Top 5 Wednesday (15)

This feature is hosted in the Top Five Wednesday group on Goodreads.

The topic this week is….

Okay, so the topic is actually : Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice]. I chose zombies. 


To say I was excited about this topic is an understatement. Zombies are my jam. I love everything about a good z-poc story: the demise of civilization, how people overcome and adapt (and how some don’t), the survivalism aspect, and the many different interpretations  zombies. Social psychology is fascinating to me (hence, the degree in it, lol) and what better social experiment than the end of the world! I think the best zombie books are the ones that focus less on the actual zombies, but more on the people scraping by to survive in spite of them. It was so hard to pick only 5, so I picked my 5 favorites and added some honorable mentions at the bottom 🙂

As always, click on the book cover for a link to purchase the book.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


.1.

Until the End of the World series and The City Series by Sarah Lyons Fleming

I put these two together because they are in the same universe. My reviews are linked below for both. Oh, and Until the End of the World is FREE on Amazon right now! Mordacious is free if you have KindleUnlimited (which I highly recommend. For more info on Kindle Unlimited click here: Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial).

My Reviews:

Until the End of the World

Mordacious 


.2.

The movie was great, but it just couldn’t due this book justice because of the format. If you enjoyed the movie, definitely pick this one up. It’s a collection of “interviews” done after the zombie apocalypse strikes the world which allows for the telling of stories from multiple people all over the world. 


.3.

This is a very “adult” series due to language (the main protagonist is a prior Marine and speaks like it). It was actually one the first zombie series I read, and there are 10 books in the series so you will be entertained and occupied for a while reading these. Keep in mind that Tufo is an independent author who cranks out several books a year so there are some minor errors sometimes. 


.4.

I actually haven’t done my review for this series yet, but it’s another I highly recommend. Strong characters, great world building, and a plot that keeps moving make this one of my favorites. 


.5.

This is another series I haven’t reviewed yet, but is really good. There are a bunch of books because they were all released as novellas, but two books if you buy the volumes (volume one is above). Both volumes are also part of the Kindle Unlimited program!


More Zombie Books


Happy reading! Link your lists below so I can check them out!

Top 10 Tuesday (12)

“Top Ten Tuesday” is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every week they pick a topic for us to do a top 10 list for and this week’s topic is…

I took this as books that just remind me of fall, whether because of the theme or just the nostalgic feeling I get when I think of the book. Brace yourselves for lots of books about witch trials, as they have always fascinated me! Some of the books I’m sure almost everyone will be familiar with, but for the ones maybe not as familiar I included a synopsis underneath.

As always, click on the book cover for a link to purchase the book. 

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


.1.

Title: A Storm of Witchcraft
Author: Emerson W. Baker
Genre:  Non-Fiction, History

Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers–mainly young women–suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history.

Historians have speculated on a web of possible causes for the witchcraft that stated in Salem and spread across the region-religious crisis, ergot poisoning, an encephalitis outbreak, frontier war hysteria–but most agree that there was no single factor. Rather, as Emerson Baker illustrates in this seminal new work, Salem was “a perfect storm”: a unique convergence of conditions and events that produced something extraordinary throughout New England in 1692 and the following years, and which has haunted us ever since.

Baker shows how a range of factors in the Bay colony in the 1690s, including a new charter and government, a lethal frontier war, and religious and political conflicts, set the stage for the dramatic events in Salem. Engaging a range of perspectives, he looks at the key players in the outbreak–the accused witches and the people they allegedly bewitched, as well as the judges and government officials who prosecuted them–and wrestles with questions about why the Salem tragedy unfolded as it did, and why it has become an enduring legacy.

Salem in 1692 was a critical moment for the fading Puritan government of Massachusetts Bay, whose attempts to suppress the story of the trials and erase them from memory only fueled the popular imagination. Baker argues that the trials marked a turning point in colonial history from Puritan communalism to Yankee independence, from faith in collective conscience to skepticism toward moral governance. A brilliantly told tale, A Storm of Witchcraft also puts Salem’s storm into its broader context as a part of the ongoing narrative of American history and the history of the Atlantic World.


.2.

Title: How to Hang a Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Genre:  YA, Fiction, Fantasy

Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.


.3.

