Friday, September 22, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum + 50/50 Friday

 



On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook.  Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.  As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.   Then, for  50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, a nonfiction book called The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum.  This is actually my seventh book for Fall 2017 Bookish Bingo - I'm really on the ball this time - and it fulfills the American History square.  Anyway, I'd seen this come through the library recently and it really caught my attention.  So far it's fascinating.

Beginning:

Until the early nineteenth century few tools existed to detect a toxic substance in a corpse.

56:

Alexander Gettler, tracking cyanide problems in New York, kept a list of accidental poisonings, such as those caused when someone with an open cut on a hand polished the family silver.  The exposure was low enough that most people, after becoming miserably sick, survived.

50/50 Friday: Author You'd Most/ Least Like To Meet


Least - E.L. James


Most - J.K. Rowling

Are you taking part in Fall Bookish Bingo this season?  What have you read for it so far?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting down below.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (ARC) - Review



❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received this free eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Skye has given tarot card readings and has had psychic visions before, but they've always come easily enough seeing as they've all been faked. Now, though, her "visions" are helping the police find Paige, the missing daughter of a prominent local judge, but this time she has insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy - a harmless prank - that would earn her the money she desperately needs to move to NYC after graduation with her best friend. Things go south as Skye realizes that the people she's involved with are willing to kill to get what they want. She'll have to uncover their true identity before it's too late.

The Hanging Girl is the first novel that I've had the chance to read by Eileen Cook and I'm certainly glad that this novel was my jumping in point to her work. If you love a great YA mystery thriller with an unreliable narrator, I expect you'll really appreciate this story. Let me get this out of the way first: I didn't really like any of the characters presented here. That being said, I was absolutely hooked by by this intense and twisty thriller. I didn't want to look away in case I missed the next turn because just when you think you're starting to get things sorted out - bang - something comes along and totally changes the game.

Skye, our MC, isn't all that likable, but she is still a fascinating character to follow since she is pretty much a compulsive liar. If she thinks she can benefit from a lie, she's spinning stories to get what she needs. She also has a great memory for details and she's great at reading body language and facial expressions. Her mother, to put it lightly, is half out of it and very eccentric. She thoroughly believes in all sorts of spiritual types of things from reading auras to having psychic visions and she definitely doesn't set the best example for her daughter, or provide for her. To say the least, Skye has a crappy home life on top of everything else. The only bright spot in her life is Drew, her best friend, and really her only classmate who has been willing to put up with her. While I appreciated Drew's role, I wish it could have been a bit further beyond what end up getting. As much as I want to talk about some of the big twists, I won't spoil it for those of you that haven't had the opportunity to try this novel. Here's my forewarning: don't let your guard down because you've got some real doozies coming your way!

Overall, The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook is a new YA mystery thriller that is a roller coaster of twists and turns. If like me you have a soft spot for unreliable narrators and are looking for a YA Gone Girl-esque read, you need to try this novel and meet Skye. I will definitely be bumping Eileen Cook's 2016 release, With Malice, up my TBR list.



I read this eARC from September 18 - 21, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  This novel will be released on October 3rd, 2017.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Books On My Fall TBR.  All of the books on my list this week are books that I already own and hope to read this fall.  Here we go - I think I have some great reading coming my way:








These Ruthless Deeds by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Yesternight by Cat Winters

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Have you tried any of these books yet?  If so, which do you think I should tackle first?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ 

I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the wearer. Annis has to create a double life for herself - Annis will live the quiet life with her respectable aunt and in disguise she'd become "Madame Martine", a London-based glamour artist with a magical dressmaking shop. That way she'll still be able to maintain her social standing, earn her own living, and follow the clues that her father left behind to solve his murder. It can't be much harder than successfully making it through the London social season, can it?

I've always enjoyed historical fantasy and Kelly Jones's Regency Era set mystery is no exception. I wasn't terribly blown away by the mystery element, but it has so much else going for it. I, for one, loved the getting to know our cast, the wonderful female friendship, the magical elements, and clever wit. I particularly liked that Annis, although clever and determined, still has a lot to learn about herself, her abilities, and the wider world. As much as I liked her, though, I really liked Millie, Annis's servant. Let's just say she's quite resourceful and has a lot of hidden depths. Plus, their friendship is empowering, supportive, and is totally goals worthy. I also have to admit, I liked the reveal about Annis's aunt - very cool. Finally, I was also hooked on what we got about Annis's magic. The glamour sewing scenes were some of my favorites. I really only wish we got to know more about the state of magic in the wider world of Regency England.

Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is a fun fantasy spy caper through Regency Era London. If you're a fan of historical fantasy such as These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I have a feeling you'll also enjoy Kelly Jones's new release. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author in the future.



