#OTSPsecretsister August and September!

I decided to join a fun little project through Twitter called The Secret Sister Project, which runs for a six month period (this one is August through January) and is meant to bring a little joy and cheer to strangers accepted into the program and secretly paired up.  You can check out more details here.  It’s been so much fun to plan little care and gift packages and writing back and forth on real paper, so I decided to share how awesome my Secret Sister is this round!  I’d share the packages I’ve put together, but then my secret sis would totally figure out it was me 🙂

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For the first month, which was August, my secret sister put together some great little fun things with no theme.  Gel pens, positive stickers, Legacies signed by Rosemary Edghill, and the Valerian soundtrack!!  Not to mention that steampunk octopus art notecard created by Jessica Douglas 🙂  On point and amazing!  We have so much in common it turns out and I’m loving our new friendship.

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So for this month, I received a wonderfully themed box: Classic Redux.  Another glorious art piece from Jessica Douglas, goldfish (rainbow), Monster High stickers and a mini (children of classic monsters), Prince of Egypt (musical retelling of Moses), and Indexing by Seanan McGuire, who I’m so excited to meet at the end of next week!!  And the book is a fairy tale retelling in an urban setting as a police procedural.  Loved it (expect my review very soon)!

I’m so impressed with my sister’s attention to details and love exchanging letters in between packages.  We have so much to talk about that it’s a great well to relieve stress and spread a little bit of fun and fandom.  I can’t help but want to do little things for my awesome sister, so I’ve sent a few signed bookplates her direction and will probably continue to do fun things like that for the rest of this session.  Love this program so much!!

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Fangirl Friday: Recent Contest Winnings

About a month ago, I won several Twitter/blog/random giveaways, and they all came in by a week or so ago.  I had meant to get this post together to say thank you to all the people who hosted these giveaways!  But alas, I got busy and then fell ill.  If you read all the way to the bottom middle of my Mask of Shadows review, then you’ll have seen the fun package I received from Sourcebooks Fire as a random winner during their promotional prerelease activities.  (Quick note: some of these happened awhile ago and I don’t remember all the details.  Mostly I wanted to share my thanks and gratitude with the people/author/publishers who hosted the giveaways!)

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August 2017 Releases to Read

Here’s a roundup of new releases that I haven’t had a chance to dig into yet.  August wasn’t quite as crazy as July, but it did disappear just as quickly!  So many good books, so little time 🙂

Ready to Read-Look for My Review Later:

The Epic Crush of Genie LoEx Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and LoreSwarm and SteelAn Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

Books I Plan to Read as Time Allows:

Venturess (Mechanica, #2)Shimmer and Burn (Shimmer and Burn, #1)Call of Fire (Blood of Earth, #2)Beast & Crown (Beast & Crown #1)The Book of EstherThornhill

Did I miss one of your most anticipateds for August?  Let me know in the comments!

Throwback Thursday: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
 To be completely honest, Leigh Bardugo wasn’t on my radar until after the release of Six of Crows when I attended ALA for the first time through work.  I had heard really great things about it and that the sequel would be releasing soon, so I bought a used copy of Shadow and Bone to get signed and made up bookplates as well.  Just in case I fell in love with her writing 🙂
After meeting her briefly in the signing line and seeing her have lots of fun up on stage with Marissa Meyer, who I did love, I was convinced I would love Leigh’s books as well.  Unfortunately, I still didn’t get around to making time to read any of them until last week.  When I knew I was planning to meet her on tour tomorrow!  (I think it might have been that the original cover doesn’t appeal to me very much.)
The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
When I finally did start reading the first Grisha book, I was not at all surprised to find that I did like the story.  A lot!  I was compulsively reading it whenever possible and finished it quickly.  There are a lot of reviews out there that break the book down and talk about worldbuilding and characterization (both are great).  And plenty of fans that will tell you how amazing the author is (it’s true).  Plus several that will mention that the story isn’t new (because it’s not).  However, the only opinion that matters is how this story makes you feel.  That’s what reading is all about, right?
I liked this story a lot.  The characters were fun and the world was interesting (if a little confusing on some points).  But it made me remember why I like reading.  And that’s pretty awesome 🙂  So I definitely plan to finish this first trilogy and dive into Six of Crows with high expectations.  And hopefully, Leigh stills has some stories to tell in this world!
Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Summary:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

#BookHaul after a Holiday Weekend

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So, normally I don’t go crazy and order a million things that all show up on the same day, but since the mail has been a little slow, September is full of amazing new releases, September is also full of art show prep and a Leigh Bardugo event, and I’d traded for several books, plus you throw in a holiday.  Can you see where this is going?  All these things combined meant that yesterday I came home to a tower of boxes that almost reached my hips (and I’m not short).  I loved every second of opening each one and gazing at all the beautiful new books that probably won’t fit on my shelves at this time 🙂

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#TheReadingQuest Update the First

Here’s my first update for this magical quest so many people are participating in!  In case you want to see my original, here’s a link.  The quest is taking place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017, so we’re about half way through.  Honestly, I was hoping to have more tasks accomplished by now, but I have enough to do a quick update 🙂

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Waiting on Wednesday: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
There are various reviews roaming the internet about this book.  I don’t think any had an issue with representation though, so I decided to give this book a try.  The first chapter was amazing!  Then it took a step back and did character introductions and a bit of world building, but then we were thrown right into the competition.  Non-stop action, revelations, and exploring genderfluid as an accepted form of identification.  While this story may not be new territory (think Hunger Games and Throne of Glass), I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the characters presented.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Go To Recommendations

After realizing I hadn’t made a Top Ten list in some time, I decided to make one featuring my 10 favorite go-to recommendations for books/series/authors.  You’ll see why I couldn’t just settle on one category once you read the list, but these seem to be my favorite recommendation pile for whenever a friend, family member, or random internet person asks for cool new stuff to read.  It does change over time as new books and authors get released and I read backlog titles, but I tend to shout about these the most right now.

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Manic Monday: Heathen Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici

Heathen

Paperback, 115 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Vault Comics
First off, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I downloaded this title from NetGalley.  The cover art looked intriguing and it kept popping up all over the place.  So I decided to give it a shot.  And I’m very glad that I did because Heathen was a beautifully illustrated tale that weaves together Viking folklore, bisexuality, fighting for your dreams, and many other threads and themes in a way that appears seamless.

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