Harry Potter Book Night & The Week Ahead

So, I’m dead tired, I’m actually leaning back in the recliner and my head is dangling off the side of it as I type this. Does it sound uncomfortable? Well, it is.

Today at our library was Harry Potter Book Night, and the event was so much fun for my daughter! They had a man come in to explain some creatures, and she got to pet the cutest and largest snake I’ve ever seen in my life, and I was so proud of her as she is usually the type to shy away from anything not fluffy [she was even excited to see the tarantula!]. She also got make a winged key and a dragon egg and spent probably two hours doing everything so it was a nice Sunday for us. I wish her school would have done something for it as well but I’m super happy that our library did and I basically screamed ‘take my money’ at them when they announced they were.

I’m chugging along with bookstagram, the blog, and still….still progressing through the ARCs.

I’ve got two ARCs for this week plus The Priory of The Orange Tree extract I got from NetGalley, and then that’s it I’m taking a week break so I can go through my monthly Agatha Christie and reading the follow-up book to The Axeman’s Jazz; Dead Man’s Blues.

There’ll be at least one review post this week, and I’ll do a list of my top Dystopia picks tomorrow. Speaking of Dystopia novels, anyone have a favorite in that genre?

That’s it, there’s my post, I’m going to go to bed now, lol toodles everyone!

#YARC 2019

[***That Featured Image is not mine, holy cow I can’t do anything with graphics, credit goes to the hosts, all of whom I’ve linked below***]

I honestly don’t even know what I’m doing with my life anymore but after preordering Descendant of the Crane and then wanting to read Not Your Sidekick…I, I just realized I might as well at this point. Besides, it’s not like there’s any downside to joining such an amazing challenge!

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge is hosted by these lovely people:

What’s my current progress? 1! I finally got my first read done and it was so amazing and beautiful and wonderful. -Sob-

Current Badge:
Green and blue award badge with a brown Phillipines Tarsier in the center, and with one gold star above the award.

My Goal: 10!

I know that’s the lowest badge that little adorable Philippine Tarsier, but I’ve got so many reading goals that I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

What books am I hoping to read? (this=read)
The Night Tiger (I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Ghost Bride)
Descendant of the Crane
Not Your Sidekick
Not Your Villain
Not Your Backup
Brothers (I started this book a long time ago, but lost my place so, redo!)
Mao’s Last Dancer (I’ve had it for ages, it’s time)
Ignite the Stars
Jade City
Jade War
Want
-Spin the Dawn
-We Hunt the Flame
-Miracle Creek
-Enlightenment
-Shadow of the Fox
-Soul of the Sword
-The Girl Who Became A Goddess
-The Chosen
-Thirteen Months of Sunrise
-In Truth, Madness
-A Spark of White Fire
– A House of Rage and Sorrow
-Legend
-Prodigy
-Champion
-Girls of Paper and Fire
-Girls of Storm and Shadow
-Blood Heir

Total: 19

I will be keeping track of what I want to read and what I’ve read via a GoodReads shelf, but this will not be limited to this challenge, so I’ll not link it but if you have me on GoodReads feel free to check out the shelf!

Toodles!

UPDATE: I reached my goal of 10 but I will keep going as I did not get to most of the books on my premade list, so, I’ll keep on trucking!

Top Ten, er FIVE, Tuesday!

This meme is brought to you once again by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. And the theme is FIVE (I’m sure there are those that could come up with ten, but I’ll stick to five like her)upcoming releases, that we may be on the fence about.

Okay so, for upcoming releases, I have some books I got via Netgalley and other places that I’m not sure about. I’ve already had to cancel one The Murder Theory and it wasn’t because I thought it was going to be bad, but it just had too much competition on other things I’m reading as well.

Alright, let’s get this party started! I’ll go from the one I’m least skeptical about to the one where I’m like ‘Nah mate.’

5.  Off Planet

Blurb: From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin 

In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

-Seems legit, but I may have been scared off sci-fi eARCs after the last one.
-I feel like most novels this has great potential…to go in either direction either I’ll love it or I’ll be weeping under a pile of blankets at my decision to pick it up.
– Forever skeptical of these USA Today’s best sellers

4. In Search of a Witch’s Soul

Blurb: Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.