Title: The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege
Author:Marilynne K. Roach
Genre: Non-Fiction, History

Based on over twenty years of original archival research, this history unfolds a nearly day-by-day narrative of the Salem Witch Trials as the citizens of Salem experienced the outbreak of hysteria.


.4.

Title: ‘Salem’s Lot
Author:  Stephen King
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense

Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work—in fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.


.5.

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Illustrated
Author:  J.K Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)
Genre:   Fantasy

This is one of the times where the book just makes me nostalgic for fall. I want to be in the Great Hall having a feast  with the rest of the Hogwarts students. 


.6.

Title: Whispers in Autumn (The Last Year Book 1)
Author:  Trisha Leigh
Genre:   YA, Dystopian, Romance, Sci-Fi

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.


.7.

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Genre:  Horror, Fantasy

A junior solicitor travels to Transylvania to meet with an important client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Ignoring the dire warnings of local townsfolk, he allows himself to be seduced by the count’s courtly manners and erudite charm. Too late, the solicitor realizes that he is a prisoner of Castle Dracula, his guards a trio of voluptuous young women with sharp white teeth and a taste for blood.

Soon thereafter, the solicitor’s fiancée, Mina, visits a friend on the English coast. The town is full of speculation over a Russian ship run aground nearby, its crew missing, the dead body of its captain, crucifix in hand, lashed to the wheel. A giant dog was seen leaping from the deck before disappearing into the countryside. The ship’s cargo: fifty boxes of Transylvanian dirt. As the beautiful Mina will soon learn, Count Dracula has arrived.


.8.

Title: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Author: Washington Irving
Genre:   Fantasy, Horror

North of New York City lies Sleepy Hollow, a secluded glen rumored to be the home of countless phantoms and specters. Chief among them is the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a Hessian soldier whose head was removed by a stray cannonball in the Revolutionary War. He rides across the glen each night and disappears in a flash of fire and brimstone at the bridge near the Old Dutch Burial Ground.

Ichabod Crane, a superstitious schoolteacher who recently arrived from Connecticut, wants to marry Katrina Van Tassel, the only child of a wealthy farmer. The locals spook him with story after story about the ghosts of Sleepy Hollow. Late one night, he spies a menacing figure at a crossroads. Worse yet, the man’s head appears to be on his saddle. Crane has only one chance to survive—he has to make it to the bridge before it’s too late.

I still think of the Sleepy Hollow animated movie and the above Ichabod every time I hear the story 😂


.9.

Title: Edgar Allen Poe The Complete Collection Tales and Poems
Author: Edgar Allen Poe


.10.

Title: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Author: Alvin Schwartz
Genre:   Children’s

Folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time.

I’m an adult and still think of these stories around Halloween time!


Bonus:

Title: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Author: Charles M. Schulz (illustrated by Scott Jeralds)
Genre:  Children’s


See other people’s lists here!

Thanks for reading, tell me what was on your list or link it below so I can check it out!

When to Put the Book Down

I used to be the person that never put books down. I would trudge through a book and wallow in despair about how much time I wasted, but about 2 years ago I started to “DNF” books. I still give every book a valiant effort and don’t put an arbitrary number (100 pages, 25%, etc.) on it, but if I find myself dreading the book or trying to avoid reading I know it’s time to give up.

 

^^ – That is usually what happens, but every once in a while I find a book where the characters annoy me so much (looking at you After the Ending) or is about a subject matter that I just can’t continue to read. The latter is what sparked this post today.

***TRIGGER WARNING*** – Rape, Kidnapping, Violence


Last week I started reading Twist Me, a dark romance. 

Spoilers for the book ahead. Proceed at your own risk of being spoiled.

 

“Will you ever let me go?” 
“No, Nora,” he replies, and I can feel his smile in the darkness. “Never.” 

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Nora Leston meets Julian Esguerra, and her life changes forever. Stolen away to a private island, she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful, dangerous man whose touch makes her burn.

A man whose obsession with her knows no bounds.

Her enigmatic captor is as cruel as he is beautiful, yet it’s his tenderness that devastates her most. Drawn into his violent world, Nora must find a way to adapt and survive—and find light within the darkness.”


