Tag Archives: books

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks! (Click on a cover to read an excerpt)

rebels-honor-188x300   lord-of-the-black-land-200x300   shadows-for-princess-194x300

GIVEAWAY!

Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

  1. Subscribe to genreCRAVE and confirm your subscription when you receive the confirmation. You must confirm via the confirmation email to get entry for the $1200!
  2. Select what other newsletters you would like to join. Each newsletter = 1 entry. Enter your email to confirm. This email must match the email you used for confirmation in step 1!
  3. You may unsubscribe at any time, but reporting as Spam will get you disqualified from all future giveaways.
  4. Winner will be announced at our Facebook Party and contacted via Email. We will have other prizes at the Facebook Party as well!

NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways, Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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Review: Elemental Secrets

Pages: ES368

Date Finished: Aug 20, 2016

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay

Synopsis:

Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).

With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.

But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.

SECRETS are revealed…

…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…

But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…

Review:

This story is 8 parts high school drama and 2 parts super natural. The high school drama is that of a Navy brat who is living with her Aunt while on her dad is deployed. She trying to fit in as the new kid at the high school, although she’s not too new because she was with this same group of students for 8th grade during another of her dads deployments.

It has the typical love triangle with the new girl having to choose between the hot, loud mouth, popular jock and the quiet guy she just can’t get out of her mind. The drama part is only made interesting because you are kept guessing at the motivation of a couple of the characters.

Soon you find out that there are two factions in the town and that Valerie has accidentally gotten caught between the two.

As she discovers more about what is really going on in the town the action finally begins to ramp up, but the transitions between scenes begin to fall apart. There are times when things have happened in one scene which should be game changers, but have NO bearing or impact on the next one. For example she gets shot, twice, and the next day goes out to breakfast and then to school. Seriously, it was like nothing happened. Like you would expect getting shot to be a major event in her character arc, but the day afterward it has had no effect on her.

It’s really on the transitions that the story lost me. It felt like it could have been a good read, but that it wasn’t tied together well enough.

Bottom Line:

I have had so many mixed feelings about this book that it’s taken me a long time to post this review. It has some compelling elements but jumps around too much and some of the transitions between settings are so jolting they take you out of the story. I wanted to like this book. I hope that it will see a cleaned up second edition.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: Rags and Ruins

by Bob Dixon
Pages: 292
Date Finished: Sept 9, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

 

Synopsis:

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

Learn more.rarbanner

Review:

Rags and Ruins is a fantasy story that takes so much of what we think we know about fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads, in the best way possible.

Hargo, is a good-hearted, hard working goblin. Calin is a loving, protective mother goblin. Ladin is a fun loving, adventurous gargoyle. With the Man in the House to keep watch on him and the landfill where they and other “creatures of darkness” live. Rags is really lucky to have them all in his life. A boy never had it so good from so many “bad characters.”

The main story line is about a prophecy that Rags and a twin brother are destined to fulfill one day. Of course, as happens with most fantasy stories there is a magical council working behind the scenes to make sure that the “child of darkness” has as little training as possible and that the “child of light” as much as possible. Their plan is to stack the odds so that come the day of fulfillment evil will be easily overcome. But they are wrong… wrong about Rags, wrong about his brother, wrong about the true meaning of darkness and light, and wrong about themselves. (Telling you this is not a spoiler, you’ll see this coming from a mile away.)

Luckily Hargo and Calin have seen the truth of things and Rags’ love of music is no accident.

This isn’t rooting for the bad guys the way some dark fantasy and urban books have you rooting for the vampire with a soul, or the brooding bad guy. Rags and Ruins has a deep message about stereotypes but brings it out with a light touch.

Bob Dixon can weave a tale. Rags and Ruins is a masterpiece, a must read for fantasy fans.

Bottom Line:

I loved it! From the first page to the last, I thought this book was adorable and the characters truly likable. It’s hard for me to imagine that in 2016 I will like another book more than I liked Rags and Ruins. I think I have found my book of the year.

Purchase:
Amazon

September 2016 Book Pick-Ups

Dutch Barbie and Scottish Barbie seem to be settled into their new home.

