Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find the most current prompts here.


 

Resolutions are really hard to keep. I think it’s because, at least for me, I aim too high and make it too difficult right from the start. I made my Goodreads goal 100 books last year since I had failed it in 2016 and in 2017, I ended up surpassing it! Now that I know I can do it, though, that makes me want to aim high again. It’s some kind of catch-22. ^^;

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is about my bookish resolutions for the year. I’m not putting a ton of thought into them and hopefully that will keep me from reaching too high.

 

Read more of the books I get in subscription boxes.

FairyLoot and OwlCrate are the two book subscriptions boxes I get most often. However, I usually end up putting off reading the books I get in them. This may have to do with the fact that I keep the goodies and the book inside the box they come in, thereby hiding it from view or the fact that I have a storage problem and they can get lost under piles.

This year, I want to try to read all the books I get from these services as well as the back list ones I still have on a shelf.

 

Keep my currently-reading shelf to a minimum.

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At the time of writing this list, I have seven books on my currently-reading shelf (Language of Thorns is one more spot down), but that’s only because I cleared out a lot that I was only a little bit into or couldn’t remember the content of. I have a bad habit of starting lots of books and reading them at the same time, making for a very cluttered list. I think my top number was in the thirties. In 2018, I want to try and focus on finishing a book before starting another (except in special circumstances).

 

If I like a book in a series, read the next one quicker.

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If I read the first book in a series and the rest of the series (or at least the next book) is available, make it a priority. My memory is poor and leaving too much time between sequels can mean that I forget important characters or events. I’m trying to finish up Illuminae now, so Gemina will be high on the list of books to read early this year.

 

Read the books movies I like are based on.

There are a lot of classic stories I know from watching the films. I’d like to try and read more of the books themselves. For example: I’ve read three of the Narnia books, but I want to finish the series. Then there are Austen’s novels which, while I love the movies, I honestly cannot remember finishing one of her books. Oops.

 

Read more back list titles.

I hoard books. It’s a side effect of being a bit older and of collecting books most of my life. They do tend to pile up and, with around 3000 books (I’m estimating but it’s probably wrong), I have a lot of back list titles I need to read. I want to read more of them this year instead of ignoring them for the shiny new titles.

 

Keep my NetGalley requests down/up my percentage.

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I request far too many books and, while my percentage is hovering around 80%, I know it could be better. I want to read my list down, get reviews out on time, and get that percentage to at LEAST 90% by the end of 2018.

 

Read more manga/light novels.

I went to AnimeNext for ten years straight and because they moved to Atlantic City recently, I’ve been unable to go. That was the place where I learned about the newest manga trends, saw amazing cosplay, and made friends interested in anime and manga. While I could do a lot of that online, there was something about the atmosphere and the fun that I miss. I want to recapture some of that feeling again by reading more manga. I think I stopped for the most part last year because I was mourning a bit. Hopefully I can move past that now.

 

Read more books that take place outside of the U.S.

I’m not sure what my percentages were for books I read set outside the U.S. in 2017, but I don’t think it was very high. Most of them seemed to take place here and while that’s fine, I want to broaden my reading and read books set elsewhere.

 

Read more audiobooks.

My job allows me to listen to audiobooks while working so this one shouldn’t be too hard. Similar to reading my back list, I have a lot of audiobooks that I have ready to go in my library. I think The Princess Diarist is the one I’ll read first because Carrie Fisher narrates her own book and it sounds really candid, like we’re chatting and I’m not listening to a recording.

 

Don’t stress about monthly TBRs or reading challenges.

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Trying to cram in time to make the challenges rather than reading because I wanted to makes for a miserable experience. This year, I will try my hardest not to make too much work for myself when joining in challenges. I won’t strain myself, whether that means taking a breaking when needed or going to bed rather than staying up way too late.

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: Harvey’s Hideout by Russell Hoban (Author), Lillian Hoban (Illustrator)

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Published: 4 February 2018 (originally published 1969)

Publisher: Plough Publishing House

Category: Childrens/Fantasy/Fiction

For big sisters and little brothers in dens, burrows, and houses everywhere.

“Mildred,” said Father Muskrat, “it is true that Harvey is selfish and inconsiderate, but he is not stupid and no-good. Mildred is loudmouthed and bossy,” Father said to Harvey, “but she is not mean and rotten.”

