2019 Book Challenge

30 Audiobooks + 6 Comic Books/Graphic Novels + 1 Ebook + 7 Hardcovers/Paperbacks + 10 Advanced Reader Copies = 54 Books Total

30 Audiobooks:

1) Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry,  narrated by Scott Brick; 37 mins; January 2, 2019; 3 out of 5 Cradles.
2) The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs,  narrated by B.J. Harrison; 27 min; January 3, 2019; 3 out of 5 Wishes.
3) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, narrated by Kathleen Gati; 11 hrs and 48 mins; January 16-30, 2019; 4 out of 5 Witchy Women.
4) The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, narrated by Kathleen Gati; 13h 2m; January 31- February 12, 2019 ; 3.5 out of 5 Chyerti.
5) The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, narrated by Kathleen Gati; 14h; February 12-26, 2019; 4.5 out of 5 Mushrooms.
6) Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, narrated by January LaVoy; 12h 14m; April 1-24, 2019; 4 out of 5 Senators.
7) The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks by Rob Sheffield, narrated by Rob Sheffield, 2h 43m, May 14-22, 2019, 5 out of 5 Shawls.
8) Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney; 23 hrs and 23 mins; July 14-26, 2019; 4.5 out of 5 Vaults.
9) Thrawn Treason by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson; 13 hours and 13 minutes; July 27-30, 2019; 3 out of 5 Navigators.
10) Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World by Scott McCormick, narrated by: Prentice Onayemi, Samantha Turret, Khristine Hvam, Gabriel Vaughan, Josh HurleyLength: 2 hrs and 55 mins; August 12, 2019; 5 out of 5 T-Rex Sneaker Duels in Scotland!
11) The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon by Todd Zwillich, narrated by: Todd Zwillich, Angelo Di Loreto; 3 hrs and 32 mins,  Aug13-14, 2019; 5 out of 5 Apollos.
12) Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves  by The Arabian Nights, narrated by: B. J. Harrison; Length: 1 hr and 38 mins; August 15-16, 2019; 3 out of 5  Oil Jugs.
13) The Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Ambreen Razia, narrated by: Ambreen Razia; Length: 1 hr and 36 mins; August 20, 2019; 3 out of 5 Tattoos.
14) A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain, narrated by Hillary Huber; Length: 1 hr and 15 mins; August 21, 2019; 3 out of 5 Scientists.
15) TBSC: Kristy’s Great Idea, by Ann M. Martin, narrated by Elle Fanning;  2 hrs and 44 mins; September 17, 2019; 4 out of 5 Babies.
16) The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne, narrated  James Lecesne; 1 hr 2 mins; September 23, 2019; 5 out of 5 Rainbow Sneakers.
17) Folsom Untold: The Strange True Story of Johnny Cash’s Greatest Album by Danny Robins; 2h 21m; September 24-25, 2019; 5 out of 5 Song Writers.
18)  TBSC: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, by Ann M. Martin, narrated by Elle Fanning;  2 hrs and 50 mins; October 12, 2019; 4 out of 5 Creepy House Noises.
19) Carrie by Stephen King, narrated by Sissy Spacek; 7 hrs and 24 mins; October 13-17, 2019; 4 out of 5 Proms.
20) Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar,  narrated by  Harsh Nayyar, Annapurna Srira, Bernard White, Nick Choksi , Rita Wolf; 1 hr and 38 mins ; October 21, 2019; 5 out of 5 Phone Calls.
21) The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, narrated by B.J. Harrison; 1hr 23 m; October 22, 2019; 3 out of 5 Heads.
22) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, narrated by Richard Armitage; 3 hr and 7m; October 23, 2019;  3.5 out of 5 Elixirs.
23) The Demon Next Door by Bryan Burrough, narrated by Steve White; 2 hrs and 45 mins; October 24, 2019; 4 out of 5 Handcuffs.
24) Dracula by Bram Stoker,  narrated by B.J. Harrison; 17 hours; October 25-31 , 2019; 3.5 out of 5 Fangs.
25) You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella by Kelly Harms, narrated by Lauren Fortgang; 3 hours 5 minutes; December 4, 2019; 5 out of 5 Turkeys.
26) The Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen, narrated by Anne Helen Petersen. 1 hour 48 minutes; December 5, 2019; 4 out of 5 Matches.
27) Murder, We Spoke by The Audible Editors, narrated by Kat Johnson. 46 minutes; December 6, 2019; 4 out of 5 Crimes.
28) Press Pause: A Young Person’s Guide To Managing Life’s Challenges by Catherine Singer, narrated by Catherine Singer. 2 hrs and 3 mins; December 8, 2019; 4 out of 5 Breaths.
29) Holiday Greetings from Sugar and Booze by Ana Gasteyer and Mona Mansour, narrated by Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, and more. 2 hrs and 28 minutes; December 19-23, 2019; 4 out of 5 Christmas Villages.
30) The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, narrated by Richard Armitage. 3 hrs and 53 mins; December 30-31, 2019; 3 out of 5 Guests.

