**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [208]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 I didn't get any new books in forever unfortunately, but I've been pretty busy with my photography, so I thought I would show you some babies that came visit me for pictures :)

 IMG_3457fb macrofbIMG_31702fb

My eldest turned 4 this week, so we had a party for her :)


Also, I became an aunt 2 more times in the past week! Both of my sisters-in-law gave birth to little girls!

So what did you guys had to your shelves?


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

A Second Look...  for Stephanie's take on The Young Elites, click here!  She read it in December; I'm a little behind times and only just now read it.

Stephanie mentioned the premise of The Young Elites in her review:  a blood fever swept through the country, killing thousands and leaving hundreds of children scarred/marked.  The marked children are known as malfettos, and are discriminated against.  Some of these malfettos have been discovered to have extra powers, such as the ability to create illusions or controlling the elements.  Some of these special malfettos have banded together into a group known as the Young Elites.  The story follows Adelina, a malfetto and new recruit to the Young Elites, as she hides from the Inquisitors (the police force in this fantasy world) (she has to hide from them- she's been accused of murdering her own father) and trains with the other Young Elites.

One thing I found really cool about this book was the world itself.  It felt very much like old, old, old world Italy.  In fact, there's mention of gondolas, and many characters have Italian-esque names, like Raffaele.  (Different spelling, but in my head I pronounced it the same as you would the painter's.)  Everyone gets around by foot, gondola, or carriage- there are no motorized vehicles or electronics in this world.  Much of the story takes place below ground, in catacombs, and I could just picture it in my head- all twisty passages lit sporadically by candlelight!  I don't know about you, but I love reading books that involve old underground passages in Europe.  I know that this is a fantasy book in a fantasy world, but it reminded me so strongly of other fiction I've read where the characters spend time exploring this whole world under Paris or London.  Then there's the intrigue of a royal court of sorts.  The Young Elites find their patrons/supporters through their service in a sort of religious-sexual court.  There are rituals and costumes and masks.  I also love love love masked balls in stories!  As you can tell, the setting of the story was a major plus in my mind!

Like Stephanie, I also have a hard time reading books where a character is abused.  I don't know that anyone would want to read about a teen being abused!  But I was able to endure it in this particular book because I didn't quite "click" with Adelina.  I wouldn't say that she's a bad person, but she's definitely darker than some other YA characters.  Of course, a decent therapist would probably trace her inner anger back to her father's abuse, but there were a couple of scenes with Adelina that honestly made me cringe.  If we met in reality, I think I'd be pretty scared of her.  She doesn't stand out too much, though: due to the fact that society shuns these young malfettos, most of them are pretty jaded, and also act more maturely than their physical age.  (Yet there's no language or sexual situations- you could hand this book to younger teen.)

Overall, this book was a winner in my mind, and I intend to read the sequel, The Rose Society, soon.  Even if the characters are darker than I'm used to, I'm over the moon about the setting and definitely intrigued by the society, and I want more!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The City by Dean Koontz

The City by Dean Koontz is one of those rare books that shows us that you can have heartache, conflict, beauty, soul and the paranormal all in one story.  Long known and renowned for his work in thrillers and the paranormal Dean Koontz takes this opportunity to give the reader something more.

The City is more than just a simple recounting or reenacting of an event.  There is plenty of side story given throughout the tale.  Fortunately, much of side story is not just filler or fluff.  There is much done in the way of plot development accomplished in some of the smallest details within the story.  To me, it added realism to the story as the pieces started to fit together and sometimes not perfectly as often happens in real life.

As the story develops and moves along, so too do the characters.  The story takes place when the main character, Jonah Kirk, is only ten years old.  He is a young man born to music and surrounded by people of various talents.  Since it is written from his point of view, we get the most growth out of him.  His natural curiosity leads us to find out more about his family, friends and neighbors.  The people in Jonah's life turn out to be a grand mix of cultures, intellects and temperaments.

