Top 10 Tuesday: Read-in-One-Sitting Books

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

When I was a child and my parents were still buying my books for me, I developed a tendency to choose books that were enormous because I wanted to get the most reading that I could if I could only have one book. I usually couldn’t finish these books in one sitting, which was kind of the point at the time, seeing as these books were usually between 600 and 800 pages.

However, now that I can buy my own books and can also make more liberal use of the library, I choose books of varying lengths. I still enjoy my behemoth books that take me more than one day to complete, but there are a few that I’ve read in one sitting. Generally these tend to be shorter books, but I will confess that at least one on this list will surprise you because of its length.

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This is one of the older ones that I remember reading. I have no idea why I picked it up because generally I don’t pick up books that have religious tones like this one sort of did, but I ended liking it so much that I stay up all night reading it.

I remember reading both of these in one sitting per book around the time that Breaking Dawn came out because my boyfriend at the time and I went to the midnight release party, but I hadn’t yet caught up on the books. We went because it was the last book and we wanted to get in on the party atmosphere. However, he kept the book until I finished these two books so I wouldn’t be tempted to cheat and read ahead, so I binged on these for the next two nights to get to the finale.

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This was my most recent read-in-one-sitting book. I got it in the mail one day, never intending to sit down and gobble it up, but guess what happened? Yup, a five star read was had and enjoyed.

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I have no idea how I managed to read this in one sitting. It is my single biggest reading triumph, I think, because this is the longest book on the list at 870 pages. I remember reading it in one sitting because of a read-a-long in the months before Deathly Hallows was released. I got really into it on the day that I started it and just kept going. It’s a good thing that I started it early in the day or I would’ve been up all night!

The first five Saga novels were one day reads in and of themselves, plus I read them all together in a single day, so does that get a double score for this particular TTT post? Anyhow, this series is great. It can be a bit graphic in parts, what with language, nudity, and violence, but there are enduring story-lines of family, love, loyalty, and the stress of war.

 

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read in one sitting? Have you ever binged an entire series in one day? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

 

 

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

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Rating: 4 Stars

This has become one of my favorite novels of the year. It’s not a fast paced action novel and, while normally during the winter I’d want to read something that takes place somewhere significantly warmer, this book takes place in Russia, a frozen place filled with stories of monsters, witches, and a host of other supernatural folk.

I found that the story was very easy to sink into. It doesn’t start out with the main character, Vasilisa, but rather her family and grows from there. We learn intricacies of her family, little facts that unfold as Vasilisa is born to a mother that wanted her more than anything and whose sacrifice has unforeseen consequences. From birth to adolescence to teenage youth there are not only the growing pains that Vasilisa faces, but the ripples in the pond that her family members make, such as her father’s second marriage and her brother Sasha’s aspirations to monk-hood.

In regards to the writing style, I found it reminiscent of classic Russian novels in the naming conventions, such as female and male differences, plus the slight changes made depending upon the familial relationship to the person in question. It was a bit of a challenge at first because I am not used to reading in that style, but after a couple of chapters I found that it wasn’t a bother at all and actually added to my experience in the Russian landscape. It might help if the reader’s read manga in the past, actually, because honorifics are used there as well, often with similar nuances depending upon the person you’re talking to.

A sweeping fantasy, I think the series has potential to be quite the epic one and I look forward to reading more from the author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley 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.

Review: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Author’s Website

Life ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.

Rating: 2 Stars

I’ve been concentrating a lot more on reading in the last couple of years, but before I really got into blogging and reading seriously with the intent of blogging about those books I also crafted. I still do (knitting is my thing) on occasion, so when I saw that there was a book that had a cover with a Fair Isle style cover and had a main character that was a big crafter. I thought this sounded like a perfect match.

There were some things that I liked about this book, but it was a serious letdown from what I expected.

I appreciated that Petula and her mother were such big bookworms. Her mother works in a book shop, regularly shares advance reader copies with her daughter, and names all of their cats and foster cats after literary characters. Petula constantly shows shock or exasperation towards Jacob when he mentions a movie or television show that was based on a book, which he inevitably hasn’t read. Apparently he’s not much of a reader and her annoyance at that felt appropriate for a bookworm like her.

