Weekly Recap #72: Week of 9/23-9/29

 

It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Thanks so much to everyone for their kind words about my grandmother’s passing.  They really meant a lot to me.  I traveled to attend the funeral services this week.  They were lovely — I think she would have been pleased —  and now I’m back at home and back at work. I probably could have taken another day or so off, but I just prefer to stay busy.

Because I like to stay busy, I have also been working to get caught up on the blog for the past couple of days.  I still have a little catching up to do with comments, etc but hope that I’ll be fully caught up by the end of the weekend.

Reading wise, I actually ended up finishing two books from my backlist, Girl out of Water and Bone Gap.  Both were available in audiobook form from the library so I listened to them while I was traveling. I also read and sadly did not like The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.  I wanted to like this one so much, but the pace was just so slow, the timelines were actually very confusing, and there were way too many characters to keep track of.  It’s an epic that just turned out to be a little too epic for me.  I’ve seen a few other Morton fans say this one is quite different from what she usually writes, so I would still like to try another of her books. This was just disappointing since it was one of my most anticipated reads for the fall.

I don’t have much else to report at this time.  New fall TV shows have started.  I DVR’ed several, including the Murphy Brown reboot, but haven’t had time to watch any yet.  I also saw that SOLO is now out on DVD so I’ll probably try to rent that soon since we never made it to the theaters to watch it.  The rest of my time will be filled with soccer.  Our season should be ending on 10/1 but so many games have been rained out that we have makeups scheduled all the way through 10/9, then still have to work playoffs in.  I’m leaving for NYC on 10/21 so we’re going to be cutting it close, lol.

Oh well, that’s it for me.  I hope everyone else has a great week!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

       
  
       
 

 UPCOMING REVIEWS

     
      
    
 

 

 STACKING THE SHELVES

 

    
    
     

 

TOTALLY RANDOM

 

ARC Mini Reviews for THE SPY WITH THE RED BALLOON & UNSTOPPABLE MOSES

ARC Mini Reviews for THE SPY WITH THE RED BALLOON & UNSTOPPABLE MOSESThe Spy with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
Also by this author: The Girl with the Red Balloon
four-half-stars
Published by Albert Whitman Company on October 2, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

Siblings Ilse and Wolf hide a deep secret in their blood: with it, they can work magic. And the government just found out.Blackmailed into service during World War II, Ilse lends her magic to America’s newest weapon, the atom bomb, while Wolf goes behind enemy lines to sabotage Germany’s nuclear program. It’s a dangerous mission, but if Hitler were to create the bomb first, the results would be catastrophic.

When Wolf’s plane is shot down, his entire mission is thrown into jeopardy. Wolf needs Ilse’s help to develop the magic that will keep him alive, but with a spy afoot in Ilse’s laboratory, the letters she sends to Wolf begin to look treasonous. Can Ilse prove her loyalty—and find a way to help her brother—before their time runs out?

Review:

The Spy with the Red Balloon is the second installment in Katherine Locke’s imaginative series, The Balloonmakers.  I fell in love with the first book in the series and so couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one.  The Spy with the Red Balloon employs the same magical system that we saw in The Girl with the Red Balloon, a unique combination of blood magic combined with a scientific element that allows the wielder to write equations on balloons which can then be used as a mode of transportation for people, objects, etc.  This time, however, we are taken to an earlier period in time, back to World War II, where Allies who are aware of the existence of this magic want to use it as a way to stop Hitler.

This series fascinates me with the unique way it infuses important historical events with magical elements, but what I loved most about this installment were the two main characters, Jewish siblings Ilse and Wolf.  Both siblings possess the ability to do blood magic but have been trying to keep it a secret.  When the U.S. government finds out, Ilse and Wolf are forced into service.  Ilse, a 16 year old with a brilliant scientific mind, was my favorite character.  She’s smart, feisty, and has an unbreakable bond with her big brother.  I loved their sibling relationship so much – the way they constantly worried about each other and had each other’s backs no matter what, even as they are sent to work in separate countries.  Ilse is assigned to a top secret lab in Tennessee.  Her job?  To come up with a way to use her magic to transport an atom bomb.  The challenge?  The bomb hasn’t even been developed yet, so she’s working blindly.  Wolf is a great character too.  While he’s equally as smart as Ilse, his smarts are of a more practical sort.  He, therefore, is trained as a spy and sent to Germany to try to sabotage Hitler’s efforts to develop an atom bomb of his own.  I thought the author did an incredible job of creating such a tremendous sense of urgency around the building and transporting of the atom bomb.  It’s basically a race against the clock, with Ilse and Wolf, each playing key roles.

