Recent Book Hauls! BookOutlet, Trades, ARCs

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Today was a great day for mail!  My BookOutlet order came in with lovely books for both my library and for my Secret Sister (not shown because that would spoil the surprise!), and a couple of #booksfortrade came in.  Plus a book from Blue Rider Press (Penguin/Random House).  Thank you everyone who made this possible 🙂  I have so much to look forward to!

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Book Haul: Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Over the weekend, I was delighted to find this shiny blue envelope waiting for me in my mailbox.  Inside was an ARC of Weregirl by C.D. Bell, which I had won through a Shelf Awareness contest.  I had actually seen this at BEA16 originally, but was unable (due to time) to learn any more about it.  It’s due out on November 1st from Chooseco and has favorable reviews over on GoodReads already.  Looks like a fun read!

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August Book Haul (2016)

Last month wasn’t a great month for finishing books, but my collection did grow with several new titles.  This month was a little crazier in that area than usual as I went on vacation and visited two Hastings (since the chain is going out of business), won a couple contests, participated in a blog tour, received a galley through the AceRocStars, picked up some winter galleys, and HarperCollins sent a huge box of galleys to the office.

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Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut's Windlass

Paperback, 751 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Roc (first published September 29th 2015)
You may recall that I’m participating in the AceRocStars street team program, and this book was one of the earlier galleys they sent out.  I’ve really wanted to read it ever since I finished reading the prologue, which introduced Gwen as she battled her mother in a flurry of words and gauntlet blasts.  What a way to introduce a character!  But then we shifted gears to Captain Grimm, and it took me a little while to warm up to him.  When I start a new series, they usually seem a little slow at the beginning until the author finds his/her rhythm.

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Throwback Thursday: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

R★: Highly recommended. (Must-read right now!) Creative Must (Does something different really well.) I had to stay up last night just to finish this book. While the beginning was a little slow with world-building, the pace quickly grabbed my...

R★: Highly recommended. (Must-read right now!)

Creative Must (Does something different really well.)

I had to stay up last night just to finish this book. While the beginning was a little slow with world-building, the pace quickly grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. As a humorous breakdown of horror stereotypes in a MG novel, the characters really came to life.  Majordomo-the Frankenstein monster, Cook and her son Angus-minotaurs, Serenissima-she’s completely unique, and Pins-a voodoo doll come to life.  Here’s what you need to know about this book!

Pros:
Great characterization and well-rounded cast
Main character had to confront a bully, but she had great support from friends
Catch more flies with honey not vinegar trope well-used
Twisted horror tropes
Firm conclusion with space for a sequel (NOT a cliff-hanger ending)
Fun art throughout
Enjoyable for all ages

Cons:
Beginning was a little slow to set the stage
The tasks and Board of Magic were a bit confusing at times

This is definitely a title every library should have, and it should be added to bully prevention lists for its portrayal of support.

 

Reviewed from an uncorrected proof.

Throwback Thursday: Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb

Rose and the Lost Princess (Rose, #2)

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

Creative Must (Does something different really well.)

*This review was part of a blog tour when the book first came to America*

Welcome to the last stop on the Rose and the Lost Princess blog tour!  I reviewed this book from an ARC through NetGalley and was contacted by the publisher to be a part of the blog tour.   I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity and would like to reward my followers with a giveaway!  The publisher will send a final copy to 1 winner, who will be chosen one week from today (May 25, 2014).  I will randomly chose someone from my followers list, so make sure to follow me 🙂

Rose and the Lost Princess starts immediately where Rose left off in the scene where Rose is trying to relax in the drawing room with the other rescued children, just before Mr. Fountain offers to take Rose as an apprentice.  She accepts on the condition that she keep her job as housemaid; however, the staff treats her differently (except Bill) and the townsfolk are scared and angry at all magicians for the actions of one.

Holly Webb did a fantastic job at carrying her story fluidly from one book to the next.  I enjoyed digging a little deeper into the life and work of Mr. Fountain at the palace while also getting to know a bit more about the royal family, and the princesses in particular.  This book was fun to read, but I think that older readers (and adults) would find it more enjoyable if sharing it with a younger reader.  Webb knows how to move the story along, and the read will be quick, so make sure you can read it all in one sitting!

