Looking Forward to December!

I know I’m a little late on this but I really wanted to take yesterday to highlight Ijeoma Oluo’s newest book. November was an extremely busy month for me in terms of ARCs but I made it through and even got a head start in December. In contrast, this month will be super light. In fact, I’m already almost done with it. I have one more children’s book and one more adult book to read for December and then I’ll be done. January and February though will again be very busy so this gives me a chance to read ahead. So without further ado, here are my ARCs that are being published in December.

Children’s Books

Ritu Weds Chandni // written and illustrated by Ameya Narvankar

Pub Day: December 01, 2020

Publisher: Yali Books

Synopsis:

Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?

Centering Ayesha’s love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other, this warmhearted debut from Ameya Narvankar celebrates the power of young voices standing up against prejudice and bigotry.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Sit With Me // by Carolyn Kanjuro // illustrated by Nan Lawson

Pub Day: December 01, 2020

Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Synopsis:

You can squat like a frog or lounge like a cat–but if you want to sit like a buddha, there are seven key steps for taking your seat.

Sit with Me invites kids of all ages to learn meditation through playful rhymes and adorable illustrations. Justa Bug describes the seven-point meditation posture–from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet–in an easy and accessible way. With a spine straight like coins stacked on a plate and shoulders back like a vulture in flight, kids will learn the basics of sitting through encouraging verse. With a little practice, Sit with Me will help everyone in the family learn how to meditate easy and free.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

The ABCs of Black History // by Rio Cortez // illustrated by Lauren Semmer

Pub Day: December 08, 2020

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company

Synopsis:

B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! And for a Book that takes a Bold journey through the alphabet of Black history and culture.

Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.

It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love.

In addition to rhyming text, the book includes back matter with information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, and the Little Rock Nine to DJ Kool Herc.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Fiction Books

The Butterfly Effect // by Rachel Mans McKenny

Pub Day: December 08, 2020

Publisher: Alcove Press

Synopsis:

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.

But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it’s all creating chaos of Greta’s perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world. But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.

The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Non-Fiction Books

Mediocre // by Ijeoma Oluo

See my review here.

Pub Day: December 01, 2020

Publisher: Seal Press

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a subversive history of white male American identity.

What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments?

Through the last 150 years of American history — from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics — Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism.

As provocative as it is essential, this book will upend everything you thought you knew about American identity and offers a bold new vision of American greatness.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

And that’s it! The only books I still need to read are The ABCs of Black History and The Butterfly Effect. They will both be out next Tuesday so I will try to squeeze them in this weekend whenever I finish my current reads.

I finally finished reorganizing the shelves in our dining room so I now get to share my own pictures sometimes and give you a glance into my book collection. This one shows several of my favorite books of this year as well as some all-time favorites. Do you see anything here that you’ve read or want to read? What books are you planning on reading during the month of December? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo

Mediocre – The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America // by Ijeoma Oluo

Pub Day: December 01, 2020

Publisher: Seal Press

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a subversive history of white male American identity.

What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments?

Through the last 150 years of American history — from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics — Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism.

As provocative as it is essential, this book will upend everything you thought you knew about American identity and offers a bold new vision of American greatness.

My Thoughts:

Wow. I mean, I was expecting a great book and that is what I got but still: Wow. There is so much stuff packed into this book that applies to so many different aspects of our society, from when this country was still young to where we are now. Even as I am writing this review, I am still getting my thoughts together on this book. I jumped to request this book as soon as I saw it available but the closer I got to actually reading it, the more nervous I became. Not because I didn’t want to read it but because I didn’t feel my review writing skills up to par. But I am really glad I read this.

None of the information in this book was necessarily surprising, but it was laid out in a way that I hadn’t considered it all together before. I didn’t realize how many things in this country are connected through literally just this one aspect: white male supremacy. The topics she explains range from politics (no surprise there), sports (and the origins of football), jobs (the confusion of disliking women in the work place, then wanting them there, then wanting to get rid of them again – the changing whims of men), and more. While there have been difficulties for all people that aren’t straight, white men in this country, she does address how women and people of color had struggles that sometimes were similar but ultimately still weren’t (and aren’t) the same. In this book, you will learn about the expected feminine vs masculine characteristics, which ones are wanted in the work place and which ones are actually needed and more successful, how women and people of color are often set up to fail in leadership positions, and how even meeting set expectations is never really wanted either.

