Wrap Up

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2016 started out great!  Here are my stats:

Books Read/Listened to: 12

Books I DNF’ed: 1

5 crown reads: 5

4.5 crown reads: 1

4 crown reads: 4

3 crown reads: 1

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 5

This was a very successful reading month for me!  I read 5 of my own books and the rest were review books and audiobooks.  I did not purchase ANY books this month and I have put $1 in a jar for every book that I have read or listened to.

Can’t wait to see what February brings!

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I forgot that I signed up to participate in the Backlist Books Challenge.  Here is the link for that Challenge: http://www.prettydeadlyblog.com/announcement-the-backlist-books-reading-challenge/

For this challenge I read 6 books.

backlist-books

 

No One Knows by: J.T. Ellison

No One Knows

Publication date: March 22, 2016

Description- from Netgalley

Identical by: Ellen Hopkins

Identical

If you follow me on Goodreads, you will know that I have been reading a lot of Ellen Hopkins’ books.  This is the first one that I have included on my blog because my intention is to do an author study after reading them all.  I had to post this however, because it is book #5 in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

I will not be going into my full review for this book now.  Just know that I give this book 5 crowns.

5_crowns

backlist-books

Curio by: Evangeline Denmark

Curio

Book Description

In this steampunk-flavored YA novel by Evangeline Denmark, Grey has a secret the Chemists who rule her town can never know. But when her best friend is taken for punishment, Grey risks everything—and finds herself in a world hidden within a curio cabinet, where porcelain and clockwork people are real, and her secret has far-reaching consequences.

My Review

In all fairness, I did not finish this book.  I didn’t get far into it.  I tried but I didn’t get past the first chapter.  The world building was all of the place and the details were lacking.  This was not a book for me but may be ok for someone else.

With that said, the cover is Beautiful!

I received this book from BookLookBloggers for an honest review.

Sisterhood Everlasting by: Ann Brashares

sisterhood everlasting

Book #4 in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

I never read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and this is technically book #5 but I have watched the movies more than a few times.  This book takes place 10 years after the last book and as long as you have seen the movies, you are ok to pick this up.  However, I definitely do want to read the series.

This is such a beautiful book.  It tells the story of 4 friends who were more like sisters and what happens to them and their friendship as they grow up.  These girls have not seen each other in a while and a surprise trip is a reunion in the works.  I do not give spoilers in my reviews so I can’t go into too much detail, but know that this is a tear-jerker of a story.

It is a story about love that surpasses all bounds.  There are so many twists and turns that you can’t help but read until it is over, even though you may not want it to end.  This is a great end to the series although I personally wish it wasn’t the end.

I give this book 5 crowns.

5_crowns

backlist-books

Eleanor by: Jason Gurley

Eleanor

About Eleanor- from Penguinrandomhouse.com

Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones.

One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family’s loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother’s grief and her father’s heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda’s death was not the only tragic loss in her family’s fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last.

About the Author- from Penguinrandomhouse.com

JASON GURLEY is the author of Greatfall, The Man Who Ended the World, and the fiction collection Deep Breath Hold Tight, among other works. His stories have appeared in the anthologies Loosed Upon the World and Help Fund My Robot Army!!! He was raised in Alaska and Texas, and now lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

I didn’t know too much about this book going in and that made this read very interesting.  I knew it was about the life of one twin whose sister had died.  That was about it.  I do not normally read fantasy and when this novel introduced some fantasy elements, I found them intriguing but slightly confusing.

Aesthetically, the book is beautiful.  The cover image is simple but tells a story.  It depicts the story perfectly.  The pages are soft to the touch and I love that in books.  The book itself, is a bit heavy to hold while reading in bed but not too bad.

I love it when a male writes a book from the female perspective and does it well.  The narrator is several different characters in the story but each time the characters switches, it is noted.  Eleanor is the main character in this story and she is dealing with taking care of her alcoholic mother who has gone into a tailspin after the death of her daughter.  Eleanor is trying to balance her grief and her life when she suddenly and inexplicably vanishes from her world and materializes in various other worlds.  Needless to say, when she rematerializes in her world, she can not explain what has happened, where she went or why she wakes up bruised and battered.

Without giving away spoilers, this story is about family, friendship, love and what would happen if you were given the opportunity to go back and reset your life.

Although this genre was not necessarily in my wheelhouse, I enjoyed it and the writing was very well constructed.  I give this book 4 crowns and a wand.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

The History Major: A Novella by: Michael Phillip Cash

The History Major

If you know anything about me, you know that I do not like history nor do I like to read Historical Fiction.  This is really neither of those things so I agreed to read this when I was given the opportunity to in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can’t quite put her finger on it. She’s sharing her room with a peculiar stranger.

