Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

From Goodreads:

"Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves."

I am so excited for this gorgeous book of magical Grishaverse tales! The samples of the illustrations that I've seen are so beautiful and I am sure that the stories are going to be incredible additions to this world Bardugo has created. This one can't come fast enough!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

First Chapter Tuesday is hosted every Tuesday by Diane over at Bibiophile by the Sea. This is meme in which bloggers share the first chapter of a book that they are currently reading or thinking about reading soon. Join the fun by making your own post and linking up over at Diane's blog, or simple check it out to find more new books to read!

Today's first chapter preview is from Sylvia Izzo Hunter's The Midnight Queen! I've had my eye on this lovely book for a while now and I  am so excited to find out if it is as lovely and magical as that cover is! I love that it sounds like this book will feature some time in a school setting - Oxford's Merlin College! I have provided an excerpt of both the prologue and first chapter to really give you a feel. Let me know your thoughts!

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae, #1)


"It was his own fault entirely, Gray reflected later. That morning in Merlin’s South Quad, when Taylor and Woodville had pressed him to join them in some not-quite-specified excursion, he ought to have known that no good would come of it; what good had ever come of Taylor and Woodville before?"

Chapter One
In Which Gray Meets Sophie

"Gray toiled in the midsummer sun, on his knees among the rhododendrons, through an afternoon that seemed to last a month. Beautiful, Callender Hall's gardens might be, but after only half a day he had already conceived a passionate hatred of them, and of flowering shrubs in particular. What was he doing in this distant corner of the kingdom, so far from all he knew? Why condemned to this sweaty, thirsty, apparently pointless labour? His eyes strung; his knees ached; his hands were scratched and sore. He missed his cramped, chaotic rooms at Merlin College with an unexpected intensity - and had even begun, in spite of everything, to miss the home of his childhood. 

He had just begun to think, implausible, how much pleasanter retiring to that home for the Long Vacation might have been -- as though any such course had been open to him -- when he saw the girl striding across the lawn."

What do you think? Would you keep reading this? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!) 
If you're enticed by this chapter, be sure to check out the full synopsis on Goodreads!

*Excerpt taken from the novel itself; I do not claim to own any part of the excerpt.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blog Tour: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell - Character Interview + Giveaways!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop for NYT bestselling author Lisa Maxwell's blog tour for her fantastic new fantasy release, The Last Magician! For my stop, I am thrilled to share with you all a  character interview with Esta herself, along with two (yes - two!) giveaways! 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Publication Date: July 18th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse

"Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past."

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Author Bio:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of The Last Magician, Unhooked, Sweet Unrest, and The Gathering Deep. She grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has a PhD in English. She’s worked as a teacher, scholar, editor, writer, and bookseller (at Little Professor Book Center in Alabama). When she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She now lives near Washington, DC, with her husband and two sons. You can follow her on Twitter @LisaMaxwellYA or learn more about her upcoming books at

Website | Book WebsiteTwitter: @LisaMaxwellYA | Facebook | Instagram@LisaMaxwell13 


 Do you have a favorite aspect of 1902 that is different from modern day? Is there anything you would want to bring back with you?
Esta: My favorite thing about 1902? Definitely not the corsets. Or the horses. There’s a certain smell to the city back then. But without the lights, you can see the stars. I love the lights of Manhattan, but to see the stars? It was amazing.

 Conversely, what would you say you dislike the most?
Esta: Oh, definitely the corsets and the skirts. I mean, I can fight in them just fine, but it’s so much easier in pants. 

 Age-old question:  what is your greatest fear?
Esta: Letting down my team. 

As a talented thief, what particular skill or asset do you think is most beneficial for you?
Esta: I have really nimble fingers and a good sense of people by watching them. Professor Lachlan taught me most of what I know, but if you’re going to steal from a mark, you need to know what makes them tick. Same as a safe, really. Just a little less predictable. 

