OPEN GIVEAWAYS

None at this time. Check back soon!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Best Books I've Read In 2017 So Far #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is:

Best Books I've Read In 2017 So Far 
(not necessarily published in 2017, though a few of these are)


The Book of Ivy
by Amy Engel
(The Book of Ivy, Book #1)
When this book was released in late 2014, that's about the time that I went on a blogging hiatus. I don't recall hearing any hype about this book, which is surprising because it's FANTASTIC! I think it is underrated!!


Iron Kissed
by Patricia Briggs
(Mercy Thompson, Book #3)
I really need to get caught up on this series. This one was my favourite so far.


Halfway to the Grave
by Jeaniene Frost
(Night Huntress, Book #1)
This series has been on my TBR for so long! I finally started it, and this first in the series blew me away! I loved it!!


Distress Signals
by Catherine Ryan Howard
I've been reading so many great mysteries this year. This one is definitely a favourite!


The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
(Oz, Book #1)
I read this one aloud to my younger daughter. It was a re-read for me, but I haven't read it since I was my daughter's age. I still love it!


A Promise of Fire
by Amanda Bouchet
(Kingmaker Chronicles, Book #1)
This debut was amazing! The world-building was excellent, the heroine was kick-ass, and the chemistry between the MC and the Alpha was hot!


The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
This one moved me to tears! It's gut-wrenching and incredible. A tough read, but the author is brilliant!


Pax
by Sara Pennypacker
When you read this book, you will see why it was nominated for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. If you are an animal lover and enjoy stories between a child and their furry friend, I recommend it. You are going to need, Kleenex!


Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive
by Laura Hillenbrand
If you are looking for riveting and heartbreaking yet inspiring non-fiction, this one is it!! What an incredible story. Listen to the audiobook if you can.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
This one has been on my TBR for years. With the movie being released this year, I finally got on it. Skloot is an incredible investigative journalist. This non-fiction biography reads like fiction. It's very educational, and it revealed to me the medical experimentation done on African-Americans that I wasn't aware of. Highly recommended!


The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware
This was my first book of the year, and I predicted that it would be among my favourites of 2017 and it still is! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and it was tough to put down!



So, what books have been your favourites of 2017 so far? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, June 26, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm still reading: 

Something from the library. I'm a big Alice Cooper fan, though I'm not a fan of golf! I've been reading just a chapter here and there for a while but not making much progress, so I'm not starting anything else until I finish it!

AUTHOR: Alice Cooper
PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2007
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 260 pages
GENRE: Autobiography/Memoir
ISBN: 9780307382658
The man who invented shock rock tells the amazing and, yeah, shocking story of how he slayed his thirsty demons--with a golf club. It started one day when Cooper was watching a Star Trek rerun between concerts, bored and drunk on a quart-of-whiskey-a-day habit; a friend dragged the rocker out of his room and suggested a round of golf. Cooper has been a self-confessed golf addict ever since. Today he and his band still tour the world, playing some one hundred gigs a year . . . and three hundred days out of that year, Cooper is on the course.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is Cooper's tell-all memoir; in it he talks candidly about his entire life and career, as well as his struggles with alcohol, how he fell in love with the game of golf, how he dried out at a sanitarium back in the late '70s, and how he put the last nails in his addiction's coffin by getting up daily at 7 a.m. to play 36 holes.

Alice has hilarious, touching, and sometimes surprising stories about so many of his friends: Led Zeppelin and the Doors, George Burns and Groucho Marx, golf legends like John Daly and Tiger Woods . . . everyone is here from Dali to Elvis to Arnold Palmer.

This is the story of Cooper's life, and also a story about golf. He rose from hacker to scratch golfer to serious Pro Am competitor and on to his status today as one of the best celebrity golfers around--all while rising through the rock 'n' roll ranks releasing platinum albums and selling out arenas with his legendary act.


I'm listening to:

Something from the library, and a series that I really am enjoying so far! 