I learned a lot when reading So You Want To Talk About Race and I learned just as much while reading Mediocre. She takes issues that permeate our entire society and explains them in ways that are easily understood and difficult to argue with. They are shocking, yet not surprising and I often find myself putting down my book or kindle, sitting back, and wondering how we still haven’t come that far from this country’s beginnings, despite many people claiming that this is a new age where everyone is equal. I cannot wait to read more of Oluo’s writing and continue learning from her.

Affiliate Link:

If you think you’ll enjoy this awesome book, I would appreciate if you consider purchasing it here.

I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here, at no extra cost to you, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to support independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

About the Author:

Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and Internet Yeller. She’s the author of the New York Times Best-Seller So You Want to Talk about Race, published in January by Seal Press. Named one of the The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017, one of the Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met, and winner of the of the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award by the American Humanist Society, Oluo’s work focuses primarily on issues of race and identity, feminism, social and mental health, social justice, the arts, and personal essay. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, NBC News, Elle Magazine, TIME, The Stranger, and the Guardian, among other outlets.

Other Books by this Author:

  • So You Want to Talk about Race

Available here.

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy–from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans–has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair–and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

  • The Badass Feminist Coloring Book

Available here.

The Badass Feminist Coloring book is a righteous celebration of modern-day feminists. Featuring 40 badass feminists and bonus essays on feminism, this book is a bundle of intersectional feminist awesomeness.

About the Publisher:

Seal Press was founded in 1976 and stands as one of the most enduring feminist publishing houses to emerge from the women’s press movement of the 1970s. Seal publishes radical and groundbreaking books that inspire and challenge readers, that humanize urgent issues, that build much-needed bridges in divisive times, and help us see the world in a new light.

From humble beginnings—a letterpress in a Seattle garage and grassroots fundraising—Seal Press has grown to become an award-winning publishing house, expanding to their current offices in Berkeley, Boston, and New York. In 2016, Seal Press joined Hachette Book Group, one of the largest publishers in the United States and a division of the third largest trade and educational publisher in the world, Hachette Livre.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

November Wrap-Up!

It’s crazy that another month is over and with that we are starting the last month of the year. 2020 has both felt like it has gone on forever as well as if it has flown by really quickly. I can’t believe this year is almost over already. In just a few days, we will have been in our first own house for two whole years. Whaaat?!

While I didn’t read as much as I would’ve liked this month due to a huge mask order and barely getting any reading done during my vacation, I am still pretty happy with my lineup. I finished 9 books in November and it was a pretty good mix for my interests. They are more than 50% fantasy but I did get some non-fiction and a non-fantasy fiction book in there as well so I am overall happy with what I got.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend reading this post on a tablet. I tried to organize it to be read on all devices but it is best read from a desktop. I am still in the process of learning WordPress and wanted to play around with it a little more.

Audiobooks

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek // by Kim Michelle Richardson // narrated by Katie Schorr

I had my eye on this one for quite a while and I was excited to get it from the library soon after I requested it (library hold plans never seem to quite work out the way you plan). It was a great story to listen to and I felt that the narrator was perfect for it. See my quick review here. Buy here.

Maid // written and narrated by Stephanie Land

I was originally going to read the ebook but never seemed to have time for it. I’m so glad I eventually realized there was an audiobook! I am a sucker for memoirs read by their authors. They just bring that extra touch that convey the authenticity even more. I learned a lot with this one. See my quick review here. Buy here.

