January Book Round-Up

As I prepare to do my quarterly check-in, I thought now would be a good time to start doing some book round-ups.  There will be two children’s book round-ups and then February and March round-ups. While the children’s book round-ups includes all of the books that I’ve read, the adult book round-ups only include books that do not have reviews posted.

Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1) Wolves (I Bring the Fire #1) by C. Gockel 2 stars

So this is one that I was excited about reading (audio) until I started it. It was ok, but the ending ruined it for me. It just stopped. It didn’t have a cliffhanger, it just stopped. Maybe this is a serial novel, in which case I was not prepared for. There wasn’t any resolution to anything that was happening, I had more questions than answers. Some parts were confusing, and that was okay because it was clarified later.  I probably won’t continue this unless there comes a time where I am able to read all of the books back to back, unless someone tells me that the first book is the only one that just stops as it did.

Forces of Nature Forces of Nature (#1) by Cheris Hodges – 3 stars

This was pretty good. Instant attraction, hot and steamy sexy times and an overall story that was interesting. Though, I do think it’sstupid that the parents kept secret the information that may have kept this romance from happening in the first place (however illogical it is). Kind of like Romeo and Juliet without the kids knowing that they were enemies.

The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello -3 stars

I really enjoyed this, the romance was sweet. There was humor, family and friendship. My only complaint is some of the resolution and mending of friendships happened rather quickly. Looking forward to the next one.

The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3) The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3) by Shelly Laurenston – 4 Stars

Oh wow! This was intense. But, I did enjoy it. You got to know more about the clans and the characters. Erin has her time to shine, though there was a lot of times I just wanted her to shut up. But the ending… it answers my question about whether or not this was the final book or not.

The Dog Who Came for Christmas The Dog Who Came for Christmas by Sue Pethick – 4 stars

I liked this one, more contemporary with a romantic angle than a straight romance, but that’s okay. I think it ended rather abruptly, I would have like to have seen that scene wrap up completely before ending it. It’s not overwhelming with the Christmas decorations and traditions so it’d be okay to read anytime. 

 

That’s all for now!

 

Always Shine!

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Sunday Happenings- March

Yeah, so I didn’t quite get to all of the books that I wanted to last month. In fact, I didn’t read anything on the list. Which is why I don’t do TBRs. So, I think I will just talk about what I am currently reading and see how this goes next month.

I am currently reading:

The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, #3)

The Knight by Steven James- this is the third book in the Patrick Bowers files. I am actually almost finished with it, may even finish it when I am finished with this post. I like Patrick as a character, he is not the friendliest or the most patient investigator. He is full of contradictions and surprises. While in the end, the case usually comes together the actual investigating part is messy and full of dead ends. Much like a real investigation would be. With this installment, James proves that he is not only knowledgeable in investigating techniques and monstrous real-life like bad guys, but also in classic literature. It’s been a while since I have read the first two books in the series, but it wasn’t hard to get into this one, In fact I found that I missed it.

Where Hope Begins

Where Hope Begins by Catherine – I just started this one, so I’ve read the first couple of chapters. While I have not been hooked just yet, I am comfortable waiting for it. I read West’s The Memory of You for review and was pleasantly surprised.

What I will Read Next:

Strong Enough to Die (Caitlin Strong, #1)

Strong Enough to Die by Jon Land- I know that I will be reading this next because it’s a library book and I don’t think I can renew it. But this is a series that I have wanted to start for a long time and when I accidentally came across it while looking for another book, I took it as a sign that I was supposed to start it.

 

Who knows what will happen after that?

 

Always Shine!

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

February 28, ,2017 – Balzer & Bray

464p – Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf

Source: Edelweiss, Publisher, Bookshelf

5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, en exchange for my honest opinion. 

his is another book that talks about a white police officer shooting a black male. But make no mistake, it is also a book that stands out on its own. You have probably already heard of this book, as it came out and took the world by storm. I am not one that ever feels that a book deserves a bunch of hype, but in this case I can understand it. It is good for so many reasons, but it is not a perfect book. (I have yet to find one that is.)

