Book Reviews, Reading, StephReads2018

The Astonishing Colour of After Review

It’s a truth that if you want to get me to read and love your book you need to have

1-an amazing cover

2- some sort of magical realism or fantasy (hopefully with dragons)

cat- really really good characters.

The Astonishing Colour of After has almost all of those things that I need. (Well, minus the dragons, but there’s definitely some magic involved!)

 

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First let’s just adore the cover of this book. It’s so pretty! (And the spine!!) I ordered the U.K. edition because I fell in love with the cover and because it was a floppy paperback, which if any of you know, is my all time favorite type of book.

Now…here’s the thing, this is going to be a non-spoilery review, though that being said while this seems like a wonderful and beautiful story, this deals with a lot of heavy topics such as depression and suicide. (This is not a spoiler, this is literally on the back of the book in the synopsis)

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So, first impression: This book is huge. I don’t know what the page count is for the US edition but my edition clocks in at 460 pages, which is slightly daunting.

This story starts with the suicide of Leigh’s mother and starts in the present tense, and then flashes back to when her mother was alive and back again. It’s slightly confusing though I noticed about half-way through the book that the chapters actually say which part it is. (Which was super helpful) But coming on the heels of this tragedy, Leigh’s dad decides they both need to go to Taiwan to meet up with the grandparents that Leigh never knew about. Leigh not only is having a hard time with the death of her mom, but also feeling some guilt about liking and kissing her best friend Axel, and she decides not to tell him that she’s going to Taiwan at all.

Instead of me just raving and going in circles, I’m going to point out some things that I just didn’t care for or that should have been caught during editing, and also some things that I loved.

Things that needed a bit of work:

-The cast of characters. Look I understand that we get the main character’s pov, and I understand that we need her pov, but the problem was that most of the other characters that interacted with her; her grandparents, her dad and even Axel, were sometimes flat and uninteresting. They didn’t really seem to have a purpose. I do have to say that they started to get more fleshed out towards the end of the book, but for the majority of this book I didn’t feel like we should care about them.

-the length. Did I mention that this was over 400 pages? This is not usually a bad thing but I felt like there was a section in the center that could have been scraped or tighter edited and wouldn’t have changed anything about this story.

Now to things that I loved:

-I loved the idea of Leigh and Axel having a colour moment. When things got weird or different, their first question to each other was “What Colour?” and they would explain the colours. Leigh also did this while describing things and emotions in Taiwan and it made me really happy because that’s kind of how I like to explain things, certain colours make me so happy.

-The setting! Oh my word, I’ve never been to Taiwan but reading this book was like I’ve been there. She describes the food and the way she felt and I just felt like I was seeing it all brilliantly displayed.

-The magical realism part. Ok, so this is where it gets a bit weird. Leigh is convinced beyond everything that her mom has turned into a bird. A big red bird. And she keeps seeing this bird everywhere. There’s also some interesting moments with incense and charcoal and memories but I’m not going to get into those. Also there was a slight twist at the end, which I kinda guessed but not fully, which is great!

Overall: even though there were a few difficulties and it was a pretty dense book- I liked it. I gave it 4.25 stars rating, and am pretty sure that I will pick this one up again because there was so much involved in it.

I do want to say, Emily X.R. Pan does not sugar coat what it’s like living with someone with deep depression/suicidal tendencies. This is not a happy book, but it’s a very real very honest book about these dark topics (and I did laugh quite a few times through out this because there were lighter moments) but warning you, if you think it might be too much, don’t read it.

I think for a debut it was wonderful and perfectly delightful. The lyrical writing reminded me of Laini Taylor and I read it in one night, so it’s pretty addictive.

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Synopsis

-When Leigh’s mother dies by suicide she leaves only a scribbled note–I want you to remember. Leigh doesn’t understand its meaning and wishes she could turn to her best friend, Axel, if only she hadn’t kissed him and changed everything between them. Guided by a mysterious red bird, Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents for the first time. There, Leigh retreats into art and memories, where colours collide, the rules of reality are broken and the ghosts of the past refuse to rest…but Leigh is determined to unlock her family’s secrets, to remember.

