Non-fiction in the summer | Mini-Reviews


StiffStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Stiff is one of those book that you’re always hearing about. It was inevitable that I’d eventually read it. With that being said, I was a little disappointed. I’ve read some really good narrative non-fiction over the last few years. While this was good, it wasn’t as entertaining or easy to read as some of the other non-fiction books I’ve read. Roach definitely has a sense of humor that comes through in the book, but she uses a lot of big words. Overall, this book has more of an academic feel than I was hoping for. With that being said, I still thought this book was really interesting. I learned so many things about what happens after you die and I feel more than ever that I want to be an organ donor one day. This book is not for those with a weak stomach as she goes into plenty of detail. Lastly, this book was published a while ago (back in 2003) and I’d love to read an update or something. In the book she talks about the future of the funeral business and options other than a ground burial, but I feel like I personally haven’t heard about any recent developments. 3/5

Purchase: Hardback | Paperback | eBook

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

The Big Year

I loved this book! My husband and I watched the movie a few years ago (starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin–link to trailer below) and then he read the book it was based off of and highly recommended it. I finally got around to reading it this month and just fell completely in love with the idea of birding. I know literally nothing about birds but this book made me want to do a big year. Just reading about the preparation leading up to the three big years was really exciting for me! And then the author does a really good job of keeping the suspense up throughout the big year as well. This book was just great. Even if you know nothing about birds, like me, I’d highly recommend this book. 5/5

Purchase: Hardback | Paperback | eBook

Movie: Trailer | Rent

18 Best Book Deals for 8/28/19: Truly Devious, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, These Rebel Waves, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $2

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

One Hundred Names by Cecilia Ahern

Deerskin by Robin McKinley

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annejet van der Zijl

The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Less than $3

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Less than $4

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R King

Recommended from this post:

8 Best Book Deals for 3/9/19: Six of Crows, Sharp Objects, Batman: Nightwalker, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!

Reign of Queens by Melissa Wright

Less than $2

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire

Less than $3

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Recommended from this post:

11 Best Book Deals for 2/9/19: This Savage Song, Longbourn, Bloodwitch, and more

Book Deals

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $1

Haven by A.R. Ivanovich

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

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The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Bonus Deal

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – Preorder the hardcover for $12.91! I just finished this last night and if you liked the first two books, this is completely WORTH IT.

Pin this!

Book Deals 2/9

MOVIE TRAILER: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

It’s here!!!

What do you guys think about the trailer? Despite my initial reservations about some (one) casting decisions, I think this movie looks like it’s going to be great! I mean, I stand by my original post, but I’m excited for the movie despite that. I still think John Corbett is the best (and only) decision for Mr. Covey so I’m SUPER EXCITED for that.

To be honest though, I’m a little nervous about this movie because Netflix has gotten some serious backlash recently about certain shows/movies like 13 Reasons Why and The Kissing Booth (not making a comment on whether that backlash is deserved, just stating that it exists). I’m really, REALLY hoping that TABILB rises above all of that and is just a quality movie. The last thing I’ll say is that if that’s what John Ambrose McLaren is going to look like in future movies…I will be very upset (#TeamJohnAmbrose).

What were your guys’ initial thoughts after watching the trailer? Let me know in the comments!

TRAILER: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I’m sure most have you have already seen the trailer, but I just watched it for the first time. The casting looks pretty perfect and it seems like things stay pretty true to the book. Maddy is such a spunky character and I hope that comes across in the movie (I LOVED her book reviews). Check out my review for the ARC of Everything, Everything here. And here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it at this point:

What do you guys think? Is the movie going to live up to the book/reader expectations? Or is that impossible? How do you feel about the casting?

Buzz Books 2017 | Young Adult Spring/Summer (Part 2)

Buzz Books 2017 Spring/Summer

NetGalley puts out this great compilation every season of some of the hot new Young Adult books that will be coming out. Here are my thoughts on the last 8 books featured (click here for my thoughts on the first 10). Again, covers link to Goodreads.

How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry (5/2)

How to be a supervillainCover: This definitely looks like it’s going to be a middle grade book and it’s kind of reminds me of Captain Underpants. For what it is, I think the cover is pretty good, but I’m not super into it (sorry, this is literally the only picture of the cover that I could find on Google). 5/10

Premise: This actually sounds pretty good! I think it’s definitely a book that I would have greatly enjoyed in elementary school. 8/10

Excerpt: I love that it’s a mix of text and comic panels. That makes it very readable and I think that a lot of kids will enjoy this series. It’s fun to have a main character who is trying to be bad, but just can’t do it. 9/10

TBR?: No, but I’d definitely recommend it to my young cousins

The End of Our Story by Meg Haston(4/4)

The End of Our StoryCover: I really like this cover! It’s really pretty and eyecatching. I think the font used for the title is perfect and I love the spacing of it too. I like the subtlety of the blurred people (are they walking away or towards each other???) It seems like it might be similar to Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. 10/10

Premise: First, they have weird names. I’m assuming they’re both short for something, but I feel like book characters often have names that normal people don’t. From the cover I thought this might be a sweet contemporary romance, but it seems like there’s going to be a lot more involved. I think that could either give the book more depth, or make it seem like the author is trying too hard. We’ll have to see I guess. 7/10

Excerpt: I just read the first chapter, but I really liked it. I can already tell that I’m going to like Bridge and Wil and probably Leigh (Bridge’s friend). The writing is really good so far, so I’m excited about that as well. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (7/24)

Laugh Out LoudCover: This one doesn’t have a cover yet, so no rating.

