Wednesday, September 30, 2015

{September Wrap-Up}

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 with No comments
Books Read

I'm really grateful to have finally read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I would recommend this book to everyone! Right now I'm currently on Baby Step 2, and using the debt snowball to pay off my student loans (so far I've paid off 3 out of 5 loans, plus my car!). You have no idea how much these student loans have been plaguing me - I would not wish these worries on anyone!

I also finally finished reading book two of The Heroes of Olympus (which was so much better than book one because it had Percy!!!). And yes, I re-read Twilight, and ended up knocking my rating down from five to three stars. This is like my 4th time or so reading the series, and for some reason this time around I just could not get that into it. I think that before when I read it, I was too busy swooning over Edward (like everybody else) to realize how completely devoid of substance their relationship is. "You are my life now" - GAHHH!!! You barely even know her! [Though if I re-read this once more in a few years, and when I'm in a happier mood, maybe I'll love it again...who knows.]
Movies Seen

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was definitely not as good as the 1990's film. I mean, it was okay, but there really wasn't as much plot substance as their was action. I probably wouldn't really care to see this one again. I did, however, enjoy watching The Mist more than I thought I would. This was the first film I saw to kick of R.I.P. X, and I enjoyed the mystery and twists. I also saw Altar for the challenge, which was an "okay" British gothic horror film that didn't really stand out much from the genre.
Songs I Had On Repeat
Recommended Reads
Thoughts On September
This month was insane. I think I'm already looking forward to next year - it couldn't come fast enough, haha! Fall is normally my favorite season, but it's pretty hard to feel like fall when it's hot as hell and sunny outside. Is it just me, or does summer just keep ending later and later each year? Darn global warming! Where's the sweater weather?!

Seriously, though, I've been pretty stressed out this month. I know I should be grateful that I'm making some headway on my student loan debt, but I just discovered that our broker hasn't paid any money towards the bank for the original owners' home loan in over a year! We pay our mortgage every month and never miss a payment, and to find out that our house was heading slowly towards foreclosure is pretty devastating. If it's not one thing, it's another! Now I'm trying to learn all I can about this home buying process, because I've pretty much been in the dark about it (I live with my mom & sister, so this is actually my mom's house I'm talking about). Sometimes, people can really suck!

At any rate, I haven't read much this month, but I did make a lot of progress on The Sixth Extinction, which I'm pretty proud of since it's a rather slow read due to the writing style of the author. I also saw some pretty great television premieres, and am recommending the following shows: Scream Queens, The Muppets, & Grandfathered.

Thank goodness October is upon us - I love the Halloween season! Please let me know of any Halloween reading challenges or blogger events that are out there - I'd like to participate in as many as possible!

Monday, September 21, 2015

I am so excited that WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new series by Rae Carson, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Author: Rae Carson
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Read chapter 1 of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, annotated by Rae Carson, HERE!

Rae Carson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. Her next book, Walk On Earth A Stranger, will be available September 22, 2015. She lives in Arizona with her husband.

Connect with the Author: 
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

1 winner will receive a set of the 3 books in the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US Only.

Ends on September 30th at Midnight EST!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.  

Chapters 1 - 8 Discussion Questions

Have you learned anything that’s really surprised you so far? 

Yes! The most surprising thing to learn so far was how quickly the Great Auks were extinguished! It was a real eye-opener to see things from a broader perspective after it had all happened - and it was terribly sad to read about the death of the last two known living Great Auks.

Are the descriptions of how science is done matching your expectations? 

So far, yes. The author really gets into detail while explaining things for readers who may be less familiar with the processes taking place.

So far, do you have any ideas for things people could do to prevent causing more extinctions? How likely do you think it is that we’ll make the necessary changes? 

Not really - this book is rather depressing. It just isn't likely that we can make the changes necessary in time to truly have any major impact - especially when you consider that the majority of the population seems to care more about either money and profit (such as in terms of the agriculture industry, etc) or themselves to really care enough about how their actions are impacting the environment, and what will be in store for future generations. Though, when too many people think that their actions can't make a difference, it also has an impact...