SERIES: Night Huntress, Book #2
AUTHOR: Jeaniene Frost
NARRATORS: Tavia Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 20, 2010
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 9 hrs and 47 mins
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
You can run from the grave, but you can't hide. Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her. But when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever and that Bones won't let her get away again.

Jeaniene Frost, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, lives with her husband and their very spoiled dog in Florida. Although not a vampire herself, she confesses to having pale skin, wearing a lot of black, and sleeping in late whenever possible. And while she can't see ghosts, she loves to walk through old cemeteries. She also loves poetry and animals, but fears children and hates to cook.

Love in vein: listen to another Night Huntress novel.

I just finished:

TITLE: Raging Star
SERIES: Dust Lands, Book #3
AUTHOR: Moira Young
PUBLISHER: Doubleday Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: May 13, 2014
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 448 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9780385679244
The much-anticipated, thrilling conclusion to Moira Young's Dust Lands trilogy.

When the star reader, Auriel Tai, challenged Saba to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton, Saba was confident in her purpose. Then she met DeMalo and he confounded all expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo and Saba had an intense and passionate encounter - physical, emotional and psychic - that changed her life, and now he wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world...for the chosen few.

Jack's choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop his dangerous New Eden project. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia.

What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.

SERIES: Oz, Book #2
AUTHOR: L. Frank Baum 
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PUBLICATION DATE: 1970 (first published 1904)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 192 pages
GENRE: Children's Fiction, Classics, Fantasy
ISBN: 0590085654
"You'll never bother me again," says Mombi the witch, once you drink this magic brew."

"What'll it do?" cries poor Tip.

"It will turn you into a marble statue!"

Tip's heart beats wildly.

Can a mere boy escape from a witch's evil power?

But this is Oz -- the marvelous, magical land where anything can happen!

SERIES: Blood Rose Rebellion, Book #1
AUTHOR: Rosalyn Eves
NARRATORS: Fiona Hardingham
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
PUBLICATION DATE: March 28, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 27 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister's debutante spell an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic Anna finds herself exiled to her family s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noemi to the fierce and handsome gypsy Gabor. Not the society she's known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can't seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and gypsies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post


This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"




Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme




My children's extra-curricular activities have finished, and I'm hoping for a more relaxing and quiet July. This is my goal:



Ahhhh, yes! I'm definitely looking forward to that!


 Have you all been taking advantage of the FREE audiobooks that SYNC has been offering? I love this program! Each week during the summer, there is a new pair of audiobooks up for grabs and you need to download them before the new pair is up which takes place every Thursday at 7:00 AM EST. The pairing consists of a newer YA book with a classic or non-fiction title, and it's based on a weekly theme. The books are suitable for ages 13+.

Here are the Week 9 FREE audiobooks, which you can download HERE. You have to download them by 7:00 AM EST on June 22nd. Once you have downloaded them, the audiobooks are yours to keep forever and listen at your leisure.

Here is information about Week 9's theme:

Our AudiobookSYNC offerings for Week 9 include the audiobook debut of the earliest published stories from a teen who later became a prolific fantasy author, and a second that delves into the true history of the teens and women on whom Colonial America’s witch hysteria focused.

Many listeners are familiar with Terry Pratchett’s long-running Discworld novels as well as his delightful storytelling at the borders of fantasy and comedy. THE WITCH’S VACUUM CLEANER AND OTHER STORIES collects for the first time his earliest literary tales, narrated here by Julian Rhind-Tutt for HarperAudio. These 14 funny, fantastic stories were written as part of Pratchett’s teenaged career in journalism and include appropriately teenaged themes including food fights, Tolkienesque little folk fond of practical joking, and bad guys who are as silly as they are daring. Even at 17, the author was creating characters and plots that would become developed in his later adult novels. Rhind-Tutt's delivery is just right for both the author's humor and the short story genre.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, in contrast, takes us into the grim history of 17th-century witch-hunting in THE WITCHES: SALEM 1692. Teens who know Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible can take a deeper dive here to come face to face with the realities on which that often-assigned work was built. Eliza Foss performs both the individuals affected by the witch-obsessed Puritans and the background explanations in tones that make complex passages accessible and engaging. Drawing connections between the witch trials and other events in America’s history may appeal to many teen listeners as a natural step.