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Happy reading you wonderful book dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!!

~Always reading~

Stephanie

(originally published as a guest post on thatbookgal.wordpress.com )

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StephReads2018, Weekly Wrap Up

April 8-14 wrap up!

Hello booknerds!

So after I did the first weekly wrap-up, I unintentionally went on a slight hiatus. If you didn’t know, I ended up moving on the last week of April and basically the whole month of April was spent either stress eating or packing everything that didn’t move. To say I don’t deal well with change would be a very big understatement.

Anyways, I finally am in my new place, mostly unpacked (alright all of my books are unpacked but I still do have quite a few of my breakables packed away…but hey my books are out so that’s all that matters!) And now I’m going to try and catch up with everything, including posting on here and my bookstagram which was totally ignored for the last month because it’s kinda hard to post pictures of your books when you’ve packed everything :).

Books Read: 4

Pages Read: 1,443

 

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Book 1: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (mine)

Plot Summery: This follows James who is fresh out of veterinarian school and in his new apprenticeship in the early ’50’s-’60’s, and follows his many escapades and hilarious moments.

I actually am counting this as a new read not a reread as it probably should be, but considering I read this when I was like 12, and I couldn’t remember anything about it, except for the fact that he was a vet, I’m saying it’s new, besides my blog, my rules (lol)

I enjoyed this book, and felt that even though it was a pretty hefty book, it read rather fast.

Rating: 4 Stars.

 

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Book 2: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron (library)

Plot Summery: This follows a young boy who learns about the secret society of the “dead books” and one book that seemingly everyone wants, but that he’s been charged with protecting.

Ok….for the first 150 pages I absolutely LOVED this book. There was so much intrigue and promise and mystery that I found myself devouring this book and thinking that it would be one of my new favorites…however…after that first 150 pages, it’s almost like the author forgot what he was writing about. All character development, all intrigue, everything suddenly went by the wayside and we followed the bland main character who fell in love and then couldn’t be interesting if he tried. (I can’t even remember the MC’s name because that’s how little impact he made on me) All the women were merely used as a plot point for the MC to get information and when they were done, well they were done…literally. I trudged through this because it marked off one of my goals of reading 10 books that were translated but it wasn’t worth it at all.

Rating: 2 Stars

 

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Book 3: Emily the Strange: The Lost Days (MG/Library)

Plot Summery: ….let’s just say….amnesia, cats, earwig, doppelgangers, black, night owl, traveling, vw bus, bland town, mesmerism, coffee shop, Raven, weird….

I rather enjoyed this MG book, it had a sufficient Addams’ Family vibe and I was here for that! I did enjoy Emily though there was sometimes when she was a bit high and mighty, but I felt it was well done. It was also a great palate cleanser from the mess that the shadow of the wind was so this worked well.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

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Book 4: Curious Faith (mine/reread)

Plot Summery: Non-fiction Christian book about not putting God in a box, and how when we approach with wonder, instead of rules and restrictions and limits, we can actually give God room to work in our lives (even if it comes out not how we expect)

This was a reread for me. I love to reread books, especially non-fiction books because I feel like it really solidifies what the book is talking about and helps me remember it more. I enjoyed reading this again because the last time I read it was about January 2017.

Rating: 4.5 Stars.

 

So that’s all that I read that week. Hopefully I can get all these scheduled and cranked out so that I can catch up reasonably soon. (I doubt that but hey, I’m hopeful!)

Happy reading book nerds, and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!!

~Always Reading!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, monthly wrap up, Reading

November Wrap-Up!!

So…it’s actually December. Which is funny because on one hand I’m already starting to plan my January TBR and my 2018 bookish goals, but at the same time is slightly scary because Oh MY WORD THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER AND I HAVE SO MUCH LEFT TO DO!!