Something I did not like, and I noticed other readers having the same issue, is Petula’s anxiety and it’s portrayal within the novel. I understood a lot of her mannerisms in the book, particularly her planning alternate ways home to avoid the construction site, her train of thoughts regarding situations such as plane crashes, etc. However, what I did not like nor appreciate is that her anxiety tended to disappear when Jacob was around. I noticed it really for the first time after they’d been paired up for the creative English project. That whole conversation felt wrong because, as a reader, I could tell that something was off and after reading it again, I realized that it was Petula acting in a way that was completely contrary to how she’d been set up in the preceding chapters. Anxiety is not something that is cured by the presence of a boy, much less one that’s a near complete stranger.

I was especially angry when I read about Petula’s reaction to going to Youth Art Therapy (the mandatory art therapy she attends, nicknamed YART). She was incredibly judgmental, calling those attending it “truly hopeless sad sacks”; a former friend of hers and she dubbed the program “Crafting for Crazies”. That’s dismissive, insulting, and quite rich, considering her own experience with mental illness.

A thing that bugged me was a mention in chapter one. Petula was in art therapy and someone dumped a tube of glitter on her head. Now, this is a little event and has no bearing on the rest of the story, but it bothered me because a) if Petula is going to worry about traffic patterns and construction site accidents in planning her life to be as safe as possible, wouldn’t something you can inhale and that could scratch your throat be of concern? Or that could get in your eye and blind you? and b) glitter is the devil and gets everywhere, how is it she didn’t glitter for the next week?

Another odd bit is the school project that is made to sound like such a big deal in the summary. It is literally over and done with well before the halfway point of the book and it doesn’t have a lot of influence over the rest of the book. It has a small ripple effect, but you’d think, if it’s mentioned in the summary, that it would have more importance than it did.

Conclusion: the writing wasn’t horrible and I think I might even have liked it in another application, but I found that this story wasn’t enjoyable. I found myself not interested in the characters or their backstories, of which there were plenty. There were some good points, like the ones I mentioned above as well as some mention of Internet cat videos (who doesn’t love those?), but in the end this book just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley 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.

Mystery Blogger Award

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First and foremost I’d like to thank Mandy of Book Princess Reviews for nominating me for this award. It was a lovely surprise and I’m so grateful. Be sure to check out her blog, linked above.

Now, to the fun stuff (with a brief interlude for the rules):

The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion award was created by Okoto Enigma @ Okoto Enigma

Three Things About Me

  • I love orange juice, but dislike eating oranges. I have no idea why this is, but it also means my juice must be pulp free.
  • I prefer watching British cooking competitions over American ones because I find them so much nicer. There’s less meaness and spitefulness.
  • If there’s one book I’ve read more than any other, it’s probably A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I usually re-read her books at least once a year, starting with that one.

Mandy’s Questions

  1. What was your least favorite book as a kid? Do you remember?

I really can’t remember there being one that I actively disliked as a child. I think I was just happy to be able to read because there was a time when my parents were a bit restrictive, so I just gobbled up what I could while I could.

2. What is the last song that made you feel something big – sad, happy, etc?

I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack in my car constantly, so the last song that made my happy was “What Did I Miss?”. It’s sung by Thomas Jefferson when he’s coming home from France and getting ready to be Secretary of State.

3. What is your favorite Disney character AND/OR Princess (*please be a Princess ;)*) and why?

My favorite Disney princess is a tie at the moment between Moana and Belle. Belle was long my favorite because of her bookish nature, but after seeing Moana and experiencing her story, I felt like she might edge Belle out a bit. As for my favorite character, Yzma is my favorite. I know she’s a villain, but she’s a hilarious villain that is often forgotten because her movie, The Emperor’s New Groove, isn’t one of the more popular Disney movies.

4. What book types are your guilty pleasure?

Light mystery novels, like the Cat Who books by Lillian Jackson Braun or the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett.

5. Would you ever run for president/prime minister/leader of your country?

Oh hell no. I live in the US and governing this place would be a mess. It’s mostly babysitting a bunch of other politicians that are too busy bickering among themselves to really care about the people they’re supposed to be representing.

My Questions for the people I TAG:

  1. What’s the one Disney song you can never get out of your head?
  2. If you could only gift one book to everyone this coming holiday season, what would it be?
  3. If you had to choose: Twitter or Facebook?
  4. What book have you read recently that surprised you by how much you liked/disliked it?
  5. If you had to choose: would you rather be able to design your favorite books covers OR cast their film adaptation?

