Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Wrap Up

August was a pretty good month but I focused less on reading and blogging and more on my family and artistic hobbies. I liked the balance. Sometimes I forget to give myself the freedom to do other things and then this becomes a bit of a chore. Nonetheless, taking any time away from the blog means I need to catch up with reviews, memes, etc. so hopefully I can find that balance in September as well! 
I also attempted to return more comments and visit more blogs this month (though I flopped during this last week) and I hope I can fit more of that in because I miss the community. 

I read 5 Books In August!

Books Finished:
Total Pages: 1531

Started But Didn't Finish:

Audiobooks I Listened To:
(Didn't finish either of these)

Reviews & More
August TBR
August Wrap Up

Bout of Books Sign Up & Goals
Book Blast & $50 Giveaway: Perfectly You by Robin Daniels

Book Reviews
The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Picture Book Reviews
National Geographic Kids 2018 Atlas
National Geographic Kids Back to School Titles
Tidy by Emily Gravett 
Walter and the Wallet by Billy Bloom

Sunday Posts
Already August?
August Blues
Watercolor Spacescapes

Top Ten Tuesdays
Books With School Settings

Can't Wait Wednesdays
Odd & True by Cat Winters
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

Challenge Updates

1. The Handmaid's Tale
2. Age of Swords
3. The Red Sun

1. The Princess and the Page
2. Age of Swords
(Not very many.)  :(

I didn't read any books from my shelves that I purchased or were published before 2017. :(

1. The Princess and the Page
2. The Ice Dragon
3. Age of Swords
4. The Red Sun


1. The Princess and the Page
2. The Ice Dragon
3. Age of Swords


2017 ABC Challenge

I hope you all had an amazing month! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #22 - The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings and spotlights the books we are excited about and have yet to read. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

I can't wait for...
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
 by Leigh Bardugo

Expected Publication: September 26, 2017
by Macmillan

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price. 

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. 

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange--to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse. 

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page,  culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves. 

I don't qualify as a dedicated fan yet since I've only read the Six of Crows duology but I loved them and love the idea of these short stories! Hopefully there's no requirement to have read her previous works but I think not. 
Anyway, I've been so caught up in fantasy series lately that I could use some short stories or a good standalone fantasy. 

What book can't you wait for?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Book Blast & $50 Giveaway: The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins

The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins
How am I supposed to save the world when I'm not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I'm on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I'm no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that's supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion of Earth. But I'm not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.

  Praise for the Book:
#2 on GoodReads Middle Grade Novels of 2016

  5/5 Stars “Like Harry Potter meets The Labyrinth.” -Author Adan Ramie 

  5/5 Stars “Candy Atkins takes us on an epic adventure reminiscent of the novels of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.” –GoodReads/Amazon Reviewer

5/5 Stars “For all you Potterheads or Harry Potter geeks, how can you not fall in love with this story and appreciate the fact that it is a female lead.” –Rising Indies United
Three full chapters are free online: Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three