When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.

As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

-It is a freakin’ noir Witch mystery novel. How could this not be perfect for me?
-For the love of god, there’s so much room for error lol, especially with mystery novels if the writer’s voice is tragically bad there’s no room for sympathy. [Not like Eragon where you know…it just kept coming out and making more money. *Drops mic*]

3. The Parlor Girl’s Guide

Blurb: A cynical country girl enlists the living and the dead to guide her past family tragedy and forge her escape from a secluded Southern brothel. After her father’s murder and mother’s abonnement, a merciless landowner forces Molly Lingo to work in a rural Alabama hunting lodge that doubles as an exclusive whorehouse. Molly, the feisty tough teenage daughter of a hand-to-mouth tobacco farmer, employs a troubled gambler and a mysterious specter to assist her in breaking away from the unrelenting grip of the sharecropper culture. Set at the beginning of the Jazz Age’s promising sweep across America, Molly’s story depicts both the shocking brutality of the landlord class and a young woman’s determination not to be treated as a second-class citizen. This energetic historical fiction offers supernatural thrills and the poignant transformation of a metaphysical coming-of-age tale.

– Idk guys, this could be another Audrey Rose. I’m like paranoid about that at this point.

2. Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire

Blurb:  September 1939.
As Britain readies for war, Inspector Betty Church must battle a ruthless killer…

Inspector Betty Church – one of the few female officers on the force – has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here. This is the place she grew up. The place she thought she’d left for good.

After a slow start, Betty’s called to the train station to investigate a stolen bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat.

While the locals gossip about the Suffolk Vampire, Betty Church steels herself to hunt a dangerous killer.

I am actually currently reading this one, only three chapters in but I’m not sure yet how I feel or if I’ll finish it. I read the first chapter, set it down, read the next two, had me suspiciously looking at it. Betty Church as of right now has no voice yet, she’s floating around and I hope that I’ll enjoy it but I’m not, not yet!

1. Hashtag Authentic

Blurb: Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, with 400 million monthly active users worldwide, half of them under 25. While some of these people use the app as a personal tool, many also use it to build their creative business endeavours, from food and drink to fashion and lifestyle.

Sara Tasker has tapped into this as an Instagram coach, an iPhoneographer and social media influencer. Her chronicle of authentic everyday life and her mindful Me and Orla blog has developed into a business in which she allows access to free insta-tips, alongside some hugely popular paid for e-courses for independent creatives.

One of her followers, Emma Mitchell a jewellery designer and artist, took her Instagram following (silverpebble2) from several hundred to 87k and gained a book commission within a year.

Idk why I got this, it was my first review to be approved and I got so excited and I thought it would be a book of photography mostly, and now that I’ve flicked through the beginning it doesn’t look that way. What have I done? Who knows, it doesn’t sound like a bad read, just not the sort I typically end up with when picking a book.

If you’ve done this week’s topic too, let me know what you’re unsure about or if you’ve got some great ones to review!

Toodles!

The Parisians

       Paris, 1940. The Nazis have occupied the city¬—and the Ritz. The opulent old hotel, so loved by Parisians, is now full of swaggering officers, their minions and their mistresses.

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Content Trigger Warning: There are a couple of instances of sexual assault (not rape but other things). Details of some torture [mostly beating nothing to do with anything too gory], a miscarriage [and an abortion].

This is a story of Nazi-occupied Paris, so, it definitely got its dark bits.

I really felt Marius Gabriel captured the spirit of Paris and The Ritz in this and even more, he was more historically accurate than most others out there. I was so impressed with this book and I read it as if I were needing air haha I couldn’t put it down. I will say that at some parts Oliva’s chapters were too flowery for me, but, on the whole, I went from being a bit annoyed with her character to admiring her. I wasn’t sure what type of ending it would be as the novel did go quite dark, which was reasonable given the plots, but it was a really satisfying one.

Olivia is probably the least interesting of the three women; Coco Chanel, Arletty, and Olivia Olsen. She also though showed the greatest growth and in the end I did like her much more than I started off I have to say one of the reasons this only got four stars were the flowery bits of hers, she was a bit too naive and I felt myself during those parts wanting to get back to the others and see what they were doing!

