Banned Books Week!

Sometimes, living in (or under, if not necessarily in) a country that has very little government regulation of printed material, it’s easy to forget about all the places in the world that keep strict hold of their publishing houses. As an adult no longer involved in the education system, it’s easy to forget that there are people actively working to keep certain books out of schools and universities. It’s easy to forget that in some places, people are jailed, abused, their entire lives stripped away, because they wrote something contrary to either their government or the religious majority.

More recently, at least in the United States, books are ostracized or banned because they “are often about people and issues which include LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities—people or issues that, perhaps, challengers would prefer not to consider,” according to a blog post by Maggie Jacoby. Words that make the majority uncomfortable. Words that might challenge the status quo.

The American Library Association started keeping track of books that were repeatedly being flagged in the 1990s. Since then (and throughout history) there has been a shift in what calls a book into question. It used to be more focused on race, sex, and language. Now it’s more about diversity in lifestyle and realism in children’s and YA books.

To me, the point of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom for everyone to express themselves. If my beliefs or my lifestyle is so unstable that I can’t even let people READ a book that shows another path of thought, that might just mean I need to reevaluate. Books that challenge our preconceived ideas have been some of the most instrumental in history, helping to shift thought on racism, sexuality, religion, and a myriad of other topics. I’m linking below to several interesting lists of books that have been banned or censored…some of the titles totally surprised me, I had no idea some of these were controversial at one point in time! Of course, I totally remember when the religious right was convinced Harry Potter was the end of the world and my mom refused to let me go back to one family’s house after seeing the books on their shelves. Haha. I’m sure this didn’t at all affect my desire to go out and read every book on these lists.😛 Rebellious child, much?

Banned Books That Shaped AmericaThe Red Badge of Courage, seriously? I must have missed something when I read this years ago. The Call of the Wild, too? And Moby-Dick? Who knew.

Banned or Challenged ClassicsLord of the Rings??? *wide eyes*

Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2015The Bible, haha…well, I guess THAT has come full circle. While I understand objecting to being forced to read a religious book as a standard for living, I personally don’t object to them as literature. It’s a frame of reference. It helps (maybe?) me understand where people are coming from. This goes for ANY religious text, in my opinion.

Frequently Challenged YA Books – this list really needs to be by title, not author…my eyes are crossing, but it’s extremely thorough, haha. Since when is The Handmaid’s Tale a YA, though? And The Witch of Blackbird Pond, really, how dare they. One of my favorite books from childhood…somehow I managed to get this one past my mom and I swear I read it 10 times at least.

Best Banned, Censored, and Challenged Books – as voted by GoodReads users. No real surprise here…best way to make a book popular is to attempt to ban it, I swear.

I’ll have at least one more Banned Books post this week. This is a topic really near and dear to my heart! What’s your favorite banned/censored/questioned book? Have you read very many from these lists?

 

Something Else Sunday #10

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Well, this is about the extent of my fall decorating. Hehe. Next year…next year!

This week…well. It’s sucked, mostly, to be honest. I didn’t get much reading done. Work was just blah. Issues is…issues. I have them.😛 My writing mojo has officially up and left me, despite receiving some lovely snail mail. I only sent one letter…apologies to all my lovely penpals.😦 I’ve just had no inspiration and my overall mood has been rather on the blue side and I hate writing letters that sound that way.

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I did finish this little guy. He’s not perfect but I think he’s cute – especially for my first finished crochet project in about 7 years! Edited to add credit where credit is due: the pattern is Foxy Fox Lovey, by Briana Olsen.🙂 The granny squares from a couple of weeks ago never got finished into anything, sadly. Maybe one day I’ll find the motivation to weave in all those ends. Or not.😛

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Also went to see this re-enactment of the Battle of Nakdong River, which was pretty cool and included paratroopers and the South Korean Air Force’s “Black Eagles.” I was actually really impressed by the fighters…I’ve seen quite a few air shows, but never a performance of 8 fighters flying in formation.

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Books! I received TWO book boxes in the mail this week, both of which made me squeal and dance up and down. I already reviewed the September Lit-Cube, and this week a review of the September OwlCrate will be coming.😀 I’m also in the middle of The Dream Thieves. I’ve kind of been dragging my feet on it, purely because I’m enjoying it and I really like the vibe all the characters have right now and I’m kind of scared to see what happens.