And yet the universe is not listening to my cries of despair or my pleas for a TARDIS, so I guess the next best thing is to talk about the books that I read this past month. Yes, good plan! (kinda.)

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Somehow I managed to read 15 books this month, which considering my goal was 10, I am glad I read more then I thought. (Never mind the fact that I completely failed NaNoWriMo, I read more than I thought! Gold star for me!)

~Stats~

New (to me) : fourteen

Reread: one

From my personal library: four (three new, one reread)

Ones from the library I might buy: two, possibility three.

~The Great~ (4.25 stars and above)

I have been kinda strict about handing out 5 star ratings lately. And yet somehow this month I managed to read THREE 5 star books! I feel like the balance has been restored somehow in the universe! The 5 star books I read were: Dance, Stand, Run; Every bitter thing is sweet; and the Last Namsara.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Harry Potter both got a 4.25 star rating from me.

All these good books were spread out through out the whole month, which was kinda nice so I wasn’t thrown from one awesome book to another, but it was also kinda hard because I felt like my reading switched sides so many times- from really incredible books to books that were just…meh… and that’s hard to have those ranges in emotions so quickly.

 

~ The Really Good ~ (3 to 4 stars)

The Disappearances and  Real Artists Don’t Starve both got a solid 4 star rating, very well done.

Out of the Silent Planet and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies both got a 3.5 star rating. I thought they were both well written and highly creative *(side note: I finally saw P&P&Z movie and it was absolutely hilarious, just saying)*

Wild Bird and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole were both a solid 3 star. Wild bird was actually sitting at about a 2 star but the character arc that happened towards the end pushed it up a full star. And the Black Hole was a really good book about grief and how to grieve for kids (it was a mg), highly recommend if a kid you know is going through a rough patch.

 

~ The Meh~ (Below a 3 star rating)

 

Man…I had such high hopes for all these books. But sadly, not a single one of them lived up to my expectations. On the bright side, I didn’t buy any of these, so I didn’t waste my money at all, just time and driving from the library. 🙂

I had heard so many good things about the Sculptor, but I felt like it was just boring, bleh and pretty narcissistic. I felt like it might have done better if maybe it was written more coherently or maybe from a different angle? The art was…pretty good…I guess? (It was a graphic novel.)

Refrigerator Monologues was one I had heard was like “anti” super heroes and about the girls saving the day…which was so not true it’s not even funny. It’s actually a collection of short stories all woven together, and they were without a doubt- boring, repetitive and depressing. I was prepared for a “strong girls kick butt” story, not several monologues about how the men were disappointing or didn’t save them or whatever. I really wasn’t paying attention towards the end, and I was mainly disappointed because I love this author’s previous works.

See what I have done was portrayed to me as a grisly account of what Lizzie Borden did to her dad and stepdad (Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her father forty whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her mother 41) but in truth, it was told confusingly, had extremely graphic portrayals of vomit and rotting meat (so. much. disgusting. awful. descriptions of this) and was so very boring. How you can manage to make a narrative of a case that was never actually solved, where Lizzie not only went to prison but then was allowed to go free in a case where people still aren’t sure if she did it or not; and turn it into one of the most boring and disgusting books ever, I’m not sure. But seriously, don’t read this while eating. In fact, just don’t eat while reading this book, you’ll thank me if you decide to read this.

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Anyways, how was your month of reading? Did y’all get to any that you wanted to or any that were high on your list? What books were some disappointments for you? Let me know below!

~Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

June Wrap-up (otherwise known as I read HOW MANY books?)

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June was a weird month for me. Not because I didn’t do any reading (oh I did reading lads, lots of reading) but because I was dog-sitting at about 3 different places, making me only home for about 3 days in the past 3 weeks. Which isn’t bad, except when you have to come home, repack books and head back out. I’m finally home now, sitting in front of my lovely overstuffed shelves and thinking about how many books that I read over June.

