Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Oathing Stone (The Rituals Trilogy #2) by J.Z.N. McCauley (ARC) - Review


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

After spending the last year together, Catherine and Bowen are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship and get married. As a couple made up of an ancient druid doctor and a woman with druid magic from the sacred oak tree, they'll have to have a traditional Celtic marriage ceremony. In order to connect with their ancestors and the sacred location of their discreet ceremony, they'll have to select an oathing stone. On the wedding night, Catherine's magic becomes unstable. Meanwhile, the Fae Kings send a Fae spy to check out Catherine's magic disrupting her life and her friend Bella's life when she becomes the spy's obsession. After Bella goes missing, it's up to Catherine to find her. Really, though, their problems are just beginning because they've just landed right in the middle of a Fae civil war.

Although I was slightly underwhelmed by book one in this series, Oak and Mistletoe, I was still interested in seeing where the sequel would go, especially with the way the first installment ended. Here, I particularly liked that we got to see a little more magic and how McCauley incorporates the Fae. Unfortunately, though, Catherine's a bit flat here - she flips back and forth between weak and helpless to strong and magical enough to give me whiplash. I have to admit that her relationship with Bowen kind of bugs me too, especially considering what happened to her twin in book one. Also , in regards to the magic which was fun to see more of, I really wish we learned more about the why and the how it works for Catherine other than the fact that she is favored. On the same note, I was also left wondering more about why the Fae are after her in particular.

Overall, The Oathing Stone is still fun and fast, almost too fast at times, with many elements I enjoy. However, there are still more things that I wish had been addressed. Perhaps that's a good reason to come back for the final book in the trilogy to see how everything turns out and where that leaves our cast. If you're interested in Ireland, druids, mythology, and romance, you may want to try this second book of an NA trilogy.


I read this eARC from February 9 - 12, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, which is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  The rules are exactly the same as they were before - this week's topic is Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading.


Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver - I don't know, the whole dystopian world without love premise just doesn't sound that appealing anymore.


The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass - I'm not even 100% sure why this was on my tbr to begin with since I've never been a fan of The Bachelor.


Nevermore (Nevermore #1) by Kelly Creagh - I like the sound of the Edgar Allan Poe element, but I'm getting Hush, Hush vibes from summary, and I don't think I want to do that again.


Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman - I liked book one well enough, but a sequel just doesn't seem all that necessary.


Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman - This sounds like She's the Man which was pretty funny, but I just look at the cover and feel annoyed by that finger mustache... is that just me?


Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins - After There's Someone Inside Your House, I don't think I'm interested in coming back for her contemporary romance.


The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold - The Lovely Bones is one of my favorites, but I have to admit that I'm pretty disheartened by all of the poor reviews I've seen for this novel.


The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) by Graeme Simsion - A few of my close friends have tried this and let's just say their feedback has turned me off of this.


Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga #2) by Orson Scott Card - I've always liked Ender's Game, but I anymore I'm just not interested in continuing on with the series.


Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi - This used to be pretty high on my tbr, but it just isn't anymore unfortunately - no particular reason.

Have you read any of these?  Do you recommend any of these that I should read?  Thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Oak and Mistletoe (The Rituals Trilogy #1) by J.Z.N. McCauley - Review


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I received a free ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

Catherine Green, her twin sister, and her brother have the opportunity to travel to Ireland as a college graduation present. Catherine's visit becomes permanent when she lands a job at a museum. She finds herself oddly attracted to Bowen, a stranger who's a sort of expert on local history who warns her to leave the country before it's too late. Catherine quickly begins to realize that she's actually the key to a centuries old curse as she frees a psychotic druid and his followers. Tragedy ensues and Catherine is forced to work with Bowen and together the two get swept up on an adventure involving Celtic myth and long-forgotten knowledge. The two going to have to work together to make sure sure Conall doesn't put his evil plans in motion, and they'll have to do whatever it takes.

Oak and Mistletoe is the first book in The Rituals Trilogy by J.Z.N. McCauley, and is a New Adult fantasy with a clean romance. The overall concept behind the story is pretty cool and I love that it features druids and Irish mythology. Since I was reading a novel of The Iron Druid Chronicles while reading this story, I have to admit that I would have been very pleased indeed if Atticus O'Sullivan could have had a cameo. Between Catherine and her twin Kathleen, I was definitely more interested in Catherine, but I have to admit Kathleen does get a moment of really great character development before she meets her untimely fate. In regards to the magic, I liked what we got to see of it and I would have preferred to learn more about how it all works - I'm just not all that sold on what makes Catherine the key (it's all to do with Bowen). On that note, I couldn't really get behind their romance since he withholds a good deal of vital information from her (view spoiler) in order to "keep her safe".

