Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Down the TBR Hole #13

Started by Lost in a Story, the most fun way to cut down that TBR!

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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The Happiness Trap
Added: March 1, 2017

Are you, like milllions of Americans, caught in the happiness trap? Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents  the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.

I don’t remember why I added this, but most of the reviews seem to say “I hated it, but it kind of worked.” I don’t want to read something I’ll hate, and it’s not currently appealing to me. REMOVE.

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Make Room! Make Room!
Added: March 2, 2017

First published in 1966, Harrison’s novel of an overpopulated urban jungle, a divided class system–operating within an atmosphere of riots, food shortages, and senseless acts of violence–and a desperate hunt for the truth by a cynical NYC detective tells a classic tale of a dark future.

Apparently this is the novel Soylent Green was based on, which I have yet to see but would like to. KEEP.

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Socialism… Seriously
Added: March 2, 2017

Opinion polls show that many people in the U.S. prefer socialism to capitalism. But after being declared dead and buried for decades, socialism has come to mean little more than something vaguely less cruel and stupid than what we have now. That’s not exactly going to inspire millions to storm the barricades. 

Danny Katch brings together the two great Marxist traditions of Karl and Groucho to provide an entertaining and insightful introduction to what the socialist tradition has to say about democracy, economics and the potential of human beings to be something more than being bomb-dropping, planet-destroying racist fools.

I hate capitalism and feel that I’m anarcha-leaning, but don’t know enough about politics. This was recommended on a podcast by someone I really like, and I definitely still want to read it! KEEP.

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The Book of Cthulhu
Added: March 2, 2017

Slim, accessible, inexpensive, irreverent introduction to socialism by the writers of “Jacobin” magazine 
The remarkable run of self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for president of the United States has prompted for the first time in decades and to the shock of many a national conversation about socialism. A “New York Times” poll in late November found that a majority of Democrats had a favorable view of socialism, and in New Hampshire in February, more than half of Democratic voters under 35 told the Boston Globe they call themselves socialists. It s unclear exactly what socialism means to this generation, but couple with the ascendancy of longtime leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party in the UK, it s clear there s a historic, generational shift underway. 

This book steps into this moment to offer a clear, accessible, informative, and irreverent guide to socialism for the uninitiated. Written by young writers from the dynamic magazine “Jacobin,” alongside several distinguished scholars, “The ABCs of Socialism” answers basic questions, including ones that many want to know but might be afraid to ask ( Doesn t socialism always end up in dictatorship?, Will socialists take my Kenny Loggins records? ). Disarming and pitched to a general readership without sacrificing intellectual depth, this will be the best introduction an idea whose time seems to have come again.”

See above! KEEP.

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Story of Your Life
Added: March 5, 2017

Dr. Louise Banks is enlisted by the military to communicate with a race of aliens, after they initiate first contact with humanity. The story revolves around Banks, woven through with remembrances of her daughter.

This short story is the basis for the 2016 feature film Arrival.

I added this after seeing Arrival, which I loved. KEEP.

I only managed to remove 1 out of 5 books today. Any decisions you would have made differently?

Previous: Down the TBR Hole #12

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(All covers and blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Bookworm Blogging, Not Books

The Liebster Award [tag]

2018-03-20

Thanks so much to Alyssa @ Queerly Texan for nominating me for The Liebster Award! Alyssa has a great blog that covers a lot of topics, ranging from chronic illness to queer issues and more!

Alyssa’s Questions:

What is your favorite thing about the city/state/country you live in?

I love how old and historical a lot of the areas within Boston feel. There are a lot of cobblestone streets. It’s such a nice city to wander around in and I love going for walks.

How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts?

Almost all of my posts are book reviews, but my other posts are usually tags or wrap-ups, almost entirely inspired by other bloggers!

What song means the most to you?

This answer can vary a lot, but I’d have to say Home by The Dear Hunter. I was in a really bad place when I heard them play it live for the first time and it hit me on a level that surprised me.

What was your favorite game to play as a child?

Any kind of make-believe game. I’d always pretend I was an animal, or some kind of adventurer in the woods.

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about you?

One time a small girl standing next to me pointed at me and said “WOW, you’re BEAUTIFUL” and it is probably one of the purest, most genuine compliments I have ever received.

What is a social justice cause you are passionate about?

There are several, but right now I’m working my hardest on learning more about racism, including how to fight against it as a white person.

Who is your favorite person to be around? And why?

One of my best friends, because he’s hilarious! He can always make me laugh and makes even the most otherwise inane days more fun.

Have you ever travelled abroad?

