All posts by Arwen

Top Ten Tuesday #41: Abandoned Series

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

June 26, 2018: Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish (Submitted by A Book and a Cup)

I don’t like to DNF (did not finish) or abandon books, but sometimes books and whole series just aren’t worth the effort.

Eight Series I Abandoned:

  1. Clan of the Cave Bear – I read the first two and then realized these were just going to be full of excuses for cavemen to have sex. PASS.
  2. Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – First a wholly unlikable protagonist who in the first novel rapes someone, then in the second has incest with the product of that union. Yes you read that right and that is why I will not be continuing the series.
  3. The Air Awakens – I just recently read the first two books in the series which came highly recommended, but instead of the sword and sorcery fair I was expecting, it was more like a CW Teen drama.
  4. Ocean’s Justice – I. Just. Don’t. Like. Rape. In any shape. In any form. Even if it’s the female protagonists who is the offender. Read the first one, then immediately deleted the second off the Kindle.
  5. Mary Poppins – There are four of these books. I just can’t believe that. Mary Poppins is not likable enough to really fill one book, let alone four.
  6. The Mortal Instruments – I freely admit the urban fantasy is not my thing, but so many people recommend this series and when I read it they were just coming out with the TV show and it looked interesting. Through out the entire book I kept think that Clary was pretty much dead weight, the story was happening around her. It kept repeating in my head that Buffy did it better.
  7. Avalon Series – The first one is a pretty good book and some would call it a classic, but then the second and third books pretty much repeat the same plot. Somethings just aren’t meant to be recycled.
  8. Fablehaven – Something about this book just rubbed me the wrong way. It was too dark, too occultic and aimed at small children, which I didn’t like.

Bonus Series I Finished But Wished I Hadn’t:

  1. The Dark Tower – After seven books and an incredible build up I was expecting more. The ending just really disappointed. However, the first book is one I would recommend to any fantasy reader.
  2. Rama -The first book is a science fiction classic and one I highly recommend. The rest get steadily worse and by the end I was like; “what did I just read?” I was so disappointed by the ending. It’s possibly the worst end to a series I’ve ever read. Read the first book and then stop. You don’t need the rest of the story. In this case, leaving the rest to your imagination is a good thing.

What are some series you gave up on? Or series you finished but wished you hadn’t? Let me know in the comment and leave me a link to your Top Ten list.

Book Blogger A-Z Survey

Book Blogger A-Z Survey

I saw this post on Stumbly who got it from Trendy Simple Life it seems to have originate with the Perpetual Page Turner. It’s a fun little survey for a Friday.

AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS FROM:

Stephen R Lawhead. I checked with Goodread just to be sure, since there are some children’s book authors I’ve read a lot of, but Stephen R Lawhead beat them all out. Coming in 2nd was Dr Seuss and 3rd Stephen Cosgrove (both children’s authors.)

BEST SEQUEL EVER:

This is pretty tough… if it were movies I’d hands down say The Two Towers. As for book sequels there were a lot that came to mind. But I’d have to say I think the The Hidden Staircase Nancy Drew #2 is my pick. It’s one of my favorite Nancy Drew books and it was a lot better than the Secret of the Old Clock.

CURRENTLY READING:

Monstrum by Kat Ross.

DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING:

Nothing really  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK?

I’m just a book person. I’ll take them pretty much anyway I can get them but I do have a special place in my heart for Mass Market Paperbacks.

FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL:

This is super tough, because I was a shy little church mouse and tom-boy in high school. Sure there are lots of characters I would have liked to date, but they probably wouldn’t have noticed me, or would have told me as one of my classmates did, “You’re too much like one of the guys to date.”

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE:

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. Not my typical genre, but it blew me away.

HIDDEN GEM BOOK:

Can I repeat an answer? Cause The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is really good.

IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE:

When my dad took me to the Christian book store for my 13th birthday and let me pick any one book and any one cassette I wanted. This is how I got introduced to Lawhead. I now own every book of his and pretty much automatically pre-order new ones that he writes. (I also got Fire and Ice by Steve Camp, a cassette I played so much that it’s distorted now.

JUST FINISHED:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

KINDS OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ:

EROTICA… I can’t stand explicit sex scenes, and especially rape scenes. Really people, we don’t need that in our books.

LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ:

According to Goodreads it’s either the Bible (does that really count?) or The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy.

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER BECAUSE OF:

Robinson Crusoe… nearly killed my love of reading for a year. I slogged through it for months and afterward I was just kinda numb.

NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN:

Ha! You’d like to know would’t you? I’m going to say it’s around a dozen, but I won’t confirm it.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:

Dream Thief by Stephen R Lawhead. It’s my favorite book by my favorite author.

PREFERRED PLACE TO READ:

In bed.

QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU/GIVES YOU ALL THE FEELS FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ:

“Stories never really end…even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”  ― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

READING REGRET:

I use to feel like I HAD to finish series, but after a few bland finishes and a couple of downright bad ones I realized that there are too many better books out there to ALWAYS have to finish a series.

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH (ALL BOOKS ARE OUT IN SERIES):

Six of Crows duology. I started Crooked Kingdom, but had to return it to the Library before I finished. (Quite frankly I was afraid of what was going to happen in the story and that stalled out my reading. If something happens to Inej I just don’t know if I could handle it.)

THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOKS:

Dream Thief by Stephen R Lawhead, Prometheus Bound by  Aeschylus, and Deus Irae by PK Dick.

UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR:

Kat Ross, Stephen R Lawhead and Tolkien.

VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS:

Doors of Stone (The Kingkiller Chronicle #3) by Patrick Rothfuss. Please Mr Rothfuss finish this book!!!

WORST BOOKISH HABIT:

Not dusting, With a big book collection like mine I really should dust more often and keep the book in better shape.

X MARKS THE SPOT: START AT THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK:

Which shelf?🤣… On the to-read shelf it’s The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by Tolkien. On the Tolkien shelf it’s Smith of Wooton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. On the YA/Middle Grade shelf it’s Bridge to Terabithia. How many shelves do I need to do this for?

YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE:

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE):

Cinder, once it got going I could hardly put it down.

Those are my answers. If you choose to do the survey on your own blog please link back and then let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to check out the original post at the Perpetual Page Turner.

Cover Reveal: Maiden

Maiden Cover

Maiden Synopsis:

Marta and Jayme are childhood friends with different beliefs. Marta dreams of becoming a healer. Jayme has been schooled by the black-coats, a group of priests who claim women are inferior, and he fears Marta is jeopardizing her eternal future.

Despite a heated debate over Marta’s soul, Jayme betrays her to the priests. The consequences of this betrayal change Marta’s life forever and sends Jayme on his own journey.

After a brutal massacre, Marta awakens deep in the forest overcome with grief for her lost sisters, but the world will not let her rest. The tragedy has changed her. She hears the call of nature, eventually steering her toward a small cottage in the wilderness. There she learns of nature’s magic and what it means to be a LightWalker. The path is there for her to follow. If she’s strong enough to embrace it…

June 19th Mass Market Paperback Book Day

I will freely admit to being a lover of Mass Market Paperback Books. I will often wait, sometimes for a year or more, to get new releases from my favorite authors as paperbacks.

I just pre- ordered the new Stephen R. Lawhead In the Region of the Summer Stars in mass market paperback format. Hardcover and kindle were released on May 15. How long to I have to wait until my copy arrives?  Until January 29, 2019. Yep that’s over 6 months away, and Lawhead is hands down my favorite author.

I also couldn’t resist getting a physical copy of Roar by Cora Carmack. The cover is just that beautiful! A kindle version would never do. This is a book that needs to be on a shelf. Of course, I wanted to wait for the paperback. The book was released on June 13, 2017, but the paperback (unfortunately not a mass market paperback) didn’t come out until June 5, 2018. Nearly a year later!

