Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: October 2018

I am once again participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (for the fourth time!). Getting a very late start because my niece and nephew were over earlier so I played with them, and then I had other tasks to take care of, but I’m slowly getting started now (nearing noon, so almost 5 hours have past of the readathon already). Normally I try to clear out my schedule for the day as best as I can, but I have so many errands for this weekend I’m not sure how much time I’ll actually be able to dedicate to the readathon this time. I’m okay with that because I have read more this year than I ever have before in my life (nearing 100 books!), so I’m okay with keeping this more low key. Especially since come Tuesday, I am going to dedicate several hours, or as much of the day as possible, to reading Kingdom of Ash!

Okay, now before I begin, a few more notes:
– I will try and update this blog hourly, so if you’re interested to see how I’m doing, refresh the page periodically!
– I’m also going to try and update my instagram every now and then, so go and follow me there: @moonspree.

My first update should come in an hour (at 1 PM CST, so check back then!).

Hour 6 (1 PM): Hour 6 is over, and I’ve only managed to read about 15 pages of Lady Midnight. I just can’t seem to concentrate. I am enjoying the book, but it’s rather slow-moving. And still feeling sleepy thanks to some allergy medication, so I think I’m going to head out now to get some coffee. I’ll try and listen to an audiobook on the way and hope I have better luck with my reading the rest of the day!

Hour 7: I’ve made some progress! I read Scooby-Doo and the Witching Hour, and even though it was a kids’ book, I actually finished an entire book! I think I feel more motivated to continue now. (15 pages)

Hour 8: I started reading a Wonder Woman graphic novel, and got 1/3 of the way through (~40 pages) before I got tired of it and switched to Reese Witherspoon’s new book, and read 50 pages of that. Quickly took a food break and ate half a bagel as well, now I’m refreshed and ready to go for the next hour!

Hour 9: Read 50 more pages of Wonder Woman (only 30 more to go before I’m done!) and then 50 more of Reese’s book (it has a lot of pictures, so it’s a fast read; but I’m getting pretty annoyed with it so I might put it down for the day). I need to find something else to read after Wonder Woman, something that I will enjoy a lot more than either of these books. I could always pick up another LJ shen book.

Hour 10: Finished Wonder Woman (30 pages)! And started If We Were Villains (10 pages so far), but I’m already having a hard time keeping up with all of the characters. I feel like I need to pull out a notepad and pencil to keep up. But I am enjoying it so far!  I think I’m about to take a really early dinner break now.

Hour 12: I didn’t update for hour 11 because I took a break to go pick up some pizza and snacks. I ate while watching an episode of Melissa and Joey, and then started reading again a little after 6. I decided to try and attempt to finish A Court of Frost and Starlight finally since it’s such a short book, and I have read 35 pages so far. Only 120 more to go until I finish!

Hour 13: Read another 65 pages in ACOFAS! Only 65 more to go until I finish! Not liking it any more than I did previously, but at least I’ll be done with this book.

Hour 14: Read those last 65 pages and finished ACOFAS! Thank goodness! Now I will pick up one last book before I sleep. Not sure yet what it will be, but it may be an LJ Shen book because those keep me hooked!

The End: I read 10 pages of The Sword in The Stone, but after that, my anxiety of everything I had put off for the day kicked in and I couldn’t concentrate on reading anymore. Instead, I watched a couple of episodes of Melissa and Joey and then went to sleep. I still consider it a successful readathon since I finished a book I had been meaning to since May, read a graphic novel that otherwise who knows when I would have gotten to, and finished a kids’ book that I had checked out from the library as well so I can return it. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Pages read: 435
Books read: 3

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories | Edited by Stephanie Perkins

“Now summer was round and full, fruit ready to burst, a sun emerging fat, yellow, and happy from the sea.”
– Leigh Bardugo

This is a collection of twelve short stories that all take place in the summer, and they are definitely a perfect summer read (well, the ones I enjoyed anyway), but I think they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. This book was worth it for the stories by Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Lev Grossman, and Veronica Roth. Others were a hit and miss, but I’ve written my thoughts on each of them so you can get an idea what they’re about.

 Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog two days ago!

 The End of Love by Nina LaCour ★★★★
This story is about Flora, who is taking geometry in summer school after 11th grade even though she did well in it the first time around. She says she just needs something to keep her out of the house because her parents are going through a divorce. It’s in this class that she runs into a group of her ex-boyfriend’s friends, including the girl she had a crush on while she was dating her boyfriend. It was this girl that made her realize that she had feelings for girls, but then they lost touch because they went to different schools. Anyway, this girl invites her on a camping trip, and the description of this camping trip was so beautiful, and this is where their relationship begins to develop.

 Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog yesterday!

 Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block 0 ★s
This one just had me going WTF the whole time. It’s so confusing because the narrator doesn’t refer to anyone by name, just initials. So in my head, I jokingly thought I guess her initial is “I” since that’s how she refers to herself in the first person… But then when a character asks her her name, she actually says it’s “I.” Creative much?

