Treat Yo Shelf: October Monthly Recap

Treat Yo Shelf

October Monthly Recap

Welcome to my monthly recap post, in which I fangirl over the books I read this month, bookish items I acquired, book events I attended, bookish news, and/or subscription boxes I received in the month of October.

What did I read this month?

What books did I buy? 

(This does not include Kindle purchases)

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This is part of my book haul from Southern Festival Books. I purchased all the hardback books. 

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Bought a new version of The Night Circus to go on my shelf!

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Found a signed copy of Gemina at my local Target.

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Pre-ordered Crooked Kingdom and received some pre-order swag. 

What books did I receive from Publishers/Authors to review?

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via Netgalley from St. Martin’s Press

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Blog Tour with XPressoTours. Check out my review here.

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Blog Tour via the author, Amy Braun. Check out my review here. 

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Blog tour with XPressoBooks. Check out my review here.

What books/items did I receive from friends/fellow bloggers as trades, gifts, or to borrow?

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Mary from BookHounds gifted me the The Winner’s Curse Dagger. I love it and I am forever thankful for her kindness!

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Won this creepy-tastic book from Chelsea (@MissyPrissy1) on Twitter

October’s Uppercase Box

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October’s Owlcrate

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 October’s BoomBox!

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HOCUS POCUS BOX

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INFLUENSTER #FLAWLESS BOXimg_1469

FierceRead’s GiftLit Books

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October’s Ipsy Glambag

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October Favorites

  1. Literary/Movie-related Candles and items.

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2. Fall items and Pumpkin Spice flavored food.

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3. Attending the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN.

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It’s not a book festival without Macarons.

How did you treat your shelves in October? What books did you buy? What books did you read and would highly recommend?

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Book Review: How to Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

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Title: How to Hang a Witch
By: Adriana Mather
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

About How to Hang a Witch:

The more things change in Salem, the more they stay the same.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous Witch Trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam is not exactly welcomed with open arms. She is a 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 wasn’t enough, Sam finds herself face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff.

Soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of How to Hang a Witch

If you are in the mood for the perfect Halloween or Autumn read, I highly recommend adding How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather to your TBR list. As I was reading, I kept picturing the meshing of my two favorite movies: Hocus Pocus and Mean Girls.  This witchy book is the perfect blend of Salem, Massachusetts’ history, modern-day teenage gossip, family curses, and creepy apparitions. 

As a mood reader, I enjoyed the dark and spooky ambience of How to Hang a Witch. Each chapter was like stepping onto the cobble-stoned roads of the 17th century, hearing the creaks of old houses, and collecting old musty books filled with family secrets and town history. I loved the historical atmosphere that Mather creates for her main character, Samantha, to discover and uncover. Even more, I liked Sam as a character, because she portrays a character that is feisty, determined, and caring. 

Overall, I really enjoyed How to Hang a Witch and its “out of nowhere” surprising end. I think it’s a great book that connects the crazed witchhunts of the 17th century with the crazed persecutions that take place in our modern-day society. Additionally, I also loved the ghostly and witch figures sprinkled throughout the book. Their supernatural and magical presence brought a very eerie feel to the pages and made the book a constant page-turner for me. 

Note:   I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

4 star ratingMy Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

If you like How to Hang a Witch give these books and movies a try…

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Concealed by Christina Bauer

Title: Concealed (Beholder #2)
Author: Christina Bauer
Publication date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea’s a witch who commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone. It’s magic that she’ll need in order to stop the Vicomte Gaspard from killing her Sisters by draining their magic along with their life force.

To find and free her fellow witches, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome warlock Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Rowan stepped into my path, forcing me to stop. “We can’t worry about the Tsar just now.”

“How can I not? This is the Tsar we’re talking about. The man killed off thousands of my people. If he comes back, I’m his top target.”

“No one is getting anywhere near you, Elea.” Rowan’s voice was a rough rasp. “You have my word. I know what you care about, and it’s your Sisters. That’s all you need to think about. At least, for the next two days. Promise me?”

Rowan’s words helped to center my thoughts. “You’re right. Little time remains to save Ada and the others. I need to stay the course. Thank you, Rowan.”