I read this eARC from September 10 - 13, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Music Monday: Best Music Moments From Supernatural, Season 3 & 4


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

Like last week, I'm sharing my favorite my favorite music music moments from seasons 3 and 4 of Supernatural.  I had to choose "Heat of the Moment" by Asia (1982) which is featured in the eleventh episode of season three, "Mystery Spot" - I've actually been hearing this song at work lately and I can't help but think of this show!  Every time I hear this song, I can't help but think of this show!  For season four, I've picked "A Well-Respected Man" by The Kinks (1965) which appears in the seventeenth episode.  It's a bit different from their usual music choice, but it really works in the scene.



Bonus: I also had to include Jensen Ackles lip syncing "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor (1982) which is one of the bloopers from "Yellow Fever", the sixth episode of season four!  It's hilarious!  Why hasn't he been on Lip Sync Battle yet?!



Friday, September 15, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1) by Charlaine Harris + 50/50 Friday

 



On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook.  Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.  As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.   Then, for  50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1) by Charlaine Harris.  This is the first thing outside of The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris that I've ever read, so it'll be interesting to see how it compares.  I'm also excited to try it because I'm hooked on NBC's television adaptation (I've been following along with it on Twitter actually) - I can't wait to see the season finale this Monday and I really hope it gets renewed - and I really want to know what Manfred and company are like in the source material.  I'm not that far into it yet, but it's definitely promising - and, of course, I can't help but picture my favorite characters as their tv counterparts!  Let's get this show on the road!


Beginning: 

You might pass through the town of Midnight without noticing it, if there weren't a stoplight at the intersection of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway.  Most of the town residents are very proud of the stoplight, because they know that without it the town would dry up and blow away.

56:

Manfred saw that Mr. Snuggly had bypassed them somehow and was now sitting right on the boundary of Fiji's lush and lovely yard and the bare weedy ground in front of the chapel.  His tail was curled around his paws.  he could have been a stripped statue for sale in a home decor shop.  This was a cat who had mastered the art of stillness.



50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Series Cover Set










Favorite - The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater - Just beautiful!




Least Favorite - The Curse Workers by Holly Black - I loved these up until that redesign for book three (WHY?!)!  The first two feature the original covers, then the last shows what they did to it.  The stories, though, are some of my all time favorites!  You can see here what we could have had for the final book here - not as good as the originals, but it's something at least.


Have you been watching Midnight, Texas on NBC or have you read the original series?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps commenting down below!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1) by D.E. Night (ARC) - Review


❋ ❋ 

I received a free paperback ARC from JKS Communications - Literary Publicity regarding author D.E. Night's debut novel.

For her entire life, Ivy has lived behind a boundary that separates the mundane world from the magical. It's hidden her effectively up until she crosses that border and her magical powers awaken. She ends up becoming a student at the Halls of Ivy, a school for those who need to master their magic as well as to learn how to use Croswald's gems. After an attack, Ivy quickly has to uncover the mysteries of her past to save herself and Croswald before history is swept away.

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is the first in a brand new Middle Grade fantasy series that has been compared to some of my all time favorites like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, along with a dash of Disney's Cinderella. Our sixteen year-old MC, Ivy has lived a life of drudgery as a scaldrony maid at a castle. She only has one real friend who watches out for her, but despite everything she's still brave and curious about the world around her (or at least as much as she can afford to be). Alongside Ivy, I loved seeing the new-to-her magical world come to life as she is invited to attend a school where the students learn their innate magical abilities - and realize just how vital she is to the past and future of the kingdom. While I loved getting to know Ivy, I also found myself interested in the magic of the scrivenists that revolves around quills, ink, and storytelling.

As much as I enjoyed these elements of this story, I did have a few issues with the novel including characterization, world-building, and pacing. As for characterization, I have to mention Ivy's age - we're told over and over again that Ivy is sixteen years old, but on the page she doesn't really sound or feel like a sixteen year old at all. Maybe it's the middle grade classification of the story, but to me (if we weren't told her age so often) would have guessed that she was only eleven or twelve years old - like Harry or Percy are at the beginning of their stories. The world-building that we get is good, but overall it feels a little lackluster as I felt a touch out of the loop when it comes down to some details of the magic system and the background of the kingdom. Finally, I do want to mention the pacing as it does jump around a fair bit from slow with very little actually happening to rushing by. On a similar note, some of the transitions between chapters or sections are a bit jarring.

Overall, The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a decent debut that is quite addicting and adventurous. While it does have a few small issues, it's still a fun read with a magic system that will definitely appeal to book lovers. If you like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Cinderella, and perhaps even Tangled, you may enjoy jumping into the world of Croswald.

Thanks again to JKS Publications and D.E. Night!


I read this ARC from from September 3 - 8, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.  You can also check out my unboxing post here.