Tuesday, October 31, 2017

*Platypire Read-A-Thon* October Results

Photo courtesy of Platypire Maribel
October is OVER, which means it's time to present to you my results for the Platypire Read-A-Thon for October. I felt like this month was a failure reading-wise, but there's a good reason for that. I literally spent the whole month proofreading one book after another (and had more than a couple days of downtime due to issues with my right eye that we're still trying to determine the cause of). In any case, I proofread seven books this month, one of them twice, and that takes more time no matter how I slice it. And the eye issues had me out of commission for almost a week total. So even though I didn't get as much read this month as I would have liked, I accomplished a lot.

But anyway, here are my results (if you can make any sense of them). 

R - Read
C - Currently Reading
T - To Be Read
NR - Needs Reviewed

The Sacred Knights by Mary Ting (September)
A Kiss So Deadly by Mary Reason Theriot (September) (This was a re-read, so I already had a review written for it)

*Titles link to reviews*

Only Ever You by Lisa Suzanne (July)
Strike a Pose by Ginna Moran (August)
Red Hot Reunion by Beth Hale (July)
The Address by Fiona Davis (July)
Washing Ashore by Ginna Moran (May)
Princess of Draga by Emma Dean (July)
7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner (September)

Needs Reviewed

NR - Mary Ting Proofread (Not yet listed on Goodreads)
NR - Alexandrea Weis Proofread (Not yet listed on Goodreads)
NR - Bicycle Thieves by Mary di Michele (March)
NR - Alexandrea Weis Proofread (Not yet listed on Goodreads)
NR - Mary Ting Proofread (Not yet listed on Goodreads)
NR - Damned by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor (July)
NR - ISAN by Mary Ting (2016)
ISAN by Mary Ting (October) (This was a re-read, but it should still count for my numbers)
NR - The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff (July)*
NR - The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor (June)*
NR - Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray (July)*
NR - Son by Lois Lowry (May)*
NR - A House for Happy Mothers (April)*
NR - The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (June)
NR - Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (June)
NR - Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives (July)
NR - Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (July)
NR - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2015)*
NR - Clean Break by Lisa Suzanne (Oct.)

NR - It Takes Death to Reach a Star by Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington (Oct.)
NR - Crown of Draga by Emma Dean (September)
NR - A Very Mer-Merry Christmas by Ginna Moran (October)
NR - Jinxed by Thommy Hutson (September)

Currently Reading

C - The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2015)*
C - The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (2016)*
C - Sweetwater: The Kihn by Rivi Jacks (2015)*
C - Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur (2015)*
C - The Voyage by Tammie Painter (2015)*
C - Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder (2015)*
C - The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop (2015)*
C - Troll by Ashley C. Harris (2015)*
C - The Sanctum of Souls by R.K. Pavia (2015)*
C - The Travelers by Chris Pavone (2015)*
C - Back of Beyond by Neeny Boucher (2016)*
C - The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen (2016)*
C - Letter's From Paris by Juliette Blackwell (2016)*
C - An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur (2016)*
C - River of Ink by Paul M.M. Cooper (Jan)*
C - The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Jan)*
C - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (2016)*
C - My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni (Feb)*
C - Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (Feb)*
C - Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years by Blanche Wiesen Cook (Feb)*
C - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (April)*
C - The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (May)*
C - The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams (June)*
C - Artemis by Andy Weir (August)
C - Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem (Sept.)
C - Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid (Sept.)
C - How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis (August)
C - The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones (September)
C - Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (October)
C - Love's Embrace by Mary Reason Theriot (October)