“I’ll always be here for you.” Rowan stared at me for a long moment. I thought he might have more to say. Instead, he shook his head, stepped across the cave floor, and picked up the loops of rope. “Any ideas on where your Sisters are imprisoned?”

“Amelia wants to check the Havilland mansion first.”

“I can send in someone from my team. They’re experts at subterfuge.”

“No. These are my people. I have to go.”

Once again, Rowan moved to stand so close our bodies were only inches apart. “Trust me on this. My people can handle the Royals.” He brushed the backs of his fingertips up my cheek and I melted into the touch. “I want you safe, Elea.” He leaned in until his mouth was only a breath away from mine.

This wasn’t the time for emotion. I couldn’t seem to stop my zuchtlos feelings, though. My heart thumped with such force I thought it might burst from my chest. Rowan’s voice became low and gentle. “Return to Braddock Farm. Stay safe. I will end this. Once it’s done, I’ll find you there. I swear it.”

My legs felt wobbly beneath me. In my mind’s eye, it all appeared so easy and clear. Rowan could handle this. I’d return to my farm and help the faithful servants who’d kept it thriving. Then one day, Rowan would arrive and we’d be together. How wonderful would that be?

I closed my eyes and stepped away from his touch. This was impossible. My people were my responsibility. No one else’s. And the idea that Rowan and I could be together? That was an illusion.

“It’s a sweet dream. We both know it isn’t the truth. You’re part of the Caster Imperial family. Your uncle is none other than Genesis Rex. You can’t have a life with me as a farmer, can you?”

Rowan’s gaze intensified. “No.” He stepped closer once again. “I’ll still find you, though.”

“And when you do, what will I be?” I wanted to touch him and to be with him. I knew that now. But not at any cost. “Your mistress? Your absentee wife?”

“You’ll be mine.” He pulled me into his arms. Every ridge of his hard body pressed against my soft curves. I’d never craved anything more in my life than I wanted to kiss Rowan right now. He leaned in closer than ever before. His warm breath cascaded over my lips. “Don’t fight this. Please.”

My control snapped, and I pressed my mouth to his. Yes. Our first few tastes were tentative. Gentle. Rowan was as delicious as I’d imagined, a flavor that was somewhere between musk and desire. Every touch of his lips sent spasms of want through my core.

Our kiss quickly turned rough. Rowan nipped my bottom lip, and I let out a rough groan. This kiss could go on forever. Still, some small part of my brain shouted for me to stop.

I didn’t know how I found the strength, but I pushed Rowan away. “I want you too. That’s not enough for me. We’re from different worlds. Your place is with your people. I need to save mine. Once this is over, we’ll never see each other again. I can’t afford to feel more for you than I already do.”

Rowan’s eyes took on that intense look I knew so well. A muscle worked in his jaw for a long moment. “I understand. We both have work to do.”

I exhaled. “I’m glad you can accept the truth.”

“I didn’t say that.” He scooped up the ropes and offered them to me. “This isn’t over.”

I stared at the green cords coiled around his palm. I wanted real ties between us as well. Yet wanting a thing wasn’t the same as having it. I pulled the rope from his hand and looped it around my shoulders. “We better get back.”

 

Author Bio:

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien’s text, it’s entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Spooky Settings

Top 5 Wednesday

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY is a weekly meme created by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey and is currently hosted by Samantha @ Thoughts on TomesEvery Wednesday a new topic is listed on the Goodreads group, and you list your top 5 books related to the particular topic.

This week’s topic is…

Favorite Spooky Settings 

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Basically any short story by Edgar Allan Poe is perfectly crafted in a dark, spooky setting. 

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This is one of my favorite Edgar Allan Poe retellings (“The Fall of the House of Usher”). I think Bethany Griffin captures the most spookiest and creepiest setting in The Fall, which made me love the book even more. 

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“The Adventure of the German Student” by Washington Irving is by far my favorite short story written by him. The story centers on the guillotine executions that took place during the French Revolution. It’s a creepy and fantastic read.

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Shakespeare could definitely write “spooky” settings, and I think Macbeth is one of my favorite plays where he encapsulates a story of macabre, murder, screeching animals, moving forests, and ominous, chanting witches. 

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Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite novel, and I mostly love it because Charlotte Brontë  writes such brilliant and spooky scenes that involve the unknown (possibly ghosts) in the red room, charring lightning strikes, and the cackling of a woman in the attic who likes to light things on fire. 

