Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Liebster Award, Pt. 11


Thanks very much for nominating me for The Liebster Award, Genni! I can't believe this is my 11th nomination...wow, thanks everyone!  If you haven't checked out Genni's blog @ Ready, Set, Read!, you're really missing out - you need to check out her little space on the internet.  This time I believe I'll just be sharing my answers to the questions that Genni has set to me. Let's get started:

1) What is your favorite book of the year so far?


A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab - A perfect series ender!

2) If you could un-read a book, what would it be?


Probably Fallen by Lauren Kate - and I only read the first couple of chapters!

3) If you could read a book again like it was the first time, what would it be?


The entire Harry Potter series - no doubt about it!

4) What advice would you give to a blogger who just started off?

Read what you enjoy and post about what you are interested in.

5) Shout out some of your favorite bloggers!

Tammy @ Book, Bones & Buffy
Emily @ Ink, Inc.
Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense
Sam @ Tsundoku

6) Dream cast the book you answered for number 1!

This is so difficult!  Okay, how about this:


Lila - Brianna Hidebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead from Deadpool)


Kell - Cameron Monaghan (Jerome from Gotham)


Rhy - Avan Jogia (Beck from Victorious)


Alucard - Rahul Kohli (Ravi from iZombie)

7) What is your favorite classic or a classic that you want to read right away?

One of these days I will read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - I can't believe I've missed it!

8) What do you prefer: e-books, audiobooks, hardcover, or paperback?

Hardcover, but if only they weren't so expensive.

9) If you could only read one author for the rest of your life, who would it be?

J.K. Rowling - see answer to question 3!

10) What has been the best movie you have seen all year?


In the theater?  I loved having the opportunity to see both Wonder Woman and Baby Driver!  I highly recommend them!

11) And lastly (and possible most importantly).... dogs or cats?


Cats - just look how cute Finn is in this photo!


Again, thanks so much for the nomination, Genni!

Summer 2017 Comment Challenge August Sign-Up Post


The Comment Challenge, hosted by Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense and Lonna @ FLYLēF, is back for August!  This challenge is an fantastic way to connect with fellow book bloggers.  If you haven't already taken part, I highly recommend giving it a shot as it's a great way to make new blogging pals.  Through previous incarnations of this challenge last summer and winter, I've had the opportunity to get to know Ellen and Sierra @ Quest ReviewsMari @ Story and SomnomancyAnne @ Head Full of BooksLia @ Lost In A StoryBill @ BillbrarianLonna @ FLYLēFBalie @ Nerd in New York, and Rissi @ Finding Wonderland.  I plan on being ambitious by commenting 10+ times with my to be assigned partner - I can't wait to get to know you, whoever you are!  You can also tweet along on Twitter with the hashtag #Summer17CC.  It's been a wonderful Summer so far!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Strange Practice by Vivian Shawn (ARC) - Review


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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Greta Helsing follows in her family's footsteps by inheriting an extremely specialized, and sometimes just plain freaky, medical practice. She's one of very few doctors to supernatural creatures and everything that goes bump in the night. Greta doesn't have magical powers herself, unless you count treating banshees for vocal strain, mummies from coming completely unraveled, and the like. It's fairly quiet and doesn't pay a lot, but she's been prepared for this all of her just supernatural-adjacent life. Then, a group of monks suddenly begins killing fellow Londoners - the living and the undead - and Greta has to put all of her not inconsiderable skills to the test if she wants to stop these deranged murderers, save her life, clients, and her medical practice.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw is an incredibly promising beginning for a brand new urban fantasy series. I'm so glad that I got selected via NetGalley to review this novel. It has so much to love about it from a great central mystery, an intriguingly quirky cast of characters, a great monster lineup, and it's plenty creepy. Although some of the medical aspects comes across as a bit overly technical and clinical, the characters are what really make the story come to life. My favorites from the story are Ruthven and Fastitocolon (you can call him Fass). Ruthven is a vampire, of the classic draculine type, and a long time friend of Greta's and Fass has known her family for generations, he's definitely powerful but no one really wants to be the one to directly ask him what he is exactly - that would be rude. Another character that's really cool to see get a modern treatment is Francis Varney, aka the title character from the gothic penny dreadful Varney the Vampyre. And, yes, there is quite a difference between vampires and vampyres!

Overall, if you love dark urban fantasy, gothic horror, a solid mystery, and memorable characters, Vivian Shaw's newest novel, Strange Practice is a real treat. I'm dying to see what's next up in the Dr. Greta Helsing series. Do yourself a favorite and try your next favorite!



I read this ARC from July 2 - 12, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Music Monday: Favorite Disney Villain Songs, Pt. 1


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing two of my favorite Disney villain songs - "Friends on the Other Side" from The Princess and the Frog (2009) & "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).  "Friends on the Other Side" is easily my favorite song from The Princess and the Frog and - Keith David, as Dr. Facilier, has great voice.  As for "Hellfire", this is probably the darkest song of all Disney songs and it used to scare the crap out of me when I first saw it as a seven year old.  Also, this is the song that makes me think Disney would do a decent job with Les Miz.





Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Funday: Summer Vacation, Book Haul, and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)


Happy Sunday everyone!  This weekend I thought I'd share some of my favorite photos that I took while on vacation during the first week of July (that's why I was a bit absent - I sure am glad I can schedule posts ahead!), books I picked up on my travels, and my thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)!  During my vacation I traveled from my home state of Ohio through Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.  Before this year, I had never been to Vermont and aside from fascinating sights and breathtaking scenery I was really interested in solving some mysteries involving family history in the state - I may do a post about this in the topic in the future because I've found out some some really cool things about one of my ancestors!  Anyway, I took a ton of pictures during that week, but the eight photos below are from my favorite places  that I had the opportunity to visit.


Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Vermont - This monument commemorates the Revolutionary Battle of Bennington (August 16, 1777) which is considered to be a major turning point in the war.  Construction on the monument was completed in 1891 and it stands 306 feet and 4.5 inches - that would have been something to see back then!



View into Bennington from the Monument - From the monument you can even see Massachusetts and New York!  The white steeple of the church that you can see belongs to the Old First Church of Bennington.  


Robert Frost's Grave - The four time Pulitzer winner is buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery which is adjacent to the Old First Church of Bennington.  The librarian in me couldn't miss this!  Also check out that epigraph - "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."


Quechee Gorge, Quechee State Park in Quechee, Vermont - The Quechee Gorge (pronounced: Kwee-chee) is the deepest gorge in Vermont at 165 feet.  Some of the best views of the gorge can be be seen from the Rt. 4 bridge where it goes over the Ottauquechee River which is where my photo was taken.


Quechee Gorge, At River Level - At the state park there's a walking path to go down to the riverside and see the gorge close up.  One of the other visitors, a regular, said that the water level was actually quite a bit higher than usual due to all of the rainfall they've had lately.  See that stacked up pile of stones in the top left of my photo - yeah, with all the water rushing by like that now you wouldn't be able to stack them up without having your feet taken out from under you.


Portland Head Light in Portland, Maine- I've actually been hear before, but as I was going to be in that area on my route home I knew I needed to stop and take in the sights again!  Beautiful!



Kinzua Bridge Sky Walk, Kinzua Bridge State Park in Mt. Jewett. Pennsylvania - I have to admit that I just randomly stumbled upon this one on my way home through Pennsylvania - and it was one of the coolest things I had the opportunity to see this week.  This bridge was originally the longest and highest train viaduct in the world when it was built in 1882 (it was later rebuilt in 1900 with stronger materials) at 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long.  For perspective, the Statue of Liberty stands at 305 feet tall.  Anyway, back in 2003 a tornado tore down a portion of the bridge, and remaining section was redesigned and fortified as a pedestrian walkway and viewing platform.  Spectacular views all around!



Kinzua Bridge Sky Walk, The View from the End of the Viewing Platform - You know that tornado I mentioned?  Well the wreckage and ruins of the other end of the bridge were never removed - and it looks just plain awesome that way!  See those two rows of concrete pillars going all the way to the other end of the photo - those are the concrete footers for the viaduct and they'd actually be over your head in height if you were standing down there beside one of them!

 

While I'm on vacation, I've always enjoyed going into local shops of all types and antique shops to see what I can scrounge up.  Of course, I always have my eyes out for books and I think I found some real winners this year:

Dragonwyck by Anya Seton - Ever see the 1946 movie of the same title starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price?  Well this 1944 novel is the story that inspired the film.

The Big Eye by Max Ehrlich - This 1949 sci-fi novel is set in 1960 and while everyone's worried about atomic war, they realize they have bigger problems - another planet is on collision course with Earth which will bring doom in two years time.  I watch a lot of classic sci-fi movies and this seems quite promising.

Bootleggers, Lobstermen, and Lumberjacks: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments of the History of Hardscrabble New England by Matthew P. Mayo - This sounds like it's going to be a good collection of stories, plus I have to admit I have a hard time resisting a good list.

The Scalpel of Scotland yard: The Life of Sir Bernard Spilsbury by Douglas G. Browne and E.V. Tullett - Of all of these, I expect this is biography is going to easily be the most fascinating - as one of the best forensic pathologists in newly emerging field.


