February Wrap-Up & Book Haul (a very late but personal one…)

It is now March 6th & I am writing this post from my new place, finally fully settled in. February was a very special month for my little family (hubby & two tiny humans), a month of new beginnings. We didn’t exactly live in the safest of neighborhoods…matter of fact, its up there with one of the worse. This is common in NYC but not ideal when you’re trying to raise two tiny humans. Our neighborhood prevented us from many of the simple things like taking a walk down the block, all four corners having heavy police presence. Now I love my city, but this was new for me. We moved into that apartment 4 years ago with hopes to move sooner rather than later. For those of you who live in NYC, you know that rent for an apartment is about the average mortgage on a house. We considered the very likely possibility of moving out of state & starting over. What held us back? I’d have to say that its our jobs/careers. They aren’t exactly positions easy to come by & we are blessed in that sense. Yet still, the rent for an apartment is astronomical. Through the grapevine I heard about NYC lottos for brand new beautiful apartments in development in up & coming neighborhoods. I never in a million years expected to win smh after all, the odds were grim in such a large city. When I got the call I couldn’t believe it, my commute is longer but It’s also a suburb style neighborhood w/out actually leaving the city. In fact it wasn’t until I was handed the keys that it clicked. I am still in disbelief but for the 1st time in many years, I am happy in my home πŸ˜‰

Special thank you to my twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads for being super sweet & coming to my neck of the woods to help out while we moved. I also got to read & edit her AMAZING debut poetry book Love, and You (Goodreads link here) out April 4th, 2017!πŸ–€πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ–€

On the reading/blogging front…I didn’t blog much but surprisingly the move didn’t hinder my reading. I think its because when i’m stressed or overwhelmed, I find comfort in my books. On to my Wrap-Up…

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The Valiant by Lesley Livingston β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (3.75 STARS)

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (5 STARS)

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomasβ˜…β˜…β˜… 1/2 (3.5 STARS)

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (4 STARS)

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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Book Of The Month)

Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Owlcrate)

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez (Blogging For Books)

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Kings of the Wild by Nicholas Eames

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Zodiac Starforce 

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*I can’t resist a good ebook deal & all of these were either .99 or $1.99 with the exception of My Sister Rosa which was $2.99

To All The Boys Ive Loved Before by Jenny Han

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Into The Light by Althea Romig

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri

Usually this is the part where I include any movies or tv shows the hubby & I binged but the move pretty much ate up our February. Now that we’re settled, things are getting back to norm (whatever that is lol) & we’ve even gone out on our first date night since living here. I’m a little behind with reviews but I’ll catch up soon enough, for now i’m just enjoying the moment <3’s! πŸ˜‰

Happy Reading My Bookish Peeps! <3<3<3

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published by: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: September 30th 2008

Genres:

Pages: 312

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (4 Stars) 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jackβ€”who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I’ll keep this one short and sweet since i’m beginning to believe that Uncle Gaiman can do no wrong when he begins to spin his tales. You would be sadly mistaken if you were to think that you can resist the magic of his worlds once they begin to reel you in. The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman is now the 2nd book i’ve read by this author and it has only served to cement my feelings towards him…I simply LOVE Uncle Gaiman! It has now become the norm for me to reach for the audiobook vs. physical or even digital format for Gaiman’s books. Treat Yo self to a feast for your ears & imagination with the audiobook narrated by Gaiman himself. Not only is his voice truly one of of the most soothing story telling voices i’ve come across but he also has a few other talents up his sleeve. Gaiman gave each of the characters in this book their own distinct voice without sounding over the top. I truly enjoyed listening to his audiobook and often found myself wanting to return to the graveyard at all hours of the day.

