Book Haul: All the ARCs

Lords and ladies, lemme grab your attention for half a sec.

So because I have the best job in the world, I get access to ARCs. We can literally pick whatever and however many we want and we can keep them, too. Of course, we’re encouraged to bring it back if we like it and get as many other booksellers to read it as possible but we do have the option of keeping it.

So your girl here picked a couple out because–yeah, duh.

(I actually have already picked up and read one before this– a great book coming out this fall called The Looking Glass by Janet McNally. My review for that will be coming closer to release.)

So here we have the following:


Title: Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows
Author: Ryan Calejo
Release Date: October 23, 2018

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.


Title: A Dastardly Plot
Author: Christopher Healy
Release Date: September 25, 2018

The first book in a rip-roaring adventure about the world-famous inventors history remembers–and more than a few that it’s forgotten

It is 1883–the Age of Invention!  A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a mechanical-electrical-industrial marvel: a land of limitless opportunity.  And it all happens at the world-famous Inventors’ Guild headquarters in New York City–a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little luck can find you rubbing elbows with the gods of industry who will usher humanity into the bright promise of the future.

Unless, of course, you’re a woman.

Molly Pepper, daughter of brilliant but unknown inventor Cassandra Pepper, lives with her mother in New York.  By day, they make ends meet running a small pickle shop; by night, they toil and dream of Cassandra shattering the glass ceiling of the Inventors’ Guild and taking her place among the most famous inventors in America.  In an attempt to find a way to exhibit Cass’s work at the 1883 World’s Fair, they break into the Inventors’ Guild–and discover a mysterious and dastardly plot to destroy the city.  The evidence points tot he involvement of one of the world’s most famous inventors, and now it’s up to Molly, Cassandra, and a shop hand named Emmett Lee to uncover the truth–even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.


Title: The Dreamy
Author: Lisa Papademetriou

Release Date: October 30, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou delivers her most fantastical, emotional story yet in this tale of a young girl’s journey into her dreams to save her brother from the darkness that surrounds him. Perfect for fans of A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Echo.

Every night, your sleeping body stays in your bed, while the youof you travels deep beneath the earth to ride the complex rails of the Dreamway….

Stella Clay thought it was just another ordinary day at her drab gray school. Then her twin brother, Cole, is attacked by a shadowy creature on their way home, and Stella’s world turns positively peculiar. Suddenly, her brother seems different, almost dimmer, like a candle about to flicker out.

And then a talking mouse shows up in her bedroom.

Stella discovers that the real Cole has been taken prisoner in the Dreamway. Determined to find him, she sets out with the “help” of a stuck-up rodent, a nervous dragonfly, and a mysterious pirate, and finds her way to the darkest edge of the Dreamway to bring her brother home…before he’s trapped forever.

In this allegorical exploration of childhood depression, with a moving author note that follows, Lisa Papademetriou gently and safely illustrates for her readers the emotional effects of anger, anxiety, and insecurity—and illuminates a pathway to hope and recovery.


Title: Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue
Author: Jeff Seymour
Release Date: May 15, 2018

From debut author Jeff Seymour and bestselling illustrator Brett Helquist (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) comes this breathtaking fantasy adventure, starring an extraordinary new heroine and set in an unforgettable world where ships can fly.

It takes a very special crew to keep the cloudship Orion running, and no one knows that better than Nadya Skylung, who tends the cloud garden that keeps the ship afloat. When the unthinkable happens and pirates attack, Nadya and the other children aboard–all orphans taken in by the kindhearted Captain Nic–narrowly escape, but the rest of the crew is captured. Alone and far from help, only Nadya and her four brave and loyal friends can take back the Orion and rescue the crew. And she’ll risk life and limb to save the only family she’s ever known. But . . . this attack was no accident. What exactly are the pirates looking for? Could it be Nadya they’ve been after all along?


And I see you fidgeting over there, Lord Fussybritches. YES I HAVE A SIGNED COPY OF THE BURNING MAZE AND I. AM. SO. PSYCHED.

Nadya Skylung has actually already come out. I’ve read the first 15 pages or so and am super intrigued and can’t wait to get into it.

As for the rest, reviews won’t be coming out until this fall. Except for Burning Maze. That’ll be coming soon.

(I overheard a coworker telling another customer that Burning Maze is gonna make them cry and I am SO. NOT. READY. I mean, I’m gonna read it but IM NOT READY.)

Thank you for joining me at the Round Table, ladies and gents. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading and I’ll check it out!


Month in Review: May 2018

Alrighty, my lords and ladies.  Welcome to the Round Table, take a seat, let’s get started.


  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne
  • Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon
  • The Looking Glass by Janet McNally (ARC)
  • Hexed by Kevin Hearne


Such a gratifying month of reading!  I’m impressed with myself for getting so much reading in around my suddenly very hectic schedule.  (I got a job at a bookstore, y’all!)  Thanks to my Kindle and some truly awesome reads, I’d say I racked up a pretty impressive load of golden titles there.



Okay, yeah.  I know.  It’s lonely there, but next month should be better as I start getting these titles reviewed.

