Friday, February 16, 2018

How About a Book Haul?


I've posted maybe one or two book hauls on here, so I thought perhaps it was time to share with you all some of the books I've received in the past couple weeks or so. Most of these are from publishers, a few from giveaways, and only two that I purchased myself (I am technically on a book buying ban, which is going well!). I've made sure to include which publisher sent the publisher-sent ones to me--as as always, huge thanks to them for fulfilling my bookish desires!
(Note: these are all print books; it didn't occur to me include Kindle books until after I finished this post to include Kindle books also and, well, I'm too lazy to add them in.) So without further ado, here are the books!

From publishers/blogging sources:

The Sky Is YoursBlood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #2)A Time Of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1)
The Problim ChildrenThe House of Broken Angels

The Sky is Yours by Chandler Kang Smith (Hogath) 
This one looks crazy, but really entertaining! I've seen pretty positive reviews for it, so I'm excited!
Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker (Orbit)
A Time of Dread by John Gwynne (Orbit) - review coming soon (it was so good)!
The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd (ARC) (Katherine Tegen Books)
I'm currently reading this one as my book to read before bed and I'm loving it!
House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown and Company)

The Other Lady VanishesThe Murderer's Maid: A Lizzie Borden NovelHow to Read Poetry Like a Professor: A Quippy and Sonorous Guide to Verse

From Giveaways:
The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick (ARC)
I don't know much about this book, but I see Amanda Quick's name everywhere, so I have pretty high hopes.
Book Depository | Amazon

The Murderer's Maid by Erika Mailman
Book Depository | Amazon

How to Read Poetry Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (ARC)
I enjoy poetry, but I never really am sure if I should be appreciating it in different ways, so this might help me think about it more critically. Looking forward to looking to this one.
Purchased:

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
I pre-ordered this book months ago and completely forgot that I did! I was so excited when I got a shipment notification and remembered that I had done. Go past me! My sister and I adored Pierce's books growing up and I cannot wait to dive back--and my mother is now reading the Immortals quartet!
Book Depository | Amazon

Malice/Valor/Wrath/Ruin (The Faithful and the Fallen) by John Gwynne
Okay, so I'm technically on a book buying ban, but... I recently finished and loved Gwynne's upcoming release A Time of Dread and I knew that I needed to read his first series, so I hopped online to see if my library had the first book/how much the first book was. While perusing Ebay, I saw one--one-- seller that had the four book set for $20. Yes, $20. I don't know why, I don't care why, I wasn't asking questions, I just went for it because I have little money but great bookish wants. (And I don't even feel that guilty because I had recently gotten some Paypal money gifted to me, so hey, free-ish books!)
I am eternally grateful for any and all books I am able to receive, especially when publishers/authors choose to send me a book. I will never get over how exciting it is to receive a book from them or feel worthy to receive those! I will continue to promote and review all books sent to me because, well, books are wonderful and publishers/authors put in a lot of hard work to make it happen!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mini-Review: After World by Brittany Miller

After World: Tales of the Post-Apocalyptic by Brittany Miller. Brittany Miller, 2018. Ebook. 66 pages.

To begin, the only reason that I'm labeling this a mini-review is because this collection is only about sixty-six pages long and consists of nine post-apocalyptic flash fiction pieces/short stories. There's only so much I can say about each one without simply retelling each story to you.

I've read only a small handful of post-apocalyptic books, so this is an area that I've been interested in exploring more of and which made me eager to explore this collection. Miller also pitched this book to me as having no zombies, which pretty much sold me because I am just not a huge zombie fan--I just don't get the appeal.

I was really impressed by Miller's writing in these short little stories.She has a talent for saying a lot in a short amount of words, which showcases her deft skill at both word choice and the ability to develop a strong atmosphere. There is a very simplistic, almost austere quality about these stories, which seems to fit well with the post-apocalyptic genre of this collection.

"The Pleasure Earth" and "The Man of Snow" were probably my two favorites for very different reasons."The Pleasure Earth" felt so relevant and so honest, and I loved the bleakness that it ends with. "The Man of Snow" is probably the longest story of the bunch and is packed full of interesting things to ponder--I hesitate to go into any details because it'd be best for you to explore all of these without much knowledge going in.