Fantasy

The Blacksmith Queen & The Princess Knight // by G.A. Aiken

I finished the first book of this series in preparation for the ARC that I received of the second one but I could not get myself to finish The Princess Knight. I really struggled with both though. I was pretty disappointed with myself because until then I had never DNFed an ARC before but I did not see the point in continuing. I have enjoyed other books by the same author before but these just weren’t for me. I love fantasy but I do enjoy a bit more “realism” to my reading (A “normal” human jumping off a 60 ft high cliff and landing on someone’s back without issue to fight against a large group of enemies? An undead horse growing really convenient tusks out of nowhere to defeat a group of people that until now was tormenting it?). It was just a bit too much for me. I do know there are a lot of other people that enjoy these though so maybe they are for you. I did not post reviews for these on my blog but the books are available here (book 1) and here (book 2).

Kingdom of Back // by Marie Lu

I have not written a review for this one yet but I did enjoy it overall. It has a rather slow and unexciting start but does draw you in eventually with you barely noticing how attached to the characters you get. I love how it was based on true events somewhat but given a fantastical twist. It is a little whimsical but a book that could be read together with a child or teen. Available here.

The Bone Ships // by RJ Barker

This book is an amazing intro to an amazing series. The world-building is incredible. I love learning about the different aspects of this new land. The characters are awesome as well. I found myself invested in them so quickly. I am so thankful to Orbit for sending me print ARCs for this and the second book in the series because they are gorgeous! See my review here. Buy it here.

Call of the Bone Ships // by RJ Barker

One of my favorite things is to be able to read books of the same series back to back. As soon as I finished book 1, I dove into this one. It is an awesome continuation to the story and I am anxiously awaiting the next book with an aching heart. I got to learn more about the flora and fauna as well as their beliefs. I really enjoyed this one. See my review here and buy it here.

The Fires of Vengeance // by Evan Winter

This is book 1 in The Burning series. This is another action-packed series that is set in a world that is incredible to learn about. This book is a lot of fun with a little more dragon action than The Tide Child series. The protagonist reminds me a little bit of Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles with his determination so he’s more of a man of strength of the body compared to Kvothe relying a lot on his strength of mind. Nonetheless, Tau is an incredible character to follow and I am excited to see how this story continues in the future. See my review here and buy the book here.

Non-Fiction

Mediocre // by Ijeoma Oluo

I am still getting my thoughts together on this one. I will add the review to this post once I finish it. But I am really glad I read this. None of the information was necessarily surprising, but it was laid out in a way that I hadn’t considered it all together before. I didn’t realize how many things in this country are connected through literally just this one aspect: white male supremacy. I highly recommend this read! Buy it here!

Paper Bullets // by Jeffrey H. Jackson

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. It was very interesting, definitely, but the structure of it kept me from staying as engaged as I would’ve liked. It forced me to look at Nazi soldiers in a way that I hadn’t before, which was often rather uncomfortable. I am planning on making a post with all of my other WW2 reads of 2020 in the coming weeks and will update this post with this review then. The book is available here.

That is it with my November reads. I am pretty happy with them overall. There were several absolutely incredible books and I also got to learn a lot this month. While I may not have enjoyed every single book, it is what it is. What I really like is that this year, I am really learning what kind of books I enjoy and I hardly ever choose incorrectly anymore. That’s why I’m not super disappointed when the inevitable dislike does occur.

I have started a few more this week that you can see in my Sunday Lineup but I will be counting them in the December Roundup since that is the month they’ll be finished in. Usually most of my print books and ebooks are ARCs lately but since this is a slow month for publications for me (I only have one more left to read for December), I have some freedom in choosing my TBR for the next few weeks. While I do plan on reading ahead a little because I did go request crazy for January and February, I do want to sneak in a couple of non-ARCs as well. It’ll be a good way to round out the year.

Did you read any of these yet? What was your favorite book of November? I would love to hear about them!

I finally organized my shelves again so you will get to see my personal books more often from now on!

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

Sunday Lineup (11.29.2020)

While I usually lament the fact that this post means my weekend is over, I won’t do so this time. It means I’m just a little closer to the day where I will find out some important (and hopefully good) info for my family next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me! The anticipation is killing me!

I finished my book club read Kingdom of Back. While it took me a little to get invested in the story, overall I did enjoy it a lot. I also made some pretty good progress on my audiobook Legacy of Ash. It is incredible and I’m really enjoying the narrator! I wish the second book was already available as audio as well but sadly I have no clue when that will happen.