In addition to the intense situation surrounding the effort to stop Hitler, The Spy with the Red Balloon also tackles other important issues, such as the ethical dilemmas that both Ilse and Wolf face.  Neither of them wants to be involved in something that kills people, but at the same time, as Jewish teens, they are torn because they would definitely love to be directly involved in crushing Hitler and his Nazis.  Diversity is also well done in this book, with both Ilse and Wolf being queer, and with one of the most brilliant scientists on Ilse’s team, Stella, being African American.  The diversity Locke incorporates into her story also allows her to touch on the fact that during the time period she is covering homosexuality was a crime, and racial segregation was still in place.

If you’re looking for a riveting historical read, infused with unique magical elements, and of two Jewish queer teens who are determined to kick Hitler’s butt, I’d highly recommend The Spy with the Red Balloon.  4.5 STARS

 

ARC Mini Reviews for THE SPY WITH THE RED BALLOON & UNSTOPPABLE MOSESUnstoppable Moses by Tyler James Smith
three-half-stars
Published by Flatiron Books on September 25, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

After accidentally burning down a bowling alley with his cousin and best friend, Charlie, Moses has one week as a camp counselor to prove to the authorities—and to himself—that he isn't a worthless jerk who belongs in jail, when Charlie doesn't get that chance.

Review:

Tyler James Smith’s debut novel Unstoppable Moses is a powerful coming of age story that explores what happens when boys just being boys takes a tragic turn.  Seventeen year old Moses Hill and his cousin and best friend, Charlie, accidentally burn down a bowling alley.  It is a prank gone wrong, but things escalate when the police arrive and Charlie is killed.  In the aftermath of this tragedy, Moses is left trying to pick up the pieces of his life and figure out how to deal with the loss of his beloved cousin.  Moses and Charlie had been nearly inseparable so without Charlie, Moses doesn’t even know who he is anymore.  In the midst of dealing with his grief and the legal fallout from the deadly prank gone wrong, Moses is court-ordered to serve as a counselor at a children’s camp.

I thought the author did a wonderful job of portraying the raw emotions of grief, confusion, and even anger that Moses experiences in the aftermath of this tragedy.  He’s angry at himself, he’s angry at Charlie, and he’s really just all around lost.  Being sent to work at the children’s camp is a blessing in many ways because it actually gets him out of his own head a bit and also gives him a clean slate where he can interact with people who don’t know him as the kid who burned down a bowling alley and got his cousin killed.

The character who actually stole my heart in this book was not Moses, however, and this is why my rating is a little lower than it would normally be.  For me, the shining star of Unstoppable Moses was a secondary character, a young camper named Lump.  Lump, whose real name is Allison, has struggled to make friends at camp in the past and so Moses is assigned the task of taking her under his wing and to look out for her.  Lump, whose hero is Amelia Earhart, is easily one of the most endearing children I’ve ever read about.  She’s clever, brave, and just has the biggest heart.  When a fawn goes missing from the petting zoo, Lump makes it her mission in life to find the fawn and bring her home.  Even though she’s tiny, Lump is a character who is just larger than life and, at times, I honestly found myself more interested in Lump’s story than I did Moses’.  While both of their stories were compelling, Lump was just a little easier for me to relate to than Moses.

Even with that issue, I still found Unstoppable Moses to be a riveting read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction, especially if stories of how to cope with grief and loss are of interest.  3.5 STARS

four-half-stars

About Katherine Locke

Katherine Locke lives and writes in a small town outside Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, magic, and time travel. She secretly believes all stories are fairytales in disguise. Her YA debut, THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON, arrives September 2017 from Albert Whitman & Comapny.

