Jun 09

Sunday Post #12 – Speaking Organic

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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Not going to lie, folks, this week has been pure hell. I was braced for the onslaught that I knew would be a summer organic chem class, but I wasn’t truly prepared for the amount of homework and general feeling of flailing around and trying to cram SO MUCH information into my poor brain in such a short amount of time! I had time to read a grand total of ONE chapter in my book until last night, when I decided that after an exam I deserved a break. I finished it Saturday morning, and it was great…but now I have this mountain of homework to finish by Monday morning and…I’m seriously doubting my life choices right now.

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

Noah in a rare, brief – very brief – moment of snuggling with Tristan (the cat you can barely see here).

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • The Bride Test – adult romance review
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time – MG review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday

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Jun 06

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

The Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on May 7, 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people--a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman's chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

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TW: death, racial prejudice, rape, sexual assault.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a fabulous book. It’s very narrow in focus, which I think is what gave the author the ability to drop her readers into 1920s backwoods Kentucky in such a believable way. The blue skinned people of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Librarian Project are both from real history and it was just a real treat to read about something so real and yet so unknown.

“I was to stay put, and exactly where they wanted to keep me put. Beneath them. Always and alone.”

I loved Cussy. She’s had the short end of the stick in life, but she hasn’t let it completely beat her down. She loves her books, and her father, and despite things really looking dim she refuses to give up hope of a better life. Cussy is nineteen years old, with blue skin, in a society that beats her down for both. Looked at as basically “worse than colored,” her father is desperate to get her married since he knows his own days are numbered, due to being a miner and afflicted with black lung. He fears for her and this is the only way he can (he thinks) be sure she is taken care of and provided for after he is gone. His plan does not work out well for Cussy, and only stirs things with the local people that already look at both of them as outcasts.

Despite all the odds against her, Cussy finds a huge solace in her job as a “book woman,” one of the several female librarians who take books to the VERY farflung mountain people. She is so passionate about literacy, and helping all her patrons better themselves. My heart hurt as she constantly ran up against prejudice, not just for her oddly-colored skin but for just being a woman. Even the local doctor (someone who is supposed to be about HELPING people) is more interested in her for his ulterior reasons of figuring out her blue skin – no matter what her thoughts on the matter.

I also really loved that eventually, Cussy meets someone who hasn’t always lived in the hollers. Just as her mind has been expanded by books even though she’s never been outside Kentucky, the stranger has both traveled (extensively, by local standards) and read, and he treats her as a person regardless of her skin or gender. There isn’t really a HEA, but there is hope, and to me that is even more important.

This book was SO important to me on a personal level. My family – on both sides – is from the hills and hollers of West Virginia. My parents were the first generation to move outside the same county for over a hundred years, outside the state EVER. I grew up all over the United States and the world but I am still extremely conscious of my Appalachian roots, and sadly very little has changed in many areas where my extended family still lives. They – we – need more people like Cussy.

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five-stars

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Jun 05

Can’t Wait Wednesday #7 – Capturing the Devil

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #7 – Capturing the DevilCapturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4) by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 10, 2019
Pages: 448
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer---or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World's Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they've heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him---and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device---is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end---together and in love---or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

I’m pretty sure EVERYONE has heard of this series already and probably already seen the cover for the final, but I’m just so freaking excited for it!! Not only is it the conclusion of the Aubrey and Thomas story (and damn it, he had better be treated RIGHT in this one), but it’s about the Devil in the White City! I actually read a book about that awhile ago (book wasn’t great, but the story was super interesting), so I’m really eager to see how Kerri brings the events to life. And of course…AUBREY AND THOMAS. Oh my gosh. How am I going to survive until September?!?

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Jun 03

June 2019 New Releases

Books/Writing 0

Somehow, I only have four books to share for June pre-orders! My wallet is definitely heaving a huge sigh of relief. May seemed to be a GIGANTIC month in publishing, there were soooo many books coming out that I wanted to buy and read! This is just, as always, the books I have pre-ordered, it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the amazing books being published this month…just the ones I absolutely couldn’t live without!

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All covers link to GoodReads!

  • I Wanna Be Where You Are – this just sounds adorable and I need more diverse summer books in my life. A lot of the ones I’ve been finding are very, very white and only white and that’s sad.
  • Teeth in the Mist – IT’S A FAUST RETELLING GUYS!!!!! And it’s female driven. YES PLEASE TAKE MY FIRSTBORN.
  • The Girl in Red – Little Red Riding Hood told in Christina Henry’s epically creepy style (I hope). YES YES.
  • Wicked Fox – set in Seoul, with Korean legends and soul-stealing and immortality? This just sounds amazing, even more so since it’s the first of a duology (at least…there are two books listed on GR currently).