But I was willing to get past that because I’ve loved the first three stories in this book and thought this one must be worth it too, but nope. It only got worse as the story progressed. It felt like I was reading this book through a haze, and that’s exactly what other reviewers have said. There’s a bunch of disjointed scenes thrown all together and really no plot.

There IS what seems like a date rape, but it’s never called such and never mentioned again. No repercussions, nothing. And the story just got even more depressing from there. It made no sense and I absolutely regret reading this thing. Like, my life would have been better had I never read this. That’s how much I hated it.

 In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins ★★★
I expected this to be one of my favorites in this collection because I’ve loved all three YA romances that Stephanie Perkins has written, but I just found this one slightly gloomy and not so happy. Marigold Moon Ling has traveled from Atlanta back to North Carolina to meet up with, and try to “rescue”, her recent ex-boyfriend North from a boring life of working at his parents’ Christmas tree farm. When she gets there, she finds out that he’s actually working an hour away at a mountain working a funicular, so she heads there. The description of the mountain and the funicular were absolutely beautiful and made me feel like I was right there. But her meeting with North left a lot to be desired because he was really short and curt with her. In the end, he does explain why, but I just wasn’t feeling the little “romance” in this that was there.

 Souvenirs by Tim Federle ★★
This takes place at a local Pennsylvania amusement park, and while I loved the setting, I couldn’t have cared less for the story. And it’s the only one that ends with the two breaking up by the end (which is fine, because one of them seemed rather narcissistic anyway).

 Inertia by Veronica Roth ★★★★
I enjoyed this story, and I think it’s one that will stay with me. It’s about a girl who suffers from depression but doesn’t want to take treatment for it, and the guy who used to be her best friend. He gets in a car crash and suffers near fatal injuries.

 Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skvron ★
What even was this story? And how did it end up in this collection? It was full of cliches. There was no character development, no buildup to the relationships, just everyone pairing off by the end. The writing was so cringey and had me rolling my eyes. I skimmed through this as fast as I could.

 Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert ★★
This was about a girl, Rashida, who is sad that her cousin is leaving her in Chicago to move to San Francisco with her gf. This cousin has been like a surrogate mother to her the past four years since her own mother passed away from taking a bottle of anti-depressants. There is a good-bye party for her cousin Audrey and Gillian, and while there, Rashida snaps at Gillian for offering her something to drink when she very well knows she’s in high school and her family is here. Immediately, Gillian’s brother Pierre steps in to snap back at Rashida. A little while later, Rashida is in the bathroom fixing her makeup or something, and there Pierre is again to bully her some more, letting her know that he’s sad too but it’s not like anyone’s dying or anything. And that’s exactly what you don’t say to someone whose mother passed away.

Gillian ends up drinking so much that she’s ready to pass out, and it somehow takes all three of them to take her back to the apartment. And that sums up this story. Oh, and if you can’t tell, Rashida and Pierre end up having a thing after she decides she’d like to stay in the apartment to watch Gillian with him rather than return to the party: as if staying with a guy who was such a jerk to you is the better option. Eye roll.

I’m giving this an extra star because it does cover an important talk: the taboo of talking about mental health/anti-depressants in the African American community.

 Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare ★★★

“It was a dark carnival. You know the drill. Evil clowns lurching out of the shadows, blood on their puffy white gloves. Tattered Big Top, blowing in a hot summer breeze. insane giggling children running in and out of the shadows. The hall of mirrors that throws back terrifying, distorted reflections. The tattooed man whose tattoos move and crawl on his skin, the merry-go-round that turns back time, the bearded lady who comes at you with a carving knife, and the forutne-teller who gives you only bad news.”

I loved the atmostphere/setting for this, but I just didn’t care too much for the characters or the story.

 A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith ★★★
This one takes place at a summer camp for kids, where the main character is a counselor. She spends a lot of time helping a kid with autism. One night after camp she’s at a grocery store, and she runs into a cute guy from school that she decides to ask out. And by the end of the story, you find out that he too is on the spectrum (Aspergers). It was very obvious to the reader from the beginning, but not at all to her. When she finds out, she decides it changes everything, yet when she verbalizes her feelings, she says she still wants to date him. That made no sense to me. One second it seemed like she had lost all interested in him, and the next, it didn’t? I don’t know. I couldn’t connect with this story either.

 The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman ★★★★★
This story was absolutely beautiful and made trudging through some of the above stories worth it just to get to this. I don’t even have words, but if you only read one story in this collection, make it this one. I’m looking forward to reading more by Lev Grossman now!

Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray

This short story can also be found in the anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, and my review for that will be up tomorrow. But I wanted to highlight this one as well because it was one of my favorites, and is the perfect fall/Halloween read!