Dutch Barbie and Scottish Barbie seem to be settled into their new home.

The Deliberate ReaderHmmmm… what a month September has been. We’ve been moving out to my grandparents farm, so that we can be around to help them out more. You certainly become aware of how many books you have when you move.

For Kindle:

Blood on the Tracks (Sydney Rose Parnell Series Book 1)
Why I got it: The Kindle First selection for the month.

Inherited Danger (The Dawning of Power trilogy Book 2) and Dragon Ore (The Dawning of Power trilogy Book 3)
Why I got it: September 7th was buy a book day. (See my list of Book’ish Holidays to remember.) I really liked the first book in this series and the other two were only .99 cents each, so I bought them to finish the series and celebrate Buy A Book day.

From the Library:

Bibiloburro
Why I got it: It’s a fantastic true story about a man who brings books to villages in the hills of Columbia, it’s a library on the back of a donkey (burro.) As soon as I heard about this book I had to see if the library had a copy. They didn’t, so I used their online for to suggest it.

Unnaturally Delicious
Why I got it: It sounded interesting. I picked it up because it is written by an Oklahoma State professor and they have a really great agriculture (ag) research department. I was hoping this book would have some good information in it about ag innovations and the way ag innovators have kept science ahead of the need to feed the world. However, I just couldn’t get into it and returned it to the library after reading only 1 chapter. 🙁

Amazon:

Bad Kitty Does Not Like Video Games
Why I got it: I pre-ordered this latest Bad Kitty title because it combines 3 things our family loves- Bad Kitty, Videos Games, and Reading. And I’ve read at least a dozen times sine we received it.

Audible:

The HobbitThe Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian
Why I got it: I was told that a good way to get into audio books is to listen to your favorites. So I used some audible credits to get three titles that I have been favorites of mine. So we’ll see if I can get into audio books via this route.

Misc:

Entrusted – Bible Study Book
Why I got it: Our church is participating in the Mid-Valley Women of Christ valley wide bible Study. Since it’s a short 6-week study I decided to give it a try.

Children of Eve
“God Isn’t Done With Me Yet…”
Your Money Matters
The Life of Jesus
Mighty Prevailing Prayer
Why I got them: These were my grandfathers, and a couple of them have hand written note by him in them. Plus there were some compelling titles about the runaway epidemic of the 1980’s.

Naawun bukupaali (The Hanga New Testament)
Why I got it: The 200th version of the New Testament that Wycliffe Bible Translators. Although I can’t read it, it feels like owning a little piece of history.

Top Ten Tuesday #14

top-10-fantasy

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

September 13: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre

I’m running a little late on everything these days, while I am moving my office out to my grandparents farm. Worst of all the internet there has a data-cap and it gets throttled to almost dial-up speeds when you hit the limit, so I’ve been trying to find a better internet solution that reaches out to the rural area they live in.

So I am a day late, but I just couldn’t miss this one since I am a big genre reader. In fact, just choosing one genre is not easy. (And these are not in any particular order.) Also, I’ll try not to make the whole list about Stephen R. Lawhead. 😉