I read a grand total of 27 books. Which is great! Until I look closer at my huge TBR mountain and realize that of that 27, 6 were from my personal shelves, and 3 were rereads. So technically while all the rest of them were from the library, I only managed to make 3 books off my physical TBR go onto my “Hallelujah, I read that book” shelf!

But at least I was reading, and I did save some money because I was at the library all the time. But that’s a different story for a different day! 🙂

Now, to the books!

The Best books I read in June (4-5 star rating)

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Can you be a LoTR fan and not have read this? I finally read it, and I really enjoyed it, though I feel like the LoTR and the Hobbit are tighter and more cohesive, I did enjoy it quite a bit, and I can finally say that I have read it!)
  • Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston (this was so close to being a full 5 star rating, it got a 4.75 star from me. It was so good, a reimaging of Pride and Prejudice, but if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal. I loved it and thought it was very well done, I didn’t like a few things which is why it wasn’t a solid 5 star, but if you like Pride and Prejudice, be sure to pick it up!)
  • The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers (Road trip in space with what felt like the crew of the Serenity. I loved this book, it was a solid 4 star from me again)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (I read this in high school and let’s be real dude, I hated this book. But decided this year that I was going to reread some of the classics that people seemed to love and this made the list. I actually really enjoyed it, however I can understand why I didn’t like it when I was in school. But reading for pleasure and reading for a grade are 2 totally different things)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandyha Menon. (Super cute book, I gave it a 4 star, it was super adorkable and sweet but it didn’t really blow me out of the water. It was honestly like a Hallmark movie but in book form, you knew they were going to get together and the fun was watching how they did.)
  • Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Retelling of Sherlock as the boy next door. Plus it was written by an Australian author, and I don’t know about you, but even if people don’t let me know it’s from ‘Stralia, I can tell, they have a very brash tone. Anyways, it was cute and gory and sweet…and yes there was murder and it’s quite nice, solid 4 stars)
  • All your worth by Elizabeth Warren (one of the better finance books I’ve read, and trust me I’ve read a lot of them, but this one made so much sense and I really enjoyed it)
  • The book whisperer by Donalyn Miller (this is a book that a lot of teachers use to understand/mimic how to teach kids to love reading. This was a lot of good points, not just for teachers but I would strongly say that if you have kids, this would be a good book for you too, or really any reader.)

 

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Books that were meh (3-3.75 star rating)

  • Nikola Telsa: A spark of Genius by Carl Dommeruth-Costa. (This was an interesting book, and since I really didn’t know much about Tesla it was good knowledge but it was a bit dry in the middle, mainly when it was talking about the science behind a lot of his experiments, still good to read though)
  • Make your bed by Admiral William McRaven (Don’t get me wrong, this was a decent book, but because it came from a rousing graduation speech, that is pretty much the feel you get through the whole book. And it was interesting, especially the Hell Week part, but for the most part I flew through this book quickly and it didn’t make too much of an impact on me)
  • Frogkisser by Garth Nix (retelling of the frog princess, sounds great, but in reality it felt too cobbled together, didn’t have much of a plot and seemed more MG then YA. It was still a decent read, but I think that had there been some more editing and lengthening of the story and plot, it would have been better)
  • The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (disclaimer, this did get a 3.75 but I’ve heard that the other books in this series are much better. I enjoyed this one but even though it was fast paced and quick on the draw, it kinda forget some things, like introductions…world building….that sort of thing. And some of the stuff, hopefully will make sense when I read the sequel, but it didn’t make sense when I was reading it. I will be picking up the sequel though, cause I’m curious to see how it goes)
  • The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (so it was….weird….and different…and I feel like if it had been a bit longer I would have liked it more, but it just kinda dropped you into this story, but then was so open-ended at the ending…it wasn’t for me. I know lots of people who loved it, but I wasn’t one of them.)
  • The incredible adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil (I had so many high hopes for this book, but sadly it just didn’t live up to my hype. It was interesting but it…just felt like it dragged on and on without any real point?)

