Weekend Reads: 02/15/19 – 02/17/19

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 I think I (thankfully) may have hit the conclusion of my reading slump. I’m crossing my fingers, but also not holding my breath. Not reassuring, but honest 🙂 I have been working my way through a couple PC games that have been in my Steam library for awhile, and am having a lot of fun with those. My husband and I have also restarted the Game of Thrones series in preparation for the April release of the series finale. So, I haven’t really been leaving myself much free time to read as well, although I’m hopeful my personal TBR takedown will speed back up!

Here are the books I’m planning to dive right into this weekend, and finish up in the coming week. Let me know if you have read any of these, or if they are on your TBR. I’d love to hear your thoughts on books! Goodreads links will be included for each book. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!


The Birth HouseThe Birth House by Ami McKay

From what I’ve read so far (about 30%), this book is exactly what I look for in terms of historical fiction. Sure, there may be particular time periods that I’m more drawn to than others, but the simple practices of old world medicine is always something that fascinates me. I always joke with my husband that if we had been born 200 years ago, I’d be the old woman that lives in the forest and sells herbal concoctions to the townsfolk, hopefully avoiding the wrath of the witch-crazed population. This is a bit more modern than THAT time period, and follows the social structure of the people caught underneath the weight of new modern medicine clashing with traditional methods of healing and child birth.

 

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1)The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I have just recently had this series brought to my attention, and by those whose opinions of fantasy reads I very much respect. I am buddy reading this book and because of its length, plan to get started as soon as possible. I’ve really only heard great commentary about this series, so I am so looking forward to delving into this world that has people swooning.

 

 

 

 


 

Review: Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

blacklands

“Slicing through every social norm, evading capture with superhuman ease, and preying on the small, the vulnerable, and the trusting, Avery had swept down like the angel of death and pulled a pin out of his family. Then he hadn’t even stuck around to watch it explode.”

4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.

So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer.


My Thoughts

For a mystery/ crime thriller, Blacklands was definitely one of those books that has you wondering what’s going to happen next, while not noticing the slow building, anxiety inducing stress that has crept into your mind, because deep down you do know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s delicious.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the fascinating narrative. Points of view switch between Steven, Arnold Avery, and Stephen’s mother, although the latter is brief. SO, we’ll just focus on Steven and Arnold.

This is a beautifully done ‘cat-and-mouse’ game written from the perspective of the intellectual mind. That is, without much dialogue happening, the narrative is almost strictly written from the perspective of the conscious and subconscious mind. Each is trying to figure the other out, while maintaining the illusion that the game isn’t about ultimately getting what one wants from the other in the end. And the game can have deadly consequences for each.

Some may find that the story is a bit slow, but I think that’s where you’ll discover the whole point of the book. This book is NOT about what happens at the end, because the end can go one of two ways. No, this book is 100 percent about the chase, and the study of each individual as they move their pieces in a game of chess.

I would highly recommend this to any fans of the mystery/thriller genre. It’s different, and it’s absolutely a fascinating story. You can find the Goodreads page here.


Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite genre to read?

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.

Rating: FOUR Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?


My Thoughts

Fangirl is one of those books that reads how you would expect a YA genre novel to, but also offers the reader insight into the completely chaotic world of writing like your life depends on it.

Told from the perspective of Cath, the story follows her and her twin sister Wren through their first year at college as they learn to navigate the stresses and challenges that come with being freshmen. We also get a front row seat to watch them learn more about who they each are as individuals, rather than just one entity, as twins can sometimes find themselves referred to. But what I think this book really speaks into is the essence of comfort zones and dealing with change. One does that very well and the other does not.

The story itself is actually kind of mundane, as the plot has everything to do with college life, meeting new people, dorm room mates, class, parties, and boys, etc. Not really the kind of book I find myself enjoying much anymore; however, I really enjoyed this one. What I think makes this book so popular is our MC Cath. She’s relatable to so many of us introverted, slightly anxious people that it’s hard not to connect to her thoughts and feelings early on in the book. She is also a character that, for me, was extremely frustrating at some points. But I think that’s the magic of this character. Perhaps Rowell has painted such a vivid picture into the mind of this completely relatable girl so well, that we start to see and recognize some of the most frustrating parts about ourselves. “You are your worst critic” is a painfully true statement, and actually comes to mind as I’m thinking about what frustrates us about ourselves, and which of those things we may just be super critical of. I love books that make you think, especially ones that make you think about difficult aspects of life, personal aspects. And this book did that for me, and that’s why it got four stars. Well, that and the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and how the character dialogue was narrated, both inward and outward. It’s wonderfully done.

What I most dislike about this book, however, are the excerpts of Cath’s fan fiction writing. Her writing is not bad, it’s very well done actually, but it took away from the story for me. These excerpts were meant to add an extra layer of depth to the overall atmosphere of the story and I can totally see how the author meant to make them work in unison. But I was so deeply interested in Cath’s story that I found myself wanting to skip over the fan fiction parts to get back into her life, her thoughts, her progress. Her fan fiction writing just kind of felt like a distraction. I didn’t connect with her characters or their stories, and I just lost interest. The only thing those excerpts did for me was solidify my knowledge of Cath’s obsession as a writer, and how a little bit of crazy passion for your art is what typically makes for the best stories people can read.

And that’s what Cath does. She writes. She’s been working on her fan fiction for years. It’s her comfort zone, her happy place, her escape from reality, her baby. When reality gets overwhelming, which it does dramatically during her first year at college, Cath retreats to what she knows and there she finds solitude. What I think the author does really well with this aspect of the story is highlight how Cath’s writing is both a blessing and a curse. She’s passionate about it and she’s so incredibly talented as a storyteller, but it also becomes a sort of crutch that holds her back from experiencing life, or just living it in general. And the author just does a really awesome job of taking the reader on this journey with Cath as she starts to see these patterns within herself and starts to consider the implications of whether or not to break free of this shell she’s built around herself.

The quote I left at the beginning of this post is what I think perfectly embodies Cath’s feelings towards life, and how she uses the act of writing to describe how she actually feels about the world around her.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. If you pick this book up, or have already done so, you may get something completely different out of the story than I did. But I did enjoy it and I hope you do/did as well. Happy 2019 everyone!


May your books be massive and your reading time infinite