Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But Need to Read More From Soon

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishThis week we are discussing those authors we've read only one book from so far, but fully intend on reading more from in the near future.
 
Author: Julie Berry 
Book read: All the Truth That's in Me
Why: I cannot properly explain how in awe I am of Berry's All the Truth That's in Me. It's short, beautiful, and has such a strong lasting power. I'll try anything by Berry, but I love the sound of her fairy-tale-esque MG novels.
Next pick: Secondhand Charm
 




Author: Sarah Dessen
Book read: Just Listen
Why: To be honest, I was not in love with Dessen's Just Listen. But I read it towards the beginning of my return to YA lit and book blogging. Having gained a bit more appreciation for YA contemporaries, there's no way I won't give Dessen another try.
Next pick: The Truth About Forever

 

Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Book read: Vessel
Why: Vessel reads like a work of mythology and deals with some complex questions related to identity and purpose. It also features my favorite fantasy trope of all time: the Chosen One. Durst has such an eclectic array of books that I'll have to make sure I'm not expecting another book similar to this one, though.
Next pick: Ice


Author: Kate Elliott
Book read: Cold Magic
Why: I need some more well done steampunk in my life. Besides the fact that the worldbuilding is amazing, I loved how Cold Magic emphasizes the friendship of Cat and Bee above all else. I definitely need to continue with this series!
Next pick: Cold Fire


 



Author: Kody Keplinger
Book read: The DUFF
Why: Despite it not sounding like the sort of book I tend to prefer, I had a feeling that I'd love The DUFF. And I was right. I loved Bianca and Wesley and how true the story rang. I want Keplinger to be my go-to YA contemporary author.
Next pick: A Midsummer's Nightmare

 



Author: N.K. Jemisin
Book read: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Why: Political intrigue. Living, breathing gods. A fantasy where nearly all of the characters are POCs. Need I go on? Yeine is a truly admirable heroine, and I'm a bit sad the rest of the series is companion novels, but I need to read more Jemisin soon.
Next pick: The Broken Kingdoms



 
Author:Jandy Nelson
Book read: The Sky is Everywhere
Why: Maybe this is cheating because Nelson only has two books now, the second of which comes out today. But I don't care. Reading The Sky is Everywhere was an absolutely magical experience and I can't wait to feel the same way about her new book.
Next pick: I'll Give You the Sun
 



Author: Liza Palmer
Book read: Nowhere But Home
Why: I'm still a bit surprised by how much I loved Nowhere But Home. Reading it confirmed that I need to have some more adult fiction in my life, and what better place to start than with an adult fiction author I already like?
Next pick: Seeing Me Naked




Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Book read: The Scorpio Races
Why: I'm kind of embarrassed that I've only read one book of Stiefvater's. Which I loved. (Seriously, what's wrong with me?) And with all the hype currently surrounding Blue Lily, Lily Blue, it just makes sense to start her The Raven Cycle.
Next pick: The Raven Boys

 


Author: Sara Zarr
Book read: How to Save a Life
Why: How to Save a Life was a really powerful book that resonated so well with certain real-life situations of mine that I couldn't help but love it. (But it also was just really well done.) I'm eager to read more of Zarr's works and see if they too can affect me so deeply.
Next pick: The Lucy Variations 





Let me know which authors you hope to read more from soon!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth



Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent, #0.1-0.4
Published: 2014, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Library
Contains spoilers for Divergent (my review), Insurgent (my review), Allegiant (my review)


I'm not sure bravery is something you acquire more of with age, like wisdom --but maybe here, in Dauntless, bravery is the highest form of wisdom, the acknowledgement that life can and should be lived without fear.


I’m a bit torn on what to think of this. On the one hand, it’s hard not to view this as a money grab, as a way for Roth’s series to continue to stay relevant. On the other hand, I’ll admit it was kind of interesting to delve a bit into the history of Abnegation-born Tobias Eaton, and the chain of events that led him to become Four, a Dauntless instructor.

Four: A Divergent Collection tells the backstory of Four in four (of course) short stories. “The Transfer” focuses on the days leading up - and following - Four’s choosing ceremony. “The Initiate” focuses on the beginnings of Four’s Dauntless training, and the cultivation of his new persona as “Four,” the initiate with only four fears. “The Son” gives a bit more backstory as to why Four chose to transfer factions, and focuses on his familial relationships in particular. “The Traitor” actually is synchronous with the events of Divergent, as Four begins to question his faction and fall for new initiate Tris (not necessarily in that order).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heir of Fire Tour (with Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and Erica O'Rourke)

I can't believe I'm already up to book event #3 for the year (or ever, really). I met up with a friend who now lives in the Chicago area to attend the Heir of Fire signing at Anderson's Bookshops in a nearby suburb this past Sunday, September 7, 2014.

