Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Mish-Mash Book Haul + A Discussion

Hi, everyone! Today I'm posting my last book haul from the summer. In this book haul, I show an array of different books and I have a small discussion about the importance of young readers being exposed to darker, more adult themes in children's literature. I'd love to know your thoughts on the discussion!

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Seven books isn't too bad! But, let's be honest this was a huge series of book hauls and I had a lot of books. Probably too if there could be too many books! I've read 3/7 and none of the ones I read were historical fiction. I read The Tommyknockers and it is my favorite one out of this bunch. I gave it 4.5 stars and it has its fair share of problems, but I enjoyed it a lot. I also read milk and honey and it is an interesting collection...Initially I gave it 4 stars, but in all honesty I'm not sure about. I need to write my review and get my feelings out before I 100% say it's a four story poetry collection. I also read Pictures of Hollis Woods during BookTube-A-Thon in August, so I knocked that one out pretty quickly. I also have a review for it and I'll link it down below.

Review(s) of the Books:
Short Rundown: This is a quick read that is perfect for younger readers. It tackles themes like Alzheimer's, what makes a real family, and how we let people define us, but how we don't define ourselves.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on children reading books that may be considered too inappropriate for their age? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sennar's Mission by Licia Trossi

23121793Sennar’s Mission by Licia Troisi

Second book in the Chronicles of the Overworld Trilogy

4.5 stars

Sennar’s Mission picks right up where Nihal of the Wind left off and follows the dual perspective of Nihal and her best friend, Sennar. I loved Nihal’s story that was introduced in the first novel and I was really curious to see where Sennar’s own mission would take this story. The story continues to follow Nihal in the training camps as she prepares to go into battle and Sennar’s mission focuses on a voyage into the Underworld to gain allies from a world forgotten. The story itself is more confident in itself than the first novel and I believe that’s because Troisi has established an in-depth fantasy world that has already been fleshed out. Since the world has been established this novel focuses more on the story instead of the buildup and explanation of why things are occurring. Troisi executes a very well-thought out fantasy world with a complex plot and I found the writing to be stronger than the previous novel. However, I didn’t find the story as captivating and I’m not sure if it’s because it was dual POV, but it could have been that. I love dual PoV stories, but Nihal was a singular focus in the previous novel and to constantly leave one storyline to skip to another was a little jarring, especially since Troisi had to establish Sennar’s character PoV. The fantasy setting itself is so beautiful and Troisi creates wonderful concepts that come to life. There were so many new concepts that were wonderfully executed and made me excited about what I was reading.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.75

“But in your heart lies a monster waiting to rouse itself.”

The main female character is Nihal. I love Nihal. Her character has changed so much over the course of two novels and it is remarkable to see how becoming a young teen to a warrior. There are times when Nihal continues to be childish about certain things. It gets a little frustrating and slightly annoying, but she always ends up learning and moving towards change within herself.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.25

The main male character is Sennar. I love Sennar. I think I love Sennar much more now because of his PoV. I also continue to ship Sennar and Nihal like there is no tomorrow and I want them to be a thing. His story is very compelling and he has such strong values that make him such an admirable character.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 4.25

The Villain- My Lord! Towards the end the Tyrant does something that is truly horrifying and it really made this story intense. This is no fake villain. This guy is ruthless.

Villain Scale: 5

Laio is back and I love him so much. Ido is also a great mentor and I will be crushed if he dies in the last novel. He’s such a good friend to Nihal and he’s a pure soul. There are also so many new characters introduced and things get intense. People lie and play tricks. It becomes really intense.

Character Scale: 4

The ending was a bit drawn out, but I love the story and the directions that this trilogy has taken. I believe the last novel will be a strong one and I look forward to checking it out! I highly recommend this series if you are a fan of fantasy and especially if you are interested in translated fantasy from other countries because I think this series does a great job of showcasing Italian fantasy and its differences and similarities to Western fantasy.

Plotastic Scale: 4.75

Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. The artwork is stunning.

Thank you, Netgalley and Open Road Media, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Check out my review for Nihal of the Wind (the first novel in this trilogy). I gave it 4.5 stars and I highly recommend it for fantasy fans!