When Mildred goes off to a big party where little brothers are not invited, Harvey finds a secret club in a secret place where big sisters are not allowed to be members. But when Harvey’s lonesomeness overpowers his stubbornness, he discovers that a secret club with two members is much better.

Rating: 3 Stars

Bread and Jam for Frances was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. The rhymes were simple, her individuality was awesome, and I liked that she ended up trying new things after wanting to stick with her usual snack for most of the book. I swear there was even a point in time when I got my grandmother or great-grandmother to make dishes based on it. All that is to say, when I saw that Harvey’s Hideout was available on NetGalley, I requested it because of the nostalgia factor.

While I definitely saw elements that reminded me of why I liked a different book by this writing/illustrating duo, I didn’t care for this book as much as the Frances ones. Harvey and his sister, Mildred, do not get along as per the typical sibling rivalry plot line. What I did like was Lillian’s illustrations as they seemed to be consistent with what I remember from Frances. The animals were sweet looking, the environments nice and homey. The writing was steady enough with previous work and I don’t fault that, rather I didn’t like the events/relationship of Harvey’s Hideout.

The book, in my mind, overestimated what siblings might do in the situation that Harvey and Mildred found themselves in. To child readers young enough not to think too deeply, the rhymes and all’s-well-that-ends-well scenario might pass, but readers slightly above the age range intended for this book, as well as the adults reading it to them, may find some difficulty in believing the characters action.

Harvey doesn’t retain the same kind of enjoy-ability or re-readability as previous work by the Hobans, but I think it’s nice enough for a bedtime story or for siblings that might be having a rough go at things.

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge: My Reading List

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

Now I know that I said (or will say as the case may be in an upcoming Top Ten Tuesday post on bookish resolutions) I would try not to stress about reading challenges this year. However, that came from a place where I was signing up for multiple challenges in a year and taking on way more books at one time than I had the ability to read.

The 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, however, takes places over the course of the calendar year which sounds much more manageable. There are a variety of books, hopefully preventing me from burning out on one type of books. There’s also an advanced section of challenges for if (when!) I finish the first 40.

This is a list of the books I’m currently planning on reading for the challenges. If you think there might be a better choice, please let me know in the comment section. 🙂

 

2018 Reading Challenges: 1-40

 

 

A book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

True crime: Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale

The next book in a series you started: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffREAD

Nordic noir: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

A book involving a heist: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 

 

A novel based on a real person: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

A book set in a country that fascinates you: Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

A book with a time of day in the title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

A book about a villain or antihero: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

A book about death or grief: Goodbye Days by Jeffrey Zentner

 

 

 

A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee  – READ

A book that is also a stage play or musical: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire KannREAD

A book about feminism: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

 

 

A book about mental health: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift: The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

A book by two authors: Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

A book about or involving a sport: Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Wisp (aka J.K. Rowling)

A book by a local author: The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda LovelaceREAD

 

 

A book with your favorite color in the title: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
A book with alliteration in the title: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

A book about time travel: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
A book with a weather element in the title: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

A book set at sea: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoREAD

 

 

A book with an animal in the title: Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda (author), Yuu (visual art)
A book set on a different planet: Saga #8 by Brian K. Vaughn (author), Fiona Staples (illustrator)READ
A book with song lyrics in the title: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
A book about or set on Halloween: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
A book with characters who are twins: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

 

A book mentioned in another book: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

A book from a celebrity book club: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

A childhood classic you’ve never read: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A book that’s published in 2018 – The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – READ

A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner: Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman

 

 

A book set in the decade you were born: Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

A book with an ugly cover: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

A book that involves a bookstore or library – The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser – READ

Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges: (a book based on a fairy tale): Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

 

2018 Advanced Reading Challenges

 

 

A bestseller from the year you graduated high school: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (#65 on Amazon’s Best Sellers of 2004 List)
A cyber punk book: Warcross by Marie LuREAD
A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein (courtesy of Hot Dudes Reading)
A book tied to your ancestry: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Swedish author/setting)
A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

 

An allegory: The Vegetarian by Han Kang
A book by an author with the same first or last name as you: Demonic Dolls: True Tales of Terrible Toys by John Harker
A micro history: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
A book about a problem facing society today: Dear Martin by Nic Stone
A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (recommended by Brandyn)

 

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glasser

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Published: 2 January 2018

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Category: Fantasy/Young Adult

A Jane Austen-inspired YA tale about a sixteen-year-old girl who finds a magical book—and discovers that anything she writes inside it comes true.

Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon.

As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true.

But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her—and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

A new boy in school—the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter—becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.

Rating: 4 Stars

As The Forgotten Book has a line in its own synopsis saying it’s a Jane Austen inspired story, I was on the lookout for that. I’m not sure I’d say there’s any one Austen book that this one was inspired by because I saw elements of several. There’s the overreaching one (Pride & Prejudice, of course) and some elements of Emma, such as some characteristics that The Forgotten Book Emma shared with Austen Emma, as well as her friend Hannah standing in for Harriet Smith. There’s also a writer the girls talk about named Eleanor Morland whose surname is the same as that of the heroine of Northanger Abbey.

An overused sort of line that I found unnecessarily repetitive was how, in the first few chapters, Emma was saying that her world was going to change the next day or how little did she know that everything was about to change. Those lines, with little to no difference between them, cropped up several times in the beginning of the book and it was an annoyance to hear them repeated so often and in such close proximity to the previous one.

One thing I want to point out is that there are scenes of teenagers drinking, the main character to the point of drunkenness in one, and if you miss anything, do not forget that this book takes place in Germany and was originally written in German. The legal drinking age in Germany, as far as beer and wine goes, is 16. I admit that I forgot about the setting and was surprised by this, but a quick search revealed it’s not the same as in the U.S. (my home country).

I’ve never finished an Austen novel, but from what I have read, I have to say I could see similarities in the writing style then and in Glaser’s here with The Forgotten Book, such as the social commentary and the heroine observing everything and everyone about her. Imitating a similar style and elements from some of Austen’s books, there was still a lot of her own voice within the book, from the events that Emma participated in and instigated, as well as the modern air that translates well in this current reading experience.

While there were some pacing issues, I was able to get round those rather quickly and settle down to enjoy the story. I’d recommend this book not only to fans of Glaser’s The Book Jumper, but of classic Austen novels as well, plus anyone that loves a good fantasy adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell (Author), Jennifer Finch (Illustrator)

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Published: 19 August 2016

Publisher: Self-published

Category: Animals/Picture Books

This is a cheerful, lyrical story about a little mouse that goes on an adventure in search of something sweet. He meets lots of friends along the way that share treats with him, but none are quite right. He is disappointed until he arrives home and realizes his Mommy baked the sweetest treat just for him – cookies!

Rating: 4 Stars

A lovely book for young readers and their caregivers, Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat combines an easy rhyme scheme and pleasant illustrations to create a great bedtime story.

Telling the story of Little Mouse on the search for a delectable snack, Hollowell has written the script for a picture book I can imagine reading with my son. It’s short enough that multiple readings in a night would be more than possible. Little Mouse meets plenty of friends and his sense of adventure also leads to a good lesson about sharing.

Illustrator Jennifer Finch has an eye for color in each page that unites Little Mouse with his next friend. There’s a dreamy quality to each picture and a brightness that will engage the young audience the book is intended for.

A winning combination of author and illustrator created this sweet book about Little Mouse and his journey to meet friends, search for a snack, and ultimately come home to a delicious surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Didn’t Get to In 2017

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

With a TBR shelf to rival a mountain, there were a lot of books that I didn’t get to last year. I’ve got quite the lofty challenge set for myself this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to get to some of my backlist books as well as the fabulous new releases in 2018.

I shared some of the titles I missed in my post yesterday, Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017. Today I’m sharing five more, generously suggested/pointed out to me by Vicky Who Reads.

 

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Another OwlCrate books I snapped up last year, Eliza and Her Monsters appealed to me because the main character, Eliza, is the creator of a web comic. I love stories about creators like that. I’ve heard there’s mental health rep in the story that’s good in regards to anxiety, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

love books that feature characters that are villains. Too often their stories were left by the wayside in favor of the heroine, but recently a lot more titles are cropping up that center on characters like Xifeng, the main character in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. This story is an East Asian re-imagining of the Evil Queen story and I cannot wait to see how Julia C. Dao imagined her.

 

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

The first thing that prompted me to get this book was the fact that is has a Goblin King story line. I love the film Labyrinth featuring David Bowie as the Goblin King, so anything even loosely inspired by it is something I want to read. Liesl being a musician also brings a smile to my face.

