Feature Follow Friday ~ March 31, 2017

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Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

It’s My Birthday! 

I tricked you! If you keep up with my Sunday Posts or monthly Chit Chats you’ll know that my birthday was last month!

Today’s topic is: It’s my birthday! What book should I read? Recommend your current favorite book.

So I’m going to recommend mine, and you recommend yours to me! Because we all love books!

31752357My current favorite read is: King of the Friend Zone.

I love Hunter’s character. He has a lot of focus in this book. There are so many instances of internal dialogue and that is the part I think I enjoyed the most. He is so real. He thinks what everyone else is thinking. It is like Pratt literally recorded and wrote down someone’s thought processes through each of the scenes he’s in. He is the MC of the book and I love that this author put that spin on her characters and chose him as the focus for a romance.

Tell me yours! What’s your current or most recent favorite book?  

Blitz + Giveaway: The Animal Under The Fur

The Animal Under
E.J. Mellow
Publication date: March 30th 2017
Genres: Action, Adult, Romance

From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes an action romance dripping with vengeful delight.

Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin.

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length.

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed.

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile.

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter.

The Animal Under The Fur is a hate-to-loath-to-love standalone novel filled with savagery, secrets, and enough angst to wrinkle the pages you’ll find gripped in your hands.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

E.J. Mellow is the award-winning author of the contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series and The Animal Under The Fur. With a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, E.J. Mellow splits her time between her two loves – visual design and writing. Residing in NYC, E.J. is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter. She has no animals but loves those who do.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

GIVEAWAY!

The Animal Under The Fur release day package including SIGNED paperback + $30 Amazon GiftCard
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blogger Hop #14

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The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


Do you visit every listed blog in the linky list when you are participating in a meme? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

I try to visit every blog in the linky for my memes I participate in each week. The only exceptions are the two bigger ones, The Sunday Post and Top Ten Tuesday. I think I visited everyone on The Sunday Post last year. It took forever. Top Ten Tuesday is out of the question because there are HUNDREDS of people. Lately I haven’t been able to get around to commenting as much, and now that UIL is over and the yearbook will soon be 100% due I am hoping to have a lot of personal time back.

WWW Wednesdays (March 29th)

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This is a weekly meme hosted hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. To join in answer the following three questions and hop over to Sam’s and leave your link.


What are you currently reading?

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT The Piper’s Price. I hit 50% last night and was pushing it, staying up until 11:30 to get there. It is getting so good. An array of new characters were introduced. One of the things I did in my review of The Neverland Wars was a comparison, and I noted there was no Tiger Lily or Captain Hook. Well, there IS a Tiger Lily! Gwen meets Tiger Lily on a reservation and there’s some crazy secret stuff going on that must be hidden from the Anomalous Activity Department – which Gwen’s dad works for! And since she is connected to Peter Pan and magic, the “black coats” are after her. I am super excited about what is coming next. Everyone keeps warning Gwen that she doesn’t want to go looking for the Piper because he does some shady deals and such, so I am wondering what he is all about. 

Here’s the synopsis:

Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.

Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.

The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.

I didn’t make any progress through my audiobook, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I mentioned last week that it’s very dry and it kind of bores me, but I want to finish it. I think I’ll listen this weekend while I do some things and try to finish it up.

So begins the Time Traveler’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. 


 What did you just finish reading?

I’m reading furiously to finish!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am getting pumped about reading my upcoming books! These are my most recent NetGalley finds, so I’m ready to read, review, and clear my plate! I said last week I wanted to finish all of these by the end of April. I think I can do that!


 How about you? What are you reading this week?

Leave a comment with your answers! Share the link to your WWW Wednesday post OR leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. Happy Reading! 🙂

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: Last Night with the Duke

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I am moving on to more NetGalley books. If I’m going to get 50 of them read this year, I’ve got to get cracking!

 

30078642Synopsis ~ Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?

 

Chapter 1

Don’t say in private what you don’t want to hear repeated in public.

Miss Mamie Fortescue’s Do’s and Don’ts for Chaperones, Governesses, Tutors, and Nurses

Benedict Mercer’s impatience was beginning to grow, and it didn’t appear that the fourth Duke of Griffin’s disposition would improve, judging by the fact there was no one in the front office when he stepped into Miss Mamie Fortescue’s Employment Agency. He removed his damp hat while noting the room was sparsely furnished with an old, inexpensive desk, a couple of chairs, but little else.


