Thursday, December 5, 2019

2019 End of the Year Giveaway!

Hello lovelies! I feel like so much has happened this year! My husband was deployed for most of it, and the kiddos and I made a big move so we would be closer to family while he was away (moving with small children and pets is challenging). My son started school this year! My baby is in Kindergarten! The girls just had another birthday, and they're developing very big personalities. As for me, this was the year I turned 30! I'm actually really okay with this, and I am loving where I'm at in life right now.

Through all of this, I've had you guys! You've been there for most of these milestones (in one way or another), and blogging has connected us all. I really love this community and the support it provides. There are people all over the world willing to send positive vibes, a thoughtful tweet, or a funny GIF. There are others that will reach out via email, or leave an encouraging comment. We interact on blogs, Twitter, Instagram, and probably a few other places. Goodreads! It's such a vast community that I really enjoy being a part of. 

This year was my first year participating in #OTSPSecretSister, and I've been having a blast! I recently discovered who my person was (she gave me clues, so of course I Sherlock'd the situation), and I think my person has an inkling of who I am. My White Rabbit has sent very thoughtful boxes that always seem to arrive at just the right time! One of the boxes contained an ARC of A Heart So Fierce and Broken, which was one of my most anticipated reads! I'm reading it right now, and it's seriously good. I'm trying to savor the experience! 

Surprisingly, about a week later, I won a second ARC of A Heart So Fierce and Broken. I know a lot of you have expressed an interest in this book (on Instagram and on Twitter), so I thought it would make the perfect prize for a giveaway! 


This giveaway officially starts on December 5th and ends on December 25th. The winner will be announced on December 26th on this post within the Rafflecopter form, and also notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will have Rafflecopter select another winner (read my full giveaway policy here).

International friends -- your giveaway will be a little different! Instead the book mentioned above, you can choose one book (up to $15) from The Book Depository! Just make sure they ship to you, which you can check right here. I know it's not the same thing, but I don't want to leave anyone out!

If the first winner is international, a second winner will be chosen for the book listed above.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

My Weekly Pull [99] & Can't Wait Wednesday [69]

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, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Daredevil #14 by Chip Zdarsky, Francesco Mobili, Marco Checchetto, Julian Totino Tedesco
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance #3 by Nicole Andelfinger, Matias Balsa, Mona Finden
Marauders #3 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman

Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble #2 by Mariko Tamaki, Gurihiru
Star Wars (Marvel) #1 by Marvel (Facsimile Edition)

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia #1 by Steven Moffat, Jay, Will Conrad
Venom 2099 One Shot by Jody Houser, Geraldo Borges, Francesco Mobili, Clayton Crain

Jacob's comics for the week:
Amazing Spider-Man #35 by Nick Spencer, Patrick Gleason, Tony Daniel
Doctor Doom #3 by Christopher Cantwell, Salvador Larroca, Aco
Kick-Ass #16 by Steve Niles, Marcelo Frusin
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 by Ryan Parrot, Simone Di Meo, Kevin Eastman
Savage Avengers #8 by Gerry Duggan, Patrick Zircher
Spawn #303 by Todd McFarlane, Jason Shawn Alexander
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder In Hell #5 by Mateus Santolouco, Kevin Eastman
Usagi Yojimbo #7 by Stan Sakai

Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble wasn't what I was expecting, but that's totally my fault. The characters were very childish, which is actually appropriate, since this comic is geared towards a younger audience (that's the bit I didn't know going into this one). I enjoyed the story more when I re-read it with my son, but it's not something I would grab for solo reading. 

Look at the pretty Star Wars comics! Here's the synopsis for Star Wars (Marvel) #1: 

Months before the first Star Wars movie had even arrived in theaters, Marvel Comics' STAR WARS #1 hit the stands, and introduced eager readers to a galaxy far, far away! Its cover asked: 'Luke Skywalker: Will he save the galaxy or destroy it?' - and inside, readers eager to know the answer joined Luke on the first, fateful steps of his epic journey from the deserts of Tatooine to the very heart of the Rebellion! This opening chapter of Marvel's adaptation of George Lucas' cinematic masterpiece features the debuts of some of the most beloved characters in cinematic history - including Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, and of course, the ruthless enforcer of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader! It's one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, boldly re-presented in its original form, ads and all! Reprinting STAR WARS (1977) #1.

Also, I'm in love with the Sherlock cover. 

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.

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs 
by Leslie Connor
Expected publication: February 25th 2020
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Lydia knows more about death than most thirteen-year-olds. Her mother was already sick when her father left them six years ago. When her mother dies, it is Lydia who sits by her side.

Fully orphaned now, Lydia follows the plan her mother made with her. She uproots to rural Connecticut to live with her “last of kin.” Aunt Brat, her jovial wife Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord Elloroy welcome Lydia. Only days after her arrival the women adopt a big yellow dog.

Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Lydia doesn’t want to cause trouble for her new family—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling . . .

….like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…

….and why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…

…..and why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost?

Leslie Connor has created another unique masterpiece, wholly original and beautifully crafted.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family—and the world’s best bad dog.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Charlie Hernández and the Castle of Bones
(Charlie Hernández, #2) by Ryan Calejo
[Blog Tour: Spotlight & Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Charlie Hernández and the Castle of Bones blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Initially, I was going to review this book for the tour, but my copy of the book never arrived. However, I do get to share this lovely spotlight post with you! Thank you for stopping by, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

Author: Ryan Calejo
Pub. Date: November 12, 2018
Publisher: Aladdin
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 608
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America, this bold sequel to Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, which Booklist called “a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan” in a starred review, follows Charlie as he continues on his quest to embrace his morphling identity.

