April 2018 – Wrap-Up

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It has been A WHILE since I’ve done a wrap-up post, but April was a really good month of reading so I thought I’d give it another go. I’ve got so many five star reads to tell you about!

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 1.37.17 PMPachinko – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.20.19 AM

I’ve got a full-length review for this one here. In a nutshell, it’s a sprawling multigenerational saga about Korean refugees in Japan during Japan’s colonization of Korea. It’s heavily character driven, and is about parenthood, family, friendship, sacrifice, racism, and perseverance. It’s an incredibly important and beautifully written tome that I’ve added to my list of all-time favorites. I look forward to reading more of Lee’s work.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 2.56.32 PMCirce – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.20.19 AM

I also did a full-length review for this one, which you can read here. Circe is the best book I’ve read this year and another I’ve added to my list of all-time favorites. I’m head over heels in love with Miller’s writing style and have not been able to stop thinking about Circe since I finished it. It is a book I will recommend to any and everyone, but is essential reading for fans of Greek mythology.  This left me with a MASSIVE book hangover.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 8.39.34 PMThe Scarlet Pimpernel – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.24.27 AM

This was my book club’s pick for April. Despite the fact that the synopsis sounded really quite exciting, and the reviews were great, I put it off reading it until the last minute. Set during the Reign of Terror, right after the beginning of the French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel tells the story of an anonymous band of English gentlemen who rescue French aristocrats from being executed by guillotine by smuggling them out of France. The opening chapter drew me right in, but then things got tedious. Chapters 2 and 3 see the introduction of so many new characters I lost track several times, and the dialogue is really off putting. I almost bailed on it, but didn’t want to miss book club so I powered through and I’m glad I did. While it’s not the best or most exciting book I’ve ever read, it was fast-paced and fun and had a sweet romantic element that I was not expecting.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 2.56.48 PMThe Alice Network – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.24.27 AM

I’m always reading a print book and listening to one on audio. The Alice Network was an audio read for me, and I’m so glad for that. The narrator does an incredible job bringing the characters to life and I would have missed out if I had read it myself. The story is written from dual narratives, one set in 1915 during World War I and the other in 1947 in the aftermath of World War II. Quinn focuses on the role women played during both wars and the book has a little bit of everything; spies, intrigue, adventure, charming Scottish men, and romance, and I loved it. I won’t soon forget the story of Eve and Charlie.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 9.07.07 PMChildren of Blood and Bone – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.20.19 AM

I saw this book all over my Instagram feed and was having some serious FOMO, so I bought it on a whim. I started it the day it arrived and did not put it down unless I absolutely had to (work and parenting) for two days. It’s a West-African inspired YA fantasy told from several different perspectives, that to me felt very reminiscent of The Stone Sky series by N.K. Jemisin (which I also loved and you should read it right now if you haven’t already). I cannot remember being this sucked into a YA series since The Hunger Games and I can hardly wait for the second one to come out. It has all the elements you would expect from a YA fantasy; adventure, magic, angsty romance, bad ass heroines and action, but it also has a diverse cast of characters and a focus on race and prejudice. This one absolutely lives up to the hype. My only complaint is the wait until the second installment.

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The City of Brass – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.20.19 AM

From the moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to have it and was ecstatic to see it as a Book of the Month selection. Despite having a print copy, I ended up listening to the audio version, and once again am so glad that I did because the narrator does an impressive job and it was helpful with the pronunciation of names and places. The City of Brass is a complex fantasy set in the Middle East, full of magic, lush world building and fast-paced adventure. It was a lot more political than I anticipated, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. This is the first in a trilogy and ends on a massive cliff-hanger so read at your own risk.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 10.22.44 PMThe Song of Achilles – Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.20.19 AM

Last, but certainly not least is, The Song of Achilles. The minute I finished Circe, I went online and ordered this one. Thanks to Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, I was able to read this in a single sitting. This is Miller’s debut and tells the story of Achilles and Patroclus, the true story, not the Hollywood version with Brad Pitt. I was enamored once again with her writing and got lost in this tale of love and friendship. Obviously, the end of this story has already been written, so I ultimately knew what to expect, but I still cried my eyes out. I loved this one just as much as Circe, but it left me with an ache in my heart. Despite that, it’s one that shouldn’t be missed.

If you’ve read any of these let me know. Did you guys read anything good in April that you want to recommend?

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September 2017 Wrap-Up

Ahhhhh, it’s FINALLY October! Fall has arrived, and it is unquestionably the best time of the year. Even in Texas, where it’s still seventh circle of hell level hot, I cannot help but be excited about the coming months. But this post is about September, otherwise known around these parts as, “August”, because the weather is still unbearable, the leaves do not change, and we don’t start wearing sweaters until at least November.

September was a pretty average month for reading, totaling out at 9 books completed. There was a whole lot going on at work and at home last month always, so over half of my reading was accomplished through audio books, plus two graphic novels, and two print.

