Showing posts with label forever lost in literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forever lost in literature. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Graphics Novels that I Have Read + Some I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

So this Top Ten Tuesday topic (favorite graphic novels) is actually last week's week, but I inadvertently I mixed up my weeks and missed this one last week, so therefore I'm doing a make-up TTT for last week's instead of this week's... if that's not too confusing.

I have loved most graphic novels that I've read, but I still somehow haven't read nearly as many as I would like to, and I hope to rectify that a bit more this year. Because of this, my Top Ten list is divided into two parts: 1) some of my favorite grpahic novels, and 2) a very limited selection of the graphic novels that I would like to read!

Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1)
This entire series is absolute gold to me. I love most of Neil Gaiman's work, but this series is definitely one of my things he's ever done. One day I will save up loads and loads of money and buy one of these gorgeous bind-ups... one day...

Through the Woods
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Review)
This was so delightfully creepy and gripping. When I read it, I meant to only pick it up and read a few pages, but I ended up reading all of it. I have no regrets.

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Fables by Bill Willingham
A graphic novel about the many characters from legends and folklore exiled in one place? Uhm, yes!

V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
This is a classic, and absolutely worth the read!

Watchmen by Alan Moore
This is another Alan Moore classic, and though I'm not really into superheroes/etc., I really enjoyed the in-depth storyline. I haven't seen the movie adaptation, but I've heard that it is a poor adaptation, so check this one out even if you've seen it!

Footnotes in Gaza
Okay, so this one is sliding into this list in a very sneaky manner because I'm technically still reading it, but I can already tell that it is definitely going to make it onto my favorites list. Here's a quick excerpt from the summar on Goodreads if you need convincing: "Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinians dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah—cold-blooded massacre or dreadful mistake—reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war. In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco immerses himself in daily life of Rafah and the neighboring town of Khan Younis, uncovering Gaza past and present. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, alive with the voices of fugitives and schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs, Footnotes in Gaza captures the essence of a tragedy."

Saga, Vol. 1
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
I've been wanting to read this for years, but somehow I have never been able to get my hands on it. Hopefully this year!

Hark! A Vagrant
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Another one that's been on my list for far too long. I first heard about this one courtesy of Sanne from booksandquills a few years (!) ago, and I've been wanting to read it ever since.

From Hell
From Hell by Alan Moore
I believe this one centers on the Jack the Ripper and Whitechapel murders of 1888. This topic isn't necessarily my favorite, but I am very intrigued to see what Alan Moore does with this particular story.

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (Collected Editions)
There are many reasons I want to read this one, but it had me at "Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia." I need to read this one!

Have you read any of these graphic novels? What are some of your favorites?

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:

The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Angry Robot
Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

From Goodreads:

The Last Sacrifice
Since time began, the Grakhul – immortal servants of the gods – have taken human sacrifices to keep the world in balance and the gods appeased. When the choose the family of warrior Brogan McTyre, everything changes. 

Brogan begins the toughest battle of his life to free his family from their terrible fate. But when you challenge the gods, you challenge the very fabric of society. Declared an outcast, Brogan and his kin are hunted like criminals – but nothing will stand in his way.

The blurb for this book is so sparse that it piques my interest just enough to make me really forward to its release! This notion of humans being used as sacrifice is pretty intense, and I like it.

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

First Chapter Tuesday is hosted every Tuesday by Diane over at Bibiophile by the Sea. Join the fun by making your own post and linking up over at Diane's blog, or simple check it out to find more new books to read!

Alright, so I was already working on my Top Ten Tuesday blog post (hosted by The Broke and Bookish), when I realized that I was just way too excited about my current read to not do a First Chapter Tuesday post and share it. You may be seeing this book everywhere lately, but that is only because it just as amazing as everyone says! So without further ado, my First Chapter Tuesday is...

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Chapter 1

"Retvenko leaned against the bar and tucked his nose into his dirty shot glass. The whiskey had failed to warm him. Nothing could get you warm in this Saintsforsaken city. And there was no escaping the smell, the throat-choking stew of bilge, clams, and wet stone that seemed to have seeped into his pores as if he’d been steeping in the city’s essence like the world’s worst cup of tea."

(and a bonus intro excerpt from the second chapter because we love Wylan):
Chapter 2

"'What am I doing here?'"

