Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon TBR Choices

After finding the Pokemon Go book tag, I found out that there was a gym/reading challenge in the works, and I wanted in.  It’s the perfect excuse to pick up those older books on my TBR, and a really fun game as well.  Check out the rules here at Read at Midnight!

trainer card beginning

I decided to make a trainer card through PokeCharms to keep track of my gym badges and pokemon evolution.  You can see my starting, very empty, card above.  The plan is to update the card as I read and collect points and badges.  I’m so excited to participate in this, my first, read-a-thon!  Here’s my starting pokemon ❤

Dratini

 

Dratini – 10 CP

Name: Redd/Liz

Type: Dragon

Pokedex #: 147

Evolution: 3 Stages

And, here are the books I’m hoping to read to match the gym prompts during the read-a-thon in mid-August.  What are you planning to read?

 

The Challenge/Gyms

There are 8 reading challenges within this read-a-thon, based on the 8 gyms that are in the Indigo League. Earn a badge every time you complete a book!

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  1. Pewter Gym: The First Book In A Series
    It’s a good thing we don’t have to earn our badges in order because I’ve chosen The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson for this Rock-type gym.  It’s fitting because not only is it a first book in a series, but at 1258 pages, it weighs as much as a rock pokemon!  125 + 20 = 145 potential points
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  2. Cerulean Gym: A Book That Might Make You CryGenerally speaking, books don’t really make me cry.  So I’ve decided to read a book that could make me cry out in fright.  I’m excited to read And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich because her book, The Dead House, was one of my favorites last year!  And, 352 pages seems very doable after looking at some of my other selections for this challenge 🙂 35 + 20 = 55 potential points
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  3. Vermillion Gym: A Book With Thunderous Hype
    I’m extremely behind on the Mistborn series but so excited to read it (at least the first book for now).  Mistborn is supposed to be a fast read, and that’s good since it has 659 pages.  Brandon Sanderson seems pretty cool and has several series that sound awesome, which is why he’s taking up 2 of my 8 gym slots.  65 + 20 = 85 potential points
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  4. Celadon Gym: A Book That Focuses on Diversity
    Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis has been in my library for an absurdly long time, so I hope to read this one quickly and early on during the challenge to get it off my TBR shelf.  At 464 pages, it’s pretty chunky and proves that I’m an overachiever when it comes to challenges.  46 + 20 = 66 potential points
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  5. Fuschia Gym: A Book With A Great Romance
    R. Garcia y Robertson’s Firebird is another book that’s been on my TBR far too long, and I’m happy to add it to this challenge’s line-up.  It’s a little shorter at 320 pages.  32 + 20 = 52 potential points
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  6. Saffron Gym: A Book With Fantasy/Supenatural Elements
    Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina is a newer title on my list, but matches the tone of other books I’ve been reading lately, like Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.  It looks like this book might be a little light on the magical elements but not on page length (476 pages).  47 + 20 = 67 potential points
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  7. Cinnabar Gym: A Book With A Red Cover
    Time for another title that’s been on my TBR list way too long!  Sign of the Crescent by Debbie Federici is the shortest book on this list at 302 pages, so I don’t know why it has taken me this long to pick it up. 30 + 20 = 50 potential points
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  8. Viridian Gym: A Book With Post-Apocalyptic Setting
    I’m going to bend the rules a little with this category 😉  Since I don’t have any post-apocalyptic books readily identifiable in my TBR list, I chose Impyrium by Henry H. Neff, which sounds like a fantasy world that has been through an apocalypse!  And, it’s 592 pages long.  59 + 20 = 79 potential points

 

So, it looks like if all I do is finish reading these books, I could potentially end with 599 points.  With all the other opportunities to earn points for my dratini, I’m well on my way to attaining my stage 3 evolution–dragonite.  I’m so excited to get started on this challenge, and I hope life allows me to participate to my fullest.  I look forward to seeing what other people are able to accomplish!

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My World of Books July Unboxing

Since Fanmail took a month off for SDCC16 and recovery, I decided to try out a different subscription box, My World of Books.  Honestly, I only chose this one because the curator had announced that the book was going to be A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchett.  And I LOVED that book!

This is a newer box and hasn’t been around very long, which shows in the packing (nothing included to keep objects stable during transport).  However, the quality of the items was great, and they arrived with no damage.  I do wish the items matched the book more, but the items included were fun and practical.  There’s a notebook covered in orchids, a dragonfly necklace, bookmarks, and butterbeer lip balm.  Also included was a double-sided flyer featuring two self-published authors, Angela Bouquet and Kory M. Shrum.  Both authors have the first books in their respective series available for free through a variety of ebook distributors.  And Angela had signed her side!

