Top Ten Tuesday: Often Overlooked

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

September 11: Hidden Gems

I was going to put a twist on this week’s list but I’ve been battling brain fog most of the day so I’m simply going to go through my Goodreads list and see what books I enjoyed that I feel might not have been as widely known as others.  Mainly going to select lesser-known authors this week.

Ten books that I consider hidden gems.

  1. Dead Trees Give No Shelter  Wil Wheaton has written a self-published book that I discovered through his blog posts.  I decided to buy a copy, only available through his website and found it quite good.  I hear he is working on another book and I’m excited to see what it is all about.
  2. Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1) Nancy Kress is an author that I feel is not as well-known.  I have really enjoyed about 75% of what I’ve read by her.  This is one of the winners.
  3. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall If you are interested in trying this author but don’t want a full-length book this is an interesting short story/novella that she also wrote.
  4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) Robin Sloan was an author I found through my library’s overdrive system.  It was quite interesting in a plot-twisty sort of way.  Science fiction/Fantasy.
  5. Dying Bites (The Bloodhound Files, #1) D.D. Barant again was discovered through my library’s overdrive account.  Enjoyed this one so much I bought all the books used on eBay.  The series fizzled out midway but I haven’t given up on them completely and will try again someday.
  6. The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1) John Twelve Hawks is a great pick for those looking for a political/conspiracy theory read that is anti-government.
  7. The Fold Peter Clines wrote this super interesting science fiction/fantasy novel that kept me turning the page.
  8. Angel Kin (Angel Assassins, #2) Tricia Skinner seems to have let this series die which makes me so sad as it was awesome!  If you like stories about bad-ass angels then give this one a try.
  9. Archetype M.D. Waters is another author that wrote two great books, a duology that I wished she had expanded to other books.  Kind of a science fiction/fantasy/dystopian read.
  10. The Gargoyle The last book is a one hit wonder.  It took the author ten years to write it I read so that might be why he never wrote another.  This book, however, is fantastic!  A beautiful story of love that is both dark and intricate.

Blog/Reading Update:  I had my eye appt. yesterday and I’m happy to report that my eyes are healthy!  My two very expensive glasses are on order and in about 10 days I should be able to read again.  My second pair is prescription reading glasses because I’m one of those people who can’t simply go buy a pair off the shelf and my husband loves his.  To those that enjoy my posts and reviews, I hope to return to posting content soon.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Binge Worthy YouTube

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

September 4: Bingeworthy TV Shows/Movies

I don’t have a ton of shows that I regularly watch but I am known to sit binge watch YouTube shows by my favorite creators.  So I’m going to tweak this week’s list and share with you my favorite YouTube Channels.

Ten YouTube Channels that regularly keep me from reading…

  1. The Young Turks: This is perhaps the station I watch most often for their news content.  They report facts but then the commentary leans progressive.  When it comes to election predictions I find them to be quite accurate.
  2. Casey Neistat: This is one of the first content creators that sucked me into YouTube.  Before discovering his channel I was a pretty infrequent viewer mainly going to the site to look up music videos or movie trailers.
  3. Simone Giertz: This channel is a hoot! She is known as the Queen of Shitty Robots and spends much of her time coming up with crazy inventions.
  4. Ask A Mortician: I love this channel and the death positive message it delivers.  Lots of interesting videos about death and the death industry.
  5. ThreadBanger: I started following their DIY posts where they would try to recreate stuff they found on Pinterest but they have evolved to include lots of other content.
  6. Simply Nailogical: Like many of the people who follow Cristine I found the channel after Polish Mountain and decided to stick around for the humor.  I’m not really into painting my nails but still find this channel enjoyable.
  7. Safiya Nygaard: I believe I found this channel from crossover videos with the previous two.  I enjoy her fun take on clothing challenges
  8. The Try Guys: I enjoyed the Try Guys when they were on Buzzfeed so it was great to see they started their own channel.
  9. Mr. Kate: If you like decorating or renovation shows then you might want to check out this bubbly pink-haired creative weirdo!
  10. Peter Brown: I’m not sure how I found this channel but so enjoy the new videos Mr. Brown puts out.  He is a funny seriously talented wood turner.

