Monday Minis [Mini-Reviews]

This month has been great for me so far reading-wise. I’ve gotten super into the Lumberjanes comics lately (I’m planning on writing a full review on the series when I’m finished). I’ve also been reading some non-fiction and book club picks. Here are some mini-reviews for you on some books that I’ve finished the last couple of months.

mini-reviews

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

Dividing EdenRight off the bat, I’m super aggravated by the way that Andreus’ curse is dangled in front of our faces. They literally never explain what his “curse” is and it sounds like he just as asthma maybe? Which doesn’t actually seem like a big deal…but maybe I’m wrong because, again, THEY NEVER EXPLAIN. Overall, Andreus was such an annoying character. He was just so stupid and I literally don’t think he made a single good choice. Carys was better, but both she and Andreus mentioned how Carys is really good at making deductions and seeing things that others wouldn’t, but we never really see that happen either. Lastly, I would think that the bond between twins is stronger than it’s made out to be in this book. Carys obviously still cares about her twin, but Andreus drops her as soon as humanly possible once the competition starts. Again, he is so stupid. 2/5

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

On a SunbeamThis is a book that I picked up on a whim at the end of my shift one day. I don’t have a ton to say about it, but I thought it was really interesting and the artwork was beautiful. It’s really amazing how graphic novels can convey so much in one panel when it would take pages in a novel. I liked how the beginning of the book really stuck to the different color schemes to help the reader tell the two timelines apart. As the stories came together, the color schemes did as well and I thought that was really cool. I also really liked the fish ships and the world building in general was just really interesting. From what I could tell, it seems like this world (galaxy? universe?) is only populated by women, so if you’re looking for queer romance, this book is saturated with it. Lastly, I really enjoyed how much depth the secondary and minor characters had. It was surprising, to be honest, I mean even the school bully had this depth that didn’t get totally explored, but was touched on.┬á4/5

ebook | Hardcover | Paperback

Bonnie & Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal

Bonnie and ClydeI didn’t know very much about Bonnie and Clyde before reading this book. The author does a really good job throughout helping the reader to see what parts of their story is known as fact, what is believed to be true, and what is complete myth. Newspapers at the time weren’t super concerned with reporting that absolute truth and were more interested in the drama that was inherent with Bonnie and Clyde. A lot of times if something went down and the cops couldn’t figure out who it was, the newspapers would blame Bonnie and Clyde. Another thing I found interesting was that the cops at the time seemed to be SUPER incompetent. There wasn’t really any training. A lot of people just joined the force because they needed a little extra money and their regular work wasn’t cutting it. That’s part of the reason why Bonnie and Clyde were able to evade capture for so long. The last thing I really liked about this book was that the author had panels on each person that Bonnie and Clyde killed. Over time, Bonnie and Clyde have become wildly glamorized, but it’s important to remember that they killed A LOT of people. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

CoralineI saw a few clips from the movie a while back when it came out, and that kind of turned me off to reading the book. It was just kind of…weird. And I think I remember the other Miss Spink and Miss Forcible were wearing some pretty scandalous outfits? Anyway, I wasn’t really planning on reading this book, but then I did and I’m glad I decided to! This book was creepy and weird in all the best ways. I loved the cat–he was probably my favorite character–and Coraline was not far behind. She was super spunky and also a believable child. I think she had some intelligence and seriousness that made her feel more mature, but it wasn’t unbelievable that a child would act like that. I would have liked a little bit more of a hunt with Coraline looking for the marbles, but the story also felt really tight as it was. I just think it would have made it a little more fun, but I guess it wasn’t really a fun situation to be in. I liked how the story ended too, with part of the other mother making it into Coraline’s world. I think there’s some symbolism there (and throughout the book) that I’m probably missing, but I enjoyed it. I just need to figure out how to get my husband to like the name Coraline now… 4/5

ebook | Hardcover | Paperback

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February Wrap-Up & TBR Update

This month went better than I expected it to even if I didn’t stick to my TBR so religiously. My book club ended up going to a library event instead of discussing a book, so The Girl Who Drank the Moon will go back on my TBR for another time. I found that I read more non-fiction and graphic novels this month than usual and I hope that trend continues. Lastly, another observation is that I┬áreally need to get better at reading digital ARCs…my bad.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 8
Books currently reading: 2

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of February = 411
Books added to TBR = 39
Books completed/deleted from TBR = 6
Total on TBR now = 444

How did your reading go this month?

