BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap Up

BookTube-A-Thon is over *cries*. It was a great time and I got to read a couple really wonderful books. I’m so glad I got the chance to participate again this year, and I hope I’ll be able to do this read-a-thon next year.

This year I read – drumroll please – two books. Well… actually… it’s more like two and a half books but I’ll explain later. I know it’s less than the four that I read last year but I am working this year and it was a special weekend at my job which meant I spent more time there than usual. Regardless, the two books that I did were great.

Before I get into the books, let’s check out the stats

Number of books completed: 2

Total Number of page reads: 750

Challenges completed:
– Read a book with a person on the cover
– Finish a book in one day
– Read about a character that is very different from you

Now on to the books. Continue reading “BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap Up”

Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

The Upside of UnrequitedTitle: The Upside of Unrequited
Author:
Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: 11 April 2017
ISBN: 0062348701
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Softcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Review

I absolutely adored this novel! It was so cute and sweet and real. I mean, I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by the same author for a lot of the same reasons. But I think I loved this one even more (if that’s even possible).

I think I’ll have to add Becky Albertalli to my list of favorite authors. I love her writing style. It’s a wonderful blend of description, dialogue, and thoughts that gives amazing insight in to the main character. It makes for a deep and intricate character, especially because of how she integrates character thoughts so seamlessly. It makes it easy to get lost in the story because you almost become the character.

One of my favorite parts of this novel was Molly’s relationship with body image. It was never a big focus of the novel, but it greatly influenced the entire novel. As a fat girl (that’s weird to write), it was really easy to identify with a lot of the personal struggles and self esteem issues that Molly was going through. The idea of her having to “be careful” and feeling that she wasn’t good enough for her crushes was relatable. More importantly, her qualms were applicable to a lot of different situations where anyone doesn’t fit into societal norms.

Continue reading “Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli”

Review: Lucy in the Sky – Anonymous

Lucy in the SkyTitle: Lucy in the Sky
Author:
 Anonymous
Publication Date: 1 May 2012
ISBN: 1442451858
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Softcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

The author of this diary began journaling on her sixteenth birthday. She lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Santa Monica with her mom, dad, and Berkeley-bound older brother. She was a good girl, living a good life…but one party changed everything. One party, where she took one taste—and liked it. Really liked it.
Social drinking and drugging lead to more, faster, harder… She convinced herself that she was no different from anyone else who liked to party. But the evidence indicates otherwise: Soon she was she hanging out with an edgy crowd, blowing off school and everything she used to care about, all to find her next high.
But what goes up must come down, and everything—from her first swig, to her last breath—is chronicled in the diary she left behind.

Review

I have a feeling that this is going to be a very short review. So let’s get into it.

I had a lot of really mixed feelings about this book.

I really loved the way that the author delved deep into the experience of doing drugs. It was intense to be in a mindset that was even a little bit similar to being high or doing cocaine. As someone who’s never been high, it felt very real and very much like anecdotes from other people.

Because of these descriptions, it was a lot easier to understand why the story progressed the way she did. It’s easy to see how taking one drug can quickly lead to needing to do and take every other drug on the planet. It was a mentally invigorating (stimulating?) journey from beginning to end.

Continue reading “Review: Lucy in the Sky – Anonymous”

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeTitle: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author:
 Mark Haddon
Publication Date: 18 May 2004
ISBN: 1400032717
Pages: 226
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Softcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

Review

This was an intense read that I absolutely loved.

My favorite part of this book was definitely the perspective. From what I could gather, Christopher had autism. And this mental disability created a perspective was absolutely fascinating. I have a deep fascination with how other peoples’ brains take in information and what their though processes are. This book really delved deep into one person’s version of autism. It was clear that Haddon had taken the time to do some deep research on how their brain’s functions – specifically because he has worked with people with autism when he was younger.

Continue reading “Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon”

Review: Habibi – Craig Thompson

HabibiTitle: Habibi
Author:
Craig Thompson
Publication Date: 20 September 2011
ISBN: 0375424148
Pages: 672
Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: Hardcover
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Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection.

