Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TTT: Top Ten books I devoured the quickest



I don't usually read books in one sitting. I like to digest books slowly, and my attention span for books is pretty small;  I can't sit and read for more than an hour at a time. Sometimes I'll love a book so much that I read it for an hour, take a break, and keep coming back for more! Other times I'm stuck at the airport with nothing to do, so I end up reading for a lot longer than I usually do. And sometimes I just think "One more chapter..." and end up staying up hours past my bedtime. Here are the books that grabbed my attention so well that I devoured them really quickly.

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One of my favorite books ever, this book grabbed my attention from the first paragraph and did not let go until I was up waaay too late turning the last few pages.
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Sleeping Giants was a quick read because it's entirely dialogue/journal entries, but it's also an intense, fast-paced, and intelligent sci-fi novel that keeps you hooked.
 23437156

In case it wasn't clear from my love of Locke Lamora, I have a soft spot for heist stories. This one was a lot of fun and I read it on every bus ride, lunch break, and free moment I could.
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I read this book as a study break during one of my finals weeks. My study breaks always ended up being way longer than I expected because I just couldn't put this book down!
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Who knows what happens in the world of catty teenage girls? This book had such a sinister mystery and such unbelievable suspects that I was racing to find out the answer to the mystery.
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This book is sort of a mystery, sort of a coming-of-age story, and sort of contemporary fiction? It's a quick, entertaining, and insightful read.
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This book was hilarious, but I kept turning the pages to see what twists and new connections were in store.
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I'm an engineer and science geek, so the Martian was really hard for me to put down. I really enjoyed this book!
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This book was a lot of fun, and a really quick, fast-paced read.
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The only book I've actually read in one sitting! By the end of it I had gone through so much emotional whiplash I was completely catatonic and sitting on the couch until my roommates all got home and wondered what on earth was wrong with me haha


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TTT: Top Ten Spring TBR



Haven't done one of these in a while! Here are the books on my spring TBR that I'm looking forward to!

 25147754

A nonfiction book and an Obama recommendation that I've been meaning to read for a while, looking forward to reading it soon!
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I enjoyed Truthwitch and I'm looking forward to the sequel, hopefully I can get my hands on a copy this spring!
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I adored book 1 and I got this one at the library so I'll be reading it very soon! I'm so excited to see how this crew works together to get out of this next mess :)

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I've been seeing this novella around everywhere and it's been getting such great reviews, I'm really excited to read it soon.
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The only way to cure a VE Schwab-induced book hangover is to read more VE Schwab, right? ;)
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Pyrre was one of my favorite characters in the Unhewn Throne books, and I got approved for the eARC on Netgalley, so I'm excited to read about Pyrre's adventures
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Sleeping Giants was one of my favorite sci-fi books of 2015, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this series plays out. Another eARC to read :)
 

Kameron Hurley is awesome and I can't wait to see what craziness she's thought up in this sci-fi standalone
 Strange the Dreamer'

A new Laini Taylor book? YES PLEASE.
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This keeps getting recommended to me, it's about time I actually read it this Spring!
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Monday, March 13, 2017

Bullet Reviews: Dangerous Women, Arcanum Unbounded, Stories of Your Life


I'm catching up, now I'm only a month and a half behind on reviews instead of 4 months XD
I've been on and off the blog a lot because I've been flying out every weekend for grad school interviews, but now I'm done! Hopefully this means I will get a regular schedule going again and I will finally stop being months behind on reviews.

This week's bullet reviews are all anthologies. I usually review each story in an anthology separately, but Dangerous Women was just too big for that and I loved basically all the stories in Arcanum and Stories, so I don't have too much to say about each short story/novella. I will talk about my favorites in each anthology though!

17279560Dangerous Women edited by GRRM and Gardner Dozois

Genre: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, contemporary, historical fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I like how this anthology covers literally every genre, every story is something completely new!
  • Lots of badass women of many kinds, from vengeful ghosts to vampire slayers to protective mothers
  • Favorite stories: Shadows For Silence in the Forest of Hell (obviously, I loved it because it's a Sanderson story; many strong women and terribly frightening creatures/awesome wordbuilding), Hell Hath No Fury (a ghost story featuring POC, yessss), Lies My Mother Told Me (zombie apocalypse, sort of...),, Second Arabesque, Very Slowly (a really poignant story about finding beauty in a post-apocalyptic world), Pronouncing Doom (when women leaders have to make really tough choices...), Name the Beast (mother-daughter bonding in a sci-fi world)

What I didn't like:
  • There were some stories I didn't like because they just weren't my thing, I didn't connect with the characters or I didn't find the plot very engaging (Some Desperado, Neighbors, Virgins)
  • There were a couple of stories that used the femme fatale trope for their dangerous women, and instead of subverting this trope they kind of just made use of stereotypes/focused on men who ogle and objectify women and I found this problematic (The Hands That Are Not There, Wrestling Jesus)
Recommended for... 
People who are looking for a really varied anthology and enjoy stories featuring powerful women. The Rogues anthology was a better anthology as I whole, I felt, but this one had some gems!

