#WWWWednesday: 22 January

General Books, WWW Wednesday

Welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

I’ve only finished ONE BOOK since last Wednesday! ONE BOOK! 🙈And it was a re-read too! To say that January is a slow reading month would be a gross understatement. I’m really hoping things pick up next month…

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman ★★★★☆
Now that I’m done with my re-read with Thunderhead I feel more than ready for The Toll. Thunderhead was (imo) a slow moving sequel but it was no less enjoyable. I loved learning more about The Thunderhead and the new important character we’re introduced to, Grayson Tolliver, really grew on me. We got to explore more areas of the world including Israebia, a neglected D.C., and Endura which is the heart of the Scythedom. Although the shock factor wasn’t as intense this second time, the plot twists still had me exclaiming my WTFs. Shusterman really knows how to throw you off! You can read my full review here.

#TopTenTuesday: Most Recent Bookshelf Additions…

General Books, Top Tuesday

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: the ten most recent additions to my bookshelf. I’m taking this to mean my actual (physical) bookshelf and not my Goodreads TBR shelf.

Have I mentioned yet how I’m looking to cut down spending on new books in 2020? The plan is not only to save money but it’s also an attempt to cut down on my unread physical shelf! But let’s also be real because I’m only hooman and when it comes to books I have little to no control (and I know I’m not alone in that); especially when it comes to that FOMO feeling! It gets me every time 🙈 So while I have added a *few* books to my shelves lately, I’ve also been doing pretty good at holding back, if I do say so myself! Here’s what I got:

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman – #BookReview

Book Reviews, Dystopia, General Books, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Goodreads: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopia
Panda Rating:

The stakes are high in this chilling sci-fi thriller, in which professional scythes control who dies. Everything else is out of human control, managed by the Thunderhead. It’s a perfect system – until it isn’t.

It’s been a year since Rowan went off-grid. Hunted by the Scythedom, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. Citra, meanwhile, is forging her path as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning with compassion. However, conflict within the Scythedom is growing by the day, and when Citra’s life is threatened, it becomes clear that there is a truly terrifying plot afoot.

The Thunderhead observes everything, and it does not like what it sees. Will it intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

“That’s exactly what the scythedom is: high school with murder.”

A somewhat slower paced sequel to Scythe but it is no less enjoyable. I savoured learning more about this dystopia and I became even more invested in the characters. I loved the Thunderhead and as a reader, I felt its helplessness to do anything very acutely!

The world building is just as complex and creative as in the first book. In this book we learn more about the Thunderhead’s history and how it fairly and sustainably runs the world. We also go deeper into the political divide in the Scythedom. Truly, we humans are our own worst enemies. Shusterman continues to present thought-provoking writing, especially from the Thunderhead’s POV, that really made me reflect on what we’re doing not only to our world but to ourselves. We also learn about other parts of the world like Israebia with a rebuilt Great Library of Alexandria and D.C. with a neglected Library of Congress. But most fascinating to me was Endura, the heart of the Scythedom and where the Grandslayers of the World Scythe Council reside.

“The two of them against each other. The two of them against the world. Everything in their lives was now defined by that binary. If they had to die today in order to live, it would somehow be wrong if they didn’t do it together.”

There were several plot twists in the story that had me shook. Since this was a re-read and I obviously knew what was coming, I didn’t feel as shook as the first time but it still left me in awe. Shusterman introduced many elements that had me hanging on to the edge of my seat in sheer anticipation. That said, on top of the world building elements I sometimes still felt that there was a little too much information. I also felt that the pacing was more erratic with parts that were full of action and then others that moved at a glacial pace. While the slow pace did help me savour the writing, it also made me want to skim through a lot of the parts to get to the action at the end.

While Citra and Rowan still play the MCs, we’re also introduced to a new character: Grayson Tolliver. We also get entries from the Thunderhead sharing its history and thoughts as events happen. I loved the Thunderhead. I was getting some strong AIDAN (from the Illuminae Files) vibes but much less “sinister” and more benevolent. I also really liked Grayson’s character. He starts off as a meek young man, who just like everyone else is greatly dependent on the Thunderhead, but his growth is steady and rewarding as he goes through various trials. There were times that I felt bad for him, but he also had a great inner strength and resolve that I admired. With the ending of Thunderhead, I’m really curious to see what happens next with these characters and what role they’ll play in the finale.