Coco and Arletty were very dynamic and I wasn’t sure what I was going to get reading this book, maybe just some fluff, but it turned out to be more than that. Coco is shown more as we now know her to be, Nazi sympathizer (and spy for them in fact though this wasn’t touched on too much in the book, her espionage I mean) who was bitter about her business done with the Wertheimer and wanting what she felt was hers at any cost. Her love for women was written as casually as her love for men was, though this novel focused on her relationship with her Baron Nazi spy.

Arletty was even better though. She is presented to us at the beginning in a quiet relationship with a Countess and we watch her unable to do business with the Nazis due to her feelings on their ‘politics’ but falling in love with one anyway. She wants her career as an actress she wants to be free, and she will not be held down by what others want or expect of her.

We also have Heike, a woman who is hardened by life and by the fact that she’s not really a woman but trapped in a woman’s body, she’s a Nazi and though there’s some small sympathy for her, she’s a monster of the world and her own making.

[Both relationships of Coco and Arletty and their German lovers are true, as for their sexual orientations? Coco’s is pretty much fact at this point while Arletty’s can probably be assumed to be true.]

You were allowed to feel sympathy and revulsion at some parts, to look at the darker parts of the human soul and still allowed some hope. The writing is eloquent, the shift of the characters lets you know the author has thought greatly on how each perspective will be laid out for the reader and I look forward to reading more by Marius Gabriel.

I was allowed to read a free e-copy from NetGalley of this in exchange for my honest opinion. I’m not paid, I’m poor, a hobo really who just happens to like lovely books and this is one of them.

Also. ALSO. Guys. This is an actual quote from Arletty when questioned about her German lover:  “My heart is French but my ass is international.”- Arletty (Leonie-Bathiat)

Top Ten Tuesday

Hi there everyone! Look at me, joining a meme, it’s like watching a foal standing for the first time lol.

Anyway this meme, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you from ThatArtsyReaderGirl

I’m excited, I feel like I’m learning so many new things and meeting so many neat people, who I will call my friend against their wills probably, #creepy but #sorrynotsorry.

This has really been a crash course for me this week and there are so many things to try out and explore in this book blogging community. I’m so grateful to not be doing this all on my own! I’m getting mushy. Please make it stop. I’m ginger, I have no soul, this is painful.

ANYWAY. AGAIN.

Top Ten Tuesday, here are my top 10 on my TBR, in no particular order and with no guarantee that I will get to then in the next six months lol.

1. Dead Man’s Blues
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This is the sequel to The Axeman’s Jazz
It’s in Chicago this time, and Louis Armstrong makes an appearance again, I’m excited. End story.

2.Stalking Jack the Ripper
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I may have maybe should have already….read this. I will! I swear it! I have till February 21!

3.Le Belle Sauvage
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-Uhhhh His Dark Materials. ‘Nough said. But really, I loved that series so I’m SUPER looking forward to this one

4. Metro 2034
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-If you’ve read my review on Metro 2033, you know how much I loved it and this one has my fave character as the main focus, yaaaaas.

5. The Hobbit

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-It’s time to get my Tolkien on.

6. An Autobiography, Agatha Christie

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-The last nonfiction I read about her sucked marbles, so, I need this, this year lol.

7. The List

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-Seems interesting, but the reviews are super varied, someone help me out, I was excited but is it worth it? (This is why I try not to read reviews on Goodreads beforehand lol)

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Original Screenplay

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-It’s on my shelf staring at me every day. Besides, at least I know what to expect lol

9. Good Omens

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-My husband gets to pick a book for me to read every so often and he thought I would like this one (actually he picked it 2 years ago, I’m that bad at procrastinating)

10. The Book of M

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-It had a pretty cover and the blurb about it really caught my attention. Another one though with some tepid ratings.

And that’s it for me, time to actually go read now, bahaha jk food first.

Have you read these? Anything I should know about them if you have? What are some of your TBRs you’re hyped for? Have a TTT list? Post it in the comments so I can see it!

I don’t know if there’ll be a post from me tomorrow as it’s the Hub-bub’s birthday [Oh yea, I call him that, it’s his name for me in his phone unless he pisses me off, then I change it to Heathcliff]

Thanks to ThatArtsyReaderGirl for the meme!

