More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young women, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today.
“Born out of anger,” the essays in The Bitch in the House chronicled the face of womanhood at the beginning of a new millennium. Now those funny, smart, passionate contributors—today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content—capture the spirit of postfeminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology.
Having aged into their forties, fifties, and sixties, these “bitches”—bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists—are back . . . and better than ever. In The Bitch Is Back, Cathi Hanauer, Kate Christensen, Sarah Crichton, Debora Spar, Ann Hood, Veronica Chambers, and nineteen other women offer unique views on womanhood and feminism today. Some of the “original bitches” (OBs) revisit their earlier essays to reflect on their previous selves. All reveal how their lives have changed in the intervening years—whether they stayed coupled, left marriages, or had affairs; developed cancer or other physical challenges; coped with partners who strayed, died, or remained faithful; became full-time wage earners or homemakers; opened up their marriages; remained childless or became parents; or experienced other meaningful life transitions.
As a “new wave” of feminists begins to take center stage, this powerful, timely collection sheds a much-needed light on both past and present, offering understanding, compassion, and wisdom for modern women’s lives, all the while pointing toward the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.
Release date: August 30, 2016
I graciously received a ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer. After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.
The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.
When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.
Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common—but not for Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers when an internship for Andover’s resident super villain allows her to work alongside her longtime crush Abby and helps her unravel a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.
Received An Advanced Reader Copy in Exchange for An Honest Review.
Neighbors and best friends Paul and Felicia hoped they’d be friends forever. But as they change, so does their friendship. She shouldn’t have kissed her…He shouldn’t have liked it. Starting school changed everything.
I am always excited for the new mix of characters and stories GL Tomas graciously share with us with their books because I genuinely feel like I’m glancing in at the lives of real people who you can connect with each and every time. Paul and Felicia from The Unforgettables were no exception to the rule.
Whatsmore, reading anything by them always sparks inspiration in me to dive into another new world. Particularly when I’m in a reading slump. So, when I heard about their newest book about two superhero/comic booking loving friends who decided to give themselves alter egos and pair up as a formidable duo, naturally I jumped and squealed at the chance like any normal person would. What I loved so much about this book was the fact that the main characters Felicia and Paul were nearly polar opposites. Aside from their mutual love for comics and superheroes’, they weren’t that similar, but I feel like that is what made them work.
Paul—the social butterfly, who thrived on crowds and at social events, and Felicia—the quiet, smart and observant killer soccer player, who was completely content to forever walk the line of solidarity for the rest of her life (or at least until she finished high school). The two came together in such a beautiful, awkward teenage shuffle.
What if someone you love gambled on her life?
Games are serious business on Salaria, and the stakes are high. When Kia’s older sister, in a desperate bid to erase their family debt, loses the game and forfeits her freedom, Kia is determined to rescue her. Disguised as a Salarian, Kia becomes Idaro in order to move freely in this dangerous new culture. When she arrives on Salaria, she learns it’s a world where a few key players control the board, and the pawns are ready to revolt. Kia joins the conflict, risking everything to save her sister. As if she doesn’t already have enough to handle, Agatha, the maddeningly calm and unpredictable Select who lives life both by-the-book and off-the-cuff shows up to help, along with handsome Norio, a strong-willed desert girl with her own agenda, and a group of Salarian teens earning their rite of passage in the treacherous desert game.
What can an interpreter and former thief possibly do in the midst of all this to keep the people she loves alive?
Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”
At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.
But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.
“Those who like Dexter will love John Lago” (Booklist), and in Shane Kuhn’s sequel to The Intern’s Handbook, readers will be rooting for this smart, witty antihero to come out on top.
A story of love and redemption, set in Trinidad, that exposes the fault lines in Indo-Muslim culture. Behrooz is brought to a familial complex, The Yard, to live with a devout and extended family, where he struggles to belong. He forms a childish alliance with Maya, a wilful and rebellious girl, and his guardian’s daughter. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most righteous” blow of all?
