2019: Week 16 Reading Roundup

Sunday.April.14 – Saturday.April.20

AKA: An incredible reading week!

FINISHED READING: 4

Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel García Márquez

​A relatively short tale about a 12-year-old girl bitten by a rabid dog. Although she shows no symptoms, she is sent away to a convent where she undergoes various exorcisms to “cure” her of the sickness. The language was a bit difficult for me but I did like the story (for the most part). A 36-year-old man falls in love with the little girl. Yeah. A whole lot of nope at the last 20% of the book. [3*]

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (#1) by Douglas Adams

​Ha! This book is weird but amazing. I can’t even summarize the plot. It’s too indescribable. There’s a mystery involving 2 ghosts, the fate of humanity, and a whole lot of science fiction. Funny and odd, just like the adaptation. [4*]


The Orange Girl
by Jostein Gaarder

​My goodness, this book! A 15-year-old boy reads a long-lost letter his father wrote to him shortly before he died 11 years prior. In it, the father spins a fairytale-like story about meeting the orange girl (the boy’s mother). This book is so therapeutic, that I was sobbing by the end. Because it’s not only about love, but about our very existence in the world. [4*]

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

​The life-story of our foreign-born U.S. Founding Father. I absolutely loved this book!! Because it just goes to show how incredibly hard immigrants have to work to prove themselves just as capable as their colleagues. Hamilton didn’t take anything for granted, using every opportunity he earned, and relentlessly striving to preserve the sanctity of his adopted country’s constitution. He not only fought for the states and created our financial system, but actually shaped our beloved country. One of the best biographies I’ve encountered as it covers all aspects of Alexander Hamilton’s life (i.e. The good, the bad, and the controversies) and the American Revolution. Recommend the audiobook narrated by Scott Brick [5*

CURRENTLY READING: 1

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty 

My 30-Day buddy read. About 76% of the way through. The story is okay. Simply okay. Some things are interesting. But it really hasn’t held me captivated. As of now, it’s looking like a 3* star read. 

UPCOMING READ: 

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

I have this audiobook all ready to go! I am so damn excited!!! 

BOOK HAUL: 9

Anyone else get all 9 books on Amazon for World Book Day?? I can’t say no to free books! Especially since 1 of them was on my TBR haha. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

I know everyone is watching Game of Thrones. But is anyone watching the BBC  Les Misérables adaptation on PBS?? I really liked the first episode!  Hallelujah to the No Singing!! Plus having read the book recently, it seems like a pretty faithful adaptation which makes me very happy 🙂

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

A magical tale about love and friendship in Inquisition-era Spain. 

DESCRIPTION:

New from the award-winning author of Alif the Unseen and writer of the Ms. Marvel series, G. Willow Wilson

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. 

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate. 
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Grove Press

Expected Publication Date: March.12.2019

*Thank you BookishFirst for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:
Hassan is a mapmaker highly valued for his special gift. Fatima is a Circassian concubine. The two have been friends since childhood and when one’s life is endangered by the newly established Spanish monarchy, the two decide to flee. They embark on a journey that will have them fighting for their lives and test their devotion to one another. 

The idea of this book is great. Not many novels delve into friendship between two people before making it romantic. That’s not to say there isn’t any romance in the book. There is. Only a tiny little bit. The story is mainly focused on the platonic relationship though. And on their quest to find the fantastical Bird King. 

My historical knowledge of Spain during the Inquisition is slim to none. It was brutal and that’s all I pretty much knew. But reading this book made me aware of things I had been ignorant of before. It’s kind of an educational read wrapped in magical realism. A lovely approach.

Now, I struggled a bit with this book. At times the story was slow. But the writing is beautiful, so I kept reading. I think if the pace would have been faster and I’d been more knowledgeable of the time period, I would have enjoyed it more. 

