Friday, March 16, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Children of Icarus (Children of Icarus #1) by Caighlan Smith + 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, Children of Icarus (Children of Icarus #1) by Caighlan Smith.  I got approved for the sequel Children of Daedala on NetGalley (I didn't realize it was actually a sequel at the time), so I figured I'd better tackle book one before I jump into the sequel.  So, here we go:


I count every ding in the elevator on the way up.  Fifteen.  Sixteen.  I don't look at the number Clara pressed.  I don't listen to her or the others now as they chatter about the parade.  I just keep counting and praying to Icarus that it's not twenty-three, not the balcony floor.


I stare at the monster again.  Its wings have curled around its corpse.  its head is turned to the side against the stones, facing me.  It's black eyes are wide open and I feel like even in death it can see me.  I half expect it to blink.

50/50 Friday - Best/ Worst Graphic Novel/ Manga You've Read

Best Manga - Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata - I read this series ages ago and it's still one of my favorites.  By the way, I also love the the anime and the live action movies - the original ones, not the American one on Netflix (still haven't brought myself to that one yet).

Worst Manga - Witch & Wizard: The Manga, Volume 1 by James Patterson, Gabrielle Charbonnet, Svetlana Chmakova - I've never read the book that this is based on and I probably never will after this.  Not even 100% sure why I picked this up actually.

Have you read any of these books?  What are you reading this Friday?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Lightning Stenography Device by M.F. Sullivan (ARC) - Review

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

2031 is the year that the first thought to text transcription device is released to the public. That's also the same year that Cassius Wagner, an author, has a seizure. At least, that is what his novel says - the fragmented novel which he wakes up to after a late night of writing. Afraid he has the makings of a prophecy on his hands, he's desperate to change his fate which prevents him from noticing that his editor might just be dealing with her own destiny.

DNF @ 10%

As soon as I saw this novel on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to give it a shot because the concept behind it sounds exactly like something I could get behind. I mean, a thought to text device that transcribes a possible prophecy about it's sleeping user? That sounds like there would be so much potential, if you ask me. I was thoroughly expecting to be hooked. Unfortunately, though, I ended up giving up at only 10% of the way into this story. I feel terrible about quitting, but I just couldn't force myself to slog on after dragging myself through the first tenth of the novel. I wasn't expecting a lighting paced read since it's billed as literary fantasy, but come on - at least make me want to have an excuse to continue on. The Lightning Stenography Device was just far too slow, boring, and stuffy for my taste. I've got too many books and not enough time to keep pushing my way through this one. Ah, well. I can't win them all. Thanks anyway, NetGalley.

I tried to read this ARC from March 10 - 11, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsThe Lightning Stenography Device by M.F. Sullivan will be released on March 19th, 2018.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (In A Good Or Bad Way)

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Books That Surprised Me (In A Good Or Bad Way).  The first half of my list are good surprises, while the second half are the not so good - each title is linked to my review.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title:


Duel: Terror Stories by Richard Matheson - I primarily read this short story collection for the title story because I love the movie adaptation.  While the story is a bit different, I still found myself pleasantly surprised by the original source material.

Revival, Deluxe Collection Volume 1 by Tim Seeley - I wasn't all that sure what to expect with this, but I knew I had to try it after it showed up in a Chew flipbook.  Luckily it turned out to be an excellent combination of horror and noir.

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft - Senlin's journey as a character over the course of this series is an excellent surprise.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor - Welcome to Night Vale is one of my favorite podcasts and as it turns out the novel was a pleasant surprise to see be in Night Vale in this other format, though, I did listen to the audiobook which was narrated by Cecil Baldwin, aka the Voice of Night Vale.

Yellow Locust by Justin Jaschko - I read this dystopian cli-fi novel in exchange for an honest review.  It won't be released until May 8th and I wrote the first review  - such a pleasant surprise!


Autonomous by Andy Marino - Okay, this has been promoted as a funny road trip book with a great group of friends and plenty of action and thrills good for ages 14 and up, but it wasn't any of those things as it turned out.

Divine Intervention (The Dining And Social Club For Time Travellers #1) by Elyse Kishimoto - I was fully expecting to love this time travel novel, but unfortunately the story and characters were quite flat, plus it's supposed to be a YA novel but it sounds like the narrator is all of ten years old.

Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House by Michael Wolff - Though honestly I can't say that I was expecting anything else.

Flawed (Flawed #1) by Cecelia Ahern - I was fully expecting to like this just going on the reviews, but unfortunately I DNF'd it.  The 39% I managed to make it through just didn't hold my attention - Celestine's voice was so boring and the society just didn't make any sense to me.

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid - Our lead character was an unpleasant surprise who just about made me want to DNF the story.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Impostor Syndrome (The Arcadia Project #3) by Mishell Baker (ARC) - Review

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

The Arcadia Project was torn apart three months ago with half of the fey courts supporting L.A. and the other half staying loyal to London - and London is doing all it can to take out the resistance. Unfortunately, due to a backslide in her mental health, Millie is in no shape to fight. London's first move is to frame Millie's partner, Tijuan, for murder and Millie has no choice but to do all she can for him to clear his name. The key to saving Tijuan and winning the revolution is locked in the White Rose in the heart of Arcadia under the fey Queen's nose. It's all up to Millie to pull off a heist that could potentially shape the future of the human and the fey worlds. She'll just have to convince everyone, including herself, that she knows what she's doing.

