ABC Book Challenge ✰ G

Continuing this challenge I saw at these blogs: Purple Manatees, and The Bibliophagist.

✰ Memorable books starting with G ✰

1) Golden Son by Pierce Brown
2) The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
3) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5) Girls & Boys by Dennis Kelly, narrated by Carey Mulligan
6) Guardian by Alex London

✰ Books on my TBR starting with G ✰

1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
2) The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
3) Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
4) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
5) Green Rider by Kristen Britain
6) The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

ABC Book Challenge ✰ F

Continuing this challenge I saw at these blogs: Purple Manatees, and The Bibliophagist.

✰ Memorable books starting with F ✰

1) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
2) Frankenstein, Based on the Novel by Mary Shelley by Nick Dear
3) Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
4) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

✰ Books on my TBR starting with F ✰

1) Foundation by Isaac Asimov
2) Far From the Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy
3) The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
4) The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
5) Four by Veronica Roth

Harry Potter: A History of Magic by Ben Davies, Natalie Dormer (Narrator)


Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the official book of the exhibition, a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library. It promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. Each chapter showcases a treasure trove of artefacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive. There’s also a specially commissioned essay for each subject area by an expert, writer or cultural commentator, inspired by the contents of the exhibition – absorbing, insightful and unexpected contributions from Steve Backshall, the Reverend Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake, who offer a personal perspective on their magical theme. Readers will be able to pore over ancient spell books, amazing illuminated scrolls that reveal the secret of the Elixir of Life, vials of dragon’s blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs and a genuine witch’s broomstick, in a book that shows J.K. Rowling’s magical inventions alongside their cultural and historical forebears. This is the ultimate gift for Harry Potter fans, curious minds, big imaginations, bibliophiles and readers around the world who missed out on the chance to see the exhibition in person.

I listened to the audiobook this week and went to the exhibit at the New York Historical Society today.

Photos are not allowed at the exhibit so I do want to buy the book eventually. Maybe with some Christmas money. It was nice though to put an image to all the descriptions made in the audiobook.

I love Natalie Dormer and she did a fantastic job of narrating. There were many interviews with the curators of the British Library and the NY Historical Society, the narrators of the UK and US editions of HP (Stephen Fry and Jim Dale, respectively), as well as some clips from the HP audiobooks and Fantastic Beasts (narrated by Eddie Redmayne), and interviews with artist Jim Kay.

I realized I like Jim Dale’s narration more than Stephen Fry’s. I think Jim did more voices and it was easier to distinguish which character was speaking. I also loved his little tidbits about how he came up with some voices.

One of the curators of the British Library, Julian Harrison, has thee softest voice I have ever heard. Sometime I had to increase the volume to hear him. And once I did fall asleep on the bus listening to his voice. I swear it is like melted butter.

The chapters are broken up into the subjects from Hogwarts: Charms, Potions and Alchemy, Divination, Astronomy, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology. The subjects go into the history of magical elements, and also give insight into Rowling’s writing process, Jim Kay’s process for drawing scenes for the illustrated edition, and Dale’s and Fry’s ideas about narrating the scenes for the audiobooks.

I loved what I learned from this audiobook. It’s amazing how these ancient ideas and beliefs about magic are world wide. Every part of the world has their own folklore but the ideas and symbolisms are so similar to each other.

They also spoke about the origins of the images we associate with witches. Such as cauldrons and broomsticks. The broomstick has a feminist origin. A woman is owning her power by taking an domestic item and using it for her power.

The word Abracadabra was believed to cure malaria.

I could keep going but there are so many that are fascinating! I bookmarked many parts to remember what I learned. I feel like going on Jeopardy! now.

It was just so enchanting that it took 3 hours to get through the exhibit today because I just had to study everything there.

I found that listening the audiobook before seeing the exhibit was very beneficial. I felt I was more prepared to know the more detailed stories behind the items I was studying. The exhibit is like the Cliff’s Notes of the audiobook.

If you have any interest in history, magic, and/or Harry Potter, this book is for you.

5 out of 5 Broomsticks

The TBR Pile of Doom!

