Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn


Summary: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
I read this book for two reasons: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about (everyone has been going on about how great it is for ages) and I wanted to see the movie (I didn't want to see it without having read the book). Honestly, I wasn't expecting to love it...but I sort of did. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

I probably would've enjoyed it more had I not been partially spoiled for the ending--normally spoilers don't bother me, but this is one of those books where not knowing what's going on and what's going to happen plays a big part in the reading experience. For that reason, it's actually quite difficult to review the book because most of what I want to talk about would spoil it.

So... I'll have to keep this part brief: the plot and the characters are the most interesting I've read in a while. Amy was great, I liked her a lot--well, not liked in the sense that I'd ever want to be friends with someone even remotely like her, but she was a fascinating character and I enjoyed her POV the most. I liked reading about her, is what I'm trying to say really (saying I liked her isn't accurate).

Nick...well. I hated him. He's the kind of character I'd love to punch (and I really want to explain all the reasons why, but...but spoilers). I'm not sure if I was supposed to hate him as much as I did (consistently, right to the end) or if he was supposed to grow on me as certain things were revealed, but he just didn't. His early chapters frustrated me a lot, they got more interesting the more they focussed on Amy. Their relationship was the most interesting thing about him really.

The book did feel like it kind of dragged at times, like it was longer than it needed to be, but that may have just been down to being spoiled so it made it frustrating at times having to wait for stuff to happen.

But yeah...I think that's all I can say without spoilers. I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5, and I'll probably check out some of the authors other books at some point too.

Later.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (16)

On the Blog

Friday: Lanna went on a bit of a roller coaster with COME BACK TO ME
Saturday:We have an excerpt and giveaway for Cora Carmack's newest, ALL BROKE DOWN

Julie

Book Haul


Owning Violet by Monica Murphy (egalley via Netgalley/publicist)
Luck on the Line by Zoraida Cordova (egalley via Netgalley/publicist)

I'm really intrigued to read my first Monica Murphy book, especially since I'm in a dry period for Christina Lauren books and they're compared. And Luck on the Line sounded like a really fun New Adult book.


Books Read


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little 

I LOVED An Ember in the Ashes. It featured morally gray characters in these impossible situations and everything was messy and felt so real despite the extremeness of the world. SO good. And I'm still figuring out my feelings on Forbidden, but it DID keep me up until 3 am one night when I had to be up very early so...I think that's a good sign.
 
Upcoming Reads


Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
+school reading

I'm in the midst of midterms this week. I've got two in class tomorrow and a third due in class Wednesday. So, I'm already halfway through Miss Mayhem and it's totally what I need in a stressful time. I'm not sure how much other reading I'll get done since I've got editing work + school work on high this week, but if I do turn to anything else, it'll probably be a romance novel of a NA book for some stress relief...maybe. I have too many good options to decide!

--Julie

Saturday, 25 October 2014

All Broke Down by Cora Carmack Excerpt and Giveaway


I'm an unashamed Cora Carmack fangirl so I'm always giddy and all over it when I see she's got another blog tour planned. And I LOVED All Broke Down, especially since I got to read it while watching Friday Night Lights. They really are such a perfect match.

And I'm thrilled today to be able to share an excerpt with you before it's release on Tuesday!


