Let's Discuss: Haunting Locations

This topic idea sounds fun! Though my answer is already brewing and I am not sure what I will say in the end...

If You Were a Ghost, Who or Where Would You Haunt?

Any takers? My first initial reaction is to say I'd haunt the Haunted Mansion at Disney World! They're always looking for one more to join them anyway! Lol!

But I'd think my answer would be the bookstore! Yes, I will be the ghost that haunts the bookstore. Patrons will see books floating at odd levels because I will be reading them, it just depends on where I will read them, lol! Like sitting in the chair or at the table, for yes I will have Patrick Swayze teach me how to hold corporeal objects and whatnot. I will dismantle my TBR pile one way or another!! Of course, I'd need access to my books to read at the bookstore, haunting the bookstore is so I can read the new releases and possibly snag the ARCs if they get them too!

Where would you want to haunt?

Random Thursday

Let's see what random and obscure facts we will learn today with That's a Fact Jack: A Collection of Utterly Useless Information [Updated] by Harry Bright and Jakob Anser!

(image borrowed from Plot and Theme)
For the candlelit scenes in his eighteenth-century epic Barry Lyndon (1975)m Stanley Kubrick invented his own camera. Using a lens borrowed from NASA, Kubrick built a camera whose shutter speed was beyond what is typical even today.

Wow! Considering this book is a few years old, that's still impressive!

(image borrowed from Space.com)
Edward Halley didn't just have a comet named after him. In 1693, the mathematician and astronomer wrote An Estimate of the Degrees of Morality of Mankind, which marked the beginning of actuarial science--the foundation of the modern life insurance industry.

He was a busy guy!

(image borrowed from Greek Mythology)
Morphine was named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.

Make sense!

(image borrowed from Consumer Reports)
Lettuce contains two to ten parts of morphine per billion.


(image borrowed from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)
The Bayer Company introduced heroin as a nonaddictive substitute for morphine in 1898. Ironically, morphine was eventually used to treat heroin addiction.

Yeah, that's irony for you.

Review--Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

Tricia Levenseller brings an outstanding conclusion to the Daughter of the Pirate King duology with Daughter of the Siren Queen! This book totally changes the game plan for Alosa and her crew that they had started out on in the first book. Alosa learns terrifying new information that changes everything she thought she knew.

What’s great about this one is that we sort of pick up where we left off, yes time has gone by, but really nothing of note happened in the in between. Alosa and her crew track down Vordan to get his piece of the map that will lead to treasure beyond their wildest dreams, but it’s during the interrogation that Alosa conducts that she learns some most astonishing news. Her father has been lying to her for years. Alosa is sure that it’s just the lies of a captured enemy but soon she starts to look at things differently and isn’t sure what she should do.

I feel like with this book we really get to see Alosa in action and at her best. Before she was playing the role of kidnapped pirate, as she wasn’t in any way a victim in those circumstances. Alosa is back in her element and in charge of her ship surrounded by her crewmates, including a new addition, Riden. Riden has decided to join Alosa’s crew and join them in whatever adventures they plan to take.

Alosa also goes through a sort of self-discovery when it comes to using her siren powers. She notices that different things happen when she’s around Riden and she wants to figure out what it all means. If the first book was about Alosa being in tuned with her pirate side, then this book definitely has her embracing her siren heritage more, if the titles didn’t clue you in on that bit! I loved watching her embrace both sides of herself over the course of this series.

There was quite the reveal of surprises in this one! One after another it seems and it basically led us down to a race against the enemy and trying to get the upper-hand. While the action was somewhat come and go, I can say that those downtime moments did lead to other interesting things, such as more revelations, teasing moments between Alosa and Riden and much more! This book basically tore at my heart! I wasn’t expecting so much death and carnage, but I guess I should’ve kept that in mind since this is a pirate book!

What I really enjoyed about Alosa and Riden’s romance was how it was such a slow-burning sort. One moment they’re pining for each other and then the next, someone hates the other! It was definitely one of those back and forth kind of moments. But I have to say, the times when they could get along were quite toe-curling!