Sarah J. Maas explained that for the tour, her publisher Bloomsbury allowed her to pick the author friends to accompany her at the various stops. Also in attendance at Anderson's were Susan Dennard (for obvious reasons), author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, and Erica O'Rourke (who I think lives nearby), most recently the author of Dissonance.

Luckily my friend and I got there a bit early and were able to secure spots relatively close to the front, as the event became very crowded very quickly.

Meeting the lovely Sarah J. Maas

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling, #1
Published: 2014, Harper
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Source: Library
Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble


"You're young and reckless, Lady, It's a desirable quality in a warrior, but not in a queen."


Kelsea Raleigh has the dubious honor of being the rightful heir to the Tearling throne, a position that no single person inhabits for long. With the arrival of her nineteenth birthday, Kelsea can finally claim her throne, but she’s also become the most hunted person in all of the Tearling. The men of her mother’s Queen’s Guard - now her Queen’s Guard - have sworn to protect Kelsea and escort her back to the capital city for her coronation, but the road there will be anything but easy.

Even after she’s arrived back in the capital, Kelsea has quite the task ahead of her, learning how to be queen while dealing with her power-hungry uncle, a mistrustful, hope-deprived people, many traitors within her reach, and the mysterious Red Queen of the neighboring country of Mortmesne.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Showcase Sunday #17

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits and Tea. Its aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

All in all, August was a fairly light month of book acquisitions. And of these eight books, I've actually already read three of them. Progress!

Received:
Courted by Katherine Longshore
I won a copy of the bind-up of Longshore's Tudor novels Gilt and Tarnish through a giveaway hosted by Jen @ The Starry-Eyed Revue in conjunction with Penguin (or should I now be calling it Penguin Random House?). So thanks to both of you for this! I absolutely adore everything about Tudor England and have heard only positive things about Longshore's works.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb
My university is reading this book as part of a common-reading program developed to encourage reading and widespread community engagement. I volunteered to be a discussion facilitator and so received a copy of this book. It's not my normal reading fare, but it actually was fairly interesting and certainly about important current events. Malala is so inspirational.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: The Dinner by Herman Koch



The Dinner by Herman Koch (Translated by Sam Garrett)
Published: 2013, Hogarth (Originally 2009)
Genre: Adult Literary Fiction
Source: Library


Happiness needs nothing but itself; it doesn't have to be validated. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way.


Brothers Paul and Serge have arranged to dine at a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam with their wives Claire and Babette. It’s the sort of restaurant that Paul hates, ridiculously overpriced and full of waitstaff fawning over his brother. But this dinner is more about the conversation than the food, and the conversation is one that neither family can afford to ignore any longer.

The events of The Dinner take place over the course of the single dinner had among the brothers and their wives. But perhaps that’s not entirely correct. The present-day action takes place over the course of a few hours, but much of the novel’s present day gives way to flashbacks that help better explain the characters and their motivations for the dinner meeting. It’s an unconventional authorial choice that Koch made, but for the most part it works well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ARC August: A Recap

Well, August is over. And, strangely, I'm actually excited for the fall. Perhaps part of the reason is that I'm no longer feeling quite as daunted by the books I need to read in September.


ARCs read:  
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (to be published September 23, 2014)
Firebug by Lish McBride (to be published September 23, 2014)
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (to be published September 30, 2014)

My goal was to read three ARCs, and so I'm satisfied with the progress I made. I also participated in one #ARCAugust chat, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll be able to participate in more next year!

I read 
a total of eight books this past month, so ideally I should have been able to alternate between ARCs and finished copies for a total of four ARCs read. But oh well. I have one book left that is being published in September (Egg and Spoon by Gregory Macguire) and one in early October (The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters), but reading two review books in September is more than do-able. Much better than still having five ARCs still to read.

Thanks again to Octavia of Read.Sleep.Repeat for hosting! This challenge was definitely a great way to help ease my anxiety over review books!

I hope everyone else who participated is satisfied with their results. Let me know how you fared this past month!
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