 

The books I wish I hadn’t read (1-2 stars)

  • The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (Did you know that Danes are the best at being comfortable? Well if you didn’t, you will by the end of this insufferable, blowhard book which basically told me nothing new except that I now have a newfound hatred for the word Hygge. It was so not worth a read at all)
  • The zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman (maybe if the wife of the zookeeper was done more in first person, rather then third; maybe if she showed more empathy towards the humans hiding from death and concentration camps then feeling bad for the animals; and maybe if we got it in a more linear way, I would have liked it more. But we didn’t, so I didn’t.)
  • Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven (I was really hoping that I would like this one, I heard so many rave reviews, I was hoping that I would fall in love with this book, but sadly it was not to be. I didn’t like one of the main characters, had such a hard time liking even the writing style and …ugh…nope. not for me)
  • The Anatomical shape of a heart by Jenn Bennett (published under the title Night Owls for the UK….and I am a sad little melon of discontent cause I WANTED to like this book but seriously, it was not to be. Girl on girl hate, double-standards and manic pixie dream boy…not my cuppa to be honest.)
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner (black sheep opinion y’all, I had such a hard time with this book and I really wanted to like it. I love BatB and was really hoping that this book would be awesome but sadly it is a nope. I felt like there was very little character growth, I was MASSIVELY confused by the “twist” at the end and I just…I don’t care for it)
  • We were liars by E. Lockhart (I thought this was a pretty interesting book but the main reason I didn’t end up liking it was the tone throughout the whole book. Rich snobs and money and nah bro I’m good)
  • Books for living by Will Schwalbe (Nope. memoir disguised as a book about books which I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want. Also the tone of this “author” was pretentious, snobbish and downright rude. Hard pass)
  • Jane Austen: A life by Claire Tomalin (Y’all know I’m nuts about Jane Austen, and so I have a tendency to get books about her, and this one….was…so….BORING. Like it was about everyone else BUT Jane. And dry. And sleep inducing. And boring. pass)
  • The Assistants by Camille Perri (I love when I go into a book with little to no expectations and when I finish I think “That pretty much played out about how I thought it would” and this was one of those books. I think I would have liked it more had the characters been a bit more fleshed out…and if we possibly got a different view then the MC, who I can’t even remember right now. )

 

Books I reread:

  • Radical by David Platt
  • Restless by Jeannie Allen
  • Pride and Prejudice audiobook read by Rosamund Pike
  • breaking free by Beth Moore

 

So that’s what I read this month. There were a surprising amount of books I didn’t care for, whereas I feel like in May I had more books I liked. But this is the burden of being a reader, some months you get amazing results and others, you limp by and hope that the next month you do better.

Have a great day Dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books (apparently that’s what I was here for this month!)

Cheers!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

Top Ten Best books I’ve read this year (so far)

Today I’m linking up with the Top Ten Tuesday post from Jamie over at the broke and the bookish (you can check her post here) and the prompt is the best books that we have read this year, so far.

Um, somehow it’s already the middle of the year? When precisely did that happen, because I sure didn’t sign up for my year to be almost over, especially when I think of all the books I’ve yet to read.

I actually thought that this prompt would be easy to do, but even with all the books that I’ve read so far this year, I seem to have a shocking low number of books that were so impressive that they earned a 5 star. But Ce’st Le Vie, we go on. These are in no order at all, nor are they all ones that are brand new (I’m good but darling I’m not that good), they might have been from years ago, but they are new to me, so that’s all that matters.

Now to the lists!

1- Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey. This is a Regency era romance, with snark and laughter and I loved it. This is by the same author who wrote Love, Lies and Spies, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one (it’s not a sequel, perhaps it might be considered a companion novel?)

 Synopsis:  Lydia is trying to have her life go to plan, which means getting hitched to the man her late father prepared. However, her life goes off track when she, and her new law clerk Robert, are kidnapped. Now she has to escape, save her reputation and just possibly fall in love? Oh dear. 

