Tiny Moments – By Sarah Little

il_570xN.1180567028_lj1h

Synopsis: There are moments that define us; moments that defy us; moments that design us; moments that decry us. We are made up of little moments that devise us and destroy us, and make us decide who we really are

“tiny moments” is a collection of 10 poems which catch short moments in time.

Find on Etsy, Goodreads and on Sarah’s Blog. 

This is a lovely little chapbook. I read in about an hour this morning.   What first caught my attention were the titles of the poems. Each one was vivid and drew me into the story of the poem.  From photo-shoot girlfriend to on the subject of warpaint they each painted a clear picture.

The poems themselves were also beautiful.  Here’s a line I really liked:

(she becomes a/ facsimile of a girl,/ a secret monster/ without a face)

Sarah is truly a gifted poet, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in the future.

I gave this chapbook 4 stars on Goodreads.   Again be sure to check out Sarah’s blog, as she frequently shares poetry and other writing on it.

Furthermore By Tahereh Mafi

28110143.jpg

Goodreads Synopsis: Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

This was quite an adorable read. I really loved it.  From the character of Alice, who would say wonderful things like “There is nothing you offer me that that I would want, you overgrown pineapple.”   Or doing things like: “He touched her arm, so, really, she had no choice but to punch him.”  To the world that was so vivid and unique.

Futhermore is an easy read despite being around 400 pages.  It’s a middle grade book, which I love to read on occasion. We all need to be brought back to the magic of childhood occasionally.  This book surprised me a little by being a little dark, Alice’s mother neglects her and because of this Alice goes through some tough times. She also deals with trying to appreciate her gifts and talents, and learns how make friends along the way.

I wish I had been able to read this book as a kid, I think I really would have loved reading it over and over again. As it is I think adults can still enjoy the adventure. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Strange The Dreamer – Laini Taylor

28449207.jpg

Goodreads Synopsis: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

I’d read the other series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor last year. So I was fairly interested when I heard that she’d published another book. Plus I fell in love with the cover.

Strange the Dreamer is much better than Laini Taylor’s first series. You can tell right away that her storytelling and prose has matured, which made me happy. It’s so cool when you can tell that an author is growing and becoming better, it gives me hope for my own writing. 😀   There were still times when I felt her prose in this book went a little overboard, I caught myself having to read paragraphs twice before I understood what was going on. It was just all so flowery.  However the upside to the prose style is a very vivid world.

The world of Strange the Dreamer is fricken gorgeous. From fair blue maidens, to libraries that you wish you could go live in, from dream moths to ghosts. This world is amazing.

The characters are also well written, though I disliked some of them, I can’t complain that this was because of lack of development or poor writing. It was just a matter of the character being annoying in my mind. The character I’m talking about is Sarai, the other main character and eventual love interest.   Sarai is a good girl, too good. She takes care of her godling siblings/friends and doesn’t complain. She knows her family was slaughtered by humans but doesn’t want revenge. She was so boringly good, it frustrated me. I didn’t understand her lack of anger.  I felt that there was nowhere for her character to go, she was already perfect.

Speaking of anger, I loved Minya.  I want to read a book from her perspective. As a small child she is the one who rescues the other godlings, dragging them to safety when she was only 6!  She saw her family and friends murdered brutally and she wants revenge. I could understand that, I wanted to see her anger, to see her taste revenge and I wanted to see her be able to move beyond that eventually. A redemption arc I guess.

The main character, Lazlo was fantastic. I appreciated that he doesn’t get what he wants immediately, I like it that he has to work long and hard to reach his dream.  I disliked the romance between him and Sarai, it felt forced and I didn’t think they had chemistry. I honestly thought Lazlo was gay for quite awhile. Which would have been better in my opinion, but whatever.  I do however, liked the way the story ended. I won’t give spoilers, but I will say it will leave wanting to read the next book very badly.

Overall I really liked this book. Strange the Dreamer is a fantastic fantasy story, it has a stunning world and interesting characters. Four stars.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – By Jaye Robin Brown

28003097

Goodreads Synopsis: Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

This book was both painful to read and entertaining.  Painful because there’s a lot of bigoted shit that people say and do to the main character. And entertaining because it is a well written, cute romance story.

The book starts with Jo moving to a new city with her dad and new stepmom. And despite her dad claiming earlier that he doesn’t mind that she’s gay and that he supports her, he decides to tell her spend an entire year pretending not to be gay.  This is not only rude but contradictory on the dad’s part but it made me feel for Jo.  She’s a wonderful character and I loved that she put so many people’s needs before her own.  And it was also good to see her grow as a person and start realizing that she can stand up for herself, and work to make herself happy.

All of the characters in the book have a lot of personality. Jo’s mother grew on me and grew as a character to realize how homophobic she was without meaning to be.  Jo’s best friend is really selfish and honestly quite rude to Jo at times, but Jo is loyal and works things out. I think my favorite character is the love interest Mary, she’s sweet and strong and is willing to stand up for herself and her beliefs. Jo ends up learning a lot from her. Though I do feel like if Jo just learned to communicate better half of her life problems would have gone away much faster. Still it was a lesson she had to learn and I understood that.

The characters in this book are christian, Jo is very strongly so and her dad is a sort of pastor.  Because of this I found the book a bit preachy at times and that I did not like at all. I know some people didn’t find it preachy, so I guess it’s really just up to the reader.

In the end I gave this book 4 stars.

May Reading Wrap-Up

I know there’s still four more days left in the month, but I have some posts planned for the later days and thought it would be a good idea to get this one out of the way.

I’ve been doing a ton of reading lately.  Currently I have 33 books out on loan from the library, have finished a total of 120 books for the year and read 21 books this month.

4 Star Reads: 

A fantastic total of 8 four star books this month!  I was able to read some non-fiction this month, which was fun. Most of them were books on writing since I’ve had some writer’s block and I was hoping for inspiration.  I also read a translation of Sappho’s poetry which was really beautiful, probably my favorite of all these books.  Though Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit was also a pretty great read.

3 Star Reads: 

Of course I usually have more 3 star reads than anything. This month’s total is 10. There were some fairly good reads in here, despite the 3 star rating.  Miss Jane was intriguing but it wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to me. Once In Loudres was interesting but disturbing. Some of the books were predictable, others just didn’t hold my interest as much as I wanted them to.

2-1 Star Reads: 

Only three books! I’m always happy when my 2 star or lower ratings are few. Art is Spiritual Path was rambly and boring, I was hoping it would be more insightful. Caraval was the most predictable book I’ve read in awhile, as well as all the YA stereotypes thrown together. And Saffire made me uncomfortable, it’s about a white man saving a black slave girl and it just felt a little racist so I stopped reading.

 

What did you read this month? 

 

Labyrinth Lost By Zoraida Cordova

27969081.jpg

Goodreads Synopsis: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

This was another diversity read! I picked it up for the bisexual main character.

Labyrinth Lost is a really well put together story. Straight from page one we have a character who dislikes magic and the powers she possesses, and she doesn’t come off as whiny or angsty.  Alex is very easy to sympathize with. And it through seeing how her family has struggled as they’ve lost people to magic, it makes perfect sense why she tries to get rid of her magic.

Thus starts the adventure to get back her family from Los Lagos.  It’s interesting because Los Lagos is compared to Wonderland in the synopsis, and in a lot of reviews, but I just couldn’t see it. Maybe because I’m judging this comparison by the book Alice in Wonderland, and not one of the movies. I mean, okay, yes Los Lagos is strange, but it’s not strange in the Wonderland allegorical fairyland way.    Los Lagos is dark, it’s even creepy at times. The descriptions of the ash, and the wasteland remind me more of Mordor than anything else.

The characters are all really great. From Alex’s sisters, to Nova the boy who brings her to Los Lagos, to her best friend and then love interest Rishi.    It’s funny because Labyrinth Lost has a little bit of a love-triangle going on between Nova, Alex and Rishi but I honestly never expected Nova to be Alex’s choice in the end so it didn’t feel like a triangle to me.  Rishi and Alex have such a great relationship and that for me made this book.  I also loved the twist with Nova, it made so much sense and it worked really well for the story.

Labyrinth Lost is all about family and sacrifice and love. It’s an easy read. It’s a fun read. It has fantastic diversity and a pretty good plot.  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  And I’m super excited to read the next book in the series, which is supposed to come out next year!