 

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe

I get the feeling that this is going to be an amazing novel, but at the same time that it’s going to break my heart. Adam, who has ADHD, has to find out what happened to his foster brother, Julian, who he hasn’t seen in five years. There’s more beneath the surface to Julian’s story and finding that out, as well as how to save him, is going to be a rough ride.

 

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

This has been recommended a few times and if there’s one more thing that I love reading about, other than said above about artists and musicians, it’s libraries. Especially mysterious ones that house people raised under strange circumstances.

 


 

Have you read any of these books? Which should I read first? Let me know in the comment section. 🙂

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018)

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

This is the final prompt as hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Next week starts a whole new set of prompts provided by The Artsy Reader. Thank you to those of the Broke and the Bookish for all the ideas they’ve provided over the years.

There are only so many hours in a day to read and, unfortunately, that means some choices need to made regarding what books gets read and what ones get left for another time. Today’s Top Ten list is about those books that I really wanted to read in 2017, but just didn’t have time to get to.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

I met Mackenzi Lee last year when only her first book had been published and she was energetic and lovely about her book, This Monstrous Thing, that I knew I’d want to read her sophomore book. I got it in an Owlcrate box in 2017 and got through a few chapters before lapsing. The narrator for the audiobook is amazing, so I may end up going that route.

 

The Loom Saga by Elise Kova

Another author I met and absolutely loved, Elise wrote the Loom Saga last year and I really wanted to power through it, but when the last two books were coming out I couldn’t afford them and that sent the plan off the rails. So, this year, definitely reading The Alchemists of Loom, The Dragons of Nova, and The Rebels of Gold.

 

The Furthermore Series by Tahereh Mafi

Furthermore was beautiful the moment I picked it up and when Whichwood came out, there was so much hype around it. I wish I’d read them sooner and I can’t really remember why I didn’t.

 

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The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

This book started getting a lot of hype among the people I follow on Twitter last November, which was a bit of a hectic time for me. I was able to pick it up, but not read it before the end of the year. It sounds amazing and exciting, so many things that I can’t wait to get to it this year.

 

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

While his Miles Morales book is also on my list, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is the book of his that I want to read, or rather listen to as he narrates the book himself. The sample I heard on Audible was perfect, real deep and smooth. I think January is definitely the month I’ll be using one of my Audible credits for this.

 

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I’ve only read one John Green book in the past, so the hype for his first book in five years wasn’t as big a deal for me. I do want to read this and fully intend to, but it kind of slipped through the cracks after I picked it up.

 

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Pearl Mackie narrates The Last Namsara and sounds perfect for a fantasy about dragons and stories and a fierce warrior with dark ancestral history. I have both the audio and the physical copy, courtesy of FairyLoot last year. Why didn’t I get to it? Who the heck knows. I think because it came out around the time I had a lot of deadlines.

 


 

Are there any books from last year that you think I should have read? What was one that you missed out on in 2017? Let me know. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

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Published: 6 February 2018

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Category: Contemporary/Young Adult

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her germophobia and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.

Rating: 4 Stars

American Panda is packed to the gills with a lot of things, chief among them the sheer intensity of feelings. While at first glance you may think that they will solely belong to Mei, the protagonist, this is not 100% accurate. There are so many angles to this story, experiences that we hear and learn about, that while the primary plot is so good and “finishes”, the reader is left knowing that things will go on for the characters long after the cover is closed.

Mei is a young woman who has been pushed hard all her life by her parents to achieve the best life possible. They want her to be a doctor, even getting her to skip a grade, so that at seventeen she is the youngest freshman in her class. That wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that she is germaphobic and doesn’t think she can handle being around patients the way her family wants her to as a career.

Her passion lies elsewhere; true to her culture but along a different path in dance. She experiments with it, using it to both release tension and express herself at school in an empty cafeteria and as an instructor, a job her parents don’t know about. This release allows her, I think, to attempt to push along with the dream her parents set out to give her, because we see time and again how hard she tries to be the person they want, including shadowing a doctor at the school’s health clinic.

It also opens her up to the other aspects of her life that are true to her personal being, such as choosing who she wants to be with in a romantic sense, such as her Japanese classmate Darren, and whether she wants to be in contact with her brother Xing, ostracized from the family years ago for wanting to marry a woman his parents didn’t approve of. Both situations are difficult enough on the surface, but there is a lot of cultural significance as well between Mei and Xing’s Taiwanese heritage and Darren’s Japanese that affects the events that transpire.

