July 31, 2014

The Monthly Digest: July 2014

Welcome back to The Monthly Digest here at Late Nights with Good Books. With these posts I hope to recap everything reading- and blogging-related for the past month.

The Books

Favorite Read from July: 
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Notable Quote from July: 
Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay. I tilted my head back. The stars looked like they were close together, when really they were millions of miles apart. In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach. 
Leigh Bardugo, Ruin and Rising

The Blog 
July Reviews: 
The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham 
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord 

July Features: 
Top Ten Favorite Classics of the Twentieth Century by Decade 
Showcase Sunday #15 
Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From 

In My Life 
Remember that hiatus I mentioned not wanting to take in last month's The Monthly Digest? Clearly it happened anyway, much to my chagrin. 

And what exactly necessitated this hiatus? In short: my summer class. Fifteen normal weeks of schoolwork were crammed into this eight-week course. Let's just say that being sleep deprived and in a near-constant state of stress for this past month in particular did not leave me with any desire to blog. 

But my class ends tomorrow and I have nearly a month's break until my fall classes start, so hopefully that means more reading and more blogging again. Along with everything else I need to do that's been neglected for the past two months now... 

How was your July?
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July 29, 2014

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishThis week we're revealing the authors from whom we own the most amount of books.

Author: J.K. Rowling
Number of Books Owned: 18
Why: J.K. Rowling is my queen. I will always be grateful to her for writing the Harry Potter series, and for the series itself getting published when it was. It was a hugely formative part of who I am today, as a reader, a writer, and a person. So obviously I own all the Harry Potter books (two versions!) as well as the Harry Potter-universe books. I also own a copy of The Casual Vacancy. I haven't bought any of the books in her Cormoran Strike series yet, but it's only a matter of time.


Author: Tamora Pierce
Number of Books Owned: 14
Why: I've been a fan of Tamora Pierce's Tortall companion series since middle school when I first picked up Wolf Speaker (Yes, that's the second book in her second Tortall quartet. Oops.). I acquired her Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and Protector of the Small quartets in their entirety, as well as her Daughter of the Lioness duology. I remain convinced that no one can write a strong (physically and mentally) female heroine quite the way that she does. And, for the record, my favorite Pierce heroine will always be Daine.

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Number of Books Owned: 8
Why: I can thank Peter Jackson's amazing film renditions for my love of Tolkien, if I'm being quite honest. I read The Hobbit a year or so before The Lord of the Rings films premiered, read it again for a class in middle school, and have read it multiple times since then. I think I actually prefer it to The Lord of the Rings. I love The Lord of the Rings, of course, but I think that Jackson's films made it even more epic and relatable. That didn't stop me from acquiring two sets of The Lord of the Rings, in addition to The Hobbit and The Simarillion, though.

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July 28, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published: 2014, Walker Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Library

If we could capture feelings like we capture pictures, none of us would ever leave our rooms. It would be so tempting to inhabit the good moments over and over again.

Open Road Summer could well become the book of the summer for many YA readers; it’s certainly been hyped enough by many on all sides of the writing-publishing-reading spectrum. While it’s not a perfect book by my standards, I can appreciate its influence and did enjoy the time I spent reading it.

This summer is supposed to be the summer of Reagan and Dee. Reagan and Dee, who’ve both recently had their hearts broken, who are both desperately trying to move forward with their lives and dreams. For Dee, this means a full summer headlining her music tours, for she is no other than the super popular country music star Lilah Montgomery. For Reagan, this means an escape from her abusive ex-boyfriend and stifling family life, a chance to expand her portfolio for her photojournalism college applications, and the opportunity to reconnect with a best friend who’s away more often than not.

Reagan expects a few pitfalls along the way, and her primary purpose in touring is to be Dee’s support. When the inevitable scandals happen, Reagan is there to shield Dee. What she doesn’t expect is a new chance for love and regained trust in the form of former singer Matt Finch, who agrees to join the tour as the opening act, as well as Dee’s fake boyfriend.

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July 6, 2014

Showcase Sunday #15

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.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Thank you, thank you, HarperTeen and Netgalley! This is one of my most anticipated releases for 2014, so I was definitely happy to see Netgalley's approval message in my email. I admit I'm a bit concerned that this not only deals with the friendship between a white girl and black girl during Civil Rights-era America, but with a romantic relationship between them. It just sounds like a lot of ground to cover in one book. But I'm really hoping that Talley is able to pull this one off!
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
Thank you, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley! This is another 2014 YA debut that I've been highly anticipating. All that I need to know, really, is that this is a historical fantasy about witches. But it sounds like it's also about family legacy and fate and sacrifice and I don't know how long I'll be able to resist before starting this one.
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Macguire
Thank you, Candlewick Press and Netgalley! I haven't been the biggest fan of Macguire's adult stories (Wicked in particular felt a little too weird for me), but I respect the fact that his works have helped popularize retellings and fairy tales to some degree. And his newest is for a younger audience and about Tsarist Russia and Russian folklore. I'm hoping this is a winner for me.
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Thank you so much, Amulet Books and Netgalley! I'm so psyched about this one that I won't even complain that it's a non-Kindle-compatible file...well, not much. I adored Winters' In the Shadow of Blackbirds last year and am so honored I have the chance to help with the early promotion of her sophomore novel, about a suffragette imbued with some mystical powers in 1900s Oregon.

...I think I'm suffering from a case of ARC anxiety here. These are ALL publishing between September and October. I guess I better get my reading schedule in order.

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July 3, 2014

Review: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Series: Veronica Mars, #1
Published: 2014, Vintage Books
Genre: Adult Mystery
Source: Library
Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble

I’ll admit I was a bit wary of reading this book. Any book developed from some other media - be it a tv show, a film, a video game - makes me more than a little skeptical. Can it really translate all that well to a written story? Although The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line was entertaining, I do think it faced quite a few pitfalls in the conversion from one media form to another.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line takes place shortly after the events of the Veronica Mars film (which I guess means there’s not much of a possibility for another film being made, sadly). Veronica is back in the seedy and corrupt town of Neptune, the one place she planned to leave forever only ten years ago. After solving a mystery surrounding one of her high school classmate’s death and realizing just how bad things are in Neptune, however, she’s decided to forgo practicing law and do what really suits her: being a private investigator.

Near the top of Neptune’s notoriety list, apparently, is spring break season, when teens and college students from all over the country stop by for some serious partying. But while spring break is a boon to local businesses, it is just as likely to become a threat, which is what happens when one college girl is pronounced as missing. While the local sheriff’s department is ostensibly on the case, it is Mars Investigations that has been hired to do the heavy-lifting.

Soon after Veronica begins her investigation, another girl is pronounced missing. And their last whereabouts place them both at parties held by the same house. A house that’s hiding some seriously shady activities.
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July 1, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Classics of the Twentieth Century by Decade

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishThis week is all about the classics - however we choose to define them. The topic I eventually decided on is this: the top classic novels I've read for each decade of the twentieth century. But that's a bit of a mouthful, and so I abbreviated it for my post title. 

Obviously there are some decades where I've read a fair amount of books that were published, and others where I've only read one or two. The 1930s to 1960s were the hardest decades to narrow one to one top choice, while the earlier decades I only really had one or two options that I'm aware of having read. So, even though it was fun to categorize books this way, please take my list with a grain of salt.

1900s: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton 
1910s: The Secret Garden by Frances Eliza Hodgson
1920s: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
1930s: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
1940s: Native Son by Richard Wright
1950s: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
1960s: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
1970s: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
1980s: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
1990s: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Any books you think I should include for any of these decades?
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