She stands and crosses toward me, and my kitchen feels too damn small with her this close. All I can see are all the surfaces I want to press her against to end this conversation.
She lays a soft hand on my forearm, and her touch burns.
“You’re not a charity case.”
I thought the night that we met that she was one of those “good girls” looking to take a bad boy and pretty him up to take home to Mom. I’ve had my fair share of those that I have gladly kicked to the curb. I’m not about to let someone else change and manipulate me to make me into something that makes them happy. Then I thought she was a nice girl looking to get a little wild, maybe freak her parents out.
But looking into her eyes, I don’t think that’s her anymore. She wants to help me for my sake, not for her own. I am her charity case, no matter what she says. But I’m not so sure I mind that.
“Maybe I want to be your charity case. Would you do that? If I asked?”
Her eyes widen. “Do what exactly?”
I drag my hands through my hair and pace away from her. “I don’t fucking know. Fix me.” She makes a noise almost like laughter, and I cross back to her and grip her shoulders. She swallows, and her eyes are serious on me now. “It sounds stupid, I know. But I’m so close to losing it all, Dylan. This life I have now . . . it’s everything to me. And Coach is ready to cut me if I don’t completely clean up my act. I’ve been doing it my way, and I’m failing. So I think I need to try something different.”
Maybe it’s not enough anymore to pretend that I belong here. I have to change.
“I’m just not sure what you’re asking of me, Silas.”
Goddamn it. Neither am I.
“You help people. That’s what you do. That’s what I’m asking for. I need to be better . . . be good. For the team. For me. I just need to get my shit together.”
“Just the fighting? Is that what you’re talking about?”
“All of it. The fighting. The partying. Booze. Pot.”
“Bad-boy rehab?” She still looks skeptical.
“I’m supposed to be a leader, Dylan. I’m supposed to make this team stronger, but right now I’m its biggest weakness.”
And God, I must look so fucking pitiful, because she bites her lip, her big eyes soft and sorry. “Okay.”
“Okay?”
“I’ll help.”
I want to fucking kiss her. Pull that bottom lip between my teeth, instead of hers. But I settle for pulling her against me and squeezing tight.
She makes a little squeak, and it takes her several long seconds before she rests her hands lightly against my bare chest.
“You have to actually listen to me, though.”
It’s distracting, feeling her breath against my skin, but I nod and say, “I will.”
“And you have to talk to me. Answer my questions. I can’t get to the root of your actions unless I know what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling.”
I stiffen. I know she’s right, but that doesn’t mean I relish the idea of talking about my shit . . . especially not with her.
When I don’t reply, she tries to pull back, but I keep my arms locked around her waist. So with her stomach still tight against mine, she leans back her shoulders and looks at me.
“If you want my help, that’s the price.”
I ask, “What if we worked out a trade? Like the other night.”
Pink floods her cheeks, and her tongue peeks out to wet her lips. “You want me to kiss you to get answers to my questions?”
“I was thinking more a question for a question, but I’m fine with your idea.”
She shakes her head quickly. “No, question for a question sounds good to me.”
I must be twisted because the more she tries to pull away, the more I want to kiss her. Maybe there’s something to that whole hard-to-get thing after all.



I also have an amazing giveaway for you to enter! Good luck!
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About ALL BROKE DOWN:

In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Links:
BUY LINKS:
And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP Today!
Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

--Julie

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Note: I actually meant to post this two days ago, because the book is now out in paperback in the UK.

Come Back to Me
by Mila Gray

Summary: Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend's sister, Jessa - the one girl he can't have.

But Kit's not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa's falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer's over and it's time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa's finally following her dreams and Kit's discovered there's someone he'd sacrifice everything for.

Jessa's prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they're forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.
I went into this book expecting to love it. Then a few chapters in, I thought it was going to be a disappointment--I remained pretty convinced of that until about a third of the way into the book. But then it did that thing that not many books can accomplish, where it just totally wins me over and I get so caught up in the story and there are tears and...and feelings, lots of feelings, and I end the book with a smile on my face.

The thing that had me sure it would be a disappointment was less about the book itself really, and more about me. Because I liked the story, I liked the characters, I liked the writing. The problem: I didn't know this going into it, but the book contains one of my top three bookish pet peeves (especially romance books)--alternating POV's.

For that first third of the book, because that was the beginning of the romance, I thought the POV switches ruined it for me. Some people love knowing what the love interest is thinking (which I'm cool with as bonus chapters at the end). Me? I prefer it to be all in one persons perspective, that way you go on the rollercoaster of emotions with them. When you know both sides, you don't really get to do that because there's no mystery to the relationship, no wondering, no uncertainty...and for me, that's normally one of my favourite parts.

