Monday, December 18

Let's Talk 2017 Authors: One Year, Six Brilliant Discoveries


While I've covered my favorite 2017 debuts and sequels in my past posts, there are a few other authors that made into my list of favorites this year apart from the four mentioned in them. So without further ado, let's take a look at the top six brilliant talents I discovered for the first time over the course of this year! These are not necessarily debuts or authors of books published in 2017, but rather authors I read for the first time this year and would no doubt read more in the future- in no particular order.

Thursday, December 14

Let's Talk 2017 Debuts: Two Authors, Two Debuts


Trigger warning : police violence, racism, race hate crime

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.







Angie Thomas is an African American author who was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent.
She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed.
She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her first published novel, The Hate U Give, debuted at number one on the New York Times best-seller list for young adult hardcover books and continued to top the list for weeks after. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman directing and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg playing the lead. 


Trigger warning : sexual assault, microagressions, posting of MC's photos on the internet without permission

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?




S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching.
A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali’s debut YA novel is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith.
She lives in Toronto with her family, which includes a very vocal cat named Yeti. She is currently working on her second YA novel featuring an ensemble cast of diverse souls, as well as LOVE.

Monday, December 11

Let's Talk 2017 Sequels: Two Reviews, One Discussion


Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?






Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust. 

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.







Thursday, December 7

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger


Hello, you beautiful hoomans! I've been meaning to talk about exactly what blogging means to me for quite some time now, and this short hiatus I've been on has given me quite some stuff I want to talk about here. Instead of opening up a discussion of sorts though, I figured this tag would give me a good framework to work around what I want to talk about and so here goes! 

Thursday, November 30

List of PROs & CONs in Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

“I am done being careful. I am done being quiet. Let them see me angry. Let them hear me wail at the top of my lungs.” 

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.


Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.




Tuesday, November 28

Ten Books On My TBR I *Think* Will Be Perfect Winter Reads

Top Ten Tuesday = weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hello, friends! My question for you today is this: Do you have that one genre - or type of book - that you love to read in certain times of the year? For example, twisty mystery or horror novels for a rainy autumn day, or, for me, something with a CERTAIN happy ending for a cold winter day. 

Now, for today, I picked out ten books from my to-read pile that I think will work for winter. There are some mysteries, thrillers and horrors for those gloomy, dark days, but also some adorable-looking romances for the coldest days, as well as some winter- or Christmas-themed novels. 

Thursday, November 23

All My Negative Feelings About ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Stiefvater

"This is the way of our work: We cannot help but color it with the paint of our feelings, both good and bad."

Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.


Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.



Tuesday, November 21

Ten of My Favorite Books I've Never Reviewed


Hello friends! Do you know the feeling when you are so totally in love with a book that you are left speechless? Or, rather, not really speechless, because you keep freaking out, screaming and flailing all at once, but you are far from being able to write a coherent review? Now THAT was me after finishing each of these books - no matter how much I wanted to and actually sat down and tried, I could NOT write a review for any of these books, because I found that my words couldn't do justice to how good these books are. 

But it simply doesn't do that I don't mention all these fantastic books here, SO I decided to make a post - maybe a series of posts?? - about some of the books I absolutely adore, but didn't review. 

Also, on a side note - THIS is my Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) post for today, because I don't like the original topic.


Saturday, November 18

CLARE MADE ME READ IT: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley



“And I didn't realize it then, as Sarah and I left the parking lot and sped down the road in her little four-door, but I think that by the end of that very first school day I'd already fallen a bit in love with her.”


Katie Hammontree and Sarah Cooper have been best friends since the 2nd grade. Katie's welcoming, tight-knit family is a convenient substitute for Sarah when her distant parents aren't around, and Sarah's abrasive, goal-oriented personality gels well with Katie's more laid-back approach to life.

But when a misunderstanding leads to the two of them being mistaken for a couple and Sarah uses the situation to her advantage, Katie finds herself on a roller coaster ride of ambiguous sexuality and confusing feelings. How far will Sarah go to keep up the charade, and why does kissing her make Katie feel more alive than kissing her ex-boyfriend Austin ever did? And how will their new circle of gay friends react when the truth comes out?