This hasn’t happened in a while but I actually have several books going at once aside from my audiobook.

Print

Scythe // by Neal Shusterman

Synopsis:

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Why did I choose this:

I have heard a lot of good things about this one. I’ve been staring at it on my shelf for months and since I’m on a strict schedule for how many chapters I can read each day for one of my other books, I needed one to fill the extra time. Perfect week to sneak this one in.

Current Thoughts:

I’m only a couple of chapters in but it’s been a great setup so far and I’m looking forward to more.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Kindle

Amelia Unabridged // by Ashley Schumacher

Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.

Why did I choose this:

I love books about books so this was a natural request to make on NetGalley for me. hehe

Current Thoughts:

I’m only a little ways in but it’s an intriguing start. I’m looking forward to more. I’m doing this as a buddy read with someone else and we decided to do 3 chapters each day so it’ll be slow but steady progress throughout the week. I’m looking forward to discussing it with someone since I don’t do that much.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Ashlords // by Scott Reintgen

Synopsis:

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

Why did I choose this:

Book 2 is available on NetGalley and the cover is just as awesome as it is for book 1 and who could say no to those?!

Current Thoughts:

All I’ve been able to read so far is the sample from the library. It’s really good! I’m next in line and cannot wait for more!

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Audio

Legacy of Ash // by Matthew Ward // narrated by Suzannah Hampton

Update:

This narrator is incredible! I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy grand fantasy novels. There is war and blackmail, honor and betrayal, enemies and newfound families. Ward is an incredible writer that somehow can make me care about both sides in a war and get so invested that I still think about the story hours after I stopped listening for the day. I cannot wait to see where this is going.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

I have more books going at the same time right now than I usually do but they are all very interesting in their own way and I’m looking forward to a week full of great reading. I hope you enjoy your books as well!

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

Short & Sweet: Quick Reviews of Books I Liked (11.26.2020)

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate this and happy Thursday to those who don’t. I’ve had two posts planned lately that include several short reviews of books I’ve read this year. One was focused on books set during World War II and the other one was focused on audiobooks I’ve listened to lately. It was tempting to go with the first one but decided to go with the cheerier one for the holiday, though I guess it would’ve been somewhat fitting since this isn’t exactly the most innocent holiday either despite its name. But I digress. Here are some short and sweet reviews of some of my recent audiobooks!

The House in the Cerulean Sea // by TJ Klune // narrated by Daniel Henning

It has been weeks since I listened to this book and I cannot stop thinking about it. This probably will be my favorite book of the year. It may not be the book with the best world-building, the most exciting battles, or huge dragons flying all over the place (though I did very much appreciate the little one flying all over the place), but it for sure is the book that made me the happiest this year. I honestly don’t know how to convey how much I love this book. It has such adorable characters, the narrator was absolutely perfect for this book, and I literally could listen to stories from the island and the children forever. If an episode featuring them came out every single week, I would listen to them happily for the rest of my life. I literally refused to listen to the last hour of the book for several days because I was not ready for it to be over. I won’t write a huge review for this one like I sometimes do for others because I would just constantly repeat that I love it, love it, love it, but between the variety of wonderful characters, the feelings, the humor, the adventure, the representation, and the ending… you just get an all-around wholesome story that will leave your heart warm and happy.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Maid // written and narrated by Stephanie Land

I’m glad I previously returned the ebook and waited for the audiobook because hearing her tell her own story took it to a completely different level. I don’t think I would have been able to – and it is hard to admit that about myself – listen and learn with quite as much compassion and understanding if I had read the story myself. I read memoirs to learn and understand more about people that live differently from me all the time. But hearing the emotions in her voice as she recalls the struggles and triumphs of her life just made this a completely different experience. Her voice changed so much when she narrated the highs versus the lows that it just tears at your heart strings. In the past, I have often found myself disagreeing with some of the decisions she has made because it did not always seem responsible. But hearing her side of this taught me that there are so many different ways of approaching situations and I fully understand why she did what she did. It really is much too easy to judge and speak on things from a distance when things may be so much different up close. This book completely changed my perspective and I am thankful that she was strong enough to share her journey.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