So yeah, for that reason I just thought that first chunk of the book was just okay. But once I really got into the story, and once there was some more complexity thrown into the relationship, I started to really love the book.

I really liked Jessa and Kit, and I loved them as a couple because it was like when they were together they became the best versions of themselves. But I love that it didn't just focus on the romance though, because there was family drama thrown in there too and I loved the way that was all resolved.

So...that's all I have to say. I really enjoyed the book and it made me smile and it made me cry. Most of all though, it proved me wrong and managed to win me over in spite of containing one of my biggest book pet peeves, becoming one of the exceptions. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5.

Later.

Monday, 20 October 2014

When an Author Stalks a Blogger and How to Deal

This weekend, an article was posted in a well known online publication by a YA author. She'd previously gone off on bloggers over negative reviews. But this weekend she revealed that she'd took it a step further, got a blogger's address and work number, got a rental car, and visited the house and started calling at work. She considered it a part of an investigation to reveal if the blogger was exactly who she said she was. The results of her investigation are inconclusive, but really, that's not the point. Authors and bloggers alike use pseudonyms for various reasons. 

The fact is that this author stalked this blogger. To her home. At work. And then spoke happily about it in an article. And many are lauding her for doing "what they wish they could" and being bold and fierce and writing such a good article.

About stalking someone.

This isn't the first instance of bloggers' personal information being found over reviews. Stop the Goodreads Bullies formed several years ago to share real identities, addresses, numbers, and names/occupations of family members and, last I checked, are still active. But this is the first instance we know of where someone actually utilized that information within the blogging community.

I was visiting my parents' when the news broke, so I was always getting the tail end of the breaking news. Of course I was spooked at the idea and of course I was horrified for the blogger, someone I know. But tonight I'm in my apartment and have had little else to do but make dinner and watch as more news broke.

The blogger still hasn't said anything publicly and has only been in touch with her coblogger briefly. The author still defends her actions. More authors support her. Other articles from the author demonstrate that disturbing behavior like this is nothing new - killing animals, hurting other people very intentionally, all of it is common place in her world.

The more I've read, the more I've talked about it, the more I've been able to think about it, the scarier it gets.

I was 15 when I got serious about blogging. By that point, I'd been online for over 5 years, including fandoms and social media. I considered myself good at being in spaces that were safe and full of good people. I still used my usual precautions - never getting too specific, not giving out my address easily, very sparingly giving out phone numbers and Facebook and other contact besides email and twitter, sticking to what's technically a nickname to go by, not using names of IRL family/friends - but I still felt comfortable. I loosened some of my rules. Was willing to give the general idea of where I lived. Talk about going to school. Post pictures of family members on rare occasions. Allow Facebook friends.

It's happened more and more since I moved to NYC. I talk about where I am and where I'm going so friends can find me. I can post pictures and my friends will know exactly where I am, which means potentially anyone who knows NYC could know exactly where I am. I've talked about where I go to school and that I live nearby. I've loosened my names/pictures of family and friends rule since so many online friends have become IRL friends. A good number of my friends in NYC have even met my roommate. I've talked about my mental health issues openly. Barriers have become tricky. The more it happens, the trickier it gets. The veil between online and IRL gets thinner every day for me.

Then tonight I really thought about it. How, technically, it can be really easy to find me. Where I work. Where I live. Where to go to school. Thousands of people have the ability to do this easily. 

Then I thought about the past year at book events, especially BEA, when people recognized me. Apparently, I'm the kind of person who looks quite a bit like my profile pictures. In many cases, I didn't immediately recognize who it was, or if I did, I wasn't 100% sure. In some cases, I genuinely didn't know them at all until they introduced themselves. I'm not great with faces or following people back on twitter. All of these experiences were incredibly positive and I was happy they happened because I LIKE meeting people (to an extent - I am an introvert, after all). But it very easily could go wrong.