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What books are on your radar for this month? Drop me a note in the comments!

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Jun 03

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Reviews 1 ★★★½

Stepsister by Jennifer DonnellyStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Scholastic Press on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

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“Have you forgotten what I am? I am the heart’s first beat and its last. I am the newborn lamb and the wolf that rips out its throat. I am the bloodsong, crone.”

Stepsister is the story of what happens to Cinderella’s family after she marries her prince and leaves them for the palace life. I was SO excited for this book, and I loved the cover, and the premise! So, while I enjoyed it and finished it pretty quickly, this was unfortunately one of those books where I really felt like I read a different book than what other reviewers read. I saw several reviews that said it was incredibly dark, and gritty, and feminist…and while it definitely tries to be all of those things, it doesn’t quite pull it off. I think one of the main issues I have is that the book is simply too short to successfully BE what it was aiming for. I was quite surprised when it arrived, as it seemed like a very slim volume for the tale I was expecting – it comes in at 352 pages, in a book shorter than your usual hardcover. It feels rushed, and as a result I wasn’t able to fully believe in the characters or their feelings.

HOWEVER. I was still extremely curious all the way through, as it isn’t ever exactly clear how Isabelle and Octavia (the other stepsister) will reclaim themselves and their circumstances. I expected a lot more darkness, but to be honest the most horrifying thing happens in the first chapter (and isn’t a surprise) when both sisters mutilate their feet in an attempt to wear the glass slipper.

*insert Jeopardy theme song*

I kept waiting for something else bloody and awful to happen but it really…didn’t. And yes, I know, what kind of a person does this make me…I’m trying not to think too hard on that. 😛 I also loved the idea of the wolf within, slumbering under the heart of a girl who had been told to be quiet and still and stay in her place.

More Things I Liked

  • Both sisters have very unconventional interests (Octavia is a mathemetician, and Isabelle is a tactician) that have been smothered by their mother and society in general. I loved how they grew and blossomed and came into themselves as the story progressed.
  • There are some real zingers in here…

“The feeling that you want to own someone body and soul, spirit them away from everyone else, have them all to yourself forever and ever and ever,” Hugo said dreamily. “It’s called love.”

“No, it’s called kidnapping,” said Tavi.”

  • The bet between Fate and Chance was pretty interesting. I wish there had been a little more explanation of how they came to be in their current form and the mapwriting…etc.
  • THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!!!! OMG. I don’t want to spoil anything but holy crap this is my favorite fairy godmother interpretation of all time.

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three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jun 02

Sunday Post #11 – I Demand a Recount

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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I’m demanding a recount…of the days allotted to May. I was promised 31 days and I’m pretty sure I only received about 10. I start my summer class – organic chemistry (EEEEEK!!!) – tomorrow. Someone please explain how that happened. My brain is not sufficiently recovered from the past semesters. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that I actually know two people who will be in class with me, which makes me extremely happy.

Since all the complaining I can do will NOT roll back the calendar on May, I did a quick count and I managed to finish quite a few books for May!

  • 12 physical copy books
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 audiobook

TOTAL: 18 books

That has to be some kind of record for me. Pretty happy about that. I’m at 70 books for the year, which is FABULOUS for me. I have no idea how the rest of the year will go but I am very happy with the books I’ve read so far.

I’ve been a lot more active on Instagram lately (not just for the Read a Series in a month challenge, which I failed because…I can only handle so much angst at a time…*side-eye at the Twilight Saga*), so if you have an account be sure to look me up!

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

My golden boy is almost one year old! He looks so GROWN.

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • Stepsister – YA fantasy review
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – historical fiction review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday #7

If you want to see what other books are coming up for review, be sure to check out the widget in the right sidebar!

Around the Blogosphere

I was absolutely HORRIBLE about blog hopping this week! If you saw something really awesome in the book world, leave me a link in the comments! <3

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May 31

Cover Reveal – Magnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove!

Book Tours 0

I’m super excited to get to share the cover for the first book in Anya J. Cosgrove’s upcoming new series! I read the first of her debut series, Shadow Walker, (the other two are in my TBR to review!) and absolutely loved it, so I’m so happy to see she’s continuing to write AND that this series is a spin-off from the first series.
Title: Magnetic
Author: Anya J. Cosgrove
Genre: Reverse Harem Shifter Romance
Release Date: August 8, 2019
Cover Design: Fiona Jayde Media

 

Who said life was a fairy tale? Because I’d gladly slice that jerk’s head off.
I never expected to end up half-naked in the woods with my guts hanging out. I didn’t plan to stumble upon the most powerful shifter clan in North America and three of the sexiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Dominic, the fun and reckless new wolf.
Sam, the hot doctor with glacial-blue eyes.
And Gabriel, the intense, secretive alpha who wants nothing to do with me.
My real name is a one-way ticket back to hell, and my secrets need to stay buried like the girl I used to be.
Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood—I can be all three. I can use my powers to earn a place in their werewolf town, away from the bite of my past mistakes. I can use them—and their bodies—to survive.
The only thing I can’t do is fall for them.