Have the many topics the author has covered made you want to learn about any specific topic in more detail? 

Actually, this book has really made me want to get started on reading Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species.

What location the author visited would you most like to visit? 

Gola del Bottaccione, in Gubbio, Italy. The moment I read about it, I looked up Gola del Bottaccione online and knew I wanted to visit one day. I was fascinated at the idea of getting to see (and perhaps even touch!) actual traces of the asteroid that brought about the end of the Cretaceous period. Plus, the town of Gubbio itself looks fascinating in and of itself!

(as a reminder, she’s been to El Valle de Anton, Panama in a volcanic crater, which used to have golden frogs; the Museum of Natural History in Paris; Reykjavik with the Icelandic Institute of National History and last island of the auks; Gola del Bottaccione, the ravine with the asteroid remains just North of Rome; Scotland with the Dob Linn stratified rock; Castello Aragonese, the castle on an island with acidic oceans; and One Tree Island, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Literary Kickstarters, Vol. 1

Saturday, September 12, 2015 with 1 comment

I am completely obsessed with the Kickstarter platform! I just love the idea that hardworking, talented artists can crowdsource the funds to create such amazing projects. As a frequent browser & backer on the site, I couldn't help but notice the significant amount of bookish Kickstarter projects that get funded - I didn't realize that there would be so many "literary Kickstarters," and that authors would turn to crowdsourcing to fund their novels, until I discovered Kelly Thompson's The Girl Who Would Be King

Since then, I've discovered many other great projects to back, and I just couldn't help but share them with the world! Thus came the idea to start a new feature to showcase what I believe to be the "Best of the Best" - projects so neat that I just had to spread the love! Through this feature, I hope to introduce you to some great Kickstarters, so without further ado, here are three awesome projects that are currently available to back:

This is a reproduction of Lewis Carroll's original Alice story, Alice's Adventures Underground, which he wrote for young Alice Liddell (and of which there only exists one handwritten copy!). This reproduction will stay true to the original by keeping Carroll's handwriting & drawings intact, as seen in the picture above. Plus, proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the British Library! Once this Kickstarter ends, there won't be any way to purchase this again, as the British Library holds the license to the original book, and is granting permissions to this project for a limited time only!

Strays is an amazing webcomic created by Samantha Whitten and Stacey Pefferkorn. The series has just come to an end, and already has the first two volumes of the comic in bound form available to purchase on their website. This Kickstarter is to help fund the creation of a physically bound copy of the third and final volume, and there are some really nice perks available, including a lovely necklace that's featured in the comic! If you're interested in checking it out, the whole comic is available to read online for free HERE. I highly recommend it!

Pernille Ørum is making an art book! Pernille is an incredibly talented Danish artist who is currently working as a character designer for Warner Bros (she's also worked for Disney, Nick Jr, & Mattel). You can check out her work on her website or also on Tumblr. I love her artwork, and this book looks really does look beautiful - I look forward to seeing how the finished product turns out!

So, what do you think? There are some other great bookish projects up on Kickstarter that I encourage you to check out. The three projects above were chosen because I'm truly excited for them to come out, and I hope you'll check them out. If there's a particular Kickstarter  project that you're excited for, please feel free to let me know about it in the comments!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Finds

Friday, September 11, 2015 with 1 comment
A Meme By A Daily Rhythm

It's time for another update on what's been added to my TBR! I thought I'd fill you all in on my newest finds, as my TBR list is so long that it may be a while since I feature these gems in reviews. Plus, I personally love lists like these because I always find something good to read! Here's what I added recently:

Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
Where I Found It: This was a Goodreads recommendation.

Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter - a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of forty-nine, Jerry's crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?
Where I Found It: It was recommended by The Skimm on their August 28th issue.

Must have skills in hauling, obeying orders, cooking, and cleaning. Magical talent a bonus. Must be good with heights. Enter Baba Yaga's house to apply.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, and that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga's house on chicken legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu!
Where I Found It: It was on my blogger dashboard, and I can't remember for the life of me who posted it!!! I'm sorry! It was the cover that drew me in...

