Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 90: Circle of the Moon, by Faith Hunter

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!

This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings!
This is also where we excited book bloggers showcase future releases we're eagerly anticipating! 
For more information, 
please click HERE.

There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 Circle of the Moon
(Soulwood, Book 4)
Faith Hunter
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Ace Books
   February 26, 2019 
 Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction,
Urban Fantasy

Set in the same world as Faith Hunter's New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the fourth Soulwood novel stars Nell Ingram, who channels her power from the earth.

Nell can draw magic from the land around her, and lately she's been using it to help the Psy-Law Enforcement Division, which solves paranormal crimes. Joining the team at PsyLED has allowed her to learn more about her powers and the world she always shunned--and to find true friends.

Head agent Rick LaFleur shifts into a panther when the moon calls him, but this time, something has gone wrong. Rick calls Nell from a riverbank--he's disoriented, with no memory of how he came to be there, and there's a dead black cat, sacrificed in a witch circle and killed by black magic, lying next to him.

Then more animals turn up dead, and team rushes to investigate. A blood-witch is out to kill. But when it seems as if their leader is involved in the crime, the bonds that hold the team together could shatter at any moment.

 Why I can't wait for this one!

Well, I haven't read any of the Jane Yellowrock novels, but they are well-known for being 
action-packed, with all kinds of paranormal activities! They're kinda like the Patricia Briggs books I've heard SO much about!
This book, from another new series, has a GORGEOUS cover, and 
the plot sounds very intriguing! 
So I'm adding this one to my already 
full Goodreads shelves!
(Yeah, yeah, I know....I have to read the 
previous ones

Check out the previous books
 in the series!
Click on each cover for the
Fantastic Fiction page!

For more information
 on this author, you can check out her
Goodreads profile HERE!

What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Book Blogger Hop No. 162: A Blogging Hiatus? Maybe....

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Have you ever thought of taking
a break from blogging or Booktubing
(if you're a Booktuber)?
If you have, how long was the break,
and what did you learn from it?

(Submitted  by Danielle  @ 

My Answer

Here's the short and sweet answer..... Yes, I have, many times in the past. (And no, I'm not a Booktuber; I just have this blog, as well as a second one, which I have no time for, and is abandoned for now.)

And here are further details..... Although I do enjoy blogging tremendously, there have been times when "the real world" has encroached upon my precious blogging time, and I have been tempted to stop for a while. How long, I've never really decided. The fact remains, though that the thought has crossed my mind more than once or twice.

It's rather coincidental that this question has come up right at this point in time, because I am seriously considering taking a break -- perhaps for a month, at least. It might be longer, though; I really don't know. I am feeling very sad about even considering this, of course.

Those of you who have been reading and following my blog for some time know that I LOVE blogging, and would feel bereft if I were to stop doing it completely, even for a short length of time. So perhaps what I'll do, for now at least, is reduce the number of posts I publish per month. I don't like this solution to the problem, either, but at least I'll be doing SOME blogging. 

The problem is, yes, you guys guessed it -- "the real world". I have gotten very busy preparing classes. I'm an Adult Education ESOL teacher. In other words, I teach adults from other countries (mostly Hispanics) English in an evening program, which includes two afternoon tutoring sessions. 

The first session starts at 3:00 PM, and ends at 4:15 PM. Then there's a 10-to-15-minute break, and the second session begins, around 4:30. That second session ends at 6:00 PM. I have an hour for dinner, and my regular class begins -- at 7:00, ending at 9:30 PM.

The first tutoring session is for English topics -- grammar, dialogues, pronunciation practice, etc. The second is for help with preparing for the U.S. citizenship exam.

Both of these sessions require me to prepare copies for the students. Usually, I make originals which I then request copies from, at the school's main office. Sometimes, especially when a new student shows up, I do have to make copies on my home copier/printer.

My regular class also requires me to provide copies to the students. This is a combined High Intermediate (Level 5) and Advanced (Level 6) class. The students do have assigned textbooks, but they are reluctant to buy them, as they books are expensive. Besides, not everything I need to teach them is covered in ONE textbook, so I add copies.

Both the tutoring sessions and the regular class function four afternoons/nights a week -- Monday to Thursday. (At least I have Fridays off, lol!) 

Just this past week, on Monday, 2/11, and Tuesday, 2/12, we got some basic training for a new software program that the school district recently bought: Burlington English. This program is rather complex and detailed, and, after receiving the basic training, we ESOL teachers are expected to study and practice it, on our time, no less, so as to start using it as soon as possible in our classes. 

Part of this program guessed it -- copies! Haha..... Yes, this is what the Burlington Company calls "a blended program". Students are to do part of their work on computers (I have 25 of these in my classroom), and part of it on worksheets. These have to be prepared in advance for each lesson. For instance, if I want to start teaching a particular lesson this coming Tuesday, I have to have all of the worksheets for that lesson ready by Tuesday. I do have the originals printed. So now I will have to make copies.....sigh.....

