20 September 2018

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (Musical Playlist)

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 256
Publication: September 25, 2018
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Goodreads | Amazon 

Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small." And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.


First let me start by saying that this book was AMAZING. I enjoyed every single book and I must confess that it really did scare me. I don't find many authors or books that are capable of making the hairs on my arm stand up. Instead of doing a review I've come up with a playlist of 5 songs that I aligns with the plot, characters, and theme of the book.


This Is Halloween: This song is not only one of my favorites, but it also best describes the atmosphere of the book. While it doesn't take place during Halloween, I definitely got some creepy vibes from all the scarecrows in the book.


Come Little Children: Okay, so this song not only freaks me out, but it definitely fits perfectly with the book. As Ollie and her classmates are spending time at the farm, they eventually are lured into a pretty bad situation where their bus breaks down and they have the possibility of being kidnapped by the smiling man and his associates. 


God Must Have Spent: So this song is a little more sentimental and while it doesn't sound as though it would fit into the parameters of the book, it reminds of the relationship Ollie had with her mom. They were really close and I know that she looked up to her mom and valued her so much. N'SYNC wrote this song for their moms and I think that the lyrics work perfectly with how Ollie feels about her mom. 


Thank You For Being A Friend: This song doesn't even need an explanation. I loved that Ollie went from being a loner to actually making friends. Their friendship is beautiful and I'm glad that it was the friendship that helped her make it through dealing with the smiling man and the loss of her mother.


Thriller: This list honestly wouldn't be the same without Thriller. Every time I hear this song I think about those scary behind pumpkins and how they were trying to kidnap children. It's literally the perfect song for this book. 

I honestly can't say enough about this book. It was completely and utterly fantastic. If you're looking for a good, spooky middle grade novel than this is the book to choose. 


19 September 2018

Waiting on Wednesday, #49 The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 288Publication: November 6th, 2018

Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen. Here, she lives apart from the outside world and its “evils.” On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave. Determined to play, Gentry and Tanner sneak out. But once they return, the Prophet exercises control from prison, and it has devastating consequences for Gentry and her family. Soon, everything Gentry has known is turned upside down. She begins to question the Prophet’s teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put Gentry’s family in danger. Can Gentry find a way to protect herself and her family from the Prophet and escape the only life she’s ever known? This realistic, powerful story of family, bravery, and following your dreams is a can't-miss debut novel from Melanie Sumrow

I am soooo excited that this book is coming out and that it is being marketed as children's book. I have also been interested in anything related to the culture behind the religious combines that have existed out West. I think this will not only be a fascinating book, but also an important book.

What are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

18 September 2018

Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope that everyone is having a wonderful start to their day. Since it's Tuesday that means it's time for another Top 10 Tuesday! This week we are supposed to discuss our top 10 books for our fall TBR. I honestly had a tough time haha I have so many books on my shelves that I need to read before the year is over.



Pride by Ibi Zoboi. Pride is probably one of my most anticipated releases of this year. It's a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice but in Brooklyn. If you didn't know, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics of all time. It's romance done in such a beautiful way. A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I've actually read a good part of this book; however, I burnt myself out on fantasy so I've been taking a little break. Nana Series by Ai Yazawa. The picture above isn't necessarily the volume that I need to read, but it is indicative of my desire to read a great bit of the series this fall and winter. I love this series and it's one of my favorites to read when the weather gets cooler.


Fresh Ink by Various Authors. This was a compilation that I was looking forward to since last year. The book is actually upstairs in our office on my bookshelf. I definitely anticipate picking it up before the year ends. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This own voices book has intrigued since before it was released. I love books that are written in verse and I heard that this one is phenomenal. Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes. Here's the thing, I absolutely love this series; however, I have literally forgotten everything related to the characters and the plot. It is a necessity that the previous books are read before I can pick up this one. It's going to be a long re-reading process, but I'm definitely looking forward to picking it up soon.


The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I should really be ashamed that I still haven't finished this book because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but I definitely hope to get to it soon. Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. I loved Ashley's debut novel and I'm thinking that this one is going to be just as good. I was able to get an owlcrate exclusive cover with purple stained edges. I honestly can't wait to get to it. It'll probably be a November or December read. The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro. So I have had this book for forever. Brittany is close to writing the fourth book for this series and I still haven't caught up. I read this first book when it first came out and really enjoyed it so I'm assuming that this will be just as good. I'm thinking about re-reading the first book before I get to this one.