Charlie Hernandez still likes to think of himself as a normal kid. But what’s normal about being a demon-slaying preteen with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hispanic and Latino mythology who can partially manifest nearly any animal trait found in nature? Well, not much. But, Charlie believes he can get used to this new “normal,” because being able to sprout wings or morph fins is pretty cool.

But there is a downside: it means having to constantly watch his back for La Mano Peluda’s sinister schemes. And when the leader of La Liga, the Witch Queen Jo herself, is suddenly kidnapped, Charlie’s sure they’re at it again.

Determined to save the queen and keep La Liga’s alliances intact, Charlie and his good friend Violet Rey embark on a perilous journey to track down her captors. As Charlie and Violet are drawn deeper into a world of monstruos and magia they are soon left with more questions than answers—like, why do they keep hearing rumors of dead men walking, and why is Charlie suddenly having visions of an ancient evil: a necromancer priest who’s been dead for more than five centuries?

Charlie’s abuela once told him that when dead men walk, the living run in fear. And Charlie’s about to learn the truth of that—the hard way. 

About Ryan:

Ryan Calejo was born and raised in south Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He’s been invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to. His first novel was Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows. Find Ryan on: Simon & Schuster Webpage | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
2 winners will win a signed hardcover of CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE CASTLE OF BONES, US ONLY.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/15/19 Southern Girl Bookaholic Review 

Week Two: 
11/18/2019 BookHounds YA Excerpt
11/19/2019 Twirling Book Princess Excerpt
11/20/2019 @___nimraaa Excerpt
11/21/2019 onemused Review
11/22/2019 For the Love of KidLit Excerpt

Week Three: 
11/25/2019 HBB Reviews Review
11/26/2019 Cuz I’m a Nerd Review
11/27/2019 Review
11/28/2019 Review
11/29/2019 Little Red Reads Review

Week Four: 
12/2/2019 DJREADSBOOKS Review
12/3/2019 Do You Dog-ear? Review
12/4/2019 The Reading Corner for All Review
12/5/2019 Hurn Publications Review
12/6/2019 BookishRealmReviews Review

Week Five: 
12/9/2019 She Just Loves Books Review
12/10/2019 Life Within The Pages Review
12/11/2019 Books_andPoetrii Excerpt
12/12/2019 Two points of interest Review 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1) by Rosaria Munda

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that's full of rivalry, romance... and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.
"I haul Aela to a halt midair so hard that I rock forward in the saddle and she hawks against the bit."
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

First of all, Fireborne was nothing like Game of Thrones. It's a terrible comparison. Yes, they both have dragons, but that's where the similarities stop. Second, there's some rivalry, but it's definitely not full of romance and dragons. The cover and synopsis are very misleading, which I think does this book a disservice.

I went into this one thinking it was going to be a book about dragons. Were dragons present? Yes. Were they an important aspect of the story? Not really. I like my dragons fierce and capable, or sentient and conversational. The dragons in Fireborne were neither. They were essentially glorified horses with wings, and I really struggled with how they were portrayed. They were more like pets than companions.

Basically, a dragon selects a human when they're young, and then the two form an unbreakable bond. Their owners are given whistles that summon their dragons to them (the whistles create a sound only the dragons can hear, and each dragon responds to a different whistle). How did the humans create these whistles, since they can't hear the frequencies? They also saddle the dragons and place bits in their mouths, which isn't a very dignified existence for the dragons. Some of the riders would spillover while flying with their dragons (meaning their minds and emotions were linked), and that's the closest thing to a conversation anyone had with a dragon. It was super frustrating to see the dragons being used this way, and how they were held responsible for their owner's actions. It would be like punishing a dog for attacking someone when they were trained to obey a specific command.

As for the romance... it was seriously nonexistent. Lee gets handsy with someone as a distraction, but it's obvious he only cares about one person. Their histories make their friendship complicated, and Annie can't get over the face from her past. Her reservations made sense at first, but once we learn about everything Lee did for her, I no longer understood her hesitation. Her actions actually started to irritate me, and I never really liked her as a character. She wants to overcome the obstacles of her past, but she's unwilling to commit to her present. When she finally takes some initiative, it makes her sick (as it should), but neither she nor Lee challenge the decisions of others (even though they don't agree with what they're being asked to do).

Lee is understandably conflicted, and he's torn between what he knows and what he knows to be right. However, the people he's currently fighting for don't always make the best decisions, so it's hard to really choose a side. It seems like death is inevitable, and I disagree with the concept. The author said this book was loosely based on Plato's The Republic and Virgil's Aeneid, but that didn't make the story more enjoyable. Honestly, I thought the book was way too long, and wish it had been condensed for a quicker pace.

I almost gave up on this book, but instead took about two months to read it. I never wanted to pick it up, because I knew it was going to be a long and arduous process. Reading a book shouldn't feel like work, and that's exactly what Fireborne felt like to me. It didn't help that the dragon's played a minor role, and the characters were unbelievably frustrating.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

State of the ARC [17]

State of the ARC is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah at Avalinah's Books! It's an opportunity for readers to catch up on their long overdue ARCs, but right now I'm using it to keep up with my upcoming ARCs instead. It helps me stay organized!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2) by Brigid Kemmerer (1/7)
Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (1/7)
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (1/21)

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo (1/21)
When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (1/28)
Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith (1/28)

Foul is Fair (Foul is Fair, #1) by Hannah Capin (2/4)
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (2/4)
Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer (2/11)

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2/11)
Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (3/3)
Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner (4/7)

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer (4/14)
The Jane Austin Society by Natalie Jenner (5/26)
What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin (6/23)

Recent additions: 

How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian (1/28)
Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry (3/24)
Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (5/5)

I'm trying to get a head start on my January reads, because there's a lot. I've already started A Heart So Fierce and Broken, and it's wonderful! What are you reading right now? Is it good?