September is almost over, can you believe it? I’m going to take a step back from my current TBR list in October, and read mostly atmospheric, creepy stuff that’s been somewhere in my list but put off for the right time. Like Dracula. I’ve never read the original Dracula, can you believe it? I’ve been dredging up recommendations for various sources and am putting together a list. They won’t all necessarily be HALLOWEEN themed, but atmospheric enough to invoke the spirit, if that makes sense.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Book Review: The Cruelty

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This book has already had a lot of buzz, mainly because of the author’s condescending and inflammatory comments about YA in general. I have a LOT of thoughts on his comments and general attitude, but I tried – I really, really tried – to not let my view of the author color the book. I agreed to the review before knowing anything about all the drama, so I felt like that was only fair. Usually when I try a new author, debut or not, I don’t research a lot about the author. I like to let the book speak for itself. In the end, I feel like The Cruelty (Scott Bergstrom’s debut, releasing in February 2017) mostly did that. I ended up giving it 3/5 stars, in spite of feeling like the author himself probably deserves 2/5. Or maybe 1/5. Because really, sir, you are not special, your book is not going to revolutionize YA, and it’s definitely not going to dazzle long-time readers of the genre. Also, sidenote: even though you’ve already made enough money to be able to quit your advertising executive career, you might want to work more on networking with your fellow writers instead of alienating and insulting them. But enough about Scott Bergstrom. After all, a lot of creative people lack social skills and if their work is dazzling enough we excuse them for it, right? Anyway, that was how and why I approached reading this book. Sadly, overall I felt like Mr. Bergstrom is not genius enough to be excused for his behavior.

So, the positive: the pacing is really spot on. I whizzed through this in a single afternoon/evening. There’s none of the stream-of-consciousness dwelling that bogs down some YA books. Even though there were aspects of the writing and characters that bothered me, I was interested enough in the plot line to ignore everything else I had planned for the day and read it all in one go. Also, the ending left me with enough questions (while not being a true cliffhanger) that, had the sequel been available, I would have picked it up right away. That in itself added the extra half star to me. The suspense and anticipation is definitely the most well-written thing about this book.

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The story takes place in several different countries. In my experience, you can almost always tell when an author is writing about a locale they’ve never personally seen or lived. It just rings false or like they’re ticking off a list, and having lived abroad myself I notice it more than I ever did before. Now, I haven’t been to all of the countries Gwen visits and don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but the descriptions feel very real. I think that Bergstrom has probably visited these countries or he researched very, very well.

Now for the negatives. I’m going to try not to rant on and on about these…but who am I kidding, I’m probably going to rant.

The book starts off REALLY rocky. I almost DNFed it at page 15. We start off with the special snowflake trope (OMG, she speaks French! even thinks in French and accidentally blurts it in class! oops!), followed by much angst. Sigh, page turn, and then –

I pull a book out of my backpack and lean against the door as the train shoots through the tunnel under the river toward Queens. It’s a novel with a teenage heroine set in a dystopian future. Which novel in particular doesn’t matter because they’re all the same. Poor teenage heroine, having to march off to war when all she really wants to do is run away with that beautiful boy and live off wild berries and love. 

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Let’s start off by throwing rocks at dystopian YA!! Yay!! Because we’re not writing almost the EXACT SAME type of book and calling it special, are we, Precious? *insert much eyerolling* I’m not even that much a fan of the dystopian type books! What I’m NOT a fan of, is generalization – and buddy, you just hit every student in the room with your spitwad. And this wasn’t even the point of the almost DNF.

Guys out on the sidewalk in front of the shops whistle and catcall after me. They love this – the school uniform, the flash of seventeen-year-old legs. 

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What the…? I mean…who even talks or thinks that way? It seems totally out of place in the current context and setting, and is just such a jolt of stupid and bad writing that I came *this close* to throwing the book across the room and doing something else with my afternoon. However, I continued. Mostly because I wanted to see if it could really be THAT bad. There were a few similar instances, like this one:

He uses as his tools reason and facts, a whole orchestra of them. But in the end, they bounce off the armor of my stubbornness.

Not quite on the same level as the seventeen-year-old legs quote, but close. Most of the female-specific points or themes in this book sound utterly redonkulous. Like a seventeen-year-old boy was trying to imagine how girls think. Big fat fail. The body image comments really grated on me…like somehow, when the book begins, we’re supposed to see Gwendolyn as overweight…I think? Only she’s an overweight gymnast, which totally makes sense. Also she doesn’t like being looked at but dyes her hair bright red…and then in the grand scheme of changing herself so she can go hunt for her father she has to dye her hair a more unnoticeable shade and become this lean, muscled, martial artist type. Well, I have news for you…that shit doesn’t happen overnight, and not even in the several weeks Gwendolyn has to work on it. If she’s indeed overweight/out of shape as it seems we’re supposed to believe. I don’t know. I’m confused as to what the perception there was supposed to be.

