December TBR

So November was kind of a bust when it came to reading. This month, I’m hoping to get more reading done than in November. Most of the books I’m planning to read this month are either for book clubs, blog tours, or just to get my NetGalley/Edelweiss TBRs down.

I’m too lazy to grab pics of the covers today, so…

Scythe by Neal Shusterman – I need to read this for YA Book Club at Barnes & Noble.
Jupiter’s Fire by William Osborne – Blog Tour
The Slayings in Syndenham by Alice Castle – Blog Tour
Wild Sky by Lexi Rees – Blog Tour
Die Every Day by Gordon Bickerstaff – Blog Tour
Belle Revolté by Linsey Miller – NetGalley
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – Prep for The Night Country
The Night Country by Melissa Albert – NetGalley
Legacy of Night by C. D. Travenor – NetGalley
Safeguard by John A. Daly – NetGalley

I’m going to keep it to those books and hope that I manage to get all of them read. I’ve already started Scythe, Jupiter’s Fire, and Belle Revolté. I’m working on The Hazel Wood in preparation for The Night Country.

I’m going to try to start reading at least 4 NetGalley books per month and not requesting new books no matter how much I want to until my feedback ratio is 80% and my TBR pile for NetGalley is way lower than it currently is. This means I’m going to be reading and reviewing some seriously old books, but it will be worth it to fix my ratio.

What’s on your December TBR list?

The "I Should Have Read That Book" Tag

Well, Danni at _forbookssake tagged me to do the “I Should Have Read That Book” tag and since lately I haven’t been reading, this is perfect to make sure I do some blogging! Thanks, Danni!

Beth at Book’s Nest created this tag.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

The Questions

1 – A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

In all honesty, I’m the friend usually telling others to read a book, not the other way around. Although my roommate Sarah is a reader as well, and she has been bugging me to read a series of books called the Tennis Shoes series. It’s a young adult or middle grade series of books that has to do with a kid who goes back in time to different stories in the Book of Mormon.

2 – A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

The entire Bone Witch trilogy. I own the entire trilogy, but haven’t even bothered to read the first one yet.

3 – A book in a series you’ve started but haven’t finished yet

Well, let’s see. I’ve started the Harry Potter series at least 4 times, but have never read past half-way through The Goblet of Fire. One of these years…

4 – A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I love creepy, gothic horror like that. I read Dracula a few years ago, but still haven’t read Frankenstein.

5 – A popular book it seems everyone but you has read

The Priory of the Orange Tree. It just doesn’t really seem all that interesting to me. Plus, lately, a book that’s over 1000 pages long just isn’t going to work for me.

6 – A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet

The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars…. yeah….

7 – A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

Nevernight, Godsgrave, and Darkdawn…. I did have Nevernight from the library, but didn’t get very far into it.

I am tagging – no one. I don’t know who to tag to be honest. So I guess if you haven’t done the tag yet, consider yourself tagged. LOL

November Wrap-Up

This month was just terrible for me and reading. I couldn’t even focus on audiobooks, so I basically got a few things done and nothing else.

What I did get read:

  • Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (audiobook)
  • Shiver by Maggie Steifvater (audiobook)
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Septeys (audiobook)
  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King (audiobook)

My plans to start reading Harry Potter just flopped. I got a little over halfway through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before I just lost interest.

I did discover that Maggie Steifvater is not the author for me. I finished Shiver and wasn’t even interested enough to keep going to Linger. So I tried The Raven Boys to see what the big deal about The Raven Cycle series is, and I couldn’t get interested in it. This was about the third time I’ve started The Raven Boys, so I’m going to just leave it at Maggie Stiefvater is not the author for me.

I think a big part of my problem was that a lot of my holds became available at the same time. I need to start limiting myself on how many books I put on hold and making sure I’m listening to my audiobooks or reading the books promptly.

I started Finders Keepers which is the second in the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes being the first book, but got flustered when a whole bunch of audiobook holds came in at once. There aren’t enough hours in a day, so I returned them all and said I’d mess with it later.

Hopefully December will be a better month. My plans to read next month are strictly books for blog tours or NetGalley/Edelweiss so I can get those TBR piles down some. I was approved for Belle Revolté the other day via NetGalley, and I’ve started it, so hopefully I’ll do better in December. I’ll have a TBR for December up shortly. 🙂

How did you do concerning your reading this month?