I like being open online with my opinions and my mental health issues because these issues, my introversion, make it very hard for me to be open with even my closest friends in real life. But the internet has always given me an extra step back from the reality of it to be honest with myself and those I know. And it's given me an amazing support system. And of course I want to share the much, much better parts of my life with these friends as well. But stories like this, where a blogger is stalked, terrify me. They make me want to shut down. They make me regret being online in the first place. I have the kind of anxiety that makes the worst case scenarios run through my head and made it impossible for me to sleep with windows or any doors open until fairly recently. And I'm a woman in New York City. Some of these precautions are already necessary. Now I have a real life example of someone I know being stalked to justify my paranoia. My building has turned on my heat and the pipes are next to my head, but part of me still wants to close the window by my feet.

Because of course now my brain is running to "But what don't we know about?" This author was willing to write about her experience, but maybe other authors have more sense than that. Maybe other authors just don't have the platform access she does. How can we be sure this is the first time an author has stalked a blogger to their home and work place? I can take some comfort in knowing I've never been attacked online, and therefore have less reason to think there is someone out there who would have a reason to want to track me down. But I have plenty of friends who cannot make the same claim. Now I have to fear for them too.

I'm terrified for this blogger it did happen to. I'm terrified for all my friends it could happen to. I'm terrified for myself and my friends and family. And I'm not sure if that terror will go away.

I know, logically, I have no reason to fear for myself and most of the people I know. But I also know that logic I understand isn't the strong suit of people willing to stalk others.

There's no real point to this post. And I certainly don't encourage you to give this author and the websites she posts on hits by looking up the articles (though Jamie's post on the matter includes a link that won't give hits to the stalking article). But I needed to talk out my feelings and, hopefully, remind myself and others to be careful about what we do and don't give up online. I might need to spend some time deciding my barriers. And I'm going to need to revisit the kind words of some authors (Jennifer Armentrout, Molli Moran, Beth Revis and C.J. Redwine have all been incredibly outspoken about how wrong it is if you scroll through their twitters/tumblrs).

Be safe, my loves.

--Julie

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (15)

On the Blog

Wednesday: Lanna checked out & loved one of Jennifer Armentrout's first books

Julie

Book Haul


Sublime
by Christina Lauren (hardcover purchased at McNally Jackson/hardcover received for review)

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (egalley via publisher/Netgalley)
Razhorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (egalley via publisher/Edelweiss)

Some MAJORLY awesome 2015 debuts, right? And then Christina Lauren were having their launch party in NYC, so I obviously bought a copy...then came to visit my parents' and found another copy. SO gonna have to figure out what to do with that. Three physical copies and an egalley *might* be kind of excessive.

Books Read


All Broke Down by Cora Carmack
The Last Christmas Tree by Stephen Krensky

I finished All Broke Down Sunday morning at NYCC, as I predicted. We got there a little after 6 am and did nothing but stand in one of two lines until 10:30 or so, which gave me a TON of time to finish. And The Last Christmas Tree is this ADORABLE picture book that either just came out or is about to and I highly recommend!

 
Upcoming Reads


Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Atlantia by Ally Condie

I'm actually reading all of these right now. Grace's Guide is my ebook read, leading up to her release party Tuesday. An Ember in the Ashes is blowing me away and Atlantia is for a blog-tour-esque stop. This is the main reason I didn't finish any of them - I had to try to read them all at once!

--Julie

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Summary: Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.
So...this book was kind of cheesy and it had a lot of cliche moments, I got annoyed quite a lot while reading it. And yet, I think I maybe might have, sort of, really loved it? Yes, that works.

It was just--it was addictive. And it never bored me and I felt invested in what happened to the characters even while I was rolling my eyes at how cheesy some of it was. And the romance...it was infuriating and awesome, I loved the love/hate thing that Kat and Daemon had going on and I loved that things that irritated me about him in the beginning slowly became things I really loved about him and their relationship.