We hope you find these two experiences with powerful voices engaging in themselves. We’re sure that listening to either will encourage further exploration of the themes and details they unfold, and we are glad to say that there are many audiobooks available that would make fine next choices for anyone eager to hear more about these echoes of the past. You can start with the listen-alikes posted on the download pages for the week or search for options in AudioFile's database of more than 35,000 reviews.

The Witches: Salem, 1692
by Stacy Schiff


The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories
by Terry Pratchett
(Children's Circle Stories, Book #2)


I won this audiobook in a giveaway hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer:


Kiss of a Demon King
by Kresley Cole
(Immortals After Dark, Book #7)

Thanks again, Kimberly and Simon & Schuster Audio! Now I need to get on this series :)


I bought these Daily Deals for $2.95 each at Audible:


Duplicity
by Sibel Hodge


Tilt A Whirl
by Chris Grabenstein
(John Ceepak Mystery, Book #1)


I rarely read e-books, but these deals were too good to pass up, so I bought them for my Kobo (notice a theme?):


The Silent Wife
by Kerry Fisher


The Missing Ones
by Patricia Gibney
(Detective Lottie Parker, Book #1)


Silent Scream
by Angela Marsons
(D.I. Kim Stone, Book #1)


Plague Wars Trilogy
by David VanDyke and Ryan King
(Plague Wars, Books #0-2)


I received these audiobooks for review:


The Inferno
by Dante Alighieri
(La Divina Commedia, Book #1)


Two Nights
by Kathy Reichs


Watch Me Disappear
by Janelle Brown


Bring Her Home
by David Bell


Final Girls
by Riley Sager

Thanks again to Penguin Audio and Random House Audio!


I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway:

Zero Repeat Forever
by G.S. Prendergast
(The Nahx Invasions, Book #1)

Thanks to Goodreads and Simon & Schuster Canada!



Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post


Friday: Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Raging Star by Moira Young


What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

Friday, June 23, 2017

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Raging Star by Moira Young @moira_young @RandomHouseCA

TITLE: Raging Star
SERIES: Dust Lands, Book #3
AUTHOR: Moira Young
PUBLISHER: Doubleday Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: May 13, 2014
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 448 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9780385679244
The much-anticipated, thrilling conclusion to Moira Young's Dust Lands trilogy.

When the star reader, Auriel Tai, challenged Saba to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton, Saba was confident in her purpose. Then she met DeMalo and he confounded all expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo and Saba had an intense and passionate encounter - physical, emotional and psychic - that changed her life, and now he wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world...for the chosen few.

Jack's choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop his dangerous New Eden project. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia.

What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.
MY REVIEW:

This was a satisfying and memorable conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy!

It’s been a while since I was immersed in this series. I listened to the first book, Blood Red Road, back in December 2012 and the next one, Rebel Heart, in January 2013.

This installment starts off with the Free Hawks - Saba, Lugh, Ash, Creed, and Tommo – heading east. Saba’s keeping a secret from the rest of the crew. She’s leading the group by the marks that Jack has left on the trees. They don’t realize that Jack didn’t really die at Resurrection. Their plan is to blow up the bridge that spans the Eastern Defile, linking New Eden to the Raze. They will do anything to make it tougher on DeMalo’s people to travel. When Saba sees two carts crossing the bridge, she realizes that the second cart contains slaves. She turns back to put out the lit fuse, but it is too late. She puts the entire group in danger, as they wait for her, but she cannot stop what has already been set in motion. The blast goes off, and everyone scatters. Saba tells them she will meet them at the rendezvous point, but DeMalo finds her. He offers her a deal: He will provide an escort to ensure that the Free Hawks have safe passage over the Waste, but they will be killed if any of them ever return to New Eden. In exchange, DeMalo wants Saba to marry him. She has until the blood moon to make her decision, which is only seven nights away.

The rest of the book is divided into sections, with a countdown from Night Seven down to Night Two, ending with After and New Eden.