Well, you get the picture by now..... I hope I don't have to stop blogging altogether for any length of time, but it might be necessary, at least until I get organized with this new program. Some of you may have noticed that lately, I've been publishing fewer posts. AND, I've REALLY gotten behind on my replies to comments here on my blog, as well as comments back on the blogs of those who have commented on A Night's Dream of Books.

Whatever I decide to do, whether it be just publish fewer posts, or take a break, I will be sure to announce here on the blog. I don't like to just stop all of a sudden, with no warning. Of course, sometimes bloggers have to do just that, for whatever reason. This happened with Jill @ Breaking The Spine. Her last post is dated August 24, 2016. (Click on the link provided and you'll see for yourselves.) She posted no explanation for this, either, but just stopped blogging -- cold turkey. Other bloggers -- including me -- have left comments on this last post, asking her if she's all right. She has not replied to any of these comments, though. I still think about her and her blog sometimes, wondering what could have possibly happened....

Jill was the creator of the popular book meme, "Waiting On Wednesday", so a LOT of bloggers used to link up to her WOW posts. (Many of them have continued to link up to that last post, too, incredibly enough....) A similar meme exists now, titled "Can't Wait Wednesday". It's hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings.

Anyway.....I sure hope I can still continue to publish at least a few posts per month. I am REALLY ticked off at having these obstacles in my path, but, since they're job-related, I have to give them priority. 

Whatever I decide to do, I will be SURE to let all of you guys know! For now, you have a bit of a heads up.      

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
Please leave a comment! 
If you're participating in this meme,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!! 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Tour Book Review: The Expedition, by Chris Babu

The Expedition
(The Initiation, Book 2)
Chris Babu
Hardcover, 304 pages
Permuted Press
December 4, 2018
Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction
Young Adult Fiction


Drayden and his friends thought nothing could be harder than the Initiation. Little did they know it had only been a warmup for the challenge that lay ahead.

With New America’s situation dire, Drayden and the pledges venture out into the unexplored world outside the walls, escorted by a team of elite Guardians. The group seeks to contact another civilization in what remains of Boston, but Drayden has secret goals of his own.

Dangers abound in the real world, including Aeru, the deadly superbug that wiped out humanity. While they battle the elements of a desolate landscape, a power struggle emerges within their ranks. The Guardians seem to be carrying out a covert mission themselves, and the quest turns everything they thought they knew about New America upside down.

I received a complimentary copy of this 
novel from TLC Book Tours. 
I greatly enjoyed it, and all opinions are my own.

It's not often that I read a dystopian/science fiction novel as good as this one! From beginning to end, Babu engages and keeps the reader's interest. I was totally riveted!

As the novel opens, readers find themselves in New America, which was introduced in the first book of the series -- The Initiation. This is what's left of one section of the United States, after a worldwide bacterial epidemic (the bug is named "Aeru") wipes out most of the world's population. This includes large sections of the U.S.

New America is concentrated in Manhattan,which was part of what used to be known as New York City. The inhabitants of New America live in an enclave surrounded by a wall that protects them from Aeru. The "government", if such it may be called, is in the hands of The Bureau. (I think this group might be a reference to the FBI. I'm not entirely sure about this, since I haven't read the first book. It sounds plausible, though.)

There's a Premier Holst, who runs The Bureau, and a VERY unsavory character named Harris Von Brooks, who is the Premier's Chief of Staff. He is also in charge of the expedition referred to in the book's title. 

The Bureau basically runs the lives of people living in New America. There's a place called "The Palace", where Bureau members and other elite individuals live, while the rest of the population resides in "the Dorms", which are not pleasant dwellings at all.

The whole thrust of the plot is an expedition to Boston. This is a Bureau project, to which Drayden, as well as three other teens -- Catrice, his girlfriend, Sidney, and Charlie -- have been forcibly assigned. The purpose of the mission is to find out whether Boston is deserted, or might be a refuge for other Aeru survivors. New America is in trouble, with dwindling food supplies, and is reaching out for help.  In fact, The Bureau has resorted to the horrible practice of exiling random people, because of the problem of not having enough food to feed the entire population.

In regards to this, I'm including a very interesting, yet chilling quote which includes a nod to Star Trek TOS (The Original Series), as well as the subsequent movies created from it. I was very happy to recognize Babu as a fellow Trekker!

"The Bureau's policy was barbaric and unfair, but it wasn't illogical. The city didn't have enough resources to support the population anymore. They believed they had a choice between exiling a few people or allowing everyone to die. It was the essence of the philosophy of utilitarianism, which his original mentor, Mr. Kale, had taught them about in school. It also echoed the words of Spock, from the one Star Trek movie played in the Dorms -- The Wrath of Khan. He said the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. The red-and-green-hats challenge in the Initiation was even designed to drive the message home. 'All might be done, but for one', was how they had phrased it. They'd said a group's well-being superseded any individual's." (Chapter 6, pg. 56)

So this is a society driven by harsh realities, as well as by a ruthless ruling group, led by a premier, who will not hesitate to achieve its ends by justifying the means. There's an overall feeling of suspicion, as undercurrents of unrest flow beneath the whole society. There are cameras everywhere, and Drayden even wonders if The Bureau has bugs hidden in people's apartments. Although I have not read the novel 1984, I was immediately reminded of "Big Brother". That was because the concept this entails has become a well-known motif in our contemporary society, thanks to the author of that book -- George Orwell.

