Saturday, April 30, 2016

Stacking the Shelves - April Edition

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Yes friends tomorrow is the first day of May and it's Saturday which means it's time for my monthly Stacking the Shelves and book haul. I am still on a book buying diet and did pretty good this month even though all the amazing books came out this week. There were some highly anticipated new releases that came out this month so I bought a few but I'm trying to keep to it to only 3 books a month at most and I did that. But I also got a ton of review books this month including some that I'm really excited about.

Okay, before we go any further I need to confess something. I'M ADDICTED TO NETGALLEY! Like I know, we bloggers love it. It's a great website that lets you request e-ARCs from puclishers. But like I think my love of Netgalley goes deeper than that. I look at it multiple times a day and I can't stop myself from requesting books. It's gotten out of hand. When you look at my For Review section this month you will understand. I'll probably do a discussion post about this during BEA so stay tuned for more.

1.) The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater - (Add to Goodreads)
*hyperventilates* How long have we been waiting for this book? Like a year and a half. It's hear and I'm so excited. And terrified. This book makes me feel like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills.

2.) The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - (Add to Goodreads)
I'm also super excited about this book. I loved The Wrath and the Dawn. It is the first book that got me excited about Middle Eastern desert settings and also Shazi is freaking amazing!

For Review

3.) Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Bloomsbury! This sounds like an interesting contemporary and I'm excited to read it as part of my Debut Author Challenge.

4.) The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Bloomsbury! I got so excited when I got approved for this one. I loved The Fixer and I need to know what happens next for Tessa and crew.

5.) The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Algonquin! I don't read a lot of Middle Grade but I'm always looking for interesting fantasies inspired by diverse mythology and this one sounds like it will be one of those.

6.) The Devourers by Indra Das - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Random House! If you compare a book to Uprooted I will be interested. Plus the setting sounds really fantastic and as previously stated, I love a unique fantasy.

7.) The Assassin's Game by Kristy McKay - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Sourcebooks! This cover is so creepy! And it sounds like a unique and interesting mystery/thriller. Plus I love the boarding school setting.

8.) Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Berkley/DAW! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this book. Ink and Bone was one of my favorite books of 2015 so obviously I'm pumped for it's sequel

9.) Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Algonquin! This is only a sneak peak but I don't care. The more Jackaby I have in my life the better it will be.

10.) Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Berkley/DAW! I love books about superheroes and this one definitely sounds fun and interesting because it is from the perspective of their non-superpowered secretary.

11.) American Girls by Allison Umminger - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Flatiron Books! I feel like every book Flatiron, a new imprint of Macmillan, is putting out is so interesting and this sounds like a great contemporary.

12.) Shinning Sea by Mimi Cross - (Add to Goodreads)
Thanks Skyscape! This is not my usual read but it's my book club book for this month and one of the members got us these ARCs so I will give it a try with an open mind.

13.) The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson - (Add to Goodreads)
I love contemporaries about nerdy characters and I've heard this book is a loosely based retelling of Much Ado About Nothing with a Beatrice and Benedict vibe.

So those are all the books I got this month. Thank you so much to the amazing publishers who approved my request on Netgalley and sent things to me in the mail. What books did you get this month? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, April 29, 2016

April Wrap Up and May TBR

Read in April: ARC April

Well I started the month with a bit of a reading slump but thanks to comics and some highly anticipated releases I finished really strong. This was one of those months where I look back at what I read and I think, "wow, I read all that?" To be fair, a few books I read mostly in March but still. I think it was a bit of a hit or miss month for me. But I did read a total of 9 books for ARC April so that's good. On the one hand I loved some anticipated reads and on the other I had my first DNF of the year and my first 2 star review. Most of the books I read too were good 4 star reads, although there were a few disappointments, I read a total of 16 books this month which is amazing. There was 13 new books this month and 2 rereads.

