Saturday, September 23, 2017

Blogger Recognition Award


I was nominated by Er from Literary Tea with ER a really long time ago and never wrote a post about it. Like so long ago, that they just recently nominated me for another blog reward! I'm such a procrastinator! So anyway here is my post for the Blogger Recognition Award. A huge thanks to ER for nominating me. It's always nice to see that other people actually care about my blog!


The Rules:
-Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
-Write a post to show your award.
-Give a brief story of how your blog started.
-Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
-Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.-Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created. Okay to be honest I'm probably just going to cheat and @ them all on twitter since that seems to be the most efficient way to do it. 


How I Started Deanna Reads Books (AKA Deanna Reads AKA Deanna Writes)

So you are probably wondering about all the AKAs. Well...my blog has kinda shifted a lot in the 3 years since I started it. It first started as a way to showcase and talk about my plans for the books I am working on, which I haven't looked at for two years. I got pretty depressed about my writing and I kinda of gave up on it so the blog shifted to just being a book review blog, and I changed the name twice and the URL once. I'm trying to get back into writing, because I'm actually more depressed now and I'm not really happy with where my life is right now. I just have to try to see if I can actually do this thing, but that's another story. 

My Advice:

1. Don't get caught up in the numbers game. If this is something you do FOR FUN let it be fun and don't freak out if you don't get comments on every single thing you post.

2. Again on the fun thing. Read what ever you want and review whatever you want, not just what is popular. 

I nominate:


-Jess @Jessticulates
-Val @ The Innocent Smiley
-Amber @ The Literary Phoenix
-Dominique @ DL Blog 
-Destiny @ Howling Libraries
-Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA
-Megan @ Book Birds
-Erica @ Erica Robyn Reads
-Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
-Lucy @ That Book Gal
-Louise @ Exploring By Starlight
-Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
-Andrea @ The Little Red Reviewer 
-Rafael @ The Royal Polar Bear Reads
-Lauren @ Love is Not A Triangle

I tried to check to see if these bloggers had been nominated before, but in case I missed it feel free to skip writing a post. Definitely take a look at these blogs and give them some love!


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Signal to Noise By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Signal to Noise By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Format: Ebook, 272 pages
Source: Kindle 
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
Mexico City, 1988. Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a mix tape.
Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends – Sebastian and Daniela – and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. The three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love...
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns alone for her estranged father’s funeral.
It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, reviving memories from a childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? Is there any magic left?
Jess from Jessticulates (formerly Curiouser and Curiouser) has talked about how much she likes this book so much that I had to get my hands on it...and then ignore it for awhile until I finally read it. Which now that I have, I'm kicking myself for not starting it sooner!

This book is a little urban fantasy, a little magical realism and a lot about finding your place in the world. Goodreads classifies this one as young adult, but to me it definitely reads more like an adult book. I think it's one of those where the voice of the character determines if it's YA or Adult. It's definitely the type of novel that I am interested in reading and I want to read more of Moreno-Garcia's books now!

This novel goes back and forth between Meche in the present day dealing with her father's passing and Meche the teenager. The story slowly unravels what happened between her friends to make her take off and never talk to them again. I really liked this style of writing, and it keep me wanting to just keep on reading. The author would give this nice little kernel from the past and before we could go further boom we were back in the present, and I just HAD to know what was going to happen. I loved reading about the past since that was where the magic was happening, and I loved that it was this simple idea that music could be magic. There is a quote I love from early on in the book that I think really captures this idea:
Why can't music be magic? Aren't spells just words you repeat? And what are songs? Lyrics that play over and over again. The words are like a formula.


I have to admit even though I really enjoyed this book, Meche is a difficult character to like. In the 80s she has a lot of anger that most teens have, but in the present day she seems to have held onto that and her old grudges. I was glad that we get to see her grow in the end, but at times it could be so frustrating and I just wanted to shake her. I also think I have a similar difficult personality so at the same time I really liked her too, and I understand why she had this deposition.

There were a lot of things in this story that I had to look up. There's a lot of cultural stuff that I didn't fully understand and even just food words that I didn't really know. This is not a deterrent to me, and it really shouldn't be for anyone else.  I actually enjoy when a book makes me go out of my way to learn about a different culture or something outside of myself. I definitely want to read more books outside of my country and culture. I want to read stories about people that don't look like me and don't have the same experiences as I do. 

If you are looking for a good magical realism book, I seriously suggest reading this book! Moreno-Garcia is definitely a writer that I am going to look out for now. I actually have her other book Certain Dark Things, which is about vampires in Mexico City!! I'm definitely excited to try this one. 

Have you read Signal to Noise?  What did you think? Have you read any of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's other books? What's your favorite?