Tuesday, November 14

Ten Truly Exceptional Books *Everyone* Should Read


Hello everyone! Today marks the day when I'm back with a Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) post after not doing any for a few weeks. And y'all, I am so excited for today's topic! It's about books I'd make my future children or other relations read, but I twisted it up a bit, and will be listing ten books EVERYONE should read, because they are just so damn good

*click on the covers for Goodreads!*

Sunday, November 12

Interview with Emily Suvada, Author of THIS MORTAL COIL + INT giveaway


Hello everyone! I'm super-excited to present a sort of 'different' post than the usual - an AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil, ONE OF MY MOST AWAITED BOOKS! 

                                                            

First, let me showcase what this beautiful book is about: 


Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?


Wednesday, November 8

Classics Mini Reviews featuring Books By Daniel Defoe and Shirley Jackson

‘I grew as impudent a Thief, and as dexterous as ever Moll Cut-Purse was’ Born and abandoned in Newgate Prison, Moll Flanders is forced to make her own way in life. She duly embarks on a career that includes husband-hunting, incest, bigamy, prostitution and pick-pocketing, until her crimes eventually catch up with her. One of the earliest and most vivid female narrators in the history of the English novel, Moll recounts her adventures with irresistible wit and candour—and enough guile that the reader is left uncertain whether she is ultimately a redeemed sinner or a successful opportunist. Based on the first edition of 1722, this volume includes a chronology, notes on currency and maps of London and Virginia in the late seventeenth century.

Goodreads

Honestly, Moll Flanders was so very bad lmfao. We had a totally unconventional female lead here, who 1) tricks men into marrying her despite her being poor, 2) doesn't give a shit about the rules, and 3) becomes a criminal. Umm, does that not sound great??? Welp, I thought so, but, unfortunately, from the very first page, Moll Flanders was a tremendous disappointment. 

Thursday, November 2

10 Notable November Releases You Should Look Out For


So far this autumn the theme was "spend all that you can afford on books", because there were so many new releases in both September and October. November, however, does not follow in the footsteps of the first two fall seasons. I'm only interested in four new releases, whilst Ruzi is excited for six books altogether. A lot less than the previous two months, huh? Anyhow, we ARE super-duper excited for these few titles at least, so let's get right into them! 

Wednesday, November 1

October Recap With Lots of Fangirling, Some Scary-ish Movies and Not So Fantastic Books


Hello everyone!! This is my second official recap in the blog, and, first of all - thank you all for the great feedback on my September Recap! I love doing these, so the fact that y'all seem to enjoy them makes me super-happy. 

Anyhow, October was a rather disappointing month, to tell you the truth. I don't think I did a lot of stuff, to be honest. Partly, because I've been trying to concentrate on my studies with more or less success. Also, with the weather turning colder and colder each week, I've had very little desire to leave the house and meet people. I just cannot stand the cold at all, AND IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER. *shivers* Speaking of November - THAT IS MY BIRTHDAY MONTH, so, obviously, I am pumped to start the new month.

With that, let us jump into this massive post about the books I read, the shows I watched, the music I listened to & lots of other things I did or heard about this past month. 

Tuesday, October 31

Survival of the Fittest


Hello, you beautiful human beans! Today we reach the end of Spooky October, and to commemorate this, Vera came up with a unique idea for a post- as the name suggests, we'll be pitting two characters against each other and then deciding who would win and who would die if they were ever to fight. Fun, right? We think so too! 


For those of you who already got the gist of this- please bear with us as we go through what happens briefly, and for those of you who know neither head nor tail of this, here's what it's all about! First we will put a bunch of character names in a bowl/ jar/ whatever- both male and female- and then pull out two names. Next we let the other person decide the fate of each character in the likeliness of a tussle between them. Simple, huh? 


