Shelf Control #9

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another edition of Shelf Control hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies about current unread books on your bookshelf. This week the book I’m choosing to highlight on my shelf is Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan.

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.

It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned–crime pays.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding–though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia suspects that there’s a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.

The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she’d ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

How I Got It: 

Book sale! There’s a children’s literature reviewer near my house. They have a book sale every couple of months selling books publishers give them for very cheap. I love acquiring books that way.

Why I Want To Read It:

I’ve heard a lot of buzz around the book community about this book. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but in general I’m into reading YA books.

When I Am Going To Read It:

I don’t know when I’m going to get to this. Maybe in the summer?

Until Next Time World…

Shelf Control #7

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another edition of Shelf Control hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies about current unread books on your bookshelf. This week the book I’m choosing to highlight on my shelf is Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

How I Got It: 

My edition of this is an ARC that I received at BlogBound in 2016.

Why I Want To Read It:

Books about death always have a good premise. This is a series; so I’m not sure how much I’ll love it. I’m not a big series person.

When I Am Going To Read It:

This will probably get read in February. It’s a YA book; so it should be an easy addition to that month.

Until Next Time World…

Top “10” Underrated Books I’ve Read Recently-ish

Hi Friends –

Another week, another Top Ten Tuesday. This bookish meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish every Tuesday. This week focuses on books that I believe are underrated and/or hidden gems. I think that I talk about these types of books a decent amount, but since I haven’t consistently blogged on here. I’m going to reference from the ones I read in late 2016.

  • Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
    1. Sherman Alexie isn’t underrated, but I haven’t seen a lot about his books other than The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. I enjoyed this collection of short stories, and recommend it to anyone who is looking to read some #ownvoices about indigenous people of the US.
  • Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
    • This book got a little traction from BoTM and some NPR type lists. However, I do see it mentioned a lot in the blogging/booktube world. I think that the writing ended up being better than expected, and the story of family drama was interesting. It would have been a little bit better if socio-economic status was explored more, but overall this was solid 4 star read.
  • Puddn’head Wilson by Mark Twain
    • I read this book in college, and re-read it for a readathon sometime in the past couple of months. It’s amazing the complexity that Twain puts into this little story about an attorney. I believe I had to write a paper about this at one time, but if I had to now I would explore what Twain’s commentary on slavery/black Americans meant within the context of the children’s role switch.
  • A Murder In Time by Julie McElwain
    • I randomly picked up this book, but it ended up being a very interesting tale of a modern day officer stuck in the middle ages. It’s enjoyable and has fantastical aspects if you like things like that.
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
    • I really, really liked this book. I don’t understand why I don’t see it on more blogs/book reviews. I think people should really pick up this #ownvoices work about a teenage trans girl trying to survive high school. It’s hopeful, albeit not perfect, but we need to support literature like this. It’s so important for people to see themselves in books.

 

What doing this list has shown me, is that I read A LOT of popular books toward the end of 2016. I also read a lot of books that were just okay. The books I listed here, don’t get enough blog/media  traction, and really should.

Until Next Time World…

Shelf Control #6

Happy Wednesday! I’m bring back shelf control to the blog, because my TBR shelf is SERIOUSLY out of control. At some point toward the end of 2016, I counted 90 books. That’s pretty wild. But also probably due to me picking up 30 books at a book sale for less than $25. Shelf Control is hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies about current unread books on your bookshelf. This week the book I’m choosing to highlight on my shelf is The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma.

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990’s, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family’s destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions—economic, political, and religious—and the epic beauty of its own culture. With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation’s masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.

How I Got It: 

My friend Amanda got this for me for my birthday in 2016.

Why I Want To Read It:

This book was a man booker finalist. The past couple of years I’ve been trying to keep up with the nominees.

When I Am Going To Read It:

Fortune is unclear. Hopefully sometime in 2017…

Until Next Time World…

Top Ten Books I Meant To Read Last Year…

Tuesday again; happy day! This week’s post is devoted to books that were released last year that I meant to read, but didn’t get around to it. This is pretty self explanatory, so I’ll get to the books.