The book opens up right after the murder of a mother, father, and daughter. Baby Nobody Owens aka Bod, managed to crawl over his crib railing and out of the house, too little to know he had just escaped his families murderer. Bod wanders off into the street and eventually walks right into the cemetery where he meets all sorts of interesting characters  no longer of this world. The Owens, a married couple who were never able to conceive children of their own take to “adopting” Bod who is still a baby. They grant him full freedom of the cemetery  to wander off & also get Silas who is neither living or dead (believed to be a Vampire) to become his guardian. Together, the many characters in the graveyard, raise Bod and protect him from outside dangers by providing a safe home for him amongst the tombstones. We get to see Bod the baby grow into a young man who becomes curious about the outside world & experiencing it for himself. Just like any child his age, Bod gets into a bit of mischief (more like adventures lol) that teach him theres more than just the dead…there’s the living he has yet to experience. All the while, The Man Jack (Bod’s families murderer) is out and about looking to tie the loose ends of the night he intended to kill baby Bod in his crib.

The characters in The Graveyard Book all played a role in educating young Bod and keeping him safe. I thoroughly enjoyed The Owens as well as the other supporting ghosts Caius Pompeius and Scarlett Perkins to name some of my faves. I found out later on while blog hopping that some of the characters in Gaiman’s books crossover one way or another. In this book we get an appearance from a relative of Daisy Hempstock from Stardust, my 1st Gaiman & favorite thus far. With such descriptive story telling & imagery, Gaiman’s ghosts/characters will probably stick with me for many years to come. It really doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re young at heart and are looking for a heartwarming story then The Graveyard Book is the book for you πŸ˜‰

β€œKiss a lover, 
Dance a measure, 
Find your name 
And buried treasure. 
Face your life, 
It’s pain, 
It’s pleasure, 
Leave no path untaken.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: November 8th 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Page Count: 464 pages

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderlandβ€”the infamous Queen of Heartsβ€”she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Heartless…the ARC I scored at Comiccon/Bookcon this past October and still am shocked because I didn’t expect it. In truth, nobody was prepared for this ARC to be available for grabs and Macmillan wasn’t outright announcing it lol. Instead, a tweet was blasted for a Heartless T-shirt if you stopped by & said code word Jaberwocki LOL! My hubby (who was acting in for Gretchen @Chicnerdreads) headed on over & gave the code word, we were handed each a T-shirt which felt a bit heavy. Wrapped inside was the beautifully boxed ARC of Heartless, I almost went over the table and hugged the Macmillan girls handing them out…almost lol. I immediately texted Gretchen & proceeded to jump in the middle of the aisle like a 5 yr old…not unlike my 5 yr old actually. Plans for a buddy read were made btwn Gretchen aka my Book Twin & I. We never expected to be sucked into this world so quickly or to have life get in the way of reading and fangirling. We def tried, but i’ll be honest by saying that Heartless is a very selfish book that really doesn’t let you go once it pulls you in through the looking glass πŸ˜‰ nonetheless I’ve enjoyed our swooning through voice notes & often times outright frustration with The King Of Hearts.

*Thank you Macmillan for the ARC giveaway hosted at Bookcon, all opinions are my own*

 PLOT

 I’m a HUGE fan of fairy tale re-tellings & after meeting Marrisa Meyer last year at a Barnes & Nobles signing for Winter, I became an instant fan. I love her Lunar Chronicles series & when I heard Heartless would be a standalone, the greedy Lilly came out and asked BUT WHYYYYY?!?! turns out I really didn’t have a reason to doubt that Heartless would be just as enchanting and wonderful as all of her other books. We are introduced to Lady Catherine Pinkerton who dreams of one day opening up a bakery with her maid who is also her best friend Mary-Anne. Catherine is the baker & Mary-Anne is the brains behind the business, she’s also the one reminding Catherine that their dream is a far fetched one. Catherine’s parents (specifically her mother) have plans for her…BIG plans…ROYAL plans. Catherine has her pick of suitors however, her pastries (self proclaimed BEST in the land) have won the attention and admiration from the King of Hearts himself. The king, an eligible bachelor who truly loves his kingdom and court, goes about arranging a marriage to Catherine. The only issue with this is that Lady Catherine Pinkerton isn’t some doe eyed lady waiting to be set up with a man of her parents choosing, for the rest of her life. Catherine also didn’t anticipate falling in love with the King’s new court Jester. Her love & passion was always in baking but Jest with his wit, charm, and air of mystery snuck into her heart and began to court her in private unbeknownst to Cath’s parents. Their love is a slow burn that leaves you aching for the impossibility of acceptance their love presents. They are faced with more obstacles than just Cath’s parents, In the kingdom of Hearts and beyond there are other forces at play. One characters mistakes in the past can change the fates of many. As hard as Catherine may try to make her dreams come true, we the reader get the sense that her fate has already been written. This is the story of Lady Catherine Pinkerton & just how she came to be the Queen Of Hearts…

