Waiting on Wednesday: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week in my spotlight, I’ve chosen:

30269126
Book: Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 344

 

Summary:

Empress
Rhee, better known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a holo-vision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

 

My Thoughts:

I’m always on the lookout for another fantasy to read, and this one sounds super interesting to me!

Author Talk: Interview with Tiffany McDaniel author of The Summer that Melted Everything

Hey all!

Earlier this month, I reviewed the book The Summer that Melted Everything (click here!!) by  the amazing Tiffany McDaniel.  I was lucky enough to secure an interview with the wonderful author and since I’ve seen a few of these around the book blog-o-sphere I took the interview in a different direction than I’ve seen.

Now, read my interview below and let me know what you think!!

1. I hear it took you a month to write this book?  How did you manage to sit down and find the time?
It did take me a month.  I have eight completed novels and on average they’ve taken me about a month to write.  I don’t like for the story to sit for too long so I try to get it down as soon as I can.  Time is definitely something that one never seems to have enough of.  Sometimes I can get two or three chapters done a day.  Other times it feels like I’m working for a week on one sentence.  So the productivity comes as it will, but the best thing is to stay focused on that goal of getting the story down.  Another thing is to not get distracted and try to get as much work done in the few hours available to me that I can.
2. At points, The Summer that Melted Everything became emotionally charged.  Was this an emotionally difficult book to write? 
I’ve always said I’m drawn to the crash not the landing.  There’s something about those broken pieces and fragments that I want to capture, explore, understand, and show to the reader.  My imagination has always been drawn toward these things so for me it’s not working in uncharted territory.  It’s working with the stuff I’ve always thought about and wanted to write so I’m ready emotionally to write these very things.  That being said I do fall in love with the characters and when something bad happens to them, I feel just as the readers do.  No death is taken lightly with me, but as a writer you must be brave.  And with that bravery you must be prepared to say goodbye to someone you do indeed love.
3. Are you a daytime or night time writer?  Is there a particular time of day when or setting where you prefer to write?
I wrote my first novel during the night.  But my other novels I’ve written during the day mostly, with some night-time writing.  I don’t really have a preference.  As long as the story is there and ready to come out, it doesn’t matter if the moon is in the sky or if the sun is.  As far as setting, right now I work at a small desk in the corner of my bedroom.  Like every author I dream of that beautiful writing space full of shelves of books around me and the sea raging just outside.  Perhaps one day.
4. Did you always want to be a writer?  Was there another career that you dreamed of? 
I did always want to write.  I wouldn’t realize writing was a career to have until I was in middle school and the guidance counselor came to our class to talk to us about what we wanted to do with our lives.  My mom and dad had very hard jobs that made them tired and not a lot of money.  I thought the work I did in my life would be at a hard job like theirs.  Writing was just so wonderful that I didn’t associate it with work.  When I realized writing was a career I could have I was taken to the stars by hope alone.
5. What type of research did you end up doing for The Summer that Melted Everything?
I don’t do a lot of research for my novels.  If there’s a specific year or time-frame I’m writing about then I’ll look up the major events that happened that time.  I like for a story to feel like it can take place in any decade, but still be somewhat defined by the time period it’s in.  For TSTME I researched the clothing, the music, the culture that defined that generation.  I also learned more about those early years of AIDS, which when you write about the 1980s you almost have to talk about AIDS because the decade and the disease define each other.
6.  Any parting advice for aspiring authors out there?
I think the biggest advice to aspiring authors is to never give up.  Writing is the easy part.  Publishing is what’s hard.  I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen.  I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth novel written.  For me it was an eleven years of rejection and perseverance.  During that long of time, it’s easy to lose the faith that you will be a published author.  So I say to aspiring authors, never lose that faith.  It may take a long time, but don’t let that defeat you.  Write and fight for your dreams.
WOW!! Talk about awesome! She is a true inspiration and as an aspiring author myself, I love the advice she gives!
Here’s a quick summary of her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything.
26114523Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. 

As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. 

While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

 

What are you guys up to??

Stacking the Shelves [38]

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books that you buy in a physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

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So, I’m going to be slowly changing things up on this site, but so you all know. I’m working on some new art and the format is just starting to get boring for me (and if that’s how I feel I can only imagine how you are all feeling (SORRY!!), so I feel changes will be happening! Anyways, continuing on!

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Physical:
Bought:

Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die #3) by Danielle Paige
So, fun with this series: I own the first and now third, while my friend owns the second.  Yea, I saw it and couldn’t resist the temptation even though I haven’t gotten to the second one yet (by TBR pile is honestly out of control!).

The Wizard of Oz: The First Five Novels by L. Frank Baum
I’m slowly expanding my classics collection and I have fallen in love with the B&N Leather bound collection (slightly awkward for me, since I’m not a fan of leather and where it comes from, but I can’t help how pretty these are!! Also, the edges of this book are GREEN!!! How cool is that?!?

Library:

The Lost Days (Emily the Strange #1) by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker
I was a big fan of Emily the Strange as a middle schooler and even into high school, so here’s my throwback.  I didn’t realize there were full novels until I was at the library this week, kinda cool.  I’m hoping this is a good book to get me out of the reading slump…

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol 3 by Kore Yamazaki
I’m enjoying tis manga so much!! Check out my past review for Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be coming up pretty soon!