  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
    • I’ve heard such great things about this book all year. I’ve been meaning to get to it, but I just haven’t made time for it yet. This will definitely be on my list to read this year.
  • The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
    • My friend Katie gave me this book early last year to read. It’s still on my self. I should really get to it. #readkatiesbooks
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
    • I’ve heard a lot about this book being amazing, but after two WWII books last year, I knew it’d have to wait. I should be ready to read another a little later this year.
  • The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
    • This title is pretty sweet, and this book keeps coming up again and again. After reading More Than This in 2016, this title is even more appealing.
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
    • A lot of mixed reviews about this ranging from gushing to hating. This seems like the perfect book for me to read in order to form my own opinion on it.
  • OCDaniel by Wesley King
    • I was randomly browsing Goodreads when I came across this. As someone close to me has OCD, I’m always interested to see how characters are fictionalized.
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
    • This was my first Book of the Month purchase! (Why haven’t I read it?) The story seemed really intriguing, but I hit a little bit of a slump when I first got it and never came back. I’m going to need to read this fairly early in the year.
  • The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
    • I’ve heard this called a great feminist novel. I’m game.
  • In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • I love Lahiri. She’s one of my favorite authors. I also like the concept of reading and writing. A book by one of my favorite authors about reading and writing? Say no more.
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
    • I really like short stories, but don’t read nearly enough short story collections. I saw a review of this one and it seemed like it would be good. The more I looked into it, it seems it has a science fiction-y feeling. I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but I’m willing to give it a try.

 

So those are my books. I have to definitely make sure to read them this year at some point!

 

Until Next Time World…

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases

It seems as though people really liked when I did this bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish every Tuesday. So here is another one for this week.

 

  1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  3. A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
  4. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  5. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  6. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  7. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  8. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  9. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  10. Giant Days, Vol. 2 by John Allison

 

I’ve talked about a lot of these books on my blog already, and if I haven’t talked about it yet – expect an upcoming post (I’m looking at you Raven Boys Cycle). I realized that this list basically covers almost all of the books that I’ve read that were published this year. What are your favorites? Do we have any that overlap? Let me know in the comments down below.

Until Next Time World…

Booktubeathon?!

If you’re reading this, I think you’re aware that you’re not watching a youtube video. However, starting tomorrow July 18th at 12:00AM the booktubeathon begins. This is a yearly challenge that was started by Ariel Bissett and has been running for the past couple of years. Please click here to find out more about the challenges and other things that will be happening over the course of the week. I don’t really make video content, but I like the idea of some reading challenges. Since this is probably the last week that is semi-slow for me, and my partner is out of town for work, I think I have some more time to devote to reading. There are seven reading challenges to be completed over the course of the week, and I’ve selected

1/ Read a book with yellow on the cover.

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Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson clearly has yellow on the middle line so it fits this first challenge. I’ve been hearing a lot about Morgan Matson, both good and bad, but I’ve yet to read anything written by her. I was at the bookstore this past week, and decided that I should give her a try. Hopefully, this should be a light summery read that shouldn’t take me too long.

2/ Read a book only after sunset.

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I started reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman last week. I’m not very far into it, but I have been reading this book mostly at night so I thought I’d continue that through the week. I loved Backman’s other book A Man Called Ove, but it’s taking me longer to get into this one. I’m hoping that if I can commit a couple of hours to it, it will start to pick up. It’s one of my shorter books for the week; so I’m hoping to finish this one by Tuesday.

3/ Read a book you discovered through booktube.

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The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre is a book that I discovered through Booktube. I’m not sure who I saw talking about this book, but it sounded so interesting. I tend to like thrillers, especially murder mysteries. I have a feeling that I should be able to get through this in a day or two.

4/ Read a book by one of your favourite authors.

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One of my all time favorite books, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, was written by Marisha Pessl. Even though she has only written two books, I have yet to read Night Film. I was supposed to read this for TomeTopple last month, but I ran out of time with moving and attending my friend’s wedding in Ohio. I’m hoping to read it this week! It’s a big one though at a little over 500 pages.

5/ Read a book that is older than you.

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Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain is sort of my freebie of the week. I already read this book, and it’s really short. It’s also definitely older than me. Hopefully I’ll be able to fly through this one.

6/ Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.