The Arcadia Project by Mishell Baker is one of my favorite urban fantasy series and I think Impostor Syndrome, the final book, is my favorite of the three. There's just so much to love about the novel. Millie herself is a key element of my love of this story. She's physically disabled and she has Borderline Personality Disorder. She is such a complex, unique, and compelling character - one of most fascinating that I've had the pleasure to read. I particularly love her unvarnished honesty, especially when it comes to Caryl. One of my other favorite aspects of this story is Baker's take on the fey - the Unseelie and Seelie Courts. She takes many traditional elements and completely manages goes her own way with that realm's inhabitants. Finally, I also like unspooling the mystery alongside our main cast of characters.. I'm sad it's over, but I don't think I could have asked for a better finale. Baker still leaves some things open, and I have to admit that I like that she doesn't just wrap up everything neatly in a bow.

Overall, Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker is a brilliant conclusion to The Arcadia Project series. The author does a wonderful job of continuing to develop the world of the Project, her characters, and the fey. This novel will easily be one of my favorite reads of 2018! If you like diverse urban fantasy, Seanan McGuire, and Daniel José Older, then you may also want to try this series. I'm looking forward to Mishell Baker's future works.

Thanks again, NetGalley!

I read this ARC from March 8 - 10, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsImpostor Syndrome will be released on March 13th.

Music Monday: Stranger Things Music Parodies

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.


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.

Recently I've been rewatching some of the first season of Stranger Things and I ended up watching these videos again while I was at it - The Hillywood Show's Parody and "Lucas Sings a Song" from Aaron Fraser-Nash.  The Hillywood Show makes awesome use of "Super Freak" and Fraser-Nash does a good job with "I'm Yours" from Jason Mraz (in my opinion, Lucas doesn't get nearly enough love).  Anyway, if you haven't already watched these and you love Stranger Things as much as I do, you absolutely have to check them out!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sunday Funday - Black Panther & A Wrinkle In Time

Happy Sunday everyone!  Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on two movies I've seen lately at the theater that I was highly anticipating.  Read on for my mini reviews of Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time and to see what movies I hope to see next at the theater:

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T'Challa, aka the Black Panther, was one of my favorite characters in Captain America: Civil War so needless to say I was very excited to see his first solo outing on the big screen.  Luckily for me, I was not disappointed in the least!  I loved getting a look into the colorful world of Wakanda and meeting all of the new characters (and seeing our returning cast).  As great as it was to see T'Challa again, Shuri and Okoye totally stole the show.  Shuri and T'Challa's sibling relationship was a lot of fun - and it was very cool to see Shuri take charge with all of the science and technology.  As for Okoye, I really appreciated her sense of honor and bravery - as well as her awesome fighting skills, of course.  Finally, Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger is one of the best, most thought-provoking and complex villains the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us (I'd say he's right up there with Loki).  I'd love to experience this movie at the theater another time!

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While not perfect, this movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time has so much going for it and so much to like.  Before I get into that, though, I'd like to mention a few of the minor stumbling points in the film.  A major point for me is the pacing - the beginning feels quite rushed while there are points that really drag, especially with the songs used in the movie (I like the songs, but in the scenes in the movie they didn't quite fit).  Plus, the dialogue in some scenes is a little clunky - I expect Charles Wallace is a difficult character to pull off, but unfortunately a bit good bit of this is comes from his character.  Now on to what I loved, to start with the visuals are absolutely stunning and it's a joy to see up on the big screen.  Otherwise, I love the fact that the story is so determined, hopeful, and inclusive.  I also really appreciate the casting of A Wrinkle in Time, especially for Storm Reid and Chris Pine.  Both of them gave fantastic performances in their roles.  I didn't know what to expect from Pine as Mr. Murry, but he owned the part and practically stole the show even though he doesn't have a whole lot of screen time.  As for Reid, I don't think I could have asked for a better person to portray Meg.  I will definitely be watching this young actress's future career.

Next up: 

Love, Simon - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is one of my favorite YA contemporary novels and I can't wait to see Simon's story on the big screen.  So far all of the trailers I've seen look incredibly promising!

Ready Player One - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is so much fun and I just can't wait to see this on the big screen.  The trailer looks so cool and fingers crossed that the movie brings it all to life!

Have you seen either of these movies?  What have you watched lately and what do you want to see next?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Friday, March 9, 2018

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North - Review

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Harry August is an Ourobouran, a person who lives, dies, and is reborn to live life again and again. He is also part of a secret society of fellow Ourobourans called the Cronus Club. Harry's also a mnemonic which is fairly rare among his people because that means he has near perfect recall of everything that's happened during his previous lives. Anyway, the plot of his story takes off when Harry is on one of his deathbeds when a little girl Ourobouran passes him a message that's been passed down to her from a thousand years in the future. The message is that the world is ending (not much of a surprise there), but it's coming much sooner than it should be because with each life cycle the end of everything is getting closer. And, that can only mean one thing, an Ourobouran near Harry's timeline is screwing around with history.

I have no idea how I had never heard of this 2014 literary sci-fi time travel thriller before now, but I'm glad I stumbled upon it while browsing through library eAudiobooks. This is one of those novels that it's best going into nearly blind. Claire North's world building is fantastic and the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn't want to take off my headphones - the narrator does a great job and gives an excellent performance, by the way.  Fair warning, though, it isn't always told in a linear fashion which does mean the style takes a little bit of getting used to. The highest praise I can give this story is to describe it like this: it's Kate Atkinson's Life After Life as told by Neil Gaiman multiplied by Groundhog Day on an IV of Red Bull. If that doesn't make you want to want pick up this novel, I don't know what will.

Overall, I highly recommend The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. It a non-standard time travel novel that will absolutely reel you in from the first few chapters and has plenty of great twists and outstanding world building to keep you hooked. If you like Groundhog Day, Life After Life, Neil Gaiman, Doctor Who and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, then you may also enjoy The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I will absolutely need to read more from Claire North in the future.

I listened to this audiobook from March 7 - 9, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.