My Sister, the Serial Killer // by Oyinkan Braithwaite // narrated by Adepero Oduye

This is a book that I hesitated to read for a long time. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to my reading and can’t have too scary books. For some reason, I was expecting this to be somewhat gory, though I’m not sure what gave me that impression. If you have hesitated on this title due to some of the same reasons, then I can tell you not to worry about that. Yes, there are murders and therefore yes, there is a murderer but this is not a story that will keep you up at night, staring at the shadows in the corner of the room. This is more of a character-focused novel that focuses on intentions and motives. It is very suspenseful and has the perfect narrator for the audiobook. I was hanging onto her every word throughout the entire story. It was riveting. But the reason that I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars was that even now, several weeks later, I am still unsure about the ending. It wasn’t totally unexpected and I’m not mad about it either, but it did feel very abrupt, which threw me a bit for a loop. Overall, this is a great book though!

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

The Power of Habit // by Charles Duhigg // narrated by Mike Chamberlain

I struggle to remember the content of books often and while I don’t remember many of the details in this one, the information about building and breaking habits has really stuck with me. I still struggle to build new, healthy habits but it has helped me to break some of my bad habits already. While much of the book was not practical information to directly apply to your life, the many examples of habits did help a lot with understanding the psychology of them and importance of paying attention to them. While I did enjoy listening to the audiobook, I do plan on reading the print book on my shelf eventually so it will be easier to mark passages I want to save and go back to as a reminder to keep trying to change my life in more positive ways.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek // by Kim Michele Richardson // narrated by Katie Schorr 

This is a book I have been dying to read. I’m a sucker for books about books like many of us are so when you put those books together with strong women and horses (or a mule in this case), I just couldn’t say no. After a bit of a wait, I finally received the audiobook through the library. I don’t have a lot of eloquent words about this book but I did very much enjoy it. It had good detail, it had some suspense, and it had heart. There are ups and downs that will leave you weeping for joy and heartbreak. The narrator for this is excellent and I highly recommend listening to this if you are on the fence about which format to choose.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

That’s it for today, yall. I’m generally terrible about keeping up with reviews for books that aren’t ARCs but this catches me up a little bit. Hopefully, I’ll be better about it from now on. I am listening to an incredible audiobook currently that I do plan on sharing with yall.

I have an important doctor visit tomorrow and depending on how that turns out, I may take a little bit of a break from this blog. I’m not sure yet. I guess it will depend on whether I need a distraction or some distance. But we’ll see how it goes. Happy holidays everyone.

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker

Call of the Bone Ships // by RJ Barker

Book 2 of The Tide Child – Review for Book 1, The Bone Ships, here.

Pub Day: November 24, 2020

Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis:

Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction.

When a horde of dying slaves are discovered in the bowels of a ship, Shipwife Meas and the crew of the Tide Child find themselves drawn into a vicious plot that will leave them questioning their loyalties and fighting for their lives.

My Thoughts:

I was lucky enough to receive this title right along with the first one so as soon as I finished The Bone Ships, which was one of my favorite reads of the year, I dove into Call of the Bone Ships. There is just something magical and exciting about not having to wait for the next book at all. It feels so much more immersive.

A big difference between book 1 and book 2 at the very start is that you now know a lot more about this previously unknown world and therefore won’t experience the same level of confusion as before. Our previous knowledge allows us to dive right into the next events of this grand adventure without needing as much guidance. But that does not mean the world-building has ended. That is not the case at all. Barker continues to impress with the details in his descriptions of his world. While we may understand the big picture now that allows us to travel through his lands and follow the adventures of his cast, he shows that there is so much left to learn about the flora, fauna, traditions, and society. As I’ve said before, this is one of my favorite parts of starting a new series and I was excited to see that he continued this very well in this second book.