This is a partial excerpt from Chapter One:
I grab the box of midnight-purple hair dye from my book bag and squeeze my way down the narrow, overstuffed hall into the only bathroom in our apartment. The shower hasn’t worked since it was turned into a storage closet, so I clear the sink of the old cat food cans Auntie has stockpiled, turn on the cold water, and dream about the day when I’ll have my own apartment with a shower, hot water, and food. 
 “Agatha, are you still pouting?” Auntie yells from her recliner. ”I told you, Uncle will pick something up when he’s done with work.”
  My foster parents, I call them Auntie and Uncle, are not what I would describe as parents, or even aunt and uncle, they’re more like babysitters. Uncle hasn’t been home for three days, and I doubt she believes he’ll be here tonight. She just wants me to tell her that I’m okay with her not picking up dinner. I’m not. Today is my thirteenth birthday. It’s not like I was expecting a cake, but something to eat would’ve been nice. 
 After I dye my hair, I take a shirt from the pile of laundry I’m standing on, wrap it around my head, and carry the remaining hair dye back to my bedroom. I love my tiny room, mostly because I’ve been sketching and painting jumbled and disjointed art on these walls since I was old enough to grip a pencil. Part of the reason I chose what the box calls boysenberry for my hair is because the extra dye is the perfect hue for the raven I’m painting on my ceiling. 
 Dipping the number-three flat brush into my dye calms me and all is forgiven. Auntie’s not a mean person, she’s just a bit off. Being angry with her is like being mad at one of the cats—pointless. 
 I wrap a blanket around my shoulders and open the window. Queens is especially chatty tonight with the noise of cars, people fighting, dogs barking, and the laughter that only I can hear. I stand on the bed and fill in the gentle face of my birdie while humming along with the chorus of voices outside. 
 Tonight, the singing is boldly wafting through my window. I can’t understand the words and don’t know the tune, but the music is sweet and peaceful. It’s sad that I can only hear my songs some of the time, when I’m tired and relaxed, and sadder still that no one else can listen with me. 
 My dye runs out long before I’m satisfied with my raven so I give up and climb into bed. The song I’m listening to now is particularly soothing, a hymn or possibly an opera. Maybe one day I’ll be a great songwriter or something. 
 A muffled thud near my window startles me from a sound sleep. There’s an eerie red glow casting moving shadows across my room. I blink a few times to make sure I’m not still dreaming and follow the source of the light. Just to the side of the foot of my bed kneels a tall, hooded figure with luminescent red eyes. It’s stroking the long ears of a much smaller creature that looks withered and dying.
 I’m not scared, which is weird, but it might be because I’m not sure I’m awake. I turn on the lamp to make the dream disappear and end up blinding myself. When my eyes adjust, I see the sickly green skin of a long-eared frog-boy lying on the floor and the tall cloaked being that’s cradling it. The tall black monster who closely resembles the Grim Reaper appears to be even more stunned than I am. We stare at each other while my brain struggles to figure out what I’m looking at. These things don’t exist, so how can I be seeing them so clearly? The black-hooded creature never takes its red eyes off me while it stands and lifts the small sickly frog-boy off the floor. 
 “Agatha?” it whispers. 
 This monster is actually in my room! My insides seize, trapping my scream. What is this thing and how does it know my name? I want to run, but I can’t move or look away. My fluttering heart stops when my door flies open with a crash. A scream unseals my lips, amplifying my terror. 
 Auntie charges in, wielding a large kitchen knife. She’s yelling in her nutty made-up language, but it works. The creature jumps out my fifth-floor window, taking the frog-boy with him. 
 She whips around toward me, still holding the knife, and looking like she means to use it. “What did you see! What was that? What were you doing!” 
 Auntie has her kind moments, but she’s crazy. I mean, truly mental. Whatever just happened, she mustn’t know that I saw it too. She probably suspects I did, but if I confirm it, she’ll nail my window shut and my songs will disappear forever. “I had a nightmare. Was I yelling in my sleep? Did I wake you?” I’m trying to sound calm, but I’m failing. 
 She takes a few deep breaths while she sizes me up. She pauses and tilts her head to the side. “There was something here. I saw it. Did you see it?” 
 “What was here? What did you see? And what’s with the knife?” I want her to tell me if she saw the Grim Reaper and a dead rabbit-frog-boy at the foot of my bed. If she saw them too, then I’m not crazy. But then again, if I see the same thing as a crazy person, we’re probably both insane.   

Author Candy Atkins 
 Candy Atkins is a full-time writer who lives with her husband and two kids in Orlando, Florida. She’s an avid reader and lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. Her debut novel, The Lost Knight, is volume one of the six-part Lost Knight Series. Her life’s journey has taken her from dining with the President to being on food stamps to running her own company. And since all author bios end by naming and quantifying pets... she also enjoys spending time with her boxer, Butler, and Wynona the cat.

  $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway 
 Ends 9/24/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. 

Top Ten Tuesday #111 - Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Hidden Gems in the Fantasy Genre

With everyone talking about the latest and greatest, I thought I'd share a few older fantasy novels that I read in the past and loved. 
(And not a single one with dragons!)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Goodreads) It's been so long I can't even remember much about this book but it was one of the first YA fantasy novels I read that had an amazingly strong-willed female MC and I loved it. 
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Goodreads) One of the many reasons why I love Gaiman's books. I adored this story. I enjoyed the movie as well. 
Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville (Goodreads) Okay, this is kind of a lame rec but I adored unicorns as a little girl and it's probably another reason why I love fantasy novels. All of my unicorn love came from books I had read! I think I transitioned to dragons after reading The Hobbit in 6th grade though. lol

The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (Goodreads) This is but one of her many beautiful stories. I've read so many of them and while the stories do not always stand strongly in my memory, I never forget just how lovely her writing is! 
A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Goodreads)
This fantasy takes place in our world (does that make it magical realism?) but has magic in it. She wrote a trilogy that is quite similar that I loved.
The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro (Goodreads) This is the first in a fantasy romance series with a unique magic system. I've read the first 3 and loved them all.

Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell (Goodreads) I feel like anyone looking for assassin books similar to Nevernight or Throne of Glass should check out this series. I've only read the first book but it was fantastic! 
The Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore (Goodreads) I can't just name one book in this series even though it's actually a bunch of series. Homeland is part of the Dark Elf trilogy about Drizzt's homeland which is underground. Seriously, these are all amazing fantasy novels and this guy writes the best fight scenes I've ever read! I was hardcore into these a decade ago! 
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Goodreads) I cover-bought this one through a mail service a decade or so ago but it still sticks with me as one of my favorite fantasy novels! I know it has had a resurgence recently which is much deserved because it's an awesome series. 