I live in the US and once I took a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico while visiting my great-grandmother in San Diego. I was about 12 then. My mom and I are going to Canada in a couple months, which will mark my second time ever out of the country. I actually only got my first passport for this trip, but I’m hoping now that I have a stable job and PTO that I’ll be able to plan a trip to Europe sometime in the next year or two.

What are you excited about this year?

Incredibly, we’re through almost four months of this year already! I’m really excited to go to FlameCon in NYC with a couple of friends in August and to go on my aforementioned trip with my mom. I’m also excited to go to a lot of baseball games this summer (I’ve been to two already this month!).

Would you ever want to be famous?

Only lowkey famous, like as a bookblogger maybe. I’m bad at confrontation and dealing with trolls (it’s hard for me to detach emotionally) and I know famous people deal with a lot of negative attention, as well as positive. I guess I’d like to have an influence and to be admired, but I also don’t want to live in a spotlight.

My nominees:

Wendy @ what the log had to say
Avery @ Red Rocket Panda
Anna @ reading peaches
Ashley @ Thrifty Bibliophile
Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Rules for if you chose to accept the nomination:

• Write about it on your blog and thank the person who nominated you. Write about their blog too.
• Display the award on your blog.
• Nominate 5 or 10 blogs which you feel deserve it.
• Let the nominees know that you nominated them.
• Don’t forget to create 10 questions for them to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do.

Questions for my nominees:

• What hobby would you get into if time, money, and energy weren’t an issue?
• How would you describe your “aesthetic?”
• What fictional universe (game/book/movie) would you most like to live in?
• What is your favorite thing about yourself?
• What is your favorite thing to introduce people to?
• What’s your favorite article of clothing you’ve owned?
• What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever had?
• What fictional character do you relate to the most?
• What’s the last text you sent?
• Do you believe in any paranormal creatures?

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

All Out [review]

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All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 27, 2018
368 
pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Goodreads avg: 
4.12 (as of 2018-04-13)

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. 

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

This was one of my most-anticipated books of 2018 and while it was great, it did fall a little shy of expectations. There were all kinds of queer characters (including ace rep!) and I loved reading about them all. It was great how the stories spanned so many different time periods. Even if you’re not big on historical fiction (like myself), you’ll still find things to enjoy in this collection.

Sometimes sight is a more powerful way of hearing than sound.

My rating for each story:

Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Sweet Trade
 by Natalie C. Parker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
And They Don’t Kiss at the End
 by Nilah Magruder ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Burnt Umber
 by Mackenzi Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Dresser & the Chambermaid
 by Robin Talley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
New Year
 by Malinda Lo ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (cw racism)
Molly’s Lips
 by Dahlia Adler ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (cw off-page suicide)
The Coven 
by Kate Scelsa ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Every Shade of Red
 by Elliot Wake ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (cw deadnaming)
Willows
 by Scott Tracey ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Girl with the Blue Lantern
 by Tess Sharpe ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Secret Life of a Teenage Boy 
by Alex Sanchez ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Walking After Midnight 
by Kody Keplinger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The End of the World As We Know It by Sara Farizan ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Three Witches by Tessa Gratton ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Inferno & the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

That is the secret to survival. Teach fear to those who taught you to be afraid.

My average rating was 3.58 stars, rounded down to 3.5. My biggest problem with the lower-rated stories were mostly that they felt too rushed to me. There were several where I didn’t feel like enough time had been spent developing characters and their relationships and things felt rushed to me. There were also some stories where either the fantastical elements or the lack of directness by the authors caused me some confusion about what was actually happening. It was for these reasons that I marked some things down.

Regardless, this was a really nice read and I think anyone interested should pick it up.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Down the TBR Hole #12

Started by Lost in a Story, the most fun way to cut down that TBR!

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Oglaf, Book 1
Added: Feb 18, 2017.

Oglaf Book 1 collects the first 199 pages of comics from the website, including alt text and epilogues, in a festival of fantasy smut and madness. There’s also bonus extras, never seen before and printed in internet-proof ink, including Ivan’s ‘doesn’t count’ kama sutra — handy if you love somebody but still need to use them as unicorn bait.

I read some of this comic like 5 years ago and thought it was funny, but… I’ll pass for now. REMOVE.

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Dune
Added: Feb 19, 2017

Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the ‘spice’ melange, the most important and valuable substance in the cosmos. The story explores the complex, multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion as the forces of the empire confront each other for control of Arrakis.

Published in 1965, it won the Hugo Award in 1966 and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune is frequently cited as the world’s best-selling sf novel.

I mean, it’s Dune. KEEP.