RATING: 3/5 stars

The Martian by Andy Weir

This book was fabulous!!! Just like everyone around the blogosphere said! Ya’ll are amazing! ❤

I was really hesitant to pick up this book. A lot of hype around it and I’d actually watched the movie plenty of times. Not really my type of book either. But I needed a book for my final reading challenge prompt. Super happy I picked this one!

Mark Watney is one hilarious dude. Absolutely love him. He’s basically stranded on Mars all by his lonesome for about a year. But his humor and ingenuity get him through the ordeal. Talk about knowing how to handle a dreadful situation. Teach me your ways, Watney!

I cracked up so many times while reading this book. Not something that happens very often. (I’m way too serious). But again, Mark Watney. A remarkable character. And all the science jargon! Whoa! All of my college science classes finally paid off haha. 

So, if you’re like me and have put off reading this book for whatever reason… stop it. Read this now! It’s truly a wonderful book! Also, this was a self-published book at some point. I think that’s pretty dope. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

Prompt: a book set on a different planet

Challenge Update: 50/50

Whoo!!!! I’m done!! Thank goodness!! Some kind of reading challenge roundup will appear around here at some point… stay tuned! 😉

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! 😀

Wires and Nerve & Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer

I finally got around to reading these graphic novels! Yay! 

Wires and Nerve,
Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

It’s been a while since I read The Lunar Chronicles. But it was kind of easy to jump back into their world. What caused me a bit of confusion was the fact that this graphic novel takes place before the final(?) story in Stars Above

Iko has taken it upon herself to hunt down and take into custody the rogue wolf-hybrid soldiers that have stayed on Earth. Along the way, we come across our favorite Rampion crew, whose members are scattered around the world.
 
It was an easy read. I actually got through it fairly quickly. My one pet peeve is how it abruptly ended. This comic primarily set up the events for the next book. So not a lot really happens before the “to be continued” appears. 

Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerve, Volume 2) by Marissa Meyer and Stephen Gilpin



This volume picks up right where the last one stopped. Iko continues to narrate the story as the wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the Rampion crew. 

Cinder’s life is threatened, Wolf continues to struggle with himself and Kinney’s feelings towards Iko begin to change. 

Not my favorite story overall. Yes, all of the crew is back together. But since I already read Stars Above, it seemed a bit unnecessary since I already knew what was going to happen. It was just filler. I did enjoy that it was primarily told from Iko’s POV.

My advice: read the graphic novels before the short stories in Stars Above.  

Warcross by Marie Lu

If Leopoldo Gout’s Genius series and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One had a baby, it would be this book. 

Emika Chen is a bounty hunter and hacker, looking for a huge score to pay off all the debt she finds herself in. One day, she hacks her way into Warcross, a virtual reality game played by everyone, and accidentally exposes herself to the world. The game’s young creator, Hideo Tanaka, invites Emika to join the Warcross champiosnhip games as a wildcard pick and hires her to help him track down a hacker. 

I feel like I’ve read this book before. There were similar plot elements used from other books I’ve read that kept taking me out of this story. The twists, were not really twists. I was never shocked or taken by surprise because again, if you’ve read RPO or Genius: The Game, then you have an idea of what’s going to happen. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a completely different book, written by my beloved Marie Lu. 

With that being said, I did enjoy the story. Not as much as I perhaps thought I would. But still. You can’t deny Marie Lu’s talent. She really knows how to make a world her own and create characters that have depth.

I’m so excited for Wildcard! Can’t wait to see how this story concludes! 


2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a cyberpunk book

Reading update: 39/50

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Halloween is exactly 3 months away! Meaning, a reprieve from this weather and the little ones will soon be throwing out costume ideas. Fun, fun, fun.

Now, this review will be short because I honestly don’t have much to say about it haha. 

On Halloween day a group of boys go on an adventure through time, learning about the history of the holiday. 

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, and it was amazing. There were a few times where I was a little spooked by the story but I really enjoyed it. And learning about how other cultures celebrate the day was the icing on the cake. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a book about or set on Halloween [Originally planned to read Practical Magic for this prompt but I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I’ll get to it later?]

