Saturday, December 31, 2016

In Memento: Bilbo the First Reading Hedgehog

After a week, I can finally write this post.

Thursday, December 22nd, I had to make the hard decision to put my hedgehog Bilbo down. At four years old, he lived a long and healthy life for a hedgehog. He had been losing weight for a while and drinking a lot of water. All signs pointed to a tumor in the kidney area. However, he seemed to get better; he was still drinking a lot, but he was eating and gaining weight again. Then it seemed like he deteriorated over night. He stopped eating and drinking, and then he wouldn't run in his wheel. He couldn't maintain his own body temperature, so he had to be kept constantly warm with external heat sources. Even so, he became totally lethargic and had absolutely no interest in anything. With these signs, I knew it was coming. But there's no way to completely prepare yourself for losing something you love. Four years is a good life for a hedgehog, but it was way too soon to have to say goodbye.

Bilbo was the inspiration for this blog. He also served as inspiration for the illustrator Robert McPhillips, who illustrated The Kingdom of Wrenly series by Jordan Quinn. He was a terrific conversation starter with all of the authors I've met at book signings; I even had a few ask me how he's doing if I ever had occasion to see them again or email them. Ever since I got him, at eight weeks, he was a faithful little reading companion. He loved his wheel and he loved eggs and bacon best as treats. He didn't like many people, but he was an absolute sweetheart with me and always very well behaved at the vet's. He was a very opinionated little animal and preferred to curl up under my chin and sleep than go on adventures.

Someday soon there will be another Reading Hedgehog. But right now, I'm still grieving and saying goodbye. I find myself constantly having to remember that I don't have to check his cage temperature anymore or feed him when I get home from work. I don't have to text my sister halfway through the day to ask if she'd looked in on him. And whenever I look up from a book or watching a movie, to glance at his now-empty cage, I have to remember that he's not there. I still expect to hear him rattling his water bottle at night or getting up to run in his wheel. It's hard to believe how quickly all of that became normal routine. It's so weird to not have it there anymore.

Thank you to everyone who has followed The Reading Hedgehog, both on the blog and Youtube. Many of you never met Bilbo in person, but I know you loved him anyway. I look forward to introducing the next Reading Hedgehog, but for now: safe journey to the land of the Elves, Bilbo. ^_^

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Author Interview: Hazel West

Follow the tour!


Title: An Earthly King
(Modern Tales of Na Fianna #2)
by Hazel West
Genre: YA, urban fantasy, alternate history

Synopsis
Six months after Ciran defeated King Lorcan and instigated a peace treaty between the High Court of Ireland the Goblin realm, things have been slowly getting back to normal in the kingdoms. That is, until the council decides that it's time for High King Eamon to find a queen.

On top of that, there seem to be stirrings of rebellion in the Faelands, as not all the Fair Folk like the High Court's treaty with the Goblins. So it's up to Ciran Mac Cool and his company to stop the rebellion before it goes too far, while also trying to keep Eamon safe from potential assassins. And with all the prospective brides rubbing elbows with the High King, that's easier said than done.

With the help of their friends and a spunky agent from the Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk, Ciran's Company attempts to stop the Faery plots before Ireland is thrown into all out war. Again.

An Earthly King is another action-packed book in this Celtic urban fantasy series with lots of friendship, humor, angst, and even traces of the Ballad of Tam Lin.

Purchase Links


Want to start at the beginning? You're in luck! Check out this promotional chance to get a FREE Kindle Edition of Book #1: Blood Ties and begin the Modern Tales of Na Fianna now!

Interview

We at The Reading Hedgehog are super thrilled to once again host a stop on author Hazel West's latest blog tour! And we're also thrilled to be interviewing her again!


MP: So obviously An Earthly King is a sequel to Blood Ties - the first book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna. What was some of the inspiration for this sequel?

HW: Well, I had known this was going to be a series, so I had already been thinking of sequels by the time I was halfway through writing the first one. I think my first idea for this one was, ‘what if Eamon was pressured into having to marry so they had a huge event where all the eligible ladies were presented to him and he was forced to mingle with them?’—which he would be very bad at. From there it turned into a story about faeries, and evil faeries, and rebel faeries who may not be evil. Obviously, another inspiration for this one was the Ballad of Tam Lin (from which the title is derived). I’ve wanted to write a Tam Lin retelling for a while, and while this isn’t a heavy retelling, nor probably the only one I’ll ever write, I kind of wanted to craft something more subtle for the people who knew the story.

