Guest Post: The Best Part of Writing // New Book Coming Out in May!

Hey y’all!

I’m super excited for today’s blog post, because not only am i actually publishing something other than a book review, but I have the opportunity of posting something written by Gia Cribbs! Gia is a debut author whose first book, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SLOAN SULLIVAN, is coming out May 29th. I was lucky enough to get to talk to her and have her write a guest post for the blog, so I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I do!

Continue reading “Guest Post: The Best Part of Writing // New Book Coming Out in May!”

Review: Strange the Dreamer // Lazlo Freaking Strange, Love of My Life

By Laini Taylor

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Community Rating: 4.39

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: March 28th 2017

Format Read: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Continue reading “Review: Strange the Dreamer // Lazlo Freaking Strange, Love of My Life”

Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There

It’s February! (yes it has been for over a week, and this post is super late, but let’s ignore that please and move on)

I’m sure y’all know this, but January was a little rough for me. It should have been my 2nd month back from hiatus but instead it turned into unplanned mini hiatus, which is… not so great. I think I bounced back strong at the end though (aka posted roughly twice) and it was a good month for reading, so overall, could have been much worse.

Continue reading “Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There”

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi // The Cutest YA Romance I’ve Read in a While

By Sandyha Menon

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.79

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: May 30th 2017

Format Read: Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Continue reading “Review: When Dimple Met Rishi // The Cutest YA Romance I’ve Read in a While”

6 Hot August 2017 Book Releases

I know this post is really late, and so about half of these are already published, but I wanted to make sure I gave all of the August books a chance at fame*.  So, halfway through the month, we’re going to celebrate all of the August releases.  I have to admit, I’m VERY excited about all of these books even though I haven’t read a single one!

*ha, I’m assuming that my blog would help a book sell

Young Adult

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman, by Leigh Bardugo—  I’ve heard A LOT of hype about this book, and after watching the Wonder Woman movie, I really want to hear this take.  Obviously it’s not quite the same story, but it sounds amazing, and I’ve heard it’s a must read for DC fans!

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

All Things NewAll Things New, by Lauren Miller– This book sounds TOUGH but really good at the same time.  It could definitely go either way but I feel like it’ll be emotional wreck of a book that I can’t put down.

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. 

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

Adult Contemporary

The One That Got Away

The One that Got Away, by Melissa Pimentel— This SOUNDS ADORABLE and perfectly romantically fun.  I love “one that got away” stories, and this literally has that title, so why wouldn’t I read it?!?!? It seems like a perfect light read and I’m looking forward to seeing what other people think.

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . . The Burning GirlThe Burning Girl, by Claire Messud— I can’t quite tell if this is adult or YA, but Goodreads is telling me adult so we’ll go with it.  Apparently Messud is an amazing author, and this book sounds really emotional and profound which I love.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

Thriller

Emma in the Night

Emma In The Night, by Wendy Walker— aaaaah you can’t even understand how good this sounds. Dysfunctional family thrillers are my absolute favorite because they’re so twisted and messed up and exciting.  Plus it’s about girls and doesn’t have girl in the title so BONUS POINTS FOR CREATIVITY, WENDY!

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

The Readymade ThiefThe Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose— This sounds hecka good, and has a super unique plot, which is something that you don’t find very often in a thriller.  I love the whole idea of it, and the female protag thing is always a bonus for me (although apparently that’s become a bit of a readily repeated trope now that people hate, but ROLL WITH ME HERE)…. and it looks like it’s set up for ROMANCE!

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run. Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, she finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle, but the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. They believe Lee holds the key to it all.

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families, but the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.

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What books are you looking forward to for this month? Have you read any of the ones I talked about? 

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Guest Post: Really Reading, by THE Elm

I CAN’T EVEN STOP SMILING RIGHT NOW.  I have Elm, THE Elm, on my blog today.  I’m still not sure that this is really happening.  Since I first found her about a year ago, she has been one of my biggest blogging idols, and now her writing is going to be on MY blog! Elm is a 17 year old blind lifestyle blogger, self proclaimed rebel, singer, writer, talker (I hope lol) and, most importantly today, reader.  It may seem strange to some people, a blind reader, which is exactly why the post that you’re about to read is so special.