My Top 5 Sci-Fi Picks!

It’s Monday! I hate life, I get to travel for 2.5 hours for a just under 2-hour choir rehearsal on Mondays in the very very cold night. Monday is not my friend it is an evil monster.

Anyway, I’m not quite done with my two current reads but you all will probably get two reviews from me this week, so, there’s that. I’ll also be doing a couple of other things that will hopefully pan out nicely! The Alienist has been so far the book I needed to lift my spirits after a roller coaster of anger from The Memory of Lost Dreams and I’m so thankful for that!

So, my top 5 favorite Sci-fi novels? Well, I’m going to do a countdown of them!

So starting from the bottom up…..

5. Speaker for the Dead

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Some sequels fall flat on their face and who knows you may think I’m crazy for loving this one. I have to say I believe Ender’s Game does best as a standalone novel in my opinion but I can’t help but love this book. Because on some level, I needed it. I needed to know about Ender later on, and I needed to know that he would be okay (or to at least find out if he wasn’t going to be). There are other books I do enjoy in the Ender-verse but none of them come close to this one or Ender’s Game. I did put it at number 5 because I do recognize its flaws and again though personally needed it for some more closure, it really wasn’t necessary (and the others even less so despite my enjoyment of them).
4. Dune

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Okay, okay, I know, this is one of the best sci-fi novels in existence, it is one of the most famous ones, and it is amazing, I do not argue that there’s a reason it is on my list. Why is it number 4? I didn’t always appreciate Paul, I actually think his Mom is so kickass and his sister too, one of the reasons I want to read other Dune novels, but, I am hesitant to do so. I’m sure I’ll get around to them eventually. Why do I love it? Well hello, sandworms! Cool desert people, prophecized heroes, awesome fight scenes, and mysterious powers and happenings! Again it’s on my top 5 for a reason, and though most call Frank Herbert the Father of Sci-Fi…I think it would be appropriate to remember he is indeed not, [COUGH COUGH, MARY SHELLEY=MOM, COUGH COUGH] but he does give us our modern Sci-Fi and we should remember that!

3. The Time Machine

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Come on. How could I not add it? TIME TRAVEL, GUYS. [I’m a huge Dr. Who fan as well, so…again, TIME TRAVEL] I really feel that this was the prime of its time and continues to be the prime of ours. I urge anyone who likes Sci-Fi to read this. It also gives us a future that gives us a taste of Utopia on the surface (totally dystopian though, I love it, so much). Wells was ahead of his time, he thought of things that of course didn’t really happen literally but hit close to home in a way that I don’t think most saw coming. I had to rate this higher than Dune for one simple and important fact, I enjoyed it more. He accomplished more things in fewer pages than Frank did as far as making the read better for me.

Alright, onward!
2. Ender’s Game

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Predictable? Probably. I know without the other works before it that Ender’s Game wouldn’t be possible but it still ranks above them and is one of my favorite novels ever, I’ve lent it out more than any other book and recommend it more than any other. Reading this in middle school [Sixth Grade to be specific, holy shit I’m old], it changed my world. Someone had lent it to me, one of my closest friends who I still love and adore so maybe part of the reason I love it so much is because I associate with her but it’s also the book I’ve reread the most. This has such an impact on kids at that preteen-young adult age (on adults too I’m sure) it gives you this sort of hope, if you feel like a ‘Third’ your whole life until that point, that being different can be amazing, it can be hard but it could lead you to do great things [and to not be afraid for thinking differently]. Admittedly I am no longer a big fan of Orson Scott Card himself but I still adore this book. It gives you everything you want in a sci-fi novel and that ending, ugh that ending.  We watch kids do things that adults forget they truly are capable of doing, and we see strategy and aliens and space military school…<3 I will never NOT love this book….so what could top it?….
1. The Alien Chronicles

