Friday, March 23, 2018

Spinning Pages (47): A Darkly Beating Heart


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





This week on Spinning Pages take us down a dark road of hatred and revenge, covering a span of time that traverses both the path and present. Keep reading to see this week's book and lyric pairing. 


Bad Blood by Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
Now we got problemsAnd I don't think we can solve themYou made a really deep cutAnd baby now we got bad blood
Did you think we'd be fine?Still got scars on my back from your knifeSo don't think it's in the pastThese kind of wounds they last and they lastNow did you think it all through?All these things will catch up to youAnd time can heal but this won'tSo if you come in my way, just don'tOh, it's so sad to think about the good timesYou and I

If you read my review earlier in the week, then you are aware that I did not like A Darkly Beating Heart (at all). In fact, I ended up DNF-ing because it was just, well, bad. I wanted to like it, as it sounded interesting, I mean who doesn't like a revenge book, it's just that this one felt completely purposeless.  All that aside, the very little I did make it through made me think of the above song. 

If you're curious for more details on why  A Darkly Beating Heart was not for me, then check out my review. 

This week's song selection is in thanks to my amazing yet terrible ability to remember songs and lyrics, even from ones that I don't like...I'll be honest, it feels incredibly weird to use a Taylor Swift song for this post; like very wrong/weird. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I Want to Read It (47): The Belles



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, February 6, 2018. Published by Disney-Hyperion. 
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 
Why

I don't know how Dhonielle Clayton's The Belles has not been on my radar until recently, but the premise sounds really promising.  I'm really hoping that my library will acquire a copy of this one as it sounds like something I would really enjoy!!

Tell me: What are your thoughts on The Belles?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: A Darkly Beating Heart


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, March 19, 2018

DNF Review: A Darkly Beating Heart


A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith, October 25, 2016. 272 pages. Published by Roaring Brook Press. Source: ARC from publisher.
A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.
First Sentence
Uncle Satori says mastery is a well-worn path.



I was really hoping that this would be an enjoyable read as it has time travel and is set in Japan, but alas this book was not good. NOT AT ALL.
  • I have given A Darkly Beating Heart three separate chances to pull me in over the course of two years (I kid you not). Yet each time I cracked open the book, it is always the same thing that turns me away time and again. The lack of context. 
  • When I say this book lacked context, I mean that you have Reiko, this incredibly angry and volatile character, with zero reasons given for her attitude. Sure, there's the whole building the story and character arc, but when the entire premise just feels like a pointless rage fest then you can count me out.
  • There is only one answer that I need when it comes to this book: Why! Why did she feel the need to "carve" her pain upon her heart! Even though I am officially over this book and not willing it give it a fourth chance, I still would like to know what pushed her so far over the edge. AS much as I want to know that answer, I just do not care enough to bother reading further to find out if it is ever brought to light.
  • I usually really enjoy books about revenge (Count of Monte Cristo being my absolute favorite revenge book), so to say this was disappointing for a revenge book would be an understatement. It would have been a more readable book if the author had started off with why Reiko was bent on revenge and filled with a poisonous hatred, you know! 

Final Verdict: A Darkly Beating Heart- Is neither entertaining nor a profitable read to spend your time on.

A Darkly Beating Heart earns
An advanced copy of this book was received for review consideration from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Spinning Pages (46): Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





This week on Spinning Pages take us deep into the Marvel U where things are not going all that well for the Sorcerer Supreme as things take a turn for the worse in the realms of magic.


Light Up the Darkness by Vixx
Yeah we back, the city is mine baby.Leggo
The maze spreads over the gray cityTime stops as I look for you right hereAn angel of darkness, an illusion of a nightmareShe slightly shines through her mask
(English translation is taken from Color Coded Lyrics)


Given that Doctor Strange sees two levels, the real world and that of the mystical world, I thought these lyrics were a perfect selection. They also just really work for the first five volumes of the comic that are included in Way of the Weird; especially when you think of what is going to happen (trust me, you'd rather read all the excitement firsthand). 