That thought had run through Wylan’s head at least six times a day since he’d met Kaz Brekker. But on a night like this, a night when they were “working,” it rose and fell in his head like a nervous tenor practicing his scales: WhatamIdoingherewhatamIdoingherewhatamIdoinghere."

Find an excerpt of the first four chapters here.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!) 
If you're enticed by this chapter, be sure to check out the full synopsis on Goodreads!

*Excerpt taken from the novel itself; I do not claim to own any part of the excerpt.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

*When the Sea Turned to Silver was released Tuesday, October 4th and is now available!*

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016. Paperback. 384 pages.

*I received a physical ARC of When the Sea Turned to Silver courtesy of Little, Brown in exchange for an honest review.*

When the Sea Turned to Silver is a beautiful, magical story filled with adventure and a wonderful fairy tale-like storytelling atmosphere. It was only after reading this that I discovered that it is in fact a companion novel to Lin's When the Mountain Meets the Moon, but fortunately this has no bearing on following or understanding this book.

Lin's story starts with Pinmei, granddaughter of her small village's beloved storyteller. The peace that currently inhabits her village is destroyed, however, when her grandmother is taken by the Emperor's soldiers and Pinmei takes it upon herself to embark upon a journey to save her. Pinmei herself is an extremely endearing and relatable character, and her friend Yishan brings even more color and excitement to the story.

Along the journey, the author has both Pinmei and her grandmother intersperse the story with many short tales about much of the myths and lore of their culture. I loved these stories, and they blended in well with the current action of the plot, as well as truly brought the culture of the setting alive.

I found Pinmei to be a wonderfully complex and intriguing character. She not only discovers her own gifts and strengths, but she also makes deep, lasting relationships with many of the other characters. I actually felt as though all of the characters in this book were complex and underwent a variety of dynamic changes, whether big or small.

Lin writes with a poetic, almost lyrical prose that makes it just about impossible to not to keep turning pages. When the Sea Turned to Silver is a truly a magical story, and I don't know how else to describe it. It is exciting and filled with delightful characters.

Overall, I am giving When the Sea Turned to Silver four stars!

You might also like:
The Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey
Over the Underworld by Adam Shaughnessy
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

*Wonder Women by Sam Maggs will be released on Tuesday, October 4th!*

Wonder Women by Sam Maggs. Quirk Books, 2016. Paperback. 240 pages

*I received a physical ARC of Wonder Women courtesy of Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.*

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do: you should go pick up this book whenever you have the chance. Wonder Women tells about the many inventions and contributions women have made throughout history, and it does so in an incredibly engaging and informative manner. Out of the many incredible women spotlighted in this book, I am almost embarrassed to say that I had only heard of a small handful prior to reading Wonder Women! 

This is such an incredibly needed and important book that brings to light the accomplishments of women in the fields of science, medicine, espionage, innovation, and adventure. I think it is astounding how many women have made such huge marks throughout history, but yet have very little notice - if any at all - in many textbooks and history books! Where were all of these women when I was learning history in my early schooling? For that matter: where are they still?

Each profile was the perfect length that provided well-researched and detailed information about each woman and her impact; there was no excessive rambling or extensive information that could potentially turn away some readers. Also, a bonus to this already great book is the list of resources listed in the back pages that offer an abundance of websites and organizations that girls can explore and join in order to follow their own dreams.

The only negative reaction I had to this book was how disappointed I felt that I am not a part of the scientific community - but fortunately this has nothing to do with the writing or content of the book itself, just my own feelings. I used to want to enter the world of science, but I soon realized that it simply is not something I was born to do, and I excel much more in other areas. Still, I love reading about the many accomplishments that all of these women have accomplished over the years, and I am almost sure that you will, too!

Quite frankly, I don't know I could give this wonderful book anything less than five stars!

You might also like:
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch

*Dear. Mr. M is now available!*

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch. Hogarth, 2016. Paperback. 448 pages. 
(I am majorly digging this cover, by the way.)

*I received a printed ARC of Dear Mr. M courtesy of Hogarth and LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.*

This is the second book I've read by Herman Koch (the first being The Dinner) and I can already tell that Koch has a very unique and very distinct writing style that is all his own. Putting this writing style into words is extremely difficult, but for me it always elicits extremely mixed feelings. While I may not be overly enamored with the story itself, the ideas that Koch plays with and the unique storytelling methods he uses are enough to capture me and keep me reading.