This is all set in 1967 Chicago.  While it was a time of civil unrest, the book does not center itself on those things.  Instead, the reader get a good feel for the way Jonah saw the city as he was growing up.  Koontz does a wonderful job of giving us that vision of a city neighborhood as seen through the eyes of a ten year old boy whose heart is filled with hope.

The City by Dean Koontz is a wonderfully nostalgic read.  It may not be hardcore paranormal or science fiction enough for some but, for me, it works just fine.  There is a bit of language and some violence that earns it a soft PG13 from me.

Roberts Signature

Monday, April 25, 2016

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising is brilliant. I have no clue why I didn't read this book sooner because it's right up my alley. It's a science fiction and a dystopian book at the same time, but it feels like so much more than that. It's also about how deceitful humanity can be, the lies and the control leaders can have over their people if they don't know any better. The book is also about rebellion and the struggle for power, and how a simple dream can become reality, if only one works hard enough and believes enough.

Darrow was raised in a mining society where he knew he would always end up mining for Helium-3, a substance necessary to terraform Mars. His whole life, he was told he was a pioneer, helping shape Mars into a habitable planet once the terraforming process was done. The conditions of this mining society are unacceptable, but for Darrow and his family, it's all they know. With very little food and even less hygiene and medical products, these mining societies are expected to live out their short lives as slaves. Most of them don't realize that they're slaves. They truly believe they're pioneers, simply living in harsh conditions because they can't have any better. Darrow's wife, Eo, may not have known the whole truth, but she knew how they were living wasn't right.

Strangely enough, I personally live in a mining town where miners actually make a very decent living. Upper-middle class, if not better. They do hard work underground and are rewarded accordingly, so it's a little bit hard for me to associate mining to the low class. Darrow and the rest of the mining society are classified as Red, the colour of Mars, the lowest colour of in the societal hierarchy. Your colour is imbedded in your genetic code and switching colour is unheard of. So when Darrow's wife is taken from him and he's given the mission of infiltrating the Golds, the highest colour there is, he realizes through sweat and pain that switching colours might actually be possible. And this is how Darrow's slow rebellion again society and the Golds begin. After transforming his body and his mind, Darrow  is integrated into Gold society by being accepted in their Institute, where only the best and the brightest of Golds are accepted.

Between the Reds and the Golds, there are multiple colours, like Whites (Law), Greys (soldiers), Pinks (pleasure), Yellows (medicine and science), and so many more. As soon as society is separated into classes such as these, at some point or another there's bound to be a rebellion or a revolution. We've seen it countless times in dystopian books, but for some reason, the way it's done in this book feels original and unique.

I really like the fact that language and lingo was an integral part of this book. Language evolves with any society and I especially liked the fact that different lingo is used by different colours. For Darrow, he has to learn to say prime instead of righto, and gorydamn instead of bloodydamn. Also, weapons and technology are important and are given different names. People's names are also different, such as Darrow's assumed identity, Darrow au Andromedus.

As I said before, this book is brilliant. The author was able to give us an amazing story along with hard lessons and cold truths about humanity. The struggle for power is obvious through the different the colours but the author also shows us the fight for power within individual colours. The story is full of emotions and themes, whether it's love, anger, friendship, duty, and so many more. And everything is so authentic, everything feels real. Red Rising has been compared to many books like The Hunger Games and Divergent but I think it surpasses them all. Honestly, it's the best book I've read in a long time.

stephsig moon

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [207]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 This week, I purchased mostly YA books. I've been on a YA trip recently because there's so much great stuff out there. That being said, I think I need to branch off a little because I feel like I'm neglecting wonderful "adult" books.

So on to the important stuff. Here's what I got this week!

Stacking the Shelves - April 23 2016


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Let me know what you got!

stephsig moon

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P.s. 17 days until I leave for BEA!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hexed by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James and Jeanne C. Stein

How do you get four tales about four women of strength in both the paranormal and the mundane? The easy answer is you bring together such powerhouses in the genre as Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galehorn, Allyson James and Jeanne C. Stein and let them enthrall you with tales about some of their best known characters.  This seems to have bee the plan for the anthology Hexed.

