Thursday, December 5, 2019

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi



Rating: ★★★ | 9 hours 58 min | Sci Fi YA  | Harper Teen | Release Date: 10/22/2019
I Hope You Get This Message is one of those books that asks the question ‘what would happen if everyone on Earth knew they were about to die ?’ I feel like YA does this kind of book every once and a while* but this is my first time reading this trope in YA...and it just didn’t work for me.

In this iteration of the end of the world, Earth has picked up communication from a planet called Alma. They learn from intercepted transcripts that Alma has been incubating Earth for thousands of years and is currently debating whether or not to kill all of humanity in 8 days for what they have done to Earth.

This looming fate runs in the background to the stories of our three protagonists; Jesse, a teen from Roswell who doesn’t believe in Alma but want to use it to make money, Cate a girl looking for her father  and Adeem, an amateur radio enthusiasts a looking for his sister who left the family after coming out as gay. Our main characters start off on their journey as separate individuals but their lives merge and tangle in a This Is Us kind of way.

The biggest weakness for me with this book was the characters. Because they aren't trying to stop the big bad so much of this narrative is reliant on characters and they all felt so underdeveloped. Nothing they did make any sense except for the fact that it had to happen to move the book along. I wanted to feel something at the end of this book and I felt nothing. This wasn’t helped at all by the audio done by Priya Nyaar. Her voice was so stiff and I think the audiobook could have really benefited from three narrators. I'm not sure why they went with a female narrator when most of the characters are men.

The only thing I did like about this book is the interstitials of people sending messages out into the universe to convince Alma was worth saving but other than that I found this one pretty tedious.




*Does anyone remember Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts? It had a similar conceit but that book just got panned by bloggers and readers.



Monday, December 2, 2019

AudioFile Magazine's Best Young Adult Audiobooks for 2019


It has been a great year for audiobooks and we are partnering with AudioFile Magazine to present AudioFile Magazine's Best Young Adult Audiobooks for 2019. Don't forget to visit AudioFile Magazine's website to check out all of AudioFile's 2019 Best Audiobooks!



WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo, read by Elizabeth Acevedo



THE SECRET COMMONWEALTH by Philip Pullman, read by Michael Sheen


FRANKLY IN LOVE by David Yoon, read by Raymond J. Lee



WAYWARD SON by Rainbow Rowell, read by Euan Morton


THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon, read by Vikas Adam, Soneela Nankani

AKATA WARRIOR by Nnedi Okorafor, read by Yetide Badaki


Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday Read-a-thon #BFRaT Share A Quote Challenge



Happy Reading #BFRaT Participants ! For this challenge share a quote from your current read ! It can be inspirational, funny, rage-inducing or thought-provoking. 


Instructions 
Drop a quote from your current read in the comments below or on Twitter/Instagram with
#BFRaT.

If you want to get creative check out the InspiraQuote image quote generator or your favorite image creator. If you use the Kindle App you can share quote images with Kindle Quotes

How To Enter
Once you've completed the challenge enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.





Monday, November 25, 2019

#BFRaT 2019 Sign - Up + What I'll Be Reading


Forget the traffic, long lines and crowded parking lots instead spend this Black Friday tackling that TBR with the BFRaT hosted by Amber at Du Livre

I'm so excited to be co-hosting with Alyssa from Mocha Girls Reads and Kat, who will be hosting from the romance blog Romance and Sensibility. This is the first time in years that I've had Balck Friday off , I can't wait to dive into this readathon.

Ready? Don't forget to Sign up at Du Livre !


BFRaT 2019 will take place on Friday, November 29 at 12 a.m. (your time zone) until 11:59 p.m. All participants will have the opportunity to join challenges, win bookish prizes, and of course, read! Challenges will be posted on your hosts' blog throughout the day and winners will be chosen on Saturday, November 30. 

We highly encourage everyone to track their reading process on social media platforms (using the hashtag #BFRaT) and cheer your fellow readers on!



What I'll Be Reading

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
I've waited eight years for Morgensterns' sophomore novel and I've started this but really need to hunker down with it.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
My goal is to read the entire Grishaverse series by the end of the year, this is the only book I have left.

