Sunday, December 17, 2017

Weekly Recap: 12/10 - 12/16


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Happy Sunday, everyone! This weekend has been... boring. I've finished up my Christmas shopping and finished wrapping gifts so yay for that! But other than that things have been a bit uneventful. I haven't read a thing, shockingly. This never ending slump is honestly kind of embarrassing. I feel like I'm never going to get back into my groove. I'm kind of considering taking a short hiatus at the first of the year. :/ I've discovered Spotify (I know I'm behind) and some music I didn't know I needed in my life. Christina and I have finished taking orders for the year in the candle shop and I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for our business! Speaking of, there were several people last week who didn't realize I make candles. Surprise! I make candles! You can find my book-inspired candles through the "shop" link in the nav bar!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ




MC'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi, everyone! This week seemed to drag on forever. I managed to get a lot of stuff done, but it was exhausting. Things just weren't going my way. And my car died so now I have a new car! I'm not looking forward to the payments, but I really like it. I have another Christmas party to head to this weekend and then some last minute errands to get all my gifts finalized. I can't believe Christmas is next week. I'm not ready for it, but I'm also excited because that means I get a week off from work! I've been in a weird reading mood lately, so please send me all your recs for good sci-fi and thriller books. I barely have any and I want to read some so badly! Have a good one!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

  



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was 2017 favorites for Top Ten Tuesday
On Wednesday I did the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag
Thursday ARC review of Daughter of the Burning City
On Friday I posted the Dystopia Reading Challenge giveaway


UPCOMING REVIEWS



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, December 15, 2017

Dystopia Reading Challenge: 4th Quarter Wrap-up & Giveaway



We made it! Welcome to the end of the 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge! I hope you all met your goals! I didn't quite get there (unless I get one more in before January), but I got close. I ALMOST got a row on Bingo, but alas. I'm sad to announce that I won't be continuing the Dystopia Challenge in 2018. If anyone is interested in taking over, please send over an email or let me know in the comments! For now, scroll down to see what I read this year and enter the giveaway!

WHAT I READ THIS YEAR


Gilded Cage by Vic James
The Last One by Alexandra Olivia
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily-Brooks Dalton
1984 by George Orwell



City of Savages by Lee Kelly
The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Warcross by Marie Lu


MY BINGO CARD





CHALLENGE END GIVEAWAY
MUST BE A CHALLENGE PARTICIPANT TO WIN
Winner will receive one Dystopian book of their choice up to $12.
Open internationally. US prizes ship via Amazon Prime. International prizes ship from Book Depository.
Must be 18 years old or have parent's permission to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, December 14, 2017

ARC Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Title: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Add to Goodreads


Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

Sorina is a freak. Born without eyes (but still capable of sight), she was taken in by the Gomorrah Festival as a child and has been raised among the members of the traveling city. She is an illusion-worker and has created a family for herself from her own imagination. But when one of her illusions is murdered - something that should be impossible - Sorina must launch an investigation to save her family and the Festival that is her home.

Oh my goodness, I loved this book. It has had a bunch of hype surrounding it since it was first announced, and it was well deserved. This is an absolutely fantastic debut novel, and if Amanda Foody keeps growing as an author, she is bound to create masterpieces in the future.

What I loved most about Daughter of the Burning City was the writing style. It was lyrical, descriptive, and beautiful. Of course, many readers may not like this style, and will therefore be turned off from the book. But if you love getting lost in the language of a novel, you will love this book.

The world of the Gomorrah Festival is utterly unique. I have never read anything so strange and simultaneously beautiful. It takes a few chapters to really get a clear picture of the Festival and get your head wrapped around what is going on, but it is so worth it. The world that Amanda Foody created is weird, for sure. But that sets it apart from other fantasy works and raises it a head above the rest.

And the characters! I have no idea how she came up with the idea for the people that populate the Festival. They were so strange, but so lovable. The romance was a little quick, but it wasn't overbearing at all. And, I'll be honest, most people would probably fall for Luca pretty quickly. He is amazing.

While I adored every second of this book, I decided to lower my rating a bit for two main reasons. Firstly, Sorina missed some blatantly obvious clues during her investigation. Weird things happened and she just breezed past them without a second thought. Also, there was a small plot hole at the end of the book when the twist was revealed. I did read the ARC, so there is a chance this was fixed in the final copy, but it left me with some questions.

Ultimately, if your reading tastes are similar to mine, I highly recommend Daughter of the Burning City. I love descriptive and lyrical books, and I don't mind if there is not a lot of action. If you are looking for an action-packed fantasy, this won't be for you. But I still recommend that you try to read a few chapters and push through, because you just might find a new favorite book.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag

Hurray! Two of my favorite things: books and Buffy! I found this tag on Abyssal Librarian and tweaked it a bit, choosing to only include my favorite characters, as well as some that I hate, but find important. 



BUFFY
A female character that does the saving, or doesn’t need anyone to save her.


Lada from And I Darken is a total badass who does have some experiences with men throughout the series, but ultimately is in charge of her own destiny and certainly doesn't need to be saved. She takes care of her enemies on her own, but is able to work with others when needed. 


