Down the TBR Hole #3

This is a blog meme created by Lia, Lost in a Story!

“Down The TBR Hole is a meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?”

At the end of my last TBR Hole post I ended with 1148 books on my TBR. I now have 1149. I’m actually getting better believe it or not! That means I only added a few books to my TBR in almost a month! Sure I knocked some out and replaced them with new books but still. Progress. I usually post 10 books here so let’s get started. (Clicking on the pictures brings you to Goodreads).

#1 Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones

I still plan on reading this! I LOVED Howl’s moving castle. The book and movie!

KEEP

#2 Lonesome Dove (#1) by Larry McMurtry

I’m honestly going back and forth on this one. I’ve heard nothing but good things BUT it’s not my genre of choice and it’s like, 900 pages long. On the other hand I love western movies so maybe I would like this.

KEEP (for now)

#3 Inkspell (Inkworld, #2) by Cornelia Funke

I honestly do not know why I have not read this yet. I have reread Inkheart 3 times now and yet never get to book 2. Not only are these covers extremely gorgeous but I LOVED Inkheart!

KEEP

#4 Atonement Child by Francine Rivers

I really need to get back into read her books. I LOVED her books in my early 20s. She just speaks to my soul, you know?

KEEP

#5 Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

These were so cute when I was a teen! I kind of want to keep it. It just seems so nostalgic now.

KEEP

#6 The Simarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

No questions asked here.

KEEP

#7 The Winter Witch (Shadow Chronicles, #1) by Paula Brackston

This still sounds super interesting.

KEEP

#8 I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1) by Pittacus Lore

I’m going back and forth on this one. I wanted to read this when the movie came out but that obviously didn’t happen. I sort of want to try it out but I don’t feel like I’m going to love it.

KEEP

#9 Eve (Eve, #1) by Anna Carey

I like dystopians but I’m really not feeling this one.

SEE YA

#10 Winter’s Child: A Retelling of the Snow Queen (Once Upon A Time) by Cameron Dokey

I don’t know why I want to keep this. I think again, for nostalgic purposes.

KEEP

Okay, I only got rid of one. Yikes. That leaves me at 1148 books on my TBR. I might go though a few more pages and see if I can’t whittle it down some! Are any of these on your TBR?

Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Blink

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Genre: YA, Thriller, Mystery

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim.

Lia is the only one still pursuing her father’s killers, two years after attorney Steven Finch’s murder by the Swarm. Devastated and desperate for answers, Lia will do anything to uncover the reasons behind his death and to stop someone else from being struck down. But due to debilitating asthma and PTSD that leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality, Lia is the last person to mount a crusade on her own.

After a close encounter with the Swarm puts Lia on their radar, she teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the master puppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target. “

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

A book is always creepier if it is based (or even loosely based) on true events. Plus, this is perfect for fall, specifically right around Halloween time. It’s scary because of the fact that you could just be walking amidst strangers that all of the sudden converge and beat you to death. Yep. Terrifying.

Characters. I really liked that Lia had a disease (Asthma) as well as some serious panic attacks. The author did a really good job of replicating how the panic attacks feel, and how you are supposed to overcome them. Lia was hell-bent obsessed with catching these teen murderers. I don’t blame her. I didn’t really like the romance in this book though. It seemed a bit too quick. BUT I can see how being involved in something this tragic can quickly bring two people together, especially two teens trying to figure things out.

Plot. Like I said before, this was actually quite creepy! A death mob made up of hormonal messed up teens is super scary. I have a hard time with the whole cops are useless thing. I do believe that a lot of cops are bought off, and not all cops are good. HOWEVER, it did bother me that the possibility wasn’t even entertained that at least one cop would be willing to listen to Lia. Instead she gets the news anchor. Yeah, right. Pretty much all news stations and news anchors are pathological lairs, so… One thing I did like was the fact that the politicians were messed up. I really believe BOTH sides are so screwed up. They are all paid off and make deals they shouldn’t and they also lie all the time. I’m glad the author put that in there. I wanted a bit more on Cullen. He seemed like a deeper character!

Final Thoughts. It really was the perfect Fall read! I would definitely read more of Gabriel’s books! If you are looking for a quick thriller I highly suggest this! I also think this would be a good book club pick because of the different conversations this could spark!

