Edelweiss Reviews

First of all a big thank you to Edelweiss for giving me ARC copies of both these books! They were both pretty good reads.

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Beneath Wandering Stars By Ashlee Cowles 

Find on Amazon and Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, Beneath Wandering Stars takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.

Beneath Wandering Stars is a decent three star book.  I really enjoyed the character of Gabriela. Her background as a ”military brat” was really relatable as my family moved around a lot, and it can be hard sometimes.  Add on to that the fact that her brother is in a coma and might not come out, that was just a heartbreaker.

The story is well written for the most part. Following Gabriela through Spain was really great. The food descriptions combined with all of the little details about the villages and towns they went through made me feel like I was walking with her. The only thing that stopped me from giving this book four stars was the love interest Seth.  Seth is the best friend of her brother, and he is a huge jerk from page one.  Now part of this is a me thing as I find that guys like him are generally rude and I dislike them a lot. He’s always wants to be in charge and acts like Gabriela needs to be a solider like him.
I really hated it that he got involved in her relationship without her asking him. *Spoiler* He ends up emailing her boyfriend saying he knows that the guy is cheating and that he needs to breakup with Gabriela. All this without having actually met the guy.*End Spoiler* It was disgustingly controlling and manipulative.  She never once asked him to do this. And on top of that he never apologizes for literally ruining her relationship.  Of course she ends up falling for Seth anyway and that was really frustrating.   I’m really tired of the troupe that guys can do things like this and get away without apologizing.

So for me this book was just okay, a solid three stars.

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History Is All You Left Me By Adam Silvera

Find on Amazon and Goodreads

This is one of those times that I wish I was little less picky. I really really wanted to love History Is All You Left Me, because hello it’s about a bisexual and gay male relationship, also OCD representation.

In the end I think I’m going to give it three stars.  History Is All You Left me is definitely an emotional book, and by the end of it was I worn out. So I really have to hand it to Silvera for being able to write something so raw and heart wrenching. I did like the overall idea of the story, the prose, and the way it was all put together.

I guess for me I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Griffin is a complicated guy to say the least, not that I blame him. I know how hard it is when someone you really love dies.  But Griffin was really selfish for the entire book. He breaks up with his boyfriend Theo and then gets upset when Theo moves on.
Theo ends up dying and then Griffin ends up making a lot of bad friendship decisions. Every time I wanted to connect with him, he would again do something stupid or selfish and I just couldn’t like him as much as I wanted to.

Despite this I would still say you should read History is All You Left Me. I think my opinions on it are a case of it was me not the book.

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The Goodreads Tag

1.What was the last book you marked “read”? 

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Mass.

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2. What are you currently reading? 

Tender is the Night By F. Scott Fitzgerald.  A Game of Thrones By George R. R. Martin. History is All You Left Me By Adam Silvera.

 

3. What was the last book you marked as “TBR”? 

Skullsworn By Brian Staveley

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4. What books do you plan to read next? 

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

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5. Do you use the star rating system? 

Yup! Usually I’m a pretty harsh judge but my average is 3.66.

6. Are you doing a 2017 Reading Challenge?

Indeed! I’m hoping to read 200 books this year. I made it last year, and since I’m currently at 48 books for the year I think I’ll make it.

7. Do you have a wish list? 

I do have a wish list on Amazon, but I haven’t updated it in a long time…I’m not even sure what it has on it anymore.

8. What books do you plan to buy next? 

Wait…people plan out books their going to buy? 😉 I don’t often do that I just sort of binge buy books at random times. Oh! But I forgot I did preorder Saga Vol 7 which comes out in a month!!

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9. Do you have any favorite quotes? 

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”
― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

10. Who are your favorite authors? 

A few of my favorites are: Patti Smith, Lemony Snicket, Rainbow Rowell and Natalie Gouldberg.

11. Have you joined any groups? 

I used to be a part of some reading groups but I haven’t been keeping up with them.

 

Books I’ve DNF’nd This Year

This year in my reading adventures I’ve been giving myself a lot more freedom to stop reading books I don’t like.  Which has been very nice actually. Instead of plodding my way through something I hate, I’ve been able to simply put the book away or give it back to the library.
Part of me was afraid I had been doing it a lot this year. But as I put together this list I realized 4 books out of 47 that I’ve read is not bad. Yes I’m a picky reader, but that’s okay.

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Gemina By  Amie Kaufman &  Jay Kristoff : Quit at page 110

My Thoughts: I didn’t particularly like the first book but I saw that there were new characters and I did like the formatting, so I gave it a whirl.  I ended up not even finishing it because all of the characters are horribly dull.  I know a lot of people really liked this series, and I’m honestly disappointed that it wasn’t for me.

No Stars.

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Mark of Cain By Lindsey Barraclough :  Quit at page 273

My Thoughts: So I really liked the first 100 pages or so of the backstory. It was both well written and the main character was highly sympathetic. Aphra, who later becomes the haunting ghost of the story, is found by witches and everything goes downhill from there. I thought the story could be really cool as witches are a favorite of mine. But after the backstory finishes and we move to the present I found myself bored to tears. I did not like the characters, and the parts that were supposed to be creepy were cliche. I ended up just putting the book away because I didn’t have time for something so boring.

