Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Wrap-Up

I am so late posting this. I'm actually only now working on it, a good hour after my wrap-up was supposed to go live.

Honestly, I've been so lazy this past month. It's summer, and hot, where I live, so that's part of it. But also all I've been doing for the past two weeks is playing video games. And I've got a bug bite - kind of like the spider bite I had several years ago, on my arm that is making me itch. I'm trying to get it to stop, but it's slowly driving me nuts. (Thankfully it's not as bad as that spider bite, but it's still horrible.)

What I've been reading...

Karneval Omnibus #3 by Touya Mikanagi - *****
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - ***
Loki: Last Days by Al Ewing - *****

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - **Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz - *****
The Dark Zone by Dom Testa - ****

Sacrifice by K.M. Shea - *****
The Surrogate Sea by Danielle E. Shipley - ****
Time's Edge by Rysa Walker - *****

All things considered, especially how I felt like I had read hardly anything this month, I'm pretty happy. Especially after last month, where I felt like I had to keep reading. It was nice to take it kind of easy and make time for other things. Like video games.

Buying ban information to date...
I can buy/get free 1 book for every 5 I read.
Series continuations are free.

Physical books read: 64
E-books read: 51

Physical books bought: 10
E-books bought: 18

What I've been watching...

I've seen a bit more Psychic Squad - now I'm halfway through the show, so up to episode 26. I like the show. Not as much as Unlimited Psychic Squad, but it's fun and I adore some of the plots.

I've rewatched
Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes
Father Brown Set 2
The Magnificent Seven TV Series
Leverage season 2

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2016 Challenges - Second Quarter Update

Pages of Starlight's Chunky-Book Challenge
(Adult 400+ YA 500+)
I plan to read 12 chunky books this year - or as many as I can find that sounds good, whichever comes first.

Title - Author Here
The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
The Prophecy Con by Patrick Weekes
The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff
Entreat Me by Grace Draven
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Total books read in January: 1
Total books read in February: 1
Total books read in March: 0
Total books read in April: 3
Total books read in May: 1
Total books read in June: 1

Pages of Starlight's Finish-the-Series Challenge
My goal is to finish 7 series this year.
I'm also including series I've caught up on if there's no indication when it'll be finished.

Series by Author Finished
Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding
Cold Steel and Secrets by Rosemary Jones
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Forgotten Ages by Lindsay Buroker
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan
Swords & Salt by Lindsay Buroker
Feyland by Anthea Sharp
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Artifactor by Honor Raconteur
Arisa by Natsumi Ando
Loki: Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing
The Snow Queen by K.M. Shea

Total series finished in January: 2
Total series finished in February: 3
Total series finished in March: 1
Total series finished in April: 2
Total series finished in May: 4
Total series finished in June: 2

Pages of Starlight's TBR-Clean-Up Challenge
Finally read some of those books I've had on my TBR list for over a year.
Not my physical TBR.

Book - Author Here
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Wearing the Cape: The Beginning by Marion G. Harmon
Beneath the Surface by Lindsay Buroker
Cold Steel and Secrets: Part 1 by Rosemary Jones
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Starbridge by A.C. Crispin
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Total books read in January: 8
Total books read in February: 2
Total books read in March: 1
Total books read in April: 1
Total books read in May: 1
Total books read in June: 0

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Series I Won't Finish (Probably)

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

About this time last year (May, actually) I ran through all the books I owned - at least, all the ones I could actually find and/or remember, which, now that I think about it, were mostly the ones on Goodreads - and separated them into groups like 'Finished Series' 'Dropped Series' 'Series I'm Caught Up On' and so on. I've been wanting to kind of update those list, but that's a whole lot of work.

Instead, I decided to take this freebie week and make up a list of ten series that I won't finish. Well...that I probably won't finish. Though, if you sell it enough, I might be convinced to change my mind. So, get to convincing me. ;) Also, none of these books were on the 'Dropped Series' list or the 'Series I Might Finish' list at the time. (And I know some of my friends will be like 'Amy, you have to finish ___!' So, yeah.)

Monday, June 27, 2016

June Book Haul

Yes! I've finally cut down on the amount of books I bought. Of course, this isn't going to last long, because as soon as I get more money for my amazon account, I'm ordering more books!

Anyway, this month was really light, with just two book purchases.

