#OWLsReadathon2019 TBR

I first found out about the #MagicalReadathon in July of last year. Some people were prepping for NEWTs in August and I was introduced to G and the wonderful world of readathons. Because I hadn’t known about the first OWLs, I matched the books I read in April to the OWLs prompts and based my NEWTs choices off of those.
Ever since, I have been hooked on readathons, become obsessed with G and her Book Roast YouTube channel, and the #MagicalReadathon.

I will be reading 12 books to match all 12 prompts because let’s face it, I have no life.

Ancient Runes – Retelling – Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
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Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author – Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
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Astronomy – “Star” in the title – Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan
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Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on cover – The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
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Charms – Read an adult work – The Killing Game by Iris Johansen
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Defense Against the Dark Arts – Title starts with “R” – The Rogue Queen by Emily R King
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Divination – Set in the future – Journey to Territory U by LJ Epps

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Herbology – Plant on the cover – The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
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History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago – Black Water by T Jefferson Parker
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Muggle Studies – Contemporary – All the Rage by Courtney Summers
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Potions – Next ingredient: sequel – The Fire Queen by Emily R King

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Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover – The Hundredth Queen by Emily R King

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Thanks for reading!
-V

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#FiveOnFriday #InternationalWomensDay

I’d like to try something new. Every Friday I will blog about five items on a particular topic. In celebration of International Women’s Day, my first post will be about five books by female authors with female MCs.

First, I loved Warcross by Marie Lu.
This book features a 17 year old hacker who accidentally glitches herself into the Warcross Championships. Instead of getting in trouble, the creator, Hideo Tanaka, asks her to participate in the virtual reality games to uncover a security problem. This book features action, suspense, love, and betrayal. I loved the computer science aspect of this book and how the story progressed. It also includes characters with disabilities, LGBTQ+ characters, and characters of color. I recommend this book if you’re interested in YA, Sci-fi, or fantasy.

Next up is Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. I gave this book 5 stars. If you want to read a book about feminism and fighting the patriarchy, this is it. The MC Viv is fed up with the misogyny and harassment from the males in the school. She starts a zine called Moxie, calling the boys out for the unacceptable treatment of the female students of the school and the principal’s and faculty’s lack of action. She makes friendships and even gains a love interest while fighting against the school’s sexism and getting ever closer to her goal. I recommend this book to everyone. Period.

My next five star recommendation is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I went into this book not sure what the full synopsis was, not sure what to expect. I listened to it on audio and was blown away. Monique Grant works for a magazine and is chosen by Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo to write her biography. Monique begins to arrive at Evelyn’s NYC apartment everyday and begins to hear Evelyn’s life story. I was captivated from the beginning and the audio book was extremely entertaining. Goodreads classifies this book as “Historical Fiction”, “Fiction”, “Contemporary”, “Romance”, “Adult”, and “LGBT”. Unless this books sounds like absolutely nothing you’d be interested in, I would also recommend this book to everyone.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig is another book I loved. Read my full review here:
https://starvinforbooks.com/2019/02/17/house-of-salt-and-sorrows-by-erin-a-craig/
This book will be released August 6, 2019. I was fortunate enough to be approved by NetGalley to receive the eARC. This was such a fascinating story. It combines fantasy, horror, and suspense. If your enjoy books about magic, ghosts, mysteries, and/or questioning ones own sanity, this is the book for you!

Last, Circe by Madeline Miller is incredible book. As soon as I finished Circe, I picked up Song of Achilles and Madeline Miller became an instant favorite author. Circe is a retelling of the Greek myth. Miller’s writing is beautiful and pulls you into the story. This was one of those books that’s difficult to put down. If you enjoy Greek mythology, retellings, or even just a beautiful, engaging story, I recommend this book.

Well that is my first #FiveOnFriday and I hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks for reading.
-V

Ever Alice by H J Ramsay

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay
347 pgs
4 Stars

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in several of my posts, I love retellings. This book follows Alice briefly during her life after Wonderland and then her return. She is living in an asylum and she still can’t convince herself if her adventure in Wonderland was real or insanity. This book had me chuckling with its slapstick humor and satire. It was written in a peculiar way that represented the absurdity of the Red Queen and how she ruled her kingdom.
Alice is convinced to join the Queen’s court to get her close to overthrow the Queen of Hearts. The writing was entertaining and the story is reminiscent of overall quirkiness of the movies directed by Tim Burton. Alice has to earn the Queen’s trust and avoid suspicion while trying to accomplish her mission.
The story didn’t end how I would’ve preferred, but the entire story overall was really enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys retellings or even anyone looking for a quirky and humorous story.