To Be Read

T - The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias (Feb)
T - Courage to Soar by Simone Biles (March)
T - In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (March)
T - The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse (April) 
T - The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (April)
T - Betwixters: Once Upon a Time by Laura C. Cantu (June)
T - Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (July)
T - Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale (July)
T - Zoonauts by Richard Mueller (July)
T - Cooking for Ghosts: The Secret Spice Cafe by Patricia V. Davis (July)
T - The Scary Train Ride by Marlene Bischoff (July)
T - Skyward Bound: Hot-Air Ballooning by Alese & Morton Pechter (July)
T - Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home by Jody A. Dean, Ph.D. (July)
T - Gerome Sticks His Neck Out by L.S.V. Baker (July)
T - The Adventure of Thomas the Turtle by Stuart Samuel (GR) (July)
T - The Fable of the Snake Named Slim by Doug Snelson (August)
T - How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas (August)
T - Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (August)
T - Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice & Christopher Rice (August)
T - Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (August)
T - Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (August)
T - A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones (August)
T - The Border by Steve Schafer (August)
T - Berserker by Emily Laybourne (August)
T - Nemesis by Anna Banks (August)
T - The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus (August)
T - Sneak Peek: The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick (September)
T - Sneak Peek: Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown (September)
T - Lords of the Underworld Sampler by Gena Showalter (September)
T - The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (September)
T - Sneak Peek: Nadiyah's British Food Adventure by Nadiyah Hussain (September)
T - How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (September) 
T - A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (September)
T - Sneak Peek: The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Oct.)
T - Sneak Peek: Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card (Oct.)
T - Sneak Peek: Origin by Dan Brown (Oct.)
T - Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson (Oct.)
T - A Darker Sea by James L. Haley (Oct.)

So like I mentioned, I didn't get as much reading done as I would have wished, and I didn't get as much reviewing done as I had wished either because I was just too busy being paid to read. But I got more reviews written than books I added that I'll need to review, and with luck, November will be less busy (it won't, I'm preparing for a trans-Atlantic move which means attempting to purge my belongings) and I'll be able to finally actually get caught up on all those overdue reviews. 

So how many books did you read in October? Let me know below. - Katie

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books Featuring Vampires

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is Halloween freebie. For some reason, these freebie themes are the hardest for me to do. I need more direction than this. There's just too many options and it's so hard to narrow it down (or you know, just think of a single option that isn't just books with the word Halloween in the title, because that is literally what I've got right now.) So I'm cheating and asking my eight-year-old what I should blog about for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday post. His suggestion: Vampires. I think I can work with that.

So here we go. My top ten books featuring vampires or vampire like creatures in no particular order but with a very clear countdown (figure that one out!)

10: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - As much as I hate the representation of vampires in Twilight, the storyline for this series was engaging enough to keep me reading to the end.
9: 'Twas the Night by Robin Reed - Vampire Santa...that's all you need to know.
8: House of Night (Series) by P.C. and Kristin Cast - I haven't actually read all the books in this series. I read through all of the ones that were available like seven years ago, and then never picked up another because I was apparently not that invested. Maybe someday I'll finish it.
7: Vampire Diaries (Series) by L.J. Smith - I'm not sure how many of these books I've actually read, but I know it's at least two, which is actually four books because they come in pairs. I was reading them around the time that I moved to Germany though (I went through a serious vampire phase then it seems), and that was quite a while ago.
6: The Chosen Knights by Mary Ting - So vampires aren't the main focus of this story, but it has several vampire like creatures.
5: Midnight Moonrising by K.S. Haigwood and Anne Conley - This book has vampires and werewolves and maybe some bears, oh my! It's definitely a fun series and I'm in it! #NoBias
4: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith - What's not to love about the 16th president of the US killing vampires?
3: Nightworld (Series) by L.J. Smith - I read this series during my vampire phase too.
2: Dracula by Bram Stoker - It wouldn't be a list about vampire books if Dracula didn't make an appearance.
1: Salem's Lot by Stephen King - I would be remiss if I didn't include King's vampire book on this list, right? So here it is.

This list was way harder to compile than I thought it would be because I feel like I've read a million vampire books, but couldn't think of hardly any when I started trying (because there are so many series included on this list probably).