CHARACTERS

Lady Catherine Pinkerton- I truly enjoyed this character for all of her optimism and determination, she just would not let anyone sway her from her dreams & aspirations. Cath knew what she wanted from life and it wasn’t to be royalty, she was perfectly fine with living a more humble existence. my favorite scenes were when she was was dreaming up recipes and bringing them to life. She is solely responsible for me craving pastries every time I sat down to read this book. Marissa Meyer nailed Catherine’s character development down to a tee! I can honestly say that this re-telling (the only i’ve read based on the Queen Of Hearts) is so fitting and is one that I can accept. I don’t know if I watch Alice In Wonderland now, if I can ever truly hate her again…even when she’s shouting out her most infamous orders to behead someone LOL!.

Jester aka Court Joker- Witty, mysterious, loyal, and oh so CHARMING! this guy! *SwooooN* smh lol. The minute he crosses paths with Catherine, they begin this dance of romance that neither of them really wanted to begin with. As the saying goes, we can’t help who we love right? such is the case here with Jest & Cath. There is however, so much more to Jest than meets the eye. Getting to know his character and how it played a big role in Cath’s life was irresistible. I could NOT stay away from these two for long & began long walks in the park just so that I could return to their story every day. 

Raven-travels on Jest’s shoulder for the most part and who Marissa Meyer (during blog tour) described as “Jest’s friend, Raven, who is my quirky take on the brooding, haunting bird from β€œThe Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe” this bird only speaks in poem and made me chuckle on Occassion at the things he  was quick to recite in response to anyones witty remarks. He’s also extremely loyal to Jest, he’s got his back 100%

The King of Hearts- LOL just the thought of this guy is enough to make me giggle and shake my head. I mean, I cut him some slack only because he couldn’t hurt a soul even if he wanted to. He is well loved by the people of Hearts and his court (Jester included) because he truly cares for their happiness. That being said! the people of Hearts are notorious for not indulging in pain & sorrow, preferring to as the saying goes KEEP IT MOVIN lol. They don’t want to be brought down by tragic events or fear of monsters but they exist & The King isn’t the bravest in all the land. Short, plump, and Jolly—he’s just not cut out for slaying anything really haha!

Mary Anne- Catherine’s Best Friend who also happens to be her maid and business partner for a bakery they have conspired to one day open. Mary Anne is Catherine’s only friend & confidante at times, she is also a key player.

The Mad Hatter aka Hatta- Yes! he makes an appearance in true Hatta fashion & I was so excited when he made his way onto my page. He legit brought with him all the crazy of Wonderland and added that touch of oddity to the land of Hearts. Marissa Meyer did not stray much from Lewis Carroll’s Hatter and it legitimately felt organic. Plays a major role.

Chesire Cat-My all time favorite character in Wonderland made his way into Heartless & he was dead on, the cat that we’ve all come to love disappear & reappear into thin air. I LOVED his interactions with Cath! he was always up to something & I can clearly picture that grin while he was going about gossiping. 

 

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Gretchen @Chicnerdreads has created a monster with image hunting LOL! I can’t stop now smh

 

WRITING

Marissa Meyer became an auto-buy author for me once I started The Lunar Chronicles and that hasn’t changed. I still haven’t read a re-telling by another author that I’ve loved as much as hers. They have some elements of the original story but are truly her own. Heartless is no different because, we’ve never been given the Queen Of Hearts story we have only come to know her as the head chopping psycho from Alice In Wonderland. This book is heavy in character development (my favorite) & will slowly weave it’s tale up until the very last page. The Land Of Hearts was brought to life through Meyer’s writing such that I felt like I was actually back in Wonderland. She stayed true to the original characters but what I loved most was getting her take on some of the characters history. LOVED the story she gave the Hatta because Alice In Wonderland was very plot heavy & we just don’t get to know our characters pasts at all. Well Marissa Meyer gave us a bit of how they came to be who they are now in Hearts and it was original and interesting, almost like the extras on the collector’s edition of a DVD πŸ˜‰

