0

Books You Should Be Reading // Part 2

1-18-17-books-1

Last week we talked about mystery, video games, and middle-grade humor. This week my novel recommendations focus more on magic–real, alien, and hypothetical.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

sleeping-giants

What would happen if we stumbled upon a piece of a giant alien machine? Would we decide it’s a weapon or an opportunity for advancement and peace?

“Sleeping Giants” is a really interesting book both in story and structure. It’s told through journal entries, official reports, and transcripts of conversations between the main players in the story and an unnamed psychiatrist/doctor/political influencer. I listened to the audiobook which employed several different voice actors for the different roles making it even more enthralling.

At first, it seemed like a weird structure, and I didn’t quite understand what was happening.  But soon you find yourself caring for this group of experts who rather unknowingly get drafted into the dangerous world where politics and alien technology meet. It raises pressing questions about morality and how far one can go for the “greater good.” But it also makes you care about the characters–a disenfranchised scientist, a skilled pilot with anger issues, a crippled linguist. Though the reports and transcripts are meant to relate the events of the search for and assembly of the alien technology, it’s the relationships between the characters that bleed through and pull you into the story.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

24-hour-bookstore

This is a magical book without employing any actual magic. Instead, you’re introduced to the magic of data science.  Who would have known that a book about the reverence for books and the onset of digitizing technology could be so engaging? “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is really the kind of book that teaches you a story can have all the magic and whimsy of your favorite fantasy novel while still being set a completely realistic world like our own.  It’s also the first book I think I’ve read where some of the characters are Google employees and while I’m not sure if the kind of technology that the book describes Google as having is real (although part of me knows enough about Google to feel like it’s at least possible), Google is in itself a pretty magical company. It’s no wonder the story lends itself so easily to magic!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

night-circus

“The Night Circus” is another story with magic and whimsy, but this one actually does employ real “magic” rather than the magic of technology. You might be catching a theme here that one of the reasons I recommend books is because of the characters, and this one is no different. When I can love and hate characters and fail to reliably predict all of their actions, I consider that book a winner. But The Night Circus also wins in the description category. Morgenstern describes the Circus beautifully, but she also leaves enough to your imagination that you feel neither cheated of the magic nor lost as to the mechanics of the Circus. Her descriptions essentially become a self-fulfilling loop of expectation and enlightenment.  Just as with the Circus, you’re constantly being delighted to contentment and then seeking more.  And gloriously, there’s always more to give. That is until the end where my only gripe with the book is that it has to end. I need more, I say!

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

golem-and-jinni

Again, you’ll find multi-faceted characters and rich descriptions in “The Golem and the Jinni” to keep you enthralled, but it’s the themes of feeling outcast and the struggle of the immigrant that I feel are perfect reading for the cultural and political climate at the moment. Being a Polish or Syrian immigrant is hard in the late 1800s, but being a Polish or Syrian immigrant AND being a magical being–how you can possibly hope to fit in or survive?

Connecting with a community is given as the answer to the immigrant’s struggle (as it is in many stories like this), but “The Golem and the Jinni” takes it one step further to advocate for creating your own unique communities outside your culture. Essentially, you can find “family” in the most unique places!

***

2016 was an amazing year for books. I feel profoundly influenced by all eight of the ones I’ve listed in this two-part series as well as many of the others I don’t have the time or the page to document for you! I read for the pleasure of it, but I also read for what I can learn about different cultures, sexualities, religions, time periods, and imagined histories. With stories, I can let my imagination run wild and constantly ask the question “What If?” I hope you’ll consider reading some of these great books, and sending me some of your own recommendations! It’s time for some reading in 2017!

Advertisements
0

Books You Should Be Reading // Part 1

1-11-17-books-1

Another year of reading has come and gone. How did it go by so fast? Despite time seeming to exponentially speed up, I was able to read quite a few books this year– 43 to be exact!  So if you’re looking for a book to read during the winter months, I’ve got quite a few recommendations for you.

The School for Good & Evil Series by Soman Chainani

the-school-for-good-and-evil-series

I read all three books in the series this year because honestly, they’re quite addicting. Each is a bit slow to start, but looking at the series as a whole, everything that happens before all the CRAZY starts is important to the story. It’s just not always obvious at the time. But man, when things start speeding up, they don’t stop until the last page!

