Tuesday, September 27, 2016

August Wrap Up

So I have been seriously slacking on this blog. I can't believe it's basically the end of September and I'm just getting around to posting this review. I was going to post this two weeks ago but I got really sick and pretty much slept the entire time. As I've been saying for a while now, I'm going to try to get back on track with this blog. I had a pretty good reading month in August. There seems like there's a lot I need to get through so let get into what matters.

New to My Shelves

If you haven't seen my wrap up for July, I ended up getting a lot of books in one month. Somehow I managed to get more books in August than I got in June and July combined. I'm lazy so I'm not going to list each book. If you would like to see what books I got, check out the video I have talking about them.

Books I Read

Food Wars Volume 7 (5 stars) | Food Wars Volume (4.5 stars) 

Food Wars Volume 9 (4 stars) | A Court of Mist and Fury (5 stars) 

Food Wars Volume 10 (4 stars) | Food Wars Volume 11 (4.5 stars) 

Wicked Heart (4.5 stars) | Food Wars Volume 12 (4 stars) 

Food Wars Volume 13 (4 stars) | Saga Volume 6 (4.5 stars)

2016 Reading Challenge

At the end of August I read a total 49 books so I was really close to finishing my reading goal for this year. I've also been spending time updating the challenges I'm participating in this year. I'm really behind on the Finishing the Series challenge. Right now I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish everything I wanted to read for that. I'm currently working on updating the books I read that fit into the challenges for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge. I have an updated written record but I need to update the file that you guys can see. Hopefully I will have that done by the time I past this.

September Update

This isn't really much of an update since it's basically the end of September now. I'm basically using this to let you guys know that I do have plans to get back on track with my blog. I have ideas of things I would like to talk about. I've also been taking a different approach to when/how I review books so I can post more often. These changes will start this last week in September and will continue on.

Since this is so late I will not ask about how your August went XD but be looking out for September Wrap Up. I will be making sure I post that in the beginning of the month. See you guys in my next post!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What Light by Jay Asher | ARC Review

What Light by Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Expected Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Christmas, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 251
Source: Received eARC from Penguin's First to Read
Find on Goodreads

Goodreads Description

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

My Thoughts

This review will be shorter than normal because I don't have much to say about it. I thought the general concept was interesting. It was really unique to have the main character and her family run a tree farm then go sell Christmas trees in California every year during the holidays. This something I've never heard of or honestly ever thought about. For that, the story held my interest to see how it all worked. However, even with that, this story fell flat for me.

I didn't connect to any of the characters or care about their stories. While reading I just felt detached from what was going on. The only time I had any strong feelings was when the characters were being extremely judgmental. I was really hoping to enjoy this read but I ended up being disappointed. This book isn't terrible but I thought it was just okay.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman | Review

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2016 (in English)
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Humor
Pages: 400
Source: Received a copy for an honest review through Booktube Tours
Find on Goodreads

Goodreads Description

From the author of the internationally bestselling 'A Man Called Ove', a novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Thoughts

I had heard a lot of amazing things about this author's previous novel, A Man Called Ove, but I hadn't heard anyone talking about this one. Going into it I had high expectations because of the previous praise but I also had an open mind since I didn't know what to expect.

Because all seven-year-olds deserve superheros. And anyone who doesn't agree needs their head examined.

I'm not really sure the best way to start talking about this book because the beginning was a little all over the place and chaotic, just like Elsa's grandmother. Elsa's grandmother is one of my favorite parts of this story. She loves Elsa fiercely and does everything in her power to make sure Elsa doesn't dwell on the things that have upset her. Elsa is different so her grandmother is her only friend and for that Granny is Elsa's superhero.

The currency there is imagination; instead of buying with coins, you buy it with a good story. Libraries aren't known as libraries but as "banks," and every fairy tale is worth a fortune.

Growing up, Elsa's grandmother told her stories about the Land-of-Almost-Awake. This is one of Elsa's favorite things. In a way, the stories are a way for  her to escape the reality of her situation. However, not too far into the book Elsa's grandmother dies and she is alone. It seems all she has left to keep her company are the stories her grandmother told her.

The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but it can make the people left behind want to stop living.

After her grandmother dies and she is on one last adventure (from her grandmother) to deliver apology letters, Elsa realizes that all the people she grew up around are all connected in some way. As Elsa gets to know each person she also realizes that each of them is also connected to the stories her grandmother told her about the Land-of-Almost-Awake. In this story, everything is partially fantasy and partially reality.

It's possible to love your grandmother for years and years without really knowing anything about her.

While I really enjoyed the story, I felt like there were some moments of disconnection. At times I felt like was being pulled out of the story or missing out on connections with characters because of the way the story was told. I'm not sure if this was intended to be told this way or that's just how it ended up after translation. There were multiple times where this bother me but it didn't take away from the story, just a bit of the reading experience.

If this sounds like a book you would be interested in, I definitely suggest you check it out. It was a really enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

Other Quotes I Loved

"When it comes to terror, reality's got nothing on the power of the imagination."

Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning. Some monsters are born of sorrow.

Shattered with such force by the wave that the shards of glass were dispersed all around the world.

"Maybe she was disappointed in you because you're so disappointed in yourself."

She wants to yell that Granny was wrong, that different is not always good, because different is a mutation and almost no one in X-Men has a family.