There were lighthearted moments, such as when Mei was teaching the younger students at the dance studio and when she was having fun with Darren, but there were also emotionally intense scenes, like when she discovered her personal strength and found the words to explain to her parents what she wanted from her life. Facing the consequences of her actions took a lot of power and I was very nervous for Mei and also really happy when she managed to find her way through the circuitous path to, if not a 100% happy ending, at least a future that made sense.

At times frustrating, at times bringing a smile to the reader’s face, Gloria Chao’s book about Mei and figuring out who she and what she wants is a contemporary discovery about a person’s culture and how it fits in with their future.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Audiobook Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Author), Kenneth Branagh (Narrator)

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Published: Novel (1818); Audiobook (24 August 2017)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Category: Science Fiction/Classic

Kenneth Branagh, director and star of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, provides one of the most spectacular spoken audio performances ever recorded in this electrifying audio adaptation of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece.

One of the greatest horror stories ever written, Frankenstein comes to spellbinding life once again in this tour-de-force performance by the acclaimed director and star of Henry V, Dead Again, and Much Ado About Nothing. The definitive recording of one of the most haunting tales of all time, Kenneth Branagh’s performance of Frankenstein is a true audio classic.

Rating: 4 Stars

I never got the chance to read this text during any of my English classes growing up. Hoping to read more classics, I started Frankenstein this year around this time because I wanted to read a book considered that felt seasonally appropriate and when you think of a classic monster movie, Frankenstein is an answer that comes up quite a lot.

I’ve seen interpretations of Victor Frankenstein and his Monster/Creature before, but not having had the original material to judge against, I’ve formed opinions of those interpretations on their own, such as Victor and Caliban in Penny Dreadful. After reading Mary Shelley’s original novel, I find myself wondering how I could have waited so long to read such a well written book and also how any one could find themselves firmly on Victor’s side of events.

Before I state my specific opinions on Victor’s behavior, let me comment on Shelley’s writing and its endurance so many years later. Her novel, the first science fiction novel, has many themes which can be discussed repeatedly with different audiences because each will have their opinions to add to it. While being a highly philosophical text, there’s also the nurture vs. nature argument with relation to Frankenstein’s Creature and Victor’s treatment of him following his birth/creation. The characters themselves offer much speculation that can be dissected in a discussion, whether one or the other was right, what the rights of the Creature might of been, and who’s ultimate fate was right or who deserved better.

For my part, I disliked Victor intensely throughout the novel and found him to be a wholly un-salvageable character. He at turns seemed to realized that he was guilty of leaving people to stand in place for things which were his fault, but then he would do nothing to save them, such as Justine, a young woman who by parts is framed for a murder by the Creature who could have been saved by Victor, but is ultimately executed. Even on his death bed at the close of his novel, when I thought that he might at last realize that his fate was ultimately the result of his own disastrous decisions, he proved that he had learned nothing through the loss of so many people.

There were briefs moments in the book when I thought Victor showed some semblance of intelligence, such as his hesitance to build a bride for his Creature. The Creature’s loneliness is so absolute, his anger so hot, that he forgets that he would likely be condemning any bride to a similar fate in his quest for companionship. In this father and son are very much alike.

How much of Victor’s trouble with regards to his experiments and the resulting Creature were the result of his own vanity? To start there was his deciding to play God with no regard for whether he should rather than could, but then the appearance of the Creature. It seems as though Victor’s abhorrence of his creation stems primarily from the perceived ugliness and disregard for any quality he may possess. An insane amount of difference would have been made if Victor had nurtured his son rather than abandoned him to the cruelty of the world, explained things rather than fled the room and left the Creature to his own devices. What, then, would life have been like in that alternate reality? What kind of science could Victor have pursued if his prejudice against his own work not been so absolute?

I wish that I had had the chance to read this in a critical setting because it seems to me to be one of those classics that ages well and would bear up well under questioning, pulling at story threads, and interesting interpretations that different readers might think up over time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours & Promotions: Pretty Dead Girls Release Week Blitz

 

 

Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab your copy today!

Congratulations Monica!

 

 

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen

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Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she’s next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she’s never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There’s something he isn’t telling her. But there’s something she’s not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is a traditionally published author with Bantam/Random House and Harper Collins/Avon, as well as an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson. She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

 

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