What I’ve Read Recently

aka the time I gave up on Monthly Wrap-ups


Last time I caught you up on my reading, I only had 4 books under my belt for February. Well that changed. A lot. Here’s a run down:

FEBRUARY

Speak, Memory

One of the 20th century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. 

3 stars. Interesting enough, but I could have lived forever without reading it and missed nothing.


99 Percent Mine

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers. 

5 stars. I never thought I’d appreciate my relationship with my brother even more than I already do, but thanks to Darcy’s twin brother, I’m eternally grateful. Jamie is a douche, plain and simple, except where Tom was concerned. Infuriating. Also, Tom and Darcy’s relationship made me dizzy, there was just so much emotions happening. One minute they’re on fire, the next you could get freezer burn. Idk man, but I loved every whiplashing bit of it.


Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

4 stars. I really wish that I’d discovered this one when I was younger. I’d have been even more enamored with it and with fantasy on the whole.


The Girl on the Train

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

3.5 stars. Definitely didn’t think it would end the way that it did. Kinda wished for *more*. More of an elevated pace, more suffering for our perp. More. That being said, I really enjoyed our unreliable narration. She knew nothing and so you were always just at the edge of discovery.


Only Human

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

5 stars. I’m so sad to say goodbye to this series, but it ended just the way a series as odd as this should. We finally have a clear glance at the beings that built Themis and humans proved that we cannot be trusted with anything more dangerous than a feather. Honestly earth, get it together.


Up From Slavery

“Up From Slavery” is an autobiography of Booker T. Washington’s life and work, which has been the source of inspiration for all Americans. Washington reveals his inner most thoughts as he transitions from ex-slave to teacher and founder of one of the most important schools for African Americans in the south, The Tuskegee Industrial Institute.

5 stars. My goodreads review verbatim:


There is very little about this man’s life that I can relate too, I’ve been born in a time and place too far removed from his reality. But the things that I do connect to, resonate. 

To know that he came from such soul crushing circumstances, and still managing to have philosophies such as ‘cast your bucket where you are’, never let someone damage your soul by hating them, to help others (even when he barely had enough to help himself)…well, if it’s possible for him then it should be for me as well.

He inspires me to try to be a better me.

Every Day

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.


It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone A wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

3 stars. I definitely want to read the third book in the series (and skip book 2). I didn’t get overly attached to any character but the writing style and the overwhelming NEED TO KNOW kept me reading and will keep me coming back for more.

Coming up to a total of 11 books for February, matching January for a winning streak.

MARCH

On the Come Up

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

Angie Thomas is a miracle worker. I don’t know how she does it, but she does it every. damn. time! Easily 5 stars again, but for a different reason than T.H.U.G is five stars. Where Starr’s story was one that could be glorified, Bri’s story is one that is often looked down upon, unless you make it like the Jay Z’s and Meek Mills of the world. Bri is a survivor, a hustler, a queen. Even if she makes some risky choices to get to the top. Read this. Anyone who appreciates the struggle that trying to provide for your family can put you through.


Siege and Storm

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

3.5 stars. Mal is still the idiot that I believed him to be in book 1 and Alina is still a questionable hero. But…the intrigue is real. I need to see this through and I need the world that Kaz and Inej live in to take full shape.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

5 stars. The way this book ended! Gah. I immediately needed book 4 and I feel sorry for all those people that had to wait for The Raven King to come out.


The Raven King

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

5 stars. I can’t believe that it’s over. Except, now we get a Trilogy of Ronan’s stories. Gah. Can I have it RIGHT NOW?!!! I love that it doesn’t end with complete devastation.


Meet Cute

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

5 stars. I already told you all how I felt about this one here.


What Alice Forgot

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. 

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

3 stars. Thoroughly underwhelmed. Read it if you want…but…you don’t have to.


The Serial Killer Files: The Who, Where, How and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Murderers

THE DEFINITIVE DOSSIER ON HISTORY’S MOST HEINOUS!

Hollywood’s make-believe maniacs like Jason, Freddy, and Hannibal Lecter can’t hold a candle to real life monsters like John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and scores of others who have terrorized, tortured, and terminated their way across civilization throughout the ages. Now, from the much-acclaimed author of Deviant, Deranged, and Depraved, comes theultimate resource on the serial killer phenomenon.

Rigorously researched and packed with the most terrifying, up-to-date information, this innovative and highly compelling compendium covers every aspect of multiple murderers—from psychology to cinema, fetishism to fan clubs, “trophies” to trading cards. Discover:

WHO THEY ARE: Those featured include Ed Gein, the homicidal mama’s boy who inspired fiction’s most famous Psycho, Norman Bates; Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi, sex-crazed killer cousins better known as the Hillside Stranglers; and the Beanes, a fifteenth-century cave-dwelling clan with an insatiable appetite for human flesh

HOW THEY KILL: They shoot, stab, and strangle. Butcher, bludgeon, and burn. Drown, dismember, and devour . . . and other methods of massacre too many and monstrous to mention here.