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An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
Added: Feb 21, 2017

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples
 
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.” 
 
Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

This kind of feels like a must-read? KEEP.

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The Book of Cthulhu
Added: Feb 24, 2017

The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the 20th century’s most singularly recognizable literary creations. Initially created by H. P. Lovecraft and a group of his amorphous contemporaries (the so-called “Lovecraft Circle”), The Cthulhu Mythos story cycle has taken on a convoluted, cyclopean life of its own. Some of the most prodigious writers of the 20th century, and some of the most astounding writers of the 21st century have planted their seeds in this fertile soil. The Book of Cthulhu harvests the weirdest and most corpulent crop of these modern mythos tales. From weird fiction masters to enigmatic rising stars, The Book of Cthulhu demonstrates how Mythos fiction has been a major cultural meme throughout the 20th century, and how this type of story is still salient, and terribly powerful today.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

I read The Book of Cthulhu II about a year ago and LOVED it, so I definitely have to read this as well. KEEP.

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Eligible (The Austin Project #4)
Added: Feb 28, 2017

This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. 

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches. 

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

I’m not the biggest Austen fan. This has good ratings by some of my friends, but I just don’t feel any interest in it. REMOVE.

I only managed to remove 2 out of 5 books today. Any decisions you would have made differently?

Previous: Down the TBR Hole #11

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(All covers and blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Favorite Lesser-Known Books

After doing my Most Popular/Highest Rated TBR post recently, I got to thinking: what are the least well-known 5-star books I’ve read? To figure this out, I ordered my “read” shelf on Goodreads by number of ratings ascending and picked out the ones I had rated five stars. Below are my results!

Lessons from a Child by Lucy McCormick Calkins.
35 ratings, 4.17 average.

Ask Me About My Uterus by Abby Norman.
163 ratings, 3.98 average, review.

A Cat Named Darwin by William Jordan.
193 ratings, 3.67 average.

The Bird Market of Paris by Nikki Moustaki.
253 ratings, 3.84 average.

Like Water by Rebecca Podos.
344 ratings, 3.73 average, review.

It’s always fun to see how your thoughts compare to the thoughts of others, and how well-known the books you’ve read are! Please tag me if you decide to do this as well, I’d love to see what your favorite lesser-known books are. 🙂

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(Covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Awayland [review]

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Awayland by Ramona Ausubel
Published by Riverhead Books on March 6, 2018
224 
pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 
3.89 (as of 2018-04-06)
cw: suicide, familial death, incest, pedophilia

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

An inventive story collection that spans the globe as it explores love, childhood, and parenthood with an electric mix of humor and emotion.

Acclaimed for the grace, wit, and magic of her novels, Ramona Ausubel introduces us to a geography both fantastic and familiar in eleven new stories, some of them previously published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Elegantly structured, these stories span the globe and beyond, from small-town America and sunny Caribbean islands to the Arctic Ocean and the very gates of Heaven itself. And though some of the stories are steeped in mythology, they remain grounded in universal experiences: loss of identity, leaving home, parenthood, joy, and longing.

Crisscrossing the pages of Awayland are travelers and expats, shadows and ghosts. A girl watches as her homesick mother slowly dissolves into literal mist. The mayor of a small Midwestern town offers a strange prize, for stranger reasons, to the parents of any baby born on Lenin’s birthday. A chef bound for Mars begins an even more treacherous journey much closer to home. And a lonely heart searches for love online–never mind that he’s a Cyclops. 

With her signature tenderness, Ramona Ausubel applies a mapmaker’s eye to landscapes both real and imagined, all the while providing a keen guide to the wild, uncharted terrain of the human heart.

Where she had once been a precise oil painting, now she was a watercolor.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I’ve been really into short story collections, particularly “””weird””” ones, for a while now and had Awayland on my TBR for a couple months prior to its release. I was actually stoked when I opened up my library copy and realized that Ramona had also written A Guide to Being Born, which has been on my TBR for ages and just looks gorgeous and great.

She grew up with the feeling that children must simply appear, unbidden. Who would want to make any more of them? It was as if they hatched in some dirty, neglected corner like so many baby cockroaches and the grown-ups had had no choice but to try to raise them.

This particular collection was sorted into four sections, each with its highs and lows. I had a couple I vibed with particularly strongly and others that didn’t really stand out to me. I’ll list the sections, stories, and individual ratings below:

I remember being sixteen and feeling so in love with my friends that it seemed like they would be enough to sustain me for the rest of time.