Even though many of these stories are part of established book series, I will not warn of spoilers since there will be none.  When I chose this title, it was not to test to see if a book series had retained it allure.  Like many of the times I choose a collection of stories, I wanted to sample some unfamiliar characters and writing styles.  I have discovered more than one book series or author this way.

Hexed gave me just what I was looking for.  I was treated to four very unique styles of writing as well as four very different stories even though they all held to the central theme of something or someone being hexed.  I'm not sure if it was by design but, they also featured strong female main characters.  If that was the goal of the book, I'm glad it wasn't obvious.  When it comes down to it, I just want a solid story that entertains.  I could care less about demography if you can bring the character to life on the page.  That is what was done not just once but, four times in this book.

At times it was easy to tell that these stories where part of a greater work.  Even so, I never felt that I was missing out on key relationships or histories.  I'm sure a more intimate understanding would likely make some of the more nuanced details seem significant but, if that was true it didn't get in the way of telling complete stories.

The best compliment I can give to all involved in this book is that I will definitely be checking into some of these book series as a result of reading this anthology.  There is quite a bit of violence and mature subject matter within these four stories so, I have to give this a solid PG13 rating.Roberts Signature

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

When I think about Richelle Mead, I think about her Vampire Academy series. The Glittering Court couldn't be more different than her breakout series but these new characters and new settings are as colourful and imaginative. Richelle Mead is really on to something with this series because I was hooked right from the beginning, despite a few lulls here and there.

In a parallel universe that is very similar to ours, the setting is a Victorian-like era that could almost be Britain trying to colonize the New World with its hopeful emigrants. We are introduced to the protagonist that we come to know as Adelaide as she is being pawned off in marriage to some distant cousin of hers. As the Countess of Rutherford, her heritage means a lot but with very little money left in her name, her grandmother is desperate to have her married to someone wealthy and as soon as possible. The Countess is very unhappy with the match so she becomes determined to write her own destiny. She steals her maid's identity and signs up to be a part of the Glittering Court, where impoverished girls are schooled for a year on how to become noble ladies. Their destination is in the New World, where they can hopefully marry a man who has made his fortune in this New World, and hopefully become a part of the new nobility.

Obviously Adelaide doesn't need to be schooled, but she plays the innocent and "learns" as the others do. Her goal was to simply go through her education and not raise any suspicions about her past, but circumstances change and she's crowned the top girl, the diamond of her class. She's not sure what her future holds, but for her, creating her own destiny is better than any rushed wedding to a man she can help but loathe. In the Glittering Court, she makes two new friends whom she doesn't trust entirely with her secret but would trust with everything else. The only person who knows her secret is Cedric, one of her guardians whom will get a commission from her bride price when she marries in the New World. They form a strong bond, especially when Adelaide learns his damaging and dark secret.

Richelle Mead was able to weave religion, politics and romance in this well rounded book. It has everything a historical romance might have, including a scandalous lady and a strong untitled hero. Together, Adelaide and Cedric embark on an adventure with very little money in their name but are determined to do anything for love. The Glittering Court is the complete opposite of her vampire novels, so readers expecting fantasy and magic will be disappointed. There are absolutely no supernatural elements in this book but since historical romances are one of my guilty pleasures, I was pleasantly surprised with this new series. It thought it was very well written, had great characters with noble values and dreams and I thought was daring when it came to religious freedoms. I just wish the author would have expanded a little bit more on the feminist front and given the girls a stronger voice when it came to making their own choices. However, I think Adelaide's friends, Mira and Tasmin, will expand on that theme in future books, especially with Mira's secrets and Tasmin's strong will. Mead has given Adelaide a great conclusion but has set up Mira and Tasmin's stories wonderfully.

stephsig moon

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [206]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy Saturday to all!! Hope the week has treated everybody right.  Here are the latest of my acquisitions:

STS Apr 16

You can see what my thoughts on Alight by Scott Sigler and I've already finished Hexed and will be giving my thoughts on that very soon!

