Posted in Fun Bookishness

World Book Day

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Today, World Book Day is being observed in the UK and Ireland (and maybe other places, I’m not sure.) I’m in the U.S., but any day that people are celebrating books and reading is a day that makes me feel warm and cozy. Speaking of warm and cozy…

When I Googled “world book day” this morning, the first article that came back was Parents fret as World Book Day costumes wasted as schools closed and events canceled due to snow as the UK deals with Storm Emma. Hopefully, parents use this day to read with their little ones as a snow day activity. I mean, it sounds like a good plan to me.

Are you observing World Book Day today? As for me, I’m going to try and finish my current read, The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, and get started on my next read. I love days where I have bookish plans, lol.

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Posted in blog stuff, Book Review

Book Review: Furyborn

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(Isn’t this cover gorgeous???)

Title:  Furyborn (Empirium #1)

Author:  Claire Legrand

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Pages:  512

Genre:  Fantasy

Setting:  Empirium Fantasy World (If they name the world, country, etc., I missed it.)

Source:    I received this novel from NetGalley for my honest review

Publication Date:  May 22, 2018

Blurb:

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

What I Say:

I am excited to write this review. This was such a great read and it’s nice to have a positive review versus my previous one (which I’ve considered deleting, and may still do so, many times).

This story is told from the perspective of Eliana Ferracora and then, in the past, Rielle Dardenne. Both are young women trying to survive in their respective worlds but in entirely different ways.

Rielle has to prove that her powers over the elements are completely within her control and that she intends to use them only for the protection of her world. She’s forced to do this in the form of trials, one for each of the elements, where the goal only seems to kill her. All the while, trying to resist her attraction to the prince, who is already betrothed to Rielle’s best friend.

Eliana is a bounty hunter trying to earn enough money to send her mother and brother to a safer part of the world. She exchanges her own peace for violence in order to achieve her goals.

How do their lives, with Eliana living 1,000 years in the future, intertwine? The reader is brought along on both of their journies in a fast-paced story filled with magic, danger, and love. These are all themes that most are familiar with, however, Legrand writes them in a way that’s totally unique and new to the genre. And it’s fun! I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. (This is what sucks about ARCs, lol.)

My only beef with this book:  This book is labeled as young adult but I’d be surprised to see this turn up in a high school library. The amount of violence and sex sets it above young adult. Just my opinion.

4 Hearts

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Bookworm

The Bookworm

Title:  The Bookworm

Author:  Mitch Silver

Publisher:  Pegasus Books

Pages:  352

Genre:  Mystery

Setting:  Russia and Alaska mainly.

Source:    NetGalley

Publication Date:  February 6, 2018

Blurb:

Europe, 1940: It’s late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery’s library and then escapes.

London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery—a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of “a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?” One viewer knows better: it’s all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together—and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent—is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, “Lara the Bookworm,” to her friends. She’s also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.

In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward—actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart—maverick and dealmaker—and the evil it portends.

Oh, and she’ll reconcile with her husband.

What I Say:

First of all, isn’t that blurb a little spoiler-ish?

I chatted about this book a little in my previous post. It turns out that I was wrong about it going back and forth in time. The 1940s perspective is told from recordings that Noel Coward made.

This book was a multi-pronged story. You have the historical aspect of it and the “truth” of how Hitler chose his targets. How much truth is there to Coward’s testimony? Where’s the bible? Then you have the Russian side of things and the main character, Lara. She’s a history professor and she’s approached by shady looking guys with dictaphone cylinders and a handsome “reward” if she uncovers the whereabouts of the missing Bible. Then she’s given an even more handsome offer by another party. Who’s working for whom? Who are the bad guys here?

We also have the American aspect of things. Lara’s brother, Lev, just happens to be working in Alaska at an oil field. He makes an unexplained discovery in the daily course of his job and the next thing you know, his American counterpart turns up dead. How does Lev’s discovery and the President of the United States fit into this puzzle?

This was a well-written story. Silver has quite the imagination, which made the book interesting and fun to read. With the Russian, American, British, and German characters, settings, and histories, making a play, there were times when I got lost and had to do a bit of backtracking (mainly at the rushed ending). I don’t think Silver was trying to do too much, necessarily, I think this was just me being me. This book was very political. I’m not sure if Silver was being a storyteller or a conspiracy theorist, lol. I thought the ending felt slightly rushed, but ends were nicely tied off. Maybe a little too cleanly, but that’s purely my opinion.