What are you favorite vampire books that I should be reading? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your list so I can see what Halloween themed books you're featuring.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Monday, October 30, 2017

*State of the ARC* October 2017

So I'm hooking up with AvalinahsBooks for this newish meme, State of the ARC. According to the lovely Avalinah, this is a "fun way to share our ARC (advance reader copy) progress," but near as I can figure, it's just a way to self-shame for being greedy and getting behind on our ARC reading. I'm personally coming to the conclusion that I was born without a shame gene, so this may be an exercise in futility for me, but it's only a once a month post, so why not play along (also when I went on my graphics making spree, I created a header for it, so I've got to use it). 

To start with, I need to bloviate about what qualifies as an ARC for me. Obviously books on Netgalley count (this is scary all on it's own, you'll see for yourself in a minute just how scary). But sometimes I get "suckered" into reviewing non-Netgalley books too (or you know, I'm just so greedy because I want all of the books and the synopses sound good and I have no self-control), so those books should really get a place here too (probably even more than the Netgalley ARCs because they're usually physical copies). I will not be counting the ARCs that I win through Goodreads giveaways however, because I want to pretend that this list is still theoretically manageable. I'm also not going to count the books I get through Penguin's First to Read program because that list is constantly changing for me (it's the one thing I'm almost consistent on). 

So with all that in mind, where am I at right now? 


Netgalley is my biggest weakness because it's eARCs, so it's almost like they don't really exist (at least not in my mind). It's super easy for them to get lost on my Kindle. But to share my shame, I currently have...

125 Books

...to read on Netgalley total. But I'm going to break that down because not all Netgalley books are created equal. The following comprise the 125 books I have to review on Netgalley. 

samples or excerpts. 
11 children's or middle grade books.
6 books that I've already started or finished reading.
and 100 books that are still waiting for me to pay attention to them. 

In other words, things on this front are almost hopeless at the moment. I have to brag on myself though, because the past three months, I've basically only gotten samples and excerpts (with just two exceptions) through Netgalley and those are short, so faster reads, once I find some time to get to them. It may not seem like it, but that's progress. 

Physical Books

Now I don't get nearly as many offers for physical ARCs as I get access to on Netgalley, but I do get some because people don't know just how bad I am at commitment. So how many physical books do I have to read and review right now?

11 Books

Now that seems doable doesn't it? And it really should be because the breakdown there is...

6 children's books,
and 5 not children's chapter books. 

Now I'm going to be moving across the Atlantic Ocean in the next few months, so I really need to get these books read and reviewed before the movers arrive to pack up my stuff (at least the children's books because they will be fast reads with my kids). That still requires me to find the time to read them and get them reviewed, and somehow I never seem to have any of that just laying around. 


So all in all, I have 136 books to read for review right now, which is only 16 more books than I read a year on average. So if I could just not add any new books to the list, and not read any other books, I could knock this list out in like thirteen months. But I'm not delusional enough to think THAT's ever going to happen (for one thing, I proofread about 40 books a year, and I get paid for that so I'm not putting that on a back burner). So I guess that would have me finishing up with just the ARCs listed here in like 2 1/2 years or something, and I just need to not add anything new to my list. I expect y'all to hold me accountable. - Katie 

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

#MadLibMonday - Bearing Secrets by Julie Wetzel

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Adjective
2: State
3: Noun
4: Adjective
5: Verb
6: Animal
7: Plural noun
8: Verb ending in ing
9: Plural noun
10: Adjective

Genre: Paranormal
Published: May 31, 2016
Part of the Enchanted Anthology

With her college graduations a (   1: Adjective   ) memory, Nora Miles has some decisions to make. Her mother has secured her a place back home, but that means leaving her beloved (   2: State   ) for the doldrums of an office job. Not something Nora really wants, but finding gainful employment in the US’s most northern (   3: Noun   ) has proven tough. With time running out, Nora decides to take one last foray into the wilderness she’s come to love. Maybe the (   4: Adjective   ) air will help clear her head and help her (   5: Verb   ) of a solution to her problem. But the wilds of Alaska aren’t a forgiving place.

