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.

51pscvrpwgl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

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.

51rcyjevutl-_sx335_bo1204203200_

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.

51ypb92bpodl-_sx328_bo1204203200_

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.

51hnshd5hdl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

51-xwftibnl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

51mwfdkp0jl-_sx320_bo1204203200_

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.

41l2tahewbl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

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.

51qtjas7ryl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

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.

41vxjelx2bkl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

51qldrfml6l-_sx329_bo1204203200_

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.

51reu2b04mml-_sx349_bo1204203200_

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…

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.

6001372

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.

4861429

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!

1493215

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.

6440874

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!

2812032

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.

261569871

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!

22571886

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.

17086109

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.

25664510

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!

13367236

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…

Mid-Year Book Tag

Time for another book tag! The original tag is called “Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag,” but I’m not a fan of the word freak out. And frantically, I’ve been doing pretty fantastic with my reading this year. I saw this tag on Writing Follies, so shout out to them.

 

Best book you’ve read so far this year.

This is a pretty difficult decision. The best book that I’ve read this year has probably been Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. This book was just really meaningful to me for a lot of different reasons, many of which I’ve talked about on this blog. A close second would be The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, because it was absolutely fantastic.

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year.

I wasn’t a huge fan of A Darker Shade of Magic, but I really liked A Gathering of Shadows. Both of these books are written by V.E. Schwab and are the first two installments of a trilogy. I originally thought this was a YA collection, but I think it might fall under adult fantasy. Either way, I think it’s worth picking up.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I haven’t gotten around to reading Shade Me by Jennifer Brown, even though I pre-ordered it in January. I definitely need to finish this book before the end of the year, because the protagonist in the novel has synesthesia. I find that fascinating and want to see how Brown approaches it.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. 

I’m really excited for The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon to come out later this year. I really liked Everything, Everything by her and was so bummed that I couldn’t attend BEA to pick up an ARC like so many others. It’s okay though, because it comes out soon enough!

Biggest book disappointment. 

This is 100% an unpopular opinion, and I’m going to write about this and others soon enough but Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz was by far my biggest book disappointment of the year. I bought this book simply based on the hype surrounding it, particularly its beautiful writing. In general, this year I’ve only tried to purchase books that I’ve read before so I know I want them on my shelf. But everyone loves this book, so I thought it’d be fine. I was wrong. I just didn’t get it. The writing was sort of mediocre at best. The characters weren’t as complex as I thought they’d be and the exploration of Mexican-American heritage was questionable. I could go on and on. I was bummed I didn’t like it. However, queer literature ESPECIALLY with people of color as main characters is so important. So I will always keep and recommend this book to read for that alone.

Biggest book surprise (good surprises).

I love good surprises, and books that are pretty unexpectedly good. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee was that for me. I’ve blogged about it before, and the book sort of blew me away. I wasn’t the biggest fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, probably because it was required reading so many consecutive times in middle and high school, but I will forever recommend Go Set A Watchman. It’s a book about ideology and generational gaps that we all need to read.

Favorite new author. 

Jeff Zenter is bae. If only I didn’t need to look up how to spell his last name all the time. Seriously thought – check out The Serpent King!

Newest Fictional Crush.

Throwback to the first book I read this year, but Ezra from First & Then by Emma Mills has been my favorite male crush. He seemed like a very mature and motivated 17 year old. Although if I read less YA I could probably find someone more suitable.

Newest Favorite Character.

Miles from Made You Up by Francesca Zappia was such a well developed character. I definitely wanted him to be my friend. I also just can’t get over how well written and developed that book was. I know you’re not supposed to judge based on age, but HELLO what was I doing in high school? Surely not creating ingenious stories.

Book that made you cry.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I feel that’s all the explanation anyone needs. If you need more, just know it’s written by a doctor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer a year before he finished his like 12 year residency. Then he literally died.

Book that made you happy. 

I have to go back to my girl Sophie Kinsella and her latest book Finding Audrey. Even though this book had a more serious undertone than many of her other books, she still packed it full of fun and humor. It definitely takes a certain skill to write such funny scenarios and characters. And she is so good at it!

Favorite book to film adaptable you saw this year.

I actually don’t know that I’ve really watched any movies that were books. I watched some of those comic book movies? I’ve READ books that have been turned into movies…this is a book blog not a movie blog, leave me alone.

Favorite review you’ve written this year.

My favorite review would be a toss up between my blog on diversity of gender based on The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. Or one that I recently wrote about the importance of living a little life. Check them out if you haven’t. Or if you think one I wrote was better, let me know!

Most beautiful book you’ve purchased this year.

sun_375w

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson was the most beautiful books that I’ve bought this year. Even though I read it last year, from the library!, I had to purchase it becasue it’s just such a fantastic book. I can’t believe I haven’t read her other book yet.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

This is a loaded question. I need to read at least 25-30 books on my physical to-read shelf. It’s gotten out of hand at this point. Plus I should probably give my friends back their loaned books. But I reallllllly need to finish A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I’ve been “reading” it for months. Which is stupid, because it’s literally a great book. I’m also trying to read a biography on Hillary Clinton before the election, because…I live in the US.

Until Next Time World…