As for The City by Dean Koonts and Please Don't Tell My Mother I'm a Super Villain by Richard Roberts, I look forward to digging right into them.  They seem a bit different than my usual choices.

Unfortunately, my family had a some bad news recently.  My wife's father succumbed to Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) after a more than 20 year battle with the disease.  He had built a special relationship with our puppy and she was able to say "Goodbye" to him as he was taken from his home where he spent his final moments.  For any who wish to give to battle this disease, please, visit the MDA ALS Website.


So, tell me, what bits of brightness have you brought into your life to gladden a sorrowed heart?

Roberts Signature[inlinkz_linkup id=625267]

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George

I mentioned last week that I was reading this book, and that I thought it was really cool and unique- especially the "whalish" language.  I finished the book and it lived up to it's expectations 100%!

Ice Whale tells the stories of a bowhead whale, Siku, and an Eskimo family.  The story begins in 1848, when a young Eskimo boy, Toozak, witnesses a whale being born.  This is really, really rare.  (In fact, it is only in the last couple of years that anyone has actually witnessed the birth of a right (bowhead) whale.  Toozak's sighting in Ice Whale is fictional.)  Unfortunately, Toozak is young and naive and accidentally leads American whalers right to the whale's pod.  The village shaman tells Toozak that he and his family are now cursed, and must watch over Siku until either a member of the family saves Siku or Siku saves a member of the family.

I thought the curse aspect of the story would involve more mysticism, but alas... it did not.  The book reads much more like "curse" = "banishment."  But there is still the aspect where Siku talks to other whales and to the descendants of Toozak!  That's an awesome detail.  Here's a shot of one page (no spoilers):

Ice Whale Jean Craighead George

Every generation names their first-born "Toozak."  Eventually we get to a generation where the first-born is a girl; even she's named "Emily Toozak" in fulfillment of the shaman's orders.  There was one point in the book where I got just a little turned around with all the Toozaks, but that could just be because I was quite tired while reading it.  It's a middle grades book, so it shouldn't take much brain power, but there's a lot of info in this little gem!

Because the book covers many generations of Toozak's family, we don't get to know any of them very well.  However, their lack of dimensionality doesn't detract from the story- the main story is the whale, and the main "selling point" of the book is the setting and the zoology.  The reader does get to know Siku pretty well.  The anthropomorphism is done very well- I truly felt like I was getting an inside look at whale society.  It didn't read like some little kids' magic animal book; I felt Siku's rhythms and movements and saw the coast of Alaska through his giant eyes.

That brings me to another major winning point with Ice Whale- the setting and zoology.  I get cold easily, and live in the American southeast, but Jean Craighead George's writing made me want to visit Alaska!  The descriptions of the ice and the coast weren't overly wordy but were sweeping.  Also, the way that she works actual factual zoology into the story is excellent.  When I finished the book, I realized I had learned so much about the bowhead whales, and I never knew it was happening during the reading!  (There's also an afterword that clarifies and summarizes a lot of the information from the story.)

Overall, a good book.  Newberry Award winner Jean Craighead George has definitely not lost her touch with prose in this final novel.  The curse aspect combined with the "whalish" makes this a very unique book as well.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Alight: Book Two of the Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler

Alight is the second book in the Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler. In this review, I will likely bring up points about plot points both crucial and obscure, otherwise known as spoilers.  If you have not started reading this series but, intend to, I suggest you come back once you have read the first book.  If you're not sure you want to start this series, check out my review of Alive by Scott Sigler.

We first met the main characters, Em (M.), Bishop, and their friends on the day they consider their birthday.  Having emerged from containers they first think of as coffins and for some of their number, it is an accurate description.  Those that survived wind up feeling like 12 year olds in much more mature bodies.  As they learn about where they are they learn who they are: bodies to be hosts to the conscientiousness of their makers on a spacecraft.  The big problem? The bodies don't want to be overwritten and in the end, leave the spacecraft for the nearest planet.

