Tuesday, October 18, 2016

TTT: Halloween Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
(This is technically next week's Top Ten Tuesday, but I had to choose my favorite between the two options for this post. This won out.)

I never really did Halloween growing up. For me, October was all about the annual Dark and Stormy Night murder mystery program my library would host. It included guest mystery authors and a mystery writing contest, so most of my suggestions are more 'creepy' than straight-up 'Halloween'.

Suggested Halloween Reads:

Dracula by Bram Stoker
I'm in the middle of this right now and it's way more than I expected. Granted, having never seen any of the movies or anything, I'm not really sure what I did expect. But this is more than a story of a guy who drinks blood and it's kind of freaking me out. I love it.

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Dudes. Dudes. I recently read this book. I haven't posted my review yet, but it's coming and this. Is. Amazing. I'm not into really scary books or gore or slashers or anything and I LOVE THIS BOOK. (I've already finished the series to date, which kind of tells you how much I loved it.) I could not put this down. It's disturbing and amusing and even more disturbing because you're amused by it. It's also deep, with incredible character depth and development, and a fantastic plot for these great characters. This is probably my Most Blown Away Read of the year.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Yes, his name is really Odd. But it fits, because he can see ghosts. Odd Thomas does his best to help them move on to the afterlife, and a lot of times that means solving murders and possibly tangling with demonic forces. I love this series.

Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee
Okay, I'm only 40 pages into this book right now, but I love it. It's the first of the Dead Detective series about the ghost of a homicide detective who failed at everything in life and, in death, finds the chance to fix some of his mistakes and do some good.

Tales from the Haunted Mansion, vol 1: The Fearsome Foursome by Amicus Arcane
I haven't technically started this but it's got to be good, right? IT'S A HAUNTED MANSION BOOK.


Suggested Halloween Movies:


Charade
This is a murder mystery, not a Halloween film. Starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, it's a thriller with lots of laughs -Cary Grant is always good for a laugh- when Hepburn's character discovers her late husband was murdered for something that now belongs to her.

The Thin Man
Just a straight-up, good ol' fashioned murder mystery with lots of laughs and lots of gin. William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora; based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett. (The sequel, After the Thin Man, also stars Jimmy Stewart. Bonus!)

Arsenic and Old Lace
Number one. Numero uno. If you only watch one movie this month, make it this Cary Grant thriller/comedy about a newlywed who finds a body in the window seat. What makes it Halloween appropriate (other than Murder Most Foul)? It all happens on one day. October 31st.

Coraline
Nothing is as creepy as the Other Mother.

Heart and Souls
Halloween? Okay, maybe not. But there are ghosts! Four ghosts are linked to a baby born at the moment of their deaths. When that baby grows up to be a workaholic Robert Downey Jr., the ghosts discover they're meant to use him as a method for completing their unfinished business -whether he likes it or not!

My To-Watch List:
The Mummy, Nosferatu, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, & The Wolfman

What does your Halloween reading/watching forecast look like?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

TTT: My Fall TBR REVISITED


Okay. Two weeks ago I did the Fall TBR post and I've realized none of the books I'm actually working on reading EVEN MADE THE LIST. And since I'm trying to maintain my sanity and actually use TBRs as good organizing tools instead of impossible challenges, I'm amending my Fall TBR to something realistic for me.
First things first: The Fall TBR will be read between October and November 25th.

There. Now I have a deadline.   
Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1. Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer
No way in heck is this changing!
Yeah. No brainer. I haven't shut up about this book since it was announced and it releases on October 25th. LET THE COUNTDOWN COMMENCE! And I've already pre-ordered it. (You can too! We're talking a $9.65 hardcover pre-order from Barnes and Noble, people; don't think, just do it.)

2. The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
Sitting on my up-next shelf as we speak!
I'd never heard of this, but I picked it up at a thrift store. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I've got a list of those I want to read before March. (Gee, wonder why...)
Double bonus! I've been hearing recently about Lackey's Elemental Masters series, which sounds phenomenal. Turns out this is the beginning of that. Score.
3. Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? edited by John Granger
This has been sitting on my shelf for two weeks already. Why didn't I add it in the first place?!
This is way too much fun to pass up. Six essay/fan theories on what happened in Half-Blood Prince and what it means for Deathly Hallows, published before book seven came out. I've flipped through and it looks *fantastic!* Definitely stuff here I totally missed out on since I was a latecomer to the series. Like, there's a theory Slughorn took on Dumbledore's identity? So Dumbledore's really still alive?
It escapes no one's notice the editor's name is 'Granger', either.