So, I’ve moved a lot in the past six and a half years, but none of those experiences were enough to prepare me for last month’s move.😐 Not only did I have to pack and split up all of my stuff for two different destinations (and make multiple trips over the course of three days). Not to mention settling in with a new dog whose internal setting seems to be permanently notched at crazy and wild. Whatsmore, following the move, I unfortunately was put in a position where I simply didn’t have the space or time to sit down and enjoy the books I put aside and planned to read for August.
I was so stressed and upset that I didn’t have time to read that when I was finally able to sit down and dive into the stack my stack of books, I found that I really only wanted to immediately get started with certain ones. It was in that moment that I realized it was time to stop doing the #2016TBRpile reading challenge and the #2016audiobookchallenge. While I enjoyed finally getting to that large stack of books that have been just sitting on my shelf, not all of the books were making me particularly giddy or excited to get through them.
Not like the books I’ve read for the tours I’ve been apart of or the books authors have actually reached out to me with and asked for a review. And reading should be fun. It is fun! Reading the material and books that only I want to was the main reason I began book blogging in the first place and I’d like to get back to that feeling of excitement and thrill of sharing great stories and authors with all you lovely people ^–^.
Of the books I’ve read/started that I’ve enjoyed and had so much fun getting into in August were:
Does My Head Look Big In This? by: Randa Abdel Fattah
True Colors Of Betrayal by: JC Kang ( Book #3 of Daughter of The Dragon Throne) Even though I’m only over the half way mark with it, I think this might be my favorite of the series. It’s soo good.
The Salarian Desert Series by: J. A. McLachlan
The Yard by: Aliyyah Eniath (upcoming tour book)
Just to name a few. I’ve also read a few kids books with my cousin now that school has started back up, but I don’t really think that they count for this particular list.🙂
All in all, Willow and I are finally feeling more settled and I’m already starting to feel like my natural, reader self ^__^ Let the wave of book reviews commence!
Thanks so much for reading and sticking around with me.
Until the next post (very soon),
A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.
Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.
In the course of creating her own Big Thing—this book—Korkki explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Korkki also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth.
Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose.
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?
Happy Saturday, Fellow Book Lovers:
I think I might have mentioned this before a little while back, but I will be moving (again) come the beginning of August. With the addition of my darling little pup this past month, preparing to move and packing? I am beyond grateful I was able to stick to the reading schedule I made and consume all of the stories that I did this month. In addition to the list below, I also tackled Sorcerer To The Crown by: Zen Cho, Hammer Of Witches by Shana Mlawski and Dragon Charmer by J.C. Kang
Something new I also did this month was space out my reviews instead of waiting until the last week to post them all =) And you know what? It makes things a whole lot easier! Go-figure. I’m going to try to stick to this new method if time (and the puppy) allows me to. Also, with my tablet still out of commission, I will have to wrap up my #RockmyTBR pile challenge until I buy more books as the others I was hopping to read for that particular challenge are locked away on my tablet. It isn’t a complete lost, seeing as how I’ve just joined another reading challenge in June ^_^.
I think that just about covers for all of my updates. Now, on with the reading challenges review wrap-up.
Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.
By: Sandra Brown
Rating: 1 star not a favorable review
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Released Date: August 18th 2015Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?
By: Jamie Reed
Rating: 5 stars
Released Date: December 24th 2012
After falling for a Cambion and then turning into one herself, Samara never thought her senior year could get any more complicated. The gaps in her memory, the mysterious deaths and the constant danger that threaten her once quiet town have a common thread: Tobias, a demon with a lot of enemies. He’s also Samara’s other soul mate and he’s suddenly disappeared. But Samara isn’t the only one who wants to find Tobias. His enemies are getting closer and their plans for retribution could mean deadly consequences for Samara and her true soul mate, Caleb.
Genre: YA, Romance, GLBTQ, Contemporary,Culture, Realistic Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fiction
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Dragon Charmer (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of the Dragon Throne Book #2)
By: J.C. Kang
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy/Adventure Fiction
Released Date: June 1st 2016
Review Copy Received From Author In Exchange For An Honest Review.
Princess Kaiya has a voice that could charm a dragon, but her homeland’s ambitious lords consider her little more than a singing fool. With the Dragon Throne of Cathay at stake, her status as the last unmarried child of the ailing emperor overshadows her musical talent.
Potential suitors see her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her gravestone. Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled foreign prince who first inspired her to sing.
Conspiracies eat away at the empire from the inside, while aggressive neighbors wait to consume what’s left. With her brothers unwilling or incapable of leading, Kaiya faces tasks worthy of an imperial princess: defuse escalating conflicts between rival lords. Negotiate peace with foreign powers. Beguile a dragon.
The magic of her voice is raw and unproven, but Kaiya finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier. An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer. She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown with a dragon who has no intentions of being tricked by twice.
By: Zen Cho
Narrator: Jenny Sterlin
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Released Date: September 1, 2015
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.
But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
By: Shana Mlawski
Rating: 3.8 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Religion, YA, Fantasy, & Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Lee & Low/ Tu Books
Released Date: May 12th 2015
Baltasar Infante, a bookmaker’s apprentice living in 1492 Spain, can weasel out of any problem with a good story. But when he awakes one night to find a monster straight out of the stories peering at him through his window, he’s in trouble that even he can’t talk his way out of.
Soon Baltasar is captured by a mysterious arm of the Spanish Inquisition, the Malleus Maleficarum, that demands he reveal the whereabouts of Amir al-Katib, a legendary Moorish sorcerer who can bring myths and the creatures within them to life. Baltasar doesn’t know where the man is—or that he himself has the power to summon genies and golems.
Baltasar must escape, find al-Katib, and defeat a dreadful power that may destroy the world. As Baltasar’s journey takes him into uncharted lands on Columbus’s voyage westward, he learns that stories are more powerful than he once believed them to be—and much more dangerous.
So, I only have about an hour or so to get this post up and running before I’m off chasing the new pup around.. Which means my reviews might be shorter than expected, but also yay for less reading? Regardless, I have three new reviews for you below, as well as a reminder about the other book reviews I’ve posted this month: Wander This World by: GL Tomas, The Mother by Yvvette Edwards & Delilah by Angela Hunt. Now, on with the rest of the reviews.
Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.
When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit …strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.But Harper’s not crazy. Her “death” has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.
Publisher: Broad Winged Books
Review copy provided by Diverse Books.
Heartbroken but not alone, Denny Silver finds her body overtaken by an ancient force so powerful she risks losing herself completely to its dangerous agenda. As if hunting and killing demons wasn’t hard enough, now the demons are after an innocent, young girl whose Wiccan womb seems the perfect incubator for their hell spawn. Like Denny can just stand back and let that happen.
She can barely control herself or her demon these days, so how in the hell is she supposed to protect the world? Add to all this the fact that her brother now faces the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit, her mother is a vegetable, and her little sister has been removed from her protection, and—yeah—it’s been one hell of a fucked up year for Denny.
Desperate, she seeks help from the last place she expected to look: the local coven. She knows their help comes with a price tag. Will it be too high to pay? Can they help her level the playing field in a supernatural world bent on destroying all she holds dear? Find out as Denny and her merry band of supernatural rejects attempt to save Savannah from certain doom in Demon Within.
This audiobook was amazing.🙂
The Wrath And The Dawn
By: Renee Ahdieh
Narrator(s): Arianna Delawari
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: YA Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Cultural Retellings, Mythology, Magic
Publisher: Listening Library
Format: Unabridged Audiobook
Length: 10hrs and 38 mins
Released Date: May 12th 2015
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Rating: 3 stars
Publisher: Bethany House
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.
When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits
Happy Friday, Peeps! ^_^
So, I have an exciting post for you all today. On September 21, 2016, the F/F fantasy DAYBREAK RISING will be arriving to an e-readers near you from Torquere Press! Today, we get a first look at the amazing cover, designed by the amazing artist Kris Norris over at Torquere.
Here’s a bit about DAYBREAK RISING:
22-year-old Celosia Brennan spent sixteen years being raised as the heroine her nation needed. A dual-touched Elementalist with both the power to conjure fire and see glimpses of her future, Celosia was the best hope at overthrowing the oppressive Council in a mission called Daybreak, an attempt to secure justice for the massacre of her people and so many others. There’s just one problem: she couldn’t. Celosia broke down after realizing the enormity of her task, and is struggling to make things right while the blood of her fellows stains her hands.
Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally-gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—all except for a powerful ice Elementalist named Ianthe who believes in second chances.
With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not only her country, but their entire world.
So here it is…The moment we’ve been waiting for…
By: GL Tomas
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Rebellious Valkyrie Press
Release Date: May 7th 2016
Some people are just attracted to darkness…
Penley thought he had his life figured out. So why does his world turn upside down when Melanie Blue walks back in it?
Melanie’s lived a thousand lives–possibly taken even more. Targeted by serial killer, she’ll find she has more to worry about than resisting own her nature.
When Penley and Melanie’s path collide, they’ll find that want and need often lead to the same thing.
Will Melanie lose everything when she meets her match?
Like many of the New Adult narratives by GL Tomas, Wander This World offers unique and fresh character perspectives that go against expectations of the genre in the best way. For instance, an unconventional vampire, a creepy and (almost) darker character other than said vampire—that’s learned to curb her blood lust with mint chocolate—and Doctor Who.
I mean, need I say more?
Well, since you insist, I loved how this book had this dark and ominous undertone throughout the book that was entirely separate/independent from that fact one of the main characters is a vampire. Presented in both first and third person perspective, I think every reader will feel the horror/fear factor when it comes to the sadist, serial killer in this book. I mean I almost felt bad for him when Melanie turned on him—almost.
By: Yvvette Edwards
Genre:Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
From the critically acclaimed author of A Cupboard Full of Coats comes a provocative novel of a mother enduring the loss of her child, illuminating some of the most important and troubling issues of our time.
Marcia’s husband, Lloydie, expresses his tender love for his wife each morning by preparing a cup of tea and setting it by her bedside. This routine was part of the wonderful, secure life they had built, complete with a brilliant and handsome sixteen-year-old son, Ryan.
Then the unimaginable happens, and in a single moment Marcia is stripped clean of everything she had presumed was hers for keeps. Ryan, not the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife, is brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she is forced to carry the weight of the family’s pain. She has to assume the role of supporter for her inconsolable husband, who has distanced himself and created a secret life. She must also bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court alone for the trial of her son’s killer, Tyson, another teenage boy. As the trial takes apart her son’s life and reassembles it in front of strangers, Marcia, always certain of Ryan’s virtues, finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about her son’s death and of Tyson’s life.
The Mother is a moving portrait of love, tragedy, and survival—and of the aftershocks from a momentary act of cruel violence that transforms the lives of everyone it touches.
It only took about twenty-four hours to get through this book, but a full hour to compartmentalize all of my thoughts. Broken up in a manner of a few days, the reader follows Marcia Williams’ first person narration, as she attends the trial of the boy accused of stabbing and killing her sixteen year old son, Ryan, whom it is perceptibly clear she loved dearly.
The effects of the first person perspective in this book are truly ones that that will grab a hold of the reader from page one. The pain, disconnection, emptiness and pure desperation Marcia William’s character emits at the need to know and understand the reasons behind her son’s abrupt death were almost crippling.
Nonetheless, this book was sad and powerful in such a low-key and abrasive way. Beside the context of this story, I really enjoyed the themes that woven into the narrative: class prejudice, racial stereotyping, parental methods, “suburban” vs. “urban” life styles and neighborhoods, gang involvement and the loss of a loved one from illegal weapon possession.
So, I realize that I’m a little late to the Diversity On The Shelf 2016 book challenge here, but I’m not new to the game😉.
I’ve already read about 12 or 13 diverse books this year (by authors of color), so I’m aim for the 4th Shelf: 19-24 books to complete this year. And based on the bit of research I’ve done so far, I’m going to have to list a few books I know I can get my hands on ie: Audiobooks and Physical copies from Amazon, thriftbooks and the library as my tablet (where I read most, if not all of my ebooks) has almost officially broken up with me and refuses to allow me access to all of the ebooks it’s holding captive -___- The rules for this challenge are simple: read books by and/or about people of color throughout the year to encourage other readers to have a more diverse reading experience and to support diversity in the publishing industry. Quoting challenge creator Akilah, over at The Englishist
And for the Read Diverse Books Year-Round, (which just started this month and is a variation of the first challenge), I’ve made a list of ten options that are subsidiaries of this particular challenge just below. And while these two reading challenges go hand-in-hand, the books of this #readdiversebooks2016 will have a few cross overs, but my ultimate goal is to stick to and only count books that have been written by/are about people of color, QPOC/LGBT characters books and characters with disabilities.
May, for me, was a pretty good book month based on the material I got through. And just in case you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out my recent non-blog or reading challenge book review posts for, The Fold by: Peter Clines & Game of Fear by: Gledé Browne Kabongo. Two very different books with unique twists entirely their own.
I’d also like to mention that besides my #2016readingchallenge books, I will be reading The Mother by: Yvvette Edwards for a June 15th blog tour date and Wander This World by: GL Tomas. (I love these girls)🙂. Now without further ranting, I present to you the reviews for this month’s reading challenge books.
Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.
Review Copy Provided by: Xpresso Tours
A desperate act, an explosive secret, and a diabolical enemy—all part of a treacherous game, with no limits.
Overachieving good girl Abbie Cooper has her future all planned out. As senior year at her elite private school kicks off, she has one simple goal: get into the Ivy League. But at St. Matthews Academy, nothing is ever simple. The pressure is overwhelming, the secrets are dirty, and the games are wicked. Abbie has a dirty secret—one that could destroy her chances of getting admitted into Princeton, and the lives of those closest to her.
One morning, she discovers a note in her locker with the warning, “I know what you did”. Then a photo arrives in the mail. It captures her most shameful deed—the shocking blunder she can never erase, in glorious detail. Someone is out to ruin her, but who and why? The answer lies with the sender of the photo, a mysterious girl known only as The Avenger. For a price, she assures Abbie her secret will remain safe. There’s only one problem: The Avenger may not exist at all. If Abbie doesn’t uncover her true identity before acceptance decisions are made, it’s game over…
“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”
STEP INTO THE FOLD.
IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE.
The folks in Mike Erikson’s small New England town would say he’s just your average, everyday guy. And that’s exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he’s chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.
That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.
The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.
Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.
As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.
A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
By: Mindy Kaling
Narrator(s): Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels, & B.J. Novak
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor, Autobiography
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Format: Unabridged audiobook
Length: 4hrs and 57 mins
Released Date: September 15th 2015
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Publication date: October 30th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Love is a taboo, a mere fantasy— foreign, unreachable, and dangerous.
Raised in a society where women have no rights, seventeen-year-old Thia Clay holds little hope for a bright future. When her parents sell her into marriage to elite member William Fox, Thia slowly gives in to despair. William is nothing but a cruel, selfish young man with no other interest than to serve his own.
Born illegally and forced to hide from the authorities his entire life, nineteen-year-old Chi Richards is an active member of the Underground—a rebellious group seeking to overthrow the government.
Chi only has one goal—to rescue his parents from the work camp they were forced into.
Meeting Thia was never part of the plan, and neither was falling in love with her.
If caught in their forbidden relationship, Thia and Chi could face a death sentence, and when devastating secrets surface from Chi’s past, Thia has to rely on her instincts to make a choice that could save her or destroy her forever.
Author: S.E. Smith
Voyage Of The Defiance: Breaking Free Pt.1
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Length of Production: 7hrs & 56 mins
Year of Publication: 12-15-15
Rating: 1.5 stars
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Copy received graciously from Audiobookjukebox in exchange for an honest review.
An act of defiance that will either kill her or change her life forever…
Sixteen year old Makayla Summerlin enjoyed one thing in her crazy, messed-up existence: hanging with her friends at school. Her life is uprooted when she suddenly finds herself forced to live with the grandfather she barely remembers.
One act of defiance will change her life forever when she sets sail in her grandfather’s old sailboat after she has trouble adjusting to her new home. On a journey that will challenge everything she has ever believed about herself, Makayla must overcome her fears if she, and a surprising stowaway, are to survive.
So for this part of the Stages titled You & I, I have incorporated three elements: the passing of a loved one, a friendship ending and a romantic relationship coming to an end. This installment ties in with I Want Out, but on a slightly different level because of the other perspectives included within this poem as well as the dual perspectives You & I offers to the reader.
You & I (Pt. 2 Of Stages)
You’re the only person I let see me cry
You’re the only one who stays up late talking with me on the phone when I can’t sleep
I can remember when we said our goodbyes on that stale, hot August day
I can remember the way the light in your eyes faded as you slipped away
You’re the first person I want to share my good news with
You’re the only one who understands my jokes with just a look
I want to stop you, chase you down, and make you change your mind
I want to go back to hanging out in the park and talking on the porch at night
So, it occurred to me the other day (perusing through all of the e-Books on my tablet) and really realized that I have quiet a few books. Not including the ton I have on my bookshelf.
This fact made me really happy because for once the amount of fictional reading material I owned out numbered the non-fiction, informational and academic based material I have.
Likewise, I thought it’d be fun to share a list of places that I get my books from, besides signing up to participate in book blog tours, being gifted books by authors themselves and being asked to review material.
My Top Three Places To Buy Physical Copies Of Books:
There is also of course the public library, but I live in a tiny suburban township. Which does have it’s own public library, but it’s slim pickings. I also know that B&N can be pretty pricey, but I remember when I asked for a B&N gift card for my birthday last year, I was able to get 7 books with the 50$ given to me.
How? You might be wondering. (I don’t. I’m not presuming to know what you’re thinking or that you’re thinking at all reading this.) Well, I waited a good month (haha, not even kidding) until B&N was having a big sale and went in to grab a few of the books I was waiting to buy and voilà.
What I love about Thriftbooks is that they offer older titles as well as several new ones, if you know when to look. Now, for those who do not know, Thriftbooks is a site that allows you to buy used books based on your preference of the book’s physical condition.
So as I mentioned, my birthday is early this month (next Monday, to be exact) and things have kind of been a bit hectic (what with Mother’s day being Sunday). This reading challenges post, along with the book reviews will be brief and straight to the point because who likes to read/hear me ramble all the time? (To the pair of hands in the back of this vacant imaginary auditorium, I thank you.😉 )
In all seriousness, I also thought I’d take the time to mention here that aside from the two (?) book tours I have scheduled for this month, I will be taking a break from book tour blogging for a while. Sadly, I’ve found that it’s taking too much effort to like a large majority of the books I have come across during the tours. Out of the 30 books I’ve read so far this year, I can name a handful (from blog tours) that were absolutely, full-stop fantastical.
Yes, I do enjoy the non-fictional, historical and comedy material better than general fiction and the romance/YA books, but I’ve been proven wrong a few times (and happily so) by a few romance/YA books this year. Now that I’ve just gotten back into the swing reading more fiction books, I’m desperate not to grow tired of the genre again.
So, from this point out, I will be exploring as many non-romantic centric books as possible, particularly with the books for my three reading challenges. Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.
By: Richelle Mead
Narrator(s): Kim Mai Guest
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance, Mythology
Publisher: Listening Library Audio
Format: Unabridged audiobook
Length: 8hrs & 18 mins
Released Date: November 10th 2015
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever….
Devastating tragedy puts 14-year-old high school freshman Marla Owens, on a fast-paced journey of survival, revival and coming of age. Driven by a force she can’t begin to understand and a burning need to find out the truth, she heads toward her mother’s home in North Dakota. She soon learns more about herself and her family than she could have ever imagined — her mother was royal heir to the powerful Skatian throne! And now the Skatian people need her to protect their world from those who wish to conquer it.
In a classic tale of good versus evil, set on Earth and beyond, a young girl fights to survive to become a young woman—and the reluctant queen of Skatia. Who can she trust? Will she be able to control her own immense abilities and justified anger to do what’s right? One thing’s for sure: Marla’s not in Texas anymore!
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult, Romance, Humor
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
This post is clearly a bit different than the normal ones, obviously, but I’ve been kind of in a weird limbo lately. I used to write a lot of poems in high school to help put things into perspective and I was struggling with a bit of raw emotions this month, creatively, professionally and personally, so I decided to go back to my roots, sort of speak.
My original goal was to keep all/any poems I wrote on my writer’s cafe page here, basically because the pieces are usually short, but since it’s a short series, I figured putting them here would be better. (Though I will still be posting them to my writer’s cafe page.)
There are a few parts to this collect and if it isn’t clear already, Stages deals with the different levels of separation. Not only romantic relationships, but familial ties and friendships. I hope you all enjoy it and take something from it or, at the very least are able to find some catharsis in it.
I Want Out (Pt.1 Of Stages)
I want out
Of this afflicting corrosion
Of this cage
Of these chains
Let me breathe
The fresh, brisk air of freedom
The wondrous curiosity of the future
The alluring excitement of adventure
Meet eight combat-injured men who sustained life-altering injuries. Read eight inspiring stories of heroism and the re-building of independent, productive and fulfilling lives after seemingly impossible circumstances.
This project looks at the struggles of these incredible men to reshape their lives after combat. It also sets these stories within the context of current veteran healthcare; injury, suicide, and disability statistics; and looks briefly at the impacts on the caregivers who support these men. Being face-to-face with combat-injured veterans has given me an insight that all Americans should have. Veterans of the Vietnam era began the process of opening our eyes to the grim realities that await veterans both psychologically and physically. These men’s stories show how much more we have to accomplish.
This book isn’t about war or politics – it is about figuring out what it takes to move forward AFTER the war. I wrote this book to raise awareness of what our warriors need most when they return, what the government does and doesn’t provide and why there is a high demand for private non-profits to fill the gaps. Make no mistake – we are in this period of recovery and rehabilitation for decades to come. It also introduces the non-profit organization Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station which has taken on the task of helping our combat-injured men and women make the daunting transition from military to civilian life. 100% of the proceeds benefit them in this much-needed labor of love.
It’s not about the war. It’s about the warrior.
100% of the proceeds benefit Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station.
Violet Ryan loves the delicious food she gets to eat on the reality shows she produces for The Food Channel. What she hates is her expanding waistline. Determined to drop the pounds, Violet hatches a plan to kick-start a fitness regimen. But when her determination isn’t enough to get her through even one intense group class without breaking down into tears, she knows she needs a new approach and possibly a new trainer—one with a lighter touch.
Grant Gibson has always managed to mix business with pleasure, but now this trainer by day, and Dominant by night, is bored. Bored and lonely. Even though he owns one of L.A.’s hottest private gyms, his personal life is sorely lacking. After his last submissive tried to kidnap his dog and the contents of his bank account, he’s in no hurry to take a new lover under his wing. Not until the voluptuous Violet falls into his lap.
She may be wary of his unorthodox approach of using sexual gratification as a reward, but even before her initial weigh-in Violet can’t seem to stay away from the sexy fitness god. She may have to let Grant show her there’s more than one way to get in shape…
**This story contains light acts of bondage and a feisty submissive who gives her Dominant a run for his money.**
Friends That Still… (Friends That Have Sex book #2) (+18 readers)
By: G. L. Tomas
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Interracial
Rating: 5 Stars
Release date: March 24th 2016
Teddy’s back in Miami with her mind made up. Live like it’s your last day. Love like it’s your last day.
The moment those steel-blue eyes gazed back into hers, there was no question. Asher wasn’t just the only one she wanted, but the only one she needed. This time around there would be no more room for regrets, but would they ever be more than friends that still…?
Picking up where we left off in book one, (F*THS) in this duology, we get caught up on Teddy and how her treatment in Minnesota has gone.
I really liked the focus and pace of the story this time around. Teddy was not only trying to make an actual effort to establish a life for her self and accomplish something like with school and working to pay for her tuition. I also liked that she seemed to stay focused on the real and important relationships in her life. i.e. Reggie and Asher.
That Thing Between Eli & Gwen
By: J.J. MCAVOY
Genre: Comedy, Romance, New Adult, Drama, Multicultural, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format: ARC ebook
Release date: April 21st 2016
Eli Davenport thinks he’s found the perfect woman to be his wife. She’s a doctor, like he is. She’s brilliant, like he is. And she’s wealthy, like he is.
Guinevere ‘Gwen’ Poe thinks her fiancé is the perfect man. He’s handsome, successful and he was her first…
But when Eli’s bride runs off with Gwen’s fiancée on his wedding day, they are left to pick up the broken pieces of each other..
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic, Epic Fantasy
Rating: 3.95/4 stars
Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.