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Thursday, June 29, 2017

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum @Scholastic

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!


MY REVIEW:

I have been reading this series as a read-aloud to my younger daughter. While we both loved The Wizard of Oz, we were disappointed that some of the characters from the first book weren’t present in the second.

I found this installment much odder than the first! We are introduced to a new cast of characters, including a boy named Tip, a witch named Mombi, and Jack Pumpkinhead and a sawhorse who were brought to life by a magical powder.
  
Mombi wants to turn Tip into a marble statue to stand in her garden, so he runs away with Jack Pumpkinhead in tow. He takes some of Mombi’s magical powder and brings Sawhorse to life so that Jack Pumpkinhead can ride him. They are on their way to the Emerald City to see His Majesty the Scarecrow, the new King. When they get there, they discover that a girl named General Jinjur and her army of female followers has staged a revolt to conquer the throne because she feels that the city has been ruled by men for too long and wants to use all the glorious gems and emeralds to make jewelry and to buy new gowns for the girls. The girls are successful in their coup and the Scarecrow flees with his new friends and they head over to the Winkies, where the Tin Woodman is Emperor. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman are happy to be reunited, and a Wogglebug joins the group. They all return to the Emerald City to help the Scarecrow reclaim the throne.

Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion are noticeably absent, and my daughter was disappointed about that! She actually began to lose interest in the story and, at this point, she has no interest in continuing the series. I guess that I will be reading it alone! The things that I most loved about The Wizard of Oz, the value of friendship and importance of teamwork and helping one another, are still strong themes in this installment so that makes me very happy!

I liked the ending, and I actually am really looking forward to the next one in the series, Ozma of Oz. I want to learn more about her.

MY RATING:

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine @rachelcaine #ThomasMercer

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.


Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

SERIES: Stillhouse Lake, Book #1
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 300 pages
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
ISBN: 9781477848661
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

I think this one sound pretty scary! I hope it's a page-turner!!


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

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:
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