The book was just really fast paced and fun, with quite a few laugh out loud funny moments. It's kind of like this is what you would get if you tossed Twilight* and the TV show Roswell in a blender then threw in a female protagonist that was Meg Cabot character level sassy.

I actually kind of regret reading it right now, because I don't have the sequels to read just yet and I'll have to wait and I don't want to wait because...well, like I said - I maybe might have, sort of, really loved this book. I wasn't expecting that at all, I only read it because so many people I trusted were all, "Yay, this book is awesome!" and now I'm all, "Yay, it really was awesome" and...I'm sorry, I may have stayed up past the point of tiredness to finish the book and it's making me a wee bit more ridiculous than normal.

So, yes. I'll shut up now. I'd rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Later.


*It's way better written than Twilight though, and I know Twilight gets a lot of hate and I do agree with plenty of the criticism it gets but I do kind of love the first three books in spite of that. This book gave me a similar sort of feeling, where I was so swept up in the story and the characters that the flaws didn't matter.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi

The Secret Sky
by Atia Abawi

Summary: Set in present-day Afghanistan, this is the story of two teenagers, one Pashtun and one Hazara, who must fight against their culture, their tradition, their families, and the Taliban to stay together. Told in three rotating perspectives—the two teens and another boy in the village who turns them in to the local Taliban—this novel depicts both the violent realities of living in Afghanistan, as well as the beauty of the land and the cultures there. And it shows that love can bloom in even the darkest of places.
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I liked it, but it was also kind of disappointing at the same time and isn't one that will stick with me. I wanted to love it, I expected to, but I just didn't.

I had some problems with the book itself and the another problem was more my own issue--I'll start with the latter.

One of my favourite books is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It has a love story in it, it's set in Afghanistan, it has Muslim characters and I really, really loved it. It really brought to life the setting and the characters, and the love story in the book is one of my all time favourites too (even if it wasn't the focus).

This book? It shares a lot of the same basic elements as A Thousand Splendid Suns, so I went into it hoping it would be as good but it didn't even come close to measuring up. So...that's my personal issue with the book. Now onto my issues with the book itself.

I didn't really like the writing. I didn't notice it so much in the second half of the book, but in the first half it bugged me--I can't pin point what it was about it. Rashid's early chapters were the worst, they just had a sort of Scooby Doo villain quality to them and lines like "And I would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!" would've been right at home.

The characters, for the most part, were kind of flat. Same with the setting--the way it was written didn't bring the country to life for me the way other books have in the past. Also, a lot of the interesting things about the culture were overshadowed by negatives or extremes, which was disappointing.

The main problem was that, for the majority of the book, it didn't make me feel anything. I felt no connection to any of the characters or anything going on, so it was hard to care or feel invested in what was happening to them--that only started to change in the last third of the book, but by that point it was too late to really save it.

The love story was a big let down too. This is one of those stories where there's no chemistry between the two characters, no spark, nothing really making me feel why they want to be together. We're told they were childhood friends* and they're obviously physically attracted to each other...but we're just supposed to accept that they love each other because the book says they do without really being shown it happening and it feels like they go from zero to "let's throw away everything else in our lives to be together!" after spending barely any time together (again, because we're not shown much of the time they spend together).

Basically, the book was just kind of bland. It wasn't bad, it was just okay. I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5, but I do still recommend you check it out because diversity is awesome and opinions are subjective, and you may not have the same issue as I did where you can't help but compare it to one of your all time favourite books.

Later.