I gave this two stars on Goodreads simply because I don’t enjoy politics, especially extreme politics. This story very clearly and emphatically took sides. For me, “it was ok”. Purely on the writing alone, I’d give this a very solid three stars. Silver’s storytelling skills are strong, his characters fleshed out and likable, but the politics bogged it down for me.

One last tidbit…The title is incredibly misleading, lol. This is not a book about books or readers at all.

2 Hearts

Posted in blog stuff, Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Jan 24

As of today, I’ve read 12 books this month. I think I’m on a pretty good pace to meet my annual goal, especially for those occasional reading slumps that I get into throughout the year. Goodreads says that I’m eight books ahead of schedule. Woot!

Currently, I’m kinda sorta in the middle of four different reads. I say, “kinda, sorta” because two of them I haven’t touched in a couple months. Did you hear my sigh? I’m going to work from my most current read back. Click on the links to read more about the books. These are just my opinions of them so far.

The BookwormFirst up, I’m reading The Bookworm by Mitch Silver. This is a Netgalley book and I’m about 10% into it. I’m enjoying it so far. It has historical elements, mystery, and some violence to it. It’s also a little bit political, which makes me wary and we’ll see where Silver goes with that. It seems to bounce back and forth in time from 1940 to 2017 with the focus being on WWII, Nazis, and Russia. This is, according to my memory, my first book dealing with this subject matter. Where history is concerned, I tend to gravitate towards older stuff. Only being 10% into it, I haven’t formed a concrete opinion, but the character development is solid and the building of the suspenseful atmosphere is great.

The Bear and the NightingaleNext, I’m reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This is a pretty popular book and I’m sure most everyone has heard something about it. I guess I wasn’t listening close enough because I didn’t realize this was the first book in a trilogy. Normally, I love trilogies and series, but I wasn’t looking to get into a new one, especially an unfinished one. That being said, I’m probably about 10% into this one too and I like it so far. Again, the character development and atmosphere building is great. It’s also a book set in Russia (what’s up with that??) but medieval Russia this time. I’ve found the storyline and characters compelling enough that I’ve been looking up names and events mentioned to learn more about this period in Russia’s history, of which I know nothing. The fantasy elements add to the story and have kept me engrossed in the book enough that I have to make myself put it down to do other things. I love the lyrical, mystical quality to Arden’s storytelling.

I’ve mentioned these next two books in a past post and because I haven’t actually gotten any further in them since that post, I’m just going to mention the titles here. I’m stillllll reading Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir. The reasons why I’ve stagnated on these books are that Monstress just didn’t hold my attention and I haven’t had the time and focus to devote to Queens that it deserves. I’ll get back to them both, but I’m not sure when.

What are you currently reading? What do you do when you’re really enjoying a book but have put it aside for whatever reason? Do you still consider it a “current read”?

Posted in blog stuff, Community

2017 Anti-Bullying Readathon

I hate that it’s Nov 16th and I’m just now writing about this!!!

I’m not going to soapbox here, I’m just going to say that raising awareness about bullying, learning about bullying, and doing my part to prevent it is important to me on a personal level. If you’ve never heard about this readathon or participated before, you can still jump in. Who cares that it’s the middle of the week??? Please check out the official Facebook page. This year, Sarah is putting together a super box of bookish goodies that will be raffled off to those who choose to donate to Anti-Bullying Pro. This is totally new this year and I was so excited for the opportunity to not only participate in the readathon but to be part of a group donating to a great cause.

So far, I’ve read three books for the readathon and I have three more planned. I’m not going to turn this into a book review post so I’ll just share a few thoughts on each book.

  1. Wonder Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book was truly beautiful. It was heartfelt and emotional. Honestly, it should have come with a trigger warning, lol. I’m happy that I read this book, but I will most likely never reread it and I absolutely DO NOT want to see the movie. I was so emotionally drained from reading this book that I made myself ill.
  2. Simon I followed up Wonder with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and I’m glad that I did. While this book also had some heavy, emotional scenes, it was also funny and irreverent. I loved reading this story through Simon’s voice.
  3. Aristotle My third pick was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. This book was a bit heavier than Simon, but I still very much enjoyed it. Dealing with themes such as LGBT, hate crimes, family drama, and teenage angst in the 80s gave this book a bit of a different spin than the other two.