January Wrap-Up & TBR Update

I did an okay job sticking to my TBR. Not fantastic (I should have known I couldn’t stop at the first book in a series) but I did alright. And I even did a good job of posting reviews for the books I read this month!

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of January = 383
Books added to TBR = 31
Books deleted from TBR = 0 (I didn’t keep track, but I hope to track this stat in the future)
Total on TBR now = 411

Buzz Books 2017 | Young Adult Spring/Summer (Part 1)

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 first 10 books featured (covers link to Goodreads).

Flame in the Mist by Ren├ęe Ahdieh (5/16)

Flame in the MistCover: Just looking at the cover, I thought this book was part of the author’s other series. I don’t think it is though. The cover is a little confusing to me. There’s a phoenix and some throwing stars…I just don’t really know what to expect from this book. Is it going to be set in the middle east like her other series? Is it going to be something more current? I just have no idea what this book is going to be about from the cover even though it looks nice-ish. 5/10

Premise: I’m all for Asians being represented in YA literature, so that’s a good start. Thus far, I haven’t been a HUGE fan of the trope of girls pretending to be boys, but we’ll have to see how this one plays out. It sounds like it could be a kind of retelling of Mulan in a way? But maybe I’m just trying to make that connection because Ahdieh’s first series was based off of a folk tale/fairy tale. 7/10

Excerpt: Well…that was quite a gory beginning. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Ahdieh is a great writer and you can see that in just this short excerpt. I’m already interested in the characters and I love the cultural elements that have been woven in. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (5/16)The One Memory of Flora Banks

Cover: Another cover that gives me no indication of what this book is about. Just from the design it looks like it might be thriller-esque? I mean, it’s pleasing enough to look at, but I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to get from it. 5/10

Premise: First of all, I hate books where girls kiss their best friend’s boyfriends. Secondly, this book is giving me serious Everything, Everything vibes. Girl with uncommon illness meets a boy who makes her want to be brave and take chances. Leaves home when (obviously) inadvisable. I liked Everything, Everything, but this book kind of sounds like it’s everything I didn’t like about it in a new book. 3/10

Excerpt: I’m sure the book will get into it, but I’m having a hard time understanding how Flora’s memory works. Overall, I’m just a little confused by everything and I’m not all that sure that I like Flora as a character anyway. 5/10

TBR?: Probably not unless I hear really good things about it

Dream Me by Kathryn Berla (7/11)

Dream MeCover: I really don’t like this cover. It just looks cheap to me for some reason. If I saw this on a shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. But anyway…it looks like maybe the book is going to have something to do with photography or film or fame maybe? Hard to tell. 1/10

Premise: The summary mentions migraines which I don’t really understand how they fit in with her dreaming. I know that’s a little thing, but it stood out to me for some reason. I’m just not very enthused by the whole premise. Time/dream travelling seems a little much. Maybe pick one or the other? 3/10

Excerpt: Honestly, I just skimmed the excerpt. I didn’t particularly care for either of the main characters. Their introductions weren’t very strong, and I also feel like both of their voices precariously border being extremely whiny (also, who is named Babe???). 3/10

TBR?: No

Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs (3/1)Future Threat

Cover: This cover is just okay for me. It doesn’t look particularly YA-ish, if that makes sense. I probably wouldn’t pick this up from off a shelf. 3/10

Premise: The summary makes the plot sound really confusing with multiple trips to a future that keeps changing. This is the second book in a series and I have read the first one. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I’m not particularly interested in reading more. 4/10

Excerpt: Wow, so there was a BIG data dump right at the beginning. It seems like it must be really hard to write second, third, etc. books in a series because you have to remind your readers about what happened and you’ve got to do it in a way that flows and makes sense. Especially with a series that is as complicated as this one, there’s a lot to remind readers of. I didn’t think it worked that well, but it could have been much worse I suppose. 5/10

TBR?: No

Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan (2/28)

Piper PerishCover: This cover is kind of intriguing. I like that it’s really colorful and it looks like it’s written in some kind of funky paint marker. It seems like the book is going to be about a girl (probably named Piper) who is artistic and spunky–maybe a little out of the box. 6/10

Premise: After reading the summary, I feel like this book could either be really deep or incredibly shallow. I don’t like that there is drama involving three different guys, but I do like that the main character will be dealing with doing what she wants versus doing what she feels she needs to because of familial duty. 6/10

Excerpt: Well…it’s interesting that the main character idolizes Andy Warhol–that’s different. Other than that, I didn’t like much. Maybe it’s just the situation, but the main character seems like the ultimate whiner/complainer if she’s not getting her way. I think the relationship she appears to have with her sister is pretty sad as well. I think it’s kind of supposed to be in diary format, but the only way I can tell that is from the different sections that start with the date and time. 3/10

TBR?: No

Roar by Cora Carmack (6/13)

RoarCover: I’m just not really a fan of this one either unfortunately. It doesn’t look contemporary and the colors are all a little too muted for my tastes. It looks like a typical fantasy novel cover. 2/10

Premise: The premise of this book sounds pretty good. There are some elements that I think have been overdone at this point, but it seems like an interesting twist on a familiar type of story. I’d be interested in reading it I think. 6/10

Excerpt: The writing is a little much and I don’t think the world is as well-developed as I would like, but I think I might be willing to give it a chance. 6/10

TBR?: Maybe, I’ll have to see what others say

This is Really Happening by Erin Chack (4/25)

This is Really HappeningCover: I actually really like this cover. I’d bet that some of the things on the cover have significance in some of the stories in the book. I like that there’s a lot to look at but that the layout itself is pretty simple. 8/10

Premise: This book sounds pretty interesting. Since taking a class on nonfiction last semester, I’ve become more interested in branching out and trying it. It sounds like the author has already lived a pretty full life and while I’m sure her stories will be interesting and impactful, I am left wondering, “Who is she? Why is she writing this book?” 6/10

Excerpt: Wow…that excerpt actually made me tear up. So I still don’t really know who this person is and why I should read her story, but after reading that excerpt, I think I will. Maybe there’s something about her just being another normal person that will make this book that much more powerful. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (6/6)

Dividing EdenCover: Oh. My. Gosh. That. Cover. This is what I’m talking about! I absolutely love it!!! It’s simple, but intriguing at the same time. I love the black and white color scheme and the paint dripping from above. Just amazing. 9/10

Premise: This sounds so promising! I’ve really liked that stuff that I’ve read from Charbonneau in the past so I’m sure I’ll like this one too. It does remind me a little bit of Three Dark Crowns┬ábut I’m not even mad about it. The only thing I’ll say is that even if they’re twins, one of them had to have been first, right? It’s not like they could be born simultaneously. So I don’t see why it would be so difficult to figure out who’s next in line for the crown. 9/10

Excerpt: It’s interesting to me that they live in a place called Eden. Is it literally the garden of Eden? Or just a place also named Eden? It seems like the twins will both be interesting characters and I’m very interested to see how the rest of the story goes. 10/10

TBR?: YES

The Legend of Skyco: Spirit Quest by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert (4/4)

the legend of skyco spirit questCover: The cover is nice, I guess, but nothing too eye-catching. I think from the design it seems pretty obvious that this is more of a middle grade book. 6/10

Premise: I love that it’s about a Native American boy and his tribe. I’d be very interested to learn more about Native American rituals and culture. That being said, I’ve never been a huge fan of things that are abstractly spiritual so if that’s a big part of this book, I’m not sure how I’ll like it. 5/10

Excerpt: Even though the first few pages are filled with quite a bit of action, I’m not really drawn in to the story. I don’t really feel like I need to know what happens next. The characters seem nice enough, but I haven’t connected with them. 4/10

TBR?: No

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (5/2)

The Black WitchCover: This cover’s not bad. I like that there is a forest coming out of the feather. I will say that it kind of looks like a lot of other covers that I’ve seen though–not very original. 7/10

Premise: I’m seeing a new trend emerging here…instead of main characters being special snowflakes because they have powers that others around them don’t, it seems like now characters are facing the reverse. Everyone around them has powers when they don’t. That could be an interesting premise depending on how it’s executed. 5/10

Excerpt: The main character seems like she’s probably okay. Not particularly annoying or anything like that. Just from that excerpt, though, I’d say she might be a little boring. I’m not sure how much I really enjoy the world that’s been created either. 5/10

TBR?: Not right now, but maybe if everyone starts raving about it


Those are the first ten, I’ll be posting my initial thoughts on the second ten soon.