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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger has been on my shelf since December. I don’t think that I’ll be able to get through this book very fast, so if I don’t read a book this week, it’ll probably be this one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie either.

7/ Read seven books.

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Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroah just came off of hold at the library for me. I’ve heard good things about this graphic novel, and I thought this would be an easy addition to my TBR for the week.

 

I tried to be really true to by July TBR in order to accomplish this readathon. Hopefully I’ll get some good reading time in this week and weekend. I might vlog my time reading, but I might not. You’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Until Next Time World…

Diverse Books Tag

I think that there are a ton of these “diverse books tags” floating around there, but I saw this tag a little while ago. I decided to do it because it combined finding new books to read with talking about some books I have already read and liked. This tag was created by Naz at Read Diverse Books, and I saw it on Rose Read‘s blog.

The Rules:

  1. The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
  2. If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one. A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.
  3. Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any boks that fit the descriptions below.

 

Find a book starring a lesbian character.

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I feel kind of bad putting this, because I’m basically copying the person who did this before me, but The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth has been on to-read list for almost a year now. I really need to get to this book this year, because I hear nothing but great things. I’ve read other books that have lesbian characters, but I haven’t read one with a lesbian protagonist. I definitely need to spend some more time finding lesbian protagonists in literature.

Find a book with a Muslim protagonist. 

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Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji is one of my favorite books of all time. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it as much, because I read it some years ago. It’s an amazing story of
Tehran right before the Iranian revolution. It ends up being sort of a mystery, as it follows teenagers as they grow up through the revolution. This should be required reading.

Find a book set in Latin America. 

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another book that I need to read before the end of the year. I’m sensing a pattern here… This is a classic that I’ve had on my shelf for too long. I hear a lot of mixed options about Garcia Marquez’s writing style, but I’ll have to figure this one out on my own.

Find a book about a person with a disability. 

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I want to give a head nod to Francesca Zappia and Made You Up for a book about a person with a disability. I’ve actually read a large number of books about individuals with disabilities this year, but I think that this book was particularly well written and by a young author. The protagonist in the story suffers from schizophrenia, and the reader has a fairly unreliable narrator to try to figure out exactly what is happening in the story. It’s a good book that covers mental illness is a pretty good way.

Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a POC (person of color) protagonist. 

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I wrote a blog post earlier this year, sort of criticizing Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger. However, after reading several more books by mainstream, majority authors – I have to give Bracken a nod where she gets credit. I think she did a good job of mentioning Nicholas’s race and some of the struggles that he must face in the 19th century. Where many books I’ve read have steered away from the topic of race, Bracken wasn’t afriad to at least broach the subject. It wasn’t my favorite book, but people into time travel and fantasy would probably love it.

Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.

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I have to list Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. If you haven’ read this book, you are really missing out. This is classic African literature that talks about the struggles of European colonialism and the clash of cultures. This is one of the few books that I’ve read a couple of times, and with each time I gain more insight. Achebe is a phenomenal author.

Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author. 

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This was a category that I needed to do a little research on. I don’t think I’ve read a book written by an indigenous author. I also had no idea that Sherman Alexie has written so many books! I feel truly ignorant. Since I’m a big fan of short stories, I’m choosing to highlight Ten Little Indians by him. This book is composed of 9 short stories of people who have reached a crossroad in their lives. It seems really interesting, and I’m immediately adding it to my to-read list.

Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.) 

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I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Conor Grennan speak about his experiences in Nepal and writing his book Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal. At face value, I never like books like this. They always seem so self-serving, and only sponsored by their wealth and desire to look like a good person. However, Grennan writes a truly funny memoir about his experiences and when his self-serving attitude changed into something different. I learned a decent amount about Nepal from this book, which is always a plus when reading something. I also think that for a memoir of sorts, Grennan’s story is inspiring and causes the reader to think about how they are truly living their life.

Find a book with a biracial protagonist. 

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon features Maddy a biracial protagonist. I really enjoyed this story, which is about a teenager who is allergic to the world around her. She has a very rare autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house or having normal contact. When a family moves in next door, things begin to change for Maddy when she becomes smitten with the teenage son.