 If you could travel to any other time period/place (even if just fr a small visit - the past isn't always great), when and were would it be?
Esta: I’ve been to a lot of different times, but I would love to meet Dakari when he was my age. He’s so serious and responsible now. I can’t help but wonder if he’s always been that way.

 Do you have any secret talents? Weird or quirky habits? 
Esta: I don’t like tight places. But secret talents? I’m not sure I want to reveal my secrets just yet.

 If you could travel back in time and meet any author (or any important figure!), who do would you choose?
Esta: I mean, I can go back in time, so I guess the idea of going to meet someone specific hasn’t really crossed my mind much. Or maybe I’d go meet Zelda Fitzgerald. The twenties seemed like a good time, and I want to see if all the stories and myths about her hold up.

Trust seems to play a key throughout your story -- is there anything a person can do to make you immediately trust them? Distrust them?
Esta: I don’t trust anyone immediately. I’d be an idiot to do that.

You're an incredibly inspiring person - you are strong, outspoken, and definitely not one to back down. Do you have any advice to other girls and women out there?
Esta: Aww, thanks. I don’t know if I have any advice other than that the world’s not fair, especially to women. So don’t be afraid to work hard and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do or get what you want. 



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Friday, August 11, 2017

What I've Been Reading: Nonfiction Edition

What I've Been Reading Lately: Nonfiction Edition

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been on a bit of a nonfiction kick over the past couple of weeks, so I thought I'd share some of the books I've been reading - including the ones I've finished, set aside, and am currently reading.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is the book that kicked off my nonfiction spree, probably because it's amazing. For years I've been hearing people rave about how great this book is and I'd been wanting to read it, but I had been far too intimidated for quite a while. But then my curiosity got too strong, mixed with the fact that it's a topic close to my heart because my dad died from cancer and my mom currently has cancer, and I decided to finally pick it up -- and it was incredible! I highly, highly recommend this one to, well, everyone.

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone by Scott Shane

This was a book that I received as a review copy a while back and finally got around to reading. I wasn't as politically aware as I am now back during the beginning of Obama's presidency and Anwar al-Awlaki's influence and all that was happening (probably because I was in eighth grade when everything started and I didn't really pay much attention). Now, however, I'm much more aware and found myself completely immersed in this book, which covers the life and rise of Anwar al-Alwaki, President Obama's presidency, and the rise of the usage of drones in war and in strikes. This book covers a lot of difficult topics with objectivity and an engaging reporting style, and I found it incredibly interesting.

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

After I read Objective Troy, I wanted some more White House-themed books, so I picked up another book that I had received for free - The Gatekeepers. This one was also incredibly informative, as I can honestly say that I really never knew much about the Chiefs of Staff in the White House and had no idea how important their role is. This was a fascinating book and one that I definitely recommend to anyone interested in the workings of the White House.

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt
Temporary DNF

I love Ancient Greek and Roman history (obviously), and Augustus has always been a fascinating figure. I didn't get to study as much Roman history in school as I would have liked, and what I did focus on was mainly military-oriented. I thought I'd pick this up to expand my knowledge of Augustus past his military reforms. Unfortunately, I've set this one aside for now. The writing was good, but there were a few scenes the Everitt wrote that were just far too fictionalized or inaccurate that I just felt like this wasn't the most factual book to read for Augustus. I think this would still be an entertaining book with some solid general facts, but for now I'm going to set it aside.

The Divided City: On Memory and Forgetting in Ancient Athens

The Divided City: On Memory and Forgetting in Classical Athens by Nicole Loraux

This one is quite a scholarly text and one that I think I'm going to need to sit down and really focus on -- something that I'm not sure I'm in the mood for right now due to how crazy life is at the moment. I'll be getting back tot his one!

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman
Currently reading

Alexander the Great has always been one of  my favorite figures of history; I even remember being enthralled by him when I was still really young. He's a fascinating person and it's incredible what he was able to accomplish before his untimely death. I've heard good things about Philip Freeman's work, and so far I'm enjoying it!