Top Ten Fantasy Books & Series…

  1. Books of the Infinite – Book two Judge was by book of the year in 2015. I had read Prophet a couple of years ago, but when I got Judge I decided to read through the whole series back-to-back and it blew me away. The Books of the Infinite are a Biblical/Historical/Fantasy series set in a fantasy realm. It’s hard to wrap your head around the whole idea of it, but the books are so well written you’ll forgive the genre criss-crossing right away.
  2. Lord of the Rings – Might as well just get it out of the way. The grand-daddy of fantasy series. Of course, I have a special affinity for the series I was named after. My parents read the books together when my mom was pregnant and yes they named me Arwen, it’s my real name.
  3. The Pendragon Cycle – This is where I would tell you to start with Stephen R Lawhead. The first three books of this series are absolutely fantastic. Taliesin begins with the fall of Atlantis, Merlin is the story of the young Merlin and his early life, and Arthur is about King Arthur (who else?). It’s the best Arthurian re-telling I’ve ever read.
  4. The Song of Albion Collection – Another Stephen R Lawhead series. This one is full of Celtic mythology and lore. The main character crosses over into an ancient other-world and in drawn into the fight between good and evil with both worlds at stake. For me these books are a great, quick read, the kind you can’t put down.
  5. Stardust – An absolutely fabulous book by Neil Gaiman. Weaving fantasy and fairy tales and history together in a unique story with a world all of it’s own. If you like Neil Gaiman and haven’t read this book yet add it to the top of your TBR.
  6. The Saga of the Trillium – I great collaboration between fantasy authors. Triplet princesses each have separate, yet connected destinies to fulfill in this series that weaves in and out of each of their stories.  The alien world they live on is full of mystery (and I still occasionally ponder over it years after I’ve finished the series.) It’s a world that once abounded in scientific marvels and in magic, but now much of the knowledge of both has been forgotten. The world building is excellent, and the characters strong. A great fantasy series!
  7. Myst: The Book of Atrus and other Myst books by Rand Miller – I don’t even know what to say about this book that wouldn’t be a spoiler. I feel like these books are one of the best kept secrets of fantasy. You’ve probably heard of the game Myst, and if you’re like me were completely baffled by it. But these books unpack the mysteries of the world and of the time leading up to the beginning of the game.
  8. The Seventh Tower Collection – World building is so important in fantasy stories, and Garth Nix does a fantastic job of creating a world unlike any other. It drew me in and I binge read all 6 books. The sun is blocked by a magical veil and the world split into two factions. The Icelcarls who have learned to eek out an existence in the harsh world of ice that the perpetual darkness has caused and the Chosen who live in a tower and have “tamed” the shadow creature who had at one time threaten their world.
  9. The Chronicles of Prydain – Mostly know for being the source for Disney’s “The Black Cauldron” these book tell the story of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his friends. This series is high fantasy and very deep thinking in a very approachable story.
  10. The Name of the Wind – It was so hard to pick a 10th book! I kept thinking of possibilities (this list could have been 25, not 10.) But I picked this one because it is sooo strong and because I am really looking forward to the next books (once I have time to read them.) This first person narrative is told in parts, building the biography of a wizard (who at the time of the telling is really more of a bartender.) But the mystery between who he was and who he is, is what it’s all about, and what has me interested in the next installments.

I know I left a lot of great fantasy off of my list. Tell me some of your favorites in the comments below.

July/Aug 2016 Book Pick-ups

July/Aug Pick-UpsThe Deliberate ReaderSo July was busy, with a trip to New Mexico for a music department reunion, but it pale in comparison to August which was plain crazy. We had some family stuff that came up and took about 90% of my time and energy. That situation is still unfolding, so if I don’t blog as often as I had previously it’s because we are still working out a changing family situation. Buuuut on the up side I did end up with a lot of great kids books in the last couple of month.

For Kindle:

Rage
Why I got it: The Kindle First book for July. The picking haven’t really been up my alley for a while, but I guess if I need a mystery I have one more waiting on my Kindle.

Black Rain
Why I got it: The Kindle First book for August. August was frankly a blur and I don’t remember why I picked this.

ARC:

Space Dictionary for Kids: The Everything Guide for Kids Who Love Space
Why I got it: An Early Reviewer Book from LibraryThingMy husband likes watching astronomy videos on YouTube and is always trying to get Little Bug interested in space. While dinosaurs and ocean life are still her favorites she has been more interested in planets lately, and this dictionary looked very cool.

Prince Noah and the School Pirates
Why I got it: An Early Reviewer Book from LibraryThingI got this book to add to the summer reading for little Bug. It’s a little long for her, but it’s possible that now that she’s a 1st-Grader her tolerance for longer books will probably get better. (And it’s not really the length so much as it is the amount of words on each page vs. the action/interest of the pictures on the page.)

eArc:

Elemental Secrets
Why I got it: I’m doing a Book Tour with Xpresso Book Tours on Oct 20th for Elemental Secrets.

The Midnight Sea(The Fourth Element, #1)
Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2)
Why I got it: I’m doing a Book Tour with Xpresso Book Tours on Sept 21st for the two Forth Elements books. **Review SPOILER: I LOVED THEM!