I had to put up with seeing all these rave reviews and beautiful Bookstagram pics of the book for almost an entire year before getting my copy.

Those are only two recent examples. I could give you a lot more. Why do I like to have the mass market copies of books? And why is it worth the wait?

Three Reasons to Choose Mass Market Paperbacks:

  1. The weight – Let just admit it right now Hardbacks are heavy. They’re awkward to read if you like to read laying down. (I mean have you ever dropped a book on your face while reading?) Mass market books are a much better choice.
  2. The size – You can fit soooo many more mass market paperbacks on your shelves. Plus they fit better in bags and purses (yes the Kindle absolutely wins for portability, but they aren’t nearly as pretty.) Mass market books also fit better in your hands.
  3. The standard – There is a standard size for mass market paper backs of 4×7 inches. There seems to be no standard for hardbacks and a few different standards for paperbacks. It really bugs me when I have so many different heights of books that all should belong together on the same shelf. Having so many different sizes makes having neat shelves troublesome and bookworms like to have their shelves neatly arranged.

What format do you prefer your books in? Are you a hardback collector? A Kindle reader? Are you like me and enjoy mass market paperback books? And the biggest question of all… WHY DO PUBLISHERS MAKE US WAIT?!?!

Review: The Incredible Secrets of Hadley Hill

The Incredible Secrets of Hadley HillThe Incredible Secrets of Hadley Hill
by Tai Stith
272 pages
Genre: Coming of Age, Teen and Young Adult
Publisher: Owl Room Press
Release date: Oct 11, 2017

Book Reviews - Liked ItLiked It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: PG. No profanity or nudity, but some scenes of abuse and some scenes of intense danger.

Fifteen year-old Aribelle Cartwright is uprooted from her native San Francisco when her father gets a job in a different state. Instead of majestic skyscrapers and the urban bustle of the city, Ari has to adjust to the solitude of a rural town.

Right away, Ari notices something is curiously different about the hill her historic home resides on. Complicating matters is the aloof boy next door, Dane, who is nearly as mysterious as Hadley Hill itself. Will Ari be able to break through Dane’s cautious demeanor to discover the incredible secrets of Hadley Hill?

Review:

  • The author is a personal friend of mine and gave me a copy of her book.

The Incredible Secrets of Hadley Hill is a coming of age story mixed with a cozy mystery. When 15 year old Ari moves from San Francisco to a small rural town she has a lot of adjustments to make. Having a whole summer to settle in before her mother and sister arrived she decides to restore the dilapidated old garden at their new home. Soon she meets her mysterious neighbor Dane and begins a new project, helping Dane discover his family heritage and the history of the old house on Hadley Hill.

After such an incredible summer together Ari doesn’t understand the coolness and distance Dane develops when they return to school. To make matters worse, Ari become the target of a mean girl who will go to any length to separate the two.

Hadley Hill deals with some major issues of abandonment, abuse, and bullying and manages to handle them in a realistic and hope filled way.

Ari’s parents are portrayed as supportive and concerned, which is great to see in a YA book.

The book is quietly atmospheric and the descriptions of the house, garden and hill are wonderful. Uncovering the long ago secrets of the hill is a wonderful adventure for the reader. The pace is a little slower than most of what I read, but I think it’s fits within normal for cozy mysteries.

A major plot hole during the first half of the book constantly brought me out of the story. Why is it that a modern 15 year old girl didn’t have a cell phone or access to the internet at home? It drove me crazy. Especially since they were in a new town and she was allowed to bicycle around by herself and often left alone for large chunks of the day. I just can’t imagine a parent today letting their teenage daughter do these things without a phone.

Bottom Line:

It’s a good debut book and an enjoyable read, but the pacing and plot hole mentioned above kept me from really loving it.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

May 2018 Book Pick Ups

May book pick upsThe Deliberate ReaderI managed to get through May without adding a bazillion books to my TBR. This is a major accomplishment, but I have several preorders coming in June. My TBR  just can’t remain tamed for long.

For Kindle:

Air Awakens: The Complete Series
Why I Got It: Borrowed it from the Kindle Owners Library. It’s been on my Goodreads TBR for a while.

Steamborn
Why I Got It: I’m on the authors list and it was offered for free.

Lady of Sherwood
Why I Got It: I love Robin Hood retellings and this one’s been on my get-list for a while. Recently Clean Teen Publishing had a free deal on some of their titles so I  snatched it up.

eARC:

Monstrum
Why I Got It: Because Kat Ross. Also it’s the third book in the series and I need to know what going to happen to the characters. Read my reviews of Nocturne and Solis.

From The Library:

Caterpillar to butterfly
Why I Got It: Miss S’s class raised butterflies this spring, so we checked out a book about them she could read at home.

Robotify it! : robots you can make yourself
Why I Got It: Seemed like a cool  maker book, unfortunately it’s just an idea book for a couple of really expensive kits. Out of all the ideas it only had one from items you could find at home.

Curious George: Mother’s Day surprise
Why I Got It: A level 2 reader, which is right where the 7 year old is currently reading, plus we love Curious George.

Misc:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Pocketbook
Why I Got It: My husband got the latest one for work and they let him keep his old one.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Standard Edition: Prima Official Game Guide
Why I Got It: A garage sale find, and since we both play Skyrim it was worth picking  up. Everyone always jokes about Skyrim being a big game, and this guide is certainly bigger than any other game guide we own.

What Was I Scared Of? 10th Anniversary Edition: A Glow-in-the Dark Encounter
Why I Got It: Garage Sale find of a fun Dr. Seuss book.

Special Needs Ministry Making Faith Accessible to the Whole Church
Why I Got It: My KidMin academy book for May.

Blitz: One True Love

One True Love
by Linda Kage
Publication date: June 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Meet A New Book

One True Love

Synopsis:

Custom demanded that Prince Urban get a love mark tattooed to the side of his left eye as an infant, just like the rest of his people, but to him, the stupid things have only brought on the scorn of his father, the misery of his siblings, and caused his entire kingdom to go broke from fighting so many wars over the irritating ink stains.

When Urban’s sister must travel to Donnelly, the kingdom within the sand, for her arranged marriage to align two realms, he goes with her. But he no sooner steps foot inside their castle than his mark starts itching like a son of a bitch, telling him his one true love is near.

It just figures, though, that the woman meant for him is completely forbidden. Now he must decide if he should ignore the persistent mark, telling him she’s the one, in order to avoid a possible war between kingdoms, or if he should discover whether she’s worth risking everything for so they can be together. Either way, his life gets sucked into chaos with threats of beheadings, dark magic lurking, castle traitors scheming, and sword fights eminent.

Who knew one little tattoo could cause so much trouble?

Download an excerpt.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Cover Reveal: Magic Harvest

Magic Harvest Synopsis:

Layla has never belonged to the fairy realm – at least, half of her hasn’t. She’s never known anyone with human blood, not even her father. When she was three, the dragon Fauth attacked the fairy festival, murdering her fae mum & stepfather. Frankly, some fairies think she should’ve been eaten too.

As she grew, despite being called names like “fuman” for being a half-blood, she’s discovered that being half-human isn’t terrible. She may lack magic, but she is immune to iron sickness, and she can wield a sword with elven skill.

Magic in the human world is disastrous.

Sixteen years later, when Layla’s half-sister is kidnapped and taken through a portal to the forbidden human realm, Layla rushes to the rescue. She’s older and stronger, and she’s not about to let her last living family member be taken from her without a fight.

Only someone who belongs to both worlds can find the truth.