For the most part, the narration still continued from one point of view. I don’t mind multiple POVs if they are done well but overall I like for books to continue in the same vein as the first book does. Barker does include some chapters told by other characters and while it was a little jarring for me sometimes, they did add a lot of detail to the story in ways we wouldn’t have been able to receive otherwise. It was fun to see how differently those other characters think and perceive the world and their place in it. For the majority of the book though, we stay with Joron and continue to learn more about the world and being a fleet member with him. He has experienced a lot of growth and we get to see that in this book in the way he carries out his job as d’keeper. But that does not mean he is over his self-doubt yet, which to me just makes him even more likable. Lucky Meas is still, well, Lucky Meas. For the most part, she is still the ever-confident shipwife we got to know before but we do get to see her more up close and personal this time since Joron has gotten to know her more by now. A little glimpse under the armor so to speak. I continue to adore her as a character with her strength and confidence and moral compass.

Sadly I do have to wait a little while for the next book in this series now instead of jumping right in like before. I really just want to devour the entire series in one go but that is what we get for being on the team of early reviewers. I cannot wait to see where Barker takes us next. He leaves me with my heart aching and yearning for more. Thankfully he does have another series so I will take a look at those books while I wait!

Affiliate Link:

If you think you’ll enjoy this awesome book, I would appreciate if you consider purchasing it here. Book 1 is available here.

I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here, at no extra cost to you, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to support independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

About the Author:

RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, AGE OF ASSASSINS, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter. He interacts with readers a lot, which is always fun!

About the Publisher:

Orbit is a leading publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with imprints in the UK, US and Australia. They publish across the spectrum of Science Fiction and Fantasy – from action-packed urban fantasy to widescreen space opera; from sweeping epic adventures to near-future thrillers. Launched in 2007, Orbit US is the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group USA.

Follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on their book happenings! They often have giveaways going on so make sure you don’t miss out on those!

They are gorgeous! I love having them on my shelf!

Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review!

Sunday Lineup (11.22.2020)

Another week went by and so did the weekend sadly. I had some great and some not so great reading this weekend. I went from a really high high to a really low low with my books. I actually DNFed an ARC for the very first time this week and while I am very unhappy with that, I just couldn’t keep going with it anymore. I also spent a lot of time on rearranging my main book shelves this week. I’m only about halfway finished but I’m pretty happy with it so far. So here is what I am starting the new week with. I am pretty excited about both of them.

Print

The Kingdom of Back // by Marie Lu

Synopsis:

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

Why did I choose this:

This is a book club pick this month!

Current Thoughts:

I’m only on the first chapter but so far so good.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Audio

Legacy of Ash // by Matthew Ward

Synopsis:

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.

Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.

And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.

As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.

Why did I choose this:

I mean, did you read that synopsis?? But really, I heard a lot of good things from other reviewers about this series and then won the second book in a Twitter giveaway. Since I just started my Audible subscription again to prepare for a Sanderson readalong next year and I had some credits to spend, I figured it was the perfect time to start this series.

Current Thoughts:

I’m about a fifth into the story and loving it so far. It took some getting used to in the beginning. I felt very lost and had to keep rewinding but I got the hang of it now and am thoroughly enjoying it. My heart aches already though for the characters.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

That is it. It actually feels pretty weird to neither have an ebook no an ARC going right now but it’s pretty refreshing to be honest. It takes a little bit of pressure off although I am expecting to write reviews for both of these books anyways. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

Book Post from Kensington

As a reader, of course one of my favorite things is getting books in the mail. This has been especially exciting since I have started receiving ARCs and finished books from publishers, which is such a dream come true for me. My blog is named after my first dog, so this week’s mail is especially fitting for my blog. So today, I want to introduce the books I was sent by Kensington Publishing Corp.

Gabby – The little dog that had to learn to bark // by Barby Keel

Pub Day: January 28, 2020

Synopsis:

Baby seagulls, mischievous ferrets, strutting peacocks…in the decades that Barby Keel has run her animal sanctuary in the English countryside, she has seen all manner of creatures. Thousands of cats and dogs have come through her doors and, with the aid of Barby and her dedicated staff, found loving forever homes. But Gabby, a small terrier with solemn, terrified eyes, is like no case Barby has ever encountered before.

Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play with a toy or chew a treat. She has never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby’s true spirit will be a daunting task.

Yet sometimes, a dog and a human fit together like two puzzle pieces, and so it is with Gabby and Barby. And Barby, who believes passionately in animals’ ability to help and heal those they love, will find her faith in Gabby repaid just when she, and her sanctuary, need it most…

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Will You Love Me? – The Rescue Dog that Rescued Me // Barby Keel

Pub Day: September 29, 2020

Synopsis:

One night, in the middle of a rainstorm, Barby Keel found an unexpected gift at the gates of her animal sanctuary: a poor little greyhound, shivering and wet, abandoned under the cover of darkness. Barby had never seen a dog in such pitiful condition. He was scarred with burn marks, and so malnourished that every rib showed through his patchy fur. Barby was determined to help this unfortunate abused animal—if he managed to survive the night…

The dog—who she named Bailey—not only survived, he displayed a fighting spirit and loving nature that took Barby by surprise. She herself was facing health issues of her own, a personal battle which threatened the future of the entire sanctuary. But thanks to Bailey—and the powerful bond that humans and animals share—they found the strength to heal their bodies, hearts, and souls… together.

Told with deep affection, honesty, and compassion, Will You Love Me? is an emotional and joyful story that reminds us that, in rescuing others, we rescue ourselves.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Dawgs – A true story of lost animals and the kids who rescued them // by Diane Trull

Pub Day: March 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Elementary-school teacher Diane Trull’s life-defining moment happened when her fourth-grade reading class saw a photo of a cardboard box overflowing with homeless puppies. Her young students were determined to save these lost pups and others like them. In that moment, the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary—known as DAWGS—was born.
 
How Trull and her fourth graders started their own animal shelter is a story of dedication, commitment, and perseverance. Trull shares inspiring stories about animals and animal lovers of all ages in this moving story of hope and compassion. DAWGS is a testament to how love and a strong measure of determination can offer second chances—one animal, one child, and one day at a time.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Incredibull Stella – How the love of a pit bull rescued a family // by Marika Meeks and Elizabeth Ridley

Pub Day: August 27, 2019

Synopsis:

Marika Meeks fell in love with Stella the moment she saw her. The adorable pit bull puppy had been abandoned in a cold field in winter—but her warm, friendly eyes and boundless affection could melt anyone’s heart. Even so, Marika wasn’t sure she was ready to adopt a dog. As a busy entrepreneur, wife, and mother of two daughters, Marika’s life was crazy already. She was recovering from Stage 3 breast cancer, and her family was still reeling from her brush with mortality. But Marika couldn’t deny the way Stella made her feel—the pure joy of this sweet-natured dog’s unconditional love—and she knew in her heart what her family needed…
 
In a leap of faith, the Meekses welcomed Stella into their home, and thanks to this incredible dog, the daily pressures of work, stress, and Marika’s health problems seemed to slip away. As Marika’s cancer receded and her family found renewed vitality, she began sharing Stella’s story with the world. Now an international social media star, Stella helps Marika  to spread their heartfelt message of advocating for pit bull breed awareness,  explaining the benefits of pet ownership,  and supporting shelters and other organizations that save animals’ lives.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

That’s what I got this week! Don’t they all sound awesome?? I’m really looking forward to reading them all. I’ve read some like these in the past and always enjoyed them. We’re also involved with animal rescue ourselves so these books are really perfect for me.

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

Book Review: The Bone Ships by RJ Barker

The Bone Ships // by RJ Barker

Book 1 of The Tide Child

Pub Day: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis:

A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new fantasy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.

Two nations at war. One prize beyond compare.

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

My Thoughts:

I heard several book blogger friends raving about this book so when I had the opportunity to request it for review, I jumped at the chance. I enjoy fantasy a lot, especially when magic and dragons are involved so I was looking forward to it a lot. Despite this, I was not prepared for how much I would love this book! I mean, I could not stop thinking about it even when I was supposed to focus on other things, such as work! All I wanted to do was get back to the book so I could see what would happen next!

At first, the unknown world and terms were a little confusing. The writing was on a different level from my last read as well so I had to readjust to the more descriptive style of this author, which I did not mind at all as this is something I enjoy a lot. Once you get further in though, you realize that while you may feel a bit lost at first, the author actually does a fantastic job at explaining everything along the way without making it obvious that he’s simply explaining it to the unknowledgable. It fits very smoothly into the story.

The world building is – simply put – amazing. One of my favorite parts about starting a new fantasy series is learning about the world the author came up with. This is what makes me love this book so much. It’s obvious how thorough the author is with so many amazing details. From the flora and fauna in the sea and on land to the traditions of the people and the cruel religious practices, there is so much to absorb. The social system based on fertility and strength of blood was new to me also, but I have been enjoying the trend in my books lately where men and women seem to be on a more equal footing in professions that are more gendered in the real world (such as pirates and shipwives).

While the narration is in third person, it does focus on one specific character and lets us know about his personal thoughts and motivations. I tend to analyze my own and others’ thoughts deeply myself so this has always worked great for me in books as well. Joron has a huge learning curve in this book, which allows the reader to learn right along with him, and it was great to see him grow, especially since he is not a perfect character. There are doubts and loses, fears and regrets along the way but there is also conviction, victory and celebration that we get to experience right along with him. But of course I cannot talk about characters in The Bone Ships without mentioning Lucky Meas. This is not a story with a man that slides in, saves the day, and is hailed a hero. This is actually far from that. Joron and the crew are on a ship of the dead, just waiting for the sentence to be carried out. These are outcasts, criminals, unwanteds. But Meas is the glue that holds them together, gives them a purpose, and makes them feel important again. She is confident, knowledgable, and experienced in a way Joron didn’t expect and also did not appreciate right away but needed nonetheless. She is one of my favorite female characters in a long time.

While I feel like I have a relatively good understanding of this world now, I do suspect there is so much left to learn as well and I am thrilled for that. This book has a very satisfying ending that at the same time leaves enough open to make you very excited for Call of the Bone Ships and I am lucky to be able to dive into that one immediately. The writing and imagination of the author come together for an excellent experience of world-building and character-development, and just the right mix of action and slower parts. If you like a world with dragons, windtalkers, coursers, ships, pirates, and epic battles, then this will be the perfect series for you to get lost in.

Affiliate Link:

If you think you’ll enjoy this awesome book, I would appreciate if you consider purchasing it here.

I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here, at no extra cost to you, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to support independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

About the Author:

RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, AGE OF ASSASSINS, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter. He interacts with readers a lot, which is always fun!

About the Publisher:

Orbit is a leading publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with imprints in the UK, US and Australia. They publish across the spectrum of Science Fiction and Fantasy – from action-packed urban fantasy to widescreen space opera; from sweeping epic adventures to near-future thrillers. Launched in 2007, Orbit US is the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group USA.

Follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on their book happenings! They often have giveaways going on so make sure you don’t miss out on those!

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Keep an eye out for my review of Call of the Bone Ships. It will be posted next week!

Sunday Lineup (11.15.2020)

Where has the weekend gone?? I can’t believe it’s already over. We had a pretty productive weekend though and I really enjoyed the time with my husband. I finished one of my favorite books of the year this week (that review will be up Tuesday!) and am working on the second one now.

Kindle/Print

Call of the Bone Ships // by RJ Barker

Synopsis:

Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction.

When a horde of dying slaves are discovered in the bowels of a ship, Shipwife Meas and the crew of the Tide Child find themselves drawn into a vicious plot that will leave them questioning their loyalties and fighting for their lives.

Why did I choose this:

I received the ARC for this from Orbit and its pub day is Tuesday in a week!

Current Thoughts:

It’s a great continuation of book 1!

Affiliate link: Buy here.

Audio

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek // by Kim Michele Richardson

Synopsis:

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

Why did I choose this:

Books? Horses? Mountains? I’m in!

Current Thoughts:

I’m a couple of hours in and it’s great so far!

Affiliate link: Buy here.

I’m really enjoying my books right now which is so fun. I also have some fun stuff lined up for the coming week. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.