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Last Sunday, the last day vacation, I was able to see Spider-Man: Homecoming - I have to admit, I was really hyped up for it going in, especially after Tom Holland's turn in Captain America: Winter Soldier!  While this movie wasn't my favorite MCU film, it's still a lot of fun and it's quite funny to boot.  I loved the first two Tobey Maguire movies, and while Spider-Man 2 is still my favorite, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming is truly a breath of fresh air.  Aside from the awesome action scenes, stunts, and CGI, a lot of this comes down to Tom Holland's performance as Peter Parker and his alter ego - he's got the act down.  Plus, it's nice to see that the actor portraying the character is so much closer in age to a real high school student!  The real scene stealer of the movie though is Ned, Peter's school friend, played by Jacob Batalon - I'm really looking forward to seeing more from him in the future.  By the way, did you notice that Flash is played by Tony Revolori, aka Zero from The Grand Budapest Hotel?  Overall, if you're a fan of Spider-Man, you need to see Marvel's newest outing!



Next up: Dunkirk & Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!  Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Cold Summer by Gwen Cole + 50/50 Friday

 



On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook.  Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.  As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.   Then, for  50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads (and one of my most anticipated reads of the year), Cold Summer by Gwen Cole!  I can't resist a good time travel story, and I like the sound of present day and WWII as the primary settings.  Plus, look at that gorgeous cover!  Let's go!


Beginning:

For me, seasons don't exist.

Only I know what it feels like when summer turns to winter in an instant.  When one minute I'm in my bed and the next I'm up staring at snow-covered trees, wondering what year I'm in.

56:

I try to keep my hands from shaking.  They're fine right now.  They usually are when my mind is on the present - wherever I happen to be.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Book Trope


Favorite - The Chosen One, I'll admit that sometimes this can get old, but when this is done well or differently it can be my favorite.



Least Favorite - Instalove, you might be able to guess that if you've spent any time on my blog!

Thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mini Reviews: Unlocked, Want, Hunted, and Divine Intervention



Happy Thursday everyone!  Today, I'll be sharing some mini reviews of some of my recent reads - Unlocked by Margo Kelly, Want by Cindy Pon, Hunted by Meagan Spooner, and Divine Intervention (The Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers #1) by Elyse Kishimoto.  Of these four, Unlocked and Want are my two favorites - both come highly recommend from me.  Here we go:



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I was lucky enough to win this from the author from Spring 2017 YASH!

Ever since Hannah went to the hypnotist's show at the fair with her friends, she's been losing her grip on reality and she is terrified. She doesn't know what's real anymore. Has she somehow inherited her father's schizophrenia, or did that hypnotist really do something to her that she can't shake. I haven't read many books featuring hypnosis, but this one is definitely worth trying. It absolutely sucked me in and hooked me right from the beginning. It's very a very intense thriller. The author really makes you question Hannah's world - she's definitely what you would call an unreliable narrator. Plug, aka Eugene, is also very interesting and he's interested in helping Hannah figure out what's going on whether it's the occult or someone gaslighting her. If you like a twisty, turning mystery that has you questioning everything, Unlocked by Margo Kelly is right for you. I will definitely be looking into this author's other work.


I read this novel from June 11 - 15, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Want by Cindy Pon is a diverse #OwnVoices YA sci-fi novel with an awesome cast and visually vivid world building for a near-future Taipei which is heavily polluted, economically and socially divided, and a totally corrupt dystopia. I've read a lot of YA dystopia and sometimes the genre can wear a bit thin, but Want has easily been my favorite dystopia of 2017. It has just about everything you could want in a story from heists, murder, explosions, kidnapping, hacking, rock climbing, gadgets and technology, tons of action, and just a dash of romance. I could totally see this tale as a movie, and I definitely need to see more of these characters!


I listened to this audiobook from June 13 - 18, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Hunted by Meagan Spooner is a good, but slow YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I liked our new Beauty, but unfortunately, it's missing that spark that kept me from being fully engrossed in this audiobook. The writing style is beautiful, but very little happens for the first thirty percent or so, and after that things still progress fairly slowly - I can understand coming to slowly see your captor differently but this just begins to drag a little too much for me. I have to admit, I listened to it at 2x speed since the narrators spoke too slowly for my tastes. I'd still prefer the Disney cartoon or the new live action movie with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.


I listened to this audiobook from June 21 - 22, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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A dining and social club for time travelers whose members start to go missing? As a fan of time travel, this short novel sounded exactly like something I'd love. Unfortunately, though, this turned out to be a read where I liked the central concept more than I liked the final product. It's been billed as a YA novel, but it reads much more like an MG book - I'm not sure if I missed Louisa's age, but she sounds like she must be somewhere in the 10-12 year old age range. As for the rest of the cast of time travelers, I had a really difficult time keeping them all straight in my mind - maybe that's because of the weird names, but it's more likely that everyone is rather flat and two dimensional. Plus, I had a hard time connecting to anyone at all. Overall, the first 40 or 50 pages (out of 200), when things are getting set up, are the most interesting, but the novel suffers from far too little world building and character development to truly hold my attention. You have to admit, though, it has an awesome cover.


I read this book from July 12 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Have you had the opportunity to read any of these books yet?  If so, what did you think of them?  Thanks for making it this far, and perhaps commenting down below.