Friday, July 20, 2018

Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends, #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In a world at war, who can you trust?

The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.

But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them…

“Threatened you with what? Forcing you to father children? I’m hardly an expert in the matter, but my rudimentary knowledge of the process suggests that would be difficult.”
Kelley Armstrong might be really good at dismembering fictional bodies, but she's even better at destroying hearts. I cannot remember the last time a book made me cry, but Forest of Ruin had me sobbing so hard I had to pause the audiobook. My heart was already feeling anxious and unsteady, so it couldn't take the expertly thrown dagger that the author had crafted.

If you've been following my blog the last few days, you know I've been flying through this series. I think I listened to all three audiobooks in less than a week, which is insane. I don't think I've slept as much as I should...  I looked for any and every excuse to dive back into the imaginative world Armstrong had created. It was so vivid and realistic!

“As they neared the spot from which the noise had come, Moria saw a hand lying on the pathway. It appeared to be attached to a body, which was a relief. Again, these days, one could not guarantee such a thing.”

I like that there wasn't a love triangle, even though there was an opportunity for one. Two people of the opposite sex can love each other deeply, but only want friendship out of the relationship. It is possible to enjoy someone's company without wanting to share their bed.

My one teeny tiny issue with this series was how often Ashyn compared herself to her sister. They were two different people, and I wish she hadn't struggled so much with her identity. Even at the end she saw her sister one way and "resigned" herself to another fate. She said both were important in their own way, but she still made it seem like one was somehow better... I wish she had felt happier in her own skin and with her own abilities and contributions. She did a lot to save the empire and move the story forward.

Despite a few unanswered questions, I absolutely loved this series! It's definitely going to be one I add to my shelves. If you enjoy audiobooks, the narrator was fantastic! She really brought the characters to life in my head and gave them their own personalities and mannerisms. I feel like that sounds weird, because it's just someone reading words, but she really captured the essence of the book and the people within it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mini Reviews [10]

Empire of Night (Age of Legends, #2)
by Kelley Armstrong
Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
Synopsis (via Goodreads): SISTERS MORIA AND ASHYN ARE THE KEEPER AND SEEKER OF EDGEWOOD.

OR AT LEAST, THEY WERE.


Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.

But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children - accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men - the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.

In this second book in her epic and captivating Age of Legends trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends romance, danger, and magic to send readers on a heart-racing journey through an unforgettable world.

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I know I reviewed the first book on Monday, but I am zinging through this series! I'm already halfway finished with the third and final book, Forest of Ruin. It's crazy intense and wonderfully fantastical. I am in love with the characters and the world Kelley Armstrong has created. I feel like I'm on the long and arduous journey with them, and I'm increasingly worried about their safety. They no longer know who they can trust, and they keep finding bodies that are broken, shredded, or unrecognizable. Beasts from stories and lore are appearing with more frequency, so I'm pretty confident the dismemberments and disappearances will continue.

Although dark and dangerous, Armstrong has written a story that has completely captivated my mind. She has given the characters a rich history and an authenticity that makes me feel as if I've known them my entire life. I cannot wait to see how everything ends!


A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss,
E.G. Keller (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): HBO's Emmy-winning Last Week Tonight with John Oliver presents a picture book about a Very Special boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny.

Meet Marlon Bundo, a lonely bunny who lives with his Grampa, Mike Pence - the Vice President of the United States. But on this Very Special Day, Marlon's life is about to change forever...

With its message of tolerance and advocacy, this charming children's book explores issues of same sex marriage and democracy. Sweet, funny, and beautifully illustrated, this book is dedicated to every bunny who has ever felt different.


100% of Last Week Tonight's proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project and AIDS United.

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I'm not sure if this started off as a joke to irritate the Vice President, but the story is solid and meaningful. Two boy bunnies fall in love after a day of hopping, so they decide to get married and hop together forever! It was sweet and showed that having a support system can make a huge difference. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo also shows what happens when a group of people stand together and demand change.


Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1
by Nnedi Okorafor, 
Alberto Alburquerque (Illustrator), 
Terry Dodson (Illustrator) 
Synopsis (via Goodreads): PART ONE OF A THREE-PART STORY THAT SEES THE DORA MILAJE TEAM UP WITH THE MARVEL U! The blockbuster Black Panther film has everyone talking about Wakanda’s best warriors, the fierce Dora Milaje! Now witness the Dora outside of Wakanda – and in Spider-Man’s world! When the Dora catch wind of a Wakandan threat causing trouble in New York, they’ll leap into action – with or without their king. Don’t miss Okoye, Ayo and Aneka on a globe-trotting mission to protect the realm at any cost. WAKANDA FOREVER starts here!
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There were some literal laugh out loud moments in this one, and I enjoyed seeing Spider-Man's humor paired with the seriousness of the Dora Milaje. They actually complemented each other quite well! 

I'm not sure how the characters in this comic compared to their movie counterparts, because I still have not seen the Black Panther movie. I've tried to watch it with my husband a few times, but something always comes up. I hope we're able to get through the entire movie soon! I've only heard great things about it, and the first 25% was awesome.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My Weekly Pull [29]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Magic Order #2 by Mark Millar, Olivier Coipel
Hunt for Wolverine Claws of a Killer #3 (of 4) by Mariko Tamaki, Butch Guice, Greg Land
Infinity Countdown #5 (of 5) by Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder, Nick Bradshaw
Runaways #11 by Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka
X-Men Red #6 by Tom Taylor, Mahmud A. Asrar, Travis Charest

Jacob's comics for the week! (I might read them eventually...)

Optimus Prime #21 by John Barber, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Kei Zama
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #24 by Ryan Ferrier, Pablo Tunica, Freddie Williams II
Analog #4 by Gerry Duggan, David O'Sullivan
Kick-Ass #6 by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.
Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #307 by Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones
Spider-Man Deadpool #36 by Robbie Thompson, Chris Bachalo

I'm really curious about what Mark Millar will do with Magic Order. I think it has the potential to be really interesting (despite the naked shapeshifter), and like that it seems to focus on a family and their roles within the group. I have a feeling it's going to be sad based on some of the information given in the last issue, but also fascinating because of the monsters they fight on behalf of the world.

I have no idea how they plan to end Hunt for Wolverine, but there are multiple groups of people looking for him. Not all of those groups are searching to be helpful, and I want to know if their different stories will eventually crossover into one ending.

Are you reading any good comics this week? Let me know!

*This My Weekly Pull was briefly posted yesterday before I realized I didn't need to do it a day early! I was supposed to be participating in a blog tour, but I had my dates mixed up. Everything worked out in the end, because now this one is posted on the correct day, and I was able to post about the release of Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre. If you're interested in the book, there's also a giveaway... just go to the post before this one. If you commented on this before I took it down, my apologies! Your comments are still there, but they're likely not going to show the same date as the post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Like Never and Always Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

I'm really excited to be participating in the Release Day Blitz for Like Never and Always hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

About the Book:
Title: LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS
Author: Ann Aguirre
Pub. Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 336
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD

On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request.


Excerpt

“Just let this be the second secret you keep for me,” I say then. “Thanks for not telling Nathan, by the way.”

Clay leans his arm along the door frame, tilting his head slightly out the open window as if he needs the air. “You couldn’t pay me to talk to that jackass lately.”

“You two fighting?”

“No. He’s just . . . Nathan.” He hesitates. “I wasn’t going to tell you this . . .”

“What?” Anything that could divert me from my precarious situation, even momentarily, seems like a welcome distraction.

“He brought a girl home last night.” From his tone he expects this to destroy me.

And sure, there’s a twinge because before, I thought Nathan and I had a soul-deep connection. Fact is, he’s a little immature, a lot selfish, and I just never noticed. They say love is blind, but I’d say that infatuation is blind, and love is tolerant. When you really love someone, it’s not that you can’t see the flaws; you’re just willing to forgive them.