What are some of your favorite thrillers? I hardly ever read them but like them when I do!

Spooky Scary Book Tag

I saw this on StarlightBookTales blog and wanted to give it a go! I’m not sure who started this tag but it sure looks fun! I tag anyone who wants to do a Halloween type tag!

1. What goes bump in the night? Name a book that has legitimately scared you while reading it.

I don’t really read scary books so I’ll do my best to answer this! I think the “scariest” book I’ve read in a long while was The Gone World by Ton Sweterlitsch. It was a creepy sci-fi thriller!

2. Jack O’ Lanterns and Classic Costumes: A book you always reach for during Halloween time.

Going real generic and saying Harry Potter. Every year. Without fail. I don’t always make it all the way through though! In fact it’s usually just the first HP. I do plan on making though this year! I’m on book 3 right now!

3. Black Cats and Magic Mirrors: A book you love that is laced with superstition and/or magic.

I really enjoyed The Harp of Kings by Juliette Marillier!

4. Witch’s Brew: Favorite witch character in any book/series.

I’ve got Harry Potter on my mind! I’ll try to be more original though! How about the White Witch, Claire Fraser? Cheating a bit with this one.

5. Ghouls and Ghosts: A book that still haunts you to this day (good or bad).

Anything by Robin Hobb.

6. Haunted Graveyard: You’re all alone in a haunted graveyard, you get ONE book to give you comfort, which is it?

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. OR any of the Lord of the Rings books.

7. The Undead: Favorite supernatural creatures to read about (i.e. vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc).

I think Vampires! Even though as a creature, werewolves are my favorite, BUT I like Vampire books more.

8. In the dead of night: Pick a book with a black cover.

The tenth anniversary edition of The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks is literally all black. The background, the title, and the sprayed edges.

Let me know if there are any other seasonal related book tags out there! It’s so fun!

Hope*Writers Last Chance!

Quick note to let you know hope*writers is closing tonight.
This is your last chance to join this monthly membership community to equip and encourage you in your writing journey.
They only open the doors a few times a year so you won’t have another chance to join until next year.
If you’ve dreamed about writing a book, growing your blog, or just getting your words from out of your head and onto the screen, this is the member community for you.
Click HERE to learn more and join today!

How to Become a Published Author – Hope*Writer’s Opportunity

Hey y’all!
Quick note just to let you know that hope*writers has opened their doors to new members!
This is my favorite online writing community because they are dedicated to the success and creativity of each member.
It truly is the friendliest place for writers on the Internet.
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Every week they offer live training for their writers, bringing members behind the curtain to ask editors, agents, authors, and other publishing professionals the questions you want to know.
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Ann Voskamp (author, NYT bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts)
Andrea Doering (editor, Revell Books)
Anna LeBaron (book launch manager, author The Polygamist’s Daughter)
Amber C. Haines (author – Wild in the Hollow)
Annie F. Downs (author, podcaster, speaker)
Carolyn McCready (editor, Zondervan)
Carolyn Starr Rose (children’s author)
Cindy Bunch (editor, InterVarsity Press)
Chad Allen (editor, Baker Books)
Deidra Riggs (author – One)
Erin Loechner (author – Chasing Slow)
Hilary Yancey (author)
Ian Cron (author and Enneagram teacher – The Road Back to You)
Jamie Ivey (author and host of The Happy Hour podcast)
Jeff Goins (writer, entrepreneur)
Joshua Becker (Blogger. author)
Jenni Burke (literary agent, D.C. Jacobson)
Jennie Nash (book coach)
Jennifer Allwood (blogger + podcast host)
Jennifer Dukes Lee (author – Happiness Dare + speaker)
Jessica Turner (writer, entrepreneur)
Joseph Michael (Scrivener coach)
Kendra Adachi (teacher and writer – the Lazy Genius Collective)
Lisa-Jo Baker (author – Never Unfriended)
Matthew Paul Turner – (Children’s author)
Marion Roach Smith (author – The Memoir Project)
Mark Lane (cover design, Tyndale House)
Melanie Shankle (NYT bestselling author)
Rachelle Gardner (literary agent, Books & Such)
Ruth Chou Simons (author – Gracelaced)
Sally Clarkson (author, podcaster)
Seth Haines (author – Coming Clean)
Stephanie Smith (editor, Zondervan)
Tsh Oxenreider (author – At Home in the World)
Twila Bennett (marketing consultant)
Tim Grahl (book launch marketer)
All of these conversations are available right now inside hope*writers (and each week they add more!)
Hope*writers provides the training and guidance you need to become a working writer without selling your soul or self-promoting.
They are committed to giving you the tools and perspective you need to share your words without feeling like a cartoon.
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That’s the good news.
The bad news is hope*writers is only open for new members until this Friday.
If you feel like you’ve outgrown Google, ditch the robots and find your writing people!