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2-The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis. MG. This is about a snarky dragon who gets transformed into a girl. And a very snarly girl at that. And there’s chocolate and snark and sass and dragons and I absolutely fell in love with this and with the writing! I loved it! (Also snark, sass, dragons and chocolate? It’s like the universe said I needed a book just for me and made it) It’s fantastic.

 

3-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I am a sad little melon ball that it took me until THIS YEAR to actually read this book. Because I know for a fact had I read it back when it came out, I would have pushed it on every single person that I know. And ones I didn’t. I have never known a book that was so obsessed with books and love of reading and it’s just amazing. (Also bad reader confession, I actually saw the movie first, had absolutely NO CLUE this was a book and loved the movie….now that I’ve read the book, I want to go and read all of the series) This sadly was a library book so I couldn’t keep it, but I’m probably going to be getting the U.K. cover set soon, because now I must read the whole thing.

 

4-The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led Revels there by Catherynne M. Valente. MG Actually this whole series is pretty much fantastic and super under-rated. I feel like hardly anyone knows about it, even though it has some essential and wonderful things, like snark, sass, a Wyvern (book loving dragon) and a very strong female character. I only had heard of this series in December and this has quickly grown into one of my favorite series.

5- The Finishing School quartet by Gail Carriger. Ok, So I know it’s only supposed to be one book but honestly this quartet is just filled with complete awesome and I love it. Again this is a very under-rated series, I didn’t even know what it was called until I got to the last one. It revolves around a finishing school that is not exactly what it appears, instead of tutoring young women how to find wealthy husbands, it instead tutors them in how to survive the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, steampunk, rich friendships and snark and sass….it made my day to find this series. I’ve started recommending it to everyone who likes steampunk/alternate history.

6-Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston. An alternate retelling of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth accepts Darcy with his first proposal, instead of giving him a proper venting. It is one of my favorite retellings, because it really does feel like Jane herself could have written it. I loved reading it, and was on pins and needles at some points, even though I knew what would happen! Don’t get discouraged by the rather hideous cover though, it’s still worth it.

7-The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers. Road trip, with aliens, in space. Pretty much sums it up. I personally loved this book and thought it was so complex and different and brilliant. How the aliens observed the humans so reminded me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which is one of the few books I like that is a sci-fi book) and there was so much snark and sass and diversity and it was great! (*Side note: it is not an epic space battle book, it literally is a road trip book but it’s still really great because the characters have so much depth and grit….I love them)

8-Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee. This was an amazing book. Dealing with a young Chinese girl, her parents and their expectations of her life, and the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco. It explored racism, friendship and what expectations/ideals parents might put on you, but that you sometimes have to go find your own path. I highly recommend this book, also because it surprised me. I knew it would be good, but I didn’t realize how good.

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9-The Color Project by Sierra Abrams. Ok so this is slightly cheating as it’s not out until July, but I got an ARC of this and I read it and fell in love with Levi and Bee and everyone. This is a book that is about learning to trust when you have been failed, learning to love outside your plan and being 100% exactly who you are. I loved it so very much (in fact, you can check out my entire squee-like review here if you want to) but seriously, go preorder this book, you won’t regret it.

10-The burning page by Genevieve Cogman. This is the third in the Invisible Library series, and this book was fantastic. The Invisible Library series deals with parallel worlds, dragons (yay!), snark, sass, kickin’ Librarians who are the guardians of the worlds, books, vampires and some romance. I honestly got into this series because of the cover, but the cover is just a small part of how awesome this series is. Please go check it out, you won’t regret it.

So that’s my list of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  There are quite a few new books that are on my radar that aren’t here yet, or even out in the world yet, but I can’t wait for them (short list includes The Dire King*, Retribution Rails, Wonder Woman, and so many others!) 2017 has been (so far) a great year for books, and I hope that it gets even better.