"She Dreamed of Horses" is one of the shorter, simpler stories one of the bunch, but I have to say that it is also one that has stuck with me. It is about a girl who only wants horses in a world where none are left, and it's subtle emptiness really grabbed me.

Overall, I've given After World four stars! If you like short fiction, want to read more short fiction, or are a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, then I very much recommend After World!

Buy the book: Amazon 
(note: at the time of writing this review, the Kindle edition was only $2.99!)



Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

You might also like:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg & Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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 Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Holt Paperbacks
240 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 
From Goodreads:

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror
"From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series, "The Merry Spinster" takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief. 

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg's boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg's oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface. 

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night. 

Bed time will never be the same."

"Tales of Everyday Horror"... now that sounds interesting. I've never read any by Ortberg before, but this sounds super intriguing!

and...

Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Knopf Books for Young Readers
608 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 
From Goodreads:

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
"Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 


With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken. "




I am so excited for this to finally come out! I can't believe this trilogy is almost over, but I can't wait to see how it ends. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are a brilliant, wonderful team and these books have been amazing!

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


Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cover Reveal: Hemlock by Jesse Teller


Today I am excited to announce my involvement in the cover reveal for Jesse Teller's upcoming release, Hemlock! Without further ado, please feast your eyes upon this beauty:

HEMLOCK 
The Manhunters Book Two 
Releases April 15, 2018 


About the book:

"The busiest pirate bay in Perilisc is newly infested with vampires. These monsters will soon overrun the world, but the Manhunters must try to stop them in secret. Agents of the king are hunting the vigilante crew. With one false step, they could all end up at a royal execution."


About the author:
Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues. He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

Author links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter | Reddit | Smashwords

Be sure to catch up with the Manhunters book one, Song!

"Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him."






Praise for SONG:

“Fantasy that comes alive, with no holds barred, from start to finish. Mr. Teller’s storytelling is bold, his characters are fierce and his plot is a fascinating twist of scenes and events that are spellbinding.” —Tome Tender Book Blog 

“A ton of action and fighting scenes. On top of that, the world building was so ‘otherworldly’ even when not much was going on, it was still interesting because it’s so different from our own world.” —The Weatherwax Report

“If you are the kind of person who loves super powerful wizards or swordsmen battling it out in very descriptive battle scenes with a high body count that remind me of battles right out of an Avengers movie then this is the book for you.” —The Nerd Book Review

“One of Teller’s greatest skills is relationships. Not romantic quest love relationships, but bonds between people and spirits. These bonds draw the readers in sometimes more than the story lines do because they are so powerful and relatable.” —Literary Titan

“A plotline that flowed really well from beginning to end.… Very difficult to put down. I rather enjoyed this one. I’m excited to see where the story goes in the next volume of The Manhunters.” —Kristen Reads Too Much

“Teller is a skilled storyteller, with some outstanding worldbuilding. This is a fully realized world that we’re dropped into, with interesting mythology, demons and magic that doesn’t need to explain itself to us – indeed, the mystery makes it more alluring.” —Tome and Tankard

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

*A Time of Dread is available Tuesday, February 20th!*

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne. Orbit Books, 2018. Paperback. 480 pages.

Before starting my review, I will first confess that I have not read Gwynne's The Faithful and the Fallen series. I have it up at the top of my 'want to read' list (it's a mental list, sure, but's still a list!), but this is coming out really soon and Orbit sent me a copy, so... I had to read this one! Rest assured, it is not necessary to have read the previous series (Gwynne says this himself), but it would help to provide some backstory.

A Time of Dread takes place in the Banished Lands, the same world as his Gwynne's previous series, but it takes place about 130 years after the events of those books. To take a quite from John Gwynne himself answering a question about this book, "just as if you were reading a history book, you could read about the Fall of the Roman Empire without knowing all about Julius Caesar, but if you did, it would make the reading experience a little richer and deeper." And this is why I plan to go back and read the other series, because I have no doubt that it will be brilliant if it has even half the skill and wonder of A Time of Dread.

