Category: Bite Size Reviews

Feb 15

Bite Size Reviews: February 2017

Bite Size Reviews 5

Howdy Bookworms!

I know I haven’t been particularly prolific lately. I have my reasons, not that any of them are particularly GOOD reasons. It mostly boils down to the fact that I haven’t felt like blogging much. And, you know, since it’s not like anyone is paying me for this, I figured I’d cut myself some slack and just take a break. But now I’ve got a pile o’ books I’ve read and not told you about! Let’s rectify that, shall we?

ONE. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (AKA Stephen King): Some perverse part of my brain thought it would be a good idea to read dystopian fiction by Stephen King during the middle of a terrifying season of political upheaval. Yeah. Definitely NOT comforting. In an alternate timeline USA, an annual competition takes place wherein 100 teenage boys walk until there is only one left standing. The winner gets a prize of anything he wants for the rest of his life. Which is a pretty sweet prize. Until you realize that the penalty for losing is death. That’s revealed pretty early on so I don’t feel like it’s too spoilery to tell you that. It’s never revealed WHY “The Long Walk” is a thing, but there’s a scary military leader in charge of it. The description of the walk is harrowing in itself, but the not knowing how the event originated and why is what’s still creeping me out.

TWO. Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (The Poldark Saga) by Winston Graham: One of the gals in my book club was raving about how great the Poldark TV series is, so I thought I’d pick up the book on which it was based. I have not watched the TV series, which I think was to my own detriment. Maybe I would have been more engaged if I’d been able to picture a more ridiculously handsome actor while reading about Ross’s antics, but mostly he just annoyed me. Normally historical fiction is totally my jam but I was not feeling this at all. So much nope.

THREE. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: This book was a stunning mix of poetry and prose that chronicles the author’s life story. Raised between South Carolina and New York, the author explores how growing up in each location influenced the person she would become. From the remnants of the Jim Crow South to the vibrant Civil Rights movement in the big city, Woodson’s life is anything but dull. It’s a short novel, so I got through it quickly, but it was devastatingly beautiful. If you’re debating between print and audio, get the audio version. It’s phenomenal.

FOUR. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: Liane Moriarty is up to her old tricks again with this one. When a backyard barbecue ends in chaos, three families are left struggling to pick up the pieces. If you enjoy the suspenseful “a thing happened and here is the fallout but I shall not tell you what the thing is until the bitter end of the novel” tactic, this book should satisfy. If anyone is a master of that particular style, it’s Moriarty. And if you happen to be a fan of Australian accents (which I SO am) do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. Delicious.

I’ve still got a boatload of books to tell you about, but let’s save some for later, shall we? What have you been up to, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 03

Bite Size Reviews… For Everything I Didn’t Review in 2016

Bite Size Reviews 10

Happy New Year, Bookworms!

It’s 2017 now, y’all! Maybe this year will be better than the last. (If you don’t have Counting Crows in your head right now, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.) I sort of fell off the planet mid month because December turned into craziness and I just didn’t blog. I had holiday magic to make. But now it’s January, which is prime blogging time because there is NOTHING to do in January. So. Maybe I’ll catch up on my reviews and come up with brilliance. I’m feeling optimistic. Anyhow, I had a post draft sitting around that I meant to publish as a set of mini reviews in December, but since that didn’t happen, we’re going to play catch up now.

ONE: The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore: Do y’all know Jenny from Reading the End? If you don’t, get to know her. Chat with her on twitter. Girl is a delight. Which is no surprise because her dad is basically the most whimsical man to have ever graced the planet. Case in point: he read this YA girl power fantasy series and was totally jazzed about it. Which is 100% why I decided to read it. Because if Jenny’s dad thinks it’s a good idea, it probably is. This is a three book series; Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue (though Fire was really more of a companion/prequel than a second installment, but I digress.) I thought Graceling was the best of the bunch, Fire was entertaining though a biiiiit of a slog, and Bitterblue rounded things out nicely. If you’re in the mood for a YA fantasy series, it’s a solid investment.