Belatedly I realize he’s expecting a reply. “I’m not surprised. Nathan is used to getting what he wants just like you’re using to giving things up. Oh, I was going to ask him to drop this off, but since you’re here . . .” I fish in my backpack for his hoodie.

Yes, I’ve been carrying it for like four days. First I hesitated to wash it, but I didn’t want to be a sad girl who’s still smelling her ex’s clothes a month later. Then I didn’t return it because that felt like final acceptance, —superstitious, I know. Over is over, and random articles of clothing don’t change anything.

“You didn’t need to bother with that. I’ve had it forever.”

“All the more reason for you to have it back,” I say.

“Do you need to be this cool about everything?” he bursts out. “I know you have to be scared and hurt—”

“Yeah, I am, all those things. And yes, I have to be this way, or I can’t function. Why are you even here anyway?” The pain and frustration cracks my voice, and I really wish I was anywhere else.

“Because I’m worried about you.”

“Then stop. I accepted your decision, now respect mine. It’ll be easier if I don’t have to see you.”

His jaw clenches, showing the force he’s exerting to bite back whatever he wants to say.

Finally he just takes his hoodie but he pauses with his hand on the door. “You know you can call me, right? Even if we’re not together, I’d never let anyone hurt you. One call and I’m there.”

My heart feels like it’ll crack in two, but I’m resolute; I have to be. “I already deleted your number.”


About Ann: 


Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a Kindle Oasis, US Only.
5 winners will win a finished copy of LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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Sea of Shadows worked really well as an audiobook. I'm starting to think that fantasy books with elaborate new worlds will always be a better fit when I'm listening to them. Understandably, there is a lot of world-building and thorough explanations of the things we're unfamiliar with, and I think listening ultimately gives me a better experience. I know for some people these books can feel long and wordy, but I actually prefer it. I had similar feelings about Mercedes Lackey's Hunter series. The worlds are completely new and there's so much to learn...  I love it!

I'm also a fan of books about twins. I don't know if it's because I have twins myself, or if I just find their relationships interesting. Moria and Ashyn are two very different people that look exactly the same. I loved their friendship and the bonds they shared with each other and their beasts. Daigo (a wildcat) and Tova (a Hound of the Immortals) were two of my favorite characters, and they never spoke. However, they could communicate with their eyes, sounds, and movements, and I thought they were valuable companions and assets to the story. 

I enjoy Kelley Armstrong's writing, and have read a few of her other books, but this one was the most violent by far. There are a lot of detailed descriptions of fighting and dismemberment, and not all of them were expected. I was taken by surprise quite a few times when someone was attacked for seemingly no reason, or an unexpected monster made an appearance. Armstrong kept me on my toes, but even those violent interactions were tempered by lengthy descriptions. It drew out the battles, fights, escapes, and everything else. I was okay with all of this, but it does cause the pacing to be a little slow at times.

The story really picks up at the end, and I've already started listening to the second book, Empire of Night. I love that there is already a different setting, and that no one really seems to stay in one place for too long. There's also a constant rotation of characters, and I enjoy how well Armstrong writes all of them. There is always someone new to figure out. What are their motives? Whose side will the be on? I think this has the potential to be one of my favorite fantasy series!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Let's Play 15 Questions!


I've seen a few other people doing this one, and I just couldn't resist! I think Tanya from Girl Plus Books was the most recent one I've seen. *This took a lot longer to finish than I originally thought it would! πŸ˜…

1. BEST BOOK YOU'VE READ SO FAR IN 2018


There's no way I can choose just one book! It's really not a fair question, so I will randomly select one of my favorite reads from this year... The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It was perfection in every way.

Other books I've really enjoyed: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, Maybe Someone Like You by Stacy Wise, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter, White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews (to name a few).

2. BEST SEQUEL YOU'VE READ SO FAR IN 2018


The Lunar Chronicles has been one of the best series I've ever read! I knew I liked Marissa Meyer after reading Heartless, but this series is something else. While I really enjoyed Scarlet, I think Cress is my favorite book so far! I only have Winter and Fairest (which is supposed to be about Queen Levana) left to read.