A. Bay of Hungers
You Can Find Love Now  ⭐⭐⭐
Fresh Water from the Sea  ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Template for a Proclamation to Save the Species  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

B. The Cape of Persistent Hope
Mother Land  ⭐⭐⭐
Departure Lounge  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Remedy  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

C. The Lonesome Flats
Club Zeus  ⭐⭐⭐
High Desert  ⭐⭐⭐
Heaven  ⭐⭐

D. The Dream Isles
The Animal Mummies Wish to Thank the Following  ⭐⭐
Do Not Save the Ferocious, Save the Tender  ⭐⭐

She was too tired now, too worn through to love anyone back.

My average rating was 3.32 stars, which I rounded down to 3. As you can see I had a few favorites toward the beginning but the second half fell a bit flat for me. I still recommend this book, particularly to lovers of literary fiction, and I’m looking forward to picking up more of Ramona’s work!

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Bookworm Blogging

April 2018 Releases

 

Here are the books on my TBR that have anticipated release dates in April! I haven’t read these yet, so if you managed to get an ARC of any, please let me know how you liked ’em!

 

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Unwifeable
April 3rd

From the popular, “candid and bold, tender and tough” (Cheryl Strayed) dating columnist for New York magazine and the New York Post comes a whirlwind and “gutsy” (Courtney Love) memoir recounting countless failed romances and blackout nights, told with Mandy Stadtmiller’s unflinching candor and brilliant wit.

My story is not unique. Single girl comes to New York; New York eats her alive. But what does stand out is my discovery that you can essentially live a life that appears to be a textbook manual for everything one can do wrong to find love—and still find Mr. Right.

Mandy Stadtmiller came to Manhattan in 2005, newly divorced, thirty years old, with a job at the New York Post, ready to conquer the city and the industry in one fell swoop. Like a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw” (so called by Jenny McCarthy), she proceeded to chronicle her fearless attempts for nearly a decade in the Post, New York magazine, and xoJane.

But underneath the glitz and glamour of her new life, there is a darker side threatening to surface. She goes through countless failed high-profile hookups in the New York comedy and writing scene. There are soon too many nights she can’t remember, and the blind spots start to add up. She begins to realize that falling in love won’t fix her—she needs to fix herself first.

Unwifeable is a New York fairytale brought to life—Sex and the City on acid. With hysterical insight, unabashed sexuality, and unprecedented levels of raw, honest pain, Unwifeable is a “blisteringly candid” (Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout) book that you can’t help but respond and relate to—perfect for fans of Amy Schumer and Chelsea Handler.

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Dread Nation
April 3rd

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

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Devils Unto Dust
April 10th

Ten years ago, a horrifying disease began spreading across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attacked the living and created havoc and destruction. No one has ever survived the infection. Daisy Wilcox, known as Willie, has been protecting her siblings within the relatively safe walls of Glory, Texas. When Willie’s good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most dangerous shake-hunters in town, she finds herself on the hook for his debt. With two hunters, including the gruff and handsome Ben, to accompany her, she sets out across the desert in search of her father. But the desert is not kind to travelers, and not everyone will pass through alive.

Western meets horror for this riveting story about survival, family, and inner strength. Tense, short chapters propel readers from one action-packed scene to the next, while Willie’s distinctive, introspective voice deepens the emotional stakes with every turn of the page. High concept and character-driven, Emma Berquist’s debut will satisfy fans of The Magnificent Seven, Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger, and HBO’s Westworld.

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Heavy Vinyl, Vol. 1
April 24th

When Chris joins the staff at her local record store, she’s surprised to find out that her co-workers share a secret: they’re all members of a secret fight club that take on the patriarchy and fight crime!

Starry-eyed Chris has just started the dream job every outcast kid in town wants: working at Vinyl Mayhem. It’s as rad as she imagined; her boss is BOSS, her co-workers spend their time arguing over music, pushing against the patriarchy, and endlessly trying to form a band. When Rosie Riot, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show, Chris discovers her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl . . . Her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club! 
 
Follow writer Carly Usdin (director of Suicide Kale) and artist Nina Vakueva (Lilith’s World) into the Hi-Fi Fight Club, where they deliver a rock and roll tale of intrigue and boundless friendship.

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The Atrocities
April 17th

When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn’t suffer.

But Isabella’s parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella’s… condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor.

Or is there…?

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Leah on the Offbeat
April 24th

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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(Covers and blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.)

Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2018 Wrap-Up

Books Read:

  • The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan. 3/5 stars, review to come.
  • Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce. 5/5 stars.
  • Authority by Jeff VanderMeer. 4/5 stars, review.
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. 5/5 stars, review.
  • The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood. 4/5 stars, review.
  • The Body Is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. 4/5 stars, review to come.
  • Awayland by Ramona Ausubel. 3/5 stars, review to come.

