Flashback Friday Challenge

After writing my #FlashbackFriday post last week I got to thinking that I would really like to do some rereading of those favorites, so what better way to do it than to incorporate it into a challenge! With all the books I need to read this year this is probably going to be a form of torture, but I also think it’s going to be fun. Each month (or so) I’ll pick a few titles from my shelves that are specifically tied to when I was younger and give them a reread. We’ll just have to see how it goes, fingers crossed!

Now let’s get to the ones I picked for the first round of this. I’m pretty much always in some stage of a Nancy Drew reread, so I picked up the next original mystery I’m on in my reread, #11 – The Clue of the Broken Locket, and I picked up the next one in the files that I need to get through #3 – Smile and Say Murder.

Next is a reread of L.J. Smith’s Night World series, though I’m still salty about the fact that Strange Fate, the finale has never been released. At think point I’d just like an outline to see how things end. This month I’m going to start with book one, which used to be titled Secret Vampire (not my favorite in the series, but the starting point).

The other one I’m going to pick up is probably not known by anyone, it came out at the same time R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series was out and from another similar series that was being started. This one is The Forever House by Mark Rivers. My best friend and I both have fond memories of this one and I haven’t read it since I was a teenager, so I figured it was time for a reread.

So, that’s going to be the first group of books I pick up and reread. We’ll see if they still hold their places in my heart as they did when I was younger. I’m sure some opinions and feelings may change, but we’ll see!

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Don’t Read the Comments

Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million Kobo Indie Bound Google Play

I was super excited about this book when I heard about it. Being a gamer myself I’m very aware of the toxicity that can be found in the gaming community, especially when it comes to female players, so having a book that tackles this head on was such a joy to see.

I was not disappointed at all and can easily say that Don’t Read the Comments will likely appear in my favorite books of the year list. It not only discussed the gaming community and how celebrities in that community are treated, but also addressed other issues in the gaming community, different family dynamics and issues and so much more. The discussion regarding how Divya guards her identity and information out of fear of being pursued or doxxed is something that is seen in a number of industries, not just the gaming community.

I fell in love with so many of the characters, even when they perhaps weren’t acting the best. They were all moving cogs within the story that contributed greatly to the plot. There were also wonderfully inserted moments of humor that not only lightened the events, but perfectly added a realness to the story.

This was really such a wonderful read and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

Social Links: 
Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks 
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks
Facebook: @ericsmithwrites

Happy reading!

Review: Grumpy Old Gods

What happens when gods wane, retire, or just decide they need a change of employment?

13 writers took up the challenge and let their imaginations run wild in this anthology that is nearly-always amusing, somewhat insightful, and completely irreverent as we imagine the gods of yore in retirement.

The premise of this book alone was able to interest me. Anything incorporating mythology will typically pique my interest, so when it was pitched to me as a short story collection with gods who are perhaps…past their prime.

I loved the hijinks that were detailed in the stories. Some stories were based on either one god within one mythology, while others had a lovely mix of different cultures and religions. So many of the stories ended up being hilarious as the gods had to cope with their retirement or advanced ages in worlds that perhaps didn’t worship them anymore.

I can’t think of any particular story that I didn’t enjoy, but there were definitely some that were absolute gems and left me laughing and thinking about them for a while afterwards.

Happy reading!

Tag Tuesday: This or That Tag

I was looking around looking for something to mix up the content on my blog and came across the This or That tag and thought it would be fun. I don’t know who originally created this one unfortunately. Let’s get to it!

Reading on the bed or couch? – Both! It really depends on where in the day I am since I will usually be on the couch during the day.

Male or female MC? – I typically prefer to read from a female point of view because it’s more able to be identified to, but a male MC will not make me dislike or choose not to read the book.

Sweet or salty snacks while reading? – Salty for sure, if I’m snacking I’m definitely going to lean more towards savory.

Trilogies or Quartets? – Any length of series is fine, but getting me to actually finish those series? Probably going to lean more towards a trilogy.

Reading in the AM or PM? – Any time of the day! Often if I’m having trouble sleeping I’ll just end up reading. Plus during the day at work I’m able to listen to audio books.

First or Third Person POV? – That one is just going to depend on the book to be honest. I can get into and enjoy any POV as long as it fits the book and the story that I’m absorbing.

Libraries or bookstores? – Um, why are you trying to cause me pain? Both, of course! If I had to pick one probably bookstore, because that means that something will be mine, but I also love utilizing my library to find out if I like something well enough to go out and own it.

Books that make you laugh or cry? – Either way I’m experiencing emotions so it’s good, but probably something that makes me cry just because that usually means it has more of an impact.

Black or white book covers? – Cover color really doesn’t matter to me, but I’m going to go with black just because it wouldn’t show dirt as easily as white.

Character or plot driven? – Books need both, but I usually lean more towards plot driven. I like books to feel like they are progressing and moving along.

So there you have it! I know most of them I leaned towards both, but sometimes that’s the way it is.

Happy reading!

Review: The Waking Forest

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive? 

I really wanted to be able to say that I loved this book, but sadly I didn’t. For me it was very slow moving and there were definitely passages where I was confused, which lead to some re-reading and slowing of my pace.

The writing of this book is so beautiful and lyrical, but at some points it seems that it could almost be too lyrical. Still, this writing style does lend immensely to the dark, twisting story of the book. We follow two different perspectives, one being Rhea and one being the witch in the woods. I did love the feel of this book and how like a traditional fairy tale parts of it were written.