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Deanna Plays: The Case for Mass Effect Andromeda


Deanna Plays is a monthly feature on this blog where every third Thursday of the month I talk about something related to video games. Sometimes reviews of the games themselves, sometimes about books to read if you play X, and anything in between!


This month I'm talking about Mass Effect Andromeda!



So if you have been following my blog for awhile you know how much I love the Mass Effect original trilogy. Like seriously a lot. In past Sci-Fi Novembers I even reviewed the first, second and third game separately. It's the reason that I got back into the gaming, so I have a real soft spot for it in my heart. Also Garrus Vakarian is the best awkward space boyfriend ever!


But today I'm not talking about the original trilogy, today I want to make the case for the new game set in the Andromeda galaxy, and why I think it's not as bad as everyone says. Take this with a grain of salt because I am a Bioware fangirl. Also since I'm new to gaming again a lot of things that might annoy other gamers about this game, didn't really annoy me all that much.

So if you didn't play the original game series, that's okay because this game exists so that you don't have to. I think it's fun if you have because there are little callbacks to the other games, but totally not necessary. I also think someone might enjoy this game more having not experienced the other three because then you don't have this high level of expectation. I think that is one of the problems a lot of people had with this game. There were a lot of high expectations and a lot of them weren't met. I think if you don't count the other three and you look at this game solely on it's own it's a solid game. I stand by that opinion. I had a lot of fun playing this game. It's pretty massive and took a lot of time, but in the end I was glad I put the time in with this game. I don't feel like it was wasted. 

There was also a lot of angry reviews about the facial graphics not being great, and I do agree with that but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. It was something I was willing to forgive, but not every gamer will agree with me and that's okay! There are definitely some issues with this game, but I don't think it's the worst game to come out like other people seem to think!

In the previous games you had to chose a set class and those determined what types of powers you could use, but in this game you start with a base class but later could set up profiles so you can switch back and forth between biotic powers or tech powers or however you set up your profiles. I actually loved this about this game, even though I mostly ended up just using the tech powers. 

If you liked going to different planets in the first ME game that you will probably enjoy this one, because that is literally the whole point to this game. You have to explore new worlds and find a place for your people. I love running around on different planes of existence in games and literally just picking up every rock or plant, so this was fun to me!

I will say that I don't know if I was completely compelled by the characters. I ended up romancing Jaal and he was fine, but he was no Garrus. I just think I have this mindset when it comes to this game to always romance the alien, because humans are boring, but I kinda regret not just romancing Reyes. I found him way more interesting.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed playing this game. I don't think it deserves the ire it got, but I also don't think it was the most amazing game to come out this year. It lands somewhere in the middle, and I think that was fine because I still had a fun time playing it.

What did you think? Do you absolutely hate this game and were disappointed? Did you love it? Or do you feel like me that it's kind of in the middle? I'm really interested in your thoughts on this one.

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower 1 by Stephen King
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: January, 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook narrated by George Guidall
Source: Audible
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger.

He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Stephen King has always been my white whale. He's such a big writer and his catalog is so vast, that I just never could bring myself to finally read his work. I have heard such great things about his Dark Tower series, even my boyfriend remembers reading it and liking it a lot and he reads like maybe a book a year. I just never could will myself to read King, but since The Dark Tower movie was coming out, I decided I have to finally take the plunge! Although, I don't think I'm going to be watching the adaptation now. So I finally read myself some King, and I started with The Dark Tower series which was such a good idea!

I did the audiobook for the first book in The Dark Tower series, and I have to say George Guidall was a good choice. He has the kind of gruff voice that immediately put me into the mindset that this is a Western book. I think he really help me see the setting in my head.

The structure in this novel is a little harder to follow on audio, as it goes back and forth between past and present, so if you forget to pay attention for a minute you might get lost. I think if you actually read the book it's not as confusing.

Not too much happens in this book, but enough to make me question WHAT exactly is going on in this story. It also made me intrigued. I want to learn more about why Roland is the last Gunslinger and want to know more about the Man in Black. Also, what does this all have to do with Jake? and why was he pulled into this world? You can tell that Jake is written from a different modern time just in how he talks and thinks, but I don't think it really takes anything away from his character. I like that we have a character in this novel that is supposed to act as the mirror for the audience.

This book does feel a little bit more like an introduction, but the world building in this is so awesome that I am excited to read more. I actually heard from a friend that loves this series that the second book is better, so I  definitely want to continue this series.

Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite? Do you have any "white whale" authors?

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Friday, September 15, 2017

Blog Tour Review: Cinderella, Necromancer


Today is my turn for a review stop on the Blog Tour for Cinderella, Necromancer. Props to Chapter By Chapter Blog Tours & Promotions for giving me the opportunity to promote this book on my blog today. Be sure to check out all the other stops on this tour! There's even a giveaway!



