Friday, October 20, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker + 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 upcoming reads, Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker.  I'm so excited to read this since I absolutely loved book one, Borderline.  This book will also fulfill the mental health space on my Fall Bookish Bingo board.  By the way, Millie, the leading character has Borderline Personality Disorder and is physically disabled.

Beginning:

Here's the thing about PTSD: it doesn't understand the rules.

56:
In retrospect, that was a terrible plan.  I'd been pretty damn close to fine, and then there I went blundering right into the kitchen.  Apparently PTSD and grief flunked out of the same charm school; neither of them seems to know when it's cool to drop by.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation


Favorite - You can never go wrong with The Princess Bride by William Goldman!


Least Favorite - I'm still upset with what happened to Percy Jackson from Rick Riordan - one of my favorite series with so much potential for a movie franchise just threw all of my favorite things about pretty much all of it out the window.  Even though it had a solid cast and good team behind it, it just didn't do justice to the original series.  I mean, they couldn't even get the pen right, come on!

What are you reading this week?  Have you tried Mishell Baker yet?  What's your favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptation?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss (ARC) - Review


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I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange an honest review after the author reached out to me.

Last year, Lenora "Lenny" Ragno should have rocked her duet with Jeb, her long-time crush, at the Gypsy Cob music festival - and they should have finally kissed. That's how thing's should have gone, but in reality, she completely choked on stage in front of everyone. Since then Lenny has spent the last year avoiding Jeb and avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was totally wrong. Now's she back at the music festival and avoiding playing her fiddle is just as impossible as avoiding Jeb. Facing Jeb should have been the scariest part, but then another friend convinces their group to try astral projection after picking up a book from a new festival vendor. While on the other side, Lenny catches the attention of a frightening demon. This demon can now pull Lenny from her own world into it's disturbing in-between plane of reality which is full of its past victims. If Lenny doesn't want to be next, she's going to have to face an actual demon, as well as come to terms with personal ones.

I'm so glad that Jessica Bayliss contacted me about her newest release, Broken Chords, because it's exactly up my alley. I mean, YA Horror Fantasy, demons, astral projection, plus bluegrass and acoustic folk music? What's not to love? Luckily, this short, fast and thrilling read hooked me right from the start - and I have to mention that it's a perfect read for the Halloween season. I also loved that it balances the horror and nightmarish really well with the non-horror elements of the music festival and the tight knit friendships. I was so pleased to see a couple of my favorite real life bands, Nickel Creek and Del McCoury, get mentioned in the story - you usually don't see bands like that show up in YA! I don't want to spoil too much about the horror aspect of the novel, but I will say that it's incredibly dark, eerie, and intense. The author does an excellent job of describing what Lenny experiences during those traumatic astral projection scenes and really amping up the tension. I'm pretty sure this is also my first YA novel featuring astral projection so prominently, and after this I'd love to see it used more. In my opinion, the only things that could have made this a little better would be getting to know Lenny's parents better, know a little bit more about Lenny and her musician friends relationship outside of festival season, and to see some more of Lenny's other friends who don't get as much page-time like Amanda, Darnel, and Jose.

Overall, Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss is a great new YA Horror release that features both astral projection and bluegrass and acoustic folk music. I have a feeling that if you liked the style of The Call by Peadar O'Guilin which I loved, you will also enjoy this brand new book. Like me, you'll probably want to finish it in one sitting! I am definitely looking forward to more of Jessica's future projects.

Thanks again to NetGalley and Jessica Bayliss!


I read this novel on October 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This book was released on October 9th, 2017.

Black Box Inc. by Jake Bible (ARC) - Review


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

Ever since the extradimensional happening a decade ago, every sort of creature, monster, and fairy tale creature has shown up in Asheville, North Carolina (and every other portal location). As a result of the happening Chase Lawter is the only human who's gained the unique ability to draw material from the Dim, the space between those dimensions, and shape it into whatever he wants, but boxes are his specialty. Boxes that can be used to hide smoking guns, severed heads, and the like - and only Chase can hide them in the Dim and later recover them, if needed. Plus, Chase and his team at Black Box Inc. don't work for free. Chase's crack team at Black Box Inc. is made up of a fae-trained assassin, a brainy zombie, and a charming yeti - and together they'll get the job done for a tidy sum. There's an uneasy truce between all of the races that have come through to our world since the happening, but Chase and his team's work put them right in the center of many dangerous crosshairs.

