Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Decided I’m Just Not Interested In Reading

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Books I’ve Decided I’m Just Not Interested In Reading
I really didn't know what direction to go with this one because I can't really think of books I don't want to read off of the top of my head--I normally think it when I see the book itself. At first, I thought that perhaps I'd look through my Goodreads TBR and see if there are any books that I'm not longer interested, but, well, that just started to get dangerous because instead I re-remembered all the books that I want to read.
In the end, I decided to just go with a mash of books that 1) I didn't finish and have no desire to, 2) series I started that I do no want to finish, and 3) books I just plain don't want to read. So without further ado, here are books I just don't want to read!

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)I Am the MessengerMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)The Martian

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
I started reading this book, made it ~20 pages in, and then just completely lost interest. It wasn't very gripping and the story itself didn't seem to be what I expected, so... I'll just pass at this point.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
My dislike of The Book Thief (yes, very unpopular opinion, I know) has led me to no longer have any interest in reading Zusak's other book, I Am the Messenger. I'm not saying I'll never read it, but it would definitely take a lot of convincing for me to do so.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (the series)
This is  moreso that I have no interest in reading the rest of this series. It was a chore to get through this book an I have no more desire to finish the series. Such a fantastic concept, such poor execution.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Martian/Artemis by Andy Weird
Honestly, the concept of both of these books appeal to me, but I've just lost any interest in reading them. I thought about picking up The Martian a few times, but every time I think about it the more and more I just feel very 'meh' about the whole thing. And based on reviews I've seen for Artemis, I have absolutely zero interest.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of EgyptPlayer Piano

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (the series)
I didn't finish the first book and now any motivation I had for reading this book and the rest of the series is just... gone. It was very disappointing.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Nashidi
I tried it. I was excited for it. It was so dry and I will not pick it up again.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
I've tried at least three books of Vonnegut's and I just can't get into them, thus I no longer have a desire to read this book either (or any other by him, to be honest). I get they are satirical and whatnot, but eh. Not my thing, I guess. 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1)Turtles All the Way Down

Warcross by Marie Lu
I was never overly excited for this one, but I thought it might be an interesting concept. Then I saw reviews and it just didn't seem like something I'd want to read, and now I no longer have the desire. Poof. Talk about the power of reviews, right?
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
This is another one where reviews turned me off of it. I generally like to read things for myself despite bad reviews, but the things people pointed out as not being good in this one would really annoy me, so we'll see. For now, I'm not interested. I don't even really remember anything about it, either, just that I was excited.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I didn't really ever want to read this book, but people talked about how different it was from his other books so I briefly thought maybe... but then I remembered how much I am not a fan of John Green and my interest waned. 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going NowhereThe Goblins of Bellwater

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Just no interest. I'm not a huge 80's nostalgia person, anyway.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
This was  on my Goodreads TBR and I don't even remember it and I have no interest in it, so... it fits here?
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
I had really high hopes for this book being Goblin Market-inspired... and then I discovered that it's very contemporary and doesn't focus much on the dark aspect and my interest was slowly crushed Where are my dark goblin king/market stories (Yes, I love Wintersong)!?
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these? What books are you no longer interested in reading?

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

*Tess of the Road will be released Tuesday, February 27th!*
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2018. Hardcover. 544 pages.

This was a book that surprised me in a lot of ways.

The most surprising part of Tess of the Road was that it was much more character-centric than it was focused on the plot, which I didn't expect. There is still definitely a plot, don't get me wrong, but Tess' personal journey was far more important than her physical journey. The personal and physical mesh, however, as Tess has to endure her own physical adventure in order to conquer her mental/personal challenges. If you are someone that prefers your books to have a decent bit of action and excitement, then this probably isn't one for you. If, however, you don't mind a slow-moving pace that acts more as a character study, then you will love Tess of the Road. This book is set in the same world as Hartman's Seraphina books, but the previous series is not required reading before starting this book.

In regards to the character of Tess: I really liked getting to know her. Despite the fact that she was often stubborn, reckless, and made poor decisions, there was still something about her that I was drawn to. I partially think that this is because Tess is someone that most of us can relate to in one way or another. She is most definitely not perfect and in fact makes quite a few less-than-glamorous decisions, but despite all of this... she dreams. She wants for more than what she is, she longs to not just be the side character in her--or anyone else's--life. Her journey was a long one, and at times I felt as if it were moving a bit too slowly, but then Tess would discover some new step or realization about herself and it all made sense again.

The other characters that Hartman introduces are also ones that always seem to be on a bit of a journey themselves. Everyone that Tess meets seems to be at a different stage in their life, which I found particularly interesting because they ended up making many of the same revelations as Tess.

Something that impressed and surprised was how relevant the topics in this book were despite time-period/fantasy setting of this book. The most prominent of these was the inclusion of a person with disabilities and a 'was-it-rape' scenario, both of which were included smoothly and in a smart, informative manner.

The reason that I've given this book only four stars, however, is because it did drag quite a lot in more than one area. I found myself getting a bit bored and frustrated at various times, wishing that the book would just move on and continue the story. This may have been a character-focused story, but it still needed plot to keep it going.

Hartman is clearly an adept writer who knows how to craft a passionate and well-written tale. The overall theme of this book to 'just keep walking the road' was told so well, and I really can't relate to it enough. The world-building is subtle, but distinct, and the creatures and magic within it are really something unique in fantasy. I feel like so much of what is in this novel can be best described as 'subtle,' but also incredibly beautiful and enchanting. If you're looking for a fantasy focused on characters and the world itself, then this is the book for you.

Overall, I've given Tess of the Road four stars!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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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.

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!


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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!)

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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!


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.

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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:

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