 

THOUGHTS

If you’ve ever wondered about the Queen of Hearts or even if you’re that person who loves a good villain, then Heartless is the book for you. If you loved Alice In Wonderland with its wide array of eccentric and fun characters then this is the book for you. If you enjoy a good & slow burn romance then this is the book for you. You will smile, swoon, hurt, and…no spoilers! HAHA! Marissa Meyer in my eyes is one of the best fairy tale re-telling authors out there in the book world. This book gave me back a piece of my childhood that played a big role in my becoming an avid reader. Alice In Wonderland was the 1st book I ever listened to on an audio cassette that came in a McDonalds Happy Meal. I must’ve played that cassette tape til it burned out, I was OBSESSED with Wonderland and Cheshire. Getting a different character’s back story such as The Queen Of Hearts was a real treat so in closing, THANK YOU MARISSA MEYER!!!! ❀ ❀

I didn’t get to see Marissa Meyer this time around but stumbled across a photo of her book signing/reading of Heartless where she dressed up in costume (down below) and I LOVED IT! it really is something else listening to her tell you a fairy tale in person & they’re always dark *evil grin* haha!

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WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

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CURRENTLY READING

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Goodreads

Started Heartless yesterday as part of a buddy read with my book twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads & enjoying it immensely! honestly Marrisa Meyer is the Queen of Fairy Tale re-tellings. You’re immediately thrust into the kingdom of Hearts & the Wonderland feel is ever present. I am very interested in Catherine’s aka The Queen Of Hearts story before she becomes who we all know & fear for her mood swings lol. I love that Catherine is a baker…I think I love any book in which there is baking especially when the author does a great job of making me want a pastry straight off the page.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Goodreads

Also started this one yesterday in audiobook format BECAUSE it’s none other than uncle Gaiman come to tell a story & I can’t get enough of his narrating voice lol. After listening &  adoring the hell out of Stardust, I knew that I would be a fan of Gaiman for life. This is now my 2nd book & i’m only 12% in and i’m hooked. The Graveyard Book is rich with characters from page 1 and I find myself smiling like a little girl every time I listen to these characters (he even does the voices & does them WELL!) dialogue. I love little Nobody Owens & want to protect him for as long as possible…I have a feeling this will lead to me buying uncle Gaiman’s (not really my uncle lol) books for my shelves.

What did you recently finish reading?

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Goodreads

I recently read & reviewed Gemina (review here) by Amie Kaufman & jay Kristoff, this was a 5 star read for me and an EPIC addition to the Illuminae files. Inside & out, this book was stunning!!! with illustrations by Marie Lu the author of The Young Elites trilogy to enhance the reading experience. Gemina offered up tons of laughs & a whole new set of characters to LOVE & care for.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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Goodreads

This was a 3.5 star read for me (review here), I listened to the audiobook & have a new found respect for Amy. Although the 1st half of this book was a bit hard to get into due to a bit of Amy’s own awkwardness & what comes off as dicomfort…the 2nd half really saw her coming into her own & owning her words. Schumer hits on some really tough subjects in this her collection of essays. Not every moment will be a laugh out loud moment but it will be raw & she makes no apologies for that, which is why I am now a fan πŸ˜‰

What do you think you’ll read next?

