Monday, December 4, 2017

One More Month

There are less than 4 weeks left in the year and I am doing well with my books. I'm reading sometimes 3 books at a time: with audio, e-books, and hardbacks. It gets a bit confusing but it keeps my mind occupied. 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the SeaObviously, avoid this book if you don't like reading books that'll make you cry. It's a tough subject but very well written. Sepetys does a great job of drawing you into the story and keeping you engaged the entire time. She doesn't take too much time to build the setting since it's historical fiction. The first four chapters give a small glimpse into the characters' mind. And it alternates from their POVs. I am not the hugest fan of historical fiction but I really liked this book. I've heard good things about the audio so I'd recommend that over the hardback.

The Sexy Librarian by Nicolette Dane

The Sexy LibrarianI'm not sure how I stumbled across this book but since it was free, I quickly downloaded it. The beginning was very cute. I liked Amelia and her inner dialogue. The sexy librarian in question, Esme, was not as likable. I knew right away she had made copies of the unpublished novella being held at the library. I was expecting a bit more drama from that situation. But this is a short story. So they live happily ever after. I just wasn't amused by their relationship or entertained much by the sex scenes.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods
Good Lord, this book almost put me to sleep several times. I am a fan of the show adaptation so I thought I'd enjoy the book since it's (usually) better. But this time, the tv show got it right. If the pacing on the show is slow, then the pacing in the novel is nonexistent. I just kept waiting for something to happen. The ending and the Coming to America stories saved the reading experience for me. Neil Gaiman read the Coming to America parts and his voice is lovely. I was very impressed with the entire cast of voice actors. They fit their characters well. I just couldn't stand all the talking and thinking and nonevents that surrounded the few events that took place.

The stand out god for me Horus. His "mad" voice was hilarious and confusingly sexy to me. I wish he were in the book more than he was. And that bonus story with Shadow and Jesus that Gaiman took out was great. Jesus had such a calmness to him. I'm eager to see how the show will adapt the book for season two. Here's hoping it'll be a bit more action packed. 

Soul Eater by Atsushi Ohkubo

vol 11

Great battle scene with Maka and Soul. They are so great together. I welcomed Black Star's absence. He's the weak link in the story for me. Crona has run away but I hope they come back soon. The hidden witches in Death City were sold out by Medusa who's now locked in DWMA's dungeon. Obviously, no one trusts her. But she just gave up Arachne's stronghold location so let's see what comes from that.

vol 12

They just gonna stab my boy Ox like that?! I will not stand for this. Kim and Jackie better get their heads right before coming back to DWMA. I get that they're brainwashed but you can't go around stabbing my favorite characters. And speaking of the total opposite of that, Black Star shows up at the very end. He's such a dick, tripping all the alarms and possibly ruining the plan. If he gets his ass kicked next volume, I will not be complaining.

Soul Eater, Vol. 11 (Soul Eater, #11)Soul Eater, Vol. 12 (Soul Eater, #12)

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Meddling KidsI've finally finished this book after starting it more than a month ago. Hell, I even let someone else borrow my copy and they read it before me. I just couldn't get completely lost on reading this one. The writing style was funny and very meta. The book is fully self aware that someone is reading it. The characters were all unique enough. Andy and Tim were the stand out favorites for me. Even though Tim's a dog, he's got more charisma than the whole roster of people in this story put together. The ending was the highlight of my reading experience. I wish the rest of the book had been as exciting.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Slaughterhouse FiveI was a little lost at times but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Listening to the audio version made the story even weirder. Ethan Hawke did an excellent job. His voice was so smooth and hypnotizing. The actual plot of hard to explain to someone. The only thing I can say is just read it if you're looking for a strange read. It''l keep your interest the whole time and it'll be over fairly quickly.

