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!!

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: How do you organize your books for review? Does it work for you or have you had to change it? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
MY ANSWER: Generally I read them in the order I receive them in since they tend to be few and far between. Though in the rare moments where that's not the case, I'll read them based on release date. Whatever releases first gets read first...which works well for me.

Random Thursday

Time for another round of random and obscure facts that I bet you never really knew from That's a Fact Jack: A Collection of Utterly Useless Information [Updated] by Harry Bright and Jakob Anser!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
"The sudden, violent windstorms that rush up and down Mount Fuji contributed greatly to Japan's mythology, which includes many flying spirits."

That's interesting! And something I can totally believe! Now I want to know about these myths!

(image borrowed from Friendly's)
"Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast, then nap after lunch to gain and sustain their weight."

Note to self...never skip breakfast and nap right after lunch.

(image borrowed from Disney Wiki)
"'Honcho' comes from the Japanese word meaning 'squad leader.'"

John's the honcho!! 

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
"Francis Ford Coppola made a Suntory whiskey commercial with legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa--an event depicted in Sofia Coppola's film, Lost in Translation."

Never heard of any of this! Lol! But cool! I guess?


Review--The Dragon Finds Forever by Kristen Painter

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

Monalisa Devlin is a Will O’ The Wisp, a rare and potentially dangerous creature. Unfortunately, her greedy father makes sure she lives up to that potential. Monalisa is magically compelled to obey her father's evil commands--until he finally agrees to free her in exchange for one, last mission: Travel to Nocturne Falls and use her powers to force Ivan Tsvetkov back into the ring.

Once a champion on the supernatural MMA circuit, Ivan 'The Hammer' Tsvetkov retired after a devastating injury that left him unable to shift into his dragon form. Wounded and embittered, Ivan wants nothing more than to be left alone. Until an infuriating, stubborn, delicately beautiful stranger shows up on his doorstep and demands that he rebuild his life.

Posing as a rehab therapist seemed like the easiest way to get close to the smoldering recluse, but Monalisa quickly realizes that nothing about this mission is going to be easy. To gain his trust, she shares more of herself than she ever has before, and as their connection deepens, so does the weight of her secrets. She thought she was willing to do whatever it took to win her independence...but when her deception blows up in her face, will Monalisa discover that the loss of Ivan's heart is too high a price to pay? Or will their love rise from the ashes to burn stronger than ever?

Nocturne Falls is one of my most favorite places to be! Kristen Painter was created a world that is very much our own, except of course, there are real live vampires, werewolves, gargoyles and even dragons walking about! As you might have guessed it, The Dragon Finds Forever involves a dragon and even a Will ‘O the Wisp! I can’t say that I’ve ever encountered one of them in literature before, so it was quite fun having one as a main character!

Monalisa is our Will ‘O the Wisp and is basically a type of fae. Her father is a leprechaun and an evil one at that. He controls Monalisa through and through and until he grants her the coin that should’ve been hers at eighteen, she will never be able to escape him. Her father runs a fighting league and when his best player called it quits after losing a fight, he tasks Monalisa with the job of getting him back into fighting shape for a rematch with the supernatural who bested him.

Ivan is the dragon of this story and as you might have guessed it, is a MMA fighter. After he was poisoned by a manticore in his last fight he has decided to call it quits. The poison has yet to leave his veins and it’s left him inured and unable to shift into his dragon form. When a young woman comes to his door claiming to be sent by the League, his past employer, to help him get rehabilitated he’s skeptical but doesn’t want to cost the poor woman her job so he agrees to let her help him heal.

Monalisa isn’t too thrilled with having to lie to Ivan, he’s a good guy despite his rough exterior. He shows her more care and consideration than her father ever has and it endears him to her. She hates lying to him though, but knows things will get worse if she were to come clean. Her father’s hold over her is too strong for her to break by herself and he promises to give her her freedom if she completes this one final task, though Monalisa knows better to trust her father’s word.

Like all Kristen’s books in this series has been, this one was just as magical and entertaining as ever! I feel like Monalisa and Ivan were going to have the roughest trial of a relationship to form since they had to start out with lies, on Monalisa’s part, though she wasn’t happy to lie either. It definitely added this sort of invisible tension in a way, because you know that things aren’t going to be pleasant once the secret was out. In the meantime, though, you start to swoon a bit as the big tough Ivan and gentle hearted Monalisa start to truly fall for each other. It was almost heart-aching for me to read because I was anticipating the worst blowout ever once Monalisa’s secret came to light.

Ivan was an enjoyable character too! I almost feel like it’s a cliché for the big and tough Russian fighter to be a big softie at heart. But then again, who doesn’t love a guy with a big heart? He’s definitely one of the most thoughtful and considerate guys you’ll ever meet. And his rescuing a dog from the shelter was heart-melting too! As I said, he’s a lovable guy and he really surprised me with his growth.

I loved seeing the relationship develop between Ivan and Monalisa! Yes, it got started on the wrong foot almost, but the feelings they were having were still true. And as they continued to work through the issues they had, you knew they were really meant to be. As I said before, this is a series comprised of standalones and they are all paranormal romances, expecting a happy ending each and every time sort of becomes the norm for this series, so I don’t feel like I am giving away spoilers here!