Have you read Nihal of the Wind or Sennar's Mission? What are your thoughts about it? What are some of your favorite fantasy worlds or books? Let me know down below in the comments!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For!

Hi, everyone! The lovely ladies at The Broke and Bookish host this awesome meme ever Tuesday and this week's prompt is to talk about books you're thankful for.There are a TON of books I'm thankful for, but there are so many that I think are keystones in my life.

I had to read this book for my Lit class this year and it was so wonderfully moving. I adore this novel so much and can't sing enough praises for it. Yates was heavily influenced by Gatsby, but also wanted to tackle the suburban fifties housewife and her truth. It's one of the most tragic novels  I've ever read and the movie is wonderful as well. I can't recommend this enough. It's an amazing story about the Wheelers and their downfall at failing to retain their own American Dream.
This is my most read novel. I've read The Great Gatsby three times and it originally wasn't a favorite, but with every reread I fall more and more in love with the story. It's such an important part of American literature and it is absolutely stunning.
I knew I would love this novel, but I didn't know how much it would emotionally move me. This is a novel that tackles one of the hardest questions one could morally ask: What would you do if you had to kill your husband? This novel is one that I continuously recommend since I've finished it. Don't be turned off by the fact that it's written by Stephen King if you aren't a fan of horror. This is a horrifying novel grounded in the real world, but it's a psychological suspense novel.
I picked up The Handmaid's Tale as a senior in high school (a lot of the books on this list were picked up that year) and read it alongside 1984 for a comparison essay. It was emotionally taxing and it made me so sad, but it also gave me hope. Then it kind of knock it back down, but that's what Margaret Atwood does and I love it. This book made me more aware of myself as a woman and it's important to know who you are and what you stand for because once you know it's harder for them to take from you.
I also had to read this for my AP English class my senior year of high school and it was amazing. I love Slaughterhouse-Five so much. It's one of the most prolific novels I've ever read and since reading I've read three more of Vonnegut's works. The themes Vonnegut tackles are important for every reader to be aware because war is bleak and it sucks and people, especially innocent people, die. So it goes.
1984 by George Orwell is a classic taught in schools for a reason. I owned this book for five years and then I had to read in AP English my senior year of high school. I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it, but also I'm glad I read it as an adult because boy did this book blow my mind. I'm a fan of classic dystopians like this and Big Brother has his fist wrapped tight around Winston. I know people aren't a fan of the ending, but I love it! How bleak and fitting!
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is my favorite fantasy novel ever! It's one of the most emotionally devastating and moving novels I've read in the fantasy genre, but Sorcha's journey to save her brothers from their curse is heartbreaking. AND THE ROMANCE. MY HEART SINGS at the couple that happens in this novel and I don't want to spoil it for you because it's so much fun to go in blind and get swept away. So go read this if you love fantasy.
I am a huge Outlander fan. Jamie and Claire Fraser are my ultimate OTP and I have loved all four books in the series that I've read utterly and with my whole heart. I know that people find them "problematic", but history is problematic and I just love how Gabaldon approaches Scotland and its conflicts. Also the world is expansive. She doesn't stay Scotland and it makes the story move beautifully. I'm hoping to pick up The Fiery Cross soon!
I was late to reading Harry Potter, but I had seen the movies thousands of times and was an avid lover of the movies. It was until my sophomore year of high school that was inspired to finally pick the HP series up and I loved them. I read all seven books in three months while reading other books and it was a journey. Rowling created a world that mirrors our own, but retains its fantastical elements. HP is a staple in my childhood because of the movies, but a staple in my reading as an adult because of how much these books moved me.
This is my all-time favorite novel and because of that I feel like it is the defining book of my life and not just my reading. I've always been a voracious reader with many favorites, but it wasn't until I read The Stand by Stephen King that I finally knew what it was like to have the one book that is symbol of your soul and personality. I love this book and everything in it's 1400 pages. It was an experience and the best reading experience of my life. I know it's daunting, but pick it up! I promise you it's worth it.

What books are you thankful for? Are any of these a favorite or your to read list? Let me know down below in the comments!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

True Crime & Memoir Book Haul

Hi, everyone! I hope that you have been reading a lot of wonderful books. Today I'm bringing to you another one of my book hauls that I filmed this summer. This book haul is memoir and true crime centered. I hope you enjoy the video and I'd love to hear if any of these are on you to read list or are favorite books.