Fables Series by Bill Willingham. If you know anything about me then you know that Fables is one of my favorite comic book series. I still haven't had the chance to finish the series; however, I'm thinking that this fall I'll continue my re-read of what I have read that way I can move on to the next books.

17 September 2018

Mini-Comic Review: Fence by C.S. Pacat

Series: Fence, Vol. #1
# of Pages: 112
Publication: July 31st, 2018
Source: Library E-Copy
Genre: Comic
Goodreads | Amazon 

Combines Issues #1-4. Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama. Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama... Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges. From acclaimed writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad.



One word...WOW. I did not expect this comic to be as amazing as it was! First, I am not a huge fan of comics that focus solely on sports; however, for some reason this one didn't even feel as though it was surrounding a sport. What I think I enjoyed most about this comic was that I learned a lot. I knew what fencing was prior to reading the book; however, I had no idea that it was so complex, had so many rules, and was so competitive. It was intriguing to watch the main characters navigate the sport whether they were experts or newly introduced to all things related to fencing. Speaking of characters, I like the varied personalities of all the characters. While they all enjoyed fencing, there were stark differences in their confidence, how they carried themselves, and how they treated other characters. 
This comic also contains great LGBT representation. I've become hesitant when people classify certain books or comics has having LGBT representation simply because a lot of times that representation is simply a random character that has been added for the sake of having a LGBT character. Fence definitely proves that it is beyond utilizing LGBT characters for the sake of diversity. The relationships between characters are smooth and natural and they feel like they are supposed to be a part of the story. Overall, the story was phenomenal and I really enjoyed reading about the characters, their love of fencing, and the fierceness of the competition. I'm really looking forward to picking up the next volume. 




07 September 2018

Friday #56, #53 Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon


The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading


Series: Outlander, #2

# of Pages: 947
Publication: July 1st, 1992
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased Copy
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland... For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his .... Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

There is an interesting story behind this book. I've already tried to read three times. : ) I think that I just get daunted by the size of the book, but right now I'm in the mood for a big book. I loved the first book and I'm buddy reading this one so I should be able to finish it by the end of the month.

"An ancient table stood against the back wall. Perhaps originally the center piece of the Reverend Wakefield's dining room, it had evidently gone through several successive incarnations as kitchen block, toolbench, sawhorse, and painting table, before coming to rest in this dusty sanctuary." 
What are you reading this Friday? 

05 September 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #48, Odd One Out by Nic Stone


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.


Series: N/A
# of Pages: 320
Publication: October 9th, 2018 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin comes this illuminating exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery. Courtney "Coop" Cooper Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn't mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl. Rae Evelyn Chin I assumed "new girl" would be synonymous with "pariah," but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I'm right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing. Jupiter Charity-Sanchez The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . . One story. Three sides. No easy answers.


Ya'll I'm so excited for this book. I absolutely loved Dear Martin by Nic Stone and I cannot wait for this new release. It's going to be filled with some tough decisions and I know that it has some LGBT themes which is going to be great.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

03 September 2018

Mini Review: Stay Out of the Basement by R.L. Stine

Series: Goosebumps, #2
# of Pages: 144
Publication: 1992
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Children's Horror
Goodreads | Amazon

Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, he says. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they...meet...some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plant like tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy-and seedy. Is it just part of Dr. Brewer's 'harmless' experiment? Or does Dad have more than just a green thumb...?




Stay Out of the Basement is the second book in the classic Goosebumps series. When I was younger these books served as my go-to horror books for children. While most of the books are written in a style that can be considered formulaic, I think that they are a great starting point for children who are really interested in reading independently before they move on to bigger chapter books. The narrative of this book in the series focuses on a dad and his two kids. The dad, Dr. Brewer has lost his position at work and now spends most of his time creating experiments on his plants. While this doesn’t seem out of the unusual, Dr. Brewer begins to act a little plant like and starts to look a little like a plant. His two children, Casey and Margaret, notice the changes that their father begins to go through and they plead with him to tell the truth about what is going on.

What I loved most about this book is that it gave me a sense of nostalgia. These books meant the world to me when I was younger, so I found it fascinating to be immersed back into the world. R.L. Stine writes with such an ease that assists children in becoming engrossed in the story. Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was that fact that it made my skin crawl. I’m not afraid of plants or botanists by any means, but the whole idea of someone turning into a plant definitely made me feel more uncomfortable than comfortable. I also enjoyed the fact that the book was easy to read and had an ending that I did not expect. It was fun returning to a Goosebumps series; however, I do think that the writing is built upon a certain formula and it makes it less interesting than it could be.

