The roads were slick with rain and it was dark, the highway mostly empty. I was alone with my mind, which is always quite active when I am driving alone. I was listening to Lullaby, Op. 57, No. 2 by Cyril Scott through my airpods when a thought crept into my mind.
Life is a highway, and we are all on a road trip.
I mean, life is almost an endless drive right? I mean, we have those points when we are in the fast lane. Racing past the others, perhaps in our youth. Those busy and exciting times when the the music is pounding through the speakers. The carefree moments or the consistently laborious points in life when we are going so quickly, trying to be conscious not to crash. Sometimes, one can not be careful enough.
And then you have those in the middle, the track between the fast and the slowest. The ones who have to be the most careful to stay on their lane. The driver is a bit slower because they are not sure of the direction they are taking. Passing the cars in front of them to achieve their trek to their destination or to go into the slowest lane and make an exit are the options that lay before them. This is not an easy decision though, and the stress this can cause can cause one to waver a bit.
And then there is the slowest lane. You’ll find many different people in this lane. The ones who need to make a stop for a gas refill or a rest stop. There are the ones who just want to cruise without the pressures the other two lanes hold. There are the ones who’s cars broke down on the side of the road and are on the shoulder, waiting for roadside assistance to come to their aid. And then the ones who’ve had enough of all the driving and take an exit for their last time.
We are all on the long drive, front the moment our foot touch the pedal. And with this time, the best we can do is enjoy the ride the best way we can.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m Sorry about that…
Trying to balance multiple jobs, education, relationships, and sleep is as difficult as one could imagine and more. However, among all the busyness that I have been experiencing, I made it to my favorite little oasis over the weekend– also known as the bookstore!
I felt that I was due to treat myself (as Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle would suggest in the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”) since I have been working hard lately and haven’t gotten anything new from the bookstore in a while. And, why shouldn’t take advantage of day late Black Friday deals? That would just be crazy!
Since I purchased more than 2 books (my usual limit per visit), I felt that it was a sort of a haul for myself and I wanted to share what I collected. I keep track of all my books that I have read, am reading, and want to read on Goodreads. I am not sure if any of you have heard of Goodreads.com— but it’s an amazing site and also downloadable to your smart phone as an app. I thought it would be cool to give some information about it here- since I use it so frequently on my visits to the bookstore.
Basically, it is sort of like IMDB, but it’s just for books! On Goodreads, you’re able to look up information, reviews, and ratings on almost any book you can think of. If you make an account with them with your email, you are able to to add books to shelves and categorize them as you like. The simplest shelves being- Read, Want to Read, and Currently Reading. With an account, you are also able to rate books, write reviews, join book clubs, participate in reading challenges, and more!
I have been using this website/app since 2012 when I entered high school so that I could keep track of all the books that I was reading and could find more similar books to read. Now that I work in a library, when I come across an interesting title I scan it into Goodreads to add it to my “Want To Read” shelf. Below are the descriptions of the books that I purchased last weekend. For each book, you can also find a link to view the information for it on Goodreads and puchase the same edition that I got online if you wish. I hope you enjoy!
Home Body – Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself – reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. Illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.
i dive into the well of my body and end up in another world everything i need already exists in me there’s no need to look anywhere else – home
I am a HUGE fan of this woman! If you haven’t read her other two works, “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers” (which I have reviewed, link here,) I highly recommend them. I have been anticipating this book for months now, and I am very excited to read it.
“Her” is a collection of poetry and prose about women, their strengths and beauty. Every woman should know the feelings of being loved and radiating those feelings back to her mate. This is a beautiful expression of heartfelt emotion using short, gratifying sentiments. If there is a lover in you, you will not get enough of “Her.”
I have seeing bits and pieces of Jeanty’s poetry on Facebook and Instagram for a while now, and I have adored every stanza. I kept saying I was going to buy it when I get to the bookstore, but I have’t been able to do so. Luckily, when I grabbed Homebody this book on a shelf nearby! Now, I have couple of wonderful prose to look forward to reading from two amazing authors. I cannot wait to share the highlights with you.
