Book Traveling Thursdays // 5.25.17

book-traveling-thursday

Hi, all! This meme, Book Traveling Thursdays, was created by Catia (@The Girl Who Read Too Much) and Danielle (@Danielle’s Book Blog). This week’s challenge is: “Freebie week. Today you can choose whatever you want either it is a book you’ve been wanting to talk for a long time or one of the previous themes.” I’m not really creative enough to come up with my own prompt and I’ve been pretty lazy with the posting this month, so I decided to steal one of the earlier themes: “May 18th – Choose a book that has originally a red cover.”

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Book Traveling Thursday // 3.9.17

book-traveling-thursday

Hi, all! This meme, Book Traveling Thursdays, was created by Catia (@The Girl Who Read Too Much) and Danielle (@Danielle’s Book Blog). I stumbled upon it a few weeks back but just got around to checking out their Goodreads book in order to join in on the fun, and I’m super excited! This week’s challenge is: “Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Choose a book with a strong female MC.”

The book that I’ve chosen to highlight is none other than Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which I’m sure most of you recognize as  the Oscar-nominated film of the same name starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. Before the movie, however, it was a memoir that features not one, not two, not three but four women forgotten to history despite their large impact on it: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, all African American women who worked for NASA during the space race. All four were mathematician geniuses hired as “human computers” that completed complicated mathematic and engineering problems when the United States was competing with Russia to put a man on the moon, and they helped America get to that goal and go far beyond it. Although it is beautiful to see the instances in which their “inferior” race or gender was forgotten in lieu of their superior intellect, the book also makes sure to make it clear that that wasn’t always the case, and even when these women helped put men into space, they were still looked down upon for both their race and their gender. It is a book that made me feel incredibly proud to be a woman, but also incredibly inspired to make the necessary changes we still need in our society today to protect the differences of race, religion, culture, ethnicity, and so on that still plague our country to this day.

Favorite cover:

hidden figures 1

Although it really bothers me that the picture of the women overlaps with the title, I like the subtle red, white, and blue colors used to indicate their patriotism, as well as the circles usually related to geometry.

Least favorite cover:

hidden figures 2

I’m not a fan of when editors come out with different versions of books featuring the movie characters on the front. It upsets me that people are more likely to buy a book because it has someone famous on the cover rather than the actual person the story is about. Even besides this, the movie was not exactly like the book; Christine Darden is not even mentioned in the same book, as the specific tale they decided to chronicle in the movie took place before Christine arrived at NASA. Therefore, this cover completely forgoes Christine as a character, which is not a true testament to the story within.

WWW Wednesday: 3.1.17

www-wednesday-title-card

Hey, y’all! Sorry I’ve been a little sparse with the book reviews lately, but life happens, and reading is (unfortunately) not always my #1 priority. To alleviate my time between reviews, I decided I’m going to jump on the meme train! WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @Taking On A World Of Words, where I have to answer three simple questions: what am I currently reading, what I have recently read, and what I want to read soon. I did this for the first time last week and really enjoy this meme, as I am always reading multiple books at once and queueing my next choices right on my nightstand. So, here we go!

What am I currently reading?

kings-cage   jane-eyre   american-gods

  • King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard: The next installment of Mare Barrow’s adventure is finally here! This YA series takes place in a country called Norta, where people with “silver blood” and powers rule over those with red blood, who are believed to have no powers. Mare is a Red herself, but she has the powers of a Silver that wind her up in a lot of trouble that I will not go into too much detail about in fear of spoilers. I’ve reviewed the two previous novels in the series (Red Queen (#1) and Glass Sword (#2)), and although the second book was kind of a letdown from the first (which I loved), I’m hoping that Aveyard picks up the pace again in this third book.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: So, sadly, my love for classic literature started a little late in my life, and now I’m playing catch up. While many people read this book back in high school for one class or another, I was reading war novel after war novel after war novel mixed with a little Shakespeare, and although I’m not complaining, I wish we had delved a little more into the classics. I was re-reading The Princess Diaries a few weeks back and fifteen-year-old Mia goes off about how much she loved Jane Eyre, so I figured that was as good a place to start as any. I’m only 100 pages in, but I’m here for the long haul.
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – I will spend so much money on books with modern day retellings of mythological stories, and American Gods was promised to me as kind of/sort of that. My AP Literature teacher from high school who I still keep in contact with all but threw this book at me, saying I would love it and even buying a copy for me for high school graduation that I totally forgot I even had until I bothered to move my bookshelf over winter break. Despite my slowness in getting to it (and forgetting about it), I am very excited to read it! Also, they’re making it into a TV show which looks fantastic, so of course I have to read the book first.