To Italy with Love by Fiona Zedde

To Italy with LoveThis book is a roller-coaster ride. With every story, the plot becomes crazier and more thrilling. The first story is the longest and the most frustrating. I did not like Chrisanne as the love interest and thought Iris deserved way better than her. Hot sex does not equal a functioning relationship. Which brings us to the second Story. When people are having sex surrounded by people they just killed, it's not every sexy to me lol. And then the final story just took me out of the reading experience. I was laughing at how ridiculous the tone was and at the plot itself. But despite all that, I had a great time reading this book. It's totally unique and I'll never forget about it.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

The illustrations just make me love the book even more. Now you have a visual for each and every creature.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Illustrated Edition

Monday, November 20, 2017

Literary Stress

The majority of the next few books were for a conference I attended in October. I was a procrastinator and read them all in a mad rush. But since I'm also crazy, I decided to read other books for my own pleasure which only added to the stress I was feeling.

New Suicide Squad Vol 3: Freedom by Sean Ryan

New Suicide Squad, Volume 3: FreedomI still don't care for Amanda Waller and her motives on anything but she was very entertaining in taking down Vic. She works well with Task Force X because she's like them, doing what she's good at and feeling stuck where she is. They can't go anywhere and neither can she. She's just not behind a prison cell. Harley Quinn continues to have her identity crisis. After the last volume, she doesn't know who she should be and want she wants out of life. It's starting to affect her job performance. I'ma bit sad this series only have four volumes but I'm eager to see how this story arc wraps up.

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel• Zomorod feels like she doesn’t fit in with regular American girls, feels ashamed of her parents (mostly her mother)
• Changed name to Cindy so she wouldn’t stick out as much
• Diverse protagonist
• Cindy never gives up on making friends, eventually succeeds at her new school
• Cindy’s family doesn’t give up on wanting a better life for their daughter

FINALLY I'VE FINISHED THIS DAMN BOOK. I really liked Cindy as a character but I had a hard time completely losing myself in the novel. The short chapters helped keep in intrigued but failed to hold onto my interest. Towards the end of the story, the timeline gets condensed and loses the impact of the family being able to stay in America. I enjoyed the aspect that this was semi autobiographical. It helped make the story all the more real to me.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

• Nimona and Blackheart are at odds with the Institute and how society views
• Blackheart is at odds with the role of villain since he was originally supposed to be a hero
• Goldenloin is at odds with staying away from Blackheart and not viewing him as a friend
• Great artwork, translates well from the web series
• For an older teen audience

Just a great graphic novel for anyone 14 an up. I can see being totally addicted to this as a web series and I'm glad it was turned into a novel. Stevenson left a few questions unanswered but it didn't take away from the reading experience at all. Plus, I listened to some of the audio book and it was freaking epic. It had a full on production so the amazing art wouldn't get lost in the adaptation.

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
I read this all in one day and I think that detracted from my full enjoyment of the experience. Turner tries her hardest to make a historic biography not come across as boring and she succeeded up to a point. The story itself is very dense and doesn't give itself room to breath. I was also hoping for more art to go along with the story. The small amount I did see left me wanting more.

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade


The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth, #1)My original rating was 4 stars but I took one away with my rereading. I didn't find the book as charming as I once did. The characters were still relatable up to a point. I liked the romance between Alona and Will. They played well off of each other. I have no idea where the trilogy could go from here. The relationship has to end when one of them is a ghost. I'm afraid the second book will lose momentum.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Post challenge

I have been high key stressed on reading books for a conference I had signed up for but now that conference has passed. I had a blast and I can't wait to do it again. If you're interested, it was Books for the Beast. Here's the link to the 2017 conference that happened this past Saturday. Some of the books I've reviewed were on the required reading list.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot SeeAfter almost a month of dragging my feet, I've finished this damn book. I did like it, but the subject matter was just a downer to listen to. I knew I'd hear horrible things that would put me in a dark mood. So I only allowed myself to listen a small portion at a time. Marie and Werner are very relatable leads. Even though they were painted into tough corners, especially Werner, I still felt like I could understand their thought process. The book doesn't shy away from the horrid details of war and what most people had actually gone through. So if you are a sensitive reader, I'd avoid this book.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
• Starr is at odds with the expectations from her community and her school
• Starr feels like two people, can’t be herself around private school friends /boyfriend or her black friends
• Starr finds her voice by speaking out against police violence
• Audiobook was very engaging and held my attention the entire time
• Modern classic for teens of today

I didn't realize how much I needed this book in my life. It was so freaking awesome. Starr is a great protagonist; she has one of the most honest voices in YA fiction. The audio book did a great job of sucking me into the story. It did take me a little while to get into it. The younger tone threw me off and made me think I should have been reading the hardcover instead. It was only a small hiccup though and I fell in love with the story. It made me laugh, cry and, damn near have panic attacks. It's a new favorite, for sure.