Fractured by Catherine Mckenzie

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Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

After seeing so many rave reviews from bloggers I follow, I requested and was approved for this eGalley on Netgalley. This author has been on my radar for another one of her books titled Smoke and if I enjoy Fractured, will be probably be boosting Smoke up the more immediate TBR list.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Goodreads

I will be buddy reading the 2nd book in the Six Of Crows duology with Jill @rantandraveaboutbooks, Melissa @Booknerdmomo, & Megan @Bookslayerreads starting November 17th. A bit bittersweet feeling since I am not ready to let go of this world & my babies! but it’s time, I can’t continue dodging Crooked Kingdom spoiler bombs on Twitter (quite stressful lol). Looking forward to jumping back into this world πŸ˜‰

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

β€œAre you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, β€œWelcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imaginedβ€”one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Another book that comes highly recommended by some pretty awesome book bloggers I follow & love. Also, while waiting in line to get my book signed by V.E. Schwab I over heard her say that she LOVED this book & that it was simply just SO GOOD! I mean, if that isn’t enough motivation to finally start this one I don’t know what is. Such an interesting premise, i’m looking forward to finding out what is happening to Jason.

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & i’ll swing by your blog for a peek. October was a blur of activity & i’m hoping for a much more mellow November but who am I kidding? LOL! 

Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Spoiler Free)

gemina-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoffGemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: October 18th 2016

Genres: Young Adult Sci-Fi

Pages: 608

Format: Physical Book (Hardcover)

Rating:β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (5 Stars)

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatiaβ€”and possibly the known universeβ€”is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

 

After reading and Loving the ISH (funny cuz currency in Gemina is referred to as ISH) out of Illuminae (review here) earlier this year, I knew that Gemina would be a book to have me running to the bookstore to drop that $$$ HAHA! just like its predecessor, Gemina did NOT disappoint. Offering up non-stop page turning action & a cast of witty characters you can’t get enough of. Illustrations by Marie Lu author of the Young elites covered the pages making Gemina one beautiful book both inside & out. The Illuminae Files are addictive, fun, and overall just great story telling…

 

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CREDS & HAILS go to Gretchen @CHICNERDREADS for this EPIC aesthetic, I can’t stop staring at it with the only *heart eyes* Thanks again my fren’ you’re simply AMAZING! 

PLOT

Gemina picks up with a brand new set of characters on the Jump Station Heimdall right after the events of the Kerenza invasion & BeiTech assault. Since this is book 2 in the series, I will ward off the dreaded spoilers. Gemina is said to be a companion novel to Illuminae & for the most part it is, however it most definitely is necessary to read Illuminae as it all does tie in. The characters at jump station Heimdall are unaware of the events at Kerenza or BeiTech’s involvement. As the reader, you feel a sense of anticipation all throughout Gemina because you are aware of what’s happened & the imminent danger that lays ahead. The civilians and crew on Jump Station Heimdall are unaware of the incoming ships & just like in Illuminae, they are in for a rude awakening. This is the story of how Hemidall came to defend itself & the intricate web of deception BeiTech has woven…

CHARACTERS

Although we have quite a few players in the game, the main characters are Hannah Donelly & Niklas Malikov. These are two young adults who end up having to step into much larger shoes when the ISH hits the fan. We get to know both these characters on a more personal level since the format in this book is dialogue heavy. I enjoyed the witty banter between these two so much & found myself either smiling or outright laughing at some of the their exchanges. Hannah also keeps a journal & she’s a pretty good artist (illustrations by Marie Lu) depicting exactly what she thinks of Nik in a series of laugh out loud drawings. Hannah has to be one of my new hands down favorite kick a** female protagonists in YA PERIOD! she is smart, quick on her feet, a pro in war games thanks to her dad, witty, and loyal to her friends & family. Nik Malikov stole my heart with his dirty mind & endless attempts to win Hannah over. He was born into the House Of Knives, a criminal family (yup they exist even in outer space HAHA!) & is being groomed & taught to earn his keep through a series of innnnneresting criminal activities (I won’t divulge more than that hehe). I can’t discuss the characters in this book without mentioning my FAVORITE Spider, Ella Malikova who is Nik’s cousin and hacker extraordinaire. Ella is disabled from the waist down and spends her time in front of a computer in her wheelchair exchanging sarcastic & witty remarks with Nik through IM’s. Not only is Ella AMAZING at what she knows with computers but she’s also a fighter in every sense & I looked forward to seeing her IM’s pop up on the page.