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for….
When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
I purchased this because I refuse to watch a book adapted movie without reading it beforehand. That is, if I can help it. However, I have had this book on my list long before rumors of it’s movie adaption. I am a science-fiction fan, and this one is a classic. I can’t wait to dive into this one and then watch it on the big screen!
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Beautiful cover, right? Initially, that is the reason I was attracted to it when it came across me at work. Thankfully, the plot seems equally as intruiguing. I have beem trying to make a point to diversify my reading (I am partial to science-fiction), so I have been working on reading more fantasy recently. I choose this one along with “The Choosen Ones” by Veronica Roth as my fantasy picks. Hopefully they don’t disappoint! Crossing my fingers**
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
This one has been on my list for YEARS. I have had this title on my goodreads shelf awaiting it’s turn for about half a decade or more, during my high school years. When I grazed past it during my hour long browsing at Barnes & Noble, I decided it is finally time to get to it. It has great ratings, so I’m excited to finally get to read it after all this time.
The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.
A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.
Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.
The talented author who brought us the hugely popular series “Divergent,” now introduces us her first adult novel! Like “Strange the Dreamer,” I found this novel when I was working at the library. I find the story unique because of the was the hero storyline seems it’s being told. Usually, I find that stories with heroes with the central characters focus on how the hero became a hero in the first place. Books or movies with these plots include how the hero discovered their special ability or gift, the first adventures after they have that discovery, and then conflicts they have with a foe of some sort. On the contrary, this novel sort of speeds past all of those beginning phases of the birth of the heroes in this novel, which I find quite makes this novel quite distintive. I have begun reading this novel already, and it seems that Roth wants readers to piece the bits of the character’s past throughout the novel. I enjoy that part very much. Additionally, I appreciate the level of realism she has brought into this fantasy story– since I often struggle with enjoying some fantasy novels because of the lack thereof. As you can tell, so far I am not disappointed by Veronica Roth’s latest book.
I can go on more on about these exciting books, but I’ll leave that for future reviews. Thank you so much for reading my Book Haul rundown. If you enjoyed any of these books or enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like and comment. NO SPOILERS!!!
Reading is an intellectually active activity. Although while most are sedentary while doing so, reading allows your mind stretch and your imagination to explore new heights. What reading looks in the twenty-first century is very different than what it did hundreds of years ago when the first book was bound. Reading is almost unlimited now. You can read printed copies. They can downloaded in various digital formats. You can listen to them when you’re driving or jogging even. I have taken advantage of and enjoyed all of these different avenues. Nonetheless, a printed book will always be my favorite.
This year I made it a goal to begin to learn how to crochet, in which I have to use my hands quite a bit. So I have started listening to books on audible during the time that I crochet, which I enjoy much more than I thought I would. I have even started listening to books while driving and during breaks at work. I had a thought recently about reading habits while I was observing my family reading at home. I notice that my mother often reads with her headphones in, listening to something loud enough so that her attention can’t be caught unless she’s tapped. Today, I laughed when I saw younger cousin reading while sitting upside down in a chair. My sister usually lounges on her bed while she reads mystery novels, which are her recent obsession. I would say that my habits are a bit different, and perhaps it has to do with the way I experience stories in my imagination.
Reading novel, if it’s good enough, is like watching a movie. Depending on how the author writes the story, I can see the scenes so clearly in my mind by just reading the words from the pages, as if I am sitting in a seat in the cinema. Therefore, I treat reading similarly to watching a film. Preferably, I like to be alone while reading and undisputed. Having a light finger snacks and a nice drink around isn’t necessary, but enhances the experience. I don’t usually like bright lights to be on around me, since I find that it distracts me.