Blog Tour: The White & Gold People by Segun Starchild

Today, The Spooky Bookshelf is proud to present to you an excerpt from Segun Starchild’s The White & Gold People.

About The Book

A dress causes a huge debate across the world as some see it as black and blue and others see it as white and gold. The white and gold people suddenly start to get even stranger visions and develop super human abilities making the black and blue people seem old and inadequate. The government try to quarantine and control their power but the white and gold people react setting the stage for a war between the rival groups.

To purchase: Book Website // Amazon // Kobo // B&N // iTunes // Lulu

Excerpt from The White & Gold People

From Chapter 3 – Aftermath

When writing the book I always imagined it as a movie, and I wanted to write a news coverage that could take place after the dress first made headlines and all the musings that would come with it.

Was the dress a point of evolution?

            “Doctors and nurses have been working non-stop since the early hours of this morning to try and stop the agony of people experiencing hyper luminescence. They have been interviewing patients about what they did yesterday, in the hope of finding the reasons and cure for the mysterious illness. As the doctors and nurses spoke to more and more people, they began to see a common connection between the patients. All of them saw the infamous dress in white and gold.

Doctors around the country started to share results, hoping to find similarities to iron out the cause of the problem. The fact this happened a day after the #dressgate saga is no coincidence and

shows the events are definitely related. The questions now become endless, and the mystery of the dress will continue to linger on. Professor of Human Biology, Kyle Watts, offers his

thoughts:

            ‘It’s truly amazing what has happened over the last few days. There are lots of things we need to verify here, and our primary concern is finding a cure for the disease. In fact, doing so will

probably answer the other questions being – Is there a genetic trait in the white and gold people that is not present in the black and blue people, or can it be attributed environmental surroundings? At what point did this genetic shift or environmental trigger occur, and why don’t the black and blue people experience the hyper luminescence if it is environmental?’

 So you’re suggesting the possibility that humans are evolving?

            ‘Yes, that is a strong possibility, everything is possible at this stage.’ I’m no scientist or doctor but humans have stopped evolving for thousands and thousands of years, we’ve plateaued at this stage for quite a long time now. How or why should we suddenly start evolving now?

            ‘Well yes, we haven’t evolved for a long time, but long and short are relative terms. In fact, we’ve been Homo Sapiens for 150,000 years now which is very short in evolutionary terms. The how and why can be attributed to many factors, one of which is environment, as in the case of giraffes who evolved to have long necks, so they could eat the leaves from tall trees. But why and how this happened now, we are yet to investigate. For now, we suppose that there is a high chance of people who saw the dress as white and gold to have reached the next level in human evolution.’

            So many questions, so little answers. One thing for sure is that humans clearly have an ‘existential crisis’ on our hands. I’m Troy Douglas from ABC7 and we will update you on this breaking news story throughout the day.”

About the Author

Segun Starchild is a writer whose previous works include ‘Black Egyptians’, ‘The Capability Test’ & ‘Kamun vs. Leviathan’. He is a self confessed seeker of ‘The Truth’ and has a great hunger to know the mysteries of life. He has studied the esoteric mysteries of great sages to gain a reputable amount of wisdom and has the blessing of taking a journey through life with confidence and true knowledge of self and kind. He hails from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and is for the unification of the African continent. Segun currently lives in London, working in IT Development and Support and the director of Akasha Publishing Ltd.

Author Social Media: Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // YouTube // GoodReads

Giveaway to Win a T-Shirt, in the colours of the dress, in either white and gold or blue and black. (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Cover Reveal: Wild Sky by Lexi Rees

Today, The Spooky Bookshelf is proud to be a part of the cover reveal for Lexi Rees’s new novel, Wild Sky. Without further adieu, I present to you….

About Wild Sky

After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.
But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.
Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?
Not everyone is who they appear to be
And time is running out …

Pre-order Wild Sky – viewbook.at/WildSky

About The Author

Lexi Rees writes action packed adventures for children. The first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children, and as well as an active programme of school visits and other events, she has published a Creative Writing Skills workbook, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities. 

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

Social Media: Website // Twitter // Facebook // YouTube // Instagram

What’s Wrong with NetGalley & Edelweiss+?

NetGalley is one of my favorite ways to get books to read. You can request books that are going to be released, and in some cases that are already released, and see if the publishers will grant you access to the title.