While this book wasn’t exactly for me, I could definitely see a lot of people loving it. The writing is beautiful and the story dark and constantly evolving and shifting.

Happy reading!

Review: Doctor Mirage

Paranormal detective Doctor Shan Fong Mirage had the ability to see and talk to the dead. Except the dead have gone silent, their spirits mysteriously vanished, including Hwen, her deceased husband. Now, Doctor Mirage must face the most challenging question of her life: Is she dead but doesn’t know it?

From Eisner Award-nominated writer Magdalene “Mags” Visaggio (Eternity Girl) and artist Nick Robles (Euthanauts) comes a gripping supernatural mystery to penetrate the veil between here and the hereafter. Collecting the complete five-issue DOCTOR MIRAGE limited series.

I was really intrigued by the synopsis I read for this and the cover alone was probably enough to draw me in. I had no idea it was reboot, but knowing that now I can say that it would be great for someone who was new to the character or someone who was familiar. I loved the vibrant artwork and colors, though there was some text that was a little harder to read – I’m sure this would be different if it was actually in my hands and may have been because I was reading it on a screen.

The story itself was a crazy ride, as you would think when considering the characters may or may not be dead and if they are dead may have to get out of it, so there were tons of twists and turns to the story. Overall it was a really enjoyable read and I’m eager to see what comes next.

Happy reading!

Review: The Mythics: Heroes Reborn

In the ancient times of Gods and heroes, evil attempted to seize the world disguising themselves as six different gods. While they were spreading all their power of destruction, six heroes, each with extraordinary powers and brandishing sacred weapons, rose against these incarnations of evil. The evil was defeated and sealed in a secret place within the red desert on the planet Mars …Today, enter six young heirs: Yuko of Japan, Parvati of India, Amir of Egypt, Abigail of Germany, Miguel of Mexico, and Neo of Greece suddenly pulled from their everyday lives. About to face the greatest threat that the contemporary world has ever known, in a flash, they get to discover just how worthy successors they may be of the ancient heroes. 

I loved the premise of this one, it was very reminiscent of other things I love. It includes a few tales of children/teens who are descendants of great warriors/gods having to take up the mantle to defeat evil. I really enjoyed the settings and story of each character as well as the challenges that they faced but it kind of seemed disjointed as a whole. I did kindof wish there had been a prologue of sorts that set up the premise, since you pretty much just jump in with no set up. The art style and stories themselves were great, I just feel something to truly connect them would have made it so much better – so I’m hoping that there are issues/volumes in the future that do connect them.

The Mythics comes out on March 24th from Papercutz, so if it sounds like something you would like be sure to pick up a copy!

Happy reading!

Flashback Friday: Books I Loved When I Was Younger

We all have those books that hold a dear place in our hearts. Books that looking back may not be perfect but that we can reread time and again because of how much we loved them in our youth. I’m going to take a walk down memory lane and talk about some of the ones I loved and still love.

Nancy Drew – I read a lot of Nancy Drew as a young teen. I was voracious in my devouring of books so my mom suggested I try them out, thinking they would last me a while. Yeah, I read all of the original stories, the extended originals and most of the files books. I’ve now collected all of the originals and all of the filed through 100. These books are a product of their time and aren’t perfect, but in a lot of ways they are also timeless. I can usually pick up one if I’m in a slump and fly through it.

L.J. Smith – I may be somewhat revealing my age, but I read pretty much all of L.J. Smith’s books when they came out. The Forbidden Game trilogy (my favorite), Vampire Diaries (the originals, not the ones that were added on later), Secret Circle, Dark Visions and Night World (do not even get me started on Strange Fate unless you want to hear a mega rant). I now have two sets of the original cover editions of the Forbidden Game trilogy, as well as two editions of all the Night World books, including first editions and the new beautiful re-released ones. No, they don’t necessarily hold up as well to modern standards, but they all have such a dear place in my heart.

Anne of Green Gables – I was gifted a box set of the entire Anne of Green Gables series as a child, another gift from my mom, because I loved the TV series that was made (starring Megan Follows). I didn’t get to them until I was a little older, but they are a huge chunk of my adolescence. I have thought about getting a new set of books since mine are very battered, but haven’t settled on what exactly I want yet.

So there we have it, a very narrowed down snippet of books that I loved and still love. What are some of your old favorites?

Happy reading!

Review: Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

I already knew going in that I liked Neil Gaiman’s writing style, so I was excited to experience the Norse myths though his style. I think this is a great example of modern language and story telling techniques refreshing these old myths and making them more accessible to people who may not want to read them as they were originally written.

Gaiman injects his usual wit and cleverness in the stories and in my opinion makes them vibrant and an easy, enjoyable read. He sets up the myths well and laid a great groundwork so that the worlds and characters could be understood. This is great for people who already love the myths or those just getting into them.

Happy reading!

Review: The Last Conversation

What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness.

Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. Kuhn is there to help you—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She’ll help you remember everything. She’ll make sure you reclaim your lost identity. Now answer one question: Are you sure you want to?

This is the last story from the Forward collection I had left, so I was excited to get to it. Since it is so short I don’t want to say much about it since it would likely be a spoiler. This was my first experience with Paul Tremblay’s writing though I’ve heard tons of great things about it in the past so I was eager to see if I liked it. I did really enjoy the writing and the language used – plus the twist at the end was really good and surprising. The story itself speaks to a number of things regarding science, morals and the lengths that people will go to. I felt that the story could have been much longer and kinda wished it was, but I still really enjoyed it.

Happy reading!