And one recent fantasy novel in case you are looking for something new:

Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J.M. Lee (Goodreads) Based off of the movie, The Dark Crystal, this book is the start to a sort of prequel series that is sooo fantastic! If you enjoyed the movie at all, definitely check this out! It's written so well and covers more of the world the movie was set in! 

Have you read any of these books or authors? Are there any lesser known fantasy books you would recommend to me? 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

  The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson
When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? 
 Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. 
 Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.
The corners of the man’s eyes crinkled in a mild show of amusement. “Lady Harriett, I presume?” Rather than look at her with appreciation as most men did, he appeared amused. 
 At her nod, he tucked his hands behind his back, remaining a few steps above her. “I am Lieutenant Christopher Jamison, an old friend of Jonathan’s.” 
 “I was expecting you days ago,” she answered. “Lord Jonathan charged me with the unhappy task of informing you he and his new bride are currently away on their wedding trip. He is sorry he cannot be here to meet with you and has asked that I relay his apologies.”
 “May I inquire as to how long they will be away?” he asked. 
No, you may not, she wanted to say. 
Her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him, but she forced her gaze to remain steady. “They expected to be gone a fortnight, sir.” 
 “And they have been gone how long, exactly?”
 She felt an unaccountable hesitancy to tell him. “A week.” 
 “Ah.” He sounded disappointed but seemed to take the news in stride, glancing at Charlie as though wondering whether he ought to retrieve his horse or not. Harriett prayed that he would. When his gaze strayed back to her, he took the unwelcome, and ungentlemanly, liberty of perusing her figure. When his eyes met hers again, his lips twitched into a slight smile. 
“Forgive me, my lady, but you appear to have had a run-in with a mud puddle and lost.”
 How kind of him to point that out. 
Harriett kept her hands at her side rather than attempt to brush the dirt from her face and pelisse yet again. The damage was done, and no amount of brushing or shaking would remove the muck. What she needed was a hot bath and a change of clothes. 
 “Actually, sir, I was merely an innocent bystander.” 
 “Indeed?” She picked up her skirts and ascended the steps, stopping on the stair above him so that she was eye level with him. “Are you always such a reckless rider, sir? Do you not pay heed to your surroundings?” 

 “Of course I do.” “If you had, you would have seen me standing at the side of the road and, I would hope, thought to slow your animal down so as to not splash mud all over my pelisse.” 
 Her chilly set down did not have the desired effect. He did not appear the least bit repentant. Rather, he looked ready to burst into laughter. “And your face, apparently.” He leaned forward and squinted. “If I’m not mistaken, there is a splash or two of mud on your bonnet as well.” Harriett glared at him. 
“How observant you are, Lieutenant Jamison. One can only wonder why you didn’t put that skill to good use earlier. If you had, perhaps my pelisse, face, and bonnet would still be clean.” 
 “I am always observant, my lady,” he said. “But might I suggest that if you would like to be noticed at the side of the road, you should wear a color that does not blend so perfectly with your surroundings. That particular shade of green looks quite lovely on you, but only someone with the eyes of an eagle would have spotted you in front of a landscape of evergreens.” 
 Harriett opened her mouth to respond, but no words were forthcoming. The man did not even attempt to behave like a gentleman. How could he be so . . . so . . . 
 “Have you no apology to offer, sir?” she finally spluttered. 
 “Oh, did I not apologize? Forgive me.” 
 “For what? Forgetting to apologize or for not doing so in the first place?”

Author Rachael Anderson 
 A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

$75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 9/22/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Sunday Post #74 - Goodbye August (+Instagram Giveaway Info)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

Another uneventful week! Woot!
(Although I am keeping tabs on Hurricane Harvey... I hope anyone here that is in its path is safe!)
Plus there was the eclipse which I did get to see some of from home. :)
I've been gardening, reading, and painting a little but not much of anything else. I can't believe August is almost over and I'll be spending the next few days trying to catch up on everything so I don't get super behind in September. 

I won both of these on good old Goodreads .
And I won this coloring book from the author!

Picture Book Review: Walter and the Wallet by Billy Bloom
Top Ten Tuesday: Books with School Settings
Can't Wait Wednesday: Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi
Book Blast & $50 Giveaway: Perfectly You by Robin Daniels
Quick Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Hurray! I finished 3 books this week for Bout of Books! 


My loan for IT expired an it will probably be another couple of months on hold before I get it back so I started The Fireman by Joe Hill. This one seems pretty good so far. 

I watched both Death Note and What Happened to Monday this week and enjoyed both but I really need a new tv show to watch!

My account is a little bright and wacky right now. 
I am co-hosting a giveaway for a UK paperback copy of Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas on instagram right now! Ends September 3rd at midnight! Follow me at @lazydaylit if you're interested! 

Have a great week everyone! :)