These are some of my favorite channels on YouTube I hope you check them out and subscribe yourself if you find their content entertaining.  What channels do you subscribe to?  Share in the comments.

On Hold…

Hello everyone.  I’m just popping in to let you know I’ve decided to put the blog on hold for a bit.  I’m currently struggling to read, not just book pages but also computer screens as my up close vision continues to deteriorate.  I’ve made a doctor apt to have a vision screening on Sept 10 and should have new glasses around a week afterward with my first set of bifocals…  I’m just not going to fight my eyes and wait until I have an updated prescription to continue blogging and hopefully renew my love of reading.

Congratulations to Jen who won the signed copy of Wild Hunger.

Top Ten Tuesday: How-to know how!

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

August 28: Back to School/Learning Freebie

I’m not really into reading books about back to school or stories set in school settings.  I’ve been way over YA for a few years now so each year when this topic pops up on the TTT list I’m a little lost as to what books to select.  But this year I found a twist that might work.  I’m going to go with the Learning Freebie option and select some books that have helped me learn either a skill or about something and share them with you.

Ten books that helped me learn.

  1. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Going to start with my current read or rather listen and share The Devil in the White City.  I’m actually surprised at how much I’m enjoying this book as it is quite out of character for me.  If you are interested in learning about the 1893 World Fair then this is the book for you.
  2. Last Train to Istanbul The Last Train to Istanbul is technically a work of fiction but there are a lot of accurate events from WII blended into the story.  If you are interested in learning how the Turks saved around 2000 Jews from Hitler I highly suggest this book.
  3. Knitter's handbook Confession time.  I’m not sure if I’ve actually read this book or not.  I learned how to knit from a website and Youtube.  BUT this book does look familiar and I thought it would be a good choice to recommend for those of you who might be looking to take up knitting.
  4. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Isn’t this cover lovely?  I listened to this audiobook and the author did a great job of not making me feel too dumb.  If like me, you enjoy science fiction and The Big Bang Theory and want to dip your toe into science fact then this is a great book to try.
  5. The Evolving Soul: Spiritual Healing Through Past Life Exploration This title might be a bit far out there for some of you.  If you have an open mind and into exploring another idea of what happens after we die and want to learn about reincarnation then I suggest this book for you to try.
  6. Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel Just going to quote the synopsis for you here:”Animal Wise takes us on a dazzling odyssey into the inner world of animals and among the pioneering researchers who are leading the way into once-forbidden territory: the animal mind.”  A great book for animal lovers.
  7. Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics I love raising chickens and if you are interested in starting your own flock then this is a great book for you to read.
  8. Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance I picked up this book when we moved to the country 14 years ago.  TONs of great and useful information in these pages.  From gardening, livestock, fences, wood burning, and even basic home maintenance.  A must for any newbie to rural living.
  9. Good Companions: The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting. by Josie Jeffrey This is a great book for gardeners looking to expand their skills.
  10. Ball Blue Book of Preserving This book will teach you how to preserve all those fruit and veggies that you grow!

Weew. That was easier than I thought it would be.  I hope you find some helpful titles above I know I’ve found them useful over the years.  Feel free to leave links to your list in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

August 21: Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

This week’s list might be difficult, or at least I’m having trouble figuring out how I want to approach it.  Books that pull me out of a reading slump might or probably won’t pull you out of one because the chances are we have different reading tastes.  I’m going to pursue my read list and see what I can come up with.  Generally, my advice for a reading slump is this; Reread something you loved in the past, try something completely different from what you tend to read,  read a non-fiction title, or take a break from reading altogether and do something else.  Those are best tips I have for getting over a reading slump.