 

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Illustrations by Marie Lu author of The Young Elites trilogy

WRITING

The format for Gemina is the same as the one the authors used for Illuminae. The story is told through a series of IM chats, E-mails, & memorandums. In between these you’ll come across transcriptions from video camera footage which in the story, are written by Analysts that have watched & to the best of their ability tried to make sense of what is caught on camera. Gemina just like Illuminae may appear intimidating at first glance especially given the 600+ page count. However, I can assure all those that are interested in The Illuminae Files that it is all well worth it & a very quick read. In fact, the format of this book only helps move the story along much faster & the dialogue is so much fun that before you know it, you’ll be requesting that Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman get working on the 3rd book hehe πŸ˜‰

Donelly, H: What, you’re just going to open the door so I can creep in?

Donelly, H: It’s too far, not safe. recon before action, that’s the rule. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

Merrick, J: What?

Donelly, H: Sun Tzu.

 IM chat between Hanna Donelly & her boyfriend Jackson Merrick

THOUGHTS

Gemina deserves all of the hype it gets because it truly delivers & packs a punch, I’m lucky to have other books I’ve really been looking forward to because the book hangover is REAL!  Once again, I am left so impressed with these two authors because I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends, they write so well together. The inclusion of Marie Lu’s illustrations in this book only enhanced the beauty and overall bad a**ness of this second installment. Although Illuminae will always hold that special place in my heart for introducing me to such an interesting world…Gemina came in & is now holding the crown. What really made this book even more spectacular is the humor & characters this round, these authors are clearly in tune with young adults making the dialogue so believable. I am now left waiting another year for the 3rd installment…currently experiencing the phase where I watch for (stalk) these authors for any bit of info…following the cookie crumb trail I go…

 

 

 

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (Review)

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Published by: Flatiron Books

Date of Publication: September 22nd 2015

Genres: Autobiography/Personal Memoirs

Pages: 329

Format: Audiobook (I own via Audible)

Trigger Warning: Self harm

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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Goodreads Synopsis:

InΒ LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED,Β Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book,Β FURIOUSLY HAPPY,Β Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness.Β A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety?Β That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous becauseΒ no one would inviteΒ a herdΒ of kangaroos into their house.Β Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says thatΒ noneΒ is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”

“Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote inΒ The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”

Jenny’s first book,Β LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED,Β was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness.Β FURIOUSLY HAPPYΒ is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

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Disclaimer (LOL): I’d like to start off by saying that before listening to this audiobook I had no idea who Jenny Lawson was. Odd really because I love me some funny ladies; Mindy Khaling (My Goddess), Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer to name a few. I prefer & have, listened to some of these comedienne’s personal memoirs on Audible and found that I enjoy them more than if I was reading the book in physical format. This is most likely because these ladies have narrated their own books & done an amazing job at it.

 

Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy came at the right time honestly. I had walked past the crazy happy looking raccoon on the cover in Barnes & Noble one too many times. It wasn’t until I read two rave reviews from Amanda @Β Cover2CovermomΒ whose reviews are always on point & Donna @Chocolatenwaffles’BlogΒ who i’ve recently started following & has an amazing blog, that I knew I had to give this one a go. After all, I had already used an Audible credit on it a few months back smh (zero self control lol) & I was a bit down and nervous about my 5 year old starting Kindergarten in a big school. In this book Jenny Lawson talks & often times hilariously rambles on about the every day things that run through her head while struggling with mental Illness. Jenny lists some of the mental disorders she has been diagnosed withΒ such as Agoraphobia, depression, & anxiety to name a few. SheΒ also has a fascination, if not mild obsession (lol) with taxidermy and the raccoon on the coverΒ was actually roadkill that sheΒ affectionately named Rory & took in her home. This book is a collection of sorts, stories, and thoughts that Lawson narrates all the while embracing her peculiarities, irrational behaviors, andΒ her “crazy”. A label that she’s aware many view as incorrect & offensive but she feels comfortable with. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as some dark moments. Lawson takes us into her mind & her most intimate thoughts she lays bare. As a person who struggles with social anxiety, mild OCD, and at times mild depression…I found comfort in those hours I spent listening to Jenny. I also found something I wasn’t expecting, understanding for the other person…the spouse. Jenny & her husband Victor argue a whole lot, but please show Β me the marriage thatΒ doesn’t! I LOVED hearing Jenny re-enact argument’s between her & Victor because they aren’t your typical topics AT ALL! filled with humor I found myself shaking my head in amazement at how good a sport Victor can be when following any of Jenny’s wild ideas. I was also left with a new understanding for my own spouse who can be very supportive when i’m not at my very best.