I love this series because it turns fairytale troupes on their head and really delves into the meaning of love and what happens after the “happily ever after.” It makes it very apparent that fairytale characters are real people with real problems, they just so happen to have gotten caught up in a fairytale that’s honestly, rather ruined their lives even if it ends with a “happily ever after” on paper.

It’s listed as a middle grade book, and it has middle grade humor with fart jokes and immature tweens as protagonists, but there is a surprising maturity in the conflict and the direness of the situations the characters get in.  So your 12-year-old niece will love it for it’s magic and silliness, and you’ll love it for it’s deconstruction of the fairytale genre.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

the-true-meaning-of-smekday

Have you seen the animated movie Home with voice acting from Rihanna and Jim Parsons? The one with the flying car and the silly alien who doesn’t understand dancing or cats?   Well “The True Meaning of Smekday” is what that movie is based on.  And while Home is cute and funny, “The True Meaning of Smekday” is infinitely more layered and moving.  It’s a story about an alien invasion where after 11-year-old Tip’s mother has been abducted, she decides to drive to across the country to find her rather than participating in the alien Boov-designed “moving” day for all the humans. (They’re being relocated to Florida, and later because the aliens decide they like oranges, to Arizona.)

        Along the way, Tip meets the fugitive alien, J.Lo. who she initially (and rather rightfully) hates because of what his race has done to hers. But as they progress on their cross-country journey, first they find a mutually helpful relationship and later, a true friendship as they save the world together.

The one thing that bothered me about the movie adaptation Home is that it makes J.Lo. the main character when in the original story, it’s Tip–this spunky and brave ball of fire–that’s the real protagonist of the story. We see J.Lo.’s story through her eyes, but we invariably get to understand the human experience of being subjugated by a technologically-advanced race where in the movie, it’s all about J.Lo. the clumsy alien who just wants to make friends. We even lose the humor of his name where although he’s technically male, he decides that J.Lo. is the human name that best suits him (much to Tip’s amusement) whereas in the world of Home he’s called “Oh” because other Boov always say “Oh” when he’s around.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you should read “The True Meaning of Smekday” because it’s amazing and far more complex than the cute adaptation Home would lead you to believe.

The Cormoran Strike Novels by Robert Galbraith

cormoran-strike-novels

Have you read any of the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)?  It’s not Harry Potter, but it’s still utterly addictive. It’s a detective series and involves some gruesome descriptions of murder at times, but I have never been as interested or enthralled by a murder mystery before.  You come to love Cormoran and his assistant Robin with a fervor, and feel like a detective as you piece together clues with them.  Other than the first novel “The Cuckoo’s Calling” where it took me a bit to connect with the characters and understand the formula of the book, I’ve been hooked from the get-go.  If there’s any book on this list that I’d claim to be a must-read, it would be the Cormoran Strike series. You’re missing out if you haven’t read it!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready-player-one

You might wonder how a fictional book about video games could be as interesting as “Ready Player One.” I was initially quite skeptical and chose to listen to it on audiobook since it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton. Plus there’s the fact that’s it’s 26 hours long. My audiobook average is 9 or 10 hours (essentially a good 2 weeks of driving to and from work). But somehow, “Ready Player One” enthralled me in a way I didn’t know it good. I’m not video game/technology aficionado which I will say that someone who knows their stuff will probably enjoy this book even more, but the book isn’t set up in a way that only extreme video game nerds will enjoy or understand. You’re drawn in by the terrifying dystopian future of a poisoned planet and a society that’s predominately retreated to the Interwebs for all its essential needs. You love the core characters and their eccentricities. And you love the digital world of the OASIS because Cline gives us such rich descriptions that it’s impossible not to be able to picture it all.

Check back next week for the second half of my “Books You Should Be Reading” list! Until then, read on!

0

Books You Should Read: Badass Women (March Book Round Up)

Badass-1

This month’s round up of books is filled with a pretty awesome group of badass women. They range in their level of “goodness,” but I can honestly say that they’re all ladies you wouldn’t want to mess with. Or at least have on your post-apocalyptic team! I really loved all the books I read this month, and I even got an advanced reader copy from one of my favorite authors/book series, which absolutely made my month!

 

Badass-2

“Miss Mabel’s School for Girls” by Katie Cross
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls felt like I was entering back into the world of Harry Potter in many parts. But it was a story truly focused on girls. The school itself is almost as magical and nostalgic feeling as Hogwarts, but it was also exciting to explore this new world and its specific details like being run by a High Priestess witch and having the academics focus on earning specific magical marks.