“On the last night of the Cinegore, the sky looked like it needed to call in sick, all yellow-green going dark around the edges like an infected cut, a summer storm heading in hard.”

This was such a beautiful, atmospheric horror/fantasy read. This story revolves around Kevin, who is working his last day at the local movie theater in Deadwood, Texas, the Cinegore, which will be shut down the next day. There is an urban legend surrounding its inception: A Mr. Scratsche had moved to Deadwood in 1963 and bought this run-down 1920s movie palace, the Cinemore Theater. He re-named it “the Cinegore” and turned it into a horror movie palace. It featured “state-of-the-art details like Smell-O-Vision, Tingler shocker seats, skeletons that zoomed above the audience’s heads on an invisible wire,” and a 3-D screen and completely sounds like a place I wish I could visit! No one had seen Mr. Scratsche in years, but when staff for the place are hired, they’re asked to fill out a questionnaire about their hopes, dreams, and fears to see if they will be a good fit for the place.

The last movie they are playing is I Walk This Earth, which is said to be cursed, as all the people who worked on this movie died in mysterious ways: the lead actress hung herself in a motel room, the teen heartthrob was beheaded when he crashed his car into a tree, and the director confessed that he’d sold his soul to the devil to make the film, and that it had the power to corrupt anyone who watched it and should not be seen by human eyes. And this may have just been my favorite story of the entire collection, mostly because I just love stories set in movie theaters, but also because unlike all the horror movies out there, it actually has a good, satisfying ending.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo

This short story can be found in the anthology Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, and I will have my review up for that later this week.

But this story was absolutely magical and breathtaking and heart-breaking. It revolves around three different characters:

Annalee Saperstein , a woman who ran a laundromat in New York until she met Ruth in 1986.

“This town was full of sham monsters, fake witches, stories that were just stories. But anything was worth a try.”

Ruth is a girl in New York who dreamed of a river god touching and kissing her, and nine months later, she gave birth to a baby with kelp-green eyes and ropes of seaweed hair. Her father kicked her out, and Annalee took her in and believed in her when no one else did. Her daughter grew up to be a famous model, which allowed Annalee to quit her job, move to Little Spindle, and open a Dairy Queen franchise. This is where she meets Gracie.

“Gracie floated in her sandals. She felt covered in jewels. Her bicycle was a winged horse.”

Gracie is a teenager growing up in Little Spindle, a small town where some families come for the summer every year. And this is where our story takes place. Gracie noticed some strange, almost magical creature in the river but doesn’t think anyone would believe her about it. She talks to Annalee about this, and Annalee says she should talk to this boy, Eli, who comes to Little Spindle every summer. Boy meets girl, and you know what happens next. BUT there is a huge twist at the end that I almost didn’t see coming. But their friendship did start with Gracie’s hunt for the magical creature in the water, which Eli admits he’s not sure is real, but this leads them to talking about cryptozoology: “Statistically. But no one was sure the giant squid was real until they started washing up on beachines in New Zealand…There’s a specimen at the Natural History Museum in London that’s 28 feet long. They think that’s a small one. And, “Every culture has its own set of megafauna. A giant blue crow has been spotted in Brazil.” 

“She was cherry dip cones, all those old paperbacks, records stacked on dusty shelves—something to hold Eli’s interest, maybe even something he really liked, but a summer thing, not quite real when the weather turned.”

And more quotes I liked because her writing is just too beautiful not to share:

“Why do you eat that way? Like you’re going to write an essay about every bite. You’re eating a cheeseburger, not defusing a bomb.”

“The summer took on a different shape–a desperate, jagged shape, the rise and fall of a dragon’s back. The world felt full of hazards. Every song on every album bristled with portent.”

“They slipped down the Mohawk to the Hudson, past the river god with his sloped gray shoulders, and out into the Atlantic. They met polar bears in the Arctic, frightened manatees near the Florida Keys. They curled together in a knot, watching the dream lights of jellyfish off the coast of Australia.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

This was a hard topic because I don’t keep track of my books by page length, and even though Goodreads lets you see which was the longest book you read per year, they don’t let you sort ALL the books you’ve read in order of page length (although if there is a way to do this, please comment and let me know!). So I went to Goodreads and looked at what was the longest book I read each year, and this is what I got. Although by the time I got to 2015, I don’t think I tracked every single book I read on goodreads, so this may not be accurate, but here we go:

2018: City of Heavenly Fire, 725 pages
Although one problem with Cassandra Clare books is that they use a lot larger font than every other book (such as Sarah J. Maas’s). PLUS, there is a bigger amount of spacing between the lines as well, artifically inflating the page count of her books. I’m not quite sure why the publishers do this? It’s rather annoying, especially because the books end up being so thick and hard to hold. I mean, if you put a Sarah J. Maas book next to this one, Sarah J. Maas’s will come out to be a lot thinner in terms of spine, which I like. All that to say, this is probably not the longest book I read this year, since I also read Tower of Dawn (and plan to read Kingdom of Ash!), but in terms of artificially inflated page numbers, it is.