As with most second books in a series, there is quite a bit of character development going on here.  This story almost requires quite a bit of growth of the characters we already know an Scott Sigler delivers.   We start to see the answer to the question that has been on all their minds:  Will they their own per persons or are they just a copy of the grown ups that made them.  Of course there are new characters introduced to us but, I don't want to say too much to avoid spoilers.

All of this self discovery does not get in the way of a very good story.  These kids have quite a bit to deal with figuring out how to exist in a new environment and all that comes with that.  Along with all the new problems they have many of the same unresolved issues they had while trying to leave the ship.

Alight by Scott Sigler is exactly the kind of follow up the first book Alive.  It not only advances the story, it also gives it somewhere to go.  All of this happens while the characters grow and become more than they were.  There is quite a bit of violence and hints of mature conduct but, it still stays in the lighter side of PG13 for me.

Roberts Signature

Monday, April 11, 2016

Reid's Deliverance by Nina Crespo

I love a good time-travelling romance so when I read the synopsis of this book, I was definitely intrigued. There's just something romantic about finding love through time, although in this case, it's a little bit different, but still very interesting.

Quite honestly, I was a little bit confused for the majority of the first quarter of the book. It probably has something to do with the fact that I did not read the first book of this series, and Reid's Deliverance dives right into it. We more or less meet the two main characters, Reid and Lauren on a one night stand that they both should never forget. They're in sync and the night they spend together feels perfect. In reality, things aren't perfect because Reid is a time traveller, and every time he jumps into a different time frame, everything about him, whether it be physical or a memory, disappears. Ultimately, after an amazing one night stand, Lauren forgets everything about Reid.

Reid is more than just a simple time traveller. He and a bunch of operatives were saved from a potential death by a mysterious being named Dalir, who provided them with the ability of time travelling. In essence, they're secret agents that travel in time to put a stop to devastating events. Reid has never had an issue with this quandary, until he meets Lauren. Unfortunately, when he leaves on his next mission, Lauren will forget everything about their amazing night. I had a hard time understanding the time travelling concept in this book mostly because of this particular thing. Also, these secret agents can only exist in one time frame, while any other normal person can be present in multiple time frames. Also, the biggest flaw in my opinion is that if a normal person dies in the future, they risk the chance of disappearing in the past. To me, that just doesn't make sense because it doesn't follow the linear concept of time.

Despite my problem with the time traveling, I really adored the relationship between Lauren and Reid. As characters, they aren't over developed, but personally I would have liked to have known more about them. Ultimately, we had enough background information to understand where they were coming from, and how their relationship worked.

In general, I love reading scenes where characters meet for the first time. In this case, because of Lauren's selective memory loss about Reid, and a time travelling incident that has Reid forget everything about himself and his mission gone wrong, we are fortunate to have two first meetings. Lauren is dedicated to help Reid, despite the fact that he doesn't seem to want her help. Their chemistry is obvious, and they can't seem to figure out why they are so attracted to one another.

While the book lacked information on the time travelling and on more or less all the characters (main and secondary), I still really enjoyed the story. We ultimately end up finding out more about the time travelling (however not enough to satisfy my tastes), why Reid literally ended up on Lauren's doorstep, and what went wrong with Reid's mission in the first place.

I wouldn't say this book is amazing, but it does have its charms. I'm curious about the first book now because we do spend quite a bit of time with Celine and Thane, the two main characters of the first book. To appreciate the series and Reid's Deliverance, I think I'm going to have to go back and read book one. Ultimately it will explain the origin of the time travelling abilities and provide more information about the many characters. I guess I'll be going back in time to find out more!

stephsig moon

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Stacking The Shelves ~ 205

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 Hello all!  Yes... it's Sunday, not Saturday, this week.  But we're still stacking our shelves, even if it's a day late!  I do hope that you join in the fun still!  Leave a link to your own Stack in the comments section below.