Overall, though, Oak and Mistletoe is a fast paced, fun read despite my issues with the story and characters because there are still so many elements that I enjoy. If you're interested in Ireland, druids, mythology, and romance, you may want to try this series opener.


I read this ebook from February 3 - 7, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Music Monday: Dylan Price


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.

This week I'm spotlighting the music of Dylan Price - if you'd like to learn more about him, you can visit his websiteFacebook, TwitterInstagram, or YouTube channel.  Anyway, I just recently learned that my mom works with him - and she just told me about his music, so l had to look into it.  I really like his sound and a couple of my favorites are "Ode to the Whispers" (2016) and "Everyone Wants to Rule the World" (2011)




Thursday, February 15, 2018

Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko (ARC) - Review


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

Selena and her brother have to escape tyrannical New Canaan. They have to make sure that the information on data stick that got her parents killed makes it to the Republic of California, the only place left that stands for peace and freedom. The two siblings are the last hope for their mostly ruined continent before it's entirely too late. They've got thousands of miles on the road ahead of them through the Middle Wastes and they'll have to deal with everything from murderers and thieves to a poisonous grass called yellow locust which has made growing food next to impossible. Fallowfield is practically an oasis in the midst of the wasteland - everything seems far too good to be true. As Selena begins to uncover the secrets of the town and its leaders, she'll have to use the fighting skills that she was forced to hone back in New Canaan if she and her brother are going to make it. Whatever she does, it'll have to be soon because all-out war is imminent and New Canaan is never all that far away.

I'm so glad the publisher, Month9Books, approached me to try Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko. This novel doesn't release until May 8th, but it's a pretty great upcoming YA dystopian sci-fi story that definitely deserves attention. I've read quite a few dystopias, but it's been a little while since I've tried a new one that really stood out (the last being Want by Cindy Pon). Joschko's novel can also be considered cli-fi (climate fiction), a genre that I haven't read all that much of. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a genre that explores environmental degradation and it's effects on human civilization due to climate change. It doesn't necessarily have be be speculative, but it is in this particular case.

Joschko's novel firmly held my attention throughout from beginning to end, particularly developing his world, which is almost beyond hope, and the journey his characters take across what was once America - as well as the mystery surrounding Fallowfield. As for our cast of characters, I could appreciate really appreciate Selena's attitude and drive in regards to her family and duties. Plus, I could certainly relate to Simon's sensitive, fair skin - been there, done that. I should also mention that the author is good at crafting action scenes. There are plenty of great showcases of Selena's formidable talents. My only real issue is that Selena doesn't feel all that unique in comparison to other YA dystopian leading ladies, in fact she reminds me of a combination of Saba from Blood Red Road and Katniss from The Hunger Games.

Overall, Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko is a great upcoming piece of YA sci-fi dystopian cli-fi. It's intense, fast-paced, and has an intriguing sibling bond at the heart of the story. I have a feeling you'd enjoy this novel as well if you like Blood Red Road by Moira Young and Want by Cindy Pon. I'm looking forward to trying future projects by this author.


I read this eARC from January 27 - February 2, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsYellow Locust by Justin Joschko will be released on May 8, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown + 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 upcoming reads, Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown.  I picked this up at a book sale a little while ago and it sounds like a promising historical horror fantasy.  It even has a few illustrations to go along with the text.  Since I'm all caught up on The Diviners as of yet, I'm hoping this will be a good read until the next installment is released.

Beginning:

It's dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn.  I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible.  My eyes are open before I hear the wheels of the carriage at the bottom of the drive.

56:

Eyes averted, the maid leads us to a sitting room cluttered with bric-a-brac.  My father once said that the character of a household can be known through the behavior of its staff.  I don't know what to conclude from Viviette's refusal to meet my gaze.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Family in a Book


Least Favorite - The Wormwoods from Matilda by Roald Dahl


Favorite - The Weasleys from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Have your read this book?  The reviews on Goodreads are mixed, but I haven't heard much about it otherwise.  Fingers crossed that it's going to be good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite LGBTQ Couples In YA


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, which is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  The rules are exactly the same as they were before - this week's topic is a Love Freebie, so I have elected to feature some of my Favorite LGBTQ Couples In YA.  Here we go, in no particular order:


Ronan and Adam from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


Simon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Magnus and Alec from The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare


Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Wolfe and Santi from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine


Sana and Jamie from It's Not Like It's A Secret by Misa Sugiura


Nadine and Patty from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Ben and Cillian from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


Jesper and Wylan from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Emi and Ava from Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour


Who are some of your favorite couples?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!