November Book Haul

Well, November was an interesting month. I was super busy with a trip (which contributed most of the books for this month) and a ton of stuff at work. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

In early November I went to the Portland Book Festival. Thankfully I had stashed some money so I didn’t have to hugely worry about my budget. I picked up a number of books directly at the festival. It was great meeting authors and publishers but it was also definitely a strain on my anxiety since there were tons of crowds. Still, I had a great time.

In the same trip my boyfriend and I went to the main Powell’s and I had a shopping spree there. Thankfully he’s used to me roaming bookstores for extended periods of time so he let me wander. I managed to do quite a bit of damage there as well, but I had known ahead of time that the Portland trip would definitely be the bulk of my purchases for the month.

Then there were my Book of the Month books, I chose Get a Life, Chloe Brown and then added Song of the Crimson Flower as an add on. I always do either one or two of their selections, you can’t beat the prices.

I had told myself that those were going to be all the books that I got this month but then today found myself in Barnes and Noble. I wanted to pick up Queen of Nothing since I wanted all my editions to match, then let myself pick up a few more.

So that’s all the books I picked up this month. Since today is the last day of the month I know there won’t be any others being added to the list. I had known that this month would be pretty full and budget busting. I’m hoping I can decrease the amount in December. I don’t have any major buying plans, so most of what I get will likely be gifts.

What did you pick up this month? Happy reading!

NaNoWriMo 2019: Final Update

Even thought there are still a few days left in November, I have come to accept that I’m not going to win this year. While this isn’t the optimal outcome for me, I’ve come to be ok with it.

While I had a solid idea that I was really excited to write, it just came down to time. The last couple years I was able to dedicate a number of hours each day to writing and just kind of become a hermit. November usually isn’t a super busy month for me. That was not the case this year. I just had a ton of things I had planned that took priority.

Hopefully you all did better than I did! At least I was able to stay positive the whole time and still did manage to write all day, but 50k just wasn’t in the cards for me this year.

Happy writing!

Review: The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card

Jarvis Mann is a private detective, whose business thrived on the mundane: paying the bills by shadowing cheating spouses, getting in the middle of messy divorces and working for the fat-cat insurance companies running down false claims.

On a Winter’s Sunday afternoon, a young man graces his office steps. His words coaxing with the simple declaration of “Please” convincing Jarvis to help find a valuable missing Ernie Banks rookie baseball card.

With a dry sense of humor, Jarvis tours the Denver neighborhood with the lad door to door, friend to friend, until a clue leads to a surprising discovery. A young man’s personal pain revealed witnessing a friend’s act of self-sacrifice both teenagers teaching Jarvis a life lesson that will shape him with new hope and resolve.

I’d never read anything by this author in the past, but had the opportunity to pick this one up and it sounded intriguing so I thought I would give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a beginning or prequel of a series. It provided a great way to get to know the main character, Jarvis Mann, and some of his motivations in life.

Though it was brief you gain a great image of Jarvis in the way he thinks and the way he interacts with other characters. The mystery itself is pretty simple and more of a story of morality and doing what is right than a true mystery, but it was still super enjoyable and fun.

Happy reading!

Review: You Have Arrived at Your Destination

Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.

When Sam’s wife first tells him about Vitek, a twenty-first-century fertility lab, he sees it as the natural next step in trying to help their future child get a “leg up” in a competitive world. But the more Sam considers the lives that his child could lead, the more he begins to question his own relationships and the choices he has made in his life.

This one was probably my least favorite of the Forward series so far, but I didn’t dislike it. It certainly has a valid discussion regarding genetic manipulation and just what corporations may be doing (or may do in the future) with genetic material they receive from individuals; however, I feel it could have benefited from being a little more fleshed out and longer.

The writing was interesting and compelling, which I really enjoyed and the characters had true personalities, but the main character’s decisions were sometimes not truly explained or perhaps a little unbelievable. Still, when he was talking with other characters, or talking to those at Vitek, the internal dialogue he has with himself was engaging and some of the best parts of the story.

Overall it was still a valuable premise and conversation to have and if it were a little longer and more fleshed out I think it would have had a much higher star rating.

Happy reading!

Tag Tuesday: Reader Problems Tag

I was looking for a tag for today and I saw this one floating around so I thought I would give it a go. I’m not sure who originally created it, so if you know then let me know.

You have 20,000 books on your TBR, how do you decide what to read next?

I’m very much a mood reader, so it can be difficult, but I usually peruse my shelves if reaching for my backlist and grab what I gravitate to.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

I’m usually pretty committed, but I have been allowing myself to DNF more if the book is not jiving with me.

The end of the year is coming fast and you’re behind on your reading challenge? Do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

Oh yeah, I will do pretty much anything to be able to achieve my goal. There have been mad dashes in the last week of the year reading a bunch of graphic novels.

The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?

I may not like it, but it isn’t the end of the world. If it is a series I love then I may try to get some editions that match, but not to the point where it drives me crazy.

Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

Someone who hasn’t read the book yet lol, although reasonably I can usually vent to my own mother or my boyfriend.

You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying your eyes out. How do you deal?

Usually I bite my bottom lip and hope that it works to hold off the tears, otherwise I may just stop reading.

The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

Usually no, I may look up plot points or a summary to refresh myself; however, if it’s been forever I might sneak in a reread.

You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?

