Wednesday, May 27, 2020

On My Wishlist {31}

On My Wishlist is where I share a few books that have recently made it onto my wishlist. These are the books that have recently caught my eye!

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire
Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by Tor.com

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire

A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire's Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to "Be Sure" before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

I hope we get books in this series for infinity. I'm excited to see another standalone installment, too!



The Girl with Ghost Eyes (The Daoshi Chronicles #1) by M.H. Boroson
Published by Talos Press (first published November 3rd 2015)

The Girl with Ghost Eyes (The Daoshi Chronicles #1) by M.H. Boroson

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

This backlist title went straight on to my wishlist after seeing it on Tammy's Five Star Books in Five Words post. She got me with her five words!



Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Expected publication: August 25th 2020 by Dial Books

Expected publication: August 25th 2020 by Dial Books

A can't-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who's not afraid of anything--until she gets to Harrow Lake.

Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1.It's where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2.There's something not right about this town.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker--she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map--and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there's someone--or something--stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

I have Harrow Lake on preorder for August. It sounds really great!

Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?



This post is being shared as part of Can't-Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

Jennifer

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | May 24

I don't have much to report this week. It was very uneventful which can be a good thing. Texas is in phase II, and I don't like seeing the lack of social distancing. I wish we still had markers at the grocery store because I still want people out of my space. I think it would serve us all well to keep some of those practices in place.

Posted Last Week


Book Review | Blood Countess by Lana Popovic ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

On My Wishlist {30}

Book Review | Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review week!

Finished Reading


Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody Rating

I've been slowly making my way through Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody this year, and I finally finished reading it this week. It's such a great book! If you enjoy reading books on writing, I highly recommend it.

Currently Reading


The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson #CurrentlyReading Brandon Sanderson does not write quick reads.

I'm still reading The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. I'm so happy to be reading it, but his books are not fast reads!

Recent Acquisitions


Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger The Chasing Graves Trilogy by Ben Galley A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I picked up Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger and The Chasing Graves Trilogy by Ben Galley during #MAYDAYcon last weekend.

My preorder for A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins came in this week. Do you guys think there will ever be releases like Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code again? A book everyone is reading or a sequel that everyone has to get their hands on? I miss seeing buzz big enough for a midnight book release.

Beginnings, Middles, &s; Ends by Nancy Kress Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward 5,000 Words per Hour by Chris Fox

I ordered Beginnings, Middles, &s; Ends by Nancy Kress, Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, and 5,000 Words per Hour by Chris Fox during the Flight and Foundry conference last weekend. I'm looking forward to spending time reading each of them.


Current Distractions


Scoob! The Call of the Wild Just Go With It

These are the new movies we watched this week. They were all OK. (I didn't finish Scoob!)

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book Review | Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House is a horror/fantasy by Leigh Bardugo.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Why Did I Read Ninth House?


Ninth House was a preorder based on it being an adult horror from Leigh Bardugo. I tried to stay pretty blind about the plot since I was already sold based on genre/author.

The Strengths


At the apex of fantasy and horror sits Ninth House. Let's face it, any time scifi, fantasy, thrillers, etc. intersect with horror, I'm at my happiest, but combining magic and horror is awesome and I'm here for it!

Ghosts are my favorite horror element, and Ninth House deals with ghosts in a way that really hits the mark for me in a way that I never see portrayed in literature. There's a lot going on in Ninth House, and the aspects involving the grays (ghosts!) were my favorite.

The Weaknesses


The timeline was a little bit of a struggle for me. Having finished Ninth House, I think the timeline structure was necessary, but there were times I had to think about where we were and what was happening. It took me a while to settle into the timeline changes, and I'd be lying if I said that struggle didn't continue to creep back up.