MP: Since An Earthly King is a sequel, how did the writing experience differ from writing Blood Ties?

HW: I kind of have a bad track record with sequels, actually, haha. But this one amazingly flowed pretty well. I wrote the first half for NaNoWriMo and then put it away for a while, then wrote the next half several months later. This story is a little more light-hearted than the first one too, not that there isn’t plenty of angst and mangst, but I think there’s more opportunities for humor. The plot for this one made me think more too, haha. But overall, it actually, surprisingly, took me less time to write it than the first one. But I think that’s mainly because I had dealth with all the world building in Blood Ties so this one was just a matter of building on top of that.

MP: Who is your favorite character in An Earthly King? Why?

HW: In this one, definitely Oberon, the rebel faerie prince. (Writer confession: he actually wasn’t even in the original idea for this story, but lo and behold he popped up one day and insisted he was going to be there, and certainly NOT in the capacity I had first thought he should be :P)

MP: Assuming you can talk about the villain in An Earthly King: how did working with this villain live up to Blood Ties's villain?

HW: Well, in this one, we get to see the Unseelie Queen Eolande as a main baddie. In reality I’m not sure who is worse, her or King Lorcan in Blood Ties but I enjoyed writing them both. There’s something to be said for a wicked queen. I think overall, I liked Lorcan better, but either way, I always enjoy writing baddies.

MP: Throughout the writing process, which character did you get along with the best, and who gave you the most trouble?

HW: Unlike in Blood Ties, which was all told from Ciran’s perspective, you get three character perspectives in this one, Ciran, Eamon and a new character, Bree. Eamon and I get along very well as a rule, we share a lot of the same traits; he’s actually rather introverted and likes his quiet and his library. While Ciran was never a difficult character to write, I think I enjoyed writing Eamon’s perspective more, and actually found out a few things about his character I didn’t know before like his dry, rather sarcastic sense of humor which he keeps mostly in his head—unless he’s sharing it with his Captain of the Guard. 

Bree was the most difficult. I’m not good at writing from a female perspective, I think it’s some psychological thing about it being ‘too close to home’ or something but Bree gave me difficulty for a while, but after several drafts I was finally able to really crack her down. 

MP: What was your first reaction upon writing THE END on your final draft of An Earthly King?

HW: I was thrilled. This one gave me a lot of issues ESPECIALLY in the editing process, but overall I was happy with how it turned out.

MP: What can Readers expect next? Do you have a new book in the works? Tell us a bit about it.

HW: Well, Book Three will be coming out (hopefully) in the summer of 2017! This one will be dealing with a couple minor characters you get to meet in An Earthly King as well as other issues back in Tara. You’ll get to see how BPAFF (Bureau of Investigation Against Fair Folk) works on a regular basis and there will be a lot more faeries. (Fun fact: if you buy the paperback copy of An Earthly King you can read the first two chapters of Book Three in the back!)

Also, depending on how well my NaNo project goes this year, you guys may get a novel that I will be posting as an online serial, which I’m not quite in the discussion stages as of yet—unless you want to join me in NaNo, then we can chat!

About the Author
Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she's not writing, she's reading other people's books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix - drinking coffee is also a given.

Stalk Hazel Here!

Read an Except from An Earthly King!


Everything happened at once. Eamon had bent over to unlock the passenger side door for me, turning, likely to ask why I was standing so far away, when a dark shape came hurtling out of the shadows and bowled him over before I could shout a warning.

A wicked blade came into the attacker’s hand and I threw my knife as soon as I saw it, catching the figure’s wrist and causing him to fall back with snarl. Before I could do anything else, Killian had come up from behind the creature and swung his sword, decapitating it in one swift movement. He reached down to help Eamon up while I went to inspect the attacker.

“Redcap,” I told them grimly, seeing the distinctive red cap on the decapitated head as well as the pointed ears and lean figure. I stepped on the thing’s arm and bent to pull my knife from its wrist, wiping it on the sleeve of the Fae’s coat. I turned back around to see Killian cleaning his own blade.

“Are you all right, Eamon?” I asked.

He nodded, as Killian turned to me with a glare. “Oh, it’s Eamon is it? By the bloody fae, this really is getting into the gossip rags.”