Vera and I chose 10 character names and drew out couples for each other. We each then made the oh-so-fun decision of who lives and who dies. So. Much. Fun. *rubs hands together* Without further ado, put your hands together for...

Thursday, October 26

Rose-Tinted Glasses, Graveyards. and Lots and Lots of Tea in A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan


Violet never wanted to move to Perfect.

Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time?

But Violet quickly discovers there's something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared.

When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away...and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!




Monday, October 23

Going DEEP into the Mysteries Surrounding Elizabeth "Blood Countess" Báthory


Hello friends! Today I am here with another Halloween-themed post, this time about Elizabeth Báthory, aka one of the most prolific (yes, there's a typo on the picture, I know) female serial killers in history. I'm actually super-pumped to be finally sharing this with you, because I legit worked on this post more than I've ever worked on any essay for university. *shrugs*


Quickly, if you don't know anything about Báthory, here are some of the basics, the tip of the iceberg, one shall say. She's said to have tortured and killed hundreds of people, most of them innocent young girls whose blood she proceeded to drink and bath in to remain youthful and beautiful. I know, yikes, imagine having to wash that blood off of yourself afterwards. She must have had loads of time. On a more serious note, she is actually half the inspiration behind Dracula by Bram Stoker, the other half is, of course, Vlad Tepes.

My original plan was to write about various female serial killers, with Elizabeth Báthory being one of them, but... I kind of fell down a hole researching her. The mainstream media has always painted all the gruesome things in connection with her as facts, and I didn't know any better either. Then I started to look more into her for this post, and as soon as I dag just a bit below the surface (like, below wikipedia and the likes), I found information that seems to suggest that she was, in fact, innocent. 



I know, I know, that sounds unbelievable. She is positively notorious. She is even featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific female serial killer, for fucks sake, and isn't that a reliable enough source?



Welp, I don't really think so anymore, at least not in this case. Upon doing some research, I found that the evidence against Báthory is VERY flimsy, practically non-existent, and many people, including numerous historians, believe that she did not commit any of the crimes associated with her. 

So, instead of writing about her grave murders, as per my original plan, I'm going to discuss in detail all the evidence, or lack thereof, against her. But, also the accusations, because it IS Halloween, and we all love to discuss murder, right? Then you shall decide & vote (!) - was she a horrid murderess, or was she falsely accused and punished? 

Friday, October 20

Coraline: Which is Better- the Book or the Movie?

    
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Monday, October 16

Creepy Dolls + Complex Heroine = the PERFECT Halloween Read, aka Charlotte Says


"It was at the toy room window first," she said. "Then it went away from there and then it was suddenly in the dormitory window and then your bedroom window, miss. It's running around up there, I think, peering out from all the different rooms."
"Estella," I said in my gentles voice. "Dolls don't move around on their own."

The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.



Saturday, October 14

The Most Authentic Portrayal of Mental Health in Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.





Trigger warnings: self-harm, rape, abuse, addiction, drugs, alcohol


“Don't let the cereal eat you. It's only a fucking box of cereal, but it will eat you alive if you let it.”

Tuesday, October 10

Drop Dead Gorgeous Book Covers That Scream AUTUMN


Hello everyone! I've been quite busy with uni and all lately, so I was really-pumped to see that today's Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is a relatively easy one - book covers that remind me of fall. As you may know, I am a HUGE fan of gorgeous book covers - I mean, who isn't!? - so I had tons of fun browsing through my "read" shelf, looking for covers appropriate for the topic, and then organizing them by color. So, let me proudly present you - ten of the most gorgeous, autumn-themed covers. 


Saturday, October 7

All the Motivation to Smash the Patriarchy in We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. 








“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” 

We don't usually review nonfiction on the blog, and nor do we such short books (this is an essay adapted from a 2013 TEDx talk of the author), but I feel this is so very important, and relevant even to this day- will always be relevant, to be honest- that I cannot not talk about this here. I actually have the compulsion to throw a copy of this in the face of anyone and everyone I meet, so yeah. It's pretty good.