TWO: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez: Oh this one was a heartbreaker. The Rivera family leaves Mexico for the US after their daughter Maribel suffers a near fatal accident that leaves her with a traumatic brain injury. They arrive in Delaware hoping to enroll Maribel in a special education program to help her recover. Holy smokes, y’all. This is an eye opening view into the life of immigrants. Every resident of the Redwood Apartments has a different story, and they’re all beautifully woven together. Plus young love? Gracious. Read this one, okay?

THREE: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz: Since we’re on the topic of powerful immigration stories, it’s fitting that we follow up with the tale of Jasmine de los Santos. She’s a high school senior, straight A student, and captain of the cheerleading squad. Her future at the college of her choice is all but ensured until she receives the devastating news that her family is undocumented. Their visas expired years ago, and her Filipino family has been living in the US illegally. In the meantime, Jasmine falls for a boy- Royce, the wildly unsuitable son of a prominent politician who is vocally anti-immigration. I have read some criticisms of this particular storyline because some felt that their very chaste courtship wasn’t something that should have had Jasmine in such a tizzy, BUT. As a gal who didn’t date a whole heck of a lot, I fully relate to getting one’s emotions all a flutter over a couple of make out sessions.

FOUR: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova: This book was kind of amazing. If you dig books about magic, drop what you’re doing and pick this up. Latin American tradition infuses every inch of this highly inventive fantasy novel. Alex is a bruja at the cusp of her power. Only, she hates magic. In an attempt to rid herself of the pesky talent and live her life as a “normal” person, she accidentally banishes her family into another dimension. WOOPS! In order to save her family, Alex must venture into an in-between world known as Los Lagos accompanied by the enigmatic Nova, a handsome but untrustworthy brujo boy. There’s something of a love triangle going on when Alex is attracted to Nova while simultaneously being attracted to her best friend Rishi. Bisexual representation in a YA novel full of fantasy and folklore? It’s as awesome as it sounds. You should totally read it.

FIVE: Henna House by Nomi Eve: I’ve always associated the art of henna with India and Middle Eastern countries, but I never really thought of it as a Jewish custom. I don’t suppose the custom is necessarily Jewish per se, but it was definitely practiced by the Jewish folks living in Yemen in the mid 20th Century. Which is a thing I know now, thanks to reading this book. It’s similar in tone to The Red Tent (though I must admit I preferred Anita Diamant’s style). A fascinating book about a fascinating culture, the book tackles everything from arranged marriages to historical atrocities. Definitely worth a read.

Whew! What a start to the year! I’m not going to be making any resolutions, because I’m terrible at them, but I’m looking forward to a kicking year in reading and blogging. I’m ready for you, 2017. I’ll fight you if I have to. So. You’d best behave yourself.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Are you making resolutions this year?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Nov 30

Bite Size Reviews: November 2016 (And Assorted Nonsense)

Audio Books, Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

Nothing like waiting until the last possible moment in the month to post a batch of mini reviews, am I right? I have excuses.

Took a vacation...

I took a vacation! (After the whole Rock City thing we went to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Because of course we did. I now own an interactive replica of Luna Lovegood’s wand.)

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen.

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen. It was delicious, even if the stupid water bottles make the photos unseemly. Hubs is responsible for that. Tisk tisk.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

Oh yeah, and Gilmore Girls happened. As far as excuses go, this month is among the best. (I’m sparing you my political outrage here, but if you’re interested in the progression of my grief and desperation this month, you’re welcome to scroll through my Twitter feed.) But you know what else I’ve been doing? READING ALL THE THINGS! We should talk about them, no?

1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: This book was recommended by one of my fave blog readers, Rhian (who is not ONLY my favorite because of the Christmas card she sent me from Australia that one time, but let’s face it. That didn’t hurt.) If you need a heartwarming read for the holiday season, this is your book. It reminded me a lot of Up (you know that Pixar movie with the cranky old dude and the balloon house?) It features a very cranky old Swedish man and his curmudgeonly ways, a devastating origin story, and his eventual thawing through unexpected friendship. I laughed, I cried, I laugh-cried. Feelings. Whew.