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala
Honestly, I was perusing the graphic novel section at the library and this one caught my eye, and after paging through the first few pages, I’m pretty excited!

Review: The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel ~~How Many Times Can You Break My Heart?

26114523Book: The Summer that Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Date of Publication: July 26, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: fiction, contemporary, magical realism, paranormal, gblt
Source: author & NetGalley
Pages: 320

Rating:  5/5 Beans
5Bean - Copy

Short Summary:

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

My Thoughts:

“Dear Mr. Devil, Sir Satan, Lord Lucifer, and all other crosses you bear,
I cordially invite you to Breathed, Ohio. Land of hills and hay bales, of sinners and forgivers. 
May you come in peace. 
With great faith,
Autopsy Bliss”

So begins one of the most over-whelming books of the year.  Seriously, there were so many emotions flying as I read through this book.  It was wonderfully written and silly drew me into the story and did not release me except when I had to take a breath and absorb what was happening.  I will do my very best to not insert spoilers, but it may prove challenging.  There were so many things about this book from the complex and continuously developing characters to the mind-bending nature of human-beings to find a light in our personal darkness.  Ms. McDaniel explores the very root of human beings and how one person can affect an entire town.

There are so many characters I want to talk about, but I shall limit myself to just three.  Our main character, Fielding Bliss, is the definition of innocence in our story.  He is the son of a man who invites the devil into their town, the brother of a super-star with a well-hid secret, and a mother who is scared to leave the house.  He is the best friend to the boy, Sal, who claims to be the devil.  Sal was probably my favorite character.  He had such a complex yet simple outlook on life.  He could make you feel like an idiot or a genius with a sentence and became another child in the Bliss household without his meaning to.  Sal takes the Bliss family and gives them a slight makeover, whether or not that makeover is good is something that you can judge for yourself by the end.  Fielding’s older brother, Grand, comes in a close second as my favorite because he’s too perfect, and when you learn her has a secret, it makes him just that much more human and that, to me, is so important in a character.  Also, now I want to learn Russian!

While well written, I only say that at first it was difficult for me to get the hang of figuring out immediately which time period Fielding is telling from.  I got the hang of it after a few switches, but still it threw me off at first.  That is my only negative.  The setting and actions of the people were so real that I was really taken aback at the ending, because while I was not expecting it, it happened and I’m not surprised.  That ending broke my heart a million times over though, so you have now been warned!

My suggestion: stop what you are reading now and go read this book!! Seriously! Five beans from me without hesitation!! A wonderfully written debut novel about the struggles of being human and acceptation that the devil may in fact lurk inside each and every one of us.

July Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews

This month was pretty slow for me.  I honestly did not spend a lot of time reading, which is not good, but I did start some solidly large books this month.  I, as I should have known, read very few of the books that I had planned on reading this month.  But I did read a few new books.
I did get six books in this month, two of the were manga, but I’m still counting those!!

The Last One by Alexandra Olivia – four point five beans – This book deserves to be noticed!!! Never before have the lines between reality and fiction been so blurred until the very end!

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J Schmitt – three beans – I was underwhelmed by this book.  Our sassy main character was just a bit too annoying and I honestly got bored about half-way through.

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine – five beans – I have pretty much nothing bad to say, I highly recommend this book, did I mention it’s about a Library? And books? And possible magic?  Must read for sure!!

Twin Star Exorcists, Volume 1 by Yoshiaki Sukeno – four beans –  An interesting, but slightly awkward, concept, that I haven’t heard much of before.  New levels of hell, literally, and I look forward to the rest and learning more about this characters!

The Ancient Magus Bride, Volume 1 by Kore Yamazaki – three point five beans – I’m loving this world that was created inside of the our world. And the art is beautiful!  I was a bit uncomfortable at times, but I’ excited to see where the story goes.

The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB (The Unbelievable FIB #1) by Adam Shaughnessy – five beans – This story was so lovely!  I loved all of it from the storyline to the characters.  A great book that I would recommend to any middle school teacher!

 

Monthly Favorites:
Book: The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (I’m a middle schooler at heart I think)
Movie: I seem to not watch movies much….sad news!!
TV Show: Limitless (Netflix, ready, set, GO!)

What about your month?? What happened this month for you, I would love to know!!

Waiting on Wednesday: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week in my spotlight, I’ve chosen:


28818314Book: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 432

 

Summary:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.

 

My Thoughts:

I saw The Phantom of the Opera with my family this past spring break, and honestly it was so amazing!!! I loved the story and the music and everything about it!!  This book is apparently the combination of the Phantom of the Opera and Cinder.  It’s like a no-brainer!!

Also this cover? I love all of her covers and story ideas, now I just need to read them….

What have you guys found recently?

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

 

I want to thank Jacquie  from Rattle the Stars for the nomination.  Go check her out, she’s awesome!  Sorry it took me so long! I’ve been falling behind in pretty much everything in my life, but that will change this month!