When a close encounter with a mountain (   6: Animal   ) leaves Nora fighting for her life, she finds her only hope lies with her rescuer: a bear that shape shifts into one of her (   7: Plural noun   ).

Dean McGuire didn’t think when he heard the lion (   8: Verb ending in ing   ) the young woman, he acted, but now he’s got a serious problem. Not only does Nora know what he is, she knows who he is. Either piece of information alone wouldn’t be an issue, but both together could mean disaster for his people. There are rules for (   9: Plural noun   ) like this, but killing an innocent woman after saving her from death seems harsh and he doesn’t know anything about romance. Decisions have to be made and there isn’t a lot of time to make them.

Can they come to terms? Or will this (   10: Adjective   ) encounter cost her everything?

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for Bearing Secrets by Julie Wetzel.

With her college graduations a recent memory, Nora Miles has some decisions to make. Her mother has secured her a place back home, but that means leaving her beloved Alaska for the doldrums of an office job. Not something Nora really wants, but finding gainful employment in the US’s most northern territory has proven tough. With time running out, Nora decides to take one last foray into the wilderness she’s come to love. Maybe the fresh air will help clear her head and help her think of a solution to her problem. But the wilds of Alaska aren’t a forgiving place.

When a close encounter with a mountain lion leaves Nora fighting for her life, she finds her only hope lies with her rescuer: a bear that shape shifts into one of her classmates.

Dean McGuire didn’t think when he heard the lion attacking the young woman, he acted, but now he’s got a serious problem. Not only does Nora know what he is, she knows who he is. Either piece of information alone wouldn’t be an issue, but both together could mean disaster for his people. There are rules for situations like this, but killing an innocent woman after saving her from death seems harsh and he doesn’t know anything about romance. Decisions have to be made and there isn’t a lot of time to make them.

Can they come to terms? Or will this chance encounter cost her everything?

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment with your list below so the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. And be sure to share with your friends! - Katie 

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

*Review* Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Genre: YA Romance
Published: May 3, 2016
Pages: 389

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

I don’t remember why I decided to read this book, if I’m completely honest. I think I just logged into my most unused library card on overdrive and picked a book randomly from my TBR list because I felt my card was underappreciated. Yes, I know. Don’t judge me. Whatever the case, it was downloaded onto my phone and so I was obligated to read it. And, like usual, I totally didn’t read the synopsis before starting it so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This is who I am as a person, just accept it.

Having read this right after Cinder & Ella, it was kinda weird that I managed to pick another book where the main character lost her mother to a tragic event and ended up having to stay with her father that she didn’t know. I did not plan that! But hey, I suppose it’s better to just get all of those feels back to back for added feelings and suffering. Good times.

Anyway, Lina is now in Italy with her father and she’s given a journal that from her mother to read. And she takes a long ass time to finish reading that damn thing, let me tell you… I wanted to shake her. I get that it’s a whole lot to take in and she’s grieving and whatnot, but she’d have saved a whole lot of trouble had she just read the damn thing in one sitting. But whatever. Have all the feels, see if I care.
I really liked Ren, he’s pretty much awesome. And adorable. And Lina really frustrated me with how she handled her relationship stuff. I get she’s a teenager and whatnot, but c’mon. She was also kinda a super bitch at least a few times. But Ren was almost perfect with how great he was. And I don’t even care if it’s ridiculous, but I kinda had my own little crush on the guy.

In conclusion, I can’t believe nobody had coconut gelato. That’s my favorite flavor. And I’m hella offended by the lack of it.

3.07 and 5/7th platypires. - Joood - Hooligan

Jenna Evans Welch spent her high school years in Florence, Italy, where she drove a scooter, danced in fountains, and ate entirely too much gelato. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and young son. Read her blog, The Green Lemon, at JennaEvansWelch.com.