The Gene: An Intimate History

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Currently reading

I picked this one up because of how much I loved The Emperor of all Maladies, and because I thought genetics would be an interesting topic to dive further into. I'm also about halfway through this one, and although it's definitely still interesting, it's been much more 'biology textbook' than I'm really into, so I confess that there has been a bit of speed reading here and there through some of the more convoluted biological explanations. Science is not and never will be something that I understand well, no matter how hard I may try to change that. Overall, however, it's been a fascinating read and I look forward to finishing it up!

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any nonfiction recommendations? Feel free to share in the comments!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TBR Thursday: Scourge (Darkhurst #1) by Gail Z. Martin

TBR Thursdays is hosted by Kim @ Kimberly Faye Reads! This feature was created with the intent of spotlighting a title from your shelf that you planning on reading in order to discuss why you want to read it, as well to discuss the book with others! If you'd like to join, feel free to use the banner created by Kimberley (or your own), and stop by her page to participate.

This week's TBR Thursday choice is Scourge by Gail Z. MartinI've had my eye on this new release for a while -- and then I won a copy in a giveaway! This just arrived in the mail the other day and I am really looking forward to reading it. I've been on a bit of a nonfiction kick, so I think this will be a great book to jump back into for fiction. Hopefully I get to it soon!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Scourge (Darkhurst #1)
"Epic new fantasy from the bestselling author of The Summoner. In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything."

Are you interested in reading this book? What books are on your TBR?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (Nevernight Chronicles #2)
Publication Date: September 7th, 2017 (UK)/September 5th, 2017 (US)
Harper Voyager UK (UK)/Thomas Dunne Books (US)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

From Goodreads:

"A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere. "

Okay, so this one seems like a given - I am beyond excited for Godsgrave! This is easily one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I am so thankful to have been able to pre-order a copy of the Goldsboro numbered editions since I also ordered the Nevernight Goldsboro edition, and that just makes me even more excited.  After the way the way Nevernight ended, I have no idea what sort of things Kristoff will pull this time, but I've only seen raves for it so far. Also, all US pre-orders will be signed, so get on that if you're interested!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tell Me Something Tuesday: The Pressure to Read in Different Genres

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings where a wide range of topics from books to blogging are discussed. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.

This week's discussion question is:

Do you feel pressured to read more in genres that other bloggers are reading?

I think I can safely say that I do not feel pressured to read more in genres that other bloggers read. However, this answer as some caveats.

I don't feel pressure to read other genres, but I am often encouraged or motivated to read other genres. For instance, I don't generally reach for contemporary YA. I have nothing against it, it's just not my thing. But as you may know, contemporary YA is one of the most popular genres (or so it seems) around the blogging community. Generally, I don't feel pressured by bloggers to read in this genre, but every once in a while a contemporary YA book will pop up that I would have never been exposed to if I didn't read about them on various blogs. Books such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis are both contemporary YA books that I really, really enjoyed. But I do think that it is important to note that I didn't choose these because of pressure, but rather because I was encouraged to and they stuck out at me.

I don't think pressuring others to read in more genres is okay, but I do think encouraging people to read in more genres is okay - it's great to diversify your reading! There's nothing  better than expanding one's reading choices, and sometimes we wouldn't push ourselves outside of our comfort zone if we didn't have others encouraging us. But if you know you don't like a genre, then I don't think you should feel like you need to read it just because other bloggers are. I don't really like romance or, as I mentioned, contemporary YA, and I'm not going to force myself to do so. And you know, sometimes we just want to read in one favorite genre for a while, and that's okay. Sometimes I read nothing but fantasy or historical fiction, and that's fine also.

I know that my reading tastes don't always line up perfectly with others int he blogging community, but that's okay! Everyone has different tastes, and I think things might get a little bit boring if we always read the same books. Don't let people pressure you to read something you don't want to read. But do experiment and find what you love!

So now I pose the same question to you: Do you ever feel pressured to read certain genres that other bloggers are reading?