28595941Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I LOVED EVERY STORY. No surprises there, I love basically everything Sanderson writes
  • I love how varied the stories are! There were fun ones (Allomancer Jak), some that were more sinister, some that had flavors of different cultures in our world (Sixth of the Dusk) 
  • The maps and notes on each system and the hints about Silverlight were really cool. It's nice to see how the cosmere is coming together
What I didn't like:
  • um...honestly can't think of anything haha
Recommended for: people who are old cosmere fans and new cosmere fans! There are spoiler warnings for different books so you might not be able to read all of the stories if you aren't caught up, but there are plenty of standalone stories to enjoy

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Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Genre: Science fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I might write a full review for this one again later, because I LOVED it. Every story was full of such poetry. Every word was chosen for a reason and the prose was very sparse but beautiful
  • Every story was a sort of love letter to mathematics, linguistics, and human nature. All the stories played with human emotions and our relationships with one another while also bringing in natural laws, mathematical formulae, and the supernatural.
  • My favorite stories were Stories of Your Life, Division by Zero, and Hell is the Absence of God
What I didn't like:
  • There were one or two stories that I wasn't completely amazed by (Seventy Two Letters and Tower of Babylon), but I still enjoyed them. Honestly that's not much of a complaint, I loved the entire anthology.
Recommended for... anyone who enjoys science fiction and thoughtful, profound stories about what makes us human
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ARC Review: Roanoke Girls


30689335Title: The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
Genre: Mystery, psychological thriller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. 


This was a really hard book to read at times because abuse is such a hard thing to read about, but I did enjoy it overall! I didn't know much about Roanoke Girls going into the book, but I had been reading a lot of mysteries lately and I was in the mood for another one. This one isn't quite a mystery in the traditional sense; yes, there's a missing woman and no one knows what's happened to her, but it's more about the strange events that have haunted all the Roanoke Girls over multiple generations.

I liked how this book was very character-driven. It is narrated by a bunch of dysfunctional women, but it doesn't play too much into the "hysterical woman" stereotype that a lot of psychological thrillers use. Instead, we see all the women as complicated people who deal with a disturbing family secret in different ways. Mental health and mental illness are at the forefront of this book, and I think the author did a great job of showing how toxic environments exacerbate mental illness without defining characters as "crazy". All the women in the book are given a voice to tell their own side of the story, which I thought was very important.

My favorite part about this book is how things aren't tied up neatly at the end. There is a solid ending, don't get me wrong, but considering how dark the family secret is, I'm glad that Lane is still working towards finding her happiness at the end of the novel. Things don't just fall in her lap, she has to face her own demons and work at forming healthy relationships.

This book was a really quick and interesting read. I wouldn't call it fun, because there is some pretty icky/disturbing stuff, but I did enjoy reading about Lane's journey.

A free eARC was provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My first Author Event: ACOL Tour by VE Schwab


Sorry I've been AWOL for a couple weeks, I've been flying out all over the country for grad school interviews. This week is my last one (thank goodness, all the traveling and meeting new people is so tiring even though it's a lot of fun), so hopefully I'll get back into the rhythm of updating the blog regularly. I also have to decide where I'm going soon...that's gonna be tough o.O

I wasn't flying around this past weekend, but I did go to my first author event! I've been trying to meet at least one of my favorite authors for 5 years now but something always comes up last minute or I'm not able to get to where the signing is because it's 2 hours away on a Tuesday night and I'm a broke college student without a car.

But this year, I'm no longer a college student and I have a car! Double jackpot. I went down to Huntington Beach on Saturday to see Victoria Schwab on her A Conjuring of Light Tour, and I had such an amazing time. I was sitting on the floor, in a corner right at the front, and it just happened to be the corner that Victoria stood at while she was being introduced. I might have internally screamed when she said her first nervous hi to me and a friend I'd dragged along before she walked over to her fancy podium :D

It was really cool getting to meet an author because 1) It's finally sunken in that authors are actual human beings with actual lives (somehow twitter didn't quite do that for me haha) 2) It's so awesome to learn firsthand about the process and thought and effort that went into a book because then you enjoy the book way more.

So many things Victoria said had me jumping up and down in my head because I agreed with her or was really inspired by what she had to say. For example, her whole thing about how she isn't anti-romance, she just thinks other relationships are just as/more important and interesting. Most of my favorite books involve complicated relationships, really strong friendships, and/or siblings, so I loved that she delves into all of those instead of focusing on just romance. She also talked about her kind of insane writing process (as a very methodical engineer it kind of stressed me out), Neil Gaiman and other inspirations, YURI ON ICE, what it's like to be basically the god of your own worlds, and how giving your story to a reader makes the book almost like a new creature entirely. It was so awesome!

Here are some pictures of me fangirling, I hope I didn't freak her out haha







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