Tuesday, January 30, 2018

On upcoming books that you should check out

Sadly, I've really been falling behind on ARCs these last few months. This year, I'm turning over a new leaf - I'll be participating in The Herd Presents' Blogger Shame Challenge to catch up on old (aka recently released) ARCs and try keeping up with more current ones. And I'm not doing so poorly thusfar - I've already read a new ARC this year and I've gone through a few backlisted (though not ARC) books. The future is looking bright for my ARCs. Until I get around to more, here are a couple books you should be getting excited about:


  • Moonshine by Jasmine Gower (February 6th) - First of all, I can't get enough of this cover. It is absolutely stunning and so creative. It also gives you a pretty good idea of what the book is about - it's like "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and urban fantasy smushed into one delightful little novel. I adored this and I'm so excited to see what else the author has to offer.

The Language of Spells
  • The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr (June 26th) - Such an adorable book! This middle grade story is so wholesome and sweet -and it has some very kind and tenderhearted dragons. Weyr tells the tale of a lonely dragon and a lonely little girl so well - you feel like you understand them and their predicament so well. It's a bittersweet and tender book, perfect for young fantasy readers.

Spinning Silver
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July 10th) - Again, what a beautiful cover. If only I could get my hands on this ARC. I loved Novik's Beauty & the Beast retelling and was worried she wouldn't write any more fairytales - and now she announces a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Thank goodness she has - and hopefully she'll be retelling fairytales for years to come. Now I just have to worry about waiting til July...

What upcoming books are you excited about? What new releases have you been ranting about? What gets you excited about a new book?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

On books I wouldn't mind being gifted

This post was inspired by the Broke and the Bookish.

While my TBR list is out of control (which I’m sure many of you can understand), the list of books I actually want to own is somewhat smaller. I love books, but I also live in a small apartment and don’t like too much clutter. I try to get rid of any books that I’ve already read that weren’t five stars, so a lot of the time, my bookshelves are fairly neat and tidy (we’ll see how I manage that once I’m in a bigger apartment or in a house). In spite of this, here are a few books that I wouldn’t mind being gifted and (maybe) holding onto long-term:

Women and Authority: Re-Emerging Mormon Feminism

Magic for Unlucky Girls

The Girl Who Ate Books: Adventures in Reading

Bluebeard Tales from Around the World

Mormon Sisters: Women In Early Utah

Tacky Goblin

The Poison of Love

What books would you like to be gifted? Have you read any of these books? What books should I add to this list? Do you collect books?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

On getting books to review

When I first started off as a blogger, it was difficult for me to figure out how to find books to review (besides the extremely popular ones at the library that I had to wait forever to get or buy with my limited student budget). I’ve learned a bit in my almost-year of blogging and I’m excited to share with you some ways I’ve received books to review!

  • Goodreads Giveaways - When I first started off blogging, winning a couple Giveaways made a huge difference in giving me interesting and unique material to read and discuss on my blog. Some of the books were terrible and some weren’t memorable in the least. But a lot were unique books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. I previously wrote about winning Goodreads Giveaways here.
  • Other blogs - I’ve often won books off giveaways on other blogs. Books featured on other blogs are typically reasonably popular (good for getting more blog views) and also tend to be new books, so good to look at before they are made available to the general public. Most blogs hold Giveaways periodically, but Fantasy Literature and Jean BookNerd are two blogs that hold LOTS of giveaways that are not too difficult to win periodically.
  • Netgalley - This is the bread and butter of book reviewing. Netgalley is a great way to get new books and to spread the word about your blog a bit. A couple tips:
    • Don’t request 10 billion books right off the bat - My initial mistake was requesting every book I could see. Once I actually was approved for a lot of these books, I had way too much to read in a reasonable amount of time. Take it slowly - request a book a week or even less if that’s too much for you.
    • Balance Netgalley books with things you want to read for fun - When I initially requested every Netgalley book I could find, it was fun to read things I might not have picked up otherwise and I loved being one of the first people to review these books. It got a little old when I read 5 Netgalley books in a row and didn’t enjoy any of them. It was wonderful to return to a book I was actually excited to read. I’ve found that I get through Netgalley books better if I also read things I’m interested in - not all Netgalley books are good or interesting.

How do you find books to review for your blog? What helps you broaden your bookish horizons?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

On books to read if you want to learn more about music

One topic we talk about a lot on this blog is music and books that you can use to connect with music, learn more about it, and become a music expert. Here are a few books that you can use to expand your knowledge of music - the history, the science, and the theory of music.

Roots of the Classical: The Popular Origins of Western Music

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Noise: The Political Economy of Music

In this blog post, I referenced this article, this article, and this article.

