Sunday, May 19, 2019

Becoming "Shelf" Aware

So this past weekend I spent time culling my Goodreads wish list/want to read list and removing any books that I decided I wouldn't be getting any time soon, books I no longer feel drawn to and books I probably won't end up liking based on reviews and thoughts from other bloggers/friends. I was able to get my list to just under 200 books. That's about half of what was there before I started and feels a lot lighter even though it's still A LOT. I'm trying to keep only things that I am seriously interested in and not just maybe thinking about. Just overall being more AWARE of the books that I'm reading and wanting to read. Over the years I think I said yes to a lot more books than I should have because I was just starting out and wanted to get my name out there and review new releases. But honestly, A WORD OF ADVICE: read what you love, read what you want, don't say yes to everything because your shelves and your mind with thank you later for being picky and honing in on your tastes/preferences early. 

And of those 194 books, I decided to make a list of the top 5 that I really want to get to ASAP. Perhaps I'll add these to my June or July TBR.

It's quite the set of books don't you think? Nothing fluffy and summery at all, but this is where I am drawn to right now. I'll be looking out for audiobook versions of as many as possible via my local library. This is how I get through books quickest when I can listen during my commute. 

Any of these appeal to you? Have you read any of them? I know Kayla from BooksandLala suggests Dress Codes for Small Towns ALL THE TIME, so that's why it's at the top of my list - oh and Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. 

What books are at the top of your wish list/must read list? Based on my choices, are there any books you'd recommend to me?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The 100 by Kass Morgan | Review

The 100 by Kass Morgan
Published: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 323
Received: via NetGalley for honest review (this is a catch up review)
Find Online: Goodreads

Join one hundred teens on an epic journey from outer space to a barely recognizable Earth in this high-profile commercial teen series.

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland—before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust—and even love—again.

Loved the premise of this book, people living in space trying to survive but needing to find a new forever home and soon and sending criminal teens to Earth to see if it is habitable again. Ummm I'm in!

Essentially, Earth had a nuclear war that destroyed pretty much everything and the people that escaped have been living on spaceships. Their little "world" is beginning to run low on supplies and in lieu of executing the teen criminals, they decide to send 100 of the to Earth as guinea pigs to see if Earth is okay again. Fun times!

The story is told from alternating POVs of four main characters - Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass. I actually enjoyed this aspect of the story and think it added to the background info and the relationship building. Bellamy is my favourite of the four, though they all have interesting stories.

I think this is a promising start to a great new series. I cannot wait to see how they survive and what is in store for each of these main characters. I did not watch the TV show when it came out, though my husband did start a few episodes back then. I may just give it a try since I'm thinking about starting the second book in the series soon. 

Have you read any books in the series of watched the TV show? Thoughts... should I continue with the books or just skip to the show?

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs | Review

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs 
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 336
Received: via NetGalley for review (but ended up listening to audiobook well after publication date)
Find Online: Goodreads 

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct...

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie's help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found? It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Where to start? I have always loved reading Kathy Reichs' Temerpance Brennan series and the spinoff TV series Bones, that she helped with. But I think I have a new fave Reichs character! Sunday Night is sassy, smart and deadly. 

Not only are we introduced to a new character, but a different style of writing. It's more of a detective/private investigator style story line in lieu of a forensic drama. I enjoyed it a lot. And the witty banter of the characters was top notch. Sunday's attitude is ramped up and we see how all her past military and police experience make her a perfect choice for this job. Her mission: to find a missing girl and take out those responsible for the deaths of her family members.  

Sunday has attitude for days, but much of it comes from all of the psychological trauma from her past, that is slowly revealed as the story unfolds. Not only do we follow Sunday and her brother, Gus, on the mission, but we unravel all the baggage that makes Sunday, Sunday. She lives alone on a small island, she keeps herself at arms distance to almost everyone except her brother, her "foster" father and a squirrel. There is so much to her character - she's very complex and I loved uncovering the details of her past, so that I could understand her hard exterior and sassy attitude.

Now to the plot... a bombing and a missing girl, ties to a homegrown terrorist cell, meeting Sunday's twin brother, Gus, and lots of action. Oh and the Kentucky Derby?!? Quite the mix and quite fast paced.

I honestly would love to see more books featuring this character, so I'm hoping that Ms. Reichs will write more featuring Sunnie.

Have you read Two Nights or any of the Temperance Brennan series? Which book is your favourite? Do you prefer Sunday or Temperance?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mini Reviews | The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay and A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published: October 30, 2018
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 229
Received: via NetGalley for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads

The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father's 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances.

In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer's skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.

Just my quick thoughts on this one. It's a catch up read for my NetGalley reviews. 

I ended up listening to this via audiobook and I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator. Family drama, nature's fury and a dash of magical realism. The never ending rain that is hitting Paris during the unfolding of the story adds a perfect backdrop to all of the secrets being revealed. It's almost like as the water rises, everyone feels the need to come clean. Almost like if this is going to destroy them then they might as well get everything out in the open. Old wounds are reopened and new ones are made unintentionally. Against all odds the family fights to overcome the demons both real and imagined, both told and unsaid. Love has a way to heal everything and this book does a great job of showing just that in the end.
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
Published: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 484
Received: via NetGalley for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads

An ancient and dangerous power is being handed down from mother to daughter through some of the most consequential historic events of the last two centuries.

After Grandmére Ursule gives her life to save her tribe, her magic seems to die with her. Even so, her family keeps the Old Faith, practicing the spells and rites that have been handed from mother to daughter for generations. Until one day, Ursule’s young granddaughter steps into the circle, and magic flows anew.

From early 19th century Brittany to London during the Second World War, five generations of witches fight the battles of their time, deciding how far they are willing to go to protect their family, their heritage, and ultimately, all of our futures.

Let's be honest here. This review is very overdue. I jumped at the chance to read this when it first appeared on NetGalley, then my daughter was born and the sheer number of pages on this one had me putting it on the back burner.This year while doing a NetGalley clean up, I was able to find the audiobook via Overdrive and my library and listened during my daily to commute.

This book was amazing. I loved the history of the entire family. Seeing how they lived their lives and fought their individual battles (since time changed what type of battle they needed to deal with). How the heritage was passed down through generations. There were some story lines that maybe could have been less drawn out, but I understood the need to give backstory so that the entirety of the book would make sense. 

I loved the generational aspect and how the story shows each witch coming into her power, how she chooses to deal with her magic and how the tradition was passed down (or not). The POVs change when a new generation is born and the elders are then background characters. Each character has different values and you see how the power affects them - good or bad. 

My favourite story lines were of the witches in the 1800s when the witch hunters were the biggest threat and they had to truly be careful of showing their power.

I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

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