4-6 Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox, Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee and Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet
These stay, because OCTOBER IS MURDER MYSTERY MONTH!
October is always 'murder mystery' month for me, born of the annual theme at the library where I grew up and the fact that my family didn't celebrate Halloween, so every year about this time I try to read some nice good murders and these three are already on the list. We'll see if I can make it through any of them. Murder mysteries are notoriously sticky for me to explore; I tend to like stuff a little grittier than cozies, but that usually means they're nowhere near clean, either.

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Again, I knew it would be read. Why didn't I add it?!
Book club pick for the month!

8. The Faerie Reel edited by Ellen Datlow 
Anthology of short stories. I didn't add it initially, because I figured it would be sort of 'on the side' reading. But I never really do 'on the side' reading. It's all in or nothing!
9. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
If you've lost count on how many times this has popped up on one of these season TBRs, you're not alone. I have too. But the next time this title pops up on my blog, it will be in sidebar 'What I'm Reading' section and then in a review because, come on, this is getting ridiculous.

10. Pwned by Shannen Crane Camp
Another title that's been on my TBR for a while, which turns a few cliches on their heads. Beautiful, popular, cheerleader co-captain Reagan West has a dark secret: she's a die-hard gamer, which is basically Loser Central.

Bonus 11: Marvel's Original Sin and Civil War
I'm way behind on my comic reading, so I'm going to start setting aside at least one night a week to devote to comics. No exceptions!
Before Captain America: Civil War hit theaters, I planned to read the comic, but the comic was actually the last in a grand story arc so I had to read the rest of them. I got through the rest of them, but never actually made it to Civil War. Huzzah.
Original Sin made the list because I went to read the next issue of the Loki: Agent of Asgard and had no bloody clue what was going on.

So what remains are the, er, remains of my original Fall TBR, so we're calling this my backup. IF I get through the others, IF I have time, this will be next. Ahhh, I feel so much better... ^_^


Aftermath and Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
These are from my shelf and I'm rather ashamed I haven't gotten around to them yet. But seeing as the final book is due out in February, I ought to get them into my system. Also, I'm hoping it gives a good transition from Empire to First Order. *fingers crossed*

Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The sequel just hit the new book display at my library and it looks and sounds like a library lover's dream.

What are you reading this fall?
And are you any better at finishing TBR lists than I am?

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Monday! Here's what I'm reading...

Look! I found a new book meme!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I read last week:

The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells
This is book four in the John Cleaver series and, yeah, I'm in love. This concept/genre is so not up my alley I almost didn't pick up the first book -I Am Not A Serial Killer- but I'm glad I did. IT'S SO GOOD. Review to come.

Original Sin #2 by Jason Aaron
This Marvel comic is on my Fall TBR, so *score*.

The Rocketeer #1 by Dave Stevens
OHMYGOSH I'M SO EXCITED I FOUND THIS! I loooove the movie and I've wanted to read the comic for ages and I just stumbled across it at my library. LOVE IT.

What I'm currently reading:

Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells
Book five of the John Cleaver series and I don't have the heart to fly through it in a night like I did the other four. Don't get me wrong; I love it! But it's also a fairly recent release so even if it doesn't turn out to be the last book in the series (I have no idea; kind of dreading looking it up), I'll have a long wait for the next one.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
This is my book club's pick this month and, oh gee, look at that, book club date draws nigh! I'm actually excited to read this, because it's one I never thought I would, but I've recently been getting into the 'Silver Scream' favorites.

The Faerie Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm edited by Ellen Datlow
An anthology of short stories regarding the Otherworld and fairy folk. So far, I like it, and it helps get me into the mood for my current work in progress. Bonus!

What I'm Reading Next:

 


The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
Another from my Fall TBR, it's both a Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I'm trying to read a ton of before March, and it's ground zero for Lackey's Elemental Masters series which has been on the back of my TBR for awhile.

Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee
I've heard very mixed reviews on this mystery series whose main character is a dead detective, but I snuck the first chapter in before work one day and I'm so excited to read it.






Did you notice that only one of my current titles in from my Fall TBR? I sure did. I'm going to be redoing that tomorrow.

What are you currently reading?

Friday, September 30, 2016

INTERVIEW & COVER REVEAL | Cursed by the Fountain of Youth by Holly Kelly (Unnatural States of America)

Don't Miss the Rafflecopter Giveaway at the End of the Post for a chance to win a Signed Paperback copy of any of Holly Kelly's other books, a $25.00 Gift Card, Ebooks, and Many Other Prizes!



Blurb:


For centuries, countless adventurers have searched for the Fountain of Youth. Those who found it thought they would gain eternal life. Instead, they find themselves murdered by its guardians. There was, however, one, lone survivor—Fae Miller. As an infant, she not only survived the Fountain, she took its power.


