TGIF – I’m Going to LA!

Tomorrow I fly out with my mom to Los Angeles, CA! This will be my first time in LA and my second time in California! I’m a midwestern gal and I typically stay put! Ha! I cannot wait to eat all of the food! I’m hoping to also find a Korean bookstore… maybe pick up the Korean edition of Harry Potter! How cool would that be? I’m going to read a few chapters of The Ten Thousand Doors of January tonight for a buddy read with my gal Kat (@kathardistywrites) and then I will start All the Stars and Teeth with Kelli (@starlightfaerytale) on Monday!

This week I re-read via audio Clockwork Angel and I forgot how much I missed Will and Jem. Knowing Will and his backstory just made it that much more heartbreaking. The first time I read this series I didn’t really feel bothered by any of the characters but OH MY GOSH, when Nathaniel came around and Jessamine was all over him, y’all, I wanted to reach into the phone and choke both of them! So annoying! This was also my first time listening to the audio. I don’t necessary enjoy the narrator. Tessa is supposed to be young but she sounded in her 70’s. It was perfect for the Dark sisters, LOL!

I’m planning on reading Conversations with a Killer this weekend while traveling. I have a fascination with serial killers, but Ted Bundy in particular, people seem to romanticize him. So before I write about him for Topic Tuesday next week (along with the book review), I want to see what that book is about. I mean, everyone says he was a handsome, unassuming man, but is that really how he was perceived? Most people look at photos of Ted Bundy and do not feel that way!

Chuck (@mr.rqdavis_) will not be traveling with me on this LA journey! He is going to the Leigh Bardugo book signing for me in St. Louis, MO! How sweet is that? He’s bringing Shadow and Bone to get signed and is getting a signed copy of Ninth House for Amanda! Shadow and Bone is such a special story to me because Chuck reminds me so much of Mal… I know everyone loves the Darkling… but I’ll always love Mal more! I can’t wait to see his stories! Follow him on his insta to see! The signing is tomorrow!

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back for Mood Monday with stories of my whirlwind 24 hours in LA and hopefully have some cool new things to share!


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TGIF – Who Else is Busy AF?

WOW! This week just flew by! I totally forgot to post my Thirsty Thursday new and upcoming release post! I might post that this weekend. Chuck and I have spent a lot of time redoing our nook’s flooring! The old owners put laminate over the hardwood so we tore out the old and installed stuff that looks like wood!

Don’t mind my crazy mess 😂 we are going to paint the walls and of course clean up my shelves when everything is done! We still have some to go along the edges but hopefully that’ll be complete by Sunday!

I finished reading A Thousand Pieces of You last night and needless to say I’m not that impressed. I’m going to go ahead and finish the series and I will write a review for the series as a whole. Today I’m going to finish up To Kill a Kingdom, which I am reading for research purposes with my friend to help her with her book! Then I will get to The Wicked Deep!

I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, especially about the last page so I’m curious if I will feel the same way. I’m typically an easy raider because I rate critically rather than personally which I think is important. I can’t stand when people write books that are for younger audiences or forgenres they know they don’t like and rate the books poorly!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

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Topic Tuesday – Top 10 Audiobooks

Welcome to Topic Tuesday! Today I am going to be talking about my Top 10 favorite audiobooks!

Audiobooks to me are a unique experience. It wasn’t until last year that I really started getting into them. I had listened to some here and there on my way to and from work, but that was almost out of necessity – I needed something to fill the time of driving 1.5 hours both way! In order for me to really love an audiobook and invest those hours into it, it has to have a phenomenal narration. I am so picky with my narrators. My top 10 favorite audiobooks will include the voice actors that I love and why these books are so great!

  1. The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff, narrated by Holter Graham – Holter Graham gave an Oscar winning performance when narrating The Nevernight Chronicles. There was never a time where I questioned his artistic choices. His cadence is so unique, his voice for Mia is spot on – honestly, her sass would not have come through nearly as much without him! Sex scenes usually make me uncomfortable on audio, but not these!
  2. The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by a full cast of 20! – This is narrated by a full cast, not narrators switching with POV. It is literally like listening to an awesome SCIFI movie on in the background. Need I say more?
  3. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by a full cast – The full cast in this SCIFI adventure switches narrators with each POV! You will hear a lot of your Illuminae favorites in this one! Zila’s narrator is ICONIC.
  4. An Ember in the Ashes series (soon to be quartet) by Sabaa Tahir, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, Steve West, and Katherine McEwan – AEITA is a YA fantasy filled with action, drama, and heartbreak. The narration switches with each POV. You really get into the grit of the story in A Torch Against the Night when we are introduced to Katherine McEwan. Her voice is one of my favorites. She is saw gritty and raw, you can feel all of the characters emotions. I also love her in The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein!
  5. Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor, narrated by Steve West – This is an audiobook I can fall asleep to every night. Steve West has a dreamy, lyrical voice that matches the way the books are written. There are a lot of female characters, but his voice wasn’t distracting. I think he did a marvelous job! He also narrates in Gemina as well as AEITA!
  6. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and Holter Graham – I just finished listening to this book and I am ready to listen again. Saskia Maarleveld has one of the most breathy, beautiful, and addicting voices. There are books I’m not really interested in, but after finding out she narrates them, I am adding them to my TBR. Her french does not sound forced or fake in this book, which sometimes can easily be ruined with the wrong narrator. Lou would not be the same without Saskia! Holter Graham delivers a perfect performance as the male POV!
  7. The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer – Michael Kramer took some getting used to. When I first listened to his voice in The Final Empire I honestly was kind of… turned off by it. I was unsure of his deep voice. It sounds like a older guy reading to you by a fireplace and he’s almost falling asleep. It’s weird, I know, but TRUST ME. His narration is GOLD. I am addicted to his voice. He narrates all of Mistborn and I am currently reading the Stormlight Archive in which he narrates them, too along with his wife!
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman – This was the first audiobook I ever listened to. Neil Gaiman has a wonderful voice for reading out loud. Especially since he likes to narrate his own books, he understands the character, how they would sound in that scene, what their feelings are. It’s truly amazing to listen to him. He narrates Coraline and The Graveyard book as well!
  9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, narrated by Jim Dale – Can we sing enough praises about Jim Dale? Not only does he give an iconic performance throughout the Harry Potter series, but his tone and accent are perfect for this whimsical tale. I will say, if you aren’t paying attention, you can lose your place very easily with this one!
  10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JKR, narrated by Eddie Redmayne – This super short audiobook is a companion book to Harry Potter and it is SO FUN! The fact that Eddie Redmayne narrates it should say enough. There’s also sound effects!