I enjoyed the curator’s inclusion of her recommended exciting August 2016 fantasy releases.  If I understand it correctly, she makes one of these charts for each month and posts them on her social media, which is pretty cool!  I was already excited for several of these titles, but there are some new ones that I need to go research.

Overall, I feel like I got my money’s worth with this box and lots of neat things to try out and explore.  This is definitely a subscription box to watch and support!  Check it out at My World of Books.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Ad: Additional reading (There’s something better out there.)

Library Read (Don’t buy it yourself.)

I received an ARC of this story from a Sneak Peak TeenReads contest in an exchange for honest answers to a short list of questions.

I was really looking forward to reading a book described as a cross between The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, but when I started reading, I saw very little resemblance to either of these franchises within the first third of the book.  Honestly, I couldn’t finish the book by the deadline, and I’m not sure that I want to finish it at all.  More likely, I will try to find the ARC a new home with someone who will better appreciate it.

Here are the reasons I wasn’t falling in love with this book:

Worldbuilding: When I first started this tale, I thought it was a medieval fantasy similar to Tamora Piere’s Tortall.  However, when the characters mentioned a television and radio, London and Japan, I was mightily confused as to when this story was taking place.

Title: The main characters, Quin and John, talk a lot about their training to become Seekers, but no one actually explains what a Seeker is or their history.  Just that there is a long history, most of which has been lost over the generations, and that it is a big honor full of secrets.  Maybe this is explained later in the book, but not in the first third that I read.

Very Important Missing Scene(s): There was plenty of build-up to the moment that Quin and her friend Shinobu take their Oath to become Seekers.  John didn’t pass his test so doesn’t join them, but after the group of Quin, Shinobu, his father, her father, and the other two people pass through the portal, the chapter ends.  The next one picks up after they spill back out of the portal. Quin looks at the blood on her hand and thinks that her father betrayed her and lied about Seekers, but there is no recap on what took place.  Again, maybe this finally happens later, but when I needed it, it was missing.

There were some things that I did like about this book, which is why I made it through as much as I did.  The author’s writing style flowed easily, and I was able to read a large section without knowing how much time had passed.  The magical weapons that are described as whip-swords were fascinating, especially as they changed form with only a thought from their wielder.  I hope this author tries her hand at writing again soon, but I think I’ll wait for a different series.

Pokemon Go Book Tag!

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Disclaimer:  Pokemon Go belongs to Niantic and Nintendo

This is my very first book tag! And even though I can’t play on my own account yet, I’ve been catching pokemon for my husband.  It’s so much fun and crazy addictive, so I’m excited to try this out! The tag was created by Aentee @ Read AT Midnight, and although I was not tagged by anyone, I saw this post on Maria’s blog, Big City Bookworm! Go check out their posts!

This craze has swept the world by storm! Everyone is playing Pokémon GO now. Everywhere you look you will find Pokémon Trainers with their eyes glued to their phones, trying to catch their next best Pokémon or battling gyms for the prestige! It’s the best addiction–next to books–that you could have! Come and join in.

Rules:

  • NIL. Link back to Aentee’s blog is appreciated but optional. Feel free to use her graphics. Tag people, don’t tag people, whatever. Just have fun!

pokemon-tag-01startersWild Magic (Immortals, #1)

 

Ok, I’ve been reading since I can remember so I don’t know what book actually started my love for reading. However, the very first  author that I can point to that I absolutely loved and had to have more of was Tamora Pierce, and the first book I read by her was Wild Magic.  I fell in love with Tortall and love to re-read all the books set in that world occasionally 🙂


pokemon-tag02pikachuThe Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe  (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

 

I can still remember when the children’s librarian handed me a plain, little book called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  Narnia is a great place to get lost in, and I really dislike reading from the “Classic” lists that get assigned in English classes.  (I was able to avoid most of those, thankfully!)


pokemon-tag-03-zubatCity of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

 

This is a toss-up between Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  I tried to read The Hobbit, and I have seen the first Lord of the Rings movie, but neither of them grabbed my attention.  I didn’t feel anything for the characters at all.  With City of Bones, I had read the first one when it first came out, but then it exploded in hype and didn’t hold up to a re-read for me.  The movie was pretty blah, but the new TV series was really fun to watch.


pokemon-tag-04-dittoShadow Magic

 

For this entry, I decided to focus on the tropes aspect.  I thought Joshua Khan did a fantastic job of blending horror, fantasy, and mystery tropes together in his recent release, Shadow Magic.  He took the tropes and twisted them to create an original story that left me wanting more!  Luckily, this is the first in a series and the sequel comes out next April.


pokemon-tag-05-snorlaxThe Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)

 

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan!  I’ve had several friends suggest this series, and the reviews look great.  But there’s 14 books and tons of side material!  I have too many other books, series, and authors to pick this monstrous series right now.