About Tyler James Smith

Tyler Smith was born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan. A lot of typical kid-stuff happened, then he went to college at Western Michigan University, where he studied Creative Writing under and around people who were much smarter and more talented than he could ever hope to be. Funnier, too.

He tried to write a book about zombies when he was in college, then he wrote a bad NaNoWriMo book, then he tried to write another NaNo book but it fell apart around 20,000 words, then he started reading YA and fell in love with the genre which caused him to write a book at the speed of one chapter per week, and then he wrote his debut novel, Unstoppable Moses, which took three years to edit. While all of that was happening, he worked at various times as a mailman, as a freelance writer, as a deli punk, at a book store, as a bartender, and eventually as a SECA in Chicago Public Schools.

He only brings all of this up to emphasize that the process can be long and weird, but it’s also really, really fulfilling and beautiful in its own screaming way, and that even some random schlub from a Detroit suburb can get this far along.

He currently lives in Chicago with his partner and an old Australian Cattle Dog named Dioji.

Can’t Wait Wednesday – NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in for over a year now, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll just be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

* * * * *

My selection for this week is NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty.  Why?  Because it’s Liane Moriarty of course!   And also because I’m in the mood for a fun read and something tells me this novel is going to be exactly what I’m looking for.  I’m not sure how but somehow that synopsis manages to sound quirky and dangerous all at the same time, so I’m very much game to dive in and see what is going on at Tranquillum House.

 

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty

Publication Date:  November 6, 2018

 

From Goodreads

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

 

 

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read.  This is basically a post of shame for me because I have no excuse whatsoever as to why I haven’t gotten around to these books yet.  With the exception of The Archived, all of these books have been sitting on my shelf for at least a year now.  I’m chalking up to the fact that I am easily distracted away from the older books on my shelves by the shiny new books as they arrive.  I’m so awful about that that I have even picked up and started several of these, only to set them down and promptly forget about them as soon as I get my hands on a new release.

 

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10 Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

 

1. ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

2. THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

3.  THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

4. THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

5. SISTERLAND by Curtis Sittenfeld

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

6. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

7. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

8. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

9. FIREFLY LANE by Kristin Hannah

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

10. REDEMPTION ROAD by John Hart

(Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What books by your favorite authors have you not gotten around to reading yet?

 

Weekly Recap #71: Week of 9/16-9/22

 

It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Well, it has been a pretty difficult week here.  My grandmother passed away on Saturday after nearly a week in hospice care.  Thankfully I was able to make the trip home this week to see her one last time, but it’s still sad to think that she’s no longer with us.

It was also a bit awkward because she died on my son’s birthday.  At first we were going to postpone his party, but I finally decided that we could all use the distraction, so as I’m sitting here typing, I have 4 pre-teen boys running around my house acting like lunatics.  Their silliness is infectious, so I’m glad we decided to go ahead and have them over.

Needless to say though, I haven’t gotten much reading or blogging done this week.  I had some pre-scheduled posts that went up last week, but it will probably be pretty quiet here until after the funeral.  I will get back on a regular schedule as far as posting and visiting as soon as I feel up to it.

Thanks for your understanding and I hope everyone else has a great week.

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

   
       
 

 

 UPCOMING REVIEWS

     
      
  
 

 

 STACKING THE SHELVES

 

    
    
     

 

TOTALLY RANDOM

 

Backlist Briefs: Mini Reviews for THE CHEERLEADERS & MY PLAIN JANE

Backlist Briefs: Mini Reviews for THE CHEERLEADERS & MY PLAIN JANEThe Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
four-stars
Published by Delacorte Press on July 31, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

Review:

Kara Thomas’ The Cheerleaders is a gripping mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  The story focuses on Monica Rayburn, who attends Sunnybrook High, where five members of the school’s cheerleading squad died five years ago.  Two of the girls were killed in a tragic car accident, and very soon after that, two more were murdered by a neighbor for reasons no one has ever determined.  The final tragedy was when Monica’s own sister died in an apparent suicide.  The school decided to disband the cheerleading squad because no one wanted to be reminded of the losses they had suffered.  When the administration decides five years later that they want to do a memorial service to remember the girls, it opens up old wounds for Monica, who has never come to grips with the idea that her sister could have possibly killed herself.

Monica’s step father was one of the police officers who worked the murder case, and Monica decides to sneak into his office and see if there’s still anything there that has to do with the Cheerleaders’ case.  What she finds makes her realize that things may not be as they seem when it comes to this case and she becomes determined to find out the truth of what happened to those murdered girls. Her sleuthing takes her on a wild and potentially dangerous ride and the author builds so much suspense into the narrative that I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next!  I thought her use of flashbacks was especially effective.  She shows us scenes from five years ago from the perspective of Monica’s sister.  Those scenes really fleshed out the story and added a lot of depth that we couldn’t have possibly gotten from Monica.  I was thoroughly engaged not just because like Monica, I wanted to know what really happened to these girls, but also because I was terrified that Monica was going to open up a can of worms that was going to put a target on her own back if the murderer really is still out there somewhere.

What really made The Cheerleaders an even more engaging story, however, was that it was so much more than just an entertaining mystery/thriller.  It also packs a raw and emotional punch as we watch Monica try to work through the loss of her sister.  There’s a part of her that really wants to find evidence that proves her sister did not take her own life because it kills Monica to think that she did.  If you’re looking for a riveting thriller that also packs an emotional wallop, I’d highly recommend The Cheerleaders. You won’t be disappointed! 4 STARS

 

Backlist Briefs: Mini Reviews for THE CHEERLEADERS & MY PLAIN JANEMy Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
three-half-stars
Series: The Lady Janies #2
Published by HarperTeen on June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 464
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

Review:

After the success of their Monty Python-esque My Lady Jane, the Lady Janies are back at it again, this time bringing their readers a highly entertaining retelling of the classic novel Jane Eyre.  For those familiar with the classic tale, Jane is still an orphan who is preparing to secure a job as a governess. The primary difference is that in the Lady Janies’ version of the tale, Jane also has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.  Her talents are recognized by famed supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood who becomes determined to recruit her to join his ghost hunting society.  I don’t want to give anything else away, but as the book’s synopsis states, “prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportion!”

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, so I of course adored Jane in this book too.  She’s smart and feisty, and every bit as likable as her classic counterpart.  I also loved that the Lady Janies managed to effectively incorporate Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, into their story as well. In many ways, young Charlotte was actually my favorite character.  I thought it was brilliant how they wrote her in as an aspiring young author who is struggling to get people to take her seriously.  Ah, the life of a woman in Victorian society.  Those who follow my blog know I’m always a big fan of the underdogs, and orphan, penniless Jane and unappreciated author Charlotte were the underdogs I was cheering on in My Plain Jane.

While I really enjoyed My Plain Jane overall, especially its Gothic atmosphere with a Ghostbusters twist, my one complaint is that it didn’t quite have that same feeling of whimsy that My Lady Jane had.  I laughed out loud so many times when I read that book, but with this one, while I did find myself laughing a few times, there were several other times where the humor felt a little forced and fell flat for me.  I definitely still plan to continue the series, especially since the next book focuses on Calamity Jane, but I’ll probably lower my expectations a bit based on my experience with this book. 3.5 STARS

four-stars

About Brodi Ashton

From Brodi Ashton Writer (In Ms. Ashton’s own words):

Because of two parents who were Greek myth geeks, I grew up thinking the latest fashion trends were inspired by Aphrodite, and a good conversational opener was, “So, which mythological character do you most resemble?” Despite these social shortcomings, I found a great husband who’s always my first reader. We live in Utah with our two young boys, who still have no idea why I’m at the computer all the time.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

 

About Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series with HarperTeen: UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, RADIANT (an enovella) and BOUNDLESS, and the NYT bestselling contemporary, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE. She lives with her family in Idaho, where she teaches courses in creative writing at Boise State University. Her latest book, MY LADY JANE, (cowritten with Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows) was released on June 7, 2016.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com.

About Kara Thomas

Kara Thomas is a true crime addict and the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, LITTLE MONSTERS, and THE CHEERLEADERS, all published by Delacorte Press. You can find her on Twitter (@karatwrites), Instagram (@kara__thomas), or at http://www.kara-thomas.com.