Teaser

“You heard me. When was the last time you were hugged?” [Loc 1340]

Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Authors to Meet

I am not one to go all gaga over an author or a series. I’m very anti-hype, so my list is pretty short.

 

 

Which authors are you dying to meet? 

Cover Characteristics: UFOs

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This is a new meme hosted by Sugar & Snark. It came about when Sugar was wondering which cover to use for her #70 Cover of the Week post. Sugar kept on thinking of more than one, and they all seemed to have a theme/characteristic. So she decided to switch things up a bit!

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the week’s particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit). You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

UFOs

Sci-fi is not my forte, so I could be completely wrong in what is considered a UFO, but I couldn’t find that many covers that featured UFOs. Most of them had something about UFOs in the title but didn’t have them on the cover, or had little alien-like creatures on the cover.

Read More »

Audiobook Review: X

ABOUT THE BOOK

22292486Title: X
Author: Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: January 2015
Length: 348 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA

I am Malcolm.
I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me.

They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer.

But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

 

my review

The Narration

**Unabridged Audiobook

Narrated By: Dion Graham , Ilyasah Shabazz
Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
Release Date: January 2015
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins

Dion Graham was a terrific narrator. The text itself contained a lot of natural colloqualism, even in internal dialogue, and Dion’s narration contained a perfect blend and a voice of the African-American struggle with incredible dialect. I would love to hear more of his narrations!

The Highs and Lows

I was surprised when the bilingual coordinator for my school district sent out a district-wide newsletter recommending X alongside other elementary picture and middle grades books for students to read as a diverse read for Black History Month. This was intended for elementary campuses, primarily, which is the struggle in teaching middle school. We have to make things so elementary, but then are griped at that what we are doing is not rigorous enough or preparing them for high school. I was currently listening to the audio at the time. Since I’ve finished the audio, I’ve found many recommending this for student reading in classes, and being a middle school teacher there would be incredible backlash if this were read in any grade below 9th or 10th grade. It is marketed as a YA read, and it is more mature than most YA today. Because it is historical, it is based on real events, but the content is not appropriate for immature readers. Reading Huckleberry Finn was a shock ten years ago when I was a junior in high school, so that should accompanied with a caveat for high school reading.