I do adapt myself when I am reading in other places. During work or another setting, I can’t necessarily control all the variables in my environment. Although, I find I am able to tune my surrounding out quite well if I want to– making reading not the best idea many times when I am on the job. I have tried reading outside as well, but I find temperatures, neighbors, insects to be a constant distraction for me. However, I am in most comfortable position when it’s raining, storming, or at least cloudy outside. The subtle sounds (or even noisiness) of rainfall and the soft natural white light relaxes me and allows me to achieve the perfect amount of concentration. If it is not raining, I can settle for some light piano or violin music. Then if I can have my feet up, snuggle up with a blanket or long cardigan, light up a fragrant candle, and have a warm cup of tea… I’m all set for the adventures the book before me has yet to set me upon!
My desire for the future, is to have a room dedicated completely to books and reading. The shelves would overflowing with cherished stories I read once before and others yet to sail upon the waves of my imagination. I can only dream of it now, and hope it becomes a reality someday as by small collection of books grows more and more.
I am curious, how do you read? What is your idea of a perfect reading nook? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to talk with you about it.
His contemplations had become bleak
lost determination to continue to seek
any sort of gaiety that would not find him
It no longer caused him bewilderment
the world was only cruel and bent
and had nothing for him
Until a particularly cold and dark night
when he met a minute but rising light
that seemed to come from nowhere
She was small in her form only
but her glow filled him deeply
luminescence permeated his emptiness
Her sweet smile gave him hope
for her, he would now cope
and he called her firefly
Dresses, kings, parties, and castles…Kiera Cass definitely has a specialty.
I am a fan of hers, as she wrote one of my favorite YA series “The Selection.” It is similar to this book in the way that it deals with a common girl’s experience with royalty. However, it is a bit different still in many ways.
In “The Betrothed” we are introduced Hollis Brite, who is a young lady from a nobel family. She has caught the attention of King Jameson, and early on in the book declares his affections for her and his intentions to make her his bride. This story is more of a fairy-tale courtly romance, full of the common royal dramas such as jealousy, parties and guests, and forbidden love. This novel appealed to my inner teenage self who loved stories like the Selection series and the Princess Diaries series, and was very excited for another castle romance. In the Kingdom of Coroa, the regal women were strong influences in their society– something Hollis longs to become as well. Therefore, her budding relationship with the most powerful man in the Kingdom could not be a perfect. It’s also her chance to prove herself to her parents and for them all to live lavishly. However, when a family of Isolten (neighboring kingdom) refugees come to the castle, their oldest son become a good friend and confidant of hers. Her court responsibilities increase and the king only become more enamored by her. Soon, what she thought she wanted her whole life is not all that it seems.
I will say that I liked this novel, but I can’t say that I liked it more than her others.
Hollis Brite, in my opinion, was a good character. She wasn’t something extraordinary, which made her relatable, but it also didn’t make her very interesting. She was a lady of the court, so while she was still a teen girl who liked to have her fun, she was able to uphold a presence of regality with her ability to entertain, conversationalism, and dress. While she seemed like she was quite aloof at first, she was able to sway the ideas of the king to allow the refugees to stay in Coroa. That was probably the part in the book when she appealed the most to me. She was a likable heroine character, although I thought she was a bit foolish at some points.
King Jameson is what I imagine a king would be. I don’t think he has bad intent, and he truly loves Hollis and would give her anything she desired. He is a bit too controlling though, an attribute derived from his late father no doubt. Silas, the eldest son of the Isolten refugee family, did not appeal to me as I hoped he would. He was kind, humorous, and understanding of Hollis difficulties as a soon to be queen. I could not quite understand the relationship between the two of them and how it became what it did. It happened a bit too fast for my liking. What I liked about him most was his skill of crafting fine armory, which became an advantage. There were other characters as well, who I found more interesting than the primary characters. I found that I really liked Silas’ younger sister, Silas’ mother, and the Queen of Isolte to be among my favorite characters. The character that I liked the least is probably Delia Grace. I just didn’t like her attitude.