Thanks for reading!
-V

#MarchMysteryMadness TBR

I would say besides fantasy and sci-fi, mystery/thriller is one of my favorite genres. If you’re interested, here is a link explaining #MarchMysteryMadness.
https://t.co/Jko8KIQNwS
What I’m loving about this readathon is that the prompts are completely open to interpretation. If you can take a prompt and apply it to a book in a way that makes sense, it can count.

So the prompts are;
1. Old
2. Again
3. New
4. Borrowed
5. Blue
Optional Bonus: Read a mystery that features a wedding.

My first book choice for “Old” is Face of Deception by Iris Johansen. This book was published in 1999. 20 FRICKIN YEARS AGO! I’ve also had it on my TBR for awhile and actually started reading it, but I got distracted by other books and readathons.

My second book for “Again” is going to be Red Light by T. Jefferson Parker. I read The Blue Hour years ago, so I’m going to be starting this series AGAIN.

Third, for “New” I will be reading Verity by Colleen Hoover. This book is still fairly new, published in December 2018. I’ve been hearing really good things about it and I can borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited, so I figured it was a win/win/win.

My “Borrowed” prompt will be met by Witness by Caroline Mitchell. I’ll also be borrowing this book from Kindle Unlimited, but the premise looked very intriguing.

Conveniently, I will be reading The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker for my “Blue” prompt. As I mentioned, I started this series previously, but once again, got distracted by other books.

For the bonus prompt “Features a wedding” I’ve requested The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman (fun fact, I’ve never read an Alex Delaware novel) from my local library. I’m hoping to get it before the end of the month, but I also have To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark as a back-up.

Will you be participating in #MarchMysteryMadness? What are some of your favorite mysteries or thrillers?

Thanks for reading!
-V

TBR for #FierceFemaleReads

I decided (2 days after it started) to participate in the Fierce Female Readathon hosted by @fiercefemreads.

See Ashley’s blog at https://fallingdownthebookhole.com/fierce-female-readathon-tbr/ to see the details!

Fierce-Female-Readathon-2

My first book for “Woman in the title” will be an eARC of Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry.

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My next book for the prompt “Written by a WOC” will be When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My book choice for a “fierce female rec by the book community” will be Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young.

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For the fourth prompt I chose a nonfiction book. Bossypants by badass Tina Fey

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Last, I am reading the eARC Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay. I believe this will satisfy the prompt of a “fierce female leading a resistance”.

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If I find it doesn’t meet the criteria, I’ll choose another book later in the week.

Are you participating in any readathons this month? What are some of your all time favorite #FierceFemaleReads?

Thanks for reading!
-V

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
416 pgs
5 Stars

 

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

This story was completely engrossing. I absolutely loved this book. It was a combination of fantasy, horror, and mystery.
Several of Annaleigh’s sisters have died and at first, there doesn’t seem to be anything suspicious about them, just bad luck. When they lose another sister, Annaleigh starts believing maybe it hasn’t been just bad luck after all. Slowly, strange things start happening to her and her remaining sisters. She begins having ghoulish visions and suddenly the difference between reality and illusion are difficult to discern.

As the reader you also become unsure of what might be the reality of the MC and what is delusion. There are several twists that, imo, weren’t predictable and made the story so much more interesting. There was one element of the story that I saw coming, but THAT also had a twist that I did not predict. If other books similar to this exist, I have not read them. I loved the combination of genres to create such an interesting story.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in dark fantasies. Erin A. Craig has become an instant new favorite.

Thanks for reading!
-V

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

4 Stars

Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town – and desperate for some kid-free conversation – she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

I’m always looking for thrillers that are engaging. This book hooked me from the beginning and the story contained twists and turns that made the story gripping. Each character has their own personality and the reader learns enough of their backstory without having to trudge through too much filler.
Det. Gabby Watkins becomes involved professionally and personally in several cases that become entwined. The story begins with an au pair possibly being raped at a house party. It then moves to 3 couples renting a beach house for a week. They are all neighbors and haven’t been friends long. One of the neighbors is found murdered and we follow Gabby’s investigation into the murder and possible rape.
I did get to a point where I found it suspicious that so much of the story and characters were intertwined, but I decided to look past it.
I became quite invested in the story and wondering what would happen next. I wasn’t surprised or shocked by the ending, but I also didn’t find it easily predictable. Overall I gave this book 4 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it and relished the book as a whole, I just didn’t get that shock factor I expect from thrillers. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable mystery.

Thanks for reading!
-V