Shortly into the first book Nora is kidnapped by Julian Esguerra and whisked away to a private island. Julian is NOT a good guy. He is not your misunderstood redeemable villain. He rapes Nora the day after she brings her to the island and inflicts pain she does not ask for. This is not a healthy BDSM sexual relationship in which a safe word and trust is established, and often Nora is unaware how much Julian will do to her or what is happening. There is scene after scene of Nora crying into the pillow or the mattress as Julian hits her with a belt and penetrates her (in various places) without her permission. Despite her reluctance, Nora feels pleasure and often climaxes during the sexual encounters. Nora knows this “relationship” with her captor is unhealthy, and maybe for some readers that acknowledgement is enough, but I couldn’t get past it.

I have been a victim of sexual abuse and rape, but am not usually bothered more than the average person by scenes in movies or books depicting rape (thank you years of therapy). I just can’t continue to read this book though. I finished the first book in the series and got through about half of the second. I’m not sure why I continued for so long; maybe I was hoping Julian would develop into something other than an abusive asshole? IDK. One scene finally put me over the edge though and I had to stop reading. The scene that did it was

SPOILER…………….

when Nora made Julian mad by flinching at someone calling her Mrs. Esguerra (oh, did I mention he forced her to marry him by threatening her friend’s life?). He “punishes” her by making her perform oral sex on him an then bending her over and (WITHOUT HER CONSENT or any more lubrication than her own saliva) thrusts into her anus. This is followed by him choking her until she almost passes out – again, without her consent – and being filled with the fear that he will kill her. 

Page 264: Twist Me Trilogy by Anna Zaires

I can’t. While BDSM isn’t something I personally partake in, I don’t mind reading about it. I cannot read about what I interpret is an abusive relationship masked as a romance. I can’t read about a character who is raped repeatedly, belittled and demeaned, and comes out of each encounter as “I know it’s wrong but I liked it”. After each violent episode Nora exhibits prototypical behavior of  an abused person – she makes excuses and says things like (paraphrasing here) I separate the good from the bad, I know he cares for me, etc. If this was a story about how Nora eventually gets away from her abuser I could handle it, but instead it is sensationalized and re-branded as “love”, in my opinion. I’m done. 


I want to add: I am not trying to shame someone who does love this book. I have read other dark romances and enjoyed them (Impossible Series), but Twist me just really bothered me. The controlling behavior of Julian and continued raping of Nora was too much, and maybe because of my past I am a little triggered by him. *shrugs*


Now, on to more enjoyable books 🙂 Thanks for reading!

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (11)

This is a weekly feature hosted over at Book Date.

As always, click on the book cover to be taken to Amazon for more details and to purchase. 


I won’t do a finished reading because it’s actually been since April since I last did one of these (see this post for an explanation why). 

Twist Me Trilogy by Anna Zaires: Dark Romance; not usually my genre, but I seem to be branching out a bit lately. It’s okay. Some of the subjects make me a little uncomfortable, but I keep reading. Not really sure why to be honest. 
Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown: NA, Paranormal Romance; The third book in her Darkness series. 
Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher: Suspense, Romance, Psychological thriller; again, not my usual cup of tea, but enjoying it.



And I’m still waiting on the Audible release of Peripeteia by my absolute favorite author Sarah Lyons Fleming. The book was released this summer, but I have a weird thing about keeping it to one format (audio, physical book, ebook, etc. ) and since I have listened to all her other books (and actually own them all in paperback as well, lol) I am waiting for the audio. I will stop whatever book I am currently listening to once Peripeteia comes out because I am so excited!


Top 5 Wednesday (14)

This feature is hosted in the Top Five Wednesday group on Goodreads.

The topic this week is….

I always fancied myself a reader, but until I became a part of the blogging community I didn’t open myself up to the vast amount of books that the world has to offer. Below are 5 books or book series I only read because of blogging hype (for better or for worse). 

Click on the book cover to go to Amazon to purchase or read a synopsis. 


.1.

A Court of Mist and Fury is probably one of my favorite books of all time. ACOTAR and ACOWAR were decent, but ACOMAF is a masterpiece. I never would have picked up ACOTAR if not for the blogging community though. To go along with this, I also started Throne of Glass after finishing ACOMAF, but it felt redundant to list ToG as well. My review of ACOTAR is here


.2.

Contemporary YA is really not my jam most of the time, but I picked this one up because of all the hype. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the read! My review is here.


.3.

Another one of my favorites on this list is Illuminae. I love this book so much! If you have a chance, I highly recommend listening to the audio book as well. It’s wonderful! My full review is here


.4.