Sacrifice by K.M. Shea
In a House Made of Bones and Teeth by Alyxandra Harvey
(This book is the novella continuation/finale of The Lovegrove Legacy!)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Writing: Three Things I've Learnt (That Seem Perfectly Obvious But Took Me Years To Figure Out)

As some of you might already know, in an effort to write better dialog for my stories, I've taken on the challenge of writing a visual novel, one of the most dialog heavy modes of entertainment that I know of.

Well, it's already been helpful and I've learnt things by doing this that I might never have figured out otherwise.

#1 It's okay to have a sentence before you have a speaker.
A conversation doesn't have to be a 'round robin'. If a character truly wouldn't say the words that NEED to be said to push the conversation along, it's perfectly fine to pick the character that would say it. (EG: It's Kenyon's 'turn' to speak, but he wouldn't say that - or, really, anything to push the conversation along - but Eleria would, so it's a great idea to have her say it.)

#2 You don't have to use the first words that come to your mind.
I have a fairly specific way of talking and thinking - I think most people probably do - so the first words that come to my mind won't always be the words a character would say. There is nothing wrong with taking a few moments, reminding yourself which character is talking and getting their words right. Or even during a read-through, changing the when it's obvious they wouldn't say that.

#3 Backspace and delete is your friend.
Sometimes the conversation/scene can't be saved. You've gotten off on a tangent that there's no editing and improving. So what if it's two pages worth? Delete it. Don't even think about saving it. Delete!

And there are three things that I've learnt during this experiment. Sure, they seem totally obvious to me now, but a few months ago, I never had even thought any of these things.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn
Series: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale #1
Genre: Contemporary/Retelling
Add on Goodreads

Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it's next fairytale victim. 

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spring TBR Update AND Summer TBR

I am so super proud of myself this season! At least, in the 'how much I read of my quarterly TBR' because, if I had to be honest, I picked out some books that I didn't like at all. But, let's take a look at them.

Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh - DNF
This really sucks because I was so looking forward to this book. But so many times in the first 20 or so pages, I had to reread a sentence at least once to understand what was being said. The narration style doesn't work for me and, even though I hear great things about the author, I probably won't be trying again.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge - ***
Honestly, my take away impression of this novella is a resounding 'meh'. And the feel that this author just isn't for me.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas - DNF
This book made me want to exercise! It made me want to do anything other than read it - so I was putting it down every couple of pages, looking for something else, anything else, to do. This is definitely a book that spoke to me and it told me that if I kept reading, I'd be bored out of my mind.

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce - ***
I just wasn't feeling this story and was very surprised how much a chore it felt like reading it. I don't like the setting choice that was made. I also admit that I checked into the third book while I was still reading this one, just the synopsis, and never should have done that because...I think my dislike of the direction that book seems to be headed in might have colored my opinion of this one just a bit.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove - DNF
I'd love to be proved wrong, but there was just this undefinable something about this book that sat my teeth on edge. Like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and the book to turn into something I'd hate. (And there's also the fact that the writing style reminds me a bit of The Hunchback Assignments.) So, once I realized I was bracing myself, waiting for that moment and not getting any enjoyment out of it, I quit.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - **
I liked this book a lot - except for one thing: Karou. For as much as I thought she was awesome in the first book, in this one, it feels like she's just letting the other characters carry her along with their expectations of her and what they want. And also the romance is getting kind of...icky.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - ***
I didn't love this book and I didn't hate it and, in fact, my biggest takeaway emotion was boredom. My favorite thing was definitely the setting. I really need to find a non-medieval & European set fantasy book that I love. Because the ones I've found I've been disappointed in.

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes - **
Well, I finished it. Mostly because I'd already invested 3 books into this series and felt compelled to not stop in the middle of this one. If we're talking about enjoyment though... ... Honestly, I don't know. I really have such mixed feelings about this book.

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - ***
I'm sure this is a perfectly good - I might even say wonderful - urban fantasy. But I don't like urban fantasy. I thought I'd give it another go because this book sounded awesome and I adore the author's Princess series - and think the author is very cool. But, I really, really think I just start avoiding urban fantasy books completely.

The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron
I'm actually in the middle of reading this one right now. It seems to be just as good as the first two, but, sadly, I've just not been feeling it enough to really get into it.