Also, Miss Mabel is the perfect villain. She’s vicious in her actions and truly evil with no redeemable factor I can see so far. She’s not the kind of sinister evil that you had in Lord Voldemort, but almost a more disturbing one because she’s fully human but utterly maniacal and twisted. My only complaint with the book is that we get a lot of the protagonist Bianca (which is great!) but all the other characters who have so much potential for interesting development are grey and flat in comparison. I suppose it’s because there just isn’t enough time to devout to both Bianca’s incredible rise from first year witch winning the coveted third year assistantship with Miss Mabel and all the other lovely girls and teachers. They mostly function as a mechanism to move the plot along or save Bianca in dire moments. My hope is that future books will delve more into the personalities and histories behind some of these side characters.

Also, hey! No romances! Just a girl with a mission!

 

Badass-3

“Me Before You” by Jo Jo Moyes
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

I wanted to read “Me Before You” because I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie and fell in love with it. Being the book nerd that I am, I felt like it might be worthwhile to read this book before it hit theaters and boy, was I right! This book really takes you through the ringer. It’s different than I thought it would be in some ways, but those are just expectations I made from watching the movie trailer, which really made it, seem like a classic romance. This is a romantic story, but it is not exactly what I’d call a romance. It’s a story about life and two very different people being thrown together in an unlikely and even unwanted situation but finding that they make each other’s lives infinitely better.

I think the only real issue I had with it is the theme of “personal choice.” I didn’t always agree with the way Will interpreted it, and eventually pressed onto Lou to accept. It was all about Will having his own autonomy even though as a quadriplegic he really had none, but I felt like in doing so he took away Lou’s ability to choose at times. So although the ending was beautiful and painful, there was a bitterness that I felt toward Will in the way he demanded his wants and needs over others even though he claimed to care about them.

 

Badass-5

“Fairest: Levana’s Story” by Marissa Meyer
Book Type: Hard Copy
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

This book is painful to read at times. It’s a wonderful backstory for the first 3 books in the Lunar Chronicle series and a great set up for Winter’s story in the final installment. It also fully fleshes out the type of person that Channary (Princess Selene/Cinder’s mother) is from a real perspective verses just rumors that the characters have picked up on in the last three books. I like that despite Channary’s awfulness as a person, she really did seem to love her daughter.

But this is also a great experiment in character since Queen Levana is very much evil and though you might start out pitying her, you find there are no redeemable parts of her personality. I usually am able to find the goodness in anyone (or any character) but Levana just seems straight up crazy and only got crazier with time).

All in all, it’s a great read before the final book! If you haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles yet, what are you doing with your life? Just kidding! But no really, you should read it if you like fairytales and/or science fiction. The characters are so complex!

 

Badass-6

“End of Days” by Susan Ee
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

With this book the “Penryn and the End of Days series” comes to an end, and I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye! But I will say that it was a satisfying ending which I wasn’t really expecting with all the insanity going down just a few pages before the end of the book. I love this series because Penryn is tough and I forget that she’s only 16/17 most of the time. She’s had to grow up quickly in a dark and disturbing world with traitorous angels trying to force the apocalypse, an insane mother, and a handicapped (and later science experiment) little sister. And then there’s Raffe who, to be honest, is an angelic dreamboat. I love the witty banter that Penryn and Raffe have, and I love their love-hate, sarcastic demeanor with one another. It’s just fun to read! But I also know that if Penryn gets in over her head (usually not by her own doing), somehow Raffe is going to (usually literally) swoop in and fight it out with her.

I also really like the way this book interprets and utilizes apocalyptic scripture and legend to flesh out this world. And it also comments on itself because one driving force in the plot is Uriel trying to create his own apocalypse and creating horrors from scripture in order to convince the other angels. In that way, I don’t feel “blasphemous” or anything reading this book. It’s probably the most interesting take on the Biblical apocalypse, angel lore, and humanity’s strength in the End Times that I’ve ever read.

 

Badass-4

“This Gem in My Hand” by David Pandolfe
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own (Advanced Reader Copy)
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Jack and Lauren are back at their psychic adventures again in “This Gem in My Hand” (Book 4 of the Street Lights Like Fireworks series), and this time they’re on the East Coast where history, both personal and ghostly, comes haunting.