*Review* 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

Genre: Middle Grade/Action
Published: October 24, 2017
Pages: 299


Inspired by True Events

Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from. 

Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird. 

7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance. 

The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff. 

To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!

I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the story makes my review unreliable, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

It has been a few years since I was in middle school (we're not going to talk about just how many) so I'm not the target audience for this book. Because of this, there were some elements of the story that just seemed a bit too ridiculous to me personally, but I'm pretty sure they were perfectly in line for a middle grade action adventure story (again, it's been a few years since I would have been reading those types of books in general). 

In spite of my issues with the believability of the book, there were several aspects of the story that I really liked. For one thing, I appreciated how it was told from two very different points of view, but both were outsiders in their own way. Dennis was a new kid at school, a position he was almost perpetually in because of his troublemaking ways. And Rhonda was just a little too smart to ever be "popular" (this I related to so hard). Add to that the fact that her dad is a prepper and has been raising her and her siblings to be prepared for any type of catastrophe you could possibly imagine, and she just doesn't quite fit in even though she's been part of the class their whole lives. In the end, it's these things that make them "different" that also helped them to be the most valuable members of the class when things got a little tough.

My favorite part of the story is that Rhonda really seemed to be the ultimate hero. Once things at the school got a little bit sticky, everyone turned to Rhonda for the answers because they recognized her strengths, even when they were things that had led to teasing previously.

In the end, I think this is a book that would appeal to both boys and girls, especially because of the dual POV. I think girls will enjoy seeing a girl who is capable of doing all the things that we typically think of boys doing, and doing them well. And there is enough action to keep the boys engaged in the story.

Overall I give 7th Grade Revolution 4.37 stars. - Katie 

Liana Gardner is a two-time teen choice award-winning author of the Misfit McCabe series. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana Gardner combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”

Her debut Middle Grade novel, 7th Grade Revolution, launches 10/24/2017. Currently she is working on a chapter book series as LK Griffie, with creator Luke Matthews and co-authors Olivia Claire and Jared Cross, entitled Timmy and the Golden Lion Tamarin. In addition to the children’s book series, she is working on a Middle Grade series which will be released under the name Liana Gardner, with the first book titled, The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key. Her most recent YA novel, Speak No Evil, will also be released under the name Liana Gardner.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 28 October 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Geographica's World Reference - The copyright on this edition is 2002, so some of the information will be outdated, but it could get the ball rolling at least if my kids want to learn about these things. ($4)
Pokemon Black & White Handbook - Got this for my kids because they like reading anything Pokemon related regardless of how boring it is. If it gets them reading, I'm happy though. 
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - I think I bought this book a couple weeks ago, but when I was at the thrift store, I couldn't remember if I'd bought it, or simply picked it up and looked at it there, so I bought it this week (too, maybe.)
Daughter of Destiny by Benazir Bhutto - This is an autobiography. I know this person's name because of reading another autobiography, Malala Yousafzai's. 
The Professor by Charlotte Bronte - Methinks a former English major is clearing out their shelves. This is the second week in a row I've added some Bronte to my shelves. 
Scooby-Doo and the Snow Monster by James Gelsey - My kids like Scooby-Doo, so this should be a good book for them to read, I hope. 
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte - Two Charlotte Bronte books in one thrift store trip. It's almost like Christmas!
Attack of the Clones by Patricia C. Wrede - This is a junior novelization of Star Wars Episode II. It has stormtroopers on the cover so my daughter was super excited about it. 
Herobrine Scared Stiff by Zack Zombie Books - This is an unofficial Minecraft novel. My children are 6 and 8, that should explain everything about this purchase. 
Let's Draw Cars by Deborah Kespert and Felicity Fitchard - My son is a little bit interested in drawing things, so we buy any books about drawing that we find. 
Art Express by Harcourt Brace & Company - I'm not sure exactly what grade this art book is for (it's got a different cover than what I could find on Amazon), but based on the writing inside, I'd say probably 1st or 2nd grade. 
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - I have a tendency to buy Lisa See books when I find them. I haven't read any of them yet, but I buy them. 
The Honeybee Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - This is a Boxcar Children book, in case you weren't aware. 
The Gymnastics Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - Another Boxcar Children book. The nostalgia was strong this week. 
The Mystery in New York by Gertrude Chandler Warner - Did you like reading as a child?
The Mystery of the Wild Ponies by Gertrude Chandler Warner - What was your favorite book growing up?
Bus Station Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - Did you read any of the Boxcar Children books when you were a kid?
Mountaintop Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - What's your favorite kind of candy?
Mike's Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - Are you a dog person or a cat person?
The Lighthouse Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner - If I said you had a great body, would you hold it against me?
Mystery Ranch by Gertrude Chandler Warner - What is the cheesiest pick-up line you've ever heard?
The Siren Song by Rob Kidd - Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow chapter book. It seems interesting, for a child of course. 
The Coming Storm by Rob Kidd - What's your favorite alcoholic beverage?
City of Gold by Rob Kidd - What's your favorite scary movie?
Sins of the Father by Rob Kidd - This has been a test to see if anyone actually reads my explanations. Thank you and goodnight!
Mission From Mount Yoda by Paul Davids and Hollace Davids - My daughter wanted this book because she's apparently Star Wars obsessed right now. 
The Dark Rival by Jude Watson - This is a Star Wars Jedi Apprentice novel. Again, my daughter wanted it. 
Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile by Kristiana Gregory - This is a Royal Diaries book, and I have several of them, so I figured I should get this one in case it was one I hadn't already bought. 