 

β€œLast month, as Victor drove me home so I could rest, I told him that sometimes I felt like his life would be easier without me. He paused a moment in thought and then said, β€œIt might be easier. But it wouldn’t be better.” 
― Jenny Lawson,Β Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

 

Oh Victor! I seriously enjoyed his parts & feel like I’ve known them all my life. Jenny doesn’t hold back, there’s plenty of profanity to go around which I didn’t mind at all. This book is about finding happiness in the mist of all the feelings you may or may not be able to control. There’s a certain liberating feeling that comes with acceptance & listening to Jenny you get the feeling that she is comfortable in her own skin & mind and that’s empowering. She still struggles on a daily basis but she has an amazing support system & an even more amazing sense of humor for all of the bad days. Like many others with similar mental disorders, Jenny sheds light on how these disorders often times hinder her from attending social events. How even when you feel like you have everything you could possibly want & should be happy…you can still experience anxiety and/or sadness.

 

β€œI wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.” 
― Jenny Lawson,Β Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

 

I am currently obsessed with all things Jenny Lawson & will be reading her other book Let’s pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirΒ  as well asΒ following her blog TheBloggessΒ where I can get my dose of her dark humor & brutally unapologetic honesty while following her journey with mental illness…

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Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey & is now moderated by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. Each week there’s a different bookish related topic (this varies & isn’t always strictly books) & you get to list your top 5 books or bookish answers related to the topic.Β This week’s topic is Authors You Are Waiting on Another Book FromThese are your favorite authors who you want to write another book but haven’t yet. Or they are writing something, but no title or synopsis has been released and it isn’t coming out until 2018. Try to keep this to authors who haven’t announced anything concrete about a new book, not authors that have a highly anticipated release coming out before the end of 2016.

 

The entire day I walked around with only 4 until I got home & walked past my shelves….yea sometimes all you need is walk past some shelves to jog that memory πŸ˜‰ These topics lately have been requiring a bit more thought & I LOVE it!

 

1. Pierce Brown- Morning Star, the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy was an absolute roller coaster of a ride & I did NOT want to get off! I am a Howler for life & need more of this beautiful man’s work…I follow him on Twitter & Instagram just for the little crumbs he throws our way. A spin off is definitely in the works but there has been no mention of a publication date, he is in the writing stages from what I can gather…sigh…can’t rush greatness πŸ˜‰

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2. Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus, One of my favorite books for the beautiful lush world it introduced me to. I had never read nor listened to anything so magical & haunting until I came across this woman’s work & as I mentioned to another blogger earlier today, this author shrouded in a bit of mystery just like her book SooO if anyone knows ANYTHING about Ms. Morgenstern & the possibility of a new book please share *crosses fingers, does a little chant*

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3. Benjamin Alire SaenzAristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I read this book & instantly fell in love with this man’s poetic style of writing. From what I’ve gathered, it’s hard to get a book out of this guy lol, but every once in a while he drops a gem. Goodreads has been updated with a cover-less photo of There Will be Other Summers (Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #2) but no publication date, this saddens me 😦

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4. Kathryn StockettThe Help, What ever happened to Ms. Stockett? I am not one to read much Historical Fiction but The Help pulled me in from page 1! This book did an amazing job in covering race & politics in the 60’s. The characters have stuck with me both after reading the book & watching them come life on the screen.

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5. George R.R. MartinA Song Of Ice & Fire- I don’t think this needs an explanation because I’m pretty sure I’m one of MANNNNY holding our breaths for the next book in the series…MY MAN PLEASE DON’T MAKE US WAIT ANY LONGER!

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So, these are my Top 5 Wednesday picks. Please let me know if any of you fellow book bloggers are also eagerly awaiting any of these authors & drop your link down below so that I can take a gander πŸ˜‰