*The whole childhood friends aspect was another thing it had in common with A Thousand Splendid Suns, but A Thousand Splendid Suns showed more chemistry and love between the two characters in a handful of scenes than this one did the entire book. So, when it's written well enough, writing childhood friends falling in love can be excellent...this one just didn't work for me at all.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (14)

On the Blog

Monday: Lanna has a new favorite book



Julie

Book Haul



While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell (paperback via work)
The Young Elites by Marie Lu (hardcover bought at Books of Wonder for signing)
Everly After by Rebecca Paula (egalley via publicity company)
All Broke Down by Cora Carmack (egalley via publicist/Edelweiss)
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (ebook via Netgalley)
The Shadow Princess by Mary Hart Perry (ebook free on Amazon)


The take shelves, guys. The take shelves.


And I LOVED The Young Elites, so I bought a copy at Marie's launch party. Everly After is an amazing sounding New Adult and the author passed on my email to her publicity company when I mentioned wanting it. And I do HAVE a copy of Dark Triumph...I just honestly don't know where it is. But it and Grave Mercy (which I LOVED) are (were?) Read Now titles on Netgalley, so I took the opportunity to get a copy I can locate.


NYCC

I'm currently tired and sick and it's Saturday night and I have to be up at 4:15 because my Roommate and I have a game plan that means being at NYCC by 6 am tomorrow. SO, you guys get pictures of what I have so far and if you can't make out the titles...sorry. I'll list and link with next week's haul.



Day 1 Haul


Day 2 Haul

 


















Books Read



The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
All Fall Down by Ally Carter


These are two excellent 2015 books and if they aren't on your radar yet, they should be.
 
Upcoming Reads


All Broke Down by Cora Carmack
Sublime by Christina Lauren
Othello by Shakespeare

I'm currently reading All Broke Down (and since it's been my NYCC-line-sitting-read and I'll be doing that a LOT tomorrow, I might finish it). I'm also rereading Sublime because I read it about 6 months ago and it comes out on Tuesday so...I'd like to have a better memory of it for reviewing purposes. Plus I figured a reread would be less stress on my brain. Othello is the next book in my Shakespeare class and we're still working on Song of Solomon in my other class. I'd have to read more, but I got ahead and we only have one day of classes this week, so I won't need to read it.

Beyond those, which I only need for the first part of the week, I'm not sure! I'm visiting my parents this weekend, so I'll get to see what's showed up at their house in the past 6 weeks. And I have SO many books I'm stoked about I just don't want to pressure myself to pick anything yet.

Odds and Ends 

You clearly picked up bits and pieces from what's above - I'm sick! I'm at NYCC! I'm visiting my parents next week! All of this means I've been EXTRA busy. I'm approaching midterms at school and I had to skip working Fridays this week and next week, so I'm working Thursdays instead, meaning I lose my only free day, so there's so little free time. Fortunately, I do have Monday off, so I can get lots of rest and lots of work done from my bed. I'll also be able to relax a ton while at my parents' - brand new bed, cat cuddles, stocking up on supplies, having a TV...it'll be good times.

And with that, it's almost midnight and I'm looking at 4.5 hours of sleep (don't worry, I accidentally took a 3 hour nap a bit ago).

--Julie

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
by Leslye Walton

Summary: Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
So... I just had to spent like 10 minutes reshuffling my shelves so that I could make space for this one on the shelf reserved for my all time favourite books, because this book was amazing.

I haven't read many books with magical realism, but books like this one make me want to read more in the hopes they'll be just as good. It was just so - wonderfully weird, and lovely, and heartbreaking, and awesome.

The writing was beautiful and lyrical (and it's one of those stories where the setting is written so well that the place becomes almost a character itself). And the characters--the characters were unique and I loved them, and I really cared about what happened to them. And then there's the plot...sometimes it would seem like the story was going off on a tangent and yet somehow it was all woven together in a way that just made sense--it's definitely the least predictable book I've read in a long time.

And I'm not sure what else I can say about it really. Sometimes the more I love a book, the less I have to say about it because my words don't seem to be enough, this is one of those times (probably a good thing too, as my tendency to ramble is annoying).

I'd rate the book 5 stars out of 5, and I'll definitely read anything else Leslye Walton writes (literally anything, she could probably write the phonebook and make it amazing).

