Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross eARC (3 stars)

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This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Fog Diver by Joel Ross
Series: n/a?
Genres: MG, SFF, Dystopian
Published on May 26, 2015
Published by HarperCollins
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time...

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10 Books in My Beach Bag

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I have a confession: my favorite thing to do at the beach is not reading. Gasp! It's true. As much as I love setting up a chair on the sand and chilling out under an umbrella with a good book, my favorite beach activity is to walk. I love walking up and down the beach for hours. Something about the sea air and the waves and the sand lets you ignore how sore your legs are--until you finally want to crash and realize you're still 10 blocks away from your car. ;)

That's not to say the beach bag will be book-less. Quite the opposite, in fact. :)


I got approved for an eARC of Daughter of Dusk (my FIRST Disney approval), which will finally force me to read Midnight Thief in a timely fashion! Manipulating oneself works wonders. :) And Rebel Mechanics is finally the next release to read. Time to brave the shore traffic and get reading!

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The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell (3 stars)

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I saw a couple of friends giving good reviews to this book, which was written especially for audio, a while back. So when an e-book version showed up on NetGalley, I was happy to give it a try. Unfortunately, that meant no audio experience, which I'm now very curious to hear, but it's still an entertaining fantasy adventure, good for adult and YA readers.

This e-book was provided through NetGalley for review.
The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell
Series:
Genres: YA/Adult, Fantasy
Published on April 3, 2015 (orig. Dec 2, 2014)
Published by Jabberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other’s Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.

As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn’t know—that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik eARC (3 stars)

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I'm always on the lookout for fairy tale retellings that feel fresh, full of adventure and magic. I'm pleased to say Uprooted is just such a retelling. It's takes elements of several stories, mixes them with a healthy dose of Eastern Europe setting and tradition, and ultimately tells a great story of good versus evil and friendship with a dash of romance.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Series: n/a
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published on May 19, 2015
Published by Del Rey
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

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Updates: BEA a Week Away

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It's technically less than a week away now, but that killed the rhythm of the rhyme. Regardless, it's almost here! Which means, combined with Memorial Day, a whole week away from the office. *refrains from excessive happy dancing* ;)

I feel like I'm mostly ready, except for scheduling some posts from next week, which I will try to do. There will be a show recap, but any instant updates will likely come through Twitter/Instagram. I'm pretty excited!

Let me know if y'all have any BEA or NYC (food) recommendations! :)

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Top 10 Blog Content Tools

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Occasionally, I mention some of the new "toys" I've found online, usually free book or graphic design sites. Today's a "Top 10 Freebie," so I thought it would be a good chance to round up all the tools/sites/toys I regularly use to create content for the blog. :)


1. Google
Pictures, explanations, grammar questions, spellings, gifs, translations--Google has it all.


2. Goodreads
The go-to site for book covers, synopses, and reviews from other readers (for when I've forgotten a character's name and don't feel like digging through the book for it).

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Art It Up! - Totepack

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Art It Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

Assuming the velcro patches stick and don't need reinforcing, Operation Totepack is officially, fully, FINALLY complete. :)

A quick trip down memory lane...

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Graphic Novel Review Roundup

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I read seven graphic novels in about five days (around the totepack sewing schedule) in my rush to catch up on my Goodreads Challenge. I'm still behind. :P But I thought this would be a good chance to share some quick thoughts on these quick reads with those of you who, like I, don't get around to reading graphic novels and comics very often.





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Siren's Fury by Mary Weber eARC (2.5 stars)

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I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, Storm Siren. Unfortunately, Siren's Fury was a little too much of an angst fest for me. It still technically has a lot of the same themes and conflicts from Book 1, but it boiled down to one main conflict that felt unnecessarily drawn out--that is, it takes up the whole book. That, or I may be heartless. See below for details. ;)


This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren #2
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on June 2, 2015
Published by Thomas Nelson
Final Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis:
"I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it's no use. The curse I've spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists."

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

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Updates: Comics & Crafts

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It's (almost) alive! The lining and exterior panels are officially attached, so it's a bag. It still needs two rows of edge-stitching along the top and buttons/button holes for the flap (and some sort of Velcro strap pad), but it's mostly done! As Miracle Max taught us, mostly is a good thing. I have no idea whether the backpack part will actually function, but it works as a tote bag regardless.


I'm also thinking about making a quick (haha) business card holder out of the scraps. Or making a wallet so I can use my wallet (which is actually a business card holder I picked up in Spain) to hold business cards. What do you think? What do you usually use at BEA/conferences to hold business cards?