As far as challenges go, I'm still doing well. YAY! I'm majorly ahead for my Goodreads goal of reading 150 books this year, which is super exciting. I may see if I can do it without rereads but let's not get ahead of ourselves, it's only April. I'm also ahead of my goal for the Debut Author Challenge of reading 25 debuts by reading 3 debuts this month for a total of 12 for the year. I'm also ahead for the Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge having once again read 4 books for that challenge reaching a total of 17 towards my goal of 36, that secondary goal of 50 may be possible if I keep this up. And I'm also on track for the Rock My TBR Challenge by reading 3 books for that this month getting a total of 9 towards my goal of 25 for the year. And finally, the Audiobook Challenge. I listened to 5 audiobooks this month including rereads, giving me a total of 15 for the year which is ahead of my goal of 30 or more. I am still killing these challenges, which is great because I am so competitive.

The Books
1.) Elantris by Brandon Sanderson Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
2.) The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkowski 
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
3.) The Haters by Jesse Andrews Rating: 7 out of 10 [My Review]
4.) We Are Robin Vol. 1 by Lee Bermejo Rating: 8.5 out of 10 [My Review]
5.) Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
6.) Lies We Tell Oursleves by Robin Talley 
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
7.) A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry 
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 [My Review]
8.) The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
9.) Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin Rating: 10 out of 10 [My Review]
10.) Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan 
Rating: 6 out of 10 [My Review]
11.) The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater 
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 [My Review]
12.) The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi 
Rating: 9 out of 10 [Review to Come]

13-15.) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater [Reread Review]

Other Posts

To Be Read in May: High Fantasy

Okay, I have officially become stressed out by my TBR Pile and the amount of books I want to read versus the amount of books I can read. I have also become stressed out by the amount of books I have to review so... *tries not to panic* So this month I'm taking the potential reads thing a little further and just throwing up everything that I want to read and then going with what sticks. I am still sticking with the theme and reading high fantasy books this month though, mostly.

New Releases

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - Add to Goodreads
I got this in the mail this week. I need to reread The Wrath and the Dawn and then I'm reading it.

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - Add to Goodreads
I've been waiting on this debut for so long and it's almost here. Can't wait!

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury - Add to Goodreads
The sequel to The Sin-Eater's Daughter (which I loved) comes out in June but my lovely friend Britt sent me the UK paperback

Backlist Books

Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce - Add to Goodreads
Nobody freak out but I'm reading this series for the first time. Are you freaking out? I might be.

Books for Review

Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout - Add to Goodreads
This sounds like a pretty interesting Sci Fi read but I may skip it this month because of other reads I'm excited for.

Gena/Finn by Kat Helgeson and Hannah Moskowitz  - Add to Goodreads
I love contemporaries about geeky characters and a f/f romance that starts between fanfic writers, yes please.

The Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason Black Add to Goodreads
This is a debut and it sounds like a really interesting Magical Realism book, which I've been very into lately.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard - Add to Goodreads
This is a retelling, of I think Snow White and Rose Red, set in a boarding school. I've heard good things so I'm excited.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson Add to Goodreads
This sounds like a fun contemporary with a hate to love relationship. I've heard a Beatrice and Benedict comparison.

The Shining Sea by Mimi Cross Add to Goodreads
This is my book club book for the month. It's not my usual read but I'll give it a try with an open mind.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson - Add to Goodreads
This sounds like an interesting LGBTQI read but I may bump it to a month where it better fits the theme.

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May - Add to Goodreads
I having been waiting to read this review copy for so long. And been waiting even longer for this book. IT IS TIME!


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - My Review
Like I said, I need to read this before I can read The Rose and the Dagger.

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury - My Review
I could use a refresher on this book before I read it's sequel.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May - My Review
I could definitely use a refresher from this book before I read its sequel. It's been two years since I read it.