3. A NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN'T READ YET BUT WANT TO


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. I won a copy of this book earlier this year, but I haven't gotten to it yet. It's terrible, because this is a book that I really want to read. I've only heard wonderful things about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Expected publication: July 17, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.


She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
Mommy sounded like a robot who was about to overheat. It almost made Hannah laugh, imagining her frozen in place as wisps of smoke trailed from her ears. She'd start to melt from the inside and collapse onto her knees, eyes wide and dazed, as brain matter dripped from her nose.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I think this might be one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It doesn't help that as a mother I kept trying to put myself in Suzette's shoes--shoes no parent should ever have to be in. I don't know how she maintained her sanity for so long. It was clear from the beginning that she was alone in a battle against a very vengeful seven-year-old.

Suzette's husband and Hanna's father, Alex, was both loving and supportive. He tried to treat the women in his life equally, but he was unaware of what went on while he was at work. Hanna made sure she was nothing but sweet and amenable while he was around, but that was only to discredit anything her mother might say. Alex should have trusted his wife more, and maybe things wouldn't have gotten so out of hand. I know it's hard to believe the worst about your child, but when her mother and various teachers all say Hanna behaves a certain way, it shouldn't be too hard to find the problem. However, Alex is endlessly in favor of his child. A child that has chosen not to speak for seven years just to (partially) torment people.

I had a lot of issues with Hanna's character. I understand most of them are intentional, but there were other small things that stood out. For example, Hanna is seven, but she thinks like a much older child. I tried to imagine my own child (he's four) saying those things, but it's not something I could even picture in my head. There was something wrong with Hanna on a fundamental level, and she needed help that her parents couldn't provide. Meanwhile, the relationship between mother and daughter became strained and even dangerous.

Honestly, I have no idea what I would do in Suzette's situation. On the one hand, I would want to be the best mother to my child. I would always look for redeeming qualities, or ways that maybe I could change to be a better influence. It would take me awhile to ask for help and admit that there was something wrong, but I don't think I would ever let it get dangerous. I also know my husband wouldn't brush off my concerns and accuse me overreacting. He trusts me enough to know that I wouldn't joke about something as series as our child's mental stability.

In the end, all of this could have been resolved a lot faster if Suzette had been able to prove that Hanna was one way with her, and another with her father. So my questions is... why didn't she just put a camera in her house that Hanna was unaware of? Then she'd have proof that Hanna was behaving like a psychopath, and it wouldn't be her word against her daughter's. Suzette may have been out of her element regarding her child's issues, but she was still the adult, and I feel like there were a lot of ways she could have kept things from escalating the way they did. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My Weekly Pull [28] & Can't Wait Wednesday [3]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #21 by Jody Houser, Scott Koblish, Ryan Stegman
Domino #4 by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Greg Land
Hunt for Wolverine Adamantium Agenda #3 (of 4) by Tom Taylor, R. Silva, Greg Land
New Mutants Dead Souls #5 (of 6) by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Ryan Stegman

Jacob's comics for the week! (I might read them eventually...)

Optimus Prime #20
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Urban Legends #3
Transformers Unicron #1
Amazing Spider-Man #1
Daredevil #605
Deadpool Assassin #3
Punisher #227

Domino might have a new love interest, and he looks great without a shirt on! He popped up at the end of the last issue and caused Domino to lose her filter. She was rambling on about having a boyfriend but it not being exclusive... it was like her brain and mouth had stopped communicating. From the cover, I would guess the two are getting a little cozy... πŸ˜‰

I'm actually really excited for all four of these! Hunt for Wolverine Adamantium Agenda and New Mutants Dead Souls are both one away from their last issue. I'm happy because things are winding down and coming to and end, but it's also sad because they're ending. At least I still have The Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows! It's sooo good.

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Dare You to Lie (Hometown Antihero, #1)
by Amber Lynn Natusch
Expected publication: September 4, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.

All Ky cares about is clearing her father’s name, but someone won’t let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her.


Determined to expose the town's hidden skeletons, Ky unwittingly thrusts herself into a much bigger plot. They thought she’d forgive and forget. They’re about to learn they messed with the wrong girl. 

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I'm not usually into suspenseful thrillers, but I don't think I'll be able to resist this one! Ky's father was framed for murder and she's having to deal with a scandal from her past. I feel like there's a lot going on, and I'm curious how she'll handle everything. I also want to know what the town is hiding, and how her relationship with a new FBI agent will work out...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday [3]

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings! It's a weekly meme that discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Q: What do you like about reading on an e-reader?

I like being able to read at night without having a lamp on. I feel like it's more energy efficient, and it doesn't bother my husband if he's trying to sleep. I know I get annoyed with him if he's reading at one o'clock in the morning with his lamp on, because it's like my brain will not officially shut off for the night without total darkness. 

I also like that I can switch from one book to the next with very little effort, and I can update my reading status on Goodreads with a few clicks. If there's something I want to share with the world, Twitter is easily accessible from the same device. I'm starting to think my iPad makes me lazy! 😐

Despite all the things I like about reading on an e-reader, and the many advantages it seems to have, I still prefer physical books. The way they feel, the way they smell, and the overall happiness they provide... there's just nothing like it. I love taking my kids to the library for books, even though I'm sure I could downloaded just as many onto the iPad. That's not what I want for them. I want them to enjoy holding a book in their hands, turning the pages... it's just not the same when it's done on a screen. I'm worried that their generation is going to be too technical before long.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #1) by Nalini Singh

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence--her mind clear of all emotion--Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious...and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...
“She cleared her mind of all other thoughts, her attention only on the wild, beautiful man who called her his sunshine and who saw starlight in her eyes.”
Because… Bears. Ohhh, I loved this one! I completely devoured this beast of a book in less than a week (which is good for me right now with everything else going on). Now, I've heard this is a series within a series, so I'm not entirely sure how it ties into everything else. However, Silver Silence easily stood on its own, and I never had trouble following the story. 

This is the first book I've ever read about changeling bears, but they are the best. I enjoyed their way of life and how the clan was like one giant family. Everyone looks out for their neighbor, and they all help with raising the children. The cubs knew they were loved by everyone and wouldn't hesitate to barrel into an unsuspecting adult. Bears are quite resilient, and their personalities were infectious! Also, can I be a changeling bear? If so, I want to be a StoneWater bear! Valentin can be my alpha any day. 

I've never thought about what it would be like to live without emotion, but now I can definitively say that it's not something I would ever want to do. Yes, it would allow you to avoid heartache and be more efficient as an individual, but people need human contact and feelings. It's a defining characteristic of who we are that often gets overlooked. I want to feel the overwhelming love and joy that I have for my children. I want to hear them laugh, see them smile, and have them know without a doubt how much they are adored by their parents. 

Silver Silence was a truly amazing read that I stumbled across on accident (I have a review copy of the next book, Ocean Light). It has been one of the best parts of my day all week (the hour or so I have to myself once the kids are asleep), and I look forward to revisiting this beautiful and complicated world that Nalili Singh has created. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Mini Reviews [9]

Shanghai Red #1 by Christopher Sebela,
Joshua Hixson (Illustrator), 
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Illustrator), 
Tyler Boss (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Red is one of hundreds shanghaied out of Portland in the late 1800s. Drugged, kidnapped, and sold to a ship’s captain, she wakes up on a boat headed out to sea for years, unable to escape or even reveal who she truly is. Now she’s coming back in a boat covered in blood to find her family and track down the men responsible for stealing her life out from under her.

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Shanghai Red will not be a comic I choose to continue. I'm sure it will be loved by many, just not by me. I expected a lot of violence based on the description, so that wasn't what bothered me (though it was a little confusing and excessive). 