Twenty-two years later, Fae is hiding in plain sight at a local college. She’s is determined to leave the past behind her and live a normal life. But for one dying man, the search for the Fountain of Youth continues, and he is leaving a trail of blood and mutilated bodies in his wake. Unfortunately, that trail leads directly to Fae. Her only hope is a young, new college professor, also known as Special Agent Nick Chase of the FBI. Nick is determined to do two things: keep Fae alive, and keep his relationship with his student professional. Both of these jobs prove difficult—especially when love and magic get involved.

Excerpt:


They ate their dinner in silence. Fae realized in those quiet moments that she had a major problem.
She’d not only kissed her professor, she desperately wanted to kiss him again. No. Desperate was not a strong enough word. It took supreme effort not to jump out of her seat and throw her arms around him.
“Um,” she said and cleared her throat, “that probably shouldn’t happen again.”
Nick didn’t answer. A scowl settled on his face.
“I mean,” Fae continued, “This could complicate things. I don’t want you to feel you need to give me a good grade, just because you might…”
“Might what?” he asked when she didn’t’ continue.
“I don’t want to put words in your mouth,” she said.
“Right,” he said. He seemed want to say something, but paused to consider his words. “How about I tell you how I feel? That way you won’t be putting words into my mouth.”
“Okay.”
He looked her directly in the eyes. “I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. So it goes without saying that I’m attracted to you. And I’ve had enough experience with women to know you’ve had little experience with men. Rules aside, I’d still move slowly with you.”
Fae swallowed and gave a shaky nod.
“But the truth is I am your professor. So this relationship cannot move further than what it is now. That is until the end of the term. And no, I won’t be giving you any grade you don’t deserve.”
“But, once the term ends,” he continued, “all bets are off. I intend to pursue a relationship with you. I expect keeping my hands off you will be difficult in the meantime. I think we are both reasonable adults and have enough self-control to keep things at a professional level. Right?”
Fae nodded, feeling a bit relieved. “I do have one question,” she said.
“Yes?”
“You said our relationship couldn’t go farther than it is.”
“Right,” he said.
“And we’ve already kissed.”
A frown settled on his face. It looked like he could guess what she was about to say. Warmth flooded her cheeks. She asked in a small voice, “So, can I kiss you again?”
He closed his eyes and shook his head as he groaned and gave a weak chuckle. “You’re going to make things difficult, aren’t you?” When he opened his eyes, he stood up, pulled her out of her seat, and wrapped his arms around her. Her eyes widened and heart pounded as her body melded against his. He looked down and gave her a smoldering look as the scent of his cologne teased her senses and made her mouth water.
 “I can’t think of any alternate reality where I would ever say no when you ask me that question.” With that said, he leaned forward and kissed her so thoroughly, she could scarcely remember her own name.


I had the chance to ask Holly a few fun questions, so here goes!

Amanda: I adore the idea of 'The Unnatural States of America'; what inspired it? 

Holly: It sprang from the ideas I had for a couple books. I began to write Cursed by the Fountain of Youth after the close of the last book of my latest series—The Rising Series. And then in midst of writing, I got an idea I absolutely loved about a twist for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story too. And then I got to thinking, that there are a lot of amazing legends right here in the US. So, why don’t I write books about those legends?

A: There are several theories on the location of the Fountain of Youth; which is your favorite? 

H: I love the thought, that in some cultures, it isn’t just a vague legend, they have an absolute belief that they have the fountain of youth. In my book, I actually took a couple of different legends and connect them. In Ethiopia, there is a pool that supposedly will return vitality and strength to a person. The pool is real, people use it, and my guess is it has minerals and properties that do have some benefits. Then there’s the power of belief at work there that can be a powerful thing. Then I use the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon supposedly searched for in Florida (around the St. Augustine area). There are also legends about a secret society of guardians that protect the fountain. It’s so secrets that no one knows the name of it, and of course, where it is located. When I found this out, I thought, “This is so going in my book!”

A:  What did you edit out of this book?

H: I really didn’t edit much out; I did change some things though. The character of Fae really changed for me as I wrote the story. I started out wanting to write a character who was strong, opinionated, and tough (kind of like Gretchen in my second Rising book), but the chemistry wasn’t working between her and Nick. So I had to rewrite some of the beginning. I seem to prefer women characters who have insecurities and fears, but rise to meet challenges and find an inner strength they didn’t know they had. I guess I can relate more to these women.

A: What was your hardest scene to write? 

H; The scenes where there is action, heart break, and suffering are the easiest for me to write. What’s a little more difficult for me is the day to day scenes—the ones where you get to know the characters. Action scenes have to be balanced with character building scenes, so I do it. And if I’m doing it right, I really enjoy the low-down scenes.  But, I love writing action. As for one difficult scene, I can’t think of any in this book that was hard to write.

A: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

H: I have a friend who wrote a book I thought was brilliant. I was swallowed up in the story as I read it, and I absolutely loved it. I was sure it would be a big seller but, although it’s had okay sales, it never really caught on as big as I thought it would. It’s called Reluctant Guardian by Melissa J. Cunningham. If you want to find a gem that not many have read, pick up this book!


About the Author:

Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--she hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. She was born in Utah but moved around a bit, living in Kansas, Texas, and Hawaii where she studied marine biology. She's now back in Utah--"happy valley". She's married to a wonderful husband, James, and they are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, creating Halloween props, and spending time with family.

https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Book-1-Holly-Kelly-ebook/dp/B00EZRNT5W/ 

Find Holly at: AuthorHollyKelly.com

 

Pick Up the First Book in Holly Kelly's Best-Selling Rising Series for FREE Now!







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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shelf Control #4 | The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

Shelf Control
hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies
Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
San Francisco, 1905: Rosalind, a medieval scholar, is hired by Jason, a powerful sorcerer. Jason's enemy offers to restore Rosalind's family fortune if she will betray Jason. And then the earthquake strikes. . . .

How I got it:
I picked this up at a thrift store. For $1. I loooooove thrift stores, you guys.

When I got it:
A couple weeks ago, maybe August 2016. Definitely not the unread book I've owned the longest, but one I'm eager to read.

Why I want to read it:
I've been very intrigued by the idea of Lackey's Elemental Masters series, so I really hoped this was one of them -after the fact I found out this is basically ground zero for the series, the beginning if not technically 'book one'- but mostly I got it because it's a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. As I mentioned in yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday, I'm trying to read ALL OF THE RE-TELLINGS before the live-action version hits theaters in March. (Wish me luck!) Plus, I've never read anything by Lackey before and, for a girl whose first love is fantasy, that seems like something it needs to be remedied, poste haste.

What series is on your To Read list that you seem to keep putting off?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TTT: Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Some (well, one) of these are new releases and some (er, most) are age-old TBRs from my shelf or Goodreads. All of them WILL BE READ this fall. (I know I've said that before, but this time I'm serious!)

Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer
Yeah. No brainer. I haven't shut up about this book since it was announced and it releases on October 25th. LET THE COUNTDOWN COMMENCE! And I've already pre-ordered it. (You can too! We're talking a $9.65 hardcover pre-order from Barnes and Noble, people; don't think, just do it.)

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
I'd never heard of this, but I picked it up at a thrift store. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I've got a list of those I want to read before March. (Gee, wonder why...)
Double bonus! I've been hearing recently about Lackey's Elemental Masters series, which sounds phenomenal. Turns out this is the beginning of that. Score.
Aftermath and Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
These are from my shelf and I'm rather ashamed I haven't gotten around to them yet. But seeing as the final book is due out in February, I ought to get them into my system. Also, I'm hoping it gives a good transition from Empire to First Order. *fingers crossed*

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
If you've lost count on how many times this has popped up on one of these season TBRs, you're not alone. I have too. But the next time this title pops up on my blog, it will be in sidebar 'What I'm Reading' section and then in a review because, come on, this is getting ridiculous.

Marvel's Original Sin and Civil War
Before Captain America: Civil War hit theaters, I planned to read the comic, but the comic was actually the last in a grand story arc so I had to read the rest of them. I got through the rest of them, but never actually made it to Civil War. Huzzah.
Original Sin made the list because I went to read the next issue of the Loki: Agent of Asgard and had no bloody clue what was going on.

Pwned by Shannen Crane Camp
Another title that's been on my TBR for a while, which turns a few cliches on their heads. Beautiful, popular, cheerleader co-captain Reagan West has a dark secret: she's a die-hard gamer, which is basically Loser Central.

Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The sequel just hit the new book display at my library and it looks and sounds like a library lover's dream.

Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox, Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee and Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet
October is always 'murder mystery' month for me, born of the annual theme at the library where I grew up and the fact that my family didn't celebrate Halloween, so every year about this time I try to read some nice good murders and these three are already on the list. We'll see if I can make it through any of them. Murder mysteries are notoriously sticky for me to explore; I tend to like stuff a little grittier than cozies, but that usually means they're nowhere near clean, either.

Crap. I think I put too many books on the TBR again. :P

What are you reading this fall?
And are you any better at finishing TBR lists than I am?

Monday, September 19, 2016

#BookmarkMonday (8) -Confucius


"No matter how busy you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." -Confucius

My library has a constant flow of weird and wonderful cardstock bookmarks and this is just one of many I've picked up from work.

ANY GUESSES ON WHAT BOOK THIS IS?