Sunday, January 6, 2019

January 2019 Reading (Challenges & TBR)

JANUARY READING

In order to keep myself on track, I'll be making a monthly post detailing my TBR pile for the month. This will include the books I've chosen for my reading challenges, approved eARCs/review copies, and book club picks.

The reading challenge books I chose will be set in motion by the Pick-A-Theme Reading Challenge by She's Got Books on Her Mind. The theme I pick for each month will need to be present in all of the books for that particular month.


THEME THIS MONTH: COLD

(books will contain a cold-hearted individual as one of the main or secondary characters, will be a non-fiction book detailing cold-hearted acts/people/topics, or be set in a cold climate/have a cold atmosphere)


EXTERNAL CHALLENGES
(some books listed twice as it fits more than one challenge)

The Nerd Daily 52 Reading Prompt Challenge (check it out here):

  • (#4) A Four Word Title: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson [e-arc]
  • (#11) Set in the Past: Boy, Bird, Snow by Helen Oyeyemi [print]
  • (#21) Written by two authors: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan [print]
  • (#48) Non-Fiction: Evil, The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw [e-arc]



PERSONAL CHALLENGES

Read at least 20 of the books I own (3/20):
  1. Boy, Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
  2. The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohen & David Levithan
    Read at least 5 non-fiction works (2/5):
    1. Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw
    2. All That Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black



    PRINT REVIEW COPIES/E-ARCS
    1. Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (release: July 30, 2019)
    2. Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw (release February 26, 2019)

    BOOKCLUB PICK


    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


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    GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE: 7/52


    What are you all reading this month!? 
    Let me know in the comments below!

    Thursday, January 3, 2019

    43 Highly Anticipated Books of 2019 (Goodreads)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!

    Last year felt like it would never end, and that was made worse by the fact that I had my worst reading year to date. Life most certainly threw me some lemons (amongst other things), and reading, unfortunately, took a backseat to all of that madness. Like most of my fellow obsessive book readers, reading plays the role of an escape, a balm to the trials of life—it can feel like the one thing they can always turn to for some happiness and positivity. At least that's what it's always felt like to me, and I hate that I had forgotten that during my worst and lowest times. But anyway...

    I'm BACK! And I'm ready to delve back into the flurry and deliriously satisfying world of reading and reviewing. Of researching new finds, and clearing TBRs of already owned books. Of finishing reading challenges and cheering on my fellow readers on their own journeys! I can't believe I let myself stray so far away from something made me so content *sigh.

    To kick off my 2019 posts, I thought I'd list the books I already own and plan to read off of Goodreads' recent post of 43 Highly Anticipated Books of 2019. I also listed the one that I'M most looking forward to from each category.

    The 43 books are pictured below by category:

    Fiction




    Own:
    -Ginger Bread by Helen Oyeyemi (approved via Edelwiess)
    -Boy Swallows Universe (approved via Edelweiss)
    -Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (pending approval via Edelweiss)

    Most Anticipated:
    -Golden Child by Claire Adam



    Mystery & Thriller




    *None of these titles are available for review on Edelweiss

    Most Anticipated:
    -The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides


    Fantasy & Sci-Fi




    *None of these titles are available for review on Edelweiss

    Most Anticipated:
    -The Starless Sea by Erin Morgernstern



    Non-fiction




    Own:
    -Evil by Julia Shaw (approved via Edelweiss)

    Most Anticipated:

    -Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff



    YA




    *None of these titles are available for review on Edelweiss

    Most Anticipated:
    -King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo



    Romance




    Own:
    -99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (approved via Edelwiess)
    -I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella (pending approval via Edelweiss)

    Most Anticipated:
    -I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella


    Historical Fiction




    Own:
    -The Huntress by Kate Quinn (approved via Edelwiess)
    -The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (approved via Edelweiss)

    Most Anticipated:
    -The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo (I AM SO SAD that this isn't available for request on Edelweiss! *tear)

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    Which ones are you all looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments below. I'm also available for buddy-reads if anyone is interested in reading one of the 'owned' titles above with me!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018

    REVIEW: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

    Title: The Immortalists
    Author: Chloe Benjamin
    Genre: Literary/Magic Realism Fiction
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
    Release Date: January 9, 2018
    Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
    Goodreads: ADD

    If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

    It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

    Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

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    What if you knew the exact day that you would cease to exist? It was literally the only question I asked myself as I read The Immortalist. It was literally the only question I asked anyone else who cared to answer. So enthralled was I with the concept of a book where it's characters have 'found out', at an extremely young and fragile age, just how long they were to be on the earth. I truly had no expectations beyond the first prophetic chapter. I had no idea where I expected, or even wanted, the author to take the storyline. Where she took it, however, was not somewhere I was consistently following.

    Four Gold siblings. Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya Gold. A secret shared around the town. A trip to a woman who claimed to be able to tell you the exact date of your death. What follows is a chapter dedicated to each of the four (now adult) children during the months/years leading up their predicted date. Simon and Klara have left home in pursuit of an unrestrained life and dreams come true, while Daniel and Varya chose a more practical and seemingly solid path. Will the prophecy be true? How deep-rooted is our fear of death? How strong is our will to survive? The Immortalists is an exploration of self under duress, under the ultimate and most final kind of pressures.

    Chloe Benjamin's writing is tremendously readable and felt true to each era she attempted. If I had to choose a life chapter(s) I enjoyed the most, it would probably be Simon or Klaras. It was there I felt like the truest struggle existed. I felt the most emotion in the way these two internalized their fear, in their ability to simultaneously worry and not worry about their 'fate'. It was the greatest showcase of personality and flawed character. Of mental debilitation and realistic reactions to one's environment. I didn't, and couldn't, enjoy Daniel and Varya's chapters, simply because I couldn't relate to their decisions or eccentricities. I almost felt like I was reading two different books once I got to the halfway point.

    For what it was obviously highlighting, The Immortalists was successful in being a novel about living to live vs. living to die. I appreciated the way the author seemed to build stories around four final dates, instead of the other way around. This novel could have been very different one if those prophetic days were revealed very early on and repeated throughout. I just wish it ended with a more powerful conclusion. 


    Read if you like:  
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

    Key themes: 
    loss, death, family, mental illness, magic realism




    Challenges: 

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    credit: goodreads.com (author page)


    Chloe Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Immortalists, a #1 Indie Next Pick, #1 Library Reads pick, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, Amazon Best Book of the Month, and an iBooks Favorite.

    Her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long-listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

    Her work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Chloe is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.


    CONTACT LINKS 
    Goodreads - Twitter - Instagram - Website

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    A huge thank-you to Penguin Books for providing a hardcopy of this book for review