*Oh look, I almost made it through one post without mentioning my absolute love for the Jackaby series….and then I failed….oh well.

What were some of your best books this year? What books should I add to my list to check out? What is one of your favorites?

Happy reading Dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

My marvelous May wrap-up

Ok, so this is slightly late, but at least it’s not in the end of say June where I’m talking about the books that I finished in May. Priorities y’all. 🙂

Seriously though, I somehow got through 26 books in May.

I really don’t know how, perhaps witchcraft was involved because let’s be real, May was a crazy month for me. I had stuff happening every weekend, my birthday happened and Memorial Day, where I didn’t do anything but dog sit. So yeah, I’m as shocked as you to learn how many books I actually read this time around.

Out of all the books, they are separated into pretty much 2/3 categories,  new/library and rereads. I try to reread quite a few books each time, not that it helps me to conquer my TBR monster but hey, it makes me happy. The problem I’m finding is because I’m a mood reader, when I have a huge stack of library books around I need to tell myself that I’m in the mood to read such and such book. Which sometimes works, and sometime I have to renew them so that I can get them done.

So I read 18 new books and 7 rereads this past month. Of those 18 new books 15 of those were from the library. Which means I really only read 3 books that were brand new to me and were off my TBR. Which means that if I continue this rate of reading, I will read all the books in the library but yet I will still have a TBR that crushes me to death. I might have to work on this for this month.

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My 5-4 star reads this month

In May I managed to finish the Finishing School (haha lame pun I know) series by Gail Carriger. I had previously read her adult book and didn’t care for it, but the finishing school series worked really well for me. I felt like there was a ton of snark and sass, along with evil genius’, were-wolves, vampires and of course how to be a spy while still being a lady. The whole series is 4 books long and I rated it a collective 4.5 stars for the whole thing, (and all the books pretty much got a 4 star rating, or even a 4.5 rating) I strongly think it’s worth a read. (I got them from the library but I’m probably going to be picking them up in the next couple of months because they were so good)

I also got an ARC of The Color Project, and let’s be real, I geeked out over this book! You can read my whole review here The Color Project

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I also read The Careful Undressing of Love, which to be honest is a strange magical book which I quickly got involved in and really liked. I gave it a 4 stars, it had strange and beautiful writing, and I really liked it. (I will state though there is some bedroom times, not very graphic but they are there so just so you are aware.)

Other 4-5 Star books

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (reread)
  • Grace for the good girl by Emily P. Freeman (reread)
  • God is Able by Priscilla Shirer (reread)
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reread)
  • The Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson (reread)
  • Let me be a woman by Elisabeth Elliot (reread)
  • Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (reread)

 

3-4 star books

  • The only Necessary thing by Henri Nouwen (basically a rehash of many of his books, not really a fan)
  • Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg (the tone was so much talking down to people that I could barely stand it)
  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (I really really really had a problem with how the MC treated her friend, I loved it up till that point which is why it’s only as a 3)
  • Until we meet again by Renee Collins (science and logic took a break with this book though it was semi-squishable, the fact that nothing was really explained made me unhappy)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (I kinda had a problem with this, mainly with the portrayal of the adults and such. Granted I wasn’t the intended audience but still…wasn’t great)

 

Major disappointments

  • The Assassin’s Curse/The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Man I had such high hopes for this duology but in all aspects it failed and failed miserably. The first book was pretty decent, but both of them had a tendency to drag on and on and on, even though they both were small books, it felt like they had been going on forever. I was not pleased)
  • The life changing magic of cleaning up by Marie Kondo (this one had some good points but on the whole, not worth my time. The only redeeming factor? It was a quick, easy read.)
  • The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis (ugh. rich snobs who share a necklace that cost more than my car. Not a fan)

 

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So that’s what I read this past month. I actually did read quite a few books that were really amazing and some that missed the mark. As always, what I don’t like is just my opinion. If y’all like it, or want to try it, please do! What works for me might not work for you.

