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”?

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Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Oct 4

So, I decided to get back to blogging and then came down with the flu. I missed all of the Banned Book Week activities, getting started with Dewey’s pre-readathon challenge, and National Coffee Day. Talk about a major bummer. The only good thing to come of being a walking zombie is getting unlimited reading time in, guilt-free, which means I was able to start a few books while being laid up.

MontstressFirst off, I started a new graphic novel, Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and artist Sana Takeda. I’m only a couple pages in, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. The artwork, however, is impressive and compelling. I thought this graphic novel would be a perfect accompaniment for this time of year. From Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

grey mask Secondly, I began an eBook by Patricia Wentworth titled Grey Mask. It’s supposed to be a cozy mystery type of book. Set in London, post-war (I haven’t read any indications which war, but I’m assuming WWI. I could be wrong though. It’s really hard to tell from the context clues or lack thereof.) this is a tale of Charles, who has returned to his childhood home after being jilted by his fiance. His father has passed away and he’s returned home from abroad to claim his inheritance. Upon his arrival, he happens upon several uninvited guests in his house discussing some scheme or conspiracy. Deciding to remain hidden, Charles hires a lady detective, Miss Silver, to try and sort out the mystery on his own rather than go to the police.

I’m just short of halfway through the book and so far, it’s ok. The dialogue comes off as being written for a screenplay rather than a book so it’s different, but not hard to follow. The characters are a little one dimensional. I’m waiting to see if some development will occur as the story goes on. As for the mystery itself, I have no idea what’s going on, so I guess it’s a good one, lol. This is supposed to be the first book in the Miss Silver series, but it’s really hard to believe that an entire series is centered on Miss Silver whom we only see sporadically in the novel. She seems like a tertiary character rather than the main one. We’ll see, I guess.

Queens Lastly, I started Queens of the Conquest:  England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir. I am a huge fan of Weir’s and appreciate and respect her writing, opinions, and history that she imparts expertly about England’s monarchy. Her biography about Henry VIII was what started my journey into learning more about England’s history, which blossomed into learning about other nations and periods in history. Anyway, I’ve only just started this book and between being really tired and having to take notes on every page (because I can’t help myself), I’m only in the first chapter, lol. I’m enjoying it so far though and can’t wait to really get into the meat of it. Please click on the book’s title for a link to the Goodreads page. I didn’t want to include a lengthy description here.

How’d you bring in the month of October? Are you reading anything you’d recommend?

Posted in Book Review

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Romancing the Dark

Title:  Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Author:  Ann Jacobus

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Press)

Pages:  288

Genre:  Young Adult, Romance

Setting:  Modern day Paris

Blurb:

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on the right track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer’s behavior manage to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Ann Jacobus’ Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

From Me:  I read this novel as an ARC from NetGalley.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel when I began reading it. I always say that I read for pleasure and not to feel sad or depressed. The blurb, “she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living” almost made me turn away from this book. Reading an angsty, teenagery-type book isn’t my idea of a good time. I’m happy that I didn’t judge this book by its cover.

Summer is struggling through her second attempt at her senior year of high school. Not only is school hard, but she’s virtually alone in a foreign city. Her attempt to make life more liveable is to find a boyfriend. What is more romantic than holding hands with someone special in Paris? She meets Moony, another senior at her new school, who doesn’t shy away from Summer’s sometimes harsh, in your face, attitude. Recognizing and appreciating this in him, Summer immediately begins falling for Moony.

Summer also meets Kurt. He is the best looking guy she’s ever had pay her any attention and she, again, feels an instant attraction. However, there’s something off about Kurt that Summer can’t quite put her finger on that makes her wary, not wary enough to stay away though.

Summer goes back and forth between these two very different men who each feed something in Summer that is missing.

I had a hard time putting this book down. I was pulled into Summer’s story and this book was full of the feels. I cried through a lot of it, and despite what I said earlier, that was okay. Some of the story was predictable, but I thought Jacobus also had a lot of clever twists and metaphors throughout the book.