Ten books that might help with a reading slump…

  1. Genesis Sometimes you simply need something short to get you back in the reading mood or life gets too busy.  This is a dystopian book under 200 pages that you could easily read in an afternoon.
  2. Mr G: A Novel About The Creation Another quick read right around 200 pages that will keep your interest if you don’t mind questioning who God is and what it might have been like for him to create the universe.
  3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) Sticking to the universe why not follow a rag-tag crew of misfits as they build, essentially, a space highway to a small angry planet.  This is a great pick for sci-fi fans.
  4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)  Sometimes you just need dry British humor and a outragous plot.  This book fits the bill, again, for sci-fi fans looking to get their reading groove back on.
  5. Redshirts Another pick for those sci-fi fans.  This book is also a great pick for all you Trekkies out there.  Kind of a plot within a plot here that is told in three parts.  I’m not sure how else to sell it to you except for it was a lot of fun.
  6. A Quick Bite (Argeneau #1) Not into sci-fi and looking for a great beach read that isn’t to heavy.  If you are a paranormal fan like me I suggest the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands.  They are a hoot.
  7. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires (Half-Moon Hollow, #1) Another great paranormal beach read.  This one checks off the funny, sexy, and great friendships boxes for sure.
  8. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Looking for a little less fluff and a bit more action than I would give this one a try.
  9. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) The next two books are rereads that I recently read that helped me break an audiobook slump I was having.
  10. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) This book is an excellent choice to break a reading slump.  It covers all the emotions and will leave you clamoring for more!

Alright,  sorry if the list feels a little disjointed I was distracted/called away a couple of times while working on the post.  What books have helped you get over a reading slump?  Leave them in the comments.

 

Update:  I have a giveaway for a signed copy of Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill that started yesterday.  All you need to do to enter is go and comment on yesterday’s post   I’m asking you to share your favorite Chicago Food.  Comments open until Monday the 27th, selecting a winner on Tuesday the 28th.  Good Luck!

Monday Morning Check-In: Giveaway

Good morning everyone, I’m coming to you from a rainy Monday here in eastern Iowa.   The title isn’t click bait I do have a giveaway for you all but you will have to wait until the end of the post for more details.  Not a lot of reading going on last week because I was preoccupied with a new used car search and a trip to Chicago for a book signing.  We decided to combine these two activities and searched for cars out in Chicago.  It paid off because we ended up finding a wonderful new ride for an amazing price.  Several thousand dollars cheaper than we would have found here at home.  On Thursday we headed out with one car and came home Friday with a 2015 Toyota Rav4!  The car is practically brand new with only 21,000 miles on it and after 60 reasonable payments, it will be all ours.

The original purpose of our trip was to attend a book signing with author Chloe Neill of the Chicagoland Vampires series. This signing for the first book in her spin-off series The Heirs of Chicagoland, the first book being Wild Hunger (linked to review). She shared with us that she is under contract for two books but there could be more depending on sales!    It was a super fun evening listening to Ms. Neill answer questions about her books.  While I was there I decided to pick up an extra copy of Wild Hunger to giveaway on the blog.  I did share on Instagram that details would be in today’s post so here they are.

Giveaway!

To win the signed copy of Chloe Neill’s Wild Hunger, first in the Heirs of Chicagoland series, all you need to do is leave a comment sharing your favorite Chicago food.  If you’ve never been to Chicago no problem, simply share with which food you would love to try!

One comment/entry per person, US entries only (international shipping is outrageous! (and pesky international laws…)). Comments will be open for one week, Monday the 20th to Monday the 27th.  I will randomly select the winner on Tuesday the 28th and contact them.  If no reply I will randomly select another winner.

 

Good Luck!

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Book Review

 


Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)Book Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Book Series: Heirs of Chicagoland #1

Released: 8/14/18 by Berkley

Pages: 352 Price: $15.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

My Review:

Being a fan of the main series this book was spun off of I was so excited to have the opportunity to read and review this book.  Then the summer hit and I got busy and felt awful that it took me until the week before the release to read it.  To top it off the author is coming to Naperville on Thursday and I took the day off to go see her.   So this week I pushed myself to carve out some reading time and finished the first book in a whole new chapter of Chicagoland vampires

I might have also been a bit hesitant to start the spin-off out of fear that it wouldn’t live up the original series.  Of course, many of the characters would carry over but there would be new people to connect with and form bonds.  Lulu and Connor were my personal favorites. The first book in series are often make or break for the success of a series.  We need enough background information to get hooked but not an info dump.  We need a compelling plot to keep us engaged with characters we barely know and enough cliffhangers to keep us coming back.  That’s a lot of pressure for a book.