The ending to this one was pretty epic! More battles on the high seas, got to love a good swordfight! The action to this book was spot on! Truly felt like this was a relation to Captain Jack Sparrow that we were dealing with! Not only is Alosa talented with her sword and pistol, but she’s got such a sense of humor to her! It’s very Captain Jack like!

This is without a doubt the most perfect pirate read I’ve ever read! It might have been my first one, but it will definitely set the bar high for more pirate books in the future, should they come my way! Daughter of the Siren Queen was an epic and enjoyable as its predecessor and I couldn’t have asked for better!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


Let's Discuss: Spending the Day In...

This next topic idea sounded really fun! And of course my mind is whirring with all the possible answers! It's probably one of the hardest questions to answer...

Spend the Day, Anywhere, You Want for 24 Hours

I feel like you all know what my answer is going to be! And yes, I would choose to spend it at Disney World!! I know, original, right? Lol! But I've only been there a handful of times, including my upcoming trip this fall. I would definitely choose fall weather time too because it's my theory by choosing the beginning of fall that most kids are starting school, and parents might not want to take a trip right at the beginning of fall. Granted that's just US side of course, so there's the chance for more kids and people from other places where school is out. 

I am just a Disney person. I don't think I will ever tire of it. Disney is just magical to me, the parks and the movies and everything else they do. So yeah, I'd totally and happily spend another day of my life in Disney World!

Granted I'd also want to choose to go back to Rome, but see then I'd want to add Florence and Capri and all the other places I visited on my long ago trip overseas and I only have the 24 hours. I'd have to have at least 3-4 of those trips at the helm because I'd need a day for each of these cities again!

Where would you choose to spend the day with no limits holding you back?

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.
The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case.

The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard's wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She's trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Berkley's captors search for the mark of the devil on her body. They say they want to save her--drive the devil away and cleanse her soul--but will she make it out alive?

When Berkley arrived in Italy a week ago, the last thing she expected was that she'd end up fighting for her life. After spending six months at the Institute, confined to a room with the dangerous-yet-alluring Sofia Flores, Berkley was certain that a vacation in Italy with her two best friends would be the perfect getaway. But Berkley is hiding a terrible secret, one that threatens to undo everything. As she's forced to face her wicked past, she learns that the devil is always watching, and no one is coming to save her.
I still need to read the rest of this series! I had thought it was just going to be a standalone and here we are nearly three books later!
AUTHOR: Danielle Vega
PUBLISHER: Razorbill
GENRE: Paranormal YA
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2018 

Review--Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

I so wasn't expecting Tricia Levenseller's debut, Daughter of the Pirate King to be a one day read! But man those pages just kept flying by and all when I was still getting over the remains of a cold! This is most definitely a read for fans of Pirates of the Caribbean franchise! Particularly the first movie when Captain Jack Sparrow was at his best! Alosa reminds me of a female teenage Jack because she was just that snarky and I loved her for it all!

Alosa is the daughter of the pirate king, as you might have guessed, and her father has always been willing to use whatever means necessary to get what he wants, including his own daughter. But Alosa loves her father...in her own way and doing something for him is a matter of duty. So when she must allow herself to be kidnapped by an enemy pirate lord in order to find a piece of a map that will lead to untold treasures she doesn't even blink an eye.

Though Alosa was expecting an older captain like her father, she's surprised to find that his teenage sons are running things. They can't be more than a year or two older than herself. Draxen is what you'd expect from a pirate, vicious, cruel, cold, and completely selfish. He plans to use Alosa as a bargaining chip to her father to get the location to his treasure trove. Alosa knows her father would never give up that information so she uses her time as a prisoner to search the ship for the piece of map that should be there, according to her father. What she didn't expect was for Riden, Draxen's younger brother to be so annoyingly charming.

Riden and Alosa start off with an odd relationship of prisoner and prison guard. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a Stockholm Syndrome situation as Alosa put herself deliberately in her position. She planned for everything almost, except not being able to find the map in a timely manner. Or for Riden himself for that matter. Riden and Alosa go through the entertaining round of bantering. Alosa is quick witted and I loved that about her. She doesn't shy from saying what's on her mind no matter how appropriate.