What’s beautiful about this series (and is illustrated wonderfully in “This Gem in My Hand”) is how with each book Jack and Lauren mature as both young adults and psychics. The series itself is maturing as well. Their psychic adventures take a much more sinister and supernatural turn than they’ve experienced making this installment feel like the highest stakes story so far. David Pandolfe expertly gives you the thrills and chills of a deeply haunted house and a 100-year-old secret that doesn’t want to be discovered. While Jack and Lauren have had ghostly encounters before, nothing has felt quite this evil before. But with that increased sinister presence, you can also feel Jack and Lauren’s powers growing. As does, at least in Lauren’s case, their recklessness (or perhaps we should call it selflessness because that’s truly what motivates Lauren’s desire to help those in need whether alive or deceased).

But this book isn’t all dark and brooding, as always Jack and Lauren are also exploring their personal relationships. We have a significant change in setting in this book, as they travel home to Richmond, VA for a summer week trying to mend some wounds with their families. The Richmond setting was actually one of my favorite aspects of this book as I’m a Virginia native. It’s nice to see the two experiencing old places for the first time together and wondering “what could have been” while also recognizing that life brings you exactly where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Jack and Lauren also individually deal with broken relationships essentially bringing the beginnings of healing to the painful pasts explored in the first two books. Jack and Lauren’s contemplation of their familial relationships brings the levity in this book that makes it a fun, quick read while also dealing with serious topics for maturing young adults with burgeoning supernatural powers.

If this is the first Streetlights Like Fireworks book you’ve discovered, you can absolutely read this as a stand-alone, but I’m such a fan of the entire series because unlike many series’ the story keeps getting better with each installment that I’d highly recommend starting from the beginning to get the full depth of Jack and Lauren’s characters and story.

I received an advance reader copy of this book (my first ever!) and got to work with David (who’s a pretty cool guy based out of Richmond) on making a video blog about the series. Check it out here:

So there you go! We have some super evil women this month (Levana and Miss Mabel) and some amazingly strong ladies too (Penryn, Lou, and Bianca). Jack and Lauren are my superhero psychic team and although “This Gem in My Hand” is about both of them, I still always resonate so much with Lauren, which is why I count her as my final badass woman of the month. Go women! Woo!

0

Books to Read: Magic, Mayhem, and Dying Girls (February Book Round Up)

Feb Books - TITLE

Hello Readers! February is gone and I read another 5 books, so it’s time to share my latest treasures (and “eh, I’ll pass” feelings) with you! There was a lot of magical thinking going on in the books I read this month. Sometimes that meant magic was a well-respected element in the story. Other times, it was a magical imagination! Read on to find a new book that piques your interest!

Feb Books 1 - The Peculiar

“The Peculiar” by Stefan Bachmann
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4 – Pretty Good

This book had beautiful world building! I was both enthralled by this fairy-infested world and appalled by it. Bartholomew is a sweet and compelling hero (at least after the first few chapters). His love for his sister, Hettie, propels much of the second half of this story, which makes him seem quite vulnerable and heroic. (He could have just walked away, couldn’t he?)

I listened to it as an audiobook, and I will say that while the narrator is incredibly talented in voice acting, the fairy voices creeped me out so much! It took a while to get used to them and actually hear the story rather than cringe every time a fairy spoke in what I’d like to term “creepy witch or troll under the bridge” voice. But as the story went on, their creepy voices kind of made more sense considering the developments in the narrative. It leaves you with a cliffhanger and I’m excited to find the next book at my local library! (But I think I’ll go with a hard copy this time to avoid the voices).

Feb Books 2 - The Night Circus

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
Book Type: eBook
Source: Library
Rating: 5 – Awesome!

I love this book so much! It captures the meaning of magic for me. I love all the characters and my only issue would be not getting to know more and follow them into eternity!

What really stood out for me in this book is how Morgenstern describes the new attractions which are both described in detail and left elusive so as to allow your imagination to fill in the details. Essentially there’s a magical quality to the writing when she writes about the circus itself. The rest of the story is compelling but nothing as awe-inspiring as the circus. (This is also consequently one of the issues dealt with in the narrative). However, this magical quality would make it difficult to capture in film form so while I’d love to see this book adapted for the screen, I wonder if it would take away from the magic and mystery that’s allowed to permeate the story to the limits of the reader’s visual imagination.