I thought that the flairs of kingdoms themselves were very fascinating. There were a number of kingdoms, but I don’t remember what they all were. Coroa and Isolte were the most mentioned. They each had selected colors: Coroa was red and Isolte was blue. I appreciated that each kingdom had a strength, and wore different sorts of attire. For example, Isolte focused more on sciences. Some of rulers the kingdoms were more mild in their dealings, and others were more aggressive. I feel that Cass, as well in her other books, shines in her establishment of the realms that her novels are set in.
Overall, I would say that I liked this novel. I would not classify among my favorites, but I did enjoy it. At the end of the novel, I was left quite surprised by the shocking events that I did not anticipate whatsoever. So, I am excited for the next book. I hear it is to be a duology, so it will only have two books. I do recommend this book to Tudor fans, and fairy-tale romance story lovers.
Thanks for reading this review! If you would like to recommend any books to me, let me know in the comments! Also, follow me on goodreads here to see what I’m currently reading! Stay safe!
“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
I haven’t lost hope in YA! It’s official.
I have been apprehensive for the last couple years when it came to YA. All the books seemed to blend together. So many of them seemed to be strange spin-offs of the more populars novels that were written years ago. Lately, I think I have found some novels that were different than others.
During qurantine, I’ve read more than I have in quite a while. I have been busy with working remotely at home, family, and other personal endeavors. Nonetheless, I made it a goal to read more in 2020, and I have read eight novels so far. It’s not much, considering I can read a novel in 3 days or less if I am that invested. Still, it is more than I have for some time. However, Scythe by Neal Shusterman was one of those books that I was very invested in.
Let me tell you a bit about this novel. Here were are in MidMerica, a couple hundred years or so in the future. Humans have conquered death with the help of technological advances. The “cloud,” a term we recognize today as the storage of computed data, has become the “Thunderhead,” the sole governor of humankind on earth. However, although humanity has become immortal, population must be controlled. Therefore, Scythes have the task of “gleaning” individuals, which is essentially killing, in order to maintain this balance. The main characters, Citra and Rowan, are chosen by a Scythe as apprentices of the Scythedom, but only one of them would be chosen to be Scythe after their training is done.
What was most appealing about this book was the style of writing. I think that writing this novel in third person was beneficial. It kept the novel more focused on the events, more than simply the characters themselves. I liked that the Shusterman switched from various points of view. At times we were focusing on Citra, Rowan, a person who was to be gleaned, or other characters as well. I enjoyed the points of view of those who were to be gleaned very much, since it was interesting how the author portrays how an individual would react to a death that they could not prepare for, but must succumb to at any split second.
I also liked the entries of different Scythes between chapters. In the novel, Scythes are required to make daily entries in a journal. Those entries were almost like little nuggets of philosophy, and they made me think quite a bit. It was strange that in their world, where no one ever died of natural causes and all knowledge was readily available in the Thunderhead, the only bit of humanity that remained could be found in the Scythes– who had to kill people. There are not many other comparable endeavors that are as inhumane as that. However, humanity finds itself in that endeavor in this novel, which was very interesting.
Additionally, I appreciated that this novel did not focus on romance. It felt it was quite a small factor in the book, which was refreshing. I think that many YA novelists feel as if when they write, even if their story isn’t technically romance by genre, they must put some sort of love conflict in the plot because perhaps some younger readers won’t be interested without it. In this novel, although romance contributed in the story, it was very minute and tasteful contribution. If it was focused on further it would have been a distraction.
Scythe was more on the darker side, which had it’s own appeal. Some events in the book were a bit disturbing and gruesome, but it was not provocative. I felt that the characters were very relatable, in spite of what they witnessed and did in the book. This novel would be best fit for readers who like edge, but also enjoy the pensivity that they can acquire from reading thought provoking literature. I would not recommend this book to teens younger than fifteen because of the theme and events that took place. However, I can only imagine how interesting discussing this book with teens would be. In the novel, people had become content with the complacency of their immortality, and did not desire much apart from it. It would be great to hear from young minds about if and how perhaps society is affected by such an attitude today, even as mortals.