Fortunately, Ms. Neill does a beautiful job with Wild Hunger.  There was enough distinction from the first series for this one to stand on its own.  Yet there was plenty of characters and settings carried over from the first series to keep fans of that one feeling like they were visiting old friends.  The time jump between the last series and this one was handled nicely too. Of course, being vampires, for many of the characters, we don’t have to worry about them having died off.  Ms. Neill demonstrates the advancement of time more through the changes in the city and technology which were subtle yet fun ways to make to book feel like it is set in the future.

Then there is the fact that Elisa is the descendant of the two main characters from the last series.  This could have easily come off as Merit with blond hair but doesn’t.  If anything I almost see more of her father Ethan in her than Merit, but she is a nice blend of their personalities and quirks.  Ms. Neill also sets up Elisa’s love interest for the series with Connor, which wasn’t a huge surprise because it was implied in the last series.  It isn’t a major plot point in the book but a good start for future books.  I look forward to seeing how they come together.

I don’t want to spoil things for you but there was an unexpected twist that links the two series through Elisa.  I am looking forward to seeing how she handles this issue and how it becomes known to her parents.

Overall if you are a fan of Chicagoland Vampires then it is a given that you are going to want to get your hands on this book.  Take my word on it! If you want to start here though, there is a lot to love in this book.  The action, humor, and setting are all spot on!   It was a fun read and if you enjoy urban fantasy then you will enjoy Wild Hunger too.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Sites

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

August 14: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

Here we are the week where you all learn what a bad book blogger I am.  I don’t actually visit that many other book blogs.  I’m sorry but I don’t.  If you all leave a link to your list in my comments I do go and visit but otherwise, I simply don’t read that many other blogs. I do visit a couple of other bookish sites regularly but not many.  Bad book blogger, Amy….

Ten bookish sites I visit regularly.

(Fingers crossed I have ten)

  1. GoodReads:  This is the site that I use to organize my reading.  I keep track of what I’ve read and want to read but less so thanks to a recent to-read purge.  I also check reviews and follow authors there.
  2. Net Galley:  This is probably the other site that I visit the most often when it comes to books.  I usually visit the site once a day to see what new books are up for review request.
  3. Edelweiss:  I have less success with requesting books for review at this site but I do visit it a couple of times a month to see what books are up for review.
  4. Bridges:  This is the overdrive system for Iowa where you can borrow e-books and audiobooks through Iowa libraries.  I regularly visit this site for my audiobooks.
  5. That Artsy Reader Girl:  This is one blog that thanks to this weekly list I visit at least once a week, more often if I am pre-writing my lists.
  6. Barnes and Noble: If I buy e-books I will visit this site for new reads for my Nook.
  7. Anderson’s BookshopPrairie Lights:  I put these two together because I visit them for the same reason, to find out what author events they might be holding.
  8. Instagram: I’m going to count this site because I do use it to follow a lot of authors also I need to pad this list a bit…
  9. WorldCat:  Okay this is mainly for work but it is a bookish site.  I use this site when it comes to looking up cataloging information for books.  If you are trying to find a book at a library near you I highly recommend this website.
  10. State Library of Iowa:  Another site that I mainly use for work.

I feel like I cheated there at the end but I managed to make it to ten.  What bookish sites or amazing blogs am I missing out on?  Leave them in the comments and I’ll check them out.