Oh, this is absolutely true, I DO NOT lend out books to anyone but my mother and that’s only cause I know where she lives and I have a key to her house. I tell people I don’t lend out books simply because I’ve been burned too many times by people who have ruined my books when they have borrowed them.

You have picked up and put down five books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I will usually go back and reread favorite books to help get me out of the slump, but sometimes you just have to let the slump happen and wait it out.

There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many of them do you end up buying?

I will buy the ones from favorite authors or the ones that I know I can’t wait for them to be part of my library but really it can vary.

After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read, how long do they actually sit on your shelf before you read them?

Oh man…some of them way too long, it’s a little shameful. I’m working to decrease my TBR but it of course takes time.

What other tags would you like to see? Happy reading!

Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Anyone who knows me knows that anything based on mythology will pique my interest, so when Rick Riordan started the Rick Riordan Presents line I was super excited. I finally got around to picking this one up and was not disappointed.

Chokshi’s writing is beautiful and the personalities she creates for her characters are very individual. Aru grows a lot in this book, but she still has flaws and still has things she needs to work on. This is something I really appreciate as it keeps her more human and easier to identify with.

I can’t wait to get to the second book and see how the characters grow even more. I have a feeling even more backstory will be revealed and we will learn more as the series goes on.

Happy reading!

Five Books I’d Like to Read Before 2019 Ends

Let’s face it, my TBR is massive, but there’s no way I’m going to finish everything anytime soon. It’s hard to narrow down my selection to what I’m going to accomplish this year , but here’s five I’m pretty sure I’ll get to.

  1. Trail of Lightning – I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I still haven’t gotten to it and I really wish I would. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and am super excited by the premise.
  2. Dead Voices – I loved Small Spaces, so I made sure to pre-order this one when it came out, but I haven’t picked it up yet. I partially blame it on my slump, but also one just the massive pile of books I have. It’s set in the winter though, so I’m hoping to pick it up soon.
  3. His Hideous Heart – I love retellings based on an author’s work, so when this one came out I was super excited. I’m also excited for the Shakespeare one coming out soon.
  4. Call Down the Hawk – I’m in the camp of people who absolutely love The Raven Cycle, so a spin off with some of the same characters? Yes, please.
  5. Rules for Vanishing – This was one that I heard nothing about and then suddenly everyone was saying how great it was. I picked it up shortly after it came out, but have yet to start reading it.

So what are you trying to finish before the end of the year? Happy reading!

Review: Emergency Skin

What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award–winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind—hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out eons ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.

Well this one was quite a ride! It hit really close to home considering the current state of our planet both climate wise and economically. It discusses earth and what could happen if people cared more about others and the planet then their own gain.

This story follows a ‘being’ who’s been promised skin in exchange for a supposedly dangerous mission of going back to Earth to get something their superior society needs. What they find surprises both them and the AI that is within them to keep them in check. What follows is a tale of dual perspectives, deception and important lessons about humankind in general.

Happy reading!

Top Five: Autobuy Buzzwords

We all have those buzzwords or tropes that are autobuy for us, those concepts that we just have to dive into when we read about them. This could be just about anything depending on the person, a certain plot construct, certain type of retelling, certain storyline trope. So here’s some of the ones that are highest up on my list.

  1. Ghosts/Ghost stories – Anything that has ghost stories woven in will immediately draw me in. I love reading real ghost stories and legends, so when it is included in fiction I just grab it up.
  2. Secret Societies – Ok, many people are intrigued by secret societies. There’s just something about the mysticism and darkness of it that provides intriguing story lines and drama. It doesn’t have to be paranormal, even something about societies such as the Freemasons are interesting to me.
  3. Mythology – I love reading about different mythologies and also re-imaginings that are inspired by those stories. It doesn’t matter which culture it is, I will give pretty much anything a shot.
  4. Asian inspired – I have a deep love for anything and everyone Asian inspired, especially if they dive into the culture, mythology and are own voices.
  5. Retellings – Ok, this is super broad and I know some people are sick of retellings, but there are certain ones I love such as Beauty and the Beast retellings. I will pick those up pretty much everytime. I also love retellings that are based on a certain author’s writing.

So those are just my top buzzwords/concepts, but there are a ton more. What are some of the things that will make you pick up a book immediately?

Happy reading!

Review: Ark

On the eve of Earth’s destruction, a young scientist discovers something too precious to lose, in a story of cataclysm and hope by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent trilogy.

It’s only two weeks before an asteroid turns home to dust. Though most of Earth has already been evacuated, it’s Samantha’s job to catalog plant samples for the survivors’ unknowable journey beyond.

Preparing to stay behind and watch the world end, she makes a final human connection. As certain doom hurtles nearer, the unexpected and beautiful potential for the future begins to flower.

Ark is another installment in Amazon’s Forward series where we’re facing the end of earth. In this one, a asteroid is about to hit earth and destroy life as we know it. Those that are left on earth are scientists who are frantically working to catalog as much flora and fauna as they can before they leave a couple days before it hits.

Since this is a really short story I’m not going to say much about it because pretty much anything would be a spoiler, but this is an interesting perspective on the different decisions people may make if they know the world is ending. The main character we follow is Samantha, whose perspective and feelings change based on things she discovers and people she talks to.

It’s a great look at what different people may do when facing the destruction of everything they know. I’m eager to read the rest of the collection and see what other stories these authors have come up with.

Happy reading!