Well, there you have it folks! I’m sure there’s audiobooks I missed or things I forgot I wanted to say, but those are the first 10 that came to my mind so they must be important, right?! Let me know if you have listened to any of these books and what you think! I wouldn’t survive without audio!

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Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: 
HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)

Synopsis:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union – holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. And love makes fools of us all.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was purchased by me and read by choice. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

I don’t necessarily think this would classify as YA Fantasy; I feel like it has more of an NA or Adult Fantasy feel to it, mainly because it does have frequent explicit language and mature behavior within it.


REVIEW

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I buddy read this with a friend via audio and from the second that Saskia Maarleveld opened her mouth, I fell in love. Not only was the writing style rich and captivating, the voice acting was intoxicating. I knew from the start that this book had a lot of hype, and I always go into hyped books with reservation, but I knew plenty of people who both read and listened and they LOVED it. Well, add me to the list of people who are utterly obsessed with Louise le Blanc!

This story focuses on a witch being in a forced marriage with a witch hunter. Lou, the witch, is a sassy, sarcastic, and true to herself woman, while Reid is a very “by the book” religious man, following the teachings of the Archbishop without question. This book utilizes history and it’s treatment of women as one of the plot points and I loved every second of Lou being the QUEEN that she is! Using Lou and her best friend CoCo to defy the norms and carve their own path was so refreshing! This is definitely a hate to love, slow burn trope; your Slytherin badass Lou and her Cinnamon Roll Hufflepuff Reid thrown together in an unthinkable situation. The voice acting between Saskia and Holter Graham was perfect for this novel and I am thankful they chose these amazing actors to bring them to life!

There are also many more themes such as religion and it’s power/influence on society, royalty, and reclaiming one’s own identity, but I won’t go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil it! The development of the story was such a joy to experience. There were times where I did feel like it was TOO fast paced and I had to go back and clarify a few things, but that was part of the allure in my opinion. This book was a wild ride, full of twists and turns! This book is unPUTDOWNable and I will be thinking about this story for many more days to come. ALL THE STARS to one of my favorite books of 2019!

This book is available NOW to purchase, though I do highly suggest the audio!

PS: If you’ve read Six of Crows you will be able to make a connection and really get the story that we deserved for those characters (LOL)

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A Darker Shade of Magic – Victoria Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
Genre:
 Adult Fantasy
22055262Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 
February 24th, 2015
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light


**REVIEW**
It took me two years to finally buckle down and read this book. I had tried on several occasions to read it – I think I started it close to 7 times and could never make it past the first chapter. I was well versed in Kell’s peculiar coat! Hah! I listened to the first 1/3 via audio, switched to reading, then back to audio and I really enjoyed it! I heard the narrator changes in book 2 so we will see! I hope they don’t change Lila’s cockney accent! I could do without Rhy’s whining, though!

Things that worked for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):

  • The world building is EXCEPTIONAL! It is fantastic! I love the ideas of the different London’s and how they are vastly different from one another.
  • Lila Bard is a mu’fuckin’ hero! She is honestly the best thing about this book. I love her attitude, her determination, her grit. She is my new fave heroine!
  • Morally grey is where it’s at. Schwab is the master at creating characters that you question their every intention. I am so excited to see the development in the next installments!
  • It wrapped up in a way that if I never read the other books I would be satisfied with the story. I feel like most of Schwab’s stories are like this. I felt this way about This Savage Song and Vicious. There’s the feeling of, maybe there’s another book, but also being satiated with what was given.

Things that didn’t work for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):

  • Not much actually! I really enjoyed this book. I’m not sure what happened when I was reading it, maybe I was hung over from previous books, but there wasn’t much I even thought “meh” about!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am so glad that I finally took the time to get to know this story and appreciate it! I am excited to read A Gathering of Shadows!

You can pick up this book at a local or online retailer. It is available now!