Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Author:  Jay Kristoff
Info: Thomas Dunne Books, copyright 2016, 429 pages

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father's failed rebellion with her life.  Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father's former comrades.  But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic - the Red Church.  If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she'll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires.  But a killer is loose within the Church's halls, the bloody secrets of Mia's past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let along have her revenge?

~Goodreads Description

A struggle at the beginning, but halfway through the book, Mia grew on me, and Kristoff's world kept me very entertained.






For a full review, check out our latest episode of #GPLtalk!
 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

We Are Okay

We Are OkayAuthor: Nina LaCour
Info: Dutton Books for Young Readers, copyright 2017, 234 pages


You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

~Goodreads Description

Marin is in mourning - she's mourning the loss of her grandfather, and she's mourning the loss of her old life.  Instead of dealing with her loss, she runs away, across country, looking for an out.  Thanks to the most understanding stranger of a roommate ever, Marin finds a home for herself in New York City.  But now her old life is coming for a visit, and everything she ran away from is catching up with her at last.

I couldn't put my finger on my feelings about this book for a very long while.  That's not why it took me so long to write the review, that was just life being life, but it has come into my mind several times since I finished, driving me a little crazy.  And then I read a Goodreads review by Cait (Paper Fury), and in one sentence she summed it up perfectly for me - "This was simultaneously really beautifully written and also....really boring."  (Thanks, Cait, for the little bit of clarity.)

And I realized that this happens to me a lot, especially with books that get a lot of early press.  There is an expectation of quality and popularity with each review.  Sometimes I agree.  Most of the times I don't.  But this one fell in that murky in-between.  LaCour is weaver of beautiful words.

"We were miraculous.  We were beach creatures.  We had treasures in our pockets and each other on our skin."

So pretty and heartfelt.  But this was a character driven story that needed just a little more plot.  I wanted to like LaCour's characters - she spent a lot of time working on them, but they didn't do anything.  There was nothing that really helped me truly understand who they are and what motivated them.  There was just a lot of talking and...feeling.

The time spent thinking about this book made me realize it's just not my kind of book.  There is an audience, and that audience will have the pleasure of reading a story very well written.  And I will be trying out another Nina LaCour eventually (I have just a few titles on my to-be-read list).

I'd love to hear your thoughts on We Are Okay!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Top 10 Favorite Book Covers

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers

So I discovered one of life's not-so-important questions...do I like the cover because I like the cover?  Or do I like the cover because I like the book?  I couldn't figure that out, so I decided to just stay away from favorites titles if at all possible.  This led to a realization that I have been tricked by many a pretty cover into thinking I was going to like the book.  Shame on you shiny cover.

I'm not sure if these are my FAVORITE covers, but they are definitely a few I like a whole lot.  Sometimes it's the artwork.  Sometimes it's a feeling it exudes.  Sometimes it the use of quotes and text.  Sometimes it's quirkiness.  It takes a little something to attract my attention and there was just something about these particular titles that led to me checking them out and reading them.

What are some of your favorite book covers?

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
1) The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Dust of 100 Dogs
2) The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe, #1)
3) Mothership by Martin Leicht

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

4) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
5) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carrier

Avalon (Avalon, #1)
6) Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars
7) Descender Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)
8) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heeling

Moon Over Manifest
9) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)
10) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ramona Blue

Author: Julie Murphy
Info: Balzer & Bray, copyright 2017, 432 pages

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.


~Goodreads Description

Hmm...apparently this book is controversial.  I somehow failed to hear any of the initial problems with the book or the fallout after its release which makes me realize that I need to make time to follow book press more often.

The thing is - I don't have strong feelings for this book either way.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it.  In fact, it was a book I kind of forgot about as soon as I was done with it.  I ADORED Dumplin' and was hoping that Murphy's newest would have the same witty dialogue and flawed yet lovable characters, but I never really connected with Ramona and her life.

Ramona lives in a trailer park in Eulogy, Mississippi.  It was supposed to be a short term living situation after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the family home, but years later she's still there with her father and sister making the best of things.  That part of the story I enjoyed (well, enjoyed is a strong word.  I appreciated that particular storyline) - Ramona's interactions with her friends and family, especially her sister, despite the dysfunction.  Besides the absentee mother, it seemed like a group of people who genuinely liked and cared about each other even if they struggled with showing it or made horrible choices on occasion.

But this was an "issues" book, and I've discovered that "issues" books are just not my cup of tea (and was apparently the violently contentious plotline that led to hurt feelings and fallout).  I hate soap boxes and lectures, especially when it's obvious what point an author is trying to make.  Tell your story and trust that your characters, with their own actions, will get across the point.  Please don't beat me over the head with it.  Murphy doesn't get into quite that territory like some other young adult authors have, but any direct conversation about sexuality seems to walk that very fine line.  I don't care who your characters love, just write them as genuine individuals and the story will do its work.

I've also discovered that I have never ever gotten so worked up about something that I have come even close to wanting to send someone death threats.  Perhaps I'm just not an overly passionate person.  I think it's more likely that I'm just an optimistic individual who believes, for the most part, that other individuals are not intentionally trying to offend me so I don't take it personally.

I don't know - either way, this book wasn't great but it also wasn't awful, and that's all I really have to say about that.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Top 10 Titles that Made Me Hungry


Ask, and you shall receive.  While Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish is still on hiatus, I was craving a book list.  So Jessica at Book Plots and Polka Dots kindly came up with a topic for this week.  Titles that made me hungry...which was harder than I thought it would be.

What books have made you hungry?

1) Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Gelato.  ALL the gelato.

2) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Feasts.  ALL the feasts.

3) Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Magic food.  ALL the magic food.

4) Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Waffles and catering.  ALL the waffles and catering.

5) Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Peaches.  ALL the peaches.

6) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Carnival food.  ALL the carnival food.

7) Soulless by Gail Carriger
Tea and biscuits.  ALL the tea and biscuits.

8) Tantalize by Cynthia Leicht Smith
Italian food.  ALL the Italian food.

9) Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Tarts.  ALL the tarts.

10) Bang by Barry Lyga
Pizza.  ALL the pizza.
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