What I loved the most about A Time of Dread was that it felt really unpredictable. I truly could not anticipate many of the events that occurred in this book, and that is starting to become a rare event; it is also a surefire way for me to know that a book or series has great potential and that an author really knows that they are doing. There was something unique about this book that really captured my interest and made me genuinely curious to find out what would happen in this world and with these characters.

Along with the unpredictable nature of Gwynne's story, I also found that Gwynne's writing was much simpler than I expected--and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Fantasy often has a tendency to become bogged down with extraordinary large amounts of extra information about the world, gods, magic, etc. etc. that, although interesting, can sometimes make things confusing or a bit of a slog to get through. I think Gwynne found a really solid line between having an incredibly rich, intriguing world and having a world that is understandable and also interesting. It felt as if I was given information about the world in simple bits, but at the same time it was still very deep and full of information that made this world incredibly vibrant and satisfying. In fact, it is partly because of how he presented this world and concept that I am so incredibly eager to read his first series that takes place in this same world--I truly want to know more about the Banished Lands and the history of this world.

Another area of excellence is with the characters. We follow the perspectives of Drem, Sig, Bleda, and Riv, and each one is fascinating. I won't go into much detail about each one in order to avoid the chance of any possible spoilers, but suffice to say that I found myself enmeshed in each character's life. I particularly liked how much development occurred around each character, including both larger dynamic changes and smaller ones. Some, like Drem, discover large secrets and a new, unexpected purpose to their life; others, like Riv, also unearth shocking secrets, but also learn to focus their minds on the goals that they have been training for all of their lives. All in all, I actually enjoyed each perspective (and as you may or may not know by now, I am not always a huge fan of shifting perspectives), particularly that of Sig's and Drem's.

A Time of Dread is also very dark, bloody, and violent--which, I mean, the cover alone really conveys this idea well enough. There is indeed a lingering sense of dread that follows both the characters and the reader as we journey through each page together and uncover the darkness that seems to always be lurking around the corner. 

One last area I'd like to applaud is Gwynne's depiction of battle and fights--these were bloody brilliant (no pun intended). As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I tend to find myself easily lost in long battle scenes that have an exorbitant amount of action and movement--something about the spatial aspect tends to get messed up in this tangled head of mine. As a result, a lot of battle scenes sort of become blurs and may or may not get the skim treatment when I try to read them... except, fortunately, for Gwynne's. I was able to actually follow these fights. Gwynne describes everything so well and so carefully that I could truly picture what was happening and I found myself actually enjoying the scenes of action, which is really pretty rare for me.

Overall, I've given A Time of Dread five stars (surprise, surprise), and I truly can't recommend it enough to any fantasy fan---or anyone simply looking for a good book!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository



Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

You might also like:
Mageborn by Stephen Aryan
Soul of the World by David Mealing
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Sea of Red Book Covers for Valentine's Day (All Red vs. A Pop of Red)


I don't read much romance, nor have I ever really been into celebrating Valentine's Day. I'm not one to judge others for celebrating (if you love it, cool!), but it's just not something I've ever cared much for, no real reason why. However, it's still fun to make holiday-related content, so I decided to share some red-themed book covers to fit the spirit of the holiday-- you know, red for blood love.

I decided to have a little fun with this also and make it a bit more fun. This first batch of books features predominantly red covers. The second batch of books will feature non-red backgrounds with one major red 'pop' of an object or person or something. I think book cover designs are fascinating, and sometimes a book pops really well with a solid bright cover, whereas sometimes it pops better with one striking color--hence why I thought I'd compare. 