Then, the love interest is lame. A plot device. Gwendolyn needs an ally back home, one with smarts, money, and connections…and suddenly she’s all weak-kneed for this boy she’s barely even looked at before. There was no buildup, just suddenly she runs into him and starts shaking. Sorry, but I have no feels for this at all.

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Yeah, no.

Actually, I pretty much have no feels at all for the entire story, which is really sad. I mostly feel annoyance. I wanted more from the characters. Characters are easily the biggest and most important part of a book, to me. Gwendolyn, her father, even the people that help her, just aren’t generally likable and while yes, Gwendolyn definitely changes through the book, I found the changes a bit far-fetched. She morphs rather quickly from a slightly bitter, spoiled high school girl to a lean, mean, killing machine. Really? But, ok. I’m willing to suspend disbelief a bit – after all, that’s what we do for any book, right? But it’s the author’s job to sell us on it. Sadly, the writing style is such that I couldn’t STAY suspended in my disbelief. I was repeatedly jarred out of it. But I still wanted to know what happened. How’s that for a quandary?

“Justice isn’t some abstract thing, Gwendolyn. What your did tonight, that’s what it looks like. Ugly and mean.”

Best line in the entire book, I swear. And it does get ugly, the longer it goes on. It’s like a train wreck you can’t stop watching, as Gwendolyn delves deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld in her search for her father. She develops an amazing poker face and some steel nerves, even in the face of a rising body count and discovering a sex trafficking ring – somehow she manages to stay cool. But at what cost? That’s the real question, and in the end, the question of what was saved and what was lost is still somewhat up in the air.

Many thanks to Feiwel & Friends for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Haunted Hearts: Lit-Cube September Box

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I’m so excited to share this box with you guys! I’ve never had a Lit-Cube before but when I saw that A.G. Howard’s new book, The Architect of Song, was going to be the feature for September I jumped on it. So many good reviews and it sounds so creepily gothic. Perfect for the month before Hallowtober.😉 I haven’t actually read ANY of her books before so I’m even more excited! Also, she helped curate this box – how cool is that?!?

However, I must say I am absolutely DEVASTATED that I couldn’t order the Lit-Cube Halloween box (it wouldn’t have been here in time – *sob*). Because after seeing this one…I have no doubt at all it would have been fan-freaking-tastic.

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Look at all these goodies!!! So much gorgeousness. The little round soap you see right in the middle had the most amazing cinnamon-y smell, as soon as I opened the box I was looking for WHAT was giving off that delicious autumnal smell. Good things do indeed come in small packages, because it looks so unassuming! Anyway, the Lit-Cube (a one month subscription is $34.95 shipped to the U.S.) contained:

a Readable: A.G. Howard’s The Architect of Song (*squee*)

a Wearable: a gorgeous glass necklace with pressed flowers! :hearteyes:

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This necklace is so lovely. It’s surprisingly heavy and the flowers are beautifully delicate. I’m a little concerned that my clumsy self will snap the delicate chain, but it wouldn’t be hard to replace.

an Edible: hot chocolate!

Goodies: an amazingly gorgeous leather journal with a quote picked by A.G. Howard herself on the front, a dip pen and ink, and yummy soap (yes…I just used “yummy” to describe soap, I know)! Check out this journal…I am absolutely stunned that this was in the box along with a book!

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“Keep a green tree in your heart, and perhaps a singing bird will come.” I adore trees. This is so perfect.

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Looks like lovely paper inside, too!

The ink isn’t marked, so I have no idea what brand it is (it might have been on the card included with the box, but I accidentally threw it away with the packaging after I took the picture). The pen looks very fun, but as a fountain pen aficionado, I think it’s more for decoration than use! Yes, it’s meant for dipping only, but it feels very flimsy overall so I think I will just display it rather than try to use it.

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Tristan trying to get in on the book box action as I was trying to take pretty pictures – LOL

Overall I am THRILLED with this box! October’s theme is “Tale as Old As Time,” and while I had intended to just try one month…um…yeah. That’s happening. Hehe.

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This box was bought with my own funds and this review was not solicited in any way.🙂

Something Else Sunday #9

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I desperately NEED this wreath.