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That’s right, I’m cheating. Whatcha gonna do about it? Huh?? My first pick? The Alien Chronicles, only one of the most beautiful and well-written trilogies that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I read these just soon after Ender’s Game, lent to me by the same friend. These again just completely rocked my reading world. I mean these and Ender’s Game were pre-Harry Potter, so imagine just how crazy I was for them as we all -most of us- went crazy for Harry Potter! These, though not at all Christian, do have a very Moses/biblical like plot. We have the love between two beings, not quite sibling but more like soulmates in friendship, and then having to face them being ripped apart when one realizes their true past and the true history of what has happened to their enslaved people. The life that Ampris, our ‘Moses’ and Heroine, faces afterwards is everything that is beautiful and tragic and happy, I mean this trilogy brought me to tears and continues do so. The trilogy follows closely Ampris, her once beloved friend Israi, and Elrabin. The characters have so many emotions,  would say more so Ampris and Elrabin, they are full well rounded and just I can’t say enough about them, I’m gushing like the fangirl I am. This is called by some as a ‘Space Opera’ if you’re wondering more on the subgenre. I couldn’t just pick one out of the three, so I didn’t.

There you have it! My top 5!

Do you have any Sci-Fi favorites or recs for me? I’d love to hear them!

[I didn’t include Frankenstein because I still consider it more of a horror and overall I did not include Dystopia novels (The Time Machine was the closest one).]

The Book That Gave Me Indigestion

I am going to start off firstly, by saying how this is not typical of me to be so worked up over not liking a book. And I usually don’t not like books either. I’m super easy going in my reading.

And the worst part is….this didn’t frustrate me because it was just horrible all the way through. It frustrated me because the Author had such cool ideas and then literally decided to not care enough to do his own creativity justice.

The Memory of Lost Dreams (In case you were feeling curious and/or a masochist)

My rating: 2.5/5 (It only got that high because I truly thought the concept was interesting)

Blurb: A dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic future. A young man, Malik, flees his village, stumbles upon a ruined city from the past and discovers REQUIEM and he is transported to another world. I mean it’s cool, this world is actually the past (or is it? I’m not spoiling it for those who are curious and want to read it). A Chief Overlord has imposed a dystopian culture on society and most seem to just accept it, but there is a hero amongst them and will stop at nothing to help the world and Malik is caught in the middle.

Despite this not being a first edition and not truly an ARC (Published in 2015 first), it was in need of some HEAVY editing. There were so many grammatical errors and they were enough that you were like ‘did anyone read through this beforehand? Did a seal edit this and its flippers caused some of these errors?’

Most of his writing is standard, easy/simple as if one might be reading a middle school level book (and you know what, it could easily be one with a bit more editing and some rewrites) but things would be written so awkwardly that you just ended up wondering ‘WHYYYYYYYY.’

….

BUT THEN
….
BUT THEN, this man comes out of nowhere and literally gives you some wonderfully written sentences with prose that makes you raise your eyebrows and nod quietly as you read it..I mean I don’t know how you’d nod noisily but that’s not the point. The point? It was hard to be thrown around like two authors were playing some prank on you because that’s what it felt like when the style had such an abrupt change.

TBH I’ve also never read such awkward dialogue, guys, it was bad, like you winced, because it felt so unnatural. And in fact, it was those parts that usually had me sighing dramatically as I checked the page counter. [431 pages, divided into 2 parts if anyone is curious] The characters use speech that is either too relaxed or dramatic depending on the situation and lord, my knickers were in a twist whenever Malik and Rachel spoke, it was like watching a train crash and being forced to keep watching it, unable to turn away. [Also on a small personal annoyance, I’m really annoyed that Malik’s karate instructor was named Mr Saito. Don’t ask why but it caused me to roll my eyes whenever it was mentioned.]

A lot of people complained about character development and I could see why but I do have to say something in defense of the Author at this point; his story wasn’t about the characters. It was about society, it was about the power of government and what is plausible if people let others take power and never step in. Not every story we read is about the characters, but, the others were right to a point, Malik (our main character) did not seem to grow and at one point in the book when one would think he would have matured he doesn’t. Not to mention he and the others are so flat, that with the fact that the rest of the writing is subpar, means that unfortunately this novel was a huge NO for me at the end of the day despite me really wanting to like the story.

I hope he does more editing, frankly, it needs to be rewritten but if he does and really works at it, I could see it being a pretty damn good novel, for now? I’m gonna go detox.

Great ideas, definitely a creative mind to come up with them but poorly executed.

[I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I think we can all say my review was definitely honest.]