WWW Wednesday – 10/24/18

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Paper Towns by John Green, although I will probably finish it today. I love that book so much and really needed a comfortable re-read after living in zombie land.

Also still reading In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce. Haven’t made much progress with that because I was trying to finish up reading some other things. Which leads me to . . .

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading Blackout by Mira Grant, the third book in the Newsflesh trilogy. I’ve read them all before, but they still pack an emotional punch. Really a testament to Grant’s writing, for sure.

Also finished reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. That one, I think I will need to re-read it again to pick up all the nuances in it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m going to read something completely different that what I usually read – The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner. I don’t read a lot of mysteries and don’t think I’ve ever read any Regency fiction either, but this fit in with one of the tasks for the Seasonal Reading Challenge, so I figured I’d give it a go. I think I got it off BookBub a while back.

Happy reading everyone!

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Teaser Tuesday – 10/23/18

tuesday

Greetings, Internet! I am back after battling the plague last week with a Teaser Tuesday post!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”

~ Margo Roth Spiegelman, Paper Towns by John Green

Needed a good comfort read that fit in with a Seasonal Reading Challenge task, so I went with John Green. And while this quote doesn’t really give much insight to the story, it does tell you a bit about one of the characters that is the focal point of the story. Plus, I just like it. She’s got a point, doesn’t she?

Got any good teasers to share? Leave them in comments!

WWW Wednesday – 10/10/18

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

Currently reading three books. I finally started An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. It’s so good, y’all. I can honestly say that it is different from anything I’ve ever read before. I’m really enjoying it. Also reading Deadline by Mira Grant, book 2 in the Newsflesh series. Also very good, but a re-read for me, so I knew it would be. The third book I am currently reading is In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce, book 2 in the Song of the Lioness series. I had read this series before, but only the first two books. It’s been a while, so a re-read was necessary. Once I start book 3, I’ll be in all new territory.

What did you recently finish reading?

Well, of course I just finished Feed by Mira Grant, as part of my Newsflesh re-read for October (gotta have spooky zombies for Halloween!). I also finished Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. It was really good, but I still think I liked Furiously Happy even more. You honestly can’t go wrong with either one though. Both are good.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely Blackout by Mira Grant and The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce, the next books in both of the series I’m working on. Other than that, I’m not sure. You know what? I might go through some of my TBR and put up a poll. Let the Interwebs decide my next read! What could go wrong!

Happy reading everybody!

Book Review: My So-Called Afterlife

** WARNING – MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD **

Honestly, there’s no way to review this otherwise, so read at your own risk.

18 ThingsTitle(s): 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts

Author: Jamie Ayres

Series: My So-Called Afterlife trilogy

Edition: Kindle e-books

Blurb (1st book only): Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

Review (for the series): Okay. It is rare that the first book of the series throws me completely for a loop, but this one did. To be honest, I didn’t really get into the first book. I thought it was sweet and life-affirming in a somewhat overly saccharine sort of way. A young girl almost commits suicide due to the guilt of not being able to save her friend from dying in an accident and comes up with a list of 18 things to do before her 18th birthday to teach her how to live. Her other friends rally around her, including one who was previously an enemy who she makes peace with, and they all graduate high school. Happy ever after, the end.

OR IS IT!!

18 TruthsHere comes the big spoiler for book one, so be prepared

No, actually it’s not it. See, I didn’t think this was a fantasy/paranormal book until the very, very end. It read like just a regular contemporary Christian fiction (Olga is very devout Catholic). Then comes the last few chapters, where you find out that Olga actually did die when she swallowed the pills and this whole year has been her in Limbo preparing to go into the afterlife. And the new guy, Nate, that she met soon after the accident? He’s dead too. The first book ends with them deciding to become spirit guides (like their therapist was – another late book reveal).

I was completely blindsided by this. Literally had no clue that was the direction we were headed. Like I said, it reads like a completely different genre, and then suddenly, we’re off to heaven. Or at least, the afterlife.

Of course, if I head read the GoodReads page, it is clearly listed as fantasy/paranormal. But still.

The second book involves Olga and Nate learning how to become spirit guides and being given their first charge – the daughter of the therapist who helped them. I have to say, this version of the afterlife is a very interesting take, especially as a version of Christianity. There are angels (including one that seems to crush on Olga a bit, which I did think was weird), but there’s also this very business-like atmosphere to it. Olga finds out that Conner, who did die for real, is not in this Limbo area, but is in Juvie, which is sort of a step down. He wasn’t as devout, so he is in a boot camp sort of situation (I think). Olga wants to rescue him, or at least see him again and make sure he doesn’t blame her for the accident. Unfortunately, she has to make a deal with a demon (yep, they’re in here too) in order to make it happen.

18 ThoughtsThis is one of the things I didn’t necessarily like as much. Conner has apparently always loved Olga, but never told her. Seriously, folks. Tell people how you feel. It makes things so much simpler. The problem is that Olga and Nate sort of became a couple during their faux senior year. So here we have the classic YA love triangle. Except, you know, they’re all dead.