Where is September going?? How is it halfway over already? I don’t really mind, since October is one of my favorite times of year. Spring is my absolute favorite, but I love all the changes of the season. Also I’m slightly obsessed with decorating for Halloween and Christmas. I’m trying really hard to restrain myself this year because I don’t HAVE that many decorations and BUYING them would mean shipping them all home in the spring. It’s soooooo hard!

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Sir Tristan says hello from the throne of the Most Adorableness. 

Tristan is being his usual cute self, supervising everything I do most closely.

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This week I got a little more spinning done, but no pictures because it looks exactly the same as the OWL yarn (green/black) from a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t have another finished skein yet! I was unexpectedly bit VERY HARD by the crochet bug after finishing that little granny square last week, and, um, well. It multiplied. How that’s possible, I’m not quite sure, but this was the result. I learned to connect the squares without ever breaking the yarn, which was HUGE as you can see the number of ends still waiting to be woven in here. Also, I’m not entirely sure what this is. I just wanted to practice my crochet, haha. I have many new diabolical plans now. Hehehehe.

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These happened today. The perfectly swirled frosting really made me happy. I know the season is slightly off, but oh well.😛

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This was a good week for reading! I finished 3 books, posted 2 reviews, and will have a review of the now very controversial The Cruelty up on Monday or Tuesday. Right now I am very happily reading (finally) The Dream Thieves and hopefully will get that reviewed this week too!

Hope you all are enjoying the last few days of summer! What’s your favorite thing about autumn? Mine is undoubtedly all the coziness imbued in the season. Hand knits, crackling fires, hot chocolate, heavy blankets…ahhh.

 

Book Review: Royal Blood

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Royal Blood is the 4th in Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series, a string of historical cozy mysteries set between World War I and World War II that don’t take themselves too seriously. I guess cozy mysteries usually don’t, at least not anymore. I’m still a bit confused as to why Agatha Christie is so often classed as a cozy mystery author, as I definitely get chill bumps from more than a few of her books! Anyway. These are typically well researched regarding historical accuracy, which is a large part of their charm.

I like the time period of these little novels, and the fact that they’re set in England. Georgie is an amusing, endearing heroine and the rest of the cast of characters surrounding her is original and quirky enough to keep me reading. I like that the family storyline moves along just a little in each book so far, not hitting you with it all of once. It continues the line of being very tame with lots of dropped hints and some innuendo, but nothing your 13 year old couldn’t read. It’s definitely written for adults, it’s just very mild and nothing at all racy even though there are repeated allusions to people’s sexual activity or preferences. I felt like Georgia’s relationship with Darcy progressed a little in this book, and more than just the heart-fluttering romance of it – I feel like they are getting closer as people, not just as a crush or an obsession.

This one moved slower than the other 3 that I’ve read. The actual crime event didn’t take place until page 142 (out of 305). The mystery part was, I thought, very far-fetched. The ending was rushed and contrived, just way too convenient. I did some serious eye-rolling. I did like the way all the creepy, “Transylvania” vibes everyone was so jumpy about, were explained logically. Given the setting, I was a little afraid that this one was going to descend into the paranormal. Nothing wrong with paranormal, but in a historical mystery…please spare me. So yay, that was good.

Overall, 3/5 stars. It needed more mystery, less build-up. Also a more satisfactory ending rather than just a sudden explanation, which was what it felt like. I’m definitely going to continue on with the series, but that’s because of how much I enjoyed the previous books, not this one.

Book Review: Equal Rites

I’ve read a hodgepodge of the Discworld books over the years, enough to be completely and totally obsessed with Terry Pratchett’s whimsical, scathing, hilarious writing. I was so sad when he passed away last year. The world truly has lost a great soul, but I really believe he will live on in his writing for decades to come. Partly due to this, and also due to Gollancz putting out the gorgeous, drool-worthy new editions of some of his early works, I said in January that I wanted to read through the Discworld books chronologically. Obviously not going to happen entirely within this year, as I have a bad case of reading ADD (but it’s so much fun to…oh look, squirrel!), but I’m excited to finally be reviewing one! I re-read The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic earlier, but this one I hadn’t read at all yet. I was very excited to see the debut of Granny Weatherwax! While you can definitely read just about any Discworld book and enjoy it without having read the others (I started with Thud!, which is actually #34), seeing how the characters were introduced and how certain jokes come into being is really cool. Another thing about the Discworld books: while they are ALL in the same world and most of them overlap or connect, there are several little sub-series within the series.