The Rules:

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 blogs of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

7 Facts:

1. I am a marathon runner and until this past March worked at a kickboxing gym.  I have since turned the boxing in for running and being barista.

2. I write under a pen name so that no one knows who I am.  And because why not?

3. I call myself an accidental vegan because I’ve been vegetarian for going on six years and recently learned that I’m also lactose intolerant, so I basically eat vegan most of the time now.

4. I am a lover of candles.  Seriously, I go through them way faster than a normal person would.

5. I don’t actually know how to apply make-up for the most part because it makes my face itch and I’ve never been super comfortable in it.

6. I enjoy drawing and usually end up drawing in an anime style or a chili style (they’re so cute!!).

7. At 25, I’m getting a bit tired of people asking me when I’m getting married and having kids.  Who knows! I would probably be just as content living by myself with a bunch of cats!  You never know what the future will hold and I have stuff I want to do first.

Nominations:

I nominate…everyone!! I know kinda lame, but honestly, I haven’t caught up on looking at everyones posts and I’m not sure who has done it yet or not, so if you haven’t, please do!  It’s fun and, honestly, a lot harder than I thought it would be.  It’s also good to remember that we are more than just our books reviews😉

Stacking the Shelves [37]

IMG_0400

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books that you buy in a physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

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Physical:
Bought:
Assassination Classroom, Volume 11 by Yusei Matsui

27406747

Library:
The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett
The Ancient Magus Bride, Volume 2 by Kore Yamazaki
Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

 

Manga Mini Reviews [1]

So, for those of you who don’t know, I’m an Otaku, meaning a huge fan of Japanese manga and anime.  I’ve been a fan since middle school when a friend of mine introduced me to Bleach and Angel Sanctuary.  Of course, I’m in the Pokemon GO crowd, but who wouldn’t want a little Pokemon following them around all day?? Seriously! I’ve started (as well as continued) several different manga series in the past month, and even though I haven’t been doing too much reading in general for personal reasons (I need a revamp of this site very soon!!!  But that’ll be another post, I’ve got some ideas so be on the lookout on my Instagram page!!) and because it’s beautiful outside!!!

Anyways, I’m here to introduce you to a few of my more recent manga reads. Ok, like two total…but still!!

23705479Title: Twin Star Exorcists, Onmyoji #1
Author: Yoshiaki Sukeno
Date of Publication: July 7, 2015
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Genre: fiction, fantasy, adventure, manga, paranormal
Pages: 200

Rating:
4Bean

Short Summary:

Rokuro is from a family of exorcists, but he’d rather be a singer, a soccer player or anything but an exorcist! He’s forced to own up to his own incredible potential when new arrival Benio stirs his competitive spirit. But their rivalry gets a twist when they earn the prestigious title of “Twin Star Exorcists”— two supreme fighters fated to marry and birth the ultimate spiritual warrior!
My Quick Thoughts:
An interesting if not awkward concept, but I am LOVING the action scenes! They have a slight Bleach feel to me but Bleach was my first manga so there’s probably a good reason for that.

Anyway! There’s a little backstory on both our main characters and I get the basic info behind their history, but nothing completely solid yet. I’m hoping that more will be explained as I continue reading.

They are adorable!!!! And scary powerful, and I really want to understand the mask! Looks like a jackal from ancient Egypt or a cat? I’m not sure but I look forward to learning a bit more about her.

I also enjoy that instead of using demons, they go a level lower to kegare. Adds a new dimension. Literally.

23310828Title: The Ancient Magus' Bride, Volume 1Author:Kore YamasakiDate of Publication: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Seven Seas
Genre: fiction, fantasy, adventure, romance, manga, magic, paranormal
Pages: 180



Short Summary:

The Ancient Magus’ Bride is an all-new manga series that features a fascinating relationship between a troubled teenage girl and an inhuman wizard.

Enter the Magician’s Apprentice

Her name is Chise Hatori, a penniless orphan troubled by visions. Sold as a slave to an inhuman mage, she is about to begin a strange new life, filled with magic, fairies, and other beings of a fantastical nature.

My Quick Thoughts:
I had never heard of this manga when I first picked it up at the library, and I have to say that it was very interesting. I really enjoyed the world that Kore Yamzaki created and the magic he has instilled in our own world. The art is beautiful!!!

The concepts of mages and alchemists and where their magic comes from is something that seems to be very different depending on where you get your information (Fullmetal would have issues with this one I feel). And this manga is no different. While by the end I think I understood the difference I was just as confused as our lovely main character for the most part.

Speaking of our main character, Chise Hatori, I felt bad for her! Like honestly, she was thrown into this world after everyone thinking she was crazy and suddenly she is called the Queen Bee. And her master/husband/Thorn/whatever he is called is kinda creepy. I’m not sure what to think of the situations yet, except I love the cats!!

Have you guys read any good manga lately?  Any suggestions are more than welcome!!!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week in my spotlight, I’ve chosen:

30653853Book: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Blazer & Bray
Pages: 352

 

Summary:

“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back.”

What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart. 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy the concept here and I think my mind is still in contemporary mode…thoughts??