I’m baaaaaaaack.

Hi Follower Family (to those of you who are still with me). That small hiatus I took in August to focus on my full-time job turned into a semester of being spread pretty thin. This summer I changed areas on my University (thus changing what buildings I’m responsible for) and with that came an increased workload. After a semester, I think (hope) that I’ll be able to manage providing you all with some regular content. My hope is to have at least 1 review every week, and then also provide some additional content (a tag post, a TBR or Wrap Up, or any other kind of fun post). I’m also going to try my best to actually pre-write some of my content, so I’ll still be posting when I get busy.

Until Next Time World…

A Little Hiatus

Dear Followers –

Thank you for coming to my little corner of the internet. For the next month, I will probably be posting very infrequently due to an increased work schedule. Since I won’t stop reading, I’ll have to stop creating new content for a bit. If I have time I will try to auto release some reviews, tags, and general posts. However, I’ve gotten several new followers over the past few days and wanted to explain my absence. You all are lovely, and I have been trying to keep up with those blogs that I follow. It’s August – so my summer is officially over.

Wish Me Luck World…

Clairvoyance, and Riches, and Boys – oh my!

Do you hear that thumping? It’s the hype monster knocking at your door. It definitely knocked on my door after the release of The Raven King in late April. It seemed as though every blog and booktube account was talking about this series and the book.  Since it was everywhere I thought it’d give it a try. I started my adventure at the end of May and just finished The Raven King last week. I flew through Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King, but the first two books took significantly longer to finish reading. As you might have noticed from my review of the Chaos Walking trilogy, I like to review these series as one entity rather than individual books. However, in a lot of ways I think these books really could work as stand alones. In each book it seems as though Maggie Stiefvater goes to great trouble to reexplain characters and how they go to their place in the story. Because of this I will break down my review into a mini summary of each book.

The Raven Boys

This is the first installment of the Raven Cycle. This book is largely told from Blue Sargent’s narrative voice. I really enjoyed it, because I think that Blue has a great perspective, and I thoroughly enjoyed her sass. We also get the perspective of the “raven boys” Adam, Ronan, Gansey, and Noah – in varying lengths. The voice we get most often is that of Gansey. I thought this book was a lovely start to the series. I read it fairly quickly over the course of the week. Not being a big fantasy person, Stiefvater blends enough of “reality” into the story for skeptics like me.

The Dream Thieves

Holy fantasy. If the series started with this book, I definitely wouldn’t have finished. It took me eventually switching from physical form to audio book to actually finish this one. Blue’s voice is not nearly as present in this book, as she is written more as a side character. This is 100% Ronan’s story, which also may explain why he was absent from the first book. It was slow to get through, but left off on a cliff hanger that was pretty good. I liked that this book helped develop Gansey, Adam, and Ronan as characters. Noah was largely left out of this book. At the end, this book just wasn’t as good as the first book.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

You would think this story was about Blue, but it was really about Adam. Although we get back some of the Blue narrative, this is Adam’s story. This story was fantastical, but it also had a lot of adventure. I didn’t feel suspense at either of the first books, but I was very curious about what was going to happen to this cast of characters throughout the book. There were definitely some twists and turns I didn’t entirely expect. I flew through this book, even though I wish there was more Noah character development.

The Raven King

I know that there’s been a lot of talk on both sides about this ending. People have expressed concern over how neatly it was wrapped up. Others think it was the perfect ending to the series. I thought it was a pretty decent end. I think it’s hard to wrap up everything when you’ve spent 3 books unraveling it. There’s a little bit of Noah (my favorite if you couldn’t tell) in here that I like. However, Stiefvater added a  LOT of new characters in this book. And she told the story from almost everyone’s perspective. I thought it was a neat way to wrap up everything, but it was kind of annoying to have so many superfluous characters to try to remember.

Overall – I really enjoyed the series. The one thing I will say, is that I feel that I need to re-read this series already. In The Raven King especially, I had to keep going back because I didn’t understand how a certain character knew certain things. I don’t often feel like I need to re-read things, but I think I would get a lot of perspective by going through the books again. I give the series a 3.75 with The Raven Boys being my favorite booki n the series.

Until Next Time World…

Life is dramatic enough.

I recently received a galley of Tori Rigby’s book Because I Love You by netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I requested a copy of this book on a whim. I often forget about netgalley and was browsing to see if anything looked interesting. I was in the mood for some light YA, and this book seemed like it could be a good choice. I will admit that my version of light, might be very different from another person’s version of light. Below is the Goodreads description.

Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.

Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.

Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.

So I knew from the description that this book was going to be dramatic, but geez I didn’t know the author would take it to a new level. So I think a teenage girl finding herself pregnant and turning to her badboy ex is DRAMATIC. But no, this book is riddled with death, accidents, lies, token queer characters, abuse, financial insecurity, and so many other things that I can’t even mention from fear of spoiling the plot for all future readers. With the amount of things that happen to and around Andie, you’d think that this was an adventure novel.