If you're looking for a more in-depth look at why I found Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird to be worth reading, then hop on over to my review to see my full thoughts. 

Hey don't forget, you can give Vixx's Light Up the Darkness a listen below!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Comic Review: Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird


Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird (Doctor Strange vol 1-5) by Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo (Penciler and Colorist), Tim Townsend (Inker), Al Vey (Inker), Mark Irwin (Inker), John Livesay (Inker), Wayne Faucher (Inker), Victor Olazaba (Inker) , Jaime Mendoza (Inker), Cory Petit (Letterer), May 10, 2016. 136 pages. Published by Marvel Comics. Source: Borrowed from Library.
Only Doctor Strange can protect our world from the darkness beyond -- now, witness the full toll that constant struggle takes on Earth's Sorcerer Supreme! Every spell cast comes at a cost, but what happens when Strange falls behind on his tab? Find out as the good doctor wakes up somewhere very odd, nearly naked -- with no spell books, no weapons and no memory of how he got there...or why all the monsters are chasing him! And as a new visitor to Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum learns one wrong door can lead to oblivion, a magic circle of Strange's friends and allies are about to face their greatest threat. Dark forces are destroying everything mystical in the multiverse, and their sights are set on this dimension. Magic's days are numbered, and Doctor Strange is not ready! 



Last year, I stumbled upon the first two volumes of Doctor Strange, well the more current reboot, while at the library and decided that I needed to see Doctor Strange set within his own comic series and not just the small roles he played in other Marvel comics that I have read. 

  • It was really nice seeing Doctor Strange in his own comic. It definitely gave a fuller context to the sphere in which he walks within the Marvel U. It always gave me a good chance to really get to know his character and what makes him different from other superheroes in the same universe as him. It seems a shame that my first, not affiliated with a team or as a guest, encounter with the Sorcerer Supreme comes at one of the darkest points in his career: the end of magic. Yet, it also seems like the best time to jump onboard as it is going to push the story in a new and different direction.  
  • There is one very important reason that tops my list of reasons this was such an interesting read. So what is that one thing? Easy! I liked how the first couple of volumes introduced the reader to Doctor Strange's ability and the advantage and disadvantages of being the Sorcerer Supreme. It was interesting because you don't often see in comic books characters whose powers usage comes at a great cost to them physically and mentally. If you want an interesting mainstream character to learn about, this I highly recommend this one. 
  • I'll only talk about the main arc briefly as it encompasses so much of the story and is really something that is better read straight from the comic itself. I really enjoyed the gradual progression of the arc that kicks off in the first five volumes; they just did a really great job setting it up both visually and worldbuilding-wise. Just so you know, there are quite a few scenes scattered throughout the all the volumes that are gruesome and dark, so, if you don't like creepy creatures or gore, then this probably would not be the comic for you.
  • There was something about the art that I really liked. It could have been that it reminded me, style-wise, of a comic series I read years ago. Or it could just be the fact that it really felt like Doctor Strange was off in his own world as the style seemed so different from some of the other Marvel titles I have read in the past. Either way, it really just worked for the what was happening. 
Final Verdict: Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird- I'm really excited to see where this arc will end and how it will reshape Doctor Strange's role within the MU. I would definitely recommend this if you want a different perspective on the character from that of which was shown in the movie or if you just want to read more about him.

Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird earns

A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Want to Read It (46): Doctor Strange: Mr. Misery



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Doctor Strange: Mr. Misery (Doctor Strange vol 4 [17-20]) by Jason Aaron (Writer), Frazer Irving (Illustrator), Kevin Nowlan (Illustrator), Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), Patrick Brown (Illustrator), October 3, 2017. Published by Marvel Comics. 
As magic faced its last days, Mr. Misery helped Doctor Strange defeat the Empirikul. But that doesn't make Misery a hero. Not one bit. Now the nightmarish creature is about to show Strange the full meaning of his name - and he'll do it by visiting pain and suffering on one of the Doc's closest allies! The Sorcerer Supreme won't stand for that -but to bring the thunder down on Misery, he needs a little help from Thor! Then, Clea walks back into Doctor Strange's life just as he's picking up the pieces from the worst beating he's ever taken. Is she there to make things all better -or will she make that battle feel like a walk in the park for Stephen? Plus: Savor the debut of the Sorcerers Supreme!

Why

Even though I'm only just now getting around to posting my thoughts on the first volume of Doctor Strange (volumes 1-5 for the curious), I have already read volumes 2 & 3, so, I, of course, am really excited to see what will happen next. It has been a roller coaster, mainly downs, for Doctor Strange since the arc began in Way of the Weird

I only hope that they can continue to bring this arc towards the next stage without ruining what they have accomplished thus far. Only time will tell though. 

Question Time:
Have you read Doctor Strange? What's your favorite comic book series? 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, March 12, 2018

[Blog Tour] Granted by John David Anderson


I am so excited to be talking about John David Anderson's newest middle-grade book Granted! You're most likely aware of this fact, but I am a huge fan of his writing and cannot wait for y'all to learn more about his book.

About the author
John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day, Posted, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.






Spinning Pages

I thought it would be fun to pair up Granted with some song lyrics! While it is likely that I will pick another set of lyrics after I get a chance to read it, these are the ones that make me think of the premise of the book. 


Dream Candy by April-
Bring your wishes
filled with excitement
Chase the memories calling you
Like stars whispering in your ears

Look at the people around the world
Their small wishes tucked away
Have you seen them come true? Can you believe it?
Let’s step closer
Yeah, yeah

I definitely cannot wait to see what is in store for Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets as she begins her work as a granter. You can learn more about John David Anderson's newest book below and watch April's mv for Dream Candy, too!!

Granted by John David Anderson, February 13, 2018. Published by Walden Pond Press. 
Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for.  But even so, rest assured: There is someone out there who hears it.

Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is no ordinary fairy – she is a Granter: one of the select few whose job it is to venture beyond the boundaries of the Haven and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day.  It’s the work of the Granters that generate the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do and to keep the Haven hidden and safe.  But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds.  On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes get granted.  And even granting those promised few means navigating a human world fraught with danger.

Today, however, is anything but typical.  Because today, Ophelia is going out on her first assignment.  And she’s about to discover that getting what you truly want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spinning Pages (45): Prince in Disguise


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





This week on Spinning Pages take us from Mississippi all the way to Scotland as Dylan is dragged out of the country for her sister's wedding and a blossoming relationship of her own; all while contending with the tv crew following their every move. 


Everybody Knows by Dixie Chicks-
Tell me now, if you came sneaking up behind Would you know me and see behind the smile?I can change like colors on a wall Hoping no one else will find what lies beneath it all I think I hide it all so well
Stepping out, everyone can see my face All the things I can't erase from my life Everybody knows Standing out so you won't forget my name That's the way we play this game of life Everybody knows


There was just something about this book that made me think of the Dixie Chicks' Everybody Knows. It may have been the whole reality tv angle or it could have been how Dylan and Dusty, and even their mom to a point, didn't really understand what was going on behind the mask they each wore. 

There was one other song I considered using, but in the end, I went with my first choice because it felt like it belonged with the book. Especially the lyrics when you look at them in comparison with Prince in Disguise and the characters that fill it. 

You can see my thoughts on Stephanie Kate Strohm's Prince in Disguise by checking out my review.