That being said, have you read any of the ones I listed up there? What were you’re thoughts? Did you disagree with any of my ratings? Let me know below (courteously of course)

Have an awesome day Dragons!

And remember Life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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Books, Reading, Uncategorized

The Color project review (cue all the feels y’all)

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Every booknerd I know has “a list” of books they cannot wait to have in their hands, to cry over and love and basically recommend to ALL THEIR FRIENDS, and I am no different. My list was relatively short, and there were smatterings of different genres and one of the most anticipated reads was The Color Project written by Sierra Abrams.

I randomly got an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) at the beginning of May and sat down and read it in one sitting. Like I was so engrossed in this book and the story that I didn’t even put it down while I was making dinner (which is why that day I had very sad tacos consisting of tortillas, one piece of chicken, no sour cream or cheese and hot sauce on only one of them)

This book is pure 100% perfection. But of course I can’t just state that and expect y’all to go and get it (though you should) so I shall show you some lists of what I absolutely loved in this book! (because lists convince everyone, general fact.)

Can we first just talk about how ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS the cover is? The design and color and it’s just so pretty!! I honestly want to take ALL THE PHOTOS with this book because it is just so pretty!

-I adored Levi. He is precious and wonderful and real, no 2d romance trope for him. He is driven, having started The Color Project and loves to be goofy and just…. *Swoon* seriously, some of the girls who have already read this have been like “He’s mine” and I hate to tell them, but Levi is so totally mine it’s not even funny.

-Bee. Oh my gosh she is just a sweet little bundle of anxiety and worry and I LOVED reading about a character who actually had trouble stating what they were feeling. She is snarky and fearful but at the same time, she’s the person you root for. She does this thing where she will say something and then she will think “WHAT AM I DOING?’ and I relate to that so much y’all.

-Gretchen. Oh I’m Gretchen. I love her with her positive upbeatness and the things she says randomly and just…I now need a spin off story with Gretchen and what she is doing and a love story of her own (hint, hint Sierra)

It would take forever and a day to go through all the wonderful characters that I fell in love with so let me just stop there and start with some of the other things that I loved!

-Characterization: You guys know when you get into a book and realize that the plot is the only thing that you like because none of the characters are redeeming? NOT IN THIS BOOK!! Y’all, all of these characters are fleshed out and full dimension. They actually have side lives and laughs and different personalities and that is so wonderful to read about.

-Families. There are so many positive families in this book and I just loved them all! The Wescotts with their cute parent’s romance and the older brother and younger sisters, the single mom, and even the crew at TCP: and the best thing is that they ACTED like normal families, like the teasing and annoying habits but at the end of the day they loved each other and that was good. You can definitely tell that Sierra comes from a bigger family because how she treats her creations of family they are spot on! (Especially coming from someone who was older of 2 girls)

-The Feels. I won’t say much about this but one thing: THIS IS A KISSING BOOK AND I APPROVE! Seriously I kept telling Levi and Bee to kiss already because the feels are so real and wonderful in this book. Also, there may or may not have been some ugly crying. Just as a forewarning.

So as a wrap up (though I could go for quite a long time gushing about this book) if you are fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord you need to get this book. Sierra’s writing is phenomenal and does not sound like a debut novel. You need this book. Sadly it doesn’t come out till July but preorders are available (the links are down below for both the e-book and regular)

Favorite quotes:

-I was light and stardust in his hands.

-There is darkness but in that darkness are a million pinpricks of light and they are all shining at me.

-You should be doing all the things that will make you happy if the world does end tomorrow.

Synopsis: 

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing that she doesn’t want anyone to know, her name. 

That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project. 

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giver up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her. 

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project–a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds–is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that has ever happened to her.

 

This book is incredible. I am so happy that it actually exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait for it to be out in the world for everyone to enjoy! Now if you’ll excuse me, writing about this book has made me realize I really need to reread The Color Project again.

Happy Reading Dragons!

~Stephanie

 

 

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