Monday, August 21, 2017

Cover Reveal: Scars of War (Modern Tales of Na Fianna #3)

The Reading Hedgehog is proud to officially reveal the cover for the upcoming third book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series by Hazel West! I've always been a big fan of these covers, with their simplistic and classic "warrior adventure story" feel. But this cover is probably my favorite yet! Please join me in welcoming the newest addition to this awesome tale of brotherhood, modern warriors, and classic faery magic! 

Also be sure to leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway for ebooks of the first two books in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna! Leave your email address or visit Hazel's blog on August 23rd for the announced winner. Remember, if you leave comments on multiple blogs, each one will be counted as an entry, so your chances can double!

Scars of War
(Modern Tales of Na Fianna #3)
by Hazel B. West
Publication Date: August 31, 2017
Add it on Goodreads: 


After the events on Samhain Eve things have calmed down for High King Eamon and his Fianna. The Unseelie Court is under new rule, and Eamon is happily married - and with an heir on the way! But just when it seems like things couldn't be better, reports of changelings keep coming into the BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk). With the risk of children being changed out in their cribs, especially when a royal heir is weeks from being born, Eamon enlists the help of Aeden Mac Cool, Commander of Na Fianna, and Cassandra Whalen, Director of BPAFF, to deal with the threat before it escalates. Riots, Faerie rebels, and road trips with the King of the Unseelie - it's just a typical day, right?

Links for More Information!

Check Out Modern Tales of Na Fianna!

Scroll down for an excerpt from Scars of War! And be sure to check out the other blogs to read even more excerpts from the upcoming third book in Modern Tales of Na Fianna!

Excerpt from Scars of War

We could hear the shouting by the time we got onto the front step, sounding like a very disobedient child. I rang the doorbell and waited with an antsy Rory until a frazzled woman answered the door.
“Mrs. Dempsey?” I inquired, reaching into my coat to pull out my badge as Rory did the same. “I’m Director Whalen of BPAFF and this is my assistant Mr. Cahill. We’re here about your son, Tomas.”
“Oh! Thank you so much,” the woman said, obviously relieved as she stepped aside and ushered us in. “You would not believe the trouble this whole ordeal has been. And not knowing where poor Tom is, I can barely stand it. I didn’t expect you to come yourself, though, Director.”
“I was in the vicinity,” I told her as we were led into the kitchen and offered coffee. “If you could tell us a little about what happened, ma’am?”
“Well, it was a week ago today,” Mrs. Dempsey said as she rummaged for something in the fridge but eventually gave up. “I’m sorry, we seem to have run out of cream, it’s that creature you know.” She sighed, running a hand through frizzled red hair. I couldn’t exactly blame her, though I didn’t like hearing the way she said ‘creature’. Faery children were just like ours, simply not meant to be accustomed to suburban human environments. 
“Why don’t you take a seat,” Rory told her quietly and led her to a chair at the kitchen table and sat her down before we joined her. As Rory sat he pulled out his pad to take notes on the case.
“So it was a week ago?” I asked, getting her back on track.
“Yes,” she nodded. “I wasn’t sure what to think at first after Tomas—or not Tomas—ate practically everything in the pantry for breakfast that morning. But it wasn’t until that night I really suspected, what with him seemingly going crazy. Peter, my husband, was the one who thought of it first, but poor Donnie, my other son, I think he knew. They’re twins you know, and twins are like that. He hasn’t been taking it well, I’m afraid, he’s currently hiding in his closet. Peter is trying to keep the creature occupied for a while to see if we can get it to calm down.”
“I’d like to see the changeling,” I told her.
“Be my guest,” Mrs. Dempsey said and stood to motion Rory and me through to the parlor.
I saw a similarly frazzled man playing jacks with a small child who was cackling loudly and making a point to be as rambunctious as possible. The house was frankly a disaster, but I tried not to notice, knowing that Mrs. Dempsey was likely embarrassed about it. Mr. Dempsey looked grateful as he saw Rory and me come in.
“They’re from the Bureau, dear,” Mrs. Dempsey informed him. 
“Thank the saints,” he said.
The changeling stood up and stuck his tongue out at me and Rory. His clothes were disheveled and torn and his hair was wild and sticking up from his head in sticky clumps that looked like they had been shampooed with honey. Maybe they had.
“I’m hungry!” he whined. “And I wanna play, play with me!” He ran forward and kicked Rory in the shin.
“Ow! Cass!” he complained hopping on one foot, but I ignored him, crouching down to snag the changeling child before he could run off.
“Come here, you little rascal.” I took out my shamrock pendent and touched his hand with it, instantly dispelling the glamour that had been concealing his true form. It revealed a Fae child with forest green eyes and pointed ears sticking out from beneath the shaggy black hair. He blinked, looking at me with wide eyes before they watered and tears started falling down his freckled cheeks. He tried to get away, but I held him tightly.
“No, no, you’re not going anywhere, wee one,” I informed him. “We’re not going to hurt you. Now, come here and talk to me. Do you know where you came from, who put you here?”
He shook his head firmly. “Don’t remember. They’ll be angry!” he started crying harder and I stood, picking him up and settling him on my hip.
“It’s alright, don’t worry about that right now. Are you sure you don’t know where you came from? Where they took the little boy who lives here? The real Tomas?”
He shook his head vigorously. I refrained from sighing. “Alright, well, let’s get you somewhere else.” I turned back to the Dempseys. “We’ll be back later to look around a little more after we take this one somewhere more suitable.”
“Will you be able to find Tomas?” Mrs. Dempsey asked, wringing her hands.
“Hopefully soon,” I assured her.
“But it’s very unlikely he’ll be mistreated,” Rory assured with a smile. “Faeries usually take very good care of the human children they change. They’re highly sought after in the Courts.”
The Dempseys didn’t look entirely reassured by his words, but there was little else they could do. None of us mentioned the fact that neither Court was taking children right now—at least as far as I knew. I carried the Fae child out to the Land Rover and sat him between Rory and I while I drove back to the BPAFF station. The secretary looked surprised to see the child with us.
“Is there anyone in town who will take in a Fae child for a while until we can get him back to Dublin?” I asked her.
“Of course, Mrs. O’Toole will take him. She runs an orphanage here in town and takes in both human and Fae children. Here’s her address.”
“Thanks,” I said, handing Rory the paper she had written it on.
“Did you find the boy then?”
“Not yet, but we’re on our way to do that,” I told her.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I wish you would take me. Ravish me. Right now.
Wintersong, pg. 232