Assassination Classroom vol 17 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 17 (Assassination Classroom #17)I guess it was inevitable that the story would end up in space? It doesn't even surprise me that Nagisa and Karma are now in a rocket ship heading into outer space as an attempt to save Koro Sensei. After an intense battle between the class, team Save Koro Sensei came out on top. Nagisa vs Karma was a great thing to behold. They both have amazing assassinating skills but Nagisa just has that ruthless edge. I'm not as excited to see how this space expedition will play out. Only so much can happen.

All Different Now by Angela Johnson

As a picture book, the artwork is nice to look at. It's fluid and fits the tone of the story well. Since it's not nonfiction, the story itself doesn't really delve into what Juneteenth is and why it was such a big deal. It does get the message across on how important it was to black people. I'd recommend this book for a younger age group, somewhere between 3-6. It could possibly come with questions from the child but I think they'd just enjoy the flow of the book.

The Library Book by Tom Chaplin

The Library Book
Since the text is actually a song, it's best to read this aloud to the beat or to sing it to children. Reading it as a normal book falls flat. There's a rhythm to it that doesn't translate it reading it aloud. The art is cute and I love the little girl and her glasses. She's so darn cute. I also like this book because it encourages kids to go to the library and that they can have fun there.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

100 BOOKS in 2017

I DID IT. I've read 100 books. My goals used to be a lot higher but with a full time job, I've had less and less time to read for personal pleasure. But with 3 months left, I'll be well over my initial goal by the end of the year.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1• Beautiful art
• T’Challa is king again after a long absence, his people are against him
• He’s finding it difficult to rule and find a balance between justice and serving his people as king
• He wants to stamp out the evil easily but his mother advises him it won’t be
• Aneka and Ayo are not giving up on what they think is right for their country, starting a revolution against T’Challa
• Nonlinear plot lines, hard to tell what is actually happening and the significance of it
• Reads too dense to be enjoyed by a general younger audience

This book fairs a little better than the last one I read for this conference but not by much. T'Challa is the most boring superhero in the comic. He's struggling to keep peace and order in his lands but he's doing a piss poor job of it. The opposing revolutionaries are more interesting but the author fails to expand on their interests and motives. I won't be reading any more volumes so see who comes out on top.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)My original rating for this book was 5 stars but I'm taking a star away. I found Harry and Ron to be very annoying in this book. They ganged up on Hermione more times than I liked. She was struggling so hard this year and was just looking out for her friends and TRYING TO KEEP THEM ALIVE. Plus, I thought it was adorable how her subtle crush towards Ron is showing itself to the reader. 

Another thing I'm noticing is that movie Snape is eons above book Snape. Book Snape is repulsive and awful. I can somewhat relate and sympathize with movie Snape more. I hate him just as much as Harry does. Book Sirius had less time to grow on me than the movie version. But I highly suspect that's because Gary Oldman's sexy ass was portraying him in the film.

The voice actor for the audio book knocked it out of the park again. His voice is so relaxing, even when he's yelling and describing the most stressful and action packed parts of the story. But I'm sad to say I skipped over some of the book towards the end. I grew tired of Lupin's storytelling when I just wanted Pettigrew to die. That scene felt like it went on forever.

Attack on Titan Vol 22 by Hajime Isayama


Attack on Titan, Vol. 22Finally, we get some answers. They're not the answers I was expecting but they felt genuine and not forced. I honestly don't think it's smart for Eren to keep any information to himself about bloodlines and titans. This late in the game, everyone's cards need to be on the table. At least with the people he trusts. After letting Commander Erwin die and choosing Armin to live, Eren should tell him and Mikasa.

