Read These Soon!

I mentioned a little while back that I’ve started a new shelf on Good Reads called “Read Soon.” My TBR is so long — just under 2000 books – that the onces I’m most excited about get lost in there and my memory is so bad I can’t remember the titles when I’m at the library or bookstore. Today I thought I would share what’s on this shelf.

A Black So Black by LL McKinney.  A new YA take on the Alice in Wonderland story with a fierce Black protagonist. Found it on Good Reads. Need to buy.

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier, Grim & Blackstone book 3. I’m loving this Adult Fantasy series with a super slow burn romance and a hero to die for. Owned in print.

The Dry by Jane Harper. Mystery set in Australia. So much buzz for this one, but I haven’t gotten a copy yet.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. Brand new book (Stand alone? New series?) by a favorite author. Might do audio on this one.

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer. OK, this one is a little embarrassing. I’ve owned it on Kindle forever, but I still haven’t read it! It’s a sequel to House of the Scorpion. Children’s/YA dystopian fiction.

Let me know in the comments what books are on your list to read soon or if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

 

 

 

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone (a review)

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Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone (Warlock Holmes #1) by G S Denning

Synopsis:

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart companion. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.

Starring: Warlock Holmes, Incompetent Detective

Vladislav Lestrade, Nihilist Vampire

Tor Grogsson, House-Proud Ogre

Dr. John H. Watson, Terrified

This book. I think it cast an arcane spell on me. I was a bookstore (risky endeavor, I will admit), minding my own business, looking for my book club selection. But then I saw this series. “Warlock Holmes.” And just like that, I was hooked.

I am such a sucker for these kinds of books. Pastisches, mash-ups, redos, or even just fan fiction, I love it when someone takes a familiar story and makes it new and fresh again. Whether it’s Austen, Doyle, Shakespeare, Bronte or even a fairy tale, a new twist just grabs my attention, especially if it’s two things that seem contradictory. I’ve read and loved Sherlock in space, Cinderella as a cyborg, Jane Austen as a vampire. I am absolutely the ideal target audience for this book.

It’s hard to tell too much about the story because half the fun is in watching Dr. Watson react to these outlandish revelations about Holmes. The truth behind his new living situation dawns gradually, but Watson is up to the task. Like the first volume of the canon Holmes, this is a collection of short stories, each one revealing more about how Holmes came to be the well, person, he is now. I found it very entertaining. It reminded me a lot of this movie:

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Now THAT is a funny movie. Watching Michael Caine as a bumbling idiot is just falling down funny. Anyway, I would recommend this book, but I will admit that I’m not sure I’ll buy the next one. I mean, I got the joke and it was funny, but I don’t know that I need more. Not sure if that makes sense, but it was still a fun book. What are you reading? Let me know! Happy reading!

 

How to Get ARC and Review copies of Books – All You Need to Know

Helpful hints for avid readers.

Books and Readers

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Every once in while , I see an email from a blogger or reviewer asking about how I get ARCS and review copies .

Firstly , an ARC is a copy of an unpublished book . ARC= Advance Reader/Reviewer copy . But you probably know that already . Now the question is back to , how do I get it ?

I will try to answer that question and explain all the ways to get ARCS as best as I can . Here I will discuss all the primary ways and some extra ways to get both ARCS and Review copies .

Let’s start with simple things ,

Who gets an ARC / Review copy :

As said above , ARCS are advance reader copies . These are copies of books that are printed before the book is officially released and hits the stores . And as the name itself…

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Reading Slump with Anxiety & Why I Read

Beautifully expressed post about why stories matter.

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So I have some experience in reading slumps just like any avid reader, they can be caused by the book you are currently reading or by the environment you are trying to read in, however the worst one I personally have suffered with is the anxious and unable to focus slump!

It sucks! I suffered a nervous breakdown in 2015. Wikipedia describes my condition, that lasted for approximately 3-4 weeks, as the below;

“A mental breakdown (also known as a nervous breakdown) is an acute, time-limited mental disorder that manifests primarily as severe stress-induced depression, anxiety, or dissociation in a previously functional individual, to the extent that they are no longer able to function on a day-to-day basis until the disorder is resolved. A nervous breakdown is defined by its temporary nature and often closely tied to psychological burnout, severe overwork, sleep deprivation, and…

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The Bird King: A Review

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. My views remain my own.

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The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

Synopsis:

From award-winning author G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King is an epic journey set during the reign of the last sultan in the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition.

G. Willow Wilson’s debut novel Alif the Unseen was an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and it established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. Now she delivers The Bird King, a stunning new novel that tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

My review:

I was drawn to this one because I have enjoyed some of Wilson’s previous books. This one sounded intriguing, both for the historical aspect and the fantastical element. It took me a little while, but it wasn’t long before I was truly hooked.  I feel like I learned so much from this book. I don’t know much about medieval Spain. This has got the beginning of the Inquisition, and the threat to both our main characters is truly terrifying.

The strongest part of the book is definitely the characters. Both Fatima and Hassan were clearly drawn, fully dimensional characters with believable motives and flaws. I loved their relationship. Then there was the jinn. I liked that he was so untrustworthy, and yet so appealing.

If there was one thing that made this a little bit hard to stick with I think it was the pacing. It seemed a little uneven. But I would recommend it for those who want to try a mix of historical fiction and magical realism.

 

 

Problematic Books in YA; The Ones that Romanticize Abuse — Reader Fox and a Box of Books

I don’t think I’d normally do this for many books, but something about this one just really bugged me. And I’ve been planning to write a detailed in-depth post series about books like this that exist in YA (mainly) or were inspired by YA (I’m sure everyone can name this book) where abusive relationships are […]

via Problematic Books in YA; The Ones that Romanticize Abuse — Reader Fox and a Box of Books

Limelight: a review

Limelight by Emily Organ (Penny Green #1)

Synopsis

How did an actress die twice?

London, 1883. Actress Lizzie Dixie drowned in the River Thames, so how was she murdered five years later in Highgate Cemetery?

Intrepid Fleet Street reporter Penny Green was a friend of Lizzie’s and Scotland Yard needs her help. Does Penny unwittingly hold clues to Lizzie’s mysterious death? Penny must work with Inspector James Blakely to investigate the worlds of theatre, showmen and politicians in search of the truth.

But who is following her? And who is sending her threatening letters?

Penny is about to discover that Lizzie’s life was more complicated, and dangerous, than she could ever have imagined.

Review

I finished this one yesterday and found myself trying to figure out how I felt about the book. I mean, I didn’t HATE it, but I didn’t like it either. Penny, our MC, has an interesting back story, but I still thought her actions didn’t make a lot of sense.

In the end, I think it was just that writing was pretty – well, average. We only got to really know 2 characters in the book, and they were still a little flat. The pacing was off, all the action occurs in the beginning and the very end. There was a lot of telling, a lot of dialogue, but not much to hint at what characters were actually feeling.

I do enjoy this time period, and I admit to being intrigued by the female reporter angle. But really, there are better Victorian era mysteries out there. I would not recommend this one and I don’t plan on reading more by this author. However, it is a first novel, so it’s possible the series gets better as it goes on. I won’t be bothered to find out.