In Dear Mr. M, Mr. M is an aging writer whose 'glory years' are slowly starting to fade, but who also still has a strong older fan base and thus still partakes in interviews and book signings. We are informed of two of his most popular books, 'The Hour of the Dog' and 'Payback.' The former was written after his first divorce, and was seen by many as discussing too many intimate details regarding the divorce, while the latter is based on a different real life story: the story of the disappearance of a history teacher after he involves himself in an affair with one of his students.

I don't want to go into too many details regarding the specifics of the plot, since I feel that much of the entertainment in this book revolves around your own discovery, so I'm going to be a little vague. The story jumps around quite a bit, and although this is a tad confusing, it somehow worked for the story, as the plot itself and the way in which the story is unfolded is very patchwork-like in nature, and thus the jumping points of view worked well to match the atmosphere. This plot is extraordinarily intricate and sometimes feels hard to follow, but as long as you just jump in and commit to the ride, things eventually start to pay off.

Koch writes really odd characters. They aren't very likable people. They're often harsh, honest to a fault, and basically just not the nicest people out there. Just like in The Dinner, I started off thinking I liked a few of the characters, only to discover just how disturbing or unkind they really were as time went by, which is an odd feature of Koch's writing that is also rather endearing, as it creates an immense amount of mystery and intrigue to the entire story.

I loved Koch's insights into human nature, our motives for doing various things, how we perceive events, and even how physical attributes affect our lives, even if we do not consciously notice it. He tends to go off onto what feel like tangents to contemplate these ideas, but he never strays too far from the story, and somehow manages to work everything into one larger idea. This book also focused on lot of the art of writing itself, such as what works in fiction versus what happens in reality (i.e. unbelievable coincidences), and this also really made me think about a lot of various ideas.

My only critiques center around the fact that I do think Koch could have edited out a few areas that seemed to go on to long. Koch tends to focus on minute details and subsequently spend a few pages discussing them. He also dives off into a few areas relating to Dutch politics and history, which I assume might be more interesting to those living in the Netherlands (maybe?), but that really could have just been cut right out for me. I had no idea what was going on and, frankly, I didn't much care.

Critiques aside, this was overall a fairly solid book. While I did find myself feeling a bit confused or lost at times, the strength of this novel lies in the story and twist and turns, and for those reasons I am giving it three-and-a-half stars.

You might also like:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Ten Anticipated Book-to-Television Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is anything related to Fall TV, so in honor of that I am listing my top ten most anticipated TV shows based on the book. Now, this was sort of odd for me to make, because I generally am rather skeptical of book-to-TV adaptations, but in the spirit of this topic I decided to overlook that and pick the ones that are based off of some books I enjoyed and that could potentially be great. So let's dive in!

American Gods     American Gods Poster
1. American Gods
Air Date: 2017
Available on: Starz
I'm actually legitimately excited for this one because the cast looks incredible and so far the trailer is amazing! I love how much involvement it seems Gaiman has had during the filming, so I'm hoping this one lives up to expectations.

Lucifer, Book One (Lucifer, #1)     Lucifer Poster
2. Lucifer
Air Date: 2015
Available on: Fox
Okay, so I know that this is technically already out, but I've yet to sit down and watch it and it looks like a great adaptation.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1)     
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Air Date: 2016
Available on: Netflix
I have wanted a remake of this series for years. The movie was always so odd to me since it seemed to combine all three books into one, which was just plain confusing. I'm super excited this is given a second chance with what seems to be more detail and quality put into it. (Though I did love the actor and actresses that played the children in the movie!)

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)
4. His Dark Materials
Air Date: TBA
Available on: BBC
Another one in which the movie didn't quite cut it for me. I generally trust BBC with making good mini-shows, so I'm expecting this to be much better than the movie!

The Handmaid's Tale
5. The Handmaid's Tale
Air Date: 2017
Avilable on: Hulu
I'm super skeptical of The Handmaid's Tale being made into a television show because I just have no idea how it can be done. I never pictured this on a screen, but I am really interested to see how it works out.

Brave New World 
6. Brave New World
Air Date: TBA
Available on: Syfy
There is very little information regarding this one that I can find online, but it is supposedly going to be adapted to air on Syfy by Amblin Television. If they make this into a successful series, this could be really weird and also really awesome.