Starr is at  party in her neighborhood when shots are fired. Her old friend, Khalil is there with her and quickly gets her out and safely away. While heading to her house or her father’s store, they are pulled over by a white officer for  a busted headlight. While Starr is mentally reciting the lessons of how to behave when pulled over by the police, it is apparent that Khalil did not receive those lessons.  As the police is making his way to the car, Starr does ask if there is any drugs in the car. What could have simply been a routine stop quickly escalates into a homicide. This is due to both Khalil’s mouthiness and the officer’s fear/prejudice/choice.

**With the rising number of shootings, people -black people in particular- have been having conversations with their kids about what to do when you are pulled over by the police? Is it necessary? If you have taught your kids to be respectful of authority then no it’s not. Because, regardless of your opinion of the police or your socio-economic circumstance the police are in a position of authority. EVEN IF YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. I have been pulled over before and was told that I resembled a suspect that the police were looking for. No I didn’t believe them, but I was still respectful. Sometimes, it’s not about being right, it’s about doing the right thing.**

Starr then struggles with how to reconcile what has happened, with the way the world reacts and how the police handle the situation. It’s murder to Starr and every other black person that was not there that night. But the police do not see it as such. This brings up a lot of emotions, one that just didn’t make much sense to me. She felt that by being with Chris, she was somehow betraying Khalil. After a year of dating, you’re just not realizing that your boyfriend is white and now you think you’re betraying your race? In reality, all of these feelings would have come up at the beginning of their relationships and not now, and they would have been resolved  by this point. Especially with Big Mav as a dad. So, I’m calling flag on the field.

**I am with a white man, I have two biracial babies. My dad always had something about white people. I did not go to a school that was dominantly white, but I was constantly the only black person around.  And before anyone thinks that you only date white guys cause that’s all you’re around, bull. It’s a choice to date outside of your race-regardless of what your race is. It doesn’t happen by accident, so you can’t wake up one day and realize dude my boyfriend’s white. Yes, there are some things that make the differences in race more apparent.  But I’m calling foul on Starr’s sudden realization. **

As Starr deals with the loss of Khalil and with what the news is reporting about him, she is learnign that there is more to him than even she knew about. And she has to come to terms to that. At the same time the communities around her are reacting. Either by trying to figure how to deal with the anger and the hurt that they feel or by trying to get justice in a situation that is all too familiar to them.

This is bringing to light so many things for Starr, not just with her community, but with her family and her fellow classmates. She is learning so much,  she is learning to use her voice but most importantly, she is joining the conversation.

This book is powerful, not just because of the content of its pages. It is joining the conversation. It is lifting back the covers and giving the world an inside peek at how things really are -as much as  a work of fiction can. The Hate U Give acts as a window into Starr’s story that is at once all to familiar and completely foreign-depending on a reader’s own experiences.  Thomas does an amazing job in creating characters that are real and emotionally authentic.  She has taken a situation that is in itself already complex and controversial and pulled back to give 360• view of it. There’s surprises. there’s humor and there’s truth. Truth about the pain, the anger and the feeling of being lost in your own world.

 

Always Shine!

January Wrap-Up

I used to do these all of the time, and then stopped. Then I tried just talking about my favorites and least favorites. Well, I am just going to show the statistics of what I read and then show what I read in images. January was a decent reading month.

Here are the Stats:

Total Books Read: 16>> Digital: 4 – Print: 9- Audio: 3   Review Books: 5

Total Pages Read: 4100   Average Rating: 3.6

Here are the Books:    

          Dark Screams: Volume One Nate the Great and the Big Sniff Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) To the Moon and Back (Baxter Family #3) I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) Explanatorium of Nature The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3)

                                        The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Forces of Nature                                                                                                                       Love Story (The Baxter Family, #1) Shadows of Hope The Dog Who Came for Christmas Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1)

 

Always Shine!

Featured Post: Top 10 Reasons to Read Darby Karchut

If you  have been with me this month than you know that I have featured the author, Darby Karchut, on my blog.  If you  are a long time follower, then you have probably seen all of the reviews for her books and know that I am unashamedly a huge fan of hers. While we have moved from fan and writer to friends, I am still honest about my opinions. As my friends know, you may not like what I say and you may not agree with it, but I am honest.  I thought that I would end this month’s feature with a top ten list.  And I will do my best to not go on and on about it.

10. She is not a one hit wonder. I have read all of her novels starting with the Griffin series and ending with Stone’s Heart, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything that I’ve read.

9. She’s got something for everyone. She has written middle grade (Finn Finnegan), young adult (Griffin), adult (Bannerman Boru under Darby Kaye) and adult contemporary-ish (Stone’s Heart).