WHY THEY DO IT: For pleasure and for profit. For celebrity and for “companionship.” For the devil and for dinner. For the thrill of it, for the hell of it, and because “such men are monsters, who live . . . 
beyond the frontiers of madness.”

PLUS: in-depth case studies, classic killers’ nicknames, definitions of every kind of deviance and derangement, and much, much more.

For more than one hundred profiles of lethal loners and killer couples, Bluebeards and black widows, cannibals and copycats— this is an indispensable, spine-tingling, eye-popping investigation into the dark hearts and mad minds of that twisted breed of human whose crimes are the most frightening . . . and fascinating.

I don’t know how to rate this. Ick. So disturbing, but so good. If true crime is your thing…then pick this up!

Breaking the streak, but 6 is still quite a respectable number.


What have you read recently?

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My dreams are coming true!

Aka I can’t eveeeeen!


 

 

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Coming 2020

 

I don’t know if you know this about me (if you’ve been on my blog any time before this you’d know) but I absolutely loved Carry On. I even said that I wished there was a sequel. And then…THIS happened?! OMG!!!

I need this in my hands right now…but I hope that tagline doesn’t mean that SnoBaz is over.

 

 

 

 

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Untitled Six of Crows #3

 

Coming 2019

 

I was satisfied with the ending. I had convinced myself that Kaz and Inej would eventually find their way back to each other and live happily ever after. I had told myself that King of Scars would be enough for me. And then Leigh answered my innermost desires. Gah!

 


Are you looking forward to these two new books? Any of your faves announce a continuation to a story you really wanted more of? Let me know.

Dee ^_^

Books that break you…😭😭😭💔

aka These are the books that will stay with me forever.

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Before I get into my top five, let’s talk about my bonus book: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.  This one I had to read while in Secondary School and most people try to blank out the recommended reading, but not me. Especially not with this book.

SYNOPSIS:

‘For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine.’

Willy Loman has been a salesman for 34 years. At 60, he is cast aside, his usefulness exhausted. With no future to dream about he must face the crushing disappointments of his past. He takes one final brave action, but is he heroic at last or a self-deluding fool?

Throughout this short play we follow Willy as he tries to feel relevant again. It must be a hard thing doing a job for more than half your life only to be cast aside as a relic of a time gone past. His hurt and confusion comes across quite clearly, and I would never forget him saying: ‘Attention, attention must be paid,‘ as he pleads for his wife, for his family, to see him. Can’t help but want to hug him.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

After reading this one I was compelled to do a full review, that’s how much it resonated with me.

SYNOPSIS:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

This one covers every angle, and yes, there are problematic things about it, but there is so much in here that deserves to be seen. Being from a country that didn’t live through these kinds of race issues (because we do have our own race issues here), this book opened my eyes to a lot that I hadn’t considered before. I knew it was bad, but in that abstract way that you know falling out of a moving vehicle would be bad: there was nothing to use as context, to make it real and relatable.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I’m not sure I can say why this one broke me without spoilers so…um…GO READ THE BOOK!

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Much like LWTO, this one hurt me for its harsh realities.

SYNOPSIS:

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them – in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul – they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

There is domestic violence, emotional abuse, poverty and child-loss, all interwoven with the constant dangers of an at war country. So much death, and fear, and oppression. This is worth the read.

AND NOW FOR THE MAN HIMSELF, ADAM SILVERA….

More Happy Than Not

SYNOPSIS:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Who the hell needs dry eyes anyway, right? Right?!! This was such a dark and twisty read, even my stomach felt its effects. Just when you think you’ve gotten to the point where you can’t hurt anymore, Silvera adds an extra layer of pain. Beautiful writing, heartwrenching premise and characters that move you. BUY EVERYTHING THAT ADAM WRITES, RIGHT NOW!

History is All You Left Me

SYNOPSIS:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Oh. God. This. Book.

Griffin is such a broken boy and his worsening compulsions perfectly reflect that. But that’s not what hurt me in this book. What hurt me is the fact that Jackson and Griffin are hurting over someone who may or may not be worthy of that pain. He certainly wouldn’t have wanted them dwelling on him like they did. But life doesn’t work that way; we don’t get to choose who burrows their way into our hearts and leave it shredded. Read it.


Have you read any of these? Did they break you too? What books have wormed their way into your heart hole?

Dee ^_^