Black Box Inc. is the first novel in a brand new series by Jake Bible and I have a feeling that this series could be amazing. If you like your urban fantasy with a lot of gritty, fast-paced action, a diverse range of supernatural creatures that you won't usually see in one story, and healthy sense of humor, you need to meet Chase, Harper, Sharon, and Lassa, the team behind Black Box Inc. Everyone gets their moment to shine, even the minor and supporting characters like Teresa, Flip, and Aspen, a banshee, a gnome, and a member of the fae. Sure, sometimes it's a little over the top, but this story is such a fun adventure. I really liked this author's take on fairies and the fae which are some of the most dangerous creatures out there, who in this case can and will lie. I also particularly enjoyed the look at the "Not Hell" dimension and "Not the Devil" character - I can't resist Depression-era gangsters!

Overall, I'm so glad I came across Jake Bible's newest release on NetGalley and managed to get approved for it. If you need a new urban fantasy series in your life, I bet you'd like this if you also like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and Supernatural. I will need to try more by Jake Bible and I can't for the next novel in the Black Box Inc. series to be released because there is still so much to explore.


Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC from October 13 - 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released October 20, 2017.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Wizarding World Foods I'd Like To Try


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books, but I'm narrowing it down to one series - Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling, sweets mostly.  By the way, I've actually made some things from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and some of them turned out really well.  I've also tried some of the tie in sweets as well - like Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans from Jelly Belly and the Chocolate Frogs which were something like Nestle's Crunch bars.


Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans - Yes, even though there are gross flavors!


Butterbeer - How could anyone pass up the opportunity to try this?


Cauldron Cakes - I always have thought that these would be something like chocolate lava cakes - delicious!


Chocolate Frogs - Just have to be careful when opening the package - and you'll have a famous witch and wizard card collection, too!


Fred and George's Skiving Snackbox - Maybe just the once...


An Ice Cream Sundae from Florian Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour - Ice cream is one of my favorite deserts, so how could I pass this up.


Petunia Dursley's Violet Pudding - You have to admit that it does look like a masterpiece.


Pumpkin Juice - I've always wondered how pumpkin juice is supposed to taste.


Pumpkin Pasties - I've actually made this one from that cookbook and they turned out really well - even got some compliments when I took them to a family get together!


Treacle tart - This is Harry's favorite desert - and I have never tried it before.  I don't even really know what it's supposed to taste like for sure - I've heard it's supposed to be something like shoo-fly pie or maybe pecan pie minus the pecans.  One of these days...!


What fictional foods would you love to try?  Have you made any of these, or had the opportunity to try them at the theme park in Orlando before?  As always thanks for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Music Monday: Tim Burton & Danny Elfman Favorites


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.

Happy Monday everyone!  For the next few week's I'm getting into the holiday spirit and sharing some of my favorite spooky and/ or Halloween themed songs.  Below are two of my favorite Tim Burton & Danny Elfman favorites (that aren't from either Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas) - "Remains of the Day" from The Corpse Bride (2005) & the Opening Titles from Sleepy Hollow (1999).  I totally need to rewatch both of these movies before Halloween arrives!






Friday, October 13, 2017

Autonomous by Andy Marino (ARC) - Review


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

After winning a contest which just about killed him, William has the opportunity to to take an all-expenses paid cross country road trip in Autonomous, a luxurious futuristic driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. Better yet, he even gets to take three friends along for the ride. For William this will be the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after high school graduation. Autonomous, though, has much greater capabilities than even they realize - it can sync with its passengers by downloading all of their social media and digital history. All of that information has been used to program their customized itinerary on the way to their final destination, but it will also reveal things that they all would prefer stay hidden. #WorthIt

Based on the description of Andy Marino's Autonomous, this was going to be a funny road trip book featuring a great group of friends with plenty of action and thrills. It's also rated as appropriate for ages 14+. I've never read the author's work before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect in terms of style but the description really caught my attention. In the end, though, this is one of those where I completely preferred the idea presented in the description to the actual execution of the story. I was very close to DNF'ing it, but I powered my way through hoping that it would improve - unfortunately it never really did.