Edelweiss+ is all right, but it isn’t my favorite. Part of the problem is that while Edelweiss+ and NetGalley have a lot of “exclusive” books, they also have a lot of overlap in the books they offer. In fact, there have been a couple of times where I’ve requested the same book on both platforms. With The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden, I was actually granted the book on both platforms. Usually I’m either declined on both or I get the book on one and not the other. I recently was given access to the sequel to Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood titled The Night Country on NetGalley but I was denied access to it on Edelweiss+.

So what’s wrong with them? Well, the simple fact that publishers aren’t required to actually respond to eARC/galley requests within a particular time frame. On both NetGalley and Edelweiss+ I’ve had books sit in “requested” status for months… right now I have two on Edelweiss+ that were requested 40 days ago. I have one on NetGalley that I requested in August 2019 and the publisher still hasn’t responded.

I get that publishers are busy. I understand that the person responsible for putting the books up on NetGalley and Edelweiss+ are very busy. But, they need to ensure that they are actually responding to requests for their eARCs/galleys. Readers shouldn’t be requesting books only to have those books sit on pending for months on end.

I have a couple of solutions that might work, but I’m sure there are other ways to handle it. The first idea is that publishers have a specified amount of time in which to respond to a request. We’ll say ten business days. If the request hasn’t been responded to in that time, the book automatically becomes available to the person who requested it. Now, because some publishers limit the number of people who are allowed to receive the book, this may not work for all publishers, so the other option is that a “time out” message is sent to the requester, telling them that the publisher didn’t respond to their request before the deadline so their request as been canceled. Then, the title would reset, allowing the requester to request the book again.

The other idea is to just set it up so that books are available to every requester on a first-come-first-serve basis. The publisher sets a number of times a particular book can be downloaded and the book disappears from the catalog once download limit has been reached.

Either of these ideas would help cut down on the amount of people waiting to hear back from publishers about books. I’m not saying that we are entitled to the books, but if we take the time to request the books, we are entitled to an answer within a reasonable time frame. It shouldn’t take over a month to tell someone yes or no, they can’t read a particular book through NetGalley or Edelweiss+.

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Format: Hardcover/Audiobook
Pages: 512
Source: Personal Collection/Scribd
Rating: ★★★★☆
Amazon / Book Depository

A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.


So I started reading this book and my eye started having issues, making it difficult to read. The book was interesting enough, I just couldn’t read for more than a couple pages at a time before my eye started hurting. So, I checked my library for the audiobook. They had it, but it was going to be six months before I’d get it. I needed to read the book by Thursday the 14th of November for YA Book Club, so I started checking around. One trial subscription to Scribd later, I was listening away to The Fountains of Silence. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this book.

If you know me at all, you know I’m not a big historical fiction fan. For some reason I just don’t care for it that much. But The Fountains of Silence was the November 14th Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick, so I decided I’d give it a shot. Like I said above, I was enjoying reading the book but my eye was making it difficult, so I got my mitts on a copy of the audiobook.

The narrator for the audiobook gave it an authentic feel as she had a Spanish accent. This helped a lot, especially to make the parts spoken in Spanish feel more authentic. I loved the narrator and her narration style. It made the audio experience all the more enticing.

I loved, loved, loved Ana and Daniel. I loved that Daniel didn’t just want to use the Spanish culture of the times to get a story, he truly wanted to understand what it was like. He wanted to know what was going on. He wanted to know how the people lived, how they felt. He wasn’t just there to see what was there and take it… unlike Laura Beth and her mother, who literally only what Spain would be able to provide them. I’m sincerely thankful we didn’t have to deal much with Laura Beth as I wasn’t impressed with her at all from the brief interaction we actual get from her.

Ana was beautiful, sweet, and dedicated to her family – and Daniel. I was impressed with the amount of research that had to have gone into the lives and culture of the people to bring Ana and her family to life in the way they were.

I have to say, this is my first Ruta Sepetys book. She has a way of bringing characters to life that I’m truly impressed with. The last chapter of the audiobook was an author’s note read by Ruta herself. She spoke of how she’d fallen in love with the history and culture of Spain when she toured there for her first book and how much research she’d done. She truly brought Spain in the 1950s to life and I can’t wait to read other books of hers.

If you love historical fiction, even if you’re not a young adult (which I most certainly am not), you really must read this book. It’s fascinating, beautifully written, and lively. You won’t be disappointed.