I also listened to this book on audio which made it fun and even more dynamic. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to them on audiobook I would highly recommend giving it a shot.


.5

02 September 2018

Sunday Post #19--The Week Where I Read Nothing

Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer

Ya'll this past week was a mix of being awful and really inspiring. We had some really difficult things occur in our household, but we've been holding strong to our faith and we have kept it moving. I'm so thankful that my partner is so supportive and keepSus his eyes on the positive. That's the only reason why we've been able to make it. I've been doing well with school. I'm actually ahead of the game instead of behind and it feels great! Work is going well and I'm reading some really good stuff, I just haven't finished anything haha. Oh well, here's to hoping that this week will be different. 





I read, but completely absolutely nothing. It was a rough week. Hoping for more progress and completions this week coming up. 



So these two books aren't necessarily the only books that I'm reading but they are definitely the two books that I'm focusing on. I'm doing a re-read of Firefight so I can finish Calamity before the year is over with and I'm finally getting the opportunity to read Dragonfly In Amber. I've tried to read this book twice and it's not that I didn't or don't like the book, it's just that it's size is so intimidating. 


  • Goosebumps: Stay Out of the Basement Mini-Review
  • Top 10 Tuesdays: Bingeworthy TV Shows/Amazing Movies
  • Waiting on Wednesday 
  • Anna & The French Kiss Review
  • Friday #56
  • Meet Your Baker Review 
How was everyone's week??

01 September 2018

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzie Lee


Series: Montague Siblings, #1
# of Pages: 513
Publication: June 27th, 2017
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBT
Goodreads | Amazon

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.



Quick Facts Review (An Overview of the Good, Bad, & Ugly)
-The main character has an amazing sense of humor and keeps the reader entertained and laughing during the entirety of the novel.

-LGBTQ+ representation is done well.

-The build-up to the romance is thorough, captivating, and rids the reader of having to deal with the trope of “insta-love.”

-The plot was unexpected; however, it lags during the middle and becomes quite repetitive.



Prior to actually getting the opportunity to read this book for myself, I heard a lot about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. The discussion usually revolved around the fact that people have regarded this book to be well-written, hilarious, and contain a rather interesting plot. After spending just a few days with this book, I can say that I wholeheartedly agree. This book was phenomenal. I think I’m a fan of characters that tend to have snarky personalities or a dry sense of humor and believe me when I say the main character in this book (Monty) is phenomenal and fits into every aspect of having a dry sense of humor and a snarky personality. Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what I loved and maybe did not love about this book.

Characters:
The characters in this book were amazing! I am very particular when it comes to characters in a novel sometimes even more so than the plot. If I have a problem with characters than I usually end up not enjoying the book. This book definitely was perfect when it came to character development. When I have recommended this book to other readers, I have noted that it takes a while to get used to Monty’s personality and his train of thoughts. He’s essentially an asshole, conceited, and focuses solely on his wants and needs; however, the reader does get the opportunity to watch Monty grow into a better, more caring individual. Another aspect of character development that I enjoyed was getting glimpses of Monty’s sister, Felicity. She’s so strong and opinionated and I absolutely loved the fact that she refused to follow the traditional roles of what was expected of women during that time. She’s headed towards being a doctor and her skills and knowledge really help them along their journey. Because of this I’m really looking forward to seeing her shine through in the next book of the series. She is a true balance for Monty, but I’m anxious to see what will happen when she gets a book of her own. Even the relationship between Monty and Percy is swoon worthy and fun to watch. I was rooting for them the entire book.

Plot: .5
While I loved all of the characters in the book, I had a few small issues with the plot. What I did enjoy was that the plot was unexpected and I could never really tell which direction the book was headed in; however, there were parts of the book that moved slow or dragged on when situations could have been readily resolved. There were points during my reading where I wished that Lee would have focused on something else and prevented the characters from becoming so repetitive. With that being said, I clearly think that the book was longer than what it needed to be. I would have enjoyed more character exploration then building of the plot.

Writing:
The writing, oh my goodness. The writing was phenomenal. I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the book on audio or if it was because Mackenzie Lee just has a brilliant way with words, but either way it was great. It was witty, humorous, and kept me fully and totally entertained. It wasn’t over descriptive or flowery. She got straight to the point with the character development and some aspects of the plot. I don’t have any complaints about the writing except for the fact that she extended some parts of the plot that could have definitely been left out.

Overall, I thought that the book was amazing and I’m definitely looking forward to reading what she is going to do with the next book. Let me know in the comments what you thought about this book!