Monday, August 28, 2017

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

ARC, 334 pages
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Read from: August 20-24, 2017
Mask of Shadows, #1
Source:  Netgalley (I received a copy of this book from the Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for a just and honest review. This did nothing to influence my review.) 
For fans of: Action, Assassins, Romance, Gender Diversity, Series Starter, YA

     Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.
     When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.
     Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.


     When I first heard about this book I didn't care about anything except the genderfluid character. It was the only reason I added it to my TBR. Unfortunately, after reading it, I don't feel much different. 
     Sal is a thief who wants nothing more than to escape the life they were given. So, Sal enters into a competition to become part of a team created by the Queen. The audition is a fight to the death and Sal has no choice but to make it. 
     Ok, so I had a couple problems with this book. The main one being there was absolutely no world-building at all in the story. There was all this talk from them about this huge war from before and how it killed all their people, but we (the readers) KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT. There wasn't even a foreward to tell about it. This made it impossible to care about something that Sal cared about so much, because I had no idea what was going on. I just totes went with it because it was in the story. It made it feel choppy and definitely made me lose interest in the story. 
     And then, for there to be SO MUCH MAGIC in this story, there is no explanation of it at all and I'm still confused on what happened and why it was even relevant. I gotta say, it seriously made me think I missed out on a prequel or something because I have (and still have after I've finished reading) so many questions. I really need Miller to release a prequel with some of these answers. 
     And then, this may just be my opinion, but for the book to specify that Sal was genderfluid, it was hardly mentioned. I get that it was to show that it was a "more accepting" time, but there was nothing there, for an already underdeveloped character and it made me lose more interest in them. It would have been nice to know a little more information about them. 
     The only reason I didn't DNF this, was the killing, and action, and overall stabiness of the book. That part was done so good and I REALLY wish the rest of the book had been done the same way. It would have made all the difference. 
     In short, this was nothing like I was expecting and that made me extremely sad. It really fell short for me. I was expecting so much more. Hopefully book 2 will provide these answers. 
Overall, I give this

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #235 & the Weekly Wrap-Up!

This bookish meme tells the blogosphere what all we borrowed, bought, and received for review. It's hosted over at Tynga's Reviews.

From Netgalley/ Edelweiss: 
My New Crush Gave to MeThe Goblins of Bellwater

From the library: 
The Last Magician

The Weekly Wrap-Up!

Tuesday 08/22/17: Top 10 Books I Think Should be Required Reading
Wednesday 08/23/17: Waiting on Wednesday: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Thursday 08/24/2017:  No Post.
Friday 08/25/17: Listen Up: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
 Saturday 08/26/17:  Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Me on Instagram:
Hurricane Harvey is making his way across the coast of Texas. Me and my library are here in Houston and this morning we had to prepare for any type of conditions that would arise while we were closed. We had to get the books a certain height off the ground and had to add plastic or tarps to the stacks. Definitely a workout, but #OperationSaveTheBooks was a success! (Or at least we hope so!)

This was before my library system closed in the am. I was pretty terrified driving to work. I made it there and back after we finally decided to close at 1:00 pm. 

This was Sunday before I knew anything like this was going to happen. Me and Keno were chillin and not really bothered. I wish I had known beforehand. 

This was Saturday when I was still doing #BooksonBooksathon. I wanted to continue, but I've been so distracted by this Hurricane business, I was barely reading! 

What about you? 
What went on at your blog this week?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Update!

Hurricane Harvey
As I'm typing this on Friday, 08/25/2017 here in Houston we are experiencing some heavy rain and wind. We are also expected to be flooded in at the house for a good while. I'm thinking we might get some winds strong enough to know out our power. In the event that we do, I'm trying to get some posts up now because there's no telling how long it will be out. I am scheduled back to work Tuesday, so I I'm hoping that Harvey dissipates early and we will be fine. I will of course keep y'all updated on me on my Twitter and Instagram

Thank you all so much for the well wishes and good advice! It really made my heart smile!

8/26/17: We still have power!!! But unfortunately, I think the worst is yet to come.  It's rained for about 24 hours straight and we're close to a creek. Not sure how flooding will be for us. Harvey is now a Category 1 and expected to give us more rain as he moves on or dissipates.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

I don't normally talk about the audio books I listen to because most of them are backlist, but I really want to start! So, I'm starting Listen Up to write short reviews on the books that I listen to! 
Audio, 10.5 hours
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Published by: Delacorte Press
Read from: August 7-15, 2017
Source: Library 
For fans of: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Audio, Stand-alone, Romance, YA

     Let luck find you.
     Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
     At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
     As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.