I've been busy, busy, busy with the end of my grad school semester and with getting the nursery and layette all set up for the upcoming arrival of Baby J.  It doesn't leave much time for reading!  Work has also been busy, but fun.  Here in North Carolina, we just kicked off the annual NC Science Festival.  Two weeks of science fun for all ages at all different places!  Today my library branch did a big science afternoon with ten different activities throughout the building.  One station was a beekeeper!  Fascinating.  A few years ago I read both The Fruitless Fall and Scouting the Divine- both feature bees, and they were really captivating.  I recommend Fruitless Fall if you're interested in learning more!  (Scouting the Divine focuses on Christian theology a bit more than on honeybees.)

Since my last turn hosting Stacking the Shelves, I've brought home a bajillion (maybe closer to two dozen) infant and children's books for Baby J, which I won't list, and three books for me.

Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (ARC)- I loved Between Shades of Gray, so I have high hopes for this one.  And isn't that a cool cover?

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had Tony Danza

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza (library)- My aunt, who's book recommendations I always trust and take, recommended that I read this.  I work with teens in an informal education setting (library), so I might "recognize" some "my" teens in here!

Ptolemy's Gate Jonathan Stroud

Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (library)- I really, really liked the first book in this series... but it's losing it's shine for me.  I'll finish this third book, but we'll see if I pick up the fourth.  I do love how snarky the djinni is, but the plot is kind of plodding and the human main character isn't very likable.  Doing this on CD during my commute.

And you?  What did you stack on your shelves this week?  Leave a link in the comments!

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Thursday, April 07, 2016

View From the Middle

Hello all!  I have, unfortunately, not finished a sci-fi/fantasy book this week to share with you.  I am, however, in the midst of two!  May I tell you about them, and about how they are going so far?  Then you can have a full review from me next Thursday!  (In my defense, I am quite pregnant.  I may not have finished a book, but I have finished a nursery.)

First book:  Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George.  This book features a relationship between an Eskimo family and a pod of whales.  In 1848, a young Eskimo boy witnesses the birth of a whale-a very rare sight-and he names the whale.  Then he unwittingly leads a group of whalers to the whale pod.  For generations afterward, the Eskimo and his descendants are cursed until a young girl can rectify the whole situation.  What makes this book extra cool (aside from the Eskimo culture and the curse, both of which are cool enough on their own) is that the story is told in alternating points of view from the Eskimos and the whales!  So there's "whalish" (I just made up that name for the whale language) in the book!  Here's part of a page (no spoilers):

Ice Whale Jean Craighead George

Don't worry- there's not so much whalish that you can't follow the story.  Such a unique thing in a book!

Second book: Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud.  It's the "third and final" book in the Bartimaeus "trilogy."  Why all the quotation marks?  Because five years after this was published, Jonathan Stroud ended up writing one more Bartimaeus book... so it's not really the "final" book in the "trilogy" as the back of the book proclaims.  I'm not complaining- I love, love, love the snarky dry-humored Bartimaeus and look forward to the series continuing at least one more book!  I'm listening to this one on CD in my car and it's such fun.  I literally laugh out loud at parts!  Poor Nathaniel the magician, bumbling through his government bureaucracy job while trying to keep a handle on his often-wayward djinni, Bartimaeus.   Also in this book: Kitty.  She's not gone after all!  She's so super smart; I totally enjoy reading about her jobs and her research, and how she manages to get so much done in a time period when girls/women were expected to be quiet and keep home.  In this installment, the three of them will end up working together to try to create world peace between magicians and the public and djinnis.  I'm only about halfway through, so I have no clue if they survive each others' company, or succeed at their task!  ;)

So, that's what I'm up to!  I hope everyone has a great week.  I'll be back next Thursday with a legit review, I promise!


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) by Zoraida Córdova

Much like any typical teen, Alejandra (Alex) Mortiz has to deal with typical teen problems: school, fitting in at school, making friends and dating.  Alex has the added complication of being in a family of magic users all of whom wonder why her powers haven't surfaced yet.  Her older sister and younger sister have both had their abilities surface and everybody is looking forward to Alex's turn.  Everybody with the exception of Alex.  What secret does Alex keep that would explain her not wanting her powers?