Monday Check-In: Better late than never…

My brain is fried.  I have done nothing but cook and search for a new car.  That is it.  We have decided it is time to get our SUV and now the search begins and I hate the search.  Probably more than the negotiating or paperwork.  We are going to have a second car loan which sucks but it is coming to the point that neither one of us want to drive the Honda.  It has been a great car but is reaching the end of its life.  We didn’t want to be pressured into having to buy a car so we started looking now.

We are also on this Whole30 and didn’t get a chance to cook yesterday so this morning I did that, hence no post this morning.  I’m listening to The Young Turks now and after the news is over I’m going to step away from the computer and go read in bed because I am done looking at cars that are either too far away or more than I want to pay…  Hopefully, we will find something soon because I’m already tired of looking.

Have a great week everyone.

Top Ten Tuesday:Odd Crossovers

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

August 7: Books You’d Mash Together

 

I kind of love the idea for this week’s list!  I’m going to put a bit of a twist on it however.  I’m going to select some of my favorite series or trilogies that I would love it if the authors got together and did a crossover story with characters from both worlds visiting each other.  Something like that Marvel does where you get Ironman and Thor or Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange team up to have an adventure.  Alright let’s see what awesome story ideas we can make up.

Ten Series Crossover Ideas

  1. How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire (Love at Stake, #1) Love at Stake & A Quick Bite (Argeneau #1) Argeneau: These two series are my favorite light and fluffy chick-lit vampire series.  The Argeneau is still an active series but Love at Stake is finished so maybe some of those characters could show up in one of Lynsay Sands books.  Could be fun.
  2. Fantasy Lover (Hunter Legends Series #1) The Dark Hunters & Born of Night (The League: Nemesis Rising #1) The League: I thought this might be a fun crossover being that both series are written by Ms. Kenyon.  We could have The League discover Earth and interact with the Dark Hunters. I’ve also always wondered how all the Gods and goddesses would influence a mulit-planet system.
  3. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Night Huntress & Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1) Chicagoland Vampires:  These author’s writing style remind me of one another.  Perhaps Bones and Cat can take a trip to visit Merit and Ethan in Chicago.
  4. Redshirts John Scalzi & The Martian Andy Weir: This is the only exception to this week’s list.  Weir has only written/published two books neither one a series and Redshirts was a stand-alone for Scalzi.  They also have a slightly different writing style but what they do share is a great sence of humor and I’d love to see what they could write if they teamed up.
  5. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) Charley Davidson & Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) Mercy Thompson: It might be because I’m currently rereading these books in audio format and they are narrated by the same person but I think these two series might be fun for a crossover.  In Jones’s world there is only angels and the grim reaper for paranormal elements  what would happen if they learned there were also shifters, vampires, and fae, oh my!
  6. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1) Blackdagger Brotherhood & Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1) Guild Hunter: I almost pared up Ms. Ward with another author but at the last-minute I remembered Singh’s series (which I keep meaning to return to…) and thought they would be a great fit.
  7. Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians, #1) Immortal Guardians & Fantasy Lover (Hunter Legends Series #1) Dark Hunter: I have alway thought the Immortal Guardians series reminded me a lot of the Dark Hunter series so for the purpose of this list why not pair them up and see what happens!
  8. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) The Hollows & Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1) Alpha & Omega: I wanted to match Ms. Harrison’s Hollows series up with someone because I thought it was such a great series but I struggled to find the right fit.  I think the Alpha and Omega series might work because of the character Charles.  He is such a stoic character that it might be fun to see how he handles interacting with Rachel and her crew.  Jenks would drive him mad, I think.
  9. Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) Blackdagger Legacy & Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed,  #1) Midnight Breed: Decided to match Ms. Ward’s spin-off series with the Midnight Breed world because the two world seem like they would work well together.
  10. A Girl's Guide to Vampires (Dark Ones #1) Dark Ones & Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (Jane Jameson, #1) Jane Jameson: Returning to lighter hearted paring for my final selection.  Both of these authors have great senses of humor and tend to write wacky female characters that would be fun to see interact.

I tried to pair up authors and series that would compliment each other either in plot or in writing style.  How about you?  What series would make good crossover novels if their authors teamed up?