#ARCstravaganza: The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

Happy Monday! #ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.


39863498Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Release: January 15, 2019

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

I’m so excited that I was approved for this ARC on NetGalley! Roshani Chokshi is one of my favorite authors and I’m really looking forward to this book!

Five Spooky Podcasts to Listen to this October 🎃

Podcasts are my new obsession. One of my best friends had been listening to them for a while and eventually convinced to me to try them. It took a while to find one that really captured my attention, but once I did, I was hooked. I commute an hour to and from work, and the radio can become annoying after awhile, play the same songs over and over. There are podcasts for every genre and subject, and I’ve included some of the more eerie and thrilling series I’ve listened to that are perfect for October!

Season2-Icon_FINAL_NoBrandingSPOOKED – I just started listening to this podcast, and I can’t get enough. This is the perfect podcast for the Halloween season. Each episode features stories about paranormal encounters, or just bizarre and unexplained experiences, told first-hand buy the people it happened to. The stories are always interesting and some of them really make you think. And I love that while these stories are spooky and creepy, they’re not scary enough that I end up turning it off while I’m driving home at night like some other podcasts. 

227305DR. DEATH – As someone who works in healthcare, this podcast is equal parts fascinating and downright horrifying. It’s all anyone on my unit is talking about. Dr. Death is a true-crime podcast about Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon that severely botched 33 spinal surgeries, severely injuring most of them, and killing two. It’s not scary in the traditional sense, but it’s absolutely bone-chilling listening to just how horribly he performed these surgeries, his terrible behavior in and out of the operating room, and how long it took for someone to finally stop him. 

96197UP AND VANISHED – This is the podcast that really got me into listening to them. It’s an investigative journalism podcast following the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. One of the coolest things about this podcast is that while the host, Lindsay Payne, was in the middle of creating his weekly episodes and investigating, her case that had been cold for over ten years was finally solved. The entire production is so well-organized and put together, and some of the details and leads surrounding her mystery are really eerie. 

NoSleep.Podcast.S4.Logo_1400THE NO SLEEP PODCAST – The title says it all. This podcasts takes stories for the NoSleep reddit forum, where people write fictional horror stories. The stories range from severely creepy to completely terrifying. Some are too scary for me, especially at night, and I have to skip them. But if you enjoy horror stories, this is definitely the podcast to check out this October. 

a0b61862cf0ad1e537e571d8ceda97d0161a35f5054288f81429db4182741c91a230e2e16df341a6f1bd7fc059f4551a1bf21c045bff9d72e79e62fa0f7f9fe4HAUNTED PLACES – I like this well enough, but it’s not my favorite. A podcast dedicated to exploring and talking about real haunted places around the world is totally up my alley, but I’m just not a huge fan of the way it’s produced. There’s a lot more fictional storytelling than factual discussion. If the stories were based off of actual encounters instead of made up, I think it would be more enjoyable. The podcast is still pretty cool to listen to, however, and it’s neat learning all about these haunted places and their historical backstories. 

Do you like listening to podcasts? Which are you favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Villains

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! Today’s theme was a fun one, and perfect for October: favorite villains.

THE DARKLING – He is one of the best villains ever written, in my humble opinion. The way Leigh Bardugo wrote his character was brilliant: I was charmed and fooled into falling for him, just like Alina was in the first book, until his true self was revealed. There is so much to hate about him and the things he did, but at the same time I loved reading about him. 

MAVEN CALORE – He’s such complex, interesting character and to see the way he changed over the course of the series was one of the most intriguing things about the books. He did some messed-up things, but at the same time I could understand how he became the person he was, and I couldn’t help but feel for him. 

CERSEI LANNISTER – The tv show version of Cersei is a lot more humane and understandable, but the Cersei Lannister of the books is horrible. She’s vain, controlling, cruel, and greedy. Her list of atrocities are pretty unredeemable, and yet her chapters in A Feast for Crows are one of the few POVs that I’m enjoying. It’s interesting – and terrifying – being inside Cersei Lannister’s mind. 

QUEEN LEVANA – The wicked queen of the Lunar Chronicles series, that’s all she was to me…until later on. Sometimes a villain is just a villain, and other times a villain is a given a explanation and reasoning to all their craziness. We end up getting that backstory for Levana, and while it doesn’t make her any less evil or cruel, it does make her more human and changed my perspective of her. 

DOLORES UMBRIDGE – Let me be perfect clear: if I had to choose between killing Voldemort or Umbridge, the Dark Lord would still be (kinda) alive and (mostly) well. The amount of hatred I have for that woman knows no bounds. And the fact that while everyone may have different opinions about the other villains in the Harry Potter series, we all agree that Professor Umbridge is the absolute worst. 

REVIEW: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

B1ciZ4RumOSTitle: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Author: Kiersten White
Rating: ★★★★

“You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death.”

This was the perfect read for October. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a spectacular retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, told from the point of view of Elizabeth. Kiersten White has reimagined a classic with a unique perspective, while maintaining the story’s dark, twisted, gothic tone.

“You began existing the day we met. You are my Elizabeth, and that is all that matters.”

The way in which the author wrote this book is brilliant. She manages to both keep true to the original, and yet elaborate on some parts to create a new tale. Elizabeth Lavenza was an absolutely fascinating character to read about. She is transformed from a secondary character, into a strong, manipulative, intelligent protagonist. Elizabeth is complex and cunning; willing to do whatever she needs to in order to survive, and survival means becoming indispensable to the Frankensteins and to Victor.

I only read Frankenstein once, and that about ten years ago in high school. I’ll be honest: I didn’t enjoy it that much and so going into this I didn’t remember much about the classic. However, I still found enjoyment in reading this and as I continued through the chapters, I began to recall bits and pieces of the original. I think those who have read Mary Shelley’s work and those who haven’t can find enjoyment in The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. If you’re looking for a twisted, eerie book for Halloween, add this to your October TBR!


#SixforSunday: Best Debuts of the Year

I hope you all are having a great weekend! #SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by Steph @ A Little But a Lot. The theme for this week is best debuts, so I decided to list my favorite debut books of this year (so far!). There have been so many amazing debuts this year and there are still more that I’m looking forward to releasing in the upcoming months. It’s hard to believe these books are from debut authors, as they’re all so expertly crafted and written. 

347264691. THE SKY IN THE DEEP
This book has made it onto a lot of lists lately. I read this back in February, and until August, this was the best book I had read all year. It quickly became one of my favorite books. As soon as I was finished, I knew it would be a story that would stick with me always. Everything was executed perfectly to created a breathtaking, emotional story full of grit and heart. [review]

This was probably one of the most hyped books of the year – and with good reason. It was a thrilling fantasy full of action and adventure, magic, expert writing, and a cast of superb characters. The story and characters are very reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Air Bender, so if you love that children’s show as much as I do, this book is for you. [review]

350687053. THE POPPY WAR
Make no mistake: this is no young adult fantasy novel. The Poppy War is a grimdark fantasy featuring a fierce heroine, political intrigue, addictive writing, and plenty of action. There are so many amazing elements about it that make it a totally engrossing read. I was also very impressed by her ability to blend fantasy elements with history, as the book is inspired by parts of Chinese history, such as the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Nanking Massacre. Heed the trigger warnings. [review]

I’m very adamant about the fact that I want more YA books based on Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, and boy was I blessed (or perhaps cursed?) with this novel. It’s easy to tell that Kristina Pérez is very knowledgable in this area, and the way she wove fantasy elements with history was wonderful. As a retelling of Tristan and Iseult, this story is full of magic and adventure, friendship and romance, betrayal and heartbreak. The ending will gut you, and I’ve yet to find it within myself to forgive the author. [review]

The book that sent me to an early grave. I knew going into this that it was going to hurt spectacularly: I thought that by reading the other reviews I would be prepared for the inevitable heartbreaking ending, but I underestimated Megan Bannen’s ability to completely annihilate my emotions. This is a fascinating, compelling story that was both unique and intriguing in seamlessly blending historical elements of the Mongol Empire with the Italian opera, Turandot. The story ends in a way that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, and altogether unforgettable. Have tissues ready. [ready]

365020546. SEAWITCH
There have been a lot of The Little Mermaid retellings lately, but I think this one is my favorite. I loved the atmospheric writing and how the historical setting remained true to the origins of the tale. This is more of a origin story for the sea witch of The Little Mermaid, and so the ending is very bittersweet. It was heartbreaking, and while I want every character to live their happily ever after, I thought it was very fitting for the story and well-done.