In the third book, Olga, Nate, and Conner actually get the chance to do everything over again. It was a bit convenient and contrived, but I forgave it because it made things very interesting. So Conner never died in the boating accident, so Olga never took the pills. And Nate survived his unrelated car accident, and still moved to Olga’s town. Except Conner has changed. He is reckless and lewd and downright awful.

Guess who has a demon stowaway!

Conner has some moments where he is able to get away from the demon, Samuel, and tell Olga that he is not always the one in control. They don’t know about the demon, so book three is all about them figuring out what is happening and finding a way to get rid of Samuel and seal him away. Which, of course, they do, but it was still very exciting.

So yeah. This nice, sweet contemporary YA book series turned into angels and demons and a fight between Heaven and Hell. And I have to say, it was pretty enjoyable. Some things were obvious and a bit overly done, but there were also lots of twists and turns that kept you guessing.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars for each book

 

WWW Wednesday – 10/3/18

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

Still reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson, although I should finish it today. This is her first book, although I actually think I liked Furiously Happy a bit better? I’ve enjoyed both of them though. She is a really interesting and odd person, in the best way.

Also started a re-read of Feed by Mira Grant, partly because it’s been a few years since I’ve read this series, and partly because it’s October, and what better time of year to read about your favorite zombies!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished the three books in the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. I love these books so much, and hadn’t read them in a while. They may have even inspired me a bit, but more on that later.

I also finished Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, who you all know I adore, and oh boyo! This book was wonderful and terrible and made me feel all the emotions. I am hoping to be able to form a coherent review at some point, because I have so much to say. And yes, this is a recommendation. This is a book everyone should read. Like, now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely Deadline by Mira Grant, to continue in that series. I do plan on reading the entire thing, because you can’t just stop at the end of Feed. It’s impossible. Can’t be done.

Also, and I’m very excited about this, I will start reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. You know I’m a big fan of John Green’s books, and I’ve loved the Vlogbrothers since day one, so I am really looking forward to reading Hank’s first published novel.

That’s what I’m reading this week! How about you?

Book Review: The Radium Girls

The Radium GirlsTitle: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

Author: Kate Moore

Series: none

Edition: e-book borrowed from my library

Blurb: The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

Review: First and foremost, I will say that this is NOT the type of book I usually read. I picked this up to read along with the Seasonal Reading Challenge’s book picks for Fall. They had three books to choose from. This was the only one my library had available immediately. And I have to say, I am very glad that I did. This is a story that will stick with me for a long time.

Kate Moore paints a picture of these women, some of them very young girls when they started working in the factories, that is haunting and inspiring. Her attention to detail and the amount of research that went into telling this story is unbelievable. You really get to know these women and feel a punch in the gut at their hardships and struggles. They are much stronger than I ever will be, knowing that their fight would probably not help them in the long run, but would help other workers facing similar fights in the future.

The details of their illnesses are gruesome and not for the faint at heart. It was very hard to read at times, but it was also very hard to put down. It’s a fairly long book, almost 500 pages, but it reads very quickly. Also, if your blood isn’t boiling with rage at the heads of these companies willfully denying their fault in any of these womens’ health problems, then I don’t think we can be friends. It is abominable what they did, especially since they knew that what they were doing was dangerous, but getting that sweet, sweet money was more important.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars. This is a book everyone should read.

 

Book Review: Furiously Happy

Title: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsFuriously Happy

Author: Jenny Lawson

Series: none

Edition: Hardcover, borrowed from a friend

Blurb: In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy—and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

Review: Oh my stars, you guys. Have you ever had that moment when the right things just collide? When there was something you needed to hear and, miraculously, the words were delivered right to your door? That was my experience with this book.

I was stuck in a rut, feeling very down about a lot of things (you can read about some of these feelings here – there was just a LOT going on in a relatively short period of time). Basically, I felt lost. Very lost. The problem with these feelings, which for me stem from my problems with anxiety and depression, is that it is very easy to feel like you are the only one. Everyone else is fine, aren’t they? Just look at them! They’re fine!

My stepson’s mom had heard some of this and sent this book to me. It sat on my desk for a while as I suffered through my reading slump and finally got shoved into my purse for a book to read during my lunch breaks at the new job. And boy, did I suddenly feel enlightened! If any of you have read Jenny Lawson’s posts over at The Bloggess (and if you haven’t, get thee over to that site, pronto!), you will know that she is a very . . . different . . . individual. I mean that in the best way possible. She is a very strange, very flawed, very unusual person, and is very unapologetic of that fact! The way she shares her battles with anxiety, depression, and all-around survival of the world we live in are hilarious and inspiring.

I laughed my way through this entire book and read the last two chapters with tears in my eyes. Not tears of laughter though. Tears of relief. Tears of “thank-the-gods-someone-understands.” This book is wonderful if you are dealing with these issues, or if someone you know is dealing with these issues, or heck, even if you just need a really good laugh. This book feels like catching up with an old friend over coffee – you know, that old friend who always has the great stories to tell from her life and can make any experience one that you will always remember. Jenny Lawson has become that friend for me and I will always be grateful for that.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars. Would give 10 if it let me.