  • Before Becoming Malcolm X. I don’t recall ever learning anything about Malcolm X in Texas public schools. Or in college, and I was a geography minor that entailed several anthropology and history classes. Somehow I naturally figured out who Malcolm X was through my own means, and all I knew was that he was a leader for social injustice and basic civil rights. Beyond that, I didn’t know much. While preparing for my review, I discovered that there aren’t a lot of writings about his life before becoming Malcolm X. It was interesting to learn about Malcolm Little from his youth.
  • Fictionalized Perspective. While X is a novel about the formative years about the boy who grew up to become Malcolm X, it is important to distinguish and remember that this is still historical fiction. It is a fictionalized account of his youth. It is not from the perspective of Malcolm Little, but rather from one of his daughters based on stories she heard about her father growing up following his assassination when she was three years old.
  • Anticlimatic. Given this is a fictionalized perspective, it is biased but also contains more depth than other sources could provide. While listening it seemed that some of Malcolm’s decisions were idealized. There did not seem to be real closure to the book. It ended with Malcolm’s imprisonment when he was 20, followed by end notes distinguishing the facts from the fiction. This section contained pretty detailed information that was helpful. It would have been more helpful at the front, especially for audio. Reading this section set the tone for hope for what we know was to come for Malcolm, but I didn’t feel the actual book’s ending arrived there. I was left wanting something more out of the ending for such a compelling narrative.
  • Setting. There are several settings to the book. The storyline travels from Malcolm’s birth in Omaha to his childhood in Flint and Lansing, and then to his youth in Roxbury (Boston) and Harlem, concluding with Malcolm’s imprisonment. The vibrancy in the description and the lives of Roxbury and Harlem particularly captured my attention. In the context of the environment in which he grew up in, Malcolm’s choices stem from the oppression and racism inflicted on his family. The murder of his father and institutionalization of his mother and being forced into foster care during this time had very invasive effects. The timeline moves fluidly back and forth in time.
  • Spiraling. Malcolm is a good student. He’s very smart and makes straight As. He also had a wild streak in him that started with small things, like stealing food for his family. Malcolm saw the face of racism in high school, and then understands his white peers are not being friendly. His (half) sister Ella invites him to live with her in Boston, and Malcolmn jumps at the opportunity to leave Lansing. It is a fresh start in a new place. From there his life begins spiraling out of control for most of the book. There are harsh realities when Malcolm discovers jazz, alcohol, drugs, and women – a white woman named Sophia, specifically – which is why I do not suggest this be read by students younger than 9th grade. It seemed the plot lent itself to compounding on every bad decision Malcolm makes, almost like it is a contest to see how bad he can be the next time.
  • Disillusion. Malcolm’s beliefs of a fresh start in Roxbury don’t last long. He finds that the glittering city life doesn’t provide a means of escape from the racism that filled the hearts and souls of so many. After experiencing Harlem, Malcolm decides that is where he needs to be. Trouble comes knocking again, and Malcolm returns to Roxbury, where Sophia has cooked up a plan that will allow Malcolm, herself, and two others to come into a surplus of funds. Ultimately Malcolm is caught by the police and sent to prison and truly starts over. It is made clear that Malcolm’s self-destructive behavior is the effect of his disillusionment with his father’s teachings about pride and equality and his feeling that there was nothing he could do to change things.
  • Lack of Redemption. While reading, I couldn’t ever find anywhere where Malcolm felt remorse for any of his actions. It was hard to read about Malcolm’s throwing bad choice after bad. His sister Ella gave him opportunities and encouragement. Instead of realizing her disapproval was due to his dangerous choices, he ran from the one good thing in his life. I describe my grandfather as a hard man, unyielding and abrasive, and this was a hard read. I didn’t see any hope for redemption. I think that is why I wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion of the book.
  • Malcolm’s Character. I didn’t like Malcolm’s character for the majority of the book. He chooses to do certain things he knows is against the law and can land him in serious trouble, like illegally owning a gun and dealing “white powder.” There were several scenes regarding these two elements that show a paranoid Malcolm, but he continues to grow arrogant. If the world won’t give it to him, he will take it by whatever means he chooses, namely dealing drugs and being a thief. There is no will or want in him to be a better person, and that was something that resonated with me. It goes against everything I have ever been taught. Even as I write this I have to remember the environment he grew up in. If all you know is debilitating racism, why would you want to be a better person?

The Take-Away

While I didn’t agree with Malcolm’s spiraling behavior and his choices, I also saw the naivety that still resided in him as a young man running wild. To love a white woman in this time was danger in and of itself. I don’t know everything about the Civil Rights Movement, but I know more than some, and I realize what I don’t know. The black spots on my map, so to speak, and learning new little pieces from this narrative are compelling enough to prompt readers to continue expanding their knowledge about leaders and lives during this tumultuous time.

 

Sunday Post ~ The Week After The In-Laws

0abf9b9e-b7ac-4d59-b451-7eb7c64ea1b9_zps47hi5hueThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


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This week I was on a district walk at campuses, and it was actually enjoyable. There were just some logistical issues that they now know for next time. In the process, I got to see my old partner whom I started teaching with! She went down to elementary for this school year, and The French Fry Queen made an appearance. THEN I saw my kindergarten teacher! I was off on Friday, so I was only in the classroom 3 days this week. It was nice.

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There wasn’t a lot of time left over this week. I did go on Monday night to get my nails done since time ran out last weekend. I went to a place near my house (usually I go to a place near The Man’s house) and I LOVED it. The best salon I have ever been to, and the guy working on me was not afraid to dig around at my toes – which is the #1 reason why I go get pedicures. I think I might make this my go-to place…even after I move. I also spent one entire night updating all the official stuff for jobs. I started looking and applying to about a dozen new jobs. The one I found during spring break that I was really interested in had already closed, but I’m moving forward with this.

The Man’s parents came in for the week. They flew in on Monday and they flew out late afternoon yesterday. Then they’re flight was delayed until 8pm last night. It was snowing back home, and it was 80s all week here. They went to The Alamo and the River Walk one day, to the rodeo the next day, and to the outlet malls (which they don’t have back home). I was nervous meeting The Man’s stepmom, but after I initially arrived things were off to a great start. She looks like a little pixie and she cracks me up. She LOVED Baby and Cera, and they loved her. We went to a classic car museum (my idea) and it was awesome! The Man even bought me a car!