Of the three books, I think I'm most looking forward to reading Fans of the Impossible Life - it just sounds like a cute, light read. Also, I really like the title! The only thing I'm iffy about is the nickname "Sebby," which is pretty weird (I'm assuming it's short for Sebastian, which is itself a pretty badass name). I don't really like it when authors try too hard to make their characters' names sound unique, but maybe there's a good reason for that in this novel (or maybe Sebby is more common a nickname than I which case, I'm sorry if that happens to be your name - I meant no offense!). At any rate, I love the synopsis! 

So, what books have you recently added to your TBR?

Friday, September 04, 2015

{Cover Reveal} The Casquette Girls

Friday, September 04, 2015 with No comments

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

Published by: Skyscape
Publication Date: November 17th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.

Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.

Revised edition: This edition of The Casquette Girls includes editorial revisions.


ALYS ARDEN grew up in the Vieux Carré, cut her teeth on the streets of New York, and has worked all around the world since. She still plans to run away with the circus one day.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

R.I.P. X

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 with 2 comments
Artwork by Abigail Larson
It's that time of year again! I have been looking forward to starting the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X challenge (R.I.P. X), as I really love reading spooky novels and watching scary movies during the Autumn season in September and October. Normally, this event is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, but this year he has passed the torch onto The Estella Society. R.I.P. never fails to get me in the Halloween spirit (my favorite holiday of the year, FYI), so no matter the host, I am in!

This post is where I will keep track of my goals and progress, and I will be updating it periodically throughout the course of the event. Keep in mind that this challenge isn't just limited to Halloween/Horror, but also includes Mystery, Suspense, Gothic, Dark Fantasy, Supernatural, and pretty much anything that gives off a similar vibe. R.I.P X will officially run from September 1st - October 31st, so if you'd like to join in the fun, please do so!

"Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux…or anyone in between."
Goal: Read At Least 4 Spooky (or Monster-y) Novels
1) Here They Lie by D.K. Burrow
2) Chasing The Moon by A. Lee Martinez

"I am a big fan of short stories and my desire for them is perhaps no greater than in Autumn. I see Poe and Lovecraft in my future for sure, and some Angela Carter. You can read short stories any time during the challenge."
Goal: Read At Least 3 Creepy Short Stories

"This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows or Midsomer Murders, or your favorite film."
Goal: Watch At Least 10 Horror Films
1) The Mist (2007)
2) Altar (2014)
3) Psycho (1960)
4) Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)

And as always, if any of you know if there are any other reading challenges going on this month that are Halloween-related, please let me know so I can check them out!
Books Read

I'm really on a Percy Jackson kick right now, so I can tell you now that you probably won't see me reading much else until I've finished The Heroes of Olympus series.
Movies Seen
Trainwreck was an okay movie, but I don't think I'd really care to watch it again. I saw this one with my sister. I'm glad to have finally seen Rise of the Guardians, though - I kept seeing fanart all over Tumblr that shipped Elsa (from Frozen) and Jack Frost, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. I loved it!
Songs I Had On Repeat

Vocabulary Learned
Praetor - each of two ancient Roman magistrates ranking below consul
(from The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan)
Recommended Reads
Thoughts On August
Wow, I was on such a long hiatus that I completely forgot how much fun blogging was! I truly do love putting together posts, participating in tags, and coming up with content - I just allowed myself to get too overwhelmed with life and work to really get to enjoy myself anymore. Sadly, this is something that I've been seeing a lot of in the book blogosphere - it seems that almost every couple of weeks I see a new post on my feed in which a blogger either apologies for a hiatus, announces that they're taking a break from their blog, or writes about how they are stopping their blog completely. I really don't want that to be me, so I'm working hard to come up with a turnaround plan, including having an internal debate on whether or not to make the switch to WordPress (though Blogger is working for me well enough right now, so we'll see).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't see why I should give up on something that I truly enjoy. This month has been really interesting for me, and I've been able to reduce some stress by finally paying off my car, as well as three of my smaller student loans (I had five total), so I'm hoping that with the extra breathing room, I can allow myself some more enjoyment (money has always been my biggest stressor).