You can also check out this Goodreads list

Which books have taught you about music? Which books would you add to this list?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On my YA picks

Today’s genre is young adult! I realize this is a fairly broad genre, but this isn’t something that I read too much of, so this is a fun post for me to write! Here are a few YA books that you might not have read already:

Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats, #1)
  • Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell - This Three Muskateers-esque fantasy tale is full of fun, snark, heartbreak, and magic. A great read for older YA readers with an interest in fantasy (especially as a move into more epic fantasy).

The Authentics
  • The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian - The Authentics is an adorable and touching contemporary YA story about adoption, family, young love, and being true to yourself. I loved this story and the young heroine - she was so relateable and imperfect and I loved her for it.

Love and Other Alien Experiences

  • Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey - This book is a contemporary YA tale dealing with anxiety, family, loss, and getting through tough times. It’s full of quirks and has a very John Green feel to it.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

  • Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carringer - Finishing school doesn’t have to be boring. This book is all about a finishing school for spies - complete with cool gadgets and strange missions. I loved this book - and middle grade readers transitioning to YA books will thoroughly enjoy this story.

K My Name Is Kendra

  • K My Name is Kendra by Kamichi Jackson - Save this book for more mature YA readers who can handle difficult material. Kendra is a girl in a difficult situation that becomes more awful when she becomes a survivor of sexual abuse. It’s ultimately full of hope and the importance of family, but there are some difficult parts before the end.

The Thin Executioner
  • The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan - If you liked Huck Finn, this is a good next step. Shan’s dark fantasy take on the classic story is delightful and fascinating - and full of interesting world-building.

Strands of Bronze and Gold
  • Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson - If you like fractured fairy tales, this is the book for you. The Bluebeard story is retold in the Southern US around the time of the civil war - it’s an interesting mix of American culture and classic fairy tale elements.

For more YA book suggestions, check out Hey Teen Books Hey.

What YA books would you add to this list? What are your opinions on the books I have listed? What do you look for in a good YA read?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Author Spotlight: Brandon Sanderson

Today, I’m trying out a new feature on the blog. I decided that I want to start discussing/interviewing authors that I think deserve a little more attention. To get this feature started, I’m going to first spotlight an author that I strongly believe everyone should read: Brandon Sanderson.

If you’re unfamiliar with his work (which will shock me if you’re a frequent reader of this
blog), then you should know that Sanderson is one of the more recognized and loved
names in modern fantasy. He writes for middle grade, YA, and adults - so everyone can
read some Sanderson.
The reason I’m featuring Sanderson is because I strongly believe EVERYONE
SHOULD READ HIS BOOKS. Every book might not be for you, but among so many
of his books, I can guarantee that you’ll find something worth your time (and if you
need help figuring out where to start, tell me a few books you like in the comments
and I’ll guide you in the right direction).



ADULT FANTASY - Newcomers should know that all the worlds in Sanderson’s adult
fantasy series are connected and will eventually be brought together as each series
progresses. In the meantime, each series is unique and fascinating alone and can be
enjoyed independent of the other series.

(Currently a standalone)

(First trilogy of the Mistborn Trilogies)

(Second trilogy of the Mistborn Trilogies - far more Wild West steampunk than the first)

(will eventually be twelve books)

(short stories to help bridge some of the gaps between the worlds and
answer questions that aren’t addressed in the series)

What Sanderson books have you already read? Which ones interest you? What about Sanderson
makes him stand out from other current fantasy authors? What’s keeping you from reading these
books if you haven't read them?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Nerd Blast: The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen

Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1542046424
ISBN-13: 978-1542046428


“Gregg Olsen pens brilliant, creepy, page-turning, heart-pounding novels of suspense that always keep me up at night. In The Last Thing She Ever Did, he topped himself.” —Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

“Beguiling, wicked, and taut with suspense and paranoia, The Last Thing She Ever Did delivers scenes as devastating as any I’ve ever read with a startling, pitch-perfect finale. A reminder that evil may reside in one’s actions, but tragedy often spawns from one’s inaction.” —Eric Rickstad, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girls

“Olsen's latest examines how a terrible, split-second decision has lingering effects, and the past echoes the present. Full of unexpected twists, The Last Thing She Ever Did will keep you guessing to the last line.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie To Me

“Master storyteller Gregg Olsen continues to take readers hostage with another spellbinding tale of relentless, pulse-pounding suspense.” —Rick Mofina, international bestselling author of Last Seen

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a psychological thriller exploring the things we dare to do when no one is looking . . .