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
This is a review title I need to catch up on, plus it's my first time reading one of this author's historical.











I will be traveling for part of the day so I also plan to throw in a fun audiobook. Any recs?







Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Soulless by Gail Carriger




Rating: ★★★  | 10 hrs 48 mins | Hachette Audio | Paranormal | 10/1/2009 

So, lol this book has been on my TBR shelf forever! It was in one of my early In My Mailbox’s nearly 8 years ago and I finally got around to reading it this year for book club.

Soulless is set in a steampunk Victorian London where supernaturals--werewolves, vampires and ghosts--live alongside humans. 26-year-old half-Italian spinster Alexia Tarrabotti isn’t a supernatural but she isn’t quite human either. She’s a preternatural--a rare person born with no soul and the ability to turn supernaturals human with just a touch. When supernaturals starting going missing Alexia decides to some investigation, much to the chagrin of Lord Maccon--the surly local werewolf Alpha and de facto head of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (B.U.R).

This book starts off with a bang as Alexia kills a rogue vampire with her parasol at a dinner party. I remember when I first read this book I was overwhelmed by how quickly it jumps in with no world-building. At the time I hadn’t read much paranormal outside of the Twilight and Mortal Instruments series and struggled to get into it. But as I re-read this on audio I actually liked that we just jump in mid-action scene. I found Soulless to be an escapist, fast-paced, frolicking, Pushing Dasies-esque paranormal ride that I was just along for it. I was surprised by how quickly I read this.

Now some of the content doesn’t age super well. The Camp Gay vampire, Lord Akeldama, leaned a little too much on stereotype and he felt expendable to Alexia. Speaking of Alexia, I understand she is supposed to be an outcast, but she was rude to the few people who were her friends for no reason. It felt like a lot of the time she was using people except for Lord Maccon, who becomes the love interest.

This book just came out in audio 2 years ago and narrator Emily Gray does a great job setting the tone for this genre-blending paranormal modern l classic!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

Rating: ★★★+.5 | 3 hours 53 minutes| Tor | Adult Fantasy | 9/24/2019  

Recently, YA fantasy author Justina Ireland posted this on Twitter:
And it explains a lot about my experience reading The Monster of Eldenhaven...and pretty much every other adult SFF. It always takes me a while to understand the world I’m being thrown into and lock into the story.

The Monster of Eldenhaven is a debut fantasy novella that only came out only a few months ago but has already inspired quite the fandom. I only came across it because cosplay and fanart for it kept showing up on my Twitter timeline. When I saw it was a pretty slim book I decided to give it a shot. 

The book begins with Johann, an unnamed creature that steps out of Eldenhaven’s toxic black water and befriends Herr Florian Lichenbloom, a wealthy accountant and secret sorcerer. Johann is just what the delicate seemingly Florian needs to set in motion his plans for revenge. Giesbrecht weaves a grisly story that kind of tap dances on the line between fantasy and horror. Seriously ya’ll; it’s not for the faint of heart or squeamish.

I did part of this audio and narrator Daniel Henning did a good job, though his voice for Johann felt a little too monstrous and broad.

 The Monster of Eldenhaven was an intriguing excursion into a genre I don’t normally read and a perfect Halloween-y read but now I need some fluffy holiday romance in my eyeballs now.



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Rating: ★★★+.5 | 15 hrs 14 mins | Brilliance Audio | YA Fantasy | 09/29/2015 
I'm on a mission to read the Grishaverse series before the Netflix show comes out and right now I have Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars left.

The Plot
Six of Crows takes place across the True Sea in Ketterdaman where instead of mysticism, war and rebellion being the driving force... it's capitalism!

Set in what appears to be an Industrial Era-inspired Amsterdamn, six outcast team up a la Suicide Squad to sneak inside one of the most fortified cities in the world to steal a secret that could change the world of Grisha forever.