Summer TBR
So excited to think about what I want to read for the next three months. And I really, really hope I can read all of them just like my Spring TBR - only I also hope that they turn out better for me! (Also, this should be quite a hodge-podge as several of these books were chosen because they just missed my June TBR list.)

Warrior Mage by Lindsay Buroker
His mother was one of the most powerful wizards in the Nurian Empire until she abandoned her people to become a notorious pirate. That choice doomed the family she left behind to a life of disgrace.

Yanko White Fox doesn’t remember his mother, but as the only gifted child in the family, he is expected to erase the mark she left on them all. With an affinity for earth magic and communicating with animals, he’s not the most natural candidate to become a warrior mage, but it’s the only sure route back into the Great Chief’s good graces. He has resigned himself to training for that destiny, whether it matches his passions or not.

Long before he’s ready for his first battle, insurrection comes to his distant corner of the empire. Rebels take over the salt mine his family manages and slay the only relative who ever supported Yanko. On the heels of the tragedy, a courier brings a message from the Great Chief’s son. Whether he is prepared or not, Yanko must undertake a quest, one that could save millions of lives… or fail utterly, leaving him dead, his family forgotten, and his people the victims of starvation and endless war.

Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines
Wars may end. But vengeance is forever. 

Roudette's story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter. Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places. Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to the country of Arathea and an ancient fairy threat. At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived-the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.

A Tyranny of Petticoats - Anthology
From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.

But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma—a city where she was once held captive—which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.

The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin
The comfortable world of Martris Drayke, second son of King Bricen of Margolan, is shattered when his older half-brother, Jared, and Jared’s dark mage, Foor Arontala, kill the king and seize the throne. Tris is the only surviving member of the royal family aside from Jared the traitor. Tris flees with three friends: Soterius, captain of the guard; Carroway, the court’s master bard; and Harrtuck, a member of the royal guard. Tris harbors a deep secret. In a land where spirits walk openly and influence the affairs of the living, he suspects he may be the mage heir to the power of his grandmother, Bava K’aa, once the greatest sorceress of her age. Such magic would make Tris a Summoner, the rarest of magic gifts, capable of arbitrating between the living and the dead.

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet. 

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

Masque by W.R. Gingell
Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder? 

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated. 
In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse. 
In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman. 
And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain. 
Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger. Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . . . 

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

The Paladin Caper by Patrick Weekes
A thief’s good deeds are never done.

Loch and her crew are determined to stop the ancients from returning to reclaim the world they once ruled, but a kidnapped friend throws their plans awry. When a desperate rescue turns into a shocking reunion, the ancients return and seize power. Determined to stop them, Loch and the crew look for a way to close the gate to the ancients’ world, but this time, they find themselves up against an enemy that has insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republic. Cruel, cunning, and connected, the ancients target the crew’s families and histories, threatening to tear friendships apart.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loch must deal with her treacherous assassin sister, her turncoat ancient friend, and a daemon who has sworn to hunt her to the ends of the earth. In order to save the Republic and pull off her largest con ever, Loch will need her friends…and maybe her enemies too.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. 

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Which one/s should I start with? (And, naturally, this is all subject to change, but I really hope I can get them all read.)

Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases - So Far :)

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

So far, I've read disturbingly few 2016 releases. But the good news is that I've liked more than I've disliked.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Books Influencing My Words

I think most readers learn different words - usually the less common/more difficult - from books they read. Reading can help expand your vocabulary. Which I think is great.

To me it's a lot of fun to come across a word I don't know and either figuring out the meaning from the surrounding text (which, admittedly, is the most common for me) or, occasionally, having to look up the word in a dictionary.

So, yeah, I do find a growing vocabulary great. But to be honest, I don't tend to use most of those words in daily conversations. Or, really, even think in those words.

However, there is book terminology that has influenced the way I think.

Slang words.

Lately I've read several books that have developed their own slang terminology.

I always find it so much fun when the setting is so different than ours that the slang words have changed. After all, slang has changed so much in sixty years. Imagine how much it would change in another hundred or more.

Sure, the slang can be confusing at first - and even sound kind of cheesy - but they're fun.

You get new words that you have to puzzle out what they mean and the part of my brain that likes strange names and places in fantasy books, is glad for a bit of a distraction in a story that's more sci-fi. (Which, oddly enough, is where I've been finding this.)

What I find kind of…odd though is how I actually pick up some of the slang. Not a lot of it, usually, and it usually wears off after a day or two. But often I'll find myself thinking something using the slang terms.