It seems both Alosa and Riden start to fall one another unwillingly. They're pirates and not used to feeling such feelings. Though Ride, is by far the most kind-hearted pirate you'll ever meet. He's got more heart than a pirate should. He remains loyal to his brother and thus the reason he sticks to the pirate life, plus he might even enjoy it but he is still different.

Alosa has a secret though, one that I saw coming really given certain things, but it was still an interesting one that needed further explaining. I am definitely happy to have the next book at the ready to see how the story continues. It ends on high note and one that doesn't really leave you hanging desperately for more information. It's definitely my favorite way for a book to end, especially when it's apart of a series of some undetermined length. Still not positive if this is a duology or longer. Guess I'll find out soon enough! Daughter of the Pirate King is action packed read filled with everything you would expect of a pirate book! Tricia Levenseller has definitely made her way onto my favorites list!!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Let's Discuss: Last Meals

I am making headway this last week of April! Oh yeah!! Today's topic seems a little morbid almost, but I figure, why not? I need ideas because my mind is ensconced in a haze of sludge from the cold that just won't leave me entirely. Who knows! I might actually be better by the time this one posts! Lol! Today's topic...

What Would Your Last Meal Be?

This one's actually really hard to answer! Lol! I'm kind of a mood eater. I'll crave something and I'll eat that (usually). This weekend I was craving a particular restaurant's french fries, sadly when I got them they were not as hot. Not cold, but not piping hot either. So I couldn't finish my plate like I usually do.

I guess it's safe to say that I'd probably want pizza! I love pizza!! It's a toss-up of whether I'd want a local pizza place or the local pizza place up by my aunt in Wisconsin! Both are incredibly delicious and I can't say which is my favorite! I think I'd choose the one by my aunt since I don't get that one as often and it would be fitting to have that as a last meal! Followed by dessert which would either be a slice of Great American Cookie Co. cookie cake and a heaping of cookie dough too! And since it's a last meal, I won't be stuffed after the pizza! Lol!

What would your last meal be?

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page

3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

"Then he's kissing me.

What the--I misread where that was going. I wanted to irritate him. To get under his skin. To mess with him because he's working for the enemy. I hadn't exactly expected him to get all mushy as a result." p 156

TITLE: Daughter of the Pirate King
AUTHOR: Tricia Levenseller
PUBLISHER: Feiwel Friends
GENRE: Fantasy YA
RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is: Frequently Used Words In Paranormal Titles 

*my word choice is DARK
**in no particular order

Shockingly, this was harder than I thought! I didn't want to stick with the same series for more than one pick, and thus the challenge grew!

Let's Discuss: Favorite Weather

Ironically, on the handy dandy list of topic ideas, this topic came up and I had me a chuckle! It seems weather all the over the US has been out of whack lately and it's the neverending winter! Speaking as someone who generally likes the colder temperatures, I can even say I want it to be spring...which is really really weird! I don't want summer, god no, but just slightly warmer than what it's been!

Favorite Weather

I guess I would say my favorite season is fall! I love the cooler weather, mostly because in St. Louis our summers are hot, humid, and looooooooong! They are like neverending! It's hot and sticky and just gross! And people here, like it! I don't get it! I've never lived anywhere else my entire life and I have always hated the gross humid heat and just heat in general! It's miserable. Why people here like it is beyond me! They drive with their windows down in the summer! Granted, I could say that a small percent likely has AC issues, but not everyone! I see way too many people with windows down for it all to be AC issues.

So that was a sidetrack of my I-hate-summer-weather rant, but back to favorite weather. Fall. Yes, fall! I love cooler temps without it being super cold, all above freezing temperatures. Just the perfect kind of coldness where you can comfortably wear jeans and a sweatshirt. I like my sweatshirts! They're so cozy and comfy. Fall is just a great season!

What is your favorite kind of weather?

ARC Review--Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Brightly Burning is Alexa Donne’s debut novel set in space when Earth became inhabitable. It’s said to be a sort of update on Jane Eyre, set in space, but since I’ve never read that classic, I can’t say how much of that is true for the storyline. Even without knowing about Jane Eyre, I found that I was easily able to enjoy this story! There’s a quite a bit of mystery and intrigue going on within the space ships that have created their own little community up in the stars, and soon our heroine, Stella, will find out just what that mystery is.