 

Danielle @ Flyleaf Chronicles  –  Sophie @ Blame It On Chocolate  –

Tiana @ The Book Raven Blog  –  Salmah @ Salmah’s Bookshelf

 

Tag…you’re it! If you’re up for it I’d love for you guys to do this tag. I hope my questions are to your satisfaction and that you’ll have a few of your own up your sleeve for whomever you decide to tag.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books or Characters I Felt Betrayed By

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

Books are fantastic and they can be our best friends, but they also have the potential to stab us in the back (metaphorically and emotionally speaking). This week’s theme is all about those books and characters that are responsible for betraying me in some manner.

Because this post might deal with some of their ulterior motives further into the story and might even spoil the ending, I’ll post a big spoiler warning here just in case.

**POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD **

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The Darkling, Shadow and Bone

I loved this character when we were first introduced to him on the page and for most of the book. Even after certain attributes were brought up, even after his mother said he was a horrible person, I was hoping and praying that they were all liars and none of it was true.

Imagine how I felt when the end of the book came along and he started proving all of these things true. I was crushed! I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, so I suppose there’s technically still time for things to turn around, but I sincerely doubt that’s going to happen.

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J.K. Rowling, this whole book

I trusted J.K. Rowling when she said that she was only going to kill off (I think) four main characters. When I actually read it, though, it felt like my favorite people were being killed off left and right. There was so much death in this book that I felt emotionally drained after reading it and haven’t been able to bring myself to read it since it was first published.

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Veronica Roth re: the ending

I have to be honest about this one: I haven’t actually read it yet. The ending, however, was massively spoiled for me by a BookTuber awhile ago. This has pushed Allegiant to the bottom of my TBR for the foreseeable future because of how awful that ending was. Why in the name of all that is good in this world did she have to kill Tris? I can’t see any good reason for this in what I have read of the series and hearing that revelation struck me as an utter betrayal by the author against her readers that had spent hundreds of pages becoming emotionally invested in Tris’s story.

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Mim Malone, Mosquitoland

I did not know, going into this, that Mim Malone would be as unreliable a narrator as she turned out to be. It felt like a betrayal to be reading about her story and believing her, only to get to a revelation and realize that she was either unintentionally wrong or out-and-out lying to me the whole time.

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Maven, Red Queen

I felt for this character. As the second son, and of the second queen, he felt like he was loved less than his perfect older brother Cal. I get that, I could understand how that felt. However, when his and his mother’s betrayal is revealed toward the end of the book, I felt like throwing the book at the wall. His mother I could understand, she was horrible from the beginning, but I wanted to wring his neck for being such a little ass***e.

Have you ever felt betrayed by a character or book? Did any of my choices ring a bell? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

 

 

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

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

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

Welcome back to the Broke and the Bookish team from their well deserved break. Thank you for providing us with more fun topics to join in on week after week! This particular week is a bit of an odd one for me to think about. It’s about the books on my Spring TBR, which normally would be lovely to envision, but within 24 hours apparently 18-24″ of snow is threatening to fall on my town so I’m still firmly in a Winter sort of mood. Nonetheless, I would like to share with you some of the books that I will be endeavoring to read and, indeed, looking forward to to get me through this most recent spat of cold weather.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I’ve been finding a lot of Russian based stories lately, such as The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye. This one looks to be just as magical, maybe even more fantastical, as the main character Vasilisa summons the courage to confront a threat to her family in the middle of a winter-y landscape. This might seem a bit strange for a Spring time read, but oh well. lol

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These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

I’m very curious about this one because really, a secret society that seems perfectly benign, helping people? What could possibly be wrong or potentially sinister about that? Alert: probably a butt load, as main character Evelyn is about to discover one way or the other.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

I miss going to conventions, ever since my favorite one of many years moved locations and it became unfeasible for me to attend anymore. Getting to read about them is almost as good, so that was the first tic in the yes column for Queens of Geek. The second was the fact that there’s meant to be a well-portrayed bisexual lead in this book, according to buzz I’ve heard, which I look forward to.

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Peter Darling by Austin Chant

This one sounds really unique to me and I’m anxious to get to it. It’s been ages since I’ve read or watched a Peter Pan adaptation and never have I seen one where Pan was transgender. I have many questions as to how the story will be different from what I remember of the original; I’m sure it will be an adventure to find out.