What did I recently finish reading?

big-little-lies   bend-not-break   six-of-crows

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Well, color me surprised. This was a book that I had written off as a hyped-up novel due to suburban mom book clubs, but I finally picked it up once they made it into a HBO show with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard, and Adam Scott. Although 9 times out of 10 I despise the movie/show that arises from a book, nothing gets me to read the book faster than announcing there’s going to be some sort of adaptation of it. But Big Little Lies was more than I had expected it to be. Although not overwhelmingly creative or well written, it was an easy read that took me no time at all considering it’s 450 pages, and she kept me invested and guessing all the way throughout and up until the end – and that is a feat. 4/5 stars, full review coming soon.
  • Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu: I received this autobiography to judge for the University of Florida’s Common Reading Program 2017. I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction books recently, and thought that this would be a good choice; however, I was immensely disappointed when I rolled onto Goodreads and saw that Ping Fu, the author of the book, had largely fabricated her own story, exaggerating and lying about different aspects of her story. Even if what she had said was true, Fu tended to sound like she was bragging about rather than sharing her story, even adopting a condescending tone when trying to discuss the advanced world of 3D printing technology to the reader. 1/5 stars, review not even worth it; was red listed for CRP choice.
  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo: I have loved Leigh Bardugo ever since I picked up her Grisha trilogy almost three years ago now. The world that she has created – with the Shu, Ravkans, Kerch, Fjerdans, and more – is a twist on a trope in which a select portion of the population has powers, but she does it so beautifully that it doesn’t even seem cliche. I was nervous about her adding to the same world, as Six of Crows runs parallel rather than perpendicular to the original Grisha trilogy – but that was for nothing. Six of Crows was like Ocean’s Twelve taking place in the world of the Grisha – and I loved every second of it. Additionally, there is no love triangle in this book either (*sounds of angels singing from heaven*), but it does suffer from what I call “convenient love” – where there are six of them, and all of them are nearly paired up by the end of the novel. All in all, it really was an incredible book and only received a 4.5 / 5  because I couldn’t quite get into it at the start. 4.5 / 5 stars, review coming soon.

What do I think I’ll read next?

the-shift   heir-of-fire   born-a-crime

  • The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’s Lives by Theresa Brown: So, obviously this one is for school (#StudentNurseLife), but I am interested to see what stories she feels so inclined to share during this book. Theresa Brown is an RN (Registered Nurse) who after becoming a mother, left the world of English academia behind to become a nurse. She’s written two books about her time as a critical care/palliative/oncology nurse, and this is her second book. We’re required to read it for class to understand how much can happen in one shift, and how even the most mundane things can greatly affect our patients’ lives. I’m actually weirdly excited to start it.
  • Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas: It’s not that I’m having a hard time getting through the Throne of Glass series or anything, but I just can’t seem to quite get super invested in it. I think that the premise of the story is creative and enticing, but Maas’ execution in telling it doesn’t quite seem to match. I think she took a dip in the second book with her quality of writing as well, so I’m really hoping she gets herself out of the rut in the third installment of the series.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: I LOVE Trevor Noah. He’s basically one of my favorite human beings of the moment, and the only good thing that has come out of Trump getting elected besides hilarious SNL skits is my continuing love, respect, and admiration for Trevor Noah. I had the opportunity to see him come do a show and talk at my university last year, and it’s still one of my favorite college memories. I was a little wary of him replacing Jon Stewart, who I almost three years ago now and who was genuinely so funny and brilliant right off the bat, but Noah himself is the same way and more. This autobiography is about how he was born, half-white and half-black in apartheid South Africa, which, as the title would suggest, is a crime. I am super excited to finish reading it to allow for my respect for him to only continue to grow.

THE CASUAL VACANCY

the-casual-vacancy

By: JK Rowling
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Summary: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

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LITTLE BEE

little-bee

Written by: Chris Cleave
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Summary: As Little Bee ran from her village in flames and men with machetes and hunting dogs racing after her, Sarah was staring at the beach waves and her husband’s eyes and wondering how he alone could be her whole world. As Little Bee remained hidden in the cargo hold of a ship bound for England, going without real food or water  for several days, Sarah was no doubt shoveling food into her newborn baby’s mouth. As Little Bee struggled to remain unnoticed and out of trouble in a British refugee detention camp, Sarah began an affair with a man to fill the empty hole her husband’s depression had left behind. And as Little Bee stood on her front doorstep, reaching out to the only person in England she knew after escaping from the detention center, Sarah was preparing to step out to attend her husband’s funeral after his untimely suicide. They collided for the second time, but this was the collision that would alter the rest of their lives.

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LADY MIDNIGHT (THE DARK ARTIFICES #1)

lady-midnight

Written by: Cassandra Clare
# 1 / ? of The Dark Artifices series
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Summary: Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

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STATION ELEVEN

station-eleven

Written by: Emily St. John Mandel
Review: 4.5 / 5 stars

Summary: One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night a terrible flu begins to spread. In one week, it is estimated that 99% of the world’s population is dead. Twenty years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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