2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: I had a number of people (Julz in particular) rave to me about how amazing this book was before I got around to reading it. I had a signed copy from BEA (yet another instance where I was awkward to a brilliant writer) so I decided it was about darn time. I actually tag teamed this one, part audiobook, part eyeball read. It was very charming. A Russian Count is sentenced to house arrest in a posh hotel following his conviction for distributing seditious poetry after the Bolshevik revolution. Count Rostov is a man of impeccable wit and taste, though he manages this feat without being snobby and elitist. I wasn’t quite as swept away with the book as Julz obviously was, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson: Y’all remember that super cute little girl from Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire and the Miracle On 34th Street reboot from the mid-90s? Her name is Mara Wilson. She wrote a book. It is excellent, particularly the audiobook version which she narrates. (Her voice is unexpectedly deep, but that might be partly because my frame of reference for her speaking was as a teeny tiny person.) Mara Wilson discusses her career, personal life, family life, mental illness, and all the things I never realized I wanted to know about her. Except for that one Disney Channel boyfriend she had whose name I’m fairly certain was changed to protect the guilty and I am bizarrely nosy about. Anywho. Solid read, better listen. You should check it out.bitesizereviews

4. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: This was the only book I actually planned in advance to get a copy of from BEA. Because I love Emma Donoghue, of course. The Wonder is told from the perspective of a Florence Nightengale trained nurse who is called to a small town in Ireland to investigate the claims of an eleven year old girl who has allegedly not eaten anything in four months. The little girl is an extraordinarily pious Catholic who believes herself to be living off of manna from heaven. The book is tense and sad, masterfully drawn and ultimately hopeful. Geeze, Emma Donoghue. Are you always this awesome? (Actually she totally is. Because I’ve read most of her stuff. And it’s all amazing.)

5. Wool by Hugh Howey: I believe this post apocalyptic serial was originally self published and subsequently picked up by a traditional publisher. Perhaps that’s where I heard about it originally? I’m unsure, but it’s been on my TBR for ages, and the five part series was on sale (thanks Audible!) Wool is a post apocalyptic serialized novel based on a civilization living in an underground silo. They’re confined to said silo (and have been for generations) because the outside environment is toxic… Or so they’re told. The punishment for discussing what might exist beyond the silo is simple- the offenders are sent outside to find out for themselves. I listened to this book primarily while working out, so I must admit that I felt extremely sympathetic to the characters climbing zillions of flights of stairs as I toiled away on the elliptical. It was an interesting story. Maybe not my super favorite in the genre, but definitely an interesting take on it.

Alright, this post has gone on long enough, methinks. Whew. Making up for lost time is exhausting. So, tell me, Bookworms. What was your November like? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Actually, if you buy anything from Amazon from either a link or the little sidebar thingie I will get a few cents. Just in case you were planning on doing some holiday shopping. Or toilet paper shopping. I’m not here to judge.*

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Oct 28

Bite Size Reviews: October 2016

Audio Books, Bite Size Reviews 11

Greetings Bookworms!

In all my Halloweening, I nearly forgot that the holiday coincides with the end of the month, and I totally owe y’all some bite size reviews. As usual, I’ve been reading more than I’ve been blogging and I’m perpetually behind schedule. I say “schedule” like anybody but me cares. I am beholden to nobody. I am the free-est of birds. Now, before you go singing all the Lynryd Skynyrd, let’s talk about some BOOKS!

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ONE: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- This is not a drill folks. This book is about TIME TRAVELING PIRATES! It’s a delightful romp of a YA novel, and I’ll forgive the love triangle aspect because one of the love interests has a pet beagle. I love me some beagle related shenanigans. I would recommend that if you read this, read the end with your eyeballs. Or at least, don’t try to listen to the audio version while you’re multi-tasking. Because my brain got a little tangled in the maps and the time and the back and forth. Totally looking forward to the next installment, though.