8. She is a writer who writes good books, with characters you love! I’ve been there from the beginning, she has gotten so much better with each book.

7. She will talk to you! Go to her Facebook page, and write a message. See what happens? –Okay, to be honest, maybe she just talks to me and Kelly, and a random few other people. But she always responds to me so I’m happy. J/K I have written messages/emails to a variety of authors, all of whom are busily working and crafting their next novel, and I know that their world does not (and should not revolve around me), but it still amazes me that she actually responds. To be fair- Kevin Hearne, Jonathan Maberry and Eric Devine have also been pretty chatty when I’ve dropped them a message. But this post isn’t about them so….

6. She is actively involved in the care and literacy of young minds. She is involved in writing retreats, and book clubs for middle schoolers. (Addendum- I am not sure if she is still doing book clubs, I think she is. )

5. She is constantly working on something. Did you  hear that she has another book coming out soon? Del Toro Moon is scheduled to release this summer! So it’s the perfect time to jump on the DK Fan-wagon!

4. She shares what she knows. There have been many conversations about writing, the craft, advice and encouragement from her to me.

3.  Darby has a genuine heart for what she does- I follow her on Facebook, and I have talked with her about multiple aspects of writing. Not just as an author to an aspiring author. But as an author is interested in her reader and their concerns. We have shared deep thoughts on diversity in writing, on being authentic in writing characters different than ourselves.

2. Darby Karchut is a friend. I don’t remember how this blossomed into a friendship. I think I may have sent her the link to the review that I had done for her first two books, Griffin Rising  and Griffin’s Fire, (something that I did and still try to do when an author/publicist has sent me a request to review a book). And she responded with more than a thank you.

1. I need more people to help me convince to write a fourth Griffin novel……

In all seriousness, Darby Karchut is an amazing author and even better person. So if you still haven’t started reading her books, now is the perfect time to start.  Not sure which series to begin with? Let me know what kind of books you like and I can make a suggestion. (But, full disclosure – it will be completely biased.)

 

Always Shine!

Books That I DNF’d -January

While, I have read a read a lot this month and enjoyed most of that, there were a few books that I couldn’t quite make myself continue with, and it’s unlikely that I’ll pick them up again anytime soon.  These are those books.. you can click on the image to go to Goodreads.

Stand by Me (A SouledOut Sisters Novel #1) Stand by Me by Neta Johnson- I was really sad that I wasn’t enjoying this. I remember wanting to check it out a long time ago, and then forgot about it.  When I remembered it, I had to hunt down the title before I could check it out. And then I started reading it. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the voice of the black character, it just didn’t sound right to me. That’s the best way that I can describe the thoughts that were swirling around as I tried to figure out what I disliked about it.

Poison Study (Study, #1)  Poison Study b Maria V. Snyder – Ok this is one that I may actually pick up next year or whatever. And it may be poor timing that made me dnf this one. I am currently reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass and it was just too similar. Yelena -Selena, assassins, not a fan of the king, both had bad things happen to them at the hands of some higher official. Since Poison Study was published first, it would be fair to say the Mass’ book isn’t all that original, but it’s what I started reading first.

32 Candles 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter – Sixteen Candles all grown up? Yes Please. Or maybe not. I started listening to the audio book version, and the person who narrated this made Davidia sound stupid and annoying. But again, this is a book that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while. So I will probably pick this book up -after I get the narrator’s voice out of my head.

We'll Never Tell  We’ll Never Tell by Kayla Perrin – This is a new to me author, I discovered her as I read a novella of hers for my February project. I enjoyed the novella. But this one, I just wasn’t motivated to finish. I was really interested in the event that was supposed to happen, and the small mystery that was going on. But Phoebe was the stereotypical sorority girl and that was annoying. I just couldn’t get behind that character without wanting to throat punch her. The brewing violence was foreshadowed a little heavy-handedly, and that didn’t help the situation.

 

Okay, so at the beginning I said that it was unlikely that I’d be picking up these books again. And now I’m thinking that there’s at least two that I will probably try again later—much much later, and one that I definitely will try again later. But the hard DNF is Stand By Me, I simply didn’t like it and since I was reading it, I can’t blame the narrator.

What are some books that you DNF’d this month?

Always Shine!