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The Resistance: United in Love by Various Authors

I saw this recommended on someone’s blog and instantly wanted to request it for myself. It’s a collection of poems and essays by various authors, writing about their views on the current climate, events, and their hopes for the future.

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Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

(alternate title: The Flywheel)

I was curious about this book because Delilah, or Del, is a strong person that takes over her father’s cafe when he leaves the country to mend his broken heart. I like books that take place in small cafes, so point there. Adding to that the mountain of other obstacles that Del is going to have to conquer (mean girls, a love sick friend that might go to jail, a big crush on dancer Rosa across the street), I’m looking forward to seeing how she does.

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The Dining Car by Eric Peterson

Books about food and restaurants are a lot of fun, even if the stories aren’t always the happiest. I’m not sure which way this one will go, but it’s about a man who enlists as a bartender on a train that transports a snooty food critic across the country. The title and the cover reminded me of a restaurant my grandmother used to take me to that was housed in an old train car, so that’s a win for nostalgia.

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The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. When I read that description in regards to The Gauntlet by Kaurna Riazi, I was instantly hooked. The cover reminded me more of the television show Legends of the Hidden Temple, but that or Jumanji would make for an excellent middle grade adventure story. A book from the imprint Salaam Reads, I’m anxious to read not only this but many more from this imprint featuring Muslim children and their families.

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Raising Royalty by Carolyn Harris

I initially picked this one up because the summary mentions William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and I’m fascinated by how together they seem to be. The concept of the book intrigues me because obviously parenting is going to be different between how I, a person whose family hovers around the national poverty line, raise my child versus the parents in this book. What are the differences, exactly? How did these royal families raise or interact with their children? What kind of expectations did they have? I’ll find out once I’ve read this, I’m sure.

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But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

After a four star read with Estelle Laure’s last book, This Raging Light, I thought I’d try out her next book.

Are any of these books on your Spring TBR as well? Or on your TBR at all? Let’s chat about them! 😀

 

 

 

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

 

Review: The Search for Aveline: Sink or Swim #1 by Stephanie Rabig and Angie Bee

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Stephanie’s Website  –  Angie’s Website

Captain Harriet “Harry” Roberts and the daring crew of The Sappho are not for the faint of heart. A ship of strays unlike any other, they’re not afraid to face whatever the world throws at them—be it mermaids, kidnappings, sirens, plague, clashes with their mortal enemy Captain Wrath Drew of The Charon, a handsome merman, or good old-fashioned love.

Rating: 4 Stars

I went into this story with only the description to guide me. I liked it because how often have I read a book with a female pirate, much less one that is the captain of her own ship? What I found was so much more than one strong female lead in the form of Captain Harriet “Harry” Roberts. I found an entire family, brought together by chance or by choice, that embraced who they were better than any fictional representation I’ve seen thus far.

At first I thought this was a novel, so I was a bit surprised when, after the first “chapter”, it turned out that The Search for Aveline was actually a collection of interconnected stories about the characters about the Sappho. They are not told in a strictly linear fashion, but I did not find this to be a problem as the authors wrote in such a way that it was obvious quickly whom the current story was about and when in the grand scope of things it was taking place.

Each story had a purpose. It gave us backstory or motive for everyone we met, from Harry’s relationship with the titular Aveline, to the voiceless siren Echo/Silence, and the other members of the crew.

There’s also an interesting incorporation of mermaids and sirens that I’ve yet to read about elsewhere. These are not the sea dwelling creatures you’ve seen in Disney films, which I loved. They can be kindly, sure, but they can also commit terrible deeds and meddle in the affairs of others.

*Spoiler alert*

My favorite and most relatable story was that of Junia and Landon.  Junia, from what I could tell, is a character on the asexual spectrum who was cast out of her home when her fiance could not handle her coming out to him. His reaction, to tell everyone that she preferred the company of women, led to her being ostracized. Over time she came to meet Landon, a man whom she came to trust and to love, who understood her and never pressured her for something she couldn’t give.

*End Spoiler Alert*

Beyond Junia’s representation, there was great rep for many other relationships along all ranges of the sexuality spectrum, as well as diversity in ethnicity as well. This was a pleasant surprise, as most pirate stories I’ve heard before have strictly white European crews which seems kind of odd?

Since this is volume one in the Sink or Swim series, I am eagerly anticipating more books about the crew of the Sappho. There might even be two more books if we’re really lucky, according to Stephanie Rabig via Twitter!

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley 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.