Can’t Wait Wednesday – THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons

 

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in for over a year now, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll just be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

* * * * *

My selection for this week is The Ruin of Kings by Jenn LyonsThere are demons, dragons, prophecies, and a long-lost prince who realizes being a prince isn’t all that because his new family is the absolute worst?  Yes, please!

 

THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons

Publication Date:  February 5, 2019

 

From Goodreads

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew upon storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

Uniting the worldbuilding of a Brandon Sanderson with the storytelling verve of a Patrick Rothfuss, debut author Jenn Lyons delivers an entirely new and captivating fantasy epic. Prepare to meet the genre’s next star.

 

 

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books On My Fall 2018 TBR.  As you’ll be able to tell from my list, one of my main goals this fall is to keep up with all of the series that I’m currently reading.  Nearly all of my favorite series have new installments coming out in the next few weeks and I’m determined not to fall behind on them.  In addition to series reading, I also have some anticipated 2018 reads such as Seafire, Sadie, Circe, and Spinning Silver that I haven’t made time for yet but that I’m determined to get to before the end of 2018.

 

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Top 10 Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall

 

1. MUSE OF NIGHTMARES by Laini Taylor

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

2. WILDCARD by Marie Lu

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

3.  THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY by Mackenzi Lee

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

4. ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI by Kerri Maniscalco

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

5. VENGEFUL by V.E. Schwab

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

6. SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

7. SADIE by Courtney Summers

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

8. CIRCE by Madeline Miller

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

9. SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

 

10. THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Kate Morton

(Find out what it’s about…)

* * * * *

Question:  What books are you planning to read this fall?  Are any of my titles on your list?

 

Discussion: Why You Should Give Audiobooks Another Chance Even If You Think You Dislike Them

 

I used to think that audiobooks were just not for me.  I had tried them several times over the years but each time came away disappointed.  My number one complaint was that I constantly found myself losing track of what I was listening to and having to backtrack to figure out the last thing I remembered listening to.

This year, however, I made it my mission to give audiobooks another try, especially since as a blogger, I’m reading so many more books than I used to and would love to be able to enjoy the potential for multitasking that audiobooks provide.

 

Guess what I learned?  I LOVE THEM!

 

So, why the change of heart?  What did I do differently this time that I had never tried before?

Well, what I realized was that it wasn’t an audiobook problem, it was a ME problem.  See, I had been trying to listen to them while I was at work, to help pass the time.  The problem?  Every time I was trying to concentrate on a job-related task, I would almost unconsciously stop listening to the book.  And since my job primarily involves proofreading, I was ALWAYS concentrating on job related tasks.  It was just dumb of me to even think that listening to audiobooks in that environment was a good idea.

So, how did I discover that audiobooks are actually fabulous if you’re audiobooking (Is that a word? It is now!) the correct way?

  1. I realized that while they may not work all that well while doing job-related tasks, audiobooks make mindless household chores like folding and putting away laundry so much more tolerable. They are actually a Godsend in this particular area.  I still hate doing chores, mind you, but getting lost in fiction while doing them helps so much.
  1. I learned that audiobooks are a fabulous way to pass the time while exercising. Maybe not with strenuous exercise, I’m not sure, but I’m a walker and for me, the worst part about walking is that it can be lonely and boring, especially since I have to walk for so long to burn a significant number of calories.  Listening to an audiobook while I’m racking up the miles really helps to make that time so much more enjoyable.
  1. I also discovered audiobooks can make a long commute to work or school go by so much quicker. I had never tried this before because my usual commute is less than 15 minutes.  This year, however, I have had to make several trips to some of my company’s other offices and those commutes have been well over an hour in each direction.  I ran the audiobook through the Bluetooth in the car and it made the long drive so much more enjoyable.
  1. I always tend to have trouble falling asleep at night. That’s the time when my brain seems to decide to run through any and all things I’m currently stressing about and then I end up too keyed up to sleep.  I’ve been finding it very helpful to have an audiobook handy for bedtime as well.  I start listening while I’m getting ready for bed, putting my PJs on, etc. and then I just get into bed and keep listening.  It soothes and relaxes me to the point where I usually fall asleep while listening.  So yes, there is some backtracking involved in the morning to find my place again, but that’s so much more preferable to tossing and turning and stressing out half the night.
  1. This is probably also another dumb ME thing, but I learned you can now change the speed of your audiobook narration. When I first started listening to audiobooks back in the day, another initial audiobook complaint of mine was that the narration was always so slow.  I found myself sitting there like ‘OMG, read it faster, please!”

