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 #8

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 The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel.

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

Reina Castillo is the alluring young woman whose beloved brother is serving a death sentence for a crime that shocked the community, throwing a baby off a bridge—a crime for which Reina secretly blames herself. With her brother’s death, though devastated and in mourning, Reina is finally released from her prison vigil. Seeking anonymity, she moves to a sleepy town in the Florida Keys where she meets Nesto Cadena, a recently exiled Cuban awaiting with hope the arrival of the children he left behind in Havana. Through Nesto’s love of the sea and capacity for faith, Reina comes to understand her own connections to the life-giving and destructive forces of the ocean that surrounds her as well as its role in her family’s troubled history, and in their companionship, begins to find freedom from the burden of guilt she carries for her brother’s crime.

Set in the vibrant coastal and Caribbean communities of Miami, the Florida Keys, Havana, Cuba, and Cartagena, Colombia, with The Veins of the Ocean Patricia Engel delivers a profound and riveting Pan-American story of fractured lives finding solace and redemption in the beauty and power of the natural world, and in one another.

How I Got It: 

I purchased this book through Book of the Month. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should. It’s a cool subscription service.

Why I Want To Read It:

Roxane Gay was the person who recommended it, and I love her. The book also seems interesting in general.

When I Am Going To Read It:

Definitely going to be on my TBR in February.

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…

January Reading List

As my hiatus from blogging was very large, I also took a hiatus from making a to be read reading list for the month. In some ways, I think it made me less accountable for what I needed to be reading at any time. I blame this on why I failed to meet my reading goal. **still bitter**

Since I’m pre-writing some of my blog posts I can already tell you that it’s a couple of days into January and I’ve barely read anything. Hopefully putting this list to writing will actually allow me to complete a good amount of reading. I’m also going on vacation at the end of the month, which should provide the opportunity to read more than if I were working.

I’m also trying to focus on reading the books on my bookshelf. This month’s theme is also “read all the books that Katie has lent you.” 4 of the books on this list belong to her, and since I’m seeing her in the beginning of February, I want to be able to return some of these to her. Technically, I should read 13 books this month, but I also want to give myself some room in case something new and exciting comes along. Heck, I haven’t gotten by Book of the Month subscription yet.

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…

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…