TWO: Bird Box by Josh Malerman- I chose this book for my neighborhood book club because October was my month to host and I wanted something a little creepy. I tapped into the hive mind of twitter and I can’t remember who pointed me toward this book, but THANK YOU. Because it was perfect and creepy and wonderful. Apocalypse via eyeballs. It’s intense.

THREE: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson- Freaking gorgeous prose, which makes all the sense because Woodson is a poet. The intensity of adolescent girlhood plus oodles of 1970s atmosphere makes for a fabulous novel. Well, fabulous and gut wrenching and everything that makes a book great. You know how it is.

FOUR: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- Oh my heart. This book just about BROKE ME. I realize it’s been out for quite a while and I’m basically the last person to have read it but being late to the party didn’t make the book any less intense. It’s set partially in Afghanistan and partially in the US and it’s devastating in the best way. Just read it, y’all. Read it.

Alright Bookworms. That’s what I’ve been reading. But what I’m really curious about? Who is dressing up for Halloween and what are you gonna be???

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Sep 26

Bite Size Reviews September 2016

Bite Size Reviews 12

Howdy Bookworms!

I have a massive backlog of books to tell y’all about so I’m going to put some little bite size reviews together for you today. Maybe someday I’ll catch up. Stranger things have happened. (Also, STRANGER THINGS did happen. Did you watch it yet?! Did you love it?!) Here we gooooooo!

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ONE: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells– I got this book through Netgalley (which means I got a free book, full disclosure.) It was a quick read, but MAN I have GOT to stop reading books about plane crashes if I ever plan to fly anywhere again. Engrossing, reminded me of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (review) though that’s probably moooostly because of the plane crash survivor swimming and rescuing children thing. I did get a little bit frustrated by the protagonist sometimes, though. Her hangups and secret keeping seemed unnecessary and weird, especially the way she acted around Colin even prior to the crash.

TWO: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter- Hamiltome. It was everything I wanted it to be. Plus pictures! I now know a whole lot more than I ever did before about what goes into making a Broadway show, and I got all sorts of delightful little backstage snippets. Lin-Manuel’s commentary is priceless. I love his glorious nerdery. I stand by my statement that LMM could convince aliens that humanity has something to offer the universe and that we shouldn’t be exterminated. (Please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal…)

THREE: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler- Girl runs away to NYC and gets a job working in a high end fine dining restaurant. Plus sex and drugs. Anyone who has ever waited tables should read this. Even if you waited tables at a super lame chain restaurant and wouldn’t know red wine from white with a blindfold on, you’ll still relate on some level. Fun fact! I waited tables for a few months in college. I was terrible at it. I’m an excellent tipper as a direct result of this experience.

FOUR: We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly- I snagged a copy of this book at BEA and was super excited to read it. Hipsters move to Vermont to homestead, world weather patterns go wonky and apocalyptic storms are forecasted. I liked the whole concept, I mean, I love a good apocalypse story. It also seemed especially fitting because I was reading this during the Baton Rouge floods. BUT. I did not love the relationship between our hipster couple Pia and Ash. I don’t want to get super spoilery, but fetishizing mental illness is nooooooooooot cool, and I think this book went there. Proceed with caution.

What have you been reading, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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Aug 24

Bite Size Reviews: August 2016

Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

I am ridiculously behind on writing reviews. And writing anything, really. I’m hoping this slump abates soon, it’s kind of bumming me out that I’ve lost my blogging mojo. Until the glorious muse of inspiration strikes, I’m going to keep on trucking and bring you some tasty bite size reviews.

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 ONE: A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor– My MIL turned me on to this book, and as usual, she was right on the money in knowing what I’d like.  A Memory of Violets centers on the plight of London’s flower sellers back in the day. You know. Like Eliza Doolittle, but with more heartbreak and fewer musical interludes. The book begins with Tilly Harper taking up a post at a home for London’s disabled flower sellers where the former destitute flower sellers now work to manufacture artificial flowers. Once Tilly arrives, she finds a diary and we’re submerged into the world of one of those very destitute flower sellers, and the heartbreaking loss of her sister. I know dual narratives aren’t for everyone, but I don’t mind them. I really enjoyed the book overall, even if I found it kind of predictable. Flower nerds who love period pieces, take note!