I had listened to the first two audiobooks, so this was the first time reading the book in print. I did struggle with it, because the issues that I had are not apparent if you are listening. First of all, there are no quotation marks to identify when someone is speaking. I found that very frustrating. Also, Young’s style of dialect takes some getting used to. Here is an excerpt:

“Me an Tracker forge ahead, closin in on Lugh. He's bin holdin fast as leader fer some time. I noticed he wouldn't yield to Tommo a little while back. I s'pose he's makin some kinda point. What that might be, I ain't got time to consider.”

If my library would have had this in audio format, I would have preferred that. Unfortunately, they did not. I stuck it out and, once I got about halfway into the book, I got used to the writing. Aside from those issues, I really enjoyed the book! Saba has come such a long way from how she was in Blood Red Road, which actually is my least favourite of the three books. She has matured, and she is faced with some really hard decisions in Raging Star. A few secrets were revealed, more than one betrayal, and there are some heartbreaking tragedies. I was sad by how some things turned out, but the ending seems fitting and it wouldn’t have turned out that way if anything else had been done differently. So, as sad as some parts were, I was content with how things ended.

MY RATING:
4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy dystopia!

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven @jenniferniven @LLAudiobooks

AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
NARRATORS: Kirby Heybourne and Ariadne Meyers
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
PUBLICATION DATE: January 6, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 4 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health/Mental Illness
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

This was a sad and tragic read for me. Despite all the hype, I managed to go into this one blind. There is a trigger in it for me, because a very dear friend of mine committed suicide so the book stirred up those memories for me.

The story is told from two points of view, and both are high school seniors: First, we have Theodore Finch, who is a bit of a loner that gets bullied by the other kids. The popular kids refer to him as a “freak” because he’s just so weird. Next, we have Violet Markey, who used to date one of the hottest guys and was one of the Queen Bees, but she’s changed since her sister’s death the previous year. She was with her sister when they were involved in a car accident, and her sister died while she survived. As a result, she is plagued by survivor guilt. Violet and her sister, Eleanor, had a website and they shared their opposing viewpoints on everything from fashion to boys to books. However, since Eleanor’s death, Violet lost her interest in writing. Her dream had actually been to go to NYU and complete their creative writing program, but that died along with Eleanor.

At the outset of the book, Finch is on the ledge of the school’s six-story bell tower. He asks himself if it’s a good day to die. Some of the kids down below point up at the tower, but they aren’t pointing at him. They are pointing to someone on the other side of the tower: Violet. Finch ends up talking Violet down, but he lets everyone think that Violet climbed up there to save him so he lets her be the heroine.

In U.S. Geography, Finch asks Violet to be his partner for the project in which they are to explore and write about the sights to see in Indiana. It’s not really clear why Finch wants to pair up with her. However, when she comes stumbling into class dropping her books, he deflects the attention off of her by pushing his own books off his desk and then falling off his chair to ensure that Violet is forgotten. Does he feel sorry for her? It’s hard to say. Maybe he sees a bit of himself in her, as they both are unhappy. Although Violet agrees to partner up with Finch, she makes things a bit difficult when she tells him that they can only explore on foot or by bike. Since Eleanor’s death, she has not set foot in a car.

What starts off as a mundane school project ends up being so much more! Finch’s and Violet’s time together changes both of them.

This was a tough one for me. On the one hand, I loved how Finch was able to break through Violet’s wall and have an impact on her. She changed because of him, and their project renewed her interest in writing and she began to heal. On the other hand, I hate that Finch


I liked the book, but I have to admit that I thought that it would be better. The book had so much hype, so my expectations were high going in. There is a film adaptation that was released in April 2017, and I will likely watch it but not for a while yet. Even just watching this film trailer was tough to see:



Kirby Heybourne (Finch) and Ariadne Meyers (Violet) narrated this book, and I enjoyed them. There is a lot of angst in these characters, and I thought they both conveyed these emotions. Here is a sample of the narration:


MY RATING:

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it! Thanks again to Listening Library for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

Copyright 2012 Darlene's Book Blog Design by Parajunkee Design