I wish they had explained more of Red's history and what happened to her prior to the opening scene... which ended up having more action than words. The images didn't really add up either, so I was stuck trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Eventually I just moved on without figuring it out.

If you enjoy dirty pirates (that deal in human trafficking), bloody fights (gruesome x10), underestimated women (go girl power), and untrustworthy people (basically everyone so far)--this might be a comic you enjoy.


The Amazing Spider-Man #801
by Dan Slott, Marcos Martin (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): After ten years, Dan Slott’s final issue of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is here, and he isn’t pulling any punches. Joined by one of the best illustrators in the biz, Marcos Martin, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801 is one of the most emotional, heartfelt tales not only in Dan’s run, but in all of Mighty Marveldom itself, and is one Marvel fans around the world won’t want to miss. 

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Dan Slott has been writing this comic for ten years! That's insane! My husband is going to cry if Charles Soule ever stops writing Daredevil, lol. I don't think he will anytime soon, but you never know!

I am in no way caught up on this series, but Jacob asked me to read this once he was finished. It didn't conclude a story, or start a new one... It was more of a goodbye. 

Slott does a wonderful job of showing why Spider-Man is important and what makes him a hero. He's out there saving the world every single day, one person at a time. Protecting someone's mom might not be world-changing for everyone, but it was life-changing for someone. 

If you love Spider-Man, this is definitely an issue to have!


Dazzler: X-Song #1 by Magdelene Visaggio,
Laura Braga (Illustrator), 
Elizabeth Torque (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The Brooklyn punk scene has never been cooler with DAZZLER’s new band taking center stage. But while she’s trying to find herself and reconnect to the one thing she’s always loved, Dazzler stumbles upon a truly toxic part of the underground punk scene. When a new and violent gang threatens the young Inhuman fans that follow her from venue to venue, Dazzler may have to turn to her own past to provide some guidance--and butt kicking.

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I don't think this is going to be one that I continue reading. I was curious about Dazzler and what her story would be about, but it didn't wow me, you know? I thought the story was good, and there was a lot in there about inclusion and being united, but it looks like the main conflict is going to be between the Mutants and the Inhumans. 

From what I gathered... there's a group of mutants that thinks the Inhumans aren't really mutants themselves, even though the Terrigenesis triggered a mutation

I was also a little confused by Colossus being there... isn't he married to Kitty Pryde now? Maybe that's another reality or universe... it's hard to keep up with sometimes! He just seemed a little too cozy with the main character. πŸ˜’


The Magic Order #1 by Mark Millar,
Olivier Coipel (Illustrator),
Adam Hughes (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): We live in a world where we've never seen a monster, and The Magic Order is the reason we sleep safely in our beds. Magic meets the mob in THE MAGIC ORDER, as five families of magicians—sworn to protect our world for generations—must battle an enemy who's picking them off one by one. By day, they live among us as our neighbors, friends, and co-workers, but by night, they are the sorcerers, magicians, and wizards that protect us from the forces of darkness…unless the darkness gets them first. 

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It's official... I've seen my first comic book penis. I'm not going to go into details, but it was weird. Not the penis per se, but the shapeshifter impersonating the naked man... Why did he know what that man's penis looked like? Moving on!

I think I'm going to read the next issue before making a decision, but I'm still on the fence. I liked the dysfunctional family dynamic, and I'm curious if they end up working together to fight this new threat. 

The new threat wasn't very subtle, but their methods were brutal. If you're squeamish, I would recommend staying away from this one. I legitimately shuddered after reading the first page, and I don't think it's going to get better anytime soon. They're gearing up for a fight. 

Magic, monsters, and a murder mystery--my interest is piqued!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Narrated by Bahni Turpin, 
Raymond Lee & Dominic Hoffman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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I loved that Natasha was very scientific and only wanted to believe in the things that she could prove. Of course that meant she didn't believe in love, because how do you prove that?