The real issue that I have with this novel is that it blatantly pokes at the reality of some of the things that the characters are dealing with in the novel. Both of the main characters have lost their fathers in EXTREMELY tragic incidents. However, Rigby very nonchalantly has the characters brush over this very large incident that they have in common. The characters seem to have the attitude that sometimes parents just tragically die, then you move on. I think if that was the only grievance that this book had, I could get over it. One of the characters also suffers abuse that is just brushed over. The characters have a very close relationship with a police officer in the book, but instead of getting help for the parent or the abused child, it’s again just brushed off. I think this is particularly damaging when you could have teens reading this novel who are suffering from abuse. The message in this is that you just need to tough it out until you get older.

This book also touches on the troubles of financial insecurity. I was hoping that there would be time spend covering the many expenses of having a child. However, instead of any real in depth concerns about where money would come from or how Andie would provide for her child, a magic fairy sweeps in and pays for everything. There is a lot of talk of Andie getting a part time job to help pay for expenses, but that never comes to fruition throughout the whole book.

Overall, I think the story line had a lot of potential, but it fell way short on plot and character development. I think this novel could be very troubling to individuals who have triggers for abuse or struggle with financial insecurity. There is also nothing added by way of any kind of real diversity in this book. I gave this two stars on Goodreads. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but if you like watching train wrecks and really bad reality TV; then you might like this book?

 

Until Next Time World…

Shelf Control #5

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 True by Hilary Duff.

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Goodreads Synpsis: 

Following the harrowing events of Elixir andDevoted—and the ceremony that almost killed Sage—Clea faces a new reality: With Sage’s soul in Nico’s body, the love of her life looks an awful lot like her best friend’s boyfriend. Can Clea and Sage really be happy under these circumstances?

Clea wants to try to enjoy their new life together, but Sage is acting different—angry—and she struggles to keep her friends from finding out what has happened to him. Something is clearly haunting Sage, and Clea is losing control. Can she trust her friends with the dangerous truth, or will she have to risk losing Sage to madness?

How I Got It: 

I actually purchased this at a book sale near me that I randomly passed. It was a steal at a dollar.

Why I Want To Read It:

I love Hilary Duff. I was oddly impressed by the first book. I’m not sure I entirely remember the second book, but I can’t not finish the series.

When I Am Going To Read It:

Probably soon. This book is pretty slim. It’s definitely not going to take me more than a couple of hours to read.

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…

 

Shelf Control #4

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 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

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Goodreads Synpsis: 

Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

How I Got It: 

This past December my mom and I went to the local bookstore. I had just finished reading The Marriage Plot by Eugenides. When I stopped the good condition hardcover, I knew I had to pick it up.

Why I Want To Read It:

It follows the story of a main character (I believe) who is intersex. Eugenides is considering one of the best authors of our time, and I’d like to see how he covers the topic.

When I Am Going To Read It:

Eeek. I don’t know. I actually think I might not get around to this until next year. I’m not sure though, because sometimes I really do read fast.

Until Next Time World…

Can You Actually Learn Something from a Comic Book?

I’ve been trying to expand the type of things that I read. If you’ve kept up with my reading habits this year, you’ll know that I have been adding more graphic novel content. With a little help from the book community, my coworkers, and my local library, I’ve been able to read a couple of volumes that I’ve really liked. One of those volumes was the new Ms. Marvel, who is Kamala Khan. I think that there are currently 4 volumes out currently, with the 5th volume releasing in the US on July 12th of this month.

Kamala Khan is a 16 year old Pakistani-American, Muslim teenager in Jersey City, NJ. There is so much in that sentence that is exciting. First off – JERSEY CITY. One of my good friends in college was from Jersey City; so whenever I hear mention of it I just get good vibes. Plus Jersey City is SOOO Jersey I just can’t take it. (For those of you that are wondering, these thoughts are literally reserved for those who have spent time in the Mid-Atlantic section of the US.). Also, I love that Marvel didn’t just make her of “Middle-Eastern descent” because that’s wayyy to dismissive of the various cultures and identities that are salient to immigrants in the Northeast US. Since Islam is one of the big three religions, it makes sense that there would be a superhero that would ascribe to that religion.

Now that I’ve fangirled over the concept, is it actually any good? Yes. I really enjoyed the 3 volumes that I’ve read so far. As someone who’s not really into superheroes, comics, or fantastical elements – I think there’s enough in this comic to interest a lot of people. This comic is pretty neat, because it provides a very basic level of cultural education. Not being Muslim or Pakistani, I’m not entirely sure how accurate some of the words or concepts presented in the comic actually are, but I appreciate that they’re included. Instead of the writer just saying “Kamala goes to church.” or “Kamala puts on her traditional grab.” Kamala’s actions and specific cultural items or traditions are written about using appropriate language. For translations or definitions, there is a star for the reader to refer to at the bottom of the page or panel. I’m in love with that! I think that we often want things to be explained in ways that are easy for us to understand. Usually that means erasing cultural content or adding that content as a subnote. I enjoy that the cultural content isn’t hidden, and if the reader really wants to know what that means then they can go seek out the meaning.

So long story short- yes, I think that we can learn things from comic books. I have already learned some things from the new Ms. Marvel and I think that you potentially can too. If for nothing else, I would recommend picking up this comic book from your local library, because it’s important to see more diverse characters in the superhero world. It’s nice to see a teenager and a woman try to stay true to her family and culture, while using her powers for good.

 

Until Next Time World…