I absolutely loved The Wolf Road and Saga, which I’ve linked my reviews to here. Some of my other favorites from the month were…

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.25.35 PM.pngCinder (Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles) is quite possibly the coolest retelling of Cinderella that I’ve ever read. I was quite smitten with Geekerella, which I read earlier this year, but Cinder spoke to the even geekier, scifi loving parts of my brain. In Meyer’s version, Cinderella is a cyborg who lives in a futuristic city known as New Beijing. There are robots, handsome emperors, a terrifying plague with no known cure, and deep rooted tensions with the race of beings that now live on the moon. SO. MUCH. FUN. I listed to the audio version, and Rebecca Soler did an amazing job as always.

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.25.59 PMThe Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was another audio read. I absolutely fell in love with this story from page one. Percy and Monty have a sweet, tender, playful, slow burn of a love story. There are highway robberies, pirates, hidden passages in sinking islands, and so much more. While being light and fun, the book also touched on more serious topics like family expectation and dysfunction, abuse, and finding your own path in life. Mackenzi Lee is one of my new favorite authors, and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.25.46 PMI initially downloaded Young Jane Young because I was waiting for my hold of Cress (Book 3 of the Lunar Chronicles) to come through. I had read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and really enjoyed it, so I figured I’d give this one a shot and I was not disappointed. While it’s not the best or most exciting book I’ve ever read, it was fun and compelling, and entertaining. Young Jane Young tells the story of Aviva Grossman, a young intern who has an illicit affair with the congressman whose campaign she is working for. The affair comes to light, makes national news, and her reputation, and eventually her life, are utterly destroyed. Rather that admit defeat, Aviva regains control of the situation and makes a new life for herself. The book is told in several parts, each from a different point of view. My favorite is the part told from her daughter’s perspective, as it’s written entirely in the form of (hilarious) emails to her overseas pen pal. This is the book that surprised me the most this month, based on how much I enjoyed it.

The whole line up….

 

Stardust –  4 crowns

Saga Volume 6 – 5 crowns

Saga Volume 7 – 4 crowns

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – 5 crowns

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – 4 crowns

Cinder – 5 crowns

The Wolf Road – 5 crowns

Scarlet – 4 crowns

Young Jane Young – 4 crowns

August 2017 Wrap-Up

I’m posting this a day early because I’m having one of those sort of unicorn days where I have lots of energy and finished all of my work and chores before 9PM, AND all of the kids are in bed. This legitimately never happens so I’m going to take advantage and tell you about all of the wonderful things I read this month. August was a fantastic month for reading, and unless I finish any more books this evening (which could TOTALLY happen because of said energy and extra time), I’ll have read 15 in total. This was a mix of print and audio as always, but for the first time ever, I’ve also incorporated some graphic novels.

Some of my favorites this month were….

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I’ve already expressed my undying love and devotion here, but I just want to call it out again. The Tearling series is seriously so mind-blowingly good and you should read it and tell all of your friends to read it too. Also, Emma Watson is making a movie out of it, and if that’s not reason enough to get into it now, I just don’t know what is.

 

 

 

61p34qsqgmL._AA300_Neil Gaiman is one of my all-time favorite writers. I’ve loved everything of his that I’ve ever read or listened to (because his voice is just magical) and based on what I know, he seems like a truly awesome person. The View From the Cheap Seats is a collection of his non fiction works, including forwards, speeches, articles and essays. I listened to the audio version, which is read by Neil himself, and it was just so good. He talks a lot about his childhood and the role that books played in his life and it was all just brain candy for me. If you’re a fan, I definitely recommend this one.

 

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I’ve discovered graphic novels and my life may never be the same. I have a whole lot of things I’d like to say about the Saga series, so definitely plan on seeing a review go up as soon as I finish the last few volumes. For now, I just want to call it out and recommend it with great enthusiasm. It’s definitely strange and full of a lot of graphic violence, which isn’t everyone’s bag, but the story is enthralling and the art is absolutely gorgeous.

 

 

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Exit West is one of the most unique and beautiful reading experiences I’ve had in a very long time. I went in knowing almost nothing about it, which I think is the way to go. With that being said, I will not elaborate on why I love it, but know that I recommend it highly, especially in our current climate. On the surface, it tells the story of two lovers in the midst of war, but in Hamid’s capable hands, you’ll find it’s about so much more than that. Check this one out but prepare yourself to feel ALL OF THE FEELS.

 

 

I feel like I could call out basically everything I read this month, as I enjoyed it all so much. Here’s the whole lineup with my ratings if you’re so inclined…

 

Free to Learn – 5 crowns

Heartless – 4 crowns

The Fate of the Tearling – 5 crowns

Eliza and Her Monsters – 4 crowns

A Twist in Time – 4 crowns

Goodbye, Vitamin – 4 crowns

Saga Volume 1 – 4 crowns

The View From the Cheap Seats – 5 crowns

Night of Cake and Puppets – 4 crowns

Exit West – 4 crowns

Rabbit Cake – 4 crowns

Afterlife – 4 crowns

Saga Volume 2 – 5 crowns

Saga Volume 3 – 5 crowns

Saga Volume 4 – 5 crowns

Happy Reading, everyone! If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you think!