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)
7. Hyperion
Air Date: TBA
Available on: Syfy
I have never made it through the book Hyperion, so maybe a TV show would help me gather the confidence to finally get through it... or maybe I'll just watch and enjoy the TV show!  Either way, I think this could be a stunning creation if adapted correctly. Bradley Cooper will be the producer, and apparently he has been wanting to turn this into a series for years - who knew?

The Book of Strange New Things
8. Strange New Things
Adapted from: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
Air Date: TBA
Available on: TBA
I'm excited and also anxious about this potential adaptation. Like others, it's still in the incredibly early stages from what I can tell, and I have absolutely no idea how they would make this a movie, but I loved Faber's book and am interested to see how they handle it. Though, the track record of Faber adaptations isn't great... 

The Best of Archie Comics, Book 1     Riverdale Poster
9. Riverdale 
Adapted from: Archie Comics 
Air Date: October 2016
Available on: The CW
I remember reading the Betty and Veronica comics when I was extremely young and having such a blast. I don't remember a whole lot, but I think this adaptation could be a ton of fun, and I'm excited to see how it is developed!

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
10. The Kingkiller Chronicles
Air Date: TBA
Available on: TBA
Look, the odds of this happening anytime in the somewhat near future are slim to none, but I'd still be pretty excited to see how they handle Kvothe's story in a television format. It will supposedly be produced by Lionsgate and will be written by Lindsay Beer, known for writing Transformers 5. That's not overly encouraging to me, but hey, let's just wait and give it a chance before we start to judge - plus, I'd like to give Ms. Beer props for writing in such a male-dominated field.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: Apparently V. E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic is also going to be a television series, so I am beyond excited for that!
Darker Shade of Magic

Are you excited for any book-to-TV adaptations? Are you also skeptical of your favorite books being moved into film? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

*Like a River Glorious will be released Tuesday, September 6th!*

Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #2)
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson. Greenwillow, 2016. Paperback. 432 pages.

*I received a printed ARC of Like a River Glorious courtesy of Greenwillow in exchange for an honest review.*

You can find my review for Walk on Earth a Stranger (Book One) here!

Western themes are definitely not normally something I'm a big fan of, but I fell in love with Walk on Earth a Stranger, and after finishing it I knew that I would be eagerly awaiting the sequel. I probably needed a little bit of a refresher before starting, but fortunately I wasn't too lost and was soon right back in the swing of things and enjoying myself once again in this world Carson has created.

The first book left off as Lee and the rest of the group finally made it to California, and Like a River Glorious picks up right after that. Because of her gift, she has the potential to become a flourishing gold miner, but of course nothing is ever easy when you have an evil uncle that wants to kidnap you and force you to use your powers for him.

Lee is just as fiery and strong as she was in Walk on Earth a Stranger, but this time she has a whole new slew of issues to deal with, such as dealing with her Uncle Hiram and her struggle to come to terms with the horrible treatment of the Native Americans that are forced into slavery, which I will touch upon a bit more later. Lee's strong, endearing character is still perfectly intact: she's independent and bold, but she is also aware that she's not perfect and doesn't have a way to fix everyone's problems. I love that Lee is just a really good person as well; she truly cares for others and wants to help them by eradicating their suffering.

Along with Lee, Jefferson is pretty high up there as a favorite character. I love his determination in both pursuing Lee and doing what he can to keep everyone safe. His respect for Lee is wonderful, and although he does continue to ask her to marry him, I appreciate that he respects her unsure stance on marriage and her dislike for conventional marriages in which a woman becomes 'property' to men. I also just want to note that the rest of Carson's supporting characters are all just as well-developed and entertaining as Jefferson and Lee, and I sincerely enjoyed watching them all develop and their relationships with one another flourish.

I think Carson did well in capturing the horrible treatment of Native Americans. The fact that Jefferson himself is half-Cherokee fits into this really well, as it allows us to see even more perspectives, since Jefferson himself isn't in the same position of those in California who had their land taken away, but is still affected and hurt by these actions all the same. However, I'm hoping that the final book in this trilogy actually spotlights Native American culture and their lies a bit more, as this book mostly kept them in one view - as slaves.