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Top 10 Authors I Want to Meet at BEA

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Most of the authors I'd really, really, REALLY love to meet are dead. But there are a couple of authors I'm looking forward to meeting at BEA. I know it'll likely be more of a drive-by signing experience, but I'm looking forward to it anyway. And if I somehow manage to cornerfind an opportunity to sit down and chat with someone, that would be amazing. That's what I love about local author events--the time after the signing when you can poke their brains or just talk publishing and books with people who are as crazy about it as you are. :)



Gwenda Bond - wrote Blackwood, a Roanoke mystery I loved, and her new book is about DC's Lois Lane.
Marissa Meyer - I've technically met her before, but she's always lots of fun to listen to. I recognize so many of her geeky inspirations.
Sarah Beth Durst - I've read three of her YA titles and the two fantasy books had a great writing style.

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Discussion: Getting Crafty

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I've been working on sewing a totepack over the last week. (Fingers crossed it will finally end today.) It's had me thinking about the role of handcrafts in our society. My mom crochets baby blankets and does a little hand-sewing repair work here and there, and my dad strings tennis rackets, but other than that, we're not a super crafty family. I learned how to crochet and embroider and use a sewing machine in a high school class, but I didn't do much after. Which is part of why this bag is taking so long. :P

The fact is, at least in the U.S., we don't need to make most things for ourselves. We go to the store. Food, clothes, accessories, tools--it's easy, it's cheap(er) and it's so much faster. Especially if your skill set isn't all that great.

I read somewhere that a bunch of millennials are adopting as hobbies what were, essentially, chores to their grandparents. I guess I kind of fall into that group. I like learning how to make things. But it's definitely a process, like anything, learning the skills and getting better and faster.

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Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt eARC (2.5 stars)

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Hold Me Like a Breath has lots of teenage angst, insta-love, and a sort-of love triangle--three things I severely dislike. Why then the 2.5 rating? It was a quick read, and I never felt like I was forcing myself to continue. Despite the content issues, I still kind of enjoyed it. That said, I really hope the next book in the series has a different MC and delves more into the crime aspects of the world.

This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon a Crime Family #1
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published on May 19, 2015
Published by Bloomsbury
Final Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis:
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

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Updates: Operation Totepack

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The preparations for BEA 2015 continue, and this time, they threaten life, liberty, sanity and all we hold dear. Behold "Operation Totepack."


Okay, it's not quite as dramatic as all that, but pretty close. ;) It's been about 7-8 years since I last did any major sewing, so I'm relearning everything on the fly. I'm proud to say there have been no tears yet. Just a bit of sweat, frustration and borrowing my friend's sewing machine after belatedly finding out both of mine are busted. I'm working in little 2-3 hours sprints each night after work and tutoring.

Bright side: the lining is complete! Dark side: I still have the whole exterior to go...which includes lots of pockets and straps and making it a tote-pack.... I'll figure out something. :)

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Top 10 Books I'll Probably Never Read

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I feel a little bad saying I'll NEVER read a book. It takes away that magical unknown that someday, I could read anything. However, realistically, I know there are tons of books I'll probably never read. But that list was too long, so I give you:

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Discussion: Rereadables

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Not everyone likes to reread books; for some, once is enough, or there are too many other stories waiting to be read to spend time reliving one you already know. I can appreciate that mindset. To a certain extent, I fit into the latter category these days. Between eARC's, new releases and all the unread books on my shelves, it seems unproductive to set aside the TBR pile for a story I already know.

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But those books that call to be reread are special. Like a favorite movie, despite knowing the story, the twists, the ending, you still want to watch it and enjoy it again. I have a lot of 4-star and a number of 3-star reads that fit into this category. Something about them makes me want to go back and read a page, a chapter, the whole thing.

I think, somewhere along the way, I've attached this "unproductive" stigma to rereading old favorites. (Which is totally illogical because goodness knows how much time I waste watching TV shows and movies I've seen before.) But sometimes, I think we need a break from the new to go back and enjoy the old.

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Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly eARC (2.3 stars)

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I've read one of Tina Connolly's adult titles, Ironskin, and, while it didn't overly wow me, I was interested in trying out her new YA book. Seriously Wicked definitely dove into YA--a little too much for my taste. I was looking for more magic, less teenage angst and romance.

This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Fantasy, UF
Published on May 5, 2015
Published by Tor Teen
Final Rating: 2.3 stars
Synopsis:
The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch...will that mean she’s wicked too?

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