Daniel's poetic heart and his endless enthusiasm swept me away from the beginning. He was determined to prove to Natasha that love existed, and he wanted to do it with science. They didn't agree on a lot of topics, which I actually found refreshing, so it was fun to watch them learn new things about each other and themselves.

I also learned a lot while listening to this audiobook. Some of my favorite parts were the explanations about different religions, certain histories, and various scientific facts. I enjoyed the conversations about alternate and parallel universes, and how every choice brings with it an infinite number of possibilities. The author clearly did her research and wanted to make sure we were somewhat educated on the subject matter. However, it didn't come across as a lesson, just some additional commentary on what was already being discussed. I think it helped me to better understand the characters and their story.

The adults in this book were the worst. They were selfish, racist, and unwilling to listen to their children. I'm still angry with Natasha's father for saying something a parent should never say, Daniel's brother for being an unapologetic asshole, and Natasha's lawyer for being selfish and unconcerned with his professional responsibilities. 

At the same time, the author points out how every seemingly inconsequential action can have unforeseen consequences. Daniel stopping to leave a dollar in a musician's hat caused him to briefly miss passing Natasha on the subway. Natasha being a few minutes late to her appointment allowed her to pass in front of Daniel for the first time. There were so many small side stories that showed just how much one person could affect the lives around them. 

I think the author raises some important questions about immigrants and what happens to them once they are living in America. In the end, it didn't matter that Natasha's brother was born here, it mattered that his parents had overstayed their travel visa. Children that have no say in whether or not their families remain in America are being forced to leave the only homes they've ever known.

The Sun Is Also a Star was a very thought-provoking story that touched on a lot of relevant subjects. The ending wasn't perfect, but it was incredibly satisfying.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Weekly Pull [27] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [2]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Ant-Man & The Wasp #2 (of 5) by Mark Waid, Javier GarrΓ³n (Illustrator), David Nakayama (Illustrator) *Last month they accidently used the #3 cover for #2, so I have made adjustments to that post as well as this one. This is the correct cover for #2, but the third issue is being released this week.

Hunt for Wolverine Weapon Lost #3 (of 4) by Charles Soule, Matteo Buffagni (Illustrator), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator) 

Infinity Countdown Champions #2 (of 2) by Jim Zub, Clayton Crain

It's a really short list this week, which is actually a good thing! I have a lot of comics that I need to catch up on, and my wallet will get a nice reprieve, lol. There were two or three that we decided to stop reading, so that narrowed things down a bit. Lately I've been enjoying the first few issues of a comic, but then lose interest. A story has to make me want to keep coming back.

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick
Expected publication: August 14, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads) Part love story, part thriller, We Were Liars meets Goodbye Days in this suspenseful, lyrical debut.

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun. 

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

God's teeth (one of Tella's favorite phrases) is an accurate description of my feelings regarding this book. I loved the world and the idea of Caraval, but I just could not get behind any of the characters and what they were trying to achieve. I doubt even they knew what they wanted the majority of the time. Their priorities and feelings changed every chapter. It was exhausting to keep up with.

Tella was more likable than Scarlett, but she was still incredibly frustrating. She based most of her decisions on how they would make someone else feel, or constantly worried what might happen if they found out she had done this or that. It seemed like she was always trying to make Dante jealous, or wanted to see how someone would react to something she said or did. A lot of the time she just didn't think something through at all. 

The ARC I received for review also gave away who Legend was before they were actually revealed in the story. A simple typo where the author referred to Legend as Legend instead of the person they were portraying in the game. 

I think my biggest issue is the many, many threads and side stories the author has created. It's almost impossible to keep up with everything. Everyone has secrets. Like, life-altering and world-shattering secrets, yet they choose to keep them to themselves. I wish we had been given more answers instead of piling all the questions on top of each other. I need a little more resolution within my stories, and this series resolves very little. A single answer only added more questions.

Despite everything... I still want to finish this series and see how it ends. My hope is that the final book will have more answers and finally tie everything together into one coherent story.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.


Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”
I can really relate to this quote! People love to give me books (no complaints here), but no one ever gives me socks. I love socks (especially fuzzy socks, but plain socks are great, too). I feel like I never have enough, so I'm always looking to add to my less-than-stellar sock drawer.

I try to re-read this series every year, but it's not always doable. I remember falling in love with reading as a child because of these books. My fourth grade teacher was reading through the books herself, but she didn't start reading them aloud until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the fourth book), which was cruel and ridiculous (her not the book). Even at a young age, I knew books were meant to be read in the order they were written. Not everything works like the Star Wars movies. 

Eventually I checked out the first three books and spent the next week locked in my room. I devoured every page. Harry Potter brought magic and friendship into my life. I could relate to him and his living situation (more than I would ever admit), and it was nice to see him conquering evil every book. He made his life better by choosing to do the right thing, and because he had amazing friends to spend his days with.

I feel like I learn something new every time I re-read these books. It's like they apply to me differently based on where I am in my life. A phrase or an action might make more sense to me now as an adult than it did when I was nine or ten. For example, I thought Snape was romantic and in love when I first read through this series. He was the mean teacher that students avoided, but now I see it was more than that. Snape was a bully. He was biased against Harry from the start, but not because Harry himself had done anything wrong. No, Snape had his own personal issues that he chose to take out on an eleven-year-old child. That's fucked up. His treatment of children should have prevented him from being an instructor entirely. The fact that Dumbledore vouched for him, and saw him as a good friend, only makes me question Dumbledore's judgement. 

In the end, this is a series I will always treasure. The characters and the world have literally changed my life. They've been there for me when I needed an escape (more than a lot of other books that I've enjoyed), and I love that I can still find new things about the series every time I pick it up and start to read. It makes it feel like I'm reading it for the first time again.

This re-read I read the book out loud to my son. He's four, so I wasn't sure what he would take away from the story, but he did learn what a unicorn was. I may have skipped over some of the more gruesome aspects of those scenes for his benefit, but still explained to him what a unicorn was and how they appeared. He drew one for me the next day! He might not retain everything I say/read at this point, but I think it's good to expose him to literature and new ideas, concepts, and ways of thinking.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

State of the ARC [2] & Weezer Concert

This is a new meme started over at Avalinah’s Books for tracking your ARC progress. I actually really love this idea and think it will help me better manage my current reads!

At the end of June 2018:
Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber *Currently Reading (7/1/18)
The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara
Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back, #2) by A.V. Geiger

Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington
Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic, #1) by Megan Crewe
Where the Sea Takes Me (Sea, #2) by Heidi R. Kling 

These are the ARCs I didn't have a chance to read before their release date! I'll finish Legendary today (which I'm enjoying more than Caraval), and I plan on starting Ruthless Magic next. I only have two books to review for July, so I'm going to spend this month trying to catch up on what I've missed. Six books isn't too bad! It's totally doable. 

I didn't realize Tell Me No Lies was a sequel, and I'm not sure if it's a series that needs to be read in order... does anyone know? Can I read this one by itself, or do I need to track down the first book? I've been looking forward to Where the Sea Takes Me, because I feel like the first book (Where I Found You) left me with a lot of unanswered questions. However, the second book has a different setting, so I still might not get those answers.

Yesterday was my birthday! Jacob and I went to a Weezer concert! The Wombats and Pixies were the two bands that played before, and we had a blast. It's not often that he and I get to go out together without the kiddos. Weezer did a few covers (including Africa), and it's always fun to sing along to their original songs. My voice isn't all the way there today. I keep croaking in the middle of a sentence.

We had lawn seats for the show, but the best part... the food we ate beforehand. Austin has a lot of vegan restaurants, but we decided to try a vegan food truck! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Jacob and I shared a Bacon Mac n' Cheese Burger (seitan bacon, plant patty, and cashew cheese), and a Street Taco. There were also fries, but honestly they couldn't compare to their delicious companions. #yum


I hope everyone had a good weekend! What are you reading right now? Anything I should add to my list? <3