Feb Books 3 - Mr Penumbras

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 5 – Awesome!

This book made me feel so many things!!!! I found it and added it to my “to-read list” after seeing a list on “Books You Might Like If You Loved Harry Potter” on Buzzfeed. However, the synopsis made it sound less than magical, which is why I held off so long in reading it. BUT OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE BEST BOOK!

This book is great because it’s full of quirky characters, vividly described settings, and references to technology that make it seem magical without being fantasy. An oxymoron, right? I don’t think it will be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it blended my love of books and technology and creativity together in a way I hadn’t seen done before. PURE MAGIC GUYS!!! I was literally crying when it ended because I didn’t want to stop reading.

Please read this book!

Feb Books 4 - The 5th Wave

“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey
Book Type: Hard Copy
Source: Own
Rating: 3 – Okay

On the one hand, the alien “invasion” in this book is such a fresh and compelling idea. That’s what hooks you to read it. But I had a real problem with the main character, Cassie. I mean I like her at times, but I mostly have the problem with the way she was written. In comparison to the male characters whose perspectives we also explore (e.g. Evan, Sammy, Ben), she seems so much less serious and weak. She isn’t physically weak, that’s very obvious. But there’s a mental vulnerability that isn’t shown in the other characters and it feels like it’s just because she’s a girl. For this reason, “The 5th Wave” got the lowest rating I’ve given to any book I’ve read so far this year.

I’m intrigued enough to read the next book, but she’s just written so differently than the male characters, and it bothered me. It took away from the book as a whole. And I can’t imagine it would make a very compelling movie. Has anyone seen the movie? It was a big deal for a while, but then it seemed like it was silently released which makes me think it’s dud (which is disappointing).

Feb Books 5 - Me and Earl

“Me and Earl and Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews
Book Type: eBook
Source: Library
Rating: 5 – Awesome!

This book is different than I thought it was going to be. When I heard it called the “cynical version of The Fault in Our Stars,” I guess I didn’t really understand what that meant. Maybe I thought it would have the same kind of twisted sense of humor that TFiOS has but just ramped up a bit with a sweet and heart-warming message at the end. But believe me, it’s cynical. And it’s not a love story or a heart-warming story (as Greg Gaines, the “author” of the story will repeatedly tell you throughout). But even though I kept wondering when the ball would drop, I still loved it. I think the part I can really relate to is Gregg’s filmmaking. I can’t fully articulate what it is about the filmmaking aspect, but perhaps just because I’m a filmmaker too, I found myself reflected in Greg’s struggle to tell a story he didn’t want to tell and didn’t feel like he was qualified enough to tell anyway. He’s got some major self-esteem problems, and I totally get that. If nothing else, I really enjoyed the wide array of storytelling techniques used. I felt the struggle of an 18-year-old guy trying to put down on paper what happened to him and how he felt (or rather, didn’t feel) about it.

I actually watched the movie right after finishing the book, and although there were some significant changes to the adaptation and it’s overall cynicism, I love the movie just as much as the book. This is definitely a situation where there were changes made for the adaptation that actually enhanced the story for this different type of medium.

All in all, this was a great month for reading! With the exception of “The 5th Wave” these books are some of my favorite I’ve ever read! I won’t be forgetting “The Night Circus” or “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” anytime soon. This month’s books also made me think a lot about film adaptations and how easy or hard they would be for each and what kind of storytelling techniques would need to be used to capture the essence of each of these stories.

Does that make me a weirdo? Do you guys imagine the book as a movie while reading? Tell me down in the comments!

0

Great Books I’ve Been Reading: January Book Round Up!

January Books - Title

Since discovering Goodreads and the yearly book challenge, I’ve been reading A LOT. For the past two years, I’ve kept track of what I’ve been reading and included the list in my goal reflection blog each January, but how does this help you find a new, awesome book to read? Or inspire you to start reading again if you’ve fallen to Netflix binging in your free time? This year I decided to remedy that by creating a monthly book round up! I want to give you my rating and a few things that struck me about each book. Also, I want to show you how much I read that’s owned or borrowed (from the library, usually), and what type of format I’m reading (I’ve become especially partial to audiobooks which help me stay awake for all the long drives I have!) So with no further ado, let’s jump into what I read in January!