204939141Equal Rites is the third Discworld book, but the first Witches book (the first two books were in the Rincewind sub-series). I was immediately hooked by the mildly hysterical battle of the sexes that takes place within the first few pages – a dying wizard tries to bequeath his powers (and staff!) to the 8th son of an 8th son…who turns out to be a daughter. Said daughter – Esk – absorbs magic in a slightly different but no less powerful way than a son might have done, resulting in a family and community that really has no idea what to do with her. A boy would have been sent off to Unseen University, but a girl…”Girls can’t be wizards,” everyone tells her. Thankfully, she has Granny Weatherwax for a guardian. Despite Granny’s slight misconceptions of children, they soon get along quite well.

Granny, in fact, was at a loss, but she knew she had to do something. “Didda nasty wolfie fwiten us, den?” she hazarded.

For quite the wrong reasons, this seemed to work. From the depths of the ball a muffled voice said: “I am eight you know.”

I’m quite sure only Granny would be capable of dealing with a small child with such interesting abilities and ways of dealing with seven annoying older brothers.

“Turning people into pigs is not allowed,” she hissed. “Even brothers.”

I don’t even have GIFs for this book. Call me a fangirl, but Pratchett’s prose is both so pointed and poignant that it really speaks best just by itself. I love Esk, and I love Granny, and watching them tear through Discworld was just a rollicking, fun ride (complete with flying broomsticks that have to be kickstarted). While Granny at first tries to insist that Esk study the traditional female magic, she soon realizes that Esk’s  gifts are quite different and she needs alternate methods of instruction. Eek and Granny share the stage and despite the multi-generation gap between them, make a great team. Of course, like any good guardian, Granny spends a good deal of her time chasing or getting Esk out of trouble, but Esk’s independent little self does fantastic on her own, most of the time. Her sometimes unwitting (maybe?) use of magic creates a variety of reactions from the people she meets, especially as they travel closer to Ankh-Morpork, the large capitol city.

Esk, in fact, moved through the fair more like an arsonist moves through a hay hayfield or a neutron bounces through a reactor, poets notwithstanding. 

Needless to say, they create QUITE the stir at Unseen University, break all sorts of rules, cause all sorts of upsets and feelings. But every insular world needs shaken up now and then, and I think Unseen University will definitely be the better for it.😉

5/5 stars. Pratchett, as usual, manages to create his own very entertaining world and somehow have it be a satirical commentary on our own.  I throughly enjoyed this Discworld installment and it’s definitely going on my list of favorites! Highly recommend.

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Something Else Sunday #8

I seem to have a trend of these being late now. Oops. Also, I only got ONE review posted last week! But you know, life happens. This weekend though, I did get TWO books finished!

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Here’s Sir Tristan being cute as can be while I start on my new BIG project. The claws are not actually hooked into my leg, just lightly into my jeans. Haha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did a lot of making on little stuff this week. Blanket squares, test skeins. However, I also managed to finish the first re-knit sleeve for my Vivian.

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Also finished the first skein – a mini one, to test out the ply, etc. – on my BIG project.

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This is eventually going to become a Thoth shawl.

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Which has this awesome phases of the moon design.

I also decided on a whim to try to pick up my crochet hook for the first time in about 6 or 7 years. And I’m feeling the beginnings of a relapse. I can’t stop looking at crocheted blankets on Revelry.

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Then there was a tiny little bookmark for a friend, in a lovely autumnal orange. I’ve been wanting to use that word all week. Autumnal. It looks so lovely written down but it’s such a bitch to say, my tongue always trips over it.

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Hmm. So maybe all that explains why I didn’t get but one review written! Haha. However, I went on a slight – just a slight – Terry Pratchett binge and finished two books in as many days. One of my goals for this year was to read through the ones sitting on my shelf that I’ve never got to, so this was actual progress (covers link to GoodReads).

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Next up is a re-read of Sourcery, and then on to the next one I haven’t read, Wyrd Sisters. In the meantime, I’m reading the 4th in Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series, Royal Blood. Which is amusing so far…I’m hoping it doesn’t delve into the supernatural, but stays in the scientific and rational side of things like they’ve done so far. This one is set in Transylvania, so we’ll see.

I can’t wait to see what everyone is reading this week! Off to poke through my Bloglovin’ feed.😀 Have a great week!

 

Book Review: The Reader

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Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Find it on GoodReads | Pre-order your copy!

The Reader is Traci Chee’s debut novel, being released in just a few days on September 13, 2016! This is one of those books that grabs you and just doesn’t let go. I finished it four days ago and I still find myself thinking about the characters and wondering about them. It ended not so much on a cliffhanger exactly, as just leaving us with SO MANY QUESTIONS. Not only of the “what happens next” variety, but of the “why did they do that” and “how did THAT happen” sort.