     This is the second "big lottery win book" that I've read that I was not a huge fan of. I've come to the realization that I guess they're just not my cup of tea. This had the potential to be really good, but I just couldn't get over some parts of it. 
     Like the glaringly obvious part I couldn't get over was the narrator. I'm sorry, but I just could NOT handle her switching her voice to make the "male voices" deeper. Because in the end, it literally sounded all the same anyways. Had she just read them all the same or even just gotten a man to do the male parts, it could have been so much better. But it was so hard to NOT think about it when I was listening to it. 
     Then there was the romance. Teddy was so DEAD SET on making everyone else happy, but was content to let her be there unhappy? I just didn't understand what she saw in him. And dude he was SO. ANNOYING. Almost everything he said was eye-roll worthy to me. I just didn't see them as a couple so the characters never really gelled to me. 
     The only thing that kept me reading listening (?) was parts of the plot. I really wanted to see things with a certain someone else pan out and I really wanted to know if she would make another choice about a certain thing in her life. It wasn't predictable (well to me anyways) so that was good, but it wasn't enough for me to look over everything else. 
     I cannot tell you how upset I was that I didn't fully love this. I had wanted to read this for a very long time, but I have to say I wasn't as happy with it as I had hoped. I really wanted to love this one as much as her others, but it just wasn't for me. 
Overall, I give this

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WoW: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This bookish meme tells the blogosphere what we're waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for! It's hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine!

Children of Blood and Bone (Children of OrÏsha #1)

     Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
     But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
     Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
     Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Expected Publication: March 6, 2018
Published by: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Image result for freak out gifWhy I'm Waiting: First can we talk about this cover?! It looks like a literal piece of art! Like I really want Fierce Reads to make a poster and let me have one lol And then there's the fact that there is set in Nigeria with African myths/legends and just OMGGGGGGG  CAN I JUST HAVE IT NOW PLEASE?!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Books I think Should be Required Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the BookishEach week we will post a new Top Ten list . Everyone is welcome to join. 

This week's topic is:
Top Ten Books I think Should be Required Reading! 

The Hate U GiveLittle & Lion
1. That Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I don't really think I need to explain this, but just in case, this book is extremely relevant to what is going on right now. Some children may not know how to handle this situation or one they see in the media like this. I just want everyone to at least be able to have a discussion about this.

2. Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert: Another book I don't think needs to be explained, but again, just in case. This book features diversity in so many ways and I think it's important that teens can use this as an opportunity to learn more about the differences of people in this book and in real life.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueLucky in Love
3.  The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: This would be for teens like me who don't really like history, but love fiction. It's a funny story and give a good look at the time period and location of where they are. 

4. Lucky in Love by Kasie West: This book would be perfect to teach teens money management in Economics. This one and Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith. Both of them would show teens not to be too trusting, when to stop buying so many frivolous things, and to keep their old friends closest. 

Aftercare InstructionsWant (Want, #1)
5. Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin: This is a book to teach teens to stay protected, but if they go a differnet route, that's ok too.

6. Want by Cindy Pon: This book would be awesome to help teach students about the importance of keeping the Earth and atmosphere clean. 

Bad RomanceStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)
7. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios: Plain and simple, this is one for all teens to read to show them that toxic relationships are not ok and they do not have to stay in them!

8. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco: This one could easily be done with a lesson over the time peropid and place when Jack the Ripper came up. It also includes some really great notes from the author over what she changed for the book, so that seems would help to give them a better idea about the real infamous Jack the Ripper.

The HelpThis is How it Happened
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I'm not a fan of books from the 60's set in the South, so I wasn't expecting to like this one very much. But when I finally read it, I fell in love. I hope that teachers can get teens to read this and learn so much more about this time period as I did. There are so many little nuggets of history that are in this novel, and teens might be as delighted as I was to find them!

10. This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes: This could easily teach them about bullying and of course online etiquette. 

What about you?
Any other books you think I should add to this list?
Tell me in the comments! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

Hardcover, 278 pages
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Read from: August 19, 2017
Source:  Library
For fans of: Coming of Age Novels, Diverse Reads, Diverse Authors, Contemporary, Sparkly Covers, Realistic Fiction, Stand-alones, 

     The Authentics is a fresh, funny, and insightful novel about culture, love, and family—the kind we are born into and the ones we create.
     Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
     But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
     With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?


     It's very rare that I have enough time to finish a book in a day. It's also very rare that I WANT to finish a book in a day. But with The Authentics, I got lucky and had both of these things on my side. The Authentics is funny and definitely what I needed at the time. 
"Sometimes I felt like so much of my life was an obligation. There were so many things I had to do that it was hard to remember what I really wanted to do."
pg. 7
      The Authentics consist of Daria and her group of friends. They pride themselves on always being real. But while doing research, she finds out something about herself that she never could have imagined. To learn more about herself she keeps digging until she can't hold anymore secrets. How can she possibly say she's still "authentic" when she really has no idea who she really is? 
"Do you know that if you keep reapeating something, eventually you will believe it."
pg. 148
     What I loved most about this was the way it reminded me of my own family. My family is all different shapes and shades just like Daria's. Really the only difference is Daria's family hid her family from her. That truly made me feel sorry for her. She never would have gotten that part of her culture had they continued to keep that from her. It's sad to think she could have missed out on some really important things.
"Maybe [they] made a mistake in not telling you the truth, but you don't spend enough time appreciating all the things [they] did do right."
pg. 218
     Another thing I liked about this was the way this book took me through a complete emotional cycle. There were times I was laughing, and there was even a time when I teared up. When I get that emotional over a book, it shows how into I am. The more emotions it brings out of me the better. 
"No story is a straight line. Stories have sides and angles and if you try hard enough, you'll see that they actually fit together to create some time of beautiful shape."
pg. 219
     This fast paced, diverse contemporary novel is definitely one that I can see others saying they read in one sitting too. With it's emphasis on self-discovery and look into many different cultures, this book was definitely worth my entire day on the couch glued to its pages! 
Overall, I give this

Have you read this? 
Do you like for books to hit every emotion when you read?
What's the last book you finished in a day?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #234 & the Weekly Wrap-Up!