The bedroom furniture is also FINALLY being delivered this week. The Man and I have been living out of suitcases with clothes strewn all over the place for weeks. He purchased the furniture two months ago and it is finally being

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@sissybearla

The week started going really well with my Instagram goal (of increasing my followers). By midweek I was up 30-something followers…and then all of a sudden I had more unfollowing than following and those numbers started going down. I think the Crowdfire app is also sucking my battery. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I guess I’ll keep using it for a while and examine the results.

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This week I didn’t do much work around the blog (again). My goal this week was to get all my reviews for the year cross-posted, but that is decidedly not going to happen. Maybe next weekend when The Man is sleeping and at work.

Hopefully this coming week I am able to get around to visiting and commenting. There was no extra time for me to get around to it this week. I only got a few more chapters into The Piper’s Price. I hope I get a little farther today.

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YA Lit Giveaway

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  • Monday
    • Cover Characteristics ~ UFOs
    • Audiobook Review ~ X: A Novel
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ Authors to Meet
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ Late Night with the Duke
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
  • Thursday
  •  Friday
    • Feature Follow Friday ~ Birthday
    • Book Blogger Hop #14

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My students and I finished The Phantom Tollbooth on Monday. Hoooraaay! We’ve only been reading it since the beginning of December.

I also finished To Move the World and started reading The Piper’s Price. I’m still not very far into it yet (less than 10 chapters), but I already have ideas swirling around about what is going to happen. After finishing up this one, I’ll be moving back to my NetGalley list of books.

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Feature Follow Friday ~ March 24, 2017

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Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

Books/Series in the Closet

What book/series do you love secretly and have a hard time admitting you love?

I don’t love the series, but I like it a lot. The adolescent, obnoxious, wish-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now middle schooler in me enjoys reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I have the first five or six (or seven?) books in the series. I’ve been contemplating with myself about keeping or getting rid of the books from my shelf, but I think I would like to pull them out on a bad day just to read and laugh.

This isn’t a secret, but I am very cognizant of pushing this series on people: Outlander. I think it has now grown to have a niche and strong following than it did even ten, twelve years ago. In college, I was embarrassed to talk about this book with others. It was in my closet then. When I first started my blog, I wasn’t embarrassed to share or talk about the books, but I was aware that there were going to be people who did not want to hear it and I could get some nasty backlash. I’ve seen it already out there and I didn’t want to make a platform available for that to happen to me.

Another book along the same lines about cognizance and blowback that is a book that will never die in my heart. I have talked about Looking for Alaska many, many times on my blog and what it means to me and why. I even created a feature on my blog, Famous Last Words, based around the reasons I love and advocate for John Green’s book. This is a book that most people judge and trash based on the fact that “she’s teaching them how to have sex” (oral, with a toothpaste tube – nothing ever comes to fruition – this is not uncommon and is realistic for the world we live in) and the question swirling around about Alaska. There is SO MUCH MORE to this book. Everything that Pudge and the Colonel do in their search for Alaska’s truth show great character, dedication, compassion,  and empathy – a lesson many are neglecting to teach their children in today’s world. I have become more open with sharing my history with this book and feel like I can now openly talk about it, and I realize it can make some people uncomfortable and they don’t really know what to say – and I’m OK with that and it’s OK.

It should also be no surprise that I am a huge romance reader. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I read Outlander at age 12. However, my mother always tried to hide the covers of what she was reading in public, and I have always felt embarrassed about reading this genre. Even reading next to The Man on the couch, I’m embarrassed for him to look over and start reading my page when it’s starting into a steamy moment. Why? Why am I embarrassed? I shouldn’t be. I can read what I want, when I want. It’s not something to be embarrassed about, but I am…because all my life growing up the concept of reading a “bodice ripper” was reinforced to me as being embarrassing and something to hide and do in private. However, I am not a fan of erotica. There is a clear and distinct difference between romance and erotica, and I find that some erotica is in the closet themselves trying to market as romance. I’m not down with that.

What books or series are in your closet?