I can only think of 2 books with biracial protagonists. I’ll need to work harder on finding others, because I think it could add an important element to the story. I don’t think it effected this story at all, becasue race was basically minimized other than a brief mention.

Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues. 

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is an #ownvoices work about a trans girl who moves to a new high school. There’s a story of her moving to live with her father, transitioning, and the past she left behind. I really enjoyed this book, because it was a mostly light-hearted contemporary romance. This book is also written by a trans woman, which I think is really important. Kudos for it taking place in the South!

 

Well that’s it for this book tag. I really enjoyed it, because it’s important to expand your reading habits and see what you may be inadvertently leaving out.

Until Next Time World…

 

Top 10 Books That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

I don’t know if I’m going to regularly do this, but I liked this week’s topic. I’ve read a lot of political science books that don’t get much traction on Goodreads. I’m going to use this time to highlight some of those books and some other underrated fiction.

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This is a memoir about a person who was addicted to prescription pain killers. I really enjoy books about recovered (recovering) addicts. This one was a little better than others. I gave it 4 stars.

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I’ve referenced this book on my blog before, and it’s fantastic. It’s a in depth look about hunger in the US. It gives you a lot of food for thought. 4 stars!

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This is a book I read either in grad school or undergrad. I took a couple of National Security courses (my specialization), and it was pretty great. Richard Betts makes what could be a boring topic engaging. If you’re interested in the CIA, FBI, and the overall American intelligence system – this book is for you! 4 stars.

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I cannot believe that Heather McElhatton’s books don’t have more views on Goodreads. She’s such a good writer for those of us who enjoy chick-lit. This book, in particular, is absolutely hilarious.  5 stars!

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I really liked this book. It’s sort of like an adult version of a Dead Poet’s Society. A bunch of people trying to answer the questions of life. This book is definitely character driven, which is great. Walter Mosley has a lot of books, and I think this is one of his best. 4 stars.

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This book probably only has under 2000 ratings because it’s new. But you should definitely go out and read this book. It’s an #ownvoices book written by a trans woman about a trans girl who moves to live with her father in the South. It’s a contemporary romance, and is very cute! 4 stars!

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This book is so good! This was on the short list for the Manbooker International Prize for 2016, and I am so happy that I read it. It’s a wonderful fictional telling of the The Great Leap forward and life in a re-education camp. If you don’t know what The Great Leap forward is, try to pick up this book. 4.5 stars.

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Good Kings, Bad Kings is a good book shedding some light on both individuals with physical disabilities and the state care system. It’s written by a woman who crated plays focusing on physical disabilities, and she uses a wheelchair herself. This book is set in Chicago and is written in a variety of dialects that are true to inhabitants of Chicago and the surrounding areas. If you’re looking to read some books that have a variety of characters, I’d suggest this book. It’s a 5 star read.

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This is another Man Booker International Prize 2016 find. It’s originally written in French, and it follows the path of a heart transplant. You get to see into the lives of the person who is going to donate the heart, their family, the doctors and nurses involved, and the recipient of the heart. It’s an interesting look at how the transplant process effects so many. I thought it was a superb concept. 4 stars!

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I actually don’t understand how more people haven’t read this book. It follows a male narrator, Benjamin, who’s parents drop him off at an in-patient “boarding school” for trouble teens. These “troubles” range from depression to anxiety to a variety of personality disorders. The hospital is very focused on punishment and Benjamin has to figure out how to navigate his years at the school.

I love recommendations! I hope that you’ll check out a couple of this books. Happy Tuesday!

Until Next Time World…

July TBR

July! It’s my last official month before students start to come back to campus and my life gets hectic again. I’m hoping to be able to spend some quality time reading and writing blog posts and overall having some fun. I’ll be going to my first bloggers conference this upcoming weekend, and I’m really excited. If you’re going to Blogbound in NYC this upcoming weekend, let me know and maybe we can meet up! Anyway, I have another ambitious month planned for July, so let’s see if I can stay on track with my reading goals.

This are the books I want to finish reading in the month of July.

So clearly with this list, someone is going to need to keep me away from the library. I clearly can’t follow a list when I keep adding random other interesting books. I also want to get some sort of re-read in for this month, but I’m not sure if that can happen. Wish me luck readers!

 

Until Next Time World…