There you have it. All the books I might read in May. Consider all of these potential reads. There is no way I can read 17 books this month, especially with BEA coming up. But I'll do what I can. Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARC Review: Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan

Title: Girl About Town
Written by: Adam Shankman and Jennifer L. Sullivan
Published: April 19, 2016 by Atheneum (Simon & Schuster)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Acclaimed film producer/director Adam Shankman and coauthor Laura Sullivan pen a sparkling, witty, romantic mystery inspired by Nick and Nora Charles and Hollywood glamour. 

Not too long ago, Lucille O’Malley was living in a tenement in New York. Now she’s Lulu Kelly, Hollywood’s newest It Girl. She may be a star, but she worries that her past will catch up with her. Back in New York she witnessed a Mafia murder, and this glamorous new life in Tinseltown is payment for her silence. 

Dashing Freddie van der Waals, the only son of a New York tycoon, was a playboy with the world at his feet. But when he discovered how his corrupt father really made the family fortune, Freddie abandoned his billions and became a vagabond. He travels the country in search of redemption and a new identity, but his father will stop at nothing to bring him home. 

When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together, sparks fly—and gunshots follow. Suddenly Lulu finds herself framed for attempted murder. Together, she and Freddie set out to clear her name. But can they escape their pasts and finally find the Hollywood ending they long for?.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I really wanted to like this book. It totally sounds like something up my alley. It's a YA hard-boiled mystery with old Holloywood setting, after all. It seems like a total me book. But unfortunately it did't work for me.

From a basic level, it's an interesting enough story that has an interesting cinematic quality to it. I think that it's meant to feel a bit like those old noir style movies with the glamour and mystery. In that way it succeeded. I did like the mystery aspects of the book. It wasn't predictable which was nice, but it was solvable with interesting twists along the way. And I enjoyed the way that the characters went on a hunt for clues and the truth. It also had a fun, old-school murder mystery kind of vibe as they slowly accused everyone only to find that they all have secrets but not the right secrets. Through this method they narrowed down their list of suspects until they found the ultimate culprit. That part was fun and interesting.

The only problem is that it took entirely too long to get to that point. My biggest issue with this book was probably the pacing. It took half of the book to even get to the real mystery of the book, a mystery that was mentioned in the synopsis. It was just so much exposition and that almost never hooks me, rare exceptions for crazy fantasy world building which this did not have. Girl About Town is not a long book. The ARC I read only had 231 pages and the first 120 or so were devoted to developing the characters and getting them to the place where they needed to be for the mystery. I'd be okay with this if there were clues for the mystery in this portion but there weren't. Even that came later. So when you finally get to the mystery you're left with only 100 pages to conclude it and unfortunately it felt rushed. I would have liked a lot less exposition in the beginning and a lot more of the mystery.

But I think I also just never really connected with the characters. They just felt a little one-dimensional for me. Lucille/LuLu in particular felt a little cliche. She had an interesting enough backstory and I could have easily been invested in her success but I just wasn't. Success and a way out just fell into her lap and I didn't get the sense that she was concerned about her future. It was hard to connect with her in that level. Freddie it was a little easier to connect with. He was giving things up because of his principles and trouble had a way of finding him. I almost wish that he was the focus of the book and we could have gotten to know about LuLu more as part of the mystery investigation. But in general I didn't connect with the characters and they were a lot of the focus for the book.

On the whole, Girl About Town just didn't work for me. It had an interesting setting and good mystery elements but the slower pacing and characters that I couldn't connect with made it a book that just wasn't for me.

I give Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan 6 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. It's sad to say but this book just did not really work for me and I'm not sure I would recommend it. If you are looking for an old-school hard-boiled mystery then maybe check this out.

Have you read Girl About Town? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen Blog Tour - Podcast Interview with Roshani

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Please Feed My Bookworm Thoughts, a biweekly podcast where Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm and I talk about all things bookish. If you listened to our last episode you heard that we had a very special surprise for this next episode. And guys, here it is. THE SURPRISE! We got to interview Roshani Chockshi about The Star-Touched Queen. She was an absolute delight and had some amazing things to say about the book, writing, and life.