 

Anya J Cosgrove lives in Québec with her husband, her beautiful son, and two mischievous cats. She works as a veterinarian by day. She’s a travel and Disney junkie and is passionate about her favorite paranormal series.
What would Buffy do? Kick ass!

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May 30

Two Like Me and You – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews, Book Tours 0 ★★★½

Be sure to check out all the other blogs on the tour over on XpressoTours!

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Two Like Me and You – Review and Tour!Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibbs
Published by Borne Back Books on May 20, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 298
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

Edwin Green's ex-girlfriend is famous. We're talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he's spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn't gone well.

But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin's life forever.

The three escape to France, in search of the old man's long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Two Like Me and You is a quirky, funny debut novel about two teenagers trying to navigate their own mental and emotional growing pains, and their quest to help an old man find the girl he lost in the chaos of World War II. I was a bit skeptical of the tone of the book at first, but soon it becomes apparent that Edwin, our narrator, just has a rather anxiety-filled yet still somehow irreverent way of looking at life. And that he’s still not over his now famous ex-girlfriend, Sadie.

Parker is hilarious and so unashamedly herself, I absolutely loved her. I would love to see another book from her point of view. She isn’t afraid to take chances (to the point of stupidity, at one point, but thankfully no one was harmed), and she isn’t afraid to be different. That’s my kind of girl!

There is a lot of stuff going on in this story that just…would never, ever happen. I know it’s fiction, of course, but still. I expect my contemporaries to be a little more realistic. For instance, there is NO WAY IN HELL any nursing home would have let an old man go off with two high school kids. Definitely not the way it’s explained away in this story, anyway. Also all the running around and dodging of police? Come on, y’all. Just be prepared to have to suspend a little more disbelief than you might be use to.

The romance was cute, very puppy-love like. Edwin is sweet, but he has a lot of growing up to do. Parker does right by him though. She totally does. You’ll have to read it to find out what I mean!

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, lighthearted but with some really heartfelt bits when Gordon is telling his story of being in France and meeting the love of his life during the war. I was expecting a little more of a Letters to Juliet type story, but I was still quite satisfied with how this turned out. 3.5/5 stars!

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three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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May 29

Can’t Wait Wednesday #6 – All Eyes On Us

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #6 – All Eyes On UsAll Eyes on Us by Kit Frick
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4, 2019
Pages: 384
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their paths intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm? AMANDA: Who is this?

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart. ROSALIE: Who IS this?

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…

The mention of conversion therapy did it for me. I grew up in a home where that was considered THE ANSWER for non-hetero people, and I thought it sounded awful then and I am absolutely HORRIFIED now as a (hopefully) enlightened adult. Very interested in how it will be portrayed in this story.

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May 28

No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews 3 ★★★★★

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour over at Prism Book Tours!

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No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!No Place Like Here by Christina June
Published by Blink on May 21, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

No Place Like Here was so much more than I expected! I went into it thinking I was getting a somewhat fluffy summer camp novel (at only 272 pages I finished it in half a shift at work – yes, my job is that slow). While there were fluffy aspects, it was so much deeper and touched my heart in ways I was completely surprised by.

Ashlyn’s entire world has been turned upside down. All her plans for the summer have gone out the window. Her parents BOTH seem to have abandoned her. She’s been shipped off to stay with relatives she hasn’t seen for nearly a decade. She plans to just keep her head down and her mouth shut, just like she has for the entire life she’s spent with her overbearing, self-centered father. But then she realizes that she does still have a family that cares about her, and she starts to grow into herself. She grows SO MUCH in this short book, it was really amazing and yet still very believable.

I loved that she didn’t just grow up and shut her parents out. She grew up and at least tried to start the healing process with them. Her mom’s struggle with depression felt realistically portrayed, and I really appreciated the positive mental health rep in the book! Getting help is NOT a weakness, or a waste of time. YES!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Christina June for not making this a “romance is the answer” story. There is a little flirtation, a little kissing, a lot of attraction – but no real romance. So many stories portray romantic relationships as the cure-all for what ails us and it’s just so not true!

Now I need to go back and read the books that came before this one. Apparently some of the same characters show up, so I’m personally hoping that after No Place Like Here we get to hear more of Baxter’s story…

5/5 stars. I loved this book! I’ll be waiting for anything else Christina June puts out.

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five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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