 

If there was ever a book series to surprise the pants off me it was The Raven Cycle. I usually prefer plot driven books and get bored with tedious world building and ongoing character development, but Stiefvater really captivated me throughout this whole series. I think I read all four books in about a week! My review for The Raven Boys is here


.5.


I have to end this list on a downer. I read ADSOM because I kept seeing it on every blogger’s list of “must-reads”. Ugh. This book was agony for me to trudge though. I’m not sure if it was the book or the narrator though, as I listened on audio. The narrator is different for the second book, so I may give it another try….maybe. My full review is here.


Favorite Book Quotes

Hey everyone!

I was going to participate in top 10 Tuesday today, but I wasn’t really connecting with the topic so I decided to just share some of my favorite book quotes with you. 🙂

The quotes were compiled and set to background images by me; the background images were taken from Pexels.com (a source for free stock photos). 


I know I have raved about this author and her books so much already, but I can’t get enough of her writing. This particular scene was when a character was being attacked. As a survivor myself, I feel like this quote perfectly captures the hopelessness that someone can feel in the midst of this situation. This quote still brings tears to my eyes. For my review on this series (I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH!) click here. The first book in the series is FREE right now on Amazon!

 



I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology so reading books that focus on how characters develop in apocalyptic situations has always fascinated me. I love Zombie Apocalypse books, and Until the End of the World (mentioned in the first quote) and Fleming’s second series (Mordacious) are great ones in that genre. My review for Mordacious is here


I’m not going to get political (I need at least one area of my life to be a politics free zone), but this message is one that I really try to live by and raise my children to live by as well.

One of my favorite non-book quotes is “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” by Martin Luther King, Jr. I feel like these two quotes are related. 


While this wasn’t my favorite book, I love this quote. 


And lastly, who doesn’t love a little knowledge bomb from Dr. Seuss?


Books mentioned above are available for purchase from Amazon.

 

Updates and Thoughts

Happy First Day of Fall, Y’all!


How are you celebrating the first day of fall? I had a Salted Caramel Latte from Starbucks and protested this 90 degree F day by wearing a sweater (notice the pregnant belly below, as evidence to why I have not been as active lately). 

Speaking of pregnancy. Wowzers. This one has really taken a toll on me. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarium recently – if it sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard about Duchess Kate having it. Mine is more of a “mild” case in comparison to some women who spend weeks or months in the hospital, have a PICC line placed to administer meds and fluids, etc., but has been rather debilitating for me nonetheless. If you want a more detailed description for HG click here. As a result of HG early in my pregnancy I was unable to read a lot, but the past couple weeks I have started to be able to read again. I’m still perpetually nauseous, but not throwing up as much and thus, able to read again!  *happy dance*


So, what have I been reading? Well, mostly some historical romance (because these pregnancy hormones, ya know 😉) and of course, TOWER OF DAWN *screams*. I am hoping to eventually be able to do a full review of ToD, because you guys. It. was.awesome. A quick run-down of what I’ve read in the last couple weeks is below.

Click on the cover or title to be taken to Amazon to purchase the book.

Cold-Hearted Rake 

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

 

Marrying Winterborne

A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable…the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

 

Devil in Spring

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy — and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

Historical Romances have never really been my thing, but I really enjoyed all of these. I may look into more Lisa Kleypas books. 


And then, obviously:

Tower of Dawn 

Since it’s a sequel I won’t put in the book description, but as I said above – I loved it! I know Chaol is a hotly debated character in the fandom, as most people either love him or hate him, but I adore him! I give it a 5/5. It’s my second favorite book SJM has written (behind ACOMAF). 


Other reviews of the Throne of Glass series on my blog:

Throne of Glass 4/5 stars

Crown of Midnight 5/5 stars

Heir of Fire 4/5 stars

Queen of Shadows – didn’t do a review here because it was my least favorite in the series and just couldn’t muster up the fucks to write a review. 2/5 stars

Empire of Storms 4/5 stars


Well that about wraps it up for now, thank you so much for reading and sticking with my [very poorly managed for the last few months] blog! I promise I am trying to blog more and check everyone else’s blog more as well! 

Top 10 Tuesday (11)

“Top Ten Tuesday” is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every week they pick a topic for us to do a top 10 list for and this week’s topic is…

This is my first Top 10 post since May! If you missed why I’ve been absent, see my post here. I’m really excited to be able to start posting again though, so here we go! I chose this top 10 (it was actually kind of a freebie) because the following books are what I think help shaped the things I am passionate about today. These are my pick of books I read from Middle School through College that taught me what I love (and don’t) about reading. 