“Reading”, by Elm

As a child, I was a voracious reader. Similarly to any other bookworm, I was lost in the stories and characters of authors who spun their tales to be understandable to a younger audience. I’d spend hours pouring over a good book, delighted and enthralled in equal measure. That feeling sounds familiar to anyone who loves to read.

However, I have never read a paperback or hardback book. I have never browsed the shelves, looking for a good title in my local library. Why, you may ask? I’m visually impaired, registered as blind; I read in braille or through audio books. It’s all I’ve ever known or will know: does that mean my experience is somehow separate, apart from those who read so-called “conventional” or paper books?

Braille books are, ordinarily, huge. I used to get them from the RNIB Library in bags, 3-5 volumes for each book. As a little girl, I could sometimes barely lift them: I’d heave them onto my knee and whenever they came in the post, I’d shriek with excitement. I used to sit in a little chair beside the CD player, listening to my favourite books that I got from the limited selection in my local library or, for my birthday or Christmas, bought from Waterstones. That, instead of computers or the TV, was what truly interested me. It was different, yet it was my world.

Now, instead of ordering from the library, I read eBooks – either by connecting a Braille display to my phone or by using the text-to-speech technology on my phone. I prefer the former because it lets me feel more connected but when I don’t have as much energy, I use the speech. As I’ve been blogging and now have more online friends who read, I’ve realised that my childhood experiences – even the way I read now – is quite simply separate from how people who can easily pick up a book can read.

I sometimes come across the argument that to read an eBook, or maybe even an audiobook, is not as enriching or is not the same as reading a book from the library or from a bookshop. To tackle this, you have to ask yourself: “What is reading?” Is it the ability to rest in the quiet spaces of a library, head bent over a book until nothing exists but the characters and stories? If so, I have not had that experience; then I haven’t truly read. However, I know that I have absorbed just as much as any other person. I’m not dissatisfied without the weight of a supposed “real” book in my hands – real being in quotation marks – and I am no worse off. I feel absolutely no sadness that I’ve never been able to see words on a page. Listening to an audiobook, for me, is still reading as it was how I could connect with such beloved characters.

It isn’t “a shame” that I can’t experience the wonder of print on a page. The methods by which I read are different – I may read differently – but the emotions I feel are the same. I’m still able to cry over books – which I do often – and I can still feel utter fury at what a character does. It neither decreases my enjoyment nor makes me feel somehow worse off. When I was little, it never crossed my mind that I was at a disadvantage.

This is just my story. There are a myriad of other people who, for whatever reason, cannot read print books. Some may not be able to afford to buy the books they would like in paperback or hardback; some books may not be available in their country; they may not have a library or good bookshop near them.  For some, ⠑⠠⠃⠕⠕⠅⠎ may be a “last resort” but it doesn’t mean that they are somehow less. I don’t know their stories and so I won’t try and speak for them. If others can’t access the same materials as some people, there are so many other ways to read than the traditional.

Reading can be subjective. In the same way that human thoughts and behaviour can’t be assigned to different boxes, the way that people read and react to what they read can’t be categorised so easily. Some people, for instance, will prefer eBooks to Print books and vice versa; nobody should be shamed for that. However, those that can’t access one or the other aren’t necessarily unhappy with it, in the case of myself. Just because an idea is different doesn’t mean it’s somehow less.

If information is subject to interpretations in books, surely the way in which it can be read can also be different? To that effect, if different interpretations are as valid as each other, can’t that be applied to the way people read?

What do you think – what is reading to you? Is there a definition of “reading”, or may that idea be up to the reader who interprets the words?


Love this post? Make sure you go visit Elm @ Just Call me Elm or Something and jump into her world.

 

Review: The Darkest Lies (Annoying Characters and Little Plot)

By Barbara Copperthwaite

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Rating: 4.05

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publication Date: May 12th 2017

Format Read: Phone Ebook via Netgalley

Goodreads Summary: A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

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It took all of my strength to keep reading this book.  I got bored just as short way through, thrown off by the 2nd person POV and the fact that the plot was not very interesting, but I kept reading, something which I’m fairly glad of.  The last 20% of the book was incredible, and bumped my rating up a star.  The first 80%, however, didn’t hold my interest at all.  

