#BookFest, Sons, and #AmWatching

I have my first book fest of the year coming up this weekend.  I’ll be at the Lexington Legendary Book Bash this Saturday, April 23rd, from 10am to 4pm.  I always enjoy these events – meeting readers and other authors, catching up with authors I’ve met at other events.  These are my people.  If you’re in the area, stop by!  As a bonus, my oldest son lives in Lexington, KY, so hubby and I can spend some time with him and his girlfriend over the weekend – yay!

Speaking of my sons, the oldest lives a couple of hours away, and he’s more of a texter than a caller.  The other attends college in the town where we live, but lives on campus – we rarely see him.  Yesterday, the oldest calls me and the youngest shows up at the house to pick up something.  Wonderful, right?  It’s at the same time.  If they talked to each other more, I’d swear they’d planned it.

This has been a Netflix weekend for me.  On Friday, I got a double surprise when new episodes of Arrested Development and Queer Eye (love those guys) dropped.  Last night, I made the ultimate sacrifice and DVR’d The Walking Dead to watch Triple Frontier, and Netflix original with Ben Affleck and Charlie Hunnam, with hubby.  I was a huge Sons of Anarchy fan, and I’ve missed seeing Charlie Hunnam on the screen.  Check out the movie if you have time – it’s definitely worth watching.

Happy reading and writing this week!

 

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m reading The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee.  This is my first time reading this author, but I’ve heard good things about her books.  I’m enjoying the different take on magic in this story.

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Just this past weekend, I finished The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman.  Besides having a gorgeous cover, the world-building is spectacular, and this town holds some dark secrets.  A captivating read.

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

Based on reviews around the blogosphere, I can’t wait to get to this next book – Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.. 

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1) by Meg Kassel #bookreview #YA #paranormal #TuesdayBookBlog

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

I bought this book several months ago during a Bookbub special.  The cover is stunning, and the original paranormal premise grabbed me.

It was refreshing to read a paranormal novel that didn’t involve the usual werewolves or vampires (although I’ve read vampires are making a comeback, and I can’t wait).  The Harbingers, who signal death is coming and feed off the energy, and Bee Keepers, who house poisonous bees that cause mental instability, are morbid and add a nice degree of creepiness to the story.  The Harbingers turning into black birds are just icing on the cake.

The brief description on the Bookbub email didn’t imply this novel was so heavy on romance, so I was a bit disappointed, but that’s my fault for not checking the expanded description on Amazon before buying it.  The relationship between Reece and Angie falls into standard paranormal trope – sweet, but insta-love and pretty predictable.

I thought the relationship between Angie and her father was done exceptionally well.  She’d been raised by a drug addicted mother who was estranged from Angie’s father, and he’d been searching for Angie for years, only reuniting with her upon the death of her mother.

Although more romance than I usually prefer, this was an intriguing read that held my interest, and one I’d recommend to fans of paranormal romance.

#Unplugging, #AmWriting, and #ThePassage

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I’d have some extra writing time coming up, and I was determined not to waste it.  After reading a post about unplugging by Mae Clair at The Story Empire, I decided to give it a try.  Friends, I’m now a firm believer that unplugging makes me a more productive and creative person.

Over a weekend, I refrained from checking email and social media of any kind.  I never opened a browser, and it was freeing and liberating.  I’ve struggled with this WIP, hitting one roadblock after another, but in those two days epiphanies were had, word counts increased substantially, plots twists created, and character motivations revealed.  It’s like I was possessed by a totally different writer.  If you haven’t tried this, give it a shot and see what happens.

Is anyone else watching The Passage?  I read the series by Justin Cronin a few years back, and wondered how the adaptation for television would go.  After The Walking Dead, it’s now my favorite show.  It’s been several years since I read the first book, so I can’t tell you how closely it’s sticking to it, but the story line is totally compelling, with some nail-biting scenes.  The talented young actor who plays Amy is the perfect blend of adorable, clever, and calculating.  She does a fantastic job.  The season finale is this week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s renewed for next season.

Happy reading and writing this week!

The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees #bookreview #YA #fantasy

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive? 

With a description that reads nearly like a fairy tale and a magical cover, do I really need to explain why I wanted to read this book?

The writing is lush, beautiful, and velvety, with imagery that will transport you to another place.  Some lines I re-read several times because of the way the author weaves words together.  There are basically three stories in this book, and the chapters alternate.  Somewhere around the middle or so, it’s revealed how they’re connected.  Rhea and her family are adorable and quirky, and the Darkness in the attic is spine-tingling and alluring.  It’s a nice touch.

With the first half of the book, I was all in and just wanted to find a secluded corner with no interruptions.  And then I got to the second half, and it lost me.  It has the feel of a fairy tale, but I felt untethered, and unsure of what was real in the story.  Even the dialogue was off, sounding more juvenile, and I found myself skimming the pages instead of savoring them as I had in the first half of the book.

Many other reviewers loved the dreamy, storybook feel of this novel, but I need to feel more grounded in my reading, with a better grasp of the plot.  Even though it turned out not to be for me, I’d still recommend this book because of the extraordinary writing, and I wouldn’t hesitate to read another novel by this author in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

 

 

The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez #bookreview #YA #scifi

THE TESLA LEGACY follows a precocious young scientist named Lucy Phelps whose fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.

One side wants her help and the other wants her dead, but both believe she is the next step in human evolution. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation—including Nikola Tesla—have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.

Admittedly, I’m a science nerd, and when I see the name Tesla (not the car), I get excited – that’s what drew me to this book.

A lot is packed into this novel – Lucy’s typical high school life rapidly turns into a tug of war between two agencies trying to ‘win’ her.  Unfortunately, one of those groups isn’t too concerned with her survival.  There’s a good bit of science talk that may throw off some readers, but it’s pertinent to the story and explained well.

I loved that Lucy is an unabashed science geek, heavily into STEM, and isn’t afraid to display her intelligence.  Her numerous pop culture references to Star Trek, Wonder Woman, etc., also made me smile.  Lucy’s sense of betrayal and confusion of who she should trust is portrayed well.  I did feel that some repetition regarding relationships in the middle of the book slowed the pace somewhat, but it turned into a whirlwind race near the end.

If you enjoy reality-based sci-fi with a splash of X-Men and a pinch of The Davinci Code, I’d recommend The Tesla Legacy.  It’s action-packed, with some surprising twists.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.

Calendar Girls: Women’s History Month (Favorite Book With a Strong Female Lead)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

Strong female leads – I’ve read my share, and there are loads out there to choose from.  Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is an obvious choice, and so is Starr from The Hate U Give (my Calendar Girls selection from last month), but for different reasons.  Nemesis from S.J. Kincaid’s Diabolic series is the epitome of a strong female lead, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  The things she’s had to deal with would break most people.  The cliffhanger at the end of the second book in that series nearly broke me.

But I decided to go with a character from a book I recently finished – Rhen Tellur from To Best The Boys.  She lives in a world where girls are taught how to make good wives, rather given a traditional education and encouragement to pursue their own dreams.  Being exceptionally intelligent and gifted in science, Rhen’s says, ‘Screw that’, and makes different plans for her future.  She poses as a boy, enters an all male competition to win a scholarship, and throws society’s expectations of her right back at their faces.  Rhen doesn’t allow anyone else to dictate who she is, what her dreams should be, or how she can achieve them.  Girl power!

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.