First things first, this is not appropriate for 14 year olds, unless your 14 year old is very mature for their age. Based on the content - cursing, drugs, drinking, sex, self-harm, and suicide, etc. - this is definitely for older teens. Usually, I don't really discuss this aspect in these terms, but that was at the top of the NetGalley description, so I must mention just how surprised I was at the content. Second, I was expecting to laugh or at least chuckle once during my reading experience, but it isn't funny - at all. I don't know if I missed something, but I didn't come away from this book thinking it's a funny road trip novel at all. I'd say it actually borders up against horror/ thriller more. Maybe I've read and watched too much about technology and/ or vehicles gone bad (Christine, The Car, Maximum Overdrive, and 2001: A Space Odyssey among others). The more I read, the less I would have been disappointed if the story had gone that route with Autonomous (aka Otto) - too bad that aspect was never really explored although there are a handful of moments.

Third, in regards to the cast of characters, I was expecting to love getting to know this group of friends, but that didn't happen. I didn't like anyone and they all grated on my nerves throughout. Christina is the only halfway decent character out of everyone in the novel (everyone else is just irritating or flat). Her character definitely deserved much better than she got in this story. I bet I was inadvertently grinding my teeth down while reading about the rest of our cast. The prevalent social media stuff was also exasperating - and that's coming from someone who tweets, blogs, pins, and the like regularly. I usually like seeing a bit of that kind of thing in YA contemporary (which this also brushes up against) because that can make it feel very current and now. Maybe, though, my irritation is connected to the characters who push it the most (ie: not Christina) or because it just feels too forced in this case - at least it does touch on some of the more creepy aspects of social media when it comes to the driverless car itself but not nearly enough.

Finally, I was really let down by Autonomous by Andy Marino - it was one of those reading experiences where I actually preferred concept to the final product. Christina, the use of social media, the driverless car, the elements of horror/ thriller, the official description - there's so much potential, but it just stalled out for me. I nearly gave up on this novel, but I kept going in hopes that it would eventually improve. I doubt this story will age well, and I expect it will date quickly. It's going for #relatable, but it never hits the mark. Reader beware: Ages 16+ are recommended.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to try this ARC.  


I read this ARC from October 11 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel was originally going to be released on November 14, 2017, but has now been pushed back to April 3, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt + 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 the Mistress of  Mellyn by Victoria Holt, which was first published in 1960 and will be one of my next reads.  I just happen to stumble up a 1966 mass market paperback edition at a junk shop the other day.  On the back cover, it's basically described as the the next Rebecca, which is one of my favorites so I had to try it.  Plus, it was only a quarter - unfortunately, I couldn't take it off that sticker unless I want to mess up the cover.

Beginning: 

"There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances," my Aunt Adelaide had said.  "One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility."

As the train carried me through wooded hills and past green meadows, I was taking this second course; partly, I suppose, because I had never had an opportunity of trying the former.

56:

As we came out of the field a figure rose from the grass and I saw to my surprise that it was Peter Nansellock.

He clapped his hands as we came along.

"Here endeth the first lesson," he cried, "and an excellent one.  I did not know," he went on turning to me, "that equestrian skill was included in your many accomplishments."

50/50 Friday: Best/ Worst Bookish Job (From A Book)


Worst - Hogwarts Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts - As brilliant as being a Hogwarts would be, let's be honest with ourselves, Defense Against the Dark Arts professors didn't have the best track record.  Lupin was really the one exception, but we all know how his career ended at the end of Harry's third year.


Best - Libriomancer Librarian from the Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines - Isaac Vanio is a librarian which is a fantastic position by itself - he's also a libriomancer which means he can magically reach into books and pull objects from the story.  Sounds like a dream to me!

What's your favorite fictional job?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!