Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind her eyesI purposely didn’t read reviews of this book simply for the fact that the ending was slated to be the best part. Going back and reading reviews now, I completely disagree with anyone saying the ending was cheap or unfair.

I won’t even go into what makes this ending so great, but I can say that I’m so happy to see a book go outside the box such a long way.

“An ending and a beginning now knotted up forever. He expected the hues of the world to change to reflect that, but the earth and heavens remained the same muted shades, and there was no tremble of anger from the trees. No weeping whisper of wind. No siren wailed in the distance. The woods were just the woods, and the dirt was just the dirt.”

The characters were interesting, minus David. He was pretty bland. I could attribute that to the fact that none of the scenes are from his point of view or maybe he was just a forgettable character. The two women, on the other hand, were phenomenal. Many reviews stated that they weren’t likable, or that Louise was “stupid”. Yet again, I totally disagree. Many of the choices Louise made were completely understandable to me. Adele was written fantastically, as well.

While this isn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, it was a quick read (one day for me) and to give the author credit, every single scene (minus the flashback scenes) pushed me forward and kept me flipping pages like a wild thing. Flashback scenes were a bit tiresome and boring, but at the end of the book, they proved entirely necessary.

If you want a hell of a good thriller and a book that keeps you guessing from one page to the next, I would go for it. I consider myself pretty great at figuring out a story well before it’s finished. The ending was surprising enough, but even at the last chapter when I THOUGHT I knew what was going to happen, I didn’t. At all. It was so much fun to be so surprised.

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Posted in Updates

Back from Blog Hiatus

While I never announced a hiatus from blogging, it feels nice to come back after a long time and call it such. So here we are. Time to update you all on what’s been going on the past few months!

I’ve been steadily grinding on my novel and working towards finding an agent. Twitter has helped so much in so many areas, including this one. Mostly because I’m able to see what agents look for in a query and such.

I read submissions for StarShipSofa and it’s definitely been an eye-opening experience. It didn’t take me long at all to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. And let me be the first one to say, some of the stuff coming in was terrible.

Bad short stories really weren’t the biggest challenge in reading submissions, but all the stories that could be labeled as “meh”. I think the idea that was surprising to me most was the fact that so many people think they are excellent writers when in reality they need a lot of work.

That brings me to my next update. This year I’m taking several writing classes and hoping to go to a conference at the end of the year. Seeing so many “middle ground” stories that just weren’t cutting it made me desperately want to learn even more about what I love doing the most – writing.

Anyone here plan on taking any writing classes or going to a conference? Let me know!

 

Kelly

Posted in Book Reviews

New ARCs and Reviews!

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I got my hands on some incredible ARCs this month and I’ll be reviewing them soon. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by how many books I need to read each month from ARCs that I get sent, but this month has been slow. Yet, the few books I’ve gotten seem to be of some incredible quality. I’d rather get just a few books that are worth it, than 27 books that are mediocre. Here are a few I’ll be diving into this month!

 

The 34928122 (1)first one I plan on reviewing is Artemis by Andy Weir! Weir wrote The Martian, which was really an amazing book to read. It had a really science centered take, yet still managed to keep you guessing from one minute to the next. Because of that, I can’t wait to pick this up today and devour it. I’m hoping Weir is able to enchant me a second time around. I am a bit worried that because Weir’s style was so science based in his debut novel, that this book may not have the pull that his first one had. But, that remains to be seen and I will give Artemis a fair shake, at the very least. Artemis is due for release November 14th, 2017.

 

30288282The next book I received an ARC of is The Immortalists by Chloe Bejamin. I’ve never read any of Benjamin’s work, though this one seems promising. It’s about four people who are told the day that they will die and explores what people might do or not do with this knowledge. Set in 1969, it isn’t as mystical as I usually like but has enough magic in it to definitely draw me in. The Immortalists will be released on January 9th, 2018.

 

 

I was sent an ARC of The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden along with these and I’ve The Girl in the Toweralready reviewed it here. I was initially worried that having a sequel wouldn’t pan out well for Arden, but after completely tearing through this book, you’ll see how I really felt about it in the review. The release date for this one is December 5th, 2017.

 

 

 

If you want to hear me rant about books in 140 characters or less follow me here on Twitter. I’m bound to say something slightly ridiculous but probably wildly entertaining.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower

ARC was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Girl in the Tower is Book 2 in The Winternight Trilogy with The Bear and the Nightingale being the first book in the series written by the incredible Katherine Arden.

