Top Ten Tuesday December 10: Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

December 10: Freebie

I am going to go back many months and do a TTT that I missed from April 23: (First Ten) Books I Reviewed (These do not have to be formal reviews. A small sentence on a retailer site or Goodreads counts, too!

Looking back I can see how my reviews, especially the formatting, has improved.  The links will take you to Live Journal.  I either didn’t have or didn’t copy my reviews to Goodreads back then. Nor did I have this blog that long ago.

1) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
2) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
3) Phantom by Susan Kay
4) Prequel Star War Novels
5) Star Wars novels post RotJ
6) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
7) Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss
8) Star Wars: X-Wing series
9) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
10) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Bonus:
11) Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

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Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

I got an ARC during NYCC at a post panel signing with Adam Silvera.

It took me some time to get into this world. I was having a difficult time keeping characters straight and I could have used a Dramatis Personae.

I also had a difficult time understanding the difference between a celestial and a specter until more then halfway through. It felt like I was just thrusted into the world and expected to understand the terminology and mythology without much explanation. Especially, with the mention of the Blackout. I still don’t know what that event entailed.

However, it is a really fast read and once I got into it, it started to clicked.

There were some plot twists that were predictable. I also had an issue with the amount of time spent training for a couple of characters. No way could they be that good in that short amount of time.

But honestly, I’m not that bothered because I think the things I liked about it outweighed what I think could have been improved.

What I really enjoyed were the relationships between the characters. There was a lot of drama and a lot of tensions, mostly within the Spell Walkers themselves. I liked it because not only did it make the story interesting but it will allow for growth and development in the sequels.

The story also showed the power of social media, when it works for you and against you.

I liked the clear influences and Easter eggs from Harry Potter.

Another plus was having a cast of diverse characters.

The cliffhangers have enough spark that I will look out for the next book in 2021. I do like a fast fantasy read.

3 out of 5 Phoenixes

Mount TBR Challenge for 2020

I saw this Mount TRB Challenge linked on Twitter and I am going to participate.  I have a huge TBR pile of doom and I added to it after attending Book Con and NYCC in 2019. That doesn’t even include the ebooks and audiobooks I have stacking up.

Knowing how much I read in a year, and leaving some room for new books/series continuations, I am choosing Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s.

Challenge Levels:

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancounver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

Wish me luck!

New York Comic Con 2019 – Sunday

New York Comic Con 2019 – Sunday, October 6

I’m going to start off with…

List of all 17 books from NYCC 2019:  If there is a link then I read and reviewed it.

Penguin Random House mystery box, Ladies First in Sci-Fi and Fantasy:
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon.
Sorcerer to the Crown  by Zen Cho.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Harper Collins mystery box, Fantasy Quest:
King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist
Woodworker by Emily B. Martin
The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Knopf Doubleday ARCs:
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Penguin Book Wizard quiz:
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Panel giveaways:
Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed
Burn the Dark by S.A. Hunt

Free book at Signing
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
The Nobody People  by Bob Proehl

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My sister and I started Sunday by going to the Part of their World: A Conversation with the Disney Princesses.

Ariel. Belle. Princess Tiana. Join Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, and Anika Noni Rose -three of the all-star voices from the modern Disney age – as they talk about their experiences voicing some of the greatest animated characters of all-time. Moderated by Dani Fernandez (Host for Disney, E!, Nerdist and The Nerdificent Podcast on iHeartRadio).

We loved this panel and it totally brought a few tears to my eyes.

Many of the things they discussed in this SyFy Wire video they also discussed in the panel. I couldn’t find a video of the panel on YouTube.

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

I picked this up at NYCC when I took the Book Wizard Quiz at the Penguin Random House booth. You were asked a few questions on the tablet and then your answers dictated which book you received. I can’t remember the questions or answers when I got Foundryside, but I would say that the Book Wizard was right! I really enjoyed Foundryside.

At first it took me some time to get used to the terminology, but Robert Jackson Bennett does a good job of explaining scriving. I really liked the imaginative mix of magic with science and what I loved was the mysterious mythology. I can’t wait to see what the next book reveals about the ancient and unknown history of the world Bennett created.

Besides the incredible world building, the fully developed characters really drew me in. They were complex and compelling. I loved the way their relationships developed and I was rooting for the good guys. Some of the characters were so funny. I love Clef’s personality, and I especially loved the conversations he had with Sancia. Another character who made me laugh was the Mountain.

The action is a page turner. Reading those scenes was easy to picture in my head. I can so see this becoming a TV series or movie.

Thank you Book Wizard for giving me a new world that intrigues my imagination. I am anticipating the sequel in 2020.

4 out of 5 Keys.

Top Ten Tuesday November 19: Changes In My Reading Life

op Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

November 19: Changes In My Reading Life (Maybe you like different genres or topics, maybe you read faster than you used to, maybe you only like standalones now).

 

1) I listen to more audiobooks. New novels, old favorites, short stories, and Audible originals – which are sometimes non-fiction. A genre I usually hate reading. I easily get bored. But listening to non-fiction is thought provoking.

2) When I want to reread an old favorite I listen to the audiobook instead. Sometimes I read along with the book.

3) I have been a little better about reading ARCs I get at Book Con and New York Comic Con before the official release date. I say a little bit because while I put the ARCs ahead of books that are from the backlist, I also am not a speed reader and so sometimes I fall behind.

4) Between physical books I get at Cons and audiobooks I have neglected the TBR I have on my nook app. I was never one of those people who can read multiple books at once. When I am in a world I can’t leave it for another. So the ebooks have been waiting for me and I hope to find more of a balance between books, ebooks and audiobooks.

5) I started using holidays to listen to/ read themed books.  October is for horror and thrillers. Christmas is for Christmas stories.  I think next year I will extend that to love stories for February and for Black History Month I plan to listen to The Color Purple.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.

Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

I got an ARC at New York Comic Con. On November 6th at The New York Public Library I went to the event: The Starless Sea: Erin Morgenstern with Kelly Braffet. There was also a book signing. If I find some time I will write about that event too.

I bought the hardcover but kept reading the ARC because it was easier to carry and I didn’t want to get the nice signed hardcover dirty.

The Starless Sea was a whirlwind! So much happens and I am still absorbing it all. This story will definitely require a reread at some point. Actually, I plan to listen to the audiobook one day.

At first it seams that the short stories in between the main story are random interludes, but they do connect. There are some things I am still confused about, or maybe they were not answered at all?

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