pokemon-tag06-gengarThe Call

 

Just last week I shared my review of The Call by Peadar O’Guilin, which was one of the creepiest and most well-written books I have read all year.  I definitely lost some sleep thinking about everything that happens in this book and while hoping for sequels!


pokemon-tag07-nidokingqueenFire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

 

Generally, I don’t latch onto specific relationships in books enough to have a favorite bookish OTP.  Usually, I pick out my next book boyfriend 🙂  But, I do like to read Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series to see how Mercy and Adam work together through different trials and relationship bumps.  I was rooting for them to get together early on in the books.



pokemon-tag08-rapidashMagic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)

After discovering the Kate Daniels series late last year, I have been blazing through these books.  Each is fantastic, which is crazy because they save the world from the apocalypse in almost every book.  But the characters are compelling and grow with each story, so it totally works for me!


pokemon-tag09-eeveeAvatar: The Last Airbender (The Promise, #1)

 

I couldn’t settle on a series of novels for this one, so I chose a graphic novel series instead.  Avatar: the Last Airbender needs to continue to put out more stories, TV series, books, etc.!  I love this universe and all the characters from the originals through Legend of Korra.  I would continue to read these far after they ran out of ideas and started getting absurd.



pokemon-tag14-magikarpThe Testing (The Testing, #1)

 

I loved The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau so much more than both The Hunger Games and Divergent.  I felt like this series was more cerebral, cunning, and problem-solving than just relying on luck and strength.  Those did come into play occasionally, but the protagonist had to use her knowledge more than anything else through all three novels.  I wish Hollywood would make this into a movie; I’d take all my friends to see it!


pokemon-tag12-legendaryThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

 

When Throne of Glass originally came out, I was intrigued but not enough to purchase it.  One of my friends had read it and said she thought it was kind of slow.  Well, I would have to agree that book 1 is the clunkiest, but it only gets better from there.  I just finished book 4 and cannot be more excited for the release of book 5 this September.  I’m even planning to drive a little over 2 hours to meet the author during her tour around the States!  It’s safe to say that I’m obsessed with Sarah J. Maas now 😉


pokemon-tag15mew-mewtwo
I got to see and touch one of Insight Editions’ signed & numbered collector’s editions of Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness, which runs around $250 I think, at BEA16.  It was so cool with a raised crest on the cover (like 2 inches) and all the pages inside had fun little extras.  I own the regular version, and it’s absolutely stunning as well.  It makes me feel like I’m not settling at all.


pokemon-tag10-eggWintersong

 

I just got a copy of this through work and cannot be more excited to read it.  S. Jae-Jones has stated that Wintersong was inspired by the movie Labyrinth, which was one of my absolute favorite movies when I was younger and still is, really.  I can’t wait to see what awaits us in this world and can only hope the author tells a great story.


pokemon-tag11-lure-modulePoison Study (Study #1)

 

I was auto-buying Maria V. Snyder books for several series until I realized that I had more than 10 books by this author that were unread!  But the Poison Study series was just so good that I wanted to read more by her.  Some day soon, I’m going to have to binge read a whole lot of these to get them off my TBR shelf.


pokemon-tag13-server-down

 

Ever since I finished reading the last of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull back in 2010, I’ve wanted more from that universe and those characters.  Then, I met the author at a signing during ALA13, and he told me that he had another series planned and was working on it.  So for the last three years, I’ve been randomly remembering to search the internet for word of progress or a release date–anything that would tell me about it.  So I was ecstatic to learn, while at BEA16, that not only did it have a title, Dragonwatch, but it also has a release date.  Yippee!  Even if it doesn’t come out until March 2017…


This was really fun!  Now I’m going to have to find other posts to read as well as tagging some people to incite more participation.

I TAG YOU

MightyThorJRS | BookHuntress | Bookish Devices | Books Bones & Buffy | Mister Kristoff

AND ANYBODY ELSE WHO WANTS TO PLAY ALONG!

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July 2016 Book Haul

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I’m so excited to read these galleys! Most of them don’t come out until 2017, so be on the look out for reviews of the following titles as part of my 2017 Pub. Month Challenge.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – March 7

Librarians and the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox – October 11, 2016

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine – January 3

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – February 7

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – March 28

 

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I picked up a few books recently from subscription boxes and B&N Member Appreciation Day, where your member card got you 20% off instead of just 10% on everything.  I’ve been wanting to read these for a long time.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – July Owlcrate

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Transference Engine by Julia Verne St. John – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

Newly Acquired Author Signatures

Here are some of my new bookplates!  I’ve worked with E. Rose Sabin, Shelby Bach, and Sara Wilson Etienne to add their signatures to their respective books and my collection.  I was so excited to receive these over the last week.  Thanks to all of these lovely authors for both the signatures and the stories.