Please check them out if you are interested. Here are my links:

Join Hope*Writers

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Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost, #1) by Coco Ma – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publication Date: October 01, 2019

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.


When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed.

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an e-arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

I have been a little back and forth on YA Fantasy lately but THIS one, THIS one is what I love about YA Fantasy!

Characters: Told by multiple POV, I think Asterin’s is actually my favorite. Asterin is the princess with a rare powerful ability. She is sassy, sweet, skillful, and a bit naive but in a cute way. I liked the mix of Quinlan’s personality of shy but also knows what he wants. He has a tortured past that is sure to have everyone feeling for him. He is one of the things that Asterin is naive about for a long time! They have really good chemistry and I can’t wait to see more! I also really enjoyed the other characters. They all held their own stories really well. They were also unique enough in the personalities that I didn’t get bored.

Plot/ World. I’ll make my list of plot points again, because, how can you not love this plot?! Princess with a rare ability, powerful friends, a love interest with a tortured past, a shadow demon that is massacring people, an epic quest, and some surprises along the way. I loved the added plot point of her and her mom’s relationship. It was complicated. It is rare for an author to write about a parent/ child relationship that is in a grey area of both love and a bit of abuse. I find it very interesting! I loved the elemental magic system that Ma writes. It still has a price, but it’s very powerful. I like that she has 10 elements that different people can control with a select few being able to control all of them. She does a really good job of writing her own unique world for us to adventure in!

Writing. This is Coco Ma’s first book and she’s in her young 20’s?! She has a GREAT career ahead of her. Absolutely wonderful writing. It was descriptive without being overly so. I never got lost, nor did I ever get bored!

Final Thoughts. I need the second book like, yesterday. I am super invested in this story. I would definitely recommend this to pretty much everyone I know who like YA Fantasy. I see this being a favorite for sure!

I don’t usually do this BUT if you liked Roar, Air Awakens, or Furyborn, I really think you would love this book!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

Amazon

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. “

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC and finished copy in exchange for an honest review!*

I am SO excited to be writing this review. Not only is this cover STUNNING, but the book was an absolute JOY to read. This is hands down one of my favorite reads of this year and might be one of my top 10 favorite reads of all time. This has all of the makings of a classic! I am not sure I would quite put this as YA. Even though the heroine is 17, it is not written like a YA.

Characters. January. Oh, sweet January. I absolutely adore her. She starts out as questioning but timid. She soon learns to fight back and fight for her family. She is kind while at the same time standing up for what is right. I think that is really hard for writers to do. Harrow hit it out of the park! January’s sense of adventure is enviable! Plus, literally all of the secondary characters are amazing to read about. I want a book for each one of them!

Plot/ World. I like making a list of plot points so here we go: Adventure, plot twists, a big dog that travels with January, ten thousand other worlds, star-crossed lovers, a really well written villain (the kind you feel for but also start to hate). This is one of the most adventurous books I’ve ever read so you can see why I had to rate it 5 stars. There are literal doors that lead to other worlds. One was a jungle where the residents are were-leopards. One is filled with islands that if you have magic, you can write words that have magic. One is filled with harsh, cold, black ice. One where there are ancient eagle-like people. There are many others visited. Again, I want a book for each world!! With January searching for her family across worlds, it’s no wonder you fall in love with the story!

Writing. I cannot believe this is Harrow’s debut novel. Have I said this should be a classic? I have? Well I can’t stress that point enough. She is the type of author writing was made for. Her writing is pure magic.

Final Thoughts. READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW! It is one of the most unique stories I have ever read. I want MORE. I will now forever buy Harrow’s books.

Tell me what one of your favorite books of this year is!

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