Premise: This book sounds like it’s going to be cheesy with a lot of self-promotion by James Patterson. I’m not the biggest fan of it right now. 4/10

Excerpt: Okay, so there are actually a lot of references to a lot of different books by different authors in this book. I like that because it’s promoting other books that kids might want to look up after reading this one. That being said, I still hold by my cheesy comment, though it might be okay for regular middle grade readers. 6/10

TBR?: No

Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (6/27)

Aftercare InstructionsCover: This cover doesn’t scream YA to me. It’s interesting enough and I like the colors, but it almost seems like an old-fashioned camping guide (which might be the point). It’s something that would catch my eye though. 7/10

Premise: I’m not really sure what it means by “Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel…”. Does that mean the book is laid out like a four act play? Or excerpts from the play will be throughout the book (similar to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)? I’m just not really sure. I also get the impression that the main character is going to be super tough and possibly not very likable. 5/10

Excerpt: The writing seems super tight and I actually really like the play scenes. It’s an interesting way to do flashbacks so that the reader can get the backstory. At the same time, it makes it so that Genesis is a little detached from her past which I’m sure is how she feels. I also think one of the topics of this book (abortion) is definitely timely. With the election and everything else Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life is something that everyone seems to be really aware of. This might give some insight into that debate though maybe just from the Pro-Choice side. 7/10

TBR?: No, I don’t think this one is for me, but I think a lot of people will really like this one

Geekerella by Ashley Poston (4/4)

GeekerellaCover: So…it looks like it’s going to be a retelling of Cinderella. The cover’s not great, but it does give off the impression that this is going to be a really sweet contemporary romance without too much depth. There’s something about the colors, though, that I don’t really like. I think the cover would look better if the sky was blue instead of purple. 5/10

Premise: I’ll be honest, I’ve never met a girl-next-door type meets teen heartthrob and they fall in love story that I HAVEN’T liked. This one seems to be right up that alley. It’s not a terribly original storyline, but I just can’t make myself care. As long as the writing is okay, I think I’ll probably like this one. 8/10

Excerpt: Just from a quick skim of the first few pages, I still think I’ll like it fine, but it seems like it might be holding to the original Cinderella story a little too closely. I like when a subtle detail from the original fairy tale will pop out and surprise me. I don’t think the writing is anything super stellar, but it’s not awful. 6/10

TBR?: Yeah, probably

Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt (2/28)

Rebels Like UsCover: The cover is nice enough, but at the same time, I’m just not loving it for some reason. It just looks so…Seventeen magazine and that’s not very appealing to me (since I’m MUCH older than 17–I actually didn’t realize how much older until just now). 5/10

Premise: Hmmm…it looks like this book actually has a serious theme which isn’t what I was getting from the cover. At all. It could be worth a read if it’s done right. Or, the main character could be super annoying and the author just wrote about this topic because it seemed like a good idea but she actually doesn’t have any first-hand experiences. It could go either way. 6/10

Excerpt: I just read the first couple pages and I’m already not very impressed. I mean…maybe I went into it prepared to feel unimpressed, but I don’t think that’s the only reason. The author is trying to use descriptive language, but it just feels like she’s trying too hard. She’s trying too hard to be hip and edgy and descriptive with just the right amount of sarcasm. It’s exhausting to read. 4/10

TBR?: No

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor (4/4)

Definitions of Indefinable ThingsCover: It’s nice! It looks like it’s going to be a cute contemporary romance. Just from the cover it seems like we might be getting some quirky/cool characters based on the way they’re dressed. 7/10

Premise: The summary was super vague. It says it’s a cross between All the Bright Places and Juno. As I have not read All the Bright places nor seen Juno, I have no idea what to expect from this book. It mentions three characters, but there are only two on the cover. 4/10

Excerpt: Reggie and Snake seem to have a pretty good dynamic between them. That being said, I’m getting a little tired of Christians and Christianity getting a bad wrap in YA books. I understand that not everyone believes in it or any religion for that matter, but I feel like it’s NEVER portrayed in a positive light. It’s always the dorky kid at school or a character’s overprotective/involved parents. Just for once I’d like to read about a character (even a secondary one) who was Christian and normal. With that rant out of the way, there was another thing that I really didn’t like about this excerpt. I felt like Reggie’s mom genuinely cares about her and Reggie has a super bad attitude. Maybe this is a sign that I’m getting older, but if the whole book is like that then I wouldn’t be able to handle it. 2/10

TBR?: No

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (4/4)

Gem & DixieCover: It’s definitely interesting, I’ll give it that. I’m just not really sure what I’m supposed to get from it. I assume the two girls are Gem & Dixie though so…that’s a start. I’ve definitely seen this author’s name around, but I don’t think I’ve read anything by her. 6/10

Premise: There aren’t too many books out there that focus on a sister relationship (though there are some). That by itself is intriguing to me. Other than that, the rest of it sounds okay. 6/10

Excerpt: Oh man, already my heart is BREAKING for Gem and Dixie. Just from the first few pages I feel like the author does a really good job of helping the reader to know who Gem is and to start feeling things for her. Amazing. 7/10

TBR?: Yes

Let me know in the comments what you’ve heard about these books!