TWO. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel: This book has been on my TBR list for AGES. One of the girls who lived on my floor in college recommended it to me (if you’re reading this blog, HOLA LESLIE!) In case you’re bad at math that makes it eleventy billion years from recommendation to reading. The novel is set in turn of the century Mexico (that’s kind of a terrible phrase, since the century turned again… It’s set in the late 1800s- early 1900s) and features the all female De La Garza family. Magical realism is all up in this book. It’s kind of impossible not to draw comparisons to Gabriel García Márquez because of the magical realism and overall tone. Still, I found it to be a bit more quirky and humorous than Márquez, even at its saddest moments. If you dig the Latin American magical realism scene, this book is NOT to be missed.

THREE. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Wow today is just full of recommendations, isn’t it? I read THIS book because my friend Megan (Hi Megan!) posted that it was $1.99 on Kindle (I’m a sucker for a daily deal) and that she loved it. I didn’t realize until I’d purchased the book that I’d read E. Lockhart before, in the form of We Were Liars (discussion). I actually liked The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks much better than the over hyped We Were Liars. Frankie was such a great narrator. Not content to be relegated to the sidelines as eye candy, she sets out to discover the secrets of her new boyfriend’s secret society. Shenanigans ensue at swanky boarding school. I’ll admit that I’ve got a limited tolerance for books about outrageously wealthy prep school kids, but Frankie was a gal after my feminist heart.

FOUR. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty: You know how everyone secretly wishes they had a fabulously wealthy long lost aunt or uncle who, unbeknownst to them, leaves you a large bequest in their will? That actually happened to our protagonist Sophie Honeywell. Only the aunt in question wasn’t hers- it was her ex-boyfriend’s. AWKWARD. Sophie is given her ex’s aunt’s house, which is located on quaint Scribbly Gum Island, home of the Munro Baby mystery. The only other residents are her ex’s family. Because of course. This early Liane Moriarty had a bit of a Sophie Kinsella flair to it, and I found it charming, if a little off the wall.

I offer this post as definitive proof that I do take the reading recommendations I receive from other people. No Bookworm is an island, my friends. So tell me. What have YOU been reading? Anything I might like?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 27

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts: July 27, 2016

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 18

Hey There, Bookworms!

It’s Wednesday and my head is full of thoughts. Some bookish, some not so bookish. I have been reading a lot and was planning to discuss a number of books in mini reviews. Since all my good intentions are for naught and I haven’t been blogging a ton lately, I figured I’d just smush a bunch of stuff into a single post. Got to strike while the writing iron is hot, right?

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ONE: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a good read if you dig literary fiction. It may also cause you to think waaaaaay too hard about your own name and its implications on your life. Also, I’m now two for two on Jhumpa Lahiri books that feature female characters pulling some traditionally male douchey life decisions. I can’t discuss it without getting super spoiler-y, but Lahiri fans, have you noticed this too? Fascinating stuff.

TWO: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is decent if you’re into mysteries and thrillers. I’m not a huge thriller reader, so my standards are impossibly high regarding plot twists. If I can predict what’s going on too early, I’m always a little disappointed. But only when it comes to mysteries. Because I just finished a historical fiction book in which I knew what was happening super early on and I have warm feelings toward it regardless. I got this book at BEA and had it signed, and even though it wasn’t a huge winner for me, I will probably read Mary Kubica again. I like her voice even if I figured things out too quickly- I imagine one of her other books would surprise me more effectively.

THREE: Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters was fine, but I won’t blame anyone for avoiding it based on the Twitter firestorm and tone deaf response of the author and publisher. I got the book at BEA only recognizing the author’s name because of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (review) which I adored. I was halfway through reading it when the things got heated on the bookternet, and being oblivious, I hadn’t seen some of the articles and marketing surrounding the novel’s release. Since publishing has some pretty glaring problems with diverse representation, it bugged a lot of people to see a book about a world in which slavery was never abolished written by a white dude lauded as brave and fearless. (Look at that run on sentence. Man. I am awesome.) Apologies have been made, and I personally think Winters had his heart in the right place (because I am an optimist that way.) However, if you still feel squidgy about the whole thing, you’re  not missing the greatest book ever written or anything. If you’d rather read a sci/fi slavery story by a marginalized author, check out Kindred by Octavia Butler (review).