All three of these books deal with bullying in very different ways and as such, impacted me and my views of bullying differently. All three also hit me in the emotions department so if you’re not looking for something that will make you teary, I suggest setting these aside for a different day.

If you want more information on the readathon, the links aren’t working, whatever, leave me a comment. I’d LOVE to help you out and get more people participating!

Posted in Reading Roundup

January 2017 Wrap Up

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I have to admit, I didn’t have the best reading month in January. I only managed to finish five books. This was due in large part because I got stuck in The Fountain and wouldn’t let myself DNF it. Because I was struggling so badly with this book, I went several days without reading anything at all. Sadly, that wasn’t the only book that didn’t hold my attention this month. Here’s my list:

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. 374 pages. I loved this book. Cline is a genius world-builder. This was such an immersive experience reading this book, I didn’t want it to end. There were bits that were predictable (my husband and I debated about these) but I didn’t mind them and they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. So glad it was my first of 2017.
  2. Dark Matter by Black Crouch. 342 pages. This was another fabulous read for me. Again, Crouch is a great world-builder but he’s also a fantastic character developer (not that Cline isn’t but this really stuck out for me in Dark Matter.)
  3. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. 329 pages. This was the other book I struggled with in January. I wanted to love this book so much that I think I had too high expectations for it. Great premise but poor world building. Cogman drops us in this sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk-type world with very little explanation or back story. Maybe this gets better with subsequent books, which is why I still plan on reading book two in this series.
  4. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. 400 pages. This was another novel that I really enjoyed reading. This is about Truman Capote, Babe Paley, and the rest of their NYC socialite group. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Benjamin really takes you into this time, the 1950s, and these people’s lives. This was a book that constantly had me researching aspects of it online because it’s such an intriguing story. The people were also fascinating and most of them, with the exception of Capote, I had never heard of prior to reading this book. I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans.
  5. The Fountain of St. James Court or, Portrait of an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund. 448 pages. I very recently reviewed this book here on the blog so I won’t go into it again why this was my most painful read of January.

For five books, that is a total of 1893 pages and an average rating of 3.4 stars. 3.4 stars doesn’t sound too bad except for the fact that I am scarred by The Fountain!!! Just kidding and slightly exaggerating.

How did your January of reading measure up? Any duds? Any books you’d recommend? I only reviewed one of these books on my blog (linked above), but if you’d like a more in-depth review on any of the others, you’ve only to ask.

Posted in blog stuff, Reading Roundup

December 2016 Wrap Up

Time flies, ya know? I just realized it’s already Jan 3rd and I haven’t post a wrap up for December. Having the kids out of school and the husband home for the holidays really throws off my perception of time.

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In December, I read a total of seven books, one being a graphic novel and one being a novellette. I actually stopped reading when I finished The Night Circus on December 29th because I ran out of room on the page I was using to track my reading in my bullet journal. Seriously. Not kidding. I’m that anal. I couldn’t stand the thought of either not recording another book or having to waste an entire new page for just one more book. I need therapy.

So, I read:

  1. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. 304 pages.
  2. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory. 556 pages.
  3. Wool by Hugh Howey. 509 pages.
  4. Gilded Cage by Sherry D. Ficklin. 80 pages.
  5. Shift by Hugh Howey. 570 pages.
  6. I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 2:  Fluff My Life by Skottie Young. 128 pages.
  7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 400 pages.

For seven books, I read a total of 2,547 pages and an average rating of 3.71 stars. That, folks, is a good month of reading. I only had one dud on my list that I wish I could just forget about. If I could, that would be six books with an average rating of 4.16 stars.

My favorite for December is The Night Circus. This was a truly magical book. Very close behind it are Wool, Shift, and I Hate Fairyland. If you’re not reading the I Hate Fairyland graphic novels, you should be. They’re so funny. I love the language, the color palette, and the artwork is wonderful.

I only reviewed one of these books on my blog (linked above), but if you’d like to hear my thoughts on any of the others, you’ve only to ask. 🙂 I hope your December of reading was as great as mine.