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I've acquired five books and I've read two. I gave It Gets Worse 4.75 stars and it's a favorite of mine. I gave Zodiac 3 stars, but this is subject to change once I write my review. I had a lot of issues with how Graysmith presented the case. I'm also currently reading Helter Skelter which is fitting for the most recent season of American Horror Story.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know down below in the comments!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

4.5 stars

“God didn’t create monsters. Monsters created themselves.”

Eve Smith is half-native and has been recommended to a group passing through as the best tracker in town. This group claims to be searching for members of the lost Donner party, but Eve can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right. As she treks up the mountain away from her frail mother with strange men and only her friend, Avery, and companion, Donna, to remind her of home. Eve is confused by being asked to accompany this group and their intentions and Jake McGraw is putting her on edge with his racist comments and his blunt attitude. Her senses are picking up something… something that smells like rotting flesh and in the snow of the mountains that killed the Donner party, Eve is worried about being next. I’ve been describing this book to everyone as zombies meets a historical event with cannibals. Technically, this a wendigo story, but zombies and wendigos are very similar. They eat people for fun/to survive and they decay at quicker rates without food. Really there isn’t much of a difference, so this is a zombie story.

This novel is intense. It opens up with a rabid horse trying to eat Eve’s family. Very fitting and foreboding as to where this novel is going to go. I’ve always been a fan of Halle’s horror stories. I enjoyed the first two books in the Experiment in Terror series and I LOVE the Devils series. So, a standalone novel set in historical America with connections to the Donner party was right up my alley. I gobbled this novel up. It gets a little graphic… I mean cannibals are not fun to read about or meet (or is meat? Hahaha I hate myself). I advise avoiding this romp through the woods if you can’t deal with that because while this is a zombie novel, they weren’t always zombies, which is where the wendigo plot comes in. I was definitely grossed out, but it was captivating and exactly what I was looking for during Halloween. Halle knows how to up the ante, set the suspense to high levels, and create characters you want to make it out alive.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

The main character is Eve. I really liked Eve. She was unsure about her place in the world because of heritage. She is fierce and has a lot of sass, a quintessential Halle character, and is able to hold her own in a battle of wits. Plus, by the end of this novel, she is setting zombies on fire and having to take monsters out. While she has her heroic moments, she isn’t always the one to save the day and that is the great thing about Eve. She isn’t always trying to play the hero because she isn’t meant to be one. She’s just trying to survive and make it out alive.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.5

The main male character is Jake. Jake is my biggest problem with this novel. Mainly because of his racist and misogynistic comments towards Eve and I mean, yeah, his tragic backstory explains his comments, those comments were not nice at all. I know if a guy made those comments to me about my heritage and gender, then I wouldn’t like him. Granted Eve doesn’t like him for a while and it isn’t until he starts calling her Pine Nuts that she becomes more aware of him. Also, I feel slightly guilty for rooting for them as a couple. Completely illogical and against my morals, but they were so cute together and I loved their chemistry. I was trash for Jake McGraw by the end of this book.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 4.25

The Villain- Y’ALL. THIS GOT INTSENSE QUICK. People started eating noses and making soups out of their friends. I can’t. I am still shocked and slightly queasy about it, but it was great horror. I was horrified.

Villain Scale: 5

There was a huge cast of characters in this novel. Most of them die because it’s a horror novel, but still I didn’t expect Halle to keep her body count high.

Character Scale: 4

Overall, I highly recommend this novel. It’s chilling, creepy, and captivating. It also has cannibal. (Yes, I’m purposely using adjectives that start with a C because this novel is about cannibals, so why not?) My only caution for going into this novel is to avoid it if you are not a fan of romance of sex scenes (there’s only one). The romance gets heavy towards the last half of the book and I know that may not be attractive to some horror fans, but it’s perfect for me.

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover so much. It’s gorgeous.
What are your thoughts on zombies/ wendigos? Are you a fan of them in movies, books, or TV shows? What are some of your favorite zombie novels? Let me know down below in the comments!

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...