6 Comic Books/Graphic Novels:
1) Star Wars: Thrawn by Jody Houser, Luke Ross (Illustrator), Paul Renaud (Illustrator); January 1, 2019; 4 out of 5 Red Eyes.
2) Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer),  Fiona Staples (Artist); January 15, 2019; 4 out of 5 Betrayals.
3) Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer),  Fiona Staples (Artist); February 10, 2019; 5 out of 5 Escapes.
4) Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer),  Fiona Staples (Artist); March 5-6, 2019; 4 out of 5 Tissues.
5) Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist); April 6, 2019, 4 out of 5 Brothers.
6)  Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer),  Fiona Staples (Artist);  April 6, 2019, 4 out of 5 Cliffhangers.

1 Ebook:
1) Dark Age by Pierce Brown; 879 pages; July 30-August 9,2019; 4.5 out of 5 Storm Gods.

7 Hardcovers/Paperbacks:
1) Year Zero by Rob Reid; 357 pages; February 28- March 17, 2019; 2 out of 5 Downloaded Songs.
2) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova; 324 pages, March 18-31, 2019; 4 out of 5 Death Masks.
3)  Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice; 340 pages; April 27-May 20, 2019;  2 out of 5 Bites.
4) Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova; 336 pages; September 26-October 10, 2019; 4 out of 5 Hearts.
5) Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett; 506 pages; November 18-28, 2019 ; 4 out of 5 Keys.
6) Dead Voices by Katherine Arden; 236 pages; December 10-15, 2019; 5 out of 5 Bones.
7) The Costumes of Burlesque: 1866-2018 by Coleen Scott; 320 pages; December 29-31, 2019; 4 out of 5 Pasties.

10 Advanced Reader Copies: 
1) Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins; 446 pages; Dec. 31, 2018- Jan. 14, 2019; 3.5 out of 5 Dragons.
2) A Short History of the Girl Next Doorby Jared Reck;  265 pages; May 21-25, 2019; 5 out of 5 Nerds.
3)  The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin; pages 340 pages; May 26- June 7,2019; 4 out of 5 Couture Gowns.
4) Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett; 290 pages; June 9-14, 2019; 3 out of 5 Musicals.
5) More News Tomorrow by Susan Richards Shreve; 259 pages; June 17-21, 2019; 3 out of 5 Canoes.
6) House of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A. Craig; 402 pages; June 25- July 12, 2019 ; 4 out of 5 Fairy Shoes.
7) The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys; 840 pages; August 19-27, 2019; 5 out of 5 Rolls of Film.
8) Jackpot by Nic Stone; 339 pages; September 13-22 , 2019; 4.5 out of 5 Lottery Tickets.
9) The Starless Sea by  ErinMorgenstern, 494 pages, November 3 – 16, 2019; 4 out of 5 Bees.
10) Infinity Son  by Adam Silvera; 353 pages; November 29-December 3, 2019; 3 out of 5 Phoenixes.

 

Top Ten Tuesday December 31: Favorite Books I Read In 2019

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 31: Favorite Books I Read In 2019

1) Dark Age by Pierce Brown; 4.5 out of 5 Storm Gods.

2) The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin; 4 out of 5 Couture Gowns

3) The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys; 5 out of 5 Rolls of Film.

4) The Starless Sea by ErinMorgenstern; 4 out of 5 Bees

5) Jackpot by Nic Stone; 4.5 out of 5 Lottery Tickets

6) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova; 4 out of 5 Death Masks.

7) Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova; 4 out of 5 Hearts

8) Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett ; 4 out of 5 Keys.

9) Carrie by Stephen King, narrated by Sissy Spacek; 4 out of 5 Proms

10) The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, narrated by Kathleen Gati; 4.5 out of 5 Mushrooms.

My review of The Rise of Skywalker

Well … what did I think of this expensive fan fiction? It was way better than The Last Jedi. Still I like The Force Awakens a bit better. Only because the ending of The Rise of Skywalker was very long and drawn out. I was getting frustrated and looking at my watch. There were parts I enjoyed but there are some plot holes, in my opinion, and inconsistent aspects. I miss George Lucas. His films were consistent with each other. This Sequel Trilogy (I am calling it the Fan Fiction Trilogy) feels like a mish mosh of 3 different films. The makers should have sat down and planned it all out from the get go. Not each director/writer doing their own thing.  It truly feels like J.J. Abrams started his own movie, then Rian Johnson did his own thing completely off course, and then Abrams went back to finish his own story.

I am going to break this up into things I liked, things I disliked and things I hated it.

 

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Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

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Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

I received this book as a gift for my birthday a couple of months ago and this winter season is the perfect time to read it.

This story is like The Shining for middle grade readers. Snowed in at a hotel with ghosts and animals that move but shouldn’t. I really loved it. It was creepy, suspenseful, and smart.

I love the further development of the friendship between Ollie, Coco and Brain. (I do hope though that next time we have more Billy in the story.) It was great that Coco got the opportunity to showcase her abilities by thinking and deducing the tricks.

It was good to see that the story had some backstories for the ghosts but I still want to know more about the Smiling Man.

Favorite Quotes:

Page 91: “Ghosts like it when you’re afraid. It means you acknowledge them.”

Page 98: “A creeping horror started to overtake her: a feeling that, if she stayed there long enough, she would become a reflection instead of a girl.”

5 out of 5 Bones.

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!

1) The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander
2) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
3) The Glass Hotel  by Emily St. John Mandel