Stella is an orphan and has lived on the ship the Stalwart until she applied for a position with the Rochester and got it. Not only is Stella a teacher for the children on board the Stalwart, but she’s also a part time engineer. When she arrives on the Rochester she’s to play a bit of both roles. The Rochester though is rumored to be haunted, there’s a good deal of mystery surrounding this and Stella soon starts to wonder at it as it’s when she’s up at night reading, she swears she hears laughter outside her door.

One of the other many mysteries onboard though, is the elusive captain. Though Stella soon meets him herself without realizing it. Hugo is young for a captain but inherited the title after his father was killed. He and Stella eventually form a friendship of sorts and naturally, where do all friendships lead? Though I will say, I liked the gradual procession the romance took. It wasn’t instant and there were plenty of challenges thrown their way that prevented the couple from being together.

Soon the intrigue of the story comes to light as there was a nefarious plot afoot that would eventually lead to the deaths of many people aboard her old home, the Stalwart. And when Stella learns the truth, she will do anything to save the friends she left behind, as well as the many other innocent people aboard.

I think my first issue with this book was the timing in when I read it…namely right after another book set in space with more conspiracy theories and corrupt government scandals! Not always a good thing to read books with similar trends yet executed completely different. That being said, I won’t say I didn’t like this one, because I did! My next issue that was to come was the mystery of the Rochester. I was led to believe there were spooky things going on, which naturally leads me on my paranormal kick. There were few and far instances where Stella believes she is hearing a ghost and then after one such occasion, it would take ages to get back to another and longer still before the answer was to come. I guess those pages that were in between the ghostly encounters should’ve been my first hint that all was not what I expected it to be. So I guess I feel a little slighted that my expectations were taken off course.

Again, I’ve never read Jane Eyre, I couldn’t even tell you what it was about in the tiniest of details. I don’t know if this book will appeal to those fans of the classic or not. It’s still an engaging read even with some of my expectations being tossed aside. I never once got to the point where I felt like quitting the story because I was eager to see how the characters got themselves out of the dire predicaments!

The pacing to this one was a little more sedate. I don’t want to say slow really, as there was always something going on, it just wasn’t the actiony kind of action. I also really enjoyed the characters. Stella was quite the heroine going from someone used to being cast aside to growing herself a backbone and a voice. I loved that about her. For who doesn’t have moments where you find yourself doubting something or other? Hugo was another interesting character. I had moments where I thought he was being duplicitous. Something would feel off, but then my mind would change with his next set of actions.

As you can see this book left me with a lot of mixed feelings. I didn’t love it entirely, but I didn’t hate it either. It definitely falls somewhere in the middle for me. I think there are a good deal of readers who would thoroughly enjoy this one! It’s a love story, it’s a story of hope, it’s a story of survival; it really has a lot going for it. By its end I could see that this was a standalone and I think that’s the best fit for it as everything gets resolved, if somewhat quickly in some areas, and there’s a feeling for hope for the future for the characters we will leave behind. Brightly Burning was a different kind of read for me, but I found myself enjoying it just the same.

Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars—not quite four stars, but exceedingly close to it. I just had a few hang-ups on some matters that doesn’t give me the vibes that this one was a four star rating for me. But I hope you will give it a chance if anything about it sparks an interest for you!

Brightly Burning releases May 1, 2018 

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

Last Week I Read:

The Dragon Finds Forever by Kristen Painter (5 stars)
Titans by Victoria Scott (3 stars)

Currently Reading:

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

What I Plan to Read this Week:

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Other Posts of Interest:

Review--Titans by Victoria Scott

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

After a long, long, long wait, I finally managed to read Victoria Scott's Titans! It was definitely an exciting and interesting read, but it wasn't all that I expected and hoped for, but still good. Really good. In fact, the more I think about it, my expectations were just little things that I wanted to see happen that I have come use to seeing happen in YA books these days, that it didn't happen was almost a breath of fresh air.