2017: Empire of Storms, 693 pages
And there you have it. I mentioned Sarah J. Maas, and of course her book was the longest for this year. High fantasy usually is.

2016: A Court of Mist and Fury, 626 pages
Another Sarah J. Maas.

2015: The Hypnotist’s Love Story, 466 pages
I’m not sure if this was actually the longest I read this year (and if it was, wow sad), but I don’t think I have all my books logged in on goodreads

2014: Cracking the MCAT by the Princeton Review, 1168 pages
Yup, I used to be pre-med once upon a time. And I’m not even sure I read this in its entirety?

2013: Velocity by Dean Koontz, 460 pages
Another short one, mostly because I haven’t logged all my books on goodreads.

Okay, after that I barely have any books on goodreads, so I’m just going to pick a few random ones:
Longest audiobook I’ve “read”: A Time to Kill by John Grisham (it was a total of 17 torturous hours, but by the end I was listening to it on 2x speed).
Longest book I have read in a single day: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! This was probably the longest book I had ever read in my life up to that point, and probably the longest book I have ever read in a single day.
Longest book I plan to (maybe) one day read: A Count of Monte Cristo with over 1,000 pages. I originally wanted to read this when I was watching the show Revenge, and it was loosely based on that. I had plans to read it during the hiatus of that show, but then I lost interest in that show and the length of this book.
Longest book I gave up on: Anna Karenina, 800-1,000 pages (DNF @ 200 pages). It was just really boring, and was I really interested in reading about an adulterous “romance”? No, thank you.

Also wow, this was kind of another boring topic because who wants to hear so much about page length? And I can’t review some of the books since it’s been so many years and sadly I don’t have a review for a lot of my books on goodreads.

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas | Refresher for Kingdom of Ash!

Nesryn and Chaol have come to the continent of Antica to ask the Khagan Urus if he will ally with them in this war, and so Chaol can meet with the healers at Torre Cesne about his legs/spine. Upon arrival, they learn that Nesryn’s hometown of Rifthold has been ransacked by Perrington and his demons, which must mean that her siblings, nieces, parents, are all dead.

I’m not into political fantasies but by the end of chapter two I was starting to get into this book. It definitely is slow-moving, with a lot of the book spent on Chaol working with Yrene to get his legs functioning again, and they have a very slow-building romance throughout. Before this book, I didn’t really like Chaol, which is why I put off reading it for so long. But he slowly grew on me again. Towards the end, he does deal with some of his problems (like his problem with Aelin), but even then, I feel like she re-hashed what his problems were, but he didn’t really work through them. He stopped liking Aelin when he found out she was fae, I don’t think he ever dealt with that or how he felt towards the fae. Seeing how many pages she spent on the characters doing the same thing over and over again, you’d think she could have spent a few more pages on that.

The second story is Nesryn’s, but fewer pages are spent on her than Chaol (which for the most part, I didn’t mind). She eventually had a slow-building romance with Sartaq, and I was totally here for that. I think my two favorite characters from this book were definitely Yrene and Sartaq! I wish she had spent more pages on Nesryn/Sartaq, but sadly, she doesn’t. And I can’t even imagine how many different points of view she’s going to give us in Kingdom of Ash, meaning that we won’t get to spend any significant amount of time with any of our favorite characters.

But a lot of this book was also spent on Chaol and Nesryn trying to convince the ruler of Antica, the khagan, on allying with them against Erawan. So I thought I’d talk a bit about how ruler-ship works in this empire: There is a khagan (old Turkic or Mongolian word for emperor basically; and it turns out SJM did base this empire on the Mongolians and Genghis Khan) who obtains his rule not by being the first born, but by being chosen by the current ruler, so all siblings have an equal chance. However, this khagan’s mother had wanted her two children to battle it out rather cruelly, and Urus came out on top. He has six kids:

Arghun, who is the eldest and the “oily one” according to Chaol. Sneering.
Sartaq, the only one besides Kashin that Chaol likes. He rules all six clans of ruk (rukhin – riders).
Hasar, she and Kashin are both friends with Yrene. Hasar is in a relationship with Renia. Wolflike.
“If Hasar was pure flame, then Renia was flowing water.”

Kashin, the fourth child. He chose to live among soldiers and does not enjoy double-talk of court. He is the handsomest of the siblings. He spends most of the year down in Balruhn training the troops, or out on the steppes with their mother-people: the horse-lords. He’s not being considered for the throne.
Duva, married with a child on the way. She is married to a “dark-haired, sad-eyed prince from a faraway land.”
Tumelun, the youngest and a girl, was recently killed. She was prone to moods and they say she leaped from her balcony because of it. She was young, guileless, and rode with Kashin amongst the Darghan, their mother-clans. Had no sulde of her own yet. (A sulde is a spear all Darghan warriors carry). And Kashin does not believe she killed herself.