The story is set in a world where reading is prohibited and books are unknown.

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Well, that was certainly MY reaction to that idea, but these people quite literally don’t know what they’re missing. It’s just the way their world is, and no one remembers (or perhaps never knew) anything different.

Two curves for her parents, a curve for Nin. The straight line for herself. The circle for what she had to do. 

There are several story threads throughout. Usually I find this annoying but somehow these all blended just enough to make sense and keep me from getting confused (which is quite an accomplishment). I liked how some of them eventually came together – now, the ones that didn’t…I still have ALL THE QUESTIONS about and the suspense is killing me.

The world is beautiful yet stark, amazing and yet creepy AF. It’s detailed, with several different territories/countries and vying lords. If this were an RPG game, I would go explore every. single. one. They all have slightly different cultures with common threads. Chee’s writing brings them all to life in vivid color.

In Kelanna, when you die, they don’t say prayers for you, for they have no heaven and no gods to pray to. There is no reincarnation; you will not return. Without a body, ou are nothing anymore, except for a story.

There are also pirates and ships and sailors and the navy. And in this world, women are treated as complete equals – no one ever doubts if they have a place in the crew, or the military, or anything. It’s awesome. There’s also this amazing song that I would LOVE to hear set to real world music. I was going to add it as a quote but decided you should really discover it for yourself in the actual book.😀

 

I became attached to Archer before I was completely invested in Sefia. Archer, Archer. The silent, sweet, killer-boy. He’s a walking contradiction. I was scared of what he would do and wanted to protect him at the same time. Funny enough, that was sort of Sefia’s reaction too…and what ultimately convinced me Sefia was a character worth rooting for.

“I would never leave you behind.”

See, in the beginning Sefia seems just a teensy bit too cold, too good at shutting herself down, a little unsympathetic. But her growing relationship with Archer shows that she does indeed still have a heart and not just one hell-bent on revenge. The two of them grow and learn together. I really liked how at one point, their roles switch – instead of Sefia  taking care of and protecting Archer, when she has a difficult moment he (rather awkwardly, but it was still there) takes care of her. It was just so sweet. Don’t think that the romance is the focus of the story though – it’s more like a sidebar that just adds a touch of rosy-glow to the otherwise rather sad overtones.

Instead he pulled her into him…he was going to do it for her, no matter what it turned him into. 

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Excuse me while I indulge in the sappiest gif I can find. Moving on…

I reeeeeeeeally want to know more about the magic of this world. It’s definitely there, but it’s not fully explained. Usually this would make me rate a book considerably lower, BUT. In this one the lack of explanation was alright. It wasn’t completely key to the story though it definitely affected in in big ways – twice. One of these was at the end, so it was totally part of the near-cliffhanger ending and therefore to me doesn’t count. I’m enjoying how we are discovering the magic and the book right along with Sefia.

5/5 stars. While I’m dying to read the next one (Traci confirmed on Twitter that there IS a second one in process as we speak!), I was overall very contented and while the ending wasn’t exactly happy it was…appropriate, in character, and satisfying. I flailed, and cried a little, and Tweeted about 5 times in an hour about it. Also preordered the signed copy from Kepler’s Books. Ahem.

Looking Forwards and Back #2 – August/September

Yes, yes, I know. The first week of September is nearly gone. I had a rough end to August/start to September, so this is super late. But as always, better late than never.

Here’s what actually ended up happening for August:

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Only 8 this month (just one book over HALF of what I read in July…yikes). And below are all the covers! I love looking at them all together. Especially since between the library books and ebooks I don’t get to see them all together in person. Haha. Yes, I am shallow.😛 Just like before, each cover is linked to my review on GoodReads, and the titles are linked to Book Depository.

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The Vanishing Throne
The Hatching
Alice
Love & Gelato
Labyrinth Lost
Sabriel
The Secret Place
Imprudence

This is my list for this month…no less grandiose, for all my failure at getting anywhere CLOSE to finishing my list last month. Haha.

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Believe it or not, I’ve actually already made progress! I’ve finished or started these:

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Most excited about (yes, Dream Thieves is a repeat, somehow I didn’t get to it last month!):

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I guess we’ll see how I do! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading this month. I know there is a TON of shiny new releases coming out in September, none of which are in my hot little hands as of yet.😦 So I will just have to live vicariously, I guess!