FOUR:  STRANGER THINGS!!! Hubs and I binge watched the Netflix original show. Actually, we got Netflix specifically so we could watch this show. It did not disappoint. Imagine if the The X-Files and a Stephen King novel had a baby and named it Jennifer because that is what you name babies in the 80s. Well, except for the ones name Katie. I digress, but it’s a really great show. Totally addictive.

FIVE: I’ve been planning a bridal shower and bachelorette bash for one of the best gals I’ve ever known. The party is this weekend. I am not good at planning things without irrationally stressing myself out, so as you can imagine, the old brain has been pretty occupied the past few weeks. Anxious is my default setting.

Alright Bookworms, I am out of words. How has YOUR summer reading been?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Jun 24

Bite Size Reviews: June 2016

Bite Size Reviews 11

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

I knew that posting 5 reviews in a row last week was going to zap my blogging mojo! I’m popping in last minute so I don’t have a completely silent blog week. I’ve actually got some good ideas cooking, so maybe there’s something to taking a break. I’ll run away with you for the summer, Eliza! Hamilton references aside, we’re going to do some quick and dirty book reviews today. Small plates you guys. There’s like the tapas of book reviews. Mmmmm… Tapas…

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Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older- I listened to this one and it had some seriously cool use of Caribbean folklore and a fantastic narrator. It’s urban fantasy with a Raven Boys (review) / Diviners (review) sort of vibe. Older’s writing is smart and fearless, and he manages to weave social commentary, a coming of age story, and friggin monsters into a single book. It wasn’t an out of this world read for me, but I think that’s mostly because I’m not super into the urban fantasy young adult thing. If paranormal YA/ urban fantasy happens to be your jam, though? GO READ THIS RIGHT NOW.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt- What in the actual f*ck is going on here? Honestly I don’t even know how to describe this book. I mean, between the multiple cults and the bizarre extended hiking journey, I’m at a loss. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read this. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY READ THIS. Mostly because I want to discuss it with someone. Super weird book, you guys. In the best way.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen- It’s a bittersweet moment for me, because now I’m all out of SAA books, but when I saw this bad boy was $1.99 in the kindle store I had to snap it up. It was good times, as per usual. Sarah Addison Allen’s blend of magical realism and sweet southern fiction always makes me happy. I actually read the sequel to this, First Frost (review), before I read this one, but it really didn’t matter too much. It’s delightful even out of order. That cantankerous apple tree gets me every time!

What’s up in your worlds, Bookworms? What have you been reading?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 24

Bite Size Reviews: May 2016

Bite Size Reviews 19

Well Hello Bookworms,

It’s been a while since I just told y’all about some books! Let’s fix that right now, shall we? I’ve got some tasty little reviewlettes for you today because my brain simply won’t come up with all the words in the land. I blame this on Maggie Stiefvater, actually, because of REASONS.

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater- I told you this was all her fault! You’ll recall my folly when I read what I thought was a trilogy a while back? The final installment of The Raven Cycle was released and I put it right into my earholes. I just finished this bad boy like 4 hours ago. I can’t write a whole review because that’s nigh on impossible when you’re talking about a series, but suffice it to say my guts were wrenched and I found the conclusion emotional and satisfying. Big love to my tweeps with whom I was able to share all the feels!