1 star.

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MILA 2.0 By Debra Driza: Quit at page 20

My Thoughts:  This is a book I’d had on my TBR since 2010 and I finally thought I should get around to reading it. I would have been better just taking it off my list. As you can tell it didn’t take me long to put this book down. It’s boring, cliche and not worth your time.

No Stars.

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The Unidentified By Rae Mariz: Quit at page 34

My Thoughts: This sounded interesting but it was not for me. Right away I was turned off by the main character who doesn’t care about anything, and actually even says that in the book. Which of course made me wonder why I should care either.  Then I had issues with the best friend character who was really bitchy from the start. After that the world got confusing and I was only 34 pages in! I decided it wasn’t worth my time to muddle through the remaining 262 pages.

1 star.

 

Bull By David Elliot

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Goodreads Synopsis: SEE THE STORY OF THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT

Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
Poseidon!
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I AM THE OCEAN!
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology’s most infamous monsters.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I’ve been trying to write reviews in the order that I read the books, but this book guys. This book was so good I had to review it now.Bull is the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, told in verse from the point of view of several characters.

I loved reading this book.  It’s beautifully told. Each character has a different type of verse for when they’re speaking which is brilliant and really imaginative. It also bring each character to life in a unique way, from the god Poseidon, to the arrogant Theseus, to the pitiful Minotaur.

Oh and the Minotaur or Asterion as his mother has named him, is the most moving character of all. Throughout the book you watch him grow up, you watch his father Midas ban him from the palace, and see in the end his downfall.  I was in tears by the end of this story.

Bull is a short story, only 200 pages but I promise it is well worth the read.   It’s available for preorder on Amazon now, and there’s also a giveaway on Goodreads for it. I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Thank you NetGalley! I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.

 

 

 

Days 3-4

I know I said I would try to do this challenge every other day, but things have gotten hectic and it’s so much easier to just post one of the many book reviews I have waiting. But here, finally I’ve gotten to days 3 and 4. Anyway, this is part of the #LoveMe challenge. Which I found via Nevillegirl. 

3. A word that describes you

It took me a while to decide what word to describes me. I have so many words that I’m in love with, but don’t necessarily resonator with who I am.Then I realized I was being silly and obviously the word is Whimsy.   The word whimsy is defined a couple of ways:

  1. capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression.
  2. an odd or fanciful notion.
  3. anything odd or fanciful; a product of playful or capricious fancy.

Odd, playful, capricious in humor are all definitely descriptions for me.

I love the word whimsy. I like the way it sounds. I like it’s meaning. I like that it’s a word containing a strangeness.  I like being whimsical and slightly…different.

4. A person who loves you

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This one is easy. Grant.

Let me tell you a story. Once a upon a time I was going to a homeschool co-op school, and there I met this kid. He was funny and smart and dorky, a little bit like me. So because he was smart and actually seemed to care about getting the homework done I decided to become friends with him.  I sadly don’t remember how it actually came about, all I know is around 7th grade we became friends and friendly rivals.  As we grew up I could tell sometimes that he had a crush on me. That became even more evident when my family left for missions and he continued to stay in contact with me, even though my internet connection was sketchy sometimes or I was just busy.
So fast forward to now and we’ve been living together for two years and he still kinda likes me. I never thought I’d be this lucky.

It’s interesting…with anxiety there’s all these worst case scenario thoughts that are flashing through my head. When we were first married I was terrified that my anxiety, my ”insanity” would drive him away and that terrified me. But recently I’ve really been able to work through that thought, with a lot of help from Grant. My anxiety is always going to be with me, but I don’t need to let it control me, and I know Grant will always have my back.

Through all my anxiety and depression, and the shit that just happens in life, Grant is the one thing I can hold onto that I know will never change. I don’t mean that he won’t change, I know he will, people always do. But I mean his love. I know that I can always trust him to be there for me, and to like me even when I really don’t like me.

 

The Art of Memoir By Mary Karr

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Goodreads Synopsis: Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well.

For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning graduate teaching prizes for her highly selective seminar at Syracuse, where she mentored such future hit authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas. In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.

Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.

Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, The Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms—a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.

Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Though I am primarily a poet and fiction writer, I would like to write my memoirs eventually. Thus how I came to pick up this book in the first place. But sadly I found, for me, this book was a waste of time.

The Art of Memoir is not helpful. There are very few actual activities that Karr suggests to do to help you with your memoir writing. When I’m reading a “how-to” book I’d like to be given activities. That was one reason I didn’t enjoy it.

I also didn’t like how long-winded and rambly it was. I wanted to get to the point, the “bit of insight” but Karr wanted to go on a tangent about how people have a hard time remembering things.

Added on to this I hated it when Karr would say things like “get a real job” to the writers reading her book. Which is all very well and nice for someone to say after they’ve had 7 books published and made money on them.

I think this book is a case of it just wasn’t for me. I found myself bugged by the voice of the author, and only found one activity with practical advice on writing. I gave this book 1 star on Goodreads. Don’t bother with it.  If you want advice on writing, try Natalie Goldberg.