What are some of your favorite stories with spooky settings?

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans

Title: Spells and Sorcery
Author: S. Usher Evans
(Lexie Carrigan Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

You have magic.

One sentence, three words, four syllables. Enough to change my life forever. And I’m not talking about the whole spells and sorcery thing.

Lexie Carrigan thought the weirdest thing about her was she preferred watching documentaries and reading the newspaper to reality TV and Twitter. But on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, her aunt and sisters drop a bomb–she’s magical.

Now the girl who never made waves is blowing up her nightstand and trying to keep from wreaking havoc on her school. When a kind stranger shows up with all the answers, Lexie hopes he’ll be able to help her control her newfound powers. But Gavon may not be as kind as he seems, and soon Lexie finds out that being magical is the least weird thing about her.

Spells and Sorcery is the first YA fantasy from S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series, the Madion War Trilogy and Empath.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF SPELLS AND SORCERY

Spells and Sorcery is a modern-day witch story that follows the life of Lexie, a teenager who is thrown into an unknown world of magic and witchcraft. I loved that Lexie is not only focused on self-discovery in this book, but she is also adventurous. Unbeknownst to her, she is tossed into a world where she has to discover her own witch powers, deal with school problems, while also trying to uncover the secrets hidden from her by her family.  

Because there is SO much miscommunication and lack of communication between the characters, Lexie is positioned into a world of chaos. Often times, when Lexie is frustrated with the idea that no one is explaining her powers to her or how to use them, I was also becoming irritated with the mysteries surrounding her family, her past, and her current witch powers. This book requires patience, and at the end, you are crying out for more backstory, more chapters, and more of Lexie’s sassiness. 

In regards to the author’s take on witchcraft, I really enjoyed the background story that connects Lexie’s powers and her family to Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem Witch Trials have always fascinated me, and I love that Evans brings in a new and refreshing backstory to her own book of witches. In Evans’ next book, I am really looking forward to learning more about Lexie’s Salem ancestors and how their magical secrets affect Lexie as a 21st-century witch. 

If you love coming-to-age stories with angsty teenagers, mystical witches, and mystery with a dash of sisterly and strong familial bonds, Spells and Sorcery is the book for you. As each chapter unravels, the magic in Lexie’s world becomes more and more intriguing. 

3 star rating

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Author Bio:

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Amber Sky by Amy Braun

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Title: Amber Sky (Dark Sky .25)
Author: Amy Braun
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Steampunk

About Amber Sky (A Dark Sky Novella):

Press-ganged into servitude by a ruthless band of marauders who survived the devastating Storm, Nash has grown tired of his career– the young, undefeated champion of the Stray Dog fighting pits. All he longs for is a place to live where his family is not his enemy.

When his captain gives him an assignment to embed him deeper into the crew, Nash attempts to refuse, until the life of his friend is threatened. Determined to save her, Nash embarks on the mission to subjugate and control a supplier. But the supplier has other clients, one of which could be the son of the most feared pirate captain in all of Westraven.

And if Nash plays his cards right, the key to his deeply desired freedom, if he can live with the consequences of his choice…

Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Nash and Sawyer crossed paths– and fists. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.

LINKSKindle | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble/Nook


My Rants and Raves of Amber Sky

For a novella, Amber Sky is full-blown, action packed. From the very beginning, we are thrown into a bruising and bloody fighting pit that is used to appease the masses with entertainment. As a first-person narrator, Nash, the main character and a strong fighter, sets up a story that is raw and gritty. The details of his life as a fighter are brutal but engaging.

I liked Nash as a character, because his motives are unselfish. He comprehends that his strength is a useful tool to help those around him. He tries to displace himself from his hard past, survive the present, and hope for a better future for himself and the others that he cares about. Throughout the novella, he is always questioning himself and those around him, but in the end I think he makes the best, rational choices. 

Amber Sky is about hope, strength, compassion, and surviving. I often found elements of humor shadowed in the plot line’s dusty path. And as a short read, I liked that this humor is very reminiscent of one of my favorite shows, Firefly. I have not read any of the other Dark Sky books, but this prequel is a great introduction into its dirty, grimy, and ruthless, apocalyptic world. 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


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