Bardugo is clearly doing something very different here from the first series and I enjoyed it more than the Shadow and Bones series.  I think as far as Shadow and Bone goes, there is an established formula or expectation for how a teenagers-rebelling-against-the-enemy story plays out however with something like Six of Crows--which features six main characters on a cross-country mission--there is a lot of room to play and Bardugdo goes for it. Along the way, we do deep deep dives into the characters and what bought them the slums of Ketterdam.

As far as backstories go I'm just going, to be honest--there is a lot of trauma and a lot more slavery than I like in my fantasy.


The Characters
Kaz is a cunning and heartless leader who was reborn on the streets, Jesper is a gambling sharpshooter and Inej is a displaced thief and collector of information. Then we have Nina the loyal Grisha with feeling for Mattias, a falsely imprisoned Grisha-hunter and finally Wyland the prodigal son who will never return with a talent for explosives.

I was worried about how this book would flow with so many characters but the pacing was even and we get a good balance of backstory and the heist with all its wrong turns and plan b's.  The ending went a little over my head. I had a hard time visualizing what has happing but once they reach the end of the heist---woo. I mean...I kind of feel like this could have been a standalone. The very end of the book felt to me like an excuse to keep it going.

Bardugo pairs the characters with the person they have unresolved conflict/feeling with to develop and grow their relationships. I could see the framework this was sitting on--especially with Jesper and Wylan who I kind of felt were added in at the last minute.

I mean Jesper is a sharp-shooting gambling college dropout lying to his parents who is *slight spoiler* a Grisha but remains one of the least explored characters. It's like she didn't know quite what he was supposed to.

Structurally I didn't really understand why this book was split by POV. It's in the third person so did we really need it to split? I feel like this was something they did because it was YA. I just get a little annoyed when we are rushed to catch up with a POV we didn't get before.

Like with the other Grisha books I still have a hard time understanding the Grisha power and I was even more confused in this book. The limitations and abilities the Grisha have seems to vary and I still can't keep up with all the orders.

I'll dive in here and say I actually had an issue with the way Inej was portrayed. I sometimes feel like the book went out of its way to exoticize her. Her main descriptor is her bronze skin, that she's slim, wise and is often fetishized. This is all in addition to being taken from her family only be saved by the white man.  At points, the book is aware that this exoticizing is bad but it doesn't always show in the text. I mean Jesper is clearly supposed also be dark-skinned as well but it's just wasn't treated the same way to me.

(*Sigh* I wrote this review before the cast reveals and neither of them are dark-skinned so ...yeah.)

My Thoughts vs. Kat's Thoughts
Kat reviewed this book first and unlike Kat I actually like the relationship between  Inej and Kaz.  They both have something they are reaching for which means they can't be together.  I mean sure I could have used a little less of Kaz (I say this so much about YA male characters) being afraid of *the feels* but I don't know... I kind of ship it. Slight spoiler I clocked that Kaz not liking touch thing because I started many a historical romance with heroes like this.

Like Kat I also wasn't loving whatever was happening with Mattias, l just couldn't unsee the metaphors to Nazis but I don't think he is beyond redemption.

The Audiobook Review
The audio features multiple narrators. Kaz was probably the trickiest to do for the narrators because he is described as having a very distinct voice, though I believe one of the narrators tried to do a Mid Atlantic accent which seemed apropos. Unlike Kat I kind of like Elizabeth Evan's voice for Nina, I think she was trying to be cheeky and confident. I've heard Jay Snyder in an adult audiobook before and I would have never seen him as YA because of his deep mature voice but he takes on Mattias, the oldest character in the book. Fred Berman was ideal for Kaz but based on samples I've heard I feel like he was holding back the gravel in his voice just a tad.



 I do have one nitpick about this book so...SPOILER ALERT. Jurda Parem is a powerful substance that turns Grisha into superheroes and everyone is so amazed and afraid of how powerful it makes the Grisha but like...what about The Darkling? Like are we forgetting a Grisha killed thousands of people with a shadow? If you read the first series you'd know how The Darkling lived forever and how Merzots bought people back to life and how Alina was the Sun Summoner and as readers we're supposed to be shocked and amazed by this?


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