Books DNF’d:

  • Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens.

Books read: 7
Books DNF’d: 1
Average Rating: 4 stars

Movies:

  • It Comes at Night [2017] directed by Trey Edward Shults. 2/5 stars.
  • Wreck-It Ralph [2012] directed by Rich Moore3/5 stars.
  • Moon [2009] directed by Duncan Jones. 4/5 stars.
  • The Big Sick [2017] directed by Michael Showalter. 4/5 stars.
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017] directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. 4.5/5 stars.
  • The Descent [2005] directed by Neil Marshall. 4/5 stars.
  • Murder on the Orient Express [2017] directed by Kenneth Branagh. 2/5 stars.
  • The Descent: Part 2 [2009] directed by Jon Harris. 3/5 stars.

Other Posts:

Reading Goal Progress:

In March, I read 7 books, which puts me at a total of 24 books for the year. I’m 5 books ahead of schedule and at 32% of my reading goal for the year. 🙂

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Radical Element [review]

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The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood
Published by Candlewick Press on March 13, 2018
320 
pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 
3.81 (as of 2018-03-28)
cw: racism, ableism, domestic abuse, eugenics

Spoiler-free Review of an eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

These are such lovely stories! They’re all about complex, interesting women in history and there’s so much representation. There are trans characters and disabled characters and women of color and much more. When most of these stories came to an end, I was left wanting more. I was surprised to find them over. They’re not really tied up in neat little bows, they mostly end with you feeling like you’re at the precipice of a greater story. Any one of these feel like they could be effectively made into a full-fledged novel, and it was hard for me to forget that they were short stories.

The beds of civilization shifted in favor of men.

My rating for each story:

Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler ⭐️⭐️⭐️
You’re a Stranger Here
 by Mackenzi Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Magician
 by Erin Bowman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Lady Firebrand
 by Megan Shepherd ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Step Right Up
 by Jessica Spotswood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Glamour
 by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Better For All the World
 by Marieke Nijkamp ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough
by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Belle of the Ball
 by Sarvenaz Tash ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave
 by Stacey Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Birth of Susi Go-Go
 by Meg Medina ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Take Me With U 
by Sara Farizan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My average rating was 4.16 stars, rounded down to 4. I’m thinking I’ll have to go back and read Jessica Spotswood’s first edited collection of short stories, which I hadn’t gotten around to yet. I’d definitely recommend this to historical fiction readers, lovers of YA, and anyone excited to see diverse women in fiction.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

A Head Full of Ghosts [review]

 

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A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, narrated by Joy Osmanski.
Published by William Morrow on June 2, 2015.
hours, 49 minutes.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
3.81 (as of 2018/03/28)
cw: menstruation, explicit sexual content, demonic possession, homophobic slurs

Spoiler-free Review of an Audiobook

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

I think this is the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to in its entirety! I was doing busywork at my job and had run out of new podcast eps (which never happens to me!), so I sorted my TBR by random and went through until I found a book that a) had an audiobook format, b) was available to listen to now through my library, and c) had a narrator whose voice I liked. Usually it’s a struggle to find something that fits all three of these, but A Head Full of Ghosts nailed it!

This was such a compelling read and I will probably end up purchasing a physical copy later on to re-read. The narrator, Joy Osmanski, did a phenomenal job and I felt pulled right into the story. The point-of-view is that of an adult reflecting on her experiences as a young child. I thought this was really well-done, because we get a really innocent perspective that realistically contains more mature insights. It also switches a lot between past and present in a way that I think really worked with the story.

I was a bit anxious starting this out, because it explicitly states in the blurb that the MC’s older sister is displaying symptoms of schizophrenia. While I can’t speak directly to the rep (which may not be great, especially considering some stuff that goes on toward at the end that I can’t discuss without spoilers), I do want to address the concern that this links mental illness and demonic possessions. Because it doesn’t. I thought it was clear as a reader that this was a commentary on the danger of ignoring science in favor of superstition. To me, the implication was that, had Marjorie’s experience been treated seriously and as a medical concern, things would have turned out a lot differently for the Barrett family.

While this certainly had its spooky bits and while I would probably file it under the horror genre, it wasn’t outright scary, so if you’re easily frightened (like me) you could still enjoy this! There were some unsettling graphic bits (both involving gore and sexual content), so I’d pass on this if you want to avoid anything of that nature. But overall, I think this is a book that horror lovers (particularly those who like to deconstruct the genre) will enjoy and I recommend it highly.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)