This book moved pretty fast, and I feel like not a lot happened in a lot of time. By that, I mean that I feel like the story was stuck in one place for a majority of the time, and I suddenly found myself surprised to be 3/4 of the way done. I'm not sure if the book moved too fast or if it was jsut that easy to get sucked into, but at least we can say it held my attention! The ease in which I read this book was largely due to Carson's flowing, elegant writing. She crafts gorgeous prose that takes her readers for an adventurous ride, something that she has been a master at since her first trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Now, I had some questions about Lee's gift that I had hoped this sequel would answer, but unfortunately it didn't answer some of them, such as why Lee has this gift and whether or not she is the only person in the world with a gift like this? However, Like a River Glorious did indeed explore more of Lee's power and showed how strong and powerful it can truly be, which was definitely what I wanted. Carson also explored more of the supporting characters, and though there still could have been a bit more, I think she did a really good job creating a unique array of characters that truly brought life to the story.

Overall, I will be giving Like a River Glorious four stars!

You might also like:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

*Labyrinth Lost will be released on Tuesday, September 6th!*

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Sourcebooks Fire, 2016. Ebook. 336 pages.

*I received an ARC of Labyrinth Lost courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I always hate saying this, but I really, really wanted to love this. Surprisingly, I was fairly disappointed. Even as I write this review, I still feel really torn about how I feel about this one. It was imaginative, exciting, and full of life, but it was also full of some plot holes, awkwardly created characters and character development, and some dialogue that frustrated me quite a bit. Not to mention I felt the entire storyline felt somewhat formulaic.  

We'll start with the positives: Los Lagos. What a gorgeously created and intricately designed world! The visit to Los Lagos is pretty much what I was most looking forward to in this book - I was excited or the Latin-American culture along with folklore and the imaginative world that could be created from this, and on this level I was not disappointed. Córdova also has an incredible imagination and writing style that truly comes to life when is describing the world within her book. The dialogue itself wasn't always the best, but her narrative and prose is much more elegant. The diversity of the characters was also a huge plus, and I enjoyed Córdova's attempts at incorporating a variety of elements that aren't overdone already in many books.

Now, moving on to some of the things I didn't like about the book. The beginning of Labyrinth Lost hooked me pretty well, but that initial interest and excitement began to die off as I neared the middle of the book. The elements themselves were exciting, such as the faeries and other creatures they encounter, but it was the conflict and plot itself that suffered. The story didn't feel like it was going anywhere or being moved forward, and I was quickly losing interest. As I mentioned earlier, the plot started to feel too obviously formulaic: run into one conflict, miraculously resolve it, move on to another, miraculously resolve it, and so on. It just wasn't overly understandable to me.

I didn't love Alex. Her refusal to accept her magical powers was beyond frustrating to me, but that's probably just my own issue. I don't have to love a character to enjoy a book, but I didn't care about her all that much either. Her development was jilted and lacking in depth. I never established enough of a connection to feel that she deserved my worry or interest, and, let's be honest, I almost would have preferred this story to have been written about Nova, whom I personally felt had a much more interesting story. Though I did find his constant brooding and 'you have no idea what I've been through' statements a bit over the top, even though he did indeed have a difficult past. I wouldn't mind some more background and story based on Nova.

I also didn't care for Rishi - or rather, perhaps I just didn't understand the point of Rishi's character enough to move past that and care for her. I sort of feel like she was only thrown into the book to provide some comedic relief and a friendship to Alex - a friendship that I almost feel could have been taken out without too much notice.

Every good story such as this also needs a strong, frightening villain to match, but sadly, the villain in this book - The Devourer - didn't really do that. I don't feel like I ever got to see enough of her to truly understand her desires or feel something more than just a surface-level hatred. She felt a bit more stereotypical, which was somewhat of a disappoint compared to the rest of the imaginative elements of Labyrinth Lost.

((potential spoilers ahead - the following paragraph only!))

I love that Córdova added a female/female pairing, we really need more types of sexuality represented in books, and I think it's awesome that she added that in. But I didn't think the chemistry between the two worked. I understood that they were strong friends before the events of this book, but we just went from Alex having not-so-obvious feelings towards Rishi to sudden 'oh wow, I love her.' There was very little chemistry, and all the sweet things they said to each felt so incredibly forced and unnatural. It just didn't fit.

((end spoilers))

Overall, Labyrinth Lost is an imaginative story with many unique and refreshing elements, but lacks in character development and and a strong storyline. For these reasons, I am giving Labyrinth Lost three-and-a-half stars. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

*Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow is now available!*

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. Delacorte Press, 2016. Paperback. 416 pages.