Cinderella, Necromancer By F.M. Boughan
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Format: Egalley*
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
Cinderella, Necromancer is Chime meets Anna Dressed in Blood and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany.

Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He's happy and doesn't quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father's mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters' every whim and fancy.

Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother's grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother?

As Ellison's power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
So this was one of those books that didn't give me a good impression at first. When I started it I was thinking to myself, "oh, I don't know about this one." I thought the main character was kind of a brat at first, but I had read such great reviews that I had to press on. So I do think Ella starts out as childish and naive in the beginning of the novel, but she does go through a period of growth so we see her change as a person. So I'm really glad I was proven wrong.

I like a good fairytale retelling, and I think this novel did a really good job of sticking to the origin story. I also really felt like this book was something written in the time period that it was supposed to be set it. I could really feel that Ella was a German girl living during the 15th century. I think just even the tense and language used in this novel really cemented that feeling for me. I also think it was interested that religion was included in the storyline. Although Ella is pulling sprits from beyond, she still firmly believes in God. That was refreshing to read about, and I also think it was really accurate to the time period.

One thing that is different in this retelling from others is that Ella doesn't have a fairy godmother! Homegirl gets to the ball her own damn self. I think that was what really made me like this book. Ella wasn't helpless, and she was able to think things through to solve a problem her own self. I loved that about this book. It was really about a girl at her wits end trying to protect her family the only way she knew how. Although I did just want to shake her when she wouldn't tell the love interest who she really was when she was in disguise. I wanted them to kiss so much sooner! I wasn't totally in love with the love interest at first, but I did really like their witty rapport, so like Ella it really grew on me.

One thing that does still irk me about this novel was that I thought all the conflict with Celia and her stepsisters Charlotte and Victoria was a little TOO over the top. I was willing to look this over because I was more interested in Ella discovering the Book of Conjuring and how she was going to deal with this problem. This didn't bother as much as the novel progressed because you find out just how straight up EVIL her stepmother and stepsisters are!!

If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I highly suggest you check this book out.

*I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Thursday, September 14, 2017

#TheReadingQuest Wrap-Up





































The Reading Quest ended last Sunday, but I am just now getting around to posting my wrap up post about how I did in the challenge. I am happy to say that I completed the goal I set for myself!!!


I ended up choosing to do the Mage path, mostly because I had a lot of books that filled the categories and I was pretty confident that I could complete the task. I am very happy that I was able to complete these, but I was also able to add 3 of the side quests! I set my goals low because I know I am a slow reader and it's hard for me to get a lot of reading in (life and having a day job gets in the way sometimes). I was hoping to start working on The Rogue quest, but alas it just wasn't in the cards for this challenge as I ran out of time.

FINAL QUEST STATS

CHARACTER CLASS: The Mage
OVERALL EXP: 145
OVERALL HP: 248
SIDE QUESTS: 3/9
TOTAL BOOKS READ: 8
FINAL LEVEL: 3

I only reached level 3 in the challenge, but I am totally okay with that. I know it's hard to feel like I didn't read enough when other bloggers filled the whole board, but I don't like to compare myself. I am happy that I was able to complete the goals I set out for myself.

I also had a lot of fun with this challenge, especially since this gave me the ability to connect with other book bloggers on twitter a lot more. I'm not the best at connecting with others on twitter, so it definitely gave me a reason to check the hashtag more. It was a really cool thing to participate in and talk with others in the book blogging community, and I discovered some new blogs in the process which is always my goal!

Now I just have to write all my reviews for these books, because I'm so behind now!!

Did you participate in #TheReadingQuest? What did you like the best about this challenge? What was your favorite book read during the challenge?


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Friday, September 8, 2017

August Wrap-Up


Can you believe it is already September? That means it's time for fall and pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin beers!!! YAAYYY!!!


So I actually haven't posted a lot in August, which is disappointing, but to be fair it's because I was so busy reading books for the Reading Quest Challenge! I am pretty excited to annonuce that I completed the mage path! I'll be writing a wrap-up post later, but I am just excited that I could meet that goal!

In life news, I decided to chop off all of my hair and donate it. Well not all my hair, but we measured it and it was around 18 inches!!! I just need to mail it out. You might have seen it already if you follow me on Instagram

A post shared by Deanna Reads Books (@deannareads) on


Due to spending a lot of my time reading this month instead of posting reviews, I actually haven't written quite as many reviews this month. I only had 4 reviews this month. But I also introduced my new gaming feature Deanna Plays and I featured 88 cups of tea for Deanna Listens this month. I'm hoping to bring a lot of reviews to the blog in September, but I have to write them first. 

BOOKS I REVIEWED

                   



FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE 


That's in for August, onto September where I am already very behind on my reviews. The struggle is real everyone!

What books did you read this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow