Friday, February 23, 2018

*Book Blogger Hop* 23 February 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Do you read hardcovers with the dust jacket on or off? Why or why not? submitted by (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
First of all, I prefer not to read hardcovers at all because they are big, bulky, and often a little bit heavy. That being said, I sometimes win hardcover copies of books on Goodreads so I'm left with no choice but to read them that way. In those instances, I read my hardcovers naked. Can't stand having the dust jacket on my books while I'm reading because I feel like they're constantly getting in the way or getting caught on things, and I just spend so much time adjusting them on the book itself that I do less reading, so I just ditch them before I even open the book. I keep them to put back on the book after I'm finished reading it, but while I'm reading, the dust jacket is gone.

What about you? Do you read with your dust jackets on or off your hardback books? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please leave a link to your post below so I can be sure to stop by and see your answer too.* 

Monday, February 19, 2018

*Deja Revu* 13 February 2018

Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
General Fiction

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I'm No Longer Interested in Reading (Feb 20)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books I'm no longer interested in reading. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to look at my TBR and reevaluate the books I've added there, removing books that I wanted to read when they released but now I'm just not really interested, but that's not going to work for me because my TBR shelf on Goodreads has over 100K books on it for one thing, and for another, I still want to read all those books (I won't be able to read all of them, but I want to). But beyond that, I don't like the idea of listing books that I don't want to read because that seems mean spirited to me. So instead, I'm going to talk about some types of books that I'm just so over.

Books that romanticize abuse. I have no problem with reading about "taboo" topics, and I often enjoy books that feature BDSM elements. I just don't have any interest in reading books that don't accurately portray the BDSM lifestyle and then pretend that that abuse is so romantic.

Books that are too formulaic. For example, Nicholas Sparks books come to mind. I understand some people absolutely love his books, and I've found some of them at least mildly entertaining myself, but they always seem to follow pretty much the exact same formula. And I understand that there are certain formulas that should be followed for all types of genre fiction, but you can still add originality into your story while following the genres formula, and that's what I want to see.

Books that portray women as unnecessarily helpless. I'm not saying that women can't need help sometimes, because that would be ridiculous. I'm just not interested in reading books about women who need someone else to do pretty much everything for them.

So my list is short and nowhere near ten, but honestly, there's not a whole lot of things I'm not interested in reading about.

Are there any types of books that you're just so over? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post so I can return the love and see your list.*

Thursday, February 15, 2018

*Book Blogger Hop* 16 February 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Have you ever found yourself acting like a favorite character in a novel? If so, which one? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
Not that I'm aware of, granted the way that I read multiple books at a time kind of prevents me from getting completely immersed in any given story, so I'm probably less likely to start taking on the characteristics of the characters that I'm reading about. The closest I'd say I've come is acting like Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but that's because we're practically the same person already and has nothing to do with my adopting mannerisms from her character because of the book.

What about you? Do you ever act like the characters you're reading about? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post below so I can stop by and see your answers too.*

Monday, February 12, 2018

*Top Ten Tuesday* What's Love Got to Do With It? (Feb 13)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is love freebie. So I'm not typically the sappy type to begin with, and I kind of feel like romance books get a fair amount of topics for them already in memes like this (I know I recently did one for fictional characters I'd share a kiss with on New Year's Eve), so I'm going to focus on books that have romance without being in the romance or erotica genres.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - YA dystopian, hint of romance between the MCs.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - Maybe I was reading more into the story than was there in this classic political novel, but I totally shipped Dagny and Hank.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - Pretty much all of Robert Langdon's exploits in this suspense series have him toying with romance with his female counterparts.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - If you read this absurd sci-fi book and don't ship Trillian and Arthur, you're probably not human.
The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey - This series involves many interconnected stories and there's at least a bit of romance in most of them.
The Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A Thompson - In this paranormal YA trilogy, Eric and Jessica seem pretty much destined for each other, and yet their connection is not the focus of the story.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - So the romance doesn't start at the beginning of the series, but between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, there are a few different romantic connections that play a role in the series.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I'm really not sure how or why this isn't already classified as Romance at least on Goodreads, especially since Celia and Marco are described as falling headlong into love in the blurb...but maybe it's because they fall in love with magic, I dunno. I spent a large portion of the book wanting them to be together though.
The Wolfegang series by Jillian Ashe - This sci-fi series is chock full of action with a side of romance.
The Demon Within series by Ginna Moran - This paranormal YA series had me wanting Cami to hook up with more than one guy.

Are there any books or series you'd add to my list of books with romance while not being listed as romance or erotica? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by to check out your posts.*

Sunday, February 11, 2018

*Review* The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: March 14, 2006
Pages: 552

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. 

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I waited way too long to read this book. I don't even really know why I waited so long, other than Courtney and I started this blog around the same time that I actually bought the book and it took me a while to get to the point where I started reading some of the books that I wanted to read instead of just books that we received requests for. 

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I love WWII era historical fiction. What I loved about this book is that it showed the lives of average Germans during the war. That's not a perspective I've seen a lot (or ever that I can think of off the top of my head). But Liesel's foster family wasn't exactly average either because they held unfavorable opinions about Jewish people, at least unfavorable by German standards during the war. 

Another highlight of this story was that it was told from the perspective of Death. It was a bit odd to get used to at first because he jumped around a bit, as Death is wont to do in the course of his work, but once I got used to it, it was a fun way to see things. While death isn't exactly omniscient, he does have access to information that a human narrator wouldn't have. 

I realize that I'm late enough to this party that you've probably already made up your mind about whether you want to read this book or not, but if you're still on the fence about it, you should absolutely not wait any longer. You're likely to regret it if you do, like I did. 

Overall I give The Book Thief 5.05 stars. - Katie 

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there to this day.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry (also known as Getting the Girl), released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honours in his native Australia and the USA.

The Messenger (or I am the Messenger), published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including, in 2007, the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur Jugendjury prize in Germany, which he won again for The Book Thief in 2010.

It is The Book Thief, however, that has established Markus Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. 

To date, The Book Thief has held the number one position at,, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia. It has also been in the top five bestsellers in the UK and several other territories. It has amassed many and varied awards, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers. It was the only book to feature on both the USA and UK World Book Night Lists in 2012, and has been voted as Australian readers’ favourite book by iconic independent bookstore, Dymocks, three years running.

In 2013, The Book Thief was adapted to screen, directed by Emmy Award-winning Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) and shot in Berlin by Twentieth Century Fox. The cast was headlined by Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, The King’s Speech) and Academy Award nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Anna Karenina). It also cast Sophie Nelisse (Monsieur Lazhar), as Liesel Meminger. 

The Guardian calls The Book Thief “a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told.” The New York Times: “Brilliant and hugely ambitious…the kind of book that can be life-changing.” The Age: “an original, moving, beautifully written book.”

In 2014, Zusak received the American Library Association’s Margaret Edwards award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature, for his body of work ranging from The Underdog up to The Book Thief. 

Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.

*Review* Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Genre: YA/Fantasy
Published: August 29, 2017
Pages: 352

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And I'm not going to lie, I requested this book purely because I love the cover. Fortunately the story behind it did not let me down. 

So Sal, the main character, is gender fluid, and that is made abundantly clear throughout the story. It's referenced so often that I actually spent a somewhat large amount of time wondering about Sal's genitals even though I don't think they're really relevant to the story. I actually feel a bit weird about spending so much time thinking about Sal's genitals in fact, but the book wouldn't let me forget how undefined they are (if that makes sense). And if you feel like I'm focusing on Sal's genitals a lot right now, you'll understand sort of how I felt about the focus on Sal's gender while reading the story. 

Sal's gender-identity aside, this story had a bit of a Hunger Games feeling to it. The whole premise of the contest to become a member of the queen's hand revolves around a competition between various people and death is very likely because the easiest way to win is to kill your competition. Just don't get caught. And the competition was a bit more complicated than just don't die, and I appreciated the other aspects involved and loved seeing how Sal grew as a person, learning new skills to make him/her an even more formidable person.

Overall I give Mask of Shadows 4.1234 stars. - Katie 

A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.