Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

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How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? | Yvonne Cassidy | Jan 1, 2014
Hachette/Flux Books | 432 Pages | eGalley provided by Publisher

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Rhea Farrell carries the scars of a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren’t so visible–the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father’s drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality.


When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she always wished she could confide in–her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters–to tell her things she can’t tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea’s journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother’s past where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.

Review:

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a homeless teen living on the streets of NYC in the years before the internet? What about a queer homeless teen? Or maybe a queer homeless teen with one arm? And she’s an orphan?

There’s a lot to think about in this book, as the main character Rhea has been through some major hardships. Her childhood was not exactly perfect, but when she has to give it up to live with her Aunt in Florida, she does not adapt well. She resents . . . well . . . almost everyone. When conflict erupts in her Aunt’s Florida home, Rhea sets out for NYC in search of answers and independence.  Continue reading Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

Book Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Print
All the Birds in the Sky | Charlie Jane Anders | January 26, 2016
Tor Books | 320 pages | ARC provided by publisher

Synopsis:

From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world–and the beginning of our future


Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.


But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.


A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse

Review:

All the Birds in the Sky is a coming-of-age novel that takes place over the course of several years. Patricia and Laurence are brought together in school because they’re both considered outsiders: everyone believes Patricia to be a witch, and Laurence, the science whiz, gets picked on for his smarts. Continue reading Book Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

How I use the 5-Star rating system on Goodreads

Most book reviewers believe in some way that rating all books on the same scale of 1 to 5 is messy. For example, what am I supposed to do when I just read a really good fantasy book that is nothing like any of the literary fiction picks that dominate my shelves? What do those five stars even MEAN? Why are there only five? Why is rating books even important?

Over time I stopped putting 1 to 5 ratings on my blog reviews, because I think the definition of what those stars mean varies too much from person to person. Continue reading How I use the 5-Star rating system on Goodreads

Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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Soundless | Richelle Mead | On Sale Since Nov 10, 2015
Razorbill | 272 Pages | ARC Provided by Publisher

Synopsis:

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.


 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.


 

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.


 

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Review:

Continue reading Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Reading Recap: What I’ve Been Reading, Part 1

So as I mentioned before, I got so behind on writing reviews on what I’ve been reading since last summer, I decided not to do them. Instead, here are some brief thoughts on what I’ve read since May.

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Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg

When I got this book at BEA, I actually didn’t realize that it was fiction. So many memoirs have come out recently that I guess I just assumed… Anyway, it’s a collection of stories by famous actor Jesse Eisenberg. It’s his first book, and though I was a bit worried at first, Eisenberg really comes through on these stories. The first group, I have to admit, is my favorite – “Restaurant Reviews From a Privileged Nine-Year-Old”. The stories are every bit as tongue-in-cheek witty as you’d expect from Eisenberg, and I have to say, sometimes too intelligent for my lazy brain to figure out (it’s a good thing we studied Marx in literary theory). Definitely give this collection a look.

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Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Maggie Thrash – what an awesome name – is a contributor at Rookie Magazine, and this is her first book. It’s a graphic novel memoir, and it was getting some buzz before BEA. Its tagline is “All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak.” Not having read many YA memoirs, much less YA memoirs about LGBT teens, this book instantly piqued my interest. I really enjoyed reading it. I love Thrash’s sense of humor. The only thing is that I thought the ending, though realistic, kinda left me hanging.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This is one I really regret not writing a review for. The ARC I got opened with the most gorgeous letter from Patrick Ness, going into how he appreciates Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but never felt like Buffy. Moreover, he never felt like one of the Scoobies, either. He felt ordinary, like the majority of Sunnydale was (I guess, character-wise, that makes him Jonathan – but without the evil). So already, I’m thinking YES! This book is going to be THE BEST! Anything inspired by or related to Buffy has high chances of being the best, in my opinion. So every chapter opens with a sentence or two detailing what the “indie” kids were up to while the book’s plot is occurring – burning down the gymnasium, fighting evil, etc. Honesty, this was a great book to read following Night Vale, as I did. It’s weird, but in toned-down ways that Night Vale is not interested in. Deer with glowing eyes? Yeah, that happens – but then the characters go on with their lives. I would have liked this book a lot less, it’s possible, without that intro about Buffy. But there’s no doubt that Ness is a gifted writer, so go pick this up next chance you get, Buffy fans!

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Anything with Westerfeld’s name on it gets my attention. So this book, as far as I can remember, is about a group of teens with special abilities. When one of the group’s members gets caught up in a bank robbery, they all have to band together, and in the process they find another teen with an ability. Let me tell you, keeping all of these characters and their abilities straight was not easy. I actually had to make a list to reference as the chapters and narrators changed. It’s a good book, but long, and I wasn’t blown away by it. I’ll be interested to see how the next book in the series turns out, as the characters grow and the authors learn the best ways to work together.

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The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This book was a finalist for the National Book Awards. It’s about a traumatized girl named Suzy, whose childhood best friend died in an accident. Suzy goes searching for answers, and in the process discovers how awesome and deadly jellyfish can be. Told at the beginning of Suzy’s middle school education, this middle grade novel grapples with the all too common issue, what happens when close childhood friends grow apart? It’s a very good book, I highly recommend it. Suzy’s voice is unique and interesting; I hardly put it down from start to finish.

Note: all of the books on this post were ARCs provided to me for free.

#ReadWomen December

Greetings, everyone! So, I’ve decided to take part in #ReadWomen December. This is something I just found out about today, and am very excited about. The gist is that for a month, readers have decided to deck out their reading lists with female authors – some choosing to read female authors only for December, others vowing to include more women writers than they usually read. For more information, the twitter hashtag has been a great resource for me.

So in honor of celebrating women’s voices, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books by female authors, as well as a few books on my own #ReadWomen reading list.

Recommendations:

  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

My Reading List:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bedchel
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (a reread)
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • The Blondes by Emily Schultz

Are you taking part in #ReadWomen December? What are you reading?

Book Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Title: More Happy Than Not

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: Soho Press

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 293

Source: Purchased

Synopsis:
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.


When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.


Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Review:

Attention everyone: If you are looking for one last book to round out your summer reading list, this might be the one! Continue reading Book Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Books for ComicCon

…or just wishing you were there.

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Yes, that time of year again. When I’m glued to my computer and watching every livestream/interview session/news coverage of San Diego available. The nerds have taken over the city. And despite not being at Comic-Con myself, and not really wanting to brave that madness anyway, I can still revel in the amazing nature of fandom. Here are some of my SDCC-related picks:

Of course, if you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that I love the Whedonverse (or as it was originally called, the “Jossverse”). If I absolutely had to pick one type of book that I enjoy reading the most, it would be books of essays about Joss Whedon projects. So here are two among many that I love:

Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion
Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion
Reading Joss Whedon
Reading Joss Whedon

Next, a (new) book about fandom that blew my mind. Note: there are a lot of Whedon examples in this one, but it does talk about other things, like for instance the recent tragic death of Cory Monteith and its affect on glee and its fandom. This book addresses the question that has created anxiety among fans for years – what happens to a fandom after its show is cancelled?

Post-Object Fandom
Post-Object Fandom

And now, a book that absolutely rocked my world. A book about fanfiction, textual poaching, reading against the grain, and the future of fandom. Featuring an absolutely inspiring concluding essay written by the wonderful Amber Benson (of Buffy fame, actress-turned-author) herself:

fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World

And to wrap things up, a book by one of this year’s special guests, blogger and author Allie Brosh. Hyperbole and a Half is one of my favorite books ever. It’s the one I reach for the most often when I’m sad or upset, and don’t want to read anything else. There’s something of a solidarity in knowing your personal problems are shared with other human beings. Also, DOGS. This book has dogs in it. Cute ones. And it’s funny. Read it.

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half

I hope these recommendations will help you enjoy the spirit of ComicCon from the comfort of your favorite armchair! Indulge in your nerdy side, book lovers! 🙂

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Review (13)


Title:
Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pub Date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 320
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: provided by publisher
Synopsis:
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

Continue reading Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Sales Infographic: 2014

Infographic time! I came across a bunch of publishing industry statistics that sparked my interest. Are U.S. bookstores doomed? No. Are eBooks taking over? Not really. People still love print books, and bookstores are still opening around the country. In fact, overall paper book sales went up in 2014 by 2.4%. That may seem like a minuscule amount, but when you consider how much money the U.S. spends on books annually, it’s more than just a chunk of change.

book sales stats
please link back to this page if you want to use this infographic.

(stats vary depending on the source)

Sources:
AAP – Publisher’s Weekly
AAP – Ink, Bits, and Pixels
AAP – Digital Book World
ABA – Ink, Bits, and Pixels
The Bookseller
Hewlett Packard – Publisher’s Weekly

My faith in paper books has been renewed, and I can sleep soundly knowing they’re not going anywhere any time soon.