At least I haven't started saying them!

(Then again, I am the person who, after she watches a British or Japanese show, tends to think she should talk with an accent. And then my American shows sound like they have a funny accent.)

But there's this one series that I recently finished that took place in like year two thousand two hundred eighty-five and I find some of the slang terms lingering in my mind well after I finished the book.

Does anyone else have this happen to them? (It can be totally made up words, or slang from a country other than the one you're from/live in.)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Birthstone Book Tag

Makes me glad I'm a Feburary girl and we only get one option.

Tag found at Spines & Covers. Images found on Google.

I'm actually not sure I love some of this links between the birthstone and the meaning/question, but it looked like a lot of fun!

Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies
Name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Maybe it's not exactly fair to say this, because she really struck me more 'totally batshit insane' than truly 'evil' - but Levana was the first character I thought of and everyone else paled in comparison.

Purple is associated with royalty
Name a book with regal qualities - you can base this off characters or choose the king of all books.

The Scarecrow King by Jill Myles
I went with this one because it has royalty in the title and I read a crazy amount of books that have royals in them. (I guess that's thanks to all the fantasy I read, but, oddly enough, I've even read books with sci-fi royalty!)

Washed out
Name a 'wishy washy' character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

I know I thought of someone and said that they were this, exactly. But, now I can't remember who it was... Thankfully, I think this means that I don't often come across characters that are like this.

A diamond in the rough
Name a book that you loved but it is not well known.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
Oh, so very, very many! There are a ton of book that I love that it seems like no one else has ever read. I went with this book because I do truly love it and its sequels, and the third in the trilogy only has 8oo and something ratings at Goodreads.

Said to balance energy
Name two characters who balance each other well.

Trial and Temptation by Ruby Lionsdrake
Val and Gregor
Of course I'd have to pick a romance for this! I love these two characters so much and they are the reason this is my favorite book in the series so far. Val is gregarious, Gregor is socially awkward and they are so perfect for each other.

Associated with loyalty
Name a character who is loyal to the end.

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Smudge, the fire-spider
I probably could have found a human (or equivalent) but I really, really wanted to have a fire-spider on my list. Smudge is so darn cute, loves going for car rides, spontaneously combusts when there's danger around and would do anything to protect his 'master' even risk his own, eight-legged life.

Blood red
Name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
My Goodreads 'review' says, in part: I've tried three times [to write a review] and every single time it quickly turns into three pages of grumbling, ranting and gripes.
Let me just say here, I hated the main girl, I hated the 'love interest' and the world made not a lick of sense. ... I read this book last year, and I'm actually still a little furious about it.

It pales in comparison to other gems
Name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Almost everyone. (But especially Wolf.) Nothing bad about Jess, he was a surprisingly likable lead, but he was also one of my least favorites in the book. I guess I just loved everyone else too much.


Blue like the ocean which is calming
Name a book that had a calming affect on you.

The Swan Prince by Danielle E. Shipley
In all fairness, it would be the entirety of this series - at least that I've read. They are such comforting, easy books to read. I try talking about why I like them so much and my brain just turns to mush, because more people need to read and adore them! Anyway, highly recommended when you want something comfortable.


Name an iridescent book. This can be a book with a beautiful cover (shiny, lots of color) or you can base it off a character (quirky, colorful).

Reawakened by Colleen Houck
(As of writing this, I haven't actually read this book, though by the time this goes live, that might have changed.)
This image totally does not do the cover of this book justice. In person it is gorgeous. It's all blue and shiny and it's just one of the most lovely book covers I've come across. Seriously, if you can get a look at this book, do so!


Associated with resilience
Name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa
About 80% of humanity. Seriously, reading these books make me a tiny bit less cynical. (But, honestly, most of the books I read could fit this prompt.) Most of the people is this book have banded together after a devastating plague hits earth and ... well, I don't want to spoil it.


Associated with friendship
Name a book with a friendship that you want to be a part of.

The Dreamer's Curse by Honor Raconteur
While there are so many friendships in books that I love, I think the one between Sevana, Sarsen and their 'Master' (whom they apprenticed to) has got to be the one that stands out. They are great people, and absolutely hilarious! I love the constant teasing and poking and prodding.
And there we go! This was a lot of fun and I totally tag anyone and everyone that's interested.