Batch #1: 

Fahrenheit 451Comes a HorsemanGodblindCruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)
Tweak: Growing Up On MethamphetaminesA Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)Pit Bull: The Battle over an American IconThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing EyeThe Masked City (The Invisible Library, #2)

Batch #1 Books:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Amazon | Book Depository
Comes A Horseman by Robert Liparulo - Amazon | Book Depository
Godblind by Anna Stephens - Amazon | Book Depository
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - Amazon | Book Depository
Tweak by Nic Sheff - Amazon | Book Depository
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - Amazon | Book Depository
Pit Bull by Bronwen Dickey - Amazon | Book Depository
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente - Amazon | Book Depository
Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence - Amazon | Book Depository
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio - Amazon | Book Depository
The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman - Amazon | Book Depository

Batch #2:

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)Through the WoodsYouThe Empire's Ghost

Batch #2 Books:
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft - Amazon | Book Depository
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff - Amazon | Book Depository
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Amazon | Book Depository
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - Amazon | Book Depository
Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Amazon | Book Depository
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff - Amazon | Book Depository
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess - Amazon | Book Depository
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - Amazon | Book Depository
You by Charles Benoit - Amazon | Book Depository
The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger - Amazon | Book Depository

So what do you think: a big smack of red all over or a simple mark of red to make the person/object pop? Which red cover do you love (shown above or otherwise!)?



Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Starswept by Mary Fan

Starswept by Mary Fan. Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017. 400 pages. 

I honestly had no idea what to expect from Starswept, but overall iI was so impressed by how well-crafted this book was.

The basic premise of Starswept itself was actually rather interesting. This book takes place in a futuristic setting-- 2157, to be exact--in which an advanced race of humans known as the Adryil have made contact with Earth. This advanced society has developed a somewhat symbiotic relationship with Earth in which it basically hires out talented artists, musicians, singers, dancers, etc. to come to their planet to entertain the Adryil. This is where Iris and the rest of the story enters the picture, as Iris is currently a student at Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school on Earth. It is also worth noting that the advanced technology of the Adryil is used on Earth and specifically at Papilio.

I first want to remark upon how impressed I was with the basic worldbuilding in this book. I'm not usually a big reader of futuristic types of setting, but I found that Fan did a really great job of creating a world that was realistic, but also still unique and different enough to really feel like a different setting. The one issue I had, however, was that this worldbuilding wasn't quite as expansive as I would have liked. Since the story in this book only takes place in one part of the United States, I didn't really understand what the rest of the world was like. I think it was touched upon a few times, but nothing very in depth or in a way that gave me an overall feel, so I did feel somewhat lost in this world when I tried to think of the bigger picture. Perhaps the sequel will expand in this area more.

The characters were well-written overall, although I did find Iris a bit naive at times. I felt frustrated with how trusting and stubborn she was about listening to what other people told her. However, I also can somewhat understand why Iris was naive based upon the circumstances around how she was raised, so therefore I'm not sure if this is something that I can really fault Fan with--I'm really just conflicted. All I do know is that it was a bit frustrating at times. What I thought Fan did really well, however, was craft well-rounded characters. Just about every prominent character, good or bad, was written with real depth to their personality that allowed you to see that they aren't just one shade.

There is some romance in this book that does play a pretty large role, but at the same time... it wasn't overly prominent? I feel like this book would have worked well with or without a romantic aspect, but this romance actually worked. It didn't feel too sudden or unimaginable, but instead seemed to fall into place in a very timely manner that felt more natural to me. I really appreciated that aspect.

The strongest point in Starswept was by far Fan's portrayal and descriptions of Iris playing her viola. It is apparent that Fan herself is a musician who understands the passions for music and how it can be so emotionally affecting to those that love it. Iris' passion for what she does is readily apparent and a joy to read.

On a less positive note, however, I felt like this book was just too long. There were one too many places in which I found myself getting bored and wishing the plot would just move along. I think Fan could have edited out more than a few scenes and areas in which nothing was really added to the book. That being said, the areas that were interesting were really well-written and very enjoyable.

(Also, minor side note and unrelated to the book: The cover of this book has nice aesthetics, but it really almost turned me off from reading it, unfortunately, simply because it gives off a very different type of vibe than what it is.)

Overall, I've given Starswept three-and-a-half stars! I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an interesting story with revolutionary tones.

Buy the book: Amazon 


*I received a copy of Starswept in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the book.*


Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)