So there you have it. That's all the books I picked up at my thrift store this week, the last week I'm going to be buying any books at this thrift store ever because we're going to be moving in the nearish future, so I'm supposed to stop buying books and that makes me sad. But I've already thought of a twist for the weekly Stacking the Shelves post to get me through the next couple/few months without upsetting my husband by adding more weight to our household goods. And this haul only cost me $4.50 (because of that expensive first book).

So what books have you added to your shelves this week? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can check out your new books.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Friday, October 27, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 27 October 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Candy Corn, a chocolate bar, or Popcorn. Which of these snacks are your favorite to eat while reading? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
Of the snacks listed, I would definitely have to say that popcorn is my favorite to eat while reading, and if I'm feeling particularly adventurous (or just craving a little bit of sweet with my savory), I'll eat it with chocolate covered raisins (if you have not tried mixing popcorn with chocolate covered raisins, you absolutely should because it's magical).

I'm personally in the anti-candy corn camp (although I buy it sometimes because my kids like it), and I just don't eat a whole lot of chocolate bars (I prefer to get my chocolate in the form of a delicious baked good like cake or cheesecake when I'm craving chocolate at all). But I don't really snack a whole lot while I'm reading in the first place, except for the occasionally (read: almost nightly) midnight snack that I enjoy indulging in. But that's one snack at midnight and then I read for another three hours without putting anything else but water or pop in my mouth.

What about you? What is your favorite thing to snack on while reading (from this list or not, I don't care.) - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the link-up, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can stop by and check out your answer too.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

*Review* Princess of Draga by Emma Dean

Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Published: October 17, 2017

In the first book of the Draga Court series, Princess Adelina's coming-of-age party will declare to the worlds she is finally eligible to wed. All she wants is to serve her people and the crown with honor, but when a dangerously attractive prince from another galaxy - one who they all thought was dead - arrives with warnings of monstrosities and war, will her feelings put her in a position where she has to choose between her people and love?

The Draga Court series is a beautiful combination of fantasy and space opera set in a faraway future where humans have altered their genetics to save their species from their destructive natures. Dominance and rank weave a complicated dance among the galaxy's society where a true submissive has to find her place, and learn the true meaning of power and love.