“I can communicate in 6,909 living and dead languages. I can have more than fifteen billion simultaneous conversations, and be fully engaged in every single one. I can be eloquent, and charming, funny, and endearing, speaking the words you most need to hear, at the exact moment you need to hear them.
Yet even so, there are unthinkable moments where I can find no words, in any language, living or dead.
And in those moments, if I had a mouth, I might open it to scream.”

Also, I’m not going to talk about what happens at the end of the book, but I will say that it is literally what some of my worst nightmares are made of! Especially with what happens in the World Council chamber. I get goosebumps thinking about how horrifying it is 🤣 You can bet that I was still exclaiming my WTFs during this re-read! Overall, this was a great read and I’m keen to see how such a devastating ending in book two will turn around in the final–that is assuming it will turn around (I really hope so)! Seeing what Shusterman did in this book, I know we’re going to be in for some jaw-dropping surprises and I hope that they’re all good ones!

Have you read Thunderhead or is it on your TBR?

Goodreads Monday – Dune by Frank Herbert

General Books, Goodreads Monday

Welcome back to another Goodreads Monday, a weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s book is Dune (Dune Chronicles #1) by Frank Herbert. This is another pretty well known classic science fiction/fantasy novel! Surprisingly I only added it to my Goodreads TBR in November 2018! On Goodreads it has an impressive 4.22 average stars with 662k+ ratings and 18k+ reviews.

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

General Books, Sundays In Bed With..., Weekly Wrap Up

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

Today I so badly wished that I was in the comfort of my bed in my flat in Bali instead of spending hours flying while incredibly sick. I *finally* managed to finish my re-read of Thunderhead (Arc of Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman and finally started on The Toll on the last leg of my journey. I’m *loving* the detail on this cover — I just noticed the jewels on someone’s robe!? 😱

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Top 5 Saturday: Unreliable Narrators

General Books, Top 5 Saturday

I’m back this week for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books. This week’s topic is: unreliable narrators! This is a pretty interesting topic to look at and it’s surprisingly one that I don’t think I’ve explored in any of my posts. When I think of unreliable narrators I definitely think of thrillers/mysteries first and foremost, but of course I had to rely on the handy dandy site that’s Goodreads to help me figure out if any of the books I have on my TBR have unreliable narrators!

I’m also going to make this v. short because I’m literally sick AF and due to shitty airline policies I’d still have to pay $500+ to reschedule my flight, even with a medical certificate stating that I’m unable to fly. Plus, they wanted to put me in medical quarantine and when I asked if they do that and deem that I’m unable to fly will I still have to pay for rescheduling the flight, they said YES. Fuck that shit. Sorry — I try not to swear much on here but I’m bleeding tired and over this BS and I feel like utter and total shit. Here we go on a 10 hour journey…

Do you like reading a book that unreliable narrators?
Are any of these books you want to read?

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – #BookReview

Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fiction, General Books, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, Magical Realism

Goodreads: The Immortalists
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Family Saga, Magical Realism
Panda Rating:

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

“Our language is our strength.
Thoughts have wings.”

It was difficult for me to write this review so apologies if it’s more nonsensical blabber than anything. I really enjoyed this touching novel about family and death. It sounds morose and it certainly isn’t the most fast paced storytelling, but as the story dove deeper into each characters’ life, I found that I couldn’t put the book down and very quickly sped through the pages. The Immortalists is a family saga that explores faith and the idea of destiny/fate. It asks readers the timeless question: if you could learn when/how you die, would you do it?

First Lines Friday – 17 January

First Lines Friday, General Books

Yayaya, HAPPY FRIYAY, book lovers and friends 😍We’re back with another First Lines Friday! This is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are THE RULES:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“Ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man–even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.
I have never had a talent for spinning tales.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

The Song Request Tag

General Books

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog tagged me in this awesome book tag that I put aside because I found it too difficult to do right away. I really suck at choosing books to fit the songs and I think that’s pretty clear given my choices 😂 My imagination is limited (lol) but I thought I’d go ahead and give it my best shot anyway!