*I received a print ARC of Girl in Pieces courtesy of Delacorte Press and First in Line in exchange for an honest review*

I'm not really sure what I expected when I started this book, but it definitely wasn't what I read. Girl in Pieces is not your average story of a girl who is struggling, but instead feels like so much more. Based on the synopsis, I already expected this to be a heavy book, but it was even heavier and more intense than I expected. This book hit deep and was hard to read at times, but also impossible to put down.

First, I thought this was a great portrayal of mental health. Charlie goes through so many ups and downs and they are all completely sporadic and unpredictable. She may take ten steps forward one day, three steps back the next, and then no steps either way after that; the unexpectedness of everything was truly spot-on. You can feel her descent and her tiny victories and the guilt and shame she feels when she thinks she has messed up. Charlie wants to get better, she is trying really hard to follow the rules laid out by her doctor, but sometimes she just messes up, and that is normal and realistic. This is actually something that I really liked about Charlie - she never seemed to be intentionally self-destructive. She truly wanted to better herself and do what it takes to become better, but she was trapped by feelings of being damaged and unable to be loved 'like a normal person.'

In a weird way, I also sort of liked the fact that Charlie was essentially kicked out of her psychiatric hospital because her insurance funds disappeared. How realistic and lifelike is that? I've never read a book about psychiatric wards and mental health that really touched much on that aspect, and I think that's so important. So many people seem to forget or skim over the fact that to be in a psychiatric ward or receive quality help can be extremely expensive or require insurance, so sometimes those that need the help the most can't get it, and that's a horrible problem in our society that has yet to be resolved.

Glasgow's prose - wow. It's effortlessly brilliant and emotional. It flows in a poetic fashion at times, but other times it is raw and blunt and cut up. No matter what, though, it is almost always captivating to read. Glasgow does not shy away from heavy topics, and instead treats them with the care and occasional force needed to make a point. There are certain areas where we seem to get a more harsh inner dialogue from Charlie and it reads so passionately and is so emotionally charged - it's really just some superb writing.

One of my only issues with this book was my connection with Charlie due to the writing style, however. At most points in the book, I felt completely sucked in, right there with Charlie, feeling what she was feeling, experiencing those events in her life. But at other times I felt rather disconnected and as if I was watching everything happen from outside of a foggy window, if that makes any sense. So while I didn't mind the writing or my connection to the story, this somewhat uneven narration drew me out of my reading concentration sometimes.

Overall, I am giving Girl in Pieces four stars for its brilliant capture of mental health issues and a girl struggling to make something more of her life, as well as the wonderful writing used to tell this story. I definitely recommend this one!

You might also like:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten (or Six) Tuesday: Books That Have Been on My Shelf for Far Too Long

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is books that have been on your shelf (your real, virtual, etc. TBR) from before you started blogging that still haven't been read. I'm surprisingly having a difficult time coming up with a full ten (even though I know that there are far more than that), so here are my top six!

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)
This has been on my shelf for ages, but since I'm not normally a huge hard sci-fi fan, it always gets pushed back. One day...

The Pelican Fables
Pretty sure this one is still on my TBR simple because I forgot about it. There are a lot of intriguing things about this book, but what initially caught my eye was the fact that the setting is a boarding school. What can I say, I'm a sucker for boarding school books. Time to make a library trip!
(Edit: I just checked my local library and a bookstore near me and neither of them have it, so perhaps that's why I never got around to reading it.)

In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1)
I love Catherynne Valente! So why haven't I read this book? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Map of Time (Trilogía Victoriana, #1)
This book has so much promise and seems so exciting that I honestly have no justification for why I haven't read it yet. From Goodreads"Characters real and imaginary come vividly to life in this whimsical triple play of intertwined plots, in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence." This could either be really good or really bad, but I'm betting on the former. 

Okay, so I remember thinking the concept of this book sounded really great, and at the time I knew Lev Grossman from his writing at Time magazine (and eventually The Magicians books) and thought I wanted to give him a shot. It has a pretty low overall rating on Goodreads, and I haven't overly enjoyed many of his other books, so... this might stay on my TBR for a while. Sorry, Codex!

War and Peace
Look, I know it's probably a cliche to have a book like War and Peace on here, but it's true. I've been putting it off and telling myself I'll read it when I 'finally have the time,' but let's face it: when do we ever have enough to sit and read a book like this? Never, so just dive in!

What books have been sitting on your shelf (virtual or real) for far too long?