“She saved my life, Killie, I think she deserves to call me by name; and is this really the time?” he said, still looking at the dead Faerie. “So, what exactly am I supposed to make of that?”

I shuddered slightly despite myself, and it had nothing to do with the cold wind. “I’m afraid this might mean we have quite a bit to worry about after all.”




Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARC Review: Ghostly Echoes - William Ritter

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #3
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, supernatural, mystery
Published on August 23, 2016
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 352
Read In: July 2016












SYNOPSIS


Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder - her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny's fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny's case isn't so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. 

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail's race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues' grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.


Review



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Ghostly Echoes

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Ghostly Echoes
by William Ritter
(Jackaby #3)
Publisher: Algonquin Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 23, 2016

From Goodreads:

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder - her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny's fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny's case isn't so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail's race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues' grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she had ever faced.

Ever since Jackaby was first released - actually, before then, as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC several months in advance - I have been an avid fan of this series. Doctor Who meets Sherlock is absolutely the best description, and it might sound a little ridiculous to some Readers, but believe me - it's a combination that works admirably well. All the while, William Ritter retains his own originality, so it doesn't feel like a ripoff in the slightest. I've been dying to see what happens next since the end of Book #2, especially concerning Jenny's past!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top 10 Books I'd Buy Immediately If Someone Handed Me A Fully Loaded Gift Card

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 


It's Top Ten Tuesday REWIND! Where I got to pick a topic that I missed or wanted to revisit! Well, I've been a lot of topics recently, due to my absence, so this one sounded super fun!! WARNING: lots of sequels.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hiatus Update

Hello, everyone!

So, yeah, I've been unexpectedly absent again! Why? Well, there's a lot of reasons. And hopefully I can line 'em all up in a clear manner.

  1. Life happens. This whole adulting thing doesn't leave me much leisure time, and while I actually got a ton of reading done in July (well, more than the last few months), it takes time to then write/record reviews and the like. Also, some personal things happened recently and it's taken all of the joy out of so much.
  2. Writing. In case you haven't heard, I have a new blog: The Freelance Chronicles (go check it out! It's my pet project at the moment and it takes up pretty much ALL of my spare time. I'm writing installments every week, plus promoting it, plus editing, plus plus plus - well, pretty much the only thing I'm not doing is the artwork.
  3. Booktube vs. Blogging. I'm still trying to decide whether it's more feasable to go all the way on Youtube, or to maintain a blog on top of it. This will be answered when I finally figure out a video review format that I like. And I still haven't done that.
So! What does this mean for The Reading Hedgehog? I still exit; I haven't disappeared. Not permanently, anyway. And I've been missing it and interacting with my followers. But I beg understanding and patience with all of you. My life is in a transitioning period right now - it feels like it has been for the past 2 years, but big transitions take a long time. To be honest, I burned myself out something awful a few years back, which is why I've been on and off about blogging. Slowly, though, like a victim recovering from trauma, I'm getting my mojo back. I poured myself into this blog for so many years because I burned myself out with creative writing. With The Freelance Chronicles, I've rediscovered the joy of writing again. And I'm rediscovering the joy of the book community as well - again, slowly. I went to my first author event in a long time just a few weeks ago, and it felt amazing. I've been reading a lot more and like I said - I've been missing doing book reviews.

Please keep having patience with me. Don't be afraid to ask when I'm coming back if you don't hear from me for a while! And please don't give up on The Reading Hedgehog. ^_^

Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 TBR Update #8

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my May TBR has 18 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (3/5 strawberries)
I have 15 left to read:
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Hopper's Destiny by Lisa Fiedler
  • Ignite by Sara B. Larson
  • Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Raging Sea by Michael Buckley
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
I have also read:

I am currently reading 3 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologies.

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend
()


JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A:
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D: Daughter of Dusk - Livia Blackburne
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I: Illusionarium - Heather Dixon
J:
K:
L:
M: Monstrous - MarcyKate Connolly
N: New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
O:
P: Pirate's Wish, The - Cassandra Rose Clarke
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige
Z:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: The Fire Wish - Amber Lough

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Series: The Jinni Wars #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on July 22, 2014
Published by Random House
Pages: 320
Read From 03.09.16 - 03.26.16










SYNOPSIS
The Princess

Locked in a caravan on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad, Zayele will do anything to escape. 

The Jinni

Trained as a spy in the war against the humans, Najwa knows there's something about Zayele that the other jinn are hidden. 