Rules:

  • Thank and link back to the person that tagged you. Thanks again, Emer! 💜
  • Credit the Tag creatorDaniel @ Page to Page
  • Listen to your tagger’s song requests. After you’ve finished listening to the three songs the person who tagged you has chosen, choose a book that you think marries well with each of the songs and give the reason as to why you selected those book titles.
  • Request 3 songs of your own. Give any three songs (and your corresponding book choices that you think go well with said song) that you want for your taggers to listen and respond to!
  • Tag 5 people! !

emer’s song selections

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

It’s a classic and I really enjoy this song but it was a struggle to pick a book to match this (because obviously my mind blanked on all the books I’ve ever read the minute I started writing this post 🙃). I know this is a break up song but when I listen to it I actually think of The Simple Wild.

Breathe – Rhodes

I’d never heard of this song before but it’s beautiful–a little painful but also filled with comfort. This song and even the black and white music video really made me think of A Little Life. As mentioned by many, many people, it can be considered quite a traumatic and depressing book with many triggers. But the story is really about the friendship between four characters, and dealing with all the really bad things that life throws at you, but finding a little comfort in our close friendships.

Brand New Day – Joshua Radin

Although I know a few songs by Joshua Radin, I’d never heard of this one before. When I listened to it and thought about what book had a hopeful message that looks forward and says “everything’s going to be alright”, I thought of The Perks of Being A Wallflower. The song wouldn’t fit the whole book but it would definitely fit towards the end!

MY song selections

Don’t Delete the Kisses – Wolf Alice

The first book that came to my mind when I thought about the tone of the song and the lyrics, was Daisy Jones and the Six. I mean, I know the music in the book won’t really be like this but this has such an oddly melancholy and whimsical tune that I can imagine it clearly playing in my head while thinking about Daisy Jones.

Good Lord – Birds of Tokyo

Yeah, I’ve never been married but I have been through a very rough break up when I found out my partner cheated on me. Not to sound dramatic but it was one of the toughest emotional periods I’ve lived through. It’s that whole can’t eat, can’t sleep thing and it was truly awful. This song has that kind of pain which reminded me of the The Ingredients of Us. It’s about a broken down marriage and the infidelity that caused it and it was one of my most emotionally painful reads this year! Funnily enough, he mentions Fleetwood in the song!

Take Me to Church – Hozier

Okay, this one might seem a little obvious but when this song came on my playlist a few weeks ago, I immediately thought of Autoboyography. I hadn’t listened to this song in ages, but I thought it was very fitting. The music video is an critique of Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ policy and Hozier said this song is not just about sex, but sexuality and sexual orientation, regardless of orientation, is natural. This song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming yourself through love. I thought it fit so perfectly with Autoboyography, especially Seb’s journey.

And that’s it for the Song Request Tag! I tag five people below but if I don’t tag you and you want to do it, feel free to! I’d love to see what your answers and songs would be too so don’t forget to tag me back so I can check it out 🙂

Leelynn | Sammie | Alex | Joanna | Jess

Doctor Mirage (2019) by Magdalene Visaggio, Nick Robles – #eARC #GraphicNovelReview

ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Goodreads: Doctor Mirage (2019)
Publish date: 18 February 2020
Publisher: Diamond Books Distributor/Valiant Entertainment
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero
Panda Rating:

How do you solve the case of your own death?

Paranormal expert Doctor Shan Fong Mirage was born with the ability to see and speak to the dead—an ability that has mysteriously stopped working. Have her powers failed or is something far more sinister at work? Will she figure out her fate and the fate of the one she loves the most? Valiant’s gripping supernatural mystery starts here!

A brand-new DOCTOR MIRAGE series conjured by Eisner Award-nominated writer Magdalene “Mags” Visaggio (Eternity Girl), artist Nick Robles (Euthanauts), Eisner Award-nominated colorist Jordie Bellaire (The Vision), and letterer Dave Sharpe (Harley Quinn)!

I admit to requesting this book based solely on the cover alone. The name “Doctor Mirage” rang a small bell but I actually haven’t read superhero comics, so I can’t speak to how differently or how well her character is portrayed in this new comic compared to previous ones. I will say that I really enjoyed it though!