If you're unfamiliar with the Dixie Chicks' Everybody Knows, then feel free to listen to the audio of it below!! Sadly, there isn't a music video for it. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I Want to Read it (90): Love à la Mode



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Stromh, November 27, 2018. Published by Disney-Hyperion.
Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .
Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent's school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn't all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad's restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent's school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie's growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

Why

Even though I only liked, not loved, Prince in Disguise I am willing to give the author chance. Besides, it could be interesting to read about two wannabe chefs and their trials and tribulations in Paris.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Prince in Disguise


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, March 5, 2018

YA Review: Prince in Disguise



Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm, December 19, 2017. 320 pages. Published by Disney-Hyperion. Source: Publisher.
Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again.Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.

First Sentence
Tears coursed down my face as I tried to fight through the pain.



Somehow, I have read more contemporary books this year than anything else...with the exception of comics. I'll be honest, my feelings are very neutral on this one. It wasn't a 'wow' me type of book but it was not a complete dud either.

  • Okay, so I don't watch reality TV, like, at all, so the whole idea of Dylan's sister being on a reality show was weird.  While I know this is just a book, that happens to have a reality show angle, it is still weird to think people actually agree to things like that, you know. Especially if the producers are anything like the one in the book. 
  • I want to talk about one of the things I did enjoy about Prince in Disguise. Dylan and Dusty. Even though they did not get along all that well, I thought they were actually a really great sister combination; they may have argued but in the end, they were there for each other (be it for firm advice or sisterly defense). Their relationship wasn't perfect but it definitely felt like the author understood the strange dynamics that make up sisterly bonds. 
  • I guess the question is, why did I not like it more than I did. Well, that would come down to a couple reasons. Even though at times I enjoyed the sibling dynamics between Dylan and Dusty, I just could not really get into the duel romance plot that ran through the book. At times, it felt really rushed and like maybe Dylan and Jamie's relationship evolved too quickly. The other thing would be the reality show angle. It was rather disturbing the lengths the crew went through to get what they wanted for the show. 

  • As to the writing- There are two things I felt the author captured really well with this one. The relationship, tumultuous at times, between the two sisters. I also thought she did quite well with capturing the southern and Scottish accents of the main characters; even though I was just reading, I could practically hear both accents. The beginning of the book felt rather abrupt in the way the story was introduced; it made it a skosh difficult to get into the story at first as it felt like the continuation of a previous story-line rather than a standalone. 

Final Verdict: Prince in Disguise- It was cute, but I just didn't fall in love with it.


A copy of this book was received for review consideration from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Spinning Pages (44): There's Someone Inside Your House


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





This week on Spinning Pages take us to rural Nebraska where someone is has gone on a murdering spree in this spine-chilling thriller. Keep reading to see what lyrics make me think of Stephanie Perkins' There's Someone Inside Your House!!

Thriller by BToB-
The fear of darkness is clenching my heartBut this full moon nightis driving me crazyI’m out of breath, I’m swallowing my excitement,the full moon is out and shines through the darknessI can’t lose you, never ever ever
On this trembling night, it feels like I’ll explodeThis suffocating moment, tonight ah ah ahYes, I’m enjoying it like this, thriller
This time of madness, this passionate nightI’m flying like I’m dreaming, fly high highI’m still feeling it, you and I, thriller
(English translation are taken from Color Coded Lyrics)
In a way, it was both easy and difficult to select a set of lyrics for this book. On the one hand, I wanted a song that's lyrics could handle the feeling that Stephanie Perkins depicted as the terror closed in around the characters as they attempted to put an end to the murders. On the other hand, I wanted a song that was more than just a creepy song, you know.
Personally, my favorite part of the above lyrics, paired with this book, is that it could fit both what the characters are feeling as well as that of the murderer.

Hence why I selected BToB's Thriller. As I read through the translated lyrics, I knew that this would work.

Even though I didn't enjoy There's Someone Inside Your House half as much as I'd hoped, there were some good points. You can see my full thoughts on it by checking out my review. 

Don't forget to watch the music video for BToB's Thriller and tell me what you think of the song!!!!


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