Misc:

Flutterby Fly
Why I got it: Thrift store Serendepity book will be a yes every time. I love the Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James combination. These books are brilliant!

Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water
Why I got it: The author/illustrator of this book was at the Oregon State Fair. The Little Bug likes everything ocean themed so I picked this one up for her. (Signed Copy)

Sixteen Cows
Why I got it: The author/illustrator above also illustrated this book, a very cute cowboy/cowgirl story in light rhyme. (Signed Copy)

Curious George Around Town (6 Volume Set)
Why I got it: This set was deeply discounted for Amazon Prime day, It ended up being a little over $1/book. We love Curious George and didn’t have any of the books in this set so WIN!

Apples Grow on a Tree (How Fruits and Vegetables Grow)
Why I got it: Amazon’s big Prime day sale include 20% off of one book. This series is absolutely excellent and I’ve been trying to collect all of the books, but since they are a little expensive I used the sale as an excuse to get one. If you have kids and want to teach them how their food grows get this series!

#ReadABookDay and other Book’ish Holidays to remember

readittodaySeptember 6th is National Read A Book Day. It’s hard to keep up with all the different book’ish holiday’s. I did not know about this one, but luckily I have some author friends who posted about it on Facebook. Since there are so many day to celebrate books and reading I thought I’d create a list for all of us bloggers to reference.

Book’ish Holidays

1st Sat in February – Take Your Child to the Library Day

March 2ndRead Across America (Dr. Seuss Day)

1st Thursday in MarchWorld Book Day

March 25th – National Tolkien Reading Day

April – National Poetry Month

April 2nd – International Children’s Book Day

April 9-15th, 2017 – National Library Week

April 12thD.E.A.R Day (Drop Everything And Read/ Beverly Cleary’s Brithday)

May 1-7th, 2017Children’s Book Week

May 21st – National Readathon Day

May 25th – Towel Day

July 30th – Paperback Book Day

September Library Card Sign-up Month

September 6th – Read A Book Day

September 7th – Buy A Book Day

September 22nd – Hobbit Day

September 24 – 30th, 2017 – Banned Books Week

October 8 – 18th, 2017 – Teen Read Week

 

Oh and what am I reading on #readabookday? Rags and Ruin by Bob Dixon which I received from the great people at Ravenswood Publishing as an eARC.

If you love books and are on Pinterest check out my #WorldBookDay board:

Do you know of any Book’ish days that need to be added to my list? Leave a comment below.

September TumbleBooks Book Club [For Kids!]

How It Works

  • Ask your library if they have access to TumbleBooks. It could be linked through your libraries website under ebooks. For access through the Albany Public library go here (my local library.)
  • Read one of the suggested books a week with your kid(s.) I’d love to hear their thoughts on the books too!
  • Comment on this post, or write your own blog post about the experience. Let me know which book was your favorite.
  • If you have a blog you can add our badge to your post/site to encourage others to join in.

tumblebooksbadge

Get the badge for your site:
200px wide, links to this intro post

Septembers’s Theme is…

Friends!

Week 1: Bully Goat Grim, Author: Willy Claflin, TumbleTime: 13 minutes 50 seconds, Reading Level A/R: 4.9

Week 2: Enemy Pie, Author: Derek Munson, TumbleTime: 10 minutes, Reading Level A/R: 3.2

Week 3: Best Friend Trouble, Author: Frances Itani, TumbleTime: 8 minutes, Reading Level A/R: 3.0

Week 4: I Miss Franklin P. Shuckles, Author: Ulana Snihura, TumbleTime: 7 minutes, Reading Level A/R: 2.2

September

Bonus: Watch a movie about friends we particularly like Lilo & Stitch.

Top Ten Tuesday #13 BONUS

Back to School 2

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.toptentuesday

August 30: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.

This week topic was so good I had to come back to it. And reading all the other posts really was creativity fuel. So here is a bonus top ten back to school list.