XANDER
Name a character that brings or hold friends or a group together OR a character that always makes you laugh.


Everyone might not agree, but Ron was my immediate Xander choice. Not only does he always make me laugh (as long as he's not having a temper tantrum), but I also think he holds the group together. Harry and Hermione both need him for different reasons, but he's definitely important to their trio.


WILLOW
Name a character that became very powerful (in either a good way or a bad way).


Could there possibly be another choice? Alina starts out the series as a quite cartographer's assistant and ends as the Sun Summoner. I loved following her journey almost as much as I loved Willow's.


GILES
Name a character who is a fantastic father or father figure.


Again, who else could it have been? Sirius Black is my ultimate when it comes to father figures in the bookish world! *cries forever*


ANGEL
Name a character that pretended to be nice but turned out to be bad.


Real talk: I hate Angel with a fiery passion. But he's an important character, so here we are. Neely from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a character who caught me off guard with his extreme awfulness.


SPIKE
Name a character who tries hard to be good.


Okay, there may be some disagreement over whether the Darkling tried to be good, but I'm calling him the perfect choice for Spike. He COULD have been good, given the chance!


DRUSILLA
Name a character who seems strange or crazy.


Penryn's mom. I don't know what else I can say.


OZ
Name a character who would be a great boyfriend, but maybe has something that keeps him from being perfect.


Poor Varen. He wants to be a good boyfriend so badly, but he has got A LOT going on! (PS: You need to read this series if you haven't already!)


CORDELIA
Name a character who loves to be the centre of attention and does everything they can to stay in the spotlight.


I can't remember if Lavender Brown behaves the same way in the books as in the movies, but she definitely came to mind when I thought of Cordelia! I have always been SO annoyed at how she inserted herself into Ron's life (which I guess is how we're supposed to feel).


ANYA
Name a character that seems/appears younger than their age.


I was going to go with the obvious vampire pick, but I decided to choose Peter Pan instead! Who knows how old the boy who never grows up is? He could probably rival Edward at this point.


 TARA
Name a character who grew into his/her own


Like Tara, Kestrel started her journey unsure of herself and scared to displease her father. By the end she had become a powerful, confident woman who led a revolution!



Are there any you would've chosen differently for?
Who is your favorite Buffy character?
Let me know in the comments!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #166: This year's favorites


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Nine Favorite Books of 2017

This was a more difficult topic than expected! I didn't read as much as normal this year for a number of reasons, so I didn't have as many amazing reads this year as usual. For this list I had to include 4.5 and 5 star reads and I still couldn't get ten! 


The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Now I Rise by Kiersten White



Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weekly Recap: 12/3 - 12/9


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi, everyone! This week has been extremely busy for me, which is pretty unusual! xD Primarily I've been making candles - so many candles. I've wrapped tons of presents and finished decorating the Christmas tree. (Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?) I've also sorted through a ton of challenges and found a couple that I think I'd like to participate in, although I've made the difficult decision not to host any in the coming year. I think it's time for a break from hosting! I've also been rewatching Gossip Girl (again). Honestly, I couldn't tell you why I love this show, but this is my third time watching it and it's addictive. Someone find me something new to watch! My reading life has been a bit... chaotic. I attempted, really attempted, to listen to the Interview With the Vampire audiobook but holy crap, it's dense. I think I may give up and get the movie instead. Then I moved on to some weirder reading material - Buffy Season 8 and Five Nights at Freddy's.


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

 



MC'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Happy weekend, everyone! This week was another weird one. It took me so long to get used to wearing my glasses all the time. My eyes were just not into it. I finally made it through the day without any issues on Thursday, so the past few days have been wonderfully headache-free. (Finally!)  But I have a new prescription on the way, so I'm going to have to start this whole process over again soon. Hopefully it won't be as bad this time. I'm starting to embrace having glasses. It will be fun to get a few different pairs to match my personality.

This week I did manage to finish Daughter of the Burning City and absolutely adored it. Then I was really craving some adult sci-fi with as little romance as possible (strangely specific, I know) so I picked up The Martian. I'm finding it really interesting, but I have no idea what my final rating will be.

We are having our first real snow of the season here this weekend. It's just enough to make it pretty outside, but not enough to stick to the roads, which is my idea of the perfect snow. I'm getting together with some friends for food and games, so it's sure to be a really good time. Have a good one!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

  



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was settings I want to visit for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of Geekerella
Friday discussion about books with way too many special editions
I talked about rewatches and experiments in Saturday Screen Time


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Screen Time #6: Rewatches and Experiments


Happy Saturday, everyone! This week I was in a bit of a weird mood and found myself gravitating towards somewhat obscure and independent films about strong female characters. As it turned out, a lot of the strong women were, you know, psychopaths, but it was still a decent week in movie watching!