Forgotten Bones-Uncovering a Slave Cemetery by Lois Milner Huey 

Forgotten Bones. Uncovering a Slave CemeteryThis is a great book for all ages, not just the younger audience it is intended for. I had heard about the lost cemetery in passing but had never looked into it. This book details each step that the excavation crew went through in order to shed light on who these people were and how they lived. They even hired someone to do facial reconstruction so we could see what they probably looked like. For anyone more interested in archaeologists and lost bones, this is a great read.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

Lucy and Linh• Coming of age story
• Lucy is “at odds” with the new school and her classmates, what they expect from her and who she really is
• Diverse characters
• Written in letter format, Lucy writing to Lihn
• Not a fan of writing style, it takes me out of the story
• Fans of Mean Girls might enjoy the Cabinet (popular girls of the new school)
• Story picks up steam after Lucy is engaging with her new classmates
• Teens can relate to giving into peer pressure
• Lihn is a metaphor for who Lucy was before she got her scholarship, how at ease she was with herself

I was so confused for a while. I didn't realize until the very end the Lihn was not actually a friend of Lucy's. That really took me out of the story itself. I found it hard to enjoy it. The Cabinet is the most interesting aspect of the novel. Reading about how privileged these young girls are and how delusional they are with their self importance made me laugh. I thought about giving this book 4 stars but I wasn't invested in Lucy's journey. She's not very relatable.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Almost there

I am so close to my goal of reading 100 this year. I only have FIVE books left. I used to strive for 150-200 books per year but it started to become a chore. I never want my love of reading to fade. Besides my book club reads and the books I read for conferences, I read only for pleasure.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty GirlsThis genre is such a hard read for me. I always get overly emotional. I was the same way with the Alex Cross books I read. I don't like reading about real life violence, especially towards women. This is a dark book. Claire and Lydia are two estranged sisters that reunite after 20 years when they try to figure out what happened to their long lost big sister; and how Claire's husband plays a role in the mystery.

The author held nothing back. This book is graphic, going into great detail about women being raped and tortured and murdered. Listening to it as an audio book felt like an overload of information to take in. It made it hard to skip the unpleasant parts that were making me uncomfortable. But I stuck through and finished it to the end. The book started to lose me though. I was impatient for the final confrontation and the story just dragging on and on. But the concluding chapter made up for it. It was very sweet and I'm happy that this sad sad story had a somewhat happy ending.

Doctor Strange vol 2: The Last Days of Magic by Jason Aaron

Doctor Strange, Vol. 2: The Last Days of Magic
Shit has really hit the fan in this volume for Doctor Strange. The Empirikul have seemingly killed all magic and now Strange has to try and find any hidden magic in the most dangerous places on Earth. And the monster in the basement has finally gotten loose. Honestly, it's scarier than any of the Empirikul. That thing is definitely going to be an ongoing problem for Strange and anyone that comes across it. I feel that the art has improved tremendously from the first volume. But that's maybe because I have now grown used to it.

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)• Slow beginning, slightly boring
• Kira is a dull protagonist
• At page 111, still waiting for book to become interesting
• Kira is obviously the character “at odds” with everyone around her, being treated like a monster because of her demon hunting abilities
• Very generic storytelling, more geared towards a younger juvenile audience than teens

And that was just me being nice. This book was boring and awful to try and read. It took me forever just to get to the halfway point of the novel. Kira is such a lackluster heroine. I didn't care about her struggles. She barely had any kind of character development and she's the main character. Every one in this book fell flat for me. I didn't connect with any of them. I won't be reading the rest of the trilogy. I don't want to be any more disappointed than I already am with this series.

The Real Mrs. Price by J.D. Mason

The Real Mrs. Price: A thrilling novel of contemporary suspense
I love when I can finish a novel in a day, without feeling like it was a chore. This was such a compelling story. The author did a great job of making me care what each character has to say. I didn't necessarily like everyone but I liked to read the chapters from their POVs. Marlowe is the star of the show; being the character I related to the most. Even with that less than desirable ending, I could understand why she did what she did. Not everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow. I somehow wish this could continue into another novel but the story is definitely finished. How sad for me.

Y The Last Man vol 3: One Small Step

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 3: One Small Step (Y: The Last Man, #3)More and more, this series is growing on me. 355 is still avoiding her feelings, Yorick is still feeling the weight on his shoulders, and mother and daughter have reunited. A lot happened in this volume. The astronauts landed from space but the men died in the crash. But the lone female astronaut survived and she's pregnant with either or both of their babies. So man might still survive after all.