Top Ten Book That Were Required Reading…

  1. The Odyssey – Because of a fluke I didn’t get the senior reading list until 2 weeks before the school year started. So I ended up having to read the Odyssey in 2 weeks because there was going to be a test on it the first day of senior AP English!
  2. The Heart of Darkness – I fully admit to being a fan of Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness was only the tip of the iceberg. Due to the same fluke that caused me to get my reading list late I ended up taking 2 senior English classes and we covered this book in both.
  3. Hamlet – I ❤️ Hamlet. I’m so glad that we had to study this in high school. And I’m so glad that the Kenneth Branagh movie adaptation came out about the same time because it added another layer of depth to the my learning. (I also read Romeo and Juliette, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth in high school.)
  4. The Canterbury Tales – Okay so we didn’t read the whole things, just the prologue, the Knights Tale and the Wife’s Tale. But more importantly we had to memorize the first 14 lines in Old English which has served me well to this day as I often quote it to give kids a taste of Old English when I do classroom visits as Queen Anne.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities – The opening page of this book blew me away. The character and setting in the book are both really rich and real. It got me interested in a part of history I had never considered before.
  6. The Joy Luck Club – I have always had an interest in China but probably would have never picked up an Amy Tan novel if not for it being on our reading list. I am not always a fan of contemporary literature or chick-lit, but I really enjoyed this book and have read a couple of her other books as an adult.
  7. Medea – Enter a lifetime love of Greek plays in 5,4,3,2,1. While the Odyssey is great it doesn’t have the same feel of plays like Medea, Electra or Prometheus Bound (my personal favorite.) One thing you learn in these plays is that Greek women probably invented revenge, and if they didn’t invent it they perfected it. DO NOT CROSS a Greek Woman.
  8. Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Okay not really a book, but thanks to reading EBB during a poetry unit in high school I found my favorite poet. Also as I studied her for a college project I found out that her first published work was a translation of Prometheus Bound which is how I came to read what has become my favorite Greek Play.
  9. Sign of the Beaver / Hatchet – Going back to Middle School on these two. Again a these stories opened up my world to new genres to read. I thought that adventure books like these were probably just for boys (although I had already read the Hardy Boys books.) However I got a real interest in the YA survival adventure genre after reading these (and Island of the Blue Dolphins.)
  10. The Forgotten Door – Also going back to Middle School. I vividly remember this book. It’s strange that it was a school book because it’s kind of a mystery, sci-fi, fantasy story. But I enjoyed the book and it obviously made a mark.

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.toptentuesday

August 30: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.

This list kinda combines two of the above because this list is filled with both books I enjoyed as a child plus if I were a teachers they’d be on my shelves. They are not list in any particular order (because that would be waaay too hard), but if you would rather go for the purely educational I’d suggest starting with the Cat in the Hat Learning Library. You can find a book on nearly any subject with the fun of the Cat in the Hat. Also since I am a big fan of kids knowing where their food comes from I highly recommend the How Fruits and Vegetables Grow series. Use it in combination with dinner and talk about whether the food was a root (carrots) a leaf (lettuce) a stalk (asparagus) or a flower (cauliflower.)

Top Ten Series for Back To School…

  1. Cat in the Hat Learning Library – try Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today or There’s a Map on My Lap!cat-reading
  2. Elephant and Piggie – start with There Is a Bird On Your Head! or Can I Play Too? elephantandpiggie
  3. Bad Kitty – start with Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy and Bad KittyBadKittyOneEyeOpen
  4. The Bernenstain Bears – start with Get the Gimmies or The Berenstain Bears and the Truth berenstainwatch
  5. Ready-to-Read Weather – start with Clouds or Wind9585_new rtr banner
  6. How Fruits and Vegetable Grow – try Carrots Grow Underground and Lettuce Grows on the Groundhowthingsgrow
  7.  Little Critter – start with I Was So Mad or Being Thankfullittlecritter
  8. If You Give… – start with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or If You Give a Pig a Pancakemouse
  9. Curious George – try Curious George’s First Day of School or Curious George and the PuppiesCurious-George-14
  10. The Night Before – try The Night Before Kindergarten or The Night Before My Birthdaynightbefore

Did I miss a children’s series that you love? What would you recommend? Leave me a comment below.