The portal spits her out in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but neither her sister or the kidnapper are anywhere to be found. Stuck in a world she only knows from school books, Layla forges unlikely alliances to find her sister. As she becomes tangled in the dark world of fairy trafficking, magic harvesting, and murder, Layla will have to find the strength within if she is to survive and save her sister.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Cover Reveal: Storm of the Gods

Storm of the Gods Synopsis:

The first in a brand new urban fantasy series where gods roam and mortals fight, STORM OF THE GODS follows two brothers who are caught in a conspiracy revolving around ancient artifacts, and find themselves siding with their supposed enemies rather than the Olympian who demands their loyalty…

Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. Their return restored their powers, which had been spent in a cataclysmic battle with the Titans. With the ancient deities imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.

Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendent of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares’s elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.

But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena’s control—by threatening Liam’s life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.

Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before.

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Top 10 Best Female Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday #40: Best Female Character Names

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top 10 Best Female Character NamesMay 22, 2018: Best Character Names (make this as narrow/broad as you’d like)

I really enjoyed creating this list and thinking up all the great feminine characters who I’ve enjoyed over the years and then finding art to go along with all of them. The characters who haven’t been on the big screen yet were a little challenging, and for those characters who do have movie adaptations I tried to stay away from straight up movie art.

A note on the art: I used image for this blog from DeviantArt as noted below. As a creator myself I enjoy it when someone else likes my work, but I want them to credit me, and so in return I credit other creators. And I only used images that had the download link active or I contact the creator for permission to use the image in this blog. A huge shout out goes to Marianna Insomnia Photography for letting me use one of their wonderful photographs!

10 Best (Female) Character Names

  1. Arwen, The Lord of the Rings – I am probably a little biased because it’s my name. Yes, my real name. The one on my drivers license and birth certificate, not just an online alter-ego. Bonus: since we are big LOTR fans our cats are named Frodo, Samwise, Pippin and Sauron.

    by jackieocean on DeviantArt
  2. Nazafareen, The Forth Element – I love this fantasy series by Kat Ross. It’s set in ancient Persian and the heroine is a warrior called a Water Dog.

    by Italiener on DeviantArt
  3. Katniss, The Hunger Games – I love the earthy name of the heroine and archer, Katniss. It just seem to fit. I also love her sister’s name Prim.

    by flominowa on DeviantArt
  4. Inej, Six of Crows – Inej is definitely my favorite Dreg. The balance of her skill and her vulnerability is really interesting to me. And I would not want to meet her in a dark alley… of course you probably wouldn’t even see her….

    by taratjah on DeviantArt
  5. Penny Farthing, Ticker – Her name makes me chuckle. What a great twist of a name for a steampunk novel. I’m sure some cosplayer out there uses this name too. (If you don’t know what a penny farthing is please Google it.)

    by MariannaInsomnia on DeviantArt
  6. AuriThe Slow Regard of Silent Things – Auri is so special I don’t even know how to describe her. If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend reading it. It’s a different sort of fantasy novel just the way Auri is a different kind of heroine.

    by Lyraina on DeviantArt
  7. Petra Arkanian, Ender’s Game – I’m a little biased because Petra is also one of my favorite bands from when I was a teen… who am I kidding I still love them. Petra is strong,  smart and kind, which is surprising because kindness and battle school don’t really mesh.

    by AdharaPhoenix on DeviantArt
  8. Violet BaudelaireA Series of Unfortunate Events – I’ve always liked the name Violet, it has both colorful and earthy connotations. Violet Baudelaire is a genius, and although her life is pretty rough she never gives up.

    by Zakeno on DeviantArt
  9. Yvaine, Stardust – Some how this is the perfect kind of name for a star. It sounds heavenly.

    by arivanna on DeviantArt
  10. HaramasThe Saga of the Trillium – Of all three sisters I like the name Haramas the best, although Kadiya and Anigel are interesting names too. Haramas becomes the high priestess/ sorceress and a guardian of ancient knowledge. Plus she’s a total bookworm!

    by avvart on DeviantAr

I hope you enjoyed my list. What names would you add? Do you have any particular favorites among female characters? Please let me know in the comments.