Challenge update: 37/50

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Henry DeTamble has the ability to time travel. As a grown man, he frequently travels back in time and visits a young girl, Clare, who will eventually grow up and become his wife. This is their love story. Through all the trials and tribulations of his frequent disappearances and their subsequent inability to alter their future. 

Not going to lie, this book creeped me out for a hot second. Clare meets Henry when she is barely six years old and he is in his late 30’s/early 40’s. He already knows everything that will happen between them in the future. But Clare obviously doesn’t. She becomes obsessed with Henry, the strange man that pops in and out of her life throughout her childhood. He lets it slip that in the future they are married. So did she even have a choice when it came to falling in love with him?

Once the story progressed out of Clare’s childhood, I was able to become immersed in their story. She finally meets Henry within the same time line and their relationship quickly moves forward. You can really see the love they have for one another. In that sense, it’s like a normal relationship. He just happens to disappear every once in a while haha.  

Anyway, everyone around Clare keeps telling her that Henry is trouble. Which is understandable. Before Clare, Henry is a wild man dating an unstable woman. But once he’s with Clare, he changes. He becomes a more decent person. I don’t think their friends fully understood the nuances of their shared history. Besides, their friend Gomez is an asshole that needs to leave Clare alone. I could not tolerate him at all. Dude, you’re married! Move the fuck on! Ugh. Stupid Gomez. 

The ending upset me. I knew where the story was headed, but I was in denial. It’s a bit bittersweet. Henry has this amazing ability but is unable to control it. It puts him in precarious situations when he is at his most vulnerable. Henry and Clare really were powerless, weren’t they?

Overall, while I did like it for the most part, I think it’s been way overhyped. I think I’ll stick to the movie. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a book about time travel

Challenge update: 29/40(*50)

A Personal Note:

Photo courtesy of: CentroAmericanos Unidos

There was a volcanic eruption back in the motherland… My family is fine, ash rained down on them but they’re alive and well… There are a lot of people who have been affected though… a whole community was buried alive… Pray for Guatemala… fortaleza chapina ❤ ❤ ❤

And if you’re in the States, today is Election Day! Go out and vote

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

​In a post-apocalyptic world, a man and his young son struggle to survive as they wander along a road heading south.

This is a fairly short book that manages to pack a punch. This little boy is being raised in a near-dead world. Gruesome scenes are a part of his everyday life. While his father is hesitant to help anyone they meet (with good reason!!), the little boy looks past his own fear and shows compassion. 

I’m not going to lie, this book scared the shit out of me. I had to set it aside multiple times. The reality portrayed in this novel seems very close to coming true. Which is damn terrifying. 

It is an extremely bleak read. What is the point of trying to chisel a life out in an already dead world? Are they lucky to have survived? Those are just some of the questions that continually crossed my mind. Questions that I have no answers for. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

Reading Challenge Update: 28/40(*50)

Prompt: a book from a celebrity book club [Oprah’s Book Club. Her Reader’s Guide for this book can be found here.]

Time Quintet (#1): A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Haven’t read this book since I was in grade school. I didn’t realize then that this was the first book in a series. So I never read the other ones. My TBR keeps getting longer and longer! Ah!

Enjoyed this book just as much as I did as a child. Maybe more. I think I appreciated the message more now. Hm. 

Calvin finds Meg and Charles Wallace. And though they have a difficult time being themselves with others, together they get along perfectly well. Embarking on an adventure to save Meg and Charles Wallace’s father and the universe from The Darkness. 

I’m not going to lie, IT scared me. Not because of the novel. But because I kept picturing that stupid clown! Ugh! I saw the original when I was a little girl and have been traumatized since then. At least Meg was able to save Charles Wallace from the evil brain. 

What was Mrs. Whatsit going to say at the end? “We have to—”. You have to what? What?! Must get through the rest of the quintet soon. 

Can’t wait for the new movie adaptation!