The basic concept is that a young teenager, Beth, goes missing, and the book is told from the perspective of the mother telling the story of her DIY detective work to her daughter.  There were also perspectives from Beth (from the night she goes missing) and a mysterious individual mixed in.  

Bottom line is that nothing in this book got me super attached.  The plotline wasn’t intriguing, I hated Melanie (the MC, aka Beth’s mother), her partner in solving crime seemed like the biggest stock character I’ve ever met, and all of the “villagers” had 0 dimension.  They were all flat.  The only one I liked is the husband, and I felt like even he did a thing that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his character ,at all.

Luckily the ending was good.  Well, one of the endings.  The major storyline that everything was working towards fell flat for me, but in the last 20% Copperthwaite had a side story line that she had been progressing and made it the center stage, and for me THAT was the only intriguing part of the novel.  

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Beth is the girl who goes missing.  You really only hear about her from her mother’s POV, and occasionally from her own, but she’s a dynamic, interesting girl, and I liked her and wished the best for her.  That’s probably the only reason I didn’t DNF.  I HAD to know what happened to Beth.

Melanie, the MC, is Beth’s mother, but she just MAKES ME SO MAD I CAN’T EXPLAIN.  She’s not that good of a person, although she thinks she is, and she’s super self absorbed and can’t see the world around her.  It was painful, and I found myself looking forward to the short, one page segments that were not from her point of view just so that I didn’t have to listen to the whining drunk anymore.

Glenn, her partner in solving the crime, is a figure from her childhood who she was not exceptionally close with, but happens to waltz into her life and “just want to help”.  Mel bought it.  So he’s around for the entire novel, and despite this fact, he has ZERO DIMENSION.  I don’t understand how I can read a whole book with him at center stage and still not really KNOW him aside from the one central fact (it’s a spoiler so I won’t say).  It’s weird.

The husband, Jacob? (I think, we’ll go with it), was my favorite character, but the author made him do something so completely out of character with everything else we saw that he started to feel fake as well.

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The plot was very, very slow.  This 433 page book could have easily been condensed into 200 pages and you would not have lost any of the red herrings, dramatic moments, etc, because there was so much WASTED SPACE SPENT DOING NOTHING.  

Of course, that changed slightly in the last bit, where there was action, character development, a big reveal, an oh shit moment where you realized what was really going on, and an overall good pace.  But that doesn’t happen soon enough.  

I know books won’t have action the whole way through, but something needs to be happening, or at least characters being developed, for it to be interesting.

And the whole “why won’t the village talk” thing that propelled the entire plot felt fake and strange to me, their motivation not really that good.

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  • Beth
  • The Ending
  • Laughing at MC’s stupidity and lack of awareness for the world around her

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  • Melanie, her stupidity, and her lack of awareness for the world around her
  • Slow Plot
  • Poor writing style– there was nothing remotely extraordinary about her writing, the whole thing was very simple and told straightforwardly.
  • OBVIOUS display of clues– there was never any clue that I looked back on later and was like, ooooh I missed that… It was all shoved aggressively in your face.

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None.  There’s one character who may or may not be gay but that’s all.  And he’s in the story for like 5 minutes and accused of hurting Beth.

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SPOILERS ABOUND, ALTHOUGH NONE ARE THAT BIG.

  • A child is brutalized and left to die
  • Child is raped
  • Drinking problem to deal with other problems
  • Drugs abound

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This book was a 2 star read all the way through, but the ending was 4 or 5 stars, so I adjusted accordingly with a 3.  I wouldn’t recommend this book to anybody, but if you already have it, you might as well read it and see where it goes, it wasn’t so bad as to warrant you not reading it at all.

I’d love to know what other people think of the character development, because for me nobody except Beth felt real.

Buy on Amazon

Add on Goodreads

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read anything else by Barbara Copperthwaite?

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