So some of Kashin’s siblings believe that Tumelun killed herself and some don’t. His father remains undecided, so Kashin invites Chaol to dinner with them every night so he can watch with an outsider’s eyes and report on anything amiss.

Ruk/rukhin There are six clans of them (of riders/horse-clans). Among them is Eridun, Sartaq’s family’s clan. The hearth-mother is in charge of them. They are located around the Tavan Mountains. The Eridun’s houses had been hewn into the stone. The Mountain-Hall of Altun is the home of Sartaq’s hearth-mother and his family. (Altun: Windhaven).
Kadara is Sartaq’s ruk: flying horse?
Borte is Sartaq’s hearth-sister; granddaughter and heir of his hearth-mother Houlun.
Balruhni This is what Nesryn is called by the rukhin. The Academy of Engineers is located in Balruhn, and it’s the most prestigious in the khaganate.
Kharankui, or stygian spiders. It means shadow, darkness. “An ancient malice is stirring deep in these mountains,” Houlun said. “Ruk nests have been pillaged. Eggs stolen in the night, hatchlings vanishing.” They produce spidersilk.
“Stormy nights are the domain of Story Keepers,” Houlun intoned in Halha. “We can hear one approaching from a hundred miles away, smell the charge in the air like a hound on a scent. They tell us to prepare, to read for them. To gather our kin close and listen carefully.”

And the book has three different points of view:
Chaol
Nesryn

“Yrene shifted from one foot to another, still smiling, still shining. As if she were the last, vibrant ray of the sun, staining the sky long after it had vanished over the horizon.”

Yrene.  “A woman made of steel and crackling embers.” from The Assassin’s Blade. She’s a Healer who has been training in the Torre Cesne for the last two years but feels like she is ready to leave. She wants to return to her home in the northern continent, Fenharrow, as she knows war is brewing and she wants to be there. Hafiza is the High Healer, but Eretia is Yrene’s direct tutor. Something happened between her and Kashin last summer at the steppes, but she ended it because she had other plans for herself.
“You must enter where you fear to tread.”

PLACES
Erilea
Adarlan – where Chaol and Dorian are from
Anielle – where Chaol’s family is from
Rifthold (southern continent?) – Nesryn’s hometown
Antica – the strongest empire, and where Tower of Dawn takes place
Fenharrow (northern continent) – Yrene’s home
Wendlyn – where Rowan is from?

Okay, if you’ve managed to make it this far in my review, let me know: are you a fan of the series? If so, have you pre-ordered a copy of the book, and from where? There are a few different editions and I haven’t been able to make a decision yet!

0.1-0.5. The Assasin’s Blade ★★★
1. Throne of Glass ★★★★
2. Crown of Midnight ★★★★
3. Heir of Fire ★★
4. Queen of Shadows ★★★★
5. Empire of Storms ★★★★
6. Tower of Dawn ★★★★
7. Kingdom of Ash

The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air #1.5) by Holly Black

“I think about that story a lot. I think about it all the time.

It’s the kind of thing you like. The wicked are slain, with swords no less. Vengeance is had. Boldness is rewarded. But what about all those girls, all those obedient girls who trusted and loved and wed and died? Weren’t they bold, too?

I bet you don’t think so. I bet you think they were just stupid.

That’s your problem in a nutshell. You’re judgmental. Everyone makes mistakes. They trust the wrong people. They fall in love. Not you, though. And that’s why it’s so hard to ask for your forgiveness.

But I am. Asking. I mean, I am going to ask. I am going to try to explain how it happened and how sorry I am.”

When I read the above passage and the free sample available online for this story, I immediately fell in love and it reminded me how much I loved The Cruel Prince and what a book hangover it gave me, and for a moment I put aside my misgivings and my utter lack of interest in annoying sisters in YA.

But as I continued to read it, I realized that this was basically just a quick rehash of the events in The Cruel Prince that had to do with Locke from Taryn’s point of view and not much more. It made me question my love of The Cruel Prince because the prince is, well, cruel and not likable at all and somehow it’s supposed to be a love story with his cruelty and Jude? I don’t get it.

Putting that aside, I thought we would get a better understanding of Jude’s actions, but it all just boils down to this: she was in lust with Locke, and she didn’t care who she had to hurt to get him, no matter what it meant, no matter if she had to hurt her twin sister to do it. (Also, all of the twins I know are close. I really can’t see any of them keeping a secret of this magnitude from the other.) But anyway, this really just solidified what a disgusting human being Taryn is. She’s so weak and pathetic that she left her sister to be tortured and drowned? And lets some guy mess with her heart? And she’s still stupid enough to want to marry this guy? And now that Dain isn’t going to be king, Locke doesn’t even have to marry her. This book was just a mess and frustrating for me to read. Idk.

Also note that this short story is 25% shorter than it appears on Kindle because the last entire 1/4 is a sample of the first chapter of The Wicked King.