As you could probably tell, I really enjoyed this novel. I could write about it endlessly, but I don’t think that’s best. I feel positive that many of you would love this book as much as I did. Scythe is a ten in my book ; ) Thank you for reading this review! I will get on to reading the next one in the series, “Thunderhead.” I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. Until next time!
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
“The Hunger Games”, the enormously popular book series (and one of my favorites) turned movie giant touched the world just over a decade ago. Suzanne Collins’ bleak dystopian world is set in Paneam, where the Capitol controls all twelve districts after the end of a gruesome war many years ago. A male and female child from each district are chosen on the day of The Reaping after which all selected tributes are sent to fight each other the death in The Hunger Games- a national event obsevered by all in Paneam. You may remember that Katniss Everdeen volunteered to be a tribute after her sister Primrose was selected. President Snow, the main antagonist in the story, was the minipulative and cruel leader of Paneam. I know I was not the only one who wondered what his back story was. In Suzanne Collin’s newly released novel, we see the world through Snow’s eyes.
In the prequel to the Hunger Games series, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” we find that Presidents Snow’s story was not a what we may have predicted. In the other books of the Hunger Games series we learn some information about what happened in the war that desomated Paneam and caused the Districts to be punished by the Capitol for a seemingly indefinite time. However, this was all seen through the lens of Katniss Everdeen, a member of the poor and lowly district twelve. In this novel, we taken back many decades before Katniss was born, and we are able to see the aftermath of the war through the lens of Coriolanus Snow (who we know to be President Snow in the other books.)
Without spoiling anything, there still much to talk about. Coriolanus Snow is eighteen years of age, and is in his senior year at his academy. His parents are died years before and his remaining family had lost almost all their fortune after the rebellion of the districts. All he had left was his cousin Iris and his Grandma’am. Most of his concern is to keep appearences in order to maintain a good name for his family. Although they barely had enough money for food, they managed to keep their family home and their reputation. I could see early on that it is Coriolanus’ desire to make something of himself and rise to the top- but this seems to be more out of ambition and self-preservation. He desires to be seen and known, but also to care for his cousin, grandmother, and himself. His goal is to be able to attend a top university in the Captiol after he graduates, but they do not have enough money to pay for that education. Therefore, when he gets selected to be a mentor for a tribute in The Hunger Games, it’s his chance to be noticed. If he does well enough and his tribute wins, perhaps he will get a scholarship. However, the odds are set against him when he is given the task to mentor the female tribute of District 12. Her life and his life are in thick of it together, for the fate of Snow lies in the success of this lowly girl’s popularity and success in The Hunger Games.
What I loved about this novel is was Collins’ ability to have the readers root for Coriolanus, although most of us know how he will end up. The evolution of the character was well thought out and very surprising, and there was not a moment where I felt I actually knew what was going to happen. Also, there were so many correlations to the rest of the books, which I felt were great tie-ins. Furthermore, I felt it was intersting how see how different the games, the capitol, and the districts were at the time. I found myself quite shocked to learn how the games truly began, and why they were in fact called “The Hunger Games.”
I would give this novel a nine out of ten if I were to rate it only because I feel there were a few questions I was left with unanswered. I am not sure if Suzanne Collins is planing on writing a sequel to this prequel, but I have the feeling she may not. I absolutely recommend this book to those who already read the rest of Hunger Games series. Perhaps one could make sense of all in this book without reading the others first, but I feel that the significance of much that occurs in the other books can be more appreciated when reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes after the rest of them. If you are haven’t already read the Hunger Games… what are you doing?! I suggest purchasing or borrowing a copy as soon as humanely possible.
I hope this review encourages you to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, becasue I highly recommend it to all YA book lovers out there. Feel free to share your opinions with me about it too, but be careful not to spoil the story please! Thanks for reading.