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family's inn, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds - and the mysterious man who rules it - she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

An encroaching winter, where goblins come into the human world and steal away a bride for their king? Classical music? A protagonist forced to make the biggest sacrifice she can to free her dearest sister from the clutches of the mysterious Goblin King? Sounds like an adventure worth signing up for, right?

Liesl is the eldest of three siblings, and her whole life she's been certain of three things: her little brother Josef is more talented than her, her little sister Kathe is prettier than her, and the Goblin King is dangerous (until she finds out just how sexy and misunderstood he is).

"A wren is still a wren, even in peacock's feathers. Don't waste your time. It's not like Hans - anyone - would notice anyway." (pg. 10)
And if we ever forget just how plain and pathetic and pitiable Liesl is, she reminds us. All. The. Time.

My face looked sunken, haggard, old, and the copper basin distorted my image back at me - long, pointed nose; stubby, weak chin. Or perhaps I truly was this ugly. (pg. 249-250)
 How I both loathed and loved visiting the shops with my sister. Loathed because I would never be as lovely as she. . . ." (pg. 253) 
The gown was dull and ashy brown in color, the color of dirt, the color of mud. It was also, I thought, the color of sparrow feathers. (pg. 259) 
I knew who I was because I knew who I was not: my sister. (pg. 283)

Meanwhile, Liesl's little sister Kathe is the belle of the town - or more like the county slut, as she parades around in clingy dresses, accepts enchanted fruit from hungry-looking strangers (that everyone knows are goblins), and delights in the attentions of her captors in the Underground. One could argue that she's enchanted, but given that this is Kathe's normal behavior, I'm not buying it.

Both men and women traced the lines of [Kathe's] body, the curve of her cheek, the pout of her lip. Looking at Kathe, it was difficult to forget just how sinful our bodies were, just how prone we were to wickedness. Clothed in clinging fabrics, with every line of her body exposed, every gasp of pleasure unconcealed, everything about Kathe suggested voluptuousness. (pg. 26)

Josef was fine in and of himself, but he served no purpose beyond earning the book "diversity points" and to serve as another area of self-deprecation for Liesl.

When Kathe is kidnapped by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must go to the Underground kingdom and save her dearest sister. Oh, did I say dearest? Yeah, it's a little hard to tell between Liesl's envy and the fact that it takes her forever to actually get around to the rescuing part. Sure, Kathe is probably suffering at the hands of the wicked goblins - the Goblin King might have even ravaged her by now (not that Kathe would mind). But the thing is: Liesl's life is suddenly going perfectly for her. Josef has time to play with her again, her father is actually paying attention to her compositions, and Kathe's fiance is actually noticing her. Actually, why is Liesl going after her sister at all?

But eventually Liesl decides it would be the sisterly thing to rescue Kathe after all, and suddenly Wintersong starts to feel an awful lot like the movie Labyrinth.

Only the goblins look more like this, only with sharper teeth:

This is when I really began to despair. Because Wintersong has some good elements. The goblins are much more traditional Fae-goblins, rather than the nasty little puppet creatures featured above (or even what's found in Middle Earth, apparently). It takes place in a beautiful historical era (though it's never specified when exactly; sometime after Mozart and before Beethoven). But then we meet the Goblin King - your classic misunderstood hot captor who, in turns out, doesn't actually want to steal all these girls and drain them of. . . .whatever it is he's draining and for whatever reason.