At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.

Review

Y’all, I have finally read a graphic novel! And I have to say, I have … conflicted feelings about this one.

First, because it’s a graphic novel, I have to talk about the artistry. It was gorgeous! Every single page had so much detail and it was clear that a lot of thought had gone into the work. From what I’ve read (both Goodreads reviews and other research) the intention was Orientalism which I know literally nothing about. Thus my untrained eye argues that the artistry was by far the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading “Review: Habibi – Craig Thompson”

Review: A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)Title: A Torch Against the Night, An Ember in the Ashes #2
Author:
Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: 30 August 2016
ISBN: 1101998873
Pages: 452
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Review

So I already said in my review of the first book that I love Sabaa Tahir. And honestly, this book just continues my deep love for this book.

 *** Beware of Spoilers! ***

Before I even get to the actual book, I have to talk about this cover. This cover is gorgeous! This would definitely be one of those books that would have been a cover buy. It’s so lovely and I definitely can’t wait to see what the cover will look like for the third book.

Now, onward to the book itself.

Continue reading “Review: A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir”

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the AshesAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
Author:
Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: 9 February 2015
ISBN: 1595148043
Pages: 446
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Review

Y’all, this novel was phenomenal. It literally had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

First and foremost, the world creating in this novel was inspiring. Sabaa Tahir has created one of the most nuanced and intriguing worlds of any recent book that I’ve seen. The Roman inspiration for the novel is very apparent throughout the novel, which added a realistic quality to the fantasy. More importantly, the world was presented in a really interesting way. At the start, there was a lot of world building which was a little boring at times. However, most of the world building occurred as the story progressed so that readers were learning more about the world as the story unraveled itself. And, quite frankly, I enjoyed that.

Continue reading “An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir”

Review: Revival – Stephen King

Title: RevivalRevival
Author:
 Stephen King
Publication Date: 5 May 2015
ISBN: 1476770395
Pages: 403
Genre: Horror Fiction
Format: Paperback
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

Review

This novel made inner science me so happy. I loved it!

First of all, can we just talk about Stephen King’s writing style? It’s so beautiful and unique; I could pick out his writing from a stack of random books. I particularly enjoyed how the ending of the novel was framed, it was incredibly intense. He wields words in a simple yet deep and disturbing way. I’m a definite fan.

King also creates shockingly relatable characters. Despite the fact that I’ve never gone through the events of either Jamie or Charlie, I found myself empathizing with them quite frequently. Continue reading “Review: Revival – Stephen King”

Review: Royal Mistress – Anne Easter Smith

Royal MistressTitle: Royal Mistress
Author:
 Anne Easter Smith
Publication Date: 7 May 2013
ISBN: 1451648626
Pages: 512
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback
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Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.

Review 

I’ve never been so glad to be done with a book. Honestly.

I had really high hopes for this lovely sounding novel.If you haven’t, read the description and then come back.

You back? Yes. Doesn’t it sound incredible, like there’s going to be a tiny murder mystery or something even slightly cool. But no, that’s not what you get with this novel. Before I bash this novel, let’s start with the few things I really liked.

Continue reading “Review: Royal Mistress – Anne Easter Smith”

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two, Harry Potter #8
Author:
 J.K. Rowling,  John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Publication Date: 31 July 2016
ISBN: 0751565350
Pages: 343
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Review

So I borrowed this book from my friend Cindy at Stranger Things Have Happened and she had some really great advice for me which I’m going to share with you. Read this novel with the mindset that it’s fan fiction.

I must say, I’m extremely glad that she told me that. If I had gone into this thinking that it was meant to be a literal extension of the end of the Harry Potter series, I don’t think I would have liked it nearly as much. However, because I recognized the fact that it was like fan fiction and the passsage of a large chunk of time, I really enjoyed this novel.

Continue reading “Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling”