6 Degrees | Elizabeth Is Missing

6 Degrees of Separation is a meme invented by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. A different book is chosen each month, and then you link six additional books in a chain based on various connections of your choosing. Sounds fun, right?!

 

Elizabeth Is MissingMay’s chain kicks off with Elizabeth is Missing, which I haven’t read. My extensive research revealed this is Emma Healey’s debut novel. Another debut novel I read and loved last month was Our Endless Numbered Days.

 

 

 

Our Endless Numbered DaysOur Endless Numbered Days  is a stunning debut novel about a young girl, named Penny, who is stolen away by her father to a secluded cabin in the woods where they live for several years, after him telling her every one else in the world has died. Penny has some messed up parents – as does Mac, the fiesty red-head from Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet series.

 

 

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)Nothing but high-brow literature here, folks! Honestly though, I’ve read nothing else by Nora Roberts, but for some reason this series just does it for me. Each book follows a different member of an all-female friend group, who also run a wedding business together. This group includes a photographer, florist, baker, and planner. What is the one group member missing, you ask? But, a DJ, playing everyone’s favorite songs! (Wow, am I reaching here).

 

A Little LifeA song that comes to mind (although, can’t say I’ve ever heard it at a wedding) is “Hey, Jude.” Jude, of course, reminds me of the main protagonist of A Little Lifewhich I’m about 100 pages into at this point, so NO SPOILERS! I’ve heard this book is fixing to make me cry… A LOT…

 

 

The Time Traveler's WifeI’m not a big crier, in general, but the last book I can remember making me well up a bit is The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have vivid memories of my then-boyfriend-now-husband waiting for me to finish this book before going to a movie, and him being flabbergasted by my tears. Although, now, I can’t remember anything at all about this time travel book….

 

 

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Another book revolving around time travel is Outlander, in which honeymooner Claire touches a rock (or something), and gets thrown back in time and falls for Jaime, a Scottish warrior, and has some sexy times.

 

 

 

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1)Another first-book-in-a-series-that-had-a-lot-of-sex-but-just-didn’t-do-it-for-me, and thus, I won’t be be continuing on with the series anytime soon is The Bronze Horseman. This book involves Tatiana, and her forbidden love for Alexander, set against the backdrop of WWII, in Leningrad, Russia.

 

 

Can’t say this is the best chain I’ve ever done, but what can a gal do, sometimes ya just don’t got it. My chain links, as follows: Debut > Messed Up Parents > Songs > Crying > Time Travel > Um, Sexy Times? OR wait, First-In-A-Series-I-Won’t-Continue.

 

Check out Annabel’s chain here, and Emma’s chain here. Link yours in the comments below, so I can take a looksie!

 

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post, and it’s good to be back! This week’s topic is something not often highlighted here in happy-reading-book-land… books I WON’T ever read. This list is a mix of tried and failed, classics, and just because I don’t wannas. Also, I could only come up with 8 books I could fairly confidently say I would *NEVER read. (*Never is quite a long time, and who knows what I’ll want to do with myself when I’m 80!)

 

A Brief History of Seven Killings   War and Peace   Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)   The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

The A Brief History of Seven Killings refusal is just about me being bitter regarding its domination in the Tournament of Books earlier this year. I didn’t get to it then, and don’t think I ever really need to make it a priority. War and Peace,  because TOO LONG. I read Outlander awhile ago, and it was good enough, but not so much that I feel the need to read 18 other books (okay, maybe just 9 at this point) about the just so-so characters. I attempted The Lord of the Rings in college, and just couldn’t get into it. That one’s a maybe someday, but not today… or tomorrow… or next year.

 

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)   Ulysses   Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic, #7)   The Complete Wheel of Time

Lair of Dreams, is the sequel (or next in the series, not really sure) to The Diviners, which I really didn’t enjoy very much at all. Ulysses… no thanks. I actually really love Sophie Kinsella’s stand-alones, but never got into her Shopaholic books. Despite that, I’ve read all the previous books in the series, but have since given up on ever discovering any redeeming qualities in the main character, Becky Bloomwood, and will not be reading Shopaholic to the Stars. Lastly, I love me some epic fantasy, but now, and likely nor will I ever, have the desire to commit to a 14 book series. Plus, I’ve heard the Wheel of Time series isn’t even that amazing, so I’ll have to take a pass on this one.

 

Feel free to show me some hate if you disagree with my choices, and convince me to give it a second look!

 

A Thought on Hypocrisy | Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus Purple Hibiscusby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

The Facts:

  • Adichie is a Nigerian author, and has written one short story collection and three novels, of which Purple Hibiscus is her first, published in 2003.
  • She also did a widely popular (and AMAZING) Ted Talks, which was later published as a written essay entitled, We Should All Be Feminists. This is something everyone should read, if you haven’t already. It’s very short, but packs a huge punch.
  • I think a lot of people have read her other novels, and less seem to have read this debut novel. Reading an author’s works in order isn’t always something I think about, but for some reason, I just really wanted to read Purple Hibiscus before getting to her other stuff. Definitely glad I did!

 

Synopsis:

Kambili and Jaja are teenaged siblings growing up in Enugu, Nigeria, and are part of a wealthy family. Their father runs a successful newspaper, as well as several prosperous factories, and is well respected in the community. He was converted to Christianity via missionaries as a younger man, and has since turned away from Nigerian culture and custom, deeming all those who don’t believe heretical, including his own father. The novel continues to unfold, as Kambili and Jaja travel outside their home town to stay with their aunt, where they discover a different way of life from the one they are used to.

 

Non-Spoiler Review:

First off, I would love for Adichie to write a memoir, however I feel like we get snippets of her experiences here and there throughout her books, which can hold me over for now – hint, hint. She clearly takes inspiration from her own life, as much of this story occurs in her home town. Likewise, Americanah is about a girl who moves from Nigeria to the United States to pursue her education, which Adichie also has done.

Purple Hibiscus is simply and beautifully written, and tells the story from Kambili’s point of view. She is a smart, scared, and stifled young woman, tip toeing her way through life, trying not to upset the precarious balance in her household. She, and her brother both, undergo great changes in their outlook on life and their attitudes towards their own family throughout the progression of this story.

Two themes which resonate with me in this book are those of hypocrisy in religion, as well as the idea of leading a double life. You learn early on in reading, that Kambili and Jaja’s father, whom they affectionately refer to as “Papa,” is a bit of a religious zealot, sacrificing just about everything for the sake of his religious beliefs. He is abusive towards his family in a myriad of ways, and tyrannical about upholding religious law and his children being “the best” in all they do. However, his behavior at home is hidden away, and overshadowed by his outpouring of religious speak and the abundant financial support he provides for members within his church community. On one hand, you see the exterior of this picture perfect family, with a successful father, doting wife, and well-disciplined, smart children; while on the other, inside the walls of their home, only resides deep-seeded fear and well-kept secrets.

All I can say is, if this is Adichie’s first novel, I can’t even WAIT to read Americanahwhich I’ll hopefully be getting to later this month to keep up with the ladies over at The Socratic Salon. Adichie is clearly brilliant, and I think provides a unique and important perspective on life in general. Although this story takes place in Nigeria, a place I’ve never been, the themes are so powerful and relatable to my own existence. I feel it’s especially amazing when a book can teach me something external to my life experiences, and yet also affect me on a truly personal level.

 

Rating:     [4.5/5 stars]

 

If You Want More:

  • I agree with Max‘s Goodreads review here – and Kambili’s cousin Amaka, was also one of my favorite characters!
  • Curled Up With A Good Book’s review here, is quite a bit more spoilery, so beware of that, but does provide a nice discussion on the abuse of power, and how the political atmosphere of Nigeria at the time reflects that of the family.
  • 1book1review‘s thoughts on the writing and the characters, as well as her conflict over the ending, in her video here.

 

| Purple Hibiscus | Algonquin Books | 2003 | paperback | purchased |

 

 

Sunday Post | April 26th – May 2nd

In Real Life:

  • I feel like I spent half the week recovering from the crazy busy fun of last weekend… it’s a bitch getting old 😉
  • We did a ridiculous amount of yard work this weekend… I have so many plans for the exterior of our house, but I don’t exactly have the greenest of the thumbs. I somehow managed to smother a succulent to death, which I thought were pretty impossible to kill off… apparently not so much.
  • Lastly, and horribly, my dog chipped her tooth somehow, and now has to undergo general anesthesia to obtain a dental X-ray, and to determine what intervention needs to occur (i.e. a sealant vs extraction vs root canal). I’m pretty upset about this, because I was hoping to avoid any general anesthesia events for the foreseeable future, and have always taken such good care of her teeth for that very reason. Ah, well… It’s all going down next month, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it again :/

 

In Case You Missed It:

 

Currently Reading:

Girl at War: A NovelGirl at War, by Sara Novic

A couple of trustworthy bloggers have read this now, and named it one of their recent favorites… and I was lucky enough (thanks to Monika!) to snag a copy. I have a feeling I’m going to fly through it!

 

 

Cloud AtCloud Atlaslasby David Mitchell

Going to try and plow through the middle bits here, and make some more progress with it this week. I took a break and read a few other books, so it’s time to get back at it!

 

 

Currently (Still) Listening:

How to Build a Girl

How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran

I’m nearing the halfway mark, and am not sure what to think of this yet. Parts are really funny, it’s full of great one-liners, and I’m loving the narration. But… something’s just a little off for me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it… we’ll see how the rest shapes out.

 

 

Currently Watching:

Gilmore Girls (season 1)

I’m always re-watching this show. It’s in the constant rotation, along with Friends.

 

 

This weekend, the weather was finally perfect here in Wisco! Nice weather is one of the things I most highly anticipate every year, and I am hoping to enjoy some more outside time this week. What are you most looking forward to this coming week?

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

 

 

To Be Read | May 2015

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that April was a little off for me on the reading front, and I definitely didn’t get to everything I was hoping to read. Hoping May will be better, and I have a lot of good (I hope) books coming down the pipeline for me. Also, Bout of Books 13 is later this month, and my work schedule is light during that time, so consider this my statement of intention to participate!

Cloud Atlas    Ruby    The Martian    How to Build a Girl

First off, a few books I was hoping to get to last month, and now am hoping to get to this month! Number one on this list should come as no surprise – Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I WILL finish it hopefully early on this month! Ruby is a book I’ve heard a lot about, and that it’s absolutely, devastatingly heart breaking.

I’ve really been wanting to get to The Martian for awhile now, and think it’ll be right down my alley. I’ve heard it’s funny and exciting, and that the main character is a pure delight – all things I love! Lastly, I’m currently listening to the audiobook of How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran and am only a little ways into it. I’m really liking the narrator so far, and am interested to see where it goes.

I have a few ARCs to get to this month which I’m super excited about, and will talk more about those closer to release dates. Lastly, I’ve been trialing the subscription service Scribd (not an affiliate link), and will see where my whims take me in the audiobook format.

 

What is the book you’re most looking forward to getting to this month? Will you be participating in Bout of Books 13?

 

 

 

What I Read | April 2015

This has been kind of a slumpy reading month for me. I mean, I still read 5 books and listened to 3 audiobooks, but still… I sort of sucked it up at the group reading projects this month, having completely fallen off the band wagon for #YearOfCosmere. I will get back to Brandon Sanderson’s works eventually, as I loved Mistbornbut I’m just not into it right now.

Additionally, I began feeling all the self inflicted pressure to power read Cloud Atlas, and it’s just been super slow going. There are parts I’m LOVING, and other parts are proving to be more challenging. Obviously, I haven’t finished it yet, and am dreadfully behind on the readalong… so am just going to extend it into May, and will (maybe) post on sections when I get to them, and for sure do a full review once I’m done. I don’t think anyone else – except this lovely (as far as I can tell) – has finished it either… so it’s allllll good. Right, guys?

 

In case you missed my What I Read (So Far) In April post, you can find it here where I discuss the books I read earlier this month, shown below.

We Should All Be Feminists   The Girl on the Train   The Children's Crusade   The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

 

Now on to the rest of the month!

 

BOOKS:

 

Our Endless Numbered Days  Our Endless Numbered Daysby Claire Fuller (2015)

I did a non-spoiler book review on this gem earlier this week, which you can re-visit here. In short, Peggy is a young girl who is secreted away by her father to live in an isolated cabin in the woods, after telling her everyone else in the world has died. [4.5/5 stars]

 

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark   The Life and Death of Sophie Starkby Anna North (2015)

Sophie Stark is a girl whose story we follow from late high school, up through adulthood. She is not your typical character, and does not live her life according to anyone’s plan but her own. Overall, this book was a fine enough read, but didn’t blow me away. A more in depth review to come in a few weeks closer to its release date. [3/5 stars].

 

AUDIOBOOKS:

 

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)   The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater (2013)

I fell into a Raven Cycle series rabbit hole and set up camp. This is the second book, and is easily my favorite of the series so far. The story revolves around a girl named Blue, who comes from a family of psychics, but is not gifted with visions herself. She does, however, with only a touch, strengthen others’ powers/gifts/whatever. She befriends this group of prep school boys, who have been on the hunt for an old lost king who will grant a wish to the finder. I don’t want to say say too much, but some excellent character development happens in this book, particularly with Ronan, who is undoubtedly my favorite character. It’s a hard distinction though, because they’re all so great! [4.5/5 stars]

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)   Blue Lily, Lily Blueby Maggie Stiefvater (2014)

Keeping along the same marathoning streak, this is book three of the Raven Cycle series. This installment has all the feels, and all the shipping (but I won’t say of what pairs – yes, plural). A word on the audiobook narrator – at first he (Will Patton) really bothered me, most specifically because I didn’t like a male voice for Blue’s POV chapters. But I pretty quickly got over this. I especially love the way he does Ronan’s voice, and makes him all brooding like, which in turn (almost) makes up for the bit-too-much of somewhat random singing in this one. This series is super addicting, and I couldn’t even believe I needed to wait until September for the last book, and now, just this week, the horrible news has come out that the book release is being pushed to FEBRUARY 2016!!! I just can’t even. [4/5 stars]

 

How did April treat you, reading or otherwise? Any #CloudAtlasAlong peeps hanging in there with me?

 

 

Daring Debut | Our Endless Numbered Days

Our Endless Numbered Days   Our Endless Numbered Daysby Claire Fuller (2015)

 

The Facts:

  • Claire Fuller is a gem, without a doubt. With her Twitter chat, as well as comments made to readers in The Socratic Salon discussion…. love it! Both divulge interesting “secrets” regarding her inspiration, process, and her view on readers, which I found fascinating.
  • I see great things in her future, and will definitely pick up whatever she comes out with next.

 

Synopsis:

Peggy is a young girl with some interesting parents. Her mother is a semi-famous concert pianist, who robbed the cradle a bit in marrying her stand-in page turner. Her father, said page-turner, is a bit of a dreamer, and also a hard core Survivalist. One day, he whisks Peggy away from their home to live in an isolated cabin in the woods. And then some stuff happens.

 

(Really hard to execute) Non-Spoiler Review:

I will start by saying this… hype doesn’t always ruin a book for me, and certainly didn’t in this case. SO many bloggers I respect had read and raved about this, and I also participated in the Twitter chat with Claire Fuller (link above) when I was about half way through, so the hype was real, folks. This book SO did not disappoint.

It starts out pretty slow going, and just quietly lays the ground work in the character development department. So much of the story seems so unbelievable…. and yet, completely believable in the way everything was pristinely executed. The chapters alternate between Peggy’s time in the woods, and the time years later after she has returned home. This creates a dynamic push and pull of the story, where you get to see the “before” and the “after”… but of what…? You’ll have to read it to find out – mic drop.

This book is SO HARD to talk about without spoilers – accidental or otherwise, so I’m going to leave this relatively short and sweet. It’s a beautiful book, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, as well as enough ambiguity to allow the reader to fill in the holes with one’s own ideas. Everyone should read this book.

 

Rating:     [4.5/5 stars]

 

If You Want More:

  • Monika found it a home run as well, and provides a few more details here.
  • Loved Julianne’s review here, where she excellently describes Fuller’s writing and pacing of the story.

 

What say you, readers? Does this brief review do anything for you? Sway you to take a looksie?

 

| Our Endless Numbered Days | Tin House Books | 2015 | paperback | library |