This bookish meme tells the blogosphere what all we borrowed, bought, and received for review. It's hosted over at Tynga's Reviews.

From the Library: 
Romancing the ThroneThe Library of Fates
The WoodBecause You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
This Is Not the EndMoon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 3: The Smartest There Is

CLEARLY I went crazy at the library this week. But it's not my fault I SWEAR! It's that stupid curse where you place your holds WEEKS apart and then you're like #8 on one and #17 on another but they ALL COME IN AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. lmao That's exactly what happened to me! 

The Weekly Wrap-Up!

Wednesday 08/09/17: Waiting on Wednesday: You Won't Know I'm Gone by Kristen Orlando
Thursday 08/10/2017:  No Post.

Me on Instagram:
Anddddd if you look at what I'm currently reading, you can see that I already changed my mind smh lol 

This was from Friday. I didn't wake up until 10:30 and I didn't have my coffee until noon because I was up so late Thursday night finishing Warbringer. Best decision I've made in a long time lol 

For all those people who say that pets aren't like kids, try being around a puppy that's too quiet... You'll see they're just like a little kid! A quiet pet means he's up to no good lol 

Last Sunday I was so thankful for that day off. The week before was terrible and of course I had to work that Saturday. I was extremely tired and fighting migraines, two flats, and other issues.... So when he crawled up beside me, I didn't move because I wanted him to stay there forever. 

What went on at your blog this week?!
Send me links so I can go take a peek! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

ARC, 364 pages
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers
Read from: August 11-17, 2017
DC Icons, #1
Source:  TxLA 2017
For fans of: Superheroes, Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Bombshell Ending, Sparkly Covers, Girl Power, Multiple POV's, POC MC, Series, Series Starters, YA

     She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
     Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
      Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
     Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.


     So many of you have been asking me how I managed to wait to read this, and the answer is... I really don't know. I know that publishers like for reviews to come out within two weeks of the book, so I'm gonna say that's the only thing that was holding me back. As you can see, as soon as I was in the right window of time, my restraint broke. I'm glad I didn't have to wait anymore, and I'm happy all of you don't have much time to wait either!
"You do not enter a race to lose."
pg. 1
     Diana is different from her sisters so she does all that she can to prove that she belongs. So one day when a girl arrives on her home island, she tries her best to help her, even though the Amazons are not supposed to interact with humans. As it happens, this is no ordinary girl who Diana saves... She is Alia, a Warbringer, who brings chaos wherever she is. 
"You dance differently when you know you won't live forever."
pg. 6
     So obviously, I LOVED the characters. Besides the obvious with Diana being my favorite, I really liked Alia too. She was such a strong and smart girl. It sounds amazing since she's standing next to Diana, but I'm so serious, she was an amazing character. 
"Battles are often lost because people don't know which war they're fighting."
pg. 14
     The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the pacing. In true Bardugo fashion, the beginning was a bit slow. Maybe it was just me and I wanted to see what this Diana Prince was capable of, but it seemed like it took a while to get to her showing her strength. But once it got going, it was REALLY going. Then the ending literally left my jaw hanging open. I was not expecting that. And any author that can still surprise me is amazing in my book lol
"Alia is no ordinary gir. She is polluted by death." "As all mortals are."
pg. 42
     Another thing that was true to Bardugo's personality, was the writing style. Y'all I have so many freaking tabs in the beginning of this book it's ridiculous. Towards the end they get a bit lighter, but only because I couldn't find them. But I'm sure I will be able to add them when I read it again. (Because of course I am.) 
"We cannot spend out lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves."
pg. 53
     As for the Wonder Woman legend, I loved the way it was done. And I also really enjoyed seeing her as a teen. This book wasn't something I knew I needed until I heard about it. And I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Leigh Bardugo definitely proved to be an Amazon with this amazing story! 
"I imagine all wars look the same to those who die in them."
pg. 216
     This is one of the rare times I wouldn't change a thing in a book. I really enjoyed reading this and I can't wait for the world to read it! I have already cleared a space for my hardcover to sit face-out on my shelf. Thank you, Bardugo for giving this fan the best of her favorite worlds: Wonder Woman and YA. 
Overall, I give this

Also, PLEASE tell me the DC Icons will be connected somehow. Like I would LOVEEEEEE it if someone from here showed up in the second book in this series, Marie Lu's Batman! But even if this is not a thing, I still can't wait for it lol