Despite all that, this book did remind how beautiful and magical Holly Black’s writing can be, and I am still dying to get my hands on a copy of The Wicked King because I did enjoy The Cruel Prince so much. Seriously would trade anyone any book I own or even anything off their Amazon wishlist for a copy!

Also random:
– I forgot/didn’t realize that Taryn and Jude were actually twins? I thought it was her younger sister. Now I dislike her even MORE. She really should be more mature.
– The summary says Locke is a trickster. So can fae be tricksters? Or did she just use that word and not mean an actual trickster as in lore?

High Voltage (Fever series #10) by Karen Marie Moning

I really came to love Dani in this one, and her storyline takes a turn you won’t see coming. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, but I really came to love it by the end. I’m so excited to see what KMM has in store next, and I just can’t wait!

This book picks up about four and a half months after the events of Feversong. That book ended on October 30, and this starts in mid-March. Mac and Barrons have left for a revolt in Faery, so they won’t be in this book. (And side note, but time works in Faery the opposite of what it does in the Silvers: while one week may pass in Faery, a whole year may pass on Earth.) Chesters is open again and Ryodan has been around, but Dani hasn’t really seen much of him. Now at the start of the book he tells her he’s leaving to go do something and that she can’t come with him because her place isn’t with him anymore. Not only is he leaving, but all of the Nine are, and he says he’s going to be gone for YEARS. What?

The book is divided into “Then” and “Now”. Then is pretty short, with just two chapters: Stardust and Earthdust.

 Stardust 
This is about a guy walking along a beach who thinks he sees a shooting star, and it carries a very confusing message: It just says, I’M OKAY I’M. This part had me really confused, but it all ties in with the ending, and then I absolutely loved it.

 Earthdust 
This introduces the Soulstealer, who will end up being the main villain of the book.

 NOW 
Then chapter one starts with Dani’s point of view. Shazam is the first character we see, and now that I know he’s a hel-cat, I’m infinitely less interested in him. But that all changed as the book went on, and by the end I was back to loving Shazam and there was yet another twist with him that really made me go WHOA!

Chapter 3
So Ryodan has left, and now this fast forwards to 2 years, 5 months after the song (ATS), which is basically two years after the end of chapter two, when Dani had been attacked by shade-like things and Ryodan had left. So I guess it’s true that he’d be gone for YEARS, and that makes my heart hurt WHY?

It turns out that the fae have been kidnapping kids’ parents and leaving them orphaned.

“Christian was somewhere in Scotland, holed up in an ancient crumbling castle (shades of Unseelie King anyone?) with powerful wards placed at a seventy-five-mile perimeter around him to keep everyone out. Or him in. No one seemed sure.”

Also, instead of the Song of Making fixing everything and returning things to “normal,” all of the following has happened:

“Post-Song reality was one in which the rules only became clear by interacting with them, often with unpleasant consequences. Children were being born with unusual gifts—although I’d call some of them curses; objects didn’t always function quite like one had every rational reason to expect; doors didn’t consistently go where you thought they would; and mirrors were the most unreliable of all—even human ones.

Magic burned in the planet, more potent than ever, as if the ancient melody had penetrated deep into the Earth, crooning in dangerously random fashion “Awaken.” Everything had gotten more juice, even us sidhe-seers.”

Anyway, this chapter is about four orphans who lose their home and end up at Rainey Lane’s foster care center because three men decided to burn down their home for no apparent reason. Dani tracks the men down, only to see them disappear into a Silver, which shatters right after they use it. One comes tumbling down on her, and she sees the words, “WHAT DO YOU WANT,” written on it. She can tell that it’s spelled so she doesn’t want to touch it, but it did cut her and got some of her blood on it.

Okay, from this point forward, apparently I just decided to summarize half the book, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read it yet but plan to!

Chapter 4 revolves on her and Shazam, and I could not be less interested. *yawn* Why can’t Dancer be alive instead? Shazam has decided after watching some wildlife documentaries that he wants a mate, so he finds a Pallas cat and brings it and its six other family members home with him, and Dani spends the rest of the boring chapter dealing with that.

Chapter 5 – the owner of the card that Dani caught earlier has come to collect since she “thought” several wishes, and now he wants her magical sword. He almost compels her to give it when Inspector Jayne shows up, compelling her to give it to him instead. It turns out the first guy is actually a “god,” as the gods have been awakened by the song and have decided to re-start their war with the Fae.

Chapter 6 – Dani returns to Arlington Abbey. Kat has a daughter named Rae and has never said who the father was, though Rae resembles Sean, who turned Unseelie and hasn’t been seen for years.

Kat did admit to Sean that she was unfaithful. I thought it would have been with Kasteo, but she says it’s with Cruce?? Sean had found someone to do a paternity test after the baby was born, but he just couldn’t deal with her cheating, and so he disappeared.