Guys! I am so so excited to share this post and podcast with you all today. Britt and I have been flailing about this for so long! It's amazing for it to be out there in the world. We've been really excited about The Star-Touched Queen for so long now, I know we talked about it in our podcast about 2016 Debuts so we are so excited to have a very special interview with the author Roshani Chokshi

Thanks to St, Martin's for having us on the blog tour for The Star-Touched Queen and for setting up this interview with Roshani. Check it out:

About the Book:

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Written by: Roshani Chokshi
Published: April 26, 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)

Synopsis: Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen? 

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire... 

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. 

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

About the Author:

Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling.​ The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Pinterested in THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN? Check it out here!

We seriously cannot thank Roshani enough for chatting with us and talking The Star-Touched Queen. I'm about 2/3rds of the way into the book as I write this and an it is definitely engrossing and beautifully descriptive. I would absolutely recommend it to fantasy fans. It's got amazing world-building and so much mystery and mythology. It's now available wherever books are sold so go out and get a copy!

Get a Copy:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Indiebound

But this is only the beginning of our Star-Touched podcasts. Stop by Britt's blog or come back here next Friday to check out our full podcast review, spoilers and all. I hope you all enjoyed this as much as we did. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookworm Delights

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The prompt for this week is to talk about our bookworm delights. Those things we love about reading, books, and being part of this bookish world. Life has been particularly frustrating and stressful lately so it's good to take the time to think more about books and what I love about them.

1.) An entire weekend to do nothing but read.
Dream come true, amiright? We all have busy lives and weekends are often just as busy. It's so nice when you have time over the weekend to just hunker down and finish that book you've been wanting to read.

2.) The book you've been waiting to read is freaking amazing!
It's so great when that highly anticipated release or that series conclusion you've been waiting on for over a year is as amazing as you had hoped it would be. And as Tracey from Cornerfolds reminded me on my Wolf by Wolf review, equally amazing when you waited to read a book and it was great!

3.) Spending hours upon hours theorizing what will happen in your favorite series 
I love solving mysteries and twists and I'm pretty good at it. Part of that is because I spend a lot of time thinking and theorizing about what will happen next. Like after Game of Thrones on Sunday when I spent more time discussing the episode and the books than the actual show.

4.) Your favorite author is coming on tour 
I don't get a lot of authors coming to Pittsburgh. But when some of my favorites come it's so amazing. Last year I got to meet Rainbow Rowell, Maggie Steifvater, and Gregory Maguire. It was awesome and they were all hilarious and so nice!

5.) The smell of books 
Us book nerds, we love the smell of books. Doesn't matter if it's old books, new books, gently used books. Ink on paper smells like love and adventure. There is nothing better than literally getting your nose in a book.

6.) Rearranging your shelves 
When you have a lot of books you can't help but take the time to organize and reorganize them. I love being able to put them in a way is different and "better" than it was before. I've been thinking about reorganizing my selves lately.

7.) You recommend a book and they loved it 
This is the most amazing thing. Especially when they aren't a big reader. Like when I gave my good friend A Great and Terrible Beauty for Christmas and she read it in a week. So amazing. I mean we blog to recommend books, right?

8.) Libraries. Library book sales. Book sales. 

I was so happy to move to Pittsburgh and find out there was a library two block away. And they're having their annual book sale next week. Can't wait! I'm perilous to resist a book sale and especially one to support the library.

9.) You join a book club and everyone is really nice. 
Michelle from Pink Polka Dot Books suggested at BEA last year that I join her book club. I was interested but meeting the ladies in it at Rainbow Rowell signing is what convinced me. They are all fantastic and it's great to find fellow book lovers to flail with.