We got to see some new faces in this one that have me excited for possible books to come! Though I already know who’s in our next book, which I am extremely excited to read since his brothers already had their books and happy endings! It makes me wonder if some of these new faces will be seen again in the near future or not!

Nocturne Falls is definitely a series no paranormal reader should be without! It’s a little town that was made for readers like us and I enjoy visiting it again and again with each and every book I read from this world! I highly recommend picking up any of the books, or all of them of course!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


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.

Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Murder.

No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow.

Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she's finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But Snapchat... That's safer, right?

After months of living under the radar, Tessa emerges from hiding, forced to face the deadly consequences of her past. But in the interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.

I haven't read the first book yet and now I am glad I haven't since this one's a duology! Binging duologies is my favorite pastime! Lol! 

AUTHOR: A.V. Geiger
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
GENRE: Thriller YA
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2018

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.

"And with that one kiss, she was smitten. Ruined, really. Because for the rest of her life, he would be the ruler all other men were measured by. And if she lived to be a thousand years old, she was always going to wonder what if?" Kindle loc. 32%

TITLE: The Dragon Finds Forever
AUTHOR: Kristen Painter
PUBLISHER: Sugar Skull Books
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 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: FREEBIE: Most Scream-worthy Cliffhangers!

*in no particular order
**wherein you will need the next book in the series asap and for most of these I HAD TO WAIT!!!!

10. REIGN OF SHADOWS by Sophie Jordan--this was one of the few where I was lucky to have the next book at the ready! Bc OMG that was dreadful!
9. DREAMFEVER by Karen Marie Moning--oh the screams! The terrible screams! Mine and Mac's!!
8. SOLDIER by Julie Kagawa--another rare, rare instance where I had the next book at the ready...thankfully!! Julie holds nothing back with gut wrenching cliffhangers!

7. THE TROUBLE WITH TWELFTH GRAVE by Darynda Jones--omg omg omg omg!!! I NEED 13th GRAVE NOW!!! But aahhh!!! Did you see it was pushed BACK to 2019?! Amazon and Goodreads have conflicting dates, a January and February one so I am left in a state of horror at not knowing how long I will have to wait!
6. SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead--one of the worst cliffhangers EVER!! Dreadful! What's worse...the graphic novel series ENDS WITH THIS!!!
5. TWISTED by Gena Showalter--you're probably tired of hearing about this one from me by now! Lol! I apparently hold "grudges" with cancelled series that are likely to never ever ever have a conclusion! Even Gena's description of how book 4 would've gone down still left out CRITICAL information!

4. OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout--OMG!!!! I had binge read these first three together and this ending killed me!
3. WICKED: SPELLBOUND by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie--aka Wicked (compilation Volume 2). I first read this series when the books were individual and this ending killed me! And I went on to learn that the series was cancelled!!! I had to wait 6 years for the finale to come about as the series was eventually revived due to better sales!
2. DEAD OF WINTER by Kresley Cole--OMG THIS ENDING!!! And then to have the series in a state of hiatus for awhile as there was a change in publishers...this yet again, killed me!

1. CRYSTAL STORM by Morgan Rhodes--although, to be fair, books 1-4 had pretty screamworthy cliffhangers too. But I think this one, this one was the most scream worthy!! I've only just gotten my voice back earlier this year when I got the final book in my hands! Lol!! But even then, it still took several chapters and pages until my heart would beat at a normal rate...even by looking at the cover! ;)


Let's Discuss: Dogs or Cats?

Still at a loss for topic ideas these days, so I turn to the helpful little list that I had saved for such occurrences! The next item up for gabs is...

Dogs or Cats?

Growing up we always seemed to have both in the house. I guess I never really had a preference for one or the other. It seemed that no matter what dog we had, they were always rather high maintenance! Lol! We seemed to keep with the trend of having two dogs at once because one always needs a friend! And it in both instances where we had two dogs, when it came to feeding time you always had to stand guard because one dog was a pig and the other was a slow eater! Lol! So yeah, feeding time was always lengthier than it should be!

We seemed to have good luck with cats. I remember our childhood one was a straight up rescue that was always nice, there was a meaner one from when I was a kid. Apparently when you're 1-2 and get too close (assuming I tried to pet it) it scratches you. Other than that one, our cats were always good kitties! Except of course for my late grandpa's evil demon spawn! We took it over after he passed and she remained evil to her dying day. Which it was still sad when that little hellion passed. And since she was our last cat, I'm not feeling too friendly towards kitties anymore! It was a 50/50 chance that our last one would allow you to pet her after she wanted you to pet her. It was that scary! Lol.

So I guess more dog than cat but not opposed to cats? Unless they were like our last one which was a hellspawn.What about you? Dogs or cats? Or both! Or none!

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:

Almost Midnight by C.C. Hunter (5 stars)
Fighting Back by C.C. Hunter (4.5 stars)
The Shifter Romances the Writer by Kristen Painter (5 stars)
The Vampire's True Love Trials by Kristen Painter (5 stars)

DNF Review:

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Currently Reading:

The Dragon Finds Forever by Kristen Painter

What I Plan to Read this Week:

Titans by Victoria Scott

Other Posts of Interest: