Reading Slump – TBR Un-haul

I’ve not been reading this last week or two. Slumps are very discouraging. Usually, to lift me out of the slowdowns I read some urban fantasy steampunk historic paranormal romance kind of books and they seem to satisfy my need for fun fluff. When I’m down they are my junk food and I love them for it but lately, even those haven’t helped me out of this hole. So, I was trying to figure out what to read and looked through my Goodreads to-read list and Amazon wishlist but found books I don’t remember adding. I realized as I looked at these books I had no plan to read them so, I started to remove them. It feels good to un-haul books on my to-read list. Almost as good as a physical book un-haul. I realize I felt overwhelmed by my own expectations, what I or others think I should read. And my Amazon wishlist was not completely a list of book I want to maybe own one day but just another to-read list probably created before Goodreads came along. Therefore, I purged and I feel better for it. Still unsure how to get out of this reading slump, instead, I have taken up playing some video games too long left unplayed and through this avenue, I have satisfied my need for stories. Currently, I am playing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and I am loving it. This is the historical fiction adventure I needed. So glad to have Nathan Drake’s quirky, sarcastic character back, solve puzzles, and find treasure.

How do you get out of a reading slump? Have you and how do you purge your to-read list?

Book Haul

This book haul will be short since I don’t buy a lot of books anymore. I didn’t have a book review ready this week because I’m a slow reader. I’m hoping this will be better than posting nothing.
Mostly I go borrow from the library. It saves money and if I’m not downloading a library e-book, it’s a nice time out. But this past month I did buy and receive a few books and I would love to continue to share my love of books and support authors.


First I had some digital dollars left in my Amazon account and there is an Amazon e-book sale on Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I’m a fan of Wonder Woman so I needed it plus sale! You understand.
Book Depository, Amazon, Ebooks.com, and Barnes & Noble.


When I was younger I may have sponsored whales or dolphins but the first animal I really found a connection with was wolves and I sponsored a wolf from the Sawtooth Pack. Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived intimately with this pack of wolves and now has written about the virtues they observed in wolf society and behavior. Basically, anything that has to do with wolves, especially the Sawtooth Pack I will buy. Amazon, Book Depository, Ebooks.com, and Barnes & Nobles.


I received a Barnes & Noble gift card from my mom so I took advantage of the 50% off sale and bought, Circe by Madeline Miller. I don’t think I could tell it any better so, “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.” Need I say more? Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Ebooks.com.


The second book I bought was Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. The reader follows Jane McKeene, a Black teen. Zombies rise from their graves during the Civil War. The US ends the war with a compromise that frees the enslaved but forces them into combat schools that train them to slay the undead. Yup, had to have. Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, and Ebooks.com.


I’m currently reading an advance copy of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen. Algonquin Young Readers gave me this book filled with essays, lists, poems, and art which 33 contributors including actress Kristen Bell, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, and bestselling YA authors like Adam Silvera, and Victoria Schwab. The novel explores ways these people have coped and thrived with mental illness. If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has this is the book. Review coming soon. On sale October 2, 2018. Amazon, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble.


My next read will be Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers was so amazing and give me an advance copy. It is the sequel of Strange the Dreamer which was like a dream, wonderful and heartbreaking. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and can’t wait to get to this read. Review coming soon. On sale October 2, 2018. Amazon, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble.

That concludes my list. What do you think of my list? Is there any you would or would not recommend. Would you like to see more post like this one? This blog won’t be book reviews forever. I do plan on getting back to discussing some writing struggles. Until then, I hope you find your perfect read.

Drooling for These Book Deals

I’m not trying to be a deal site but for a book obsessed person, there are 4 days left to Barnes & Noble 50% off book blow out. I made the mistake of looking and I saw some books that I loved reading or some on my to-read list I thought I would share. I do mostly frequent my local library for my reading needs and I would surely recommend that if money is tight even for some of these wonderful deals but if you’ve been eyeing one of these beautiful books to occupy your shelf nows the time. Any money saving that can be done on my book buying habit I’m all in. (If you prefer, I included the Amazon link if they had the same deal.)

Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I read this and loved. I think Laini Taylor has such a poetic way with language. This is a fantasy. It’s about Lazlo Strange and his obsession with the mythic lost city of Weep until it leads him to finally find it’s borders. Just disappointed it is the paperback on sale. Was thinking of adding the hardcover to my collection. Amazon

Dread Nation

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland and on my to-read list. Zombies rise from their graves at during the Civil War. The US ends the war with a compromise that frees the enslaved but forces them into combat schools that train them to slay the undead shamblers and the reader follows Jane McKeene, a Black teen. Need I say more. Amazon

Warcross (Warcross Series #1)

Warcross by Marie Lu is the first in a series. A teen bounty -hunter hacks into Warcross championship games and accidentally into the action. Game creator recruits her to spy but she soon uncovers sinister plots. There is also an e-book deal just for today (probably only the US) for $2.99. Amazon

Love and Ruin (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. From the point of view of Martha Gellhorn, famed novelist, travel writer, and journalist during her marriage to Ernest Hemingway.  I really like Mclain’s first novel The Paris Wife from point of view of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, so I’m all in for this one.
Amazon doesn’t have the paperback/hardcover deal by the e-book is $3.99 at the time I posted this.

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller. I don’t think I could tell it any better so, “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.” Amazon

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

A non-fiction pick on my to-read list is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I just have heard so many good things about this book. I now wonder how I haven’t read it yet? Amazon

That concludes my list but there are so many more books I want to read that are currently on sale. What do you think of my list? Is there any you would or would not recommend. Would you like to see more post like this one? This blog won’t be book reviews forever. I do plan on getting back to discussing some writing struggles but for now, this is what I got.

Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a very powerful read. Based on a true story the book is about Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, sent to the concentration camp, Auschwitz, in April 1942. Determined to survive he uses his charm, and ability to speak several languages and works at keeping useful. Eventually, he is put to work as the tattooist of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Struggling with the moral integrity of the job, being the tattooist has more rations, better sleeping arraignments, and more freedom to move around the camp. Lale uses his fortunate position helping his fellow prisoners stay alive exchanging money and jewels from murdered Jews for food and medicine. While tattooing one day he meets Gita and instantly falls for her. He swears they will survive the camp and marry. This is their story.

This book is a story of resilience and love. While we are familiar with the horrific time period and the conditions endured by so many, Morris’s retelling of Lale’s story is a reminder of the strength, courage, and fight for life and love. It is a hard book to review. This book was well-written, stirring up so many emotions and Lale’s story will stay with me. At times, hard to read, but impossible to put down. Thank you Heather Morris for helping bring Lale and Gita’s story to light.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris will be published by Harper Paperbacks on September 4th, 2018.

Purchase this title through AmazonBook Depository, or eBooks.com.

Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver is much more than the retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It incorporates fantasy, myth, and dark retellings making it a lush layered novel with flushes out characters and worlds.

The story starts with Miryem, daughter, and granddaughter to a moneylender. Her family is poor since her father repeatedly fails at collecting dues. When her mother becomes ill and Miryem has grown sick herself from constant poverty she goes out to collect the funds owed. She soon finds she is good at the job and over time turns more silver into gold. But this causes the notice of the Staryk, a terrible being who brings the winter and wants gold above all else.

The story includes a woman hired to pay her (physical) abuse father’s debt and take care of her siblings. There is also the story of a noble girl, considered plain and useless to her father but who must fight for her life and those she loves after she is married to a cruel tsar cursed with a fire demon in his body.

The world building is seemingly simple. The introduction to the world builds on the people’s stories and fears till the magic is more than just under the surface but true and an increment part of these women’s everyday lives.

Novik has a talent for presenting multiple character point of views with complex sub-plots weaving everything into a single brimming tale. I didn’t find it hard to follow the different perspectives. Each character had a distinct voice but the book also uses a corresponding symbol for each character at page breaks or beginning chapters. I loved the strong empowering female theme throughout. Another thing to note is Miryem and her family is Jewish. The novel touches on the importance of her Jewish identity as well as with small-town prejudices, and anti-Semitism making it more relevant to today’s world.

Spinning Silver has a way of taking historical and present topics of discussions, mixing in myths and fairytales, and making everything relatable. Overall, Naomi Novik can transport you to a time and place you can believe without a doubt is real and that is real magic.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. Spinning Silver by Noami Novik will be published by Del Rey on Tuesday, July 10th 2018.

Purchase this title through AmazonBook Depository, or Ebooks.com.

2015 Year in Review

I had many reading resolutions for 2015. Some I completed and others faded but were not forgotten even if I never returned to finish them. First, I accomplished my goal of 50 books read for 2015. It was an amazing feet for me. I think back to the little girl that struggled with speaking, reading, and writing. Now, she is creating, and sharing her love of books.

Another thing I hold up to show off is my Goodread’s to-read shelf. I think I started 2015 with 70 or more books I hoped to read and now that number is down to 64. It may not seem like a big accomplishment but that number was a struggle to accomplished. Working in a bookstore I see so many titles I would like to read and they are easily added. I tried to be more selective and read some books right away instead of putting them on the list.

I read more titles from the floor I work on to better recommend books to customers but my Classics Challenge fell short. I took on the task to read one classic a month and only read six books. Five I even reviewed on this blog. I realize there are just too many books in the world I need to read. One more thing, the writing fell short. I didn’t keep up with the blog schedule I put forth and even behind the scenes I was unable to cut out time. All completely my fault. Exhaustion, stress, laziness, work and plans won most of my time.

After all that how do I make the up and coming 2016 better. Keep reading, keep fighting the procrastination writing fight, and be a little more forgiving of oneself. I signed up for the Goodread’s challenge again and hope to read another 50 books in 2016.

Neil Gaiman wrote, “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

I now hope to surprise myself.

Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!

 

Classic Number Three: Northanger Abbey

I decided to read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen for my March classic. I have mentioned before that I did try to read Austen’s Persuasion last month and felt I wasn’t in the mood, I tried again and again I wasn’t in the mood. I realized I never read Austen’s Abbey and needed a short classic since time was running out. I started reading this classic and was captured. As Austen mentions in the beginning of the novel the main character Catherine is not your normal heroine since she is an impressionable, trusting young woman but she grows and learns. By the end Catherine is a strong, classic, and a lead in the wheel house with others Austen famous heroines.

I must say I liked this novel. This classic novel is Austen’s Gothic parody. Catherine’s love for reading the genre and over active imagination adds humor to the novel. There is a great scene where Catherine is snooping and unlocks a mysterious cabinet expecting to find something horrible, and finds only laundry bills. You feel embarrass for her naivety but she has to fall a few more times before she learns to control her imagination. Northanger Abbey also deals with situations common to teenagers today. Catherine learns lessons about peer pressure, bullying, and reading people. I was angry by the Thorpe’s manipulative, and ambitious ways but, by the end of the novel, Catherine learns to read people and can move on into her happy ending wiser.

Favorite Quote: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not the pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”