January Books 1

Room by Emma Donoghue
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4 – Pretty Good

You might recognize this title because of the Oscar buzz its film adaptation has been receiving as the lead actress, Brie Larson, has been nominated for Best Actress. I wanted to read the book before watching the movie because I knew it was supposed to have an interesting premise and storytelling mechanism. It’s told from the perspective of a precocious 5 year-old boy, Jack, and that narrative voice can be frustrating at times. A 5 year-old can only understand the world so much so I felt limited at times during the story. I wanted to scream at him sometimes! But that frustration translates well when taken in context with the overall narrative (which I won’t tell you anything about, because SPOILERS!) It makes every misunderstanding and question from innocent Jack all the more gut-wrenching. All-in-all, a worthy read of human endurance.

January Books 2

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4 – Pretty Good

This is supposed to be a YA book, but I can’t imagine too many teenagers having the patience to follow the somewhat plot-less romp that is In Zanesville. However, as an adult, I was very much able to connect with the angst and confusion of being a teenager that this book so wonderfully captures. It’s like a nostalgic time bomb with quirky characters and situations from the serious to the trivial. It felt like a more literary version of Nickelodeon’s As Told By Ginger.

January Books 3

The Golem and Jinni by Helene Wecker
Book Type: Hard Copy
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

The Golem and Jinni was a gift from my dearest boyfriend for Christmas. It’s a book I’ve had on my too-read list for a while if for nothing more than the beautiful cover. Something about it spoke to me, and the book itself didn’t disappoint. It was somewhat slow-moving at first. Mostly because I didn’t quite know what to expect. There was magic. And the late 1800s. And a lot of Jewish and Syrian mythology that I wasn’t aware of. Have you heard of a golem before? A creature made of clay and brought to life to do its master’s bidding? And apparently there are some Jewish rabbis who know some pretty dark stuff (like animating clay). But this isn’t really a magical story. I mean, magic sets it in motion, but the story is really about two “people” who don’t feel like they fit in. It’s a not-so-subtle metaphor for immigrants (as they actually are technically immigrants to America), but moreover, a metaphor for feeling detached from the world. I really connected with it because of my struggles with depression, and I imagine there might be something you’re struggling with as well that you’ll find in the pages of this magnificent novel.

January Books 4

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Book Type: eBook
Source: Library
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Library of Souls is the third and final book in “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” series that began with the bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which found much of it’s uniqueness from the use of found vintage photographs. Like the first two books in the series, Library of Souls uses these haunting images (with very little digital manipulation) to build a unique world, and I’ve always been impressed with how each photograph is used.

I will say though, that it was a little hard to start because it had been so long since I’d read the previous book. But once I got back into the rhythm (and read a plot synopsis on Wikipedia) I found the characters to be just as vibrant and enjoyable as ever. I really enjoyed this journey with Jacob as he came into his own with his “peculiar” talent. He’s a true hero, in my opinion.

So if you’re considering reading this series, I’d say, “Do it!” It comes to a wonderful and satisfying conclusion so you won’t be wasting your time.

January Books 5

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Every Last Word felt like your average “discovering yourself” YA novel for three-quarters of the book. But I kept having these nagging questions in the back of my mind while reading (which I can’t tell you because SPOILERS!) Then suddenly ALL those questions got answered in a twist I really didn’t see coming but was set up perfectly.

I also really enjoyed the author’s note about how much research she did on OCD for this book and working closely with a friend’s child who was diagnosed with OCD. It felt very authentic in the way it deals with mental illness which as a girl who was diagnosed with OCD at 11 and depression in her 20s, this is really important to me.

Out of all the books, I read in January, I think Every Last Word was my favorite. It was an unexpected favorite at that! I’m used to stories about depression, but not so much OCD and the anxiety disorders that can come along with it. Despite the seemingly overused YA premise, it felt more authentic than many like it I’ve read in a while.

 

Well that’s January’s book round up for you! I hope you’ll consider reading something here or even giving me suggestions of books you’ve read this month that you’d think I’d love! I also really love to point out that 3 out of the 5 books here came from the library! Use your library people! I also use BookBub which is a great email service that sends you a daily round up of discounted books in your interests. This is why I have WAY too many eBooks! My brain’s like, “$0.99? Sure! Why not!? This sounds fun!” Anyway, however you get your books, I just hope you enjoy reading!