Giveaway and Review: And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich #ReadThemAllThon

And the Trees Crept In

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
OK. First off, this was one of the books I chose for the #ReadThemAllThon featured by Read at Midnight.  If you remember, I picked it for the Cascade Badge as a book that might make me cry at instead of crying tears.  Well, it did both.
The story was intriguing, and the writing was well done.  However, I really struggled to finish this book.  I had picked it up because I loved Dawn Kurtagich’s debut book, The Dead House, from last year.  That book was borderline horror/thriller and was created using various media entries to draw a picture.  This book took a similar approach by utilizing poems, flashbacks, journal entries, and an unreliable/crazy narrator.
Unfortunately, And the Trees Crept In went too far down the horror path for my liking.  It made my stomach churn (physically not just mentally).  The story was enough to keep me going to the end (as well as the reading challenge), but this is not something that I will ever want to reread in the future.  It just… I don’t know, really upset my mental state, which is the exact opposite from the whole point of reading, for me anyway.
The ending was an interesting twist that, on one hand, I liked and it helped my mental disassociation for finishing.  On the other hand, it felt a little too much like a dream sequence.  (It wasn’t, in case you’re worried.)  But it did make it feel like I had wasn’t energy on the negative feelings for not a good reason.
I completely understand that these are my own feelings, and I know there are plenty of readers who will greatly enjoy and appreciate all the points I just listed as assets to the story.  Which is why I’m hosting a giveaway for an advanced uncorrected proof to one lucky reader!!!!

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Summary:

A stunning, terrifying novel about a house the color of blood and the two sisters who are trapped there, by The Dead Houseauthor Dawn Kurtagich

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

 

And now for the Pokemon math!  I finished reading this book, which totals 35 CP for 352 pages + 20 CP for finishing + 20 CP for posting a review.  Add in the three Twitter posts, and I get another 6 CP.  For a final total of 81 CP, which brings my Dratini to 91 CP and on its way to evolving into a beautiful dragonair.

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Next on my reading list is Sign of the Crescent by Debbie Federici and The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.  I hope these go more quickly, or I definitely won’t finish the challenge on time!

Throwback Thursday: Willow: Wonderland by Jeff Parker and Christos Goage

Willow: Wonderland

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: WillowWonderland
Script: Jeff Parker and Christos Gage
Pencils: Brian Ching
Inks: Jason Gorder
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s  Jimmy Betancourt

Reviewed from NetGalley ARC

Rating: R    Creative Must

Just months after Buffy destroys the seed of magic in order to save the world (again), Willow starts to notice changes all around her. Her friends just think she misses the power she had when magic was around; however, power is not the only thing missing.  Rainbows only have two colors, no one can hit a note, suicide rates are rising, and creativity is slowly deteriorating.  As she leaves to find a solution, Willow explores new dimensions and herself while confronting her past.  Giant worms try to eat her; she’s drugged and kept pliant; a large blue caterpillar gives her magic memory water; the protagonist overcomes the challenges that hamper her on the way to her goal–finding or creating a pipeline of magic that flows back to Earth.

Any Buffyverse fan will enjoy this side-trip that features Willow the witch and her delicate relationship with magic.  The artists rendered highly detailed comic-style graphics, which allows the reader to better visualize the fantastical landscapes, which the characters jump between during their quest.  Many of the characters play no bigger part than to reaffirm the protagonist’s inner monolog as she tries to find the root of her magic anxieties.  Fortunately, Willow didn’t come across as whiny, which is a recurring problem when other authors portray self-doubt and misery.  To best understand this iteration of Buffy, the reader needs to have a working knowledge of the seven season television program and the Season 8 comic series.  Reading Season 9, Faith & Angel, and even Spike’s side story will give the reader an even deeper appreciation for Willow’s journey to bring magic back to Earth.  By the end of this graphic novel, the reader will wonder how many hidden references were included.  The many clues about where Season 9 will take the fan base as Joss Whedon’s brain child continues to grow in unpredictable ways are fun to search out.

This book would make a great addition to any collection.  Libraries will be glad to have another strong female character as well as an adventure fantasy that features soul searching and self-confidence.  Physical battles amongst mental challenges make this a great read and a worthy addition to the Buffyverse.

Two August Challenges: #2016ARCAugust & #Augustofpages

I’m a little late to this party as I’m posting this in the evening of August 1 instead of putting it together yesterday.  But I just found these two challenges this morning and wanted to try them out.

ARC August is put together by Octavia and Shelley over on Read.Sleep.Repeat., and it looks like this is the 4th one they’ve put together.  The goal is to read a bunch of ARCs that have been piling up.  Luckily, I have already chosen some for the Pokemon Gym Reading Challenge, so I can use those plus the ones I had lined up for my personal pub. month challenge for September releases.

Here’s my TBR for August:

Pokemon Gym-

Impyrium by Henry Neff

And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

Pub. Month-

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

The Reader by Traci Chee

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Miscellaneous & NetGalley-

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Charmed by Jen Calonita

Now, I don’t expect to read all of these, but I should get through at least half of the titles listed.  I prefer to read as I feel though, so except for the two under Pokemon Gym, the rest will get read as I feel the draw.  And, I’ve already started on Stealing Snow!

august

As for the other challenge, last month I decided I should try my hand at #bookstagramming.  This challenge from CelineReads will give me a creative jumpstart in that realm as I have only a basic grasp of what to do.  Since I’m new to this, I probably won’t make a post every day, but I’m hoping to post at least every other day.  Day 1 tied in nicely with the ARC August, so you can see my photo for that at the top of this post!