In Labyrinth Lost, Zoraida Cordóva brings worlds  both magical and mundane to life through the eyes of a young woman at a time when she is learning more and more about life and herself.  Since this is written from Alex's view point, we get to see first hand how she begins to understand life.  The story challenges all of her perceptions her family and the differences between their powers and her situation as well as how she sees her friends and acquaintances.  Not only do we get a better understanding of her motivations but, we also start to understand a little better the one of the people she cares for.

Since this is the first book of what I'll guess to be a series, it is full of exposition without getting bogged down in over-explanation.  I prefer first person narration for these types of books because, just as Zoraida Cordóva does here, we are taught through both dialogue and inner monolog in a way that is understandable and allows the story to flow.  The scenes build well off each other without the feeling of being predictable.  You may not be sure of where you are going next but, once you get there, it makes sense.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordóva is a magical journey of a young woman's discovery of herself and the world around her. This is a Young Adult book that I would have to put a slight emphasis on the Adult part.  The violence and intense emotional elements are probably a bit much for younger readers.  That's why I would give it a mild PG13.


Roberts Signature

Monday, April 04, 2016

Book Fair Tours: BookExpo America and BookCon 2016

*Post in partnership with Palasso, but it does not alter the information given in this post*


I’m going to BookExpo America (BEA) and BookCon 2016! I’ve always wanted to go to a book convention and when Team Tynga’s Reviews was invited to take part in the Book Blogger Conference, which is part of BEA, I jumped at the chance.BEA-LogoThis year BEA is in Chicago, Illinois, from May 11th to 13th, 2016. It happens to be the largest publishing event in North America, but it’s not really for the general public. Those who can attend include authors, librarians, educators, booksellers, retailers, and of course, those in the publishing industry. Luckily for me, bloggers can also attend, since it hosts the BEA Blogger Conference. Along with Gabi Mohrer from BooksaBlog.com, I will be leading one of the 16 roundtables. We will be discussing Memes and Tags, and joining the book blog community in general. I’ve been blogging for more than four years now, so I’m hoping I can relay some of my experience with new and old members of the community, as well as educate myself and renew my passion for book blogging.

book con

BEA is followed by BookCon, which is open to the general public, on May 14th, 2016. This is your chance to geek out and absorb everything book related. I’m ecstatic because so many great authors will be attending this year. Many YA authors will be present, and some that stand out include Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments), Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy), Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Veronica Roth (The Divergent Series) and Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen Series).

This year, both events will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. I have always wanted to visit the windy city so I will definitely take advantage. If you need an affordable hotel room in Chicago, you can find it at ChicagoHotels.org. They offer a good number of hotels around McCormick Place.

Since I'm a big sports fan, I might take advantage and go see a Chicago Cubs game (the White Sox are away during my stay) or if the Chicago Blackhawks are still in the playoffs, I might splurge and go see a hockey game (although I'm a Habs fan, I am Canadian so hockey is hockey is hockey). Another place I want to check out while I'm in Chicago is POPS for Champagne, a Champagne and sparkling wine bar. I love my bubbly so hopefully I'll have the time for a few glasses. Also, because I'm also a huge science geek, I might check out the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium or Alder Planetarium, which are all near each other and close to McCormick Place. So many things to do, so little time!

If you're planning on going to either of these events, please let me know in the comments! I would love to meet up! Also, I'll be documenting my experience with plenty of photos and memories so make sure to come back and check out my recap post, which will probably be posted sometime mid-May.

See you there!

stephsig moon

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [204]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Ok, so I went a little crazy with the book buying these last couple weeks, but I just couldn't resist...

april 2, 2016


The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Half Lost by Sally Green

For Review

Reid's Deliverance by Nina Crespo (ebook)

In other news, I'm going to BEA and BookCon this year! You can check out my post with all the details which will be published on Monday, but I just couldn't wait to tell everyone. As I write this, I'm finalizing my last travel plans so I'm getting really excited! Any other book bloggers attending this year?

Don't forget to share your StS post with everyone! You know what to do!

stephsig moon

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