Posted in Community, meme, Weekly Reading

Mid-Week Update 9/27/16

I’ve had a busy week, so far, when it comes to reading. I had a few unexpected requests come in from Net Galley, which has made me switch up my reading list just a smidge. We’ll start out with What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing and go from there.

whatareyoureadingwed

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

I’m currently reading Sepulcher (every time I type that word into WP, it highlights it as being misspelled even though it’s not) by Kate Mosse. At page 34 we have:

Anatole smiled. “Ah, but that is precisely the point. Debussy says that one must drown the sense of key. He is seeking to illuminate, through his music, the connections between the material and the spiritual worlds, the seen and the unseen, and such a thing cannot be presented in the traditional ways.”

Leonie pulled a face. “That sounds like one of those clever things people say that mean precisely nothing!”

I love that this passage is on page 34 because I laughed when I first read it. I get irritated at the same thing that Leonie does here.

This book takes place mostly in France (From what I can tell so far. I’m only on page 75.) but it switches back in forth in time from 1891 to 2007. I wouldn’t mind living in France in either of these times, but I’d probably prefer 1891…at least until WWI started.

shelf-control

Next is Shelf Control hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

The rules for this meme:  Write a blog post about a book you already own but haven’t read yet. Include when and where you got it.

brave-new-world
Don’tcha love this cover?

I am picking Brave New World by Aldous Huxley this week because it’s an ALA challenged book and I’m going to do my best to actually read it sometime this week, lol. We’ll see how it goes. I bought this book at a used book store but I’m drawing a blank on which one and I have absolutely no memory of when. I want to say it’s been at least a year if not two but definitely less than four, lmao!!

Blurb:

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

This article from the Washington Post on why this book has been challenged is hilarious. When I bought it, I didn’t know it was a challenged book. I bought it because it was a dystopian novel written in 1932 and I wanted to compare it to dystopian novels written more recently. Now, I’ll read it with the reasoning behind the challenges in mind.

 

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Posted in Community, meme, TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s prompt is Books on My Fall TBR.

Hopefully making this list doesn’t automatically doom me to not reading these books as making lists so often does. It’s a really weird quirk of mine.

  1. The Sepulcher by Kate Mosse. This is the print book that I’m currently reading. It had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I decided to give it a go.
  2. The Heretic’s Creed by Fiona Buckley. This is my current eBook that I’m reading from Netgalley.
  3. To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin. This is next up from Netgalley.
  4. ODY-C, Vol 1 – Off to Far Ithicaa by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. This is a graphic novel that I plan on reading for Dewey’s Read-a-thon next month.
  5. Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Another graphic novel I plan on reading for Dewey’s.
  6. Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois. This is a collection of short stories by authors like Neil Gaiman and Gillian Flynn.
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is an ALA challenged book that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. No time like the present.
  8. The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer. This is another book that’s been sitting on my shelf for at least a year. Recently, it’s been catching my eye as I walk by. I think it’s calling out to me, lol. 

There are plenty more books that I’ll read between now and the winter solstice, but I’m not sure what they are at present. I have a list of “need to buy” books that I’d love to read asap, but with Christmas right around the corner, I’m not sure how many of them I’ll pick up. Actually, I have 74 unread books currently sitting on my shelves so I have plenty to choose from. Why is it that we continue to buy books to read when our physical TBR pile is so tall??? 😉

So tell me, what’s on your Fall TBR? Anything you’d recommend?

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

scarlet-women

Title:  A Study in Scarlet Women

Author:  Sherry Thomas

Publisher:  Penguin Publishing Group

Pages:  336

Genre:  Mystery, Retelling, Fiction

Setting:  Victorian England

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  Oct 18, 2016

Blurb:

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

From Me:

This was an entertaining read. It had a very Sherlockian feel to it with added feminist twist. Sherry Thomas was vastly clever in her retelling of Sherlock and let’s face it, this is a story that has been retold by many authors in varying ways over the decades. I would think it would be a daunting task to not only take on such a revered story but to try and put any originality to it but Thomas succeeds.

For the most part, all of the characters are well-developed, interesting, and three dimensional. The “but” in this is that I wish Thomas would have put a little more time into Charlotte’s love interest or not have given her one at all. It almost felt superfluous to the story.

I’m thrilled that this is the first book in a series. However, reading this as an ARC, I’m going to have a verrrry long wait for the next installment.

 

Posted in Community

Top Ten Tuesday: Fave Books

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

toptentuesday

This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. I don’t like this kind of pressure. So, I’m adding a caveat to mine to say these are books that I really like in the historical fiction genre at this moment in time. I’m not listing them in any particular order either because that’s too much pressure.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
  2. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  4. Madame Tussaud:  A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran
  5. Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
  6. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  7. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
  8. Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund
  9. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

For some of my picks, I only listed the first book in a series. I could have filled my list with books by just one or two authors because they’ve written so many books in a series, but I wanted my list to be more diverse.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: This Adventure Ends

 

this-adventure-ends

Title:  This Adventure Ends

Author:  Emma Mills

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.