Chapter 14 – Papa Roach is back, and we learn his name is Gustaine.

The great Soulstealer, a “god”, Balor has returned. Balor is the one who has been hiring guys to “steal” women, many of them badly beaten, and chained them to a column near his altar.

Balor has a limp and wears a raven mask that covers half his face.
AOZ, the god that tried to take the sword from Dani, works for Balor, or at least told Balor that Dani has the sword.

Ryodan shows up at 34.9% or 40.4% through of the actual story. (Important to note because KMM says this book is a love story, but for the first 40% I didn’t see it because Ryodan was in it for about two pages at that point. The second half of the book? Yes, absolutely and some parts really just stole my breath away.) But when he does:

“I kissed him like he was the battlefield I was born to wage all my wars on. I kissed him like he was the only king this Amazon warrior might ever take her army into combat for. I kissed him like we were primal, lethal beasts, fearlessly stalking those violent, killing no-man’s-lands where angels feared to tread, and I kissed him with a hunger that’s never once been slaked, as I unleashed all the fire and fury and savagery in my soul—and there is one fuck of a lot of it.”

“I kissed him with the rainbow-colored shattered hopes and dreams of a child betrayed in ways too damaging and numerous to count, and I kissed him with the yearning to be the one making joy blaze from his eyes.”

And then it’s another 40 pages before he’s back. And there’s a small part with Barrons and Mac:

“I love BB&B. Love, love, love it. It smells of high adventure bound in leather casings, crammed on shelves waiting to be freed, of Mac’s peaches and cream candles, of Barrons’s fine furnishings and wool rugs, and the spice of my kind of danger. The sounds of this store are music to my soul, the tinkling of the front doorbell, which I intended to bang at least once while I was here, the soft hiss of the gas fire in an enameled hearth, the quiet hum of the fridge behind Mac’s counter.”

More random quotes (some may contain spoilers):
⚡“When someone has done everything in their power to mangle your wings beyond recognition, to slice them to shreds so that they can never be used, there is only one way to win. Fly.”

⚡“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world
The master calls a butterfly.
—RICHARD BACH”

⚡“But whatever’s happening changes nothing. You’re so bloody beautiful to me—any color, any race, any skin, any species, woman, I will love you across all of them. If you turn into a Hunter, my beast and yours will run together. We’ll fight wars, save worlds, become legend. He smiled faintly. I’ll be the only beast in the universe in love with a dragon.”

⚡“It’s strange and exhilarating but I have to admit, being a Hunter, flying among the stars for the past few months was beyond my wildest dreams. Y’rill and I played with the abandon we’d shared Silverside, with one difference—no predators, no enemies, just adventures. I’d visited worlds beyond describing, drifted inside nebulae, played hide and seek in meteor fields, watched stars go supernova, slingshot around moons, played in the gaseous rings of planets, my Hunter body impervious to harm. I’d barely scratched the surface of discovering what it was to be a Hunter”

⚡ “I never told you. You define beauty for me, Dani O’Malley. Copper flames and emerald ice. The snow and rose of your skin. Those insanely powerful legs. The steel in your spine. The unquenchable fire in your spirit.” “You’re unbreakable, woman. None of it ever broke you. You’re my fucking holy place. Do you know that? Why the fuck didn’t I ever tell you?”

“Once, I’d kissed him, felt those fangs graze my teeth as pure high voltage had arced between us.”

And that is where the books title comes from: how she feels about Ryodan. (Or so I thought. The words high voltage are actually used quite a bit, and you’ll see what exactly it means.)

Loved this interview with her: https://www.underthecoversbookblog.co…

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

“What if you’d come downstairs and it had been me on the couch?”

He yells when I say this […], “How can you say that? That would never be you.”

“Why not?”

“How can you even compare yourself to her? Stacey is so messed up. She’s an alcoholic loser who’s been a slut since seventh grade…”

What We Saw is a chilling story about high school basketball stars accused of raping a girl who was too drunk to give consent, and the small town that immediately blames the girl for ruining the reputation of these athletes who, in the eyes of the town, could do no wrong because they were good athletes and came from “good families”.

Hartzler writes about a very pressing and important issue. It is from the point of view of a girl who used to be friend’s with the victim, but has since lost touch. For most of the book, she is rather in dark about the events, and even when she hears her friends talk about it, she doesn’t bother to look at what they are talking about or try to find out more. It’s only about halfway through the book, when some of her friends are discussing the issue, that she starts caring a little about what happened. I found her to be a rather bland character until that point.

That, plus the fact that the story was rather slow-moving, and the writing was very basic, makes me want to give this only 2.5 stars. I mean, it deserves 5 stars for the topic, but maybe 2 for how it was carried out.

Another thing I didn’t like about the book was how the author would get very heavy-handed in pressing his own views of things. Christians in particular are all painted in a why-are-they-still-living-in-the-dark-ages light. The few Christians in the book were scoffed at or looked down upon. The narrator says, “I want to be able to tell my best friend about my first time… but I can’t risk it because I don’t want her to get all snooty about me losing my virginity… I want to tell her that I don’t think a book from the Bronze Age is a good enough reason to relegate women to the role of ‘helpers’ for all time.” Just twice in the same paragraph the judgment comes out. Maybe there’s some truth to it (of course women shouldn’t just be relegated to being ‘helpers’), but it could be said in a less demeaning way. I’m not even Christian myself, but I still believe in respecting other’s religious texts, so calling the Bible nothing but a book from the Bronze Age is rather pretentious.

One thing I did like was how throughout the book, comparisons of the current situation were made to geology and how Iowa was once an ocean. That part of the writing I really liked.

As for the ending, I found it rather bleak. Here’s a good quote that sums up the ending without being spoilery, and gives you a glimpse of the parts of his writing that I did like:

I knelt down and ran my fingers along those ancient shapes in the limestone. I tried to imagine these sea lilies and brachiopods, teaming with life in the shallow soup 375 million years ago, but I found that both observation and imagination have their limits. Iowa was once an ocean, yes, but I will never know it any other way than landlocked hills that end too soon and waves of windswept cornfields, rolling out in all directions, as far as my eyes can see.

Even when presented with the evidence itself, there are some phenomena that I will never grasp completely.

To catch the one who loves you in a lie leaves a wound that never fully goes away. (view spoiler) I can only say that his feet were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he went down hard.

That day, in the warm sun, surrounded by the solid proof of an ancient realm, I let go of forming theories. I only know that, given enough time, this wound will scar over. The layers of my life will slowly cover and fill the gulf cleft through my heart. But deep in the bedrock of who I am is a record of these things that I will carry with me, a new map whose boundaries have forever altered the way I view the world.

This book deserves a read because it is such an important topic, and maybe the target audience will find it a more satisfying read than I did. BUT, if you’re only going to read one book about rape, let it be Jon Krakauer’s Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town . It’s so enlightening, and taught me so much I didn’t know before. It’s the reason I have such high standards for other books in the same category now.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Love to meet

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.

First off, before I begin my list, I have to mention that today my favorite author, Jodi Picoult, has a new book coming out and I am SO excited! I have been waiting two years for this (since her last book came out), so all I’ll be doing today is reading (you know, when I’m not working at least). On top of that, Holly Black is releasing a short story set during The Cruel Prince, and the sequel to Strange the Dreamer (which I still haven’t finished reading), is coming out today. So all in all, today is a huge day in the bookish world!

1. Jodi Picoult
Since I just mentioned that she’s my favorite author, I of course have to put her first. And I’ve actually spoken to her on Twitter, and that completely made my day! (I had mentioned how

2. Peter Hermann
I’m kind of cheating with this one because I haven’t read his book yet (it’s a children’s book), and he was only recently published, and I’m mostly just including this because I absolutely love him on Younger, and Charles is totally my dream man.

3. Mindy Kaling
Why not include another celebrity? But I mean, Mindy Kaling is just amazing all around. From her acting career, to both of her memoirs which I LOVE LOVE LOVED reading, to the fact that she’s a single mom who’s my role model (because I’ve constantly told myself if I’m in my 30s and still single, I’m totally adopting. Who needs a man anyway).

So yeah, I’m getting a little carried away from this list, but I’ll just go ahead and say: I’m not really too interested in meeting too many authors just because I’m not sure what I’d do once I meet them? What’s the point? I might admire these people, but they’re strangers and one 10 second meeting isn’t going to turn us into bffs sadly, so this isn’t my favorite top ten tuesday post, but I’m trying to become regular with my linking up, so I’ll continue.

4. Sarah J. Maas
Just because she barely did any signings this year (so sad about that), and the ones she did have were sold out in minutes, so now I feel like I’m missing out.

5. Reese Witherspoon
I feel like I’m cheating on this one too because she recently became published, and I’m not even that interested in the book, but she’s one of my faves. I could have potentially “met” her, but tickets to her latest book signing started at around $80 to sit at the back of a large auditorium… no thank you.

6. Yasmin Mogahed
Because I loved her book Reclaim Your Heart and I feel like she and I think a lot alike.

7. JK Rowling
Maybe? She’s not one of my favorite authors, even though I’ll always love Harry Potter, but I feel like going to a book signing by her would be extremely rare, which makes me want to be able to go.

8. Ellen Degeneres
I’m sure you’re not seeing a theme here or anything… celebrities and their memoirs.

9. Holly Black
If that meant I could get an ARC of The Wicked King.

10. Melissa Joan Hart
Because I loved her on Sabrina, and then Melissa and Joey.

Note: Once again I want to add, not all of the authors I highlighted above are my absolute favorite, just ones I think it would be fun to meet.

Last week’s top ten: books by my favorite authors that I haven’t read.