The Wish

Zayele captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart, them re-form - as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. 

Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered - enemies including the fascinating young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might live.

Review



Others in The Jinni Wars Series:
1)The Fire Wish
2)The Blind Wish

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 TBR Update #7

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my April TBR has 18 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen (5/5 strawberries)
I have 17 left to read:
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Hopper's Destiny by Lisa Fiedler
  • Ignite by Sara B. Larson
  • The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Raging Sea by Michael Buckley
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
I have also read:

I am currently reading 2 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
I have caught up on 1 series (The Praetor War), and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologies.

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Far, Life, Stay, One War, Thorns
(Yellow Brick War)


MAY: Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend

JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A:
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D: Daughter of Dusk - Livia Blackburne
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I: Ignite - Sara B. Larson
J:
K:
L:
M: Monstrous - MarcyKate Connolly
N:
O:
P: Pirate's Wish, The - Cassandra Rose Clarke
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige
Z:

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 2016 TBR

I'm such a mood reader these days, but I'll still try to have a monthly TBR that I will (sort of) stick to.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hedge's Reading Recap: March 2016


Time to recap all the books I read this month! All in all, it was a pretty "tame" month. I had a lot going, so I didn't read as much as usual. But the books I did read were quite good!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Haul: March 2016


It's been a while since I've done one of these! In total, I hauled 17 books this month, which is pretty conservative for me. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2016

2016 TBR Update #6

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my March TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • The Fire Wish by Amber Lough (3/5 strawberries)
I have 7 left to read:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
I have also read:
  • No. 6 Vol. 4 by Atsuko Asano
I am currently reading 2 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 1 new series/trilogies/duologies (The Jinni Wars).

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Game, Fire, Darkness, School, Like, Change
(The School of Good and Evil)


APR: Far, Life, Stay, One, War, Thorns

MAY: Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend

JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A: Ann & Henry - Dawn Ius
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D:
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Girl on a Wire - Gwenda Bond
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I:
J:
K:
L:
M:
N:
O:
P:
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y:
Z:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hedgehog Life: 03.21.16 - 03.27.16


Happy Easter! Has it been a week since I've done one of these updates? Quite honestly, I don't even remember last week, so it's entirely possible.

So things haven't exactly been busy; they've just been a blur. My life is hitting yet another changing point - details of which I'm not quite ready to share. Just know that I've made the big decision to buy my own car by the end of the year, and that decision was made for a particular reason that I want to keep under wraps until later (the suspense will hopefully not kill you).

Other than that, I have been crazy busy with writing, which is why I haven't read all that much in the past week - well, the entire month, to be honest. The Freelance Chronicles has been taking up all of my free time (as have a few animes, such as Tokyo Ghoul and Fruits Basket). I try to post a new story every Sunday and I'm kind of starting to catch up, so I need to turn out the stories as fast as I can (without sacrificing quality, of course). And besides, while I'm enjoying my current book, I'm also not captivated by it. I'm much more fascinated with my own world.

I did a book haul on Friday, the video of which you'll get at the end of the month. I found some good buys! And didn't walk away with the entire store, which was my habit in the past. ;)

Dance has been going well. I'm still recovering from my three-week absence due to a lot of things. The body gets used to lack of activity really fast, and it protests when you force it to work again. But I'll shake the rustiness off in no time.

How has the week been treating you?

Keep reading, my friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Raven King

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



The Raven King
by Maggie Stiefvater
(The Raven Cycle #4)
Publication Date: April 26, 2016

From Goodreads:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."

Why I'm Excited
- Um. . . .Well. . . .Gosh I don't know - maybe because it's the last book in The Raven Cycle!!!!!! Which actually makes me super sad. But I want to know how it ends! I've been in suspense ever since - well, Book One, to be honest!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Published on May 14, 2013
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 488
Read From: 03.04.16 - 03.09.16












SYNOPSIS
This year best friends Sophie and Agatha will discover what it is to be a student at the fabled School for Good and Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike for nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed - Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, among handsome princes and fair maidens in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are. . . .?