Barnes and Noble puts this novel in the 12-17 age range. However, some of the themes are more mature and I would put this at the 14-19 age range. But, that’s just my personal opinion

4 Hearts

Posted in Reading

October 2014 Roundup

Round-UpOctober was a busy month and NaNoWriMo, November promises to be even busier. Considering that I put myself on a book buying ban last month, my reading still ended up being pretty decent with only a few minor disappointments. I hope that you can say the same. Without further ado…

  1. Every Day by David Levithan – 5 Hearts
  2. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – 4 Hearts
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 5 Hearts
  4. Festive in Death (In Death #39) by J.D. Robb – 4 Hearts
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – 3 Hearts
  6. Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  7. Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  8. Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie – 3 Hearts
  9. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts
  10. Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts
  11. The Murder of Adam & Eve by William Dietrich – 3 Hearts
  12. Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz – Did not finish – Broken Heart
  13. Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger – 4 Hearts

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Including item #12, my read books for October had an average rating of 3.46 Hearts. Not including item #12 they had an average rating of 3.75 Hearts. Again, not too shabby. My favorite book of the month is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of Rainbow Rowell. I just have one more book of hers to read before I’ll have read them all. She needs to write faster. Do you have any favorite writers that you feel that way about them? That they need to write and publish faster?

My least enjoyed book of the month was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I enjoyed her writing style but not the story. In case you were wondering, I don’t include Frozen because the reason I didn’t read it was because the formatting for the eBook was frightful. It also needed some major editing. I mean, names and the beginning of sentences weren’t capitalized. I couldn’t read it like that. It was an ARC, so nothing was really lost on my part.

How was your October reading? How did it compare to September?

Posted in Industry News

E-Books: Trendy Fad or Taking Over the Universe?

eBook vs Print

I read an article yesterday that discussed how the sales for tablet devices are down. Is there supposed to be a correlation between this statistic and eBook sales? Considering that I read this article on Digital Book World, I think that might’ve been their point. Then, I read an article published on the Library Journal’s website about how some college book stores have stopped selling books. I guess this means they need a name change, huh? Are eBooks taking over the world? Is this the beginning of the end for print books?

This is a subject that has been debated for quite some time now. As a library and information science student, debating eBooks versus print books and the death of libraries comes up…A LOT. I even recently saw an article (I don’t remember where off the top of my head) that said something about how the trend of reading for pleasure is making a comeback. Making it sound like being literate is a fad. Hello!!

Deckle_edge_book_(Chaucer)
Deckle edge

First of all, I think it’s complete ignorance to think that the evolution of books and how they’re distributed means the end of libraries. Circulating print books is a fraction of the services that a library provides. A library is an institution for preservation. It’s much, much more than just books. Secondly, the advent of written communication began on the walls of caves and on papyrus scrolls. eBooks are just yet one more way of getting literature out there. As for print books, maybe, just maybe, there will be a decrease, eventually, in the amount of editions of a book that are printed. Someday. But I don’t think printed books will ever go completely the way of the dinosaur. Why? Because there is something about the beauty of a magnificent cover of a book that doesn’t come through on the digital version. There is the feel of a book cover. Some are like velvet, some are textured, some are embossed, some are shimmery, some are matte, some are metallic. None of that comes through in an eBook. Sometimes, the edges of the pages of a book are unique. Some are painted black, or red, or gold. Some have the deckle edging. Some pages are smooth while others are rough. I always run my hand down the page of a new book to see what kind of paper it was printed on. Then you have truly unique books like Horrorstor which was printed to look exactly like an Ikea catalog. If you haven’t seen the absolute beauty of this book for yourself, in person, I highly suggest that you make a trip to your nearest bookstore. Holding that book is an experience in and of itself. You simply cannot get these tangible, sensory experiences with eBooks.

Dust Jacket
Horrible image, but this is the inside of the dust jacket on Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Can you see how it shimmers? This is a perfect example of why printed books are better than eBooks.

eBooks serve a purpose and I have hundreds downloaded on my various apps. They’re convenient, They travel very well. If you have a tablet device like an iPad, you can read them in multiple formats all on one device and then use that device for various other apps. They store much nicer. If you have a “lendable” version of a book, they’re much easier to lend to a friend and you don’t have to worry about never getting them back. Some come as enhanced versions like my Kindle version of Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium that comes with X-Ray (whatever that is) videos, text to speech, and other stuff. I haven’t read this yet, so I haven’t explored all the extras. How cool is that though?

All that being said, until they figure out how to digitally reproduce the smell, look, and feel of a real book and the experience of aimlessly meandering around my favorite bookstore just so that I can be there amongst books, for me, there will never be anything like the real experience of holding a beautifully printed book in my hand.