I look, and the austere young man is still there, waiting for me to follow him into the woods. I am no longer ashamed of my wanting, and I tilt my head to kiss him. He warms to my breath and I follow him as we grow wilder and wilder. We stop for breath and now there is a hint of the devil in his angelic face. The wolf has come out to play. (pg. 301)

Welcome to the rest of the book, folks. There is nothing else beyond this point. And if sex ever sounded appealing - well, this book will have you pushing your significant other away as quick as you can.

It's no spoiler that Liesl ends up switching places with Kathe in being the Goblin King's bride (more or less). And all of the warnings she's been given her entire life about the Goblin King completely fly out of her head the moment she beholds his devil-like hotness. The plot, which at first promised daring escape from an underground world and dark magic, boils down to Liesl desperately trying to get her hot captor to have sex with her.

"I am at my lady's command," he said. "Your wish is my desire." "Is it?" I rose from the klavier and took a step forward. "Then I think you know just how I would like to pass the time." (pg. 344)
But Liesl isn't just desperate for the physical attention. She demands it. Over. And over.

Slow, too slow. I wanted him to devour me, break me with the urgency of his lust. If he could not give that to me, then I would take it from him. (pg. 235) 
The kiss is sweeter than sin and fiercer than temptation. I am not gentle, I am not kind; I am rough and wild and savage. I bite, I nip, I lick, I devour. I want and I want and I want and I want. I hold nothing back. (pg. 231)
I gripped him harder, staking my claim on him. Mine, I thought. Mine. (pg. 236) 

Yes, Liesl becomes the emotionally abusive one. Because for reasons not entirely made clear, the Goblin King keeps refusing her (though he eventually gives in. . . .several times. . . .), and that throws Liesl into so many tantrums that involve her hitting him and demanding to know why he won't "ravish her."

When Liesl isn't trying to find confirmation of her value through sex, she's thinking about music. . . .As a person who grew up on classical music, I adore musical jargon. Wintersong felt like a graduate student who had just completed her Music Theory 103 class and thought she sounded like an expert. Huge swathes of narration and dialogue about quarter notes and half measures and sonatas (Liesl seems incapable of composing anything else) and a thousand other things that no one is going to care about, because it's all dumped unceremoniously in with no thought to how it affects the overall flow of words. To top it off, classical music is just dirty in Wintersong. She composes best after having sex - or after she's had a fit over the fact that the Goblin King won't have sex with her. And then it devolves into her describing her sex with classical music comparisons.

I let the Goblin King play me the rest of the evening, the sonata, the bloodstained handkerchief, and the candle forgotten for the time being. He was the bow, I the strings, and his fingers brushed my body to make me sing. (pg. 321)
The plot stumbles on amid this ruination of a fairy tale, desperately trying to patch things up by vaguely throwing in references to changelings and the Goblin King's past - and the fact that Liesl in fact once played with the Goblin King when they were children, but forget about him (or did she? Because she never actually seems to have forgotten about that at all). And after countless scenes of hot-n-heavy sexy times that will make you feel like a seedy old man in a trailer park, Wintersong winds down to a conclusion so incredibly stupid and contrived that I finally just threw the book across the room.


After hundreds of reiterations that if a Goblin Queen isn't sacrificed eternal winter will descend on the mortal world and changelings will be free to eat up the human morsels, the Goblin King somehow is able to just let Liesl go with no consequences. Eternal winter doesn't descend, the changelings remain in the goblin kingdom, and that's that.


I realize that Wintersong is gearing up for a sequel (to which I say NOOOOOOOOOOO), but I have little doubt that the convenient way in which the ending ignores the rules of the world will not be excusable.


Wintersong at first offers a slightly sinister and darkly whimsical fairy tale set in a charming historical era and a flawed protagonist who struggles through her lack of confidence in order to save her sister from a horrible fate. Instead, Wintersong delivers a protagonist who can't stop wallowing in her plainness, desperately claws for confirmation through sex, and eventually gets what she wants by wearing the Goblin King down. While I felt a little bad for the Goblin King due to Liesl's abuse, he still fits into the category of creepy stalker portrayed as something desirable and sexy. The conclusion was a nonsensical mess and I never want to hear about sonatas and half measures and musical dictation ever again.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 2017 Book Haul

Well, hello there, people! Don't know if anyone comes to the blog anymore. Can't say I blame them, since it's been AGES since last I posted. With Bilbo the hedgehog's passing, blogging hasn't been all that appealing lately, and I've been concentrating on the Youtube channel, so yeah. But anyway! I haven't been completely AWOL in the book community! And thus - I give you my March 2018 Book Haul! It's long, so grab a snack and a comfy chair.

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

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!


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


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 fiancĂ©, 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.


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!

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
M: Monstrous - MarcyKate Connolly
N: New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
P: Pirate's Wish, The - Cassandra Rose Clarke
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige
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