Review



Others in This Series:
1)The School for Good and Evil
2)A World Without Princes
3)The Last Ever After

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Masks and Shadows

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Masks and Shadows
by Stephanie Burgis
Publication Date: April 12, 2016

From Goodreads:

The year s 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterhaza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy's carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterhaza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus's mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband's death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace's golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress - a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

Why I'm Excited
- I will always, always, always read anything written by Stephanie Burgis.
- You should all know by now that I love historical fiction, fantasy, and plots of assassination!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top 10 Books On My Spring 2016 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 


Top 10 Books On My Spring 2016 TBR. You know, it seems like whenever I make these lists this far ahead of time, I never actually end up reading the books. I've turned into such a mood reader. But I do want to get a lot of these books read!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 TBR Update #5

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my March TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (4/5 strawberries)
I have 8 left to read:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
I have also read:
  • Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi (4/5 strawberries)
  • Noragami: Stray God Vol. 7 by Adachitoka (4/5 strawberries)
I am currently reading 2 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
I have caught up on 1 series (Amulet), and I have started 1 new series/trilogies/duologies (The Jinni Wars).

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Game, Fire, Darkness, School, Like, Change
(The School of Good and Evil)


APR: Far, Life, Stay, One, War, Thorns

MAY: Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend

JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A: Ann & Henry - Dawn Ius
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D:
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Girl on a Wire - Gwenda Bond
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I:
J:
K:
L:
M:
N:
O:
P:
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y:
Z:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hedgehog Life: 03.06.16 - 03.13.16


Hello, all! Wow, another week gone and I'm actually posting something on this blog! Now I just need to do reviews. . . .heheheheh. . . . yeah. . . .

So on that subject: The Reading Hedgehog is sort of undergoing a transformation - albeit a slow one. You might've heard a while back that a good friend has loaned me her video recorder indefinitely. My beautiful GoPro has sort of bitten the dust. Ever since my trip to New York in 2015, it has been MASSIVELY finicky about taking video until it just plain freezes up if I try and record anything longer than 5 seconds. And now I've broken the charging chord, so I can't even take pictures with it because it's battery is dead. Roar!

Anyway, I have a video recorder now - which means I can get back to shooting video!!!! As soon as I buy an SD card for it. . . .Which I am going to. And when I do, that's when you'll see the "transformation" on The Reading Hedgehog. I don't know why, but I've recently gotten to where I don't enjoy writing reviews for books anymore. However, the idea of video reviews does appeal to me immensely. Hopefully this explains to you all why I haven't been writing any reviews: I just haven't wanted to in a really, really, really long time. But! As soon as I get an SD card for this recorder and I figure out how to film with it, I'm going to start posting review videos. LOTS of review videos. The Reading Hedgehog is going to expand its Youtube booktube channel, which also means that yes, I will actually spend time learning how to edit my videos more thoroughly. :)

So I beg you to have patience. Reviews are in the future; just not quite yet.

In other news: this week has been kind of so-so. Been working hard while fighting allergies that were simultaneously trying to turn into another cold. But this time I listened to my body's warning signals. I immediately took decongestants, went to bed early, drank LOTS of orange juice and ate fruit and seaweed, and *gasp* actually stayed home from dancing! Because I am NOT GETTING SICK!!

The hedgehog has been fighting illness right alongside me. Sometime last week he got a minor skin infection and he's been on a round of antibiotics. It's looking better and he's not acting ill, thank goodness.

And that's been the week! Not very exciting.

Keep reading, my friends!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Yellow Brick War

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Yellow Brick War
by Danielle Paige
(Dorothy Must Die #3)
Publication Date: March 15, 2016

From Goodreads:
In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm - the new girl from Kansas - must do everything in her power to dave Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more.

Amy Gumm's mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy - and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.

In the third installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Danielle Paige's twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West.

Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there's danger around every corner, and magic shoes won't be able to save you.

Why I'm Excited
- I've been a fan of this series ever since Book One. The characters are amazing, the world is dark and creepy, and this Author has so very clearly read ALL of the original Oz books.
- Since the end of Book Two, I've been dying to see what happens next. I'm nervous about them returning to Kansas. I'm not ready to leave Oz yet! (And I can't believe I'm saying that because I hate Oz!!)

Monday, March 7, 2016

2016 TBR Update #4

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my March TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer (4/5 strawberries)
I have 8 left to read:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
I have also read:
  • Basara Vol. 4 by Yumi Tamura (4/5 strawberries)
I am currently reading 2 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
I have caught up on 1 series (The Lunar Chronicles), and I have started 1 new series/trilogies/duologies (The School for Good and Evil).

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Game, Fire, Darkness, School, Like, Change
(The School of Good and Evil)


APR: Far, Life, Stay, One, War, Thorns

MAY: Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend

JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A: Ann & Henry - Dawn Ius
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicker
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D:
E: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
F:
G: Girl on a Wire - Gwenda Bond
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I:
J:
K:
L:
M:
N:
O:
P:
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y:
Z:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Hedgehog Life: 02.29.16 - 03.05.16


Spring is almost here! Which means my allergies are going CRAZY! But I don't mind, because it also means that nice weather is coming and I can finally discard my winter clothes! FINALLY! This girl needs some sunlight!!

You know, I feel like I should, once again, apologize for my absence, but I'm not going to, because I'll just be doing it again in a few weeks. By now, you guys are probably used to it. So! What has this erratic blogger been up to this week?? Well. . . .

A friend and I went down to Salem, Oregon for the weekend to visit another friend. It was a blast. No, I didn't get pictures because my camera is official dead, my phone was also dead (and I forgot my charger), and I still need to get an SD card for the video recorder one of my friends had loaned me indefinitely. But trust me - it was a lot of fun. On our first night, we ate at an authentic Spanish restaurant that was so many levels of delicious I don't even know where to begin. The atmosphere was amazing, the prices unbelievably reasonable, and the food! Oh, the food was to die for. The next day, our friend took us on a tour of her college campus. If I was independently wealthy and could invest in any degree I wanted, I would go to her college and spend my time pouring over history and literature and cultural studies. Sadly, this is not a realistic dream. For lunch, we went to an authentic Japanese ramen shop, then for dinner we hit a Greek restaurant. On our last day, we visited one of the awesomest coffeehouses I've ever seen (and got VERY expensive, but VERY delicious coffee), a very nice second-hand clothing store, and finally a bookshop, where I might have picked up (get this) a mere two books and one manga. This is a record for me. 0_o

The rest of the week has been spent on: work, reading, dancing, and writing. Exciting, huh? Well, after such a fun weekend, it didn't hurt. And with spring and summer coming, I've got plenty of exciting things planned.

Keep reading, my friends!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Author Interview: Hazel West


Follow the Tour!
Hello, hello all!
I have returned to the blog as part of the Blood Ties blog tour! Author and good friend Hazel West has a new book out, and I'm proud to host an interview with her on this blog (as well as a few other goodies)!


Title: Blood Ties (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna #1)
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

Synopsis
In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Iran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. Through trial and error, running battles, unexpected friendships, and daring escapes, Ciran and his company come fact to face with the Goblin King himself in a final battle that will decide the fate of all involved and of Ireland itself.

The first book in a few series, Blood Ties takes the traditional Irish legends and puts a modern spin on them with a heavy helping of friendship and the love of family.

Purchase A Copy From Any Of These Places!

The Interview

MP: What inspired you to write Blood Ties?

HB: Well, I remember thinking out of the blue one day about modern warriors who carried swords around in their fancy sports cars and it kind of grew from there. Then later I thought a retelling of the "Fionn Mac Cool" legends would be cool and the two ideas kind of formed together to create the world of Blood Ties.

MP: I know when I'm writing a story, I have very specific Authors that I turn to for fresh inspiration - Authors whose writing I want to imitate or who write books set in the same era or genre. What Authors/books did you turn to?

HB: Well, first I read folklore retellings, Rosemary Sutcliff being the first with her book The High Deeds of Fionn Mac Cool, but as far as feel goes, I turned to Maggie Stiefvater with her weird sort of way she's able to combine ancient feeling with the modern era. Also Tessa Gratton with her United States of Asgard series and maybe a tiny bit of Rick Riordan because I like the humor he adds to traditional folklore and mythology and fits it into our world.

MP: Who is your favorite character in Blood Ties? Why?

HB: I like Ciran as the main character, but I think Eamon is my favorite overall. He has a lot of layers you probably won't see all of in the first book, but I think he's quite a bit like me in a lot of respects. He's a natural leader but he doesn't want to lead, he just does what he has to and doesn't care whether he gets the credit for it. Really, he just wants to sit and read in his library and get away from people for a while.

MP: Were you sad when you had to kill of/defeat your villain, or did you enjoy it immensely?

HB: I can't say I shed tears for Lorcan. I really did enjoy coming up with him, but he was a pain in the behind to write because he just wouldn't tell me anything, so year (spoiler alert - but really, look at the genre) I didn't mind offing him. Although he's not my most despicable creation, either. ;)

MP: Throughout the writing process, which character did you get along with the best, and who gave you the most trouble?

HB: Apart from Lorcan, none of the characters really gave me trouble in this. They came to me pretty much as their own people and I always know when that happens that it's going to be an easy write as far as characters go. I had the most fun with the conversations between Eamon and Killian - if I let those two go, there will be pages of pointless and pretty much unusable dialogue.

MP: I have specific CDs/movie soundtracks I always listen to when writing. What was some of the music that helped you write Blood Ties?

HB: For Blood Ties, I had a lot of modern folk like Gaelic Storm, Flogging Molly, and Runrig to kind of set the tone of a modern, yet folky, setting. And then Emerald Rose with their very Fae-related songs are fun. "Fairies Stole My Keys" is still my favorite - modern like with Faeries, it was a big inspiration for my story. Besides that, a mix of Celtic soundtrack music I picked up from various artists.

MP: What was your first reaction upon writing THE END on your final draft of Blood Ties?

HB: It was a very happy feeling because it took me until Draft Four just to get Lorcan to tell me what his evil plans were (this is when I wish for more monologuing villains), but as soon as I knew everything had fallen into place, it was definitely a good feeling.

MP: What can Readers expect next? Do you have a new book in the works? Tell us a bit about it.

HB: Well, the next published work everyone will see is the sequel to Blood Ties, which is already written and in post-production. It's called An Earthly King and continues a few months after Blood Ties leaves off, but is more of Eamon's story. He now has to choose a wife from the charming ladies of the realm, which is not nearly as fun as it sounds. Meanwhile, troubles among the Faery Courts arise and threaten another war. It's set around Samhain (Halloween) and also has elements of "The Ballad of Tam Lin," so I'm excited for this one to come out. :) Besides that, I have a couple of online serial projects in the works, which I will not announce quite yet, but you will know about when they are ready to happen!

I want to thank Hazel West for asking The Reading Hedgehog to participate in her blog tour again! I'm always excited and happy and honored to host authors, self-published and big house published both! And I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm very excited for Blood Ties!

About the Author
Hazel West lives in Purgatory - er, Florida - with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she's not writing, she's reading other people's books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix - drinking coffee is also a given.

Follow Hazel At All Of These Places!

Read An Excerpt!
We were hauled into the huge hall with vaulted ceilings and a large skylight that let in the light of day, falling elegantly onto the throne at one end of the room on a built up dais. Lounging on the throne was Lorcan himself. He was tall, I could tell that even seeing him sitting down, and rail thin like most Goblins. In actuality, he was rather unassuming. He wore no kingly finery, being dressed in a plain silk shirt and black trousers underneath a long leather coat. His hair was ash blond and drawn back in a club to keep it away from his face. But it was not his appearance that told he held a position of power, no, it was all his presence, and that was obvious from the moment he raised his head to look at his lieutenant as we were shoved into the hall.
“Ah, Cronin, what have you brought me?”
“Several special guests, my lord,” the lieutenant replied as we were pushed forward.
Lorcan stood, frowning over us. “Do my eyes deceive me or is that High King Eamon O’Brian standing there?”
“It is,” Eamon replied himself.
Lorcan grinned. “Excellent! This shall go even better than expected. I have been thinking on the best way to get an audience with you, save making a trip to the Common Lands myself. Now you have given me that chance by coming here and saving me the trouble. Tell me, Airdrígh, what has brought you here to my humble dwelling?”
“I know you are no fool, Lorcan,” Eamon said, his voice quiet, and I thought him very regal himself. “You have my brother and other warriors of mine. I came to see that you give them back to me.”
“Ah, yes, the patrol I took,” Lorcan nodded. “Very brave those men. Some more so than others. Some who have suffered greatly for their bravery.” He looked at me here, and fear knotted my stomach. I tried to stay impassive but was unable to, especially when he started to walk toward me, his boots echoing on the stone floor. One hand took me by the chin and forced me to look into his pale blue eyes. “A Mac Cool, I see. The next younger brother, I would guess. Your brother was one of the brave ones.” I glared at him, wanting to scream, wanting to demand to know whether Aeden really still lived as Jarlath had said, but I could say nothing. If I did, I feared it would all end horribly wrong.


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