Throwback Thursday: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.) Creative Must (Does something different really well.) I have a lot of feels about this book, and it’s difficult to sort out the frustration from the awe. I have to admit the writing was great since it...

R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.)

Creative Must (Does something different really well.)

I have a lot of feels about this book, and it’s difficult to sort out the frustration from the awe.  I have to admit the writing was great since it kept me awake last night to finish, but then I couldn’t fall asleep due to the feels of frustration and anger over some of the last story bits.  Kudos to the author for writing such great depth that I, the reader, could empathize so deeply with the characters and story.  I enjoyed most of the great story twists, and the ones I didn’t could be overlooked due to the great story.  Enough of my confused rambling, here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.

Pros:

  • Fantastic writing, both the characters and world-building flowed smoothly
  • Depth of feelings was real and believable
  • Main character, Twylla, was fun to follow as the focal point
  • Plot twists that make the story even more exciting
  • Seemingly empowered ending
  • Character growth felt real throughout (except for one twist at the end)

Cons:

  • Ineffective love triangle, it just felt forced
  • The ending was not straight forward enough, like it was scared to say which way it went
  • Without spoilers, it’s hard to describe why the ending felt frustrating and unsatisfactory

The author has set up a story that could have a sequel, but I haven’t searched for that info. at this time.  As a debut author, Salisbury has impressed me enough that this is a highly recommended read, and I will be on the lookout for more of her work in the future.

Reviewed from galley.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

The Call

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 30th 2016 by David Fickling Books
Here’s a book that I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t attended BEA16.  I had wondered over to the Scholastic booth to inquire about The Sleeping Prince, and the lady I spoke with suggested I might like to try The Call, and I’m glad I did.  (I really wish I had gotten her card, so I could thank her properly!)  At the time, I had recently finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, and when she was describing the “evil” Sidhe fae, I was reminded of how Maas’ fae also returned to the original tales, where the fae were petty and cruel.  No Tinker Bell’s here!
If I had any complaints, it would be that the descriptions of what the fae did to their hunt victims was just a bit too graphic.  However, these go a long way to show the reader how horrible everything is instead of just telling us.  The author did a great job showing instead of telling throughout the whole book, actually.  It was incredible engrossing, if disgustingly creative, and I finished the whole book in two sittings.  I enjoyed the fact that the main character had a physical disability, but that she was also able to hold on to hope through sheer determination and willpower.  It felt believable in an otherwise hopeless scenario.  I also enjoyed the world building.  There was so much going on with the survival schools, the students, the realm the fae live in, and it worked well together to create a fantastic whole.
I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I did want to talk about it a little bit.  I think the author successfully puts forth a question within a larger narrative, and this book answers that question while still leaving the larger narrative lots of room to grow and expand upon the many, multiple other questions that are raised by the answering of the original question.  (This statement will make far more sense once you’ve read the book!)
I have already started alerting friends to watch out for this book, and one friend has already borrowed my copy.  This book may not be for everyone, but anyone who has an interest in the original fae stories, horror, dark fantasy, or thrillers is bound to love The Call.

Summary:

The Hunger Games meets horror in this unforgettable thriller where only one thing is certain . . . you will be Called.

Thousands of years ago, humans banished the Sidhe fairy race to another dimension. The beautiful, terrible Sidhe have stewed in a land of horrors ever since, plotting their revenge . . . and now their day has come.

Fourteen-year-old Nessa lives in a world where every teen will be “Called.” It could come in the middle of the day, it could come deep in the night. But one instant she will be here, and the next she will wake up naked and alone in the Sidhe land. She will be spotted, hunted down, and brutally murdered. And she will be sent back in pieces by the Sidhe to the human world . . . unless she joins the rare few who survive for twenty-four hours and escape unscathed.

Nessa trains with her friends at an academy designed to maximize her chances at survival. But as the days tick by and her classmates go one by one, the threat of her Call lurks ever closer . . . and with it the threat of an even more insidious danger closer to home.

 

Reviewed from an uncorrected proof provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Fangirl Friday: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Earlier this week, I shared my review of A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet during the Spotlight Tour.  I had originally received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley, but while my boss was at ALA16, I had her ask if there were any galleys left.  Unfortunately, there weren’t any at the conference, but the Sourcebooks rep. took my name and address and said she’d try to send a copy when she got back to the office.  Normally, I don’t count on that type of thing because there’s lots of stuff that can happen, BUT look what came in the mail this week!!

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It’s absolutely gorgeous ❤  One of the best special galley presentations I have received.  Looks like my pre-order is going to find a new home with one of my friends 🙂  This was truly a spectacular book, and I can’t wait until January to read the sequel!  Thanks, Sourcebooks Casablanca.  And thank you, Alex 🙂