 

via GIPHY

Most of the audiobooks I was initially listening to back then were CDs from the library, but now with the mp3 audio files you can download from the library, there are options to speed up the narration.  Best thing ever!  I use 1.25x and it’s the perfect speed for me.  Fast enough to move things along but not so fast that I can’t keep up.  Love it!

  1. Lastly, I realized that not all genres work well for me on audiobook so I just needed to find out which ones worked the best. What I discovered was that fantasy doesn’t work all that well on audio for me.  There’s something about the worldbuilding and sometimes the unique character names, etc. that I feel like I need the actual print book in hand to keep track of everything.  Again, another ME thing.  Man, there are lots of those, aren’t there?  LOL!  Anyway, while fantasies didn’t work well at all for me, contemporaries work beautifully!  I can breeze right through those on audio and don’t feel like I need the print book to refer back to.  I guess maybe it’s the familiarity that goes along with contemporaries since they’re set in our time, etc., but they are just such a great fit for me on audio.

So, there you have it.  Several reasons to consider giving audiobooks a second look even if you’ve rejected them in the past.

 

Question:  Have you tried audiobooks?  If so, what has been your experience with them?

Weekly Recap #70: Week of 9/9-9/15

 

It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

It has been such a strange week here in terms of the weather.  Last week I posted about how we were getting ready for Hurricane Florence and that I was expecting to lose power, etc.  Well, Florence made a last minute dip south and is plowing her way through the Carolinas as I type this.  We are actually still waiting for her, however, but she is now expected to make a U-turn and head back out to sea by way of Virginia.  So it’s going to take her a while to bring her flooding rains here, but they’re still coming.  Crazy weather, lol.  I don’t know if I have any followers who live in the Carolinas, but if so, I hope that you made it through the storm okay.

Because everyone was so sure that we would be getting pummeled by Florence’s wind and rain the whole weekend, all of my son’s soccer games and practices were cancelled “due to poor field conditions.”  A little premature obviously but I guess better safe than sorry.  For those keeping track of our soccer adventures though, we did come back and win Game 2 4-1, so we’re all feeling better about the season now.  It would have been nice to get that third game in yesterday and another practice to keep the momentum going but we’ll take what we can get at this point.

Reading and blog-wise, I feel like I didn’t get much of anything done this week.  I fell asleep most evening when I sat down to read and had some trouble getting into Unstoppable Moses.  It picked up a few chapters in and I’m now nearly finished with it, but I definitely got off to a rough start with it.  I also had to revamp my reading schedule to accommodate a library loan that was expiring today.  It was The Cheerleaders and thankfully it was such a page turner that I ended up starting and finishing it on Friday.

I did participate in the blog tour for The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck this week.  There’s a U.S. only giveaway from the publisher included in my review post so definitely check that out if you’re interested in a chance to win a copy of that book.  They’re giving away 3 of them.

I’ve also been trying to get better about walking, not just for me but also for my son.  Looking at him on the soccer field this season, I don’t think all of his video game playing is doing him any favors.  He has pretty much no stamina out there.  And with me sitting at a desk all day, I’m not much better.  I already have a fitbit so we also bought my son one and everyday this week we have tried to walk at least 10,000 steps.  We were successful all but one day, so we’re going to keep this up and hopefully I can eventually even get both of us up to a slow jog.  He seems content to get out there and do it as long as he has me for company so hopefully that will be good motivation for both of us.

Oh well, I think that’s it for me. I hope everyone else has a great week!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

   
       
 

 

 UPCOMING REVIEWS

     
     
      
  
 

 

 STACKING THE SHELVES

 

    
 
     

 

TOTALLY RANDOM