The community along Oregon’s Deschutes River is one of successful careers and perfect families. For years, up-and-comers Liz and Owen have admired their good friends and neighbors, Carole and David. They appear to have it all—security, happiness, and a beautiful young son, Charlie.

Then Charlie vanishes without a trace, and all that seemed safe is shattered by a tragedy that is incomprehensible—except to Liz.

It took one fleeting moment for her to change the lives of everyone she loves—a heartrending accident that can’t be undone. Neither can the second-worst mistake of her life: concealing it. As two marriages crack and buckle in grief and fear, Liz retreats into her own dark place of guilt, escalating paranoia—and betrayals even she can’t imagine. Because there’s another good neighbor who has his own secrets, his own pain, and his own reasons for watching Liz’s every move.

And only he knows that the mystery of the missing boy on the Deschutes River is far from over.


Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People,Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

You can purchase The Last Thing She Ever Did on Amazon.

Learn more about Nerd Blasts and Book Tours at Jean Book Nerd.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

On nostalgic books

Nostalgia is a difficult mood to pick books regarding. For me, nostalgic books are the ones that take me back to another time in my life - usually to my childhood. As a kid, I was a dedicated reader. In the summertime, that’s basically all I did. Thanks to my parents, I always had new library books and new recommendations and there were endless opportunities for me to read. I was introduced to many different types of books and here are a few that really stuck with me:

The Three Robbers

  • The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer - When I was really little, we didn’t own very many picture books, so Dad read this one to me most nights. To this day, he says he always thinks of me when he hears about it and that Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” (a robber’s weapon of choice) song remind him of me. This book features fearless robbers and a little orphan girl - it was a captivating tale for a little girl like me.

Parts (Parts, #1)

  • Parts by Tedd Arnold - This picture book was an early favorite. Before I could read, I insisted having this read to me every single night. At one point, I tried to convince my dad I could read by “reading” it to him (I must have turned the pages at the wrong times or something because he didn’t believe me for a second). This hilarious book about a boy who thinks he’s falling apart was well-loved and highly appreciated.

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1)

  • Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede - This was one of the first chapter books I read and it was awesome. Plenty of fantasy, a strong-willed princess for a main character, and all sorts of interesting adventures - this book had everything that young me loved. And I devoured these books.

Once Upon a Marigold (Upon a Marigold, #1)

  • Once Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris - In sixth grade, I had a teacher recommend this to me and I instantly fell in love, finishing it within a couple days. This book lead me to read everything else by Jean Ferris that I could get my hands on and she remains one of my favorite authors. This story about a boy raised by a troll and a clever princess captured my heart and I’ve read it more times than I can count.
What were your favorite childhood books? Which books do you want to introduce to all the children you know? What books make you nostalgic for another time?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

On reading groups for the new year

Welcome back! We’ve taken a break for the past couple weeks due to the holidays. Now
we’re back and ready to get reading - but there are a few quick changes. To begin with,
we’ll now only be posting twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Three times a
week was exhausting and once school got busy, I was struggling to keep up. In the past
couple months, I’ve also tried to focus more on book lists instead of book reviews or
lengthy posts with me rambling. I’ve really enjoyed the book list format, so I think we’ll
continue doing that for most posts for the foreseeable future.
For our first new post of the year, I’d like to focus on some book groups that will help you
to read more, discover new books, and engage with the bookish internet community!
These should help you complete any New Year’s reading goals you’ve set.

  • Tor’s ebook of the month club - This ebook club is fantastic - not only do you get a free ebook download every month, but you also get to interact with other readers online about the book. And Tor picks some interesting books - I got Kushiel’s Dart, Old Man’s War, and Truthwitch (from Tor’s brand new Teen ebook club) this past year. Tor picks unique books and has an interesting mix of sci-fi and fantasy. The club took a hiatus for a few months, but should be picking up again sometime soon!
  • Dragons & Jetpacks - This Goodreads reading group is the perfect group for SFF readers. Every couple months, group members vote on new SFF books to read and the selected books are discussed on the message boards. It’s a fun book club (and a very interactive one) and they pick excellent books.
  • David Bowie Book Club - As I write this, Bowie’s club is still somewhat unofficial. Bowie’s son Duncan recently decided to start reading his father’s favorite books as a tribute to his old man - and invited the world to join him. Follow Duncan’s Twitter account for further information and new updates on upcoming books.
  • Big Library Read - This book club is facilitated by Overdrive and can be run through your local library. Participating libraries can have access to the monthly book for their readers and can choose to run book discussions in person. If your library isn’t currently running groups, don’t let that stop you - download the book and get some friends together to participate in the first global ebook club!

What book groups do you participate in to learn about new books and discuss things you’ve read? How do book groups help you achieve your bookish reading goals?