I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

If you like science fiction and romance/erotica, this is probably the series for you. It features futuristic human societies, advanced technology, and loads of titillation. This is not a sex-centric story though, so if that is what you're looking for, you may want to look elsewhere. 

I was a little bit more familiar with the society of Draga while reading this story than I was while reading the prequel novella, so I was able to spend less time trying to wrap my mind around things and more time just enjoying the story. And boy did I enjoy this story. It had action, intrigue, and more family drama than Game of Thrones (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the family conflicts in this story were definitely next level). 

But the highlight of this story for me was the sexual tension. And for a book without a whole lot of actual sex, the story had me wanting it often. The chemistry between some of the characters is intense and I'm basically dying for Princess Adelina and Nadyah to delve deeper into her Camerraleto training. I'm hoping that the build up will be worth it, but I'm not sure how much longer I can wait. 

Overall I give Princess of Draga 4.8 stars. - Katie 

Emma Dean lives and works in California with her husband and son. She loves romance but needed something different so Draga Court was born. With too many stories to write the schedule has been filled through 2018.

When she’s not writing she’s reading, or spending time with her family.
With publishing now at least she has an excuse for not folding the laundry ;)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

*Review* Washing Ashore by Ginna Moran

Genre: YA/Paranormal

To escape the rule of a mighty merman king determined to imprison her in the ocean, Ava Adair seeks refuge on the Lost Cove, an island haven for humans who discover the mermaid secret. With her merman mate, Carter Stevens, she strives to find a balance between her love of the land and her affinity to the ocean. After discovering she has the power to control the sea, she must learn why the ocean bestowed on her gifts meant for royalty.

As her power grows and tension rises on the island, Ava struggles to remain on the shore though the ocean beckons her to return to the waves. Her unpredictable abilities make the ocean around the island dangerous for the human inhabitants, and Ava and Carter have no choice but to return to the water she fears. With the threat of discovery looming, Ava must harness her power to face the king and stop him before he destroys the land she loves and steals the life and ability the ocean has given her.

I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

This is the third book in the Spark of Life series and it provided an exciting conclusion to Ava's new life. I definitely recommend that you read this series in order, the books are not stand-alones, although you would probably not feel too lost if you don't start with book one because Ms. Moran does a decent job of recapping the important details from previous books. 

There were some things about Ava and Carter's lives on the island that really made me mad, like raving at my kindle over the injustice angry. For one thing, the way the other inhabitants of the island treat them is horrible. It's not like Ava and Carter really want to be stranded on the island either, but they feel like they have no choice in the matter and they're at least trying to contribute. 

I had a feeling I knew how this book was going to progress before I started it, and I was largely right. There were a few minor twists that I did not see coming, but the main plot was fairly predictable for me. Granted that might be due in part to the fact that I wanted the story to go that way, so a bit of the predictability was just me getting my wishes granted. It was at least a satisfying conclusion to the series for me though. 

Overall I give Washing Ashore 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Ginna Moran is a writer living in Austin, Texas but originally from Southern California. She started writing poetry as a teenager in a spiral notebook that she still has tucked away on her desk today. Her love of writing grew after she graduated high school and she completed her first unpublished manuscript at age eighteen.

When she realized her love of writing was her life's passion, she studied literature at Mira Costa College in Northern San Diego. Besides writing novels, she was senior editor, content manager, and image coordinator for Crescent House Publishing Inc. for four years.

Aside from Ginna's professional life, she enjoys binge watching television shows, playing pretend with her daughter, and cuddling with her dogs. Some of her favorite things include chocolate, anything that glitters, cheesy jokes, and organizing her bookshelf.

Ginna Moran loves to hear from readers so visit her online at www.GinnaMoran.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Ginna Moran is currently hard at work on her next novel.