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


.1.

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia, YA/Children’s fiction

The Giver was the first dystopian novel I had ever read, and I was hooked. I recently bought the quartet but I haven’t gotten a chance to read the other three yet.  


.2.

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia

The thought of a future where books would be banned and burned was horrifying to me as a young girl. I think I hoarded books for years after this because of my irrational (maybe not irrational) fear of losing the ability to read books. 


.3.

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia

I am actually re-reading this book now via audio-book. Orwell paints such a vivid and stark world that I love diving into. 


.4.

Title:  The Handmaid’s Tale
Author:Margaret Atwood
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia

As much as I enjoyed this book, I am actually enjoying the show on Hulu even more! The book itself got kind of tedious to me sometimes, but it’s on this list because it was my first taste in a world where women held less value than men. I was raised by a single dad who never forced traditional gender roles onto me because he simply didn’t have the luxury. He did all the cooking, cleaning, yard work, work on our cars, etc. He raised me to be a strong and independent woman who rarely took “no” for an answer, so The Handmaid’s Tale was shocking for my young and naive mind.  


.5.

Title:  The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Fantasy

My 5th grade teacher handed me this book with the warning that “it might be too much for me to understand”. I took that as a challenge and devoured this book. It was my first fantasy novel and propelled me into the fantasy genre which I still enjoy today. 


.6.

Title:  The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical, Memoirs

I remember being in high school and sobbing in my room after making it through this. I love learning about the Holocaust and reading about the terrors so many people had to endure, and am hoping someday to be able to visit the concentration camps and pay my respects in person. This book helped to teach me empathy and the resilience of humans. 


.7.

Title:  The Art of War
Author: Sun Tzu
Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Military

This is a really short book and I recommend it to everyone. The Art of War is more than a strategic guide for War, but it is a philosophical guide to life. 


Okay, these last three books are a little different. I loathed being forced to read all three of these books and as a result steer away from both contemporary and historical fiction novels because of it. Get your pitchforks ready because I’m about to make a few people upset ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #sorrynotsorry

.8.

Title:  The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Literary Fiction


.9.

Title:  Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Literary Fiction


.10.

Title:  The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Genre: Literary Fiction


Honorable Mentions: Books I never read in school but everyone else did.

I have no idea how I passed over these books, but they never came up in my curriculum. Maybe eventually I will go back to read them. 


See other people’s lists here!

Update and why I’ve been MIA

I honestly don’t even know where and how to start this post because so much has happened over the past few months so I’m just going to dig right in by showing you 🙂

The picture is my own, but I bought the calendar from FrankandBunnylove on Etsy (follow this link to see her great shop!)

I am currently 17 weeks pregnant! My husband and I had been trying for almost a year, and with previous fertility issues we are over the moon excited for our newest little one. 

This pregnancy has been hard though y’all (actual picture of me below). 

Image may contain: one or more people and text

But seriously, My first pregnancy was pretty “easy” as far as pregnancies go; the birth story where I almost died is another story, but the pregnancy itself was smooth until the last few weeks. My second pregnancy was a little more complicated than the first, but I had no morning sickness and definitely had that coveted “pregnancy glow”.  

This pregnancy has been another story altogether. I have been considered “high risk” from the beginning because of health issues caused by my first two pregnancies, which we expected. I did not expect the crippling “morning sickness” (in quotes because if you have ever experienced this, it is most definitely more of “all day – 24/7 perpetual state of nausea and vomiting sickness“).  By the time I was 14 weeks I had lost about 20 pounds because I can’t keep anything down, but I have been sitting at that weight for the last few weeks so I am hoping the losing weight portion of it is over. The nausea/vomiting several times a day is still present, but I’m holding out hope that it will go away soon (apparently denial and delusions of grandeur are also symptoms of this pregnancy 😂).