Vasya, no longer a child but a tall, graceful, wild woman, has fled her forest country home for fear of whispers of those in her village. Whispers turning bolder and more menacing, accusing her of being a witch. The death of her father still looms over her and questions she cannot answer for fear of being called mad, or worse, beg her to leave everything she knows in search of adventure and the wild.

Dressed as a boy, she mounts her steed, Solovey, given to her by Death himself, and heads out into the world to live the life of a Traveler. On the way, she learns that the evil that plagued her village has seeped its way into the far corners of the countryside, burning villages and taking girls at every chance. Vasya, along with the Grand Prince of Moscow and her own brother, Sasha, must try and rid the land of this evil. All the while, the secret of Vasya’s gender, while known to her brother, is kept from everyone else, lest she is sent to a convent, married off, or worse – killed for her lies and immodesty.

This sequel surprised me in the best way. Usually, books in a series don’t get much better than the very first installment, but Arden was able to surprise me with a much better book than it’s predecessor. I wouldn’t necessarily call these books “action-packed”. That’s not a bad thing at all. I was genuinely intrigued and constantly on edge, even without every scene including a sword fight or a brawl. Each line had a pull and a tense edge that kept me turning every single page out of mere necessity. I had to know what would happen. I desperately needed to see this thing through.

I worried for Vasya as much as I admired her. I cursed her along with her family and her elders when she made rash judgments, just as I whooped and cheered for her pushing away the bonds of a role that she never asked for. Yet again, the setting in this novel is another game entirely. The cold world Arden sets is as much a character as Vasya, her brother Sasha, or even Morozko, the frost-demon and Winter King.

I’ve never been one for a romance novel, and The Winternight Trilogy definitely wouldn’t fit into that category at all, but there is a romance that I felt really put a jolt in my heart. It made me care so much more than I imagined I would. And truly, if there ever was a love story in this book, it’s the love story between the cold land of Rus’ and the people that live within it. The domovoi and the people it tries to look after, even when they can do little but fade in the wake of new god and icons.

It’s almost hard to imagine that these two books are Arden’s first novels. They read so wonderfully and every word drips myth and legend. Every page speaks of the old world and sets you so firmly within it that you can feel the rattle of your bones in the frigid country. I cannot wait to see what the third and final book has in store. Although, I am fairly certain that Arden will break my heart, but leave me glad for the tale, nonetheless.

 

Have you guys read anything recently that blew away your expectations?

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

My rating :5 stars

I started this book off pretty hesitant. Mostly because I’d been told by so many people how great it was, just to turn around and hear from someone that they didn’t like it at all. I’m so glad I finally decided to pick it up and give it the chance it deserved.

I don’t really do reviews that go into the plot of a book, mostly because by the time I get around to reviewing a book plenty of people have done that already. But honestly, trying to describe the plot of this particular book takes away the magic from a first reading. The Bear and the Nightingale is what one can only describe as sort of an ethereal book. Time passes in the blink of an eye on the page and you feel sort of swept away by it all.

The characters were interesting, but Vasya, or Vailisa, shone brightly among each one. Katherine Arden has a way of writing a specific setting so well that you truly feel like you’re there. You can feel the cold and the wet. You can feel the desperation.

I will say the first 25% of the book takes a little while to get through. It isn’t that the book is unenjoyable, but you wonder what the plot is and where everything is headed. This book is unlike anything I’ve really read before, so I have a hard time classifying it or stacking it up against things I’ve loved in the past. All I can say is that I really adored it, and I’m really excited that I got my hands on an ARC copy of the next book in the series The Girl in the Tower: A Novel.

 

Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale yet? Planning to? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole: Conquer Your TBR Part 3

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It’s time for another Down the TBR Hole! Where I take my Goodreads “to-read” list, and I rip it to shreds in the hope that by the end of a few months, my TBR pile will be much more manageable. You can find my first post on this here. This was, of course, started by none other than Lia at Lost in a Story and has already helped my to-read pile tremendously. I clear out 10 books with every post so let’s get started!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Repeat every week until the entire list has been filtered.