10.) Finishing a book and having bookish friends to flail with.
Speaking of people to flail with. There is nothing better than finishing a book that you want to discuss and fangirl about and then knowing just which one of your bookish friends has read it so you can talk to them about it. That too is why I started blogging, to talk books with you awesome nerds!

What are some of your bookish delights? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, April 25, 2016

On Rereads: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

On Rereads is a monthly feature on My Thoughts Lit where I talk about the books I reread during the month. It's an opportunity to share some new thoughts on a book I read before and usually to prepare for a new release and sequel. For the foreseeable future I plan to do rereads every month so I want to share my thoughts on these books the second time around.

All the amazing series conclussion are coming out this spring, amiright? So to prepare I am reareading the books in their series. In particular this month's rereads which are The Raven Cycle books. I can't believe The Raven King is coming out tomorrow! *hyperventilates* I have been waiting a year and a half for this book. I' mean, I've had it preordered for a year. I'm so excited and nervous. So I listened to the first three on audiobook to prepare. So here is my thoughts on these rereads....

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

The Raven Boys -  (Amazon / Goodreads / AudibleMy Review)
The Dream Thieves  (Amazon / Goodreads / Audible / My Review)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue  (Amazon / Goodreads / Audible / My Review)

I cannot put into words how good this series is. I love it on paper and I love it in audio. It's one of those series that defies genre characterization. Is it contemporary? Sure, maybe. Is it fantasy? Probably. But what subgenre? Supernatural? Maybe. But dubtful. Magical Realism? Most likely. But either way, it a beautifully written and atmospheric read with great character-driven moments, a insanely well-plotted story and  so much magic.  I love the way that the magic is coming in more and more as the series develops and I can't wait to find out what Maggie has in store for us in the final book. It's a series too that fits so well as an audiobook. The atmosphere of the series works great in the audio format and it makes for such an immersive listen

In particular, I love the characters in this series. I just love them so much. It is a series that is full of complicated and likable characters. The main cast of characters is probably five, well there are four people with perspectives. Actually, there are a lot of people with perspectives. Anyway, I digress. It's a large group of people in this book and they're all fantastic. My favorite is probably Ronan. He will never not make me laugh. Then Adam, who is adorably melancholy. (The Pynch feels were super strong in my reread). But I also love Blue and her fiestiness, and Gansey and his determination and kindness. The narrator of the audiobook does a great job with establishing each character. I love Adam's southern drawl that he ineffectively tries to stiffle. I love that you can hear the sneer in Ronan's speak and feel the sass in Blue's. I felt like the characters were coming to life.

But my favorite thing about this series is how well-plotted it is. Maggie does what I like so much with series where each book is self-contained with it's own antagonist and resolution but it builds up the larger story at the same time. But it is by no means boring, there are tons of surprises. I mean I remember the first time I read The Raven Boys and the twists just destroyed me. I did not see them coming. And here even though I did know they were coming, they didn't affect me any less. For one thing, I was kicking myself for not figuring some of them out way earlier. The clues are right there for us. Maggie does a great job of establishing those hints throughout the book. So when I was reading it this time I was picking up on those things. But also, I forgot so many specifics about the plot. I definitely needed a refresher so this was good.

And before I wrap this up, I have to rave about the audiobook for a second. I listen to my fair share of audiobooks and this one was really fantastic. It definitely became a new favorite, So much of my enjoyment of an audiobook comes down to the narrator. Which is often a personal preference. But I was a huge fan of Will Patton's narration. I think he did a great job of characterizations with the different accents and tones for the characters. Plus I think he also did a great job in establishing the world and tapping into that atmospheric nature of the writing. I'm expecting my copy of The Raven King to be a little delayed but I'm no longer mad because I loved the audio so much I plan to listen to it.

Have you read the The Raven Cycle? Are you dying for The Raven King? Did you reread in preparation for their series conclusions? Have you done any rereads lately? What books? Do you like doing rereads or not? Tell me why.  Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!