On top of the sickness (or because of it) I have developed headaches that make it almost impossible to concentrate, especially on screens, books, etc. This has obviously impacted my ability to read and review for my blog, but honestly, the exhaustion has been a huge reason why I have been on a hiatus for so long. Another contributing factor for me not posting is because of my depression. I have been pretty open on my blog  (see here and here) about my depression in the past and would like to continue to do so. I have recently lost a lot of joy in the things I love to do so much: reading, blogging, interacting with fellow bloggers, and bookstagramming. I think the combination of not being on meds right now, being unable to eat anything of significance, not being able to go to the gym (because of my nausea – lets just say the dead-lift floor at my gym will always remind me of the smell of vomit and sweat Image result for sick emoji), and pregnancy hormones are taking their toll on me. Honestly, I have been trying to post this for a while now, but just couldn’t find the motivation. 

If you’re still with me – thank you! I am trying to find joy in the things I used to so I decided my first step is to begin blogging again. My goal at this point is to post at least once a week. Because the headaches are still impacting my ability to read much, they may be weekly memes and such for now.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for following my blog. 

Blade and Soul Book Tour-Excerpt and Giveaway!

Blade and Soul
C.M. Estopare
Publication date: June 30th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

To defy gods, she will sacrifice all.

After the death of its duchess, Safrana is in turmoil. Two equally powerful families vie for power, quickly turning the beautiful citadels of Safrana into a hellish warscape. While, on the outside, there is a desperate search for the one true heir to the throne. The one man who could stop an encroaching civil war and force the citadels into peace.

But he is no where to be found. Presumed dead. While a threatening war looms over Safrana, promising to tear it apart.

Thrust into a political world which only buys and sells in blood money, with an impending civil war at hand, Marceline Brandy is called to take charge of a peace effort in a foreign city. But nothing is certain in this world rife with political strife. Everything must be questioned, even a push for peace.

Desperate to complete her mission, Marceline soon finds herself tangled up in the strange political affairs of an arrogant woman with dangerous ties to the long lost heir of the Safranian throne. But there is another, more powerful presence that lurks on the borders of Safrana’s imploding government. A presence that would stop at nothing to see Marceline and her allies fail.

Seized by a foreign city she is sworn to save, she has few to turn to for help. The list of allies she could count on is cut short by corrupt patriotists hungry for war and livid at the mere notion of foreign driven peace. Months pass as Marceline heads this peace effort, but the fiercer she works the more dire the situation becomes and time is running out.

A war looms, one that promises to destroy Safrana, as mythological creatures rise from ancient graves. The fiends intent on absolute destruction.

Is this an all-out test of Marceline’s strength and will?

Or, are the gods themselves against her?


Excerpt

Outside the chapel, Marceline did away with her heels.
The two guardswomen ripped their swords from the sheaths at their belts.
Marceline slipped a black stiletto from her rose bodice.
“You remember us, yes?” the blue eyed blond asked, the tip of her sword tapping the ground before her.
Marceline snorted. Rolled her eyes. Flung her stiletto to the ground. The weapon dropped with a clink.
Two blades of steel clattered to the ground, interrupting the prolonged silence.
“So, you’ll come peacefully, then?” the two were twins, but it was easy for Marceline to tell who spoke.
“I never said that, Kafka.” Marceline murmured, frowning as she crossed her arms.
The verdant eyed Kafka mimicked Marceline’s thin frown, her scarlet-stained lips curving. She tilted her head, “Remy.”
Fiery eyes simmered as they set themselves upon Marceline. Remy crouched. Set a foot forward and charged at Marceline like a berserk bison.
Marceline regretted throwing her stiletto to the ground.
Remy’s shoulder connected with Marceline’s side as she dashed to the right—narrowly avoiding the attack as Kafka looked on with cold eyes. Unperturbed.
“Why is your organization here?” barked Kafka.
Grunting, Marceline ignored her question as Remy charged once more—learned Marceline’s pattern. And as Marceline sidestepped, Remy twirled—the two colliding with a bony slap.
Marceline’s vision exploded with stars.

 


Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of HEARTFELT SOUNDS, a young adult coming of age fantasy about the enthralling power of one young woman’s voice.

KINDRED SOULS is a three part epic and dark fantasy series hitting Amazon and Kindle Unlimited beginning in February 2017. The first book, WINTERSKIN, debuted February 9th, 2017. The second book, BLADE AND SOUL, debuts June 30th, 2017. Be sure to mark your calendars!

When not writing, C.M. Estopare enjoys reading about the fantastical worlds in the minds of others. She also enjoys playing around with her puppy, Duke, and adventuring with her husband.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1