Books on the Chopping Block:

tbr1Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke (Added September 16, 2015)

This happens to be quite a collection of YA short stories, and while I initially thought it would be a good fit for me, I think I’m a bit overwhelmed with other anthologies that I’d rather be reading instead of this one. VERDICT: GO

 

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington (Added September 17, 2015)TBRshadow

This is a fantasy debut novel that has a ton of cool world-building ideas. I don’t see myself throwing this one out for the fact that I’m too excited to try it. VERDICT: STAY

 

 

TBR3Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Added September 17, 2015)

Okay, I have no excuse for not having read this book yet. The movie was incredible. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. For some reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to picking it up. Seeing as it’s an extremely short read (almost novella sized) I think I’ll keep it around for a bit. VERDICT: STAY

 

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ( Added September 17, 2015)tbr4

Yet again, no excuse. I just finished up Neverwhere, so now seems like as good a time as any to read this sort of follow-up. VERDICT: STAY

 

 

tbr5The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Added September 17, 2015)

This has already been made into a movie and released and I STILL haven’t read it. I haven’t seen the movie with Alicia Vikander and Micheal Fassbender, but I still want to read this book. It’s about a couple, very much in love, who do something terribly wrong to have a child. I gotta find out. VERDICT: STAY

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Added September 17, 2015)tbr6

Come on. Look at this cover. I know, I know, that shouldn’t matter. But fairytales? For wild girls? With this cover? And a very nice score on Goodreads? Yeah, sorry, I cannot take this off my TBR. VERDICT: STAY

 

 

tbr7The Giver by Lois Lowry (Added September 17, 2015)

You would have thought that a 26-year-old would have read this book by now. I mean, it’s only required reading everywhere. Usually, I don’t put much stock into what “everyone” has read because it just adds pressure for me to read things that I might not be interested in, but I do still want to read this one. VERDICT: STAY

 

Speak by Laurie Anderson (Added September 17, 2015)tbr8

Yet another book that I should be scolded for not having read. It deals with the rape of a teenage girl and her journey towards speaking up for herself. While I’m very glad this kind of book exists, I think I’m gonna have to pass. VERDICT: GO

 

tbr9The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Added September 17, 2015)

I think I read half of this book years ago and something came up and I forgot about it. I know it’s good stuff and my Kid Fiction heart can’t let it go. VERDICT: STAY

 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Added September 17, 2015)tbr10

Okay, so this is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, but I never read the book. I know there’s a quote floating around on the internet that goes “The only book that is a pleasure to read out loud is The Princess Bride”, so now I’m going to have to force my girlfriend to listen to me read it to her. VERDICT: STAY

 

 

Welp, looks like I’m getting rid of a grand total of TWO books this time around. Okay, so some TBR clean ups are less successful than others. But I would put this in the “win” category because now I’ve been reminded of some stellar books that I want to pick up.

Until next time,

Kelly

Posted in Book Reviews

Mystery Blogger Award

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I was nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by Lexie from Reading in the Wings. I’m pretty new to blogging but she shares my love of Harry Potter so you can’t go wrong with that! This award was created by Okoto.

The Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Three Things About Me:

  1. I have two black and tan miniature Dachshunds. One is long haired and the other is short haired. They are my world, along with my girlfriend.
  2. I have a weird addiction to bags. Not purses, I don’t own a single purse. But bags. Like bookbags. I am in LOVE with them and own way too many.
  3. The local library in my town is my favorite place to completely unwind and just chill out. Way better than a coffee shop, in my opinion.

Questions From Reading in the Wings:

Who is your favorite author?

Hmmm.. I would normally go with J.K. Rowling or some of my childhood favorites, but I’m going to have to go with James S. A. Corey for now. He writes the incredible Expanse series that’s some of the best Science Fiction I’ve read in a decade.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Most likely Ellen Page. We have a very similar sense of humor, both queer, and I think she’s absolutely adorable.

If you could be any animal for a day, which would you choose?

Probably a cat. I would love to know what it’s like to have that kind of balance and speed. I can’t imagine anything cooler since I have no desire to fly.

Which character would you like to bring to life?

Probably Mia from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. She’s such a genuine character. Very dark, very lethal, and I would love to hang out and learn from her.

What was the last book you read?

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

My Questions for Nominees: 

  1. What is a book that you can read over and over again?
  2. What is your least favorite book you’ve read?
  3. Where is your favorite place to relax and de-stress?
  4. What is your favorite thing to buy other than books?
  5. Coffee or tea?

My Best Posts:

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

I nominate Captains Quarters, Marianna Reads, Novelladdict, Tiana the Book Raventheorangutanlibrarian, Bookstooge, Amanda @ Literary Weaponry, MiRakelBooksshihtzusandbookreviews, and Howlin Books!