I saw this post on Purple Manatees and thought to do a post like it too. I have accumulted so many books and I can’t read that fast. So many of these have been sitting on my poor TBR pile for years.

I am hoping this post becomes something of a motivational tool to get through them.

1. How many books are in this pile currently?
87 total. This doesn’t show the books my sister got from NYCC and Book Con that I want to read too. Or the books I have downloaded as ebooks and audiobooks. So…technically it is well over a hundred, maybe even close to 200, but I am too scared to count them.

Descriptions of the pictures bellow:
31 Books I bought or were given by family/friends (with the exception of Year Zero and The Winter of the Witch. I forgot to add those to the NYCC pile because I had put them aside as my December reads.)

22 Books from NYCC from as far back as 2013.

11 Books from Book Con from 2017, 2015 and 2014

23 Star Wars books: Most of these I bought before Disney purchased Lucasfilm and turned the EU into Legends. Which sort of made me lose motivation. Also, the amount of SW books out there is very overwhelming.

Continue reading

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I had taken part in a survey about books and during this extensive survey I was asked if I would be interested in receiving a free download of Three Dark Crowns in exchange for a survey about it in a few weeks. (I have not received that survey yet.)

I downloaded the free app BookShout to read it. It’s a cool app. You set goals and it tracks your progress to reach your daily goal and counts your words per minute (mine is 168). You also earn .25 cents for each 25,000 words you read, or something like that. I am too lazy to look it up. I am still learning how to use the app though. Figuring out how to highlight sentences is tricky.

Anyway, so my review of the book.

It started out a bit slow and took me a while to keep track of who is who because there are a lot of characters. I wish I had made a list. As I kept reading though it got easier to remember and it also became more and more of a page turner. I would advise anyone who is interested but is struggling with it in the beginning to stick with it. Towards the end of part 1, and certainly by parts 2 and 3 it will be hard to put down.

I like the world building, but I want to know more. The traditions are explained well enough, and even a repeat itself, but I want to know why it is that way. There will be some random history about past Queens mentioned, and I see that there are prequel stories, so maybe those stories go more into how and why this realm operates this way. It certainly has me sucked in enough to add them to my BookShout wish list.

I like the sisters (and their supporting characters) Each Queen has her own personality, strengths and weaknesses. It is hard to pick one to root for. I was/am hoping they ban together to fight the traditions and people who control their fates like puppeteers.

The twist! Ok, in the beginning I did sort of suspect it, but then I forgot about it because I got caught up in the subplots and I was still learning to keep the characters straight. By the end I was caught off guard and my mind blown because the way it was revealed was so smart and shocking. It just raises so many more questions and I am left wanting to read the sequels.

4 out of 5 Crowns.

ABC Book Challenge ✰ D

Continuing this challenge I saw at these blogs: Purple Manatees, and The Bibliophagist.

✰ Memorable books starting with D ✰

1) Delicious! by Ruth Reichl,
2) Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins
3) Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

✰ Books on my TBR starting with D ✰

1) Dark Age by Pierce Brown
2) Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
3) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Richard Armitage (Narrator)
4)Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
5) Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

I bought this book at NYCC 2018 because I am a fan of Katherine Arden’s The Winternight Trilogy.

Although I am way older than the target audience of this story I found it suspenseful and creepy. A very good, and fast, Halloween read. I had to keep going to see how it would turn out.

I doesn’t go too in depth about the history, or the details about the curse, but it explained enough to set up the stakes if the main protagonists should fail.

I really liked the character development and relationships between the main characters: Olivia, Brian and Coco. I also liked that for a change instead of the trio being two boys and a girl, it was two girls and a boy. I never see that.

The end is left open for more adventures and I look forward to the next story.

4 out of 5 Scarecrows.

ABC Book Challenge ✰ C

Continuing this challenge I saw at these blogs: Purple Manatees, and The Bibliophagist.

✰ Memorable books starting with C ✰

1) The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
2) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
4) The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
5-7) (The Infernal Devices trilogy) Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

✰ Books on my TBR starting with C ✰

1) Carrie by Stephen King
2) The Cuckoo’s Calling by RobertGalbraith
3) Caraval by Stephanie Garber