Reviews Coming Soon

  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne
  • Hexed by Kevin Hearne
  • The Looking Glass by Janet McNally (but not until closer to publication date)

Are we really sure Atticus O’Sullivan isn’t really a closet witch, capable of casting alluring charms on people?  Because, seriously, y’all.  I. Am. Enamored.


Hexed was freaking amazing.  Very much looking forward to sharing this series with y’all because the charm and glory of Atticus O’Sullivan deserves to be shared.

Currently Reading

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Gentleman’s Guide?  Holy Excalibur, Batman.  I’m maybe ten pages in and I am hooked.  I don’t think I even saw the bait before Mackenzi Lee got her hook in me.  I just *chomp* went for it.

Top of the TBR

  • Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
  • The Wicked + The Divine Vol 2
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Y’all.  I am PSYCHED for Trials of Apollo #3.  Any PJO fandom at the Table?  I overheard a coworker telling a customer it’ll make them cry and I-JUST-WHAT?  I am NOT ready!

Blogs I Followed


Have y’all heard of this sensational TV show out of France (but on Netflix in the States) called Miraculous?!  It. Has. Consumed. Me.  You should watch it just to see how the show runners have a ball wrangling a love square drowning in dramatic irony: Marinette is Ladybug and Adrien is Cat Noir, but neither of them knows the secret identity of the other and Cat Noir is in love with Ladybug but Marinette is in love with Adrien.  Sounds insane?  IT’S INSANELY GOOD.  Also some hella awesome world building stuff, too.

Also, I am beginning my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program in June at Seton Hill University and I am STOKED.  It’s a low-residency program, which basically means it’s all online except for two one-week in person “residencies” a year.  If you wanna keep up with my writing journey, you can join me right over at MizWriterLady.  I’ve already started stretching my writing muscles with daily writing exercises so if you’ve got time to kill, give those a peek.

Lords, ladies, thank you for attending this check in at the Round Table.  I’m off to avoid every royal responsibility possible; I’ve found a new hiding spot to read in and it has magnificent potential–at least until my loyal, royal bloodhound sniffs me out.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher


For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.

Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.

Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.


All the elements were there, but the “telling” writing style condemned the execution of this story from the beginning.  The best I can say of it is that it would have been a good TV show, but on the page, it reads flat and apathetic, lifeless and stale.

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Updates + moving forward!

Hello all!

So I haven’t posted a review for almost a year now.  Why?  Laziness, pure and simple.  Also, I don’t know about you, but writing a review for every book I read is just exhausting.  It takes a lot of mental energy, especially if it’s a book I loved.  It’s so much easier to explain why I didn’t like something as opposed to why I did.

And also no one was commenting on my reviews, so it was a bit like screaming into the void anyway.

But I have an announcement!

I recently started a job at a bookstore and because this bookstore is so amazing, I have access to books I normally wouldn’t have otherwise.  Including ARCs (advanced reading copies).

With so much incentive to get back into book blogging, I’m making it a goal to start writing reviews again, especially for the ARCs I can get through work.

What to look out for in the next few weeks:

  • I just started the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne, so my review for Hounded will be out before the end of the month
  • I recently finished a few classics, so look out for my thoughts on The Screwtape Letters and The Richest Man in Babylon
  • For my MFA program, I have to read a contemporary YA murder mystery, so look out for a review of One of us is Lying
  • And finally, the ARC I picked up from work is called The Looking Glass by Janet McNally so that review will also be coming soon
  • AND as a bonus, I will be having a giveaway for the new paperback edition of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo no later than the end of June!

So much to look forward to!

Thank you all for sticking with me and I look forward to chatting with you about books in future!


Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs


Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.


Patricia Briggs has long since been one of my all-time favorite authors, and after having read more than half of her published novels, I’ve come to know what to expect with her work: pure awesomeness.  With a perfect blend of writing talent, engrossing plot, cheer-worthy characters all bundled together with humor, Cry Wolf is a perfect follow up to the short story Alpha and Omega and a brilliant opening to the series.  Even the third time around, Patricia Briggs still delivers as if it were the first.

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Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal


Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…


What an enchanting read!  I was very pleasantly surprised by the maturity and depth of Ghost Talkers.  It’s a story about love and patriotism and letting go and standing tall.  I loved the backdrop of WWI Europe and the vivid world of the Spirit Corps, but Ginger was what made it all come alive.  She was a brilliant main character and I thoroughly enjoyed her story.

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Seeker by Veronica Rossi


When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth.

She wasn’t losing her mind; she was gaining the Sight—the ability to see the future. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first—and worst—mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael, the last surviving demon of the Kindred, guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It’s up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on instincts, intelligence, and blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil?

The very fate of humankind may rest in the answer.


I am so disappointed that this is just a duology!  I’ve really gotten attached to the characters and I want to see even more of the world.  While I think the story came to an end nicely, I could still go for more.  Really, though, I just can’t wait for what Veronica Rossi comes out with next.  She’s an author I can rely on to produce stories worth reading.

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