The setting is a somewhat futuristic one in which creatures called Titans, that are basically robot horses race in complex tracks that are incredibly dangerous. When young Astrid's family is on the brink of losing their house, she is determined to do whatever she can to help save it and her family. Even if it means she must work with a grouchy, old neighbor known as Rags. He just happens to have an available Titan, one of the very first ones and it's just what Astrid needs to compete in the upcoming race. If she places well enough in this one she can hopefully find a sponsor for the future races and keep moving up until she can hopefully win the final race and the nice payout that will save her family's home, her best friend's home and help the new friends she's acquired along the way.

This book was definitely exciting in a sense as Astrid is the underdog in the race since her Titan isn't the newest or preferred model, but since it is one of the first ones, she has an edge to her and hopefully it's just what she needs to pull through and win this thing.

At its heart, I definitely say this book is about family. As Astrid is doing all this for her family, to save their home and prevent them from having to move again and this time things are even dicier and money even more tight since her father is without a job. In the in-between moments, Astrid spends moments with her family and we see how they struggle and not everyone is agreeable to her racing due to the dangers of the track.

What surprised me about this one was the lack of romance! I mean, I guess these days I just expect there to be some sort of romance going on for the main character. While we get teases of one possibly happen, it was simply just that, teases. The end result was something even more interesting but I won't go further on that part.

Astrid's friendship with her best friend, Magnolia was also endearing. Here are two best friends who have no animosity between them. Magnolia is totally game in helping Astrid with whatever she can to win the race. They are close to one another and I like that they never let anything petty get between them and cause strife, not money, boys, fame, or just anything!

I also really enjoyed Astrid's Titan, Padlock! Though he was a mechanical horse it was easy to forget. He had such a personality and a life of his own. It's weird to say that, but it's kind of true. He was easy going in some sense, but still a fierce horse in the heart of the race. While I never had the fascination with horses like most little girls, I still liked them well enough, even I was rendered an emotional heap with the the bond Astrid formed with Padlock. I kept reminding myself that he was still just a machine, but who I am kidding...he was a real horse too! 

While it wasn't the read I was anticipating it to be, Titans was still an interesting one! It was different in that it didn't meet what expectations I had or theories I devised in how things would turn out! Just another reason why Victoria Scott is one of my favorite authors, she defies all the odds and rules of typical expectations for YA books and I cannot wait to read more form her in the future!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars


Let's Discuss: Dream Holidays!

So yeah, my brain has been mush this past week since I was sick and I saw my challenges suffered greatly, heck everything suffered last week! And I'm only slightly better today! Whelp! So I'm using my handy dandy list of ideas once again to discuss! Today's topic is: 

What's Your Dream Holiday?

I'm going to interpret this a holiday that doesn't exist, but should! And we all know where this going...reading day! Yes, a day where you are allowed to stay home and just read all day long! Granted, I do this on most holidays when I am off anyway, but this will be a special day dedicated to reading and the love of reading and all that. I think the holiday pretty much speaks for itself.

And I'd say that we would have to have this holiday at least once a month! If not quarterly, and that's me being nice! Lol!!

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! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

This was a very ugh kind of week. I was sick pretty much all week. It started out as a sore throat--which I mentioned on twitter that it came about because at my sister's wedding I was talking with people at the reception and had to shout over the music playing--and it basically led to a cold from hell. The moral of the story is...stay at home! Lol! It wouldn't have been so bad but the freaking daytime cold medicine about knocked me out! I was sneaking cat naps at my desk, dozing in and out. It wasn't pretty! I think I'm finally on the mend though. Not 100% but definitely over 50%!

This week my Book Outlet order came in! I haven't order from them in ages, mostly because I end up ordering books as they release or preordering them. Then I decided I wanted to read one of a new author's old books and BO had them soo cheap! I started looking around for other books I needed. So this is the "I want to read Mary Lindsey's Backlist titles plus the final book to several trilogies & one (assuming) duology I need to start!" haul! I got 6 hardcovers and 1 paperback for under $43! A pretty darn good sale in my opinion--nope not even gritting my teeth at the sale that literally started the day before my books arrived. Not. At. All. ;)

Just Dreaming by Kerstin Gier
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey
Sorceress by Claudia Gray
One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr
Dream Forever by Kit Alloway

Then for review from the publisher I received:

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong (ARC)

THANK YOU Crown Books for Young Readers!!