THIS WEEK IN FILM


The Perks of Being a Wallflower - The first movie of the week was a rewatch! I'd seen this years ago, but I've been going back through Ezra Miller's filmography and I decided to give it another try. I did end up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would! Emma Watson's American accent was terrible, but I loved her character! It's funny to me that the actor listed first in the opening credits is one I've rarely seen in the last few years, while Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are both much more famous now. (4/5 stars)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - Okay. I knew the reviews for Valerian weren't good, but I'd also heard that the visuals were amazing. That combined with Dane DeHaan as the main character meant I decided to give this one a try... but I wish I hadn't. This movie was SO painful to watch. Ultimately I only made it halfway through before giving up. The relationship between the two main characters was awkward and Dan DeHaan used a Keanu Reeves voice through the whole movie for some reason. I'd give this one a pass if I were you! (DNF)

The Cabin in the Woods - Another rewatch! I loved this movie so much the first time I watched it that I decided to buy it when it popped up for $9 in 4K. It was as good as I remembered and watching it right after finishing Buffy was really interesting. I definitely went to the internet to find fan theories connecting the two! If you've never seen Cabin in the Woods I definitely recommend going in blind and savoring every moment! (4/5 stars)

The Stanford Prison Experiments - I read about this experiment years ago and have always found it fascinating. I'd heard about this movie and when I saw that it was finally available on Netflix, I was excited to watch it! Oh, and it stars Ezra Miller! From what I've read, this movie is extremely close to what actually happened and it will make you think about what people are capable of. (3.5/5 stars)



Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!
Friday, December 8, 2017

When special editions are out of control


Recently, the UK paperback version(s) one of my favorite books was announced on Twitter. At first I was excited for a new edition, then I slowly became more and more skeptical of the whole thing. Why do there need to be multiple editions released all at once? What is the point? Is it like collecting Pokemon cards? What about the people who can't afford to get 10 different copies of the same book, even if they want to complete a collection? 

Thinking about these questions, I went in search of books released within the last year or two that have a larger than normal amount of editions. You'll see I am not referring to books that were released 10, 20, or 50 years ago that have received multiple revisions or new introductions with anniversary bindings. I'm talking about recent YA books that, for whatever reason, are released several times with a piece of fan art here or a sprayed page edge there. 

(For the sake of this list, I've kept my final counts to just US & UK editions, although for most of these there are many additional versions with different covers in several countries.)


CARAVAL
12 editions

This book, y'all. I will admit that Caraval by Stephanie Garber is absolutely one of my top five of the year! I loved it so much and I am DYING for Legendary. When I saw the US and UK covers I fully planned to get them both (and I did get one of each), but then I saw that the actual plan was to publish a ridiculous amount of the same book with different covers. Let's start with the US and UK hardcover and paperbacks. 

The US hardcover and paperback are both pretty straightforward. The hardcover dust jacket is the same as the paperback cover and there's nothing unique other than their gorgeousness.

  

Then we have the UK editions, which is where things got totally out of control. There are FIVE editions (yes, you read that right). The dust jackets are the same for each, but there are five hidden covers, as pictured below. 


But wait, there's more! In addition to the five "normal" UK hardcover editions, there is also a special Goldsboro books edition with a different cover that's signed, numbered, and has sprayed gold pages! (Photo courtesy of Scorpio Book Dreams.)


If that wasn't enough to blow your mind (and wallet), the paperbacks were also just announced! There are going to be three - count them, THREE - different editions. Two will be specific to different UK stores and the third will be the standard edition. 




TOWER OF DAWN
6 editions

 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas is a lesser offender than Caraval, but there are still a crazy number of editions for one recently released book. There are the standard US hardcover and UK paperback, but there are also FOUR special editions that were released with the others. There was a Target edition with a Q&A and fan art, a Barnes & Noble edition with pages from SJM's notebook, a Books A Million edition with a fan art poster, and a Waterstones edition with fan art.



NEVERNIGHT
6 editions

  

Nevernight is tied with Tower of Dawn with six editions: the US hardcover and paperback, plus a two UK special editions, and two paperback editions. Nevernight was released in a Goldsboro Books special edition that was signed and numbered with red sprayed pages, as well as an additional Waterstones edition with black sprayed pages. It has also been released with two different paperback covers as of October (please correct me if I'm wrong).



AN EMBER IN THE ASHES 
5 editions

    

An Ember in the Ashes comes in at five editions. There are the standard US & UK hardcover and paperbacks, plus a Goldsboro Books exclusive with a gold spine and black sprayed pages, as well as a recent mid-series paperback redesign. This isn't counting the comic con edition that was released prior to A Torch Against the Night! Not quite as bad as some others, but it still feels like a lot.



LANGUAGE OF THORNS
3 editions

Language of Thorns is lowest on the list with just three editions (that I'm aware of at this time). The US & UK versions seem to be the same, so I'm counting them as one.


There was also a Target edition with a brownish red cover (standard is black), but the same dust jacket, which also included a letter from Leigh Bardugo.


Finally, there was an alternative cover for the Fairyloot exclusive, which had red lettering instead of orange. (Photo courtesy of Reviews & Roses.)




So now I'm curious, do you collect multiple editions of the same book? Which one do you have the most copies of? For me I think it would have to be Caraval, which I have five copies of including the US & UK advance copies, US & UK hardcovers (just one), and the Polish paperback. How many do you feel is too many and WHY do you think publishers do this? Is it just a money grab? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!