Pages:  320

Genre:  Contemporary, YA, Romance

Setting:  My neck of the woods in Florida

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  Oct 4, 2016

Blurb:

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

What I say:

There was a lot about this book that I liked. It was fast-paced, witty, and had modern YA themes. Sloane is an easily recognizable character as a 17 year old high school student with the usual angst. She’s also funny, smart, and talented. Moving to a new state and a new school, she adapts rather well and finds herself ensconced in a group of nice, good, friends. Sloane is also flawed in that she lets her mouth run away with her and can say hurtful things.

The entire time I read this book I kept making comparisons to The Gilmore Girls because of all the wordy, smart, fast quips that Sloane makes. I also compared it to Rainbow Rowell’s Fanfiction. There were a lot of similarities to that book in my opinion. Both of these are good things, just not all that original. I also kept thinking that teenagers, at least in my recollection and experience, aren’t nearly this witty and adult-sounding.

What I didn’t like about this book is that Mills tried to do too many things at once. She focused on the relationships between too many different characters, the rift in Sloane’s parents’ marriage, Sloane’s dads’ writer’s slump, the quest to find the painting, her struggle with her singing and auditioning for college, and Sloane trying to figure herself out in general. As a result, the details were light and there were a few plot holes. I felt like the issues with all the characters were solved in a 30 minute sitcom kinda way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I read it about five hours, in one sitting, staying up until after 4 am to finish it, lol. I think the theme of this book could be called “sweet” and it was. The glossed over ending is what kept me from giving this book a 4 out of 5 hearts. I’d recommend this book to Nicholas Sparks (another comparison I kept making) die hards. 😉 I also LOVE the cover.

3 Hearts

Posted in Book Review

Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Folley

extracted

Title:  Extracted (The Lost Imperials #1)

Author:  Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler Folley

Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing, Inc.

Pages:  320

Genre:  YA, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Setting:  All over space and time!!

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  November 12, 2013

Blurb:

Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Tesla Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

What I Say:

I requested this book off of Netgalley based solely on the cover. Then I read the blurb and thought that it still sounded interesting. What should be noted, however, is that the steampunk element of this book is minimal and not as well-developed as the other aspects of the book. It’s definitely more young adult romance than it is science fiction.

The writing is decent and the story flows. There’s lots of action and fight scenes and I thought that the backstory of the Tesla Institute was explained nicely. I just wish that, on the whole, the story had more depth and detail. At times, I felt like I was reading the second book in a series instead of the first. I think this book would be better suited for the younger teen set. I give it 3 hearts out of 5 because it’s entertaining and the writing didn’t feel amateurish. Still, 2 3/4 might be a better, more honest rating.

3 Hearts

Posted in Book Review

Let’s Pretend This is Tuesday

I am so upset that I didn’t get to this post yesterday. It was National Read a Book Day!! I’ve been fighting a summer cold for about a week now and yesterday, I was convinced my head was trying to throb its way off of my neck. I could barely move let alone type. My headache did back off around 9 last night so I was able to read, which was nice, but I wasn’t able to chat about it until now.

sherlockian

Yesterday, I finally finished The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. It took me 15 days to read this book. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have a flow that kept me from putting the book down. Moore wrote this book from the perspective of Harold, a Sherlock enthusiast/scholar/fan/ and from Arthur Conan Doyle’s perspective; alternating chapters from 1900 to 2010. Just when I started getting into the story, the chapter would end and I would have to switch times and characters. Oftentimes, I would forget where the one time had left off and would have to go back two chapters to refresh my memory. Considering the story that Moore was trying to tell here, I can’t imagine another way that he could have written it and maybe other readers have an easier time staying with the flow of a book like this than I did.

Harold’s story involved trying to solve the murder of a fellow Sherlockian and recover a missing volume of Conan Doyle’s diary. Harold is by no means a detective, but he figures that he would have as much of a chance as anyone else at solving the murder with all of his Holmes knowledge. Arthur Conan Doyle’s part of the story is Moore’s speculation as to what is in the missing diary. Since nobody knows what’s actually in the missing diary, Moore’s story is as good a guess as any. This book is almost a retelling of the events that actually occurred surrounding Conan Doyle’s diary and Moore does an excellent job of it.

I considered dnf’ing this book a couple different times, mostly because I was frustrated with myself and not the book. However, considering how much I enjoyed Moore’s The Last Days of Night I was convinced that it would be worth it to finish the book, so I did, and it was. I liked the ending and Moore’s author’s notes made the entire journey worthwhile. I think that somebody with Harold’s enthusiasm for all things Sherlock Holmes would have enjoyed this book more than I did and they wouldn’t have struggled with it quite the same way that I did either. That being said, I would recommend this book to people who like to read books about books and authors, historical fiction, and those who imagine themselves to be sleuths. I’m giving this 3 hearts out of 5 only because I don’t do fractions. In reality, it’s more of a 3 3/4 hearts.

3 Hearts