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney- If you’re in the mood to read about fraught family dynamics, this is the book for you. The four Plumb siblings have lived their whole lives knowing they’ve got a large inheritance on the horizon and have made some questionable decisions as a result. Leo, worst of the bunch, does something super horrible that depletes the family’s nest egg on the eve of the siblings finally getting their share. It’s marketed as a bittersweet comedy, but if it was meant to be funny, it was too cerebral for me. The Plumb family members were each painted with compassion, though their foibles were maddening. Not really my cup of tea.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer- A group of teenage camp friends stick together for life. Their lives, predictably, don’t go necessarily go according to plan. Following the characters from their youthful hopes and dreams to their adult problems is by turns fascinating and melancholy. I don’t want to get into spoilers or anything, but to those who have read it: WTF with Jonah and the gum?! I seriously cannot even. Also, Goodman. Ugh. Worst. I liked the book fine, but I really wanted to punch some characters. Pummel, actually. RAWR.

Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much by Faith Salie- This is the first BEA book I finished! Yay me! I listen to NPR all the time, so when I heard that a regular guest on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me was doing a signing, I figured I ought to get in that line. Faith Salie is good people. The book gets into the deep nitty gritty emotional bits of her life while still keeping a sense of humor about things. I’ll admit it wasn’t as gut busting as some other memoirs I’ve read, but I think the emotion and sincerity made the moments of wry humor all the more enjoyable. Plus she made a Game Of Thrones joke that made me guffaw in an unladylike manner. (Are you on Litsy? You may have seen the quote. I’m WordsForWorms. Say hi!)

Whew! That was a whirlwind, wasn’t it? I’m still not caught up on all my reviews, but it’s a start, right? What have you been reading, Bookworms?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Apr 27

Bite Size Reviews April 2016

Bite Size Reviews 19

Howdy Bookworms!

Today I’m going to do a roundup of the books I’ve recently read that I’ve been a little too lazy to review individually. It’s a thing that happens sometimes, I trust you won’t mind terribly? I’m going to include a graphic of a cookie, so I’m assuming you’ll forgive me. It’s hard to stay mad at chocolate chip cookies, even if they are imaginary.

bitesizereviews

ONE. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fford: Hold your roll there, folks, I’m not talking about that soft core porn/ Twilight fan fiction (mostly because I already talked about it.) This is a different book. And what an enjoyable romp of a book it was! Jasper Fford’s unique brand of quirky humor and general weirdness thrills me to no end. I mean, remember The Eyre Affair?! (Review) In Shades of Grey, some unnamed tragedy destroyed society as we know it and the mysterious dystopian society that has replaced it is completely based on the levels of color blindness. It is weird and wonderful.

TWO. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: If you have the opportunity to experience this book via your earholes, I highly recommend the audio book. Mindy Kaling’s voice telling her own stories makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s a cute, fun book in which Kaling addresses some of her experiences in Hollywood. Her discussion of body image I found particularly interesting, because it’s complicated. And I totally get that. Also, apparently she and I wear the same size. Which means we should become best friends so I can raid her closet. Obviously.

THREE. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson: Dead Wake is about the sinking of the Lusitania (obviously), which has long been considered a major catalyst for the US entering WWI. I like Erik Lason, I do. But he tends to get bogged down in details I don’t find super interesting. Like, the carrot of the Lusitania sinking is dangled before me and the U-Boat life is all grossly and wonderfully described, but that dang U-Boat sees and sinks or damages boat after boat after boat- none of which are the Lusitania. I’m not good at delayed gratification.

FOUR. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri: I’ve been meaning to read Jhumpa Lahiri for a long time, but you know what finally got me to pick of one of her books? I read that she’s Mindy Kaling’s favorite author. I don’t typically base my reading choices on celebrity endorsements, but since Mindy Kaling and I are sharing clothes now, she’s more of a trusted friend than a celebrity. This book was SO GOOD and the only reason that it’s being lumped into a tiny review is because I don’t feel smart enough to discuss it with the nuance it deserves. Here’s a snippet of the synopsis from Goodreads: “Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.” So yeah. You can see why I can’t review this properly, right?!

Whew! What a whirlwind! And what a variety. High five to me on for the complete randomness of reading choices. You can’t plan this kind of thing folks. To borrow a phrase from the brilliant Andi and Heather, this is FREE RANGE READING at its finest! What have you been reading, Bookworms?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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