After reading reviews of Ninth House, I was worried about the pacing. I was so happy to be buddy reading this with Tracy because I expected Ninth House to be a really slow burn or possibly even a slog through the first half. I didn't find this to be the case at all! As I mentioned there is a lot going in Ninth House. There are so many elements being introduced and built upon, I do think there is a big progression that happens. I love when a book continues to build and reveal until it turns into something awesome. This may not be a preference for everyone, but my advice if your tastes are similar to mine is "keep with it!" In the end, I loved it all.

Final Thoughts


I loved Ninth House. It was my first book to read by Leigh Bardugo. I have a couple of books from her other series that I'm really looking forward to getting started on. Tracy tells me Ninth House is going to have a sequel so I will be anxiously awaiting that one!

content warning:
rape

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars



Jennifer

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On My Wishlist {30}

On My Wishlist is where I share a few books that have recently made it onto my wishlist. These are the books that have recently caught my eye!

The Bright Lands by John Fram
Expected publication: July 7th 2020 by Hanover Square Press

The Bright Lands by John Fram

The town of Bentley holds two things dear: its football, and its secrets. But when star quarterback Dylan Whitley goes missing, an unremitting fear grips this remote corner of Texas.

Joel Whitley was shamed out of conservative Bentley ten years ago, and while he’s finally made a life for himself as a gay man in New York, his younger brother’s disappearance soon brings him back to a place he thought he’d escaped for good. Meanwhile, Sheriff’s Deputy Starsha Clark stayed in Bentley; Joel’s return brings back painful memories—not to mention questions—about her own missing brother. And in the high school hallways, Dylan’s friends begin to suspect that their classmates know far more than they’re telling the police. Together, these unlikely allies will stir up secrets their town has long tried to ignore, drawing the attention of dangerous men who will stop at nothing to see that their crimes stay buried.

But no one is quite prepared to face the darkness that’s begun to haunt their nightmares, whispering about a place long thought to be nothing but an urban legend: an empty night, a flicker of light on the horizon—The Bright Lands.

Coming from a big football town in small town, Texas, this horror novel is definitely going on my list to read this year.



The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins

Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins

A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.

Fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series will love this ghostly middle grade debut that explores jealousy, love, and the extraordinary power of friendship.

I'm always on the look out for great MG horror fantasy. I can't wait to read this one!



One by One by Ruth Ware
Expected publication: September 8th 2020 by Scout Press

One by One by Ruth Ware

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

Ruth Ware is an author who keeps landing on my wishlist that I haven't actually read. I was pulled in by the secluded, snowy setting, but the coworkers that start killing each other sold it for me!

Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?



This post is being shared as part of Can't-Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

Jennifer

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review | Blood Countess by Lana Popovic

Blood Countess is a historical YA horror novel by Lana Popović.

Blood Countess by Lana Popovic

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

This is the kind of book you can't talk about without spoiling things so I'm going to keep this as short and vague as possible.

Why Did I Read Blood Countess?


The main reason I read Blood Countess is because it's a YA horror novel written by a woman horror author. I'm trying to support these authors and their work whenever I can.

Seeing "based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula" in the book description had me really intrigued. I didn't know much about Countess Elizabeth Báthory going into reading Blood Countess. This is probably a good thing because I didn't have any expectations. I certainly need to know more now, though.

The Strengths


Blood Countess sucked me in right away. I did not want to put it down. Lana Popović's writing is perfectly suited for writing such a romantic and brutal piece of historical fiction.

This is truly a horror story. I worry when heading into YA horror, and I think the gothic, romantic, historical kind has me at my most skeptical. I was not disappointed.

Even though this is the first book in a planned "Lady Slayers" series, Blood Countess can stand on its own. In fact, I have no guesses as to what the sequel and the rest of the series will be about, and that's a great thing.

The Weaknesses


I can see people giving up on this book too soon. The horror is slow to emerge, but it's well crafted.

Final Thoughts


I loved Blood Countess, and I'm so glad I took a chance when I ordered it. I can't wait to continue on with the next book in 2021. I missed out on reading her debut duology Wicked Like a Wildfire/Fierce Like a Firestorm. I will be hunting that series down as well.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

Jennifer

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