Later.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (13)

On the Blog

Tuesday: Julie babbles about the awesome of LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
Wednesday: Lanna ventures into CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS

Julie

Book Haul


The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson (egalley via publisher on Netgalley)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (hardcover purchased at Books of Wonder)
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (hardcover via work)
Cat Napped by Leeza Hernandez (hardcover via work)
Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel and Brent Bradshaw (ARC via work)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (ARC via work)
Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash (ARC via work)
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (ARC via work)

Working in publishing is dangerous, guys. So very dangerous.

Books Read

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Cat Napped by Leeza Hernandez

I don't know why I'm suddenly really interested in picture books, BUT the B.J. Novak book was delivered to everyone in our company, so I read it and adored it, then I was helping a friend with some packaging and there was an extra copy of Cat Napped and it was SO CUTE. So freaking cute guys. 

I also wanted to make sure I finished Snow Like Ashes before her signing Thursday and it was SO GOOD. I did not expect to love it as much as I did, but seriously, guys, you need this book.
 

Upcoming Reads

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Some Shakespeare play I haven't looked up yet

I'm actually almost done with The Conspiracy of Us (and might be done by time you read this) and I'm still working through Winterspell - I'll probably make a ton of progress this week because of NYCC. And of course, school reading. I'm in the middle of a couple of other books as well, but I don't see myself actively reading those this week.

Odds and Ends 

NYCC is coming! I'm going Friday-Sunday and my sister and her friend are coming to town and my roommate's going and some of my really good friends are going and I'm EXCITED. But I also know this week will be crazy busy - I've got all my classes and their work, I've got my actual job twice, there are two book launch parties I plan to go to, and I need to finish up an editing job, all before Friday. The upside of this being super crazy? Next week will still have all the crazy school/work/editing/social events going on, but shortened since we have Monday off and I'm going back to my parents' next weekend PLUS it can be a low-stress weekend for the first time in ages! So, I'm embracing the crazy in the name of a break coming soon. Will I be seeing any of you around at the events this week/NYCC? Anything you're super stoked about?

--Julie

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels
by Cassandra Clare

Summary: The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
So I'm pretty behind with this series, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue it after the original trilogy ended.

I loved the first three books, and the trilogy ended well--there was just enough happy, just enough sad, just enough closure. So when it was announced that the series was being extended I just...I wasn't sure if I wanted to  risk ruining the series by reading the next three books, because what if they were bad? What if they ended terribly or made me hate characters and relationships I loved?

Obviously, seeing as I'm reviewing this, I caved, even if it is a few years late (mostly because I want to read one of the spin-off series and I think this needs to be read first?). Basically, I liked the book. Just liked.

I didn't love this book the way I did the others in the series. I can't pin point exactly why really--I think it may be because Simon was the main character in this (yes, others--like Clary--had some POV's too and played big parts in the story, but it felt like we mostly got Simon's POV) and while I liked him a lot as a side character, he just didn't interest me as much the main one. Even things about his story that I thought I'd love, like his relationship with Isabelle, weren't as interesting as I thought they'd be.

The book was entertaining, and in some ways it was nice to dive back into this world I loved with all these characters and see what was happening with them after City of Glass ended... but it just wasn't as good as the original trilogy, it didn't hook me in the same way, the plot wasn't as interesting, and things that I loved about characters before just started to feel a bit repetetive (like Jace's one liners).

I'd rate the book 3.5 stars out of 5, and I will read the next two books and hopefully they'll be better (it did seem like maybe this one was just setting up the plot for the main story arc of the next two books).

Later.

p.s. is anyone else really annoyed by the size of these books? I mean, they look good on the shelves, but they take up so much space and it's so uncomfortable trying to read them (and the font inside is huge, so they don't have to be that big)... while I like the covers better, I think the original versions of the trilogy were so much easier to read.

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