I immediately found myself liking three of the four sixteen-year-old protagonists -- especially Drayden, who is a math and science genius, and the main focus of the story. In spite of his superior intelligence, he remains a very down- to-earth guy, with insecurities and vulnerabilities. And he's sensitive, too; he has doubts about his girlfriend's love for him, as he desperately wants her to return his own love for her. He's also a very brave guy who doesn't back down from a challenge.

The other three teens are obviously of secondary importance, although each has a role to play in the book. I didn't like Catrice, as she blew hot and cold in her relationship with Drayden. Sidney was great, though; she was loyal to a fault, and always ready for action! As for Charlie, he was a blast as the group's clown! His jokes often made me roll my eyes, though. Still, he was perfect comic relief!

These four teens have gone through something called "The Initiation", which is some sort of survival test. Again, I have not read the first book, which gives the details of this test. Babu does provide readers with enough hints about it, however, so that we can get the general idea: it's a combination of brainteasers and physical challenges.

Survivors of this initiation are few and far between, so it's clear that it's a very dangerous, challenging test. Drayden and his friends are thus viewed as heroes by the inhabitants of New America. Unfortunately, this means that The Bureau has chosen them for the dangerous trip to Boston. They are considered expendable, which is ironic, considering their heroic status.

The teens are accompanied on the trip by four elite Guardians -- highly trained soldiers in the service of The Bureau. One of them, an eighteen-year-old named Eugene, immediately befriends Drayden and his companions. I really liked Eugene! He was not only strong, which is, of course, a requirement for a Guardian, but also handsome, charming, and smart, to boot. However, he did seem to be "too good to be true", and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in regards to him.

The plot is full of twists and turns, as the author introduces other elements into the story, such as a conspiracy against The Bureau, and Drayden's secret search for information on what happened to his mother, who had been exiled by someone in The Bureau. The action is exciting, fast-paced, and full of drama, as a power struggle emerges between Drayden and his friends, and the Guardians. 

I LOVED the world-building! Babu has created a very believable setting for this novel. Like all dystopias, this one has an overarching feeling of doom-and-gloom. The descriptions of partially and totally destroyed bridges in the area of New York were vivid, and I felt so sad that The Bureau had destroyed them, in order to quarantine what remained of New York City, thus preventing the spread of the disease. They also had vaccines, though. But the destruction, whether partial or whole, of the NYC bridges was unfortunately necessary.

Interestingly, Babu has invented some new slang terms, such as "shkat", "chotch", and "flunk". The first one seems to have a meaning similar to "s--t", while the second one apparently means "idiot". The third is perhaps similar to the Yiddish term "schmuck", which means "idiot" as well.

The time period of the novel is not specified. I imagine Babu did that in his first book. However, one does get the feeling, in this second book, that it's not that far into the future -- perhaps about 50 years or so ahead of our own time. 

Now I'm eager to read The Initiation, in order to find out how these four characters (especially Drayden) mastered the challenges of the test! 

This is a well-crafted, intellectually compelling novel that also includes a lot of action, very engaging characters, and a futuristic world on the brink of destruction. The fact that it's a Young Adult novel should not deter older adults from reading it, as it deals with very important themes that fuse politics with philosophy. 

This is not only a GREAT addition to the Young Adult Fiction genre, but to the dystopian sub-genre of science fiction! KUDOS to Chris Babu for having created such a riveting book! I hope this novel, as well as its predecessor, will hit movie theaters soon! I would LOVE to see both!


Purchase Links

Be sure to check out the first book in this EXCITING series!!
Click on the cover for the book's Goodreads page.

Chris Babu grew up in North Haven, CT, playing soccer and the violin in his free time. After devouring The Shining under the covers with a flashlight when he was eight, Chris was hooked on fiction. He’s always had a thing for young adult books. But he’s also a major science and math nerd—physics being his favorite—and he has a math degree from MIT.
For nineteen years, he worked as a bond trader on Wall Street, riding the subway to and from work every day. He traded mortgage-backed securities for Bank of America and then Deutsche Bank, where he eventually ran the MBS trading desk. Now Chris writes full-time, always with his trusted assistant Buddy, a 130-pound Great Dane, who can usually be found on his lap. They split their time between New York City and the east end of Long Island. Their omnipresence at home drives his wife Michelle and daughter Lily crazy. 


To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 89: Finale, by Stephanie Garber

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!

This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings!
This is also where we excited book bloggers showcase future releases we're eagerly anticipating! 
For more information, 
please click HERE.

There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

(Caraval, Book 3)
Stephanie Garber
Hardcover,  416 pages
Flatiron Books
   May 7, 2019 
 Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win...and those who will lose everything.
. .

 Why I can't wait for this one!

I own a copy of the first volume in this series, titled Caraval. Of course, I need to read it, and then move on to the second volume, and then this one!! 
This series is supposed to be AWESOME!! 

For more information on this author, you can check out her
Goodreads profile HERE!

What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!