Amanda discovers she’s registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her.

Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?

My Review:

I thought that the synopsis for this novella sounded interesting so I picked it up last night and finished it this morning.  In all fairness, as a physical copy, it is a mere 120 pages.  I have never read anything by this author before but I know that he has an average of 4 stars for all of his books that are listed on Goodreads.  He is an author from Long Island, New York and I love to read books that are written by fellow New Yorkers.

I loved the writing style of this book and found it intriguing.  It was a thriller but not really in a serial killer kind of way.  It was intense and thought provoking.  It was a bit philosophical and I really enjoyed that.  Even though the main character is a college student, I think that anyone who reads it can learn from it.

I gave this novella 4 crowns.

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You Were Here by:Cori McCarthy

You Were Here

I received this book by the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.   The publication date for this book is March 1, 2016.  I was interested in this book because of its’ description and cover art.  It was described as a YA book told through prose, graphics and novelization.  I have never read a graphic novel before and I thought that this would be an interesting way to get into it.

Synopsis from Sourcebooks Fire:

Cori McCarthy delivers an emotionally taut page-turner from multiple points of view – combined with stunning illustrations. Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation. Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can – by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive. Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends – all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend, the heartbroken poet, the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome, and… Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable—reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother. Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation, moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panels and word art poetry, perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, Jennier Niven, and Jandy Nelson. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park, You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak and inevitable change. – See more at: http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/you-were-here.html#sthash.oC9pwYhx.dpuf

My Review:

I was excited to get into this story because the subject matter seemed to be like those that are covered by Ellen Hopkins (an author study of her work coming later this year).  I am always intrigued by YA books that deal with topics that today’s teens may deal with.  Most of these topics are hard to discuss and handle but when tackled in a YA novel, they may be easier to discuss.

I was hoping for more graphic novelization and prose but was given more novel.  I thought the images in the book would match the gorgeous artwork on the cover, but they seemed like they were brief  “pencil drawings”.  The prose were mere one liners.  Although the story itself was good, I was let down by its’ description.

Jaycee is trying to deal with the loss of her brother by participating in reckless behavior; the same reckless behavior that killed him.  She does become acquainted with some of her old friends and they help her though her grief even though she doesn’t realize that is what they are doing.  I thought that the effects of grief that Jaycee exhibited were important to portray for teens who may be going through similar situations.  I do however, prefer Ellen Hopkins work.

As I said before, this was good but I was disappointed in the lack of accuracy in the description compared to the actual book.  I still gave this 4 crowns though because it was readable and a younger audience may enjoy it.

4_crowns

 

Henna House by: Nomi Eve

Henna House

Book #3 for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks

This was a cover buy from BookOutlet.com.  I love henna and the stories behind it so I couldn’t pass this exquisite  cover up.  This is a story told from the perspective of Adela Damari, a young Yemenite Jew from the 1920’s.  As the narrator of this story, Adela takes us from her childhood through her life into her adulthood.  Adela was a scared young girl who was afraid of being taken by the Confiscator is and when her father died.  In order to prevent that from happening, she had to marry.  At 8 years old, Adela was  engaged to a boy that then left with his father on a business trip.

The story details Adela life with her parents and her cousin and her Aunt who practiced the art of henna.  Henna was used traditional to decorate a bride before her wedding but the use of henna at that time in that culture was a controversial one.  Her aunt was accused of casted spells on her customers that were embedded in to the henna designs.  Just like now, people were afraid of things that they didn’t know about or understand.

This was a beautiful story and I enjoyed it.  I gave it 4 crowns.

4_crowns

backlist-books

 

Love & Care For the One & Only YOU by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Love & Care

I received this book for an honest review from First Look by Worthy Publishing Group.

This is a nicely constructed, small inspirational book that is divided into 52 mini chapters that are 2-3 pages each.  This is almost like a devotional type of book that deals with taking care of YOU.  It is not a dietary instructional nor an exercise tutorial.  It is simply learning how to reformat your thoughts while including some religious aspects.  Each chapter ends with a very short prayer and a thought.

Being that this is divided into 52 chapters so that it is easy to read throughout the year.  I plan to read 1 chapter a week and try to focus on the “theme” for the week.  There are a few recipes in this book and I will definitely be taking a better look at those. All in all, this seems to be a great book to leave on a nightstand to grab at the beginning of the week and reflect on.

It is set up in an easy to use way and is not too in-your-face with any one thing.  It seems to provide some valuable food for thought that will help you take care of you.

4_crowns

first look